Stay Bump-to-Date! My 36 Week Bump-Date

36 Weeks Pregnant

We’ve made it to the final month of this pregnancy!

It has been such a whirlwind of a year. Becoming pregnant with our first child during a global pandemic was certainly not what we had in mind.

For those of you just joining, Connor and I found out we were pregnant in January of this year, about a month into the pregnancy. It was not planned, but we welcomed it with open arms… and an engagement! Good job to Connor on that one 😉 We were living in California, both still working at the time and I was enrolled in graduate school. Two months after we tested positive, the pandemic shut everything down. I lost my job at a local Equity theater, our school closed and resorted to remote learning, and we got the hell out of dodge. We packed up our life (and our cats) in 1 week and road tripped back to the East Coast. It was quite an adventure for being 3 months pregnant! We currently live in rural Connecticut in a lovely duplex, Connor has a wonderful job in Greenwich, and we are perfectly healthy. Again- not the pregnancy we had ever thought we would have!

Now, at 36 weeks pregnant, in the middle of the HOTTEST New England summer I think we’ve ever experienced, I am ready for baby girl to be OUT of me! We had our 36 week appointment with the OBGYN (Avery Center in Westport, CT) yesterday… and there is no end in sight. I am the sliiiiightest bit dilated- barely .5cm. While we all thought she was going to come early (me being a 5’2″ petite woman and Connor being a 5’11” large man), it looks like she is going to hold out until at least her due date. We were a little disappointed with that- we just want to meet her! Being pregnant has its ups and downs, but after a while you just get sick of being pregnant and want to be a parent.

I am excited to keep you updated in the weeks to come!

  • HOW FAR ALONG? 36 weeks and 3 days! It’s crazy how fast the time flies. Emily is about 6 pounds and is the size of a head of kale (ew) or a Buzz Lightyear action toy!
  • DUE DATE? September 19th
  • SIZE?: If everything matches what the doctor says, about 6.4lbs!
  • WEIGHT GAIN? EVERY woman’s experience in pregnancy is different. There is no right or wrong weight to be/gain during your pregnancy. Initially, I lost about 5-6 pounds in the first 2 months of pregnancy. This wasn’t due to morning sickness- that’s just how my body reacted to being pregnant! Weight gain also doesn’t mean gaining fat yourself- it’s the weight of your baby, your uterus, fluid, placenta, and so many other things in your body. Now that we are at the end, I have gained roughly 20 pounds (including the 5-6 back that I had lost). I will probably pack on another 4-6 before Emily arrives.
  • NAME? You all know this- Emily Ruth Whiteley! AKA Emmy Ruth, Emmy, Ruthie, Baby Girl, Emily, and whatever other nicknames we come up with! We’ve had this name picked out for about 2 years- ever since we began talking about having children together!
  • HOW AM I FEELING? Ehhhhh. Pregnancy has been kind to me overall, but it’s not something I particularly enjoyed. Right now, I am feeling tireddddd. It kills me to walk up and down the stairs- I feel like I need to take a nap as soon as I get to the landing! The muscles on my back (my Lats) have begun hurting from strain of the weight of my uterus pulling down. I have also had pretty bad Braxton Hicks (false contractions) for the past few weeks. I have begun feeling a small, sharp pain at the top of my uterus, which means it’s preparing to help me push out this baby!
  • CRAVINGS?: Throughout this pregnancy, I haven’t “craved” anything. There are moments where I will see a food in a TV show or a commercial and need to immediately eat it (the Cheese Puffs I made my husband pick up the other day). I constantly want chocolate or pizza, but honestly that’s nothing new!
  • AVERSIONS?: Burgers. I don’t know why- about a month ago I just couldn’t stomach eating burgers! Sometimes watching people eat also makes me a tad queasy.
  • PHYSICAL CHANGES?: My feet are definitely a little swollen. My normal 7.5 size shoe is a bit tight on me- I hope they go down since I just ordered some new fall booties!
  • BABY MOVEMENT?: They say that baby movement slows down during the last month of pregnancy- I have yet to notice that. Emily is rocking and rolling at all times of the day! Since this is my first pregnancy, my uterus and abdominal muscles are pretty tight, so her movements look like waves. They’re still big enough to be surprised with! She gets the hiccups about twice a day, sometimes more. She also loves stretching out and seeing how far her arms and legs can go!
  • BELLY BUTTON?: What a weird thing. My belly button stretched out- it never popped. But at times, depending on her position, you can grab it between your fingers.
  • MOST EXCITED ABOUT?: Not being pregnant anymore? Honestly, it’s been a great pregnancy but it is certainly not for me. I am truly excited about getting to hold our baby girl and watching her move outside of me rather than inside. I also can’t wait to see what color hair she has!
  • LEAST EXCITED ABOUT?: Honestly? Nothing. I am very much looking forward to this new chapter in our lives! It’s going to be tough as hell, but we have each other and we have the support of 5 incredible grandparents!
  • PRENATAL VITAMINS?: I am taking One A Day Women’s Prenatal Advanced Multivitamin with Brain Support. They’re great! There is a separate vitamin for Folic Acid, an important Vitamin B that promotes cell development and growth. You can find these on Amazon here!
  • SKINCARE?: I have naturally veryyyy oily skin. For the first 6 months of pregnancy, my skin cleared up of any oils and acne. It was amazing! Once I hit the third trimester, my skin decided to revolt. My pores became clogged again, my skin was slick, and I didn’t know how to combat it. My sister turned me onto these products:
    • Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser. This cleanser from Sephora is a GAME CHANGER! 1. It smells heavenly. 2. The formula of the cleanser makes my skin soft and leaves off the oils for hours. My skin already feels cleaner after using it for only a few weeks. I use it in the morning and pair it with…
    • CeraVé Daily Moisturizing Lotion. This moisturizer brings back color and life into my skin. It’s not heavy and absorbs right into your pores for a healthy glow.
    • At night, I use CeraVé Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This cleanser helps get all of the first and grime from throughout the day off of my face. It’s the perfect cleanser for the evening as it assists in taking off makeup, AND it’s fragrance free!

