Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Holiday Card 2010 - Winter Wishes!! ;-)

Winter Wishes friends and fam!! ;-) Ok, I feel like I need to explain our card! There was some twitter chatter about people wanting to say Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays, but wait... Winter Wishes!! haha

Let me explain!

We have wonderful family that doesn't celebrate Christmas, so we always go for the Happy Holidays card.

But this year, I had a hard time choosing the layout because of the pics I wanted to use (long story :)). So this layout... from "Winter Wishes!!" was the layout for us this year. I searched far and wide for a Happy Holidays version with this layout annnnnnd, I loved that this card had a "back" to it. So at least we were able to say a little something back there. I meant to add Many Blessings or something else too! But it was uber late and I was in the get it ordered phase, so I forgot :)

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So now let us say to each other... "Winter Wishes!" "Winter Wishes!" to you and you and you. hahah.

and Happy New Year!! We're low key hanging out with friends, playing games, snacking on yummy treats I'm sure, and my Mom is SO incredibly sweet that she is staying over with the boys and Hubby and I are going to stay in a hotel for a little getaway!! And we'll be up near our hospital and hoping Littlest comes on Friday!!! :)

Happy New Year friends and fam!! I wish you so many blessings and an incredible 2011! Xoxoxo

Monday, December 20, 2010

What To Do When It Snows

Stay cozy, cook, bake, eat, and relax with the fam!

I have to say, when it starts snowing, I get excited about the excuse to "have" to stay in, and cook and bake cozy comfort food :) and Hubby can't go anywhere for meetings ;-)

First up on this snow day was: A big pot of Chili! It's a recipe I grew up making with my Mom, it never comes out the same :) You just add until it looks and tastes good. And the longer it goes on the stove, the better all of the spices and flavors blend, and the better it tastes.

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And cornbread from scratch! I use this recipe from allrecipes.com.

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Then for dinner I made Artichoke and Tomato Pasta (and I added chicken) by Pioneer Woman. Oh my goodness, it was so yummy, and a big hit with all of the boys! I've made it a few times before, but this was the best it's turned out :)

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And for dessert, chocolate chip cookies made with limited edition dark chocolate and mint morsels! I just use the recipe on the back of the semi sweet morsels bag :) Yummy!

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{not the best pic, but yummy :) the second batch was a little less done, Hubby likes them a little crispier and I like them softer :)}

And of course get everybody all bundled up in lots of layers to play in the snow. Little is wearing BabyBoy's big coat from last year :) and BabyBoy got a hand me down coat.

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Next time, I'm making a Chicken Pot Pie! What comfort foods do you love to make in the winter? And I love all of the ways to reinvent chili for leftovers! Chili mac, as a dip with chips... how else do you reinvent chili??

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Random.org chose #17... The winner of the $65 gift certificate to CSNStores.com giveaway is...

Melissa G.

Congratulations!!! Please e-mail me at naturallycaffeinatedfamily {at} gmail {dot} com to receive your prize!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Bump: 35 Weeks! and Confessions of a Big Bump

Thank you so much for your comments on my last post, I love hearing from you and appreciate it so much!!! And don't forget to enter my giveaway, it ends tomorrow!! :)

Baby Bump: 35 Weeks!
We were 35 weeks last Wednesday! Baby girl has been rockin' a wonderful heartbeat around the low 140s; she is just chillaxin' in her big hot tub :)

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And now... Confessions of a Big Belly...

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1. I can barely cross my legs anymore to sit like a lady. I have to shimmy around in my seat and throw my leg up to barely cross it ;) so ladylike :)

2. In the rare instance lately that I wear socks (with my tennies), I have to put them on like an old man, crossing my ankle up on my other leg. I look so dainty.

3. Bending to reach something is a (hard to come by) privilege at this point, not a right. ;-)

4. Littlest is such an active little girl (I think she's trying to keep up with her big brothers already :)), if my arm or something is resting near my belly, she'll kick or stretch, and move the object, with great force sometimes too! It makes me laugh. :)

5. If you thought I had little food-will-power before, forget it now. I hungry, I eat. And my sweet tooth is out of control. Like they will soon not be around anymore. (This could be an indicator in my massive weight gain... oops) I'll do better after she makes her grand little entrance! :)

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Both boys came over at different points while Hubby was taking pics of me and Littlest and wanted to give her a kiss or a hug! It was so sweet! :)

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I wonder if Littlest will get in on the wrestling matches too :) Notice Little's new big cheese smile, hahaha, love their smiles :)

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I am so thankful and beyond blessed. I haven't been feeling very well lately, lil yucky, pretty tired, hellllllooo reflux, alive and well gag reflex, but I have felt better yesterday and today, and couldn't ask for anything different, annnd she will be here so soon!! We cannot WAIT to meet her and introduce her to the fam!!!

