This Week In Nesting....

So I told you all last week about how I was beginning to nest like maniac. Well, maniac status has been surpassed, I would say, but I am on the wind down considering all that has been accomplished. I had these lists in my phone of all the things that needed to be done before the baby got it  wish list of sorts because I certainly didn't think that we would be accomplishing all of those things.

This is the bit where I have to give some praise where the praise is due: my husband. This man spent last weekend helping me check off major things on my list and now I feel like a nested bird, ready for my baby. Last weekend we:

-Got our new king sized bed for our bedroom (perfect for co-sleeping with our new baby!)
-Got all the crap that you need when you buy a new bed (comforter, duvet, sheets, bedskirt, mattress pad, and foam topper)
-Moved the old bed into the guest room
-Got the piano out of the guest rom (it went to friends, who are very much enjoying it now!)
-Gave away the futon in the guest room to my husband's sister
-Got the carpet for the baby's room
-Got new beds for the dogs (because they needed to feel special, right?)
-Found a new bed for the cat because he was being displaced from his place under the bed
-Officially moved the bassinet into our bedroom.... (OMG I have a bassinet in my bedroom.)

That is a lot of stuff, right? It's not just me...

This week I kept the whole nesting movement going with some finishing touches including getting the guest room more fully conceptualized, hanging the rest of the shower curtain stuff and getting the bathroom more organized. I figured I would share a few pictures of my nesting adventures because, really, why not?

So, with everything going on, I found this cute hook thingy. Perfect for hanging all the dog's collars and leashes on in their room. Yes, they have their own room...what can I say? It just happened that way years ago and it stuck. 

And I got my cat this bed. It's called a "honeycomb" which I thought was cute. I worried that he wasn't going to like it, but after a few days, he seems to have warmed up to it. Not that you can tell from the look on his face or anything. Sour puss. 

This makes me particularly's my cheese thingy that I found at the thrift store years ago. I never use it, but I would not part with it because it's too stinking cute. That's when it occurred to me that it's the perfect soap display! People always get us soap, which is funny because as much as I love to look at these soaps, I can't use them. I have sensitive skin, so I can only use one kind of soap. Now, I feel like I can enjoy the soap...and the cheese thingy. 

Guest room throw pillows! These make me so happy. I don't know why, but throw pillows just say "luxury" to me. And throw pillows in the guest room say, "I am glad you came to stay." 

A Surprise Yoga Baby Shower!!

I am really hard to surprise. Part of this has to do with the fact that I am so Type A and so I'm generally the one organizing things. Plus, I'm a bit of a busy-body, so I'm hard to slip stuff past. And my husband is a notoriously bad secret keeper (he just gets too excited!) So, all of these things considered, I'm not the easiest person to surprise. 

All that being said, my Zumba family pulled a big one over on me last week and threw me a surprise baby shower! They lured me with the guise of a yoga photo shoot that my husband was going to shoot. They told me that they needed a pregnant lady in the pictures because the yoga instructor was going to start teaching prenatal yoga. I thought for about 2.58 seconds that this might be a set-up and then (because I have pregnancy brain about 99.9% of the time) I totally forgot about it! 

So I showed up--feeling bad because I totally running late--and SURPRISE! They totally got me. And they did a great job! The concept was really cute: it was a yoga and yogurt parfait party! How adorable is that?! I have been wanting to do yoga this whole pregnancy and not had the chance, so it was great! And boy did I feel it in my weakling shoulders the next day! 

So, I don't think I have formally announced this but we're naming our daughter Ruby Bird. gals had these fabulous and beautiful cookies made in honor of our baby girl! How sweet are these??!?!?!?!? 

And they were delicious. So, while I'm at it, let me give a shout out to the cookie artist, Jennifer Rodgers. Check out her website HERE  and view the amazing gallery of yum she has put together. 

And here we are doing yoga! This is no small feat for most of us because we are used to dancing our pants off, as you can imagine. So being calm for an hour? Big accomplishment! 

Group shot time! Post you know we're all Zen-like at this point. 
And if I'm being honest, ready for some yogurt!!!! 

They did such a great job, right?! 
I had extra whipped cream on my parfait. Just in case you were wondering. 

