Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Magazine Cuisine: Episode 10

I love this time of year. Real life fresh ingrediants are cropping up and magazines are filled with creative ways to put those seasonal delights to good use.

I was lucky enough to come into some rhubarb from our crop share (more on that later) and strawberries were on killer deal at Costco, so imagine my delight when I was perusing my most recent edition of Whole Living Magazine to find a recipe for Rhubarb-Strawberry Crumble.

While I can't rave about the lame picture (I kind of forgot until we had already devoured our first serving), I can rave about how incredibly easy this recipe was, and delivered a pretty good taste as well. Although, I think Nate would argue it would be better with whipped cream, and I say a scoop of ice cream. Maybe both?

It was an early morning treat for us as Nate and I were up at 6AM on Monday doing all sorts of fun activities like cleaning the basement, organizing the nursery, and....well....baking the above.

Let's just say the nesting has started....

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Transition

Well, I didn't think it could be done. And I am a little scared to even be blogging about it in fear of jinxing the current situation...but...

Lucy has been officially transitioned out of the nursery and into the living room. Who says you can't teach a geriatric cat new tricks?

Sure, we were given death glares all weekend. Went through a few bouts of peeing just outside her litterbox onto the newspaper. Started with an ottoman with a kitty step, sawed the steps OFF of the ottoman, and ultimately landed with the kitty bed on the floor.

But with all the little tweaks and changes, we came closer to success, and a little more restful sleep. (Have you ever been woken up in the middle of the night with a death growl like 5 times?....not fun).

With the transition came the ability to get the nursery a little bit more set-up, and the feeling of 'holy crap we are actually having a baby' is now fully cemented in our minds (as if it wasn't before) and I can rest a little easier knowing that if Baby H comes tomorrow (which for the record I am okay with) it won't have to cohabitate with Lucy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Toy

It seems like one of the milestones of becoming a parent is the upgrade to a nicer camera. And so as many parents before us have, Nate and I plunged into a DSLR camera and have been enjoying trying it out. Admittedly, Nate has way more patience than I do to actually figure out how to use it.

I think I have asked him what 'aperture' and 'shutter' do approximately 457 times.

My assumption is that if I put it on 'auto' it will take a good picture, and so far so good. What better way to practice than this weekend when two of my favorite 'subjects' were around to try the new toy out on!

I could just eat both of these two little guys up. AGH! Could they get any cuter? I know I am biased, but I also think it's true.

Now, I just need to figure out how to edit. Again, Nate appears to be the better candidate for the editing process with his patience of steel......

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Showered with Love

The week of baby shower madness is complete--it started in Minneapolis, crept up at work, and ended in Viroqua with a shower at my Mom's house. I am overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of all of the people in my life.

The shower in Viroqua was so nice, and it was an extra special treat to have both my cousin, Heather, travel from Colorado and my Aunt Marna and Cousin Meghan travel from St. Louis. It meant so much to have them there.

Everything was perfect and it was a great time.

Amy and Paddy Jr. even made the trek from Milwuakee so there was some quality snuggling time--and a whole gaggle of women just lurking to get their hands on this precious little guy.
A newborn looks pretty good on this guy--what do you think? Does he look ready?

Now that the showers are done, the baby stuff has arrived at our house, and we are officialy 'in minneapolis' until the baby comes, it is all starting to sink in. I can't believe that in 3 short weeks we are going to have a little one. Truth be told, I am definitely feeling a little overwhelmed right now with all sorts of emotions--excitement, nervousness, maybe even a little fear.

But as Nate says, we will be fine because we are a good team, and we are surrounded by many people who love us. And if the last week has proven anything to me, it is absolutely that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Well, That was Harsh

From Facebook to Blogs, I realize that in opting into these social mediums, I am opting in to people expressing their opinions on my opinions. And I am totally open to that. Agree. Disagree. Agree to disagree. I am fine with that.

But then I receive this comment tonight posted under the Magazine Cuisine about Asparagus:

Anonymous said...

You are a dumb bitch.

And I find myself wondering:
1) Is this a person I know?
2) Does this person understand the definition of dumb? Because while I am definitely not the most brilliant person that walked this earth, I certainly am not dumb. Perhaps I type too fast and incur spelling errors, and use loose grammar while I blog but this does not, in my humble opinion, qualify me as 'dumb'
3) How can someone who clearly has such a STRONG opinion of me, so WEAKLY state it. Really Anonymous
4) Do I care what some random nobody in cyber space thinks of me?

Perhaps, this is one of those weird spam posters like I had a year ago and turned out to be a bunch of swear words written in Japanese.

Perhaps I will choose to believe that.