I am so excited for this baby to greet the world. Come back in the next few weeks as I talk about my labor and delivery plan (which can ALWAYS change in the moment)!

Favorite Quarantine Finds

For much of the world, especially the United States, the past 5 months have been something straight out of a Hollywood film. Literally. Ever seen Outbreak? Highly recommended.

Being unemployed and pregnant during this pandemic, all while moving from Los Angeles to rural Connecticut, has been quite the doozy and has at times left me feeling alone and sad.

While I could sulk for myself all day long (and have at times), I took advantage of the move and of the pregnancy (and my bank account) and gave our new home a much needed interior facelift. Check out my favorite quarantine finds below!

PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box– My husband HATES cleaning the cat’s litter box. The smell, the pee, the doo-doo. The litter used to track all over our upstairs floor and we would need to sweep 2-3 times PER DAY. We were floating around the idea of getting a self-cleaning litter box but were pretty skeptical of it. We eventually caved and bought the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. It was a hefty investment- $125 for the model with the hood (lid) and $50 for 3 tray/litter refills, but WOW is it worth it. Every 7 days, we remove the cardboard litter tray from underneath the litter box and replace it with a brand new one. With the crystal-like litter, there is minimal tracking-almost none! The litter box pushes the solid waste into a cardboard trap while the wet waste dries to the bottom of the box (the litter does not clump). A few sprinkles of ARM & HAMMER Cat Litter Deodorizer to help with the smell, and you’re ready to go!

Promptly Journal– I have always been absolutely TERRIBLE at journaling. I would get a brand new journal, use it for maybe 3 days, and then leave it to never be written in again. During my pregnancy, I found that it was easier to write when I was writing TO someone- Miss Emily Ruth. I am currently on week 6 of that journal- the longest I have ever kept one. I have also found that guided journals with prompts keep me honest and going back to write day after day. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and found an ad for Promptly Journals. Their journals are centered around family life/memories and personal care. They have journals pertaining to grief, postpartum, marriage, childhood, and more. I ordered the Childhood History journal in Dusty Rose. This journal I keep up through my childs’ 18th year. Inside, it has a full page on a family tree, first through third trimester, thoughts and feelings, and different prompts and stats for every year of your childs’ life. It is a wonderful way to keep memories, especially if you’re bad at remembering to write things down.