We even had a "Ruby Red" themed water. Which was awesome. 

I was a happy camper, being silly putting a bow on my head. It's safe to say that I was allllll smiles. 

And if you thought this was adorable, stay tuned for more baby shower pics coming in mid-March when we're having our couples' shower, Fiesta style! Tacos and beer and baby things! Should be pretty colorful! 

Most of all: A HUGE THANK YOU to my Zumba family for being so thoughtful, and also for being sooooooo supportive during my whole pregnancy. I hate to gush, (gush I will) but these women have been a huge part of my life over the last three years, and I have to say, they keep me motivated to keep working out and to keep loving life. They are a GREAT example of women being supportive of one another and they are truly inspirational! 

I love you guys. 

My First Time: Gluten Free Baking

Well, I have made things without flour before that were gluten free, but this time I used gluten free flour, so it was that much more intentional. This is also almost vegan. I used butter in the frosting. So the cupcakes themselves are gluten free AND vegan and the frosting is gluten free.

The whole thing about these cupcakes started because I read that book, Eating Right For Your Baby about blood type and healthy eating. It suggested that I should lay off the gluten and dairy products a little more, and so I thought that dessert might be a great place to apply this concept. I have been eating a little more gluten free lately, and I never drink milk, so I'm well on my way. These cupcakes were an effort to explore that concept more.

I adapted THIS RECIPE and sort of made it my own.

Overall, I was really happy with how they came out. My first dive into gluten free flour was two-fold. The woman at the health food store suggested I go half and half and mix the flours so I chose rice flour and garbanzo bean flour. In hindsight, I feel like the garbanzo bean flour brought a bitter quality that I didn't entirely appreciate. But I also used my canned figs which also added to the in the end, I threw in a half a cup of organic sugar and I think it really saved the day. Next time I'd probably opt to just use the rice flour.

These cupcakes are nice and moist, which is one of the most important cupcake qualities for me. I fell down a little on the frosting. It's a bit embarrassing, but long story short, I didn't have powdered sugar, so I used this trick to make my own and it was still too grainy. So I ended up with grainy frosting. Still sweet, but grainy. It made me a little sad...lesson learned. Only powdered sugar. I'm not making my own again. Now, because there are twenty million awesome recipes for chocolate frosting for cupcakes, I'm leaving that up to you. You can make vanilla frosting or chocolate frosting or any old frosting you like. Just be sure to use that dang powered sugar.

Or, if you wanna, use the frosting recipe from the Our Four Forks recipe, which is where I adapted this sucker from.

It made a dozen cupcakes 

And they are looking pretty cupcakes, right?! 

Mmmmm. This goes great with tea or a big glass of almond milk. Even if the frosting was a little grainy. 

Chocolate Gluten Free, Vegan Cupcakes 

You Will Need:

2/3 cup canned figs (or chopped figs could do as well)
3/4 cup spiced applesauce (I make my own with cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 1/4 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons of coffee grounds
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used half rice flour, half garbanzo bean flour)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces good chocolate, I used Kallari Organic chocolate 
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin pan with liners or grease with butter. I did both because I had a shortage of liners.

In a food processor or blender add your figs, applesauce, almond milk, coffee, and vanilla. Blend well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a double boiler, melt your chocolate.

Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients, combine and then add melted chocolate and sugar.

Combine fully and pour into prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow them to cool when they come out of the oven and then frost with your choice of frosting.

To store: I learned the hard way that these moist suckers need to be refrigerator for a longer shelf life. might want to refrigerate them after a day or two. 

Stuff I Use: [Pregnancy Edition] Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

There is a lot of information out there on the world wide web....and if it's one thing pregnant women like to do it's google the heck out of everything they experience. In my own pregnancy, I have found that googling something can find you pretty much anything. And why am I going on about all this? Becuase there are a lot of misconceptions about my friend Red Raspberry Leaf tea, which I am going ot talk about today.

First, let's get some myths out of the way....

I have read that this tea is used to "induce labor." THIS IS FALSE! You can't drink a cup of tea and POOF go into labor. Homeopathic anything is not an overnight cure or solution, so let's get that out the way. I've read it's not good for you....this is also false. A lot of people are cautious of teas during pregnancy, and I get it. The first thing you always have to do is trust your gut instincts and if you just aren't into this sort of thing, then you just aren't. Don't force it, okay?

