Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Cookin': Pot Roast

I said this a few weeks ago about Annie's Eats and I'll say it again today about The Pioneer Woman ... if you haven't checked out her link on my sidebar, do yourself a favor and do so immediately.  The cooking portion of her site is just one tiny facet and as with Annie, I'm not sure when PW sleeps.  Her recipes are amazing and I love the detailed pictures.  Going along with my Sunday dinner plan of late, I added pot roast to the line-up and knew that PW wouldn't steer me in the wrong direction ... and boy, was I right.  The dinner was delish, everything seasoned just perfectly and the meat was tender and moist (sorry, Mom, but it was a far cry from your preferred "dry as a bone" version we devoured as kids).  Click here for the full recipe and step-by-step directions. 

I guess the ONLY good thing that can come of this crazy-cold weather is that you have plenty of chances to test this out before Spring returns ... Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making our House a Home: The Nursery (Part 2)

At long last I feel like I'm ready to share with you my new favorite room in the house ... Baby Kelly's nusery.  You may remember the wainscotting saga and let me tell you, it was totally worth the extra time and effort because I LOVE this room. 


We were working with a room measuring 9'x9', so we literally did everything one step at at time.  Wainscotting, then painting, then the crib, then the dresser, then the glider and finally the accessories.  It was well worth the wait because I think it all fell into place perfectly!  I'm waiting on a rug to come back into stock and we'll be totally wrapped up.

Before ... neutral walls and a chairrail

As you walk into the room ...

Due to space issues, we went with a glider, but I actually LOVE what we ended up with,
I definitely take a break and glide myself to relaxation at least once a day in the nursery : )

Again, a change of plans, we went with a smaller dresser, but I am sooo happy with the choice,
this piece fits the room perfectly!

I started mentally planning this nursery before Baby Kelly was even conceived and was lucky enough to happen-upon a fanstastic little art studio on Etsy to help complete my vision.  Children Inspire Design has some of the neatest (and very affordable, I might add) artwork I saw during my extensive search. Click here, here or here to find them and browse for yourself.

I LOVE this wall art!  Although I bought a laser level for the project, it was defunct
and I wound up using my little 10" level for the entire project.  Surprisingly it only took
me about an hour and a roll and a half of poster tape to hang. 

These nursery rhyme prints were just perfect for both our color scheme and overall theme. 
Left:  The Cow Jumped Over the Moon
Center: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Right:  You are My Sunshine

After centering the animal ABC cards on the focus wall, I realized I needed something above the crib
to fill space.  This mobile from Land of Nod was perfect!

Sunny Side : )

And finally, the bedding and crib, where our little one will lay his/her weary head after a long day of napping, pooping and feeding.  I love this set from Land of Nod and it was really the starting point for the entire room's design.

Stuffed animal collection already started courtesy of Papa (Grandpa Miller) and my trip to London
(both the white bear and elephant blanket are international acquisitions, thanks Cousin Leah for the elephant!)

Now all we need is a baby ... : )

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Funny: Hello

It's no cute baby video per Megan's challenge, but it made me chuckle : )

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What's Cookin': Chicken Cacciatore

I love being able to whip up fast, weekday meals, but have been on a weekend cooking kick lately where I try out a new, more time consuming Sunday dinner.  Maybe it's related to nesting or knowing that being able to spend more than 10 minutes on a meal will be a thing of the past in a few months or maybe it's just the hormonal cravings, whatever it is, I'll take it because the results have been delicious!

A few weeks ago when there was still a definite chill in the air I got out my Real Simple Meals Made Easy cookbook and this recipe caught my eye.  I love a good one-pot meal that combines a protein and lots of veggies, so this went to the top of the list.  The hands-on time really isn't that bad and the end result is totally worth it!  I think that traditional sides with this dish are pasta or rice, but prego-brain was feeling mashed potatoes on this given Sunday, so that's what we went with : ) 

Click here to print the recipe and see a much better photo.  And, since (in Cincy, at least) we're supposed to drop back into the 40's this weekend, get your warm-me-up cooking on sooner rather than later, this is definitely worth your time.  

Chicken Cacciatore

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into pieces (I used about 2lbs of bone-in, skinless chicken thighs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh thyme (I used about 1 tsp of dried Italian seasoning)
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (optional)

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Working in batches, lightly coat the chicken with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add some of the chicken to the pan. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the onion to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook for 10 minutes. Crush the tomatoes and stir them into the vegetables. Add the wine and the remaining salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.

