Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pinner-Approved! Recipe

I am always watching Pinterest for good recipe finds. One day, I came across this photo... and it screamed "COMFORT FOOD" to me! I pinned the recipe and have been waiting for an opportunity to make it. Tonight happened to be the night!
Yummmm-o, right?!
Here's what you need:
2 cups macaroni pasta
1 lb hamburger
1 quart tomato juice or vegetable juice
2 tsp dehydrated onion flakes or 1/2 of a small onion diced
2 tsp dehydrated celery flakes or 1 stick of celery chopped
1 tsp parsley flakes
salt and pepper
Optional: 1 can sweet corn undrained
My hubby is a hearty eater, and we love leftovers in our house...so I doubled the ingredients listed above. It made a heaping pot full of soup! I have plenty for lunch and dinner tomorrow, as well as several pints cooling to go into the freezer. I used ground beef in the recipe... but you could easily substitute venison or elk, if you prefer.
I hate buying a whole bunch of celery because I use what little bit I need and then the rest ends up going bad in my fridge... so to avoid that situation, I usually stop by a grocery store with a fresh salad bar and grab some chopped celery from the salad bar instead of buying a ton of celery that I'll never use. Saves me some chopping, too!
Also loved this recipe because it was ready in less than 30 minutes, start to finish.
1. Cook macaroni 8-10 minutes. While the macaroni is cooking, brown meat, chopped onion, and celery in a pan. Drain off fat when meat is cooked all the way through.
2. Drain the macaroni. Add the vegetable juice and corn to the cooked macaroni. Bring to a simmer.
3. Transfer the meat and cooked onion/celery to the soup mixture. Add in salt, pepper, parsley. I also add in a sprinkle of garlic powder. Let the whole pot simmer a few minutes and serve.
Easy-peazy :-)
Do you have a favorite comfort food recipe? :-)
This one is a good one!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Hangin' with the Hubby

Last Saturday, I was quietly working in the soon-to-be nursery, getting some cleaning done.
All of a sudden I heard a "vrrrrrrroooooooooooom" sound come from the garage. I got really still and just listened for a minute, trying to make sense of what the noise was. Next thing I know, the kitchen door to the garage is flying open and Jason is yelling, "Hey Babe... Did ya hear that?!" So I came running out the hall and said, "Yeah... what was that???" He was grinning ear-to-ear... he had just started his Mustang for the very first time.
He bought this old '87 Mustang a few years back... completely gutted it, inside and out. He had the whole thing painted a couple of years ago, and until this year, it has just been sitting on blocks in the garage collecting dust. Just no time to work on it. Well, Jason has had some extra time on his hands lately so he's been working under the hood... completely building everything from scratch.
And Saturday was a milestone because it was the first time it ever started up! Of course, like when all important things happen, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the garage to document the occasion. Here's some pictures:

Sunday, January 27, 2013

99 More Days! Wowzers.

Last night, I was logged onto my registries and making a few changes when a couple little words caught my eye:
Oh. My. WORD. 100 Days, as of yesterday.
Which means... today, we are officially in double-digits!
99 more days till I hold my baby boy, if he arrives on May 6th.
Absolute crazyness...
I was on my Target registry to update my stroller/car seat/travel system choice. When I started my registries, I registered from the comfort of my couch on Christmas Eve because I was snowed in without my Hubby. When I was looking at strollers, I looked at a few things... ratings, reviews, and of course, color. HA! I want something that is gender-neutral and will match my car. Little crazy? Yes. So I found one that looked great in terms of color and reviews, and it is able to be found in stores. So, when I went to Target a few weeks later to check out strollers... imagine my surprise when I found that I managed to choose the most expensive stroller that Target has on display ($299). Grrrrrreat. Not crazy about Target's stroller display, either, because they are up really high on a shelf... not easy for a pregnant mommy to get them down and try them out on her own.
Well, I had dinner with my friend Amy this week and then we went to Target to go over some must-have registry items. She got my first choice of stroller down and had me practice pushing it, trying to fold it down, and then open it back up. I was disappointed because of how tall the stroller is... the handle bar that you push came up to my chest. I felt like a little girl pushing a tall girl's stroller. It was pretty easy to maneuver once I managed to get it unfolded... but when it was folded up, it took up a LOT more room that I realized.
So then, Amy decided to show me her stroller. She got it down, I pushed it (or, rather, the stroller pushed me... it drove so smoothly and could do a 360 degree turn in very little space thanks to a swiveling front wheel), and then folded it up and opened it up with very little difficulty. I was SOLD! Even better, the stroller comes with an awesome review from a friend who has used the stroller for two children...and the price? $89. YEP. Just needed to go home and look up the travel system for that stroller so I have a car seat that fits with it. The wheels are designed to handle all kinds of terrain... so whether I'm taking the baby for a walk down our long gravel drive, or pushing him around up on the mountain at Mom and Dad's getaway, my stroller will be able to handle it. It took up less space when folded up than my original pick, too.
Here they are... the old, the new:
The complete travel system with carseat/carrier is $188.99 - but that is still more than $100 cheaper than my original travel system. I'm very excited!
Time for the weekly update!
How Far Along? 25 Weeks, 6 Days
Size of Baby: Weighs 2lbs and is about 11 inches long!
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Gained a solid pound this week... FINALLY! :-) Grow, baby, grow!
Maternity Clothes: Yep, absolute necessity at this point!
Gender: A little prince.
Movement: Lots! Many kicks and punches all day long.
What I miss: Being able to shave my legs without doing a balancing act, LOL
Cravings: This week, nothing in particular! Other than chocolate and milk (same as last week).
Symptoms: Thankfully, I haven't had much heartburn. I have been having some crazy dreams here lately. A lot of them end up being about breastfeeding. You could say I'm a little bit anxious about breastfeeding because I want it to work out soooo badly! I guess we will see. Oh, and my feet are starting to disappear.
Best Moment This Week: Went shopping with my Mom for some baby shower decorations and invitations! Very excited to celebrate the arrival of my baby boy with my family and friends.
Looking Forward To: Scheduling an elective 3D/4D ultrasound for mid-February! Can't wait to see my little guy on the big screen.
25 Weeks Pregnant:


Friday, January 25, 2013

Happies & Crappies

Thought I'd join a fun link-up today for Happies & Crappies!
 -Waking up to a 2-hour delay yesterday morning and then having a 2-hour early dismissal today... LOVE some extra time off here and there!
-Having an impromptu lunch date with my BFF today since we got out of school early.
-Spending time with my friend Amy last night! We had dinner and then went to Target to go over the must-haves for my registry. It was sooo helpful and very informative. You should've seen us in the stroller aisle. Amy showed me the stroller she loves, and then had me try out the one I registered for... and I'm totally sold on hers! She had me practice folding it up and everything - it was a lot of fun, and we had a pretty good laugh as I struggled to maneuver the stroller I had originally picked out.
-Receiving hugs from my kiddos. They make me smile everday!

-Working together with my teammates lately has helped to make the lesson-planning process super efficient! I feel like we are finally getting into a good "groove" and embracing the Common Core. Don't get me wrong - the six of us have always worked well together - but I feel like we have been very productive lately! It's great.

-Observing random acts of kindness in my classroom. Was so blessed by a little girl in my class today who reached out to another peer who was having a rough day. Made my heart melt!

-Shopping with my mom for baby shower goodies!

-Feeling my baby's kicks

-Finding a lullaby song to sing to my little boy. I heard this particular song a long time ago by one of my favorite bands, and now I've been singing it and humming the melody a lot to get my little mister used to hearing it. Hopefully it will help soothe him when he's finally here, since it will be familiar to him.

-Seeing the joy on my hubby's face when the mustang he's been working on for a few years now finally STARTED for the first time over the weekend. He came to the kitchen door, all excited, and said, "Babe, did you hear that?!?" So I headed out to the garage with my camera to capture the memory :-)

-Watching my belly grow and grow as my baby boy gets closer and closer to making his big debut. I was relaxing on the couch when I got home, just enjoying feeling the baby move. Snapped this picture as I was watching my belly in complete and utter amazement at the miracle of my baby boy.



-Receiving unkind remarks about my pregnancy.
"Woah, Kristin... You're HUGE!"
"Look how big you are...That's going to be a really big baby boy"!
"Geez, you really POPPED!"
...Ummmmmm, thanks?!
Pregnant or not, I don't think anyone should have the right to comment on your size... no matter how big/small you are! It's just plain rude... Pregnancy is such a beautiful time in one's life and the very last thing you want to hear over and over is how big you are.
*rant over*

-Not seeing my Hubby much this week due to our crazy schedules.

-Realizing I can't get out to go get some chocolate ice cream because of the snow. And I really want chocolate ice cream. Boohoo.

***SO glad I have more HAPPIES than CRAPPIES!***

Do you have any Happies or Crappies to share?

