Monday, December 20, 2010

Our boy is growing!

Well, today I had an ultrasound. Technically I am supposed to be 34 weeks, however our boy was measuring on average at 36 weeks. He is already chubby and they estimate his weight to be a little over 6 pounds already! All things considered, he is looking like more of a mid-January debut after all; today their guess was January 18th. His head is down, smooshed up against my hip bone, with his feet conveniently located in my ribs (I did not need an ultrasound to tell you that one!)

I am still feeling fine....just really pregnant all the sudden. My back aches like crazy and my belly is so tight- it is harder to sleep and he seems a lot heavier to carry around during the day. However, all in all I feel good and I really can't complain too much since he hasn't given me that much grief until now. And I think he is supposed to- I mean it has to get so uncomfortable that you are willing to give birth to get him out, right? So we are hanging in there :)

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It won't be long now...

We are getting close to D-day...Tiny will be arriving in about a month or so! I have had a pretty easy pregnancy up until this point, however I can tell that we are getting close to the end because I am definitely getting more uncomfortable. It isn't really that bad and I can't complain since the other months have been great...still, most mornings around 4am I am pretty ready to be done. Usually 4am is about my third trip to the bathroom during the night- and it is when I am still so tired but can't manage to get comfortable laying down any more- and it is when I am about ready for a snack- and it is when Koshka is ready to wake up and play.

The skin on the upper right side of my belly has been so sensitive lately- it kind of feels like I have a scrape or burn or something on it. It hurts to have anything touching it but it isn't red or anything. The other day I had a sharp pain there for a little bit, but it went away before the doctor's office opened the next morning and so I didn't call. There is also a spot in the middle of my back that aches feels great when I have the heat pad on it or when Nick rubs it, but the pain always returns. At least these are among my biggest ailments so far...but oh what I would give to sleep on my stomach! :)

Other than that, things feel good. I have stopped jogging and started just walking...even though when I walk I wonder why I am not jogging because walking doesn't seem like that much of a workout when I am used to trotting along. But boy oh boy did I get a workout cleaning the house if the regular cleaning routine was not enough to work up a sweat, I cleaned behind the fridge and washing machine & dryer and I broke a mirror that shattered all over the tile in the kitchen. Let me tell you, bending to clean that up was fun.

We, well Nicholas, got accepted to the MBA program at the University of Denver this week (with even the promise of a little scholarship money!) They are the first school we have heard back from, so we definitely haven't made a decision or anything but it was really fun to get accepted :) Hopefully we will hear back from the other schools before too long and then the real fun of making our decision can commence. But in the meantime, congrats to Nick!

We have a busy weekend planned and then an ultrasound on Monday, so hopefully after that we will have a better idea of exactly when baby V is going to arrive (they are planning to set a date to induce if I haven't had the baby by then.) Until then we are trying to enjoy the holiday season that will be over all too quickly. Fa la la la la!

Monday, December 13, 2010

We need your input please...

A long time ago, before we were expecting Tiny V, I made Nick promise that he would buy me a video least before we had kids. Well, time is getting short and we are on the lookout to buy a video camera. Any recommendations?

Mostly I want to be able to have something that isn't too cumbersome to throw in my bag, can quickly capture a few minutes of whatever adorable thing our boy is doing, and then easily upload it to my computer or a disc or something.

So, any thoughts?

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Friday!

I really should have cleaned out the closets and under the bed and such before there was a big ole' baby in the way. But I was working then and didn't have nearly as much "free" time. One great thing about this apartment is that we have a couple of good sized closets that helps with storage...however, does one ever really have enough closet space? My favorite find today was a Yoda head with a couple of hockey pucks in it...logically stored in the tool box in the entrance closet. Someday Nicholas will have a man-cave where he can display all of his wonderful things for all to see :)

Today was my first day of "retirement" on the jogging parents left early this morning and thus I am short one running partner. I decided this would be the most convenient time to retire from jogging for a couple of months, until I have had our big baby boy and recovered enough to hit the pavement again. I toiled with the idea of not going at all fact I watched all of Good Morning America and ate a cupcake just because. I thought about maybe just walking instead, but I ended up jogging anyway. I only went three miles, instead of the usual five, and stopped mostly because I was hot- I had definitely overdressed for the sunny weather we enjoyed today. I felt better as soon as I had gone...and really great when I was I guess there really is no end to my exercising in sight. Obviously my body was tired though because Koshka and I had a snooze together after my shower- I am finding myself waking up many more times than I plan to in a day!

I wish someone would come over and appreciate the cleanliness that is our front closet. I think I should get a prize for finding a way to make all our weird stuff fit (with hopefully enough room for the stroller that is currently being stored at my parents' home...along with a whole bunch of other stuff I don't even want to think about!) The linen closet still needs some work, but I have cleared off an entire shelf that can be devoted to baby V.

The only other interesting thing that happened today was that Koshka found a ladybug at the window- hiding in between our double panes. I am not sure how it got in, but I opened the first pane so she could play with it...and I do believe I saw her eat it after awhile. So all in all, it has been a grand day for us at home! Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hey Big Haircut

(2 points for you if you know what the title is referencing!)

