Tuesday, September 30, 2008

creamed spinach...

I've been crunching on a lot of ice lately... and little did I know, that that's (among many other things) a symptom of anemia in third trimester pregnancy. Really, it is! I thought, when an acquaintance recently informed me of it, was the craziest thing I'd ever heard. I mean, really... Craving ice during late pregnancy is a symptom of anemia? So, the next day, as I was chomping on some ice, I decided to do a Google search on the subject, just for fun... and lo and behold, IT'S TRUE! Who would've thought.
So, after I became enlightened, I decided that chomping on ice for the next eight weeks probably wouldn't be too good for my teeth and sought out ways to incorporate more iron in my diet. Spinach seemed to be the quickest and easiest fix for the moment... and it just so happens that Pioneer Woman had a yummy recipe just calling my name.

That night JB and I made a fabulous dinner of steak, mashed potatoes and yes, PW's Creamed Spinach... and oh, was it ever so delicious. My only complaint was that I didn't make enough. I probably could have had just that alone for dinner... hmm, maybe I am low on iron. Mental note, bring it up to my Dr. this week during my appointment. Just thinking about it now makes me want some more. The sauce was so light and creamy and it complimented the steak nicely. In fact, JB was wondering if he should make a gravy or sauce for the steak, but decided against it, as we were starving. It ended up being a good call on our stomach's behalf because had we had a special steak gravy for dipping we would've never known how well the cream from the spinach tasted with the steak. Heavenly I tell ya... just Heavenly.

So, if you like spinach, or need to add more iron to your diet, make PW's Creamed Spinach tonight! You'll be glad you did.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

fall is here...

Autumn is my favorite time of year with October being my favorite month. I absolutely love the cooler temps and the saturation of warmer colors. But living here in the "Big D", for the most part, it's still HOT, which makes getting out and enjoying the new season a bit uncomfortable... especially for an eight-plus month pregnant lady. If we do happen to get a break in the weather and it dips, say below, ninety degrees, people are out in full force... even me. Like last Friday for instance... my good friend, Amy, was headed to the Dallas Arboretum with her kiddos and invited us along. I eagerly accepted the invite and thought it would be a great opportunity to finally blow the dust off my new camera and actually take some pictures with it.

How cool is this... I was in pumpkin and gourd heaven.

Besides getting lots of shots of pumpkins, gourds and flowers, I also used Haley as a subject... she enjoyed that!

Here is Amy's youngest, Tommy... err, I mean, "Super Tommy". He had a blast conquering the mountainous hay bales and pumpkin jungle.

Here is the view of White Rock Lake. I love living near the lake. My next picture excursion will be of the lake. I'm just waiting until it gets a tad bit cooler.

I just love paths like this.

Here are a few up close shots using my powerful zoom lens... this lens really intimidates me.

Haley is now enjoying a refreshing treat near the water frogs.

And one last one of me and my baby girl. What a fun time we had... Thanks Amy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lasagna Rolls... yum!

Love Lasagna? Love Spaghetti? Love Pasta and cheese sauce? Or just love the Italian cuisine in general. Well, over here at my house I have a certain 12 year old girl who loves, loves, loves anything with pasta, a red meat sauce and bubbly hot cheese. Did I say she LOVES it? I can make almost anything with those three ingredients and she'll do flips in the kitchen and tell me that I'm the "best mommy ever"! It's true.
Last night I made these...
Lasagna Rolls... and that certain 12 year old girl, who by the way is as skinny as a rail, had two helpings!
They were actually fun to make and pretty easy. Easy is the key word here for me, given my physical state, with my ever expanding belly and swollen feet.
*Please Note... I did change, or well, added, a couple of ingredients that JB said, "made" the dish.
I mixed together in a separate bowl 8 ounces of Ricotta Cheese with a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan Cheese. I then spread about a tablespoon onto each Lasanga noodle before adding the meat sauce and then sprinkled with more Parmesean Cheese before rolling up. Yum! Come to think of it, you could play around with other ingredients as well... like, chicken, spinich and a white cream sauce. Well, maybe you could get away with that at your house. I'm not so sure that certain 12 year old girl would do quite as many flips if I were to serve it that way over here.

