5 Years and Counting, plus places to stuff your face in Fayetteville

23 Aug

Amongst all the gushy declarations made on our 5th anniversary adventure to northwest AR, I think my favorite came from Ike: “At this point, we’re stuck with each other.” I couldn’t have put it any better myself.

Big smiles before our big dinner at James at the Mill.

Big smiles before our big dinner at James at the Mill.

After 5 (glorious) years of marriage, I’m left wondering what my life would be without this man. He’s the person who spends extra time in the morning making me a separate pot of decaf, the guy who buys me flowers when I have to get excessive blood drawn and that special someone who helps me with freelance projects when I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

Eagerly awaiting our food.

Eagerly awaiting our food.

We wake up talking, spend all day im-ing and then discuss our days on the way home. He’ll even come with me shopping.

I guess my life would be a decaf and flowerless wasteland filled with too much work and not enough talking? Bleak.

Not to say there haven’t been bumps on the road. We’ve dealt with our share of job loss with a special side serving of long-term hospitalization. We even get in fights now and again, and he holds the special honor of being the person I can get most ridiculously mad at. He’s seen me at my worst, but doesn’t resent me for it. And he can guide me gently out of those behavior ruts that make me feel guilty.

Picturesque view of the inn from James at the Mill.

Picturesque view of the inn from James at the Mill.

Even on our love nest weekend, we got in a spat over where to eat on Saturday night. We had made reservations to try out Tusks and Trotter. But after our fabulous 5-star dinner at James at the Mill (with a 5-star price tag to match) the night before, I was starting to doubt our choice. This Tusks place had a lot of large, meaty entrees for over $20 a pop.

Even the bread was fancy. Didn't stop me from eating it, though.

Even the bread was fancy. Didn’t stop me from eating it, though.

I just couldn’t imagine feeling good about a heavy meal with a hefty price. So, on the way to the restaurant I started to drop those subtle wife hints. “Are you sure you want to eat at this place?” “I don’t know what I feel like ordering there” and so on. Yes, I know. Even after 5 years, I still forget that being upfront is the best policy in a man-woman relationship.

My fancy chicken meal at James at the Inn. I really dug the risotto.

My fancy chicken meal at James at the Inn. I really dug the risotto.

Perceptive man that he is, Ike soon realized I wanted to ditch our reservation. At which point, I immediately reversed my position, and kept repeating, “No, it’ll be fun, let’s do it.” To which he emphatically refused.

We finally ended up in a McDonald’s parking lot at a “where should we eat standoff.” Ike knew he couldn’t have fun at a place I wasn’t going to enjoy, so (to my protestations) we picked another place.

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Really fancy chicken fried steak!

The night ended with seriously good grilled cheese sandwiches at Hammontree’s and apple pie at a local coffee shop. A sweet and savory conclusion to what could have been a disastrous evening. A testament to our maturing relationship? I think so.

Other trip highlights:

Our cozy room at the Inn at the Mill. I think we both enjoyed the robes more than anything.

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The aforementioned 5-star dinner at James at the Mill. Banana cake finished our feast.

The waiter said it was the chef's grandma's recipe. This lady knew what she was doing.

The waiter said it was the chef’s grandma’s recipe. This lady knew what she was doing.

Of course we ended up here on Saturday morning.

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From Washington to Warhol, Crystal Bridges did not disappoint.

They also have a cool Washington exhibit going on until September 30th, lots of hand-written notes and such.

They also have a cool Washington exhibit going on until September 30th, lots of hand-written notes and such.

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And seriously, why didn’t I think of an entire restaurant built around grilled cheese?

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This: an amazing cookie sandwich from Rick’s Bakery. I don’t think I can die completely satisfied with my cookie consumption without another one.

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Don’t want to forget the fancy crepes we had at Arsaga’s (like seriously mine had chocolate ganache, swoon).

I adore sweet breakfast. This definitely hit the spot.

I adore sweet breakfast. This definitely hit the spot.

