Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A New Cousin!

Our cousins, Joe and Eileen who got married last year announced late last week that they are expecting their first child! We are so excited for them!

Joe and I grew up being very close. We were the only cousins in our family that were the same age-he's about 2.5 months older than I am. The next in age is either 6 years younger or about 8 years older. So we grew up being pretty close and hanging out at family functions together.

Now him and Eileen live in Florida so we only see them maybe 2-3 times a year, but it'll be so great that Avery will have a cousin so close to her age! I hope Avery and their baby will grow up close like Joe and I did!

Eileen is due late March, early April so it'll be interesting to see if she hits any of the family birthdays around Mom and late Grandma are March 30th, our Aunt is March 31st and mine is April you never know!

So far they're not finding out the sex of the baby (yay!) so we'll be waiting to see what they have! Congrats Joe and Eileen! We can't wait to meet your new bundle of joy!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Months Old!

Yesterday Avery turned three months old! I can't believe how big she's getting! She was sleeping through the night for awhile (10-12 hours straight), but in the past week she's gotten up once every night. Which to be honest, isn't too bad-I mean she is only three months old! I think our new schedule is throwing her off a bit as well so we'll see what happens with that in the next few weeks. Her latest thing is that she has gotten pretty good at sucking her thumb. Sometimes she has trouble keeping it in her mouth, but overall she does pretty well with it. She uses it quite a bit to put herself to sleep. Her nap schedule is still all over the place and she's not very good at fall asleep for naps-that's something we have to work on when I have my days off!

So last night I took her monthly pictures-I thought they turned out pretty cute!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Weekend

'Tis Sunday night and the end of another weekend-back to work tomorrow morning. We had a good weekend. Yesterday morning I cashed in a Christmas present from last year-a massage at Andrea Esthetics! Gabe got it for me and since I was pregnant, I couldn't go because they don't do prenatal massages there. So I waited until after Avery arrived to get it done. And it was wonderful! He got me a neck, back, and shoulder massage and it was probably one of the best I've had done-and it was much needed!

After my massage we left for a visit in Buffalo. We haven't been in awhile so we were due. Grammy had to get her baby fix:

We went over to my Dad's house for dinner which was great! We had steak, mashed potatoes, salad, corn and broccoli-very tasty! Dad of course had to put her headband on "homey" style:

Grandpa and Avery:

My little cutie:

A nice family photo:

Today was my friend Renee's birthday so she stopped over and so did Megan and Noah so the kids could visit. We had a nice time! My Mom got a little birthday cake and we just relaxed and hung out. The kids had fun with each other, smiling away-it was so cute!

We left for home shortly after they left-the Bills game was on and Gabe wanted to watch it. Plus with work tomorrow there's a lot to get ready!

Friday, September 25, 2009


I'm apologizing ahead of time that I don't have any pics of this recipe. We've made these numerous times in the past and I've never thought of putting the recipe on here until it was requested! So next time I make them, I'll have to take some photos!

pizza dough (I buy the pre-made Wegman's dough balls)
sauce (I prefer spaghetti sauce instead of pizza sauce)
16oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
garlic salt
mozzarella cheese
any toppings you like (we usually do pepperoni or sausage)

1. Bring pizza dough to room temp. The dough balls come partially frozen so you have to let them get to room temperature and rise.
2. Spread out dough onto large pan. I use a pizza stone (for a large pizza) and spread it out on there. You could probably use a 9x13" pan as well.
3. Mix ricotta, egg, garlic salt and parsley. I don't measure the salt or parsley, I just add a few sprinkles of each.
4. Spread ricotta mixture onto half of the dough. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of ricotta mixture-add as much as you like! Add the rest of the toppings on top of the cheeses.
5. Take the non-topped dough and fold it over on top of the topped dough to create the calzone pocket. Pinch to seal the edges of the dough together.
6. Bake at 375 for roughly 40min-again I don't really time it, I just keep peeking at it until the dough looks cooked through. Sometimes it browns, sometimes it doesn't.
7. Slice calzone and serve with a side of sauce for dipping!

You could make this more complicated and make your own dough-I prefer the already made dough just because it's easier and saves time (and tastes just as good if you ask me!). You also could cut the dough before you spread it out to create personal sized calzones. We usually just make one monster sized one, but you could do individual ones if you like different toppings in yours, etc. This has definitely become one of our favorite stand-by meals!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Survived!

We have officially survived my first two days back at work! I started back on Monday and things went smoothly in the morning-I got up a half hour earlier than normal, got myself ready, then around 6:50 went in to a sleeping baby. I woke her up just enough for her to eat then when she finished I put her back in her crib and she fell back asleep. I got all of my things packed up and left the house on time. Gabe got himself ready while I was feeding her then after I left he got her up and dressed and out the door. She spent Monday at his parents' house along with Owen and Bianca. It sounds like all went well there. I got to their house after work and she was crying because she was hungry so I stayed there and fed her. We got home later than expected and it was a hectic night trying to unpack, clean then repack everything for Tuesday, but we got it all done. When I got home, I had a surprise-Gabe bought me this beautiful bouquet which was very, very sweet of him! It's so pretty!

