Weepy

To say I’ve been high maintenance during this pregnancy is a bit of an understatement. My poor husband has certainly put up with a lot as I’ve had my ups and downs. Most recently, my emotions are all over the place and I cry at the drop of a hat, whether its during worship at church, when I’m reading a story to Baylen, or when I’m driving along in the car. They aren’t necessarily sad tears, just tears that surprise me and come out of nowhere! I guess having two girlies growing inside will do that to a person.

Sometimes it’s easy for me to get frustrated and just want to feel “normal,” but lately I’ve felt the Lord calling me to embrace each emotion, and listen to what He’s trying to teach me through them. The Holy Spirit has an amazing ability to speak to us when we’re vulnerable in ways we may often otherwise ignore when life seems to be clipping along without much adversity.

With that said, I’m praising God for giving me tender emotions, and am thankful that I have a King who wants to meet me where I’m at so He can show me more of who HE is.

How has God been drawing you closer to himself lately? No matter what you’re going through, remember that as much as we want to wish away the struggles in our lives, He wants to use them to show you how much He loves you and how awesome HIS PLANS for your life are.

This week, I hope you’ll join me in surrendering our hearts and emotions to the one who freely offers peace to all of us who ask for it!

Amber

 

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Moments Mommy Captured: 1/27/2013

We had a pretty low key week around here. We did ordinary things and enjoyed getting back into a normal routine.

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To add a little spice to our ordinary week, we welcomed Joey and Madison into our home! They are officially moving to the area and will be living with us for a few weeks until they close on their house. They are pretty stellar roommates, and spoil us with things like free childcare, delicious meals, and shoveling our driveway for which we are incredibly grateful!

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Per usual, Baylen and I made several Target runs this week, and during one such trip when Baylen was not in the mood to ride the aisles we made it through with the help of this yummy cookie.

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Jake put together the twins’ dresser and cribs this week and Baylen was such a good little helper. He’s already playing the role of big brother quite nicely!

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I call this the “Thomas trance.” When he hears the theme song of Thomas & Friends he stops whatever he’s doing and gives it his full attention…for at least 10 minutes anyway.

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Mirror shot of the twins at 29 weeks!

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My friend Heather and I took Baylen to the zoo! He loved wandering around and looking at the animals.

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We got to have an impromptu lunch date with Jake on Friday!

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Baylen figured out how to turn on the water to our bathtub and now entertains himself by brushing his teeth and rinsing out his toothbrush…and finding other things to throw in the bathtub like stacks of Daddy’s business cards.

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Since we only live 10 minutes from the Wisconsin/Minnesota border, my Wisconsin boy was excited to find a place that we could frequent for Friday night fish fry. We found a place called Seasons Tavern in Hudson, and it was delicious.

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Baylen’s at such a playful stage and he loves all the extra attention he gets from Aunt Madison!

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We ended the week by getting to see our dear friends, Chris and Justie! Love that couple!

Hope your week was a good one too, no matter how ordinary.

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dreaming of Skinny Jeans

As these little baby girls inside me keep growing bigger and bigger (I now have about six pounds of baby in me!) I find myself starting to dream of a day when I’ll be able to fit into normal clothes again. There are so many cute looks out there right now. So, please join me today as I dream about days without elastic waisted maternity pants.

A few looks I’d love to be rockin’ after the bump goes bye-bye…

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This look is definitely not something I’d think up on my own, but I love how the crazy colors come together! This outfit was found on Atlantic-Pacific.

plaid-inspiredI love me some plaid, and like how adding a blazer dresses it up a bit. I’m also looking forward to wearing heels again and it not resulting in back pain the next day! Visit Lou What Wear for more on this cute outfit!

Stylin Mommies

I’m loving these bright skinny jeans paired with the polka dots and jean jacket! I’ve mentioned her before, but Jamie at Stylin’ Mommies is full of great affordable ideas. She’s not your typical J-Crew fashion blogger, but instead finds the cutest stuff at stores like Target!

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I’ll close with one more look from Stylin Mommies. I love how she dressed up a t-shirt with a blazer, put it with some skinny jeans and wedge tennis shoes, and is ready to run errands with the kiddos in style.

Okay, it’s time for me to stop dreaming for a bit and seriously figure out what to wear to dinner tonight that fits my precious bump. As much as I’m excited to be “skinny” again, I certainly don’t want to rush the process. My girlies need as much cookin’ time as possible!

