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Jun 29, 2012

Restaurant Style Salsa

Ok, I have to admit here, I am loving spicy lately. If you have read my Tummy Tracker updates, you have seen this! Ha! I also lurve Pioneer Woman and her recipes. This is her salsa recipe that I have wanted to try for some time, and I am so glad I did! I channeled my inner Ree with my picture taking! I love the salsa at our local mexican restaurant and always want to take a bottle home, but....I can't. Or...maybe.....nah! This is identical and EASY!

I pulled out my favorite cookbook.

And gathered ingredients.

I do not have a food processor, so I used my Ninja Master Prep Blender (which I LOVE) and made salsa in two batches.  The first batch was the whole tomatoes.  I pulsed them 3 times and it was the perfect consistency. Next I pulsed remainder of the ingredients and then stirred together.

Mix together and Kaboom! You have delish, yummy salsa that tastes JUST like what you get at the local mexican restaurant. Yummo! Refrigerate of a few hours to let flavors mix together well. :)

Restaurant Style Salsa by the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond:

1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes with juice
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion (the absolute perfect amount)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 whole jalapeno quartered and sliced thin. If you like hot, use seeds and all
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (or more :)
1/2 whole lime juice (I used 1 Tablespoon bottled lime juice)

Combine all ingredients in food processor or in batches in blender. Pulse until you get desired consistency, taste...twice, or three times, and run and yell to your kids that this is the best salsa ever! Take a pic on your phone and text it to your husband to let him know what he's missing at home! Adjust flavors as needed. I thought the recipe was perfect as written!

Yummy, Yummy!

Jun 25, 2012

Macaroni Salad

Summer is not summer unless I make macaroni salad! I honestly can not wait to go to the beach. For some reason, eating a bowl of cold macaroni salad on the back porch at the beach just makes me happy!!! Ah, the salt air blowing through my hair, kids laughing, seagulls flying.  Back to reality, Sandy!! Thought I would take a million pictures (because I have nothing else to do! Ha!) and show you how I make my macaroni salad. Macy requested this for dinner tonight with baked beans and hotdogs. YUM!

Gather ingredients: Notice JFG mayonnaise.  Macy is somewhat of a mayonnaise connoisseur, and after taste testing EVERY mayonnaise, she has decided that JFG is by far the best and the ONLY one she will eat! Ha!  Use any veggies you like.  I went to the produce stand this morning and came home with these beauties!  If I make it for just Tony and I, I also like to add celery and cheese. :)

Wash Veggies. Had to put a plug in here, I lurve this veggie wash (Walmart)! When I use the remainder of this, I want to try to make my own and use this bottle. :)

Cook noodles according to package until al dente. Drain and Rinse in cold water.  Thus another picture. :)

Chop veggies!! I like TONS of veggies in my macaroni salad, but I like them chopped small.

Mix vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Add in veggies and cooled, drained macaroni noodles. Taste test.....twice. Add more salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for several hours before serving. "Let the flavors marry :)"

This is just basic macaroni salad.  I don't like all of the fancy macaroni salads out there.  They are delish, but there's just something about a big bowl of creamy, yummy, southern macaroni salad that just makes my heart smile!

Macaroni Salad:

about 4 cups (uncooked) macaroni noodles, cooked al dente, drained and cooled
1/2 chopped red onion
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped cucumber
1 chopped tomato, I "seed" my tomato a little by scooping out the liquidy innards so salad won't be runny
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup or a little less vinegar, I like apple cider vinegar just because I love the taste
1/2 cup more or less white sugar, according to your taste (I like a little less, maybe 1/4 cup?, I don't measure)
2 Tablespoons mustard

While macaroni cools, mix together in a large bowl, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add veggies and macaroni.

Refrigerate until ready to serve, stir before serving.

I can NOT wait for supper time. :)

Jun 24, 2012

14 Weeks

How Far Along: 14 Weeks: Hello Second Trimester!
Size of baby: baby is the size of a lemon
He/She is busy thumb sucking and toe wiggling!
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Still loss of 3 lbs.  Doctor said I need to gain 2-3 pounds by my next appointment.  With sickness starting to subside, I don't think that will be a problem.
Maternity Clothes: None yet, although my Old Navy order came in this week and I will probably be rocking my new digs very soon, mainly because they are adorable! Don't judge. But I'll still be wearing plenty of my regular clothes as well. :)
Gender: Not yet 
Stretch marks: None
Movement: Nothing yet, Can't wait!
Sleep:  Sleep is great! 
What I miss: Absolutely nothing!
Cravings: Still craving spicy. I made myself a yummy quesadilla for lunch the other day and put some sliced jalapenos on it.  Well after cooking and sitting down, I realized real quick that I did NOT put enough. I may or may not have taken the jar the the table with me to eat a jalapeno with every bite of quesadilla. Ha! Luckily though, I have not had a problem with hearburn...So bring on the spicy!!
Symptoms: Morning sickness somewhat faded this week.  I still had some of that nagging yucky feeling and fatigue. But only one day of actually being "sick". Hopefully it is starting to fade.
 Best Moments this week:  Hearing baby's heartbeat on the doppler at the Doctor's office. I did not get an ultrasound. :( My next ultrasound will be when I find out the GENDER! My hubby and I went to the grocery store yesterday. I bought a TON of pregnancy super foods in anticipation that I am going to be able to keep my food down this week. Fingers crossed!
What I'm looking forward to? Finding out the gender. Still a few weeks away, but excited none the less.  Next appointment is in 3 weeks.

