Pan Fried Pork Chops

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When I think about how Christmas is next week it kinda freaks me out! It has really snuck up on me this year, maybe because I’ve been slightly distracted with the cuteness going on in our home. Look who turned 1 month on Sunday….
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We had so much fun doing a little photo shoot with Everly. It is amazing how much she has changed in only 1 month. She is so aware of her surroundings and stays awake in the mornings and late afternoons for a few hours and we play and do tummy time…it is so much fun. Her Aunt Katie and Uncle Chris came by to see her too and she really enjoyed spending time with them and sleeping in their arms!
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Now that I’m starting to get the hang of having a newborn in the house I have started cooking again every once in a while. I made these yummy pan-fried pork chops the other day. I usually do my Great Grandmothers recipe every time I cook pork chops but decided to spice things up a little bit and do something different. Rex really liked them and they were really easy to cook.

Pan Fried Pork Chops

Pan Fried Pork Chops

Pan Fried Pork Chops

What you need:
- 4 Boneless Pork Chops
- 1 cup flour
- 1 T Season Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

In a large pan heat a few Tablespoons of olive oil to medium high heat. On a plate mix flour, season salt, cayenne and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper and set aside. Pound pork chops to 1/4 inch thick. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides and dip pork chops in flour mixture. Make sure chops are completely covered and then shake off any extra flour. Gently place them in the pan. When they start to look golden on the edges flip and cook on the other side (about 4 minutes on each side). Once pork chops are cooked remove from pan and place on paper towels to soak up any extra oil. Serve and enjoy!

Happy Chewing!

Welcome Everly Mae

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photo 14We are so excited to announce that Miss Everly Mae is here! On November 17th at 12:35 a.m. we welcomed our sweet little bundle of joy to the world. At 5 lbs 14 ounces and 19 inches long she blew us all away with how perfect and healthy she was for being 3.5 weeks early. We’ve been soaking in every precious moment with our new addition and so happy that she was able to grace us with her presence early. Here is Everly’s birth story….

Let me begin by saying that Miss Evie was breech my entire third trimester and Rex and I had decided that we would schedule a C-section a week early (Dec. 4th) for her big arrival instead of trying to force her to turn. Little did we know she would be here even earlier.

It all started on Thursday, November 14th when I had my 36 week doctor’s appointment. During my ultrasound I found out that my placenta had matured. For those of you who don’t know….a pregnant woman’s placenta has a “shelf life”. It grows and developes and once it matures or reaches its peak it starts to deteriorate. Since it had just matured there wasn’t any cause for concern but my doctor said he would like to see me in a week and do an NST (stress test) just to make sure that baby girl was still growing on schedule. Before I left the doctor’s office he said he would hook me up to the NST machine just so I could see how it worked and what it was like. The nurses wrapped two monitors around my belly and I watched as these little lines moved up and down on a piece of paper. All of a sudden the nurse looked at me and asked “Did you feel that?” I said “No, feel what?” and she replied “You are having a contraction!” Nurses started coming in and asking “You don’t feel that?” and when I kept replying “No” we all started to laugh. My doctor was a little shocked and decided to check my cervix and I was dilated to 2 cm. Since he wasn’t sure what was going on and I wasn’t feeling the contractions he had me check into my hospital to be monitored a little closer. Naturally I started to freak out a little bit…I had just come from work, there was laundry to do and my hospital bag wasn’t packed! As soon as I got into the car I called Rex and said “Well, you won’t believe where I am going right now….the hospital!” I think he replied with “Really?!” in an excited and nervous voice. We met at the hospital and checked in and they hooked me up to machines. Sure enough I was having contractions every minute and they were getting stronger but still not painful. We ended up staying the night in the hospital and in the morning I had only dilated another 1/2 cm so they decided it would be best if I went home and came back when the contractions were getting more painful.

So Friday Rex and I went into full “prepare for the hospital” mode. We cleaned the house, did laundry and dishes, packed our bags, went to the grocery store, installed the car seat, etc. We were going to be prepared when the time came! I still was having contractions but didn’t want to be the crazy lady who makes multiple trips to the hospital only having to keep being sent home. So I ignored my contractions Friday night and got a good night sleep.

