I have been making these blondies since 2007. My mom and I went on a trip to New York and I was obsessed with Sex & the City. We took the Sex & the City tour of New York which included a stop to Magnolia Bakery and I fell in love.
Since these blondies have been on my menu for years, always with a few variations, I depend on the same core recipe. The original recipe comes from the Magnolia cookbook. I'm a little more free with the recipe than they are. You can mix up the add ins for a different bar (white chocolate cranberry blondies anyone?).
I made them for Valentines Day and gave half of them away so that we would eat them. For those of you following Weight Watchers these are 11 sp (which is why I gave half away and because they're too good to keep all to yourself ).
•1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
•1 cup brown sugar
•1/2 cup white sugar
•Vanilla extract (2 tsp or 2 dashes)
•1 1/2 cup flour
•1 tsp baking powder
•1/4 tsp salt
•4 oz dark chocolate chunks
•2 oz white chocolate chunks n
I am writing this update in the tub. No, I'm not sexy or trying to paint a fun picture but it seemed to be the only time where I had both hands free and wasn't breastfeeding.
Don't get me wrong I am LOVING being a mom but finding free time is a challenge.
Before Finnley arrived I had this ambitious plan to complete a list of things just for me prior to baby. Unfortunately with complications and an early indication I didn't get very far but I do have updates below, as promised.
Well, there are my updates on my pre-pregnancy list. I'm thinking of doing a top 10 list for baby's first year. Any suggestions from moms out there??
So, I had another crazy week of good intentions, but lack of follow through when it came actually posting. If you've read my pregnancy updates you will know that I am a little less of a glow kinda pregnant lady and a little more of a hot mess. I kept on that trend by getting a wicked cold last week, some might even have called it a flu.
It was so bad I had a hard time keeping food and water down and because I was so sick we went to L&D (labour and delivery for those of you who don't live and die by pregnancy short forms) and got a bag of fluids and had baby checked out. He's still doing well and still big!
Anyway, I am almost feeling like a human so it felt like a good time to do a bit of an overdo update. Over the past couple weeks we were very fortunate to have a few baby showers and I thought I would tell you a little bit about them.
My first shower was hosted by my Aunts (apologies if some of the pictures are dark, we forgot the camera, I know, rookie new parent mistake). The shower was so much fun, they completely captured our nursery theme (elephants) and everything was perfect from the food to the decor. This shower was just for family, and was special because a) it was a mixed shower so Jordan got to participate b) Jordan's Nana and my Grandma were there, so we got to celebrate with the future great-grandmas which was extra special.
My Grandma has always been a huge part of my life and I love her dearly, and it was so exciting that at 92 she was able to come to my shower and that I'm getting to share this experience with her. I'm really excited to introduce her to her first great grandchild.
We were very fortunate to be spoiled by our family in terms of not only gifts but lots of love too. It was a wonderful afternoon that set us up for baby (thank you for the gifts!) and really just reminded us how loved little guy is already.
My second shower was hosted by three dear family friends, not sure if family friend is the right term, because they've been a huge part of my life since I was about 7 or 8. But they hosted a rainbow baby themed shower for me. The rainbow theme was special because that's what they call a baby after a loss, so all the little rainbow touches made the day extra special (thankfully, Kelsey & Karli are Pinterest addicts and made a ton of extra touches).
The day was filled with family and friends who all came together to help us celebrate our upcoming little guy. When the invitation was sent the ladies requested that guests bring books for our little guy, which was a wonderful idea, we now have a little library all ready to go.
They also had a lot of yummy food (both did, and I was very excited that I was able to keep my blood sugars under control while enjoying both showers), including lasagna cups and spinach dip tarts (the last one was my favourite, I will try to post the recipe soon).
I felt luck to have some of my really close friends at this shower. I feel like I'm already going slightly crazy with the pictures, so I will save you form anymore, but here are some snaps of me with my close friends and family. One of my girlfriends summed it up best by saying that the day really showed how much love and support Jordan, baby and I have, and she's right.
We are very lucky, from our family shower to our family& friend shower the theme was always love and excitement. We're looking forward to showing little guy off when he comes in the next few weeks.
What was your favourite memory of your shower? What do you remember most looking back?
I swear my intention is to post regularly, but this pregnancy is kicking my ass. That's right I said it. Last week I had my gestational diabetes test and I was ever so confident thinking I would ace the test because I've been really cautious about my weight gain and other than an obsession with jujubes, overall fairly healthy. However last week after going through the initial test and the two hour test, I can confirm I have Gestational Diabetes (GD). I was gonna do a food post but haven't felt like cooking because I don't know what I can eat yet.
Any other women who have gone through GD? Any tips? Go to foods?
In the meantime, I have made myself feel better by my traditional fall trip to Bath & Body Works. I basically stalk BBW during the fall and holiday seasons. I love the warm, cozy scents that they offer and like to stock up on wall flowers & 3 wick candles.
I will be honest, I was kinda disappointed with the candle selection this year. I kept checking online and my local store just never got a great selection. That being said, I got a few candles to get me through the season.
