Thursday, April 21, 2011
Started off with Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps---- pretty darn good, however, I'm a fan of P.F. Changs lettuce wraps & how their chicken is in 'oh so small' pieces. I cut my chicken, in what I thought, was small pieces, but obviously not small enough.
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, - close but no cigar.
Then I made some Kung Pao Chicken. (John & I's favorite when going to eat Chinese)- Hmmmm, good, and did the job of feeding us, but not great. John kept saying it was really good, however- I know him. When he loves something he'll say: 'Make this again! This is awesome!!!"
Made some Fried Rice to go along with it. Decided to do Brown Fried Rice to make it somewhat healthier. It was pretty good.
But overall, after thinking of all the $$ spent on ingredients, we decided that it's much cheaper & easier to just get Takeout from the restaurant.
So, maybe next week I might have a great new recipe to share with you all!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
~John's been working a lot and training a couple of new reps to work in his Law Enforcement Division of the Gun store working on confiscated weapons from departments all over the United States. Which is exciting and I know that he is really glad that this will be something that will be a load off of him for his workload. Especially wonderful since Caroline is just a short 4 months away (actually less than that!)
~I've been baking baking baking away. Not just with cakes but with cookies. Cookies are such a big demand lately. (And I love it!) We've been talking a lot lately about how much I will be working once Baby Caroline arrives. John thinks I'll pretty much just stop, but I enjoy this creative outlet. I think we've decided that once she arrives, I will cut back to just wedding cakes and grooms cakes, Large order celebration cakes (servings of at least 50+), cupcakes, and themed cookies. So, I'm not cutting back too much, just eliminating the little $50 cakes here & there.
I'm going to try to work in "Monthly" cookies- dealing with the holidays that come with that month. (Feb- Valentine's Day packages, June- Father's Day, October- Halloween, etc, etc). I will only make a limited amount for each holiday, so I'm not overwhelmed with orders- I control what I make. :)
Other super exciting news is our House happening. After the last disappointing day of house hunting, John & I were just stuck on what to do. We wanted to wait for that 'perfect' house to appear, but then again, get the ball rolling on something before Caroline gets here. After church a couple of Sundays ago, John & I went out on our farm for a little picnic/ nap time. (The farm that John proposed to me on.) It was a GORGEOUS spring day, and we packed up lots of blankets, pillows along with some snacks & drinks. We headed up to the top of our farm on the hill & just enjoyed the day.
At one point, John said, "Don't you just wish we could wake up to this every morning??"
N: "I know. I just love it up here. But I know we can't afford the huge house that we want to build. It would be wonderful if we could figure out a way to build & just add on without wasting $$."
Well, that got the ball rolling. The next weekend, I had a some big cake orders along with 2 wedding cakes to do, so I stayed in town while John had to go to Memphis to be in a wedding of one of his college buddies. While he was away, I took the mornings & evenings to work on house plan sketches. When he came back on Sunday evening, I told him that I thought I had worked something out on paper I wanted him to look at. After showing him the plans & how we could actually work this thing out, I was nervous about his response. But then he looked up, smiled really big & said, 'This looks great! Let's do it!'
(Wow! I didn't even have to pour him a strong drink first (which I thought I might have to do to coax him into the idea..... Something I learned from dealing with my Dad.... (Especially wedding planning. We'd go out to the country club; I'd arrive about 10 minutes early, head to the bar, order me a glass of wine & him a double scotch then proceed to tell the bartender to never let his glass get empty, that we were there to talk about wedding plans & 'budgeting'. And it worked 99% of the time.....)
We met with a potential builder last Sunday at the farm for him to see the site. We wanted a builder to see the site & let us know if what we had envisioned was even possible.... before we start to plop down $$ to start on plans, and utilities to be pulled up there. It was a great meeting & got us both super excited. He told us a little bit about what we'd have to do & layout ideas, etc....
So, we are in the process of working on the utilities. It's hard when you want to build out in the country, on a large farm, on top of a huge hill...... But we know that it's going to work out for us! We know that we won't be in before Caroline comes, and I have my serious doubts of being in before the new year, but at least we know that we are building what we want & what we've dreamed of..... YAY!!!
