Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Let Me Explain...

So, in case you didn't see yesterday's news....

No, your computer screen is not broken. That does mean what you think it means! We are expecting TWINS!!!! I still can't believe it myself. It has only been about 24 hours since we found out this news ourselves, so it's still setting in. 

How 'bout I update you on how we got here?! 
We found out we were expecting a little over 4 weeks ago. I took the test after Joseph bought some and urged me to, since I was late. Sure 'nuff!!! It was a surprise and, of course, we weren't expecting any other surprises but we got the SHOCK of our lives yesterday during the ultrasound at our first prenatal appointment....which was the longest appointment known to man but that's neither here nor there. 
The tech started the ultrasound and in about, oh, .3 seconds I saw it. I saw it before she saw it! TWO SACS!!!! I'm pretty sure my exact words were " that what I think it is??!!??!!" She said, "I think so." Well how 'bout you KNOW so!! Anyway.....Joseph and I just looked at each other and I'm sure our eyes were as big as salad plates at this point. Let me just say, you've never really been shocked until you've been told that the BABY in your belly is actually BABIES!!!! Now I kind of understand how Kate Gosselin must have felt. OK, not really, but ya know. And in case you're wondering how in the world we got dad's mother has a set of twin sisters, there's a set of twin cousins in my father-in-law's family, and I just learned that my mom's mother has twins in her family too!!! 
Well, there ya go!!

I should also mention the fact that my husband stated a minimum of 5 times..."Maybe it's twins." Yep, he sure did. ESP, that man has!! First, to take a pregnancy test, then the twins thing. Maybe I should start taking what he says more seriously?? Naaahhhh....

I'm pretty sure I asked, "Is this a joke?" at LEAST 57 times. The rest of the appointment was kind of a blur but once I met with the doctor she did make me feel better about it. She is very pleased with how things are looking and is pleased with my health and is confident I will have a healthy pregnancy. Of course, with twins or any multiples, there's always more risk. Since I'm carrying twins, I'll be having monthly ultrasounds to check growth/development, heartbeats, etc. That's kind of cool, though. I'm hoping with all these ultrasounds, we can find out whether we'll be welcoming boys, girls, or one of each earlier than normal. Heck, we're gonna try, I can tell you that!!! Twins don't usually make it to 40 weeks, or even 38 or 39 for that matter, so even though my due date is October 1st (9 weeks along yesterday), we're looking at probably mid-September babies. Helllloooooooo long Summer!! Whew! She couldn't really get a good look at Baby B because he/she is up a good bit higher, but she managed to see that Baby A's heartbeat was 170 (I think. I know it was 170 something. I don't really remember much from the ultrasound...other than the TWO SACS!) She also said they were both measuring 9 weeks, 1 day.

As far as how I've been feeling, the fatigue and morning sickness have been FAR worse this go 'round. HA, and now I know why!!! Double the blessings, double the symptoms! I have to take a nap just about every day during Hudson's nap(and this is coming from a girl who CAN'T take naps!), otherwise I'm barely holding on in the evenings. With Hudson, I only got a little nauseous if I let myself get too hungry. This time, I cannot eat ANYTHING until at least noon most days, and have been sick, like actually sick, just about every day. The doctor gave me a prescription for meds to help so I'm hoping that makes it more manageable. I miss coffee SOOO much, but just cannot stomach the thought of drinking it. Maybe I'll want it again in a few weeks. Gingerale and crackers are my BFFs. For this reason, I've lost over a pound. (Even though ol' scale at the doc's office says I've gained....stupid heavy shirt, pants, boots, and jewelry!)

This has definitely come as a shock to us (and EVERYONE) and we are feeling anxious, nervous, scared, excited, overwhelmed, and any other emotion you can think of. But, most of all, we feel blessed. We are so thankful for these "unexpected blessings" and know they will be great additions (and completions!!) to our family. When I feel overwhelmed and worried, I remind myself that there are so many couples struggling to have just one child, and I am blessed with one beautiful child and two more on the way. I will not take these precious gifts for granted. If it weren't for Joseph, there's no way I could do this. He's my rock, my strength, my calm. He keeps me from freaking out too much and assures me that it's all going to work out, which it will. I know he will be an amazing support system throughout these next several months, and beyond. I'm blessed to have him. Our families and friends are already showing amazing support and encouragement too. We feel so thankful!
It makes me all the more thankful that I can stay home with Hudson so I can spend these last months with him one on one. I always want him to know how loved, special, and important HE is!! It's going to take a LOT of adjusting as a family, but these babies are going to complete us like we never imagined. We're excited to begin this new journey to becoming a party of FIVE!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let The Fun Begin!!!

