Last Minute 4th of July Dessert

Here’s a quick and easy last-minute 4th of July dessert that I posted last year…  Cherry Blueberry Cobbler.  Yummy!


Posted in Bug

Running While Pregnant

Before I start this post for real, I’d like to put out there that I am not an expert on exercising while pregnant.  I am not an expert on exercising at all.  These are merely my feelings & opinions.  Please consult your OBGYN before starting any kind of workout program while pregnant.

Okay.  That’s done.  To start this post for real, I’d like to say that I did not run during my first pregnancy, which is something that I wish I had done.  It was really difficult to get back into running after not having done so for close to a year.  My doctor, whom I really like, said he didn’t think all of that bouncing was good for the baby.  Being my first pregnancy and being uber-careful and worried about every little thing, I followed his advice without much further thought and without a second opinion.  (I did, however, do a lot of prenatal yoga.)  Now, let me tell you about my OB.  I’m not sure exactly how old he is, but he’s got to be past retirement age.  The man has recently started wearing hearing aids and looks kind of like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.  He is very laid back, very old school and an excellent doctor.  He delivered Bug and I am so glad that he did.

My OB office has four doctors and three midwives.  I see my doctor when it is recommended, but for my usual monthly visits I actually prefer to see the midwives.  This pregnancy, I have asked two of the three midwives about exercise and both told me the same thing: if you did it before you were pregnant, you can do it during pregnancy… as long as we’re not talking something crazy dangerous, obviously.  They said that if I ran before, I can run now, and I can do it until I am no longer comfortable doing so.  Sweet.  I’ll take it.

To me, the most important thing about running pregnant… or any prenatal exercise for that matter… is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.  If you begin to feel faint & overheated: stop.  If your belly starts to hurt: stop.  If you feel like you are going to throw up: stop.  Pretty simple.  My first pregnancy, I was so much more worried about reading the right thing to do that I didn’t feel the right thing to do.  This pregnancy, I am relying so much more on instinct, and though I’ve had some emotional/crankiness issues this time around, physically I have felt much better.

To get to the bones of prenatal, I’m going to lay out how it’s similar to running sans growing baby and how it’s different, as well as some tips that I have found to be very helpful.


When you take a break from running, say a couple of months, it can be hard to get your groove back.  I find that the first run back is always awesome.  You get all pumped up because you’re thinking, “That wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be!  I felt great!”  And then, your next run, your legs feel like lead and your lungs are on fire and you think, “This sucks.  I’m never going to make it.”  After that, each run gets progressively more comfortable and eventually the groove returns.  I took a several month break from running when I got pregnant, mostly because I was so exhausted that all I could think about doing in my spare time was sleeping.  I took a very necessary nap almost every day for 3 1/2 months.  Once I finally started to get some energy back, I started running again about once a week.  Just like a non-pregnant return, the first run was fantastic.  I was amazed at how “easy” it was.  Joke’s on me, because the next run was rough.  But, just like a regular comeback, it has slowly gotten more comfortable and my groove has returned, although said groove is a different groove, for obvious expanded belly reasons.

The other major similarity to running pregnant versus non-pregnant that I’ve found is the boost of energy and positive mind set.  I feel great, energetic and super happy for a couple of days after I run… both now and before baby-on-board.  I’m a pretty happy & positive person to begin with, so an extra dose an happy isn’t usually too noticeable.  However, I’ve been dealing with some crankiness issues this pregnancy, and that dose of happy right now is amazing.  Hubby can probably attest to that.  The energy boost is a pretty nice added bonus, as well.


The groove.  Here’s where I’m going to talk about taking it easy.  See, I’m the kind of person that is very competitive with myself.  When I go for a run, I get a tad bit disappointed if it wasn’t faster or farther than the last time.  That’s actually part of the draw of running for me.  I can set constant goals and the only person to hold accountable for the success of reaching those goals is me.  I have to continually push myself harder for that desired result.  Prenatal running doesn’t exactly allow for that.  For the first time, I’m taking it easy while I run.  No long term goals in mind except to stay healthy.  No short term goals of “today I’m going to run this far” or “today I’m going to hit this pace.”  I have no qualms stopping if my body tells me to stop, when usually I would just push through.  I run slowly and take walking breaks every few minutes.  It’s kind of refreshing, but difficult to change mind sets at the same time.

