Baby Macke Update - Week 32

Only eight weeks to go!!

With each passing week it seems like the due date is SO far away. And then it's Tuesday, and another week has passed, and it's time for another bump photo and update.

Also with each passing week I feel the ever persistent need to place back up lights (with the appropriate accompanying sound) on my back side, as well as a sign on my stomach that reads "Caution, Wide Load..."
How far along? 32 weeks.
Maternity clothes? Scott's t-shirts (they're the only ones that fit comfortably), and those glorious sweats, yoga pants and mesh shorts.
Stretch marks? I had a serious scare this weekend. I spotted two red streaks across the middle of my stomach... I kept checking on the streaks, and by the end of the day it was apparent they were just scratches that disappeared. Phew! Still clear of stretch marks.
Sleep? Ha. It's almost become a game at night: How many times will I toss and turn, and at what point in the night/morning will I surrender to the couch... 
Best moment this week: I've made the last "large item" purchase for Baby's room (a diaper pail), and my mom informed me she's finished sewing all the items for the nursery (bumper pad, quilt, curtains, sheets)! 
Miss anything? Sleep. And, running. The weather has been PERFECT for running, and the best I can do is walk a few miles (totally out of breath).
Movement: This week the little guy really seems to be on the move. He's all over the place. But, judging by where certain movements are felt, I can tell Baby M is still in breach position. 
Food cravings: This week I'm on a huge cereal kick. I'd be totally content eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
Anything make you queasy or sick? Anything with peanuts, or smelling like peanuts. Gross. Gross. Gross. 
Labor signs? Still the occasional Braxton Hicks contraction. 
Symptoms: The past few mornings I've been nauseous, let's hope that ends soon. I thought we crossed that bridge, for good, after the first trimester. 
Belly button in or out? My belly button may be pushing out, just a teeny-tiny bit.
Linea nigra? There is a line, but it's really faint. And, it's both above and below the belly button.
Wedding ring on or off? Jewelry is about the only thing from pre-pregnancy that still fits well :)
Happy or moody most of the time? Pretty happy!
Looking forward to: Visiting the doctor tomorrow; I'm anxiously awaiting to discuss our options on what to do if Baby M stays in the breach position.



If you've never heard of Daniel Tosh, or seen his funny hilarious show Tosh.O on Comedy Central, I am truly sorry. Tosh is out-of-this-world funny, extreme, and a bit vulgar... Which are the reasons Scott and I enjoy him so much. :)

Since living in SoCal Scott and I have talked about how great it would be to catch a taping of a Tosh.O show. Every time we tried to get tickets the shows were always full. I joined a wait list group MONTHS ago, and hadn't heard a thing...

Tuesday afternoon I had a message in my inbox stating I had two free tickets, all I had to do was click my confirmation. Wham. Bam. SCORE!

Thursday night (yesterday) we stood in line, for over two hours, with the possibility of not even getting into the show (that would be our luck). Neither Scott nor I had any idea we were waiting to see the Season 4 premier of the show. Things went our way and we got in! Due to my very prominent belly we were actually able to get seated (the studio only seats 77, but closer to 125 people are sardined in standing-only style)!

We thought Tosh was funny on his show... He's a freaking riot live!
I believe next Tuesday, January 31, is when Tosh.O airs (on Comedy Central). If you're a Tosh fan, or curious to see what his hilarity is all about, check it out!


Easy Turkey Stroganoff

Stroganoff, yummmm! Too bad it's most often made with beef (blech). Lucky for me I found a FAB dish that uses ground turkey. What's even better, the recipe was EASY!

What's not so great... Stroganoff requires the use of cream of mushroom soup. Scott HATES mushrooms. I diligently tried to pick out all the little mushroom bits. Fail. The entire time we were eating Scott was picking through his food like it was tainted with the Ebola virus. I, on the other hand, found this dish AH-MAZING!

I was told if there was a way to make this dish without the mushrooms it'd be a bigger success with my other half. Any suggestions on doing this would be much appreciated... With that being said, I love mushrooms and wouldn't change a thing.

