The "It's Been a Hot Minute" Baby Update

Major pregnancy brain, I looked at this photo for a good bit and suddenly realized the first one was week 18, not 19. Oops!  

But whoa at how rounded out I got in just two weeks, hopefully it's just camp food and gets in check lol! 

18/20 Week Pregnancy Update

Size: Baby B is the size of a roast chicken and weighs 12.699 oz according to the Ava app. 

Due Date: November 2 (measured for Nov 6 at the ultrasound, but they aren't changing it). I'm betting I have the baby in October. 

Heartbeat: At my appointment last week it was 147. 

Symptoms: Indigestion is a beast. If I get hot, hungry, or worn out I tend to just shut down. Walking to the showers during our camping trip after helping take down the tent had me showering in the handicap stall and sitting... then coming back and sitting in the car. It took a few snacks and a lot of cold air before I felt like myself again. Funny though because setting up didn't phase me. Hence I'm blaming the heat. 

Currently Missing: Sweets. I'd love some cake but if I delve too deep into sugar I feel really bad. It gets my indigestion going and I immediately feel like puking.

Cravings and Favorite Foods: Raw veggies dipped in my girlfriends dill dip is heavenly. The Walmart brand sweet potato and beet chips are even great in it.

Sleep: Good, I just get up 2-3 times to pee. This was only an issue when camping because 1) I wasn't driving to the bathhouse and 2) raccoons were running a muck. I peed at a tree several times.

Food Aversions: 
Mainly just sweets, but that isn't an aversion it just doesn't sit well with me. Chicken isn't my favorite but I can tolerate it grilled now. The Tyson Chicken Nugges my child eats makes me want to fall over and croak at this point though. They just stank. Stink isn't a strong enough term for how they smell.

Exercise: Granted last week it was all mild hiking and swimming because we were camping, but I'm back at it in the gym. Right now I can do slow cardio on the Faster Way cardio days, but I love the weight lifting. I just have to make sure I wear my maternity support belt and get on the massage bed at Planet Fitness after the fact. I'm about to throw in a ton of squats every day though because Ina May suggests 300 a day. I doubt I'll hit that number today, but it's worth doing a ton of them to prep for childbirth.

Reading/Baby Related Classes and Prep:
Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth

I'm now flipping through two Bradly Method books, Husband Coached Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. Any extra comfort and position tips for labor are more than welcome. I'm constantly ear marking pages to prep for what's coming up. I'm about to start reading the Mom's On Call 0-6 Month book to try and find myself a more relaxed way to get on a schedule and sleep train. Baby Wise basically got the job done but I was so entirely stressed out because I felt the need to be so ridged that I want to take a different approach. My girlfriend suggested this, we were both big BW with our first, and she said she felt more relaxed following this schedule and method.

Weight: At the last appointment I'd only gained about 6 lbs and I am shocked. Shocked that it's only been 6, I was a baby beluga on the last go around.

Movement: Anytime I sit still I get kicked half to death. Jeremy hasn't felt it yet, but I can't have anything in my bladder or this child kicks me and I just about wet my pants.

Maternity Clothing: All day every day. I mix in some non maternity but I don't like the restriction of regular pants.

Gender Guess: I honestly have nothing. Not a clue. Heart rate says girl, but it's the same range Harrison was in so that means absolutely nothing. My OB suggested the Chinese Gender Calendar to guess and it's also a mixed bag. Here's why... I got pregnant technically Jan 26 at the age of 31. But I wouldn't have technically conceived until Feb on the verge of turning 32 at the end of the month. One says girl the other says boy. Basically the child will have to get out to see what we landed.

Meal Pinning Monday

After VBS and the week of camping... here are a few actual meals I am actually cooking!

[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking.

