Friday, October 29, 2010

Flavorsome Friday- Pumpkin Cookies...

As I mentioned earlier this week, I made some delicious cookies this past Saturday when my family came over for poker night. I am not a crunchy cookie person so these were right up my alley. After baking, they are almost cake-like and stay moist and scrumptious for several days. I hope that you'll try these Pumpkin Cookies for yourself!

What you'll need...

For the cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Glaze:
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended.

3. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

4. Gradually add the flour to the pumpkin mixture until combined.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm.

6. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

7. To prepare the glaze, in a small bowl, combine sifted powdered sugar, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.

8. Drizzle liberally over the cooled cookies. (I spy Cooper!)

Yummy is an understatement. Seriously, look at these!

I suggest eating these with a cup of coffee. I really think that the spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg would pair well with with a good cup 'a joe!

Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend (and cookies)! I know that I will!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tissues Anyone?

As I was cooking dinner a couple of weeks ago, Rich grabbed the lap top because he really wanted me to hear this song. Needless to say, tears were involved and now every time I hear it, the lump in my throat appears. I cannot wait to see what Cooper is going to be like but as the song says, if he's anything like his Daddy, we'll be A-okay!

Brad Paisley's- "Anything Like Me"
I remember saying I don't care either way,
Just as long as he or she is healthy I'm ok.
Then the doctor pointed to the corner of the screen,
And said "You see that thing right there well you know what that means."
And I started wondering who he was going to be,
And I thought heaven help us if he's anything like me.

He'll probably climb a tree too tall and ride his bike to fast,
End up every summer wearing something in a cast.
He's gonna throw a ball and break some glass in a window down the street.
He's gonna get in trouble, oh he's gonna get in fights.
I'm gonna lose my temper and some sleep.
It's safe to say that, I'm gonna get my payback, if he's anything like me.

I can see him right now knees all skinned up,
With a magnifying glass trying to melt a Tonka truck.
Won't he be a sight with his football helmet on,
That'll be his first love 'til his first love comes along.
He'll get his heart broke by the time he's in his teens,
And heaven help him if he's anything like me.

He'll probably stay out too late and drive his car too fast,
Get a speeding ticket he'll pay for mowing grass.
He's gonna get caught skipping class and be grounded for a week.
He's gonna get in trouble we're gonna get in fights.
I'm gonna lose my temper and some sleep.
It's safe to say that, I'm gonna get my payback, if he's anything like me.

He's gonna love me and hate me along the way,
Years are gonna fly by I already dread the day.
He's gonna hug his momma, he's gonna shake my hand,
He's gonna act like he cant wait to leave.
But as he drives out, he'll cry his eyes out, if he's anything like me.
There's worse folks to be like, aw he'll be alright, if he's anything like me.

*An actual video for the this song hasn't been released yet but I was able to find this on YouTube- give it a listen!*

On a side note, we had our monthly doctor's appointment this morning and it was the first time that we met with the midwife involved with our doctor's practice. Her name is Judy and she is a God send. She was so personal and explained everything that she was doing along the way. She listened to us, answered questions, shared stories about her own children, and didn't seem to be in even a bit of a hurry. She even read my chart before coming in the room and knew how the pregnancy had been going so far, something that I have not experienced up to this point. Best part of all is that she said that whether she is on call or not, she will give us her personal number and we can call her when I am in labor. She said that she would come to the hospital if she ins't already there to deliver Cooper. I left the appointment more excited than ever about the delivery. I feel so comfortable knowing that she will be there to coach me through.

Cooper is measuring 27 weeks (eeek! I am only 24 weeks 4 days) and his heart beat came in at 145. All looks great and Judy said not to worry too much about the size, that it's nothing that I am doing, simply genetics. She also said that he will probably be "long and lean." That's certainly what I'm praying for.

While we were up at Celebration, we also went ahead and pre-registered at the hospital. I know that we're jumping the gun on that but now it's one more thing checked off the to-do list, meaning one more thing that we don't have to worry about!

Now, is it February yet?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Way Back When-esday- Our Wedding Day...

This Monday, November 1st, Rich and I will be celebrating our second wedding anniversary. As I type those words, they still astonish me. These past two years have flown by!

I felt it was only appropriate to dedicate this "Way Back When-esday," to our wedding day. We had a beautiful wedding that has led the way to an even better lifetime.

I'll be dedicating Monday's blog fully to our anniversary but here are some pictures as a sneak peak!

Exchanging our "I Do's!" in the church before our family and friends...

After the ceremony- I think this is one of my favorite pictures from the day because we didn't know that it was being taken. I think that it truly captures the happiness and love.

