by Melanie

Crazy Life + Getting Ready for BABY!

July 31, 2014 in Uncategorized by Melanie

Well guys, my life has been INSANE!  I seriously don’t remember a more busy summer.  We’ve had so much fun though.

We’ve had a bunch of my family in town the past couple weeks and have had so much fun running around with them.  My little sister left yesterday and I told myself that as soon as she left, I had to shift into baby mode 110%!

Sooooo, today I’ve been working on Project BABY!

Getting ready for baby

I pulled out the bassinet, swing, bouncy seat, baby bathtub, toys, blankets and all the clothes from the basement.  I’ve spent the majority of my day washing everything and getting it ready!

You can tell I’m the mother of many because I’m NOT preparing a nursery, painting walls, planning decor, finding the perfect outfits or cute bedding.

I AM making sure he has clean, soft, comfy clothes and plenty of clean, cute (albeit gently used) baby gear though.

When having a sixth child, it’s all about function and efficiently, lol!  However, he WILL be very much loved, cared for and SPOILED with attention!  All of my kids can hardly wait for the baby to arrive.  I know I will have plenty of “helpers” for better or worse. ;-)

I am due in exactly 18 days, folks.  It almost seems surreal.  Even though I’ve become completely incapacitated, can barely walk, breathe or move, have gained a million pounds (37 to be exact) and have a huge wiggly thing in my belly, it still doesn’t seem like we’re really going to have a baby.  It’s crazy.

My emotions seem to fluctuate between excitement and anticipation (I am SO EXCITED to have another baby to love and coddle!) to stress and nervousness (how in the world am I going to be able to take care of a newborn and still keep up with my life?) to fear and inadequacy (I totally forgot how to care for a new baby!???  Have I really had 5 babies before?)

I’m sure everything will work out fine though and I’ll quickly get back into “newborn baby mode.”  It will be fun.

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On Monday, I went out to dinner and shopping with my mom, sisters, daughter and nieces.  We went to Gardner Village (the cutest, girliest boutique shops ever) and had a great time.

Sadly, I couldn’t buy anything for me because NOTHING FITS, but my daughter was in heaven because I bought her a bunch of Back to School things.  She loved it.  I’ve also decided that when I’m losing the baby weight, I want to go back to Gardner Village and buy cute things to reward myself.  Sounds like fun, right?

Anyway, we took this picture of me, my mom and sisters.  I look so dang giant and bloated.  Sigh.

Me, my mom and sisters at Garner Villiage

Seriously, my maternity “Skinny jeans” have become my maternity “cut off the circulation jeans.”  It’s not attractive.

We also took this fun picture of the whole gang

The group at Gardner Villiage

This picture cracks me up!!!  First off, my sister’s 5 year old son was the photographer, lol.  Secondly, I DID NOT plan to be the one hiding in the back, but it just worked out that way.  Just before my nephew snapped the picture, my daughter and niece put their heads together and completely hid me.  YAY!  I thought it was the perfect “9 month pregnant” picture, lol.

On Tuesday, I went to the new Museum of Natural Curiosity (i.e. Children’s Museum) with my sister and it was amazing!  I only took my 10 year old and 4 year old with me though.

My 10 year old ran around with his cousins, so I just enjoyed playing with my 4 year old.  It was so nice to have some rare one-on-one time with him!

Cute Jake at the Children's Museum

He had a ball!  They even had a “Healthy Promise” booth that was so cute.  They had a bunch of healthy habits you could vow to keep.  I read them off to my son and he chose “Eat a Healthy Breakfast Every Morning.”  We then took a picture of us with the “promise” and they emailed us the picture.

Healthy Promise Jake and I

Pretty cool huh?  We had a fabulous time and I can’t wait to take my other kids too!

Last weekend, we went to a wedding for our niece.  We had to drive about an hour and a half each way to get there, but it was fun and nice little “getaway.”  However, my body could barely handle driving in the car that long!

It was crazy.  My back and belly hurt quite a bit and my feet bloated WAY up!  I took this beautiful picture when I got home…

My pregnant Hoof Feet

Oh my!  I don’t know if you can tell, my my feel are POURED into those shoes.  I always feel like my feet become more like hooves that I shove into my shoes when I’m mega pregnant.  It’s cute.

Oh, and my 4 year old was bored on the drive home, so he took some selfies

Cute Jake taking selfies in the van

He also wanted to take a picture of me, lol.

