Monthly Archives: January 2014
Sunny Sunshine Here We Come!
We FINALLY booked our trip!! We are headed to Playa Mujeres… a quick 30 minutes North of Cancun, Mexico. And literally, I could not be happier about it. We picked an absolutely beautiful resort (at least according to photographs and the millions of reviews that I read) that is bound to be amazing. I’ve never been to an all-inclusive or to Mexico, so I’m super excited.
We were a little nervous about being so close to Cancun during “Spring Break” time, but being that our resort is adults-only and pretty far from the Cancun Hotel Zone, I’m confident it will be the relaxing and peaceful paradise we’re hoping for.
I had originally been using Expedia to look for trips, but after feeling so overwhelmed and literally spending hours looking up trips in every warm destination across the world, we decided to call a travel agent. We did the same thing for our honeymoon and were a little disappointed with our travel agent experience then. She was super nice, but it seemed that she played the same role as Expedia, but a little slower. Plus, Expedia doesn’t get irritated with you for searching a ridiculous amount of resorts and locations.
Anyway, our experience with this travel agent was pretty similar. In fact, I ended up finding the resort, sending the agent the price I found and gave her an opportunity to match it/beat it. And, when she first sent her travel package to us, she had us flying from Chicago instead of Milwaukee. I ended up having to show her the exact flights / airline we wanted to be on so she could use them in her package. It cost us $100 less with her, but seemed pretty ridiculous. I think I deserve her commission, right?
Why isn’t there a website or a travel agent who you can provide specific criteria to (ie: warm temps, romantic/adults resort, snorkeling, great beach, etc) and they return the perfect trip to you? Does anyone have a good (and helpful) travel agent? Do they exist?
Whatever I guess, right? Either way, we’re headed to sunny fabulousness in about a month and a half and I couldn’t be more excited!!
My Anti-Stretch Mark Go-To’s
Since my sister brought me a “pregnancy kit” at 6 or so weeks, I have been religiously applying creams and oils to my growing belly, breasts, hips, and thighs. Sometimes even the tush gets a little lotion. Anyway, I’ve gone through quite a few brands and here’s what I’ve found to be my favorite…
Basq FRESH Resilient Body Oil (Eucalyptus): ($19.50 from Pea in the Pod or Amazon) This is the most essential item. While it’s an oil, it isn’t greasy at all. It goes on SO smoothly and doesn’t leave any residue on clothing. Also, it leaves my skin feeling soft and totally moisturized. Even better, it smells awesome. And, if you don’t like the eucalyptus scent, it also comes in lavender. I use this at least twice a day.
Basq Milk & Honey Stretch Mark Butter: ($15.00 from Destination Maternity) I’m not SO sold on this body butter. I don’t really have any complaints, but I’m not as die-hard about it as I am the body oil. I will say that between this and the Burt’s Mama Bee Belly Butter, I make sure to “lock in” the moisture from the oil by putting some form of belly butter on top 9 times out of 10. This cream is nice and thick and has a pretty neutral scent. It it definitely moisturizing and I will definitely use it until it’s done. I’m thinking I might try Pure Fiji Dilo Rescue Body Butter once I run out. It’s supposed to help with any stretch marks you may already have and help keep you nice and moisturized.
Mama Bee Belly Butter by Burt’s Bees: ($12.99 from Destination Maternity) I switch back and forth between the Milk & Honey Stretch Mark Butter and the Mama Bee Belly Butter. They are pretty similar products; although, I think the Stretch Mark Butter is a little thicker, which I like in this bitter cold and dry winter. This will likely be a nicer option when things warm up a bit. Like with the other “butter,” I’m not over-the-moon about this product, but I feel like it’s a good and inexpensive option.
Pure Fiji Coconut Sugar Scrub: ($41.40 from Skin Care Heaven or FREE from my Fiji trip) I am literally obsessed with anything made by Pure Fiji. Their body butter is unreal and this sugar scrub is awesome. I received it as a little welcome gift from one of our resorts and am in love with it. It leaves your skin feeling so soft. Anyway, a lady at Pea in the Pod recommended using a body scrub a few times a week on your belly/breasts/etc. She said to apply it in a circular motion going one direction (ie: right to left) and then after your shower, to apply your body oil in a circular motion going the other direction (ie: left to right). I try to do this as often as I remember and really enjoy the results. Note: I believe any scrub will do… I just love this one.
I’m feeling full of love and just plain old excited. I can’t wait to find out the sex and get to start registering and designing the nursery. I’m struggling with ideas and color-schemes, so I’m hoping once we know, I’ll be able to make some decisions. Otherwise, still craving sweets like a fiend. And of course, I got a box of girl scout cookies delivered to my desk today. Oy, lemonades… why must you taste so delicious? Three cookies later, I for sure need to get my behind to the gym tonight.
