Friday, December 27, 2013

Five on Friday


It's finally here! Today, we're heading up to Palestine, TX to go on the East Texas Polar Express Ride. I can't wait to see P's face when he sees "the north pole" and gets a bell from Santa. I'm also curious as to what a Laura Bush cookie is.


back away dog!

I'm really happy to be back in Texas. We're catching up on Tex-Mex and Chic-fil-a and loving this weather! It's kind of a zoo with my sister's cat, my mom's 2 cats, and the energetic labradoodle named Nike...but Peyton is enjoying it! They are his buddies.


Hello maternity pants! My normal jeans are starting to become uncomfortable. I can't get away with just unbuttoning them when I sit down, because thanks to my pregnancy brain I'll forget and possibly embarrass myself! My mom got me this pair from Gap and I love them! The demi panel is perfect for this stage of my pregnancy. The color and quality are great too.

I also got this pair from Mountain Mama. I needed some comfortable pants to wear around the house or to the gym. They're super soft and keep me warm. This brand even has maternity baselayer leggings to go under your pants. They are pretty much the only brand of maternity thermals I could find. 


I'm pretty excited about my Christmas gift from my sister. She got me a 6 month membership to RocksBox. You take a survey and they send you 3 pieces of jewelry based on your interests. It's basically Netflix for designer jewelry. You can send them back whenever you're ready to try new pieces. (but you have to send all 3 back at the same time) If you want to keep a piece in your box, they give you 20% off the retail price. I love jewelry, but I'm also a very indecisive person who gets buyer's remorse. My sis knows me too well. Can't wait to try it out!


I've gotten pretty used to being a stay at home mom. Part of my morning routine is to drink coffee and watch the Today show, while Peyton eats breakfast and plays. Today I saw this video and was in tears! It's the sweetest thing I've ever seen a son do for his mom. And it hits home since I'm going to have two sweet boys. Maybe I need to stop watching the news until my emotions are back to normal...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from the Russells! Sending love and joy to you today and throughout the new year.

so excited for his "Buh Lighyear bay rocket"
Daddy joined in the fun all the way from Minnesota (thankful for technology like this!)
brother love! Let's hope this sticks...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

early Christmas in Minnesota

On December 19, we celebrated Christmas with Josh before leaving for Texas. Josh got home from Oklahoma City the night before and we started setting up as soon as Peyton went to bed. Earlier that day we went to Target for stocking stuffers and Peyton decided that he needed this Ninja Turtle car for Christmas. I had a store associate help me hide it up front so that he wouldn't see it. He had an epic meltdown because he thought we weren't buying. Complete with everyone staring at us, and a store associate coming up to him with a sticker. Nice.

We had to wake up at 4:45 am to do Christmas since Josh had to be at work by 6 am. Peyton was SO excited. Before he unwrapped each gift, he said "Is this my Ninja turtle car?" We saved it for last for this reason. Overall, it was a success! P and I went back to sleep until we had to wake up for school.

one of his favorite gifts was this stomp rocket (which also happened to be the cheapest!)
blast off!
yay, Skittles!
...and they're all over the floor. Maybe if I look cute, Mom won't get mad.

The tractor is a gift from Josh's parents. We procratstinated and had to put it together the night before. Josh started around 9:30 and finished it around 11 pm. I'm so proud of his hard work!

He wanted me to take a picture of him to document his first "Dad job" at Christmas

look at those instructions!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Menu Monday: Holiday treats edition!

I think that fall is best time of the year to be pregnant! You get Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…and if you're having an April/May baby like I have, you also get Valentine's Day and Easter. Lots of great food and candy. Last week I had a craving for these peanut butter balls and decided to make two other treats to share with our neighbors.

*As always, click on the purple link for the recipe.
These were a huge hit! I love that this recipe has Rice Krispies in it for an added crunch. I recommend shaping the balls and then freezing or refridgerating them for a while until firm. I was too impatient to wait and had a hard time dipping them in the chocolate since they were too soft. I dipped some in vanilla almond bark and some in Wilton milk chocolate candy melt.

Peppermint patty stuffed Ritz crackers

I found these on the blog and thought they sounded good. It's a nice combination of salty and sweet. Don't over microwave them or they will melt too much. I thought these were easier to dip than the peanut butter balls.

*The blog that features these is called the Gunny Sack. It's funny because my neighbor uses a gunny sack when her sons have too many toys out. The gunny sack "eats" up the toys and if you behave, he'll give them back. I will probaby be using this tool once the baby is here!

