There is nothing better than throwing a bunch of ingredients into a crockpot in the A.M. and letting it simmer away while you complete the other 5,000 errands you have to do that day.
Slow-cookers, or Crock-Pots, became a staple of American households during the 1970’s, as women began working outside of the home more and more. These allowed women to start their dinners in the morning before they left for work, and come home to a fully cooked meal at the end of the day. It also allowed for little cleanup, using one vessel to create the meal instead of various pots and pans. While these machines are commonly known as Crock-Pots, that name was patented in 1971 by Robert Glen Martin and The Rival Company. Sunbeam Products bought the Crock-Pot out, and there are a variety of companies that offer similar products (Cuisinart, KitchenAid, and Magic Chef to name a few).
I love my Crock-Pot. I have a few favorites to make in it- Mac and Cheese, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and of course Pot Roast! Pot Roast is probably one of the easiest meals to make in the Crock-Pot, as it only requires a small handful of ingredients. Potatoes, onion, carrots, and beef. What else could go wrong?
Taste and Reviews
Ummm amazing! Obviously! We served the pot roast over a bowl of egg noodles and added some more salt and pepper for taste. Because of the fat content of chuck roast, the meal is very flavorful. I advise if you are making it to do a smaller portion, or make it when you are having others over for dinner. While the meal reheats well, the fat coagulates on the top of the dish and could seem a bit unappetizing. Overall, we certainly will make this dish again!
As I begin to close out my second trimester, I have started reflecting on the last 3 months. So many amazing things happened! We saw our baby move for the first time, we moved across the country (with all our belongings, 2 cars, and 2 cats) to start our life on the east coast, and we got married. What?! It’s so hard to believe that all of this happened in the last 13 weeks.
Looking back on what was an amazing time, I pinpointed moments where I thought, “Hey, I could have used more of this” or “I wish I knew how much I would need that”. I know now I will be extra prepared for baby #2 (when that comes along).
I created a list of second trimester MUST HAVES for moms currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Hopefully, this will ease your mind a bit when making those mid-afternoon Target runs.
1. All of the dresses
Seriously! You want to stock your closet with dresses, especially if you are going to be pregnant during the late spring/summer months. I don’t think I have ever owned as many dresses as I do now. Your second trimester is when your bump really starts to take off, and people will stop wondering if you just had that extra large pizza for lunch. Some women prefer loose, t-shirt style dresses, while I prefer the more form-fitting ones (I like showing off my bump). Either way, dresses are going to be much more comfortable than jeans and shorts ever will. My favorite dresses come from Amazon and Target. You can actually find them in my latest post, What’s a Mom to Wear?
2. Comfortable shoes
Before pregnancy, I took all of my footwear for granted. Being in theater and being on my feet all of the time, you would think I would have learned that shoes are the most important part of your wardrobe, and they certainly were for me!… except I wore heels 80% of the time. Now that my feet and ankles are starting to slightly swell, I have begun leaning more towards shoes such as Keds or Blowfish. They are both two really great brands that include memory foam insoles and are just really comfortable to wear whether you’re going to the grocery store or going for a walk up and down the street.
3. dōTERRA Deep Blue® Rub
This back cream has been a LIVE SAVER throughout my pregnancy, but certainly throughout the second trimester. dōTERRA Deep Blue® Rub is infused with essential oils such as Wintergreen, Peppermint, Blue Chamomile, and more. It penetrates the muscles and leaves your skin tingling after application. This is the perfect cream to have my husband (willingly) rub on my lower back at bedtime, as it helps loosen up the muscles and allow any small knots to work themselves out during my sleep. 10/10 will ALWAYS recommend.
4. Snacks on snacks on snacks
Pregnancy cravings. Don’t let anyone fool you… they are REAL! During the past few weeks, my cravings have been few and far between, but once something is mentioned that I want, I can’t get my mind off of it until it is in my stomach. A few weeks ago, while watching Guy’s Grocery Games, the contestants were challenged to use canned spray cheese in their dish. You know- the disgusting, fake, amazingly delicious cheddar cheese spray from our childhood. I could not get it out of my head until this past week when my mother and sister came to visit and brought 2 cans of that ooey goodness with them. Thanks, guys!
5. A Meal Delivery Service
While I love going to the grocery store as much as the next person, I don’t necessarily want to cook all of the food I buy. It’s difficult to find the right meals for dinner and to have to go to the store and try to find each and every individual ingredient to make that dish. More often than not, these meals will take well over an hour to make. We found solace in HelloFresh. HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that is customizable to your lifestyle AND your budget. A normal week for us (a family plan with 3 meals at 2 servings a piece) is roughly $60 per week. We are able to remove and add meals as we please, dependant on what is being offered that week. We also have the ability to skip as many weeks in a row as week want. This is perfect for weeks where we are traveling a lot or weeks where we would rather be grilling and hanging out outside. HelloFresh has been the perfect way to introduce new and easy meals into our lives as we prepare to feed what we assume will be a very fussy baby.
6. Pregnancy Pillows
I will be the first one to admit that I took pregnancy pillows for granted. My mother tried to buy me one near the end of my first trimester, but I declined, saying that I didn’t need one. Once I wasn’t able to sleep on my stomach or my back anymore, having a king0sized pillow in between my legs or up against my back became necessary. Putting the pillow in between my legs allowed the pressure to be taken off of my lower back and gave comfort to my knees. Having the king-sized pillow at my front allowed me to curl up against something other than my husband, who doesn’t like to cuddle during sleep. While I only have a large pillow for this pregnancy, I will be investing in a pregnancy pillow for my second.
That’s it. Just water. Stay hydrated, mama!
