36 Weeks Pregnant!

It’s that time again. Time for a lil’ bump update!

I am now 36 weeks pregnant. Next week, at 37 weeks, baby is no longer considered pre-term. It’s amazing to think that he could present himself to the world at any moment. He could on the other hand, choose to wait another 4 weeks. We will see won’t we?!

36 weeks pregnant

At 36 weeks, baby’s average weight is about 6 lbs and length is 20 inches long. Most of his systems are fully developed, and he is continuing to plump up and build up his baby fat. Bring on the baby rolls. There’s nothing better!

Watching how the body changes and grows during pregnancy is one of the weirdest, most miraculous things. To actually think that there is a little human growing inside of me right now is beyond me. I am supporting a life. With every bit of food that goes into my mouth I think of the baby. It’s been strange seeing the changes happening: seeing my bump grow, my legs get thicker, and seeing my weight go up. It’s strange, but it’s lovely. Do I miss my non-maternity clothes? Of course I do, I’m only human, but I know that some day I will be wearing them again. For now, I am trying to embrace the bump.

So how am I feeling, you might be wondering?

Mentally…

It’s hard to focus on anything but the baby at this point. Mentally I feel my brain is a bit scrambled. I am still able to work just fine but notice myself making lots of little mistakes that I’m not used to making. This could be due to some serious lack of sleep also.

Mentally I feel I have prepared myself for birth as much as possible. I am fully aware that labor and delivery in regards to your own “birth preferences” can alter in an instant and that has to absolutely be okay. What is important is that baby and mom are both healthy in the end. I have heard horror stories, I have heard incredible stories also, and I choose to remember the good stories and focus on those rather than letting fear get the best of me.

Physically…

You know what? I really can’t complain a whole lot. I feel very lucky to have felt this good throughout pregnancy. I’m slowing down a little bit but still going pretty strong. I walk nearly every day and continue to do my yoga stretches daily. I am getting stronger Braxton Hicks contractions that feel like menstrual cramps and that sometimes radiate to my back. This is perfectly normal and it’s my body practicing for the real deal. At night I am waking 6-8 times either to go to the bathroom or just to switch sides due to discomfort. So yes, lots of broken-up sleep. Again, my body is preparing me for what’s to come. :smile:

Other pregnancy symptoms I’ve noticed: clumsiness, forgetfulness, increased hunger (and yet some days I feel my appetite is completely normal), some mild swelling, dramatic mood swings, hot flashes, super hot hands, and nesting.

 Eats

What’s been tickling my fancy these days?

  • I am still drinking my chocolate peanut butter smoothie EVERYDAY. I still can’t believe it.
  • I’m still really into burgers but am also branching out a lot!
  • I have been wanting more fresh veggies and salads lately, so that’s good!

veggies and almond butter with craisins

  • My sweet tooth is pretty much insane. Chocolate and ice cream are dear friends of mine right now and I am okay with that.

Pearl Street Brewery Ice Cream

  • I’m eating three meals a day (usually smaller meals) and 2-3 snacks. My favorite bedtime snack is still Greek yogurt with honey.

Greek Yogurt

Let’s see, what else?

We have our last shower on Saturday! After that we will do some shopping and get anything else we feel we will need. Overall though we are feeling very ready.

I’ve left my wedding rings off because they were getting too snug for comfort and I know too many people who have had to have their bands cut off. Yikes.

How about I stop there? I could go on all day about all of the excitement I’m feeling. There is just so much anticipation!

Check in with you all later gators!

State Fair Food & Home-Cooked Meals

Well, hello! It’s time for a little what I ate link up with Jenn! As always, thanks for hosting!

Are you ready for these eats? Let’s start with some from the state fair.

We got to the fair early to get to LuLu’s for some gorilla bread (like monkey bread—gooey caramely pull apart bread). We got in line and as we were waiting the guy behind me said that they are out of gorilla bread. WHAT?! That is what I was most looking forward to eating at the fair! But life goes on….

Runner-up was mini doughnuts, which truly shouldn’t even be considered runner-up because they were so darn good. The little warm gems melted in my mouth and were thoroughly enjoyed.

mini doughnuts

Caramel apple ice cream. It was really good but not something I would probably get again.

caramel apple ice cream

Fried pickles and cream cheese, aka a pregnant girl’s dream food. These were my favorite thing I ate at the fair!

fried pickles state fair 2014

Not pictured: chocolate malt, pretzel cheese curds, and a salted nut rolls. EVERYTHING was shared and we walked 7 miles while we were there. Yes, I’m justifying my calorie and fat intake. #yolo

I can promise you these foods haven’t become part of my normal diet.

Now let’s talk about home-cooked meals.