Pretzel, M&M, & Candy Cane Kisses

These are another great combination of salty and sweet. I use butter snaps and they taste great. When we made this batch, Josh and I got busy and forgot they were in the oven! They were a little too soft, but it still worked out. Watch out because it's hard to just eat one :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

18 weeks

How far along: 18 weeks
size of baby: a sweet potato
Gender: baby boy! (his name still isn't final yet...)
Weight gain: 2 lbs (waiting to see what Christmas treats/meals of the cons of being pregnant during this time of year)
Maternity clothes: mainly maternity shirts, with leggings or Denizen jeans from Target
Stretch marks: It looks like my old ones from P are "brightening" or something...YIKES! I read on a blog that this cream works well, so I just ordered some from Amazon.
Belly button in or out: starting to look less deep
Sleep: crazy dreams, seriously it feels like "work" to be sleeping...hoping to get more sleep now that I'm in Texas and my Mom will help with night duty. P is getting up most nights around 3 am with bad dreams.
Best moment this week: Seeing family and friends, and eating Tex Mex. I love Lupe Tortilla! 
Worst moment this week: the most difficult day was flying to Texas with a toddler in tow. I felt like the little engine that could. I kept thinking "If I can just make it to this point..." The shuttle from Rochester to Minneapolis dropped us off on the curb in the 19° weather. (with snow, ice, etc.) I had to work quickly to get the car seat out of the shuttle and latched into the travel cart, get P strapped in, and then drag him and our two suitcases (totaling 80 pounds) into the airport. Whew!
Miss anything: having clear thoughts (can't stand pregnancy brain)
Movement: feeling him kick a few times a day
Cravings or aversions: I told my sister the other day that I was craving a day after Thanksgiving sandwich lol. I don't really have any aversions at the moment. I have a super sense of smell and I can't stand it sometimes. (Yes, man sitting front of me on the plane, I smelled you passing gas and applying your Carmex every 2 minutes.)
Symptoms: My back has been sore and I've been more emotional. The song "Mary Did You Know?" came on the radio and I started crying. The line "when you kissed your little baby, you've kissed the face of God." AHHH!! I get goose bumps when I think about it.
Looking forward to: Christmas, of course! Peyton is SO into it this year. Can't wait!

Friday, December 20, 2013

visiting Santa

Peyton did a great job visiting Santa this year. Josh and I "talked it up" the entire morning before we went. We tried to tell him how exciting it would be and what to tell him. To our relief, he wasn't scared to go up to Santa. Check out the video below to see how it all went down. (we were laughing because P didn't really want to look at him lol)

I'm a little sad that we didn't get to take the picture at Bass Pro Shop like the previous years, but I still think it turned out ok. Can you believe how much he's grown?

Let's do this!
telling Santa what he wants for Christmas
visiting Santa 2011 and 2012…where did my baby go?!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Russell's Christmas Card 2013

Sending out Christmas cards is something I look forward to all year long! I like to have our picture finalized before Thanksgiving so that I can order them on Black Friday. With Josh working so much and being gone for interviews, we weren't able to take it as early as I'd like. This photo was taken 5 minutes before our neighbors came over for Thanksgiving. It was freezing outside! (Which is why Peyton didn't want to smile.) My neighbor Kate took a few shots and we ran back inside. Luckily we got a good one!

I ordered the cards from Minted. Not only do they have awesome designs, but they support independent designers. They also printed the addresses on the envelopes for free. Such a time saver! It was easy to do as well. Can't wait to have another little guy in the picture next year :) Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Monday: It's been a while...

I'm hoping to do this more often! If you'd like the dish's recipe, click on the title of the dish above the picture.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

Served with roasted broccoli and cauliflower. This dish is a huge favorite! It has such great flavor and is low in calories. Will be making again soon.

We first found this recipe when doing the Advocare 24 day challenge in August. We put our own flare on it by topping them with sriracha sauce and toasted sesame seeds. So delicious!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Josh and I were blown away by this dish. I think I said "mmmm" after every bite! Lots of fun ingredients with great flavor. We topped with shrimp for more protein.

Pioneer Woman's Perfect Potato Soup

My Mee Mee has been texting me about potato soup, so I had to make it and satisfy my craving for it. I followed the pioneer woman's recipe since she makes it so easy to follow. We used a stick blender and it worked just fine. I top mine with cheetos and Josh prefers cheez-its. Perfect for the cold weather we've had up here! (Mr. P was enjoying an apple.)

Sweet Potato Skillet Hash with Spinach

This is another 24 day challenge recipe that I would consider clean eating. Josh said that he would have preferred red potatoes. I thought the sweet potatoes were interesting and the flavor was unique, but I don't think we'll make this again.

