Friends, food, and strollers

Hi friends!

I hope your Monday is going well so far! It’s a sunny day around here which makes for a lovely start to the week, even if winter coats are still a necessity.

What did you guys do with your weekend? We had some great friend time and also managed to be fairly productive errand-wise. One of the errands we ran was returning a few library books… The Paying Guests went back to the library –> it turned out to be “meh”. Not terrible, but not necessarily one I’d recommend. Oh well, on to the next!


Joel made himself a quesadilla –> this is such a good way to use up random leftovers. The green and brown sauces in the middle are leftover from an Indian meal earlier in the week.


The balloons from our Gender Reveal party were hanging out in the garage waiting for trash pickup day. Just seeing this reminds me how much fun the Reveal was! :)


I finally got my engagement ring and wedding ring re-sized. I’ve been wanting to do it for a couple years now so I’m glad we got around to doing it. We picked up the wedding band on Friday and will get the engagement ring tomorrow. I love when my rings get cleaned and polished and come back lookin brand spankin new :)


Joel has been working on cleaning up the trees that fell during the nor’easter last week. I’m glad that we’ll have plenty of firewood, but it sure is sad to say goodbye to those trees. When Spring rolls around, we will plant new trees in those spots.


Lots and lots of errands were run on Friday night. While we were out and about, we walked past this leather store and Joel randomly decided to check out their leather jackets. Seeing these cowboy boots reminded me of the years we lived in Texas. I used to have a cool pair of cowboy boots which I loved.


Another one of the things we did was look at carseats and strollers. This is such a new world to us, and it’s been fun learning gobs and gobs of new information.


Out of all the carseats we saw, we liked the Chicco one best (here). As far as strollers, we liked how light the Graco stroller was, but it was pretty hard for me to fold/unfold it by myself. The Chicco stroller (here) was a little heavier but MUCH easier for me to fold/unfold by myself, even with one hand! Unless we find something we like better in the next several months, we will probably go with the Chicco carseat/stroller combination HERE. Feel free to suggest other brands if you have one you love!


All that carseat/stroller testing made Joel hungry so we stopped at Auntie Annie’s to grab him a pretzel –> Joel likes mustard on his pretzels. Do you? I do not.


We then hit up Home Depot to pick up some rug-padding to go under our new rug…


…and went home to set it all up the living room. This is the rug-pad  –> it is very plush feeling and has a waterproof barrier on one side to prevent spills from going through to the floor.


And here is how it looks with the rug in place :) There are still a few “bobbles” and creases in the rug from where it was folded during shipping, but those will get worked out over time. The antiqued, imperfect design really floats my boat.


Turns out arranging furniture and manhandling rugs into place can really work up the ol’ appetite. Eli’s sounded good for dinner — ahi tuna risotto for me and salmon salad for Joel! Half of mine came home with me and was devoured for dinner the following night.


On Saturday a few of my childhood friends came over for the day! Colleen, Grace, and Amy :) We all went to the same boarding school in Kenya and have remained close over the years since. Amy and Colleen live in New Jersey and Grace lives in Boston, so my house is the perfect halfway point for us all to convene. Grace has a little boy who is the cutest butterball you’ve ever seen. Amy has 2 adorable sons and is expecting her 3rd in just a couple weeks. We made brunch together and made sure to get in lots of talking and laughing.


Joel headed outside to work on cutting up the tree. Meanwhile, we chatted up a storm inside. These girls are the best.


Danny and Jack (Amy’s boys) grabbed their toy saws and trooped outside to help Joel. These kids are utterly fascinated by everything that is going on with the tree. They were super excited to help Joel “saw” the tree with their toy saws hah. It was the cutest.


Asher (Grace’s son) kept us company inside –> he is the most laid back baby and is content to sit back and observe all the activity going on around him.


After the girls and their kiddos left, Joel and I decided to make use of our MoviePasses (probably our best purchase of 2018). We saw the new Tomb Raider movie – it was pretty good! Alicia Vikander was super tough and awesome. Sidenote: I saw her give an interview last week where she talked about how hard she worked for all those muscles and it made me like her even more!


My movie snack was plantain chips (find them HERE). You guys know I love these things.


Sunday consisted of (surprise) grapes on the way to church.


And after church, we had lunch at Mezcal with a few smallgroup friends. I got steak tacos a la carte (comes with guacamole). I can’t say enough good things about these tacos… they are perfection.


The rest of Sunday night was pretty low key, and it felt nice to relax at home. Joel and I chatted about boy names we like –> so far we have a list of names we like, but no clear favorites just yet. I’m noticing that we like names that are more traditional (as opposed to trendy). There are just so many cute names out there it is hard to narrow it down!

Got any carseat/stroller recommendations? What’s your favorite brunch food? Seen any good movies lately?    

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I didn’t have grapes and nobody died

Hi friends!

I know you guys are gonna be shocked to hear this, but……I have not eaten a single grape in 2 days! While grapes are still a solid pregnancy craving of mine, we ran out a couple days ago and haven’t had time to pop over to the grocery store. I thought for sure I would miss grapes like crazy but you know something? I was fine! Instead of starting the day with my usual bowl of chilled grapes, I have been enjoying some pretty stellar fruit smoothies. :)


Gotta give that blender some love, right? My brother gave us this single serve blender when he moved to South Africa and it’s nice to put it to good use (find it HERE). I love that it’s super easy to use and also simple to clean, which means I am way more likely to want to use it. My smoothies have consisted of mango chunks, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, plus a little water or juice to help the blending process. A nice cold smoothie in the morning is *almost* as good as a big bowl of grapes :)


Our fresh flowers that we bought last week are still looking mighty lovely over here! There may still be snow on the ground (and even more in the forecast for next week) but these beauties go a long way to injecting a bit of Spring to our home. I’m always amazed how long these flowers last –> I feel like they last much longer than roses, and are way easier on the ol’ wallet compared to roses too.


Something that’s not looking so fresh –> my old lapdesk. We got this years and years ago in Houston, back when I was working on my doctoral dissertation. The lapdesk came with me to Boston, survived the move to our Connecticut apartment, and somehow also made it here to our house perfectly intact. It was going strong until last year when it quite literally started falling apart at the seams. The bottom cushion is filled with these little white fluffy balls, which started appearing in all corners of our living room. Taping it up extended its lifespan another several months, but the time has finally come to say goodbye to my dear old lapdesk and let it go.


