Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby G is a….

True and wonderful blessing. Josh and I are head-over-heelsin love with our little bundle – I simply can’t image how rapidly our love willgrow once we meet our baby. I can’t wait for that wonderful day in November,when we are finally able to hug and kiss our beautiful child. We will never beable to thank the Lord appropriately for this great gift, bringing with itgreat responsibility and real feelings of inadequacy.

We had our follow up ultrasound last week – and by God’sgrace, we were able to find out the gender of our little one. (On top of that,we had a friendly ultrasound tech, who was excited for us and took the extratime to answer questions and show us little fingers and toes. Our firstultrasound experience was not as pleasant, so we are grateful for this answerto prayer).

Although we wanted to find out the gender, it was veryimportant to us that had the opportunity to find out together, not sitting in asterile hospital room. The ultrasound tech wrote down the gender on a slip ofpaper, which Josh dutifully protected all day from my peeping eyes. After work,we promptly went to Pino Gelato, one of our local favorites, and instantlybegan to overwhelm and thoroughly confuse the café staff.

We explained that we were going to hand him a slip, with ourfirst child’s gender written on it. If the slip said “boy”, we wanted him togive us a sealed pint of Mint Chocolate Chip and Pistachio gelato (they didn’thave any blue flavor options, so we chose green); however, if the slip said“girl,” we wanted him to give us Blood Red Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate.After talking him through the process a few times, he sent us outside while heprepared our special order.

Within a few minutes, he had us on our way with a sealedpint of gender-revealing gelato, 2 small blue spoons, and 2 small pinkspoons. (We did get the slip back fromhim, just to have a little insurance :) ).

When we arrived at home, I couldn’t put down my purse fastenough, get out the ice cream pint, rip off the lid, and discover bright pink Blood Orange and purple Blueberry Pomegranate gelato!

What’s in a Name?

With the announcement of the approaching arrival of ourdaughter, the first question everyone asks is “have you picked out names yet?”We had picked out names a few months ago, but recently finalized spelling.

Our little girl will be named Ellanore Suzanne. We will callher Ella.

To preventively answer your next question, we simply lovedthe name Ellanore. We both grew up with very common names, and always hadmultiple friends, classmates, and coworkers with the same name – we love thatour little girl will have a unique name. We choose to add a second “L” to thespelling in order that “Ella” will be a shorter version of her name; hopefullythis will eliminate confusion on how many “Ls” are in which version of hername.

As for her middle name, Suzanne is a family name on mymother’s side of the family. My grandmother’s name is “Annie,” my mother isnamed “Ann,” while my middle name is “Susanne.” My parents chose to spell mymiddle name with an “S” instead of a “Z” in the middle because my maiden name,Bezanson, had one “Z” and they didn’t wantto burden me with an overload of “Zs”. I love the fact that 3 generations haveall had a variation of “Ann” in their name, but no two people had the sameversion. In order to keep this tradition, we are going to switch back to thestandard spelling of Suzanne.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cream Mints

I just love easy recipes, the only ones worth having, in my opinion. This recipe is a “double whammy” – only a few ingredients, and it only took me 30 minutes from start to finish!

What you will need:
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 teaspoon extract (you can use any flavor you want - I used raspberry)
- food coloring (optional) - I used Wilton's "Rose"
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (You will just need to add it slowly to test the firmness of the mixture)
- about 1/4 cup superfine or granulated sugar (optional)

1. Mix your cream cheese until it is soft, less than two minutes
2. Add in your extract of choice and food coloring, if desired
3. Mix together
4. Add your powered sugar to the mix – doing only ½ a cup at a time to allow for it to mix easily
5. Add sugar until you have a firm mix (If you add too much and more sugar won’t mix – simply add a little more cream cheese to soften up the mix).
6. Roll mixture into balls slightly larger than a dime (you could really do any size you wanted, but I think this size is good for the flavor/sweetness that theses treats pack.
7. OPTIONAL - roll the ball in sugar (You definitely don't need to do this - I think it gives a more polished finished look and makes it easier to flatten in the next step).
8. Flatten ball with a fork (I suggest only going 1 way across the ball - so you get "stripes" and not "checkers" as you get when making peanut butter cookies).
9. Throw mints into the fridge for 30 minutes to harden up.
10. Store in air-tight container in fridge with wax paper between layers for up to 2 weeks.
11. ENJOY!

I LOVE that you can make these any flavor or color to match a party theme. My mom does peppermint flavored ones at Christmas!

If you try this recipe - which flavors and colors did you try?

Little Man Onesies

My Pinterest "Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails" Board is overflowing with ideas for crafts, if we were to have a boy. In this 2-month long period of waiting since we were supposed to find out the baby's gender - I found myself dreaming about being able to start on some of my projects, someday.

