Friday, February 27, 2009

Happy Weekend!

Thank goodness we made it through the week! This adorable little castle for your prince or princess was on the Cookie magazine blog...wouldn't this be the most adorable addition to a room? I used to run away with a backpack, oreos and a cup of milk to under the dining room table, but this would be even better!
My doctor's appointment was normal. I'm a little paranoid about big babies, because I was 9 12 (and turned into a very average sized adult), but Baby Icing and I are measuring right on schedule, and my doctor thinks she looks just perfect (and average). I'm now going to appointments every two weeks, and we get to visit with Baby on the ultrasound once more at 36 weeks. Right now, she's curled up head down, with her little tush on my right side, and her little legs kicking on my left. That explains why I'm feeling so much movement.
And, in very exciting news, my stroller has arrived. It's too heavy for me to lug indoors, so I have to wait for my sweet husband to do that (Since his only opinion on icing is a strong aversion to cream cheese frosting, I'll be referring to him by his initial "N" from here on out.). I'll post on the assembly later this weekend.
Right now, I'm spent. I was too busy at the office to eat lunch or drink much, and went straight from there to my doctor's to the grocery I just made some soup and am planning on remaining on the couch all evening. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Here is my big kitty enjoying some flowers. He really does love flowers - he attacks them like a vampire and bites their stems. What an odd cat. We love him, and he is so gentle and loyal, just like a little dog. (A little dog who snores - Persian kitties have flat smushy faces like pugs, so their breathing is more snorts!) I'll try to get some good photos of my other little kitty, but she is a little shy. She is so loyal though, she is sitting at the front door waiting for me when I get home, and loves to snuggle in the pregnancy pillow with me. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without them!Anyway, thanks for the advice on following - I'm definitely going to add that to my project list this weekend. There are so many great blogs out there!

Tomorrow is my 32 week appointment - I think it's another boring one; let's hope so. Baby Icing is still exceptionally busy! I should be getting my crib linens and my stroller this weekend, which should provide for entertaining assembly time.

Now it's time for some hot chocolate and cleaning up the disaster that is my house before the cleaning lady arrives. She is a saint. She likes everything tidy and arranged perpendicularly - we must drive her nuts!

Happy almost weekend - and take it easy tomorrow - I know that I will!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Things to Do

As I mentioned yesterday, I am about 8 weeks from Baby Icing arriving and changing the ENTIRE WOLRD AS I KNOW IT. So, I really want to check some things off the to do list that may languish for years (like until Baby Icing goes to college) in these last few weeks. And, I'm telling you, kind readers, so that I feel responsible. (Thanks to Lauren for doing a similar post this week that got me motivated!)

So, here goes:

  1. Roll over the 401k from my old job so that it's easy to keep track of it (and watch it lose money). Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't rush this one?

  2. Change all accounts to my married name. I had a period of time where my state bar registration was still in my maiden name, but now that is fixed, there is no excuse, and since I USE my married name professionally and socially, it should all match.

  3. Find an appropriate pull out couch/sleeper option to use in our loft/home office/de facto new guest bedroom.

  4. Clean out the closets. Specifically, reorganize them to allow all the stuff we have to be stored efficiently. (Note to self - do not start this project if I suspect labor is about to start, as I don't want this unfinished when Baby Icing arrives!
  5. Have my car completely serviced, including the "love tap" on the rear bumper.
  6. Research "mommy and me" type groups so that I'll have a list. I'm in the weird stage of having only a couple friends with children, and I think it would be great to have some other mum friends in the neighborhood.
  7. GOODWILL donation - books and clothes. There are some books that I've read once and they take up a lot of space!
  8. Organize my address list for the birth announcements. I may be lazy and have a calligrapher do them, and for that, they need to be in one central word document.
  9. Find a pediatrician!!!!! This is a priority! (I also need an internist for myself, but that's another story).
  10. Schedule baby CPR. We will need to take this class after Baby Icing arrives, because we can't seem to find an open class between now and April!
  11. Buy Mr. Icing a very nice birthday present, as his birthday is going to be pretty close to Baby's - I'm thinking he may need a nice bottle of scotch with all these changes going on!
  12. Finish up and prettify my new little home office closet - so that I actually enjoy doing paperwork there!
  13. Learn how to use the slow cooker. I'm going to be returning to work, and this seems like a nice way to make some tasty weeknight dinners!
  14. Research childcare options. Due to our schedules and office locations, we most likely need someone to come to our house, and I need to know the going rate, what is included, all that good stuff.
  15. Finish up a photo album of Mr. Icing and I that predates our wedding. We'll be married four years this July, just to give you an has been a while.

