January 31, 2013

The It List - January

 

I thought I would try to get the January “It List” in just in the knick of time!  Here are some of my favorites for this month – enjoy!

 

1.  Boos Block

John Boos & Co. is the leading manufacturer of butcher block and stainless steel gourmet and foodservice products in the U.S.A. JB&C is renowned for their famous Boos Blocks® and Cutting Boards. JB&C products are "Made in the U.S.A" of solid and quality North American hardwoods, and are the finest in quality, workmanship and design.

Since 1887!

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These cutting boards are legendary and make a great gift.  I purchased one for my mom as a housewarming gift a few years ago, but never had one of my own…until now.  My mom returned the favor and got me one for Christmas and I LOVE IT – best gift ever.

If you do own one, don’t forget to buy the Boos Mystery Oil for optimum performance.

 

 

2.  Smash Products by K&Company

According to K&Company:

“We believe that a scrapbook album is a one-of-a-kind map of memory lane, made from your memorabilia and our materials. That’s why we create and collaborate to design thousands of absolutely superb scrapbooking items: scores of stylish albums, acid-free papers, detailed stickers, metal art, fabric art and much, much more. We believe in giving you artful designs that stand the test of time, designs that will look as beautiful 50 years from now as they do today.”

The Smash product line from K&Company is a hip, chic and totally fun line of patterned tapes, sticky notes, journals, scrapbooks and more. 

 

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I found my Smash gear at Wal Mart and bought a few items the minute I set eyes on them.  My favorite is the patterned tape above.  It makes a dull thank you note perk up right away!  So much fun!

 

 

3.  Chewbeads

Non-toxic jewelry for moms, safe for babies to tug, touch and chew!

 

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I saw these for the first time while visiting a cute children's store in Madison, WI over the Christmas holidays.  I loved the look of them and thought the concept was awesome.  I can’t wait to get one to wear now and later – they are so stylish!

 

 

4.  Rechargeable Car Flashlight

These little gems may have been around for a while, but I saw my first one about a month ago and thought it was genius! 

 

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A small flashlight with a car charger built in the handle – SO SMART!  I don’t have one of these yet, but it’s definitely on my list, especially with a little one in tow!

 

 

5. Zipit Monsters

How fun are these?  Although my students have to use a particular pencil pouch while at school, this would be such a fun pencil/marker pouch to have at home or on long road trips! 

 

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This would be the perfect gift for any budding artist you know!

January 30, 2013

Energy Bites

 

Soooo, in preparation for the lack of energy that we will be experiencing very shortly, I decided to try these no bake energy bites to have on hand when we’re starving but just don’t have time to do anything else but grab and go.

I have read many different recipes for these types of treats on various running and healthy eating blogs over the past couple of years, but had never tried making them until now.  The result?  LOVE! 

I wish I would have tried these babies out while we were training for our marathon…they would have been perfect for a before run boost or a quick after run replenishment.  I keep ours in the freezer and love them cold.  Check it out – simple and easy!

 

 

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Chocolate No Bake Energy Bites

Print this recipe!

--makes 1 1/2-2 dozen depending on size

  • 1/2 C nut butter(I used peanut butter.  Use sunflower butter for a nut-free version)
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 3/4 C coconut (or any other dry ingredient, like oat bran, ground flax, wheat germ, ground nuts, etc)
  • 2 t vanilla
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 C add-ins(I used a mixture of roughly chopped dried cherries and walnuts; but you could use anything your healthy heart desires)

In a medium sized pot over low heat, warm the nut butter and honey.  Once warm and smooth, take off the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla and sea salt. 

When combined, mix in the oats, coconut or other dry ingredients and the add-ins until completely combined. 

Chill in the fridge until not warm anymore, then roll into bite sized balls.  If your mixture is too dry, just simply squeeze the balls together instead of rolling them.  Store at room temperature or in the fridge (mine are actually in the freezer and are delicious frozen!).

 

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Enjoy!

January 29, 2013

Nursery Update–COMPLETED!

 

 

It seems like just yesterday (I know I will be saying that a lot in the coming months/years) I was finding inspiration pictures for our nursery (see inspiration board below).  Now I am happy to say that it is finished! 

