Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stars & Stripes


Centsational Girl is hosting a Stars & Stripes party and I’m joining in with some red, white and blue decor and a recipe of my own.

I decorated the mantle in red, white and blue for the months of June & July. I’m going to switch it to beachy stuff in August because that’s when we take our annual vacation to the shore.

Summer Mantle
The “Liberty” sign and large stars I picked up last year at The Christmas Tree Shop. I picked up the berries there this winter on clearance when I was doing my Valentine’s mantlescape.

Summer Mantle_2
The flags I got 3/$1 at Target. The small stars I started to paint Memorial Day weekend 2009 and never got around to finishing them. Oh well.

Summer Mantle_3

The red, white and blue star garland I picked up at Michael’s for $1 each.

Summer Mantle_4

I look forward to the day when I won’t have the dark, dated stone in the background of all my mantlescapes, but they still make me happy for now.

Now for a delicious recipe…

Every year around 4th of July my mom made “Berries & Cream”. This is the perfect summer dessert in my opinion.  She would normally use strawberries and blueberries, but you could use raspberries or blackberries too. I normally just use what’s on sale. When I made it last year, hubby commented that he liked it, but it’d be better with some cake too, so you could easily add a layer of pound cake or angel food cake in if the cream and berries isn’t enough for you.

Sweet Berry Parfait

Serves 6

1 3 oz. pkg. cream cheese
½ c. powder sugar
½ T. almond flavoring
1 c. heaving whipping cream
3 cups berries, washed and dried well

In deep bowl beat together cream cheese, sugar, and almond flavoring until smooth. Still beating, gradually pour in cream in a steady stream (mixture should be consistency of stiffly whipped cream at all times). Layer with berries.

Hope you all have a great 4th of July! We’re doing the same we’ve done for the past couple years…getting up early to deliver hay bales for a soap box derby a couple hours north of where we live. Then I’m sure it will be home for naps and I’m going to pack a romantic picnic dinner for hubby & I to enjoy while we have our own private bonfire and shoot off old fireworks I found in a closet (hopefully we don’t hurt ourselves) on our new farm. Should be lots of fun!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies

Growing up, our neighborhood would have a garage sale very summer. My brother, sister and I did our part to fatten up the neighborhood by hosting a lemonade stand where we’d sell drinks and our mom’s homemade whoopie pies. My mom only made these around garage sale time, so they were always a special treat. We loved them even more when they were freshly chilled from the freezer.

I haven’t had whoopie pies for about 5 years and I figured they’d be a perfect treat to bring for a birthday at work a few weeks ago. I don’t know if it’s the fact that my sweet-tooth flew out the window when our lil’ turkey showed up or what, but they were much sweeter than I remembered them being as a kid. While they were still good, I no longer craved one after another. Hubby wasn’t a big fan at all (which I wasn’t surprised…it’s not his type of dessert), but the guys at work devoured them in no time so they must still be delicious.

Here is the recipe if you care to make some of your own whoopie pies:

1 c. sugar
½ c. cocoa
½ c. shortening
1 egg
½ c. sour milk (1-1/2 t. vinegar and milk to equal half cup)
1 t. soda
½ c. HOT water
¼ t. salt
2 c. flour
1 t. vanilla

3 T. milk
1 egg white
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1-1/2 T. flour
3 c. powder sugar, divided
1-1/2 c. shortening

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together sugar, cocoa, shortening and egg. Add remaining cake ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake about 10 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile make filling. Mix milk, egg white, vanilla, flour, and 1-1/2 c. powder sugar until combined. Add 1-1/2 c. shortening and remaining 1-1/2 c. powder sugar. Blend until smooth. Sandwich filling between two pies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Burned a Hole in my Shirt

This past Saturday we hosted about 30 people from the group we lead at church each Sunday for a bbq, hayride and bonfire. We’re known as the “Movers and Shakers” – we’re the first to arrive and last to leave because we’re responsible for unloading all the sound, stage, lighting, etc. that we need each week, moving it into the theater, setting it up, running wire and then tearing it all down and packing it away in the trailer at the end of the service. We figured our group was in need of some fun.

Hayride Invitation
I received many compliments on the invitations I designed so that’s always encouraging. I tried to keep with the color scheme of teal, olive, orange and pinkish-red. It was hard in some spots, but overall it worked.

