Third Trimester Update

I literally started writing a pregnancy update when we were at the 100 day mark and well, we’re now less than 50 days from this little gals due date and I’m finally getting around to posting it. That pregnant life though…

But it’s hittin’ me. This baby is going to be here soon. I’ve had this weird feeling since the beginning that she would come early and well so far, my mama intuition hasn’t failed me about really anything so far during pregnancy…so we’ll see! Personally, I’d be really ok with it if she decided to come (safely) early. And while half of me is in full on panic mode as the to-do lists really only seem to get longer, the other half of me is simply on cloud nine knowing that we’ll be holding our sweet Adley girl in mere weeks.

Whew, third trimester y’all. It’s no joke. I can’t bend over anymore, getting out of bed is a major chore and putting on pants or shoes is way more difficult than I’d care to admit. But, oh what a joy it is to feel this girls constant kicks and dream about what kind of little person she’ll be. Of course pregnancy has its fair share of discomforts, but what a blessing it really is.

Week 33

Due Date: March 8th

Baby C is as big as a: a pineapple, holy cow! 2 weeks ago we had an ultrasound & little lady was already weighing in at almost 4 pounds….with her head firmly pressed on my bladder. (Yeah, I feel that.)

The Bump: Feelin’ large & in charge….but seriously bless the strangers that have told me how small I look. I’ll gladly accept the confidence boost.

Feeling: Overall, pretty good. My skin is definitely feeling stretched and bending over just isn’t happening anymore, but in general — I’m good! Emotionally though — I literally cry all the time. For no reason. Last night I somehow managed to be hysterically laughing while simultaneously sobbing….don’t ask, cuz I really don’t know why or how for that matter.

Craving: Pickles and cheese. Oh and now that it’s finally open in our town, all I really want is Chick-fil-A.

Food Aversions: Broccoli really still isn’t happening at the Cristy household. Third trimester nausea is no joke people & I’m most definitely feelin’ it.

Wearing: Leggings, all day every day because real pants are just not happening at this stage.

Buying: All those little essentials for baby girl that we don’t already have! We’re covered with the basics of eat, sleep, & well….diapers, just in case this little gal decided to make an early appearance. Also, stocking up on postpartum essentials and comfy clothes for those first few weeks/months at home.

Working on: Planning maternity leave, finalizing baby girls nursery & getting the hospital bag packed…just in case!

Missing: High waisted jeans, sleeping on my stomach, sleeping through an entire night.

Looking forward to: Holding our sweet baby girl so, so soon!

Sending love from up North,

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2018: A Year to Simplify

Hopes, dreams, wishes, plans, resolutions; whatever you call them, the start of the new year is always the sweetest time to write these desires of our hearts down. For me? I always seem to have a hard time getting them down on paper before January 1st, but having a January birthday, I always feel like I’ve got a two week grace period to figure out what I want my year to look like.

Typically, the first week of January, I give myself the chance to reflect on the past year and plan for the new year without any real obligations to “kick start” these goals until after my birthday on the 15th. Sure, it might be cheating….but I like to think that since it works for me, it’s okay. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really loved New Years Eve and always just want to sleep in on January 1st….but hey, to each their own.

So here we are, one week away from my last ever birthday in my 20’s and I still can’t believe that Christmas is over, 2017 is over, I’m about to be real old and we’re now in the year where basically everything is going to change. Between meeting our little miss in March and my husband graduating in May, these next few months are going to be full, crazy and absolutely wonderful. So as I started to think about this next stage of life and what I want life this year to look like, the word simplify came to mind.

Now this might seem funny, especially to my mother (this blogs biggest fan, right mom?!) who knows me as the ultimate minimalist (I was sorting drawers and filling up thrift store bags from a young age folks….seriously, just ask her) but for some reason it just feels right. While externally, my life is often very organized and simplified, I think my heart and my mind can become a bit overcrowded with to-do lists, unnecessary worries, and just simply, junk. It is my hope this year to focus less on the simplifying of space and actual items (though that is always a top priority for the type-a personality in me) and focus more on how I fill my heart, my mind and my time. Simply put, I want more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff.