ETA: I ordered her crib bedding today!!! I can't wait to get her room all done up!! I'll show you which one after her room is complete!! :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We made it! and Littlest's Nursery... Help!

We're home from our trip to Arizona!

Annnd as I tweeted after we landed last night, I didn't have a baby on the plane!!! :) I am so eager to have our next appointment, which I just got moved up to tomorrow (Friday) to see what the latest is! I was "a finger" dilated and 50% effaced a week and a half ago before we left for Arizona and I definitely had my share of contractions while we were out there and today. :) We were so glad to see my family. And we can't wait for them to come visit after Littlest is born, hint hint hint ;-)
ETA: Annnnd I had such a fun bloggy meetup! More to come! :)

Ok, now Littlest's nursery!! I first posted an idea for Littlest's nursery here. I am so thankful for all of your comments on it! I'm second guessing myself now (welcome to my head ;-)). And to be honest, blogging/twittering makes me nervous and feel like if I don't pick the right one, I'll be looked at like I don't have style and y'all won't like me. (hellooo insecurities, I've told you I have 'em ;))

So my goal is: fun, sweet, girly, and classic.

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For 7 and 8, I would want to combine them. - Essentially 7 with pink ruffle on the bumper and inside bummer either all pink minky or more like 8, and either pink or ivory sheet, and a gathered bedskirt.

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Or pink bedding with splashes of color accents on the wall and in accessories...

Ready, set, help!! :) I* really need to order her sweet bedding aaaaasap :) I would love to hear from you!!! What do you think? Or have you seen anything that fits my criteria?? And you know I like honesty girls. I appreciate it! You know when you've been looking at something for a long time, everything starts looking the same or funny! I need outside opinions :)


*I say "I" in all of this, having already talked, shown, discussed all options with Hubby, we've both made our top choices (which are the same :)), and I've made him look at tons of things so he knows everything that's out there, hahah, but he has ok'd all my options and is leaving the final decision for her room up to me :). and I want to love it because we'll be in there a lot ;)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Giveaway and Review!! (and recipe :))

I've had the fabulous opportunity to do another review and giveaway with CSNStores.com!!

They seriously are so wonderful to work with! I know I've said it before but they have stores for everything! You want a stool, a ping pong table, a toy, furniture, cookware, they have a store for it all. They are easy to navigate and have sales, promos, and free shipping on tons of items. That's where we just got our new family room rug (for a great deal)! Pics to come when the room is a little more complete! :)

I was so excited to review more Le Creuset!! I've been wanting a great sized stock pot to make soups and other yummy fally, wintery foods in, so I was so excited to choose the Le Creuset 6-Quart Stock Pot in Kiwi, a condiment ladle and cooling pads in Kiwi, to go with it! (I'd love to get the one size larger stock pot at some point too, I make huuuge pots of chili ;-)).

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And what was the first thing I made?? Baked Potato Soup that my friend Whitney posted about (I've made it before and it is yuuuummy)!!

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My Review
The Le Creuset stock pot is great. When I cooked the turkey bacon, there is so little fat in it, that it left some burn marks on the bottom of the pot, I was so afraid they wouldn't come out, but they did! It cooks and cleans so easily. The ladle seems like it could be a little sturdier, and I would probably get the bigger hot pads too (I was just looking at cost) but I really enjoy using all of the products and like how they handle! And CSN is great. I love that they don't charge tax, tell you how quickly your items will ship before you buy, and everything is packaged really well.

Your Chance To Win! Giveaway Time!
You have the chance to win a $65 gift certificate to CSNStores.com!! To use on anything you want!!

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what you might use your free moneys on! Giveaway ends next week on Wednesday December 15th at 10 pm EST!! Good luck! :)

Recipe :)
Paula Dean's Baked Potato Soup
Ingredients:
8 slices Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon (I used turkey bacon :))
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
5 potatoes, baked, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (oops I didn't use this either)
2 cups half & half (I used one whole milk and one half and half, my attempt at saving a few cals, hah)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste

Steps:
In a Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp; remove and crumble, reserve drippings. Cook onion in bacon drippings until tender; stir in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add chicken broth; cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Put in the diced potatoes, parsley, bacon and half & half; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and sour cream.

