Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cabernet Burgers

Any recipe that calls for an entire bottle of wine is a winner in my book. Last weekend Matt and I grilled the very best burgers ever, and I mean EVER. We found the recipe in one of my Bon App├ętit magazines and have had it bookmarked for far too long. Now I'm mad at myself for not making these sooner. These burgers are extremely tender and flavorful. Go ahead, pin them for your next Spring cookout, but don't wait too long to actually make them!
Napa Valley Cabernet Burgers
By Bon Appetit

    1 750-ml bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
    1/4 cup minced shallots
    9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    2 teaspoons golden brown sugar
    1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
    1 1/2 pounds ground beef
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    Vegetable oil
    1 cup (packed) coarsely grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
    4 4 1/2-inch squares focaccia, cut horizontally in half
    8 large tomato slices
    2 cups arugula


    Boil wine and shallots in medium saucepan until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter and brown sugar; whisk until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Mix remaining 8 tablespoons butter and rosemary in small bowl. Set aside.

    Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix beef, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup wine-shallot mixture in bowl. Form meat into four 5-inch squares or rounds. Brush grill rack with oil. Grill burgers until brown on bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn burgers and brush with wine-shallot mixture. Continue grilling burgers until cooked to desired doneness, turning and brushing occasionally with wine-shallot mixture, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. Sprinkle with cheese after last turn and grill until cheese melts.

    Spread cut sides of bread with rosemary butter. Grill, cut side down, until golden, about 2 minutes. Arrange bread, grilled side up, on plates. Top bottom halves with burgers, then tomatoes and arugula. Cover with top halves of bread.
Yields 4 burgers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What's In My Hospital Bag?

If you've ever given birth, odds are pretty good you received a handful of "packing lists" from your mom friends that include all of the essentials for your hospital stay. As a first timer, I had absolutely no clue what I would need for the hospital so I relied on my mommy friends to help me pack (shout out to LRT for the most thorough and helpful packing list ever). Who knows if I'll need or use all of these items but I'd rather over pack than under pack!
Soooo, what's in my bag?
Hospital Bag Packing List
For Mom
  • Pajamas: Button up front shirts for easy nursing
  • Robe, Slippers, Flip Flops & Socks: The hospital floors aren't exactly awesome to walk around on so you may want to pack slippers that you're okay with tossing afterwards.
  • Yoga Pants (Maternity)
  • High Brief Granny Panties: Make sure to get a size bigger than you normally wear. 
  • Maxi Pads: The hospital will provide mesh undies with extra thick pads (and send you home with extras). If the mesh panties aren't your thing, a less bulky option is Always Overnight Ultra Pads with Wings (offer good protection but isn't too thick).
  • Go Home Outfit
  • Nursing Sleep Bras: Go with the kind that come in small/medium/large sizes and wait to buy actual nursing bras until your milk comes in because your cup size will change. 
  • Nursing Tanks
  • Pillow: Don't use a white pillow case so your pillow doesn't get stolen by the hospital.
  • Toiletries: Lotion, Makeup & Wipes, Shampoo, Body Wash, Face Wash, Blow Dryer, Toothbrush, Deodorant, etc.
  • Nursing Pads & Lanolin
  • Chapstick, Gum, Hard Candies, Hand Lotion, Hair Ties/Bobby Pins: Have nearby for during labor.
For Dad
  • Slippers
  • Pillow, Sheets & Blanket: Again, make sure you don't bring a white pillow case so his pillow doesn't get stolen by the hospital.
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Toiletries
For Baby
  •  My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: The nurses will show you how to nurse with the pillow you are going to use at home.
  • Baby Blanket/Swaddling Blanket: Use the hospital blankets for swaddling so you don't get yours dirty. Then use your nice blankets for pictures in the hospital and for the car seat on the way home.
  • Go Home Outfit.: Of course you need one cute outfit for bringing baby home in! No need to bring lots of extra clothes for the hospital stay - the nurses are already familiar with the hospital onesies and it makes for less laundry once you get home.
  • Accessories: Bring any beanies, bows, mittens, hat, socks, etc.
  • Bottle: If you have to start pumping in the hospital, having the bottle you plan to use at home is helpful (especially if you plan to breastfeed) so the lactation nurses can show you how to "deep latch" a bottle nipple so baby has a smooth transition from bottle to nipple.
  • Soothie/Wabbanub Pacifier
  • Toiletries: If you plan to use any special lotions, bring them. Otherwise the hospital uses Johnson & Johnson (not recommended by pediatricians for newborn's delicate skin).
  • Car Seat
  • Wallet: Make sure to have your drivers license, insurance cards, etc.
  • List of People to Call
  • Camera & Charger
  • iPad & Charger
  • Docking Station: Nice to have music during labor so it's not super quiet.
  • DVDs, Magazines, Journal, etc.
  • Snacks and Bottled Water: Gatorade, Trail Mix, Pita Chips, Goldfish, etc.
  • Extra Duffel Bag: For raiding the hospital cart! 
  • Nurse Treats: To thank your nurses for taking care of you! 
For our nurse treats I tied "Thank you for helping with our little peanut" tags on peanut M&Ms. If you have extra time to spare before going into labor to make "thank you gifts," I highly recommend it! All of my nurse friends have told me how much it means to them to be it automatically makes you one of their favorite patients, right?
Am I missing anything? What were some of the most useful items you packed for the hospital?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 38 Bumpdate