Before we headed home, we got lost in a huge used book store! Elliott won the day here. I got two baby-centric books and that’s it.

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Enjoy your weekend! I get to spend mine celebrating my new baby cousin, Corinne. I should be back soon with more, thrilling life updates. Until then!

28 weeks. Hello 3rd trimester.

28 weeks. Hello 3rd trimester.

Current Thoughts: Homemade Granola & Natural Childbirth

9 Aug

The ramification of February 16, 2012 – our wreck – still likes to rear its not-so-pretty head every once in awhile. Case in point: not only did I learn I was slightly anemic and had to take the 3-hour glucose test at my last appointment, but my doctor told me that the anesthesiologists at our hospital wanted me to come in and talk to them about my back surgery/epidural potential.

Whew. Talk about an intense 15 minutes. It led up to a movie-worthy break down during breakfast. I think I scared poor Ike as I ripped up the instructions for the glucose test outside of Chick-Fil-A (yes, unfortunately this DID happen) and spitefully refused to eat my hashbrowns.

My prize for sucking it up and taking the 3-hour test. Ike is the BEST.

My prize for sucking it up and taking the 3-hour test. Ike is the BEST.

Thankfully, Ike still loves me AND I passed the glucose test (yay for eating ice cream in the 3rd trimester!). And in an effort to add more iron in my diet, I changed prenatal vitamins (no more chewies for me), bought a ton of spinach and attempted to snack on pumpkin seeds and dried apricot.

Unfortunately, baby E thinks pumpkin seeds are disgusting. So I only ate about 3 of the 1/4 C serving before giving up in disgust. But I didn’t want to waste the entire bag of treats or the iron potential, so I went to the internetz for a pumpkin seed solution.

After a few minutes, I had a lightbulb moment: homemade granola. If I’m honest with myself, and I like to be, granola bars are my very fave snack. So why not incorporate iron rich foods into something I already like?

The finished product! Click here for the inspiration blog. Thanks The Naptime Chef!

The finished product! Click here for the inspiration blog. Thanks The Naptime Chef!

I knew I found a winner when this recipe had pumpkin seeds AND dried apricots. I’ve been snacking on the bars all week, and I have to say, they are pretty yum. My only critique? A little too salty. Next time (and there will be a next time), I’ll back down from a 1/2 tsp for sure.

But the rest of the concept is great, especially the peanut butter/honey/rice crispy combo. Plus, they were super easy to make, stayed together much better than I thought they would AND disguise the taste of the dreaded pumpkin seed. Success!

If I get adventurous, I may try this delectable sounding pumpkin granola from skinny taste:

This looks yum!

This looks yum!

But it takes more fancy ingredients than I was willing to risk for my current projects. But along with homemade salad dressing, homemade cereal could be a fun upcoming project!

Ok, now back to the natural childbirth musings. After talking to an exceptionally helpful doctor, I was assured that despite my spinal fusion, I’m very likely to experience a “pain-free” birth with an epidural.

After seriously considering natural childbirth (by force, but still), I still think I might go for the drugs. Although The Business of Being Born (yes, that is how I spent last Friday night) makes a compelling argument for the beauty and even safety of natural childbirth, I just don’t know if I want to be in so much pain. And that’s my right.

Watch it, but be warned, you get to see ALL of Ricki Lake.

Watch it, but be warned, you get to see ALL of Ricki Lake.

As far as birth plans go, I would NOT like to be induced and to NOT have a C-section, and I’m really going to try and hold out for as long as possible on the drugs, but I’m not going to feel like a failure if (when) I go for relief.

My mom had an epi with me, and I don’t blame her one bit. I don’t have any weird disorders, and I’d say we’ve bonded pretty well over the last 27 years.

Bottom line: I want a healthy baby! So even if this rudimentary plan is derailed, the outcome will still be wonderful if we both come out healthy and happy.

Here’s the details on the granola if you want em:

Mix all of these in a bowl:

Dry ingredients, so healthy, I think.