Now, to some facts and red raspberry leaf tea love. This is a great tea for women's health, both pregnant and not pregnant, and specifically for uterine health. It can help ease cramps, from menstruation, and if you are pregnant, it can help prepare your uterus and help make it all strong and healthy and stuff. For pregnant women, you want to start drinking it in the third trimester...and you can drink a whole lot of it! Recommendation from my midwife was 3 cups a day. That's a ton of tea if you ask me!

I am a moderate in life as well as in food and apparently in tea as well. So I'm not chugging this stuff to the tune of 3 cups a day, but I am enjoying a cup a day. I have mixed it in with my other teas (right now it's Tulsi and Rose tea as well as peppermint), and it fits in quite nicely.

BUT, I want to also say that I had to do a little digging to find my tea. I will preface this by also adding that I live in a small town and so sometimes these products can be a bit challenging to find. When I went to the "regular" grocery store, I found a raspberry tea, but when I looked at the ingredients, there was no raspberry whatsoever to be found in that tea! Hmph! And that was the story with each and every raspberry tea I pulled from the shelf that day.

So, I took myself down to the healthy grocery store, and there is was: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, plain and simple. Caffeine free, oragnic, and certified nonGMO. How could I not be in love with all of those things? If you have trouble finding this tea (because of location or whatever) you can also order it online. My point in all this? All tea is NOT created equal. This tea I got is high quality and it's delicious! It has a light, fruity taste and really I don't think it needs sugar or honey. Though, if I am feeling a bit under the weather (or even if I have a headache) I will put a dab of raw honey in any tea I am drinking.

Bottom line? I love this tea, I think it's a great healthy way to prepare your uterus for birth...and the rumor is that if you drink it consistently in the third trimester, you'll have a speedy delivery! I'll keep you posted on how that works out, but I will give this disclaimer as well: my mom had two speedy births with both my brother and I, so my odds going in are pretty good. 

Thai Inspired Coconut Soup With Bok Choy

One day I was at the grocery store and I was like, "Must. Have. Baby. Bok. Choy." I love baby bok choy and really cabbage in general. Then I got this flavor profile in my head that consisted of bok choy, vegetable broth and coconut milk. I wanted it in soup. There are worse pregnancy cravings, so I decided to follow my belly on this one and do some investigating...because making any sort of Asian soup outside of egg drop soup is something I have never attempted.

What can I say, I guess pregnancy makes me adventurous. What I discovered was THIS RECIPE for a soup called Tom Kha Gai. I've never had it. I had never even heard of it, actually....but living in a small town with perhaps one Thai restaurant (if even that?!), this is not surprising. What I have made here is an adaptation, and I hesitate to call it Tom Kha Gai because I'm sure it's not.

I was soooo pleased with the way this recipe came out, I just HAD to share it. Even though there is nothing remotely Italian-American about it...but hey, stranger things have happened, I am sure. Thai inspired soup on an Italian-American slanted blog? Par for the course. If you are looking for a warm Asian, soupy hug this is the recipe for you. I will definitely be making this one again!

Does this look like a lot of ingredients? Because it sort of felt like a lot...But whatever, I was trying something new and that made me hhhhaaaapppppyyyy. 

I started by cutting my chicken breast into thin strips. Okay, they could have been thinner, but this was where I landed. You can do what you want with your bad self. Either way, brown your chicken in a big old soup pot with some olive oil. 

And then, the veggies: jalapeños, onion, garlic, lemongrass and ginger. 

Honestly, I have never before cooked with lemongrass, and I'm not sure what in the heck it's deal is (anyone want to enlighten me on this lemongrass thing, please help a sister out!) but it stayed relatively hard. So I ate some of it (crunchy) and took some out (too crunchy). Next time I might buy the stuff in the that bad? 

Cilantro. Half a bunch. Chopped up and stuff. 

Throw those veggies in the pan with your browned chicken and then put your face over the pot and give it a good whiff. Smells like heaven. 
I let this cook down about 5 minutes. 

