Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick-or-Treat time!

We still had to work at getting Claire to say "Trick Or Treat" and "Thank You". Not because she can't say them, I think she just saw the candy and forgot. We were out for just over an hour and she almost filled her bucket. I took a grocery bag with me and emptied her bucket into my bag a few times so that she didn't get so tired of carrying it. I don't think we actually did as much trick-or-treating this year as we did last year...but this year, I got tired (being pregnant is hard).


Claire decided early on that she wanted to be a giraffe for Halloween. At first my mom was planning to make her one, because we couldn't find one in a store, but then when she was looking for patterns online, she found one on Amazon! Claire was also quite insistent that I needed to be a cow for Halloween. So I bought a cow headband, tail, and nose set at the Halloween store. Then I bought a XL men's white tee-shirt that I decorated with some cow spots (safety pinned on because I didn't get around to doing it until right before going trick-or-treating). I did pin the tail to the back of my shirt, but I didn't wear the cow nose, it was uncomfortable.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Muffins

When I'm pregnant, my "nesting" generally takes the form of baking. I've been resisting the urge this time because I don't want to gain as much weight as I did with Claire. Plus, now that I have Claire that means my baking wouldn't start until later and I'd have to wash dishes and I just don't have the energy for all that like I did 5 years ago. But this weekend, I decide to roast a pumpkin to make homemade pumpkin purée. I don't own a food processor (at least I won't until Christmas) so I used my immersion blender to purée the pumpkin which means it is better for putting in breads instead of soup or pie.

After roasting the pumpkin, I put it in the fridge until the next night because that was all the baking energy I had. Plus I couldn't decide what to make...there are so many delicious looking pumpkin recipes floating around on pinterest right now!

pumpkin muffins

I eventually settled on my tried and true (and delicious) pumpkin spice muffins that I have been making every fall for 5 years - made the first time the year I was pregnant with Claire! It's one of the best kinds of recipes with stains & hand-written notes all over it.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (canned or fresh)
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, grease or paper line muffin tins. This will make 12 regular muffins, or about 36 mini muffins.

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl using whisk. Combine butter, pumpkin, eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl using a fork or whisk. Add wet mix to flour mixture, stir (with a wooden spoon or spatula, not a whisk) until just moistened. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake regular muffins for about 17 minutes, cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool.
Bake mini muffins for about 10 minutes, cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove to rack to cool (or just dump them in a plastic container but leave the lid off until they are cool).

mini muffins

These muffins are delicious! I actually doubled the recipe when I made these on Sunday and ended up making 12 smallish, regular sized muffins and 60 mini muffins. We ate at least a dozen of the mini muffins and then I took the rest of the minis to work on Monday morning. One of my co-workers said they taste like autumn. And they all disappeared rather quickly!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What I'm Reading

I have quite a few books that I'm in the process of starting to read.


The Fall of Five

I checked this book out from the library, I need to actually READ it soon before I end up paying late fees on another book. This is the latest book (4th I think) in a young adult fiction series, The Lorien Legacies. It is about an alien race, the Garde, that has hidden on Earth after another alien race, the Mogadorians, destroyed their planet. There is also this whole bit about how each member of the Garde has a number and the Mogadorians can only kill them in order - which is kind of goofy, but it works. The first in the series was, I Am Number Four, which was made into a movie that was not nearly as good as the book.


My mom got this book and after reading it she brought it to me. I haven't been reading much James Patterson recently because some of his books are too gruesome for me right now. But I'll probably get around to reading it eventually.

The Longest Ride

My mom got this book too. I'm not really sure what it is about. Nicholas Sparks books have a habit of making me cry even when I'm not dealing with pregnancy hormones, so we'll see. I'll have to wait until I'm okay with crying. Although I think my mom told me it wasn't as sad as some of his books.


I've really been looking forward to this book. This one is also a young adult fiction. This is the third (and final) book in the Divergent trilogy. I have the first two in the trilogy and bought this one the week it came out. But I just can't get into reading it. I may need to re-read the first two to remember what in the world is going on. This is another dystopian world set in the near-ish future on Earth where society has been divided into groups based on their qualities. I have been trying to avoid the reviews on Amazon (or anywhere else for that matter) since they all seem to contain spoilers that will most likely make me even less inclined to read this book.

*Even though I linked to Amazon, I do not get any money if you click those links. They are just there.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Menu Monday

This week will be busy...kind of. It's Halloween on Thursday, so I want something that can be simmering while we are out Trick-Or-Treating. And will be nice and warm since we may be cold. We also have Claire's Fall Party at school earlier in the week. We have Anaya this weekend, and we're going to the zoo again to see the penguins since they weren't there yet when we went to Boo at the Zoo. We have my Nephew's first birthday party on Saturday evening. Then we're taking family picture late Sunday afternoon!

