Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Everyday Food

I was a subscriber to Everyday Food for a couple of years. I loved getting it each month and planning out my menus. I figured it saved us quite a bit of money because I was able to not only menu plan, but cook items that were in season. Score, right! Well, they increased the price of the magazine and I just wasn't comfortable with spending the money any more because after a couple of years, I kept forgetting about the magazine and not utilizing it.

However, I did save a years worth and they are on my shelf in the kitchen next to my other recipe books. Tiny post-it flags peeking out over the tops and edges where I bookmarked my favorite recipes. I recently found myself going back to my Everyday Food zines in search of recipes. I know many of you are all fancy with your iPads and other electronic devices that hold your recipes, but I'm still old fashioned in that sense. I LOVE recipe books, especially the ones from the women's group at churches. Yeah, those are awesome! I digress. I like holding things in my hands and seeing the page of what I'm making. I particularly like Everyday Food because when usually include a list of what to buy for a weeks worth of meals. Makes my life a lot easier.
Sidenote: I do visit their blog for inspiration on the food dishes as well. This will be especially helpful when we have a new mouth to feed in the house! Less thinking about and more doing, with proven tasty meals!

Anyway, I received an offer to come back to them for a year for only $10!! Score. I quickly filled out the information and signed up. Bonus that I now have access to their online recipe index from 2003-2010. WOW! Not so great that I wasn't paying attention to the auto-fill box. I'm now known as Bianca Last name. hilarious!

Whatever, I'm still excited to get my magazine! I can't wait.

**I was not compensated for this review of Everyday Food. I just like their product and this review is my own opinion.**

HDMR: Love & Other Drugs, Life As We Know It, & Due Date

I've watched an inordinate amount of movies lately, but I will narrow down this HDMR to some movies that I told myself I was going to wait to watch until after I had the baby, but 'eh, we all know that sometimes I have the patience of a gnat. I guess all of these movies could be classified as "chick flicks" maybe? Who knows. Anyway, on with the reviews...

Love & Other Drugs
Ok, this movie is centered around two highly attractive people, both of whom spend the first part of the movie in various undress. And then it takes a spin and well, it got entirely too serious. I was in the mood for a mindless comedy with fun and whimsy. Well, it kinda started out that way. Very cliche, but like I said, it started to take itself way too seriously. Maybe that's what it was meant to do, I'm not exactly sure. However, there were also gaps in the character development and too many details that I wanted to know, but they went unanswered. If the movie was just the first half and kept its momentum that way, then I suppose I would get something that was like A Lot Like Love or the upcoming Friends with Benefits. Oh well. It was ok, I guess it was worth the "free" rental, but honestly, when I had to get up, I didn't pause the movie. I just wasn't that engaged. I rate this a jello pudding snack.

Life As We Know It
First off, this movie WILL pull at your heartstrings if you are a parent. At some point or another, you wonder "what if" when you have a child. Who will they live with and who will raise them in the event you and your partner separate. This movie does a really great job of putting that question front and center...and be sure to let those people know that they are in your "what if" plan. I like Katherine Heigl. I didn't like her and then I did, and then I really liked her in Knocked Up. She plays type-A so well! Josh Duhamel is his typical adorable self, not deviating far from his typical roles. However, Josh Lucas was channeling that awesomeness from Sweet Home Alabama. *sigh* There were some believable real-life parts in this film (and some over-the-top overacting), which every new parent can relate to. You know the ones I'm talking about, where your life has switched from everything that you remember it being, but then nature takes over and you are immediately reminded why you've made those sacrifices. I enjoyed this movie. Not enough to buy it, but I did enjoy it very much. I rate this devil's food ice cream cake.