*CSNStores.com provided me with a $65 gift certificate to their sites for my review and is providing the giveaway prize as well. My opinions are completely my own.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Baby Bump: 32 Weeks!! and Confessions of a 32 Wk Preggy

We were 32 weeks last Wednesday!! Time is flying! Baby girl is so active, she is flipping and kicking and jumping around almost all the time, there is quite a show to see :) I'm feeling good, pretty tired, but beyond blessed. :)

And now... Confessions of a 32 Week Preggy

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1. I have been craving sweets again like crazy. I was *this close* to having a Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard for dinner the other night! :)

2. For a couple weeks I was waking up every couple days around 2/2:30 am and would munch on some super yummy Ghirardelli or Godiva chocolates* or Cheez Its ;) All are gone now, so we don't have to worry about that anymore, oops :)

3. It is hard to feel sexy when you have to heave ho yourself off a couch orrrr any sitting apparatus. ;)

4. I kept pulling a muscle in my gluteous very maximus almost every day. I am not in as good of shape this time, eeks :) (it has been better this past week ;))

5. Sometimes I have to ask Hubby to take my boots (and skinny jeans) off, while lying down on my side. It's a pretty sight.

6. I have a slight (or not so slight ;)) waddle. Sometimes I try to compensate for it, really, looking goofier than just the waddle alone. Picture an, attempted, sexy walk, with a waddle.

7. Bending over: completely overrated. I think I can, and then, nope, the belly is in the way. ;) Even more now that she's dropped a little. :) I have actually pulled a muscle in my tummy from trying to bend over to reach something when I thought I could. ahh :)

8. I've been feeling a little of the 1st trimester again! Smells and foods are making me nauseous, there has been dry heaving due to teeth brushing or even (daintily of course ;)) blowing my nose in the morning! But the one thing that always sounds good?? Sweets! :)

And just because, the big brothers! Oh sweet loves!! :)

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Love and hugs!! and Happy Thanksgiving!! Update below on me and our trip to Arizona after Thanksgiving!!! Yay and yikes! :)

Update on our appointment last week! Since I'd been having some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions a couple days before our appointment, the doctor decided to "check" me and see if there was anything going on... annnnnd announced I was "a finger" dilated and 50% effaced! Ahhh! :) For those who don't know, we're traveling (after confirming w/ our doctors) to Arizona to visit my family and be there to support them after finding out some news about some health things going on with one of our dear family. We'll be flying back when I'm 35 weeks. Eeks! First, because of the findings, the doc we were seeing said, don't go, I almost cried right there, but 1st priority is what's best for baby girl! Then he said, I think everything should be ok, and by the end of the appointment he said, I think it will be fine. If he really felt like I shouldn't go he would have said for sure don't go. We do have insurance for our flights and as long as I feel good this week and take it easy while we're out there, we're still going to go. And I will not, I repeat will not, have baby girl on the plane! Do not even joke!! ;-) It's just been a little tough because we've been debating going since before *and* after we booked the tickets, but we want to be there for my family (and since Hubby has his meetings in CA, we always try to make our trip to AZ coincide because his ticket/etc. is paid for). We would appreciate any prayers you can throw out that I don't progress any more now or while we're out of town, and everything goes so smoothly! Thank you!! :-)

and in case you missed it: Ideas for Littlest's Nursery! :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ideas for Littlest's Nursery :)

It's nursery time! Time to decorate! and it is such a hard decision! I want it to be beautiful, girly, classic, fun, sweet, and cozy. There are going to be pink and ruffles for sure! With two sweet baby boys and lots of blue, we're going "all in" girly now ;-).

