Friday, July 30, 2010

Our favorite quick & easy dinner

Our favorite "go to" quick and easy dinner is definitely pita pizzas.  And not just any pita pizzas, but BBQ Chicken pita pizzas.  They are so delicious that we gobble them right up.  We ordered a takeout BBQ chicken pizza a few weeks ago and were highly disappointed that it wasn't anywhere near as good as what we make ourselves at home.

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizzas

Pita pizzas would really be great with any toppings of your choice, but we love these BBQ Chicken ones so much that we aren't willing to try something else that we may not like as much.  Some other great combinations would be a Mexican pizza with refried beans, meat, taco sauce or salsa, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, scallions, and jalapenos or olives.  A Greek pizza with pesto sauce, feta, spinach, olives, mushrooms, artichokes, and red onions would be delicious as well.  Or you could go the old fashioned route with marinara, mozzarella, and pepperoni.  We make a total of 4 pita pizzas for the two of us, but it tends to be more than two of us can eat, but the leftovers are still delicious.

-4 pieces whole wheat pita bread
-BBQ sauce (a few Tbsp per pita)
-shredded chicken mixed with BBQ sauce
-part-skim mozzarella cheese
-pineapple chunks
-chopped red onion
-chopped cilantro
-jalapeno slices
-garlic powder (or fresh garlic)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spread pitas on a greased baking sheet.  Top with a layer of sauce, a layer of mozzarella cheese, and the remaining toppings as desired.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Slice and serve.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

27 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to;

This week, your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were to be born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.  The second trimester is drawing to a close, but as your body gears up for the final lap, you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back, for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then. They're carrying extra weight, after all, and your expanding uterus is putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart as well as on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs. Unfortunately, the cramps may get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. When a cramp strikes, stretching the calf muscle should give you some relief. Straighten your leg and then gently flex your toes back toward your shin. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.

As for me, no real changes.  I have been getting a few mild calf cramps here and there like mentions, but nothing bad at all.  I have determined that riding on airplanes when you're preggo isn't very fun either.  Not only do you have almost zero room, but you're stuck in one position for a long time, which leads to minor lower back pain for me.  It was worth it for our trip, but I'm glad that it's over.  All is going well and I'm feeling good.  The last few nights I've even been able to sleep well which has been wonderful after a couple weeks of not sleeping so great.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

virginia trip: hampton and gloucester

today we spent the day with my dad and his wife.  we visited my grandma in hampton before returning to where my dad lives in gloucester for dinner, ice cream, and some relaxing.


Friday, July 23, 2010

virginia trip: richmond

today we arrived in virginia for 3 days of visiting with family.  we spent the day enjoying a local art museum with my mom, strolling around some pretty parts of the city, and dining out at a fun and delicious mediterranean restaurant.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

such a blessing

i can't say enough how awesome God has been lately... and how much He has showed me His faithfulness through provision.  He has shown me how much He cares about the small every day aspects of my life... even when i don't bring every single concern to Him.

just yesterday, i was realizing that my maternity jeans were getting tight and i was starting to get a little anxious about not having the money to buy additional maternity clothes right now... especially clothes that i'll only wear for 3 more months.  and while i still have several skirts and dresses that fit, i just wanted one good pair of jeans for those days where jeans and a tshirt are just comforting.  this seriously bugged me yesterday... as i wore a pair of jeans all day that were just a little more tight than i'd like i just felt a little worse about myself all day as a result of not really feeling fully comfortable (it's silly how much knowing we look good/ or feeling like we don't can effect our moods as women).  then, just last night two ladies from our community group brought a gigantic bag of gently used maternity clothes to me, as well as other great baby items including two unopened boxes of bottles, a high chair, a bottle sterilizer and more.  these two ladies had salvaged all of this stuff from their boss, who was going to throw it all away before moving out of the area.  in the bag of maternity clothes there happened to be several pairs of jeans, in my favorite brand, that fit me now with a little room to space for the next 3 months.  the unopened gift set of bottles even happened to be the exact same bottles that i had registered for.  i was absolutely in awe... amazed... feeling stupid for spending my day frustrated and worried over something so small, and for not even talking to my Lord about it.  then dumb founded that although i didn't ask, that although i found this need too trivial to bring before Him, that He still delivered... that He knows my needs even more intimately than i do, and that He loves me enough to meet them.  and i realize that of course it would have been okay for me to ask Him for something as trivial as a pair of jeans, as long as i was open to whatever answer He gave me. 

