If I had 3 wishes

Hi friends!

This week seemed to go by really fast for some reason, and here we are at Friday once again — feelin groovy! :) It’s an absolutely perfect summer day over here. If I had 3 wishes, one of them would definitely be for days like this to happen all throughout the year!

This week I finally made it into the orthodontist’s office to get impressions made for a new set of retainers. I’ve been meaning to come in for an appointment for months! Why is it so easy to postpone stuff like this? My retainers are a few years old and while they still work fine, they are cracking in a couple spots. It’s only a matter of time before they fall apart altogether and I don’t want to risk having to go weeks without my retainers –> we’ve spent way much moolah and time on invisaligns for that!

20180621_111047.jpg

We had dinner at Eli’s one night when neither of us felt like grocery shopping or cooking. Joel’s rare tuna steak looked very pretty! But I had to decline a bite hah. Years and years ago I once had a bad experience with raw tuna and have not been able to eat it since, unless it is cooked/canned. I gotta say though, tuna sandwiches are quite tasty. I might have to have one sometime soon. There was a little Mediterranean restaurant near our house in Houston that made the absolute best tuna sandwiches… the bread was nice and crispy and everything about that sandwich was just perfect! I miss that little spot.

20180620_191514.jpg

Although my favorite order at Eli’s is their insanely good fish tacos (yum!), I decided to branch out and try their new-to-me salmon dish. It has panko-crusted salmon with risotto, spinach, and a lemon butter sauce. It was delicious but quite a bit more dense than I was expecting, so half of it came home with me for leftovers. It was a highly enjoyable date night –> I’m glad we’re making the most of these last few days of being just the 2 of us :) It’s hard to imagine that we’ll soon have another little person in tow!

20180620_191521.jpg

At some point this week I stopped in at UPS to mail a box to my brother Ken who is moving to Singapore this summer. The cost of shipping turned out to be $900 (!!!) so we decided not to go that route. I could not believe how expensive it is… I might as well buy a plane ticket for myself and fly over with the box in my suitcase! hah! Well a ticket would be more expensive than that but still, $900 is just astronomical.

20180621_122524.jpg

Sitting on the patio with Joel was a perfect way to enjoy my Honeycrisp apple. I am telling you, these apples are the best. I don’t think I can ever go back to Fuji, Pink Lady, or any other kind of apple. Wouldn’t it be cool to have an apple tree on our property? I wonder if that would attract deer. Or bears. I have yet to see a wild bear in Connecticut (or anywhere) but I’m sure they are around these parts somewhere? One night we were sitting on the patio in front of a fire, and we heard some coyote howling off in the distance. I have never seen a wild coyote in person but it was pretty cool hearing them howl at each other.

20180620_150946.jpg

Cadbury chocolates are some of my favorites. This Fruit & Nut flavor is so darn good. I loved this chocolate growing up in Kenya. Another one I used to like a lot as a child was called “Mint Choc”. Oh, and also the “Fudge Bar”. OH YES. If I saw or tasted either of those chocolate bars right now it would give me some intense flashbacks to my childhood.

20180620_224759.jpg

I stopped in at Jo Bruno’s to get a haircut. I just had a haircut in January and normally I wouldn’t go back this soon for a cut, but with the baby coming soon I figured it would be a while before I had a chance. I took this opportunity to lob off a few inches, which should buy me some time before needing another cut. It was nice to get my hair washed (they also do killer head massages) and take a few minutes to myself –> I know times like this will be rare once kiddo is here and I’m glad my friend suggested a mini pamper :) They put DevaCurl washing and styling products in my hair, which are made sulfate, silicone, and paraben free, and designed especially for curly hair. Every single product they used on me smelled and felt awesome!

20180621_154904.jpg

On my way home I picked up takeout dinner from Rubamba for Joel and me. As I always say, there is nothing quite like a Columbian arepa with barbacoa. This place just NAILS it every time. I’m glad Joel randomly discovered this place years ago. I still remember the first time he introduced me to this spot — it’s one of those little hole-in-wall places that has the absolute best food. I love finding places like this!

20180621_120014.jpg

When I got home, Joel was finishing up a work project. While waiting for him to be done so that we could eat together, I read a few more pages of my “Happiest Baby” book (find it HERE). This book came highly recommended by multiple mom-friends totally independent of each other, and I can see why! Funny enough, Joel and I actually learned a few of the techniques discussed in the book during our Newborn Care class. It was nice having the book because it went into more detail about the techniques. Everything is backed by research and the writing style is easy to understand. I will definitely be back referring to this book very often during that “fourth trimester” (first 4 months after baby is born).

20180621_140307.jpg

 

What are some candies or foods that give you intense flashbacks to your childhood? Got any good baby-related reading material to recommend? If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for?    

Advertisements

New furniture and bubble tea!

Hi friends!

What is everyone up to today? It’s been life as usual here, with not much in the way of excitement going on. Sometimes low key weeks like this are exactly what you need.

I can’t get enough of this coconut water! I found it at our grocery store a few weeks ago and have not looked back. We plan to bring some to the hospital so that I can sip on it for electrolytes and hydration. I was trying to save our current stash for then but can’t resist breaking into it every now and then :) Looks like we’ll have to pick up more this weekend! If you have a Stop and Shop near you, you should consider grabbing one of these –> they are currently on sale for 4 for $5.

20180618_171101.jpg

Putting this piece of furniture back into its box was like figuring out a 3D jigsaw puzzle. Luckily Joel is great with spatial orientation stuff so he was able to configure it exactly so that it fit. We decided to return this piece of furniture because one of my friends advised that exposed moving parts (like the bottom wooden parts of a lot of gliders) can be safety hazards for little kids –> they can get their little hands caught in the moving parts. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sold on this particular glider anyway – it was not as comfortable as I had hoped… and the safety thing was more than enough reason for us to exchange it for something else. I’m glad so many stores allow returns, it would be really tough to shop (especially online, which is my favorite way to shop) otherwise!

