Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Very First Canvas + Discount!

A long, long time ago, sweet Melissa from Easy Canvas Prints offered to send me one of their canvases.  I jumped at the chance seeing as I have been wanting to print several canvases and was anxious to see how their product turned out compared to others I have been investigating.  

I decided to print out one of our wedding pictures for the mantle.  It may or may not be the only wedding picture I have yet to print.  Perhaps we were married almost 4 years ago.  Hm.  Should probably get on that one.  Plus, I wanted to wait to print one of Natalie on a bigger size.

Anyways, the order arrived in just a few days and I was so pleased!  It turned out just beautifully and fits perfectly with our current decor.  Also, it was packaged very securely to prevent anything happening to it during the shipping process.  I would definitely recommend using them for your future canvas needs.


I chose the Gallery Wrap option and I really love the professional look of the piece.

Plus, as a bonus, if you "like" them on Facebook, they will give you 50% off plus free shipping on your first order!  How cool is that?  Definitely worth checking out!

*Easy Canvas Prints sent me one free 8X10 canvas in exchange for a link on my side bar.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weekly Weight Watcher Update

Weight Loss = +0.5 lbs.
Total Loss = 26.5 lbs.

I had a really great week this week workout wise.  I went to spinning Monday and Wednesday and strength classes Tuesday and Thursday.  My in laws were in town and I had planned out meals accordingly and was sticking to everything.

Until Sunday.

Sunday involved going out to lunch for bacon cheeseburgers.  Then Matt's parents offered to stay home with Natalie so Matt and I could go out to dinner.  Enter paninis.  So explains my downfall this week.

I'm looking for a great week this week because we head to Florida on Sunday and I'd like to leave on a good note.  And come home on a good note as well.  But I'm not kidding myself so we'll see how it goes.  Traveling is always a food disaster for me.  Wish me luck!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Menu Monday with a Twist!

Welcome to another edition of Menu Monday!  Here what happened last week in the food department.

Monday:  Buttermilk Pecan Chicken

There's not much on in the TV department during the day for this SAHM, so when Natalie's eating you can usually find me watching the Food Network.  Except from 11-2 when I am watching reruns of 90210 and Days of our Lives, obviously.  This recipe came from the show 5 Ingredient Fix.  I'm not such a fan of the host, but the whole idea of five ingredients in a meal intrigues me.  Especially during the week.  I prepped this meal in the morning and fried it up when Matt got home and it was delicious.  I did have to cook the chicken for a few minutes longer than the recipe said...which I always find to be the case.

This recipe was a little hard to calculate at the beginning as it calls for ingredients to coat the chicken and oil to shallow fry it.  I actually calculated the points out of what the recipe called for and then reduced it by the amount that I actually used.  I ended up only using about 1/2 of the pecans and bread crumbs for coating as well as 1/2 the oil.
2 servings
17 points/serving

Tuesday: Barbecue Beef-Filled Biscuits

Another newbie from Kraft.  Super simple.  Super yummy.

4 servings (2 biscuits each)
10 points/serving
I will say that the serving size for this was a little small.  I could've definitely eaten 3 of these babies :)  Also, our peppers were fairly large so we just used one red pepper instead of two small ones.

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday:  Chili Topped Potatoes

This meal used to make a fairly regular appearance in our house but has since fallen off the radar.  I actually am not sure I have made it in this house!  I told Matt to pick a meal that he hadn't had in a while and loved...and this is what we ended up with.  It's always an easy, yummy, weeknight staple.

Our potatoes were just over 9 oz. a piece
1/3 cup of Mexican Cheese used on top of each potato
2 servings
13 points/serving

This evening was also treated to a dessert.  I was our 8 year anniversary of when we started dating so I thought I would make something special for Matt.  His favorite cookies are Oatmeal Scotchies so I ran with the butterscotch theme.  I made Oatmeal Cream Cheese Butterscotch Bars.  Can I just say that these are dangerously good?  I mean, seriously dangerous.  Why I torture myself when I am on a diet I will never know.  I cut these into practically bite size pieces (48 servings) leaving them 4 points/bar.  Make these if you dare.