a woman who spent a ton of time investing in and building into me in myrtle beach has often told me of how she would pray for couches, and pray for clothes when she needed them.  and how almost every time God always provided exactly what she needed... usually for free, and usually fairly immediately.  perhaps my faith was too small, perhaps i thought that God did things that awesome for women of great faith like her, but that He really didn't care about my tiny needs.  but now He has shown me that He does care, and that He will provide for my needs.

i'm not saying that God is my genie, and i'm going to start using Him to get everything that i want... He is too big to be manipulated like that.  i'm not saying that He's going to say "yes" or deliver every single time.  but i'm trusting that He knows what is best.  that He knows my true needs, and that i should constantly be in communication with Him about what is on my heart and mind, rather than closing Him off from the areas that seem too insignificant.

and it's not even just the gifts yesterday... ever since we found out that i was pregnant God has provided for us each step of the way... He has abundantly blessed us with the opportunity to find so much of what we need for noah either free from friends or family who have been amazingly generous, or very inexpensively through yard sales and craigslist finds. 

and perhaps this is just the reassurance that i need... as we're about to go down to 1 income.  as it seems crazy to do so, and like it doesn't quite make sense on paper... perhaps He's reminding me that He is with us... that He is our provider, and that He will be with us each step of the way.

i'm not saying it's going to be easy.  i'm not saying there won't be sacrifices.  i'm not saying that our standard of living won't change.  i'm not even saying that God guarantees us a home, job, health, or safety... because He doesn't... because throughout time things have been hard for people who follow Him... there have been persecutions, there have been martyrs, there have been people who loved Him who died of starvation, or victims of crime, or who were homeless.  but i do know that He is in control, that i can trust Him, and that He will work everything for the good of those who love Him... and in all of that i can find rest and peace.


weekly verse: Galatians 5:22-23

Galatians 5: 13-23  For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

I feel like latley every week, and really every day, I'm continually realizing just how selfish I am, just how sinful I am, and just how much I need Jesus.  I need Him to cleanse me.  To heal me.  And to transform me.  Because on my own, I'm pretty darn YUCKY!  Perhaps I've prayed David's prayer to search my heart and show me the offensive ways in me a few too many times lately... but God is seriously humbling me!  And although it's not easy... I am grateful, and I rejoice in Him!

I could go on and list plenty of excuses for my poor attitudes and behavior lately... it's hot out, I'm tired, I'm pregnant and hormonal, I was wronged, I was treated unjustly, and so on and so on.  But ultimatley it comes down to the fact that I haven't been right with the Lord.  That I have been taking things into my own hands, because ultimately I wasn't believing that His ways are best... ultimately I wasn't wanting to submit to His lordship.  That I haven't sought Him with my entire heart, mind, and soul.  I've sought Him just enough to get by.  But getting by isn't even working for me any more.  I give up... I can't do it alone... and I surrender all to Him.

Let's just say that I've been moody lately.  That I've let little things get to me.  That my fuse has been really short.  That I have been self-centered.  Basically I have exhibited plenty of the traits of the flesh that are listed in the Galatians passage above.  I yearn to be obedient to the Spirit, and to see His fruit produced in and through me.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

And this will be my memory verse this week.  I'll be meditating on who I am in Him, and what He is doing in and through me.

Thank you for your faithfulness Lord!  For pursuing me despite my sinfulness.  For dying for me, and seeking me, despite my stubborness, desire for control, and love of the world.  Humble me Lord.  Free me from the ways of the flesh... guide me with your Spirit, and produce your fruit in me.  Let your love pour out of me to others, that they may know and experience you.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

26 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week, according to;

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days. Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby's room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.) Preeclampsia — a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine — most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it's important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week). With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting. If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.

