Monday, October 22, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Hanging in there

Don't worry, my lack of posting doesn't mean I've gone into labor or anything.  I've heard that at this late stage of pregnancy, there is a shift into nesting mode (i.e. must clean everything in the house in preparation for baby) or exhaustion kicks in.  Based on the fact that my major accomplishment yesterday was finally getting a pedicure, I'd say I fall into the latter category.  Yup, I'm tired.  Husband says it's no surprise considering I've been making a baby for the last 8.5 months.  He's a smart man.  I was actually very busy doing just that while on the couch yesterday... 

So, although yesterday was a wash, on Saturday we were super busy and we're now 80% done with the nursery.  I need to wash the bedding and order the last few things, then I can take pictures for the big reveal.  Meanwhile, this morning was another non-eventful weekly appointment.  Nothing exciting to report.  Still pregnant.   

Last week, I had a final scan to get an idea of the size and position of baby.  It was possibly the most fun I've had at a doctor's office ever - the hour long wait for my appointment and the strange altercation with an older lady in the elevator (who was quite insistent that I'm having a girl) notwithstanding.  The good news is that we painted the room blue with good reason - he's still a boy and "not shy" about it (as the doctor said). 

It has to be said that I'm completely in awe of ultra-sound technology and the level of detail that can be achieved.  To be able to see his features, watch him snuggling up against his tiny little hands, and even know that he already has hair, is both eerie and amazing.  It's impossible not to be completely in love though. 

This week is my last week at work.  It's bizarre to think that I'm going to be taking a "break" from this place where I've been coming for the last 11 years of my life.  I may just spend all next week napping...we'll see.  :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daily Ramblings - The home stretch

36 weeks and still hanging in there!  I still haven't done anywhere near all the stuff on that (rather informal) list in my head.  The important stuff is getting there though, so I'm cutting myself some slack.

This weekend, husband and I were relentless in our pursuit of "getting our shit together" (so to speak).  We finally signed up for our Costco membership - primarily for savings on baby wipes and diapers, although husband will tell you that it's so he can buy a new TV.  Armed with the 900 count box of baby wipes, which will still only last us 2 months by our estimation, we also ended up with about 12 lbs of meat to make and freeze meals with.  Since then, we've been marinading pork chops, cooking pasta sauce, and last night I made three meals worth of mini meatloafs.  11 days worth of dinner down and my goal is to move on to chicken recipes this week once I've gone shopping for more veggies.  Hopefully, the pre-made meals will come in handy when we're dealing with the newborn and trying to figure out what day of the week it is/the last time we showered.

On Sunday, we met with a friend for some maternity shots.  I've only seen this one so far, but how cute is that?  I can't wait to see the rest, and will definitely be sharing when I get copies.  I'm so used to being behind the camera that I forget how to pose in front of one sometimes.  Husband isn't usually thrilled about the concept of being in photos either - although I remind him that with the new addition, there will be a lot more of this to come!

Next step is finishing up the nursery.  I'll leave all the details of the great crib debacle for another time, but I'm really hoping that some time before the end of the upcoming weekend that we'll have everything built and situated.  We also need to make a final decision on wall decals (seeing as we're in an earthquake zone and don't need things falling off the walls next to the crib).

Meanwhile, baby is having a little party in my belly.  It's amazing to be able to look down and see my belly wiggling like a shaken Jello mold.  It's become visible to other people now too, which is good because I'm no longer that crazy pregnant lady who starts giggling for no reason and saying "did you see that?"  He seems to enjoy putting his foot in between my ribs on my right side and is more than happy to kick me away when I try to push him into a more comfortable spot (for me anyway).  This interaction with my unborn is the most indescribably wonderful thing. 

4 weeks to go....unbelievable really!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Daily Dish - Apple Pie

Apparently, it's fall.  Living in SoCal, we don't experience much for seasonal changes.  The fact that we started off October with triple digit heat has me wondering when the time will come for soup, hot cocoa and snuggling under blankets.  Perhaps I'll get the cool down in time for my maternity leave. 

Regardless of what the weather is doing outside though, there is no bad time for apple pie.  I have scored some great deals on Granny Smith apples at the store recently, so decided to venture into pie baking.  I'm a dutch apple pie kind of girl, as I can be picky about how the top is baked with regular pastry, so when I found this recipe for Butter Crumble Apple Pie, I knew I was onto a winner.  It's so unbelievably easy, but lives up to it's name (i.e. buttery and crumbly).  We ate this topped with a little Cool Whip, and also tried it a la mode for subsequent tastings.  I can assure you it's delicious with both.  :)

What are you looking forward to for fall?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Gift basket fun!

