Sunday, August 13, 2017

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

So, yes, I know that this is totally NOT the time of year to be sharing soup recipes. 

However, this is the only new thing I have made, and one of the few things I want to eat, so therefore this is the only thing I have to share with you!

Growing up my whole life, we never had chicken noodle soup all that much, and I was totally fine with that, because I just never really liked it. 
At all.
Not really sure why, but I think it was the lack of flavor sometimes, sometimes they are super watery and I hate that. Sometimes people would use rice instead of pasta, which I really, really, really didn't like! 

However, since being pregnant, I have craved chicken noodle soup a lot, for some reason. 
I could totally eat it Every.Single.Day. 

I don't want some exotic chicken noodle soup with weird things and flavors. I just want normal, flavorful yet subtle, chicken noodle soup. And not watery/brothy.....I want creamy.

I just realized I'm turning into a very picky person. 
Good grief. 

Anyways, turns out there is a million and one recipes for chicken noodle soup. The only thing I learned from all of them, is that it can literally take alllllllllllll day 
to make one pot of soup. 
No thank you. 
But I do realize to get a good, good soup, it just simply does take a while. So I picked apart a few recipes I found, and came up with this one! It usually takes me about an hour from start to finish....still seems long, but it's better than 8 hours, right?!

To me, it's the perfect combination of 
flavorful, creamy, comfort food. 
And it makes a TON, but it keeps in the fridge really well, and I eat on it all week long. I'm sure it probably freezes good too, but I haven't technically tried that yet. 

So whether you're feeling a little under the weather, or just in the mood for some good comfort food, I hope you give this a try!

6 cups low sodium chicken broth (make sure it's GF)
6 cups water
3-4 skinless chicken breasts or thighs (with or without bone)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups diced or sliced baby carrots
2 medium celery stalks, diced
2 heaping cups dry, gluten-free Rotini Pasta 
1 heaping cup fresh or frozen corn
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup milk 

Place water and chicken broth in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil, and add chicken. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove chicken and any nasty little things that may be floating in the broth. Allow chicken to cool slightly, discard bones, if there is any, and shred meat with two forks (keep the broth covered and at a low boil).
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil slightly over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery. Saute until slightly tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken, sauteed vegetables, pasta and corn to the chicken broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in the same skillet that you cooked the veggies in, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornstarch and Italian seasoning until smooth. Ladle in about one cup of the chicken broth from the soup pot. Whisk until smooth and thick. Add milk and mix well. Once the pasta is cooked, add the creamy mixture to the soup pot...very gently!! Stir to combine. 
Serve with muffins, garlic toast, grilled cheese, biscuits, good ole' bread and butter......anything you want!!! 

-Honesty moment: My chicken is generally frozen when I put it in the boiling water. Still works perfect. 
-Obviously, being gluten-free, I don't add crackers to my soup. But if crackers are you're thing, there is lots of different gluten-free crackers available out there. OR, if you are not a gluten-free eater, go crazy with saltines or oyster crackers or anything else, that will make all of us gluten-free eaters a little jealous of you!!!
-Also, if you are not a gluten-free eater, you can certainly use regular pasta.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Second Trimester

Just so everyone knows, I did have good intentions of posting like at least monthly updates or something.

It's the thought that counts, right?!

I'm almost to my third trimester already, which is SO wonderful, and amazing, and scary and awesome!

Here's my second trimester in a nut shell, pretty much!


I was excited and anxious to get to 15/16 weeks, because people kept telling me that the morning sickness would probably go away, and I would start feeling much, much better.

Well, that never happened, but that's okay.
It's gonna be totally worth it, right? That's what I always tell myself, anyways!

I do have some good days, and even some days that start out good and end bad, or whatever! Either way, I generally experience multiple good hours, at least, at this point!

Craving less and less, but somehow getting so fat!! 
Some foods don't sound as terrible anymore, but mostly I view food as a necessity...I HAVE to eat, so it sort of takes the fun out of it!

Thankfully my bread craving has come to a minimum, praise the Lord!!!
I still eat it, but not nearly as much, and I also eat other things now too...vegetables, for instance, which is wonderful!
However, carbs are still definitely my number one friend and companion!

