11.25.2014

Six tips to totally own this Thanksgiving

1. Properly prep your tummy. You might be thinking it's a good idea to skip breakfast and save space for all that Thanksgiving deliciousness that is about to come. You're wrong. Dead wrong. While it might seem counter-intuitive, you're going to want to eat a hearty breakfast when you wake up. This is going to give your stomach the proper stretching and digestion time it needs to be ready for the big game (and I'm not talking about football.)

2. Your attire selection is of utmost importance. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your dad jeans with the elastic waistband at Thanksgiving, or make a trip to the storage unit for your old maternity pants. Thanksgiving is not a time to be a fashionista, it's a time to go HAM and give your food-pit a proper beating. I'm not saying you should look like a slob, but underneath your nice blouse or sweater vest, you can be hiding the most heinous of strechy waist-band pants. For goodness sake, you're about to be carrying a 10-lb food baby, give that puppy room to grow! 

3. Portion control - no bigger than a golf ball! Don't make the rookie mistake of stocking up on mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing and then realize that you still have 10 more things to add to your plate but only 2 sq. inches of space left. Stick to the golf ball rule, everything on your plate should be a portion no larger than a golf ball. I mean, I know green beans aren't the star of Thanksgiving but you owe it to yourself (and your host) to try a little of everything! After you finish your first plate of food go back for the things you loved and throw the golf ball rule out the window. 

4. Lend a helping hand in your own way. We're not all master chefs, and that's okay. If you have no place in a kitchen, stay out of the kitchen. In fact, I advise everyone stay out of the kitchen except the host until clean up time (otherwise you're just going to get in the way.) But, you can still offer a helping hand in other ways -- offer to bring ice or pies from your neighborhood bakery, play bartender, help to clear plates after the meal, buy a flower arrangement or nice candle for your host. Just don't be a waste of space. 

5. Adhere to a schedule. You might have a few different obligations on Thanksgiving. You may have to spend some time with the in-laws, eat dinner with your own family, and potentially drop by to see some old friends that are in town for the holiday... make a schedule for your day and stick to it like an Army Ranger on a special ops mission. My schedule will go something like this (I'm still ironing out some of the details) 

  • 9:00 a.m. - arise to the aroma of herbs and turkey in the air
  • 9:30 a.m. - indulge in a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast - consider eating a piece of fruit but go back for more bacon instead. (see tip 1 above) 
  • 10:00 a.m. - watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV while helping to prep food
  • 12:00 p.m. - watch the beginning of The National Dog Show and pick out your favorite dog, continue to help mom prep appetizers and sides
  • 12:30 p.m. - shower and put on real clothes (see tip 2 above)
  • 1:50 p.m. - catch end of dog show, see if your dog won. 
  • 2:00 p.m. - drive to in-laws' house (limit yourself to 3-4 bites of appetizers, nothing enters your "pie hole" at in-laws after 3:00 p.m.) 
  • 3:30 p.m. - head back to parent's house, call and make sure they don't have any last minute grocery/errand needs
  • 4:00 p.m. - indulge in some more appetizers 
  • 4:45 p.m. - help to put out food and get everyone seated, say grace and go around the table so everyone can share what they are thankful for
  • 5:00 p.m. - begin to load up first plate of 2014 Thanksgiving meal (see tip 3 above)
  • 5:20 p.m. - think about going back for seconds - pick one or two things you really want just a little more of and put them on your plate (panic because you realize you might not have room for dessert if you eat any more mashed potatoes but say, "eff it, I'll throw up if needed to make room for pie)
  • 5:30 p.m. - enjoy the silence at the table and the sound of loosening belts
  • 5:45 p.m. - remark how crazy it is that you cook for two full days but manage to eat in less than an hour
  • 5:50 p.m. - help to clear the table and set out dessert. 
  • 6:00 p.m. - eat dessert
  • 6:10 p.m. - men exit table and plop on the couch to watch football - women chit-chat and then clear rest of the table and start to clean up kitchen 
  • 6:30 p.m. - uncle starts snoring loudly while sitting on couch 
  • 7:00 p.m. - guests start to exit, you finally snag a seat on the couch
  • 8:00 p.m. - change into pajamas
  • 8:05 p.m. - pull out a game to play with family
  • 9:00 p.m. - go to bed

6. Remember the big picture. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and expression of gratitude. I know it can be stressful to be around your crazy family. I know your mom is bugging out because so and so is bringing a date and didn't tell her until the last minute and there's no room at the table. Just remember, no matter your life situation, you're luckier and more blessed than someone else out there. You have food to eat, a roof over your head, friends/family/acquaintances/frenemies to eat with. Hell,  I think you're doing pretty good. Let Thanksgiving set the stage for your holiday season, keep your composure and try to stay worry-free and most importantly, thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving homies!

11.24.2014

For the love of olive oil

If my first love is butter, my second love is olive oil. Nothing beats a good quality olive oil -- you can dip bread in it, drizzle it on your cream soups, use it to dress your favorite salad, cook with it and even bake with it. And outside of the kitchen, sometimes I even use it on my chapped lips or dry hair. The key to a good experience with olive oil is investing in a quality product. I know, I know, it's expensive! But I recently learned of a reasonably priced olive oil that tastes like a million bucks. So today, I've got two recipes that showcase this most special of ingredients.