Kind of going along with the groove being different and the need to take it easy is that usually, when you run regularly, you are doing so with the intention of either losing or maintaining weight.  While pregnant, it’s hard to lose sight of that and to remember that you are supposed to be gaining weight!  This makes your pace slow down as time goes on rather than speed up.  I keep reminding myself that the goal isn’t speed, it’s health!


Water.  It is important to stay hydrated.  We all know this.  It is even more important to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant.  My midwife suggests that I drink something crazy like 96 ounces of water a day.  Normally, I only carry water on a run if it’s going to be more than 6 miles.  Anything less, I just drink water before I go and then drink lots when I’m done.  Mostly because I don’t like carrying things while I run.  When I trained for my half-marathon, I used a Camelbak Mini-M.U.L.E., which was great because it had a pocket for snacks/gel/fuel/whatever.  That was also during the fall and winter, though, and it wasn’t so darn hot outside.  Now, it’s too hot to wear it.  I’m pregnant, dude, I’m already hot enough.  So, I’ve been running with a water bottle.  My favorite is my Camelbak Eddy Bottle.  I hate carrying it, but I love that I don’t have to tilt it to get water.  Pregnant, clumsy me would have issues with not watching the road.

Take it easy.  I know I already talked about this, but it’s important.  Don’t go faster than you need to.  Don’t let yourself overheat.  Walk if you need to.  Listen to your body.

Stretching.  I usually stretch after I run, but non-pregnant me didn’t see a huge difference if I skipped the stretching every once in a while.  I didn’t feel unusually stiff or sore or anything.  Pregnant me is different.  The thing is, though, it’s not my legs that get sore if I don’t stretch.  It’s my back.  If I run and then sit down for a half an hour before stretching, my lower back will be pinched the rest of the day.  If I stretch first and then sit down, I have no issues.  Today, I ran and then sat in the car for 20 minutes and then went to the grocery store before I finally made it home to stretch.  My back is angry, folks.


As of right now, I’m doing a 5 minute warmup, just like always.  Then, I’m following this 10 minute increment pattern:

  • Run 7:00
  • Walk 3:00
  • Run 6:00
  • Walk 4:00
  • Run 4:00 or 5:00
  • Walk 5:00
  • Run 2:00 or 3:00 & walk the remainder of the 10 minute increment as a cooldown.

That gives me a total of about 20 minutes running and 20 minutes walking.  Again, if I feel like I need to stop and walk, I do.  This has been my pattern for a few weeks now, after trying a couple of different things.  First I tried running a mile and then walking a quarter mile, repeat.  My GPS was wonky so it ended up not being reliable.  Then I tried running for 10, walking for 5, repeat.  I didn’t make it.  This pattern will likely be changing as my belly gets bigger and my joints start to stretch.  I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Did you run while pregnant?  Tell me about it!

Instawhat: Week of 6/16


For the first four months of this pregnancy I was so tired that I spent every free moment napping.  Finally, about a month ago, I started exercising again.  I’ve been running once or twice a week and, man, does it feel good.  Don’t worry, I’ve been taking it super easy… alternating jogging for 5 minutes or so and then walking for a few minutes.  There is a great, wide bike trail that runs throughout our county that I take advantage of as often as I can… mostly because it is full of views just like this.


We spent the weekend with Uncle Chris & Aunt Millie (Bug’s Godparents) and Chris’ wonderful kids Karley & Timothy.  Chris’ grandmother has a home right on the beach here in Venice, so we took advantage of the fact that she is up north for the summer.  That’s Hubby and the kids heading from the pool to the beach.  Rough life, huh?


Buggers and Karley enjoying an awesome surf & turf dinner on the grill.


When Hubby told the kids that he brought fireworks, they were excited.  When he told Uncle Chris, he might have jumped up and down a little bit.  Proof that boys never really grow up.  They just get big enough to use lighters all by themselves.


