diy decor

i hope everyone had a lovely weekend. today is my last day of a 4-day weekend. normally, i would’ve had a week-long february break but it was shortened to two days due to our district having 9 snow days last year. i’m pretty bummed to be returning to work tomorrow but  at least it’s three more days until the weekend again.

valentine’s day was very low-key for us this year. first of all, we got hit with another snowstorm albeit a much minor one compared to the ones we’ve had but still not ideal to be out driving. dennis had to work this past weekend anyway and we just wanted to hunker down at home where it’s warm and comfortable. we told each other we wouldn’t give each other presents so we can save money for the baby, but dennis surprised me with a beautiful bouquet and a much-coveted patriots pom hat.

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i’ve been trying to purchase this hat since december but it was out of stock everywhere. (unless you count the exorbitant marked-up prices on ebay.)

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close-up of the bouquet. i love how the roses are placed in the center of the hydrangeas.

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with two baby showers coming up in march (ct and boston), i’ve been preoccupied assisting with details especially since one of my friends organizing the ct one is 33 weeks pregnant. we hung out on sunday to make tissue paper garlands and flowers. both looked easy enough on pinterest but we found out just how time-consuming the projects are, particularly the garlands. i was cutting each tissue paper by hand and painstakingly rolling them to make the garland.

i ended up purchasing a garland cutter from michaels so i could slice 4 tissue papers at once. using the device is a little tricky at first because tissue paper is so delicate and rips easily. the directions recommend not using less than 4 sheets of tissue paper and also putting a piece of copy paper on top to help prevent the papers from snagging on the blades. i also stood up to apply even pressure when moving the blades and instead of slicing them in one go, i made little cutting movements to prevent tearing. they were okay for the most part but some did tear in places.

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the adorable gray-and-white dewey decimal organizing drawers are from land of nod. i love that store – they have a lot of cute toys and accessories for babies, children and even adults. i plan on using the drawers to store things like diaper rash cream, q-tips and other things for the nursery.

here are the directions

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lastly, these two are great finds from homegoods. we can’t wait to hang these up above the changing table in penelope’s nursery. they go with our color theme and fit our vision for a modern-elegant nursery. the one on the left is a canvas and the chandelier one is a mirror.

dream big, sweet pea.

oh, baby

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every sunday evening, i lament over the weekend’s last hours. not only because of work the following day but because i always manage to leave planning my upcoming week’s lessons until sunday night. tomorrow’s looking like another snow day so I hope to use that extra day to finish whatever i don’t tonight… bah

yesterday, dennis and i drove up to massachusetts for the day. we visited my grandmother who recently had hip surgery at almost 94 years old (!) and is currently in rehab to get back on her feet. we were so happy to see one another and grandma also prayed for penelope while remarking on the bump’s growth. it was also cute to see that she had ultrasound pictures of penny next to her bed. after the visit, we met up with our friends, kiel and jen, to have dinner and made the 2-hour trip back home.

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i placed my hand for scale

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this morning, i ate doughnuts and coffee in bed while editing my baby registry. the doughnuts pictured above are two of ten that i bought yesterday in boston. besides the mini doughnuts, they are fairly large in size so i cut them in half for consumption. i was really excited because blackbird doughnuts only opened about five weeks ago (i found them through instagram) and they looked delicious. although they do look mouthwatering, i was disappointed by the taste. the old-fashioned cocoa doughnut (top right) was greasy because the cake absorbed a lot of the oil; it was hard to appreciate the chocolate flavor. for the other two that i tried this morning, the flour-y taste of the doughnuts masked the flavors that i wanted to experience such as pomegranate. at $3 a pop, they were not worth it in my opinion. i have yet to try the other doughnuts so we’ll see how those pan out. i think Neil’s Donuts in Wallingford, CT are the best I’ve tried… now I’m thinking about their raspberry crullers…

maintaining the baby registry is something dennis and i work on every day. thanks to a great book recommendation by a few friends, we refer to baby bargains to find the top-rated baby essentials are the best bang for the buck. the book discusses everything from strollers to diaper brands. after talking to many baby mamas and reading baby books, we decided to purchase only glass bottles. plastic bottles are (supposedly) bpa-free nowadays but we don’t want to take a chance on that. we also heard really great feedback on dr. brown’s natural flow glass bottles so we included those on the registry as well as avent glass bottles – both are top-rated according to baby bargains. babies also have a preference for bottles so don’t stock up on too many of one brand.

