Maternity Photos: 21 Weeks

As anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, I post nearly weekly photos of the growing baby bump. But those photos are usually taken in approximately 2 minutes. No setting up the tripod and getting out a remote and doing fun poses. Just a super quick photo that Christopher takes of me before church on Sunday morning. Which means that while we are getting great weekly photos of Baby Girl’s growth, Christopher isn’t in most of the photos. So this past weekend I asked my sister, Abby, if she would be willing to take a few photos of us together. I’m so very glad I did! We are planning to take actual maternity photos later on as well, but I love that we have these mid-way point ones! Here are a few of my favorites:

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Love Rach

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Usually when I talk about family recipes, I’m talking about ones from my side of the family simply because I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mom, my mom’s parents, and years of trial and error. But every now and then I’ll realize there is something missing in my repertoire thanks to my mother-in-law.

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For example, she taught me to stop being afraid to cook fish. And she also introduced me to Jiffy cornbread. Which isn’t a family recipe or anything, but I always thought that I didn’t like cornbread until I tried Jiffy. Mmm!

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And over the past few months she has been making the most delicious muffins every time we visit. Even when I was feeling especially sick, Baby Girl has loved these health-ified muffins so we’ve been making them at home as well.

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Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp Stevia
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup blueberries OR 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas and mix in Stevia. Add beaten egg, vanilla, and applesauce and mix together.

2. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared muffin tins (either use non-stick spray or muffin liners).

4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Makes a dozen delicious muffins.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (1)Made with chocolate chips!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (2)Made with blueberries!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (4)Covered in butter and served with a glass of unsweetened almond milk – my fav!

The first time Marty made these for us at Christmas, I literally ate 8 of the 12 muffins she made over just a couple of days. Baby Girl had not been impressed with many of the foods I had been trying to feed her so this was a huge win for me (I had been losing weight at that point). Since then I’ve continued to love these and so has Christopher! They are moist and sweet without being laden with sugar and butter (well, except for the butter that I slather on the muffin just before eating, ha!). Served with a glass of almond milk, they have become my favorite snack when we visit my mother-in-law!

Love Rach

Family Weekend Highlights

We spent this past weekend with my family so I thought I’d share a couple of highlights with you guys.

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We picked this particular weekend to get together because it was the weekend that Beauty & the Beast was released! It was SO good! Just absolutely loved it! And yes, I cried. It was just so beautiful! Worthy of a few happy tears. The Tale As Old As Time dance scene… gorgeous! {side note: the guys went to see the Batman Lego movie and really enjoyed it as well}

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This weekend also included a little dress up. 😉 This is my niece, Makenzie, in her mom’s wedding dress. You can see more of her photos here!

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Speaking of Makenzie… her relationship with Christopher is one of the sweetest things. I love how much she loves him! Really all our nieces and nephews adore him, but then he’s awesome. So it just makes sense. 😉 So excited to see him with our little girl this summer!

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This weekend also included lots of baby related things! Lots of family hand-me-downs were given (so many sweet outfits!) and we even went shopping for Baby Girl! This little girl has so many outfits and she hasn’t even been born yet, haha! It’s no understatement to say that my family is excited! And then my sister, Abby, took photos for us on Sunday afternoon before we all left. Wanna see??? Here’s one of my favorites!

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Ah, I just love this. I love the genuine smiles (because Christopher was making me laugh) and just how you can so easily see the excitement of our faces! So so sweet. I am so very thankful!

Love Rach

Lately: Around the House

Seven years ago Christopher and I bought a fixer upper in pitiful shape. We put a lot of love and hard work into it and made it into a home we love. Over the years there have been little things that we’ve put off (like re-doing the floors upstairs or replacing windows) and that list has grown… and grown… and grown! Every now and then when we’re in town over a weekend we try to accomplish a thing or two off the list, but to be totally honest, most things haven’t been super high priority over the past seven years. Until now.

Now we have this little girl on the way. And maybe we’ll still want to do house projects here and there after she arrives, but maybe not. We’d like to at least have the option to know that our house to-do list has been taken care of before she arrives and we can focus on general maintenance and having fun with her instead of thinking about the looming to-do list. So our goal over the past few months has been to mark things off the list. And my, oh my, have we been making serious progress!

A lot of the progress isn’t all that exciting to see. For example, I cleaned the grout on our bathroom floors this week. Woohoo exciting. Haha! Well, it is exciting to mark it off the list, but not super exciting to see photos. 😉 But we have had some fun highlights lately that I thought I’d share with you guys!

