Making Changes

I’m nine months postpartum and I’ve never been more miserable in my own skin. I’ve wanted to do something to change it almost every day since JB was born but I realize now that I need some accountability. So, I’ve decided that starting September 1st, I’m going to post my progress on my instagram account (@tennesseepretty). And since I want to set myself up to win, I am going to start with a few simple rules for the month of September.

  1. No Dessert

  2. No Bread

  3. No Sugary Drinks

  4. Move for 30 Minutes Everyday - could literally just be an outdoor walk.

I’m not going to crossfit or doing high intensity workouts. I’m going to start small and watch the progress happen because this isn’t about dropping weight fast. This is about making subtle changes to create new habits.

So, each day for the month of September, I am going to post in my insta stories about that day’s exercise, talk about changes in the way that I feel or physical changes that I’m starting to see and I’ll be marking off each successful day on this hideous graphic (that I literally made in 3 minutes using microsoft word) below. I’m calling it the ‘Making Changes Challenge’ because I’m tired of being stuck where I am. Feel free to call me out if you didn’t see a story about my workout one day. And to do one even better, join me! I’ll be posting this on my insta stories if you want to take a screenshot to follow along. If you’re coming along on the journey with me, use the hashtag #MCSEPTEMBER

See you on instagram!

XO,

Diana

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My Daily Routine with June Belle

It’s been a little over a month since I left my job and started my life as a stay at home mom and we’ve gotten ourselves into a little daily routine. When I first came home, I was obsessing over getting her on a strict nap schedule but it just didn’t work for us. She started to wake more in the middle of the night and so I decided to relax a little about specific nap times and it’s going pretty well. Remember though, that every baby is different so you’ve got to find what works for you. Some babies are sleepers and some aren’t. Now of course there are some exceptions to our days together because we love to meet up with friends or go to the park or zoo so that disrupts our routine. But for the most part, this is what a day in the life of us looks like.

Around 7A - June Belle wakes up for the day. I nurse her and then feed her some oatmeal or rice cereal.

7:30A - I make myself some breakfast and coffee (that usually gets cold). JB goes into her exersaucer or if I’m feeling bold, I leave her on her blanket where we play all day in the living room and peek in on her every 10 seconds while I make my breakfast because she’s wild and is crawling all over the place. I prefer to put her in the exersaucer. I’m usually super hungry at this point from nursing and my go-to breakfast right now is oatmeal with fresh strawberries and a little brown sugar.

June Belle will play on her blanket while I sit beside her and guard her from crawling to the fireplace or the hardwood floors. I shovel in bites in between picking her up and moving her back to where her toys are. But she’d rather play with the wipes package.

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We play after breakfast until she starts to get sleepy again. Sometimes she’s ready to go down as soon as an hour after waking up.

8:30A - She goes down for a nap. She usually sleeps at least 2 hours so this is when I get to work on my business and catch up on emails. I reheat the cup of coffee I made at 7:30 and enjoy the quiet house. But usually about 20 minutes into her nap I miss her and wish she’d just wake up already! This naptime is also when I get showered and dressed for the day.

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10:30A - JB wakes up. I nurse her and get her dressed for the day. We play or go for a walk - if it’s not a million degrees outside. I sneak in little chores like making the bed or throwing in some laundry when she doesn’t need me.

Her afternoon nap varies in time based on when she woke up from her morning nap. I put her down when she starts showing signs of being tired. I know she’s ready for bed when she starts rubbing her eyes or staring. If she doesn’t get overtired, I can usually put her down in her crib and walk away while she’s still awake and she falls asleep on her own.

12:30P - I eat lunch and try to get some more work done during her afternoon nap which is usually around 1.5 hours.

2P - JB wakes up and I usually feed her something like sweet potatoes or her favorite banana/blueberry pouch. This is when we’ll run quick errands like to the grocery or to Target. We both love an afternoon Target run.

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Around 4P - JB will take a short nap and I start to prep for dinner. Or, if I was able to get something in the crockpot, I’ll usually pick up the house and do a little cleaning. Or maybe I’ll sit down on the couch and watch tv and not even feel bad about it.

5P - JB wakes up and I nurse her. We play a little and then I finish making dinner.

6P - Tim gets home. We eat dinner - JB will have some kind of vegetable puree mixed with rice cereal.

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After dinner, Tim always loves to play with her while I clean up the dishes. Then we’ll give her a bath before bed.

8P - JB typically goes down for the night. Tim takes care of the bedtime routine after I’ve nursed her a little.

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Once she’s down, I usually finish any chores that I didn’t get to during the day if I’m feeling up to it. Or I put them off until the next day because I’m grown and one of the perks of being an adult is putting off chores until the next day.

JB will usually wake up twice in the middle of the night - at midnight and at 4A. I give her a little bit of milk and then put her back down.

And that’s what we do on the days when we stay home! The days when we’re out and about, she’ll usually catch a nap in her stroller or in the car. I’ve driven around while I played her lullaby songs so many times that the cd is starting to skip. This doesn’t seem to affect her nighttime sleep but she does tend to be a little more fussy in the evening if she doesn’t get at least one good nap during the day.






















When hope shows up at your door

In December 2017, I started to hear a pecking sound at the backdoor every morning. It was so annoying. I’d be sitting on the couch enjoying my coffee when I would hear this noise over and over again. Come to find out, it was a cardinal that lived in the tree right outside of my kitchen window. Apparently they like their reflections. I tried several ways over the next couple of weeks to try and get the bird to stop and I finally told Tim, “you’ve got to get rid of this bird!”. It was driving me crazy and I promise that I’m not exaggerating when I say it happened EVERY morning. You may even remember a few of my instagram stories about it.

