Monday, December 30, 2013

Tomorrow is the last day of this year and I am thinking to myself, how did time seem to fly by quicker this year than the year before? Maybe it just comes with age, but I really do look back at my year and wonder how it could go by so fast. All in one year I got pregnant and had a baby, and now she is just about two months old! Unbelievable...

Life certainly has changed a bit, but I would never trade it for anything. Our little girl is turning 2 months this Friday. Her next appointment with her doctor is on Thursday and I am very curious to see how much she has grown compared to her first week. She is still such a peanut, but definitely growing by the day! I have gotten a few smiles out of her, but she still is not smiling excessively like most babies do when they figure out how. She has started to really show when she is mad about something, and often will scream to get mama's attention! Yes, a little attitude I am seeing here. I know it is hard to believe, but she does know the word "NO". I have said it since the beginning when she starts to get all red and angry about something. She understands that mama is not approving of that and tones it down to a whimper. It is quite funny! Our babies can understand a whole lot more than we think they do! And tone of voice has a lot to do with it. The last few days, I have noticed a lot more squirming and kicking and flailing of arms. She also has been burying her head into me now before she settles down to sleep. It is amazing all these little things I start to notice that are different from the week before. Our newest favorite is the shower. She has joined mommy two different times for a shower and absolutely loves it! She keeps nice and warm up against me... the water must be a soothing sound to her. She doesn't make a fuss at all.

As for me, I haven't been feeling that great the past few weeks, and I think it has to do with hormones. I hear it takes quite a while for them to level out, and for some reason my body isn't responding well to it. I have gotten 3 migraines since having Layla, and they are the bad ones. The blotchy vision, numb hand, arm and face, headache... and it takes a whole day to recover. I am assuming it is hormones, but not sure. I skipped my follow-up visit with my midwife since things were just too busy right before Christmas. I see her in February though and may ask if I can get blood work done to check my levels. Part of all this may just be lack of sleep, as well. Who knows...

I can't wait to get my whole house pulled back together. Layla's nursery had become sort of a wrapping paper station/storage unit during our busiest time before Christmas. Now I just need to pack the Christmas stuff away and reorganize! The rest of the house could use a good cleaning too... sometimes I wonder if I will ever get caught up on everything. I think the answer may be no unless you are superwoman. There is always something to work on.

My next post will be about goals for the new year. I'm sure you can guess that a lot of them have to do with health and getting in shape again!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Men's Crochet Hat

I got my Christmas shopping done last week, just in time. There is no way that I ever will go shopping two days before Christmas. I have always been the type to have my gifts done early, though this year is a bit of an exception since I have been a bit occupied with things such as having a baby, maybe? Lol.

I needed a couple of small gifts, and I hate trying to figure out a bunch of cheap ones that are something someone might not use anyway... so I decided to crochet hats for the men in my life. I did so last year, but I have been told that they have been worn so much while working that they are getting kind of yucky. So why not make them some new ones? I already gave my dad his hat yesterday, as it was his birthday. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of that one. It was a foresty green color with two thin gray stripes. It came out way cool. That was made with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Forest Green Heather, with the stripes being Grey Heather. I love the texture of the wool-ease, and it is very soft. Not scratchy either!

Below are two different hats, but the same pattern. I took Bev's Basic Crocheted Hat and made my own spin with the ribbed look at the bottom. The grey one is the same yarn as the one I mentioned above - Wool-Ease, but the colors are just switched. The blue and red one was made with Caron Simply Soft Dark Country Blue and Caron Simply Soft Autumn Red. This hat came out quite different since the yarn is nothing alike. I like to think it looks a bit more edgy, while the grey hat tends to be more fitting for the "outdoorsy" man.

Of course I have to try them on... the grey looks good on a female too! You could just switch out the stripe for another color or keep it plain. 

I love the versatility of this pattern. You can do basically anything with it! It comes in lots of sizes too. The blue hat was the larger size, while the grey was the regular for a man or woman.

I'm on to the next project... I am beginning to wonder if I should start making money off this stuff on Etsy. Hmmm....??

Monday, December 16, 2013

Potato Soup

THE BEST POTATO SOUP EVER! RecipeEveryone wants a warm, comforting meal during the winter months. This potato soup is just that. The hubster and I ate this up and enjoyed every last spoonful! It did require a little work... and it has quite a bit of milk and cream in it. So if you are looking for something low-fat, this is not the recipe you want! But if you want a super delicious, creamy soup for a cold, winter night this is it! I halved this recipe, as there are only two of us. We did have leftovers, but not a lot! Kyle made cheddar garlic biscuits with Bisquick and that was a really nice pair with the soup.

I did not use the bacon. That was a real bummer, but I was not going to buy a pound of bacon and be the only one to eat it since my husband will not eat anything pork related!

I have been craving this soup ever since I made it last week. Definitely will make again.

Family Time

Opening a gift with Daddy. 
Well our weekend did not go as planned, but we did make it to Maine and back! It was a very short trip, because of the snow that came in. We were too nervous to be driving in it with a baby, and Kyle, Kurt and Coralie all needed to be back to work for Monday (we all rode together). We arrived in Maine a little past midnight on Friday, stayed up until 2am, then woke up early for a "Saturday morning" to do Christmas gifts. During those five hours during the night, I woke up twice to feed Layla. I think the traveling and bed time threw her off quite a bit.
Kyle used to sleep in this... his dad made it. Now Layla can use it!

