A Winter Wonderland Shower <3 & Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi!

Merry almost Christmas! Wow, the holidays seem to come quicker every year and with the baby due so close to the new year this Christmas has really snuck up on me! We’ve officially got less than 4 weeks til baby and I am not so sure I feel prepared yet. I have yet to pack a hospital bag or get the carseat out of the box but thanks to two fabulous baby showers, we have got a beautiful (almost done!) nursery and plenty of baby gear!

My sister threw me a darling baby shower in TN over Thanksgiving and just a few weeks later I was lucky enough to be treated to a second shower at home in HHI by my sweet Aunt Vanessa. The theme was Winter Wonderland and it could not have been more beautiful.

I aspire to entertain as well as Vanessa does someday as she truly outdoes herself with each event! The food was to die for, a beautiful brunch spread complete with a low country shrimp and grits station and egg cups with caviar!

The decor was beautiful and the little details, like this sweet Christmas tree and the elephants tucked away everywhere were absolutely precious!

Tree

I knew with Vanessa at the helm that the shower would be wonderful, but it truly couldn’t have been more perfect.

Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Shower and Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Happy bi-week! I think that’s a football term for an off-week which is pretty much what this week is right? The week between Thanksgiving and December. AKA time to shop til you drop, get all of your Christmas decorations up and get so sick of leftover turkey sandwiches that you vow not to eat it again for another year, or at least until Christmas.

For once my family avoided turkey overload and didn’t eat a single leftover. Why you may ask?

Ren

This guy….

My parents and sister both own small dogs and therefore aren’t accustomed to “counter surfing”. Unfortunately for Renly, his efforts proved to be for naught and he didn’t actually consume any leftover turkey either.

Robert, Renly and I traveled to Tennessee for Thanksgiving this year. My grandparents were also attending and it was our last trip before baby (hallelujah because riding in the car for long periods of time is getting less comfortable for me by the day). After we ate our Thanksgiving meal at my parents house we went over to a friends home to visit and have dessert. Upon returning we discovered that my mother had inadvertently left the lid off of the tupper-wear container she had put the leftover turkey in. She also left it sitting too close to the edge of the counter. The tupper-wear container was now flipped over onto the ground and pushed into the corner of the cabinets. I didn’t take a picture at the time but it looked something like this…

Turkey Tupperware

My theory is that Renly, at the urging of the little dogs no doubt, flipped the open container onto the floor with his head and it landed perfectly upside down, with all of the turkey still trapped inside. They then probably all took turns pushing it around the floor, trying to get to the meat inside until they pushed it into the corner and it became stuck.

Turkey that has been used to sweep the kitchen floor isn’t high on my list of things I’m willing to consume so thus, no leftover turkey for any of us…or the dogs, although it is likely that my father the notorious dog feeder snuck them some without my knowledge.

The rest of our Thanksgiving was lovely; we did lots of relaxing, watched a few movies, I got all of my Christmas shopping done (hooray), spent wonderful time with family and friends

and to cap it all off my sister threw me an adorable baby shower!

Gifts

Continue reading

Lemongrass Pork Burgers

Happy Friday! What a week it’s been. Watching the devastation caused by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas has been awful. It’s crazy to think that not even a year ago our own beautiful island was turned upside down by Hurricane Matthew. It was awful and the flooding in Houston looks so much worse.  I didn’t think Hilton Head would ever look the same, but almost a year later, it almost does. It’s amazing how people came together and so many wonderful incidences of compassion and aspects of humanity emerged from such a terrible storm. I know the same thing will happen in Houston, but the process will be long and heartbreaking for so many who lost so much.

As hard as the Harvey coverage has been to watch, Robert and I had something to celebrate this week as well. We are officially half way through this pregnancy, a milestone that seemed unimaginable at the beginning of it all. Hitting the half way mark this week also meant we got to experience our anatomy scan, which was indescribably amazing. Modern medicine is nothing short of miraculous, and watching an anatomy ultrasound is the perfect example of this. We saw tiny fingers and toes, the ventricles of the brain, two tiny kidneys (which honestly just looked like little black spots to me), a long spine and ribs, and best of all the 4 chambers of a rapidly beating little heart ❤

baby feet
Precious Baby Feet

I was apprehensive going into this ultrasound since we opted not to do any genetic testing prior to this appointment. A few days before the test I wondered if that was the right decision and if we would get shocking news once the ultrasound began. Thankfully, all appears to be well, and the doctor reassured us that anything life threatening would have been picked up. I’m sure I’ll find brand new worries in a few days but for now I am feeling thankful and relieved.

We also got confirmation that we are having a little girl. Or as the doctor referred to the picture, “yep, three lines, that’s a hamburger!”. Awkward.