Still haven't gained weight, but baby bump is saying "hello", or maybe more like screaming it! LOL. I am surprised I am showing so much so soon, but I am not complaining. That's just a reassurance of my little miracle growing!

This is only the beginning...

Sooo, I am sooo excited to write this post.  It has been a while coming, but I had to wait for obvious reasons.  But now I can scream it! One of my BFF's, Elisha is pregnant with me!!  In fact, we are SO pregnant together that our due date is actually the SAME DAY! We are both due December 23. How blessed am I that God has allowed me to share this magical journey with someone I am so close to.  This is the first born for both of us, so we get to experience everything the first time, together.

Back in April, when I found out I was pregnant, I hadn't told anyone, not even her.  I knew she was TTC also, and just didn't know how to break the news to her that we had conceived if she was still trying.  I went to a GNO at her house on April 13, (mind you, I had taken my test on April 12). Oh, it was so hard to keep it a secret. But I also knew it was so early, and there were other people there. I wasn't ready to announce it to everyone.  During the night, she made the comment "I am so bloated, I wonder if I'm pregnant" Of course, I started praying right then and there! Well, Miss Patient waited and ENTIRE WEEK to take a test! Ha! She texted me the next weekend to let me know she had something for me.  Well, of course, I truly thought she was pregnant, but I slyly responded..."tell me...or give me". She then texted me the picture of her positive test! I was crying for JOY! How exciting! I immediately called her to hear all about it.  I did not mention my pregnancy to her at all on this phone call.  After all, this was HER phone call to shout from the mountain tops HER fabulous news! I was Not going to steal her thunder no matter HOW bad I wanted to! lol. We talked for about 30 minutes and hung up.  I waited about 5 minutes (which seemed like an hour) and called her back.  Our conversation went like this: Me- "Hey, whats you doin" E- "Ummmmm, nothing" In that tone of I really just got off the phone with you and you are going to call me and ask me what I'm doing" Me-"well I have something to tell you" E- "You're pregnant."  It wasn't even a question, It was a fact! Best conversation ever. She was in shock, I was giddy. We were like two school girls!

I have to say, already, I have so enjoyed talking with her and comparing with her. It is so funny how different some of our symptoms are. :) For one, she is craving french fries. :) Oh how I love it! This journey is so exciting and to be able to share it with someone that means so much to me is a miracle in itself.  As she said "This is only the beginning!" Elisha,  I can't wait to ride this roller coaster with you! You will probably be the only person that will understand my complaining, whining, and crying! Ha! Love ya girl!

Us at the production of "9 to 5" on Friday night for her birthday. :)

Jun 18, 2012

13 Weeks

How Far Along: 13 Weeks
Size of baby: baby is the size of a peach
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Loss of 3 lbs. I have a doctor's appointment Thursday to check weight again. :)
Maternity Clothes: None yet
Gender: Not yet! 
Stretch marks: None
Movement: Nothing yet. (can not wait to put a YES on this one!) <3
Sleep:  Sleep is STILL great! (all except my 4 am potty run:)
What I miss: Absolutely nothing!
Cravings: I was so craving that red pepper relish from Subway this week!! I could have eaten it by the spoonful! However, I settled for Mexican restaurant salsa and it hit the spot. :)
Symptoms: Morning sickness hit with a vengeance this week! It has been worse than any other time before. Rather than just at night, it has been all. day. long.  Luckily, yesterday (Sunday-Father's Day) I was able to eat all 3 meals and keep them down. 
 Best Moments this week:  Getting to celebrate Father's Day with Butter Bean's daddy-to-be and my precious stepdaughters. We took a trip back to Fairystone Park and had a blast.  I love my little family. Birthday cookout for my Father-in-law.  Completely devoured the shrimp cocktail! Yes...the shrimp WAS a highlight of my week! haha!
What I'm looking forward to? Yay! Doctor's appointment this week! Hoping to be able to have an ultrasound to be able to see my precious little miracle!

