Thursday, February 28, 2013

14 weeks, 3 months complete....

Uh....you can make that 15 weeks tomorrow!  But who's counting anyway...
How far along? 14 weeks 6 days

 At some point I used to be photogenic, I promise!

Total weight gain/loss: we'll leave that blank for now...I'm sure it's at least +15, but I forget to weigh myself in the morning, and then I eat salty food all day, and don't want to weigh myself the next morning either because I tell myself the weight must be water weight...hmph...I find out for sure on Tuesday when I go to the Dr. Wonderful...although I might look the other way!

Maternity clothes? None yet, however my jean skirts are officially too small-I used the hairband trick to keep it closed. 

Sleep:The energy of the second trimester is thankfully returning!  I still go to sleep too late and have to wake up early, so exhaustion is the norm.  I have noticed that I can't sleep on my stomach anymore and I'm needing to use all the pillows. 

Best moment this week: hosting my first show with Stella & Dot-and it was a success!  Can't wait to see what comes of this new journey!

Movement:Definitely feeling it more now-for awhile I thought I hadn't been feeling anything, but I realized that what I was feeling, was actually movement, so I've started noticing it a lot more now. 
Food cravings: These cravings are kicking my butt-I could eat candy and potato chips all day.  It is rather upsetting because I'm not one of those that can eat and not gain weight.  
Exercise:  still non-existent.  On days when it has been nice-I haven't been able to go, but then the days that I can do-it's freezing!  Make up your mind!!! I am going to get my weights out and get a routine together-I know that will help.  I'm going to look into DVDs and hopefully get control of that this coming week.  Plus, I know that once I get control of my exercise, my diet will follow suit.  I'm an all or none person and when I know that I'm not exercising I feel like I've blown it so might as well just eat too. 

Gender: Thinking girl, but will hope to make it through the anatomy scan without finding out.

Labor Signs: Nope! Although I have felt period like cramps, but have had to remind myself that that does kind of make sense-there is something  growing in my uterus ;)

Belly Button in or out? In, but starting to stick out up top

What I miss:running and having self-control over my diet...must.get.better!

What I am looking forward to:OB appointment Tuesday!  Two Stella & Dot shows this coming week! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Munchies...

Saturday night began the very joyous holiday of Purim.  "Purim is  a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther."  There's a lot of joyous celebration and it's  tradition to dress up.  A simple explanation as to why we dress up is that we are disguising ourselves-much like the miracle of this holiday.  The miracle took place through what appeared at the time, to be regular, day to day events.  Ultimately, it was a miracle.  

This year, our theme was Where the Wild Things Are.  Moshe was King Max, and Dovy was a monster.  Their costumes are from Pottery Barn, found on-sale, post Halloween!  Although I had been eyeing them for weeks...


How cute are my monsters?  I should have gotten a picture of the back of the costumes, but they have the cutest tails!

Another tradition of Purim is to hand out bags called Shaloch Manos.  It translates to sending portions, and the idea is to give at least two blessings (all of our food is broken into different groups and each group has it's own blessing). Each food item has to be ready to eat.  The requirement is to pass along some food items to at least two people, but many people enjoy creating a package that goes along with their theme.  

Here are some of my inspirations and final results:


This is the original from pinterest...

Here's is my creation:

I glued one to each side of a small brown bag


The bags were filled with red lentil soup, a roll, and some hamantaschen (which will be discussed shortly...)  


These adorable paper cutouts were a digital file created by Paper Cupcake Designs on Etsy.  I have to tell you that I have worked with her now on a couple of my events, and her service is outstanding!  She has such a quick turnaround, is incredibly reliable, and really cares about her customers.  Previously, I gave her wrong measurements for one of my cutters-this was the night before a huge event!  She got back to me within the hour with an adjustment.  I really cannot thank her enough for her quick and outstanding service and quality of work.  She comes highly recommended!!!

When I was searching for ideas, I came across this pin


When I went to the website, I was connected to Nikki's blog, and came across this fabulous beauty...wait for it.....


