Sunday, January 29, 2012

25 and 26 Weeks Pregnant!

Yeah, unless I start feeling like an over-achiever, these pregnancy blogs are gonna be every 2 weeks.  The weeks are just going by so quickly, and I'm so busy at school that writing one every week is proving to be difficult!  I try to make mental notes during the week so I can remember what I want to talk about though.  I will be 27 weeks tomorrow, so here is my 25/26 week update!

So, here I am at 25 weeks pregnant.  Another school picture!  I am always in a rush now, so I have to snap one when I get a chance!

I got a haircut, and it makes getting ready A LOT faster!  I like it a lot better than what I had.

During this week, I continued to get heartburn, which was not fun.  It's really painful.  I've taken Tums, and they haven't done anything.  I have heard from several people I should try Maalox.  I may do that.  I'm not a big medicine person.  I never take anything for a headache; I just drink water.  I just don't like taking medicine. I would rather treat the problem than the symptoms, but this heartburn has just gotten the best of me.  It's not from eating spicy food either.  Just regular food in my daily diet.  It's strange.  My doctor suggested that I take 1 Zantac every day to prevent the heartburn.  I'm not sure if I'll do that or not, but if this heartburn keeps up, I'm definitely not above it.

This week I also noticed how difficult it is for me to get in and out of bed, off the couch, out of the car, etc.  I really have to get so momentum going to move myself.  It's crazy.  Adam usually helps me up if he's around.  I'm pitiful.  Haha.

The sweet cravings have been intense.  All I want are chocolate milkshakes 24/7.  Sigh.  I have been trying to discourage myself from getting them, but it's so hard.  They are so delicious and really hit the spot.  I think my body is making up for not wanting sweets for 20 weeks.

Here's what Baby Center has to say about me at 25 weeks:

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.

Here's what baby was up to at 25 weeks:

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.

During 26 weeks pregnant, I had my gestational diabetes test and my 4 week check up.  I passed my diabetes test, and that was such a relief, especially given my constant sweet craving.....and indulgence into that craving.....  Here I am at 26 weeks!

I got to hear the hearbeat which was in the 130 beat/minute range.  The doctor also told me that the baby is head down!  I kind of wondered that since I feel all of his kicks really high on my right side now.  I also have a funny bulge on the left side next to my belly button, which I think we have determined is his bottom. :)  How cute. :)  She measured my belly since I have been feeling like I am really big and look like I could go at any second.  I'm measuring right at 27 inches (as of 26 weeks 4 days), so I'm right on track.  I guess since I'm so short waisted, it just makes my belly look super big.  Maybe he'll run out of space and come early.  That would be awesome!  But not too early of course. 

I asked the doctor about a few symptoms I have been experiencing that are definitely uncomfortable and feel "not normal" to me.  Whenever I sneeze, I get a SUPER sharp pain under my stomach.  It is excrutiating to where I have to yell or make some kind of noise.  She told me that is round ligament pain, and that it is normal.  If that is anything like what contractions will feel like, I might die.  It is SO painful.  The pain doesn't last long, but it's such a stabbing pain, it just kills me.  Glad to know it's normal though, but hate to know what real pain is going to feel like.  

Also, as you may remember from my 22 week pregnancy blog found HERE,  I had a little fainting episode (almost fainting) at the doctor's office.  Well since then, it has happened 2-3 more times.  The doctor said that my blood pressure is on the very low side, so any dip in blood pressure, my body reacts negatively to.  She said probably what is happening is that I'm going too long in between meals.  I usually stay so busy that I don't snack, but when it comes meal time, I stuff myself.  This causes me to have sugar spikes when I eat meals, and sugar dips when I go without.  She told me I need to eat smaller meals throughout the day and to make sure I am constantly doing some healthy snacking to keep blood pressure dips away.  I'm going to do my best.  It's really hard to snack while you're teaching.  Especially when you know that the kids are hungry and ready for lunch, it makes you feel guilty. 

