I had a “growth scan” today, which is not something that happened with the Alien. It’s measuring over 4lbs at this point, which could be wildly inaccurate, but I have a feeling it’s not, based on the size of the enormous feet we saw. I still find it amazing that this kid has surpassed babies born weeks later (but I’m looking at their pictures as preview.) Anyway, still on the charts, long leg measurements, predictions of another large & long baby. So far, this kid has their moments of activity and feels more constantly in motion than Lena, but not quite as explosive. Anterior placenta probably has a lot to do with it, but we still play poke-the-feet.

Everything else in me is gearing up for this kid, just like last time. Poor sleeping is happening (2am wakeup, every night, no matter what time I went to sleep), the leaking, the hip spread, the need to bake everything. Finally, I feel like putting things away in MS at at least shedding some of the hoarders aesthetic that’s going on. I’ve also gotta get to actually exercising again, so I’m hoping that water aerobics at the campus rec center will be my thing. I loved getting in the pool for the faculty & staff family night last week, and I’m ready to get back in.

Went through the newborn clothes that I could find and I am super impressed with some stain patterns on the onesies. I tried getting the stains out and, while they’re lighter, they’re still present, so I’ll try a tie-dye experiment with Lena, and if they’re still terrible, we’ve at least had an art project.

A question that’s bugging me in the middle of the night: What do I call this kid on Twitter once it’s out? Lena is “Facehugger”, so… Predator? Sequel? Something else?

Baking everything! I got a breadmaker finally- the gf bread here is super expensive and I just don’t have time to babysit loaves of bread. The loaves I’ve made with this recipe have turned out pretty well- a basic bread! That’s good without toasting or anything on it! It also doesn’t last long because of these properties!

Bread! Snapchat
About 5 minutes after I said we could try it.

Lena was Star Student in her class last week, so we made a poster of her favorite things:

And then Jeremy and I went to talk with her class one day and I did a little coding of an important daily function with them: recess. They asked lots of questions, they’ve obviously been working on questions that aren’t “Listen to this story”. Favorite things, least favorite things about jobs, what we studied, how long we’ve been working, etc…




Vacation, part 2

Birthday day started with coffee with Mom & Christel, and Mom reminded me that I wasn’t *really* 30 until after dinner. She was there, she’d definitely know better. Then we went over to check out the tour times for Fort Sumter. We decided on the later afternoon tour, got tickets, and then went in search of lunch, ending up at Mustard Seed. We wouldn’t have stopped if it wasn’t a) right nearby where we were driving and b) on a gf-friendly list. So glad we did- a gf menu that included nearly everything on the regular menu. I had the blue cheese and pear salad with chicken (yum), and we got a piece of the dessert to share: fudge pie with espresso mousse and a pecan crust. I was sad when it was gone.

Then we went to the beach on Isle of Palms. A hot, sunny beach. So hot. With a “don’t go in the water” warning. We saw people fishing, jellyfish, and that’s when my camera started acting up. After about 30 seconds on, it wanted me to shut it off and turn it back on. Grrr… But the beach was hot and after a little while melting in the sun, we headed back to the air conditioned car to take a scenic route back to the hotel. It was about time to leave for our Fort tour anyway.

The Fort Sumter tour… I learned that seasickness is an awesome pregnancy side effect I have. While nearly everyone on the ferry sat upstairs, we opted for the air-conditioned bottom deck (noticing a trend?) The trip was a little rough, I was feeling pretty green. But, we made it and did the tour, walked around what’s left of the fort, and headed back to shore. I didn’t think much about it one way or another, besides “it’s hot”, “glad we refilled the water”, “stupid camera”, and “so hot.” I hadn’t realized that the fort really took up all of the man-made island. The shells still left in the walls were neat, and the remains of the old fort were neat, but it was so, so hot. Mom had me duck into the air conditioned museum for a few minutes (so glad she did) before we left.

