Crockpot Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Are you hungry? Are you looking for a great pasta dish for the family? Then look no further. I have a habit of just using what we having lying around the house to cook our meals, and so many times the resulting dish ends up being a family favorite. This is one of those dishes.  This like a good many of my dishes is a crock pot meal, but could just as easily be tweaked to be cooked alternative ways. I think the only downside to this dish may just be that it gets eaten so quickly it doesn’t last long.




Crockpot Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Sauce

(This hopefully will be renamed once I can think of something better. Feel free to comment with your ideas.)

Serves: 6-12
Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 4-6 hours
Ingredients-
  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 24 oz jars of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 24 oz jar of diced tomatoes with peppers
  • 1 lb bag of frozen chopped greens
  • 1 lb bag of frozen sweet corn
  • 1 lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tbs dried basil
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

Directions-
  1. Turn the crock-pot on high.
  2.  Grease the inside of you crock-pot to prevent sticking. (This is optional.  I only do it maybe 1/4 the time and I have no trouble cleaning my crock pot even if things do stick to the sides)
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  4. Pour the water over the chicken breasts in the crock-pot.
  5. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken breasts in the crock-pot.
  6.  Pour the spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes over the chicken.
  7. Add the frozen vegetables into the tomato sauce and stir slightly to mix them into the sauce.
  8. Add the chopped greens into the mixture and stir slightly again.
  9. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  10. After 4 hours check the chicken and shred if it is thoroughly cooked.
  11. Cook to more hours.
  12. Check to make sure the chicken is done if it wasn’t previously  and shred if it is.
  13. Stir the mixture together and serve over your choice of noodles with grated Parmesan cheese on top.


Now, with this recipe as so many you can adjust ingredients as you see fit. You can also reduce the serving sizes by scaling down the measurements if that is what you need to fit your dining plan. You could even scale it up if you are feeding more people. Change it up if you would like or try it out the way it is listed. It is all up to you, the wonderful cook.

We hope you enjoy this recipe and stay-tuned for more tasty meals.

Thank you for reading,

The Momnipresent Mother

Washing Cloth Diapers



Hello Everyone.

I hope you all are well.

When I was first researching cloth diapers the biggest thing that worried me was would I be able to clean them properly. I am here to tell you it really isn’t as hard as it seems. It all seemed very intimidating when I was a cloth diaper newbie, but it quickly became routine.  One of my biggest tips is to find the Fluff Love and Cloth Diaper Science group on FB.  It is a great resource if you want to double check your washing routine or have a fancy type of washer. They will ask you a few questions and then will give you a suggested wash routine. They are great.

Now in this post I will essentially be spelling out my wash routine to show you it really isn’t hard at all to properly wash cloth diapers. So with out further a do., here it goes.


How I wash Cloth Diapers

 

Step 1: Collect all your dirty diapers in one place.

This may seem like a no-brainer but with “mama-brain” sometimes it slips your mind and you will have half a load ready to go in the washer but not all the dirty diapers. This means collect all diapers from your main diaper receptacles and diaper bags.  So, make sure you have them all with you in front of your washer.

 

Step 2: Prepare the diapers to be washed.

This is the part I think many people who are new to cloth are worried about, but it really is no worse than changing the diaper to begin with especially if you are amazing at remembering to prep those diapers in between changing your child and tossing the diapers in the diaper pail or wet bag.

There are a few things you may need to do to Prep your diapers to be washed.

The first is If your child consumes anything other than exclusively breast milk you would need to remove the bowel movement into the toilet. However I was just informed that some sources also state that both exclusively breast fed bowl movements and exclusively formula bowel movements do not need to removed before washing. I only exclusively breastfed but others say it worked fine for their formula fed babies as well to just toss them in the wash without rinsing first.    Some people use a method call the dunk and swish which is pretty much exactly like it sounds. You dunk the dirty diaper in the toilet water and swish it around until the solids come off. I personally am not a fan of this method but to each their own. Some people have specific tools like a spatula (or pooptula as I have heard it called) to just scrape the solids into the toilet bowel. You can also use something called a diaper sprayer, which is what I use. My Spray Pal Diaper Sprayer hooks up to the back of your toilet and has an on off switch that turns the water flow on and off, and a nozzle like a garden hose to spray the solids off into the toilet. Now, when doing this you will want to remove the excess water. I have a Spray pal Spray Shield that you can use to squeeze all the excess water into the bowel without toughing the diaper.  Spray pal is amazing, and I love their products for my diapers. Some kids end up having ploppable bowel movements which are a breeze to clean as they just plop right off, but until then one of these methods work too.

