Summer Slow Cooker

I have talked about my love for my crockpot/slow cooker (whatever you wanna call it!) many times around here. It's the most wonderful solution for two working adults or busy families who just need a delicious dinner when they get home during the week! As I've been prepping our freezer with crockpot meals, I realized a lot of our favorites are more suited for the fall and winter. I love making chili, soups and stews in the crockpot. While those are still tasty year round, I needed some new inspiration. So, hello, Pinterest! Long-time no see. I rounded up a few awesome summer slow cooker recipes that I plan to make to make life simpler in the coming months and to also be more seasonally appropriate.

For a great breakfast/brunch idea- this frittata sounds SO tasty. I love anything with summer zucchini and the blend of herbs she uses in this recipe is already making my mouth water.

There is nothing like a summer Sloppy Joe, amiright?! This one made with quinoa really intrigued me- hopefully it will be as tasty and it sounds! 

Corn?! In a crockpot?! With flavors like chili and lime? Sign. Me. Up. We don't have a grill currently (ours broke a couple summers ago and we have yet to pull the trigger on a new one) so if I can get a delicious summery corn in my slow cooker- you bet I'm going to try it!

Stuffed peppers are another go-to meal in our house, but typically of the heavier, cheesy variety- and I've always made them in the oven, too. This Greek spin on something I already love sounds awesome!

And of course I had to at least throw one dessert recipe into the mix ;) This cobbler sounds absolutely delicious and if I can have something sweet without slaving in the kitchen for hours doing tedious steps? I'm in!

Anyone have any favorite summer slow cooker recipes to add to the mix for me?! I'm officially hungry after writing this post ;) Bring on the summer yumminess! 

Liking up with Jenn today for What's Hap"Pinning" Wednesday

Let's Chat

I come to this blog almost daily and want to write, but many days as of late I end up closing the tab before I ever type a word. It's just hard to form coherent thought sometimes ya know? So today I thought I'd talk to you blogger to blogger. Just me and you sitting down for some girl talk to catch up, share what's going on and have an open conversation. That's all I really want at this point- someone to chit chat with and enjoy a good beverage together. I don't think that's asking too much.

I'd be drinking the coldest ice water with lemon but I'd openly admit that I honestly just really want to drink a fountain Mountain Dew instead. Or maybe a Sonic slushie- it's probably a good thing I didn't discover those until the last month of pregnancy. A really, really good thing.
I'd likely share our little boy's name, since we'd be in person and not on the internet. We use it so much at home it's hard not to type it online. With each passing day it gets a little bit tougher not to share it on the blog/social media world. I worry about creepers and privacy sometimes, and other times I just want to say "who cares?!" It's a never-ending battle in my mind.

I'd confide in you that every single day, typically multiple times a day, I worry about how childcare will work once I have go to back to work. I'd tell you it seriously makes me sick to my stomach thinking of the hours I'll be away from my little guy. I'd probably beg you to help me find a new job that lets me work from home... or closer to home... or part-time with the same pay/benefits as I have now ;) Wishful thinking, right?!

I'd probably admit to you that I have hardly any experience with newborn babies- but that I cannot wait to have one of my own to snuggle! I think my fear/nerves with tiny babies comes from the parents typically- watching me like a hawk when I meet their new little one and giving me a play-by-play of what I should be doing. It'll be nice to have my own cutie to care for and love on in the privacy of our own home.

Before I scare you into thinking I shouldn't be allowed to have a baby- I'll be quick to remind you that Jared is a superstar and I know he's going to be such a great dad. I hope our little boy looks just like him! It's so fun to think about what he'll look like, and so exciting that we'll finally know in a few weeks!

We'd wrap up our date after a couple hours of nonstop back and forth. I'm sure we'd glance at the clock and be all, "Wow! How did two hours pass by already?!" You'd get a big hug from me- possibly an awkward one since this belly gets in the way of everything these days. I'd follow up with a text where we promise to meet up again soon. Friend dates are so important- and they just don't happen enough. Maybe next time we meet I'll be enjoying that Mountain Dew ;)

Thrilled to See You, Friday!

