Tuesday, October 30, 2012

14 Weeks

It's still feeling a bit odd to write lately.  There are so many things going on, so many categories of life with things to write about, it's been hard to pin down and edit for me.  Baby stuff, natural disaster stuff, annoying election stuff, fun holiday preparedness stuff, amazing two big girls in our house stuff, Ian's ALMOST done with his phd stuff.  But sometimes when life feels a bit super full and muddled the best thing to do (for me) is just do something!  And well, writing about our sweet new baby on the way seems a good place to start.

::14 weeks::

I'm 14 weeks pregnant as of yesterday and FINALLY feeling mostly really good.  I haven't been all day nauseous in a week, now I'm just hoping to get some energy back soon and stop feeling like I'm going to pass out anytime I stand up.  That would be lovely.

I had an appointment this morning, my first official one this pregnancy (third baby laziness, whoops!), and everything looks great.  The little one's heartbeat was much easier to find and strong and steady in the 140s.  I stepped on the scale for the first time in over a year and by my calculations I may weigh about 2-3 pounds more than normal, moving on up!

We'll schedule the 20 week ultrasound next appointment, so wish me luck that in the next 4 weeks I can convince Ian that we are NOT finding out the gender.  He's pretty gung ho, but so am I and I'm the one growing and birthing our child so I get at least 1.5 votes, right?

::14 week NEW SWEATER!::

Other than the normal icky first trimester stuff I have actually been feeling pretty great.  I have been able to exercise normally (minus running more than 4 miles), eat normally (minus wine and copious amounts of coffee :o(, sleep normally (I still fit on my tummy!).  While I find myself excited to get a little tummy again I am also trying to relish in not having one for the time being because I know all too soon I'll feel huge and wish I was tummy-less again, and as Ian so kindly reminded me this morning "why are you worried?  you'll look VERY pregnant soon"  thanks sweet boy.

So for right now I'm relishing in needing no maternity clothes (yet!), enjoying hauling my girls around and playing with them normally while I still can, in general being me, just with a little one steadily growing away too.  I'm so looking forward to Halloween tomorrow.  Even if Ainsley is suddenly insisting on wearing her penguin costume from last year instead of her painstakingly created Heidi duds.  REALLY looking forward to getting all this halloween candy OUT of our house.  I think at least 1 of those gained pounds of mine is solely from that, I'd been doing so well!

On that note I'm off to do my favorite workout tape with Ainsley.  She LOVES to do all the calisthenics and stretching with me.  Ah my big sister helper girl. I cherish these alone times with her so much.  Hope you're all having a great day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meal Plan 10-22

Sometimes I don't know what I would do without the internet.  I guess I'd survive but we wouldn't be eating half as well that's for sure.  Thank you all for the great suggestions yesterday.  I have some great new things to try!

I've had almost 3 full days of not feeling sick, but still no real appetite do it's been hard to think of things to cook.  Thankfully we have lots in our freezer and two dinners out this week (one up at my grandma's, the other a banquet where Ian may win an award!), meaning I don't need to plan all too much.  Even so I couldn't go into this weird weather week (77 and rainy to 44 and sunny?!) without something in my arsenal!

homemade gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce, balsamic salad and ciabatta rolls
Italian meatballs with bowties and marinara, also with salad and rolls
butternut squash soup with croutons and banana bread (probably loosely based on this recipe)
marinated pork tenderloin with smashed sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli
breakfast for dinner (Joy of Cooking pancakes, sage sausage, fried eggs and strawberries)

and if I need it there's tons of lentil soup and chicken pot pie left from last week, ooh! and of course TJs potstickers and birds nests.  Ah, ok, now I feel better about this whole food thing this week.  Happy planning, cooking and eating!

Apple Dolls!

After weeks of agonizing, waiting and watching (and eventual hiding so my girls wouldn't go insane with impatience), our apple heads that once looked like this...

were FINALLY perfectly squunched and dried and ready to be made into delightful little old lady dolls.

I of course did not take an after picture of just the plain apples heads, but let me assure you, they look amazing.

We first sat down with our afternoon tea (ginger for mama, herbal with frozen berries for the girls), my old drawing board, paper and crayons and drew out what we wanted our dolls to look like.