Bamboo Cheese Board Set– I knew when I was preparing for my baby shower that I wanted to make a charcuterie board for the occasion. I was looking in Target for good boards to use, but couldn’t find any that spoke to me. So, I took to trusty ol’ Amazon. I found this Bamboo Cheese Board Set that came equip with a 4 cheese-knife set and a built-in tray for crackers, grapes, or whatever else you want to add to your board! I paired this board with a Terracotta Pinch Bowl Set, perfect for honey, almonds, olives, and more! I find peace in creating cheese boards, and this board really helped me find creative ways to display fruits, cheeses, and meats.

Well, there you have it! My favorite quarantine finds. Don’t get me wrong- I have ordered a LOT more than just these 5 things. They just happen to be my favorite!

All of these products I give a:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Every single one of them is 100% worth investing in!

If you have any of these products, or are interested in buying them too, I would love to hear from you and hear your thoughts! Don’t forget to subscribe to get these posts right in your inbox.

Cheers!

What’s In Your Diaper Bag?

The 10 Most Important Things to Keep in Your Diaper Bag

One of the most important items you need in your Mom (or Dad) kit isn’t just one item… it’s MANY items! Your Diaper Bag is the home of all things baby. Whether you’re Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Auntie, you need to ensure that everything your little tyke will need throughout your day out is right at your finger tips.

I spent the day putting together mine and my husbands’ diaper bags in preparation for our little one. 7 weeks isn’t that far away, and we need to be prepared for anything! I’ve linked the products that I bought for my own baby stock for your convenience!

Boogie Wipes– Your little one is going to have boogies out her nose, in her mouth, in your mouth, everywhere! Rather than digging through your own purse, or even your car trunk, for that spare pack of tissues you know you packed, grab a boogie wipe! This will clean up those dried up snot bubbles without an issue, and leave your baby looking shiny as new.

Dr. Brown’s Pacifier and Bottle Wipes– How many times has that binkie fallen on the floor of the car? How often are you stressing that you’re not near hot water to rinse off that teether? Dr. Brown offers wipes for pacifiers, teethers, and bottles so that you don’t have to worry about those pesky germs.

An extra swaddle- Babies generally stop being swaddled around 3-4 months of age. You may not think that you need to, or should, pack a swaddle in your diaper bag once your baby grows out of them, but a swaddle can have many more uses than just their namesake! A swaddle can be used as a spare burp cloth, a blanket, a nursing cover, and more. Having one in your diaper bag will save you from itchy legs after that impromptu trip to the park. Here is a link to my personal favorite swaddles, which happen to have Winnie the Pooh stamped all over them!

An extra burp cloth- Do I even need to explain? Spit up, throw up, whatever you want to call it- it happens! A lot! Keep an extra burp cloth (or two) in your diaper bag. Just in case! Here are my favorites. They are gender neutral, soft, and machine washable.

Baby Lotion– Babies have very dry skin, and therefore need to stay moisturized more. If you live in a dry climate or have a little one with drier skin than most, it is worth investing in a travel-sized baby lotion. Be careful though- it might make them slippery!

Vaseline– Diaper rash cream has been a staple of many moms’ diaper bags for years- although it may not be the best way to prevent diaper rash. Diaper creams can hold toxins that may not be the best for your child’s health, while at the same time not protecting their bum from a rash. A diaper rash can come about when a baby’s bottom comes in contact with urine or stool while in their diaper. They’re very common, but also preventable. Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, is a great and non-toxic way to guard your baby’s bottom from dermatitis. I picked up these travel-sized tubs to pack along in my diaper bag for an on-the-go fix!

Extra Onesies- Blowouts. Spit up. Drops of pureed sweet potatoes. There are so many things that can get on a onesie while you’re out and about with your little one. Having a backup (and a backup for the backup) is extremely important! You can’t have that wrinkly little butt running naked in the breeze. I packed a few plain, shortsleeved onesies in both of our diaper bags for the unavoidable messes that our little girl will make. Here are my favorite ones from Carter’s! (Fun fact: Carter’s has a credit card and rewards program! Save 25% off your order if you sign up today!)

