Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Candy is My Favorite

(click to make bigger)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tales of the Tail: Helping Hand, Er...Paw

We refer to Poppy Seed as Kip's "baby sister". (Yes, we are those people, but you already knew that, right?!)

We are doing several things to try and make this as smooth of a transition as possible for him:
  • We have a CD of baby sounds that we play often for him.
  • We unbox and assemble all her new stuff so he can sniff/investigate it.
  • We say her real name to him, so he can start forming some associations to her.
  • We let him be right in the middle of the action, as he always has been.
Most recently, he "helped" BD put the nursery furniture together.

First, he performed a QC check, to make sure we received all the correct parts.

Then he was in charge of the directions for the crib assembly.

He's going to be such a good "big brother"!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Take 5 Pie

Have you ever heard of a Take 5 candy bar? I've come to the realization that not many people are aware of it, and I am here to remedy that situation. It is one of my favorites - pretzels, caramel, peanuts, peanut butter - all dipped in milk chocolate. YUMMM!

And, as far as candy bars go, it's not too terrible for you.

So when I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it ASAP.

It starts with crushed pretzels for the crust. I didn't crush mine as fine as it said in the recipe; I wanted it to maintain some pretzel pieces.

Next you melt peanut butter and pour that in the bottom of the pretzel crust.

Then you make a batch of homemade caramel. (I've made homemade caramel lots of times; it isn't nearly as intimidating as you would think - it's actually quite easy!)

I wasn't patient enough to let the caramel set up all the way, so when I poured it on top of the melted peanut butter, it mixed together instead of forming another layer.

Sprinkle coarsely chopped peanuts over the caramel layer.

And then top the whole thing with melted semi-sweet chocolate. It needs to chill in the fridge for several hours to set.

I would recommend taking it out of the fridge and letting it return to room temp before trying to slice it or eat it. This piece was too cold when BD cut it, so it didn't make a very good picture.

I'm watching my sugar intake, so I actually didn't eat a piece of this (yes, I have an iron will power sometimes). BD said the chocolate layer was too hard/thick when the pie was straight out of the fridge.

I left it out at room temperature, and then next day he liked it better. Although he still thought the chocolate layer was a little too thick. The recipe calls for 10oz of melted chocolate; I think maybe 8oz or even 6oz would be better.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I was looking for a theme dessert to make for St. Patrick's Day and ran across this recipe for Grasshopper Fudge Cake that my mom had pinned.

BD loves Andes mints, so I knew this would be a big hit at our house.

You make the white cake mix as directed on the box plus some mint extract, but reserve 1 cup of batter for the green swirls.

I didn't drag the knife deep enough into the batter when I was making the swirls, so the green didn't get all the way through the cake.

But you still get the St. Patrick's Day green effect.

The recipe called for two 16oz jars of hot fudge, but that seemed like it was going to be too much, so I just used one.

Green dye plus a little more mint extract goes into the whipped topping for the last layer.

I chopped up the Andes mints for garnish.

This was actually a dry-run for BD's co-worker's birthday cake that I'm making for Monday. When I remake it, I'll make sure to swirl the batter all the way down through the cake, and I think I will put less (or maybe none) mint extract in the whipped topping.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Poppy Seed Nursery Update

Poppy Seed's nursery furniture arrived last week! Because we chose to save ourselves the delivery fees, we had to wait a few days for good weather before we could go pick it up from the store in Raleigh.

The week before the furniture arrived, BD spent the evenings painting her room. We went with a green color -- not too babyish, not too grownup; I think it's perfect! (It's 'Sagey' by Behr, if you're interested.)

Over the weekend, BD got busy assembling the crib in her room. He said assembling the crib was like some sort of guy's rite of passage. 

It went right together with no problems -- not at all like you see on TV with the inept father-to-be fumbling with a million tiny pieces and the couple eventually having a huge fight over it.

The dresser came fully assembled, but we switched out the silver drawer knobs for white.

We still need to get the glider rocker and plenty of accessories and wall decorations, but it's beginning to look like a real nursery in there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Week 28 Poppy Seed Update

How far along? Picture taken at 28 weeks, 1 day. Third trimester, if you can believe that!

Size of baby? According to The Bump, she's the size of a rutabaga: 1.5 - 2.5 pounds and 13.5 - 14.5 inches long. No wonder I'm starting to feel her up around my ribs!

Weight gain/loss? +14lbs. And yes, everyone has something to say about how "tiny" I am. I don't feel tiny at all, of course. I know people mean well, but they say it and then wait for a response from me...and I don't really know how to respond. As you can see, I am gaining weight appropriately, and my belly measurements are perfect. I have taken to responding with either "I'm actually measuring right on track for my due date" or "I'm sure I'll make up for it in the next few weeks."

Maternity clothes? Yep.

Stretch marks? None so far!

Sleep? Overall, still pretty good.

Best moment this week? There have been several since I updated last:
  • we decided on her name and shared it with our family/close friends (she's going to remain Poppy Seed on the blog for now);
  • we started our prepared birth class last week;
  • BD painted her nursery;
  • her nursery furniture arrived and is assembled in her room (updated pics soon).
Food cravings/aversions? Well, I failed the quick glucose screening test last week, and I have to take the long test tomorrow, so I've been really watching my sugar intake. I have no idea if that will help me pass the second test, but I figure it certainly can't hurt. So, of course, everywhere I look are sugary treats that I have to avoid. Ironically, compared to my norm, I haven't even had much of a sweet tooth throughout this pregnancy.

Gender? Girl! Although at my appointment last week, the doctor was listening to her heartbeat and said "Baby is sounding very BOY today" (based on the heart rate). I think she saw the look of panic on my face because she quickly assured me that the u/s tech would not have made a determination at the 20 week scan if she wasn't sure. LOL! So, if Poppy Seed has a big surprise in store for us, then he's going to have a very girlish nursery and lots of pink clothes to wear!

Belly button in or out? Still technically in, but juuuust barely.

Movement? Yes, all the time. She is generally still when I'm up and moving, but if I'm still she's practicing her karate and gymnastics.

What I miss? Being able to put on socks/tie my shoes comfortably. This belly gets in the way! I tried to clip my toenails this morning; I was eventually successful, but there were several contortionist-style poses involved.

What I'm looking forward to? Hopefully passing the 2nd glucose test. :fingers crossed: And we have a baby shower coming up at the end of this month.

How's Mommy feeling? I am mostly feeling very good these days. I am starting to get anxious to meet her and see her little face.

How's Daddy feeling? BD is glad to have the room painted and the crib assembled. It looks like an actual baby is going to live in there!

Milestones? She's basically fully cooked at this point, just getting bigger and stronger with each passing day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Almost Homemade Lemon Poundcake

This lemon poundcake recipe is one of my favorite easy recipes to take for a potluck. It always gets rave reviews and is super easy to make.

All you need is a Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Lemon Supreme boxed cake mix. I am partial to Duncan Hines, but probably another brand would be fine. You'll also need a box of lemon pudding-pie filling mix, 4 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 cup water. 

Put everything into the mixing bowl.

Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. The batter will get very fluffy.

Pour batter into a well-greased Bundt pan. The "well-greased" part is very important - the bottom of this cake becomes the top, so you want to make sure it comes out of the pan cleanly. I use baking spray with flour to coat the pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then invert the pan onto your serving dish.

This cake is really good by itself, but I like to make a glaze out of lemon juice and powdered sugar. I usually make the glaze either too runny or too thick, but this time I got it just right -- where most of it stayed on top but some ran down the sides.

This cake itself is sweet-lemon, not very tangy. I am a fan of tangy-lemon so I make sure the glaze has a little bite to it.