Add four cups of vegetable broth. I used my Better Than Bullion because that stuff is the bomb! 

And a can of coconut milk...light variety. Why light? I have no idea. It's just what I bought. It's a crazy world. 

The juice of five limes. If you use four limes or six limes, it'll probably be alright. Five was what my intuition told me to do, and I listened. 

Two tablespoons of fish sauce. Now, I know that the words "fish sauce" might sound somewhat unattractive to you, and if that's the case, I suggest you not smell it when you open it. Don't think, don't smell, just add it to your soup. I swear, this fish sauce is magic. It's something I have been buying for years because it adds GREAT flavor. Trust me. But don't smell it. 

And that dang baby bok choy! Ain't it purdy? 

Chop it up and add it in.... 

Along with some mushrooms. I did one package of baby bellas, but you can get as sassy as you want with any variety of mushrooms. 
And at this point I had my soup bubbling away and smelling divine and what do you know, the power decided to go out! It was out for an hour, and then I resumed cooking so the timing may seem a little bit spotty....but I think if you cook it an hour, you'll be good to go. 

Garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes and more cilantro. 

Thai Inspired Coconut Soup with Bok Choy 

Time: 1 1/2 hours | Makes: 4-6 servings | Difficulty: Medium 

You Will Need: 

Olive oil (twice around the pan)
About a pound of chicken breast, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced 
Lemongrass stalk, sliced thin 
2 jalapeños, diced 
About an inch of ginger root, peeled and cut small 
1 bunch of cilantro, divided 
4 cups vegetable broth 
1 can of coconut milk (I used light) 
1 package (8 ounce) mushrooms, sliced
3 baby bok choy, sliced 
2 tablespoons fish sauce 
Juice of 5 limes 
Several dashes cayenne pepper, (I did 10, but this is optional) 
Cherry tomatoes, halved to garnish 


Brown the sliced chicken in the olive oil over medium high heat. 

Add the onion, garlic, lemongrass, jalapeños, ginger, and half the cilantro. Allow it to cook for about 5 minutes. 

Add the coconut milk, vegetable broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and cayenne. Allow it to come to a boil and then add the mushrooms and bok choy. Reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes to an hour. Taste to be sure you enjoy the levels of seasoning. Adjust if necessary. 

To serve, garnish with fresh cherry tomatoes (halved) and the rest of the fresh cilantro. 


And I'm In Full-On Nesting Mode

Me at 25 weeks pregnant...with my doxie sneaking
in the picture!!! 
I was on the phone with a friend a couple of weeks ago and I told her that I was starting to "nest." She was incredulous, "your house is already pretty much done, what could you be doing?" Ah, dear friend, never underestimate the power of a woman to organize when she is with child. I have found that I am hitting a full-on nesting mode and wanting to get every, little thing ready for our new family.

Mostly this began with a need to put curtains up. On every. Single. Window. With rods. They really make the rooms look quite nice, I have to say. And then I got it in my head that the guest room needs a revamp...because people might want to come to stay. To see the baby, you know? I have big plans.

Then I got a look at my own closet....oh my god. How have I survived all these years with such a deplorably organized closet space? I spent last Sunday cleaning that sucker OUT. My scarves are now hanging from shower curtain rings on hangers, and I can actually see them all! I am happy to report that Pinterest has been instrumental in helping make all this possible. I have been looking at Pinterest like it is my full time job.

The nursery is also coming along quite nicely. We are nearly ready to hang artwork, and I think our child will someday appreciate all the hard work my husband and I have put into choosing her items. For now, I will settle for my friends and family thinking it's "really cool."

I have also been cleaning things that I have never previously scrubbed with such the walls. I even cleaned out our medicine cabinet....looks as though I haven't had a cold since about 2010, when all my medicine expired. I threw out enough cough syrup to cure a small village. I even hung hand towels in my husband's bathroom for him as I wondered where he was drying his hands over the last several months.

Now, I've moved on to making details lists of everything that needs to be done because, seriously, how could I possibly remember all the things that need to be done? So now I have no less than four lists on my notes in my phone. And I'm even starting to check off some items!