It gets me every time....

Thank my lucky stars because I read the comments and saw that she was going to put the printable on her Etsy site, so I contacted her A-SAP, and got back to me with in the day!  How awesome sauce is it that I found this incredible idea on Pinterest and within a day I was printing it out on my own computer for a minimal fee?  Seriously doesn't get any better than that! 

Here's my own version

Again, sorry for the lack of flippage 



along with a poem I created that hopefully summarized the story enough for those who are not familiar with it (yes, I did come across some blank stares when I said we were Where the Wild Things Are).  


Sorry I  can't seem to flip it...

Overall, I'm thrilled with how they turned out!

Now, onto the munchie part...

Bubby's Hamantaschen
1 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
6 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder]
1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream margarine and sugar together.

Add in eggs, mix, gradually add in flour.  Add in baking powder and vanilla.  

It is better to refrigerate to allow the dough to harden and not be as sticky.  Flour your surface, and roll out over a large area.  You can use whatever size circular cutout you want-they will increase in size upon baking.  

Here are the photos to demonstrate how to make a hamantaschen...keep in mind that the reason they will open up, is likely due to too much filling, or not good enough corner closer.  I specifically limited the filling, and used water to seal my edges.  

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes (My Bubby says 15-20, they'll just be harder then).



Just pinch the top and two sides, and voila!!!


Here's our last year's Purim



All paper goods and costumes are from Etsy...If you need specific info let me know!

On another note...I want to congratulate Jess on winning the Rhea bracelet giveaway!  Jess, I do not have any contact info, please comment with your e-mail by Wednesday at midnight, or unfortunately I will have to choose another winner!

Thanks to all those who participated!



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weighty Issues....

I don't want to make this a series, undoubtedly I will write about this topic at least a handful of times now, as I have some posts in mind regarding the "weight" topic, and I'm sure as my pregnancy, G-d willing, progresses, and as well as after...

I never dieted before Moshe was born.  I was never heavy, a bit on the chunky side, but no one would ever characterize me as over weight.  In 10th grade we were required to choose a gym class; so my BFF and I chose Personal Training. We got into lifting weights and running.  The teacher challenged all of her classes that whichever period ran the most miles, would get out of taking the final.  With that in mind,  I began making myself a regular at the gym on the treadmill.  Now, I had played soccer, golf, did gymnastics, and ran track throughout my youth-and quit all of them
(my dad is always quick to remind me).  But it wasn't until that moment that I saw the benefits of exercise.  After that 10th grade gym class, I took up exercising.  Not dieting though-I exercised so I could eat the ice cream!

Take a look:  some of these are senior pictures, the rest are post-high school, pre-marriage.   





Throughout my pregnancy with Moshe, I continued to exercise, but due to the first trimester restrictions put on by Dr. Beloved, my exercise capability was drastically reduced by the time I was allowed to exercise.  Add on top of that, a bleeding scare at 16 weeks, with additional restrictions, my exercise consisted of daily 3 mile walks.  I managed to gain 40 lbs.  I had visions of myself leaving the hospital with my regular flat(ter) stomach and fitting into non-maternity clothes soon after.  Although throughout the pregnancy, I googled many anights about tricks for a flat stomach, tight abs, smaller hips, etc.  I bought a C-panty, a Medela support band, and I researched countless others.  (I can say at this point, nothing I bought worked, and just caused a loss of funds as well as frustration and uncomfortablness). 

Take a look:  these pictures are from the birth of Moshe until he was about 10 months old.

I'm sure you notice the (not) flat stomach....

This was a harsh reality for me...I continued walking, and I added in lots of cardio-running at the gym, 30 Day Shred, you name it-I would exercise it....but I never lost all the weight.  And, to be quite honest-it wasn't the weight so to speak-as big(ger) as I was, it was only 10 lbs heavier than when I was in highschool, but took about losing 20 lbs to fit into those same clothes again.  

