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Friday, January 30, 2015

Five on Friday

I've never done Five on Friday before but a few blogs that I read host it and I thought I'd participate for the first time since it is pretty easy... 5 things on your mind or 5 random things.

Here we go! ...(said in your best Mario voice).

ONE - The husband and I are celebrating our birthdays tonight with friends at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery!! If you are in the Charlotte area and haven't been you should check this place out sometime. It's German style with big long tables, variety of food on the menu (and delicious pretzels I might add) and of course craft beer. It has recently won some awards and Eric loves one of their beers that is almost always on tap, OMB Copper. I'm not a beer drinker (they do have house wine for anyone else that is not) but everyone I know really likes their beer. OMB is even better when the weather is nice and everyone can hang out outside.

TWO - Since I enjoy researching and planning it should come as no surprise that I've been researching the best diaper bag for our needs and reading tons of reviews. I was delighted to find out that Tom Bihn recently came out with a diaper bag, The Parental Unit, and it quickly rose to the top. I already know they make high quality functional bags and this bag seems like it will last well beyond diapering years and even be useful for other carrying needs (read about my Tom Bihn Aeronaut carry on bag review here). Now that I'm almost positive this is the bag I want, I just have to decide on what color... I'm torn between Aubergine (eggplant) and Steel (gray). At least I have a little more time to mull it over :)

THREE - I saw this flat bread on a Five on Friday post from a blog I read and it looks yummy! I hadn't heard of Flatouts before but saw them in Walmart in the bakery area this week and picked some up. We already have spinach, various cheeses, avocado and tomato on hand so thinking this might be a wonderful lunch tomorrow!

veggie flat bread

FOUR - the Clemson 2015 Football schedule came out yesterday! Eeeeee! In honor of my birthday no doubt. Looks like there will be many awesome games this fall... can't wait for some Saturdays in Tigertown!

FIVE - the Super Bowl is on Sunday (how could that be February already?!) and we aren't as into pro football as we are college especially with not caring much about either team this year but it is still a great excuse to eat delicious food and look out for the funny commercials. Luckily our neighborhoods host a fabulous party every year. If you are heading to a party or just hanging around the house to watch it, I suggest making my Avocado Dip! It is easy, creamy, addicting and healthy... doesn't get better than that!

Linking up with these blogs to Five on Friday

Monday, January 26, 2015

My prenatal workout videos

I had always hoped to stay active and exercise throughout pregnancy as long as I felt up to it and it was doctor approved, of course. Some of the workouts I did prior like Insanity were a little too intense or like Hip Hop Abs had too much ab work (which you have to be careful about doing the right kind of ab work). So... I did a lot of research to find some good prenatal workout videos and these are my favorites.

Amberlie Price Pregnancy Yoga week by week - these are actually free on youtube and there is a different yoga workout for each week. I never did yoga prior to pregnancy so these are good for beginners and since she is pregnant each week along with you, you feel reassured you won't be doing any yoga moves that are not okay for pregnant women to do. The stretching and relaxation of yoga are great but I don't feel like I get a workout in terms of cardio or heart rate going so I usually only do this once a week. The lengths vary from 10-30 minutes from what I can tell so far.

Lindsay Brin's Complete Pregnancy 4-DVD workout set - as the title suggests there is a DVD for each trimester and also a postnatal one. I can't speak for the 3rd trimester or postnatal ones yet but I've enjoyed the 1st trimester and 2nd trimester DVDs. Each one has a cardio and toning workout of about 35 minutes and a shorter yoga workout of 20-25 minutes. It's upbeat and doesn't have you bored from doing the same thing for too long. I don't think this would have been a challenging enough workout I've I wasn't pregnant though.

Suzanne Bowen's Slim and Toned Prenatal Barre Workout - this is one DVD with 4 different workouts on it that are each about 20 minutes long. Lean Lower Body, Slim Upper Body and Core, Cardio Sculpt, and Aligned Stretch. That makes it easy to mix and match. I usually pick one or two of the first three and then add the stretching to make either a 40 minute or 60 minute workout. Suzanne is not pregnant and these are still a great workout for her so I'm sure I'll still want to do these postnatal and beyond. Another woman in the video is in her 3rd trimester so you can see the slight modifications to do if you are in the 3rd (or sometimes 2nd) trimester. Cardio sculpt is probably my favorite and this series is my favorite in general because I really feel like I get a great workout when doing it. I'd definitely try out other workouts of hers. So if you only buy 1 DVD, I'd get this one but I like having variety to not get bored so it's nice to have the others too.

