Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year

Howdy, 2013!  Nice to meet you - SO glad you are here.

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I have a feeling that 2013 may just be our BEST. YEAR. YET.

::High five to that::

There are so many fun things to look forward to this year and I've never been as excited for a year to come as I am 2013!

Here is a little glimpse of life in the new year so far (with a few of the eve too!):

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Delicious breakfasts

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Saying goodbye to trusty old friends...

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...and saying hello to new ones!

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Little Baby H nursery prep!
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Simple BLTs with avocado
 And last, but not least:

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Just over 8 weeks to go!
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Can't wait.  xoxo
May you all have a blessed 2013 - filled with endless happiness and love.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Helloooooo Third Trimester!

Yesterday marked the 28th week for little baby H and I.  I can't believe that I've been pregnant for more than half a year! Craziness, I tell you.

While there have been some ups and downs during our journey, this whole process (for the most part) has been amazing.  He really is an active little bugger - constantly moving around and making sure he lets his momma know that he is there!  My stomach has definitely been wigglin' and jigglin' all over the place lately.  Last week I was in a meeting at work and actually had people sitting across from me stop the meeting and mention my stomach moving around like crazy.  This belly and those movements cannot be masked these days.

While I have been keeping that majority of my weekly pictures and stats to close friends and family, I thought I would share some tidbits about the pregnancy since hitting this milestone has been kinda a big deal in our life lately!

Here are my current stats (and a few belly shots too!):
 
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28 weeks
Note to self:  Stay away from stripes and pulling my hair back!
Also - ignore the big bags under my eyes.  Hard to conceal these days.

How far along? 28 weeks and 1 day

Total weight gain: 17 pounds - although at 4'10" I feel like I've gained at least half my body weight already.  Been working hard at following the 80/20 rule.  I have my nutritionist's motto running through my head, "no eating for two, healthier eating for one!" SO crazy that little baby H really only needs just over 400 extra calories a day for the last trimester.

Maternity clothes? All maternity pants and some maternity tops.  Just got a few new things during the Thanksgiving holiday sales - SO necessary.

Stretch marks? Not yet and hopefully not ever!  Gotta love the 100% Shea butter!

Sleep:  My husband kindly refers to my side of the bed as the "pillow fortress." Been sleeping great once I got rid of that awful useless expensive maternity pillow.  Just goes to show you don't have to buy into all this special maternity product hoopla.  Makes a great little cocoon for Henry dog to snuggle in during the day though.  He likes it! Normal body pillows have worked the best for me.

Best moment this week: Picking out a vintage dresser to be refinished and painted for the nursery and also receiving a sweet "just because" gift from my hubby for doing a great job growing baby.  Moments like the last one don't happen too often, so when they do it's perfect and makes my heart melt.  He has such a good heart (and good patience too!).

Miss anything? Prosciutto sandwiches and tuna whenever I want instead of just a tiny bit here and there.  For never being much of a drinker, I've really wanted a glass of champagne (with a strawberry - of course).

Movement: See story above.  I have a feeling that he is working hard at perfecting his Gangnam style after having to listen to it for weeks due to his dad's current dance obsession.

Food Cravings: Jelly doughnuts and cinnamon rolls.  Sweets have consumed my thoughts all day for pretty much the last two weeks.  Did I mention that I was never really a jelly doughnut fan before?  Also, before this pregnancy - I'd happily take potato chips over a brownie any day.  Guess this baby is gonna take after his daddy - sweeeeeeet-a-holic!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really that interested in red meat lately.

Gender: Boy oh boy.

Labor signs: Experienced my first braxton hicks contractions the other night.  Creepy!

Symptoms: Crazy heartburn/reflux almost every day.  Back pain that comes and goes.  I've also been getting some leg cramps in the wee hours of the morning.  But otherwise, there are times that I forget I'm pregnant!

Belly Button in or out?  Still an innie but getting flatter and flatter by the day.

Wedding rings on or off? On and still a little jiggle room. So happy that I can still wear them.

Happy or Moody most of the time:  Happy for the most part but have had some really emotional moments lately.

Looking forward to:  A special Christmas date with Henry and Carl at the end of the week, Our friend's annual holiday gathering on Saturday, finalizing a date for my maternity shots (since our last session got rained out) and finishing our baby registry!

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28 weeks + 1 day
I feel like I live in yoga pants and tank tops at home.

