Organization nation

Clutter upsets me.

Always has.

I don’t like knickknacks. Knickknacks remind me of clutter.

Everything needs a home, and each home needs to be organized. Drawers, closets, desks, cabinets. I prefer when they’re all organized… or empty.

organized cabinets

It’s only a little obsessive.

However, since pregnancy, my hate of clutter and my desire to organize everything increased tenfold. (Well, since the second trimester started-ish. Nausea and exhaustion really prevented me from doing anything in my first trimester.)

Now, I hate everything I own, and I want it GONE.

Who knew pregnancy could not only mess with your body, but it could also make you a giant crazy person hell-bent on hauling the entire contents of your home to the dump.

Super!

I’m trying to control myself by limiting the sudden and unhealthy need to throw things away by using a list.

I found this one –>> One a Day: Throw These 116 Things Away via PopSugar

lost earring pairs

De-clutter Day #1: Throw away earrings without pairs

One of these — the pearl flower looking stud — missed the trash can so I’ve decided to keep it. I can probably find its mate. Probably. These were my favorite :(

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My unnecessary obsessiveness threw away the wrapping paper weeks ago.

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De-clutter Day #3: Throw away cards without sentimental value. Um, sure. Meanwhile, I’m over here crying about the card my grandparents gave me for my high school graduation.

ALL cards are sentimental. Who are you people?

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Days #5 and#6 were a miss for me to share. I don’t have any ticket stubs to throw away because I don’t go places, and none of my socks had holes! Yay! (I did not check Husband’s socks…

Today is De-Clutter Day #7 during which I am supposed to throw away old T-shirts. Well, I’ve already cleared out my T-shirt drawer for donation, and my husband turned the majority of his old T-shirts into cleaning rags last week so we’ve got nothing to do tonight.

The list isn’t perfect, of course. I do not believe I have enough change to turn in for paper money, but I have no intention of throwing away the 47 cents I have in my wallet — and the only old “prom” dress I have is a cocktail dress I still look super cute in.

It’s stretchy.

Waiting to donate or toss shoes that don’t get worn might actually drive me insane. I’ve already given away two pairs of heels I can’t walk in and tossed the oldest, full-of-holes boots I’ve had for like a decade.

Alas, I won’t see those shoes until Day #14. Until then, here is a cat loaf for you to enjoy.

cat loaf

“B” is for blue and also for boy

Yes, my friends, it’s a boy.

Gender reveal pregnancy annoucement

I was told this looks like an engagement announcement, and, now that I think about it, it totally does.

My goal was to show off my fingernails, which are painted blue (for boy!)…

…which were painted during a manicure…

…which I’m able to get for the first time ever…

…because I stopped biting my nails AND PRENATAL VITAMINS.

Prenatal vitamins are no joke. While I don’t have the thick, luxurious hair some women speak of or whatever the “pregnancy glow” is supposed to be, my fingernails are stronger than they’ve ever been. Unless I break one, I can’t bite through them any more.

So I stopped biting my nails successfully for the first time since I’ve had teeth.

Cheers to me!

(Not that I’m any good at having nails. I messed up that pretty polish approximately 10 seconds after I left the salon.)

Prenatal vitamins are important for the baby so he can get the nutrients he needs to grow to baby proportions, and, while they’re super good for me, too, it doesn’t mean they’re pleasant.

Not only are they the biggest vitamins ever, they smell and taste terrible — making all poor pregnant ladies gag.

We’re already nauseous. This is cruel.

Plus, if they’ve got DHA or if you take a separate DHA supplement, you’ll immediately barf.

Like immediately.

I don’t take the DHA anymore…

I’ve had problems with multivitamins in the past so I switched to gummy vitamins, which do not make me gag or vomit.

natures bounty womens multivatimin

Also pictured are Co Q-10, Omega-3/6/9 oil and vitamin C. Pre-pregnancy, I took two of each of these a day.

Just… I’d feel a little silly buying gummy prenatal vitamins OTC when I have a prescription for the pharmacy stuff with extra folic acid for his tiny brain and spine.

Which reminds me… I need to call the pharmacy :/

 

Pregnancy Advice: Sleep now, you never will again

When you get pregnant, you get advice.

“Don’t lift more than 40 pounds.”

“You can lift as much as you want.”

“Don’t eat soft cheese.”

“Most cheese in the U.S. is safe.”

And this gem from my doctor’s office: “Don’t drink alcohol or do illegal drugs.”

Hey, thanks!

