Thursday, August 29, 2013

Third Trimester

We have finally reached the final trimester. Yay! The half-way point was big for me, but now that I only have 12 weeks until my due date, I am really getting excited. So far, my pregnancy has been pretty great. I'm not saying that I haven't dealt with any pregnancy symptoms (I have experienced many!), but for the most part I have done well with it all. I've been determined to keep going and stay active.

Our baby is growing so fast! I can just tell from the amount of movement she does and how much more I can feel that she is starting to lose space in there. She is plumping up and weighs around 2.25- 2.5 pounds and measures roughly 14.8 inches long. She can blink her eyes now, and see light that filters through the womb. She is also getting smarter and developing billions of neurons in her brain. The fast growth has made mommy a bit on the tired side lately, making it hard to get much done without having to take a break.

I got my test results on My Chart (online) today from my glucose test. If I am reading it correctly, the values in my blood seem to be right on track with the standard range. I will wait, though, to hear directly from the midwife whether or not it is okay. If so, I am SOO thankful for that. See, even with the little oops I did on Friday, it still seems to be all right. I'm ready to go back to the lab and give that nurse an earful. :P

My big goals for this trimester are:
-Start working on the baby nursery and get it finished (cleaning, fixing ceiling, painting, etc)
-Get through 2 baby showers
-Organize all new baby shower gifts and find a home for them
-Make freezer meals
-Start working on Christmas presents early
-Get to the apple orchard, pick, and process
-Find one more piece of furniture for the baby room (I am hoping to find a really nice, tall bookcase to make into a baby armiore) and refurbish

I'm sure I will come up with more. You all know me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

*Update* on Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Just updated the recipe for the Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Only a couple tweaks - a substitution and method for a better cookie. Check it out under Recipes!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Start to Baby Organization

Here is the finished product of sorting, washing and organizing all the baby clothes! Can't wait to keep organizing and getting things ready. :)

Onsies, pants, sleepers, fleece. All 0-3 month clothing. Washed, folded - organized!

Dresses and skirts hanging here for now until I have a place to put them! The bin is full of older clothing, shoes, bibs and hats, ranging from 6-18 months. It is sitting in my living room until the baby room gets redone! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weeknight Meal Planning

It's the start of a brand new week. My honey left me in bed this morning to sleep so I didn't have to take him to work. It was much needed!

Yesterday I was given a huge amount of baby girl clothing. My aunt sent it over to my parent's house and she had gotten it from some people I don't even know! It took a long time to go through it and left me feeling so blessed to have been given all those clothes. I think I am set with all the way from 0-6 month clothing. That's amazing. Sleepers, onsies, pants, shirts, bibs, hats, headbands, shoes... Alyssa and Sarah helped me sort it all into the right sizes and today I have been working on washing it all. I still may need to give some of it away, because there is just so much! I keep a list of all the items we have so far and it is crazy how much we already have. I haven't even had my baby showers yet. Yes, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with amazement at all this! God certainly has provided for us in many ways. :)

So today I have been mostly being a little lazy. I did some more work on my baby registries now that the fall clothing is out. I added just a few outfits for 9, 12 & 18 months since I will need those sizes and everyone is going to want to get an outfit. I have also made my Menu for the week and made the grocery list. Alyssa and Sarah are picking me up and we are going to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I am trying out mostly new dishes this week, so I am curious to see how they come out. Here is my Menu for those of you looking for new weeknight meal ideas (links included):

-Greek Marinated Chicken (with any sides - not sure yet)

-Spicy Stewed Beef with Grits

-Copycat homemade Big Mac Burgers & Homemade Fries (I have been CRAVING a Big Mac forever and haven't given in yet - here is my chance! Much healthier version)

-Penne with Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

Fridays and Saturdays we usually figure something out or eat out or get pizza or something like that. So I usually just make a Menu for the 4 main days of the week. I am especially looking forward to the Big Mac Burgers and Spicy Stewed Beef! I have such a huge board on Pinterest for recipes, so I might as well start taking more advantage of it! I am thinking of starting a board with Tried & True recipes and just deleting the ones that aren't that great. Coming next month, I will be trying more soup and chowder recipes as the weather gets cooler. Can't wait.

