Sunday, December 14, 2014

21 Week Bumpdate + Being Good and Taking Pictures

Hello people,

Merry less-than-a-week-before-I-see-my-family!

I have all sorts of things to share today. Let's go back just a little to Friday morning: I walked into the kitchen and said, "Jeff I don't feel well." Immediately after I ran to the bathroom and let's just say I threw up so much that my doctor gave me an IV (don't worry, Mom!). I went home and watched Muppets Christmas Carol and Mr. Bean's Holiday, which is not a Christmas movie like I was expecting.

If you are wondering Baby Falco is doing great. :) She does her grand battements every day, especially while I am in ward choir practice (or when waistbands and other objects encroach on her space). She's all like:


It's wonderful to feel her kick. I love it!

Anyway, the next day was the ward Christmas party. I was in charge with my friend Fontaine, and do you know what, I didn't take a single picture. You'll have to take my word for it when I say that it was beautiful and fun and seriously went without a hitch, as far as we can tell. I had so much fun and my sweet co-workers even made it. It was their first taste of a Mormon soiree, haha. :)

Today, I asked Jeff to take some higher-quality pictures to document my pregnancy. If I keep getting ready this may become a regular thing. :) Here is my favorite skirt, by the way. I think it's the last time I will zip myself in before my baby comes. It was certainly a wonder to behold, haha.


Yay! Baby!


I felt like a fashion blogger asking Jeff to take pictures of my accessories. What a champ. They were from Walmart. That's how we do, haha.

I will do my questionnaire now, too. I have neglected my chalkboard, But here's an update!

How far along? 21 and a half weeks
Baby is: Seven inches, or the size of a large banana.
Total weight gain/loss? About 4 pounds... I am all about healthy fats right now.
Maternity clothes? Yes.
Stretch marks? No.
Sleep? Sucks.
Best moment this week? Hearing baby's heartbeat with a Doppler stethoscope. By the way, Jeff just got his first stethoscope! Wow, a doctor!
Miss Anything? Not really.
Movement? Yes!
Food cravings? Nothing, although the other day I had dinner and thought it was all delicious. When I went back to get seconds of the same food it all unpalatable. So strange.
Anything making you queasy or sick? A stomach bug, actually. Darn you, daycare.
Have you started to show yet? Yes.
Gender? IT'S A GIRL!
Labor Signs? None.
Belly Button in or out? Mostly in.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy. :)
Looking forward to? Having a baby and having my family see me pregnant for the first time this week!

My handsome photographer *swoon*

Friday, December 5, 2014

Texas

This post is super old... I just never published it and thought I'd share this morning. :)

Texas just has a way of capturing my heart. The people are wonderful, the food is incredible, and the weather in winter is really ideal. One of the most fabulous things I've experienced in Texas in our four-ish months here so far is the Brazos Valley County Fair. My gosh.

We met up with several friends and enjoyed walking around the fair, listening to performers, attending a rodeo, checking out booths, and playing with lots of animals. We have great friends here. 

This was [literally] my first rodeo. I learned why the horses buck and was super weirded out. I watched kiddos mutton bust and fell in love (for those who, like me, have little exposure to mutton busting, it's when little kids--like five-year-olds-- ride a sheep as long as they can. It is seriously the cutest thing).  The mutton busting announcer was the best, "Our next competitor is from Bryan, TX... His name is Billy and he loves chicken nuggets!"


The petting zoo at the fair was Jeff's dream come true. There were tons of deer roaming around and people could feed them out of their hands! Deer are really soft and beautiful up close. Aren't they lovely?


Can we talk about this baby goat? Oh my goodness, so sweet.

I love ferris wheels. So pretty. :)
Perfect.

Turkey legs.

Anyway, I love this place. It's not like anywhere else.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 19 Bumpdate + A Video!

Thanksgiving was amazing! Jeff and I visited Louisiana where he served his two-year mission. I love Louisiana. Here are some quotes from the people we stayed with that just speak for the experience...

"Come out back a pick a lemon."

"Gumbo's like a thumbprint; everyone has their own way of doing it."

"I've got some good squirrel meat in the freezer."

Louisiana is totally unique. I met a legitimate Cajun who speaks old-world French. One of the people we stayed with, Jeff's very close friend, breeds champion labradors and had 19 two-week-old puppies at his house. Wrap your brain around that... They were so sweet. I was born puppy hungry, but playing with those little guys this weekend certainly fanned the flame.

