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26 Weeks Pregnant

26 Weeks Baby is the size of a coconut

I can’t believe I am 26 weeks and still have another 14 weeks to go (fingers crossed)! This has been one of the most uncomfortable weeks since the first trimester. I just feel like no matter how I sit or lay something hurts or goes numb. I ended up missing a class and being late (still working on) turning in my Art History discussion for this week. Sometimes you just need to listen to your body and slow down. In my case, it was staying in bed for a couple of days to feel a little better.

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Crockpot Buffalo and BBQ Wings for Sunday Games #feedmefriday

Crockpot Buffalo and BBQ Wing RecipeThis past Sunday was my brother’s annual memorial cookout and the big Eagles/Giants game! Since most of us were going to be inside watching the game and yelling at the tv like the players can hear us from an hour away… yes I am one of those crazy Eagles fans that think they can hear me from my couch, I decided to contribute wings to the food lineup of the day. I am not one to eat hot wings so I had to consult my boyfriend on what kinda hot sauce to get and was told ONLY FRANKS!  So it was buffalo wings and barbeque wings for the win!

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The way I make my wings is a step process but worth it because the meat just falls off the bone, super moist and just delicious. I received rave reviews for my wings and the hot wings were gone very fast! I start off by frying the wings in just a little oil, enough to crisp the skin. Then, I bake them for 10 minutes before setting them in my crockpot for 3 hours or an hour until I am ready to serve them up. At the hour to go mark, I take the wings out, place them on a pan, brush them with butter and bake for another 10-15 minutes. This is the key part to create the delicious skin. Then back into the crockpot they go to soak up the sauce and become the wings everyone wants!

Can I just say thank goodness for my toaster convection oven! Again my stove decided to stop working part way through this process so there I was baking the wings in my little toaster convection oven but an oven is oven and worked amazingly!

Crockpot Buffalo and BBQ Wings

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Credit: mogulmomartisan.com

Ingredients

    Buffalo Wings
  • 4 pound bag of wings
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • oil for frying
  • Barbecue Wings
  • 4 pound bag of wings
  • 1 bottle of barbecue sauce (18 oz or larger)
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  • oil for frying

Directions

    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. In the crockpot add the sauce. (For the Buffalo wings add the teaspoons of garlic and onion powders and mix well.) Set the crockpot on high and stir occasionally while you work on the wings.
  2. Fry the wing pieces in the oil until just browned.
  3. Bake the wing pieces for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the wings to the crockpot and mix until the pieces are coated with the sauce.
  5. Cook for 3 hours or until an hour before you are ready to serve.
  6. At the hour to go mark, take the wings out of the crockpot, place them on baking sheets, brush with the melted butter and bake for 10-15 minutes or until skin is crispy.
  7. Place the wings back into the crockpot, place the crockpot on low and get ready to serve! You can garnish with celery, blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

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Positively Grounding a Tween

Tween Positive GroundingTypically, Thursdays are my days to write about being thankful but after my experience with Danyella yesterday, today is going to be a special subject day…. Grounding a Tween in a Positive Way. I know that at her age, that kids are struggling with still being a child and struggling with wanting to be treated like they are older or an adult. This doesn’t mean that a child can treat others in a disrespectful way which is where we are struggling with Danyella. She feels that she can speak to the adults that care for her in any way she feels fit and continue to do the things that she enjoys. Well she is about to find out that life doesn’t work that way.

In the adult world, if we spoke to each our bosses in this rude manner then we would be fired from our job. If we spoke to a police officer in this rude manner then we would be arrested and spend sometime in jail. If we spoke to our friends in this rude manner then we would be become friends, quickly. If we spoke to our significant other in this rude manner then we would be dumped and living a single life. If we spoke to our loved ones in this rude manner then we would be living a very lonely life. So why do we allow our children to speak and react in rude manners when adults cannot act like that?

Well in my house and family it is not allowed. I will admit that I made many excuses and let things go because I felt Danyella has gone through a lot of change in her 10 years especially with a new baby on the way. The problem with the excuses is that I created a monster that thinks she controls the adults instead of respecting them.