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Before and After - End Table Reburbish

My $3 table/stand/end table ended up being another easy project! Last Saturday I picked it up looking just like this...

And now it is sitting prettily in my bathroom looking like this...

I left the top natural and only polished it up with some wood cleaner. I will eventually line the shelf once I can find some decorative shelf liner again. All the stores seem to be out right now! It fits perfectly outside the shower and seems to work fine. But we will see how we like it. It could work anywhere and be perfect!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Prenatal Visit #5

Today was my glucose test as well as my prenatal visit. I headed to the lab to drink the orange drink everyone has been telling me about. To be honest, I don't know what the fuss is about it being so bad. I thought it was just a really sweet orange drink and wasn't really a big issue to drink that small bottle. Anyway, that said, I then headed down to the OB/GYN office and checked in.

I met yet another new midwife and think I liked her as much as the last one. She and Maribeth (my primary midwife) are my two favorite so far. I have been so blessed to have such great midwives! I was so happy that my blood pressure was great. The baby's heart beat was around 145, and my midwife commented, "That's a happy, healthy baby!" I am still measuring perfectly, which is reassuring, as I have been worried my belly is too big. My midwife made a prescription for me for compression socks, as well, so I can get some of those. My left leg has some new spider vein breakouts and a varicose vein, so I want to try to prevent more from happening if I can!

I was also given a packet of information for this last trimester, which had my pre-admission form and the birth certificate to fill out. It is so exciting to finally be to this point! I know I still have a ways to go, but it is encouraging to only have one trimester left to go. Only 10 weeks until term and 13 until due date.

After leaving my appointment, I was so hungry (it was probably 12:40) that all I had on my mind was the delicious food I could smell from the pizzeria and cafeteria. I went and bought an iced coffee at DD and then a sub. I hurried to my car and bit into my sub and then realized I hadn't gone to get my blood taken! You aren't supposed to eat anything in the hour after drinking the orange drink. The woman at the lab wasn't too happy with me and we went back and forth for a few minutes before she reluctantly sent me into the room, complaining that I will probably have to have the 3 hour glucose test next... because my blood sugar will probably be too high... blah, blah. I felt bad, but I honestly just forgot! She didn't think I was too humorous when I mentioned I guess I have a good excuse considering my condition. I was so bummed when I found out she would be taking my blood. And for a good reason too. She gave me a really sore arm and the vein is bruising. Oh well - at least it's over! Let's pray my results won't be too off.

My next appointment is in two weeks and it continues to be that way up until the last month, I believe.

So that was my long rendition of today's visit. I will try not to elaborate on every visit! I am just so glad to have a healthy baby.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have seen many recipes with browned butter in them lately. It truly does give baked goods kind of a caramel-y flavor, especially when you add brown sugar to it! I have also made tons of different chocolate chip cookie recipes, and I don't think any have come out as good as these. I have taken a basic sort of cookie and made my own tweaks to it. The end result is addictive! I have to admit, I am actually eating one as I blog. ;)

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
by AmeliaJean

2¼ cup all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup crisco
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain sour cream
1 bag chocolate chips - any kind will work, but my husband tends to love Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips!
**Note** I just made these again and didn't have crisco on hand, so I used all butter. They actually came out better and more fluffed up! Just substitute the crisco for another stick of butter. I also made homemade brown sugar (it is very simple to make) and that seemed to make them taste even more caramel-y. 
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Melt butter in pan and cook until starting to brown. Be careful not to burn the butter, as I have done this before!

-Let butter cool a bit. In the meantime, blend dry ingredients.

