Monday, June 30, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Summer Couscous Salad

I know it’s Monday and I’m supposed to help you start your week off with a little sugar (and I did do some baking this weekend), but this couscous salad I assembled for lunch with the McInlaws yesterday was better than the dessert I made.  I didn’t take any pictures so I will hope that Mel is okay with me borrowing hers – which is WAY better than one I would’ve taken –  and giving her full credit.

Couscous Salad

This couscous salad was our main dish so I added some canned tuna to it to bulk it up a bit.  I used the dried basil instead of fresh and served the feta on the side (the McHusband isn’t a fan) but otherwise stuck to the recipe.  We all loved this salad, and I look forward to making it often in the future and eating some leftovers for lunch today.

We had such a nice visit with the McHusband’s parents and are so happy they were able to come spend some quality time with Connor.  Unfortunately, I am a big loser in both the mom and blogger arenas for not taking any pictures of them together.  Doh!  Can I claim sleep deprivation or has the clock run out on that excuse now that we’re about 4.5 months into this parenthood thing?

Speaking of…  You know how Connor’s iffy on the stroller?  I decided to put him in the actual stroller rather than having him in the car seat attached to the stroller for our walk on Sunday.  Guess what? He loved it!  I thought for sure by the end he’d be dozing off, but he was still wide awake, just in a content chill way.


Oh man, do I love this little guy!

Have a great Monday!  It’s a four-day week so today’s already off to a good start, right?  Oh, and if you need to contribute a side dish to a Fourth of July party, make this salad.  People will love you and think you’re amazing.  Who doesn’t want that?

{Recipe adapted from here}

Friday, June 27, 2014

Loving lately

Remember that dress I wore for the wedding in NY at the end of May?  It was pretty daring with that high slit, but I loved the rest of the dress so much that I was willing to sit funny all night to ensure I didn’t have any Hollywood moments.


My legs weren’t – and still aren’t – in the shape they once were (I’m working on that) and needed all the help they could get if they were going to be playing peekaboo all night long.  As I’ve always said, tan fat looks better than white fat.

I’m not a fan of tanning lotions because they smell funny and tend to rub or sweat off.  I’ve never done a spray tan, but that option just didn’t appeal to me because I had to find time to do it, it’s not cheap, and you can’t take a shower for so many hours afterward.  So I turned to something that seemed to be a good mix of those two options: Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs.

I read some good reviews and figured it would be worth the $12 to give it a try.  I applied it Friday morning for the event that night.  The spray had a bit of an odor but nothing offensive and I didn’t smell it once I was done with the application process.  The spray washed off my hands easily and completely.  My legs felt dry and not sticky at all within minutes – probably A minute – of rubbing this stuff on.  I was a huge fan already and I hadn’t even left the house!

I like that the spray has little reflective bits in it so your legs have a nice sheen to them.  I chose the lightest color because my legs belie the red hair in my family tree – they are WHITE.  Even when the rest of me tans, my legs tend to stay pretty pale.  The color was perfect for me.  It was just the right amount and there wasn’t a trace of the feared orange tan-in-a-can faux glow.

This stuff is supposed to be water resistant, and I would agree with that.  It’s not necessarily going to all come off in the shower unless you scrub.  Minus the shower, it will run if you, say, go to an outdoor boot camp class on a hot and super humid evening and do a Tabata-style workout.  I’ve slept with this stuff on twice and didn’t wake up to streaked sheets, and I’ve never noticed it on my clothes or car seat.

I have been Airbrushing my legs every time I wear a dress or skirt since the wedding so I’ve used it enough now to know if it’s a good product or not.

Verdict?  This stuff is great!  If you’re looking for a tan-in-a-can on a budget, Sally Hansen has you covered.  Literally.

TGIF!  Hope you guys have a fabulous weekend!  I’m looking forward to a pedicure-and-lunch date with Heather tomorrow, then we might have some visitors on Sunday if the McInlaws decide to come up.  Other than that, we’ll just divide our time between being productive around the house and keeping Connor happy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fitness and a 5k

I’m baaa-aaack!  Okay, not really, but I feel like my workout mojo is slowly creeping back in.  Will I be at the Y 5 to 6 times a week like before Connor?  Not anytime soon.  But I can find a way to be active 3 to 4 times a week, even if one of those times is just a long walk with Monte.

My company was a sponsor of a 5k this past Saturday.  It’s been a long time since I ran one of those, but the entry was free so how could I pass up the opportunity to get back in the game?

The last time I ran was at Thanksgiving and while the actual run felt good, my back hurt so much afterward that I didn’t dare try it again.  So last Monday, less than a week before the big race, I decided to do a practice run.  I jogged to 18:30 before I needed to walk and for the next 12 minutes, I walked a minute, then jogged for two.  It was a hot, humid evening, the sun was still shining, and my route didn’t offer much shade so I was a hot mess at the end.


