Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nesting and Baking: Week 36 (and a half)

Oh boy.  I'm not sure if nesting and baking can be intertwined, but I almost think they can.  I've caught myself a couple times now cleaning something and pausing mid-way through because I think of something else that needs to be cleaned and I start cleaning that thing instead of finishing my first project.  I'll call it CADD: Cleaning Attention Deficit Disorder.  The cure? I haven't found it yet. 

I can guarantee you that this past week, I have done WAY more baking than cleaning.

As a gestational diabetic, it has been very hard to avoid the sweets and treats that make up part of the holiday season.  Aaron and I did find my favorite Christmas candy: Snicker's Nutcrackers. Oh my goodness- these are SO good! I looked at the carbs and knew I could enjoy one as my evening snack. Since these are a specialty item, and because we are living in a marketing world, the nutcrackers are very small. It was a bit of a reality check to see how many carbs are in such a small piece of chocolate.  But I do retain self-control and limited myself to just one.  And what a wonderful one it was! 

Side note: I do urge you to buy holiday specific candy, if possible, because it is so much fresher than the original candy. 

After the candy disappeared over the course of a week, (one a day for 7 days), I decided I could hold off on buying anymore candy until after Noah is born.  I did request that any candy I receive for Christmas be the regular kind and not sugar-free. Sugar-free candy is still pretty carb-y because of the sugar alcohol in it.  I plan to avoid eating candy until Noah arrives-- but I do plan on taking any candy I receive with me to the hospital to enjoy after Noah is here.  :)

Due to my Pinterest addiction, I have come across many many wonderful dessert recipes. Combine the ample recipes with my LOVE of baking, and we end up with a semi-dangerous combination.  Normally, I don't think I'd really have the energy to do the amount of baking that I've done this past week.  However, my theory is that the energy I'm supposed to be using to clean my house (aka "nesting") somehow got crossed with the "baking" wire in my brain.  So I have an enormous amount of energy when it comes to baking stuff this week! 

I have been good and have packaged up most of the baked goods into single-serve portions that I have frozen so that I can have home-baked goods during my maternity leave when I probably really won't have the energy to do any baking since I'll be spending my time learning how to be a mommy to a toddler and a newborn. 

I also know that we will be spending lots of time with family this week, and it's my plan to bring some desserts with me each time we go to a family get-together. That way, I can use up this energy I have to bake, and I can give away the treats to family! 

This past week, I have made cake-mix cookie snickerdoodles, yellow cake mix cookies with peppermint Hershey kisses on top, Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownies (I don't normally make brownies from a box, but these were BOGO at Publix), tiny chocolate chip cookies, and Great Depression cupcakes. 

I plan to make some brownie truffles, peanut butter fudge, and brownie cheesecake bites for family this week. 

Okay, enough about baking.  Let's talk about pregnancy!

On Christmas Eve, I'll reach 37 weeks (full-term).  This week, I return to the doctor and get a pelvic exam to see if there's any effacing or dilation.  I'm not expecting any, but I certainly won't be disappointed if there is any progression. 

I put the baby monitor in place, and put the mattress pad and sheet on the cradle mattress.  I'm in the process of washing all of the tiniest baby clothes that we have.  I washed them before they were put away after Michael grew out of them, but that was over a year ago and I figured they could use another wash.  This is my time to nest after all. 

My hospital bag is essentially packed.  Here is what I have included: new pajamas (thanks, Mom!), nursing sleep bras, a few nursing pads, a towel (for Aaron so he won't have to use the tiny hospital ones), an outfit for Noah to have his picture taken in, a coming-home outfit for Noah, and a receiving blanket.  I will still need to pack my toiletries and make-up when I leaving the house on "labor day."

The car seat is installed. We are basically baby-ready!  Aaron says he is ready anytime.  I am ready, I think, although I do not mind at all if Noah stays in the womb for the remaining 3 weeks of the pregnancy-- he benefits from every day spent in the womb!  It seems like this pregnancy flew by until week 30-- and then it slowed down until week 36.  It is speeding up again to me and I can't believe that we're 3 weeks (or less) away from meeting little Noah!  I am so excited for this moment to be approaching.  Now that the car seat is installed, and the hospital bag is packed, and the baby cradle has sheets and the baby monitor is set up, I feel much more at ease.

Here is a photo of the cradle:

You can see the Angel Care monitor Nursery unit sitting in the cradle.  This will, of course, be next to the cradle when Noah arrives.  Also, you'll notice the "bear" cocoon and hat that my Aunt Mari made for Noah.  I will be taking some newborn shots of him in this sweet baby outfit.

Here is a picture of my hospital bag and the contents:

From let to right you'll see:

  • Orange towel for Aaron
  • New PJs for me
  • Eye masks (one for Aaron and one for me, because there's always that one light that you can't turn off)
  • Coming home outfit for Noah (a long sleeve sleeper with trucks on it)
  • A couple different baby hats for him,
  • Two receiving blankets (one has planes and stars on it, and the other has trucks and busses on it)
  • White jacket if he needs it
  • Outfit for hospital picture. (We missed out on this opportunity with Michael since he was in the Extended Care Nursery for his whole stay-- so I figured I'd bring the outfit Michael came home from the hospital in, and have Noah wear it for his pictures since it's too cold for it to be his coming home outfit)
Since I took that picture, I have added a few nursing tops for myself as well as my coming home outfit-- a purple maternity shirt and a pair of nice maternity jeans.  I'm on the hunt to find all of my sweat pants to bring with me to wear in the hospital. 

I appreciate all of the prayers as we head into the final days of this pregnancy.  Much love, Reba 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Holiday Favorites: Home Scents

It’s time for another round of Holiday Favorites.  This time it’s all about making your home smell festive and fun!

I have an array of candles, sprays, and gel air fresheners that I alternate among to keep my home smelling pleasant.  I’m anxious to try a simmering water technique with fresh cranberries, orange and lemon slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks, but I haven’t gotten around to that quite yet.  For now, here are my top choices for home scents around the holidays.  These scents work well in both the autumn and winter seasons.