-Using a mixer, beat butter, crisco and both sugars until light and fluffy. This actually does matter, so make sure to give it a good beating! Mix in egg, yolk, vanilla and sour cream until combined. 

Gradually add the dry ingredients. Dump in chocolate chips and mix.

-Let cool in the refrigerator for a while or pop into the freezer to harden up the batter. The batter consistency is on the looser side, so this step is important. You may need to add just a bit of flour if it ends up looking like it needs it!

-Drop onto cookie pans with cookie scoop or by tablespoon. I usually grease my pans just in case. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are just golden. I baked mine for 9 and they were perfect - you don't want them too overdone. Keep the batter cold while waiting to switch out pans.

-Let cool slightly on wire racks and then enjoy. :)

*Note: to make them more look more circular, roll into balls instead of dropping with scoop. They may come out more uniform.
*Update* I tried rolling the dough out into balls - works like a charm!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I searched through my food board on Pinterest today while making my weekly menu. There are so many recipes I need to try! I settled on the Jalapeno Cream Cheese Chicken for tonight. I made a few changes, as usual, and it was so good.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
In each of 6 defrosted chicken breast halves, cut a slit horizontally into the breast without going all the way through to the other side.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
8-oz. package of cream cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Stir until the cheese is melted.
Divide the mixture between the 6 breasts and spoon into the openings.
Seal the ends and secure with toothpicks. Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 

Things I did differently:

I replaced the chicken breasts with boneless thighs and just sort of folded them together with the mixture inside. The result was much messier, but they turned out so moist and created a sauce in the pan to spoon over the top. Mmm.

I made stuffing to sit underneath the chicken pieces.

This isn't the healthiest meal because of all of the cheese, but it is yummy. Not at all spicy with the jalapenos. They just gave it a little kick. I will be making this again!

26.5 weeks

I have been so determined to 'go-go-go' throughout my pregnancy. Not that I have a full-time job or anything, but I want to stay active and get lots accomplished throughout these months. Summer has been busy and I have been keeping right along with everything. But sometimes it's just time for a break! My body has been telling me this for a few days, and I am finally listening. Yesterday I was really achy and having a hard time standing for long. Even though there is much to do for housework today, I have decided to take it easy and put my feet up for most of the day. I got some much needed sleep this morning and also got my weekly grocery shopping out of the way. The rest of the day is devoted to relaxing up until it's time to get dinner ready.

I am not too good at taking self-portraits, but I thought it's time for another belly shot since it has been almost 3 weeks. :)
26.5 weeks - almost into my 3rd trimester!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yard Sale Finds

Mom and I went to a couple yard sales today and found a few items!

My new project! $3. Still trying to figure out how I will redo it.

2 Melissa & Doug puzzles, choo-choo train puzzle and a diaper wet bag (I think that is what it is-brand new). I was especially excited about the puzzles - they are in great condition!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Chicken Quesadillas

It's been a while since I have made quesadillas. I put it on my menu before grocery shopping on Sunday, and made them tonight. They are so absolutely delicious! There are so many options with quesadillas and it is fun to make up your own recipe.

These turned out a little messy, but they are so yummy that it doesn't really matter! I decided to use sauce in them, rather than dipping them in salsa and that is why they are a bit messy. But if you don't mind licking your fingers, then these are for you!

 Chicken Quesadillas
- 3-4 boneless chicken thighs (or you can use 1-2 chicken breast if you like)

- 1 bell pepper

- 1/3 cup onion

- 1 pkg. cheese (your choice - I used colby jack)

- 5-6 flour tortillas (wheat or white)

- salsa or picante sauce - smooth, not chunky

- seasonings for chicken: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, rosemary & thyme.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with above seasonings and cook in a fry pan until no longer pink. Chop chicken into small pieces.

Dice bell pepper and onion and mix with chicken in a bowl.

