Thursday, October 28, 2010

Appropriate for Halloween...pretty horrifying...

               So, when Baby P turned three months old, I started noticing that I was shedding more hair than normal, definately more than while I was pregnant. During my pregnancy, I barely lost any and it was more thick and shiny than before. For the past eight weeks, I have been losing hair by the handful. I am not going to gross you out by photographing the full toupee of hair that fell out of my head after I washed and brushed it yesterday, but I assure you it was horrifying. I had two friends tell me that this would happen, but I definately underestimated it. There is hair in our laundry, on the floor, in the baby's hands, in the shower, in the sink, on the baby's clothes, in the couch, on the kitchen counter (I know, I know!) name a place and I have found hair there. It is awful. I can't believe I'm not bald. Oh, wait...I am! The front of my hair is really thin and now there are little, short, spiky hairs showing where it's growing back in- for which I am very, very grateful but not very aesthetically pleased. To quote Aaron the Allergic Shepherd (our children's Christmas musical this year):

"My, oh, my! Why? Oh, why is life one great big myst'ry? (Doo doo doo doo!)
If I could, then I would just make my problems hist'ry!
If I were perfect, how nice life would be!
Just perfect! I'd live happily forever.
The sheep would be perfectly in line each time and never, ever stray!"
(for perfect, read: 'full head of hair,' for sheep, read: 'hairs on my head')

      says that for the average "un-pregnant" woman, "85-95 % of the hair on your head is growing and the other 5-15% is in the resting stage." After the resting stage, the hair falls out and is replaced by new growth. "The average woman sheds about 100 hairs a day." During pregnancy, high hormone levels keep your hair in a growing stage instead of progressing to the resting stage- so you get thicker, fuller hair. Snaps for that!
              Here is the grim post-pregnancy truth, hormone levels drop dramatically so suddenly all that growing hair rests and then falls out, now you're losing not 100 hairs a day but...are you ready?...500...FIVE HUNDRED...F-I-V-E  H-U-N-D-R-E-D!!!!! I'm telling you, it looks like way, way more. The great thing (according to Baby Center) is that it should be totally back to normal within a year of the baby's birth. I'm sorry, Baby Center. I know you're trying to be all upbeat about this, but in what world is it great to have bad hair for an entire year? You try being the hairdresser that says, "Oh, don't worry! That horrible color will be all grown out in a year!"...or the doctor that says, "That itchy, red rash on your FACE will be gone in no time, give it A YEAR!"

Now, dear friends, I don't want to scare you off from pregnancy,
there are some great things too!
1) ????

2) ???????

3) Just kidding, you get a baby out of the deal-that's the best thing!

4) You have fantastic skin when you're pregnant.

5) You are treated very courteously by everyone! Random peeps in stores, family, friends
        husband (i.e. lots of opening doors, offering the comfortable bed, carrying heavy things, foot rubs)

6) A whole new world of shopping opens before your very eyes: baby stuff! It is so fun. Like when you were 6 (or 14) and pored over the American Girl catalogue drooling over teeny beds with teeny bedding and miniature button boots and 'wittle yewow waincoats.'

7) Maternity clothes: For real, they are great! Stylish, stretchy waist so you never feel like you've gained any weight (although you'd have to be blind not to notice your own belly), cuts or styles that you could never get away with when you're not pregnant (for me that's a flower print maxi-dress), and they hide everything. Really there are days when I miss maternity clothes!

8) You can feel a baby move around in your belly and actually see where it bumps its little elbows and kicks its little feet! That's very cool.

9) You get to pick out baby names! There are so many great names out there and you have an excuse to make list after list and force your husband and friends to discuss them in detail.
 -"Is that a pretty name, sweetie?"
-"Yes, we have to talk about it now! We're having a baby in 8 months!"
-"Do you think that boy's name sounds like a girl's name?"
-"No, I don't like that one, I used to know a Syracuse and she was mean. What about you?"

10) Last one, not everyone loses their hair after pregnancy. I've known several people who didn't notice it at all. So don't let it keep you from having a scrummy, cuddly, chunky-thighed baby if you want one someday, they are pretty wonderful. (Scrummy is a Roald Dahl word so I don't want any comments about it.)

Notice, I'm wearing a hat in this pic!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bistro Beef Stew (from one of my fave cookbooks "The Art of the Slow Cooker"

Ode to Stew
Oh, Stew, how I do long for you on cold, blustery evenings,
With your stewy goodness and sometimes unidentifiable ingredients.
You're the best of meat and vegetables and wine cooked for hours on end.
So flavorful and thick and bone-sticking, you warm my soul and fill my belly.
Though low cal, you may not be,
You don't leave me raiding the kitchen for chips and sweets just a few short hours later.
Thank you for not leaving my side or my crock pot during the long, gray days of winter.