I have a love/hate relationship with candles.  I love to peruse the selection of candles in various stores.  However, I’m not a fan of the price tags!  The other day, Michael and I were shopping in Target and I found a candle that smelled amazing.  However, it was way too pricy for the size of the candle itself.  So, Michael and I went on the hunt to find a cheaper candle.  It doesn’t smell nearly as good, but it was one-third the price. J  The candles I am willing to splurge on are as follows:

Yankee Candle— Kitchen Spice:


Yankee Candle— Apple Cider:

These two scents are marvelous.  I know you might be thinking “Spend over $20 on a candle?!? No thank-you.”  And I was the same way—until I bought one.  The thing about Yankee Candles is that the scent fills the room where the candle is, and it meanders into nearby rooms.  Every time I light a Yankee Candle at my home, I receive compliments on it from any guest that drops in.  These candles also last a long time.  I have a Medium Size jar of both of the above-mentioned scents.  They have both lasted over 2 years.  It’s a worthwhile investment. 

You can find these candles at a Yankee Candle store, or on the Yankee Candle website.  I have also discovered that these candles are available on amazon.com (my favorite website).  Sometimes, you can even find them at Cracker Barrel in the Old Country Store. 


Air Fresheners:

Usually, I am not such a huge fan of air fresheners because they can come across too strong and present a chemically smell.  In addition, they can also be pricy.  However, recently I found a “Fall Collection” set at Costco for a fabulous price and I scooped it up.  It included three Febreze air fresheners.  I’m only discussing two here because I haven’t tried out the third scent, and I don’t want to write about something I do not know.  The two scents I have tried out are Apple Spice and Fluffy Vanilla. 

The first time I ever smelled the Febreze Apple Spice scent was in college.  My friends had this scent to spray in their dorm room.  I remember how wonderful it smelled and how it filled the space with its scent.  I really enjoy using this one. 

The Fluffy Vanilla is a good holiday scent.  It leaves a nice light fragrance in the air—almost a cross between freshly warmed towels from the dryer and cookies baking in the oven.   It’s a pleasant scent that I have used in my kitchen and in my living room. 

The smell of the Febreze air fresheners linger and they don’t overpower the room with the chemically smell left by some other brands of air fresheners. 

Apple Spice Febreze:

Fluffy Vanilla Febreze:

Gel Air Fresheners:
I like to use the gel air fresheners on shelves throughout my home to provide a light scent.  These scents don’t fill a whole room, but they are nice for areas that could use a little perfume-y bounce.  I am a fan of the Renuzit brand of gel air fresheners.  I mainly stick a little canister on the backs of the toilets, or on shelves in the living room, or on the kitchen counter near the garbage can.  I have tried several fragrances including Lavender Vanilla, and Apple Cinnamon.  My most recent favorite is Amber Vanilla.  At first, I wasn’t so sure I’d like it just because I don’t gravitate towards amber-scented items.  However, these smell fantastic!  I got a three-pack at Target and have placed them around the house.  When I load and unload my dishwasher, I smell the one sitting on the counter near the garbage can.  I’ve caught myself a few times wondering what smelled like a baking cake.  This scent is very nice and very appealing in a variety of settings.  I have one on the shelf in the guest bathroom, on a shelf in the living room, and on a counter in the kitchen. 
Renuzit Amber Vanilla:
I hope you’ve enjoyed my fragrance suggestions to get your home smelling festive this holiday season!
Much love, Reba

Monday, December 9, 2013

...But not this year...

It's the first week of December, and I don't have my Christmas decorations up yet.  Maybe by the time this post is published, my home will be somewhat decorated for the season.  However, I am coming to the realization that getting down every single Christmas decoration we have accumulated just will not happen this year.  Why not? you may ask.  The reason is, this year, I am consciously doing less. 

I read an absolutely fabulous blog post the other day. Click  here  for the link to that blog post.  I don't know the woman who wrote it.  I only know that she wrote exactly what I needed to read.  Every word of that blog post stuck with me.  It has resonated in my mind and I have vowed to myself to make this holiday season a simple one.  For my little boy.  For my baby to be.  For my husband.  For me. 

We see the phrase "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" posted around our churches, on ornaments, on decorative pins on the sweaters of women we pass in the grocery store, on Christmas cards, and maybe even on a festive tray or napkins at our own homes.  But oftentimes, we become consumed with keeping up with the Joneses and we really don't cling to the promise that Jesus is the reason for the season.  Our homes are decorated to the T.  We spend huge amounts of money to make our homes smell like Christmas, and look like a cover of Southern Living magazine.  We feel like we have to rush to buy the greatest Christmas gifts for our family members and friends so that we can dust off our shoulders and feel the pride that comes when they open the gift we've bought for them.  This mad rush and the frantic feelings that come with it are all centered around one thing:  Stuff.  Stuff we don't need.  Stuff we probably can't really comfortably afford.  Stuff that will sit in the attic for 11 months out of the year.  Stuff that will look pretty on the outside, but will eat away at our insides because we were miserable all the while as we raced around trying to fulfill our own fantasies about what Christmas should be like for us. 

I don't want to be that person again. 

I want to enjoy my life as a wife and mother.  I want to embrace each day of this season with the mindset that it's not about me, or gifts, or decorations, or traditions.  It's about Jesus.  And I can be honoring to Him by truly focusing on His promises and His presence. 

Part of this means that I will be saying "no" to myself. 

Oh, I'm an excellent Pinner on Pinterest.  I can Pin with the best of them.  I have found so many cute ideas for my little Petersens to do as children.  This list includes drinking "Grinch Punch" while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas, making googly-eye ornaments, and painting thumb-print snowmen and Christmas lights.  It includes baking the rolled-out sugar cookies that my mom would bake at Christmastime when I was growing up.  It includes going on a Christmas light scavenger hunt.  Maybe starting the Elf on the Shelf routine.  It includes my kiddles unwrapping a "Christmas Eve box" filled with Christmas PJs, a Christmas movie, microwave popcorn bags, hot chocolate mix, and snacks to enjoy as a family snuggled up on the couch on Christmas Eve night.  It includes so many sweet, cute things that make the holiday time extra special.  But it's not for this year. 

