Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Perfect Baby Registry Checklist!

When I was pregnant, I was obsessive about creating the perfect baby registry. I read through countless checklists and tried to tailor everything to our needs, and in the end I think our registry was a pretty good (but not perfect) representation of what we needed for Connor.

I had a friend ask me what I'd recommend for a baby registry now that we've had Connor for a couple months, so I figured I'd put together my "perfect baby registry checklist," along with links to the items we have/love. I'm including items we registered for and use, as well as items we ended up purchasing even though they weren't on our registry. I'm not including things we registered for but don't really love/use, and I'm not including things that we won't need until later on (sippie cups, toys, babyproofing supplies, etc.)

I'm also include little lists of what you should take with you from the hospital and what you should stock up on at home before baby arrives. Hopefully this will be helpful to some of you expectant mamas! It'll at least be good for me to have it all recorded to look back at when/if we're blessed with Baby #2!


Crib - My parents bought us the DaVinci Jenny Lind Convertable Crib, and we love it! It was easy to assemble and I love the look of it.

Crib Mattress - Ours is a hand-me-down from my aunt and uncle. I figured if it was good enough for them, then it's good enough for us. :)

Waterproof Crib Mattress Pads (2) - We have this set of two, so we can make the bed with a mattress pad and sheet, then another mattress pad and sheet on top (that way when one set gets dirty in the middle of the night, we can just pull it off and have a clean set underneath).

Crib Sheets (3) - We have three crib sheets (Carter's jersey crib sheets), so we can always have one in the wash and two on the crib.

Monitor - We have (and love) the Angelcare Video, Movement and Sound Monitor.

Cradle/Bassinet/Pack & Play - You just need something in your bedroom for the baby to sleep in at first. We used an heirloom cradle (that my mom and I both slept in as babies!).

Cradle Mattress - Ours was a gift from my parents.

Waterproof Cradle Mattress Pads (2) - We have two of these ones.

Cradle Sheets (2) - I DIYed two of these.

Swaddle Blankets (at least 8-10) - We have one set of four Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blankets and one set of three Aden + Anais Bamboo Blankets. The bamboo ones are SO soft... they're my favorite. Everyone raves about A&A blankets, and I do love them, but we found that it was also good to have 3-4 flannel blankets (they're a little warmer, and Connor seems to sleep better when he's warm and cozy, plus they're good for tucking into the car seat/stroller when we're outside). We ended up taking home a few flannel ones from the hospital and using those, but I'd buy a set of cute flannel ones if I could do it over again. We received a SwaddleDesigns Blanket as a gift and I love that one so much! We also have some SwaddleMes and Halo SleepSacks, but so far Connor has preferred the plain old blanket swaddle.

Warm Cuddly Blanket (1-2) - Honestly, I wouldn't register for any of these... people seem to like to give them as gifts! We received a few as gifts (including this one), and they're all great for cuddling!


Changing Table/Dresser - We have an IKEA Hemnes dresser, which we refinished in white paint. I'd recommend getting a dresser of some sort rather than an actual "changing table" so you can re-use it later (plus the extra storage in a dresser is really nice!).

Rocking Chair/Glider - We have this white rocking chair. I still can't believe how inexpensive it was. It's very sturdy and it rocks well and it was easy to assemble! I nurse Connor there at night and we sit in it to read books, etc.

Curtains - Ours are DIY (white IKEA curtains + this navy pom-pom trim).

Hamper - We have this white elephant hamper. SO cute.

Mobile - Not a necessity, but it's nice for baby to have something to look at. I still need to finish DIYing ours!

Baby Hangers - Target has packs of 10 baby hangers for $1.07, which is the best price I've found!

Etc., Etc. - Obviously you'll want to add other things to the nursery too. I'll do a post on Connor's nursery and everything in it soon!


Diapers - You can start stocking up on these whenever they go on sale! We used 4 88-count boxes of NB size before moving on to size 1s, and it seems like it would be safe to have at least 3 "super pack" boxes of each size in your stash. We like Pampers Swaddlers.

Wipes - You can never have enough wipes. We use the Pampers Sensitive wipes.

Boudreaux's Butt Paste - We use this with almost every diaper change as a preventative measure, and Connor's never really had any diaper rashes, so I guess it works! Buy a big one for the house and a little one for the diaper bag. 

Changing Pad - We have the Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad.

Changing Pad Cover (2) - I DIYed one, and we also have this Carter's one.

Changing Pad Protectors (3-6) - The Boppy Changing Pad Liners save me from having to throw the changing pad covers in the wash every day. And they're white, so you can bleach them!