So last week I went to get a haircut. I was just planning on a good trim to keep it was time for one and I wanted to make sure I got it done before the holidays and then the baby arrives. When I sat down in the chair the girl asked what we were doing today and I told her my plan of a good, healthy trim. She said that on my account it said that last time we added in some long layers and asked if I wanted to trim and keep them.

"Long layers?" I thought. I don't remember having layers in my hair...but then again I am forgetting more and more things these days so I figured I had just forgotten and agreed. She started cutting and it was definitely a bit more than I would call a trim...but who knows when the next time I would get in for a haircut would be and so I let it go. I mean, after all, once they start cutting what can you do really anyway?

Then she started adding in the layers. Whoa...there was a lot of hair falling. I am fairly positive that I did not have long layers before- that note must have been from awhile ago or something. But again, what do you do when half of your hair is already cut?

The verdict- I am not a fan. I thought I would give it a few days...after all I have to figure out how I need to tweak my morning routine now and that could take a few days to perfect. But I have tried it a few ways and none of them make me love my hair yet. It seems really short and least compared to what it was before. My ponytail seems so short and it is hard to pull it up to run in the mornings like I used to. Nuts.

Oh grows.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why do I want to be nomadic?

This is a question I found myself asking multiple times this week. I have been trying to get ready for our giant of a baby- clearing out space, bringing baby things in, taking lots of stuff to my mom's to store, etc. All the while I was trying to put up a few Christmas decorations as well as shop for Christmas presents. Often I would get frustrated..."Why do we have so much stuff?" I would ask myself. That would lead to me going through things again, trying to figure out how to get rid of anything so it seemed like we didn't live in a land of clutter. You may call this "nesting" or just the "Christensen gene", but the fact remained that I have been bothered by having so much stuff.

Part of the problem is that we need all of that stuff...we use a lot of it fairly regularly or definitely want to keep it for the I am not sure what I can get rid of to make more space. Maybe I just need more space! Obviously we need more space since we are adding to our family, but we are in our current lease for a few more we aren't sure where grad school will take us in the next year.

Then I got thinking- why does it bother me that we have so much stuff? Isn't that what people dream of? Isn't that what people work for? To get stuff? Then why is it that I feel like we have too much? I didn't always feel that way...for a long time I loved to shop for anything but now even the smallest thing seems more of an inconvenience. I have had an extremely difficult time this year making a Christmas wish list because I don't want anything! And at the same time, of course I want lots of things. But Christmas shopping has not been as joyful as it usually is this year and it is not just because my feel get tired quicker and I have to find a bathroom every three stores.

For so long I was used to moving every semester and making sure that all I owned could fit into and on top of my car; why do I still want to be able to be a nomad? Why am I still in that college state of mind? We are adults now and we own furniture and lots of other things and it is never going to fit in our cars. Face it- when I move, I will need a Uhaul. So what? That is okay, right? But for some reason it bugs me.

So our poor baby doesn't have much of a chance...already I am thinking "oh he can do without that" to many things lots of people would view as a necessity. And maybe, just maybe, he will get some things that I wouldn't normally buy because we will get them from others or on craigslist or something but it won't be because I go and get them for him. (Don't get me started on how painful it is to spend money...dang frugalness!)

Anywho, that is all of my ranting for now because Nick just got home from the dentist. There wasn't a point to this post other than I just needed a place to complain for a minute, so if you made it all the way through to the end, congrats to you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big Baby!

We had an ultrasound this morning; everything is fine :) Baby V is measuring a whole 2 weeks ahead of schedule, putting us due more around January 15th...which was our initial due date before they did the first ultrasound and moved it to February 1st. We have another one in 4 weeks to see if he really is a giant or what.

(The umbilical cord was in front of his face the whole time so we couldn't get a clear shot, but I still think the ones we got are pretty amazing!)

More pictures from today's ultrasound to come!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peppermint Product Review...Ho Ho Ho

I have found two fabulous peppermint products already this season.

First, we all know and love these CANDY CANE KISSES, right? Just reminding you...they are yummy.

Second, SUAVE PEPPERMINT BLISS body wash is almost as yummy. As if I did not love the shower enough! The best part is that it was only like $2...take that Bath & Body Works! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dinner #7 - Hodge Podge

We had random findings for dinner last night...we both had a salad, I had a bagel, and Nick had leftover pot pie from the night before. It was Saturday and neither of us felt like a big planned meal was necessary. (Not to mention we went over to a friend's house and snacked on pizza and chips & salsa and all sorts of things we shouldn't have late at night.)

