Five Things Friday: Pregnancy Gift Guide

Since I’m currently pregnant, I decided it was totally appropriate of me to put together a list of gift ideas specifically for pregnant women. Now, pregnant women are still women! I’m sure they’d still like to get regular people stuff too! But sometimes it’s nice to cater to pregnancy since pregnancy can be rather uncomfortable at times.

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Items Under $20

  • Belly Butter: I’ve never actually used this stuff because it costs money and it’s no guarantee…but if somebody bought it for me I’d be slathering that stuff on every day. Even if a woman already has stretch marks (ahem, like me), it’s nice to have something to rub on your belly because that stretching skin can get quite uncomfortable (and sometimes itchy). There are a billion brands out there, so go with your gut. I’m currently using coconut oil and Vitamin E oil. And my sister used Rosehip Seed oil every day and has never gotten stretch marks (I hope I didn’t just jinx you…).
  • Magazine Subscription: At first I was thinking mom-ish magazines (like Parents or Family Circle) but then I realized that with all the hanging out time a new mom has (babies eat a lot), any magazine would be a welcome change to those around-the-clock feedings. So just choose one that your girl would be into, whether that’s a food magazine or Vogue.
  • Massage Oil or Cream: I know this seems the same as the Belly Butter but it’s not. The oil is more for soothing rather than helping with stretch marks. And any bit of relief from aches and pains can be so helpful.
  • Snacks: With how hungry I’ve been, I don’t think I’d turn my nose up at anything lately! Ha! So buy two of your favorite snack and give one to your pregnant bestie (obviously keep the other one for yourself). Sweet treats are usually what come to my mind first, but there are tons of healthy snacks available too. Think Babybel cheeses with some crackers, a bag of Cuties, Veggie Straws or some popcorn (BoomChickaPop is my personal fave).
  • Comfy Anything: Ha! I know, so specific! But really, getting comfortable is an everyday struggle. So pick up some comfy socks or slippers, a nice plush robe or something maternity specific and you are good to go. I feel like comfy pants are my current struggle, but just yesterday I put on a pair of leggings (similar found here-they are NOT maternity leggings-just one size fits all) and they were SO comfortable! I know of a store downtown here that sells something similar and I’ve got plans to go pick up a couple more pairs (the fact that they aren’t labeled maternity makes them cheap too!).

 

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Items Over $20

  • Pregnancy Pillow: I’d always thought pregnancy pillows were super expensive until I actually used one. Now I see the $60 price tag and I think, “What a bargain!” Because, seriously, a pregnancy pillow can change a pregnant lady’s life.
  • Comfortable Shoes: With my back hurting this time around, a pair of comfortable shoes has been key to minimizing the pain. I think there are tons of options out there but my current favorite has been my pair of Nike Frees. Truthfully, Nike has never been my go-to workout shoe (and I wouldn’t use them for running). But I was given a pair a couple of years ago and it was only recently that I started wearing them whenever we go out walking. And they’re so comfortable that the end of the day will come and I’ll realize I never took them off, I love them so.
  • Clothes/Gift Card: How grateful am I (please, how grateful is everyone) that baggy, ugly maternity clothes are a thing of the past! And now there are all sorts of boutiques that deal solely in maternity clothes. Craziness! I think any pregnant lady would love a gift card to one of these places (I personally want everything at Pink Blush). But if you think you know your friend’s style, I don’t think you’d go wrong just picking out something you know she’d love, especially if it’s seasonal, like this cute maternity sweater (at least, I think it’s cute:). If it’s a first pregnancy, or your friend is just really good at documenting her pregnancy, this countdown shirt is another cute, fun option for gifting.
  • Personalized Beauty Box: So I wouldn’t be the best person to give this gift, but I would be so excited to get this box from anyone who knows more about beauty products than I do (which is exactly everyone:). Just fill a box or basket with a handful of your faves (whether it’s nail polish, face wash, lipstick…whatever!). My makeup routine has always been pretty minimal, but when I’m pregnant I become a lot more thorough. There’s just something about taking extra time on the things I CAN control since so much of my appearance these days are things I can’t control.
  • Downtime Activities: Being pregnant doesn’t take away the fact that I still have lots to get done in the day. However, I need times to just SIT and relax. So start thinking of your favorite things that promote sitting and relaxing and you’ve got a gift that’s guaranteed to be a hit with your preggo pal. Some ideas to get your gears turning: *An adult coloring book with colored pencils *Your favorite “fluff” book along with a mug and some hot cocoa mix or a tumbler and ingredients for Dirty Diet Coke (if she’s drinking caffeine; some True Lemon packets if she’s not) *a movie and some popcorn *Gift Card to a favorite restaurant so she doesn’t have to cook
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Books Lately: The Ones I Started But Didn’t Finish Edition

I’ve told my sister before how I have this problem where I start a book and love it…but then never finish it. Most of the time it’s a book I really enjoy so it can only come down to sheer laziness. I thought I’d tell you about those books here so that you can either:

a) never have to bother with reading it OR

b) urge me to finish because you’ve read it and know that it’s absolutely worth finishing

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French Kids Eat Everything: by Karen Le Billon

This book was so interesting and one that I would totally recommend. It’s an easy read with lots of personal stories to keep things interesting. I didn’t agree with every idea the author posed, nor did I think I could follow some of the ideas (she talked about how French people lay out a tablecloth for every meal…I don’t even own a tablecloth), but she did have lots of points that were interesting and even ideas I want(ed) to adopt. For example, one thing she brought up that I still think about is how food is such a big part of life and health but how Americans treat eating as such an inconvenience (think of all the times you eat while doing something else like driving or watching TV). The book definitely made me think about my own perceptions of food and cooking. And it wasn’t even particularly repetitive (which I feel like is a common thread among non-fiction). But I didn’t finish it before its due date and never got around to checking it out again. Someday. Someday I will finish it.