Cut triangles

I made a banner to hang outside using scrapbook paper and ribbon. I cut 4 sheets of 12x12 paper in half and then cut each half into 3 triangles. I then used my sewing machine to attach the triangles to a long piece of ribbon, leaving extra at the beginning and end to hang. So easy and affordable. I’ll definitely be using this method for many banners in the future.

Hung banner
So guests knew where to park, I made a painted “PARKING” onto poster board using black acrylic paint. To jazz it up a little, I used teal and green glitter to outline every other letter. I then attached a bunch of balloons to make it more noticeable from the road.

Parking Sign

To make it easy for everyone to grab everything they’d need to enjoy the delicious food everyone contributed, I wrapped up plastic forks, knives and spoons with a napkin in individual bundles. I then secured each bundle with a strip of paper (that matched the paper I used in the banner) and a piece of tape. This way people didn’t have to worry about forgetting to grab a spoon or knife.

Napkin Bundles
To hid the mismatched labels on the condiment jars, I wrapped more scrapbook paper around them and then handwrote the contents on the paper. I continued with the color theme outside by placing teal and olive “mason” jars designed to hold tea lights on a orange with white polka dot plastic runner on top of a white plastic table cloth. To keep the bugs at bay, we placed tiki torches filled with citronella around the patio.

Outside table
I was expecting people to bring drinks to share (I mentioned on the invite that we’d provide hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, condiments and utensils and asked everyone to bring something to share), but just in case I picked up a pack of bottled water and made up a batch of punch. Good thing I did because while we had many delicious side dishes and desserts, no one brought a single drink to share. The punch recipe was a huge success, though, and I must have given out the recipe to every woman in attendance!

Drink bar

(recipe courtesy of my mom)

2 cans frozen white grape juice, thawed
3 cans of frozen pina colada mix
6 cups cold water
3 liters 7-up
lemon and lime slices for garnish

Mix first three ingredients together. Add soda right before serving. Garnish with lemon and lime slices. Be ready to make more in less than 10 minutes!

It was a very fun party. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures once everyone arrived, so I’ll have to wait to get copies of those. The only casualty of the night was a small hole I burned in the back of one of my $2 Old Navy tank tops when I got too close to the fire and an ash flew onto my back.

Looking forward to our next hayride and bonfire with the youth leadership from our church on July 9th. Don’t have to do anything for that one besides have a clean house and stuff to make s’mores.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

18 Weeks (Where did this belly come from?)

This was the week of the quickly expanding belly! Granted, I'm slightly bloated in the above picture because my wedding ring went on fine this morning, but can't get it off now for the life of me and my scale says I gained 2.5 lbs overnight which I know did not really happen. Oh's nice to finally have an official "baby bump". And, hopefully when I go to the dr. this afternoon I won't hear any complaints about my lack of weight gain. Ha! The picture is a little blurry, but still good to have on record.

Here's what the little one is up to this week according to What to Expect When You're Expecting:

At 18 weeks pregnant, your baby is hitting the height chart at five and a half inches long (remember, that's crown to rump) and weighs about five ounces (the weight of that boneless chicken breast you're making for dinner).

And now for the skill of the week (drum roll please…): The art of the yawn has been mastered by your baby (someone's sleepy!). In fact, you might catch a glimpse of that adorable yawn if you're getting an ultrasound this month. You'll also catch a glimpse of all the fetal movement your baby's doing — twists, rolls, kicks, and punches. And would you believe your baby is finally big enough for you to start feeling those movements now (or anytime in the next few weeks). So get ready!

Something you won't see on the ultrasound, but you'll know is in working order, is your baby's nervous system, which is maturing rapidly at this time. Nerves, now covered with a substance called myelin (which speeds messages from nerve cell to nerve cell), are forming more complex connections. And those in the brain are further specializing into the ones that serve the senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Talking about hearing, your baby's is growing more acute, making your little one more conscious of sounds that come from inside your body (which means you could both be listening to each other hiccup — a skill that your baby has by now).

Thankfully the back pain has disappeared and besides having swollen ankles at the end of a day and still being pretty tired come 9:30pm, I am feeling great. I have felt small movements from the baby (feels like fish swimming around in there) which is really neat. Can't wait until hubby can feel them from the outside. Hopefully today the little turkey will cooperate and we'll get a good picture of the profile (haven't been able to see that yet). Don't forget to vote on whether it's a boy or girl. So far girl is winning! :)

Monday, June 21, 2010


It's time to announce the winner!