Over the course of four days we went to Marksville, Ponchatoula, Hammond, and New Orleans. We ate at Cafe du Monde (which serves the best beignets I've ever had), and had all the Cajun food I could dream of (Here's a recipe blog from a Louisiana native we hung out with).

Here's a pretty, little film from our incredible trip.


As for a pregnancy update, our baby {GIRL!} is healthy and growing. We had a 45-minute ultrasound a while back and she had her legs up over her head the entire time, which frustrated the technician just a bit... haha, sorry.

Further, my morning sickness is basically gone! Finally. I'm 20 weeks tomorrow. <-- That's halfway! Things are going well:

How far along? 20 weeks tomorrow.
Baby is: About six and a half inches
Total weight gain/loss? About 4 pounds 
Maternity clothes? Yes.
Stretch marks? No.
Sleep? It's great. I have strange dreams though. Last night I dreamt that Jeff made me enroll in high school again. As a 22-year-old. What?
Best moment this week? Decorating my Christmas tree! And feeling my baby kick some more. :)
Miss Anything? Sleeping on my back. 
Movement? Yes!
Food cravings? A Subway sandwich...still. I never go though.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really. :)
Have you started to show yet? Yes.
Gender? IT'S A GIRL!
Labor Signs? None.
Belly Button in or out? In, but oh my gosh, I can force it out... I'm a freak, haha
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy. :)
Looking forward to? Having a baby!

Have a great week!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Day Trip to San Antonio

Here's a lovely little video of our trip to San Antonio last week. It drizzled the entire time--how fun! We really enjoyed our visit to Kneader's. One of our friends is the Corporate Executive Pastry Chef and she is amazing. You should bop on over to her blog as well. She has an incredible talent for baking and my gosh, you should check out her gingerbread carousel she's working on this year.


Have a fabulous, little Monday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And the gender is...

Guess what!


That is all. I am so, so, so, so, SO excited!



Here's a quick collection of clothes that get me excited to have a girl. I am new to Polyvore so you can check out the individual items here.

So, yeah. Hip hooray!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pregnancy Announcement Video

In case you didn't catch it, I made a little film with our families' reactions to finding out I'm pregnant. So without further ado... :) PS - it's always better in 1080 HD. Treat yo'self. :)


Also, we were suppose to find out the gender today, but turns out I was suppose to schedule the ultrasound instead of my doctor. We are going in on Wednesday to find out. :) Anyway, have a marvelous week. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week 17 Bumpdate + a Little Catch-you-up

First of all, what on Earth?! I just realized I am already 17 weeks. I seriously lost track. How did that even happen?! I apologize not updating earlier. Apparently, I was confused.

Alrighty folks,

This bump is here to stay (and expands tremendously after a water bottle or two). I really like having a baby bump that is more baby than bulge. Here are some pictures and a questionnaire:



How far along? 17 weeks - heading into the fifth month!
Baby is: About five inches!
Total weight gain/loss? About 2.5 pounds
Maternity clothes? YES! 
Stretch marks? No.
Sleep? Ahh, less comfortable. 
Best moment this week? Finally donning some maternity skinny jeans. So comfortable.
Miss Anything? Sleeping on my back. 
Movement? I'm starting to wonder...
Food cravings? A Subway sandwich.
Anything making you queasy or sick? I still have some nausea unfortunately, but it usually stops when I eat.
Have you started to show yet? Yes, my belly is rounding out.
Gender? We find out on Monday!!! Any guesses?!
Labor Signs? None.
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy. :)
Looking forward to? Finding out the gender!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Babe

 Well, the cat's out of the bag...Or to be less cryptic I just announced to the world that my husband and I are expecting a little human in April next year [Yay! Celebrate!]. We are completely over the moon.


Good news for those with a lot of time of their hands and an interest in our new addition, I have blogged a bumpdate--so to speak--each week since I found out I was pregnant, which was all the way back in August. So feel free to check those out if you feel so inclined. You can start here, or here, or here, or here, or just go crazy. It's your life.