Dry ingredients, so healthy, I think.

1/4 C sunflower seeds (I think I bought some salted ones which could have contributed to my problem)

1/4 C unsalted roasted peanuts (oops, on the salted again)

1/4 C raw pumpkin seeds

3/4 C Rice Krispies

1/4 C sliced dried apricots

1/4 C dried cranberries (I skipped this this time, but I’m sure it would be great with them)

1/2 tsp sea salt (start with less!)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

The BEST part.

The BEST part.

Microwave these two in a big glass bowl for 30 seconds.

1/4 C peanut butter

1/4 C honey

Add your nutty mixture to the honey/peanut butter. Press delish gooey mixture into a waxed paper-lined loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and gently press down so your mixture spreads evenly. Finally, cover again with plastic and stick in the fridge. Let it firm up for at least 2 hours. Cut into (nearly equal) bars.

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I keep mine in the fridge and just get out what I want for the day. I think they’ll stay better formed that way.

I’ve taken up enough of your time, so I’ll say goodbye and have a great weekend!

Ode to Buster: Thoughts on the coming baby, his 5th birthday and my latest attempt at making homemade treats*

26 Jul

*Maybe it should have been titled Eau de Buster, he is also a smelly little guy.

With D-day quickly approaching (just about 15 weeks to go!) I’m reassessing just about every inch of my life. From what I eat (ugh, eating for two is actually a lot of pressure) to what I watch to, you know, how NOT to screw up a tiny human.

Me at 24 weeks! No more imaginary bump.

Me at 24 weeks! No more imaginary bump.

Buster, our now 5-year-old Cairn terrier, is also on that list. In our half-decade relationship, Buster has been busy hunting flies and teaching Ike and I a healthy dose of patience. Not only has his over-active prey drive caused him to be run over by a moped and a car (and come out miraculously unscathed, btw), but also to basically hate every other dog. Talk about some awkward walks.

In a up-to-this-point unblogged incident, Buster nearly ruined Christmas 2009. Gather ‘round children:

He was staying at my parents house in Houston as we were enjoying Christmas with the Peters in LR. When we were literally less than an hour away from home, my sister called. Buster and my rents’ Boston Terrier had gotten in a fight and my dad reached in…long story short, my Dad lost the tip of his left ring finger. The horror!

After a lot of crying, we decided that we owed it to Buster (who is 99% of the time a great little pal) to give him another chance. He has never intentionally bitten a human, so this was just a case of wrong place, wrong time for my dad’s finger (now lovingly dubbed “nubby”).

But this incident and several snapping (but not biting) incidents with the nieces and nephew, has weighed heavily on my mind as the aforementioned D-day approaches.

Honestly, the cons (smelly, expensive, time-consuming, crate-pooping) of Buster do stack up. And that’s not to mention the big aggression issue.

I keep thinking, I’ll never forgive myself if he bites/maimes another person.

Yet, through it all, I also still can’t bring myself to give him up. I love him and he’s been a pet project (literally, wink wink) for years. He’s a great friend, most of the time, and he’s cute and sweet.

And how do you find a home for such a creature? Free to a good home with NO pets, NO kids and NO sudden movements?

Don’t worry, we’ve decided to give him a trial run, based on a very strict no growling at Baby Elliott policy.

The b-day boy.

The b-day boy.

So this post is an Ode to Buster and what he’s been in my life for the 5 kidless years of my marriage. Thank you for being my constant companion at home, a (usually) great walking partner and eager taste tester for my homemade treats. No offense to Ike, but you are a better couch cuddler.

Wow. I just made myself cry. Pregnancy hormones anyone? I think I’ve got more than enough.

On to the good stuff:

The source! The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs by Donna Twichell Roberts

The source! The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs by Donna Twichell Roberts

To memorialize his 5th year, I tried out a new dog-treat recipe. He seemed to love it. Just combine all ingredients in a big bowl, roll out the dough and cut into your fave shape. The only word of caution: You will need to add more moisture to the dough to roll it out.