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I Am Malala: The Girl who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban: by Malala Yousafzai

Of all my unfinished books, this is the one I’m most ashamed of not finishing. Pretentious white girl much? But truthfully the book is so insightful. It definitely made me aware of how unaware I am. Malala give a good history of Pakistani people and their land and it’s obvious that she is very politically aware. I struggled a bit keeping people/places straight because my English-only brain struggled with the names. But the book is so eye-opening and well written. And I couldn’t help but be impressed with Malala, her dedication and her bravery. So my reason for not finishing it? Laziness…that and now you can watch her story on Netflix.

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The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino

Ben and I started watching Fixer Upper and the more I watched the show, the more I was like, “Man, are these people for real?” I mean, Joanna is thin, has gorgeous hair, seems to be the perfectly patient wife and caring but fun mother. And the more you watch, the more that gets added to the perfect persona. Not only is Joanna an incredible interior decorator, she bakes! And nurses animals back to health! And gardens! So, yes, I started the book because I wanted to find out: a) if they are for real, and b) what their secret is.

To me, the book seems like some interviewer sat Chip and Joanna down, asked them some questions, and then wrote down what they said. It’s mostly Joanna speaking (writing) but Chip jumps in every so often with a comment (indicated by a different font). And it, in my opinion, is seriously boring. There’s a bit of new information but nothing is really talked about in depth and it all seemed so surface-y. Now, I only made it a couple chapters in before I decided to quit. And, while I do enjoy the show, I’m not like totally obsessed with it or even with Joanna’s decorating style. So I do think a hardcore fan would probably really love the book…that’s just not me. And I think since I didn’t finish the book that it’s only fair I give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they are everything they seem to be on TV…but maybe they aren’t great writers. But it’s a New York Times Bestseller, so what do I know?

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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

This book I’m especially curious to know if any of you have read/finished/enjoyed. A few chapters in I thought, “It’s been so long since I enjoyed a book so much!” And I continued enjoying every page up until about halfway through. And then I stopped enjoying simply because I stopped reading it (not because it ceased to be an enjoyable read). The book is set in England in the fifties which isn’t a very common setting (at least in books I read). It’s well written with strong characters and it’s fun to get glimpses into that specific time period. The problem was that nothing was really happening. Yes, the characters were talking and spending time together and going to parties…but there weren’t really any problems to solve or love interests to pursue or things needing to be done. So I stopped. And I’m still not sure I made the right choice, so maybe some day I’ll pick it up again.

Five Things Friday: Kitchen Gift Ideas

I had the idea to do a few posts on gift ideas in different categories. Naturally, cooking supplies was one of the first categories I thought up. I have some really awesome cooking gear, but it seems like there is always something in the kitchen department on my wish list.

I ought to give a little warning here (and with any gift ideas in future posts) that I am not a huge shopper and I don’t particularly like spending money. So these lists that I’ve come up with are not filled with the newest, latest, greatest stuff because, quite frankly, I don’t keep up with the times and have no clue what the newest, latest, greatest stuff is. Instead, my lists are full of things I either have and totally love or things that I hope to someday own. Hopefully you get some ideas on what to give…or what you want to get;)

Kitchen Holiday Gift Guide

Items Under $20

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  • Microplane Grater: I went through 2 different zesters before I tried using this specific brand at my sister-in-law’s house and it is, without a doubt, the BEST zester on the planet. I don’t use it all the time-but the times I do use, I praise the heavens that there is a tool so completely wonderful (and for not a bad price, either). You can use it for citrus fruit, chocolate, or cheese…and I’m sure other things I’ve never even thought of.
  • Bamboo Cooking Utensils: I’ve wished several times that all my cooking/serving utensils could be bamboo. Obviously, that wouldn’t be very practical, but I have one bamboo cooking spoon that I’ve had to wash 3 or 4 times in one day because that’s THE utensil I want to use for whatever it is I’m cooking. It’s true love (and please get the ones that are varnished or oiled or whatever you call it because the unfinished ones gross me out).
  • Cute kitchenware: Cute kitchenware is not hard to stumble upon at all. And when I see some cute plates or pots or what have you, I always think, “I don’t NEED that…but I need it…” -if you can relate at all. Which is why gifting it is the best because someone stingy like myself won’t by it but would LOVE to have it. There are about a billion places to buy cute kitchenware-be it mugs, plates, serving dishes or salt shakers. But I personally love World Market and can almost always find cute stuff at stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls. Also, ModCloth has some way quirky stuff that’s also really cute/awesome.
  • Immersion Blender: I LOVE my immersion blender. Again, it’s not something I use every day, but the times I do use it, I can’t imagine not having it. If you look at these, you’ll see there’s like a huge range of prices-you can buy a super nice one with a bunch of attachments for a pretty penny and there are some for under $20. I’ve had this one for 5 years and it’s still running strong. If I were buying one today, I’d probably get this one because it’s a cute color (priorities). If you’re wondering, mine doesn’t have any of the additional attachments and I’ve honestly never wished it did.
  • Kitchen Scale: This is something that I think would be used more for baking than cooking, but I’m sure it has its place in either area. I don’t have one of these currently but there have been several times where I wish I did. Someday… vbg

Cookbooks

Can we all just agree that cookbooks are weird. There are lots of cookbooks that have intriguing titles or gorgeous photos, but it takes a handful of components for a cookbook to be something I’ll turn to again and again. If it doesn’t hit the requirements, it sits on my shelf without getting picked up for years. My favorite cookbooks might be older…but they are ones that get pulled off my shelf over and over again for old faves and to try out new ones. They don’t require weird or particularly expensive ingredients. If you have a cookbook in mind, but have never actually cracked it open, see if your library has it. Or search it on Amazon-lots of the times you can see the first few pages and determine whether it’s what you had in mind.