Very rarely crave anything sweet, mostly just salty.
Love just about any kind of chip, pretzels, trail mix, etc.
I am able to eat a small amount of ice cream, sometimes. But once I've had a few bites, I'm done.
My sister introduced me to fudge popcicles to help with acid reflux, which has honestly been so helpful! Not really healthful, but I'm wondering if there is one thing that can be both!

I had the glucose test last week, so lots of prayers that comes back clear!
It wasn't as bad as I was afraid of. Well, I mean, I didn't throw-up in the doctors' office, anyways, so that was my goal!
It's one of those things you hear horror stories about, so I was kinda worried!
That being said, though, I do understand why some people say they will never drink an Orange Crush ever again!!!

Oh, and we also found out the gender at week 20, so check out my last post, if you haven't seen it yet!

Pretty frustrated and uncomfortable in most of my clothes now.
I was never a huge fan of dresses in the past, but I found a few t-shirt dresses on Amazon, and I basically live in them! I can't stand to wear a fitted shirt, or a heavy-material skirt, so the dresses are super thin, super comfy, and that makes me super happy!

Added to the list of things I have failed in this summer, bump shots are one them!!
I do not have one for every week, but the ones I do have, I add to the bottom of this post.
Throughout the month of June and some of July, I felt like the bump was bigger at times, and smaller other times. In the mornings, it was like it wasn't even there!
Now, it's all out there, all the time!

I think I was feel baby movement a little bit here and there throughout June, but I wasn't really sure.
In July, I started to feel movement a lot, and it's just continually gotten stronger and stronger!
It can be really uncomfortable at times, but at the same time, it's so wonderful and such an amazing reminder that there is a miraculous, tiny life in there!!!! 
Daddy finally got to feel a couple of kicks around week 24, so that was very exciting!! Normally, whenever there is lots of movement, as soon as he puts his hand on my belly, all is calm!!!!

17 weeks

18 weeks

18 weeks, 4 days

19 weeks

22 Weeks

23 Weeks

25 Weeks

26 Weeks

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Gender Reveal!!!

We are SUPER, DUPER, thrilled, and excited to announce, that we are having a.....


(This post is pretty late, and probably everyone already knows by now, but oh well!!!)

I think Bradley was pretty sure the ultrasound day was never going to come! He wanted to know SO bad!!
Honestly, we were both very shocked it was a girl. For some reason, we both thought it was a boy, and neither of us have any clue why we thought that!!
It wasn't like we wanted a boy and not a girl or anything. We would have been thrilled, no matter what!
And we definitely were!!!

It was so very special to me, because my mom and 3 of my sisters drove down just to go with us to the appointment. Bradley's mom was also able to be there, so it was just a wonderful moment made even better, because of family!

Heading into the Doctor's Office!

She's already like her daddy....SO not a morning person, and the tech was having a hard time getting her to move around enough to see her face!
She's also like mommy, and LOVES to sleep with her hands over her face, evidently!!

I was so sad at first, because when we got there, they told us only three people, including the daddy, could be back in the room with me. I had wanted my sisters there, but they said there wasn't enough room. But there was tons of room, and mom told the tech that they were sisters who drove 500+ miles to be with me today. Thankfully, I think we got the sweetest tech in the world, and she let the girls come right back!!!

(We all totally forgot to take a picture with all of us, so I have no picture of our moms being there, which makes me super upset. But they were there!!!)

We were planning on doing a gender reveal party with the rest of Bradley's family, but there was a death in my family that weekend, so we had to change plans, and I actually went back to Maryland with mom and the girls immediately after the doctors appointment, for the funeral.
But it probably worked out for the best, because I don't think Bradley would have been able to keep it a secret for even one day! About an hour after the appointment, he had already told like 14 people!!
But I have to admit that I would have had a hard time too!

So it's all things pink now, and we couldn't be happier!!!
It's been so fun working on baby registries, thinking about the nursery, and looking through baby clothes at the store!

Little Miss already has her daddy wrapped tightly around her finger!
He just wants to buy stuff for her all the time!!
He's so sweet, and he's going to be such a great dad!

"Mommy and Daddy can not wait to meet you, little girl!!!!"

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quick Update:

So, I did not fall off the face of the earth! 


I honestly can't say that I have been busy, necessarily. 

But pre-occupied, maybe? 

We have some exciting news to share......

So as Bradley tells me all the time...I have technically been busy.
Growing a baby takes a lot of work!

