Monday, March 31, 2014

a weekend of food + mixed berry pie recipe

This weekend was wonderful. I took Friday off from work, and I'd almost forgotten how glorious three day weekends can be. Shopping (which I've been doing way too much of lately- note to self: stay out of the mall), friends, family, and of course food. The highlight of the millions of calories I consumed this weekend came on Sunday morning.

I woke up thinking about pie (pregnant lady problems), and I've always been more of a fruit pie person than a chocolate or super, duper sweet pie person. As I was scrolling Pinterest in bed looking for dessert recipes Will got a text from his brother inviting us over for the first grill out of the season. Since it has finally warmed up, and our niece and nephew love fruit, I knew a berry pie would be just the way to go.

I looked up about 5 different recipes, made up my own, and off to Kroger we went. What resulted was absolutely delicious, and super easy to make. This pie was a huge hit. Will, myself, my brother and sister in law, our niece and nephew, and their friend all cleaned our plates. I will definitely be making this pie many more times this summer.

Below is what I ended up going with as a final recipe, and it resulted in 2 pies. Prep took me about 25 minutes, and baking time was about 45 minutes.

Triple Berry Pie


Ingredients

2 cartons fresh strawberries, quartered
1 carton fresh blueberries
1 carton fresh blackberries
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup corn starch
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 lemon
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Pie crust of choice. I used the Pillsbury kind out of the box and it was amazing.

Directions

1. Combine all berries in a large mixing bowl. Add the juice and zest of one lemon, and 2 tbsp vanilla to fruit mixture. Mix well.
2. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a separate mixing bowl.
3. Lay out bottom layer crusts in glass pie pans. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the cornstarch mixture along the bottom crust before adding filling.
4. Add remaining cornstarch mixture to berry mixture. Mix well until combined and let set for 15 minutes.
5. Fill pie pans with berry mixture.
6. Layer top pie crusts on top of berry mixture, and seal the edges with your fingers or a fork.
7. Scour the center of the top crusts to vent.
8. Mix together milk and egg to create egg wash. Brush top crusts with egg wash and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of cinnamon+sugar mixture.
9. Place pies on a baking sheet, and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.
10. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with foil, and bake for 20 more minutes at 350 degrees.


A Few Notes

I cooked these pies in separate ovens. If you have 2 in the same oven, it may require some extended cooking time. You can tell they're done with the crust is golden brown.

You'll need to let these sit for at least a couple of hours before eating so all the fruit and juices have time to set. Mine was still a little juicy, kind of like a cobbler. Next time I might try adding a tiny bit more cornstarch.

Any combination of berries, or frozen thawed instead of fresh, I'm sure would work just as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

different

For some reason today seems a little different. I do basically the exact same thing every work day, and especially every workday morning. Wake up. Let out the dogs. Get ready. Leave for work. Pray that traffic isn't too bad on 275. Stumble into my office wondering what awaits me for the day. Check emails. Get to work.

Anyway, today feels different. Maybe because I have on short sleeves and crop pants? I don't care if it's only 50 degrees, I'm ready for spring. Maybe it's because I have a day off tomorrow to spend with one of my best friends, and I can't wait to sleep in, then have a day filled with girl time. Maybe it's because I've decided to go to Chicago for Easter weekend to spend time with my sisters, who I miss terribly.



Who knows. All I know is that today feels different, and it feels GREAT. I am not a winter time kind of girl, so maybe my mind just knows warmer things are to come? Whatever it is, happy Thursday, and here's to my 3 day weekend! Can't wait to come back next week with an update of our 20 week mid prego ultrasound and the nursery progress!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

She has a name!

Baby names are something I though about long before I ever dreamed of having an actual child. As a kid I loathed having one of the most common names possible for a girl born in the 80's, so I was always imagining what a better option would be. I swore I would never name my daughter a top 10 name, and that is one thing I won't be wavering on. There were a few names I've always loved that were in the top 10 baby girls names of 2013, and that meant unfortunately they're off the list.

But back to the name we did choose. Will and I have been throwing around baby names since before we got married, but never had one that was a must use. Once I got pregnant, the game was on. We are both planners by nature, so we talked about this all the time. We weren't set on having to decide by a certain date, but I think we both preferred it get figured out sooner rather than later. Once we had it narrowed down to 3-4 name combinations for each sex, we decided to wait until we knew the gender of our baby before thinking any more about it.

