Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Santa's Bakeshop

We were Santa's little baking elves the weekend before Christmas!

Jeff's favorite Christmas cookie is spritz. You know, the little butter cookies you put in a gun and press out.

And when I say "butter", I mean butter:

This is for a quadruple batch by the way.  I definitely had enough to bring to my Bunco Christmas party (which was the idea!).

We used real butter this year instead of margarine. I think they taste so so so much better!  But the dough behaved differently - it spread out more when it was baked, and the dough was very tough to put in the gun.  

We used Land O Lakes salted butter this year, but made sure to eliminate the salt in the recipe so they turned out fine.  (Next time though we will used unsalted butter.)

We have a great set up - three trays going (one in the oven, one being prepped, and one cooling on the counter).  Using a cool tray is key with these cookies otherwise they tend to spread and crisp up on the bottom.

I think I mentioned before but Jeff is a master spritz gun shooter...he gets everything ready, then I sprinkle and decorate.  While he manages the in-and-out of the oven, I usually either scoop onto trays or put batches away.  It works great!

We also made a triple batch of peanut butter blossoms...about 30% of our guests can't eat peanuts but they are my favorites so I'm making them!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm also planning on making sour cream cutout cookies for New Years ! 

Ups and downs - 28 weeks

Well - a bit delayed but here is the 28 weeks picture.  

Down - I'm pretty sure this will be the last time to wear this suit - the pants were big to start with but now are too snug!  And the jacket didn't close entirely...but it worked for a big meeting I had!

Up - passing into the 3rd trimester with ease-ish

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A few quick updates!

Peanut has more presents under the tree than anyone else...thanks Grandparents!

He passed his "practice breathing test" during our ultrasound yesterday. They wanted to see the diaphragm move (like breathing) continuously for 30 seconds. It took a good long while to get 30 seconds but he did it! They will re-measure him next week.

My Christmas to-do list is getting very small now: send a few more Christmas cards, put out a cute snowman post thingy, print out the scavenger hunt clues, wrap gifts, hang a new shower curtain, and get groceries for the Christmas week. VERY manageable (especially since Jeff is doing a lot of these...).

I missed my personal training this week on Monday because of a last minute 8AM meeting scheduled, but was able to reschedule to FRIDAY! Yippee!

I'm getting my hair done tonight...the blond/grey roots need it :)

I'm so excited for my friend Angela, who has announced her new baby is due in May!!! They are keeping the gender a surprise (GAH I CAN'T IMAGINE!).

I am loving two Christmas albums - Katherine Jenkins' album from 2012 and the new Pentatonix album!  Check them out...much better than just putting on "Sounds of the Season". 

Speaking of, anyone else watching The Sing-off?? I think the Filharmonics will win!

That's all for now, peeps!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I love breakfast

I'm pretty sure when Peanut arrives he will probably think there are 3 categories of food in the world: breakfast, snacks, and everything else.

Here is what I'm eating now (for the most part):

  • Eggs - lots of them! Hard boiled, scrambled, poached in salsa...yum... 
  • English muffins with peanut butter and honey 
  • Apples 
  • Oatmeal (Have you tried Earnest Eats cups??? Love, love, love the Green Tea flavor. Order online or find them at Target) 
  • Stoneyfield blueberry Greek yogurt 
  • Green and/or fruit smoothies 
  • Carrots and Hummus Roasted chicken, with or without BBQ sauce 
  • Birds Eye Asian Stir Fry medley 
  • Horizon cheddar cheese sticks 
  • Steamed Broccoli with cheese sauce or cheesy popcorn seasoning 
  • Baked chicken with BBQ, Italian, Low Fat Sesame Ginger...any kind of sauce really 
  • Bananas 
  • Veggie soup - Amy's brand is the best! 
  • Coffee with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze (only one per day, and NOT every day! Heartburn...) 
  • Popcorn - microwave minis or oil-popped Dried apricots and roasted, salted pepitas (DIY trail mix)
Hmmmmmm...it occurs to me that not much of this is "cooked" food in the traditional sense. No wonder I struggle with being excited about dinner time meals and recipes.