I actually have been cooking a bit around here. I am really aching for fall weather and have been making comfort meals despite the warm weather.

Tacos. Tacos are seriously so quick and easy to put together and just so amazing.

tacos

Deconstructed burger made with beef, quinoa, black beans, onion powder, Worcestershire, and salt and pepper. They were supposed to be burgers but completely fell apart. I melted Muenster cheese on top. I realize it’s not a purdy picture, but it was super good!

deconstructed burger

Beef and veggie lasagna with spinach, onions, and mushrooms. Delish.

lasagna

And the grand finale….homemade turkey breast and homemade mashed potatoes and gravy! Oh yes I did. Thanksgiving meal is my FAVORITE meal. Who says you can only eat it one time a year?

turkey mashed potatoes

Although there hasn’t been a ton of recipe creation happening over here, I am at least managing to get myself back in the kitchen once again! Can I get a whoop whoop for that?!

What’s your favorite comfort meal?

Have you ever tried fried pickles?!

Carbolicious

Alright Becky, I’m linking up with you again today for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

This weekend I treated myself to LOTS of family time! I went dress shopping with my “second family,” had lunch with Dana’s parents on Saturday, and saw my parents and a bunch of family at my cousin’s wedding reception on Sunday! I loved every second of it. No wonder I was exhausted on Sunday night and yesterday! That, and it was 90 plus degrees and crazy humid.

I treated myself to a Shirley Temple (aka kiddie cocktail). I love that the bartender made it fancy for me and didn’t forget to put maraschino cherries in there. That is the best part!

shirley temple

We treated ourselves to some Indian food. We ordered chicken tikka masala and a cauliflower dish. It didn’t stand a chance to our Indian meal in London, but it was still good! Oh, and I love naan!

indinan food

 

We made a stop at Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream this weekend. The Nicollet pothole flavor is absolutely insane. I also got salted caramel which was really good. The last time I had Sebastian Joe’s was when I was meeting up with a bunch of bloggers in April 2013! That was the first time I met Katie and Becky!

sebastian joes

 

Yesterday I treated myself to all of the carbs. That is seriously all I wanted. I ate cereal, pb and j, a sandwich thin with laughing cow and cucumbers, watermelon, grapes….I couldn’t stop! I must have been tired if my body was craving such an abundance of carbs. Clearly I haven’t been following gluten-free too closely lately.

 

pb j

 

I treated myself to some couch time; some lazy time. I gotta soak up those moments while I have the chance right?!

I treat myself to (nearly) daily walks. Sometimes the walks are forced, but I am still doing it! I am finding it more comfortable to walk on my treadmill because I know I am closer to the bathroom (to be perfectly honest).

How did you treat yourself this week?

What does your body crave when it’s tired?

Some Favs from the Week!

I don’t usually say this, but this week seemed to last forrrrever. Forevvvver (name that movie). I am thrilled that today is Friday and I have a super fun weekend planned!

Although this work week seemed slow, there was a lot of fun that was had. I am linking up with Katie’s Friday Favorites. Let’s get this rolling.

Speaking of rolls, I enjoyed a cinnamon roll and coffee while catching up with my dear friend Haley. She is now a mama and her and I had lots to discuss as I prepare for this baby’s arrival!

coffee and cinnamon roll

An omelette made by Dana definitely makes my Friday Fav’s. It was loaded with veggies and topped with homemade salsa.

omelette

Finding new ways to use essential oils. This makes me oh so happy. Here’s the link to my post on my oil blog for carpet freshener: Freshen and Purify Your Carpets

essential oils carpet purifier

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes made by mi mama in honor of my brother Kevin’s birthday. That was one heckuva birthday meal request that I am thankful for! SOOOO good! It’s everything baby wanted. Homemade mashed potatoes made me super excited for Thanksgiving too!

meatloaf

Happy Birthday, Kevi!!

kevin melanie kevin and melanie and dana

 

Building excitement for my state fair visit. This is one I really want to try!

state fair food

Dinner with old friends at Peoples Organic. I got the Peoples Best Veggie Burger and neglected to take a photo of the actual burger due to being overly hungry and absorbed in conversation, but it was pretty, and it was tasty!

people's organic

Another favorite this week is imagining baby smiling inside. Now (at 29 weeks) is the time that they start to smile!

I’ll have to update you with a bump photo soon. Baby and mama are growing like crazy!

Happy Friday my friends!

Friday Favorites

A Friendly Weekend

It’s catch up time! How has everyone been?

My weekend was filled with so much fun that I just had to share.

Thursday: Katie and her cutie son Luke came over to my house with Panera and we enjoyed super good food and even better company. It was so good to see Katie (and Luke too!). I haven’t seen her since March! That’s not okay!

