Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy (impending) New Year!! We had a wonderful Christmas and were both very spoiled. We got to spend lots of time with Matt's family, and my mom drove up from Florida to spend the weekend with us which was so nice. We had so much fun and did lots of prep work for little Madelyn :)

We finally ordered Maddy's nursery furniture and it should be here within 10 days- I am SO excited to get it into her room. My mom also bought her the cutest chandelier I've ever seen for her room and Matt was sweet enough to hang it up for us before she left town. This picture does not do it justice, and it really made it start to look like a little girl's room:)
As you can see in the above picture, the belly is growing every day! We can actually watch it move now when she really gets going which totally freaks Matt out. I am of course completely fascinated by it.

We are so looking forward to the craziness that 2009 has in store for us and can't believe it's only a few months until little Madelyn will be here!!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and have a safe New Years!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Too Cute

I absolutely love these personalized recipe cards at Monogram! At just over a dollar a piece, they would make an excellent hostess gift for someone. Or for those of you trying to be more organized in the new year, some inspiration to write all of your recipes down!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry almost Christmas!

I'm wishing you all a Merry Christmas now as I anticipate this will be the last time I post on the blog until next weekend. As always this time of year, we are crazy preparing for the holiday, but so looking forward to having time off to spend with friends and family. I can't believe that it's almost 2009 and that this time next year little Madelyn will be celebrating Christmas with us! It is so exciting to think about.

On the baby front little Maddy is growing like crazy and seems to be liking her home in my belly. The above picture is when she was 19 weeks 3 days- I am now 22 weeks 2 days. She now measures 11 inches from head to toe and has some strong legs- I know this because I feel her move all the time. It's really the coolest thing I've ever experienced and I love all her little wiggles. Even when they wake me up at 3:45 a.m.(like this morning) and keep me up for a while- I figure it's good training for when she arrives :) Matt painted the trim and doors in her nursery last week so now I can really start putting her room together. I can't wait to hang all of her clothes up in her closet and really start making it feel like Her room. At this point I'm supposed to be gaining about a pound a week- luckily I think it's all still going to the belly but I've been trying Really hard to eat as healthy as I can and workout a few times a week...if nothing else it definitely helps me to feel better. I actually woke up the other morning craving Yoga- sounds strange, but all I wanted to do was turn on my prenatal yoga DVD. The only other real craving I've had is for decaf coffee. Again, strange.

On Saturday we had a fun little Christmas dinner at the house with friends- I'll be sure to post pics and recipes when I can.

On another note, I'm going to be trying out some new "freezer" recipes in the new year in order to save money and prepare for crazy nights at home with baby when I'm on maternity leave. My goal is to stock the freezer with a bunch of ready-made meals and marinated meats so that when the time comes to cook dinner all I have to do is re-heat and assemble the sides.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and enjoy your time with those closest to you!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kitchen Demolition

As I think I've mentioned before, Matt and I were lucky to buy the house that he grew up in from his parents. It's the perfect house for us to start out in and we were so blessed to have such an easy transition to a "home" after getting married. In order to make the house our own, we have literally painted all but 3 rooms, replaced the carpet upstairs (we have hardwoods downstairs), put in some (not all yet) new light fixtures and filled it with furniture. Our biggest project by far has been the kitchen, and we are hoping to complete the final phase this week.
The kitchen used to be painted a purple color with brown cabinets and off-white countertops. We painted the walls a pretty green (looking back I would go a shade deeper/darker, but I guess that is how you learn)and painted the cabinets white.

Here is a during picture- you can see the painted walls and unpainted cabinets:

And here is a picture of the finished cabinets. As you can see, there is a plastic backing backsplash that matches the countertops- this will be coming off as well:

Today we begin the final phase of the kitchen re-do: the countertops. We picked out a black formica (we have so little counterspace that we didn't meet the minimums for corian or granite) that Matt is picking up today, and white subway tiles for the backsplash, as well as this beauty that I got for a steal on

The pressure is on as we are having friends over for a little Christmas dinner on Saturday night, so keep your fingers crossed we can get everything done in time! (including the inevitable massive amount of clean up)
I am so excited to see it finished and will be sure to post pictures...stay tuned!

Update: No sooner than I hit "publish post" on this did we get a call from Lowe's saying that the countertops came in damaged and won't be back in until the 31st...Oh well!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I know it sounds weird, but trust me...

A few years ago I had a suspicious dish called pineapple casserole for the first time. An apparent southern classic, I had never been introduced to what I was sure was going to be a strange concoction of ingredients that should never be in the same dish together. I was wrong. Very wrong. It was like pineapple heaven from the first bite.
So, I decided to try my hand at the dish and let me tell you, it is so easy and SO delicious! Below is the Paula Deen recipe I used and my modified notes to keep a few extra calories off of your hips (you are welcome). I am confident my version is just as tasty as Paula's and I can eat it (almost) guilt free.

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar (I used freshly grated 2% sharp cheddar)
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan (I greased the pan with Pam and used just over a 1/2 stick of butter here)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Also, I have been working from home for 3 days now as I seem to have contracted viral laryngitis. While my husband is getting quite a kick out of the fact that I cannot speak, it is quite annoying. While working yesterday I caught this recipe on Paula's show as it played in the background. As someone who has a hard time eating her veggies, I think I could handle this. And, the presentation is so pretty it could easily be served at a holiday party.