So, give 'em a try for something different in place of "Spaghetti Night"... they'll be a hit, I promise!


Friday, September 19, 2008

grow baby grow...

So, I went back to the Dr. yesterday... I'm right at 31 weeks now, which translates to 8 months! Wow! I have now begun my every two week visits... fun. And we won't talk about my weight gain right now ok... ok.
We had another sonogram done to take a peek and make sure everything is groovin' right along the way it should be. And it is. Just look at how much baby "J" has grown since our last peek at him 3 months ago.

Here he is back at 17 weeks. He didn't even weight a pound yet.

Now he weighs almost 4 pounds! The Dr. is expecting him to more than double in size in the next 9 weeks... That will give us an 8 to 9 pound bouncing baby boy!

Here's his lil' face... he looks like his Daddy.

So, keep growin' lil' guy and we'll see you again soon.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

monkey munch...

The other day Haley and I were watching an episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8 where they made some little snack called "Monkey Munch". Haley began to jump and flip around my living room begging to make it too. So, we did...

Here's the recipe:

Monkey Munch
9 cups Chex cereal... any variety
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Put Chex in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Place chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a bowl. Stir and microwave uncovered for a minute on high. Stir the mix again and continue to zap in 30 second intervals until it mixes smoothly.
3. Add the vanilla and stir.
4. Pour over the cereal while stirring.
5. Put in a gallon size ziploc bag.
6. Add powered sugar, SEAL the bag and shake until distributed.
7. Keep refrigerated in airtight container for storage.

I let Haley mix it up and instead of pouring the chocolate mixture over the cereal while still in the bowl, she put the cereal in the bag then, poured the chocolate mixture and the powered sugar in together. It clumped together on one side, but with a little effort she managed to coat most the of the cereal with chocolate... it was still edible.
Oh, and we also halved the recipe.

It made for a tasty after school snack... or an anytime snack for a pregnant lady.

So, if you have lil' monkeys go make some today! They'll jump for joy!


Monday, September 15, 2008

fancy and more expensive isn't always better...

First of all let me start by saying that I like my feet. My feet is the one body part that I've always had a good relationship with. I always keep them clean, well groomed and soft... or at least I always try too. Call me strange, but I've been this way for as long as I can remember. This is why, as you may be wondering after you read this post, I have so many photos of my feet.

And because I realize my feet issues might not be quite the thing you want to read about on a Monday, let me apologize now... but it's bothered me all weekend and I need to get it off my chest.

Last year my generous new husband gave me a half day spa package at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa for my birthday. My birthday happened to fall exactly one month and one day after our family vacation and beach wedding. I guess he felt that I needed some pampering with a half day of massage, a pedicure, a manicure and makeup refresher already a month into our marriage. He's so thoughtful like that. But honestly, I'm one of those typical moms and wives that have a hard time accepting things like this for myself. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problem treating myself with a pedicure every three weeks or so. Or a hair cut every six months or so. Or a nice bubble bath with a LUSH bomb whenever I can. But I have never had a professional massage... I always think I would love to get one, but the reality of it is, I'm a little shy and uncomfortable with my body... especially now with it being almost eight months pregnant. Plus, I have to say, that my husband will give me a massage whenever I request one and he's good at it too... and it's free!
Anyway, back to my point here... I excitedly accepted my birthday gift, stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. Not on purpose though, I swear. I was going to save it for a "special" occasion... after all it didn't expire until December of this year so, I had plenty of time to decide on an appropriate "special" occasion in my boring little life.

So, a year goes by, my birthday rolls around again and my husband scratches his head and says, "Hey, you never used the spa gift I gave you last year". Oh, yeah, that. Ok, I'll use it. So, I call and ask if they do pregnancy massages... and they do. Crap. Then I start asking questions like, "How long does it take?" and "Can I just come in for a pedicure?" and the woman gives me hope with the answer, "Of course you can". So, I make the decision to break up the "package" and schedule just a pedicure with possibly the massage and manicure at a later date.
And I'm rambling here aren't I? Sorry. I have a point, I promise. But wait, isn't my blog called Ralonda's Rambling's? I'm allowed to ramble here if no where else right? Ok good. Back to story...