Easy Turkey Stroganoff
1 pound ground turkey (I used extra lean ground turkey)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Trade Joe's has cream of portabella, and that stuff is glorious - get it, and use it, if you can!!!)
1/4 cup milk (use skim to skinny it up some)
1 cup sour cream (use reduced or fat free to scale the fat/calories back)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Brown ground turkey and onions in olive oil over medium heat until meat is cooked through.
Drain off any fat.
Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, soup and milk. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add sour cream and heat through.
Serve over egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.

Easy comfort food. Perfect for any chilly evening (unless you're Scott and don't like mushrooms).

Source: Confabulation in the Kitchen


Kissing Balls

I've become the person I always swore I wouldn't be... I cook, I make attempts at baking, and now I'm happy to spend hours on a Saturday night assembling arts and craft projects.

This weekend while Scott and his buddies ventured out for a "guys night" I found this time a perfect opportunity to work on some Pinterest projects that had peaked my interest.

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I thought this project would be more than appropriate for the holiday.

Kissing Balls
What You'll Need
1) Styrofoam balls (you can get them at any craft store) - I picked up three 5-inch balls, and six 3-inch balls.
2) Streamer paper (aka crepe paper; try any party store, the paper is cheaper than at Wal Mart or Target) in your desired color(s) - for the 5-inch balls an 81-foot roll of paper wasn't quite enough to cover the whole Styrofoam ball; for the 3-inch balls I only needed about a quarter roll of paper.
3) Hot glue gun (I would suggest a low-heat hot glue gun).
4) Plenty of hot glue sticks (if you're at all like me you'll probably use entirely too much hot glue:)
5) Scissors
6) Time and patience :)

To Make the Floret and Assembly
1. For larger Styrofoam balls I cut strips of crepe paper 24(ish) inches. For smaller Styrofoam balls I cut 12(ish) inch strips.
2. Crumple the crepe paper. This makes the paper a little softer.
*This step is completely optional (by the third large ball I totally omitted this step). 
3. Uncrumple the paper.
*This step is obviously omitted if you chose not to crumple the paper.
4. Fold the crepe paper over, approximately 1/3 to 1/2.
*This step is also optional (again, by the third large ball I skipped this step completely).
5. Roll 1-2 inches of crepe paper to create a base.
6. Begin twisting and wrapping the crepe paper around the base.
7. Continue to twist and wrap the entire floret.
The twisting is what creates the petal look.
8. The finished floret.
9. Once you've finished twisting and wrapping, place a small dab of hot glue on the end of the floret to hold it together.
10. On the underside of the floret place a dab (or in my case, far more than a dab) of hot glue.
11. Find just the right spot to place the floret on the Styrofoam ball.
12. Almost finished covering the Styrofoam...

With each ball I made I did the florets a little differently.
Upper left (maroon floret): The first ball I made I followed the website I'd found to a "T." Each floret was crumpled, folded, and twisted. I found this took A LOT of time, a little more than I was hoping.
Upper right (hot pink floret): The second ball I made I omitted the crumpling of each strip of crepe paper. I continued to fold each strip 1/3-1/2. Again, I found this took a bit more time than I was hoping.
Lower left (red): By the third ball I wanted to crank these florets out. I was no longer crumpling or folding. I found I liked the look of this floret the best.
Lower right: I'm not sure if it's possible to see the difference in each floret, but the differences are there. Subtle, but there are differences. 
The floret size difference for the large and small Styrofoam balls. 
The left floret was for the smaller Styrofoam balls - each strip of crepe paper was cut approximately 12 inches.
The right floret was for the larger Styrofoam balls - each strip of crepe paper was cut approximately 24 inches.
What I loved about making the roses was they didn't have to come out perfect, and I could adjust how loose or tight I made the floret so it would fit nicely into the spaces needed on the Styrofoam ball.

If/when you start this keep in mind two important little tid-bits.
1) The florets do not have to look perfect as you're creating them. They are easy to manipulate, and once they are on the Styrofoam everything will fall nicely into place.
2) Allow yourself some time with this project. This is perfect craft for those cold, lazy weekends.

