Monday, March 30, 2015

The Guy Behind My Blog - Round 3

Today, I'm joining Betsy for the monthly Guys Behind the Blogs link-up, and I'm so excited to have my handsome husband back on the blog!

Excuse his disgusting facial hair... this is from our honeymoon, when he had 60 days of leave... and yes, that's how it actually grows, haha!

Here are this month's questions... Dan's answers will be in green, and my responses will be underneath if I feel like explaining something...

1) Do you have a good luck charm or ritual?

       No, not really, not much of a believer in lucky charms. I do carry a pocket watch on important occasions (graduation, wedding) that I got from my father when I found it as a graduation present in January 2014 while he was in the hospital before he passed away. 

He had a funnier answer but declined to share it on here. Probably for the best. 

2) What is your favorite dish that your wife makes for you? Do you have any fun memories of when she tried to cook and it totally flopped, or does she get it right every time?
       Honestly, Janelle is far more critical of her cooking than I am. I can think of a few dishes she's made that she wouldn't eat that I didn't find amazing but still palatable. This may have to do with me eating Mitchell Hall Food every day for 4 years, but I can pretty much eat anything. The only thing I ever remember not being able to eat is some frozen vegetarian meatballs.  My favorite dish(es) of hers would be all the sides she makes during Thanksgiving

That's also true. I sometimes will only eat a few bites of meals I make because they just don't seem appetizing to me after cooking them... and I'll be embarrassed about it until he chows it down. Thanks for the boost of confidence, husband! Also, the Thanksgiving side dish recipes are totally my favorites too, and sometimes, I sneak them in on other days throughout the year. ;-) 

3) What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I think a better question is what didn't I want to be when growing up - I remember telling my parents I had a plan for life that included something along the lines of military, police officer, farmer, and truck driver. There's probably a few other desired careers that I'm missing but I think I just wanted to do things that those I looked up to did. 

He also wanted to be a chef. I have seen a photo of him as a kid in the cutest little chef hat! But he decided against it when he realized he be Chef Cook... ha! 

4) Which of the five senses is your strongest?
Well, not hearing (I might have selective hearing... ask Janelle), taste (see #2), sight (I'm 20/250), smell (at least I can tolerate various smells quite well), so that leaves touch - this makes sense because it's important in flying and I am a very touchy person. 

... and sight and hearing aren't important in flying?!?! Haha, just joking. He passes all of his tests with flying colors. I agree with his answers here. I'm his bloodhound for sure - even when not pregnant! My sense of smell is so strong that it's AWFUL. 

5) Would you ever run for president?
       I would like to be in office of some sort but don't think I'd like the stress and publicity of the presidency. I think I would be able to make a positive impact in state or local government. 

Again, I agree with his answer... except how amazing would it be to be the First Lady?! #FLOTUS


Well, that was fun! I hope you enjoyed reading my silly husband's answers as much as I did. I can't wait to bring Dan back at the end of April for Round 4!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins: Recipe

Welcome to Food Friday! Last week, I promised that I'd be back this week with another muffin recipe... so here it is!

These double chocolate chip muffins are JUST LIKE the ones you find at the grocery store... you know, the really big, dense muffins that feel more like cupcakes but you call them muffins to justify eating so many? Yep, those.

I have been obsessed with all things chocolate lately. Maybe it's the baby, but in reality, I've always loved chocolate. I'm just okaying it a bit more now because I can blame it on the little life inside me! ;-) 

Seriously, though... these are great. I am so glad I finally have a recipe to make these too. I know EXACTLY what goes into them, so I don't have to worry about the ones from the store anymore... because let's be honest: I bought those. Not frequently, but I did. Never again. These are so alike and not difficult at all, so I'll be making them from now on. I may or may not have individually wrapped them and popped them in the freezer so I can that have them whenever I want. Yep. 

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins


• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 eggs
• • 3/4 cup milk
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• 2 cups flour
• 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use the mini ones)


1. Preheat oven to 350º, and line a muffin pan with 12 liners. 
2. Cream together the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating with each new addition.
4. Add the milk and sour cream.
5. Add the flour and chocolate chips.
6. Mix until ingredients just combined.
7. Divide batter between 12 muffin liners. *Batter will be VERY sticky.
8. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Are you a chocoholic?
What is your favorite chocolate dessert?


Monday, March 23, 2015

Bumpdate: Weeks 13-14

If you missed my very first bumpdate, you can check out weeks 5-12 here! It was fun to write them all out like that, but I'm going to try to do just one or two at a time from now on.

I'd like to be caught up, but I'm not yet... I'm currently 15 weeks, but here you are looking at my weeks 13 and 14 updates. Oops. And I'll be out of town for a bit, so I'm sure my weeks 15 and 16 will be lumped together too. Maybe I can get caught up after that! Maybe.

How far along? 15 weeks now, but these photos are from weeks 13-14!

