Sunday, August 29, 2010

Forced to the side..

My left and right side, that is. While sleeping. Yes... I'm only 20 weeks pregnant and already I can no longer sleep on my back (because my abdomen or something starts cramping after a few short minutes) or my stomach. My little bump really isn't big yet, but it's already uncomfortable to lay on my stomach. I just feel lop-sided or something. The only way I can lay is on my sides.

Tomorrow will be tough... I get off at 7 am and will go home and sleep until 11. Then Hector and I are going to get Sallie at 11:30 to head over to Divine Consign at the Plano Centre. (!!!) It's a really big baby consignment sale that they have twice a year. We're hoping to luck out in the swing, crib, dresser, etc, departments. :) But I bet everyone who's going is hoping to luck out in those departments. We'll cross our fingers! And pray I get a nap after the shopping. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Two cooks in the kitchen

I don't know what it is lately.. Hector and I have really been interested in cooking. And trying new things we haven't ever had before. It's a nice change from mac-n-cheese and KFC all the time.

Our first adventure today was... brace yourselves... Apple Pie. I've never before made an apple pie. You know, the kind your Grandmother used to make for dessert on Sunday afternoons? The kind where you would sneak into the kitchen and tear off a piece of the pie dough she just made and stuff it into your mouth before she could swat at you? This is what we attempted today. I. was. nervous. Because I'd heard and read that pie crust is particularly hard to master. Too hard, too flaky, wrong flavor... the list of possible mess-ups is endless. I got the recipe from here, but in this post you'll see my own pictures.

The ingredients:

First I started with the dough while Hector worked on peeling and slicing the apples.
In this bowl: 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp of salt and 2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp of shortening (I used butter-flavored shortening, like the recipe suggested). You cut in the shortening until it's pea-sized. Is that pea-sized? I don't know. But we'll try it. Then add ice water 1 tbsp at a time and mix (NOT stir!) the ingredient with your hands until it is all moistened and forms a ball.

I kept saying.. "Ohhh, I'm nervous.." Hector reassured me that this is our first pie ever and we're allowed to mess up.
Meanwhile, Hector was working his magic on the apples. 1 1/2 lbs of Granny Smith apples, to be exact.

Don't forget to toss the apples with a tbsp of lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Separate the dough into two halves, roll out the first to 1/8 inch thickness and place in pie plate. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg... Toss this with the apples.

Pour apples into the pie crust. Chop up two Tbsp of butter and sprinkle the cubes over the apples. Top with second portion of dough (rolled out, of course). Make sure to cut slits to vent the steam or do a cutesy lattice design like we did. Learn how here.

Pop in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 50 minutes. Watch your top crust--don't let it brown too quickly! We went ahead and cut a circle of foil and put it in on top of the crust when we first started baking! I completely forgot to brush with butter and sprinkle sugar on top before we put it in the oven... so, next time! Anyways, here it is!
It was quite delicious! The crust turned out very nice! I was so worried, but.. our first apple pie was a success. :)

Mmmmm... crust was nice and flaky!

Alas... Our second adventure was a little gem called Stuffed Pizza Rolls and the recipe came from the same blog (Our Best Bites) here. I'll just tell you now, these turned out wonderful! So easy.. pretty quick.. and really tasty. The ingredients:

The pepperoni, ham and pineapple are all optional items, you choose whichever pizza toppings your heart desires! Make sure you grab marinara sauce, rather than spaghetti sauce. And you'll see why in a minute, but the mozzarella cheese we found was called pearls and it worked out wonderfully. Then there's garlic powder, dry Italian seasoning, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and refrigerated pizza dough (we chose thin crust).

Cut your dough into 24 squares (I think we got about 30), but honestly, they could stand to be a little bigger.

Pile about a teaspoon of each topping onto the squares. Mine were the pepperoni and mozzarella, Hector chose ham, pineapple and mozzarella. See how those pearls work out so nicely? They're the perfect size and we put two little pearls in each roll. Note: we did not put the marinara on the dough, it's for dipping the rolls into later. Now, carefully pick up each square and wrap the four corners over the goods and pinch it up to seal it. Place the roll, seam side down, into a greased oven dish. We used a metal pie pan.

Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese. Place in oven at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Just watch them... they will burn really quickly!

The cheese started seeping out of ours, so we figured.. ehh.. They must be ready. :) And they were!

They break right apart and taste so great! I can't believe how easy they were! We thought they'd be great for kids to help with.. what with the toppings and stuff. Serve the marinara warm and that's it!

My husband certainly liked them! He said the pepperoni ones were better because they had more flavor than the ham did. Live and learn.

Well, we're sufficiently full tonight! Thanks Our Best Bites for giving us these great recipes! Can't wait to try more! Here's to our cooking spree never ending!