It’s Literally -22 Degrees F
Seriously, Wisconsin? This is bonkers. I can’t even comprehend this craziness. Last year the coldest day of the year was -5 and truly, it was a relatively warm winter with minimal snow fall. This is just unreal. The public schools have now had three “cold days”… ie: temperatures are so severe and dangerous, all are warned to stay inside. Sounds lovely, huh?
Anyway, this crazy weather has increased the already urgent desire to get our dang one-year anniversary/babymoon vacation planned. The vastness of the Internet seems to act as a total inhibitor when it comes to vacation planning. I end up OBSESSING over every review and feel severely overwhelmed and incapable of making a decision. BUT, I’m hoping that we will finally get something solidified this week. That would be such a relief.
I just want to sit in the warm weather with my hubs, sipping a non-alcoholic cocktail, enjoying the sunshine, loving life and celebrating the best year of my life. Ahhh. I almost feel more relaxed just thinking about it.
Speaking of my hubs, I can’t believe that in March, it will have already been a year since our wedding. Time really does fly when you’re having a great time. And, on top of getting to celebrate on vacation, we get to enjoy when we get back… because as part of our “cake package,” we negotiated in an anniversary cake. So, 14 servings of this tasty treat are coming our way…
And just for fun… some wedding memories…
Nothing new to report! I ate like crap today and am feeling pretty crappy in response. Urgh. I’ll be better tomorrow! Oh! And did I mention it’s freezing?
Recipe Update From Last Week
Today’s blog is a little update on all of the recipes I made last week and my progress. I can’t lie. I did a LOT of cheating last week. The lack of sugar in my meal plan left me craving pretty hard. And, who can say no to a pregnant woman? Especially a said pregnant woman herself.
Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs – I used lean ground turkey instead of beef, but otherwise followed this recipe… and they were SO delicious! Mmm. I used Muir Glen Organic Tomato and Roasted Garlic Sauce. The sauce wasn’t my favorite, but it was pretty good!
Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal – I’m not going to lie, this looked a little funny and I was a little skeptical, but it was SO delicious. I really enjoyed it. I ended up only using 1/2 the milk the recipe called for and replaced the remaining half with Low Fat Kefir.
Meatball Pita Sandwich (Using leftover meatballs and sauce from Monday’s dinner, all in a wholewheat pita!) – We didn’t have a ton of leftover sauce, so I found this a little dry. I’m sure I could have done something to make it better (ie: more sauce, etc. Next time…)
Slow Cooker Chicken Korma, Brown Rice (We are headed to Mark’s Grandpa’s for dinner, so I’ll bring this easy, make-ahead meal) – Both Pop and Mark really enjoyed this. It had a bit of a kick to it, so beware, but we all enjoyed. Very easy to make and tasty.
Quinoa Edamame Salad – This was SO delicious. It tasted fresh and just delicious. And, the best part is that it was super simple to put together. This was one of my favorite meals of the week.
Slow Cooker Tofu & Chickpea Curry, Brown Rice – This was my favorite recipe. I used tofu, but I think it would be great with chicken! Mmm. I might even make this again this week. Delish!
Kale Chips (with very little salt) – I messed these up. They were delicious right out of the oven, but I stupidly put them in a tupperware overnight when they were a little warm still. Needless to say, they were soggy and chewy the next day. Yuck.
Make-Ahead Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie – This recipe was good, but I’m just not a smoothie kind of gal. I like to eat my breakfast. I probably won’t make this one again.
Tempeh, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich – My grocery store didn’t have tempeh, so we ate leftovers instead. I’ll make this eventually!
I think that’s about all I have for updates!
I did not sleep well last night and have been pretty tired lately. But other than that, just enjoying feeling my sweet baby move around. And, feeling pretty impatient… I just can’t wait to find out the sex!!
18 Weeks (January 24, 2014)
Look at Me, I’m the King of New York…
As a child, I enjoyed four movies…
- A League of Their Own,
- Drop Dead Fred,
- Teen Witch, and
My brother and sister can vouch for me. These are pretty much the only movies I watched and the ones I constantly demanded on our trips to Blockbuster. So, you can imagine the overwhelming excitement that came over me when I found out that my favorite dancing boys were making their way to the Broadway stage. From the moment it was announced, I’ve been obsessing over the idea of hopping on a plane for the weekend and seeing the best musical ever.
So, with Valentine’s Day looming and our baby on the way (and our freedom to jump on a plane for the weekend on the way out), it felt like the perfect time to “jet off” and see my favorite movie-turned-broadway- production with my favorite guy in such a fun city! So that’s what we’re going to do! Now, before you think we’re totally crazy and impulsive, it must be mentioned that Mark’s sister and her fam live on Long Island, so we do try and make it to NY once a year. And actually, this will be our second Valentine’s Day celebration in the big city.
