Story Time with Jenn- Goodnight Moon

Happy Monday!

Thank you for coming back for week two of Story Time with Jenn! It means you must have enjoyed last weeks! It was really fun reading The Cat in the Hat to you all… and to Emily, of course! I haven’t read childrens’ books, probably since I was a child. Actually, the last childrens’ book I read was Wacky Wednesday, which is my personal favorite Dr. Seuss book. We will be reading that one in just a few weeks!

I am excited for this week! We are going to be reading a book that I have actually never read before. It is a staple of many peoples’ childhoods, including my fiancè Connors’. I thought this book would be a great way to ease back into week two of our vlog.

Today, we will be reading Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. If you have your own copy, grab it and find a comfy spot on your couch or floor and read along!


Mozzarella Crusted Chicken

Mozzarella Crusted Chicken

We are FINALLY getting good at making chicken, no thanks to the wonderful recipes we receive every week. The first few recipes we got I followed to a T. This time I have myself a little liberty with measuring the olive oil and salt and pepper; I think it turned out delicious!

While every recipe isn’t going to taste as good or be as easy as this one was, it’s fun to create new meals every week and add them to our repertoire of yummy dishes.

Downloadable Cooking Instructions

This is our third time making a dish with broccoli, and to be honest, it was probably the best! It was maybe 3 minutes away from being perfectly charred on top, which is how I like broccoli, but with the lemon zest adding flavor, it was super delicious and a perfect pairing with the chicken and couscous. I’ve never had couscous before, and neither has Connor, but we both loved this dish! It was so easy to make and just tasted like buttery lemon rice. 10/10 will make with every chicken dish forever.

The chicken… come on! It was delicious! Connor was worried that the sour cream would give the chicken a funky flavor, but it blended so well with the mild seasoning and the mozzarella crust that you could hardly taste it. It added the perfect amount of moisture and I truly think helped make the chicken juicy and flavorful. It is by far our best chicken dish yet!

We are giving this dish 5 STARS! Easy, breezy, beautiful, chicken.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out the full video here on YouTube, and don’t forget to subscribe!

Mozzarella Crusted Chicken

Story Time with Jenn- The Cat in the Hat

Hey there! Welcome to Story Time with Jenn.

I created this channel because my baby girl is currently 22 weeks, just growing along in there, and I wanted to find ways to read stories to her while she’s still in the womb. And I thought what better way then to just read them! I wanted to create this channel to share them with all of you. I thought this was a really good way to both read her stories and share my newfound passion for being a mom!

I’m really excited about this channel and to get started, and I hope you come back every week for a new story. Don’t forget to hit the subscribe button below, you will see it in the right-hand corner of the video as well as at the bottom of this page. That way you can follow along and stay up to date on all with all of the new books we will be reading every week.

We are starting off this channel with a classic: Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. It is a staple of every childhood- all Dr. Seuss books are, really! I thought what better way to kick this off with one of my favorite books. If you have a copy of it, get it out and follow along! If you don’t, no worries. I will be holding the book up to the screen so you can follow along with every page, every picture, and every word.

Cubed Beef with Potatoes and Broccoli

Cubed Beef with Potatoes and Broccoli

The recent quarantine, lack of work, and pregnancy have allowed me to explore the many different creative sides of me. One of those sides is one I’ve always wanted to perfect- cooking!

I am not the best cook and never have been, but expanding both my taste pallet and my cooking repetoire has become very important as I prepare to bring a child into this world. I vowed to myself that she would not end up as picky as I was as a child.

Downloadable Cooking Instructions

Now, I have made the broccoli and the potatoes before, so they were no trouble at all. The broccoli could have roasted for another 5 minutes, but that is because my preference is to have the broccoli burnt to a crisp. I will eat vegetables, but only if they are charred… and don’t taste like vegetables. As long as I eat them at all, Miss Emily will come out liking fruits and veggies!

The cubed steak was a very interesting cut of beef to make. It was textured almost like ground beef, and even came out tasting like an unseasoned hamburger rather than a steak. While the butter and garlic sauce heightened the flavor and made it eatable, it was certainly not our favorite cut of beef. The next time we try this dish, we will make it with a filet or a sirloin.