Source: Original idea from Homespun With Heart with adaptations from The Idea Room as well as my own adaptations. 


Baby Macke Update - Week 31

Until now bump photos were happening (for the most part) every two weeks. With less than 10 weeks to go I figured I'd start doing weekly snap shots of the baby bump. 
I think Drake enjoys the photo ops more than me. :)

How far along? 31 weeks.
Maternity clothes? Negative. There will be no more maternity clothes purchases for this girl. I will rock the sweat and yoga pants until the second Baby M arrives - and it will be glorious.
Stretch marks? No signs of any.
Sleep? This past week has been r-o-u-g-h in the sleep department. There is no such thing as comfortable at this point. 
Best moment this week: Baby M's room no longer looks like baby items and clothes threw up all over the place. Each item has a respective place - woohoo, things are organized! 
Miss anything? Sleeping on my back. And, being able to tie my shoes on my own.
Movement: There are hiccups galore with this little guy, and I love that!
Food cravings: I did it. I gave in a got a fish fillet sandwich. HEAVEN! I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to open that door. Now I pretty much want a sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
Anything make you queasy or sick? Peanuts and peanut butter are horrible. The smell of those items makes me instantly nauseous. 
Labor signs? Still experiencing Braxton Hicks occasionally.
Symptoms: Aside from the lack of sleep, and achy lower back, we're doing well.
Belly button in or out? Still flush with the rest of my stomach. 
Linea nigra? There is a line, but it's really faint.
Wedding ring on or off? There is no swelling. Jewelry is on!
Happy or moody most of the time? I'd say happy... But, I can tell there are some hormonal swings on occasion.  
Looking forward to: Next weeks doctors appointment - hoping Baby M will have moved out of the breach position. If he hasn't we'll start talking about some options we have. 


Baby Socks

Organizing Baby M's room was a big to-do this past week. The furniture was finally assembled (thanks Scott, Mac and Katie!), and all of the baby items finally had somewhere to be placed.

While sorting through all the baby items I took a little time to reflect on the pregnancy journey, thus far. And, I was able to really take a good look at everything we've acquired (babies require a LOT of stuff!).

Baby clothes are cute. Downright, out of this world cute. Everything is so tiny! But, I think my favorite clothing items are baby socks. These things aren't just cute, they're "Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?!" adorable.
With that being said, here are probably my favorite pair of socks Baby M will soon be sporting. 
Thanks Grandpa Dudding and Uncle Tyler for picking these up for our little guy!
Just to give an idea of how small these are I placed a large paper clip next to them. 
It goes without saying, Baby M will support both Iowa State and Kansas State... But, since Mommy will most likely be dressing Baby M, he may, or may not, be seen in ISU gear a bit more often. :)


Huntington Beach

With Scott's parents in town for the week/weekend we decided to check out a few areas we hadn't explored.

One of the places we ventured to was Huntington Beach. Loved it!
Talk about an amazing beach community! There were cute little shops and restaurants galore; the beach was fabulous. And, perhaps the best part, the parking was better than any other beach we've visited thus far!

Can't wait to bring Baby M to Huntington this summer!


Cheesy Chili-Mac

It's been cooler in SoCal the last few days and a piping hot bowl of chili sounded like just the right kind of meal to warm things up.

When chili is made in our house it's usually Scott's "thing." He's pretty particular on how he likes his chili - super dry, and no chunky tomatoes. I received this recipe from my mother-in-law and it looked and sounded gooooood, so I decided to give it a go.

