Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Introducing Grace Elizabeth

Our little Grace was born on April 7th at 3:00am. She's already one month old today! I'll share her birth story later this week. I can tell you that from start of contractions to her delivery was 3 hours 45 minutes - super fast! It was a whirlwind for sure! My last post was for my last day of work on April 5, and with her due date April 15, I thought for sure I'd have a few days to settle in...that of course did not happen :) I went into labor at 11:15pm on the 6th. 

We love her dearly and she has changed our lives for the better in only her one short month. We are so blessed to have her as our daughter. 

Sara Cate

Mommy meeting daughter
Daddy's girl

Headed home!

Sleepy girl

First major outing. Lunch at AJ's and walking around the outdoor mall.

Yep, still a cutie!

Lucky in love.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Surreal Day

Today is my last day in the office. I will not be returning to this job.


I have had a job since my 16th birthday, and this feeling of not having a paycheck job lined up is a bizarre feeling. It really hasn't sank in yet that my job for many years to come will be stay-at-home-mom. No rush hour traffic, no lunch with co-workers, no bi-weekly paycheck, no checking emails at odd hours of the night, no Friday night emails of "can this be done right now?", no water-jug chats. A part of me is so excited for the next chapter of our lives, and a part of me is hesitant for the unknown. But isn't everyone a little fearful of the unknown? I am ready to take this leap, though. I'm ready to welcome Grace to our family with all the changes, blessings, and challenges parenthood will bring.

You could say I'm ready to pop.....

almost 39 weeks
I have a feeling this weekend will feel like a typical working weekend, but come Monday, I'm wondering if I'll be visualizing my old morning routine of getting ready, driving through rush hour, parking in my garage, and clicking on the little blue light to flip on my computer monitor to start work for the day.

Overall though....How will I feel at 8am on Monday? I'm going to take a guess it's going to feel pretty good.

Sara cate

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Welcome, April!

The end of March brought a wonderful Easter with the family, and it was Grace's pseudo first Easter. She even got a few gifts from the bunny and her own egg!

The GREEN egg story is kind of funny. My father-in-law grabbed a plastic cup and filled it with black iced tea. He looked down and said, geez, this tea looks really green. He had grabbed one of the cups we were preparing for egg decorating. The green dye tablet was in the bottom. Oops!

 Then came April. Grace's due date month! April 1st was our 38 week mark,so Grace.....when will you be making your debut? We took walks this weekend, and we went to spicy Indian for dinner. Nothing yet!

Also on April 1st, did you see all of the online April Fools Day pranks? I thought this one was pretty funny....

April is going to be a month I will never forget.

This week is my last week in the office. As of Friday at 5pm, my job will be stay-at-home (future) mom. So, today my office hosted a going away salad bar pot-luck luncheon for me. It was so sweet, and there were so many delicious things to eat! Yup, that rhymed. I made red-velvet cheesecake cupcakes. YUM.

Want the recipe???? I combined two recipes from The Cupcake Cure and Real Simple magazine recipes, so here's it is....

12 cupcakes & 20 mini cupcakes (what I made) OR probably 20ish cupcakes

1 box red velvet cake OR German chocolate with red food coloring
1 stick VERY softened butter (as in leave it on the counter for an hour or pop it in the micro for 10ish seconds)
1 egg

2 bars (16 oz) regular cream cheese, softened 
(leave on counter to soften or pop in micro for a few seconds)
heaping 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 bar (8 oz.) regular cream cheese, very softened
1/2 stick (4 T) butter, room temp soft
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powered sugar (2 c. if you like sweeter frosting)

Cupcake liners
Raspberries optional

Preheat oven to 350

CAKE: With hand mixer, mix together cake ingredients until it is combined, crumbly, and wet.
Grab some gloves if you'd like, and scoop some cake into each cupcake liner.
Pat down the mixture so it is flat in the cup. It should take up a little less than half of the cup.

CHEESECAKE: With hand mixer, cream the softened cream cheese with the sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. It will be a little liquid-y. Spoon mixture into each cup on top of the cake. It should be enough to generously cover the cake portion. Do not fill the cups completely to the top. They will rise a bit!

Pop these into the middle oven rack! 25-30 minutes for regular sized cupcakes, 20 minutes for mini. When they're done, tops will have a little shine and will look firm. Don't let them get brown. 

While those are in the oven......

FROSTING: With hand mixer, beat softened cream cheese, soft butter, salt, and extract until creamy. Gently mix in powered sugar until combined.
Put frosting into piping bag. Store in fridge for the meantime.

Take out cupcakes from oven and tin. LET COOL COMPLETELY before adding frosting (frosting will melt on hot cakes).

Frost cupcakes and add raspberry or other garnish like chocolate curls or cake crumbs!


