Survey from a Blog from a Magazine

Did you follow that title? This morning, I read Carrots ‘n Cake morning post, and she answered the questions that Anna Faris responded to in Health magazine. I liked the questions and thought I’d also be a copycat. 

Can you eat what you want or do you have to watch it?

Being pregnant, I’m “allowed” an extra 300(ish) calories a day. However, I haven’t found in either of my pregnancies that my eating habits changed much. Eating fairly clean and healthy has been a part of my life for so long that I don’t even think about it. I do allow myself to indulge in something  sweet almost everyday, whether it be a couple pieces of dark chocolate after dinner, a brownie, or some ice cream (which we don’t keep in the house, so it’s a rare treat). 

After you had your baby, did you feel pressure to snap back into shape?

Surprisingly, no. I walked a lot for the first month after giving birth to Finley, but I didn’t start working out (going to the gym, running, workout DVDs) until  at least 8 weeks postpartum. I felt good about my body and didn’t mind the extra around my middle. Honestly, nursing helped me drop the weight quite quickly, so I started to feel comfortable in my body again after a couple months (or less). With this baby, at least now as a 30 week pregnant lady, I am feeling the pressure to be fit. But I’m not doing so great in that department, so I am excited to start working out regularly and sweating after I give birth.

Do you guys want more kids?

We’re likely going to stop at two. Both of us have one sibling, so that’s what we “know.” Also, as my sister says, we’ll never be outnumbered and the girls will each always have a partner (either each other or one of us) for going to amusement parks. Ha!

What are your favorite ways to pamper yourself?

Ummm…pamper? What does that mean? I’ve never been one to get regular massages, facials, or my nails done. For me, I feel pampered when I can take a shower without a toddler in the bathroom at the same time! Actually, I did get a gel manicure (my first ever!) on Friday night with my sister. The woman spent a few minutes massaging my arms and hands at the end, and that felt pretty amazing.

Besides wine, do you have a go-to drink?

When I’m not pregnant, and I’m not drinking red wine, I like stouts and IPAs. When I can’t drink or just want something special, I love kombucha. 

Do you have any health regrets?

Nothing I can think of.

Are you a yoga person?

Right after I graduated from college in 2005, I got into hot (or at that time it was Bikram) yoga. I practiced 5-6 days a week and loved it. After Brody and I bought our house in Sun Prairie and then I started student teaching, the location and long classes (90 minutes) weren’t convenient. Since then I’ve dabbled in it. I’m currently taking prenatal yoga classes at Dragonfly in Middleton, but I’ve only been able to make it to a class once every other week or so. After the baby is born, I’d love to start going to hot yoga again. 

What workout move do you loathe?

In BodyPump (which I haven’t taken forever), I despise biceps. 

When do you feel sexy?

When I get dressed up for a fancy night out with Brody. The last time this happened was when we went to The American Club in Kohler and had a nice dinner together. I wore a dress, eyeliner, and perfume!

When do you feel your absolute happiest?

In general, I am happy in the morning. I love the promise of the day to come, drinking coffee, and cuddling with Finley on the couch while she watches an episode of Daniel Tiger and does her nebulizer. Otherwise, I am so happy when Brody, Finley and I are out having fun, such as at the museum or out for brunch.


Handling Two

*This was written on Thursday but I didn’t have a chance to read it over or finish the last sentence until this morning.

Today was a tough day, and it made me (somewhat) doubt my ability to be a mama to two kids. At this point, there’s no going back. She’s going to be here in a little over two months, and I am so incredibly excited to meet her. 

I had lots of anxiety and fear over having to care for an infant while keeping a toddler happy during the first trimester of this pregnancy. Suddenly, those fears disapated. Maybe my hormones regulated, maybe the sun came out (love me some vitamin D), or something else, but I felt great. Confident. Let’s do this!

Today I watched another kiddo (8 months), and it was so challenging. She’s a sweet little girl, but she’s dealing with separation anxiety and really hasn’t been away from her parents much. She needed to be constantly held. There was crying from both Finley and the LO, sometimes at the same time. I was in survival mode the whole time, and unfortunately we did very little playing. 

