Wednesday, August 29, 2012

While you were sleeping

Its 8:00 PM and my house is silent. I'm sitting here wishing I could sleep, completely drained and exhausted, but I have no such luck...

The cupcake in my belly is being very indecisive. One hour she wants to come and for the next 2 the constant, steady contractions go away...

In between periods of pain, I take a moment to drink in the pleasure around me.

I look at my sweet, loving husband. So dedicated, strong, smart, loving and amazing...he too is exhausted...every time I get out of bed to walk around to alleviate pain or to use the restroom, he stirs.  He doesn't say it, but I know he is on edge...its in his nature to be at the ready, waiting for when he's needed...its such a blessing. His handsome features are casting perfect shadows in the darkness next to me, and I am completely at peace knowing he is there. I am so blessed...

I make the trip across our townhouse to the other bedroom and check on my Little Diva...she is usually asleep with her little bum up in the air, her face buried in her comforter. I pull it gently from underneath her to make sure she is able to breathe and find her pacifier. I rest it next to her head so she can find it easily if and when she wakes up.  Its frustrating, but she still isn't sleeping through the night. I've tried everything, but to no avail.

We will have a few nights here and there where I miraculously get a full night's rest, but for the most part I hear her cries and end up relenting after about 10 or 15 minutes, and give her a bottle to get her back down...after attempting for a week to let her cry it out, I've just figured out that I get more sleep if I give her a bottle when I know she won't go back down on her own...there are those precious nights where I get lucky, she will find her pacifier next to her head where I left it, and lull herself back to sleep I listen and wait...hoping that if I have a late night full of contractions she will surprise me and slumber peacefully.

However, as I pull the comforter out from underneath of her head, I always look down and marvel at her, and remind myself how lucky I am that she is mine.Once upon a time, she was only a unattainable was Jeff...and here I am in such a short time getting everything I had prayed for and more.

We may not have a lot of money in the bank, we may not be able to take fancy trips, and we may not be able to buy all the gadgets and gizmos that everyone says we must have...but we have each other...there is a "we"...Its crazy to think that 2 years ago when I was meeting Jeff for the first time I was convinced that it was always just going to be "me"...that I would have to find other ways to make my life fulfilled and happy because marriage and babies just weren't in the cards...Heavenly Father must have been laughing so hard.

The contractions are back...not super strong, I'm not even sure that they're steady, I'm not really timing them...for now my unattainable dream is waiting for Faith's best friend to arrive...thinking that its going to take a miracle and medical intervention to finally bring her here...but, she's coming...she will be a part of the "we"...she will be another perfect little creature to marvel at in the still of the night, another testament of not only my sweet husband's love and devotion, but the love of a wonderful Father in Heaven.

Life gets hard...I've experienced my share of bumpy roads, but if I can testify to anything its this truth:  God will always bless us. He loves us.  We may not get what we want right away, but if we are patient in our trials and wait for him to reveal our course, in due time we will see brilliant light...our lives will be illuminated.

Try not to be bogged down by what you don't have, you will fail to see the amazing things He is giving you as you read this.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spicy Chicken Penne With Spinach

If I had known that this recipe was going to turn out as delicious as it did, I probably would have taken pictures as I went....

Ever since I tried Pioneer Woman's creamy tomato pasta a few blogs ago, I have been looking for a chance and a way to use the recipe again in a new way.  I found a recipe on Pinterest the other day that used a similar sauce for a spicy chicken dish...Well, me being me, I can't just leave it at the recipe that I'm given...I just have to adapt it.

Of course, I put my own spin on Pioneer Woman's sauce this time too... it was marvelous darling! Simply marvelous!

...really, the picture doesn't do it justice...

Here's what you need to do:

Boil water in preparation for cooking the noodles- I used 1/2 of a 13.25 oz box of whole wheat Penne. Cook according to package instructions.

1 large boneless skinless chicken breast cutlet, partially frozen (this makes it easier to slice)
1/2- 1 TBS red pepper flakes
1 TBS garlic powder (you could use 2 cloves garlic, minced if you want to make it fresh, but I was hungry and wanted dinner without garlic hands...)
1/2 -1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)
1/8-1/4 tsp pepper (to taste)
1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped (can use frozen spinach if you don't have fresh on hand.)

Slice chicken into thin, bite sized pieces (you want them to be about as thick as a silver dollar.)
Add about a silver dollar sized portion of oil to the bottom of a  skillet and let it heat. Pour in your red pepper flakes and let them cook a bit to release some spice into the oil. They will start to turn slightly brown- this step literally only takes 30-45 seconds (you don't want them to burn). Add the chicken and sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Sautee chicken until cooked through.  Add the spinach and toss together. Let the chicken mixture cook until the spinach is slightly wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate sauce pan, mix:

1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/2 c milk
1 TBS garlic powder

Let this mixture come to a boil, stirring frequently. It should thicken on its own as it cooks.