And then.. you guessed it: We changed and went to eat. We went to the first restaurant we’d looked at on Sunday night, Atlanticville, which we didn’t realize was gf-friendly on first glance (and was also a little high on the budget for a casual Sunday night dinner.) They were having Thai Tuesday, but made me a basket of their gf cheese rolls (the rest of the table had shrimp chips), and I had a fantastic apricot-glazed salmon dish. For dessert, I was really wanting some more of that fudge pie, or the flourless chocolate cake that Mom and Christel saw at a restaurant near the hotel the night before, but TCB pointed out that it was after 9 (and he saw a dessert that he wanted), so fruit parfait for dessert! It was ok, a little heavy on the vanilla. Dinner was the clear winning dish at the lovely birthday evening. We all waddled back to our rooms after arriving back at the hotel.

For my birthday, the alien gave me a few days of low activity, which meant I could sleep! Yaaay, sleep!

Pooch pics, 30th birthday edition:

Also, I think it’s interesting that, despite the pooch, I can still sort of suck in my tummy. Really just makes the pooch look weird.
I think it's interesting...
Sucking it in:

I was sad that vacation was over the next morning, but we had a bunch of work on the house to finish up…

Broccoli Puff

In honor of Sydney’s birthday, Abby threw her a surprise dinner party last night. We were assigned dished and, since our assignment was “broccoli”, I cracked open my copy of “The Panhellenic Cookbook: Casseroles.” I didn’t search long for a recipe, since the previous owner had put a paperclip bookmark at the broccoli section, and only 1 recipe had a check mark: “Broccoli Puff”. Winner!

I multiplied it by 1.5 to get the number of servings I thought I needed (plus, the math worked out nicely for the size of the bags of broccoli and number of eggs), and made a few substitutions to make it gluten free. And added herbs and garlic, and subtracted some of the onion. The recipe, post math:


  • 2 16oz bags broccoli (I like large pieces, not the tiny bits in boxes)
  • 1 18oz can Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 2 cups + 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic (dried, minced)
  • 1 tbs powdered onion
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (gf, I used Glutino’s pre-done ones)
  • herbs to taste (I used about a tablespoon each of marjoram, basil, and bouquet garni)
  • 2-3 tbs butter


  • hand mixer (or fork)
  • large bowl
  • small pot (for soup)
  • medium pot (for broccoli)
  • electric teakettle (to make hot water to pour over the frozen broccoli, because it wasn’t heating up fast enough for me to get it in the oven on time.)
  • 2.5 qt casserole dish
  • spatula or 2
  • measuring cups

To do:

  1. The night before: heat up the soup to condense it slightly, and also add the onion and garlic (so they’re nicely rehydrated). You can add some of the dried herbs now, if you want. Store in the fridge.
  2. The day of: simmer the broccoli for a few minutes (didn’t want to cook it much, just until it’s hot, since it gets more cooking later and I like color/shape retention in my veggies)
  3. Preheat oven to 350f. Put a tablespoon of butter in the casserole, melt it in the oven while it heats up.
  4. Get anxious that the broccoli’s not heating fast enough and is, in fact, still too frozen to stir, boil water in electric teakettle, pour over broccoli in pot.
  5. Combine the eggs, 2 cups cheese, soup, mayo, pepper and herbs.
  6. Stir the breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of cheese together in a separate container.
  7. Remove hot casserole dish with melted butter, swirl the butter around to coat sides and bottom of dish (or skip the melting and butter it however you prefer.)
  8. By now, the broccoli should be done enough, add it to the mix, stir it up, and pour the broccoli/egg/cheese/herb/mayo/soup mix into the casserole.
  9. Top with breadcrumbs and dot with butter (The casserole I used is deep, so I didn’t use all the mix or butter. If I had used a shallower one, I probably would have had enough surface area to use all of it. I ended up with about 1/4 cup left over.)
  10. Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes. Maybe even an hour. We had to leave, so I pulled it at 50 minutes, and it was kind of jiggly when I shook it, like pudding. But, since I covered it, wrapped it in towels and put it in a box, it baked a little more with the residual heat and wasn’t jiggly when served.

