Monday, January 31, 2011

Tummy Time Success (video)

It's not too hard to hold up his head when he's turning his brain to mush.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Photography Friday: 3 month photos

Click me for full sized photo
The Stats: 
Nikon D70
Sigma 18-55mm lens
SB-600 speedlight at +1.0 pointed toward the ceiling
1/500 sec exposure
ISO 200
31mm focal length

The Process: Adjusted white balance and converted to JPG using RAW Shooter Essentials.

The Story: Liam is 3 months old! He's getting to be such a big boy. He was actually sitting up in this photo (as opposed to last month when he was actually in motion falling over.) I have named his cow for him. It's La Vaca.

The Highlights: I learned from his last photo shoot. I put the camera on the tripod. After I focused, I moved my face to the side so that he could see me. This resulted in a big smile. Success!

The Lowlights: I should have paid a little closer attention and cropped or edited out the electrical socket in the lower left. (I bet you didn't even notice it until reading this. I didn't notice it until I set this photo as the background on my desktop.)

The Outtake: 
Liam is a kung fu staring contest ninja. I call him "panda bear." (If none of that made sense, you haven't seen the trailer for Kung Fu Panda 2.) Here he is practicing his skills with his La Vaca.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The State of Our Union

I love money.

Not in the greedy, Scrooge McDuck kind of way. I love to count it and track it and see where it goes. I have spreadsheets to show me where all of our money has gone since right after we got married. It's a sickness from which I have no desire to be cured.

Every now and then, I add up the value of our assets and debts to see where we are financially. I've decided to do so annually (maybe even semi-annually) to track our progress and make sure we are moving forward. This numbers is negative, due largely to the fact that the value of our home has dropped about $100,000 since we bought it. Writing that out makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

We made quite a bit of progress last year though. After the emergency that was 2009, we rebuilt our emergency saving account to a comfortable amount. We more than doubled the value of our retirement accounts (the up turn in the market definitely helped with that.) We started making payments on Dan's student loans again (since he is back in school for his masters degree, we deferred them in 2009 when he was laid off). The only negative was the fact that we financed part of the purchase of my SUV we bought last year.

What good does it do to add these numbers up? Why is this a valuable use of my time? First of all, because it is interesting information for me. It also helps us plan for our future spending & savings and helps us allocate any money we have left over.

We are going to start savings for Liam's future this year. I'm planning on an entire post later though.

We have a lot of vacation plans in the works that we will begin saving for this year. Dan's family has a reunion at a lake house every other summer, which will occur this year. They are also planning a big ski trip in Utah in the winter of 2012/2013. That will be a pricey trip, so we are going to start putting money away for it this year. Dan and I also have a dream vacation of going to the Olympics in Brazil in 2016. That will be a very expensive trip, so we will start saving for it now and only have to put a little away each month.

Dan will upgrade his car in the next few years, so we will start saving now so that we can pay cash for his next car instead of taking out a loan.

We have decided to start paying extra toward the principle on our mortgage. It isn't very much, but it will decrease the life of our loan by almost 5 years and save us over $50,000 in interest. We decided to pay extra on the mortgage instead of my SUV or Dan's student loans because it has the highest effective interest rate (the interest rate once you take into account the tax breaks of paying interest on a mortgage) and because we are underwater on our home. Paying it down will save us the most money in interest and allow us to have more options. When Dan was laid off, we had to rent the house out at a loss instead of selling it. I want selling it to be a viable option again to give us flexibility.

There are aspects that we cannot control: Will the the values of our investments go up or down? Will the value of our house rise or continue to fall? If nothing goes terribly wrong, our efforts should result in a positive net worth by the end of this year. It will be a happy day in spreadsheet land for sure.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Airplane Rides (video)

Liam hates tummy time. He won't even pick his head up. He just lays on his tummy and whines. I hold him upright over my shoulder and do "airplane rides" to help him further develop muscle control in his neck.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photography Friday: Old Friends

The Stats: 

  • Nikon D70
  • Sigma 18-55mm lens
  • SB-600 speedlight at +0.7 pointed toward the ceiling
  • 1/500 sec exposure
  • f/5.3
  • ISO 200
  • 40mm focal length

The Process: White balance correction, increase in exposure and conversion to JGP done with Raw Shooter Essentials.

