Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Catch the Moment 365 | Week 37

I considered doing an all Black and White week with my photos this week, but decided that I couldn't hide that pop of Maroon for #maroonfriday and my American Hero Cake in a Jar deserved to show all of it's glorious red white and blue! One more week of CTM and you might get to see a new face around here! eek! I can't wait. I did finally post a little bump update yesterday. Hope you all have a great week!

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Go see more cake + enter the giveaway! 
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Thanks as always for being a part of this journey with us.

Every Friday Sarah, Mindi, and I host a place for photographers of all kinds to share, explore, grow and connect. Our common goal: one photo, every day, for three hundred and sixty five days. Whether you are using a fancy smancy professional camera, your first DSLR, a point and shoot, or your ever-so-handy phone camera, we want to see your photos! We want to see the moments you caught each day. How amazing will it be to see each of us accomplish something that seems so big? For more info on how to join in start here.







Bump Update | Almost There

I honestly don't know how people do pregnancy updates weekly. I wanted to do it more regularly this time and it just hasn't happened! I'm a little disappointed in myself BUT life is life and I just can't seem to keep up. I've tried to incorporate some photos of myself/belly in my 365 posts though so I hope you are guys are following those. 


Baby's Gestational Age: 37 weeks  6 days (9/18/14)

Symptoms: Mostly "DOP" as one of my doctors call it "Discomforts of Pregnancy" Achy everything, swollen legs, feet, and hands, stretch marks like whoa on my lower abdomen, occasionally itchiness, insomnia, squished bladder! 

Maternity Clothes: Yeah... but most of those don't even fit anymore! I am attending a wedding this Saturday and I am really hoping I can find something decent to wear. 


Gender: Boy! 


Sleep: What's that? Well, I fell asleep on my desk yesterday for a few seconds.


Cravings: I have really been wanting sugar lately. Boo. I have to admit I've indulged a little. 


Laughable Moments: Wearing orthopedic socks? I don't know. I feel like I'm at a point where everything has to be funny because if it's not I'll cry instead.. 

Hard Moments: waiting the last couple of weeks. 

Nesting: The past two weeks I've been a shopping mad woman and I feel like I've gotten pretty much everything we need, but my house is a mess! This must change. I must get organized this weekend! I'm so looking forward to just waiting for him.

Best Moments: All the moments of excitement for my first born. Seeing him light up and get excited talking about his baby brother is the best.

Looking Forward To: Just seeing his little face! or big fluffy cheeks since he's apparently going to be a big guy!

Movement: He loves sticking his butt out as far as he can. It's pretty fun how lopsided my belly gets. I've also started being able to make out little feet or hands - I don't know which but you can just tell the difference when he pushes.

On Mommy's Heart: 

This pregnancy had been pretty identical to Jonah's until the third trimester hit. Now everything just hurts - all the time. Well, not all the time - that's a little dramatic, but this little dude is so big and so low, I am just uncomfortable and some days I feel like I just can't do it one more day. Of course I can though, right? My body was made for this. Seriously though I don't remember it hurting so much to just get out of bed. 

Just being really honest with my feelings right now, I have often found myself having a bit of a negative outlook during this last trimester. I am very sensitive and have been really easily getting my feelings hurt. Hormones and exhaustion come with the territory, but believe me it's not easy. Obviously, I really love being able to carry this life and I am thankful for it every day. I want to be pregnant right now more than anything else and I will cherish this boy for the rest of my life. I may even say at some point I miss being pregnant with him. That's what we do right?

