Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's a...



And look, I even baked you a cake for the big reveal!

No, no I did not, but I did google for a pretty cake to look at, which is almost the same. MmmMm cake... 

We are, of course, very excited to be expecting a healthy baby girl! The morning of the scan I realized that I was so sure baby was a girl that I would actually have been surprised if the ultrasound technician told us it was a boy instead. It's funny how strong my feelings were this time compared to last time. Maybe there is something to this Mother's Intuition. I remember laying in bed shortly after seeing the positive home pregnancy test and just overwhelming thinking this one is going to be a girl. I also have a name in mind, but I still have to convince Mark. Good thing we still have ~20 weeks to go :D

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pregnancy #2: Week 20

This babe is about halfway baked at this point, which is crazy to think about because I feel like this pregnancy is just flying by!  Ask me if I still feel that way around 35 weeks or so and I may very well claim to have never said that ;) 

The big news is we go in tomorrow for baby's Anatomy Scan and as long as baby cooperates we will find out the sex!  Right now I'm just really excited about finding out what we're having (no Team Green here - I want the surprise now!  Meeting baby for the first time will be surprise enough upon delivery :) ), but I'm sure the nerves will set in either around bed time tonight or certainly tomorrow morning.  I often get nervous before things like this because I just want to know that everything is okay in there.  I try to remind myself that I have no reason to worry at this point, but like it or not I'm a worrier by nature.

As far as a prediction, I'm feeling like baby is a girl.  I don't really know why, my pregnancy has been just about the same as last time, but right from the beginning I just got the feeling that it was a girl.  Of course this prediction could be influenced by a lot of different things.  Interestingly enough, last time Mark was really sure that Jack was a boy.  I eventually agreed with his prediction, but he seemed to have stronger feelings about it.  This time, the roles are reversed!  I'm convinced it's a girl, Mark agrees, but isn't as sure.  It'll be fun to find out if our prediction is correct this time!  

Calming my worries now are reassuring baby thumps.  I've been feeling some movement for about a week and a half now.  3 days before I hit 19 weeks I started feeling some super faint movements that I thought was baby, but wasn't sure.  2 days later I was positive I was finally feeling movement!  I have an anterior placenta again this time which tends to delay feeling early baby movements.  Last time I didn't feel any movement until my 21st week of pregnancy.  It's nice that I was able to feel baby a little earlier this time, maybe it's true that you feel movement sooner with subsequent pregnancies.

It's so reassuring to feel periodic movement in there!  It's still pretty faint and I don't feel it as often as I probably will in a few weeks, but it's still nice.

I'm feeling much better than I was.  I get periodic aches and pains from things stretching out, but nothing too bad yet.  My main complaint is that I'm TIRED.  So tired.  I think this is based on a few different things. One, my body is growing another human.  Two, I'm not getting enough sleep.  And three, I chase a toddler around all day.  Those three things combined leave me exhausted.  Sometimes I get so tired that it actually starts making me feel sick.  I've definitely had some pregnancy induced insomnia this time.  I don't remember having this with Jack until the very end and it's extremely frustrating.  Some nights are better than others, but sometimes I have trouble getting to sleep, or just don't sleep very well at all.  Often I'm up earlier than I need to be.  This is all SO atypical for me as I'm usually a really heavy sleeper without any sleep troubles!  It's incredibly annoying being tired and not being able to sleep.

In addition to my own sleep issues, Jack is having trouble sleeping as well.  He periodically goes through these sleep regressions which always coincide with some sort of physical or mental development.  He seems to be developing a lot of language skills lately so I'm sure that's the culprit.  It's like he just can't shut his brain down.  We have trouble getting him to bed at night, he'll sometimes wake up overnight (some nights more than once), wake-ups are early, and naps don't happen every day.  So, on top of normal pregnancy exhausted I'm also 2 1/2 year old with sleep trouble exhausted.  Bad timing.  We're a few weeks into this nonsense already and in the past, the sleep regressions have lasted around 4-6 weeks and then one day he's just back on track.  Until then we'll just hang in there and hope it sorts itself out soon! 

I'm still wearing my regular clothes with the aid of a Bella Band.  It's really time for maternity clothes, but to my dismay none of my maternity clothes from last time fit.  They're too big, which I really shouldn't complain about, but it's just annoying to have to buy new things.  I already knew that I would need some new things as most of my clothes last time were suited for working in an office, which I obviously no longer do, but having to start from scratch is rather frustrating.

Last weekend I ended up going to buy a pair of maternity jeans from Destination Maternity, which I of course wasn't pleased about.  $40 for a pair of jeans I will only wear for the next few months seems like a rip off to me.  I thought more about my options and remembered hearing about a local consignment store that was rumored to have a good selection of maternity clothes.  Last week Jack and I went on a little field trip to check out Trader Tots and I was pleasantly surprised by their selection of both maternity and baby/children's clothes.  For $25 (using a $5 off coupon that I received for signing up for their email list) I walked out with 2 pairs of very gently used maternity jeans.  One of them were pretty much the same exact jeans I purchased new at Destination Maternity for $40 - same size, style, AND they were even short length!  Great deal!

