Recipe: Mango Lime Creamsicles

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My dear friends up in the Midwest are experiencing a disgustingly snowy mid April, meanwhile it’s soaring up to 90F in the southwest, and we’re all dreading the 115 degree summer that’s coming. Whether you need some relief from the impending heat, wish you were in impending heat, or somewhere in between, I’ve got a scrumptious and healthy plant-based recipe for you that’ll be on repeat all spring, summer, and snowy April long - Mango Lime Creamsicles!

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1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 banana

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Zest from half lime

Juice from half lime

~1 inch piece fresh ginger or to taste (mine was about 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick, and it was the perfect amount for my taste)

1 cup mango (I used frozen, but fresh would be good, too.)


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This recipe made just under 2 cups, which was just a little over my 6-popsicle mold (from Ikea.)

Freeze overnight. When ready, run the mold under warm water until your creamsicle pops out. Enjoy!

Travel Guide: Atlanta

My family and I spent a few days in Atlanta, GA, back in October. C was only 5 months old at the time, so we brought SO much baby stuff, as you can probably imagine. In fact, I’m sprucing up my packing list for baby for another upcoming trip, so I plan to post that for you to download soon!

While in Atlanta, Kelvin had a conference to attend, so C and I hit the Atlanta streets together most days, and I wanted to share our favorite spots with you, from coffee shops to markets to the aquarium.

Chrome Yellow Trading Co.

Friendly staff, good coffee, lots of natural light, organic-y feeling interiors, cute patio - this place is hipsterical! I’m copyrighting that word right now. But in all seriousness, I’d definitely go back!

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Revolution Donuts

This place is just down Edgewood Ave. from Chrome Yellow, and has the word “donuts” in the title. Duh! They have the classics and plenty of fun, unique flavors. Yum!

Momonoki and Momo Cafe

The south isn’t known for Japanese cuisine, but this place was so delicious and unique from other Japanese restaurants I’ve been to in Arizona. We got the katsu sando (fried pork cutlet sandwich), Mazemen (brothless noodles with pork and an egg), a citrus tart (unbelievably delicious!), and the matcha/black sesame twist soft serve from the next-door Momo Cafe. Also, “momonoki” means peach tree in Japanese. Isn’t Georgia the peach state? How cute is that?

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Get ready to unbuckle yer pants cuz this place has some rich southern fare! It feels silly to type that, but it’s true. This was my first time having southern food, so I can’t compare it to other places, but everyone we talked to, from bell hops to Uber drivers recommended it. I now drool at the thought of fried green tomatoes. I also felt like I had consumed enough calories for the remainder of 2018.

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Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q

I’m not a bbq expert, but everyone recommended this place. There’ll be a long wait if you don’t get there early. So yummy!

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Krog Street Market

I want to give you my real, honest opinion on this blog. The idea of this place is awesome - cool aesthetic with lots of creative local vendors (mostly food.) Maybe I totally missed the point, but it felt like this place was trying pretty hard to stand out as a unique version of what so many other places are trying to do, with pretty high prices of course. Criticism aside, Krog St. Market has JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAMS, so that warranted a visit. We also enjoyed some baos from Suzy Siu’s Baos and roamed around, smelling the free smells from the other eateries. I’d still recommend this place if you have the time to go and are interested in getting some food here.

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Ponce City Market

Very similar to the concept of Krog St Market, this is another popular (touristy) spot full of local vendors but much larger with more shops. We enjoyed walking around, window shopping, and sipping my cortado from Spiller Coffee. The photo below shows a shop with dog goods! Ponce City Market was also a Sears warehouse at one point. RIP, Sears.

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Georgia Aquarium

Let’s be honest- we didn’t come here so C could learn about sea animals. We came here for Kelvin’s and my enjoyment. The Georgia Aquarium is renowned for its responsible care of their animals (awarded the prestigious Humane Certification from American Humane) and quality aquarium-ness (another copyright there), and we’d definitely go back when C is older if given the opportunity. Tip: save your $12 on that tiny dry hamburger they sell in the cafeteria and go eat at a local place after your visit!

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National Center for Civil and Human Rights

We ran out of time and couldn’t stop here, but if we ever go back to Atlanta, this is one of the first places I’ll visit, and no, it’s not because I’m a millennial with a need to stand for something.