All in all, though, I was happy with how my practice run went and was feeling optimistic about the 5k.  I was able to get in two more real workouts (boot camp at the Y and a session with a trainer) plus a long walk with Monte last week.

So, the 5k.  I invited Heather to join me.  Misery loves company, right?


My goal was to get at least 20 minutes in before I needed to walk.  Guess what?  I didn’t have to walk at all!  That’s not to say I broke any records getting across the finish line, but considering it had been 7 months since I’d been running, I was happy to clock in at 29 minutes, pretty much on the dot.  I checked the results yesterday and it turns out I was 4th (out of 53) in my age group.

I had gotten to the point where it wasn’t worth getting up for a 5k, but now I’m starting over so I wouldn’t mind doing a few of these to help get me back on track.  I jogged again Monday night, same route as last Monday, and I didn’t have to walk at all, but it took me just as long to finish as it did last week with the walking so apparently I ran faster last week.

I went to boot camp at the Y last night and tonight I’ll be home because the McHusband has to travel for work, but tomorrow I meet with the trainer. I’m liking this new schedule and hope to keep it up.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Brown Butter Banana Blondies

The weekend + ripe bananas = time in the kitchen.  However, these days, I do my baking on Saturday nights instead of Sunday afternoons.


I wanted to make something different with my speckled bananas so I searched “banana” on my Pinterest boards and found these blondies.  They were simple and they had frosting – a winning combination!


If you’re looking for the banana flavor to hit you in the face, these aren’t for you.  I doubled the recipe in order to make it in a 9 x 13 pan and have enough to share with both my office and the McHusband’s.  I still used only 2 bananas.

Speaking of the McHusband…


I didn’t love the texture of these.  Maybe I stirred my batter too much and overdeveloped the gluten, leading to rubbery bars, but these just weren’t my favorite.  The frosting, on the other hand…


The frosting recipe called for two tablespoons of milk.  I subbed in Elijah Craig Bourbon, which cut the sweetness of the frosting a touch and added a depth to the flavor.


Bottom line, would I make these again?  Nah, probably not.  Not because of the flavor but because of the texture.


But I would make the frosting again.


I’ll be interested to hear what our coworkers say about these blondies.  I already know mine’ll be on board with the frosting as we have several bourbon lovers in my office.

Sugar AND liquor.  Guess I’m kicking things up a notch on this Monday.

{Recipe adapted from here}

Friday, June 20, 2014

Connor: Four Months

Connor turned four months old last weekend.  Same weekend as Father’s Day, which was also one year after I found out I was pregnant. Yep, big weekend around here.



While I feel like I got through the first three months, a.k.a. the fourth trimester, I have finally been enjoying this past month or so.  Connor smiles and talks a lot, and he has a pretty good schedule, which makes things easier and therefore better.


Connor’s “sleeping through the night” in that he’s not waking up to eat in the night.  But if he wakes up and can’t fall back to sleep quickly, he gets fussy and then we end up doing what’s easy, which is sticking the paci in his mouth.  I didn’t want to be those parents, but when you’re already four months behind on your sleep quota, you do whatever gets you back into bed the fastest.


Connor had his four-month shots on Friday the 13th.  He weighed in at 15 lbs 14 oz, but I’d just given him a 6-oz bottle so I’m going to say he’s 15 1/2 pounds.  He’s 26 inches long, which puts him in the 88th percentile.


He did better than I expected after his shots, and thank goodness since it was just him and me for the weekend while the McHusband was at the beach.


Connor likes: bathtime, being carried facing out, riding in the Bjorn while I shop, his new-to-him activity chair (Thanks, Lyla and Maxie!), and lounging in his tub in our room while I put clothes away.  (BTW, the tub was my mom’s idea – gotta give credit where credit’s due.)



Connor’s tolerating the car seat better these days.  We even get in decent walks first thing in the morning on the weekends.  We keep practicing in the Bumbo and it’s hit or miss.


Connor dislikes: not being held when he’s tired and cranky, getting too hungry, and practicing tummy time in the evenings.


As for the sock monkey, Connor’s still not sure if he’s friend or foe.



Maybe he’ll make his mind up by next month.


We are loving our little C-Man and look forward to seeing him learn and develop every day.  He’s so close to giggling, and I hope every day that something I do will make a laugh finally bubble over.


Connor’s not rolling over yet and that’s fine with me.  We’re more careful about leaving him anywhere he could fall from, but it’s nice to know that he’s going to be where we left him.  For instance, we might have him on the bed in his room, go run his bath, then go back to get him.


Can’t wait to see the changes this next month brings!


PS  Happy early birthday to both Terry and Lyla! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Let’s try that again…

So apparently my GIF didn’t show up on the blog even though it worked fine in preview mode.  So I’m just going to give you guys the link and you’ll have to click over to find the funny.  I promise, it’s worth the extra step.