Shocked? Welcome to our world! :)

More to come later...
Monday, February 25, 2013

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

The winner of the giveaway was chosen last night. Congratulations to Sarah Kil on winning those fabulous prizes!! Thanks to everyone who participated, and don't be discouraged that you didn't win. 
I just so happen to be participating in yet another giveaway going on right now over at Living In Yellow. (I promise, I'm not just turning my blog into giveaway central. But I love giving away goodies every now and then.) Ya know what makes this giveaway awesome? One winner will win 35, yes THIRTY-FIVE, prizes!!! I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to The Red Dress Boutique, one of my absolute favorites boutiques!! 
If you've been reading my blog for a while, or if you're in the south, you probably know about this awesome place. I shop online, but they have a store in Athens, GA. Go check it out and pick you out something pretty to buy when you win! ;-)

So what are you waiting for?? Head over to the giveaway and enter. You can earn up to 41 entries! You've got until Saturday night. May the odds be in your favor. :-)

And welcome to all my new followers! If you're here due to a giveaway, I hope you enjoy what you see and stay a while. Be sure to leave a comment and introduce yourself. I love to connect with readers and fellow bloggers! 

Happy Monday!
Sunday, February 24, 2013

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato soup has always been one of my favorites. It truly does warm the soul and I'm pretty certain there's no problem a creamy bowl of this stuff can't fix. 
As a child, I'd pop open that good ol' can of Campbell's Condensed tomato soup and heat it up on the stove. That and grilled cheese sandwiches were a popular lunch back in the day. It wasn't until I was MUCH older that I discovered the way tomato soup is really supposed to be. Boy, was that life-changing!? 
If you think you don't like tomato soup because you've only ever tried it from a can, then I strongly urge you to try this recipe out. Or go to a restaurant and try a cup of theirs. Either way, try some real tomato basil soup and I can almost guarantee your opinion will change.

This recipe is super easy and is ready in about 30 minutes. Now, I love my slow cooker recipes as much as the next person, but when I find a good recipe that can be ready in no time and still tastes amazing, I can't pass that up!
I made this on a whim and wasn't expecting to blog it, so I just used my phone to take pics. They aren't the best quality but they do the job.

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
*This recipe only makes about 4-5 servings. Double it if you want more for a crowd or to freeze.*


1-2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 stick butter
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 small tomato, seeded and diced. (I had this on-hand and used it. You don't have to.)
appr 1 cup chicken broth (use vegetable to keep it vegetarian)
1 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste (I used probably 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
5-6 basil leaves, chopped into thin strips
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (You can use bagged shredded and it'll still be great. Fresh always makes it better if you can get it, though.)

In a large pot, melt butter and saute garlic on medium for a few minutes. Don't let it burn!
Add canned tomatoes, and juice, to pot, along with chicken broth. Add any fresh diced tomatoes you may have used as well.
Simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Pour in heavy cream and continue simmering a few minutes. 

Toss in basil and stir in well. Simmer a few minutes and taste for any salt/pepper needed.
 Blend up with an immersion blender to puree some of the soup. This will make it rich and creamy, thicken it up, and you can blend it up as little or as much as you like. I like some small chunks so I blended about 1/2-3/4 of it. Be very careful, because it's SO hot! 
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can ladel some of the soup into a blender and puree it up, then add it back in the pot. Just be careful with the hot soup.

Finally, I grated some fresh parmesan cheese into the pot...about 1/2 cup. Blend it all up well, taste for any seasonings needed, then serve it up!!

I garnished with a little more cheese, 'cause why not? And a little more fresh basil for color and flavor. Holy yumminess, Batman!!!! So good, so quick, so easy! 
If you're on the fence about tomato soup, I suggest you try this one. You won't be sorry!

Happy Sunday, friends!

P.S. The giveaway is over and a winner will be announced tonight or tomorrow, so be on the lookout! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Friday, February 22, 2013

High Five for Friday!

Woohoo, up top!! We made it to Friday. Was this not the longest week EVER??? I'm so ready for a nice relaxing weekend with my guys. We're kicking things off with a little Mellow Mushroom in a little while. Yum!

Here are some of my favorite things from the week.

1. Having such a handy helper makes my week so much better. ;) This child loves using the swiffer sweeper. LOVES. He goes to the laundry room and gets it all the time.

 2. A big pot of homemade vegetable beef soup is where it's at. A highlight of any week.

3. I finally made a Facebook page for my blog and that's exciting. Head over to the page and like it if you haven't already. Let me know your page link and I'll do the same! 

4. I got approved with Blogher, finally, and you may have noticed the new bar at the top and the sidebar addition. You'll be hearing/seeing more from them in the future.

5. The latest favorite was made just this afternoon. I came across Kevin & Amanda's Best Chocolate Cake Ever and decided I needed to try it out for myself. I haven't cut into it yet, because I'm really trying to practice some self control and wait until after dinner. I may not make it that long. The buttercream frosting is fabulous!! 