Monday, April 18, 2011
Baby bump is starting to really grow, however, I've been told by LOTS of people that my bump isn't really that big. Good or Bad? I've run into 3-4 encounters last week that when I said something like,
"Well, we can't believe that she'll be here in less than 4 months!" or "Can you help me lift this? I'm pregnant & my husband would kill me if he knew that I tried to do this on my own"-
only to get responses of, "You're pregnant? How far along are you?"
-"I'm about a week away from being 6 months!"
"whhhhhaaat?? I couldn't even tell, but now that you say something, yeah, I can see it a little."
I guess this all depends on what outfit I'm wearing. My Dad told me that I needed to start wearing Maternity clothes because people might mistake me for just gaining a lot of weight. My response: "Daaaaaddddy- These ARE maternity clothes! You want me to wear a Moo Moo or something??"
So this week, we are 23 weeks pregnant.
She's over 11 inches long & weighs over 1 lb. She's very intune to the sounds around us. Sunday, while we were in church, I whispered at Mom, "She's moving a lot!" Mom immediately put her hand on my stomach & was just sitting there snickering because she was just kicking & kicking! But when the choir would start to sing, she'd stop. Mom said, "I think Caroline really likes music & singing because she doesn't move during it." Which was very true. She'd move & kick while Pastor Scott was talking or during the readings, but when that choir would start, she'd stop. I told Mom, "Gee, I hope this doesn't mean that she'll be disruptive during the sermon during church when she arrives. "- :)
Other things happening lately with the pregnancy-
-Still finding it tough to get comfy at night.
Sleeping with pillows between my legs have never been my thing, but I love it now!
-Having to get up at least 2 times in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
-Sometimes waking up in the middle of the night with HUGE hunger pains. Strawberry Banana yogurt is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! Also, those little individual Mandarin Orange cups are delish!
-Finding it sore to sit or stand for periods of time.
Think of how sore you are after riding a horse for a couple of hours. Yep- that's what my pelvis feels like when I stand up or move my legs in the middle of the night. Achy!
-Water with lemon juice in it is HEAVEN! I drink this like it's going to be discontinued!
-Appetite isn't much (this last week or so)- Having to remind myself to eat at meal times (which never is usually a problem)- but just isn't eating as much as people say that I would be. (I've been warned that my appetite will come out of nowhere & you'd think that I'd just gotten off the show 'Survivor' )
- John's obsessed with my bump! He loves to rub it and gives it lots of kisses. He talks to her and she'll usually kick for him when he does. He loves for me to wear outfits that show off my bump. One time I put on a dress & told him that I didn't like it because it made me look more pregnant than I really was. His response, "I know! I love it!! Don't change!" (Ummmm, no!)
- Starting to purchase baby nursery items.
We got her bassinet last week, (and about to send it to a lady to sew a cover for it)-, as well as her baby book. Small purchases but at least it's something!
Monday, April 11, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
(Parkes, of course, is my maiden name and John & I just fell in love with the name Harrison!)
Let me just say- DELISH!!!!!!! I ate just about every bite! (Something I definitely don't do on a regular basis). I kept saying, "Gosh, this is so delicious!" John kept looking at me like, 'Gee, I can't tell that at all!'
So, for my recipe this past week, I'm going to suggest heading to O'Charleys & ordering this salad! Mmmmm! Perfect for this weather!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Now, if you were to ask my Dad for his recipe, it would (or seems like) it takes 3 or so hours to make it.... But his recipe is delicious!!!
However, I wanted an easier recipe, and definitely found one! It took me about 1 hour from start to finish to make this. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but is any Baked Potato Soup really healthy?
Neelley's Baked Potato Soup
1 pkg Bacon- I go ahead & fry up the entire pkg to make BLT's with the soup & extra for toppings
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
7 Tbsp of All-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
2 cans Chicken Broth
4 large Baking Potatoes, peeled & cubed
2/3 cup Sour Cream
1/3 cup Milk (plus a little extra)
1 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
-Start by boiling water (I flavor mine with Chicken boullion cubes- about 3 to a big pot)-. Add your cubed potatoes to boiling water. Let boil for about 15 minutes- or until tender. Once your potatoes are done, drain water & let cool for a couple of minutes. Take a potato masher & mash the potatoes. They don't have to be perfectly smooth. Just break them up to where they aren't big chunks.
-While your potatoes are boiling, Fry bacon in skillet (Use a big skillet with sides to it, since you will be adding about 4 cups of Chicken broth to this later). (I always usually cook my bacon in the mircrowave, but it's important to fry in skillet for this recipe).