And since I haven't written much about it, I thought I'd share a little bit about what's going on with the day to day, week to week management of pregnancy, gestational diabetes, and being considered "high risk" (even though I don't technically use that term). I had GD with Jonah, but it was found at 26 weeks, this go around we started diet and tracking at 10 weeks. I have ONE risk factor for diabetes and that's family history of Type 2 Diabetes. I am completely diet managed, which kind of sucks but I try to just "oh I can't eat that" and move on. I also allow myself a little indulgence at times though, especially lately I've been SO hungry! My doctors have also changed up the routine on me from Jonah's pregnancy. I guess the recommendations for gestational diabetes have changed some over the past three years. It's funny how that happens in medicine isn't? We learn we grow, we go backwards a little it seems, and things that were hard to manage in healthcare become a little easier - eventually. Even though I'm completely diet managed with no medication and no insulin, they still watch me very closely. So far, everything has been great. My glucose levels are pretty good, but I have to admit I've been a little looser on checking right at two hours after a meal. Let's face it - I eat alll the time at this point. So, they run consistently a little bit higher. I think that's mostly because I never exactly wait two hours before testing. If you have no clue what I'm talking about - I prick my finger twice a day (originally it was four) and they want my blood glucose (blood sugar) to be under 120 two hours after each meal. I keep track of them and send them in to the Perinatologist once per week. They look over them and call to tell me to keep doing what I'm doing or make a change. With Jonah they did biophysical profiles, along with other screenings, every few weeks at the prenatal diagnostic center. This pregnancy I am only going to the Perinatologist every four weeks, but started getting BPPs every week at my OB starting at 32 weeks. 

A BPP is what nearly every mother gets around 32 weeks that estimates the baby's weight. They measure your fluid, the baby's head, belly, and limbs. They also check their heart rate and watch them take "practice breaths". They also want to see them move extending and retracting their limbs. At least that's what I've observed. Based on the measurements they take an average and use a scale to determine their estimated weight. My perinatologist does a little more in-depth BPP with a fancier machine. I had my last one at the peri last Thursday and do not have to go back there. They will check the baby's weight and development when he's born to compare with the BPPs. I really love going to both of my doctors, but it is a lot to work in an already busy schedule. I am so thankful though that each and every time I go, I get to hear pretty good news! That doesn't mean I'm any less anxious about blood glucose levels, jaundice, etc when he's born though. I know he'll be perfect though - no matter what. 



Superheros Eat M&Ms | Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeroesEatMMs #CollectiveBias

You guys know we love Superheroes around here! What about your family? Are your kids into Captain America? Captain America 2: The Winter Solider DVD was released on September 9 and since Heroes Eat M&Ms™, I came up with a few ways to celebrate the release of the film and the heroes in our life and yours! What better way to celebrate than cake?! 



As you can see, I tried this several different ways and I couldn't help but show you them all! The recipe is the same, but the instructions vary just a little. I will go ahead and admit, this cake was made from a box! I have no shame in the fact that I enjoy baking very much, BUT I haven't really mastered the from scratch homemade cake. I enjoy making it look unique and creating a theme more than the actual experimenting a getting the ingredients right part. So, actually found this boxed cake at that is Red Velvet and Blue Velvet! I mean nothing sounds better. I have in the past used food coloring with white cake and it turned out great!

INGREDIENTS

  • Red & Blue Cake Mix
  • Bag of M&Ms™ - I used Dark Chocolate.
  • White Icing
  • Optional: Red and Blue Food coloring if using white cake


INSTRUCTIONS

I made the above cake in two small loaf pans and sliced. Add a little white icing and top with M&Ms (They really makes it pop)!





and because making cake in a mason jar is fun here is another version. 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CAKE IN A JAR

  • Sanitize your canning jars. Spray the inside of your jar generously with cooking spray. 
  • Pour uncooked batter directly into jar. Red 1/4 of the jar. Layer in M&Ms. Blue 1/4 of the jar. 
  • Space jars evenly on a baking pan. 
  • Place in the oven at temperature according to box. Time will vary based on size of jar, but the large wide mouth jar took approximately the same amount of time as if you were baking in a 9 inch round pan. 
  • Let cake cool. 
  • Top with white icing and M&Ms! 


What's really cool about making this cake in a mason jar is that you can actually send it to your favorite American Hero! Once you remove the cake from the oven you can pop that canning lid on your jar and it will seal! Just wait for the pop! Your cake will then last up to a month fully cooked in your jar. I thought this would be an awesome thing to try to celebrate the release of Captain American! You can send it in a care package to your favorite military hero, family members at college, or grandparents that live out of town! Just tie it up with a cute ribbon and don't put the icing on the cake yet, BUT make sure you send icing and extra M&Ms and maybe a copy of Captain America 2: Winter Soldier.



One more slight variation I tried if you don't want to actually cook the cake in the jar. This is great for a party!


INSTRUCTIONS

Bake cake according to instructions on box. Cube using a bread knife. Layer with M&Ms and icing. Serve with a spoon. You can also give these as party favors or just happy for your coworkers or neighbors! They will not last as long as the sealed jar but should be good for a few days if your guests take them home! 