While we were waiting for the big news, what had been my number one girls name started popping up everywhere. Not in a good "This is a sign" kind of way. In a bad "Is this more common that I thought?" kind of way. So there went that. Will decided he hated what would have been my next choice, so our list of girl names was down to two.

There was no real ah-ha moment where one name really became all of the sudden better than the other. We just started using one, the one that had been on our list longer, and it stuck. Though it is creeping up the list in popularity, I don't think it will ever be a "Brittany" for us 80's girls or an "Ava" or "Emma" for the generation of girls being born now. I guess the 2010's? I never did understand what you call people born in decades ending in 00-09 or 10-19.

 Anyway, the name we chose is simple, but beautiful. In my opinion at least. We like the meaning, and I can hear myself saying it over and over for the rest of my life. The first name because we love it. The middle name after my first sister.

Norah Paige

A couple of side notes.

We didn't see a reason to keep our name a secret, but I also won't be sending out a press release to everyone we know. I share here because I share most everything here. And if anyone asks in "real life" we are happy to tell them, but I won't be posting a Facebook announcement or anything.

I still like our second choice girls name, and plan to use it if we ever have another daughter. The name I kept seeing everywhere and got skeeved out about was Emilia Jane, and we were going to call her Emma for short. The name I loved but Will didn't care for was Tess or Tessa. Another front runner was Grace, but our last name also begins with "Gr", so that was just too campy.

If we were having a boy, we were settled between two first names, and really leaning toward one of those two. We will definitely be saving those for if we ever do have a son, as I don't see my mind changing. There are very few boys names I like, and that I feel like go with our last name.

Though we are set on this name, I am hoping no one buys us too many things that are personalized. My Mom was 100% sold on the name Hailey for my sister Brooke. By that statement, you can tell once she was born, Hailey just didn't work out. We love our choice, and I doubt anything will change, but you never know with these things.

We can't wait to meet you Norah Paige! I keep calling her Nori and Norah Belle in my head. I wonder which nicknames will stick?!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 18 weeks


Sadly this is the best pic I could come up with this week. Thanks bathroom at work for your horrible lighting!

Size of Baby: Baby is the size of a sweet potato or a dragon fruit.

Gender: Pink, pink, and more pink.

Weight Gain: Finally some progress in this area. Up 8 pounds overall.

Feeling: Pretty great. No complaints from me this week. Either symptoms are fading, or I’m just getting used to them. I have still had a little bit of neck pain, but I think that has more to do with sitting in front of a computer all day than it does being pregnant.

Maternity Clothes: Bought a new maternity tank top this week. It’s still too big even though I got a small, and I’m normally a medium. I did get a few long sleeve t-shirts from Gap Maternity that I’m loving, and they already fit great.

Nursery: So much progress! I found a lot of décor/accents this weekend while out shopping, and got a better idea of what I want the final product to look like. I also plan to order the crib as soon as I finish writing this update. I’d originally planned on just registering for our crib, but the one I want is on sale, and I don’t want to risk it selling out! Will has also offered to paint her room this or next weekend J Love having a helpful, on the ball husband.

Movement: Still feeling a few flutters here and there. I felt a pretty strong one yesterday. Not sure if this is possible, but last night laying in bed I felt a little flutter really low in my pelvis area, and when I put my hand there, there was one little part that was as hard as a rock. No idea if this was a part of her or if maybe just a part of my uterus that was really hard? I cannot wait to feel some real kicks!

Symptoms: Pretty scarce in this category this week. Some light neck/back pain.

Sleep: Pretty good, but having the craziest (sometimes scariest) dreams.

Cravings: Nothing too much, but eating lots of banana laffy taffy. I also really wanted milk last night, but of course it was the one time in the history of life that we were out.

What I Miss: Honestly, not a thing.

Best Moment This Week: A great day of shopping. Ordering the crib. Finalizing more of the nursery. Not feeling like crap.

Looking Forward To: Getting the nursery painted and our 20 week appointment.


Thankful For: Our health and a supportive group of friends and family. This has been the same every week, but honestly there is nothing I am more thankful for. We are truly blessed!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Snooty Fox Consignment Shopping

This weekend was a good one. Friday was spent out to a nice dinner. Saturday held sunny weather, shopping, good food, and time with friends and family. Sunday brought lots of relaxing and getting things done around the house, which is my favorite kind of Sunday.

