Hello from Indy!

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Hi friends!

Hello from Indiana! We are here for a few days, but before we discuss Indy, let’s first back up to the past couple days πŸ™‚

These little balls of goodness are still making my day over here. A friend suggested putting grapes into the freezer, so that may have to be added to the to-do list –> have you tried frozen grapes? I’m not sure what to expect but I am certainly intrigued!

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Joel’s very big bowl of Sopa de Mariscos (shrimp, scallops, and tuna in a spicy broth with cilantro and onion). I’m not the biggest fan of shrimp or scallops… shrimp is one of those things I’ll eat if that’s the only thing available, but it’s not my primary go-to –> so I passed on the soup, but he very much enjoyed it.

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One of our friends works at Deep River, and he once brought over a ton of chips to a party –> that is how we first got introduced to these chips, and we can confirm: they are pretty great! Joel’s favorite flavor is jalapeno. I picked up a bag for him at our local deli.

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Anyone else an enormous fan of clementines? They are so so good, and I love that they are so easy to peel. It’s impossible to stop after having just one πŸ™‚ I feel like I regularly eat 3 or 4 at a time. Fun fact: I used to think clementines and tangerines were the same thing. They are not. Clementines > tangerines.

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Before leaving for Indiana, we had a couple meals comprising leftovers in efforts to use up random foods in our fridge. It sure feels great to not to waste or throw out perfectly good food.

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Bacon may not seem like a traditional taco ingredient, but you guys know that doesn’t stop Joel. He is quite the experimenter when it comes culinary combinations.

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Another meal aimed at using up leftovers: rice, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, and grilled chicken, cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It turned out to be one of those “beige” meals that tasted far better than it looks πŸ™‚

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There’s nothing like getting into a pair of compression socks at 3am in preparation for a flight. My compression socks served me well during marathon training, but have since been sitting unloved in my dresser. It’s nice to put them to good use once again. I’m happy to report that this preggo gal did not have any lower-extremity swelling from the flight!

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Joel got me a pre-board pass so that I could be sure to secure an isle seat on the plane. This made it easier on me when I inevitably had to get up to use the bathroom, and it was also super handy for taking a quick walk when the ol’ legs felt restless. Side note: who knew restless leg syndrome was a pregnancy thing? I don’t get it often but when it strikes, it is not fun. I suppose I should thank my lucky stars that I haven’t had any of the dreaded leg-cramping at night –> my sister had those during her pregnancy, and she said they are the worst!

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We touched down in Indianapolis after a smooth trip. I suppose we should enjoy traveling just the two of us since those days are surely numbered! πŸ™‚ We decided that instead of doing one big babymoon, we’d do multiple smaller trips. So far we’ve hit NYC and Indy, and we have plans to head to DC, PA, and possibly Montreal too!

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Joel is an expert traveler and got us into our rental car in no time. Did I ever tell you guys about the time I was in North Carolina for work, and the rental car company ran out of regular cars so I got upgraded for free to a cherry red mustang? That was quite the fun ride πŸ™‚

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If I wasn’t currently pregnant I probably would have indulged in a glass of wine at the hotel.

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Instead, I stuck with the ice cold lemon/lime infused water. I can’t think of anything more refreshing after getting off a plane!

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This gorgeous fiddle leaf fig in the hotel lobby puts mine to shame. It is so full and glorious. I sure wish mine would plump up too, but I’m pretty sure the air at home is too cold and dry during the winter for that. I’m just glad my fiddle hasn’t called it quits yet! πŸ™‚

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A late lunch happened at Bru Burger. This is a spot that came highly recommended by a couple friends, and boy were they right πŸ™‚

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We were not disappointed! Joel’s lunch consisted of the classic Bru Burger, which came with taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onions, spring mix (he substituted this instead of chopped lettuce) and mayo. Now that’s a pretty goodlookin burger.

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After lunch we went for a nice walk to enjoy the lovely sunshine and explore some of the local sights. We came across a cool little ice cream parlor that makes the ice cream (and whatever mix-in’s you choose) right in front of you using nitrogen. I don’t know how his hands aren’t frozen!

