Friday, December 28, 2012

Safari-Themed Baby Shower

Several weeks ago now, Gaya, Kakhi, Ginny and I threw a baby shower for our good friend Shauna and her on-the-way baby boy, Jack. We had a ball planning, cooking and decorating. Shauna had mentioned that she liked a safari feel for a boy, so we went with it! There are some really cute safari ideas out there.

I already had our house decorated for Christmas, so we augmented with safari accents. I think it turned out really cute! We ordered these safari animals on sticks from Etsy and used them in the wreath on the front door, garland and a few of the food items.

We stole an idea from a baby shower that had been thrown for me in Brevard and added baby items (sunglasses, rubber duck, socks, baby mittens, etc) to the garland on the stairs. 

Shauna opened her presents in front of the fireplace, which we dressed with the most adorable tie onesies, also from Etsy.

Of course I didn't take a picture of the completed food table, but we set the carnival-themed food up on the kitchen island and had corn dog muffins, mini caprese skewers, individual popcorn bags, fruit skewers and pimento cheese sandwiches.

The popcorn turned out so cute!

The dessert table was fun, complete with bootie petit fours from Henri's, circus peanuts, oreo truffles and adorable cookie favors made by Linsey of The HunniePot.

Now we can't wait to meet Jack in a few short weeks!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Cooking

With a little time off from work and fewer and fewer un-tackled items on the baby to-do list, I got into my kitchen this holiday season. It was a really different Christmas for our family for so many reasons. Since I'm not able to travel this close to D-day, Josh and I had our own little quiet Christmas at home. We definitely missed being with our families (thankfully we got to do Christmas Eve with my brother/sister-in-law and nephew), but I tried to look at it as the calm before the storm :)

My mom has always done an amazing Christmas morning brunch and I have every intention of continuing that tradition in my household. Growing up, we always had breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls/pastries and fruit. This year, I decided to make my own sweet rolls...I did orange marmalade rolls, and they were great! They paired perfectly with sugared fruit and homemade sausage rolls (courtesy of a friend and her family's Christmas breakfast tradition!).

My rolls looked more like orange marmalade cobbler but they were still delicious!

For the orange marmalade rolls, you'll need:
  • 1/2 quart whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce packet)
  • 4 cups (plus 1/2 cup, separated) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the icing, you'll need:
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup (or a little more) milk
  • 1/2 cup (or a little more) orange juice
  • dash of salt
To make the dough, heat the milk, oil and sugar in a medium saucepan to just under a boil. Remove from heat and cool just a tad. Sprinkle the yeast packet on the top and let it sit for a minute. Add the 4 cups of flour, cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for one hour. After the hour is up, add the additional 1/2 cup of flour, powder, soda and salt. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.

Next, roll on the dough into a long rectangle. Don't forget to flour the surface and your rolling pin! Spread marmalade over the top, pour on the butter and brown sugar evenly. Then sprinkle with the Kosher salt. From the long end, start rolling the dough into a long log. Cut the rolls into 1-1.5 inch sections and place in a buttered pan. Let rise for about 20 minutes before you bake them for 15-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

Mix up the icing and pour immediately over the warm rolls...yum!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

36 Weeks

36 weeks and counting! I have noticed a huge growth spurt over the last week and half (baby AND me). Still feeling great, sleeping well and feeling a good bit of movement. My cheeks are definitely getting puffy. My face looks like it did when I was about 19, except now I'm sporting crow's feet along with the baby cheeks, ha! I've gained 25 pounds.

Oliver makes a cameo. 
I am noticeably a LOT hungrier the past few weeks. Not sure if it's because of the ridiculous amount of treats we have in our office due to the holidays (the other day I ate 2 mint Oreo-type cookies, 2 chocolate sea salt caramels, a bag of white chocolate/peppermint popcorn, a candy cane, and maybe a truffle when I got home...oh my gosh) or if she is just really packing on the pounds. Sweets are really hitting the spot lately.

I continue to have Braxton Hicks every day. They always get more frequent when I'm moving around versus sitting. I had one at the doctor's office this morning when they were checking her heartbeat (it was 142) and the nurse said, I bet you feel that! They didn't check to see if I was dilated, which I was kind of disappointed about...but I'll be back in a week. The doctor asked me if I thought the baby was going to come before or after the New Year. Come again? After, I hope!!!!

The nursery is almost finished! It is pretty much my vision in this post come to life (changing table added after getting advice from some mama friends). Just waiting on her curtains (which are, of course, back-ordered), her rocking chair (on the honey-do list) and a painting that my mom and grandmother are working on completing. It is looking SO CUTE, I'm obsessed! 

This is some major talent from the Welch side of the family. It will be such a special piece to have!
Things I'll miss about being pregnant...(1) feeling the baby move. She is so active and we love trying to guess what body parts we see rolling around. (2) a decent night's sleep. Thankfully, my beauty rest is relatively uninterrupted, other than a couple of potty breaks. I would be a fool to think that this will continue! (3) a legitimate reason to wear leggings to work (4) unusually sweet people. People are so thoughtful when you are pregnant. They sort of look at you they should, the body is doing an amazing thing!

Things I will not miss about being pregnant...(1) bad skin. My skin has been awful throughout pregnancy. I just hope it goes back to normal! (2) lower back pain. I sit too long, back hurts. I stand too long, back hurts. (3) the urge to tinkle 24/7. (4) snoring. Although it doesn't bother me much, poor Josh is not a fan. (5) I cannot WAIT to sleep on my stomach again!!!!!!