So, I go Friday to the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa... I even put on mascara. I was excited. After all, it's been a while since my last pedicure. With gas issues and our summer electric bill (ohhh we won't go there) extra funds haven't been so extra for us (like most Americans) the last several months.
Now, the picture above isn't of my pedicure from the Red Door Spa... no, no, nooo... it's from an old pedicure. I told you I liked my feet. And this particular pedicure was one of my favorites. It made me smile. It's the little things in life that make me happy. I'm simple like that. And I didn't spend very much for this simple little pleasure... not even $40.00! But since then my usual nail dive has gone up just a tad... I think I paid $45.00 for my last pedi there.

Back to my point here... let me zoom in and explain to you what I'm talking about... my feet are clean, don't worry. Personally, I prefer the french pedicure over full polish. To me it says clean. Plus, I don't have to make the agonizing decision of choosing a polish that will match all my outfits. *Smile* Also, If you'll notice I prefer the tips to be a little wider and more on the square side. I like to keep my nails short so when I play footsie with JB I don't jab him and make him bleed. He likes that too. My toes are sort of on the square side anyway and I think the wider and squarer (is that a word?) tips compliment my feet. Can you tell I have a little too much free time to be over analyzing this? Yeah, I know.

Here's another photo of a pedicure I got. Well look at that, wide and squared tips... nice! Makes me happy. Maybe I need some sort of counseling... hmmm.

And this is what I got Friday at the Red Door Spa. Thin and round tips... well, at least on my big toe anyway. My other toes look square to me... they don't match. I don't think I like the round look on my big toe. The thin strip would be ok if maybe it were more square.

However, it was a nice experience... I guess. Let me go ahead and describe my experience, just in case you've never been to a Red Door Spa. First, upon your arrival they escort you to a waiting area where you can sit in a red chair and sip (with your pinkie out) some refreshing iced lemon water or cranberry juice in a glass... a real glass, not plastic! Then a woman named, Helena, will come get you and escort you to the leather pedicure chair and begin her magic. Except I did notice that my chair didn't vibrate or massage like at my usual cheapo pedicure dive... hmmm.

I also noticed that Helena was a little rough, liked to ask me too many questions and sell me on the "next package up", "for the best possible experience", unlike my usual dive. My usual dive, has tv's and a huge selection of magazines. The little Asian women are gentle, but firm when giving the massage portion of the pedi. They mind their own business, yet are polite and concerned about doing their best for you. Helena had her own opinions and did her own thing after she selected the magazine I would read. Which by the way, was the thickest VOGUE I've ever held, which was hard for me to hold up because of my protruding belly. I had to slightly turn towards the right and prop it up on the arm rest, which eventually made my back hurt. I also noticed that for the "next package up" I got the exact treatment (exfoliating scrub with a warm wrap) that I get at my usual dive that is included in my basic pedi treatment... hmmm.

One hour later as I stood in front of the check out girl in a daze of upgraded this and that and an extra charge for "french", not to mention the gratuity, my final Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa Pedicure came to a mere $98.00! Yes, you read that correctly... $98.00. Ninety eight bucks for "the best possible experience". Only there's one problem... I didn't feel like I got "the best possible experience". I feel like I could have gotten two pedicures from my usual dive with the wider and more squared tips like I prefer... not to mention the vibrating massage chair, a huge selection of the latest gossip magazines to choose from, a polite, gentle, but firm little Asian woman who does her business and stays out of mine, and the same quality treatment in the same amount of time.

Now, I must say that the flip flops they gave me to wear home so I wouldn't mess up Helena's work were of better quality. They were black (unlike the fluorescent green, orange or yellow) and had thicker soles... I did wear them all the way home.

So maybe that, combined with the half glass of cranberry juice I sipped on with my pinkie out makes up for the other $53.00 that I was charged for... hmmm.

And you know that feeling you get after you realize that what someone is selling labeled "the best" isn't really "the best" and you suddenly sense that you've been ripped off. Well, that's how I've felt about my "best possible experience" all weekend and why I needed to get it off my chest today. I still have a good amount left on my gift card and I have no idea what my next "best possible experience" will be at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. But I do think I've concluded that I'll stick with my usual nail dive for my future pedicure's. I've also concluded, which I sort of knew anyway, that fancy and more expensive isn't always better.

