Sunday, November 18, 2012


I'm not much of a sewer.  I can replace a button and occasional hem a pair of scrub bottoms.  But beyond that, I don't break out the sewing machine and thread.

Except for one thing: baby quilts.

I have now made each of my boys quilts.

Obviously, it started with Bug. At that time, since I couldn't make a nursery, I thought the least I could do was make him a quilt.  I also figured that I would have approximately 20 weeks to do it, from the time I found out the gender until birth.  That should be enough time, right?

Bug's Quilt

Turns out, for me, it is just barely enough.  All three quilts have now been finished during the last week of my pregnancy. But the whole point is that they are finished.

Well, basically finished.  I planned on embroidering each child's name and date of birth on their quilt. So far, Bug's quilt has his name on it...

The quilts are small, meant to be for babies and go in the crib.  But despite their small size, Bug and Monkey have both loved their quilts and still sleep with them now. This makes me very happy, because for a girl who doesn't sew much, these were truly a monumental labor of love.

Monkey's Quilt

Although, they probably didn't need to be quite to difficult.  All three quilts I designed from scratch, coming up with my own pattern and color scheme.  Just a third of the way through this last quilt for Duck, I though what a bad idea that was, that I really should have just used a pre-made kit.

 Duck's Quilt

But now that it is done, it feels worth the effort.  Especially since I won't have to make any more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Nursery

Otherwise known as my new favorite room in the house.

One of the things that I looking forward to doing during this pregnancy was creating a real nursery.  With both Bug and Monkey, we were living in apartments when they were born, so things such as painting and hanging up decorations were just not possible.  And there just wasn't room.   (Although I did paint a room for Bug in one apartment - only to have it quickly repainted over the day we moved out.)

This time, I wanted a dedicated baby room.

Our office/guest bedroom was emptied and all its contents were relegated to the basement (still yet to be finished.)

The before...

I started creating color schemes and design plans almost the very moment I found out I was pregnant. I created a Pinterest board dedicated just to nursery ideas.  And wow, did I have ideas.  I wanted something bold, striking, colorful, unique. Somewhere along in the planning process, I changed my mind.  After all, this was going to be a room for a newborn, a sweet, soft, snuggly newborn.  So I backed off the oranges and teals and lime greens and yellows and decided to go for something soft and soothing. 

And blue. 

The after...

At first, I couldn't believe myself.  How stereotypical, how expected could the nursery get - being blue for a boy. I was a little disappointed with myself.  I could have chosen any color, and I chose blue?

But I'm completely over it.  I love the room, blue walls and everything.

I hand painted trees and cardinals on the walls by finding a picture I liked online, tracing it onto a page protector.  I borrowed an overheard projector from a lady at the boys' school and traced, then painted each tree, leaf, and bird.  The cardinals were my mom's idea.  The nest was Monkey's idea.

Bug helped me create art for the reading/rocking corner.

I completely altered our old mobile, covering it first with brown floral tape, then with artificial vines and felt leaves.  I painted over some cheap bird Christmas ornaments to hand from the mobile.

And look at these darling black and white animal flashcards I found...I had to hang them up as art (but they are still easy to take down, so we can actually use them.)

I still have ideas: I need to get letters for the baby's name to hang on the wall. I want to create some baby accessible bookshelves for all the board books. I'm completely lusting after this owl lamp.

But for now, the nursery is done.  Often, when I walk by, I stand in the doorway and just look at everything, take in my new favorite room, and hope that its future occupant loves it as much as I do.

Monday, November 12, 2012

38 Weeks

I'm getting to the point where I hope that there won't be any more pregnancy update posts. I think I've officially hit the wall. I'm done. I'm fat pregnant enough that I can't fit into most my pregnancy clothes.  My feet are massively swollen.  I waddle.  My hips and back ache. I'm exhausted, but still can't sleep more than three hours in a row. The belly is just getting out of control.

I'm not all miserable.  Every rib bruising kick this little boy gives me makes me wonder how much he will weigh, whether he will be as bald as Bug and Monkey, and when he will make his appearance.

Despite physically having had enough, I'm actually hoping Duck does hold off just a bit on his grand entrance.  My mom arrives in 6 days.  And it would be kind of nice to make it through Thanksgiving without being immediately post-partum. 

To combat the fatigue and overall just blah feeling, I've spent the last week doing a little pampering.  

A couple of weeks ago, I took both Bug and Monkey out for individual dates, just the two of us out for an evening.

Hubster and I have a date planned for this weekend (hopefully.)

But I needed some individual time. I choose a time where my work schedule was lighter and spread a variety of activities over the week.