Friday:  Friday night was super chill. We got some stuff done around the house if I’m remembering correctly. Oh, and I made a delicious chicken teriyaki stir-fry.

stir fry

Saturday: We got to meet our friend’s new baby boy (!!), and then got together with a group of friends for a pool party! The sun was out for the first half and then went away. That was probably a good thing though since my since my skin is uber sensitive these days.

Once we got home I was completely wiped. I rested for an hour or so before getting ready for the night…

It was high school reunion time!

melanie 27 weeks

We met up with a group of friends at the Red Cow restaurant in Minneapolis.

red cow

We split an order of the caramel bacon puffcorn and OMG I would go back just for that stuff. I really do want to go back again some day because their burgers looked amazing. I didn’t get a burger because I had one for lunch and was trying to give baby some more variety and more veggies.

red cow caramel bacon puffcorn

So I opted for the Asian Chicken Salad.

red cow salad

It was good but not the best ever. Oh well you can’t win them all. I still want to go back.

Next up, the reunion at the Urban Eatery in Minneapolis. I was so excited to see my girls and my guys! This was one of the few photos I took the entire night. That’s a good sign I would say. :smile:

melanie amanda julie kate

It was a lot of fun minus the fact that it was really warm in the room we were in and Mrs. Preggo here was really sweating buckets. I was downing water like it was my job.

On Sunday, we celebrated an upcoming wedding with a couple’s shower for two of our friends who live in California. We ate insanely good food: quiche, monkey bread (which is my FAVORITE), yogurt parfaits, orange juice and ginger ale. Delicious.

It was a fabulous weekend full of friends! I loved it!

I am linking up with Becky‘s Treat Yourself Tuesday because I definitely treated myself to some tasty food and lots of friend time this weekend!

What is your favorite sweet breakfast treat?

I am torn between monkey bread and cinnamon rolls with lots of icing. I can go for a good doughnut from time to time too!

Raw Cocoa Bars

Thank you for all of the sweet comments in reply to my last few posts! In case you missed them:

Beautiful Changes
Pregnancy: Some of the Details
Gender Reveal: It’s a…

We are so excited to know that we are having a boy and are dreaming about what he will look like, what his personality will be like, and what his interests will be! I’m also having a really good time starting to think about how I want to decorate the baby room.

I have baby on my mind all the time….but one must still eat and function on a day-to-day basis. :smile:

Yesterday I was a busy girl in the kitchen. Along with baking GF bread, and prepping fruits and veggies, I also put together a super tasty, fudgy, chocolaty bar. This bar is refined sugar-free, raw, and perfectly healthy! It’s great as a snack or even a dessert.

raw cocoa bars.jpg

There are only four ingredients involved in this bar:

  1. Dates
  2. Almonds
  3. Walnuts
  4. Raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder such as Hershey’s)

raw cocoa bars raw cocoa bars raw cocoa bars

They are so easy and so delicious. I ate three yesterday and wanted to keep going back. What I love about making my own bars is that I can make them in whatever sizes I wish. I like to make them in a variety of sizes because you never know when you might need just a mini pick-me-up or a more substantial one!

Raw Cocoa Bars
Print
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted almonds (I used raw)
  • ¼ cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1 cup dates (pits removed)
  • 3 Tbsp. raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder such as Hershey's)
Instructions
  1. In food processor, add almonds and walnuts and process until they resemble wet sand texture; pour into small bowl and set aside.
  2. Add dates to food processor. Process until mixture begins to form a ball, and pieces are small.
  3. Add nut mixture and cacao powder into food processor with the dates. Process until combined; about 1 minute.
  4. Form combined mixture into bars or balls using your hands and store in air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (they last longer but they start to get hard).

There you have it! You don’t have to get the oven going, they are easy, AND they are healthy. There’s no reason not to make these cute lil’ guys!

Happy Monday my friends!

Mother’s Day, Spring Rolls, & Smores Cookies

Happy Mama’s Day! I realize I am a day late but every day should be mother’s day anyway, right? :smile:

I hope you all had a great weekend! Mine was great as always. Here is my quick little recap for you all to enjoy.

Breakfast at Jensen’s Cafe. I got the usual: eggs, potatoes, pancakes (with their AMAZING caramel syrup) and fruit. I left feeling slightly stuffed. Dana and I had a few errands to run and it felt great to walk after this big meal.

breakfast at Jensen's Cafe Saturday involved a lot of house work, yard work, and relaxation in the evening.