Wipes Dispenser - When Jeff suggested we register for this, I was kind of like "that seems unnecessary... can't we just use the regular wipes box?" But he was totally right... the OXO Tot PerfectPull Wipes Dispenser is so convenient!

Travel Wipes Dispenser - We love our OXO Tot On-the-Go Travel Wipes Dispenser!

Travel Changing Pad Clutch - The Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station goes everwhere with us!


Breast Pump - Our insurance paid for a Medela Pump In Style Advanced, and it works really well. I don't have anything to compare it to, but I have no complaints!

Nursing Pillow - We have a Boppy and the NursingPillow.com one, which I got for free with a coupon from Motherhood Maternity (I think those coupons are fairly common... you just pay shipping). I didn't use either of them for breastfeeding at all until Connor started sleeping in his nursery, but now I use the Boppy in the rocking chair when I feed him at night. I also like the Boppy for propping Connor up to sit in. The NursingPillow.com one was perfect for me to sit on during those first couple weeks post-delivery when I was still recovering (I'd pay the shipping fee again just to get it for that purpose), but I haven't really used it for feeding him yet.

Nursing Pillow Cover - We bought this one from Etsy.

Nursing Cover - I thought about DIYing one, but I'm so glad I bought the Bebe Au Lait cover instead. It has a perfect rigid neckline that allows you to see the baby when you look down, and it has little pockets that are perfect for holding breast pads or nipple shields. 

Nipple Shields - Connor was so tiny when he was born that his mouth wasn't quite big enough to latch properly, so we started using Medela nipple shields to help him latch. I still use them all the time, and most of my breastfeeding mama friends at least use them occasionally when things get sore. I have a bunch of them stashed all over the place so I'm never stuck looking for one with a hungry baby (one in the car, one in the diaper bag, one in our bedroom, one in the nursery, one extra in a drawer just in case). 

Nursing Pads - I was using Medela disposable ones at first, but I recently bought the cotton washable ones and they're more comfortable, plus there's less waste involved (and I don't have to buy additional boxes). 

Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads - These were a lifesaver for me during the first couple weeks of Connor's life! Stock up before you have the baby!

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags - Half the price of Medela and they work great! 

Steam Cleaning Bags - These make sterilizing bottles and pump parts SO easy. You can re-use each one 20 times, so they're totally worth paying for.

Bottles (5oz and 9oz sizes) - We have three 5oz bottles and three 9oz bottles, and that's plenty for us so far (we're not using the 9oz ones yet), but obviously you'd need more depending on your child care situation, how often you wash them, etc. We use the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles, and Connor can seamlessly switch between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.

Bottle Nipples (3-4 of each type) - We've only used the slow-flow ones so far, but we have medium and fast ones for later.

Dishwasher Caddy - The Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket is super handy for washing bottle/pump parts in the dishwasher.

Bottle Brush - We have the Tommee Tippee Bottle & Nipple Cleaner, but any bottle brush probably works just fine.

Insulated Bottle Tote - We have two of the Tommee Tippee insulated bags.

Bibs - We've been happy with the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Milk Feeding Bibs because they're soft around Connor's neck and pretty absorbent, but honestly, I think any bib works just fine until you get to the eats-real-food stage (which we obviously haven't experienced yet). 

Burp Cloths - Don't register for these. Instead, just go buy a couple packs of Gerber cloth diapers. They're so inexpensive, they work well, and let's be honest... they're going to get spit-up all over them, so you don't need them to be cute. 

High Chair - We haven't had to use this yet, but we have the Fisher-Price Spacesaver High Chair. It attaches to a regular chair, and it adjusts as the baby grows. Also the tray can go in the dishwasher. We have lots of friends and family that have these and like them, so hopefully we like it too!


Puj Tub - It fits in the sink, stores flat, and makes bathing SUPER easy with a tiny baby. I love this thing.

Baby Tub - We'll use the Summer Infant Right Height Tub when Connor outgrows the Puj tub.

Baby Washcloths (6) - I just bought a cheap package of them from Wal-Mart, and they work just fine!

Hooded Towels (2) - The cuter the animal, the better. :) Connor loves this zebra one and this elephant one.

Baby Hair Brush - We just took home the one they used on Connor in the hospital. 

Baby Shampoo/Wash - I love the smell of Burt's Bees Baby Bee Calming Shampoo and Wash.

Baby Lotion - We use the Burt's Bees Baby Bee Calming Lotion (smells lovely... I use it on myself sometimes!). 