I’m a first-time pregnant person so I appreciate advice because I have no idea what I’m doing.

The topic of today’s advice: “Sleep now because you’ll never sleep again.”

In my opinion, “never” and “always” are hyperbole words that don’t have any real meaning. You can’t use them realistically unless you use them statistically. (Ha!) If I never sleep again, I’ll die, which is not hyperbole. The body needs sleep or it dies.

So you can’t say “never.”

I will sleep again. Stop saying I won’t.

I’ll just sleep less. The baby will sleep more than me. You will sleep more than me.

I’ll hate both of you.

It’s fine.

However, the advice to sleep now is actually really good advice, and I’m taking it to heart.

Fitbit sleep tracking

Look at all those green stars!

Maxing eight hours on the regular, except Wednesday… Made up for it Saturday, though! (I was also icky sicky so no one shall look down on me for sleeping a half a day.)

I’m like a cat.

Except I can’t fit in the stroller.

Cat in the stroller

If you bring it home, and it has a slightly concave section, and he’s not supposed to be in it, the cat will sleep in it.

 

Labor Day Food blog header

Labor Day Food

My husband and I don’t usually get the three-day weekend holidays off together, and Labor Day 2016 was no exception. He had to work — I didn’t. So we didn’t go to the lake or spend a weekend camping or have a backyard party with friends, but we did make a bunch of delicious food.

We were both off work Monday so my husband pulled out his smoker and tossed 10 pounds of pig on the grate. Ten(ish) hours later, we had slice-able, delectable pork (cooked to the appropriate internal temperature) for sandwiches covered in homemade pickled red onions and a vinegar barbecue sauce.

The Heritage Oven by The Good One

This photo is from April when I got my husband this smoker for his birthday — had to hide it in my vehicle for two days after arranging its pickup and delivery all the way from Kansas City (thanks to my aunt) to surprise the crap out of him ON HIS ACTUAL BIRTHDAY.

Point of the story: I’m awesome.

Smoked pork sliced for sandwiches

Smoked pork sandwich with pickled onion and vinegar barbecue sauce

Just look at how pretty.

One unfortunate part of pregnancy is that I have to nuke that meat to near radioactivity to eat any more of it, which might make it tough, but which will also kill any possible bits of bacteria allowed to grow during its chill in the fridge. No cold sandwiches for Shae :(

Otherwise, YAY BABY!

My husband did all of this work. I literally did nothing to help with the pork — it’s hot outside, and I don’t want to.

So instead I made a tart.

Strawberry tart by Popsugar

This is a rare example of me baking something successfully. Even the easy stuff I burn.

Three ingredients to heaven, folks: sugar, puff pastry and strawberries. Decorate with powdered sugar and a delicious vanilla cream sauce. (Recipe based on this one by Popsugar — who are waaaaaay better at the sprinkling of the powdered sugar than I am.)

We gobbled the tart up so quickly that this is really the only good picture I got. However, we had leftover strawberries and cream sauce and that was like bonus dessert.

Strawberry slices with vanilla cream sauce

zomg so good.

I’m going to write a post like this the day after my next “labor” day so I can complain wildly about not getting fed and be overly annoying about the nugget that I do get to take home.

 

Week 18

Not just pregnant

I say “not just pregnant” like it’s not the biggest deal in the world… but I did not just get pregnant in my blogging absence.

I also got a new job!

In March, I joined the Digital Media Team at Copp Media, an advertising and media agency. I do the Google and the websites and the optimizing.

I also make the funny faces, drink the coffee and wear the lipstick — so the job has changed, but the me has not.

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Riding the bus with a coworker! (I didn’t get permission to put her face up here so I cut her out of the photo/her photo :/ )

 

Best Cold Brew Coffee

Had a shot of cold brew at Winefest this year — Nitro Joe’s — also known as the best damn cold brewed coffee in the entire world omg buy it drink it.

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Katy Kat Matte by Covergirl in my new office!

 

I also joined the Junior League, which works with local organizations to help children in the community. During my first year in the League, I don’t really get involved. Instead, I learn about the League and the work we do in the community, and I tour the organizations we’ve supported in the past and sustain support to.

Including the zoo!

Lions and gorillas at the zoo

There’s a new baby gorilla!!! That’s mommy holding her and daddy in the corner (I think he got in trouble with the gals). Pretty much the cutest thing ever.

And the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum!

Bell tower at the historical museum

This is the bell tower… original from like 1890 or something… and I think people regularly climb these stairs.