Monday - Homemade Pizza
Tuesday - Southwest Pork Chops
Wednesday - Spaghetti Bake (possibly double & freeze half)
Thursday - Chili and Cornbread
Friday - Take Out Chinese
Saturday - Nephew's Birthday Party
Sunday - Leftovers

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Project Life : Week 29 and 30

Since I'm so far behind (sharing week 29 and it's currently week 43), I decided to share TWO weeks!

So, Week 29 should actually be July 15-21, but because of when we returned from our vacation on week 28, I just decided to have week 29 include the Saturday & Sunday of the week 28. It's all good anyways. As long as the pictures are in the album, that is all the is really important. Plus after all the picture taking while on vacation, I think I set my camera down and more or less forgot about it most of the week.

pl week29

We had our 12-week OB appointment, since the baby was still there and had a good heartbeat, we went ahead and announced on Facebook. And I started telling co-workers. The picture of Anaya & Claire in the grass was an outtake of my attempt to get a good picture of Claire wearing a big sister shirt. She wasn't really into cooperating with me. I took a picture of all the duct tape bows that Anaya made this summer. I took Claire to monkey bizness to wear her out. And we bought Hot Huez hair chalk for Anaya and ended up giving Claire some pink streaks...because it was really cute! And I made two homemade pizzas using my most favorite crust ever that tastes like Pizza Hut Pan crust. So so so yummy. And the tomato basil pizza used tomatoes from our garden!

In Week 30, I got back to my normal date range of Monday to Sunday.

pl Week 30

We hung around our house. Justin's brother and his baby came to visit us for a little while Friday evening. Then Saturday, we went to a friend's four yr old's birthday party - it was pirate themed and they had a pool set up in the backyard. I always think that their little boy is so much younger than Claire, but really they are only about 6 months apart in age. They should both be starting Kindergarten next year! At some point I took the girls to the mall and we rode the carousel, because we ALWAYS ride the carousel.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Also known as, what goes on in Jenni's's kind of random.

I never did decorate for Halloween. Not at all. The closest we've got are the 5 pumpkins sitting on our front step - which no one can even see because of the "mini" pine trees that are planted right in front of our front step. (I hate those "mini" pine trees). I kept seeing neat ideas on Pinterest and on Eighteen25, but I never actually got around to DOING any of them. Now Halloween is in 5 days and I'm just not going to do anything. Except carve pumpkins, but that's only because Claire REALLY REALLY wants to.

We had 6 pumpkins sitting out there this afternoon. Then I brought one in, roasted it, purée-d it and put it in the fridge because I couldn't decide what to do with the purée. But now my house smells like pumpkin...

I didn't actually intend to get 6 pumpkins this year. But Claire's class went to a pumpkin patch and she got a pumpkin. Then Claire & I went to Deanna Rose Farm's Pumpkin Hollow and we both got a pumpkin (it was included in the price to go out there). Then I bought two Jack-o'-lantern pumpkins because Claire wants to carve a silly face and a happy face. Then we went to the Enchanted Forest and I paid $3 for Claire to do all the kid's activities, one of which was paint a pumpkin. And 1 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 6 pumpkins on my front porch, except then I roasted one so now I have 5 pumpkins.

When Claire isn't getting her way she has taken to stomping her foot (just one foot, not a continuous stomping of both feet) and saying "I'm mad" and making a great big frowny face. It is equal parts obnoxious and cute. Obnoxious because she usually does this to me (not my mom, not Justin, only me). But really it is quite cute and at least she is expressing her feelings instead of crying or sitting down or running away. If she would just not stomp the foot I would be fine with it. She also likes to tell me that she is scared of things when she doesn't want to do something. For example, it is shower time, Claire's response, "I'm scared of pipes". It is bed time, Claire's response, "I'm scared of trains" (she can sometimes hear a train in her room at bed time). And this is the child that is truly not scared of anything at all. My favorite is when I tell her to go to the bathroom in the morning, and the bathroom is dark and she tells me she can't because "I'm scared of dark". Then she insists that I can't turn the light on either and if I do she will proceed to turn it off before going to the bathroom.

We are finally getting things done around the house for the baby. Maybe he'll actually have a bedroom before he is born...or maybe not. But the process is at least started! Now I just have to decide if we should replace the carpet in all three bedrooms before moving furniture around. But did you know that carpet is kind of expensive?!? But you know, we've got about three more months until the little guy is here. That's plenty of time...right?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pregnancy Journal (from 2008)

Well, I stayed up way too late last night, but I finished up my Blurb book about being pregnant with Claire. Wow, what a trip down memory lane particularly since I'm pregnant again.