I ordered a new one, and although the weather last week delayed its arrival, it is finally here (Find it HERE). When I work from home, I am either at my desk or on the couch. These lapdesks make working on the couch much more comfortable, because I don’t have to have the laptop directly on my lap. Just LOOK at this brand spankin new lapdesk… it is big enough to fit my laptop and a mousepad on it, is super comfy to have on my lap, and I know it will get plenty of good use (using it right now to write this!). :)


My friend Kristi’s daughter Rowan is the cutest thing on the planet. She has been fascinated by the big machines across the street that are clearing trees from the lot. I love that she sits and takes it all in from the doorway. Her cute little curls are way too adorable. I can’t wait to see Kristi and Rowan (and our other girlfriends + their kids) when they come visit in just a couple months! My highschool girlfriends and I have always been very close and I am excited for our little boy to be friends with all their kiddos :)


Lunch yesterday consisted of leftover Indian food. I love me some lamb korma and chicken saag (spinach & chicken). I hope our kiddo is as big a fan of ethnic cuisine as we are. We will definitely do our best to introduce him to a variety of foods over time.


Lee was in charge of snacks for last night’s smallgroup and he brought over some fresh fruit and a couple stuffed breads. The stuffed breads are Lee’s “thing” he brings them whenever he is in charge of snacks, and they never disappoint! The stuffed breads and strawberries disappeared into our tummies pretty quickly (I was a mega fan of the strawberries) and by the end of the night the only remnants were pineapple and 2 slices of cantaloupe. Question: what are your thoughts on pineapple? I used to LOVE pineapple as a kid, but nowadays if I eat too much it sort of pickles my tongue. My friend Priscilla and my sister Wairimu say it happens to them too. I still love pineapple but have learned to go easy on the fresh stuff. But cooked pineapple? Load up my plate please, because I can eat piles of it cooked.


After smallgroup, Joel and I decided to put down our new area rug in the living room. Look at how enormous the living room is with the couch moved out of the way. I am excited about the new rug because it will finally be the right size for the space. Up until now we have been using a different rug that we had in our old apartment, but it is far too small. That rug will instead go into the guest room (it is the perfect size for that space). We weren’t able to finish the rug task because we realized it would be a good idea to get a rug pad for underneath the new rug. We’ll need to pick one up today –> any ideas on where to look? Ideally we would like a rug pad that adds a bit of cushion and “plush-ness” but we aren’t super picky. I guess we’ll see what we can find that fits our budget!


Joel’s beverage of choice while working on our puzzle was whiskey. He would pick beer or whiskey over wine any day. I can’t say that I miss any of those beverages, but the one thing I am looking forward to after pregnancy is sipping on a nice cold margharita (on the rocks) on a summer’s day out on the patio. Sounds pretty great, right? By the way, Joel is seriously good at puzzles. Maybe it’s the engineer in him, but he has a ton of patience to search for one specific piece amidst the hundreds of pieces, and he also has a good dose of “stick-with-it-ness” and could happily work on the puzzle for hours at a time –> I am rather impressed by his puzzle-solving skills.


That’s it from me! I hope you guys have an AMAZING weekend! :)

Recommendations on where to look for a rug pad? Does pineapple “pickle” your tongue? What are you up to this weekend?    

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St. Patty’s Day Parade + Amish Bread!

Hi friends!

Thank you guys for your lovely comments on my Gender Reveal post! We are so excited to have a little boy and can’t wait to hold him in our arms. :) It is quite surreal to think he’ll be here before too long!

How is your week going so far? We had even more snow come our way in the past few days. While a fresh blanket of snow certainly pumps up that “winter wonderland” vibe, I must admit I feel very “meh” about it all. This is pretty normal for March in New England, but can Spring just be here already?


My friend Kristi got snow down in North Carolina too –> her hubs Evan and daughter Rowan made sure to get outside and enjoy it! I love that they gave their snowman hair and a hat :) Kristi is one of my long-time pals – we met in 7th grade at boarding school in Kenya and have been besties ever since. After we graduated from highschool, we went to the same college, and met our hubbies there. Evan (her husband) was in my statistics class freshman year! Kristi actually knew Joel better than I did back then, and I guess she knows me pretty well too because she would always tell me that I should hang out with him more. It’s funny to think that all 4 of us (Kristi, Evan, Joel, me) spent those college years together :)


Let’s back up to Sunday. After church we went to Tandoor for some lunch! Joel’s favorite cuisine has always been Indian food, and I am not complaining about that. :) I am glad we enjoy the same foods.


After lunch we watched the St. Patty’s Day parade for a while. This happens in New Haven every year and this was our first time catching some of it. It was a nice sunny day, and not too cold, which made it quite pleasant to be outside.


We then went home and unwrapped the baby’s gift from his Aunty Meg (Joel’s sister) –> his very FIRST books! Our kiddo is going to love these! I have always been really interested in quantum physics, so the “Quantum Physics for Babies” book made me particularly happy :)


Joel’s dinner on Sunday consisted of a very interesting mashup of leftovers from the Gender Reveal… peppers, stuffed bread, bacon-wrapped clam, and probably other random stuff in there too. We still have a good amount of the Reveal cake leftover in the freezer too. Speaking of leftover frozen cake, did any of you guys do the tradition of eating the top tier of your wedding cake on your one-year anniversary? We did not. We got married in Kenya and left the cake in my parents’ freezer when we flew back to the USA.


My love for grapes is going strong. While green grapes are at the very top of the obsession list, red grapes are pretty high up there too. I wouldn’t say no to cantaloupe if it was in front of me, but right now grapes are my #1 boo. I must have consumed 200 cantaloupes in the first half of this pregnancy, but now I am working my way through piles and piles of grapes :)


One of the moms who goes to the Moms Brunch (it happens every other week) gave me this “Amish Bread”. Apparently it’s got some yeast and flour in there, and you massage the bag every day for 10 days then bake it. She sent me the instruction for what to do… on Day 5 (today) I added a cup of flour, sugar, and milk (I used almond milk because we didn’t have any cow’s milk – I hope it turns out ok!). It’s my first time trying this and I can’t wait to sample the finished product!