Are you craving cake and M&Ms now? I certainly am!


Everything I used + every other kind of M&M out there can be found at your local Walmart! Celebrate the heroes in your life by going to HeroesEatMMs.com and checking out all the fun families are having with the Captain America 2: Winder Soldier release then take the quiz to find out what Super Hero you are! I am apparently The Hulk! 


Also! You can enter to win $100 Gift Certificate to Walmart! I mean who doesn't need that?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 Popcorn Recipes with Better Ingredients!


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. #SkinnyGirlSnacks #CollectiveBias All opinions are mine alone.


 #SkinnyGirlSnacks #CollectiveBias #shop

Who LOVES popcorn? I do! I do! Popcorn is such an easy choice for snacking. It's easy to prepare and since Skinny Girl is a low calorie popcorn with better ingredients I am happy to see it on the shelf! More about that later. First though, lets get to a couple of ways to fancy up your popcorn a little with my Key Lime Pie Popcorn Recipe and my Spicy + Cheesy Popcorn Trail Mix Recipe! 


Before I get to the ingredients, I just want to say that this popcorn popped with ease and was so good and unexpected right out of the bag. I mean Lime & Salt Popcorn? Who thinks of these things? Apparently, the creators of Skinny Girl... hats off to you my friends. I'm hooked! Now to fancy it up for after dinner snacking. 

Key Lime Pie Popcorn Recipe

Ingredients

  • one bag popped Lime & Salt flavor Skinny Girl Popcorn
  • 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/8 - 1/4 cup of while melting chocolate (or sub almond bark)
  • handful of mini marshmallows 

Directions

Place desired amount of popped Lime & Salt popcorn into a bowl. Sprinkle on Graham Cracker Crumbs. Slightly shake the bowl to mix in the crumbs, but not letting them all fall to the bottom. Melt white chocolate (or almond bark) according to package directions and drizzle onto popcorn. Add Marshmallows. 

Notes: The melted chocolate does make this a bit sticky to eat with your fingers if you want to eat it warm. For my son, I just added the white chocolate chips and let him eat it like a mix rather than the melted chocolate. I really enjoyed the "meltiness" though for myself! I also had the idea to make it more like popcorn balls with melted marshmallows which I may try at some point for Halloween or a child's birthday party. 


If you aren't craving the sweet recipe, pin it for later, because it's seriously good! There is so much you can do with popcorn though, so let me take you back a little to my college days. Which is where this next recipe stems from. I frequented a bar in my college years that offered a popcorn machine as a little bonus (I guess like beer nuts?) and late night what college girl doesn't love a little snack? You guys know you went to Waffle House and stuffed your face at 2 in the morning. Anyway, we'd sit around with friends after hours and munch on popcorn, BUT here's the trick: fill the bag almost to the top then sprinkle on the Louisiana Hot Sauce and shake! Popcorn + Butter + Hot Sauce = mmmm takes me back. ;) Do people do the hot sauce on popcorn thing? Is that a thing? 

Anyway, thinking about how I used to LOVE that popcorn so much and my little college town, I decided to try it with the new Skinny Girl Butter & Sea Salt flavor. Then, I went a little crazy (did I mention I'm nine months pregnant? lol), but it actually turned out to be something really good. Here's my easy recipe for Spicy + Cheesy Popcorn Trail Mix. 


Spicy + Cheesy Popcorn Trail Mix Recipe

Ingredients

  • one bag popped Butter & Sea Salt flavor Skinny Girl Popcorn
  • 1/2 cup cheese flavored crackers
  • 1/2 mini pretzels
  • Nacho Cheese Flavored Popcorn Seasoning (this is found on the popcorn aisle)
  • Hot Sauce

Directions

Place popped Butter & Sea Salt popcorn, cheese crackers, and mini pretzels into a bowl (or zip lock back for easy mixing). Sprinkle on desired about of Nacho Cheese Seasoning. Toss in bowl or shake bag. Add desired amount of hot sauce (I suggest about 10-12 drops/shakes of the bottle) and mix again. Enjoy! 

Notes: You can always add more hot sauce and nacho cheese so don't be too generous the first go round! 