So there you have it!  We are starting to nest and looking forward to little baby H's arrival in a little less than 12 weeks!!  Such a amazing journey and an even sweeter blessing.  We can't wait to meet him.

I hope you are all having a fabulous week.  Now that my sweet tooth has arrived, hopefully I'll be back to posting some new holiday treats in the days/weeks to come!
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gender Reveal Recap and Lucky Winner

Truth be told - two weeks ago, I had this entire post finished.  It was late at night - I was stressed out with a bazillion things on my mind.  Carl had tried to entice me to put down the computer and watch Home Alone with him - a movie date (LOVE that movie)!  I told him that I just had to finish this post.  15 minutes later he fell asleep (some date!) and shortly thereafter, I went to click publish and then my computer did some weird wacky thing and then last thing I knew that post was wiped clean.  I mean not a single freakin' word left.  There was no way to recover what was lost.  It had taken me 2+ solid weeks to get this post done working alongside the chaos that is my life right now.  In the flash of a second - it was gone and I was really sad.  Heck, I am still sad but I guess today I've decided to make lemonade out of lemons and surge on.

Anyway - For those of you who didn't hear already:

Little Baby Hartford is a...

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BOY!

Carl and I are beyond thrilled and happy. Carl so desperately wanted a boy and I really wanted that for him. He never asks for much, so I was hoping his wish would come true. Truth is, we are lucky and blessed and really would have been happy with either as long as they are healthy.   The day we found out was really exciting and I would be lying if I said we didn't shed any tears ;)  The toughest part was keeping it a secret for almost six weeks.  I only slipped once! and the person must have not noticed because they were on team Pink!

...and now it's official - I will finally be outnumbered in my house.. by humans!  Although Henry love bug is pretty much a human anyway.

As for the big party -

Our gender reveal party was a wonderful day.  We had our closest and dearest friends and family present and it was an all around fantastic day. 

The menu was Italian and consisted of:
  • Baked ziti
  • Roasted sausage, potatoes, peppers and onions
  • Homemade marinara sauce
  • Bruschetta
  • Strombolli
  • Pizza bites
  • Homemade Garlic Knots (A Carl specialty)
  • Italian meats, cheese and crackers
  • Assorted olives
  • Vanilla and double fudge cupcakes
  • Pumpkin whoopie pies
  • and my MIL's chocolate whoopie pies
I'm sure I'm probably missing a few other things in there - but that was the basic gist of it.

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I really wanted to face plant myself into this delicious italian meat platter.  MY WEAKNESS!  Carl has been informed that I want NEED a proscuitto sandwich T minus 30 minutes after I give birth!

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What will little baby Hartford bee?  A baby He or a baby She?!  I loved making these cute little behive cupcakes.  I also loved eating them... especially the chocolate ones.

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The guests were encouraged to wear their color of choice and it was really fun to see people show up wearing blue and/or pink.  Team boy was definitely winning the numbers contest but where team pink lacked in numbers, they made up in style!  I mean - little girls in pink fluffy dresses?! SWOON!

Here were the teams:

Team Blue (plus a few really cute team pink triplets and Juliet!):

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Team Pink:

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As far as the actual reveal went, we had everyone count down from ten and then released a balloon for the gender that was not correct.  We were then left holding the gender of our sweet little babe.

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Team Blue (minus a few) celebrates the victory:

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I also had a little contest going on here on the blog.  Remember this post!?

Well the opposite happened on the blog.  Team pink far outnumbered team blue.  Carl and I loved reading all of the comments that people left.  It was so exciting especially because we just wanted to shout it from the rooftops instead of keeping mum for so long.

The individuals that correctly voted boy were:

1 - Aireen Arellano
2 - Diana J.
3 - Carrie Hartford Fedders
4 - Diana Cardella
5 - Meg Trimarchi
6 - Charlotte
7 - Jimbo
8 - Cupcake Kelly

All the correct entries were entered into a little raffle to win a $10 gift certificate to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks (winner's choice).

And the lucky winner is....

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Congratulations, Charlotte!!  Please e-mail me at bakingitonmyown@gmail.com and let me know your preference of gift card.

Thank you, again, to all who voted.

