Friday Favs! Flowers, Family, Food.

Happy Friday!

Today I’m linking up with my girl, Katie for Friday Favorites!

1. Homemade lavender shea butter. I will post this recipe on the blog at some point!

homemade lavender shea butter

2. A day at the lake with family. We spent the day pontooning, playing games, and eating in the sunshine. It was so relaxing and baby bump got a lil’ dose of vitamin D!

dana and melanie 2014

3. Absolutely no food aversions to vegetables anymore. Gimme ALL the veggies!

chicken veggies quinoa

4. Flowers just because and despite my hormonal outbursts. 🙂

flowers

5. So this sandwich from Panera was definitely not a favorite of mine due to the serious lack of peanut butter, but, my favorite is that I wrote them an email (and posted on insta and twitter) to explain what happened and they sent me a gift card!

pb and j

6. Wicked and Disney stations on Pandora. My little guy gets to hear all different kinds of music. I toss in some Christian radio, soothing sounds, hip hop, country, today’s hits, etc. He gets a little taste of it all.

wicked pandora

7. Being asked to be a bridesmaid in Betsy’s wedding! The wine in the basket will have to wait a few more months though! 😉

bridesmaid basket

8. Baby kicks! I just can’t get enough.

Happy weekend to you all! Thanks Katie for hosting!

Friday Favorites

 

Nesting.

Oh, baby.

Baby is what’s on my mind 24/7 these days. I am now nearly 24 weeks and am realizing quickly how much I would like to do before baby is here. I also continue to remind myself that not everything needs to be done before baby arrives, but considering my personality, I would sure like it to be.

I have fallen knee-deep into nesting mode. Everything I touch in my home I must organize. I spend hours browsing google for the perfect organizers and nursery furniture, making sure to read reviews on everything as I go. I continue to build on my baby registry as I think of more and more things the baby might “need.” I want to clean and get upset when the house doesn’t stay clean. I make endless to-do lists. I’m not complaining though; I kind of like it. 🙂

I’m maybe a little crazy not to mention completely hormonal lately. I read a line from a book called The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy that my cousin lent to me (one of the hundreds of books I’m reading currently) that was just too perfect not to share:

“It’s as if your emotional engine is stuck at fourth gear and running full throttle all the time. You don’t build up to a feeling so much as arrive at it going ninety miles an hour. Worse yet, your brakes are no good and you’re not sure if the power steering works.”

At the beginning of pregnancy I didn’t feel the whole pregnancy mood swing thing; I even commented just a little over a week ago how I haven’t hardly cried at all. Clearly, I spoke to soon. It just comes out of nowhere. I’ll get super upset about something and then within ten minutes I will be laughing. I feel like I have no control over it but I am trying to be aware of it at least. These things are legit–they’re not just an excuse for us to be crazy I promise!

My family and friends are very patient with me.

To say I’m excited to be a mom would be the understatement of the year. I was born to be a mom. I grew up loving my baby dolls: feeding them, changing them, tucking them into bed, cuddling with them. I even remember holding them underneath my shirt pretending I was pregnant!

I am a nurturer and a lover and I am ecstatic to be able to smother this baby boy with love. I am already so in love.

Dana and I continue to dream of what are baby boy will be like. Ahhh the greatness that occupies my thoughts. 🙂

That’s all for today my friends. Have a fabulous day!

Odds and Ends

Hola my friends! How was your weekend?

Mine was really truly great however as always went by way too fast.

Our basement is almost finished and it is so exciting to see how it has all come together. We (okay, mostly Dana) spent a good chunk of the weekend continuing to work on the basement and move furniture downstairs. Our guest bedroom is officially moved downstairs which means that we can start working on the nursery upstairs now!

We also teamed up and tackled the weeds in the garden. That was a much-needed job and I am happy to report that all of our plants are doing well! We even had two sugar snap peas; one for each of us. They were crunchy and perfect.

Some other odds and ends…

I caved and bought some more maternity clothes. I tried to go with the basics this time around: dark jeans, shorts, black tee, white tee, long-sleeved grey tee, and I got a few other tops as well! Old Navy and Gap have great maternity wear!

melanie

Healing my gut is an ongoing journey, so I made myself another batch of bone broth soup to help soothe and heal. Making bone broth is quite the process in case you didn’t know! I made chicken bone broth but someday I want to make beef bone broth because i think I would enjoy it more (more flavor).

bone broth

I’ve been trying to be creative with foods again now that I am really into all foods again (no real aversions any more that I can think of). I threw together an old salad staple of mine with some minor adjustments based on what I had in the kitchen: spinach, strawberries, chicken, red onion, parmesan cheese, sliced almonds, and poppy seed dressing. I would have preferred feta cheese but we didn’t have any. And I should have added black beans and avocado. But it was still good.

strawberry salad

Dana and I made Saturday night date night and went to Punch pizza for my first time. They serve Neapolitan style pizza and eating their pizza seriously brought me back to our honeymoon in Italy. We got the margherita pizza with olives and mushrooms. We also split a really delicious salad.

pizza date night

The last odd and end:

About the same time I found out I was pregnant, I received a wonderful package from a company called Puro Fairtrade Coffee. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I stopped drinking caffeine. Not to mention, the thought of coffee made me queasy in the first trimester.