While on a summer trip, I visited my college roommate in Chicago. She informed me of her own journey with Weight Watchers and why she loved it so much.  I was really hesitant because I felt like I was already doing everything I could-and it wasn't working.  She convinced me I should give it a try, after all I had nothing to lose...

Those two months were a major transformation for me.  Not only did I lose the additional weight I needed to lose, I lost more than I ever imagined!  I signed up to lose 10 lbs, and by the time I got pregnant with Dovy, I was down almost 22 lbs.  And honestly, it really wasn't that much effort because for the majority of the time I was on Weight Watchers that go around, I was nursing.  The extra nursing points were my snacks, I also exercised but didn't trade in the points, so I averaged -2 lbs a week.  
Take a look:


Besides having a fatter stomach, and less love handles, I notice the biggest difference in my face.  I would always complain to my husband that my wig was bad (I wear wigs and hair coverings for religious reasons) but it wasn't until now that I realized it was just my face-once I lost weight, my face thinned out!!!  In all of those pictures, I remember feeling like a million bucks!  

When I was pregnant with Dovy, I managed to continue walking, but I added in some pre-natal DVDs and maintained some weight lifting.  I managed to gain, 45 lbs (although I started out 10 lbs. lighter, so I was ok with that) and this is me 4 days after he was born:


Yeah, major preggo...

So by 2 weeks post-partum, I had re-joined Weight Watchers.  By 6 months, I had lost all the weight, and fluctuated up an down a few lbs depending on the week.  


I didn't get pregnant at my ideal weight, I was a few lbs up, but considering I actually ovulated I'm willing to bet that hormones played a part in my weight gain. 

In February of this past year, 6 months postpartum, I decided to buy a double jogging stroller, and begin the Couch 2 5k.  In 3 weeks (it's a 6 week program) I was running 3 miles.  I continued to increase it from there-although I still couldn't believe I was actually running 3 miles!!! And by the early summer I was up to running 7 miles a day!!!  Eventually my Sunday run would be 10 miles!  

I had grand plans of continuing the running throughout pregnancy.  However, we have had a brutal winter, and combine that with first trimester yukiness (including a non-medicated sinus infection) I got out of habit, and quite frankly lost motivation.  But to be honest-I'm scared...I'm scared because I managed to gain a lot of weight with both pregnancies-while exercising.  

It has been extremely frustrating for me to see my weight increase, which actually wouldn't bother me as much if I was able to exercise, as well as the fact that my cravings are out of control.  I do want to  do some research into the basis of cravings-are they just in my mind, or is there a biologic component to it?  Why am I even contemplating buying 50 individual bags of Lays potato chips from Costco?  Eating a doughnut everyday?  Going out to the store to buy icecream?  Why is it that when I'm on Weight Watchers I can walk right by all of those things?  But now-they are screaming: EAT ME!!! Besides the fact that these bad eating habits impact my family's eating...it's something I'm getting better at controlling now that the first trimester has passed, as well as something I want to control better with exercise and some self-control. 

Any tips?  Any suggestions?  Can anyone relate?  

This is a loose finish, but next up regarding this topic will be exercise during pregnancy!  

Happy Sunday and Monday :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Stella & Dot Giveaway!!!
 
In my last post I mentioned that I had taken a leap of faith and joined the Stella & Dot team!   
 
 
 
  
I'm thrilled to be offering a giveaway for the Rhea bracelets!
 Rhea BanglesRhea Bangles - Rose GoldRhea Bangles - Silver
These bracelets can be found in gold, silver and rose!  The giveaway will close Saturday at midnight. All you have to do is comment what piece you're lovin' from their spring line, and become a follower!  The winner will be announced next week...
 
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

So I took a leap of faith...

Sometimes it's all about reminding yourself that you can do something-success, it's all up to you!  Exercising positive self-talk really can work! So many times throughout the years I've desired the ability to put myself out there, create something different for myself-and I've finally done it!