Overall, I’d say Atlanta is one of my favorite U.S. cities to visit. So much history, so much to see and do, so many fried green tomatoes. I really hope we have the opportunity to go back someday. Have you been to Atlanta, or do you plan to go? I’d love to hear about your experience/what you’re looking forward to seeing there. Please let me know in the comments!

Corinthian's Birth Story

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Our baby's due date was May 8th. Several people (without degrees in medicine) guaranteed me that he would come early because my belly was that big and they "just had a feeling." Well I had a feeling he would be late, so while I didn't dismiss the possibility of an early arrival, I expected his due date would uneventfully come and go. May 8th indeed came and went without a birth, so we scheduled an induction for Monday, May 14th.

The evening before the induction (Mother's Day), I started feeling this weird pressure that I hadn't felt before. I didn't think much of it because it wasn't a contraction, and you feel a lot of weird things when pregnant. Before going to bed that night, I felt the pressure again but stronger. I thought I just really had to go to the bathroom. When I felt like I had emptied my bladder, more liquid gushed out. At first I just thought it was more pee cuz even though I was super prego I did have a pretty decent teacher bladder and could hold in a lot.* But when I stood up, but more liquid came gushing out - into the toilet, thankfully. I knew my bladder wasn't that big, so at that moment I knew my water had broken! I told Kelvin and camped out on the toilet while he very excitedly ran around the house saying things like, "This is so exciting!" and "I'm sorry I didn't finish packing my hospital bag!" and "Hehehe, I can't believe this is happening!" Fortunately, my water breaking wasn't an emergency situation, especially because I wasn't having any contractions at that point, but we did hurry out the door.

Around 12:45am, we arrived at the hospital, and I waddled my way up to the front door while holding a bunch of towels between my legs. It felt like my water was turning into Niagara Falls, I kid you not. I was  admitted to triage for a few hours while we waited for my cervix to dilate. I finally started feeling contractions, too. They brought me to labor and delivery where the real work began. As soon as I was about 3 or 4 cm dilated, I got an epidural. I know my body and knew that my body would probably take a very long time to fully dilate and get through the birthing process, so I decided ahead of time to get the epidural so I wouldn't decide while in labor and it end up being too late. The epidural felt amazing! The contractions started to get really intense, and then the pain from them was instantly gone. My dilation was progressing pretty slowly, so my nurse had me lie on one side for a few minutes then switch to the other. When I lay on my right side, baby's heart rate would go down, so the nurse made me stay on my left side.

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Unfortunately, epidurals work with gravity, so all of the pain killing power went down to my left side, and my right side was KILLING me (not literally.) It was definitely the worst pain I had ever felt. When I complained about the pain, the nurse wouldn't let me lie flat or switch sides to even out the medication because of baby's heart rate dropping on my right side. Instead, she called the anesthesiologist back in to give me more pain medication. I was writhing in pain, so I just remember saying, "OKAY!!" when she asked if she should bring him back in the room. It was still so hard to breathe deeply and stay ahead of the contractions, but Kelvin and my parents helped tremendously (thanks, guys!)

After a few hours, that nurse's shift ended, and I got a new nurse. She helped me lie on my back safely, which helped the medication even out to both sides without compromising baby's well being. The pain was a little better, but the labor was pretty long. After a few hours of trying to breathe through the worst menstrual-like cramps I've ever felt times like 12 million, the doctor came in and said I was 9.5cm dilated! I knew that pushing this babe out would come next and was dreading it, but at least the end was in sight. After a few more dilation checks, the doctor and nurse realized that my cervix was starting to swell in some areas. They said the swelling was my cervix's way of saying, "This baby isn't gonna fit through here, so I quit." A c-section was looking like our only viable option for getting him out. Yes, a c-section, after 23 hours of labor and 40+ hours of virtually no sleep! I actually wasn't too mad about the c-section; I was just ready to meet this baby!

They brought me into the operating room, and Kelvin also came adorned with scrubs. All I really remember was feeling SUPER nervous and lying on this extremely flat and narrow surgery table. It felt like there was a ton of pressure on my chest and face. I could breathe just fine, but it felt like I couldn't. My mouth was 100% dry. The room smelled weird. I could feel the back-and-forth sawing down there but didn't feel any pain from it. That one Evanescence song (the only one everyone knows) was playing VERY loudly. Kelvin accidentally took a picture of my uterus and showed it to me. WHY?! So many weird sensations. Before I knew it, at 1:11am I saw and heard this dangly red object and realized that that was our son! I immediately started sobbing because I thought I was supposed to and definitely felt like I needed to. I gave Kelvin the okay to go over to him while the nurses and doctors sucked fluid out of his nose, weighed him, and other newborn things.