Week 15 Bumpdate:

How far along? 15 weeks - almost finished with month four!
Baby is: Possibly 4 and 1/2 inches from crown to rump, or about the size of an apple.
Total weight gain/loss? Almost two pounds.
Maternity clothes? No.
Stretch marks? No.
Sleep? Great. 
Best moment this week? Telling the rest of the world the fun news!
Miss Anything? Lifting really heavy things. I've finally decided it's time to delegate tasks like moving 30-pound boxes and such.
Movement? Not distinguishably yet.
Food cravings? Nothing this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.
Have you started to show yet? Yes.
Gender? We find out soon. 
Labor Signs? None.
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy. :)
Looking forward to? Finding out the gender in about a week and a half.




Ps, Happy Halloween! I love you, all!

A Spot of Good News (Week 5 Update)

Originally written around August 20, 2014.

I'm pregnant... [ohmygoshisthisreallife?!!!!]

First reactions:

Total excitement!!!!

Here's how I found out:

I was laying in bed trying to figure out what my due date would be if I were hypothetically pregnant right now. I began to say my closing prayer and asked Heavenly Father to let us be pregnant right now. I thought about taking a test in the morning because my period was a little over a week late (day 37 of my cycle) and spontaneously decided to take a test right then. I covered it with toilet paper because I'm suppose to wait at least three minutes before reading the test. I was a little hopeful, but realistically expected a negative result because it was nighttime (and HCG levels are highest in the first bathroom trip of the day) and because I had had 24 ounces of water about an hour and a half before. I figured everything would be too watered down to be accurate anyway.

BOOM! Pregnant. Right now. Watered-down pee and all. I am fairly certain the day of my last period was July 11, 2014, so my due date is... April 17, 2015. Perfect. Right between our birthdays. :) I am stoked for this little baby. The time is so right. I am so happy in my life since I moved to Texas. I am happier than I have been in about six years. By a long shot. I feel so peaceful about everything. Also, I know how badly Jeff wants a baby, even though he is in medical school. What a champ.

Notwithstanding all these perfect factors, I have to say I think the Lord was partially waiting on me. I reached a stage not long ago when I wanted to put off having children--by several years. I wanted more financial security, which we won't have for almost ten years. I wanted to prepare myself more. I wanted to be perceived by the world as a mature adult before having children. Then my friend Carerra texted me and said she felt like I should read this talk.

The talk tells the story of a man in medical school who thought maybe he and his wife should wait to have children so his wife could work. President Spencer W. Kimball told the man he didn't think the Lord would want the couple to put off one of the Lord's most important commandments so he could become a doctor. He asks the man, "Where is your faith?"

The talk also says that Adam and Eve did not have their children in the Garden of Eden. Tons of ancient (and modern-day) prophets had their children in days of tribulation. The Lord wants us to multiply and replenish the Earth. It is not possible to have kids when all circumstances are perfect because children will never be born in perfect circumstances.

After reading this, I gained faith in the Lord in regard to having children when His timing is right. It's amazing that as soon as I aligned my will with the father I found out I was expecting. Okay, I get it. :)

Anyway, I am so grateful to be pregnant. :)

We are SO blessed.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Liebster Award: Discover New Blogs


First of all, a big thank you to my friend, Marla from A Pendulum World for nominating me for the Liebster award! Do yourself a favor and check out/follow her blog. She is an amazing person, writer, mother, and friend. On her blog, she regularly posts about health, family, spirituality, and other uplifting, insightful topics. So yeah, she's great! I will be nominating some blogs later in this article. :)

This is how the award works:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  • Write 5 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 5 questions.
Here goes! 

Five random facts about me:

1. I am left-handed.
2. I used to believe Pokemon were real, just invisible. I was in fourth grade!
3. I could eat cereal for every meal.
4. I played the viola for just three semesters in college and my husband-then-boyfriend basically volunteered me to play in front of Julie B. Beck and thousands of people! I declined the invitation.
5. I am currently wearing a Texas A&M University tennis t-shirt (Jeff's suggested random fact).