We’ll arrive in NY at around 9 am on Valentine’s Day, play around in the city all day, eat a delicious dinner at either Scarletto or Osteria Al Doge and then see NEWSIES!!! Could Valentine’s Day be any sweeter? Then, on the 15th, we’ll head to Long Island to see Mark’s sister, her husband and their two sweet little gals! I think we’re going to go see the Harlem Globetrotters. And honestly, I just had to ask my friend at work whether they were part of the NBA or not. I really don’t know what the Globetrotters are, but I’m totally down to find out. Also, for those of you who don’t know, the Globetrotters are NOT a part of the NBA 🙂
Anyway, we’re barely any closer to planning our “babymoon” / one year anniversary trip, but I figure the best thing to do when you’re having a hard time deciding on a trip is to add another one into the mix. That’s a famous saying, right?
Now’s the time before this baby pops out and our whole world changes.
I am literally still the same level of sick that I’ve been since last Friday. I guess it could be worse since I’m only really affected at night and in the morning, but still. It’s annoying. Other than that, I’ve noticed that I tend to feel the sweet little nugget dancing in the afternoons now. It definitely spices up my work day. Other than that, a lot of the same. My “clean eating” has been plagued with cravings. Yesterday I cheated and ate an overly processed Kelloggs Rice Krispy Treat. Who can resist? I shouldn’t pretend I was tempted. I sought it out. Found my $0.75, went to the vending machine, and scarfed it down. To avoid that same pattern, today I stopped at Starbucks after lunch to get a decaf skim cappuccino with one pump of sugar-free vanilla. It killed the craving, but doesn’t really fit into my whole food plan. Oh well. We do what we can, right?
Are You Having a Girl?
Today I went to the chiropractor to battle some of my pregnancy aches and pains. I used to have back issues in high school, and literally have not been there since. My last appointment before today was in 2010.
Anyway, my doctor was chipper and sweet as ever and was just so much fun to catch up with. Before I jumped on the table, she said, “do you mind?” as she put her hand on my belly. She pulled her hand away quickly and said, “Oooo! Are you having a girl?”
I lit up a bit and explained that we didn’t know yet and she went on to say, “I bet it’s a girl. I just have a feeling.”
It’s interesting, I’ve had a lot of people with “a feeling” that it’s a girl. Is it the way I’m carrying? Or the fact that I’m pretty darn girly? Maybe I smell differently?
I know I’m supposed to be living in the moment and enjoying today, but it’s snowing AGAIN and it’s 4 degrees. I’m just over today. I want three weeks from today. Then I will have seen my sweet baby’s face and will know if all these feelings (and the quiz my friend at work and I took the other day) are correct in saying it’s a girl.
In other news, my chiropractor gave me a tip… she said to keep things aligned and growing in a balanced way, do a full circle hula hoop motion twice in each direction right before (or after) you use the bathroom. Note: there is no relation to going to the bathroom except that you will likely be going frequently and it’s a good way to remember to do it. It’s supposed to help with delivery and recovery. And, if not, it’s easy enough that it won’t be a big deal either way.
Toilet hula hooping it is!
Natural Remedies to Battle the “Ick”
I’ve been feeling sick since Friday morning. It’s frustrating because I feel as if every single day is the same. I wake up feeling crappy… sore throat, tightness in chest. Then, as the day goes on, the symptoms seem to fade and I’m just a little tired. But it feels like I’m improving. Then, I get in bed and my lungs start acting up again and I proceed to have a sleep filled with coughing, discomfort and pain in my throat. Repeat.
Besides taking extra-strength Tylenol a handful of times, I’ve been completely “drug-free” this pregnancy and honestly, I don’t want to change that. I know certain medications are okay, but I just don’t want to go there until I feel like I’ve exhausted my other options. Not to mention the fact that nothing happening thus far is unmanageable. I should also mention that I have asthma. This is really what’s been bugging me the most.
Anyway, last night, my sweet husband stood by the side of the bed with a flaming hot cup of water for me to breathe over. That seemed to help, although it was somewhat of a temporary fix. So, this morning I was inspired to try some other natural remedies. Here’s what I’ve done so far…
1) Steam: again, maybe I didn’t breathe it in long enough, but this was pretty temporary. Within minutes of removing the steam, I started to feel the tightness in my chest again.
2) Gargling warm salt-water: this was surprisingly effective. Within minutes of gargling, my cough was way looser and I was coughing stuff up. Gross, absolutely. But… effective. They say you can do this 3-4 times per day, so there is definitely more in my future.
3) Drink water & thyme: You’re supposed to put 2 tbsp of fresh thyme in boiling water and let it soak for 5 minutes. Then drink while hot. I only had dried thyme, so I soaked and strained, then chugged it down. There wasn’t anything wildly noticeable like an uproar of phlegm, but I think overall, this has been helpful, too.