But just in case it's not, I do just want to make anonymous aware that this dumb person has analytics on her blog, and can relatively easily (mustering all of my brain cells) track down where this comment came from. So assuming you are not actually anonymous, and someone I know---just know that I know that you know that I now know what you think of me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Very Healthy Problem

I am keenly aware that I enjoy acquiring books more than what one may deem a 'normal' person does. But I never really felt it was a (as Nate so delicately puts it) problem that needed to be addressed.

We are in the seemingly never-ending throes of transforming our house from a house built for 2.5  into a house for 3.5 which means lots and lots of moving, re-organizing, throwing, packing away, etc of stuff. We have historically used the soon-to-be nursery as a catch-all: one part office, one-part Lucy, and one part....Greta's library.

Obviously, all of that has to change--EVEN though Lucy does not seem to be wanting to relinquish control of that room. So we get rid of the big comfy desk and get a tiny little glass desk, and move it to the guest room. We are working on Lucy.......

And then the 'library.' In an effort (at least this is how I see it) to prove his point that I have a "Book problem" Nate proceeds to take every book I own and dump it on the guest bed to give me some visual stimulus of the issues we have going on.

Now, before you give your verdict on whether or not this is normal I need to present a fair description of whta is going on:

1) 95% of these books have not been read yet.
2) The majority of these books have been purchased at a library book sale for $1.00 or less.
3) All of the books I read get loaned to friends and then donated to Open Books
4) I love books.

So what's the verdict?

Do I have a 'book problem' and should I fix it by getting rid of these thousands of pages of entertainment?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Magazine Cuisine: Episode 9

Bring on the seasonal produce!! This week we tried a recipe for Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Tomatoes courtesy of the April edition of Cooking Light. I swear we do get a bunch of other magazines, but what can I say---Cooking Light is king when it comes to recipes that look good to me.

I mean--look at this:
So. Freaking. Tasty. I could have eaten the whole plate--which would have resulted in a serious stomach ache and equally as serious--smelly pee for a week.

Anyway, this is the easiest recipe ever. If you want the recipe click here. We did decide to grill the asparagus instead of roast since we had the grill fired up, and I personally perfer grill asparagus.

Essentially it can be boilded down to this:
1) Grill asparagus.
2) Half Tomatoes and throw in skillet with olive oil, garlic, balsamic.
3) Top with goat cheese.

Viola. Delicious, won't-fail-you side-dish to your summer grilling! Try it...you won't be sorry!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

More May Showers!

No I am not talking about the abysmal weather we have been having. Quite the opposite actually.

Yesterday, amid and in the face of the ridiculous weather we are having, my friends threw me such a kind, thoughtful, brilliantly creative and fun shower. I think by now, for any of the 'since-the-beginning-followers' of this blog, you probably want to fast forwar through the gushing and loving on my friends. But truly, what I don't think people can understand until you meet my friends is how awesome they really are.

Baby H was celebrated in style, and there were so many touches that were incredible thoughtful. From the artwork wall (of which Summer literally took down artwork by her own children to make way for Baby H's message):

to a recipe book for Nate and I so that we can keep cooking together once Baby H arrives:

to an absolutely perfect for THIS Mom-to-be sweet station--complete with, I kid you not, cookies wtih cotton candy flavored frosting on them. They were To. Die. For.

And Nate was REALLY happy with the party favors---melt-in-your-mouth delcious sugar cookies. Complete of course with stickers that matched the invites...(they really did outdo themselves..)

I will admit opening gifts in front of people is one of the most nerve-wracking things to do. For some reason I just get so nervous, but looking out (after the gift opening) was over and seeing a room full of quite-amazing women that I am so lucky to have in my life, I felt a little more at easy knowing that no matter what happens once this child arrives, I have this incredible "2nd Family" who will be there to give me advice, tell me when I'm being crazy, and help me stay me.

Words cannot express the thanks that I feel for having all of these ladies in my life, but especially these lovely ladies who made this shower possible.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Super Secret Date Weekend

I have been looking forward to this mysterious weekend for almost 2 months now. Nate set up a 'super secret date' weekend for us to get-away before we really have to put our noses to the grindstone to get ready for Baby H's arrival, and the weekend was perfect.

We headed back to the better state (WI), and to our old stomping grounds---Madison! It was a fabulous stroll down memory lane (although I think by the end of Saturday, Nate was just making up stories) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

In true Nate fashion he outdid himself, crafting a little game for us to play as we strolled down State street. At random times i had to draw a 'person' card and an 'action' card, which required me to prove my 'mommyhood prowess' in 5 minutes or less.