After her meltdown yesterday which was over the fact that she didn’t get her dance leotards into the laundry after I (or so I thought) finished all of the laundry. She flipped out about everything and anything that came to her mind at that point. She refused to go to dance which normally I would make her stay home but instead she was sent without being in her required clothing so that she had to explain why to her teacher. She will be coming home today only to find her room quite empty…. no TV, no toys! Just her clothes, bed and books will be left which she will be earning her items back through a point system.

I had seen someone post this as a meme a while back and the idea sat with me so this morning I decided to make my own point earning system including chores that she fights with me over and positive activities that are required for her to complete in order to earn her items back. I will be posting how this first time goes in Monday’s post so be on the look out.

Print The Grounded Points Chart Congratulations You are grounded

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Animal Baby Loveys

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With the holidays coming and the other part of my business life being my handmade business, I decided to make Wednesdays my day to feature different creations from my online boutique. My goal is to help people find gifts that could work for someone they are shopping for or inspire them to create a version of their own.

One of my most common request from a customer is something baby related but women are always having babies and will be having babies. Before I was pregnant, I began crocheting (yes I am a hooker) a variety of baby items because they sell so fast with people looking for something cute, soft and unique to give as a gift to a new mama. I came across a crochet lovey and was inspired to make different animal theme loveys. Some of these have been special requests that I made an extra for my shop which some of my best-selling creations came as a request from a customer!

 

Since being pregnant, I have been inspired to make other baby loveys so I have some other ones in the works which I can’t wait to debut. If you are interested in purchasing a lovey feel free to browse my online boutique Kaella Boutique or please feel free to pass this along to someone who might be interested in a unique gift.

As an artist/artisan, I have learned that nothing is truly our own creation but an idea that came before us and we just worked it to fit into our imagination. If you look at most art, those works are a form of someone else’s idea that the artist tweaked or revamped to make it their own. So please feel free to be inspired by my creations!

Be on the look out on Wednesdays, as I will be featuring different products that make great gifts from my online boutique, Kaella Boutique, that can help in giving a loved one, friend or boss a unique, handmade present.

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Emotional Burnout #MotivationMonday

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It has been a week since I have been able to get a blog post out of me. If you look at my drafts, I started multiple posts but just couldn’t finish them. Yes time was a factor but if I am being truthful, my heart just wasn’t in it to write this past week. Being pregnant, I know that I am more emotional than usual but I would just sit and start crying multiple times throughout the day because this past weekend was my little brother’s 9th anniversary of his death and I was becoming emotionally burned out.

The week leading up to his anniversary is always an emotional one but we keep busy by planning his annual balloon release memorial service and cook out. Add the stress of the pregnancy hormones and the pregnancy itself… my stress level felt like it skyrocketed. Now add that my psych paper this week was on Addiction and basically I just mentally shut down.

More than once my boyfriend found me crying and when he would ask why, all I could muster up was that it was all too much this week and I couldn’t take it. In one week, I dealt with my brother’s death anniversary, my pregnancy complications (had a few close call fainting spells) and one of the Mama’s in my group had to have her twin boys early because of complications (I sat on the couch and cried for hours for those boys who are now in the NICU and getting stronger everyday). I just hit my end and crashed but it felt like every time I did something, I crashed all over again.

Last night was the first night I was able to get to bed and sleep before midnight which was a nice thing for me. I was living off of little sleep and an occasional nap. My poor boyfriend had his head bitten off more than once in an hour for the past week (sorry babe). I had the Mom Emotional Burn Out but this week it is time for recovery and get myself back on track.

Every mom has their emotional burn out moments trust me! Some are definitely not as extreme as mine but we all have them. The key is to let yourself feel your emotions, embrace the discomfort while it lasts and when you are ready, pick yourself up and love yourself again. Motivation Monday!

**On a little side note, my boyfriend has made it without to many scars through this pregnancy and other times so I have to say Happy Anniversary! I love you and everything you do for our family.

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Mom to a Tween Girl

Mom to a Tween Girl

Anyone that is mom to a tween sees their cute, adorable little girl with a touch (or bucket full) of attitude and sass that leaves you wondering… where did this child come from because this isn’t my sweet little girl. For the longest time, I thought it was just mine that acted like this but once the dance moms and I started our weekly chats, I learned that nearly all tween girls are like this and I am not alone!

