Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Still Pregnant

Photo: http://mynursingbaby.blogspot.com/p/pregnant-clipart.html


I am starting to wonder if this little chick ever plans on coming out! I am probably one of the most impatient people EVER, so the fact that I didn't think I would make it to August and still be pregnant is a bit of a hard pill to swallow considering July is officially over tonight. I've always heard that your pregnancies are similar to that of the other women in your family...my mom had my older sister three weeks early, me two weeks early; my sister had her first at 35 1/2 weeks and both her others about 2-2 1/2 weeks early, so admittedly, I had my hopes up that we would have met this little one by now, but I assume I'm getting my first lesson in parenting....it's now Caroline's world and we all just live in it! haha Don't get me wrong, I wanted to get to the full term mark, 37 weeks, but at 37 weeks and 1 day, I was ready to meet her.
Each day that passes, I can only think about how much bigger her head and body are going to be to get out...a frightening though to say the least, but we could still have two more weeks and a whole lot more baby. I have had contractions, I am already dilated and thinned, 3 cm and 80%, she has dropped and none of that means a daggone thing. What a depressing thought. The Doctor estimated her to be about 7 pounds at my appointment yesterday, but said that could be off in either direction. She originally thought the baby would be around 7 pounds if she stayed all 40 weeks, but I guess she'll end up being a little bigger than originally estimated.
I think I should have procrastinated more things, since at this point, it's all just a waiting game. At least that way, I'd have something to do with my time. But as it is, her nursery is finished and waiting, our bags are packed and sit by the front door, where they've been for two weeks now, and the car seat is ready and waiting all snug in the backseat of my car. All that's missing is baby Caroline. I can't even find any more projects that I want to do right now.
Not to sound ungrateful, because I honestly have had an amazingly easy pregnancy, but my hips are KILLING me all the time, I feel like I lumber everywhere when I used to just walk and to get out of bed int he morning must be a hoot to watch because it involves a lot of rolling around, bones cracking, griping and mad upper body strength. Is it so wrong that I want to serve this little one an eviction notice? haha My best guess at this point is one of two scenarios...
1. I'll go into labor on August 4, our wedding anniversary and end up spending our anniversary and my birthday, August 7th in the hospital instead of resting at home with our sweet, stubborn little baby.
2. It'll be August 15, 2013 and I'll still be pregnant with this chick...Not likely since my doctor induces the day you're considered overdue,which would be August 12, but it's really starting to feel that way.

My husband has done his part to inadvertently lighten my mood lately.  First was the delicate way he asked about water breaking...
"So, when you're on the couch and other furniture, shouldn't you maybe, sit on something in case your water breaks?"
"You mean like a puppy pad or something?"
"Well, yeah, that would work wouldn't it?"
Strike one...
Annnddd the other day while I was wallerin around trying to hoist myself off the couch, he rubbed his legs and winced, then proceeded to talk about how his workout had left him so sore he could barely move.  I imagined what it would be like to punch him for a second, then realized he didn't even know what he'd said wrong.
Nevertheless, Strike two...

Any tips or advice anyone has to help with hip pain would be MORE than appreciated because at this point, it hurts to exist, but probably not as much as the post-workout soreness my husband had to endure for two days of delayed onset muscle soreness...bless his heart haha

A Gift for the Daddy-To-Be


I decided that with myself and baby girl getting so much attention now and in the weeks to come, my hubby might be feeling a little bit neglected, so I decided to make him his own little Daddy-to-Be gift basket. It wasn't much, just some little things thrown together to let him know he's appreciated :)

"I'll Love You Forever" and "Guess How Much I Love You" Books
Soothie pacifier pack and lavender lotion for when she gets fussy
Johnson's face and hand wipes for when one of the two of them makes a mess
Beef Jerky and Hot Tamales for my hot hubby to take to the hospital
A Camo bib since I have a strong suspicion he will have her shooting, fishing, etc in no time
A couple of Daddy's Girl outfits by Carter's with some socks
Dunkin Donuts coffee for early mornings that follow late nights 
And most importantly, his favorite Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale beer for when the coffee just won't cut it!