All in all, we are giving it 3.5 stars. You can’t mess up broccoli or potatoes, and the sauce was delicious!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
A Time-Lapse Video of the prep and cooking of this dish

The LifePlanner ™

As a lover of stationary and as someone who had a dream last night about which pen at Staples is the best, I thought I would share with you what I choose to plan my life in!

There is a wide variety of planners and schedulers out there, and I have probably tried half of them. They vary from a Moleskin weekly planner to an average, but colorful, planner from Staples. You can buy a set 12 month planner at the beginning of each year, or you can stick with your trusty Google Calendar to keep all of your affairs in order. There is no shortage of scheduling helpers out there, and each one serves a different purpose.

About 4 years ago, I discovered Erin Condren. Erin Condren, a real woman, started off working in the apparel industry and left in 2001 when she had her twins. She began a stay-at-home business creating thank you cards, birth announcements, gifts, and more from the comfort of her kids’ playroom! Erin quickly developed her business from cards and gifts to stickers, planners, and more. She has been in the business for almost 20 years and it doesn’t seem like she is slowing down any time soon.

As a mom to be, I admire Erin’s passion and drive to create something that can fulfill her desire to work, but also tap into and remain in her creative side.

As I mentioned before, there are countless planners out there. If there are so many planners, why would you want to listen to the advice of one individual? You don’t have to! I adore this line of planners so much that I want to share my experiences with you. If Erin Condren isn’t for you, that’s alright! But it is 100% for me.

I have had 4 planners from Erin Condren over the last 4 years. I started off with her LifePlanner for 12 months. What’s amazing about her planners is that they are completely customizable. Erin Condren offers a wide variety of covers, including ones where you can add your own quote, add your own photos, and even include your name! You are also able to choose the color of the coils (silver, gold, or rose gold), and the internal layout (hourly, horizontal, or vertical).

Erin Condren planners also allow you to add in accessories such as Snap-In StylizedSticky™ Notes, stickers, bookmarks, to-do lists, and more. I use the Snap-In Monthly Bill Tracker Dashboard which you can find here.

I was teaching a few stage management courses at California Institute of the Arts over the last year, and decided to branch out and order the Teacher Lesson Planner. You are still able to customize the cover and colors of your teacher planner, however the inside is stagnant. You receive a monthly spread, weekly lesson plan, student checklists, and notebook pages. I LOVED the teacher planner, but of course didn’t each enough courses to get the full effect of it.

The newest planner debut is the New LifePlanner! This planner debuted about a month ago and features new cover designs and colors, as well as accessories that match the new designs. I recently received it in the mail and am making my way through, decorating and filling out my future months. With the quarantine still in effect, my days mostly consist of cleaning and grocery shopping, but I am able to mark off events such as my wedding and the birth of my sweet baby girl!

Whatever your planner preference, whether it be paper, electronic, travel sized, or large enough to fill a whole wall in your house, be sure to choose the one that’s right for you!

The NEW LifePlanner

Baby Names A-Z

Growing up, I thought I new what I wanted to name my children. I had always loved the name Jace for a boy, and I loved the name Delilah for a little girl. No one was going to change my mind!

That is, of course, until I met my fiancé, Connor. From the start of our romantic relationship, we knew that we would be the end all for each other. Having been best friends for the year preceding, it was a no-brainer.

From pretty early on, we talked about baby names. It was a natural conversation we would have every now and again, playing with name combinations and imagining what it would be like to say the names of our children aloud. We had chosen our top boy name and top girl name a very long time ago. Fast forward 2 years and BOOM! Here I am, 5 months pregnant.

The day we found out that we were expecting, we started the baby name conversation up again. We had chosen the name Jack August for a boy, both names after Connor’s two grandfather’s. We had chosen Emily Ruth for a girl, Ruth after his maternal grandmother, and Emily because, well, we love the name! saying the name Emily Ruth aloud flowed so nicely off the tongue, and paired with his (and my eventual) last name, it was kismet. Even though we had our number one names, we had to choose our seconds. There was always a chance of having twins, and identical at that, so we had to make sure our bases were covered! After running through names for a while, we both found out that Delilah was a name we both loved. We ended up pairing the first name Delilah with the middle name Jane, after I was spitting off a few suggestions (Ruth and Rose were also in the mix). For the second boy’s name, we landed on David Anthony. These two names do not have personal meaning to the pair of us, but we love them both and together they sounded perfect.