So there you go- I did it. And it was nice to have a plan and know what our meals were going to be ahead of time, however I don't think that either of us really care for me to cook every day...I don't think either of us crave big "meals" every day. At least I don't- I get burnt out and just want Cheerios. So I think in the future I will be planning a few more days during the week to eat leftovers or find whatever in the fridge, but hopefully the planning of meals will continue for us :)

Did anyone try any of the recipes we had this week?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dinner #6 - Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of my favorites...yummy and super simple. :)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pkg frozen vegetables (original recipe calls for a 9 oz pkg but I often use the 16 oz pkg of carrots, peas, green beans, etc. because I like mine heavy on the veggies)
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed (I have also used just a can of chicken when I am lazy or any leftover meat from that week I am trying to get rid of)

1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup bisquick baking mix

Mix the first three ingredients in a pie dish; Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour on top. Bake at 400* for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!

I told you it was simple...and such a great way to get your veggies in (a lot of times I don't even use chicken!) It is a perfect quick meal for those cool winter days!

Only one more night to go to "prepare" dinner and then I am off the it will be Thanksgiving and we will want to not eat so well so we can pack it in on Thursday, right? :) It really hasn't been that bad to make dinner every night this week; it took a little bit of prep time in the beginning to figure out what I was going to make and make sure I had all the ingredients, but it has been totally worth it to not wonder every afternoon what we are going to do for dinner. Plus the leftovers have ensured that I have had good lunches this week! This has been a good experiment for us!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dinner #5 - Find your own!

I had a dinner planned for tonight - homemade chicken & veggie pot pie - however Nick has a late meeting tonight and I just really wanted Cheerios.
So I will be having some Honey Nut Cheerios and canned peaches for dinner this evening and I will find something for Nicholas when he gets home...maybe leftover 15 Bean Soup and a quesadilla or something. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dinner #4 - Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

I know I should take pictures- I like blogs that have pictures. I did try...the first day. And then I forgot to upload them when I actually blogged so I gave up on the rest of the meals...sorry.

Tonight's dinner was yummy (disclaimer: I really, really love pasta). I was generous on the pasta and broccoli...rarely do I follow a recipe exactly...and it could have used more sauce, but I just sprinkled some parmesan dust on it and called it good anyway. Lesson learned; next time either follow the proportions given or be generous in the sauce too. :)

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

1 1/2 c uncooked multi-grain/whole grain rotini pasta
1 small bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 3 cups...I just used a frozen package)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 c fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 oz cream/neufchatel cheese, cubed
1 c mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 375*. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding broccoli for the last 3 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Add cream cheese; cook 1 minute until it is melted. Stir in 1/2 c mozzarella cheese.
3. Drain pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture; mix. Spoon into 8x8 baking dish and cover.
4. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses (1/2 c mozzarella and 2 Tbsp parmesan) and bake 3 minutes uncovered to melt cheese.
5. Make sure all of your burners and oven is turned off and then ENJOY! :)

(Just a side note: Nick's favorite so far has been the I guess if you are only going to make one of our recipes, that would be a good one to start with.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dinner #3 - Pizza & Salad

Day three and I already feel like I have been cooking so much...I needed a break already! So tonight we are just having pizza and salad. I got these pre-made crusts at Costco last week and we are going to try one tonight- I will have to tell you if it is delicious or if I should have made my own crust like I normally do.

I got a fresh pineapple and cut it up today...I can not stop myself from snitching a piece or two every time I open the fridge- it is so good! Fresh pineapple will definitely be on the pizza tonight :) A green salad and tomato sauce will ensure that we get our veggie serving, the cheese on the pizza can count as our dairy, and I think I have some pepperoni and ham lying around for protein. I know it isn't the most nutritious meal, but it is what it is and I am preparing it!

What did you have for dinner tonight?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dinner #2 - 15 Bean Soup

I had a 1 lb 15 bean mix that I got at the farmers market awhile back in our "food storage" and decided that this chilly day would be great to use it. I have lots of cookbooks, but ultimately just ended up googling "15 bean soup recipe" and ended up using this one comments are in green.

(1 lb) bag of 15 bean soup mix
1 large red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-30 ounce) can chopped tomatoes
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 c chopped ham or a 1 lb ham hock with hambones
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 tsp dill
1 tsp pepper
2 tbs olive oil
4 c chicken stock

5 cups water

Before you do any cooking you want to make sure that you have soaked your beans. (I soaked mine overnight in lots of water - they expand like crazy - and then drained the water off of them and put new water on to boil them...supposedly this helps with the gas factor of beans.)

Now, If you want you can add things to this soup like carrots or potatoes to make your own mixed bean soup. (I did end up chopping some carrots and adding them into the mix in step #6 because it just seemed like the kind of soup that should have carrots.)
1. Put the beans in a large pot and add 4 cups of water. Simmer on medium high heat for 45 minutes. Stir Occasionally. Skim the top with a spoon to remove the foam once in awhile. If at anytime the water gets too low add another cup of water.

2. Put 1 cup of water and 4 cups of broth in another large pot or stock pot, add 2 cups chopped ham or a 1 lb ham hock that has the bone ( if you don't have any ham you can use a pound of bacon for your soup ) and simmer on medium high heat for 30 minutes. (I used bacon because there is a long story about finding the ham at the grocery store...I just used 1/2 lb of bacon though.)

