Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Five

Let's get this party started with a few things I have been loving this week. Hope you enjoy and would love to hear about a few of your favorite things.

{One} Currently Craving. Pineapple Lemonade. I have always loved Chick-fil-a's diet lemonade. Pregnancy has taken this drink obsession to a different level. While enjoying my large diet lemonade this week (with breakfast), I thought about how amazing it would taste with pineapple juice mixed in. Apparently, I am not the only one to have this thought. I found this super simple recipe that I can't wait to replicate with my juicer this weekend.

{Two} Spring Fashion. I am not doing much (read:any) clothes shopping these days. However, I have enjoyed day dreaming while browsing new arrivals online. I know my wardrobe after baby is going to consist mainly of leggings and over sized shirts. I hope to add at least one new dress into the mix. Anthropologie is  my go to for dreamy dresses. This one looks perfect for concealing all my post-baby lumps and bumps. 

{Three} Meal Prep. I am very excited to have a few healthy and wholesome meals packed away in the freezer for when baby arrives. We have a lot of delicious grab and go snacks from Costco and Sams which is great in a pinch but I know is not healthy at all! You can check out all the freezer meals I prepared this week on the blog!

{Four} Amazon Prime Obsession. Amazon has been our go-to for online shopping for the past three years. We decided to keep Amazon Prime even with the huge price jump because of their great discount on diapers and baby registry items paired with two day free shipping. The unsung hero of their service is theTV shows. We just finished The Man in the High Castle over the weekend and both loved it. The show is loosely based on the novel of the same name which portrays a dystopian world in which the Axis powers won World War II. The US is divided up in between Germany and Japan. It is a bit chilling to see memorable landmarks including the US flag changed to include the Nazi logo. A bit of warning though: Some scenes are a bit rough as many of the same practices from WWII have continued including continuation of the Holocaust and Japanese ritual of seppuku. 

{Five} Happy Friday!! I have planned a great date night for Saturday incorporating the Triangle's restaurant week. I am loving and embracing all the quality time the two of us can get together. 

Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Keeping Busy | Freezer Meals

Last weekend into the beginning of this week I was stuck inside with no where to go. Winter Storm Jonas left the Triangle with inches of ice and very little snow. Playing it safe, Joe and I hunkered down for a few days at the house. We had plenty of food and TV to watch to keep us entertained for a day or two. I have never been the sit at home type for long and found myself getting restless on Saturday. I decided it was the perfect time to cook up some freezer meals in preparation for baby. I already had a Pinterest board dedicated to a few delicious recipes and decided it was time give it a try.

I did a mix of casseroles and crockpot meals. I considered doubling the ingredients to make extra batches but decided to cut each recipe in half instead. With just the two of us, we never eat a full casserole. I always end up packing it for lunch or freezing it.

The chicken and rice is a dish I made months ago and was a big hit with Joe. I substituted chicken breasts for thighs to make it a bit healthier. It makes a ton of rice so it is perfect for cooking up and freezing for later. The flavors really hold their own when frozen. 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast
This one was so easy and all I needed to buy was the roast. I liked that the recipe included ingredients already in my pantry. I froze the meat and potatoes with the glaze in a gallon size bag. I will add the beef stock in when it goes in the slow cooker.

This recipe is a homemade favorite for me. The directions are easy and simple to follow. I love it served with a bowl of soup and cornbread on cold nights. 

I had never heard of freezer mashed potatoes until I stumbled upon some a Trader Joe's last year. I hate boxed potatoes and was curious about being able to enjoy instant mashed potatoes without making a huge batch. It is so simple, I can't believe that I waited this long to try it myself. After cooking the potatoes, I let them cool and then froze individual scoops on a baking sheet overnight. Then I transferred them to a gallon size freezer bag the next day. You can thaw overnight or heat directly in the oven or microwave. 

After all that cooking, I have a freezer full of un-processed ready to eat foods. I hope to cook a few more meals before baby arrives. Have you ever made freezer meals before? I would love to hear your favorite recipes!

Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pregnancy | Week 35

I honestly can't believe that little one will be here in (give or take) 5 weeks. The first two trimesters drug by so slowly. However, this third has flown by! I am thankful because I have been quite uncomfortable since the start of the third trimester and I am more than ready to meet baby girl.

Size of Baby: Baby is almost 19 inches long and the size of a coconut. She weighs around 5-6 lbs. 