Posing outside of the church as the bells rung...

Kisses for my husband while showing off my bouquet. I loved my bouquet!

Sharing a moment, just the two of us, during our first dance as husband and wife. We swayed to Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us."

Making our get-away!

These past two years have been filled with many wonderful memories, tears of joy, and belly aching laughter. I couldn't have asked for more!

Play along with Cheryl at Twinfatuation... it's so much fun to reminisce!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pizza and Poker, Family Style...

This past Saturday Rich and I had a lot of my family over for pizza and poker. It's been a while since we've all gotten together. Life has become quite hectic and our schedules just haven't seemed to mesh but all that changed Saturday night.

We had a blast attempting our hand at poker and grubbing out on some delicious pizza, wings, and appetizers. I also made some yummy cookies (check back this Friday for details) that were scarfed up.

Spending time with family always leaves me with a immense sense of gratitude. They make me laugh so hard that I can hardly hold back tears and always seem to say the completely inappropriate comment at the perfect time. More often than not, Aunt Sherri is dragged into the "Dirty Old Men's" shenanigans.

But, that's my family in a nutshell-
Completely inappropriate and perfect all at the same time.

I'm so looking forward to Thanksgiving when the rest of the family that couldn't make it will be joining in on the fun. We'll miss you Austin but I understand- I mean we are talking UF/FSU! As for you Koehler's- how about Christmas?!

"The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst."
~Marge Kennedy

Monday, October 25, 2010

24 Weeks...

This weekend consisted of some much needed relaxation! I took long naps both Saturday and Sunday and they left me rejuvenated and ready to take on this week.

This weekend also allowed me to spend a lot of quality time with the husband. Numerous times we randomly broke out into Christmas carols. Seriously, if two people were ever meant for each other, it would be us. What other man would enthusiastically chime in while I am singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in October with, "Like a light bulb!" He didn't miss a beat.

Onto the update:
"Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon."

In other news, the goal I sat last week was met. Rich felt Cooper move and he loved it! We had some family over on Saturday night for pizza and poker (check back tomorrow) and my Mom was also able to feel him move. Alisa was dying to feel him but we weren't successful this go round. Maybe next time!

Happy Monday all! Hope that you all have a productive and fulfilling week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Flavorsome Friday- Blueberry Muffins...

As I mentioned earlier this week, this past weekend was Kelly's Bachelorette party. What I didn't mention was that I had a house full of women spend the night. I woke up on Sunday morning, tired after only 4 hours of sleep, to make them all a celebratory brunch. The food was delicious if I do say so myself.

We grubbed on hashbrown casserole (by far the biggest hit), egg casserole, bacon, fruit salad, mimosas, coffee, and these yummy Blueberry Muffins.

My one regret is that I made them on Saturday afternoon instead of fresh on Sunday morning. These muffins are WAY better when you eat them straight out of the oven (trust me, I ate on on Saturday afternoon). So, I leave you with this advice, when making these for yourself, do so when you plan on eating them right away.

Blueberry Muffins...

What you'll need:
1/2 cup super fine sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed frozen)

1. Prep your blueberries by washing and drying thoroughly.

2. Zest the lemon, you'll need 1 tablespoon (about one lemon).

3. In a large bowl, stir the sugar, lemon zest, flour, and baking powder together with a fork.

4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be sure not to over mix the batter at this point. Doing so will make for very tough and chewy muffins.

6. Carefully add in your blueberries and fold until just combined.

7. Fill a lined muffin tin with the batter 3/4 full.

8. Top with coarse grain sugar for a slightly crunchy topping.

9. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pan and serve immediately.

Happy Friday all! This is the first weekend in a great while that I don't have an official event planned. I hope that you have an enjoyable and relaxing weekend. I know that's my goal!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong...

Every morning when I arrive to the office I am greeted by the tune of "Carol of the Bells" blaring from my husband's office. You see, he visits: this website everyday.

As I write this blog, there is officially 64 days, 9 hours, and 8 minutes until Christmas!

The planning has already begun in the Halquist House! Lists are being made of all of the things that we want to do this season, brainstorming and shopping is underway, and we're already in talks about all of the beautiful Christmas decorations that will be hung.

Especially exciting this year is that Rich's brother Scott is coming to Florida for the holidays. We can't wait to spend time with him, his wife Amy, and their beautiful children Grace, Jack, and Josh.

All of this brings such joy to my heart!

By the way, you should know that the day after Christmas, the Christmas Countdown starts all over again. Somehow, it never gets old. Christmas is quite a big deal to us Halquist's.

Hope that you're all getting ready! It will be here before you know it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Way Back When-esday- Trick or Treat...