The Story: The father in this family is one of my husband's oldest friends. They have know each other since they were 6 years old and have been friends ever since. Their son is a few months older than ours. As they are getting ready to move out of state, we had them over for dinner and took a few photos together.

The Highlights: Such a cute face! I love it.

The Lowlights: I am still learning how to use my flash. It doesn't seem to work consistently. I need to read the manual. The photo I took before this one was exposed correctly. This one was underexposed and I had to make some pretty drastic corrections from the RAW file.

The Outtake: Their son and Liam were fascinated with each other. Liam was chilling in his bouncy seat and their son chewed on the bouncy seat tag and tickled Liam's feet.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fluffy Mail!

The cloth diapers that I ordered last week arrived today. It's sad how excited I am to have new diapers, but I should be able to wash diapers every 3 days now. 

Here's what I got: 
Clockwise: Rockin Green laundry detergent, Bum Genius 4.0 pocket diapers in sweet, noodle and bubble, Hemp Babies hemp insert for pocket diapers

Cotton Babies was having a "seconds" sale last week. Seconds are slightly deformed diapers- kind of like shopping at an outlet store. The 4.0 diapers that I received have some of the elements of the 3.0 version of the same diaper. The purple and green diapers have suede laundry tabs instead of Velcro and have the lower rise like the 3.0. The yellow diaper has the 3.0 stiffer Velcro on the front. They also do not include the absorbent inserts (though I have plenty.) None of these are big deals and I am glad to have them at 50% off of the retail price.  

Since I was ordering anyway, I decided to get some Rockin Green cloth diaper laundry detergent. I discovered that the Tide Free and Clear liquid detergent that I have been using isn't recommended for cleaning cloth diapers. Rockin Green is phosphate, dye and enzyme free. It comes in lots of funky named, natural scents. I opted for the unscented "Bare Naked Babies" variety, though I will probably give "Smashing Watermelons" a try if I like this brand. I'll let you know how it works out. 

I also bought a Hemp Babies brand hemp insert for Liam's pocket diapers. He's starting to sleep for longer during the night. His diapers aren't leaking yet, but it's only a matter of time before he will need more absorbency than 2 microfiber inserts. Hemp is supposed to be more absorbent. It's also much less bulky than the microfiber inserts. Hemp contains a lot of natural oils that will cause diapers to repel water, so it has to be washed a few times to get the oils out. 

I'll let you know how all of these things work out for me. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The (medical) Costs of Having a Baby

This is a post that I have been meaning to do for a while. Perhaps I am a bit masochistic, but I checked out the total cost of my prenatal and delivery medical care. This doesn't even include Liam's care in the hospital, just mine.

It's shocking.

Sorry, I still suck at blogger. Click to open full sized image in a new window.
I should mention that my pregnancy and delivery were completely uneventful. The only items on this list that are unusual are the Rhogam shot (only O- blood types get this), the ultrasound for growth (because my belly was measuring a little small) and the ultrasound for low fluid levels (I told them my water broke, but they didn't believe me.) I could have opted not to have the epidural, though the cost was the last thing on my mind when I requested it.

I should also say, it was worth every penny.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Crib Skirt

This week I finally got around to sewing the skirt for Liam's crib. I'm not a great seamstress, but this project was fairly simple and straight forward.

1. Wash and dry fabric. Iron out the wrinkles. I bought some really cute Amy Butler fabric for the panels that show and some plain, cream colored cotton for the panel that goes under the mattress. Washing and drying will shrink the fabric so that you finished product will fit no matter how many times you have to wash it in the future.

2. Measure your crib for the dimensions of the skirt. The crib that I have is a little oddly shaped. The slat in the front is a few inches higher than the slats on the sides. I didn't bother to add a panel to the back of the crib.