It's been another whirlwind of a week and as always, I am thrilled to see Friday! Tonight I'm using a gift certificate from my birthday for a much need mani/pedi. My poor swollen feet are seriously going to enjoy this and I'll finally have pretty nails again! It's the little things people - it really is. I'm trying to remember to be more thankful on a daily basis, even through the aches and pains ;) This week I'm thankful for...

- A small little baby shower at work. It was just a small group of us but the women at work were really sweet in celebrating our little boy! A few of them chipped in to buy our highchair which I know we won't need for awhile, but I still love it. Little man also got some swimming trunks and sunglasses so he is all set for these summer months coming up quick. And these burp cloths we received are just too cute for spit-up but I guess I'll get over that.
aden and anais burpy bibs

- Overall an easy pregnancy. Sure, I get heartburn and swollen feet and I feel like a turtle these days, but I've had a healthy, smooth 9 months and for that I am definitely thankful. I haven't been sick and have gotten positive results/updates at the doctors pretty much all along. I don't take that lightly and just hope that continues through for an "easy" labor/delivery!

- A new little buddy! My bestie had her little girl this Tuesday after a very long labor and emergency c-section and I'm just so thankful that everyone is healthy and safe! Lacey is an absolute rockstar and little Reese, I know you and I are going to be great friends ;)

- My creative outlet. Having an Etsy shop is such a fun little side gig that lets me be creative in my spare time; because Lord knows I definitely don't have any creativity involved with my day job. I am truly thankful for the support we've received so far. Amy and I are having fun with it, learning a lot and hopefully growing our shop every week.

- This hubby of mine who puts up with all my crazy, all the time. He's always great, but I feel like our relationship has just grown exponentially since finding out we were expecting. I couldn't imagine life without this guy by my side.

I've got a great weekend ahead of me and I hope you do, too.
What little things are you thankful for right now??

On the Bright Side

Yesterday was the Monday-est Monday I've had in a long time. It was one of those days where you're pretty sure it's doomed right from the get-go. The morning started with oversleeping... never a good way to start your week, right? I actually overslept by so much I considered texting my boss to let him know I wasn't coming in, or was going to take a half-day or something. Fortunately, I pulled it together long enough to hop (more like roll) out of bed, get dressed in something semi-presentable and get going. Ugh, Monday.

And boy, was it a good thing I got going! Now I'm never late, but on my rushed drive into downtown, I remembered that today was actually the day I was supposed to get into work early for something. Yikes. It's bad enough to come in late, but on a Monday where you'd committed to being there earlier than normal? Yeah, terrible employee over here! Of course once I get to work "my" parking spot is gone but should I be surprised at this point? Nope, it's Monday.

I rush into the building as quickly as I can and hop (more like waddle) into the elevator. Push the button for my floor. Nothing. Push it again. Push it more frantically. The elevator is doing NOTHING. Really?? Today of all days has to be the day I now get to walk up 2.5 flights of stairs. Oh, and I'm 36 weeks pregnant as of today- in case that slipped anyone's mind. Monday, you are slowly killing me.

I huffed and puffed my way upstairs with my work bag and ginormous water bottle. I'm going to openly admit that yes, I did have to stop to catch my breath- more than once. My Fitbit practically exploded trying to measure my heart rate. Eventually I made it to the top, sweaty hairline and all, and collapsed into my desk chair. Approximately 30 seconds later my boss was in the doorway with urgent work for me and the day just rolled on from there. Monday-est Monday ever.

Other "highlights" of the day? 
- Forgetting my lunch on the counter at home. 
- Realizing my library books were due that day- and I'm NEVER late to return library books.
- Happily taking all my coupons to Kroger for a big grocery trip to discover they expired the previous day.
- Heartburn from absolutely nothing that comes and goes all day.

On the bright side... at least it's Tuesday now and nothing can go wrong. Right?!
This post is completely written in fun. I know things aren't that bad!! ;) 

We've Still Got It

Jared and I went to our first wedding in over a year this weekend. It took us awhile to actually remember how long it had been but sure enough, the last wedding we were invited to was May of last year. Crazy how you go through phases of life where you've got a wedding practically every other weekend... and then your life shifts to having none! This Saturday we went to my friend Kate's wedding and it was an honor to be there celebrating with her and her new hubby.