On Saturday, I decided to add a stop at Snooty Fox to my normal list of shopping destinations. Since our budget will be getting tighter when the little princess comes along, I figured I'd may as well start saving money on clothes sooner rather than later. I don't have many, if any maternity friendly dresses, so that was the main thing I was looking for.

The second I walked into Snooty Fox I knew I'd struck gold. It was clean, buzzing with shoppers (but not too busy), well organized, and filled to the brim with gorgeous clothes. Some every day items, some work and dress up friendly, it was exactly what I was looking for. I managed to score 3 dresses, 2 sweaters, and a tunic top, and a shirt for baby girl for just about $100. When we're talking the likes of a Taylor dress, Brooks Brothers sweater, and other brands I had never heard of but were clearly really nice, I call that a deal. The dresses will be great pregnant or not, for work, special occasions, or just for dinners out. The sweaters and tunic are wearable to work, but also in my day to day goings about. I am an extremely casual dresser 99% of the time when I'm not at work, so I love items that can be dressed up or down.

Not the best picture, but one of the dresses I snagged.

There are a few Snooty Fox locations around town, and I can't wait to check out the others to see what they have to offer. Everything was in really good shape, and being the clothing cheapskate that I am, I see a lot of visits here in my future. I will also be on the look out for any other clothing or home goods/furniture consignment shops around Cincinnati. If you know of some, please share!

Happy Monday pals, if there is such a thing. Excited to share the story of picking a name for our girl on  Wednesday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 17 weeks


Size of Baby: Naval orange, onion, turnip, or a pomegranate. All over the board this week. I also saw something that says an iPhone 4, which is a nice change from the fruit comparisons. I am interested to see if the ultrasound tech or doctor will mention the length of our girl during our 20 week scan. Both Will and I are pretty tall, and most people in our families are as well. Very curious to see if she will fallow in those footsteps.

Gender: Baby girl.

Weight Gain: Still hovering at about 5-6 pounds. The weight gain is supposed to be about a pound a week these days. Despite me eating a ton, still nowhere close to that mark.

Feeling: Pretty good. I’ve had some MAJOR emotional/moody moments in the past week, hoping that symptom is NOT here to stay. Tired.

Maternity Clothes: I wish all my pants were maternity since they’re so much more comfortable, but still mixing between those and my regular clothes.


Nursery: So excited about this! We made the first “major” purchase this weekend, an overhead light. We went with a simple chandelier and I absolutely love it. Also picked up some paint samples Saturday. I want to have a good couple of weeks to look at those before we make a decision, so I plan on having Will put them on the walls this week.

Besides that just lots of planning. I will probably pull the trigger on a piece of furniture or two in the next week or two.

Movement: I swore I felt some flutters last week, but I haven’t felt any lately I don’t think. Hoping that changes! Our last two ultrasounds she was kind of just hanging out, legs crossed, possible asleep. Maybe she is totally 100% opposite her Mama and will be calm and relaxed?

Symptoms: Neck and back pain. Tailbone pain. Bellybutton getting more and more shallow. Light headedness if I stand up too fast, and still getting really out of breath when I walk and talk at the same time. Giving tours at work is getting increasingly more exhausting. So embarrassing to be out of breath from just walking up the stairs!

Sleep: Pretty good. I have been sleeping through the night, but have to basically run to the bathroom as soon as I wake up.



Cravings: Lots of ice cream this week. And loving fruit lately.

What I Miss: Eating and drinking whatever I want, but it has been nowhere near as hard as I thought it would.

Best Moment This Week: Nursery planning. The bump getting a little bigger. And I think we decided on a name!


Looking Forward To: More nursery progress. Our in depth ultrasound at the 20 week appointment.


Thankful For: Our health and an amazing husband. Family, friends, and all the millions of things we are blessed with. Truly loving this life!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Pomegranate & Lime

On Saturday morning, we had serious plans to lounge around the house. Will had been traveling all week, and I generally enjoy not doing too much on weekend mornings unless it involves the couch or a walk around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, I was starving, and didn't feel like cooking my usual big weekend breakfast. After some fake pleading, Will agreed to take me out to brunch at the National Exemplar in Mariemont. If you're from Cincinnati and have been to or driven through this little town, you know it's the most charming place on the planet. I wanted to move their so bad when we were house hunting, but I value square footage a little more than I do walkability and cuteness. Luckily, we only live a couple of miles from there, so we can pop in whenever we want.