Ahhhh... thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel better now. That is until I happen glance down at my toes.

Hope y'all had a great weekend!
Lots of love,

Friday, September 12, 2008

happy 23rd...

Happy 23rd Birthday to my lovely oldest, Megan!

Hope you have a great day. Wish you lived closer so we could eat cake together!

Monday, September 8, 2008

29 weeks and counting, counting, counting...

Moving right along... For those of you who count by months, 29 weeks equals 7 1/2 months. Yes, that's right, I'm 7 1/2 months along! Hard to believe isn't it? I know! By the way... I know these pic aren't the best, especially this first one, but I'm posting them anyway.

Even though I've done this before, it took me a while to "get" counting by weeks vs months down again. Pregnancy actually last (on average) for 40 weeks... if you count that by months, 40 weeks equals 10 months! Ack! I'm actually due November 24... I will hit the 9 month mark on October 25, which will put me at 36 weeks and will give me 4 or more weeks to go (and gain more weight... yea me!) for a healthy pregnancy!

Speaking of weight gain... I went to the Dr. last week and I've really packed it on since July. I'm now at a total of 18 pounds... now how did that happen? Oh I know... all those Sweet Tarts and mini-Snickers and rocky road ice cream... mmmm... I'm gonna have to stop that.

Anyway, the Dr. tested my glucose and iron levels and all is good. He also wants me to start counting...

Kick counting... I need to pick two times a day when I can sit still and count at least 10 kicks in an hour... some days I can count 10 kicks in 10 minutes!
Braxton Hicks counting... Since I mentioned that some days it seems I have a lot and some are pretty intense, he wants me to also count them. If I have more than 10 in one day that warrants a call to his office.
And then there's the counting of the weeks... or months.
I've never been that good with numbers... I'm really going to be confused now!

I'm scheduled to go back next week for another sonogram. Just to take a peek and see how baby "J" is doing.

Hope everyone is well.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Inspiration and joy...

Every time this arrives in the mail!

Can't wait to get the oven going and whip up something new!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Last week marked the end of the lazy days of summer with the first day of school. Gone are the days of sleeping in and having no place to be. At least for the next nine or so months anyway.

Time is something I keep close track of during the school months... from the second I wake up until I snuggle in for the night and close my eyes. Well, and these days I'm even keeping close tabs on the hour and minute hands during the course of the night, as I'm waking up to pee often. I know, I know... probably a little too much information for ya, but hey, I'm just being honest here.

Back to last week... We tried to "practice" getting up early the week before, but it didn't really work so, we just jumped right in come early Monday morning. And it was rough, I tell ya, to say the least.

By Wednesday afternoon, I was walking around in a fog and didn't know if I was coming or going... but I was still keeping a close eye on the time.

The first day of school is always an exciting milestone no matter what grade your child is in. Excitement replaces grogginess come 7:00 AM the first day of school and everyone springs out of bed. I had three nutritious lunches (one for Haley, Jackson and Jon... JB requested a lunch for work that day) packed and labeled by 7:15 AM!

I always try to have something special and different for breakfast the first day of school. This year it was Monkey Bread to mark the occasion of the lil' monkeys going back to the zoo... err I mean school.

See how excited Haley was to dig in on her first day as a 7th grader.

There, that's better... a smile through the nervous nellies.

And this is what an 8th grader looks like... "Hi Jackson!"

So, after I got the kiddos all settled in... err I mean dropped off... it was time to head over to help my grown 20 year old daughter with her new apartment.

Her landlord was nice enough to let her paint herself... without going too crazy of course. She chose a neutral "tan" color for her living room.

Check out the antique bed we found on craigslist for a bargain.

We're still working on painting and getting her settled in this week. It's a slow process when she needs to work and make money to buy more stuff, not to mention, having a seven month pregnant mom who has to limit what she can do.

By Thursday it was time to celebrate my birthday. I won't tell you how old I am.

And this is the card my youngest daughter, Haley, made for me telling me how she feels... awww.

So, that's pretty much it. It was an eventful week and I'm glad it's over. Now it's time to settle in on the school schedule and focus on keeping track of the time.

Hope everyone is well.