Caramel Apples

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I can now officially cross “making homemade Caramel Apples” off of my bucket list. I’ve wanted to make these for years but the recipes online have always seemed so daunting. You can make the caramel from scratch, but it takes awhile. Martha Stewart has a good recipe, if you want to go that route. But truthfully, I’m all for the easiest way to make caramel by melting caramel candies. I prefer to spend my time putting together lots of fun goodies to roll the apples in, and making yummy drizzles for the top. They’re fast and easy; and taste seriously amazing. I used Granny Smith apples because I think the tart goes well with the sweet toppings — but feel free to use any apple you love.

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Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 10 popsicle sticks
  • 10 small Granny Smith Apples (or whatever apples you prefer)
  • Two 11-ounce bags of soft caramel candies (I used kraft)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • White Chocolate for melting/drizzling
  • Toppings: Chocolate Chips, Sprinkles, Colored Icing, Marshmallows, Candy etc

Directions

  • Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking pray.
  • Wash your apples really well to make sure there is no wax left on them. If you leave any wax, the caramel might not stick.
  • Dry the apples well and insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple.
  • Combine the caramels and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the caramel is melted and smooth.
  • Holding them by the popsicle sticks, dip the apples in the caramel and roll them around to coat evenly. Lightly shake off excess caramel and set the apples stick-end up on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 15 minutes.
  • Place the white chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds. Dip or drizzle each caramel apple with the white chocolate. Lightly shake off excess and set the apple stick-end up on the wax paper.
  • Sprinkle on your choice of toppings.
  • Refrigerate for another 30 minutes to set the white chocolate.

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Painting Pumpkins

Nothing says Halloween like pumpkins! Pumpkin patches, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin recipes and of course pumpkin carving. To be honest, I think I am over the whole pumpkin carving thing… It’s always frustrating trying to make the perfect design and I’m not into cleaning up big messes these days so this year, I painted! Pinterest has a million and one ideas of crafting pumpkins but I tried to use what I had on hand.

It was gorgeous on Saturday so we headed to the patch bright and early to beat the crowds.

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While we were there we picked up 1 extremely large pumpkin, 3 plastic pumpkins and 2 miniature pumpkins for me to decorate. See below for what I did!

Monogram Pumpkin

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Pinterest has stencils you can print out for your monogram but I took the lazy route… This one is very simple, just white & black paint.

Chevron Pumpkin

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First, I spray painted the entire body of the pumpkin white. I then taped off 3 rows of chevron design and used a glitter paint, one section at a time. I finished the pumpkin off by sprinkling fine gold glitter in the glued area. It dries fast!

Polka Dot Pumpkin and Boo Pumpkin

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Just paint on the left and regular tacky glue (it was easier to make circles then using the glitter glue foam brush) with the same fine gold glitter I used above.

Studded Pumpkins

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For the left pumpkin I used sticker rhinestones…about 4 in each section. On the right pumpkin, I painted it a black satin color and used silver puffy paint for a “stud” lookalike.

How will you be decorating your pumpkins this year?

Currently Craving: Nursery Decor

This flower covered initial. It would look so pretty on a shelf in the nursery

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A Pink Seersucker Monogrammed Pillow with Pom Poms

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Childrens Mini Wardrobe Rack 

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Crystal Chandelier

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Baby Sequin Hanger

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Unicorn Rocker

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Pineapple Watercolor Painting

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Throwback Thursday: My 30th Birthday

So, I turned THIRTY this year. I had a bit of a freakout realizing I am no longer in the 20-29 range when filling out a registration check box for something. Thankfully, I ended up getting over that pretty quickly. We had an amazing weekend in Maryland and we have a lot to look forward to this year so here we go, 30.

I came upstairs to the biggest balloon bouquet as soon as I woke up (I’ll spare you the picture of me in my pajamas)

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Shortly after breakfast, my grandma and I jumped into the car to pick up a sweet treat from a local bakery. These were mini cupcakes and they were VERY good! I enjoy mini cupcakes better than big ones so I can try a taste of each one.