I've looked a bunch at different bedding sets from different stores seeing a couple sets that were cute, and then I've had a bunch of friends who have done custom bedding that introduced me to a couple sites that you can look through fabrics and design your own bedding set. So I looked, I designed, got some lovin' feedback, and I'm stuck on this bedding set! Paisley, stripes, polka dots, hot pink, light pink, green, ruffles. :)

I wish it was less expensive or I knew someone who could make it for less but it's really not that much higher than the everyday stores' bedding prices (although the price does rise with a few extras. eeks) and it is lower than other sets I've seen too! Annnnnd if we adopt a little love it could get used again! :)

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It's not set yet, but I am loving it and Hubby is too :) Whatdayathink? Be honest! :)


We have our 32 week appointment Wednesday morning! The other night I was having some crazy contractions (Braxton Hicks I'm sure) and with our upcoming trip to Arizona, they had me a little worried (because I'm already supposed to be taking it easy when we're there). I've been having some, but the other night was a different story. I've also been stressing about some different things, that I need to relax about. I'm trying to remind myself to think eternal but these things are on my heart or important to me and they're having me pretty bummed, a little hurt, a lil stressed. ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Staying Sane With Two :) ... Or One :)

There are so many friends who are preggy with their second little one (or 1st :)), I thought I'd share some things that have been great for us and our fam of four, soon to be fam of five!!

In no particular order...

1. Schedule/Routine
With the advice (and observation) of a bunch of long time friends, we got the babies on a schedule in the hospital/right when they came home, and it was and is wonderful. There are many philosophies on a schedule or routine but from our experience the babies do great with it and it is wonderful from the parents' point of view as well. We did Baby Wise (you have to take Baby Wise with a grain of salt) and ended up combining with Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby too. We always call our schedule a "flexible schedule" because you always have to flexible. But the faster you can get them on a schedule, when you have to be more flexible, it's easier to get them back on. BabyBoy* was sleeping 12 hours through the night 3 1/2 months old and Little was sleeping 12 hours at 3 months old. ETA: Both babies were sleeping "through the night" (6 hrs) at an early age. And those of you that know our littles, they are happy, feel loved, are joyful...:-) At first, it helps them establish days from nights, teaches them to fall asleep unassisted (with some cuddling of course! :) and naptime/bedtime routine), and if they wake up when they should be sleeping, you teach them to fall back asleep by themselves. It's great for everybody. Littles love routine, and consistency, it helps them feel secure; if they know what's going on and you know what's going on timing wise each day, it helps everyone stay (more) sane. :)

*BabyBoy was a NICU baby, he had surgery the morning after he was born, and had reflux.

2. Same page with Hubby
It is just good for the entire family when Mommy and Daddy are on the same page. No matter what age the littles are - babies, toddlers, etc., or how much Daddy is home. Talk about all the details. If the littles are older, same page as far as discipline, how you discipline, what you discipline for, what behavior or activities are or aren't appropriate, and everything involved. If they're teeny, share details about everything, routine, tummy time, feeding, how you bathe them, philosophies about all aspects of being hands on with your little. That way, no matter who is alone with them, everything and everybody is comfortable and familiar. It's great for the littles to have consistency and know that you are a united front.

3. Date nights
Seriously, it is so important for Mommy and Daddy to have time alone together, to talk, connect or reconnect, have uninterrupted one on one time together. It is very easy to focus on the littles and not on the spouse. That makes it easy to forget too. Don't forget. Put it in the budget, it doesn't have to be expensive, you could even make a picnic and play some games together, or have a date night at home, turn the tv off, cook together or have a fun dinner and then play games or one of you choose an activity one week and the other choose next time! :)

4. Solid discipline with #1
When #2 comes along, if #1 understands the boundaries and has a good foundation of discipline, it not only makes time you're bound to the couch nursing, or changing a diaper, or or or, easier, but it also helps when it's time to begin disciplining #2 because they will learn so much from #1. We got some amazing advice from some great friends (hi LL ;)) on when and how to begin disciplining our littles and have read some good recommended books as well. If you know our boys, they have sweet hearts, are loving, energetic, strong willed :), but well behaved/obedient (overall ;)). Right, friends who have spent time with them?? Annnd this helps with them being good little helpers when #2 comes too :)

5. Prayer
For wisdom, patience, joy, and thanking God for all of the good things He is doing, little and big. It doesn't hurt to pray for these things every single day. We normally do, when we say our night night prayers with them, and we pray for them, to become men of God, for us to have wisdom in raising them, for God to guide them in their lives and decisions, relationships... and it helps the littles get used to praying, thanking, and staying near God too. :)

6. Get Involved
In different activities for you and the babies... A weekly morning Bible Study, where your littles can play in a class and socialize with other littles while you get to study the word and fellowship with other ladies; Story time at a local bookstore or library, Borders or B&N and libraries do storytime once or twice a week and some you can choose by age group too; Playgroups; MOPS (Mothers of preschoolers), if your church doesn't have one, other local churches might, it is a great time for your littles to go and play in their classrooms while you fellowship and learn with other mommies. If you can only go to these things sometimes, it's ok, go when you can! :)

7. Seek advice from wise counsel
We have gotten incredible advice from friends and older couples who had babies before us. And from some family members as well :). We talk at GNOs, e-mail or call to talk about new scenarios that come up. We have found a couple mentor couples that have families that we would love for ours to look like; well behaved, sweet, full of joy littles, with strong morals and love of family (and friends). Find those Godly families and ask if you can ask them questions when you have them!