Yes, nesting is a real phenomenon. I never knew. I know that it's all a bit comical, but I also feel like a conquerer of domesticity. Once all this nesting is behind me, I know that our house will be tip-top condition and ready for this baby to take us by storm! I have a notion that I will feel like Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump where they are in the hurricane on the boat, except I'll be the pregnant lady shouting, "MAH HOUSE IS READY FOR BABY!!!!" Muahahahaha.

So, what interests me at this point is YOUR nesting tales. How did you/are you get ready for a baby in your house? Did the nesting instinct pass you by or did it hit you like a ton of bricks? Share it with me the comments section below! 

Obligatory Valentine's Day Post

Valentine's Day is a trap. A lovely, heart shaped trap with pretty shades of red. As a blogger, if I don't write about Valentine's Day, I feel like people will think I'm a hater. But I am not normally a gusher,  either. This year, though....well it's like the perfect Valentine's Day storm.

Last year, my husband and I spent Valentine's Day very much apart. In fact, we were on separate continents. So we sort of got to skip the "holiday" altogether. I can't say I was particularly disappointed about it because after ten years, sometimes skipping a Valentine's Day makes the holiday grow fonder. Now that I am pregnant, it seems like everything is more special. Maybe it's the whole being sober thing, but I am just so excited to go on a date with my husband!

We aren't doing anything super fancy...we're going to a movie and then going to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Rehoboth, Confucius. But to me? We might as well be hitting the town! I'm gonna be out with my man. Each time we have a chance to do anything remotely special-ish, I treasure it so much more because I know that baby is coming and everything is going to change.

When I started to realize I was doing this, I was reminded that we should ALWAYS approach life this way. I try to never leave things angry; to always say goodbye in love, and to enjoy even the most boring life's moments. Because in the end I have feeling that what I will really remember (looking back) is that my husband makes the world's best grilled cheese, or that he always got up to feed the chickens because I hate going out in the mornings, especially when it's cold, or all the small jokes we tell that only we (and maybe the dogs) understand and laugh about. These moments are all precious.

When my husband asked me, "are we doing gifts for Valentine's Day?" I said "no way!" There is nothing he could get me that I want more than what I already have. Though, it was sweet of him to ask.  These Hallmark holidays can have a way of being pretty obnoxious, but, if we can see past the materialistic side of them, they can also be pretty special, too. At least that is what my hormonal baby bumped up self seems to think this year.

So what are your big plans (or non plans) this Valentine's Day? If you're feeling sour on the day, how can you turn it around to express a little love for someone or something in your life? Leave it for me in the comments section below. And have a happy heart day. 

Quick Fix: Avocado & Egg Toast

I have been CRAVING avocado like nobody's business. Since I've been pregnant, I have probably eaten about 9,736 avocados. Luckily they are a healthy food, and I don't go too overboard. Also, for me, avocados are a great way to get some savory food into breakfast, which makes me extremely happy.

If you are looking for a lunch avocado open faced sandwich, CLICK HERE for my avocado and chickpea mash sandwich.

This is so easy that there are absolutely no excuses as to why you can't handle making it. Seriously. Three ingredients (besides salt and pepper) and one delicious way to enjoy a toasty, avocadoy, eggy yumminess.

You are gonna love it as much as I do, I am sure. The only make ahead prep here is that you have to have a hardboiled egg on hand. I hard boil (well actually, I steam them) eggs almost every week. I find they are a great addition to salads as well as a great on-the-go snack.

Any-who, let's get to the toast.

This what you need: 
1 piece of toast 
1 hardboiled egg
1/2 avocado

I squeeze the avocado right onto the toast. Because I'm a rebel like that. 

Mash it lightly with a fork. 

Slice up yer egg. 

Put it on top! 
Viola! Breakfast. Or a side for soup. Or a snack. You get the idea. 
Top with salt and pepper if you're feeling frisky. 

Avocado and Egg Toast 

Time: Like, maybe 2 minutes? | Serves 1 | Difficulty: Easy! 
You Will Need:

1 piece of bread, toasted
1/2 avocado
1 hardboiled egg
salt and pepper


Squeeze your avocado on top of your toast. Mash it down lightly with a fork.

