Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bed Rest Survival Kit

Almost made it through week one of "strict bed rest."
Honestly I can't believe how easy this week has been for me.
Mentally I have handled it better than I thought I would.
Physically I get a little sore from not being able 
to get up and move around much.
Being able to move from couch, to recliner and 
bed has really given me a little
relief and much needed change of scenery! Lol

Letting some sunshine in


If this week has proven more than anything it's that I have the most amazing
Husband! He has been so supportive and wonderful with everything.
I don't what what I would do without him.
And if by any small chance I can get my sweet little man to 
slow down and love on me, 
those cuddles are better than anything else in the world.

Pure Bliss
Plus all of our awesome family and friends who have helped 
us out with our son and things around the house.
Saying we are blessed is an understatement.

Many people have asked me how I am doing this week.
How I am handling being on bed rest.

I can answer honestly say I am doing well.
Once I let go of all of the things I should be, need to be, ought to be doing.
This is just another one of life's mental challenges that I have to get thru.

My bed rest survival kit has really helped too!
And of course I am going to share that with you...

This momma's survival kit

- Our Family Binder to keep up with meal plans, budget and bills that need to be paid.
- Sketch book. for doodling and keeping myself busy.
- Journal. for getting my thoughts out and for my devotional time.
-Pens and Markers.
-Wallet. Incase I find something for our new "little guy" that we HAVE to get! =)
-Tissue for those uncontrollable pregnancy hormones and tears.
-Extra bottle water to stay hydrated.
-Healthy snacks. Nuts, granola bars, apples, granola and dried fruit.
-iPad for browsing the internet. devotional & bible. blogging. reading books. 
-Charger for iPhone and iPad.
-A calendar to mark off each day of bed rest I make it through.
-Hair brush, Chapstick, Fingernail file & clippers, lotion.

Plus my hubby rented me some movies. Got me a ton of magazines. 
and some candy bars for the occasional cravings!

This so far has been great for me. Just enough to help pass time.
There is only so much television one can stand 
and only so many times re-runs to be watched.

I have also been keeping a list of all the wonderful things
 our family and friends have been doing for us. 
As I will be getting together Thank you notes! 

Here is too surviving week one,
Ashley 






Thursday, February 21, 2013

God Smacked...

Ever have those moments where God is 
trying to tell you the same thing over and over?
Mainly because you are to stubborn to listen the first time.
Well that happened to this girl just last night!

I fell off my pity party and straight into the lap of God.
What a wonderful place to fall if you ask me.

Let me share the story the way it happened.

Of course, dealing with the mental struggle of being put on
 strict bed rest has been one beast that has had me down.

Last night after a full day of being stuck in my head.
I received a message from a mentor and friend...

"Honey, God is telling you to LET GO!!!! 
Ashley, you can NOT have control this time! 
All those things you think have to be done, don't! 
Your son will love being in the bed with you while he colors, looks at books, 
plays on your computer/tablet,...just get comfortable with no control. 
It is so freeing!!!!!! 
That precious baby will come at the right time 
even if it doesn't match the DUE DATE. Have FAITH in God."


Even though I knew all of this already 
it is so much easier to hold on to what we think is best. 

When in all truth what we think is best rarely is. 
"Let Go and Let God!" 
Just keeps popping up in my head.


Then I decided to catch up on some devotional reading. 


As if the first day I read wasn't enough.
from Jesus Calling 
 God had to remind me again!...
from Jesus Calling
This left me smiling and shaking my head at myself. 
Am I so stubborn that God has to smack me down 
this many times in just a matter of minutes?

Why is it so hard for us humans to do what we need to and
 just let God lead us.  Obviously he knows what he is doing. 

After much hesitation and doubt on my part
 I am letting go and turning it all over to you, Lord. 
I am leaning on you. I will trust in your word, will and way.
I am giving you full control and know you will take care of us. Our situation.
You will make sure all that needs to get done will be taken care of! 
My hope is in you.

Ashley 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My big plans!!?