3. In a large frying pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat it up on medium heat.

4. While the oil is heating up put 2 celery stalks, 1 red onion, 1/4 cup fresh parsley and 3 garlic cloves in a food processor and chop them up. Don't Puree it! (I just chopped them up with my knife...minus the fresh parsley that I forgot to get at the store.)

5. Then add the mix to the frying pan and add 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dill, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme and fry it up for 4 minutes. Stirring Occasionally. (I didn't measure the pepper or thyme and nixed the dill completely because it did not come in my spice rack...)

6. Now add the contents of the frying pan and the can of tomatoes to the pot with the ham and broth in it, stir it well and continue simmering. (My can of tomatoes was a big one...28 oz I believe.)

7. After simmering the ham and broth for 30 minutes pour it into the pot with the beans. If your using a ham hock remove the ham hock and pick the pieces of ham off that you want to add to the soup discarding the fatty pieces , add what you want to keep into the beans and then add the broth to the beans and simmer for 30 minutes.

Voila, it's finished. Now eat a bowl full or 2 and enjoy your new 15 bean soup recipe. (You will definitely want to enjoy more than one bowl full of this was pretty yummy and this recipe makes A LOT of soup. I think tomorrow I will take some to a friend or something because we have a lot and I am still planning on cooking another meal...but it will be great for lunch!)

All in all I think we liked the soup- like I said, it kind of felt like a soup day and I didn't even mind that I had soup for lunch as well! My parents came over to test it and they seemed to like it as well. It was a nice and hearty meal and we definitely didn't feel guilty about having seconds!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dinner #1 - Crock Pot Lasagna

I got this recipe from a Kraft Food & Family magazine awhile back. Since then I have made it a few times, but tonight was my favorite because I didn't really follow the recipe exactly. Below is the recipe as it was in the magazine:

Brown ground beef (1 lb) in large skillet; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce (1 jar/26 oz) and water (1 c).

In separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese (1 container/15 oz), shredded mozzarella (1 1/2 c), grated parmesan cheese (2 Tbsp), one egg, and fresh chopped parsley (2 Tbsp).

Spoon 1 cup of the meat sauce into your crock pot; top with layers of noodles (about 6 total in the whole recipe...not cooked...broken to fit); top with half of cheese mixture. Cover with 2 cups of the meat sauce, more noodles/noodle pieces, and remaining cheese mixture. Pour leftover meat sauce on top.

Cover with lid and cook for 4-6 hours on low, or until liquid is absorbed.

So that was the basic recipe- however I decided to make it today and did not have ricotta cheese on hand. No big deal...I don't really like cheese a ton anyway! I made my meat sauce as it says above, however the "cheese" mixture was this: about 1/2 a bag of shredded mozzarella, a little shredded parmesan cheese, sprinkle of dried parsley, a small can of sliced olives, 1/2 a package of frozen spinach (thawed of course), a few slices of pepperoni I chopped up, and an egg.

I never measure how many noodles I put in...the original recipe says 6 but I think it depends on the size of your crock pot i.e. how many noodles it takes to make a layer so you can't really see the layer underneath...that is what I go by! (Plus I like it heavy on the noodles as that is my favorite part of lasagna!)

Then I layered as stated above and topped with a handful of shredded mozzarella, let it cook 4 hours on low, and voila! It was definitely my favorite because it didn't seem overly cheesy. And aside from getting a pan dirty to brown the beef and a bowl dirty to make the cheese mixture, it was so easy to prepare and clean up.

We had my parents over for dinner tonight and we all loved it- we had bread and a green salad and orange jello with mandarin oranges too. It was a very yummy and easy meal- I love that I don't have to cook the noodles before hand!

Try it out! :)

Dinner for a week

I have decided that this week I am going to focus on dinner; most of the time some sort of plan is made regarding this meal, however this week I am really going to focus on making it better. Nick and I have only been able to eat dinner together a night or two during the work week for two years- now I am done with work and can spend a bit more time preparing for this special and not-so-rare-anymore occasion. Plus with my trip to the doctor last week I have decided that, while I might not completely overhaul my diet, there is definite room for improvement in my eating habits and planning in advance and being accountable would be helpful for me.

Thus, I declare that I will make "dinner for a week", meaning that I am going to plan and prepare a meal for us each night this week. I won't guarantee that they will be completely healthy or protein-rich, carb-free, low-fat, or anything like that...but they will be a meal. A meal...not just one item, but a variety of cohesive foods that *hopefully* include all food groups.

Now I know none of you really care what we eat each night, but I will be reporting my menu and recipe each day here on my blog because it will help me to actually follow through with my plan and mostly because this is my blog and I can if I want to! Plus maybe, just maybe, it will give someone out there an idea for dinner someday. :)

Check back tonight for DAY ONE's report on Crock Pot Lasagna!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's that time of year..., not when the world falls in love but when people get sick- I am no exception. I had my first flu shot this year so hopefully nothing too serious will come my way, but I woke up with a scratchy sore throat and only breathing out of one nostril. Nuts. I guess it is my turn; I predict a lot of crafting time and water in my future.