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We split some coffee flavored ice cream –> it surely had quite the smooth and silky texture, yum! I wouldn’t mind going back for other flavor combinations the next time we are in Indy. This ice cream fueled out afternoon walking perfectly.

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Joel took some time in the evening to catch up on work and prepare for a big meeting while I got all caught up on emails.

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He felt like Japanese food for dinner so we looked up a few spots. We drove past one place, but their menu mostly included ramen (which we do love, but Joel was specifically in the mood for sushi), so we instead headed over to Naked Tchopstix.

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I briefly thought about ordering a cooked roll, but decided I was not all that hungry (the burger from lunch kept me full for the longest time!), so I stuck with a seaweed salad. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Joel’s choice of a “Sushi Set” was undeniably stellar –> it came with a spicy salmon roll, and one of each nagiri piece: crab, yellow tail, tuna, salmon, shrimp, eel, egg, and red snapper. Yup, I cannot wait for my first post-baby spicy salmon roll!

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What are your recommendations for places to check out in Indianapolis? Have you ever had frozen grapes? What do you have going on in your week so far?Β  Β  Β  Β  Β 

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St. Patty’s Day Parade + Amish Bread!

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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. πŸ™‚ 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?

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My friend Kristi got snow down in North Carolina too –> her hubs Evan and their kiddo made sure to get outside and enjoy it! 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, andΒ 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 πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚ I am glad we enjoy the same foods.

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚

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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!

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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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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

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

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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!

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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 πŸ™‚

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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).Β 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.

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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!).

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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?Β  Β Β 

*This content uses referral links. Read my disclosure policy for more info.

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Last snowday? + Gender Reveal plan!

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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. πŸ™‚

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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!

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I got together with Natasha for lunch at Pho & Spice πŸ™‚ 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.

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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. πŸ˜€ 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!).

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚

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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. πŸ™‚

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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.

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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.

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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! πŸ™‚

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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.

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Our PhotowallΒ 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.Β (Discount codeΒ HERE –> expires March 31).

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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!

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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… πŸ™‚

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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.

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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?Β Β 

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Lazy Sunday Morning + Heart Pancake

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Hi friends!

After Friday’s nor’easter, it was quite the overcast weekend around here. But at least it was above freezing πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

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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!

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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 thatΒ makes me wonder how many people I pass on the street that will one day become my friend!

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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. πŸ™‚

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 NOTΒ how our game nights usually go lol)

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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.

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We also hung up our PhotowallΒ print (details and discount codeΒ HEREΒ –> code expires March 31!). We were originally going to hang the print in the nursery but decided it looked better in our room. πŸ™‚

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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!

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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?Β Β 

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A very good use for ziplock bags

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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.

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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. πŸ™‚

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And a few of these bad boys for dessert. πŸ™‚ 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!

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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.

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. πŸ™‚

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A few smallgroup ladies πŸ™‚

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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.

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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.

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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! πŸ™‚

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?

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

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚

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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!

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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 πŸ™‚

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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 πŸ™‚ 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.

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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!

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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.

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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 πŸ™‚ Thank goodness for eggs which are yummy, can be prepared a million different ways, and are easy to incorporate into any meal.

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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!

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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?

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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 πŸ™‚

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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!

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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!

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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.Β This was such a good idea – thanks Kelly πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ˜‰ 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.

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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?Β Β 

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Fragrances and this gal’s pregnant nose

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Hi friends!

This week has very spring-like, with a couple sunny days in the 70’s! There’s nothing like an early spring to put a pep in your step. We did have some rain today but I am hanging onto the hope that spring has come early since it is actually warm enough to rain instead of snow. One of my friends is certain that we are due for another big snow storm before it officially warms up, but let’s hope she is wrong about that. πŸ™‚

I recently started using this Shea hand cream from The Body Shop. I got it a while ago in an airport — I was traveling to a conference. I had some time to kill before my flight, so did some browsing in the airport Body Shop. After I bought this lotion, I threw it into my bag and completely forgotten about it until a couple days ago when I was rummaging around in my bag and found it again. I’m so glad I did! I never go a single day without putting on some kind of lotion on my hands (no idea when that habit started), and my hands love this stuff! It feels really moisturizing, and the bonus is it smells lovely. I would describe the scent as warm, gourmand, and not too overpowering. πŸ™‚

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Speaking of scents, I haven’t had the urge to wear any perfumes or strongly-fragranced products since being preggo. Non-pregnant Dawn likes perfume on occasion but pregnant Dawn has yet to touch the stuff. My nose is normally quite sensitive even when I’m not pregnant, and pregnancy has certainly heightened that sensitivity. For a few weeks there in the first trimester I had to stay far away from anything scented… I even used fragrance-free body-wash to wash my hands because the smell of our regular hand soap was way too overpowering for my poor nose! Thankfully the hyper-sensitivity to scents has started to simmer down now that I’m out of the first trimester. It’s nice to not feel like I’m choking every time I am near anything even remotely fragranced πŸ™‚

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These green grapes have become something of a staple around here. Right now they are $2.50 per lb at our grocery store. In my opinion that is somewhere between a great price and a meh price. At least they taste amazing –> perfectly ripe, sweet, and juicy! I have found that fresh produce in New England tends to be more expensive compared to the south (and sometimes not as good). I remember paying $0.99 per lb for grapes during the summer at our local grocery store in Houston. I miss those prices!

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Speaking of fruit, here is another staple of the week: fresh peaches! These aren’t super “hairy” on the outside, which I like. The skins aren’t quite as smooth as nectarines, but they are not as hairy as some peaches I have had in the past. Ya know, I can deal with the hairy peach skins (they taste too good not to!), but not having all those tiny little hairs on my tastebuds is great too. We bought extra peaches because this week is our turn to provide snacks for our small group. We plan to do a yoghurt and granola bar, with Greek yoghurt, peaches, cantaloupe, banana, and other “fixins” to add on top. Should be yummy πŸ™‚

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Joel felt like lasagna for dinner a couple nights ago, so we got takeout from a nearby Italian restaurant. I wasn’t super hungry so I opted for what I THOUGHT was going to be something small (ziti and meatball from the kids menu)… I was wrong. The kids portion was enormous! And you know somethin else? Boy did my eyes bug out of my head when I saw Joel’s meal… his lasagna could have fed a family of 4! But of course it was all very tasty and the abundant leftovers made for some stellar leftovers, so zero complaints here. Side note: I always say Italian is not my go-to cuisine, but then I end up enjoying it when I have it, so not sure what that is about πŸ™‚

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Breakfast this morning consisted of a smoothie! I haven’t made smoothies in a long time –> we actually got rid of our big blender a while ago (I can’t remember why but I think it was old and falling apart). My older brother David gave us his mini blender when he moved to South Africa, and this was the first time we put it to use. It was a lot easier to use compared to our old clunky one, and made the perfect amount for a single smoothie. I added fresh cantaloupe, a bit of orange juice, and then added some frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and mango. It was pretty delicious! Next time I will also add bananas, peaches, and maybe also some Greek yoghurt for protein. What is your favorite way to amp up the protein in your smoothies? Do you put veggies in your smoothies?

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I found these mini ginger cookies in the bakery section of the store and scooped some up. I fully intended for these to accompany the smallgroup granola/yoghurt bar, but we ended up cracking into them yesterday (oops). They are so darn good! The perfect amount of gingery crunch –> It takes some pretty major restraint to not eat 30 in a row. They remind me of the crunchy ginger cookies we used to eat as kids. When it comes to ginger cookies or gingerbread I prefer crunchy over soft. Although let’s face it, soft gingerbread is pretty good too πŸ™‚

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Pad Woon Sen noodles for dinner last night πŸ™‚ –> bean thread noodles with onions, scallions, egg, carrots, and baby corn. So incredibly good. I could eat Thai (or any Asian) food every single day. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a personal chef who whipped up whatever you wanted that day? That would be the dream.

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What are your weekend plans? I keep checking my weather app because the forecast is going back and forth between rain and no rain for Saturday. It would be nice to spend some time outside so I am really hoping the rain holds off. At some point we are going to try and see Black Panther with some friends –> we have been wanting to see it since it came out but everywhere near us is sold out (we have MoviePass so we haven’t bought tickets in advance like everyone else).

What’s your favorite way to add protein to your smoothies? What are you up to this weekend? If you had to pick one type of cuisine to have for the rest of your life, what would it be?Β  Β 

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