Friday:  Pulled BBQ Chicken

I told you I would make this every week if Matt let me!  I thought it would be a good idea to schedule an easy meal today as Matt's parents are coming into town for the weekend.  I have no idea when they are arriving (par for the course...don't get me started) so this is a perfect crock pot meal that can be done at any time.  Thanks again, ILYMTC!

6 servings
11 points/serving
4 point honey hamburger buns makes this meal 19 points for two sandwiches

Saturday:  Fully Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup with Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

Both these recipes are courtesy of Gina and Pat Neely on the Food Network.  Again, not so much a fan on them but their food always looks and sounds so delicious.  And these did not disappoint.  Oh, the soup was probably the best potato soup I have ever had.  And we make several different recipes.  The biscuits weren't as fabulous as I expected them to be for the amount of butter I put on top but pretty good nonetheless.

The recipe said the soup served 4-6 so I took 1/4 of the soup.  It was WAY too much.  I would definitely stick to 6 servings.  I used chicken broth instead of stock as that was all I had.  I also went with 2% milk instead of whole.  Who really has whole milk in the house?
4 servings
11 points/serving

12 servings
4 points/serving (7 points for two)

Sunday:  Menu Fail

Matt's parents stayed home with Natalie so Matt and I could go out to dinner.  I will not mention the fact that Natalie woke up after we left and cried for her Mommy.  I will also not mention my breaking heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23, 2003

8 years.

Doesn't that seem like such a large number?

It has been 8 whole years since we went out on our very first date.  Remember?  We went to Maggiano's in Indianapolis and you ate three bites of your spaghetti and meatballs and I finished my entire plate of lasagna?  I know you insist that you ate more than that, but I saw the leftovers.  And then we walked around several parks in the city just talking and getting to know each other?

I had no idea you were going to be it for me.  I was clueless.  In fact, I fought it for several months.  When I left to go back to Purdue, I honestly didn't think I would see you again.  But then you called.  And you kept calling.  And you came to visit.  And even when you left to go back to Virginia, you kept our relationship going.  I had no desire to date someone long distance.  But you fought for us.

You still fight for us everyday.  You work so hard to provide for this family.  You have given me the greatest gift of our sweet baby girl and provided me with the opportunity to stay home and raise her.  You are everything to both of us and watching you grow into a father has been one of the most amazing events I have ever witnessed.  I can see how much you love Natalie in your eyes when you talk about her...and that look on your face when you see her is priceless.  But the look on her face is what I love the most. She's a daddy's girl already.

Happy 8 years sweetie.  8 years of knowing you.  8 years of being with the person I was put on this earth to be with.  8 years of pure bliss.

Here's to many, many more!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekly Weight Watcher Update

Weight Loss = 3.5 lbs.
Total Loss = 27 lbs.

I made it to the gym four times this week.  My ideal schedule is to go Monday-Thursday for an hour.  I'm not a huge fan of leaving Natalie in the nursery for longer than that so it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.  I can work out longer when she's in school.  For now, I'm content with my hour.  We run errands on Fridays and I like to spend the weekend with Matt without having to worry about getting to the gym.  So four days a week it is for me.

Monday and Wednesday I did a spinning class.  They have these classes everyday of the week but I L.O.V.E. the instructor on these days.  She is incredibly motivating and pushes me to my limits every single class.  Plus, I love leaving the gym feeling all sweaty and gross.  It's like I accomplished something, you know?

Tuesday and Thursday I did strength training.  I went to a class called Butts and Guts as well as one called Body Bar and Ball.  Lots of work with weights and the fitness ball.  I figure it's a pretty well rounded schedule.

Sometimes I switch it up for scheduling reasons or because Natalie is still sleeping when a class starts in the morning.  But telling you all about my week will really help me continue to go as often as I do.

So good week!  Yeah!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Monday with a Twist!

I've decided to go ahead and jump right on board the "Menu Monday" bandwagon.  I'm big into the meal planning around these parts and I personally enjoy scouring blogs for I thought I would create a segment of my own!  Not sure who came up with this whole "Menu Monday" idea...since it's on quite a few blogs that I read, so if it was you, let me know and I'll give you some cred.

But for a twist, I think I will include the WW points for each meal and update you on our meals from the past week.  That way I can include pictures.  I'll start that next week.

