Monday, July 30, 2012

Eating healthy and staying in shape

Recently, I have been very depressed because I do not have the pregnant body I always dreamed I would. I always saw myself with a petite frame and a cute little belly. Unfortunately, I had gained 40lbs right before I found out I was pregnant so I am now stuck in between a rock and a hard place. While I want to keep my baby healthy and gain as much weight as I need to I am also cringing at every little pound added on thinking how hard it will be to lose all the weight after the baby is born. I feel like not only is my stomach continuing to grow, but so are my arms, my legs, and my bum. I just feel like every square inch of my body has doubled and it has become quite a concern for me. 

I've spent an endless amount of time on pinterest searching for prenatal workouts and have found several good ones. I have been trying to at least do some strength training and walking which has encouraged me a little. I would love to do cardio, but every time I tried my lower abdomen would kill so I decided it was in the baby's best interest to not. Since I have a sit down office job I have been trying to get up once an hour and do mini workouts. For example I will get up and do 6 pushups (yes that is sadly all I can do),  a plank for 15 seconds, or leg lifts. At night when I get home after work Jack and I have been trying to walk around the neighborhood even if it's just for 15 minutes. My friend who just had a baby suggested even walking around the mall window shopping which is something I will have to try.

Eating has also been a difficult thing to control since I am ravenous all the time. I have been trying to eat as healthy as possible, snacking on fruits and veggies rather than chips or cookies or whatever my pregnant mind decides it wants (usually french fries), however, this is very expensive and my wallet is hurting. Since watermelon is in season I have been eating as much of that as possible and green gapes. Still not as cheap as a small fry from McDonalds, but has a quarter of the calories and actually has nutritional value. Since I eat a lot of pasta I have switched from normal store brand pasta to Ronzoni's smart taste pasta which has 5g of fiber per serving, 60g of calcium, 6g of protein, and only 170 calories. It's perfect and fills you up due to the high amount of fiber. 

Also, spaghettios have pretty much become a staple at lunch time for me. I know spaghettios aren't for every body, but I love them and they changed something, because they are now packed with nutrition. One can contains 6g of fiber, 12g of protein. 4g of calcium and only has 340 calories and 2g of fat. 

I have also been using a website called which I actually started using over two years ago and it is amazing. It's basically a calorie counter that has an absurd amount of foods in the database and allows you to track the calories, fat grams, and vitamins that you eat each day. You can personalize what it tracks too for example I have mine track calories, vitamin C, fiber, protein, fat, and calcium so that I can make sure my baby is getting all the nutrients he/she needs. 
Not only does it track your calories, but it will tell you how many calories you should be eating per day based on how much weight you want to lose, your activity level, and your job. It is a little time consuming having to list out everything you ate that day, but it's also very motivating you'd be surprised at how many calories you actually eat. 

I'm hoping that these things will put me on the right track so that after the baby is born it will be much easier for me to loose the weight. 

Only 7 more days until we find out if it's a boy or a girl yaaay!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Date night

Friday night turned out to be a HUGE success. The meal came out delicious and Jack and I had so much fun making it together. We didn't end up making the dessert, because we got home much later than planned and were exhausted by the time we were done cooking. After I picked up Jack from work I dropped him off at The Great Lost Bear to have a couple beers with a friend while I went to the grocery store. I went to one that I had never shopped at before and was much larger than the Hannaford I am used to so it took an extra long time to find all the ingredients that I needed. Finally at around 7pm we made it home and I was able to lay out all the ingredients and begin cooking.

The cooking ended up being easier than I thought, we started off by mincing the garlic and the onions to prepare the cream cheese filling and extra onion for the balsamic cream sauce. We sauteed the garlic and the onions to bring out more flavor, mixed it in with the cream cheese, and added a little bit of basil. Jack had to filet the chicken as I am not as good as he and pound it with a meat tenderizer until it was as thin as possible. One thing neither of us have mastered is doing this with out creating holes in the chicken, but this time we were able to cover the wholes with the prosciutto so it ended up working out. 

We laid the prosciutto , topped on the cream cheese, and folded it in half. It was now time to begin cooking. The cooking actually turned out to be the most complicated part as we were trying to boil the pasta, pan fry the chicken, pan fry the asparagus, make the balsamic cream sauce, and time it so that every single one came out at the exact same time. This was even more complicated because we only have one large burner on our stove, but we made it work. 

This is my lovely leopard print apron I got from TJ Max for a steal at only $7.00 yaay bargains!