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Adam made dinner reservations for the two of us in Baltimore at Woodberry Kitchen. If you are ever in the Baltimore area, I highly recommend this restaurant! The restaurant is not high-end but it’s charming atmosphere, skilled service and phenomenal food puts this high on my top food list.

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We started off with two appetizers. Homemade chips with a sour cream and onion dip and a sweet corn soup with lump crab meat. I wish I could recreate both!

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For dinner I ordered the chicken and biscuit dish and Adam had the seafood jambalaya. I never order chicken at a restaurant but this particular dish was pushed by our waiter. I am so glad I did because it was cooked to perfection!

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We ordered a CMP for dessert (cream, marshmallow and peanuts) and they also brought out a mini chocolate cupcake wishing me a happy birthday.

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I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here.

The next day my mom planned a dinner with our large family at a new restaurant in Annapolis, MD, Blackwall Hitch, and my Aunt even flew up from Florida to surprise me!

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My mom isn’t one for crafting but she worked hard putting everything together and it all turned out beautifully! The restaurant was very impressive getting all 20 of us all the correct food and everything tasted delicious. Adam ordered a Lilly Pulitzer theme cake from Cakes by Rachael that was funfetti on the inside with salted caramel buttercream filling. Yes, that is real life.

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It was a perfect weekend with the most perfect people. Bring on 30!

21 Weeks

Baby A is 21 weeks today and is about the length of a carrot or the size of a pomegranate, depending on where you read.

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Here’s what Baby A has been up to this week:

  • Baby A now weighs about three-quarters of a pound (well, I’m guessing she weighs more than that because at my 17 week appointment she was supposed to be 4 oz and was measuring 8 oz) and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long. We will find out for sure tomorrow!
  • Movements may turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges and you may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. I do notice she likes when I eat something sweet! I also wake up in the middle of the night and feel her moving and shaking.
  • Her eyebrows and lids are present now.

And here’s what’s been happening with me this past week:

Weight gained: Not sure. At my 18 week appointment I think I had gained 8 or 9 — Eating every 45 minutes was the only thing that kept me standing in the first trimester. I really never started feeling well until I was in my 18th week so my body craved carbs constantly to not get sick. I will find out tomorrow what number we are at now.

Workouts: I only got a 3 mile walk in one day and did a 10 minute arm workout another. Now that I am generally feeling a lot better and like a human again I might up these workouts. I used my belly buds during my walk but they were SO itchy. I’m not sure if it was because I was walking and moving around? Maybe they are better used relaxing inside the house.

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Symptoms:

  • Round ligament pains and low back pain. The back pain is worse than the round ligament pains. I might need to get a prenatal massage soon. *coughadamcough*
  • Migraines! I get these 1-2 times a week and they are HORRIBLE. Anyone have any fixes? Right now my routine is to get a cooling pad for my head, lay in a cool dark room, drink a bit of coke for caffeine ( i hate coffee), drink a ton of water and sleep. It still usually takes them about 12 hours to go away for good.
  • Frequent bathroom breaks in the middle of the night.

Movement: I feel kicks here and there during the day/night – Sometimes they make me jump! Adam is patiently waiting to experience this on the outside.

Food Aversions: Not too much at this point. I still don’t want fish for dinner, which I think might be annoying Adam because he asks for salmon weekly.

Food Cravings: All things CHEESE. Grilled cheese, Mac & Cheese, Cream Cheese, String cheese. I also had a really strong craving for Strawberry Lemonade Sparkling water last week but really had no idea where I would get such a thing. Since week 21 marks when the baby starts tasting the food you eat I am going to make an effort to not give into all the bad cravings…just some!

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Sleep: Not too bad. I still wake up to go to the bathroom (this is obviously not going to stop) and have trouble falling back asleep. I’m also a stomach sleeper so sleeping on my side is a tad bit annoying.

Stretch marks? Nope! I have been using an oil every night and it seems to be doing the trick so far.

Miss Anything?  Having energy! I am definitely always reallllly tired. I also got a little sad when I unpacked my winter clothes and realized I basically  couldn’t wear anything.