Due Date
I rented this movie for two reasons: Robert Downey Jr. & Zach Galifianakis. I love them both and I was curious to see how their on-screen chemistry would be. I found myself feeling sorry for Zach's character and having that uncomfortable laughter. Kinda how it was during The Hangover, but multiplied by 5. It was just awkward. Robert Downey Jr. played his character like a typical straight edge type-A executive. Most scenes were uncomfortable because of circumstances surrounding the way it was set-up. Especially if you've ever been the victim of gross exaggeration and miscommunication. There was one scene that was absolutely hysterical, though! Don and I were both gasping for air because we were laughing so hard. Basically, RDJr is trying to get back to his pregnant wife for the birth of his first child. ZG acts as someone who gets in his way of getting back. You will also see the likes of Jamie Foxx and Juliette Lewis, who both do a fun job. It's worth a rental, sure. If just for the random dog and his "talent." I rate this some homemade upside down pineapple cake.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Fence, The Fence!!

This past summer, Don started to put up our fence. In this video, I show a bit of our backyard. Don has recently started blogging, and wrote about the fence install in a bit more detail. Here is a video I captured of our backyard renovation. After watching this, I realized that I need to take a final video of our backyard update and plant my tomato plants (especially since our dove has made her return)! Anyway, here is a before video of our backyard (sorry for the wind):



Check out Don's blog over at The Competent Dad to read all about it. While you're there, you should become a follower! :D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mom Was Progressive

As I'm just that little bit closer to Tesla's arrival, I'm doing all I can to be comfortable. One such suggestion was using a birthing ball (or an exercise ball). I've been balancing, sitting, bouncing, stretching, and resting on it. My hospital has a birth ball for me to use, so I've been looking up ways to utilize during birth. I love it! Seriously, I love the way my back has been feeling.

Anyway, I was talking to my mother and she told me one of her birth stories. I don't remember if it was during my sister's birth or for mine, but anyway, she said she was at the park playing with the kids (which is totally like my mom) and riding a hippity hop. Do you guys remember those things? I loved mine! She wasn't aware that she was in labor. She had an inkling something was going on, but disregarded it and continued playing. All that bouncing around on the ball helped to open her hips and with the descent of the baby.

Here I am years later, bouncing on my own ball, channeling my mom's laboring adventures. I think it is a pretty great connection.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Loves

I was inspired by Elise's I love march. post, so I figured I'd do my own. Mine, you will notice, is quite a bit different from hers, but this is currently what I'm enjoying!
  1. Bella Umbrella $129...first discovered at A Graceful Home. (Kristine has impeccable taste!)
  2. BOB Revolution Duallie SE $629...gifted to me by my wonderful sister to help me Motivate it Forward!
  3. Peach Cobbler $4-$8...I can't seem to get enough of this stuff. I seriously need to make a batch for myself. Oh and peaches, I have been loving me some peaches!
  4. Red Mango Fro Yo $3-$5...I love their apricot and white peach flavors with 6 Cap'n Crunch, lots of blueberries, almonds, granola, and a few fruity gummy bears
  5. Lily Pads Silicone Shields $20 or so...ok, so I haven't started using this yet, but I remember LOVING them the first go 'round that I have a pair packed in the hospital bag for the birth!
Do you all have anything that you are lovin' this month?

Maternity Pics with Tesla & Mari

The weather here has been quite delightful, so we've been spending quite a bit of time out and about walking. So much so that I've nearly logged 1000 calories burned just from the walks, so that's pretty amazing! Especially when you consider my goal of getting 400 a week. Overachiever much? No, not hardly. I guess you can just say I've been beyond stir crazy and needed to get out and soak up that awesome Vitamin D!

Well, one such walk, we actually brought the camera to grab some photos of the Sugarbean playing with Tesla...ok, not quite. Maybe some maternity photos for me. I know, I had some others made, but I really wanted Don to capture some of me.
Mari learned to sign I Love You a while back. Recently, though, she's asked me to "kiss" it with my own I love you. Here's an I love you kiss:

This is me in full on laugh...a rare candid moment captured, indeed:

This one was probably my favorite of the bunch. I would like to print it off larger and hang it in house. You can notice a kite flying just above my head. Also, isn't the Sugarbean's hair so long! I love it!
Here's a close-up of my belly. These were taken about two weeks ago, so I have dropped a bit and Tesla has grown some. If we have some time, we are going to try to get a couple more images this Saturday. We'll see. I hope we do because I don't have any with Don in them!

