<![CDATA[Sweet Life of Anna - Blog]]>Wed, 13 Dec 2017 07:34:06 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:26:53 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/zuppa-toscana-crockpot-recipe
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The easiest and most delicious recipe for Zuppa Toscana...

Last week Stella Cheeses sent us some of their delicious cheeses. With the cold front we had come in this past weekend I wanted to make a warm and cozy meal for dinner, incorporating these amazing cheeses

We had a lot going on this weekend so I needed an easy recipe that I could throw in the crockpot that would give us a delicious meal to sit down and enjoy as a family. 

I decided to make this super easy Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe with homemade cheese toast. I topped the soup with rich, traditional Shredded Parmesan Cheese from Stella Cheeses and used their Italian 3 Cheese Blend for the cheese toast. It. Was. AMAZING! 

Zuppa Toscana is one of my favorite soups and I love it even more now with this easy crockpot recipe. Plus it's great for leftovers or you can even freeze it. 
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This cheese toast was to die for! I might be making this for every meal! 
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Zuppa Toscana Crockpot Recipe 

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage (regular, mild or hot)
  • 1 bag of refrigerated pre- diced potatoes and onions. I found mine by the eggs at my local grocery store (can substitute with 1 diced onion and 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed)
  • 2 cloves large garlic minced
  • 48 oz chicken broth
  • 1/2 bunch kale (a couple of handfuls) de-stemmed and torn into bite sized
  • 16 oz heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese for topping
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes optional
  • Crumbled cooked bacon optional 

Directions
  1. Heat large pan over medium high heat and brown sausage.
  2. Add minced garlic and stir to combine.
  3. Drain off the grease and then add sausage and garlic to the bottom of slow cooker.
  4. Add bag of diced potatoes and onion, cover with chicken broth and water (if necessary) to completely cover potatoes and sausage.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Potatoes should be softened. 
  6. Whisk together heavy cream and flour until well blended. Pour into slow cooker, add kale and stir to combine.
  7. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes until soup has thickened slightly or until kale has softened. My soup didn't thicken much at all but it was so good! 
  8. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Top with shredded parmesan cheese and enjoy! 
To make cheese toast...
  1. Butter one side of your bread. 
  2. Toast bread, butter side down in your oven on high broil. 
  3. Once toasted to your liking flip bread over to butter side up and top with your favorite cheese.
  4. Put back in the oven to toast a little longer. Make sure to keep an eye on it ( I usually burn mine). Remove from oven when toasted to your liking.
If you have a toaster oven then butter your bread, top with your favorite cheese and toast! 
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<![CDATA[Weekend Recap]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:29:21 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/weekend-recap9217724
What a busy weekend we had...
The weekend first started with a mommy date night on Friday with one of my dear friends. We met at Kohl's did some Christmas shopping and shopping for baby #2, then had a delicious dinner at Olive Garden, went for dessert at Cold Stone, and wrapped the evening up with a shopping trip to Bed Bath and Beyond to try and find Joey and I some new towels (we were successful). It was the perfect night! 
Saturday, Joey and Ava went to visit his parents while my brother and I painted Ava's room to start the transformation into her toddler room. I'm so excited about this room! This weekend I remembered how much I hate painting. I thought we would be able to get her room done and the nursery but that didn't happen. I've learned one room at a time (or weekend). 
On Sunday, we made our annual batch of divinity candy. With the cold front coming in this was a must! You should really only make divinity during cold weather. 
I also made a batch of my Dad's Millionaires. They're very much like the turtles you buy in the stores. My Dad's are much prettier than mine but this is only my second time making them. He's been making them for years! Maybe one day I'll figure it out. 
For dinner I made, the most delicious batch of Zuppa Toscana. It's a crockpot recipe and SO EASY to make! I will be sharing it later this week. 
We ended our weekend with wrapping some Christmas presents, watching Hallmark Christmas movies and introducing Ava to her new toddler bed. I'm so happy to say that she loves it! 

