June Goals

I can’t believe tomorrow’s June!  It seems like just yesterday, we were telling our families at Christmas that we were expecting our first child and now we’re about 3 months away from meeting our little one.

When people ask me when I’m due and I say August 25th, the normal response is a look of horror and it’s usually followed with: “Ohhhh, you’re going to have a long summer…It’s going to be sooo hot! Good Luck!”  Ummm…thanks?  So far I’ve had a pretty smooth pregnancy and the weight gain is right on track so I don’t feel super uncomfortable at this point, but I’d be lying if I said doing every day things aren’t getting harder for me.  Things like bending over and walking the stairs at work are getting tougher, but I refuse to let my pregnancy keep me inside all summer.  So each month I’ve set some goals of things I’d like to do around Milwaukee.  Of course, I know not to overdo myself but I also want to enjoy my first summer back in my home city.

Here’s my list of what I hope to accomplish in June:

1. Attend the Farmer’s Market in Madison, WI.  Dane County farmer’s market is THE largest producer-only farmers’ markets in the US.

2.  Walk a 5k or volunteer at a race.  Since running is on hold for me right now, I think it’s about time to give back to the race community.

3. Salad a Day challenge.  This idea came from Gina over at Fitnessista.com.  This month, she embarked on a smoothie a day challenge.  I came up with a salad a day challenge in June because my sister came to me and asked me to help her stay on track with her weight loss goals this summer.  She said her biggest problem was making smarter food choices, so that’s where the salads every day comes in.  Feel free to join along! I’ll be starting a hash tag on twitter :-)

4. Jazzin in the Park.  Just because I can’t drink wine, doesn’t mean that I can’t participate in my favorite Milwaukee summer past time :-)

5.  Attempt to make my own hummus.  This something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile and when hubs and I finished a container in a day, I said enough is enough.  I’m sure I can make it for less than what I pay in the store.

6. Pinterest Parties!  My sister and some friends decided that this summer we’re going to put our Pins to use.  Starting next Tuesday, each month we’re going to get together and make a drink, appetizer and do a craft from our pinterest boards.  I can’t wait to start this :-)

7. Babymoon/anniversary vacay.  Need to book this ASAP!

What’s on your agenda for June or the summer?

Week 27-My first DIY Project

No matter how many days I get off, the weekend never seems long enough.  Especially when I have something to do every day.  My weekend was spent shopping, eating, and going to the movies with LC.  We saw What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  It was meh.  I thought because of the cast, (J-Lo, Chris Rock, Cameron Diaz, etc) it would be pretty good.  If you’re thinking of going to see it, I would wait until it comes to DVD and save your money.

The big thing this weekend  was the fact that we had our maternity pictures.  As I was getting ready, I was worried that I wasn’t showing enough yet for maternity pictures.  A friend of mine said that they’re normally done when you’re at your biggest (around 35-36 weeks).  Clearly, I did not have that issue…

I’m so glad that I did not wait any longer and that our photographer likes to do them around 7 months.  I can’t imagine being bigger and trying feel good about myself while posing for pics, especially in the dead of summer.  For the most part I feel good, but I’m starting to feel the effects of the 3rd trimester.

Baby is now about 15 inches long and weighs about 2.5 lbs.  According to TheBump.com,  baby is the size of a rutabaga!  Baby is apparently showing some brain activity and I’ve felt hiccups!  Movement is pretty consistent, and on days when I feel very little, I have a heart doppler from a friend to reassure me that everything’s okay.

Nesting mode has officially set in.  The bedding arrived last week and it’s been washed and put on the crib.  Today, my mom and I ventured south to Ikea.  I found the PERFECT dresser for the baby’s room that will double as a changing table.  I picked up some other things for the baby as well.

This weekend, I also started my first DIY project.  What inspired me to do this was this picture:

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I searched the internet high and low for something like this at a reasonable price.  The only thing I found were a few signs on Etsy and they were in the $50-$60 range.  No thanks.  I was originally going to go with this quote, but started searching for other ones instead and found one that I liked even more.

I started with a blank canvas, stencils, and paint.

 I aligned the first stencil on the canvas and then layed down some packaging tape to use as a guide to make sure the stencils were even.  The tape I used was clear, but if I did it again, I would use colored tape.

