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