Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Top 10

Facebook has been covered in "thankful" post all month long. I decided to do mine in one big blog post!

So here is my "thankful" Top 10 for 2012:

1. I am thankful for God and that He watches over us. It doesn't really matter who the president is, if we remember who is really in control.

2. I am thankful for my husband. I feel so lucky to have my best friend by my side every day. Thank goodness I randomly moved to Ohio almost 5 years ago. God knew what he was doing when he made those plans...

3. I am thankful for my sweet baby Hayes. Some might argue he's not a "baby" anymore, but he will always be my baby. I will never forget the day he was born and he has made our lives so much better with his sweet, and maybe sometimes rowdy, personality. He is 110% boy and I wouldn't have him any other way.

4. I am thankful for McBaby #2 who is still cooking in my belly. I can't wait to meet this little one! Our lives just keep getting better and better with our each addition to our family.

5. I am thankful for our family. Ryan and I both have great examples of marriage in our parents and our kids have amazing grandparents! We also have a fantastic group of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and great grandparents!

6. We have a growing collection of perfect nieces and nephews and they make our world go round!

7. I am thankful that Ryan and I both have jobs that allow us to support our family. Not everyone is as lucky in this economy.

8. Speaking of jobs, I am thankful that I get to do something I love every day, work with and advocate for those with dementia. I am also thankful for Terra. Our partnership in dementia care makes the battle we are fighting easier. And our friendship we have built means the world to me!

9. God has blessed me with so many close friends. Even though they are scattered across the county, I have the most amazing support system. I don't know what I would do without them!

10. I am so thankful for the power of prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks 3 years of wedded bliss for myself and my hubs. We are getting ready to spend a romantic evening eating cookie crisp, getting/giving a foot rub, and watching Crazy Stupid Love. We are living the life and I wouldn't trade it for anything:) I love you, honey!!

The Liebster Award...Part 1!

My friend, Lindsey from A Dream Come True nominated my blog for a Liebster Award! This award is designed to help promote smaller blogs and give everyone a chance to know me better. I'm excited about doing this and so glad Lindsey nominated me!

Part 1 of the Liebster award involves sharing 11 interesting things about yourself. Hmm....we will see just how "interesting" I can be;)

1. I am the luckiest girl in the world because I am married to the man of my dreams and mother to 1 sweet toddler and the baby in my belly who will hopefully be born soon. The story of how we met is a fun one, but will be shared in Part 2 of this series.

2. I grew up in Louisiana and ended up living in Ohio. I am a little displaced, but I love the life I have made here and wouldn't trade it for anything.

3. My hometown is West Monroe...home of the tv series Duck Dynasty. Haven't watched this little gem yet? You should check it out. It's reality tv at its finest. In all seriousness, it is a very entertaining show about a family who has built quite the business making duck calls. Best part, it's safe for the kids to watch! No affairs or wild nights of drunken debauchery  or vulgar language! It's great to see a family spotlighted on tv that has morals these days.

4. I got a pedicure today. My toes look like they are going to a New Year's party. The base coat is black with a chunky multi-colored glitter layer on top. My feet have been working hard carrying this baby belly around. They deserve to have a little fun. I tried to take a picture, but toes don't photograph well...

5. I once met Snoop Dog. I was picking up a friend who needed a ride after a Snoop concert. It was a weird moment in my life. This is how the big intro went:
             Drunk friend: "Snoop, this is Katie. Katie, Snoop."
             Katie: "Hello."
             Snoop: "You got it going on."
             Katie: "Um thanks?"

6. I love to cook. I also love planning a weekly menu and coordinating grocery list which is written in the same order that I walk through the store. I get it from my mama.

7. I have 6 titanium screws and 1 titanium plate in my face compliments of TMJ surgery I had my senior year of college. And no, I don't set off metal detectors.

8. I am a speech therapist and I love my job. When I first started in this field, I thought my focus would be on pediatrics. Through job experience and training, my focus shifted from pediatrics to the geriatric population with a special focus on the dementia population. I was lucky enough to end up in a facility that specializes in dementia care and meet someone who shares my passion. Her name is Terra and she was so instrumental in helping me not only learn but apply much of what I do today. The battle we fight for dementia is not easy, but it is something we love and I feel lucky to get to do it everyday.

9. I am a photography and graphic design snob. I have so many friends who are so talented in these fields, and I blame them for this. And I thank them. For making me appreciate good photography and graphic design.