I also talked to her a little bit about the birth.  So far, she hasn't offered me any info on birth, so I have no idea what to expect.  I really don't know what I should be asking.  She said fetal monitering (which is a concern of mine since I'm hoping I will be able to walk around at the hospital) will be dependent upon how the labor is going.  I really don't wanna be stuck in the bed the whole time.  I would like to stay up and moving so hopefully it will help progress the labor and possibly provide some distraction/relief from the contractions.  I also asked if Adam and I should be taking birth classes, and she said that depends on us and if that is something that we would feel would better prepare us.  I really don't know.  I mean, I already know that labor will probably be nothing like what I thought it would be (it will probably be worse), so I don't know if you can ever really prepare.  But she said that if we are going to sign up for classes, it needs to be soon.  Leave me a comment and let me know if you took birth classes and if it was helpful or not.  Keep in mind, I'm gonna give it my best effort to do things naturally.  So I don't know if that makes a difference or not.  I plan to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital.  I just think I will be more comfortable here.  So let me know what you did and how it did/didn't prepare you. 

Here is what my body was up during 26 weeks pregnant according to Baby Center:

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.

Here is what was going on with baby during 26 weeks:
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.

Woo hoo!  Lots of interesting stuff going on, haha.  Adam and I played the flashlight game with him the other night.  We put the flashlight up to my stomach, and he kicked wherever the light was.  It was fun.  He has also started moving in response to Adam's voice, which is really cool!  He continues to move like crazy.  I now have to get up every 1-2 hours at night to go to the bathroom.  I think with him being head down, it has created a lot of pressure.  Then, once I have gotten up and lay back down, he starts moving A LOT!  I guess he is getting me ready for some sleepless nights! 

A lot of people have been asking me when my due date is.  His official due date is April 30.  At our last ultrasound at 20 weeks, he was already measuring about a pound, and they said it was looking like he may come by April 24.  I feel like he is really big, so I am hoping he comes a little bit early so that I don't have to push out a 10-11 pound baby. :)  But as long as he's healthy and everything is developed, I'm good.  It's all in God's timing.  I'm sorry this update was so long, but I just want to be able to look back and remember everything. :)  Remember to let me know what your experience was with birth classes and whether or not you think it was necessary.  You can also let me know if you took the Bradley method classes, Lamaze, etc.  Thanks!  Have a restful Sunday afternoon. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Easy Breakfast Cake

Happy Saturday :)  I didn't get much sleep last night.  Heidi (our dog) apparently knew that there was a storm headed this way, so she was up in the bed with us and refused to let us get any sleep.  I was up almost every hour (Is baby head down now?  Cause I'm always "goin"!).  Our weather alert radio went off at 5:30 to let us know that there was a tornado watch, and from that point on, sleep was just not happening.  The baby was constantly moving (which I can't say that I mind), and I was waiting on the sound of thunder.  I finally got up a few hours later and left Adam (and Heidi) to sleep since he was finally able to doze off. 

I love how quiet the house is on Saturday mornings.  The rain on the window made everything so peaceful.  I decided that I wanted to cook up a yummy breakfast.  I had some sort of coffee cake on the brain since I figured I probably had the ingredients on hand.  I did some searching and finally found this one here.  I followed it but adjusted the baking time from 20 minutes to 35 minutes since mine wasn't done.
If you would like to make it, here is what you will need.

2 eggs, 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 and 1/2 cups of milk (I used skim), 3 cups of flour (I used King Arthur's white whole wheat flour), 4 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, 4 Tbsp vegetable oil, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  I didn't measure the brown sugar or cinnamon.  It is used to sprinkle as a topping.  (Not pictured: butter)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put the eggs, sugar, milk, flour, baking powder and salt into the mixer.  Mix ingredients together.  After ingredients are mixed, beat in vegetable oil for a minute or two. 