This year, Michael will be nearly 16 months old on Christmas day.  He doesn't sit still long enough to make it through a movie.  His drinks of choice go from water to milk to apple juice-- so he won't very much care if he doesn't get to drink Grinch Punch this year.  He is just now learning to color (and by that, I mean making lots of polka dots and scribbles on paper), so he won't be coordinated enough to make a googly-eye ornament, or a thumb-print picture of snowmen and Christmas lights.  Although he has my sweet tooth (which around this time of year, at least in my situation, becomes as large as the North Pole itself), we probably won't make our own batch of Christmas cookies.  Funny how gestational diabetes makes you look for alternative festive foods besides cookies and milk.  And, I do know that my mom will be baking these cookies, and Michael can certainly have part of one while at her house.  We have no Elf on the Shelf this year.  We might possibly drive around and look at Christmas lights if we feel like we have the time and desire.  I bought Michael a set of Christmas-y PJs at a consignment sale back in September, but we won't be unwrapping a Christmas Eve box this year. 

My Pinterest list is great.  But not for this year.  This year, we will just be.  We will be happy at home spending time with each other.  Michael and I have spent most afternoons this week playing with toys with a Christmas movie on in the background.  He runs over to me and asks to be held, and we sit on the couch and watch the movie for a few minutes seconds until he scoots off the couch and resumes his Energizer bunny mentality.  And all in all, it has been great.  It has been simple, and I am savoring every moment of it. 

This weekend, Aaron and I will put up some of our Christmas decorations-- not everything, but some things.  We'll put up the tree and decorate it with the toddler friendly ornaments we have.  We'll set our Jesse tree on the dining room table and have our devotional in the mornings or at suppertime.  We'll hang Michael's stocking on the mantle and resting on the mantle will be the Nativity set. 

At the moment, these are our holiday decorations currently on display:

-On our front door hangs what Target calls "swag."  I thought it was different and pretty, and might hold up better this year than my homemade Ornament wreath which has seens its better days. 

On display on my vanity right now is Priscilla the Expectant Mother-- part of the Fontanini Nativity Set.  I got Priscilla for my birthday and she's been in my room since then.  She will join the other Nativity figurines once they are brought down from the attic and placed on the mantle. 

And finally, on my fingernails is this bright red finger nail polish.  Although it's somewhat "chippy" (I've had to recoat my nails several times this week), it is just the right hue of red to add a festive flair to my outfits. 

I sometimes light a Pumpkin Cheesecake scented candle in the kitchen in the afternoons when I get home.  It offers a festive aroma without tempting calories and carbs of a real dessert!  So, at least I know that if Michael and I aren't baking Christmas cookies together this year, at least our home can smell like we're baking. 

I extend our invitation to you.  To just do less this year and spend more time focusing on the true Reason for the Season and enjoying the family and friends around you. 

My prayer is that we all grow a little closer to our families and our friends as we delve into another season that can be overshadowed by material things.  I pray that we all find the time to embrace the peace that this season can offer if we let it.  I pray that our homes be filled with warmth as we truly enjoy the company around us.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  It doesn't have to be expensive.  We can simply just be.

Much love, Reba

*P.S.-- Last night, Aaron got down our decorations from the attic.  The nativity is now set up on the mantle.  Michael's stocking hangs from the mantle.  Our Jesse tree ornaments are sitting on the dining room table waiting for the Jesse tree to make it's appearance once we find it (in the attic I hope).  This afternoon, I'll assemble our tree and plug in the lights and Aaron & I will decorate it after Michael goes to bed.  See?  Simple things can be enough.  :)  I'm feeling more peaceful and relaxed already. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap & Pregnancy Update

Thanksgiving was super fun!  It is totally my favorite holiday and even with the diet restrictions of gestational diabetes, I still fully enjoyed myself and loved every minute of the day.

On Wednesday, I had an OB appointment.  I was 33 weeks along, and Noah was the size of a Durian fruit!  I'm pretty sure he has turned to be head-down in the womb.  At the appointment, everything went well.  This time, I had the Strep B test done-- totally not fun.  I am so glad to get that out of the way!  The doctor was pleased with my blood sugar numbers.  I go back for another appointment in a week. 

On Thanksgiving day, Michael and I woke up around 8:00.  I set the TV to record the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade so that when Aaron woke up we'd be able to watch it together.  Michael and I played with toys, and he ate breakfast while I enjoyed a cup of decaf coffee. 

When Aaron got up, we watched the parade and Michael was even interested in some parts of it--mainly the singing that went on by the Broadway groups.  He took a good morning nap and Aaron and I enjoyed our breakfast together-- my fabulous husband made a low carb breakfast that didn't skimp on taste in the least! :) 

We assembled our Thanksgiving dishes (green bean casserole and rolls) and headed to the neighborhood to Aaron's mom's home around 1:30.  Once there, Michael played and I followed him around the house until the dinner was ready.  Michael was dressed to the nines in a festive bib I got for him on sale at Hobby Lobby.  It was a white bib with a turkey on it, and it said "Gobble Gobble."  Michael isn't really a bib wearer, but I figured it wouldn't hurt for a day and I really wanted him to have something festive to wear!  I served him a nice variety of food on his Thanksgiving plate from his Aunt Bethany, and I served myself a plate of some indulgences (a small portion of stuffing and green bean casserole) and low-carb items (super tasty!). 

I was busy feeding him from his special plate, but that only lasted about 10 bites until he was frustrated and just wanted to feed himself!  So I put his plate on his high-chair tray and he went to town!  He played with his mashed potatoes, and ate a good portion of the food on his plate (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, and turkey).  Sure, he made a mess, but I didn't mind at all.  He was learning and having fun in the process.  I brought a change of clothes for him and with a few wipes of his face and the high chair tray, he was as good as new!  And the dogs got a nice little Thanksgiving bonus from the crumbs Michael dropped all around his chair.  :) 

Doesn't he look like he's having a blast?!?  His face totally lit up when I handed him his own plate. :) 

Afterwards, after a break from all of the food, Aaron and I played a quick game of Skip-Bo while Michael entertained the rest of the family with his jibber jabbers and walking around with his blankie on his head (he was quite proud of himself, by the way.) :)

We had a great selection of pies to choose from.  I enjoyed a serving of crustless pumpkin pie made with Splenda.  It was fantastic!  I really enjoyed the conversation and relaxation that our Thanksgiving brought.  It is SUCH a blessing to be able to spend the holiday with family.  To be in a place where you are loved and your children are loved is truly something special.  There's an extra dose of relaxation that comes with that because I knew that it was ok if my son made a mess at the table.  It was ok if he ran off his energy afterwards.  My husband and I got to enjoy some quality time and friendly competition in our card game.  We ate our pie in the dining room and were joined by our moms.  Talking with them and sharing stories was such fun!  And did I mention it was cold?!?  That always makes it feel more like a holiday to me!  The day really couldn't have been any better and I am very blessed.