Some of you may be interested to know that our little boy is now the size of a mango!

And I don't know where "What to Expect When You're Expecting" gets their mangoes, but ours was only 4 inches long. They said he's about 6.5 inches long and almost 10 ounces, like a mango. I think he's moving around in there, too. I can't say for sure. I feel dumb, because everyone says you always think you're feeling gas bubbles when the baby first starts moving. And that's exactly what if feels like. Little flutters of air moving in my tummy. Very fleeting and never lasting long enough for me to stop what I'm doing to concentrate on another move. I guess I shouldn't stress. He'll probably be keeping me up at night with his kicks soon enough. :) We are 20 weeks along today! Happy Half-way Point!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday weekend

When I last left you, we were leaving for Paris, TX, on Friday afternoon. Being that we live in Plano now, we went home via the McKinney-Bonham route. Hector's not too sure about this particular route. I don't think it's any shorter or nicer. Maybe less traffic--once you get off 75. Ehh.. anyways.

We got to Mom and Dad's house at about 6 o'clock. And Dad had stuff ready to throw on the grill the minute we walked up. :) I LOVE going home! We started with armadillo eggs and peanut butter-stuffed jalapenos and cream cheese-stuffed jalapenos. Feast your eyes:
Armadillo eggs

Yep, that's peanut butter stuffed into a jalapeno, covered with bacon. :)
I won't lie, Hector and Dad ate the peanut butter ones.. I just couldn't.

My glorious baked potato with real bacon bits ;)
This, sadly, is the kind of foods I have been craving...

{Chicken that I ate too quickly to get a picture of}

My cute Mom made individual peach cobblers...she's so creative!

That about wrapped up dinner, an not a minute too soon... I was STUFFED!! Mom said to Dad, "Don't you wanna give them what you got the baby?" And they returned with these:

a camouflage pacifier.......

and John Deere socks........

What to say...what to say...? "You guys.... You.. shouldn't have.." Parents who live on a modern day farm--gotta love them! My dad said, "So he doesn't get confused with those city slicker babies over there." Umm.. what do you think we look like? We certainly don't wear Carhartt jackets, coveralls or camouflage apparel over here...why should our baby? :) But, when he's with you, Dad, I'll allow it. Within reason. But we really love the gifts. And I know our baby boy will appreciate seeing what his Granna and Pop bought him before he was even born, some day. For now they rest on the shelf in his closet where a few other early gifts sit. 

Then we went out to the barn to preview the nightstands my sweet parents were making for us. They still needed a touch-up coat and a clear coat of paint. We asked them to make them, because our bed is unnaturally tall and I just couldn't find nightstands that came up high enough! And we needed white, with storage. Mom saw a table at Hobby Lobby one day and took a picture of it and asked if that's what I had in mind, and it was! It was tall and had three shelves for baskets. Well, ours are taller, white and have 4 shelves for baskets! The only problem? Finding eight matching baskets, the right size, preferably in black.. :) We have three. Hobby Lobby has some weird policy about only re-ordering basket styles when they are completely out of that particular style. And this one has 3 different sizes. Mom is thinking about buying up the last too-small basket, just to force them to reorder the style. I think we'll cave and go eclectic and just get mis-matched baskets. It could be really cute, as our bed already has two different styles of baskets in it's cubbies for storage. We'll see. But here they are, getting touched up:

And Mom thought they needed something on top, so she put in a mosaic. I'm telling you...I've got the greatest Mom. Well, parents. My Dad did all the handy wood work for this furniture. We got to bring these gems home yesterday, and they look great next to our bed, which, by the way, my Dad also built. Pictures of the truly completed ensemble will follow at a later date. :)

I literally fell asleep on their couch 20 minutes after the above photos were taken. And slept until 8 the next morning.

My Birthday--Saturday--August, 21!!

I had pancakes for of my favorites!

We went to Paris to get my car's inspection (okay, not so fun, but necessary).

We went downtown to Paris Baby, Paris' very own exclusive baby and children's store. It was so cute!! There are lots of handmade, home-made items, and products you just don't find at most stores.

We went to Hobby Lobby to look at fabric for baby bedding, we're thinking Mom is going to make it. :)

Then we went to a matinee movie, Dinner for Schmucks. And in Paris, 5 matinee tickets cost us $12.50! This movie was... mmm... OK. Not Steve Carrell's best. It was funny, don't get me wrong. I laughed hard, quite a few times. But the storyline is just kind of.. well.. mean.

We went home to freshen up and then went to our 7 pm reservation at the Fish Fry-my favorite restaurant. The Shouses met us there, as well as the Hubbards, the Holladays, Sherry Risinger and my Grandmother, Ivy. It was so nice catching up with everyone and talking about our baby ideas/plans.