Here are a few screen shots of pages in my book. I put this together by going through my pictures from 2008-2009. I had already gathered up most of my belly shot pictures planning to do something with them, but I also included some pictures of baby gifts that we got and of setting up the nursery and as well as some other pictures of me while pregnant that weren't taken specifically because I was pregnant.


The only page I'm not entirely happy with is the cover. I couldn't find a good picture for the front cover. I'm not sure I want a picture of Claire and I don't have any really GOOD pregnancy pictures of me (which is something I'm definitely doing differently this time). Right now the front cover is just gray with the title of my book on it. I might make a cover in photoshop with some kind of generic cartoon-y pregnant lady silhouette. But I haven't done it yet and not sure if I am going to.


Going through my pictures made me realize that I took way fewer pictures in 2008 than I do now and my pictures are way better now than they were back then! Of course, now I'm using a DSLR and in 2008 I was using a little Nikon Coolpix Point-n-Shoot. I still have that camera...I let Claire play with it...


I also had two books, one journal and one pregnancy book, that I filled out and wrote notes in while I was pregnant with Claire. It will be nice to have all of the pictures and information in one place.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Newest Favorite-est App

Last week...or the week before...I needed Justin to go to the grocery store to pick up just a few things (seriously, less than 5). So I texted him a list. Then I got to thinking, there has be a list app that will share a list between multiple phones. So I started looking and I found Our Groceries. And I seriously love it. Possibly enough that I might pay for the "no ads" version, although I haven't yet.

Not only can I look at my grocery list on my phone. Or put things into the list on my phone and tell Justin to look at it on his phone. I can also add things online which means not having to tap-tap-tap on my cell phone. I can sit at my computer, write up my menu plan while pulling up recipes and then just have another tab open with my grocery list and add things as needed. And checking things off at the grocery store is just a simple tap on my phone. Another awesome feature, things that are checked off are moved to the bottom of the list with a line through it, so you still have your list but it's not cluttered up the checked off items. You can easily scroll down and double check through the checked off items before you go to check out to make sure your pregnancy brain didn't make you click something without actually putting it in the cart!

If I wanted to, I could also create a list of things that Anaya needs and install the app on her phone and share my list with her. Then she could add things instead of trying to remember everything until she is here. AND it doesn't have to just be groceries. You can add anything you want to the list. The lists could be To Do lists, or fun projects lists, or whatever!

There is a recipe section where you can store the ingredients for recipes that you make regularly to easily add all of the ingredients for the recipe to your list. I haven't used that part yet but it sounds awesome.

* In summary, I love this app. The OurGroceries people have no clue who I am, except that I apparently use their app. I just randomly found it in the Google Play Store (because I have an Android phone, but it also available for i-devices).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

26 Weeks

I feel so huge. I look at this picture and I don't think I LOOK so huge, but I feel so huge. And pictures where I am not purposefully standing up straight, oh my goodness, there is so much of me (and the little man)! And then I realize that I still have THREE MORE MONTHS and I just want to crawl in a hole and lay down and not have to get up for 3 months.

me at 26 weeks pregnant

My back hurts, my belly is all stretched and tight feeling. Sitting isn't pleasant, standing isn't fun, and laying down is only mildly better. I still have 2 weeks until my next doctor's appointment which is when I get to have the super fun glucose test for gestational diabetes. I'm wondering if that is part of why I feel so crappy today because I had eaten so many carbs between Friday and now. Hopefully I don't have GD, but if I do then I'll manage. Until this weekend I had actually been doing really well at sticking to a low-carb diet. Then I ate a ton of pizza and a hamburger and mac & cheese and more pizza and some ruffles chips and tortillas and tortilla chips - over the course of 4 days, not all in one day, if I ate all of that in one day I would explode.

Tonight, Claire & I were sitting on the couch and she was putting stickers in a book and I felt the baby kicking. I asked, "Claire, do you want to feel your little brother kick?" (she has felt it before, so she knew what I meant). She got up right next to me and put her hand on my belly and I moved it to where he'd been kicking and he kicked her hand! To which she said, "I felt baby brother!" and her eyes got all big and she leaned in real close and said, "Hi Baby!" to my belly. Later, we were sitting at the dining room table and I got couple pictures of her feeling and talking to my belly. At first he wasn't moving much, and she kept looking at the camera because she knows that what I usually want her to do, but then he did eventually do something.