Picture was taken yesterday (my actual 13 week mark). Not much change from last week. :) But my little bundle of joy is growing growing!

Jun 10, 2012

Project: Pantry

Tidbit about me...I love organizing.........I am not organized.  Yes you read that right. I love, love, LURVE organizing, labeling, categorizing, etc. yet find my house in disarray so often!  When my home is clean and organized and everything is in it's place, I am a much happier, calmer, at ease person.  I am addicted to organizing blogs.  Since I am off during the summer, and I have little bambino joining our family next winter, I have a TON of projects to get done throughout my home.  Some big, some small. Today, I thought I would spend a few minutes in my pantry.

I have never had a pantry until a few months ago.  My home has two coat closets that weren't being utilized properly, so my sweet hubby had the idea to turn one into a pantry! Oh was I ever so happy. The closet closest to the kitchen was right in the hallway.  Not the ideal place, but within 10 feet of my stove, so it works perfectly for US.

Here is a pic standing beside my stove.
The door to the right leads to the basement, and the door to the left is another closet. Yes that one is closer, but as you can tell, it "technically" is in the family room and I just couldn't see an 11 and 9 year old grabbing cereal and spaghetti o's and trekking them across my carpet. Plus, we use this cabinet to store all of our media and electronics.  Anywho... on to my pantry.

This is NOT my pantry! 
But this is the type of pantry I dream of having. <3 Organized, clean, and labeled. my pantry.
Disorganized, disheveled, I don't know what I have or what I need!  So I spent a quick 20 minutes going through and cleaning out my pantry.
May not look a lot different, but boy is it soooo much better! My shelves are labeled.  My top shelf is of course flour, sugar, and extra bottles of sauces, etc. Second shelf is veggies, tomatoes, and soups. Third shelf is pastas, rice, and mixes. And lastly, is the shelf the kids use: snacks, cereal etc.

This handy, dandy drawer thingy is perfect for my "packets": taco seasonings, dip packets, etc. I also have a drawer for tortillas (which we use OFTEN), coffee and tea (where I keep extra K-cups and tea bags) and Snack Bars, etc. (where the kids keep their individually wrapped granola bars, etc.)

This system works for us like a charm.  Luckily both of my stepdaughters like things as organized as I do. When they help put up groceries, they look for the labels and try to put things where they belong.  Until, we all just give up and it turns into another jumbled mess! :)

This pantry is far from finished, however.  I want to paint the inside a warm, fun color and repaint the shelves as well. Hopefully, I will be able to get this done this summer. :)  and will update if I do. :)

Off to see what project is next! the grocery store!

12 Weeks

How Far Along: 12 Weeks
Size of baby: baby is the size of a plum
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Loss of 3 lbs.
Maternity Clothes: None yet
Gender: Not yet! 
Stretch marks: None
Movement: Nothing yet. (can not wait to put a YES on this one!) <3
Sleep:  Sleep is great!
What I miss: Absolutely nothing!
Cravings: Still no cravings yet.
Symptoms: Morning sickness has started to subside. Thank goodness! Still tire easily. But other than that, I am feeling great. :)
 Best Moments this week:  Hearing Butter Bean's heartbeat! Spending time with my brother and his family. Baby bump is beginning to make it's permanent appearance! 
What I'm looking forward to? Do not have a doctor's appointment this week. :/ Looking forward to my appointment next week! Hopefully get to have an ultrasound to see my precious little miracle!

Whew! Baby bump looking large and in charge in this pic! LOL.

Jun 8, 2012

Family Fun

What a fun filled, exhausting, exciting two days! My big brother and his sweet wife, Amanda along with their 3 beautiful children came to VA from GA for a visit! My girls are always soooo excited when their cousins come in. They have a blast! They are all about the same age, so you can i.m.a.g.i.n.e. how much fun these babes can get into! My sweet mama, AKA Mimi, had it all planned out for us! It started at a friend's pool with watermelon and tanning, then we went to the Mustangs baseball game, and to Hotshot at Smith Mountain Lake. We rode bumper boats, played putt putt, fed the fish, and they even got in this massive float and ran in it like little hamsters!!!  We had so much fun. As always, we took our annual "stair-step" photo of the kids, and it amazes me how much they have grown over the past few years.  I am so tired, but am so glad they were able to come in! I love you all. <3
Dylan-11, Aly-11, Macy-9, Madison-9, Blake-8

 Macy and Madi enjoying summer......with watermelon!

 Start your engines!