Jake took a picture of me in the van

He was quite proud of himself.  What a cutie.

Yes, we’ve been busy and have been running all over the place!  However, my schedule is now pretty dead until baby arrives.  I’m very happy about that because all of a sudden I SERIOUSLY can’t move anymore!  It really is a chore to even walk.  It’s funny….kind of.

My “workouts” consist of hoisting my body off of the couch or bed these days.  I also dropped the soap when I was in the shower 4 TIMES the other day.  As a pregnant lady, when I drop something, I just stare at it for a moment and ask myself, “How much do I really want/need that?”  Of course, I needed the soap, so I picked it up ALL 4 times.  I considered it my “workout” for the day.

It’s pathetic, but my reality these days. ;-)  Yesterday I was wondering how I EVER ran, jumped or walked without waddling?  It’s definitely something I took for granted!

I’ve still been trying to keep the diet pretty healthy though.  I’ve been having oatmeal for breakfast most mornings.  I love how yummy, FILLING and quick it is to make.  I was so happy to have Chocolate Chip Cookie Oats in a Jar this morning.  YUM!

Chocolate Chip Cookie OIAJ for breakfast

I’ve also been having various salads for lunch a lot lately.  Here are some of my creations…

My salad lunches

They’ve tasted so good to me!  These have mostly been romaine, cucumber, tomato, peppers, avocado and Feta cheese.  I’ve also put leftover grilled chicken on there and it’s been so dang good!

I had some leftover fruit some of the days (that’s why the fruit looks so wilted and haggard!) and today I made myself half of a PB and Banana sandwich.  It was so tasty.

We’ve been keeping dinner very, very simple lately (I’m talkin’ quesadillas, sandwiches, frozen stuff, etc.)  Yes, it’s pathetic, but quite necessary considering I can hardly move these days.  The kids don’t seem to mind at all though. ;-)

Oh, and I took my 37 week pregnant picture on Sunday.  I’m really starting to fill out this dress!!!

Me 37 weeks pregnant

Well, that’s the latest on my VERY pregnant, VERY huge, VERY tired and VERY incapacitated life right now.  It’s a good life though and I’m very thankful for all I have going on right now!  I hope you all have a wonderful night.

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by Melanie

Livin’ Up Summer + Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

July 25, 2014 in Adventures, Family Life, Recipe by Melanie

We’ve been having a lot of fun the past few days.  We’ve definitely been living up summer!!

We went to a reservoir near our house yesterday with my brother, sister and their families.  Everyone had a BALL!  The kids had such a fun time playing in the water

The kids at the reservoir

My 6 year old thought he was indestructible in that life jacket though!  I think I had about 13 nervous breakdowns as I watched him play in the water.  I’m such a paranoid mom, BTW.  You think I’d chill out a bit after having so many children, but I DO NOT.

Kids+water=Stressed out Mel!

Thankfully, my 4 year old wanted to play in the sand and on the nearby playground instead of the water.

Jake playing in the sand at the reservoir

My oldest son and his cousin liked hanging out and chatting at the top of the playground.  My 4 year old loved running around with his cousin (that’s my sister taking a picture too!)

The kids on the playground at the reservoir

Kevin (my fearless, over-adventurous husband) decided to swim across the reservoir!  He also took my 10 year old son with him!  AUUUGHHH!

Kev and D swimming across the reservoir

They made it across and then swam back!  I had about 4 more nervous breakdowns watching them swim.  Oh, and I just want to mention that a teenager drown just a few months ago trying to swim across this EXACT reservoir.

Ya.

I know I’m paranoid, but I think it’s for good reason!  I also don’t know how NOT to be paranoid.  I think it’s programmed in my DNA.

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Yesterday was “Pioneer Day” in Utah.  It’s the day the Pioneers finally made it to Utah back in 1847.  It’s kind of like Utah’s birthday and like a second “4th of July.”  I love it.

So, last night we went to a fun neighborhood BBQ and then watched a bunch of amazing fireworks.  I couldn’t believe all the fireworks going off around our neighborhood.  It was incredible!

And, I’m lame and didn’t take any pictures. :-(

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Kev took my three middle kids (13 year old, 10 year old and 6 year old) back to Lagoon Amusement Park today!  We had such a fun time there last week and Lagoon lets you “Bounce Back” within 10 days for only $12 per person.