Claire feels baby kick

I found this really fun Maternity Halloween shirt of a skeleton with a skeleton baby that goes over your belly. But I can't bring myself to spend $25 on a shirt that I will truly only wear once (or maybe twice).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Menu Monday

I am so tired of pizza. So we ordered Pizza Hut on Friday night because that was what Justin wanted for his birthday. And that's fine, we don't have it often. But they entered our order wrong and we got a Cheese Pizza instead of a Meat Lovers (which was what Justin really wanted). So he called them and they said they could either replace it or put a credit on our account. He wanted his Meat Lovers, so he went up and got another pizza. That means we ended up the THREE large pizzas for 2 adults, a teenage child and a preschooler (who opted for PB&J instead of leftover pizza all weekend). Then we went to my mom's house for lunch and she had pizza too. Now we still have about one large pizza worth of different types of pizza left and I'm so sick of it all. So there's no pizza on the menu this week!

Monday - Taco Pie/Casserole
Tuesday - Skillet Chicken with Salad and Squash
Wednesday - Steak and Salad
Thursday - (Homemade) Chicken Noodle Soup
Friday - Hamburgers & French Fries
Saturday - Ranch Pork Chops (in the Crockpot)
Sunday - Leftovers

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Project Life : Week 27/28

I love this picture from when we were in Colorado. Love Love Love. I have been wanting to make a page with a huge blown up picture ever since the first time I saw Elise do it. But I never seem to have the right pictures to do it. Since I already knew I wasn't going to include very many pictures in this layout, I found a favorite that just says "Colorado" to me and I blew it up to 12x12!


I added the Colorado text and the dates in photoshop prior to ordering. The right side just includes a few high-light pictures. I also included the two pictures that we had taken on outings (the Royal Gorge Railroad and the Denver Aquarium). Copyright laws being what they are, I wouldn't be able to include those in my Colorado Blurb book. Rather than take the chance of it causing an issue, I just included them here.

Project Life posts will probably be happening on Sunday from now on. It is just easier to get good pictures of my layouts on the weekend than it is during the week. Particularly as the sun starts setting earlier and sometimes I'm barely home from work before it is getting dark!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our October Activities

I love fall and I love getting out to do some fun family activities in the fall. We've been a little less active than normal since I'm pregnant and I'm the leader of almost all of our outings, but we're still having fun. Or at least I'm having fun and Claire is having fun.

Our first October activity was a school field trip to the KC Pumpkin Patch. Claire had so much fun running around with her classmates. We didn't stay for very long because the bus had to get back to the school to drop the kids off and go pick up other kids to take home, but it was long enough to wear us out.


The following weekend, I took Claire to Deanna Rose Farmstead to their Pumpkin Hollow attraction. Claire and I got to the farm pretty soon after it opened, spent about an hour roaming around visiting the animals. Then when Pumpkin Hollow opened, we rode the hay ride out to the it. She loves hay rides. We spent over an hour at Pumpkin Hollow - there was a slide and pumpkin bowling and a barrel train and more that she really loved doing.


The next weekend, I made my entire family go to Boo at the Zoo. I don't normally drag Anaya and Justin along to things that I know they have no interest in, but we were going to visit Justin's parents and the zoo is kind of on the way from our house to their house. So it just made sense for us all to go to the zoo for about 2 hours and then head on to their house! We only saw a small portion of the zoo - the polar bear (obviously), the Asia section and some of the main area with activities for kids. Claire really wanted to ride the train, so she and I took a train ride while they waited at the station. Claire and I will end up going again next month after the Penguins are there to specifically see them and then we'll probably go see some of the animals that we missed this time around. And Claire got to wear her costume (a giraffe) which EVERYONE thought was adorable and she did a little trick-or-treating.


I really wanted to get out to an orchard and pick apples, but I think we're nearing the end of the season and still haven't gotten around to it. We also wanted to take Anaya out to the KC Fear Farm for their Zombie Paintball, but that didn't end up working out either. We may have one more activity next weekend, but it would just be Claire & me.

Friday, October 18, 2013

I love Blurb Books

I really love Blurb books. They are pretty and nice and so easy to make. I've made 4 books...I think. Well, I made 3 different versions of a 2012 book (changed out a few pictures based on who the book was for). I made my December Daily album for 2012 as a Blurb book, and I'm planning to do the same this year. I also just finished, but haven't ordered yet, a book about our Family Vacation to Colorado this summer. Here are a few of my favorite pages:


The front & back cover (well, the back & front cover). I love these two pictures. I have no clue where in Kansas we were what I got that one of the sun, but it is beautiful. The front cover was our view off one of the decks of the "cabin" we stayed at near Black Hawk, CO.