 I've been thinking about joining the Stella & Dot team for some time now.  I researched it a bit in the summer, but then our disaster of 2012 happened (that would be our move...) so I put it on the back burner.  Then I started my first real life job, and well, life happened.  When Megan at Honey We're Home announced she was creating a team, I commented on the blog that I was super interested but that I was just unsure.  This is where the unbelievable part comes in-Megan commented on my post, mentioned that she couldn't find my e-mail, commented on my blog-saying she hoped I saw her comment and offered to speak to me about Stella & Dot.  But that's not all-she spent an hour on the phone with me one afternoon before picking her cutie up from school.  Not only did she offer me advice and her take on Stella & Dot, she also offered me any help I needed with the blog!  I seriously cannot thank her enough for the encouragement and support!  

So, needless to say, a few nights later, I jumped on the bandwagon and joined Megan's team, and I couldn't be happier!  I now have my own business-whatever I achieve, will be my own.  I am taking this opportunity by the horns and running like crazy with it!  I will create my own success story.  I feel empowerment and confidence that I have never felt before.   

I'm overcoming my fears and I'm achieving whatever it is I decide I want to achieve!  Thank you Megan for your countless hours, e-mails and support! 

So, without further ado, I want to welcome you to my Stella & Dot shop

 
How gorgeous and inspirational are the packages?!?

Olivia Bib Necklace
  
You can shop these gorgeous accessories-it's not only jewelry, there are scarves, bags, and wallets, through my trunk show which will run through March 25!  Just copy this link:    http://www.stelladot.com/ts/0grn5

And because I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity, as well as the fact that today is my 26th birthday (happy laborversary mom! AND it's Megan's birthday too-how awesome, birthday buddies!) I am beyond thrilled to offer the Rhea bangles as a giveaway!  These bangles are true beauties and have been featured in Lucky Magazine!  I can't wait for mine to arrive!  All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway, is leave a comment stating which piece you're lovin' from Stella & Dot, as well as follow along!  The last day to enter will be Saturday 2/23. 

Rhea BanglesRhea Bangles - Rose Gold

If you're interested in discussing the Stella & Dot stylist opportunity, or just want to discuss sales and promotions, please reach out to me at asrubin10@gmail.com
If you are in the NY area and would like to host a trunk show, you can reach out to me as well!
I can't get over the amount of materials, training and in-house support I've received in only two weeks!  Besides that, I'm experiencing first hand how a little work, can have a huge payoff!
I guarantee you won't be disappointed! 














Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Munchies...

Today's recipe is for the easiest and one of the best strawberry pies I've ever tasted!  I still can't get over how easy it is!  I will admit, it's on the sweet side, so if you like it more tart, I would experiment with the amount of sugar that goes into the filling.  The recipe is from cooks.com.  Let me just tell you, I got lucky on this one!


1 c. sugar
3 tbsp. cornstarch
2 c. crushed strawberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. sugar
2 c. fresh whole strawberries
1 9" pie shell, baked
Whipped cream
 










Combine sugar, cornstarch and crushed berries in a saucepan. 



Cook over direct heat and stir constantly until thick and smooth.


 Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and let stand until cool.Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over cooked pie shell. 

Pour 2 cups whole strawberries over that, cover with cool strawberry mixture, let stand about 4 hours. 



 Top with whipped cream.


 Enjoy!

I just couldn't resist.....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

To humidify or not to humidify...

       He's cute right?!?

It's a pretty loaded question-at least to me it has been.  I've been in charge of at least one little person for three and a half years, and I still don't know about humidifies.  Humidifier vs. vaporizer?  When it's too hot or too cold?  Hot mist or cool mist?  High tech or low tech?  On and on and on.  I've bought and return, eyed and forgotten...and I still don't know!  So, here's some research on the topic...

First of all, what is the purpose of a humidifier or a vaporizer?  

Humidifiers and vaporizers relieve congestion, which can be a symptom of a cold or the flu.  The added moisture in the air will also moisturize the nasal passage which helps thin the mucous which allows better breathing and better passage of the mucous (I guess I should be thankful for runny noses...)

So what's the difference between a vaporizer and a humidifier? 

