Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Recent faves

A couple of my latest impulse buys paid off.  I’m a sucker for a new version of a classic so when I saw this new flavor of Ritz, a flavor I knew the McHusband and I would probably like, I had to try them.


These are great!  There’s enough flavor dust on them so that you know what you’re tasting, and they have a satisfying crunch to them.

BTW, did you know that Ritz has a Facebook page?  That may be the straw that breaks my camel’s back.  If a cracker is on FB, I probably should be as well.

imageMy other favorite is one of the new JIF Hazelnut spreads.  I haven’t tried any of the others, but the Salted Caramel is amazing if you’re a Nutella fan.  I want to bake something with this stuff, but I’m not sure the jar’s going to make it until I have time to mix some sugar and flour together.  This stuff is good on a spoon!


One last thing, and it’s not food.  Connor is a baby who needs and likes to be swaddled.  We used the aden + anais blankets originally, but he could break those swaddles so I had to invest in some Velcro.  These Summer SwaddleMe blankets work very well for us.  They are lightweight enough for warmer temps and I like the amount of stretch in them.  I wish the Velcro didn’t make quite as much noise – you don’t want to readjust when the baby’s asleep – but then I guess the hold wouldn’t be as strong and that would defeat the purpose.

Last week, Connor had a couple bad nights where he just wouldn’t settle when it was time for bed.  The McHusband ended up bringing him downstairs for some cuddling while watching The Voice.  Yep, we let NBC handle our baby’s lullabies.  Hey, sometimes you just gotta do what works.




Let me know if you try the crackers or the spread and you like ‘em as much as I do.

Monday, April 28, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Banana Pudding Cheesecake Bars

I promise you, I haven’t given up baking or these Monday spoonful of sugar posts.  It’s just that blogging has moved to the back burner (haha, no pun intended) since going back to work.  I just don’t have the time I once did thanks to an earlier bedtime, not that that matters much when it comes to my level of fatigue.  I feel like I will never ever feel rested again.  And I wasn’t a great sleeper before having Connor so it’s not like I’m used to a solid 8 or more hours of sleep a night.  I used to consider 6.5 – 7 hours of relatively uninterrupted sleep a good night.  See, I don’t ask for much.  ::Sigh::  One day, we’ll get this new normal figured out.

But enough about NOT blogging; let’s be happy there IS a post this Monday and be even happier that I have a great recipe to share, one I encourage you guys to bookmark and make ASAP.


Last week when we were coming back to Raleigh from our weekend in Charlotte and SC, the McHusband’s car had a fuel system-related problem that caused the car to stop going.  That’s putting it very simply.  Luckily, it was a beautiful day and we were only 30 minutes of home when we got stranded on the side of the road.  Our wonderful neighbor, Sherri, was kind enough to come get Connor and me while the McHusband rode back in the tow truck. 

Sherri’s birthday was Saturday, and I knew I had to do a little something for her to show her how much we appreciated her help and her in general.  She is a great neighbor and you won’t find a nicer woman. 

I asked her daughter what treats she might like. Sara said she likes typical Southern desserts and anything peanut butter so I decided to go with something banana pudding-esque


I liked that these bars used Golden Oreos for the crust; you can’t go wrong with an Oreo crust no matter the color of the cookie.


The McHusband commented on the crust, saying he really liked it.  I appreciated that it didn’t fall apart so the cookie-to-butter ratio was spot on.  (Considering the name of the blog these came from is Crazy for Crust, I’m thinking I shouldn’t be so surprised that the crust turned out so delicious.)


I added some Extra Creamy Cool Whip to the top, then finished the bars off with a Nilla Wafer.  The recipe didn’t call for that little garnish, but it’s just not right to have banana pudding without Nilla Wafers.


Neither the McHusband nor I are cheesecake lovers – likers, sure, but there are other desserts we’d rather have – but these bars won us over.  They are sweeter than your typical cheesecake and in fact would’ve had a touch less “bite” to them if I’d used riper bananas.  Yep, for once, I didn’t have spotted bananas on my counter.


These were easy to make and I think they are fairly impressive because, really, when ISN’T cheesecake impressive?  Put these on your list of to-makes this summer.


Hope this helps get your week off to a great start!

{Recipe adapted from here}

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A celebration

The girls and I got together on Tuesday for my birthday.  We went to Tomato Pie, a new-to-us restaurant at the mall.  I got a white pizza with mushrooms added to it and it was fabulous.  Then we had not one, not two, but THREE treats.  I had to make one – I couldn’t resist! – and Vanessa whipped up some kicked-up Ghiradelli brownies with peanut butter chips in them.  Finally, Heather worked her fingers to the bone swiping her debit card at Harris Teeter and brought a white cake with white frosting.