10. Love Actually is my most favorite movie of all times. Crazy Stupid Love is a close second.

11. I am that mom who is anal about what her child wears in public.  I have changed Hayes' clothes before if I don't like what Ryan dresses him in for daycare. And I don't feel bad about it. I carried the baby for 9 months and spent a long time giving birth. It's my right as a mother.

Thanks for reading my fun facts! Part 2 consists of 11 questions chosen by Lindsey for me to answer. I will post those later this week!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Top 10!

1. I am a little behind on my blogging. Probably because I am super pregnant. That's a good excuse, right?

2. We are at 37 weeks now...I can't believe how close we are! Hayes arrived at 38 weeks...

3. My handsome hubs took me on a hot date this weekend to celebrate our upcoming anniversary. He totally surprised me with a beautiful pair of pearl earrings at dinner. Anyone who knows me knows I love pearls! He had them hidden in his jacket throughout dinner;)

4. How can my child go from being a crazy beast to a sweet, cuddly, adorable bucket of happiness so fast? Boys...

5. I made a pineapple smoothie last night that was amazing! Pineapple, banana, greek yogurt, ice, water, and ginger. Yummm!!

6. I caved. I bought a bag of cookie crisp. And I don't have to make excuses. Because I'm THAT pregnant.

7. A little, old lady told me that she admired the way I was able to walk around so well while so pregnant. Thanks? (And yes, Terra, that makes 4 times you heard this story!)

8. I can't believe Thanksgiving is this week! We are planning a big dinner for this weekend...complete with a 14lb turkey of course. Because my small family needs a 14lb turkey. Go big or go home, right?

9. I ordered a fun hospital gown to wear when baby comes. Totally normal.

10. Pray for myself and my sister-in-law! We are both due December 8th and both feel like we are ready to pop! We can't wait to meet the newest additions to our family!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crock Pot Lasagna

In my search for maternity leave easy cooking recipes, I found this little gem on Pinterest. My first attempt was a little disappointing. I felt like the flavor wasn't strong enough and there weren't lots of leftovers, which I was hoping for. So, for round #2, I doubled the recipe and added extra seasoning. It is definitely an easy way to make lasagna!

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil
dried oregano
2 jars spaghetti sauce
2 cups water
30 oz skim ricotta cheese
4 cups Italian cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked

Put beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet and cook until beef is done. Drain off any grease. Add spaghetti sauce, water, basil, and oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 3 cups Italian cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and parsley. Now it's time to assemble. Cover the bottom of your crock pot with a layer of meat sauce. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. You will have to break the noodles to make them fit. Top with the cheese mixture. Keep repeating layers until you run out. Cook on low for 6 hours. Top with remaining cheese, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Banana Pudding

So this weekend a craving struck...for banana pudding. I combined a few recipes and added my own touches to make this delicious dessert.

1 1/2 cups cold water
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
3.4 oz Banana cream pudding mix, instant
3 cups whipping cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 box Nilla wafers
4-5 ripe bananas, sliced

Start by beating the cold water and sweetened condensed milk until combined. Add in the pudding mix and beat until combined. Cover and refrigerate until set. I did 15 minutes in the fridge, 10 minutes in the freezer...because I was impatient. Beat the whipping cream in a separate bowl for 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form in the cream. Fold the pudding into the whipping cream. Stir in the vanilla until all ingredients are mixed. Now it's time to start assembling!

Grab a trifle bowl and start with a layer of Nilla wafers. Add a layer of banana slices. Top with a third of the banana cream mixture. Repeat layers until your ingredients have run out. Cover and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. Or refrigerate for 1 hour and eat a bowl immediately after supper if you just can't wait. There will be plenty left to sit for 4-8 hours and eat the next day:)

Top 10

1. Welcome, week 36. Now hurry and get out of the way so we can get this baby full-term and ready to make his or her arrival!

2. Hayes acts like a pinball in a pinball machine. I imagine a treadmill would provide him with hours of entertainment.

3. I made some amazing banana pudding this weekend and I will share the recipe later. I gave some to Hayes, and he refused to eat it! Like...freaked out while refusing to eat it! Crazy kid.

4. I did NOT buy cookie crisp at the store this weekend. I may have bet a co-worker I could go the rest of the pregnancy without buying more. Let's face it, inhaling two bowls of cookie crisp every night is not really the healthiest way to finish out this pregnancy.

5. I. Love. Ikea. What do I love more than Ikea? A fun girls trip to Ikea. God has blessed me with some great friends in Ohio:)

6. Hayes had haircut #3 this weekend. Still not a fan of haircuts.

7. Is it just me, or does a Wendy's medium drink seem really, really large?

8. Sports shows annoy the tar out of me. Especially ones that keep making guesses about the outcome of the seasons before the season is over. Why don't we just wait and see what the real outcome is? Seriously, I can only handle so much "what if" football talk.

