Friday No. 29

I’m really looking forward to this weekend — there will be some sugar cookie decorating, baby prep (I think we’re going to assemble his stroller and install the car seat bases and baby mirrors into both vehicles), followed by lots of relaxation with my feet up. I’m also determined to finish the scarf that I started last winter! Also, I’m linking up today to share some thoughts for Friday — have a great weekend!

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1. I’ve started packing our hospital bags — well, more like creating a pile in the corner of our master bedroom with some of the items we’ll be bringing with us. One of my friends gave me this clever gift at my baby shower — it’s a little kit that contains all the essentials to bring in your hospital bag!

2. I think our little guy is getting ready for his birthday because he has definitely dropped in the past few days. The top of my bump isn’t rock hard anymore (it kind of feels empty up there? so weird) and I can tell that baby is sitting much lower than usual. Whether he comes early or not, we are four weeks and a handful of days away from his due date!

3. We still have quite the stack of Christmas movies to work through this season so I’m thinking that an evening of pizza on the couch is going to happen this weekend while we watch a few more of our favorites. We’ve already watched Home Alone 1 & 2, but this classic is a must each year!

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4. I’ve been tossing a load of baby laundry into the wash every few days in preparation of his arrival. The other day when I popped the dryer open and was greeted by this adorable sight, it made my heart so happy!

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5. These seasonal flavored rx protein bars have been a favorite! I’m still steering clear of whey protein while pregnant, so these bars have been the perfect replacement for when I need a quick snack on the go.

6. It feels so surreal to already be at this point in the pregnancy — my OB told me the other day that he could literally come at any time and he’s reached the point where even if he came a few weeks early, he would still thrive. So crazy to think that what once was a baby the size of a jellybean is now over 18 inches tall!

What are you up to this weekend?
What date do you think Little Pang will make his appearance?

Life Lately Vol. 4

We are making a little more progress in his nursery — we got him a nightstand (in white) that we put next to his recliner (we went with the light gray color) and his ottoman and book shelves are being shipped this week. Andy has been painting his dresser as well, so once that is done we will install some new hardware and it will get moved back up to his room (it’s in the basement for painting now).

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I did a huge Target haul online last weekend and it feels SO good to have the majority of our little guy’s gear ordered and on the way. I planned it out so that we could use our 20% off coupon from Black Friday paired with all of his Target gift cards so that the whole order is basically from Santa. ;) We still need to purchase bottles and a few other things but I want to wait until my breast pump arrives to order those to make sure everything is compatible.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this before or not but I joined a mom’s group and it has seriously been just what my soul has needed during this season. The girls in my group are all around my age, have careers, and are either pregnant or have little kids. It has been so refreshing to have this authentic little group that provides community and encouragement.

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My new go-to drink has been a grande decaf latte with one pump of peppermint. It has a festive flair but is way less sugar than my favorite holiday drink. We have a Starbucks on-site at work which is super convenient when you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

My new treadmill came last week and I am so in love! We went with a commercial NordicTrack treadmill and it has been SO nice to be able to run downstairs to work out and not have to drive, park, change, etc. at the gym just to go for a walk or run! I’m thinking this is going to be so slick once baby arrives since I can either bring him downstairs with me or watch him on the baby monitor while I run. My favorite feature is the bluetooth capabilities — it’s so nice to be able to ditch the headphones since the treadmill can stream my music from my phone or iPad.

I’ve caught some sort of sinus infection and am trying to rest as much as I can to kick it as quickly as possible. I’m just so thankful that it isn’t the flu! Either way, being sick while 35 weeks pregnant has brought the exhaustion to a new level! 

On that note, the allergic reaction situation is still going strong. My doctor checked in with me on it last week at my OB appt and she said it’s most likely being dragged out due to my immune system being suppressed during pregnancy. I’m really hoping this clears up before baby arrives because the itching / burning is still so unbearable even seven weeks after the exposure!

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I’ve been on a stir fry kick the last two weeks have been making this orange sauce for it that is amazing. I just dump a bunch of the ingredients in the mini blender until it tastes how I want it but it consists of soy sauce, orange zest, coconut oil, ginger, freshly squeezed orange juice, a squirt of honey, vinegar, and a pinch of cornstarch. I toss it into my pan that contains chicken and whatever veggies I have in the fridge — usually green beans, broccoli, peas, celery, carrots, red onion, and sometimes some fresh pineapple chunks. I add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes once it’s done — such an easy weeknight meal!

PS I’m linking up with Kristen today.

What have you been up to lately?
Do you prefer to work out at home or at a gym?

November 2018 Books

I only read one book in October so I’m merging that book in with the stack that I read during the month of November. Don’t forget, you may view all of my past book reviews by clicking here.

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The Other Woman // Sandie Jones
This book was SO good! I whipped through this in just a day and a half because I couldn’t put it down. I ended up guessing the ending but it was still an entertaining read — the story really reminded me of a “made for tv” type of movie! It covers the tale of a woman who is engaged to a man with a crazy mother — some of the events that happened were just nuts!

The Gospel Comes with a House Key // Rosaria Butterfield
I was so excited when this book became available after being on my “holds” list at the library for awhile and wanted to love it but I just didn’t! I quickly realized that the author and I hold very different viewpoints on things and it was hard for me to power through this one because there were a lot of things that bothered me. Normally, I have no problem reading books that have different views than my own but it was something about the tone of voice (for lack of better words) that just didn’t sit well with me. Originally, I was excited about this one since it’s all about the importance of hospitality, but I would recommend this book (easily one of the best books I’ve read) instead if you’re interested in that topic.

Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding // Ina May Gaskin
I figured I should probably start doing a little prep for baby since he is making his grand debut in just one month. Since I literally knew nothing about breastfeeding, I figured this book was worth a read. I had intended to just flip through this one mainly due to the fact that yes, I’m all for breastfeeding but am not one of those moms that is super passionate about all that it entails. Well, I was in for quite a surprise because I LOVED this book so much! It was so fascinating and I read it cover-to-cover over the course of a week. I learned so much about the benefits, statistics, and process of feeding your baby naturally and let’s just say I’m a believer! One of the most interesting tidbits that I learned was that if you have a preemie baby, your body will produce a different kind of milk that is loaded with nutrients that a preemie needs and will then switch to regular milk once your baby is no longer a preemie. How amazing is that?! I’ve already requested her other book at the library and am really hoping it comes in before January!

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
Hi, I’m Laura and I’m obsessed with reading about anything psychology-related. I picked this book up on a whim because I love reading textbook style books — I think it’s the learner in me. Anyway, I browsed through this and of course found it fascinating because I just love learning about the human mind. When I was in school, I used to read through unassigned chapters of my textbooks just for fun — such a nerdie thing to do, but hey!

This is Me // Chrissy Metz
After so much resilience, I started watching This Is Us two summers ago — catching up on episodes before season 2 started. At first glance, I didn’t think it would be my type of show (too many emotions, ha ha), but after my sister giving it rave reviews, I ended up giving it a shot and loved it. Chrissy Metz plays Kate and it was so interesting to learn more about her background — what her life was like before the show, and how the show has affected her. Would definitely recommend this one if you love this show!

The Vaccine Book // Robert W. Sears
This was another baby prep book that I quickly became super fascinated with. There were two vaccines that popped up during my pregnancy that made me realize I needed to do some research on vaccines before our little dude arrives and this book was really helpful. The statistics, breakdown of each vaccine, and story behind each one was so interesting to me (again, I love that textbook type of data) and I’d highly recommend this one if you’re looking to learn more about vaccinations and babies / children.

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way // Lysa TerKeurst
I whizzed through this book while at B&N on Thanksgiving Eve and it was just one of those books that you randomly pick up and it ends up being the EXACT thing you need to read in that moment. There’s also a study guide that goes with it and I’m thinking I might pick it up to do while I’m home on maternity leave next month and have a little more time. That being said, having “more time” will probably be the understatement of the year since I’ll be taking care of baby all day but I think it’s super important to still have hobbies even as a parent. :)

Real Food for Pregnancy // Lily Nichols
It was a little late in the game to read this book at 8.5 months pregnant last month, but I love learning about nutrition and really enjoyed reading this book. A lot of it was knowledge I felt that I already knew, but there were enough new little tidbits that made it worth reading.

What’s one book you’re read recently?
Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction?

Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

First Round of Holiday Treats

On Saturday, morning, my small group and I met for a virtual meeting (we meet every other time in person) and I always leave feeling so refreshed! It’s been so fun doing this study with these girls and also hard to believe that this is our third year together.

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I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to stay active until my treadmill arrives, so after doing a few things around the house once my small group meeting was done, I headed to a track to walk for a bit while I listened to the latest episode of my favorite podcast. It’s so strange to feel exhausted after something like going for a s l o w walk — definitely not something that I’m used to but am reminding myself that growing a human takes a lot out of you!

Upon arriving home, I started prepping for our sister baking night — on the agenda: homemade Chex mix, Oreo truffles, and Muddy Buddies!

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I mixed up the first batch of dry ingredients before they arrived so that we could get started right away. Our family has always added Kix and Cheerios to our homemade Chex mix (and omit the bagel chips) — I think the Kix are my favorite part!

I had also prepped the Oreo truffle filling earlier that day. It was my first time making the truffles in the food processor and all I can say is that it was a total game changer. It crushed the cookies super fine and then it swirled the cream cheese in so smoothly! I rolled the truffles into little balls and then put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet before popping them in the fridge so they could harden. That way, all we would have to do that evening was just dip them in melted chocolate — easy peasy.

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Once my sister and her girls arrived, we got to work right away!

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As batches of the Chex mix baked, we dipped our truffles (which are seriously the BEST thing ever if you’re an Oreo fan) and whipped up a delicious batch of Muddy Buddies. We discovered the secret to good Muddy Buddies is to make more of the sauce than it calls for and it use less cereal so that each piece gets coated and kind of clumps together.

It was so fun to spend the evening making holiday treats with them and we’re already looking forward to making / decorating homemade sugar cookies in a couple of weeks! This holiday season feels like it is flying by so we are trying to do as many holiday things as we can before the season passes.

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The next day, Andy and I hit the shops to knock out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related errands. Our first stop was Starbucks for a holiday drink — I swear, each year the gingerbread latte tastes better than I remember.

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On our way to grab T-day groceries, we made a few pit stops at furniture stores since we’re still trying to find the perfect dining room table. There was a table we liked at West Elm, but we felt like the color was a little too warm for our liking. We’re super picky about furniture and I feel like we are starting to annoy ourselves with the search for a table. The one we really want is something like this but in a cooler toned wood.

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We also stopped at a Macy’s furniture gallery but quickly realized that the tables there weren’t really our style — it was still fun to pop through and look around though.

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After enough messing around with furniture shopping, it was time to get down to business. This was my plan of attack that I crafted before we left the house that morning.

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After three different grocery stores, we finally had everything we needed! We came home, ate a late lunch, and then I headed out to meet my auntie for a coffee date. Catching up with her was the perfect end to a long weekend!

Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
What recipe does your family like to make each holiday?