Fun and/or Interesting Things from the Week: Tomorrow we will do our anatomy scan which will be fun. As for interesting… My dreams! They are seriously crazy and I remember every small detail. Last night I had a dream that Adam spent $3000 at a dive bar buying everyone Red Bull Vodka slushies… I don’t know where I get these ideas. I also had one that every time someone moved our couch alligators would come from behind and our living room would turn into a swamp. The alligators were attacking my brother Keith and I until someone moved the couch back to its original place. I’ve had MULTIPLE dreams that my dad was still alive which is kind of freaky. I’m supposed to get a flu shot tomorrow and I NEVER get these (I don’t feel that putting this in your body is necessary for healthy people) but my doctor is highly recommending I do so since I’m pregnant. I can request one that is preservative free (no mercury) but I’m still a little nervous. Anyone not get one while pregnant?

Baby Items Purchased: Yes! We have our crib, glider, side table for the glider, a Moroccan pouf, too many clothes and shoes (can’t say no!!) and a few stuffed animals and stroller blankets as well.

Belly Button In/Out: In — Doesn’t look like it’s popping out anytime soon but we will see.

Looking Forward To: Setting up the nursery – We are kind of in a weird predicament since we rent and will be leaving pretty shortly after we have the baby. I think if I didn’t design the nursery here though I would feel extremely unorganized.

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

I haven’t wanted to be anywhere near food prep since June when I found out I was pregnant, but last weekend I got the urge to bake. What did I make? Cookies, of course! I still don’t want to cook meat (sorry Adam) but sweets, I can handle.  I usually only see the blossom cookies at Christmastime but I like breaking the rules. Have you seen these pumpkin spice kisses in your local store?

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I’ll confess that I didn’t love them on their own..but paired with a simple pumpkin spice cookie made them perfect. This recipe is extremely easy and makes about 36 cookies total.

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Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 package Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  • 1/3 cup granulated organic sugar, for rolling cookies in

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap pumpkin spice Kisses and place them in a small bowl in the freezer until ready to use. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl for rolling cookies in; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add in small batches to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. If dough is crumbly and not coming together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until dough forms.
  • Scoop dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, roll in sugar, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool three minutes.
  • Gently push a frozen pumpkin spice kiss into the center.
  • Let cool completely
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Fall Tablescape (on a budget)

I’ve always enjoyed decorating for Christmas but it wasn’t until we actually bought a dining room table (city living) that I liked decorating for fall as well. We don’t really have any dinner parties (confession: we eat on the couch) but there’s something about having a beautifully decorated table that makes me happy! I could buy everything in a pottery barn catalog to make my tablescape but um, I’m having a baby and ballin on a budget.

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Adam doesn’t believe spending money on items we don’t use often but I can usually convince him that seasonal tablescapes are an investment. Once you buy it, you have it forever! He approved a $200 spend on the entire setting for 4 people so here is what I bought.

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Table Runner – Home goods – similar version here ( I already had this — white = staple and reusable every season)

Beaded Placemat – Target (sold out) similar here

White Scalloped Dinner Plate – Target ( I already had this as well — like I said white goes with every season)

Ceramic Turkey Salad Plate – HomeGoods similar version here — I loved the fall color of these!

Pumpkin Dessert Plate – Crate & Barrel – I couldn’t pass these up, especially at the price of $2

Cloth Napkins – Cynthia Rowley – They also had a table runner in this print but I thought that would be too much. I tied them with twine I had on hand to save costs on buying napkin holders

Acorn Salt & Pepper Shakers – Target (in store) similar here

Leaf Garland – Crate and Barrel — I consider this one a “splurge”… I saw  many of these at HomeGoods but they all looked very cheap. I decided to go with something that would last long term

Cake Stand – Target — I already had this on hand because I use these a lot. I have 3 different white designs and I use them from everything!

Mercury Tea-light Candle Holders – Pottery Barn — I actually bought a bunch of these in different sizes for Christmas last year but I use them year round

Orange Pumpkin Spiced Candles – HomeGoods similar version here

Pumpkin Ceramic Centerpiece – HomeGoods but can’t find similar online

Mercury Pumpkins – HomeGoods similar here — I love the mercury version of these because they are timeless.

