The Big Grocery Shop

Do you guys plan a weekly menu?  Once I was at a friend’s house, and when I commented on how full her pantry was, she replied, “Yeah, I just go to the

Menu for Amos's birthday 2004!

store every week and buy the things I like there!”  I was struck by her method of shopping.  Is everyone that carefree?  Since moving in with Amos, we have always had a weekly menu & accompanying shopping list.  At first, this was born of necessity; we were poor Auburn students who had to plan out every purchase to the penny.  At that time, too, I gladly ate junkier food in order to afford cigarettes (sometimes I can’t believe I ever smoked, and other times I can’t believe I ever quit!).  Now, though, it’s become a way to budget and to keep track of all the recipes we love and those we want to try.  I use blank white index cards to write the menu on, with the list on the backside; I’ve got all the ones we used from the last couple of years, and even the menu & list from the first meal I ever cooked for Amos!  But that’s another story.

Since that experience with my friend, I’ve come to realize that I’m in the minority.  I don’t think most households are so paperworky when it comes to their food.  It’s a system that works for me, and a rather fun one.  I enjoy looking through recipes I’ve bookmarked, online and in our cookbooks, and making a market list helps me keep track of all the things we need for the new recipes.  We even have a list of weekday meals that are our tried & true, easy to make on the fly, recipes.

This week we’re having:  onion anchovy pasta (recipe coming for that this week, probably), veggie pot pie, Filipino chicken (an Amos classic)

Stack of old menus

with broccoli crunch slaw, aigo boulido with grilled cheeses, some kind of fish (whatever’s looking good) and my favorite mushy peas, veg and potato frittata with a tomato balsamic salad, and a rice stir-fry with whatever veg we have left (Hazel’s request).  I’m so excited to try aigo boulido; I was just reading Julia Child’s My Life in France, and in it she recalls an episode involving this garlic soup.  After reading, I just had to try it.  Our Mastering the Art of French Cooking is all packed up and in storage, though, so I’ll have to make do with this recipe.  On that note…

Bon appetit!  


All the Shopping, None of the Guilt

I love to shop.  Like, really love it.  Most of the time I don't even buy anything; I just like to see what's out there, what's popular, what all the cool kids are loving.  That is why this has to be the best website ever — is like the best shopping list ever.  Short for "wishlist," you can bookmark random things from any web page, creating a wishlist that spans the entire Internet.  After a while it gets addicting, all this pretending to buy things, but in a way that's satisfying on in its own right.  I also used this quite a bit when getting people's Christmas gifts; I would mark it, write it down on my Christmas list, and then buy it when I had the cash.  I also like to bookmark toys I love for Hazel, so that when they go on sale or she's a bit older I won't go crazy searching for that one thing I saw one time, someplace, but can't remember where.

Here are a few of my favorite things from my Wist!!


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Christmas Come Early!

You might not know this, but I look forward to Christmas as much as a six-year-old.  I love the lights, the tree, the buying and wrapping of the gifts, the eggnog.  Tinsel, angels, gingerbread, all that stuff gets my blood pumping.  I've already taken Hazel to Target just so she could see the twinkly Christmas tree display (so far it's the only one up, except probably Wal-Mart, but you know I refuse to shop there).  I have bought all the gifts I'm going to, I'm finishing up with knitting a few, and almost all of them are wrapped up and ready to ship out to the respective family homes.  I just can't wait to put our tree up, and I'm thinking I'll bully Amos into doing that this weekend.

The best part is that this is Hazel's first Christmas!!!  I am DYING to buy her a "first Christmas" outfit, and I bet I'll cave in the next time we go to the store.  Or the next 4 times, I don't know.  We have to get her a stocking, stocking holder, and a special ornament.  I want to wait until all the good stuff is in the stores, but I'm finding it difficult.

So I decided I would post about it and go ahead and decorate what I could – my vox blog – as Christmasy as I want it to be!  :)

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The Verdict: Innocent

Yep, the pediatric cardiologist declared Hazel's problem to be an "innocent murmur."  He said that what we were really hearing was the blood in her lungs rushing about, something like that, and that everything would be normal and regulated by about 6 months.  I am so relieved; I was definitely worried, no matter what kind words people had to pass on to us.  The doctor was really nice, too, which was awesome.