This led to things like "Nate needs something sweet" of which I ran into the nearest store (Noodles) and purchased a rice krispie treat. NOTE: in real life had this happened I am pretty sure the response would be "Are you F&*ing kidding me right now? You're a big boy. Get yourself something sweet...." something around those lines...
And there was "Baby H boy" needing a toy to distract from a meltdown (I downloaded an iphone app) and "Baby H Girl" needing something salty...of which I purchased funyons. Because Baby H Girll isn't here yet, and G-Mama wanted Funyons. :)

And, we have officially made our first baby clothes purchase and it couldn't be more fitting:
I even got DOUBLE nap on Saturday.

It was a perfect weekend. A perfect Mothers-to-be day. And now we are in full blown preparation mode. The one thing we probably won't get figured out before the baby comes is how we can keep our house, our jobs and our friends in Minneapolis, but technically live in WI. So if anyone has any tips on that one, let us know.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Magazine Cuisine: Episode 8

More like "Episode FAIL".

Yes. We had a huge stinker. Or I should say I had a huge stinker. Tuscan Lemon Muffin brought to me courtesy of the May 2011 edition of Cooking Light.

Normally, Cooking Light is fail-safe. Always delivers tasty recipes that are relatively easy to make. But not this time. Try not to get distracted by the other delicious looking food on the plate..and focus on the blob-o-muffin.

First problem (not my fault): this wasn't even remotely sweet enough, nor was it 'lemony' enough. For a muffin called "Tuscan Lemon" one would think it would be a rich lemon flavor. Not so.

Second problem (apparently my fault according to Nate): The muffin was not light and fluffy, but dense and chewy. But i swear I BARELY mixed it.

All I am saying is that when I throw a Betty Crocker muffin mix in a bowl and mix it, it comes out delicious every. single. time. Fluffy. Sweet. And it doesn't take 30 minutes to prep.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Book Club Baby Shower

For those of you who have been reading along with me the past 3+ years, you know that I hold a very special place in my heart for book club. There is just something inherently great about meeting with the same group of girls month after month, for over 6 YEARS. And I am especially lucky because our book club actually reads the book, does cool stuff like a Florida offsite, and in general probably has more fun than most.

Well, last night, these lovely ladies threw me an amazingly sweet, kind and thoughtful baby shower. From the decorations to the ridiculous amounts of food that Linda made, everything was perfect. I mean look at this ice cream cake....

There were baby games that were much harder than you would think. Like the rice and safety pin game. Literally all you have to do is close your eyes and pick the safety pins out of a bowl of rice. Sounds easy..but lets just say that the performance by many (except Rachel!) would prove otherwise. Although it did make for great photos..

And there was a 'juice-box chugging' competition...with fruit punch! How awesome is that! Here is a tip in case you ever find yourself in a similar competition: you have to suck AND squeeze.

And, because apparently these girls were just trying to outdo themselves, there was onesie decorating. You can't see them super well in this picture but trust me they are all adorable.

It was such a fun night. And I am telling you Linda went out of her way to make sure we were all literally rolling out the door becaues after how much food we ate it wasn't an option to walk. The girls showered Baby H with books (duh...) which we have already started reading to it, and a car seat--so now Baby H can be on-the-go!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This night was so much fun, so kind, so generous, and little by little I am starting to feel more and more excited, and ready for Baby H's arrival1

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Learning the Ropes

This weekend was very special to me: I got to meet Amy's baby for the first time! And he was all I imagined to be. Sweet. Snuggly. Adorable. All sorts of baby goodness.

And his Mom and Dad were equally great. It was so refreshing, affirming, calming and a whole lot of other words I can't say to be around Patrick and Amy.  To have one of your best friends going through something as life changing as a pregnancy at the same time as you is priceless. And to be able to witness Amy and Patrick so at ease with Paddy Jr., even with his surprise entrance into this world, was something so extremely special to me.
They showered me with advice. Calmed my fears about post-delivery. Perhaps sparked a few new fears about actual delivery :). I especially loved hearing Patrick's take on the big event, and am so happy that someone FINALLY came clean with me that 'it' smells. I couldn't imagine it being an odorless process but no one ever speaks of these things.

Anyway, I left Milwaukee sad that I don't live closer to this wonderful family of 3 (ok 5, if you count the dogs!), but also very excited and anxious for Nate and I to bring a child into this world that can learn all the tricks of being a baby from Paddy Jr!

But at 33 weeks, we aren't quite ready for Baby H to arrive. So we are hoping that Baby H stays put at least for 4 more weeks. And if Baby H could land on about 7 pounds that would be appreciated by it's Mom....