Slice your hardboiled egg and place it on top of the mashed avocado.

Top with a few grinds of fresh salt and pepper.

Eat your heart out.

Poor Man's Spaghetti & Clam Sauce Recipe

There are some things that just taste like childhood to me. One thing my mom made a lot when I was a kid was this version of spaghetti and clam sauce. It's nothing fancy, but it tastes great. It's not that I don't like the fancy version of spaghetti and clam's just that this is different. It's a nostalgic, poor man's version that you can make for pennies and enjoy in a hurry.

Those of you who grew up the way I did (poor Italian-Americans) have likely already had this. My husband? Won't touch it. I always make it on my own. But for those of you who know, you'll know and I know you'll appreciate this as much as I do. Because sometimes it's the little things in life. For those of you who don't, give it a try, perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised in a poor man way.

There are two things you absolutely have to have to make this: a can of white clam sauce (prepared) and an extra can of chopped clams to beef this sucker up. I'm gonna add a couple more things to it, too, but these are the must haves. In addition to pasta, of course. 

So, get your pasta water going and when it's boiling add a half a pound of pasta. 

Then, pour your canned clam sauce in a small pot and drain your chopped clams and add them too. Now, you can leave the clam juice in the chopped clams if you want to, but I didn't want to. I wanted it to be more clammy, not more juicy. 

Then I also add two tablespoons of butter and three cloves of minced garlic. I love garlic. Feel free to add less garlic, but it won't be as good.

Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and let it bubble until the pasta is done. 

When the pasta is done, drain and put it back your pot but not over the heat. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss it all together. 

And serve.... 

I love to put hot sauce on mine. It's the perfect flavor combination in my opinion. And then top liberally with parmesan cheese! Liberally. 

Poor Man's Spaghetti & Clam Sauce Recipe 

Time: 15 minutes, tops | Makes 4 smaller servings or 2 bigger ones | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need:

1- 15 ounce can prepared clam sauce 
1- 6.5 ounce can chopped clams, drained 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound of pasta (I like thin, you can use whatever you like you rebel!) 
hot sauce (optional)
parmesan cheese 


Get your pasta water boiling, and salt if that's your style. When the water is boiling, add your pasta and cook according to manufacturer's directions. 

Meanwhile, add your clam sauce and chopped clams to a small saucepan. Add the butter and garlic and bring it all to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the pasta is ready. 

When the pasta is cooked, drain and return it to the pan, but do not put it on the heat. Pour the sauce into the pasta and toss. 

Serve topped with hot sauce (optional) and a good hearty amount of parmesan cheese! 

Bossy Italian Book Review: Eat Right For Your Baby

I got this book from a friend of mine I was immediately completely intrigued. This book is all about eating correctly for your specific blood type and centers on pregnancy, nursing and baby's first year. Right off the bat, there are people who will embrace this and there are others who will reject it. I have a tendency to jump into things 110% or not at all, so knowing this, I tried to harness myself to approach this book objectively and reserve my opinion.

Let's say that was a little bit hard for me... haha. I got really excited. But first thing was first: I had to figure out my blood type. So I called my doctor and found out that I am O Positive. Universal donor, baby!

Now, I am going to just be completely up front and say that I loved that I could flip through this book and read the parts that were specific to my blood type. So for those of you out there who aren't into the "read a whole book thing" you will love this too. Then, as soon as I started getting some information about my blood type specific needs, I wanted to reject it....

WHAT?! Gluten isn't ideal for me?! I should avoid lentils?! I love lentils! Avocados aren't the best, either?! You've got to be kidding me....I reject this in the name of carbohydrates!!!! 

But then, other things sort of made the fact that dairy doesn't really agree with me (which it doesn't), that yogurt isn't beneficial (I knew there had to be a reason I had yogurt issues!), and that there was a logical reason I am attracted to peppermint and rose hip teas. I loved the fact that venison was a great lean protein for me! So this whole thing worked both ways: it was both eye opening as well as a little bit disappointing to hear that some of my favorite foods were on worse side for my blood type.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. I think it's a great read for moms-to-be or even those trying to get pregnant up through those who are breastfeeding. Am I going to follow it all the way? Probably not. But I think it'll help guide my eating a little more. I may eat less gluten and lentils, and I may be less hard on myself for not liking yogurt and other dairy products. But it's great to know. There is never too much information, right?