In a way, this thing messing up was a blessing in disguise because I had a late workout session last night and wasn’t going to be blogging in the few spare minutes I had from 9:45 to 10:00.  Four posts in four days – I don’t think that’s happened in, oh, about four months. Smile

Can we make it five for five…?  Come back tomorrow and find out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hump Day Humor

I found this over the weekend and couldn’t stop laughing as I watched it over and over again.  Hope you guys like it, too!

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fake Father’s Day

Like I said yesterday, I’d left a little something for the McHusband to find when he got home from the beach so he’d be greeted by something fun since Connor and I weren’t home.



The McHusband recently moved offices at work and now he has a window so he’d been asking me if I had any extra plants in the house that he could take.  I didn’t, and I told him we’d get him one.  I figured Father’s Day was the perfect time to get him something he needed and probably wasn’t expecting.


Connor and I went to Home Depot on Saturday and got the pot and three little indoor plants for it.  I transplanted them that night.  I hope the pothos plan on the left doesn’t take over.  The good thing about that one is the McHusband can keep it trimmed back and it’ll do just fine.


The other “real” gifts were a framed picture of Connor for the McHusband’s office and another set of tongs because we only had one pair and it seemed like half the time, they were dirty when we needed them.


Finally, I threw in the Zero Bar and it’s probably a good thing I did since my cake was a little overbaked.



Happy Father’s Day to my McHusband.  I am so grateful to have you as a partner, and I am lucky that you love me.  You are doing a great job as a dad; if Connor could talk, he’d say, “You’re the best, Dad!”


I couldn’t ask for anything more because I already have everything I could possibly need and want.  I love you, McHusband.  Thank you for all you do for our little family.

Monday, June 16, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The McHusband was at the beach this weekend.  His annual guys’ weekend got moved up from late July because one of the guys, Rick, is due to become a first-time father in early August.  Understandably, he didn’t want to be at Myrtle Beach during the last few weeks of Sabrina’s pregnancy.  They live in Boston so it was just too far away for comfort.

But just because the McHusband wasn’t home for his first Father’s Day doesn’t mean I didn’t do stuff for it.  There are gifts on the table ready for him, and I made a treat that I hope he likes.  The McHusband is partial to pineapple so I thought I’d make a fairly simple from-scratch Pineapple Upside Down Cake.


The recipe calls for crushed pineapple, but I was going from memory when I grabbed my canned fruit and I got the tidbits.  No biggie.


I didn’t double-check my oven thermometer and I’m pretty sure my oven was hotter than the  375 degrees the recipe called for.  When I checked it at 30 minutes, my cake was very brown on the outside but still gooey on the inside.


I covered it, reduced the temp, and put the cake back in the oven for 4 minutes, which did the trick, but I think the cake part is a little dry.  Hopefully the caramelized pineapple layer makes up for that.


While I was taking these pictures (sorry they aren’t better; I was doing this after putting Connor to bed so it was around 6:30 Sunday evening), Monte was laying by the front door.  I’m pretty sure he was thinking if he just waited long enough, the McHusband would come home.





But back to the cake for a second.  I cut a piece and added it to the table where the rest of the McHusband’s goodies are waiting for him to get home.  I gotta maintain some surprise factor, but here’s a sneak peek.


Maybe he will let us know how he thinks the cake turned out.

Connor and I survived the weekend alone, even after four-month shots on Friday.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to do, but they didn’t seem to affect him too much.  Not over the weekend anyway; the actual shots weren’t much fun for either of us.

Four-month update coming soon!

{Recipe barely adapted from here}

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Birthday dinner

We girls celebrated not one but two birthdays with dinner at Outback last night.  Vanessa’s birthday was May 24th and Heather’s was this past Monday.  Vickie was sitting between them so there was no escaping the photo op for her.


I made a birthday treat for both of them.  Heather’s only request was that hers have “that wonderful chocolate frosting” and Vanessa mentioned using candy in hers.  So I made some marshmallow cookie bars for Heather and covered them in the frosting, and I made some Milky Way Cheesecake Brownies for Vanessa.


I liked both treats.  The cookie bars were over-the-top sweet so a predilection for sugar is a must if you’re going to like these.  Lucky for Sara, Heather, and me, we three were blessed with just such a propensity.  The cheesecake part of Vanessa’s brownies cut the sweetness of those a bit so they were good for people like Chelle and Vanessa who prefer a little less sugar.  Because of Connor’s dairy issue, I only had a taste of the brownie when I was cutting them up.  Cheesecake isn’t normally my favorite, but I have to say, these were quite tasty.  There was one left at the end of dinner so I took it home and put it in the freezer.  I think this weekend might mark the end of my adventures in breastfeeding so bring on the milk products!

I have to give credit where credit’s due.  I had a little help in the kitchen with Heather’s treat.


We girls had such a lovely dinner.  We met at 5:30 and I didn’t leave until 8:00.  It’s always so nice for all of us to be together to catch up and just enjoy the company.  Vickie, I can’t wait to do it all over again next month for your birthday!