My heart is hurting. I am not sure if it is from all of the hormones floating around in my body or not, but I just can't stop thinking about the poor cat next door.

About a month ago (on the Canada Day long weekend) it seemed as though there were people moving into the old house next to us (and when I say old, I mean OLD). There has been a steady string of questionable people in and out of that house over the past 3 years, but I liked the look of this couple. They appeared to have a few small children, and I thought it would be perfect to have kids next door for our little one to play with.

But after that day, I have not seen a single soul there. There are some children's toys in the back yard, a BBQ, and through the back window you can see furniture stacked up. The last people who rented this house used it only for storage (again, it is old) so we have come to think that maybe this is what the young couple is doing.

However, over the course of the past month we have been hearing a cat crying. A pitiful meowing that would last for a while and then stop. We could never really figure out where it was coming from, and quite frankly I did not think much of it. Until just this past weekend, when Blair and I were both outside and realized that the meowing was coming from the screen door at the back of the neighbors house.
 
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Late last week my mother in law stopped by with a large bucket of fresh strawberries that she had picked up.

Since I am on a jam kick these days, I decided to try my hand at making my own. Plus I had a ton of strawberries and didn't want them to go bad!

So I searched online for a simple recipe for strawberry jam. Because I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store for pectin, and since I didn't have any on hand, I narrowed down my search by looking for pectin free jams.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com.

 
So today I am considered full term, even though my due date is still 3 weeks away.

What exactly is full term?

At 37 weeks, your little one’s body is complete and ready to function outside of the womb. The amount of amniotic fluid begins to decrease during this time of pregnancy and your little one may even begin to slow down the growth process, since it has most of the fat stores it needs in order to survive and regulate its own body temperature once born. So rest assured that if your labour was to begin anytime after your 37th week in pregnancy, it is still considered full term and you can look forward to a new little family member quite soon!

So, that is where I stand.

But what confuses me is that I was given two different due dates- August 12th by the doctor (and that is what remains my official due date) and August 8th by the ultrasound technician (based on the baby’s size at my most recent ultrasound). So if the second date is my true due date, I am really closer to 38 weeks than I am to 37.

I am starting to feel incredibly nervous, and I also have this huge sense of urgency looming over me, whispering in my ear “get things done, and get them done NOW”. I am wondering if this sense of urgency to get things done could be some kind of inborn knowledge, built in for me to know when labour is very close. One can hope, but who knows, I could be sitting here twiddling my thumbs 5 weeks from now, still waiting.

I have been cooking up a storm, and have a few more dishes to prepare over the weekend, and a little bit of baking. Get that done and in the freezer, pack the bags, sweep the floors, and I think I will be feeling a little less stress.

My sense of well-being is also decreasing. In fact, it has decreased dramatically in a matter of only a few days. I am tired, hot,  my back hurts, my feet hurt, my hips hurt, I have to pee all the time, I am having trouble sleeping at night, and my wrists are killing me- particularly in the morning. Research tells me this is pregnancy induced carpal tunnel. I just can't get comfortable. I am irritable and emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat (like today, when my husband rubbed my back the wrong way).

I am so ready to meet our little one, but so not at the same time. Now that it has gotten so close I find myself wishing I was 5 months pregnant again, not 8.5. But there is no turning back now!

Ready or not, here this baby comes!
 
This is probably going to seem like the dorkiest post ever, but what can I say- I love getting a deal! And I want to inspire YOU to be frugal, and show you how EASY it is to save money!

Here are the best deals I got this week, by combining coupons with sales.

Deal #1: Toothpaste

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The toothpaste was on clearance at Walmart for $.50 each (regular price $1.29). In addition to the money I saved by buying clearance items, I had a $.75 cent coupon for any Crest paste from Brandsaver.