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future parents: instead of registering at only one or two stores, why not use baby list registry? dennis and i i liked products from many different stores and found it difficult to narrow down the choices to one or two stores. i discovered the registry (and free app) babylist. this online registry allows you to link products directly from other stores so you don’t have to be forced to choose only a few. at the moment, dennis and i have products from 12 stores including j.crew baby, land of nod, amazon, and diapers.com. plus, babylist also sends you free cards to include in the baby shower invitations.

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here is what the registry looks like when browsing from your computer or phone.

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i included the message reminding people to ‘reserve’ their items to help prevent multiples. unlike other registries where the item automatically is changed to ‘fulfilled’ when purchased, babylist only provides links so you have to manually ‘reserve’ the item to indicate to others that you’ve chosen to purchase it.

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the last tab ‘reserved’ shows items that guests have decided to purchase so others won’t purchase them.

guests click on an item of interest to fill out name and email to reserve.
guests click on an item of interest and fill out name and email to reserve.

screenshot of my phone to show the app:

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here are also other books that i have read, and are still reading, to help me prepare for the pregnancy. dennis’s personal favorite is baby owner’s manual.

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Honestly, i have yet to read ina may’s guide to childbirth. it received rave reviews but after flipping through the pages, it doesn’t seem much of an interesting read… and it’s very verbose. i might have to give it another try…

my friend, dana, is a mom to a 2-month-old girl, avery, and she gave me the books what to expect when you’re expecting and the girlfriend’s guide to pregnancy. the what to expect book is a classic must-have that provides symptoms and the baby’s weekly progress; it’s incredibly helpful. i also downloaded the free app to watch videos on what the baby looks like every week. for the other book, the author shares her and her friends’ accounts of funny events and helpful tips from their experiences.

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baby owner’s manual reads like an instruction booklet for a car or a toy (i.e very user-friendly especially for men). it has cute pictures and diagrams to accompany the text as well.

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i hope my post was helpful in preparing for your registry. future parents: keep babylist registry in mind!

hearty chicken corn chowder

goodness, another snow day. connecticut got walloped by another storm. the accumulations varied by towns and mine supposedly received 7.5 inches but it looks like a lot more… one town even had 16 inches! waiting for word on whether there is a delay or cancellation tomorrow.

luckily, my snow day coincided with dennis’s day off so our family of 3 got some great quality time today 🙂 i remarked the other day to dennis that i should make corn chowder soon and i made it for dinner tonight. this recipe contains green chiles which gives it a nice kick – perfect for those cold, wintry nights. i paired the soup with french bread. I gotta have my carbs.

doesn't it look delicious?

            doesn’t it look delicious?

chicken corn chowder recipe
{source: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com}

(makes 6-8 servings)

*6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 medium onion, diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
**3 cups milk
1 (16 ounce) bag frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (4 ounce) can green chiles
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
Salt and pepper, to taste

*I only made 4 bacon strips but I think they were sufficient
**Since I don’t drink milk, I used almond milk instead. Still delicious, but regular milk will probably make it creamier

Directions:
In a large pot, add all ingredients (except the bacon) and bring to a boil.  Let simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle crumbled bacon pieces on top. Serve and enjoy!

chicken tenderloin strips

chicken tenderloin strips

diced potatoes and onions

      diced potatoes and onions

cooked chicken

             cooked chicken

ready to cook!

            ready to cook

le creuset cast iron pot

            le creuset cast iron pot