You'll need, 1/4 c. flour, 1 T of kosher salt (plus more later), 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp of thyme, 5 cloves of garlic (I just use several tablespoons of minced), 1 large carrot or 2 small (peeled and sliced), 2 medium yellow onions, 1 stalk of celery (I forgot to buy this), 2 pieces of bacon, 2 lbs of stew beef, 2 c. of red wine, several T. of olive oil, a little chopped parsley and a slow cooker

Mix together the salt, pepper and flour, dredge each piece of beef in the mixture then...
(Oh, yeah, keep what's left over of the flour)

Pop it in a medium hot skillet with a T of olive oil, brown the meat in batches for a couple of minutes on each side. (The meat will be raw on the inside.) Add dashes of oil as needed then put all meat in the bottom of the slow cooker

Peel and chop the carrots, dice the onions...

Then cook the two slices of bacon in the same skillet you used for the beef until crispy, crumble and add to the slow cooker. Don't clean the pan, use the bacon drippings to brown your veggies.

After the onions, celery and carrots have browned a bit (about 5-7 minutes), add the garlic, thyme and the salt/pepper/ flour mixture left over from browning the meat, cook for a few more minutes.

Add the red wine and bring to a boil (this will cook off the alcohol and leave you with lovely flavor, you usually don't want to add wine directly to a slow cooker because you might be left with alcohol flavor)

Pour the veggie/wine mixture over the meat and bacon.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6.

Delicious! The wine reduces down with the juices of meat and veggies, and combined with the flour it's thick, rich and yummy. If you want a more 'soupy' stew, add a little beef broth when you boil the veggies and wine. NEVER add water to a soup, you'll dilute all that fabulous flavor!

Rich and flavorful. Hearty enough for a dinner by itself with some thick, buttered slices of bread.

Don't you want to eat that bite...sorry, already done did! Make it yourself!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some things I love about fall and one thing I hate...

1. This soft, blousy plaid shirt I found at Old Navy for $8.00! It's double lined so there's blue gingham inside when you roll up the sleeves. What says fall more than plaid?!

2. Corduroy Skirts: I found one in this style at Old Navy in plum corduroy for $5.00! Perfect with my brown leather boots! I love plum and pockets!

3. Fall Nail Polish: Deep, rich colors that you can't pull off in the warm weather. This is called Miami Beet, a great color and a vegetable pun. Ha!

4. I love Thanksgiving and this cute, funny long-sleeved onesie I got for Baby P today! The turkey is felt and corduroy.

 5. Stew. Like this one that I'll share with you tomorrow! Bistro Beef Stew. Readers: (i.e. Ashley, Sarah, Brittany, Caris ) It will knock your socks off!

6. Fall foliage, of course, and that fall smell of wet leaves, crushed acorns on the ground and chilly air.

7. Fried Green Tomato BLT's at Stella's with friends. 'Tis the season for green tomatoes and they were amazing breaded and fried with delish bacon, mayo and lettuce.  

8. Halloween: I love Halloween candy. I've had a bowl on my coffee table for two weeks in preparation for trick or treaters. Seasonal candy (like Christmas, Easter, Halloween) is always better tasting than normal. I love costumes on little children. Are you looking forward to Baby P's costume unveiling?!

9. Fall tablescapes: Cornucopia, mini mums, silver pheasant (a wedding gift), an owl candle (Thanks, Sally), apples, pomegranates, magnolia leaves and cones, and last year's runner from Pier 1 found on clearance.

 10. Outside fall decorations like this wreath. I love rootling around the basement for it and sticking it on the door.

11. My flower chair. In the summer that bucket is full of colorful impatiens, last year I put out a potted mum, this year I didn't want to deal with watering so I rolled up my fall garland from Michaels and stuck it in. It's fake, obviously so no maintenance but I love the colors.

12. My fake pumpkin. It's made out of some real things like twigs and pine cones, but has fake acorns and leaves. I've also used this on the dining room table before, it's very cute.


1) Two years ago they ate my carved pumpkins. They ate the big, chunky teeth right out of their goofy pumpkin faces, but did stop there.

2) Last fall they destroyed the beautiful Indian corn I put out...dragged it all over the porch, nibbled off all the kernels, made a huge mess...

3) This summer I got a package in the mail from one of W's co-workers. It was on the porch for a couple of hours. I went outside and the entire corner of the box was gone, a bag of chocolate chip cookies was open and mostly eaten and a baby outfit was pulled halfway out of the chewed hole. WHAT kind of squirrel chews through a cardboard box and pulls things out to reach its goal?! They were good cookies (there was another untouched bag, I don't eat after squirrels).