As for me, mostly the same.  Hungry a lot.  Feeling good.  A tad bit of lower back pain here and there.  A little difficulty sleeping.  But doing good overall.  No swelling, or severe discomfort.  Doctor's appointment last week went well, Noah's heart beat was good and strong, and they said that the size of my uterus is measuring right on schedule.  I go back to the doctor 2 weeks from tomorrow for the glucose test.  Our pre-natal class at the hospital last week was interesting... we toured the labor and delivery unit of our hospital, watched a video of a natural birth, and learned more about the signs of when to go to the hospital during labor.  We are going to take another pre-natal class in August that discusses medical intervention during labor (i.e. epidurals, cesarean sections, episiotomies etc.).  Then we will take the final pre-natal class regarding post-partum care and recovery in September, as well as a breast feeding class.  All of these classes are free from our hospital.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dinner with friends

Tonight we had two friends over for a fun double date in.  Good friends + good conversation + good food = great evening!  I decided to go with a BBQ themed menu for a few reasons... they are foods that everyone tends to like, the dishes I chose were relatively cheap and healthy, I was able to make all of the dishes in advance that morning and just pull things together last minute, I am still avoiding using my oven and stove as much as possible and am loving slow-cooker meals and cold salads.  I ended up serving a slow-cooker pulled pork BBQ on whole wheat buns with cole slaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, and banana pudding.  I'm not going to insult your intelligence and give you a recipe for corn on the cob, but the rest of the recipes are below.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork BBQ

I've been making pulled pork BBQ for years, but I decided to try something new this time and it was a hit.  Jeremy said I don't need to ever go back to the way that I made it before, and that this was great!  This is probably the easiest way that I've made it, and the most flavorful.  The slow cooking in root beer produces such an interesting flavor in the pork, that I didn't find that any other seasonings or a dry rub were necessary.  A pork shoulder could easily be used here, and would be a little cheaper, or a pork loin would be nice and lean, but would be a little pricier.

-3-5 lb boston butt pork roast, trimmed of extra fat
-2 cups root beer
-BBQ sauce (our favorite bottled variety is Sweet Baby Ray's... it also tends to be the cheapest!)

Place pork roast in slow cooker.  Pour root beer over roast.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove pork to a cutting board, and shred with two forks, discarding fat.  Pour cooking juices out of slow cooker.  Return shredded pork to slow cooker.  Stir in desired amount of BBQ sauce (I think I did about 1/2-1 cup).  Cook on low 1 hour.

Cole Slaw

I decided to go with a new cole slaw recipe, rather than my old "go to", and I'm so glad that I did!  I used this  cole slaw recipe by Paul Deen.  This is now my favorite cole slaw, and I'm not sure I'll ever make it any other way.  I even got Jeremy to try a bite (who hates cole slaw) and he said it wasn't bad.  The only changes that I made was that I used light myao, doubled the carrot, used regular salt instead of the salt blend, hand sliced the scallion instead of food processing, and left out the parsley.  I usually shred everything for my cole slaw, but I took Paula's advice and shredded 1/2 of the cabbage by hand, and chopped the other 1/2 in the food processor.  She's right, this makes for a great texture!!!!  I was very tempted to add some dijon mustard or fresh lemon juice to the recipe, but I gave it a go as is and was so pleased with the results that I don't know if I'd take the risk of tweaking it in the future.

Baked Beans

I know that I just made a different version of baked beans a few weeks ago, but I wasn't happy enough with them to stick to them.  These turned out great, and Katie (who says she doesn't like baked beans) even liked them.  I went the convenience route and started with canned navy beans, but 1 bag of navy beans cooked to package directions could easily be used.  Most people would love bacon in these, but two weeks ago Jeremy and I decided that we were better off without bacon in our beans.  If I hadn't been making these for company I would have added 1-2 chopped carrots and stalks of celery to bulk the beans up with a little more nutrition (and just because I like mine that way).  

