Showered with Love for Baby and Me

After celebrating and cooking Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends on Thursday, attending a potluck fellowship dinner with my family’s church friends on Friday, we finished the marathon with a baby shower this past Saturday!  B and I were pretty tired but he and my best friend (S) were ever so helpful in getting things put together in time for when the guests arrived.  All the preparation was worth it and it was such a joy to be able to celebrate the coming of our baby girl with such dear friends.  What blesses me most is how much love and prayer baby, B, and I are covered in by so many.  It makes the journey ahead as parents less daunting just knowing that we have such support and encouragement to help us through.

Remember the posts from before with all the apple baby stationary and apple pom pom tutorial?  You will see some of those featured in the pictures below.  Pictures were taken by D. Ko, a good friend of S’s who I just met at Thanksgiving but graciously devoted herself to helping me capture these precious moments.

IMG_9548 IMG_9547 IMG_9546

Some goodies that I baked included mini apple pies and my youngest brother’s favorite Bavarian Apple Torte.  Click on the links for the recipes!  They are worth trying and easy peasy to make ^_^. (p.s. I cheat on the apples in the torte by just layering the top with one thinly sliced apple and reducing the amount of sugar and cinnamon as well.  It still tastes just as good!)

IMG_9554 IMG_9555

Here are some other pictures of all the fun we had writing encouraging/funny notes on diapers, playing price is right, sharing motherly advice, and playing with tissue pom-poms.  Thank you ladies and gents for partaking in all the silliness!

IMG_9638IMG_9627IMG_9731IMG_9825IMG_9831

IMG_9549The End!

Posing with Fruits and Veggies

During this pregnancy, I had B help me take pictures of moi + fruit / veggie that was comparable to the size of baby at that week.  Unfortunately, we did not do every week usually because 1) I ate the fruit or veggie already (couldn’t wait!) or 2) It was something strange like rutabaga that I had never heard of or cooked before.  There are so many ways to have fun with baby before she is really here.  I can’t believe that there are only 5 weeks left before the 40th week mark!

Hope you enjoy these as much as we did taking them ^__^

xoxo

apple

grapefruit

cantaloupe

cauliflower

pineapple

 

 

Not Your Average Pumpkin Bread

Prodigious.  Phenomenal.  Palatable.

yummypumpkinloaf

Pumpkin Bread.

Those adjectives are justly attached to this baked goodness that I put together this morning.  Granted, the loaf made B and I late to church and taught me to never bake before church because it is bound to take me longer to finish than I ever anticipate.  Actually, that’s probably true for most of my endeavors -__-.

Anyhoo!  Onto the recipe, which I compiled from several different ones on the web and then added a few changes of my own based on what I have available in the pantry.  This bread has a pumpkin bread base, cream cheese swirled coating, and a generous topping of crunchy oat crumbs.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Bread (aka Not Your Average Pumpkin Bread)

Streusel Topping:

  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves (or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 a stick) softened

Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, and spices together.  Using a fork, cut in the butter and stir until the mixture becomes course crumbs.  I find that using my fingers is pretty effective at making this happen a tad faster.

Cream Cheese Swirl:

  • 8 oz. of cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves (or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and egg together until smooth.  Add in the spices, sugar, and vanilla until the ingredients are all well incorporated.

Pumpkin Bread Base:

  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin (I had a 29 oz can so I just measured out about 1&3/4 cups
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1&1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1&1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves (you can also use pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand)

Beat the eggs, add sugars, vanilla extract, oil, milk and pumpkin.  Stir the wet ingredients until they are combined into a smooth orange mix.  Mix the dry ingredients together (sift if you would like but I just use the whisk to try and do that job since I am sifter-less).  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and with a spatula, fold the wet and dry parts together until just combined.  Do not worry about getting every speck of flour wet since over-mixing causes your baked goods to be rubbery dry.

Assembling:

I made one 9×5 loaf and 20 muffins out of this recipe.  You can alter the ratio as you please but adjust your baking time as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill the loaf pan half way with the pumpkin bread base and the muffins can be filled about 3/4 of the way.  Then add the cream cheese in heaping dollops for the loaf pan and about a tablespoon on top for the muffins.  Swirl the cream cheese slightly with a fork or knife so that it adheres well with the pumpkin bread base.  Lastly, sprinkle generous amounts of streusel on top of the loaf and muffins.  The muffins take about 20-25 minutes to bake and the loaf took about 50-60 minutes to bake (each oven is different so check on them by poking with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean).

Enjoy!

yummypumpkinmuffinJust look at those crumbs!!!  Nom Nom Nom.  I’m getting hungry again…

 

Going Pumpkin Picking

I’m a little (big) pumpkin, short and stout…

DemarestFarms

This post is about a month overdue.  B and I went pumpkin picking with his family a little before Halloween this year.  We explored Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, NJ.  While I had my reservations about the place because of it’s very commercial-like feel (i.e. needing to pay $5 to take the hay ride to get to the pumpkin patch where the pumpkins were already cut and laid out for picking), we had a great time taking pictures, eating apple cider donuts, and finding pumpkins.  Here are some pictures from our adventure (I apologize in advance that most of them feature myself – B likes to take pictures, I don’t mind posing, and I have automatic photo permission to show up on my blog).

tractor

Riding an immovable tractor under B’s supervision.

donuts

Drooling over the apple cider donuts and potato pancakes.  Which one to pick?  Plain, cinnamon sugar, or powdered?

 Go with the cinnamon sugar, they are the most moist!  Baby kicked in agreement ^_^

HowTall  

Still haven’t gotten any taller since 8th grade but my waistline sure is growing rapidly these days!

sittinginthepatch

Sitting prim and proper in the pumpkin patch.

