12 favorite fall recipes

30 October 2015

I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s constantly looking for tried-and-true recipes. So here, for your weekend-menu-making pleasure, are twelve of our favorites for fall — perfect dishes for when fresh vegetables aren’t as abundant, and you’re in the mood for something comforting and delicious.

fall-favorite-recipes

Kale and brussels sprouts salad with bacon and pecorino
Vegetable pot pies
Crockpot turkey meatballs
Slow simmered beef ragu (Makes your house smell amazing! Perfect for a Sunday afternoon.)
Sweet pork lettuce hand rolls
Sweet and sour pork (we will sometimes add extra veggies to this and omit the pork)
Thai peanut chicken and pumpkin curry
Award-winning chili
Crispy smashed potatoes with avocado garlic aioli (we don’t make these vegan)
Potato leek soup
Vegetarian tortilla soup
Hunter’s minestrone soup

If you have a favorite fall recipe, I’d love for you to leave a link in the comments! We’re always looking to add to our collection!!

Third trimester update

23 October 2015

Hey, friends! It’s been a busy week around these parts, what with a trip to Asheville, volunteering at our church’s biscuit booth, and visiting with family! Today marks 28 weeks of pregnancy (7 months!), which means I’m officially in the third trimester. I figured it was time for a little big update. In no particular order…

27-weeks

27 weeks! And yay for my fall scarf – I ended up buying it!

Things I have been loving:
Neighborhood walks. John and I try to go on a brisk walk for at least half an hour every day after work, usually 1.5-2 miles. I think this is one of the main reasons that I have experienced almost no pregnancy-related aches and pains — our walks help keep me loose, and they probably help with sleep, too!
On that note… sleep! I am still enjoying full nights of sleep sans elaborate pillow constructions or pee breaks, which, as a lover of sleep, I am super grateful for. In addition to exercise, I also credit our mattress — we traded in the bare bones model we bought when we first moved in together for a luxuriously soft one last year, and it. is. the. best.
Belly bands. Thanks to these handy accessories, I am still wearing my regular jeans and pants. I bought a white one from Target and have a black one on loan from a friend.
Movement. So much movement! Our girl bops and bounces most of the day. It’s not uncomfortable, just fun.
Kids consignment sales. I’ve had great luck at local consignment sales and have loved collecting some practical and adorable pieces for next to nothing. I think I’m going to write a whole post about sales like this, because they are amazing!
Clothing on loan. John’s mom brought down a huge bag of newborn clothing from his two sisters this weekend, and I’m pretty sure we are now set for everything we could ever need in the newborn size. It’s great to have stylish and generous sisters and sisters-in-law :)

Challenges:
Prenatal vitamins. I have never been good at swallowing pills, and my prenatal vitamins are a beast. But I’ve figured out a system! I cut them into four pieces and swallow them with food, which helps mask the taste. Works like a charm. I did consider gummies, but they seemed a little lighter on the nutrients.
Drinking water. This has always been a challenge for me, since I almost never FEEL thirsty, but I know it’s even more important for pregnant people, so I’m soldiering on with my mini challenges.
Meal timing and size. It’s becoming more necessary to eat smaller, more frequent meals (I often split dinner or lunch up into two sessions), as I get full much more easily. I also have been waking up with a growling stomach, making a speedy breakfast important!

sheep-rocker

Updates:
— My glucose test is this morning! Hoping it’s not as terrible as everyone says it is and that I pass.
— I think we finally figured out a layout for the nursery, but it’s not any of the options I outlined here. Putting one bed on each wall seems to be the best fit.
Our registry is pretty much complete! Thank you all again for your input. As you can see, our first gift has arrived and has been thoroughly cat tested and approved.
— I made a first draft of my labor and delivery preferences. In addition to our OB, we are seriously considering hiring a doula, which is not something I ever expected to say!
— I have been doing lots of reading and learning. I was planning to write a book review post in the next few weeks, but I think it might make more sense to wait on that until after we’ve had a chance to put some of the advice into action! However, if you’re curious, here is what I’ve read over the last year: All Joy and No Fun, Simplicity Parenting, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Expecting Better, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Jo Frost’s Confident Baby Care, On Becoming Babywise, and The Nursing Mother’s Companion. So far, my favorites are Expecting Better, All Joy and No Fun, and Confident Baby Care.