Instead of using the stencil sponges, I used a very small brush and away I went.  It was a little time consuming because I had to make sure the paint was dry before moving onto the next letter because the stencils overlapped with each other.  The good thing is that paint dries pretty quickly on canvas.  Total time took me about 3 hours and of course the longer the quote, the more time it will take you.  After it was all done, I sprayed it with finishing spray and I was finished.

 The total cost for this project? $37.34.  I could’ve saved more money by skipping the sponges and the extra paint, one tube was definitely enough.  I have a few other DIY projects under way for the baby’s room and can’t wait to show you once everything is complete.

Hubs is out of town for a concert, so I’m going to hop in bed with Christian Grey :-) Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Fun Photo Friday-2 years Ago This Weekend

ImageWe were in Chicago, Grant Park to be exact, posing for our engagement pictures.  Our photographer was located in Milwaukee and she agreed to come down to Chicago for our e-pic session.  Since our wedding was going to be in Wisconsin, where I grew up, I only found it fair to have our engagement pictures taken in Chicago, where LC grew up.
The day was very hot and sunny.  There was one point where she just couldn’t get any good pictures because there was not a cloud in the sky, so she went and did some things & LC and I went out for brunch and met back up with her in the afternoon.  We were beyond pleased with how our photos turned out.
This Sunday, we will be taking our maternity pictures with the same photographer, Olga Thomas.  Words alone cannot express the work that this woman does.  She is a true artist with amazing talent.  Our wedding pictures turned out phenomenally and every time I look at them I feel happy inside and am immediately brought back to how I felt on that day.  It’s exactly the way a good picture should be :-)   This year’s weather forecast looks just about the same: a high in the 80s and mostly sunny.  We’re taking them later in the day this year and I’m praying for some cloud coverage.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out and to share some of them with you :-)

Mexican Shrimp Bisque

It was 85 degrees today.  Perfect weather for soup right?  When I was meal planning this week, I skimmed through Taste of Home  and found a simple soup recipe that looked really good.  Even though we are experiencing summer-like weather, I decided to give it a go anyway.  The recipe suggested pairing it with a salad and a glass of white wine…now that sounds more like a summer meal :-)

Mexican Style Shrimp Bisque

by Maria C

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 3)

  • 1 small white onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deviened
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • sliced avocado and chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

Sautee chopped onions in a large pot until tender. Add garlic and cook for about another minute. Stir in flour until blended with onion and garlic. Stir in water, cream, broth and seasonings. Bring the ingredients to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cut up shrimp into bite size pieces and add to the soup. Simmer for about another 5-10 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink. Place sour cream in a small bowl and gradually stir in the soup.

Top with cilantro and avocado if desired.

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WIAW-Shrimp & Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Happy hump day :-) I have one more day left of work before a nice, long, much deserved weekend. Hubs and I have our maternity pictures and a graduation party to attend. I’d like to also take a trip to Ikea, but we’ll see if we have time for that. If not this weekend, then for sure sometime soon, after all, we have a nursery to decorate!

Since fatigue hit me a few weeks ago, I’ve decided that dinners around here are going to be simple & delicious, yet nutritious :-) If I don’t feel like cooking, hubs has decided to take over, instead of taking the easy way out and ordering take out. He’s becoming quite the grill master over here.

Last night, the quesadilla maker was put to good use. I made shrimp and goat cheese quesadillas and plantains. They were oh, so good.

I sautéed some shrimp in a pan and once it was warm, I drained out all the excess water and put the pan back on the burner. I then added a little bit of olive oil, squeezed in a lime, and then added some chopped onion and cilantro. I seasoned the mixture with garlic powder, minced onion, and chipotle seasoning.

After I was done with that and the ‘dilla maker was ready, I placed a gf tortilla on the maker and topped it with shrimp and a hefty amount of shredded goat cheese and then topped with another gf tortilla.

Because they’re so easy and quick to make, I told hubs to get ready for a lot of gourmet quesadillas and tacos this summer :-)

Question: When you’re looking to cook something quick and easy, what’s your go-to meal?

Week 26-Random Bits

Monday already??  My weekend was a pretty good one.  Short as usual, but I shouldn’t complain because I only have 3 days of work this weekend and then I get a 4 day weekend :-)

This past weekend, I went to the Milwaukee County Zoo and did a walk to support Lyme’s disease.  I met my mom and a few of my (very supportive) girlfriends at the zoo for a short little one mile walk.  It was nice to see all of them and enjoy the beautiful weather we were having.  One of my BFF’s told me some exciting news: She’s expecting her first baby this December :-) I started crying when she told me the news, as they’ve been trying for awhile.  I’m beyond THRILLED for her and her husband. Even though our baby won’t have any cousins to play with, he or she will have tons of little friends!