My daughter will go from a sweet smile to tears to growing devil horns in about 5 seconds flat. You ask her to do something and it is met with an attitude like no other. I mean I thought this is what we dealt with when they became teens??

When you ask them to do their chores or anything at all to help…. wear body armour because dart will come spitting out of their mouth as they tell you “soon”, “in a minute” or “fine”. At the same time, she wants time to cuddle and be with her mom. It’s such a fine line when it comes to this tween age! 

Right now our biggest struggle has been technology or in her eyes “lack of technology”. She wants a phone and has been asking for one for the past 2 years but we are set that she doesn’t get one until she can show us responsibility aka keep her room clean and do her chores without a temper tantrum for more then a day! 

Raising a girl isn’t easy but a tween girl in this day and age just seems to be gettting so hard at least emotionally and mentally for this mom. Those rare “I love you” or “thank you” moments make enduring the attitude, slamming door and tears all worth it. Anyone else raising an emotional tween girl?

 

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Craft and Art Store Coupons #savingsunday

Using Craft Store Coupons for Supplies#SavingSunday

As a Fine Arts Major, Artisan, Crafter, Mom to budding artists and craft supply hoarder, I have learned the art of using coupons to get what I need for as little money as possible. Recently, my Painting Professor emailed us the list of what we needed to purchase for her class with the links to Amazon to purchase all of items. When I put them all in my cart, they were over $300… not in my budget at all!

That is when I turned to my local craft/art supply stores! In my local area, I have Michaels and Hobby Lobby which we frequent both because each something different to offer plus their coupon structures are very different. If I need to look elsewhere, I can travel about 45 minutes or so to Joanns or AC Moore but I prefer to stick to the 2 stores that are only 10 minutes away from me.

At one point in my life, I worked for Michaels because the discount was great and I loved being surrounded by arts and crafts all day long but sadly I needed money for then fun so I went back to waiteressing. Still, when I walk into Michaels, I know at least one person so I can get the scoop of what is new in the store which is awesome! Michaels offers more of a broad range of art and craft supply items so that you have a little bit of everything to choose from but I can’t always find that exact thing I need or idea that is stuck in my head.

Now back to the subject Michaels coupons…. They offer a rewards app that includes all their coupons for the week. Most weeks, you will find a 40% off one non sale item. On certain days or weeks they will offer special coupons like 20% off your entire purchase or 30% off yarn. Some of these coupons can be great, especially if it includes sale items! Another plus for Michaels is that they will accept competitor coupons, so if Joanns is offering a 60% off coupon, they will allow you to use it at Michaels (score so savings there!). My one gripe is that there is a HUGE exclusions list which includes books! They have cool coloring books for adults, craft sets for kids that have books plus pattern books. If it has a book then it is excluded which just frankly makes a crafter very angry! Before I go into Michaels or while I am walking around, I will look at the other craft stores to see if they have a better coupon offer to max out my savings.

On to Hobby Lobby…. they offer fabric which Michaels does not which is a plus in my book! They have added to their soap making supplies (though they still make that damn melt and pour soap a big thing like you are really making soap but that is a post for another time) which I like being able to go there to buy some of my butters and oils when I need to make a small batch of something. Everything else is pretty comparable to Michaels with having a little bit of every type of supplies.

As for Hobby Lobby coupons, they only ever offer one coupon… 40% off one regular priced item. They do not accept competitor’s coupons so you can only ever use that one coupon. On the plus side they have very little exclusions and they allow coupons on their books! This has been huge for me because sometimes I get a request from someone to make a specific item and if I find it in a pattern book at Hobby Lobby then I get a bunch of patterns for a much lower cost!

Back to my painting class supply search, I learned that Micheals and Hobby Lobby had a majority of what I needed on this list so I was going to use my coupons as much as I possibly could to save as much money as possible. Hobby Lobby had the wood panels so I have been going there nearly everyday (except Sunday because they are closed) to purchase the panels. The rest has come from Michaels and they have had a 50% off coupon this past week which has been a huge help! So the list that would have been $300 or more has cost me about $150 with just a few things left to get.