4) Remember those beautiful pumpkins we carved in September? Within a day the designs were completely gone and the pumpkins collapsed in a pulpy mess (they were thrown in the trash before I could photograph, sorry). Sick!

5) So, after the pumpkins were destroyed, I thought I'd be smart and stick with fake decor. Good idea, right?! Freaking squirrels!! Take a closer look.

What kind of nutso squirrel (haha, nutso) eats styrofoam berries? They don't even look like something you'd find in nature! There are berries all over the floor today and they haven't stopped trying to eat them.  

My poor, cute little pumpkin! Dang squirrels ate the fake acorns on top. What? That's all I can say. What, what, what?!

Ok, I'll be heading out now to pick up a pellet rifle. Squirrels are going down.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making my Monday a little brighter...

Spinach, Ham, Cheddar and Chevre Omelet
You'll need:
    two eggs
    milk or half 'n' half
    ham (I use deli honey ham)
    a slice of sharp cheddar
    a bit of goat cheese/chevre
    a big handful of baby spinach
    a small bowl and fork or
    a small omelet pan
    a spatula
    a plate

I like to keep my breakfast to one pan so I start by melting a half a tablespoon to a tablespoon of butter in a small omelet pan. Add a slice or two of ham and the spinach -keep the heat low. This looks like a lot of spinach but it cooks down significantly.

Meanwhile, slightly beat the eggs and a little milk or half 'n' half together. 

Turn the ham and stir the spinach. It cooks quickly this way and is much better than putting cold ingredients into the omelet--that always results in overcooked eggs.


Put the ham and spinach to the side while you cook your eggs.


Pour the beaten eggs and milk or cream into the same omelet pan (still on low/medium heat) and cover. If too hot, the bottom will burn and you'll have lots of raw eggs on top. Depending on your temperature, this could take 5-10 minutes. Turn up the edge to check. The less raw egg left on top, the better looking your omelet will be and it's also much easier to flip.


Here, the eggs are easily separating from the pan. Loosen them around the edges with a spatula, shake the omelet loose with a circular motion then flip it. You can also try to flip with the spatula but will probably have holes.


This is far from a perfect flip, but it's good enough for government work or a Monday morning breakfast. Using butter may give you a little brown color, cooking spray is also an option.


Immediately after flipping, top half of the omelet with the cheddar, ham and spinach, then the chevre crumbles on top of that. The cheese will be melted on both sides by the hot eggs. The second side only takes a minute or two so try to do this quickly. Fold the eggs over then dump it on a plate and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.


Yum! Tangy, creamy chevre...melty, sharp cheddar...delicious sauteed spinach (lots of good vitamins)...a little sweet ham...and of course the incredible, edible egg... What a fabulous combination! My husband loves this omelet as well and it can be a great, quick dinner with some fruit or a salad. Omelets are also a great way to use odds and ends of leftover ingredients from the fridge or pantry. You could start by frying up some bacon then adding chopped onions of any kind, mushrooms, thin slices of potato, asparagus, and topping off with cheese (again any kind of cheese will work). Shredded leftover chicken with cheese, and a couple spoonfuls of salsa would be a yummy Mexican omelet. The possibilities are endless...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


            Last weekend, we got the "old gang" together. We've known each other since high school or college and some of us even elementary school-we're going on eleven years or more of great friendship. We've been through a lot together and I couldn't do without these girls. When I was in the hospital for 8 weeks on bedrest with Baby P they visited, brought me lunch, sent flowers, called, emailed, sent care packages, prayed like the dickens and were so supportive. Last week was the first time in years that all six of us have been together in a long time and we had so much fun. We don't do it often enough!

We have hundreds of pictures like this one, the people at the table next to us actually got up from their seats (all four of them) to take this picture for us. Cheers to them!

We took lots of pics of these neat handpainted horses in downtown Lex. After looking at this one, I realized I probably should have worn heels and then had a nightmare about short legs chasing me around the house with a pair of stilettos...

Hey there, movie star! Where's your BF Dean Martin?

Sarah really wanted to feed the horses and the only thing handy was a her little leather clutch, yum! And it matches!

Weird story involving a policeman directing traffic after a Nickelback concert. We are huge fans, by the way, of Nickelback and that friendly policeman who led us over to a dark corner of a park to give us contraband concert memorabilia (C went home with 3!!).

I feel like there should be a scary Halloween story to go with this picture...something like: the woman who drank so much caffeine she jittered away into nothing and could never be photographed again...

Baby P loves his aunties! Obviously :)

That's better, maybe it was just Sarah that made him cry...