Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Munchies: One Pot Meals

We're nearing the one month mark since our move...and unfortunately there isn't an end in sight to the boxes! Which means we've been eating a lot of boxed macaroni #truthbomb 
BUT-with these recipes, once my kitchen is slightly unpacked, I can quickly get myself back in the game!  

If you try any of these out, you'll have to let me know which ones are keepers! 

One Pan Crispy Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Vegetables

Honey Mustard Chicken & Potatoes |

One Pot Greek Chicken and Rice with roasted lemon halves is a quick weeknight meal with garlic, lemon, and super flavorful seasoned rice pilaf.

One Pot Skinny Creamy Garlic Noodles, a dinner recipe idea by Favorite Family Recipes

Thai Veggie Quinoa Bowl recipe is a perfect summer one pot meal. Full of crunchy flavors and a sharp and tangy Asian inspired dressing. Healthy and delicious. Vegan and Gluten-Free too.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Bumpdate! 20 weeks

I'm so glad to be back in this space! So much to share with you, but I'm mostly just thrilled that I get to come back and be in this current place. 21w6d...we've come a long, long way, thank God.  

Although I'm still wondering where my bump is exactly?  I definitely had one at 18 weeks with, people are still surprised when I tell them I'm pregnant!  

Total weight gain/loss: this is interesting: in my previous three pregnancies, I've always gained a lot of weight-it ranged from 40lbs-55lbs in total; first trimester was always a gain of 10lbs!  I exercised a lot less with Hannah, which is probably why I gained more than I did with my other pregnancies.  There's the idea that how you eat impacts the weight you'll gain, but this pregnancy has made me question if that's really true, or it there's some truth to the theory of you eat what you need and your body gains what it needs...
I gained 20lbs pre-pregnancy over the past year+ with treatments and miscarriages and just life in general!  I assumed once I got pregnant either I would buckle down on nutritious eating and exercise and keep the weight gain to a minimum, or, I'd gain the typical 40lbs-50lbs I gain in pregnancy.  Of course, I really hoped I could keep it to a minimum because I do plan on losing it all post baby.  Here's where it gets interesting, and I am not condoning this at all, but this is just my reality given my personal circumstances these days (moving, previous weight gain, lack of exercise, feeling overwhelmed, lacking the ability to cook my own food, etc) so far, at 21 weeks, with lack of exercise, and no conscience eating what so ever, I am up about 12 lbs. That, is very odd to me...but hey, I'll take it! Has anyone ever had an experience like that?

Maternity Clothes: I have some stretchy skirts and tunic tops I'm living in.  My maternity clothes remain by a friend and I was not able to get them before I moved out of town. Either I'll get them soon, or I'll have to buy new.  Either way, I figured that after having gone through my pregnancies and her pregnancies, combined with probably being completely  out of style, I was digging the idea of doing a capsule maternity wardrobe!  I've picked up a few pieces as needed, but I hope for at least my weekday staple wardrobe to be done through the capsule.  

Sleep:  Sleep has been somewhat challenging.  I have become uncomfortable sooner than I remember with the other pregnancies, and I requires pillows at this point.  But, I don't always have all the pillows I need and we have a shortage of pillows around here, so that makes things difficult at times.  I also seem to have been hit with heartburn all of a sudden! Heartburn was always my classic pregnancy symptom, beginning around the time of a pregnancy test!  This time, it wasn't until 20 weeks I experienced heart burn AND I already experienced that dreaded choking on your acid reflux in the middle of the night! That hasn't happened to me until the third trimester, oh boy!!!

Best moment this month: Our anatomy scan confirmed we have a seemingly healthy baby on our hands, thank God.  We weren't so fortunate with Hannah, but this baby is not presenting with the same issues!!!  We will follow up with another scan in a few weeks, and I have requested a fetal echocardiogram.  This is not being recommended to me, rather in NY, these were standard for pregnancies conceived via IVF.  That ultrasound gives me a lot of piece of mind, so I asked for it, and the doctor happily obliged! That is coming up in the next couple of weeks!  

Movement:  I have been feeling movement since 10 weeks, as crazy as that sounds!  I have heard from other women that the more pregnancies you have, the earlier you feel movement.  So, while I will never be 100% sure that what I felt was the baby, I know what it wasn't. But, what made that difficult is that having felt movement, makes it harder to not feel movement.  Not only is it not common to feel movement so early, even when fetal movement is normal, around 14-16 weeks, it's not consistent.  So that was challenging for me-that lack of fetal movement didn't mean fetal demise. Now, just after 20 weeks, I was able to feel movement from the outside!!

