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The other night, Chris and I were talking about what to do with the baby’s room once the baby gets bigger. He’ll fit in there now, with a crib— but he’ll probably eventually want all of our dressers and such out of the room, and he’ll need an actual toddler bed. We have a lot of room(s) in our house, but barely anywhere to put clothes— and dressers take up a lot of space— so Chris’ clothes are in the room where the baby will be. He actually mentioned maybe the boys will share a room eventually, and at first I thought that was silly because we have so much space! But then I thought about bunk beds. Maybe they will share a room for a little while, if only to get closer and get use out of bunk beds like the ones above…then when they get to their tween/teen years, they can go back to separate rooms? 

On an unrelated note, we went to the outlets on our way back from Cincinnati this past weekend and went into Pottery Barn, thinking we’d maybe find something small for the baby. We ended up with something small for the baby (a receiving blanket, a hooded blue elephant towel, some bins) AND a couch ($30), a corner seat ($30), a coffee table, and a king headboard which was originally over $1000, marked down to $175 or so. Yeah, we went at the exact right time. Yeah, we got a Pottery Barn couch for $30. Yeah, I’m still in shock. 

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Kids bedroom photos from Cup of Jo. Love the map on the wall in the bottom photo.

It’s like New Girl is in a competition with itself to see how much farther it can lower its stakes. And guess what? It’s winning.

These Freshly Picked moccasins are the best shoes for babies, hands down. My bestie Emily got these for our older son (older son! Because there are going to be 2!) when he was around a year old, and they were the only shoes he wore for at least 6 months, until he was really properly walking AND it was too wet to send him outside in shoes with only leather on the sole. Reasons why they are the best? First of all, they are super easy to slip on kiddo feet— parents, never underestimate that quality as your child tears their shoes off over and over again, and thus you have to put them back on, usually quickly. Second, they are soft, and babies don’t need hard shoes— they don’t walk, ya’ll— so soft is nice for cuddling and being babies in. Third, they are the cutest designed shoes ever with their tassels and I wish they had adult versions that had solid enough soles— I would wear them constantly. 

These are definitely Things I am Obsessed with Today. Especially as we edge closer to needing another pair…

This is from Cup of Jo today— a baby first foods list she made, and had illustrated. I just want to file it away here for December! (Holy moly, time is flying…this baby will be here any second.)

If the above pink flats had existed when I got married, I wouldn’t have had to make my own (seriously, there were NO pretty flats worthy of a wedding dress— and while making my own was fun, those glittery things on the toes ended up snagging and tearing my hem at the reception). Such pretty pinkness in these Kate Spade fanna flats— and they come in blue (yes!) and cream (obviously).

I came across this quote at work today— with all the winter insanity this year, seeing grass was a nice change. Additionally, the meaning of the quote is pretty great— so often we look to the left or the right to compare ourselves (“the grass is always greener”). Sometimes it helps to be reminded to focus on what is below our own feet, and to be kind and tend to our own lawn. That is, if the snow ever melts. :-)

[Photo: designer here.]

This beverage has become my new best friend. I know I can buy it at the store, but I always forget to, and then sometimes I dash into Bruegger’s Bagels down the street from our house on mornings when I need a carb fix, and I remember that it exists and I buy one because they sell them by the can (I’m also curious about this— seems so foreign and fancy of an offering for a bagel place). New best friend right here. 

Like any pregnant lady, I get cravings. Recently, with the weather being what it has been, I’ve been really craving soup, specifically the bad-for-you kind— broccoli and cheddar, with real cheese. Panera’s version is a little pre-mix-y, even for my (significantly lowered) pregnancy standards. So yesterday, between four conference calls and managing our sick two-year-old, oh and some hormone-induced panic attacks because that’s how I roll during pregnancy, I made some soup. This soup. It was pretty darn good, which was surprising because I usually feel like making food based on a craving is an easy way to get let down. No let down! I subbed whole milk for half-and-half, in an effort to avoid all the fat (ha! it’s still basically cheese and milk, oh well). Recommended. (I also didn’t make it in a bread bowl— LOLOL is appropriate here. No, I am not superwoman, I don’t make bread bowls during the day on Monday for my soup to be housed inside.)

This other recipe from Marcus Samuelsson’s blog is one I want to make. I am going to re-print the recipe below, in an effort to guilt myself into making them. I love spinach, and quinoa, and cute little cake-like-items. 

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Fava, Spinach and Quinoa Cakes

Servings: 4-6

Calories: 300 per serving

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 20 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen fave beans, thawed
  • 4 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • egg whites
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400

2. Squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach and place in a large mixing bowl

3. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fava beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain them and place them in the bowl of a food processor, pulsing until a coarse puree forms. Add to the mixing bowl with the spinach

4.Stir the quinoa, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, and turmeric into the spinach/fava mix. Stir in the egg whites until well combined

5. Form into 12-14 patties and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another five minutes. 

For more pictures and general bloggery, go to the original post here

Caroline, who seems like Girls’s latest attempt to make the main cast seem saner by importing someone with the home training of a Real Housewife and the mental health of a late-stage Hapsburg intermarriage, is another matter.
Alyssa Rosenberg, New York Magazine, “Enjoy Your Evening, Enjoy Your Life,” January 20, 2014.