The ingredients:

4 C whole wheat flour

2 C old-fashioned oatmeal

1 1/4 C water (more to hold everything together)

1/4 C minced apple (I used my handy-dandy food processor, it worked like a charm)

3 T ground cinnamon

2 T vegetable oil

2 T honey

1 T cloves (I didn’t feel like buying a $5 ingredient for dog treats, so I subbed nutmeg for cloves, Buster didn’t seem to mind)

Hunting a fly. Poor guy, I don't think he's ever caught one.

Hunting a fly. Poor guy, I don’t think he’s ever caught one.

Anxiously awaiting the snacks while I roll and roll and roll out the dough.

Anxiously awaiting the snacks while I roll and roll and roll out the dough.

I decided to share the wealth with some friends at work! Enjoy these cute faces, and have a great weekend!

Lola!

Lola!

Ty!

Ty!

Must-Watch Shows of Late: Undefeated & New Girl

19 Jul

After examining and reexamining our post-baby budget, I’ve decided that the monthly $8.71 that Netflix magics out of our account each month is totally worth it.  Case in point: Undefeated and New Girl.

Undefeated

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Ike KNEW he had to watch this documentary when his pal Eric told him something to the effect: “You have to have no soul NOT to be moved by this movie.” He was right. This 2 hour documentary chronicles the final season of volunteer coach Bill Courtney at an inner city high school in North Memphis.

If this were a feature film, it’d basically be the Blind Side (e.g., cheesy, but heartwarming all the same). But, the gritty reality of these kids’ lives and the incessant support of Courtney and his staff is not ONLY heartwarming, but inspiring!

Ike and I take a small part in the mentoring program at Silvercity Church at North Little Rock, and this movie got me pumped for the school year to start again. Even though mentoring is not always easy, I think this movie proves that dedicated time in a kid’s life can make a huge impact and I’m honored to take a part.

New Girl

NewGirl

Ok. This one is not as life-changing as my previous recommendation. BUT I will say, I haven’t laughed as hard or as consistently at a TV show in a long time. With The Office, 30 Rock and Parks and Rec all past their prime or over, I’ve had to struggle through shows that I used to LOL at a lot.

The premise seems familiar or even silly: 3 late-20s/30-something guys let a pretty girl move into their LA loft when she breaks up with her boyfriend. But after the first few episodes (and I did have to work through several to really start enjoying the show), I started falling in love with each of the character’s quirks and their dynamic as a whole.

And if I’m honest, other than the whole single thing, this show is about people my age dealing with “WHAT NOW?”. Which seems to be the theme for life after college (in my experience).

So if you like to laugh and you’re on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, this is probably the show for you.

This is the part where I tell you to have a great weekend, so I won’t disappoint! Have a good one, I’ll be back soon.

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Here’s a pic of The Coasts playing Midnight Oil in Searcy! Mixing it all up with a White Stripes cover.

Real Talk: Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Pregnant Lady

12 Jul

Disclaimer. If you are reading this, and feel like you may have said one of these things to me, PLEASE don’t worry. I love you and am not currently harboring any grudges (anymore). But no really, I’ve never had any pregnancy grudges…yet. This is more a word to the wise. Why not help make pregnant ladies’ lives a little easier?

For those of you who don’t know, pregnant women are sensitive. It’s not some sort of myth or old wives’ tale. And it’s not just all hormones (although, that’s probably a ton of it). No, especially from a first time mom perspective, we are facing some big life changes.

  • How will the baby change my relationship with my husband?
  • How will the baby change my budget?
  • What should I do about work? About childcare?
  • How do I mold a young mind into a responsible adult? I could go on all day.

And this doesn’t even include the more selfish ones like,

  • Will I lose this weight?
  • Will I get varicose veins or stretch marks or some other unalterable scar from this experience?
  • When will I wadddddle?? (AHHH!)