The winner of their very own copy of Love & War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of is...

Congratulations, Stephanie! I know I have your address, but you'll get your book a lot quicker if you e-mail it to me again at brieblogs(at)optonline(dot)net or send it to me via Facebook. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

And, for those of you who didn't win, I can't urge you enough to check out a copy from your library or buy a copy of your own. It WILL have a positive impact on your marriage - even if only one of you reads it. The important thing is to take it to heart and realize that there are things that all of us can improve on in order to be a better spouse. My hubby didn't get to read the book, but just implementing changes in my own behavior resulted in positive changes in his as well.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Don’t Forget to Enter

Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of

If you’re interested in a copy of this fabulous book, don’t forget to go here and leave a comment or send me an e-mail to enter. Entries are accepted until midnight (EST) this Sunday, June 20th. Winner will be announced Monday, June 21st.

Hope you all have a great Father’s Day…send some love to the dad’s in your life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

17 Weeks

Pregnant_17 Weeks
Yesterday I hit the 17 week mark. No longer am I concerned about not gaining enough weight, now I’m concerned with my belly seeming to double in size over night and the scale reflecting this change. My appetite is really no larger than it was before I was pregnant and I’m eating healthier for the most part too, so hopefully the scale increase is all baby related and not maternal fat storage.

I’m still fitting in my regular clothes for the most part, although even my “big” pants are starting to need a button left undone.

At the beginning I was confident I was carrying a girl (probably because I desperately want a girl), but lately I’m starting to think it’s a boy (which I will be perfectly happy with too). So, we’ll take a little vote. Do you think I’m having a boy or a girl? To vote, see the box in the left column. We’ll find out around the 4th of July so the voting will be open until then.

This morning hubby informed me that I now have “square bum syndrome” and that I lost my waist over the past couple days. He’s such a great encourager isn’t he?! He’s lucky he’s cute or there’s no way he’d get away with this stuff (even though I completely agree with him)! Good thing I know he’s always liked teasing me about things like this just to “get my goat” so why should I expect anything different now?

According to this site, here’s what the little one is up to this week:

How big is your baby at 17 weeks pregnant? About five inches long and more than three and a half ounces  — the size of your open hand. Body fat (baby's, that is) is beginning to form and will continue to accumulate through the end of your pregnancy.  By the time your baby is born, body fat will make up about two-thirds of his or her weight (and will make all those chubby parts especially yummy).

Your baby is almost certainly listening up by now. In fact, loud noises — the dog barking, the doorbell ringing — will actually startle your baby. Your baby's eyes are making small side-to-side movements and can even perceive some light, though the eyelids are still sealed.  And since practice makes perfect, your baby is sharpening his or her sucking and swallowing skills in preparation for that first (and second…and third) suckle at your breast or bottle. In fact, most of the survival reflexes that your baby will have at birth are being perfected in utero right now.

And here's some proof that your baby is truly one of a kind. Within the next week or so, the pads on your baby's fingertips and toes will become adorned with completely individual swirls and creases (aka fingerprints).

P.S. Check out…I just read about this FREE photo editing site and I love it! I used it to fiddle around with this week’s photo.

2nd Time’s a Charm

Today Kelly is hosting Show Us Your Life – Proposal Stories so I’m linkin’ up.

A few days before Easter weekend in 2006, my man asked if I wanted to fly out to Colorado Springs to visit my parents. This is nothing out of the ordinary because my mom is a flight attendant so we get flight benefits and often pick up and fly out to visit them at the drop of a hat. Of course I jumped all over the opportunity.

On Easter Sunday, we were all dressed up and went to church and then the four of us were going out to eat at this new restaurant. My dad and hubby dropped my mom and I off at the door and we’re waiting and waiting for them to go park the car. The parking lot is not that big and we saw plenty of open parking spots towards the back so we’re wondering what in the world is taking them so long. Finally 30 minutes later they come in and we proceed to our table to eat. Afterwards, my dad is really wanting to drive to the Broadmoor to show us the new townhomes they built, but my mom and I decide we’d rather go home and change out of our church clothes and take a nap and then later we’ll go hiking at Garden of the Gods and go to the Broadmoor. MD, DB
So, we finish hiking and are at the Broadmoor and hubby asks me a couple times if I want to get out and go into the hotel and walk around the lake (we had our first kiss on the bridge that crosses the lake). I say “no” because you’re not supposed to be in there unless you’re a guest and we were in sweaty hiking clothes so I didn’t think we could pass as guests at a 5-star hotel. He asks again and so does my dad, but stubborn me still says no.