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The next few days were such a blur. All I remember are little isolated highlights from our hospital stay:

  • A few hours after moving to the recovery room, I threw up all over my hospital bed and on the floor from drinking too much water after the c-section.
  • Corinthian and I started this crazy journey called breastfeeding.
  • Kelvin and I couldn't keep track of what day or time it was. Neither could Corinthian.
  • We just stared at him and said, "Did this really happen?"
  • We maybe slept 8 hours over the span of 3 days.
  • We worried over weird little things, but the pediatrician assured us that he was perfectly fine.
  • Corinthian got a bath!
  • I took a shower.
  • I ordered aaaalllllllllllll the food from the hospital cafeteria. Food was free for patients, so I just ordered a bunch and gave some to Kelvin, too. Yay!
  • I rang the little chime that's heard throughout the hospital when a baby is born. Made me tear up for sure; hormones are crazy after having a baby.

It's now been over two months since Corinthian was born. We're navigating all things baby, and just when we feel used to life with baby, he throws in another variable, like a growth spurt during which he barely sleeps at night. Ah! We sure do love him and are trying to soak up every moment while he speeds ahead in his development and shows off his fun personality. We can't wait to see more of the amazing person God designed you to be, Corinthian!

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Corinthian Kaison Wong / born on May 15, 2018 at 1:11am / 19.5 inches long / 7 pounds, 8 ounces



*It's not safe to hold your bladder for extended periods of time while pregnant because it can cause a bladder infection, so if you're prego and reading this, go find a bathroom right now! 

Our Baby Registry

I thought it might be fun to document the first things we got for our baby, and hopefully it will be helpful for you, whether you're an expecting parent or looking to buy gifts for new parents. After all, baby stuff can be super overwhelming as there are countless brands, colors, materials, etc., all for the same thing (i.e., burp cloths. I hate shopping for burp cloths.)

Some Fun Baby Stuff We Registered For

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Dragons Love Tacos / baby carrier / sweatshirt / This Is How We Do It / alpaca / I Want My Hat Back / blocks sorter / onesie

When I started putting our registry together, I added anything and everything that I saw mom friends using without truly understanding how to use them or what they were for. I just kept adding and adding to the registry like a contestant on a weird grocery shopping competition show furiously throwing boxes of cereal into their cart. At one point I had over 200 items on our registry. I thought that might overwhelm friends and family, so I tried to narrow it down. Looking at trusted blogs (the ones that had a similar lifestyle as me, like living in a warmer climate) and some YouTube videos was super helpful. I found this video especially helpful since she goes through a lot of products and explains how she uses them with her baby.

Some Baby Essentials We Registered For

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bath sponge / diaper bag / humidifier / gripe water / thermometer / pacifier / bottles / swaddle / wipes / diapers

Kelvin and I are very grateful and touched by our friends' and families' generosity in their gift giving. We feel really loved, cared for, and provided for. It's not easy to feel somewhat dependent on others' generosity, but the baby bill racks up fast! At one point in the middle of baby showers and wrapping up my job before maternity leave, I realized that I had some unhelpful expectations with regard to receiving and buying baby stuff. This was just my experience, but here's what I learned:

1. You do not need all the things!

2. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what you get. You're not going to ruin your baby's life by getting or not getting certain things. Babies are resilient, and they have a 100% chance of surviving without a butt wipe warmer. Still, there's nothing wrong with getting one if you really want one. Keeping this in mind has helped my grabby hands stay still while walking through the baby section at Target. Sometimes.

3. Several people who give you baby gifts will not even peek at your baby registry. This is okay! It doesn't mean that they don't care enough to do so.

4. The gifts that you receive that are not on your registry may not come with a gift receipt or any indication of which store they came from, so keep it (hello, re-gifting), donate it, or download one of those apps that shows you all the places it could have come from and try to return it (I tried ShopSavvy.) The only thing is that you might have to go to a few different stores until you find the place where it was purchased, and some places have really crappy return policies without a receipt, even if it was a gift.