Since baby girl was okay and we were in Syracuse, we hit up the mall together!  Let me tell you, it was way harder than I thought it would be.  This is the first time I've used the stroller by myself; Amos and I have used it a total of three times.  Getting it in and out of the trunk was a major struggle, way harder than it looks.  That thing must weigh 25 or 30 lbs!!  Add a freezing rain to that, plus me in a dress, and I'm sure you can imagine what choice four-letter words crossed these lips.  That I kind of expected; having a hard time once in the mall was kind of a surprise.  I never thought about having to always find an elevator, not an escalator.  I scraped my knuckles a couple of times trying to get into the bathroom with a heavy wooden door bearing down on us, and in Steve & Barry I gave a sales associate crazy face when she opened a regular-size dressing room for us.  Naw, holmes, I wanted to say, we need to super-size it.  In H&M I even just blocked off the door to the last dressing room with her stroller and changed with the door open (at 10 am, with a newly-opened and subsequently empty mall this is possible).  Also I did maybe seven accidental wheelies because of the pile of clothes riding on the handlebar.  Note to self:  don't try on a pile of clothes that weighs more than she does.

Summary – driving a stroller is really tricky!  I thought it just meant that you had a cup holder and an easy place to put your lip gloss.  Today I felt like a 15-year-old doing a school project about not getting pregnant; you know, where you carry around a bag of flour and pretend to feed it, except I was driving through a obstacle course with one hand on the stroller and the other holding a 10 lb. bag of flour that really pooped and screamed and breastfed in the food court.  All these little adventures are shocking; not maddening or upsetting, but I'm always surprised that those things aren't what I thought they would be.  

More photos to come, also!  I have slowed down a bit on taking pictures, but promise that I'll have some new ones very soon.

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Almost Done Baking

We are at T minus 4 weeks!  Four weeks!  That's only a month!

I'm both surprised and dying for the end.  I'm sure most women who have been pregnant understand what I'm talking about.  On one hand I can't wait to meet the baby, have a drink again if I want, get out of the bathtub on my own (oh yes, I need a helping hand).  On the other I'm going to miss feeling her squirming around in there, and once she's out I have to start worrying about what she's doing and where she is.  

Amos and I have just about everything taken care of except packing a bag for the hospital.  I'm not exactly sure what clothes to put in there.  Every book I have suggests taking some nightgowns that are both suitable for breastfeeding and, to be kind of direct for a second, I would be okay throwing away since they could come back looking like I survived Vietnam or maybe a food fight involving only ketchup.  You hear me?  That's kind of a tall order.  I mean, I like all my clothes!  So I'm going out today to find something, I don't know what.  Also I'm stocking up on mini-toiletries so I can just pack them and then throw them away there.  Much less hassle that way!

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Back from St. Louis!

Whew!  I just got back last night and was too exhausted to do anything but go to bed.  Well, eat first and then go to sleep!  ;)

St. Louis was super awesome as always!  Laura was able to come home from college for my whole trip, so she and Nancy and I had a lot of girly time, which is always appreciated and fun.  We went baby shopping on Friday, and my pregnant self is so slow that shopping is the only thing we did.  I got some really good deals though, and ended up with a few cute things for not that much cash.

The shower was sweet family fun.  All the aunts and cousins were there, and we had a blast!   Patty, one of Amos's aunts and hostesses, had about 58 games to play, and luckily none of them involved me wearing bows or hats or anything stupid.  There was an adorable pink sugar-dusted cake, lots of good food, and even a watermelon basket (I secretly really love those things!!).  It was so great to see everyone again, and the shower flew by.  I wanted to take more photos, but I was pretty busy the whole time, so all I got was a crappy shot of the cake.  It's seriously so lame I'm not even worried about taking it off the camera, but it's no big deal.