Like I said, nothing major, but daddy's need to know they're appreciated, too. Not that I mind being the one getting the attention for the time being, but it's always nice to do things for the people you love. And I'm sure he will more than earn it in the days following little Caroline's arrival! Now, I should probably make one of these for my parents and sister, too since I'm sure we'll be keeping them busy as well! haha


Friday, July 27, 2012

38 Weeks


How far along: 38 Weeks...stiiilllll pregnant
Due Date: August 11, 2012...looking like that'll be the day she comes, too! haha
Total weight gain: 18-20 pounds...depends on the day I weigh. I always weigh the same time of day and before I eat or drink, but it has fluctuated this week those two pounds
Maternity Clothes: still the same 2 pairs, maxi dresses, a couple maxi skirts, yoga pants and my swimsuit
Stretch marks: Nope...I just pray it stays that way because I feel SO much bigger than I have up to this point!
Sleep: Not so great this week. I have trouble going to sleep because I keep waiting for some sign that the baby is getting ready to make her arrival.  Then once I get to sleep, I wake up almost every hour to pee, which I hope means she's dropped and ready to come out VERY soon! 
Miss Anything: The list grows, but I'm still so excited for baby girl to get here. It'll be worth missing every little thing when we get to hold our healthy baby girl one day very soon! 
Movement: She has slowed down a lot this week...obviously running out of room (I started to be cheesy and put womb there, but I controlled myself haha)

Food cravings: Nothing really. Not been very hungry lately since I fill up so easily. Baby room trumps stomach room in there I reckon.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Does the thought of labor and delivery count? haha
Symptoms: LOTS of pressure in my stomach, hips pop and hurt, sore feet but still not swelling, feeling more tired than I have been 
Belly Button: Pretty well out there
Rings: My rings are off :( I feel naked without them!  Other than to clean them, I haven't taken them off in nearly five years. They weren't too tight yet, but I could tell it wouldn't be long. 
Happy or Moody: Still very happy and thankful, but sort of over being pregnant and ready to just have her here!
Pregnancy Workout: Slowing down, but still trying to stay as active as I comfortably can. Walking every night it doesn't rain, swimming my laps and doing some leg work in the pool and used ankle weights quite a bit this week as well. Thinking that during the time I'm not allowed to workout after birth, I can strap those ankle weights on for some light resistance work.
Pregnancy Pet Peeve: 
Labor Signs: 3 cm and 75% this week, what I think were Braxton Hicks contractions since they didn't lead to anything else, lots of pressure low in my tummy and I think the baby has dropped but I'm not really that sure. Lots of symptoms, but still no baby!
Best Moment this Week:  Just trying to enjoy our last days as a family of two (four if you count the puppies, which we do) before the baby decides she's ready to come out. Lots of nights "in" just making dinner together and talking about what lies ahead for us!
Looking forward to: Baby Day! Is it here yet???

Also, a sidebar...I've avoided reading too much about the whole labor and delivery process up to this point, aside from what we learned in our classes, however, this week I read up on some people's experiences and I would like to make a motion to change some terminology that's popular..."Ring of Fire" and "Bloody Show" are at the top of my list...no wonder so many first time mama's are so terrified of giving birth (myself among them). We really couldn't think of a better name for things like this?  Points for being self-explanatory, but still...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hospital Bags


I started packing up our hospital bags a few weeks ago, but I think I've finally got everything all crossed off the packing list. At least I hope so...



Checklist for My Bag:


  • Insurance Card
  • Hospital Registration form (I mailed ours in early just to be safe)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • Flip Flops (a lot of lists I found said house shoes you'd throw away, but that seemed wasteful)
  • Posh Pusher (or a robe if you prefer)
  • 2-3 Nursing bras, undies
  • Disposable nursing pads
  • Burt's Bees Chapstick
  • Toiletry Bag (dry shampoo, toothpaste and brush, hairbrush, contact supplies, glasses, makeup, hair ties, bobby pins, Sweatyband, lotion, hairspray, razor...I got all travel sized what I could)
  • Snacks for the hubs (Peanut butter, Mojo bars, granola bars, etc)
  • Cell phone and camera chargers 
  • Camera, video and digital
  • 2 outfits for Juston
  • PJ's for Juston
  • 2 outfits for me
  • Going home outfit...I just brought an empire-waisted, black maxi dress
  • Nightgown (preferably with snaps or buttons on front if you plan to breast feed)
  • Extra change of clothes that are nursing-friendly
  • Breast Pump
  • Books (I've got the new ones by Mary Kay Andrews and Karen White packed up)
  • Jumbo, ginormously huge maxi pads that I've been told are a necessity. I haven't seen a pad since I was 12!