I nominate:
Hailey Josephine
The Petersons
Mrs. Draper's Stories

The questions the presenter asked are:


  1. What is your favorite quote? "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you." -a bumper sticker mentioned by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (how's that for a citation?)
  2. Your favorite food? Utah food: Cafe Rio, Zupas, and J-dawg's, specifically.
  3. Your favorite vacation? I love Canada and Costa Rica.
  4. Your favorite book? The Book of Mormon. 
  5. Your favorite color? I really like mint blue or that blushy, wedding pink. A lot.
  6. Your favorite movie? I love "Matilda". It speaks to me. 
  7. Your favorite outfit? I love waist-high skirts, cute tights and rider boots. And three-quarter-sleeve shirts.
  8. Your favorite place? Possibly St. George, UT. I lived in Ivins for a year and it is beautiful.
  9. Your favorite drink? Aloe Vera juice - trust me; it's delicious.
  10. Your favorite flower? Ranunculus! 
  11. Your favorite blog? I love Merrick's Art and Cotton and Curls. I am easily inspired by modest, incredible moms who can create whatever interests them. I can't even sew, but I spend a lot of time browsing through all of there projects.
Marla asked her nominees:

  1. Why do you blog? (1) I like my friends and family to see what we're up to, (2) I like doing crafts and trying new recipes and blogs are such a conducive landing spot for that sort of frivolity, (3) I was terrified of medical school. Everyone told me it would be a nightmare. I found hope as I read through med-school blogs. I love writing and sharing experiences, so I wanted to contribute to what has already helped me so much as a med school wife.
  2. Who is the person you look up to the most and why? My husband. My gosh, what a stud. Jeff is amazing. He also really dislikes being bragged about, so I'll stop here I guess [he is so smart, dedicated, disciplined, hilarious, close to God, psyched about family, patient, kind, and forgiving. There is truly no one like him. He is also very attractive, duh.]
  3. What brings you the most peace in life? The knowledge I have that I am a child of God and a loving Heavenly Father has got my back. I seriously love God so much. Life is not meant to be easy, but God sure loves his children (me, and you, and everyone).
  4. Where is your favorite place to vacation? Oh Canada...
  5. What is your favorite book? the Book of Mormon. Get one for free!
My questions for nominees:

1. What is your passion in life?
2. What do you most want to be remembered for in life?
3. What is your purpose in blogging?
4.What is your funniest memory?
5. Who is your biggest inspiration?

You all rock! Have a great day. :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What is this Day?

I haven't posted in forever--sorry. Today was so crazy I deemed it blog-worthy. Here's the short version:

(1) I was screened for ebola
(2) Jeff lost a tooth. Yay!!--oh wait.



I think I have the flu. I am staying home from work and going to an Instacare tomorrow. My conversation with an on-call nurse this evening went a little like this:

Nurse: "What's wrong?" In more words.
Me: "I have the flu."
Nurse: "Who told you you have the flu?" Seriously?
Me: "Um.. the internet."
Nurse: [typical symptom and health background questions]
Me: [typical normal responses]
Nurse: "I have to ask all patients this: have you been to West Africa in the last month?"
Me: "No."
Jeff: "Oh my gosh; she's screening you for ebola."
Nurse: "Are you confused? Do you know your address? Have you been exposed to anyone who has been out of the country in the last month?"
Me: "Uh...oh yes. I know my address. No, I'm not very confused at all. I work at a daycare with tons of kids from other countries. Oh, gosh. I have no idea if I've been exposed to anything."
. . .
Nurse: "Definitely see a doctor in the next 24 hours."

I am pretty certain I don't have ebola, but I better post something on my blog now in case I get quarantined. -__-

And yes, Jeff lost a tooth playing flag football. It's one of his front two top teeth. Thankfully, it's a tooth that has already been knocked out twice before (thrice if we're counting baby teeth, ha). The first time it was lodged in his best friend's knee; the second it broke off while eating a peanut-butter-honey sandwich, really. Tonight, some shorter guy clocked Jeff in the face with his head--I mean, can we just count our blessings that this is all happening to one already-fake tooth?!

He came home looking like a hockey player with his swimsuit trunks on purposely inside-out (it was his best shot at pocketless shorts).

Also, I watched Jumangi tonight. I just have no idea what is real life right now. Somebody get me another throat lozenge (<-- took me three tries to spell 'throat' correctly).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Cold Front & Homemade Sushi

This weekend has been all kinds of good. Friday Jeff and I went to our ward Ice Cream Social (church event). Saturday we went to a Czech Festival, hung out with friends, made homemade sushi, and watched A&M beat Rice University... and Madagascar 2, haha. Today we went to church and had the missionaries over for some leftover sushi. I am so grateful for a life outside of work!

As I think about all the things we did together, I realize almost all of these activities link back to my time spent at church! I am grateful for the community and support church brings. All my friends right now are people I have met at church. Immediately after moving to Texas Jeff and I have had a wonderful support group. Most of our friends just moved here from Provo and they are also students or spouses of students. I love them all. What great people.