Cheesy Chili-Mac
3/4 pound lean ground beef (naturally, I used extra lean turkey; I'm guessing the extra lean skinnied this dish up pretty well)
2 medium onions chopped (I chopped up the onions and thought there was a bit too much, so I used about 1 1/2 onions)
29 oz canned, Mexican-style, stewed tomatoes (undrained)
2 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce
4 oz canned diced, green chili peppers, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I had some whole wheat penne pasta that I used instead)
31 oz canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

If you don't have a non-stick skillet, coat it with cooking spray...
In your large skillet cook beef/turkey and onions until meat is browned, stirring and breaking up meat, about 10 minutes; drain off any fat (if you're using lean or extra lean turkey there should be little to no fat to drain).
Stir in undrained tomatoes and the juice, tomato sauce, chili peppers, and chili powder; bring mixture to a boil.
Stir in macaroni (or if you're me, whole wheat penne pasta - or any sort of whole wheat pasta) and beans; return to a boil. 
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes (I found with the whole wheat penne it took about 25 minutes to get the noodles tender).
Spoon chili into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.
Yields 8 servings
Prep time: Approximately 15 minutes
Cook time: Approximately 30 minutes
Weight Watchers points (for those following): 7 - I'm going to guess with lean, or extra lean ground turkey it brings the point total down a bit

The chili was awesome! And, it was chunky enough for Scott's standards, and he didn't seem to mind the tomato chunks - he went back for seconds :) Best part, it makes a ton of food, and it's a pretty skinny dish!

A big thanks to my mother-in-law who shared this recipe while she was visiting.

Source: My mother-in-law, via weightwatchers.com


Baby Macke Update - Week 30

We're on the downhill! Technically only 10 weeks to go - but let's keep our fingers crossed Baby M decides to come a wee bit early. :)
How far along? 30 weeks.
Maternity clothes? No additions to the maternity wear. Shamelessly living in my sweats and yoga pants
Stretch marks? Still in the clear.
Sleep? Thank goodness for the big "C" shaped Boppy-pillow thingy! It was a semi-hefty investment, but worth EVERY cent! Thanks to all those who shared their suggestions - this pillow ROCKS my face off! With that being said, sleeping through the night hasn't happened in quite some time, but the sleep I do get is pretty decent.
Best moment this week: Scott's parents were in town over the week/weekend and the baby furniture was assembled! The purchase of the stroller/car seat and rocking chair were also highlights; those two items were also assembled and are ready for use! 
Miss anything? Still vino and sushi. It's all set up... As soon as Baby M arrives a friend of mine is delivering a rainbow roll to the hospital. I also miss being able to easily put on socks and tie my shoes.
Movement: Baby M is on the move, and in a big way! It's funny to watch my stomach move about. And, the hiccups, I LOVE that feeling.
Food cravings: Still on the mint kick, and fish fillet sandwiches from McDonald's. I haven't given in to the craving... I'm fearful if I get one sandwich it will just open a door I'm afraid I will have trouble closing.
Anything make you queasy or sick? Peanut butter and peanuts. There is nothing appetizing about that stuff right now. Even the smell of peanut butter and peanuts makes my stomach queasy. 
Labor signs? I've noticed some pressure in my lower abdomen, and I'm chalking that up to Braxton Hicks... Does that count as a labor sign?
Symptoms: My glucose screen came back last week marking me as "at risk" for gestational diabetes, I'm going back to the doctor today to run a second test. Mild heartburn after spicy foods. 
Belly button in or out? The belly button is now totally flush with the rest of my stomach. Scott seems to think the top part of my belly button is sticking out. I don't see this...
Linea nigra? A very faint line is developing, both above and below the belly button.
Wedding ring on or off? Rings are on. Still no swelling.
Happy or moody most of the time? I'd say pretty happy :)
Looking forward to: Organizing the baby room now that all the furniture is assembled.


Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage

When we have guests for an extended stay I'm always searching for recipes to serve up. Lucky for me, Scott's mom brought a few recipes with her! Neither she nor I had made this dish, but it looked and sounded like a winner.

This pasta dish is FULL of flavor, and packs just the right amount of kick (and, by now you know what a wuss I am when it comes to spicy).

Before you jump feet first into this dish I have to give a little disclaimer... The prep work takes a bit of time, but I promise it's worth it!