We made a run to Home Depot to pick up supplies so that Joel can re-right our trees that started leaning over from last week’s nor’easter. I’m sure you guys have noticed that Joel is super handy, which is something I am really thankful for. It’s super cool to me that he can fix and build just about anything :) I’m glad he’ll be able to teach all this stuff to our little boy because I am pretty useless at that kind of thing.


Vanilla flavored Greek yoghurt was the perfect snack while working on our puzzle. The Stop n Shop brand is delicious!


We’re making some good headway! We have the entire top edge complete, and big sections of the middle part too.


My sister-in-law Sonia brought some amazing tea that she picked up from David’s Tea in NYC. It has beets, nuts, and other goodies in the teabag, and not only does it taste like yummy cereal (we added a dash of almond milk), it also turns the water a pretty shade of pink!


Every now and then I love me some plantain chips! My favorite is the plain kind (they also have garlic) and even though the bag comes with like 3 servings inside, I can eat the whole thing all by my lonesome :)


I mentioned that some of our dishes have been mysteriously cracking lately. It’s a set that was given to us as a wedding gift over 10 years ago. Over the past 3 or 4 months, we have had to throw out 4 plates due to having big cracks in them. Yesterday I was heating up some lasagna in the microwave and heard a “pop” and saw that the plate had cracked right down the middle! These plates are from Target and are from their “crackle” collection (aptly named haha). They were awesome plates for many years, and we loved using them, but you may want to avoid the “crackle” collection if you are looking for something that will last longer than 10 years.


I have found that a mug of hot chocolate goes a long way to satiating that hankering for something sweet. THIS is the kind we have, and I am enjoying it immensely! I don’t have a big sweet tooth –> I’m more of a salty/savory person, but there are definitely a few of those moments where I have that “I could go for something sweet” feeling. Hot chocolate gives me that sweet fix for fewer calories compared to downing a bunch of cookies or cake (although there are certainly days when cookies & cake happen too hah!).


Got any baby books or registry must-haves to recommend? What do you do with your puzzles after you complete them? Your favorite kind of hot chocolate?    

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Our little one’s gender reveal! :)

Hi friends!

It was a pretty big weekend over here! At long last, we FINALLY found out the gender of our little bun in the oven!

But first, let’s rewind to the night before the big reveal. We picked up Freddie and Sonia (my brother and his wife) from the train station –> I am so glad NYC is close enough that we can see them fairly often. We were all hungry so we went to Eli’s for some grub.


I got the same thing I ordered the past 3 times we went to Eli’s: fish tacos! I had them put the slaw on the side and switch out avocados for guacamole –> perfection :) I did not used to be a fish taco person until I tried these. I sense many more fish tacos in my future.


After much anticipation, Saturday morning rolled around! Natasha and Bernice came over around noon to help get everything ready.  It’s true what they say… many hands really do make light work!


Amy came over early too and cooked up several amazing dishes for the party. Everything she made was a major… I mean MAJOR hit: bacon wrapped clams, cheesy onion bites, a crazy good chip dip, and more! She also brought pink and blue balloons, helium (which was tempting to play with hah), a frame that everyone could sign for the baby, and a cute banner for the fireplace where everyone could wager their guesses as far as boy or girl! Amy rocks. :)


That’s a pretty good looking spread! We had 2 kinds of stuffed breads, red lobster roll bites, lots of different veggies for dipping, chips, gluten free pretzels (Joel’s sister is gluten free), spicy hummus, 3 kinds of cheese, crackers, bacon-wrapped clams, chip-dip, cheesy onion bites, sliced fruit… and of course the star of the show –> CAKE! :)


We’re so fortunate to be able to share these moments with our awesome friends! I can’t tell you how incredible these people are. Sidenote: my friend Kristi helped me pick out my blue dress + pink necklace combo :) A quick word about the dress: you can find it HERE! It is my very first maternity purchase and boy was it a good one. Let me tell you, it gets a solid A+++ from me! Super comfortable (which is KEY for preggos), not see-through, adjustable neckline, soft fabric, good sleeve/dress length, and quite flattering! I received a ton of compliments and I give all credit to the dress. I know I will keep wearing this even after baby is here –> and another plus is that the wrap-neckline will be conducive to nursing. Oh, and if you’re not pregnant, the regular non-maternity version is HERE!


The boy/girl guesses ended up being split pretty evenly. :)


My amazing friend Priscilla and her little boy Edgar –> we’ve been good friends for over 15 years, since freshman year of college! When I lived in Houston, she was living in Philadelphia, and we talked on the phone pretty much every single day. She was my maid of honor and at our wedding in Kenya! She’s a good egg, and I mean it when I say I am VERY lucky to have her as a friend. I am excited for our kids to be friends too! :)


I get the feels just looking at these smiling faces! Fun fact: I gave Freddie that blue jacket several years ago as a Christmas gift! It makes me happy whenever it makes an appearance :)


Everyone got to sign this frame, and I am excited to hang it in the nursery (once we replace the stock photo with a real one our kiddo hah). We have a few friends who couldn’t make it to the party who will get their chance to sign it later. :)


Next up was the onesie decorating contest! We did something similar for my sister’s baby shower –> she had all these special momentos/memories that actually had practical use. Plus, I loved getting photos of my niece wearing the onesie that I decorated for her! It’s definitely a gift that keeps on giving :)

Just LOOK at the concentration going on here –> the focus is real!


The official time-keeper (Bernice) gave everyone 15 minutes total, and not a second more, to decorate their onesies. The pressure was ON to come up with a design :)


The judges (Joel and me :) then deliberated on the onesies. Picking a winner was tough – there so many good designs!


Obviously we took our judging task very seriously :) Our criteria included originality, creativity, execution, cuteness, and artistic prowess (we made up these categories on the spot lol). We gave points in each category to certain designs. The overall winner (most points) took home a prize!