I know I make a lot of sweets, but I have a soft spot for store-bought birthday cakes.

It was a sheet cake, but it had a layer of frosting in the bottom third of the cake.  What a great surprise for a frosting lover like me.


We have such a great group of girls and I love that we make it a priority to celebrate each other’s birthdays.  We have stopped doing gifts, but we always split the birthday girl’s dinner and I make a treat or two (nothing I like better than a captive group of guinea pigs).  We take our time, linger over drinks and dinner, and often find ourselves continuing to chat in the parking lot before we can say a final goodbye.


Thanks, ladies, for being such a wonderful and important part of my life!

PS  Happy birthday to me and Barbra Streisand!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter stuff


Just in time for Easter Sunday, you can learn how to draw a bunny.

Or if you really want to impress your friends, you could make these bunny silhouette cookies.

Or maybe you just watch this clip from Jim Gaffigan – he mentions a bunny - while you eat a store-bought cookie.

Have a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

8 (and a half) weeks

Connor turned two months old this past Saturday.



A lot has happened since his last update.  He started daycare and I went back to work, both of which are good things.


He has his two-month doctor’s appointment this afternoon so we’ll find out how much he weighs.  He was 9lb11oz at his last appointment at the end of March.


One thing hasn’t changed.  He’s still not sure of that sock monkey.



Nope, not any better when it’s moving.


Connor likes: bathtime, laying on his play mat, being swaddled tight, mornings, his changing table, and stretching.




Connor dislikes: not being held when he’s tired, being cold, waiting for his food, and apparently this photo session.


The car seat is hit or miss, which means walks are hit or miss.  I hope he comes around because I miss walking the dogs, especially with the nice spring weather.

The bottom lip sticking out doesn’t always lead to a crying fit, which is good because I actually think it’s more cute than sad when he does it.


Sometimes we even get a smile right afterward.


Some behind-the-scene shots.



Still working on our head control.


A few quick facts mostly for the sake of me looking back.  Connor goes to bed between 6:45 and 8:00.  He gets a dream feed between 10:30 and 11:30 and typically sleeps for 4 to 5 hours after that.  He goes back to sleep easily after his middle-of-the-night feeding but doesn’t sleep as long afterward.  He’s usually up between 6 and 6:30, which works out great during the week but isn’t exactly ideal on the weekends.


Wish me luck this afternoon, it’s not going to be fun getting those shots.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy isn’t just a hit song

The video’s out of focus, but you still get the gist: Connor was a happy boy the morning this was taken.

We’re still figuring out the “mom’s-back-to-work” schedule a little bit.  Evenings are tough because there’s not much free time.  Morning’s are tough because, well, when AREN’T mornings tough?  Especially ones that start at 5:15.  Nothing good ever happens at that dark hour.

Sorry for the radio silence lately.  I just don’t have the time or desire, to be honest, and I’m very tired these days so I choose to go to bed rather than stay up playing on the computer.  One day I hope to make blogging a regular thing again.

Happy Hump Day!

P.S. Happy birthday to Shannon!  I can’t believe my baby sister is 31.  Let’s not talk about what that’s going to make me on MY birthday next week…


Monday, April 14, 2014

Best intentions

I’m writing this with one hand while I pump at 10:00 Sunday night. I should be in bed. 

I have a dessert to share.  I took Connor’s 8-week pictures, two-month sticker and all, this weekend and need to do that update. 

Those posts will have to wait.

There aren’t enough hours in the day, nor enough energy in this new mom’s body.  I don’t know how those other bloggers do it, but I sure wish they’d share their secret with me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

An admission

I might’ve gotten teary-eyed this morning after I got Connor ready and it was time to send him on to daycare.  The little stinker had the gall to be all happy and smiley this morning, which melted even my ice cold heart.

That must be why my eyes were leaking, the fluid had to go somewhere. Smile

The McHusband dropped Connor off and I picked him up.  When I arrived, he was happy laying on the play mat with the other kids and babysitter around him.  After a short snooze in my arms at home (unlike Sunday, I was happy to hold him for a while) and a snack, he was quite happy to hang out in his chair.


My first day back in the office went very well, and I was happy to be among the tall people.  In a perfect world, I’d work three days a week so I could spend more than my weekends raising my child.  But I don’t live in that world so I will work during the week and make the most of the time we do have together.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

“Vacation” is over

Seven weeks at home with Connor and now it’s back to the real world.  A different real world than I lived in prior to February 15th and one that’ll take some getting used to.