Kate and I worked together for a little over 5 years before she left our company for bigger and better things. She was my first friend at work, and definitely the closest friend I ever had at my place of employment. In fact, she was the one sneaking around on the field capturing all the photos of Jared's proposal for us! I miss having her as a coworker but we've stayed in touch and it was great seeing her marry her best friend.

It ended up being much colder than you'd normally expect for mid-May, hence the cardigan I had to add over my dress at the last minute. Luckily, it was indoor- a beautiful Jewish ceremony (I've never been to one!) and I was completely in love with her dress. I wish I'd gotten a better photo of it, but my crappy phone pictures are all I managed. It was such a unique dress and totally Kate. The food and cake were delicious, the venue was gorgeous and seeing the Hora was actually really cool. Although, it also scared me- I'm glad no one got dropped ;)
My TWO dates ;)

I remember the days where Jared and I were just wedding-ing out. The summer of 2009 I remember we attended about 7 weddings and turned down another 6 we couldn't make it to. Whew! We were constantly attending them and it definitely gets tiring, not to mention expensive. But after this weekend I realized how much I have missed having weddings to attend and friends to celebrate. We're now mostly in the baby shower/first birthday stage- but just FYI, we are really great wedding guests still okay?! Invite us! We still get out on the dance floor with the best of 'em ;)

Confession Session

I'm pretty sure I was supposed to post this and link-up yesterday, but this week has totally gotten away from me! Hopefully Nadine will still accept my link, even though it's late. It's amazing I even know what day of the week it is most time, I swear.

Confession... I am obsessed with watching my belly move and feeling my babe kick around in there. He's most active in the evenings when I'm just relaxing and I cannot get enough of it! I already get sad thinking about how much I'll miss it once he's here, but I'm sure having him in my arms will be pretty great too ;)

Confession... I feel pretty "checked out" of work at this point. Sure, I'm still getting all my work done and hanging in there the best I can... but my mind is pretty all over the place most days. I have to train 4 new people next week and just thinking about that exhausts me.

Confession... I cannot WAIT to go on maternity leave. This little boy can't come soon enough!! Since he's been measuring a little bit ahead of schedule, I have it in my head he'll be here early- only time will tell if I'll actually be right, but I just have this gut feeling I won't make it to my due date.

Confession... Starting next week I see my doctor every single week until delivery. I'm so excited! Honestly, I feel very calm and at peace about labor/delivery and just can't wait to see my son. I truly have no worries or fears, just ready to get this party started haha.

Confession... I just realized all my confessions are baby-related so far, which was unintentional. But hey, I've got a pretty one-track mind these days.

Confession... Our nursery is super close to being done and ready. I'm looking forward to sharing pictures of it on here, eventually! It's finally all really coming together.

Confession... Everyone tells me to get my rest right now but can you really stockpile rest and sleep? I don't think you can. So, I've been staying up later than I should- but for good reason. NBA Playoffs! Anyone else following along/have a team still playing?

Confession... I had cereal for dinner one night this week and it was the best thing in the world.

Confession... I have swollen feet at the end of every day, have gained more weight than I wanted to while pregnant and haven't been working out consistently in months. And you know what? That's okay! #realpreggotalk

I think I dumped enough random pregnant lady stuff on y'all for one day- but whew, there was a lot I just needed to get out there ya know? Hope everyone's having a great week so far. Thank goodness the weekend is on the horizon!

A Great Weekend Indeed

Ahhh...what a great weekend!! We stayed out later on Friday night than we have in a looong time- I'm talking past 11pm, people. I was impressed I was able to stay awake for our big night out but I'm so glad I did- Jared and I had such a good time. We had tickets in my company's suite for the Cincinnati Reds game with some coworkers and our VP.
cincinnati reds baseball

Not only did we get to see a great game/win, we stuffed ourselves with delicious food and also got the post-game fireworks show- Star Wars themed! Even as a non-Star Wars fan I can appreciate a good fireworks show with great music. Plus? We were the only people who stayed in the suite until the very end of the night so we had it all to ourselves for the fireworks. Another win!
Little man's first game!!! ;)
cincinnati reds ballpark

We were able to celebrate both our moms on Saturday and I totally failed at taking pictures- oops! I still love my mom even if I didn't take a photo OR write her a paragraph on Facebook, just fyi ;) Plus- let's be real, throwback pictures like this are way more fun, anyway. I'm the little one in case you can't tell.

