Friday, October 31, 2014

Fright Night

It's Halloween...and we look forward to this holiday every year, but this year is EXTRA special!
Wise Old Owls Circa 2011
  We've been talking for months about our family costume...okay. let me be honest, every Halloween since we've been married I've picked out couples costumes with possibility of pregnancy or baby (eternally hopeful) but this year,
Pongo and Curella Deville Circa 2012
THIS year, we got to use one of these ideas I've had in the bank of options.
Circus Strong Man and Elephant Rider (Elephant Myka not pictured) circa 2013
It's so fun to dress up little Leo (I'm not certain he would agree as he grumbles and squirms when we put on the costume, but he quickly settles in and falls asleep in the comfy warm sack!)
Best Costume yet: French Robbers and Sack of Gold 2014
It was a nice treat for me to spend some time crafting his costume since there hasn't been much in the way of creativity around here lately.  I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out; he looks so darn cute that he steals the show and we don't mind at all. 
When we came in costume to my parents Halloween party, Luke decided that we dressed Leo as a bag of gold because, "to you guys he's more precious than gold, right Aunt B?!" 
Couldn't have put it better myself Luke.

Balancing Act

It has been a tricky balance...trying to get something accomplished in the day, but not pushing if too far.   I will admit it is not my strength.  Eric has always excelled at relaxing, so it was an extra special pleasure to have him home for the last two plus weeks.  
Alas, the honeymoon (or babymoon?) is over...Eric returned to work this week and sometimes I fear we've overdone it. That's not to say it seems much as been accomplished, but Monday, on Eric's first day at work, we did sneak in a walk. 
It's tough to say who enjoyed it the most, the sleeping baby,
the mama who was able to leave the house,
or the smiling pupparoo who couldn't stop bounding into leaf piles and sniffing in a zigzag the whole trail. 
Later that evening, I woke up with fever and night sweats, and spent the next day doing a whole lot of this... 
With Eric back to work, it's tough trying to pull my weight and get enough done to impress him without creating those feverish days that follow overdoing it.  
One of these days, we'll get back to a schedule that includes more than diaper changes, feedings and bathing, but for now, Thank you God for giving me my Eric, a wonderful Papa who is not afraid of a day when he does, "nothing and it's everything he hopes it would be!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Counting our blessings

As I sit rocking my little Leo and night turns to day that's
when it hits me the very blessed we truly are to have this baby in our lives.
Eric always asks before we crawl into bed if I can believe Leo is ours,
if I can believe we get to be parents?
No...I can't;
What did we ever do to deserve such a wonderful gift?
Listening to lullabies as he dozes off, I can't help but savor these moments together thinking the time is already going too fast,
and I am washed in a love for him that is so deep...
I can't get enough of his snuggles and can't stop kissing that sweet forehead.  
We are just smitten with this young master. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three is a magic number

A man and a woman had a little baby...
And there were three in the family,
 and three is a magic number!
What a magical gift he has proven to be.
 We have been just eating up every minute of this precious time with our little man. 
He has been the greatest blessing we could have ever imagined. 
From his head
to his toes
to his sweet little nose...
we L-O-V-E Y-O-U!
 Little Leo was born in the wee hours of the morning at 12:41 on Thursday the 9th of October. 
Weighing 8lbs 2ozs and measuring 20.75 inches 
he is a pint sized version of his Papa.  
Leonardo Manford (Manford for Grandpas Thomas and Giant) 
you have made our dreams come.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Blueberry Birthday Treat

It's Birthday time in Thomasland.  Eric's mom just celebrated a birthday
followed promptly by our brother-in-law and this baby of ours is due any day now-YEAH!  We usually go to dinner somewhere to celebrate and then back to Eric's parent's home for Dairy Queen ice cream cake, presents and games. 
What a delicious tradition, right?  Unless, like my mother-in-law you are on a gluten and dairy-free diet...then this just becomes torture (or so I imagine-those fudgy slices of frozen goodness are hard to resist!)  So I've been working on finding some equally satisfying gluten and dairy free dessert options which isn't really as easy as one might think.
The first attempt at just switching to soy flour in this recipe was a bit of a flop....despite what it looks like, the lemon blueberry bread was moist and flavorful and the lemony syrup hid any burnt flavor....but....
who wants to bring something that looks like THAT to a party?!  So back to the drawing board. 
I chose a go to classic that Michelle has always liked (even before her dietary restriction days when I made this with all-purpose flour as the recipe calls for) 

BLUEBERY TART (by none other than Marthat Stewart Herself!)

  • Prep Time 35 minutes
  • Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield Serves 10
  • For the Crust
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • For the Filling
    • 6 cups (six 1/2-pint containers) fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
    • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter; process until large moist crumbs form (dough should hold together when squeezed).
  2. Transfer dough to a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom; with floured fingers, press evenly into bottom and up sides. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes; prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes; cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, reserve 1 cup of the prettiest berries for topping. In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups fresh berries. Immediately pour hot berry mixture into cooled tart shell, and smooth with a spatula.
  5. Scatter reserved berries on top, pressing down lightly to help them adhere. Refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Stranded at home carless and with only ingredients on hand, I just subbed out the soy flour for all purpose flour (and even though it was a fail on the bread) it turned out to be a virtually undetectable change-success!

MORE is more

In elementary, Mom would always come to help for special days (like Christmas cookie decorating or Valentine's activity day) and she would remind us, without fail, that, "Less is more boys and girls!" 
I, however, tend to think the opposite....MORE is more.  So you can imagine that when I found my favorite peanut butter on sale for $1.50 I couldn't help but stock up.  I left the store with 8 jars.  When I showed my lovely Eric my spoils he couldn't believe that I didn't get MORE.
 (oh my Eric how you've won me over!)  So we promptly headed back to Kroger to pick up 28 more jars because in this Thomas house more just is more. 
At 3 days overdue, apparently what our little Baby Thomas believes too.
(Getting this one trained already!)