Nothing. Yep you heard that right for the duration of my pregnancy. I am to do nothing.
My doctor appointment Monday didn't go as planned. 
We found that I am dilating already at just 31 weeks and my cervix is soft.
So I am sure you guessed it, this mean Strict Bed Rest.
For all of you wondering. I can only get up to go to the bathroom and
to every couple days take a quick 5 to 10 minute shower! Nothing else.
Of course as soon as the doctor told me I was already dilating the tears start flowing.

As a mother even when your pregnant you feel helpless when you find out
 your baby may be in danger. I mean he isn't ready to come yet. 
He needs time to grow and develop more.

Then when the doctor told me strict bed rest. I was a sobbing mess!
Yes I will do whatever I have to in keeping my baby safe.
However all these "But's" start running through my head.
But I have so much to do before the baby gets here.
But I have a 19 month old how do I manage bed rest? 
But I have to clean.
But I have to cook.
But I have to do laundry.
But I have to take care of my family...

How do you do all of this while on bed rest?
Well we had to find a sitter for our son while my husband works 
Since we didn't have anyone that could come and sit with us and help out.
My Aunt is amazing enough to pick my son up when he wakes and 
take him to the sitter on her way to work. Then hubby picks him up when he gets off.

My Wonderful, Amazing, Sweet, Caring hubby comes home from 
working a 10 sometimes longer day and cooks us dinner, cleans, takes care of Clayton's
bedtime routine, get diaper bag ready for the next day and then puts our son to bed!

All while I do NOTHING. Just lay around feeling useless and awful
 for my dear husband because he is so tired. 
I am seriously crying again thinking about it!
I feel helpless.

On top of all of this all the extra time I was looking forward to 
with my son is now even less. The next 9 weeks was all we had left with him 
being our only child. That was time I wanted to prepare us all more.
Try to help him understand more about what is going to be happening.
To get as many extra cuddles. Playtime. Books. Mommy and Clayton time
as we possible could! You know all the extra stuff that will be shared
with another baby soon.

Trust me I know I am doing what is best for this little guy in my 
belly. It's just hard to not feel like I am letting my family down.

I am praying for the strength that I need to just get out of my head 
So I don't drive myself crazy!

Lots of praying. Reading. Journal writings. Devotional time and reconnecting with God.

Movies. Books. Design magazines. Drawing. List making.  

Here is me trying to be positive.
I know this is more a mental challenge then anything and I plan to beat it!! 



Here is to my view for the next 9 weeks,
Ashley 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

31 Weeks and Growing...

Things have been a bit busier around here lately as 
my true nesting phase has set in. 

Trying to get all the things we need for little guy lined out.
Freezer Meal Planned and ready to go for after I deliver.

Stocking up on all the things I am going to need after delivery,
for myself and around the house.

Starting to get the hang of Meal Planning.
Keeping up with coupons and local savings. 
Preparing for all the things that will help our precious family
in adding a new little one.

This last week was full of emotional ups and downs.
Some days it's like all these extra hormones have a mind of their own.

The hubby and myself went on a much needed date night.
I never would have thought dinner and a movie could be 
so amazing for my spirit. It was wonderful!



Even though it has still been cold we have been trying to get out for at
least 30 minutes a day to get a little fresh air.

 I have been forcing myself to put on a little make-up and get dressed in 
clothes and not just sweat pants. 
It has help me feel a little more human. =) 




It is still so hard to believe that our little guy will be arriving in 
just a few short weeks. I can't wait to hold and love on him!

As anxious as I am. I am hoping he holds out as long as possible.
I feel like we still just have so much to get ready around here.

I hope his big brother is just as happy for him to be here as we will be.
It is hard to tell if he really understands completely what is going on.
That the 'Baby' in mommy's belly is going to come out and 
take up some of the attention he is use to getting.


He will just be 21 months when he becomes a Big Brother,
but I truly believe that he will be wonderful with his little brother.
It makes my heart melt to think of the bond and relationship 
they will have growing up so close together!

Well my laundry just got finished and I can barely hold my eyes open.
Doctor appointment in the morning for this momma.
Praying to hear everything is going well.

If you guys have any advice on preparing older siblings for a new baby.
Or preparing myself on how to handle two. Please Share!!!

Blessed Momma,
Ashley 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I thought I loved you then.