As I’m writing this on Sunday just before 6:00, Connor is in the Bjorn, where he has spent the majority of his non-eating time today.  He hasn’t napped like he should, which means I’ve had a pretty terrible day.  I don’t know what is up with him, but he only wants to sleep when attached to/being held by someone.  He had no problem snoozing in the Bjorn while I vacuumed and swept and putzed around the house, but swaddled in his crib?  He lasted about 5 minutes.

Anyway, all this complaining is to explain that Sunday didn’t go exactly as planned and I have no idea how the rest of the week will go.  I’m going to anticipate the worst and hope it’s not as bad as I expect, but I don’t think I’m going to be too lucky there.  I don’t know that I’ll do any real blogging this week considering my evenings will mostly likely be spent putting Connor to bed, which can take anywhere from one hour to three, showering, washing and filling bottles, pumping, preparing for the next day, and trying to get in bed at a halfway decent hour (before 11:00) so that I’m not falling asleep at the wheel driving to work in the mornings.

(Note: I won’t be on my own in the evenings, the McHusband’ll be right there with me.  I don’t want you guys to think this won’t be a team effort.)

Most women cry when they think about leaving their babies at daycare upon their return to the working world; I would cry thinking about having several more weeks at home.  As of this writing on Sunday, I’m very much looking forward to having the break during the day and doing my own thing (as much as I can while working for someone else).  I hope Connor gets more rewarding and makes me want to stay home but until then, I’m very happy to be back at work.

P.S. Happy due date to Jenny!  Yep, April 7th is a date we’ve both been anticipating for quite a while.Smile

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday, Four-Four-Fourteen

It’s my last day of “vacation,” as the McHusband jokingly referred to my maternity leave.  I have assured him, there were many days (most of them, actually) that I would rather be at work.  I am looking forward to being back in the real world during the day, but I’m dreading my new “normal” evenings and nights.  Luckily, Connor has some smiles for us these days and those help a lot.



I wanted to share these 53 Thoughts Every Girls Has While Shopping At Target.  Don’t pretend you don’t relate to at least half the list. Smile

I’m spending my morning out and about on my own while Connor and Ashley, the babysitter he’ll be staying with, get to know each other a little bit.  I sure hope he’s on his best behavior and Ashley doesn’t regret taking us on.

Hope you all have great weekends!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dancing Queen

A couple Saturdays ago, I went to Greensboro to watch Lyla dance in a competition.  She was in three numbers and unfortunately I missed her duo, but I saw the other two group numbers and was able to get some pictures of her tap-tap-tapping away.








I’m so glad Bri thought to invite me (and Connor) to watch Lyla dance.  She’ll be six in June and has been dancing for a few years (kind of a given since Bri’s a dance teacher) so it was about time that I saw her in action.

Great job, Lyla!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Bananas Foster Pound Cake

This is a day late.  I had plans to write about this pound cake Sunday evening, but Connor had other plans for my time.  I started bedtime with a bath at 6:40.  I think it ultimately took us about three hours (and some crying on both our parts) before he was officially in bed.  As bad as Sunday was, Monday night was the complete opposite – he went down without any fuss.  Fingers crossed that we get more nights like that, especially with me being back at work next week.

But enough about that, let’s talk about something more fun: cake! 


As usual, I had some overripe bananas on my counter and I wanted to make something other than banana bread with them.  I don’t know why, but I decided a pound cake was the way to go so off to Google I went.


I chose the recipe that had rum both in the cake AND in the frosting.  However, I opted not to let the rum also soak into the cake; instead, I baked it in as the recipe directed and used some in the frosting.


The cake was pretty good.  I liked the texture of it – it was dense like a pound cake is supposed to be and the outer layer had that telltale crust on it.


The frosting though?  I could’ve eaten it by the spoonful.  And, okay, I might’ve actually done so.



I made both a regular-sized Bundt cake and a smaller one from this recipe.  I sent the majority of the big one into the office with the McHusband and we kept the smaller one, the one I took pictures of, at home.  I don’t have a small cake plate so I improvised with a dinner plate and a bowl turned upside down.


The pro AND con to this set-up is that it was awkward to get the bowl up off the plate.  You had to really want the cake to go to the effort to get it.  So the upside is that it kept me from just mindlessly cutting a slice every time I walked by.  The downside is that when I did decide I wanted some, I had to work to get it.


If you have some forgotten bananas and you want something a little more decadent than banana bread, give this pound cake a try.  But whatever you do, don’t forgo the frosting!


Happy Hump Day!

P.S. Happy belated birthday to Bruce, whose birthday was yesterday.  (Disclaimer: Neither Bruce nor the McHusband dress like this on a normal basis.  We were in our trailer-trash best that night.)


{Recipe slightly adapted from here}