Checklist for Baby Girls Bag:




  • Boppy Pillow
  • White side button tops... I added some cloth flowers I made to the buttons just to add something to her plain white kimono top :)
  • Pink and white beanie cap (paranoid, I know, but I wanted her to have a different hat than any other baby would)
  • Burp cloth
  • Bib
  • Blanket my niece and nephew made and instructed me to bring ;)
  • 1 preemie sized outfit, 1 newborn sized outfit
  • Going home dress with bonnet my sister made
  • Muslin swaddling blanket
  • Receiving Blanket
  • Sanitizing wipes for anyone planning to touch her haha
  • Mittens for her hands
  • 2-3 sensitive skin diapers (I know the hospital provides these, but in case we need to stop on the car ride home, better safe than sorry)
  • Car Seat (obviously not pictured since it's already fastened up in my car)
  • Her diaper bag has a built in paci holder, dirty clothes pouch and changing pad


I'm well aware that I'm an over-packer and the hospital will supply a lot of what I'm bringing most likely, but I like having my own stuff that I know I've washed, ironed, etc.  I've already gone ahead and put her boppy pillow, car seat and hospital bag in the trunk of the car. Our toiletry bags will get thrown into our bag on the way our the door, which is where the bag currently sits, for us to grab on the way out when the time comes. We have packed it along to both of our last two check-ups just to be safe since our hospital is a little more than an hour away.  I can't think of anything else any of the three of us would need to bring, but any suggestions to make life easier through this whole process are much appreciated!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

37 Weeks


How far along: 37 Weeks...baby girl was officially full term yesterday!
Due Date: August 11, 2012...getting lots of predictions from the family about her arrival though...I say July 22nd (which isn't looking correct), Juston thinks August 1, my mom thinks August 1, my sister originally said July 25, but has changed her mind and now thinks August 2, my dad has made no predictions and my nieces want her here yesterday. My opinion is that she's going to show up when she's good and ready haha. 
Total weight gain: 19 pounds
Maternity Clothes: Just the couple pairs of capri pants, regular yoga pants with the fold-over waistband pulled up (looks amazing!), and empire waisted, long dresses.  Shorter dresses are slightly indecent at this point since they raise up so much in the front.
Stretch marks: Nope...fingers crossed, Mustela usage upped and praying my good genetics will carry me just a bit further until she's out!
Sleep: I have still been sleeping pretty well, but this week, I can honestly say I've felt pretty worn out for the first time this whole pregnancy. I could honestly take a nap about an hour after I get up for the day, but I am just not a napper typically. 
Miss Anything: I legitimately breath like a 400 pound asthmatic running a marathon while I'm taking my walks at night.  Baby gets more room than lungs evidently. I have to admit, I'll miss feeling her roll around and wiggle in my tummy when she's out. I told Juston, it will be pretty odd to NOT have her in there since I have been feeling her move around for so long now. 
Movement: I swear, she moves more now than she ever has. Seems like she gets the hiccups every day at least once now that she's discovered them. She also loves to ball up high on my right side. 

Food cravings: My sweet tooth has been taking over this week...probably because it knows it's days are numbered! Mostly, chocolate seems to be what I want, which is odd since it would typically be ice cream.

Anything making you queasy or sick: I've not really been feeling red meat much the last few days, but I wouldn't say it makes me queasy.
Symptoms: Lots of pressure in my stomach, hips and back are staying sore more throughout the day now, had two nosebleeds this week (What the Heck!) and my gums have been more sensitive than usual when I floss. Oh and the bottoms of my feel hurt pretty bad, I guess from the extra weight they're not used to carrying around! 
Belly Button: Out as much as it'll go with my belly button appendicitis scar. The bottom can't pop out haha
Rings: I did take my rings off this week.  They were still fitting fine, except after I would walk or exercise, then they started feeling a little bit tight...tight enough to make me nervous and go ahead and take them off just to be safe. I'd really hate to have to take them off at the hospital.
Happy or Moody: Happy but pretty worn out, too!
Pregnancy Workout: This week, I've just been walking for about 20-30 minutes at night and doing some easy peasy leg exercises with my ankle weights.  I will be so happy to get back into a regular, challenging workout routine as soon as I'm allowed to! 
Pregnancy Pet Peeve: Not that I think pregnant women are entitled to any sort of special treatment that regular people shouldn't get, but I was at the post office this week, clearly waiting in line while sealing up my package when this rude older man cut right in front of me. Seriously?? Pregnant may not equal special treatment, but a little common courtesy is always nice pregnant or not.
Labor Signs: Nothing that I would notice, but at my appointment I was 2 centimeters and 50% effaced.
Best Moment this Week:  Nursery completion...check. 
Looking forward to: Meeting our baby! There's so much that my husband and I talk about wanting for her in so many aspects of her life and I feel pretty ready to be a mama, at least as ready as I could feel. Good thing we don't have long to wait now! 

