Been Awhile

This cupcake has nothing to do with this post, I’m just hungry ūüôā¬†Image

I haven’t posted in several days, mainly because I’ve been given the okay from the doc to resume almost all of my normal activities. She still didn’t recommend I go to work. Basically, I’m far enough along now, that we’re good to go if we have it! I was ecstatic to be able to get back into getting ready for baby mode. Perfect timing too. I just had my shower and I need to organize all this stuff I got. Funny thing about showers, everyone wants to get you cutesy things. When all is said and done, there is still so much I need to get before the baby comes. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the¬†adorable¬†outfits, fluffy critters and fun books but I won’t really need a lot of them right away. What I do need is a changing table, baby bath stuff, a crib…and so on. Also my husband and I just bought our very first brand new car. We needed something with four doors. It was time to upgrade out of my POS, highschooler, 2 door, pontiac sunfire and into a real grown up, 4 door that we can get the car seat in out of easily. We went with the Chevy Cruze. So exciting! But now we don’t have any money. So I’m desperately searching craigslist and the like for decent furniture and such. Back to surfing!

Wishful Pinteresting

So I love pinterest. So many ideas and now I have all the time in the world to imagine that I’m going to do them. That’s just it though. I know deep down, the reality is a lot of these ideas are just wishful pinning. I probably won’t turn the side of my house into a rock climbing wall for my kids, or tile my kitchen floor in pennies, but darn it doesn’t that sound neat?! I’d like to think that one day I’d have the time and ambition and get to work making some of the ideas a reality. Aside from a few recipes and a craft or two, nothing major has come to fruition from my pinterest boards. So I thought I’d share some ideas that are probably never going to happen and the ones I’ve done and are tried and true.

Yeah, not gonna happen:

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The infamous rock climbing wall. Pretty genius. Our current house won’t do but maybe when the money comes in we’ll pick out a new that will work just for this idea!

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That is neat, but oh so tedious. Maybe before I was pregnant I could collect that many wine corks but now not so much.

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How funny would this be? Pretty sure the husband wouldn’t do it though :/ Not sure if I’ll be feeling up to convincing him either.

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If I could do this I would be in the cake business!

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How adorable! Maybe if the kids were old enough to help build it….

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we have the attic and enough books but I don’t know if it would ever be a priority…

Turns out I’ve actually done a lot:

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I actually haven’t quite finished mine. But it’s a great idea for all those cards you don’t really want to just throw away. I made mine with all the wedding cards we got. I used a decoupaged foam board for a front/back cover. The one thing that’s tricky with this is some of the cards I had were quite thick and using a simple hole punch was very difficult. This is kinda why I’ve stalled in progress to finishing. I was getting hand cramps. No seriously!

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I made this for the super bowl this year. It is very rich and super cheesy. I served it with slices of crusty baguette bread. It was a hit.

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This is another yummy and healthy dish. Quinoa is all the rage these days and for good reason. Full of protein and other goodness. If you read the recipe, the person who made it before took some liberties with the ingredients as did I. It’s a stir fry after all so you can do whatever you like really. What made it all come together for me was a generous amount of chipotle powder.

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This was a free image you could print from the internet. My husband and I own a tandem bike and took for a long trip from our place in NY to New Port, KY. So this was perfect for our reception. We left the picture out for the guests with some typed/ framed instructions. Worked out well, people decided to add their initials to their finger prints. At first I was annoyed because it wasn’t in the instructions, but it turns out it’s nice to know who’s fingerprints were there.

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Technically I didn’t do this. My friend did it for me on my hair for my wedding day. It turned out great! She said it wasn’t too difficult as long as you’re decent at braiding.

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Zucchini noodles! Yummy and healthy. It’s tedious slicing the zucchini nice and thin but the taste is worth it. You can do with it what you do with most noodles. I thought it was pretty good with a lil olive oil, s&p, and parmesan cheese.

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Make this! It’s especially good for warmer weather. Lemony chex mix. It’s sweet and refreshing! Very simple.

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This is actually my picture. I got married on a beach in Hawaii (had a reception later back home). I embellished some cheap Old Navy flip flops for me and my bridesmaids. They were cute and easy, mine had the biggest flowers so they looked a lot like slippers. Not exactly what I was going for but they worked.

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Oreo cookie truffles, very tasty! Not at all healthy. It was fairly easy to make. Just smash oreos and mix with cream cheese and roll into little balls. Then you roll them in melted chocolate. They were a hit at the super bowl this year.

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I did this at my wedding reception at my husbands family lake house. So easy! You just blow up the balloon a little, insert a glow stick, finish blowing it up and attach fishing line to a rock or something heavy to anchor it. Then when it gets dark, just crack the sticks. Much cheaper alternative to water glow things you can buy.