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  • Cravings by Chrissy Tiegen: I’ve talked about this one before but I cannot open this cookbook without finding something that I want to make. It has these simple yet unique recipes. And Chrissy is a model (I’m so behind the times I didn’t even know that until I cracked open the book ) so she says that when she chows down, she wants every bite to be totally delicious. And so those are the kind of recipes she’s giving you-fairly simple to make but packed full of flavor.
  • Better Homes and Gardens: This cookbook is jam-packed with recipes, cooking tips, and general kitchen information. It’s an awesome resource, especially for anyone who’s relatively new to cooking. It’s not dumbed down or anything but it’s absolutely accessible regardless of skill level. It has about a billion tabs for every genre of food you can think of, so it’ll keep a cook busy for a long time.
  • Food Blog Cookbooks: There are about a billion food blogs out there these days and chances are that if someone is a fan of a particular food blog, they’ll also be a fan of the blog’s cookbook. My personal favorite are the Our Best Bites cookbooks-I crack open mine super often because the recipes in there have become faves. Another great option are The Pioneer Woman cookbooks because, um, she’s THE Pioneer Woman (delicious recipes, great pictures AND she’s hilarious). Just find your favorite food blog and see if they’ve got a cookbook available!
  • Unofficial Fan Cookbooks: Fan cookbooks are basically genius because whether or not the recipes are great, people will buy the book if they are obsessed with whatever the topic is. And seriously, just google “Unofficial Fan Cookbooks” and you’ll see that dozens of fan cookbooks are available from Harry Potter to Gilmore Girls to The Hunger Games (what, what?). Whoever you gift this to will love you forever because OMG, Sookie’s Risotto!!
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child: I’ve also talked about this book and it is an awesome gifting option for anyone aspiring to be a better cook than they already are. I don’t think everyone would love this book-it’s older (but still completely relevant) and it doesn’t have photos, but it has wonderful technical instructions as well as totally delicious recipes.

Appliances

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  • KitchenAid Mixer: I never thought I needed a mixer but then Ben’s parents gave us one for our first Christmas as a married couple and it is seriously one of my favorite things ever. And whenever I see a new and awesome color, I have very impractical dreams of having a KitchenAid in every color.
  • Deep Fryer: I don’t make fried food very often (which might be directly related to the fact that I don’t own a fryer). But my sister-in-law has one and it is so convenient and mess free, I always want one after we use hers. Sorrynotsorry, but some things are just better fried. I saw this cute little one in lots of black Friday ads. And I’ve always been curious about Air Fryers (have any of you guys used one??? What did you think?).
  • Ice Cream Maker: We got a cute Sunbelt ice cream maker for our wedding and, while we don’t use it very often, I do love using it especially during the summer because homemade ice cream is really the best ice cream. Someday I hope to have the kind that doesn’t require ice because that is really the only thing stopping me from having homemade ice cream every night.
  • Ninja Blender: This is another appliance that we received as a gift and I absolutely love it. Ours has all the attachments-blender, food processor, and 3 individual serving cups. It is super powerful and I shamelessly use it all. the. time.
  • Fondue Pot : This is one that is currently on my wish list. It’s not exactly practical or even something I think I’d use very often. But it seems super fun, super kid friendly, and super delicious…so I don’t see what the problem is (oh yeah, it’s trying to store another appliance in tiny rental apartments…).

November

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Good

  • I had 2 doctor appointments this month (just check-ups) and both were great-baby seems to be healthy and growing. We also had our ultrasound this week and we were shocked to find out that we are having another GIRL! I was 99.8% sure that it was a boy. We are totally excited and I’m personally grateful that another girl means a little less stress (because we already have baby girl stuff coming out our ears).
  • Ben and I really wanted to be able to go to the Cedar City temple open house and for awhile it was looking like we weren’t going to make it. BUT we changed some plans and met my parents in Cedar City so we could all go through the open house together. The temple is gorgeous. And I always love going back to Cedar–especially since it was this month 6 years ago when Ben and I went on our first date there. Awwww 🙂
  • I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving. I’ve already said it’s my favorite holiday and this year was great! We spent the week at my parents’ house in Utah and Thanksgiving day (plus the days after) was filled with all sorts of deliciousness. I’m grateful I married a man who knows how to make some awesome pies.
  • While in Utah, I took full advantage of my mom’s sewing room, which can be a little bit dangerous because I always leave wanting new tools and machines (this time I left seriously coveting her serger…too bad it’ll be awhile before one fits in our budget…). This time around, I spent most of my time working on a dress for myself and I am seriously so happy with how it turned out. I’ll definitely have a post on it later.
  • I also had a goal to get the first quadrant done on my La Passacaglia (English Paper Piecing Quilt), and I got a lot farther on it than I really expected! The downfall is that I was feeling great about my progress until I laid the quilt out and realized I still have SO much to do. Oh well, I’m still enjoying it.
  • My brother and sister-in-law and their two girls live close to my parents so Wendy got a lot of cousin time while we were visiting! It was so fun (and funny) watching those girls play and interact. I’m so glad we’re heading back for more visiting in just a few weeks where Wendy will get even more cousin time with more cousins.
  • Ben finished writing his thesis! He’ll present/defend it next week and that’s that! Now he’s on to applying for PhD programs. Cray cray.