And just so you know upfront, I get a crazy amount of WW points.  Reasons include:  1.  I'm huge.  2.  I'm a nursing mom.  I currently have 49 points for the day so sometimes my points for dinner are seemingly high.  But right now, I need to eat more calories for my little girl so I'm obliging :)  Feel free to scale down for yourselves as necessary as the portions I eat now are larger than I have eaten in the past.  I'm also using higher point ingredients so I am able to hit my point value for the day.  This, unfortunately, will not last.

Here are some highlights from last week:

Monday:  Pulled BBQ Chicken

I found this recipe from I Love You More Than Carrots a while back.  Honestly, it's my new favorite meal.  It is ridiculously easy, super yummy, and I would make it every week if Matt let me.  Plus, you do it in the crock pot so my house smells delicious all day long.  We serve it on hamburger buns, but I was recently thinking it would be awesome with tortillas and cheese.  Yum!

33.5 oz. chicken breast used
6 servings
11 points/serving
3 point wheat hamburger buns makes this meal 17 points for two sandwiches

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Pizza Calzones

This is a go to recipe for us around here.  It's very simple and comes together quickly for a yummy meal during the week.

This recipe makes 4 calzones.  Matt and I each eat two, but I could definitely just have one and call it a meal.  I don't, but I could.
9 points/calzone

Thursday:  Beef Casserole

This is a new recipe for us this week.  I really enjoy Southern Living recipes, as does Matt, so it's a site I frequent to search for yummy new meals to try.  It ended up being a super yummy dish!  I will say, the recipe instructed me to roll out some crescent roll dough, cut it into strips, and form a lattice on top of my casserole.  Um, that did not happen.  I did roll it out, cut it into strips, and then proceeded to just lay them all over the top.  I found there to be too many strips and I sure as heck was not going to throw away pieces of crescent roll dough.  No way!

Lean ground beef used
Points do not include toppings which I chose not to use
6 servings
15 points/serving

Friday:  Leftovers

As a side note, the leftover beef casserole was just so so in my book.  Crescent rolls reheated are just never the same.

Saturday:  Chicken Skewers w/ Brown Rice

We ended up having a little bit of a change of plans Saturday.  We met our friends at a festival in town and they invited us over for dinner.  We did bring these skewers over for appetizers, but we also had steak for the boys, turkey dogs for us dieting girls.  And no rice.  Matt marinated the chicken in soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, and a few spices and it was really good on the grill.  Doesn't grilling something just make it taste so much better?

3/4 lb. chicken tenders used
2 servings
8 points/serving (this includes using all of the sauce...which we intended to boil and use over rice)

Sunday:  Pepper Seared Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce; Crab Legs

I went a little fancy today to celebrate Father's Day.  I let Matt chose the meal.  He also got Peach Cobbler for dessert.  I cannot vouch for how that turned out as cooked fruit is something I am not super fond this dessert was special for Daddy.

The steak was so good!  But my favorite part of the meal was the sauce.  I will say that it made way more sauce than necessary so I bet the points were considerably less as I didn't even come close to using it all.  But hey.  Better under points for the day than over, am I right?

I halved the recipe but used 1 lb. of meat.  The more meat the better in our house.
2 servings
19 points/serving
3 oz. of crab meat= 2 points + 3 points for the necessary tablespoon of butter used for dipping

Hope you enjoyed the first installment of Menu Monday a la Jenny!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

5 Months!

Natalie June,

Little girl, you are 5 months old!  I swear this last month has gone a million times faster than the rest.  I wish time would slow down, but I am trying to enjoy every single second we have together when you're in this stage.

You are currently in size 3 diapers and Mommy had to put away your 3 month clothes because they are simply too short.  You are wearing some 6 months clothes but a lot of 9 month onesies fit you now.  Such a big girl!

Our days are filled with eating, snuggling, running errands, playing on the activity mats, lounging in your bouncer, reading, singing, and doing a lot of practicing with sitting and standing.  You especially love to stand and can do it all on your own when I prop you up on the couch.  And your sitting has improved tremendously.  You hold yourself up with straight arms and I know you are just so close to being able to sit on your own.  We've been listening to a lot of nursery tunes lately and you really seem to enjoy when Mommy sings to you.  I'm sure that will change.  You especially love Old MacDonald.

