Sunday, July 31, 2011

She'll be comin' around the mountain when she comes

In just a couple days I'll be entering the third trimester...hooray!  Things have been going really well and for that, I could not be more grateful.  I haven't gained that much weight, relatively speaking.  I do expect to pack on a few more lbs in the next 3 months.  I don't want to jinx myself, but I may be one of those women who other pregnant women hate.  Other than lots of throwing up for the first 24 weeks, I haven't had many other horrible pregnancy symptoms.  So far the only swelling I've had was when we went on vacation and I sat for too long in the car.  I've only gotten bigger where the baby is and a little in my face, but again, I think I'll get more round in the next few weeks.  I expect to develop a double chin.  Or maybe a triple.  Go big or go home, right?

I consider myself very blessed, even through all of the throwing up and stretch marks, that I have been able to carry this baby as far as I have.  I recognize that conception itself is a miracle and that every other little development is significant in its own right.  I would never have chosen to become pregnant because I don't like to be in situations in which I'm not in control.  If you need a little lesson in total dependence on the Lord, get pregnant or start an adoption! 

She is starting to kick me super hard these days.  It's so cool to have her kick my hand off of my stomach!  I love to look down and just see her twirling around.  It's also very reassuring.  I am a big worrier but I have really been at peace this whole time with everything.  What a nice change of pace!  Perhaps that will mean some lifestyle changes even after she's born.

Here are some things I can no longer do that no one warned me about.
*I can't fit in most bathroom stalls.  They're shrinking everywhere.  It's an epidemic, and it must be stopped.
*Paint my toe nails.  I wasn't aware that I needed to budget for pedicures.  I'm considering setting up a Paypal to rectify this situation.
*Sleep.  I. CAN'T. SLEEP.  No amount of pillows, pee breaks, and fans can help me sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time. 
*Exercise anonymity.  I'm a wallflower.  I would rather have the floors open up and suck me down than to have people notice me.  But now, everywhere I go, people are staring.  Not at me, but at my belly.  Can you actually see my belly button holding on for dear life? 

On the flip side, here are some new things that I can do.
*I feel beautiful.  There, I said it. 
*Grow people.  Obviously.
*Plan ahead.  I consider myself a dreamer, but that is definitely not the same as a planner.  Planning takes organization.  I have already decided what she will wear in her newborn pictures, planned her first birthday party, and chosen where she will attend college.  Just kidding about that last one.

Here's to the third trimester!

Friday, July 29, 2011

This is so me

I found this and had to share.  If you know me at all, you know that I hate all things sweaty, including camping.  I don't hate working out, because I can do that inside.  I like s'mores, campfires, and sitting on the porch, but not if there are bugs present or the temperature rises above 73 degrees.  And please don't ever ask me to sleep outdoors.  I do not understand people who own tents, hiking boots, and bug spray.  I'll take the concrete jungles of the city over trees and nature any day.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yard Sale Week

I had a yard sale about 3 years ago and swore I would never do it again.  Here I am though, preparing for another one.  "It will be better than last time", I keep telling myself. The last one was in Fort Worth, TX and it was approximately 437 degrees outside.  This Saturday's forcast is for far. 

It is much easier to load everything up and take it to Goodwill, but I thought I'd try to make a little cash off of it first.  Because doing 139 hours of sorting, cleaning, labelling, and not to mention trying to duct tape poster board to stop signs is totally worth the $60 I'll make.  Right???

I mean really, what ever possesses a person to think someone else will want to buy the things they don't want anymore?  In this town, yard "sailing" is a sport.  There are people that literally have one every weekend.  Seriously, after 1 or 2 days no one is going to buy your stuff. 

If you're local, I hope you'll come on out this Saturday starting at 7am.  I'm feeling ambitious enough at this point to have a pot of coffee and some muffins on the front porch so if nothing else, come on by and say hi. 