My younger brother came home with us and spent the night so that he could play video games with Aaron and go hunting the next morning.  Michael and I woke up when they did and spent the day at my mom's house watching Christmas movies until the boys came home around lunchtime.  Then, Aaron, Michael, and I went home to enjoy some family time.  That evening, we took Michael and Akuna back to my mom and dad's house to spend the night so that Aaron and I could go on a date!  We went out to eat and afterwards bought a car-seat/booster seat for Michael that could go in Aaron's car.  We came home and watched a movie together and slept in the next morning!  That was such a fun night and we're very thankful to my parents for giving us that opportunity.

On Saturday, we hosted my parents and younger brother for the Iron Bowl.  We made an array of snacks to enjoy during the game.  Michael thoroughly enjoyed cheese cubes, some ham, and sausage balls. :)  It was another great day and made me even more appreciative of the time we get to spend with family.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as wonderful as ours.  We look forward to Christmas and the time we get to spend with family.  Shortly thereafter, Noah will arrive and we are very anxious to meet our little man.  :) 

Much love, Reba

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Favorites: Pepperminty Fresh

The holidays bring about fond memories of family traditions and fun hang-outs with friends.  This time of year, I find myself "craving" certain scents and tastes moreso than at other times of the year.  I thought it would be fun to blog about some of my holiday favorites. 

This time, it's all about the peppermint!

I recently stumbled upon an amazing lip balm from Blistex.  Not only does it come in a festive tube of Christmasy green, but it has a great minty scent!  It is called Blistex Medicated Mint Balm and you can find it here

Another festive favorite is the Twisted Peppermint line from Bath and Body Works:

For Christmas several years ago, I received Twisted Peppermint lip-balm (which you can find here).  The lip-balm was tri-colored (pink, white, and red) in a swirl and was very very minty!  I loved this lip-balm and it's perfect for use during the winter! 

In college, my roommates and I discovered the Twisted Peppermint hand soap (found here ).  This soap smells soooo good!  We kept it at the kitchen sink and would purposely go wash our hands about every 10 minutes because we LOVED the scent of this soap! 

Last year for Christmas, I received a bottle of the Twisted Peppermint body lotion (found here ).  I keep this lotion on my desk at work.  It smells amazing and really does a great job of softening skin.  It's a light scent so it doesn't overwhelm or overpower.  Perfect for a workplace setting!

I also received the Twisted Peppermint candle (found here ) for Christmas.  This candle's scent fills the room with a nice aroma and I received many compliments on it.  I like to use it in the kitchen-- I place the candle on the stovetop (away from tiny fingers) and it fills my kitchen and dining room with a refreshing minty scent. 

If all of these peppermint scents make you want to eat something pepperminty, I suggest Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, which can be found here .  They are a Christmas favorite for both Aaron and me, although this year I'll refrain from indulging due to the gestational diabetes.  But, they are the perfect pepperminty snack at Christmastime!  I highly recommend them!

I hope you've enjoyed this collection of my favorite pepperminty things! 
Check back in a few days for a Thanksgiving recap!  I cannot wait!

Much love, Reba

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pregnancy Update: Week 32

Tuesday marked 32 weeks for this pregnancy!  I am SO excited to be this close to meeting Noah!  I know that our weeks will soon be jam-packed with holiday festivities and that will make these final weeks zoom by faster than any of the previous weeks!  Thanksgiving is just a week away! And Michael will get to enjoy the Thanksgiving foods with us this year! And on Sunday, December 1st, it is Christmas Decorating Day at the Petersen home!  I look forward to watching Christmas movies and doing fun festive holiday things with Michael like looking at Christmas lights, sharing a Christmas cookie, decorating the tree, and playing outside (weather permitting).  I am excited to see how Michael reacts to Christmas decorations this year.  Last year whenever we turned on the Christmas tree lights, he would cry.  I'm hoping for a happier reaction this year!  Whenever I'm in a department store with him, I push the cart through the Christmas section so he can see the twinkly lights.  Last year, in Target, he picked out his own stocking (and by that I mean that Aaron held a brightly colored, very jingle-bell bedazzled stocking in front of him and shook it to make sound and Michael's face lit up-- so that was the stocking we bought for him.)  It's so fun to have holiday traditions to look forward to and new ones to create this year as we have a busy toddler in the mix of it all!  :) 

I know these remaining 7 weeks and 5 days (yes, I'm counting) will go by faster than I think they will.  I've started to think about random things I'd like to clean and places in the house I'd like to organize and I sometimes stop and think "wait a second, it's not time to Nest yet!" and then I remember how far along I am and think "Oh yeah, I have less than 10 weeks to go-- I suppose I could be nesting."  I've made some strides towards achieving the things on my to-do list.  One of the things I'd like to do is organize Michael's hand-me-downs for Noah.  I bought an under-the-bed storage bin from Target for a great price and I'll be able to organize the clothes according to size and see where I might need to purchase extra pieces (like more hats or long-sleeves since Noah is a winter baby).  After I'm through organizing the clothes, I can push the bin under the bed in Michael's room and have it be out of sight until I'm ready to use it.  This way, it will be readily accessible as I change out clothes for Noah as he grows. 

I will have a doctor appointment next week.  I go every two weeks now and those two weeks sure go by quickly!  I can't believe we are this far along!  Noah is still quite active and hiccups are a daily occurence.  He has grown from the size of a rutabaga (week 27) to an eggplant (week 28) to an acorn squash (week 29) to a cucumber (week 30) to a pineapple (week 31) to a regular squash-- similar to a pumpkin (week 32).  :)  He's a growing boy and reminds me daily that he'll be quite active when he gets here! 