How was your weekend? 
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<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:05:06 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/five-on-friday1172410
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Happy Friday...this week I have a recap of last weekend, some yummy recipes and a HELLO FRESH GIVEAWAY!!! 
ONE. Last weekend, we met some friends of ours downtown to take each other's pictures for Christmas. Ava got to see her best friend Joel (their cute little boy). Don't let the picture above fool you. They first hugged (of course I didn't have my camera on) then they pulled this move. They spent the rest of the evening chasing each other around, had a few "mine" throw downs and then cried when it was time to say good bye. It's seriously the cutest thing to watch them interact with each other. Afterwards, we went to dinner at PDQ's. The kids entertained each other while us adults got to have some adult conversations. It. Was. Nice! 
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TWO. After dinner we headed to the Lights of Lakeland. ​We had a blast and the kids loved it. If you live local or near by I highly recommend going. They have a variety of movie characters there, Santa, tons of lights, Santa’s workshop and candy store and my most favorite part, a walk through Bethlehem
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THREE. This week we took Ava to see Santa. She has definitely made progress with Santa but still a little unsure. Santa has also made progress since last year! That's a good Santa!
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FOUR. Several weeks ago I made a Mississippi Roast. It was really good! Many people asked about the recipe so I thought I would share it here. Many of my friends have made this before and loved it! Mississippi Roast Recipe
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FIVE. When we received our box from Hello Fresh this week they included a code for one lucky reader to receive their first week of Hello Fresh for FREE!!! There are no commitments required. You will get three meals for two people for free! Enter below to win! Winner will be announced here on Monday, December 11th at 6:00 am! 
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<![CDATA[The Secret I Never Shared From My First Pregnancy...]]>Tue, 05 Dec 2017 13:03:39 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/the-secret-i-never-shared-from-my-first-pregnancy
I remember the day as if it was yesterday...

I was at work when I received a call from my first OB doctor saying my results from my genetic testing came back and I am a carrier of the fragile X syndrome. She said it could effect the baby and she was referring me to a high risk doctor to look into it further. 

I was in shock! I remember saying, Ok and asking very little questions. I guess I was so in shock I just didn’t know what to say. I called my mom (an OB nurse) crying and for some clarification on what fragile x is. I think my mom gave me a list of questions to call the doctor back and ask. So I did, but I still felt uneasy and confused. 

The whole first pregnancy thing was new to me. I didn’t even remember much of the whole genetic testing deal or what I even agreed to, let alone what it tested.

My doctor referred me to a high risk doctor so I requested to be referred to Winnie Palmer in Orlando. Joey and I met with their genetic specialist who was AMAZING and had SO much knowledge. He made Joey and I feel much better, answered all of our questions, and explained to us that we had nothing to be worried about. 

If I can remember correctly, based on my results there is a 3% percent chance that Ava would also be a carrier of Fragile X and every generation that number could become greater. Basically we didn’t need to worry. 

We went back to see my OB doctor and told her about our visit. She didn’t agree with the genetic specialist (who studies and specializes in genetics) and insisted on a second opinion and further testing. No matter what the results were going to be we knew we wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy. We didn’t see the point in doing further testing and creating a risk of having a miscarriage. We declined the second opinion and testing. I immediately noticed from her demeanor that she was unhappy about our decision. 

Before the visit was over, I told her that I didn’t like the uncomfortable feeling I had during our visit and her reactions towards our decisions. I explained that I noticed a quick change in her demeanor after we declined her suggestions. She stated that she was going to make sure to note in my charts that I was a carrier of Fragile X and declined further testing. She threatened that pediatricians at the hospital would be concerned and have several questions once they saw my charts after having Ava. This had my blood boiling! I was so mad, upset, and just furious. The nerve of this woman! This was our first baby and our first experience with an OB doctor and it was horrible. She made me feel like we had to bring a perfect baby into this world and if not, then something was wrong with us. 

A few days later I decided to switch doctors and went to a whole new office. I’m happy to say that I received a letter a few months ago stating my first doctor is no longer practicing and at that office. 