 Aly the hamster. :)

They love their Uncle Jake

Jun 5, 2012

11 Weeks

How Far Along: 11 Weeks
Size of baby: baby is the size of a fig
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Loss of 2 lbs.
Maternity Clothes: None yet
Gender: Not yet! 
Stretch marks: None
Movement: Nothing yet.
Sleep:  Sleep is great!
What I miss: Nothing this week. :)
Cravings: No cravings yet.
Symptoms: Still bouts of morning sickness
 Best Moments this week:  First week of summer vacation! Nine weeks of family time. <3 Also, announced preggy news on facebook.  Was going to wait until Sunday, but..well..I am just way too excited. Overwhelmed by the love and support I have received. Also, took the girls to Fairystone Park (Beachy play area at a local lake) and had a blast! I love my family.
What I'm looking forward to? Drs. appt on Friday to check on weight and morning sickness. Annnnd, my big brother, his wife, and 3 beautiful children are on their way into town from GA. So I will spend the next few days with them!! Whoo Hoo!

No change this week in baby bump, so no pic. :)

Jun 3, 2012

10 Weeks

How Far Along: 10 Weeks
Size of baby: baby is the size of a kumquat
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Loss of 2 lbs.
Maternity Clothes: None yet
Gender: Not yet! 
Stretch marks: None
Movement: Nothing yet.
Sleep:  Have had maybe 2 nights of sleeplessness, but other than that sleep is great!
What I miss: Sashimi!! Ahh, raw salmon and tuna dipped in ginger infused soy. Oh how my mouth is watering!
Cravings: No cravings yet. Have found myself drinking more milk.
Symptoms:  Morning sickness… night! Luckily I am able to work and eat during the day. Sickness normally hits around 4-5pm. Nothing unbearable, just enough to irritate me. Must. Clean. House!
 Best Moment this week:  Hearing baby’s heartbeat on Doppler. Such a blessing to hear that little washing machine! <3 I already love this little miracle so much, thank you, God! Another great moment so far? Having my hubby be so caring, loving, and sensitive. The love he feels for this baby and me….I cannot describe.  I am so blessed to have him!
What I'm looking forward to? 12 week mark! We have announced our pregnancy to close friends and family, but I cannot wait to shout it from the rooftops!!!

Jun 2, 2012

7 weeks

How Far Along: 7 Weeks
Size of baby: baby is the size of a blueberry
Total Weight Gain/Loss: None so far
Maternity Clothes: None yet, although I’m pretty sure I will be purchasing a belly band SOON!
Gender: Not yet!  
Stretch marks: None 
Movement: Nothing yet.
Sleep: I just love sleeping!! Haven’t had sleeping problems except the 4 am potty run.
What I miss: Having energy 
Cravings: No cravings yet. However I wanted Mexican every day during week 5. Didn’t “have” to have it so I’m guessing not a craving. Hubby requested me not cook Mexican for dinner the next week.
Symptoms: Oh, the exhaustion! I may or may not take a nap pretty much every day. ;) Luckily, I only work part time and am able to come home a rest in the afternoons. I have also had a few bouts of morning sickness, but nothing I can’t deal with. Just the nagging queasy feeling throughout the day. 
Best Moment this week: Seeing baby and hearing baby’s heartbeat at 6w4d. (I thought I was 6w1d, so Doc changed my due date to Christmas Eve!)God is amazing. The best feeling ever. When Tony and I were expecting 4 years ago, my initial 6 week appointment was the appointment where we were told that God wasn’t quite ready for us yet. Such a BLESSING to hear our little butter bean’s heartbeat and see that little flicker of life on the screen. Doctor was laughing saying little butter bean was very active, he had to chase him around. Funny, I find my self calling butter bean a “him”. I am terribly sorry, little one, if you are a “her”. 
What I'm looking forward to? Everything!!! Our next ultrasound, buying anything and everything baby… 

No Tummy Tracker pic this week, no change so far. :)

Jun 1, 2012

We're Expecting!

We’re Expecting! We are overjoyed with this exciting news. I am typing this now knowing I will not actually post it for a few more weeks.  Tony and I decided on March 30 that we were going to start trying to complete our little family. God so graciously reached down and placed his loving hands on us and we received a positive test on April 12! We could not be more excited. Here are the three tests I took.
They say sometimes mothers “know” when they are expecting. This is definitely the case with Mama Deal. I could feel the tell tell signs of stretching and pulling and just knew.  My due date according to calendar is December 27, 2012. Mama’s little polar bear. I knew my hubby would be wondering within the month if I was expecting. So I decided to take my test a little early. I never dreamed the test would be positive so soon! I cooked up hubby some yummy Pioneer Woman meatloaf and potatoes and presented him with a wrapped gift. In the gift was my test and a Kawasaki onesie. For those of you who don’t know, my husband is an avid Kawasaki dirtbike racer. He was so excited!
So much to come! I want to use my blog as a page out of a memory book, a journal of sorts to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly, of the most amazing journey!