Theme Thursday: Crack?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Well hey there!  I'm still here!  Baby's still in utero, although it can't be long now, right?  38.5 weeks...

Anyway, might as well share some pictures that crack me up!

Get it?  Because "Crack" is the Theme Thursday theme.  And considering I kept getting "little girl butt crack" hits on my blog for a while, I thought that maybe an *actual* picture of what first came to mind would be a bad idea...

(It was a blurry picture of Cecilia with her pants falling down, so I'm not entirely sure why anyone actually wanted to click it from their google image search...  But yeah, deleted it.  Creeps.)

The twins each grabbed a whole apple out of the fridge while I was making lunch, pulled the big chairs out, and sat at the big table eating.  Or "eating" in Elizabeth's case...

"Yook!  It's apple mouf!"

Impish, this girl.  Dictionary definition!

Okay, Mary Claire actually goes to TOWN with her apples and eats them as quickly as possible...

"Show me a happy face!"
(Also, show me your apple peel all over the table, since all you do is chew it up and spit it out...)

"Show me an angry face!"

This one cracks me up the most - she makes that face when she doesn't get her way and it's DEVASTATINGLY funny!

And a cute one for good measure.

Can you believe they're almost 2?  Thank goodness they don't know when their *actual* birthday is, because I may very well be in labor and end up missing it...  But we'll celebrate at some point!

Check out more takes on "Crack" at Clan Donaldson!

Let's Get Back on the Meal Planning Train!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

You know what makes my life a lot less-stressful?  Meal planning.  You know what I have not been doing at ALL throughout this pregnancy?  Meal planning.  Because, you know, first trimester aversions & exhaustion.  And then throughout the summer I kind of like to wing it based on what's available at the farmer's market.  But then fall got here and things have just been disastrous - lots of last-minute meals that end up unsatisfying, and this week has been the absolute worst because it seems like food aversions are BACK (um, hello? Almost 38 weeks here, aren't we supposed to be done with these?).

So rather than desperately text my husband at 4:45 asking him to pick up frozen pizza on his way home from work, how about I get back on the meal planning train?  Nell even has a link-up to help me get my rear in gear!

I'm trying to keep stocking the freezer while I make dinners for us this week, so lots of these meals will be made in double & triple batches to help make things easier once the baby's born.

Today (Saturday):  Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast, green beans, roasted potatoes

Sunday:  Penne w/tomato cream sauce, meatballs (double batch, freeze extras), broccoli

 Monday:  Creamy chicken taquitos (double batch, freeze extras), beans (make a big batch and freeze half) & rice

Tuesday:  Bacon mac 'n cheese with leftover green beans

Wednesday: Pizza night!
Although not grilled like this pizza - not quite warm enough for that anymore!

Thursday: Leftovers (assuming I haven't consumed everything in the fridge at this point - I'm betting we'll have some penne, beans & rice, and broccoli leftover, and I might cook a few chicken breasts to round things out).

Friday: Lentil soup with this bread

Do you do meatless Fridays?  Even if you're not Catholic, adding one meatless meal a week is a great way to save money - I've got 25 meatless meal ideas here if you need inspiration :)

And there we go!  Let's hope this can keep me on track this week - I sure hope so!

Go check out Nell's meal plan and others for some inspiration!

Eyeliner, A Book, Candy, A Toy, and Bread {Five Favorites}

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jenna's hosting Five Favorites now!  So fun!  Here's what I'm loving this week:


This eyeliner

Maybelline New York Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner, Blackest Black 501, 0.05 Fluid Ounce

I've tried a lot of different liquid eyeliners and had problems with them - my hand isn't steady enough to make a clean line on the first try, and then it's so permanent that I can't smudge it to cover up the mistake!  I love this stuff - I got it as a free sample with some mascara a while back, and it's perfect for a liquid eyeliner novice like me.

The brush is a little flexible, so it's easy to get a nice even line that's close to the lashline without pulling at the skin.  And it smudges easily in the first few minutes if you need to cover up any mistakes.  It helps me feel SUPER put-together especially when it's my (number omitted) day without showering and I'm looking less-than-fresh.

Love it!  It's definitely coming in the hospital bag with me.



Well, not actual babies.  Not that they're not great too...  But this was one of my favorite books when I was a kid (I remember teaching myself to read with it) and the kids all adore it, too.  I heard the girls giggling about what the "Mary Claire baby" and the "Elizabeth baby" were doing yesterday, and I found Cecilia "reading" to them from one of my all-time favorites.  I love Gyo Fujikawa!
Out-of-focus children?  Check!  Focused mess?  Check!  Way to go.
Oh and there's a Baby Animals book too???  Totally getting it for the twins for birthday/Christmas!