Some random thoughts about this week:

  • We are supposed to have our maternity pictures taken on Sunday, but I don’t feel like I’m big enough/showing enough for them.  Even though on Saturday, a total stranger came up to me and told me I looked like I was about to pop….I beg to differ.  Lady, I’m only 6 1/2 months pregnant!
  • Speaking of size…my husband recently told me that my fingers could race at Miller Park.  If you know anything about Brewer’s games and Miller Park, you know what I’m talking about. I know he was trying to be funny, but I was not amused.
  • Even though it does  still fit (snugly), the wedding ring is off until baby arrives.  With the warm weather, I don’t want to risk it not coming off and having to get it cut.
  • The end of my 2nd trimester is starting to feel like my 1st all over again.  I’ve been feeling exhausted, nauseous a few mornings and my hormones and emotions are all over the place…just when I was starting to feel normal.
  • I cried after my haircut today just because I didn’t like the way the guy styled it.  Tough life I know…
  • I’ve started taking naps on a regular basis to combat the fatigue.  Maybe it’s just me nearing my 3rd trimester or may my iron’s low?  Something that I’m definitely going to mention to my doctor at my next appointment.
  • I’m not looking forward to swimsuit shopping.  This is not something I look forward to generally, but I’m less than thrilled about it this summer.  I’m trying to decide if I should just look for a two-piece and let the belly be exposed, or if I should look for a maternity tankini that I will probably never wear again?
What’s baby up to this week?
Our little cucumber is moving like a jumping bean!  I can feel how long the baby is, I feel movement at both sides of my stomach.  I was woken up on Sunday morning to a little dance party going on in my stomach.  Normally, I’d be mad about waking up at 5:30 a.m. but I couldn’t help but lay there and smile.  Baby is about 14 inches long and weighs about 2 lbs.  The nerves in the baby’s ears are more developed and can pick up sound a little bit better.  I’ve been trying to read to the baby out loud and talk more to the baby.  But right now I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey, and it’s not quite “read out loud” maternal, especially to the baby growing inside of me.
I’m off to make dinner and enjoy a Better Batter Brownie a la mode and catch up on trash TV…it’s been that kind of day over here!
I leave you with a sneak peak of our nursery :-)

Fun photo Friday-Fitness Motivation

Happy Friday!  I decided that I wanted to start a Fun photo Friday project on my blog.  Every Friday, I’m going to post either a picturesthat I found via the web (like the one below) or a picture that I took and write a bit about it. 

I came across this one on Facebook.  I think it’s important to remember when setting fitness/weight loss goals for yourself to aim for “healthy & fit” and not just “skinny” because being skinny doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing for everyone and it doesn’t always translate to healthy.  I thought this was a good reminder :-)  20120518-105155.jpg

WIAW-Domino’s Gluten Free Pizza

I don’t know if it’s the human growing inside of me or what, but this everyday after work has left me feeling utterly exhausted. I slept for 12 hours on Saturday and felt like a new person, but here I am again left with zero energy. It’s something I’m definitely going to bring up to my doctor because I feel like it’s too early in my pregnancy to be feeling like this. I still have a little over 3 months left.

Last night, LC and I went grocery shopping but instead of cooking a meal, I decided that some Domino’s gluten-free pizza sounded like a better choice.

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I ordered the spinach and feta. I think next time I would add chicken. For pizza delivery, I thought it was pretty good. I didn’t taste a difference between the gluten-free crust vs. the original pan style. The GF crust only comes in small, so it feeds one hungry pregnant girl or two not as hungry people. I’m still a fan of take and bakes or homemade pizza because I enjoy the fresh taste, but I like the convenience of delivery.

I’m off to catch up on some blogs and browse the web for nursery inspiration. Enjoy the rest of your evening!

25 Weeks-Nursery Inspiration

25 down, 15 more to go.  I can’t believe how incredibly fast this pregnancy is going.  It seems like just yesterday I was a taking pregnancy test and now here we are, about three months away from meeting our little one.  A co-worker of mine had her baby last week.  She was 37 weeks along when she delivered.  Her and I are exactly 3 months apart and when she went into labor, a small part of me panicked.  I’ve been reading a lot of books about pregnancy and labor, but other than that I have nothing else prepared for this baby.