Little did I know hubby had a ring burning a hole in his pocket and that the reason he and my dad took forever to get into the restaurant earlier in the day is because that’s when hubs decided to ask my dad for my hand in marriage and lets him in on how he wants to propose.

Well, after I foiled his plans, we fly back home. My dad lets my mom in on things and she of course says he should have let her know sooner because she could have gotten me to go into the hotel and walk around the lake. I’m still completely clueless at this point that I missed out on getting engaged because just a few weeks prior hubby and I were talking and he mentioned how he thought November would be a good time to get engaged because his campaign for re-election would be over and we could focus on wedding plans then. So, in my mind, it’s not happening until November at the earliest.

Back to the story…

So, now my mom is in on it too and she works with hubby to scheme up something else to get me back out to Colorado (he really wanted to propose on the bridge were we had our first kiss because we love laughing about how as soon as we started kissing the geese started honking their approval). A few weeks later, my brother was leaving for India for a short-term missions trip so they decided to throw him a “Bon Voyage” party (on May 6, 2006) at a pub connected to the hotel.

That day we were just bumming around the house so I was in pretty casual clothes. I mentioned I wasn’t really going to change because it was a casual pub, but while I was upstairs freshening up, my mom came in and said that hubby had changed so maybe I wanted to change too so I did. I thought that was a little strange, but still didn’t think too much of it. Then, mom asks the two of us to go ahead to save seats because my brother is running late so we do.

We get there early enough and hubby asks me again if I want to go walk around the lake. I said yes this time since we had time to kill and we were dressed nicer. So, we’re on the bridge and looking around and hubby starts acting kinda weird (like he’s refusing to take his hands out of his pocket). I turn around and there he is down on one knee with a ring asking me to marry him. I honestly couldn’t tell you a single word he said because while I was so excited, the whole time I was really thinking “This is so great! But, I don’t want to spoil Brock’s Bon Voyage party because it’s supposed to be about him and not us.” Of course I said yes and we walk to the little pub. We’ll turns out I could have been paying a little more attention to what hubby was saying because my whole family was in on the ploy this time and it was really a small engagement party for us, not a Bon Voyage party. To this day hubby won’t tell me what he said (I think he was so nervous he doesn’t remember himself) so I guess I’ll never know.

So, it took two tries to get me out to Colorado so hubby could propose the way he wanted to, but in the end it worked without a hitch…well, almost. There is the part about the ring.

The first time hubby wanted to propose (Easter weekend when I didn’t cooperate) he had his grandmother’s ring. All along he planned on using it as a place holder until we could go and look at rings together. Well, the 2nd time he realized a few hours before the main event that he forgot to bring the ring this time so he asks my dad if there’s a place close by where he could go get a ring. My dad says, “Well, there is a pawn shop around the corner.” So, off they go and hubby gets this tiny little ring. Now I’m not one who really cares about the size of the ring, but this thing was TINY – the band was so thin I thought it’d snap in half and you could barely see the marquis diamond (my least favorite cut) it held. Plus, it was like 2 sizes too small.

When hubby proposed, he told me shortly after he put the ring on that we could go get something else together. Well, I didn’t know if he really was wanting to do that all along, or if this was really the ring he picked out for me and what he could afford. Thankfully he let me in on the whole story so a few weeks later we went to the jeweler his family has always used and looked at rings together. I narrowed it down to a couple settings I liked and then left. He then picked out the final setting and the center diamond and I was blown away when he presented me the actual ring a few weeks later. He did amazing!

3 NYC 004
So that’s my long engagement story. We always get a good laugh now about how he should have known I’d be so stubborn at times when it took him two tries to get me to cooperate so he could ask me to marry him.

Exactly 17 months later (see below for why we had such a long engagement) we were married on October 6, 2007.

We had a long engagement due to the fact I always wanted a fall wedding and seeing how hubby was up for re-election that fall it wasn’t going to work for ‘06. Plus we were originally going to get married at Princeton’s chapel (where hubby graduated from) but they required you to book over a year in advance. That changed too when we ended up holding a three day party at a dude ranch in Colorado for our wedding instead. Changing plans is a way of life for us, but we always laugh over how we started our journey together…

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Time for a Hayride

One thing hubby & I are loving about the new homestead is the opportunity to host hayrides and bonfires for friends and open up our land for them to use.