Also, another monumental thing happened over the weekend that is totally worthy of documenting- I tried Sonic for the first time. Not even the food from there, just a strawberry-mango slushie and boy, did it hit the spot! We've always heard about all their different drinks and since we happened to be passing by one after church, we made it happen. It was dangerously tasty and yes, I realize how pregnant I sound raving about a beverage. I will try not to make these a daily habit.

Here's to a good low-key week, friends!!

Highlights of the Week

Happppy Friday!!! I hope everyone indulged in lots of chips and queso yesterday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I'm still hoping post-pregnancy that my love for mexican food will return... it felt very odd to avoid it yesterday (and for the past 8ish months!) This week had a couple fun highlights I wanted to jot down before I bust outta' this office and into the weekend ahead:

Highlight #1: Getting lunch with this beautiful gal who I like to refer to as my cousin-in-law. I feel so fortunate that many of my friends are a result of marrying Jared! :) This girl has a heart of gold. Calena and I had a much overdue dinner date to catch up on life and talk about everything from jobs to babies to church to how we're going to celebrate her 30th birthday this summer. We don't schedule time together nearly enough but I'm glad we did it before I have a baby! 

Highlight #2: Attending a luncheon with a group of women from work. A couple times a year I generally get invited to these types of things so it's always a welcome couple of hours out of the office. I attended the "Go Red for Women" luncheon with the American Heart Association. Heather Mitts (a three time Olympic gold medalist) was the speaker and as always it was a good time!
american heart association

Highlight #3: Finding out that this same group of women at work are throwing me a small baby shower in a couple of weeks! I honestly didn't expect that, but it's very sweet of them to want to celebrate us and our little boy. I'm hoping for a few more Bengals outfits as gifts- hint hint ;)

Highlight #4: Tonight! Jared and I are going to be in a suite for our first (and possibly only!) Reds game of the season. I've been looking forward to this night for weeks. Free food, great seats and a fireworks show post-game! It will be a super fun date night out for us and I really just can't wait. Reds games have always been one of my favorite things for us to do together, all the way back to our early dating days.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend celebrating their moms, sisters, aunts, grandmas and other special women in their lives!

Currently: May Edition

Happy Wednesday, everyone. This week is absolutely crawling by for me, I cannot believe it's only the middle of the work week right now! Let's hope the second half of this week speeds it up a little because I'm ready for the weekend already. Today I'm back for another monthly edition of the "Currently" link-up with Anne and Jenna!

Celebrating - Star Wars Day! Just kidding- I'm definitely not... I'm just not a Star Wars fan, I'm sorry. Jared is though so I'm pretty confident I saw him head off to work this morning with one of his nerdy graphic tees on ;) I'm just celebrating that it's our anniversary month and that we're having a baby NEXT MONTH.

Reading - Bringing up Bebe. I've read all the informational baby stuff I can- so this is more of a light, entertaining read- but also super interesting so far. Here's a summary of the plot via Amazon since they sum it up much better than I can:

Pondering - When this baby will come. Wouldn't it be nice if due dates actually meant something?! I've had it in my head all along that he's coming early... which likely means he'll come late. #help

Sipping - Water, water, water. I'm like a camel! I cannot go 30 minutes without drinking water or I feel like I'm going to die. I've always drank a lot of it but my consumption lately is through the roof. I tracked it this past week out of curiosity and I was averaging 140 oz a day!!

Going - No where, I hope! I am honestly just pooped by the end of a work day, and then at the end of a work week. It takes a lot for me to feel motivated to get up and out of the house in something other than sweats ;) I'm hoping to keep our obligations and calendars as free as possible in the coming weeks because I just need time to put these cankles feet up.

What are you up to this May?? Link up with the lovely hosts and make some new friends! 

May Goals...ish.