I'm already loving welcoming the month of April. Hope April brings you lots of joy, too!

Sara Cate

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter is Coming

Today we patiently wait for Easter to come. I'm looking forward to spending this time with my family. I feel so blessed and filled with His love. This is reason we chose Grace as our daughter's name. What a blessing she is, and she'll be here so soon!

Celebrate His rebirth.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shhh. It's a secret.

Ok, so I heard the craziest thing this weekend. There is such a thing called a McGangbang.

Yup, McDonald's, like many other restaurants, has a "secret" menu, and this crazy has made the list. It's apparently....

"A super awesome burger for the person on a budget, a McGangBang is a McChicken Sandwich in the middle of a double cheesburger from McDonalds." - Urban Dictionary

A friend from Chicago was in town telling me about this sandwich. I laughed about this for a long time asking her questions about how you order such a thing without turning bright red, laughing uncontrollably, or peeing your pants (ok, maybe that's just a pregnancy thing).

So, I don't really hit up fast food places much at all....but, here some other restaurants' secret menu items of note.

1. Order a neopolitan shake from In-and-Out
2. Many places toast buns in butter, you can hold the butter!
3. Love the taste/idea of Serindipity's frozen hot chocolate? Get one at Dairy Queen.
4. You can get fresh cilantro on your meal at Chipotle.

Happy ordering!

Sara Cate

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Opportunity knocks at your door every day. 
Be sure to answer it.

Source: statigr.am via Sara on Pinterest

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Google Reader is dying....

I'm so bummed to hear about the upcoming death of Google Reader. That's how I keep up with all of the lovely blogs I follow!

So now what???

I've been testing out Feedly, Bloglovin, Netvibes and all of the other alternatives bloggers are suggesting. So far, my favorite reader is Feedley. It imported all of my blogs including my category folders (interior design, baking, cooking, everyday reads.....) so I can continue on reading just like I did before! It allows you to view partial posts or the entire post in your reader and gives you different preference options. So, I think this is what I'll stick with in the meantime.

If you're a Bloglovin fan......
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

When experiencing something for the very first time, the only way to learn is by trial and error.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tell me more, tell me more

We're over 36 weeks now!

The nursery is ALMOST finished, and I'm looking forward to sharing pics. I'm putting the last few decor things together, and then little Grace's room is set. We'll just need the baby to go in the nursery! Our cat is filling that role in the meantime.

Little Miss Sophie
She's been taking daily naps in an antique bassinet that was gifted to us. I know if we bought her a cat bed she wouldn't touch it.

So, as you see from the photo above, I'm carrying around a 20 pound basketball on my front side. Yesterday, a worker at the grocery store said, "Oh how exciting, when are you due?" I replied that I was due in 4 weeks on April 15. She said "Wow, it doesn't look like it. You look like you're about to pop any day." The very next day, someone who works in my building asked the same question, but replied "Oh, you are so tiny! You just have this little baby ball."

So yes, strangers, please do tell me more of your contradictory, non-expert opinions on my size.

All that matters is that my OB is pleased with my weight gain, my fundus measurement is right on the mark, and all looks well for a healthy baby so far! That is what matters to me.

Sara Cate

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Today was a good day

Compliments. They are wonderful to receive, and they are wonderful to give.

Compliments can totally change your day, especially the receiving side. Today has been one of those days. As a 35-week pregnant woman, you can sometimes feel ummmm....not so attractive/stylish/cute. Today I walked into work and the first person I saw was an unknown middle-aged woman. As we passed each other she said to me,  "You're beautiful, you look like a model." Wow, THANK YOU. I then had a smile on my face and a sense of confidence zipped through my body.

Then, this afternoon, upon walking to lunch with co-workers, a man said "Wow, you're beautiful even when you're pregnant. Your husband is a lucky man." Yes, my husband is a lucky man, if I don't say so myself!
Ok so this was was a little more awkward because I left out the part that the man was an unkempt street man, but he said it with politeness and kept moving. So, maybe a little odd, but I'll still graciously accept the compliment!

My point...never underestimate the power of words. You can change someone's attitude, confidence, and feelings with a single line. Especially if you have something meaningful, nice, and wonderful to say to someone, please go say it!

Sara Cate

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Funday

So we worked on the nursery all weekend....and there are photos to come!

But to start out the week with something fun. I took this silly little online "Labor Prediction" quiz. It (for entertainment purposes only, as it notes) predicts if your baby will come early/on-time/late and approximate weight.

Here are Grace and my results......


Well maybe it's a REALLY good thing we got everything set up this weekend!

Happy Monday

Sara Cate

Friday, March 8, 2013

HGTV at my house this weekend

No, I'm not going to be on TV this weekend, but I'm sure going to feel like I'm on one of the home design shows. I love those, doesn't everyone! My MIL and FIL will be coming to visit us in Tucson this weekend to help us finish the nursery! Lots of projects over the next two days.