So there it was, we had our top 2 boys names and top 2 girls names all ready to go! It wasn’t that hard, and we didn’t stray to far into obscure baby names… I’m looking at you, Elon Musk!

When we found out that we were expecting a girl, we started using her name that night. Emily Ruth Whiteley is now a staple name in our household, and it makes us so happy to be able to say our baby’s name and not just say “she” or “it” or “the baby”.

There is no right or wrong way to name your child. Whether it be family names, names of fictional characters that you both love, or a name simply chosen out of a baby name book, your child is going to have the best name on the planet because you chose it. Again, Elon, I’m looking at you.

Woah… We’re Halfway There!

20 Weeks Pregnant!

Holy guacamole! As of Saturday, May 2nd, I am officially halfway through my first pregnancy. It is still so hard to believe that in just over 4 months, our little Emily Ruth is going to grace the world with her presence! As I write this, Emily is kicking away inside of me. I think she likes the song I’m playing currently on my Amazon Alexa

One of the best bops ever, obviously!

Halfway through your pregnancy means a lot of things. Not only are you on week 20 (omg!), but there are also so many new things going on with the little peanut inside of you! At 20 weeks, your baby has developed everything it needs to be a living, breathing human… except the things it needs to breathe! The lungs are in development this week, which means the little tyke is gearing up for their very first cry. Also at 20 weeks, your 2nd trimester ultrasound can accurately determine the sex of your baby (if you didn’t already find out from your genetic screening). We found out 2 weeks ago upon receiving our bloodwork results that we are having a little girl, and my ultrasound on the 4th sealed the deal. Baby Emily is cooking away in there, gearing up for her big debut.

For the first quarter of my pregnancy, I was all-in on thinking my baby would be a little boy. The baby was very active in my womb, sucking it’s thumb by week 13 and I began feeling it kick around week 17 (pretty early for first time moms!). When I saw the little bugger on my genetic screening ultrasound, it’s way of movement certainly made me think it was going to be a boy- a mover and a groover. Well, it turns out that little girls can be movers and groovers, too. Connor, who knew it was a girl from the start, was the most excited I have ever seen him when I told him that we were having a little Emily! That is, until he felt her kick for the first time the other day. The only thing more amazing than having a child is being able to watch the reactions of my partner when he hears her heartbeat, or feels her kick, or sees the little socks I picked up for her at the local Target.

Growing up, I always wondered what I would look like when I became pregnant. Would I carry high? Low? Would I gain weight? Lose it? How would my stomach look… round and plump? Or oblong? Nothing could have prepared me for how I ACTUALLY look while pregnant. The prenatal vitamins have done my skin wonders, closing up my pores and getting rid of those pesky zits! My hair, naturally fire red, is long and shiny, and I think has gained about an inch in thickness. I’ve lost a few pounds, but nothing that Miss Emily can’t put back on when moving into the third trimester. My face may have thinned out, but my belly is surely growing in size. It’s amazing to watch every week as I take my baby bump photo the differences in size and shape of my belly. I swear I’m smaller at week 20 than I was at week 19, but that’s probably because Emily was upside down or sideways.

Even though my lower back kills and my mood can shift on the drop of a dime, I have never enjoyed something more than being pregnant. Knowing that in 4 short months we are going to be sharing our home with a little girl, our daughter, is a wonderful feeling. While this pregnancy wasn’t planned, we know that Miss Emily is going to do some good in the world by springing this surprise on us.

Stay reading to find out more about pregnancy, our nursery theme, and more!

Balsamic Fig Chicken

Balsamic Fig Chicken

Balsamic Fig Chicken

In order to save time and money, we recently began receiving meal kits from HelloFresh! We recently made their Griddled Onion Cheeseburgers, complete with a special sauce and crispy potato wedges. It has to be one of the BEST meals we have ever made, and everything we needed came right to our door!