Size of baby?
13 weeks: peach
14 weeks: lemon

Total weight gain? I am still down one pound from before I found out I was pregnant. Not having an appetite for a while must have helped that. I'm sure I'll catch back up soon. 

Gender guess? I still feel like it's a girl, but we are getting closer and closer to finding out... just two more weeks to wait! I've had four boy dreams and two girl dreams if that means anything. I'll be doing all the old wive's tales before going in to find out!

Maternity clothes? I am wearing the maternity jeans with the big band that goes over the belly, and they are super comfortable now that they actually fit correctly. I'm still wearing my normal tops, but some of them are too short now, so it won't be long before I'm in the maternity tops I bought. 

Sleep? Sleep has gotten better! I say that, and then I get sick and can't sleep well for a few nights... but for the most part, I've been able to sleep much, much better than I was. 

Work outs? Again, I've been sick with another bad cold, but I've been trying to stay active. Biking, walking, and doing the elliptical at the gym have been fun, but I'm still not running because my heart rate skyrockets every time I try. 

Cravings? This has been weird because I've been craving all kinds of fruit (but especially grapefruit still)... but also popcorn, cheese, and ice cream. Those totally go together, right? 

Aversions? Still cucumbers and all things tomato. 

Best moment of this week? The best moment has definitely just been feeling better overall. I hardly feel pregnant anymore except for when I look down... yikes. But having energy back has been nice! 

Worst moment of this week? At the end of 14 weeks, I wound up in the ER... twice. It turns out that I had a 3mm kidney stone that was loose and needed to pass. It was excruciating, and I had a bad experience in the first ER we went to (on base) but a much better one off base. Thank goodness the lady who was approving us to go off base could hear me screaming in the background while Dan called. 

Looking forward to? We're really excited to be traveling with Baby Cookie. We're gone now, actually, and I'm sure we're having tons of fun and buying all kinds of cute things for the babe! 

Did you feel better once you hit the second trimester?


Friday, March 20, 2015

Strawberry Banana Muffins: Recipe

It's another Food Friday already - crazy, right? This year is just passing too quickly.

Today's recipe is brought to you by a post I made last week that included a couple pictures of muffins... and I was so rude to not even share the recipes! Oops! I'll share one today and another one next Friday... mostly out of guilt. And because they're delicious.

Today, you get strawberry banana muffins. They're yummy and made with fresh fruit... so you don't have to feel AS guilty about them.

Throughout all of the snow we've had in Dayton this year, our across the street neighbor has consistently cleared off our driveway for us each and every time with his snow blower. I knew I wanted to do something kind for him, so I rummaged through my pantry, refrigerator, and fruit stash and decided these would be the best. 

I'm so glad we made them (and kept a few for ourselves)! These are definitely repeat muffins. I'll be making a new batch soon just because they're so yummy. 

Strawberry Banana Muffins


• 1 3/4 cups flour
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
•  1/4 tsp salt


• 2 ripe bananas, cut into small chunks
• 1/2 cup softened butter
• 2 tbsp milk
• 2 eggs
• 8 strawberries, cut into small pieces


1. Mix dry ingredients together in a mixer.
2. Mix wet ingredients in to dry ingredients, and mix until well combined,
3. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes.
*Makes 12 muffins

Do you like muffins?
What's your favorite kind?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Patience Truly Is a Virtue

Way back when Dan and I first found out that we're going to be parents, we freaked out and scheduled an appointment on base with an OB as soon as possible. We got in, and all they did was test me. Go figure - I had already taken about a bajillion at home.

I got phone calls from every single clinic that I'd previously been seen in on base (quite a few due to my allergies and asthma) congratulating me. Why they ALL got my test results, I have no idea.

Regardless, it was tough waiting five days to go in for our first ultrasound. The week was so slow, as we just wanted to see our tiny baby! We weren't sure how far along I was, which is why they scheduled the dating ultrasound so soon.

Well, we went, and the doctor found the gestational sac and what she said was probably a yolk sac... but there was no baby. Talk about emotions... we had JUST wrapped our minds around having a baby, and now they're telling us there is no baby?!

I came home, completely freaked out, and Googled what an ultrasound should look like early on... and lots of other women were sharing stories like mine. Phew. I was just way earlier than we thought... no big deal.

The doctor scheduled a follow up for the following week, saying we would for sure see a baby and a heartbeat then. So we waited another week, and I went back in (alone this time because Dan was in class). The doctor pulled up the image on the screen, and while it had grown, there still wasn't much to look at.

Cue the panic. I'm already a worrier, and this did NOT help my anxiety levels. The doctor was eager to tell me that "things have definitely progressed, and we see a fetal pole now (early baby)", but there still was no heartbeat. Bummer. She scheduled yet another follow up ultrasound because everything was still too small to give me an official due date... and I went home feeling defeated once again.