At this point, I know you've seen me say Skinny Girl Popcorn about a hundred times and may be thinking - we must not have that around here. Well, it's brand new in Walmart stores as of September 1st and you'll probably find it right on your popcorn aisle.



What makes the Skinnygirl products unique?
  • Every Skinnygirl product offers at least a 20% fewer calories vs. it’s competitors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame, sucralose)
  • No high fructose corn syrup

  • Unique and yummy flavors like Lime and Sea Salt! So Good!

I hope you try these recipes and pin them for your next craving for something a little different! 

What's your favorite popcorn recipe? 


Catch the Moment 365 | Week 36

This week I'm going to keep it short and sweet. Photos and blogging have gotten away from this week and I'm obviously obsessed with this little bump who seems to be appearing in many more of my photos. Bump Update soon. I try to keep instagram updated on our weekly appointments and you can read all of my complaints there too. *wink* He'll be here nearly any day and I'm pretty ready! Hopefully, I'll get a boost of energy this weekend and knock out some last minute things I need to do! Meanwhile, here's a little peak.

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Thanks as always for being a part of this journey with us.

Every Friday Sarah, Mindi, and I host a place for photographers of all kinds to share, explore, grow and connect. Our common goal: one photo, every day, for three hundred and sixty five days. Whether you are using a fancy smancy professional camera, your first DSLR, a point and shoot, or your ever-so-handy phone camera, we want to see your photos! We want to see the moments you caught each day. How amazing will it be to see each of us accomplish something that seems so big? For more info on how to join in start here.


Homemade Baby Gift Idea | Burp Cloths & Mess Rags


There has been a major baby boom in 2014! There have been so many babies among friends, co-workers, and even among my blogging friends. While I am not always the best gift giver I really try to make my gifts memorable and unique. When someone registers, I do like to get something from their registry, but I personally always remember when someone gives me something a little more personal or unique. This is especially true if that gift is something I actually use! 

Enter homemade burp clothes.


When Jonah was just a couple months old, my sister went through her burp cloth stash and gave me a burp cloth she'd made for my niece Emma who was born just a week before Christmas in 2009 - it was Christmas themed but had a heavier chenille fabric as the backing. I fell in love with it. It was the most absorbent fabric and really worked for milk dribble because it's basically a ribbed towel - but still soft. Long story short I used it well after Christmas was over and learned that it's my favorite for making burp cloths. Other than that and a few tips, I won't go into a tutorial here - because there are hundreds already online. I honestly don't remember if I used any kind of tutorial the first time I made them, but this is almost exactly how I make mine: iCandy Handmade


So, here are a few tips I've learned when making homemade burp cloths and rags:
  1. Pin your fabrics - I tend to kind of free hand on my machine when it's just a straight line BUT the ribbed chenille will move and pinning helps to keep this minimal. 
  2. If you do wind up getting a not-so-straight first edge and the fabric doesn't have to be straight because of the print - don't sweat it - just keep going. You can compensate on the other sides. It won't be very noticable that you didn't make them and exact certain size since burp cloths come in so many different shapes and sizes. 
  3. Trim! your edges and corners and take the time to iron once you turn your fabric right side out - it'll save you time in the long run. 
  4. Don't over buy fabric just to make these! Fat Quarters will work perfectly, look in the sale scrap bin at the fabric store, raid a friends scrap closet (that's what I did for these girly prints), or participate in a fabric swap. 


It's all about the presentation.

I have to say that even though these burp and mess cloths are pretty cute folded, nothing compares to packaging them with a little extra special touch!


I save all my trimmings, especially the longer pieces as I'm sewing. Occasionally, I'll cut a few more strips just to add a little to it if needed. Then, I just roll the cloths and tie with the scrap trimmings. I used a fairly plain bag I had around the house (I'm a gift bag hoarder) and tied extra scraps to the handle. This presentation makes the recipient question whether you went to a boutique or made them at home and you can proudly say I did it all myself! 

What's your favorite handmade gift to give for baby or other occasions? 

My Top 5 Potty Training Tips for Boys + An Update

Many thanks to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today’s story
and creating the Big Kid Academy for us Potty Trainers.

