Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Miscellanea, Vol. 3 (Christmas Edition)

Merry Christmas! I hope you're having a great one, whether it's rocking around the Christmas tree or joining a minyan at the movies.

I'm almost 41 weeks pregnant, so we're keeping things pretty low-key here.

Even though Baby Boy was due last Saturday, I think he is hanging out...
waiting for warmer weather...maybe in June... 

Our breakfast this morning (very yummy!):

And, of course, Chinese for dinner:

Image via Happyplace.com
Christmas funnies:

I had to sing the whole song, but eventually I got it!

28 Reasons Why Kids Ruin Christmas (this actually made me laugh out loud). And click this link for extra funsies.

Watching thisthis, and this today. If you happen to be in New York, this show is a must see.

I'm not the biggest fan of beard hats for men, but this little boy version is flippin adorable:

Image via 9Gag.com

I'm nesting. Some great ideas (really love #23).

Hearting this nail color (West End Wonderland by Butter London)

On a bit of a non-fiction kick recently. Currently reading  The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Julia Child's My Life in France.

Something to think about:

It's never too late to live the life you want.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17th

My dear son,

Today, December 17th, was your great-grandfather Gordon's birthday.

Your great-grandfather (I believe this portrait was taken from the days he was courting your great-grandmother.)

Besides being a dapper dresser and a dog-lover, he was someone who loved discovering new things and sharing them with others. He was the first one on his block to bring a TV into his home, and enjoyed throwing parties where everyone would come over and watch the latest news or TV show.

He was a gentle man. One of my favorite stories about him was how, one year, knowing how much he loved Thanksgiving, a friend of his gave him a live turkey, so it would be juicy and fresh for the celebration. Instead of eating it, however, he ended up bonding with the turkey, and decided that year's Thanksgiving would have to be a vegetarian one.

He made his living as a house painter, and loved also to paint for his own pleasure at home.

Though his disposition was a gentle and artistic one, he fought bravely in World War II.

Most importantly, he was a family man. My grandmother, mother, and two aunts meant everything to him.

He took this picture of them, which is perhaps my favorite picture of all time.

From left to right: Your great-grandmother Kathleen, great-aunt Gloria, Gramma Barbara, and great-aunt Norma

Your great-grandfather with your gramma Barbara

I would love for you to share so many of your great-grandfather's traits, baby boy.

...and if you were to share his birthday...or get inspired to start making your way into the world today, so much the better.

I love you,

Your Mama

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chocolate-Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon this amazing recipe for chocolate-chip peanut butter cookies via Averie Cooks.

I could not stop drooling and knew I had to make them myself.

Well, the results are in, and they are YUM. (I know because I sampled many to confirm it!)

Um, please excuse the sort of weird lighting in this picture. I really do aspire to be a better photographer of food!

I decided to modify mine a little bit (cutting out a little butter and sugar and including Brewer's Yeast and Flaxseed meal to make them lactation friendly). In case you're interested in making them this way too, here’s how I modified the ingredients to make the cookies a *wee* bit lower in calories and lactation-productive. 

1.5 cups of butter 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 ½ cups white sugar 
(*Note: I ran out of brown sugar, so I ended up putting in more white sugar than I would have liked. Next time, I would do 2 cups brown and ½ cup white.) 
½ cup apple sauce 
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter 
3 eggs 
3 TBS flaxseed meal mixed with 3 TBS water (after stirring it together let it sit for a few minutes before mixing in with eggs) 
4 tsp vanilla extract 
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
5 TBS Brewer’s Yeast (mix in with flour) 
2 ½ cups oatmeal 
1 tsp baking soda 
2 cups chocolate chips

I followed Averie's directions for baking the cookies exactly. I recommend not baking them for more than 10 minutes. I left my first tray in for 12 minutes, and they came out a little more “crisp” than I would have liked. At 10 minutes, they were much softer/chewier. 

Also, note, I basically doubled the ingredients from the original recipe. Using a melon ball scooper for uniformity, these made 90 cookies, with 104 calories per cookie.

PS: These cookies freeze well, and taste delicious straight out of the freezer.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Here's me at the start of the week:

At 37 weeks! Term, y'all.

Here's me two days ago at 37 weeks, 5 days:

On my way to physical therapy, I look in the locker-room mirror and think...is something different with the bump?

The baby definitely dropped, right? How cool is that?

Now that I've hit term, and am almost at 38 weeks, I walk around thinking stuff like, "The baby could come at any time...I can't wait for him to get here."

And then I freak out because I realize I haven't even finished packing my bag for the hospital.

Working on that...

I spent most of the past two days gathering the last few necessities that I could think of for baby, and preparing that hospital bag. I really want to keep the bag pared down to the essentials...although I couldn't resist ordering these Red Ruby Slippers:

They seem kind of essential, right?

Ok, well, I am all about the warm feet, and they were just too cute to resist.

What are your weekend plans? Mine involve more hyper-nesting type activities, and wearing the loungewear I bought for the hospital but decided "to test" around the house. Essentially, after putting it on, I have no desire to take it off. And if it were at all socially acceptable to do so, I would wear it to brunch with my friends this Sunday. (Don't worry, guys! I haven't worn my PJs out in public since college. I'm just engaging in some wishful thinking.)