Again, though, Google told me that sometimes, you can't see the heartbeat until seven weeks. (In retrospect, I was barely six weeks when this ultrasound was done, so it's no wonder we couldn't see the heartbeat). I felt better, and we traveled that weekend to see some good friends and ended up telling them our news, despite being cautious still. 

The next ultrasound wasn't for TWO weeks. The doctor wasn't to be absolutely sure things were progressing like they should, and let me tell you: those were the two longest weeks of my life. Not only did I have a sinus infection and ear infection at the time, but I couldn't stop wondering if everything was okay inside of me. 

We went back in, together this time, and as soon as the doctor pulled up the image on the screen, we saw a heartbeat! Baby Cookie's little heart was beating so fast at 160 beats per minute. It was exciting to see after waiting so long, and the doctor then told me how far along I was: just over eight weeks. 

It all made sense then. We had been trying to see something BEFORE it was even formed enough to see. Oops. Moral of the story: wait as long as you possibly can before going to the doctor when you find out you're pregnant. Otherwise, you may deal with nearly a month of panic. 

I finally felt confident, and during this time, we let the world know about our tiny human. We shared the news one Facebook and on the blog, and it was so nice to have everything out in the open. Since I have pretty bad asthma, my doctors are keeping a close eye on me. I see my pulmonologist frequently, but they also wanted to see me one more time in the OB clinic when I was 11 weeks. 

Yeah, going to the doctor isn't fun... but I will never pass up an opportunity to see that baby inside of me. All of my appointments so far have been at the same time in the afternoon - and Baby Cookie has ALWAYS been sleeping. It's so funny to know that he/she has a nap time too. 

Since then, we've been able to see our baby a couple more times during trips to the ER due to kidney stones (but that's a whole other topic...), and it was exciting to see him/her wiggling around then due to it being a different time of day. We are super looking forward to our big anatomy scan in April because we'll find out the sex then... but we already got a clue from the ultrasound tech in the ER, so we're pretty excited! Until it's confirmed, though, I won't be sharing that information. 

Do you like going to the doctor?
Did you have a lot of ultrasounds? 


Monday, March 16, 2015

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the kitchen pun magnet giveaway I held last week is...

JG from Me and My SoldierMan! I have emailed her details.

I'm so excited to make her magnets in the color of her choice and have them shipped out.

Thanks again, everyone, for entering the contest and making it a successful first one for me! I loved doing it and will host another one in a few months.

Don't forget to check out my Etsy shop, Two Cats Decorations, if you would like your own set of kitchen pun magnets... or custom photo magnets!

Do you like giveaways?


Friday, March 13, 2015

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Cupcakes: Recipe

Happy Friday! It's almost the weekend! The first thing you should do is check out my giveaway post from earlier this week and make sure you enter to win a fun set of kitchen pun magnets! The giveaway ends tonight at midnight, so don't wait!

Today, I'm sharing one of my all-time favorite cupcake recipes. I LOVE cupcakes, so you know this is a good one if it's a favorite of mine. Oh yeah - and my husband LOVED them too.

I know I'm not the only person in the world who loves chocolate and peanut butter together, but my addiction may be a little overboard. I have devoured Reese's peanut butter cups since I was a kid, and I love mixing peanut butter with chocolate. I often buy chocolate flavored peanut butter just for fun, and it's awesome. This recipe combines all things amazing, and I promise, it won't let you down. 

I mean, come on. Just look at the ooey-gooey peanut butter balls that melt inside the cupcakes. SO FREAKING GOOD. You have to try it.

And topping it with a peanut butter cup? Just adds to the whole chocolate peanut butter element, AND it looks cute!

and now for the best part... the recipe! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Cupcakes


• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
• 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


• 1 2/3 cups flour
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2 tbsp milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 8 tbsp butter, room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs


• 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
• 4 tbsp butter, softened
• 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
• 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
• 1 cup cool whip, thawed
• Reese's peanut butter cups (for decoration)


1. Preheat oven to 350º.
2. Line cupcake tins with 24 liners.
3. Make the peanut butter balls:
   - combine all ingredients
   - beat on medium speed until dry but sticking together
   - roll into one inch balls
   - chill in the freezer while you make the batter.
4. Make the batter:
   - combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl
   - in a liquid measuring cup, stir together sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract
   - in large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about two minutes)
   - beat in eggs, one at a time
   - with mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and sour cream mixture, starting and ending with dry ingredients
   - mix until just incorporated
5. Scoop 2 tbsp batter into each cupcake liner.
6. Top with chilled peanut butter balls.
7. Add remaining cake batter over the peanut butter balls.
8. Bake for 13-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let cupcakes cool before frosting.
10. Make frosting:
   - beat together cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth
   - slowly mix in powdered sugar until smooth and well blended
   - fold in cool whip until well blended and fluffy
   - chill frosting for 10 minutes
   - frost cupcakes
11. Top frosted cupcakes with individual Reese's peanut butter cups

Do you like chocolate and peanut butter together?
What's your favorite flavor of cupcake?