Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Confessions

|one|

My office at work was in need of some serious cleaning. Earlier this week, I had about an hour that looked like I wouldn't have any disruption, so I concurred it all. I dusted my entire office and two other rooms...with a can of Lysol thinking it was a can of Pledge. Ugh.  Our hall smelt like we were spraying down Round 3 of the flu outbreak. 


|two|

Sunday morning and night I got both girls and myself ready for church and arrived early both times by myself with both babies. I felt like Superwoman!


|three|

Amelia has had a rough last couple of nights and Momma's been dragging at work the next day. Two days in a row, I downed a huge Dr. Pepper througout the course of the day to help me along. You do what you gotta do when you're not a coffee drinker. 


(and I can N.E.V.E.R. pass up a Honey Boo Boo gif...dolla makes me holla)

|four|

Since Christmas shopping season (which was primarily taken care of online), we've seemed to have expense after expense come up. Nothing necessrily urgent, but all things that we've needed. We purposed to not rack up a large credit card bill this month (and large to us isnt' that much compared to other people's budgets) and we didn't! It was barely over $100 this month. I love our credit card and the rewards we get, and we always pay it off as soon as the bill comes in. I wouldn't have one if we just racked up and up the charges. #noma'am


|five|

With the exception of one birthday party and one overnight date night, May's calendar is EMPTY. Saaaay whaaaat?! Keep it that way, ok May? I'm lookin' at you lazy weekends and quiet weeknights! 


Happy Thursday friends!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2nd Blogiversary!

Last week, The Second House on the Right turned 2! I had every intention of posting a blog on the day, but life happens and here we are. 


I debated on what to do this year to mark this fun little anniversary, and finally decided to go with a little updated Intro! I've noticed several new visitors in the last couple of months, so I wanted to give a proper "Welcome". I also noticed my "About" page on the tab above needs updating...as does my little bio under the pic on the right side bar. Sheesh, I've got some work to do!! (p.s. anybody have suggestions on a blog designer who can do these little updates for me??)

I'm Erica and this little corner of mine on the internet is affectionately named after the easy directions to our house. This is our home and where we're making our memories and I'm sharing that with you, my blogging community friends! 


I was born and raised and still live in the same middle Tennessee town. My parents live 5 minutes away, my grandparents 2 minutes away, my in-laws 10 minutes away. We love it here! 

I graduated from Tennessee Tech University in the Fall of 2007 with a degree is Business Administration - HR Management and have done next to zero with it since, which from what I understand is how it goes most of the time. In 2010, I started working at our local / regional hospital in the Facilities / Safety Department as their Administrative Assistant, and now am their Supply Inventory Coordinator. (aka I do ALOT of purchasing and ordering...ALOT...everyday...all day, and various multiple other tasks.) I love my job, I love the people I work with, and I love that what we do helps our patients heal and provides them the comfort they need. Nobody WANTS to be in the hospital, the least that can be done is to be provided, a safe and functional environment while they're here. 

My husband Stephen and I married on September 28, 2013 and as cliche as it is to say, it was THE most beautiful day! We were surrounded by our families and friends and everything was perfect for us. It was alot of work and preparation with the help of many people and more money spent than should have been. In hindsight, I would probably do it differently and save the money, as most people would suggest after the fact. BUT, it was our wedding and it was the best day!! 


You can read all of our wedding recaps by clicking on the "wedding" tab under the Quick Finds section in the right sidebar. 

We started trying to get pregnant a year later, and soon found we would have some obstacles to overcome, but eventually we did get pregnant almost a year later. That pregnancy unfortunately ended all too soon in a miscarriage and our little world was shattered. I wrote several posts regarding this time in our lives. I know so many women that go through far worse than what we did, but nonetheless it was a horrible experience and one that I would not wish on anyone. Our faith in God was made stronger from that period of tragedy. 


You can read a couple of my posts, "February 25, 2016" and "To Our First Child", by clicking on the links. 

After my body had healed and we had healed, we began more testing and more fertility treatment help. In March 2016, we were joyful yet reluctant of the news that I was pregnant again. The next month in April, we found out our biggest surprise yet and revealed our secret to friends and family soon after....


We were having TWINS! God's plan has been written all over all our lives the past two and a half years. His plan is much bigger and greater than anything we had ever imaged for ourselves. 

I shared a fun post with videos from our families reactions to the big announcement, you can take a look here if you missed it a year ago. 

We found out in June of last year, that we'd be parents of sisters in mid November!


After a flawless, and easy peasy pregnancy the second go-around, our girls made a surprise early and FAST entrance into the world on Sunday afternoon, October 2. I shared their announcement birth story in these  posts: "Our Girls Are Here" and "Amelia & Mae Parker's Birth Story". 