Oh, not to mention this dinner. Homemade spring rolls with peanut sauce and shrimp. I added quinoa to the rolls and instead of putting peanut sauce inside of the roll I just used it as a dip instead. NUM!

spring rolls and shrimp

spring rolls and shrimp

 

On Sunday I met my mama for our annual Race for the Cure tradition.

race for the cure 2014

For you locals, Julie Nelson and Jerrid Sebesta from Kare 11 were at the race start. Local celebs!

race for the cure 2014

 

Mom and I after finishing the walk. We love our mother-daughter tradition! I love her so much.

mom and melanie race for the cure 2014

We spend the afternoon out at my parent’s new house. It backs up to a lake and has the most gorgeous view. We all enjoyed kicking back and hanging out while celebrating mama’s day!

I made these cookies which were a huge hit: Four Ingredient Smores Cookies

Dana and I hit up the grocery stores on the way home, finished a few more things around the house, and then crashed.

Another great mother’s day weekend to go down in the books!

How was your weekend? 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

This ugly-looking smoothie deserves some major recognition. I’ve mentioned my favorite smoothie over and over, but I’ve never dedicated an entire to post to it. Considering I eat this smoothie at least 4-5 times a week, it’s time to give it some credit.

I’m talking about my chocolate peanut butter smoothie that I eat for breakfast. It tastes like a peanut butter chocolate shake except it’s wayyyyyy healthier.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie.jpg

 

It’s smooth, creamy, sweet, chocolatey, and knocks my socks off.

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

I’m not one to measure ingredients when I’m making smoothies, but I will do my best to share what I think are the approximate measurements for each ingredient. Feel free to play around with it though!

chocolate peanut butter smoothie

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 handfuls frozen kale (approximately 1 cup?)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter
  • 1 heaping spoonful of ground flaxseed
  • almond milk (as much as you need to cover the ingredients

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed above. I use the personal-size cups in my Ninja Ultima Blender and it is perfect.
  2. Blend until smoothie.
  3. Enjoy right away!

It’s as easy as that! I always feel good about getting some fruits and veggies in right away in the morning! It’s a great way to start the day.

QOTD: What are your current go-to breakfasts?

An Incredible Easter Weekend

This weekend flew by way too fast. No, wayyyyyyyy too fast.

We had two Easter celebrations: Saturday with Dana’s family and Sunday with my family. We ate very well all weekend enjoyed so much great company and lots of laughs.

Saturday

I brought this fabulous pear salad that turned out just as good this time as it did last time I made it.

pear salad

We had ham, cheesy vegetables, roasted potatoes…

Easter ham and cheesy vegetables

IMG_0966

 

And refreshing key lime pie. Everything was excellent!

 

key lime pie

 

Then we cozied ourselves on the couch and all hung out together as it rained outside.

moose

Easter celebration #1 = success.

Sunday

On Sunday we headed to church with my family. I love Easter service. It is so bright and uplifting!

dana and melanie

Then we headed back to mom and dad’s for Easter goodies….

Easter basket

And another absolutely amazing meal: ham, asparagus with cheese, cheesy potatoes, deviled eggs, pickles, olives, and fruit salad.

Easter 2014

And for dessert I made homemade lemon bars with ZERO refined sugar (minus the frozen yogurt alongside the bar).

I made the crust from this recipe:  crust

The gooey lemon bar part from this recipe: bar

lemon bars

 

They turned out so delicious! I didn’t miss the white sugar AT ALL!

We spent quite a bit of time outside yesterday because it was in the 70’s! It felt amazing to have the sun on my skin. Yay for spring!

Easter celebration #2 = success.

It was quite the weekend. I slept for a solid 10 hours last night. All of that eating and sitting around sure does wear a girl out. :wink: I hope you all had a great weekend full of relaxation, celebration, and family and friends.

Happy Easter!

xoxo

Currently I’m…

It’s time for a little update on “currently I’m…” Here we go!

Currently I’m…

Enjoying hot water with lemon. I always think of Caroline now when I drink it! :smile: It’s such a comforting way to start the day.

water with lemon

Onto season three of Pretty Little Liars. This show just keeps getting better and better!

pretty-little-liars-8

 

source

Loving these oatmeal raisin cookie bites. Go make these! They taste like oatmeal raisin cookies but they are grain free and freaking amazing! Recipe: “Fauxtmeal” Raisin Cookie Bites.

oatmeal raisin cookie bites

 

Dreaming of eating another one of these egg sandwiches. Gluten-free waffle, pepperjack cheese, mustard and a fried egg. Ummm yea.

 

egg sandwich

 

Reminiscing about my amazing weekend with these ladies.

 

blends do chicago

 

Looking forward to a quiet weekend! It’s time to FINALLY take the Christmas lights down. Yikes!

 

Now it’s your turn. Currently I’m…