Silicone Teether– If your little one is anything like my sister-in-law, they might come out with a few teeth already poking through their gums. Once your tyke hits 3-4 months old, they’re going to start getting fussy as their teeth start to come in. You’re going to want an extra teether (or two) in your diaper bag for those situations.

A Grooming kit– Fly away’s. Straggly nails. Boogies. Your little one is going to require a lot of attention that a toy and a boob just can’t fix. A grooming and safety kit is an important one to keep in your diaper bag for on-the-go situations! We have two different ones. One from the American Red Cross and a Safety 1st brand.

SNACKS- Mom! Dad! You both need snacks, too! While your little one may have free food (if you’re breastfeeding/bottle feeding with breast milk), you certainly don’t. You need to keep your energy up while you’re out with your babe. Snacks of any kind are great to keep with you in your diaper bag. I am planning on stocking mine with trail mix and granola bars- easy foods that fill you up and are healthy for breastfeeding mamas!

Your diaper bag will become the life source for you and your little one, especially on long days out of the house. It’s am easy thing to pass off to a relative who may be watching them for the day. Keep it fully stocked! Clean it out when you get home at night and replace empty containers and wipe bags with fresh ones. Here are links to the diaper bags that my husband and I have (and love)! Skip-Hop Grand Central Take-It-All Diaper Bag and Jeep Adventurer’s Diaper Bag.

Check That Off! 7 Things You Need To Do In Your Third Trimester.

We are starting our 4th week in the third trimester, and my goodness there is still so much to do! In just a short 9 weeks, our baby girl will make her big appearance.

29 weeks pregnant!

For the past 31 weeks, I have been preparing (dreading) the last few months leading up to her birth. Are we prepared to have a baby? Do we have everything we need to sustain her life? Do I need to buy more underwear?

No. No. And probably no! But it doesn’t hurt to be 100% sure.

I have done my research and have created a checklist of the 7 most important things to do in your third trimester before your water breaks and all of a sudden you’re rushing to the hospital to deliver your first, third, or seventh child.

1. Create a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a helpful guideline for all mom-to-be’s, doctors, and hospital staff to have on hand during labor. When you get to the hospital, you’re not going to want to remember all of the little details of birth you feel so strongly about- nor can you remember! Your mind is going to be in a thousand other places while your body prepares to deliver a child.

Birth Plans go over details such as:

  1. Pain relief
  2. Episiotomy
  3. How you would like to breastfeed
  4. What medical procedures you would like performed on your child
  5. If you would like your child to stay in your room all of the time, some of the time, etc.

And more!

I found my birth plan template on TheBump.com! You can use this template, search the internet for another one that tickles your fancy, or you can create your own!

2. Put together the Nursery

Last weekend, my family and I spent time putting together all of the nursery furniture that Emily will need: Crib, changing table, and dresser. We got our furniture from Wayfair and put it together ourselves (our area doesn’t offer Handy services).

Getting the nursery ready early in the third trimester is extremely important, as you’re not going to want to build furniture or hang pictures when you’re worrying about your water breaking.

A grainy but cute photo of Emily’s room

3. Choose a Pediatrician

This is something that most first-time parents may look over until the last minute. Choosing a pediatrician is something you should do at the beginning of your third trimester, as you will need to give the hospital your pediatricians name. We registered at The Center for Advanced Pediatrics in Connecticut! They have our name in the system, and all we do once Miss Emily is born is to call them to set up her first few appointments.

4. Clean! Clean! Clean!

Clean that house, mama!

This might seem like something that is insanely obvious, as I sit here writing this post instead of cleaning my own house, but cleaning the house doesn’t just mean vacuuming the carpet or cleaning the hair out of the shower drain.

When I say clean the house, I mean PURGE, BABY, PURGE! Take the time to Marie Kondo your kitchen, your study, your bedroom. In just a few short weeks you are going to have another human taking up space in your home, and you are not going to want to worry about where to keep his or her bottles while you’re on your way home from the hospital. Organize the nursery in a way that feels right to you. Get rid of the clutter thats been sitting in the corner of the living room for months. Enlist family or your spouse/partner to help as well! You are the one who has been building a baby for the past 8 months, after all!

