Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Traditions - Caramelicious Apples


I am linking up with Casey Wiegand at The Wiegand's for a delightful Fall Posting Spree.
I wanted to share a few of my family of two's (the third debuting in January) favorite Autumn traditions.
Caramel Apples

We triple coat Granny Smiths with may favorite candy - caramel - and then smash on whatever delicious treat we have laying around. One year it was chopped nuts, another it was crunched up Snickers Bars, mini-Chocolate Chips another, last year we crumbled Oreos and this year Reese's Pieces. Fall colors, juicy apples, and sweet peanut buttery lovin'... perfect way to start off the Haunting Season.

So what do you need?
  • 2 of the biggest apples you can find
  • 2 Popsicle sticks/tongue depressors
  • 1/3 of a bag of caramels
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • Topping du jour
simple math for delicious results
  1. Jam the Popsicle sticks into your giant apples (we used tongue depressors I had left over from making our Wedding Program Fans/Game Cards from last year) so they are halfway into your hugemongous apple.
  2. Place apples on small sheets of wax paper.
  3. Unwrap all those caramels. Feel free to eat a few so it feels worth the effort. Over medium-low heat melt with your water, stirring constantly. You must not burn the caramel!
  4. When sufficiently soupy, roll/dip/dunk/drip/spoon that syrup of the season over the apples.
  5. Let cool for just a few moments (these babies harden quick!) and apply handfuls of your topping all over it. Plop it down on the wax paper.
  6. Cool in the refrigerator for about an hour.When you can no longer stand the wait, return to room temperature for about five minutes then DEVOUR.
You can save them in an airtight plastic container for a few days to keep the fun alive for several days.

Halloween Traditions - Dressing Up

I am linking up with Casey at The Wiegands for Follower's Fest to talk about some of my favorite Halloween Traditions. Thanks for stopping by!

Last year, Shawn and I wore my favorite costumes - The Sailor and Nurse from V-E Day ("The Kiss") photograph from Time Magazine.

The only thing I haven't made a decision on is my costume. We aren't attending a Screaming Soiree this year, opting instead to pass out candy to the neighborhood kiddies. When I suggested to my dear Hubby that I dress up as a crazy person because I feel like I lost my dang mind. He laughed and said, "Yeah, I can't argue with you there." Hmmph. My hormones may have gotten the best of me this week (a bottle of non-toxic cleaner may have flown across the kitchen earlier) and I may not remember the "name of that thing you stand in and get wet with soap." That really came out of my mouth, my baby is stealing all of my brain power from me.

Perhaps a Mama Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde? The Incredible Shrieking Woman? Good Old Fashioned Witch? How about Hungry? I AM that costume.

Halloween Traditions - Pumpkin Carving

I am linking up with Casey of The Wiegands for Followers Fest. Thanks for stopping by!


We always carve pumpkins just before Halloween night - anyone who lives in a hot climate has probably experienced a pumpkin melting and or disintegrating. FYI, they leave a stain on concrete if not cleaned up quickly... and they stink, or so I have heard. Greenville, SC is a taaaaaad cooler than the deserts of Arizona. We threw caution to the wind and carved those gourds a full five days before All Hallows Eve. Only time will tell.

This year we free-handed our carving. No stencils. No outline. No mercy. They ended up being a couple of my favorites we have ever done.

 Happy Halloween, y'all!

Halloween Traditions - Decorating

 Happy Halloween, my lovelies! I am linking up with Casey at The Wiegands for Follower's Fest. Thanks for stopping by to hear a little about our favorite time of year. 


We decorate our little home with ghouls and skulls and enough spiderwebs to catch an unsuspecting Trick-or-Treater. I dream of making our humble abode a haunted house one day - a la Modern Family.
This wreath was "crafted" by yours truly. Okay, I added a glittery owl to a premade feather wreath. I was going to make one myself, but the two boas I would have needed cost more than the one that took no effort. Decision done.