The balsamic cream sauce was as easy as it was a challenge. I realized when we got home that it called for two tablespoons of butter, which, surprise!, we had no butter :-( so I decided that margarine would work just as well and it sort of did. The hard part was after you melted the butter they wanted you to add the onions and let them caramelize, or turn a golden brown, which was supposed to take 15 minutes. I waited and waited and it wasn't changing color at all so I took a break and walked out of the kitchen for just a couple minutes, came back and the onions were burnt to a crisp. I decided rather than try again I would just leave them, because it would have taken much longer and we would have had to wait. Afterwords, I added the balsamic vinegar, let it cook for about a minute then added the heavy cream and parmesan  cheese and continued to stir until all the cheese was melted. It ended up tasting more like alfredo sauce with just a hint of balsamic, but was still delicious.

Little Leia also helped a lot.

The first chicken breast we made ended up burning on one side. Since I usually bake chicken (and the breasts were monstrous) I was unsure of how long it should cook and overcooked it. Jack said it still tasted delicious though. After this was done we threw in mine which cooked just right. We waited for the pasta and we were ready to eat!


It was absolutely perfect. The chicken was incredible even though I ended up taking out a lot of the prosciutto from mine as it was a meat I had never tried before and even though I liked it I didn't love it and thought it would be better to not eat the calories. The sauce on the pasta was amazing it tasted like a tangy alfredo sauce. We sat at the table which is something we don't do nearly often enough and had a very nice romantic night. 

Saturday and Sunday both turned out to be fantastic as well. On Saturday my sister came over and we spent the entire day relaxing. We watched a lot of the Olympic Games which was nice, except for my hormones causing me to randomly burst into tears at any commercial that was slightly emotional. 

On Sunday I ended up waking up at 6am and going to Wal-Mart, because I figured it would be much less crowded then at 8am or 9, which was correct. For brunch I went to Kennebunk, Maine to visit one of my very good friends and her new baby Ella Belle. I hadn't seen her in over five months so it was very nice to catch up and I hadn't met her little girl yet. 

Jack and Baby Ella!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend and a great way to get my mind off the stressful things that have been going on. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Motherly Advice

I saw this and had to post it immediately. This is almost exactly what my mom used to say to me all the time. She would say "Lauren the things you hate about others are the same things you hate most about yourself." At 12 I would look at her and be like "oh please mom like you know anything" Then when I turned 16 and she continued to give me that same line I took a deeper look into it and realized she was beyond right. From then on I was able to analyze every time I didn't like something some one else did look at myself and if I was doing the same thing I would change it immediately or at least notice when I was doing it.

Also! I figured out what I'm making for dinner. I found a recipe for cream cheese and prosciutto stuffed chicken drizzled with balsamic cream sauce and a side of pasta. I will also be making cupcakes for dessert they will come from a box though so not nearly as fancy. We will see how everything turns out!

Positive thinking for not so positive things

Recently Jack's car has had some major issues, it all started a year ago when the driver's seat to our beautiful VW Passat 3.6 (That's him right above) started to move back and forth all on it's own. This was, unfortunately, one of the many mechanical issues, but fortunately the only one that really mattered as the others weren't important. Realizing that it would probably cost an arm and a leg to fix the issues Jack decided to ignore it and instead just ripped out the plug for the automatic seat so it was left at a comfortable position for him. This worked great for about 6 months when once again the seats started moving back and forth, even though there was no plug in it, and this time it was getting much much worse. It was so bad that if he let his car sit for more than 24 hours the battery would die. This turned into quite an event as the only way to open the trunk is by the button on the key BUT the battery would be sooo dead that it wouldn't work so he would have to wake me up I would have to crawl in the trunk through the back seat and pull the emergency hatch. This was happening every Monday morning, it was really quite a great start to the week. 

Jack eventually fixed this problem and everything was back to normal UNTIL, of course, we went on vacation and the car sat for over a week. When Jack went to turn the car on Thursday morning to go to work it was of course dead and we had to go through the long process to turn it back on. However, this time when it turned on everything was not working as it should. His transmission was skipping second gear and moving him from first to third. Not only that, but it consistently thinks his e-brake is on and creates a very loud beeping noise that doesn't go off. Jack did very well driving with the noise for the first week and a half, but come yesterday he just couldn't take it anymore and asked very sweetly if I could come pick him up from work. Even though he works 30 minutes away I couldn't say no (who could put up with that anyway?) So now I will be taking him to work every morning and picking him up every evening until we can get it fixed. Oh joy!

