Making lists and staying organized during my third pregnancy

It’s amazing how different each pregnancy turns out to be. With Caleb we were barely out of newlywed status and as poor as church mice. I was 22 and didn’t have a clear grasp on my personal style or taste in decor, so when it came to decorating the nursery it was a hodge-podge of things we had been given and picked up here and there. Obviously he survived just fine without a Pinterest-worthy nursery and Samantha did too, especially considering that she didn’t have her own room until 18 months old when we moved into our current home. 

Nurseries aside, at the end of both pregnancies I had a long list of things I wished that I had done differently and near-traumatic occurrences that I would have preferred to avoid if at all possible. 

I’m determined to have this third time be the charm. 

A lot has changed in the eight years since I was pregnant with Caleb. I’m 30 now (which still feels weird to say) and I’ve been a mother all this time to two wonderful little human beings and have experienced both joy and disappointment. All those mistakes I made the first (and second) time around made me stronger and wiser. I know what to do and what not to do, and when to ask for help, something I didn’t have the confidence to do those first years when I thought that I had to have it all together. 

I have finally come into my own style, preferences, and tastes. Clara’s nursery is a far cry from the jumbled assortment that was Caleb’s first bedroom. Even the clothing I’ve gotten for Clara has a cohesive feel, and that’s with picking them up at thrift stores and yard sales. 

And the lists. Oh, the wonderful lists! I’ve made a list for nearly every aspect of this pregnancy, from buying baby clothes to packing the hospital bag to prioritizing my nesting. While perhaps mildly obsessive, I feel as though these lists have helped me stay sane and focused and in control, attributes that are usually lacking during pregnancy. 

With my due date less than a month away, I’m looking forward to seeing if all the list making and organization pays off like I envision. With a husband that travels for work, two little ones, church work, homeschooling, lots of visitors, and a business to run, I have a lot on my plate. Really, I can’t afford to mismanage what precious time and energy I do have. It may end up that half the lists are absolutely pointless, but for now the lists are helping and I need all the help I can get!

It’s no secret that I love a good deal. My mom and I will try to outdo each other for the greatest deal/steal of the week and I’ll always count it a point of pride if I manage to outdo the Queen of Deals (as she is fondly known). And while I love markdowns and clearance, I really try to avoid buying something just because it’s on sale, another valuable tip I learned from my mom. It may only be 25 cents, but if it’s not something you actually want or need, you might as well have thrown that quarter in the trash. So, I’ll put that oh-so-cute knick-knack back on the shelf and walk away, for which my jingling coins thank me. 

For me, the philosophy is that I save to splurge. Meaning, I like being able to save where I can, even if it’s only a few pennies here and there. Those pennies will eventually add up and then I can splurge on something special. For example, I keep our weekly grocery budget to less than $100. If I’m extra savvy and manage to snag some great deals then I can keep it to under $50 for the week, which I think is rather impressive for a family of four when my 7-year-old eats like a starving teenager. That extra $50 can be spent on treating ourselves to a pizza night or adding to our house projects fund. 

Speaking of kids, as we all know babies are expensive. Really expensive. Sure, there’s a lot that you can do without. We never even touched the diaper warmer we had been gifted and made do without the $700 rocker or matching crib sets. Figuring out what you actually need and legitimately want vs. the “it would be nice” goes a long way towards trimming down that budget. Even so, the basic needs still add up. Walking through Target’s aisles the other day made me realize just how much we could spend on this baby- especially when everything is so stinkin’ adorable. But we’re working towards our goal of getting debt free by the end of the year, which means gorgeous muslin blankets that are $38/each are simply not an option. 

Knowing this, I’ve spent the last several months stalking every thrift store in a 20-mile radius. And boy, has it paid off! My favorite store of the bunch, Thrifter’s Rock, has something called Wacky Wednesday where all kids items are 50% off. Every other Wednesday I head down that way about thirty minutes after they open and painstakingly search through every rack and bin they have. Why every other Wednesday? To give them a chance to refresh stock. I found that every week was a bit on the excessive side and I ended up with less variety to chose from. Every other week has proven to be the golden period, allowing them to get in new merchandise and keeping me from spending just because it’s a good deal. One of my best finds was a Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper: list price $58, my price $4.50. That kind of savings is just beyond amazing!


Today’s haul was one for the record books, I must admit. It included:

  • 11 newborn onesies
  • 6 zero-three month onesies
  • 4 six month sleepers
  • 7 twelve-eighteen month outfits
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 1 jack-in-the-box
  • 2 baby toys
  • 2 bags of baby blocks
  • 1 bassinet sheet

All for $17

According to my rough calculations the haul was about $150-$200+ worth of baby things. Name brands like Gymboree and Baby Gap, and some adorable Cat & Jack things from Target’s new line. Everything I bought is clean, stain-free, and ready to be loved all over again. All in all, I nearly cleared out their entire section of baby girl things (so anyone local expecting a girl may want to give it a few days before going shopping there.)