Gender: Sweet, sweet baby girl.

Weight Gain:  Haven't stepped on the scale this week. It's really avoidance at all the sweets and junk food I consumed wile being snowed in. Not feeling too much bigger but will check when I go back to the doctor next week.

Maternity Clothes: Surprise, that top above is not maternity! I have been wearing some of my "loose" blouses from my wardrobe to help stretch my outfits these last few weeks.

Nursery: We tried to hang some pictures this weekend only to realize that we did not have the right hooks. Hoping to finish everything this week.

Movement: Her kicks and jabs are getting quite uncomfortable. The strangest feeling is when she stretches and I can feel jabs on both sides of my stomach at the same time She is still very high and often presses up into my rib cage which has made me quite miserable.

Symptoms: Still battling swelling and sinus congestion. My heartburn, indigestion and stomach problems have come back  with a vengeance. Woof.

Sleep: I am still sleeping pretty well. I wake up 3-4 times during the night to use the restroom.

Cravings: Still loving carbs and sweets. I don't think that will be changing anytime soon.

What I Miss: Feeling like myself and moving at a normal speed. I laugh at myself all the time because it takes me twice as long to get up from the sofa, change positions in Pure Barre or walk anywhere.

Exercise: The snow put a dent in my workouts as I played it safe and did not leave the house for 3 days! I made it to 2 Pure Barre classes this week. I am having to modify the moves more and more each week.

Best Moments: Not a best moment, but I was really looking forward to a baby shower on Sunday. Unfortunately we had to cancel because the restaurant was closed. On the bright side, we decided to re-schedule for when baby gets here so all my friends are able to meet little one.

Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Five

Happy Friday loves! I am happy to finally get back in the swing of blogging regularly. The weather here in NC has been far from great so I have been spending a lot of time "nesting" around the house. I can't wait to share all the major home updates and the finished nursery. For today I am sharing just a few things that I am loving this week.

{One} Favorite room purchase. Rugs USA had an amazing sale on rugs after Christmas and I was able to snag a few for our home. I always love oversized rugs for room but unfortunately so does everyone else as those sizes are the first to sell out! I settled on a few medium size rugs including a simple grey one for the nursery. I was very impressed with their quality and customer service. I think I got three rugs for under $300 which is a great steal!

{Two} New Detox drink? My diet these days consists of donuts more than detox. It doesn't stop me from keeping up with the newest health trends. I found this article about using Pink Himalayan Salt in an energy/recovery drink on Lauren Conrad's blog. Pink Himalayan Salt has been popping up everywhere and hope to give it a try soon.

{Three} Currently Craving. Cream Cheese Square Bars. We had these at my family baby shower a few weeks ago. They are so simple to make and so delicious.

{Four} Beautiful Baubles. Shopping for jewrely is more my speed these days. Loving long pendant necklaces as a way to spice up my plain sweaters and dresses. This adorable pendant from Anthro wold be great in the spring as well!

{Five} Let It Snow? Winter Storm Jonas has hit NC today. Everything has really shut down in preparation for the impending snow/sleet/rain. We are expected to get 2-6 inches of snow and ice over the next two days. Looking forward to spending quality time catching up on TV shows, thank you notes and maybe a bit of cleaning. Hoping not to go stir crazy!!

Linking up with ClareKarliAmanda & April .
Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagramTwitter, & Facebook!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pregnancy | Week 34

While I was writing this I realized how much my definition of normal or typical has changed. My typical day has changed tremendously from a year ago. I am sure it will start to change even more once little one is here. What I am finding with pregnancy is that slowly you become immune to certain things and over time you get used to a new state of normal. I am thankful to have this little space to document all these changes.

Size of Baby: Baby is 18 inches long and the size of a savoy cabbage or a basketball hoop. We will go with the basketball  hoop. Little one is sure growing! She weighs around 5 lbs.  

Gender: Adorable baby girl.

Weight Gain:  Holding this week at 25 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: I have expanded my maternity wardrobe to include Joe's fleece as it is the only think that ribs around my growing belly. My maternity clothes are still fitting me well. I am just getting tired of the same 5-6 sweaters and pants. Trying to hold strong and not buy any more clothes until after baby is here.

Nursery: We finished the bookcase and now need to hang everything on the wall. Hoping to share the finished product next week!