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I mentioned these in a previous post. It’s just mashed bananas, eggs and blueberries. Very healthy and quite tasty. Tough to flip but not impossible. A few of mine turned out a little dark but weren’t burnt.

Blankets Galore

ImageSo basically since we announced we were doing the baby thing, blankets have been pouring in. Both my husband and I have had our parents dump off several baby blankets that we used to have, on top of making us fresh new ones for the little one. I was thinking about crocheting one myself (that’s about all I’m good at making) but it’ll just be too many. I hear great grandma is working on one as well. I also have a friend who’s thing is making baby blankets for people. I just don’t know where we’re going to store them all.

It seems so funny to me that this little person who isn’t even born yet already has things. In addition to blankets, we’ve gotten cute little gifts, used baby clothes and some of the gifts for my shower from guests who can’t make it have started showing up at the door. My shower is this weekend and I can’t imagine how much stuff we’re going to have. I didn’t ask for any clothes on my registry since I figured people would do that on their own. Also since we don’t know the sex yet, I imagine once people find out, little gender appropriate gems will be flooding in.¬†

I keep thinking that I need to limit the amount stuff the baby has. I’m trying hard to get rid of a lot of the stuff we have right now in preparation for the newest addition. I don’t want the house filled with toys and clothes and gadgets that never get used. Of course, that’s not to say that I’m not grateful for what we have. I just want to make sure we don’t run out of room in a relatively small home.¬†

 

Green Thumb Blues

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Since I’ve been rendered less mobile these days, some things have been neglected. Namely, my yard. It is torture to be home all day, see the sun shining and things struggling to grow amidst the brown, decayed plant life from last year. Now I’m no green thumb by any means and I usually end up doing the bare minimum with plants. My philosophy is that if it’s outside, mother nature can take care of the water and the sunshine. This has served me fairly well, and I’ve been able to cultivate plenty of mini tomatoes, peppers and herbs. I also only ‘care’ for plants that are going to give me something in return like veggies.

This is the time of year however, when I would almost take on the role of gardener. Before everything becomes over grown with gross weeds, I get out there and clean it all up. This year I was considering pulling out these lovely snap dragons along the house and just laying down covering and rocks. I’m a minimalist but I want it to look nice and I figured I wouldn’t have the time to keep them looking good. They grow so big and crazy so fast. I’d ask my mother-in-law to help but she’s done so much already and she has two yards to keep up herself (really 2 and a half when you count her mother’s next door). They have a cottage on a lake upstate that she works hard making beautiful curb appeal. My husband managed to clean up some of the yard but he’s had to put his energies into the baby’s room, especially since there’s a chance little Jonesy might make an early debut. So I did a little googling to find some low¬†maintenance¬†ideas if someone is willing to help a momma out or for when I get back on my feet. I came across this great site that has exactly 5,422 low maintenance ideas. Check it out:¬†http://www.houzz.com/low-maintenance-landscaping-ideas/p/16¬†Sounds like there’s something in here for everyone.

Here are some that would work for my small yard –

… too much concrete for little ones?

Peanut Butter and Other Cravings

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Throughout most of my pregnancy I haven’t really been craving anything in particular. I was always confused by this craving idea, because all my life I’ve ‘craved’ foods. I love food and often crave different things. Pregnancy has been no different. As I start my 34th week of human cultivating, I’ve been noticing my cravings are getting a little out of control. I think this is due in part to my new diet of almost no sugar. The doc says I’m growing a big one and if I don’t want a ten pounder I need to lay of the sweet stuff. So what do I crave? EVERYTHING sweet and especially peanut butter. I’ve always had a fondness for it but now it’s all I can think about! My husband isn’t on this lovely diet with me which me makes it that much harder, watching him sip milkshakes and grape soda. He keeps reminding me that I won’t be pregnant forever. Easy for him to say!

So with my internet research, I’ve come up with some quite tasty alternatives to my typical sugary breakfasts and carb filled lunches and dinners. I thought I’d share how I get by for those that might be in a similar situation.

Breakfasts:

PB OATMEAL & YOGURT – 1 serving of plain Greek Yogurt mixed with 1 serving of plain Quaker oatmeal and 2 tbsp of Smucker’s all natural peanut peanut butter. It is soooo good and only 9 g of sugar for the whole thing! They key here is that there is no sugar listed in the ingredients for any of these things!

SIMPLE FRUIT & EGGS – 1 whole grape fruit and 2 eggs scrambled with a dollop of goat cheese on the eggs. No butter, no salt. No sugar on the grapefruit (something I used to do but not anymore!) Pretty filling and the grapefruit adds the sweet kick with out refined white sugar.