Exercise: For so many reasons, I haven't been exercising.  I know that I can't jump back into the routine I was doing pre-pregnancy, but I do plan on securing a trainer for 2-3 times a week (she recommended 30 minute sessions) and then doing some other form of exercise 1-2 times per week.  A friend invited me to barre, so I'll look into that!  Although exercise and dieting hasn't been an issue for me when I needed it to work, pregnancy is an easy excuse to be lax, and I don't want to end up in as out of shape as I was after Hannah, but I know unless  I make exercise an appointment, like everything else in my life now, I won't willingly take myself away from my crazy, unpacked, upside down house!  

Gender: For the first time, I succeeded in not finding out the gender of this baby!  I really, truly, don't want to know and I am so enjoying just finally bonding over the baby.

Labor signs: No, thankfully! And at the anatomy scan they offered me a cervical check, and thankfully mine was measuring solidly above their requirement, at 3.4. 

Belly button in or out: IN! Due to my pre-pregnancy weight gain, my stomach is still looking flabby and not necessarily pregnancy, so it has that concave shape a little...almost 22 weeks and still in an awkward pregnancy stage! #help #wheresthebump

What I miss: besides my clothes (specifically having enough underwear) and my house not being upside down-nothing!  

What I'm looking forward to: every week is a step in the right direction! Next Friday I have my requested fetal echocardiogram. 

Poll: Boy or Girl???

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

16 Week Check Up!

Here I am, solidly into the second trimester...thank God.  

I said I'd feel more relaxed...I don't.
I said I'd feel better...I don't.
I said I'd be more optimistic...I'm not.
I said I'd be more motivated...I'm not.
I said I'd stop worrying as much...I haven't.
I said I'd stop being convinced the baby had died...I haven't.

Anxiety is real...trauma is real...

I said all of these things, and they make complete sense!  Up until this point, I was still in that risky time.  Although I'm presently 16w2d, I hadn't seen the baby since 12w4d. So when people would excitedly remind me I was well into the second trimester, I just replied, "I don't know if the baby is in the second trimester!" That was to be confirmed today-and thank God it was! But this is how real and irrational anxiety and trauma are:  at almost halfway through this pregnancy, things are looking more and more positive. I should let myself breathe and think that maybe, just maybe, I'll bring home a baby in January.  I thought once I get there, I'll be ok. I'll stop worrying so much because I have every reason to be less worried! But anxiety tricks you-when you think you're comfortable, when you think you have a plan, it finds a new way to rob you of being comforted.  

Today it took some time to find the heartbeat again.  I got a sense the nurse was getting a little nervous, but eventually a heartbeat popped on the machine, "150 beats per minute," she proclaimed, and then just as quick as it was found, she turned the doppler off.  Relieved for half a second, I texted my husband:

It's alive, but I don't believe it. 

It took too long...
I only heard it for a second...
It was probably my own heartbeat...
How does she know...

I got to this place, this place I waited to be in for so long, this place that I thought would give me comfort, but I'm not comforted, now, not even a doppler can convince me all is well. 

You can follow my story this week at The Layers Project where I'm discussing my story and more about my anxiety and trauma resulting from the past 18 months...


Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Munchies: Firecracker Chicken

Sounds like summer huh? 
I am not one to experiment with meats or poultry; probably because no matter, I never end up eating it.  But, I contributed to a Shabbos lunch meal this past weekend, and I said I'd make chicken.  I knew I needed to spice things up #nopunintended 

We don't own a grill, or a fryer, or any fancy shmancy meat contraption.  So I needed something simple. What I loved about this was although it took a few steps, nothing was too complicated or overly time consuming. What else was nice, is that by cooking it in the pan first, you greatly reduce the overall cooking time!

Baked Firecracker Chicken

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar or honey (I used brown sugar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar 
2 cloves grated garlic (I buy the pre-minced)
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper

Heat the hot sauce, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauce pan until sugar is melted and it looks like a sauce.  

Then, begin heating the oil in a skillet (the original recipe calls for using an oven safe skillet so you can brown it and then bake it in the same pan, but since I don't have an oven safe skillet, I just transferred the chicken to a tray.  

Salt and pepper the chicken, and when the oil is hot, brown it in the skillet; 3-5 minutes per side.  

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, about 10-15 minutes. 

If you like spicy, this is the recipe for you! 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Home Tour: Entryway

I hope you'll join me over the next several weeks as I showcase our current apartment.  It's pretty bittersweet, as we'll be moving on in less than a month.  You may remember, we moved to Baltimore in July of last year, and in August we'll find our way to Columbus, Ohio.  I've always regretted not taking the time to showcase each of our current spaces-yes, each...there have been seven in almost ten years!  While I don't consider myself a decorator by any means, I've always fallen in love with the spaces I've created. We've only rented, so you have to make do with what you have, and part of that is budgeting too!  All things considered, I think I've done really well making it stylish, functional, and meaningful.  My "houses" (and currently apartment) have always been homes, and for that I'm so thankful.  