Result: Much tastier than I imagined from the raw ingredients! It was a hit at the party, too! I thought I’d be taking half of it home, but only had a few spoonfuls left. (I had it with breakfast & lunch the next day.)

From the name, I expected it to rise somewhat while cooking, and maybe it does when cooked in a shallower dish? Or maybe the egg sets it a little better when so much extra liquid isn’t added, and the broccoli bits are smaller? It was good enough that I’m definitely going to try this again (original recipe size, shallower casserole), and see how it behaves.

Turkey turkey

Last night was the Great Turkey Panic 2010.

Near the end of the day, TCB told me that the bringer of Turkey #2 for Practice Thanksgiving was getting sent on an unexpected business trip. Nobody was happy about it, especially him (TB#2), since the smallest large turkey he could find was a 22-lb turkey (in a gluten-free brine/solution, stated on the label, as it happened.)

I decided that, after work, I’d go to the store and find a replacement 22-lb turkey. No big deal. Never been a big deal.

Went to Publix first, since I had to cash a check, and the turkey selection was tiny. And the ingredients: ambiguous.  Turkey broth, extracts of pepper & celery, modified food starch? Pass. Plus, the sizes were all wrong. I called TCB to see if he knew what kind of turkey TB#2 had gotten. TCB didn’t know, said to call TB#2. Then I realized I didn’t have his number.

So, I went off to Kroger. Again, no luck on turkeys. “May contain up to 8% of a solution”? Tell me what’s in the solution besides “turkey broth, modified food starch.” What’s in the turkey broth?! At least one kind admitted to containing dairy.

I headed home, unexpectedly full of panic. Full-on, shaking, crying, all-the-way-across-the-sky panic. Totally not called for. Gah! Turkey Panic! I’ve done 4 of these Practice Thanksgivings before, and 4 real ones, and I don’t think I’ve ever had Turkey Panic before.

When TCB got home, we headed over to Ingles, since we figured that’s where TB#2 had gotten his (and TCB called to confirm.) When we went in, we walked down the baking aisle to get to the meat section, and discovered how many gluten-free mixes and options they have! Holy craps! We may have picked up a couple or three mixes on the way to the turkey.

The turkey options at Ingles were the opposite of the other store’s options: none big enough, but clearly labeled gluten-free. So we got 2 turkeys! A whole one and one breast. That should be enough turkey, certainly. I’m a little worried about oven space, but figure I can either borrow space in a neighbor’s oven or can grill something. Yeah.

Turkey Panic!

Simple kickasserole

After a weekend of poor eating, my tummy felt a bit upset today, so I figured a simple dinner of chicken and rice would help settle things down. But when I looked in the freezer, I only found 1 large chicken breast and a gazillion bags of frozen veggies from the last Kroger-frozen-veggie-sale, so I thought, “Kickasserole time!”

  • 1 large chicken breast, cubed
  • olive oil
  • 1-2 shallots, diced
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli-cauliflower mix
  • 1 bag frozen carrots
  • herbs, your choice (I used an italian herb  mix)
  • pepper (& salt, to taste)
  • shredded cheddar
  • scant 2 cups of basmati rice, uncooked, plus 4 cups of water (It’ll be a little soupy when the rice is finished, that’s ok.)

Cook the rice. While that’s cooking, start sauteing the shallots in a little oil on medium heat, adding the chicken to the pan when they start getting translucent. Cook the chicken all the way through.

Put half the cooked rice in a deep casserole dish, then add the veggies (no need to thaw), chicken, herbs and pepper, stir. Add some cheese, stir, then top off your dish with rice (and stir.) Top with cheese, cover, then bake for 30 minutes in a 350F oven (it’s ok to start the oven heating when you put the casserole in, just add a few more minutes.)