My new doctor is the same one I have for this pregnancy and this time around our experience has been much better! After seeing the Fragile X in my records he wanted me to have an anatomy scan done at the high risk doctor. I asked to return back to Winnie. I was ok with this. Their machines are awesome and we were able to find out Ava was a girl early on. The high risk doctor also reassured me once again that we had nothing to worry about. 

Now we’re in round two and we're headed back to Winnie for another anatomy scan. I’m not worried about Fragile X and instead I’m excited to see baby T. Hopefully we will find out if it’s a boy or girl and I can ask some questions about trying to avoid preeclampsia again. 


​What Our Pediatrician Had to Say about All of it...

After I had Ava no one from the hospital mentioned anything about me being a carrier of Fragile X. We’ve also taken Ava to the same pediatrician since she was born and she has never been concerned with it. In fact it only came up in a conversation a few months ago because of me. She said if I wanted I could have a blood test done on Ava to see if she’s a carrier, but she has zero concerns at this point with Ava’s developments. I find this interesting considering my first doctor threatened it would be such a big issue. 


​Did We Do Genetic Testing This Time?

No, we decided not to do genetic testing this time around. They offered two tests that would test for different genetics than the first one we did and one would tell us if we’re having a boy or girl but we decided to opt out of genetic testing. It just didn’t seem worth going down that road again. 
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<![CDATA[Five on Friday!]]>Fri, 01 Dec 2017 10:15:27 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/five-on-friday5805853
Holy cow! I feel like I blinked and all of sudden it was Friday. No complaints here! 
ONE. Monday was our first day back from Thanksgiving break and one of my students surprised me with this box of goodies! They were the yummiest things ever! She went to Georgia during break and remembered that I love pecans so she got me a box. It made me feel so special. 
TWO. I wanted to show you a little sneak peek at our Christmas tree this year. I'm waiting for us to put the boxes back in the attic so I can finish taking my pictures. Then I can complete my blog post to show you the full reveal of our tree and home. This year I decided to hold off on the ribbon and instead used this garland I found at Michael's. I'm obsessed with it. I wish I had bought more but now they're sold out. 
THREE. This week we received a box of Hello Fresh. During Thanksgiving break they had some really good coupons out so I started our subscription again (I will pause it once my coupons run out). Anyhow, this was by far one of my favorite recipes so far, Sizzling Hoisin Shrimp. I had to do a little bit of cooking aromatics to make it and it smelled heavenly! Also, I will ALWAYS use fresh ginger from now on! I'm in love with fresh ginger. 

If you'd like to try your first box of hello fresh you can use this code NTKZSD which will get you $40 off your first box. That means you get 3 MEALS FOR 2 PEOPLE FOR $20!!! That is a heck of a deal. Plus there are NO COMMITMENTS. Once your box ships you can pause your subscription until you get another coupon, which happens often. To me it's a nice fun treat and then I have yummy new recipes to try. 
FOUR. For Thanksgiving my mother in-law made these amazing yeast rolls! I ate like 6 of them that day (maybe more). That weekend I insisted Joey go to Walmart and pick us up a bag. You have to set them out for a couple of hours to rise or you can do the speedy rise method. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND letting them sit out a couple hours to rise. I think it recommends 3-5 hours. We tried the speedy method last night and they were yucky! 
FIVE. This week I posted an update about my pregnancy so far. I mentioned having severe lower back pain. It started before I got pregnant and has gotten worse. My friend recommended a local chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy techniques. I got the ok from my doctor and made my first appointment for next week. I've never been to a chiropractor before and I am super excited and hoping it will help ease some of this back pain. 
Happy Friday Everyone! What about you? Have you been to a chiropractor before? Did you like it? Thoughts? 
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<![CDATA[This pregnancy so far...]]>Tue, 28 Nov 2017 18:04:09 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/this-pregnancy-so-far
I’m 17 weeks pregnant today and this pregnancy has been a lot different compared to my first pregnancy which makes me think maybe it’s a boy or just a really sassy girl.

​So far…
  • I was SUPER sick during the first trimester and about a week or so into the second. With Ava I remember just having late afternoon sickness but with this one it felt like ALL DAY. I was miserable. 
  • I’ve been extremely tired. It could be due to chasing a toddler around as well. I’m slowly starting to get some of my energy back. 
  • I’ve been craving pizza and eating the heck out of little cutie oranges. 
  • It’s true what they say about showing sooner your second time around. Although, I strongly believe 90% of it is gas and 10% baby and the fact that I’m just tired of sucking it all in. I figure why not rock a cute baby bump instead?
  • When I was pregnant with Ava I knew she was a girl. With this one I’m not sure. Hopefully next week we will find out what we’re having. 
  • I’ve had a lot of lower back pain, but it’s something I had prior to getting pregnant. 
  • My doctor has me taking one baby aspirin a day to try and help prevent preeclampsia from happening again. 
  • I’m still sleeping through the night but just this week I’ve had some crazy dreams! 
  • With Ava smells drove me crazy, but with this one they haven’t bothered me. HAHA…although during the first trimester the paint color of our TV stand made me nauseous, but not so much anymore. Thank goodness! I wasn’t looking forward to painting that thing. 

So this is where I’m at right now. I’m excited and truthfully a little nervous to see how the rest of the pregnancy goes. I’ve been trying to explain to Ava that there is a baby in Mommy’s belly but she’s still very confused. Reality will hit her once the baby is born. 
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<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Recap 2017]]>Mon, 27 Nov 2017 19:08:24 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/thanksgiving-recap-2017
So thankful and blessed...
This year we headed to Nanna and Pop's for a wonderful Thanksgiving feast. I found Ava's Thanksgiving outfit super on sale at Carter's and her shoes from Target. Now if it could just come in my size. 
Ava helped Nanna with the gravy for the turkey. 
Joey carved the turkey.
Everything was delicious!
After lunch Joey and Ava made homemade vanilla ice cream to go along with dessert. 
We spent the rest of the day relaxing, spending time with family and watching football with Pop. 

The next day we headed to Orlando to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family. I FINALLY got to meet my nephew Mason. He's the cutest thing ever!!! 
It was another day well spent with family and good food! We are so thankful and so blessed for the many blessings around us. We pray that God bring us peace, comfort and joy during this holiday season and to you and you're loved ones. We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 
Here's a throwback to our past Thanksgivings...
Some how I didn't blog 2016 Thanksgiving but here's Thanksgiving 2015
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<![CDATA[Five on Friday! Mama's Wish List]]>Fri, 17 Nov 2017 10:04:09 GMThttp://sweetlifeofanna.com/blog/five-on-friday-mamas-wish-list
Last week I talked about gift ideas for him so this week I'm talking about gift ideas for me! Today, I'm sharing part of my wish list with my top five (or more). 

At first we talked about maybe just doing stocking stuffers this year instead of buying each other gifts and having a nice date day out, but I changed my mind real quickly. The truth is I love having something to open under the tree and I love for it to be wrapped before Christmas so I can try and guess what it is. I also LOVE Christmas shopping. It's so much fun to me! So here are some things I have on my list this year. 

ONE. Eye Mask- My sister bought me one of these for my first pregnancy and I loved it. I seriously used it all the time for headaches but somehow I misplaced it and need a new one! 
TWO. New Camera Lens- I've been eyeing this new camera lens. I would love to add it to my collection! 
THREE. Sunglasses- I have been in love with these sunglasses for awhile now. A lot of other momma's and bloggers I follow wear them and I think they're super cute. They're finally back in stock and only $12.00! 
FOUR. Ball Drop Earrings- I've been bad a putting earrings on lately but every now and then I like to get a little fancy. I think these are super cute! 
FIVE. Paper Towel Holder- I want one of these for our kitchen! I can't decide between this one or this one. 
AND A FEW EXTRA FOR FUN! 
What's on your Christmas list this year? 
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