I decided to stay home with my 4 year old and 15 year old (who doesn’t like rides!???!)  Sooooo, I decided we needed to have a “Brothers Day” with my two kiddos….my biggest kiddo and my littlest kiddo (for now, lol.)

I took them to Carl’s Jr. for dinner.  I wasn’t feelin’ the “salad vibe,” and I didn’t want to pig out, so I ordered myself a Cheeseburger kids meal.  It was just perfect, but I didn’t take a pic. :-(

We got there a little before the dinner rush (around 4:30), so we had the playground all to ourselves.  I even talked my older son into playing on the playground with his brother.  I reminded him that he’s “only a kid once” and his childhood will be over soon, so LIVE IT UP!

Ty and Jake at Carl's Jr

Cutie pies.  It was actually a fun playground and they loved climbing and sliding down all the slides.

Afterward, I took them over to Petco to look at all of the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, turtles, fish, lizards, frogs, etc.

Ty and Jake at PetCo

They loved it.  Then we decided to head over to Target and I bought them each a Lego set (I’m sure my other kiddos won’t be happy when they find out….Eeee.)

Ty and Jake with their Lego Sets

They had so much fun building together and my older son was so sweet to help his little bro.

Ty helping Jake with his Legos

Love these guys!

**************

I also made some YUMMY healthy Banana Chocolate Chip muffins the other day that I want to share with y’all.  They were so delicious and all my kids loved them!  YAY!

I especially love these muffins because my little kids have been able to HELP THEMSELVES when they want a snack.  In the summertime, I feel like my kids are always looking for a snack and it’s so nice when mom doesn’t have to get it for them.  Yay!

I was inspired by a recipe I saw on AllRecipes.com, but I COMPLETELY changed it up and made it even healthier.  Woo hoo.

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 24 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats**
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 very ripe bananas; mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

**If you don’t have quick cooking oats, you can just use regular oats and put them in the blender/food processor and pulse a few times to make them smaller.

Ingredients for healthy Banana Muffins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners.

Stir whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, quick cooking oats, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.

Dry Ingredients for Healthy Banana Muffins

Beat eggs in a separate bowl.

Eggs for Healthy Banana Muffins

Add applesauce, milk, bananas and vanilla to the eggs.

Wet Ingredients for Healthy Banana Muffins

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Batter will be lumpy.  Add chocolate chips and mix into batter.

Healthy Banana Muffin Batter

Fill prepared muffin cups about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full.

Healthy Banana Muffins getting ready to bake
Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of several muffins comes out clean, 12-16 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.

Healthy Banana Muffins

Enjoy!

Healthy Banana Muffins Close Up

These were really tasty!  I hope you all enjoy them.

Have a great night!

Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 24
  • Serving size: 1 muffin
  • Calories: 99
  • Fat: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 55
  • Sugar: 6
  • Sodium: 147
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 2
  • Cholesterol: 23
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These muffins are healthy, yummy, filling and all my kids love them! They are the perfect snack anytime.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats**
  • ½ cup Sucanat (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ⅓ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 very ripe bananas; mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  3. Stir whole wheat flour, flaxseed meal, quick cooking oats, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl.
  4. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  5. Add applesauce, milk, banana and vanilla to the eggs.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix into batter.
  8. Fill prepared muffin cups about ½ to ⅔ of the way full.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of several muffins comes out clean, 12-16 minutes.
  10. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire racks.
  11. Enjoy!

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by Melanie

Trying to Keep it Healthy During the End of Pregnancy

July 24, 2014 in Family Life, Meal Ideas, Pregnancy by Melanie

I’ve been having a lot of fun running around with family lately!  I’ve also been trying to keep the diet a little healthier since last weekend.  I’ve found it’s much easier to eat well when I’m in my own home, but when I go to my mom’s house…..it’s SO HARD!

She has so many yummy treats there right now and it is KILLING me!

I’ve been having this for breakfast most mornings…

Egg Veggie Scramble and cherries

Some sort of veggie/egg mixture with a side of fruit.  I’ve been lovin’ cherries SO MUCH this summer.  YUM!

I’ve had my weird lettuce/fruit/cottage cheese mixture a few times lately and I love it (this picture was taken last week though.)

Lettuce, peaches, raspberries and cottage cheese

For some reason lettuce has tasted SO GOOD to me this pregnancy.  I could almost eat it plain.  Weird.  I’m going to make an effort to add it to more things so I can get more veggies in.  I’ll keep you posted on the interesting concoctions I come up with.