You're still sleeping like a champ.  You go to bed between 7 and 7:30 and rarely get up before 6:30.  If you get up before 7, Mama feeds you and you will go back to sleep for a few more hours.  We are so lucky.  We're still using your sleep sack because it calms you to sleep, but you are getting your little arms out more frequently now and have started to be able to stay asleep that way.  Thanks goodness!

Let's see.  What else have you been up to?  Well, we had a little homecoming party for you when you were in Indy last month.  You got to meet a lot of your mommy's aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.  You were very well behaved and the party was definitely a hit!

We took a trip to Mommy's old work to show you off and you could not have been more well behaved.  Everyone just loved you and had so many compliments on your sweet smile.  You were there about an hour and were simply perfect.  It could not have gone better.

You did roll over from your back to your tummy for the first time this month.  Mommy was so excited that I think I scared you from ever doing it again.

We have successfully moved your feeding schedule to every 3 hours and you have done so well.  I'm not sure you could wait much longer at this point, so I think we'll wait until you start solid foods to mess with you anymore.  We're planning on trying the rice cereal this weekend!  You don't seem to need to eat for as long and are mostly only eating from one side these days.  Apparently you have become more efficient!

You're able to fit in your stroller now without your car seat!  We've taken one or two walks this way and I'm not sure you're entirely comfortable not being able to constantly see me.  But I know how much you love to be able to look out and see things, so I hope that facing forward is something that you will eventually love.

You started to giggle this month!  You've been talking, screaming, and making noises for a while, but you actually let out a real little laugh and it was just the cutest thing.  It's pretty much my mission in life to get you to laugh but you rarely do it.  Keys are to tickle your little neck or dangle your blanket or hat in your face.  Apparently, that is hilarious.

Speaking of making noises, little one, you are so loud!  When you're happy, you scream this happy scream that is just deafening!  It cracks me up and I honestly never noticed how loud you were until we were out in public and you did it.  Yikes, sweet girl!  People think you are mad but you are just smiling away.  Ha!  It is, however, especially embarrassing at restaurants.  Who knew people didn't want to listen to a screaming baby whilst dining out?  Hm.

You've been awful this month for your Daddy in the bedtime department when Mommy is not home.  You have refused a bottle and will constantly scream.  Two nights I have come home only to be told you had to be put to bed without eating because you simply would not stop screaming!  Little girl, this is not good.  Not good at all.  Please be sweet to your daddy.  He loves you so much.

You and your daddy did take a few trips out of the house alone together this month.  It was the first time Mommy was home by herself since you were born.  It was glorious and you were always such a doll for your daddy.  Please continue this trend so he will continue to take you out!

We're still hitting up the gym about four times a week.  For the most part you are really good, but the sweet ladies have had to come get me twice because you would not stop crying.  Either you're teething or you miss me.  We can't tell.  Your hands are constantly in your mouth and you are a drooling machine...but still no sign of teeth!

Oh sweetie, we just love you so much!  Sometimes I just stare at your little face and cannot believe God has given me this gift of being your mom.  It still catches me by surprise that I have a daughter.  I am a parent.  I just could not be more thankful for you each day.  You're the light of my life and my heart is just bursting with love for you.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Honesty About Weight Loss

I've never been skinny.

Well, that's a lie.  I was crazy thin when I was three.

Not sure what happened after that.

Oh yes I am.  I discovered sugar.

Anyways, the point is I've always had difficulty controlling my weight.  I can be super motivated one week and then completely not care the next.  It's mental for me for sure.  I was my thinnest as an adult at my wedding almost 4 years ago.  I lost just over 75 lbs. and was 6 lbs. away from my ultimate goal weight.  It's a number I have been striving for since, well, as long as I can remember.

Well, we went on a cruise for our honeymoon.  24 hour buffet.  Enough said, right?  I never hit my goal.  I didn't gain everything back, but slowly the weight started to come back on.  Here I am, 3 years later, 15 weeks pregnant with my little snuggle bug.