In fact, right now we’re busy trying to make the driveway more accessible to an average car, putting in a culvert pipe to redirect rain to avoid future washouts of the driveway, clearing scrub brush, taking down trees, redirecting water from low lying areas in the field to one central area that we’re going to turn into a pond that we’ll see from our backyard, digging a trench to run power and telecom wires (unfortunately no natural gas cooking for me because it’s not in the road seeing how we’re in the “country” and the cost to run it in is astronomical) and coming up with a temporary shallow well. Whew!

It sounds like a lot, but really most of it can be done over the course of a few weekends. We have a deadline to shoot for because some of our friends from church asked us if they could hold their wedding reception at the farm on September 18th and of course we jumped at the opportunity. However, I think they’d like a few simple conveniences such as a driveway their guests can access, power for their sound & lights and water to connect to the high-end portable toilets their renting. Who knew people could be so demanding?! :)

We also are busy getting the land cleaned up because we’re hosting our 2nd of 4 bonfires & hayrides we have planned in a couple weekends. This one is for the team of volunteers we lead each Sunday morning at church. We are loving the “family” like atmosphere we get working with our fellow “movers & shakers” and all of us actually look forward to getting there at 7:30am each Sunday morning to set everything up and then staying until noon to take it all down. Makes for long, but very rewarding mornings.

Here’s the invitation I made for this party.

Hayride Invitation

I designed them on the computer and then printed them on my color printer. I downloaded the fonts for free from this site and I found the tractor and hand as free clipart in an internet search. To add a dimensional effect, I tied olive & teal raffia around the card and tied a knot and then secured the knot with hot glue and glued the tractor (printed with the teal border and cut out) on top of the knot.

I’ll post more decor/craft projects for the party as I work on them. Wish you all lived close enough to come join us for a bonfire.

A Craving for Corn Dogs


I haven't had too many cravings so far...more like aversions. Desserts? Not my favorite thing right now, especially chocolate.

But, a few weeks ago I got a serious hankerin’ for corn dogs. I was really hoping I could satisfy my craving this past Saturday at our town's annual "fair", but while I was successful in finding my funnel cake (which unfortunately didn't taste that great due to the aforementioned dessert aversion) there was not a single corn dog vendor to be found. Bummer :(

However, I was cruising Tasty Kitchen the other day and low and behold a reader posted a recipe for Homemade Corn Dogs. I must try these! They look so good and they'll be much better for me and baby than buying a whole box of frozen ones from Sam's Club.

Definitely adding the ingredients to my grocery list for tonight.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Knock, Knock

Hubby and I wanted to tell our parents we were expecting in a creative way. It's the third grandchild on my side of the family, but the first on hubby's. Thankfully, my parents were already planning on coming out over Easter weekend so we decided that would be the perfect time. We were about 5 weeks along and figured we'd just have to charge each of them with keeping their mouths shut for 7 weeks.

We had a small breakfast planned for my parents and hubby's parents the Saturday before Easter. We decided it would also be nice to invite hubby's grandma (it would be her 2nd great grandchild because hubby's cousin and his wife just had a baby boy the end of April). I went to the store and picked out some Easter cards that had two bunnies telling a knock-knock joke: OUTSIDE - "Knock, knock. Who's there? Nobunny. Nobunny who?" INSIDE - "Nobunny ever had nicer grandparents than you!". I then signed them "Love, Brie, [hubby's name] and baby due Thanksgiving Day"

In addition, I also made us some fun t-shirts to wear in case they didn't quite grasp what the cards were telling them. As they were reading their cards, we both unzipped our sweatshirts to reveal the t-shirts. They were a big hit!

To make them, I used iron-on transfer paper that you can buy at a craft store and designed pictures for the fronts that I printed on my color printer.

Here is hubby’s:

The Bun Maker

And here is mine:

The Bun Baker

We have something fun planned for revealing the gender too. That should happen around 4th of July as long as our little turkey cooperates.

Did you break the news you were expecting in a fun way?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tough News to Break to the In-laws

For those of you who are my friend on Facebook, this post will be old news to you, but I still wanted to share it here for posterity purposes.