If you are into holistic living and exploring your health through eating, I would certainly give this book a read. It's straight-forward, includes recipes and can help you get on the right track for your blood type. It can also help you explore why you might be attracted to some foods and innately reject others!! 

Let's Throw Out The Plan!

I want to talk about life today, and what it has meant to me to throw away my life plan. This means, of course, we’ll have to talk about this baby thing...again. Haha. Because even though our child was a planned pregnancy for us, she was never “part of the plan,”--at least not in the way I thought. In fact, having this baby, for me (perhaps not necessarily for my husband) represents my ability to throw away my life plan for the first and most important time in my life.

Before I got pregnant, I had all kinds of plans about how I wanted my life to look before we took a step to have a child. I wanted to publish my first book through traditional publishing. I wanted my husband to graduate school. I wanted us to be more firmly planted in careers. I wanted to go Paris. And then my grandmother died...and it revealed to me that whether or not I like it, life is marching ahead.

I am getting older, and so is my family. People are born, other people die, and the world continues to turn whether or not I have my dream book deal or trip to Paris. And as I looked ahead, I began to look back, too. Last year, I got to do a lot of really awesome things. I got to go to Scotland on a girls’ trip. I spent time with friends and family. I canned a ton of food and got to be on local TV twice. My husband and I had one of the best years as a couple we’ve ever known.

And that was when it occurred to me: I was living this life, waiting for something to happen to me, and the joke was on me. Things were happening. I wanted adventure, I wanted growth and I wanted uncertainty. These were some of the reasons I decided to become a writer, actually. But I was calculating too much. It was time to throw out the plan...and not just in the way I had when I became a writer, but in a more profound way that would push me farther out of my comfort zone than I could imagine.

I have never heard my biological clock ticking. I never caught a case of baby fever. I knew my husband wanted children someday, but I had never been willing or able to entertain the conversation seriously. Then, looking back at our ten year history, and how far we had come, I knew it was time to put my trust in our relationship and take the leap.

I had to make the conscious decision because a part of me knew that I would never be “ready” to be a parent. I’m pretty sure I’m still not ready and I’m six months pregnant! That’s life. You can’t be ready for some things until you are RIGHT THERE and then you dig deep to find within you all the things you knew you could be. I know that these things for our child exist within me...even if I can’t see them clearly yet. I have faith that we will both know what to do.

I know that my daughter is going to be an amazing teacher to both my husband and I. We’re pretty excited to show her a thing or two, as well. We’re all gonna do this together and hopefully have a lot of fun along the way. It’s going to be daunting, at times, and I know we’re in for a challenge, but I think that being a mother is going to enrich other areas of my life.

Sometimes you just have to get rid of the plan. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am having an awesome adventure. I have no idea what parenthood is going to look like. I’m excited, I’m scared, and for the first time, I’ve let go of meticulously planning every little thing about the way my life should be. I’ve met more new people, done more new things, and learned more in the last six months than I have in a couple of years.

This really isn’t so much a statement on being a parent. It’s not an endorsement because as you may know, I’m not recruiting anyone. But it’s a call to those of you who, like me, may be at a place in your lives where you need to throw out the plan. Whatever the plan is, you might want to look at the state of things....because life goes on around us whether or not our plans work out. And even though living life without a plan (especially if you are a control freak like me) is scary as hell, it’s a heck of a lot more interesting than waiting for life to happen.

So tell me, what have you done to throw out the plan lately? Or what would you like to do? Dream with me in the comments section below. THIS BLOG IS A SHAME-FREE ZONE! There is no dream too big!!

Product Test Drive: Kallari Organic Chocolate

So, awhile ago I got this awesome organic, fair trade chocolate called Kallari in the mail that I was supposed to test drive. I had every intention of doing this in a timely manner and then I got pregnant and the thought of cooking was stomach turning. Then that ended and I had been a little out of practice...but now, I'm back up to full speed and I am ready to eat some chocolate.