I know in a few short months, life with a newborn will be a total game-changer, but it is my hope that I can spend these next few months filling my heart and mind with things that are more life-giving so hopefully when baby girl is here, I can be the best version of myself for this little one and teach her what really matters. I want quality over quantity in all things, more books & less screen time, more joy & less negativity, more time spent savoring each moment and less time worrying about the next thing, more grace and less perfection, more of Jesus & less of me and a full & grateful heart in it all.

So there ya have it. It’s no glamorous list of action steps and big hopes, dreams & goals…and that’s okay. It’s what I need right now. And as I embark on this journey of simplifying, I hope you’ll join me in savoring each moment just a little bit longer, choosing joy even when your heart wants to complain, and simplifying (the physical stuff & the mental stuff.) Cheers to 2018, I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

Sending love from up North,

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Fall Recipes to Keep You Cozy

With snow on the ground & the leaves all long gone, it seems like we’ve made the abrupt transition to winter here in the upper Midwest. Of course, I’m mourning the fact that my favorite season is always so short lived, but I’m trying to make the most of it and take this time to get a head start on the holidays ahead. One of my favorite things to do as soon as the weather cools off is bust out the crockpot and baking sheets as I pull out some of my favorite recipes that are the perfect warm up this time of year.

Cookies, bread, chili, pie….anything and everything pumpkin is always my first choice, but I’ve had to adapt a few things for my non-pumpkin loving husband. Though he will happily admit to loving my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies ;)

So with the change of seasons out in full force, I wanted to take some time to share some of the best tried & true recipes that I love….and a few new ones I’ve ventured to try this fall. With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away (say what?!) these are the perfect treats to bring to share with the whole fam.

First up, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies….I’d be really doing you all a disservice if I didn’t mention these. I’ve been making these for the past three years and they are always a hit.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients; set aside. In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin; beat well. Gradually mix in flour mixture on low speed of mixer. Stir in LOTS of chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks & try to not eat them ALL in one day.

Next, for you chili lovers, Five Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili. This was basically all I ate when I lived in Seattle. It’s the perfect thick chili to dish up on a drizzly day.

Five Ingredient Sweet Potato Turkey Chili

1.5 lbs. ground turkey
3-4 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 can of black beans
1 can of corn
1 cup of quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups water
Spices to taste! (I like cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt & pepper!)

Brown your turkey in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add in your seasoning of choice to add some extra flavor. One browned. remove from pan & set aside.

In the same pan, add sweet potatoes and spices, browning slightly. Add water and broth. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes (until your sweet potatoes are soft!) *Optional: Using either an immersion blender or transferring your liquid to a blender, puree the sweet potatoes until they reach your desired consistency. This makes a nice, thick & creamy base, but I’ve made it just leaving the sweet potatoes in chunks because, #lazy and it’s been just as good.

Add sweet potato mixture back to your soup pot, mix in turkey, black beans, corn & cooked quinoa. Add additional spices to taste, simmer & enjoy!

Two words, Homemade Bread. Oh my word, why have I not made this sooner?! Yes, it can seem intimidating, but it’s really pretty simple. Four ingredients, no kneading and very much husband approved. Shoutout to my mama for sending me this recipe!

No Knead Bread

3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, more for dusting (I love King Arthur flour!)
1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 5/8 cups of water

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast & salt. Add 1 5/8 cups of water, stir until blended. Dough will be shaggy & sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 12-18 hours at room temperature.

Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour your surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Using enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or your hands, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, place dough on towel and dust with more flour. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with finger.

About a half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, pyrex, enamel or ceramic) in oven as it heats. (To be totally honest, I definitely used a ceramic pie pan….with no lid because it was all I had! It worked, but I think cast iron would be a whole lot better.) When dough is ready, carefully remove your heated pot from the oven. Turn your dough into the pan and shake a few times until the dough is evenly distributed. It may look like a hot mess, but it’s ok! It will even out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake for 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15-30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on rack & enjoy! I promise this loaf won’t last long!

Hopefully these recipes will get you through the long, chilly days of winter just like they do for me! If there’s one thing I’ve learned after my first winter in North Dakota (which most locals called “mild” UM WHAT….excuse me? I don’t think -30 qualifies as mild) it’s that you’ve got to have some kind of hobby to help get you through the many months of winter up North. And while I love the outdoors and would much rather be outside, the weather out here doesn’t really provide the best environment for outdoor activities….so to the kitchen I go!