Happy Thursday.  Just remember - tomorrow is Friday.  Yipeey!
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie Crunch Bars

Today is a special day - my step-dad's birthday!  Steve is a wonderful guy and I am very lucky to be able to call him my dad.  It's a complicated story to explain how he came into my life, but - although we share no blood relation, he has and always will be my dad.  He has been there for me through thick and thin and stood by me in the tough times when others didn't.  My life has forever been changed because of him and Carl, Henry & I (little baby H too) love him dearly.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that some of my fondest memories growing up with Steve involve food.  He has a sweet tooth like no other and I know I can always count on him for a taste of anything I make.  We have a lot of the same food similarities but one that I was never 100% sold on was butterscotch.  While I do enjoy a little bit every now and then, it's never been my top choice.  Steve, on the other hand, LOVES butterscotch.


Since his special birthday is today and I wanted to send him something that he loves - I decided to create a new recipe just for him.  As I was cutting these bars up and melting my caramel for the drizzle, the rebel inside of me snatched up some crumbs and I was blown away! These bars are delicious and so decadent.  The butterscotch just throws them over the top. I am seriously questioning why the heck my taste buds have fooled me for so long.



Even though these bars probably won't make it to Steve-o until tomorrow (darn snail mail) - I couldn't hold back sharing this recipe any longer.  Also, I'm pretty sure if I pushed this post off one more day - I wouldn't have anything left to photograph!  yes, trust me - that are that. good.


Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookie Crunch Bars

Makes 15-20 good sized cookie bars

2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 heaping cups of quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 and 1/2 cups caramel bits (1 cup for caramel drizzle and 1/2 cup to stir into cookie mixture)
1 cup of rice cereal
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Spray a 9 x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together with mixer.  Add vanilla and eggs; beat well.  In a separate bowl - combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Add dry mixture into wet mixture and stir until combined.  Add oats, butterscotch chips  and caramel bits.  Once combined, gently add in rice cereal - stir and press into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.  When completely cool, cut into bars and place evenly spaced on a wire rack.  Place wax paper under wire rack to catch caramel drizzle.

Heat the remaining cup of caramel bits with the tablespoon of heavy cream over medium-high heat.  Continuously stir until mixture is thin and runny.  Using a spoon, gently drizzle the caramel over cookie bars.  Let sit to set.  Enjoy!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.  



Happy Birthday, Steve-o - I hope you enjoy your birthday treats. We love you and can't wait to see you soon!! xoxo
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Thank you to all of you who have submitted your comments/votes on the gender for little baby H.  I am loving hearing everyone's guesses - so keep them coming!  I have decided that the prize will be a gift card to either Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts - winners choice.

PS:  For those of you who have commented as unknown or anonymous, I have not published those comments.  If you'd like to be entered into this little contest - please make sure your name is either in the name field or the comment field.  I just want to make sure I know who to contact in case you are the big winner!


If you haven't voted - what are you waiting for!?  Click HERE to vote. 

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Lastly,  Today I am blogging over at CafeMom about my quest to find a good work/life balance.  Click HERE to go check it out!

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

A little over a month ago, Carl and I got some family pictures done with Henry in the Boston Public Garden.  It's hard to believe that we have not had any formal family photos done with Henry for the past four+ years that he has been on this earth.  Now that our little family is soon to expand to four - we wanted the capture a few photos with our fur baby.

Morgan - the genius behind the blog xoxome - just formally started her own photography business and she generously offered to do these pictures free of charge during the month of September.  Not only is she a beautiful person on the outside - she is just as gorgeous on the inside.  She was a DELIGHT to work with and really made us feel at ease [we both hate getting photos taken].  I was absolutely smitten when I got these pictures and saw her work come to life.  She really is ONE. TALENTED. GAL. 

I cannot express in words how wonderful these pictures came out, so I'm just going to let you see for yourself!  All I can say is that she captured EXACTLY what I wanted her too - the love that Carl and I have for Henry.  Add the fact that little baby H was four months growing in my belly for these shots and my heart just might explode.  I have been blessed by the good Lord and I know I am definitely a lucky lady.  I am so grateful to Morgan for allowing me to have these gorgeous photos to look back on for years to come.
















and because I just couldn't help myself...


This last one will MOST DEFINITELY be featured in little baby H's nursery.  My heart be still. xoxo.

If you live in the Boston area (or even outside the Boston area) - go check out Morgan Lee Photography.  She specializes in a variety of photography and is also available for travel.  You can check out her website here, her blog here and her Facebook page here.

Thank you so so much again to Morgan - you are the best! I can't wait for my maternity shoot in December!
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