20180618_192541.jpg

Instead we decided on a glider that does not have exposed moving parts. We were really fortunate to have a gift card to help knock down the out-of-pocket cost. From the photos online, this chair looked like it would be much more comfortable and durable than the other one. I’m hoping it will last for many years to come. Another thing I like about it is that we can eventually move it to the living room and it’ll blend with our other furniture without it being too obvious that it is baby furniture. Is it just me or do you feel like when you’re shopping online you never know what to expect? Sometimes the photos are accurate, while other times what you get doesn’t exactly match the photos or description hah! I was pretty excited when it arrived and was exactly the color, style, quality, etc that I was hoping for. Joel was able to assemble it in no time flat and we got it all set up :)

20180618_174859.jpg

We LOVE it! One of the things I worried about was whether the back was tall enough that I’d be able to lean my head back. I’m a short gal (5’2) so it works perfectly for me. Joel is a lot taller than me (6’2) so he has to scrunch down a little bit to be able to put his head back. He says it is still really comfortable though. I love that it is a glider that also swivels (the previous chair was just a glider). I’m also a huge fan of the tufted back –> have I ever talked about my love of tufted furniture? When we were in the market for a new couch a couple years ago, we looked high and low for a good tufted couch. It turned out to be an impossible task because all the good ones were crazy expensive, so we ended up going with something else. But my love of tufting remains! I’m really pleased with this chair –> it also comes in beige but the “dove grey” color stole my heart. If you’re in the market for a glider/swivel chair, you can check this one out HERE. And the matching ottoman foot-rest (which also glides!) is HERE.

20180618_184546290011324407030363.jpg

I had a doctor appointment –> the baby is measuring right on track and is positioned exactly as he needs to be! After leaving my OB, I picked up dinner from Rubamba: barbacoa on Columbian arepas, our favorite meal from there. If you’re in the New Haven area, you really should pop in and try out their Columbian arepas, they are unbelievable! If you are affiliated with Yale you also get a 15% discount when you show your Yale ID. We also have one of those punch cards where after you purchase 8 ish meals you get a meal 50% off. I love Rubamba! After picking up dinner I had a hankering for some bubble tea, so I stopped in at Vivi for a taro flavored bubble tea. It was exactly what I wanted and hit the spot perfectly. This place has a million different flavors but I consistently order the taro flavor. One day I will have to try the lychee flavor and other ones too!

20180619_170926.jpg

Where do you love to buy furniture? Have you ever had a Columbian arepa? What’s your favorite bubble tea flavor? 

Father’s day date + Kenyan goodies

Hi friends!

Sometimes all you need is a bowl of watermelon and a nice glass of almond milk to get the weekend started off right. I could do this every day of summer. :)

20180614_091345.jpg

Nothing-added dried mangoes made an appearance as a snack. I get these at Target and wouldn’t mind indulging at least once a week. I grew up in Kenya where mangoes are everywhere just like how apples are in the USA, and I need my fix every now and then! I have yet to find fresh mangoes here that as good as what we have in Kenya, and they are always super expensive. The next best thing is dried mango –> these make for the perfect snack!

20180613_132017.jpg

My dad and step-mom brought these “nduma” chips (arrow root chips) all the way from Nairobi. Arrow root is a root vegetable similar to potatoes/yams but with a slightly different taste. It’s nice roasted or boiled, or in chip form! Love these things.

20180614_131216.jpg

They also brought us these awesome African paintings. I love them both but the black and white one has my heart. Beautiful!

20180614_145129.jpg

Something else they brought for us –> a couple new stools! Remember how Joel broke our old one when he sat on it one day? Hence our request for a new one lol :) I am currently using one of them as a foot stool for in front of the couch.

20180617_203818.jpg

A nice cold beverage + fresh summer air = my favorite kind of weekend. I wish summer was an all-year round thing here.

20180614_124736.jpg

Do you ever have days where you are hungry but don’t know what you want to eat? That happened to me on Saturday. I must have stared into the fridge and pantry 10 times before finally deciding to go with nutella on a piece of bread.

20180616_151826.jpg

Our roomba sometimes gets stuck under this couch, so Joel tied this rope around the legs to prevent it from going under there. I love low-tech, inexpensive solutions that work. :)

20180616_162249.jpg

We headed to Lenny’s in Branford for a dinner date on Saturday. It was a nice way to kick off the Father’s Day celebrations. Happy Father’s Day to my favorite father-to-be, Joel! :) Our little boy is so blessed to have you in his life!

20180616_182352.jpg

We hung out at the bar while waiting for a table. I got some lemonade which sounded nice but turned out to not be the best I’ve ever had (too sweet)… but Joel enjoyed his beer.

20180616_191515.jpg

He opted for a rare steak, some veggies, and a baked potato, and he enjoyed every bite! I almost went with some fish but then I remembered that we were going out for seafood with Priscilla the next day, so instead I went with a burger. It hit the spot. :)

20180616_192843.jpg

We split some vanilla ice cream for dessert. Do you prefer regular vanilla or vanilla bean? My favorite is vanilla bean (the kind with the little black dots –> those are tiny pieces of vanilla!) but I don’t mind some regular vanilla every now and then.

20180616_194747.jpg

After dinner we drove to a nearby dock and sat by the water for a few minutes. We had originally planned to go for a walk along the water, but my feet were a little swollen and a walk didn’t sound particularly appealing (just one of those side effects from being full-term in pregnancy!). Instead, we found a nice bench and sat for a while together, which was lovely. The sunset was beautiful and the weather was perfection. It was a very nice way to wrap up our dinner date.

20180616_202311.jpg

Sunday morning started with church! Joel pulled up a chair so that I could put my feet up (staying ahead of that foot-swelling hah). We sat in the back with all the parents and babies, so we didn’t get any weird looks for having my feet up :)

20180617_123122.jpg

After church we had an hour of downtime before our lunch reservation, so we strolled over to the Atticus bookstore to browse around. We picked up a puzzle to do with my dad and step-mom and also some coffee and a stroopwaffel for Joel.