On Saturday we went about our normal routine all day. Then around 6:00 pm I began to get a slight stabbing pain in my upper stomach. I called my doctor and he said since I am experiencing something different I should probably come to the hospital and get checked out. We grabbed our bags and our car seat and headed to the hospital. I was hooked up to the machines again to track my contractions and my cervix was now dilated to 3 cm. My blood pressure was slightly high and since I was still having contractions and dilating my doctor turned to me and said “Let’s just do it.” I think a nervous laugh escaped my mouth and I looked at Rex and we both said “Okay”. Since I was going to do a Csection anyways and I was now considered to be in active labor we decided it would be best for the baby and I if we went ahead and delivered than to wait and cause stress to either of us. So the time had been set…12:00 in the morning of the 17th they would wheel me into the operating room and our little girl would be here. I started to get so nervous… “Are we really ready for this?”, “Will she be Okay and healthy?”, “Is this really going to happen?”, “Our lives are going to change forever in just a few moments.” were all thoughts that swirled around in my head. first family photo

At 12:35 our baby girl took her first breath and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Rex was able to watch her be born and I think he said “Oh my gosh…wow” as they pulled her out (butt first). I remember asking him “Is she okay?” “Is she out?” and when I heard that first cry from the other side of the sheet and saw pure joy and love on Rex’s face I knew she was here! They walked her around to the side for me to see her and I instantly fell in love. “Yes, that is exactly what our little girl looks like!” I had wondered that question my entire pregnancy and when my eyes locked in on her for the first time it all clicked. They then took her to get weighed and checked and Rex was able to go with her and cut her cord and take pictures. I was able to watch them and couldn’t take my eyes off of my two loves..Rex and Everly. They then wrapped her in a blanket and set her on my chest and I started to cry. She was perfect.

I had the most amazing birth experience I could ever imagine. I never had to “labor”, I knew when she was coming, and I got the most perfect and healthy baby girl. I always thought it was weird when people would hear I was having a Csection and they would respond “Oh, I’m sorry” or “That is too bad”. Especially people who have never had one before. No matter how you deliver your baby…whether it be natural, vaginal or csection we all walk out of the hospital with the same badge of honor…our baby. I know everyone’s experience is different but for me, my csection went amazing. I was up and walking around 24 hours after the surgery and my recovery was so fast, I felt completely back to normal and with no pain 2 weeks after her birth. I think a lot of this has to do with how healthy and active I was during my pregnancy. I was only 6 lbs. from my original weight 4 days after her delivery and I attribute that to exercising and eating healthy while I was pregnant. I couldn’t have asked for a better pregnancy, delivery and recovery.

We are now enjoying our little princess and can’t get over how much she grows and changes every day. We love you Everly Mae!photo 22

35 Week Baby Bump

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Week 35

35 Week Baby Bump

35 Week Baby Bump


How far along are you? 35 Weeks!
What’s happening with baby? Everly is 5.5 lbs. and her kidneys are fully developed now. Basic physical development is now mostly complete and her main job over the last few weeks is to put on weight. She will steadily gain 1/2 lb. each week until she is born.
Total weight gain: 21 lbs.
Maternity clothes? Of course…in search for the perfect and most comfortable outfit to wear for leaving the hospital.
Stretch Marks? NOPE :) :) :)
Sleep: I can’t complain….surprisingly the last couple nights I haven’t had to get up. I better enjoy that now!
Best moment this week: Nothing in particular sticks out…just enjoying my time with Rex and it being just the two of us. I’m a very lucky girl to have such an amazing, supportive and fun loving hubby!
Miss Anything? Can I get sushi delivered to the hospital room the day after I deliver?
Movement: Yes and it really hurts sometimes (especially at night).
Food Cravings: Ice and really cold water.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope
Gender: Baby Girl!
Pregnancy/Labor Symptoms: Last night I had some mild cramping. It would randomly come and go and went away once I laid in bed. I’m guessing these are Braxton Hicks. I have been extremely tired the last week and having a little trouble breathing at times….I don’t think she has dropped yet. I’ve also experienced really bad restless leg the last few weeks in the evenings.
Belly button in or out: I still have a flat belly button. It’s really funny looking, but I kinda like it…I think Rex does too….hehe
Wedding rings on or off: ON
Looking forward to: Finding out if she has turned or if she is still breech, but that won’t be until the end of next week.

Preparing for Baby Evie

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Freezer Meals

Freezer Meals

Being in my 35th week we are fast approaching the arrival of Everly Mae. Especially since my doctor’s appointment last Thursday showed this little booger is still breech and if she doesn’t turn in the next week and a half I will go ahead and schedule a C-section on week 39. I don’t know if it is nesting or what, but I have been a little crazy when it comes to getting things done around the house. I just want the place to be perfect for when she gets here. I spent 2 hours on Friday taking everything out of the kitchen pantry, cleaning the shelves, PAINTING the shelves and then putting everything back. Yes, you read that right….I painted the shelves in our pantry…who does that?! Then Saturday I spent the morning on my hands and knees wiping down all the base boards. There was something driving me crazy about seeing the previous home owner’s dust and dog hair along the bottom of the walls…GROSS! Even though Everly will probably never know that I went a little nuts and did these things, it made me feel a lot better. The other thing I have been working on as we prepare for our sweet little girl is I have been making frozen meals! I have about 10 different meals in the freezer that we will be able to cook and eat from for the first couple weeks she is here. This will allow Rex and I to spend our time bonding and taking care of Everly and not having to worry about what we are going to eat for dinner. Also, it saves us from having to result to pizza every night and we will have healthy, home cooked meals…now that makes me a happy girl!