BANANA PANCAKES – No really, pancakes made with just smashed bananas and eggs. No flour or sugar here! They’re tough to flip but not impossible. Add blueberries and/or cinnamon for fun. They don’t need syrup, I promise. But if you must indulge try honey or real maple syrup instead of the high fructose alternatives.

Lunch:

Tropical Chicken Salad – White chunk chicken breast from a can, mixed with a couple of tbsp of Hellman’s light mayo, slivered nuts (almonds typically or whatever’s on hand), sliced grapes and a hint of coconut extract. This is great on a whole wheat pita (Wegman’s makes some delicious ones that always stay moist somehow).

SPICY EGG SALAD – Hard boiled eggs mashed with a couple of tbsp of Hellman’s light mayo and chipotle mustard. Simple and tasty. Again, this goes great on the pitas.

ROMAINE SALAD – Romaine is tasty and much better for you than see through ice burg. Add some fresh broccoli, bell pepper and avocado and now we’re talking. Sometimes I’ll throw in a hard boiled egg. I’ve been using a marinade as a dressing (shh! don’t tell). It’s from Wegman’s again, called Organic Lemon and Garlic Marinade. It’s one of the few out there with very little sugar, it is kinda high in fat though so still stick to the 2 tbsp serving size.

Dinner: 

QUINOA STIR FRY – Cook up some quinoa and then toss into the wok with bell pepper, spinach, garlic, broccoli, onion (whatever veggies you have on hand), add some soy sauce and a generous amount of chipotle powder. This is a satisfying dinner and Quinoa is so good for you. Go google it if you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard of it.

Snacks:

mixed nuts, clementines or mandarin oranges, kiwi, grapes, hummus and breton 8 grains and seeds crackers

*Got a lot of these ideas on pinterest…check it out!*

Blessed if I do, blessed if I don’t

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This is how I see working full time next school year. I bet a lot of families out there struggle with the decision to work or stay home. I feel pretty lucky with the options I have. Of course, I hear that when you hold that newborn in your arms every¬†preconceived¬†notion of everything melts away. Until then, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m gonna do.

Currently I am a certified elementary teacher subbing in several local school districts. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to do a long term sub this year and really get my foot in the door. I am also fortunate enough to have a wonderful mother in law just up the hill who has coincidentally decided to retire this year! She has told us she would be willing to babysit a few times a week and this would work out perfectly if I am only subbing. I can ease back into work and sub about three times a week. I’ll have this whole summer with my husband to get used to motherhood and bond with my little Jonesy.

I was inspired to write this post just now because I received an invitation to interview at one of the only school districts in the area I know of that is hiring for an elementary teacher. The chances of me getting this interview were pretty slim. I’ve never subbed there, I’ve never held a full time teaching position and there are tons of certified teachers in the area looking for jobs. So when I got the invitation I was ecstatic! Then I got to thinking, what if I actually get a job next school year? Being a first year teacher will be tough. Being a first time mom and teacher will be quite a challenge. And then there’s the 45 minute commute to boot. Now this is my dream, my career and my ambition so I am all for the challenge. It will mean a better standard of living for our family. In this job market, I simply can’t afford to turn down a full time position. We’ll have to see what’s out there for daycare, either to supplement the days my mother in law isn’t available or to send our bambino/a full time to daycare. If I don’t get the job, that’s all the more time I can spend raising my baby and easing back into work. Subbing is pretty perfect, since I don’t have to take a job if I don’t want to. There’s always the chance that another long term sub opportunity could arise or even a full time position. So truly I think I have the best of both worlds, that’s what I’ll be telling myself if I don’t get hired. ūüėČ

Hospital Shmospital

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I didn’t have a chance to post yesterday because I spent the day in the hospital. Everything is ok, just some overly cautious medical staff. I’ve been on a sort of bed rest deal this past week because I keep having contractions. They are so mild that I didn’t even realize that’s what they were a week ago. Well when I went in for my appointment yesterday I had been having quite a few of them and I mentioned it to the lady doing the sonogram. Next thing you know I’m off to the hospital and hooked up to the non-stress test machine. I spent 7 hours there, having a good amount of contractions. Fortunately there were no changes and I wasn’t in or about to go in active labor so they finally freed me. But not until the official doctor on call checked me out. Well of course he’s at a neighboring hospital delivering a baby. That’s why I was there so long. But in the end, everything was good and he even said I don’t have to be on strict bed rest any more! YAHOO! That was music to my ears. He mentioned things like, ‘light cooking’ was ok, and I didn’t have to be restricted to one floor. Basically I just need to take it very easy and not do anything strenuous. So now I can get back on the nesting train and have a little more peace of mind about the arrival of baby Jones!¬†