Pregnancy Must Haves

I have to say, I feel very lucky with the amazing experience I've had while pregnant...I only got sick once, haven't really had any strong cravings, never lost my energy, I've slept great and haven't had the swollen ankles, pains or traumatic experiences some women have had. As a result, I feel like I haven't really wanted or needed a lot of things that were "pregnancy specific". There were a few things though that I probably couldn't have done without over the last 9 months. 



 


 Nike Air Max tennis shoes~ Walking has been my main form of cardio since I'vevbeen pregnant and these are literally the most comfortable pair of tennis shoes I've ever had. 
Ohhhh Mustela Double Action Stretch Mark Cream...this stuff is pretty expensive, but I don't know many women who wouldn't pay twice the cost if it meant no stretch marks. So far, this stuff has been amazing. I started using it as soon as I started showing which was around 18-19 weeks. Use it twice a day, every day...Lately, I've been using it morning, noon and evening...figure it can't hurt.
My trusty Tervis Tumbler Big T cup goes EVERYWHERE I go. I have chugged approximately 23456254 cups of water every day. Tervis Tumblers do amazing at keeping your drinks cold, especially if you get the lids to go on them. I fill mine up every night and keep it by our bed. It never fails that when I wake up in the middle of the night to pee I'm SO thirsty.
These Victoria's Secret yoga pants have been a God send. I can still wear them folded over, but most of the time, I pull the waistband all the way up, sexy style, so they don't ride down too low. I've been able to wear the same ones I'd worn pre-preggo.
Yellowbox Flip flops are seriously SO comfy! Lately, it makes my feet pretty sore to walk around on our hardwoods barefooted so I wear these around the house all the time. My feet feel so much better in these!
Gotta love these chocolate chip energy Z Bars! They are by Clif Kids and are so tasty....perfect for an afternoon snack with a yogurt or fruit. My other favorite flavor is brownie. Not sure if they actually give me more energy, but it's definitely a better alternative than a candy bar or some other type of junk food. 
My last must-have has been my Fit Pregnancy Magazine. Lots of great workout and healthy eating tips as well as information that I've found useful as a soon-to-be first-time mama. 

I do have my "What to Expect" book that I've skimmed as I've come to the appropriate chapters and I also picked up "The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy" which I did not care for personally. I sort of felt like the author had such a negative take on pregnancy, her husband, exercise and life in general that it made me scared and depressed to keep reading it. It was meant to be a light-hearted, comical read and I know a lot of people love it, but I honestly stopped reading it less than halfway through because some of the ignorance I was reading was honestly pissing me off. 

I didn't get on the body pillow bandwagon and I decided to forgo the Belly Bandit as well. Maybe I was missing out, but I'd rather throw my money towards baby bandwagon things like her Nap Nanny and Boppy pillow. 

As my time being pregnant winds down, I know there are a lot of things I will really miss about being pregnant like feeling my little baby girl wiggle around, everyone being so very concerned about how I'm feeling and what's new with the baby, people being more chivalrous than they normally maybe would be when they see my tummy, or the way my husband looks at my belly when he doesn't know I'm paying attention and lots of other things.  My unsolicited advice to newly pregnant women would be to ignore the women who LOVE to share their horrible experiences about their wretched morning sickness, cankles, 10 pound babies or their 4 day labors.  For some reason, seeing your baby bump brings out other women's need for you to hear their horror story. Just smile and nod, then forget whatever you heard. Every pregnancy is obviously different and mine has been wonderful!