Lay out one tortilla. Spread 1 tablespoon of salsa onto the tortilla and top half of the tortilla with a generous scoop of chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese (as much as you want!) and fold the other half of the tortilla on top. Grill in a pan that is well greased until golden and flip. I used a little butter here and there - oil will work too. 

Let cool for 1-2 minutes on a cutting board and then cut into 4 pieces. 

Viola! Very simple. My husband loved them, so they passed the test. :) For a larger family, I would recommend doubling. This fed three very hungry people!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Baby Dresser Refurbish - End Result!

Baby dresser is done! The job really wasn't all that difficult or time consuming. I would have to say that lining the drawers was the most frustrating. But other than that, I would love to open a business refurbishing furniture. This was so fun!
Very happy with the outcome!

We should have protected the inside of drawers so the BIN didn't show, but now we know for next time. :) 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Twist on Spaghetti

After two years (literally) of not having internet at home, we finally have it. My sister and brother-in-law are splitting the cost with us since they live on the second floor. You have no idea how strange/amazing/addicting it is to have internet back at my own house!! Now I can blog anytime I want to... and trust me, there will be much more blogging now, especially where food and projects and baby stuff is concerned!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta CheeseThis recipe was found on Pinterest (obviously) and my husband and I love it. I love it for two reasons: one, it's delicious and two, it's easy.  I love pasta to begin with, and my husband could eat it every day if he had to, so this recipe was a great change up to the usual spaghetti and meat sauce.

You can find the recipe here or follow it below. Of course I have had to improvise at times, since I often find I am out of ingredients right when I need them. Like olive oil. One day I made this for dinner, but was out of olive oil to make the garlic oil. So I just used butter. Not as healthy, but still yummy! I also tried Kalamata olives once, but that was so time consuming. I do not know the correct way to pit an olive, so I won't do that again unless I find pitted ones. One really important thing to this recipe was the fresh parsley. You can obviously use dried parsley, but the fresh herb just really does it.

Here is a very easy, very delicious summer meal.

I'm so glad to be back blogging. There's lots to come!

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta Cheese

  1. 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. 1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
  3. 1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  4. 3 tablespoons drained capers
  5. 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  8. 3/4 pound spaghetti
  9. 6 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Mozzarella Use 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, in place of the feta.
Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, Feta, and Fresh Herbs Use 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 3 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon and chives, in place of the parsley.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Baby Dresser Refurbish

I cannot begin to describe our summer. Our life has been so upside-down with not knowing what would happen next with this whole police hiring process. We were really beginning to think that Kyle would be off to the academy this month, but there was no knowing until the last minute when they called to let him know he was not selected. Strike two. We shall try yet again! I am so proud of my husband for his accomplishment in completing all the required steps with flying colors. There was nothing else he could do better, they told him, but to reapply again since there were only a few slots open for this training.

It looks kind of nice from the picture, but up close it had lots of dings and scratches.
So, without skipping (much of a) beat, we have just moved on. I almost immediately set my mind on the months ahead before baby will arrive (a little over 3 more to go!). One of the funnest parts of pregnancy - planning the baby nursery!! It was the best way I could get my mind off of the disappointment of hearing the news.

My mom had saved an older, scratched up dresser for me years ago, because I knew someday it would come in handy. It is a very little dresser, hence the reason it is being turned into a baby dresser! On Saturday, my sweet husband agreed to help me start fixing it up. We began by spraying it with BIN. After that dried, we painted it this absolutely gorgeous yellow shade, which I do not have pictures of yet. Our project is about finished, since I painted one more coat yesterday, sanded the top (that was quite a chore!) and stained the top. I will be finishing the stain with glossy polyurethane and it will be finished.
I really liked his outfit - bare feet and all :) I assured him this would not end up on facebook, just the blog. 

The after pictures will be posted soon! I have so many plans for the nursery, but first I am working on getting that extra room cleaned out... with a few occasional projects in between. ;)