Here is a picture of my belly.  This picture was taken yesterday. 

Michael is showing how happy he is to try new supper items like beef stew!  I mushed up the carrots and potatoes and shredded the beef into bite-size pieces and put it on his tray.  He was in hog-heaven and felt so much like a big boy!  He rarely wants to be spoon fed anymore.  He'd rather have the food put directly on his tray so he can feed himself.  This is such a help to me! 

This picture was taken on Monday about 10 minutes after he woke up from his "evening nap."  It was so nice to have him wake up so happy!


Recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:
(adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/flourless-peanut-butter-cookies-recipe/index.html)
Yield: 18 cookies  (when you mix up the batter, it won't look like it'll make 18 cookies, but it really ddoes if you keep the cookie size to about a tablespoon like the directions state.  These make for small cookies, but the smaller the cookie the lower the carbs).


  • 1 cup peanut butter  (I used Jif Creamy Peanut Butter)
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (I used Splenda)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.
In a medium bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and egg until well combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten the mounds with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle coarse salt on top of the cookies.
Bake until golden around the edges, about 10 minutes, switching the position of the sheets halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool.

Since the cookies are flourless, they're very tender, so let them cool awhile on the pan before moving them.


I hope your upcoming week is full of family time and fun traditions.  I look forward to posting a recap on how our Thanksgiving holiday goes!  Much love, Reba

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Peek Into the World of a Toddler

Welcome to our busy world!  I hope the pictures that follow give you an idea of the go-go-go lifestyle that Michael lives!  He is such an active little guy!  And he's not even 2 yet!  I have a feeling that my house will look like a "toy-nado" went through it daily.  I have a feeling that it might be like this for the next several years since we'll have two little boys racing around!  The funny thing is, I do not mind at all.  I love to see the toys scattered throughout the living room, and the shoes pulled out of the cubby holes, and the couch pillows strewn about.  As I tidy up in the evenings after Michael has gone to bed, I smile and count my blessings.  To be the mother of a toddler, with another sweet boy on the way, I am extravagantly blessed.  It doesn't need to be November for me to count my blessings, but it does remind me moreso of how blessed our family is. 

Last night, Aaron and I just sat on the couch and watched Michael entertain himself by spinning in circles and running laps back and forth across the living room-- squealing with joy and bubbling over with laughter the whole time.  Occasionally, Aaron and I would look at each other and just laugh because Michael found the silliest things to laugh about.  Being the mommy of a toddler is so fun and so funny!  Here is a photo recap of Michael's activities these last few weeks:

At the church "Harvest Festival!"  Michael was Aubie.  Here he is laughing at himself.  :) 

Masquerading as Batman in his spare time.  

Being my sweet outside boy!  He LOVES to be outside!  This picture was taken by Grandma Chips as Michael played outside at her house.  Melt my heart!  He's just so cute!

This is one of Michael's new-found favorite activities:  Taking the couch pillows off the couch, throwing them on the floor, jumping on top of them, and then laying down.  :)

Like I said, this boy LOVES to be outside.  Here he is with a stick in hand, ready to go! 

This was the next day.  As you can see, it got a little colder and he had to wear a jacket.  He does an excellent job of keeping the hood up!  Once again, a stick in hand makes a very happy boy!  I LOVE his excitement and expressions!

Looking out the window at Grandma and Grampa's house. He loves to look in mirrors and out the windows.

This was on Sunday.  Daddy was at the Seahawks game, so Michael was sporting his Seahawks gear at home!  Here he is playing with a School Bus-- we love School busses since Grampa drives one and Auntie Angela drives one too!  This weekend, he started saying "bus-bus." So fun!  Such a cute little face! 

Our growing boy.  He LOVES to eat!  Dinner time always brings lots of smiles!   (PS-- I don't even mind if you see my messy countertops in the background.  It was the night before trash pick-up, and we had just received 4 boxes from Amazon.com and Target.com, and I was busy cleaning out the fridge and loading the dishwasher.  I'm expanding my motherly skills to include housework while feeding a toddler, and cooking supper!)  :) 
This is our sweet boy holding his "crown" (one of my head-bands).  He thinks it's the funniest thing to put it on his head and run around the living room.  
And the final picture of the post that I'll leave you with is an action shot of this busy toddler during one of his laps through the living room sporting his "crown."  :)  How could anyone not love this kid?!?  I think he's pretty fantastic.  :)
I hope you have enjoyed this peek into the world of Michael as a toddler.  He definitely keeps me on my toes!  Check back in a few days for a pregnancy update and a recipe to a FABULOUS flourless peanut butter cookie (low carb).  :)  Much love, Reba

Friday, November 1, 2013

Life (so far) as a Gestational Diabetic

Once I found out that I had gestational diabetes, I immediately started making changes to my diet.  I consulted with my mom (a nurse), my dad (someone who lowered his blood sugar through diet and exercise), my aunt (someone who has a form of diabetes), and my sister-in-law (a pharmacist).   Truth be told, I was overwhelmed, nervous, and defeated at first.  I was overwhelmed by the seemingly big changes I would have to make to my diet.  I was nervous as to the effects of gestational diabetes on my little Noah growing inside of me.  And I felt completely defeated.  Though I had heard and read time and again that it's nothing the mother does that causes gestational diabetes, I couldn't let myself believe it!  I was certain that the sweets I had consumed in the recent weeks had somehow led me to the path that I now found myself on.  (And to be honest, part of me still wonders if I could have avoided this whole situation had I been a healthier eater from the start of the pregnancy.)  After attending the gestational diabetes counseling class last week, my fears and concerns were addressed and, for the most part, put to rest. 