-After frying, pour out bacon grease, except keep about 1-2 Tbsp of Bacon grease in the bottom of your pan. Add onion & garlic to grease & cook until onion is translucent on Med-Low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper & basil. It will form a ball like dough.
-SLOWLY pour in chicken broth. As you pour it in, use a whisk (it's easier to incorporate the ingredients this way)- Make sure that all is mixed before you add more- Let boil for about 2 minutes - (Enough time to get your sour cream & milk out of the fridge & measured out, but make sure you stop & stir while doing this too)-
Turn heat down to LOW.- Add sour cream & milk. Stir to mix well. Add in your mashed potatoes. Stir to incorporate all!
- At some point during this process, you might want to transfer your items to a big pot. I have a large skillet with about 4" sides, so it was perfect for this recipe. However, it might be a better idea to add your sauce/soup to your mashed potatoes in your pot that you boiled them in.
- If you don't want to use Bacon grease, you can substitute for Margarine or butter.
-This recipe makes just enough for 4 full bowl servings.
-I don't know why part of this recipe shows up in blue & underlined. I'm not as blog savvy as some might think & I don't know how to undo that and such.... So, don't think that that part of the recipe is more important that the rest- It is, but it isn't. :)
Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double its weight and add inches to its length. Right now, Baby is about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. Baby's legs are much more developed, its head is more erect than it has been, and its eyes have moved closer to the front of the head. Baby's ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of the scalp has begun, though Baby's locks aren't recognizable yet. Baby's even started growing toenails. And there's a lot happening inside as well. For example, Baby's heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.
It's crazy to think that Baby will double in the next few weeks! Thinking that the Baby Bump really starting to get on out there! Whew!
Not much to report this week, except I've had just about what everyone else in Columbia has- a horrible Sinus infection. It's lasted about a week, and I'm ready for it to be gone! We've also discovered that Baby King does not like Apple Juice. I thought that it sounded so good one morning & John brought me a glass of it- only for it to come right back up about 20 minutes later.... Bleh!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
SURE! NO problem!! Gosh, I love it!
Or was it? Since I failed to place the order before Noon, I knew that my flowers probably wouldn't be delivered until the next day. Oh well, at least she'd get flowers & they might be even prettier than the flowers in the picture. And I made special instructions for them to be delivered before 4 p.m.( telling them that she leaves then, but-really she leaves work at 5 or 5:30, and I wanted her to enjoy them while she finished up her day. )
Well, long story short- They got delivered the next day, around 4:30 or so. The delivery guy called & was SO rude & cussing up a storm with GD's, F bombs, & all words under the sun- because he was "lost". Not only did they charge me $12 delivery, but also charged my card later for a random mysterious $1.98 fee. ???
So needless to say, I wasn't a very happy camper at the end of the day re: their customer service. Then to top it off, my sister, Lauren, sends me a text that says, "Mom's flowers are pretty!" with the below picture attached:
When I tried to contact the company & complain, not only for the poor customer service, but the late delivery, over charge on my card, false advertising of 'Free Delivery', and horrible product delivery of what I actually ordered- All they said was, "Sorry, we compensated by putting in long stemmed roses instead of medium stemmed roses. " I don't think I said anything for about 20 seconds with my mouth on the floor! I followed with, "So, since you gave me an extra 4" of thorny stems on the end of each rose, you think that is equal to the garden lillies surrounding the roses in the picture on the internet- so you can put greenery in it's place??" No response. "Sorry Lady."
Come to find out there are MULTIPLE complaints re: Pink Lotus Florist. After doing some research on the internet, there are thousands of people out there that haven't even received their flowers yet (3 weeks after they placed the order!). Some have been charged 2 or 3 times for the same arrangement on their card, some ordered arrangements with 10 flowers in it & only received 1 flower in it filled with greenery. I was in shock! So, I contacted the Better Business Bureau on them- Hopefully someone might shut them down!