Spray a 9x13 pan or glass dish with non-stick spray.  Pour mixture into pan.

Generously top with brown sugar, cinnamon, and pats of butter.

 Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, wake up your hubby, and enjoy!

Happy Saturday :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cleaning Up My Act- Fridge Style

If you were fortunate enough to be off work for Marthin Luther King, Jr. Day then I hope you enjoyed it!  For those of you that had to work, I'm sorry. :(  But I hope your day at work was productive! :)

On my day off, I caught up on a few household things that needed to be taken care of.  One of the things that needed to be done was to get the fridge cleaned out.  If you remember in my New Year's Resolution post found HERE, I said that I have wanted to cook supper at least 5 nights out of the week.  I have found a meal plan, which I will be writing about soon, that I believe will help keep me on track and save us lots of money!  But before I go grocery shopping and get us all stocked up, I had to face my fridge.  This guy has been neglected since we have been eating out.  He was in bad shape.  Here are some befores.

Looks pretty packed huh?  I bet we could get a lot of meals out of that....not.  I cleaned out all of the items that were out of date.  That turned out to be.....about 75% of our food.  Here it is with all the bad food tossed out!

Yep, it was a lot.  Next, I emptied everything else out onto the counters so I could give the inside of the fridge a REALLY good scrub down.

:::::Angels singing::::::

So much better!  Finally, I loaded everything back in, but this time I came up with a little bit of organization.  Not that there was much to organize. :)  Here is the after!

Not much left!  That jar on the top is an old spaghetti jar.  I save sauces that we don't use from fast food places, so I put them in there.  Adam doesn't understand it, but he will thank me when we come home from Taco Bell, and they left out the mild sauce!

This is what's in the top drawer.  Deli meat and cheese.

Nothing in the bottom drawers!  That's where the fresh produce should be...

Now for the door of the fridge.

Butter.  We don't use margarine.  I don't like the taste of it, and I don't want clogged arteries.  Butter in moderation. :)

Right below the butter is dressing and sandwich condiments.  Can you tell how many times we have attempted to eat salad?

Milk.  We like it skim. 

These are marinades and sauces.

Jams and Apple Butter.  Our staples. :)

I'm so glad that project is finished!  Now we can head to the store and stock up on food that we will actually eat!  Be sure to check back, and I will show you our fridge full of food and neatly organized to make meal time more efficient.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

Yesterday I was doing some cleaning up around the kitchen and realized that I was about out of my homemade cleaner.  I have been using this cleaner for over a year and have only bought 1 other cleaner since I started using it.  (That one other cleaner was a Clorox foaming cleaner for our nasty tub.  I don't recommend the foaming kind by the way; it wasn't very helpful.)  I found this recipe on Dr. Oz's website, so yes, it's doctor approved!  It's great because there are no toxic chemicals, which means it's ok to breathe into your throat and lungs.  Also, since you aren't buying a million bottles of different types of cleaners, it reduces waste.  Sounds pretty good, huh?  Here's what you will need.

1 empty spray bottle (I found mine in the dollar section at Ace Hardware last year.  I'm sure you can find them at the Dollar Tree, Walmart, etc), 2 Tbsp of Borax, 6 Tbsp of white vinegar, 4 cups of water, 2 Tbsp of dish soap (I use Ajax cause it's the cheapest at my grocery store), and 2 drops of essential oil (optional, for fragrance if you don't want it to smell like vinegar.  Peppermint essential oil would be a good, clean scent.) Not pictured: funnel.
I acually cheated a little bit on the essential oil part.  This is what I use for $1.00 from Dollar General.  It's not technically essential oil, but it's an oil that's scented. :)  You can make several batches of cleaner from this tiny bottle.

They have different scents.  The one I am using is called Ocean Breeze.  If you are trying to find Borax, it looks like this and can be found at Ace Hardware and other home improvement stores.  I would say you could also find it at Walmart.

