Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole–Jason Approved!

A post from Kelli–

As I’m sure many of you know, going back to work after a maternity leave is a bit difficult.  Obviously it’s hard to leave Georgia, but adjusting to a whole new set of “needs” and “need to do’s” can be a bit taxing.

Back in April before Dad passed away, mom, dad, and I had a talk and decided that we were all willing to pitch in to get things worked out so that mom would be able to watch Georgia while I worked.  The way things are now, I live about 35 minutes from Mom and then have another 30 to 35 minute drive to work…in the opposite direction.

At the time we knew that Dad probably wouldn’t be able to work like he had previously and he had mentioned that he would probably be able to meet me or Jason with Georgia a few times a week when I was working.  We also talked about maybe meeting up in the morning if needed.  We all had agreed that if nothing else, Dad getting sick had shown us all how family is really important and that we were willing to make sacrifices for important things–Like Georgie seeing mom and dad lots and being cared for by her Grandma!

Obviously things on the Dad front have changed, but Mom and I…and Kalissa and Jason and Jason’s mom Renee…have been working to still get things worked out so that Georgia can go to mom’s for childcare while I’m working.

With the extra driving and such, one thing that I’ve been working on is trying to make a supper that will feed both Jason and I for an evening meal and then at least one of us, if not both of us, for a lunch too.  I’ve been scouring the internet and such for quick casseroles that are fairly decently priced to make, but still tasty and make a decent amount…without making too much.

I also have a picky eater..Jason..(cough, cough)…to please.  Just the other day, he finally told me why he doesn’t like spaghetti and pizza–He doesn’t like tomato sauce!  So as you know, that can complicate quite a few casserole type dishes.   I have found though that if it is more BBQ based he will eat it….Strange. I know.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found this recipe for Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole!

The picture does not do it justice in regards to taste!  It was AMAZING!!!!!

You can find the recipe HERE

I made a few changes as I didn’t look at the recipe before going grocery shopping….I ended up using one pound of sausage and one of hamburger as we were running a bit low on hamburger when I made it.  I also just used 2% milk in place of the whole milk and cream.  I also just used whatever sliced cheese we had in the refrigerator–I think it was provolone and muenster.  The last change that I made was that I added some pickle juice and cut up pickles to the meat sauce.  I knew that Jason wouldn’t eat it with the lettuce and onion salad on top and I also knew that it would be hard to take it to work for lunch that way, but I still wanted a bit of the pickle taste.

As you can see, I made a few minor tweaks, but it was so good!  And with any refrigerated pasta recipe, it tasted even more amazing the next day after spending the overnight in the refrigerator.  Needless to say, it got 4 thumbs up–2 from me and 2 from Jason!  I’ll definitely be making this one again!

When We Were Kids

A post from Kelli–

As a new mom, I have found that the best way to stretch the dollars after having a baby is to be okay with getting or finding things used, recycled, or handed down.  I honestly think that I have bought a few outfits (mostly newborn clothes) brand new, but that is really about it.  Once I was pregnant, I started looking for stuff and so has mom and Jason’s mom too!  I’ve also been super fortunate to have been on the receiving end of lots of baby clothes and equipment!

While perusing the isles at the our thrift store recently, I found this and it took me back to my childhood days!

The JC Penny’s Seasonal Catalog!  It was mine and my sister Kayla’s favorite thing in the world growing up!

This was seriously the highlight of our 2nd and 3rd grade lives!  Mom would bring it home and we would lay on the floor for hours and hours, just looking at the pages…and the outfits…and the toys…and the luggage….and the EVERYTHING!

Our favorite game to play was to pick a 2 page spread and we had to pick our favorite thing on the 2 page spread.  If it was business clothes, pretty soon we would have stories about how we were going to grow up and need suits and we picked out which ones we were going to wear.

If it was toys, we looked and decided which one we would want.  Often times with dolls or sets of something, we would decided which one we would get and then which set would be the best set to go with the original item.  In theory we were perfectly fine with sharing so that we could attempt to get mom to buy it for us….in real life though, that was a completely different story.

If it was luggage, we would pick out the perfect set and end up creating stories about how we were going to travel the world.  As an adult, I’m not to the point that I do best with a over the shoulder bag because I rarely go any further than mom’s.  The stories were literally never ending and got more and more elaborate every time we turned the page!

This is one of those things that I’m kind of sad has been replaced by technology.  We seriously had just the best time in the world with that old catalog.  It also made me giggle and realize that it really is the small stuff….or maybe just a big catalog….that made us the happiest!