Don't get me wrong, there are still tough days where patience can be low, or your tired, or you feel insecure about one thing or another, or your littles are going through new phases that you have adjust or spend more time on certain things, or you're housebound for a while because someone(s) is sick, but these things definitely help me/us :)

Oh and remember, your love and cuddles, is the most important thing for your littles. If you start to get overwhelmed, remember that if you are loving on your little(s), you're doing a great job!

Is there anything I forgot to add? And any additional advice for three? :)

*And if you missed Baby Bump: 30 Weeks!! click here :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Bump: 30 Weeks!!

Last Wednesday we hit 30 weeks!! I can't believe it! Baby girl love is cookin' and kickin' away!! :)

Well, I can only partially believe it because of how many people keep telling me how big I am ;-)

Things People Have Really Said:
*"You're so big!" she quickly said trying to save herself, "I mean, you're all belly, but it's so big." Nice try girl, nice try ;)
*"You must be due any day now!" Nope, January 12th! :)
*"Are you having a girl?" In mama preggy terms, this means, you look wide and huge (old wives' tale) ;)
*"You're so big already." Oh, thank you so much, since when has that been a kind thing to say? :)

Others for whom I am very thankful:
*Neighbor, "You look so good, you're all belly."
*Sales clerk, "Are you having a boy?? It just looks like you're carrying a basketball, all in your belly."
*Random people in stores or out and about, "Are you having a boy, you're all belly!"
*Sweet sweet friends say that I look tiny or just belly. Not that I really believe them, but I love them. ;)
*My Hubby, "You don't even look pregnant from behind." ahh love :)

I'm not going to lie, I feel big, but I usually just laugh it off when people say things before they really think about what has just come out of their mouth. Because I am thankful for a healthy little bean and am trying not to focus on silly things :) (Sometimes I, or Hubby ;), repeat that to myself ;)) And I try to justify my size by quickly saying, it's my 3rd! I measured 50 weeks after our first preggy (due to a complication our little had), and this is just how I carry, way out :-) and I always gain a lot of weight! :) Oops! I love food and the littles ask for it while they're in there ;-) Our appetites combined is quite a combo, hee.

Baby Bump: About 29 1/2 weeks: (at end of the night! ;)) Dressed for a GNO (more on that soon :)). I'm not used to wearing skinny jeans 'n boots, but it was fun and the jeans are SO comfortable. :)

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Baby Bump: 30 1/2 Weeks: Date Night with Hubby!! :)

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Nursery & Bedding Ideas and What Are We Going to Call Littlest??? coming soon!! :)

And if you missed my last post of some super cute pics of our Birthday Boy & all the boys, click here :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Birthday Boy!

Last Saturday was Hubby's birthday!! We went to the beach for a family weekend and I had a GNO with my beach girls! I'll post about it next week! We had SO much fun!

Happy Birthday to my best friend (he is, I'm not just saying that!)! He is my perfect balance in so many ways! I am so thankful for him!!! Happy Birthday "B!!!"

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We gave him his gifts (ETA: one from each of us, including Littlest ;-)) last Thursday (we couldn't wait!! :)) and tomorrow night we're going to a Japanese Steak House for dinner and then we might see The Town! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Time!

One of the many things we love about fall is going to pumpkin patches with the littles!

We tried a new one this year, it ended up being a liiittle one :) but we all had fun and the scenery was beautiful! It turned out to be such a chilly day and Little was super tired so we didn't stay too long but we were so glad we went! :)

A lady was so sweet to take a quick family pic for us. (not a flattering pic of me, but it's all about the memories ;))

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Attempt 1 at mommy and babies: Little laughing, teehee so cute :)

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Attempt 2: BabyBoy mid sweet smile, Little running ;-) (there were more attempts and these were the best, hehe)

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Are they so cute together or what??? ;-) (proud mommy alert ;) so blessed!!) Happy Fall!

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