Announcing the winner of the onesie decorating contest! There were a few honorary mentions for onesies that caught our eye… but the person who took home the prize and all the bragging rights was… drumroll… ELISE!!! Her onesie had a toolbelt design which Joel was a big fan of hah (you can see her design in the above photo, it’s the one with the orange belt that we’re standing in front of).


And then, my friends, at long last…… It. Was. Time.

That’s right. Time to CUT THE CAKE! After 24 weeks of wondering, speculating, and guessing…. the moment of the big reveal had finally arrived!!!


Guys. The anticipation and excitement was SO REAL.

When we cut the cake, it took me a moment to process what I saw… I was SO SURPRISED! All the emotions and happiness just bubbled right on up. It was such an incredibly special moment. A couple tears may have happened (I couldn’t help it!) because I just could not contain that amount of joy. It was so cool to be able to share that moment with a few of our favorite people.

I’m so glad Bernice captured the moment on video –> I have re-watched it a million times because I can’t get over the look on Joel’s face when he sees that BLUE ICING!!!

That’s right!… I said BLUE! We’re having a little BABY BOY! :) :) :)


We are so happy and excited, and CANNOT WAIT to welcome our little fella!

It’s funny, I actually thought it was a girl for the longest time, so I probably did quite a few double-takes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. :) It’s a boy!

I am excited.

Smiles for miles because we’re all just so excited to meet you, little guy. <3


Got gender reveal stories to share? Any cute boy names to pass along? What did you do over the weekend?    

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Our first power outage

Hi friends!

It’s looking like winter once again here in good ol’ New England. We had quite the nor’easter a couple days ago which gifted us a fresh blanket of snow. It looked very pretty and serene!


Despite looking very pretty, the snow was very wet and dense. All that heavy weight took out a lot of trees and power lines in the area, which meant a lot of people lost power. Our power went out in the evening, which was a bit of a the bummer. We were right in the middle of watching Wonder Woman (which is very good!) when everything suddenly went dark. I was worried that the house would get cold (we have gas as our heat source, but the fan that blows the hot air through the house is electric). Thankfully the temperature in the house didn’t change too drastically and the power came back at around 3am.

During the blackout, we decided to break out our jigsaw puzzle. Let me tell you, it is HARD to put a puzzle together by candlelight! Every piece looks identical and your eyes play tricks on you lol. It probably didn’t help that the puzzle is quite intricate and the pieces are tiny. It made for a good activity though, and we even managed to get one of the edges almost completely done –> I feel pretty accomplished about.


We woke up the morning after the storm to find that a couple of trees on our property had fallen over from the weight of the snow. Joel is working on chopping these up, and we’ll probably need to call a company to help with the bigger pieces. He also wants to secure some of the trees that started leaning over so that they are upright again. Hopefully doing so will help them to re-root.


After my book club made quesadillas last week, I felt inspired to recreate them. Since I don’t have a quesadilla maker, we did ours in the oven on cookie sheets. We went the non-traditional route and decided to fill them with unexpected ingredients — mostly to use up what we had in our fridge. We had some “regular” stuff in there, like shredded cheese and black beans, but also included other things like leftover paneer (soft cheese), vindaloo curry, and BBQ ribs.


These “fusion quesadillas” were enjoyed with sour cream and salsa. I didn’t grow up eating sour cream (not sure why but I guess it’s not a big thing in Kenya?) so it’s not something I naturally gravitate to. It’s one of those foods that I feel totally neutral towards… I don’t love or hate it.


We added the 2 leaves to our breakfast table and now it is at it’s largest size. Normally we like it at its smallest size, but it sure is nice to be able to seat more people at at a bigger table. I wish we had more matching chairs… the dark brown chairs are from our dining table which we don’t use as often as the breakfast table. Fun fact: the breakfast table and 4 matching chairs were the first purchase we made for our house when we bought it. It was quite the steal on Craigslist and we refinished it ourselves in the garage. Sanding everything took forever and made my arms sore (we did it by hand because we do not have a power sander). After a couple coats of poly, the set looked pretty much brand new again!


Tacos happened. Who else prefers tacos over burritos? I feel like tacos taste way better. Why do burritos taste so bland to me? I filled this taco with steak, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and guacamole. Pretty delicious! The only way it could have been better would have been if there were also some raw onions in there. I miss all the really good tex-mex that we had at our fingertips in Houston. One of my favorite places to go was a restaurant called Chuys – they have the best beef fajita tacos and margaritas! Connecticut needs to get some good tex-mex :)


Hot chocolate kept me company while getting some work done at home. When snow is on the ground, hot chocolate always sounds killer. Is it weird that I was never into hot chocolate before my 30’s? I didn’t dislike it, I just never reached for it. Another thing I don’t really do is add marshmallows to my hot chocolate (again, I have no idea why because marshmallows are delicious).


We ran a couple errands in preparation for our Gender Reveal party. One of these errands was to go on the hunt for faux flowers. The Michael’s near us did not have any that we liked, so we ended up picking up some fresh flowers. These definitely won’t last as long as faux, but I love how they perk up a space. Our grocery store has a lot of good options for fairly inexpensive (I think I spent $7.99).


We settled on this happy little bouquet, which adds a nice breath of fresh air to the room. I hope these flowers last a good long while! The vase was a wedding gift and makes an appearance every now and then. Speaking of wedding gifts, our first set of plates as a married couple is starting to fall apart! In the past several months, 3 of those plates have been thrown out due to having cracks. The cracks go right through the plate so that anything liquidy would drip right through. Weird, right? Thankfully we have another set of dishes that we bought a couple years ago, and those ones are going strong so we aren’t going to run out of dishes anytime soon :)


I signed up for Amazon Prime again because I figure that it will come in handy for baby stuff. I got rid of it a while ago because we weren’t using it much, but then realized how much I missed it when I had to wait more than 2 days for something hah. One day I am sure all online purchases will have same-day delivery.


What are your favorite quesadilla ingredients? Did you get any snow this week? If you haven’t already, feel free to throw your guess as far as the baby’s gender! :)    

Last snowday? + Gender Reveal plan!

Hi friends!