5. Pre-Register at the Hospital

This is something that I didn’t even know was something you had to do!

Pre-registering at the hospital isn’t as scary as it sounds. This just insures that all of your personal and financial information is in the hospitals system for when you go into labor. You’re not going to want to fill out your insurance information while simultaneously pushing a baby out and screaming at your partner.

You want to pre-register between 27-30 weeks, right around the time you begin your third trimester. If something happens and you go into labor pre-term, you certainly want to make sure the hospital is prepared to take you in.

6. Pack your Hospital Bag. And your partners’. And your baby’s!

Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your hospital bag! This isn’t something you want to just throw together the second your water breaks. You want- and need- to plan what’s going in your bag ahead of time. If you get to the hospital and discover that you left your phone with the birth playlist at home, you’re going to be a tad upset (I’m looking at you, Pam!).

If you’re not quite ready to pack your hospital bag, at least create your packing list. This will help you when you reach your final few weeks of life without a baby and allow you to go through the list without thinking.

Hare are some important things to remember to pack:

  1. 2-3 outfits (nursing tops, socks, underwear, etc.)
  2. Breast pump (if you are planning on breastfeeding). You’re going to want the hospital to teach you how to use it!
  3. Going home outfit for your baby
  4. Overnight clothes for your partner (if they are planning on staying in the hospital overnight). Due to COVID-19, there is a chance that your partner will be allowed into the hospital room with you, but might not be able to come and go as they please. Pack for them like you’re packing for you!
  5. Toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo)

7. Stock That Freezer

Once your baby comes, you’re not going to want to spend hours on your feet meal prepping and cooking. You’re going to need that extra time for laundry and sleeping.

Buy or create freezer meals that can be reheated at a moments notice… that notice being it’s lunchtime and your little one is out cold. Your handy dandy Crock-Pot can come in handy here! You can spend a week or two making 1-2 meals per day and then freeze them in meal prep containers for easy access. You can check out my recipe for Crock-Pot Pot Roast here!


There are many other things you can add to your third-trimester checklist- these are just the ones I’ve been working on in the past few weeks. I’m excited to check off the things on this list as I move through the next few weeks leading up to the birth of our sweet baby girl!

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Mmmmmm… who doesn’t like a home-cooked classlic like chicken parm?! I can tell you that it is one of my favorite dishes.

Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and Garlic Bread

Chicken Parm has been around since 20th century Italy. Its popularity grew in the States and, surprisingly, Australia, and is now a staple at many italian restaurants and in many peoples’ homes today.

Consisting of only 4 true ingredients- chicken, pasta, sauce, and parmesean cheese- chicken parm is one of the easiest dishes to make at home- even if you are a cooking novice! While most chicken breast is served breaded and fried in oil, I chose to make mine unbreaded, cooked in oil and then baked to allow fresh mozzarella to melt onto the chicken. Check out the ingredient list and cooking directions below for flawless, unbreaded chicken parm!

Downloadable Cooking Instructions

We are giving this rendition of chicken parm 4 stars! We would have given it 5, except for the fact that, as always, I overocoked the chicken by a mear 30 seconds. It came out of the oven just a tad too dry, but still tasted delicious!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Our Happy Place

When you think of your happy place, what do you picture? White beaches and crystal blue water? Rows and rows of books featuring that new and old book smell? Ferris wheels and funnel cake? When I think of my happy place, I think of Cape Cod, and more specifically, our cape house in Dennis, MA.

Growing up in New Jersey, our summer vacations took us to Wildwood and Seaside, not straying far from the miles of boardwalks and beaches of the Jersey Shore.

Fun Fact: First opening in 1870, New Jersey’s Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, tapping out at a whopping 5.5 miles!

Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ

After going away to college, I didn’t frequent the Jersey Shore much, if at all, anymore. Dance competitions had ended in our family and I was working every summer, including my final 2 college summers where I was at a residency in Maine. Summer vacations just didn’t happen anymore.