Add to this:
1 c of your favorite pasta sauce and cook together until heated through. (I make my own freezer pasta sauce. The last time I made a batch, I made it even more delicious by letting it cook in the crock pot all day long...we've vowed that A) We will never purchase store made pasta sauce again and B) I will forever more make it in the crock pot.... I just added a quart bag of my sauce to the mix instead of measuring out a cup.)

Remember those noodles? They should be cooked by now if you've been multitasking. Drain the noodles. Toss in the chicken mixture first, making sure that it mixes throughout the pasta then add the sauce mix and toss together.

Serve with extra parmesan cheese on top if desired. Pair it with a salad or some veggies and an awesome dessert and you have the makings of a date night if you really want it. Seriously, to us it tasted like something we'd order in a restaurant!

All together, this was a super easy dish to make. I literally had it done in 30 minutes (seriously, I started at 4 PM and it was done by 4:30...I had initially thought it would take longer to come together but I proved myself wrong.)

This is on my list of "make again" things and Jeff is super excited to take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. (I will have to remember to save some for myself...) It easily made 4 large servings or 6 not so large servings if you're having salad and breadsticks (or just salad if you're watching the carbs like me.), so this will easily feed a large family with small kids.

Bon Appetit darlings...I'm always happy to share my culinary ventures...

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Know You're a Nerdy Mom When....

We've been struggling to get Faith to sleep through the night. We'd had a few weeks of success here and there, but, without fail she was waking up at least once during the night for a bottle...

Well, with my increasingly pregnant state, I found myself at the end of my the Little Diva decided that she wanted to start acting like a newborn again, waking up every 2-3 hours screaming for a bottle.

...and I'm thinking, "I love you to death, and thanks for the preview, but I need at least 1 decent night's rest before your little sister gets here."

It had to end.

I called my older sister to complain and get advice. She is a labor and delivery nurse and is pretty much my guru when it comes to all things baby.  Her reaction, "Oh no she doesn't! She's just doing it because now she knows she can. You've got to nip that in the bud."  She then proceeded to give me her sage advice...

I also had another idea, beyond her advice, that I believed would solve the problem, but it seemed so simple it was almost too good to be true.

So- we tried my sister's advice...and I got to stay up and listen to the Little Diva scream for 45 minutes before she finally gave into exhaustion. She didn't cry out again, so I suppose it worked for that night...

However, I lucked out and we had the money so we could try my plan of attack.

We moved Faith into the new crib...she is ALL OVER THE BED when she sleeps.  I swear, you check on her throughout the night and you never find her in the same position.  I also had noticed that in all her tossing and turning, she kept banging her head, hands, feet, and body against the bars of the crib.  She'd also stick her feet, legs and arms out between the bars and scream because she couldn't move the way she wanted to.

I was terrified to try crib bumpers because it had been so ingrained in me that you didn't install or use them until your baby was at least a year because they are a suffocation hazard...but I had to do something to protect her head (since she's getting to be more of a daredevil during the day...I think she will be out of bumps and into the concussion zone soon...), and to keep her pacifier inside the crib...She likes to throw it out on purpose to make me come in and take care of her.

I scoured Craig's List first and was, once again, disappointed with the finds.  Some people really need to look at what their bedding is going for BRAND NEW before they post it to sell it...seriously...I'm not going to pay for something used that I can buy cheaper or for the same price BRAND SPANKING NEW!

I started cruising websites for stores in our area and realized that it would likely be best to buy a bedding set with bumpers new.

We lucked out at a local store and found a sweet little bedding set on clearance for $40.  I wasn't sold on it, I wanted to just buy a bumper that you could purchase separate from another bedding set and some sheets...but the Little Diva will be heard...we held them up and she fell in love with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet all delicately stitched and looking oh so was that or owls...I ended up being very glad that she picked what she did, and I think she was too.

Of course, now I have to change my nursery theme, but we haven't had time or funds for me to pick up the crafting stuff that I need yet anyway...which is just as well. Hopefully, I will be able to get it done before the new baby moves into the nursery with Faith.

I wish I'd been able to get video of her laying in her bed with all the bedding set up for the first time. She rolled around and you could tell she was lavishing in the soft, cuddly awesomeness of her new digs. If it had bedtime, I'm sure she would have gone down right then and there.