It’s a snowday today! I guess Old Man Winter figured that we had gotten off way too easy this season and decided to throw one last snow our way. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this is the official turning point. Let’s hope that it will be nothing but gorgeous Spring temps and colorful blooms from here on out. I am pretty sure Spring is my favorite season. After the dreary cold, it feels extra nice to have pleasant temps and see all the plants perk up again. But then again, summer is pretty incredible too (especially the amazing New England summers), so maybe spring and summer are tied in first place. :)

Let’s back it up to the last couple days!

You guys know I am well on my way to forming a deep bond with grapes. Just look at this perfect bunch of grapes… it almost looks fake! My preggo taste buds have decided that nothing is better than some fresh, cold grapes first thing in the morning. The famous cantaloupe craving appears to have given way to grapes, and I can’t complain about that!


I got together with Natasha for lunch at Pho & Spice :) She loves all the same ethnic cuisines that I do and we have intricate plans to visit every Thai, Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese restaurant in town.


I ordered a dish called “The Jungle” which came with chicken, steak, and a host of veggies. Natasha has 2 kids and is a wealth of knowledge, so I’m glad she indulges my tendency to talk about pregnancy and baby stuff. :D Speaking of, the 2nd trimester has been AWESOME so far. Without the constant fatigue, daily headaches, and nightly heartburn from the 1st trimester, I feel like a million bucks. Aside from the baby’s kicks and the growing belly, I don’t “feel” pregnant (…I am sure that will change when the 3rd trimester and basketball-belly come around hah!).


After lunch, I walked back to my car and found that I had gotten a parking ticket. :( The city must have been REALLY on top of things that day, because the meter had only expired about 3 minutes before I got there! I haven’t had a parking ticket in almost 5 years and this was a bit of a bummer.


That night after work, Joel and I ran a couple errands including picking up a few white onesies. A onesie-decorating contest is in the plan for our Gender Reveal party! We did something similar during my sister Mumbi’s baby shower a few years ago, and it was a ton of fun. Side note: I had never heard of Reveal parties before living in Houston. It seemed like everyone did them there, and they were big deals! Ours will probably be quite casual in comparison :)


We also stopped in at Michael’s to pick up fabric paint for the onesie-decorating contest. Seeing these colorful flowers remind me of how excited I am for all the plants in our backyard to start blooming again! I was tempted to pick up a few faux flowers, but was on a mission to find fabric markers so never ended up doing that. I have never had faux plants before a few months ago. I always felt like they looked way too fake, but I found some last summer that looked really nice. I added some twigs that I spray-painted white, and also grass plumes from our backyard, and the end result came out much better than I expected. The arrangement is still in our dining room, and I love that it is a no-fuss thing that I don’t have to worry about watering or maintaining. :)


That night, leftover Thai food was on the menu. I realized that Natasha and I had accidentally taken each others’ food home, oops! We texted each other and decided to roll with it –> after all, what better way to sample more than one dish? I thoroughly enjoyed hers (tamarind duck with veggies) and hope she enjoyed mine too.


My snack of peanut M&M’s reminded me how much I used to enjoy these back in college. I don’t have these very often (I just never think about it) but I must say, I like them better than the original M&M’s. If I had to choose between a salty or sweet treat, I normally go for salty (ie, potato chips over cookies) but these made for a very nice mid-day snack.


Joel moved our bird-feeder closer to the house (it used to be next to the shed). We have lots of pretty wild birds in our area and I can’t wait to sit on the patio and watch them visit the bird-feeder. Last summer we loved having meals on the patio and listening to the birds chirping. Come on Spring! :)


We picked up seed for said bird-feeder… there are so many options! We went with a mix that would attract multiple types of birds.


Our Photowall print has found its home in our bedroom. We used to have a full-length mirror here but I think the print makes more sense for this spot. I love this print, it is somehow so relaxing. (Discount code HERE –> expires March 31).


Quick update on my new pillow… I LOVE IT. There is nothing quite like a comfortable pillow (especially after a year of sleeping on one that felt like it had rocks inside). This one has the perfect amount of memory foam – not too firm or too soft!


Indian food for dinner last night and leftovers for lunch today (this was Joel’s dinner plate) –> it was spicier than usual so we were both sweating bullets while eating. I love spicy food but it makes my face sweat, especially my upper lip and eyebrows! I have no idea why my eyebrows sweat but they do lol. Please tell me I am not the only one who gets sweaty eyebrows… :)


Joel is a champ at folding laundry. We tag-teamed this pile (it started much bigger) and got it put away in under 6 minutes. During the first trimester I could not use our fabric softener because it smelled so strong it would give me a headache. I did not actually notice a difference in the softness of our clothes/towels when I stopped, so I have not gone back to using it. Our detergent (All) that we have used for years upon years does great on its own, and I like that it doesn’t leave a strong scent.


Do you use fabric softener? If you had to choose between a salty or sweet treat, what would you pick? Do spicy foods make you sweat?  

Lazy Sunday Morning + Heart Pancake

Hi friends!

After Friday’s nor’easter, it was quite the overcast weekend around here. But at least it was above freezing :) Spring is a-comin, and I am waiting as patiently as I can!

My friend Amy is 34 weeks along with her 3rd little boy and looking so amazing! Just LOOK at that perfect belly she’s got going on there. She is an incredible mom to her 2 boys, a loyal friend, and all-round stellar human being. We met in 5th grade at boarding school in Kenya, and have been friends ever since. She lives in New Jersey now and I can’t wait to see her in just a couple weeks! :)


I forgot to go grocery shopping before the nor’easter hit on Friday (oops). During the storm, my friend told me that her SUV was blowing all over the road, and after hearing that I had zero desire to venture out in that crazy wind. I made do with what I had at home. Luckily ramen noodles and eggs came to the rescue. Quick, easy, and tasty –> yes please!


By Saturday morning the wind and rain had mostly died down (phew!). I looked outside to find that the winds had blown away our porch lantern. See that black and white disk hanging from the rail? It used to have a pretty solar-powered lantern attached to it. Joel found the lantern’s very sad remains in a corner of the backyard. I will miss that little thing. Looks like we’re gonna need to do some lantern shopping in the not-too-distant future!