Every year I bust out Edgar, my ghoul. I don't even dust him off as it lends to the old and creepy vibe I'm going for.
I cover most of our furniture in black, gray or white cheesecloth that has been slashed and shredded. Mrs. Havisham would feel quite comfy in our living room. Fred, my Macbeth skull, proudly sits atop our entertainment center, as he is used to being center stage.

We certainly don't neglect the outside of our house, but we certainly have big plans. Our dead tree forest will have a private cemetery next year (buying decor after the holiday saves buko bucks).
So if you see this house, be sure to stop by. We have some treats for you! Bwaaa ha ha ha ha!

We always carve pumpkins just before Halloween night - anyone who lives in a hot climate has probably experienced a pumpkin melting and or disintegrating. FYI, they leave a stain on concrete if not cleaned up quickly... and they stink, or so I have heard. Greenville, Sc is a taaaaaad cooler than the desrts of Arizona. We threw caution to the wind and carved those gourds a full five days before All Hallows Eve. Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

Browsing my Google Reader this afternoon, I read a favorite blog, That Girl Denise, received an award for her general sweet, loveliness. She so deserves it. She is too cute and a lot of fun. Little did I know she bestowed said award on Lil Ol' Me! Why I declare!

If you have a moment stop by her blog and read away. You certainly won't regret it. Thank you, Denise, for the love!

What does the Liebster Blog Award mean?

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

To keep this award going, pass the award along to 5 other new deserving bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog

4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love, too!

Third Trimester - Best Dr's Appt Ever

Went in for an Ultrasound to check Henry's growth this week (I got an extra ultrasound - boo yah). Why did I get blessed with an extra peek into my womb (side note: that word makes me shudder for some reason)? There was a little complication called a Two Vessel Umbilical Cord that may inhibit his growth (a single vein and a single artery have to do the work of a normal cord with two arteries and a vein).

His photo shoot went very well, twisting and turning for the camera, flashing a little leg here and there. His heartbeat is 140 beats per minute, his growth is a perfect 50%, his feet are still big, and his profile is still Gerber baby gorgeous. His cord, however, seems to have sprouted another artery! A Halloween time miracle, I tell you! The SUA is only a minor complication as it tends to require an earlier delivery and smaller babies, but we certainly wiped this complication out of there.
These are behind the roundhouse kicks I feel all day long

In other news, my blood pressure is down, my hemoglobin is up, weight gain is nil (a personal hallelujah - even though Dr. Walvoord says I shouldn't worry even if I gain 50 pounds - at which word I almost passed out and prayed that would not be the case for me), and I passed my Glucose Test with flying colors. My finger still hurts from the hemoglobin finger-prick test, but I'll take it.
okay this one looks a little Halloweeny - Henry has good bones :)

Hooray for a good day! Tonight we're celebrating by chowing down on Caramel Apples with Reese's Pieces. No diabetes? Bring on the Sugar!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nature's Serving Size

A few years ago I dieted and lost a chunk of weight (which I have found has returned since I saw the plus sign on a magic stick a few months ago). One of the best recipes I found while enduring a holiday season without my constant companion - carbs - is for no-carb Stuffed Peppers. Veggie packed scumptiousness, I tell ya!

All you need to make a meal for two is:
2 Green Peppers, tops removed and seeded
1/2 lb ground beef, ground turkey or soy crumbles
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 white button mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped (or handful grape tomatoes)
1/4 c. tomato sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Pour about a cup of water into a baking dish. Place the peppers in the dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes.
  2. Brown beef then drain any fat. Continue cooking with garlic powder, onion, mushrooms and tomato 7-10 minutes until tomatoes soften and onions turn translucent. 
  3. By this time the peppers have softened and are ready to be stuffed. Tightly pack each pepper with your meaty veggie mix. Top with each with tomato sauce.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered. When done, cool for about 3-5 minutes, then serve.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Holy Hunting - The Search for Church

The Family G have begun a quest, a gholy quest of sorts, to discover the new home of our spiritual enlightenment and salvation. I admit that my physical body has not been in a church for way too many moons, but I pray everyday and I consider myself a spiritual person. I just have not been a church-y person. This is mostly due to being a more Laz-y person more preoccupied with sleep and/or pancakes than putting on pants and get my spiritual house in order.

Also, I have a vast library of excuses. Please email me if you need a rather creative one as I have have many tried and true excuses for just about anything.

Shawn was raised Catholic and I was raised Southern Baptist. This is a favorite excuse. Where can we meet in the middle? Is there even a middle between Southern Baptist and Catholic? We have finally taken the crusade seriously rather than just talking about how we should go to church and just do it.

This Sunday was the first church service we have ever attended together. We have been dating and/or married since 2003 so am suprised at this revelation. I'll admit that I spent some time stealing glances at my Yankee husband when the preach preached extra Southern with pronounced gesticulating and gave a few squeezes of his hand when I thought I heard someone speak in tongues a couple times.

While we may not have found "the one" on our first trip out, but if you have been to Greenville then you know that there are no shortage of options, and we have plenty of Sundays to explore. In all seriousness, we are excited to find that sense of comunity we had while we were growing up. Even more so when imagining our little baby growing up playing a shepherd in Christmas pageants and teaching us the songs we used to sing in Sunday School ourselves.

Cooking with Cider

We have a gallon of cider chillin' in the fridge. I cannot imbibe said cider because it is not pasteurized.  Curses! In my cider sadness I decided to make dinner that could incorporate this nectar of the North Carolina Hills. Craving breakfast for dinner, I decided on Cider Spiked French Toast. I can't really say it is a recipe because like most of what I cook I did it by sight and guesstimating.

Shawn has been downing the cider, as you can see, and I wanted a crack at it, too!
 Wisk together two eggs, and equal parts cider and skim milk (for ultra deluxe luciousness use half and half) I think I can safely say I used about a quarter cup of each but it could have been less, a pinch of nutmeg, ground ginger and a dash of cinnamon. Dip each side of your trusty bread slice into the soupy batter, refreshing your spices with each slice. Cook over medium heat on a griddle or frying pan. Cut into adorable triangles and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with your favorite fruit (I suggest warm spiced apple slices) or protein (we chose scrambled eaggs with a hint of Mrs. Dash Table Blend) and warmed 100% maple syrup.

Oil and butter free frying

Filling fiber and a safe way to enjoy cider for those with compromised immune systems like us pregnant or nursing moms.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Glucose Test - Take 2!

27 Weeks... Bun in The Oven while Baking in My Apron
I am shaking in my sugar coated boots! Just kidding. I really don't think I have Gestational Diabetes. My doctor agrees with me, too. Only a lab technician can tell, though. On Wednesday I had my three-hour Glucose Test  There was no way I was looking forward to the test. Three hours! After fasting for over 12 hours! I packed up my latest library book, a gigantic water bottle, and a tummy full of patience.

It was my lucky day! There were only two doctors in the office, so a few rooms were open and one had my name on it! Sweet! I had privacy to read my not-very-engaging book, browse two Good Housekeeping magazines and rest on top of one of the exam bed/table/things. I left the stirrups down, thank you very much, as I cozied up under two cotton hospital gowns to keep warm.

Here is what to expect if you find yourself having to take this test, too.
  • No eating past midnight the night before your test (the last thing I ate was dinner at 7pm).
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your veins popping - you don't want to be stuck more than necessary.
  • Bring reading or at least listening materials and a sense of good humor. Three hours doesn't go quick.
  • The phlobotomist will prick your finger to test your sugar level and then take a vial of "fasting" blood. 
  • You will then drink up the glucose drink that is TWICE as sweet as the one used for the screening test.
  • You have five minutes to do this and Do not throw up, as if you could help it, or you'll have to do this all over again!
  • An hour later you will be back in the chair for your second, an hour after for your third and then the last hour for your fourth vial.
  • If you are a delicate flower, like me, you will have a bruised fingertip and sore elbow crooks. I am one tough mama and can handle it, I assure you. 

And then you wait for results. Oh the waiting! How un-sweet it is!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Greek Dining

After our apple orchard afternoon, Hubster treated me to some Greek food. I love, love love me some Greek food. ***An aside...There is a restaurant in Phoenix called Greekfest that I cannot recommend enough for those of you who still live there.*** Shawn purchased an Entertainment Book from a coworker on behalf of her son who is selling them as a school fundraiser. One of the buy one-get one coupons was for Acropolis Greek & Italian Restaurant on Wade Hampton in Greenville. I immediately though, "Jackpot!"

I am a gyro meat fiend! I blot it with napkins to ease up some of the greasiness before I dive in. Benefitting from my delicate condition, Shawn ate up all of my feta (and pepperonchini and olives) and I snuck an extra piece of gyro meat from his plate.

It wasn't very busy - we were the only patrons there at five p.m. until we paid our bill, when a family of six came in to dine. The food was good - actually the gyro platter and greek side salad were good, as we both ate the same thing. Hopefully this little restaurant can drum up more business, so we can keep coming back for more!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Apple Picking Perfection

We trekked to the hills of Eastern North Carolina to Sky Top Orchard for some incredible apples. I have never been to an orchard. In Arizona and Florida we have "groves" of delicious citrus and I generally let someone else do the picking. I am not one for laboring.

However, I had the pleasure of devouring a couple of these tasty treats by coworkers who went earlier this season. Trust me, they were worth the hour drive from Greenville.

We walked down the highest hill this out of breath preggo will climb until after her baby's birth. There were only a few rows of trees that had any fruit left on them. Sure there were plenty of squashed and fermenting apples on the ground, but I craved the nature's bounty at the top!

Hubby climbed some trees after I tried to scramble awkwardly up a couple... unsuccessfully. We walked up the somehow even higher hill with our 13 pounds of granny apple and pink lady bounty. Okay, HunkaHunkaHubby carried the basket up as its wire handle kept cutting into my palms.

I try not to say this tooooo often but I cannot wait to incorporate this as a fall time tradition for our family. The animal pens, the bamboo forest, picnic tables, playgrounds and tractor-hayrides all gave us a thrill of excitement of what is to come.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Card Carrier

I am a Greenville County Library System Card carrier. I got my library card two weeks ago and have already finished my second book. Boo-yah! I even liked both of them. Double-yah!

The first novel I just grabbed off the shelf. I totally judge books by their covers. What of it? Anywho, the cover looked kind of eerie in all of its deep greens and blacks and big, gnarly tree and lonely little boy. As soon as I cracked it open, I knew it was a good pick. I have good luck walking the stacks and borrowing the third book I glanced at.

The Stolen Child by Kieth Donahue is a rich and engaging read. I really can't remember a book like it that I have read. It tells the storiesof two Henrys (it made it even more fun to read a book whose main characters' name is the same as my baby's), one is a precocious little boy who ran away one day only to never see his family again and the other is the changeling who took his place, living the true Henry's life as the real Henry lives the life of a changeling. Both Henrys feel as if they are missing something -  their pasts and their true identities, and their respective journeys to make themselves whole and happy. Sounds weird, but it was very well written and realistic - two things that get my literary motor purring.

The next one picked up after reading a list of good mysteries from the past few years. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard was a satisfying and quick read. I enjoyed reading the details of each character's life and the small town they live in. One night during a blizzard in 1987, a seventeen year old boy, his father, and his older brother discover the naked body of a beautiful woman in a pasture. The events that follow that night change the lives of those involved, and those believed to be involved. In 2004, a grown up Abby and Rex (the boy who discovered the body) find another body in a blizzard. The drive to solve the 1987 murder is reignited and the novel follows it to an eyebrow raising resolution.

I will review my third book soon, as I have three delightful and starving hours at the doctor's office for my Glucose Test today. Jealous?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Baby By Any Other Name...

... Wouldn't be mine.

We have decided on our baby boy's name! Okay, we have had his first name picked out for many months. In fact, we were so overjoyed to discover that he is, in fact, a he because we couldn't come up with a girl's name that sent us over the moon like this one did.

May we introduce you to Henry set to make his grand debut this January.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Atlanta Chili Cook Off

Yes! I finally have my camera back so I can show you a little fun we had at the Atlanta Chili Cook Off a couple of weeks ago. We took the two hour trek to Stone Mountain for some yum-time. I certainly was not blown away by any of the dixie cups of chili served. It was quite warm outside but somehow the many of the chili cups were chilly. The smokers were out in full force and the port-a-potties should have been set on fire, not exactly a super-nose's paradise.

Desperate for a good time, we made the best of it. We hunkedred down, listened to the tribute bands serenade the masses and watched various fathers chase around their scampering sons. We spent the better parts of two hours on our little patch of grass laughing and chatting. It felt so good to be with our friend, Tyler, and just being outside.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I may have the Dia-Bee-Tus

Son of a sugar coated buttery dream biscuit! I failed the glucose screening test and must go back to the doctor's office for the Three Hour Starve and Stick Marathon that is the Glucose Tolerance Test. I feel bad not only for myself, but also for everyone around me. I will not be able to eat or drink anything other than sips of water until 11:30am next Wednesday. If you are not aware, I get a little "cranky" when I am hungry. I shamefully turn in to the Incredible Hulking Preggo, "Mommy angry! Feed Mommy now!"

I probably should have skipped the Blue Bunny Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream the night before the Screening.

Having gotten this fine news all I could think about was cheeseburgers and crinkle cut french fries for the rest of the day. Lord help me, my brain and my blood sugar are conspiring to kill me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Double Charlie Horse and a Split Rib

It seems that almost every morning I wake up with pretty awesome pains in both my calves. They are super sore as if I have did a serious session of sleep-exercising (any AbFab fans out there? yes? no?). It appears I have been getting major cramps when I sleep in both legs. This makes my 3am potty breaks a practice in wobble walking when trying to navigate around my very pointy, very hard furniture with my eyes closed.

Remy's having no pains at all, but he feels bad for Mommy

For the past month I have had a pain in my right back ribs. Usually it is a constant, dull ache. I liken it to someone pulling my ribs apart. I no liken it at all.

What can a mama to be do to make these ouchies go bye-bye (practicing baby talk for Baby H's debut)? My doctor says to drink more water for my calves to quit cramping. If I drink any more water I will have to move my desk into the restroom; I already have to pee every time I stand up, I might as well just diaper myself. My Helpful Hubby suggested I do some impossible yoga stretches. My baby birthing books suggest sleeping on my side may be to blame, but I should ONLY sleep on my side as laying on one's back is absolutely forbidden. Mommies on blogs say, "Suck it up, you can't do anything about it." Okay, so those are my words, not theirs.

At least I can giggle when I think of Charlie Horse and instantly imagine the sock puppet from "Lamb Chop's Play-Along"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Testing, Testing 1-2-3

25 Weeks and the belly is bulging. Happy Hubby and I are betting whether my turkey timer will pop. I think it might, he thinks there is no way since I have the worlds most innie belly button.

In other news, tomorrow morning I go to the doctors for the dreaded Blood Glucose Test. The is the only part of pregnancy I have heard ZERO positive things about. The nasty orange drink, the waiting around, the oh no oh crap I might have to come back for a three hour test anxiety, all are comments I have heard.

There are some many facets of pregnancy that I hear so many blends of love and loathe. This one little test is the only one that is universally found to be annoying. I giggle when I think that I might actually like the gluclose test since my sweet tooth has been ampliflied a thousand times just in the past week or so and I have a thing for orange soda and haven't had it in years. I may even ask for a to-go cup.

What do you think? Probably not?