On April 21st, a day before I was 9 weeks pregnant, I was using my in-laws car for the day because mine was in the shop having new brake pads and rotors installed. Normally I try to take their older Pontiac that has definitely seen better years, but it wasn't working so they loaned me their fairly new Impala with their two favorite features - a sunroof for my F.I.L and heated leather seats for my M.I.L.

Well, on my way home from work, I turned left onto a street that is marked as dividing into three lanes - the left lane became a left turn lane and a straight lane and the right lane became the right turn lane. Once the road divided, I needed to get in the right turn lane in order to continue on my way home. The car in front of me was hugging the center line and had no turn signal on whatsoever. At this point, I signaled and switched into the right lane. As I'm even with the Suburban I notice the driver start to come into my lane. At this point, there was no way to avoid getting hit whether I slowed down or sped up. Honking my horn as loudly as possible and trying to scoot up a little so I wouldn't take the brunt right in the driver's door, I brace for impact. By the time she finished hitting me, the driver's side view mirror was hanging by a wire, there was no handle left on the driver's door so you couldn't open it from the outside, and the whole side of the car was dented in and scratched from that point back.

To say I was ticked is an understatement! I'm mean I'm driving my in-laws car and I'm newly pregnant for goodness sakes!

I backed up so I could pull over into the closest parking lot and immediately tried calling the cops who unfortunately were not answering their 911. Meanwhile the other driver is asking me what I want to do and just wants to exchange insurance information and leave. Of course she does - her car has barely any damage and she's facing a big insurance settlement for fixing the damage to my in-laws' car.

Finally I reach the police and someone comes. I explain what happened and mention the lady had no turn signal on. She acknowledges she doesn't recall if she had her turn signal on and that she didn't see me. Meanwhile, I'm hunting for the insurance card and registration that seems to have mysteriously disappeared from my in-laws car. It is NOWHERE to be found. Finally, I call them (terrified to tell them what happened) and the whole time I'm talking with them, they're forgetting that I had THEIR car for the day and they thought I was calling to ask them where MY registration and insurance card was. Thankfully the cop saw that the vehicle just passed inspection (which required a recent insurance and registration) so he let me pass with the previous copies (which were in the car go figure).

I'm waiting for him to issue the other driver the ticket (after all, she's the one who completely came into my lane and broad swiped me) and give me a copy of all her info so I can pass it on to the insurance company and next thing I know he comes over and tells me I'M at fault for the accident because I was "improperly passing on the right". He tried to tell me that the road is a one-lane road there even though it's clearly marked as a two-lane road with numerous signs and markings that it's splitting into a 3-lane road at the point where she struck me. No ticket was issued at the scene because he said "we never ticket people here because it keeps traffic flowing." Perhaps you don't ticket people there because it's actually a two-lane road and they're doing nothing illegal? So, imagine my surprise when a couple days later the cop sends me a ticket in the mail for a $250 fine and 4 points, not to mention what it will do to my insurance premiums.

On top of that, the insurance company ended up totalling my in-laws car because the lady hit me hard enough to damage the bar between the driver and passenger door on driver's side and it would cost more to fix that than the $13K the car was worth.

Thankfully, my insurance company (which also happened to be my in-laws company) completely disagreed with the cops finding of me at fault, especially once I sent them pictures of location where the accident occurred clearly showing it's a two lane road that splits into three and thus I was doing nothing wrong driving in the right turn lane when I was making a right turn.

My court date was on the 3rd and thankfully a family friend who is a cop in a different town came with me. A defense attorney who was there happened to guess he was a cop (he was in plain clothes) and spoke to the prosecutor on our behalf. The charge against me was changed from "Improper Passing on the Right" and a $250/4-point ticket to "Obstruction of Traffic" which was a $41/0-point/no insurance impact ticket. Plus, the defense attorney also asked for a special reservation so that the other driver can't come and sue me personally now that I basically am no longer held responsible for the accident. It was such a relief to finally have it all behind me and I'm so grateful for many things surrounding the incident:

  1. My in-laws took the news like champs. Turns out my M.I.L. actually totalled her M.I.L's car when she was 4 months pregnant with my hubby.
  2. Our insurance company declared the other driver to be at fault and thus we weren't liable for fixing the damage to her car.
  3. I had an already scheduled dr. appt for an ultrasound the day after the accident (the first one hubby was at) and it was such a relief to see that our baby was perfectly healthy and not impacted by the accident.
  4. I'm incredibly grateful for our cop friend and the defense attorney who helped me out for no cost. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Relief for my Achin' Back

I promise this blog won't become all about my pregnancy, but in case I have any readers out there who may be pregnant too (it seems like everybody I know is due sometime this fall) I wanted to post my new favorite workout DVD.