I decided to freeze some favorite meals of ours and some new ones. I have listed them below with links to the recipes. If they are new recipes, I will add the link when I cook and post about that specific dinner. Almost everything listed is a Crock Pot Meal (luckily it will be winter time). For the soups I put all the ingredients except for the chicken broth in the bags. That way all you have to do is add the broth when you put it in the crock pot and you are good to go. It didn’t make sense to me to cook a meal and then freeze it, so everything, except for the Broccoli Cheddar Soup is cut up raw vegetables and meat and just needs to be thawed and cooked before you eat it. DSC00971

Freezer Meals

- Dad’s Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Sausage Balls
- Corn Bread Muffins
- Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
- Spicy Chickpea Soup
- Polish Kraut and Apples
- Buttermilk Herb Chicken
- Honey Soy Pork Chops

33 Week Baby Bump

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Week 33

33 Week Baby Bump

33 Week Baby Bump

How far along are you? 33 Weeks! Only 1 1/2 months left to go until my due date!
What’s happening with baby? Evie Mae is a little over 4 lbs. and 17 inches long and she will continue to gain a 1/2 lb per week from here on out. She can determine the difference between sweet and sour tastes in the amniotic fluid which changes based off what I have eaten. Antibodies are being passed from me to her as she continues to develop her own immune system.
Total weight gain: 20 lbs.
Maternity clothes? Trying to stay as comfortable as I possibly can. Maternity leggings are a life savior.
Stretch Marks? NOPE :)
Sleep: Sill getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and I have learned to prop myself in good sleeping position with a bunch of pillows which helps….the problem is I can’t find my hubby under all the pillows we have!
Best moment this week: Rex and I have been going to childbirth classes and they are SO informative. I knew how a baby was born but I didn’t REALLY know! We have learned a lot and I really enjoy going. Also, we have a BIG Date night tonight and will be doing dinner and going to see The Book of Mormon….I CAN’T WAIT!
Miss Anything? Same old stuff but I don’t have much longer to go!
Movement: She moves like crazy, especially around 9:00 am and 7:30 pm. Sometimes I wonder what she is doing in there because she is moving so much. It hurts sometimes now that she is getting bigger too.
Food Cravings: Still loving ice.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Nothing really.
Gender: Baby Girl!
Pregnancy/Labor Symptoms: I had a doctors appointment last week and Everly is breech. We have been doing everything we can to get her to turn, but I’m not sure if we have had any luck yet. I’ve been doing some exercises and Rex will talk to her while he runs a flashlight on my lower belly and I place an ice pack on my upper belly. If anyone has tips on getting her to turn into position I would love to her them!
Belly button in or out: Haha…my belly button in completely flat….still hasn’t popped “out” yet.
Wedding rings on or off: ON
Looking forward to: My Baby Shower is Saturday and I can’t wait! I know the planners have some really fun things in store and it is going to be so nice to relax and enjoy the company of all my lady friends and my family!