Question: What’s your favorite outfit lately that includes skinny jeans? 

Have a great weekend, and as always, remember to prioritize some “me time!”

Amber

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Third Trimester Workouts

I’m 29 weeks pregnant today! Full term for twins is considered 37 weeks, and my doctor said I’ll likely deliver around then, so I don’t have too much longer to go. I’ve been in the third trimester for a couple weeks now and I can tell my body is starting to slow down a bit. The incredible energy I had in the second trimester is drifting away. Thankfully, I’ve still had energy to work out about 4 times a week, which actually helps to get rid of fatigue. I’m going to try to keep it up as long as my doc continues to say it’s okay!

My body has been telling me to tone down my workouts a bit, so I’ve been enjoying low impact cardio and light freeweights. Here’s what a typical trip to the gym looks like for this ever-expanding pregnant lady.

Cardio: 40 Minutes

20 minutes on the Cybex Arc Trainer (Working at a level 8 incline and resistance set at 35)

Cybex Arc Trainer

20 minutes on the Precor Elliptical Adaptive Motion Trainer (Working at Level 12)

Precor Lady

Strength Training:

-25 Reps Squat & Press (10 lb. weight in each hand)

-25 Reps Sumo Squat & Press (10 lb. weight in each hand)

-50 lunges with 10 lb weights in each hand

-50 side kicks on each side

-50 calf raises with bicep curls (10 lb. weight in each hand)

Question: If you’re currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the past, what do/did your workouts consist of in the third trimester?

Have a great Wednesday! Find a way to move around a little bit and give your body the gift of a workout!

Amber

 

 

 

 

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Crockpot Hamburgers

It is COLD. Real COLD. So cold that when our plane touched down in Minnesota on Sunday Jake and I may have second guessed our decision to move here a little bit. Thankfully the Twin Cities have much to offer beyond their chilly temps or we may have been on the next flight back south.

When it’s cold out and it takes so much effort to go out and about or do anything for that matter, the last thing I feel like doing is making a complicated recipe for dinner. Instead, I usually make something easy that will give me the fastest route to cozy up on the couch and turn the fireplace on afterward.

With the ample supply of beef in the freezer from my dad’s farm, tonight’s meal will be hamburgers. Obviously grilling isn’t an option for us right now, so I’m turning to my trusty crockpot. I’ve made them a couple times using the slow cooker before and they turned out super juicy and flavorful. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we need to deprive ourselves of a good burger!

Crockpot Hamburgers

Ingredients:

-2 lbs. ground beef, thawed

-1 package dry onion soup mix

-salt and pepper to taste

-tin foil

Instructions: Create a tin foil grill in the bottom of your crockpot so the burgers so cook in the grease. Mix the ground beef and dry onion soup mix together. Form patties and place on top of the tin foil grill. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 2 – 3 hours. Serve and enjoy!

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Question: What is an easy crockpot dish that you go to during the colder months?

Stay warm today, everyone! I’m keeping the diet hot chocolate flowing this afternoon!

Amber

 

 

 

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Whatever You Think

This weekend while we were in Miami I had lots of down time and was finally able to finish a book called The Surrendered Wife that I started last Fall. The underlying principle of the book is about how women need to stop trying to control our men if we want to experience true intimacy within our marriages. One of the most difficult things about relinquishing control is that we don’t always know when we’re being controlling. I’ll be the first to admit that as I read through the examples there were far too many times when I thought about times I had made these mistakes and disrespected my husband. What I loved about this book compared to other marriage books I’ve read is that it gave practical examples of how to show respect and become a surrendered wife.

One particular suggestion I resonated with was about how to respond to our husbands’ ideas. When we squash our husband’s ideas it can be one of the most subtle and dangerous forms of control because we are telling him we don’t trust him. Without trust there can’t be intimacy. Therefore, it is so important to respect his thinking. The first step is to let him think out loud without criticizing, laughing at, dismissing, or insulting him.

Instead, we need to say with as much kindness and sincerity as we can muster, “Whatever you think” when he is telling you his ideas. For example, if he comes up with a nutty idea about how he wants to change jobs, you say “Whatever you think.” If he thinks the kids should learn how to ski, and this sounds dangerous to you, you say, “Whatever you think.” If he wants to go out for dinner and you want to save money and eat dinner at home, you say, “Whatever you think.”