Black Bean Tamale Pie

Love this dish! I've made it a handful of times. We like to make our own "tamale" portion by using cornmeal instead of a cornbread mix. I googled a standard cornbread recipe and didn't use sugar. We liked it much better this way. It's a fun change up of our standard taco salad Tuesday. Try it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Discover the Dinosaurs

Last week we went to Discover the Dinosaurs at the Mayo Civic Center. I was a little hesitant to go because of the price, but I'm so glad we went! Not only were there lifelike dinosaurs to check out, there was a dino dig, inflatables, miniature golf, a dinosaur ride, and more. I'm so proud of Peyton. He wasn't scared at all! The dinosaur sounds were loud and it was dark in some parts of the exhibit. Let's just say there were lots of upset children there. 

digging for bones

hitching a ride
P got to push buttons to make them roar or move
all smiles

static hair!
scary alligator slide

P and his buddy Kason (too busy to smile)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five on Friday


I'm so proud of myself for making the cake pops for our gender reveal! I followed this recipe and used chocolate candy melts instead of pink. To dye the cake batter I used Wilton's icing gel. I read online that this would work great in dying icing or cake batter. Peyton had fun helping me dip them in the chocolate. Apparently I made them pretty big, because it made 20 instead of 36. I gave most of them away to Peyton's teachers and friends. They are dangerous to have around your house ;) If you ever decide to make them, Wal-mart has all of the supplies! And for better prices than Michael's.


Loved seeing my sweet little boy's profile on Monday! I'm so curious to see what he will look like.


This is a public service announcement! Go download SnipSnap to your iPhone ASAP! If you're anything like me, you can't STAND to go somewhere without a coupon. (Bed Bath & Beyond, Babies R Us, Michaels, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc.) With this app, you can upload your coupons or "clip" coupons that other people have uploaded. It's been successful every time I've used it at the register. The coupons have a popularity ranking which is helpful to know if it works or not. If you upload your own coupons, it will even remind you before one expires so you don't forget to use it! So cool. 


So I know I'm late to the party, but Downton Abbey is my new favorite show! My neighbor told me about it and I decided to start watching it one day when Josh was working nights. I was hooked! I had watched all 3 seasons for free on Amazon Instant Video in just a few short weeks. I even brought my iPad to the gym and watched it while doing the elliptical machine. Season 4 starts in January and I cannot wait to watch!


We leave for Texas in a week! Eek! So much to do to get ready. Can't wait to see family and friends…AND be in warmer weather. I feel more prepared for this flight and bought a few new travel essentials:

So glad that Peyton will be in a car seat when we take the shuttle to the MSP airport. With this, I won't have to bring a stroller as well. (totally necessary when you travel with a curious little boy!) 

I've read that if you're going to fly with a car seat, then protecting it with a cover is a must! The Britax cover was too expensive. So after reading the reviews I went with this one. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Minnesota lately...

I'm reminded on a daily basis that I'm not "in Texas anymore." Whenever I open my mouth to speak, whether it be at the gym or a restaurant, the average response is "Where is your accent from?" Hilarious!

Yesterday at my Side by Side Christmas party I overheard a girl from Iowa say "there's the United States and then there's Texas. Know what I mean?" I started laughing and she said to me, "Wouldn't you agree?" Not really sure about that! She's a super sweet new mom that always makes us laugh, so I know she didn't mean it rudely. I think it's interesting to live outside of Texas and see what people think about it.

There's also the snow. Maybe this should have been it's own post. I'm a total rookie when it comes to this weather! I heard some people at the gym say that this is a particularly cold December. Awesome. My neighbor moved here from California around the same time as us, so it's nice to have another newbie to complain with. Today she told me that she hates how it sounds driving on snow. It kind of sound like you're driving on styrofoam.

My poor little Peyton. He's not too sure about the weather too! But he knows more about how to dress for the cold than I do. The teachers sing this song to his class while they get dressed for recess:

We're also learning how to "winterize" our skin. Your hands and lips get pretty chapped up here. Poor P gets really rosy cheeks if he goes outside for too long. I've found that Aquaphor or Vanicream work really well. We're also having to deal with static hair from wearing hats and scarves. This causes you to shock things when you touch. P thinks its funny when that happens.

My other neighbor is a native of Minnesota. She has been so sweet to help prepare us for winter. Yesterday she sent me a text that made me laugh. It's currently 1° outside and the windchill feels like -20°. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around that! We're supposed to get some warm weather soon…maybe it will feel like I'm in Texas?