In the class, I was given a blood sugar monitor and was taught how to test my blood sugar.  I was given a handy chart to show at what times on which days I'm supposed to check my blood sugar levels.  Fortunately for me, I experienced a blood sugar low which meant that I had to eat a snack and test my levels again 15 minutes later.  During the follow-up testing of my blood sugar, I bent one of the lancet needles, which rendered it useless.  Then I didn't get a big enough blood drop to test with the meter-strip, and finally on my third try, I got it right and my blood sugar showed that it was on the rise (as it should be).  I consider the mistakes I made while trying to test my blood sugar to be a good thing because it allowed me to see different scenarios of what could go wrong, and how to adjust.

During the second half of the class, a nutrionist spoke about food food food.  She informed us as to how many carbs we should have at each meal.  I was instructed to eat three meals and three snacks each day.  I learned about what vegetables were starchy vegetables and had a higher carb count.  I learned about the carbs in fruits and dairy products.  I learned what portion sizes actually should look like-- and for some things it was quite a shock!  I was given a food diary and received instructions to write down everything I ate for the next week.  One week from the date of the class, I would have a follow-up appointment where the nutritionist would check the chart that I would be writing down my blood sugars, and she would compare that to my food diary to see the correlation between my food and my blood sugar.  We were informed that a healthy diet and a healthy amount of exercise can do wonders for blood sugar levels.  I made a couple trips to the grocery store during the week to stock up on healthy food choices.  I also began using my Pregnancy Fitness DVD (the Third Trimester section) every other day. 

I attended my follow-up appointment on Tuesday of this week.  It went very well.  The nutritionist was very pleased with my blood sugar levels and the amount of carbs I was consuming.  It has been extremely helpful for me to know more about food and it's role in blood sugar levels.  Although they say that gestational diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born, I think I will keep up with these healthier eating habits from here on out.  Since I have gestational diabetes, I am more at risk to get Diabetes Type II in the future.  This is something that I'd like to avoid at all costs!

I had an OB appointment right after my nutritionist appointment.  Overall, the doctor was pleased with my blood sugar levels and instructed me to keep checking them daily according to the chart's guidelines.  I will bring the charts with me to each appointment so he can monitor my blood sugar levels.  At the moment, my blood sugar levels are controlled with diet and exercise.  It's possible that I might require medication to help me control my blood sugar levels as the pregnancy progresses and the levels of insulin in my body changes.  It is my goal to be able to continue to control my blood sugar levels with just diet and exercise.  I want to avoid having to take medication to control these levels if I can help it.  We discussed several things related to the effect of gestational diabetes on the baby-- which is my biggest concern.  I want to do everything possible to ensure Noah's safety in the womb and in delivery.  I am deemed a high-risk pregnancy because of the diabetes.  At 38 weeks, I will have an ultrasound to estimate Noah's weight and shoulder width.  If Noah is estimated to be 9 pounds at that time, we will schedule a C-section as our method of delivery.  If Noah is estimated to be less than 9 pounds, then I will be permitted to go into labor on my own and attempt a vaginal delivery with the knowldge that a C-section might become necessary.   During my labor, the doctor will be closely monitoring my progress and searching for any signs of a pause in the labor-- as this would be an indication that a C-section is necessary. 

Talking with my doctor helped me work through some of the issues I've been afraid of relating to the effect of gestational diabetes on Noah.  I won't say that I have rid myself of all the nerves and anxiousness.  I am determined to stick to this diet and exercise program in order to ensure the health of my baby and to be a healthier mommy for my children.  Chasing after Michael as he runs around in true toddler form is a challenge and I can only imagine that two little boys running around together will present an even greater challenge!  It is one that I look forward to greatly, and I want to make sure I am a healthy mommy who can have healthy boys who are able to run around and play. 

At the counseling class, we were instructed to eat every 2 hours and to incorporate our three meals and three snacks daily.  Because I get up so early, I had to adjust the schedule to fit my lifestyle.  Therefore, I take the carb amount that I am allowed to have at snacktimes and split it in half in order  to eat two small snacks in between breakfast and lunch and two small snacks between lunch and dinner, and one larger snack after dinner.  This way, I'm not eating my lunch at 9:30am, and my supper at 1:30pm!  Here's a typical eating schedule for me:

4:45am-- Wake up
5:30am-- Breakfast (15-30g carbs)
7:30am-- 1st morning snack (10-15g carbs)
9:30am-- 2nd morning snack (10-15g carbs)
11:30am-- Lunch (30-45g carbs)
1:30pm-- 1st afternoon snack (10-15g carbs)
3:30pm-- 2nd afternoon snack (10-15g carbs)
5:30pm-- Dinner (30-45g carbs)
7:30pm--After dinner snack (15-30g carbs)
9:00pm-- Bedtime

This schedule has worked out quite well and the nutritionist was glad to see that I was adjusting their guidelines to fit my own personal schedule. 

I was taught in the class that carbs are the fuel for my body and my baby. So, cutting all carbs out of my diet is not the answer! That's why it's important to have carbs in my meals and my snacks. Our bodies need carbs to function properly-- I just have to be mindful of the amount of carbs needed.
My meals and snacks need to have a balance of carbs and proteins.  Sometimes it is a challenge to think of a good snack that has both carbs and protein.  For the first several days, my snacks consisted of a small apple and peanut butter or a serving of Ritz crackers and peanut butter.  I felt like I was eating peanut butter all day long!  I have been able to organize my meals and grocery shop for a variety of foods that allow me to have carbs and proteins without eating the same things all day long. 

Some of my favorite snacks have been:

  • 1/2c Pumpkin Whip (this is a dessert that tastes like pumpkin pie without the crust.  I altered the ingredients to be low carb.  A serving then equals 15g of carbs).  I pair this with string cheese.
  • Yoplait light yogurt-- in the dessert flavors of course!  (Boston Cream Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Cheesecake, Black Forest Cake, Red Velvet Cake, and Very Vanilla are my top choices).  One container has 16g of carbs and a good amount of protein. 
  • Ritz crackers with either 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter to spread on them, or paired with string cheese.
  • Small Gala apple cut into slices with either 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter to spread on the slices, or paired with string cheese (Colby Jack string cheese is particularly good with apples).
  • Graham crackers (2 full sheets) spread with cream cheese or peanut butter.  I am going to buy some Nutella at the store as an alternative topping.
  • Healthy Choice Fudge Bars.  These only have 9g of carbs per bar, so I am able to throw in another small carb choice to get my carb total to 15 for a snack.  I obviously can't bring this to work, so I indulge in one of these for my evening snack.  I found out yesterday afternoon that Michael really likes to share with me when I eat one of these!
  • Winn Dixie brand Toffee Ice Cream Bars.  These are a bit more of an indulgence.  Each bar contains 21g of carbs.  However, I am allowed to eat between 15g-30g of carbs for my snacks, so I save this for an evening snack.  It is an ice cream bar made with toffee flavored ice cream, and then dipped in chocolate and covered in toffee candy pieces.  It is delicious and Aaron likes them too!
I have learned not to "drink my carbs" as my Dad says.  That means, I've been enjoying water at work throughout the day.  I allow myself to have one can of Diet Dr. Pepper per day.  The nutritionist said that diet colas are perfectly safe during pregnancy.  This was reiterated by my sister-in-law.  I also bought some decaf tea bags and Splenda so that I could make a low-caffeine, sugar-free drink.  Sometimes, I have a cup of decaf coffee in the mornings. 

Although this has been a change for me and has taken some additional preparation to figure out appropriate meals and snacks, I know that it is a change for the better.  I feel very satisfied after eating a small snack or meal.  It really breaks up my work day quite well to know that I can have something to eat every 2 hours!  :)  I don't feel like I fall into the "early afternoon slump" anymore.  I still fall asleep on the couch around 8:30pm, but otherwise, I feel very rested and alert. 

Each day, I get more comfortable checking my own blood sugar and sticking to my low-carb diet.  I can say though that I am counting down the days until Noah's arrival!  After this bump in the road, I just want a healthy baby boy to hold!  :)  Prayers, as always, are much appreciated.  Much love, Reba

*Check back in a couple of days to find a post about the life of a toddler-- including lots of cute pictures of my little mobile boy!  :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

27 Weeks = 3rd Trimester!

It's so nice to finally be in the 3rd trimester!  I'm on the downhill slope of this roller coaster and it'll only get faster from here!

I treasure every day of this pregnancy, though.  Time is speeding by on its own.  I don't need to help it out by wishing away my days of being pregnant.  This pregnancy is already almost done and it has zoomed by so much faster than my first pregnancy.

Just yesterday, I was wondering if I was within 100 days of my due-date, so I made use of this cool website:  http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html.   As of today, I am 88 days away from my due-date.  --OR--

  • 2 months and 27 days
  • 7,603,200 seconds
  • 126,720 minutes
  • 2,112 hours
  • 12 and a half weeks

Over the past few weeks, Noah has grown in size from a cantaloupe (week 24--see last post) to the following vegetables:

Week 25: Cauliflower

(Source: foodsubs.com)
Week 26:  Lettuce
(Source: whatscookingamerica.net)
Week 27:  Rutabaga
(Source: gridphilly.com)


Last week at my OB appointment, I had to do a glucose screening test.  This is something every pregnant woman must do in order to test for gestational diabetes.  My doctor's office has a very low threshhold on acceptable glucose levels, so I only had to have my finger pricked (as opposed to other OB offices in the area who draw blood for this test).  I had to avoid caffeine the whole day and one hour before my appointment, I had to drink a very sugary juice.  Then at my appointment, they pricked my finger to see how I reacted to the juice.  Well, I had a level that was above their threshhold cut-off.  Therefore, I had to go to a three-hour Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) on Monday-- during my holiday. 
This was a "fasting" lab, so I wasn't allowed to have anything to eat or drink after midnight on Sunday night.  My test was scheduled for 8:00am on Monday.  I prayed that I wouldn't be hungry and God answered that prayer!  I had to have my blood drawn right when I got there in order for the nurse to have a base-line of my glucose levels.  Then I had to drink that same type of sugary juice as fast as I could.  My blood was then drawn at 1-hour intervals for three hours.  My mom came and sat with me in the waiting area, and this helped the time go by so much faster!  I was really thankful that she got to come sit with me.  After the test was over (around 11:30), I was able to go get something to eat.  The rest of the day, I just felt kind of drained, but I was so happy to get the test over with and was told that I'd get the results later in the week.
Yesterday, the nurse called me and told me that I have gestational diabetes.  Next week, I will be attending a Gestational Diabetes Counseling class where I'll learn how to monitor my blood sugar levels, and I'll be given instructions for how to change my diet.  I've gotten some ideas from family and friends on what to make for breakfasts (since I can't have cereal) and lunches (since high-carb leftovers and Pop-Tart lunch "desserts" are now a no-no).  I am eager to start making healthy changes for Noah's and my benefit. 
I plan to adjust my diet, make use of my Pregnancy Fitness DVD, and actively monitor my blood sugar levels in order to make the remainder of this pregnancy as healthy as possible!  Anything that helps out little Noah in his development and gives him a healthier Mommy is a top-priority of mine!  When I think of how he'll benefit from these changes, I do not even feel like I'll miss the brownies, cookies, and other sweets and carbs. 
So, I'm enjoying my days with Michael and treasuring this time where he's an "only child."  He's such a joy and I'm so excited that he'll be a big brother in January!  He makes me super happy to be a Mommy and I'm eagerly anticipating the day when our family gets a little bigger with Noah's arrival. 
Thank-you for all of the prayers!  They are much appreciated!  Much love, Reba


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

24 Weeks!

We have made it to 24 weeks!  Only 16 weeks left to go! 

This week was a busy one.  Michael, Akuna, and I spent most of the week at my mom and dad’s house since Aaron was working long, crazy hours (16 hours, 14 hours, 12 hours, etc) throughout the day and throughout some nights. 

At the end of the week was Aaron’s birthday.  So, I took the day off to celebrate with him (after he woke up from his nap since he worked the night before).  For his special birthday dinner, we drove down to a pizza place owned by one of his co-workers.  We both ordered some wings for a starter.  I ordered lemon pepper flavored wings, and they were so good!  They were massive wings, and I felt like Henry VIII chomping on a turkey leg. J  For my dinner, I ordered a Buffalo Chicken personal pan pizza.  It was wonderful!  I know we will be heading back to this restaurant for future date nights although it is a 45 minute drive.  After we ate, we headed to a frozen yogurt place in Prattville.  It’s one of those places where you fill up your cup with as many flavors of frozen yogurt as you’d like (they have about 12 flavors), and then you put as many toppings on as you’d like, and then the cup is weighed and that determines the price.  This doesn’t have to be an expensive date if you monitor the amount of frozen yogurt you swirl into your cup.  I got three flavors of yogurt:  peanut butter, cheesecake, and Nutella.  I topped it with Reese’s, chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles.  Yum. 