Mostly we are just excited to meet our baby girl and start life as a family of 5 (including the four-legged babies)!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Out With The Red, In With The Gray

Since moving, I've gotten myself into quite a few projects around the house. This one has probably been the most time consuming, and I can't even claim all of it! Mom, Jean and I, together, recovered 6 chairs for our breakfast nook. Jean removed the existing fabric, Mom recovered, I fringed. After recovering the cushions of some other chairs for our dining room, I don't know which task I would have preferred. The staple gun is a physical battle and the fringing is majorly time consuming because it has to be sewn. My genius liquid stitch idea was for the birds!

I'm so thrilled with the way the chairs turned out! Halfway through, I thought...oh my gosh, I'm just going to buy some d*** chairs! Then I started shopping and saw that I could basically recover all 6 chairs for the cost of purchasing one chair. So happy with my decision to trudge that it's over.

When we moved from our brick ranch, my motto was out with the red and in with the neutral. Gray, to be specific. The red was charming in our old house, but frankly, I was over it for the new space. Here is our old dining room, and what we started with table and chairs wise. 
I should mention that my mom recovered these chairs for me in the first place. I will admit that I did not realize what a chore it was until I got involved this time around! These aren't the kind of chairs with cushions that pop out. The fabric is stapled to the wooden frame of the chair and the fringe is then sewn on to hide all of the staples. I actually ended up using this table in our formal dining room with chairs that Jean gave us (the other ones I recovered). We found a farm house style table at Nadeau (obsessed with that store) that fits the style of our house a little better and I love it with the newly covered chairs! They seem updated and something you would see at Ballard Designs.


And after all the blood, sweat and tears...

I love the Suzani print! It really brightens up this corner of our house. Ikat pillows accent our living room and this is a nice variation on that theme. Gray with a pop of color.

The fringe! Don't look too closely, I'm a novice seamstress. But, it's least for now.

And so happy to have this one marked off the list! I finished the table off with inexpensive canisters from Home Goods filled with wine corks, whole pecans and pine cones from our back yard. The light fixture is from Ballard Designs. I love that it makes a big statement.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Brevard Baby Shower

These ladies sure know how to throw a party...

Last weekend, I went to Brevard for the last time before the baby comes. I find myself saying that often now. Now we are onto things like, the next time I see you, I'll be a mom...and you'll be grandparents, and you'll be an aunt! The drive was a little uncomfortable. It's only 3 hours, but the baby does not like for me to be in the same position for that long. I think she takes after Josh in hating the mountain roads/getting carsick because I got regular stabs and kicks all the way up Caesar's Head. I'm sure it is much easier with her in my belly than screaming in the back of the car, ha!

The shower was over the top, and we got so many great and generous gifts! Everything was just perfect, right from the entrance into Maureen's beautiful home. I love her topiaries! Maureen's home was the spot for my bridal luncheon too, so it was special to be back there at this next milestone.

The baby's initials that hung on the wreath are now in her nursery, so I love having a memento from the shower. Especially since they perfectly match the nursery decor!

Peonies were everywhere and I love some mercury glass! 

And the food was awesome, of course...quiche, shrimp salad sandwiches, chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, fruit...

And of course one of "Miss" Jan's famous cakes (it was glittery!) and Linsey's clever cookies. My dad was eating the leftover cake sans fork when we got home...couldn't get it in fast enough!  Linsey also made red velvet die for!

Linsey and me checking out the belly. Linsey and I have known each other since we were 3 years old - she has the most precious 16 month old girl you've ever seen and I can't wait for our babies to be great friends too!

All the hostesses plus my mama and sister. They are all such great, strong women and I'm glad EB gets to have them in her life! She's a lucky girl already.

"Miss" Jan & Lin - my second family

Cousin Joy - mature beyond her years!

Amy, Martha, Janice & Melody (Melody is an OBGYN nurse!)
Ms. Gouge (at CDS for almost 50 years!), Laurie & Kit (OK, y'all look like sisters, NOT mother/daughter!)
And is this the cutest picture ever! I love Kim's expression! Kim and her husband own our favorite family restaurant, Falls Landing. She is also my mom's catering partner at Mountain Gourmet. They are a hoot together!

Thanks for a wonderful shower and the best memories, ladies! I had a ball. Also, you've inspired several ideas for a baby shower I'm helping host this weekend for my dear friend Shauna!

Monday, December 3, 2012

33 Weeks

Last week marked 33 weeks! Doctor's appointment went great (I'm making my rotations through the doctors), weight gain at 21 pounds, heartbeat plugging away. I go next week (at 35 weeks) and then will go every week until she makes her debut! You know, I'm finding that after seeing two women doctors during these rotations, I really prefer my male doctor. He is as laid back as they come, where I find the women are a little more, well, like women :) 

She is still very active, doing what feels like a complete somersault several times a day. Strange feeling. The other night a foot or elbow kicked me so hard it woke me up! No real cravings of any sort, no pains except a little lower back  pinch if I've been standing or sitting for too long. I feel like I am carrying very low, and I feel quite a bit of pressure by the end of the day.

This past weekend I went to Brevard for my last baby shower, and it was perfectly over the top! Pictures to come. My travel is now limited to no more than an hour away from the hospital, per the doctor's orders.

I can't tell if nesting has set in, or if I've just always been a nest-er (probably since our move). I've got lots of house projects in the works, both baby and non-baby related. It's really a priority to get both completed in the next 4 weeks, as I don't think I'll be working on much of anything once she comes!

The nursery is looking so precious, and we feel like we've got all the big stuff she'll need right at seat, pack and play, video monitor, infant seat, strollers, etc. Now we just need our Ella Baisden, although I hope she cooks in there for 6 more weeks so she comes with some rolls!