Monday, September 28, 2015

October Weekly Slow Cooker Challenge

October Weekly Slow Cooker Challenge | Seriously Lovely

When I made my Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Pork and Potatoes recipe a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of how easy and convenient slow cookers are. And yet I can go months without using mine. Since the cooler weather makes this a perfect time of year to do more slow cooking, I decided to set myself a little challenge and see if I can get in the habit of using my slow cooker more.

So for the month of October, I've challenged myself to make at least one slow cooker meal each week. Now that's only four meals for the whole month, so I think hope this challenge will be an easy one to meet. Here are some of the recipes I'm thinking about making this month (you can find these and more slow cooker recipes on my "Slow Cooking" board on Pinterest):

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lovely Links 09.25.2015

So today my husband and I celebrate 10 wonderful years of marriage--Happy Anniversary, Matt! And Happy Friday to everyone else. :)

Lovely Links 09.25.2015 | Seriously Lovely

This Slow Cooker Beef Sirloin Tips and Gravy recipe sounds delicious and perfect for this time of year! (

I really liked this article about one simple rule to follow to have a green(er) pregnancy. (

An Epic Avocado Sandwich that has my mouth watering. (

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pregnancy: Week 18

Week 18:

I'm officially four months pregnant! The fifth month begins!

Baby: The size of a sweet potato (sounds so much better than last week's sweet onion or turnip!), about 6 inches long and 7 ounces. Myelin is forming on the baby's nerves, which are developing rapidly now, and his/her ears are in place, although they stick out a bit. Baby is yawning and moving a lot more now too.

Weight: Finally gained a pound, putting me at -1 pound overall for the pregnancy.

Maternity Clothes: Yes and no. Sometimes I just want to be comfortable, so I'm reaching for maternity items, other times I'm grateful I can still squeeze into my pre-pregnancy clothes and determined to wear them as long as I can! I ordered more clothes from Kohl's thanks to a great coupon, and I can't wait to see how they turn out. Interestingly, when I first got pregnant my mom told me she didn't start wearing maternity until her fifth month and I couldn't picture that being possible for me...but it turned out to be right on!

Boy or Girl: A few more weeks of wondering!

Cravings: Chocolate and peanut butter (I've been feeling pretty stressed out at work) and sweets in general. I ate Skittles for the first time in years, lol. Other than that I'm still on the meat and veggies train. Also, I'm not sure this counts as a craving or aversion or what, but after years of preferring to drink my water at room temperature thanks to having sensitive teeth, I suddenly cannot drink it unless it's icy cold. My husband is thrilled because I'm finally keeping our water carafe in the fridge, where he's claimed it's belonged all this time, lol.

Aversions: Definitely avoiding Mexican spices and foods still. I can eat raw tomatoes but have a terrible time with any kind of tomato sauce. And now I'm avoiding room temperature beverages too.

Exercise: I finally managed to keep better track of this so I could be more specific about it. As you can see, I didn't do much over the weekend because I was just sooooo tired. I definitely felt like I needed sleep and rest more than exercise, but by Monday I was ready for a full-on workout again!

Symptoms: Lots of fatigue, lots of heartburn. Nausea and gagginess made a major comeback here and there. Also, I keep forgetting to mention that I've been experiencing shortness of breath quite a bit. This has been coming and going since very early in my pregnancy and I have a tendency to forget about it when I'm not experiencing it.

Anything Noteworthy: The fluttery feelings are getting stronger and sometimes feel more like swirls, like the baby's doing somersaults. I think I'm starting to have some round ligament pain too, although I'm getting more of an achy sensation rather than sharp pains.

What to Look Forward to Next Week: I have a doctor's appointment and I'm looking forward to hearing baby's heartbeat again! Also, my husband and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. Even though we'll be having a much more low-key anniversary than we originally planned I'm still excited about that!

Did you experience any weird changes during pregnancy like my sudden switch from room temperature to cold water? 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Pregnancy: First Trimester Favorites

I had kind of a hard time coming up with this list. I felt so miserable much of the first trimester that I really didn't have any favorite snacks or remedies, I didn't need to start wearing any maternity clothes, and several of the books I read freaked me out more than anything else. But there were a few things that did help me make my way through those early weeks, so I thought I'd share them here.

Books & Pregnancy Planner

First Trimester Favorites |

As I mentioned, some of the books I brought home from the library just stressed me out with their dire predictions. The ones I actually appreciated during those first weeks were the more matter-of-fact books with helpful updates about baby's development and the changes I could expect with my own body. 

  • Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy - I feel like this is chock full of useful information and helpful charts.
  • Babycenter Pregnancy: From Preconception to Birth - This has really nice weekly updates about the baby's development as well as how your body is changing along the way.
  • The New Pregnancy Bible - The weekly updates are shorter but I like the foldout chart of how a pregnancy progresses.
  • The Natural Pregnancy Book - This is a nice resource if you prefer a more natural approach.
  • Great Expectations: Pregnancy Journal and Planner - A friend of mine recently had a baby and I remembered seeing this planner in the pregnancy section way back when I was shopping for a gift for her. It was one of the first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant and I love it. I find myself using it a lot more than I even anticipated. It has room to jot down weekly notes about nutrition, exercise, symptoms, and dreams, as well as pages for writing down questions for each doctor's appointment and the doctor's answer, a section for keeping track of gifts, and lots more. I highly recommend this if you're looking for a pregnancy planner!