Sending love from up North,

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Why I Ditched My Capsule Wardrobe

Remember that little “experiment” I did last fall? Yeah, so….it really didn’t go too well, let’s just say I didn’t exactly finish my challenge. But in all seriousness, over the last (almost) year since that wild-haired idea, I’ve found a much better way to do things. And thank the LORD because I’m pretty sure everyone is kind of tired of hearing about the whole “capsule wardrobe” thing.

After a few years of trying to figure out this whole “capsule” project, I had a realization that it just really didn’t work for me.

At first, I felt a little defeated…I mean, I’d spent what felt like an eternity trying to weed my closet down to an irrationally small number of pieces. But y’all…..I just love cute shoes and flowy dresses and pretty blouses too much. And in reality, I had to come to grips with the fact that a capsule wardrobe just didn’t really fit with my lifestyle. I mean heck, I’ve lived in four states over the past three years….all with very different climates, I’m now 20 weeks pregnant and literally expanding every single day and I’ve realized, I really like variety….so the whole “one size fits all” approach didn’t really apply to me. Now don’t get me wrong, the capsule wardrobe is an amazing concept and if you’re doing it….you go girl. Seriously. But to put it simply, it just doesn’t work for me.

The trouble was that I was continually getting rid of stuff because it didn’t quite work but then after a few months, I was realizing that ‘oh shoot, I might actually now need those snow boots, because I’m going to be living in North Dakota….woops.’ So ultimately, this lead to me constantly spending wayyyy more money than I needed to, just to simply replace stuff that I had already gotten rid of.

I was buying stuff that I realized really wasn’t my style.

So, over the past year, I’ve been really intentional about honing in on my personal style and picking out things because I absolutely love them, not because they seemed like they would go with everything. I mean sure, there’s something to be said about versatility (I’m all for it) but what I ended up with was a closest full of black skinny jeans and striped black tees. Which was perfect when I lived in Seattle….I mean, that’s basically the uniform out there, but it really wasn’t me. So I dumped about 90% of my black clothing and started the transition to clothes in colors and styles that I knew I would really love to wear and that I wouldn’t get bored with in a few months. (Easier said than done.)

Now, this process is far from over….I still have some items in my closet that I don’t absolutely love but just can’t bring myself to get rid of them until I’ve found the right replacement, but I have confidence that I’ll get there…eventually.

Anyway, don’t take this as a big ‘ol bash session of the capsule wardrobe. I know plenty of gals who have done it and love it. But simply put, it’s just not for everyone. So instead, I’ve adopted the habit to pursue a more intentional approach to my closet. But what does this look like? I’ll lay it out for ya….

  • Set a budget. Any other budget life gals out there? But really, this helps a ton. Sure, some months I might splurge a little bit and go over budget on an item (sorry hubs!) but I’m working on then adjusting for the following month and reigning it in. But simply the act of having a set dollar amount that I know I can spend guilt free each month lets me pick and choose the items I want or need and then it allows me to be intentional with that money.
  • Aim for quality over quantity. I’d much rather have a closet full of of a few things that I absolutely love than a full closet just for the sake of having a full closet. Oftentimes, this means spending a little more of my hard earned cash — but in the long run, it’s so worth it to have pieces that are well made and won’t go out of style in the next few months. Some of my favorite places for these staple pieces are Madewell, J Crew & Anthropologie.
  • Have grace for yourself. Sure, in a perfect world I would never find myself in the Target clearance aisle….but this is real life y’all and those clearance racks look pretty amazing at times.
  • Get rid of the stuff you don’t need! I constantly find myself curating my closet; figuring out what I need to fill the gaps or what needs to be donated because it’s just not being worn. My husband calls it obsessive, I call it order. I mean really, why would I keep the jeans that haven’t fit for two years? Make peace and donate ’em! Someone else will be stoked when the strike gold at the local thrift store.
  • Keep a list of wants & needs. I keep two lists on my phone. One is the essential items or the “needs.” Think, new bra, socks, a white tee…those things that we can only hold off on buying for so long. My second list typically consists of more of the “wants” sure I might need a new pair of skinny jeans, but I’m not going to go naked without them. Hence, it goes on the want list. This list helps me be reminded to save those precious $$ when I’m out and about and spot something I just “have to have” but probably is completely impractical. Going back to my lists helps me remember what it is I’m saving for and why I should just put that white dress (that’s almost identical to the one I have back at home) back on the rack.
  • Dress for the life you actually have. I know that age old saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” which….does have some validity to it in a professional setting, but it also leaves us with closets full of items that just don’t fit into our current day to day. It would be really easy for me to channel my inner California girl and buy shorts and tank tops and sundresses 24/7 but in reality, I live in North Dakota. It’s sticky and hot in the summer and straight up frigid in the winter…without a lot of in-between. So I essentially have my two closets for these extreme seasons. Annnd, I work in pretty casual environments, so I don’t need a zillion pairs of heels & blazers.