Those of you down South, are y'all doing anything fun to enjoy this amazing weather?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby Shower

In the past two days, I've painfully noticed just how pregnant I am. I'm not complaining just stating a fact. Let me paint a story for you. Imagine waking up for your day and you stretch, but then all of a sudden your leg cramps up and you try to bend over to rub it, but realize that your belly is larger than a basketball and somehow during the night you have gained 30 pounds. The cramp starts to get worse and actually passes on to your foot. You get creative and use pillows or lingering stuffed animals that your small daughter has placed in your bed as leverage. But then you need to go to the bathroom and just getting up is proving to be a task that you don't remember requiring a warm-up. Out of breath, you are upright, you stand to walk and your legs feel like jelly and there's small pain in your side. Kinda like that pins and needles tingle you get when one of your limbs has fallen asleep. But you walk because all of a sudden, you haven't had to pee more in your life than you have in that one moment. You continue to walk and it feels like a giant bowling ball is in between your legs and for whatever reason, you are doing your very best to not drop it. All that to say, I'm enjoying every single minute of it!

Anyway, we threw our very good friend a baby shower. She has elected to not know the sex of the child, which made it that much sweeter! Don't you just love that beautiful baby bump?
Camile Baby Shower-16

Here's a preview of the baby's nursery:
Camile Baby Shower-62

I love throwing a good party, especially a shower. The food was super yummy!
Camile Baby Shower-35

Here's the cake. It wasn't until after I cut into it that I discovered it was an ice cream cake. This is funny because I had left it out to "thaw" because I thought it was a regular cake that had been refrigerated. Ooopsie!
Camile Baby Shower-39

You would have thought I might have guessed something was wonky by the corner fail when my hand squished it. But yeah, I didn't know. That cake sure was divine!
Camile Baby Shower-27

We didn't really want to play too many shower-y games, but we did play a baby shower word scramble. This seemed like something that everyone could do without embarrassing the mom-to-be. If you are interested, I'd be happy to share it with you!
Camile Baby Shower-10

Here's some of the awesome gifts she received:
Camile Baby Shower-52

And look, she likes the the homemade boutique blanket I made for her:
Camile Baby Shower-49

Isn't she beautiful?
Camile Baby Shower-34

Congratulations Cam! Can't wait to meet your blessing!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Motivate It Forward

What once started out as a half dream turned into a reality. It started with my Mom. When I had Mari, the seed was planted and I participated in our first race. Don had noticed that I'd been logging quite a few miles with our regular travel system stroller, so he purchased an adequate jogging stroller with lots of gadgets that I would enjoy. I was particularly fond of the built-in speakers, which would connect to any of my music devices or any video player to enable sound. Since I was still a budding runner, I didn't know much difference between what differentiated the different jogging strollers. I just knew they were a lot easier to maneuver and run with than the travel system stroller.

Then one day, I went for a run with my friend and I had immediate stroller envy. Hers was extremely lightweight and seemed to fly! I'd seen these in the race and had been drawn to them. I remember later researching them when I got home and completely dismissed the thought because quite frankly, the price point put it waaaay out of our budget.

Fast forward a year and we bought a bike trailer, the Trek GoBug to be exact. They offered a stroller conversion kit, but we didn't purchase it online when we bought the trailer. We figured we would get to that later. Well, later came and during that time, Trek quit making the bike trailer and the conversion kit! Here we are on the brink of another child, and we find ourselves not only short a double stroller, but also with a single jogging stroller and two children. hmmm...

Again, keeping finances in mind, I'd searched for something that would be adequate. Mari isn't much on riding in a stroller any more, but she will ride when I run longer distances. I already have my first post-baby 5K scheduled, so all I needed was the right gear. Not to worry because worst case scenario, I'd use the ol' travel system to walk and Don would push Mari in the jogger. This, of course, saddened me a bit, especially because this was mine and Mari's race. We'd done it together every year.