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Look at that gorgeous new light! I found that on Craiglist for $60 and we just fell in love with it! It’s hard to tell how big it is since the table underneath it is oversized (it’s bar height), but this light fixture is HUGE! And Christopher did a rockstar job putting it up! It definitely brightens our dining room way up. The next project in here is to put in a long buffet on the opposite wall (under the mirror). I’m keeping my eye out for a good deal, but most likely Christopher will end up building this piece for us. Because he’s awesome like that. 😉

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Speaking of how awesome he is – here he is putting the finishing touches on the patio fence he built for us! There isn’t much this guy can’t do. If he doesn’t already know how to do it then he just watches a couple of instructional Youtube videos and next thing I know, he’s brilliant at it. All that’s left with this is to paint it in a couple of months when the wood is ready.

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This was such a simple, quick project, but I finally put together a collage of some of our photos from our most recent Europe trip this past September. Sweet, sweet memories. 🙂

Other fun highlights have revolved around working in the nursery. Clearing it out, picking colors, refinishing furniture… you know, things of that nature. Christopher is currently working with another friend (who also does carpentry) on converting an old drop-side crib (that has been passed down in my family – I was in it as a baby!) into a crib that meets current safety standards. It’s so fun planning together what we want this space to look like – I’m excited for it to come together!

When it comes to your home do you have a to-do list or are you in maintenance mode?

Love Rach

Italian Pasta Salad

I wasn’t a picky eater when growing up, but pasta salad was one of those few things that I really didn’t enjoy. Thankfully my parents seldom made it at home and the few times I found myself needing to eat it at someone else’s home I would give myself just a small serving to be polite and choke it down quietly. Somehow, over the years, I’ve discovered that when made with some of my favorite ingredients – I actually not only tolerate pasta salad, but love it. 10-year-old me would be disgusted. 😉

So when my friend Nicole (who blogs over at Just Live It) shared that she had made an this pasta salad recently I took one look at that photo and said “YUM!” I went out and bought the ingredients the next week and with a few minor adjustments – it was perfect to our liking! The original recipe can be found here on the Taste of Home website.

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Italian Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

16oz rotini
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4oz provolone cheese, cubed
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small sweet onion, minced
14oz pitted Kalamata olives (note: I used regular black olives the day I took this photo, but this recipe is much better with Kalamata because they add an extra zing of flavor!)

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp fresh basil, minced (or 3 tsp dried basil)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:

1. Cook pasta until al dente then drain and rinse with cold water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, mix together ingredients for dressing.

3. When pasta is cooked and drained, place in large salad bowl. Add tomatoes, cheese, peppers, onions, and olives. Pour dressing on top and mix well. Refrigerate until serving.

Serves approximately 100 people. Just kidding. It only felt like it. It’s more like it serves 6 people for dinner or would be a great size salad to take to a party as a side dish.

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Do you like pasta salad?
What’s a food that you didn’t like when growing up, but really enjoy now?
Love Rach

A Lake Side Wedding

Last year just before we went to Europe, Christopher and I photographed a lake-side wedding. I never ended up sharing those photos here because we came back from Europe and I shared all about the trip and then suddenly it was holiday season. As I’ve been going through my photos from last year picking favorites to share with you guys, I realized that I should share this wedding as well! 🙂

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And even though I’m so late in sharing this that they’ve been married half a year now… best wishes to the bride & groom! 🙂 This is my last “Favorites of 2016” post so thank you guys for your sweet support and encouragement as I’ve shared these! As always, you can see more of my work at Rach Vendetti Photography. 🙂

Love Rach

Pregnancy Update

19weeks

Friends, we had our anatomy scan this past Monday and Baby Girl is perfect.

Just absolutely perfect.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much good that appointment did for my heart. To see her practicing her gymnastics as we were shown every part of her body growing right on track. Every bone. Every organ. Developing perfectly.

We are 19.5 weeks into this high risk pregnancy. That in of itself is an answer to prayer. Meeting our daughter this summer will definitely be a huge answer to prayer, but truthfully prayers are being answered every single week. At every ultrasound when we see her growing right on track – answered prayer. As every milestone passes – answered prayer. As every terrible thing that I am at high risk for doesn’t happen – answered prayer. As we find ourselves being at peace every week despite the scary possibilities – answered prayer.

God has been busy answering our prayers left and right. And we are so thankful.

Last time I mentioned a “due date” I told you August 1st. That’s still technically our due date, but our high risk OB doesn’t want me to go past 39 weeks. So if she’s not here before then – we’ll be meeting our daughter by July 25th. Which means that she’ll be here to celebrate my birthday on July 30th! 🙂

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Love Rach