On another note- I tried to rearrange our living room furniture today with the hopes of making room for a rocking chair/glider/recliner/etc. Not that we have one of said chairs yet, but I am hopeful that we will be bringing one home soon and I want to be prepared.

I had envisioned everything perfectly in my head, however it didn't go quite as smoothly as planned. Once I got things where I thought they should go I wasn't so sure that it was the best arrangement afterall...and it definitely did not open up a spot for a new chair. I tried a bunch of other configurations, however in the end I moved it back to the original way I had intended it...I was just too tired to keep trying. Like I said, there isn't a clear spot for a chair now like I had hoped and I am not sure things fit as well as they did before...the room doesn't seem as big as it used to...but the bunny ears work well in the new spot and I can now see the tv from the kitchen which means I could sit at the table and craft instead of spreading out on the floor, thereby tempting Koshka to come "help". It will have to do for now! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do these pants make me look big?

Apparently, yes. I went to the doctor today and did not get great news. DON'T WORRY!!! The baby is fine...his heart rate is steady and we have a routine ultrasound in 2 weeks. But back to me- the doctor is a bit concerned with my weight gain. I joked with her that I was too...nobody really likes to gain a bunch of weight even if it is for a good reason, right?

Basically she said that she was hoping my weight gain would taper off or plateau a bit by this point, but I keep adding a couple of pounds each visit. Currently I am still in the healthy range of weight gain for a pregnancy, however I am only in the first week of my 3rd trimester...which means there is definitely more weight in my future. Nuts.

She recommended I follow a diabetic diet- not "diet" like limiting food intake for weight loss but "diet" like a particular selection of foods. The foods are basically more protein and veggies, fewer carbs and fruits. But I love fruit!!! I eat a can of peaches almost every day...I can't get enough. And a good ole' starchy potato or pasta is always what I fall back on when nothing else sounds good or I am too tired to think of something else to make. It isn't that I hate meat, it is just harder to snack on and such.

My belly keeps measuring right on, so it isn't like I am way too huge I guess...just really heavy. But I am still running 3 mornings a week and walking the other days- I thought that might help a little, but I guess not. I am just frustrated because I thought this was going to be the one time in life when I wouldn't worry too much about my weight and now it seems like it is more the focus than before I was pregnant. And lets not forget that the holidays are coming up- egg nog, pumpkin pie, and peppermint ice cream...oh my!

So I don't know what to do. I don't want to completely ignore my doctor's recommendations, however if my weight isn't affecting the baby and it is just that it is more to loose later, then let me worry about that when that time comes. But it is also silly and selfish of me to continue eating what I want if there is something that is really better for the baby.

Anywho, I haven't come to any conclusions yet...I have just kinda had a bad day and needed to vent about it. My hair was having some major flyaways this morning and I just started breaking out and I didn't feel that fabulous anyway...and then I get told I am a chunk at 9am...not the best way to start out a day! (By the way: I tried to treat myself with a little retail therapy...some new black flats and some tights...because when I wore my regular ones last week and bent over I got a run in the buttocks region. Hmmm...maybe my doctor is right!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day One

Day One of full-time stay-at-home-hood:

Got out of bed about 7am. Made Nicholas a lunch and got my running clothes on after a weather report from my mom. Ran 5 miles with my mom- it was hard today. I got a Diet Dr. Pepper with vanilla from Sonic on the way home :)

Showered, had breakfast, took a nap while "watching" The View.

Got dressed, sent an email out for work (and messed around on the computer a bunch), went to Kroger.

TANGET ON KROGER: I have always preferred Kroger to Randalls, but with our nice HEB so close I hardly go anywhere else...unless I have to go to Walmart for something non-edible. The last few weeks though I have been visiting Kroger because they seem to have such great deals on their ads...and it has really been working for us! Maybe I am just buying the right things or something, but I usually save about as much as I spend. Now I am not one of those people who have figured out how to work the system enough to get the grocery stores to pay me to shop or use coupons like mad or anything, but I have been impressed with Kroger's ability to help me save lately. So for now I am a fan of Kroger.

Carried the groceries up our 3 flights of stairs, stirred up homemade bread and left to rise while I put away the groceries, folded laundry. Had lunch while watching "Lets Make A Deal".

Wrote some "thank yous" for baby gifts we have received lately, read up on insurance plans so I can be informed when Nick and I discus switching plans tonight before open enrollment ends next week, vacuumed up all the liter on the tile.

Now I am going to get the bread in the pans so it can raise another hour...then it is into the oven to bake- yum! Although it isn't really cold like it was last week, thus making homemade bread seem not quite as appropriate, the bread already smells amazing and I am looking forward to having toast for breakfast this week.

And the day isn't over yet! (Plus I didn't even list out all the little things I did like make appointments to register at the hospital and clean out the kitchen cupboards!) In the plans for tonight: eating bread and consequently vacuuming up a lot of crumbs, watching DWTS in real time, discussing high PPOs vs. low PPOs with Nick, and more!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What good has come to the world today from me? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! I have not gotten one thing "done". My body has been a mere shell for our baby to grow in today because I haven't really done anything...and it has felt wonderful. :) My body is tired and it needed some time to gain strength for tonight- my last night of teaching at the studio!