9. Congrats to Ryan's cousin, Katie! Her wedding to Kemmon was on Friday. We are sad we couldn't be there to celebrate, but have heard it was a beautiful evening!

10. Pray for a special family member who had an accident today. I hope he starts feeling better soon!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tis the season to give...

Christmas shopping can be so much fun, and so much work. Here are some fun and affordable ideas for gifts that I have run across in my searching. Happy shopping!
{Scentsy Buddy}
Scentsy is a company specializing in making your life smell pretty. I have two of their warmers that I love and have also used their travel tins and scent paks in our cars and closets. I use this Scentsy Buddy to keep Hayes' room smelling fresh. A scent pak is zipped into the back of this super soft stuffed animal. I like to keep Mollie (the monkey) in his bed. She is a great cuddle buddy and leaves his bed smelling super fresh. These buddies are $25.00 and include a scent pak. And the best part....they are buy one get one free through the end of the year!!! Contact Jessica Self here for more info on how to order 2 of these for some special little people in your life.
{Ikea Toys}

One of my most favorite stores is Ikea. They have so many fun supplies for your life. I recommend setting aside a few hours for a trip there. Things we have and love from Ikea include: curtains, pillows, pillow covers, storage units, wall shelves, picture frames galore, toddler dishes, side tables, lamps,and more things I'm sure I've forgotten. I have found some great things there for Hayes as well as gift ideas for other kids. Here are just a few...
This easel is only $14.99! They also have rolls of paper and art supplies to make the gift complete.
This super cute kitchen set is only $99.99! Ikea also has lots of dishes and soft food available for some great pretend play.
How cute are these felt tools? They are perfect for a little boy who loves to play with tools but doesn't quite understand the whole "gentle" concept.
Many things at Ikea are only available in store and it is totally worth the trip to one. If the nearest Ikea is just too far, they do have many items available for purchase online as well:)
{Erin Condren gift card}
 I discovered Erin Condren last year thanks to a sweet Plum District deal that I blogged about here. I ordered her Life Planner and have used it sooo much! It is great for organizing my work schedule, our social events, bills, tracking pregnancy, family birthdays, etc. They also sent some fun personalized goodies with my Life Planner that I have enjoyed using. Erin Condren offers so many personalized products on their website...stationary, gift and address labels, notebooks, ipad/iphone accessories, invitations and announcements, and more! A gift card to Erin Condren would definitely make someones Christmas a little bit merrier:)
{Shutterfly Calendars}
Shutterfly is such a great site for ordering prints and personalized gifts for family and friends. They have these fantastic wall calendars which only cost $21.99! Shutterfly offers a large variety of background styles that you choose from and lots of layouts so that all of your favorite photographs from the year can be added. Family birthdays and anniversaries can also be added to personalize your gift even further. Want to know what's really cool? Shutterfly saves your dates so that making a new calendar next year is super easy. These calendars also come in a desk top version. Order yours from Shutterfly today!

{Book Lovers Gift}

I have a Kindle and LOVE it! I know there are many E-reader options, and a gift card to buy e-books is an excellent gift much appreciated by the avid reader. No e-reader? Then buy a gift card to the local book store. This gift would be fun paired with a great coffee mug and maybe some fun hot chocolate mix.

{Food Lovers Gift}

Have someone in your life who enjoys cooking? My suggestion is to hit up Marshall's or TJMaxx. They have a great kitchen section with great prices! Pick out a great dish...a new pot, casserole dish, dutch oven, etc. Pair it with some fancy cooking oils and a new potholder or dishtowel. Their cookbook section often has some pretty great finds as well to finish this gift off.

{Framed State Art}

Download these free images, print, and frame for a fun gift! I think this gift works for kids or adults. Go to this link to get your downloads. I checked it out tonight and it does still work..but move fast before they disappear!

{Chalkboard/Dry Erase Board}

I think that chalkboards and dry erase boards can be so useful in a home. We use ours for weekly menus and fun announcements. My sister-in-law has one she uses for a to-do list. These gifts do require minimal crafting effort.

Chalkboard: Find a fun frame in whatever size you prefer. Ours is a large old window frame, but an 8x10 picture frame would definitely work. Get some chalkboard paint from your local hardware store. We purchased a large piece of plywood and had it cut to the size we needed at the store. You could also use the glass in the frame. Paint your plywood/glass with the chalkboard paint. If you opt for plywood, attach to the back of the frame and add a wall hanger. If you go for glass, just stick it back in the frame and you are good to go! Include a box of chalk to make this gift complete.

