Friday, May 31, 2013

30 Before 30 Update: May 2013 Edition

This month has just flown by!! (If you’re just joining me recently, I put together a 30 Before 30 list back at Christmas time. You can view my list here.) I met my goal of reading 1 fun book and 1 educational/devotional book this month – see my book reviews at the end of this post!

I also started practicing the piano again. It’s been a few years, but it’s something I would like to get back into. Eventually, I’ll be able to meet my “Play the piano in church” goal. Wow, my fingers are rusty, though! #1 seems to like listening to me play and I figure it’s never too soon to expose him to good music. Although, with my clunkers, it’s not always “good”.

Side note, did I tell you M has decided to nickname the baby “Number 1”? True, he is our first child, so that fits, but I think it has more to do with M being slightly disappointed that I didn’t care for his name suggestion of “Riker” (Star Trek Next Generation reference, just in case you’re not into Sci Fi).

Anyway, the books I read this month were:

The Baby Chronicles by Judy Baer (the sequel to The Whitney Chronicles from last month). Just like the Whitney Chronicles, the Baby Chronicles is an easy read, and very enjoyable! I flew through the book in a couple of days and particularly enjoyed the character development in this story. Many of the characters from the Whitney Chronicles made an appearance… I have to say, Whitney’s co-workers remind me of mine sometimes.

They synopsis of the story is that Whitney (now married for about 2 years) has decided it’s time to start a family. To make things more interesting, her co-worker, Mitzi, has also decided she wants to have a baby (and ends up with triplets!)… not to mention Whitney’s best friend, Kim, has decided to adopt. Babies, babies everywhere! There’s so much pregnancy humor that I could relate to… I just had to laugh. And laugh… and laugh…

And cry, too, apparently. What would a good book be without an unexpected dramatic situation? Maybe it’s my baby hormones on overdrive, but I cried with the characters as they muddled through the tough stuff… and rejoiced with them when everything worked out.

Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon.  I confess, I wasn't too keen on Ms. McCutcheon's writing style and I found her opinions and how she expressed them slightly annoying. She came across as very "my way or the highway".  That said, I'm glad I took time to read the book, as it was very informative.  M and I used her practice exercises every night to prepare for labor and will continue to do so until the baby's born.  Disclaimer:  there is pictures of naked ladies in the book. I sort of thought, "Is that necessary? I mean, does anyone deliver a baby naturally while wearing clothes?" Just so you're aware. Some people find that offensive.  I'm not crazy about the photos, but the information was solid and helpful.  If you don't care about having pics to illustrate the exercises or find the pics offensive, you can find the same info in Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley, which I also read and recommend (I prefer his writing style as well).  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Munchables

I had a fantastic Memorial Day holiday.  Not because we left the house. Like, at all...

And not because anything happened. Because it didn't.

Actually, it was the lack of having anything to do that made it so awesome.  I slept in and made a special breakfast.  Blueberry Lemon Oven Pancake... YUM.

(still working on getting the recipe online for this, stay tuned... it's super yummy!)

After lounging around, reading, and packing a few boxes for our upcoming move, I decided to head to the pool for a swim.

Bummer... the hours were different and I got there just as the pool was closing.  No swim for me.

Headed back home and started feeling like making dinner.  Turkey Burgers!

M wanted a spicy Cajun version with melted cheddar and ketchup.  I was feeling a little more herb-a-licious, so I went with an Herbes de Provence version with mozzarella, lettuce, onion and yogurt sauce on a toasted whole wheat bun.

The salad was actually my favorite part of the meal.  I came across a cucumber and banana pepper salad on a blog and decided to put my own spin on it, using what I had in my crisper drawer.

Turned out awesome.

Light... fresh...  perfect side dish for my mood.  The recipe is on my recipage, here!

And what would a holiday meal be without dessert?

We had patriotic sundaes - homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh blueberry/strawberry sauce and whipped cream (of course!).

We finished up our day off chilling on the couch with a movie, then reading a book.  Hope your Memorial Day was as relaxing as ours was.  I needed a down day!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 35

How far along? 35 Weeks

Baby is the size of:  A large zucchini

Maternity clothes?  I had an issue with "Bubba Belly" this week.  That's when you have your 'gut' lopping over your waistband and your shirt doesn't quite cover it.  LOL I need longer tank tops. :)

Rings on or off?  Off

Sleep: Ok, but still snoring.

Belly Button: Outie

Exercise: Pool twice this week, yay!  I've been advised not to get too sweaty and be out in the heat because of my blood pressure, so looks like I'm down to just pilates inside with the AC cranked, and swimming.

Food cravings:  Mexican food.  Butter.  STRAWBERRIES. Grapes.

It is SO hot here!
Movement: It's funny when he gets the hiccups.  Kind of feels like a heartbeat, since the hiccups are so regular.

Best moment of the week: Hearing my midwife tell me that my Group B Strep culture came back negative.  Whew!

Fun fact:  He's just about as long now as he's going to be before he's born. He's just plumping up from here on out.

