Wednesday, March 5, 2014

mini muffins!

whew! i'm still here folks. fatigue hit me like a truck a couple weeks ago, and i kept on truckin' through it thinking it was just the result of growing this sweet little number four, building a backyard fence, and helping my husband get ready for his first trip out of the country since his youth. then the sweet nurse at my doctor's office called to tell me that my glucose test came back all awesome (so i can actually eat these muffins!!), but my iron is low. oh! that explains a lot! so besides upping the iron and munching on spinach, i've been napping and knitting and forgetting about this here space. but then tonight after having a too-early dinner, the kids and i decided we needed to put our mini muffin pan to use and make something that tastes as good as that dang maple sticky buns candle that's been burning all afternoon smells. enter the mini pumpkin cream cheese muffins! i had found a couple different recipes on pinterest, but nothing that appealed to my laziness, so i sorta combined a couple different things and i'm diggin' the result. 

i remembered seeing back around thanksgiving the recipe for easy pumpkin cake, where you just add a can of pumpkin to a cake mix, but i decided to just let the pumpkin substitute some of the eggs and the oil. so i still added one egg and a cup of water to the mix. note: this would have rocked if i'd have had a spice cake mix handy, but since i didn't i did throw in a couple teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice and i'm glad i did.

for the filling i used a 8oz block of cream cheese, a tablespoon of all purpose flour, 1/4 c sugar, some vanilla, and an egg... just pretend that one in the background rolled up to be next to these guys.

then i just put a little blob of filling on top of the semi-filled muffin liners.

and topped that with a final blob of cake batter. toss them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes and enjoy!

this made 4 dozen mini muffins. 

1 cake mix (spice would be best, or yellow with pumpkin pie spice added)
1 can pumpkin
1 egg
1 c water

Filling: (just beat these things with a mixer until completely smooth)
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c sugar
1 Tbs flour

Monday, February 17, 2014

another shirt that fits! {maternity sewing}

Yay for another shirt that covers the belly! I followed this tutorial over on DIY Maternity using one of my thrifted button-ups and am SO happy with the result. I also added some cap sleeves, using this tutorial from Suburbs Mama. I'm not sure yet whether to keep them as they are or take them off and try again. I'm wishing they were slightly more fitted, I think.

Unfortunately I don't think this shirt is going to see it to the end of my pregnancy, since I probably won't stop growing for the next 3 months...

But the button front and the general shape of the shirt is making me think I could definitely use it after baby arrives as a shirt that's handy to nurse in. *fingers crossed* I always seem to have a hard time finding tops that don't cost a zillion dollars that are convenient for nursing. I usually end up just layering up tees with stretchy camisoles, but that doesn't lend itself well to all occasions.

29 weeks!

Not too bad for about $4 and a couple hours of sewing therapy. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

thursday already?!

How on earth did that happen? Karl didn't work at all last week due to the weather, and we spent all day Monday buying a new (to us) car. (Yay for being a two car family again!) Needless to say our schedule has been all thrown off with daddy home and we are just now getting back into real life again. Boy did we enjoy our time though. It is lovely to take a few days once in a while to just be. We had nothing scheduled and didn't yet have the means to get our to-do list rolling. Instead we enjoyed a lot of reading, a couple family movie nights, playing together, and family naps. Luckily, after a lovely weekend full of snow and nighttime snowball fights, the weather warmed up and Karl made it back to work before we all got too used to being home together--turns out that just doesn't get the bills paid!

Hopefully I'll get another boost of energy soon now that I've hit the third trimester (!!) and get those maternity shirts finished so I have more than one shirt that fits again.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

new post, old dress {maternity sewing}

I decided this dress needs an updated post. It has been on favorite status through two pregnancies, and was amazing after Milo was born, since the deep V neckline lends itself well to nursing attire. I used this tutorial with a super light weight slub knit that I doubled over. The arm holes and hem are left raw, since the jersey doesn't fray and I dig the look. The style of the dress works well as a layered piece with a long sleeve shirt and leggings, works as a cute spring church outfit with flats and a cardigan, and can even be paired well with heels for a date night. LOVE it. Pretty sure I'll be making another one as soon as the right fabric finds me.

Here's what it looks like with no belt, which is getting to be more comfortable these days.

And here's the belly!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

in progress.