We decided to leave Saturday afternoon to try to beat the storm home. We stopped at my grandparent's house near Freeport to introduce them to Layla and have a gift time there. By the time we left their house it was 4pm. We did run into snow, and it was quite bad especially near the coastal areas. All of the weather sites were saying something different, so it was hard to know exactly what to do. I think the snow came in earlier than some were saying. Anyway, we made it home, praise the Lord. I was pretty nervous with all of the crazy drivers speeding past us with the snow building up on the highway. I don't understand why people have to be so "macho" and speed through the snow like they are invisible. We took it slow and easy and had no troubles.
Great Grammy and Grampy Shatney

Papa and Grammy Hansen
Layla did so well with the car rides. I was a little amazed. I figured she would sleep a good amount of time, but I never thought she would last through both the entire 3+ hours without a screaming fit. She did sleep most of the entire time we were on the road. Hence the reason for lack of sleep during the last couple nights. I do hope we get into a good routine soon!

I am spending today trying to recover. Haha. Really, though. I had another stiff neck on Sunday. I don't understand why I am getting them, but they are a real pain. This week should be pretty busy with the last preparations for Christmas. I still have people to buy for, and I hate shopping in crowds, so it should be interesting. I think I will plan to go in the morning sometime this week... maybe the crowds won't be so big.
Auntie Kiersten 

Well Layla is on the verge of a nap, so I think I will take this time to relax and do something fun.

Layla enjoying her new swing from Papa and Grammy Hansen. Checking out the fun toy... 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

This and That...

Last week was a rough week for me. All in one day, I got a clogged milk duct and horrible stiff neck from snapping it when I sneezed. I was almost certain I was getting an infection from the clogged duct. I had a fever, was incredibly sluggish, and felt achy all over. Nursing was very painful. That very morning, after I sneezed and felt something snap in my neck, I went back to sleep and woke up not being able to move my neck at all. That was all a challenge with having a baby screaming to be fed! Layla was also having an off week with lots of fussiness. I'm thankful for Alyssa coming over to help me that day for a few hours. That was a time when I definitely needed some help!

This week I have felt a bit overwhelmed with all I have to get done, but today I am feeling a little more excitement towards my weekend. Every year we have an early "Christmas" with Kyle's parents, and it usually works out the best the second week into December. Thankfully, I had gotten a lot of online shopping knocked off on Black Friday. I was a little nervous, though, because my shipment from Kohls hadn't shown up by Tuesday... I just received it yesterday, so that was a relief!

On top of all of that, Layla had decided to stay awake for hours in the middle of the night on Monday and Tuesday night, so I was feeling a bit more deprived of the precious sleep. Last night, she went from 10pm to 1am. I was not satisfied with that stretch, so I stuck the pacifier in and she slept until 3:30am! So a good 5 1/2 hours, really. I should have let her cry herself back to sleep at 1, but I don't like Kyle waking up when he has to get up early to work. She just keeps growing and growing... I have had to put away some of the newborn sizes because she is just too long for them. And her tummy is filling out too. She fits into quite a few 0-3 month and some 3 month clothing! Though, some of it is still big, but the length fits pretty well.

I also got behind on dishes and laundry especially and was wondering how I would have the energy to pull all of this off! Somehow, God gave me the strength to get some much needed dishes and laundry done... and wrapping the gifts for this weekend. And all my Christmas cards sent out! That is an accomplishment. ;) Today I am feeling a little better, so I will be baking some goodies to take to my in-laws. We will be traveling up on Friday night with Kurt and Coralie (arrive late), and our Christmas morning will be on Saturday. That is the first out of many Christmases we will have, as usual. I am hoping Layla does well with the trip up (it's only 3hr. 15min.) and that she sleeps okay on our mini vacation.

Here are the goodies I plan to make today. It's not a whole lot, but I will be doing lots more closer to Christmas.

Who can resist a Homemade Peppermint Patties? I know I can't. The real thing is the best.
And I keep drooling over these babies..

I know, right? Turtle Cookies!!!

I am off to feed the hungry munchkin!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Butternut Squash, Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Butternut Squash, Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed ShellsWhile browsing Pinterest recently, I came across this recipe and thought it looked like a nice twist to stuffed shells. I didn't really think my husband was going to give me the go-ahead to make these for one of our meals this week, but surprisingly he said they looked tasty! So, we put the ingredients on our grocery list and decided to try them. I have never cooked butternut squash before, so I had no clue how this would turn out. I didn't follow this recipe exactly, because I didn't want to have to buy a whole bunch of ingredients just for one recipe. 

The only tweaks that I made were not making a sage butter or using a fresh lemon, though for a more special occasion I would definitely do that! Instead, I added dried sage and lemon juice to the ricotta mixture. The recipe calls for 1 stick of butter to make the sage butter to drizzle over the top and that is way too much! So all I did was melt a half stick of butter and drizzle over the top before baking. That's not how the recipe calls to do it, but it's what I did and it still turned out great.

I really liked this recipe. It was very creamy... almost more rich with the squash. This is definitely a meal you want to eat right away, because as it cools the pasta gets hard to cut through. Leftovers were still good, but it wasn't one of those meals where it is better the day after. It also is a little time consuming, but making any stuffed shells tends to be that way anyway. This would be a special meal to make for guests.

I'm not sure what recipe will be next up for a post, but I do plan on doing some Christmas baking in the near future. So you can count on some recipe reviews for some good sweet treats. I have seen lots and lots of yummy things on Pinterest, and am going to have to narrow down my options for baking!