You know I never thought that the night I went out with my girls
 almost 6 years ago to celebrate being single and how much we hated men,
that I would meet my husband! The father of our children and man of my dreams.

But I did!
 Crazy as it sounds my Prince Charming was 
just where he needed to be at just the right time in my life.

God really does know just what he is doing. 
My husband saved me. He helped me realize what life really is all about.

He has been there for me through some of the hardest times in my life.
Held me up when my legs wouldn't support my own weight.

Calmed me down when I needed it.
Made me smile when I really just wanted to cry.

He has been my constant. 
My laugh. My Smile. My support. My Blessing.
He is an AMAZING father. Our Provider. Our Protector. 

The day after we met, I knew that he was the man I was going to marry.
I literally called my mom and told her that the day after we meet.

Never could I have imagined how much more I would love him now.
Each day is another day I thank God for giving me this beautiful man.
This man who has given me such a wonderful son and one on the way.

You know we have never been that couple that makes a fuss out of Holidays.
We aren't exchanging gifts for Valentine's Day. 
Simple going out on a date to dinner and then to a movie.
This is however something we do not get to do often.
So it is special. I cherish these moments.

The small moments in life that make you stop. take a deep breathe.
and realize just how very blessed you are.

As I thought about Valentine's Day. The day of Love.
You look at all the frill that goes along with it.
Balloons. Candy. Cards. Jewelry. Stuffed Animals.

It really just made me reflect back on when I found this love 
with this amazing man, My Husband.
For that I am forever thankful.

For my husband. 



For our son, who steals my heart over and over again each day.




For our unborn son who we will be welcoming into the world soon.



For the future we all have together.
For this my friends is what love is to me.



ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Ashley

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pinterest Inspired Recipe: Loaded Baked Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole

My favorite part of Meal Planning and cooking more has to 
be trying new recipes! 

Most of which I find on Pinterest. 
 How did we cook before Pinterest? 
I never found good recipes like this in my recipe books.

Being a huge fan of easy and not a ton of ingredients,
the recipe I am going to share with you was amazing!


Loaded Baked Potato & Buffalo Chicken  Casserole



I will of course give credit where it is due, I found this recipe here.

However, I changed it up so my toddler would eat it
 so I will tell you exactly what I did.

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small bit size pieces
8-10 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes  (I peeled the potatoes)
1/3 cup olive oil 
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS. freshly ground pepper
1 TBS. paprika 
2 TBS. garlic powder 
3 TBS. hot sauce 


Topping:
2 cup Fiesta Blend Cheese or a mix of Cheddar & Monterey Jack
1 cup crumbled bacon
1 cup diced green onion

Preheat oven to 500F (This is NOT a typo, 500F is correct!)  
In a large bowl mix together the olive oil, 
salt, pepper,  paprika, garlic powder & hot sauce. 
Add the cubed potatoes and stir to coat. 
Carefully scoop the potatoes into a cooking spray coated 9 x 13 inch baking dish,
leaving behind as much of the olive oil/hot sauce mix as possible. 
 Bake the potatoes for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes,
until cooked through and crispy & browned on the outside.  
While the potatoes are cooking, add the cubed chicken to the bowl
with the leftover olive oil/hot sauce mix and stir to coat.  

Once the potatoes are fully cooked, 
remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 400F.  
Top the cooked potatoes with the raw marinated chicken. 
In a bowl mix together the cheese, bacon & green onion
and top the raw chicken with the cheese mix. 
 Return the casserole to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or 
until the chicken is cooked through and the topping is bubbly delicious.  
Serve with extra hot sauce and/or ranch dressing.

This turned out just as awesome as it sounds and we loved it.
Already saved as one of our go to favorites.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did and thanks to Pinterest
for allowing me to find this gem! 

Bon App├ętit,
Ashley






Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How I Really Feel at 29 1/2 weeks pregnant

I have always admired those blogs of pregnant moms with multiple kids.
You know the ones who always look fabulous!
Who rock their cute outfits, perfect make-up, high heels.
and Post about all these amazing feelings they have each week.

However this is going to be the complete opposite.
Surely you've already got that though since this is my first real 
pregnancy post and I will be 30 weeks on Saturday. 