We've got kitchen gadgets, grilling tools, Christmas decor, small furniture, cookbooks [like a million], ipod accessories, and women's clothing in the various sizes I've been over the past few years---to name a few.  I have a set of Southern Living hard-cover cookbooks from 1979-2000.  You ever know what you're going to find at a yard sale, but there are some cute things I've purchased but just never used. 

Hopefully I can make it through the next 3 days without going crazy from all the things piled up.  I've tried to keep it in the guest room but it's starting to take over the rest of the house.  Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How I Make Zucchini Bread

A couple of weeks ago I made about 8 loaves of zucchini bread thanks to these babies:

We don't have a garden but we love it when our friends who do deliver summer's bounty to our door.  What people forget, I assume, is that zucchini multiplies by a gagillion overnight and they must find people to give it to.  And those people are us.  :)

We were going on vacation but were stopping to see friends along the way, so of course we had to bring them something.  And my in-laws/grandmother-in-law were taking care of our dog so we needed to get them something.  So I got out my loaf pans and got baking.  Everyone absolutely loved this recipe.  I'm not one to toot my own horn, but it is pretty amazing.  They told me how much they don't normally like this type of bread because it's too dense, not sweet enough, etc.  I've never met a bread I didn't like so I couldn't relate, but I did want to share my recipe with you just in case you're looking for a great version of this bread.

The first thing you should do is shred your zukes.  Do you mind if I call them "zukes"?  It's much shorter to type and more fun to say.  I like to use my food processor because it only takes about 4 seconds but if you don't have one, or if you need a bicep workout, by all means use your regular shredder.  After the zukes are shredded, place them in a colander, on paper towells, or some other method of draining so you can get as much water out of them as possible.  Like so:

While you're preparing the recipe most of the water should drain off, and you can squeeze it to help it along.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups white whole wheat flour
*you could use any combination of flours that you prefer
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 tsp cinnamon [at least 3!]
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zuke

Preheat your oven to 325.  Lightly oil [or butter] and flour 2 loaf pans.  I also did a combo of 1 large loaf pan and 4 mini loaves, just don't bake the mini loaves as long.

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, mix the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until just combined.  Fold in the zuke.

Bake the large loaf pans for around 50 minutes and the minis for around 30. 

This bread is amazing.  It kind of smells like a snickerdoodle [because of the cinnamon] and stays moist for 3-4 days.  I stored it at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


After 13 long hours in the car, we made it home from the beach.  I wouldn't recommend travelling that far when you're as pregnant as I am, by the way.  I can't even stand up today.  It didn't start out as a 13 hour trip, but when you have to pee every 15 minutes and also need to stop in Asheville during rush hour to find a certain ice cream shop, the trip takes a bit longer. 

I have been vacationing at Holden Beach, NC since 1995.  It's a great location because it's small but within an hour of Wilmington or Myrtle Beach.  My mom's parents moved there from FL when I was 12.  It was pretty cool to get to visit your grandparents who also happened live on the coast.  We lived in NC as well, but in the central part of the state.  After living in 2 other states, my parents moved to Holden Beach in 2005 and were followed by my other grandparents.  Also, my great-grandparents lived there until they passed away. They hadn't all lived in the same town since I was a small child so it's been really nice for the past few years to have them all together.  Selfishly speaking of course; when you move around like we have it's nice to only have to visit one place to see everyone.  When we first got married and lived in Fort Worth I think I got to visit them once.  Living in Atlanta was perfect because we were only about 7 hours from my family [and the same from my husband's family].  Now we live 2 hours from my inlaws and 11 from my parents. 
We got to celebrate my mom's birthday with her.  I'm not sure when the last time I was there for that, so it was great.  We went to a neat shopping center in Myrtle Beach where mom got to shop at Anthropologie and eat P.F. Chang's.  If you need a great gluten-free menu, definitely utilize P.F. Chang's.
Here's Justin with my mom's flourless chocolate cake.  He thought it would be funny to reverse her age.  I don't care if you need to eat gluten-free or not, this cake is h.e.a.v.e.n.l.y.
Here's a picture with my and the proud grandparents.  They have 2 on the way, the other being supplied by my brother and his wife. 
I have noticed that people always seem to be willing to stop and take your picture when you are either obvious honeymooners or pregnant.  This was our last morning at the beach.  It was HOT.  But, I chose to sacrifice my comfort for that of others; wouldn't have wanted to disturb anyone else's peaceful morning by waddling around in my swimsuit...haha.  We also wrote the baby's name in the sand and took some pictures of that but you can't see those.  :)