Peanut Butter Cups

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures, 40 Ounce Package

I was SERIOUSLY craving these the other day and then Andrew's awesome co-worker sent him home with a bag of Reese's pieces and then the next day with a bag of the unwrapped minis.  YUM!

So then on Saturday when I was home alone with Mary Claire (Andrew took the other 3 hiking and I was like, "I can totally do that!!!" and then remembered that I can barely cross a parking lot without having contractions...) I decided to get ambitious and walk to the drugstore for eyeshadow and candy.  So classy, right here.  And so worth it.

I kind of love that these are individually wrapped because it keeps me from eating too many.  They're currently residing in my underwear drawer so that the kids don't notice them (except that Cecilia insists on picking out my underwear most days and has already asked about them...  "Oh, that's the bag my eyeshadow was in!" Which is not a lie because my eyeshadow WAS in that grocery bag, too!)

Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway

Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway

I got this free to review from Bzzagent a few weeks ago and have been waiting to see if it lasts in the house - the kids adore it!  It's HUGE (taller than both the twins) and very plastic, so it will probably make its way to the basement once it loses its luster...  But none of the kids are "car lovers" and they all love playing with this ramp!  It came with two cars, so they've had to practice sharing a LOT.  And the characters are named Kobe and Tessa, so Elizabeth immediately christened Kobe "Kobe Jack Cheese" and it makes me laugh every. time.


This bread

Theresa posted a bunch of her favorite fall recipes yesterday which helped me a LOT with the fact that I had nothing planned for dinner!  I ended up making potato corn chowder (no recipe because I wing it, sorry!) and figured I'd try a new bread recipe and see if it ended up crusty enough for my liking.

It did!  Hurrah!  Normally I get the Costco baguettes and freeze them in dinner-sized portions so we always have fresh-ish bread to go with soup.  But this is a LOT cheaper, with similar results, and so easy that John Paul could probably do it on his own if I were willing to let him consume flour by the cup...

You might need to tweak the flour amounts - I did the 1/3 recipe last night and had to add 1/4 cup water, and then I made a full batch this morning and needed to add 1/2 cup flour.  Just eyeball it and pay attention to the pictures in the original post!

What's on your favorites list right now?  Go link up with Jenna!

Maternity Fashion in the Third Trimester: What Still Fits?

Monday, October 20, 2014

So yesterday after Mass TWO old ladies stopped me to remark (really, in the kindest way possible, and I appreciate that they noticed) just how large I am and how this baby will be born any day!

Well, to the 37-week-pregnant mama whose singletons have NOT been early, it doesn't exactly feel like things are coming to a close...  Heck, we may very well be hanging on for another 5 weeks!  FIVE WEEKS!  That's a long time.

(37 weeks already?  That's right.  Time passes WAY faster on the internet than in real life!)

So looking at the new (or "new" - most of this was purchased via Twice or ThredUP) items I've purchased this pregnancy, what has actually worked all the way through?

Stretchy striped dress?  Soooo comfy, although a bit clingy...  But free with ThredUP credit, accommodates a growing belly, and the neckline is stretchy enough that I can bum around in it and nurse the baby in those first couple months post-partum. 

Great picture, right?  This dress/tunic is a little too short right now to qualify as clothing under my normal standards, but...  I'm a million weeks pregnant, so I'm kind of past caring?  It's non-maternity, as are the leggings (American Apparel via Twice - really nice and stretchy!), so I know I'll get a lot of use out of them post-partum.  And patterned tops are fabulous for hiding spit-up stains, plus it buttons and has a veeeery generous bust and waistline that works well with belts.

This sweater has been one of my wardrobe staples forever and ever.  It's H&M, super-slouchy, and apparently still fits...  Although not super-flattering, it's comfy and works great post-partum.

The skirt is new-to-me, Motherhood via ThredUP, and actually a GOOD maternity denim skirt - I've found those are really hard to find, because either they don't have enough give, or the panel's awkward, or the pockets end up scrunched awkwardly...  This was free with credit, but definitely would have been worth the $13 or so that they were charging!

Everybody needs a little black dress!  This is me as of today, so yeah I kind of get what those old ladies were talking about...  I'm definitely MUCH larger than I was in the pictures from above, which are all from around 34/35 weeks.  Both items are ThredUP, and a black jersey dress is SUCH a necessity for me that when my old one ended up with oil stains all over the skirt (I don't even know how...) I immediately found a similar one on ThredUP and ordered it.  Actually, it ended up even better because this one has a crossover neckline that I can nurse in!

