Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dream House

One day Tony and I dream of building our dream house. We are still renters and very comfortable with that now and in the near future. We have no timeline for buying and/or building so I can still dream up cool ideas for our dream home. Heck we don't even know where we want to finally move and buy a place. It could be here in Virginia, back in North Carolina, or elsewhere maybe?! Who knows!

I love to keep my Pinterest board updated with my dream ideas for our place. Overall I like sort of a modern craftsman style. Sometimes I like cute cottage-y aspects of homes, open concept floor plans for the main living area, hardwood floors, built ins, neat architectural details and more... take a look!


Craftsman Exterior by Mukilteo Design-Build Firms Sellentin True Design Build


Craftsman Entry by San Jose Architects & Building Designers Studio S Squared Architecture, Inc.


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Traditional Deck by Seattle Design-Build Firms RW Anderson Homes

I'd love some cool architectural details such as built in bookcases in short walls for books or display items. Also I like tall ceilings and modern ceiling fans - especially in bedrooms.


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I like the idea of a small kitchen nook table. It wouldn't be a replacement for the main dining table but a small table to eat breakfast at. It would hold maybe 2 adults or a few kids. It could serve food at parties and be a helpful side table in the kitchen. I like the built in ones here with benches.


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This is a cool loft (I'd change out the furniture... sorry blogger) that could be an office, or playroom or whatnot.


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I've already got my eyes on some floor plans that I like. Our house must have 2 floors, open kitchen, living and dining, plus an office, downstairs powder room, ideally a mud room, and large pantry. We don't need a basement, formal dining or formal living room. Keep all the bedrooms and laundry room upstairs and lots of windows everywhere. I like hardwood, but maybe carpet upstairs could be good too. We need a space for the litter box, a fireplace would be great, plus a patio or deck. Plus a 2 car garage would be best - maybe attached, or not; I like rear or side facing garages, or ones out back.



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Oh to dream! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Spicy rice, potato sausage soup

I love a good soup in the fall and winter. We've been eating a lot more soups in the last few years and I love trying new combinations! I find that it's really easy to make soups - even when you have no clue what you're doing. Just put meat and/or veggies in a pot with broth... and you've got soup! 

One secret I've found is that most soups are made better by adding a little something acidic towards the end. Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar are favorites of mine. You just need a little; maybe a tablespoon or two. It really elevates the flavor of the soup without resorting to adding more salt. 

Here I made a jumble of recipes together and came up with a spicy sausage, mixed rice, and potato soup. With spinach (any greens will do!). 






Spicy rice, potato sausage soup
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of dry brown rice medley
2 tbsp olive oil
2 spicy sausages
1 diced onion 
1 diced garlic clove
Paprika
Salt
Pepper
3 medium potatoes
6 cups of broth or water
2 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach

Instructions:
Prepare rice according to directions. This takes about 35 minutes so start this step first. Dice and peel the potatoes (1 inch cubed), dice the onions and garlic. Take the casings off the sausage. 

In a pot heat up the oil and cook the sausage. I like to break it up with a wooden spoon. After a few minutes throw in the garlic, onion, & spices (just use your judgement on how much - depending on if you like it spicy or not). Let those cook completely through so no pink is showing. Throw in the potatoes and add the broth. Bring to a boil on high, then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Cook until the potatoes are soft but not mushy. During the last 3-4 minutes add the spinach (hint: you could use frozen thawed pressed greens instead of fresh). 

It's great served with fresh bread.

Enjoy!

 




Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baby app - BabyTime


This is a quick shout out for new or expectant parents. You know that feeling when you bring your new fresh bundle of baby home and think... now what?

There's an app for that. 

I beta tested BabyTime and wanted to just say that I really enjoyed using it and if you are in the market for a 'tracking baby bodily functions slash when baby is sleeping you should be sleeping too' app - this is it. http://signup.babytimeapp.com. It launches in the app store Dec 11th. 

baby app, baby timer app, babytime

When I used it it was in the front page of my iPhone. That pretty much means it's important. It was easy to use and honestly better than a bunch of other similar apps out there. It has cute graphics and neat tracking and recording screens.

baby app, baby timer app, baby time, iPhone

True, I don't still track Ashby's stuff. I know there are moms out there that need to know down to the second how much they nurse or sleep, but at over 2 months old I'm over it. I will say that BabyTime is a great app - especially like I said when you get home from the hospital and have those first pediatriatic appointments and weigh-ins where you'll be asked questions such as how long or how much is baby nursing, or eating, or sleeping? New mom brain is like... Duh. Who's to say?

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I'm writing this just because I can, not because I have to. I received the beta version of the app for free, there is no other compensation or benefit for me.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving; it should otherwise be known as 'babies first trip'. We had a week in Ohio to relax, see friends and family, and eat! Ashby did amazing on the trip. She slept most of the car ride up and down with stops to eat and diaper change with a little mommy daddy time. 

For the big day we made these recipes. And by "we" I really mean other people since having a baby takes up a huge part of your day just nursing... not to mention diaper changes and keeping her calm. Overall she was an excellent baby while out of town. 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/smoked-chile-scalloped-sweet-potatoes-recipe.html

A new recipe to try since the Amatos like to try something new each year in addition to the traditionals. It was good even though I was a little suspicious. Not too spicy for the sweet potatoes. I like making gratins on a wide flat pan so you get the most amount of crispy bits on your potatoes.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/creme-brulee-recipe.html (sorry no photo)

I also made baked brie with jam. I don't care if I ate half that thing - it's a holiday and I'm sticking to the 'breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day' motto. Delish!




 






We of course since in Ohio went to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. I LOVE Love love Jeni's! It was Ashby's first Jeni's trip even though she couldn't have any ice cream. Maybe next year!


Ashby met one of her first baby friends. Keira was a good host letting Ashby share her play mat and cheering on the buckeyes! Speaking of the big Ohio State, Michigan game... Tony got the family ready that morning by making special OSU pancakes! He's getting really good at these!




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