And then my sister's generosity totally took me by surprise and to say that I was humbled with gratitude is an understatement. Meet BOB, our Cadillac of joggers. This stroller is nearly everything I wanted. I need to purchase the tray for the handlebar, but everything else is EXACTLY what I wanted. Lightweight, folds compact, fixed wheel, with the option for a swivel, dual sun shades and recliner, easy brake, adjustable handlebars, and not too loud of a color. (Bonus that Don/Tesla added some nifty running socks for both me and Tesla...SCORE!)

Sam believes in me. She's a fantastic big sister and one of my biggest supporters in anything that I do. I run. She runs, swims, and bikes. She has encourage me to add swimming and biking. I have  agreed to do a triathlon in September with her, but for those first few months, I will be concentrating on running. With BOB, Mari & Tesla in tow, it won't be long before I find my stride again.

Thanks Sam! I love you! I hope I can continue MOTIVATING IT FORWARD.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Where oh where have you been?

It's been something like 10 days since I've posted ANYTHING. What is going on with me? Well, rest assured, no major changes in my life, I've just been busy livin' it. I will have some updates soon enough, including HDMR, product review, ideas for a baby shower, and *hopefully* finished images of the Sugarbeans room.

Oh, so yeah, here's a summary of my week last week:
  • Baby Shower for a friend*
  • Volunteering
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Sugarbean's room finalization including move, detail touch-ups, closet, washing clothes, painting the end table and mirror, vinyl application, making pillowcases
  • Tesla related stuff: toddler bed to crib, hanging new clothes, washing 22 diapers, cleaning the car seat, washing all newborn laundry and prepping
  • Breakfast Nook slight makeover: we swapped bookshelves from the bedroom to the breakfast area and my what a difference it has made!
  • Church fish fry
  • 37 week Maternity photo shoot by my darling husband
  • Date night!
Yeah, we've been busy. ha ha! Our house is slowly coming back together and I couldn't be more pleased, let me tell ya. Anyway, blogs to come soon! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Divine Consign Spring 2011

For Divine Consign this season I unfortunately didn't read the email properly and showed up half an hour late for drop off. I felt horrible about it, but my sister was ok with it and so I tried to look at the positive and sorted out all of the clothes that I could also sell for the Fall sale. This also prompted me to remember to stash away clothes that Mari has outgrown and we will probably not use for Tesla. Lucky for me, those clothes are already tagged and on hangers, so I just need to remember where I keep them for the next 5 months.

Anyway, I still shopped and scored quite a few amazing things! I was mainly on the hunt for a double jogging stroller and some pretty dresses for Mari. This is what I found:

  1. Puj tub - scored for $12
  2. Boutique Easter Dress for Mari (the only dress I bought...eek!)
  3. 2 swimsuits for Mari
  4. 1 pair of satin pajamas for Mari
  5. 2 fancy nightgowns for Mari
  6. 7 cloth diapers, 2 which can be used right off the bat
  7. 2 pairs of infant dress shoes, 1 pair of cute sandals for Tesla (Mari didn't have many infant shoes, so these are going to be fun!)
  8. 1 hot pink pair of leather dressy thong sandals for Mari
  9. 2 pairs of tights for Mari
  10. Booster seat, so our old Space Saver high chair is ready for Tesla
  11. Footstool for the kitchen so little ones can help with the cooking
No jogging stroller that we liked, so we passed. Had I known, I would've searched for a new diaper bag for Don. When I was getting out the old gear, I discovered that we were going to have to do some extensive cleaning on one of the pockets and we were unsure if it would come out. Then again, a bit of elbow grease and it'll be fine. But if I could've found one for $10, it would have saved the hassle. Also, I should have looked closer at the slings. I love our Moby, but I would really like for Don to have the Baby K'tan. He really enjoyed wearing Mari, and I imagine it'll be the same this go-round. Finally, I should've bought one of the audio monitors. They were crazy inexpensive and we totally could have used a spare now that Mari is sleeping in her room at the furthest end of the hall from us.