Such a good birthday! I'm 24 now and don't feel any older. :) I fell asleep really early again this night. Either work or my baby boy is getting to me. Second trimester, I'm supposed to have crazy bursts of energy right?? Where are they? I'm sleepier than ever! Speaking of which, I'm going to go take a nap right now, before my first of 5 shifts this week. :-/

I'll leave you with a picture of my sweet cat who lives at home with Mom and Dad. He used to live with me in Dallas, but turned out, he wasn't an apartment cat. His name is Napoleon. Yes, I got him shortly after the Napoleon Dynamite craze, years ago. He's so sweet and friendly--usually. I know Mom's just kidding around when she says he's going to make a really pretty rug one day. And she must like to kid, because she says this every time I come home...  ??  :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sopapilla Cheesecake

We had a going-away party for a girl at work the other night and someone brought this little piece of Heaven as a dessert. I knew I needed an excuse to make it ASAP, so when Jackie offered up their home for BBQ this past Wednesday, I jumped and said, "We'll do dessert!" Yes! I'd found my excuse!

It's so simple and so decadent.. and so bad for you, I'm sure. But, the baby in my tummy tells me I can indulge, every now and then... :)

2 cans of crescent rolls
3 pkgs of cream cheese
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C melted butter
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Blend softened cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla extract until well mixed, like this:

Resist the urge to eat this by the spoonful...

Press one can of crescent rolls into a 13x9 inch baking dish.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over dough.

Roll out second crescent roll can and cover the cream cheese mixture with it.
Next, melt the butter and drizzle it over the top.

Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the entire dish, liberally.
Place in oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and until dough is slightly browned and puffy.
Allow to cool and cut into squares.

We were in such a rush to get over to the Ray's with this that we didn't even take a picture after it came out of the oven... Very sad. Dinner at the Ray's was amazing! They had picked up Dickey's Bar-B-Que and Jackie made a whole bunch of sides! Broccoli, baked potato packets(?) and a bean and biscuit casserole!

Miss Maggie with her new Puma's :) (still too big, obviously)

David, Preston and Tyler

Going to town with her toy.. There! Behind me! Brittany's eating the sopapilla cheesecake! It really turned out nice!

Ranger! This was the only time all night that he was still...

It was a great evening. However, after tasting the dessert, I have a couple suggestions for next time. First.. only 2 packages of cream cheese. It was so thick and dense in the middle, I just think a little less cream would make it perfect (not to mention, less sinful!) Second.. Maybe only 1/3 cup of melted butter.. 1/2 cup just pooled on the top. That's it, though. Then it'd be perfect.

Well, Hector and I Hector is loading up the car as I type. We're going to Paris for the weekend, as this weekend marks my 24th birthday. :) I'm so excited! We've gotta get on the road, goodbye for a few days!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chef Miranda

Judging by this title, you're probably thinking, "Oh that Emily, she's such a good homemaker... Loves to cook for her husband and try new recipes.." And, thank you... but, no. ;)

This is about Hector. He's the real chef. He is the one looking up new recipes on the Internet and in our cook books, finding lists of ingredients that I'd like (that he wouldn't have to alter to much) and going out to various stores to get the components.

One of Hector's favorite types of food is Thai food. His next venture will be Pad Thai, mark my words. :) But, while I was at work on Sunday night, he made a test run of Spring Rolls with peanut dipping sauce, then tried them out on me on Monday evening when I awoke from my slumber. Just look at these!
Aren't they gorgeous??

He learned a lot about the chemistry of peanut butter and oil, too

I just think he's so talented! These had rice noodles, carrot, cucumber, mango and cilantro in them, all wrapped in rice paper. And the sauce was a perfect blend of sweet, salt and spice. Can't wait for these again!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Boy, Girl, Twins, Triplets...

Remember that song we used to sing on the playground as kids? The one where you would try to determine what your friend would have in the far-off future? The only part I can remember of it, "something, something...Wrap it up in toilet paper, send it down the elevator..Boy..Girl..Twins..Trip-a-lets..Boy..Girl..Twins..Trip-a-lets..." I think it was like a jump roping song and whichever word you landed on (girl, triplets, etc) sealed your fate. But that's what came to mind when I thought about the whole gender revelation Hector and I just went through. Childhood is fun, isn't it?

We knew we'd be finding out the sex of our baby before my birthday, which is next Saturday (August 21), we just didn't know when we'd get it scheduled. Like I told you, we had our 4 month check up on Monday. They were able to schedule our growth scan for this Thursday (August 12)! We were shocked, but we took it! We were expecting a week from now!