The girls spent nearly three weeks in the hospital, before we were able to bring them home. I enjoyed every second of a 15 week maternity leave, and then maneuvered my way into adjusting to my new role of full-time working mom. After going through our experiences, my heart is forever changed and feels drawn to other women longing to become a mom themselves, and the ones who've lost their babies too soon, and to the moms of babies born too early. Unless you've been down this road yourself, you just can't relate to what our hearts feel and the hurt that we share.


Fast forward a few months at what feels like lightning speed, and here we are today, both girls thriving and growing like weeds. They'll soon be 7 months old! Where did my little preemies go?! 




Gosh I just LOVE these girls. I love seeing how much JOY they bring others. I love when I look at them I know without a doubt, they are God's purpose for me. I love the pure amazement that still sometimes takes my breath away for a second when I think about how they are mine!! I love that they are my and so many other's answered prayers. They are my best blessings. 

So, that's me! We're not glamorous people leading exciting lives. We live in a somewhat small town filled with our families and friends, of which there are many. We love our times spent in our home just the four of us and the times spent out and about with those we love most. We love our two nephews like they were our own, and they love their new cousins beyond what I ever expected! It's been so sweet watching them with our girls these past 6 months. 

I'm a fan of the occasional Dr. Pepper, a good Netflix binge, all four seasons, HOLIDAYS!, UT football (GO VOLS!), Predators Hockey, beach trips, Country music, cooking and baking, having my hair done, lazy rainy (or snowy) weekends, Instastories, a good nap, hilarious memes and GIFs (of which there are plenty in my Thursday Confessions posts), a solid credit score, my grandparents' backyard, and I'm pretty sure if I had to delete all but two apps on my phone I would save Pinterest and Instagram...buh-bye Facebook. 

I'm thankful for my Savior, my husband, my girls...my family and friends. And also dry shampoo, but that sounds a little shallow to throw in that list. I'm also thankful to you, my blog readers and some turned real friends. You make my writing worth it. Yes, I write and post primarily just for myself and for our girls to look back on when they're older, but I also write for you. To feel connected to those reading. Blogging is a hassle sometimes and certainly takes back seat to MANY other priorities these days, but it's also my favorite hobby. Thanks for hanging around with us for two years....here's to a few more! 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Recipe Club: Cheeseburger Gnocchi


This month I'm sharing another easy and scrumptious ground beef recipe. Last month I shared a recipe for Stuffed French Bread that you can find here. I talked about how I'm also on the search for new ground beef recipes beyond the norms of spaghetti (even though we did have spaghetti for dinner Monday night as you might have seen on my instastories and it was fabulous) tacos, meatloaf, chili, etc...I came across this one thanks again to our faithful friend Pinterest, which led me back to this link, made just a few small adjustments and gave it a while.

It turned out really good, but it's also rather rich and heavy. I'm glad I served this up with a side salad to lighten it up a bit.

Here's what you'll need for this Cheeseburger Gnocchi: 

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 (16 oz) package potato gnocchi
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon  paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
  • 2 diced onion
  • minced garlic
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 cup beef broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (I used Half & Half)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Here's what you'll do: 


Melt butter in a skillet and "toast" gnocchi on one side for a couple of minutes. Flip gnocchi to toast the other side. Remove from pan and cook your beef, onions and garlic. Add in all the seasonings and cook until meat and onions are done. Drain any excess grease. 

Strap a baby onto you in your new baby carrier and say a prayer of thanksgiving because you've finally figured out how to maneuver through cooking and chores without a fussy baby wanting you to pick her up. 


Add tomatoes, broth and gnocchi back to the pain with meat mixture and turn heat down to low. Let summer until most of the liquid is absorbed and gnocchi is tender. 


Look down and find said baby fast asleep in carrier. 


Pull pan off the heat and stir in your cream and 1/2 cup of cheese. Transfer to baking dish, top with remaining cheese and bake under a broiler setting for 3-5 minutes. 



Let the dish set for 5-10 minutes before serving.


And just like that you've got dinner on the table. Quick, easy and delicious..everyone's favorites!!


And the last and final step...let your husband try on the baby carrier with your other baby and snap pics of her pure joy! Gosh, I sure love happy babies!  


Checkout other recipes today here and here

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Basket Blog Hop

I'm thrilled to joining a couple of my blogger friends Johannah and Heather for their Easter Basket Blog Hop to show off our girls' first Easter baskets!!