It takes lots of practice, but I’ve tried doing this lately and I can honestly say I’ve noticed a difference. Using the phrase just as it is has the best results. In the past I’ve used phrases such as “It’s up to you,” “What do you think?” “That’s for you to decide” and “Whatever you want” but none of those communicates both trust in his thinking and a healthy detachment from his problems as well as “Whatever you think.”

My challenge for all of us this week is that we seek the Lord and pray about how we can respect our husbands more. Perhaps you’re already perfect at this, in which case you can totally disregard this post, but for most of us I’m guessing there is room for improvement. Whether it’s using this phrase “Whatever you think” or discovering another way to practically respect your husband, let’s be intentional about it.

Giving up control is really not as scary as it sounds – all you’re really doing is allowing him to be himself. Sometimes his ideas will materialize and sometimes they won’t, but if you trust him instead of trying to control what actually comes to fruition you will be one step closer to fostering intimacy with your husband. Instead of killing his spirit and rejecting him, we’ll build a sense of confidence in him which will give him a whole new feeling of freedom and responsibility.

Question: What are practical ways you respect your husband? Do you have examples to share that have worked well to foster intimacy within your relationship?

Make it a great Monday!

Amber

*The ideas in this post came from the book The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. For more details on this approach that has transformed thousands of relationships, read the book!

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Moments Mommy Captured: 1/20/2013

As I mentioned on Friday, Jake and I were in Miami this weekend! Jake’s company held their annual holiday party there and invited spouses to come along! He had to spend just a few hours at meetings and we attended a couple meals with everybody, but the rest of the weekend was ours to do whatever we wanted. Since the schedule was pretty flexible, we decided we’d treat it as our babymoon as well. It doesn’t get much better than an all expenses paid getaway!

We stayed at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. Everything from the views to the restaurants to the gym to the beach and beyond was absolutely beautiful. We were spoiled.

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We didn’t have the sunniest of weather, but we did manage to sneak in a few hours here and there when it peaked out. It was still FAR better to be in Miami enjoying temps around 80 degrees than in MN where we were welcomed back by a single digit.

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Wearing a bathing suit while seven months pregnant with twins wasn’t exactly an experience I’d want to repeat too often, but when you’re a midwesterner desperate for some rays, you’ll do whatever it takes.

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On Friday night we went out on a date! It’s always a treat to be out past 7:00pm.

photo-31 We went to a local seafood restaurant called AltaMare which was recommended to us by the concierge. I’m not normally a huge fish person, but decided to venture out and try the lobster linguine with house made linguine.  It was one of the best things I’ve ever had!

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I loved the presentation!

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After dinner we walked around Lincoln Road Mall, found a couple cute outfits for the twins, and ended with ice cream from Tasti D-Lite. It was the perfect date!

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On Saturday night we had the pleasure of dining with Chef Fabio Viviani! He entertained us by putting on a live cooking demonstration of the food we were eating. Most of the things on the menu I’d never had in my life, but everything was delicious!

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There was a vegetarian at our table, and she didn’t get the eggplant she ordered in place of the fish the rest of us had, so Fabio came over and personally embarrassed her and made sure the top guy in the kitchen got it out to her ASAP.

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Jake and I had an amazing time away together. While we certainly missed our little man, having a weekend with just the two of us was much needed. We are refreshed and ready to get tackle the next couple months as we prepare for our girls’ arrival! Special thanks to Grandpa and Nana Kuiper who watched Baylen while we were gone! Also thank you to Jake’s company who went above and beyond to make it an unforgettable weekend.

Question: What was the last getaway you took? If you have a special someone how often to you make it a priority to get away together? 

Enjoy your Sunday evening!

Amber

 

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Becoming a Tartelette

When it comes to make-up, I’ve always considered myself a minimalist. Most days my make-up routine includes a bit of blush and some mascara. I’ve never used high quality make-up, but this year when my parents asked what I wanted for Christmas, I told them I’d love to invest in some.

So off I went with my Christmas money and explored all that Ulta had to offer. Learning about make-up was like being exposed a whole new world. I knew that I wanted to go with a natural line, so thankfully that limited the overwhelming amount of product lines I had to look into. After chatting with several beauty consultants from the natural/mineral brands, I ended up deciding on Tarte for a few different reasons. Their products are full of healthy and nourishing ingredients including amazonion clay and maracuja oil. Our skin has the ability to absorb so much, and I want to make sure I’m not feeding it unhealthy, synthetic formulas. I also liked Tarte because it fit with my minimalist mentality and doesn’t require me to cake on the layers. The way they suggest to apply the products includes just enough to add a little freshness and to make certain features pop.