Photo: Pinterest

Friday, July 20, 2012

Caroline's Nursery

If you've followed my blog for long, then you know I never thought I'd see the day (pre-arrival that is) that Caroline's nursery would get completely finished. Well, I'm ecstatic to say that not only is her nursery finished, but I even finished it before she got here! Thanks to Pinterest, I couldn't stop tackling projects (and dragging my family, especially my mama, into tackling projects along with me). NONE of the furniture in her nursery was purchased new. In fact, most of it was in one or more of my family members' baby rooms, my own included. Thanks to my family and the fact that they NEVER throw anything out, we saved SO much money, and I think gave Caroline's nursery a very vintage and individual character.


Unfortunately, I didn't think to do any before pictures of the furniture, but oh well. This dresser was in my room at my parents house for quite a few years when I was growing up and it was a sort of dull yellow to start out with. I cleaned it off, sanded it and put about three coats of white paint on it before I got it the way I wanted it, but I love the wavy front and deep drawers and it couldn't have turned out better. Luckily, it had already been painted because my parents would normally cringe at the thought of me painting wood furniture. The pulls and keyholes are original to the piece.


Her crib has always been white, so I just had to touch up the chips, then put one coat to shine it up a bit. This was my dad's crib, then I used it as a baby, and all three of my sister's kids used it as well. Now it's all cleaned up and ready for Caroline to get here!The crib skirt and bunting were both projects my mother and I took on. The skirt was pretty involved, but the bunting was pretty simple by comparison and probably would take most people a couple of hours from start to finish.


The chest of drawers may be my favorite piece in the whole room, which is funny because it probably needed the most help to start out with. It is another piece that was in my room as a baby. If I remember the story correctly, it was originally painted blue and cream, since my parents thought I was a boy before my arrival. Once that was obviously not the case, the blue was changed to pink drawers. I took off the old knobs, painted the pink drawers gray and the cream parts of the chest white to match the rest of the furniture. I purchased the crystal knobs from Lowe's for about $4.50 apiece. I couldn't love it any more!


The little side table was my Aunt Helen's. It was in my shop that I had a couple years back and was originally a wood finished, but pretty scratched up. Again, sanded it, a couple coats of gray paint, and good as new.




The elephant and hippo prints were drawn by my dad :) and the glider and ottoman were my sister's. She got the set when she had her son about 13 years ago. It had a blue and white pattern covering it, so mom and I slip-covered it, and then I did the no-sew knotted pillow cover with some leftover crib skirt fabric. The pink afghan, my mom made, she's made one for every grandchild. I'm so happy with this room. It's the first room in our house that I've done completely by myself. Most of our furniture was already in the house when I moved in since Juston had already lived here a few years before we got married. I've definitely added the "home" element to our house, but I had so much fun conceptualizing then actually completing our sweet girl's room.



Ruffled curtains, Woven baskets and Rug~ Pottery Barn Kids
Muslin Crib Sheet~ Aiden and Anais
Crib Bumper~ Babies R Us
Changing Pad Cover~ Mia Bella, Etsy
Wall Monogram~ Trendy Trimmings by Andrea, Etsy
White Frames~ Wal-Mart

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Maternity Pics

My sister, who's always said she's interested in doing photography, came to our house this week and took a few more maternity photos I forgot to have our other photographer do and I love them! Here's a few of the ones she took for us.

My favorite one is our first family photo with all five of us in it...sort of...
I'll post photos of the finished nursery this week, too! My mom and I finished her crib bunting today and I got it hung up right after!  That just leaves a small painting project I wanted to do, which I have started, but I'm not loving the way it's turning out, so it may not make the cut. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Make Ahead Meals

I always try to wear belly shirts while cooking and pregnant...haha

A good friend of mine who had her first baby a little over a year ago, told me that the best advice one of her mama friends gave her was to go ahead and prepare a couple of weeks worth of meals before baby, freeze them, then not have to worry with cooking in the days after you first get home.  Since I'm an absolute control nut and have to have everything in my home a certain way, I decided that this would be a great idea to go ahead and tackle. I started working on our make ahead meals this week, with two complete, and plan to finish up all the others this weekend. I thought I'd share what I'm cooking up in case anyone else is in the same boat and looking for some easy make ahead meals. These recipes are mostly from my favorite Food Network chicks, Paula and Ina, but the last few are my mom's and just some simple ones I use. I try to substitute healthier ingredients when possible, especially since my clean eating plan starts the day we get home from the hospital.


Ina's Lasagna
Photo from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion) (I used a Vidalia onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed (I used 3/4 ground sirloin and 1/4 sausage)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lasagna noodles (I used whole grain noodles)
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese (Used part skim milk ricotta)
  • 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the sausage and cook over medium-low heat, breaking it up with a fork, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until no longer pink. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling.  