Baby Nail Clippers - We have this one from Amazon.

Infant Tylenol - You want this on hand ahead of time so you're not running to the store when you need it! 

Thermometer - We have the Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer.


Pack 'n Play - We have this one. You might want something more fancy if you're going to use it daily for sleeping, but ours is just for traveling.

Pack 'n Play Sheets (2) - We have these ones.

Diaper Bag - I bought a JJ Cole Satchel diaper bag initially, with the intention of maybe buying something nicer/more expensive later once I figured out exactly what I wanted/needed, but I've already stopped using the diaper bag entirely and I just stick the essentials (diaper changing clutch + its contents, extra outfit + Ziploc bags, burp cloth, Wubbanub, nursing cover) in a large purse with my wallet, phone, and keys. BUT - I did really like the JJ Cole... lots of pockets/space and it's pretty stylish for a diaper bag! It also has these super handy straps that allow it to clip onto the stroller, which is really convenient!

Stroller - We have the Britax B-Agile and B-Safe travel system, and we LOVE it. This stroller is super easy to maneuver (I even jog with it sometimes) and fold/unfold, it's pretty lightweight, and it has all sorts of useful features.

Stroller Organizer - The Britax Stroller Organizer adds pockets and cupholders to the stroller. It's perfect for holding my keys and phone while we're running errands.

Car Seat - We have the B-Safe infant seat that goes with our stroller. We picked it because of the excellent safety ratings + relatively light weight. 

Car Seat Head Insert - The Britax Head and Body Support Pillow keeps Connor snug in the car seat until he grows a little bigger.

Back Seat Mirror - The Britax Back Seat Mirror is nice and big.

Shopping Cart Cover - We have the Taggies Tag 'n Go Cart Cover, which also works on restaurant high chairs).

Baby Carrier (Fabric) - I love our Baby K'tan! It's the ONLY way I get things done around the house sometimes! It's not complicated like the Moby, and Connor seems to like it!

Baby Carrier - We have a Baby Bjorn, but we haven't really used it much yet. I think we will once Connor has better head control. I've also heard good things about the Ergo carrier.


WubbaNub - I went to a baby play group last week and every single baby had one of these. They're just so useful (the stuffed animal makes the pacifier harder to lose, and the baby can hold onto it). We have the WubbaNub giraffe.

Bouncer/Swing - Everyone kept telling me different stories about what their babies liked for bouncers/swings, so we decided to just get the (relatively-inexpensive) Fisher-Price My Little Snugbunny Deluxe Bouncer rather than investing in something larger that Connor might not even like. We thought we might buy a swing or a Mamaroo once Connor was here, but I'm pretty sure this bouncer is all we'll need, and it's even better than a swing because it's really portable (I can put it in the bathroom while I get ready in the morning, in the kitchen while I'm cooking dinner, etc.). He naps in it during the day a lot. Really, you just need some place where the baby can safely hang out that isn't in a crib or in your arms (so you can do things like eat dinner).

Playmat - We have the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Ultra Comfort Musical Gym. Perfect for tummy time and for distracting the baby with lights/music/moving birds so I can go to the bathroom really quick. :)

Clothing - So people are going to buy you lots of cute baby clothes as gifts. And you're going to buy a few things because you just have to have them. But really, I think all you need to start with is about 10 footed sleeper outfits, plus a couple actual outfits that the baby can wear to church or to special events. Other than that, I'd wait until you actually have the baby to determine what you want/need. For our newborn-sized clothes, we eventually ended up having about 10 onesies (some long-sleeved and some short-sleeved), 5 pairs of pants, 2 "fancy" outfits, 4 hats, and 8 pairs of socks (in addition to a bunch of footed sleepers).

A few comments on the footed sleeper outfits... Carter's makes some that have little fold-over mitten cuffs on the sleeves (super useful while baby is little so they don't scratch themselves), and Target has Gerber ones with zippers rather than snaps (super convenient for nighttime diaper changes). I have yet to find any that have zippers and mitten cuffs, but if you can find some of those, they'd be the BEST! I have found some gown-style ones with mitten cuffs (mittens + easy diaper changes), and I really like those (but baby can't wear them in the car seat).

Also, I highly recommend the socks that look like shoes! Shoes for babies are just impractical and unnecessary, but "shoe-socks" make them look like their outfit is complete. :)

Things to Take from the Hospital

Brush for Baby's Hair - the one they had is perfect... it's soft and has fine little bristles. I don't know where you can buy a similar one, so just take the hospital one!