3. Cut fabric. Make sure that you leave room for the seam. Being a sewing newbie, I left 1/2 on each side to give myself plenty of room.
4. Hem edges. The sides and bottom of the patterned fabric and the back of the plain fabric need hems since they do not attach to other pieces. I measured 1/2 inch and pinned the hem down. Then I ironed the hem to make sewing it down easier. Then I sewed it.
5. Attach panels. I pinned the fabrics together with the "right" sides facing each other and the "wrong" side of the patterned fabric up. I used a pen to mark 1/2 inch intervals along the edges. Using a fabric with a small pattern made it easy to keep the seem straight and even.
Finished! That was easy, right? The only difficulty is finding the time with a baby around. I wish I would have had the crib set up before he was born so I could make the skirt then. Oh well.

Recipe: Chocolate Peppermint Parfait

Chocolate Pudding
1/2 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream
3 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
1 tsp Peppermint Extract

Prepare brownies and allow to cool. Prepare chocolate pudding and refrigerate to set. Beat heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. (A stand mixer makes quick work of this- about 5 minutes on medium speed.) Add confectioners sugar and peppermint extract. Beat until stiff peaks form. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate.

Layer brownies and pudding. Top with whipped cream.

These are quick and yummy treats that look fabulous in a martini glass. The leftover whipped cream also makes a fabulous hot chocolate topping.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cloth Diapers: Cleaning and Care

"But Julia, what about... the poop?"

Cleaning cloth diapers is by far the biggest hesitation people have when I talk about cloth diapers. It was also Dan's biggest concern, but easily dismissed since I do the laundry anyway. To tell you the truth, it really isn't that bad. As I mentioned in a previous post, Liam leaked really badly out of disposable diapers, so the quantity of laundry isn't any different for us.

Brest milk is nature's perfect food for Liam's digestive system and the resulting poo is completely water soluble. That means the diapers go right into the washer without much fuss at all. (Have you ever read the fine print on disposable diapers? Public landfills are not equipped to handle human waste, so you are actually supposed to remove any poo before throwing away a disposable diaper. I can't say that I know anyone who does this though.)

Here's the system. I have a wetbag (a cloth sack with a waterproof lining and zipper top) attached to Liam's changing table. I also have a small wetbag that goes in my diaper bag for diaper changes on the go. The inserts for the pocket diapers are pulled out of the diaper and any velcro flaps are closed before going into the wetbag, but that's it.

Washing: I do laundry every 2.5 days or so and the load contains about 25 diapers of various styles. On laundry day, I dump the contents of the wetbag into the washer and do a cold rinse cycle without detergent. This removes basically all of the poop from the diapers. Then I do a hot wash and cold rinse cycle with detergent. I currently use Tide Free & Clear, though I plan on switching to a more cloth friendly detergent when I run out. You shouldn't use detergent with enzymes, fragrances or bleach as these will adversely affect the  absorbency and longevity of the diapers. Every other wash I will do an extra cold rinse cycle to make sure all of the detergent rinses off.

GroVia AI2 covers aren't supposed to go in the dryer, so I lay those flat on top of the dryer and they dry pretty quickly. All of the other diapers go into the dryer. As I move the diapers from the washer to the dryer, I undo any snaps that were left closed to help them dry faster. After 30 minutes, all of the pocket diapers and their inserts are dry. (This is one of the reasons pocket diapers are my favorites.) The AIOs and AI2 liners require about 25 more minutes.

When dry, I stuff the inserts into the pocket diapers and snap in the AI2 liners. I prefer to do this all at once than with each diaper change, but you don't have to. I have 2 large bins on the self on Liam's changing table where all of the diapers are stored.

And that's it! No big deal at all. It will get a little more complicated when Liam starts eating solid foods. I have a few options and will be sure to update when I figure out which direction I will go and how it works out.

Stains: So far, the only the organic cotton diapers have had any stains. Like I said before, bleach isn't a great thing for cloth diapers. To remove the stains, you're not going to believe this, I put the diapers outside on the driveway in the sun. No, really! I even took before and after pictures since I knew no one would believe me.

(left to right: GroVia AIO, GroVia AIO booster, GroVia AI2 liner, Bum Genius Elemental AIO)

That's pretty amazing, right? We had a nice sunny day, so I left them out for 5 hours to get them this stain-free. They continued to get whiter the next time I washed them. Other diapers have come out even whiter by leaving in the sun a little longer. No chemicals and the sun is a free source of renewable energy! It doesn't get any better than that.