At one point, when both were overtired and in tears, I attempted to divide and conquer. LO went in the pack n play while I read Finley a couple books to help her calm down before attempting to put her down for a nap. That failed.

Finley came in the nursery where the pack n play was set up. I put Daniel Tiger on the iPad, and I held the little girl in the rocker while she napped. During this time, Finley pooped, and it was definitely past her normal nap time. I tried putting LO down in the pack n play, but her eyes opened immediately. 

The LO’s mom came to pick her up at 1:30pm, and Finley was still awake (she’s normally asleep by 12:30pm). After she left, Finley was not interested in napping, even though she was exhausted. Finally, she fell asleep at 2:55pm.

Long story short, having two kids isn’t going to be easy (duh). I know the situation today was unique, but it gave me a glimpse into how challenging some days may be with two. 

I wrote this all while holding my sleeping daughter, who finally fell asleep in her crib and only slept there for 45 minutes. It’s now 4:30, and she’s about to wake up. 

Pregnancy Update: 28 Weeks with Baby #2

How far along? Just over 28 weeks.

My SIL and I at 27 weeks. We have the same due date!

Gender? Girl!

Baby’s size? She’s the size of a large eggplant, about 2 1/4 pounds.

Weight gain? I think about 15-16 pounds.

Belly button in or out? Very much out! Finley loves poking it. Actually, it’s so far out, I wonder if it’s a hernia.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Sleep? Good! I’ve been sleeping with a pillow between my legs on some nights. I’m up to use the bathroom two times a night.

Best moment of the week? Being outside last week was amazing! It felt so great to have sunshine on my skin, watch Finley play at the park and color with chalk, and sit on our back patio.

Looking forward to? Hopefully passing my glucose tolerance test on Tuesday. This time around, my blood is drawn at 7:40am, and I’ll avoid eating breakfast to throw off the results. Last time, I failed the first test and had to take the three hour test, which I passed, but it still was not a fun way to spend that much time.

Miss anything? Wine and not being in almost constant discomfort (from the varicose veins).

Movement? Yes – a lot! This baby likes to move, especially at night after dinner when we’re watching tv or lying in bed. I love it!

Food cravings? Nothing really. Brody and I each had a hankering for a peanut butter milkshake after seeing one on tv, and we’ve since had two.

Anything making you sick or queasy? Nope.

Exercise? I had a strong start to the week and worked out the first three days, but it didn’t happen after that. There was a lot more walking this week, though, and I guess that counts.

Symptoms? Heartburn (I heart Tums), varicose veins, and linea nigra.

Labor signs? I believe I’m feeling Braxton Hicks at times, especially when I’m working out. 

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Freezer Meals for February

On Monday night, six of us met to assemble six dishes. I had taken a couple months off to clear out the stash of food in our deep freeze(r?), and I was excited to be back. The food for this month was also more grain-free/Paleo-friendly than previous. Score!

Granola Bars

These didn’t even make it to the freezer because I knew I wanted to bake them immediately for breakfasts and snacks this week. They are super yummy! I plan on wrapping most of them up individually and freezing them, because while Finley and I could polish these off pretty quickly, we probably shouldn’t. Also, if I make these again in the future, which I already plan on doing, I’ll use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

Chili Chicken, Kale and Quinoa Casserole

I’m looking forward to making this one because it looked really pretty! Normally casseroles are ugly – right? This also sounds like it would be a good spring or summer dish, so maybe if it’s a winner, I’ll make another one to store in my deep freeze for after Baby is born.

Zuppa Toscana

  • 1 lb sausage, browned (I used mild ground Italian sausage)
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed 
  • 16 oz spinach (frozen is fine)
  • 5 cups broth
  • 8 oz heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 2-3 slices cooked bacon (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Cook on low for 6 hours.

*Don’t include the potatoes. Keep them in your pantry until you make the soup. You also don’t need to include the broth in the bag.

Meatball and Veggie Soup

This was such a colorful bag of soup when it was finished! Check out all the veggies in it. This also could be a nice warmer weather soup. And by warmer I mean 30 degrees or higher. 