Let's go back to Saturday. I woke up at 8:30 AM to go to a Czech Festival in Caldwell. It was raining and I just wanted to wear fall clothes. I really miss Utah right now because it's cooling down and the leaves are changing and such. Anyway, I decided I would wear boots to the festival (and probably die of heat). We walked outside and it was cool outside! Oh my. I even grabbed a jacket fully expecting not to use it.

Once we got to Caldwell I wished I had brought thicker outerwear. I could see my breath! This is something I never imagined happening here. I am grateful for the cold front. How lovely.

The Czech Festival Parade was apparently rained out, but that didn't stop the locals from participating in a Kolache-eating contest (Kolache is a Czech pastry? Some have fruit and some have meat),  playing polka music, and selling baby turtles. It was a very fun and unique experience.

Kolache - Photo source
The Kolache we bought we packaged (not unlike a Hot Pocket, really). They were also not hot. Jeff and I and our six other friends (and their children) spent a good chunk of time in a County Court Building alcove waiting out the rain. While we were in there we talked about finding a microwave for our pastries half jokingly. A kind woman came out and told us she has a toaster oven in her office we could use! We graciously accepted her offer and stacked 12-or-so Kolaches in the toaster oven, as you can see. So yeah, haha :)


Later we invited our friends over to have homemade sushi rolls. It was so much fun! I love doing this with friends. If people are interested I can do a tutorial post of some sort, but for now I'll just say it was a great experience and they turned out like this:



Not all of them looked so posed. Most of the rolls were on paper plates; hastily made and eagerly eaten.

Well, we're off to Skype our families. Thank you and good night! Let me know if you want to a post on homemade sushi or whatever else I have some experience doing. :)

xoxo.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Reason I'm Crying Right Now

"That's teacher touch."
"Turn around and find something else to play with."
"Please come out from under the table."
"That's so-and-so's snack."
"Please don't eat that off the floor."
"Time to change your diaper."

...

All of these sentences spew out of me in rapid procession ten hours a day, five days a week. Today was no different. I'm sure readers are thinking this what my post title is all about. It's not (although that would be a viable candidate at times, hahaha).

No, here's the reason I'm crying right now (it's not what you're expecting):

After a typically chaotic Thursday (we're shorthanded on Thursdays), I checked out my disheveled hair in my review mirror, binge ate some Club crackers, and turned on the radio. My mascara-less face perked up and my shoulders started shaking to the beat (true story).

I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass
'Bout that bass
No trouble

All about that bass
'Bout that bass
'Bout that bass
No trouble

Please say you know what I'm talking about already! Oh my gosh, it will make you happy, too (hopefully).

This. Just, this! This song came on the radio in all its body-loving, self-esteem-promoting goodness:


I chose to post the clean version because that's what I like. The video is pretty cute, too though if you can deal with a couple "S" and "B" words.

Anyway, there I was in my [new] car, tired and dead looking and this song made me feel like a new woman. It's happy, it's fun, it's part of a beautiful new movement. It instructs us to love our bodies the way they are and that is amazing.

This song is popular enough to be on a major Texas radio station. That means, generally, this song is wide-spread and well-liked enough to be playing on the radio (I.e., reaching lots of women at least in my community).

This thought made me cry. I think this is a big step forward in society!

I agree that women shouldn't worry about being teeny-tiny and should appreciate the body they've been blessed with. Not to mention that I have some extra padding all around and this makes me feel pretty good, haha.

That's all.

What feeling does this song bring out in you?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No Shame in Hobby Work

Here's a thought that's been on my mind lately; there's no shame in hobby work. Claire, what do you mean by that? I mean that it's okay to leave hobbies as something you enjoy while making little to no money off of them. Seriously! I guess this is a big deal for me because I am easily caught up and my little entrepreneurial spirit sings out, "There's money to be made doing this!"

Let me demonstrate; I have a photography website. I have a forsaken Etsy shop selling para cord bracelets. I've dressed up as princesses (and High School Musical characters) at birthday parties. I even sold "Mardi Gras" beads at a Harvest Moon Festival as an 11-year-old...I made five bucks a pop off of those bad boys. All my interests seem to turn into fiscal opportunities.