Let me also tell you what the girls and I did on Wednesday night, to find out the sex of Baby. As we were walking back to Callie's from RiceBoxx, Callie walked up to me and said, "Oh, we need to do an experiment on you when we get back. We just need a string and a needle." I'm sure my eyes bulged, "A needle?" She laughed and said, "To find out the sex of your baby! I read about it online!" (or something to that effect!) I said, "Oh! Isn't it your wedding band attached to a string? And we see which way if spins or swings?" She said, "Yea! We'll do that one!" So we got home and looked up the instructions online. I laid down on the ottoman in front of Ashley and Brittany while Callie administered the test. :) The guide said: Dangle the ring over the baby and if it swings back and forth, it's a Boy, if it swings counter- or clockwise, it's a Girl.
It is totally a girl!
The ring swung round and round, but never side-to-side. Test over, we've figured it out, I can cancel my appointment. But I didn't. I still wanted to see my Bambina/o.

On our way out the door this morning we took 4 month preggo pictures:
This is technically 4 1/2 months. :) About 18 weeks.

We get to the doctor's office for our 9:30 appointment. We wait... I nearly threw up in the car--so nervous! Then at about 9:50, a nice looking lady in a lab coat poked her head through the door, "Mrs. Miranda?" I jumped up, "That's us!" She led us to a sono room we hadn't been in before. It was bigger. It worked. :) I lay down, she squirted the goop on my tummy, and I asked if Hector could take a picture of me on the table. She did not smile, but stepped way far back and said sternly, "Just one." We'll take it!
I think I look kinda pregnant there, don't you? :)

She took lots and lots of measurements of baby, before she even attempted the gender. We saw the femur, the humerus, the spine with all it's vertebrae, the rib cage, the sternum, the stomach and kidneys with amniotic fluid in them (showing us that the baby is swallowing the fluid and excreting it back into the uterus!), the lobes of the brain, and many other beautiful body parts I'm sure I'm leaving out. :)
Sweet profile and more thumb-sucking..

Baby's foot!

Kind of shady, but this is the hand and arm. See it?

And, can I just say that our Baby is particularly uncooperative when it comes to ultrasounds? The lady tried desperately to get the baby to move so she could get a good picture of the heart. The baby was positioned breech style (with feet down) kind of diagonal across my tummy, with it's back out towards us and it's hands crossed over it's head. Silly baby. She would tap my belly, turn me from side to back to other side (and repeat!), and verbally coerce the baby to please turn and face us. Baby was NOT having it. It looked to me like she could see the ventricles of the heart filling but not the atria.. at least that's what I saw. We worked for a long time at this, getting nowhere. Baby was comfy and defiant. So she gave up, said I'd need to come back in in 4 weeks to get a good picture of the heart. (Did I complain? NO! More pictures of my sweet child? Yes, please!) She said, "Well, let's see if this baby will even flash us.." More goop, more scanning, more turning and she very nonchalantly said, "And there's the little boy parts.."  

"Yea, it's a little boy! There's the boy parts!" And she drew and arrow for me and spelled it out. 
And that, my friends, is our little boy's...well.. boy part.

Tears of disbelief? joy? nervousness? relief? sprang to my eyes and I looked to Hector for support. He too had tears in his eyes, but was grinning from ear to ear. I'll never forget that face. He was loving this. He's We're going to have a son. He said, "That's crazy! I can't believe it!" I became a little more okay with it at this point. Let's face it.. I had wanted a little girl. To dress up, put bows in her hair, teach to cook, take know, girl things! I know that I almost immediately heard the words "soccer" and "gymnastics" come out of Hector's mouth.

This is a good thing. I just know it. We're going to be fine and our baby boy is healthy. Mom, Darlene and Charlie were on their way over to see our apartment and go shopping. I had not told Mom that we were finding out today. They were knocking on our door as we pulled into our parking spot. I jumped out, "Hi! Sorry! We just ran a quick errand!" We ran upstairs, gave the tour and chatted on the couches. Then I handed Mom a gift bag and said we'd gotten her something for helping us move. "Does it tell me the sex of the baby?" {GASP! How does she know????} "No Mom, don't you think I would have told you?" {jeez} She opened, slowly.. Hector had wrapped it well. {It was the "Love at first sight" baby boy frame they had given us, with a note saying, "Hammers and nails and puppy dog tails, It's a boy!"} Then she got to it and smiled..."It's a boy???! I told you! I knew it!" Proud Granna. :) Darlene and Charlie were very excited too. They started asking about names. So soon. We have some ideas, but nothing for sure, at all.

Then we went to eat at Olive Garden in Frisco, I showed Mom the wonder that is buybuyBaby, we walked through Target, and ended at Stonebriar Mall. We bought our baby boy his first outfit from Children's Place and Mom contributed two onesies. Too cute! :)

Hector called Dad and Josh, they were thrilled! I called Ivy, she's so excited! We texted all of our friends. What a wonderful day!

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