11.20.2014

DIY Pom Pom Baby Mobile

As you may recall from my nursery inspiration post a while back, there was a mobile on there that looked very similar to the one pictured above. Well the thing about that mobile is that it cost $160 dollars!? For that price, I expect it to not only entertain my infant for hours at a time, but to also feed and diaper the baby as well... But honestly, there are thousands of mobiles out there, surely I'd be able to find something I like for a more reasonable price. The thing is, I just couldn't get the stinking pom pom mobile out of my head. It was perfect -- the gender neutral colors, the softness, the playfulness --I had to have it. 

So, I channeled my inner Martha Stewart and took to the internet to order my supplies and watch tutorials on making your own pom poms. For under $40, I was able to create a close-enough version that I'm really happy with and I'm sure Baby W will love it too! Get full instructions and details below.  

11.18.2014

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes a chewy, gooey, classic chocolate chip cookie is exactly what you need to brighten your day. I make desserts all the time in varying shapes and sizes, but when I had to bring something to a friend's house recently I thought, why not stick to the original crowd pleaser! In case you're too lazy to Google the recipe yourself, or look on the back of your oatmeal container... get the full recipe below. 

11.06.2014

Guest Post: 10 Tips for Survival (When Living With a Pregnant Woman)

It's time for another guest post friends! BryGuy imparts some wisdom for expectant fathers-to-be and demonstrates his love of gifs. 
Congrats...you are the father! That beautiful woman you are so in love with is now the host of your seed and the miracle of childbirth is forthcoming. Don't panic. Be cool brotha, because it is a beautiful thing. Yeah, right! It is easy for me to say that now, but I wasn't so cool when we found out. Of course, over the last 6-7 months my tune has changed and I am pumped to meet this little human of mine.

My response went from this:

To this:
I'm the man!
With that and 28 weeks in, I would like to impart some wisdom. There are some things you should know about living with a pregnant woman, so here we go. (Note: I am writing this before the actual birth to ensure no details of the birthing process are divulged. I'll let Marissa lead that discussion)


10.23.2014

Family fun day at Highland Orchards

Do you ever dream/fantasize about certain life situations? For instance, I always had this future vision of myself renting out a big beach house with a group of friends and partying all week in the sun and surf. Well, I sort of got to live out that dream this summer when we headed to Ocean City for the Fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much partying seeing as though I was 10 weeks pregnant... but whatevs, not all fantasies can be played out perfectly. 

I've also always had this dream idea of heading to an apple orchard with a group of friends and their kids on a crisp fall day and picking apples, climbing trees, eating cider donuts and selecting the best pumpkin from the pumpkin patch for carving. Ding, ding, ding! Daydreams are coming alive here people! Last weekend, we drove out to Highland Orchards in West Chester with a big group of friends and kiddos and had a great time! Check out photos from the day below. 

10.21.2014

Apples & Salted Caramel Bridal Shower Favors

One of my co-workers is getting married this weekend so we wanted to put together a little bridal shower before her big day. We gathered for a nice luncheon and I was in charge of putting together favors for the occasion. I immediately turned to the interwebs for some inspiration. Since it's fall and all I thought an autumn-themed gift would be appropriate and I personally like favors that are edible. That landed me on this cute idea, and apple with a little jar of homemade caramel. You would think that caramel would be too tricky to make at home, but believe me, it's really easy (no candy thermometer needed) and probably tastes better than anything you can buy in a store! Get the full recipe for the homemade salted caramel plus links to make the favors below. 

10.17.2014

Ten happy moments of the last two weeks

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

Two posts in one day? What is the world coming to? It's called playing catch-up my friends... so here my ten happy moments from the last two weeks. 

1. Feeling Bugsy (that's the baby's name in utero) kick and move around like crazy this week. He/she is a dancin' machine just like his/her papa. 

2. A super fun birthday celebration with friends and my love. 

3. Feeling better after a week or so of feeling sick with a respiratory infection. That was no fun, but I'm finally able to sleep without hacking up a lung, so yay! 

4. An impromptu Sunday Funday two weekends back which meant delicious bbq and a house full of friends and kids, and I loved every minute of it!

5. The smell of fallen leaves. You wouldn't think it'd be a great smell, but it's one of the best smells!

6. Free coffee from DD after an Eagles' victory. I'm not an Eagles fan, but I sure as hell appreciate the free cup of coffee. 

7. The lobster roll from Oyster House. I mean this thing is just lobster roll perfection and totally worth every penny (although work paid for this one.) 

8. Seeing the movie Chef finally. This movie has been on my list, and honestly it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Plus, it made me really, really want a Cuban sandwich. 

9. I'm so happy with how the favors I made for a co-workers bridal shower luncheon turned out. I'll be sharing them with you on the blog next week so I won't spoil the surprise today. 

10. Getting to spend quality time with friends and family last weekend for a camping trip and Oktoberfest party
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