Using a funnel, measure and pour the ingredients into the empty spray bottle.  Make sure you use a funnel, otherwise this is going to make a big mess and most of the products won't go into the spray bottle.

Make sure you put the products into the bottle in the order that they are listed in the ingredients above.  If you put the dish soap in before the water, then you will have a big bubbly mess when you put the water in. :)  After all of the ingredients are in, screw the lid on and give it a good shake.  Now you're ready to clean!

Don't forget to label your bottle.  I just put some clear tape on the bottle and wrote "All-Purpose Cleaner."  That way everyone in the house knows what it is and what it is for (basically anything).  I use this cleaner for daily kitchen cleaning, daily bathroom cleaning, etc.  If you need something more heavy duty if the tubs get bad or if someone has been really sick, then I would go for something with bleach in it to get all the nastiness out. 

Happy cleaning!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Homemade Laundry Soap

This has been a long awaited post by many of my friends!  Today I mixed up some of my homemade laundry soap.  I got this recipe from a friend as a wedding gift, complete with all of the supplies.  (If you are wondering what to get someone who is about to get married, this is a very thoughtful/useful gift!)  This laundry soap lasts us several months, probably about 5-6 months, and it only costs $0.02 per load (depending on the type of soap you use.  This price is for the Fels-Naptha). I think everyone has a slightly different version of how to make homemade laundry soap.  I'm sure there are a bunch of ways, but this is how I make mine.  Here is what you will need!

You will need: 1 bar of soap (see of good soaps to use below), 1 cup of Borax, 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, about 4 gallons of water.  Not pictured: grater, pan, 5 gallon bucket, measuring cups.

This is Dr. Bonner's Peppermint soap.  I picked this up at Walgreen's since I was already in there.  This is the first time I will be trying this particular soap.  I usually use Fels-Naptha, which you can find at places like Ace Hardware, Home Depot, etc.   
I have also heard of people using Ivory soap or a brand called Zote.  It's really just whatever is your preference.  I can tell you that the Fels-Naptha smells sooooo good!  It almost has a fruity scent to me, fruity but very clean.  I really like it. 

The type of soap you choose will determine the consistency of your laundry soap (detergent).  After making this recipe with Dr. Bonner's soap, I found that the consistency is a little more watery than if you make it with the Fels-Naptha.  It all works the same though.  Either way you make it, it will turn out slightly clumpy.  Doesn't change how well it works though.  If the clumps bother you, give it a good stir.  Dr. Bonner's soap makes a less clumpy mixture than the Fels-Naptha soap.

In case you have never used Borax or Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and aren't sure what to look for, here is what it looks like.

Now we're ready to get started!  To set up, go ahead and put your pan on the stove and set it to medium heat.  Then go ahead and fill your 5 gallon bucket with 2 gallons of hot water.  You can use an old milk jug to measure.

To shred my soap, I used a grater attachment for my KitchenAid.  If you don't have a grater attachment, a regular grater will work just fine.  You want to have a fine shred so that the soap will melt quickly and evenly. 

This is how much soap it turns out to be when it's all grated.  This is very fine, if yours isn't as fine, it's ok.

Make sure your pan is nice and hot. 

Pour the grated soap into the pan and then pour in just enough water to cover it.  When you do this, it will clump like so.  That's ok.  Just continuously stir until the soap is completely melted.

After the soap is completed melted in the pain, pour it into the bucket. 

Then stir, stir, stir until it's as smooth as you can get it.

All stirred up.

You can see that it's bubbly at the top and that there are just a few clumps in it.  This is fine.

Lastly, add 2 more gallons of hot water and stir.  Put the lid on to store.  Make sure you keep the lid on it tight, otherwise the water will evaporate.  You will notice once it sits, the consistency may turn gel-like on the top.  That's fine, you can just stir it up.  Some recipes say you need to let it sit over night and then stir it the next day, others say you can use it right away.  I usually don't wait overnight and all is well.  