Now that the solids are gone from the diapers you will need to prep just a bit further. To prepare the hook and loop diapers you just need to make sure the hook and loop(Velcro style) closures are flipped and hooked to the washing tabs. This prevents the hook part to get stuck on everything it can in the washer. With snap closure diapers you don’t need to worry with this.

Another thing you may have to do to prepare your diapers is un-stuff anything with a pocket. Most people I know don’t do this but we have a low water, no agitator washer and while most have the pleasure of their diapers becoming un-stuffed in the wash because of the agitator we don’t an they just won’t come clean like that.  For un-stuffing you can purchase some thing called Diaper Dawgs Finger guards. I actually found some silicone finger oven mitts at a dollar store that I use. They are as cute but they do the trick if I need them.

 

Step 3: Filling the Washing Machine.

It is very important to get the right amount of diapers in a load. I try and make sure my washer drum is filled half of the way full. I normally don’t have to but if I needed I add some socks and underwear to the load to bulk it up to half of the way full. This is important for agitation. To little and the diapers will just swim around and won’t rub against one another in the wash. Too much and they won’t have the room to move around to rub against each other in the wash.  I do Cloth wipes as well as diapers so I just toss the wipes in the diapers in the wash when washing.

 

Step 4: Adding the detergent.

This step can be switched with Filling the Washing Machine if you want to add the detergent first.  Now I use mostly Melalueca brand detergent because of my son, M’s, super sensitive skin. You can use most detergent brand but some are better than others. Make sure to get real detergent and not things that say that they are specific for cloth diapers. Most of those don’t have the power to get the diapers really clean. I also add Melalueca’s version of Oxiclean to my first cycle to help brighten the diapers during the cold months when I can’t line dry. Putting the clean wet diapers out in the sun gets rid of most stains. It is amazing. Fluff Love and Cloth Diaper Science has a great list of good and not so good detergents (they do not recommend Melaluca’s detergent do to lack of information but my son’s skin won’t tolerate other detergents and I have had no issues with his diapers in 18 months of using it).

 

Step 5: Your first wash cycle or “Pre-wash”.

In my first wash cycle I use one full cap of MelaPower detergent and one of the MelaBright packs to my load. I start the load on heavy duty hot wash, heavily soiled. This first cycle is important to get the excess urine and left over solids off the diapers and out of the water. This way on your next cycle you will be cleaning the diapers in clean water.

 

Step 6: Your second wash cycle or “Main-wash”.

Once it is done on the first cycle I peel the diapers from the sides of the washer drum to aid in agitation for the next cycle. This cycle is where the diapers really get cleaned.  I add One and a half caps of MelaPower detergent and wash this on Heavy Duty, Hot wash, heavily soiled.

 

Step 7: Drying your diapers.

This part is really up to you. You can dry your diapers in the dryer if that is what you would like. This has been known to wear the diapers out a bit faster than hang drying due to the elastics and material and the heat.

I particularly like to hang dry diapers when I can or at least hang dry the outer diapers with PUL fabric.  Then I dry the absorbent parts like FSTs, Flats, Prefolds, Fitteds, and inserts in the dryer.

You can also hang dry everything outside on a clothesline. I love doing this. I also have a clothes rack for hanging diapers inside on bad weather days.


I hope this helped you understand a little more about washing cloth diapers and hopefully didn’t overwhelm you any further. It may seem like a lot to take in but once you know what you are going to do it is like second nature.

 

Thank you for reading,

The Momnipresent Mother

 

 

Cloth Diapering Basics

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

Today’s post is going to be about diapering, and more specifically, cloth diapering. I know when people say cloth diapering a lot of you think of the white pre-folds or flat cloth held up with pins and covered with a pair of rubber pants. Well I am here to tell you that isn’t how cloth diapers are any more. These are not you Grandmother’s cloth diapers. You would be surprised how different they are.

One big difference is you have more options now than you did back in the time when it was pretty much cloth, pins, and rubber pants.  You now have a choice of what kind works best for you and your child.