Thanks Google images- sometimes iPhone pics just don't get the job done.

After brunch we decided to walk a bit a see if there were any stores in the square that sold baby items. Enter Pomegranate & Lime. I've passed this place a million times, but never had a reason to go in. I am so glad we did this time, and I'll absolutely be back. The two women working were even super friendly and easy to talk to, but not pushy. I HATE pushy sales people.

They had the cutest little gifts for men, women, and baby. Think toys, books, jewelry, clothes, the works. We picked up an adorable stuffed giraffe and a shabby chic pink picture frame for the nursery. Both match our color scheme perfectly. Since some of our nursery items are coming from major retailers like Ikea and Pottery Barn Kids, I am snatching up more one of a kind pieces as much as possible.

Stolen from their Facebook

Pomegranate & Lime also had christening gowns made of wedding dress fabric from the early 1900's. SWOON. They were the most adorable things I've ever seen, and we will be purchasing one. I am so excited to have something special bought with our little princess in mind, that we can one day pass down to her to use with her family.

I definitely recommend this shop to anyone in the 513 looking for unique decor or gifts. Mariemont, you never disappoint me!

Friday, March 14, 2014

this and that on happiness

I feel like lately my brain has been a little discombobulated. Like there is a whole lot going on at one time, but also like there’s so little going on and so much we’re really just waiting for.

I feel like we’re on the verge of something great. Isn’t everyone really? Life is always throwing us curveballs, and if you’re at all like me, most of those curveballs can be seen as a stepping stone to something wonderful.


I know one thing for sure. Spring is coming, and I almost physically can’t contain my happiness and excitement for what are the best months of the year in the mid-west. Fresh flowers. Farmers markets. Neighborhood walks through our little development filled with trees and happy kids playing outside. My sisters being off school so they can come fill my house with laughs and silliness. Preparing for our baby girl who will make her appearance in just 5ish short months. Baseball games. Two of my best friend’s weddings. Our first wedding anniversary. Both Will and I turning another year older.

There is so much to look forward to, so much to enjoy in the coming months, I hope I can absorb it all to the fullest extent.

While all I seem to think about lately is our little girl and all the happiness and new things to come, can you really blame a person? I can’t wait to experience all of the above one last time as a family of two, and for all the years to come as a family with a daughter. It’s really just too much.


I am feeling incredibly blessed lately, and I am trying to keep that on the forefront. When it’s chilly in the morning and I don’t want to get out of bed. When the dogs have an accident in the house and I have to clean the carpets again. When the workday seems too long, or the weekend seems too short. All I have to remind myself is that “Luckily, this will be (God willing) the worst part of your day. So is it really that bad?” and I immediately feel like the luckiest person in the world. I hope the happy time we are living through right now is something I always remember. And it can only get better from here!

Here’s to Friday. To pretending it’s nice out and dreaming of days to come that involve A/C insead of heat. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 16 weeks


Size of Baby: This week we’re about the size of an avocado. At my ultrasound Friday the tech said she was 11+ centimeters, which is between 4-5 inches.

Gender: It’s a girl! Gender reveal recap here. Genuinely don’t know if I have ever been more excited about anything in my entire life. I am still floating on cloud nine over this news.

Weight Gain: 6 pounds.

Feeling: Better. Still tired, but I experienced very little nausea this week. Hopefully that trend continues. Unfortunately, I’ve started sobbing at the drop of a dime these days. Hello hormones.
  
Maternity Clothes: It’s getting harder and harder to fit into regular pants, but I can still make low rise normal pants work if I need to. Definitely going to have to go out and get a few more maternity tank tops soon.

Nursery: I have done so much planning in this department already. Now that we know the gender, we can actually make decisions and purchases, and that’s a great feeling. Most of my ideas are on my nursery pin board. First official step will be picking paint colors. I plan to go out and get some pink and gray samples this weekend.


One thing I cannot stop thinking about is this cubby storage system from Pottery Barn. I really didn’t plan on buying anything this pricey for someone who won’t know the difference between a nice bookshelf and a pile of plywood for many years to come, but I just fell in love with it. I can just imagine all of her little blankets and books filling the shelves, and can’t let go. I’m just hoping it’s not too big for our nursery.

