Making Life a Little Easier

My least favorite part of the day is around 5:30 when my husband asks me "what's for dinner?"  As much as I like to plan and make lists I hate meal planning.  The shopping and the cooking I can handle but it's the pressure of finding new and interesting recipes that drives me crazy.  I mean honestly, there are only so many times you can eat spaghetti in a month.

Enter Relish.

I had looked into this website before but never bit the bullet until it was offered on Jasmere and I was able to get a 6 month subscription for $13.  I figured I would try it and if it didn't work I wasn't out that much money.

Let me tell you that this website is my new best friend. 

Here's how it works:
  • Every Thursday they post a new weekly menu
  • You pick 7 dinners and 1 dessert to add to your list
  • If you don't like some of the recipes they have that week you can search their database and add some that you do like
  • You pick how many people you want to feed, then the magic happens
  • You click create shopping list and it automatically creates a shopping list, divided up by grocery section, and prints all of the recipes you need for the week!  How easy!
 From there you just mark off the stuff you already have, write in the few things that you need that are not dinner related and you are set to go grocery shopping.

not me grocery shopping

It has been 3 months and I don't know how I've lived without it.  With the exception of one really bad recipe for Greek chicken salad, all of the meals are wonderful and super easy to make.  They even categorize them for you so if you want things that are kid-friendly, quick, low calorie or vegetarian (just to name a few) they are really easy to find.  And for my Weight Watchers friends out there, each recipe gives you a point value so you can keep track of your daily total.

They also give you recipes for freezer meals each month which I have been hitting up recently in preparation for the new baby.  Dinner is already made you just have to reheat it.

If you are a super picky eater then I would not recommend signing up but if you like a little variety in your dinner menu then this is one thing I would suggest giving a test drive.  It will save you time and money and you won't have to worry about the dreaded "what's for dinner?" question every night.

A little note on the time and money comment.  My time shopping has greatly reduced since I go with a list and know exactly what I need when I walk in the door.  As for the money, I spend on average $80 a week on groceries.  TOTAL!  That's breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family of 3 (soon to be 4).  Since I cook the meals for 4 people there are always leftovers that we eat for lunch the next day.  Cook once, eat twice.  It's a win/win.

FYI, I am not being compensated in any way to rave about Relish.  I wish I were.  I just think it is a really great tool for busy moms and wanted to share my experience.  So if you are looking for something to save you a little extra time at the store and in the kitchen, go check it out.

~ Andrea


A Tale of Two Babies

Are you tired of pregnancy posts yet?  If so, I'll save you some time and you can skip this one.  If not, then read on my friend.

I wanted to do a little comparison of this pregnancy vs. my first one.  I thought that they all were the same and I was really looking forward to being pregnant again since I had such an easy pregnancy the first time.  Well friends, I am here to tell you that that little myth is not true.  Pregnancies, just like kids, are completely unique.

With Claire the smell of meat made me want to vomit.  However, I had zero morning sickness and felt great the entire time I was pregnant.  I had massive swelling everywhere.  Picture the scene from Harry Potter where he accidentally blows-up his aunt, that's what I felt like.  The swelling only got worse after she was born and didn't go away for at least a month.  It was bad.

With Susanna I haven't had any food aversions I just haven't wanted to eat anything.  In the beginning, every time I ate I would feel sick so I had to resort to small bland meals that gave me lots of protein.  Let's just say I went through a lot of peanut butter.  I've been more tired, had more aches & pains and definitely more sickness with her too.  It's only been in the last 2 months that I have started feeling normal but then the insomnia kicks in and I feel horrible once again.  This time around I have had no swelling at all.  My best guess as to why is that she figures that I have suffered enough.

There are some similarities though.  I carried both of them very high.  While it was me vs. Claire's foot for control of my rib cage, Susanna has only just found it and is not to fond of living there, which is fine by me.  With both girls I cannot get enough root beer.  While I drink more water than should be humanly possible, anywhere between 70 and 100 ounces a day, I crave root beer.  With Claire I also craved watermelon.  The last month I was prego with her I was eating at least 2 a week.  Susanna has been baked goods.  Anything with pastry, cream cheese and fruit filling doesn't stand a chance with me in the room.

With that said, I'll move on to weight.  Just to give you an idea of my normal size I'm just shy of 5'6" and usually weigh around 130.  My total weight gain with Claire was 38 pounds and she was an 8 lb 8 oz baby.  So far with Susanna I have gained 21 pounds and she will probably be between 6.5 and 7 lbs.  Big difference people!

Here are some pictures for a good comparison.  In both I am about 37 weeks.


I think the most noticeable difference is in my face.  I was so swollen with Claire it really made me look more tired than I was.  With Susanna, I'm exhausted but look great.  I guess it's a trade-off.