So now it's back to real life, I suppose.  Justin begrudgingly went into work this morning and I will eventually start the laundry.  It's time to buckle down and start getting the baby's room ready.  We were tremendously blessed by my family and friends of theirs in that we received many of our big needs.  She also has more clothes than she will need for her first 6 months thanks to a generous donation from a family friend.  It's time to wind down this last week of the second trimester and start really getting ready.  Although, I'm not sure what I'm getting ready for...ha. 

Here's to babymooning!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where you at?

I don't know what you've been up to, but I'm at the beach.  Well, visiting my parents and grandparents, who just happen to live on the NC coast.  It's not bad... :)

Of course, we've been here for a few days already and although I've smelled the salty air and heard the waves crashing to and fro, I haven't actually put my toes in the sand.  Is that lame?  Yes, yes it is.  I think that happens when the beach isn't really a novelty.  We'll be out there later today though, don't you worry.

Naturally, I'm without my card reader.  What kind of person would I be if I remembered everything?  So sorry, but there'll be no pictures until we get home.  And there won't be any of me on the beach, because pregnant and lycra don't go together...not in my world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Things I Cannot Change

The smell of last night's supper lingers as I fumble out of bed, reminding me that I didn't do the dishes.  Twisting open the blinds I see the remnants of a rainy night, clouds still hanging overhead.  How fitting, I think.

Everything isn't always cupcakes and cookies.  It seems strange to me that in this joyous season of preparing for baby that we would be facing some of the biggest challenges of our marriage, of our adulthood.  When one is in the storms of life, one's own reassurance can only go so far.  "At least we're in this together," I'll say.  "Things could always be worse."  Sentences like that are just band-aids.  They put a cover on the cuts just for a moment, but the cuts are still there.

It's tough to walk around in a glass house.

Do you ever struggle like this?  Vague references aside, if you know how I feel we are kindred.  As Christ-followers, we have a Hope.  We have a responsibility to our Joy and cannot teeter away from it.  We cannot let the enemy creep in and destroy what is rightfully ours, even if the enemy comes dressed in a suit and tie with a cross lapel.  These words from Beth Moore bring comfort: "Our God is FAITHFUL.  We will see.  And until then, we believe.  Hold unswervingly." 

"Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31
If you're in a tough spot like we are, let's fight together.  Put on your armor and move forward.  Know that you are not alone.  Ask for help.  Accept that there are things you cannot change, but there are some things you can still control even in the midst of intense struggle.  I believe the true test of our loyalty to Christ is in how we handle negative situations.  We can scream and curse and throw things if we want [and sometimes, believe me, we need to], but we also need to look for how God is using this situation to bring glory to Himself.  We live in an imperfect world, serving imperfect people.  And guess what?  We're not perfect either!  And we certainly aren't immune to tragedy. 

Let us hold unswervingly as we wait.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot, hot, hot

When the heat turns way up in the summer, I always like to look at photos from the winter to remind myself that these temperatures won't last.  My thermometer says it's 86 degrees, but the heat index is a full twenty degrees higher.  I like to blame Al Gore for these know, because of global warming.  If only I had his phone number. 

Of course if you know me at all, you know I'd never actually call him.  I'm more of an email/facebook/twitter person.  Texting is even a bit invasive, if you ask me.  I can't help it. 

In the midst of all this summer heat I was just wondering what you like to do during these long, hot summer days?  Swim?  Shop?  Read?  Go to the movies? 