Scissors and a Whisk: Happies and Crappies Link Up

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

24 Weeks... 6 Months DOWN!

6 months... GONE. Hello, 7th month of pregnancy!
I'm officially 25 weeks and 1 day pregnant. Andddd I have yet to publish my 24 week post. YIKES! As tired as I am right now and even though I'd much rather be napping, I know I need to stay on top of these weekly updates. Only 14 more to go, IF my little guy holds out the entire 40 weeks. Craziness. Am I beginning to panic? Absolutely.
How Far Along? 25 Weeks, 1 Day... but this post is all about last week... my 24th week of pregnancy.
Size of Baby: About as big as an eggplant.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Down half a pound from last week. In total, I'm approximately 5 lbs below my starting weight at the beginning of my pregnancy. Had a doctor's appointment this week and didn't show any gain on their scales either. Doctor is not worried at all, baby is growing just fine and measuring perfectly so everyone is happy... including me :-)
Maternity Clothes: Just ordered a few new pieces from Craving Style... needed some casual, comfy t-shirts that cover the belly appropriately... LOL. Also picked up a black maternity pencil skirt from Target yesterday - it was on the clearance rack for $12. AWESOME!
Gender: Baby BOY!
Movement: Little Man's kicks have been shaking my belly this week! He's kicking so hard, and it's sooo cool to watch and feel. Hubby is still waiting for his chance to feel the baby move. I feel the baby a lot on the right side of my belly, so I asked the doctor if she could tell me what position he is in. It AMAZES me how she can just feel around my tummy and know exactly where my little boy is :-)  Baby boy is laying sideways across the top of my belly. Doctor says he is high up there, head on the left hand side, butt up near the top of my uterus, and legs down on the right side of my belly.
What I miss: Going more than two hours at a time without having to scope out a bathroom... HA!
Cravings: Been craving sweets lately. Specifically, a half a glass of milk with a chocolate (or two) from a Russel Stover's gift box that we got for Christmas. Mmmmmhmmm, that happened at about 2am this morning, LOL. Woke up and had to have a chocolate and some milk.
Symptoms: SUPER EMOTIONAL this week. Every other song on the radio is making me cry, no joke.
Best Moment This Week: Going shopping for nursery fabrics on Monday night was a blast! So excited to get the next nursery project started.
Looking Forward To: Spending some time with my friend, Amy, on Thursday night! Dinner date and then heading to Target to go over registry must-haves. So thankful for these experienced Mommas in my life who are willing to help me navigate the waters of first-time-motherhood!
24 Weeks Pregnant:
See you next week later this week! ...Hopefully on time, this time!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fabric Frenzy!

Well, my mother-in-law and I ventured out to find fabric for my baby boy's nursery on Monday evening. To see the post where I shared the nursery colors and inspiration, click {{here}}.
We started out at a locally owned fabric shop. While they had a nice selection of baby fabrics, they were lacking in the blue-brown department. They had one fabric that I loved - a blue fabric with a large brown damask swirl design... and of course, I needed 6 yards and they only had 2.
It was slightly frustrating because I thought this shop was going to be THE place to go - if they didn't have what I wanted, I doubted anyone would, because they are said to have the best selection in town.
When we walked out of the shop with just a swatch of the fabric I liked in hand (just in case I could find something similar), Connie (world's best mother-in-law!) asked if there was a Joann's Fabrics close by. I told her there was one across town... so we loaded up in my car and headed to Joann's.
As soon as we walked ino the quilting fabric department, I spotted an entire section of blue/brown fabrics. Out loud, I said "Be still, my heart!" I found a brown fabric with a chunky blue swirl design and fell in love. We picked out coordinating fabrics, everything was coming together nicely.
...And then.
And then I got to thinking. The fabric that I picked out as my base fabric as the main fabric for my quilt and window treatment was beautiful... but, did it say "Baby Boy?" There were some flowers mixed in with those swirls... but, the more I looked at it, the fabrics just seemed to look older. It was definitely a beautiful set of fabrics that I would love to have for a quilt in my bedroom... but could I imagine my baby boy walking around with this quilt as his "blankie"? Nope. Just couldn't do it.
I think my mother-in-law was ready to shoot me.
So we scoured the store looking for another fabric that was appease me.
And then I found it. I found this cute puppy fabric that matched some of the other complimentary fabrics that I had already picked out! So, a quick look for another complimentary fabric or two... and this is what we came up with :-)
...2 and a half hours later, LOL
I am so excited for the bedding, pillows, and window treatments now that I have the fabric picked out! I couldn't have done it without Connie's help... and her patience :-)
What do you think?!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Nursery Notes