28 weeks this week with a 20 lb gain so far...

Hopefully the kid comes out liking real food, even if it is mostly snack-y (and not the random cookies I eat)!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ups and Downs - 27 weeks

Up - Thanksgiving!!! Meant 4 days off work!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 Down - The weather had us cancel our camping trip to FDR State Park - it was going to be a 'last hurrah' of sorts but it was too cold!!!!!!!! So it was just Jeff and I at our holiday table. But we got a lot of Christmas stuff done and spent a lot of time relaxing. 

 Up - Did I mention 4 days off work!? 

 Down - Mother F'er. I got sick on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend with a really Bad Cold - and you know what? YOU CAN'T TAKE ANYTHING WHILE PREGNANT! Except like throat lozenges and Tylenol cold. Which are totally inferior medicines in my opinion (I long for ibuprofen so much).

 So I actually had 5-1/2 days off work, with 3 of them spent feeling lousy. 

 And now today (over a week later) I'm 99% certain I have a raging sinus infection because it literally HURTS to touch my face and I can't chew, my teeth hurt so bad. OUCH OUCH OUCH. I have my OB appointment tomorrow and I'm gonna make them take a look and tell me if I can get drugs. Yes I know I'm a big whiner but being sick SUCKS. 

 At least I looked cute before I got sick...happy end of 2nd trimester!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Preparations

We are hosting my family at Christmas this year. So I have wanted to be super-prepared - I feel like I have been really organized and on the ball, and then today I just realized: THEY ARE ARRIVING NEXT SATURDAY! Holy cow!!!

Good thing I've been prepping already otherwise I'd REALLY be feeling the stress this week. And I seem to poop out fast, so I'm glad to I don't have to scrunch it all into a few days. 

We have our tree up, our inside items all placed, and our outside decorated. We re-did our outside wreaths this year. We have a large wreath on our garage, and then wreaths along the porch (all lit) that have poinsettias, ribbon, red balls, and gold sparkly things. I pretty much replaced everything on the wreaths this year except the lights, and that was quite a project! Hopefully we will get another 5 years out of them. 

Jeff really LOVES Christmas, and is always on the lookout for more stuff to decorate with. He doesn't think we have that much (until he had to haul it all upstairs this year by himself)...and then when our friends said, "Boy, it's really Christmassy around here!". 

I have all of the presents ordered or purchased, except for 2 small things. HELLO AMAZON! I love it. And, am I the only one that pre-shops a bit online for ideas, then makes a spreadsheet for each person, item, source, and cost, and then tracks what I have ordered versus what has shipped versus what has arrived? I might be a little Excel obsessive. But it keeps me organized, on budget, and on time! 

We finished our Christmas letter and got most of the cards addressed. We pared back our recipient list this year to mostly family and a few friends because postage is really expensive! (I'll post our letter on the blog later in December though.)

I got all of the house preparations finished - enough towels, sheets, blankets, pillows for everyone, a new bath mat, guest bathroom drawer organizers, rearranged some shelves for people to put wallets / purses, pruned houseplants, hooked up cable in the guest bedroom, got more alarm clock...trying to make it comfortable!

I made all of our meal plans and grocery list, and the activity list for the 5 days everyone will be here. Some families like to simply hang out together - not us. Several people get grumpy / bored / annoyed when they don't feel like they have accomplished anything. So I have quite the schedule lined up! Of course, it's flexible, but it will give us some options of stuff to choose to do each day. (More on that later...) 

All of the supplies are purchased to make goodies - Spritz, Cut-out cookies, and Peanut Blossoms are on the list this year (we'll see how ambitious I feel though!). I literally had NO baking supplies. I never do it anymore - so we had to buy everything from flour and vanilla to sprinkles.

Jeff (again LOVES Christmas) is the ultimate cookie helper. Or actually, I'm in charge but he does a lot / at least half / ok most of the work. For spritz, we make the dough together, then he runs the gun and I decorate. For cut-out cookies, we make the dough together, I roll and cut out, and he manages in the in-and-out of the oven and cooling set up on the table. For Peanut Blossoms, I ball the dough and he punches the chocolate down. It's a team effort on all 3!!! 