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Blah

  • I’ve checked out a couple of books from the library with good intentions to read them, but with all the sewing I just haven’t had time. I know I should probably change my ways and start listening to books like a true millennial but I just don’t like that as much.
  • Wendy’s had a cold for a couple of weeks. ‘Tis the season. Luckily, it hasn’t been too bad…but it’s still sad.
  • Man, this pregnancy I feel like I am SO much bigger than last. Like, I’m currently 21 weeks but my belly is where it was at 27 weeks last time. It’s so dumb but I’m so self conscious about it. I keep telling myself that I exercise and try to eat fairly healthy so my body is just doing what it needs to do…but it still makes me a little bit depressed. It did make me feel better that at my last appointment my doctor said that my weight gain is totally within the normal range and not anything to be worried about. So at least there’s that.
  • Oh, I was going to say sorry for not posting last week. I had plans to schedule something…and it just never happened. It’s the kind of thing that I feel a little bad about…but not too bad. The weeks surrounding Christmas might be more of the same story…

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On My Brain

  • So for the dress I made this month, I also constructed my own pattern–which actually requires a lot of thinking! Ha! So a lot of this month, I was thinking about pattern making and clothing construction. It’s lame but I actually love trying to figure out how to put the pieces together to make something. If I get really excited about a project, thinking about the pattern will seriously keep me up at night.
  • Since Ben and I had been seriously thinking we’d have a boy come April, we’ve really only talked about boy names. Now that it’s a girl, we’ve got to switch gears.  We knew right away with Wendy, that that’s what her name would be, but this time we aren’t sure at all. Ideas/suggestions (for names or for name books, websites, etc.)?

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Overnight Rolls

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Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. Ben used to make fun of me for this because he says that Thanksgiving is the exact same as Christmas except that you don’t get anything. I honestly can’t argue with that (and both are holidays that also feel like an extra Sunday) but I can say that Thanksgiving is better because you don’t get anything and you don’t have to stress over giving anything either. It’s a holiday that’s all about food and family and being grateful and I love it.

I also love that every person has a different “Must-Have” on their Thanksgiving menu. It makes me think of the episode of Friends where Monica has to make 3 different kinds of potatoes for Thanksgiving so that each friend could have their dinner be like it was when they were growing up.

I always thought that Thanksgiving dinners were pretty standard, but then I got married and Ben’s family had to have new components I’d never known about: Cranberry Jell-O with whipped cream on top, Cranberry freeze (a slush with ginger ale poured on top), and a huge selection of homemade pies (to suggest storebought is a straight up abomination).

I have a sister-in-law who has to have brussel sprouts.

I’ve heard of people who do cookies instead of pie (which, to me, is a way bigger abomination than store bought pie).

And Joey has to have his tots.

But one thing that seems to be pretty standard (you know, on top of turkey and potatoes) is rolls.

This particular roll recipe yields rolls that are light and fluffy and soft. And the best part is that they are SO easy and so non-fussy. Even if you’ve never made rolls before, you can make these and be 100% successful.

Yeast breads can be a little tricky because there’s a certain amount of guesswork involved in knowing how much flour to add, how long to knead, and then careful timing to make sure your dough is rising enough but not too much. This particular recipe is close to foolproof because most of the guesswork has been taken out. And since it’s an “overnight” roll that completes its first rise in the fridge, the dough is cold and incredibly workable when it’s time to shape it. AND the second (and final) rise takes over two hours so you have plenty of time to get stuff done before these guys need to go in the oven.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that every roll is best when it’s warm right out of the oven. But these do a great job at staying totally yummy (and not dried out) for several days (we’ve had leftovers for up to a week) so you can start making these a couple days before you serve them.

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Here’s the recipe (and the link):

Overnight Rolls (Recipe from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook)

2 packages (or 4 ½ teaspoons) yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water (it’ll take about 5 minutes). In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer if you have one), beat eggs. Add sugar, butter, remaining water, salt, yeast mixture and 2 ½ cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups flour and mix until everything has been well incorporated. Cover your dough and refrigerate overnight. About 2 ½ to 3 hours before you plan on serving your rolls, remove the dough from the fridge. Divide dough into 2 or 3 equal sections. Roll one portion of your dough into a circle, about ¼ inch thick. Spread with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut your circle into 12-16 wedges. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll each wedge into a crescent and place 1-2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with each section of dough. Let rolls rise for about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Bake at 350º (make sure the oven is preheated) for about 15 minutes, or until the rolls have turned a nice golden color. If desired, brush with more melted butter before serving.

 

Notes:

–For anyone who has never worked with yeast: when you dissolve your yeast in water, the yeast should kind of bubble up and foam a bit. If it doesn’t start to do this after about 5 minutes, you probably need new yeast. Always store your yeast in the fridge or freezer to help prevent it from going bad.

–I almost always use whole wheat flour (at least in part) when making doughs to try and be a little healthier. But I’ve never tried using whole wheat on this particular recipe because sometimes you just need to live a little. And I’ve never regretted that.

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Something New…

Well, guys…we have some big and exciting news…

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I’m pregnant!

I know what you are thinking and the answer is that we are straight up crazy because this pregnancy was planned. I repeat: this was not an accident. Ha! I will say, though, that planning to get pregnant and actually getting pregnant are two very different things. And for the first little bit after realizing I was pregnant, I was kind of a hot mess worrying about if I could handle it but MOSTLY worrying about what people would think of us. And I just had to come to terms with the fact that many people will and do think we are totally nuts. And we might be. We’ve never done this before. But we feel good about our choice to have these two kiddos close together and we could not be more excited about having another baby on the way.