Lo and behold, the last few nights- she's slept like a log! She actually doesn't even move from the spot that she finally lands in to fall asleep...I have been up to check on her (remember- suffocation hazard...and I'm a mom, I worry about random stuff like that... she handled it like a pro)

Of course, now that she's sleeping through the night, I've been up having contractions every other hour pretty steadily (I'll contract for an hour and half or so with timeable contractions and then they stop for an hour or 2...its AWESOME....)

Its so funny how I am so excited about clearance bedding- but such is life...

What else am I excited about? What else is filling my time...

Our new cloth diapers came in the mail today.

I piled them up all neatly to take a picture of them, and then Faith decided that she wanted to snuggle up with the soft microfleece liners....of course, I had to turn it into a Kodak moment...

The company made a mistake and sent us double the order. We didn't get charged for them, so I am going to email them tomorrow and tell them about the mistake and that we will gladly pay for a 24 pack instead and they can charge us the extra $48 for the extra diapers. It will be about the same cost to ship them back to China, so we may as well keep them and get some use out of them... They're super cute, and I'm super excited to use super nerdily excited.  I even bought some in a Halloween pattern so we can use them for my upcoming favorite holiday....and you'd better bet that I'm already perusing Pinterest to find cheap/free DIY ways to decorate my house.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday...ever since I was a little kid and my dad told me that Halloween was the world's way of celebrating my birthday a week late... (I was born on my parents' anniversary, so they went out for their anniversary and I never really got much of a "party" of my own.  My dad's birthday was the 28th of October, so he would get us a joint birthday cake. When you're 5 and your dad says that Halloween is to celebrate your birthday- you believe it, okay! Ever since then, its been my favorite holiday...even more my favorite than Christmas...)

So...that's what I'm nerding out about...I think its safe to say that in 2 years I have fully made the transition from single lady (with no one to put a ring on it...until Jeff found me...) to mamma...

(I'm also nerding out about the homecoming outfits I've made for Faith and the new cupcake, but I only want to share pictures of those when they're being worn...sorry.  I'll even consider posting a tutorial about making the no sew tutus and all about it...we'll just have to see how overwhelmed I am after the new baby gets here....)

I'm hoping that tomorrow the Little Diva will be cooperative so I can find time to finish my crafts for the Divine Miss Cupcake's newborn photos and figure out the crafts for the Little Diva's 1 year photo shoot. I have an idea of what I'd like to do, but I also don't want to spend a million, zillion dollars to do it, so I am going to see if I have stuff to use to make things as opposed to going out and buying them.

I feel so bad. I have so many wonderful tutorials and crafts I want to make and between sleepless nights and contractions I just have no motivation...I promise I'll do better darlings.

Hugs and loves until next time.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Teriyaki Meatball Bowls

I must say that I was pretty pleased with tonight's culinary endeavor. It got the "Jeff Approved" stamp, so I think it turned out just fine....of course, he had to say that it wasn't as good as the best teriyaki he'd ever had in his life while he was on his mission in Washington, but he did say it could put other restaurant teriyaki to shame.

In short- I must remember this teriyaki sauce recipe to use with other types of meat and other stir fry endeavors in the future...

The meatball recipe I used was FANTASTIC. I'd saved one from the sauce and put it into the Little Diva's fresh food feeder, but once I bit into them, I was wishing I hadn't. They were perfectly soft and moist and flavorful. I have no doubt in my mind that she would have been able to gum the meatball without choking because it was so soft...alas, I was too late. However, she thoroughly enjoyed chomping on it through dinner time and even came to me a few times to ask for a swig or two from my water glass (the kid LOVES ice water more than pretty much any other beverage on the planet, she especially loves it when I hold the glass and let her drink MY ice water...)'re all probably thinking, "Stop blabbering on and give me the recipe already..."

OKAY...geez, don't get your panties in a twist- I was getting there!

For the meatballs:

1 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
1/2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS garlic powder
1 1/2 TBS onion powder

Mix with hands. Form into 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet or into 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees until browned (30-40 minutes * Note* I have a gas stove and I only needed 25 minutes for them to cook through. I did let them sit for about 5 minutes before adding them to the teriyaki sauce.)

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce, rice and veggies.

Teriyaki Sauce:

1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 TBS sesame oil
1/4-1/2 tsp ginger (to your taste)
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
2 TBS corn starch (mix in enough water to make easy to pour.)

Put all sauce ingredients into saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sauce thickens, set aside.  After meatballs are done cooking, add them to the sauce and stir to coat.

Prepare according to package (we used brown rice because its healthier and a little more low carb friendly, but you can use whatever kind you want.)


