Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Sure, 30 is a milestone, but we celebrate our entrance to middle age by enjoying a quiet evening on our new deck. Going out involves too much precious time spent away from our wonderful, adorable baby girl. So we gathered friends and family around a crackling campfire and toasted marshmallows. Perfect.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

freakin' fabulous

Last year I started an ambitious campaign to be more ladylike. If you know me, you know what I mean by "ambitious." I went through Emily Post's book of etiquette searching for things that are applicable to my life. (Calling cards? Notsomuch.) As it happens, there wasn't a whole lot that was applicable to my life.

I did learn that when offering felicitations to a bride, you should never say "congratulations." That implies that she "won" something when really it was the groom who "won" over the bride. You should say "best wishes" instead. How I remember that and not a million other more important things is beyond me. I also managed to learn how to eat using the continental method, which is enormously impressive to me (and only me, I'm pretty sure).

But the truth of the matter is that there just isn't much Emily Post can tell me about life in the 21st century. So I was delighted to find Freakin' Fabulous by style guru Clinton Kelly. It's full of fascinating and useful tidbits such as when to salt and pepper your food, what not to bring to a dinner party, and how to write a good thank you note. And it's funny!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bumper stickers

I can't decide if bumper stickers are a cool, fun little adornment or are completely trashy. Normally, I don't like things on the back of my car. My Syracuse Alumni license plate frame is about as personal as it gets right now.

But recently I have been wanting something a little more me. And those stick-family stickers are not my style, so that's out. I really want to give into what I call (for lack of a better term) ovals. I've been resisting because of their trendiness. I'm not really a trendy person, for better or for worse. But maybe if I just stick with country ovals (as opposed to city ovals, sports team ovals, marathon ovals, etc etc etc) I won't seem as... sheepish.

Does that back of my Jeep need this much bling?
I don't know. I'm still trying to decide.

Friday, April 15, 2011

a cup a day...

Being the mother of a toddler requires a lot of early mornings, as well as a certain amount of cheerful flexibility. Natalie decided she didn't need more than a 30 minute nap today? Hey, that's okay. Natalie decided she doesn't want to eat anything but peanut butter and jelly? Well, you have to pick your battles.

Sometimes I am this cheerfully flexible. Sometimes I get very very frustrated. When frustrated Fran comes out, we go for coffee. I usually start my work days with coffee, and sometimes I even start my "Natalie days" with coffee too. Because, while Natalie days are much more fun than actual work, they are still tiring.

But when I found myself pregnant again (yay!) I tried to cut the coffee entirely. The risks of caffeine intake on pregnant women and their babies haven't been proven, but I thought I should play it safe. Turns out tired mommy is not a fun mommy. I'm back to my one caffeinated drink a day routine. I won't say I need it, but it helps. A lot.

So does this recent news item about the possible benefits of coffee. Score!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

half way!

Here I am at 20 weeks and 2 days pregnant with baby 2. As of yesterday, I am officially in the second half of this pregnancy! With absolutely nothing done to prepare for the newest addition, I'm sure this last 20 weeks will go quickly.

I know it's only natural with a second baby, but I feel (and I look) a lot bigger now than I did when I was pregnant with Natalie. Seriously, I already look like I did in my third trimester pic last time! Although technically that's only 5 weeks away. So maybe that's not so bad after all :)

Oh, and I almost forgot! I've been feeling the baby kick for awhile now. I'm finding out that a lot of the excitement of pregnancy gets lost when you've done it before. Decorating the nursery, the hospital tour, and even the days ticking by (wait... I'm 20 weeks already?) But feeling the baby move is special and amazing. Even if it isn't exactly new.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Apple Gruyere Pie Recipe

If you were a fan of the series Pushing Daisies, this might be right up your alley! This has been modified slightly from the blogger at Rice and Spice. For instance, I used Crisco instead of leaf lard. And a pastry cutter instead of a food processor. The result is still pretty great, and I get asked for this recipe a lot. Enjoy!

Pie Crust
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp. sugar
13 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1 in pieces
7 tbsp. butter flavored Crisco
2 oz. Gruyère, finely grated
ice water

Pie filling
3 lbs (about 7 apples; I like to use a mix of red and green)
1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
5 tsp. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, salt, sugar and Gruyere in large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the Crisco. Cut in the butter until the largest pieces of butter are the size of large peas.

Sprinkle ice water over flour mixture one tablespoon at a time; toss after each addition. (Try not to add too much extra water.) Dough is ready when it clumps together when squeezed in your palm. Gather dough into two parts, one slightly larger than the other.

Roll out the larger piece of dough, and ease dough into pie plate. Peel, core and slice apples into quarters. Slice each quarter thinly. Mix in other filling ingredients. Pile apples into pie plate, pouring any juice on top.

Roll out smaller piece of dough, and place on top of apples. Seal two crusts together, and make slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Place pie in oven, and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 50 minutes to an hour, until you can see the filling bubbling between the slits in the crust.

Cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The deck

For some reason, I feel it necessary to insist that my wonderful husband embark on large home improvement projects while I’m pregnant. With Natalie, we decided we needed a new master bathroom. It turned out great, but the experience was frustrating. This year, when we found out Uncle Sam was going to be rewarding us with a juicy tax return, we decided we needed another project. This year, it was the deck.

Our deck is roughly 20 years old and is showing its age. Or was showing its age. Before it was demolished. Maybe starting in March wasn’t the best plan, but now three weeks later, it’s almost done. It will be larger, more open to our yard, and feature built in seating and a pergola. When it’s finished. To the credit of my husband and all the great help we’ve had, this project has gone really quickly!

Right now we have loose deck boards on the deck and a makeshift ramp down to the yard. It’s liveable, but I can’t wait for the finished product. Check back closer to Easter for finished pictures. I’m sure it will be great!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I have decided

I’m giving this one last shot. The posts will be infrequent, and I’m not going to beat myself up if I go weeks (or more likely months) without posting. The thing is that as I have been reading over some of my previous posts, it’s a great record of my thoughts and where I have been at any given point in my life. I’ll save all of these wonderful memories to share with my children as they get older. So here goes…