Flannel Blankets - somehow we ended up with four hospital blankets. They're nice and warm and soft! We don't use them anymore, but we did for the first 2-3 weeks while Connor was teeny tiny.

Stretchy Stomach Band - they'll give you a stretchy band to put around your stomach during/after labor. Take it with you! It's super useful for holding all that post-delivery loose belly skin together for the first couple weeks after you have the baby, and wearing it will make you feel a little more like a human. :)

Dermoplast, Squeeze Bottle - just take them with you. You'll be glad you did.

Diapers, Wipes, Pads - they're just sitting there... take them with you!

Vaseline, Gauze - for circumcision care.

Stock up on...

Thank-you Notes and Stamps

Laundry Detergent, Stain Remover - you don't have to buy a baby-specific one... just get one of the no-scent/no-dye kinds (we like Tide Free & Gentle). Oxi-Clean powder and Oxi-Clean stain sticks will be your best friends. Having a baby means everything will end up covered in poop, pee, spit-up, breast milk, or some combination of the four. :)

Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Paper Plates - Stock up on this stuff so you don't have to later. Let yourself use paper plates for a while after you come home from the hospital and avoid doing the dishes!

Hand Sanitizer, Pads for Mom - Hand sanitizer for pre/post diaper changes and pads for the obvious (you don't want your husband to have to go shopping for those... haha).

Post-Partum Clothes - To the extent that you can buy anything that's loose-fitting and nursing-friendly before you have the baby, you'll thank yourself later! I bought the dress that I wore to Connor's baptism ahead of time, and I'm SO glad I did because it would've been tough to go out with a newborn trying on clothes.

Nursing Tanks and Bras - I like these nursing tanks for sleeping in, and I REALLY like these nursing camis for wearing under shirts/dresses. Buy a size bigger than you'd normally get. For bras, I have these (super comfy) and these (for when I'm trying to look a little more put-together), but I'd recommend only buying one or two until you see what size you actually are post-delivery.

Baskets/Storage for Baby Stuff in Your Bedroom - We ended up with stacks of blankets, burp cloths, and baby clothes all over every surface in our bedroom. I wish I had either (1) cleared out a couple drawers, or (2) bought some baskets to go under our bench and hold baby stuff. Now Connor's sleeping in his nursery, so most of his stuff is up there, but at the beginning it definitely felt like our room was covered in baby stuff for a while. I'll make a better plan ahead of time for the next baby!

So that's my super-long list of everything you should have for baby and what I'd recommend! Other mamas - is there anything you love that I didn't list? 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Broccoli & Sausage Egg Muffins

Mmm, egg muffins. Perfect for fancy-ish breakfasts or for breakfast-for-dinner. And so easy to whip up! I like to half the recipe and just make six for Jeff and me (which makes it a perfect use of the extra 1/2 lb of Italian sausage after you make this chili!).


Recipe adapted from here.

1 lb Italian sausage
1 cup broccoli florets, cooked and chopped into small pieces
8 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown Italian sausage until no longer pink (about 5-6 minutes). Add in broccoli and remove from heat.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk, oil, baking powder, salt and pepper.
3. Lightly spray a 12-muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon the broccoli-sausage mixture evenly into each muffin hole.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli-sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

(sausage + broccoli)

(egg mixture)

(sausage + broccoli)

(after adding the egg mixture)

(Parmesan on top)



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Crock-Pot Pineapple Sausage Chili

Mmm, this is my new favorite chili. It's the perfect amount of spicy and the pineapple flavor just makes it so delicious! Perfect for chilly February evenings!


Recipe adapted from here.

24 oz Italian sausage (I use 16oz mild an 8oz hot, but you can adjust to change the spiciness)
1 medium onion, diced
1 20oz can pineapple tidbits
4 14.5oz cans diced tomatoes with chili seasoning
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
4 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
shredded cheese for topping

1. Cook sausage and onions in a skillet over medium heat. Drain off fat and put sausage and onions in a slow cooker.
2. Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice and fruit separately. Add the juice to the slow cooker. Store fruit in the fridge for later use.
3. Add seasoned tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and garlic to slow cooker. Stir everything to combine.
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Add pineapple and stir 30-60 minutes before finished cooking.
5. Serve topped with cheese.

(sausage + onions)

(sausage + onions in the slow cooker)

(all done!)



