Tuesday, May 27, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Double Peanut Butter Cookie Bars with Caramel Bits

I had an extra day in my weekend and STILL didn’t have time before Monday night to sit down and do some blogging.  I really miss my B.C. (that’d be “Before Connor) days sometimes…

I know we already started the week off on a high note by having Monday off, but it still sucks to have to be back at work at all so here’s your spoonful of sugar.


I made these cookie bars on Saturday because a group of us went out to dinner that night to celebrate Vanessa’s birthday and, well, any time the group gathers, that’s reason enough to bake up a little something.  Throw a birthday – two, actually, because Laura’s birthday is today – in the mix, and of course I had to show up with some treats.


Sometimes peanut butter treats can be disappointing.  Either there isn’t enough peanut butter flavor, or the flavor that is there is just a little bit off.  These bars had neither of those issues.


I opted to leave the chocolate out of these and used peanut butter chips and caramel bits as my mix-ins.  I think you could pretty much use whatever you wanted: white chocolate chips, Heath Bits, butterscotch chips…


I thought the texture of these was pretty close to an actual peanut butter cookie.  You know how those can sometimes be a little crumbly but not dry?  It’s kinda hard to explain but I think some of you peanut butter cookie-lovers know what I’m talking about. 


Anyway, these cookie bars weren’t cakey nor did they bake up too much like a blondie.


I sprinkled some sea salt over mine before baking because you can’t go wrong with salty and sweet as far as I’m concerned.  Vanessa picked up on the extra salt right away and was a big fan.


If you need something that’s easy to throw together using pantry staples, I recommend these cookie bars.


{Recipe adapted from here}

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Three months

Okay, so he’s actually closer to 13.5 weeks than 12 at this point, but give a working mom a break!  There’s not a lot of downtime these days, not during the week or on the weekends.  And when my arms aren’t full of a baby, I either need to be doing more important stuff than playing on the computer, or I simply can’t muster the energy to write a blog post.

Connor turned three months old last Saturday on May 10th.


He’s still doing pretty good with sleeping through the night, but he is waking up some during the night and having a hard time putting himself back to sleep.  I always said I didn’t want my kid to have a paci for sleeping because then they need it and that means you have to put it in for them and that’s a pain in the you-know-what when it falls out, which seems to always happen about one minute after you’ve gotten back in bed and think you’re in the clear.  Now we’re stuck because he’ll go back to sleep with the paci but I don’t want him to depend on it but I don’t want to be up any longer than I have to during the night but I know it’d be best in the long run to use it less.  The first of many dilemmas I know we’ll face as parents.


Connor’s likes: He’s still a fan of his changing table and he loves his playmat.  He generally still likes his baths but when he’s really tired and hungry, he wants no part of the bubbles.  He likes to be held to go to sleep for his naps and prefers to spend his entire naptime in someone’s arms.  Needless to say, neither the McHusband nor I are fans of this.  He is definitely a morning person, but I think that’s all babies and why wouldn’t they be after roughly 12 hours of sleep?  I’d be a morning person, too!


He’s enjoying being held facing out these days so he can practice holding his head up and see what’s happening around him.  We put him in the baby carrier that way some and he stays content for a while.


Connor’s dislikes: Same old same old – his carseat is his number one enemy most of the time.  See, we can’t even talk about it without upsetting him.


He hates the break in between nursing and getting his bottle at night.  In that interim, I put him in his swaddle blanket and you should hear him!  You’d think I was pinching him.  But as soon as he gets that bottle in his mouth, he sucks it down and all is forgiven.


Looks like he’s coming around as far as the Sock Monkey is concerned.  Maybe he’ll be on the “likes” list next month.


When I look at the following picture, I think of Connor saying, “How old do you think I am?  Read the sign, man!”


Hit or miss: The Bumbo, but I think it’s going to be more hit than miss in the next few weeks.  He’s had some practice in it and as long as he isn’t too tired and has something to entertain him, he’s happy enough in it for a few minutes.


Some general Connor facts for my own knowledge when I look back: he wakes up for the day between 5:45 and 6:30.  He eats five times a day for a total of between 27 and 30 ounces, but I’m thinking I either need to add a feeding or up the amount in his bottles because I believe he should be getting at least 30 to 32 ounces.  We’re working on eliminating his dream feed – it’s down to 2.5 ounces – so we need to make sure he’s getting enough during the day so he doesn’t wake up hungry overnight.


Connor goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:15 and I’d love to say that he naps for this long at this time during the day, but he doesn’t have a nap schedule.  Very frustrating on the weekends.


I expect we will see lots of changes in the next four weeks and I hope to have lots more to add to the “likes” list.  Okay, fine, I’ll settle for moving the carseat over there so that going for walks is more pleasant for all of us.


One last blurry close-up for you guys.


Happy Hump Day!

Monday, May 19, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Doctored-up Funfetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

You know, I don’t dread Mondays like I used to.  I think my weekends are harder than my weekdays at work.  Next time you guys see a stay-at-home mom, be in awe of her.  She is the one with the hard job, the one who needs paid vacation and the ability to take sick days.  That job isn’t for me; thank goodness I like going to my office and being with my coworkers.

But enough about me, let’s talk cake!

Connor’s babysitter, Ashley, had an inspection last week so she could become a four-star home daycare.  Good news: she passed with flying colors!  I couldn’t let an accomplishment like that go un-celebrated so I got her a gift certificate for a pedicure, and I made some cupcakes that she can share with the kids.


I don’t have a whole lot to say about these except that the McHusband liked them.  I didn’t try one because of the whole no dairy thing.


However, I will say that the cupcakes baked up very pretty – slightly domed on top – and the inside was “light and fluffy” according to the McHusband.