No. Thank. You.

But we go to ring the bell!

Both the Sedgwick County Zoo and the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum have educational programs for children in the community, and both are two of my favorite places to go.

And I can’t wait to take my kiddo! Babies like museums, yeah?

So pregnant, new job, getting involved in the community… I should be blogging more regularly soon.

Happy Labor Day!

(We’re smoking a pork shoulder, pickling red onions and making strawberry tart today so maybe I’ll have an actual blog post for you — not just an update.)

Baby Shae

20 weeks and counting

Supposedly the size of an artichoke and the length of a small banana, the human I’m growing is turning my insides into what is probably a horrible tasting vegetable fruit salad my dog certainly won’t like.

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Hopefully, he likes the human. (The husband was holding a treat above my head.)

Today, I’m 20 weeks, which is half-baked if you were curious.

Why did I wait so long to share my news? I did tell everyone I know — Facebook — at 13 weeks, but why wait until 20 to start blogging about pregnancy? I mean… just the food alone could keep me busy for weeks. Why, why, why have I missed out on so much?!

Well, nausea, for one.

Lots and lots and lots of nausea. Just constant nausea.

Number 2: Exhaustion.

Do you have any idea how physically exhausting and mentally draining the first trimester of pregnancy is? Making a human is legit hard.

I was monstrously tired. Too tired to cook, to move, to do… I slept often.

BUT only when I wasn’t getting up to pee every seven minutes — not a third trimester-only symptom.

AND when I wasn’t waking up at 3 a.m. like clockwork for no reason.

So, yeah, I missed out on a lot of good writing opportunities.

…but I’m makin’ a human so I give myself a break.

 

Bison Slider Recipe

Kansas Bison Burgers + Slider Recipe

In February, I took a road trip across eastern Kansas to experience the unique bison burger recipes and craft beer the state had to offer.

And to write a guest blog post for TravelKS.com: Four Kansas Bison Burgers Worth Stopping For.

I ate at Wahoo Fire + Ice Grill for a West Coast-inspired burger; at Blanc Burgers + Bottles for a tangy, sweet, spicy, savory burger I looooooved; at Merchants Pub + Plate for a new recipe bison burger with the most flavorful sauce; and at my all-time forever favorite Public at the Brickyard for the sweet and tangy Prairie Sliders (and a surprise bison chili!).

(Have you noticed how much more often “+” is used instead of “&”? Not that I mind. I’m not a fan of the ampersand, but + has taken over.)

All in all, you could have said that – after four bison burgers and driving 500 miles in two days – I’d be sick to death of bison, but… of course… I had to make my own.

And I had to make them spicy.

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Homemade Bison Burgers
Ingredients

  • 1 lb. natural ground bison
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 Tbs. shredded cheddar cheese
  • Slider buns

Directions
Process the garlic, Chipotle peppers, olive oil and salt and pepper until you get a slightly chunky sauce.

Garlic, Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce with salt, pepper and olive oil

Mix the sauce with the bison, beaten egg, diced peppers and onions, cheese and a bit more salt and pepper, and then form into sliders.

Raw bison burger sliders

If you’re also good at baking – which, by the way, I’m not – you could also make your own slider buns. I popped a few store-bought buns in the oven to give them a nice toast.

Store-bought slider buns in the oven

Otherwise, go straight to searing these beauties in a cast iron skillet on high heat. A little lubrication in the pan doesn’t hurt. I used olive oil.

Bison burger sliders on the stovetop

Bison is pretty lean so make sure you don’t overcook the sliders – or they’ll taste like sawdust.

Bison Burger with Salad

Serve your bison slider with hot mustard, mixed greens and a side salad – complete with roasted chickpeas, almonds, sunflower seeds and Kalamata olives. Dress to your desire and consume.


I also wrote a blog post about craft beers in Kansas that hasn’t published yet so keep your eye out!

Onions, peppers and zucchini recipe

Recipe: Avocado Lime Chicken and Vegetables

Just look at how wonderful and beautiful this California Chicken Veggie Grilled Pasta Bowl is.

LOOK at it.

My attempt did not turn out as pretty… or at all pretty. (I won’t even show you what it looked like with the avocado cream sauce. For some reason… it turned… like yellow.)

I mean… look at it…

Avocado lime chicken recipe

Probably because I didn’t have all the ingredients necessary, as per usual.

Probably because I cooked it up faster than I should have.

Probably because I wasn’t being good to the food.