For videos pertaining to this recipe, you can go directly to the Food Network site, or click here.
I have this frozen in a 9x12 Pyrex dish with saran wrap over the top, then the fitted lid over that. I did not bake at all prior to freezing. I will just bake for about an hour if I bring it straight out of the freezer, or let it thaw, then bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.


Paula's Cheeseburger Meatloaf





Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chuck (Again, I use ground sirloin)
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I use turkey bacon)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sharp Cheddar, grated (low fat cheddar)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 (3-ounce) can French fried onions (I omit this ingredient when making mine)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck and next 8 ingredients, mixing well.

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup mixture.

Press meat mixture into a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan, or shape into a loaf and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 40 minutes. Top with French fried onions; bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.

Find the official recipe and videos here.
To freeze, just wrap the uncooked dish in saran wrap or foil, then place into a Pyrex dish with a lid and place in the freezer. Let it thaw before baking as instructed, or add about 20 minutes or more if needed if going straight from freezer to over.



Deen Brothers BBQ


Ingredients:
Pork:
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
Pinch celery seed
1 7-pound boneless pork shoulder

Sauce:
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
2 tbsp dry mustard powder
2 tbsp packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
For the pork, in a small bowl, stir together the salt, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper flakes and celery seed. Using your fingers, rub the spice mixture all over the pork to coat evenly. Place pork in a large, resealable plastic bag or covered bowl and refrigerate overnight.
For the basting sauce, in a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Let the sauce cool and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, preheat over to 300 degrees F. Place a rack inside a large roasting pan; place the pork on the rack. Roast for 2 1/2 hours; pour half the sauce over the pork and bake 1 to 2 more hours or until internal temperature reads 180 degrees. Bast the pork every 30 minutes with sauce and drippings from the bottom of the pan.
Remove pork from the oven and let stand on the rack until cooled. Meanwhile, warm the remaining sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Transfer the warm pork to a cutting board and shred or chop the meat into bite-sized pieces, mixing in some of the fat and skin if you wish. Transfer pork to a large bowl and add the sauce to taste and mix well. Serve on buns with coleslaw and extra sauce on side.
I have mine in a big gallon Ziploc freezer bag and it keeps very well.  Just let thaw in the fridge and reheat as needed.



My Graham Cracker Freezer Treats




Ingredients:
1 sleeve of graham crackers
fresh made whipping cream, or cool whip if you don't make your own
1/2 container sliced strawberries

It doesn't get any easier...just gently fold the berries into the whipping cream, then spread the whipping cream mix onto a graham cracker generously and top with another cracker. Place in a freezer safe bag and it's like a low-fat ice cream sandwich!




Frozen Chocolate Bananas




This one is what you'd call "stupid simple".  There's nothing to it, but it's SO good and pretty good for you. I have a serious sweet tooth, so this helps when I'm sticking to a more strict diet, which I will be.

Ingredients:
1 bunch of ripe bananas
6-8 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate squares
2 tbsp whipping cream
splash vanilla extract

Directions:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over boiling water, as it melts down, add the cream until mixture becomes smooth. At the last minute before you remove your bowl from the heat, add the splash of vanilla and mix well.
Skin bananas and slice in the diagonal into about 1-2 inch pieces. You could just do the whole banana, but I usually just eat about 2-3 slices at a time. While chocolate mixture is still warm, dip banana slices in to coat (use a fork or toothpick to stick them so the whole thing gets covered), lay on parchment paper to let chocolate harden, then place in a freezer safe ziploc bag or container.\

Some other things I'm trying to get all wrapped up before baby's arrival are obviously the cleaning...baseboards to basement, it's getting wiped down, Pledged, swept, mopped, you name it. I guess I've been nesting like a mad lady, but I don't want anything to go undone. I can't stand for anyone to touch my laundry, so I'm keeping on top of that like crazy, too. I don't let my husband near the washer, dryer or iron and the only other person who could do it to suit me is my mama, but I won't be asking her, so I'm doing it every couple of days so that it won't get too far behind while I'm out of commission.
 Some other things I've done to make life easier once we get home are:

Picking up paper plates and Dixie cups...not the fanciest option for when company comes over, but will definitely reduce the dish load.
Washing the dogs...do this pretty regularly anyway, but trying to keep the shedding under control
Pre-making some "company" food, like cheese straws, coffee cake...things that are simple to pull out the freezer or fridge when people come to visit baby girl.