This is my last week of being pregnant.  Yippee!!  I will have a c-section on Friday and finally get to meet the baby girl who I'm sure will be the complete opposite of her sister.  For those of you wondering, I had to have a cesarean with Claire therefore Susanna has to come that way too.  I didn't pick the date though.  Some things should be left up to a higher power and in this case that was my doctor.

~ Andrea


Lavender - My Favorite Trend of All

You may have noticed that a lot of designers are using purple lately and my favorite in particular, lavender.  This trend has been in the works for the last five years or so but we are just starting to see it in mainstream decor.  Why, you ask?  Well, it takes a while for trends to trickle down to the average consumer.

via House Beautiful

via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

I'm reminded of a scene from The Devil Wears Prada when Glenn Close is criticising Anne Hathaway for not seeing the difference between two blue belts that seam identical. She gives her the rundown of how the color of the blue sweater she is wearing was picked for her years ago by people in that very room.

click here to watch the scene

Same thing with interiors. Designers try to stay on the cutting edge of color and style but it takes years for that to work its way into them minds of consumers and retailers don't market something unless there is a high demand for it. Example -- grey sofas. Ten years ago no one in their right mind would purchase anything grey, especially a sofa. It was too cold in comparison to all of the warm neutral colors that were popular at the time. Now, everyone wants a grey sofa or walls or rug or whatever. Grey has become the new "it" neutral.

crate & barrel

Since lavender is also in that same color family, it is also carving out a niche for itself.  I love to use it with blues and greens because it compliments them so nicely.  Lavender also works great with brown so if you have brown upholstery and aren't a fan of the brown/grey combo use lavender instead.  It will give an instant update and make your room feel more "now".

via decorology
via pinterest

You may be asking if lavender and grey are "now" then what's "next"?  In my opinion, we will be seeing kelly green making a comeback.  Something like this maybe?

from Domino Mag - may you rest in peace

It's not for everyone but I love it and a girl can dream, right?

~ Andrea


What's in a Name?

I have to admit, naming a baby is the most fun and most nerve-racking part of being pregnant.  It's a lot of pressure!  I mean this kid has to go through life with the name I choose.

I feel like some parents today are pretty selfish when it comes to naming their children.  They want to have the coolest, most original name but do they stop to think of what that will do to the kid?  Are you limiting your child's future by giving them some crazy, made up name that no one can spell because you made that up too?

It should surprise no one that I'm a bit of a conservative, so I tend to like classic, traditional names.  With Claire it was easy.  I had decided years ago that if I ever had a daughter I would name her Claire Elizabeth.  To me, it is a strong, classic name that is feminine without being girly.  As for Elizabeth, well, it's a family name, so again with tradition.

I never knew and still don't know any one named Claire.  I do know that the name has become more common among children Claire's age so she will more than likely be going to school with a few girls with the same name.  I never had that problem.  I didn't meet another Andrea until I got to college, we were in the same pledge class, and she went by Annie so there still wasn't any confusion.

This time around the naming process was a little bit harder.  Until we found out we were having another girl I swore that it was a boy.  We already had a boy name picked so I felt like I was set.  I had looked at a lot of girl names just in case but didn't really feel the need to decide on one.  Then the day before the ultrasound I decided that this baby was a girl and we needed a girl name pronto.

After all day with my nose in a name book and researching online I had four possibilities:


Chris immediately vetoed Amelia because he works with a lady with the same name and didn't want to name his daughter that.  Charlotte was also ruled out in fairness to some of my sorority sisters (it's a long story).  So, then there were two.

The deciding factor was the middle name.  We wanted to use Emily since it is a family name on Chris' side and we used a family name from my side last time.  From there is was pretty easy.  To me, Shelby Emily just didn't have the right sound to it and Chris agreed.  So that is how our daughter's name came to be.

In about two short weeks we will be welcoming

Susanna Emily Martin

into the world.  You may not like the name at first but it really does grow on you.  Just ask my mother!  She hated it, mainly because she thought I was going to spell it with a "z".  It is a strong, classic name that is feminine without being girly.  It is a name she can grow into and hopefully won't be limited by.  She may not like it for a while, I know I hated my name growing up, but one day she will thank me for giving her a name that lets her stand out in a crowd but in a good way.

I would love to hear opinions.  Like I said, it's okay if you don't like it but if you were to have a girl today what would you name her?

~ Andrea


October Showers

While it is raining here today, I'm not talking about the weather.  This past week I attended two baby showers.  One for a teacher at the hubby's school and one for a new friend and fellow coach's wife.