4. Many people prefer to buy fun baby stuff like clothes and stuffed animals rather than the essentials like butt cream or baby wipes. Nothing wrong with that, I just thought I would've gotten all the super mom products that worked wonders for other babes, but I don't think there's any one baby product that's universal for all babies anyway (see #7.)

5. It's okay to wait and see if you'll actually need something until after baby is born. Amazon, people! You'll just want to make sure you have the absolute essentials right away like a place for baby to sleep, diapers, wipes, etc.

6. Speaking of Amazon, Amazon Prime! Worth it.

7. Ultimately, baby decides what baby likes, so even though you spent a lot of money on that baby swing, it doesn't mean they'll put on a fake smile for you and pretend to like it.

Welp, our baby is nice and cozy in ma' belly and oblivious to the fact that he's past his due date, so I'm planning to do an update post in a few months on which products worked and which ones didn't. Stay tuned!

Update to Baby's Room

Our baby's room used to be our office, but now that we've moved all of our furniture out and into our bedroom (yay...), we have a much better idea of what our boy's room will look like, even though our baby will be living in our bedroom for the first few months.

I made a previous post showing a mood board that I was going to follow in designing the room. Fortunately, I had purchased just a few small items from that mood board and later decided I wasn't too set on using bright colors on big pieces like the rocker and rug. I have nothing against bright colors; I just happened to watch part of the movie Problem Child around that time and noticed the very primary colored room or house or something, and I just couldn't get that out of my head - reminded me of clowns :(. Also, the tile in the nursery is bluish gray, so the overall design with more neutral tones doesn't look as bland, but I was afraid it would be too much with the brighter tones I previously chose. Lastly, if we have another child in the future, I thought I would get tired of the colors and would either want to purchase all new things or keep the original stuff and cringe every time I enter the room. So in an effort to save money and my husband's sanity, I thought I would be best to go with more neutral tones.

It's worth noting that the dresser in baby's room is actually a vintage piece that was part of my grandparents' first furniture set after getting married. Below is a similar piece. 

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lamp / cactus blanket (no longer available) / wire basket / cactus print / alpaca print / oak dresser / glider / pouf / llama mobile (no longer available) / crib / rug

I forgot to include this cart that I got from Ikea. The shelves are a little oddly shaped, but I added in some little felt baskets, and it's working out perfectly holding random stuff for now. All we need is to add a plant, deliver a baby, and we're good to go! I'll post some actual photos of the room once it's all ready (and doesn't have diaper boxes sprawled out all over the floor!)

No Knead Bread with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning

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I love baking bread, and no-knead breads are SO easy, yet with every loaf I learn something new. I'm still working on getting the outside color just right as well as those air pockets inside. After making my first few loaves of no-knead bread, I decided to experiment with some different add-ins. One time I tried fresh rosemary (no rosemary flavor, boo), but I do have a Toasted Sesame Bread recipe you should check out if you're feeling fancy. I like the Toasted Sesame Bread more than Kelvin does, but just plain no-knead bread is totally delicious, too. You could easily convert the recipe below into plain bread by omitting the Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, but why would you? Also, why is the name of this seasoning soooo long? The bottle is not that big, so it's pretty much a miracle that they can fit the name onto the label. You can find the seasoning at Trader Joe's. My local store is usually sold out of it, so hopefully you have better luck than me in finding it. Otherwise, you could also make your own using sea salt, garlic, onion, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. But I'll take my chances and just attempt to get it at Trader Joe's. (This isn't sponsored, btw.)

No Knead Bread with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning


3 C bread flour (all purpose is fine, too, but you're gonna wanna make this more than once so might as well invest in some bread flour)

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/2 C warm water

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Everything But The Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend


Add the yeast and warm water to a large bowl and let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, sift 3 C bread flour over a medium bowl. Scoop 3 leveled cups of the sifted flour into the large bowl containing the yeast and warm water. Set the leftover flour in your medium bowl aside for later.

Add the salt and Everything But The Bagel Seasoning and mix well. It'll look a little shaggy, but that's okay. Cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 8-24 hours.