Since this is the last full month before my world gets flipped upside down (in the best way possible!) I decided this will also be my last month with a "goals" post for awhile as well. I use the word goals lightly because I'm keeping my ambitions light this month. I'm 34 weeks pregnant TODAY so excuse me while my priorities (and my balance) shift a little bit.
I'm terrible at remembering to take bump pictures... This is 30 weeks (L) vs 34 weeks (R).

A quick look at how I did in April?
+ Order 1 more photobook. It should get delivered to my house today. Is there anything better than seeing that orange package from Shutterfly on your doorstep? I don't think so! 

✔- Meal plan more efficiently. We did better in April than in previous months, that's for sure but still didn't do it perfectly. April got busier than I thought it would so there were lots of hodgepodge meals that weren't exactly planned for, but we made it work.

+ Start stocking the freezer. Over the weekend I did a small freezer meal day and got a good start on post-baby meals to have on hand. Whew.

- Keep Walking. I definitely slacked on the exercise in April. This body is getting big and tired and it's tough to find the motivation. =\

For May, I'm keeping it at simple and preggo-friendly as possible ;) 
Here are my "goals" for the next few weeks:
may 2016 goals

Finish the nursery
This is honestly the biggest one for us. It's been a challenge organizing everything, finding a place for all the tiny gifts and now we're about ready to hang some actual decor on the walls. Still on the hunt for a curtain too, but we're getting there.

Schedule a massage and a pedicure/manicure
Thanks to some great gift certificates from my birthday last month, I have dollars to spend on these things and I cannot wait. I'm experiencing a lot of back pain (sciatic nerve- fun, fun!) so a massage this month is much needed. And who doesn't love a pedicure? My feet need some pampering too!

Spend time with Jared/Celebrate our Anniversary
Obviously I spend as much time with him as possible, but like I mentioned April got really busy and it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. We have some fun plans together this month and I am really looking forward to all the quality time we can get. Plus, our anniversary is at the end of this month and I can't wait to celebrate!

Read/Relax More
I am guilty of feeling like I need to constantly be getting things done, but as I get more and more tired and achy, I definitely pay for it when I overdo things. Honestly, if our baby came tomorrow we'd be fine and we'd be ready. So I need to remember that relaxing and taking some time for me is definitely okay in these last few weeks. Life isn't going to look perfect before our baby comes OR after he comes, so just enjoy the days for what they are.

Bring it on May- I'm excited you're here :)

Weekend by the Numbers

Monday, Monday- we meet again, sadly. Another weekend gone by way too fast but isn't that how it always goes? I really wish maternity leave was something that started about 3-4 weeks before you had your baby... that would really come in handy when all I can think about is a nap at my desk every afternoon. This weekend was pretty uneventful in most senses, but I thought the best way to sum it up would be with a numbers post! So without further adieu- let me fill you in on the past couple of days:

16.2 - number of miles Jared ran this weekend. That crazy guy of mine ran a 5k Saturday morning and then went right out and finished his 5th half-marathon Sunday like it was no big deal. I'm so proud of him and absolutely love this photo my SIL snapped after his finish.
flying pig

0 - miles I've run this year ;) Plenty of miles walked, but whewww- it's been a long while since this gal jogged. I can't even imagine what that's going to feel like if/when it ever happens again.

35 - thank you notes I finished writing and mailed this weekend.

1 - load of baby laundry completed. I just washed some swaddle blankets and towels, but it was surreal.

572 - approximate number of diapers we have stashed away. It sounds like SO many, but I know we'll be flying through them in no time at all.

2 - visits to Skyline in one weekend. Oops ;)
cincinnati chili

25 - times little man kicks me in the ribs in like, an hour. He is one active dude- that's for sure!

60 - minutes spent soaking my aching body in this goodness. There is nothing like the smell of lavender. It helps me relax before bed SO much and definitely eases some of the back pain.
lavender epsom salt

7 - essential oils in my current collection. Like I said, lavender is great- but I love diffusing these various oils in the evening too. Any other Doterra fans out there??
doterra essential oils

43 - days until my due date. WHAT!?

5 - hours spent watching and tracking the NFL draft over the course of the weekend. I'm honestly pretty excited about who my Bengals picked up. I feel like we really filled a lot of holes and I'm pumped about football season!

Hope everyone had a great weekend-- Cheers to it being a new month!! :)