This inherently is a pretty good thing. If I'm buying items for a craft, I tend to think "if I buy in bulk, keep one, and sell nine, then this craft will pay for itself." Unfortunately, I easily go overboard and never follow through. For example, I recently flipped this desk:


I loved how I spent $20 and got the desk of my dreams (after a couple coats of paint)! In fact, I loved it so much that I decided I would make this my new job: flipping furniture. I immediately starting searching for high-quality items with good lines and a better price tag. In the end (like three hours later), I jumped ship and forgot the whole idea because that's a lot of work and I had a real job and just generally, who was I kidding?

So why write a blog post about leaving hobbies as hobbies if I apparently have a hard time doing so? Because I finally left a hobby as a hobby! Admittedly! Like, I legitimately tell people "I'm a hobby photographer." 

Allow me to share my pathway to this zen way of life:

I got a camera in December 2013: a Nikon D3200. I had two lenses and I thrifted a sweet little 50 mm 1.8. My original goal in buying a camera was to become a decent-enough photographer that I could take my own baby pictures and anything else I desired. To accomplish this, and evade studying for finals, I spent hours each night (like, until 3 AM) reading blogs, pinning pins, and googling every little photography thing I could get my pointer finger on. I learned a lot very quickly. I actually surprised myself by how much I had learned in a month. I felt so adept.

Once I had my camera in manual and ditched the kit lens, I started shooting everyday. Within two months I was asked to do my first engagement session. I was upfront about my experience, but it rolled rather nicely into lots of other paid opportunities. In the months to follow, I had a nice little cliental composed mostly of performers and one-year-olds. I was out taking pictures most weekends and I loved it. I tried for a while to treat the whole thing as a hobby, but the fact was people were asking me for my rates, portfolio, business card, etc. "Sure," I thought, "If it seems worth it to other people, I'll be a photographer."

All along it felt wrong. I couldn't ignore the feeling that photography was distracting me from more important things in my life (hah, like school). I felt like I was cut out to do other things and that Heavenly Father wasn't interested in me becoming a "real" photographer.

So I gave it up. 

No, not photography. I gave up the business. I gave up advertising myself as a professional photographer. I stopped posting on my photography blog and Facebook page. I stopped portraying myself that way. Now I tell people that photography is just a hobby. 

I accomplished my original goal. I've taken my family pictures, my siblings missionary shots, computer screen savers, whatever interests me. I can go my merry way with a small taste of what it could have been like to be a real-deal photographer.

I feel great. There is no shame in hobby work. Do you know what, I like it more now, too. I don't feel a need to pump tons of resources into my craft anymore. If I wanted to get a new lens or backdrop or something, I know a thing or two, but it's nowhere as important to me as it use to be. 

Hobby implies no client-vendor relationship. It implies no customer guidelines. A hobby to me means I do what I want when I want. Take a picture of a flower? Go ahead! Paint a picture of a butterfly? Make it happen. Bake a quiche? If I'm feeling crazy!

Have you ever had a similar experience? What are your hobbies? Let me know in the comments! Like what you read? Subscribe or follow me on Bloglovin if you never want to miss a post!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Six Weeks Down

I figured since I had some time I would do a quick update on how medical school is so far. I mean, that is the main purpose of this blog, after all. I asked Jeff to answer a few questions so you could see a little from his perspective, too!

How is medical school so far?

"It has been really good."

On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are right now?

"8.5."

What are you looking forward to this week?

"Taking my second exam and being able to have time to spend with my wife and friends."

Is anything stressing you out?

"Um, not really."

How do you feel the rest of the year will be for us?

"I think it will be very good. I am excited for the rest of the year."

What am I doing that is helping you?

"You are being really supportive, understanding at times that I need to study, working and making dinner, and making the most of the time we do have together."

What would you like me to do to help you?

"Keep doing what you're doing. You're doing great."

In what ways is medical school similar to and different than you had expected?

Similarities:
"The amount of information that is covered in med school is similar to what I had expected."

Differences:
"I feel like I have a lot more free time than I thought I would have. I can spend time with my spouse, friends, and fellow classmates." 

I'll also include my perspective, just for fun. 

How is medical school so far?

Good! Jeff is a total champ.

On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy would you say you are right now?

Taking work into consideration, 6. Leaving work out of the equation, 9!

What are you looking forward to this week?

Jeff finishing his second exam...the weekend. :)

Is anything stressing you out?

Not really. :)

How do you feel the rest of the year will be for us?

Good. I think it will get steadily harder as bigger tests come up and such, but so far everything has been really manageable due to Jeff's self discipline and great attitude.