We spent the first few days in Colorado Springs. We were VERY busy for those few days - Garden of the Gods, Royal Gorge Railroad, driving up Pike's Peak, and visiting the North Pole theme park. Lots of fun.


Once we got to Black Hawk we slowed down...a lot. I realized after I did the screen shot here that I put Blackhawk instead of Black Hawk, so I'll need to fix that before I order. Claire got sick on the way to Black Hawk so I ended up spending a lot of time dealing with that, including an hour+ drive to Lakewood to the ER - you know you aren't having a good vacation until you have to go to the ER! My brother had also brought a very lovely cold with us to Colorado, which after spending 2 days with 8 people in 2 hotel rooms or cars, we had all managed to share in his misery.


Obligatory visit to Rocky Mountain National Park! We did just a little hiking, not much because of the sick preschooler and the not much better pregnant lady (I was about 2.5 months pregnant at the time). Also, pregnant + twisty curvy roads + worrying about a throwing up child = LOTS of fun! We actually did have fun, I just like to complain. And isn't that waterfall/cascade thingy pretty!


Once Claire got to feeling better, we spent a day in Denver. We went to the Denver Aquarium which was pretty nice. Then most of the family went to Chipotle for lunch while Claire, Grandma & I went to the Denver Children's Museum which Claire thought was the most amazing thing EVER and would have seriously stayed there all day long if we would've let her! Later that day, we were all sitting around the cabin bored (probably watching HGTV), the closest park with hiking trails was Golden Canyon State Park, so I convinced everyone to load into my Dad's truck and we made the short drive to the trailhead and hiked part of the way up a hill before admitting defeat (for the sickly ones) and walking back down.

I may go back and make more pages. This one is actually 20 pages long right now, I just didn't share all of the pages. But I know there are other good pictures of some of these events that I might want to include. Particularly since this is pretty much the only way any of the 508 pictures that I took are actually being printed! Well, I suppose my mom & my sister-in-law might print some of them for their own projects, but still 508 pictures taken and only 52 are actually being used. Good thing I didn't waste any film! :)

* I have no affiliation with Blurb books (although if they want to, you know, that would be cool!), I just really like their books.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Parent Teacher Conference

Tonight we had Claire's Parent Teacher Conference. Everyone always says that Claire is so sweet and so happy. And friendly.

We had 5 school people at her PTC - the speech therapist, the occupational therapist, her morning program teacher, her afternoon program teacher and the lady in charge of the morning program. That's a lot of people to listen to talk about your kid. Luckily, they mostly had good things to say.

Obviously her speech skills still need quite a bit of improvement, but she is improving! We also need to work on her pre-writing and writing. She can trace the letters pretty good (which is what I mostly do with her because we have wipe off books that have tracing), but she's not terribly interested in copying (seeing it and writing it on her own) or imitating (seeing me write something and writing it too).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Project Life 2013 Update

I am mostly caught up on Project Life, I just haven't been taking pictures of my layouts. I also haven't been ordering my pictures as regularly. I really LOVE Persnickety Prints and have ordered from them the last two times, but that means I usually save up my pictures until it is "worth it" to pay shipping.

I still have 2-3 weeks from my last order to put into my album. And I have about 2 weeks worth to prep and order. And maybe this weekend I'll have a chance to take some pictures of my layouts and start sharing them here again.

I'm also really excited to the upcoming holiday season. I'm already planning some things to do as a family - even if I have to drag family members along kicking and screaming. Although by the time I'm 8 months pregnant (in December), they should really just do what I want so that I don't hurt myself. :)

I've also been really motivated to get back into working on my Project Life 2009 album. I left off on it in May for pictures and February for posting. But I plan to start working on finishing up layouts so that I can get those pages posted as well. When I was pregnant with Claire, a lot of my "nesting" took the form of baking. Since I'm watching my carbs this time around, I'm trying to force my baking desires into other projects (cleaning, organizing, scrapbooking).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Menu Monday

Monday - Meatloaf
Tuesday - Saucy Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf
Wednesday - Creamy Chicken Chili
Thursday - Chicken Quesadilla, Cottage Cheese & Applesauce
Friday - Pizza Hut
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Leftovers

My OB told me to cut back on my carbs, so now I never know what to make as a side. I usually end up heating up some kind of vegetable and pull out things like Cottage Cheese and Applesauce for Claire. This weekend is Justin's birthday. We're having Pizza Hut just for him. I'm not really planning to cook Saturday or Sunday because we'll be visiting his parents one day and my parents the other.