Friday, September 30, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 32

Wow, all I can say is this has been a crazy, busy and productive week! Pregnancy wise, I swear I'm growing by the minute! And we're getting more and more excited for our little one's arrival as we cross things off of our master to-do list before she comes! Roughly 8 more weeks, people!!

This weekend is what I call complete Baby Bliss! Tomorrow morning is my first baby shower, followed by our maternity photo session Sunday morning and ending with our final Bradley birthing class! So much fun in one weekend, I can hardly contain myself! Can't wait to share all about it soon!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

{Challenge}: October Unprocessed

All right friends, I've decided to take part in a challenge with Eating Rules and would love for you to join along!  For some of you, this may seem like an impossible task, for some this may be something you already practice, and for others, I suspect it will be an opportunity to simply refine your current eating habits. Wherever your current diet falls, let this be a chance to clean it up and get on track with real food!

The challenge is this: Going the entire month of October with no processed foods

Of course, this poses the question: What defines processed? So here is a simple explanation taken directly from EatingRules:

Obviously there’s a wide range of implications in that word, and we will probably each define it slightly differently for ourselves.  My definition is this:
Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with readily available, whole-food ingredients.
I call it “The Kitchen Test.” If you pick up something with a label (and if it doesn’t have a label, it’s probably unprocessed), and find an ingredient you’d never use in your kitchen and couldn’t possibly make yourself from the whole form, it’s processed.
It doesn’t mean you actually have to make it yourself, it just means that for it to be considered “unprocessed” that you could, in theory, do so.
Here’s the discussion from last year on the definition, and we’ll continue exploring it as October approaches.

So what do you say? Are you ready to commit to a healthier you? Let me know by leaving a comment (either here of via Facebook) that you're going to participate. And be sure to check out EatingRules for daily posts, tips and encouragement throughout the month! Remember, these things are always easier with support from others!

Of course I will also be posting updates and recipes, so visit frequently! Best of luck!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Fall Weekend

The weekend can be described as nothing other than yummy! It's finally Fall and we lived it up as such. Our Friday night consisted of my husband's favorite Tomato Bisque Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches (made with each of our favorite cheeses) and pumpkin pie - Delish! 

While the rest of the weekend consisted of successful baby consigning, our monthly couples' massage followed by a lunch date, a lazy morning of breakfast in bed and a win for the Raiders (which made me husband positively gleeful!!). And unlike the past few years, the weather even cooperated with the calender and graced us with lovely overcast Sunday!

So even though I have an insane week ahead, I'm feeling rested and wonderful, thanks to a relaxing few days! 

And because I would love nothing more than to pass on my Fall enthusiasm, here is the "secret" recipe for my tomato bisque sip soup, a definite favorite with our friends and family members!

Tomato Bisque Sip Soup 
3 -14 1/2 oz cans dice tomatoes with garlic and onion
1 Tbsp  Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
3/4 Cup whipping cream
1 to  2 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved

Place 2 cans of tomatoes in blender.  Cover and process until very smooth.  Transfer to a large saucepan.  Cover and process remaining tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, orange peel and pepper until very smooth.  Transfer to sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer over medium low heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes; remove from heat.

To serve, return soup to a simmer; stir in whipping cream until combined.
Serve in demitasse cups (3 oz coffee cups) or heatproof small glasses.  Sprinkle each serving with cheese and additional pepper.  Makes 5 1/2 Cups (about 16 1/3-cup appetizer servings or 4 main dish servings).

Friday, September 23, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 31

So it occurred to me this week that my due date is exactly TWO months from today!! How can that be? I feel like it was just April and November 23rd seemed ages away! Time really does fly!

And aside from the crazy excitement that comes from being so close to the finish line, I have begun to have the beginnings of "practice" or Braxton Hicks contractions. While not painful, definitely strange to feel my belly get rock solid and then relax periodically throughout the day. I also hit the point yesterday where my tummy feels like it has reached the brim of its stretching ability! Honestly, I do not know how it can get any bigger or how our sweetie will find the room to pack on roughly 4 more pounds-Yikes! Though I have seen my body do some pretty incredible things these past 7.5 months. Welcome to the end of pregnancy, my friends.