Let's be honest having a toddler and being pregnant is hard work.
With my first pregnancy I could rest when I needed to. 
I could have all the time I needed to get ready 
and wear make-up and dress cute.

This time has proven to be a whole different ballgame. 
I can honestly say that most of the pregnancy pictures I do have 
I am in sweat pants and no make-up. It has been a cold winter,
it's just easier for me to keep me and my son inside!
Unless it's for church or a doctor appointment here lately 
I look a hot mess with unbrushed hair and hairy legs. =)

*note* I only have make-up on because we had just got
home from church.

Here are things I am lucky to do:
Wear real clothes... This means not pajama's
Worry about putting make-up on
Get anything done around the house
Have any energy what so ever
Sleep Well
Go one day without being miserable at some point
Go one day without obsessively worrying about something
Feel Cute. ever


Here are things I love about being pregnant:
Feeling my little guy move around
The bond that grows each day between my son and me
My huge belly... Stretch marks and all
The joy of growing our family
Imagining how close my boys will be
Preparing for our little ones arrival
Being blessed  enough for God to allow me to have babies!

And because I had a doctor appointment this week and got dressed in normal clothes...
Your lucky enough to get a picture of me not in pajama's.



There you have it. My 29 week pregnancy thoughts and pictures.

Momma Thoughts,
Ashley 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

From Dining Room to Nursery!

Not a typo. It is the truth. 
We turned our dining room into a nursery.

We live in an old house and space is tight, but with a little creativity
we are making it work. 

Our oldest son is 19 months and his room is tiny. 
 No way we could get a crib and bed in there. 
Plus I wasn't sure it was the best idea to put them in the same room.

Clayton sleeps thru the night for the most part. 
I didn't want him to wake every time the baby does.
Then it's getting two back to bed instead of one. *_*

We hardly used the dining room other than for extra furniture and
when we have company. Which will now call for creativity. 

The Dining room is also right off our bedroom so easy to 
get to a crying hungry infant all night. 

I love the color of the dining room and planned to 
use that as the base color for a boy or a girl.
Well we found out it's another boy 
so I wanted it to be colorful and fun.

Wall color is a deep orange.
Accent colors are Yellow, Green, Teal, & Orange.

Didn't really choose a theme. 
However, we did decide to use Owls, Giraffe's and Elephants.

Crib is reused from our oldest son.
Rocker was given to us from my wonderful sister in law.
Side Table $10.00 find at local antique store.
Lamp was my birthday present from my cousin.
Dresser I have had for years.
Hutch was made for me by my husbands uncle. 
Bedding I had made by an awesome momma & friend. 
Nick-nacks all things we have collected or gifts from friends & family!

Here are some pictures of Before:




And After: I will add more as I get it completed. Promise!







There are still things I have in my head that I want to do
to cozy it up more. But I LOVE IT!

I think it reflects us and our style and it has really started turing into 
such a cute little space for our new guy. 

Nesting Momma,
Ashley 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Weekly Plan

A huge part of me trying to get us on a budget and 
organized before we welcome our newest bundle of joy is
Organization.

So I made us a family binder.
Yep your thinking right. Just like the one's you use to have in high school.

Tabs and all. I am sure as I get more organized and use to it I will add to it.
Right now it consist of our 
Calendar. Income. Budget. Meal Plans & Weeks Recipes. 
Cleaning Lists and Grocery List.

Oh and don't get me wrong I am not the crazy momma who thinks this will
fix everything but at least maybe it will help us get on the right track.


Here is our Meal Plan for the Week:

Breakfast is always what sounds good in the morning:
Eggs and bacon. Cereal. Oatmeal. 
Pancakes. (that I pre-make and freeze then just reheat) Waffles.
Muffins. Biscuits & Sausage. Smoothies.
We also always include fruit and yummy juice and Milk.

Lunch Is kind of the same concept. 
Daddy is working so it's just me and the little guy.
We love making homemade mini pizza's with some veggies and meats.
Salads. Chicken. Salmon Patties. Sandwiches. PB&J.
Leftovers. More Fruit. =) Broccoli & Cheese. Pre- Made Casseroles reheated.