Any tips that made the transition from hospital to home are much appreciated and welcome. Anything you'd absolutely first time mama's do to make the transition simpler?

I Married a Handy Man!


So at my baby shower quite a few weeks back, my hubby surprised me with a cradle that he'd made himself for our baby girl! At the time, it was unfinished, no stain or anything, so I didn't get to bring it home. Well, after much waiting, I came home today to find it in our bedroom all stained, treated, waxed and ready for our little girl's arrival, which could be any day now! I love it so much! We're having a nickel plate engraved after she's born with her name and birth date on it to have put on the cradle in the hopes that it will become an heirloom piece that many generations to come will get to use. Here's the finished product!






Saturday, July 14, 2012

36 Weeks


How far along? 36 Weeks...starting to freak out about the impending due date!
Due Date: August 11, 2012 and I can't imagine how much bigger my tummy can get at this point
Total weight gain: 19 pounds
Maternity Clothes: Maxi dresses...I'm pretty proud to say I've gone through this entire pregnancy and only bought 2 pairs of maternity pants...everything else is just clothes that are stretchy fabric with empire waist or big t-shirts with yoga pants.  I can  even still manage to squeeze into my Soffee shorts when I feel like it
Stretch marks: No, but I feel like the longer I go the more nervous I get every morning when I check. I'm staying hopeful, but I can't imagine how much more my tummy can stretch. I already feel like she could pop out at any moment haha
Sleep: Not as great this week, but still not bad...my hip pops every time I turn from one side to the other and naturally, I have to wake up to pee, but usually only once a night, thank the Lord. It's more that I have trouble going back to sleep after I wake up in the middle of the night. I start thinking about the fact that the baby will be here SO SOON and freak out a little bit.
Miss Anything: Being comfortable sitting down was a luxury I never realized I was taking for granted.
Movement: I swear, she moves more now than she ever has. Seems like she gets the hiccups every day at least once now that she's discovered them. She also loves to ball up high on my right side. 


Food cravings: Not really food, but I've wanted water soooo bad all day every day!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not a thing
Symptoms: Lots of pressure in my stomach, hips and back are staying sore more throughout the day now and that pain on my right side under my ribs is back with a vengeance! I'm in the home stretch now though, time to suck it up! 
Belly Button: Out as much as it'll go with my belly button appendicitis scar. The bottom can't pop out haha
Rings: Still on
Happy or Moody: Happy :)
Pregnancy Workout: I wish I'd thought to do this forever ago, but oh well...I walk for about 20 minutes every night, do a 10 minute leg workout in the pool every day and do an upper body weight routine about 3 days a week. Just a circuit to hit every major muscle group in the upper body. It's something different every time and I always just use my 10 pound dumbbells. 
Pregnancy Pet Peeve: People who think "fat" comments or jokes are acceptable to pregnant women. Not funny
Best Moment this Week:  We had the sweetest girls host a baby shower in Paris for us this week. It was a great time!
Looking forward to: Sharing her nursery with everyone! My parents saw it finished for the first time today and so did my sister and nieces. Naturally, now that it's finished, I've decided it's not finished and I want to add bunting to the crib, which is almost finished, and my favorite scripture on canvas to one wall, so I guess it's technically still not finished...but it's my original version of finished. I think I missed my calling doing interior design, it is just so much fun! Pinterest has turned me into a project-a-holic. I can't stop taking on new projects, most of which involve my mom's, dad's or husbands assistance haha. 

Our shower cake :)

If it Doesn't Move...Monogram It

As a general rule, I try not to go too nuts with monogramming things for the baby (definitions of "too nuts" may vary). In the event that our second child would be a girl, we'd have to give her the same initials, the same name or buy all new stuff when what we'll already have will presumably be perfectly fine. However, some things are just begging to be monogrammed (well, everything, but some more than others!). I found the most adorable website that has the cutest monogrammable wares for baby Caroline. I've added pictures of my favorites!

She will be sporting these on her first beach vacation next summer! And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll find a hat to match. Seriously, monogrammed AND seersucker...two of my favorite things!

Absolutely love this hairbow and it's something she won't outgrow for quite a few years!
I just adore pillowcase dresses, especially this one. I'd love to get Caroline and my sister's girls all the same dress, but one of her girls is HIGHLY opposed to dresses.