-4 (15 oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-1/2 green pepper, chopped
-1 1/2 cups kethcup
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbsp spicy mustard 
-2 Tbsp yellow mustard
-4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-several dashes hot sauce 

In medium baking dish whisk together ketchup, brown sugar, spicy and yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and hot sauce.  Stir in beans, onion and green pepper.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Banana Pudding

I ventured away from my old "go to" banana pudding to try something that I've been hearing of... stirring sweetened condensed milk into the pudding and eliminating 1 cup of milk.  In my opinion this wasn't worth the additional cost or calories, and I'm going back to my faithful banana pudding recipe that is posted below.  I use all fat-free and sugar-free ingredients, but if you aren't watching your calories this would certainly taste better with regular pudding, cool whip (or whipped heavy cream), wafers, and milk.  I always make banana pudding at least 4 hours in advance, because I like time for the wafers on the bottom to get a little soggy prior to eating.

-1 (large... I think it's 1.5 oz) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding
-3 cups cold skim milk
-1 Tbsp vanilla extract
-1 box reduced fat vanilla wafers
-2-4 bananas. sliced
-1 (I think it's 8 or 12 oz) tub light cool whip

Beat pudding with 3 cups milk according to package directions.  Stir in vanilla extract.  Line glass serving bowl or dish with 2 layers of vanilla wafers.  Top with 2 layers of sliced bananas.  Pour pudding over top.  Refrigerate until pudding is set (about 20 minutes).  Spread cool whip over top.  Chill for at least 1-2 hours prior to serving.  Just before serving top with whole or crushed vanilla wafers for some crunch.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

one of those days

today has just been one of those days.  you know the kind.  we all have them.  where every. single. thing. seems to go wrong.  yeah, one of THOSE days.  in actuality it hasn't been that bad.  first i was running late for my doctor's appointment (i hate being late, and even the very idea of it makes me sweat and angry!).  then i was overwhelmed by our need to choose a pediatrician for noah, and not really knowing where to start.  then i didn't have the registration in my car when i went to get my brake tag inspection.  then i backed into something... both me and the car are okay, just a minor bruise... on the car, not me that is.  then i stained my favorite maternity shirt that is super comfortable.  and all of this before noon.  by mid-day i was frazzled, overwhelmed, and had already cried more tears then i'd like to admit.  i just wanted to give up.  to go home, take a shower, crawl into bed, and start over.

sevearl hours later i was playing a game of computer solitare.  i was stuck.  out of moves to make.  i was about to hit the "deal" button and start all over with a new game, that hopefully i'd have a better chance of winning, and then i realized i still had a move left.  and then that move led to another move, which led to another move, and several moves and minutes later i actually did win the game. 

this game was like my day.  at first glance it seemed hopeless, then as i began to look more deeply i found that there was still hope.  that in spite of all the "bad", that there is still One who is good.  and that He's got me.  and that He's in control.  and that He's faithful, and i can trust Him.  and here i sit thankful for little reminders from the Lord that it's all going to be okay.  that He is still with me.  and that i am loved.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

25 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to;

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.  Your baby's not the only one with more hair — your locks may look more full and lustrous than ever. It's not that you're growing more hair, but thanks to hormonal changes, the hair that you'd normally shed is sticking around longer than usual. Enjoy the fullness while you can — the extra hair will fall out after you give birth.  You may also notice that you can't move around as gracefully as before. Unless your caregiver has advised you otherwise, it's fine to continue to exercise, but follow a few safety rules: Don't work out when you're feeling overly tired and stop if you feel any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Don't lie flat on your back and avoid contact sports as well as any exercise where you're apt to lose your balance. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and make time for both warm-up and cool-down periods.  When you have your glucose-screening test at 24 to 28 weeks, a second tube of blood may be taken at the same time to check for anemia. If blood tests show that you have iron-deficiency anemia (the most common type of anemia), your caregiver will probably recommend that you take an iron supplement. 

As for me.  No major changes.  Still getting bigger, still hungry, still hot, but still feeling good (aside from the cold I've been fighting).  My belly button is getting smaller by the day and I'm sure it's going to pop out any time now.  We're taking a prenatal class at our hospital tonight, in which we'll be able to tour the Labor & Delivery unit of the hospital.  Tomorrow morning I'll have a normal quick doctor's visit also.  All is well in prego land.