Oh, and, of course, we'll be celebrating and lighting the candles for Hanukkah. And I will be reading this, my very favorite holiday book:

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you have a great one. And, if you're in the tribe, let me wish you a very Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Miscellanea, Vol. 2

I've been mulling over this thought by Joseph Campbell for a while:

What does this say about the nature of plans? I am such a planner. Are all plans futile, according to Campbell? Or can we still make new ones as long as we are willing to let go of the ones that are no longer serving us?

I need a plan for what to do with all of my photos. How do you guys organize yours? I have so many amazing ones I'd hate to lose, like this old family black and white:

Pictured left to right: My Gramma Kathleen, Aunt Gloria, Mama (the baby), and Aunt Norma

This weekend, I signed up for a Flickr pro account hoping to organize both my print and digital photos and maybe get some of them in book form. But it is slow-going. For those who use Flickr, does it just take you forever to upload stuff to the site? Any solutions for me?

I love it when healthy things are also delicious. I just stumbled on this recipe for Buffalo cauliflower. I wonder if it's anything like Buffalo wings...maybe I’ll make this to nosh on the next time I watch a Steelers' game and find out.

Speaking of the Steelers, I can’t wait to put my son in this. Yeah, basically, all of it.

Maybe I am part of the reason GQ voted my hometown one of the worst dressed cities in the United States.  It’s true, Pittsburghers can get crazy with the game-day apparel, even ex-pats like me who live in New York. But people should have pride in their home teams. And does this really make us the worst-dressed? Furthermore, I want to know which cities GQ deems the best-dressed, considering fashion centers like LA and NY are also on their poorly-dressed list. How do these things get decided anyway?

We’re heading to Israel this summer for my step-son’s bar mitzvah. Baby boy is going to be about 9 months old then. I need travel tips. Love these recommendations from Cup of Jo and Rockstar Diaries.  What advice do you have?

Need a good laugh? I could watch this clip of Eugene Mirman doing stand-up over and over.

Also, I can’t wait to see This is 40.  I hope the movie is as hilarious as the trailer. What movies are you dying to see?

On Turning 35

I'm generally a believer in doing something big to mark a milestone birthday. I marked my last milestone, 30, with a surfing adventure to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica: November 2007

If you know anything about surfing, you will note from the size of the board (large) that I was not an accomplished surfer. But I was able to ride the waves, and I loved it. 

Looking back over some of these pictures now reminds me of how much fun it was and makes me want to go back and do it all over again. (Next time with baby boy!)

In contrast to my surfing adventure in Costa Rica, turning 35 was more about relaxing and unwinding. Thinking about it in advance, I knew that I would be 37 weeks pregnant, and would probably just want to chill out on my big day. And so the plan was that there would be no plan...except to eat cake, of course.

So, in keeping with the spirit of chilling out, my husband and I slept in late, grabbed some coffee at Starbucks, and took the pooch to the park. Shortly after the trip to the dog-park, we headed to Sarabeth's for a long leisurely brunch involving the most heavenly porridge, buttermilk pancakes, and scrambled eggs and lox.

After brunch we spent some time shopping. First, we went to Destination Maternity, where I contemplated buying a winter coat. I only have one left from my pre-pregnancy days that I can still (barely) zip up. So it seemed like a maternity coat might be a wise investment. But nothing I tried on inspired me, and I decided to just stick with my pre-pregnancy coat for now. My rationale: (1) There are less than 3 weeks left until my son is due, (2) the weather is fairly warm for this time of year, and (3) I figure I can always get creative layering capes and scarfs over my belly if need be. (I probably won't be posting any pictures of that particular look, if I end up rocking it.)

Following Destination Maternity, Dave decided it was time to give me his present: a trip to Chanel (Woo-hoo!!), where I got to choose a bag I wanted. Did I say the porridge was heavenly? I may have used that adjective too soon.

So lovely, I almost didn't want to take it out of its pretty wrapping...

Here is my precious just waiting to be held:

After petting my new bag for just long enough to make my husband laugh at me, I headed out to pamper myself with a mani-pedi and a massage. And Dave picked up the cupcakes, which we ate devoured after a delicious dinner at my favorite Afghan restaurant.

Mmm. Magnolia.

I love Magnolia's seasonal Red Velvet Rockettes:

Yes, you are a pretty little cupcake. Nom. Nom.

It was really a delicious day.

Though perhaps not marked by adventure, I think my 35th was perfect. I consider myself one very lucky girl heading into this new year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

Tomorrow's my birthday, y'all.

And it's a big one:

Image/cake @ http://ajsmoonlightbakery.net/tiered_cakes

Woot! Woot!

Note, this is not my actual cake. But I will actually be 35.

I may be a tad more partial to this one:

Image/cake @ http://ajsmoonlightbakery.net/tiered_cakes

Yes, the cake is designed for a 3 year old. My husband would have you know this is very telling...

We still have to go and pick up my cake. I should say "cakes." I couldn't narrow it down to just one flavor this year--vanilla/buttercream, red velvet, chocolate/chocolate, coconut...they all sound so good--so I've opted for a variety of cupcakes instead...

And that is my God-given right as a pregnant woman, I say.

Speaking of which, I find myself marveling that I am weeks away from giving birth as I turn 35. Back in my twenties, I always used to say, "I want to have my first child when I am 35." And now, look, here I am. Doing that.

It's amazing how things work out that way. Of course, I don't feel like I planned this so precisely, but here I am doing exactly what I'd always articulated a desire to do. It makes me wonder about the power of words to call something into being.

Everyone say with me, "I've always wanted to win the Powerball."

It's worth a shot, right?

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