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My new make-up routine includes putting concealer under my eyes, brushing on a little bit of amazonion clay powder all over which actually goes on clear, adding a little color with blush and bronzer, and finally some eyeliner and mascara. It only takes me a few minutes, but I feel so natural and fresh!

Question: What’s your make-up routine? What are your favorite products or product lines?

Have a wonderful weekend everybody! Jake and I are in Miami enjoying the beach and warmer temps. This is where you’ll find me for the remainder of the weekend…

Ocean View

Pool View

Amber

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Home Decor Shopping

Good Morning! I missed all of you yesterday! Instead of a workout, I enjoyed being pampered at the salon last night…it was PURE BLISS. A good rest day is just what I needed.

Now, on to home decor shopping! After living in our house for just under a couple months, I’m slowly but surely making progress on decorating, but still have so far to go. I’m the type that would rather have bare walls and wait for the perfect piece or idea to come along instead of just throwing something up there to fill the space. However, I feel like I’m on somewhat of a time crunch because I’d really like to have a bunch of the rooms finished before our twins come in late March. I know my time for extra things like decorating will be very limited after their arrival.

With that said, I need your help! I would love your suggestions on where you have had luck finding home decor for your home. I’m pretty thrifty when it comes to decorations, so I’d welcome recommendations for places that give you a big bang for your buck. I tend to like a bit of a rustic and antique style of decor. Truth be told, most of my things come from Home Goods. My house would be completely bare without that place!

Here’s a sample of the type of look I’m going for with my house…we found all these pieces for our mantle at…you guessed it, Home Goods! I especially enjoy the decorations when they’re paired with watching Sean on Live! With Kelly & Michael. 😉

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Question for YOU:

Where do you buy your home decor? Where can I find good deals, friends? Please share your secrets!

Make it a wonderful day today, finding a few minutes of “me time!”

Amber

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Snickers Bar Ice Cream Dessert

IMG_8464 My husband has an amazing memory. He doesn’t forget much. He especially doesn’t forget when he’s eaten something delicious. We laugh about it, but at the most random moments he’ll remember that one time when his mom made a pepperoni meatloaf that he liked, or when his high school friend’s mom made a specific kind of cookie that they’d always have before basketball games. We’ve been married for five years, and there are still times when he’ll recall random recipes he’s had that he wants me to recreate that I’ve never heard him mention before. Most of the time I’m happy to oblige because he also happens to be a picky eater and likes to eat the same things all the time. So when he suggests a new recipe, I get pretty excited.

Lucky for him, most of his random recipe recollections are almost always delicious, and this one is no exception. The other night we were headed over to some friends’ house and in charge of bringing dessert. As we ransacked our minds about what to bring, this one popped into his head. I’d had it once before and agreed it would be perfect. If you’re a fan of ice cream cakes, then this will be right up your alley. I added caramel to the original recipe to make it taste like a Snickers ice cream cake!

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Snickers Bar Ice Cream Dessert

Crust:

-1 package Oreos

-1/2 cup melted butter

-caramel (the kind used for topping ice cream – I use the Hershey’s brand)

Ice Cream Layer:

-1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (square container is the easiest to work with)

-1 cup salted peanuts

-caramel

Topping:

-2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

-2/3 cup powdered sugar

-1/2 cup butter

-1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

-1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: 

1. Crush 1 package of Oreos and mix in melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Freeze. Add a layer of caramel. Freeze.

2. Create an ice cream layer on top of the Oreo layer by cutting the ice cream into equal sized squares and piecing them together in the pan. Smooth out with a spoon until you have one uniformed layer. Press salted peanuts into ice cream layer. Add another layer of caramel. Freeze.

3. Topping: For about 8 minutes, gently boil the chocolate chips, powdered sugar, butter and evaporated milk together. After boiling, stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. Let chocolate cool and pour over ice cream layer. Freeze. After chocolate layer is frozen, cut into squares and serve!

Recommendations: In order for this recipe to turn out, you NEED to allow enough time for each layer to freeze.  

This would also be a great alternative to serve for a birthday party if you don’t want to fork out the big bucks to buy a professional ice cream cake!

The next time your man suggests a recipe to try, take him up on it! It may just turn out to be one of the most delicious choices ever!

From my kitchen to yours…ENJOY!

Amber

 

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