Monday, July 12, 2010

weekly verse: Philippians 4:8

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

This is the next verse in the series of verses that I memorized last week, and it couldn't have come at any better of a time!  I don't know if it's a result of my hormones soaring, or of being tired, or of the cold that I've been fighting since Wendesday, but lately I have found myself grouchy, self-centered, angry, negative, and just plain mean.  Unfortunately my husband has been the one to shoulder my soaring emotions.  Thankfully, he has been super gracious and understanding with me... WAY beyond what I deserve.  Just like Christ is with us.  How I love these moments in marriage when I am able to get a better understanding of the grace and love of our Lord by seeing it carried out through my husband!  The moments where I am completely unlovable... but Christ continues to love and pursue me, just like my husband has been doing.  It's humbling... completely humbling. 

Yesterday I was the opposite of this verse.  My heart and mind were consumed with festering on everything negative, bad, and ugly.  I couldn't seem to snap myself out of the soaring emotions that seemed beyond my control.  I had forgotten all too quickly the instructions in Philippians 4:5-7 (to present my requests to God, with THANKSGIVING, and to receive the peace beyond understanding that would result).  Philippians 4:8 is a great addendum to verses 5-7.  The instruction to dwell on the true, right, noble, admirable and praiseworthy.  To be consumed with the good, rather than the bad.  The act of safeguarding my thoughts, not allowing them to spin out of control.  The act of rejoicing, which is dually stated in Philppians 4:4.  I seize hold of this verse, adjusting my thoughts, allowing the Lord to adjust my heart as I seek Him, and remember all the reasons that I have to rejoice.  And today is a MUCH better day!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Have I mentioned recently that I've been LOVING using my slow-cooker this summer and not heating up the kitchen every time that I cook?  Plus being able to be lazy all day on Sunday while dinner cooks away on its own?

Slow Cooker Carnitas

I used a pork loin for this recipe, because I think that it's a good compromise between price and health.  To make this recipe on a tighter budget, substitute a pork shoulder or boston butt for the pork loin.  If money isn't an issue, and you'd like to make it even leaner a pork tenderloin could also be used.  You could even use chicken breasts or thighs if that's what you have on hand.  This would also make a great meat for homemade burrito bowls.

-5 lb pork loin, trimmed of all fat
-1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp cumin
-4 Tbsp lime juice
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1/2 bunch cilantro,chopped
-several dashes hot sauce
-tortillas, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, and chopped onion for serving

Place pork loin in slow cooker.  In a separate bowl, stir together 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 3 Tbsp lime juice, 4 cloves minced garlic, salsa verde, and diced onion.  Pour salsa mixture over pork.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove pork from slow cooker, reserve juices in a bowl on the side.  Shred pork with 2 forks.  Return pork to slow cooker.  Moisten meat with several ladles of the reserved cooking juices.  Stir in cilantro, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and several dashes hot sauce.  Cook on low 1 more hour.  Serve on tortillas with toppings of choice.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

24 weeks

Here's what is going on with Noah this week, according to;

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon. In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball. Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition. Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby's odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you'll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure. Finally, if you don't already know how to spot the signs of preterm labor, now's the time to learn.

As for me; I'm still feeling good, and still feeling hungry every 1-2 hours.  I'm having a little bit more difficult of a time sleeping some nights (between getting comfortable, and getting up so often to visit the restroom), so I tend to be a little more tired during the day now.  I'm hot almost all of the time, which is absolutely the opposite of my pre-pregnant self.  I've been getting a slight bit of back pain from time to time, but I'm sure that's to be expected.  It is starting to get a little harder to bend over with my big belly in the way, and it's also getting a little harder to get out of bed or off of couches.  And when I do go to get up my tummy visibly looks very funny as my displaced abs work to get me up, so I've been trying to pull or push myself up as much as possible and avoid the weird tummy straining thing that happens when I get up like a normal person.  Noah still moves around a whole lot.  My favorite foods are still sausage, sushi, pickles, and watermelon, or really any type of meat or fruit in general.  Everything is going very well overall, a little over 3 months left to go.  My next doctor's appointment is next Wednesday, they won't be doing anything special though, just weighing me and listening for Noah's heart rate.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Baked Beans

Because cookout fare was on sale this week at the grocery store I went with a dinner of turkey dogs (buy 1 get 1 free), baked beans, corn on the cob (12 for $2), and watermelon ($3.99 ea) for dessert.  All was delicious, and now I have enough leftovers to cover my lunch for most of the week.

