Monday, June 17, 2013

My New Job

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.  I have no problem with working moms (that's a tough job), but it's just not something I wanted to do.  The problem is, I know it's hard to live on one income.  We've budgeted and can make it work, but I want some fun money for date nights or vacation.

So I took to the internet.  I heard about Etsy a while back, but it took me awhile to get into it.  I started a shop and now I'm trying to figure out where to go from there.  I've started making baby clothes because they are fun and adorable.

Then, I figured that I might as well put my graphic design minor to work, so I've started posting invitations, save the dates, etc.  I do custom work and I am slowly remembering how to do everything.

I love doing it everyday and look forward to it.  Isn't that the best kind of job? The kind where you really enjoy what you do.

When you get a chance, check out my Etsy page.  It's sparse for now, but that will change soon.  Whatever custom stationary you need or child's outfit, I can take care of it.  And hopefully, it will allow me to pursue my other dream of being at home with my little girl.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pregnancy Update: Is this supposed to happen?

I understand that you are supposed to get bigger during pregnancy, but I had no idea it would happen so fast.  I decided to take those chalkboard photos every week so that I could see how my body changed.  Here is the one from 10 weeks:
No real baby bump there
The next week, I had a wedding to go to.  None of my dresses really fit because I had filled out more everywhere.  So Matt took me to go buy a new dress.  I hated the way I looked in all of them, except one (and I still can't decide how I really feel about it). We bought it anyway and I wore it to the wedding.  I really didn't think I had changed too much, until my husband took this picture:
Where did this belly come from?
I look flat chested and have this seemingly huge belly.  Is it supposed to be that big at 11-12 weeks? Now I'm all freaked out that I'm overeating and it's all fat in there.  Someone please tell me this is normal.

I'm almost 12 weeks now and the same size as the second picture, but I'm still wondering how much weight I'm supposed to be gaining. I know over the whole pregnancy, I'm supposed to gain about 25 pounds, but I'm starting to think I'll gain more.  I just don't get it; I've been eating right and exercising.

I've been told by a couple of people that I just got the belly early and it'll stay like this for a while.  I have mixed feelings about this.  I am already nervous about carrying around a large stomach, but I feel like the one I have now just makes me look chubby, instead of pregnant.

In the end, I guess everyone has a little bit different pregnancy experience, and I won't know what happens with this one until it's over.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm Pregnant!

Matt and I were planning on having children soon, kind of. I had always heard that once you go off the pill, it can take up to a year to get pregnant, and that it will usually take at least several months. We decided to stop preventing in January, hoping to get pregnant by summer. I guess God and my body had other plans.

My first clue was one night when I was making dinner. I was browning hamburger meat and kept telling Matt that it smelled really funny. He made a joke that I must be pregnant, so I started questioning it. I went and bought tests that night, but really wanted to wait until morning to take it. I couldn't sleep at all and ended up getting up at 5 because I was so anxious. I completely did not expect to see two lines. I cried. I screamed. And mostly, I didn't believe it.

Those area some dark positive lines.

I immediately called my doctor. I had no idea they don't need to see you until you're 8 weeks. I hated the wait; it was awful. I was so afraid the ultrasound would tell me that was never a baby, that it was somehow a false positive. It was very much the opposite. We saw our little baby and heard its heartbeat. I still wonder every day if he (I keep thinking it's a boy) is okay in there.

I know the whole "chalkboard update" is way overused, but I really like it.
And this picture mostly just freaks me out.  It was taken when I was just under 9 weeks.  I'm not supposed to already be showing, am I?

I guess that's my story on how we found out and the first few weeks.  I was told we would find out at 18 weeks what the sex is.  I think, if anything, this will definitely teach me to be patient.  I know people say it goes by so fast, and I know it will once we're to the next stage, but it's hard waiting each week or each month until I see the doctor.  It's difficult not knowing what's going on in there, but I guess that's where faith has to come in to play.  I have to assume the little baby growing inside me is okay.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I finally got the new mixer I wanted for Christmas, a beautiful red Kitchenaid.  Ever since I got it, I've been itching to use it.  Lately, Matt has been begging for chocolate chip cookies, so I figured this was the perfect time to whip something up in my new toy.

I started with gathering all of my ingredients.  Everything is pretty basic, but you'll want to make sure to incorporate the brown sugar with the white sugar because it will make your cookies chewier.

Because this was a spur of the moment thing, I forgot to let the butter soften.  Directly out of the fridge doesn't result in a fluffy dough, but neither does melted butter.  So, here's what I do, and it works out for me every time.

I know all the rules about how you're not supposed to microwave butter because it changes the consistency of it, but in my experience, this acts just like softened-at-room-temperature butter.  Now, I don't just put the whole stick in there and nuke it. That would melt the butter completely and result in an oily cookie.  I put it in the microwave for 7 seconds then turn is on its complete opposite side and let it go for another 7 seconds.  For me, this warms it just enough to make it soft.