Wow did this week fly by! I'm now 34.5 weeks along......

My energy level is good, but I'm really starting to feel that extra almost 20 lbs I'm carrying around. Walking up a few flights of stairs leaves me winded. Braxton Hicks contractions are in full effect - I'm getting that "practice" in! Grace's heart is beating strong as we saw it on ultrasound yesterday. Such a beautiful sight. She is head down and is just waiting to make her arrival!

Next week, I'll be sharing shower photos and, hopefully, Grace's finished nursery!

Sara Cate

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nursery Sneak Peek

The nursery is not yet done, but it's getting closer, and I'm loving it! I find myself just sitting in there sometimes. As I've mentioned before, we'll be completing little Grace's room on a budget, so when it's ready for a reveal, I'll share all of the details. I'm hoping that will be in 2 weeks or so! Eek, so close!

Ready for a sneak peek?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Chat with Dashing: Baby Monitors

I have to admit, Dashing is funny. Here is our brief chat today....

Background: Dashing was given the task of finding the right baby monitor for us. He is the techie between us, so this was a fitting task. He has yet to pick one.

Today via email.

4:17pm Me to Dashing
Subject: monitor review

Here's a review on a baby monitor your should read.

4:48pm Dashing to Me
Subject: monitor review

It's hard to take advice from someone who hates her child.

"How do you know she hates the child," you ask?

She named it

4:57pm Me to Dashing
Subject: monitor review

ok, I just laughed out loud at work. really.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Little Love

Happy Valentine's Day

It's hard to believe I can love someone who is so little so much!
Oh yes, I love you too, Dashing! :)
Almost 32 weeks!

Sara Cate

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

I needed to remind myself of this today....

No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking.
-Chinese Proverb

Monday, February 11, 2013

Double Grammy

Last night Dashing was working a shift at the hospital, so I situated myself in front of the TV with a blanket and chilled glass of wine sparkling apple cider, and the remote control and watched the Grammy's.

I love that Mumford and Sons won best album for Babel. I love their music. Below My Feet is a favorite of mine.
vais mumfordandsons.com
But who are the Black Keys and Alabama Shakes? News to me.....

I also wasn't blown away by the dresses. I did love Carrie Underwood (she always looks great), and oddly enough, Kelly Osborne's dress was a great pick too.

carrie underwood grammys dress 2013
via Huffington Post
And what was with LL Cool J's final performance. I was not a fan. But it was overall a fun show and the performances were exciting.

The double Grammy comes in as today is my Grandma's 93rd Birthday! Wishing her a wonderful day from Arizona to Indiana.

Funfetti® Confetti Ice Cream Cake

I desperately want to try this Funfetti Ice Cream Cake Recipe!
Funfeti is my favorite.
Someone have a birthday in town!

Happy Monday!

Sara Cate

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Showering us with LOVE

Last weekend, our friends Lizy and Zach hosted a shower for me, Dashing, and baby Grace. We had a wonderful time celebrating our little love's upcoming arrival with some family and friends. I can't believe we're 30 weeks along - look at that bump of mine! Whoa.

Dashing and me. Ignore the red cup : )
We got a car seat for Grace! Thanks to my DG rocks!
Dashing being funny with our friend Jordan. She had to message her mom after this was posted
on FB to reassure her family she indeed was not pregnant. Hehe
The in-laws
My dad and his wife.
Thank you to all of those who were able to celebrate with us or in writing with lovely words of encouragement, support, and love.

Grace is one lucky girl!

Sara Cate

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesday

This is love.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Another Weekend to Celebrate

Happy February! I'm so excited for this weekend! My dad and his wife are flying out to attend a co-ed shower our friends Lizy and Zach are throwing for baby Grace this weekend. We'll also be stopping in the rowdy Phoenix Open golf tournament at TPC Scottsdale and enjoying Super Bowl Sunday! 

What's the Phoenix Open  you ask? You may have heard of it in the news recently because famous golfer Vijay Singh withdrew from the tournament because he was using a banned substance....antler spray (What???). Also, Tiger Woods has not participated in this event for a handful of years because he didn't like the party atmosphere of the event. He once had a cup thrown at him and he never came back. Oops. Essentially you see everyone you know from college, randomly run into people that live out-of-state, enjoy the nice weather, wander the beer tents, and watch golf the crowd. Obviously I'll be hitting up the water fountains this year.

I'll let Wikipedia do further explaining.......