I bought myself flowers.

I got a manicure and pedicure, choosing a light blue to celebrate the arrival of a baby boy.

 (Just focus on the cute toenail color, and not the swollen toes)

I scheduled a maternity massage, which was the most wonderful thing.  I kept dozing off and may have snored on at least one occasion during.

This last week of some dedicated "me" time was something I have never done before, but was well worth it. I also took my last OR call of residency, (having worked 15 out of the last 17 weekends), and that alone is worth celebrating.

I feel rejuvenated and maybe, maybe even able to resist the temptation to have my OB/GYN induce me a week early.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soup Snob (And a Recipe)

Despite all my whining about summer ending and winter coming and not liking changing seasons and everything else that I whine about, I actually really do like fall.  It's a beautiful season.

One of my favorite things about fall is the food.  With cooler temperatures, I find that my appetite picks up (not necessarily a good thing), and I crave food made with squash, and apples, and plenty of cheese. Not necessarily all together. And my absolutely favorite food?  Soup.  I love soup and I just feel that you can't really get away with eating it during the hot afternoons of summer.  But the leaves change and the temperature drops, and I bring on the soup.

I thought I would share my very favorite soup recipe: roasted butternut squash soup.  I've been kind of hanging on to this, not really wanting to share, because, well, I'm selfish. This makes phenomenal soup, and I wanted it to just be my soup.  But since I can't have all of you over for dinner, this is the only way I know to share the deliciousness with you. 

This recipe has actually made me a bit of a butternut squash soup snob. Every time I go out to eat and I see butternut squash soup, I order it so I can compare it to my butternut squash soup.  And every time, Hubster and I both agree, it's just not as good.  My soup is creamy, silky, rich, and beautiful.  Every other butternut squash soup has just been a disappointment.

I've been making this soup since before Monkey was born. I can't remember where the original recipe came from.  I had the ingredients and some basic instructions scribbled on an index card, but I lost the card years ago. So be patient with me - this recipe is also an attempt at organizing my cooking, as in putting numbers to what goes into the pot.

First, get a butternut squash. Peel and clean it out.  Then chop it into pieces.  Place in a roasting pan.

Then chop up an onion (the whole thing) and put it in with the squash. 

Add several smashed cloves of garlic (you don't want to chop this because the pieces will be too little and will burn in the oven).  I use about 4-5 cloves of garlic, but then I really love garlic. 

Toss the squash, onion, and garlic with olive oil (several tablespoons). You want to be generous - not only does it help brown the vegetables, it keeps them from sticking to the pan.  Sprinkle very generously with pepper and kosher salt.

Place the roasting pan full of beautiful vegetables into an oven preheated to 425.  They are going to stay there for at least an hour and a half, but check on them every 30 minutes and give them a stir.  You don't want them to burn, but you do want them to get a lovely dark golden color.  The more color, the better the flavor of the soup.

After roasting for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until golden brown, place all the vegetables in a large pot.  Add 4 cups of chicken stock.  Then add additional water until the vegetables are completely covered, about 2-3 more cups.  Cover and simmer on low heat for at least another hour.  Or you can be like me and just let it simmer for several hours, because you are easily distracted and forgot about it. Don't worry.  It will be fine.

After boiling, let it cool a little before the next step.  Working in batches, puree the vegetable-stock mixture in a blender. 

Now here is the crucial part: after blending, pour the soup through a sieve into a new pot.  Straining the soup is what gives it the silken texture you are after. 

After all the soup is pureed and strained, extra water can be added as needed to get the thickness desired.  Especially if you forgot about the soup and let it simmer for several hours, you may need to add a little more extra water/stock. 

Right before serving, stir in a cup of cream.  (What?  I never said this was a healthy soup recipe, only that this was the best soup recipe.).

Serve with warm rolls and a salad of spinach, pear, and pecans, and you have the best dinner there is. 

It's not dinner at my house, but then I guess you are also forgoing the developing humor of two elementary school boys.  I hope you enjoy. And who knows?  This recipe may make you into a soup snob as well.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash soup
1 large onion
3-6 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black peper
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1 cup cream

Directions: Preheat over to 425.  Peel, clean, and chop up butternut squash.  Chop up onion.  Smash garlic.  Place all vegetables in roasting pan and toss will olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for approximately 90 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 30 minutes.

Place vegetables in pot, add chicken stock and enough water to completely cover vegetables.  Simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour.  

Working in batches, puree vegetable-stock mixture.  Strain soup into a new pan.  Stir in cream just prior to serving.