Making cookies is probably the last "big" thing left to do before everyone arrives. Other than that - I think we are on a good pace to get everything done. How about you!?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Simple Food Guidelines

I had an interesting conversation with my mom when she was here last time.

She has done an AWESOME job at weight loss in the last year(ish). She started with Weight Watchers and has figured out how to incorporate their guidelines into her life. She has calculated her normal breakfasts and lunches out to a "T" for the points values, and knows roughly how many points she has for the rest of the day. Then she uses her favorite Weight Watchers cookbooks - which she literally RAVES about (and which I agree, contain deliciousness) to finish out dinner.

I think it's amazing she has learned to cook in a completely new way, and that she and my dad have been so open and accepting of new things...Curry! Capers! Almond Milk! Quinoa! Who would've thought an old farmer would eat quinoa!?

Anyway, I couldn't be prouder of her for taking control of her food-lifestyle. It's obviously worked for her, 60+ lbs later. But we got to talking - what's next? How do you get over the next plateau? How do you make it exciting again? How do you FEEL BETTER?

I've been on the journey long enough that my thinking has evolved from 'counting points' to 'counting calories' to 'eating to nourish'...(and admittedly, counting calories SUCKS while pregnant).

But I think my mantra going forward, post-baby, is going to be fairly simple:
1. Don't eat too many calories.
2. Eat real food and don't eat chemicals.
3. Figure out what works for you.

The USDA, Weight Watchers, and a host of other experts will tell you
 - eat whole grains! They're good for you! But for my friend with wheat intolerance, they are poison.
- lots of vegetables are the key to success! Especially cruciferous! But for my mom, they are poison.
- consume nuts in moderation! The healthy fats are good for you! But for my dad and sister, they are poison.
- drink dairy! The calcium and Vitamin D are good for you! But for me (in excess), they are poison.
- eggs are a super food! A complete source of protein that is good for you! But for my friend's daughter with allergies, they are poison.

Just because an expert - even a doctor, or a nutritionist, or another paid professional - gives you advice about how to eat healthy, IT DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL WORK FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Losing weight and finding what is healthy for you are three different things.  They CAN be the same, but not necessarily.

Conventional wisdom is for the masses. It's not individualized. It can't be.

So, if eating a Subway sandwich makes you go to the bathroom uncontrollably - I don't care how "healthy" you think it is - don't eat it. I don't care if it helps you control calories. Find another way. Because it's poison for YOU.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! + 26 weeks

Thanksgiving is usually such a wonderful time.  It's probably becoming one of my favorite holidays!

1 - it's (usually) our anniversary weekend.  This year we celebrated NINE years on November 27th.  We kept it very easy by exchanging cards and going out to dinner at an Italian restaurant.  No wine for me this year though!

2 - Thanksgiving is a nice long break, but without all of the 'official-ness' that Christmas usually brings.  This year, I didn't want to travel so we booked ourselves a campsite at FDR State Park.  However, the weather was not cooperating, and with lows in the 20's and highs in the 40's - we decided to cancel at the last minute.  Time to cook Thanksgiving dinner at home!

3 - Since we ended up not traveling anywhere, we got all our Christmas decorations up inside and outside.  We are totally festive around here and ready to host family in a few weeks!!

4 - We had a chance to just BE together.  I was reminded how much Jeff makes me laugh by some of these...I think we are awesome...

Overheard in the Hartman household this weekend:

"Hotboxing" - Going #2 in a small powder room while the furnace is running (not pleasant).

"There's a 'Top Sexy' video marathon on this channel. Late 90's Britney's I'm a Slave 4 U song was followed by late 90's Christina's Dirrty song. How is there not a sex tape?"

After hearing "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" for the 21st time...still uncontrollable laughter.

"Somewhere inside me, there is still a 9 year old boy that wants to play video games all day long. My 33 year old eyes get too dry though."

"I feel like a pack mule employed by the Grand Canyon.  We have a lot of Christmas stuff downstairs."

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!!!