Another nice thing is you no longer have to use a wet pail. For those of you who don’t know what a wet pail is, it was a container (a pail, bucket, trashcan, etc) filled with water and form of disinfectant.  This is where people used to store their dirty diapers until wash day/time rolled around. As you can imagine this could cause many issues, like accidental drowning if the little ones found it, and bacteria build up.  Luckily the new generation of cloth diapering parents have ditched the wet pail for much better options.

Speaking of wash day/time. Once you are ready to wash your child’s diapers even this has become easier. Sometimes it may take a bit of tweaking to get a routine down just like with regular laundry but from the wet-pail to drying a lot has changed in the terms of cloth diaper laundry as well, and for the better.

Another great plus is how much money you can save using cloth diapers instead of or along with in some people’s cases disposable diapers.  Not to mention how much healthier they can be for you child, and the environment in general.

Well, now that you have read through that overview on how cloth diapering has changed over the years I am going to jump into the basics of clothing diaper your child or children. 


Your Style choices

This seems to be one of the biggest differences in cloth diapers from the time of rubber pants. Many people who used old school diapers are amazed at all the different styles of cloth diapers that are out there currently that they didn’t have back when they were diapering their children’s bottoms.

Cover style diapers-

These are probably the closest style of current cloth diapers to what used to be used. Covers are just the outer shells of the diaper. They are made out of PUL (PolyUrethane laminate), wool, and fleece which are all water resistant. The PUL style can be adjusted to fit different age and size children( These were my favorite from Amazon) , or you can buy them for smaller ranges of children like newborns, or toddler age. The Fleece and wool are sometimes adjustable but are most commonly found as a sized option meaning you would need multiple sizes as your child grows. So as an overview you can get:

  • wool covers
  • fleece covers
  • PUL covers

Under the cover style diaper you would need something to absorb the urine and bowel movements.  This is where it gets fun. There are so many options for what you can place in the covers. Some of these options are:

  • Flats
  • FSTs
  • Prefolds
  • Scrap fabric
  • Inserts
  • Fitteds

Flats are large flat  pieces of absorbent fabric that you can fold in many ways to use under a cover. You can fold them to rest in the diaper, or wrap around your baby’s bottom.

FSTs are Flour Sack Towels. You can purchase these almost at any store that sells kitchen items. They are also large flat pieces of absorbent cloth that you can fold in different ways just like Flats.  These are my personal favorite.

Prefolds are squares of fabric sewn together in multiple absorbent layers with three long rectangular sections with the middle section having the most layers.  You can also fold these like you can Flats and FSTs.

You can also use scrap fabric, like old/cheap T-shirts as long as they are 100 % cotton. You cut them into squares like Flats or FSTS and fold them the same way. This is a great option if you are cheap like me and are always looking to save some money. If you use your own old t-shirts you never wear anymore it costs you zero, which is great.

Inserts are many layered absorbent fabric sewn together in a long normally rectangular shape to fit inside your covers. This you don’t have to fold at all. Just stick them in and go. You can also use multiple types of inserts at once if needed, or wrap an insert in one of the above options for more absorbency if you need it.

Fitteds are layers of absorbent fabric sewn together in the shape of a diaper. This you can wrap around your baby like you would any diaper and then put the cover over it.

Now certain folds that wrap around the baby can hold up not being attached when a baby is younger and not really moving all that much, but once they start crawling it is best to use something to keep those folds in place. This is where the diaper pins come in. Some people still use diaper pins to hold the fitteds and other absorbent material in place under the covers, but now that is not your only option.  There are also Snappis and Boingos. Snappis and Boingos are stretchy pieces of plastic with harder plastic on the ends that grab the fabric.  This holds the fabric in place like pins do.

Pocket style diapers-

Pocket style diapers also have the water resistant shell on the outside, but also have a soft fabric inside with one or two openings on the ends. This creates a pocket that you can slide the absorbent material into.  Most the fabric on the inside of the diaper is a form of fleece. This lets the wetness go through the fabric into the pocket where the absorbent material absorbs it but creates a barrier to keep your baby’s bottom from touching the wet absorbent fabric until they are changed.

With Pocket Diapers you can stuff them the same things you could with covers although they are most commonly sold with inserts you can stuff them with.

All in two style diapers –

All in two or AI2 style diapers are almost like covers, but they use absorbent inserts that snap into the outer water resistant shell. You could use these as covers if you wished and not attach the insert and put whatever absorbent material you wanted in them.