Originally, I planned on making a french silk pie with this chocolate, but then I saw these brownies. I think we can all agree that the Pioneer Woman is an evil genius. So last week, on a snow day, I thought, "heck, let's make brownies!!!" A gal has to indulge every now and again...and honestly, what's a better excuse to have a tall glass of almond milk and get that extra calcium than a gooey, ooey chocolately brownie? There is none.

For this recipe, I used less sugar because this chocolate has a sweetness to it (there is some organic sugar added). I also skipped the dusting of the powdered sugar over the top because frankly I have low sweet tooth (even being pregnant) and I thought that was just overboard. And I added nuts. Because I like nuts and I had them and so, why not? When I added the nuts I wished that I had some shredded coconut...doesn't that sound awesome? If you have some shredded coconut, I would add a little bit and see how that comes out. Let me know.

Now, let's talk chocolate. This chocolate I am using is some serious stuff. It's smooth, and never bitter but it's also responsible. That's not something you often think of when you think of chocolate, but you should. I want my food to be sustainable, which is why I like to can and preserve my own food. But this is a whole other level of responsibility that we can all appreciate. And the taste? Uh, yea, it's sexy. Check out some really fun facts about Kallari Organic Chocolate by clicking HERE. Share some love, y'all this stuff is the bomb.

Now let's bake. Because this is a chocolate bomb waiting to go off....

Dark Chocolate Brownies 

Time: 1 hour | Makes 1 pan of brownies | Difficulty: Easy 

You Will Need 

1-1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 -2.46 oz Kallari chocolate (I used 75% and 85% cacao bars)
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups organic sugar
3 fresh eggs
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
A handful (more if you got it) chopped macadamia nuts


In a medium pan over low heat melt the butter and the chocolate. I broke up my chocolate into sections of three. Stir every few moments until it's melted. Remove from heat for about 5 minutes to allow them to cool.

Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then add your flour.

Stir in the flour and then add the nuts and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Allow them to cool on a rack and then serve with a big old glass of almond milk! (Preferably in a rainbow cup, right?!)

Oh my gawd! This is heaven in brownie form. 

Sex In The Second Trimester

When it came to the first trimester of pregnancy, I was surprised by how low my libido was...I didn't necessarily look pregnant, but my symptoms were really something to be contended with. Luckily for me (and likely for other women too) the second trimester was a breath of fresh air (at least in the libido department!!

I found that my libido came didn't exactly come roaring back or anything, but gradually, it made its way back into my life. I was so relieved! I had been counting on having some good pregnancy sex because that was what everyone had told me to count on! There was only one problem: my poor husband, with my expanding belly, began to get a little freaked out.

This is common for some men--not all, but some. I can understand where my husband was coming from: he and I have done a lot of personal work to get to this point of having a baby and he didn't want to do ANYTHING to mess it up. Also? I'm not the same as I once was...I can't lay on my back the same, certain positions weren't comfortable. So as he put it, it just wasn't as free flowing.

Even still, we really did start hitting our stride. It took a little fancy footwork; some position experimentation, if you will. And just as we did? Cue the sad violins, the doctor put me on pelvic rest!!! I had just started getting my mojo back and that was when ol' doc put the smack down on my sex life. Sheesh. Ain't that life?

That didn't stop me from still enjoying some foreplay and orgasms, though...a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do. And the vivid sex dreams, let me tell you, did not help! But one thing I noticed in the second trimester about my orgasms? Yes, they were stronger! They took a little bit longer, but boy were they worth the wait! That is something I have been enjoying to the fullest.

Luckily for me and for hubby, we were cleared after those four weeks to get back in the sack! So, we're at it again, although for us that means working on those positioning techniques again as my stomach continues to grow and grow. I have the feeling that as soon as we get the hang of this whole again, something else will change! Haha. That's pregnancy for ya--and really a good metaphor for life, too!

Main points of second trimester sex, at least in my case (though it can be different for everyone!):
Welcome back libido, I've missed you so!
Better orgasms in terms of intensity
Learning to work around the belly, which is an art of its own
A nervous husband means we're finding new bedroom communication

What about you? How did you find sex in the second trimester?! Share with me in the comments section below--don't worry, there are NO JUDGMENTS here!