I also made this for dinner the other night…

Pot Stickers, Chicken, Broccoli and Fruit

This is a perfect example of an “It’s summer and I don’t feel like cooking, but I want to feed my family something healthy” dinner.

It’s just Pot Stickers from Costco, roasted broccoli, chicken (I just cooked on my Electric frying pan), pineapple and grapes.

I’ve been buying Pot Stickers from Costco for a long time, but they recently started carrying a new brand that I LOVE!

Green Chopsticks Pot Stickers

They’re made by Green Chopsticks and they’re so good.  The wrappers seem thinner than the other brand I used to get, which I’m happy ’bout.  I’m also quite impressed with the “real” ingredients in these.  They’re also super quick and easy to make and all my kids eat them!  Yay.

We had a crazy night last night, so I made my kiddos quesadillas and Peanut Butter sandwiches for dinner (they didn’t complain at all!) and I made myself this concoction and ate it in the car…

Yogurt Cottage Cheese Blueberry Mixture

It’s a blueberry Chobani yogurt, light cottage cheese, blueberries and granola.  I always love these yogurt concoctions.  They always taste good, take 2 seconds to make and sit well in my tummy.

Oh, and I received this yummy granola from Cascadian Farm recently…

Cascadian Farm Granola

They sent me two flavors, Dark Chocolate and Apple Crisp.  SUPER YUMMY!  I love the taste and crunch that granola adds to things and I also love that this granola adds protein!  However, granola in general is HIGH in calories, so I just like to use it in small quantities.

This Cascadian Farm granola is about 230-250 calories per serving (3/4 cup), so I’ve just added a little bit to my yogurt concoctions, to protein shakes or I’ve just had a little bit by itself.  I even came up with this yummy sweet treat a few nights ago…

My late night Smart Pop, KIND granola and chocolate chip snack

Skinny Pop popcorn with chocolate chips and granola mixed in.   This was fabulous and such a yummy late night snack!

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Sadly, it seems like everything I eat makes me feel ill lately.  I think my stomach is quite squished and can’t handle much these days.  When I’m not pregnant, I NEVER EVER get heartburn, but now everything gives me heartburn and makes me nauseous.  It’s so sad. :-(

If I eat VERY clean and VERY small meals, I seem to do fine….BUT if I eat anything sweet/salty/fatty/carbohydrate-y/yummy, etc. it makes me sick AND if I eat more than just a small portion of anything, it makes me sick.

It doesn’t stop me from eating though!  Ha.

However, I’ve found that warm lemon water is very soothing to my body lately.  I prefer to have it first thing in the morning, but I’ve also been having it whenever I feel ill.  It’s great and really makes me feel better.

I filled up a big water bottle with warm lemon water yesterday and took it with me on the go.

Me looking a lot like Jabba

It was so good!

I also have to say this is NOT a cute picture of me!  Like at all.  However, this is pretty much how I look these days. Oy.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I told you guys I would share pictures of myself throughout the pregnancy…the good, bad and the ugly!

Well folks, I’ve afraid we’ve reached the ugly stage, lol!  I would say the best word to describe myself these days is haggard.

I feel humungous, bloated, ill, frumpy and just NOT CUTE.

It’s okay though, I only have about 3 weeks left!!!  I’m really looking forward to the scale, the bloating and my FACE going down in size.

Oh, and I’m seeing quite the resemblance to Jabba the Hutt these days…

Jabba the Hutt

I’m sure a lot of pregnant women can relate to feeling rather “Jabba-esque.”  Notice how the chin(s) run into the chest, which runs into the tummy to form one giant blob??!  Yes, I can relate.  Poor Jabba doesn’t get to give birth though.

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Anyway, I’m getting ready to head over to the reservoir to swim with my kiddos and family, so I gotta wrap this up!  I also want to share a beautiful picture

Beautiful Summer Sunset

This is the view from my parent’s deck and it’s one of my favorite views in all the world!  This picture actually doesn’t do it justice.  I took this picture last night while my sissy and I were chatting on the deck.  The sunset was a beautiful shade of red and pink….this pic doesn’t show how vibrant the colors were!

FYI, that is the Great Salt Lake and the sun is setting behind Antelope Island.  That’s also my cute Elementary school.  I LOVED growing up adjacent to an Elementary School and church.  We had so much space to go exploring and running around.  It was bliss.

Oh, to be a child again.  I miss it.  Well I gotta run!  Enjoy the rest of your day!

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