Monday, April 21, 2008

Satiating the Cookie Monster

I realize that I never posted this one, so while I'm away I figured I should share!

That sugar craving that I mentioned a few posts back? I'm trying with all my might to beat it down with these...
Almond butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. They're super sweet (what with the cup of sugar and half cup of chocolate chips they call for) but also reeeeally tasty and almost good for you as they contain almond butter, only whole wheat flour, and walnuts too!

I know I've posted about them before, I think I got the recipe from VegWe
b, but they're so amazingly tasty that showing them off again is totally necessary. This batch (I believe because I flattened them down a bit before baking when before I just spooned without touching them) came out a little less chewy, with more crunch and almost as if the sugar content caused a crunchy sweet glaze on the bottom.
Either way they're utterly delicious and a healthier way (sort of) to get your sugar fix on. I suppose you could dabble with lowering the amount of sugar you add, but I wouldn't dare. ;)

In other news, only 23 days to go! It's nice being with family and friends, but this living in limbo can be quite anxiety causing. We still haven't had any bites on our house but I'm hoping the next 23 days will prove fortuitous in that regard. I'd actually love nothing more than caring for a newborn WHILE house hunting and moving. Yep, we want to move back here THAT badly. hehe.

I've been enjoying simple meals or nights out at our favorite restaurants (for in Gainesville, there are many) so I've nothing new and exciting to share food-wise. In the meantime, I give you me, in all my pregnant glory, chilling out in my husband's aunt's salt water pool. Nothing makes a pregnant woman happier than spending an hour or two weightless in the sun. sigh. thanks for all the well wishes, can't wait to share the news with you when Taylor decides to arrive!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Baby Hiatus

Well, we've decided to get me up closer to Gainesville where I can go into labor without worrying about a long commute to the hospital, possibly when I'm home alone. We're using these next six weeks to also get out of our house to make it easier for our realtor to I likely won't be blogging much. Instead I'll be reconnecting with family and friends and enjoying the town we can't wait to go home to while scattering our brood around. We're so fortunate to have friends and family to help us take care of our seven furry kids while away. (you try showing a house with six inside alpha kitties and one 85 lb. dopey lab!). I'll be spending my days waddling around town checking up on my kids here and there and taking advantage of everything Gville has to offer while we await Taylor's arrival.

Speaking of Taylor, I figure it's high time I share some of my jungle themed shower pics and the few shots of her (almost done) nursery. I say almost done, because I decided last night that the last remaining touches (the mounding of a corner bookshelf, the hanging of a couple wall items for decoration) could just wait until we know whether or not this is truly where her nursery will be! Here's to hoping we have a whole new house to decorate before she comes home!

Anyway....the shower! (how perfect is this banner?)

(a few of the girls)

It was truly amazing. As the hostess, (Goddess Marlo, thrower of all great parties)

and my dear friend of over a decade, is the MOST amazing thrower of parties (we met running a party store in college, fitting, no?) has been a vegetarian pretty much twice the time I've known her, the food was stellar. Not everything was vegan, but I told her not to worry about that as I was to be the only vegan in attendance and she was the only veg. Needless to say, there was no shortage of yummy fare for me, and everyone else enjoyed all the other vegetarian eats.

While I don't have pictures of everything, the vegan items to sample were: Regular Hummus with fresh peppers for dipping, sun dried tomato hummus with pita, avocado white bean dip (sooo good!), Jamaican jerk patties (spicy! but amazing!) with a fruit salsa and a coconut cream to quell the heat, tempeh salad finger sandwiches, a plate of assorted olives and marinated mushrooms, and super yummy rice paper wraps with tofu and veggies with a spicy peanut sauce.

for everyone else, on the veg end of things, there were mini pizzas, both veggie and faux pepperoni, and THE most beautiful sun dried tomato savory cheesecake you've EVER seen. I can't wait to veganize this one with a little Tofutti!

As refreshments our amazing host took recycled beer bottles (the large kind with the fancy ceramic contraption tops) and filled them with assorted herbal teas and put them all in a beautiful ice bucket, each bottle emblazoned with a hand-made label with the type of tea, a cute jungle animal, and 'Taylor's Teas'. I so wish we had a pic as this may have been my most favorite little idea. The Ginger Hibiscus (aka Hippie Kool-Aide) is my MOST favorite concoction on earth. for serious. There was also no shortage of champagne and sparkling grape juice.

But what you really wanna see? dessert! and what would a jungle themed baby shower be without a MONKEY CAKE! the cake itself was banana walnut, and insanely good.

but why stop there when you can have LION CUPCAKES! sure, the eyes are m&m's but I ate mine blind. ;) the cuteness is matched only by the creativity and love with these babies.

with the food out of the way, check out these decorations! knowing me all too well, the hostess made sure to decorate with almost entirely items that i could reuse in the nursery. she hand-made jungle-like garlands (the ones already made up in the store just weren't 'jungle-y' enough. hehe), hung up a couple blow up monkeys, had printed the most amazingly beautiful banner (that we plan to hang above Taylor's crib), and scattered the world's cutest rubber 'duckie' safari/jungle animals everywhere. Oh, and let's not forget the favors....jungle print favor boxes full of assorted sweets!

we ate, we drank, we laughed, and I opened a mountain of presents for my little girl.

but my favorite part of the day, aside from chowing down on monkey cake...sooooo good! were the activities. the first one we did was to guess the baby items in the paper bags. this was nice as they were all little nursery/bath/baby things that I now don't have to buy! The next activity was a really cool game where there were animals listed in one column and the appropriate names for their young in the other. the key was to match as many as possible. this one i won! (and my inner wildlife rehabilitator was totally validated :). but the most beautiful activity of all was the making of the birthing necklace. There was a large container of all sorts of beads and every guest was asked to take a moment during the shower and pick out two that spoke to them. Once we were all assembled in one place, they went around the room, stringing up the beads and offering with each one a wish for Taylor and one for me. Many people picked three beads so that they could offer a wish for daddy, too. aaawwww! needless to say I cried the whole time. it was touching beyond words to be in a room surrounded with so much love for this child. I feel so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life and cannot wait for Taylor to meet them! Thank you, Mom, for coming down and helping me to celebrate the next little girl in our loooong line of boys in the family. Thank you to everyone able to attend for making it a perfect day. Thank you to those who couldn't make it for being there in spirit and sending love across the miles. And thank you, thank you, thank you to Marlo for throwing such an amazing celebration (and thank you Robbie for busting your butt to make it happen!) You all are the best!

whew! I'm not used to writing such a novel for a blog post! without further ado, check out the jungle theme nursery that inspired the shower's theme. my friends know me ALL too well. if it's got wild animals on it? i'm so down! I'm thinking that, with this room? Little Taylor will be no different. hehe. the only things not yet up are the bookshelf, the banner from the shower that will hang above her crib, and the crib bumper, which I'm actually planning to hang on the wall. I really don't see the necessity of having it in the crib (and have even read that it's not recommended they're used in that way any longer), and it actually fits perfectly with one panel above her name when you walk in the room, and the rest of it wrapping around to hang all down the wall above her dresser. too cute!