Okay. The nesting instinct is starting to kick in.
I find myself daydreaming about my little boy's nursery more and more these days.
The day that I found out I was having a little boy, I headed straight to Hobby Lobby to pick up some cute blue/boy decorations for our gender reveal party. I came across this framed print and I had to buy it. I love the colors and the country feel to it.
The more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea of using that framed print as my nursery inspiration. I've never been a big fan of the commercialized "bagged" nursery themes, and when a friend of mine was expecting her first baby, her aunt custom-made bedding for her, a window treatment, and diaper bags that fit her color scheme. I love the idea of using a color scheme as a theme rather than a bagged theme. My little man's nursery will be one-of-a-kind! Now I realize that other nurseries may have similar color schemes, but our baby's bedding will be extra special (as the quilt and pillows will be monogramed with his name or initials and birthdate).
Here is the color scheme that I derived from the framed picture using Sherwin Williams's paint chip generator:
Now... I'm not crazy about all of SW's suggestions. I would subtract the plum and peacock colors.
For paint, I'm thinking I would like to do the rose beige color from the floor to chair rail, and then the sand color from the chair rail to the ceiling. Maybe use the snowbound color on the chair rail and ceiling.
Here are some fabrics from the Joann's Fabrics website that I like:
My favorites are probably the blue bird fabric in the upper right, the zig-zag chevron print in the upper left, and the teddy bear print in the lower left. The fabric store we are going to tomorrow may/may not have these prints... but these are the colors/styles that I like. :-)
A few other room accessories that I have my eye on:
{{This Rug}} on Amazon:
{{This Bedding Set}} for the twin bed that will be in the nursery - also on Amazon
I'd like to make this wreath to hang on the door of the nursery:
Love the simplicity of this alphabet plaque, but it's no longer available through Pottery Barn Kids :-(
Might just have to make my own. Canvas + Letter Stencils + Brown Paint?
 In terms of furniture for the nursery, we are going to use two dressers that were Jason's when he was growing up that are already in the room that will be our nursery. They need a little bit of sprucing up (maybe a coat of paint and some new hardware), but there's no reason to buy brand new when we have something that can already work. One dresser is tall and thin, and the other dresser is wide and comes up to my waist - perfect size for the changing table! 
We also have a twin size bed in that room already. At first, I had found a beautiful 4-in-1 crib that was a little bit over my budget for the crib. The more I thought about it, though... the convertible crib converts to a full-size bed eventually. At the present time, we have one twin size bed and two queen size beds in our house that aren't even being used... so why register for a crib that is going to convert to a full-size bed - which will make us have to buy yet another mattress to add to our collection? ... No, thank you. Just not practical. And honestly, I've heard mixed reviews about the convertible cribs.
So, I found {{this}} reasonably priced and well-reviewed crib at Target that matches the furniture already in the soon-to-be nursery.
It will work just fine for our needs :-)
I like the idea of having the twin size bed in the nursery. Since I'm going to be home with the baby for his first four months, I don't expect my Hubby to help much at night. He has to get up for work super early in the morning, and I think that it will just work out better if the baby and I sleep in the nursery in the twin bed with the co-sleeper until I start putting him to bed in his crib a few weeks before I go back to work. Plus... if anyone happens to spend the night to give me a good night of sleep *hint hint*, there will be a comfy bed right in the nursery to accommodate our guest. Hey, gotta think of everything ;-)
Last night, I spent a good hour measuring furniture and walls in the nursery.
 Our other spare room is actually much bigger and would be more ideal for all the extra furniture, but we want to save that room for the baby when he gets bigger... that way our next little one can go right into the nursery that's already set up. (Plus - the nursery walls will be completely neutral, so if we ever have a girl, it will just be a matter of customizing new bedding in some girly colors.)
I came up with this tentative plan for the nursery:
...And then I found an online app that let me make it prettier for you:
Ahhhhh... much better :-)
So there you have it! My current notes on the nursery. All of this is still in my head... but time is ticking away and I can't wait to get started on making it all a reality!
I'll be back with an update on nursery fabrics later in the week.
Till then... xoxox

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Life Lately... Randoms :-)

Life Lately...
Random photos brought to you by Instagram
My students love using my iPad!
New season of the bachelor! ...And lots of blog-post planning lately ;)
Took our second graders to see a Chinese dance group all the way from Hong Kong!
It was awesome... until the dancers started changing outfits on sidestage, and were CLEARLY in the view of our students. Ugh :-/
Started buying diapers this week! Also picked up some lanolin cream for some dryness.
gulp, gulp, gulp... drinking lots of water!
Cute belly, cute outfit, cute shoes... :-)
Still rockin' my 3-inch heels while I can!
...But I admit, I switched to flats by the end of the day ;-)
Why, hellooooo kitty!
Made fried green beans as a side dish to crab cakes and baked salmon Friday night!
They were DE-LISH.
Just like TGIFridays :-)
Going to try to oven fry them next time to cut some fat out ;-)
The rest of the aforementioned dinner :-)
Got my Christmas decorations taken down and put away yesterday
Watched some Tia & Tamera while doing so.
LOVE learning about pregnancy and motherhood through their show!
Kitty was mad that I took down the tree.
In fact, she sat UNDER the tree as I undecorated it in protest.
When the tree was all gone, she hid behind the curtain.
Not a happy kitty.
Behind the curtain.
Kitty is saying, "Go away. I'm not talking to you."
Dessert last night :-)
Anyone else use Instagram?
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