So, what do you have on your list? Realistically, I won't get all of this done, but it's good to have goals, right?

Also, how do I "follow" blogs? I'd love to follow all you readers and commenters, but in case you haven't noticed, I'm not the most tech savvy person out there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things Pregnant People Like When They Feel They Have Been Pregnant FOREVER

Today is the start of week 32. I have at least 8 weeks to go. Baby Icing is a very busy little girl, or she is incredibly uncomfortable, because she seems to spend the majority of each day trying to climb up through my ribs, or kick out through my stomach. It's kind of cute, but it is making it very difficult to concentrate at the office. Other than that, and some heartburn, I really can't complain. But, I haven't shopped in forever for ME! And, there are some great sales and deals out there.

For those of you who are pregnant now, or heading on into the "fourth trimester" (I was horrified to hear my doctor say that no, just because lots of celebrities have babies at my hospital, there is no special procedure done to ensure that I will walk out in non-maternity jeans), may I suggest Isabella Oliver? Currently, they are offering 20% off all clothing through Sunday with the code "Thanks."

I'm thinking of purchasing the following:
This wrap dress will be nice for pre and post delivery - and since it's a wrap, it would be easy for nursing.
Cute nursing top - and a duplicate copy - I really like grey - and as my friend A pointed out - spit up really doesn't show on grey like it does on darker colors!

Another "cute" nursing top in ink. I am beginning to discover that it's like pregnancy clothing - cute is a relative term. I don't really want to wear a vulgar tee shirt saying "got milk" or something else horrendous in glitter, so these seem like tasteful options.
Now, if and when I ever return to my normal shape, here are some things that I'd like to wear. I am a Milly FIEND, and I think this dress is just smashing. Wouldn't it be perfect for summer weddings and going out to dinner - if I ever leave the house again?

This little cutie is from Calypso, and I think it would be perfect for Saturday lunch and times at the it is machine washable, so I think I could wear it around Baby Icing. :) I'm sure she'll appreciate bright sherbet colors like this!

And here's my favorite - pink and J. Crew, and machine washable. Even better, right now it's on final sale. I'm going to order it two sizes up, and I figure I can always get it tailored down as I (hopefully) get back to my regular size.

And these - just because I think they'd look smashing with all the dresses! I don't feel up to wearing big heels these days unless I can sit. Aren't they lovely?

BTW, happy Mardi Gras! I hope you all are having king cake or a tasty equivalent! Growing up, we always ate pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. In Paris, I feasted on crepes and ate the King Cake at Epiphany, but I love all the Mardi Gras traditions. Now, I just have to drag myself to Mass tomorrow for Ash Wednesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I heart Amy Adams. I think she's an incredibly talented actress, and I loved her outfit. Some might say a big necklace is too much, but I thought she looked marvelous!

I also loved Natalie Portman - that color is lovely. There were other looks that I liked, but these two were some of my favorites. I cannot stand Angelina Jolie, but she did look lovely, so I won't comment on her - let's just leave it that I am on team Aniston.
Oh, and the stroller is ordered. Dark grey Bugaboo Chameleon with pink canvas. I'll be sure to post pictures of it and write a review in terms of how hard it is to put together.
In other news, my office is throwing me a little shower. I'm sort of superstitious, but it is such a sweet gesture! I've got right around 6 weeks left of work, and I can't believe the time has flown so quickly. In California, you are considered disabled from 36 weeks through your delivery (and a little afterwards), so your short term disability insurance covers you. I have my 32 week checkup on Friday, but I'm not sure if this is one where anything exciting happens, or if it's just a normal one.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Oscar Goes to....Nutella Brownies

What a weekend! We had a lovely dinner at Madeo with friends on Friday night - and it was star studded. We arrived at the same time as Helena Christiansen, ate across from Brooke Burke and her husband, and saw McSteamy. Not to mention, their pizza covered with proscuitto and rigatoni with eggplant and mozzarella were divine. So was the chocolate mousse. We'll be back!