  • 32 oz bag of meatballs (don’t add to gallon ziplock bag – it won’t fit with everything else – just keep in freezer until you’re ready to make the soup)
  • 6 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 16 oz spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups green peppers, diced
  • 1 cup each summer squash and zucchini, diced (store in separate smaller bag and add to soup for the last hour of cooking – this can be frozen though)
  • 64 oz tomato juice (don’t add to gallon ziplock – keep in pantry and add the day of cooking)
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tbs dried basil
  • 1 tbs dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Cook on low for 4 hours, adding the squash and zucchini in the last hour.

Sweet Garlic Chicken

I made this for dinner Wednesday night and was pleasantly surprised. Other than slow cooker chicken that is shredded, I’ve had not so good luck with whole breasts. They end up dry and blah except for the sauce on the outside. These were a smidge dry but still tasty. Next time (because I only cooked one pound) I’ll reduce the cooking time even more.

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 1 tbs BBQ seasoning
  • 1 tbs Garlic and Herb seasoning
  • 1 tbs Asian seasoning
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup water

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

So ya, I disagree with the cooking time. While I did have half the amount of chicken, mine were done on low after four hours (or maybe less). Also, the sauce wasn’t very thick, so I took it out, heated it over the stove, and added a tapioca starch/water mixture to thicken it. You could use cornstarch but I didn’t have any.

Chicken Wings (no link or original source provided)

  • 2.5 lbs chicken legs and/or wings
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbs ketchup
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Place (thawed, if frozen) marinated chicken in a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for one hour.

Happy cooking and eating!


Anyone out there also in a freezer meal group or make freezer meals on their own? 


I’d like to think I’m pretty tough, have a decent ability to handle pain and discomfort, and am healthy enough. While I’m prone to self-diagnose via Dr. Google, it stems from a need to know why.

This pregnant mama needs to catch a break! Here’s why.

A week and a half ago, I had a bad sore throat that turned into a sinus infection. Last Wednesday, there was so much pressure behind my face that my eyes were red, puffy and watery. I was prescribed amoxicillin and aside from some lingering phelgm, it’s gone. 

Tuesday night of this week, I came home and idiotically shut my right thumb in the car door. Ouch! It turned blackish blue in less than ten minutes and throbbed constantly. Sleep was not very restful Tuesday night despite Tylenol and ice. 

I read online that sometimes a small hole will be drilled in a bruised nail to let the blood out and relieve the pressure, so I called my doctor’s office. After speaking to a nurse, she scheduled an appointment with my doctor. My doctor said the bruising didn’t cover enough of the nail bed to warrant drilling a hole in it (not sure if I was relieved or not about that) and that I could take ibuprofen. Apparently this pain reliever only really needs to be avoided during the third trimester of pregnancy, or at least that’s what she told me. At home, I found a bottle of aspirin – thinking it was the same as ibuprofen – and took three doses throughout the remainder of the day.

My thumb started to feel much better Wednesday late afternoon and did not affect my sleep. However, an itchy body did affect my sleep.

I woke up this morning to a body covered in hives. For real. Dr. Google stated I could take Benadryl, and luckily we had liquigels in the medicine cabinet, but I just noticed they expired in 2013. Awesome. Anyways, Brody suggested I still call my doctor to let her know what was happening. I’m 99% positive I’ve taken aspirin before, and that’s the only thing I can think of that was different yesterday. Before the itching really started during the night, I did notice my hands were itchy, but I chalked it up to their dryness. 

*Update: My doctor thinks I’m having an allergic reaction to the amoxicillin I’m on for the sinus infection. I’ve been instructed to stop taking it. 

And the cherry on top? My backs of my legs look like someone beat me up due to the varicose veins and spider veins, and the constant dull ache and pressure “down there” from my special veins create a very ugly and uncomfortable situation. My fingers and legs are crossed that all of the veins go back to normal after I give birth. 

Basically my body is a war zone and is failing me. Dramatic much? 

You can thank me for sparing you photos of my aforementioned ailments.

Today Thus Far

Today has went like this: 

-an early morning wakeup call (5:50am, and Finley has been on a cherry juice strike – coincidence?) 