Without further ado...c'mon in

Entryway mats had always been a dilemma to me: function, yet stylish-only to wasn't until I thought to find a doorway mat that was cheeky and just me...this makes me smile every time.  This was bought on Etsy, but you can find several on Amazon.  

And chances are, you can usually find me at home with donuts.  
Is it a real baby, or a donut baby? 

Since we're moving to Columbus, where there isn't a kosher Dunkin' Donuts, you will find me like this for the next few weeks...

A common theme you will notice throughout the apartment, is maximizing walls and corners.  That chalk board wall is really blocking a door into the kitchen. But, just to left of the bikes is the dining room with an entry into the kitchen as well.  Two entries into the kitchen within a matter of steps was just not necessary.  When we moved here, we lost our garage, so bikes and strollers now had to be stored inside the apartment, in addition to lacking space in general. So, we made this a little entryway nook.  It looks tight, but there is plenty of room, even with the bikes hanging on the wall.  And they aren't too terrible to get down and put back, I just try to avoid it.  

The board was painted with chalk board paint and again, to maximize space, it provides my kids another area to play.  

But it also provides me with another nook on the other side, plus I can use the other door for door storage, and hanging laundry space-to be showcased later!

This is about as good of a command center I pulled off this year, and it was really a life saver.  The bins on top were bought from Amazon. During the year, it stored papers that were necessary to be saved, or time sensitive items that needed to be taken to school.  Now, it stores their summer packets.  

The hooks are from Anthropologie, they were a little pricey, but it gives such charm to this space.  I love personalization, and I especially love this industrial look-it just ties in the bikes and the chalk board.  

I appreciate any way that clutter is organized and off the floor-so this was the perfect solution since we don't have a mudroom or adequate closet storage.  It also gave the kids the opportunity to be responsible with their bags-emptying and hanging.  

Thanks for joining, and week I'll show you our living/family room.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

First Trimester Screen Blood Results

A week and a half ago I got the call that my blood work came back with good numbers-meaning the ultrasound combined with the blood work indicates a low possibility this baby has trisomy 18 or trisomy 21.  I am to repeat blood work between now and 21 weeks with results that are 90% accurate.  
I am presently 15 weeks 2 days.  I was supposed to be in New York this past weekend, and I managed to get squeezed into my OB that Friday for a check with the doppler.  However, Dovy and I got sick en route,  so we turned around and I was forced to forfeit the appointment.  I have been trying my best to think positive and just hang in until my regularly scheduled appointment which is in a week from now, Tuesday July 25th.  I have had a very hard time connecting to this pregnancy beyond the here and now-which is why there has yet to be a bumpdate.  It saddens me because I have 6 week belly pictures from every other pregnancy, and I just can't overcome my fear and get that done.  But, I will have to, because I'll regret it. And just to clarify, this has nothing to do with a "4th baby" or "too busy" none of that, "youngest child" syndrome-this is pure anxiety getting in my way, which I hope to address here soon!

Typically, I will feel daily movement, but it is still early that it's faint and can easily be confused with any other bodily function we commonly feel.  So, the movements are not always reassuring-because it's easy to question them, it provides me little relief.  I know that statistically, things are ok in there, and I am just trying to be reassured by that.  

Check back Thursday as I'll have a pretty cool, new to me, type of update on the blog!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Just popping in...again #inserteyeroll 
It's Monday Munchies!!!!! But once again, we have to go with a stock photo because this recipe was used during a fabulous Shabbos lunch! 

"Strawberry watermelon soup"   This soup makes a refreshing first course for a summertime meal.

This recipe got several compliments-it's light, tasty, not overly sweetened with sugar, contains no dairy, and is so refreshing! 

2-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, and hulled
1/3 cup sugar 2-1/2 cups seedless watermelon, cut into chunksJuice of 1 lemonJuice of 1 orangeSprigs of fresh mint or lemon thyme

Slice one pint of the berries into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Set aside for 15 min. Transfer the sliced berries and their juice to the bowl of a food processor. Add the watermelon, the lemon juice, and the orange juice and process to a smooth purée. Transfer the purée to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 to 60 min., until cold.

When you are ready to serve the soup, evenly divide the “broth” among 4 dessert bowls; glass is nice. Slice the remaining strawberries thin, and add some slices to each bowl. Garnish with sprigs of mint or lemon thyme, and serve at once. 

4 servings

I tripled this could definitely get away with cutting the sugar.  I would also recommend using orange juice if you're making such a large batch-and maybe even adding more than the recommended amount to make up for cut sugar, and/or changing the flavor a bit.  
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