I was so happy to find jeans in short length, and they had quite a few pairs!  I'm often annoyed that I can't find them in stores and I have a ridiculously short inseam.  I'm entirely capable of hemming a pair of pants, but when I'm spending $40 for a pair of jeans I can only use for a short time I REALLY don't want to have to also make alterations to them, which definitely limits my options for shopping.  Now, I was totally fine with having to hem a pair of gently used jeans that I picked up for $15, that's a different story, but I didn't even end up needing to.  Take that overpriced jeans!  I returned the $40 jeans to the store the next day :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 26th

Last week of August!

We did much better with sticking to our menu plan last week.  We did end up carrying one thing over because we ended up going out to dinner with family one night last week, but otherwise we're back on track!  

Sunday:   Late lunch

Monday:  Chipotle-inspired Chicken Burritos

Tuesday:  French Dip Sandwiches (CrockPot) with Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday:  Grilled Beer Brats with Cheesy Potatoes

Thursday:  Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos with Guacamole and "Refried" Beans (CrockPot) from the freezer

Friday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza - carried over from last week

Saturday:  Family gathering

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tried & True Recipe: Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

This is not at all a difficult recipe, but you may have noticed we eat these Grilled Buffalo Chicken sandwiches frequently during grilling season so I thought I'd share how to put them together!

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Inspired by Grilled Buffalo Chicken recipe featured on Plain Chicken


2 Good Sized Chicken Breasts (or 4 thin-sliced chicken breasts)
3/4 cup Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
1/4 cup Butter, melted
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder

For serving:

2 tablespoons Sour Cream (or Plain Greek Yogurt)
1 tablespoon Blue Cheese Crumbles
4 Sandwich Buns (store bought or homemade)


In a medium-sized bowl, combine hot sauce, butter, Worcestershire sauce, and onion powder.  Remove 1/4 cup of marinade and set aside.

If using full-sized chicken breasts carefully slice in half horizontally to get 2 thin-sliced pieces from each breast.

Add chicken to marinade and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes (don't try to stick it back in the fridge or the butter in the marinade will harden.  It's best to take the chill off meat before grilling it anyway!).  Meanwhile, pre-heat the grill (or this is where The Husband comes in if it's my house).

Grill chicken until cooked through and then brush with reserved marinade.

While chicken is cooking, make the blue cheese sauce by combining the sour cream (or greek yogurt) and blue cheese crumbles.  I like to kind of mush this mixture with a fork so the crumbles aren't so big and it's combined well.  (If you don't like blue cheese a little schmear of ranch dressing would be good instead.)

Once chicken is cooked assemble sandwiches by adding chicken, tomato, lettuce, and blue cheese sauce to a sliced bun.

I usually serve these sandwiches with baked ranch potato wedges, but as you can see I was eating leftovers for lunch with some kettle chips on the side.  Can't go wrong either way!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 19th

Several dinners have been carried over from last week.  It was a crazy week and we didn't do so well with sticking to our meal plan.  This week will be better!

Sunday:  Chicken Fajitas with Chips and Salsa

Monday:  Tortellini-Sausage Soup with Focaccia Sticks for dunking

Tuesday:  Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Wednesday:  Smothered Chilie Colorado Burritos (CrockPot) with Mexican Rice

Thursday:  Spaghetti with Salad and Bread

Friday:  Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Friday, August 17, 2012

Impressed by Bissell

When I was pregnant with Jack we invested in a new vacuum and it was a very much needed investment.  We got a great deal on a Bissell Healthy Home and 2 1/2 years later I can say that I'm still very happy with our investment.  The vacuum works great, has all the attachments I need, and I love that it's bagless!  The only upkeep we've had to do is replacing the HEPA filter, which I was able to pick up at Bed Bath & Beyond for a reasonable price.  Although, it's been a year since I did that.  I should probably go ahead and do that again...


The point is, I've been very happy with the vacuum.  But 2 weeks ago, something bad happened.  The hinge on the debris door broke.  Honestly, it was probably more my fault than anything.  I wasn't very careful with it and would often kind of bang the container around on the inside of my trash can when I was trying to get the icky stuff out.  It was still useable, but rather than hitting a button, the door swinging open, emptying the container, then shutting the door, I had to hit the button, manually remove the door completely (which was kind of messy), empty the container, and then manually replace the whole door again. 


I was bummed about this.  The next week I thought to get on Bissell's website to see if they sold a replacement part, which they do.  I was contemplating buying it and then thought to check whether the vacuum came with any sort of warrenty, it did!

Last Friday, I contacted Bissell's customer service department via email to see whether a new debris door would be covered under our 5-year manufacturer's limited warranty.  I emailed them late Friday afternoon and they responded to me on Sunday asking for the model and serial numbers and date of purchase.  I provided these to them in an email response on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday they responded to let me know they'd be sending me the part free of charge.  This afternoon (1 week after our initial communication and just 3 days after them promising the part) the part arrived on my doorstep via FedEx! 