With Halloween just around the corner, I thought that it would be fun to dedicate this "Way Back When-esday," to when Rich and I were kids back in the day. When we couldn't wait for Halloween to come so that we could dress up in our costumes. When the anticipation of Trick-or-Treating was more than we could handle. When we would come home at the end of the night and dump all of our candy on the floor, sorting out our favorites and trading those we didn't love so much with our brothers and sisters.

Oh to be a kid again!

Below is a picture of the group of kids from my neighborhood. I'm sitting in the front with my sheep in hand, as I was dressed as Little Bo Peep. My cousin Lindsey is sitting to my right in her carrier and made quite the adorable Little Pumpkin! Big sister Alisa is in the back row with her full out Clown outfit on. Dad always painted our faces for Halloween, making her nearly unrecognizable.

Here's an up close shot of my outfit. Not sure what the sticker on my forehead was all about but knowing my suborn attitude as a child, I am sure that I insisted on it!

My second Halloween (pictured above) seemed to go much better than my first. I guess that I was not feeling the Clown costume at all. However, Alisa was all toothless smiles, giving me a big hug!

Moving onto Rich. He's pictured below as none other than Michaelangelo (the party dude) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I love that he has a pizza box in his hand. So appropriate if you know Rich at all. To his left is his big brother Scott, dressed up as a Zombie and to his right, his little sister Ashley, dressed up as a Bride. His Mom actually made all of their costumes!

Wishing you a Happy Halloween!

Play along with Cheryl at Twinfatuation... it's so much fun to reminisce.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Celebrating The Future Mrs. Trace...

This past weekend was Kelly's Bachelorette party. We had a blast and took with us many memories that I am sure will last a lifetime.

We started the evening at my house where we ate, drank, and socialized.

Then we followed that up with some special gifts for the bride. Keith is one lucky man!

Then we finally moved onto Tampa and hit up The Dallas Bull, a country/western bar with lots of line dancing! I didn't take my camera inside but there is an after shot with us all tuckered out, sitting on the curb.

One of the funny events of the evening were these pins that Malerie picked up. Kelly assigned one to each of the guests. They ranged from, "Always a Bridesmaid," to "Dated the Groom." However, I think that mine was the funniest. Yes, that is a "Virgin" pin that you see there. Pregnant belly and all!

There were also some maracas (yes the Mexican shaker thingies) that were shaped in the form of _____. I will let you use your imagination on that one but they were hilarious and kept the evening quite entertaining.

A fabulous time was had by all! It's exciting to think that the next time we all get together, it will be to see Kelly walk down the aisle to say "I do" to her favorite person in the world- Keith Francis Trace! I am so happy to be sharing in their big day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

23 Weeks...

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. Can some please make that happen? I said please! Oh, and thank you.

Again this weekend, I lost sight of the fact that I am now 23 weeks pregnant. It was my friend Kelly's Bachelorette Party and I was one of the hostesses. Adding to that, it was hosted at my house- talk about added pressure. Check back tomorrow for details but in the end, it was a true success. Everyone had a great time and the bride was beaming!

However, I am now left exhausted, needing a weekend to recover from my weekend. I think that the baby is tired too because he was very still yesterday. I think that I stressed him out with all of the busyness and he needed to catch up on some extra Zzz's.

Onto the update:
"Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With his sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that he's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see him squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze him when she hears them outside the womb."

This past week Cooper was moving quite a bit. He's now big enough that if Rich caught him at the right time, he could feel him move. However, Cooper stops moving when I start talking so when I excitedly tell Rich to give me his hand so that I can put it on my stomach, Cooper makes a complete fool of me by sitting as still as possible.

I have however learned a small trick. When my stomach starts to jump, I wave my hands like a crazy person, grabbing Rich's attention without speaking. Therefore, Rich has seen Cooper move but not felt him. That's a goal of mine this week, to let Rich feel him kick. It's such an amazing experience and I want to share it with him.

I hope that you all have a fantastic week! Is it Friday yet?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Flavorsome Fridays- Caramel Apple Cupcakes...

My wonderful husband came home last week from the grocery store with a special treat just for me. He had the October edition of "Everyday with Rachel Ray" in hand. For a foodie like me, this got me quite excited. After flipping through the pages and drooling over nearly every picture, I decided to give this recipe a shot.

Give these Caramel Apple Cupcakes a try!
They are moist, delicious, and sweet enough to satisfy even the pickiest sweet tooth.