8. A hobby
Dealing with both unemployment and a pandemic during my pregnancy hasn’t been easy. With a husband who goes into work every day (lucky duck, he is), I needed something to entertain myself. I have picked back up my love of painting during the last few months, and this has been a wonderful way to express some creativity as well as pass the time during the day. I also do a LOT of house work. Dishes, laundry, the works. Find a hobby that you love, whether it be a long, forgotten one, or a brand new one!
I am excited to enter the third trimester. I am looking forward to the next leg of this journey, and the next 3 months until we get to meet our baby girl.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my maternity wardrobe would be the most important wardrobe I have!
I’ll admit, I got a little finger trigger happy early on in my pregnancy and bought maternity clothes when I certainly didn’t need them yet. Being a first time mom, I expected my stomach to balloon up within the first 2 months, and I ordered just like that. In truth, I didn’t start getting a real pregnancy belly until about week 16 or 17, 4 months into my pregnancy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I wore the tiny crap out of those maternity clothes! I wear them even better now that there is a belly to fill those shirts and dresses.
I spent a lot of time choosing maternity clothes and exploring different websites for the best clothes AND the best deals. But let’s be real… if it’s cute, I’m buying it!
When shopping for any wardrobe, it’s important to keep the must-haves in mind. Many people call this a “capsule wardrobe“. If you are a shopaholic like me, this helps to clear our your wardrobe while only keeping the essentials, and keeping items that you can mix and match every day of the week.
I LOVE clothes. Like, love! I have always been one to shop high-end at low-budget stores (Target, Kohls, and sometimes even WalMart). I found it very difficult at the beginning of ny pregnancy to find maternity clothing that was both hella cute and hella affordable. I scoured the internet trying to find outfits that I could wear both throughout the 7 more months of my pregnancy and postpartum. I am ALL for versitile!
The first website I stumbled upon was Motherhood Maternity. Motherhood ofers a wide variety of maternity fashion, but it really hits home with the basics. I was able to get some amazing Secret Fit Belly jeans and jeggings, nursing bras (which are the most comfortable bras I have EVER worn), Graphic Tees, and Scooped Neck Maternity Tank Tops for a very inexpensive price. Check out the gallery below for photos of my favorite Motherhood items!
As I was searching for clothes a little higher priced, I found Pink Blush. Pink Blush is AMAZING because they not only have a plethora of maternity clothes, but they also have a section for non-pregnant women. Their clothes are perfect for during pregnancy and after, so I know that they will get the proper use out of them. Pink Blush is great for baby shower dresses and flowy, patterened pants. I even got the dress I got married in from Pink Blush! Check out the gallery below for photos of my favorite Pink Blush items!
Now that I had a few basics and a few special occasion picks out of the way, it was time to get the clothes that would get me through the hot New England summer- clothes that would be able to be easy to put on, versitile, be used after pregnancy, but still retain their cuteness. I went to Target and Amazon for those picks. It took a bit of sleuthing to find, but the simple, side-rouched dresses as these two stores were PERFECT and were exactly what I was looking for. Amazon had a dress that came in over 20 different patterns and colors, so you know I stocked up on those. I paired these simple dresses with some crop tops I found on Amazon, just to give it that extra touch. Target had great dresses with the same fit and feel, but ones that I wasn’t able to find on Amazon. Check out the gallery below for photos of my favorite Target and Amazon dresses!
Now is time for the most important part- shoes! Finding the right pregnancy shoe is like finding a needle in a haystack. Halfway through the second trimester, your feet start to ache and swell from all of the blood rushing through your veins, and when going on those long pregnancy walks, it’s important to make sure your feet are taken care of. My mother recommended Blowfish! Blowfish is a California-based footwear company whose main goals are creating shoes that are both comfortable and affordable. They draw inspiration from European and Asian culture and combine that with creativity to create their shoes. My go-to shoe is the Marley It comes in almost 20 different colors, and features elastic and canvas to make your feet feel like they aren’t even wearing shoes!
Summer desserts. Ice creams, italian ices, and pies. These are the staples of anyone’s home during the hot summer months. I’ve never been one to make pies, having made my first homemade pumpkin pie last year for Thanksgiving. My husband, however, loves pie. He’s mentioned a few times that he would love a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, having only had it once in his life (but remembering that it was delicious). So, I set off on this new challenge.
I have never had rhubarb. I honestly didn’t even know what rhubarb was until I chopped it up yesterday to put into my pie filling. After manipulating it and tasting it, I found it to be a very sour, very tasty version of celery (even though they are in entirely different food families).
I chose to use fresh, organic strawberries and fresh rhubarb from our local grocery store, Caraluzzi’s. If you are making this pie outside of the summer months, frozen strawberries and rhubarb will work just fine. I also chose this time to use premade Pillsbury Pie Crust. Being a newbie to pies, I didn’t want to start off failing at pie crust AND filling.
I didn’t know what to expect when tasting this pie. Strawberries, as everyone knows, are sweet with a hint of tartness, but I have never tasted rhubarb before. Raw rhubarb isn’t necessarily something that one would chow down on, but I found the tartness and the fiber feel of it to be rather enjoyable.
After combining the strawberries and the rhubarb with sugar, water, and cornstarch, it became a very red, very sweet and sour filling that I could have eaten right out of the saucepan.
Reviews from the Husband
Overall, the pie was absolutely delicious. We gave it 5 stars, not because we were biased (even though we are), but because the sweetness from the sugar balanced out the tartness of the fruits and vegetables so well. We scooped some Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream on the side and served the pie a bit warm.
The pie filling was a tad watery, so next time we make it me might wring out the moisture of the rhubarb and strawberries in a cheese cloth. This will allow the filling to retain it’s shape and thickness from the cornstarch and sugar without leaving the pie with a soggy bottom.
10/10 will DEFINITELY make again! Have fun making this wonderful, summer pie!