Heat a pan, add sesame oil (or vegetable oil) to coat the bottom of pan (*Note* If you enjoy making stir fry, just invest in the sesame oil. I broke down and purchased some about 3 months ago and I swear I use it on a weekly basis. It just adds a certain something to Asian cuisine. I even use it in recipes that call for olive oil or vegetable oil instead. I just adds a warm hint of nutty goodness that tastes more authentic.)  and add your veggies. I used:

1/2 bell pepper, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1 crown broccoli, chopped
1 cup of fresh snow peas
3 stalks green onions, diced.

I added the peppers first (because I like them more on the "chewy" side) then the broccoli and let them cook together for a little while. I added the snow peas and sprinkled them with some onion powder to add a little more flavor and let them cook a little longer. I added the green onions at the last minute so they wouldn't over cook and lose their flavor.

To prepare:

Put a bed of rice on the bottom of the bowl, put the stir fried veggies on top and then top that with your meatball deliciousness. If you have it, I would even recommend sprinkling it with some toasted sesame seeds (we didn't have them, but I think it would have added some "spunk" to the dish).

And, in case you had any doubt...just look at the face of one happy customer from my kitchen...chomping away on her meatball like any good carnivore in training...she looks pleased, so I think you will be too.

Bon Appetit

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The thought struck me like an arrow the other day....

Faith has started, of her own volition, crawling up to me when I'm laying on the floor with her. She smiles and then proceeds to pat my belly.

The funny thing is that Jeff has really only had her pat my belly once or twice, and to be honest I didn't think she got it...

But now, she does it unsolicited, smiles, and coos at my belly...

She is going to have a sister...and I'm pretty sure she knows it.

  All through this pregnancy I've felt so guilty about having another baby so soon...wondering why Heavenly Father decided to bless our little family to grow so soon, worried about the impact it will have on my darling Little Diva.  I love her so much, and the thought that I was robbing her of precious "mommy and me" time was almost too much to bear at times...but considering the changes I've noticed in her in the last few weeks, I can only say that I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father knew what he was doing.

She gets bored pretty easily these days and isn't satisfied unless I'm sitting on the ground with her. I don't even have to play with her, she just wants someone to be there next to her so she isn't alone.  She sees other kids or other babies and she just wants to be around them. Of course, she flashes that signature charming smile and hypnotizes them into playing with her, but I think she would be perfectly content even if they just let her sit with them and all did their own thing.  She is friendly and wants to be loved and have a companion.

I often joke that Heavenly Father denied their application to be twins and gave them the next best thing...but sometimes I have to wonder if there is some truth to my joke.

Especially as she is patting my belly and talking to it like she is talking to an old friend.

What a blessing it is to have siblings. Someone to play with, someone to love you, someone to teach you, and someone to make you feel special.   Families are one of Heavenly Father's neatest earthly creations. We learn so much from each other and we can all help one another through the toughest times imaginable, bonded by an earthly blood link, and an indescribable spiritual tie that makes us love one another instantly....

As D-Day looms closer and closer, and I start getting nervous and sometimes terrified about what the next few months will bring, I can't help but be calmed by this knowledge...things won't always be easy. I'm sure I will split up my fair share of battles over dolls and clothes and makeup as the years pass, but I am so blessed to know that my girls will have one another.  I can only pray that they will be able to develop a close relationship as they age like I've been blessed with when it comes to my sisters. We may not have always understood each other growing up (heck, we don't always understand one another now) but we know that we can turn to each other and that we will do all we can to help one another.

I pray that I have the strength to be as great a mom as my earthly mother has been...she worked so hard as we grew up to make sure we were playing together, including one another (even when we didn't want to) and were showing our love to everyone in our family. I credit her with my siblings not only being my siblings, but my best friends.

Lord, give me strength, give me knowledge and give me intuition...

How am I feeling right now? A mixture of terrified and excited.... but perfect love casteth out I am working on remembering that perfect love is inherent in comes because of our spirits, it comes because of the light of Christ, and if I set a good example and have faith in my beautiful children's bright spirits, I know we will make it through and be better than ever.

They were meant to be sisters and they were meant to be close...these are two things that are very apparent to me...the rest will work itself matter how much I may fumble along the way.

Hugs and Loves until next time darlings!

P.S. For those of you who don't see my pics on we are at 34 weeks (well, almost 34 weeks...33 weeks and 4 days...) Yes- I pretty much feel like a whale...but a grateful whale. My body is amazing and doing something that I had been told once upon a time it wouldn't do...hooray for the blessings of Heavenly Father. He truly does bless us with everything we pray for and the righteous desires of our hearts...we just have to be willing to work with his timetable...he has the master plan and he knows best. I was so silly for ever being frustrated that things weren't working out the way I wanted them to when I wanted them too...I defer to the big guy- he definitely knows better than me....I was wrong and he was right. I'm not afraid to admit it. All we can do is pray and wait for the time to be right.