So there is my little rant. Pass it on to EVERYONE you know- Never ever ever use Pink Lotus Florist! And also, my lesson learned- Don't order anything over your iphone from a company that you haven't heard of without doing a little research first.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I avoid the Dr at all cost... I loathe going. I feel like sometimes just sitting in that waiting room can make you feel more sick than you really are (or even get you more sick with all the other people there!)- So, going against my mother's advice, I waited until this morning to go to the Doctor. Woke up feeling better, called his office, they advised me to come on in. He checked on everything & it was wonderful. He said that I probably just have a sinus infection & my horrible back pain is to be expected with a growing baby. My uterus is growing growing growing (in a normal, non-pregnant woman, her uterus is the size of a lemon. Mine, being almost 4 months pregnant, is the size of large cantelope or bigger.... WOW! As Baby is growing, my uterus is pushing things around inside to make room, as well as my belly growing outward.... So, that's what's been happening this week!
This week's recipe is from such a precious friend, here in Columbia, Liz. The two of us, along with a couple of other girls, hosted a baby shower for our friend, Courtney. Liz served this drink at the shower & I think I could have drank the entire pitcher- It was so good! I asked her for the recipe & she happily passed it on! She said her family calls it "Party Punch"- It's so easy & DELISH!!!
Liz's Party Punch
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup lemonade (powdered)
1/2 cup instant tea with lemon (powdered) (I usually use decaf)
1 cup white grape juice
Put all ingredients in a gallon jug. Fill with water. Shake to mix. Enjoy!
Monday, February 21, 2011
I have, however, discovered that I don't think Baby King enjoys much spicy things. I never have been much of a heat person when it comes to food, but lately, I have found myself feeling uncomfortable as I eat spicy foods. After church yesterday, John & I made a quick lunch stop at Zaxbys. Since they have quit carrying my "Zensation Salad" which was so good, I decided to just get a small chicken tender meal with buffalo sauce. As I was eating it, my stomach started to feel tight & give me that "rumbling goldfish in a bowl" kind of feeling. I was trying to explain it to John, but it was hard to describe. Almost that feeling when you are really really hungry & your stomach just feels empty & hurts- that's the feeling I get when I'm eating spicy foods. Weird, I know!
This week, Baby is measuring 4 inches (from the top of the head to the end of it's little booty). It's about the size of an apple. Baby's legs are longer than the arms now & all the joints & limbs are moving. Although Baby's eyelids are still fused shut, baby can sense light. If you were to shine a flashlight at my belly, it would likely move away from the beam. If we were to have an Ultrasound this week, it could be possible to tell whether Baby is a boy or a girl.
We've got less than 3 weeks before we make the big Reveal of what we are having. We won't find out until a day or so before our party... so it's SUPER exciting! John & I were talking about how anxious we are to know what we are having, however, it's been such a blessing to not know right now. It definitely allows us to slow down & just enjoy the pregnancy without my planning, planning, planning.... In the past month, I have been invited to lots of children's clothing shows & parties, and that anxious feeling definitely comes at a higher rate during those emails & catalog showings, since I'm in a "holding period" to buy anything since we don't know which sex to buy for! John & I get asked very often of what we think we are going to have- and I can honestly say, "We have no idea!" There are some days that we feel as if we are having a boy, and other days we feel as if it's a girl. We LOVE hearing what other people predict! So fun!!
So our question to everyone, what do you think we are having???? We have added a poll to the left side of our blog. Please submit your answer, but make sure you only do it once for your own vote. But if you have more than one in your household & you both feel the same or different, feel free to cast their vote too!
Friday, February 18, 2011
It's very light tasting & is perfect the weather we've been having lately!
Emily's Asian Slaw
2 packages beef flavor Ramen noodles (save packets for dressing)
1 16 oz. package cole slaw lettuce
1 cup sliced almonds (toasted if you want to)
1 cup sunflower kernels
2 green onions (tops, green part only) sliced
Break up the ramen noodles and layer all of the above, in a large bowl, in order.
Mix well in a small bowl: (Make sure you mix it until the sugar is dissolved)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil (Canola or Olive Oil)
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 soup packets from Ramen noodles
Pour over mixture and cover. DO NOT MIX until the next morning.
Makes me want to put my fingers up to my lips, kiss them, say "DELISH!" then give Emily a big kiss on the cheek for introducing me to this recipe!
These past 2 weeks have been absolutely crazy filled with cake orders, and lots of them for weddings! (Which I'm not complaining about at all!)- I have just about every weekend booked with a wedding cake(s) to do from now until Mid-July. Which is when I scheduled to not take any orders past that, since it will be getting close to my due date.... YAY!
This week we are at the 14 week mark. Well, actually, tomorrow, we will be at the 15 week mark, but I will do better next week & post that update on time....well, hopefully!