For the Body
These rich, 24 hour formula creams were on sale this weekend for $5 so I got my mom and I each a thin of Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte (bit of a theme if you keep reading). I asked my mom to try it all day and I did the same. I asked for a rating out of five and recommended that she try it in the morning to see how it lasts and then try a reapplication and I would do the same.
Mom says: 🍂🍂🍂🍂/5
Loves the fragrance! Smells like fall without being too heavy and it lasts forever. The cream moisturizes without being greasy. One leaf was held back as the cream didn't make the hands look ten years younger, which would have been a nice perk.
I say: 🍂🍂🍂🍂/5
Pros: I like that this has a fall scent without smelling like pumpkin purée. In addition the warm vanilla scent is cozy without being overpowering. I was really surprised at how how long the fragrance held without being overpowering when I first put it on. I didn't give it a five because I don't think I could reapply it throughout the day without the fragrance being too strong and in the winter my skin soaks up moisturizer like you wouldn't believe.
For the Home
I think the thing I was most excited about is Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow. So much so I got a wallflower an almost matching hand cream. I love the the scent is light and sweet and warm and pumpkiny. I like that it has presence without being over powering.
I'm also ver excited about the Golden Cinnamon candle. I love cinnamon but hate when it smells like medicine versus a warm spice. At first glance I believe that this candle will be a new classic and I love the packaging.
I'm excited looking towards their holiday line as well. I read lifeinsidethepage.com for my BBW updates and it looks like very shortly my Christmas candle Vanilla Snowflake will be coming out (so excited to buy a million of them). I STILL want them to bring back Nutmeg & Spice, but in the meantime these candles will hold me over (right now the petition to bring back Nutmeg & Spice is just me, but I'm very passionate about it so I hope to one day see it again).
So, what makes you excited about fall? Any favourite BBW scents?
P.S. I was not paid or given product for this post. Just truly like their stuff. I'd love to try another candle brand so leave a comment in the notes with recommendations!!!
Well I am now in the last week of my second trimester. About 90 days to go (said with a laugh as I know, babies have a mind of their own). I'm gonna be honest, I'm still missing my glow, if I didn't have my highlighter and bronzer I think I'd look like death warmed over. Aside from physical effects (see below for more on that) there are great things about being pregnant and the best part of ending your second trimester is the anticipation of meeting our baby. I. In the home stretch and know that in the next few months I'll get to meet the little guy that's been traveling with me for months.
The one thing I will say about this week is in terms of belly size I feel like this is the sweet spot. Big enough that you know I did more than eat a pizza and not so big that it's messing with my center of gravity.
Over the past few weeks we have been telling family,framily, and friends that we are expecting a little boy! We took sometime with are parents and Jordan's sister's family to enjoy the news before we started sharing the news with our wider circle. We had two get together a where we got to share our news and had two differs reveals. They were both simple and filled with a lot of love (okay admittedly pregnancy is making my blogs sound a bit more lovey).
I guess my most recent posts are all about new and exciting personal things! Jordan and I are happy to announce we're expecting our first baby! This is another reason why I've been quiet as moving and being pregnant offers its own set of challenges.
We are incredibly happy to be about 25 weeks along and look forward to meeting little who-ever it is in early December. I wanted to share the news with you for two reasons:
1) This will change the tone of my blog and mean that I include more baby stuff. Being a first time mom I will never claim to be an expert - but I welcome advice and will share my learning's.
2) Getting to this point has been a long journey for my husband and I. I wanted to share some of our story because I found hope to be a positive thing and wanted to share a bit of our hope with you.
Our Pregnancy Journey
We got married in the summer of 2012, and after enjoying about six months as a married couple decided we wanted to start trying to expand our family.
When we tried the first time we were the picture of an after school special and basically got pregnant right out of the gate (only takes once!). We were so excited and got to planning right away. Early on we discovered that I had a subchorionic hematoma and a couple of cysts. Many people go on to have successful pregnancies with these conditions, I've actually had a subchorionic hematoma with all of my pregnancies, but for me, my pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 10.5 weeks.
It was really heartbreaking for us, but we were optimistic that it would happen for us quickly. We did put our trying on hold for a bit as one of my cysts needed to be removed surgically because the size of it would put my ovary at risk, and while they were there they cleaned up some endometriosis (I like to cover my basis in terms of medical conditions).
I had the surgery in October of 2013 and discovered we were pregnant again just after Christmas. It was exciting and terrifying to be pregnant again - but we were so excited. After the first trimester we took a deep breath and had complete confidence that this pregnancy would be successful.
I had some challenges with my second pregnancy. First there was morning sickness (which for me, was completely miss leading, it wasn't in the morning, it was all damn day long). The sickness didn't really go away after the first trimester, and there were a couple times where I needed IV fluids to get better. That and a steady supply of purple Gatorade. I also had a small set back when they thought I had a brain bleed (which I didn't). I'll spare you the details (focusing on hope and not scaring anyone who may be in a similar situation), but two lumbar punctures later, a blood patch, a CT and a MRI and I was cleared as almost healthy, just severally de-hydrated and suffering from pregnancy induced migraines.