I've never been much of a pool person, but two years ago I finally broke down and bought a swimsuit after 9 years of not owning one.  For the past 2 summers, I've looked great in my little tankini.  This year...not so much.  The bold diagonal stripes have now turned into squiggly lines and what was once a modest fit is now, well, not-- thanks to the growing little girl in my belly. 

Speaking of my daughter, due to her impending arrival I have been on a major down-sizing kick.  I've decided to have a yard sale when we return from our vacation.  My husband better watch out because anything that isn't nailed down may just be headed out the door with a neon sticker on it.  I think this is what they refer to as "nesting".

Organizing and cleaning may not sound like the best way to spend your summer, but I hope you are finding a constructive way to spend the time.  Sewing, crafting, planning a BBQ for your friends..just a few suggestions for you. 

As for me, I'll just be here on the couch in between thinking of things to sell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My First Wedding

On June 30 I had the opportunity to provide the wedding cupcakes/cake for the wedding of some friends.

The wedding was held in beautiful White Hall, located in Louisville, KY.

There were 3 flavors of cupcakes: vanilla with vanilla buttercream, topped with sugar pearls, mocha with vanilla buttercream, topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean, and of course red velvet, topped with red velvet cake crumbs.  The cake was an 8x8 3 layer chocolate cake with simple dots piped along the lines and a few sugar pearls around the edges.  We had to round up some artificial flowers to put on the top due to the lack of anything else, but it ended up looking ok.

It was a great experience, but definitely a bit too much for being as pregnant as I am.  It always feels great to get in the kitchen and create something that people will enjoy, but the ugly side of baking for others is the perfectionist inside of me.  I worried that the bride's mom wouldn't like the way they looked. I worried that even though I've made these recipes a hundred times that they wouldn't turn out right.  And of course, I worried the entire hour and a half drive with these all packed in my trunk in the middle of the summer heat.  Fortunately, we only lost a few cupcakes and I had a piping bag and an offset spatula with me to correct the few problems we had.  I now understand why most bakeries will only deliver within a 10-15 mile radius!  I had great boxes with inserts to stabilize the cupcakes, but they weren't perfect.  I spoke with the bride and groom this morning and they told me that they had heard many people say that they were the best cupcakes they'd ever eaten.  Even though I can pick at the tiny imperfections that I see, I can't argue with that statement.  I was very pleased and look forward to the next time I get to do this.

It was a smash!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ode to Lattes

What is it about lattes that is so darn wonderful

I woke up this morning wanting one.  I pleaded on twitter for someone to bring me one.  Even if someone had obliged, there's no place around here to get one unless you make it yourself. 

What kind of coffee drinker are you?

Let's start with the beans.  We buy ours from a local roaster and grind them just before brewing.  We don't use a regular coffee pot.  I have in the past, and will when we have company, but I prefer my French press.  That way I use no electricity [except to boil the water] and it makes the coffee very hot.  Of course, always use filtered water in whatever coffee brewing method you desire.

I don't have an espresso machine.  I just pour about a half cup of coffee, add in some raw sugar and steamed milk.  I "steam" the milk by heating it on the stove and using my emersion blender frother attachment to get foam.  But you can also do this with a whisk.  No special equipment needed, really.  Then you can sprinkle it with cinnamon or cocoa and feel very fancy as you sit in your chair in your pjs-- even it is 11am. 

I think my favorite part about lattes is the foam.  I do not like dry foam.  It needs to be heavy and wet.  I used to work at Starbucks so I figured out how I like things.  :)  The foam is like its little hat, keeping all the heat in. 

I like iced lattes too, but that one I haven't been able to do at home.  I do not like iced coffee.  Justin keeps a pitcher in the fridge for himself but I just do. not. like. it. 

It's currently 83 degrees-- "feels like 88 degrees" with 72% humidity.  Not exactly coffee drinking weather.  But you should know that I'm in my favorite sweatpants [that still fit...] and a long-sleeved shirt sitting here with my latte.  Cheers!