A friend recommended the Glow Nuture app for tracking symptoms and getting updates about the baby's development and I really like it. It's hard to remember exactly when some symptoms start and end, so I like having a handy way to keep track on my iPad. I also check out the articles on the WebMd Pregnancy App and the What to Expect App, but I only track my symptoms on Glow Nurture.


In many ways I found blogs to be better resources than books. They're written by regular women so they tend to be more down-to-earth and realistic, plus you get a wide range of experiences depending on how many you read. I bookmarked the pregnancy pages of my favorites and each week I read their post from when they were at the same point in their pregnancy. Here are my favorites:
First Trimester Favorites |

I've been in the process of switching over a lot of my health and beauty products to cleaner versions anyway, but there were a few things that I immediately wanted to replace when I found out I was pregnant. I mostly went with Burt's Bees products since they're available at the grocery store and I trust the brand:

Belly Armor

image via Belly Armor
One of the things I researched when I first found out I was pregnant was whether wifi was safe for pregnant women. There are a lot of mixed views on this out there. I decided it was going to be pretty impossible to avoid wifi altogether, but did find a company that produces products you can wear or use to help block wifi and emf from the womb. This may be overkill, but since I spend a lot of time sitting with an ipad in my lap, I like the idea of being able to drape this Belly Blanket over my belly for some protection. (And this does block the wifi signal to my iPad--I tested it.)

So there you have it, my First Trimester Favorites! If you're just starting out on your own pregnancy journey, I hope you find something that might help you out. You can read about my first trimester in my Recap post and more about my pregnancy by clicking here or on Pregnancy at the top of the page.

What were your first trimester must-haves? Did you use any of the same products that I did? Any suggestions for things I should check out in my second trimester?

Monday, September 21, 2015

5 Tips for Coping With Dust Mite Allergies Naturally

I'm allergic to a lot of things: grass, weeds, trees, mold, cats...but I think my allergy to dust mites affects me the most. Everything else is either seasonable or mostly avoidable, but there's always always always dust floating around everywhere. Here are the strategies that have helped me cope with my dust mite allergy--naturally and without medication!

Five Tips for Coping with Dust Mite Allergies Naturally |

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lovely Links 09.18.2015

Lovely Links 09.18.2015 |

This Chicken Sausage and Spinach Fritatta sounds delicious and it's just the kind of breakfast I've been craving while I'm pregnant. (

This Third Trimester Bingo cracks me up--I printed it off to start filling out in a couple of months. (

These Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins are great if you're gluten-free or avoid refined sugars. (Plus they're perfect for fall!) (

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Remove the Plastic Discs from Your Earring Backs

This is totally random, but it's one of those ridiculously simple discoveries that you make that you just can't help sharing. I thought about saving this post for next week, but I just couldn't wait. This trick is too good to keep to myself!

How to Remove the Plastic Discs from Your Earrings Backs |

So I bought a pair of these earrings yesterday and was annoyed that they came with those bullet backs with the pesky plastic discs around them. Annoyed enough that for the first time in eight years (I didn't get my ears pierced until I was in my mid-twenties) I decided to do something about it. Namely, cut off the plastic backs. I always assumed the plastic was glued onto the back, but was shocked when it popped right off after a couple of snips from my scissors. Then I realized I didn't even need to cut the plastic - if you press your thumb firmly against the end of the bullet it will pop right out of the disc, no cutting required.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pregnancy: Week 17

Week 17:

Baby: The size of a white onion or turnip, about 5.1 inches and 5 ounces.

Weight: No change.

Maternity Clothes: I finally caved toward the end of this week and wore a few maternity items. I didn't technically need to, but they're soooo much more comfortable. Plus, I bought a couple of tops at Kohl's last week and I wanted to give them a try.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Pork and Potatoes

Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Pork and Potatoes |

I can't imagine any dinner being much easier to make than this Slow Cooker Sauerkraut Pork and Potatoes. Whenever I break out my slow cooker, I'm reminded of how awesome it is to throw ingredients into it in the morning and come home in the evening to a warm, delicious, home-cooked meal! This particular recipe is perfect for this time of year, when the air starts to get crisper and you crave something warm and filling to eat. The pork gets so tender it practically shreds itself. The potatoes add hearty texture. And the sauerkraut provides tons of flavor and keeps everything juicy and moist.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pregnancy: Weeks 14-16

Since I didn't get my First Trimester Recap up until this past week, I have a few weeks to catch up on! So far the second trimester is tending to be easier than the first, although not all of my symptoms have gone away. Let's get to the recap of the past three weeks!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lovely Links 09.08.15

Lovely Links 09.08.2015 |

Did you have a nice three-day weekend? My father-in-law and aunt-in-law spent the weekend with us, and in addition to having a really nice time visiting, they also helped us get our crib purchased and put together. We've also purchased and put together a dresser already, so I feel like we've made a pretty good start on the nursery already.

Anyways, here are some interesting links to start of this week. (I didn't realize it at the time, but there are quite a few Star Wars-related links...guess I'm getting excited for the new movie!)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

First Trimester Recap

First Trimester Recap |

I'm at week 16 of this pregnancy, almost through my fourth month. Just within the last week, I can see a major change in the way I feel. My appetite is returning, my energy is slowly increasing, and my first trimester symptoms are fading. On the other hand, I'm definitely starting to feel pregnant in other ways. My belly seemed to pop overnight and I'm starting to think about wearing maternity pants and jeans.

I really appreciated reading about other women's symptoms and how they coped with them while I was in my first trimester, so I thought I'd share some of what I experienced. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to comment below or contact me using the form in the sidebar!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015