The shirt is Gap non-maternity, also from ThredUP.  The kids ADORE it because it has little bicycles all over it.  Do you ever have items of clothing that your kids LOVE and end up loving them even more because of that?

Also, that dress...  Yes, I realize it resembles a tent.  Not a lot of things DON'T at this point.  But when Elizabeth started hiding under the skirt this morning, I realized I might need to make leggings a constant until this baby is born ;)

This Gap skirt (one of my only NEW purchases this year) is still on heavy rotation, and that cardigan from Twice is part of my morning uniform and will continue being worn aaaaall the time because of the flowiness and bum coverage.  Hurrah!

And with that, I find it unlikely that I'll be taking that many more "fashion" pictures this pregnancy!  Because, let's face it, nobody needs to see this ginormous belly anymore ;)

One last thing!  I just got a coupon in the mail from ThredUP to share with you - 40% off your first purchase!  So if you've signed up through my link and haven't made a purchase yet, I'll give you the code if you're the first to comment with your email!  Just let me know :)

Saints, Paper Priests, Fall Photos {7QT}

Thursday, October 16, 2014


My sister got this Happy Saints card set for John Paul to celebrate his upcoming feast day, but they're an even bigger hit with the twins!  Oh my goodness, it's adorable - they just want me to flip through the cards and they'll fire off the names in the most adorable little toddler voices.  They did it Tuesday night when we had a priest over for dinner (and we'd had the cards for...  4 days?) and named every. single. saint. correctly.

So you might want to get your own set!  It comes with an e-book and tons of printables too, plus free shipping so the $25 price tag doesn't seem quite so steep.  And for those of you with kids who are SERIOUS about gender equality, there are 13 girl saints and 13 boy saints.  Cecilia was VERY pleased about this when she was lining them up!


And while we're talking Catholic stuff, this:

Father Peter 1943 Catholic Extension Cutouts Booklet

If you click the link, you'll find 8 printable pages of old school paper dolls complete with EVERYTHING necessary for a pre-Vatican II Mass, old-style vestments, etc.  It's AMAZING.  Our printer is out of ink right now or I'd print the whole set out right now because I KNOW John Paul and Cecilia will adore it.  Can someone please assign this as a project for your kids and blog about it so we can see the finished product?


Bucket list update!  We made it to our favorite Fall Festival!

She did NOT want to wear leggings under any of her proposed outfits.  I finally convinced her of the necessity, and she understood why after she went down this slide!

This pose.  Kills me.  And those muddy knees?  Yeah, she was that dirty within minutes of us getting there!

She and Mary Claire are actually the exact same height, you just can't tell from the picture!

Really, really good at smiling.  Really good.

So big!!!

This picture REALLY makes me laugh.  Those cutouts never work when it comes to scale, but John Paul's expression combined with Mary Claire's confusion slay me!

And once again, Cecilia proving that she has Miss Photogenic in the bag once her pageant days (ha!) begin.

We got rained out before we had a chance to hit everything, sadly, but they're AMAZING and we got rain checks so we'll go back for a (hopefully) quick trip sometime before the end of the month.  Which will be exhausting, to say the least...


And a week-old picture just to contrast with next year's picture at the same Fall Festival when this little one is EX-utero:

35.5 weeks in this picture, 36.5 weeks now!  

I used some ThredUP credit to round out my maternity wardrobe with a jersey dress, a denim skirt (which is SO comfy) and a scarf (okay, not maternity) and feel like I'll make it to November without completely giving up on actual clothing!  As a side note, their mobile site has really grown on me, and you get free returns if you order from a mobile device so if you've been holding off on ordering, it might be worth a try!  Shipping was a lot faster for me this time around, so I wonder if they've done something new to improve upon that?


John Paul has been...  Something else this week.  

And not in a *truly* naughty sense, but he's doing stuff like getting out slices of bread and punching holes in them so that he can use it to celebrate Mass, but then he leaves crumbs EVERYWHERE.  

Or he decides to get himself a tea cup and saucer and make some tea with elderberry syrup because that's apparently his new favorite drink, but then he opens up the teabag and ends up dripping pink tea everywhere...

And he's convinced that he should have access to EVERY shelf in EVERY cabinet so now nothing's safe (including my secret candy stash) because he gets it down and tells me THAT is what he'll be eating for dessert tonight.  

Francine suggested hiding candy in coffee mugs, and I think that's probably the best possible solution.  But seriously - what the heck?