To busy myself and easy my crafting cravings - I decided to make onesies for my nephews for Christmas. (Another wonderful benefit of being an Aunt!) I was going to just do the tie onesies that you see everywhere - but after making one, I got up the confidence to go for the vest as well!

What you will need: 
- 1 white onesie of your size choice (pre-washed and dried)
- Fabric scraps
- Thread to match your fabric
- Sewing Machine
- Iron and Ironing board
- Fray Check (optional) 
- Less than an hour of time

1. You need to make your pattern for your tie (and other elements).
2. Lay out your pattern over your fabric to make sure you like the part you are cutting out.
3. I chose to make the tie and knot 2 different pieces - in the future, I'm going to make these one piece as it will just give me 2 fewer edges and remove the necessity to match up the pieces exactly. I did like making the knot from a different section of the fabric so it looked more realistic.
4. Pin down your pattern.
5. Cut a square of fabric around the pattern - you do NOT want to cut right along your final edges at this point.
6. Remove your pattern from the fabric and cut an identical size square from your Heat'n Bond.
7. Iron on the Heat'n Bond to the back of your fabric (You want to lay your fabric face down - and place the Heat'n Bond so the paper backing is facing up at you).
8. Once the Heat'n Bond is secure - pin back on your pattern.
9. Cut around the pattern. (We waited to do this because your fabric will fray less if the Heat'n Bond is attached when you make the final cut).
10. OPTIONAL - I added Fray Check along the edges to ensure I didn't get fraying - you do have to let your project sit for about 30 minutes if you include this step.
11. Remove the paper backing from your pieces (pulling the paper from the fabric - not the fabric from the paper).
12. Place on onesie and iron on - holding to get a good adhesive to the onesie
13. Unsnap onesie and sew border inside of tie fabric to ensure it holds to the onesie. (Another thing I like about doing the knot and the tie separately is that you get the definitely from stitching between the two pieces - but you could still sew here even if it was only one fabric piece.) You will want to use thread that matches your fabric as closely as possible.

If you are going to add the vest - do the same process - cutting out two pieces - the reverse of each other. One for each size of the vest.

The trickiest part of this whole project is maneuvering your fabric so you can sew on the applications - I made a different pattern on a newborn onesie (whereas these are 18 month size) and the newborn was much more challenging just to move around the sewing machine. 

Have you done a custom onesie? What did you do?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Salted Caramel Bark

You will want to make this - I promise! And the best part - you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen - so get going! :)

You will need:
  • ½  bag of mini pretzel
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 bag of chocolate chips
  • Sea salt or table salt
  • Tin foil
1. Lay down your tin foil - make sure to leave edges sticking up so you can easily remove the bark at the end.
2. Layer your pretzels - you can be as neat or as haphazard as you want.
3. Make your caramel - Melt your butter and brown sugar on medium heat. Stirring constantly until it bubbled slightly and starts to stick to the bottom. (Your sugar and butter might be separated throughout - but will become one as it gets closer to bubbling).
4. Pour over your pretzels. Don't worry if it doesn't cover every pretzel.
5. Put in over at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. (This will cause the caramel to boil and it will cover all of the pretzels).
6. Sprinkle your chocolate chips over the mixture. Again, don't worry if they aren't evenly distributed.
7. Place in over for 1 minute
8. Spread out melted chocolate chips over pretzels.
9. Add sea salt on top of bark - as much as desired. 
10. Place in fridge for 2 hours
11. Remove and enjoy in bliss!

What is your favorite easy recipe?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

DIY Frame Chalkboard

This Pinterest inspired project has been one of my favorites! (and easiest!)

I wanted to make a chalkboard to take my "weekly bump pictures" as well as for the nursery. I went to Goodwill and bought a cool old-looking frame and painted the frame with simple wood paint. You could do this to give it texture or a pattern, but I wanted something simply. For the chalkboard, I actually just covered the painting that was already inside the frame, but you could paint the backing to the frame, or a piece of wood you adapt to be the back.

I've actually had to repaint the chalkboard portion once already. I first painted it with the generic brand paint - but each time I used it, it didn't really erase and after a while it was looking really dingy. So I recently just repainted the chalkboard with Martha Steward's chalkboard paint - and I'm much happier with the result - so I recommend purchasing nicer paint.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Baby's Gender

Sadly, no we don't know the gender of the baby....YET!

I lot of people have been asking us if we are going to find out the gender - we sure hope so!  We had our original ultrasound in June - and I was over the moon about finding out the gender. I had a list of crafts and projects ready to start, we had a plan for how we wanted to find out the gender together - but alas the ultrasound tech couldn't see clearly.

Almost 2 months have past.

And I haven't been able to start any of my crafts, and I'm dying a little bit inside. Please pray that we will be able to tell the gender on the 20th. We have our ultrasound at 7:45 AM! (We are waiting to reveal the gender until August 26th - at our shower - but please pray anyways! :) )