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Connor at Two Months

Wow, two months already! In some ways, I feel like Connor is getting so big (he can hold his head up really well now, and he's sleeping in his own room!), but in other ways, he's definitely still a tiny little baby (he wakes up hungry every 3-4 hours at night, and he makes the most adorable little cooing noises!). I'm loving being his mama so, so much. I'm so excited that he's becoming more interactive, but I adore that he's still little and cuddly. Here he is at two months:


Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 12 pounds, 3 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: 22 inches.
Clothing: Fitting perfectly in most 0-3 and 3 month clothing, but still too small for 3-6 month things. Size 1 diapers.

Being held (as often as possible, whether awake or not).
The Jurassic Park theme song (random, but I have no problem playing it on repeat to calm a fussy Connor!).
Head rubs.
His nursery - he smiles and looks all around whenever we're in there!

Having bare feet.
Spit-up (both producing it and having it on his clothes).
Tummy time.

New Tricks:
Smiling, and I even got a giggle out of him yesterday!
"Standing" when we hold up his torso.
Drinking from a bottle (we've done this twice now... he did great both times!).
Sleeping in his crib in the nursery (tonight will be night #6, and so far I think he sleeps better in there than in our room!).

We love you, sweet little Connor!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

We're not big extravagant Valentine's Day celebraters, but we do alway exchange cards and usually some sort of little gift. It's also my dad's birthday, so we usually celebrate with him too. This year was a little more fun than normal because we have Connor! When I was growing up, my parents always surprised my sisters and me with little gifts on Valentine's Day morning, so I wanted to do the same for him.


His first Valentine's Day gift was this cute little book:


I wanted a book about St. Valentine, but I couldn't seem to find a good one... any recommendations? Connor obviously didn't particularly care about his book, but he did look super cute in his "My First Valentine's Day" outfit!




Jeff took Connor for a couple hours in the morning so I could sleep in (best. gift. ever.), and they secretly went to the store while I was asleep! When I woke up, there were two vases of flowers and two cards in the kitchen (one from each of them), along with an assortment of British candy and tea that Jeff picked up earlier in the week at one of our favorite little shops in Houston.


I got Jeff the latest Disney classics Blu-Ray release (101 Dalmatians). He's been collecting the Disney classics as they're released from the Disney "vault" so that we'll have a complete collection for our kids. This was the first one he's received since Connor was born, so it was kind of special. :)

We drove to my parents' lakehouse in the afternoon and met my parents and sister for a fondue dinner to celebrate my dad's birthday. So fun! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

7 Quick Takes

I have so many random little things that I wanted to mention on the blog, so I'm linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes today!

1. Connor's Baptism

I'm still sort of floating on the high of Connor being baptized. I absolutely loved celebrating his first sacrament. What a blessing! Being on maternity leave gave me the time to actually plan the details of his baptism party and execute those plans so it looked like the image in my head, which was something I haven't been able to do for a party in a long time, and I really enjoyed it.

We didn't get around to opening the gifts and cards he received for a few days, and when we did I was just overwhelmed by the love and support of our sweet family. What a gift it is for our child to be prayed for and supported in his faith by so many people. Connor received so many thoughtful presents. If you're ever looking for a sweet baptism gift, here are a few that I'm jotting down in my mind to give as future baptism gifts...

Lil' Prayer Buddy Lamb (it says the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be!)

2. Podcasts

I think I'm a little late to the party, but I've recently become a big fan of podcasts. They're perfect for keeping me awake during middle-of-the-night breastfeeding (and better than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram on my phone because I can still make eye contact with Connor while listening to them). I made it through Serial in about a week, and I started at the beginning of Fountains of Carrots and I'm about halfway through. What other ones should I be listening to?

3. 2014 Photobook

Our 2014 photobook is here (gracias to MyPublisher's latest free extra pages sale)! I don't love the cover for this year's book, but there were slim pickings for photos that had Connor in them (given that he was only outside my uterus for 15 days of 2014), and I couldn't do a photo without our little boy in it!


It follows the format of our 2011-2013 books and has all of our important trips/events/etc., including lots of Connor prep and Connor's arrival!





Like always, my favorite pages are the full-page landscape spreads.

(from our Monaco trip)

On the back, we always pick an important photo and Bible verse for the year. This year, the little square photo HAD to be a Connor photo, and the Bible verse was an easy choice - 1 Samuel 1:27.


See our whole 2014 photobook here, or pictures of our previous photobooks here!


4. Bacon a la Pinterest

Pinterest told me that cooking bacon in the oven was a good idea. So I tried it. And I lived to tell the tale that YES - it is a good idea! 15-20 minutes at 375 on a foil-covered rimmed pan = cooked bacon, easy cleanup, and no bacon fat sprayed all over my stovetop. Love it!

