Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Baby's Nursery

We are officially ready for our baby to arrive!  His nursery is all set up and his parents are very ready to meet him.  He must feel the same way because he always has a surprisingly strong jab to throw when we talk to him.  I'm trying to get as much sleep as I can, per the advice of many friends, family and strangers (ha!) but many of you know that at almost 10 months pregnant, sleeping through the night or comfortably isn't really a thing.  I didn't know about that little tidbit of information ahead of time, but we're making it work over it's good practice for our life to come, right?

On to a more exciting part of pregnancy - let me show you his nursery!  It is comfortable, warm, boyish, babyish, functional (we hope) and it sticks to the same style of decor as the rest of our house :)

Andy and I had such a fun time picking out all of the special pieces for our little boy's room.  I hope you enjoy these photos of our new favorite room for our new favorite babe!

^^ We're kind of obsessed with his custom made mobile by this talented woman on Etsy.

^^ Everything is so cute and tiny!  Lots of hand me downs from his cousins mixed in a with a few new things from all the people who already love him so much!

^^ We are in love with this Acacia mirror, it's so pretty and will be moved to another safer location in our house once he is tall enough and walking around.  It is quite heavy!

^^ Road Trip Tula!  We can't wait to wear our little one around this summer <3

^^ Of course, Andy is so excited to watch his team with his little boy.  These kits were actually the first baby thing we bought!

(Check out what it used to look like, yikes!)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Soup

I can hardly call this recipe a recipe because it is so fast and easy!

Just 5 ingredients and about 30 minutes of prep and clean up, I'll often make this in the morning before I go to work and it is ready by the time I get home.

Like my Healthy and Easy Lasagna Recipe and Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos, this soup is packed with flavor but is so simple and healthy!

Plus it is super filling and perfect for cold days :)  In case you don't already make this all the time like we do, here it is.  Enjoy!

I like big chunks of carrots >>

And big chunks of celery >>

Okay this part is kind of gross, but it is a step I started taking about a year ago.  I visited my friend Randi last winter and before she put chicken in a slow cooker I watched her trim off all the little fat and mystery pieces and I thought to myself "why have I never done this?!"  I felt like I was being wasteful by trimming the chicken but that's so silly.  Now I cut off anything that is remotely gross to me.  Fat, white-tendon-thingys, blood...yucky.

The chicken I use is on the left and the garbage is on the right.

This is my favorite store bought chicken broth.  I always buy low sodium because I like to add my own level of salt.

^^ Ready to go for 8 hours on low!

By the way, I always save my veggie scraps in the freezer to make my own broth.  We usually make chicken broth but I just recently made a vegetarian parmesan broth that is so tasty!  I hate the store bought veggie broths, I have yet to find one that doesn't taste like vitamins.

After 8 hours, the soup looks like this >>

I just take tongs and a fork and squeeze and pull apart the chicken.

Is it just me or do these photos make you feel all warm and cozy?  Hooray for a simple, healthy, cozy meal!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lemon Butter Love x Warby Parker {Part II}

Friday, I came home to this ^^ box of goodies!

As you may remember from my post last Tuesday, Warby Parker contacted me a few weeks ago asking me to review their Spring 2016 line of glasses.  In my condition - where buying clothes is no fun - I was happy to oblige by ordering my 5 free frames using their Home Try-On program (free shipping both ways!).

Before I spent some time on selfie-love this Valentine's Day weekend, I tried my hand at pouring heart-shaped blueberry pancakes for my Valentine... 

Not bad, right?!  He liked them, but he loves my pancakes in any shape haha.  I used my Banana Pancake recipe but instead of banana I used 1/2 c greek yogurt.  If you've never made homemade pancakes, seriously TRY IT.  It is super easy.  Just a few more steps than buying a dry mix and the same-ish amount of dishes ;)

Enough about pancakes, let me get on to the selfies (...which, at 9+ months pregnant, selfies are totally my favorite!  Hence all the thrilled looks, ha!)  