Yesterday we did the same thing except she went to an in-home daycare. She did very well and only fussed when tired or hungry like usual. All of the little girls there had fun with her and I was told she was smiling at them all day! Again she was hungry when I picked her up so I fed her right when we got home and she was all set. She went to bed pretty early last night because she had been up earlier than normal both days and didn't nap much. Today I'm home with her and we've just been hanging around the house spending time with each other. Then I work tomorrow and that's it for the week which is nice. I think this schedule will work out pretty well-it's nice getting out of the house and seeing everyone and I have a few days to spend with my little pumpkin!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Picking Virgins

Today Gabe and I took Avery apple picking! I've always wanted to go and it was such a beautiful day out so we decided to take advantage of it. There are tons of places out here to do apple picking, but we chose to go to Whittier Fruit Farm. I had googled a bunch of places but thought we'd try out this one first. The farm itself was very nice. They had a small store there also, but it didn't really have much. I sort of expected more from that. But anyways, here are some pics when we first got there and were getting ready to get started:

I couldn't believe how many trees they had and I was surprised at how low the apples grow! I expected having to climb up the trees to get them, but you didn't need a ladder at all.
We got to ride on this tractor thing to get out to the orchard-that was fun!

They were picking 4 kinds of apples today-Cortlands, McIntosh, Gala, and Gingergold. They had 2 stops-the first was cortlands and I like those so we got off there. Here's Avery napping under an apple tree:

The rows of Cortland trees:

Gabe picking his apples (doesn't he look thrilled?!):

The self portrait by the cortlands:

Cortland tree shots:

Once we picked a bunch of them, we walked to the other area where the 3 other types were. I'm not a big green apple fan so we skipped the gingergolds. We went to the Macs next which are my fave so we loaded up on them. They were pretty picked over so you really had to hunt in the trees for them. There were also a TON on the ground, but who wants those?! We stopped at the Galas, which I had never had, and I wasn't thrilled. They sort of reminded me of red delicious which I hate
Avery decided to wake up and guard them for us:

The apples were cheap- 65 cents a pound. We ended up with 19lbs of apples (wow!) and it was a little over $12 which isn't bad at all. So now what do we do with them? Well, we came home and I already made a batch of applesauce, which is soooooo good! The rest are in the fridge-I'll take them for lunch this week and maybe make an apple crisp and the apple bars again. In the meantime, Avery is going to play with them!

and have fun with Mommy and Daddy:

We had a cute shot of Jerri checking out Avery the other day too:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pasta Salad

As I mentioned earlier, we have a block party to go to later today. Every year you're assigned to bring something based on your house number. This year we got assigned a salad. I love pasta salad...not macaroni salad (mayo based)-that's different. I'm talking pasta salad with some sort of Italian dressing. That kind of salad. I have no idea where this recipe came from. To be honest I think we were at some party and someone had something similar so I just tried to recreate it and came up with my own thing. I love making this because 1. it's easy and 2. you can use anything and sort of clean out your fridge!

Pasta Salad
1 box pasta (I used 16oz Rotini)
1 celery stalk, sliced into "rings"
3/4 can garbonzo beans
1/2 can large black olives, sliced into rings
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
12 baby carrots, sliced
mozzarella cheese (I used one stick of string cheese cut into small pieces)
bacon bits (we use Hormel real bacon pieces)
Italian dressing (I used Wegman's traditional Italian)

1. Cook pasta as directed on box. Rinse under cold water and drain.
2. Put pasta and all ingredients into bowl and toss until well mixed.

Easy huh?! Honestly, I don't measure anything-most of this was a guesstimate. Basically I add ingredients one at a time and toss it with the pasta. If it doesn't look like enough, I add more. Same with the dressing-I put some in and toss it and see if it's well coated. You may want to have more out when you serve it because sometimes the pasta soaks it up. I can't wait to have some later!

Enjoying Her Toys

Avery has been at the stage where she's starting to enjoy her toys more. She has been hitting at a few things hanging from her car seat and I recently brought down some more of her toys from her room for her to play with. The past few days we've had blanket time where I put her down on a blanket and we play with toys.
Here are a few pics from the first day of blanket time:

In these ones she actually grabbed the toy and started swinging it around:

Yesterday she fell asleep in her swing with her hand in her mouth (we're still working on the whole keep-the-thumb-in-your-mouth part of thumb sucking):

Blanket time yesterday and "hugging" her toy:

Daddy and Avery:

This morning I sat her up on the couch to see how well she could sit. She doesn't have 100% head control yet, but she just looked so darn cute!