The results: I liked the basmati rice instead of plain or brown rice- the grains stayed separate and fluffy instead compacting in the dish, especially since this dish didn’t have a whole lot of liquid in it. Very tasty, very simple, very quick, and my tummy would probably feel much better if I hadn’t stuffed it with so much dinner.

Great weekend

Last weekend was pretty awesome. It started with taking TCB to the airport so he could fly to Canada for a conference. That wasn’t so awesome, but he was interviewing for jobs, which = awesome. After getting back, George came over and we (plus Mom) headed over to Decatur for the Boutique sale. It started off slowly, nothing really fit, especially not the jeans. Skinny jeans should not even be manufactured in my size, srsly. Seemed like clothes I liked weren’t in my size, and stuff in my size was all weird or frump-tastic. Found some neat earrings, kept browsing, then George handed me a dress. And that, of everything I tried on, was not ill-fitting, weirdly made, or damaged. And it was cheap! Was looking forward to wearing my slimming plaid dress.

Then we lunched at Raging Burrito, which really hit the spot. Mmm… guacamole. Then we scurried off to the Viet Nails place for Mom to get a pedicure, G to get her eyebrows evened, and me to watch. The leg bruises were pretty painful after walking around in the heat, so I simply rested and laughed with Mom about her facial expressions while getting the pedicure.

After our Day in Decatur, we headed home to meet a few friends (Katie and Philip) before zooming off to dinner at Mellow Mushroom in Kennesaw. GF pizza! Yay! And more friends met us there (the Maslands.) Lindsay had brought me a fantastic present- birthday sash and hat! Love! I quickly put those on. Following dinner (that included running from the setting sun), we headed over to the field and met up with Abby, Sydney, Matt and Hayley to watch The Beat take on Sky Blue FC. Our seats were right behind the goal. Bonus to sitting in the family section: we were also right in front of the drumline (providing the beat.) First half was a little slow, but excitement picked up in the second half, with The Beat tying the game. They put another ball in the net later but, unfortunately, it was their own. Shots that went over the goal went into the stands and one was right to me. I totally blocked it.


Sunday, George came over early before our soccer game and we peeled/sliced up peaches to make peach preserves, and cut up strawberries for jam. We put the actual making of the items off until after the game. At the field, the question was, “Can Alex get her shinguards on?!” (because I couldn’t on Thursday at practice), and the answer was,”Probably, if I’d remembered to bring them.” Because Mom was there, she was able to go to WalMart and get me some while I stayed with the team (thank you, Mom.) But this “off” feeling sort of infected the team and we definitely didn’t play our best game. The other team seemed off and frustrated too, so maybe it was the heat + still air… I don’t know. Once I was suited up, I still never really got into the game. Maybe I was afraid of getting hurt again, maybe I was tired and worried about the game, maybe I was taking cues from The Beat and staying on my heels, but I was definitely not playing my best.

Near the end of the game, one of our players went down after a collision and had to come off the field for a cut lip and chin. One look at that chin and I told her that stitches were in her near future. George taped the edges together and, after the game, I took her to an urgent care place near our houses (she lives in the subdivision next to ours.) When the Dr. walked in the room, he first asked me “What’s wrong with you?!” before checking out Meghan’s chin. (I had my purple leg on display, it was pretty ugly after the game.) Meghan’s chin was sewn up, she confirmed that my leg didn’t need to be amputated, and as we headed out, the Dr. told her, “good luck, Maradona!”

Back at the house, Mom and George had made the peach/ginger preserves, and I got home just in time to put it in jars. We made a cheese plate with the fabulous cheeses Mom had brought, and the peach preserves. Amazing. Meghan came over, we flipped through a bunch of YouTube videos, then played Trivial Pursuit. I think that game didn’t like Meghan, because even the easy questions she got were really hard.


