Thursday, October 23, 2014

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin cookies. They are an autumn staple dessert, people! If there is one thing I love, it's a super moist and soft pumpkin cookie. Yum. Get in my belly! My phones' camera does not do these cookies justice, I promise!

I have made several different pumpkin foods so far this autumn season (don't get me started on the pumpkin pancakes I made a few days ago... they were so yummy topped with butter and brown sugar!) but until yesterday, I hadn't gotten around to making pumpkin cookies. That was a problem I needed to fix.

I love my moms' pumpkin cookie recipe, but I could not find my copy of it... so I looked up a couple different recipes online and tweaked them a bit to come up with my own version. They turned out pretty well! And I love how orange they are.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Combine pumpkin, sugars, oil, egg, and vanilla in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly add this flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix well.

4. Mix in the chocolate chips.

5. Drop by medium spoonfuls onto a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or lightly greased). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool in pan for 2-3 minutes and then remove onto cookie rack to cool.

6. Enjoy with a big glass of milk! Store them in a sealed container to maintain moisture and freshness.

Really, you guys. These cookies are so good, I am not even joking! I am definitely going to be making them again this season. On another note... I've decided that I really want/need cookie scoops. Does anybody want to give me an early Christmas present? ;)

Monday, October 20, 2014

{Bumpdate} 34 Weeks

In a few days, I'll officially be 8 months along! I feel huuuuge, you guys! Although... a lady told me about a week ago that I was tiny for being so close to my due date. So I suppose I'm not that huge. And I'll definitely get bigger during the remaining weeks of my pregnancy.

How far along: 34 weeks (nearly 8 months)

Baby is: the length of an average-sized pumpkin! Perfect for fall :)

Sleep: I'm still sleeping like a baby. No middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks or anything. Am I just weird or something??!? Bladder of steel! I'm starting to have really strange dreams again, like I did during the first half of my second trimester. Some of those dreams include: giving birth and nursing. I had a "labor" dream just last night, actually! It was a very short and painless labor. Dreams predict the future sometimes, right??!? Haha. Ha. I wish. In the past week, I've started feeling more tired to the point where I often need a nap during the day. I've got to sleep while I still can!!!!!

Symptoms: I get tired more often, I've gained a couple more stretch marks, and usually by the end of the day my lower back hurts a fair bit. And it hurts after sitting in the drivers' seat of the car or sitting through 3 hours of church (aka - 3 hours of torture on my back). Lying down helps a lot. But those are my only main symptoms, thankfully!

Braxton Hicks: I have small, short, painless ones every now and then, but they aren't a common occurrence yet. Except yesterday... it seemed like I had more than usual yesterday. Hmmm.

Baby's movement: She still finds plenty of opportunities to turn, wiggle, and kick. I still haven't quite mastered how to identify which of her movements are from her legs, arms, bum, head, etc. but I'm trying to learn! It doesn't help that my placenta is attached to the front wall of my uterus, which cushions things. The benefit of that, though, is that her kicks and jolts still don't hurt me.

Wedding rings: Still wearing them, usually! Every now and then they'll be a little tight, but mostly they're fine.

Belly button: Still in. I'm starting to think that I'll make it to the end without it popping out at all!

Doctor says: At my last appointment, I was told that everything still looks great, although my blood pressure is a bit lower than average. Just a bit, though. I'll have another appointment this week, and I'm hoping the doctor might perform some exam or something to tell me what position this baby is in.

Favorite moment(s): I think my favorite moment of the past few weeks was when baby girl was dancing to the music. Of course, I love it any time she gets hyper (which happens every few days) and moves a ton.

What I've done/bought for baby: I had my baby shower a week ago (I talked about it a bit in this post) and we got some really helpful things from friends and family. We've purchased the remaining "big" items that we needed, I painted the baby crib (whoo!), and now I just need to finish pulling the nursery together and complete the decorations. I'll have more to say on that in a future post. Oh, and we still need to buy diapers. Lots of diapers.

Shirt - Target  //  Jeans - Motherhood Maternity  //  Boots - Forever Young Shoes  //  Belt - Urban Wear  //  Cardigan - old, gifted

Baby girl, your arrival is approaching almost too quickly! Your dad and I are so excited to meet you! Your mom is fine with you staying in there another few weeks, though. If you want to come a week early, that's great (maybe even 2 weeks) but no sooner! Do you hear me, little lady??? No sooner!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All By Myself

If you just sang the title of this blog post Celine Dion-style, then you get brownie points.

Isn't she lovely, folks? And I'm totally going to go listen to that song right now... because... Celine.

For the very first time in our nearly 2.5 years of marriage - yep, you heard me folks, for the very first time since our wedding night - Doug and I are apart from each other. He has been off in California on a work conference (coming back tonight!) and I have been all alone! Is it strange that we've made it this far into our marriage without ever being away from each other? Not even for one night... I think it's a bit strange. We're not clingy people, we just haven't ever taken trips without each other. In any case, this was a whole new experience for me! (And I've been super nervous that baby girl will come early while he's gone, but that hasn't happened!) Despite missing Doug, here are the things I've taken advantage of during his absence:

1) I can eat ALL the junk food!!!!!!
Technically, I can eat junk food while Doug is with me, but him being gone is the perfect excuse to let myself binge a bit. I've been downing my favorite chip and dip combo, eating too much ice cream, made chocolate peanut butter fudge (it's already completely devoured), and even let myself go buy fries at Wendy's. I never randomly buy fries. So that's saying something.

2) I am more focused when I'm by myself.
I find it impossibly difficult to get things done when there are other people around me. If Doug is home, then dishes will go unwashed, laundry unfolded, projects unfinished, etc... unless I really force myself to get things done. Normally I have to make sure that I complete all of my to-do items during the day when he's at work or school. Having him gone for such a long period of time has given me plenty of opportunity to get into a "cleaning and organizing" groove.

3) I can stay up late and be as noisy as I want.
I am a bit of a night owl, while Doug likes to go to bed earlier (he gets up earlier, so that makes sense). Even if I wanted to go to bed at the same time as him, my preggo belly sometimes makes it difficult to fall asleep. Once he's in bed, my activities are limited. For the past several nights, I've been able to keep music running, have the television on, sing to myself, get things done, and go wherever I want in the apartment without worrying about waking someone up. I suppose that being able to make noise keeps me from feeling lonely.

4) Being apart helps me appreciate the time we have together.
This kind of speaks for itself. It's that whole "you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone" concept - only on a less-extreme scale because Doug isn't permanently gone. But having him so far away for a couple days reminds me of how blessed I am to have him. So very blessed. And I can't be thankful enough for that.

Doug, I'm excited to see you again tonight!