And for my niece, I scored:
  1. 3 amazing dresses, one of which is a lavender boutique outfit: a full color lavender sheath, with a white spring coat with the same color lavender brocade over it. Very lovely! 
  2. 1 pair of jean capris
  3. 1 pair of fun striped capris
  4. 1 pair of fun patterned shorts, brand new!
Do you consign? What sorts of things do you look for? I was talking with one lady who told me that she is able to outfit all 5 of her children for the spring/summer, plus toys for the littles for less than $500. She didn't even tell me how much she made from consigning. Incredible!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Open Letter to Tesla & Mari

Dear Girls,

Each morning as a dress for my busy day, I'm forced to pause. You see, Mari always turns to my belly and whispers good morning to her little sister Tesla. She always asks you how you slept, she'll tenderly kiss you, and lately she's been reaching up her hands and placing them around my belly like she's supporting it and will sing to you. She likes "holding" you. I swell with pride at the thought. I'm so excited about all of the awesome adventures the two of you will share.

Whether you like it or not, you will wear matching outfits quite a bit. As a younger sister, I always enjoyed matching my big sis, even though she didn't like it, I always wanted to be like her. Here's an example, you will wear matching ribbed tank tops. Actually, I have quite a few matching knits for the two of you, some pajamas, and a couple of matching dresses. Maybe I'll grow tired of it and just coordinate colors, but until them, I'm enjoying the idea of matchy-match.
As with Mari's pregnancy, Tesla, Mommy also feels empowered, strong, and beautiful. Yes, I'm having difficulty getting around the bigger I get, but I just feel so very special that I get to be a mother to two.
sapphyre_0009
I'm going to have your Daddy take some maternity photos, but in the meantime, I had some made with another awesome local photographer. Tesla, you were moving around and seemed to be enjoying it. Far different from the 3D/4D sonogram we had made. But you did pause for one awesome photo, which Heather captured beautifully in this image:
sapphyre_0003
Even though we have yet to meet you in person, Tesla, you are almost the exact replica of your sister. It is remarkable how many features you share, but already your personalities are very different, which makes me that much more excited to meet you.

As the days wind down where Tesla will make her arrival, Mari we are doing our very best the make the most of our special time where you are our only little one. We're hanging out, coloring, reading, cooking, but all in all, we're just together as a family. And Mari, you always get us to stop and include your sister in some way or another. You enjoy reading to her. You enjoy talking about the movie. You tell her secrets of Chuck E. Cheese and how Grandfather and Nana take you. You tell her about Guapo and your birthdays and your adventures with your friends and cousins. Mari is just as excited for you to get here, like we all are.

I know she's going to make a fantastic big sister, just like mine was for me! I love you both dearly! We all do.

All my love,
-Mommy.

*To see all of the images from my maternity shoot with Sapphyre Photography, click here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Magical Red Flying Unicorn & DFW Kids Parties Review

It seems that we are trendsetters or something like that, maybe. Remember when I mentioned the Sugarbean's birthday surprise? Well, last week, I received a phone call from her school requesting the information of the Happy Person who made the visit for her birthday. I guess that little one enjoyed himself so much that he requested the same thing for his birthday! I didn't think much of it until Mari came home looking like this:
According to her, it is a magical flying unicorn. I don't know why she chose to have it painted red. From my understanding, she selected a very unique character, far different from the normal flowers, hearts, or dinosaurs. I love it! Also, she requested a sheep balloon animal, which she promptly made barking noises, then would laugh at her "joke" because "Sheep don't bark, they say baaaaAAAaa." I guess she chose a unicorn because she has a unicorn pillow pet that she uses at her escuela. But red...no idea?

I then realized that I forgot to review our new friends at DFW Kids Parties! Cindie and her friends are fantastic. I've never met Cindie in person, but she's the owner and such a delight to talk to on the phone! After getting to know me and understanding what we needed and when, she suggested a Happy Person, who is dressed in bright and fun clothing minus the clown make-up. Many children are afraid of clowns, but much of it has to do with the make-up. Because the party was during the weekday, we were given a slight discount. Additionally, we had a more experienced Happy Person, Spirit, because she is able to do the dances, make balloon animals, and paint faces of 16 kids in about an hour. That's some AMAZING time management skills!  The kids enjoyed themselves and didn't fuss over one another with the balloon animals or face paint.