Oh yes. It is also worth noting that my Chinese food cravings have come back with a vengeance...

Anywho, happy first day of FALL!! Pumpkin spice latte anyone?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Preparing for the Unexpected

Hey there! Today I just wanted to share a great blog post I read yesterday on keeping a stocked pantry for emergency situations, or just times of unpreparedness. This is part of a wonderful little series I've been following on the blog Good Life Eats. This particular post has some great recipes and ideas for making the most of a staple that most of us have on hand-canned beans! Because who couldn't use more beans in their life?

Check it out here!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cravings of the Pumpkin Variety

Didn't I tell you I've been cravings all things pumpkin lately? It's like I see pumpkin in a recipe and my taste buds go crazy! I'm having a really difficult time knowing if it's just my obsession with Fall flavors or this baby girl of mine wanting it so badly. Either way, it's a lot healthier than many cravings I could be having so I am happy to oblige!

I should mention that I rarely stray from a recipe the first time I try it out, but with this particular recipe I did make a few adjustments. I know, I'm living on the edge! But due to the fact that I had already prepared a batch of brown rice for another recipe, I substituted it for the Arborio rice the recipe calls for and I used skim milk in place of the 2% listed because that is always what I have on hand. I would say that overall this is an excellent recipe! It oozes the deep, flavorful essence of pumpkin pie, with a slightly nutty texture. Although my husband loved the flavor, he wasn't quite sold on the chewier texture the brown rice added. Perhaps next time I will try it with the Arborio, or maybe I'll even get a little adventurous and use quinoa as one review suggested!

And whatever you do, please don't forget the fresh cinnamon spiced whipped cream!

Pumpkin Rice Pudding
recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger

for the rice pudding
2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
3 cups skim milk
1 cup solid-pack pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
for the whipped cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
1-2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Bring the water to a boil in an ovenproof 4-quart saucepan. Stir in the rice and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is nearly cooked, about 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
While the rice is still hot, add the pumpkin mixture to the saucepan and stir well to combine. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake until the liquid has reduced by about a third and the mixture is foamy and bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir well to combine all the ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. The pudding will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

{From Germany, With Love}

Chris' parents just returned from a two-week vacation to Germany and they came bearing plenty of lovely gifts for our sweet girl! We are so grateful for how very much our little one is already loved by our family!!

And I'm giddy that she can proudly represent her German roots:)

She got three precious little outfits! 

This one says, "lovely just like mummy" :)

Sweet little flats and bonnets (which apparently, all the little German babies wear!).

Pink striped hat and tights from Steiff (which I'm told is super fancy). Such a well-loved little girl!

And finally, this snugly little lamb nightlight, which is especially awesome since I have a slight obsession with these German-made Haba toys!!!

Thank you, Grandma Nini and Grandpa D!

Friday, September 16, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 30

In honor of having only 10 weeks left of pregnancy, here are 10 things of note this week...

1. On Tuesday we took the hospital tour of our labor & delivery building and we are so happy with it! Of course, that night I dreamed constantly that I was in labor because now I can visualize where we are going to be. Crazy pregnancy dreams!

2. According to my midwife, I will probably gain about 10 more pounds by the time baby arrives...and I'm not quite sure where I'm going to fit them!

3. My belly button is officially gone! It hasn't yet "popped", but it's almost completely flat.

4. I finished reading Husband-Coached Childbirth this week, a fantastic read on natural childbirth, written by Dr. Bradley. I highly recommend to anyone thinking about going natural!

5. I may have gone on a little online shopping spree for a certain little one...can you really blame me, though?

6. Confession: The past few weeks I've been sneaking in baby girl's closet and putting together sweet little outfits for her. Why are girls clothes so stinkin' cute??

7. I got a sneak peek at the handmade shower invitations that went out and am completely smitten with them! If they are any indication of what my shower will be like (and I suspect they are), it is going to be amazing! I truly have some wonderful friends and family!!

8. I am officially adding all things pumpkin to my pregnancy cravings list! Can't.Get.Enough!!

9. Apparently I have major white coat syndrome because my BP reading has been slightly elevated at several appointments, which prompted my doctor to require weekly BP monitoring these past few weeks. But praise the Lord, it has been nice and low every week! It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I am usually rushing to appointments between clients, which causes me a little anxiety.

10. It occurred to me the other day that I'm not feeling scared at all about giving birth! How cool is that?! I think that learning and preparing the best we can has helped make it less of an unknown and that has definitely eased my anxiety. It's also extremely helpful that my labor coach (aka: my hubby) is incredibly supportive and involved!

So there it is, my 30 week round-up! I still can't believe the countdown to meet our little one is only 10 weeks! 

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Oh My Heavens!

Let me first sincerely apologize for what I'm about to do... 

Because I feel certain that you will fall head-over-heels when I show you what I found.

Pumpkin + Cinnamon Rolls? Did the heavens just part, people?

I'm sorry, but Fall just doesn't get any sweeter than that!

Geez, here I am trying so hard not to give in to sweet pregnancy cravings and then I stumble on this deliciousness. I'm thinking a girls' brunch is in order very soon (so at least I can share the love)!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning: a new concept to me. At least new in the sense that I never realized it was an entire philosophy of introducing baby to solid foods. And I am thoroughly intrigued!

The topic of BLW has come up in a few discussions lately and after some great conversation with my hubby about it, we would really like to try it with our little one when she starts eating solids.

In essence, BLW is the concept that instead of weaning babies from breast milk to "mush" (aka: purees, baby food, baby rice), they transition straight to real foods (obviously appropriate to their age and ability). The idea is that when baby begins reaching for foods, they are ready to start self-feeding. And from everything I've been reading, the many advantages include earlier development of hand-eye coordination, a better developed pincher grip and babies who are more willing to explore all types of foods. No mush necessary!

Of course, I am now asking all of my mom friends about it and would love any advice or opinions on the subject! And once I finish up some of the required books for our Bradley class, my next read will be Baby-Led Weaning, so I can get a better grasp on the idea. Thankfully, I've got some time!

What do you think? Ever heard of Baby Led Weaning? Love the idea or hate it? I would love to hear!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am a girly-girl to the core. And as such, have a soft spot for anything and everything with ruffles! So when I saw this super simple tutorial for a ruffled lamp shade, I was ALL over it! Especially since this particular lamp needed a little love. And a little love it got! It is now officially my favorite lamp in the house (at least until I fix up the two we just snagged at a garage sale)!

And the icing on the cake-I had all the materials necessary, so this little lampshade makeover was 100% F-R-E-E!

Just as a reference point, here's what it looked like before..

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gearing Up for Fall

This weekend our humble abode got a sprucing up for Fall! There is still more I would like to do (like glitter some pumpkins), but I did get to a few crafts I've been eying on Pinterest!

Here's the mantle, still needing some height, but it's getting there!

I first crafted a burlap wreath, inspired by this lovely version,

A simple burlap banner declaring, "Happy Fall"

And finally, my attempt at these pumpkin candle holders.

And it just wouldn't be Fall without my pumpkin spice candle (with my own touch, of course)!

Are you ready for the new season?

Friday, September 9, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 29

We are fast approaching the 30 week mark and all I keep thinking is how fast this pregnancy has gone by! In addition to the fact that people now confidently ask me when I'm due, as opposed to simply wondering, "Is she pregnant or just gaining weight?", there have been a lot of exciting happenings this week!

First of all, I finally purchased my first 2 pair of maternity jeans at Gap last weekend! In a word: fabulous! I absolutely love them and I love that they don't look "mom-ish" at all! Plus, it became necessary when last week, upon pulling up my pre-pregnancy pants, I felt seriously uncomfortable (doing some growing this week, baby girl?).

Secondly, I was contacted by the editor of Baby Lifestyles this week, asking if we would be interested in having our nursery featured!! I am beyond excited! We put so much time, effort and love into the details of our Sweet Pea's room and are completely flattered to have the opportunity to inspire others!

And finally, Chris and I are learning so much in our Bradley classes! We are so glad we decided to take classes outside of what the hospital offers and really get an understanding of what goes on in the body during pregnancy, how to prepare for all different situations, what to expect of a natural birth in a hospital setting, breastfeeding, making a solid birth plan and how to best care for our unborn little miracle! And, it's really brought us closer as a couple, since the whole focus of Bradley is that Chris is my birthing coach. I honestly feel like we are doing this together!

I'm looking forward to an entire weekend of crafting and getting our home ready for Autumn! Hope you have a delightful few days!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Let There Be Light: Kitchen Update

Leave it to us to get sidetracked from a project (ahem, the closet), but when my husband sets his mind to something, it's getting done! And honestly, I'm really glad this particular project is out of the way! Don't worry, the master closet revamp is still in full swing-an update to come soon.

Since day one, we have hated, and I mean HATED the old light box in our kitchen. In fact, it was on our list of "to-do immediately" upon moving in. But just like things do, it got postponed for other, more important projects and has just driven us crazy these past nine months.

Notice the over spray around the box. Yeah, that's because when we initially painted the ceilings, we didn't bother covering it since it was suppose to be replaced soon..

Ahh, light box removed, holes patched and ready for some texture and fresh paint...

And finally, the new spot lights installed!

The pictures may not do a good job at conveying this, but we LOVE how open and spacious this small change made our kitchen feel! And not to mention the modern touch and crisp, white light it gives off (thanks to the daylight compact florescent bulbs).

It's coming along, one project at a time. Now to just find a reasonable bid on new counter tops...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

They're Baaack

And by they, I mean pumpkin spice lattes, of course!

In case you couldn't already tell, I am experiencing a major case of Fall fever this year and perhaps it's because there is a very important event happening this Fall (ahem, having a baby!!). But nonetheless, the return of the PSL at Starbucks is always a reason to rejoice because it means that the glorious cozy season is just around the corner!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just The Beginning

As it is now September (the official month of the start of Fall) I finally have the freedom to start incorporating more harvest-full ingredients into our weekly menu! I'll have you know that I wasted absolutely no time and this weekend alone made two of our faves, Whole Grain Pumpkin Pancakes and Spaghetti Squash Marinara with Italian Sausage! My friends, this is just the beginning, so if you are a Fall nut like myself, you're gonna love what's coming up!

Hope your long weekend was equal parts wonderful and restful!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Adventures in Canning

This weekend my mom taught me to jam! Or rather, how to can our very own jam. And admittedly, it was way easier than I expected it to be! All these years I've been intrigued with the idea of canning, but assumed it entailed a lot more time and effort than it actually did. The basics: mash, mix, boil, pour and seal. Imagine that!

We ended up with a batch of raspberry jam and batch of blueberry spice jam (which smells of holiday bliss), but now that I feel more confident in the whole process, I have a whole slew of varieties to try! Watch out - I just might become a canning fool!

Friday, September 2, 2011

{BabyBump} Week 28

To my little girl,

This week we reached our third and final trimester and I can't tell you how immensely blessed we feel that you are strong and healthy! Although you still have a lot of growing to do, we are already so ready to meet you!

If your current activity is any indication of how you will be once you're born, it's safe to assume you will be an active little girl! Your constant kicks and squirms are such a beautiful reminder that you are doing well and I can't tell you how much I will miss them once you're born...thankfully, having you to hold will be a great consolation prize!

As we prepare for your arrival in just a few short months, your daddy and I have spent a lot of time talking about our hopes for you. This past week I have been really moved by a particular verse that I have been praying over you. It is from Micah 6:8 and says, "And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Our desire is that you would be a woman who is strong, bold and courageous. Always seeking the truth and genuinely loving people!

Little one, we are so honored to be entrusted as your parents and will fervently seek to always do what is best for you. May you always know how deeply you are loved and cherished!

All my love,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{Inspired} Dreamy Closet

 Now that I am officially obsessed with our next home makeover (the master closet), I am looking everywhere for the perfect inspiration! Obviously I don't have an entire room to dedicate to our clothes, but how dreamy is this dressing room?!

Oh, to be able to see all of our clothes! And to have functional space for accessories and shoes-be still my heart.

This project kicks off this weekend-wish us luck!

all images via IHeart Organizing
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