Continue reading

Peanut Butter Protein Balls & An Announcement

Yikes! No blog posts in over a month! I am feigning shock because lets be honest, this happens every summer (insert emoji with the grimmacing face here). Life is always busy but it seems to get infinitely busier when the weather is warm and despite school being out, I always seem to find myself with less ‘free’ time than ever. One of my goals for the coming year is going to be getting serious about practicing the art of saying “no”. That and more organization. Always more organization 😉

So why don’t we begin with a life update. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to over the past month, besides not writing blog posts of course: In June, school ended, I put on a yearly event for the non-profit I work with (our biggest yet!), we attended two out of town weddings, Robert and I celebrated our three year anniversary with a fancy dinner out and a weekend getaway to Sea Island, Ga. (I hope to recap that little trip here soon) AND our favorite aunt and uncle officially moved to Hilton Head (Welcome Vanessa and John)!

John and Vanessa

In July, my whole family visited for the 4th, Robert’s whole family visited for a party at his aunts, we moved a LOT of furniture around (our house, friends houses, families houses…and by we I mean Robert), we hosted 3 dinner parties, had two sets of friends come stay for the weekend and a surprise visit from my grandparents. And that’s just the fun stuff!

4th

So now it is officially August and I am trying to get back on track, with blogging and with life in general, for now.

I say for now because there is still one big change that has added to life’s ‘busy-ness’ that I’ve yet to mention; as of this week I am officially 4 months pregnant.

Since discovering we were expecting again I have experienced a whole range of emotions; excitement, terror, awe, immense worry, sweet relief, an odd sense of guilt, pure unadulterated joy. You name it, I’ve experienced it at one time or another over the last few months. Losing a baby, especially your first pregnancy, changes your experience, or at least it did for me. Despite my best efforts, I worried through the first 11 weeks. I hoped that passing the point which we got to with our last pregnancy would calm my fears, and in a way it did, but I’d be lying if I said the worry didn’t creep back in…daily. Over the last few weeks, thanks to the passage of time, a finally visible baby bump and some scriptural words of wisdom I feel like I am finally turning a corner. I’m not yet at the point of visualizing a nursery, but I have begun to say, “when the baby comes” instead of ‘if’ the baby comes. It is both a scary and exciting time, and more than anything I am very, very happy.

ingredients

I am also very hungry. I typically have a hearty appetite but being A. pregnant and B. home for summer exacerbates it immensely. I tend to eat more if the food is close at hand so when I have access to my fridge all day long instead of only before and after work, I find myself opening it frequently. I consider myself to be a generally healthy eater, but if I don’t have something quick and healthy to grab when a hunger pang strikes, I have been known to substitute with a few bites of ice cream. Also don’t ask me to define “a few” when it comes to ice cream. I mean really.

Enter peanut butter protein balls. These perfectly fit the bill for quick and easy. They are also equally as tasty and definitely a lot better for you than ice cream. I got this particular recipe from a friend but as with any “ball” recipe, it is endlessly customizable. Sometimes I add coconut, or cinnamon, or whatever else I have on hand that will mix in well. So feel free to swap ingredients in and out as you see fit.

So with that, I leave you with these final thoughts: I’m going to try to start blogging more regularly again (and re-claiming some ‘free’ time while I still can), I hope you enjoy these protein balls and if you are the praying sort (or even just the finger crossing sort), say one for our little one ❤

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

Ingredients:

1 Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (I actually use almond butter so any nut butter works)

1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed

1/3 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1/3 Cup Honey

1 tsp Vanilla

Optional: chopped nuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, cinnamon, almond extract, etc.

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients together thoroughly. I find it easiest to add the chocolate chips and any other chunky mix-ins last and fold them in.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  3. Roll into 1-1.5 inch balls. Keep refrigerated in an air tight container and enjoy at will! They will keep for at least a month in the fridge but I doubt yours will last that long 😉

 

Beef Tacos with Radish and Avocado

I know Taco Tuesday is all the rage and I love alliterations more than the average bear but today it’s Taco Monday. Literally, we’re meeting friends out for Mexican food tonight.

Robert and I eat a lot of Mexican. It is hands down our go to when we want to eat out during the work week. It’s fast, cheap and delicious. Have you ever noticed how all cheap Mexican restaurants have the same menu. And I don’t just mean in the sense that the food is all the same, although that is pretty accurate too. I think most Mexican dishes are the same 10 ingredients just rearranged differently, but I mean they literally have the EXACT same menus. The dishes are called the same thing, the pictures are the same, they even have the same typos! The only change is the name of the restaurant on the front. I’ve noticed this in TN too but we frequent three Mexican restaurants in Hilton Head/Bluffton and they all have the exact same menu, this amuses me to no end every time we eat. Where do these menus come from? Is there a company who makes generic Mexican food menus and literally every restaurant at a certain price point uses them? When you open a Mexican restaurant do you just order the menus first and then decide your cooks will make whatever is on them? Such a mystery.

Taco Ingredients

As much as we love to go out for Mexican, I rarely make anything Mexican at home. That changed a few weeks ago when I discovered the unique and tasty pairing that is radish, avocado and ground beef. I know, I know, radishes? Sounds so weird but tastes oh so right, trust me. You may be wondering how I stumbled upon this deliciousness and of course I want to give credit where credit is due and the answer to that is Hello Fresh.

Continue reading