Thanks to my ever-expanding belly and the attempt of all three children at various times through the night/early morning to crawl over me into our bed, I am up before the sun this morning, enjoying the chilly quiet. And chilly it is! This is our first winter in our OLD and drafty house, and we are still getting used to figuring out the best ways to stay warm. Wool socks, hot water bottles, and throw blankets thrown everywhere are feeling especially cozy right now. And I can't forget knitting. Knitting feels especially cozy this time of year, especially with a new babe to knit for kicking around in my belly. Right now I'm working on a BSJ for Little No. 4 (see the one I knit for Milo here). I decided not to hold the yarn double this time, and using some Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Pacific on size 4 needles, I'm crossing my fingers he'll at least get to wear it a handful of times before its too small!

Also! I took a trip through the thrift store a little while back and found a couple goodies to make into maternity shirts, using a little inspiration from DIY Maternity--such a great site for tutorials and inspiration! If these work out, I'll have two new shirts for under $6. Score! I'm thinking one of them will turn into another peasant top, and I might piece together a couple different tutorials for the other. 

I love the fabric on that front shirt. You can't tell from far away, but the print is little birds. 

I'm linking up to Frontier Dreams today, for some more inspiring progress posts.

Friday, January 31, 2014

about that other post

Maybe you know the one I mean, or maybe you'll take a moment to read it now. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, and I hope it doesn't start to feel like that around here, but honestly, I feel like this is such an important story to share. Back when I first found out about my husband's affair, after I was rocked by the shock (that sometimes I feel hasn't entirely dissolved), after God put the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation on my heart, and while Karl and I were still in separate houses, I felt so alone. I was afraid that anyone I told would immediately take sides, which I knew wouldn't be healthy if we were going to end up staying married. I found out Karl had support. He had some great people to pray with him, identify with him--some people we have known for a long time told him about their experiences with infidelity, but never did I get to hear from the spouse hurt by it (I know now that in every case, BOTH spouses are hurt by it, but I wasn't willing to admit it then). 

I turned to google, desperate in my search to read a story written by the betrayed spouse, a story of forgiveness. Again and again all I could seem to find were resources for the person caught in the affair, and a whole lot of unhelpful advice. Save for one story, which by the way, I found weeks before I knew about my husband's affair, but during the weeks that followed I read it again and again. I was so thirsty to hear a story written by someone who was hurt, but was able to find forgiveness. I needed to know it was possible. Probably not a surprise, but a marriage on the rocks is incredibly messy business, and trying to make sense of anything during that time was extremely difficult. Between wondering who would get the kids, how would I support myself, what if I stay angry forever, what if they're in love, what if? What if? What if? There's so much room for anger in those questions and not much room for hope. Add to that the exhaustion of keeping a "game face" on--for the kids, for the parents, friends, family... It's tough.

 It was rock bottom for me. I said in that last post that I fell on my face in prayer, and it's true. I had no energy to do anything else, and in that time alone with God, I found hope. In that story I read on the internet, I found hope. When I finally had the courage to reach out to a friend, I was overwhelmed with hope. Not necessarily the hope I wanted--I didn't find the promise of my saved marriage online, or in a single prayer, or through email conversations with a friend, but I did find hope in knowing I wasn't alone. And that's a damn fine first step. And that is one reason why I need to share this story. 

Just in case someone out there somewhere needs to know they're not alone...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

my favorite food (for now)

Ladies and gentlemen, I have to confess. I cannot get enough of these.
Call them salad rolls, spring rolls, fresh rolls, whatever. But they are gooooood.
And a much needed change from the fried food and potato chip addiction I have had as of late.

Here's what I put in mine this time. You always need the rice papers and some sort of noodles, but the rest can change every time. Sometimes I use rice sticks noodles and sometimes I use bean threads. No one in my house seems to have a preference. This time I put in mung bean sprouts, bell pepper, carrot, cucumber and plenty of fresh cilantro.

Just slice your veggies into thin matchsticks, prepare the noodles according to package directions, and you're good to go.

This is what the rice paper looks like right out of the package. My small town has a local grocery store with a great selection of Asian foods--shout out to Shop'N'Kart, if you're local!-- but I have also seen them at Fred Meyer and sometimes Safeway.

You can see that it is pretty thin and brittle.

Just soak them in a pie plate with about a half inch of hot water for a few seconds and they soften right up.

I have found that the time it takes me to roll up my first roll is the perfect amount of time to have the next rice paper soaking.

They're hard to hold flat with one hand while taking a picture with the other hand. It will stick to itself, so try not to let that happen. I think I was able to save this one before it got too crumpled up.

Just flatten it out the best you can on a plate.