Let me assure you, that is not all baby belly.  There's a little bit of Mama belly in there as well.  I would venture to say I was about 30 lbs. heavier in this picture than at my wedding.  Ick.

But that was nothing compared to what I was in this picture.  38 weeks pregnant.  30 MORE lbs. later.


I know, I know.  Beautiful pregnant lady.  Growing a baby.  All that jazz.  But I was huge.  I felt huge and I looked huge...everywhere.  My dreams of being one of those cute pregnant ladies that were all belly were dashed.  But honestly, I didn't really care.  I was going to get my baby girl and I figured I would deal with the aftermath when she was here.

Well, my friends, she's definitely here and that time is now. 

I've been on Weight Watchers since Natalie was 5 weeks old.  They have a specific program for nursing mothers (14 extra points, hell yeah!) so I've been working that for now.  I lost 20 lbs. pretty quickly after giving birth but clearly I have some baby weight + mama weight still to lose.  In fact, I was pretty much right back to where I started so many years ago before my wedding.  A daunting task to say the least. 

Today was a great day in my fight against the bulge.  I hit my 10% goal!  I have lost 23.5 lbs. since starting WW.  It's going to be a long journey and it will probably take me longer than it takes for my daughter to celebrate her first birthday, but this time...this time I will hit my goal.  And I'm going to stay there!

I'm so happy I have this venue to stay motivated and accountable with my dear friends!  Thank you all so much for your support!  Loves!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Little Giggle!

Look who's giggling!

Isn't that just the sweetest sound you have ever heard?  I cannot get enough of it.

We had a really nice weekend of relaxing around the house with our sweet little girl.  I think it's just the most endearing thing to see a Daddy with his daughter and I just cannot get enough of it.  Natalie completely adores Matt and I just wish he was able to be home with us more often.  But the time they do spend together is so precious.  It just melts my heart.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another Year In the Books

Today is my birthday.  The big 2-8. 

It's weird, but it's kind of snuck up on me this year.  I'm usually all about my 'birthday week' because, you know, a day is not nearly enough time to fully celebrate me!  But not this year.

I guess that happens when you have a child.  Your life is no longer all about you.  My days are filled with caring for an infant, not thinking about what presents I want, where I want to go to dinner, or which one of my friends will or will not call me.

I have more important things to worry about now.  And I couldn't be happier to be spending the day with this little munchkin!

I do still worry about if my husband will remember or not...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Holy Moly--4 months old!

Natalie my love,

You are 4 months old ( were 4 months on the 15th...but give me a break)!  You are growing so quickly it is making your mama a little sad.  Sure, it's super exciting to watch you learn, grow, and try new things...but you are doing it at the speed of light my sweet girl!  I simply cannot handle it.  

At your 4 month appointment you were:
Weight:  16 lbs. 4 oz. (97%)    Height:  25 3/4 inches (95%)
Little one, you are growing like a weed!  When I told the doctor you were only breastfeeding she said I must have some powerful milk!  Ha!  I guess so because you are living proof.

You screamed your little head off at the doctor's office the entire visit.  I don't even think you knew you got two shots.  I'm pretty sure you were just tired as you passed out 30 seconds after I put you in the car, but Mommy would appreciate it if you didn't do that again.  

You are still eating fairly often...every 3 hours or so.  You easily go longer if you are napping.  I think you still eat this often because you sleep so well at night.  You're down between 7 and 7:30 and will usually sleep until after 7 in the morning.  If you do wake up before then and are fussy...Mama feeds you and puts you back down.  Then you'll sleep later...sometimes until after 9!  Those are some good days.

You're in size 3 diapers now and mostly 6 month clothes.  You can still fit into a few 3 month onesies but they are growing snug around your fatty thighs.  Mama's sorry about those sweetie.  You got those from me...

You've started to let other people hold you this month!  Good thing because you made Grandma very sad when you didn't let her hold you last month.  You like to keep Mommy close by for the most part...but you're getting better.  I'm glad you've had the opportunity to do this with so many people who love you!

You are smiling and laughing so much more now!  I wouldn't say you've had an actual giggle yet, but you do a happy scream :)  You're a very happy girl and are talking quite a bit these days.  Baby talk, that is.  We've also been working on sitting and standing.  You much prefer standing and your little leggies are getting so strong already!