If you are a parent, these coupons come in handy for kids projects for school and home. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to utilize these places and coupons for book reports and science projects that needed to done for school. In my opinion art and craft supplies are so overpriced to enjoy the stimulation of the artistic side of our brains so use these coupons and save some money to enjoy more art projects in the future!

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24 Weeks and a Big Milestone Reached

24 WeeksThe Baby is the size of a Cantaloupe!

In the beginning of my pregnancy, hitting 24 weeks felt like it was a lifetime away. As a new problem in my pregnancy arose, each week became a blessing that my baby girl was growing a little bigger. Our first milestone was to reach 24 weeks where the baby has a chance of survival if my complications made my body delivery this baby before the “normal” 40 weeks.

Most moms are so excited to reach this point because they are more than half way through their pregnancy and enjoying their upcoming baby shower. For myself, it is enjoying each week as it comes because that means she is getting a little bigger and will have less complications and time in the NICU if she born this early.

A little update on me and the pregnancy… still getting sick but not as often. When I went in for weekly Makena shot on Wednesday, I was given a lecture (kinda a kick in the butt) that I need to drink more water and add some Gatorade to my diet because my blood pressure was 80/49. I am normally low but never that low which would explain why I have been feeling more tired (besides being a mom and college student and pregnant), drained faster then normal plus very light headed. If you know me, you know how much I loathe the taste of Gatorade, Powerade any ade except Lemonade! So I am trying my hardest to drink at least a bottle of it a day but haven’t felt much of a difference yet but I am tolerating the Powerade strawberry lemonade.

My little cantaloupe is moving all about and loves to push her head into my ribs so I can’t breathe, which I wonder if that contributes to my still getting sick to my stomach. She loves to make her presence be known when I am sitting in class. As I am rubbing my belly to calm her down, my professors are looking at me like I am about to go into labor any minute…. don’t jinx me yet! Now that I have reached the doctor’s goal of 24 weeks, my next goal is 30 weeks which is right around Aidan’s 15th birthday. He was born at 30 weeks and is now a football player in high school. Lets see what the next 6 weeks brings us!

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As I am buying something each week for the baby this is what I found this week. (You can click on the image or the words to go to Amazon to purchase for youself)

Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier

This was my best friend with Danyella because I could cart her anywhere without the carseat or stroller!

Luvable Friends Animal Face Hooded Towel, Purple Penguin

Hooded Towels are essential because they are much easier to dry baby off and wrap them snuggly warm after a bath.

Carter’s Baby Girls’ 3 Piece Adorable Penguin Little Character Set 3 Months

I could not resist this outfit with the cute penguin on the butt of the pants!

 

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Homemade Applesauce Recipe

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

It is that time of year…. time for Apples and Pumpkins! I love the smell of baking or cooking apples in my house. It just makes me feel so warm and comfy in the crisp fall weather. On a whim, Danyella and I stopped by one of the local fresh farm stands, Piazza Farms, on our way home from dance last weekend. On Sunday, I debated what I wanted to make with the apples plus what I wanted to make for dinner. I found pork chops in my freezer and the rest was history…. I needed homemade applesauce to go with my pork chops!

When you make this, you can adjust the recipe to make more and can the applesauce for future enjoyment! I made notes on how to add some of the ingredients to increase the recipe. Enjoy!

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A delicious fall homemade applesauce recipe that you can easily make in your crockpot and enjoy the apple scent.


Ingredients

  • 5-6 apples, I prefer Gala or Jonagold
  • 1/2 cup of sugar per 5-6 apples
  • 1/2 cup water per 5-6 apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

  1. Peel, slice and dice your apples. I love my apple peeler, corer, slicer for this
  2. Add the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl.
  3. Add the apples and sugar mix to the crockpot and mix so the apples are well coated with the sugar mixture.
  4. Add the water.
  5. Put the crockpot on high, cover and cook for 4 hours.
  6. Keep mixing the apples. If the applesauce feels to watery, leave the crockpot lid off for a while.
  7. I prefer to mash the apples down as they cook so you get some chunks and some creamy applesauce.
  8. Enjoy with a meal or on its own!