Saturday - Grilled Chicken with Asian Chopped Salad (easy peasy premade salad kit)

Sunday - Jeremy's choice for Father's Day

Monday - The White Chicken Chili I have yet to make

Tuesday - leftovers

Wednesday - Grilled Chicken with Green Beans and Roasted Potatoes

Thursday - Chicken and Sausage Creole - an old blog recipe that needs an update

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - Chili Lime Chicken with Salad, Rice, Avocado, and Tomatoes

Sunday - Paleo Plantain Beef Pie

Breakfast - Avocado Pudding

Lunch - Burger Bowls

6 Beauty Tips to Do in Advance That Will Have You Looking Stunning

Today's guest post was submitted by Kelly Halls. It's all about beauty tips for wedding day prep, but let's be honest with it being wedding season we can all benefit from a little beauty prep for these big events!

6 Beauty Tips to Do in Advance That Will Have You Looking Stunning on Your Wedding Day

The engagement might have only just happened and the wedding is still a year away, but it is never
too early to start thinking about that wedding health and beauty regime that can leave you glowing
on your big day.
We all know it can often take a while to see results from new diets and skin treatments, so there is no
time like the present to start making those little lifestyle tweaks to prepare you for walking down the
From growing out your hair to incorporating a lot more drinking of water into your daily routine,
here are six beauty tips to do in advance that will have you looking stunning on your wedding day.

Start growing out your hair now

If you are looking to have long, healthy, luscious hair like Rapunzel, then the longer you can grow it
out for, the better. Start the process immediately and remember that to keep it healthy, you’ll still need
to have a few trims throughout the growing process in the run up to the big day.

Whiten your teeth

The average number of photographs taken at a wedding is a staggering 3,000. That is a lot of smiling
which means your teeth are going to be on show for a lot of the time. Teeth whitening can help them
to look their best and there are many products that allow you to whiten your teeth at home, rather
than seeking the help of a costly professional. Whichever option you decide to take, make sure you
leave yourself up to two months to achieve the perfect smile and avoid any tooth-sensitivity close to
the ceremony.

Have your eyebrows shaped

Just like teeth and hair, your eyebrows are an area that you need to start working on well in advance.
Seek the opinion of a professional who will be able to tell you the shape of eyebrows best suited to
your face. After a few months, they’ll have your eyebrows clean and beautiful which will help in the
framing of your wedding makeup.

Use Epsom Salts on your skin

You are probably wondering What Is Epsom Salt? Epsom Salt is made up of magnesium and sulfate
and can do wonders for your skin. It works as a powerful face cleaner when a half a teaspoon is mixed
into your regular nightly cleansing cream, it can be used to improve the potency of a regular face
mask, it can help you exfoliate when massaged over wet skin and it can help soak up excess oil from
your hair when added to oily hair shampoo.

Drink a lot more water

By drinking a lot of water every day, you’ll be helping your body wash out unwanted toxins which will
leave your skin with a healthy glow. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways we can look after

Adopt a healthy diet

You’ll probably be hitting the gym hard in the run up to the wedding, but if you really want to
achieve that dream body before your wedding, then adopting a healthy diet is a must. You don’t need
to live off salad for the next six months, just avoid sugar, salt and processed foods which aren’t good
for weight loss or clean living.

Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip

I originally posted this recipe 100 years ago with no photo, so today I'm bringing it back new and renewed... with a photo.

The original recipe was scalped off of my Sunday School teacher in West Monroe at one of our monthly get-togethers. I hope you enjoy it as much as my people love cheese and Ritz.

In case you aren't of the Louisiana breed, here's the pepper jelly I use. You can use any brand, just jalapeno pepper jelly. I had some pineapple jalapeno jelly in the fridge that I was tempted to use. That on some cream cheese... amazing.

To make the dip just combine two softened blocks of cream cheese with 2 cups of shredded cheddar and 2 sliced green onions. Top it with crushed Ritz crackers and chopped bacon.

After baking top it with melted pepper jelly and serve with more Ritz crackers. This is an easy appetizer and is whipped up in 20 minutes with only about 5 of those being active cooking minutes. 