All in one style diapers-

All in one style or AIO diapers are very similar to AI2 diapers but the inserts are partially or fully sewn into the water resistant shell. Some even resemble pocket diapers but with the insert sewn into the soft wetness barrier material. That way you can still stuff more absorbent material into the diaper as well. The pocket style AIOs are my favorite go-to for overnight diapers. 

 

No more Wet-Pails

This is a big step in getting many old school cloth diapers on board with their family members on board with cloth diapering in my opinion. The lack of a stinky health and safety hazard sitting around the house is a big plus.  What is great is you even have option in how you store your dirty diapers.

Dry pails

Like wet-pails these are some sort of container to put your dirty diapers in. The difference is, yes you guessed it! They are dry. No water needed. You can use them just as they are or you can use a trash bag like pail liner which is made out of water resistant PUL fabric just like many of the diapers. You can use a lid but you don’t have to. Many people depending on where you live don’t use a lid and don’t have an issue with stink because of the airflow. You can use the following for dry-pails and many other things:

  • large or small trash cans
  • large or small laundry baskets
  • large or small hampers
  • buckets or pails
Wet bags

The name is a bit misleading. These are not like wet-pails at all other than that they are used for storing dirty diapers. Wet bags are bags made out of PUL fabric like most of the diapers, They either have a drawstring, Velcro, snaps, or zippers to close them, and a handle to carry them with you or hang somewhere in your house to hold dirty diapers. They come in a large array of sizes to suit your different needs.

Laundry Day!

Now I am not going to delve to awful deep into this today. That is a post for another day. I am just going to say. With modern washing machines, and no more wet-pails, and the new styles of diapers washing cloth diapers is much easier. Now you want to make sure you are washing them properly so please check out my next cloth diapering post on washing cloth diapers.  The biggest thing I can say now is use REAL laundry detergent. Not laundry soap or some detergent that is supposed to be specifically for cloth diapers. They often do not have surfacants in it and wont properly clean your diapers.

You can also do a diaper service if you would rather someone else deal with your dirty diaper laundry. That will cost you more. They collect your diapers on specific day launder them and then deliver them back to you.

Save that money. 

Cloth diapering is one of the many ways you can save some money while raising children. Just like every thing else it can be expensive if you care about brand names or the cutest new prints, but if you do want to save yourself a lot of money you can. We did and we love it. This will also be another post , how to save even more money by cloth diapering.

 

Thank you for reading,

The Momnipresent Mother

 

 

6 Breastfeeding Tips (more tips in another post)

Hello Everyone!

I have a handful of friends who are pregnant or have given birth recently, and more than one have asked that I write a blog post about breastfeeding. This is a really good idea, and I have been wracking my brain trying to think of what to write next. So, here it is.

10 Breastfeeding tips from a breastfeeding mother

 

  1. Don’t get discouraged.

This is my number one tip for breastfeeding parent’s. I say parents because both parents can play a role in your child’s breastfeeding journey. Please, don’t get discouraged. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy. It is wonderful, but can also be painful and frightening at the same time, as is giving birth and raising a child.  You may feel like you just can’t do it and you just want to give up especially in the first few weeks after giving birth. In the words of a little blue fish, Just keep nursing-I mean swimming, well you get what I mean. Between colic, latching problems, lip ties, reflux, non-supportive people, and sheer exhaustion you may want to just give up but make sure you stop and think about all the amazing things breast feeding does for your child and for you.

Also don’t be discouraged if for whatever reason, you can’t breastfeed and you have to take donated breast milk, or formula feed. Don’t beat yourself up about it. While breast milk does have properties formula does not you are still feeding that baby the best you can. You are still a great parent. Things happen and life moves on.

 

2. Water. Water. Water.

This is my second tip to all breastfeeding mothers. Drink as much water as you possibly can. Always have water near you. Stash it all throughout the house. Breastfeeding really takes it out of you and you will likely find yourself thirsty so often you think you are going crazy. Now I was always a big water drinker before I got pregnant and before  but once I started breastfeeding M I was constantly thirsty. I couldn’t get enough water. I have gallon jugs in all the rooms I frequent throughout the day so I can chug that H2O as needed while doing housework, teaching our oldest, or just wandering aimlessly trying to figure out what I walked into this room for.