At the same time, I was reading the book Christmas at Carnton, and I was stopped in my tracks when I read the quote, “when you see a red bird in winter, your sorrows will be lifted by spring.” -unknown

Why did this quote get to me? Because, besides the obvious bird problem at home, I should also mention that sorrow was exactly what I had been feeling. We’d had our second ectopic (and 3rd unsuccessful pregnancy) that summer, I was in a wintertime funk and honestly, feeling pretty hopeless.

I’ll admit that my faith wasn’t strong - I was feeling pretty abandoned and alone and not really seeking the peace and comfort that I knew only God could provide. But the moment that I realized the Lord was literally knocking on my door to remind me that He was with me, I couldn’t stop feeling Him everywhere. That same week, a friend from work bought me a cute little soap shaped like a cardinal. In the weeks following, red birds would fly right in front of my car as I drove down the road. The red bird at my back door continued to knock on the window. Every day.

At the time, I didn’t know what the spring would hold but I was so hopeful. I didn’t know how my sorrows would be lifted. Would we be in the process of adoption? Would we start IVF? Would God just stop my heart from aching?

Well, we know how this story ends. At the end of February, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I held my breath for days because I had been there before and positive tests ended in heartbreak every time. On February 26th, I learned that this time it was really happening and November 1st, June Belle Gillean came into the world.

Photo by Brittany Wood

Photo by Brittany Wood




Christmas Morning Breakfast

It would be amazing if Santa would just leave us Chick-fil-a in our stockings on Christmas morning but he seems to overlook that on my list every year. In the fun and excitement of Christmas morning, breakfast is often something that can be overlooked. Well today, I thought I’d share a couple of our Christmas morning breakfast traditions because they involve a lot of bacon and nothing makes opening gifts around the fire better than a side of bacon.

Every Christmas morning that I can remember, my mom would make us bacon pinwheels. So of course, I make them myself when Tim and I are on our own on Christmas morning and I’ll make them for our little June Belle someday too. And to compliment the bacon pinwheels, I also make a side of bacon crackers :) But, don’t worry, it’s not all bacon around our house on Christmas morning. I usually make Landyn’s french toast bake or I cheat and grab some of the Immaculate Baking Company cinnamon rolls (they’re the best!) that way we have a little sweet to go with our savory. Clearly, healthy eating is a top priority on December 25th.

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The bacon crackers are simple but they do take some time to bake so you’ll want to pop them in first thing. I’ll show you the steps and the full recipe is at the end of the post.

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Lay out a sleeve of crackers on cooling racks on a cookie sheet and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.

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Cut a pound of bacon in half and wrap each cracker in half a slice of bacon. Bake on 250° for 2 hours.

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The pinwheels take less time, just four ingredients: crescent rolls, sour cream, garlic powder and duh, bacon.

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First, you unroll the crescent rolls and flatten either with a rolling pin or your (clean) hands. You want two rectangles.

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Spread on a layer of sour cream.

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Sprinkle on the garlic powder and crumbled bacon and then roll up the dough.

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Once you have both rectangles rolled, cut them each into 12 pieces and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes.

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Serve these delicious bites to your family in the living room while they’re opening presents and they’ll think you’re better than Santa himself.

Enjoy!

Bacon Crackers

Total Cook Time: 2 hours (cook time) 30 minutes (prep time)

Makes 36 crackers

Ingredients:

1 sleeve of club crackers

1 pound of bacon

Grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 250°

-Lay out a sleeve of crackers on cooling racks on a cookie sheet

-Sprinkle each cracker with a teaspoon of parmesan cheese

-Cut a pound of bacon in half and wrap each cracker in half a slice of bacon

-Bake on 250° for 2 hours


Gigi’s Bacon Pinwheels

Total Cook Time: 30 minutes (prep) 9-11 minutes (cook time)

Makes 24 pinwheels

Ingredients:

-2 cans of crescent rolls ( I prefer Annie’s)

-1 pound of cooked bacon, crumbled

-1 cup of sour cream

-1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350°

-Unroll the crescent rolls and flatten either with a rolling pin or your (clean) hands - you want two rectangles

-Spread a layer of sour cream on each rectangle

-Sprinkle garlic powder on each rectangle

-Sprinkle crumbled bacon on each rectangle

-Roll up each rectangle and slice into 12 pieces - place on ungreased cookie sheet

-Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes

A Tennessee Pretty Gender Reveal

Hey Tennessee Pretties! I'm currently writing a post with an update on all things pregnancy but first, I wanted to share our gender reveal. 

We were headed to the beach right for family vacation after our ultrasound so we dropped off the sonogram with my friend Lizzie of Copper Whisk Cakes and she made the most amazing cake! Her sister (and my friend), Meg, was coming to the beach with us so she graciously brought the cake on the trip. 

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The cake was absolutely perfect. And we sliced the cake to find...

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The most gorgeous PINK sprinkles! It's a girl! We're over the moon. And in all of the excitement, we forgot to take a photo with everyone who was actually there for the reveal. But we did manage to take a photo of everyone we facetimed with because it was hilarious. 

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Let the fun begin! Bring on the nursery decor and all the cutesy outfits!

XOXO, 

Diana