Today I went out to lunch with a friend and she asked when I was due.  When I told her she responded with “Shouldn’t you be nesting or something?”  Yes, I believe so :-) So today, I set out to Sherwin-Williams to pick up some paint color swatches and cleared all of the boxes out of the baby’s room.  Since we don’t know what we’re having, our original plan was going to be gray walls with yellow accents in the decor.  I picked up a bunch of gray swatches and then picked up a mint colored one just for funsies.  When I got home I placed each paint swatch against the wall and picked the gray that I really liked.  Then I held the mint color against the wall and ideas sparked.  Instead of painting all 4 walls gray, I decided to pick one wall and paint it mint.  Not only will it save us money, but it will save LC time, since I won’t be helping.

One of the websites that has been of great value to me when planning the nursery is Pinterest.  Along with the mint color, we’re going to stay with the gray and white accents.  I’m sure we’ll throw some other color in there, but one thing at a time.  Here are some pictures that I pinned onto my Pinterest nursery board.

 

I’m excited to see how everything turns out and can’t wait to start decorating for the baby.  I’ll definitely be posting updates as we progress along.

This week, Baby C has grown into a head of cauliflower.  Baby weighs anywhere between 1.5-2.5 lbs and is between 13-14.8 inches long!  Baby continues to grow, gaining weight and sprouting more hair (unless baby’s born like me and is completely bald!) Baby also is developing a sense of equilibrium and can start to tell which way is up and which way is down.  Baby also likes to play and is easily excitable.  I don’t know if this is a good thing, but it’s fun for me right now.  When baby’s kicking away, I can usually press back on my stomach where baby is moving and he or she will move again.  For every tap baby gives me, I give it two back.  This once continued for about 5 minutes and I sat at my desk at work with a goofy grin on my face.

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How I’m feeling? After almost 12 hours of sleep on Saturday, I feel like a whole new person.  It’s amazing what rest will do for the body.  With moving, drill weekend and other social obligations, I was left feeling pretty tired this week.  I went home early on Friday from work, was in bed at 9 pm and didn’t wake up until almost 9 the next morning.  Although the weather’s been lovely this weekend, I can tell it’s going to be tough on me this summer.  Tonight, I was just sitting on the couch feeling really uncomfortable :-/ Luckily, we have access to a pool :-)

As far as being prepared for baby, LC and I finally came to an agreement on baby names. We have our boy and girl name picked out.  We’re keeping our choices under wraps until baby makes his/her grand debut into this world.  So when we for sure know, everyone else will know :-)

Celebrating Mom, with cake!

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Yesterday was the perfect day.  The weather was amazing and I was surrounded by the people I love.  Instead of the traditional Mother’s Day brunch, my family and I opted for a Mother’s Day dinner.  LC threw some pork chops on the grill and I whipped up some risotto, a strawberry spinach salad, and a strawberry cake with strawberry chocolate cream cheese frosting for dessert.  My mother was gifted with a spa day from LC and me and a Coach wristlet from my sister.  As the mother-to-be, I was given a small box of chocolates and gelato :-)

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day.  We spent the late afternoon relaxing in the sun, talking and laughing.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe.  With commuting back and forth to Chicago and moving, the past few months have been pretty uneventful in the kitchen.  But yesterday I was back at it and so happy that KitchenAid and I got to spend some quality time together :-)  This is the cake that I made yesterday for Mother’s Day.  It’s the best dessert that I’ve tasted in awhile and is perfect for summertime, especially as strawberries come into season.

Strawberry Cake with Strawberry/Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting  (Print this)

*preheat oven to 350 and oil up two 9-inch cake pans

Ingredients

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup strawberries pureed (measure out after they are pureed)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

Directions

  • mix above ingredients on medium until batter is smooth
  • split batter into the two cake pans and bake for about 35-40 minutes on 350

Strawberry Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup strawberry puree
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions

Whip the cream cheese, strawberry puree, cocoa powder, until thick and smooth.  Then, combine the whipping cream and sugar.  Mix together until you get a light a fluffy consistency.  Cool cakes completely before frosting.  Frost and enjoy!