Upcoming:
— Our birth class begins in November! It runs for five weeks and is taught by our hospital. I’m so interested to see what they’re going to present and how it will dovetail with the books I’ve read. We will also be taking a breastfeeding class, which, though I’m looking forward to it, I’m sure will also make me feel super awkward :)
— Most of all, I’m excited about my two baby showers! My sisters and Nancy are throwing one here in NC, and my sisters-in-law are hosting one in Connecticut. Since we live far away from family and lots of friends, it will be so good to celebrate in person before the lady arrives. Very thankful for my generous hostesses!!

I think that’s it for now! I don’t want to inundate y’all with baby posts, but I’m also happy to share things that might be of interest. If there’s something here that sparked a question, feel free to leave it below and I’ll try to answer it in the comments, or perhaps in its own post!

Framed & Matted

14 October 2015

Even though I recently shared our home tour for this year (upstairs + downstairs), I already have an update! Knowing that our house photos with Anna were around the bend, I finally bit the bullet and framed two special pieces of art… but they arrived the day after our photos were taken!! I still wanted to share them with you, because I love them, and hopefully this story will also serve as encouragement!

Though we’ve made some progress since moving in with getting things on the walls, there were still two pieces that remained tucked away. They were both non-standard sizes, which meant I couldn’t just go out and buy a frame at Target or Michael’s. I knew custom framing was in my future if I was ever going to display them properly, but having gone that route before, I was already cringing at the expense. A few months ago, though, my ears perked up when I started to hear about a few online custom framing companies, including Framed & Matted and Framebridge. I looked into them both, and ended up going with Framed & Matted – I thought their frame options were prettier, and their prices slightly more reasonable. Want to see what I ended up with?

First, I framed a “You are my sunshine” print from (the now-defunct) Yeehaw Studios. For this one, I chose the Landon frame and a white mat. It took me six years to frame this little gem (!!!), but it was worth it – I love seeing it in our kitchen every day! This one was $67, including shipping.

kitchen-chalkboard-600x800

Second, I framed our wedding invitation! Y’all, I can’t tell you HOW HAPPY it makes me to have this project completed. From the minute I laid eyes on our beauty, I knew I wanted it hanging on the walls of our home. I’m still in awe of the work Magpie Paper Works and MM Ink did to bring it to life, and I love having this reminder of our wedding in front of me every day. For this one, we chose the Blair frame in gold, also with a white mat, and it was about $100. The invite is now hanging in our living room gallery wall, but the glare made it impossible to take a good photo – so here’s a detail shot!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.20.08 PM

Yay!! Lots of happy developments with our walls lately, from these two new pieces to the travel quartet I talked about in our tour. I think they’ve emboldened me, as I now have big plans to add art to our downstairs hallway, our upstairs hallway, and the loft. I’m thinking my November goals will be heavy on art projects, as baby girl’s due date ticks ever closer!

An Articles Club

12 October 2015

Let me tell you about my friend Stephanie, who recently moved back to the Triangle after living in DC for several years. Since she’s been here, the list of things she’s done, places she’s been, and people she’s met is mind-boggling. In fact, I’m positive she has more local friends than I do. (This is not surprising or upsetting, as I readily admit I am an introvert who prefers fewer, very closer friends over a larger circle.) She and I only recently met in person after being online friends for several years. Perhaps this emboldened me, because when she posted about a local book club she had joined, I inquired.