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Thankful For Being a Dance Mom #thankfulthursday

Thankful For Being A Dance Mom

Let me start off by saying, I am not one of “those” dance moms where I get all crazy and cut throat so that my child is the focus of the dance studio and rant all about the studio to get my way! Not my style unless I feel the need to step in because there is a problem or something comes up.

Even though the show “Dance Moms” is what inspired Danyella to want to take her first dance lesson at age 8, I vowed to never be one of those crazy sports moms because they just embarrass themselves and more importantly their child. Don’t get me wrong, the drama on that show can be addicting but I started watching it with Danyella years ago because she loved to watch the dances these girls would learn and perform in less than a week.

When Danyella first started out at the studio, she wanted to take Musical Theatre and Jazz. She wanted to take the musical theatre class because she loved watching me work on the costuming for local theatre shows when she was younger. With jazz, Danyella knew that it was fundamental in learning dance. I was shocked when I saw her excel in dance because in everyday life she is quite clutzy (don’t tell her I said that). Part way through the year, we added a ballet class to her dance schedule and Danyella found her passion in her young life… Dance!

All this girl wanted to dance, day and night. It was heart-warming to see her find a passion like this at a young age. That first year, she was much older and taller than the other girls in her classes because I didn’t know how she would like, let alone find a passionate talent in dance.

At the end of the year, her studio announced that they were forming their first ever Mini Elite Competition Team.  Even though Danyella had only been  dancing for a year and wasn’t at the class level required to audition, she was encouraged to audition anyway. Bad mom moment…. my thoughts on her auditioning were that she would learn the lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve things she wants in her life. Aka, she wouldn’t make the team and learn the lesson of losing and being denied something you desire.

2 months after auditioning, I received the email and was mind blown, shocked to read that she had made the team! What?????? She had only been dancing for a year…. A YEAR! Did she really have that innate ability to dance that she would make a competition dance team? How would these other dance moms act? Would we be living the show’s drama now?

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Our First Competition Mom and Me Selfie!

After 2 years of dancing under our belt and one year of competition team, I am so happy to talk to you about MY life as a dance mom! Both Danyella and I have made wonderful friends through her dance passion. When you spend every week, sitting in a room with the same moms you begin to have conversations. Most of those conversations began with a mom asking what I was crocheting or making because I can’t just sit and not have my hands moving. From that first conversation, we began to share stories of our kids and our lives. That is how friendships are formed and kept.

 

The Elite Moms had an extra special bond because we would live our lives based around dance every weekend from August through March. We would travel together to the competitions and bond over what it was like as a first year competition mom. We were all in this together. Eventually, we started connecting over Facebook and still chat about what is going on with our girls. We have been able to commiserate over our girls and their behaviors. It was great to know we weren’t alone with our tween girl problems.

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The shirt that I made for the Dance Moms for last year’s competition season.

As the girls bonded as a team, so did us moms. We have learned to rely on each other when we need help or have questions and never feel alone in this experience. This year, the team has changed because some people have left the tea

m, so girls moved up and new girls were added. Our girls embraced the new girls just as us moms embraced the new moms. Another new change was the addition of the Petite Elite Team, which consists of some younger girls and a new set of moms. The Minis and Petites bond and help each other just as us “experienced” (not really but we fake it) moms help the new moms navigated the uncharted waters of having a child on the competition team.

Last night, I was reminded of the bond that us dance moms have because as I was sitting for 3 hours of classes on the first week of the new season. Witheach class, brought in a new set of moms and we would all begin to catch up from either having the summer not seeing each other, having a year of our girls having opposite schedules or having a week since the last elite rehearsal. Each conversation just picked up like we never lost anytime.

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The first Elite Team at Competition last season.

 

It was an eye-opening experience to see all us in a room just talking like we have been friends forever. This is what a dance mom life truly is! It is not about drama, it is not about making sure our child is number one or gets special treatment, it is not aboutthrowing adult temper tantrums. It is about showing our children that they should pursue their passions. It is about showing our children that the friendships they make with their fellow dancers are ones that should be cherished. It is about showing our children that we should support one another no matter what and no matter our age.