(1)  Dorset frames in Whiskey Tortoise

My review - This is a studious and 'safe' look that I thought I would like more.  Warby Parker has such fun and colorful frames, surprisingly this one didn't do it for me this time, but is certainly an 'easy' look to pull off for probably anyone.

(2)  Kensett frames in Atlantic Blue

My review - I LOVE the color.  I'm realizing more and more how much I love the color blue and this is a perfect combination of deep and bright.  The keyhole nose is new to me and perhaps a little harder to pull off but I think I could do it!  Gah, I just love this blue!

(3)  Finch frames in Bellini

My review - I like the color but it kind of matches my skin too much.  It was tough to get a good picture of them, let alone look good in them.  The Finch frames are a nice and easy shape that I would like to try in a bolder color.

(4) Haskell frames in Crystal with Manzanita ring

My review - These frames are fuuun...  A double take was required for me to feel out an opinion on them because they are so odd.  I liked these more than I thought I would and if was in the market for more than one pair of glasses, these would be a top contender because they are so interesting and unexpected.  (Wait, maybe I should be in the market for multiple frames...)

(5)  Preston frames in Gimlet Tortoise

My review - These ended up being my favorite!  Bright, big, nerdy-ish and kind of animal print.  I think I found a winner!  An 'intro' to bold glasses for a newb like myself but also a very easy to wear shape and color.

Find their Spring 2016 lines here for eyeglasses and here for sunglasses.  Be sure to use hashtag #LemonButterLove and #WarbyHomeTryOn if you try your 5 free frames and post photos on Instagram - I'd love to see!

And Follow me on Instagram @charlielbl and like my Facebook page while you're at it, thanks :)

Thank you Warby Parker for asking me to participate and review, it was fun!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day: Our Date Night

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I hope everyone is feeling the looove.  We certainly are over here!

2016 will is mine and Andy's fourth Valentine's Day and, as usual, we like to stay in, cook something extra delicious, drink an extra nice bottle of wine and eat chocolates.

The photo above is our box of chocolates this year - Zingerman's "Not a Normal Box of Chocolates."  These are made by hand here in Ann Arbor and the ganache takes four days to make.  Each box includes almond pralines and burnt sugar caramels.  One thing I love about this is there are only three kinds!  Normally we have Godiva and you might find one kind of chocolate you love, but that's it.  You get one.  This box of chocolates has multiples of each chocolate!

Tonight we're making these Baby Back Ribs.  We meant to make them last weekend for the Super Bowl but my pregnancy craving for tacos won out and ribs still sound good.  That made our dinner decision easy!  We're also making mashed potatoes because we never make them and...just, yum.

Other Valentine's activities include me, apparently nesting, finally.  I'm going to make this Broccoli Cheddar Soup and these Very Blueberry Scones, both from Smitten Kitchen (love her).  Can you tell I'm on a blueberry kick?  I also cleaned the fridge today and Andy cleaned the walls in our bathroom, go us!

My boss and co-workers recently through a little  pre-birth day celebration for baby John Quincy and gave me and Andy a gift card and these Chocolate Chip with Sea Salt Cookies (among a few other goodies!).  These Chocolate Chip cookies have me hooked.  They are crunchy, salty, chunky, buttery...I need to find a similar recipe!

So I started re-reading this article about cookie science to try to identify what ratios I need to make the cookie I want.  So I'm following this recipe to see if it is what I'm looking for.  The cookie dough is in the fridge, we'll see how it turns out tomorrow!

{Chopped chocolate chips}

{An attempt to brown butter}

{Whipping eggs, sugar and vanilla with whisk, not paddle.  I messed up this step by including brown sugar, whoops}

{Only 15 seconds of incorporating}

{The final cookie dough product to sit overnight in the fridge}

See you tomorrow cookie dough!