I used a white cake mix and just used the whole eggs because I didn’t care if my cupcakes weren’t pure white.  I added in the sprinkles because the cupcakes needed a little flair, plus kids like sprinkles.


The frosting is my standard vanilla buttercream: two parts unsalted butter to one part shortening (two sticks and about half a cup or so for this batch), a little salt, up to a tablespoon of vanilla, then a good 4 to 6 cups of powdered sugar and heavy cream as needed.


I hope Ashley and the kids like their treat!


Hope your weeks are off to a good start!

{Recipe slightly adapted from here}

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A visit with Grandad

My sisters and I called my dad’s father “Grandad.”  He passed away a few years ago so now I think my dad will be Connor’s Grandad.

My dad came for a quick visit last weekend and met his second grandson.  Friday night was mostly visiting for us adults, but then my dad, Connor, and I had some quality time early Saturday morning before the McHusband got up.


Connor’s like, “I don’t know about this guy, Mom.”


They were good friends by the time Sunday rolled around.

Saturday afternoon, we went to Asheboro to meet Shannon, Owen, and Olivia for lunch at Chili’s.  Luckily, the restaurant has some grass out front and a sidewalk that goes around the building so we were able to hang out a bit longer while the kids ran around, mostly supervised.


They made it all the way around!


Only to head back out in the opposite direction.


The McHusband went with them this time and caught some cute pictures by the tree in the Chili’s backyard.

Can’t you feel the sibling love in this picture?


That’s better!


So while the McHusband was playing photographer with these guys, I was just standing around watching Shannon feed Connor.


But then it was my turn to take a stroll.


Soon enough, Owen and Olivia had expended enough energy to settle down and take turns holding their cousin.




The McHusband and I had a turns with Connor, too.



After a nice lunch and lots of fresh air, it was time for us all to head toward home.  We were so glad that Shannon and the kids were able to meet up with us.

The rest of the weekend was pretty lowkey, just hanging out at the house on Saturday and then a walk with all of us, dogs included, on Sunday before the McHusband had to get my dad to the airport. 

Like I said, it was a quick weekend visit, but we were very happy to have Connor’s Grandad here to meet him and hang out with us.  Thanks for coming, Daddy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

An oops

I have several posts to write: Connor’s three-month update, some bars I made, my dad’s visit LAST weekend, my first Mother’s Day.  However, I’m just finally sitting down with my computer at 9:30 Sunday night and I have about six minutes before I need to pump and get myself to bed.  5:10 comes awfully early!

One quick highlight from our weekend though.  Our little family of three got up and out early Saturday morning.  Our destination?  The Verizon store.  We wanted to get new phones, ones with good cameras and more bells and whistles than the ones we’d had for two years.  I ended up with a Samsung S5 in white and the McHusband got the HTC M8.

And thanks for the promotion Verizon was running through this weekend, we also ended up with two mini tablets.  We debated just getting one but since they were essentially free, why not get two?

So our weekend was off to a great start, but I unknowingly ruined it when we went to Starbucks after the phone store and I ordered one of the Oprah Chai Tea Lattes.  See, I’m not a coffee drinker and I rarely drink anything fancy.  I’m happy with my hot tea (made with a tea bag) in the office and when I’m out and about, I’ll pretty much always opt for a diet Coke.  So it didn’t even occur to me that my drink was made with milk.

Connor had a terrible afternoon on Saturday and it hit me Sunday morning why: the milk in my tea caused him pain and made him spit up and made all three of us miserable.  Having a dairy-sensitive baby while breastfeeding is very inconvenient, let me tell you.  To paraphrase: a moment in the mouth and things go south.  However, I’m trying to look on the bright side and telling myself that not eating chocolate and buttery baked goods and ice cream will hopefully help me drop a few pounds.

Hope your week’s off to a great start!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Fitness Report

I’m making this quick.  Because I was able to work out last night, I was pressed for time to get everything done and ready for the next day.

I went to the Y on Tuesday for my boot camp class, the one I attended through the week of Christmas.  I was so excited to get back to it.  Can you tell?


Boot camp was awesome and I have a ways to go to get back to where I was, but I have to start somewhere.

Then last night, I met with Linda who used to teach the Saturday boot camp that the McHusband attended and I went to for a few months until Linda decided she couldn’t afford to keep meeting our group for free.  I’m going to see her once a week for about six weeks to kickstart things and then I’ll probably back off to every other week for another couple months.  After that, hopefully I can keep up the momentum on my own.

I felt great when I got home, even though it was 8:45 and I knew it was going to be a late night.  (Please ignore my messy bathroom and dirty mirror.)


I can’t wait to see how my body reacts to the exercise.

TGIF and have a great weekend!

P.S.  Happy Birthday to Shawn today!  And an early shout-out to my mom and the McMom – Happy Mother’s Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lapping it up

Last weekend, the McHusband took Mr. Crankypants – I mean Connor – out on the deck to see if some fresh air would help his mood.  It didn’t do too much for the baby, but his parents enjoyed the change of scenery and visit from the kitties.


Tori has always loved the McHusband and his lap.  When she was inside with us, she’d be on the other couch for an hour while I watched TV alone.  Soon as the McHusband sat down next to me, she’d leave her comfy spot and settle down in his lap.



Before long, Emma also had to see what all the excitement was about.


Ignore the crying baby.  See how Tori’s pretty much hugging the McHusband’s leg?  Actually, the McHusband shouldn’t feel too special; she used to assume the same pose with the couch.  I can relate; I love my spot on the couch, too.


Emma decided being on the table alone was just fine, thankyouverymuch.


Looks like that fresh air finally worked.