Yeah fireworks on old crab traps!


Sunday morning swim session/water gun fight.  What else would you do after breakfast?

What did you do this weekend?

Bug’s 3rd Birthday Party

Eleven days ago, my baby turned 3.  Although I’m not one of those moms that loved the baby stage, I’m still wondering where the heck my baby has gone.  Seriously.  The boy turned into a legit kid overnight.  (And I somehow slipped into my early 30s during that night… yeesh.)

We asked Bug what kind of party he wanted, and he answered with an obvious, “Superheroes!”  Last year we had Bug’s birthday party at our community pool, which was great because it’s so darn hot in June.  We totally would have done that again this year, but we may or may not have gotten in trouble last year for having beer at the pool.  I mean, it’s not like anyone was hammered… just some dads (and maybe a couple of moms) enjoying a beer or two while watching burgers cook on the grill and kids playing (supervised) in the pool.  Needless to say, we had to find somewhere else for a party.  We chose the beach.  My wonderful in-laws live in a neighborhood that has a private beach access with a grill and a little pavilion.  It’s the perfect party spot.  We used it for Bug’s 1st birthday, and I’m sure we’ll be using it again!

Party details: Bug requested a Superman cake.  With Superman on a motorcycle.  Because, you see, his friend Ben had a cake with Batman on the Batcycle, but Bug “likes Superman the best.”  I’m thinking, great, I’m going to have to find a motorcycle that a Superman figuring will fit on and superglue them together.  Luckily, at Target one day I happened across an actual Superman on a motorcycle set.  Score.  Bug’s cake (as requested) was chocolate with blue, red & yellow.  I’m pretty sure the kids’ mouths were blue for days.  I know my hands were.  Also, side note on the cake – I used a recipe that replicates Publix’s buttercream icing, because I figured it would hold up well in the heat.  It did, and it was yummy, but it was SUPER GREASY.  Like impossible to wash off of your hands without loads of Dawn greasy.  I won’t make it again unless I need a cake to sit outside for hours.  (So, probably Bug’s next birthday.)

I made superhero capes for all of the kids, with a special E cape for Bug.  We had little party favor bags with Thank You cards attached, little waters for the kiddos with cute labels and an Eli banner.  I designed the graphics, so if you’re looking for Superhero Party labels and whatnot, email me and I’ll hook you up (  All in all, the details looked awesome and the capes were a huge hit.

Funny how we have a party at the beach and nobody actually went down to the beach.  The ids were having so much fun playing in the kiddie pool and in the shower that they never even made it to the sand.  Which, in actuality, was just fine because it kept everyone in the same area.

We grilled burgers & dogs and had cake, of course.  Don’t worry, Bug got to finish his.  I mentioned in an earlier post that it rained for over a week here in SW Florida.  On Bug’s birthday, it rained at our house (several miles east of the beach) off an on all day.  We get to the beach and no rain.  We saw lots of gray clouds, but they floated on past us.  It started raining about 15 minutes or so after the festivities were pretty much done.  It was perfect timing.

My favorite part of Bug’s party was the pinata.  I was mostly impressed with how a group of 2-5 year olds took turns and cheered each other on.  Nobody cried.  Nobody fought.  Everybody shared.  Each kid got  a turn before it busted open.  It was amazing.  Plus, the kids’ faces are priceless.

All in all, Bug had a pretty awesome birthday.  He got to play with his friends (this is his sweet buddy Isaac… Bug pretty much idolizes him) and we got to play with our friends, too.  I guess we never really grow up, huh?

Birthday Cake Nightmares

Friday night, 2:30am.  I wake up to Bug yelling and crying, which happens very rarely.  I get up and go into his room to hear him sobbing, “I want to go back to my birthday party and finish my birthday cake.”  Not thinking that it was a bad dream, I tried to explain to him that he did finish his cake (you know, a week ago) and to go back to sleep.  This happens two more times before a glass of water calms him down enough to go back to sleep for real.