But we are SO, SO, SO thankful and so very excited!!! 
We are 16 weeks along, today!

Unfortunately, I have been blessed with 24/7, never-ending morning sickness. Which is why nothing has been happening here. Or anywhere for that matter!
Poor Bradley has done virtually EVERYTHING for weeks and weeks. He seriously is the best!

Close up screens (my phone, iPad, computer, etc.) make me feel motion sick, so that's another reason I have not been posting anything.
Plus the fact, again, I'm not doing anything, cooking anything....psh, I'm barely even eating anything!

But I hope you will bare with me!
I've been told that I should feel better soon, so please send lots of prayers that happens any day now!!

I will hopefully at least be posting pregnancy updates, as I can, and hopefully more things in the future!

Here's a brief summary for you!

14 Weeks

(Please excuse the hair, the mess in the room, etc. It's my life right now)

-Not sure if it's actually a little bump, or my imagination, but we're just going with it right now!
I'm still wearing all my regular clothes, and they fit pretty well. Skirts and things are not tight, but the bands touching my stomach drive crazy. 
-I've been so sick, that I've not had too many cravings yet. And the cravings I do have, and what sounds good, are so weird and random, so I hope you don't get sick just reading this!
They also don't necessarily last all week. It might be great on Tuesday, but I can't look at it on Wednesday.
This week, what sounded good was:
Puff'n popcorn
Peppermint tea
Butter toast
Garlic toast
Plain toast
Basically, any bread! I just needed BREAD!
However, it could not be in a sandwich form. Oh no. Nothing all squished together like that. Yuck. Must be separate.
Except for a Cheeseburger! Thank you, Ruby Tuesdays, for having gluten-free buns!!!
Also, randomly had baked beans one day that had to have been sent straight from heaven. So good.
That week I also had the best taco in my life.
(how is it, that a taco can taste fabulous, but I MUST eat my BLT sandwich un-assembled?)
I can handle some fruit, occasionally. 
Vegetables and meat are my worst enemy.
I feel thirsty all the time, but water and most fluids, for that matter, don't sit very well, if I drink more than an ounce or so at a time.

15 Weeks
Annnnnd the bump looks even smaller this week!
It does shrink sometimes, though. It's bigger and smaller throughout the day.
Plus, it depends on what I ate, and whether it stayed down or not.

According to my doctor, this week, we finally made it to the second trimester 
(that varies between 12 and 16 weeks, depending on who you ask). 
Morning sickness should subside now, and I will feel halfway back to normal.




Nothing is happening.

-Always, always tired. And this has also been since the very beginning. I honestly lay around most of the time, because I'm too nauseous to do anything else, and I'm just so tired. I will fall asleep during the day, at least one time. Then there is the after dinner/pre-bedtime nap. Then I go to bed. How crazy!

-Cravings this week were about the same as last week:
-I was promised Tacos after church on Sunday, so I WAS going to church, no matter what.
- No sandwiches, but any other form of bread was perfect! 
Until Wednesday. Haven't been able to eat but a slice or two since then.
-Blueberry Muffins....they sounded and smelled better than they tasted.
-More Puff'n Corn, please! (I used to hate this stuff)
-I could totally go for a brownie
-And some caffeine free Coke (I don't even like Coke)
-DO NOT even talk about a salad. Gross.
-OR meat. It has to be hidden in something for me to eat it.
-And lets just avoid peanut butter at all costs 
(this breaks my poor little heart. PB and I were very best of friends. 
"I'll be back, PB!! Don't you worry!")
-And the sweetest man on earth made me Chicken Noodle Soup one day! Pure bliss! That tasted fabulous!

So, as you can see, I'm leading a completely lazy, and relatively unhealthy life at the moment.
The craving for meat and vegetables, and the shunning of carbs and sugar, can come any day now!!
But so far, technically I'm doing fine, and the baby is doing great!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Our Engagement Pictures!!!

We were so blessed to have a friend of mine as the photographer for our wedding, PLUS as a huge bonus, engagement pictures as well!! 

It was miracle that it worked out! Bradley and his family were in Maryland visiting for a week. And Bethany just so happened to be up from South Carolina as well, visiting her family in Pennsylvania that very same week! It couldn't have worked out better! 