So there I was with three delicious bags of coffee beans along with a sweet little mug sitting in my home to review. I felt so bad I wouldn’t be able to review it myself but asked if it were okay that my husband review it instead, and they agreed that would be absolutely a-okay!

puro fairtrade coffee puro fairtrade coffee puro fairtrade coffee

Puro coffee

About Puro Fairtrade Coffee 

Puro Fairtrade Coffee comes from a company Miko, they are based in Belgium and are one of the oldest coffee roasters in the world (since 1801!). All coffee from Puro is Fairtrade, but uniquely, Puro works in partnership with a rainforest charity called World Land Trust and money from each bag of their coffee is used to buy and protect areas of rainforest in coffee producing countries.

Puro coffee sales to date, have funded the protection of more than 10,000 acres of rainforest across 6 countries.

Although I personally wasn’t able to taste-test the coffee as I gave up caffeine when I became pregnant, Dana, my husband was able to taste and review it for me. He just finished up the last of it a week ago. He really enjoyed the earthiness (but not TOO earthy), bold and rich flavor of the coffee. We both love that the company is fairtrade and feel great about supporting a company with so much compassion and heart.

Sustainability

Their roasting plant in Belgium was placed near to Antwerp, the world’s second largest coffee port and its roof is covered with solar panels providing for all electricity needs. Residual heat from the roasting process is re-directed to power underfloor heating throughout the factory and offices. Coffee chaff generated through roasting is given to local organic farmers for fertilizing their fields.

I love this!

Another partnership in the UK combines used coffee grounds from filter and espresso generated at key client sites with food waste, creating compost. Also….Puro’s coffee foils are even upcycled into bags, flower pots and dresses!

Video

Now you can see why this company is so great! To learn more about their story watch their video: http://vimeo.com/fairtradecoffee/our-story 

Online Shop

They have an online shop if you are interested in purchasing:  https://www.puroathome.com/

Okay, that’s enough randomness for one day. Have a good one! xoxo

My Pregnancy Must-Have Foods

Throughout pregnancy, my appetite has gone in waves of normal to crazy hungry, but most of the time I am pretty darn hungry.

My diet isn’t nearly as perfect as I’d like it to be…my latest craze is Mentos candies. I have a whole stash of them in my car. I’d like to eat more salmon and more salads. I’d like to say I’m not eating any processed sugar or any processed foods in general. I can’t say that though.

BUT, I am doing my best given the circumstances (food aversions, cravings, etc.) to nourish my body and baby with healthy foods, and that is still pretty good if you ask me.

Here are some of my must-have pregnancy foods I have been noshing on for the majority of the pregnancy.

Open face egg sandwich on gluten-free waffles. I fry an egg (making sure the yolk is cooked through), and place it on a gluten-free waffle with pepper jack cheese and mustard. So, so good.

egg sandwich

Greek yogurt sweetened with honey or maple syrup.

yogurt bowl

Burgers, steak….okay, beef.

burger

Pickles: as cliché as it is.

Raw cocoa bars or Larabars.

raw cocoa bars.jpg

Peanut butter on anything: toast, apples, celery, dates, spoon.

apple peanut butter

My favorite chocolate peanut butter ugly smoothie that I have evvverrrryyy morning. It’s so good I’m still not sick of it! Plus it’s a great way for me to get 2-3 servings of fruits and veggies into my day.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

Beans.

veggie burgers coleslaw beans

String cheese.

Berries. Cherries.

Cereal.

honey nut chex gluten free

Panera Bread…specifically their broccoli and cheese soup or chicken wild rice with whole grain baguette. OMG.

panera broccoli cheese soup

Quinoa.

thai chicken quinoa salad.jpg

 Baked potatoes.

cranberry BBQ chicken

Although I’m not SUPER into vegetables, I am still getting at least two servings a day, usually three.

Not too shabby, right?

Pregnant or not, what are your food must-haves?

Pregnancy Update: 20 weeks!

Wait, what?!

20 weeks! I’m halfway there!

I thought you all might be interested in a bit of an update from pregnant lil’ me.

First up: 20 week bump pic

pregnancy 20 weeks

Compared to 16 weeks

IMG_1220

Baby is now measuring about 10 ounces and 6.5 inches long about the length of a banana!

How am I feeling?