I've been fortunate enough that I haven't had to purchase any pregnancy books or DVDs because our libary has a wide variety and I seem to be the only one interested in checking them out because I'm able to renew them time after time after time.

I tried a couple different DVDs and wasn't too crazy about them. One was by Erin O'Brien (who's married to the guy who plays Mike on Desperate Housewives).
Erin O'Brien's Prenatal Fitness Fix

I think the best part of this DVD was watching how "excited" James Denton was to be participating in the exercises with her.

Next I tried a DVD by Leisa Hart.

Leisa Hart's FitMama - Prenatal Workout

The only sort of enjoyable part of this DVD was the dancing, but I still didn't like it that much.

Then the nausea struck and all workouts were on hold for about 2 months. When I was at the library this past week I picked up another DVD and this one is definitely the winner:

Lindsay Brin's Pregnancy DVD: Yoga, Cardio & Toning 2nd Trimester

I wish I had picked up her first trimester DVD to try, but I'll definitely keep checking this one out for the remainder of my 2nd trimester and then move on to the DVD for the 3rd. What I like about this DVD is that it has two different workouts: approx. 40 minutes worth of cardio, strength training, core exercises and stretching and 20 minutes worth of prenatal yoga.

Monday I did the cardio workout and loved it. I finally felt like I was still working my muscles (in a safe way for baby) even though I was pregnant (something really lacking in the first two DVDs). I ran out of time to do the abs so I'm looking forward to trying those tomorrow. Tuesday - Thursday were crazy and my back was KILLIN' me (don't know if it was due to working out again for the 1st time in 2 months or the pregnancy) so I didn't get a chance to do the yoga until this morning, but it was wonderful. My back is doing much better and she gave some great tips for how to lessen back pain during the day. This DVD will be my faithful companion for the next couple months. Now if I could solve the problem of not gaining weight and having no appetite we'll be doing great....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

16 Weeks

I'm 16 weeks as of today. Ignore the cheesy smile I have due to hubby not being that cooperative at taking my photo this morning. According to this book, here is what baby is up to this week:

Your baby now weighs in at a whopping three to five ounces, and he's four to five inches in length. The bones that are now in place in his ears means he can probably hear your voice as you talk to your partner and pals and sing in the car. While he’s getting used to your voice, the tiny muscles in his body, especially the ones in his back, are gaining strength, so he can straighten out a little more. And thanks to his developing facial muscles, your baby is capable of making a few expressive frowns and squints, even at this early stage. (Don’t worry, those frowns have nothing to do with the sound of your voice!) And his eyes are finally working, making small side-to-side movements and perceiving light (although the eyelids are still sealed). Peekaboo!

This morning I had another lovely visit with my friend the toilet, but I think it was more due to a really bad gag reflex I've developed while brushing my teeth. It makes it hard to get minty-fresh breath when you can't brush your tongue without gagging so bad. I fear for my dentist when I go in for my cleaning this weekend!

For the most part I'm still feeling really good now that the nausea is gone. I did a prenatal workout DVD on Monday and woke up with an aching back on Tuesday. Don't know if it's due to working out after a three month hiatus due to the bad morning sickness I had or if it's just the regular backaches that the books says can start to show up in week 16. I'm hoping it's due to the working out so that once I get used to being active again it will disappear. Either way, it will all be worth it when I hold our little bundle of joy in my arms come November!

Chicken Spaghetti

Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman

When we were visiting our friends in Kentucky a few weekends ago I offered to make Sunday dinner because they were speaking in church Saturday night and at all the services Sunday morning so I knew they'd be tired when they got home. Thankfully my friend is a kindred spirit and she too had The Pioneer Woman's cookbook. I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to make...Chicken Spaghetti.

It was a little more time consuming than I hoped (largely due to cooking the fryer chicken and getting the meat off the bones) but it was so worth it. It was delicious!

I'm definitely going to make it again, but next time I'll probably just use boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they cook faster and are less work.

Pioneer Woman does a great job showing the step-by-step of the recipe on her blog so I won't repeat it here. She also has a handy link to print the recipe out at the bottom of her blog post. Click here for the recipe.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

From My Bookshelf (and a Surprise!)