When he woke up in the morning, the first thing out of his little mouth is, “My birthday party was ruined because I didn’t finish my birthday cake.”  It was then that Hubby realized that he must’ve had a nightmare about not finishing cake.  Hubby then proceeds to explain that dreams are just pictures in your head and they are pretend and yadda yadda and tried to recap his actual birthday party, wherein Bug did finish his birthday cake.  The birthday cake that we, in fact, brought home to be finished at a later date.  I’m not sure Bug bought it.

These, folks, are the things my kid has bad dreams about.  My child that is obsessed with superheroes and villains and Ninja Turtles.  He has nightmares about unfinished birthday cake, which just goes to show how much he loves cake.  Just like his Momma.

Instawhat Week of 6/9


Bugger’s 3rd birthday was last Sunday… woot!  We had a superhero party at the beach and had a grand ole time.  There will be an actual, for real post on the party later this week.  This is Bug wearing his pinata as a hat.  It is also my new favorite picture ever.  Silly boy.


Summer in Florida means that it is bright & sunny in the mornings and early afternoon with a rain shower rolling in around 4:00 or so.  Then it clears up for sunset.  Generally speaking.  Not this year.  Well, at least not for the last week of May and the first week of June.  Thanks to Tropical Storm Andrea, we had something like 10 straight days of grey skies and rain, rain, rain.  It felt like we were in Seattle, just way warmer.  It was depressing.  Bug and I spent some time playing in puddles because playing inside was no longer fun after so many days!


The upside of all that rain was 1) maybe the water table was raised enough to where we won’t have any water restrictions this summer and 2) my rain lilies are SO HAPPY.


Peanut butter jelly face!  This is how my son eats (and has always eaten) his sandwiches: he separates the two pieces of bread, scrapes all of the peanut butter off and eats it, scrapes all the jelly off and eats it and then eats each piece of bread.  This makes for a messy lunch.  And, also, a long lunch.


This wasn’t on my Instagram feed this week, but on my work’s.  Strawberry Napolean.  I’m sharing it here as a sneak peak for my next recipe post.  I’m photographing it at work today, so hopefully I’ll have it posted next week!  Talk about perfect summer dessert.  This, folks, is it.

Oh My Zulily

Ok, so I discovered Zulily quite some time ago.  Like a couple of years ago, actually.  I have bought a couple of things for Bug there, like some shoes and a jacket and a shirt here or there.  Here’s the thing, though.  I didn’t realize the full potential of Zulily until I found out that we were having a girl.  Let’s be honest here… shopping for boy clothes is just ok.  We get by just fine with clothes from Target for Bug.  He’s a basic shirt & shorts & tennis shoes kind of kid.  No need to shop at boutiques for stuff like that.  Shopping for girls?  A whole different story.

  • 1. The possibilities of cuteness are unlimited.
  • 2. Boutiques automatically become so much more fun.
  • 3. Zulily is my new best friend.  Especially since I don’t believe in spending a lot of money on children’s clothing.

Wait, what?  You haven’t heard of Zulily?  Let me enlighten you.  They have new deals every day on all kinds of kids’ stuff.  And there is a ton of stuff.  Mostly clothes & shoes, but also toys and costumes and fun stuff like that.  They don’t just have kids’ stuff, though.  They also have clothes, accessories & shoes for mom (including super cute/reasonably priced maternity clothes!!) and stuff for the home.  I get their daily email and lately I’ve been clicking on it nearly every day to see what adorable baby girl stuff I can find.

Here are just some of the few adorable things I found today.  Not that I bought all of this, mind you… I was mostly just dreaming.  Mostly.

Young Hearts

 I’m not the kind of girl that is super into pink and ruffles and tutus and smocking and even dresses for that matter.  I was a tomboy growing up and I kind of envision my little girl being the same way.  That being said, I can’t help but want to dress my baby girl in super adorable, pretty things.  I love these shorts outfits because they are cute and feminine without being dresses or skirts.  And, yes, I realize that the one of those shirts is full of ruffles.  I can deal with a few ruffles!  The best part about all of these outfits… they are all between $12.99 – $14.99.  That’s a pretty good deal! CK & Ositos

Even though I’m not totally about dresses, I obviously can’t help myself every once in awhile.  I usually like really bright colors, but this gray dress from Calvin Klein is too precious to ignore.  And, at $12.99?  Yes, please.  Those adorable orange flats are only $7.99, too!  That’s another thing about Zulily… often the brands are good, recognizable brands that are just on sale.  The couple of things that I’ve ordered from brands that I hadn’t heard of were great quality.  Zulily prides themselves on selling boutique brands at reasonable prices.