 

Being pregnant the first time around is such an interesting experience. Everything is so new and different and lots of it is expected but a surprising amount is unexpected. It seems like when I was pregnant with Wendy I was hyper-aware of what was going on in my body. This pregnancy has been so different. It’s different in superficial ways…like I am not using a tracking app this time around. But it’s also so different in how I feel. In fact, it’s so different, I honestly have a hard time even feeling like I’m pregnant, because it’s SO different than the first time around (are you getting it? So. Different. SO. Different. Okay, Kim, broken record).

It’s funny to me because when I was pregnant the first time we lived in bush Alaska, so we didn’t see a doctor/confirm the pregnancy/hear the baby’s heartbeat until I was 18 weeks. Eighteen weeks. This time we saw a doctor, heard the baby’s heartbeat and even saw an ultrasound image of the baby at almost 9 weeks (the pic above) and for some reason , even with all the proof, I’m still like, “Wait, this is real??”

When I was pregnant with Wendy, I did a giant mega post chronicling the entirety of my pregnancy, trimester to trimester. I wanted to do the same thing this time around but I’ll be able to break it up a bit and just do one trimester at a time. As I wrote this, I tried my very hardest not to start every sentence with, “Well, when I was pregnant with Wendy…” but I cannot promise that it’s not in there occasionally. Forgive me. My pregnancy with Wendy is the only pregnancy I’ve ever known…so I think it’s natural to compare.

Oh! And I’m sure you want to know! Baby’s due date is April 7th, which makes me currently 18 weeks (although I was 13 weeks when I wrote this post). We will be finding out the gender, but not until after Thanksgiving (which somehow seems like a billion years away). Of course, I’ll tell you the gender when we know! Anyhow, here’s how the first trimester went!

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First belly picture of this pregnancy (sorry for the poor quality-I take these pics on my phone). 11 weeks!

Belly? Yes, I definitely have a belly. I feel like I’m “showing” much earlier this time around. I’m still *kinda* able to hide it…but not for much longer!

Exercise? I feel like my exercise hasn’t really taken a hit at all. When I was cleared to exercise after I had Wendy, I made a goal to run at least 4 times a week and do an at-home workout on the days I don’t run. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to keep this up since getting pregnant. The only major difference is that a non-pregnant Kim would try to do longer runs on the weekend but the pregnant Kim pretty much doesn’t go for any longer than 3 miles. Oh, and I still usually carry Wendy in the Ergo when we go for walks, but sometimes (especially in the evenings) I am just too tired and opt for the stroller.

Cravings? The only thing that really sticks out is that I’ve been consuming a way more than average amount of oranges and orange juice. They just sound so good all the time. And they stave off the ever-present hunger.

Food Aversions? Honestly, not really. When I was pregnant with Wendy, I had a handful of very specific foods I could not be around. This time, the only thing that really makes me go “Ew, gross!” is Taco Bell. And I blame that on eating it too often when we were traveling a lot during August. And, is it just me, or is none of their food actually filling? Oh, and now that I’m thinking about, I’ve also had a really hard time with leftovers. I can handle them on Leftover Day One, but after that I’m like, “mehhhh…no thanks.”

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13 weeks!

Not-so-awesomeness:

  • The biggest “symptom,” I guess you could say, of this pregnancy has been the seemingly never ending hunger. Seriously, I can eat a big meal and be plenty full, but just 2 hours later I’ll be starving again. And you’d think someone like me-someone who totally loves food-would be stoked about this symptom…but no. It’s actually really annoying.
  • The gas. Why does this even have to be a pregnancy symptom???
  • I’ve been having to deal with some back aches. It worries me a bit because it’s so early, and I can only hope it doesn’t get worse over the next several months. Usually it’s a dull ache but occasionally it’s been the kind of pain that makes me go “Oh!” out loud. Luckily, it’s not an everyday thing.
  • One huge difference with this pregnancy and my last is how emotional I’ve been. So, I’m normally a crier. Somehow, when I was pregnant with Wendy, I was blessedly mellow. I don’t think I cried once (I had a taste of what it’s like to watch those touching clips of America’s Got Talent without turning into a sobbing mess). It was kind of a relief. This pregnancy has been the total opposite side of the spectrum. I cry at everything. I mean, for heaven’s sake! I got teary eyed looking at a full moon! It was just so beautiful, ha! My gosh, I can only hope it’s not what I turn into permanently! The first couple of weeks of being pregnant, the emotions mostly came on in very unattractive angry spells. But that changed to the old crying-at-everything party…which I’ll take over being an angry b-word. But if that comes back…please, forgive me.
  • I had to stop nursing. I wasn’t going to mention this, but it’s something I honestly didn’t even think about when we decided to try to get pregnant. And, on the very slim chance that someone is reading this and in a similar boat, I just wanted to give my two cents. My goal was always to nurse Wendy until she was a year old. (I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a long bullet point, sorry!). Our doctor recommended we take Wendy to specialists for her weight (which I’ve talked about before) and we’ve actually always had mixed feelings about our decision to do so. The specialist instructed me to pump twice a day and supplement that with formula. Doing that was emotional and frustrating. But now I feel like those instructions were such a blessing. Because I was pumping every day, I was able to notice that the amount I was producing was really going down. I was able to supplement with additional formula. But I just got to a point where I was literally hardly producing anything at all. It was obvious that it was time to stop. If I hadn’t been pumping, I don’t think I would’ve noticed that my supply had dropped so much. I probably would’ve just kept nursing and, as a result, Wendy wouldn’t have been getting near enough food. So long story short, I wasn’t producing even close to what Wendy needed, so I stopped. And now I know Wendy is getting enough food. And, hey! We’ve all survived so far. (And the incessant hunger? Yeah, I don’t think the nursing helped).