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 450F along with a Dutch oven with lid on. Next, pull out some parchment paper onto your work surface and grab that leftover flour from sifting earlier. Sprinkle some flour over some parchment paper, and flour your hands. Pull the dough out of the bowl, and place it onto the floured parchment paper. Grab some of the dough from the bottom and stretch it up to the top. If it sticks to your hands too much, add more flour to your hands, parchment paper, or sprinkle onto the bread. Continue stretching/pulling all around the bread until a cute ball starts forming. Turn the bread upside down so any seams will be on the bottom of the loaf and gently pat the sides to encourage it to keep its ball shape (I like to give the little guy a pep talk while I do this, like, "Attaboy, sport. You got this." No? Okay. Just trying to prepare for parenthood here.) Let the dough sit for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, take the Dutch oven out and carefully plop the parchment paper and dough into the Dutch oven. I trim the extra parchment paper that sticks out over the top. Put the lid back on, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Uncover, and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Carefully set the loaf onto a cooling rack, and learn from my mistake by avoiding slicing it until it's completely cool. I love this bread plain, but my favorite toppings are cream cheese, egg, and avocado. You could also sprinkle a little extra of the bagel seasoning on top. Enjoy!

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Baby Boy's Room Mood Board

Now that I'm in the third trimester, I find myself waking up in the middle of the night to ponder many things like... 

What will our baby look like?

Will I gag a lot while changing diapers?

How in the world am I going to give birth to a human? Ew.

While I think it's fine to wonder these things rather than being naive about them, I do know that I don't need to fret and can trust that God will guide us through all of the unknown.

However, there's another tug-of-war my mind likes to play. I'm trying to figure out how to design this baby's room when we haven't even met him yet. We don't know his personality or preferences, other than he likes to kick and hiccup, especially around 4am. I feel half guilty for pushing my own style and preferences on this baby, yet that is suuuper silly because he's not in the womb looking at Pinterest or baby blogs for ideas. He won't care one bit what his room looks like until probably he discovers a love for something like Teletubbies. That thought makes me shudder. Hopefully at that point he won't care either. Can you imagine Teletubby wallpaper? So creepy.

Trying to figure out a theme/style for a baby room can be quite overwhelming. There are a plethora of ideas on the interwebs, and Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod and really cute baby boutiques suddenly love to show up on all of my feeds, so where to begin? I started with maybe forest animals to South American/Andes-inspired textiles with fluffy alpaca stuff. Then I decided that since I'm the only one in this family with travel experience to the Andes that that might feel a little strange and unfamiliar, so I thought it might be a more educational (?) and interesting to go with a desert theme cuz, you know, we live in the desert. Cactus-patterned things are super easy to find these days, and since desert animals aren't the cutest or most cuddly, there will probably be some alpaca or llama appearances. I know they're not native, but there are quite a few alpaca and llama farms around the southwest.

Although baby boy's due date is less than 12 weeks away, the thought that he could come at ANY time freaks me out since all of our office furniture and Kelvin's futon from his bachelor days are still taking up residence in the baby's room. (Btw anyone want an Ikea futon? Excellent condition.) I keep having recurring dreams that baby comes, and we still have nothing ready. Haha. What a great feeling. To clarify, currently all is well with baby and there aren't any signs that he will come early, so we'll prob be okay; it's just something that has been in the back of my mind.

Below is the board motivating me to get to some shopping/baby registry-ing done. That's probably more productive than using baking as my way of nesting (if you've seen my Insta highlights, you know. Just simply cannot stop.)

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floor lamp / knit pillow / nursery glider / brass wire basket / rug / llama stuffed animal (currently unavailable) / desert landscape photo / cactus lamp / dresser / crib / gold cactus blanket (no longer avail.) / palm leaf quilt / llama mobile

Any other mom friends out there feel this strange guilt yet excitement when decorating baby's room? Any advice? I'm all ears!

10 Valentine's Day Treat Ideas

I used to hate Valentine's Day. In high school, my friends and I wore all black one year in "protest" to the holiday. I even went to Target the day before to buy an all-black outfit. In college, I just ignored Valentine's Day. Most of my friends were single anyway. Now as a teacher, I really loathe it because students are FULL of sugar, and it's like, "What's the point?" (Please don't get me wrong, I do love my students.) However, this year I am really looking forward to Valentine's Day because I've gotten into this crazy addictive baking kick, and out of all holidays, Feb. 14th is probably the best excuse to bake. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! < That is literally how I feel inside right now when I think about baking.

Throw your New Year resolutions aside, and check out some fun baking ideas below. Some of them don't even involve baking! The first 5 are super easy and the last 5 require more skill. Which one do you want to try? Imma try #8.

For the less experienced baker, or the one who's short on time...