I hope you guys had a great week! What did you love about it? 
Link up with Lauren to share!


Have a fun weekend!
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Please & Thank You

I decided to make a Facebook page for my blog last night. 

I figured this would be a great way to communicate with my readers, without flooding my personal page with all my blog stuff. If you enjoy reading, you can click on the Facebook icon right over there   ----------->>>>, and it will take you to the page so you can "like" it and keep up with everything "Lauren's Latest" related. I'd really appreciate it! You can also just click here.
It's still very much a work in progress over there but it'll get there in time.
And drop the link to your blog's Facebook page in the comments and I'll return the favor!
Thanks in advance for the support!! :)

I also wanted to take a quick second to thank all my new (and old) blog readers!! I know I've accumulated some of you due to the giveaway, that you still have a couple days to enter, BTW, but I hope you enjoy what you see and stick around for a while. It means so much that you actually read this little ol thing I started almost 3 years ago.
And because I'm so excited about new followers, I've decided that when I reach 100 I'll do my own giveaway as a thank you. I'll make it something good.
What are some things YOU'D like to see in a giveaway?? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Birchbox

February's Birchbox finally arrived after being snowed in for a few days, so it's time to check it out.
I'm not doing backflips over this box or anything, but it's not bad either. I guess I was most impressed by the sizes of a couple of the samples. Whether or not I like those samples is still undecided, but the sizes are pretty generous compared to samples I normally get.

1. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint - I got the luminizing moisture tint in my very first Birchbox and thought it was pretty good. It was good for giving me a luminous look around your eyes/cheekbones. I'm looking forward to trying out the matte version to see what it does for me.

2. Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator - I think this could be really good for brightening up your complexion during these dry, Winter days. I'll try this out tonight before bed.

3. Skin & Co. Sicilian Body Gel - This is a conditioning vitamin C body gel to use in the shower. It smells a little funny but maybe it smells better all lathered up. I shall see. My skin could use some conditioning, I know that much!! This sample is a great size, as well.

4. Bonus - Ghirardelli Chocolate/Caramel Square - I've heard some people complain about getting food in their boxes...maybe they have allergies, or maybe they've had issues with it arriving broken or melted, I don't know. Any time I've gotten food, especially chocolate, it's always arrived in great condition and with even better yumminess!! I'm always pumped when I see some chocolate in my box. I know I'll be enjoying this one. It probably won't be here too much longer. ;)

5. Finally, there's the Lancome Hynose Star Volumizing Mascara - I had to try this out right away and see how I liked it. I decided to share the results with you. Don't judge my naked eyes too much, mmmk? 
Obviously, mascara was applied to the eye on the left, and the eye on the right is naked. Nothing at all on it. (Yikes, I know!) The wand of this mascara makes all the difference I think. It's a shape I've never seen in other mascaras. You can read more about it here, 'cause I can't really explain it. But, I really like this mascara a lot. It goes on easily and doesn't need 23 coats. My lashes are nice in length, but could use some assistance in the volume area and this really helped them out. The look would be complete with some liner and shadow, of course, but you get the idea. I also like that after the mascara was dry, it didn't feel all hard and crusty. My lashes are still pretty soft and flexible, while keeping their shape.

So, I guess I'll keep my subscription for at least another month. I don't know if these products will all be wonderful for me, but I think the value was great in this box.

Have you tried out Birchbox yet? Head on over here if you're interested! 
Remember, it's only $10/month!!

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway. It ends Sunday!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vegetable Beef Soup

My friend Leslie got me craving some veggie beef soup yesterday with her post, so I decided to whip some up for dinner last night (and maybe tonight). 

It's been a while since I've made some homemade vegetable beef soup so I kind of just winged it and hoped for the best. I knew V8 juice was good in it so I used that as the base for the soup. But I also added some herbs and spices to bump it up a little bit. It turned out really good, hearty, and perfect for a Monday (or any other day!). If you wanted to keep it vegetarian or just a little healthier, you can just cut out the beef (and beef broth). And I just took pictures with my phone so they're not the same quality of my normal recipes. But we all know what veggie soup looks like. ;)

Vegetable Beef Soup 
*this recipe makes a LOT that can serve a crowd or easily be frozen for later. I'd cut it in half if you're not wanting to eat it for a week straight! HA!*

- 1-1.5 lbs ground beef, browned and drained. I shook in about 1/2-1 tsp each of dried basil and oregano as the meat was browning.
- 2 cans cut green beans, drained
- 2 cans whole kernel corn. I left about 1/2 the liquid in them.
- appr 1/2 small bag baby carrots, cut into coins
- 1 large or 2 small Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2-3 tsp beef bouillon granules dissolved in 1 cup hot water per tsp. (or a few cups boxed beef broth. This helped balance out the beef flavor with the tomato flavor)
- appr. 1/3-1/2 of a 46oz V8 juice container. I used low-sodium. Zesty would probably be really good!
- 1-2 tsp garlic powder
- I also put in a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce. This also helps to cut down on the acidic tomato flavor.
- salt & pepper to taste


Couldn't be easier! Just dump it all in and let it cook on low for 7-8 hours. The flavors come together and it tastes sooooooo good! You can make it easier by using canned potatoes and carrots but I decided it was worth the chopping for me to use fresh. Totally your call.