The butter is the first thing to go in the mixer.  You're supposed to whip the butter by itself first.  I was apparently too gung-ho about whipping the butter, so I put on the whisk attachment.  I would not recommend doing this.  While it does whip the butter to a nice consistency, it all gets stuck in the whisk and you're left sitting there wondering how to get it out.  I shortly switched over to the paddle attachment.  Use that one.

After the butter is whipped, the sugar goes in next.  I use a combination of brown sugar and white sugar.  The white sugar gives it stability while the brown sugar makes the cookies soft and chewy.  You'll want to mix together the butter and sugar until it becomes a fluffy mixture.

Make sure to spoon the sugar in the measuring cup and level it off.
If you dip the cup into the sugar, you'll end up with too much.
Next is the vanilla and eggs.

In a separate mixing bowl, mix up the rest of your dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. By the way, I've previously learned the hard way how important the salt and baking soda are.  Even though it seems like an insignificant amount, don't forget about it.  You'll regret it and waste a whole batch of otherwise yummy cookie dough.

When that's all mixed up, incorporate the dry mix into the wet mix in about three parts.  If you dump all that flour mixture in at once, you'll end up with a big mess that won't mix together.  Beat the dough until the flour is just mixed in.  If you overbeat it, it'll result in a flat cookie.  Lastly, carefully stir in the chocolate chips.

This is where it starts to look really good and I wanted to eat all of it.
I've always heard to use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to make consistent size cookies.  The problem is, I don't have one and apparently I am too lazy to go buy one.  I think a spoon works just as well.  Eyeball them to make sure they are about the same size. (I have airbake cookie sheets that a friend of mine gave me.  I love them since they are super simple to clean and nothing every burns on them.  That's why I didn't grease my pan.)

And here's the final product.  Husband ate three before they were even cool.

Since cookies are never enough for a new toy, I also made bread and broccoli cheese soup that day.  I had a lot of fun doing stuff in the kitchen while Matt installed new doors in our house.  Does anyone have any other tips for making delicious cookies?

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate because it's what I had)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for another minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in two or three additions, mixing on low speed just until the flour is incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips using a silicone spatula or the mixer on low speed.

Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon (or just a spoon, like I do), drop balls of dough onto the baking sheets, leaving a few inches of room between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My New Years Party

Hey everyone,
I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.  Christmas was wonderful for us.  It iced a little so we stayed home most of the day, but we went to my grandparents' house in the evening (luckily they only live a mile from us, so it wasn't hard to get to).

For New Years, Matt and I decided to throw a party.  We had never had a real party in our new house, and we thought this would be the perfect time. I stressed over the food for about a week before the party.  It's really hard to know what kind of food to get and how much, so by the time I figured it out, here's what we ended up having:

It was a fairly simple spread with chips, veggies, and crackers.  I also had 4 different kinds of dip and several kinds of cheese.  Matt also made chili for the main meal with some venison our neighbor gave us for Christmas.

Because of the variety of dips, I decided to make tags for each of them.  I just used some scrapbook paper I already had and a straight cutter.  It was super easy, but I think I should have used a lighter color paper.

I think the party was a great success (for it being our first in the new house).  We played Balderdash all night and cheered at midnight.  It was low-key but I think everyone had a good time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Getting Wax Out of Carpet

Awhile back, we had to move Matt out of his old apartment.  While the guys were moving the big furniture, I was left with the task of cleaning (I definitely wanted that deposit back).

I discovered this near the front door:

Sorry for the terrible pictures.  All I had on me at the time was my phone.

Matt had a Scentsy plugged into an outlet near the floor and someone must have knocked it over.

It was not pretty and it was deep into the carpet. I didn't know what to do since that would obviously show in the final walk through.  So I plugged in my hair dryer and sat on the floor with a roll of paper towels.  I figured the heat would melt the wax and the paper towels would soak it up.  I applied direct heat to it on the hottest dryer setting. Then I'd move the dryer for a second and blot it up with a paper towel. (I tried holding the paper towel on the wax while I heated it up, but it got too hot on my hand.)

It took a while and quite a few paper towels, but it eventually came up.
Here's what it looked like at the end:

It left some red behind, but I think that's the dye in the wax rather than the wax itself. I think if I had more time and patience, I could have gotten more to come up, but for the most part, it looks pretty good. When I stood up, I couldn't even see the stain.

I have also heard that you can use an iron and it will do the same thing, but I don't know what the best way to do that would be. Has anyone done that? How did it turn out?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My first try

I've never really been in the blog world before.  I mean, I've looked at them, gotten ideas from them, and loved reading other people's views.  But I haven't had a chance to do it myself yet.  This is it and I'm diving in.

I don't really know where I want this to go or what I am planning on saying, but I wanted to put myself out there just like all these other people that have inspired me.

I'm Veronica and I've been married to my husband Matt for 9 months now.  We have had our ups and downs just like any newly married couple, but I couldn't imagine being anywhere else in life right now.  I hope to one day be a stay-at-home mom, but that's just not possible for us yet.  It will happen one day, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Anyway, that's the start of this.  I can't wait to see how it progresses.  Let me know if there's anything you want to see.