  • Very normal for the most part and really enjoying being pregnant!
  • I have days where I am insanely hungry (like yesterday) where no matter what I eat I still seem to be hungry, and then I have more normal days.  I always make sure to have snacks on hand; don’t want to embarrass myself by getting “hangry” in front of strangers.
  • Excited to start working on the nursery. I have some ideas as to how I want to decorate now! More on that later.
  • Yearning to start “nesting” and getting the house baby-fied.
  • Starting to look more pregnant and not just blubbery.
  • Anxious to start feeling movements.
  • Needing to get used to people noticing my bump now. I see them look at my face and then look at my belly. I don’t always feel like it’s that obvious but I guess it must be.
  • Super lovey dovey to this baby. I dream of what he looks like and what his personality will be like.

Discomforts 

I have to say I have been very lucky (knock on wood) with very minimal discomforts, but I few things I have been noticing lately…

  • Out of breath a whole lot easier, especially going up hills.
  • Stiff and achey body all over when I wake up in the morning. It loosens up as I get moving. I sleep with pillows all around me and in between my legs and I think that helps a bit.
  • Stretching and some round ligament pain. I actually welcome this! I love it because since I’m not feeling movement yet, it helps me to know baby is growing.
  • Calf cramps at night.

Again, NOT complaining!

Cravings?

No serious cravings except for I’m almost always up for a burger still. Lately, my sweet tooth has nearly taken over my savory tooth. I was hoping that this wouldn’t happen. I am still trying to control my sugar intake. It’s tough though. I’m trying to choose foods with natural sugar like dates with peanut butter or Greek yogurt with honey.

burger yogurt

Oh, and everytime I see a subway sandwich I drool a little. 😉

Aversions?

I can’t seem to get salmon down the hatch even when I make it my favorite way.

What I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks?

Feeling this boy move!

I am absolutely loving pregnancy. 🙂 Catch up with you again later gators!

Gender Reveal: It’s a….

I think I have finally absorbed all of the excitement from the gender reveal party last Sunday so that I am now able to share it with you all. It was the most incredible, exciting, and anticipated day.

Let’s talk about the food first because the food was just awesome. I decided to have a taco bar considering tacos are one of my favorite foods. I loved that I could do all of the prep before our guests arrived so that I could just relax while they were there.

We set up our bar area with the tortilla chips, tortillas, refried beans, and taco meat (I went with beef because that’s what I’ve been gravitating towards lately). We kept the beans and the meat in crockpots to keep them warm throughout the evening.

gender reveal

On the kitchen table I set out all of the condiments: onions, black olives, lettuce, jalepenos, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro.

taco bar

 

taco bar

 

When it was time to eat, everyone did their own thing and made their own tacos. It was perfect! The actual dinner portion of the party didn’t happen until after the gender reveal however, so this post is a little tweaked and out of order.

 

taco bar

I had zero appetite after our gender reveal because I was so hyped with adrenaline, so while I waited for it to arrive, I munched on some delicious desserts.

taco bar

Here is my plate of food that finally got eaten a couple hours after the reveal!

taco bar

Okay, now to the reveal…

IMG_1271

The ultrasound tech had written down the gender of our baby and put it in an envelope. I then gave the envelope to my girlfriend Stacy and asked her to do the honor of filling up a balloon with either blue or pink confetti depending on the gender of baby so that we could pop it on the day of the reveal. Needless to say she found the biggest, awesomest balloon in town! That big balloon stared me down until it was time to pop it!

Going into this, I really had no idea if baby was a boy or girl and I was SO ready to find out.

Dana and I both had our large safety pins and it took us a few minutes to get all settled in and ready.

gender reveal

gender reveal

 

We had our friends and family count down from three.

gender reveal

THREE……..TWO……..ONE……POPPPPPPP!

gender reveal gender reveal gender reveal gender reveal

 

gender reveal gender reveal gender reveal 2

 

We are having a BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The excitement of this moment was so unexplainable. Having so many of our dear family and friends with us as we all learned the gender of our baby was so special. The pregnancy began to feel more real at this point (well actually it wasn’t until the next day that it really sank in that we were having a boy but still).

Thank you so much to everyone for supporting us and celebrating with us. And a huge thank you to Stacy for taking care of getting the most important item of the day— that balloon!

We are so thrilled to prepare our home, lives, and hearts for a precious baby boy.

Pregnancy: Some of the Details

Hello! I am coming off of an insanely amazing weekend. Not only was it a long one, but we also got some super exciting news! More about that in a second.

First and foremost, I want to thank the incredible men and women who serve and protect our country and those who have served in the past. Thank you for your courage, strength, and dedication. Thank you for allowing us to live freely.

In case you may have missed it, I made an exciting announcement on Friday and then I left you all hanging and waiting for the details. It’s time I fill you in on the some of the details of my pregnancy.

When did we find out?