Gabe took her to the market today with his family while I went to the gym. We have a block party later today so I made a salad (recipe to come next) for it. I really need to do some vacuuming around here-we'll see if that gets done. Tomorrow we're going to go apple picking and I have some stuff to do to get ready to go to work on Monday. Yay for weekends!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken and Apple Couscous

Once again I'm making a recipe I found over at Heather Drive. This sounded good when I read her blog so I decided to give it a try. It turned out pretty tasty I think. We omitted the raisins, but maybe I would try it with them next time to see what it's like.
Chicken & Apple Couscous
(Source: All About Apples)

- 2 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken (we used approximately 1.3 lb. which was a little over 2 cups)
- 2 cups dry couscous
- 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken stock (I used chicken broth instead)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (we omitted)
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup butter cut in small pieces
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Last Week of Freedom

So this week is my last week of last week of maternity leave. I never thought 12 weeks would go by as fast as it did! I do have to say that taking that long off was the best thing I could have done. If you're contemplating taking the extra time off of work, do it! I feel like I really got to bond with Avery and get to know her. When 6 weeks came (a normal maternity leave), I couldn't imagine having to leave her. She still seemed so tiny and helpless. And at 8 weeks (a C-section leave which would have been what I took) I felt the same way and physically I felt very good, but still couldn't imagine working. But now that Avery is 11 weeks old and we have one week left to go, I feel like she's big enough to leave. Not that I want to leave her, but she's not the tiny little thing she was 6 weeks ago.

I didn't much accomplished over my leave (believe me, I thought I would have all the time in the world to get stuff done), but I did spend as much time as I could with my little girl. So that right there is my accomplishment-I bonded with my baby for 12 solid weeks and I can be happy knowing that.

I'm looking forward to work for some adult interaction (the baby and the cat don't carry on a conversation very well). It'll be great seeing everyone again and seeing the patients. But it will be very, very hard to leave my pumpkin too. And I think I'm dreading changing my routine more than I'm dreading leaving her....nah, I'm dreading leaving her more ;) Yeah it's great sleeping in every morning and doing what I want to do everyday. So getting up early will be hard, but even harder will be doing my usual "work" routine and adding a baby into the mix. I have no clue how that's going to work out at all! No idea how much time it's going to take, etc. It'll be a trial and error next week that's for sure!

So what are our big plans for our last week together? Well, today we're meeting up with an old coworker of mine who just had twins in May. Tomorrow, Wednesday and Friday we don't have much going on. Thursday I think I'm going to hit the mall with Avery and do some shopping. I'm sure we'll go on a few walks if the weather is nice. So we'll just be hanging out and enjoying each other for one last week before the chaos begins!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

I got this recipe from Heather over on Heather Drive (yes, I use her recipes a good amount of the time). I actually copied this down last fall and never got to make it. So this year, I had to try them out. With fall quickly approaching, this is a great dessert to try out! And something to use for all those apples you've been picking!

Apple Spice Cookie Bars
(Source: Good Things Catered)

- 2 cups + 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- small pinch ground cloves
- 1/2 cup (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced (about two cups)
- cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray. (I didn't do the whole foil thing-I just sprayed the pan)
2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

3. In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine.

5. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

6. Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.

7. Fold in apples.

8. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar.

9. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (Bars will be very soft.)

I actually baked mine an extra 5 minutes. After 30 minutes they still looked pretty raw to me so I did the extra time. Even after that they still looked a little raw, but I figured I'd take them out and let them cool and see how they were. I tried one when it was still a little warm and it was very good. I haven't tried one at room temperature yet, but I bet they will be yummy! Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Rough Few Nights

I have to say we have been very lucky with Avery being a good sleeper. For about 2-3 weeks now she's been sleeping between 8-12 hours a night without getting up to eat. I of course have been loving it and feel well rested each day because of it. Well, the past few nights we haven't been as lucky. Monday and Tuesday nights she was up around 6-7am to eat then went back to bed-not a big deal. Tuesday she didn't nap at all that day so Wednesday she slept in really late-until around 11:30am! She took two short, short naps Wednesday but then that night, she was up at 4, 7:15, and 9 to eat-which she never does. Then last night (Thurs) I put her down like usual around 9:30 and she was up screaming until 11pm. Then she was up from 4:30-5:45 to eat (and stare around) and was up at 9 today. So, needless to say I've been feeling it the past few days. Today when I went back to bed around 6am, I could not get back to sleep so I was awake until after 8am. I was pretty darn tired today and actually took a little nap when she did this afternoon. I just put her down to bed about 20mins ago and already Gabe is up there because she's awake again. I just hope it improves before I go back to work in a week! I'm so not ready!

Anyway, here are some cute pics of her from this week! You know I can't do a post without some pics of my little munchkin!

She found her thumb and really sucked it for a few minutes (she usually can't keep it in her mouth):

Some burping pics:

Me and the babe:

Tonight before bed:

In this one she was smiling at her stuffed turtle: