Sunday, December 18, 2011

washing and repairing an old toy

i can't remember exactly when i received my favorite stuffed bear, but i think i was under the age of 5.  he had many names over the years (i could never settle on just one), but when i was in 5th grade, i finally settled on Joey.  he is not named after any particular person.

being a girl, i don't know why my favorite stuffed bear was a "boy", but it certainly fits now that i'm having a precious boy of my own.  he will inherit my favorite bear and i'm hoping he loves Joey as much as i do.  the bow around his neck did used to be baby blue, maybe that's why i saw him as a boy.

i am not ashamed to admit that this bear has travelled with me all over the world, to Turkey, to Detroit when i went to college, to NYC when i graduated, and now back to Michigan where i first received him.  very fitting, i think.

after many nights of being cuddled in bed, afternoons being flipped around at gymnastic tournaments, and just general loving and adoring, Joey's neck seam started to rip a little here and there.  Until it was a giant, gaping hole!

so i took some quilting thread and sewed him right up!  and then placed him gently in the washing machine with a little detergent.  he's in for a wild ride!!  delicate cycle, of course.

good as new!!  cuddling with rabbit in my nursing corner.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

the most wonderful time of the year

with my pandora station on "all i want for Christmas" yesterday, we hung ornaments on our tiny little tree and lit up the apartment with twinkle lights. there is something so warm and special about a house at night, all lit up by Christmas lights, the sweet smell of sugar cookies cooling in the kitchen.

i love all of the ornaments that we have collected over the 3+ years that we've been together. the shimmery Empire State Building, the fabric thistle we got in Scotland, our first ornaments that i bought on a whim the first Christmas we lived together (two tiny Converse All-Star high tops). i've always loved trees with collections of ornaments that tell a story. so fun to think about what baby's first Christmas will be like, he will be almost a year old!

for the rest of the apartment, i decided to have a glitzy silver and gold theme! partly inspired by West Elm and all of the lovelies they're selling this year for the holidays.

over the mantel: twinkle lights covered in tiny paper lanterns (actually from our wedding!) adorn the top, surrounded by cinnamon-scented pine cones (thanks, Michael's) and glass vessels with gold and silver painted berries (thanks again, Michael's).

close-up at night of the mantel, with the tree in the background.

in the dining area, on my grandparents' buffet, i placed our very first tiny white tree, which i bought with our first ornaments. no lights, just silver and gold ornaments adorn this tree.

there are a few other arrangements around the apartment, mostly glass vessels filled with silver and gold ornaments.

in the midst of decorating yesterday, we also baked some seriously yummy sugar cookies! we have quite the collection of cookie cutters (mostly thanks to Williams-Sonoma), so we had fun using them yesterday.

we baked Texas cookies, in honor of Brian's family and heritage. and then we finally got to test out the ultimate Star Wars cutters i bought months and months ago in anticipation of our future children loving the trilogies as much as we do. you can see Brian using Darth Vader, and Yoda is ready to be baked!

hand-made dough and frosting, with pearl candy beads and M&M's where Fort Worth should be.

what i love about these cutters is that they have a little stamper for the details. next time we might add food coloring to the dough and then do some fine detail work with the frosting. will be so fun to do with our kids!!

happy Christmas, Hannukah and any other holidays you might be celebrating this season!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

preparing for our baby boy

these last few weeks have kept us so busy with organizing, research, and lots of reading. preparations for our baby boy that will enter the world in less than 2 months! we have also started taking a Lamaze birth preparation class, which i will expound on in another blog post.

i still can't believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone, and i know that Christmas and New Year's will be here before we know it. 2011 coming to an end, 2012 bringing with it new life and hope.

one of the preparations i have had the most fun with (and thank you to my sweet, understanding husband for letting me take charge of it) is picking out our baby boy's coming home outfit. since we have no idea how big he will be and what size clothing he will fit into, we are bringing a couple of options for onesies and little footie jammies. but my favorite part is the fleece bunting we will wrap him in, being a January baby in Michigan.

we actually registered for the bunting, but it was given to us by my friends Rachel and Bill back in NYC. such a lovely surprise to get in the mail! on the left is the pile of onesies and jammies, all match the bunting. on the right is the hat that i knit for baby boy, from Stitch 'n Bitch (the umbilical cord hat pattern).

it's just a very lovely coincidence that the navy blue and heather gray yarn that i picked out months ago for him matches the bunting perfectly! and i have to give Brian credit for suggesting to make the little umbilical cord knot on the top gray to match the stripe. best idea ever! i love knitting baby hats, they knit up so quickly.

now for some updated belly shots:

my pregnancy today: 33 weeks, 1 day. notable this week: baby boy can be felt and seen squirming, kicking, pounding and hiccuping almost all day long. it feels like he doesn't sleep much, though he probably does. i do have some discomforts, but mostly i just find it more and more difficult to move around in general. you can see in the background our new dresser for baby boy's giant mountain of clothes that Brian put together earlier this week!

my fingers are so swollen, i had to stop wearing my wedding band, which i don't think i will ever get used to.

off to the doctor!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

recipe: spicy chicken noodle soup

i have so much to acquaint you with! but i really just want to share this recipe with you, because it is the perfect meal to have on a cold, autumn or wintry day. i actually modified this from a recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which you can find online, here. also handy if you don't have any homemade chicken stock in the fridge or freezer.

spicy chicken noodle soup

-6 cups homemade chicken stock (seriously, this is the BEST. you can use store-bought too, but i prefer the homemade, so much extra flavor)
-2 medium carrots, chopped
-1 medium sweet onion (or half of a large one), chopped
-2 celery stalks, chopped
-1 bay leaf
-2-3 dried chili peppers
-1 1/2 cups dried noodles (i just use whatever i have in my pantry. today i'm using whole wheat elbow macaroni)
-2 cups grilled chicken, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (we like to keep grilled chicken in the fridge for easy meals, but if you've followed the recipe you can just use that chicken, or any cooked chicken)
-1 tbsp or so olive oil
-sea salt and ground pepper

pre-heat large Dutch oven or pot on medium heat on stovetop. add olive oil, chopped onions, carrots, celery and salt and pepper to taste. cook these down for a bit, about 7-10 minutes, until the onions are a bit translucent.

add the chicken stock, bay leaf and chili peppers. bring to a boil on medium-high heat. remove bay leaf and chili peppers (this always adds the perfect amount of spiciness for me, but if you want to leave them in longer for more kick, awesome!) stir in noodles and lower heat back down to medium. simmer, covered, for about 8 minutes or until noodles are tender but still firm. stir in chicken and heat through.

serve immediately, topped with home-made croutons and roasted cauliflower on the side for a scrumptiously spicy meal!!

i may just have to share my home-made chicken stock recipe with you, as it is so delicious and super easy. so look for that soon.

*this recipe comes Brian and baby approved.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

is it horrible that i want iHOP for dinner?

what is going on with this weather?! i'm sure everyone has been talking about it, feels like the middle of summer here in Michigan. watching the leaves changing in 80 degree weather is throwing me off a bit. hence the summery outfit.

autumn outfit #2:

what i'm wearing today:
cardigan: H&M
jeans: Motherhood Maternity
shoes: Aldo

bring on the cold weather, i say!!

another checkup with the doctor today, all is looking well and baby is happy! i got my flu shot, which was relatively painless, except for a growing bruise on my arm now. but completely worth it, i'm sure! we had a huge list of questions for her today, we just love sitting and chatting with her. she's so knowledgeable and loves sharing with us.

music of the day: April March

my pregnancy today: 25 weeks, 6 days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

maternity fashion

i must admit, before moving to New York City, i was NOT a fashionista by any means. but i learned a lot about fashion by living there, probably more than i ever thought i would. i not at all embarrassingly admit that i have at least 20 pairs of heels that i refuse to sell or give away, even though i know that i may not wear them as often as i did while living in NYC. being a designer in Manhattan demanded a certain level of style that i definitely adhered to, with no complaints.

now i am a house-wife and stay-at-home-mom, i look forward to any time i get to go out and get dressed up. and by dressing up, i still mean that i'm throwing on my newly-found maternity jeans (that i am so in love with and wearing right now). with my changing body, i am constantly rotating my wardrobe, trying to see what of my favorite pieces i can still wear. now that autumn is here (my favorite time of year for fashion), i am so excited!

autumn outfit #1:

the only actual maternity article here are the jeans. every other piece i had before i got pregnant.

what i'm wearing today:
Jeans: Motherhood Maternity
Mustard long-sleeve crewneck: J. Crew
Sweater tunic: Filene's Basement
Turquoise Cowboy boots: vintage from Chicago
Handbag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (picked up at a consignment shop in Brooklyn)

i actually admitted today to Brian that only having 10 pairs of shoes that i can wear during this pregnancy gives me a slight panic, making me think that i need to buy a couple pairs. WRONG! it's all about variety! for my entire adult (and even teenage) life, i have prided myself on never wearing an outfit twice. although i probably have at some point, it is still fun to think about all the combinations!! this includes shoes and accessories, of course.

what are some of your maternity fashion secrets?

my pregnancy today: 23 weeks, 1 day.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

mornings at home

i love my mornings here. i've been trying to wake up early, but it seems my baby wants to sleep in. (above: view from our balcony in the morning. below: sunset from our balcony)

it's been so cool here, we haven't used our air conditioning in weeks. i love sitting on our balcony some mornings, enjoying the morning breeze, the trees, the fresh air. we bought some cute plastic furniture, which actually turned out to be very comfortable. Brian says it's like having another room in our apartment. he's so right.

looks like it rained last night, giving my herb and tomato garden a nice watering. my parents planted these for us before we moved here, knowing we were going to have a balcony. we use the herbs quite often in cooking, but no red tomatoes yet. i did fry up a green tomato a couple weeks ago, like my dad does. i'm so tempted to just eat the green!

i started making granola again! i used to make it all the time before i met Brian, while in NYC. so i made some on Monday, but tweaked the recipe a bit.

i actually started with a recipe from Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa (because i love her), then modified it a bit with what i had in my pantry.

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup chopped almonds (i chopped them myself, but sliced almonds are also great)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan (i just used two regular baking sheets). Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes. (now this time completely depends on your oven. i was checking mine very often, like every 7-10 minutes, and stirring, and it still got a little over-cooked. so make sure you keep your eye on it)

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the cranberries and raisins. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

of course you can use any fruit and nuts you have and like. this is just what i happened to have at the time. i especially love this recipe because i used my dad's homemade maple syrup and vanilla extract, and fresh honey from the farmer's market here in Grand Rapids. delicious.

now to start the day. today's projects include organizing the study and possibly baking some whole wheat bread.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

moving and pregnancy

a lot has happened in the lives of the Robinsons since the last post!  i plan on starting to make this a regular thing, a window into our little lives.

we are all moved and settling into our beautiful place in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan (i plan on posting photos of our apartment once we have everything organized and decorated nicely).  it has been such a blessing to be out here, so close to family and friends.

i have been enjoying the time off immensely, and look forward to the time when our study/studio is all set up.  i'm beginning to think about my next knitting project, finishing my weaving so that i can start on a baby blanket and possibly sewing as well!

i had my 18 week checkup with our new OB (i'm going to refer to her as Dr. F) yesterday, and all is looking well with the baby!  Dr. F is very warm and friendly, coming highly recommended by my cousin.  and i know that she will work with me during labor and delivery regarding interventions.  more on that later.  we had a sonogram and Dr. F said that the baby looks very happy inside my belly!

this last photo is my favorite, you can see the cutest ribs!

when the sonogram first started, s/he was just sitting there, hanging out, relaxing.  then s/he started moving her hands and it really did look like s/he was waving!   most wonderful moment.  i hope to feel him/her move soon.