That was a long-winded way of saying: we’ve got a lot on our minds PLUS hormones making us a little cray cray. So, world, can you pitch in and not ask us stomach-churning questions? I sure hope so.

I’ll start with the positive.

Acceptable Pregnancy Questions/Phrases

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Meet Bob, my rents’ new BT puppy! He’s a lot of fun, and, as you can see, too cute for his own good.

How are you feeling? This is a perfect question, shows concern but is not too personal.

How far along are you? Warning: do not follow this by extreme surprise at the belly size after. How do you know what a pregnant belly should look like? Are you an OBGYN or midwife? Didn’t think so.

What are your nursery plans? This is usually a fun question to answer. But don’t press her if she still doesn’t have plans.

What are you craving? Just don’t be disappointed when it is as innocuous as “Green Salsa.” We all don’t have extreme cravings like Aunt Becky in Full House.

What are your names? Some people don’t want to share their name choices, so this also could be weird. However if she does, the appropriate answer is always a variation of “That’s so cute!”

Here’s what NOT to say in response:

  • I knew a HORRIBLE person named that!

  • Like the Twilight character? (let them tell you their inspiration, don’t just say the first reference that pops into your head. Maybe they like a name and are hoping an unfortunate reference will be irrelevant when their kid grows up)

  • That rhymes with…

  • What about this name?

What are you having? A generic “[Insert gender here] are so fun!” response is most welcome.

And, anytime people say stuff like, “You look great!” you give her at least a short reprieve from insecurities.

And here’s a crazy idea: just talk to her about normal stuff. Sometimes pregnancy can be all consuming, so a chat about the best TV shows and summer movies could be just the thing.

Now on to the DON’Ts.

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Here’s The Coasts playing White Water Tavern. They were great! (As always) Don’t miss their next show, K?

Here’s a pre-pregnancy one for you: When are you guys having kids? I’ve learned to insert foot in mouth with that one. You just don’t know when someone’s dealing with infertility or other health-related issues. Best not bring it up in a small-talk convo.

Are you pregnant? This seems like a how-to-interact-with-people no-brainer, but I thought I’d include this one just in case. You don’t want to give some lady a complex by asking if she’s pregnant.

You’re not really showing yet, it just looks like you are bloated. Ok, would you tell a non-pregnant person they look bloated? Is being bloated an attractive state? NO and NO.

This is a variation of the above: You look like you just ate a [insert fatty food here e.g. pizza, burrito, cheese burger] Nope, gluttony is also not something you usually accuse non-preggos of, so just don’t, K?

Any phrase that includes the word “waddle.”

Any observation of weight gain, fat or bigger [fill in body part].

Unless she volunteers the info, don’t go delving into the “Were you trying?” question. Personal! Not a normally acceptable topic of conversation, why is it suddenly so?

I’m not really big enough to invite belly touchers yet, but don’t do it. I don’t know why pregnancy seems like a magical time when you can touch strangers, but news flash: it isn’t.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here. And I hope you don’t feel like you have to walk on broken egg shells around pregnant ladies. BUT keeping the focus off the negatives (bloating, weight gain, waddling) and onto the positives (glowing, great name, fun nursery) would help when pregnant ladies are ALREADY ON THE EDGE. Oops, I did just yell at you, didn’t I?

Any experienced moms have something to add to my list?? Comment away.

Everyone else, have a good one! I’ll see ya soon.

Nursery Dreamin’

28 Jun

After the ultrasound tech said, “Yup, that’s a boy.” — and confirmed that little Elliott’s brain, spine and even lips were all on the path to healthy baby (yay!!) — my mind turned toward more pressing matters: nursery plans!

I’m not much into themes, but if I had to pick one, I’d go for Happy Baby! I want the colors to be bright, cheerful and hopefully not too difficult to transition to a “bigger boy” look.

We don’t have a lot yet, but here are the bare bones pieces.

Here’s the guest room as a guest room.

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Here’s the crib. Ike actually slept in there when he was a baby, isn’t that sweet?