Beautiful calligraphy. That’s all.

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My dear cousin Haley lives in South Sudan, and she and her husband were home for the holiday (thankfully) when they got the news that the political unrest in Sudan had led to violence, which then led to the U.S. ordering non-emergency U.S. government personnel (most of their colleagues and friends) to evacuate immediately. I read the travel advisory and instantly thought it would be insane to voluntarily travel back there— although clearly that is their current home, where they will want to return, so it’s not really insane, just hard to imagine for a person living in the peace and comfort of the United States. They are now trying to determine when (and if) they will return.

Because the world is a scary place, sometimes humor and appreciation of absurdity helps things, and for some reason once on the travel advisory site, I started clicking through other places the U.S. warns you not to go. Everyone loves listicles at the end of the year, right? Without further ado, here is my 2013 Round-Up: Places I am Not Vacationing Today.

5) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Libya

Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation."

Verdict: I personally fear flying on an average day, and I really hate it when I am wondering if a civilian is going to shoot down my commercial jet with one of their antiaircraft weapons, just because.

4) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Venezuela

Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "All U.S. direct-hire personnel and their families assigned to U.S. Embassy in Caracas are subject to an embassy movement policy for their safety and well-being. The policy divides Caracas into three zones: Yellow, Orange and Red. Movements into the Orange Zone between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. are not recommended, and if U.S. personnel choose to visit the Orange Zone during those hours, they must notify the Embassy when entering and upon departing the zone. In addition, U.S. personnel must request armored vehicles to transit the Orange Zone between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Unofficial (i.e., personal) visits to the Red Zone are prohibited, and U.S. personnel are only authorized to transit the Red Zone on personal travel during daylight hours provided they remain on one of the city’s highways. If a trip includes movement through the Red Zone, U.S. personnel must notify the Embassy. Furthermore, U.S. personnel are required to leave public establishments, regardless of zone, by 2:00 a.m."

Verdict: Too complicated. I don’t like rules, and this seems like a lot of rules for a vacation. And something about armored cars seems like a little bit of a buzzkill, too.

3) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Iran

Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Iranian authorities also have unjustly detained or imprisoned U.S. citizens on various charges, including espionage and posing a threat to national security…The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and therefore cannot provide protection or routine consular services to U.S. citizens in Iran. The Swiss government, acting through its Embassy in Tehran, serves as protecting power for U.S. interests in Iran."

Verdict: I already knew this was not on my list, but it’s really crossed off now. Cool that the Swiss are cool with them, though. The Swiss really keep it neutral.

2) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of, a.k.a. North Korea

Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: North Korean authorities may fine or arrest travelers for exchanging currency with an unauthorized vendor, for taking unauthorized photographs, or for shopping at stores not designated for foreigners…penalties for knowingly or unknowingly violating North Korea’s laws are much harsher than U.S. penalties for similar offenses. Sentences for crimes can include years of detention in hard labor camps or death.”

Verdict: There is always some appeal to a little risk, and some thrill at doing something not very many people have done before. This probably stretches that concept to its own limit. Plus, I like shopping and would be very worried I would go to the wrong store and be sentenced to death.

1) Place I’m Not Vacationing Today: All the rest…Burundi, Honduras, Algeria

Information Discouraging My Vacation Plans to this Locale: "Exchanges of gunfire and grenade attacks are common even in densely populated urban areas."…”Since 2010, Honduras has had the highest murder rate in the world."…"All visitors to Algeria should remain alert, avoid predictable travel patterns, and maintain a low profile.”

Verdict: All of these locations seem like dry vacations; drinking would pretty much guarantee murder, a grenade attack, or a kidnapping. Although I am currently pregnant, I do like to plan future vacations with the assumption I can have a glass of wine without such extreme negative consequences. For this reason, these locales are not places I am vacationing today.

I ran across the top photo on a blog…and couldn’t help but contrast it to the bottom one. And then, for kicks, I thought I’d post both. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a guilty pleasure, you can’t avoid this woman…so let’s at least learn something. Lesson here: Just because you look one way, doesn’t mean you’ll look that way forever. This change is relatively easy: plastic surgery, hair dye, spray tan, and a LOT of make-up— like a TEAM of make-up artists, around the clock. Want this look? You can probably do it, but you’ll need to make a sex tape first to get the funds. Good luck to you! And, class dismissed. 

He said, ‘Amy, Hollywood’s got one typewriter, and a hundred copy machines.’ And I nodded as if I knew what he was talking about. And I will never forget those words, because I don’t know what they mean.
Amy Poehler, PAPER, December 2013