What is Jeff doing that is helping me?

Making my breakfast and lunch every morning! (What?! So nice.)

What would I like Jeff to do to help me?

Seriously, nothing. I am just fine. :)

In what ways is medical school similar to and different than you had expected?

Similarities:
Medical school seems like a lot of work. Jeff spends most of his waking hours studying or in classes. Texas is hot.

Differences:
I spend so much time with Jeff despite our busy schedules. We watch a lot of movies together. I am not lonely or depressed like I sort of imagined would happen (based on other people's experiences). 

Really, medical school is not so bad so far. That is always astonishing to me. I am so grateful for our experiences so far and look forward to what the future holds.

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Four Exciting {& Healthy} Freezer Meals

As promised, I am sharing my freezer meal recipes. They are:

1. Skinny Chicken Enchiladas
2. Spinach Florentine Lasagna roll-ups
3. Angel Hair Tetrazzini, and
4. Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

In this article I will lay out what worked for me and what didn't whilst freezer meal making. I figure that could be helpful.

Before I jump into this, let me paint a picture of the beauty of freezer meals:
  • We paid around $100 for three weeks worth of healthy, homemade, high-quality dinners (more than that for us because each dinner feeds at least four people)
  • A lot of time in the kitchen, albeit doable work
  • Only one load of dishes at the end of the day...how is that even possible??
As I've mentioned this was my first time making all my meals for the month in advance (I realize this doesn't add up, but that much food is excessive for us). I am so pleased with how everything turned out in the end. Making dinners in bulk is so worth it in my opinion. With Jeff in school and me working until 5:30 everyday, it's nice to have something I can throw on the stove for 20 minutes and be done. I consider it a very efficient way to do things. Anyway, off my soapbox. 

To make other lives a little easier, I will chronicle the things that really helped the process and the things I will avoid the next time around. 

What worked for me:
1. I bought vacuum bags and a pump 

I was skeptical when I saw these bags at the grocery store--not gonna lie; however, I had recently read up on freezer storage safety and understood that vacuum bags are a worthwhile investment. For three-ish dollars for a pump and some storage bags, I gave them a chance.

Basically, they suck air out of your storage bag, which allegedly prevents bacteria growth and loss of quality for longer. These puppies really do what they proclaim to do (way to go, Ziploc!). I am equal parts excited about preserving the quality of our food and about preserving space in our microscopic freezer (seriously. It is so small). 

These are worth picking up at your local grocery store. A word to the wise: I found it was more effective to store solids in vacuum bags and liquids in regular (and freezer-safe) bags. I placed enchiladas, lasagna, and shredded chicken in these. 

2. Cook all of your chicken at the same time. Frozen or thawed. In a crockpot. I learned this after thawing, cutting, and cooking five pounds of chicken. Right before going to bed, I thought, "I'll just throw (play Tetris to fit) all the rest of my chicken in my crockpot. I sprinkled the frozen chicken breasts with chicken bouillon and a tablespoon of seasoned salt (yeah, not healthy), put my crockpot on low, and went to bed. Aside from waking up to the pungent smell of dinner, this was the most effective labor-saving step, by far. 

For the record, I'm not a big meat girl. I get grossed out when I see, or chew fat or a caruncle (nasty!). This chicken was soft and flavorful. It was so tender I shredded all ten pounds with one fork in about three minutes--amazing!

3. Use recipes you trust (but don't be too worried about branching out, too).

A lot of these recipes are regular meals in our house. If I wasn't sure how well it would freeze, I'd just Google it. I learned that cream-based soups are not so great (but you can just add the cream or milk when reheating) and that some vegetables fair better than others, but that undercooking veggies can help. Anyway, there's a great deal of information out there on the internet, so that is a great tool while preparing freezer meals.

4. Use them up!

These little babies feel like masterpieces and I am tempted to save them for some rainy day. I've decided to chuck this mentality out the window because we want to enjoy them now! You should consider this, too, but everyone's needs and desires are different.

5. Freeze them flat.

Here's how I did this: I placed a cookie sheet or clean cutting board in the freezer and set the bag on top. I would smooth it out and let it freeze laying flat. Once the meal was frozen I would stack and organize them to make room for other meals. This is pretty awesome. Even if you have a teeny freezer like us, you should be good to go!

Well, I hope this helps!

Have a great Sunday!