Symptoms:  Puffy feet, hot and sweaty, fatigue.

Mood?  Kind of stressed - trying to stay calm!

Blessings of the week: Went out on a double date with some friends... for Mexican food.  Yay!

I learned ...  That the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that treats positive Group B Strep with intravenous antibiotics. Hmmmmm.....

Looking forward to:  An extra day off this coming week.  Yay for Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quite Possibly The Perfect Cookie

These awesome cookies were a result of another pregnancy craving.  I wanted oatmeal cookies in the worst way... oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, to be precise.

I did a quick recipe search and stumbled across the Brown Eyed Baker's recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

After a few adjustments and "healthifications", I baked my masterpieces and then offered them to my #1 taste tester.  With a glass of milk on the side, of course.

I was stoked when he said, "these are the PERFECT cookies - not too sweet, just the right texture."

Awww... I love it when he's honest. :)

I have to admit, they turned out really well.  The coconut oil and almond meal keep the texture moist and chewy, while the butter just kicks the flavor into high gear.

The perfect cookie equation goes like this:

oatmeal + butter + coconut oil + almond meal + chocolate chips = total awesomeness.

Not convinced?  Need proof?

Take these little babies to your next potluck or get-together and experience the happiness first hand.  Just don't eat the entire batch in less than 2 days...unless you have help. Just sayin'.

Oh, and if you need the nutritional information, pop over to my recipage, here.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Raye
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14-16 minutes per pan
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate oatmeal almond cookie

Ingredients (3-1/2 dozen cookies)
  • 1-1/4 c. all purpose flour (or 3/4 c. all purpose, 1/2 c. white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 Tbsp coconut oil (use refined if you don't want the coconut taste)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar (I use Rapadura or Sucanat)
  • 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c. old-fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. semisweet or dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour(s), baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugars, butter, and coconut oil (coconut oil should be in its solid state) until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until combined. Stir in almond meal and oats. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Feel free to use a non-stick baking mat, or parchment paper. (I used a cookie scoop and a stoneware pan).
  5. Bake each pan for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool on the pan for about 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store cooled cookies in an airtight container up to 5 days, but beware... they may not last that long!
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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Week 34

How far along? 34 weeks

Baby is the size of:  a bunch of carrots

Maternity clothes?  Stretch.... anything that stretches is happy.... Random thought:  do they make maternity shoes?  If not, they should.

Rings on or off? Off... :-(

Sleep:  Ok, but M says I've started snoring.  Sorry, honey!

Belly Button: Outie

Exercise: Finally got to go swimming!  They changed the pool schedule, so I'm able to go more often.

Food cravings: Dill pickles; chocolate; ice cream cone (think McDonalds...)

Movement: Finally flipped head down!  So, now he's kicking my side, and my ribs.

Best moment of the week: Swimming on Friday.

Fun fact:  According to a Harvard study, first time moms give birth (on average) at 41 weeks and 1 day.  Thank goodness my midwife won't talk induction until 42 weeks.

Symptoms:  Weepy! I cried several times this week.

Mood? Did I mention weepy?  And oversensitive?

Blessings of the week: The sense of relief and thankfulness after finding out the baby had flipped to a head-down position.  Now, if he'll just stay that way.

I learned ...  That high blood pressure is no laughing matter.  My midwife was pretty concerned about my BP at this week's appointment.  It was fine at the end of the appointment when they re-took it, but she's wanting to be cautions and has booked me for once a week appointments from here on out to keep an eye on it.  In the meantime, she's advised me to drink plenty of water, keep my feet up, and REDUCE STRESS!  Pray for me, would you?  I'd appreciate it.

Looking forward to:  Being done with work.  I just need to hold out a few more weeks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Western Theme Date Night

The lovebirds at the rodeo!
Last week, it was M's turn to plan date night.  He did a hum-dinger of a job, too!

We began our evening with dinner at Logan's Roadhouse.  Nothing like a good steak to get me in a Fan-tas-tic mood. :)

Side note: did you know that Logan's has a "health nut" section of their menu?  Each of the menu choices in that section are guaranteed to be 550 calories or less.  I did the math on my calorie counter at home and found out my meal only cost me 520.

I had a 6 oz sirloin steak (grilled to perfection, I might add), a baked sweet potato (plain, not butter or toppings) and steamed broccoli.

I did splurge a little and have a roll and some peanuts.  And 3 glasses of water.  With my lemon. And M's lemon.  And half of M's water while waiting for my refill...

What can I say? I was just a little thirsty. (I hadn't had nearly enough water that day!)

(Clockwise from left) 1. Invocation / 2. Calf Roping / 3. Clown! / 4. Team Roping
Anyway!  After that, we drove out to the Equestrian Center for the FFA rodeo.  I'm not a huge fan of bull riding, but they had several other events as well.  I personally like the barrel racing the best.

It was also fun to see all the Western wear.  Not to be out done by the 'good ole boy' uniform (scruffy jeans, work boots, a t-shirt and camouflage baseball cap).  We definitely felt like we were in the real south.