Despite our challenges with that pregnancy, we were still optimistic and excited. I figured, I could do anything and deal with anything if in the end I got my healthy baby. Unfortunately that didn't work out for us and shortly after going for our anatomy scan we got the news that our little boy wasn't going to make it and that I need to be induced. I think that was by far the hardest thing that we have ever gone through. The waiting, the lack of answers, and the plans that had to be put on hold or changed. At 20 weeks we had to say goodbye to another pregnancy that was so desperately wanted and start planning for a future that seemed scary and nerve wracking.
Third Time's the Charm
After taking a break to recoup physically and mentally we began the process of starting to try again. I found this time it didn't happen as instantly as before and I found that very difficult. I ended up doing acupuncture, which I sucked at. Not the actual act of getting acupuncture, that was fine and even comfortable, but I couldn't relax to save my soul. Never fell asleep. Always counted the songs (and I always seemed to get the same CD). I was really doing it to check something off my list, and I think it helped,because I felt like I had done everything in my power to get pregnant. We were happy to find out that we were expecting in March, and thus began our hibernation.
We took time to ourselves to be cautiously optimistic. We tried to find the joy and if I'm being honest, we spent most of the first 20 weeks counting down milestones and waiting for good news. It was so exciting to go for our scan and then hear we were having a happy healthy baby. Now we are getting to share with our families the gender of our baby, slowly and surely finding more joy and excitement.
This pregnancy was much easier physically by comparison to my others, though an emotional roller coaster. I have a great doctor who has made sure that I am looked after and helped me make every important decision along the way. After the 20 week scan it was like there was a light switch that I got to turn on that made pure excitement acceptable (just ask my husband, he's seen the closet full of clothes that says that is true). That being said, though I have a lot of joy in my heart, I feel like I am mildly missing the glow. If this were the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting, I'd be Elizabeth Bank's character, she looks graceful and charming compared to me.
We are now planning for our shower, reading as much as we can, and celebrating with loved ones. I'm enjoying watching my alien baby kick and flip inside me and am calling on my girlfriends and family members with kids to ask questions about being pregnant and being a first time Mom. If I'm being honest, I think there is still almost like a veil over this pregnancy as I know that things can go tragically wrong. But I know that things can go perfect as well, so that's what we hold onto. I think about being luck that my husband and I grew closer through this experience, and that I have a family & framily that could rival superheros when they need to jump into action, as that support has been huge.
I wanted to share my story because I think, at least for me, that there was this sense of failing at not being successful to be pregnant and stay pregnant. Everyone time someone joked or asked about our family plans it felt like a personal jab at me. I thought that I should be able to do this no problem. But the more I talk about it the more I hear from friends and family, that easy isn't a reality for most women when it comes to getting pregnant. So many women have stories of loss, of desire, of dreams and endless medical procedures. We ultimately all have the same story though, one of want and one of hope.
If you are in a holding pattern of fertility from having challenges getting pregnant or staying pregnant I wanted to tell you to have hope. To talk to each other. Want is want, and it can be incredibly helpful to have girlfriends/family who understand the insane jealousy that comes from wanting a child and feeling like everyone else just snapped their fingers and had a healthy pregnancy. I hope that one day, maybe someone can read my story and have more perspective for a friend who is experiencing this kind of want, or for the one who is experiencing it, I hope that this gives you some light at the end of the tunnel and that you take strength from hearing a bit of a happy ending, or I guess more so a happy beginning.
I'd love to hear your stories. Anyone else experiencing their rainbow baby? Any advice for a first time mom?
This weekend Jordan and I took a little road trip to a new craft brewery called Manantler. Located in Bowmanville, this brewery is owned by a group of friends who started brewing three years ago and then recently opened a brewery/tasting bar/store.
The brewery was pretty easy to find (although we did circle the building a couple times as our GPS said we were on top of the building). Located in the bottom of a warehouse building, you walk through a red industrial door into a cool tasting room with a large bar.
You can buy a sampler for $2, and a flight for $5 (we had the flights, yes, plural). Since opening they've been busy brewing a bunch of different beers. In fact as we ordered one of the owners" James, said he had to leave for a minute because he was at a crucial point in the brewing process.
We sampled Orbit Lollihop while we were there. We liked it so much we got some to take home. I talked to the hubby about the beer because he has a better beer taste buds then I do (I drink what I like, Jordan can describe why we like it). When I asked him to describe it he said: awesome. Looking for a little more detail, I opted to follow his direction and open a bottle to re sample the beer (blogging is so hard).
This easy drinking, full flavoured hoppy beer packs a lot of flavour without being too heavy. I like that it has personality but isn't so heavy you couldn't enjoy a couple. The finish of the beer is great, the flavour lingers in your mouth inviting you to have another sip.
We had a great time at the brewery. We got to go on a bit for a tour (which I will mention in a later blog post) and had a great time chatting with all the different customers who came in, eager to support a local business. While there we learned that they were brewing three different beers this week, so we've already planned to go back next week with some friends to try them all.
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I love to cook, entertain, craft and create - all while being a wife, friend, daughter and a mom to a little boy.