On tonight’s menu is Balsamic Fig Chicken. Now, we have not yet mastered the art of cooking chicken. It’s just really hard! Receiving meal kits from HelloFresh allows us to expand our knowledge of cooking while being able to be creative with the meals given. We’re excited to share this recipe with you, as well as our thoughts on the dish: taste, cooking difficulty, and more!

Downloadable Cooking Instructions
Cooking Ingredients for Balsamic Fig Chicken

Wow! Now as you’ve read above, chicken is NOT our strong suit when it comes to cooking. Between me and my fiancé, we have made good chicken MAYBE 4 times total. Well, we can add a tally to that list! This Balsamic Fig Chicken recipe was one of the easiest recipes I have ever used, and it created one of the most delicious dinner’s I have ever had. The chicken was tender and juicy, the broccoli was burnt to a crisp (just how I like it), and the potatoes were crispy yet tender.

Now, this did not come without a lot of learning. The two chicken breast I had were very thick, and I did not pound them or roll them out prior to cooking, which led to them needing to cook a bit longer than the original instructions state. I cooked them in a large pan for about 6 minutes on each side, cut them in half, and put them back in the pan for a minute to ensure that the inside was cooked through. I was worried that this would in turn make the chicken very tough, but they needed just that little bit of time to get just right!

The broccoli and potatoes I left in the oven for about 3 minutes longer than previously stated in the instructions, but that is because we love burnt and crispy veggies. It just makes them taste so much better! I am NOT a veggie person in the first place, and this was my first time in 25 years eating broccoli and actually enjoying it. I topped mine with a sprinkle of lemon zest for an extra kick, and it added a great flavor to the chicken and potatoes as well.

We opted to not add in the rosemary to the sauce at all, mostly because I cannot stand the taste of rosemary! I don’t think the absence of rosemary took away from the dish in any way- it was full of flavor. Now, while cooking the sauce, I noticed that it was too watery, even after the leaving it in the pan for the appropriate amount of time. I took a teaspoon and added a sprinkle of flour to the pan to create a fake roux, and it thickened up right away. The sauce, although filled with shallots and vinegar, was very sweet and complimented the rest of the dish extremely well.

All in all, this is definitely a dish we will be making again. I give it a 7/10 for cooking ease and an 8/10 for overall taste. Check out the final picture below to see how it turned out, and keep in mind that I am not a professional chef OR photographer!

Stay tuned for the next recipe 🙂

My portion of the Balsamic Fig Chicken

Don’t Kick the Bucket List!

A Bucket List isn’t just a popular movie with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. A bucket list is a list of things you want to accomplish before you, well, kick the bucket! The term “bucket list” hasn’t been around very long, assuming to have been coined by screenwriter Justin Zackham for the 2007 film of the same name.

There is not just one kind of bucket list! The most popular ones are for travel, ex. visit all 50 states (certainly one of mine), but there are also bucket lists for learning new skills, trying new foods, milestones in life, and more. You can check out other bucket lists online, such as this one here, or you can be 100% creative and write up your own.

You can find my bucket list below, which I will update as items get completed or new ones pop up.

  • Go on an Alaskan cruise
  • Tour Europe and follow the trail of WWII
  • Go zip lining (anywhere- I have a huge fear of heights!)
  • Play a round of paintball
  • Go skydiving
  • Stay at Giraffe Manor in Kenya
  • Explore a volcano (active or inactive)
  • Explore the Galapagos Islands
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Visit every state in the US (I have been to 32!)
  • Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (I’ve been to Paris, but again, I’m afraid of heights!)
  • Go to the top of a lighthouse
  • Become fluent in ASL and French
  • Learn how to play poker
  • Play in the WSOP with Connor
  • Get a master’s degree (currently in progress!)
  • Buy a house
  • Take a cruise across the Atlantic
  • Attend a Superbowl
  • Practice yoga or meditation and create a routine
  • Join a book club
  • Get in shape after Emily is born
  • Read every book/play I own before buying a new one
  • Become a Diamond member for Royal Caribbean (only 162 points to go!)
  • Attend the Westminster Dog Show
  • Attend the Oscars or the Tony Awards