That’s all I’ve found and tried for now. Fingers crossed things will loosen up and get the f**k out of my body.
Feeling good from a pregnancy stand-point. I’ve been working out at home lately because it’s been so cold, so yesterday was my first day back at the gym. It was nice to hear that even my coach noticed that I seemed to have great energy and looked strong. After the workout, I went to the grocery store and had a total cook-off. I made wheat pasta and turkey meatballs, maple blueberry oatmeal, prepped chicken korma for tonight, and packed up our lunches. I felt proud of my endurance, but I’m not going to lie… when I crawled into bed at 11:15, I felt like a zombie. Did I mention that I also did a load of laundry and took a shower in that time? Yes, I’m proud.
Anyway, I think that’s a sign that my energy is back.
Healthy Diet for a Healthy Baby
I heard this NPR story about the benefits of probiotics for infants, specifically related to colic. I then read about 10 other articles, which expanded on other benefits. Think improved digestion, fewer diaper blow outs, prevention of allergies and eczema, reduced symptoms of colic… and the list goes on! Of course, I was immediately intrigued and got to thinking (especially after a VERY indulgent weekend), how else can I improve my baby’s well-being NOW… before he or she enters the world. So I did some more research on the best “pregnancy diet,” and honestly, most of what I found was stuff I’ve already read. I think because the word “diet” is used to refer to a meal plan designed to help you lose weight, which is not okay during pregnancy, there isn’t much info to be found.
Regardless, I was inspired me to make this week’s menu plan for my husband and I completely absent of simple carbohydrates and sugars. It’s a “Real Food” kind of week, that will hopefully lead to a “Real Food” kind of month!
So, what does this look like? Here’s the menu plan…
Dinner: Whole Wheat Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs (I plan to swap the ground beef for ground turkey, but will otherwise follow the recipe)
*Tonight I will make dinner, tomorrow and Wednesday’s breakfast, and prep tomorrow’s dinner.
Breakfast: Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal (This is a recipe my husband found… Sounds delish!)
Lunch: Meatball Pita Sandwich (Using leftover meatballs and sauce from Monday’s dinner, all in a wholewheat pita!)
Dinner: Slow Cooker Chicken Korma, Brown Rice (We are headed to Mark’s Grandpa’s for dinner, so I’ll bring this easy, make-ahead meal)
Snacks: Mini carrots and tomatoes, an orange, and an apple
*I will throw lunch together on Tuesday morning and will prep Wednesday’s dinner and part of Wednesday’s lunch on Tuesday night.
Breakfast: Blueberry Maple Refrigerator Oatmeal
Lunch: Quinoa Edamame Salad
Dinner: Slow Cooker Tofu & Chickpea Curry, Brown Rice
Snacks: Kale Chips (with very little salt), Carrots, an Orange
*I’ll finish making lunch and will throw everything in the crock for dinner in the morning. In the evening, I’ll prep tomorrow and Friday’s breakfast smoothie.
Breakfast: Make-Ahead Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Lunch: Both Mark and I have lunch meetings.
Dinner: Leftover Slow Cooker Tofu & Chickpea Curry, Brown Rice
*Tonight I’ll marinate the tempeh and do some other prep-work for lunch tomorrow.
Breakfast: Make-Ahead Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Lunch: Tempeh, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich
Dinner: TBD (either leftovers or the hubs and I will go on a little date)
Snacks: Kale Chips, Mini Carrots, an Orange
Sounds like a flavorful week, right? Well, I’ll let you know how the recipes turn out, if I’m able to stick to my meal plan and how I feel at the end of the week. Also, getting back to the probiotics, I’m planning to get live-culture yogurt, which will go in many of the recipes and also look into Kefir, a yogurt-like drink, as a milk-substitute. Tempeh is also a probiotic source! Baby steps, right?
I’ve been fighting this annoying cold of sorts, but that’s hardly a pregnancy symptom. Although, that in combo with the pregnancy, has left me pretty dang tired this past week. I went to bed at 8:30 pm last night.
Also, I’ve been feeling a little more sensitive to food lately. Here’s what I’m not really feeling these days: mushrooms (this has been since the beginning of the pregnancy), chicken breast (for the last week or two, I find myself getting very grossed out biting into a piece of chicken breast. It’s only bite-sized, saucy pieces for now.), eggs (I know I should be eating them, as they’re a great source of protein, but unless on an egg sandwich, I’ve just not been loving them… at all)… hmm! This might be all.
I’m also getting pretty darn excited to find out the sex of our little baby. I feel like most people I ask think it’s going to be a girl (my Milly, my nieces, my sister, my grandpa, a couple colleagues, etc)… but, my mom and dad still think it’s going to be a boy. Time will tell! Either way, I’m VERY excited to see our sweet nugget on the ultrasound screen.