That statement is only even more true for the summer of 2018. This was the first summer I visited Cape Cod! My boyfriend at the time (now husband) invited me to stay the summer at his familys’ cape house in Dennis before I left for graduate school in California. I immediately took him up on the offer and began looking for theatrical work on the Cape.

I got hired as one of the 2 stage managers for Cape Repetory’s 2018 summer season. This allowed me to live on the Cape for the entire summer while working and prepping for grad school.

Now again, I had never even stepped foot on the Cape in my previous 22 years of living (I don’t count Martha’s Vinyard as a true part of Cape Cod). I was excited to start this new journey with my boyfriend, but also excited to be living in a place that seemed so out of reach for me.

Fun Fact: No county in the COUNTRY has more lighthouses than Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Cape Cod, specifically our cape house in Dennis, MA, quickly became my sanctuary. From the moment we walked in the door, I fell in love. So much so that to this day we are trying to convince my in-laws to sell the house to us so that we could live there! The house is homey, featuring gorgeous natural wood panneling and beams, a large brick fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and just the most wonderful aestetic (all thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law).

Our gorgeous house!

When I think of my happy place, I think of our cape house. This secluded, quiet, quaint little house in Dennis, MA is what I think of when I want to get away. It’s where I can sit on the couch and read without getting distracted by outside forces. It’s our cats’ FAVORITE place in the entire world (thanks to the sliding doors leading to the deck). It’s where my relationship was pushed and prodded and solidified after working with my husband for an entire summer. The Cape is the place I think of when I think of home.

Story Time with Jenn

Hey there! Welcome to Story Time with Jenn. Every week, I will be creating a new video showcasing and reading a children’s book.

I started Story time with Jenn after I learned that my future baby girl, Emily, can recognize my voice in the womb starting at around 20 weeks. I thought it was SO cool! I wanted to bond with her while she floats around in there and get her used to my voice before she enters the world. With all of the baby books coming in as gifts to her, I have chosen one per week to read aloud to her and to all of you.

Thank you to those who come back week after week to join me in our readings. This page will be the archive of all Story Time with Jenn videos! you can scroll down and find each one below. or you can head on over to my YouTube channel, Jennifer Whiteley, and subscribe to receive the latest videos straight to your device.

Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

There is nothing more sweet than making a dessert from scratch.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Cupcakes are one of my favorite dessert. They can be sweet or savory, simple or fancy, bite-sized or a mouth-full. While I have made cupcakes in the past, they have been boxed mixes with Pillsbury frosting- not that there is anything wrong with those! They are sugary sweet and Pillsbury sure knows how to mass produce delicious frosting.

My baby sister graduated high school this past month (yay!) and my mother asked me to make a dessert for her celebration last weekend. I knew the simplest and tastiest thing to make would be homemade cupcakes! I have never made my own batter or frosting before, so I knew I was in for a ride.

The recipe below is so simple and uses many common household ingredients- minus maybe the cake flour and cocoa. If you’re looking for the perfect recipe to ease yourself into baking, scroll down and take a peek!

Ingredients for the perfect cake mix!

Now, I broke one of the cardinal rules of baking while making these cupcakes… I did not taste my cupcake batter! I was so focused on making sure I had 15 cupcakes worth of batter in my bowl that tasting it never even crossed my mind. I was so nervous when my family tried them because to me they felt fairly dense and I was worried they may have been overly salted.

NEVER FEAR! The cupcakes were a HUGE hit. The cake itself was light and sweet, and the frosting tasted JUST like that Pillsbury mix we all know and love. The cake itself could have been a bit more moist- a minute or two less in the oven would have helped not to dry them out so much. Overall, the cupcakes were one of the highlights of the graduation celebration!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Potato and Onion Pot Roast

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.

Potato and Onion Pot Roast

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?

Downloadable Recipe

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!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

8 Second Trimester Must-Haves

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

Amazon dress and Blowfish slip-ons

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

Blowfish Slip-ons

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

Easy Cheese

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

Mozzarella Crusted Chicken

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

Pregnancy Pillow from BB&B

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.

7. Water

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.

26.5 Weeks Pregnant, wearing Motherhood Maternity top and shorts