Here is our Dinner Plans:
Monday: Red Bean & Rice with biscuits.
after a long day at doctor I knew we would need something easy and fast.

Tuesday: Loaded Potato & Chicken Casserole 

Wednesday: Has been nominated as Leftover Day! ;)

Thursday: Lasagna & Corn with Garlic Toast

Friday: BBQ Pork Chops, Macaroni & Cheese and Collard Greens.
(Yes I am a Southern Gal!)

Saturday: Grilled Hamburgers & French Fries with a Salad

Sunday: Cajun Chicken Pasta with steamed Broccoli as side



I went this last week and got all the groceries I need for this week and next.
My plan is to make our menu's two weeks out and get all that I need. 
As well as plan meals with store specials and coupons.
Hoping this helps save lots of money. ;)

I have also taken the things that need to be done around the house and 
spread them out for each day of the week. 
This really helps me being almost 30 weeks pregnant and having a toddler.

I don't feel like I have to get it all done in one day and 
it still gets done and keeps me from getting too behind!

The great thing about the binder is it is easy for my husband and myself 
to pull out and see what needs to be done. Where we are at and
what the week ahead looks like.

Do you guys have a family planner/ binder? 
What system have you found that works best for you?

I have always been when of those unorganized, organized people. 
So I am trying to get more organized... Here is to wishful thinking!

Before I leave you here is my sweet boy exhausted from our busy Monday=)


Happy Planning,
Ashley 


Friday, February 1, 2013

A Frugal Mom's Magic Potion!

It is no secret to many people just how awesome Coconut Oil is!

I am simply obsessed with the stuff. 
Being Pregnant can take a hard toll on your skin.
Stretch Marks, Dark Spots, Dry Skin, Circle's under your eyes...
The list could go on and on. 

Over the counter lotion and potions can cost a small fortune.
Half the time they don't really work. 

SO I Thought Why not make my own with something I already love?!

All you need to make the magic happen:

Coconut Oil
Vitamin E Oil 
and Essential Oil for scent (if you want it)

I plan to use this on my face, under eyes, growing momma belly.
And as an all over moisturizer for legs, arms, elbows, feet....

Possibilities are endless.

First take as much coconut oil as you would like.
I just made a medium size batch
(which was a little less than half a container)
 because this stuff goes a long way.
Put it in a bowl so you can mix it all together.


Next I added a few drops of Vitamin E oil. 
Then if you want add your favorite scent of essential oil.
I choose Lavender because it's my favorite!

Mix it well until it is a creamy consistency. 
Then place in an air tight container.



I didn't have any adorable little jars or anything,
so I settled for a small tupperware! =)



 This would make a great gift as well and you could make 
a few batches with one jar of coconut oil for super cheap!

I got all of the items you see here (excluding the tupperware) from 
a local health food store. I try to shop local as much as possible. 

You can get some essential oils and the coconut oil at Wal-Mart.
The coconut oil is on the baking isle and I believe 
the essential oils are by pharmacy. 


Okay so here are a few other ways I have personally used coconut oil...
But the list is endless and there are a tons more things I want to use it for.

Our Home Uses for Coconut Oil:

- Mix with Eucalyptus essential oil for your own Vicks. 

- Use it how it comes for diaper rashes. (I swear by this!!)

- Add to bath water to soften skin.

- Rub in damp hair let set and wash out to help with dry hair.
This is also just great to do in the summer time a couple of times.

- Add a tablespoon to shakes, drinks, or meals to boost immune system.

-Add a tablespoon a day to dogs water to help with bad breath.

- Great alternative to cooking oils. Natural and less fats.

- Add Tea Tree Oil to it and it relieves and gets rid of athlete's foot.

- Face Moisturizer. 

- To help heal sunburns.

- To heal Eczema.

- Put on bug bites or ringworms. 

There you have it,  just a few of the gazillion ways we have used coconut oil.
I would love to know how you use it as well.

This stuff truly is great because you can get it at a good price and use
it a ton of ways! I pick up a container of it almost every trip to the store.

I really should look into investing stock in it! =)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and enjoy this broke momma's
tip to having awesome moisturizer at pennies of the cost.

Ashley