-a trip to Woodmans for groceries for the week, including a huge vat of strawberries in the clearance section for 99 cents 

-a denied entrance to Play N Learn (a free play group funded by United Way) because we were five minutes late and they were already at capacity 

-an impromptu play date with Finley’s friend Noah and my friend Amber at their house 

-two phone conversations with nurses regarding sore throats and coughs (Finley and I are both under the weather) 

-a delicious lunch of salad with leftover crispy chicken and a small bowl of loaded baked potato soup from Costco 

-a short walk with the dogs while Finley napped

-the discovery on said walk that water was streaming out of a spigot on the side of our house


-a visit from the company who winterized our sprinkler system, who realized the valve wasn’t turned off (or was turned back on) 

-a sleeping toddler on my chest (she’s been sleeping another 30-60 minutes after she wakes up from her nap if we hold her…which we won’t be able to do for much longer so I’m enjoying the snuggles)


How’s your day going?

Meal Plan for Sunday, Feb. 8 – Saturday, Feb. 14

I’m posting this on an odd, likely non-shopping day for most folks, but you may always be looking for new recipes. I bookmark mine and go through them when I meal plan.

Also, this post was mostly done on Sunday, but I forgot to finish it and add the links. If you’re anything like me, though, mid-week you realize you’ve forgotten something you need for the week (truth #1) or run out of milk (truth #2).

Sunday: pineapple cashew fried rice

Monday (Brody’s birthday!!!): pork burgers and roasted cauliflower

Tuesday: kielbasa (roasted garlic kind from Costco) and roasted potatoes

Wednesday: oven baked chicken fajitas

Thursday: sloppy Josephines (like sloppy joes but with some veggies snuck in)

Friday: Asian-style ground pork in lettuce cups

Saturday: steak and potato salad

*These last three meals are recipes I’m testing for a friend writing a cookbook geared towards feeding toddlers healthy, good food. How cool is that!

My meals are also interchangeable throughout the week (as long as the meat is thawed or can thaw quickly). I’ll ask Brody what he’s in the mood for based on the options; sometimes he has an opinion and sometimes he doesn’t. If possible, I’ll do some or all prep during Finley’s afternoon nap since 5-6pm can still be somewhat of a witching hour for her.

Let me know if you try any of these!

Helping Finley Sleep: Tart Cherry Juice

For a couple months now, Finley has been waking up before 6am more often. She’s also been unhappy and crabby more often in the morning.

One particularly difficult morning (she wanted her paci which we now only give her for sleeping or in the car)

While I can handle the early mornings, I want her to be in a good mood, and it got me wondering if she wasn’t getting enough sleep at night.

One crabby morning made better by eating my breakfast

Since she was only a handful of months old, her bedtime has been around 7pm. Her wakeup time doesn’t seem to be affected greatly by her bedtime. We’ve had nights where she’s went down closer to 8pm or after, and she’s still up around 6am. We’ve also taken into consideration the temperature and darkness of her room, her pajamas, hunger, etc.

A while ago, I read Mama Natural’s blog post about giving her son tart cherry juice. In the study she sites, adults consumed tart cherry juice for seven days, and both the quality and duration of their sleep improved. Mama Natural experienced these same positive results with her son.

So I thought, why not?

I bought tart cherry juice, kefir, and coconut water at Woodmans and crossed my fingers.

Most days, I would estimate Finley is only taking in 1 ounce total. After experimenting with various mix-ins, she has liked it with cherry and blueberry kefir the most. Sometimes I’ll add a little whole milk to cut down on the sweetness and sugar. She doesn’t like it with water, coconut water, straight milk, or vanilla kefir. I give her a sippy cup of it right away in the morning, before her nap, after her nap, and right before bed. She rarely drinks a lot at once, so that’s why I give it to her so often.

Finley taking a longer than normal nap

When we first started this experiment, she began sleeping in an extra thirty minutes in the morning. For about a week, she never woke up before 6:15am. Then I ran out of the cherry kefir and tried the other mix-ins. She refused the juice for a few days and had early and grumpy mornings again. I then bought the blueberry kefir, she started drinking the juice again, and she began waking up a little later and in a happier disposition.