The first lovely lady is having her second baby (a little boy to be named Charlie) and requested diapers and wipes in lieu of the traditional cutesy baby stuff, like clothes, that normally show up at showers.  This was our gift to her --

When it is your second baby you usually already own all of the big stuff, so the everyday necessities are often more appreciated than another cute onesie (at least it is for me).  She asked for Pampers, I like Huggies but for each her own.  I couldn't resit making her a little zipper pouch to throw in her diaper bag to keep things like pacifiers, medicines and other small whatnots from getting lost.  Because lets face it, any good diaper bag is a black hole.

The second Momma-to-be is a first time mom and is expecting a little girl to be named Ellie.  Our due dates are a day apart and we are both expecting girls so in the mommy world that equals an instant friendship.  Like every first time mom, she has had multiple showers and been given all the fun adorable stuff.  Lucky for her, she now knows me, the most practical person in the world.  This is the little goodie bag I put together for her --

The stuff you need but don't know you need until you need it and realize you don't have it -- Tylenol, Milicon (gas relief) and pacifiers.  I would also add nighttime baby orajel to this list but she has a few months before that.  And of course, I had to make her a few things as well.

A zipper pouch for her diaper bag that will hold all of the stuff I gave her and some adorable little hair clips that are perfectly baby sized.

Happy Monday!  I know it is a holiday for some but not for me.  Moms don't get a day off so on my agenda today is laundry and grocery shopping.  Fun times!

~ Andrea

Also, my Etsy shop is up and running!  If you look over to the right you will notice that I've added an Etsy widget to show off what is available.  You can click the link over there or click right here and go check out what I've made.  I'm working on getting more things made to list, so be sure to check back often!


Nesting - Phase 3

Just a refresher of what the room looked like before --

After getting everything cleared out of the room it was time to get my paint on.  A couple coats of Benjamin Moore's Touch of Gray (same color that is in Claire's room) and the room was ready for furniture.  The easy part was the crib and bedding since I am reusing what I made for Claire.  Yes, I made the crib bedding.

I found a great dresser at a local thrift store for $45 slapped some white paint on it and added some knobs for easier opening.  I also lined the drawers with some wallpaper that I had used in our previous house.

I updated the twin bed to better work in the nursery.  Starting with the headboard, I simply recovered it with the same fabric as the dust ruffle on the crib.  Lucky for me I had bought extra fabric when I ordered it nearly 4 years ago.  The white dust ruffle had a purple ribbon as a border and I removed it because it didn't look right to me.  I'm sorry but that's the best explaination I've got for my reasoning.

I did splurge on a new duvet cover and sham.  I was at Pottery Barn outlet and it caught my eye because it was simple and delicate and the perfect shade of purple.  When I picked it up and saw that the pattern name was "Andrea", it was a no brainer.  It was like the universe was telling me I had to buy it.

**Side Note** One of my biggest pet peeves are beds shoved in corners.  They look awkward to me and they are a pain to make up.  Unfortunately, I had no other option (trust me, I tried).

I made a little throw pillow out of extra fabric from Claire's headboard and larger pillow covers out of the same fabric that was used on the crib bumper (again, I had bought extra).

One thing I am most proud of is the painting I did for over the crib.  I always sang that song to Claire in attempts to get her to stop crying and I suspect I will do the same this time around.

For the most part, it is finished.  It is fully functioning and ready to be claimed by the newest Baby Girl Martin.  There are still a few accessories that I want to add but, as always, those things come with time.  And for those who don't really know me, that is code for "I don't know what I want yet so I'm not going to do anything".

Next time I will open the closet door and share with you my mad diaper organizational skills.

~ Andrea


Thrift Store Finds

I finally got a chance to hit up a really awesome thrift store that I've been hearing all kinds of good things about.  It is probably the biggest thrift store I have ever been in.  It use to be an old furniture store so it is two levels that go on forever.  Most of it was hit or miss but the one thing I found that I really wish I could have gotten was this ---

Hello, Gorgeous! 

Paint it up, recover the cushion and add a throw pillow and you've got a winner!  It was an awesome price to boot -- $45 for one or $78 for the pair.  Unfortunately, I need another chair like I need a hole in the head so I had to leave it there.  I hope it goes to a good home that will make it pretty again.

~ Andrea


Pumpkin Pickin' 2011

Every year since Claire was born we have made a trip out to our local pumpkin patch.  Hay rides, haunted mazes, corn cob cannons, sunflowers and pumpkins galore!  It is always a really good time.  So, if you aren't in the Fall mood yet, here are a few pics to get you going.

We each came home with a pumpkin.  Claire picked one for her and one for the baby and I got a white one as usual.  I love white pumpkins!  No carving for me this year since I am currently the size of a $7 pumpkin, which makes things a little more difficult.  Plus, there is a distinct possibility that I will be in the hospital Halloween weekend this year.

Happy Fall Y'all!

~ Andrea