Hubby & I took a road trip a couple weekends ago down south for him to do some business and to visit our good friends from church who recently moved to Lexington, KY. While hubby was installing systems and showing farmers how to put the patches on the cow's rumps, I busied myself reading.

I finally finished Sarah Palin's autobiography. Personally, I've always had a lot of respect for Sarah Palin and reading her book only caused that respect to deepen. Whether your a liberal or a conservative, I think you'll find her book interesting. (click on the picture of each book for a better synopsis)

Going Rogue: An American Life

The next three books I found on the "new release" shelves at the library. I like to browse these shelves to find some new authors who I may enjoy.

I read this book by Mitch Albom before in my "Death, Dying & Grief" class my senior year of college (Side note: To this day my hubby likes to comment to people how weird I am because that was one of my favorite college classes ever. I defend myself by saying that when your career goal is to be a medical social worker specializing in serving families of children with cancer, it's a very valuable class to have taken.) and really enjoyed it so I thought this next book would also prove to be an interesting read. I was right.

by Mitch Albom (Author)Have a Little Faith: A True Story [Deckle Edge] (Hardcover)

This next book was a light-hearted one I found on the new release shelf. I was surprised to find it was by a Christian author given my neck of the woods (not a heavily Christian area). It happened to be the third book in the series, but it didn't seem like you really had to read them in order. I'd like to get the other two books and see if the author has written anything else.

Third Time's a Charm: A Novel (Sister-to-Sister)

This book was also by an author I hadn't heard of before. It sounded like it could be an interesting story so I picked it up. It took a little bit to really grab my attention, and I thought I had the ending figured out a few chapters into the book, but when I got to the end I realized I was completely wrong. It ended up being a fairly good read and I may look for other books by this author in the future too.

Tomorrow River
Lastly, I don't remember if I ever mentioned the book I read by John & Staci Eldredge (he's the author of Wild At Heart  which I suggest even women read to have a better understanding of the men in their lives), but it is EXCELLENT and one I highly recommend to any engaged or married couple I know regardless of whether you're in an "up" or a "down" part of your relationship.

Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of

This book has made a serious impact on our marriage and I'm so glad I read it. A lot of it may be common sense stuff, but the way they present it really helps you understand your spouses' point of view a little better. If you're married or engaged, do yourself a favor and read this book.

In fact, I think this book is so great that I just now decided to giveaway one (1) free copy to a reader. Want to enter? Just leave a comment on this post telling me how long you've been married or engaged and where you met your significant other or send me an e-mail to brieblogs (at) optonline (dot) net with the same info. Make sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win so I can mail you your book. Entries will be accepted through midnight EST on Sunday, June 20th. Winner will be announced Monday, June 21st.

Happy reading and don't forget to enter for your chance to win!

I sponsored this giveaway myself and did not receive any form of compensation for the promotion of this book.

Monday, June 7, 2010

15 Weeks

This past Thursday (June 3rd) I reached the 15 week mark. I just recently started showing, but to the average person who doesn't know I'm pregnant it's probably difficult to tell if I'm pregnant or just pudgy. The good news is that I haven't had to start wearing any maternity clothes yet because I can still fit most my regular pants and those that are a little snug I can get by with leaving unbuttoned under blousy shirts. I did buy a pair of maternity jeans about a month ago, but they are so uncomfortable right now. Hopefully that will change once my belly grows a little bigger. In this photo I actually look a little bigger than I really am due to the combo of my hand on top of my belly and the dress.

And, the best news about reaching week 15? My nausea has FINALLY gone away!!! I now have a slight appetite and can hopefully start to put on a few pounds and resume working out now that I can do more than lie on the sofa after work. I've managed to put on and maintain 2 lbs since my last dr. appt a couple weeks ago...hopefully my dr will be satisified.

I found a link to this funny website a little bit ago where you can morph two photos together to see what your future child would look like. So, I present to you our 'lil turkey:

Ha! Hopefully our kid will have a little better hairdo when they're born. Looks like a girl to me (or a very feminine boy).

What is our baby up to now?

Your Baby: Week 15

Continuing the march towards normal proportions, baby's legs now outmeasure the arms. And, finally, all four limbs have functional joints. Your fetus is squirming and wiggling like crazy down in the womb, though you probably still can't feel the movements.