A vaporizer, also known as a warm mist humidifier, emits a warm mist.  Medications can be added to these versions.  The con to this type of humidifier is that it does get hot, and therefore poses a burn risk; there is also a fire risk due to the types of surfaces the warm mist humidifier could be placed on.  The National Institutes of Health recommend  that a house with children opt for a cool mist humidifier instead. 

A cool mist humidifier, emits (wait for it....) cool water!  It does not have the burn risks or fire risks that the vaporizers/warm mist humidifiers do.  However, this type of humidifier breeds bacteria, mold and mineral deposits that will disperse into the air when in use.

According to the Mayo Clinic, both warm mist and cool mist moisturize equally, and, in fact, they claim that by the time the mist reaches the lower airway, it's the same temperature regardless.  Cool mist humidifiers are also cheaper. 

Ok, so now that the basics are understood-when does one need to be used?

Well, a good time to use one is in the winter when colds are very common.   You could also use a humidifier if the moisture level in your home is low.  By adding a humidifier you can increase the moisture in any room-ideal humidity is 35-40%.  However, you have to be careful to not have excessive moisture, which can increase dust mites.  Also, if furniture, or drapes, or linens, etc are getting damp due to the moisture, that will breed mold.

Wow-I'm so glad I researched this and learned some facts!

All information was taken from:

Babycenter.com
everydayhealth.com
ehow.com
coldflu.about.com

   


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spreadin' the Love...

Valentines hasn't been a major holiday for me-not growing up, and not now.  This year, I knew I wanted to do something, but between my regular obligations and exhaustion, I couldn't really muster the strength to pull anything together.  When I pulled into the grocery story parking lot Sunday, I knew I needed to find something quick on Pinterest, otherwise I would be SOL for a Valentines treat!!!  Thankfully, this recipe jumped right out at me, and it's my new best friend.
Two Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

~LadyWithTheRedRocker~ Two (2) Ingredient Strawberry Fudge. So stinking easy!!! #fudge #strawberryfudge #2ingredientfudge #twoingredientfudge   
Original pin...

Ok, so are you ready for it? 

1 12oz bag of white chocolate chips
1 container of strawberry flavored frosting 

Melt the chips (original recipe used microwave, I used the stovetop.  Melting chocolate is something I just can't master, so it did start to burn, but when i noticed it was clumping up as oppose to thinning, I just added the frosting.) 
When chips are melted, add in frosting-this helps the mixture liquify again because the heat melts the frosting.  Pour into a 9x9 foil covered and sprayed tray.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, store in air tight container.


I must tell you, this recipe is comparable to the fudge I bought Sunday from Costco!  Plus, think of all the different combinations you can do when you only need chips and frosting!!!     

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Trimester Screening...

Today was my much anticipated first trimester screening.  I'm so relieved it was scheduled for only two weeks after my last appointment.  See, I have this issue-it's called fear of dead baby.  I'm good for a week after an appointment-then it's all downhill until my next appointment.  A week after my last appointment, I was walking in the halls at work, and I literally stopped, dead in my tracks.  What if the baby died?!?  From a week and beyond my friends....so last week was hard, thankfully it passed quickly.  But I have 3 weeks until my next OB appointment-but I feel like I've made it past the biggest hurdles-13 weeks Friday!  Now you don't have to remind me of what could be...
According to the American Pregnancy Association 