How far along: 38 weeks...but feeling more like 200 weeks pregnant.

Baby Size: A watermelon {20 inches, 7 lbs}!

Weight gain: 30 lbs...according to the docs scale.

Maternity clothes: So ready to be done with maternity clothes!

Stretch marks: We'll see post baby...
Sleep: GREAT! I am so thankful for these restful nights. Matt told me over the weekend that he is counting down the days until the Bump Nest goes to the attic.
Gender: Caroline Grace Marcellino!

Movement: Yes, but a totally different kind. Instead of punches and kicks, she stretches out, moves to one side of my belly (making it look extremely lopsided) and sticks her little booty out all the time. My belly constantly looks like it's changing shape.

Best moment this week: Celebrating our first (and last) Easter as a family of two.
Looking forward to: Our doctor's appointment today to find out if we've made any progress and my last prenatal massage from the package that Matt bought me many months ago.

Food cravings: Still on the pineapple kick...
  Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Labor Signs: Last week we found out I am only 1/2 cm dilated. Today we'll find out if we've made any further progress. I really want to hold out until at least May 1st, only because May is one of my favorite months. That sounds silly, but I really would love a May 1st birthday for Caroline!
What I miss: Not having abdomen pain.
Symptoms: The symptom I complained about last week, abdomen pain, is still here and is worse than ever. I have officially turned into the whiniest person but this pain is absolutely awful (and I've had lots of weird pains throughout the pregnancy that I could tolerate)! After reaching my breaking point last week, Matt called the doctor and learned that my upper abdomen muscles are literally tearing apart at this point and that is what's causing the pain. I am using a heat pack right under my bra line now (and on my back still) and also taking Tylenol. The doc says the pain won't really go away until delivery and that this pain is common in first pregnancies.
Nursery: Complete! You can find all of the details {here}! And since I am out of "projects" now I decided to make little treats this past weekend for our hospital nurses. After all, who doesn't want to be the nurses' favorite patient?
Belly Button in or out? Out.

Wedding rings on or off? On and no swelling at all.

Mood: Ready and a bit whiny (sorry, Matt).

Workouts: Walking seems to help my abdomen pains so we've been trying to be diligent with our neighborhood strolls after work this past week. Also starting a serious squat routine in hopes that it will shorten my labor.
Prayer for Caroline: 
Dear Lord, I thank You from the bottom of my heart for giving me this baby. Only You know the exact minute Caroline will be born. Please help me to be patient and get through this time of waiting. I am so anxious to see her and hold her in my arms that I can barely wait another day. Please be close to me and surround me with Your love and presence at the birth. Help the labor go smoothly and the birth to go just right. Thank you, Lord, for Your great love. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Be strong and courageous. Don't be terrified or afraid. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. He will be with you. Do not be afraid or discouraged. - Deuteronomy 31:6,8
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