You will be thirsty. If you aren’t a fan of plain water I would suggest some  sort of flavoring to add to your water. Some people add fresh cut fruit to their water, or you can go the quicker route and just buy those squeezable or powder flavors. Just make sure to read the label. Some have some odd additives.

3. Nutrition.

I know bringing life into this world and then being responsible for your children 24-7 is a lot of work, but please don’t forget to take care of yourself. This is especially important with breastfeeding mothers.   Breastfeeding burns a lot of extra calories, I know- Yay. So you want to make sure to actually be eating throughout the day. Many breastfeeding mothers find that their postpartum appetite and is even worse than their pregnancy cravings.  You will likely be starving most of the time. It is a good idea to stash some snacks and things along with the water in the house because you will be hungry and your body does need it to keep up with your milk supply to keep giving your child the nutrition they need. Take care of yourself.

When I gave birth to M I had horrible PPD(Postpartum Depression)/anxiety which made it almost impossible for me to swallow food.  So they put me on medication for the PPD and I tried to eat as much as I could, which wasn’t a lot. I knew I had to get nutrition somehow so I supplemented with meal replacement shakes which normally I could keep down. They helped me get over that hump and still be able to keep my energy and supply up for my sons. Another good thing to do is to keep taking a prenatal vitamin. M is now almost 17 months (1 year and 5 months) and he hasn’t self weaned yet so I am still taking my prenatal vitamins everyday. Those will also help you keep your supply up.

 

4. The “right position”.

There are all sorts of different nursing positions you can do with your child, and you don’t necessarily have to stick with one. I believe in the hospital they had me nursing M in the football hold position, but once I came home that position didn’t really work that great for us so we tried a bunch of others until we found one that we both felt comfortable with.  At the hospital I just used a bunch of pillows to prop him up and to cushion my incision from my unplanned C-section. I was lucky and even though I had complications during his birth he latched right on and nursed for a good 45 minutes on both sides.

I had trouble nursing out of bed for awhile because of the C-section but once I got home I used a combination off a pile of pillows behind me, and then a Boppy around my side and then a My Brest Friend pillow on top of the Boppy.  Now we finally found out that M had bad reflux so when I nursed him I had to have him propped up almost to sitting position and then leave him there for 30 minutes even after he was finished to let everything settle.  You can look up different positions online or just make up your own, but once you find one or more you are comfortable with your breastfeeding journey will be much more enjoyable.

5. Keep track of diapers.

When I was in the hospital they stressed that I should be writing down every time M nursed, and for how long, as well as when and how many dirty and wet diapers he had. This was very overwhelming to try to keep track of. Especially with a colicky, reflux baby who did not want to sleep. So at the beginning I mostly just counted the diapers. This way I could at least make sure he was nursing enough.

Now a few months in I did find an App I really find useful as a breastfeeding mother. It helps you track your baby’s height and weight, as well as diapers, nursing sessions, pumping sessions, and bottle feedings. It is called MyMedela. If you are a list maker like I am and keeping track of these things will keep you at ease I would definitely recommend this App.

 

6. Don’t be ashamed/Find an advocate.

I know this one is very similar to the first one, but whatever you decided on your breastfeeding journey(as long as it isn’t harmful to anyone of course) don’t be ashamed. I have noticed there seems to be a lot of shaming lately towards how people feed their children. It is getting better it seems but it still happens. So I have been pretty lucky and haven’t had anyone verbally say anything nasty to me about breastfeeding my son especially since we are natural term breastfeeding. I have had a few angry stares but that was it.

My son has always hated a nursing cover so I didn’t cover him. I am not going to make him suffer by making him uncomfortable or just not feeding him when we are around other people. I also feed him in public while we are out running errands. I do prefer to feed him in the car but that is only because he is heavy and I would rather be able to lean back in the car seat to feed him more than most places I could feed him while we are out. I am lucky and my husband has been very supportive of me, but I know some people aren’t so lucky.

I would suggest finding someone you can talk to that can advocate for you. Many people suggest finding your local LLL, Le Leche League. Another great resource I have found is a Facebook page called Breastfeeding Mama Talk. There are some great resources and ladies on there as well.

I am not in any way affiliated with the brands I have mentioned in this article. I just really enjoy their products.

I am planning on continuing this is another post here soon with a few more tips on breastfeeding.

Thank you for reading,

The Momnipresent Mother