Oh, and today?  Today I noticed it had been quiet for too long, and found him in the basement with Cecilia, playing a game on the Xbox.  I'm actually surprised this hadn't happened before, but once again he's been banned from electronics.  Adolescence can't be worse than this, right?


What do you do to help keep things clean at home during the day?  We had a pretty good system down, including a 4 pm cleaning blitz, after which I'd send the kids downstairs to watch TV for an hour or so before dinner.  And TV time was conditional upon completion of any cleaning tasks.  But now they've decided that they'd rather just keep playing and NOT clean AND not watch TV.  Argh!!!  And they're actually mostly leaving me alone while I cook, so it's not horrible.  But then things don't get cleaned up ever...

What do you do to enforce a cleaning routine?  I've been TERRIBLE about it in the past, and I know it'll be better if we have an actual routine...


Go check out more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes: Pre-Baby Bucket List

Friday, October 10, 2014

While I keep telling myself that life will not be that different once this baby is born, there are also ALL THE THINGS that I want to accomplish before he makes his appearance because, let's face it, some things are just plain easier when you don't have a baby who wants to nurse every 4.5 seconds.  Here's what's on my list:


Get to Cox Farms with the kids!

This one I think will be accomplished soon - hopefully next week!  Just remind me not to go on a hayride.  Or the slides.  Basically I'm going to sit around watching the kids enjoy the slides and drinking as much apple cider as humanly possible.  Yum.

Tiny Cecilia was actually brave enough to touch the goats last year!


Organize my closet!

Thrilling, right?  But right now it's STILL full of regular clothes, out-of-season clothes, maternity clothes that have pretty much been outgrown at this point...  Oh, and my wedding dress is still just kind of hanging there from when I tried it on over a year ago.  I need to put stuff away that isn't going to be worn for a while so that the closet is a little more manageable once we get home from the hospital, even though I'll be wearing little besides leggings and yoga pants in those early weeks...


Organize the kids' clothes

Cecilia's drawers are full-to-bursting with things that she has outgrown but keeps wearing...  And they need to be passed down to the twins, who ALSO have drawers bursting with stuff they have outgrown.  Elizabeth keeps demanding to wear a very short strappy floral dress because it keeps getting put BACK in her closet even though it's way too small and way too "July" for her to wear right now.  And John Paul's clothes range from size 4T-7 in his drawers so yeah, this needs to be fixed.


Cook all the things!

Okay, I don't really like freezer cooking that much, and I've never done ginormous batch cooking sessions, because I really enjoy *actually* cooking dinner every night (except right now when I mostly don't have any energy left by about 1 pm...).  But some things, like making pizza dough and freezing it, or cooking a bunch of rice and freezing it?  Those are really nice shortcuts that I need to take advantage of NOW, or else what's the point?


Get a hair cut?

My hair is long.  So, SO long.  Like, almost to my butt...  And it's ridiculous, and I need a real cut and I need to get it done BEFORE baby but it's not an attractive prospect to sit in a chair for more than 15 minutes to get it done...  At the same time, it's a far less attractive prospect to try to find a time when the baby WON'T be nursing every 4.5 seconds and get a cut.

Want to know the last time I got a cut?  Before the twins were born.


I cut my own layers a while back, which did nicely to prolong the gap between cuts.  But there's just. so. much of it.


Get all the crafting supplies!

Last year I decided to make felt ornaments for each member of the family as a new Christmas tradition.  It was time-consuming but really satisfying and easy and fun, so I've been pinning ideas but I really need to get felt and embroidery floss and that sort of thing BEFORE the baby is born.  Because trying to find a place to stop and nurse in a crowded craft store during the holiday season?

No thank you.

Oh shoot!  Baby has no stocking!  But he also doesn't have a name, so I suppose there's no point yet...  Well, I think we have a "Baby's First Christmas" stocking he can use for this year.


Go on a date?

This is a tough one, because by the time the kids are in bed I do NOT want to go anywhere or do anything.  But at the same time, I think it would be really nice and relaxing to hit The Melting Pot or maybe a winery for one last hurrah before the baby is born.



We need to dry the oregano, freeze butter patties with chopped sage & rosemary (perfect for roast chicken), pull out the rest of the tomato plants and beans, order and plant the garlic, harvest the rest of the carrots, etc. etc. etc.  So much needs to be done, but I just have no motivation.  Yikes!

Most boring post ever?  What's on YOUR bucket list before a new baby is born?  Oh, probably we should find all the baby clothes and gear, too...  Hmm...

Linking up with Conversion Diary - happy Friday!
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