Baked Ziti with Tukery Sausage
3/4 pound raw, spicy turkey sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
28 ounce canned diced tomatoes
10 ounces frozen green peas, thawed
2 Tbsp canned tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
12 ounces uncooked, whole wheat ziti - cook according to package directions (I couldn't find whole wheat ziti, so I used whole wheat penne instead)
6 ounces shredded, part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350.
Crumble sausage meat into a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 4 minutes.
Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the cooked pasta and 3 ounces of the mozzarella cheese.
Spread evenly into a 9x13 baking pan.
Top evenly with remaining 3 ounces of mozzarella.
Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
From start to finish, the dish took about an hour to prep, make, and serve.
Yields 8 servings
Weight Watchers points (for those following the program): 8

Source: weightwatchers.com



My snuggle buddy is in tough shape right now, and it's hard to watch as my four-legged companion struggles with pain and lack of mobility.
Being a Labrador we were well aware of the common injuries he might sustain. I guess we never thought we'd actually have to deal with any of those injuries.

For awhile we've noticed stiffness in Drake's hind quarters. This weekend it was apparent the stiffness was painful and unbearable for the big guy. Drake wouldn't put pressure on his back left leg, and he was less active than we'd ever seen him. Sunday morning Scott took Drake into the emergency veterinary hospital and we discovered Drake will most likely need surgery on his CCL (the equivalent to the human ACL).

Until his surgery we have to keep our big boy corralled, and off his leg as much as possible, and then we'll have 12 weeks of recovery.
Poor guy :(


Chocolate Cake in 60 Seconds

We're almost two weeks into the New Year and if you're sticking to your resolutions congratulations. If not, hey, I'm not here to judge. I'm seven months preggo and shoveling almost anything into my pie hole at this point.

I have a fellow blogger, and friend, to thank for this (I instantly knew this recipe would be trouble:). If you haven't checked out Erin's blog, Lemon Sugar, you really need to. Talk about a woman who clearly knows what's up in the world of baking! Her blog posts are amazing, and her photography is out of this world. Every time I check out her posts I end up drooling - and craving whatever it is she's whipped up. Compared to this culinary queen it's quite obvious my baking (and photography) skills are elementary!

With that being said, welcome to this sinfully delectable solo-sized dish...

One Minute Chocolate Cake
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons milk (I used skim - this is as skinny as it gets)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients (cocoa powder, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder) in a small bowl and whisk to completely combine.
Add the wet ingredients (oil, milk, vanilla), and whisk until mixture comes together completely.
Pour mixture into a microwave safe dish (I used a 7 ounce ramekin - perfecto!) and microwave at full power for 30-45 seconds, or until the middle of the cake is just slightly firm - I needed a full minute in the microwave.
*If you don't have a dish small enough a coffee mug would work well.
Allow to cool for a couple of seconds, then add any topping that you see fit. I poked a few small holes in my cake, drizzled a touch of hot fudge over the top, and then added two small scoops of mint ice cream (had to get the mint in there!).
It's almost criminal to not try this.
To be totally honest, from start to finish, the whole process took me probably three minutes. But, really, to have this little personal cake in less than five minutes?! Baby M is going to be pret-ty happy for the next two months :)

Source: Lemon Sugar - Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie


Jalapeno Poppers

It's not often I make appetizers. But, with last Friday's bowl game, and friends over to help us (Scott) cheer on our (Scott's) team, I thought it only fitting we provided something other than chips to munch on.

Thanks to my mom, I have this recipe, which will be a go-to appetizer from here on out.

It's pretty easy, and about as health conscious as far as appetizers are concerned...

Jalapeno Poppers
8 small-ish jalapenos
Oil oil cooking spray
2 Tbsp low-fat shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (I used low fat shredded Mexican blend cheese)
1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute (I rarely never used egg substitute, so I used two egg whites, whisked)
7 Tbsp crushed cornflake crumbs
1 Tbsp cooked bacon bits, or turkey bacon bits (I had some leftover turkey bacon bits I've been needing to get rid of - this was not in the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat large baking sheet with cooking spray (if you use a Pampered Chef baking stone skip the cooking spray).

In a medium mixing bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, cream cheese and mayo (and bacon, if you're using it). Mix well and set aside.
Halve peppers length wise and remove seeds; fill peppers with cheese mixture.