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Current plans:

  • First step, turn the bed for a “day bed” look. I’ll find a coordinating blanket and bright pillows so it will go with the “Happy Baby” flow. I’m not ready to lose my guest room space. Elliott’s small so I doubt he’ll mind.

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    • May have to remove the big book shelf after we get the crib, dresser and a rocker in there. But don’t get the wrong idea, I want him to have tons of books!

    • I’ll be on the lookout for a dresser/changing table. Love the idea of a multi-tasking piece he can grow into. (Thanks to Amber for guidance on that one)

    • I want to paint the crib white. I think that will update the look and brighten the space in general. And by I, I mean, that’ll be a fun weekend project for Ike. 😉

    • I’d love for Kathy, Ike’s mom, to make a quilt for his bedding.

    • And with all my recent curtain success, I’m sure my mom and I will have good luck finding more curtain fabric out there.

    • I’ve commissioned Katie, Ike’s sister, to work on some custom art for the walls.

    • For now, I’m thinking I’ll keep things simple and leave the walls the color they are. With bright pillows and bedding I don’t think I’ll need bright walls as well.

    • Oh…and we need to clean out his closet.

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    And now, here’s what you actually want to see. Color palette inspiration. BIG surprise, I’m attracted to greens again. But in addition to white, I’m feeling the urge to add some orange in there.

     

Nursery1 Nursery2 Nursery3 Nursery4

What’d you think?? Am I achieving happy baby here? (All courtesy of Houzz, best decor app EVER).

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Here’s me at 21 weeks. Can you see him now? Really it depends on what I wear, but as of yesterday, I have no pants I can zip all the way (TMI? idk). So with slightly over 10 pounds gained (ok, 10-12!), I definitely feel bigger.

As always, I DEMAND you have a delightful weekend! I’m walking a 5K on Saturday and going to a good old-fashioned church potluck (so a calorie wash) on Sunday, be jealous.

Until next time!

Just Plain Good Carrot Cake

14 Jun

I’ve recently discovered that baking may just be my love language. Not only is baking cathartic, it also produces a delicious, sharable treat (aka a win win). Last Sunday, I showed my love to my father-in-law with an early Father’s Day present: Carrot Cake.

As the title suggests, this is a no frills (e.g. no nuts, no raisins, no other stuff that ruins cakes) recipe. The proportions of ingredients are even simple. No 3/4 cups or 1/8 teaspoons of anything. Just a cup of this and a cup of that. I love it.

It also works perfectly for Ike’s dad, who favors cookies in packages labeled “Cookies.” Get to know your audience, people!

Don’t get the wrong idea — this cream cheese icing-topped creation is unassuming, yes, but also truly decadent. Make a cup of hot coffee or grab a frosty cup of milk and eat it right out of the oven.

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First, I need to give credit where credit is due. I got this recipe from my mom who got it from this old-school Better Homes & Gardens greatest hits-type book.

The Prep:

  • Grease you desired pans. You can make this a 2-layer cake, but I’ve found nothing makes me more nervous than getting cakes out of pans (I know, I need to get out more). Plus, I like to ice this one while it’s hot, so I always go with a 13×9” sheet cake.

  • Pre-heat the oven to 325.

1. Gather The Dry 6: (could be a rad group of villains in a novel, maybe?)

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  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Yes, it is really that easy.

3. Gather the second wave of ingredients.

  • 3 cups shredded carrots

  • 1 cup cooking oil

  • 4 eggs

4. Mix them in with the dry 6. When combined, keep mixing about 2 minutes more on medium.

Love my KitchenAid! One of the best Christmas presents ever!

Love my KitchenAid! One of the best Christmas presents ever!

Carrot Tips

This may sound dumb, but I’ve found that 3 cups of whole baby carrots actually equals 3 cups of shredded baby carrots. I don’t know why I would think shredding would make it more or less, BUT I was an English major, right? (bum dum crash)

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And in other carrot news, I always use my food processor to achieve finely shredded status. Remember I’m anti-chunky cake.