It has been lovely to live life in my sweats today, but it is now time for me to get ready and be useful- which honestly, even though I know my feet will be tired and probably achey by the end of the night, I am looking forward to...nobody likes to feel like a complete bump on a log! :)

Wish me luck on my last night! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I can taste it!

Two more days. That is it!!! It is so close I can almost taste it!

Now it isn't that my job was the worst thing ever, but I am just getting so excited thinking about all the things I am going to do when I don't have to go in and teach. Of course I will get to spend more time with Nick since I will actually be around in the evenings, but I will also get to do lots of other stuff during the day too. It is hard to get started on projects and such sometimes when I know that I have to go in to work at 5pm- and there were definitely days I just wanted to wear a hat, but couldn't because I knew I would have to re-get ready at like 4pm...which just makes your day feel weird. Plus my mind is always on the studio- how I should have handled something better or how I am going to teach something or on the latest drama (ballroom dancers have lots of drama!). Anywho, I only have two more nights of teaching - and teaching I will be...I am booked solid until 10pm both nights! But here is a small sample of the list of things I am looking forward to doing next week when I am completely free*!!!!

-bake homemade bread
-fix the lights above my kitchen cabinets (half went out a week or so ago and I just haven't gotten up there to fix them yet)
-work on Christmas projects that I want to have done by Thanksgiving
-make more "Thank you" cards
-buy bingo gifts for the annual Thorpe family bingo game
-get Koshka a rabies shot
-actually make dinner every night of the week
-work on a blanket I started crocheting for Nicholas months ago
-get plenty of rest so I can wake up early next Saturday morning for Coles Crossing's huge garage sale and find good baby things :)
-perhaps even get a massage...since I haven't used the gift certificate Nick gave me for Valentine's!

*Disclaimer* I am still going to be working on the paper from home, so it isn't like I won't have any work to do at all. Still though, that work is from home and so flexible usually and really only consumes one week each month and so I am definitely going to be more free than I am currently. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day!

Please go vote today. If you don't vote, you have to at least promise that you will never complain about the government since you forfeited your right to participate in it.

Take a few minutes and research the candidates and propositions in your area and then please GO VOTE!!! It is a terrible product of modernity that we are so apathetic as Americans...don't even get me started on my favorite subject to ramble about- modernity. Just go vote...and if it could be done with just the slightest clue of what you are voting for, that would be even better :)


Friday, October 29, 2010

One Week More

So next week is my last week to work at the studio- that means I have officially been working there 2 years!

Every 6 months we have this big festival- themed parties with lots of decorations and food and costumes and games and, of course, dancing; it goes on for 6 weeks, each week a different theme (that coordinates into an overall theme, naturally). Our festival starts on Monday and we are traveling through time to various periods in history.

Well, my boss thought it would be a great idea for me to throw the first party (i.e. be in charge of all decor and food and such) which could double as my farewell. No problem...I was in charge of the Asian themed party last festival and the Horror themed party the festival before that. This time my theme is Ancient Greece/Rome/Golden Age...think togas.

So today I have been cutting out 7 ft columns out of a big roll of paper, because quite frankly the budget only allows for a couple "real" 4 ft columns and I did not think that would transform the studio nearly enough. And I have been cutting out big, greek-looking letters to spell our name on the wall. And I have been working on our menu...pitas, grapes, feta cheese, olives, baklava (if I can find it), dates (but who would eat them?), etc. Anywho, so when I get it all pulled together I will post pictures- but just know that this is the main reason why I haven't been blogging that much this week.

I am excited to be done with work- I will miss dancing and interacting with the students and the income of course, however I am excited to be at home in the evenings with Nicholas. Plus this ole' gray mare ain't what she used to be! :) My body is getting a bit achey after dancing into the wee hours of the night and so I will be happy to just take it a bit easier for these last few months...and by easy I mean just jogging 5 miles in the mornings! I have been pretty lucky to feel great so far and keep up a lot of my regular activities, like running. Those extra twenty pounds are starting to weigh on me now though and I am ready to slow down just a bit; I am grateful that I have the opportunity to! :)

(On a side note: baby V is doing just great...moving a bunch now, even though it isn't super consistent yet. His heart rate is always around 140 beats/minute, which they tell me is good. I passed the gestational diabetes test and have maintained great blood pressure. It is no secret that I am expecting- my belly is definitely showing off now, but it at least makes getting dressed a bit easier since I can really wear maternity clothes. I am seeing the doctor every 2 weeks now and we have another ultrasound scheduled in a few weeks; we still don't have a name picked out and welcome any suggestions...)

Monday, October 25, 2010


Here is the deal- Nicholas and I are starting to buy things for the baby. More than just cute clothes and such...real gear. And the more I look at things, the more confused I get. What is really necessary? Which of these items or features are just frivolous?

So I am following Nick's advice and asking people who would know- you! What are items or features about items that you wouldn't live without? What are things that you wouldn't waste money on if you could do it again? Any recommendations on things to make sure we have or things to stay away from? We want to hear your thoughts and opinions on all things baby!