Jessica and I met up for Saturday brunch at Maison Mathis. I feel like their menu looks different each time I am there? Or maybe a different item calls to me every time so I don’t notice other things. Last time I tried their quinoa salad (very good, especially with an egg added). This time I could hear those waffles calling my name…


Look at those beautiful strawberries! Strawberries, waffle, whipped cream, and a dash of caramel sauce in one bite made for an insanely good mouthful of YUM. I probably say this at least once a week, but Joel and I need to get a waffle maker for our home! I want to replicate this deliciousness in my kitchen.


We browsed their dessert collection, which looked so very pretty, but after my sweet waffle I didn’t feel the urge to indulge in additional treats. But you know what, I will – repeat WILL – be back for that creme brulee…


I sipped on this overpriced-but-tasty organic blueberry iced tea (Jessica opted for a latte) while we hung out and chatted about everything under the sun. Her apartment is only a block or so from my office, which made me I wonder how many times we have passed each other over the years before we officially met and became friends! …And that makes me wonder how many people I pass on the street that will one day become my friend!


Dinner consisted of Ethiopian food! Jessica had only eaten Ethiopian food one time long ago in Philadelphia, but did not enjoy it. My heart was happy that she was game to give it a second chance. She ordered Doro Wot, a popular crowd-pleasing chicken dish, and ended up liking it! It always makes me happy when my friends love Ethiopian food. I grew up going to amazing Ethiopian restaurants in Nairobi with friends and family, and it will always have a special place in my heart. :)


Joel and I enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning together (<– side note, “Lazy Sunday Morning” is also the name of my all-time favorite perfume lol! find it HERE).


Just like most mornings these days, I dived head-first into a big bowl of grapes. Yes, I am slowly but surely making my way through Connecticut’s grape supply.


Joel felt like making pancakes for brunch… more like lunch by the time we got around to eating hah. We have been using this Heart Smart Bisquick for years and years (we use almond milk instead of regular milk). It has never let us down. These pancakes taste yummier than the regular/original Bisquick.


Despite using this mix for YEARS, I have never seen this “refrigerate after opening” message. Maybe it has been there all along, or maybe they changed up some of the ingredients so that it now requires refrigerating? It feels weird to keep pancake mix in the fridge but oh well!


This was Joel’s attempt at making me a heart pancake. Pretty good! <3


Laundry happened. Have I mentioned how much I love our washer and dryer? When we bought our house, we had to buy a brand new washer and dryer because the sellers took theirs with them. It was our first time buying laundry machines (every house/apartment we’ve lived in came with them), but thankfully we found a great deal on Maytags at Sears. I am thankful that Joel has been super helpful with things like laundry, especially when I was dealing with serious fatigue during the first trimester. He’s a good egg :)


I moved our board/card games from our old storage chest to this ottoman in the living room. It’ll be much easier to access the games this way, and the old chest will be more useful in the guest room. Seeing all our games makes me excited to play some of them –> I think it is time for a game night! (By the way, did you guys see that movie Game Night… that is NOT how our game nights usually go lol)


Joel manhandled this antique cabinet from our bedroom down to the basement. Somehow he managed to to do without scratching any of the floors or walls (woo!). He will put it to good use in his office down there.


We also hung up our Photowall print (details and discount code HERE –> code expires March 31!). We were originally going to hang the print in the nursery but decided it looked better in our room. :)


After we finished getting stuff done around the house, we headed to the movies (three cheers for MoviePass!). This time we saw Death Wish, which was a very typical Bruce Willis movie if you know what I mean, but still very enjoyable. I love our movie theater’s big reclining chairs — they are so comfy!


What is your easy go-to meal when you don’t feel like cooking? Do you keep pancake mix in the fridge? Where should we look for a new solar-powered lantern?  

A very good use for ziplock bags

Hi friends!

Do you have a favorite way to start your day? As you know over the past few months my number one go-to first thing in the morning has been cantaloupe. I still love me some cantaloupe, but recently grapes have been making their way to the top of the obsession list. It’s a good thing the grapes at Stop n Shop are absolutely perfect right now.


I had lunch with my friend Grace who is 30 weeks pregnant and sporting the most adorable bump you ever did see. We went to “The Carts” (a bunch of awesome food carts on Cedar Street in New Haven). Connecticut pals: if you haven’t checked out the carts, you definitely should! It’s a great way to get a yummy lunch for cheap (usually $6 for a decent portion) –> just be warned, the carts only take cash!

The weather this week has been gorgeous so it was nice to get outside and soak in the lovely Spring weather. My favorite Thai cart was not present so I went to a different Thai cart… which made for a decent meal but also reminded me why my favorite cart is my favorite. Leftovers from lunch made an appearance for dinner, topped with black beans from our book club’s quesadilla night. :)


And a few of these bad boys for dessert. :) Rolos make for a pretty stellar evening snack, especially while catching up on this week’s This is Us episode. I have been hooked on this show since it first came out and I am hoping it has a good long run, because I’m not going to be ready to say goodbye to it anytime soon. Unless there is a spin-off focusing on Randall and Beth because they are 100% my favorite characters!


More grapes for breakfast this morning. It’s interesting, so far my cravings have felt more like “hmm that sounds really good”, as opposed to urgent desperate needs (which is what I always thought pregnancy cravings were like). If for some reason we could not get a hold of grapes or cantaloupe, I would be disappointed but totally fine.


I went to the library to return my books and check out new ones (including our next book club read)… but that pregnancy brain must be hitting because I accidentally grabbed a book I own (Beneath a Scarlet Sky <– really good!) and forgot the actual library book (The Paying Guests) at home.


It didn’t take long to locate the next Book Club book: Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson! The description sounds interesting and I’m looking forward to getting into it. I’ve actually had my eye on this book for a few years now but haven’t had the chance to read it until now. I hope it’s a good one :)


It was another gorgeous day (I love this balmy weather!) so after work Bernice and I went on a hike at the West Rock State Park. It was my first time checking out the trails here and I loved it –> so beautiful and peaceful. I will definitely be back again soon :)


We hiked up to the top of one of the hills –> it felt incredible to be outside and get that heart rate going a little bit. I definitely get winded quicker these days so we took it slow on the steeper inclines. It didn’t take long for us to get warm and shed our jackets – felt amazing to not wear a jacket! There were a few people with dogs off-leash which gave Bernice a fright (she is very allergic). I remember one time when I was out running and a dog off-leash suddenly came SPRINTING at me. It looked quite menacing and I thought for sure I was done for. The owner who was a ways behind the dog yelled “he’s friendly” in efforts to reassure me but it was still pretty freaky. I love dogs but being chased by one that looked like it wanted to take a chunk out of my leg sure got my heart racing.