We found out just before we left for our vacation to London and Paris. I had a midwife appointment and I mentioned that there was a slight possibility that I could be pregnant. We both decided that it would be nice for me to know before going to Europe (not that this would change our travel plans) just so I could know to stay away from the champagne, unpasteurized cheeses, undercooked meats, etc. She sent me down to the lab to run a blood test and a few hours later we found out that sure enough we were pregnant!

This is something we have been wanting for a very long time so we were ecstatic to learn the news.

Finding food to eat in Europe was a bit challenging as they don’t pasteurize many of their milks and cheeses or juices. Also, we read that they don’t often wash their produce so I stayed clear of that in restaurants where I couldn’t go rinse it off. I don’t know if any of this is 100% accurate, but we didn’t want to take the risk. Of course we were also dealing with a bit of a language barrier. We learned how to ask for our meats well-done and of course skipped out on the champagne and wine. It was all good though! But I was very happy that I knew that I was pregnant so that I didn’t have to find out later and then worry about all of the things I ate or drank that I maybe shouldn’t have.

 

 

french onion soup

I allowed myself to eat the cheese only if I knew it was scorching hot!

How far along am I?

I am 16, almost 17 weeks. My estimated due date is November 7th/8th.

How have I been feeling?

I can honestly say that I am one of the lucky ones who hasn’t had to deal with morning sickness (knock on wood). I felt nauseous every once in a while in the first trimester but nothing that would send me running to the bathroom.

I was pretty fatigued in the first trimester and would be heading to bed around 8:30 on most nights.

How is my appetite? Any cravings or aversions?

This is a question I love to talk about because it’s food related, duh. In the first trimester, I feel like I could only eat small amounts before getting full. I was starting to notice that when I got hungry I really needed to eat stat. Towards the end of the first trimester and beginning of the second, my appetite went into high drive and I was hungry all of the time and was able to start eating normal sized meals again. Today, I find it best to eat smaller meals and then a few snacks. It sits best with my tummy. I feel my appetite has normalized a little bit, but I am still eating more than I was pre-pregnancy.

Cravings: I was talking to Dana about this one, because I wasn’t too sure if I was truly having any real “cravings.” But then he mentioned how I asked him to pick me up a bag of potato chips and how I had to go get myself a burger one night and then I remembered that yea, I have had a couple cravings. I just don’t get the cravings where I ABSOLUTELY MUST EAT the particular item or I will go crazy. Things just sound good to me and if I can eat them great, if not, that’s okay. I try to go with them because I feel like it’s my body telling me I need something. Chips= sodium. Burger = iron and protein. I have been wanting salty/spicy foods more so than sweet which is odd for me. I have been wanting more red meat than any other meat protein. Another strange one for me.

 

 

taco salad

Aversions: During the first trimester, the thought or smell of chili and coffee made me woozy. Also, chicken in general just wasn’t on my radar. I found that I had a hard time finding foods to eat that sounded or tasted good so often times we would make a meal, I would eat one bite and then have to go make something else because I couldn’t stomach it. Gluten-free pasta was pretty comforting to me. Annie’s mac n’ cheese came to my rescue a few times.

Since the first trimester I feel I am pretty much able to eat anything. My diet is more or less back to my pre-pregnancy diet with tons of fruits and veggies, almond milk, protein (red meat mostly, peanut butter, almond butter, cottage cheese, chicken, fish, beans), whole grains (I have been eating some gluten and seem to be tolerating it well, but still mostly sticking to gluten-free) like quinoa, brown rice tortillas, popcorn, oatmeal, etc. Larabars have been my go-to mid morning snack.

Will I be finding out the gender?

YES! I actually already know it! That’s what all the excitement was about this weekend. We hosted a get together with friends and family which included our gender reveal. We found out at the same time that all of our friends and family found out through a giant balloon popping. The excitement was off the charts! You will have to wait a bit to learn the gender. Any guesses?

moose gender reveal balloons gender reveal balloon

The answer was inside of this balloon!

The bump

I hadn’t decided if I was going to share this or not but I know that when I am reading pregnancy announcements and updates that I LOVE to see the sweet bump updates…soooooo. I am doing this for all of you.

baby bump week 16 pregnancy

I am adjusting to the changes in my body and accommodating my growing bod with elastic waistbands. I am still able to get into some of my normal jeans though! I have yet to purchase a single piece of maternity clothing. I was very fortunate to have a girlfriend who gave me a ton of maternity clothes! This just  means more money to spend on baby! 🙂

Rent the Runway decision

The reason I decided not to go with rent the runway for the upcoming wedding is because I wasn’t confident that the dresses would fit my growing belly. They were SO adorable but I just wasn’t comfortable with it. I have found two dresses since then and have two more to try on from a friend, so I should be set now.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I am so excited to share this excitement with all of you! I will check in from time to time with some more updates!

Gender guesses?! BOY OR GIRL??!