Yesterday was nice and lazy. I had my Junior League project in the morning, then had lunch with Mr. Icing and watched Definitely Maybe (watch it - you'll like it - it's a little bittersweet but very cute. After yoga, we ordered Chinese for dinner, and watched Pineapple Express. (I should clarify, I do yoga- Mr. Icing plays basketball and is not really a yoga sort of person). :)

Today was more fun at Prepared Childbirth. Next week is the good week where we take the nursery tour and learn about the epidural. This week was a very non-gory video (really, it was 10 minutes and not graphic at all - thank God), and learning about positions that can be comfortable. (Emphasis on "can")! After fighting the pre-Oscar hordes at the grocery store, we're home with a roasting chicken, sleeping kitties and good t.v.

But, I did make Nutella brownies yesterday. And, I want to share them with you, because if you like Nutella, you will LOVE these brownies. Unlike the spread, you can make these and freeze individual portions - to ensure that you ALWAYS have some. (I'm fanatical about always having some sort of brownie frozen for easy desserts at the last minute). Plus, that way, I don't eat as many of them!

So, promise me you'll consider making these? They are so easy and delicious!

Gianduia Brownies (from Gourmet Magazine)

1/1/4 c. hazelnuts toasted, skinned and ground (I toast by putting in oven safe pan in 350 degree oven until they smell toasty and delicious. To skin, I put them in a clean tea towel and rub them - the skins mostly come off in the towel - then pulse a couple times in the food processor).
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 oz. semi sweet chocolate (I think you can use chocolate bits)
1 stick butter (the recipe suggested unsalted, but I used salted)
1/4 c. Nutella
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter/flour 9" square pan.
  2. Toast and skin hazelnuts then pulse in processor or chop with knife until coarsley ground.
  3. Melt chocolate, Nutella and butter in double boiler or microwave until smooth. You may need to stir this a little bit.
  4. While melting chocolate, sift together flour and baking powder (if you used unsalted butter, I would think a pinch of salt would be good here too).
  5. Whisk sugar into chocolate/Nutella mixture until combined well. Add eggs, whisking again till mixture is smooth. Stir in flour and hazelnuts until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven. Gourmet says 35-45 minutes, but I baked mine for 30 and actually checked them at 25 - I really prefer brownies that aren't too dried out. I think 45 minutes would be too much, but it might depend on your oven. Let the brownies cool in the pan.

Here's what the final product looked like - and I can't tell you how good they were! I enjoyed mine warm - but I had another bite today cold - and even frozen, these are really delicious.
I hope your weekends were lovely, and if you're watching the Oscars, whose dress do you like best so far? I'm taking a 30 minute break for "Flight of the Conchords," but will be back to the Oscars soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Happy Almost Friday!

Here's a little kitty love to start the weekend - someone was waiting for a treat. (He's a weird cat, so he likes to eat things like hummus and plain yogurt.)

Based on my prior post, I'm so excited to hear that there are other Nutella fans out there. If you like chocolate spreads, may I recommend the chocolat noir and the praline spread sold at Pain Quotidien? Check their website And, in light of all this Nutella love, I think it's time for me to make a delicious Nutella recipe to share with you all. Watch this space!

As for my favorite children's books - here are the ones I am most excited to share with Baby Icing:

1. Goodnight Moon
2. Harold and the Purple Crayon
3. Make Way for Ducklings
4. Blueberries for Sal
5. Corduroy
6. All fairy tales (anyone else read the Andrew Lang giant compilations)
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
8. All the Little House books
9. Little Women (when she's older)
10. Heidi
11. Paddington (my dad used to read these to me in a British accent "marmalade sandwiches!")

I'm getting so ready to start reading to her - right now I read her Us Weekly, Glamour, InStyle, etc (I don't read her the racier articles)!

This weekend we are having dinner with friends at Madeo...I'll report back if I see any famous people, since it's awards season, everyone is in town again - bad for traffic but fun for me! Saturday is my Junior League project in the morning, and then a relaxing afternoon (which will now include trying to bake with Nutella)! I think that's about all the fun I can handle! Anyone doing anything really neat?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reader Poll - Baby Books

What are your favorite baby books? I want to start stocking up on some fun books for little people (any excuse to buy picture books again!

Moment of Pregnant Zen (What Pregnant People Like Right Now)

And that's really all I have to say right now. I'm still feeling pretty ok, but my goodness, those Tums are key! I did manage to go out for a nice (slow) three mile walk this evening. I feel so much better when I exercise - I just hope I can keep it up for another few weeks!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


When I was little, my mum would sing a song about baby bumblebees. I've always had a soft spot for bees, what with honey being one of my favorite sweets and a pretty nice smell too. So, in my efforts to keep the poor Icing belly kind of happy as I come into the home stretch, I'm recommending Tummy Honey. It's a tidy little stick of solid honey moisturizer that is really nice and thick, but your hands stay clean. Plus, the smell is honey, but it's very light. So, you can wear it during the day without offending your whole office.