The First Trimester Screen is a new, optional noninvasive evaluation that combines a maternal blood screening test with an ultrasound evaluation of the fetus to identify risk for specific chromosomal abnormalities, including Down Syndrome Trisomy-21 and Trisomy-18.
In addition to screening for these abnormalities, a portion of the test (known as the nuchal translucency) can assist in identifying other significant fetal abnormalities, such as cardiac disorders. The screening test does not detect neural tube defects.
The first trimester screen has been available in the U.S. for several years, but has only recently been determined an effective means of early chromosomal abnormality screening.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 2005 determined that first trimester screening was the most accurate non-invasive screening method available. The combined accuracy rate for the screen to detect the chromosomal abnormalities mentioned above is approximately 85% with a false positive rate of 5%. This means that:
  • Approximately 85 out of every 100 babies affected by the abnormalities addressed by the screen will be identified.
  • Approximately 5% of all normal pregnancies will receive a positive result or an abnormal level.
  • A positive test means that you have a 1/100 to 1/300 chance of experiencing one of the abnormalities.
It is important to realize that a positive result does not equate to having an abnormality, but rather serves as a prompt to discuss further testing.
The screen should not be confused with screens performed during the second trimester (often known as the Quad Screen or Triple Screen ). These screening methods are less accurate and are performed between 15-20 weeks.
The blood screen measures two pregnancy related hormones: hCG and PAPP-A.
The ultrasound evaluation measures nuchal translucency (fluid beneath the skin behind baby’s neck).
This non-invasive procedure combines the results from the blood tests and the ultrasound, along with the mother’s age, to determine risk factors.

So there ya go, now you know what a first trimester screening/NT test.  Everything checked out nicely, the NT measurement was 1.3 (they're looking for anything under 3)!  What was really great was that because I got my blood taken at my first OB appointment, they were able to combine my NT measurement with my blood results-on the spot!  *Although I wasn't given a specific number, I was told my results are favorable for a baby with neither of these chromosomal abnormalities. 
*I do not want to get into the nitty gritties about all babies being blessings, everything happening for a reason, anti-abortion, pro-choice, yada yada yada. I want a healthy baby, with all typical chromosomes and typical formation!  The statements are not meant to reflect my opinions or judgements on any type of issue surrounding the bigger issue.  Just sayin'



And now for my normal announcement:  the ultrasound picture will be coming later, once the husband scans it in for me :)

UPDATED:


Happy Wednesday All!     

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Munchies...

I want to start some "regular" posts around here.  Not only as a way to post content, but also to help me organize myself and have a way of knowing what I should be talking about!  From now on, Monday will be known as Monday Munches.  I will feature a recipe-may be something new I've come across, or an old staple, may be healthy, may be comfort food...you'll just have to wait and see!  
For today, I have an old comfort, staple food.  I grew up having this weekly for dinner; it's a family favorite.  But because it's carb heavy, I rarely made it.  I have to be honest though-it's incredibly easy, delicious and filling-kids love it!  So when I have to make a family a meal for a new baby (we live in a young community so these meals happen somewhat regularly), this is my go to staple.  Have you guessed yet?  It's a pasta dish!  Can't go wrong right?  True, but you can definitely do better...or as I like to say, Go Big or Go Home!!!  

This is the special dish I mentioned I made on my birthday-baked spaghetti.  There isn't a recipe per say, it's just ingredients and eyeballing it.  

Baked Spaghetti
Spaghetti 
Tomato Soup
Mozzarella Cheese
Sliced American Cheese
Diced Onion 

*You will determine how much of each ingredient you need based on how much you want to make.  This recipe can be made in any type of dish.  My mom always made it in a deep, round, casserole dish.  I don't have one, so I started making it in a regular 9x13 tin.  I've made it in personalized dishes too...really can't go wrong.  
**For a regular 9x13 I use 2 boxes of spaghetti and 2 cans of family size tomato soup, 2 small onions.  I never measure the  cheese, because that is just based on what fits and preference.  I usually have a little bit of left over spaghetti and onion. 

Boil spaghetti according to directions.  I've learned an awesome trick-once it's done, just let it sit in the pot until it mostly cools-it's ok if it gets a little sticky or mushy-it's getting baked so that won't harm it!  Otherwise, just drain and rinse with cold water until you can grab it by the handful.  





Next you'll coat your dish with tomato soup



Add a layer of pasta, sprinkle the onions 




Then cover with sliced American cheese




Now there's one complete layer.  Now start over-sauce, pasta, onions, cheese.  I do this three times.




But when you get to the last pasta layer, instead of cheese, top with sauce, and then shredded Mozzarella cheese.


 
 
Bake at 350 until browned

Deliciousness ensues!!!




 

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