Stephanie, bless her heart, not only told me about the book club, but went one step further: she invited me to START an articles club with her. Even though it was a little outside of my comfort zone, I was instantly enamored with the idea. Both she and I had read about the concept on A Cup of Jo last year, and Steph had successfully hosted one with friends in DC. After a flurry of back and forth emails, our new version is taking shape!

articles-club-graphic

And here’s where you come in: you’re invited! Yes! The first one will be on Tuesday, November 10, in the evening, in the Triangle of NC. We’ll meet about once a month (we are considering keeping it on the second Tuesday of the month). One gal will email out three articles to the group – perhaps themed, but not necessarily, and about topics that feel relevant to our age group: maybe friendship, career, work/life balance, children, or relationships. Then, we’ll gather and discuss them over appetizers, dessert, and drinks.

In addition to meeting new friends, Stephanie and I are both very set on actual discussion, so we’re hoping to attract ladies who feel the same way! :) If that sounds like you, and you’re available, shoot Stephanie an email – she will be rounding up RSVPs. Just as a note, depending on the level of interest, we might have to cap attendance, as the space where we’ll be gathering is not huge.

Whether or not you live near by, what do you think? Does an articles club sound like something up your alley? If so, take Stephanie’s example and reach out to someone about starting one – you just might be surprised! :) And feel free to leave links to articles you’re itching to discuss in the comments!

Blue buffalo check nursery plans

8 October 2015

Nursery plans! Out of the blue, my buddy Lisa asked me several months ago if I had ever thought about what I would want a future nursery to look like (we take lots of long car rides together and have time to talk about everything). I was a bit taken aback, as, unbeknownst to her, I was already pregnant! The answer I gave her was “not really,” and I wasn’t just trying to avoid the topic – it was true! Though I had collected some inspiration over the years, a nursery wasn’t something I ever had a set vision for.

Things stayed that way into the first several months of my pregnancy — I saw things I liked, and even designed the following board which used some of my favorite colors, but nothing ever felt quite right.

yellow-and-coral-nursery

Then I stumbled across this nursery, and instantly fell in love. We didn’t know yet whether we were having a girl or boy, but I knew I could make it work either way.

blue-buffalo-check-nursery

Jessie gets the lion’s share of credit for my inspiration above — we will be using the same buffalo check fabric, the same light fixture, and similar crib bedding as she did. However, since our room is for a little lady, we’ll be adding a few horse accents — I was completely horse crazy when I was younger, and my Dad grew up on what is now a horse farm. (Actually the oldest continuously working farm in Connecticut! I love having that heritage as a part of her space.) I also think the toile and floral patterns make the overall look a bit more feminine in our rendition.

I seriously considered wallpapering one wall once I stumbled across the adorable Collette pattern from Sandberg Wallpaper, but alas they have discontinued the blue colorway:

blue-collette-wallpaper

from this blog

They still carry a lovely black colorway, but it’s not right for this room:

black-collette-wallpaper

After total inaction for the first six months of pregnancy, the last week or so has been a whirl of progress! My Dad painted the walls (Benjamin Moore Simply White), we’ve assembled the crib (the same Jenny Lind beauty my sisters and I used as babies, unearthed from my parents’ attic!), and we’ve purchased a light fixture, a blue toile crib skirt, and a lamp. Next on the list? Switching out the light fixture, choosing a glider, deciding on window treatments (should we do drapes or a pelmet box like this?), ordering bedding for the twin bed that will also be in the room, and deciding on artwork. I am hoping to scrounge up some vintage photos of my family’s farm and horses; I also love the print from Minted in my inspiration above.

I’d also like to settle on a room layout. Here are the three options we’re considering:

room-design-1

Option 1: Not sure if having the crib and bed that close together is ideal, even though no one will be sleeping in the twin most of the time.

room-design-2

Option 2: Same issue with the bed and crib, though there might be a little more wiggle room.

room-design-3

Option 3: This layout allows more room between the beds, but I don’t know if having the crib so close to the door is a good idea?

Just as a note, the door on the right-hand side is a little mini door to our attic storage. And as a reminder, here is the room “before:”

cactus-room

I think that’s about all I have to report for now! I’d love your thoughts and feedback, including on my current decisions, if you’d like:

— Drapes or a pelmet box in blue buffalo check for the window?
— Room layout 1, 2, or 3?

Thanks, friends!!