The way I look at it, babies are not only expensive, but messy. And they like to be messy on your expensive things! By picking up the everyday outfits and more mundane items at thrifts stores, consignment shops, and yard sales I’m able to justify splurging on a new crib (that I still got on super sale!) or a better quality carseat. Instead of spending hundreds on clothing that’s just going to get covered in all manner of bodily fluids, including probably some of my tears, I’m getting them for $2 or less apiece. Those savings do add up, believe me. 

Altogether we’re about 98% ready for this baby (still need a few minor things like a changing pad) and have spent less than $300 total, which includes the crib, carseat, new closet organizers, nursing clothes, delivery gown, hospital bag (one of my splurges that still was just $12!), diaper backpack, toys for when she gets older, baby toys for now, play mats, rockers, bassinet, and all manner of onesies, mittens, hats, burp cloths, and blankets. Etc. 

Those numbers are very enticing but it does require some patience and mental preparation. If expecting, realize that you have nine months to prepare for this baby, plenty of time to stalk those clearance aisles and find the best thrift stores in the area. Take your time, hold out for the good price and be honest about what you’re wanting to splurge on and what’s okay second-hand or discounted. 

In the end, babies can be as expensive as you let them be. Or they can be an excuse to visit the thrift store a couple of times a month and not get in trouble! Happy thrifting, ya’ll!

Megan Marlene Photography_Anchorage Alaska Newborn Photographer_7429

Whoever decided to call it morning sickness really deserves to be slapped. Okay, maybe not slapped, but at least glared at. 

All day long, every day. There’s a reason why pregnancy is referred to as the nine month flu. 

With Caleb, I didn’t really experience nausea, just the vomiting. I had to eat every two hours on the dot. If I was even ten minutes late eating my snack, I would have to rush to the bathroom, like clockwork. Although more than a little annoying, it was manageable and taught me the all-important mom rule of always having a snack tucked away in your purse. And you know how morning sickness is only supposed to last the first trimester? Nope, the vomiting lasted from the day the stick turned pink to the day I gave birth. 

With Samantha, it was the complete opposite. I had severe nausea AND vomiting around the clock. It didn’t matter if I had just eaten a three-course meal, snacked on a granola bar, or hadn’t eaten for four hours. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Thankfully, it only lasted for that first trimester and was gone by the time I got to the fourth month, making the remainder of my pregnancy quite an enjoyable experience. 

This time around, the rule book has been tossed out. I can forget what I learned during my first two pregnancies, the little tricks and the coping skills. Instead, this pregnancy has decided to combine the effects of my last two and throw a couple of new curve balls into the mix, too. For the first three months I’ve had Samantha’s morning sickness, around the clock, no rhyme or reason. There does seem to be certain foods that make it worse, like cereal with milk or salad (which previously have been some of my favorite go-to meals). Also, it is worse in the mornings, especially during the first two hours. I have to keep a bottle of ginger ale and a bag of graham crackers next to my bed, eating and drinking within the first five minutes of waking up or else find myself puking my guts out in the bathroom. If it was just during the mornings it would have been easier to handle, instead, it lasted all day long, just with slightly less volatileness later in the day. 

Now that I’m in my sixth month, I’ve identified this season as Caleb’s morning sickness. Gone is the debilitating need to eat within five minutes of waking up and in its place is the necessary evil of round-the-clock snacks. This time Baby has been kind and has given me three hour stretches instead of just two. I have snacks hidden all over the house, in the case, at my desk, in my purse, even in the bathroom. Yes, I know it’s kind of gross, but I did say “necessary evil” for a reason. 

Unfortunately, the nausea has decided to stick around, albeit at a much milder level, as well as the aversion to certain foods and drinks. Adjusting my day-to-day diet has been quite the challenge as I usually eat a salad every day for lunch and now just a few bites of romaine lettuce will turn my stomach. And at the risk of TMI, let me tell you- throwing up green stuff is not fun in the least. Thankfully, I’m still able to do my protein shakes in the morning and they actually help settle my stomach and give me a somewhat steady start to the day. 

With three months still left to go, I’m wondering if this is it or if my so-called “morning sickness” will change once again. Either way, I still want to give whoever deceived decades of women into thinking we’d only have to put up with this for 1/3 of our day a good glare with my evil eye. And I do a mean evil eye. 