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5. Now, just fold batter into greased pan of your choice.

6. Recipe suggests baking for 50-60 minutes. I usually set my timer for 40 or so and start checking. Nothing is more sad than a dry, over-baked cake (yes, I know that I need more hobbies).

7. Meanwhile make the cream cheese frosting. Don’t skip this step or you will regret it for-ev-er.

I seriously thought I had blogged cream cheese icing before, since it’s such an important fixture in my life and all. But alas, I can’t find my version of it, so here’s the Better Homes & Gardens recipe for you.

6. Now, all that’s left for you to do? Get the cake out of the oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Then Ice, Ice Baby.

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8. Enjoy with friends and family!

Have a sweet-treat filled weekend! See ya soon.

Havingababyit’sa…

7 Jun

You’re right. If you are lucky enough to be friends with my (adorably excited) husband, you already know. Baby Peters is a ……….

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Dramatic Pause for those of you who aren’t lucky enough to be on the Ike Peters train………

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We tried to “trick” people with pink icing, not sure if it worked, but it was fun to try!

Yes, those cookies do say boy.

I realize my makeshift cookie creation may not become a pinterest sensation, but they were made with love (blah, blah) AND they tasted delicious.

I admit I didn’t really understand gender reveal parties. Why have them? What are people supposed to say? Boooo, it’s a boy? Aren’t they supposed to be excited no matter what? Then why? Why do people have them? (short sample of my stream of consciousness about a week ago).

Tried to make the table fancy!

Tried to make the table fancy!

After hosting a low-key event of my own, I’ve decided that they are roughly equivalent to engagement parties. In other words, just a time to celebrate an exciting event in your friends’ lives. Without presents and with plenty of sweet treats. (aka, my kind of gathering!).

So no, I don’t love dramatic surprises or being the center of attention, but I did love celebrating my baby boy with my friends. I’d do it again with baby #2 (no, we’re not having twins).

I let Ike make the creamer labels, isn't he cute?

I let Ike make the creamer labels, isn’t he cute?

Here’s part 2 of my (stolen thunder, thanks again, Ike:) announcement. His name. After the doctor saw baby’s “3rd leg” (lol), Ike and I immediately started brainstorming. The name we had decided on pre-ultrasound? Finn.

Why? It sounded cool. I bounced it off some co-workers and one girl said, “Oh, like from Glee.” WAIT a minute! That gave both Ike and I pause. Sure, my name was inspired by Dynasty’s antagonist, so in 27 years no one would remember our kid was named after Glee.

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But it reminded both of us that maybe we hadn’t thought this through. Thus, back to the drawing board.

Our new criteria:

1. The name had to have meaning

2. The name couldn’t be on recent top 100 names lists

3. The name needed to sound good and not spell anything weird with the middle name Edward

After narrowing it down we finally found one that fit all 3. Ok, we’ll do a quick drumroll again…

Sigh, yes. The cookies say Elliott. Do you get the clue?*

Meaning

The meaning for this name is twofold for the the Peters family.

A) Growing up (and probably forever), Ike’s favorite movie was/is E.T. Like he has threatened to get an E.T./Elliott flying over the moon tattoo on his chest. That is devotion. As far as characters go, Elliott’s not so bad. Other than his love of Reese’s Pieces, he also thirsts for deeper relationships in the midst of growing up.

*Ding ding! That’s why I made these amazing double chocolate chunk Reese’s Pieces cookies.

Reeses Pieces Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Picky Palate

My first Picky Palate recipe, I was very impressed. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, this is a must-try!

B) This next discovery pushed this name from the maaaaaybe pile, into the it’s perfect pile instantly. Of Hebrew origin, Elliott means: Lord my God.

So, not only is Elliott inspired by my movie-loving husband’s all-time favorite movie, but it more importantly means all that we hope for the little guy. That he will grow up to know the Lord his God. Perfect? I think so.