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus

8 or 9 asparagus spears, depending on size
1/2 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (I think this would be better with a richer fresh grated cheese like gruyere)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Reserve 1 stack for later use. Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Place 2 to 3 asparagus spears on the short end of the sheet. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Repeat until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

On a side note, I love watching Paula's show. I love seeing her big white waterfront home in Savannah with the wrap around porch. Don't be afraid to try her recipes- many of them are easily modified to be healthier and I have had very good luck with those I have tried.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Love Ruffles

I have an unexplainable passion for clothing that has ruffles on it. So, in honor of this fashion trend, I thought I would showcase a few of the super-cute items I've seen recently.

Over Thanksgiving I bought this adorable sweater from Gap and now want it in every color. To top it off, they make it in maternity sizes too! It is suuuuper comfortable on top of super cute.

I bought myself a Christmas present at Kohls a few weeks ago for Matt to give me. It was a black and white houndstooth coat that I was convinced was going to be my new favorite winter accessory....until I saw this in the Victoria's Secret catalog...and it was love at first sight. Tonight I'm returning the coat to Kohls so hubby can get me this instead ;)

I also spotted these pj's in the VS catalog that I thought would be great for the hospital after Madelyn is born. Luckily now you can change out of the hospital gown after delivery, so I want to be sure to have cute jammies for when visitors stop by.(Please excuse the semi-naked girl- this is still a PG blog- I just couldn't find a better picture!)

Another top from Gap Maternity that is on my Christmas wish list- they also make this one in regular sizes:

And lastly, it may be a J Crew knock off, but it's a darn good one. Behold the ruffle cardigan from Old Navy, on sale for just $20!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fake Bake

I wish I could take credit for this recipe but I cannot- that goes to Katie over at Katie is a genius cook who makes up most of the recipes on her blog herself, which in itself is impressive. What is even more staggering is that they are all delicious! I have yet to try one I didn't like.

Tonight I made her fresh cranberry orange cookies. They are delicious! Now, I have a lot to learn when it comes to baking. Baking, unlike cooking, takes exact measurements and patience- two things that I don't always excel at. I prefer to wing it and not follow a recipe down to the exact details, which might explain why my cookies didn't come out nearly as pretty as Katie's. Therefore, I've posted her picture, as mine were overdone and a tiny bit too thin. I can assure you this did not affect the taste as I've already eaten two...with a bowl of salad for that is what I call balance:)

Here is the recipe copied directly from her website.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Cookies

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp grated orange zest
juice of 1/2 orange
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. chopped fresh cranberries (I used a food processor and pulsed about 8-10 times)

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.
-In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and whisk; set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add yolk and beat until fully incorporated.
-Add orange juice, then zest and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.
-Turn mixer to low speed, add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
-Remove bowl from mixer, stir in cranberries, and place 1 Tbsp rounds of dough onto cookie sheets.
-Place cookies in the oven and bake, switching baking sheet positions half way through baking time, for 12-14 minutes (they should not brown)
-Remove from oven and let cool on pans completely, about 10-15 minutes.

Makes about 18 very generous Tbsp-sized cookies


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Does this belly make my butt look big?

As promised, here are two belly pics from this week. The first if from my baby shower in Orlando over the weekend, and the second was taken just a few nights ago at home.

Based on our doctor's appointment yesterday baby Madelyn is a very healthy baby girl! All organs seem to be working correctly, brain is perfectly formed and functioning, her arms and legs are proportionate, and she is a healthy weight and length (as is her mom...ahem...)
We go back in 4 weeks and then we start rotating doctors so we can get to know the other two OBGYNs in the practice. That way if our doctor can't make the delivery, we are familiar with the one who will be there.

On another front, my meat aversion seems to be over (finally). I have been eating chicken and other various meats now for about a week without getting or feeling sick, so I think we're back in business. thank goodness. Because of this I've been busy finding new recipes to make for dinner that I'll be sure to share soon.

Dai and Andrew are heading up this weekend for the big SEC Championship against Alabama. I am so excited to see them and equally as excited for the game, though I do not think it is going to be an easy one. Plus it is only going to be in the low 50's, which is funny because I don't think I've ever had to wear winter clothes to a Gator game before!

Hope everyone is having a great (and warm) week!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I guess when it starts to snow...

That's when you know it's time to decorate for Christmas! That's right- it snowed here in Atlanta yesterday. I use the term "snow" lightly since it really just consisted of flurries that melted as soon as they hit the ground, but when you're used to warm holidays, anything white falling from the sky is pretty exciting. Even though this will be my 4th Christmas up in Atlanta I still get excited every time.

In honor of this change in temperature, I thought I'd post some gorgeous inspiration pictures of Christmas decorations for you to marvel over. We are planning to deck out the house on Sunday so stay tuned!

From Designer Philip Sides

Better Homes and Gardens

These next two are from user JenniH on Rate My Space- she has impeccable taste in her entire house, but especially in her Christmas decor.

From Traditional Home
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