Awesomeness:

  • Another huge difference with this pregnancy is that I really haven’t had any morning sickness. I think that’s probably the main reason this pregnancy hasn’t felt totally real. It is strange (I honestly never thought I’d be one of those ladies), but I obviously can’t complain. I do start feeling a little sickish if I don’t eat regularly. There have been a handful of times where I’ve waited too long to eat and it’s made me feel sick the rest of the day. But, again, that’s only happened a few times. And normally, if I eat, I get back on track and feel fine.
  • Sorry, sorry, sorry, but just the little differences between this pregnancy and the last are also noteworthy. When I was pregnant with Wendy, I felt ALL the pregnancy symptoms to the max (at least, what I perceived to be the max). I had to pee all the time, I had the craziest dreams, I was tired all the time. And this time I can’t help but wonder if I’m truthfully not feeling all those things to that extent, or if the novelty of it being the first time was what made me focus on those things, or if I just have more on my plate than last time. Whatever the case may be, I’ve definitely felt all those things above…just not nearly as strong.
  • And, of the above, one thing I’m so grateful I haven’t experienced as strongly is the exhaustion. Wendy is crawling all over and exploring everything and I’m so grateful that I (usually) have the energy to keep up with her.
  • We’ve been able to go to a doctor this time! Seeing that teeny little gummy bear baby on an ultrasound was so special!

Anything Else?

  • The first trimester of pregnancy is so weird to me. It’s so exciting but it’s a stage I always just want to get past. Even this time I just want to get onto the second trimester because, even though I haven’t really been feeling bad, per se, I also haven’t been feeling 100%. And while I haven’t hated food, I’ve still got a weird relationship with it and I’d rather just get past it so I can cook and eat whatever (and have a regular eating schedule, thank you very much).

October

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Good

  • Well, this already seems like it happened forever ago but, gosh, General Conference was good. I feel like I always hear just what I need to.
  • The big one: Wendy turned one year old last week! I can’t believe it’s already been a year. About a month ago, I started feeling really sad that she’s growing, but then I thought about how grateful I am that I’ve been here every step of her first year. It’s been such a joy to be this girl’s mom. I’m spoiled with what a sweetie she is. We had a pretty low-key birthday party for her (if we lived closer to family, I’m sure it would’ve been a little different), most of which she seemed very confused by, ha! But it was very fun for us!
  • One of Ben’s buddies came to visit for a weekend. It’s always nice to see family/friends. He and Ben went camping one of the nights and, can I say it? It was actually really nice to just have an evening to myself. Maybe that makes me a bad person? I’m a night owl and I loved staying up late, doing my own thing.
  • Ben’s mom came to visit for Wendy’s birthday week and I just cannot even say how nice it was to have her here. I think it made all of us a little homesick when she left. But we had a blast while she was here-we went to the grand canyon, went for lots of walks, and went to Out of Africa (one of our faves, just a little south of us).
  • Ben and I saw a porcupine out on our walk! I know, why the heck am I telling you this??? Um, because it was seriously so cool. And it was huge! The End.
  • So Wendy had another check up with her nutritionist. And, while we still have to go to another appointment in a couple of months (I was hoping the doc would put her in the clear and we could stop going), the doctor was very pleased at how well she’s been growing. I always have to wipe some sweat off my brow when that’s what they say. Wendy’s only 14 pounds  (0 percentile for weight and height…but 30th percentile for head-ha!), but she’s doing really well.
  • This is really random and incredibly cheesy…but Ben and I were invited to be on a panel of married couples for a Young Single Adult fireside. And I am the lamest person on the planet but I’ve seriously always wanted to do it! Ha! Ben and I were the “senior couple” having been married the longest and it was just fun to remember the days when we were dating (and Ben said I probably liked it because I could tell everyone how to live their life;)
  • So Halloween was yesterday! Our church was planning a trunk or treat for the weekend before but they ended up cancelling it pretty last minute. I was bummed (where else were we going to wear our costumes?) but apparently a bunch of people complained so they ended up having one Halloween night. Wendy went trunk-or-treating to a few vehicles and I think she loved seeing all the kids and being a part of the festivities. And we had zero trick-or-treaters come to our house. More candy for me!

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Blah

  • I just haven’t believed all the disasters that have been going on lately. Some of them natural and some of them not natural at all. The fires in California were especially worrisome for me because I have a sister who lives in that area with her family. Luckily, they (and their home) were okay, but it seemed like a crazy and stressful couple of weeks. We’ve definitely been praying for everyone who’s been affected in any way in any of the disasters.
  • Just as has been the norm this semester, Ben has been really busy. He’s finishing up his thesis and will probably present in the next couple of weeks. And after that he’s going to apply to PhD programs. So it’ll still be awhile before his schedule gets a little less crazy.
  • Jaeger, sweet Jaeger Dog. We love him, but he can get very grumpy at Wendy. Don’t worry-he’s not dangerous, but sometimes, if Wendy crawls close to him while he’s napping, he wakes up and growls and growls. It’s obnoxious and I just wish he’d chill out. And since we’re on the subject, his breath also really stinks.