Lets hear it!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Caramel Corn

What a great treat to ring in the autumn holiday season! And since I have to bring a treat to an activity tonight, I decided to make some this afternoon. I realized while making this delicous treat that not everyone knows the secret to great caramel corn; thus I am going to share the recipe with you :) Actually it is my mom's recipe...

The Great Jeanene's Microwave Caramel Corn

4 qts popped popcorn
1/2 c margarine
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c white corn syrup
1/4 -1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

In a glass bowl, combine margarine, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir; cook 2 minutes more. Stir; add soda and vanilla. Stir until foamy. Put the popped popcorn into a large brown paper you get at the grocery store. Pour the caramel over the popcorn in the bag. Fold the top of the bag down a few times and shake well. Put the bag, fold side down, in the microwave and cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Shake well; cook 1 1/2 minutes more. Shake well; cook 30 seconds more. Spread on cookie sheets to cool- then enjoy!

This recipe is so simple and makes clean up a breeze....try it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Where were we two years ago today?

Oh yes, that's right.

Happy Anniversary Nicholas!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two years ago today...
...we were setting up in the Provo library...
...and having a celebration...
...for our wedding :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I wanted to blog today...

...but I have been busy.

Busy taking a nap and watching this.
Busy cleaning the house and doing this.
Busy being an online shopper and buying this.
And busy creating this for work...if you are in the Houston area on November 13th, you should come check it out!
Maybe tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Product Review: Wallflowers & Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin

I love my Wallflowers from Bath & Body Works...I actually have two in my tiny apartment because I love them so much. One looks like the picture above and the other is black and looks more like a flower. For anyone that is unfamiliar with Wallflowers, let me fill you in: they are these amazing things that you plug into a regular outlet and then they make your home smell great.

They always seem to have the right amount of scent...nothing that knocks you over, but it definitely smells pleasant. We keep one right above the litter box :) The bulbs are replaceable and so you can change the scent as often as you like...just remember that for some odd reason these bulbs are lefty-tighty and righty-loosey which doesn't sound like something worth mentioning until you are trying to unscrew one of the bulbs and realize that you have just in fact been tightening it instead of loosening it!
I am also crazy about this scent, also from Bath & Body Works- Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin. Mostly I am in love with it because it is the scent of the bulbs in my Wallflowers right now, but I love it in any form...we currently have it as our hand soap as well.

This scent is perfect for fall- each time I catch a whiff of it I can't help but smile and be in a good mood that we are entering my favorite season. It isn't too girly either which is perfect since Nick uses the hand soap too! (He is not a fan of when I have Twilight Woods or some other girly fragrance for our hand soap so I try to keep it least in the bathroom.)

Anywho, if you are looking for a great and easy option to make your home smell like autumn, grab a Wallflower with a Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin bulb at Bath & Body Works today! (Well, not today actually...they are regularly about $12 but they go on sale all the time. I rarely pay more than $5/$6 for mine. This week they are only 2 for $20 so wait a few days for a better deal!)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Public Restrooms

I just want to publicly say how grateful I am for public restrooms. If you haven't noticed, they are available more places than not in America. I know this is not the case in all countries. Plus there are only a few (at least around my parts...I know it is a bit different in some big cities) that actually require you to be a customer to use the restroom.

Now I know they aren't always so clean or smell so great, but next time you are using one think about what you would be doing if they weren't available!

(And doesn't that makes places with really nice public restrooms even more amazing??? That they go through all that trouble when they really don't have to? Gotta love 'em!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Working like a dog

I feel so badly. Yes, badly. Not bad. It is an adverb- describing how I do something, in this case how I feel. Not that I am completely guiltless, but I hate that we always forget our -ly endings on adverbs. Anywho, now that you will be paranoid to speak around me, I will proceed.

I feel so badly for Nicholas. He works all the time. ALL the time. It is not unusual for him to go to work in the morning and not return until 7pm...these are regular days. Good days are days I get to see him during the 6pm hour...they are not so common.

However, this last week has been quarter end at work and he hasn't been coming home until 9pm or so. Now that sounds terrible, right? But if it only happened every once and awhile it wouldn't be that bad...we all have those days, right? Poor Nicholas has those days all the time and I feel terribly about it! Yes, terribly.

And even when he isn't actually at work, he is working! He is working on his lesson for his Sunday school class or studying for the GMAT or working on grad school applications or something. At the off chance he has a free moment it is quickly snatched up by our cat who loves him dearly and wants to play...and if he doesn't "play" (which is really just another word for work in this case) she bites him. Aye aye aye!

I don't know what to do to help. I went in to the office with him on Saturday and helped for a few hours, but he is still there tonight and it is 9:30pm. I try to make sure he doesn't have to worry about many household chores or any of his meals, but still I just don't feel like he ever really gets a break!