Movement: Little one still hangs out on my left side most days. She moves and kicks all the time. I have figured how to "nudge" her back when she starts hanging out a little too far into my ribs.

Symptoms: Swelling has started to become a bigger issue. Thankfully, after I rest for an hour or two it usually goes away. Exhaustion sets in a lot quicker and I am quickly out of breath after simple activities like climbing the stairs.  I am still battling sinus congestion which my doctor said just may linger until baby comes. Oh joy. I have really felt good up until this past week and I am so thankful for that!

Sleep: I still have some off nights but sleep pretty good overall. I wake up 3-4 times during the night to use the restroom.

Cravings: Oh man, I have failed to mention my growing love of Butterfingers these past few weeks. I am loving all form of desserts with Butterfingers mixed in weather it is ice cream or just a fun size bar.

What I Miss: Feeling like myself. I have some days or even moments that are better than others in which I have more energy and pep. However, overall I feel like I am dragging through out the day.

Exercise: Made it to 3 Pure Barre classes this week and enjoyed one last warmer walk with Charlie.

Best Moments: We toured our hospital this weekend. My physician practice is located on the same campus as the hospital which is a dedicated women and family center. That means one of my physicians is always available. I felt very at ease after the tour as the facilities at the hospital resemble a nice hotel more than a medical setting.

Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pregnancy | Weeks 30- 33

2016 is going to be the year of the baby. At this point I am embracing the fact that our lives are now consumed with parent classes, baby showers and adorable baby clothes. I am so excited that our family is expanding. Many days I have to pinch myself as I still can't believe that there is an little girl growing inside me. Well, until she gives me a gentle jab in the ribs which quickly reminds me! These past three weeks have been quite a blur due to holiday celebrations and getting back into the swing of things at work. I hope now that things have calmed down I can get back to regular posting. 

Here are the amazing highlights of everything that has been going on with pregnancy for the last three weeks. 

Size of Baby: At 33 weeks, baby girl is the size of a cauliflower or the length of a kid's tennis racket . She weighs around 3 pounds. 

Gender: Adorable baby girl.

Weight Gain:  A total 25 pounds. Honestly, I have been enjoying treats guilt free this entire pregnancy.  I enjoy dessert with dinner almost daily. So I know exactly where the pounds have come from. Pregnancy has really let me relax my diet a bit more and enjoy things I would have never eaten before. I still enjoy a salad almost daily for lunch and keep breakfast pretty clean as well. Just adding in a few treats here and there. :)

Maternity Clothes: My only non-maternity clothes are my workout clothes. Even those are getting a bit snug, especially the tanks which are getting shorter and shorter. I am hoping to rotate through my five favorite tanks that still fit up until she is due.

Nursery: We have made huge progress on the nursery. The curtains are hung, glider assembled and rug purchased. The last step is to hang everything on the walls and finish the bookcase.

Movement: All the time. She currently loves to hang out on my right side most of the day. It is so amazing to feel her move around but quite uncomfortable at the same time. I also have been experiencing braxton hicks contractions more frequently especially at night.

Symptoms: Still battle days where I have severe stomach aches. This was especially bad over the holidays. I have also noticed my range of motion when bending over has decreased drastically. My fingers and feet have started to swell. My fingers swell pretty easy from working out or in the heat. So I am surprised that they took this long to react. I can still wear my wedding band comfortably but that is it. The most surprising symptom this trimester has been getting carsick on my drive to work each morning. Not fun. I am also battling sinus congestion for several months. I finally broke down and got some antibiotics from the doctor which fingers crossed will help.

Sleep: I cycle through a few days of really good sleep followed by a night or two of insomnia. I am trying to get more walking and exercise in to decrease my restlessness at night.

Cravings: Sweets and Carbs are still staples in my diet these days. I am also enjoying making punch at home by mixing pineapple juice, grape juice and ginger ale. Yum!

What I Miss: Normal clothes. I miss being able to wear tunics and also the ability to pick the correct size off the rack at the store. I have bought a few tops that looked huge to me on the hanger only to get home and realize they are way too snug!

Exercise: I am consistently making it to 3-4 pure barre classes a week. The ab work is becoming more and more challenging each day. However, the rest of the class still feels great!

Best Moments: Baby M had her first baby shower this weekend! It was so great celebrate this little bundle of joy with my family. 

Like what you're reading?
Follow Sweet Carolina Belle on BloglovinInstagram, Twitter, & Facebook!