In the aftermath of all the shower fun, I did want to share the gift baskets that I put together for the girls who hosted.  I had been stewing for a little while on what to get each of them and had been throwing around several ideas in my head.  Finally, I decided that I was going to make a gift basket for each so that I could incorporate a mixture of things and tailor the baskets to their individual likes. 

Basket #1
Paige loves to bake.  She and I were opposites for a long time.  She could bake anything but wasn't great at cooking, while I could cook anything, but couldn't bake for the life of me.  (I should note that we've both made great strides in our baking and cooking respectively).  In that I will always associate her with a mild sugar high, when I spotted the Red Velvet wine from Cupcake Vineyards on the shelf, I knew exactly what I wanted to do!  Going along with that theme, I also got an oven mitt, Betty Crocker spatula, some dark chocolate covered almonds and espresso beans, and (to add the handmade touch) themed magnets [see insert in the picture below].  

Basket #2
Holly is a total anglophile - something that drew us together in the beginning when she found out that I'm English.  In the spirit of gifting alcohol, I know that she's a Guiness drinker so wanted to find some new British beers that were similar for her to try.  I ended up with Young's Double Chocolate Stout and a bottle of Hobgoblin (which was a necessary purchase for the name alone). From there, I added some Heinz Baked Beans (a British classic) and some Yorkshire Pudding mix.  I also threw in some more of the chocolate goods, as I figured they would go well with the chocolate beer, and made her magnets using a letter that Henry VIII wrote to Anne Boleyn [again, see insert].  I figured it was fitting for someone who stayed at Hampton Court every year growing up! 

I somehow had a preggo moment and forgot to take a picture of the basket of chocolate and cheese that I made for my mother-in-law too.  I'll admit that I've never really put together gift baskets before, but this may be my new favorite thing!  I had such a great time gathering all the little things to put in them, and it worked prefectly with my indecisive nature as I was able to put a variety of things together rather than having to decide upon one bigger item.

As for the magnets, I had fun making these.  I got the 1" half flat glass marbles, which you can find at Michaels or the dollar store.  I chose to use bigger marbles, but there's also smaller versions out there.  I used Mod Podge to adhere the images to the marble, and then E6000 glue to stick the magnets (also available at Michaels) onto the back.  The glue seemed secure after about an hour, but I've heard that 24 hours is best just to be sure.  Here's a pretty decent tutorial if you want to try it yourself.  They're so cute and I may be making more for holiday gifts this year!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Freshly showered!

This Saturday, I had my baby shower. It seemed like the shower was so far away, but then I realize I'm 35 weeks today and my pregnant self is rounding the last curve, heading straight toward the finish line!

My girls, Holly and Paige, had been conspiring on my shower theme for weeks.  They had my mother-in-law (who graciously allowed us to invade her house) fully entrenched in the conspiracy, so I was very much in the dark on their plans until I showed up.  They ran with the fact that I'm still a British citizen, and went full-on UK themed - union jacks, shepherd's pie, sausage rolls, royal family facemasks, the whole deal!  I was even given a rubber duck fascinator (a duckinator?) to wear - which is why you should never make frivolous comments about "you know what would be funny" to a crafty person as they will probably make it happen.

So, while Holly was busy being super crafty, Paige was a baking fiend.  Both of them have toddlers in the house, so no clue how they managed to accomplish everything they did.  My desert bar was insane, with a variety of treats that were all delicious (and some of which now reside in my freezer for emergencies during maternity leave).  In a slightly sick and twisted moment, Paige made the inside of the baby cake cops red velvet.  I've never felt so guilty to be chomping on a baby's head....not that I do that often anyway.  She also super-imposed husband's head onto the body of a baby, which was both hilarious and simultaneously creeped out all his family members.  It is still making me giggle! 

All in all, I'm such a lucky girl to have the best collection of family and friends who were there to celebrate with me.  It was fun, relaxing, and overall, I had a fantastic time.  The girls were even sneaky enough to Skype in my parents from the UK so that they could join in my special day.  This did result in spontaneous weeping on my part (that's one hell of a surprise to spring on a preggo lady) but I couldn't have asked for more.

Thanks ladies!  You are both so amazingly fabulous and talented...and quite frankly - you rock.  :)