I'm extremely impressed with the swiftness of Bissell's customer service.  I much prefer emailing rather than calling, but sometimes it takes a while to hear back once you submit one of those contact forms from a company's website.  I am also very pleasantly surprised by the fact that this issue was so easily resolved.  No hoops to jump through, no drama, it was so nice!  It's probably a little sad that I'm so easily impressed by good customer service, but honestly I run into bad customer service far too often, a little good goes a long way with me! 

So basically, this all just made my day!  I saved myself $21.99 + shipping (and really, I probably just saved myself loads of frustration because I'm stubborn and I probably would have just muddled along with the broken door, cursing it every time I had to empty the debris container rather than purchasing the replacement part) because the part was covered under warranty and all with no headache.  Score! 

Other goings on from this week:

- 2 1/2 year sleep regression that just won't quit (this coupled with pregnancy insomnia is not a good thing to say the least)

- We've decided to cloth diaper this next baby right from birth and I scored a good deal on some newborn diapers earlier this week.  They also arrived today and they're so darn cute.  I can't wait to put them on a tiny baby heiny!

- I'm making a whole chicken in the CrockPot for the first time today.  I keep seeing this method popping up on the interwebz so we'll see how it goes.  I actually intend to pull all the meat off the bones to use in another recipe so I thought it would be perfect for the CrockPot method.  I love using my CrockPot whenever possible.  It does all the work, doesn't heat up the house, and uses less energy than the oven.  Win-win-win. 

- I *finally* got around to taking a picture of the Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches that we make.  It's not at all a difficult recipe, but it's one of our grilling favorites that shows up frequently on our menu during the warm weather months.  I'm planning to share it with you next week!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer Fun

Most of this Summer has quickly passed us by while I was dealing with early pregnancy ickies and we were all hiding out from the wretched heatwave that encompassed nearly all of Summer! Seriously, upper-90s to 100+degree weather plus humidity is not anything you're able to be out enjoying. Lucky for us, the last few weekends we have been greeted with gorgeous Saturdays so we've been trying to get out to enjoy some Summer while we still can!

Several weekends ago, we hit up the annual Jazz and Rib Fest for some ribths.  They were good.  I didn't get any pictures because I was too busy eating ribs and licking barbeque sauce off my fingers to deal with a camera :)


The next weekend we were able to get up to the Zoo for bit where Jack rode the carousel for the first time.  I was a little skeptical as to whether he'd like it or not because you can never tell with new things, but he LOVED it!  Of course there were tears when the ride was over.

This past weekend we took Jack for a haircut (his 2nd one.  His first one went just about as well...).

Before his first haircut I never understood why people would pay twice as much for a kid's haircut just to take them to a special kid's place.  Now I know.  This kid hates getting his haircut and at least if we go to the kid's place there's a chance that maybe, possibly, one day he'll be distracted by the cars you sit in or the movie they turn on, not to mention they seem to be used to cutting moving heads attached to crying kids so I guess it's worth the extra money at this point. 

After that we went to a Touch-A-Truck event.  Now, Jack luuuuuurves any sort of vehicle/transportation/anything with wheels so we were SURE he'd love this.  However, we didn't count on it being such a big event and when we first got there Jack was just a little overwhelmed and scared by it all.  There were people everywhere and giant trucks with honking horns.  I can see why it was a little intimidating.  After a while he did warm up and then he ended up really enjoying himself! 

Driving the Zamboni

A 4-seater gator of some sort

Garbage truck.  Squish, crunch, GRIND!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - Week of August 12th

Hi there, it's been a while.

To explain my absence, I have some news: I'm pregnant!  Again.  And similar to my last pregnancy when I also took a blog hiatus, I was very sick for several weeks at the beginning.  I'm thankful to grow nice healthy babies, but it sure takes its toll on my body!  I will never one of be one of those pregnant ladies who doesn't know she's pregnant, that's for sure!

So one tired, sick, toddler mama growing a new baby + said toddler and there's not much time for anything except the bare minimum to keep the household somewhat running.  Thankfully, so very thankfully, we made it through those first several weeks of ickies, which managed to worm their way into early 2nd trimester this time, and at 18 weeks pregnant (today!) I'm finally feeling more like myself.  The last few weeks have been blessedly better.

After living in full on survival mode for the whole first trimester (and then some) we're finally getting things back on track, including regularly scheduled home-cooked meals.  Woohoo!  I even baked bread last week.

Sunday:  Late lunch

Monday:  Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches with Ranch Potato Wedges

Tuesday:  Teriyaki Chicken (CrockPot) with Brown Rice and Steamed Broccoli

Wednesday:  Tortellini-Sausage Soup with Focaccia Sticks for dunking

Thursday:  Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Friday:  Chipotle Chicken Fajitas with Chips and Salsa and/or Mexican Rice (from the freezer)

Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by