An Update on my Favorite Pie–Georgie Pie!

A post from Kelli–

When I was pregnant, for some reason, I could not stop obsessing over what nicknames were going to go with the baby names I had picked out.  I was sure that if I had a girl and I could convince Jason to let me name her Georgia Grace, I was going to call her Gigi.

Guess what is the one thing that I never call her–If you guessed Gigi, you are right!

I started out calling her Pumpkin–That shorted to Punky pretty quick.  The first time Jason called her Georgie I was really annoyed, but when Carver called her Georgie completely unprompted, it kind of stuck.  She has also been G2, with Gannon being G1.  Other names she has been include Pumpkin Pie, Peanut, Punky Brewster, Punkster, Punkarooni, Georgie Pie, Smiley Pie, Pie Girl, Peach Pie, Georgie Porgie, etc….I think we all call her a nickname more than we call her by her actual name.  Mom jokes that she’s probably going to grow up and not even know what her name is!

Anyways, Georgia is doing great–No matter what you call her!  And she will be 5 months old on the 4th of August. I literally can’t believe how that can be possible…..but it is!

She likes helping outside and seeing the cows!  If I’m at work and she’s home with Jason, he just takes her with in her carseat and she does whatever he’s doing.  If he’s vaccinating calves, she just plays in her carseat outside the pen.  If he’s working in the shop, she just hangs out.  One awesome thing about her is that she completely occupies herself!  If you give her a toy, she will be thrilled to play with it for about 15 minutes until she remembers she also has a pacifier and then she’ll play with that for another good 15 minutes or so!

She also loves the thrift store and finding good deals!  As you can tell, her enthusiasm put her right to sleep!  But the good news is that she is always really good in town when we need to run errands.  Give her a couple toys and she is good to go!

We also got the go-ahead at her 4 month appointment to start trying foods if we want.  We attempted it once and despite the smile on her face, it didn’t go so well.  Once she gets it in her mouth and gets going, she does quite well with it….it’s just getting it in her mouth and not splatter painting her mom that is the hard part.  I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it eventually….she is part Kramer after all….We are food people.

She also loves to give Puppycat and Ruby soft pets!  I haven’t been able to grab any pictures with Puppycat, but she is really becoming much more aware of her surroundings–which often include the dogs.  They are all so gentle with her!  When Jason comes home and is holding her, Puppycat often snuggles right up with them and while she tries to give lots of kisses, she also lets George give her lots of pets too!

Another thing that she loves is her play gym.  She has figured out that she can grab the toys with her hands…but also kick the poles to get the music to play too.  Here she is getting scooted over to the edge to check out the awesome clothes that one of the childcare parents was kind enough to pass along.  When I was sorting things out, she loved grabbing onto things and checking them all out.  She is super observant!

Headbands are another favorite of hers…see? …

Garage Sale Goodies

A post from Kelli–

As many of you know, kids clothes are expensive!  Mom always said that kids are mostly as expensive as you let them be….Which I’m coming to find is quite true!

Before I had Georgia, I really didn’t think it would be that bad, but I was the Aunt buying an outfit or two…not a parent needing to supply a wardrobe.  Needless to say, thrift stores and garage sales have acquired a whole new appeal!

Kalissa recently told me that there was one that I NEEDED to go to.  After a bit of chatting, we figured out that I would leave Punky with her and run to Decorah.  Afterwards, I was going to go to work at the nursing home for a bit to work on things.  Kalissa jokingly told me that even if they were closed, I needed to knock on the door because it was just that good!

I took Georgia to Kalissa’s house and headed to Decorah and boy am I glad I did!

I ended up spending $95.00 and got TONS of super cute stuff….

Is this stuff not the best?

And things were so reasonably priced!  A 3 piece outfit like this was $2 to $3 for the entire outfit!

I know it’s a huge surprise that I would be a sucker for anything with a dog on it…

And some little Scottie dogs too…

Seriously though, who could say no to these!

I swear that I tried to restrain myself, but it was just so hard!

The best part? The person hosting the garage sale was a coworker of mine at the hospital.  It was nice to catch up with her as I’ve been on maternity leave and then Dad’s journey.

I know it’s a surprise, but I swear that my mom somehow gets smarter and smarter every single day.  Georgia is only going to be as expensive as I let her be.  $95 for a full wardrobe…that’s not bad at all!!

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