 

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If you missed any of our previous update posts check these out to see how we got to the end:

FF – Nursery Edition

Nursery Update - Seeing Stripes

Nursery Update: #2

Nursery Update – Organization

 

Now, everything is in place and ready to go.

 

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The coolest, most unique part of the nursery is the handmade tree bookshelf.  I found a picture on Pinterest (see below) way back when and simply showed Mike and said…”Can you build this for the nursery?”  He probably wished he would have said no, but he didn’t and built this from scratch just by simply looking at the picture.

 

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I LOVE how it turned out and am so impressed; it would take me 8 years to even decided how to make it.  He really doesn’t think it’s a big deal, but I think he rocks.  Smile

 

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There was a lot of taping, mapping, measuring, cutting, screwing (lol, sorry) and staining, but here is the final product:

 

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Luckily, it is bolted to the wall pretty well if our little bundle of joy decides to use it as a climbing structure…who am I kidding…when our little guy uses as a climbing wall.  Hopefully he’ll love it as much as we do!

My nana also made these awesome floor pillows for lots of reading and relaxing to come. 

 

  • Toy Storage

I also found this cool vintage basket to use as a toy basket (to start out – I know we will have multiple toy baskets before long).  I originally bought it to use as a trash can, but love the way it looks in the nursery!

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  • Changing Station

Our changing station is complete with the changing pad, waterproof pad (for you mom) and our wipes dispenser.  Notice, not a wipe warmer – which I heard from a few friends was totally unnecessary – but this keeps the wipes accessible and moist (ugh, that word) with just one touch and looks pretty cool.  I love it!

 

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  • Closet

The closet has been ready for a few weeks, but I did want to share a cool “peek a boo” picture idea.  My mom brought down this picture of me as a baby, and although I didn’t want to hang it in the room, I did want to incorporate it somewhere, so I hung it in a spot in the closet and think it’s so fun to see every time I open it up.

 

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  • Homemade onesies

We eneded up with some plain white onesies somehow and decided to make some personal touches to them!  I used Steam-a-Seam to adhere the designs to the onesies and simply sewed them on afterwards to add some detail. 

The anchor was my idea – my college mascot was a “Tar” which is a sailor, so this is my nod to Rollins while Mike made the tree onesie as his signature piece.

 

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The coolest part?  He sketched out an exact replica of his tree bookshelf creation to put on the onesie.  Look closely – it’s the exact same design.  So cool!

 

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PS-He was wearing his “tree shirt” while putting it all together as well.  I think they will definitely be two peas in a pod for sure!

 

Now all we need is a baby!

 

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January 28, 2013

Menu Monday

 

Good morning and happy Monday!  We had a very productive weekend and I can’t wait to show you the results tomorrow.  Our nursery is completely finished and I couldn’t be more pleased.  Everything is in place and just waiting on our little dude, which by the way could be any time now. 

I’m officially 37 weeks today and now we’re just playing the waiting game to see when he wants to make his debut.  I know I can’t wait to meet him!

We also celebrated our friend Jenny’s 30th birthday this weekend with a trip to some Winter Park hotspots:  The Wine Room and Hot Olives and Big Daddy’s for some karaoke.  It was definitely a great night with great friends.

 

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Happy Birthday Jenny!

 

As for this week, Mike will be working some overtime and I will be finishing my maternity leave plans followed by a baby shower at my Aunt Janie’s house…so excited! It’s getting close!

 

M: Meatloaf w/ Stuffing and Green Beans

T:  Cola Pork Chops w/ Cous Cous

W:  Onion and Mushroom Quesadilla w/ Refried Beans and Rice

Th:  Chicken and Dumplings

F:  Chili Mac

Sa:  Palatka – Baby Shower Time!!!

Su:  Super Bowl Party!

January 25, 2013

Pink and/or Blue?

 

Most of you know that we are expecting blue, but our friends Jill and Ryan (due 4 weeks after us) were hardcore and didn’t find out.  I don’t know how they did it because it’s driving me crazy!!!

This past weekend we celebrated the pink or blue couple with a pink and blue baby shower.  It was only the second co-ed baby shower I had ever been to, but I must tell you that it was the best.  The shower was simply a party and was epic. 

It was held at their friends Stacy and Scott’s house which was beautiful in itself, but the majority of the time was spent in their A-M-A-Z-I-N-G back yard.  It was like something out of a movie and everywhere you looked there were little alcoves of whimsy. 

 

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The pool/grotto area looked so inviting-although I’m really surprised nobody ended up in it along with the arbor, outdoor chandelier, globe lights, fire pit(s)-yes there were two, and couch.  I didn’t even get a picture of the outdoor shower, but trust me, it was just as amazing.

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We played two games that were hilarious:

#1:  Girls had to put adult diapers on the guys and then the guys had to chug a beer out of a baby bottle – so funny.

 

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#2:  Diaper wrapping – we were put into teams of 4 and given two rolls of toilet paper and 2 minutes and were asked to create the best diaper.

 

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After that the fire (and the boys) had all the fun.

 

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Christmas tree burning and fire jumping.  Classic.

 

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My friend Lynn even decided to climb a tree! 

 

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Congrats to Ryan and Jill – we can’t wait to meet the little he or she!  For the record…my pick is pink!

January 23, 2013

Bundled Up

 

It’s chilly outside!  Yay!  With the past couple of weeks hitting mid 80s, this pregnant lady was about to be over it, but luckily we’re back in the 60s and I couldn’t be happier.  So, since I am bundled up today I thought I would share a recipe that included some bundling as well.

 

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This recipe comes from a blog entitled Plain Chicken and makes a large batch.  I halved it initially and it made the perfect amount for Mike and me, however I would probably make the whole batch next time and just freeze some, they were that good (and easy!).  Served with your veggie of choice, this would be great for a weeknight meal, or a Sunday dinner with the fam!

 

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Crescent Chicken Bundles

2 (8 ounce) cans Reduced Fat  Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls

1 (10 3/4 ounce) can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, undiluted

3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or swiss cheese (or any cheese of choice)

1/2 cup milk

Filling

4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese (very soft)

2 tablespoons butter (very soft but not melted)

1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tsp minced onion flakes (or onion soup mix)

2 large cooked chicken breasts, finely chopped (or use about 2 cups, can use cooked turkey as well)

1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. milk

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cup grated cheddar cheese (for topping)


Set oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Mix together milk, 3/4 cup cheese and undiluted chicken soup (can season with black pepper if desired).


For the filling --- (make certain that the cream cheese and butter are very soft) in a bowl, mix the soft cream cheese with butter until very smooth, then add in garlic powder. Add in the chopped chicken, onion and cheddar cheese; mix well until combined. Add in 2 tablespoons milk; mix to combine (add in a little more if the mixture seems too dry). Season with seasoned salt or white and black pepper to taste.

Unroll the crescent rolls. Place 1 heaping tablespoon chicken mixture (or a little more) on top of each crescent triangle, then roll up starting at the thicker end. Drizzle a small amount of soup mixture on the bottom of the dish. Then place the crescent rolls seam-side down on top of the creamed mixture in the casserole.


Drizzle the remaining sauce on top (you don't have to use the full amount of cream sauce, just use as much as desired) and sprinkle with 1 cup (or more) grated cheese, or amount desired. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Print this recipe!

 

 

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January 22, 2013

Menu Tuesday :)

 

Hi all!  I hope you had a fabulous LONG weekend!  We definitely did and had a great time at our friends Jill and Ryan’s baby shower/party… but more on that later in the week! 

We also stained the tree bookshelf for the nursery, wrote tons of thank you notes and then just took time to rest.  I know our days of just resting are coming to an end, so I’m taking advantage of every chance I get!

 

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With only 4 weeks (give or take) left before Baby A makes his debut, we are coming down to the end of our to do list.  This week’s agenda includes:

  • car seat installation
  • hospital pre-registration
  • hospital/diaper bag packed
  • email/text announcement distribution list
  • install and decorate tree bookshelf in nursery

We’re getting so close!!!

 

As for our menu, here is what’s cooking -

M:  Pressed Sandwiches w/ Carrot Sticks

T:  Steak and Blue Cheese Pizza

W:  Apricot Chicken Kebabs w/ Veggies

Th:  Black Bean Soup & Yellow Rice

F:  Chicken Pad Thai w/ Broccoli

Sa:  Jenny’s Birthday Dinner!

Su:  Chicken Cordon Blue w/ Wild Rice and Green Beans

 

Have a great week!

January 17, 2013

Whoa Baby!

 

Last weekend was a whirlwind of events filled with baby love.  I (we) was not only showered once, but twice and received a plethora of baby gear.  Mike and I are so blessed and can’t thank all of our friends and family enough. 

 

Round 1: Yahoo for the Buck-a-roo!

The first of the showers was last Friday after work and was thrown by my friend and co-worker Kristana.  She and her husband just recently moved into a cute house in historic Winter Park and she wanted to show it off…and boy did she!

 

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She chose a cowboy theme and the decorations were adorable.  Burlap, bandanas, mason jars and raffia; four of my favorite things!

 

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The invitees included all of our co-workers/friends new and old.  There were about 35+ people that attended and it was so great to get to celebrate and catch up with every single one of them.

 

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The burlap and mason jars took me back to the d├ęcor of our wedding day <3.  Love.

 

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Luckily, Kristana had a beautiful back deck that was perfect for all of the drinking, eating, gift opening and mingling.

She thought of everything, even down to the table labels!

 

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Gifts galore!  So blessed!

 

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After opening gifts in my flannel and cowboy boots for close to an hour (or longer?) I was exhausted…opening presents is a tough job Smile.

We got tons of items off of our registry, and also an amazing array of books (each person was asked to bring one of their favorite childhood books). Leave it to a bunch of teachers to start the literacy early!

I can’t wait to start reading to Baby A and share my love of learning with him!

 

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Love to all of you!!!

 

I also have to give a shout out to my friend Jane who saved this gift for last – check out the wrapping – so awesome!!!

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Round 2: Chevron Celebration

The second shower of the weekend was with some of my best girl friends new and old at my friend Kamrin’s gorgeous home.  She and my friend Milissa (both Rollins volleyball teammates) hosted the beautiful event with help in the decorating department from Kamrin’s mother-in-law, Shelly. 

 

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The chevron runners (made by Kam’s Aunt Peggy – thanks Peggy!) were my favorite touch and the light blue and yellow were absolutely spectacular.  No details were left out – they thought of everything!

 

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If the decorations weren’t amazing enough, the food was even better!  All homemade and filled with love.

 

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On the menu:

  • Chicken Salad
  • Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Skewers
  • Napa Cabbage Salad
  • Goat Cheese and Pecan Finger Sandwiches with Red Pepper Jelly
  • Sausage and Pepper Frittatas
  • Fruit Salad
  • Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

and the best darn Coconut Cake I’ve ever had…made from scratch (way to go Twink!).

 

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My Aunt Janie, Nana (Baby A is due on her 85th birthday) and my mom even made the trip down.  It was so great having them there!

 

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After chatting and eating, the games (actually only one game) began.  It was by far my favorite game I’ve ever played at a shower – so funny!  The gist of the game was to see what our son would end up looking like.  To start there was a picture of my face with cut outs of Mike’s features (mouth, chin, nose, eyes, hair, eyebrows).

Kamrin emailed Mike ahead of time with a list of questions and he emailed her back with his answers.

Questions included:

What do you hope your son inherits/doesn’t inherit from you?

What do you hope your son inherits/doesn’t inherit from Lane?

…and more that I don’t remember

As she asked me the questions, if I got it right, I kept my feature; if I answered incorrectly, Mike’s feature went on top of my feature.

The result?

 

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Boy, oh boy.  LOL.

 

The opening of the gifts was so much fun.  I was in hysterics the entire time just laughing at the cards, onsies and the telling of old and new stories with some of my favorite girls (and thinking of the ones who couldn’t be there – we missed you Ferg, Nomo and Bueller!)

 

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Then it was time for cake!!!  Milissa (Twink) got to do the cutting honors after all of her hard work!

 

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Thanks to my girls – love you all!!!