This recipe is a HUGE money saver at 0.02 cents/load. (This price is for the Fels-Naptha soap.)  For a regular load of clothes, use 1 cup of the laundry soap.  (For more heavily soiled loads you can use up to 2 cups.)  If you really wanna see how much you are saving, look at this price comparison borrowed from NaturallyThriftyMom.

Planet- 0.44 cents per load
Deft- 0.43cents per load
Seventh Generation- 0.36 cents per load
Tide Pure Essentials- 0.35 cents per load
Tide Free- 0.26 cents per load
Cheer- 0.25 cents per load
Gain- 0.23 cents per load
Homemade- 0.02 cents per load!!!!!!!!!!

So....if you do 30 loads per month (1 load per day), you will be spending .60 cents a month on homemade detergent compared to up to $13.20 if you use the other brands!  Putting that into perspective over the course of a year, you will spend $7.30 on homemade detergent, as opposed to $160.60 on the fancy stuff!  That is crazy!  I'm not sure why anyone would pay that much.  I hope this recipe was helpful and will save you lots of moolah this year.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Getting Crafty: DIY Initial Plate

I am thoroughly enjoying my 3 day weekend!  Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr! Adam and I started things off with some breakfast at IHOP this morning.  We haven't been there in a while.

 It was fun to get out and enjoy such a pretty day with him.  After we had some breakfast, we went to my FAVORITE local shop (The United Gift Shop) and did some browsing.  Adam and I love to go in there and look around at all the vintage and antique things.  It's obviously not something he would do in his own spare time, but we always have a good time together just talking and walking around.  While we were there, I came across this little plate that I loved.  It had a verse on it that is very near to mine and Adam's hearts right now. 

So we picked it up for $4.00.  Normally I would only pay $2.00 at most for a smaller sized plate, but with the verse I was willing to pay more.  The center of the plate is blank, but I had a plan for it!  I have been looking for a plate that I could put mine and Adam's initials on.  I saw a project on Pinterest that I have been dying to try found HERE.

To do this, I used one of the napkins from our wedding. The groom's napkins were black with white initals, and the bride's napkins were white with black initials.  I had 2 different fonts in the bride napkins since there was an error by the printing company who ordered them.  They ordered the wrong font (the block font), so they had to re-order it in the cursive font.  We got all of the block font napkins for free.

I decided to go with the cursive fancy font because it is bigger and would take up more of the blank space on the plate.  To do this project, here are the materials I used.

Plate, small craft brush, decopauge, scissors, and an inital napkin. 

First, I hand washed the plate so I could make sure that I had a clean, smooth surface to work with.  Next, I unfolded the napkin out like so.

Then, I peeled back the top layer of the napkin that had the monogram ink on it.

Don't rush when you are peeling back the napkin, otherwise it will tear.  When you're done, you will be left with this.  I just cut out the square of the top layer.

Next, I cut as closely as possible around our initials.

Then, I was ready to decopauge it to the center of the plate.

I should really get a manicure.....j/k.  That's my lovely hubby assistant. :)  I was going to let him hold it down while I started decoupaging, but I decided it would be better to spread the decopauge on the back first, then lay it down and decopauge over it.  So that's what I did. Here it is wet.  You can't tell that much that the napkin is whiter than the plate.  The plate was really more of a cream or off-white.

And here it is all dry!  I need to get a small plate stand for it.  It's going to go in the kitchen I believe.

I really like it!  Since I already had all of the supplies on hand, this project only cost me $4.00.  (Thank you to my parents who bought the napkins for the wedding!)  I'm sure you could do this same project using Word on your computer and then print off your initals in whatever font you would like.  It would also look good with a plain plate, or you could decorate your plate how you like.  I'll let you see it when I have it on the stand in its home.  Thanks for reading!

Images by Freepik