Place egg substitute (or whisked egg whites) in a shallow dish. Place cornflake crumbs in a separate shallow dish.
Dip stuffed peppers into egg substitute, then coat with cornflake crumbs.
Transfer peppers to prepared baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.
Bake until filling is bubbly and the outside of the peppers begin to brown - about 30 minutes.
Serve hot.
Left photo: jalapeno stuffed with cheese mixture.
Right photo: jalapenos coated with egg, covered with crushed cornflakes, ready for the oven
Serves 8.
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
WW Points: 2
End result: DELICIOUS!

Source: Weight Watchers


Big Purchases for Baby M

Some days it just doesn't seem real... In just two short months our lives will forever change. We won't just be two married people. We will become Mom and Dad.

This past weekend the "realness" really set in as we made two big purchases for Baby M. A rocking chair, of which I immediately fell in love (and almost asleep in), and a stroller/car seat combo.
Now, Baby M just needs to hurry up and get here so we can stop staring at all this stuff and start using it!


Baby Cakes

We were so fortunate to have not one, but two, baby showers while we were home. So many family and friends joined us in preparation of our little peanut.

The camera was all packed and ready for photos. Buuut, once all the fun begin the thought of the camera went right out the window.

I'll leave you with the few photos we DID remember to take :)
The "diaper cake" my talented mom put together. I simply emailed her a few photos of "diaper cakes" I thought were cute, and she whips up a baby carriage.
My mother-in-law, also very talented, made me a different type a cake... An edible one! How cute is that cake? I was so busy chatting with all our guests I didn't have an opportunity to try the cupcakes or cake!

A ginormous thank you to everyone who stopped by to see us!


Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing women in my life - my mom!!
I hope you have a perfect day, you deserve it! 
Sending butterflies your way. 
Thank you for setting such an amazing example of what a mom should be. I pray that I'm half as good at being a mom as you are! 

Love you so much!!


Snapshot of Home

Home. There is so much I miss about home. From the people, to the food (BBQ:), to the traffic lack of traffic, to being close to family, home is where we wish to return someday, soon.

While in the Midwest we were able to stop by some of our favorite places - which helped to reiterate how much we're ready to get back.
The Plaza is one of my favorite places in Kansas City. During the holidays is no exception. The shops are all adorned with lights hung in perfection. It's stunning, and pictures don't do the beauty justice.
With unseasonably warm weather I took full advantage of the sunny skies and spring-like temperatures. I headed to a spot I used to run regularly, Shawnee Mission Park. How I miss the hills and trails.
I-435 vs I-405. Pretty sure we won't have any problems saying adios to the nightmare of 405.
Scooter's! Coffee Bean and Starbucks move over. What I wouldn't give for a Scooter's in SoCal. Set me up with a good cup of Scooter's and I'm one happy camper.
 The Cathedral in downtown Kansas City is one of the most beautiful churches I've ever stepped foot in. I was thrilled when we were able visit on our last Sunday in KC.

Before ever leaving the Midwest I always thought that I couldn't wait to get away. Now that home is so far away it's the only place I want to be.


Holiday Traditions

The holidays are always full of wonderful family traditions. Those traditions mean even more to us now that we are so far from home, and as we anxiously await the arrival of Baby M.

A tradition I've been introduced to, since meeting Scott, is Christmas donuts. Every Christmas Eve the family attends Mass, and after Mass homemade donuts are made. 
This year I was in charge of making the donut holes. I take this stuff seriously. Those are some good lookin' donuts, don't you think?
Bellies full of donuts, hearts full of love.


Baby Macke Update - Week 28

Well, hello third trimester, I thought you'd never get here. At the same time, I can't believe how fast you've arrived!
Holy baby bump!
Upper left: The doctor wanted to make sure it was clear Baby M was a boy (I know one day Baby M is going to hate me for posting this :)
Upper right: Baby M's face
Lower left: Baby M's left foot
Lower right: Baby M's right foot - the doctor kept commenting on how big Baby M's feet are.
Thus far, this is my favorite 2D picture of Baby M - I love the little profile.
 Baby M most definitely has my nose. The 3D image isn't as clear as the doctor was hoping; apparently Baby M doesn't have quite enough fat on him to give a totally clear image - and his umbilical cord is up near his face, which is why the image seems a little distorted.