Instead of getting frustrated about the whole situation, since I know that is not good for baby I am trying to look at the positive side. This morning Jack and I had a wonderful time driving the 30 minute commute together chit chatting and preparing for our day. It was very nice and was actually nice to spend some time just talking and hanging out together which doesn't happen very often. So now I am actually very much looking forward to picking him up this evening and spending some more quality time with him. PLUS the best part is Friday is our date night!. Our roommate usually works an overnight shift starting at 4pm so we try and spend the night either ordering delivery or making an awesome dinner. In an attempt to save money I am planning on making a delicious meal that I haven't made before. This should be very interesting and very fun. I get all my recipes from 

it is by far my favorite website for recipes as you can see reviews and tons of pictures that real people have actually taken so you know how it should turn out. If you have not heard of it yet I urge you to visit it and see what wonderful things you can create. The website literally taught me how to cook and since I've used it I haven't made one bad recipe.  I will let you know what I decide to make and how it turns out!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Financial Dilemma

Along with finding out I was pregnant this May I also graduated from The University of Southern Maine with my bachelor's degree in business management. It took me six years, but that's all right; I decided to find my career then get a degree in it which seems to have worked out just fine so far. The last month of school I had handed over the financial responsibilities to my wonderful fiance Jack hoping to have to deal with one less thing. Unfortunately, he had no previous experience in paying bills and creating budgets so this backfired on me.

Soon after this Jack and I traveled down to New Orleans, LA to see my best friend marry the love of her life. While, we had a splendid time (and let me tell you, she looked gorgeous) it cost us a pretty penny.

Jack and I are also trying to save up for our baby, my maternity leave, an engagement ring, a wedding, and a house, in that order. So currently we are in a bit of a money pinch trying to save every single extra penny we can find. The situation presented us with the need to create a budget. Thankfully I have a deep love for accounting and using excel to create spreadsheets which has turned out to be beyond beneficial. I have invented some wonderful easy to use easy to create budgeting spreadsheets that help me plan and watch where every cent from our paycheck goes. These spreadsheets are also customize able and you can easily take out the parts you do not need.

Creating this template is actually quite easy, probably as easy as it looks. Thanks to ABU 190, my stellar Excel class I have become quite a pro at this.

Step 1: Creating the Bills, Necessities, and Income tabs. This part is extremely simple Just type them in. You can obviously enter your own subcategories to your specific needs.

Step 2: Enter the dates you can do weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly whichever is easiest for you. I chose to do it weekly as that let's me know exactly what I can spend each week and exactly when bills need to be paid entering the dates is also easy just type them in. You can change the format by highlighting the row, selecting the "format cells" button, click on the date tab to the left and choosing the format you would like to use.

Step 3: You are going to also format the center cells so the negative numbers (bills) show up in red and the positive numbers stand out in black. To do this you want to click cell B3 and drag it to F26 this will highlight all those cells. Right click them and do the same thing you did in step 2 except choose currency.

Step 4: You now want to create the formulas. In cell B17 write =sum( then click on B3 and drag it down to B16) make sure you do the open and closed parentheses. you can copy this formula by highlighting the cell containing the formula putting the arrow on the small black square and dragging it as far as you'd like.

Step 5: You will repeat step 4 for the Income total

Step 6: The Net formula will be a little different. You will still enter =sum(, however instead of dragging the cell you will click on the two cells you want to add and separate them with a comma. It should look like this. =sum(B17,B24). You will then copy the formula to the rest of the cells.

TaDa! you're done and now you can save this and use it each month or however you'd like. The hardest part about this budget is looking at all your bills (very depressing as well) and figuring out when you need to pay what and organizing them. The benefits of this are so great that it is completely worth the time it takes. Before I create my budget I stress and stress about money as soon as I see it laid out in front me it puts my mind completely at ease!

A New Beginning

This past May I received the wonderful news that my fiance and I would be expecting a baby! While, overwhelmed with joy it also brought on a slew of anxious thoughts and feelings. "How am I going to take care of a child when I am just learning to take care of myself?", "where are we going to the find the money?", "when will we have time to plan our wedding now?", "How am I going to lose the weight I've been trying so desperately to lose?" My biggest fear, and honestly I feel a little selfish for saying this, but "how will I be able to stay young and have fun after I have a child?"

To be completely honest I am still unsure of how I am going to accomplish all these things, but I am determined to accomplish them all. I have spent many days researching budgeting plans, wedding plans (on a budget), great ways to raise your child, fashionable ideas, and diet and exercise tips. I plan on sharing all these ideas and plans with you folks, because if I can do it so can you, and we can do it together!