2016 was a wonderful year full of fun adventures, visits with family and friends, and exciting milestones for our kiddos. We’re looking forward to a new milestone in 2017 as we welcome a new addition to our family! #3 will be joining us in August and we couldn’t be happier. So from our (growing) family to yours, Happy New Year!

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This past spring my mom, fondly known as Grandmom, came up for a visit in between school sessions. She was able to stay for just over a week and as always, it wasn’t nearly long enough. Mom has visited a total of four times and each time we’ve done something new and different. This time, the highlights of the trip were visiting the Alaska Zoo (my mom loooovvvveeeessss zoos), hiking Byron Glacier, and visiting the Seward Sea Life Center (my first time!). In past years we’ve done the William’s Reindeer Farm and the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. In she ever visits during the summer, we’d like to take her inside Denali National Park, since we’ve only seen it from the Talkeetna viewing area, which simply doesn’t do it justice. 

In addition to the hundreds of photos that I took during mom’s visit, I also wanted to do another take at home movies, 21st century style. Inspired by the work at Everyday Films, I filmed little clips during all our adventures and put them together to create a film of Grandmom’s visit. And I kind of love it….

Okay, so I really love banana bread. And my mom has this great recipe that is SO not healthy, but man, it’s good. All the buttery, sugary goodness you could ask for. However, since I’m currently doing another round of 21 Day Fix and I all but signed in blood that I would actually be good this time for the whole three weeks, mom’s banana bread was unfortunately off the table.

On Pinterest there were hundreds of recipes but they all called for ingredients that I didn’t have and some appeared more like a science experiment than an actual recipe. I just wanted something simple made with clean ingredients, was that too much to ask for? So, I ended up combining several recipes into one, adding a few remnants from my childhood recipe, and coming up with something that was not only delicious, but I could actually have a few slices without ruining my healthy trend. Enjoy!


Healthy Banana Bread (that’s 21 Day Fix Approved!)

2 cups of flour of your choice (whole wheat/gluten-free/unbleached AP/almond)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon or apple pie spice

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla

3 eggs
2 1/3 cups bananas (about 5 small bananas)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mashed the bananas and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients and cream together. Stir in mashed bananas, then beat eggs (I like doing it in the same measuring cup), add, and blend together.
5. Fold wet mixture into flour mixture. Fold gently, being careful not to over mix (or the bread will turn out flat and tough).
6. Lightly grease two 9×5 loaf pans with a little coconut oil. Pour batter into the two loaf pans
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
8. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Shake the pans gently, flip over, and allow loaves to cool on wire rack.

Serving Size: 1 slice
21 Day Fix: 1 yellow, 1/2 purple, 1 tsp.

(Yes. This is a post about THAT. But it’s actually helpful and not gross, I promise!)

At one point or another, we’ve probably all had that unwelcome house guest. You know, that person that comes for just “just a few days” and end up stays for what seems like forever. At first, we don’t mind so much, and then it just starts to get inconvenient. Uncomfortable. Maybe even a tad awkward. And for half the world’s population, that unwelcome guest comes every.single.month.

Hello, Aunt Flo. How nice it is to see you again. *cough*

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Let’s be honest, for those first few days of Aunt Flo’s visit, the last thing we want to do is workout. We’re tired, we’re achy, we’re bloated. And as my one of besties says, we’re “bleeding like a stuck pig.”


But we’re women. We suck it up and power on anyways. We’re strong and aren’t going to let a little extra discomfort/mess/awkwardness stop us. Yet, it’s not exactly easy to workout while Shark Week is going on below. However, there are some things we can do to at least make it a little more comfortable.

This one actually blew my brains a little bit. Turns out, increased movement and activity during periods helps relieve cramping, aches, and can even reduce heavy flows. Sweating causes you to shed water, which can help with bloating. And let’s not forget those mood-enhancing endorphins; always a plus when we feel like biting everyone’s head off.

Personally, those extra-duty tampons work well for me and I barely notice them, especially when using the special active style. However, some of my friends are more sensitive and have to use pads. If you do go with pads, spring for the wider style that can handle the increased movement. No matter what you use, tampon, pads, menstrual cup, just make sure it’s fresh and ready to go.

Without fail, I have to to skip or modify the first day. I feel like doing absolutely nothing and can barely walk two steps without having to *ahem* visit the ladies room. Instead of a full workout of burpees and beast mode, I practice PiYo’s modified yoga poses or do some simple walking/stroller gliding. If you can manage the more intense workouts, great! But if you need to switch to low-impact, fine. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and if you can only manage 1/2 a workout because it is begging for rest, do it. Just stay on track. Meanwhile, for the rest of the week, switch out from P90X to PiYo or at least try to the modified and see if that’s more comfortable for you.