20180617_130645.jpg

We then met Priscilla, Gautham, Edgar, and Priscilla’s dad at Shell and Bones for lunch :)  It was so lovely to see them and see how much Edgar has grown — he just turned one. It blows my mind how much he changes every time I see him. He just started walking last week and was excited to show off his new skills. Joel and I have been to Shell and Bones before and loved it, and when Priscilla said they wanted seafood, we knew it was THE place to go. We had an incredible view of the water and all the boats going back and forth. Joel and Priscilla both got the clam chowder for an appetizer — I loved the mini cauldrons that it came in! I always love the food presentation at Shell and Bones.

20180617_143251.jpg

Both Joel and I ordered the fish tacos. I have eaten more fish tacos while pregnant than I ever before in my life! Before I got pregnant, I strongly believed that fish did not belong in tacos. Boy was I wrong. :) I am pretty darn happy to have discovered the magic that is fish tacos.

20180617_150857.jpg

After lunch we all headed back to our house to hang out for a bit. We made coke floats (brought me back to childhood hah) and let Edgar explore the grass in our backyard. He doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of grass, probably because it tickles his feet when he’s trying to walk :) Priscilla and her family left around dinner time to make it back to NYC by Edgar’s bedtime. Joel and I then popped out to Barnes and Noble to get his very first father’s day gift (a new bible –> his is super old and falling apart). Our dinner happened at home much later, and consisted of some soup!

20180617_203832.jpg

…and one or two of these chocolates that my dad and step-mom gave us :)

20180616_221337.jpg

What is your favorite type of seafood? Ever had a stroopwaffel? Do you like fish tacos?  

Errand running & dinner breaks

Hi friends!

How are you this fine day?

Many errands have been run in these parts, including multiple Target and grocery store trips. Among the things we have added to our home are these very important socks that came home with us to replace Joel’s old socks (they had some pretty big holes in them).

20180608_212523.jpg

Our fridge was looking rather empty for a while there but I am happy to report it is now re-stocked with all the essentials. What is your favorite type of apple? Joel loves the green tart ones. Back when we first got married I used to get fuji apples all the time, but now my all-time fave is honeycrisp. I love the satisfying crunch for every bite. Honeycrisp apples also have perfect amount of sweetness too… they are just so good.

20180609_135703.jpg

Another gorgeous watermelon came home with us. Joel is the official watermelon-picker in our house. Whenever I pick them, they are either under-ripe or over-ripe. He somehow knows how to pick the best ones. Same with cantaloupe (my first pregnancy craving which has since disappeared).

20180609_145553.jpg

Just in case you needed to see a honeycrisp apple up close :) These are a major staple in our fridge. Oh and that in the background is the rock-n-play we set up downstairs where the baby can hang out or nap. I got the idea from Amy who brought her rock-n-play for her 8 week old. It plays soothing music and has an auto-rocker. I hope our little one finds it to be a relaxing place to snooze. :)

20180610_113710.jpg

In-between running a hundred errands, we stopped at Olive Garden for some dinner fuel. It’s not normally a place I gravitate to, but Joel was in the mood for lasagna and it was right near where we were. He got the stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer –> they did not look particularly appetizing to me so I opted out, but he enjoyed them hah.

20180610_204304.jpg

We split a big bowl of garden salad. Anyone a fan of banana peppers? Joel likes them but I can’t bring myself to try them for some reason.

20180610_205108.jpg

He got the “classic lasagna”, whereas I went with the alfredo lasagna. His looked nicer than mine –> mine was very white/beige and not very pretty haha, but it tasted good :)

20180610_211303.jpg

I appreciated the little mint chocolates that they gave us with the receipt. When we were in Hershey PA last month all the restaurants gave out hershey kisses with the receipt too. It was really nice! Perhaps every restaurant should give out chocolates with the receipt :) I would not be opposed to that.

20180610_212637.jpg

Raspberry leaf tea made an appearance while relaxing in front of the TV. Priscilla gave me a box of this tea and I’ve been having a cup every now and then. It’s supposed to be great during pregnancy, and it tastes pretty good too.

20180610_222035.jpg

I finally got a box of my favorite Kind bars. I couldn’t find them in the grocery store and realized they moved them over to the specialty section with all the organic stuff. If you haven’t tried this flavor, you really should, it’s delicious!

20180611_153122.jpg

We picked up some diapers for the changing tables (well not really tables, more like “areas”) at home — I have most of what I need for that. I set up a changing area downstairs and also one upstairs.

20180611_211818.jpg

This baby-shower cupcake went from freezer to my mouth in 10 seconds. All I want is a freezer stocked full of these. The lemony icing is so light and delicious. Colleen nailed it! I think she should open up her own bakery so that the world can partake in these incredible treats.

20180611_123717-1.jpg

Joel needed to pick up some wood planks from Home Depot (we come here way too often) –> the tornado pretty much demolished the play set in our back yard and he is working on re-building it. Back in Houston we had a Lowes close to our house so we went there all the time. But here in Connecticut the Lowes is farther away so we almost never go there anymore. I feel like we are at Home Depot at least once a week, sometimes more often.

20180611_182951.jpg

We then stopped in at a furniture store to check out their gliders. All the gliders we saw and tried out were very nice but man oh man, they were SUPER expensive. I tried looking for more affordable options on craigslist but all the gliders I liked were already sold. We ended up ordering one from Amazon. It should get here early next week –> fingers crossed it’s as comfortable as it look in the photos!

20180611_192951.jpg

Running errands sure works up an appetite, so we grabbed dinner at Rubamba! My absolute favorite dish there is the barbacoa on a columbian arepa. Seriously, there is nothing better than some perfectly cooked and seasoned lamb with a sweet arepa and some avocado on top. If I had a personal chef, this dish would be on the menu at least once a week.

20180611_202250.jpg

Joel decided to go with a new-to-us dish –> chicken on a venezuelan arepa! He said it tasted like hot chicken salad, which sounds a little odd but he said it was delicious. He also got some rice and beans on the side.

20180611_202258.jpg

After we wrapped up our dinner, we realized that we had forgotten to put money in the parking meter. The car was parked about 5 feet from the restaurant door so all we had to do was peek out the window –> sadly we could see from inside the restaurant that there was a parking ticket waiting for us on the windshield. Bummer! New Haven has gotten more strict with ticketing compared to several years ago.

20180612_113323.jpg

Lately I have been quenching my thirst with watered-down ginger ale. I put an inch or two of ginger ale into a cup (or bottle) then fill the rest up with water. It has been a nice way to change up the taste without drinking full-on soda.

20180612_130850.jpg

When was the last time you got a parking ticket? Are you a fan of stuffed mushrooms? What is your favorite place to buy furniture? 

Lunch fail + a fave summer beverage

Hi friends!

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day here in Connecticut – the kind of day that makes you fall deeper and deeper in love with all things summer. What did you do over the weekend?

Our Saturday involved a newborn care class! Since we are newbies to this whole baby thing, we found it extremely informative and fun. We used these dolls to practice our holding, feeding, changing, and swaddling skills. :) We recognized a few of the people from the breastfeeding class and also the labor/delivery class, and it was nice seeing familiar faces. Who knows, maybe we will see them again in the hospital hah :)

20180609_112646.jpg

After class we stopped in at Nica’s for lunch. We used to go to Nica’s all the time when we lived in New Haven, but since moving into the burbs we don’t go quite as often. It’s a great lil spot especially in the summer when you can sit out front to eat. Joel’s favorite sandwich there has proscuitto, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and olive oil. I like a sandwich that has tomato, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, but I needed some protein (and I don’t like adding chicken to that sandwich)…

20180609_122639.jpg

I went back and forth for a while on what to order and still hadn’t decided on what I wanted by the time I got to the front of the line, so at the last second went with lasagna. I have no idea why I did that lol. You guys know I am not a fan of tomato/red sauce, so it’s no surprise that this was not my favorite meal. I still ate it but can’t say I enjoyed it very much lol. oh well.

20180609_122621.jpg

Lucky for me, this Milka chocolate came to the rescue. Years ago a friend of ours raved about Milka chocolate and when we saw some in Nicas, I knew we had to get it. Joel isn’t a fan of milk chocolate so he opted out… I was psyched that I didn’t have to share hah! :)

20180609_122515.jpg

Our labor/delivery class instructor advised that we bring snacks that are easy to eat and digest to the hospital. A few friends said they liked the convenience of squeezie tubes to get quick nutrition without having to think too hard. I found these oatmeal squeeze tubes at Target and thought they would be good to bring to the hospital.

20180608_223227.jpg

Rachel said she brought single-serve squeezie apple sauces with her, so naturally I had to copy her too :) Apparently these are great for postpartum because they also have fiber. These will be in my hospital bag until GO TIME.

20180610_173216.jpg

We also grabbed some coconut water for the ol’ hospital bag. It’s great for getting hydrated and also good for getting electrolytes, which will be important during labor. I’ve heard that labor/delivery is kinda like running a marathon, so it makes sense that electrolytes are important! These cans will be waiting for me in our hospital bag. Our bag is now 95% packed, with just a couple small, random items still to come in the mail.

20180609_142301.jpg

Another fun thing that happened… Walter and Kelly came over for dinner! :) Kelly made this A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. strawberry basil lemonade… I had 3 big glasses of it and probably could have gone back for more. It’s a perfect summer beverage.

20180609_193348.jpg

She also made quite the delicious pasta salad… the perfect accompaniment to our grilled burgers and corn! Summer BBQ’s are my favorite. I could do this all day every day. What is it about grilling outside that is so ridiculously amazing? The only thing that would have made the evening more perfect was if there were no mosquitoes… those little suckers sure do love me but I definitely do not love them back.

20180609_193446.jpg

Fireside smores happened after dinner. Speaking of, fires are another summer favorite. It’s a good thing Joel loves to build them, because I am a pro at sitting next to them! :) Fun fact: I learned from Kelly that gelatin, which is in marshmallows and other “gummy” foods, is an animal byproduct.

20180609_220739.jpg

Sunday was a low-key day during which we did some relaxing in the morning, then in the afternoon made our way through boxes and boxes of things that have been sitting in our dining room since the baby shower. Our kiddo is incredibly blessed to have wonderful gifts from loved ones. We feel so thankful!

20180609_145807.jpg

In the process of unpacking boxes, we put together our very snazzy umbrella stroller. We got the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller from Amazon and love it so far. It’s nice and light, and folds up really easily. It’ll be perfect for travel, and it seems like a super comfy ride for the kiddo –> which is pretty great, right? I’m looking forward to all the walks we’ll be going on with it.

20180610_182202.jpg

All that baby prep worked up quite the appetite, so we hit up Longhorn Steakhouse for some dinner. This restaurant has been one of our favorite discoveries this year. It’s funny, we lived near one in Texas but never ended up going. Joel loves their rare steak and I have been sampling a variety of dishes including their salads.

20180608_201658.jpg

I also got a side of mashed potatoes –> I’m not usually a mashed potato person unless it’s sweet potatoes, but this sounded really good for some reason. And I was not disappointed. :)

20180608_201700.jpg

And a quick pregnancy update! I have officially reached basketball-smuggler status and am feeling big but good over here. I’ve slowed down and the ol’ piriformis niggle in my tushy makes an appearance more often these days. My love for watermelon doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and I don’t mind that in the slightest. Retrieving something from the ground is quite the feat, and I’ve noticed some weird little skin things here and there. Despite the aches and bathroom trips, I’m quite enjoying being pregnant. It’s hard to believe the little guy in my tum is going to be joining us out here very soon! :) Can’t wait!!

Any labor/delivery advice? What’s your favorite thing to grill in the summer time? Got any recommendations on must-haves for the hospital bag? 

 

Superwomen & a new wall

Hi friends!

Anyone tried this Korean restaurant? It popped up a while back and we have yet to try it. I am always game for trying out different cuisines. I haven’t been to a Korean restaurant in quite some time — the last time we went to one was in New Haven years ago and we haven’t been back since. I love bulgogi and kimchi… yum.

20180606_180112.jpg

Our rose bush is blooming and looking lovely! Joel was worried about it since it had some fungus on it, but he cut those parts away and the bush appears to be doing just fine. He’s got quite the green thumb.

20180606_150604.jpg

Lasagna and salad for dinner – yes please! Joel added green olives to his salad, which never fails to gross me out a tiny bit. You guys know I have never been a fan. Speaking of olives, it occurred to me the other day that I have never seen raw (or fresh?) olives for sale at the grocery store. They are typically sold in glass jars having already undergone whatever processing is required to make an olive. I’m curious as to what fresh olives look and taste like when they are straight from the plant… I’m sure it can’t be very delicious or else they would be sold just like that, right?

20180606_184529.jpg

One of the tree stumps from a fallen tree due to the tornado we had a few weeks ago. I was surprised that this particular tree came down. It’s such a big tree that I would have thought it’d be strong enough to withstand the winds. Maybe it was slightly hollow inside? I can’t quite tell from the stump but I suspect it might have been a little hollow, which may have made it weaker.

20180606_150136.jpg

Joel is building a new rock wall where the tree came down. It’s going to look really nice! He’s also leveling the area, because it was quite uneven before. He’s excited to re-seed the area and get some grass going. I’m glad he enjoys doing stuff like this because I would have no idea :)

20180606_150108.jpg

Our roomba kept turning itself off in the middle of the room after running for only 30 seconds. We called the company to report the error code and hopefully get some help fixing it. Their customer service was awesome and they ended up sending us the part we needed for free (even though we were past warranty).

20180606_184917.jpg

Joel was able to replace the faulty part in just a few minutes and our roomba is now back to whizzing around the floor, picking up all kinds of dust and dirt. I love this roomba! I program it to run every day and it does a great job keeping things under control. We still have to mop up any spills, but for light vacuuming, this little guy is AWESOME. This is the one we got.

20180607_095141.jpg

Many loads of laundry have been done, and many baby clothes, burp cloths, swaddles, crib sheets, etc have been folded. We’re currently using these plastic bins to store our little man’s stuff. We received a lot of hand-me-downs from friends (and some amazing new stuff too) and we are so appreciative that our kiddo now has things to wear! Oh and I am not sure if it’s pregnancy brain hitting hard or what, but those sticky notes are a necessity for me to remember what is in each drawer.

20180606_202503.jpg

I’m excited to see how the baby likes his little rocker. It plays music, vibrates (I think to simulate being in the car), and also rocks the baby. Amy’s 8-week old loved it for naptime, so I’m hoping ours will too!

20180606_200805.jpg

More baby prep! Joel put together the bassinet – we are using a pack-n-play that has a bassinet insert. The pack-n-play seemed like the best option for us since it’s portable (great for travel) and can be used for older kids. I’m pretty excited that the baby now has a place to sleep. :)

20180606_203341.jpg

My snack time included more of these Sargento packs that Kristi left behind. It is such a perfect little thing to have around. I could see this as a great snack to throw in your bag for when you’re out and about but don’t have time to stop for a meal.

20180606_235222.jpg

Table belly alert! The belly is doing a good job substituting as a table these days. That is, until the little boy inside decides to kick upwards! :) At my last appointment, my OB said he is measuring right on track. I continue to be thankful that this pregnancy has been an smooth ride. I know that many moms out there have a rough ride, and I just cannot imagine. You ladies rock. Plus, all the moms who have other kids to chase while pregnant, I don’t know how you do it but you are superwomen.

20180607_121710.jpg

A pretty little cupcake for dessert. I thought it was cheesecake but Colleen told me it’s made with sweet condensed milk. It went straight from the freezer to my mouth and had the consistency of a frozen greek yogurt bar –> firm ish but still easy to bite through.

20180607_134158.jpg

Lunch with Natasha happened :) I am so glad she enjoys Thai food as much as me. I ordered a salmon dish that was EVERYTHING I needed and more. I love the big portions –> half of this came home with me for leftovers.

20180608_120436.jpg

We had some extra time (and apparently I brought my extra appetite with me hah) so I also got some dessert. You guys know I love mango, and could not resist the mango sticky rice dessert. I sure wish we had a mango tree in our backyard!

20180608_125034.jpg

Natasha gave me a goody bag full of essentials for my hospital bag. This eye mask was one of the things she gifted me. She said when she was in the hospital after delivering her babies, she found eye masks super helpful for getting some much needed rest. I am glad that I’m able to learn from her experiences because I would never have thought to bring an eye mask in my hospital bag!

20180608_140009.jpg

Moms out there, what were your hospital bag must-haves? Are you a DIY person? What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tiny laundry + red hot paste

Hi friends!

Over the past few days, many thank you notes have been written, leaving my hand slightly cramped but my heart very full. Our little man is already so loved and we can’t help but feel incredibly supported as we embark on this new chapter. It’s hard to imagine he will be here very soon!

20180605_181835.jpg

Garlic salmon, fresh veggies, and rice were happily consumed for dinner the other night. Did I ever tell you guys that due to a week of no electricity after the tornado, we had to throw out a ton of food from the fridge and freezer? I was not a happy camper about throwing out all the salmon from the freezer. Oof.

20180604_210538.jpg

Remember these frozen Greek yogurt bars I have been raving about these past few months? I had a few boxes of them in the freezer, and sadly I had to throw them all out too. That was uncool. I haven’t re-stocked my frozen Greek yogurt stash, but I definitely should. They are way too good.

20180509_194156.jpg

Remember how Grace and Will did most of the cooking over Memorial Day Weekend? I’m still thinking about their amazing food and how well they took care of us all. They left this hot chili paste in our fridge, which we are happily putting to good use. I am not sure what is in this hot stuff but it goes well with every meal and adds just the right amount of spicy kick to each bite.