Nursery - Progress

I love Carousel Designs! They have a great assortment of beautiful bedding, and after lots of debate (internal) and a brief conversation with my husband, we're going with the black and white Central Park toile with black and white gingham accents. I love it and can't wait for it to arrive! Here's Carousel's website in case you need to do some browsing. They make a lot of cute supplies that aren't part of a crib set, like pillows, mobiles and diaper storage bags.

Here's what the whole set looks like! Now, Pottery Barn Kids needs to hurry up and deliver Baby Icing's mattress so I can set it up. I'll take lots of pictures when it arrives.
In depressing baby-related news, both Right Start and Baby Style have filed for bankruptcy and are in some sort of financial limbo. That means I need to order my stroller from some other place, since I don't think the Right Start store near me will be getting new shipments anytime soon. I hope these stores survive, because they had a lot of great products and helpful staff!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Nursery - Step One

I have some challenges with the nursery. First, the only window is the sliding door. Secondly, the door to the room opens at one end - the same end as the closet and the sliding door. So, I end up with all the furniture mashed into the other part of the room.

This isn't the final placement, as I'm still waiting on the glider, but you get an idea of the challenges. I need to find a good lamp (or two, because there's no overhead light), a rug, and get some stuff for the walls. And, get the mattress delivered to finalize the bedding. (And do it all in 9 weeks). Yikes! Any suggestions? How do you think a nursery should be lighted?

Weekend Review

1. My Parker House rolls worked this time! And, they were delicious! Totally worth a redo. I've got to make them a couple more times before I'll have them down, but I'm very pleased.
The table for dinner...

Holly guarding the silver!

Flowers and chocolates - does Valentine's Day get better? (Actually, it does, because all the chocolates were dark chocolate - my favorite!)

Molten Chocolate And Guided Relaxation

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! It is POURING down rain here in LA this morning, and while my poor husband has to trek to the office, I'm curled up on the couch with my little cats and a cup of coffee. So, in the spirit of gloomy days, I wanted to share with you our Valentine's Day dessert. These "molten chocolate babycakes" are Nigella Lawson's recipe. They are the kind of dessert that everyone should have in their arsenal. You know, the roast didn't quite work, the rolls are a little hard, the wine you picked wasn't exactly right for the other words, dinner was edible, but not very special. Hit a home run with this dessert which can be made ahead and baked as everyone is sitting around the table after dinner.

When you tip them out of their cute little ramekins, they go all mushy and break, but I actually kind of like it - it lets you know that they are indeed quite molten!

Here it is hot out of the oven, waiting to be unmolded! I could almost eat one for breakfast!
Molten Chocolate Babycakes (Nigella Lawson - How to Be a Domestic Goddess)
1/4 c. soft unsalted butter
12 oz best bittersweet chocolate - I like Valhrona or Ghirardelli
1/2 c. sugar
4 large eggs, bitten with a pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. flour
6 individual 6 oz ramekins buttered (oven safe- obviously)
1. If you aren't making in advance, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the ramekins (she cuts out parchment circles to line the bottoms, but I think if you butter them well, you can skip this step.
2. Melt the chocolate and let it cool a little. I add a small pat of butter, because I melt it in the microwave and I think that helps keep it from burning. Cream the butter and sugar, gradually beating in the eggs and salt, before adding the vanilla.
3. Add the flour. It is going to look a little lumpy, but when you then mix in the still-warm chocolate, it all smooths out. It should be a smooth and shiny batter (with a little stretch from all the eggs).
4. Divide the batter between the six cups. If you are cooking right away, put the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. As soon as they come out of the oven, tip the ramekins out onto plates, and serve with ice cream, whipped cream...berries.
5. If you are preparing the babycakes early, simply cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate. When you bake them, try baking for 15 minutes, since they are coming out of the fridge cold. These also reheat well in the microwave (I don't recommend trying to shrink the recipe, but if you can do it, please email me - I'd love to whip up just one!)
Yesterday we had our first "Prepared Childbirth" class at our hospital. Honestly, I'm not really sure how "prepared" you can really be, since it sounds like a lot of different things happen. That said, it was nice to start getting to know our way around our hospital, and to start learning about some things that can make labor a little more comfortable. I also liked that our instructor was very matter of fact and acknowledged that the process is very painful for most people, so not to be ashamed or feel like a failure if you need pain relief. I was worried she would scare us silly about epidurals! I can't believe we only have about 9 weeks until our sweet little girl gets here - she is so busy inside me (I can tell she's like her daddy and doesn't buy into the guided relaxation bit - she kicked VERY hard during that part of the class)! I also did some good tidying in the nursery...I'll post an updated picture.
Since I'm home all day today, I'll post some of the cats' adventures with the Valentine's flowers and table setting.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you have a lovely Valentine's! Mr. Icing and I will be cooking duck, potatoes au gratin and molten chocolate cakes and enjoying a nice dinner at home. If you are interested, here's a recipe from the NYT that sounds promising:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You're Glowing!