5. Free Coffee February

PSA for anyone who hasn't heard - Chick-fil-A has free coffee for all of February. Totally free. All the time.

We have a Chick-fil-A right outside the entrance to our neighborhood, so it's on my way to anywhere and everywhere, and I think I've been there for coffee at least half of the days of February so far. The iced vanilla coffee is particularly lovely.

I was discussing this at a baby playgroup recently and some of the other moms were all like GASP! but, caffeine and breastfeeding?!?!, so I guess I'm officially a laid-back mama or something, but really... I don't think one cup of coffee is doing anything. Anything other than tasting delicious, that is. :)

6. Eight Years

Jeff and I just celebrated our 8-year "date-iversary" on February 11th. We don't actually have an actual "started dating" date, since we kind of slowly transitioned from "best friends" to "together," but February 11, 2007 was the first time we said "I love you," so that's the date we've always used.

Eight years of telling him I love him, and I still think I love him more and more every time I say it. :)

Here's a photo from around that same time... look how little we were!

7. Breakfast (and let's be honest, lunch too)

I'm obsessed with this new cereal from Quaker Oats. Peach + Apple + Walnut + Granola = Mmmm. Next time Jeff goes out of town for work, I might just eat this stuff for every meal until he gets home. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Stir-Fried Green Beans and Turkey with Rice

Who knew that ground turkey could taste delicious in an Asian dish? I've been a ground turkey fan for a while, but even I was skeptical about using it in this recipe. But oh my goodness... it's just so yummy! You'll need a few weird ingredients from the international aisle at the grocery store (hoisin, chili garlic sauce, seasoned rice vinegar), but I think it's worth buying them... you'll want to make this dish over and over again, and there are plenty of other yummy recipes to use them in!


Recipe adapted from here.

2 cups rice, uncooked
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 bunch green onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce (in the international foods aisle)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce (in the international foods aisle)
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 lb green beans, washed and ends trimmed
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (in the international foods aisle)

1. Cook rice according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add green onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add ground turkey and saute for 5 minutes, separating into pieces with a spatula.
3. Add in chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger, and stir until mixed. Add green beans and soy sauce and stir.
4. Cook until green beans are slightly tender (about 10 minutes).
5. Add in rice vinegar and allow to cook for one more minute.
6. Serve over rice!

(green onion + garlic)

(ground turkey)

(after adding green beans and soy sauce)



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Connor's Baptism

On Saturday, we officially welcomed little Connor into the Catholic Church! We've been looking forward to his baptism day for so long, and it was really just an amazing feeling to celebrate our first child's first sacrament!


Happy boy!

We would've loved for Connor to wear a passed-down family outfit, but my baptism gown was really feminine, and Jeff's was way too big for our little boy, so I ended up buying this baptism outfit and these baptism shoes for Connor. I think he looked really cute!


Connor was baptized at our church, with three whole pews full of family there to celebrate! 





He loved the baptism candle!



The ceremony was a little too long for a baby who eats every two hours, so Connor got hungry and cried very loudly through the end of the ceremony. The deacon ended the ceremony by looking directly at Connor and saying "go in peace!" Haha!


My sister flew in from New York to be there and be his godmother!


Here's our little family of three!


We hosted a lunch at our house afterward and served sandwiches, fruit salad, and Caesar salad. Oh, and this cake:


It was an Italian cream cake with cream cheese icing, and I think it might be my favorite cake I've ever made. It was also my first attempt at a two-tier cake, and the stacking/decorating/etc. went really smoothly! These 6-inch cake pans are phenomenal! I made a little "God Bless Connor" banner to go on top of it.

Before we blessed the food, we passed out cards with a blessing printed on them and had everyone read this prayer together for Connor:


I decorated the tables with blue hydrageas and baby's breath, as well as some family heirlooms (doilies made by my great-grandma, napkins made by Jeff's great-grandma, and candlesticks passed down from Jeff's grandma). 




In our entryway, I set up a little display with Jeff's and my baptism gowns and a couple frames with brief bios of St. Thomas Becket and Bl. Conor O'Devany. We wanted everyone to be able to read a bit about Connor's namesakes! 




Connor had all four grandparents and all six living great-grandparents at his baptism. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family that loves our son so much! 

One set of great-grandparents...

Another set of great-grandparents...

And yet another set of great-grandparents!

Jeff's Parents

My Parents

God bless you, Connor Beckett! We love you!