This would also be a good time to mention the other products, besides harsh detergents, that you should not use with cloth diapers:
Vasoline- It is often used on circumcisions to prevent sticking to the diaper and this is the reason we didn't start cloth diapering until after Liam healed. I could have added a piece of flannel between Liam and the cloth diaper to prevent the Vasoline from getting on the diaper, but I had so many disposables from my baby showers that I just used them.
Diaper Rash Creams- Most diaper rash creams will get into the diaper fibers and cause them to repel and leak. There are some specialty diaper rash creams that are safe for cloth diapers. Liam hasn't had any diaper rash yet, but I put a tiny bit on lanolin on his bottom before bedtime as a preventative measure. Lanolin is also supped to help diaper rash heal, but I haven't had any experience with this yet. Lanolin is all natural, rinses away in hot water and you probably already have some. Again, if you need the diaper rash cream, put a piece of flannel between the cream and the diaper.
Fabric Softeners/Dryer Sheets: You don't need them anyway and the chemicals will build up in the diapers and cause them to repel and leak. I've also heard that using dryer sheets on other loads will leave residue in my dryer, so I haven't used dryer sheets at all since we started cloth diapering.

Photography Friday: Liam & Momma

The Stats: 

  • Nikon D70
  • Sigma 18-55mm lens
  • Nikon SB-600 speedlight
  • 1/160 second exposure
  • f/5.0
  • ISO 200
  • 26mm focal length
  • Natural light through window to the right
  • Speedlight at +1.0 pointed toward the ceiling

The Process:  Converted from RAW to JPG, corrected white balance and slightly increased exposure using RawShooter Essentials. Cropped, decreased red saturation, adjusted levels and fixed the bags under my eyes using Gimp.

The Story: So obviously I didn't take this picture in the traditional sense. I set the camera, Dan pushed the button and I processed it. I am the photographer in the family, so I have tons of cute pictures of Liam with Dan. The only ones I have with me and Liam are from the hospital and I am looking pretty rough. Anyway, on Sunday we got ready for church and I had Dan take a couple pictures of me and Liam together.

The Highlights: I love having a nice photo of me and Liam. I should take more.

The Lowlights: Dan isn't very patient these days and we were trying to get to church on time, so he only took 5 pictures. That isn't really enough for a slightly fussy baby. I wish we could have gotten a nicer expression on Liam's face. I would have also liked another pose to show off my I've-lost-all-of-the-baby-weight body.

The Outtake: These are the types of moments I catch as the family photographer. Liam and Dan enjoy a meal of chicken (Dan) and fists (Liam). I love these guys. (Please disregard the messy house. I have a 2 month old, what do you expect?)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cloth Diapers: Styles and Brands

These are not your momma's cloth diapers. Modern cloth diapers have a large variety of styles. Each have advantages and disadvantages. My recommendation for anyone considering using cloth diapers is to buy a variety or do a trial pack and see what works best for you and your baby before investing in one style or brand.

Prefolds: This is what most people think of when I say cloth diapers. They are flat pieces of cloth that can be folded in a variety of ways. They require a diaper cover. I bought a couple newborn sized unbleached Indian prefolds. They were okay, but not that absorbent. Dan would never try them. They are a pretty good option for tiny babies who don't fit into other diapers. Don't bother with the Gerber brand that you can find in Babies-R-Us. Those are great burp cloths, not diapers.

Fitted Diapers: These are shaped diapers that snap onto place around the baby's bottom. They require a diaper cover. I used Kissaluvs size 0 on Liam exclusively until he was about 9 or 10 pounds. They were great diapers for a newborn since the top snaps down so as not to rub the umbilical cord.

Diaper Covers: These are the Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) covers that lock the wetness inside. I covered Liam's prefolds and fitted diapers with Thirsites Duo Wraps. I liked that they adjust to fit over different bulks of diapers. I loved the patterns, too. They did tend to get a little wet around the seams at night when we would go several hours between diaper changes.