1  Strawberry Short Cake "Shish Kabobs" &nbsp;- I recently made these for a gathering with friends, and they were a big hit. The recipe suggests using popsicle sticks, but I used bamboo skewers, and they worked great.&nbsp;They're super easy for kids to (make and) eat, too.  2  Chocolate-Caramel Truffles   3  Strawberry Pretzel Chocolate Swirl Bark   4  Love Bark: Rose + Chocolate &nbsp;- I've made a similar recipe using rose water. Rose + chocolate is just yummmm.  5  Pink Popcorn &nbsp;- nuff said.

1 Strawberry Short Cake "Shish Kabobs" - I recently made these for a gathering with friends, and they were a big hit. The recipe suggests using popsicle sticks, but I used bamboo skewers, and they worked great. They're super easy for kids to (make and) eat, too.

2 Chocolate-Caramel Truffles

3 Strawberry Pretzel Chocolate Swirl Bark

4 Love Bark: Rose + Chocolate - I've made a similar recipe using rose water. Rose + chocolate is just yummmm.

5 Pink Popcorn - nuff said.

For the more experienced or ambitious baker...

6  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies  - can't go wrong with one of Deb's recipes.  7  Conversation Heart Cookies   8  Valentine's Day Chocolate Cake  - I'm planning to make this for Valentine's Day, but don't tell Kelvin! There's an amazing video tutorial on Zoe Bakes' Instagram, in her highlights.  9  Valentine's Day Almond Cake &nbsp;  10  Mahlab Sugar Cookies

6 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies - can't go wrong with one of Deb's recipes.

7 Conversation Heart Cookies

8 Valentine's Day Chocolate Cake - I'm planning to make this for Valentine's Day, but don't tell Kelvin! There's an amazing video tutorial on Zoe Bakes' Instagram, in her highlights.

9 Valentine's Day Almond Cake 

10 Mahlab Sugar Cookies

A Special Announcement!

We have a special little "project" happening and growing in ma' belly! It's pretty obvious from the images below, but yes, we are expecting!!!

Here's what we know so far:

  • BOY
  • Healthy
  • Loves to move
  • Able to suck his thumb (that was CRAZY to see on the ultrasound!)
  • Due May 8
  • Name TBD
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Our announcement on social media and this blog is so late (I'm 20 weeks) because
1) we're busy people who happen to be a little lazy,
2) we tend not to put personal things online, and
3) we had a miscarriage last spring and wanted to take things one day at a time (more on that below.)

Being pregnant is awesome but such a strange experience. I cannot believe how quickly time has gone. It seems like yesterday that we first spotted that little nugget on the 8-week ultrasound. It's only been one week since the 20-week ultrasound, yet it feels like it happened just hours ago. The speed at which these little creations grow is mind boggling. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones, but I keep making a parallel in my mind between our son (feels so weird to say that!) and Dart from Stranger Things, Season 2. Dart, Dustin's Demodog, grew super quickly, as is our baby.

Week 8 ultrasound - super tiny and hard to see 'cuz of my full bladder! Oops.

Week 8 ultrasound - super tiny and hard to see 'cuz of my full bladder! Oops.

Baby Dart ( source )

Baby Dart (source)

Thumbs up! Week 20 ultrasound (I think it's funny how the baby's face looks like a creepy skull, but it's actually turned to the other side.)

Thumbs up! Week 20 ultrasound (I think it's funny how the baby's face looks like a creepy skull, but it's actually turned to the other side.)

Halfway grown Dart! ( source )

Halfway grown Dart! (source)

See how the ratios of size resemble each other? Now hopefully our baby won't have the urge to eat people's guts like demogorgons do. So far, so good.

I do want to say that it's a very joyful but hard thing for me to make this pregnancy announcement. It took us 1.5 years to get pregnant the first time, and I struggled so much with jealousy, fear, and discouragement while we were trying because a lot of our friends were getting pregnant, and then getting pregnant again. My heart would feel happy for our friends yet the sting of bitterness felt so real when another baby announcement would pop up on my feed. When we finally got pregnant last January, we found out early on that it wasn't viable. I had a blighted ovum, which is an implanted egg without an embryo inside. My grief felt so unjustified because it was just an empty shell, not even a baby. What's worse is that it took 4 months for the miscarriage to carry out, while it takes most women about 2-3 weeks. We are so, so grateful for this baby, and I wonder if we would even be able to feel the depth of this amazing gift without having a miscarriage first.