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On My Brain

  • I’ve been reading Thomas S. Monson’s biography (he’s the current prophet in our church) and in the 60s, apostle Elder Monson was assigned to serve in/oversee the church in the European nations, including East Germany which had been cut off from the world for decades. The biography gives a small history of that area in particular and this quote really stood out to me, “As the war progressed, the horrors did as well. By the end, the people were exhausted, starving [and] homeless…But the members were not disheartened. They looked forward, their faith deepening; it was all they had. And it was enough. Duty honor, covenants, and cooperation were what sustained them and stirred them on.” I was just amazed at how something that happened so long ago could relate so directly with some of the natural disasters that have been going on around the world. For me it’s easy to forget I  have a lot to learn from the past and those who lived in it.
  • Because of all the natural disasters, I’ve really had emergency preparedness on my mind, especially the areas where we could improve. I’ve been buying/storing water and I bought a bucket of freeze dried food that is supposed to last a person 2 weeks (although…I think that’s debateable). We have a camp stove and fuel along with a water purifier and other camping gear. Do you guys have a system for food storage? Are there any items you think are essential for emergency preparedness?
  • With Halloween in the bag, we are officially in holiday season and I am so excited. Now I just need to turn the excitement into productive holiday planning and shopping…

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Our Mommy and Me Halloween Costumes

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For the first time in my life, I started brainstorming Halloween Costumes earlier than…um…well…day of. Ha! I really have never been super into dressing up and, normally, whatever I end up being is something I can make out of what I already have in my closet.

So Halloween has seen me as a nerd, a runner or just not dressed up at all.

I know, boring.

Having a baby will change you and your perceptions of all major holidays apparently.

 

Even though I started thinking of costume ideas months ago, I never stumbled onto an idea that got me excited. But then, just a couple weeks ago, I saw this baby cactus costume on Studio DIY and I felt like I’d found something we could get on board with. After doing more brainstorming, we finally decided that I’d be a cactus and Wendy would be sunshine. Ben’s going to be a turtle (in theory) although we haven’t finished (or even started) his costume yet. We’re a regular ol’ desert scene.

When in Arizona…

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Not that I have any room to talk (seeing as how I’ve never been great at dressing up), but can we just agree that homemade costumes are what Halloween is all about? Sure, store bought is easy and stress free, but homemade costumes are so much more creative, impressive and fun (i.e. better;).

And, honestly, making these costumes for Wendy and myself was still fairly easy and it ended up being very cheap.

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For my cactus shirt, I was able to find an XXL Men’s t-shirt on the Old Navy clearance rack for only $2.47. I ended up altering the sleeves to try and make them longer and more cactus-y (which was actually waaaay easier than I thought it would be and totally made the shirt NOT look like an XXL Men’s tee). I already had the yarn on hand. For the cactus spines, I just threaded a needle and went at the shirt in kind of the same way you’d tie a quilt. It actually took longer than I anticipated, so if I did it again, I’d spread the spines out a lot more. You live and you learn.

The pom pom flowers could not be any easier. Just wrap yarn around your fingers a few dozen times, then use the end of the string to tie a knot around the center, cut the loops on the end and fluff.

Easy and less than 3 dollars.

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Wendy’s costume was also pretty simple. I will say that my original plan was to just dress her in in yellow and make the headband. But October is not really the best time to find yellow clothes sooooo we improvised (which meant a little more work…but maybe cuter than the original plan?). We found the shirt on clearance at Wal-mart for only $1 (and it was a miracle that we found it-it was the only one left and it may or may not be a size 0-3 months…). For the skirt, I just made a simple tulle tutu skirt. The tulle cost about $2 at Joann. We bought the glitter foam at Joann also ($1) and just hot-glued it into a sun (I might make the rays go all the way around the headband so that it looks a little less Lady Liberty).

Making the skirt probably took about an hour and the headband took maybe 10 minutes. Overall, not too shabby.

(Hopefully next week I’ll be able to post pictures of Ben’s costume too).

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What are you guys dressing up as for Halloween???

5 Things Friday: Favorite Baby Items 6-12 months {plus some extras}

When I first started thinking of my favorite baby items that we’ve used over the past 6 months, I seriously thought that I would just be re-writing about the exact same things that I wrote in my last Favorite baby items post. But after doing some brainstorming, I realized that I had so many items, I wasn’t going to be able to narrow things down! As a result, you guys are getting a list that has a few things I couldn’t have lived without along with some things that I could have lived without but that were just so darn useful, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to live without them.