Baked Beans

This was my first attempt at making baked beans from scratch, and I was super pleased with the way they turned out, just the way baked beans should be... sweet, tangy, and slightly smokey.  Next time I would leave out the bacon though, it didn't seem to add much flavor, and Jeremy isn't a fan of fatty meat in his food.  Because I like to make everything more nutritous I added the carrot, green pepper, and celery into this recipe, but for a more traditional dish they could all be eliminated (although they are really good in here).  More ketchup could be used instead of the BBQ sauce, but I happen to like the combination.  I did this in the slow cooker, because I haven't been very interested in heating up the oven lately, but this dish could easily be cooked at 350 for 1 hour, although I'd probably saute the veggies before mixing with everything else if I was cooking it this way.

-1 lb navy beans, cooked according to package directions
-1 onion, chopped
-1/2 green pepper, chopped
-1 stalk celery, chopped
-1 carrot, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
-3/4 cup ketchup
-3/4 cup BBQ sauce
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbsp yellow or dijon mustard
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Coat slow cooker with cooking spray.  In bottom of slow cooker whisk together ketchup, BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cook on high for 6 hours (or until veggies have reached desired tenderness), remove lid during last 30 minutes of cooking to thicken sauce.


Friday, July 2, 2010

weekly verse: Philippians 4:

For the last few months I have found myself worrying about a specific situation that was out of my control.  I have prayed fervently about this issue, all the while never really surrendering it to the Lord.  All the while keeping a grievance in my heart, and even a few times allowing this issue to become a source of conflict between me and my husband.  Only to find that today, this issue has been resolved, that God had it figured out all along, that He was in control, and that all of my worrying was for NOTHING.  Oh, when will I learn how futile worrying is?  When will I learn to follow Paul's words to the Philippians?  This brings me to my memory verse for this week... I think I need to spend a little more time understanding and carrying out Philippians 4:5-7.

Philippians 4:5-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

First of all let's remember that Paul wrote these words from jail.  That he had a lot that he could be anxious for, that his circumstances from a worldly view would have looked very dismal.  But Paul understood the Spiritual view, he understood that God was still in control, that God was still using all circumstances for the good of those who love Him.  He was able to write just two verses earlier to "rejoice always!".  Can you imagine rejoicing from jail?  I can't imagine that rejoicing would be my first (second, or tenth) reaction to being behind bars. 

These verses say to be anxious for NOTHING!  But to make our requests known to God, and to do so with THANKSGIVING (again, thanksgiving from jail?).  I have to admit that being thankful for dismal circumstances does not come easily to me.  But I do know, and have experienced, that when I seek God with thanksgiving amidst dismal circumstances my circumstances suddenly become insignificant.  In the light of the cross they fade away.  When I realize how much I have to be thankful for and how much God has already done for me I realize that really nothing else is needed.  I learn to trust.  I learn to obey.  And I experience the beauty of God's peace.

Perhaps my recent trial wasn't as much about the situation or outcome as it was about God wanting to teach me to trust Him more.  About Him teaching me to be patient in prayer for months before He finally answers me.  About Him showing me that although I have no control, He has all of it.  And that is all such a beautiful thing!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

I made BBQ Chicken Quesadillas (with caramelized onions) for dinner tonight, based off of this post at one of my favorite blogs.  The only things I changed was that I did not use oil to caramelize the onions, and simply used cooking spray.  I also added garlic powder, pineapple chunks, and jalapeno slices to the quesadillas, because that is what we like on our BBQ Chicken Pizza.  These babies were delicious, and definitely served as a quick, inexpensive, throw together dinner.  This combination of sweet, spicy, and cheesy is pure bliss!