Add the chicken, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 45 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the parsley and serve on individual plates.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cleansing breath, and Ah he he, Ah ho ...

Mike and I attended our first of three classes related to the pending arrival of Baby Kelly this past weekend.  By my calculations, that means we are now 1/3 of the way prepared to be parents, right?  If it were only that easy ... 

We decided to start full-throttle and had our all-day Childbirth class on Saturday; Breastfeeding and Baby Care Basics are in two weeks and Infant CPR is at the end of April.  Overall we had a great day and really enjoyed the class, and, yes, the fact that we adjourned a two hours early on a gorgeous Saturday helped a bit : )

Our class started with an overview of late pregnancy and symptoms of labor, the stages of labor, what to expect during labor (including the epidural process), the infamous "video" (three live births), a Labor and Delivery wing tour and practicing the breathing and realization techniques discussed. 

The hospital tour and video were definitely my favorite parts as I'm a very visual learner and need to see what I can expect for it to really sink in.  We'll deliver at a hospital close to downtown, about 20 minutes away from our home and we were both very pleased with the facilities.  The Labor and Delivery floor is VERY nice with all private rooms that are good in size, recently updated and with great views of the city (probably the last thing on my mind as I'm delivering, but I'll take it for before then and during recovery).  Although I don't think I'll be requesting one, they even have two feng shui rooms available.  I was very impressed with the security for both the delivery and post-partum units as well as the waiting rooms available for family and friends.  Although the hospital has an open visitation policy, I plan to limit the birth attendees to Mike and my Mom, so it's important that the rest of our entourage be comfortable : )  (Speaking of, I may or may not be a *tad* jealous that Mike will get to announce Baby Kelly to our entourage after delivery ...)

The most surprising part, to me, of what we learned is the fact that a first labor, on average, lasts between 16 and 20 hours!  Now, that includes the time you spend at home counting down contractions until it's time to head to the hospital, but still, my, oh, my, that's almost an entire day!  We talked a lot about relaxation and breathing techniques and although I will definitely put those to good use, but, I'm pretty sure that I'll be asking for an epidural come game-time.  I'm not saying I won't rule out natural childbirth, but I think I need to be realistic and don't want to set myself up to feel as though I failed if I go in saying I don't want one and then decide ask for medication. 

After getting ourselves mentally prepared for the delivery and becoming a family of three, it was important that Baby Kelly be ready as well ... at least from a fashion perspective.  So, my Mom and I did a little "going home" outfit shopping on Sunday.  These are the only gender-specific outfits I'll purchase before the birth, the rest will be onesies or neutral sleepers (I actually love all of the yellow options out there!).  I still need to buy a headband bow to complete the girl ensemble and a blue cap to complete the boy ensemble, but just seeing these laid out gets the waterworks going every time I pop into the nursery to take a peek.  I just absolutely cannot wait to meet our little one!!! 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Get your Spring Shop ON!

Give and Get is Here!: "Enjoy 30% off from March 17-20 at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy plus we'll make a 5% donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

As my nose blows ...

Oh how I wish the title of this post was the start to some fabulous soap-opera story ... and, fair warning, this might be TMI for some of you folks...

One of the craziest pregnancy symptoms I've experienced since the beginning of this wild and crazy journey is the additional fluids present in my nose on a daily basis.  I have read that it's very common and have validated this with my OB and several friends.  Prior to these crazy hormones taking control of my body I could probably count on one hand how many times a year I blew my nose.  Now I'm blowing several times a day and finding that some of the "friends" that come out of my nose resemble famous people or constellations.  The worst are the times after I've woken up for the 5th time in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and settle back into bed only to realize I can't breathe through  my nose and have to get up, yet again, to take care of business.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I totally realize this is benign compared to what some women go through during their 10 months ... I just know that at some point I'll have my bundle of joy and all of the crazy symptoms will be a long-gone memory, so I guess I'm using this as a way to remember some of the fun times I've had : )

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Funny: Weekend Update

It's been a while since I've actually stayed up late enough to watch SNL as it airs, but thank goodness for DVR and my friend Amber that pointed out this past week's "Weekend Update" was worth a gander.  This particular update had Mike and I in stiches ... and not just because I love celeb gossip ... the weight loss robot was killing me, and sadly, way too indicative of our lives in America ... Enjoy and Happy Friday! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Deep Thoughts Thursday

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

— Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What's Cookin': Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

For those of you that haven't checked out Annie's Eats on my sidebar, do yourself a favor and hop on over ASAP.  Annie is supernatural, I have deduced.  She's a pediatrics resident (I know from my dear friends Whitney and Carrie just how taxing this can be), a Mom to a toddler (with #2 on the way!) and yet still finds time to whip up delectable dishes! 