It was the very beginning of May, so the weather was very touch and and rainy. We managed to get a slight break on the day we had planned for pictures, and it was perfect! It was cool, but not too cold, it wasn't raining and things were relatively dry, but it wasn't too bright either! 
We're so thankful for Bethany helping us, and taking time out of her vacation to do that for us!

So here they are! I hope you enjoy them!!! 


And anyone in the Charleston, SC area in need of a good photographer, check out Bethany's Website HERE!!!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

And then we decided on Forever!

Hey everyone!! Here is the last of mine and Bradley's story!! Well, dating story anyways! 
I love every detail about our story...the significant, the seemingly less significant...but this part might be my absolute favorite!!

If you missed my other posts,
you can check out how we met HERE,
how we started talking HERE,
and pretty much the rest of our dating relationship HERE!

 And now, on to our engagement!

So, my family was in Virginia on vacation at this time. 
We all arrived at various times throughout the day on Friday.
Mom, Dad and I got up and left early Saturday morning, March 26th, for South Carolina, one year ago today!
We arrived at Bradley's house around noon. I knew that his sister was making this soup sometime that day, but I didn't really know anything else about the whole weekend. Like I said before, Bradley usually took care of that, and he didn't really tell me anything this time, and I didn't ask! 

So we were just sitting around talking and visiting. Looking back now, there are two things that in hindsight, should have told me something! One, mom had randomly asked me what I was going to wear that weekend, several times. And she never does that! Two, I realize now that Bradley was very, unusually quiet. But at the time I didn't notice at all. I was just thrilled to be there with him, and that was all that mattered!

After a while of all of us just sitting around taking, I noticed that he was suddenly really anxious or something, and was wondering why his sister and her family weren't up there yet! I thought it was kind of odd, because I didn't think we were operating on any kind of time-table, so who cares if they weren't there yet! They'll get there when they get there! But whatever! I didn't really think about it too much! Again....story of my life! I was totally oblivious!

So, a little while later, every one was there, and they were getting some of the food ready, and chatting, and things like that. Bradley and I were talking, and I wasn't paying a huge amount of attention to everyone else. During this time, he randomly says that he thought right now would be a good time to talk about the wedding date that we had previously discussed.
Again, I was like, well this is odd! I mean, right now? Some of these people just barely got in the door! I don't think I had even said hello to everyone! And he was like "yeah, I think we should." He seemed so serious about it, so I was just like okay, whatever! At that point, I realized that we were standing with our backs to everyone, and they were all suddenly sitting down and not talking at all! I had no clue what was going on, but I felt like possibly we were just about to make way too big of a deal about this date thing, and I was feeling awkward standing there. I knew he was going to do all the talking anyways (because that's the agreement we have...he's the spokesperson for our club), so I said that I was going to sit down while he did that.

He was like "oh. Ummm, okay," but then asked me to turn my chair a certain way. I never said anything, but in my mind, I was thinking "no problem, except that's sort of away from everyone, but whatever"!
Then he said it AGAIN! I was like, are you kidding me? Now I literally have my back to his sister, who was sitting beside me! I was just like "oh my word! He has lost his mind"!!

All of that ran through my head in a split second. At almost the exact same time, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him start to pull something out of his pocket! Before I knew it, he was already down on one knee! It just totally took my breath away, and I had no clue what to do! I was so happy, but I was shaking like crazy! My brain couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry or what!
Remarkably, I had enough presence of mind to say YES, so that was good, at least, right?!

It wasn't like it shocked me that he did it. I mean, we had been making wedding plans for like 2 months at that point, so I knew it was coming. I just had NO CLUE when! And I'm very much a live-in-the-moment type of person, so I honestly had never really thought about when/where he would do it!

Anyways, it was fabulous, though! I'm very much a home-body, so the fact that he just did it at his house, it was low-key, our families were there, (I had just gotten my nails done, lol!), the ring was gorgeous...everything was perfect!!

The Flowers he got me for that day as well!

Shane and Rina gave us the sweetest engagement present!

Easter Sunday together!

And that's that! From there, we went on to set a date, and plan a wedding!!

So the moral of the story? God is always in control!
And His way is by far, the best way!
And you just never know how He's going to work things out!
Since 2015, "Never say never" became my motto!!!

I hope you enjoyed our story! 
Next up? I'll be sharing our engagement pictures with you!