Dapply Gray & Frisky

Again, with the dresses, but seriously.  How stinkin’ cute is this whale dress ($27.99) and these little shoes ($12.99)?  I die.  I have to say, the only not good thing about Zulily is that you can’t choose how quickly your items are shipped.  Each featured brand (of which there are like a dozen every single day) is on sale for 72 hours, and after the sale is over, they place a bulk order from their supplier.  So, it might take 2 weeks to get your order.  But, I’m ok with that.  I just know that if I’m looking for an Easter outfit, I need to shop for it early.

Patch Products

I mentioned this at the beginning, but they also have toys and games and whatnot.  Bug loves these magnet boards.  They’ve gotten us through several car trips.  We bought ours in a store for $10 apiece, and the same exact ones are on Zulily this week for $6.

Anywho, if you feel that uncontrollable urge to shop for clothes for your kid or your grandkid or your next door neighbor’s kid or, heck, my kid (or if you really like browsing, like me!)… click here to sign up for Zulily.  You won’t be sorry.  Your husband might be, but you won’t.

Instawhat: Week of 6/2


I kind of forgot to take pictures this week… mostly because I spent a lot of time a)working b) playing and c) preparing for Bug’s 3rd birthday party.  So, the first picture you get this week was actually part of my restaurant’s Instagram week, but I figured it was appropriate due to the fact that I’d like to post the recipe here soon.  Feast your eyes on fresh blueberry cobbler.  This was our dessert special for the weekend.  And we sold out.  Twice.


We took Bug on a family to see Epic last week.  He loved it.  There were battles, good guys and bad guys.  Pretty much the best movie ingredients for Bugster.  Oh, and popcorn.  So, we take our almost-3-year-old to a 7:00 movie (his bed time is usually between 7:30-8:00) and at the end he says, “Can we go to another movie now?”  At almost 9:00 at night.  Kid’s a movie boy for sure… just like his parents!  Anyways, Hubby made him a Leafman helmet & shield out of some beer boxes.  Because every kid needs a beer box costume, right?  And, yes, he has socks on his hands.  They were his gloves, obviously.

Instawhat: Week of 5/26


After not running for 4 months, I’ve been trying to get back to it… I’m attempting to run once a week.  Don’t worry, my doctor says its okay and I’m taking it really easy.  My run last week was on an ominous day.  Actually, every day for the past week or so has been rather ominous… lots of gray clouds and threats of rain with only sporadic bursts of actual rain.  I love running on days like this.  The sun isn’t beating down on you, there is a little bit of a breeze and the sky is so interesting to look at.


Bug started swim lesson on Saturday!  Ok, short run down on Bug’s swimming progress over the last year:

  • Beginning of last summer (exactly 2 years old) – Bug LOVED the water.  He would hold himself under as long as he could, jump in off the side all by himself (with someone there to catch him, of course) and by the middle of summer would even swim underwater from you to the wall about 4 feet away.  He had a swim vest thing that barely let him float and he’d kick all around the pool wearing it.  We’re all, he’ll be swimming by himself in no time!  No lessons needed!
  • End of last summer (2 years, 4 months old) – Bug realized that water is something he maybe, possibly should be afraid of.  Awesome.  Refused the swim vest.  Absolutely no jumping in.  Wouldn’t leave the steps… not even holding on to Mom & Dad.  He would still put his face under, but only from the second step down.
  • This spring (April – 2 years, 10 months old) – First pool excursion since last year (finally warm enough).  Bug would go into the water holding onto me for dear life.  He would also jump in, but only if I held both of his hands.