You may remember my failed attempt a few months ago at making this dish ... I finally got it back on the docket and was NOT disappointed.  Click here to see Annie's full recipe and a much better photo.  Because I had a bit of a brain fart at the grocery I did without the peanut or sesame oil and instead just used a bit of vegetable oil, I also added some shredded carrots as they were calling my name from the produce drawer.  Served with brown rice, Mike and I both agreed this was a winner and will be making a return appearance at the Kelly household.  The added bonus was that, in an effort to combat swelling, I've been pretty militant about my sodium intake and I'm positive I saved myself quite a bit by cooking at home versus a takeout dish. 

Chopsticks and eggrolls optional, but highly recommended : ) 

I forgot to take a picture until I was packing up the leftovers, but you get the idea : )

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Baby Bump: 28 weeks (Third Trimester!!)

Why hello there, third trimester, so nice to meet you!  I cannot believe I'm in the final third of my homestretch toward becoming a Mom to Baby Kelly!  It's really started to hit home over the past few weeks as the weather has started to warm up here and there (soooo excited about having my summer off work!!), our registries are complete and shower preparations are in full swing.  I can't believe that in less than three months I'll get to meet my little bowling ball, finally!  (On a side note, I only have about 9 weeks left at work, but who's counting??!!) 

The nursery is pretty much done ... just need a few accessories before I post pictures ... and, let me tell you that I LOVE that room.  I go in at least once a day and just smile ear to ear.  Some days I take my morning break in the glider (blow drying my luscious pregnancy locks takes it out of a gal, ha), just imaging what it will be like when I'm in there to cuddle, rock or read aloud to a little one (sadly, even though the cats love the room, they won't appease me by letting me rock them, ha).   

The past month I've felt pretty good, aside from regular pregnancy symptoms, you know, the early stages of waddling, getting stuck on couches and using the restroom 13 times a night.  My blood pressure has normalized and I really think I was getting myself worked up before my OB appointments.  Weight is good, about 20 lbs so far, and I "passed" both my initial glucose and anemia tests last week.  Baby Kelly has been pretty active lately, likely enjoying the last few weeks of having room to move and shake before that baby fat he/she is set to gain puts big movements on the lockdown.  He/she is most active in the afternoons and evenings generally ... maybe that means I'll have a good sleeper, ha!  I feel like a camel these days with the amount of water I'm drinking ... I kid you not, I tracked my water intake one day from the time I woke up until the time I headed home from work and I was at 120 ounces by that point!  And then I drink probably 40 more ounces while at home / before bed.  Not only am I always thirsty, but lately I've been hot and started to notice some mild swelling in my feet toward the end of the day.  All of this water better help!

We start our birthing / baby care classes this month and I can't wait!  Seeing what the birth will entail and the hospital where I'll deliver will make everything seem soooo much more real.  We've decided on a daycare and are planning to put in our name/ deposit in this week (luckily I won't have to return to work until October ... the thought of leaving Baby K with someone else is already making me tear up). 

No turning back now! 

28 weeks ... right before we went furniture shopping for the basement and I promptly realized
it's no easy task repeatedly "testing" couches when 7 months pregnant : ) 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Funny: Laughing Baby

If you haven't seen this already, make sure you take the 2 minutes to watch ... is there anything sweeter than the sound of a baby laughing?  This video, if anything, is proof that kids definitely prefer the simple "toys" ... I remember fondly that I played for hours as a child in an old refrigerator box my Dad converted into a playhouse in the garage, all the while my "fancy" toys sat neglected in my room. 

A few people have asked me lately if I have developed the "Mom reflex" yet ... you know, the one where you hear a baby and automatically zone in ... I can't say that I'm there just yet, but I am at the point where I've started to get pretty emotional when I see clips like this or think about meeting Baby Kelly.  I'm SOOOOOO excited and can't believe we're less than 3 months away at this point!