Mommy started back at the gym this month.  Yes darling.  It took me 4 months to go back.  I could blame it all on you and the fact that I was afraid to leave you in the nursery (I was) but I won't.  You do beautifully with the sweet ladies there.  I almost always find you swinging away either sleeping or watching all of the other kiddos running around.  Apparently you are a joy.  This I knew...

Your Grandmer and Grandad came to visit this month and you really enjoyed yourself!  They visited for your first Easter!  You weren't super interested in your baskets but you have been enjoying your music very much.  Mommy sings to you when you're playing on your activity mats and I'm pretty sure you get a kick out of it.  Your current favorite tune is Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.

When your grandparents were here, you got a fan installed in your room.  Little girl, it is your favorite thing!  I'm pretty sure you could stare at that fan for hours.  You just scream and laugh whenever it's on. 

You've started really grabbing for toys this month and are actually able to pick them up.  100% of the time they head straight for your mouth.  You are always chomping on your fingers and drooling all over the place.  I fear teeth are not far away...

This month you had your very first babysitter.  One of Mommy's friends watched you for a few hours and you were so good!  I got lots of texts and pictures while I was gone because I missed you so much.  It was super hard for me to leave your little face...but I'm hoping with time it will get easier.  I just cannot get enough of you, my sweet princess.

This month also held some single mommy time for you and me when Daddy was in Hong Kong for a week.  We were really sad but quickly adjusted to our new schedule and had a great time just us girls.  At the end of that week, we took your first road trip to Indy and you were a rock star!  Mommy was super nervous about going alone, but you put her at ease.  I'm sure this is just the beginning of many, many road trips just the two of us.


Natalie, your Daddy and I could not love you more!  You are so special to us and we could not have asked for a more perfect addition to our family.  I love you so much!  I could kiss your little cheeks every second of everyday and it wouldn't be enough.  

Now quit growing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Natalie, You Are 3 Months Old! Wait a Minute...

Yes.  You read that right.  3 months. 

Yes.  Natalie was 3 months old on April 15th. 

So really, she is over 4 months old.

Mom fail.

But I figured I had to post some 3 month stats as I am posting her 4 month post tomorrow.  So let's just go with it, okay?

But first, some picture outtakes.  Someone was SO not pleased to be photographed.  

Couldn't resist.  Isn't she just the cutest screaming baby you have ever seen??

That's better.

Sweet girl, you are growing so fast!  You are in size two diapers and wearing mostly 3-6 month clothes.

The best part about this month is that you have started sleeping through the night!  And not like, oh I'm sleeping 6 hours through the night.  Like a solid 12 hours.  Your Daddy and I are so lucky and we could not be more thankful to you little girl.  Keep it up!

You are smiling up a storm these days and you've started "talking."  It really is the coolest thing ever.  I feel like we're actually having conversations even though neither one of us understands the other :)  

You've discovered your hands and feet this month and are very active with both.  You're hitting your toys on your activity mat with a purpose now, which is such a change from last month.  It's so much fun watching you learn!

We've been practicing sitting and standing this month and you are really improving on your head control.  I know you'll be sitting up on your own in no time!

You started going to the nursery at church and it has been going really well.  For the most part you have been very well behaved even when taking your bottle.  The sweet ladies did have to page Mama once because you were still hungry after you finished eating.  Shocking, I know.

You had a visit from your Grandma and Aunt Dood this month.  They were so sweet to come visit when Daddy went out of town.  Mama wasn't quite ready to handle you on her own for so many days.  Unfortunately, we discovered you have a hard time letting other people hold you and you are quite attached to your Mama.  You didn't let Grandma hold you hardly at all!  I hope this changes very soon as I know it made her sad.  

You are still exclusively breastfeeding and consistently eating every 2 hours.  Mommy is so happy we have been able to stick to this way of feeding.  We're starting to really get the hang of things little girl.

You've also enjoyed Skyping with Grandma and Grandpa this month as well as taking your first of hopefully many walks in the stroller.

You are the light of our lives sweet girl and I could not be more thankful to have you in our lives.  You're a perfect fit to our little family and I love you so much!