All-in-Ones (AIO): Just as the name suggests, these diapers work exactly like disposables. They are all one piece. I have two brands of AIO diapers. Bum Genius Elementals and GroVia AIOs are both organic cotton, one-size diapers. They adjust to fit babies from about 10 to 30 pounds. The Bum Genius is a little more fool-proof than the GroVia, but it takes longer to dry in the dryer.

All-in-2 (AI2): This system is intended to cut down on laundry. The popular G diapers are AI2s, but I haven't tried them personally. I have GroVia AI2 diapers. Like the AIO, they are organic cotton. The absorbent part of the diaper, called a soaker pad, snaps into a waterproof diaper shell. GroVia also offer disposable inserts, bio-soakers, that can be flushed, though I haven't tried them yet. They are also one-size diapers that will fit Liam until potty training. As a breast fed infant, his poo is still very watery and often escapes the soaker pad. It's not a huge deal, but I usually only use 2 soaker pads before I have to change the shell. These are Dan's favorite cloth diapers.

Pocket Diapers: This system includes a waterproof diaper and absorbent inserts. The inside of the diaper is made out of fabric that wicks the moisture away from the baby's skin to help him feel dry. The inserts are very absorbent materials that your baby may not want directly against his skin. The separate parts make these diapers dry really quickly. Pocket diapers can also be used without the inserts as swim diapers.  I have Happy Heiny and Bum Genius 3.0 pocket diapers. Both are one-size diapers. Happy Heiny diapers are made by work-at-home moms and come in lots of great patterns. They feel a little flimsy and the lining often creeps out and results in small leaks. The Bum Genius pocket diapers are my favorite of all the cloth diapers I have tried. They are my go-to diaper for nighttime and Liam seems to be comfortable for longer in them. The 3.0 version has been replaced with 4.0. I don't know what the difference is other than they have patterns now in addition to solid colors. They come in snaps or velcro. Dan prefers velcro but I prefer snaps.

Amazon (what can't you buy from Amazon)
Cotton Babies (home of the Bum Genius brand)
Jillian's Drawers (shopping & information for many brands, they offer a great trial pack)
Diaper Style 

Photography Friday: Rock Star

With my goal this year to blog a photograph every week, I think I will be more likely to stick to it if I have a particular day dedicated to photography. Dan usually only works a half day on Fridays and works from home, so I have a little bit more time for myself than I usually do. Besides, Photography Friday has a nice ring to it that Photography Tuesday just doesn't have. I could call it "Photography Phriday" or "Fotography Friday," but I am just not that cool.

The Stats: 

  • Nikon D70 camera with Sigma 18-55mm lens and Nikon SB-600 speedlight
  • 1/160 second exposure
  • f/5.0
  • ISO 200
  • 38mm focal length
  • Natural light through window to the left
  • Speedlight at +1.0 pointed toward the ceiling

The Story: Dan gives Liam a bath every night and I dry him off and put his pajamas on him. Despite Dan's protests, I usually give Liam a mohawk when I dry his hair. Girls get ridiculous flower headbands, boys get mohawks. Liam also wore his Rock Star pajamas for the first time last night. The combination gave me the idea for today's blog. Add 1 drum stick and you have a rock star baby photo.

The Highlights: I love my new speedlight. My camera is old and doesn't handle high ISO really well. Liam is also pretty wiggly. Before I got the speedlight, I had to make the choice between grainy or blurry photos.

The Lowlights: I should have used a tripod. I had to move my face away from the camera to smile at Liam to get him to smile back. When I tried to snap a photo with my face without looking, the framing was all wrong. As a result, I didn't get a smile in any of the photos I took. I should have also faced him toward the window to get some nice catch lights in his eyes.

The Outtake: My son makes crazy faces. I'm pretty impressed that he can raise one eyebrow. I can't even do that. I think this is right about the time he filled his diaper and, thus, signaled the end of the photoshoot.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Cloth?

I was on the phone with a good friend of mine last night. She is about to have her 3rd child and we were talking about babies. I mentioned that I was cloth diapering Liam since I knew she had thought about cloth diapers when she had her first. It turns out that she had actually tried it and it didn't work out for her at all. She didn't know anyone who had used cloth and only had websites to rely on for information. So I am going to write a few blog posts about cloth diapers and how they have worked out for us.