20180605_182726.jpg

How much does gas cost where you live? I remember when we first moved to Texas back in 2006, it was back when gas prices were climbing to ridiculous heights, and we felt fortunate to live in a place where gas was still reasonable. I tell ya, that low cost of living in the south cannot be beat. Connecticut is a rather expensive place to live, which is sometimes a bummer, but the amazing summers and beautiful scenery go a long way to make up for that. :)

20180604_203858.jpg

A lot of laundry has been done around here in preparation for our little guy’s arrival. I washed all of his onesies, muslin cloths, towels, swaddles, hats, etc. All that teeny tiny baby stuff is just so cute, I can’t get over it! When I see some of the itty bity newborn clothes, it blows my mind just how little it is. Although who knows, if our kiddo is even as remotely big as Joel was when he was a baby (almost 11 pounds!), our little guy might not fit into the newborn size for very long hah.

20180605_201329.jpg

Fun fact: it takes 10x longer to fold and put away a load of baby laundry compared to a load of adult laundry. Is it just me? Maybe I was getting distracted by the cuteness, or maybe I just need to work on my techniques for folding tiny clothing. :)

20180606_080332.jpg

Sourdough pretzels came to the rescue the other night when Joel and I had a hankering for a salty snack. These things are so good. They are super duper crunchy, which means that sometimes when you bite through them, crumbs go everywhere. My favorite trick is to break them into smaller bitesize pieces when they are still in the box/bag so that the crumbs spill into the bag and not all over me. :)

20180605_230845.jpg

Kristi left a few of these pre-packaged snacks in our fridge. She got them during their road trip up to Connecticut from North Carolina. I had never tried these snacks before but I am officially a fan. Each package contains 180 calories of cheese, almonds, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. I wouldn’t mind re-creating this snack many more times :)

20180605_232303.jpg

This is our trusty wifi extender –> without it, the wifi signal in our bedroom is pretty weak. Having this extender makes connecting to wifi a much nicer experience at home. We have had it for over a year and it has not let us down. There was one time we had to re-set it because we got a new modem, but Joel was able to take care of that in 15 minutes flat. Not bad at all. Works like a charm!

20180606_112528.jpg

Kristi’s aunt and uncle who live in Connecticut gave us a big tupperware full of the most incredible pulled pork I have ever had in my life. Pulled pork isn’t something I normally gravitate to, but this might change my mind forever. I need to ask Kristi’s aunt what recipe she used so that I can make this magic happen in my kitchen on a regular basis. Yum.

20180606_095010.jpg

What do you think of these Kind bars? I accidentally grabbed this flavor (I thought I was grabbing the sea salt one). I prefer the classic bars to these wider/flatter ones, and when I first realized I had bought the wrong flavor, I was a little disappointed. However, these turned out to be pretty good. I keep a couple in my bag in case the hunger pangs strike, and I like that they are travel-friendly. There’s nothing worse than a melty or goopy bar in your bag on a hot day hah.

20180606_102338.jpg

We are approaching the time of year when Joel and I like to make lobster a part of our lives! Last year we did a backyard BBQ and lobster bake with friends and family. It was a lot of fun and we’re excited to make it an annual tradition. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again this year, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see how things go once the baby comes.

Screenshot_20171221-184403.png

It’s been more than a week since the baby shower and I am still thinking about Colleen’s chocolate ganache cake. I would not object if I had a big piece of this in front of me right now. It was so so so good. I am so impressed by my talented friends!

IMG-20180527-WA0005.jpg

What’s your favorite type of snack to have in the evenings? Is it just me or does it take way longer to fold baby clothes compared to adult clothes? Have you ever been to a lobster bake? 

He really is somethin!

Hi friends!

How is everyone doing this fine Monday? I started my day with a big bowl of beautifully chilled watermelon. Joel gets extra points for going to the store to restock our watermelon supply and cutting it up for me before I made it downstairs. He really is somethin :) I’m a lucky gal!

20180603_111015.jpg

My book club book finally arrived over the weekend! This month we had planned to read a novel written by one of the book club members who is an author, but she is still working on revising the draft, so we decided to go with something else this time around. I have been wanting to read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini for YEARS! I read The Kite Runner by the same author back in high school and loved it. I’ve heard awesome things about A Thousand Splendid Suns and am looking forward to diving in.

20180603_140328.jpg

Somewhere underneath all of that tornado debris is our compost area. You may be able to spot a few egg shells. Joel is still working on clearing up all of this brush. It looks a hundred times better than it did before. For some of the bigger trees farther back on the property, we may need to have a lumbar company come out and take care of them, but we’ll cross that bridge a little later on.

20180601_185744.jpg

Something else we did over the weekend was organize the wonderful gifts we received during the baby shower. :) Our little kiddo is already so loved! For anyone wondering, I registered at Amazon, Target, and Pottery Barn Kids. The Amazon registry turned out to be the most preferred by our friends and family (and us too!). Not only did we receive a free welcome package containing baby supplies, we also get discounts on many of the items in our registry.

20180601_172636.jpg

My girlfriends thought of absolutely EVERYTHING for the shower! They kept track of who gave us what gift in a big list, and even had guests write down their mailing address onto envelopes. This all makes the thank you note writing process that much easier. I really think Kristi should consider a career as an event planner –> she’s awesome!

20180603_171947.jpg

Our little boy received the most adorable clothes from our friends and family — baby clothing is just so cute, I can’t get over it A lot of it came from Kristi, but Amy also gave us some hand-me-down clothes from her boys (she has 3) –> so our little guy is pretty well set up with his first wardrobe!

20180603_170923.jpg

Have you ever seen or used one of these swaddle thingies? This was a gift from Kristi. I’ve heard they are easier to use than a regular cloth when the baby gets a bit bigger. Can’t wait to have our little munchkin in this :) We also received regular muslin swaddles and I’m excited to use those too.

IMG-20180603-WA0003.jpeg

We took a quick break from organizing baby stuff to have some lunch, which involved leftover hotdogs from a BBQ earlier in the week. Speaking of hotdogs, I remember back when I had my first American hotdog (we do have hotdogs in Kenya but they taste different). I seriously couldn’t believe how SALTY it was! Hah! I found that a lot of food in America was either really salty or really sweet. Nowadays I am used to the saltiness of the American hotdogs hah. Probably not the best thing in the world but hey. I just added some ketchup, mustard, and relish and called it a day.

20180601_111239.jpg

We then put the crib together. :) This lovely little crib is a hand-me-down from Natasha. She’s the best! It felt good to get it assembled and ready for baby. The crib mattress is currently on its way to us from Amazon. At first we went to Target to get a crib mattress but turned out they didn’t have any in our store :/ …so I turned to Amazon –> seriously, Amazon is kinda the best and I love that it delivers right to my door. I sure am grateful for the convenience!

20180601_181114.jpg

At some point we paused to snack on these dark chocolate and sea salt covered almonds. We find them in the specialty section of our grocery store. They are on the pricey side so we don’t get them often, but they are ridiculously delicious!

20180601_162252.jpg

On Sunday afternoon, Jeff came over to help Joel out with tornado cleanup. He’s kinda awesome for helping us out! While they were busy with the manual labor, I popped out to a local buffet to pick up some lunch for them. I had never been to this buffet before but it sounded like it would be a quick in-and-out spot to grab something, and it was. It also turned out to be pretty good bang for the buck, which was great.

20180603_130157.jpg

I grabbed some of these very delicious lychees to snack on too. I just love me some lychess. Whether it’s the fruit, the juice, a bubble tea, or some flavored ice cream, lychees are yummy in whatever form! If they weren’t so expensive, I’d get them all the darn time.

20180603_130353.jpg

Lunch happened on the patio with Joel and Jeff –> the buffet food turned out to be kinda “meh” in my opinion…not exactly my favorite. It was decent but I found it slightly bland. However, the guys liked it a lot, so that is good. And the weather was perfection which went a long way to make up for the bland food :)

20180603_133533.jpg

My dessert involved a leftover cupcake from the baby shower. This lemony cheesecake on a graham crust was way too delicious. I didn’t even see this kind of cupcake on the day of the shower (I may have been distracted by the chocolate ganache cake) but I fully appreciated it in the moment. Colleen did such a nice job with all the different types of cupcakes that she made!

20180603_135442.jpg

Do you have a favorite buffet? Are you a lychee fan? Got any baby essentials to recommend?  

Girlfriends + what is this leaf?

Hi friends!

Welcome to Friday! Even though this has been a short week, it feels pretty great to have another weekend upon us.

My friend Lydia taught me a new way of cutting watermelon that takes about 60 seconds to slice up the entire thing. If she posted a video I’m sure it would go viral! Who wouldn’t want to learn a hack for cutting watermelon? Maybe that is just my pregnancy craving talking :)

20180525_142222.jpg

When my friends were here, us gals got to go out for breakfast one morning. It was nice being able to leave the kids at home with the guys so that we could enjoy some girl-time. It’s been 16 YEARS since the 7 of us were ALL together — we have reunions every year but there always seems to be 1 or 2 people missing each time… until now! :D I wish from the bottom of my heart that we all lived in the same city. We had the best time at breakfast! Not only was the company top notch, the food was also pretty amazing too –> I got the “loaded waffle” with strawberries, blueberries, and banana, which I ended up splitting with Lydia (she gave me half of her veggie omelet). Quite the perfect breakfast!

20180527_093330.jpg

I am still drooling over these incredible cupcakes that Colleen made. She is an undeniable prodigy in the kitchen and bakes professional-level creations. Remember when she baked Jack’s cake for his 1 year birthday party? Read more about it HERE! Check out Colleen’s instagram here: @tuzos_portions! She also baked a pretty fantastic chocolate ganache cake (can you spot it behind the cupcakes?) which stole my heart <3

20180527_151307.jpg

Grace and Will did the majority of the cooking for our group over the week/weekend and they ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT! Grace planned out all the meals and took very good care of all of us (20+ people!). We were all very much impressed by their culinary expertise. I need to be better about meal-planning – she should teach me her ways! This is just one of the dinners they prepared: Korean bulgogi, breaded chicken, steamed rice, a Korean version of gnocci, and a salad topped with raisins… yummm…

20180527_192424.jpg

These girls are some of my favorite people on earth. It’s hard to believe we have known each other since we were little kids. We all went to the same boarding school (I talk about the school in THIS post). I can’t wait for our little boy to be BFF’s with all of their kids :)

IMG-20180527-WA0008.jpg

My youngest sister Kabi (she is the sister that lives in Australia) sent gifts for our baby shower but somehow they did not get opened until a few days after the shower :/ But boy am I excited about this super cool baby carrier and whale nightlight — whales are so cute. I can’t decide which is cuter for baby stuff, whales or elephants. I love them both :)

20180531_130319.jpg

I left the balloons from the shower up around our house to remind me of all the awesome memories. I love the colors Kristi chose for the shower! She picked mint green (or is it pastel green?), yellow, and white. I thought all the decorations were super cute and it all came together so nicely! These balloons looked nice and peppy until about halfway through the week when they started looking a bit sad and deflated. It’s a good thing the memories are forever! :)

20180529_213021.jpg

By Friday there was just one balloon left standing. When Kristi and Rachel bought the balloons, the person at the store told them that these particular balloons (or maybe the helium?) would only last 4-6 hours unless they upgraded to the fancier and more expensive balloons/helium. I’m glad they didn’t upgrade because these balloons were absolutely PERFECT for at least 3 days and didn’t start looking deflated until the 4th day. :)

20180601_095729.jpg

Joel has been working on prepping our garden for some new plants. He has re-structured the garden and is adding terraced rows (hence the rocks). We are a tad late on the gardening this year due to a lot of out-of-town travel and then dealing with the tornado fallout. But we’ve still got high hopes of getting some yummy veggies from our garden!

20180530_153430.jpg

For smallgroup last night we had planned to sit on the patio around a fire, roast smores, and have a worship night. But due to the rain we took things indoors. The discussion was refreshing per usual – I tell ya, there’s nothing like a good conversation with awesome people. After everyone left for the night, dinner involved a small cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and relish. It was getting late and I needed some protein, and this little guy came to the rescue.

20180531_214551.jpg

…followed by dessert of a cupcake left over from the shower. I have a bunch of these lil beauties in my freezer just chilling (no pun intended hah) and waiting to be enjoyed over the coming weeks.

20180531_223219.jpg

The watermelon love is still going strong around here. My mornings are 250% better when chilled watermelon is involved. It’s funny how my cravings have evolved over the course of this pregnancy. Remember when I was ALL ABOUT cantaloupe? Then green grapes? I went from being obsessed to kinda apathetic about cantaloupes and grapes. They don’t sound amazing and they don’t sound terrible – I’m just kinda “meh” about them hah. But w.a.t.e.r.m.e.l.o.n… yes please!!!

20180601_100441.jpg

What kind of leaf is this? We were sitting on the patio googling leaves to figure out what kind of trees were in the woods behind our house. I think this is an elm leaf. What do you think?

20180530_125015.jpg

Joel found this pair of earphones in our dryer — they must have been put through the washer and dryer when my galpals did a load of laundry. You would not believe how well they cleaned my house before they left — they even washed all their sheets and towels! These headphones appear to be the only casualty — turns out they belong to Colleen. Even sadder, they are the second pair of earphones she has left at our house. Sorry Colleen! :/

20180531_233115.jpg

Ever accidentally put electronics in the laundry? What’s your favorite cupcake + icing combo? Got any watermelon-cutting hacks to share? 

Feels like forever + can you find them?

Hi friends!

It feels like forever since I have been able to write a proper post. Not having power for almost a week and not having internet/wifi at home for almost 2 weeks was not the most fun thing in the world, but we made it! But I’m happy to report that all of that has been restored, and life has returned to normal (phew)!

But let’s back up to last week…

The tornado that whipped through our area did a number on our property. It was pretty bad, but I try to remind myself that it could have been a lot worse.

One of the trees took out our playset –> Although we didn’t really use it (I was hoping our baby boy would one day hang out here) it’s pretty sad to see it looking in such a state.

20180517_191948.jpg

Joel was a champ and got to work cleaning everything up — chopping up trees and raking up the branches, leaves, twigs, and random debris that got strewn all over the lawn. It was hard work, and he was quite the trooper. He somehow doesn’t get overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task –> he says he breaks up the big job into smaller manageable “action items” so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I think that is a good mindset for other things in life too :)

20180520_154044.jpg

It drizzled all day long and his boots and clothes were completely soaked. He rigged up this contraption to help speed up the drying process. I tell ya, life without electricity is somethin else. It felt pretty similar to camping except not as fun hah.

20180520_112607.jpg

On one of the days last week a few friends came over to help. It’s true what they say –> many hands really do make light work. Being almost 9 months pregnant meant I wasn’t able to help out as much as I would have liked, but I tried to lend some good moral support and picked up  pizza and drinks to help fuel their manual labor. There are 6 people in the photo below… can you find them all? :)

20180521_193904.jpg

When there is no electricity, books come to the rescue! I finished The German Girl –> it was my favorite book club pick to date. I was truly pulled into the story, so much so that I cried at some points! I love it when books can touch your heart so deeply.

20180518_183419.jpg

While engrossed in my book, I discovered the deliciousness of untoasted marshmallows. Normally I only have marshmallows toasted in smores, but I found they are pretty yummy untoasted on their own. My friend Rachel poked fun at me for eating what is essentially just sugar (hah), but I gotta say, it was tasty!

20180518_154823.jpg

Another book that I blazed through while the electricity was out: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. I have not seen the movie but I can confirm that the book is incredible. If you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend picking it up. It is told through the eyes of a child, which lends a voice of innocence to a very dark time. I was thoroughly captivated by every word. Some parts of it made me cry! There’s nothing like a good book.

20180519_123437.jpg

Working from home gets a little more complicated when you don’t have electricity. Joel took a couple days off to work on the backyard but there were a few meetings he couldn’t reschedule, so we went over to the library parking lot where he could connect to their wifi and participate in one of his shorter meetings. Our library also has private rooms that he used for one or two of his longer conference calls too.

20180518_110955.jpg

Something else we did one night while the power was out  –> we put a puzzle together! This puzzle was so much fun. It was easier than our other one that we did the last time we lost power (only 300 pieces as opposed to 1000). I wised up and used an LED flashlight instead of candles, which made seeing the pieces and colors much easier.

20180520_112311.jpg

Cooking at home in the dark did not sound appealing (plus we were itching to get out of the house) so we headed to Red Lobster for some eats. I almost never order shrimp — it’s not my favorite seafood… but for some reason the grilled shrimp skewers sounded good so I went with it. The broccoli and asparagus were pretty great too.

20180518_210636.jpg

We hung out at the library a lot to charge up our phones and laptops, and catch up on work stuff. I forgot my water at home bottle at home so stopped at the store to pick up a drink. A nice cold carton of coconut water sounded (and tasted) particularly delicious!

20180521_120436.jpg

Another one of our post-tornado dinners was at Longhorn Steakhouse — I got a strawberry and orange salad with grilled chicken. It was pretty darn good. I just realized that although we have gone to Longhorn multiple times, I have never actually had their steak. Joel ordered his steak medium rare but was disappointed when it came out medium. I feel like steak is hard to get perfect, right? He said maybe next time he should order it rare, then it will come out medium rare.

20180519_220930.jpg

We finally got power back a couple days before my girlfriends and their husbands and kiddos arrived for Memorial Day Weekend. In total, we did not have electricity for 6 days, which is the longest I have not had power. Phew! My friends would have been fine “camping” in our house without power, but as the host, I was certainly glad to get electricity back.

Lydia and her baby Amani arrived first, then Evan and Kristi and their daughter, followed shortly by Amy and her 8 week old baby, Grace and Sang and their 1 year old boy, Rachel and Pete and their daughter Acacia, and lastly Colleen!

20180525_214632.jpg

I grew up with these girls, and we all went to the same boarding school in Kenya. Through the years our friendship has remained strong and I can’t imagine life without them. We try to get together annually for a reunion, and I’m tellin ya, I’m already looking forward to the next one! I’ll fill you in more on the weekend next time! :)

What did you do over memorial day weekend? Have you ever lost power for longer than a couple days? Do you ever eat marshmallows untoasted?