Sleeping like a rock star

Maybe it’s all coincidence. Timing. The placebo effect. Whatever it is, it seems to be working.

Meal Plan for Saturday, January 31 – Thursday, Feb. 5

Happy Sunday!

I did my meal planning on Saturday morning because I knew I’d have the opportunity to grocery shop alone during Finley’s nap. Brody’s dad is visiting from Switzerland, so while he and Brody watched a documentary about The Basement Tapes (amazing by the way!), I drove to Copps in Middleton.

I prefer to do my grocery shopping at Woodmans, but I knew it would be busy and I didn’t feel like driving into Sun Prairie for the fifth time in a week. One benefit of this store is there’s a Starbucks in the same strip mall area, so I picked up a decaf Americano with a few pumps of skinny mocha.

This week’s meals are nothing spectacular and include lots of leftover nights because Brody will be gone skiing and my mom will be visiting. This was a chance to make a couple things Brody doesn’t love or won’t eat that I will enjoy and make for good leftovers.

Saturday: carry out from Salvatore’s (we had the Forestiere and Forza)
*Brody’s dad loves their pizza like we do, so we knew we’d have it one night he was here. We picked it up after taking Finley ice skating for the first time.


Sunday: Ohio Farmhouse Sausage Chili (from The Joy of Cooking), cornbread, and side salad


Monday: leftovers and/or something from the freezer

Tuesday: Emily’s sloppy joes on baked potatoes

Wednesday: The Pioneer Woman’s chicken spaghetti

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: leftovers

Are you watching the Super Bowl? We will be, although I may be hitting up a prenatal yoga class from 4:30-5:30pm. Then I’ll come home to watch football, chase Finley around and eat yummy food.

Pregnancy Update: 22 weeks with Baby #2

Hi! Happy Tuesday afternoon!

I’m blogging again – crazy. Let’s talk about pregnancy. I doubt I’ll do pregnancy updates as often as I did with my first, but here’s at least one to get things started. 

   How far along? Almost 22 weeks

*picture from about a week ago 

Gender? Girl!


Baby’s size? Spaghetti squash (11 inches, almost 1 pound). 


Weight gain? 11 lbs. This is more than I had gained at this point with Finley but I was about five pounds less starting out than I was pre-pregnancy with Finley. So whatever. 

Belly button in or out? Kind of out already.

Wedding rings on or off? On. I had forgotten I took them off at night during my first pregnancy.

Sleep? Good. I go to sleep around 9:30pm, wake up twice to use the bathroom around 11pm and 3am, and I’m up for the day around 6am. 

Best moment(s) of the week? Family trip to Chicago! Brody took Friday off and we drove down Thursday night. On Friday morning, we had breakfast at The Bongo Room and spent two and a half hours at the Shedd Aquarium.



Miss anything? Stomach sleeping. 

Looking forward to? Brody’s dad is visiting and staying with us this weekend. We’re excited for him to spend a lot of time with Finley. On the baby front, we looking at decor for her room, so that’s fun. 

Movement? I’ve been feeling movement inside for a few weeks, and recently, movement with my hand on the belly.

Food cravings? A few weeks back, I was into Raisin Bran, but otherwise, not much. I have been loving oranges but I wouldn’t say it’s a craving.


Anything making you sick or queasy? As with my first pregnancy, whole chicken breasts gross me out.  

Exercise? Meh. I try to get to the gym twice a week, whether that’s for a kickboxing class or a session on the elliptical. I did attend a prenatal yoga class at Dragonfly in Middleton with my other pregnant friend, Mel. I bought a ten class package, so that’ll be good for me. 

Symptoms? The varicose veins (on legs and elsewhere) are baaaaack. Yuck. They’re so much worse than last time. I got fitted for compression leggings but haven’t been good about wearing them. The waistband hits at an awkward spot and either gives me ridiculous muffin top or two pregnant bellies. I spoke to my doctor about options if these don’t go away after giving birth. They did with Finley, so fingers crossed they will disappear again…immediately. 

Labor signs? Nope. 

 Have a good day!