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  1. Ergo 360 Carrier: I’ve talked about our Ergo before (this is the only repeat item, I swear!) but I just love it so so so much that I HAD to put it on this list again. I use it every single day and Ben uses it occasionally as well. Wendy still rides kangaroo style on my front (I will remind you, though, that she is tiny and I’m not sure I’d carry her on the front if she weighed as much as the average 1 year old). I face her in if I want her to sleep but either way she faces she totally loves it too. It is a win-win-win product. We were given it as a gift, but now that I know how often we use it, I would have absolutely been willing to fork out the money myself. I love it so much, I’ve had dreams about it. True story.
  2. Cheap umbrella stroller: Our friends actually gave us their extra umbrella stroller and I had to wonder why one wasn’t in my life until then. Ours is very basic, and I know that you can buy nicer versions with perks like a carrying basket/cupholders/seat recliners etc. But I really do love the simplicity of just the straight up stroller. We use it when it’s hot, when we’re planning on being out for awhile (i.e. a trip to the zoo) or just when we go out for a walk but I don’t have the energy to carry Wendy in the Ergo. And it’s so packable. I throw it in the car whenever Wendy and I are heading out to do any shopping that won’t provide carts (like the mall). Love, love, love it.
  3. Baby Pouch Food: I know this one seems weird and let me just clarify that this is not a product I use on the reg. Having said that, these totally have their space as worthy-to-buy baby item. Especially when you do as much traveling as Ben and I. During the summer, we went on several trips to see friends and family. Transitioning a baby from milk to baby food and then from baby food to human food is a weird and long process that involves some doctor recommended rules. When we were at friends or families houses visiting and meals were served, most of the time there was something that Wendy could eat. Occasionally, though, there wasn’t really anything for whatever food stage Wendy was at (which was fine; we didn’t expect them to cater to our baby). And for those times (not to mention anytime she got hungry in the car), the food pouches were awesome to have on hand. They don’t need to be refrigerated. They fit easily in a diaper bag. They are no fuss and easy clean up (at least so far we haven’t had any exploding pouches). And Wendy absolutely loves them. I try to buy ones where the name of the mix is the exact same as the ingredient list (i.e. no added sugar or extra weirdo ingredients). We pretty much only use them for traveling but I do keep a couple in my diaper bag for emergency type situations. And now I apologize for saying so darn much about baby food pouches. Sorry.
  4. Pack-n-Play: Instead of a crib, we use a pack-n-play. Again, with all our traveling, it’s so handy to have a place for Wendy to sleep that can be easily taken down, packed up, and taken wherever we need to go. Ditto for the times when I desperately need to shower because it’s been like 5 days but I want to be able to keep an eye on the baby…wait…just me?
  5. Aquaphor: My sister recommended Aquaphor and I’m really glad she did. It’s kind of an all-in-one type thing. I think Wendy has particularly dry skin (like seriously, she was getting this very mild rash and we racked our brains trying to figure out what was causing it. We finally came to the conclusion that it was showing up on the days right after we bathed her) and the Aquaphor really helps it out. We also use it as a diaper cream. And there have been times where I put it on my cracking knuckles as well (Flagstaff is very dry). I’ve also used it when I couldn’t find the neosporin.
  6. Tommee Tippee Bibs: We’ve used a few different bibs and these ones are my favorite. They are made out of some sort of plastic or rubber which means that you rinse them off right in the sink. It’s not another thing you’ve got to add to your laundry pile. The other awesome thing is that it essentially forms a bowl, so when baby drops food, the bib catches it…most of it, anyway. I don’t even know why they sell other kinds of bibs because this one is the best.
  7. Munchkin 360 cup: This cup is pretty awesome. It has a rubber seal on the top of it and baby has to put her lips to it to “break” the seal and get water out. Which basically means that the cup can be thrown, tipped, turned upside down and it’s still not going to leak. I was worried that Wendy wouldn’t get how to use it, but she caught on really quick. She sees me drink from a cup that’s very similar to hers and I think she likes that. Plus, every time I mention she uses that to a doctor, they basically freak out because it’s so much better for baby than a sippy cup or a bottle (and then I shut my mouth really tight because Wendy uses a bottle way more often than she uses her cup…).
  8. Car Mirror: This mirror has been so handy to have, whether we are on a long trip to visit family, or a short trip to run to the grocery store. Especially when it’s just Wendy and I in the car, I love being able to see her and see what she’s doing. When she was a newborn, it was nice to be able to have a visual so I could get her binky in her mouth. And now that she’s older I mostly use it to see if she’s fallen asleep. And maybe to make sure we didn’t forget her because she’s so darn quiet sometimes (FYI: we haven’t forgotten her…yet;).
  9. Small Purse: This is like my mom hack for you guys (and let’s be real…I’m probably the only one who hadn’t figured it out by now). But my diaper bag is huge and it’s packed and heavy. It is ready for any situation so I take it whenever we go out but really all I normally need is a diaper, a few wipes and then stuff for me (keys, phone, money). I found the bag pictured at Old Navy for $1 so I bought it and then I realized that it could be my on-the-go diaper bag. So when Wendy and I go shopping, or when we go to places like the zoo (apparently, that’s all we ever do), we’ve got a small, easily carried bag that will prevent us from having to run to the car to change a diaper but that will also not break my back. I keep it in the car and fill it as needed. It’s been a dream to have and I just don’t even understand why I waited so long for this kind of set-up.

Cheddar Biscuits (Red Lobster Copycat)

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Wow. This is so weird. Two recipes in a row!

I guess I’ve just been cooking a lot more than I’ve been crafting lately.

And this double recipe thing might be weird but it’s definitely also good because the last recipe I posted was ohmygoshsoyummy. And this recipe is also completely and totally delicious. Plus it’s waaaay easy and quick (the last one…not so much).

Did any of you guys take a Foods class in school? I mean, it’s really just cooking class, right? But I took Foods in 8th or 9th grade. And honestly, some of my favorite recipes came from that class (like the cinnamon rolls I make? Straight from Foods. Someday I’ll post the recipe here too because it is killer).

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Anyway, these biscuits could not be more simple or flavorful. The ingredients consist of totally normal things I always have on hand. And it’s a drop biscuit! No rolling/cookie cutting involved (which, let’s be real, that’s what turns me off of biscuit making almost every time).

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They’re brushed with a garlic buttery glaze and if you eat them while they’re hot, they practically melt in your mouth.

They are a total cinch and I love having this recipe in my arsenal as a quick easy addition to pretty much any meal.

Here’s the recipe (and a link, if you wanna print it out):

Cheddar Biscuits (Red Lobster Copycat)

Dough:
2 cups Bisquik*
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
¾-1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (sharp cheddar is best, but just use what you have on hand)
⅔ cup cold milk
¼ cup butter, melted

Glaze:
¼ cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon parsley flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 450º. Combine Bisquik, parsley, garlic powder and Italian Seasoning. Add cheese and toss to coat. Stir in milk and butter. Drop by spoonfuls (about 16) onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly golden. While biscuits are baking, stir together all the ingredients in the glaze. When the biscuits are done, remove from oven and brush glaze on top of each biscuit. Serve warm.

*In a pinch if you don’t have Bisquick on hand, for this recipe you can mix together a scant 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt as a substitute.  (And sometimes if I’m making my own Bisquick mixture, I’ll make one of those cups of flour a cup of white whole wheat flour to be a bit healthier).

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