Regular price = 4 x $1.29 = $5.16

My price = 4 x $.50 = $2.00 - $.75 (coupon) = $1.25

Savings = $3.91

Deal #2: Axe Body Wash

 

Things I am Looking Forward To:

  1. Snuggling a warm soft baby.
  2. Being able to sleep on my stomach.
  3. Being able to paint my own toenails.
  4. Watching my baby grow.
  5. Having the ability to wear my shoes again (currently I am only able to wear one pair of sandals, They are  1 size larger than my old shoe size. And they are mostly elastic).
  6. Being able to wear my wedding rings again.
  7. Going to mommy baby play time and making new friends.
  8. Reconnecting with old friends.
  9. Trying the crafts on Play at Home Mom’s website.
  10. Creating a good routine.

Things I Need To Do...ASAP:

  1. Pack hospital bags (the ones I can… like baby’s. Mine can wait.)
  2. Cook a dozen meals that are easily freezable… and some muffins/cookies. I am planning to cocoon myself for 1-2 weeks after baby arrives and not do much more than sleep, nurse and eat. So I am going to try and create a stock pile of food ahead of time.
  3. Write in my diary. I need to document how I am feeling these last couple weeks.
  4. Complete the first parts of the baby book.
  5.  Have one last date with the hubby. Who knows when we might be able to go again.
 
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At the beginning of my pregnancy, I knew  that I wanted a natural birth experience. I tried to get a Calgary Midwife- I was even willing to drive into the city for each and every prenatal appointment, but unfortunately I was placed on a waiting list at every single clinic. (Current statistics for the city state that they turn away 9 out of 10 women who contact them).

So I knew that if I was going to get the birth I desired, I would have to approach it a different way. I started to think about hiring a doula. I did a lot of reading, some research on the cost of having a doula, but that was the end of it. The typical cost for a doula in my area is $400-$700…or $1000 for a doula out of the city. After Blair and I attended natural birth classes through Healthy Birth Choices in Calgary, we decided that we could do it on our own, because the financial burden was just too much for us to swallow.

As my labour approaches and anxiety builds, I am reconsidering this decision. Last night, we met and interviewed a doula, and I could not be happier.  She was everything I imagined she would be, and I loved her philosophy.

What exactly is a doula?

 
They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I am not really sure who "they" are, or what kind of expertise "they" have on the subject, but if that little tidbit of information is true, well then I am pretty stoked for the rest of our lives together!

Don't get me wrong- it has not been without it's ups and downs, disappointments and disagreements. But the point is that we worked through them, and what seemed like a big deal at the time is nothing but a faded memory today.
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One year ago I said "I do." Today I am saying "I always will."
 
This sweet, no stress sauce tastes like it simmered all day! It was a fresh alternative to normal tomato sauce and was super easy and quick to make.

Ingredients:

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  • 1 pound ground beef (I used elk as it was what we had on hand)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ½ cup red wine or additional beef broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary (I had to use dry)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 package refrigerated ravioli

 
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I have a new obsession: being a Frugal Franny. Ever since Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s show Till Debt Do Us Part started airing I have been incredibly interested in budgeting, saving, debt repayment and investing. (if you have never seen this show, watch it. It’s awesome!)

Since I have been off work and transitioning onto maternity leave benefits I have become extra obsessed with balancing our budget, living off of “money jars” and getting started on saving reasonable amounts of money for certain things. In theory my plans always look great on paper. In practice we have an incredibly hard time sticking to them. Things always come up that eat into our budget and we are used to buying what we want/need, when we want to, and getting by without a problem.

 
So, here I am 27 years old. No longer can I consider myself in my mid-twenties. Oh no. I have made the leap into the land of late-twenties. You know what I mean- the land of sweater wearing, newspaper reading, responsible adults who actually start to think about getting older, retirement, and doing something about it. And ya know what? It feels good.

27 really feels like a turning point to me. 26 sounds young and carefree, still young enough to be out partying every weekend with 18 year olds and not necessarily have people think that you are old, washed up, and pathetic when they see you in the bar. Somehow 27 seems so different from 26- years older instead of just 12 months. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my life is about to change so dramatically, perhaps not.