Many of you know, I'm not a huge fan of Easter as far as the typical colors and decorations go. But, I did (and still do) enjoy the baskets / bags full of treats that my mom would put together for us. Yes, she still makes us all bags of goodies..and our husbands...and our kids. Because she's great like that.

I knew that I wanted to do the same for my girls every year like my mom has done for us. I started getting things together for Amelia and Mae Parker's Easter baskets over a month ago. This was the first holiday so far that I felt really prepared which is crazy given our living situations during the past 7 weeks. 


Both girls essentially got the same things, with just a couple different variations. In their first Easter baskets they got: 

Puffs (because apparently we'll be needing those soon)
Swim suits
Flip flops
Bubbles
Sunglasses 
A Summer Hat
Teething toy 
A soft book (the ones that make the crinkly sound...they LOVE those!)
A Minnie Mouse teething toy THAT also is the crinkly material...winner winner!!


My mom always included things she knew we'd love but also things that we would use. I'm sure the girls will go through a phase where they're like, "Mom...flip flops? Really?" But one day..they'll appreciate the useful items! 


Amelia could've cared less about her basket Sunday morning and refused to sit up beside it which she is fully capable of doing. Ugh..this one. 


MP on the other hand was all about pulling stuff out of her basket and not letting go of her little flip flops. And sitting beside her basket I might add because she was our cooperative one Sunday morning, haha. 


The little bunnies and all the Easter books around them or behind them were gifts from different family members. We're so excited to start our new traditions with our girls as each holiday comes up! 


More than that, we're excited to share God's love and the story of Jesus to them as they grow. Easter baskets are fun and adorable, but Jesus' resurrection is the GOOD NEWS! 




Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend by the Numbers

76
Miles from our house to our dinner date in Nashville to celebrate Stephen's birthday! We had the best time Friday night!!


5
inches of hair cut off right before this date. Because when I get a whim to cut my hair, I just go and get it done before I have time to talk myself out of it. It's hair it'll grow back. But I love it and it feels great!

5
Course dinner. #yeswedid

Ounce Filet for my dinner. It was everything I had hoped it would be and then some!


29
Years of this handsome fella! 


1
NFL Quarterback we were valeted behind. Stephen refrained himself from going all fan girl on Titans' QB, Marcus Mariota, but he was beside himself when he got out of this truck right in front of us and then walked beside us into the restaurant. 


47 
Glorious but short minutes spent at Target on the way home, because he loves me enough to let me go to Target on his birthday. 

16
ounces of baby food 1 butternut squash makes! Saturday morning I made our first batch of baby food and made a couple more throughout the weekend. 


1
Year celebrating our friends Chase and Taylor's little boy, Isaac. He had the cutest "Time Flies When You're Having Fun" party filled with all kinds of airplane decor! I just love first birthday parties!!

15/10
Number of food dishes at my grandparents' house for our traditional "Saturday before Easter" family get together. It's safe to say we all leave in food comas. 10 being the number of desserts....because our family is notorious for desserts. 

107
pieces of candy and plastic eggs picked up for these girls first Egg Hunt! 






2
cousins who are overly protective (and obsessed) with Amelia and Mae.


9:18 pm
The earliest bedtime I've had in a looong time. The girls were exhausted and so was mama. 

5
hours slept before Amelia woke up at 2:25am wide awake ready to party. #noma'am

2
pretty little dresses that needed ironing before church on Sunday morning. 


Easter baskets filled with all kinds of goodies for the girls' first visit from the Easter Bunny!


8
attempts at getting Amelia to sit up before I gave up and just went with this one...



10
pieces of candy / plastic eggs picked up at the Egg Hunt at our church after service. We were less than excited the second egg hunt around and were more interested in chatting with others!

1
old white wicker chair that was mine when I was little girl that I plopped the girls in at my parents house in hopes of just one good picture of Amelia..and....


Success! 

So, naturally I had to try Mae Parker in it too! 


Success, meet Round 2. 

1.5
hour Sunday nap had by all. 

sporadic hours throughout the weekend I spent catching up on some work I brought home. A few minutes here, a few minutes there...and BOOM...done and caught up!

7:16pm
Time for everyone's favorite! Baby food time!!


In their high chairs for the first times as well! 


12
ounces of milk (formula whatever)  split between the two girls and they were out like a light just before 9pm. 

Loads of laundry done and done. 

$9.99
spent on downloading a new lullaby album because I can only listen to the same songs so many times in 6 months all night every night...and....it's Kenny Chesney music. It's pretty good as far as lullaby music goes. 


11:10pm
Bottles washed, laundry folded, clothes laid out, bags packed...we're ready for tomorrow! Time for this mama to call it a day! 


Linking up with Johannah and Heather