This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck its thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, its facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. The kidneys are producing urine, which it releases into the amniotic fluid around the baby — a process baby will keep up until birth. Baby can grasp, too, and if you're having an ultrasound now, you may even catch it sucking its thumb.
Baby is now about the size of a large lemon this week!
I am definitely feeling more like my old self, once again. Everyone told me that it would happen once the 2nd trimester came, and boy were they right! It's amazing! Still getting tired every now & then, but mostly just powering on through with work & social stuff throughout the day!
My appetite is back & everything sounds good! I've especially been loving some soups & salads! Mmmmm. John & I went to Stoney River last night & I ordered a cup of their Lobster Bisque, & I thought I was seriously going to lick that bowl!! SO good!!!
We are definitely enjoying our time of 'not knowing' what we are having. We haven't bought anything for our baby yet, except an adorable pair of cream colored cashmere mittens for Baby to wear this winter. So precious!! We find out in 3 weeks what we are having & plan on having a Gender Revealing party with our family & very close friends. So we are excited!!
This week also brought a fun filled day yesterday, since it was my Birthday. John took the day off & we spent the entire day together, which is my favorite thing to do. I love spending time with him, but I especially love to be out & about with him all to myself, where I don't have to share him with anyone else. We started off the day with getting massages, then headed over to Franklin to get some yummy lunch at J. Alexanders. I just love their crabcakes! They are made with the lump crab meat & pretty much no fillers. They are some of the best crabcakes I have found around our area, without having to drive to the beach.... :)
Then we did a little shopping, went to go see "Just Go with It" with Adam Sandler & Jennifer Anniston (which by the way is HILARIOUS!!). We laughed the entire way through the movie! Then headed to Stoney River for dinner. Such a fun birthday, especially when celebrating it all day long! :) John asked me how old I was yesterday afternoon, (just to see if I would say the new number)- and it's funny how I had to sit there & think.... "Ok, I was born in '84, so that would make me.... Hmmmm- Ewww, 27!" It's amazing how, I feel like, once you hit 21, all birthdays from there are just downhill.... Of course, you instantly know it's your 22nd birthday, because all you can think about is the horrible hangover you had at this exact time last year... 25 hit kinda a sore spot, because you are officially, "mid- twenties". Now I'm edging on up there into my "late twenties" & that just makes me sit there with the "Elvis lip kinda going on with the look of 'whatcha gonna do- oh well! shrug"---- We were talking about how this was our last birthday celebration between the two of us before Baby comes! Crazy to think! John will turn 29 about 3 weeks after Baby is due...
But we are excited!!!!!!!
Monday, February 7, 2011
This weekend, the baby bump has officially bumped on out there. I had people tell me, "Oh yes, you will just wake up one day & look down, & say, "Hey! What is this??" Well, it definitely happened! I was in the shower & looked down and was in shock! I think I stared at it for 5 whole minutes. I just couldn't believe it! It's kinda freaking me out.
John & I got ready to go on a morning walk yesterday, and I put on one of my old sorority t-shirts & there was no denying my bump. Of course, I have to kinda push my shirt down right above the bump & it there!
We had some of our great friends, Liz & Chaz and Courtney & Alex, over last night for the Superbowl. I told the girls, "Ummm, look at this??!" They were both stunned to see it since when we went to lunch on Tuesday, I didn't really have much to show. Liz has a sweet little girl, Marley, who is 7 1/2 months old, and Courtney is 8 months pregnant. So they both definitely knew what that was all about. It's fun to hear & compare stories!
So this week we are 13 weeks. So many websites contridict each other. Some say that this is the beginning on the 2nd trimester. Some say that at the end of this week will be the beginning... Oh well- All we know, is we are getting closer to Baby!
By this week, our baby has it's own set of fingerprints. Veins & organs are clearly visible through their still-thin skin. Baby is 3" long & weighs nearly an ounce. Uterus, which is usually the size of a woman's fist is now bigger than a grapefruit.... (which is why the bump, I'm assuming)
-Only needing naps every once in awhile
-Emotional/ mood swings- Crying more easily, getting irritated quicker, then the next minute be completely ok with everything in the world....
-Food cravings/ adversions starting to taper off
We are filled with excitement. Especially to find out what we are having! We have big plans for the reveal of the gender. The countdown begins!!!