Then we made tiny plush bodies out of ovals of muslin, stuffed with cotton, pipe cleaner arms and legs, and hair from wool roving, glued right on top.

The girls each chose fabric from my scrap bag for a simple dress.  And by simple I mean I didn't even hem them.  Ah, I really love those pinking shears some days.

To attach the fragile bodies to the heads I inserted a wooden skewer deep in the apple, cut it to the length of the body, put lots of tacky glue all over the base of the head and the skewer and attached the body.  They seem to be holding up well!

And well, the girls are kind of in love, that's all that matters...

Apple Dolls!  This may have to be a new fall tradition of ours.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Nuggets

I've started so many posts this week it's ridiculous.  In theory I'd like to have something meaningful to say but the reality is I'm plum tuckered out.  So how about the abridged life update version ok? ok.

This week has been good, slower but good.  The girls both came down with a cold bug, causing both to miss their first days of school (more because they looked worse than they felt).  This meant NO "free time" for mama this week and a whole lot of lounging and snuggling.  An ok trade off every once in a while I think.

In pregnancy land, I'm starting to get some energy back.  Spent the whole day Thursday SCOURING our main floor.  Surfaces haven't been this clean and decluttered in ages.  It feels amazing.  What does not feel amazing is all this nausea   I'm REALLY hoping that second trimester switch on Monday prooves miraculous.  As of yesterday I seem to finally have an appetite so there's hope!

Louise's playschool "twos news" day was such a success.  What started as a bit of a pain, trying to find a toddler appropriate article in the news is REALLY hard, ended with a delightful email from her teacher thanking Louise for being the ONLY kid in her class to bring in an article and for doing a little "public speaking" to boot.  My girl sure does love playschool.

I've finally delved into the halloween costumes.  Ainsley's Heidi costume is about 80% complete and Louise's baby goat costume is all cut out and ready to sew.  I'm excited for my girls.  They look so cute!

::bustled dirndl skirt made from an old pair of cotton lounge pants, vintage embroidered trim from darlybird.com, gathered apron made from an old crostitched pillowcase.  I have the vest all sewn and just need to make the holes for the lace up front and we're done!::

We're back into homemade gift giving mode after a solid 6 week respite from the crazy summer birthday present making.  Ainsley has a few friend's birthdays coming up and when I asked her what she wanted to give them she replied "hot cocoa mommy!" so I obliged.

I found this simple recipe online and we made a huge batch one afternoon this week.  Filled up a small jar for her friend and saved the rest for our own indulgence.  I think this would be such a great holiday gift, especially for those adults that are hard to shop for (it's DELICIOUS mixed with coffee.)

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

3 c. dried milk powder
2 c. powdered sugar
1.5 c. cocoa powder
1.5 c. white chocolate chips (I think milk chocolate would work equally well here)

Process in batches in a food processor.  Add 1/3 c. to 1 c. hot milk and enjoy.  DELICIOUS!

::the girls loved helping to mix up the cocoa::

::half naked with a skirt, or skirt over the grammy nightgown, 
pretty much standard afternoon attire these days::

I've started perusing for the few gifts we're going to purchase for the holidays and Ainsley's birthday.  Seeing as there's already so much I've picked up from garage sales and thrift shops I'm finding I'm quite choosy about what makes the cut.  One idea I was excited about was a mancala board for Ainsley.   She LOVES games and counting and anything that uses those tiny nimble fingers of hers.  Yet even on etsy I couldn't find quite what I wanted and the ones I did want were WAY too expensive.  So the other day in the midst of cleaning we made up our own game.  It works perfectly, cost us 85 cents for the rocks at IKEA (could be free if you collected your own), and we had a whole hour of fun (with lots more to come I know!)

:: two wooden salad bowls, 1 egg carton with the top removed, 48 game pieces (we used rocks, but marshmallows, buttons, marbles etc. could work well too)...whalla!  mancala!::

This morning we got all ready for a friend's birthday party.  Ainsley proudly helped make the wrapping paper and wrap up her hot cocoa.

Louise was pretty thrilled to help with the wrapping paper too.

And because as much as a 4 year old will love her own jar of cocoa mix I had to add a little something extra.  My new obsession of course, a little bo peep skirt, this time in soft flannel for the colder fall and winter weather.  Ian thought that bold floral print was a bit much with the sunshine ruffles, but I think that's what I like about it.  It's like a beautiful quirky quilt you get to wear, with ruffles!  I hope she likes it!