And then there is me...I get to sleep in, exercise at my leisure in the mornings, take long showers, run any errands I want, read, snack, even take naps...I am so spoiled! Instead of feeling glad that I have such an enjoyable life, I feel guilty that I am not more overwhelmed and busy...not to say that I don't have anything to do, but I just have so much more freedom with my time than he does. And my guilt only multiplies because I want him to spend his free time with me instead of doing other things that he may want to checking ESPN and such.

There isn't really a point to this post- just somewhere for me to whine and dream of the day when I could actually make Nick's life easier and more fun. Not that that day is going to come anytime soon...he is looking at going back to school for his MBA and will soon be supporting another hungry mouth to feed and naked back to clothe.

I think Nick needs a vacation...the only problem is that it is harder to be gone for a day or two and have work pile up for him. Maybe we could share his job and I could just fill in for him for a few days...accounting can't be that hard, could it?

On a lighter note, it has been absolutely gorgeous weather here the last couple of days and we have even started sleeping with the windows open...pure heaven! Well, at least until 4:45 am when the buses start rolling by...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jury Duty

Monday I had jury duty...real jury duty, not traffic court. Traffic court is not very far away and never very exciting. Real jury duty is downtown and has the potential of being very interesting. I always wish that I will get selected for jury duty and it happened this week!

I'm not sure what it is about jury duty that appeals to me so much...maybe it is being involved in American democracy, because it is a sociological gold mine, or maybe just because I love watching Law & Order, CSI, etc. Anywho, I was excited to go.

I rode the bus downtown, which was super simple since I basically live at the metro station. I had to walk a few blocks downtown, but then I found the right building. I had to be there at 8am and I walked into the big auditorium-type room at 8 on the dot. I found a seat and sat down. Of course I had brought snacks and a couple of different books, but mostly I just dozed in and out. And would you believe that just a row or two ahead of me was someone I knew? Out of all of the people in Houston...what are the odds? He is a student at the studio where I work.

At 11am, after I had eaten almost all of my snacks, visited the restroom a bunch, read chapters in both of my books, filed all of my nails, had mini naps, and had been sworn in, they finally called my number- 3212. I, along with 64 other people, headed to a different room to wait in the "red" area. Soon a bailiff came and gave us some directions and then marched us over to the criminal justice center.

There we went through metal detectors and then crammed into the elevators to go up to the 19th floor. We were headed to the 176th district court. In the hall we had to line up according to number, which proved to be more difficult than you would think. Once in order, we marched into the court room where the judge, district attorneys (prosecution for the state of Texas), defendant and his translator (he wore headphones the entire time because he didn't speak English), and defense attorneys were waiting.

The judge welcomed us and gave a few instructions and then told us that it was a murder case we were being selected for- yikes! Before we got into anything else, we broke for lunch. I ate at the cafeteria in the building and then headed back up to the courtroom. Once we were all back we proceeded with the judge giving us a few lessons on certain laws and what our responsibilities are. He also read the indictment- accusing the defendant of committing murder (on my wedding day no less!) Then the DAs got to ask us some questions...this took a long time. They went over all sorts of hypothetical situations and then would ask us what we would do or ask for people to raise their hands if they thought they couldn't do a certain thing. Then the defense got to take their turn doing the same things. Basically they wanted to make sure we could give this man- and the state of Texas- a fair trial without any bias.

It was funny to me that everyone was annoyed it was taking so long because it was only taking so long because everyone had to raise their hand and tell some experience they had and go on and on. I found the process interesting...they explained that in Texas you can have a guilty verdict based solely on circumstantial evidence and don't need to provide a motive, forensic evidence, or the murder weapon. They explained a bunch of things that I found fascinating...I was really hoping to get picked so I could hear more of the details!

However, at one point the district attorney asked everyone a question...he posed the question of "If you had to answer just one, what is your first thought/natural inkling when thinking about someone who has broken the law: punish or rehabilitate?" He went down the line and asked every single person for an answer; almost everyone was saying "punish". When he got to me, I had to say "rehabilitate"...not that I don't believe in punishment and not that I think every person for every crime should or could be rehabilitated, but my natural impulse was not punishment! Hello, does anyone remember that I wanted to go into prison reform in college? (For those of you who don't know that, I was passionate about it and still am...but the more I studied Deviance the more I realized I had no solution that could work for everyone and so I moved on to Modernity...don't get me started on Modernity!!!)

That sealed the deal- I knew I wasn't getting picked after that. We are in Texas after all! But it was the honest truth. Soon they selected the jury and I was left out :( They gave me an excuse letter for work, a pass for the bus home, and then sent me walking. Nuts. I walked a few blocks to the bus and then was on my way home...for about 10 minutes before going to the studio for the evening.

Anywho, I think I am probably glad I didn't get picked just so I didn't really have to determine someone's guilt or innocence. But it got me thinking about the justice system a lot this week...the whole process is sociologically fascinating with unusual human interactions happening all over the place and I couldn't help but try to analyze some of them. I would love to have the time to just sit and observe and study these interactions over and over to see the true patterns of social behavior.

I am glad I got to go this you can probably tell by the length of this post! But now I will leave you with a question: if you were faced with the question I was (punish or rehabilitate), what would you say and why?