Popularity

Although Elliott (2 t’s, sorry, little one, we’ve strapped you with saying that for the rest of your life), is climbing the name popularity charts, it has never cracked the top 100 in the last 200 years. He may meet an Elliott or 2 along the way, but I don’t think he’ll have one in his class every year. I hope.

General Flow

 And lastly, we wanted to honor our fathers with baby’s middle name. For a girl, we would/will go with Stacy for Ike’s dad (sorry, yes, we are girl-ifying it). So for a boy we are going with Edward for my dad, NOT from Twilight.

Elliott Edward seems to have a nice ring to us. If you don’t think so — keep it to yourself, we’re committed.

That is quite enough for this morning. I demand you have a wonderful weekend! See ya soon!

Summer Shoes

31 May

My feet (fingers crossed, I know) are part of my body that won’t be growing too much over the next few months. So, when Ike bought some much-needed work clothes a few weeks ago, I used my best puppy-dog face to score a couple new pairs of shoes on our outing for…just because.

Without further ado, here they are:

Pair #1: Flat Espadrilles

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Without putting on my shoe-blogger hat too firmly, espadrilles are those summerly classics with a braided detail around the midsole. These days you’ll see them in wedge form most often, but the originals were flats, like mine! You like?

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I love just slipping them on with dresses and heading out the door. They have the casual ease of a sneaker with the added fun of summery canvas with a touch of shimmer.

Pair #2: Wedge Sandals

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There’s something so feminine about adding a little height to your step. I usually avoid tall shoes A) because Ike and I are the same height and B) because I have basically no practice and feel like I’m on stilts all day. But these mid-height wedges are super comfy and stable, and Ike and I just get over our temporary height difference:)

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These are also great with dresses and even cropped pants. I have decided that the light tan goes with everything and that the thin ankle strap is leg-lengthening. In other words, I’ll be wearing these a lot!

Baby Update:

At our appointment on Wednesday, our doctor gave us her best guess on Baby Peters’ gender! We are doing a low-key gender/name reveal on Sunday with our small group from church…which means, I’ll cover that shindig next week!

To tide the 2 or 3 of you who care over until then…here is a belly pic I took after the appointment I’d say I’m late 16/ early 17 weeks here.

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Sorry, not too impressive I know. I’m sure I’ll pop soon?

See ya soon!

Skinnytaste: It’s What’s for Dinner

24 May

Real talk: after the nausea-laden, is-my-baby-really-in-there worries of the 1st trimester, I’ve moved on to (selfish?) 2nd trimester woes. I’m stressing about gaining weight. I know that’s part of it. And I’ll be beautiful and blah blah, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for the scale and I to explore uncharted territory (we’re already dangerously close!)

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You need to go to there.

It isn’t all purely cosmetic (although, that’s like 90%). The other more noble 10  percent came from my spinal surgeon. I asked him what precautions I should take during pregnancy because of my fusion, and he said he said “just don’t gain a lot of weight.” Well, alright then.

Easier said than done when my little cohabitator seems to want hourly snacks:) So, I need to find a way to eat a lot of HEALTHY food.

Ike and I already eat at home most of the time. For one, it’s usually healthier and two we’re cheap (sorry if you’re our friend, we’re boring I know)! So, when a friend recommended this recipe, I fell in love. Not only with the cheesy, saucy, sausage-y dish, but with the whole concept of Skinnytaste. Because that’s exactly what it is.

Baked-Pasta-with-Sausage-and-Spinach

Baked Pasta with Sausage & Spinach, aka HEAVENLY.

Here are the tasty, “skinny” recipes we’ve tried so far: I’d recommend all of them!! And be willing to try more. Hope you find a delicious meal there soon, too!

Spring Stir Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

Spring Stir Fried Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Carrots

Pasta with Asparagus

Pasta with Asparagus

Happppppppy Friday! Think of me when you’re all off on Memorial Day (complaining about working the holiday is officially……..over.)
See ya soon!