And I have still been doing the stationery cycle bike occasionally but it's sometimes not as comfortable. I also like going on walks but that isn't much fun when it's cold out so hopefully I can add those back into the variety of workouts when spring comes. Ah spring... I'm ready for you any time!

My goal is to workout 4 times a week or more. Of course only do what you feel comfortable with... in early pregnancy I didn't do anything beyond walking and then during the nauseous stage during 1st tri I was not able to meet the 4 times a week. Hope this helps anyone looking for good pregnancy workout videos!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Easy Thin Wooden Sign for any event

I made this sign for my SIL's baby shower and it is really easy to do and can be adapted for all sorts of events or occasions.


- Lauan/Luan board (I got this at Lowes, it is a really really thin wood board and comes fairly small to begin with - maybe around 2 ft by 2.5 ft)
- Twine/Jute
- Hanging things (from Walmart) or duct tape
- Cut out letters or shapes or whatever you want on your sign
- Scotch tape or glue stick

Cut wood board to the size you want with a saw. If you don't have a way to do this at home usually they will cut it for you at the home improvement store. My board was cut to 18" by 17"

Figure out how much you want it to hang and cut your jute and attach the jute to the back of the board. These fabric-ish squares with metal hole hanging things came from the hardware section at Walmart but you could also just securely tape your jute to the back.

Arrange your letters/shapes and tape them into place on the front of the board - I was generous with the tape pieces :)  I used tape so it would be easy to swap out the letters and shapes when needed.

Then you just hang it on a wreath hanger or command hook or whatever you want.

This was first used for the Rubber Duck shower but could easily be used for another shower theme by swapping the ducks out. Or the "Baby" could be swapped out for Hello Fall or Hello Summer or Hello Tigers (Go Clemson!) or Hello Friends or Hello "any name" for a birthday party. The possibilities are endless!

If you do want your sign to be permanent then use a glue stick or some other kind of glue to more permanently fasten the letters/shapes.

Here is another sign I made following the same process and used it for a few photos during a photo session for our Christmas card with the very talented Brittany Lauren Photography. It made a great cheap prop!

Monday, January 19, 2015

20 weeks

This is almost a full week late now (oops!) but I wanted to capture some halfway pregnancy stats. I've been capturing these for awhile now and other thoughts in a journal but thought this was a good milestone to post them here. Whoa we're halfway there! (insert the rest of the Bon Jovi Livin' on a Prayer lyrics).

The lighting isn't the best... it was very gloomy most of last week here.

How far along: 20 weeks
Baby Size: banana, 6.5 inches 10.2 oz (next week starts measuring head to toe instead of head to rump)
Weight gain: +7
Maternity clothes: Been wearing maternity pants in non-maternity tops/sweaters and dresses.
Sleep: Pretty good. Get up once a night or sometimes twice to pee.
Movement: Yes light movement mostly at night or early in the morning
Best moment this week: Finding out Munchkin is a boy with our families there!
Looking forward to: When Eric can feel Munchkin moving and kicking
Food cravings: Wouldn't call it a craving but really like eating cheese grits
Anything making you queasy or sick: No not really
Labor Signs: Nope
What I miss: Doing more intense workouts like Insanity
Symptoms: Some aches and pressure as organs and such are moving and some nose bleeding (partially due to pregnancy and probably partially due to winter)
Nursery: Picked out our crib and mattress that Eric’s parents are so sweet to gift to us
Belly Button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood: So thankful to make it to the halfway point!

I bought this garden flag because I thought it would be fun to put in the yard after Munchkin arrives. I saw someone in our neighborhood with the same flag a few months ago.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's A...

Last Sunday we had Eric's parents, Abby and Grandpa, Keith and Megan, and my parents over for lunch so we could all find out the gender of Munchkin together. At our appointment we had the ultrasound tech write it down and seal it in an envelope to take to Publix. Publix then made a gender reveal cake for us where the middle icing is either blue or pink but nothing on the outside of the cake gives it away.

We got to visit the new Publix not too far from our home. It was just as great as I remember growing up. Eric had to get a sub while we were there and I know we will be back. I'm sure other grocery stores do this too but we decided on Publix because their cakes are so delicious. I even know people that have used them to make their wedding cake because they just taste THAT good! Oh and we picked up a few balloons (FYI - helium balloons will not last 24 hrs... we had to get a few more at Bilo the morning of the lunch).