Italian Stuffed Peppers

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Welcome Home

Welcome Home

It isn’t a secret that I’ve been missing in action the last couple of weeks, but I promise I have a good excuse (have I said that before?) Rex and I have been busy little bees moving into our very first home! You might think I’m a little crazy or maybe it was my nesting kicking into gear, but my schedule the last 2 weeks was insane and I can’t believe I survived! We moved from our apartment to our new home on a Saturday. The next day Rex and my Dad tore out all the countertops and old backsplash in our kitchen to get ready for our new ones to be installed. I got a little nervous when they started this project because as my mom and I unpacked boxes I would hear loud bangs, whispering and then laughter coming from the kitchen. That never is a good sign. I would peak around the corner and Rex and Dad were putting holes in the walls! Luckily they figured it out and did a great job of demoing our kitchen. We did learn that you should NEVER vacuum drywall dust with a regular vacuum in the process though. Monday and Tuesday I continued to unpack boxes and organize but without counters or a sink in the kitchen…that was interesting. Wednesday the granite people came and put in our new sink and granite countertops…YAY! I didn’t get to enjoy the new kitchen very long because on Thursday morning I woke up at 4:30 am to head to the airport for a work trip to New York for 5 days. While in New York I experienced my first round of pregnancy swelling. My feet were out of control and I resulted to wearing the same pair of shoes (the only ones that fit) the entire trip! Thinking I’m crazy yet? Well the one smart thing I did before I left for New York was give my mom a house key. While I was out of town and Rex was busy at work she would come over and finish unpacking boxes, decorate, organize, and make everything perfect for when I arrived back. Rex, Mom and Dad were absolute rock stars while I was away. They all worked so hard…hanging drapes, painting, setting out fall decorations, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. When I walked into our new home after a hectic 2 weeks of disorganization and traveling I was overwhelmed with joy…the house was absolutely perfect and clean! Thank you so much Rex, Mom and Dad for all your hard work and manual labor….Lord knows it would have taken this pregnant lady months to do it on my own! You all are serious life savers and I feel blessed that without any hesitation my parents put in so much hard work, time and effort to make our first home a beautiful and perfect place. Want to see the new home?
Living Room

Living Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Everly's Nursery

Everly’s Nursery

Everly's Nursery

Everly’s Nursery

Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

Family Room

Family Room

Once I got back and settled into the new place I was REALLY excited to cook our first meal in our brand new kitchen! I made these delicious stuffed peppers. The recipe makes about double of the filling than you need for 4 peppers. So you could do 8 peppers and use all the filling or do what I did and save the extra filling and eat that for lunches throughout the week. I had so much fun cooking and moving around out new kitchen, I know that there will be many wonderful family meals made here.

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Italian Stuffed Peppers

Italian Stuffed Peppers

What you need:
- 4 Red Peppers, tops and insides removed
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 can italian seasoned tomatoes
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T olive oil
- shredded cheddar cheese

Remove the tops and seeds of the bell peppers and back in the oven (empty) for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, brown turkey meat in large skillet. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa, spices, tomatoes and oil and vinegar. Mix well and let simmer for a few minutes. Spoon the precooked peppers with filling and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Cover with foil and return to oven to bake for another 25 minutes. I served ours over a bed of spinach. Enjoy!

Happy Chewing!

The Search for a Name…

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Baby E's Nursery

Baby E’s Nursery

One of the questions that every couple asks themselves when they find out they are expecting is what are we going to name our baby? From the very beginning, before we even knew if it was a boy or girl we started throwing out names and making our list of favorites. Finding a boy name was extremely easy. We both agreed on a boy name that was strong and meaningful. We had a few girl names on our list that we liked but nothing that really jumped out to us. I think we were so adamant that we were having a boy that we didn’t put much thought into girl names. So naturally when we opened the box of balloons at the gender reveal and the color PINK came flying out I quickly started to panic. ” We don’t have a girl name!” was one of the first things I said to Rex after finding out we would be having a little princess. Then the flood of opinions came rolling in. As soon as everyone knew we were having a girl we had so many names flying at us we didn’t even know what to do with ourselves. Some were cute and some were awful, but I would always politely smile and nod and say “Oh, that’s cute” knowing I would never consider it again. When Rex would come home from work I would start going through the list of girl names I came up with that day and one after another he would deny them. Then he would list off a couple of names that he really liked and I would say “Eh, I don’t know”. Anxiety started to set in when I realized that we weren’t agreeing and I wondered if we would ever find something that we BOTH loved. We wanted something unique and feminine and just when I would find something that Rex kind of liked a family member would start to push it and make him not like it anymore. Or when he would come up with one that I kind of liked I would figure out that it was hard to say with our last name or it rhymed with something strange.

Then one night after work Rex walked through the door and said “What about the name E _ _ _?” I really liked it! It was an adorable nickname that was similar to a name I had on my favorite list. So the next day I started brain storming….what would be a name that would go with this cute and preppy nickname that Rex came up with? And then I saw the name E _ _ _ _ _. I sent him a text asking him if he liked it and he said “Actually, that is a good one.” Suddenly, I knew this was the name for our little girl. I couldn’t stop saying it over and over in my head. I had become obsessed! We talked about it for weeks and tried to come up with middle names that went with it and when I suggested M _ _ for her middle name and Rex got excited and said “I think we have winner” I KNEW WE HAD FINALLY FOUND HER NAME! We both absolutely love it…..its unique….its girly….and its preppy! The perfect combination of REX and AMANDA and reflects the two of US. So what is the name we decided on for our sweet baby girl?…… drumroll please…..

Everly Mae Johnston!
We can’t wait to meet you, Evie Mae!

Everly Mae Johnston

Everly Mae Johnston