Pepper Jelly Cheese Dip

2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced
8 Ritz crackers, crushed
8 slices of bacon, chopped up
1/2 cup of pepper jelly

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a pie plate combine the first 3 ingredients and smooth it out across the dish. Top with crushed Ritz and chopped bacon. (If you're making this ahead just stop here until you're closer to serving)  Bake for 15 minutes. Towards the end of baking put 1/2 cup of pepper jelly into a microwave safe container, microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring, until melted.  As soon as the dip comes out of the oven evenly spread the melted pepper jelly over the top. Serve with Ritz or your favorite crackers.

TresOmega Pasta Round-Up

Just like last week, don't forget about the great deals form TresOmega during Celiac Awareness Month.


Four 5lb bags of pasta for $89.98 + free shipping (that's $24.50 per bag)

One case of pasta (12 boxes) for $39.48 + free shipping
(choose elbow, spaghetti, penne, fusili, or choose to mix and match)

Click >>> here <<< for the TresOmega Nutrition promotions! 

Find TresOmega on social media:


Here are a few yummy recipes, plus my own, that were submitted for the recipe contest back in the fall. I am definitely using up my giant pasta stash to make these very soon! 

1.  Brown Butter + Sage Chicken Penne Pasta

2. Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo Bacon Pasta

5. Party Sandwich Pasta - tastes just like the Kings Hawaiian Sandwiches.

Ideas to Beat the Pregnancy Swelling & High Blood Pressure

Last time I was pregnant I was lucky enough to have my 3rd trimester land in the cooler Louisiana months. I'd say cold, but it was a warm winter.

Even with that I had high blood pressure and more edema than I'd ever care to have again. So this time I'm doing a few things different in an effort to prevent the swell... and awful blood pressure for that matter.

Ideas to Beat Pregnancy Swelling & High Blood Pressure

First off, my doctor says high blood pressure is common in a first pregnancy and you have a much lower chance of suffering from it the second time. Fingers cross this holds true for me. I was induced early because I was steadily at a 146 over something and swollen as ever.

So far, the chances are already lower... but I'm not taking it at that and stopping.

1. Cucumbers & Watermelon

Any cold fruit and veg really. I bought a huge watermelon this week and am chopping it up this afternoon with plans to munch away. I am struggling to drink enough, so cold wet foods have been my friend. The upside, they've also seemed to help with my acid reflux. So step one... eat all the diuretic fruit and veg in a 10 mile radius.

I've actually come up with yet another cucumber recipe this pregnancy that I'm loving. I'll have to share it soon.

2. Maternity Swim Suits

I bought one and plan on sinking my big bottom in any reasonably deep puddle of water I can locate this summer. The floating really helps to relieve pressure and not only cools you off but helps with water retention.

3. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I originally ordered it to start drinking a cup a day just to help with labor and uterine toning. I took a tincture last pregnancy that I swore helps labor go as fast as it did for a first baby and this was in it. After doing a bit of reading it seems that RR Leaf Tea also helps with hypertension... all the more reason to drink it.

4. Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

This tea is a natural diuretic that is pregnancy safe. I like to brew up a cup and pour it into a 60 oz pitcher. Then I cut a lemon, squeeze it in, toss the squeezed lemon in, and add about 1/4 cup of cranberry juice. (the sugar free sort). I then fill up the container with filtered water and attempt to drink the entire 60 oz that day. This will make you have to potty ladies, but it is great to reduce swelling if you find you've been retaining fluid.

I woke up the other morning with lips too large for the 2nd trimester after an overly salty meal and this cured the problem.

5. Exercise & Massage

Why am I listing them together... because the gym actually has hydro-massage beds. Exercise is great for circulation and maintaining a healthy BP and the massage just gets those fluids moving around your body better.

I think these are my main things at the moment, if I remember something I'm up to that I forgot to mention I'll add it later.

But let me know what you did to keep the water weight off and your BP down during pregnancy.