We had homemade pizza and salad for lunch and everyone put in their boy or girl guesses for Munchkin. The girl side won out but I was most interested in my mom's guess... she has this hidden talent of guessing genders correctly... she has about an 80% track record. (My sister and her husband weren't there but had called in their guesses)

We cut the cake and after we pulled the knife out the first time we could see some blue icing on the knife but we wanted to be positive and once the first piece was out we were sure munchkin IS A BOY!!! We are so excited! Of course we would have been happy and thrilled with either outcome but I've always wished for a little boy as part of our family and I'm so grateful that was God's plan for us too!

Ever since we found out we were pregnant, even before any symptoms or anything I'd been picturing munchkin as a boy for some reason so that is why my guess was a boy.

Most of the old wives tales actually pointed to girl. Here is how they all came out:

Chinese gender chart: Girl
Heart rate: Girl
Morning sickness: a bit of a toss up (no pun intended)... definitely had some nausea but never threw up
Skin: Girl
Cravings: Boy

Of course the cake was amazing just as I expected and everyone enjoyed it... and I'm not even a big cake person but this cake is fantastic (for me, if I plan to eat cake over cookies or brownies it better be darn good cake!).

Blue balloons for us!

Munchkin got to officially meet Megan's baby, Peach, bump to bump for the first time. They did not find out the gender. Their little one will be here in just a few weeks and we will get to find out if it is a boy or girl! We are glad the cousins will be so close in age!

We then spent the rest of that afternoon at the American Girl store with Abby so she could get her doll's hair done. That place was definitely eye-opening. I love American Girl dolls but I miss the days when it was more about the dolls outfits and the books/stories that went with them rather than all the kits/furniture/accessories. There is certainly a lot to choose from now.

Eric and I topped off the day by going to dinner with Keith and Megan and a couple of friends at one of my favorite restaurants, 300 East. That concluded a successful gender reveal day with the parents and in-laws. We are so thankful that the family was able to come and celebrate with us!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rubber Duck Baby Shower

At the end of November I threw my sister in law a Rubber Duck Themed Baby Shower. I asked for her thoughts on what themes she liked and this was one of the top ones. They did not find out so it also needed to be gender neutral which this theme worked well for. An old friend of hers did the invitations and ordered a cake. I made the decorations and some of the food. Eric and Keith's mom generously offered up her home and thankfully their Aunt Kathy and two friends, Carla and Emily, offered to help make food.

Note - I had challenges getting enough light in the photos because the house is a bit dark on that side so I had to really amp up the exposure in some of them.

I made the Baby Duck banner and circle garland using my Silhouette and then the garland is sewn together... it's the easiest garland to make.

Megan's mom brought these delicious sugar cookies from her favorite bakery and they were a big hit!

My mom gifted Megan a diaper cake which also served as the perfect centerpiece. She made the felt duck on top... very impressive.

The shower spanned lunch time so we had a lot of food. Here was the menu:

- Little sandwiches - chicken salad, pimento cheese
- Pasta salad
- Muffins
- Hummus and veggies
- Ranch onion dip with pretzels
- Corn dip with chips
- Lemonade and water served in mason jars

I scattered little rubber ducks on the tables and used food labels I made (a post on those in the future).

This was the sign on the door I made welcoming everyone inside.

And I decorated the mantle with some onesies I made using my Silhouette. Of course the Clemson one you have probably seen here on the blog before and then the other two are related to Megan's job and Keith's job.

Mom to be with the two grandmothers.

First everyone ate and then we started in with fun activities and games. Megan's friend Jen supplied the wonderful Wishes for Baby cards to fill out and Megan's sister Nichole came up with the other activities and games. We guessed M&Ms in a bottle, played pin the pacifier and paired up to try to make the best diaper out of toiler paper.

I made this boy duck and girl duck guesses foam board for everyone to put their name on and it was dead even (Abby was on the fence with girl first and then changing later). Guess we will find out who is right in less than a month!

After the games Megan opened up her gifts and everything was so cute and we did a book in lieu of a card so that there is a nice library started for Baby LaForce. I only wish I had taken a photo of the Clemson quiet book that Carla made... it was fabulous!

To finish out the shower we served the cake.

We got a photo with the Clemson girls (minus Susan who happened to be in Clemson to root our Tigers on to a win over the Gamecocks. Yeah!).

Carla is due just a few day after Megan so we got a great bump photo of them. Can't wait to meet these two babies!

Sister in laws!

Eric and Keith's family was also a big help taking down the shower. I was extremely thankful for their help (especially being pregnant 13 weeks at that time) as a shower has lots of things to clean up and take down afterwards.

The shower was a big success and it was a great day honoring the mom to be and her little one, nicknamed Peach. We are very excited for his or her arrival!
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