"The 4-day attendance of the tournament is usually around 500,000. The most popular hole for spectators to watch is the 16th hole due to the "Amphitheatre" atmosphere of the hole, created by the stands erected every year before the tournament. The hole could be described as "one big party", with many students from the nearby Arizona State University. Poor shots at the 16th hole receive boos, because the hole is very easy by the PGA's standards. Good shots, however, are cheered for loudly. Famous moments at the 16th include Tiger Woods' hole-in-one in 1997, which caused the gallery to erupt, throwing cups and other objects in celebration, and Justin Leonard giving the finger to the gallery after a poor shot. The most popular golfer at the open is unquestionably Phil Mickelson, an Arizona State alum. In addition to the golf, there is a concert/party held in the Scottsdale area called the Birds Nest, at which music artists like Huey Lewis and the News play."

BUMPDATE: Almost 30 weeks!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Sara Cate

Thursday, January 31, 2013

So THAT'S How They Do It

Have you ever had that ah-ha moment of...So THAT'S how they do it?!

Well, I wanted to share five quick things that I've learned over the years that have made me say just that.

1. How to cut a mango: They have those thick pits in the middle that I've never knew how to properly cut around to get those nice cubes. Here's how!

3. Simple Green cleaning solution mixed with some water is a a simple cleaning solution for your jewelry. Learned this from a Chicago jeweler! Can let rings soak in solution over night - gently brush with soft toothbrush. Hello sparkle!

4. Learn a super simple cloth napkin fold. It's a fun trick to bust out.

5. Newspaper really does work for cleaning windows without leaving the lint behind AND those blue shop towels you can find in the auto section of the store OR free at gas stations are the best for household cleaning - they are sturdy and lint free!

What fun things have you learned? Do tell!

Sara Cate

Source: oprah.com via Sara on Pinterest

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Words of Wisdom Wednesdays

Bringing back the Words of Wisdom Wednesdays!

Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Floods and Outdoor Weddings Do NOT Mix

Rain is supposedly good luck on your wedding day. However, flash floods that start 12 hours prior to your outdoor wedding are your worst enemy. Who things about flash floods in Arizona?!

Anyhow, here's how the wedding that was supposed to take place at my in-laws back yard on Saturday played out......

3am: beings raining cats and dogs
8am: still raining buckets
9am: go and eat breakfast with my MIL expecting the rain to cease
10am: still pouring - we go rain boot shopping as we don't want to wear heels in the backyard if it's been raining all day.
10:30am: Dashing calls me from the house and informs us the back yard is flooded, even under the tent (that was put up for the suspected showers).

11am: Dashing calls me and his mom to tell us a big tree in the backyard has just been uprooted because the ground is so water logged (see roots). Dashing watched it come out of the ground and moved two people out of the way.

11:10am: My MIL, one of the other groomsmen's moms, and I start calling everyone we know to try to find a different INDOOR location. All the local country clubs and community centers had moved their outdoor events indoors - out of luck here. One of my best friend's and her husband offered up their remodeling-in-progress luxury home investment properties. We, and the groom and groomsmen, go check it out. It could definitely work, but it isn't the beautiful backyard where the groom has many memories growing up, where he always thought he'd get married.

12noon: Groom decides he wants to make the backyard work....We don't think this is an option at all. Bride still doesn't really know what's going on as she and the bridesmaids are getting ready at a nearby hotel. It is still raining. The flooding worsens. Electricity in the backyard shuts down because of the water.

12:20pm: My MIL pulls groom aside and says "Honey, you cannot get married here today." "Really?" says the groom. Tears follow as he calls his bride, whom he is supposed to marry in this very back yard in FOUR hours.

12:30pm: One of the groomsmen's mothers gets word that a family friend has offered up her luxury home (not under remodel). Groom goes and checks it out......we're already packing up the backyard. Tables in pick-ups, lanterns in cars. Then we get word..........IT'S A GO!

1:00pm: Transport everything to new location. It's beautiful! Call bride and tell her she's going to get married in a house she's never laid eyes on. She was such a good sport. I cannot imagine the emotions she and the groom felt. The Groomsmen, family, and friends all pulled together.....

AND We moved and set up the entire wedding in 4 hours. Guests were called to tell them the new location and a delay of 1.5 hours.

Parking arrangements even had to change and we got our cousin to come and run the valet for us (with 30 minutes notice!).  Whew!

It turned out beautiful. A wedding truly to remember. The bride and groom beamed with happiness and joy. The day was truly filled with love. It took ALL of us to pull this off. It clearly showed the couple how much they are loved by family and friends.

Here's how it turned out!

cake - made by groom's mother!

grand exit out of the beautiful home!

head table - that was the home owners dining table!

Father daughter dance

success to all of our hard work!
Dashing and me




End of the night.... exhausted.

Hope your weekend was filled with as much triumph in the face of challenges, love, laughter, and memories as mine was.

Sara Cate

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