Probably because all the zucchini sank to the bottom of the pot and got kinda stuck…

It didn’t taste bad though! How can it when you start with some of my favorite ingredients: onions and peppers and a surprise appearance by zucchini!

Onions, peppers and zucchini recipe

Suffice it to say I sauteed onions, peppers and zucchini, added spiced chicken, and then combined it all with the pasta and an avocado cream “sauce” usually reserved for my Black Bean Soup.

So… I achieved edible.

Meh.

Recipe fail but tummy win. I’ll take whatever I can get.

Check out Whole and Heavenly Oven for more great recipes. I’m kinda in love with it right now.

Crockpot Jambalaya Soup Recipe

Recipe: #mondaymealprep and Crockpot Jambalaya

To plan weekly meals takes time.

To plan weekly meals you intend on prepping same-day takes even more time.

To plan weekly meals you intend on prepping same-day AND staying sane means… well, for me, it meant fail.

I usually take about four hours on a Sunday finding coupons and store deals and planning my husband’s and my weekly dinners, planning for enough leftovers for us to each take another meal to work, and then going grocery shopping in the hectic afternoon crowd at Dillon’s.

Oh, joy, Sundays.

Well, last week, I wanted to pre-plan and pre-prepare our week of meals so I would have less cooking and cleaning to do during the week.

I won’t lie.

It was pretty awful and exhausting, and I’m not sure I want to do it again.

Of course, I might just need more practice. Blargh.

My meal list:

  • To-Go Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Crockpot Jambalaya
  • Roasted Italian Sausage, Peppers and Onions with Red Potatoes
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Crockpot

I also planned a crockpot-cooked Braised Venison meal that went HORRIBLY wrong. We’re not going to talk about it.

Ever.

My grocery list:

  • Too long to type
  • Too long to think about

Out of four meals, I only had the breakfast sandwiches and two others prepped by 6 p.m. And I was pooped!

Egg Sausage Breakfast Sandwich on English Muffin

Roasted Italian Sausage with Peppers, Onions and Red Potatoes

I froze the breakfast sandwiches and the Roasted Italian Sausage Pepper Bake for later. (In the future, I won’t freeze the onions and peppers for these. I’ll just refrigerate them. They burned and turned to mush when I cooked them.)

Double blargh…

Fail or not, I got out of this weekend of prep 10 Berry Banana Smoothies, six delicious breakfast sandwiches, one bake and one crockpot.

I guess I can’t complain!

Holy Trinity Cajun Mirepoix

Crockpot Jambalaya
Ingredients

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 6 oz. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (Check out this recipe for it!)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cup cooked long-grain white rice

Directions
Adapted from The Judy Lab via Delish

The night before you want to have Crockpot Jambalaya, do the following:

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat into a storage container for refrigeration. (You could also do this night of, if you want.)

Season the chicken with the homemade Cajun spice, and then saute until browned. Add to your large crockpot.

Saute the andouille sausage until just darkened. (My husband and I like it best when the edges are nearly black.) Add to the crockpot.

Saute the chopped onion, peppers, celery and garlic with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then add those to the crockpot, too.

Saute the shrimp in olive oil with salt and pepper until just pink, and then remove to a container you can refrigerate. (You can also do this night of, if you want.)

Add the remaining ingredients, except the rice and shrimp, to the crockpot.

Shove everything into the refrigerator until the next morning.

On your lunch break the next day, start your crockpot at about noon or 1 p.m. Add the rice and shrimp when you get home from work and leave it be until they’re heated through.

Aaaaaaand enjoy!

Pretty yum, even without a proper roux…

Recipe for Crockpot Jambalya Soup

Recipe for Banana Berry Smoothie

#sundaysmoothieprep: Banana Berry Smoothies

A tried and true standby for preparing smoothies without a whole lot of thought: Banana Berry Smoothies.

Banana Strawberry Blackberry Blueberry Raspberry Smoothie

Banana Berry Smoothies
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (I used two large frozen strawberries and 1/4 cup frozen blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.)
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1/2 handful (about 1/4 cup-ish) baby kale
  • 1/2 cup almond/cashew milk blend
  • 1/4 cup green juice (I used something bottled by Odwalla, but Bolthouse and others have good options, too.)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds

Directions

Pour all into a blender and liquify!

Makes about 10 12 oz. mason jars (above the 12 oz. line).

Orange juice, green juice, almond and cashew milk, berries, banana, baby kale and chia

Banana, berry, smoothie, recipe, ingredients, green juice