6.22.2014

EASY FREEZER MEALS


Anyone who knows me knows that I like to prepare for EVERYTHING. This doesn't mean I'm perfect at not procrastinating because let's be honest here, I can put off a 5 page paper until the night before just like you can. But as for anything else… I love to prepare. It's probably due to over-excitedness. Actually, now that I said that I'm sure that's why. Who doesn't love a reason to get excited for something?! 

Well the thing that I've been squeezing into the free time that I don't have (haha) is getting some freezer meals ready for post-baby! I'm sure we will eat out, but I really want to avoid that since I don't love any of the food choices in Rexburg, anyways. Now I've literally just started to do this so I only have a few recipes, but they are meals that Tyler and I already LOVE and are definitely freezer-friendly. 

The first is this recipe here. It's a basil-spinach pesto. This recipe is de-vinnnne! We usually add about 1/2 cup or 1 cup of 1% milk to it, then let it thicken on the stove. This makes it a little creamier but you don't get the calories of actually adding cream. I love this recipe and am excited because all we will have to do is thaw it or heat it up, boil some noodles, and throw in chicken if we are feeling fancy. So easy!

Next we made homemade tomato basil marinara sauce. This is the same concept as the pesto - all we will need to do is boil some noodles, heat this sauce up, and throw on some fresh parm! This recipe is so super healthy and so delicious. For this recipe, simmer 1/2 a chopped onion and 1/4 cup olive oil until soft, then add 4 minced garlic cloves. Before the garlic browns, throw in 5 cut up tomatoes (make sure to squeeze as much of the tomato juice/seeds out of the tomatoes before you throw them in). Let this simmer until it thickens. Add kosher salt, pepper, 1/3 cup fresh basil and you are set! I also added a dash of balsamic vinegar but that is totally optional. 


I made this sweet pork meat recipe last week and had a lot of people who wanted it as well! (Look at the hundreds of reviews on this recipe.. that is why I trusted it in the first place!) Now, I have to say that getting this recipe to turn out just like Cafe Rio's is a little bit of an experimental process. During the last step, when you are adding the brown sugar, coke & enchilada sauce, I never use the exact measurements they give. I start with those, but then play around with the sauce until it tastes just right. One time it was close.. but another time I tried it, I got it SPOT on. So if you're daring give it a shot :) Also - you MUST use the medium spice enchilada sauce because we tried mild once and it was no where near Cafe Rio worthy. All in all, just go in making this recipe knowing that it is not going to be exactly like Cafe Rio's. But trust me - it's CLOSE! We went to the local Costa Vida and bought some of their tortillas and cilantro ranch to serve the pork with. (& we actually both liked our meal even better than Cafe Rio! Crazy, I know) 

I froze half of this recipe for a third easy freezer meal.

Lastly, this recipe is one of our all-time favorites. Seriously, it's so good. We have it at least once every two weeks because it's so simple. Our only change is that we add fresh sweet corn to the black bean and chicken mix. This is a staple & freezes SO well. 
Photo image via here

So there you have it! If anyone has any other freezer meals that they love, please please send them my way! Week by week we are going to be making more of these to stock up on!

6.20.2014

DECORATING ON A LIMITED BUDGET

I've had a lot of people ask me about my nursery and I want to go into detail a little bit as to how you too can make a dream room on a limited budget. I did not buy everything for full price and in fact tried really hard to save on everything I bought. Doing that (shopping the sales) really enables you to be able to buy MORE. Now, this nursery wasn't necessarily cheap because having a baby is expensive! But hey, I signed up for this knowing that so it has all just been part of the preparation process in my eyes.
To start, preparing this nursery first started almost right after we found out we were expecting. My mom called me one day from Target and the $200 crib we bought was on clearance for 75% off and there was one left. Of course we bought that! The curtain rod and lamp were both purchased at TJ Maxx and were originally dark brown (and a very ugly dark brown) but I loved the shape and the price couldn't be beat so we bought them and sprayed both gold! My mom and I, who are complete amateur seamstresses, sewed the gold metallic bedskirt and the floral window treatment. We LOVE the store Home Fabrics in Utah because they have very high quality home fabrics for great prices. As for the dots on the wall, I had seen them on pinterest and fell in love. I was going to purchase them from here (the cheapest and best reviewed I could find online) until we realized that my aunt & uncle have a vinyl machine and my sister works for them, and knew how to use it. So thanks to a lot of family helping hands, they cut the vinyl dots out for me and the vinyl only costed $10! (and I have sooo many extra for wherever we move next) 


This cute clover mirror was bought black, but obviously I loved the shape so much so we just spray painted it as well! We were able to find a place (Jones Paint & Glass in Provo) that did custom spray paint so I was able to choose the exact peach color I wanted. Under the mirror I bought a little bookshelf from Target and inside of it, I have two little baskets that are from TJ Maxx. I'm planning on filling them with diapers and wipes as extra storage. (We have a dresser and changing table on top in our bedroom that we are using for storing all of baby girl's clothes - it just didn't fit in our small second bedroom but did fit in our master!)

As I started looking for rockers, I knew I wanted an upholstered one. The bad news was that anything I was seeing online started at $500 (and frankly I didn't even like them). The ones I really loved were in the $800-$1,200 range and that was just not going to happen for us at this stage in life! So I kept watching KSL classifieds and found one for $200. The chair was purchased at a high-end baby store in Salt Lake City and was used by a mom who had lightly used it for about 6 months she said. It is literally in MINT condition and still looks brand new. 