During their period, women lose extra fluids which can lead to feel listless and light-headed. Increase your water consumption by at least 10-20% and be careful when moving or standing up quickly.

This may be Aunt Flo 101, but choose your clothing wisely. Dark, loose fitting pants and shorts tend to be best as they hid any “leaks” and boycuts and high-cuts are better choices then the lacies when it comes to panties.

As irony would have it, during the period week of period your levels of the estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest, which means increased sense of power, lower core body temperature, higher pain tolerance, and faster recovery. If you can combat the icky, low energy feeling, the you can actually experience better results from your workouts.

Shark Week, a visit from Aunt Flo, “that time of the month” – regardless of what you call it, with just a few smart changes you can keep up with your workouts, make progress, and deserve that extra bit of chocolate that’s pretty much mandatory.

A lighter version of a brunch favorite, this quiche is packed with turkey bacon, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and topped with cheese. Serve with fruit on the side for a protein-packed breakfast or pair with a mixed greens salad for a filling dinner.


(Light) Crustless Spinach and Turkey Bacon Quiche. A lighter version of a brunch favorite, this quiche is packed with turkey bacon, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and topped with cheese. Serve with fruit on the side for a protein-packed breakfast or pair with a mixed greens salad for a filling dinner.

This is my favorite way to have quiche. Now, I love a flaky, buttery crust as much as the next southern gal, but when it comes to quiche, I find myself really preferring crustless. The problem is that without the crust it’s easy to veer into the egg casserole category. But with generous fillings and the right egg consistency, all it takes is baking it in the same pie dish (sans crust) to give that classic quiche look and feel. For fillings, you can’t go wrong with mushrooms and onions, especially when combined with turkey bacon and spinach. 

Megan Marlene Photography_3109

 The thing I really love about quiches (besides the whole breakfast for dinner thing) is that they can be so customized. Pretty much anything you can order in an omelette can be made into a quiche, and then some! Bell peppers, asparagus, even Denver-style, broccoli, steak, artichokes, you name it. 

For the light version, substitute greek yogurt or low fat milk, and cut down/out the cheese. Of course, I’m one to keep the cheese and do 10 extra sit-ups instead.

For breakfast or brunch, pair with fresh fruit or something sweet, like french toast. For dinner, pair with a mixed greens salad.



Crustless Spinach and Turkey Bacon Quiche
Serves 6
A lighter version of a brunch favorite, this quiche is packed with turkey bacon, spinach, mushrooms, onions, and topped with cheese. Serve with fruit on the side for a protein-packed breakfast or pair with a mixed-green salad for a filling dinner.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
231 calories
5 g
276 g
15 g
18 g
8 g
189 g
352 g
4 g
0 g
7 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231
Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15g
Saturated Fat 8g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 276mg
Sodium 352mg
Total Carbohydrates 5g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 4g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 8 eggs
  2. 1 cup of milk or greek yogurt for light version
  3. 1/2 onion, chopped
  4. 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  5. 4-6 slices of turkey bacon, chopped
  6. 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  7. 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  8. 1 cup shredded cheese, any kind (leave out or reduce for light version)
  9. 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  10. 1/2 tsp parsley
  11. salt & pepper, to taste
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 325F. While oven is warming up, chop and slice the vegetables and turkey bacon.
  2. 2. Put a little olive or canola oil to a skillet and add the mushrooms, onions, and turkey bacon. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, or until onions are translucent and bacon cooked through.
  3. 3. Break the eggs into a bowl and add the milk (can also substitute greek yogurt). Add the paprika, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. 4. Spray a piepan or casserole dish with non-stick spray and put onion mixture on bottom. Tear spinach into small pieces and add on top. Stir in all of the parmesan cheese and 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese.
  5. 5. Pour the egg mixture onto everything, making sure it is spread evenly and all layers are saturated. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. 6. Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 50 minutes at 325F until the eggs are set and no longer jiggly. If not done after 50 minutes, bake for an additional five minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  1. - Quiche makes great leftovers and can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.
  2. - If freezing, use a disposable pie pan and bake for only 40 minutes before removing, allowing to cool, and freezing. To cook, allow to thaw overnight and bake at 350F until done (approx. 20-30 minutes). Keeps up to 2 months in the freezer.
  3. - Whole milk is preferred for the creamy texture it gives. Can also use 1/2 milk and 1/2 sour cream or heavy cream.
  4. - This quiche is designed to be fluffier. For a denser quiche, reduce to 3/4 cup of milk
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