What you will need:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 rome apples (about 1 pound), peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups chewy caramel candies
1 tablespoon heavy cream

1. Peel and shred the apples. The directions said to use a box grater but I used my food processor for quick and easy shredding.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

3. In a medium moxing bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Add in the vegetable oil and vanilla and stir until just combined.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

5. Add in the shredded apples and stir until just combined.

6. Fill a lined muffin tin with the batter. This batter does not rise much when baking so be sure to fill each muffin cup nearly to the top.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This is a very moist cupcake so it will appear as though they aren't fully cooked. Definitely use the toothpick trick to ensure that they are indeed done baking. Let the cupcakes cool completely before preparing the icing.

8. In a microwave safe bowl, add the measured out caramels and heavy cream. Microwave for one minute, then stir. Repeat in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.

9. Dip each cupcake down into the icing and allow to dry slightly on a cooling rack. The directions said to spread the frosting but I found that this worked better for me. I also really like how the dripping edges looked.

10. Enjoy with a tall glass of ice-cold milk!

As Rachel Ray would say, Yummm-O! I hope that you all have a wonderful and relaxing weekend. Check back next week to see what else is cooking in the Halquist House!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Nine Months of Pregnancy- Month 5...

You may be a little surprised that there are two blog entries today but that is because the 14th creped right up on me!

Today I received a very special delivery at work from my Mom as part of "The Nine Months of Pregnancy." These beautiful Fall flowers were dropped off and they surely brought a smile to my face. I adore sunflowers so that in particular brought great cheer to my office.

Then the card was even better...

She could not be more right. Cooper is definitely on the move! He's quite the active little boy these days but I still do my best to rest as much as possible. He exhausts me now. I can't imagine how tired I will be once he has joined us on the outside!

I think that I will leave these here at work until tomorrow and then bring them home to enjoy over the weekend.

Thanks Mom! These once a month reminders mean so much to me. I love you!

Turkey Day...

Below is a picture of what my mother-in-law Donna (who happens to also be my wonderful neighbor) woke up to this morning...

Your eyes aren't deceiving you. You really are looking at five gigantic turkeys chowing down on some corn and seed for breakfast. I think that it's a sign that Turkey Day is just around the corner!

Take a minute today to think about all of your many blessings.

After all, this is the season of giving thanks!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Way Back When-esday- I was a messy kid...

This weekend my friend Kelly's Bachelorette festivities are beginning at our house. We won't be staying for long but anytime we're having guests over, I feel the added pressure to make sure the house is clean and in tip-top shape. There's a lot of changes going on in the Halquist House with texturing, painting, and such right now. We're preparing Cooper's nursery which of course, has led to many other small beautification projects. Things are just out of sorts right now.

Luckily for me, my disdain for cleaning has long since disappeared.

For this edition of, "Way Back When-esday," we're taking a peek into my closet as a child. I was not a very neat child.

Really, that is a huge understatement.

You see, I crammed clothes, toys, accessories, really whatever I could get my hands on into any little hiding place. That is, at least I thought that it was a hiding place.

Here you are seeing what I looked like when my Mom found that little so-called hiding place.

Considering that I am now borderline obsessive about everything being in it's correct place, I have no idea how I was ever that kid. Here's to hoping that Cooper has better cleaning habits.

Play along with Cheryl at Twinfatuation- it's so much fun to reminisce!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I've Got The Best...

I've got the best girlfriends in the world. Perhaps I am a little biased but I really don't think so. They are truly all amazing women who contribute to my life in their own unique way. We've grown closer and closer these past couple of years and I can't wait to see where the future takes each and every one of us. There will be many adventures I am sure!

This past Friday night we had a Girl's Night Out. This is unusual for us, as we usually meet at each other's houses and do a themed potluck dinner. However, this week called for something a little different because the new movie "Life As We Know It" was premiering and we were all itching to see it.

The night did not disappoint one bit.

We met at Broadway Pizza Bar in downtown Kissimmee for some great grub. We managed to kill three large pizzas that were all as unique as we are. We had a Pesto Pie with Goat Cheese, Veggie Lovers (no mushrooms on half because of the ever hating mushroom gal Ms. Kelly Jeck), and a BBQ Chicken Pizza. All three were simply scrumptious. Not to mention the to die for garlic knots with their delicious marinara sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

After stuffing our faces we moved onto The Loop to catch our movie. "Life As We Know It" was wonderful. One of those movies that have you laughing obnoxiously out loud one moment and holding back tears, trying not to ugly cry the next. Everyone loves a good love story and this one takes the cake.

I said a little prayer of thanks that night for the life that I have been given. I am one lucky lady. I cannot begin to thank God enough for all the many blessing that I receive on a daily basis. But, I do my best!

*I feel the need for a small disclosure because not all of the ladies could make it. We missed you Heather, Ashleigh, and Arcena!