I love cloth diapers. They have worked out fabulously for Liam. But before we get into all of that, I should mention why I chose to cloth diaper in the first place.

Cloth is better for the environment. Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest single consumer item in landfills and make up 4% of all solid waste in the U.S. In households with a child in disposable diapers, the diapers make up 50% of all garbage in that household. It has been estimated that it takes over 250 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill. Even though I used more water, detergent and energy to wash the cloth diapers, disposable diapers require water, chemicals and energy to produce and ship to the supermarket.

Cloth is better for my wallet. Cloth diapers are each fairly expensive. My favorite ones cost about $18 each. I pay a little more for the most convenient diapering systems and cute prints. Even buying the more expensive cloth diapers, I will save more than $1,000 over the time Liam is in diapers even when you take into consideration the cost of water, detergent and energy. If saving money is your main motivation for cloth diapers, you could choose less expensive diapers, buy used cloth diapers and dry the diapers on a clothes line. The savings continue to add up if you reuse cloth diapers for subsequent children.

Cloth is better for my son. Cloth diapered babies have far fewer cases of diaper rash. Liam hasn't had any so far. We used disposable diapers on Liam for the first 2 weeks while he was healing from his circumcision. Twice in just 2 weeks, the absorbent gels broke out of the lining and got all over Liam. I really hated that, especially while he was healing. Have you heard of Pampers' Dry Max? It is a new compound in some of their diapers that has given babies chemical burns. As of this post, it's still on the shelves.

Cloth is better for me. There is evidence that cloth diapered babies potty train earlier and easier than babies who wear disposable diapers. I'll let you know when we get to that point. On Liam, the cloth diapers have leaked a lot less than the disposable diapers he wore. We started out using Pampers and he would have major leaks several times a day. Huggies worked out a little better, though the best fit on him were the Target brand Up and Up. All told, we do less laundry with cloth diapers than we did when he was in disposables because of the diaper leaks.

Cloth is cute! 

There are downsides. This wouldn't be an honest post if I didn't discuss some of the downsides of the cloth diapering. Dan and I change Liam's cloth diapers all of the time, but anyone else requires a little training. My little sister still has a hard time changing him and Liam's pediatrician just lets me put his diaper back on during his visits. My mom got the cloth diapering lesson but hasn't changed any of his diapers yet. The cost savings are also over 2+ years, so you have to spend quite a bit of money up front all at once. We haven't gone anywhere overnight yet, but travelling with Liam will be more difficult with cloth diapers. With our current diaper stash, we can go 2.5 days between washing. Any longer than that and we would either have to have easy access to a washer & dryer or use disposables.

If you have ever considered using cloth diapers on your child, I highly recommend giving it a try. I won't pretend that what works best for me will work best for everyone else, but there's no harm in giving it a try.

I'm going to write several blog posts about cloth diapers and cover a variety of topics. If you have any specific questions, please write them in the comments section and I will definitely answer them!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Recipe: Chunky Chili

Chunky Chili
(adapted from Flatlander Chili)

 Dan's Rating: 9 (and I quote "some of the best chili I've ever had")

1 pound ground turkey
1 can red beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can diced tomatoes (with juices)
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 onion (chopped)
1 green bell pepper (chopped)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano

In a large sauce pot, brown ground turkey.

I use ground turkey as a substitute for ground beef in almost all recipes. Funny story. When Dan and I were first married, he insisted that ground turkey does not taste like ground beef and he would not be happy if I cooked with ground turkey all of the time. So I bought ground turkey in bulk at the farmers' market and separated it into pound portions to freeze and labeled them "ground beef." This lasted about 6 months until I told Dan the truth. He has been eating ground turkey since then. 

Meanwhile, chop the veggies. Drain the fat off of the ground turkey. Drain and rinse the can of red beans. Drain the can of corn. Combine all of the ingredients in the pot.

I don't really measure any of the spices when I cook, so the measurements I listed are estimates. If you like spicy food, you can add more chili powder and even some cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Me? I'm a wuss when it comes to spicy food. 

Cover and heat to boiling over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and allow the chili to simmer (covered) for an hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese.