Thursday, May 31, 2012

BD, Bird Wrangler

(This actually happened back in March, but I just found this entry in my drafts folder. It's still funny even 3 months later.)

We were leaving the house to take Kip for a walk around 9pm on Wednesday night. Opening the door startled a pair of house wrens roosting in the wreath on the front door (and they startled us), and one flew INSIDE the house. It immediately flew to the big window over the door and pooped (I hate birds) then it flew up to the ceiling and circled the chandelier for a second before it disappeared upstairs. BD ran upstairs and discovered that the bird was in the study, so he promptly shut the door so at least it would stay in one room. After we stared wide-eyed at each other for a minute, he got a pair of work gloves and a garbage bag (??) and went upstairs to gauge the situation. I sat outside the door and listened; I was not about to go in there. He opened the windows and removed the screens and the bird wrangling began. He kept a running commentary going the entire time he was trying to catch the bird - "It ran under the couch"..."It flew into the top of the window"...etc while I offered helpful suggestions like "I can't believe there's a bird in the house" and "Is it pooping on everything?". Many hilarious minutes later, it finally perched on the top of the door frame. He distracted it with the garbage bag in one hand and reached up and grabbed it with the other hand. The whole episode took about 20 minutes, while Kip waited patiently downstairs with his leash still clipped to him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012: Ribs

When BD and I moved last fall, we got rid of our old grill. We got the grill as a wedding gift, so it was old and seen better days - especially since it got damaged when the neighbor's tree fell in Feb 2010.

Anyway, we haven't replaced the grill yet, which kind of put a damper on my plan to have BBQ grilled chicken for Memorial Day. So I went scouring around for another idea and decided to try ribs in the slow cooker.

I don't do well with large chunks of meat, so BD was in charge of this endeavor. First he made a dry rub for the ribs out of salt, pepper, chili powder, and brown sugar.


He rubbed that into the ribs; there was also yellow onion rings under the meat in the bottom of the slow cooker.


The liquid sauce was chili sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic, and Tobasco (and perhaps some other things that I am forgetting).


The meat cooked on low for 8 hours and fell right off the bone it was so tender. We also had baked beans, mac & cheese, and rolls. All-in-all a non-grilled Memorial Day success!


Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bites

This recipe has been on my to-make list for a long time, but I have never gotten around to it. I think it was totally worth the wait once I finally did it!

These are cheesecake cupcakes with a mini Reece's PB cup hidden inside. The recipe came from a co-worker's wife, so I don't know the original source - recipe posted below.

The crust is a simple graham cracker crust - graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar.


A mini pb cup goes on top of the crust.


The each cupcake tin is filled with the cheesecake batter.


After baking in the oven, you have a little cheesecake cupcake with a surprise inside!

Recipe: 

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 pkg of bite-sized Reese's peanut butter cups

Filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a standard muffin pan. (The recipe originally says that it will only yield 12 cakes, however, I made 18, so if you've got two muffin pans, fill both.)

Crust prep:
In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Press crust into bottom of each muffin cup. Put 1 peanut butter cup into the center of each crust.

Filling prep:
Beat cream cheese with a hand held electric mixer until fluffy. Add sugar, flour and vanilla, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Spoon cream cheese mixture over peanut butter cups and graham cracker crusts. Bake until just set, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving. Even better after being refrigerated!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Checking Off the To-Do List: Car Seat

The car seat has been installed and inspected.



It's starting to feel like we really are going to have a baby here...and soon!


Next up on the to-do list: Pack the hospital bag! I've made a list of everything that I want/need to bring, but nothing has actually made it into the bag yet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tales of the Tail: Support for Our Military Working Dogs

Members of congress are currently sponsoring a bill called the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act.  This bill would classify military working dogs as "canine members of the armed forces."  Currently, these dogs are classified as "equipment."  This designation  as "equipment" makes it difficult to get these dogs home and provide for their care when they are, hopefully, adopted by loving families. 

Additionally, this bill would establish a formal means to honor dogs killed in action or who show exceptional courage in the line of duty.

Please consider emailing your senators and urging them to co-sponsor this bill.  These dogs do a tremendous amount to keep our servicemen and women safe.  Here is a link to the ASPCA article that will help you send an email.

On behalf of all dogs and dog lovers everywhere, thank you for your support!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sleepytime

Here's a video BD shot one morning last week. I am not sleeping well these days, so I'll take the sleep whenever I can get it. Or maybe I'm practicing for that "sleep when the baby sleeps" thing that everyone advises.

video

Clarification about the "storms" comment...it's Kip that is scared of the storms...not me! (Well, they are not my favorite either, but I don't pant and drool my way through them like he does.) Anytime it storms during the night he wakes us up and then we're awake for the duration of the storm. So I had been awake with him in the middle of the night, but being awake in the wee hours is a regular occurrence for me lately.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 38 Poppy Seed Update


How far along? Pictures taken at 38 weeks, 1 day

Size of baby? Approx 7lbs, 19.5" long - although the Dr has said she might be on the small side, based on my weight gain and belly measurements.

Weight gain/loss? +22lbs

Maternity clothes? Yes and getting tired of them. I looked at all the cute summer skirts at Target today and had to talk to myself sternly and keep walking.

Stretch marks? Still none.

Sleep? Do I look tired in these pictures?? Well, we took these pictures at the end of a long workday after a busy weekend, so that is part of why I look tired. But it's also because I CAN'T SLEEP. The next person who says to me, "Oh, this is just preparing you for when she's here!" better run and duck for cover.


Best moment this week? We did a lot of work in her nursery over the weekend, so it's great to see it finally all come together. It looks like a little girl will be living in there soon! 

Food cravings/aversions? Not really.

Gender? Girl.

Belly button in or out? Flat. And weird looking.

Movement? Not so much flips and turns anymore - she's running out of room in there, but lots of jabs and kicks from elbows, knees, hands and feet.

What I miss? If it has to do with not being pregnant, I miss it.

What I'm looking forward to? Same as last time - having her here with us instead of in my belly. (And, let's be honest...putting her in all the cute little outfits!) 

How's Mommy feeling? How's Daddy feeling? We're both excited. But we're not the only two... this guy knows something interesting is going on around here, too.


Milestones? Reaching full-term status! Now we're just waiting for Hurricane Poppy Seed to make her landfall.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Poppy Seed Nursery Tour

Here are some pictures of Poppy Seed's mostly complete nursery.


I say 'mostly' complete because we are still missing a few things I'd like to have before she gets here, but everything else is ready for her arrival.


I'd like to find a lamp for the table beside the glider. And the small white shelf on the wall is reserved for some sort of UNC memorabilia.


Dresser/changing table combo:


Closet:


Her monogram on the wall above the changing table.





Friday, May 11, 2012

Bread in a Jar

I recently used this recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bread in a Jar to give as hostess gifts for a baby shower that was thrown for Poppy Seed.

I love to give "food in a jar" gifts. It's a homemade gift that the recipient can use and enjoy at their convenience. And who doesn't like having fresh bread in the house??  

You need quart-sized canning jars. I had to buy a case, but the entire case was only $10 at the local hardware store.

Wash the jars and let them air dry. Well, you can dry them by hand, but I'm too lazy for that - I just let them air dry.


I had all the ingredients on-hand - pretty standard baking staples: flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, chocolate chips, and chopped nuts (I used pecans).


Fill the jars according to the measurements in the recipe. If you can find wide-mouthed jars it will make them easier to fill. Or you can just use a funnel (or a make-shift funnel, in my case).


Use some pretty fabric (I actually used patterned paper napkins) to cover the jar lids.



Add a tag with directions, and you have a quick and easy gift worth giving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Week 36 Poppy Seed Update


How far along? Pictures taken at 36 weeks, 3 days

Size of baby? about 6lbs, 18" long

Weight gain/loss? +22lbs

Maternity clothes? Yep

Stretch marks? Nope, although my skin is starting to feel like it can't possibly stretch any farther.

Sleep? I am tossing and turning a lot - having trouble getting comfortable most nights. I only sleep for a couple of hours before I'm awake to use the bathroom and then the getting comfortable process starts again.

Best moments this week month? We've done the labor and delivery tour at the hospital; the L&D floor is currently being remodeled, so that should make things...interesting. We've also selected a doula and started pre-natal appointments with her. I've got most of her things washed and ready to go. BD's been helping me get stuff organized in her room, and we finished buying the last few things we need for her. 

Food cravings/aversions? I'm having totally random cravings, most of which pass before I ever even get to indulge - one day last week it was fresh pineapple; today it was gingersnap cookies.


Gender? Girl! Recently I've been telling BD that I am looking for clothes for her that are other colors besides light pink or light purple. At this point he only listens with one ear when I talk about baby clothes. Fast forward to the other night, when he was putting away clothes in her drawer as I folded them. He opened the drawer where the newborn sized clothes are and exclaimed, "OMG! This whole drawer is pink! We have got to find some other colors for her."

Belly button in or out? Still flat.

Movement? She's rockin' and rollin' in there all the time. One day recently I was lying on the couch on my side and just happened to have my hand on my belly. She kicked hard enough right against my hand, and I could feel it was her foot! BD felt it too a few minutes later. It was equal parts freaky and cool.

What I miss? I still have morning sickness on occasion and on those days I have a low-level nausea throughout the day. So I miss feeling normal and not nauseous. Also: I miss bending over easily. 

What I'm looking forward to? This probably sounds weird but I'm looking forward to her birth; I'm ready to have this little girl in my arms instead of in my belly.

How's Mommy feeling? Overall physically I'm feeling fine - last week I started having some swelling in my feet and ankles. After water aerobics and being really diligent about keeping my feet up, it seems to be gone for the most part. Overall emotionally I'm feeling pretty relaxed (how unlike me!) and finally feeling the nesting instinct kick in.


How's Daddy feeling? Ready to finish the prep work (i.e., Mommy's never ending to-do list) so hopefully we'll have some time to relax before she gets here.

Milestones? Officially full-term in just a few days!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tales of the Tail: Comfy

I know it is well documented on this blog already, but once again Kip proves that being comfy comes in a variety of places and positions.








Friday, May 4, 2012

Celebrating Poppy Seed

We were lucky enough to have three baby showers to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our Poppy Seed.

The first one was hosted at my house by two of my close girlfriends. My mom and sister, and BD's mom and step-mom were all able to come up for this shower, so that made it really special. I invited a mix of personal friends and work friends, and we had a good turnout, with lots of great food and cute decorations.

Plus it was the first time we'd had a big group over to the new house so that kicked our butts in gear to finish some lingering projects. The house is definitely still a work in progress but we did get a few things marked off the to-do list in time for the shower.

BD and me and that "big" belly, being silly:

(pic taken at 30wks, 6days)

Mantel decorations and gifts table. We got a great mix of cute/girly and practical gifts for Poppy Seed.


The next shower was hosted by my Junior League girlfriends. This shower had a "Buttons and Bows" theme which was very cute! They had a hairbow/headband making station, so in addition to a bunch of great gifts, I went home with handmade hair accessories for her.

Decorations:


"Button" cupcakes:


Opening gifts:

 (pic taken at 34wks)

Our third shower was a work shower. BD and I work for the same company, so it was very fun to do a shower together.

(pic taken at 34wks, 4 days)

Gift table:


Since so many people were invited to this shower, they decided to do it potluck style. There was a ton of food!



It was really nice to have BD there to share some of the spotlight with me. He is much more outgoing than me and doesn't mind being the center of attention. So we had fun with him opening gifts and "pretending" to not know what it was, telling funny stories, etc.

He was really thrilled with these UNC onesies; he is planning big to take Poppy Seed to basketball games next season, so I am glad she will have the appropriate attire! 


Now we are down to the final few things that we still need for her, which is good because she'll be here in just a few short weeks!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tales of the Tail: Not the Only Child for Much Longer

Kip is soaking up his last few weeks (days?) of being the center of our attention.


There will be a baby here soon, which is going to throw us all for a loop, but I'll be home with them both for the next 6 months, so hopefully that will make up for the interruption in his routine.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Pie


We've had such a mild winter and warm spring that the NC strawberries are already in season; this is about four to six weeks earlier than usual. There are lots of local u-pick farms, but since it is getting more and more difficult every day to reach my toes, I just bought a couple of pounds from the grocery when they were on sale last week. I went a little overboard with the 4lb/$6 sale, so I knew I better find a way to use a lot of them before they went bad.

 Have you guys ever had the Strawberry Pie at Shoney's? I decided to recreate that pie.


Here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients:
*1 (9-inch) pie crust, baked and cooled
*3 pts. strawberries, hulled (5 cups)
*1 C sugar
*3 TBSP cornstarch
*1 TBSP lemon juice
*1/2 tsp. almond extract
 

Place 1/2 strawberries in a saucepan.  Mash, add sugar and cornstarch.  Cook slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes until thick.  Stir in lemon juice and almond extract.  Let stand to cool.  Add remaining whole berries.  Pour into pie shell.  Top with whipped cream.  Chill.