  
Why yes, I absolutely would monogram a trash can, why not? I think I'd do gray initial and bow though. 


Love this bib, but would hate to see her spit up all over it haha. My mom is actually working on cross-stitching her a bib very similar to this one, but trimmed in lace instead.

All of the items pictured above come from Tiny Tulip.  You're welcome;) 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

35 Weeks


How far along? 35 Weeks today :)
Due Date: August 11, 2012 fingers crossed for late July
Total weight gain: 18 pounds
Maternity Clothes: Nope, just hanging out in the pool and the air conditioning...coming to the end of a second week of record heat...every day in the 100's for the last two weeks.
Stretch marks? No....hoping to ring it on home without them! 
Sleep: I still sleep great and am so thankful that I can. I know a lot of people have trouble the closer the due date gets due to discomfort so it may not be that way long, but I'm happy that I do for now at least. 
Miss Anything? Nothing that I'd trade for this whole experience. It's temporary and with anything I miss, it's good to remember that "This too shall pass" Let's hope I can remember that very thing in labor! haha
Movement: She's definitely going to be a little night owl like her mama. She likes to sit up high and to the right a lot of times, but she's moving with a lot of frequency. The fourth of July fireworks had her jumping around in there!
Food cravings: Not a whole lot other than my usual foods I eat all the time. I have to say, other than strawberries and grapes, I haven't really had what I would call "cravings" that a lot of women say they get.  

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not a thing
Gender: Baby Girl, Caroline Leeann
Symptoms: Hips and lower back hurt when I first get out of bed. Getting up in the mornings reminds me of cheering at NKU a couple of years ago...Everything snaps, cracks and pops and it takes this ole girl a while to get going, but once I'm up, I don't feel the soreness. I was also notified so sweetly by my sister that apparently I'm now waddling, which I suppose would be a symptom. 
Belly Button: Out and seems like I'm hitting it on everything which HURTS!
Rings: Still on
Happy or Moody: Happy :)
Pregnancy Pet Peeve: What is it about being pregnant that makes every woman, even the ones I don't know, want to tell me their horror stories about their pregnancies or their labor. That, and they love to give you unsolicited advice about anything and everything. I'm going to be sure NOT to do this once I'm on the other side of the fence unless asked to, and even then, I will think twice. 
Best Moment this Week:  Getting her nursery wrapped up! I still have a few more little things to do, but everything I wanted is either in the room, or due to arrive early next week. We also had a great checkup at the Doc and got to tour the maternity floor of our hospital, meet some of the staff and get the lay of the land. I'll get pictures up as soon as the details are finished :)
Looking forward to: Meeting our little belle!!! It will be here so soon, I can't even really wrap my mind around it. I've honestly not minded being pregnant at all. It's been a great experience for both of us and the rest of my family. Obviously, I'd heard the horror stories, but there are so many people who would do anything to be able to be pregnant, why anyone would complain openly about it is beyond me! It's easy to get lost in the aches and pains or swollen ankles or how hard it is to bend over to tie a shoe or shave your legs, but (hopefully) this pregnancy is something you hoped and prayed for. I try to think of it that way anytime I'm tempted to complain about something.

On another note, Juston and I have been practicing our swaddling...we took different approaches...both of our swaddlers were very squirmy, but one was closer to actual baby size than the other...I think we could both use a little work! haha



Friday, July 6, 2012

Our Maternity Pictures

 A few weeks ago (before the temps were in the 100's every day and staying there), we had our maternity pictures done at a friend's family home a few minutes outside of town. Our photographer, Lynnesy Catron, drove to us from Lexington and was absolutely amazing. So sweet and fun to work with!
 Surprisingly, Juston was actually rather cooperative. He limited his complaining to a bare minimum since he knew how much I wanted to have these done.
 She took a ton of shots and spend about an hour and a half working with us. Her cost was VERY reasonable and I would highly recommend her if you are in the central Kentucky area and need a photographer for anything.

How gorgeous is the house! You can't see it very well from this angle, but the porch is just the tip of the iceberg. 
We were super happy with what we've seen so far. We're still waiting on our cd which will have lots of black and whites (I'm always a sucker for the black and white shots), but you can contact Lynnesy via her Facebook Page. These are just a few of our favorites and I'm so excited to see the rest!