I know I'm not the first to speak up about struggles with infertility, but if you or someone you know is struggling with it, please know that so many women and couples stand with you. There's not much I could say to make things better, but I do want to say that one thing that hurt more than helped was putting so much pressure on myself to get pregnant and to put on a happy face when I just felt discouraged and sad (and a lot of times, selfish.) I constantly compared myself to women who happened to be very fertile, and I wondered what was wrong with me. Please don't do that to yourself. There is nothing wrong with you or your body, and as hard as this may be, this is part of God's story for you. He IS going to make all things new and right! You are loved and important. Happy holidays, merry Christmas, and peace and love to you!

Kitchen Reveal

Does a house renovation really ever end? If you've had any experience with renovating, you're probably answering with a disgusted, "NO!"

We definitely do not feel like our project is complete because of those "finishing touches" that drag on and on. If you're optimistic like my husband, finishing touches are fun because of the progress, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you're an average Debbie Downer like me, finishing touches are frustrating because 1) money, 2) time, and 3) if you need a worker or contractor to come in, you have to figure out a time for them to come, hope they show up when they say they will (since August, we've been at about 3 for 10), and then you have to clean up after them. Despite the stress and frustration, we've had some really hardworking trades, and we feel so at home here even though it's somewhat incomplete.

Out of the entire house, our kitchen by far took on the the biggest change. It used to be a tight 8-ish by 4 foot galley kitchen in the middle of the house and made the rest of our home feel very compartmentalized (see this post), but now our kitchen is located in the front of the house and is more open and much larger. We even still have a couple of empty drawers and cabinets!

Do I have any regrets with the kitchen? Aside from installation problems with our backsplash tiles, no. However, I was on the fence with the tiles after installation. I originally wanted white tiles, but some people convinced me otherwise because of the size of the kitchen and the white cabinets and counter top. Since white was out, I was on the hunt for a clean, bright color that was still kind of subtle, and online these tiles looked like a great option. They're from Cle Tile, and the sample tiles we received had a brighter hue to them, whereas our entire order was more gray with just a few bright pieces, so I felt a little bummed at first, but they've really grown on me. I love the tiles' organic look and how none of them are alike. Now that I see the "finished" (haha) product, I'm glad we didn't choose white. With the kitchen being such a wide space and the bright natural light coming in, I think my eyes would hurt.

Well, here is our mostly finished, spacious, airy, and open kitchen. We really feel it reflects our style and is the perfect space for how we function in the kitchen. See my notes below each photo for where some of the finishes and products came from (nothing in this post is sponsored - I'm too small for that).

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Originally, this entire space was a sunken living room. We had it filled with some planks as opposed to cement so there wouldn't be any bubbles in the new flooring. When you step in the kitchen, you hear a slight echo through the floor. It might sound strange, but I like that sound. It reminds me of what this room used to look like and how much it has changed. The pendant lights are from Schoolhouse Electric, the cabinet pulls are from CB2, and the stools are from a garage sale.

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The rug on the left is from West Elm and is part of our dining room. Photos from that space will come soon! Also, I spy a lifetime supply of rice.

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Styling the shelves was a struggle for me. They were empty for a few months until Ikea came out with some fancy new glasses and mugs. The floating shelves are from Target, the wire baskets are from Anthropologie, and the lemons are from our tree. Please pardon my sad looking basil plant.

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All of our major appliances are from Samsung in stainless steel black. And may I just say how efficiently designed this fridge is? The shelving inside the fridge is so functional. The space between the shelves is much shorter than your average fridge which scared me at first, but then I realized that 95% of the food we store in the fridge is not that tall. There's still enough space for taller items like cartons of milk.

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Our faucets are from Delta in Champagne Bronze, and yes, our sink is black! It's a composite quartz Elkay single bowl from Home Depot. It's nice because it disguises stains and scratches but is deceiving because you don't think you need to clean it as often.

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During the week, our island often gets piled on with mail, used containers from lunch, and Costco receipts. But when it's clean and has some small decor in the middle, I feel invited to cook and bake and experiment with recipes. That's really how I feel about our kitchen in general - invited to come, be creative, be ourselves.

Have you renovated a room in your home? Do you have any regrets, or are you completely happy with the outcome of your home?