Back to swim lessons.  I fully expected him to freak out as soon as the teacher pulled him into the water.  I think I knew that he actually wouldn’t freak out, but I prepared myself for it.  He did fantastic.  He was excited the whole time, and each time he was in the water, he did exactly what the teacher instructed.  Now, she never let go of him, but he didn’t hold on like crazy either.  He had another lesson on Sunday and did just as well.  She dunked each kid underwater and he came up smiling.  I would like to mention, though, that my child definitely was the least attentive while sitting on the steps waiting for the other kids to have their turns.  Not that he was intentionally disruptive or misbehaving, but there was a lot of splashing and talking involved.  Credit that to either a) he’s the youngest in the class or b) he’s Scary Uncle Adam’s nephew.


Oh, Threenagers.

Terrible Twos is a term that everyone uses… warns you about.  As soon as you say you have a two year old, people knowingly look at you and say, “Oh, those Terrible Twos.”  Well, folks of children who are not yet three… those people are wrong.  ALL WRONG.  Sure, Bug has gone through some rather annoying phases over the last year, but none of those phases were quite as frustrating as the beginning of the three year old year.  And he’s not actually turning three until Sunday.

You see, the problem with three year olds is that they are at those beginning stages of thinking they know everything.  They feel like they’ve got a pretty good handle on this whole how to live life thing.  Three year olds really like to get their way, if they don’t, they will pout and scream and cry about it.  Yes, kind of like a teenager.  Glad you got that.

A good example:

The other day, Hubby and Bug decided to draw me a picture.  It was very sweet.  They drew me a house.  Hubby drew the house, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew the roof, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew the grass, Bug colored it in.  Hubby drew a door, Bug flipped his shit.  “But, I WANTED TO DRAW THE DOOR!”  Ummm, okay.  So, Bug takes the drawing, runs into the other room and throws it as hard as he can.  Which 1) isn’t very hard and 2) it’s paper, it’s not going very far.

As a parent, moments like this surprise you.  This is not normal behavior for my son.  Or, at least, it wasn’t.  He’s still a really good little boy, and freakouts like this still don’t happen all that often, but they are definitely becoming slightly more frequent.  In fact, just last night, at dinner, we told him he couldn’t have dessert unless he finished his dinner.  Immediate tears.  Seriously, dude?  Part of you wants to laugh and the other part wants to hold it in because you don’t want to make the situation worse.

The other part of the Threenager bit is the independence streak.  I get this.  I get that he wants to do things by himself.  I like that.  I think that is a wonderful thing.  What I don’t like is that if I have accidentally started to do something for him, something that he now wants to do on his own, he flips his lid.  Things like climbing in and out of the car seat.  Or pushing his trike… the one where his feet barely hit the pedals.

The other not-so-awesome thing about toddler independence is that everything takes ten times longer.  I mean, things take longer with kids anyways… getting out the door with a baby takes approximately 5-15 minutes depending on whether or not they poop as soon as you lock the front door.  Getting out the door with a Threenager who wants to do everything himself and then whines when you try to hurry him along?  Approximately 15-30 minutes.  Unless you just pick him up and drag him to the car kicking and screaming with no shoes because he wanted to put them on by himself even though he hasn’t figured out how yet and you are already running late because he eats his breakfast at an elderly snail’s pace and you don’t want to send him to school without a decent breakfast.  Whew.  That happens a lot at my house, obviously.

At least he makes up for it with lots of sugar, hugs & kisses.

I’d love to give you some advice on how to deal with a Threenager, but we’re still figuring that one out.  The same basic rules apply in our house that have always applied… you misbehave twice and you’re in time out.  First time’s a warning, unless there is violent behavior involved (thankfully, this rarely happens).  Then, you don’t get a warning.  We do our best not to tolerate whining and to encourage good manners.  We ignore tantrums, though true tantrums have, thank God, always been few and far between with Bug.  So, for now, Hubby & I are continuing with our original strategies.  If they start to not work and we do some drastic discipline change, I’ll let you know.

How were your kids at Terrible Twos VS Threenagers?  Any advice?