How far along? 28 weeks.
Maternity clothes? I wore almost every piece of maternity gear over the holidays (the handful of tops, couple jeans, and two preggers dresses), it's safe to say I continue to live (and love) my sweats, yoga pants, and Scott's t-shirts.
Stretch marks? Still in the clear.
Sleep? Haha! Still an amazing challenge, and I dread heading to bed most nights.
Best moment this week: The best moments this past week and a half were being at home and seeing our families and so many friends.
Miss anything? A full, uninterrupted night of sleep! And, sushi - I'm going to INHALE a rainbow roll as soon as Baby M makes his arrival.
Movement: Baby M is quite active, and since he's breech, it feels like he's head-butting my ribs all the time.
Food cravings: Mini York Peppermint Patties, peppermint hot chocolate, pretty much anything mint.
Anything make you queasy or sick? Still can't do peanut butter, gross.
Labor signs? Nada.
Symptoms: Does my protruding belly, and the inability to tie my shoes count? I've succumb to asking Scott to pick things up that I've dropped on the floor (that's a long way down, and a lot of work!). Lower back pain is a constant - boo.
Belly button in or out? Still in limbo with this one, but I foresee the belly button popping out at some point.
Linea nigra? Still no line.
Wedding ring on or off? Still on. No swelling anywhere, whoohoo!
Happy or moody most of the time? Depends on how much sleep I've had...
Looking forward to: Scott's parents will be visiting soon, and that means the baby furniture will be put together, and I'll be able to finally finish Baby M's room... and ORGANIZE all the goodies we were so grateful to receive from the baby showers we had while we were home (I'm sensing the need to"nest").

A HUGE thank you to my sister-in-law, Susan. She was able to set us up with a doctor who was kind enough to meet with us to do the ultrasound screening which provided us with the 2D and 3D photos of Baby M pictured above. 


Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Marinara & Noodles

Ahhhhh, to flex my fingers across the keyboard once again! Our trips to Kansas City and Iowa for the holidays were fabulous, but how I missed my own little space in the Internet world. It's good to be back!

Posts of our trip home, as well as an update of Baby Macke, will come throughout the week. However, tonight I whipped this up without a recipe. Yep, On. My. Own. And couldn't resist posting right away. Not to mention, the idea of waiting to blog one more day just wasn't an option. Plus, I knew this was a keeper, as Scott mentioned a few bites in that dinner was good.

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Marinara & Noodles

4 chicken breast (my chicken breast are a bit small; if you have larger chicken breasts three would do just fine)
1 jar of your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce (I thoroughly enjoy Ragu Light)
1 packet dry Italian seasoning
8 oz. cream cheese (as always, use the reduced or fat free to cut back on fat/cals)
8 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into one inch cubes (again, use the 2% to reduce fat/cals)
1 bag egg noodles (or your favorite noodles)

I plopped my chicken into the lined crock pot, totally frozen. Then I added:
jar of marinara, Italian seasoning, cream cheese, and Velveeta.
Set crock pot to high for approximately 3 hours (occasionally stir the sauce ingredients, if possible).
After three hours, remove chicken and shred.
While the chicken is out and being shredded add your noodles to the sauce mix, submerge noodles as much as possible.
After shredding, add chicken atop noodle/sauce mix, and place crock pot on low for about an hour.
Before serving mix chicken with noodles and sauce.

If you're making this while at work, or gone for the day, simply put your crock pot on low. And, if you don't have an hour to let the noodles soften, make your noodles according to the package, and add noodles to your chicken and sauce mix before serving.

Source: As mentioned before, I just made this up on my own. There may (probably) be a recipe out there just like this, but if so, I didn't use it. I just threw ingredients into the crock pot and hoped for the best. :)