Get it here!
To finish our date, we snuggled on the couch and watched a Western flick on Netflix instant play.  It was a John Wayne movie I'd never actually seen before (that's pretty amazing. I thought for sure I'd seen them all by now) - "In Old California".  It was quite a switch to see the Duke playing a polished Boston chemist instead of his usual rough and ready gunslinger (although there's plenty of those in this movie as well). I really enjoyed it!

Western Themed Date Night:
Dinner: $11.00 (we had a gift card that covered the rest of the bill)
Rodeo: $20.00
Movie: Free
Total cost: $31.00

Try this one at home - if you're not into rodeo, you could always go horseback riding, or line dancing.  Or, if you leave near a ranch, check with them to see if they host live entertainment.  There's an "Opry" near us that would have been fun to visit.

And instead of eating out, try grilling out on your patio or back porch... I definitely recommend beef though. For some reason, it just sets the mood.

Would love to hear about your version of a Western themed date night, if you decide to do one - we will have to do this one again, it was a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Week 33

How far along? 33 Weeks

Baby is the size of:  A large bunch of kale.

Maternity clothes?  Found a cute t-shirt today on clearance and picked up a couple of nursing bras.

Rings on or off?  Still off :-(

Sleep: Had my first round of heartburn/reflux last night.  Yuck.  Otherwise, not much change or improvement in sleep.

Belly Button: Outie!

Exercise: Got up early and walked on the treadmill a few mornings before work. Still want to go swimming, but it rained every night the pool was open.  Bummer!

Food cravings: Potato chips and onion dip; pickles.

Movement: Lots of sloshing side to side and "barrel rolling".

Best moment of the week:  Cookout with friends Friday night!

Fun fact:  His bones are hardening.

Symptoms:  Heat rash, back pain, heartburn/reflex, puffy feet.

Mood?  Cranky and oversensitive, I hate to admit.

Salad Season Has Begun!

Farmer's Market is in full swing down here... we're enjoying some fresh veggies.  I came across a recipe in my Rachael Ray "Big Orange Book" while looking for a burger idea.

I changed a few things up, but stuck to the mayo-less idea.  I love that I can take this salad to a picnic or BBQ and not worry about it going bad in the heat.

It's zippy! And pretty!

Of course, if you don't like radish, you could always leave it out, but I think it really makes this dish.  The flavor is not overpowering at all.

It's a zesty combination of spring veggies... red (new) potatoes, radish, celery, and onion - tossed in a light honey and mustard vinaigrette dressing.

Add some spring to your table, y'all. This one's yummy.  Pop over to my recipage, here, for nutrition facts.  And enjoy!

Spring Potato Salad

by Raye
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: stove top salad side gluten-free vegetarian potato spring summer

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 2 lbs new potatoes
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 3 large (or 6 small) radishes
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 3-4 spring onions
  1. Wash and quarter the potatoes. Boil in a large saucepan until easy to pierce with a fork. Drain and put in a mixing bowl to cool.
  2. Chop the onions (spring onions are small - may use 1 medium yellow onion instead), celery and radishes. Combine with the cooled potatoes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Toss the dressing with the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
  4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 32

How far along? 32 weeks

Weight gain so far:  26 lbs.  

Baby is the size of:  A butternut squash

Maternity clothes?  Formalwear was a no-go for the play we went to this week... that's ok, though. Thankfully, I had a black dress that still fit.

Rings on or off?  Ugh.  Off. I've been a bit puffy this week. 

Sleep: Not so great, but I'm getting through it.  I wake up a lot.

Belly Button: Pretty much an outie.

Exercise:  Pilates twice, walked once.  And walked/hefted/sorted/arranged for 6 hours at my yard sale!

Food cravings:  Peanut Butter... and Chocolate... and Steak.

Movement: Bouncy, as per usual.
Going all cowgirl on you...

Best moment of the week:  After paying for breakfast, lunch, and a dinner date out, we still made over $100 at the yard sale.  Woohoo! 

Symptoms:  Sore back, knots in my neck and shoulders.  Puffy feet.

Mood?  Somewhat oversensitive.  

Blessings of the week: Great date night with my man!  Steakhouse and a Rodeo!

I learned ...  Tone matters!!!  That goes for conversation, as well as muscles...

Looking forward to: Hair appointment this week.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

30 Before 30 Update: April 2013 Edition

Here's an update on my 30 Before 30 list.  Read some great books this month! 

My fun book for the month was The Whitney Chronicles by Judy Baer.  It was an easy read...and hysterical, to boot.  The main character, Whitney, is bummed about being single and 30, when suddenly, she's being pursued by 3 eligible bachelors!  Throw in some challenges in her best friend's life, a menopausal mother and crazy office co-workers, and what's not to love? Along the way, Whitney learns some things about waiting on God's best for her life while not putting her life on hold in the meantime.  I felt it was a well written novel and very entertaining.  I must have laughed out loud a dozen times. 

I'm looking forward to the sequel... that's next month's fun book!
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