Bernice and I then took the trail that goes all the way around the lake. It made for a very scenic walk. I’m sure this lake is even prettier in the spring and summer when everything is green. I can’t wait for the leaves to come back and flowers to bloom again. Feeling very ready for Spring!


A burger and fries for dinner –> my only source of protein for the day. It was a very good burger indeed. After working up an appetite from hiking (and talking a lot hah), I scarfed it right down. Side note: does anyone else really dislike the smell of post-burger fingers? It has always been the absolute worst to me.


And in the evening, some hot chocolate happened while getting a bit of work done before my smallgroup came over. I wondered if my love for hot chocolate would dissipate when it started to warm up but looks like it’s sticking around for a while longer. :)


A few smallgroup ladies :)


As a group, we try to do something related to community service at least once a quarter. Last quarter we volunteered at a homeless shelter. This time around we each brought supplies and together we packed them into large ziplock bags (each bag had one of each –> toothbrush, toothpaste, applesauce, small bottle of water, clif bar, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, mini first aid kit, list of local homeless shelters, a letter sharing the gospel, some coins/change and some other stuff that I can’t remember). By the end we had 20 stuffed bags! We can keep these bags in our cars to give to homeless people in need.


Afterwards we did our usual smallgroup thing and then later on a few of us hung out chatting for a while. I really appreciate each of these amazing people.


We’re getting a nor’easter today (no snow, but lots of rain and wind) so I will be listening to the raindrops come down. I always thought nor’easters were snowstorms but the weatherguy said they can be rainstorms too. Who knew! Fingers crossed that after all this rain we’ll have clear skies on Saturday and Sunday.

That’s it from me for now, I hope you have an amazing weekend! :)

Are you getting any of the nor’easter rain today? What do you have planned for the weekend? What are you most looking forward to about Spring?

How he peels oranges + what my book club did for dinner

Hi friends!

It’s the last day of February, which is pretty bonkers! Since moving to the northeast almost 6 years ago (first Boston then Connecticut), I feel like winter usually drags on forever and ever. But this time around it is flyyyying. Maybe it’s because this month has been warmer than usual? Or maybe it’s because I feel behind in preparations for the baby (eek!). In any case, Spring will officially be here in no time. I am excited to see blooms, leaves, woodland creatures, LIFE in the backyard after all the winter bareness.

What have you guys been up to these last couple days? I am happy to report that we are finally done painting the nursery! Phew! That took forever and it seemed like we put 10 coats of paint on the walls and trim. Now that the painting is done, we can officially move everything that was sitting in the hallway for the past several months back into the room. It wasn’t that much stuff, just a mirror, a rug, and a couple paintings for the walls, but it is nice to have a clear hallway again :)


For about a month there I was perpetually parched, and constantly chugged water like no other. The 24-hour extreme thirst has simmered down but I’m still determined to stay on top of hydration. Remember when I used to drink seltzer water all day every day? I haven’t touched the stuff since getting pregnant. It’s not a big aversion or anything, I just have a preference for plain water. Not sure why, but yes please!


Do you peel your oranges before or after slicing them up? Growing up I always just sliced the orange into quarters with the peel still attached. I thought that was how everyone ate their oranges. It wasn’t until I met Joel in college that I saw someone remove the peel BEFORE slicing the orange into quarters. It is now my favorite way to eat them :)


I defrosted one of the pork buns we brought back from China Town (woo!). At least I thought it was pork. It turned out to be red bean instead, which was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one :) In the past I have defrosted buns in the microwave using the defrost button, but this time around I put it in the fridge for a while to defrost. The microwave is definitely faster but both ways work just fine.


My poor cane plant has lost quite a few leaves over the past 5 months. I am hoping it will get a second wind and sprout some new ones when Spring rolls around. I suspect it is not loving the dry winter air, which is totally understandable. Hang in there cane! Spring is near!


Chicken wild rice soup because I did not know what else to have for dinner and did not feel like doing anything complicated. I couldn’t decide what I was in the mood for and ended up going with the path of least resistance. I gotta admit, it wasn’t the most amazing meal I’ve ever had (slightly boring), but it was just fine and got the job done.


This egg was my saving grace yesterday when I realized I needed some protein. One thing I am looking forward to after pregnancy is not having to think about how much protein I’ve had each day. Some days I just don’t feel like thinking that hard :) Thank goodness for eggs which are yummy, can be prepared a million different ways, and are easy to incorporate into any meal.


We were doing our weekly grocery shop and these little flan cups looked tasty so we picked up a couple. They make for a pretty delicious snack!


Grapes are my boo right now. I’m ready to get that grape vine planted in our garden right about now. Speaking of, how do seedless grapes grow and propagate if there are no seeds? Random question but it popped into my head because I recently I heard that most bananas do not have seeds and are clones of each other?


Joel was away on a business trip earlier in the week and his parting gift to me was this bowl of sliced cantaloupe. He knows the key to my heart :)


Making tapioca for my book club! It was the easiest thing ever to make. I used almond milk instead of regular milk (I could not taste the difference in the final product). After boiling, I put it in a bowl and stuck it in the freezer because I didn’t think the fridge would chill it in time. The freezer worked very well… a little too well in fact, because the tapioca got a little bit frozen. But was still yummy!


This time around, the book club girls decided to do quesadillas for dinner! It was Kelly’s idea (if you haven’t already, check out her blog HERE!), and we all jumped on board pretty enthusiastically. We each brought a different ingredient which made for one great spread. Three types of tortillas, four types kinds of cheese (including vegan cheese, courtesy of Kelly), peppers & onions, chicken, black beans, mushrooms, and other “fixins”… it was quite a feast!


