Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What We've Been Up To

We were supposed to be out east all last week and traveling home today but had to cancel our trip last minute due to doctor's orders. No more traveling for this third trimester mama! But it's been a good week, went on a few really nice dates with Chris, got lots acomplished around the house, Landon was able to start school on time, & I became an official PTA mom :) L's first day of (orientation) preschool was yesterday and the first actual day of school was today, and I'm he's loving it. The bus picks him up at 8:30, I kiss & wave him goodbye, and then I quietly sit in the kitchen by myself for 30 minutes without anyone asking me for any snacks. Then I run errands without toting a hefty little toddler in tow. Simple joys. But I know these 3 hours every morning will be even more clutch when baby girl gets here.
Speaking of, I've been in serious nest mode, absolutely obsessed with renovating & decorating her nursery, which we're transforming from an old music studio. It's a very small room upstairs that had no closet so we've had to do some painting and construction work for all her itty bitty clothes & shoes. Landon has been quite the little helper and puts on his little construction belt and hammers & paints away in her room and talks excitedly about "building a house for baby sister." He's been nothing short of the best kid ever lately. Thanks to a few good friends & my SIL who have little girls, we've received A TON of sweet hand me downs and her little closet is already filled to the brim with tiny little pink clothes. I'm pretty sure she could wear a different outfit every single day for her entire first year - no joke. I have a sneaking suspicion that she's going to get here before her due date so I've been in crazy prep mode, trying to get everything I need and situated for her arrival. (Her hospital bag may or may not already be packed & ready to go ;))
A few other random updates:
- Landon's been doing AMAZING with his speech lately. We're so extremely proud of him -- he's not delayed at all anymore in terms of his vocabulary and just a little bit in terms of formulating sentences. He speaks a lot in 2 and 3 word phrases but in just the past couple of weeks we've been hearing lots of 4-6 word sentences and spontaneous speech. It's been so fun and pretty mind blowing to converse with him now.
- I passed my gestational diabetes test! After failing my first glucose test, I had to go back for a 3 hour test where I drank another sugar drink and had my blood drawn 4 times every three hours to test how my body processed the sugar. SO happy I'm fine because I (babygirl) love sweets way too much this pregnancy to cut them out.
- Am 29 weeks pregnant today, in my 7th month, and feeling larger than ever. I gained a whopping 6 lbs since my last OB appointment 2 weeks ago, weighing in at 138 with an overall gain of 16 lbs, so from here on out, trying to only gain 1 lb a week to cap the gain at a total of 25-30 lbs. But still getting this preggo belly to the gym 5x a week! We'll see how much longer that lasts for.
- I have to "fetal monitor" now, which means keep track of baby's movements after meals. Should feel baby kick at least 6-7 times 30 minutes after eating throughout the course of an hour. Fetal monitoring was not something I've ever done before with Landon, and I have to say it kind of makes me nervous but nonetheless always comforting to know after I feel that 7th kick that she's doing just fine in there.
- The baby weighs 2.5 lbs now and about the size of a butternut squash. I'm also now comforted to know that IF I go into preterm labor right now, chances of her survival and becoming a healthy & thriving baby are very, very likely. I'm craving lots of oranges and cereal (apparently baby needs lots of vitamin C & calcium at this point, so makes sense), and experiencing some awful acid reflux. Having more and more trouble bending down and picking things up, and I finally caved and booked us a housecleaner to start coming regularly.
- We've been training Landon for big-brotherhood & got him a little baby doll to practice on. My heart absolutely melts when I see him interact with babydoll...he feeds her bottles, carries her around carefully, 'reads' her his books, takes her for strolls around the house in her little baby carriage, and puts his crocs on her little naked baby feet. The icing on the cake is watching him put her to sleep with him in his bed, wrapping her up in his beloved blankies (aka "treaties") -- You guys, he doesn't share those things with anyone.
I can tell already he's going to be an amazing big broder ;)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bits of Life Lately

 Little bits picked up for baby girl on CLEARANCE @ BabyGap :)
What I'm reading now (love)
Homemade blueberry muffins, what happens when landon wakes me up @ 5am
little wedding trinkets for a culinary couple
Family date night - Despicable Me 2
a few 26 weeks bump pics
much needed mama time, sbux + a pedi = preggo heaven
End of summer pool days
Operation Babygirl's Nursery -- Still a working progress
Lobster salad lunch date, don't blame me, blame it on the baby.

**Edit** The winner of our Freshly Picked moccasin GIVEAWAY is EMILY from Our Little Coop!! Congrats Emily! Will email you soon to get your details!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What's New at Modcloth!

As you very well know, I am in love with one of my affiliate companies, ModCloth. If you haven't checked 'em out already you're missing out on some serious unique cuteness! & just found out that they just launched a new line of home decor items! I'm super excited about this because not only do I love Modcloth but since moving into a bigger house in the suburbs I've found a deep rooted passion in home decorating & beautification. You can take a look at some of the new items here: ModCloth Retro & Cute Apartment Decor. They have the cutest kitchen and bathroom items to make your home playful and elegant, & all at a very affordable price. Plus they offer free shipping on all orders over $50 ;) Come back and let me know what you buy!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Easy Homemade Chai Tea Lattes

There's something about the cool air we're experiencing this August and I'm finding myself seriously craving a pumpkin spice latte and chai tea lattes already. I think there's also something about a warm conversation with a friend and a good festive drink in hand that just go so well together. So instead of splurging on Starbucks, I think what better way to treat yourself as autumn approaches than with some homemade chai tea lattes. So cozy up with your honey or invite a girlfriend over to enjoy these delicious chai tea lattes, maybe light a fall scented candle & bake some pumpkin spice bread or muffins while you're at it ;)

What You'll Need:
- 2 giant mugs (because giant mugs are just more fun to cozy up with)
- 4 organic chai tea bags
- water to boil (enough for 2 servings of tea)
- 2 cups milk or milk substitute (I used almond milk)
- 1/4 cup desired sweetener (I think brown sugar tastes really good but you can use regular sugar, agave, or whatever your preference)
- 4 Tbsp French Vanilla refrigerated non-dairy creamer

1. Place 2 chai tea bags in each mug.
2. Boil enough water on stovetop to fill each mug about 3/4 full.
3. Pour boiling water into mugs with tea bags.  Let tea bags steep for about 4 minutes.  Remove tea bags.
4. While tea is steeping, make the creamer part:
     -Place 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sweetener of your choice, and 4 Tbsp French Vanilla creamer in a pot
     -Heat on medium low heat until hot
     -Pour into mugs with the tea
     -Taste for desired sweetness.  You may have some creamer left over, depending on the size of your mug and how sweet you like the drink to be.
5. Serve with optional whipped cream topping and nutmeg, if desired.  I think it tastes great as-is, though!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Homemade Chutney

Might be the most delicious thing I've made in a very long time -- This homemade chutney is a cinch to whip up and yields a huge serving so you can save lots for later. Completely satisfies my sweet tooth without any guilt, and it works as a meal or a fun appetizer or snack. Can serve it as as app with some crackers and brie or goat cheese, or make a sandwich out of it on toasted multigrain toast with sharp cheddar or brie and greens. The possibilities are endless :)

What You'll Need:
- 1 8oz package of dried apricots
- 2 chopped & seeded red peppers
- 1'' peeled ginger root
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar

- Blend dried apricots, red pepper, & ginger in blender and pulse until smooth.
- Combine the above mixture with water, vinegar, and sugar in a large saucepan over stovetop.
- Cover; Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wedding Season

Sharing a few pics from our friends' beautiful downtown wedding this past Saturday. It was such a beautiful weekend, with absolutely gorgeous weather, & filled with lots and lots of love & laughter. 
 Rehearsal dinner attire
Details, clutch h&m, necklace etsy, & new sunnies Karen Walker 'number one' (scored on ebay for an amazing deal!)
the beautiful bride & her father
I do's
my hot little hubby groomsman
outside beautiful St. Michael's church
trolley photo shoot with the mister
kindred souls & new best friends
 bumpin' with the mrs!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Extract Items!

Finally ordered new supplies & have been a busy little bee working in the lab at Extract on my new skincare products, now listed up in the shop! Originally I started off with just my organic facial cleansing oil & body oil, and now I am proud to announce the arrival of an organic body scrub, bath salts, & eau de toilette. Every item was handmade with so much care and love and is made with all naturally derived, organic, vegan, toxin-free, and the finest pure therapeutic grade a essential oils.
I put together a gift basket of all my current products for an auction item for a charity event my SIL is having for her twin daughters who were both recently diagnosed with autism.
I've already reached out to my facebook network, but I just wanted to spread the word here as well -- They are trying to raise money for an autism assistance service dog, so please check out their website and event, if you can make it, this coming Saturday. If you aren't local or can't make the event, you can make a donation here.  Go ahead and "like" their facebook page and check out their site to learn more about the girls, autism, 4 Paws, and ways you can help the cause and show your love :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Roasted Kale & Cauliflower Smashed Potatoes

After a long break from cooking I resolved to get back @ it and just whipped up this absolutely amazing vegetarian side dish (or dish all to itself if you're like me). It is absolutely delicious, although the picture really doesn't do it much justice - it's kind of hard to take a pretty picture of mashed potatoes. This dish is really the perfect comfort food that is for once loaded with healthy veggies instead of simple carbs - and you honestly can't taste much of a difference between the potatoes and cauliflower anyway. You could even leave out the potatoes and do a whole head of cauliflower, but I like the fluffier consistency that comes with adding the potatoes. You can definitely doctor this up but I personally think the roasted kale makes this dish so don't leave it out, but think it could also work well with chives or scallions, eggplant, &/or collard greens. I hope you try these for yourself, you won't be disappointed!

What You'll Need:
- Half a bag of potatoes (I would recommend going organic here, as potatoes are among the top "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies of 2013 highest in pesticides)
- Half a head of cauliflower
- 1 bunch kale ripped up into bite sized pieces (organic if you can, but on the bottom of the list)
- 1 chopped yellow onion
- 3 tablespoons garlic (fresh or minced)
- olive oil and milk or milk substitute
- salt & pepper

- Preheat oven to 350.
- In one large pot, boil potatoes and cauliflower over high heat. Sidenote: I never peel my potatoes, as the skins are packed with all the nutrients.
- Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent in appearance.
- Lay your kale over 1-2 baking pans (doesn't need to be laid flat), drizzle in olive oil and salt and pepper. Put in oven for 10-15 minutes or until crisp and edges start to brown.
- When everything is all done cooking, combine the kale, onions, cauliflower, and potatoes into a large serving dish and mash.
- Add additional olive oil, milk or milk substitute, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Bon appetit! :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Happy Breastfeeding Week :) Plus promo codes for a FREE sling, nursing cover up, nursing pillow, & nursing pads!!

In honor of Breastfeeding Week I have several promo codes for you to get a FREE sling, FREE nursing cover up, FREE 10-pk washable/reusable nursing pads, & a FREE nursing pillow. Get 'em while supplies last! I ordered my free sling in Newport and nursing cover-up in Taylor and am super excited for them! :)

FREE SLING: Visit www.sevenslings.com, pick out your sling and add it to cart (make sure you check out their sizing chart) and type in promo code "BREASTFEED" at checkout.
FREE NURSING COVER UP: Visit www.uddercovers.com, pick out your nursing cover up and add it to your cart and enter promo code "BREASTFEED" at checkout.
FREE 10-pk NURSING PADS: Visit www.uddercovers.com, select nursing pads, and enter code "BREASTFEED" at checkout.
FREE NURSING PILLOW: Visit www.nursingpillow.com, select nursing pillow and add to cart, and enter code "SEVEN" or "UCOVERS" at checkout.

Happy Breastfeeding Week mamas!!!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Beautiful Backyard First Birthday Party

 Went to the cutest First Birthday Party over the weekend, planned by the mama and my good friend Vanessa, (who also single-handedly helped me plan my entire wedding in under 3 months - she's amazing). Her daughter Sloane was turning one and is 1/4 Jewish so their definitely unique and creative theme was "Sloane's 1/4 Kosher Deli" and was complete with an array of deli sandwiches, homemade beer & punch, amazing decor, & the cutest little birthday girl ever. It was such a fun day and I left with a very full belly and tons of adorable new party ideas :)
And yes, that little one did eat the entire smash cake :)

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