Easy Peasy Baby Blanket

Winter is here and my baby bunting to come needed a warm fuzzy blanket to cuddle in and to be wrapped in.  Here is a quick tutorial of how to make your own baby blanket for your loved ones.  This project will yield a rectangular blanket with rounded edges.  If you would rather have a square blanket, cut it down to size.  If you would rather not have rounded edges, skip that step below.

Materials you need:

  • 1 yard cotton fabric
  • 1 yard chenille (or another fuzzy cozy fabric)
  • thread, scissors, sewing machine, pins (the usual stuff)

Make sure that the fabric is washed and dried to avoid shrinking and bunched up edges once you do wash the blanket.  The best way I have found to wash fabric is to put the raw cut fabric into a mesh laundry bag used for delicates to avoid tons of frayed tangled edges.  You can find these mesh bags at Wal-Mart, Target, the Container Store, etc.

Alright, here we go!

Step 1: Take your ironed cotton fabric and trim the edges.  I folded the fabric to cut the edges more quickly.  B has been so good as to get me a set of rotary cutters and accompanying mat, which helps me cut down the time for prep work and to cut straight lines.

trimblanket

Step 2: Make rounded edges.  I traced along the bottom of my recycling wastebasket (don’t worry, I will wash the blanket again)

roundedcorners

Step 3: Layer the cotton fabric on top of the chenille, the cut around the edges of the chenille.  My chenille fabric was actually longer than a yard, which is why you see so much excess fabric.

cutchenille

Step 4: Pin the cotton fabric and the chenille right sides facing each other.  Make sure to get the edges as well as safety pinning the fabrics in the middle to avoid shifting during sewing.

pinitup

Step 5: Sew the fabric together 1/2 inch away from the edge.  BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OPENING about 3 inches in length to turn the blanket inside out.

 sewallaround

At this point, you might notice some of the chenille’s fuzziness has dropped into your lap.  Lint rollers are handy to have nearby ^^

fuzz

Step 6: Trim the edges and make sure to cut triangles into the rounded corners so that they look smooth.  Turn the fabrics inside out through the opening.

   sniproundedcorners     turnrightsideout 

Step 7: Iron the blanket so that the edges are flattened and smoothed.  I then stitched the opening of the blanket together using the invisible stitch (sometimes known as the blind stitch).  Then sew around the edge of the blanket that is now right side out.  I used about a 1/2 inch margin once again but you can adjust that according to your preference.

sewallaroundagain      completed

Step 8: This step is optional.  Since I felt that the two fabrics might shift during use and washes, I decided to disperse a few quilt knots to secure the two pieces of the blanket together.  Thread through and tie using a surgeon’s knot.

knotifdesired

Step 9:  Sit back and enjoy your new blanket!

alldone

More & More Apples

Hopefully you like apples as much as I do or else you will soon be tired of my posts.  I promise that after the baby shower, there will be fewer apple themed projects but in the meantime, I am delighted to show you what I have been concocting in my spare time.  To decorate the food at the baby shower, I have replicated a project I discovered on Pinterest (kind of my favorite way to collect creative ideas from wonderfully creative people), Apple Pie Toppers.

applepompomstutorial

Here is a quick tutorial of how to make some yourself if you happen to find yourself with neither green pipe cleaners nor pom pom makers.

1. Get yourself some red yarn, fork, scissors, wooden skewers (the kind for BBQ), and cut some green felt leaves.  (You will also need hot glue!)

materials

 

2. Take some red yarn and wind it around the fork.  Make sure to keep it tight as you do so.

windingyarn

3.  Keep winding the thread.  The thicker you make it, the more fluffy the pom-pom.  For apples, you’ll want fluffy pom-poms ^_^.

windsomemoreyarn

4. Gently (oh so gently) slip the bundle of yarn you have found off the fork and wrap the middle (lengthwise) tightly with a separate piece of yarn.  Knot it super tightly and trim.

slipofftieknot

5.  Now you are ready to snip away at the bundle.  Cut the yarn pieces so that they are now free and poking out. snipsnip

6.  Once you are done snipping away at all the ends, you will have a very oddly shaped pom-pom that looks more like a hairball than an apple.

snipped

7.  Don’t be disheartened!  Now it is time to trim the hairball into a more round and pleasing form.  To make it easier to trim around, poke the skewer through the ball’s center but do not glue yet!

pokewithstickandtrim

8.  Once you are done with the trimming it to your liking, dab some hot glue on the stick and slip the pom-pom on until it covers the glue.  Then add a little hot glue to the top and wrap your leaves around the pointy tip of the stick.  Be careful not to hurt your fingers!  You have now finished making your apple pom-pom! snipandglue

Here is a quick peek at another easy project I made that was inspired by a Pinterest board on Back-to-School party accessories.  Easy-peasy – just take some green felt leaves and hot glue them to the edge of red plates!  That makes the platter you eat from so much more apple-tizing, yah?

appleplates

Red Apple Baby Dress

Hello readers!  I’d like to share with you the very first dress I’ve made (that’s actually wearable).  I’d like to thank Ms. RAE at Made by RAE for offering her Geranium Dress Pattern and tutorial for free to let me experiment with.  Click on the link if you’d like access to this pretty little piece.  

peekaboo

TA-DA!

I made my dress using a red with teeny tiny white polka dotted cotton and apple printed flannel.  I made it so that baby could wear it during her first few months of life during the cold winter.  I want her to be as warm as a freshly baked apple pie – no bun in the oven here >_^.  The only modification I made to the dress pattern was to line the bottom half of the dress as well as the bodice.  I plan on several more of these dresses in different patterns and with slight modifications so stay posted!

backofdress

The Back

frontofdress

The Front