Movement: Still not 100% sure on this one. I’m pretty sure I’ve felt some flutters here and there, but it’s hard to tell what’s what with so much going on.

Symptoms: Back and neck pain. Belly button getting more and more shallow.

Sleep: Sleeping pretty good, and getting as much of it as I can.


Cravings: Nothing of note.

What I Miss: Friday we were with friends, and I definitely could have gone for some of the champagne everyone was drinking. All in good time!

Best Moment This Week: The gender reveal, and doing a little bit of baby girl clothes shopping.

Looking Forward To: Decorating the nursery. Not having any plans this coming weekend.


Thankful For: The gender reveal of my dreams. Will. Our families. What has so far been a healthy pregnancy.

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a...

Disclaimer: This post is sooo much longer than I intended, but I never want to forget a single second of this day. It was so fun, exciting, emotional, and absolutely one of the best days of my life. If you just can't wait, skip to the bottom :)

Well, Friday was the big day. All day long I absolutely could not focus on anything for more than a couple of minutes before my mind would wonder back to our baby. Were we having a son or a daughter? Another girl for me and my sisters to dress up? Or another boy for Will and his brothers and nephews to rough house with?

As much as I wanted to have a feeling of mother's intuition telling me what sex our baby was, I just didn't. I seriously had no idea. Some days I thought boy, just because it seemed to be the popular vote. And because honestly I've always pictured myself with daughters, so I thought maybe life/God would just want to throw me a curveball. Other days I thought we'd have a girl because of how crappy and exhausted I've been feeling.

Will also didn't have any distinct feelings, because though he sort of expected a son, he knew I wanted a girl and he says "I always get my way" haha.

And speaking of me wanting a girl, I even started to waver in that. I've wanted a mini me to play dress up with, shop with, and to be my little side kick for as long as I can remember. Someone I could teach to play volleyball and (maybe) run track like I did. Someone to show the ways of curly hair, just like my Mom showed me and we both showed my sisters. But the closer we got to finding out the news of our baby, the more I realized, maybe all that wasn't so important. They say boys are easier, and how cute would it be to have an older brother for when a little princess did finally come around?

Needless to say, by the time Friday afternoon came, I didn't know what I predicted or wanted. I just wanted to find out! Thankfully, I had a busy day at work and was out of there to head to our ultrasound appointment at Becoming Mom by 3:30pm. We'd actually had another US appointment the day before at my doctor, so we had two opinions to go off of.

Will met me at the appointment so he could finally see our little person wiggle around on the ultrasound  screen. His work schedule hadn't allowed him to come to one yet, and I know he was really looking forward to it. As we watched, just like the two ultrasounds I'd had prior, the tech had to poke and prod to get our baby to move around. I think we have an afternoon sleeper on our hands!

We left the appt and headed straight to the park to meet our photographer for the reveal photoshoot. She'd already had the results from the day before, and as soon as we left, we'd had Becoming Mom call with the second set of results. Our friend was there helping out, and pulled the wonderful trick of telling us that we'd gotten two different answers. About gave me a heart attack!

When we arrived at the park everything was perfect. I absolutely love Old Loveland, and Will grew up not far away, so it felt like the right location for us. The weather FINALLY warmed up, and we had some gorgeous sun and comfortable temperatures. Originally we'd planned on finding out via piñata, but due to muddy grass and a few other logistical issues, we decided to go with a silly string reveal. And I'm so glad we did!



The anticipation was killing me. I was so afraid one of us would accidentally set off the silly string early! The seconds counting down to "spray time" were some of the most nerve wracking, exciting, and climactic of my entire life.

Come summer, we'll be welcoming…


A BABY GIRL!!!


When I saw that pink string shoot out of Will's can, I started squealing with excitement. I honestly could barely believe it was true. It was such a special moment between the two of us, and I am 110% thankful that we got the whole thing captured on camera. I can't wait to get the rest of the pictures back, and will be sure to share when we do.

All I could think the rest of the day is that I'm going to get my little princess. Will has also started calling her that :) It's all about "the princess" now. He also says that means I've been promoted to queen. Smart man I married.

Of course our girl could hate pink, hate princesses, and prefer to spend her time reading books or playing in the mud. Whatever you like, and whoever you are, we can't wait to meet you!

Now bring on the narrowing down of names, shopping, and nursery decorating. Time to get down to business!


I hope your weekend was as wonderful and special as ours.

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