 Potty Training Tips #sp #pottytraining

A little less than a month ago, I wrote a post sharing my honest experience, struggles, and where we were with potty training. It hasn't been an easy road for us. Don't get me wrong, it definitely could be  A LOT worse, but I found myself frustrated and wishing for an easier way. I saw my husband and other caregivers frustrated and it left my son without the confidence I think he had in the beginning. 

Truth is, I don't think anyone really knows what they are doing the first go-round and from the moms I've talked to with multiple children, they seem have a different story for each child. A story for their boy and a totally different experience for their girl. I've even had some tell me each of their children were completely different no matter their gender. So, to all of you moms out there waiting, hoping for the right time and doing all the research - you are doing a great job! To all of you moms in the midst of it, hang in there and since this post is about my Top 5 Potty Training Tips read on because I feel like others can learn from my experience with my son and maybe I'll just come back here and read this in two and half years or so when it's time to train my second son. 

#pottytraining #sp #pullups

So, let's start with my supply list. When starting something new, I feel like I'm more confortable if I'm maaaybe a little over prepared, but honestly I used every single thing pictured at some point since we threw the diapers away in May. Supplies from left to right - Flushable wipes, awesome big boy underwear (lined and unlined), smartphone (equipped with the Time to Potty App), Once Upon a Potty "boy", Incentives (food, small toys - things that are special treats for your child) and Pull-Ups Training Pants (with Jake the Pirate as Jonah calls him on the front). If you haven't enrolled in The Big Kid Academy yet and are even thinking about potty training, I'd go ahead and do it now. There is so much great advice that, even now after months of going through this, I wish I'd read before I started. You can feel like you are chatting with experts in child development as well as those experts we just call other moms who are going through the same thing you are! There are also great games and puzzles they can play as rewards for going potty! 

#pottytraining #sp


My Top 5 Potty Training Tips

  1. Do your research. Don't blindly jump in thinking "how hard can this be?" Trust me. Take your time. Visit websites like Pull-Ups.com and visit their Tips and Advice Sections to get info straight from experts and other moms. Even if you think a certain method isn't for you, read about it, ask other moms what worked for them, and make an initial plan based on the research/methods you are most comfortable with. Don't use a certain method because it's popular. Do what feels right for your child and family. 
  2. Don't force it! Many children show signs that they are ready and some never do, but if you decide to jump in and introduce the potty to them, just be prepared to back off if you need to. Just like walking, crawling, talking, and teething - potty training is a development milestone that you can't make happen. Jonah started using the potty around 19 months old. He just decided one day that he wanted to use the potty like his older cousins and every time we'd put him on the potty he'd go- about two weeks later the interest completely disappeared and I let it go. We'd still encourage him to sit on the potty but if didn't act interested we didn't push it. So, we wound up waiting until 30 months to really give it a try and at that point - he wasn't ever going back to diapers. 
  3. Follow your child's learning style. The best piece of advice I've come across over the past few months is that no two kids train alike. Like I said earlier - it even varies within families. At this point in your child's development you may be getting a sense of how your child learns. Do they respond best to visual ques, verbal ques, etc. Use that to your advantage because they are in-fact learning a new skill. 
  4. It's okay to have set backs. In this learning process, your child will most likely have set backs. For us, it didn't happen until about a month and a half after Jonah started training. It's not like he was perfect, but it seemed all of a sudden he just gave up. When you do have a set back, you may need to just take a step back, talk with his other caregivers and start from nearly step one. 
  5. Reward them like crazy and love them through it all! It doesn't matter if you use incentives like stickers, candy, toys, or praise and special activities - make sure you are giving them positive reinforcement for the behavior you want - which is putting that pee and poop in that potty! I think this has been my biggest initiation into boy-mom-hood yet! The things you talk about when potty training a boy are pretty hilarious. I mean I think I've said the words poop and potty more over the last couple of months than ever before in my life. My point is though, you have to be specific about the behavior that you want and then be proud of it! Your son peepeeing standing up and aiming right at the water is worthy of a new matchbox car and you telling daddy and grandma how proud you are of him ten times that day! When the accidents, setbacks, and disappointments happen it's easy to moan and groan and ask them why, but I had to start reminding my self to really just love him through it. What better time to show them that they can really count on you then when you are up to your elbows in poop and bleach. He is your baby after all and he is learning!


What's the best advice you've gotten when potty training?