Dry Erase Board. Find a fun frame in whatever size you prefer. Use one of these fun, free downloads as a backgrounds to print and put in your frame. Keep the glass in for a surface to write on and include a pack of dry erase markers.

{Tervis Tumbler}


These make a great gift for that man in your life. Tervis tumblers rock for these reasons: keeps drinks super hot or super cold, virtually unbreakable, reduces condensation, comes with a lifetime guarantee, etc. Ryan has the 24 oz tumbler with travel lid and he uses it literally everyday for coffee in the morning and water throughout the day. At $17 for a tumbler and $4 for a lid, these gifts are affordable and useful. You can order yours in any number of designs directly from Tervis Tumbler.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crock Pot Spinach Tortellini Soup

I found this recipe here. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon recipe!

1 envelope alfredo sauce mix
4 cups water
1-14 ounce can chicken broth
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounce package frozen cheese tortellini
12 ounce can evaporated milk
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Pour 4 cups water into a large crock pot. Slowly whisk in the alfredo sauce mix until blended. Add in chicken broth, mushroom, onion, garlic, and seasonings. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.

Stir in frozen tortellini and evaporated milk and cook for 20-30 more minutes. Add in spinach right before serving. Top with some parm and eat! Delicious!

Top 10!

1. This weekend was not long enough.

2. 35 weeks pregnant = difficult to get comfortable.

3. Cookie crisp obsession is still going strong.

4. I made a delicious crock pot soup looking for the recipe later!

5. My partner in crime, Terra, spoke at a conference this weekend about our dementia programming. I am sad I couldn't be there, but I know Terra represented our community and our passion better than anyone else could have. My hope is that this conference is the beginning of something bigger for both of us and our desire to spread this information to the masses.

6. Is the election over yet? I am getting tired of the political ads taking over our lives. It's a shame that all this money being used to campaign can't be used for something better, like oh I don't know, our national deficit, red cross relief fund, our national deficit...

7. I saw a picture floating around facebook this past week. It was of a lawn chair blown over. The caption said "Hurricane Sandy, we will never forget." My tacky, people. Lives were lost in this storm. Homes were destroyed. The devastation may not have hit where most hurricanes do, but that doesn't mean this wasn't a terrible storm. It amazes me how class-less people can be.

8. Hayes is such a sweet boy. He is so sweet, that he slept in Saturday and Sunday morning. The sweetness ended not long after he woke up, of course. But it was sweet of him to let us get extra sleep.

9. Speaking of adorable things my child does...his latest trick is shaking your hand and saying "meet you." Short for "pleased to meet you," of course.

10. Pray for a special family member who has had a busy 2 weeks including 2 surgeries. Hopefully, she is finally on the mend!

Week 35...

Is it time to have my baby yet?

I didn't feel like making Ryan re-take the same bump shot 27 times because the angle was you get a cell phone shot for this week's bump update.

Well, let's see...week 35 highlights...

My ankles are still looking good. After a long day at work, there might be a little swelling, but it leaves quickly. I know I've mentioned the swelling I had with Hayes before. It started at week 25 and kinda hung around for the rest of the pregnancy. I am thrilled that I haven't had the same problem this time. When I was in the hospital to have Hayes, a nurse referred to my toes as "sausages." I would like to avoid that comment again...

Random aches, pains, and general discomfort have set in. I hate our couch because it is impossible to get out of and impossible to get comfortable on. But, in the couch's defense, the same can be said for pretty much any place right now.

I have started waddling. Like a duck. Straight up waddling. And I can't stop it.

My hair is looking pretty thick and luscious these days. Not all pregnancy side effects are negative;)

I've been having some contractions this weekend. It's nothing consistent or super painful, but they are definitely happening. I imagine they started happening this early with Hayes too and I just didn't realize it at the time.

Cookie craving still going strong. At the store today, I picked up another bag of Cookie Crisp and double stuffed oreos.

Random melt downs made worse by hormones continue. Lucky Ryan.

The nesting came out in full force this weekend. I finished up our pre-registration paperwork for the hospital, wrapped all of the Christmas presents we have so far, pulled out all of Hayes's 0-3 month gender neutral clothes, washed them, and put them away, picked up a few more baby necessities and Hayes's stocking stuffers, and re-organized things in the baby's room about 7 times.

When my sweet residents in the dementia unit ask when I'm due, I've started saying "tomorrow!" They don't remember the next day and I avoid comments that imply I am way bigger than I should be.