The girls had such fun at the party.  A princess dress up theme with crowns to color and treats galore. Thanks for all the Saturday morning fun Gigi!

So lots of good stuff this week.  I'm bummed that the girls colds and my last week of first trimester "blah" made it hard to get out much, but am savoring all the snuggles and fun indoors as we start to prepare for the full holiday season ahead.  

Happy Weekend to you all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Meal Plan 10-15

I'm still hanging on to those last bits of first trimester nausea which continues to make planning and cooking extra hard (you have 5 days sick tummy, FIVE DAYS!!!).  The good news?  I'm not eating much, our food spending for this month is lower than ever, and that Jimmy Johns with banana peppers that Ian got me this last weekend?  better than anything I've cooked for 2 weeks.

Having said that, it's still fall, my favorite ever cooking time of the year (well, this and Christmas treat cooking time, must I really say that outloud?) and being such I have to power ahead.

So this week I asked the family to help out with ideas, and unlike usual they actual came through!  Ian wanted tacos and Ainsley wanted "chicken pie".  Louise requested eggs, of course.  What a sweet predictable dumpling she is.

Meal Plan 10-15

ground beef tacos (made with penzeys taco spice) and TJS homemade flour tortillas
chicken pot pie made with rotisserie chicken
Ina Gartne's lentil sausage soup with homemade bread
oven baked pork chops with scalloped potatoes, applesauce and green beans
TJs pork potstickers and birds nests
ATKs deep dish pepperoni pizza with salad

I made my first apple crisp of the season last night and do believe I'll have to bake some spice cookies soon.  That sounds very very good.  Happy cooking!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Ah, so, life.  It's been kind of a doozy.  Feeling pretty settled in the telling everyone about new baby department, especially now that Ainsley's entire preschool knows ( I was wondering how long it would take her to spill the beans).  Feeling thankful that I'm starting to feel better, with whole chunks of productive NON nauseated time...yes!  Feeling like I'm finally getting into this school time groove.  Time for errands and fun, chores and down time.  We're getting it.

After weeks of holding my breath while literally ALL of the other children at both girls' schools came down with one thing or the other, a bug has hit them both.  Ainsley was down a bit this weekend, still sniffly and a bit not herself today.  Louise came down with it at approximately 2:47 this afternoon.  She was giggling and playing then her eyes glazed over and her temperature spiked.  Poor dumpling.  Looks like it will be a quiet morning for us two tomorrow.

The good news?  We've had lots of fun lately.  Heading to the conservatory for the first time since the weather has turned.  Enjoying the heck out of this cool beautiful weather and the abundance of freshly fallen leaves.  Oh, and of course the epic IKEA trek to get the girls bunkbed.  I can't believe my girls are big enough for a bunk bed in their big girl shared room.  I am delighted they are so happy with their new shared space.

:: conservatory::

::note their are hardly any photos of Ainsley, that girl owns the conservatory, oh but Louise, she's quite hard to catch herself these days::

::ah, that pencil grip, this girl's a natural::

:: counting fish::

::counting fish "teeooo", "teeoo, three, teeoo, three"::

::Louise and her lovebird::

::bunk bed love::

:: don't worry, Louise sleeps on bottom, and no way can those thighs fit through the rungs::

(fyi, this IKEA bed is 100% wood, took us about 2 hours to put together and after searching for WEEKS, even on craigslist, this is by far the most economical/sturdy option out there)

::the view out our bedroom window after our big storm Sunday, leaves EVERYWHERE::

::enjoying all those fallen jewels::

And just for fun, a few little things all my own, ok, I shared the food, a little.

::beer bread, my new favorite quick dinner accompaniment go to::

:: ATK deep dish pepperoni, mushroom and black olive deliciousness::

:: Ina Garten's Harvest Muffins in mini muffin snack form.
I sub white wheat flour in for AP and add a few Tablespoons of ground flax seed.  
These are SO GOOD!::

:: MY sweater!!!!, sooooo close::

Hope you all are having a good start to your weeks.  I hope Louise's bug passes quickly and that this beautiful fall sticks around for a while.  It's been good.