Kelly brought over her quesadilla maker, and Ro let us borrow hers too. Having 2 quesadilla makers going made the whole process go super fast, plus they made everything so easy –> I am questioning why I do not own one of them right now. This was such a good idea – thanks Kelly ;)


I opted for a multigrain tortilla with the works inside. For seconds, I piled some chicken, mushrooms, and veggies on my plate (sans tortilla) and ate it with a dollop of guac. A deconstructed quesadilla, if you will. ;) It was nice having dinner with the girls and chatting about this month’s book (Middlesex) as well as catching up on life in general. By the way, if you are up for a good (albeit long) read, definitely consider Middlesex! We all enjoyed it and it made for some very interesting discussion about ethics, nature, and nurture.


Got ideas for”assembly” meals for future book clubs? Do you have a favorite way of cooking eggs? What’s the highlight of your week so far?  

NYC, Sunday lunch crew, and an update

Hi friends!

What did you do with your Saturday and Sunday? We had a decent amount of rain over here but that did not put a damper on our weekend.

Things started out with a potluck style get-together with a few other moms. I made some super easy blueberry muffins :) The group meets every other week at the home of one of the moms. It’s really laid back (which is my cup of tea) and we all just hang out and talk while the kids play. I can’t wait to introduce our little kiddo to his/her future playpals!


Afterwards, Joel and I made a quick trip over to Target for a new pillow. I have been using the same pillow for about 10 years and it finally bit the dust. I noticed a year ago that the memory foam inside was hardening and breaking/forming chunks. My beloved pillow grew more and more uncomfortable to the point that my ears hurt to lie on my side. It gets old waking up multiple times trying to find a comfortable spot for my head –> I know I will be waking up lots in just a few months so I’m trying to preserve my sleep as much as possible beforehand ;) We ended up getting me this memory foam pillow. It is so comfortable and has helped me catch those precious Zzz’s.


Then we headed to the movies –> we are getting a lot of use out of our MoviePasses! My movie snack was avocado sushi rolls again, followed by sour patch kids. The sushi hit the spot but the sour patch was a definite miss. They tasted good but made me feel icky afterwards. We enjoyed the movie though (Game Night)!


We headed to New York City with friends on Saturday! I’m so glad we have amazing friends in our lives :)


We met up with my brother Freddie and his wife Sonia in China Town! It was good to see them again — I love that they live relatively nearby (the rest of the family is overseas). Whenever I am in China Town I like to buy goodies/foods to bring home and freeze. This time I stocked up on steamed yellow bean buns (I usually get red bean but am interested to try the yellow bean), steamed pork buns, and baked pineapple egg cream buns.


The Chinese New Year parade was out in full force! Lots of Chinese lions, dragons, cymbals, and drums.


We had some incredible dim sum for lunch at the Jing Fong restaurant! Freddie, Sonia, Joel, and I have been here before, but it was the first time for Walter, Kelly, and Ro (they liked it!) The food is consistently delicious and the Jing Fong experience never disappoints. It also felt extra festive with all the Chinese New Year celebrations :) I can see why there is always a crazy line outside the restaurant… it is well worth the wait.


After we wrapped lunch we headed over to the American Natural History museum to check out some of their very cool exhibits. We saw some really interesting stuff but didn’t get to spend as much time browsing as we would have liked –> we certainly will be back again to see more!


We made sure to stop in at a bagel place to pick up some famous New York bagels to bring home. Our freezer is looking pretty well stocked at this point :) Joel loves ‘everything’ bagels and onion bagels (I am not a fan of either – even the smell of everything bagels makes me crinkle my nose lol). I’m happy with plain or asiago bagels. Unrelatedly, while at the bagel store I felt a deep and immediate need to chug this ice-cold gingerale –> I was super parched! Turns out walking all over NYC can sure make a girl thirsty.


Our last order of business for our day in NYC was to grab a sweet treat from Magnolia Bakery. This was Kelly’s idea and I am ridiculously glad she suggested it! There were so many tempting options it was hard to choose just one, but I finally went with this “Magic Cookie Bar”. The coconut tasted incredible! Joel picked the exact same thing (we didn’t realize it until later when we were trying to figure out whose dessert was whose). Great minds must think alike.


Sunday lunch friends :)


We all went to House of Naan after church for some Indian food (Joel and I have realized that Indian food is becoming our Sunday tradition and we are ok with that). The table split these unreal Tikka Fries (fries topped with tikka sauce, cheese, and chicken –> not your average bowl of fries).


We also had saag paneer (spinach and cheese) and lamb curry, along with rice and naan. Side note: House of Naan really does live up to its name –> they make the BEST naan in my opinion!


Here’s a pregnancy update… (and a bit of venting)…

My energy came back when I hit the 2nd trimester and the heartburn has gone down (phew!). I feel the baby kicking on the inside which is super exciting, and Joel is looking forward to feeling those kicks from the outside too. We are really excited to find out the sex at our Gender Reveal! The cantaloupe love is still going strong, and grapes have also made an appearance on the “love” list. Our friends and family have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and we so appreciate everyone sharing in our excitement!

I must say though, all of the pregnancy bliss has not been without a dash of weirdness.  -_-  Case in point: one person recently made a comment about my bump being “big for 21 weeks” and it did not make me feel good at all. Even though I know that the baby and I are healthy, in normal range, and the person has not even seen me in years (the comment was about a photo), I STILL felt hurt and judged. It’s hard to articulate exactly what bothers me –> it just came off as insensitive and thoughtless. But I’m shaking it off and focusing on being thankful that the baby is healthy and all is well. I won’t let the comment make me feel bad for another millisecond. That concludes my venting…phew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel better now :)

Weird comments aside, I am definitely enjoying the experience of being pregnant. In all honesty, I am PROUD of my bump and our precious nugget inside it! It genuinely makes me happy to see that belly growing, and know that the baby is growing right along with it. Sidenote: it’s also a nice perk that I actually look pregnant now instead of just bloated lol ;) Every day our kiddo is bigger, stronger, and more ready for the world. I love having my little companion with me everywhere I go, and am incredibly amazed by the entire process. Can’t wait to meet our cutie :)

Words of advice on how to handle those weird situations? Any suggestions on places to go for our next NYC trip? What’s your favorite thing to bring to a dinner potluck? What about a brunch potluck?