Monday, Mom and I headed out to get the remaining berries and jars needed for strawberry/blackberry/raspberry jam. Which, of course, included a trip to the fabric store nearby. I found some material for a new purse, she found some books and found me a book- One Yard Wonders. I’m really looking forward to some of the projects in it, especially the gardening apron.

We had fun mashing up the berries, due in large part to the potato masher being in the dishwasher, so we were mashing with two wooden spoons. We also debated putting in the blackberries at all, since we had more than enough volume with the strawberries and raspberries alone, but we threw a handful in, and I’m really glad we did- they gave some beautiful color and flavor. Canning, we ran into some difficulty, because we hadn’t washed enough jars. So… we had to quickly wash a few while near the end of the pot (and those jars didn’t seal, so TCB and I are really getting into the “Triple Berry Birthday Jam.”) It’s amazingly good.

Unfortunately, Mom had to go home, so we quickly finished another project (filling the spice jars) before she left. After she had gone, I sat down with my new sewing book, picked out a couple of projects, went through the sales flyers and coupons, and headed out to find… just a frame for a piece of art. All the fabric I’d need would be on super-sale the next weekend, so I decided to wait. Plus, it was nearly time to meet cousin Jennifer  and her son Paul for dinner! George and Brendan joined us and we had a great time.

Afterward, we got ice cream. Paul got his first cup of ice cream of his very own and loved it. I was holding him while he tasted the stuff on his spoon cautiously, then dug in! It reminded me of when we took Angus for ice cream the first time. I ended up covered in ice cream when he found out he could pick up the whole blob by shoving the spoon in, and eat it like a popsicle. He game some to me, waved it around, ate some himself… I wish I could say that, at the end of the event, all of the ice cream I was wearing was from him, but I totally dropped some of my own on me, too.

It was a fantastic weekend.


Nature’s Own has come out with a line of gluten free breads and are test-marketing both “Extra Fiber White” and “Healthy Multi-Grain”  in Atlanta. I’m very excited about shelf-stable bread because it’s easier to pack for lunches, picnics, an easy snack (don’t have to pry off a piece, warm it up first.) It’s kind of expensive, though, at about $6 a loaf. (For comparison, a bag of mix usually runs $4-$5/bag, and requires other ingredients, like eggs.)

So, last time we were at Publix, on Memorial Day, I snagged a loaf of “Healthy Multi-Grain” for my burger that afternoon. (As a side note, I’m not keen on the title, because just it being gluten free makes it a whole lot healthier for me than any kind of regular bread, and it sounds like they’re pitting it against the “High Fiber White” in some kind of popularity contest. I picked the whole grain one because it was left on the shelf, white was sold out. Makes me happy when gf foods sell out, because it shows that people are buying it!) As soon as we got home, I made a peanut butter sammich with it, and that sandwich was goooooood. The bread reminded me of the bread Mom would make our sandwiches with in school, and it wasn’t exactly soft, but it wasn’t hard and crumbly. I’d call it firm, but that’s what I want in my whole grain breads. I liked the little flax seeds in the bread, too.

Excited about my find, I ate bread every day this week- usually with laughing cow cheese or as a roast beef sandwich for breakfast, and then as a roast beef sandwich as lunch or a snack (and, of course, as a bun for a burger.) And all those sammiches were gooooood. Lunches felt normal, and they were really easy (and fast!) to make in the morning. Plus, I haven’t had a roast beef sandwich in a long time and I’d really been craving one.

In conclusion, I like this bread. I like that it’s pre-sliced, it’s great for sandwiches, good as a bun-substitute, good for lunch, and I think it’d be good in the toaster (with butter and garlic powder.) It’s also easier than making my own, but I do think Bob’s Red Mill “Hearty Whole Grain” gf bread is better with butter only, and I would like to see the price for this loaf of bread come down a little. Also, it may not have been the best idea to overindulge in this particular bread all week (I’ve eaten the whole loaf, at least 4 slices a day): all that flax seed really catches up to ya.