The gold foil pillow was from TJ Maxx, and the gold polka dot pillow was made from Robert Kauffman's fabric you can find here (it's all over Pinterest too - haha)









Lastly, the ottoman was purchased off of KSL classifieds as well. The person I bought it from got it at Home Goods and then never even used it. It was literally brand new! The only issue was that the top of it was originally black. So my mom & I found the perfect peach fabric at Home Fabrics and reupholstered it - which was so so simple. 






And that's it! I posted a picture on instagram of Tyler and I eating homemade sweet pork tacos and a lot of people wanted the recipe, so I promise I haven't forgotten & I will post that yummy recipe tomorrow!

6.17.2014

THE NURSERY

Our babe's nursery is finally (finally!) done! 

My family came up to Idaho this last weekend and we spent 14 hours all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning getting it all put together. This preggy lady was beyond worn out! We had so much fun though & I couldn't have done it all without all the help I had! My mom, like most amazing moms, sped up the process by about 100 times. She brought everything up from Utah for us and my poor dad spent a lot of time helping us with getting the dots even, lifting, carrying, and putting together a lot of different things (on his birthday AND father's day!) I am so grateful for their help… I sure love them.

This nursery was tricky because we live in a small apartment and I wasn't sure how I was going to get it to look how I wanted in such a small space. I had a really hard time choosing out all of the different fabrics to use for the window treatment, crib skirt, etc. so it was a relief when it was all put together and I loved the end result! (& might I add that we got everything for amazing deals.. this girl loves a good deal.) We are now officially ready for her to come. Hint, hint, baby girl. You can come anytime now!












6.16.2014

CRAZY WEIRD PREGNANCY MOMENT

So I took a little mini blogging break but I'm back! Really there's nothing much to update on except for my crazy strange weekend last week. I woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday night and threw up. I thought that it must have been just weird pregnancy morning sickness so I tried to get back to bed. But nope! I kept throwing up every 30 minutes or so the entire night so I finally started thinking I had the flu. I tried to be really quiet because I didn't want to wake Tyler up because I knew he had early Sunday morning bishopric meetings. Finally when he woke up in the morning, I told him how sick I had been. He is just so cute when I am sick so he went and bought me popsicles, gatorade and sprite and went to his meeting. I kept thinking I was going to get better but my morning sickness pill that normally changes my life (in a good way) was just not working because I couldn't keep anything down. Tyler came home to check on me after his meeting and was getting so worried. He kept calling the poor on-call nurse for my OBGYN to ask questions. Luckily she was just the sweetest and was okay with the constant phone calls :) 

I kind of avoid going to the doctor at all costs but Tyler is the complete opposite. All day long he had been trying to convince me that we needed to go, but obviously I kept telling him it would eventually get better and I was fine. Part of the reason he is like this is because in Canada, it's free to go to the doctors so he's used to going whenever there is the smallest issue. Well, now that I am an "adult", I've realized that going to the doctor is expensive! So I kept holding off crossing my fingers it would go away. I didn't want to have to spend a few hundred dollars for them to tell me it was the flu and to just wait it out. 

Finally around 4pm the nurse started to get really worried because I hadn't had any food or liquid in 24 hours. So she told us we needed to get to the ER at the hospital. Here is me looking like a total supermodel. (Bare with me, rough picture I know)

They got me hooked up to an I.V. to start getting some liquids and medicine to help me start to feel better. They came and took my blood for tests and did a non-stress test to make sure the baby was okay. (Since I hadn't been keeping anything down she had stopped being so active so that was a concern.) After a few hours, (and lots of ESPN = happy husband) I was feeling ten million BAZILLION times better and they discharged us! 

Long story short, it wasn't the flu which still just baffles me. It was hyperemesis gravidarum which is pretty much just a spell of really severe morning sickness. They were so happy that I came in because they told me that I was very dehydrated and if I had waited much longer it likely would have started pre-term labor. Thank goodness! 33 weeks was way too early for a baby to be born. But I'm 100% better now just grateful that all is well with the baby!

My mom and I finished the nursery this past weekend so I will try to take pictures soon! 6 more weeks (or less if I am lucky) & we couldn't be more anxious and excited!

6.01.2014

TRYING TO GET GOOD AT SOMETHING I LOVE

I've always had a passion for photography. But I've never been any good at it! I remember back in Jr. High, my dad, sister & I took a weekend trip to San Francisco and I snapped this picture:

I remember thinking I had it. I had the talent it took to be good at photography! I laugh now because this picture is just so average to me. I kind of stopped pursuing this interest seriously because I didn't want to jump on the "I love photography" bandwagon that I felt  everyone was on. More, I just didn't want to act like I was good when I knew I still had a lot of learning to do. I have always told Tyler how much I love and appreciate photography and wish I had what it took to be really truly talented with it! He has always been so encouraging of my hobbies and interests and constantly encourages me to do what I love. He's the sweetest. For my birthday last year, he got me a DSLR camera and I have had so much fun over the past 7 months playing with it and trying to teach myself about it more. Now, I still have a LONG ways to go. In fact, I still really struggle shooting manual and am trying to learn as much as I can about it. I have learned that really, taking photos is the easy part. Editing them is where all the time is and also where I have so much to learn.

Last weekend I decided I needed to start practicing more on people if I wanted to really improve. You have to start somewhere right?! So I posted on the Free & For Sale Facebook page here in Rexburg that I am just starting to learn more about photography and I would do $10 sessions for anyone that would let me use them as my guinea pigs! I had my first shoot on Friday and it was so so so much fun! I'll post a few pictures below - here's to trying to become better at something I love!