I served it with cornbread last night and we had leftovers tonight with peanut butter sandwiches. PB sandwich dipped in veggie soup is the BOMB!!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Big People Time

First of all, if you haven't entered to win the goodies in the giveaway, head over here and get 'er done!! Winner will be chosen Sunday, 2/24. Good luck!

On Saturday, the hubs and I headed down to Birmingham for a night out with big people! Rebekah, my oldest BFF, and I don't get to see each other as much as we'd like and we try to get together when we can. Sometimes it's hard since we live 2 hours apart, but we made plans to come down to see her this past weekend and I'm so glad we did.

Joseph and I headed down Saturday afternoon after my mom got to our house to take over Hudson duty. We made a little pit stop first and I discovered some V-day goodies on sale. I wanted to know which brand was better so we tried out both. The verdict? I lean slightly toward Whitman's Sampler. I think it's because their chocolates are a little more creamy and melt-in-your-mouth, whereas Russell Stover seems a little harder. I also enjoyed the flavors in the WS more...less of the gross fruity nougats, and more of the truffles, caramels, and chocolately nougats. 
I wouldn't turn either of them down, though. ;) 

We saw several different skies on our way down. This was a little creepy.
 In Cullman, we even caught a few snow flurries.
 Then, this beautiful sky once we got to Birmingham.
 Beautiful Magic City sunset.

We checked into the hotel and freshened up before heading out to dinner with Rebekah and her boyfriend, John.

We ate at Slice, and it is definitely a must try! They don't make pizza any fresher or better elsewhere!!
I was too excited about dinner that I scarfed it down before I could get a pic. (we got the Spicy Hawaiian, hold the spicy on my side, and Rebekah and John got the Lakeview which they loved!) We downed some baked feta(which I've GOT to learn to recreate!), 2 orders of fire baked wings, and pizza, but somehow still managed to have room for this lovely treat.
The S'mores Calzone!!
I mean, c'mon!!
Slap yo mama!!

After dinner, we headed to Pale Eddie's Pour House where John's friend was having a surprise 30th birthday party upstairs.
 I wish I had gotten a picture of the (almost) life-size cardboard cut-out they had of the birthday boy. People were taking pictures with it, dressing it up, and putting 'staches all over it. Poor guy.
My pretty friend!! We go waaaaayyy back!

To end the night, they took us to Avondale Brewing Co., which is a really neat local place with handcrafted brews and you can come in and have a drink or taste samples. It's great for people who enjoy beer.(not me) BUT we had a great time sitting outside (yes, outside, 'cause it was crazy crowded inside) by the fire they had going, just talking about silliness and meeting new people.

We enjoyed a night out with big people, spending time with friends, and sleeping in a little on Sunday for a change. We were ready to get home to our little guy so we hit the road and were home by 12:45. It's always nice to get away for a bit, but there is nothing like getting that big hug and kiss when we get home. No other place we'd rather be!!

And to wrap up the fun weekend....
Yes, that's Magic Shell. They still make it and it's FABulous! Makes me feel 10 again.

I hope your weekend was wonderful as well.
Sunday, February 17, 2013

How About A Giveaway??

I'm happy to be participating in a giveaway with some amazing blog ladies!! 
Be sure to check all of them out. They're fabulous!
It starts today and will end on 2/24 and a winner will be chosen.

Check out all these great prizes, enter below and good luck!

 twitter & facebook blog

twitter & facebook blog

here's a sneak peek of all the gifts you can win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Saturday, February 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my sweet grandparents' 61st Wedding Anniversary!!
Last year, we threw them a 60th anniversary party and it was really nice. They're a wonderful example of a loving, lasting, dedicated, & committed marriage. They have huge hearts and love each other unconditionally. I've looked up to them all my life, for many reasons. 

They are wonderful parents, grandparents, and super great-grandparents to Hudson. 
They love him like he's their own.

I'm thankful every day for these 2 wonderful people I still get to have in my life, and that Hudson gets to know and love them as well. They've helped mold me into the person I am today, and the good times we've had together over the years and the times I have with them today, are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Happy Anniversary, Nana & Papa. I love you so much and wish you many many more happy years together! 
Have a beautiful day!