Here's why we thought having the entertainment at the daycare would be better than being present at her party:

  • Every single child feels special...and the Happy Person manages to somehow make the birthday child feel a tad bit extra special. Even better when their classmates come up to them to thank them for a great time. I know my little one was beaming!
  • All of their weekday friends get to enjoy a party without the parents trying to squeeze something in during the weekend...and I honestly, I only know 3 parents from her class, (I know, how sad) and sometimes the weekend parties are a bit awkward because of it. 
  • No limitations on the number of guests. The guests are built in because of the class size. The parents joined in towards the end because the party was close to pick-up time, but they didn't mind waiting and seemed to enjoy it. Sometimes, it is tough to include school friends, church friends, other friends and family into one venue without being overly selective. (and yes, I realized I ended up having a completely separate party for the other friends and family, but that's how I roll. had we been on a tighter budget, this would have been the route to take!)
  • No need to fuss with gifts, decorations, or goody bags. Mari doesn't need any extra toys and the kids get the party favor in the form of balloon animal and painted face or hand. Although, I did want to send out an invite to her classmates warning them of the party and if they felt inclined to buy a gift, I was going to suggest they donate a new toy or art supplies to their school.
  • The extra excitement and entertainment would hopefully yield extra energy, which leads to a much more restful night
  • Less expensive than a weekend party because of the discounted rate, you don't have to pay for a venue or provide lunch. The cake serves as the snack for the kids that day (or cheese cubes for the kiddos who don't like cake).
  • More affordable. Ok, wait, hear me out! If you have a child in daycare, yes, this can be more affordable than say a party at McDonalds, Chuck E. Cheese, an indoor kids gym, or a JumpTown (indoor bounce house sort of place). Typically, those places charge a per child fee and the fee here includes the number of children in an average class. 
If you are in the DFW area and are looking for similar entertainment (dress up character, face painting, & balloon artist), I would highly recommend DFW Kids Parties! You will not be disappointed. Oh, and if you were impressed with your entertainer as much as we were, they are definitely open to receiving tips as well. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Pampering Continues

I think Tesla dropped half an inch after the shower, but has since been having a good time rolling around in there. I'm not sure what she's doing, but I can tell you that my skin is stretching to the limits and she's getting awfully close to the ribs. This is all very new to me because Mari would freely kick around, completely bypassing the other parts of her surroundings. It seems to me that Tesla likes to use her umbilical to jump rope, or push off my bladder for added fun. It's quite entertaining, albeit painful/uncomfortable at times.

Anyway, last year I purchased a Groupon for the Four Seasons Resort & Club Spa. For $49, I scored a 50-minute Swedish Massage, valued at $125. Talk about a great deal, right? If you've never been there, it's like a quiet oasis reminiscent of what I would imagine those ancient fancy Roman bath houses would have been. You are greeted by friendly workers, the lighting is soft, the quiet spa music compliments the cascading water. The refreshing tea and water is divine! Then you are given spa shoes, a plush bathrobe, and a key to lock away your belongings during your stay. There aren't any disposable hand towels either. When you wash your hands, again, there are luxuriously soft hand towels, perfectly folded for your use.

Don and I indulged in this earlier in the year (I'd bought 4, two for me and two as a gift). Originally, I wanted to use this for he and I and for a girlfriend and I, but scheduling conflicts prohibited that. No worries, because he and I are going again. The Groupons expire on Thursday! Talk about cutting it close. Anyway, this will be a perfect short getaway after a day of TAKs testing for him and general final month pregnancy for me. They were able to put us in the same room for a couples massage. I'm so happy they had a pre-natal massage therapist available at the same time as a regular massage therapist!

Just for kicks, here is a view of their cold plunge pool:

I hope to do a more in-depth review afterwards, but for now, I'm eagerly anticipating the utter relaxation and goodness of our massage.

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