One of the best things was the huge SURPRISE I got right before we left for the shower.  Nancy, Laura, and I were hanging out in the living room when the doorbell rang.  We gave each other odd looks, since we weren't expecting anyone.  Nancy opened the door to reveal my mom, stepsister, and her son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
I was so shocked and elated that they came!  It made the shower even more special, plus we went to dinner and hung out afterward until about 11 pm.  I was just so overwhelmed, and it was awesome to get to see them ❤

My last day there was pretty chill, although we did go to dinner and I beat Jim at backgammon with a triple gammon, which is a big deal for all you non-backgammon players.  The trip back was really long, with me getting to the airport at 9 am and not getting home until like 7 pm, but it was well worth the super fun trip I had.

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Babies & the Stuff They Need

First of all, I'm 17 weeks today!  Almost five months, and my belly definitely staged a coming out party in these past couple of weeks.  At the restaurant on Saturday night I wore a clingy dress, and it was more than evident that this belly didn't come from too many nachos or pizza. 

Secondly, a lot of people lately have been asking about baby gifts & so forth.  I have been researching the baby necessities, the things you gotta have for a baby, to choose the ones I think are the most beneficial and safest for a baby.  I'm registering at a few places, definitely Target and probably Babies R Us, maybe one or two others (not Wal-Mart, though, I am 100% sure about that one).  We appreciate any and all gifts and warm wishes for our baby, so thank you in advance ❤

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Shopping Crazy

Last week, as I was changing out of work clothes into more fun clothes, I realized that I was pants-less.  As in, all my pants are just snug enough to leave a red mark on my waist/hips.  This was no good for two reasons; first of all, it kind of hurt after a while, and secondly it only added to my already exaggerated need to visit the ladies' room.  So, on Saturday between my waitressing & hostessing shifts, I went a little bananas at Motherhood Maternity.  Our store location is about the size of a nursery, appropriately I guess, but I managed to stay in there for over an hour trying on anything that caught my eye & figuring out more about nursing bras & nipple leakage pads (just typing that is gross!). 

I walked out with an adorable pink ruffle-front blouse with small black polka dots, a warm purple & gray print dress, agreen dress I probably dropped too much $$ on (pictured), pregnancy black opaque tights, and a black cardigan.  It was so much fun to try on clothes that fit my changing body so much.  There was even this fake bump in the dressing room,  I guess so you can predict  how these pants will fit when you're ginormous, but let me tell you it was nothing like a real bump.  It was kind of triangular, and though I might be new to all this preggo stuff I know baby bumps are not triangular.  I finished off my shopping trip at Target, where I got some black pants on sale and a regular sundress that I love and that should fit when I'm pretty pregnant.  Either way it's super cute.

Amos and I went to this goofy store last night called Whimsadoodles or something equally sugar-coated.  It was fun looking at baby stuff with him; mostly I've been shopping alone, because of his crazy work schedule.  We got another adorable rattle and a huge, bright turquoise Sock Monkey that I kind of want for myself.  This kid isn't even fully formed but super spoiled 😉

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Addicted to Shopping

I was reading Fit Pregnancy magazine, and it had this section about organic/earth-friendly toys.  I found the most adorable rattle in there for only $8 (hey, I don't have a kid yet, $8 is still cheap to me leavemealone).

And I immediately looked it up online and bought it.  I can't help it, isn't it adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Baby Stuff is Hilarious.

I'm at 12 weeks, just 2 more weeks until it's the fourth month.  I go to the doctor again 2 weeks from Wednesday, the day before Valentine's, to hear the heartbeat and (hopefully, keep your fingers crossed!!!!) do a sonogram.  Did you know that a sonogram and an ultrasound are the same thing?  I totally didn't until last night.  DUH!

Yesterday Leah, Carrie, & I hit up the mall in Syracuse, which is pretty big, almost as big as the Galleria.  I didn't spend that much, but got a really pretty black maternity dress, a few hooded sweatshirts that are baggy enough to accommadate even an 8 or 9 month belly, and a hilarious looking cream baby snowsuit thing.  Seriously, look at it!!  The baby is just going to be sliding around in that thing with only its tiny face peeking out.  It was on sale for $10, marked down from $30, and the ladies who know about babies + winter assured me that it would be necessary a few times over the season, particularly when it gets below about 20 degrees.  But come on…can you imagine how funny the baby is going to look in that thing??  I mean, it has a CROTCH ZIPPER.  That shizz is hilarious!!!!

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