Then top with whatever you're putting on yours. If you look really closely you can see that some green onion snuck in after I had taken the photos of the ingredients up above. Good stuff. I always pile the noddles on first, then the sprouts, followed by whatever else you have. Don't forget the cilantro!

Now you fold over the two ends that are perpendicular to the fillings, and stick it down to the flaps that are still open. That will help you get a nice, tight roll.

Then just roll it up burrito style.

And of course dip it in plenty of peanut sauce. That's the best part. There are tons of recipes out there on the interwebs for this stuff, but I'm much too lazy for that these days. This one is my current favorite. A little spicy, and I'm pretty sure it'd be awesome with an ice cold beer... I'll keep you posted on that in about 3-4 months.  ;)

eight years

On this day eight years ago, this guy and I stood up before our friends and family and said things like, "for better or for worse..." and, "til death do us part..." It's almost humorous the difference I feel about those words this year versus the day we first said them aloud. I never imagined, as a 19 year old bride, how much those vows could stretch me. Or how they would be tested. Or how thankful I would still be that we made them. I love you, Karl, and I am so blessed to have you by my side.

Monday, January 27, 2014

discovery trail

Before we dropped the kiddos off at grandma's for a weekend alone, we went for a short morning hike. It was a beautiful morning for it! We hit up Discovery Trail, which I didn't even know existed, and it was lovely. If any of you locals are interested, there is also at least one geocache along the way, which is a good motivator for my kiddos to keep walking. 

This trail is pretty short and sweet and has gravel for most of the way which was perfect for Milo to be out of the backpack and on his feet, and also nice for this mama, who's pace is a bit slower these days. 

We also had the opportunity to go over some basic safety tips since there was a sign posted about a recent cougar sighting. And, could it be? A cougar track? We're not completely sure, but if you look closely you'll notice that the bottom of the paw print does have three lobes, and what almost appears to be claw marks at the top is actually shadows cast by little pieces of gravel.

They found it! We actually remembered to have the kiddos all bring a piece of "treasure" with them in case we found the geocache, and they were so excited to get to trade some things.

And I had to throw this last one in. Our little family is growing too big for iphone self-portatraits these days, so Karl had to be a little clever about getting us all in there. :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

dressing the belly

So, after that last heavy post, I'm just going to jump ahead and say this weekend Karl and I are celebrating our 8th anniversary *dreamy sigh*, and I'm not sure if I've really said anything about it in this space, but we are expecting our 4th baby. I've totally lost track of how far along I am at this point. All I know is that I'm due in May and already as big as a house. You can call me Gianormica from here on out. Pleased to meet you. 

Anywhooooo, I knew I'd need something to cover my belly for our date so that diners aren't offended by my inappropriately and hugely exposed baby space. Enter: husband's old button down and a pair of jeans that I busted the zipper on way back when I tried to shove myself back into them too soon after birthing 9lb, 6oz baby Milo two years ago.
Before: husbands old shirt and stretchy busted zipper jeans.
After: button back, pin-tucked blouse with maternity rocker jeans.
I totally didn't take any pictures of the process of making this top. I was highly inspired by some of the tutorials over at DIY Maternity, but then just went and did my own thing. I can kind of describe it though, if anyone's interested. If you're not, then just skip to the bottom to see me rocking ridiculous heels, considering my lack of balance--but hey, at least I wasn't trying to chase kids in them!

For the top: I cut the sleeves off, removed the pocket, and unpicked the yoke seem. I did some very sloppy pintucks in the front (the back of the shirt is now the front) so that I wouldn't lose too much fabric when I resized the sleeve holes, and then reattached the yoke. I cut the collar off the shirt and then resized the neck opening to fit before folding it over twice and topstitching. I traced the sleeves of a button up shirt I have that fits nicely and resized the old sleeves accordingly, cutting them to elbow length. I cut the side seams of the shirt and hemmed the new front to match the back (this allowed me to drop the neckline down a little and reset the top shoulder seams to the front, then I sewed the side seams back up, closing in the arm holes a little to match my new sleeves. Lastly, I put the sleeves back on and BAM! Now I have a shirt that covers my bump.

The pants were way easy. I cut an old tee that fit snugly over my belly straight across just under the armpits, then folded the band of fabric in half and sewed it around the top of the jeans under the waist band. IMPORTANT: be sure the zipper is up before sewing, and make sure the pockets are tucked down. Or just always wear with a very long shirt. Ahem.

Now I'm wishing I had taken a better photo to show the pin-tucking at the yoke and the button down back. Whoops.