Some people apparently "glow" naturally when they are pregnant. I suspect that these are the same people who have painless natural labors and find that breastfeeding is really easy. I have a nice greenish tint, and am dry and flaky. So, here's what I'm using to get my fake "glow."

Stila cream blush, because sometimes your skin really is too dry for powder! Plus, it gets rid of the weird greenish tint I've had for the last few months. Will my skin stay green forever?
Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer (I don't think the oil free part matters that much, but I bought it over the summer)! It goes on so smoothly and offers really light coverage, some extra sun protection and a little bit of moisture.

The primer is great - it keeps everything on and smooth all day. Plus, it feels like it protects my skin from the nasty and dirty LA air. It really is gross. In the summer, we can't see the mountains! That's why I don't feel bad about keeping my color up during pregnancy, I'm breathing the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes on a bad air day here!

The concealer is great. It blends really well, and is very light. Finish up with some clear lipgloss and mascara, and you're good to go. I don't think I'll be able to keep up all of this once Baby Icing arrives, but I'm thinking the tinted moisturizer is sunscreen, moisturizer and color in one, so I can at least do that and lipgloss/mascara, right? How are you glowing these days? Anything I should try?


Any ideas in what to look for in a diaper bag? I have no clue and am really not seeing anything that I like. So, instead of my normal penchant for pretty over practical (hello, I live in LA), will I need to go utilitarian? HELP!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sweets for Your Sweetie

Sur La Table is having a really nice Valentine's Day sale. I checked it out on the way to my last general Junior League meeting this year (phew - Baby Icing, you may arrive because mama has fulfilled her obligations this year)!

I picked up an adorable set of heart cookie cutters (all the better to make Mr. Icing some cookies), and found these little treats as well


I don't really know what to say. I don't think the government should be involved in deciding how many children people have, but it seems pretty clear that this woman has neither the mental nor financial capacity for 14 children. I guess all I can wonder is why does God allow some good and loving and mature people remain childless, and at the same time allow children to be born in a situation like this, which seems so difficult?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thing One and Thing Two

I love my kitty babies very much - here they are exploring the crib, and sitting in their customary spots on the dining room table. Apparently, it is very important to sit on either side of Maida Heatter's Chocolate Desserts (only the best dessert cookbook known to mankind)! Don't worry - we didn't leave them in the crib long, but they had a good time exploring it (they are too roly poly to jump in on their own)!

Para La Nina

This is a great blog by a designer who is expecting a baby too! I found this post, and wanted to share these darling posters for nurseries!

It led me to Bold and Noble, where I bought the grey print below for Baby Icing's nursery. This blue ark would look adorable for a little boy, wouldn't it? It also comes in red for the gender neutral nursery!

I loved this grey print. It's about a moonrise, and I thought it was so beautiful and restful. I have yellow walls in our nursery, and although I want to dress my little girl in lots of pink, I'm going for a more calming and neutral look to the nursery. This is for a couple reasons - one my preference (Mr. Icing veers strongly towards lots of pink for Baby Icing - which has thrown me for a loop!), and two, we live in a two bedroom townhouse. When we were doing renovations this fall, our contractor (a father of four) strongly recommended that we keep our nursery so that other buyers could imagine using the room for something else (because most people who live in a townhouse with open staircases do not have small children)!

Plus, I loved these prints for other than nursery use - and their prices were pretty reasonable. I'll do an update when the grey print arrives. I'm thinking of matting in ivory and then using a brushed steel/silvery frame - it will match the curtain rods and hopefully the lamps.