Friday, February 28, 2014

Update, and a change of subject.

I haven't posted in a long time. And honestly that's because I haven't done much baking in a long time! This blog's topics are going to shift a bit. Previously I wanted to use this blog as a bit of a recipe index for myself and anyone else looking for great gluten and dairy free recipes. However I have found myself wanting to blog about everything, not just baking, and I've decided to make this blog my home. See, a few months ago Matt and I decided to start a family. I'm so excited about the changes to come and I realized I need an outlet for my thoughts.

This blog will still be Sarah Loves to Bake, because I really do. But it will encompass my life and include my ramblings about meal planning (my current challenge), nursery preparation, all things baby, dogs, and a bit of marriage. I hope some of my family and friends may enjoy this but really and truly I'm doing this for myself. 

So here is a bit of life lately....

Baby Thoughts

We have a crib!! For some reason I was really anxious about getting a crib. I decided it was the one item I really didn't mind getting secondhand as wood is easily cleaned. I found a crib I loved at a great price and was lucky that it was right around the corner from my parents house. They picked it up for us and even got it ready for us to take home. I feel so much better now that we have a crib in the nursery...even if there is nothing else in there! I also got a great workout moving all the furniture out of there (this includes a double bed), cleaning the carpets, and moving everything back in. The crib was a bit difficult to put together as it was hard to hold the sides up while putting the screws in but it won't be hard to lower it as the baby gets bigger. It does convert to a toddler bed but I'm not sure if we will go there before baby 2 comes along. But that's a bit into the future :)

I am also very happy to have a plan for the nursery. Currently we live in a 2 bed/2 bath townhouse that we rent. The nursery houses our guest bed which I didn't want to get rid of. This proved a bit of a challenge as I tried to come up with a floor plan that would allow floor space but also fitting the crib, double bed, and an arm chair for nursing. Thanks to Pinterest I found a great way to arrange the furniture that allows the guest bed to be used if needed and leaves plenty of floor space for activities. Because our living room is not very big I do expect to use the nursery about half the time.

This picture is taken from the doorway. The closet is directly to the left. It has two doors that slide and fold in half, which I plan on removing. I want to place the tall white six drawer dresser we have in our master in the nursery closet (another idea from Pinterest!). There is about four to six feet from the closet opening to the end of the crib and with the doors off it makes the room feel even larger. I plan on getting a quilt for the bed for every day use that matches the nursery colors. I don't really like the current comforter but it is a great set for guests. I also plan to put lots of pillows along the wall so it acts more like a daybed. I would like to put a small nightstand in between the bed and the chair, which is to the right in the opposite corner. The chair currently has a brown leather like slipcover from our living room but I found a great cotton canvas cover that should fit it better and be great for kids and dogs.

I do have an idea of colors and decorations depending on the gender. We find out in about 2 and a half weeks so I'm not letting myself do anything else until we know! I'm also waiting for that nesting phase to hit before cleaning out the closet that is currently packed with random overflow items. We do have some things that would go great in a garage sale if anyone is planning one sometime soon!

Meal Planning

I have been trying to meal plan before we go to the grocery store and it's definitely a work in progress. However it does make grocery shopping much easier but I'm still working on spending less. The biggest challenge for me is buying fewer ingredients. So I'm trying to plan meals with few ingredients and maybe one big meal that costs a bit more. I'm also getting better at using those random items that end up in the pantry!


One of the hardest things I have found with this cold weather is the motivation to walk the dogs! Last Friday was a set back as well when I decided to brave the cold wind only to be taken down by allergies. The pollen count was February! Gah. Walking the dogs helped me out in my first trimester when my body was all out of whack. I started yoga once I hit the second trimester but I have taken the dogs out less. I am really ready for some 60-70 degree weather. Where is spring?? 

On thing we have been working on with both dogs is no kissing. This is much easier for Bijou but extremely hard for Summer. Kisses are her love language! Plus Matt has a hard time telling her no...and sometimes i do too. Woops. We have a soft spot for pittie kisses. But she is getting better when we tell her no kisses. I also like to put my finger up, like the number one, and press it to her nose as if I'm shushing her. This helps put a bit of space between her nose and my face and reminds her she needs to back off. 

Honestly that has been my one worry with the dogs and the baby. Bijou is going to be difficult in the beginning as she has never been good with change. But I do hope she will settle in after a few weeks when she realizes the baby isn't going anywhere. I think Summer will transition much easier as long as her excitement doesn't get the best of her. But after a couple days she should go back to her usual chill demeanor when the 'newness' wears off.

I guess the only other training thing we have done is one we were very inconsistent with before. We make the girls sit and wait while we put their food bowls down and they are not allowed to eat until we say OK. I like to make them wait for a different period of time each time so they don't try to anticipate the OK. Bijou kept jumping the gun for a bit so I let Summer eat while Bijou had to sit and wait. She hasn't jumped the gun since. She even looks to me after I say OK and waits for me to nod my head before eating so she doesn't get in trouble again. Hehe! I love making them do this as it's an easy way to practice obedience and respect. Our dogs aren't perfect but they behave themselves well enough. 

Being Gluten Free

For a while now I have slowly added dairy into my diet. I mostly stay dairy free at home but will allow myself to have real dairy when eating eat. This has worked really well for almost a year now. Every so often I find myself getting some stomach pains and have to stop dairy for a few weeks. However...I started craving a lot of dairy when I got pregnant. My first trimester I ate a ton of real dairy, including cheese, with no side effects. Now I've cut back again and am probably closer to 50/50 on real versus dairy free items.

Now an interesting side effect of pregnancy has been with my gluten intolerance. I haven't touched gluten in over 2 years. I also had no desire to. But after some research I learned that the symptoms of a gluten intolerance disappear during pregnancy. Your immune system is down when pregnant to stop your body from attacking the fetus. This also means your immune system will no longer attack your intestines when you eat gluten. So with that fact, along with my crazy fear that I would make my child allergic to gluten since I don't eat it, I decided to try gluten. AH! It was seriously difficult to get myself to take that first bite. I had been dying for a Pillsbury cinnamon roll so I made a batch of those. And then sat there staring at the cinnamon roll for thirty minutes. I really can't describe to you how hard it was when it seems like such an easy thing to do. But after suffering from gluten 'attacks' for so long it was hard to make myself take that bite.

But I did take that bite. And another. And another. Until that whole cinnamon roll was gone. And then I had another. It is the strangest feeling to eat something that I have vehemently avoided for 2 years. Since then I have tried quite a few things and was surprised how I actually didn't miss most of them. I have been lucky to find great gluten free substitutions that I now like even better than their gluten counterparts. There are a few things that I have truly missed. Pizza. REAL pizza. I had a delicious Sicilian pizza in New York City. No gluten free dough has ever come close to that. And burritos. You just can't make a burrito with a corn tortilla. The other nice thing about being able to eat gluten is not having to be a pest when eating out. I also got to enjoy a dessert at Matt's formal.

I look exhausted but I'm about to eat a gluten filled pizza.

Despite the fact that I now am not violently ill when ingesting gluten I am still being careful. I don't want to overload my system as it is still hurting my intestines. But it is nice to have this time to cheat and hopefully I can save my child from a food allergy. Did you know they did studies and kids are less likely to form a peanut allergy if their mom ate peanuts while pregnant? That's where I got this idea from and why I also make sure to eat my serving of peanut butter :)