This week, I’ve had some interesting cravings:

·       “Homey food” like chicken & rice, chili & cornbread, hashbrown casserole. 

·       Salty things

·       Peanut butter spoon (my breakfast of choice for the past couple days)

·       Coffee (Folgers makes a Hazelnut Decaf.  Along with the French Vanilla decaf my mom got for me, I am feeling pretty set.  One cup of decaf with a little fat free milk and poured over ice makes a great breakfast drink!)

·       Broccoli

And I don’t think I have announced the gender of our new sweet, baby-to-be.   We are very excited to announce that we are having another boy!   His name will be Noah Scott Petersen.   The story of Noah in the Bible has always been one of my favorites.  Noah is mentioned again in the New Testament as an example of one of the most faithful men of God.   Faithfulness is very important to me.  When we were thinking of baby names, the name Noah popped into my mind for this reason.  I pray that our little Noah grows up to be a faithful man of God.   Aaron chose Noah’s middle name to reflect his own.  Since Michael is named after his grandfathers, we thought it was important for Noah to carry his father’s middle name.   So, come January, little Noah will arrive on the scene and add to the number of boys in our household.  I am feeling quite out-numbered.  J

This week, Noah is the size of a cantaloupe! 

 (Source: serenityacresnow.com)

And I think my belly reflects that size quite well!

We are always thankful for your prayers as we continue in this pregnancy journey!

Much love, Reba

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cravings Thus Far

So, like in my first pregnancy, I have had my share of cravings.  This post will recap my cravings from weeks 3&4 until now (week 22).  I forgot to write down my cravings each and every week, and some weeks I really didn't have an overwhelming craving, but overall, this is still a good synopsis.

Weeks 3&4:
  • the grouper sandwich from 2 Al's At the Beach Cafe.  I haven't been able to give into this craving yet.
  • fried pickles-- I ordered some from Sonic one evening as my side item to the Bacon Cheeseburger (hey, I'm pregnant after all).
Week 6:
  • Bratwurst with LOTS of yellow mustard and grilled carmelized onions on a bun.  I told this craving to Aaron and he said "You want a bratwurst??? You don't normally want bratwurst."  I replied "I'm not normally pregnant either."  His response:  "I love you."  :) 
  • salty foods
  • Coffee Toffee Bars-- this was my first "sweet" craving.
  • sour things like Pixi-Stix
Week 7:
  • anything with yellow mustard
  • sour things
  • dill pickles
Week 10:
  • Savory things.  If I got too much of a sweet taste in my mouth, I would guzzle water. 
  • dill pickles
  • lemonade
Weeks 14&15:
  • water-- I was SO thirsty!  I could not get enough water!
  • Broccoli!  I could not get enough! 
  • Pizza! I could eat it every day!
  • Non-food item:  I was ready for Fall!  Ready for Apple cider, pumpkins, crisp air, picking up pecans in the yard, going to the Pumpkin Patch with Michael and my nephew! 
Week 19:
  • apples!
  • Steamed veggies!  I could eat my weight in broccoli
Week 20:
  • spaghetti
  • Apples-- especially granny smith
  • Steamed veggies
Week 21:
  • cottage cheese
  • apples--granny smith or gala
  • peaches or nectarines
  • Chicken spaghetti-- I made this last night for supper because it was such a dominant craving this week! 

This week marks Week 22.  Little Baby P. 2 is the size of a papaya!


Today, I went to the doctor for my monthly check-up.  Little Baby P.'s heart-rate was 141, and he earned himself a "Perfect Heartbeat" award, just like his brother.  Next month, I will have the glucose test, where I am screened for gestational diabetes.  That means super healthy eating this next month!  In addition, we will have an ultrasound at our next appointment.  It's always fun to see Little Baby P. 2 on the ultrasound screen, so we are excited to have this next ultrasound.  :) 

Prayers are much appreciated!  Much love, Reba

Friday, September 6, 2013

Through the Produce Department (ie, Baby P.2's Development Thus Far)

When I read sites that discuss the development of babies in utero, I like to know how big babies can be at each week of pregnancy.  It's a way to help me connect with my little one on the inside.  Although some of this is review for me, since I was constantly up to date on Michael's development during that pregnancy, I still like to know how big this new baby is, and what new developmental milestones have taken place. 

Although we waited quite a bit to announce our pregnancy publicly, I have been keeping track of this baby's development.  As the weeks progress, we graduate to bigger pieces of fruits and vegetables.  Here is a size recap so far starting from week 3&4 and ending up where we are this week, which is 21 weeks.

Weeks 3&4:  Poppy Seed
Week 5: Apple Seed

Week 6: Sweet Pea

Week 7:  Blueberry

Week 8: Raspberry

Week 9: Green Olive

Week 10: Prune

Week 11: Lime

Week 12: Plum

Week 13: Peach

Week 14: Lemon

Week 15: Naval Orange

Week 16: Avocado

Week 17: Onion

Week 18: Sweet Potato

Week 19: Mango

Week 20: Banana

Week 21: Pomegranate

Photo sources in order of weeks:  lookieloophotography365.blogspot.com, Glassjarsoupcompany.com, Youngbloodcoaching.com, Floridahillnursery.com, leanraspberryketone.com,  weelittlez.wordpress.com,  wisegeek.com,  tasty-dishes.com,  harvesttotable.com,  blog.johnstonhealth.org, healthylivingguy.com, parkseed.com, whatscookingamerica.net, onion-router.net, home.howstuffworks.com, tasty-dishes.com, jezebel.com, theguardian.com.
I will write a post soon about all of my pregnancy cravings so far, as well as a post describing Baby P. 2's development during this week of pregnancy.
Much love, Reba