Well, that’s about it friends. Pretty simple…pretty straightforward, but not too rigid. I think it’s so easy to get sucked into any trend — be it the “buy nothing” concept or the liketoknowit “buy everything I see on Instagram” but really, we should all aim for balance and give ourselves grace when we realize that balance is pretty dang hard to achieve. So tell me, how do you shop?? Are you a minimalist, buying only the absolute necessities?? Or do you crave change and find yourself walking out of a local boutique each week with something new?

Sending love from up North,

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Coming Soon….

Now that we’re almost halfway through this little babe cookin’ (seriously, how the heck has it already been 19 weeks?!) I figured it might just be time to hop back on the blogging game and give a little life update. So in case you didn’t know, the hubs & I are having a BABY. Yep, sweet little Baby Cristy will be here in the beginning of March and we are just simply overjoyed by this little miracle that is quickly taking over our hearts.

Before even getting married, we’d really prayed that the Lord would give us just at least a year to become established in our marriage as just the two of us before we brought a baby into the mix. It was a trying but sweet, sweet year full of so much growth, love and joy to finally be together, in the same place after years of long distance. Well a year in, we decided to take the leap and see if it was the right time. Which, realistically, the right time never really exists, but God was so good to us and has blessed us abundantly with this pregnancy and the timing of it all is really just a representation of God’s goodness and sweetness through it all. Sure, I could’ve done without the all day nausea I experienced (and sometimes still experience from time to time) but if that’s about the worst we’ve had to deal with so far, I’d say we’re in good shape.

Baby C has been healthy with a strong, little heartbeat at every doctors appointment and this soon-to-be mama is feeling pretty darn good as well. Though some days it still just doesn’t feel real yet! Besides my expanding waistline and the occasional backache, I’d say life seems pretty normal most days…other than the fact that the countdown to meeting this little babe is ticking away way faster than I ever could have imagined.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. It’s something I’ve realized over the past few years with even more intensity as I’ve often found it hard to find passion in my work and found so much more joy in serving and loving my family….(I mean who doesn’t?!) But really, you can’t quite tell people at job interviews that your dream job is to be a mom, not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that, but I’ve just gotten some funny looks in the past. But really, I can’t think of a better title out there (besides Mrs. Cristy — because that’s a pretty awesome one, too.)

So as I sit here making to-do lists, adding the cutest little baby things to our registry and counting down the days until we meet our little one, I’m just overwhelmed with a deep sense of gratitude that Josh and I get this opportunity to experience this miracle of growing a baby. And seriously y’all, it is nothing short of a miracle….I mean growing a baby is no joke. The fact that this tiny little person grows from the size of something nearly microscopic to a full on baby in only nine months is CRAZY. God really designed this whole thing in such an awe-inspiring way and I’m purely amazed by it all every time I find myself thinking about it.

Week 19

Due Date: March 10th

Baby C is as big as a: Mango

The Bump: Pretty sure it’s at least 80% food baby in most pictures, but it’s starting to pop a little!

Feeling: Really good! My new pregnancy pillow is proving to be a lifesaver for my sleep. (File this under….things I never though’t I’d say…ha!)

Craving: Hot Barbecue Wings from BW’s (seriously, ask Josh….)

Food Aversions: Still so grossed out by broccoli.

Wearing: Anything and everything loose & flowy and officially not wearing any pre-pregnancy jeans. (Thank you Jesus for Madewell maternity jeans. Amen.)

Buying: A new mattress — HALLELUJAH.

Working on: Baby C’s registry! And holy moly…..there are waaaaay too many choices out there.

Looking forward to: Nursery shopping in a few weeks & finding out if Baby C is a boy or a girl on November 8th!

That’s all for now sweet friends! Sending love from up North,

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