Acorns – Crate and Barrel — These weren’t necessary but they were cute and I had room in my budget for them

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So who wants to come over for dinner?

 

 

Oh… Hey!

It’s been 7 months since we last spoke, sorry about that! We had a ton of stuff going on in our life (which I may or may not go into more detail about) and blogging had to hit the back burner. Now that things are settling down (uh, kinda) maybe I should give you a quick snapshot of what has been going in our life.

We visited San Diego and Los Angeles for 2 weeks in March.

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I’m a MOH in one of my best friends wedding.

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Enjoyed Easter Dinner at our place this year.

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My baby cousin turned 1 and my BIG baby cousin graduated HS.

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We finally decorated our guest bedroom…

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We decided to get a shore house this year so we could spend our weekends at the beach.

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My sister had a precious baby girl!

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I threw a High Tea bridal shower in Baltimore.

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Adam and I went to Boston for Labor Day weekend…and waited in line 3.5 hours to eat our favorite lobster roll.

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One of my best friends had a handsome baby boy!

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I turned 30! (err, 29, again)

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Oh…and we announced we are having a BABY GIRL!

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More detail coming on these soon 🙂 Have a good weekend!!

Valentine’s Day {Menu} at Home

Since we are expecting a nor’easter (which is the norm around here lately) tomorrow we’ve decided to cancel our reservations at Catch and enjoy dinner at home for Valentine’s Day. Adam will be taking over the appetizers & main course parts of the meal and I’ll be in charge of the drinks + dessert. Here is what is on our menu!

Appetizer:

Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta & Balsamic Drizzle (via Iowa Girl Eats)

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Main Course: 

Caesar Salad with Heart Croutons (via Martha Stewart)

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Classic Shrimp Scampi (via Brown Sugar)

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Dessert:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (via The Yummy Life)

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Drink: 

Strawberry Heart Mojitos (via Young Married Chic)

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Eating in also saves money + calories and we could afford to save a little of both right now in anticipation of our 9 day trip to California! 3 more weeks til we’re out of this snow can’t come soon enough… What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you’re staying home, what’s on your menu?

 

DIY Valentine’s Day Gift

Adam and I tend not to make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day. Fighting the crowds and paying for overpriced meals when its negative degrees outside just isn’t as fun when you’re old 😉 . I love crafting from mason jars because they are so easy to work with. I made the good news jar with a mason jar back in January and I’ve used them for multiple times at bridal showers. If you are looking for an easy and inexpensive gift, this is perfect for you!

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What you’ll need:

  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Washi Tape (or paint)
  • Label Maker (or marker if you use paint!)
  • Mason Jar
  • Ribbon for Jar
  • Tag to tie on to ribbon that says “Date Jar”

Instructions:

  • Add washi tape to popsicle sticks and add your date idea labels on top of that

OR

  • Paint popsicle sticks (red & pink) and write your date ideas on top of it with a paint pen

I would make each design / color a different category. Example: Red — Expensive. Pink — Less Expensive. White — Stay at home. Below are some of my ideas by category.

 

Expensive:

  • Couples Massages
  • Winery Tour / Overnight stay at a Bed & Breakfast
  • Dance Lessons
  • Cooking Class
  • Booking a limo for a fancy dinner
  • Weekend Getaway
  • Broadway Show
  • Dinner Cruise

Less Expensive:

  • Beach Date
  • Hiking Date
  • Ice Skating & Hot Chocolate
  • Dessert Only Date
  • Coffee & Croissant Date
  • Boozy Brunch Date
  • Movie Date
  • Rock Wall Climbing
  • Bowling
  • Cheese & Wine Tasting
  • Comedy Club
  • Sunrise or Sunset watching
  • Happy Hour
  • Fro-Yo
  • Fondue Date
  • Art Gallery
  • Picnic at the park
  • Running Date (5k)
  • Golf / Driving Range
  • Jet-Ski’s
  • Tandem Bike riding
  • Painting Class
  • Kayaking (or Paddle boarding) on the Hudson
  • Burgers & Shake date

At Home:

  • TV Series Marathon
  • Chopped Competition
  • Board Games
  • Champagne by the fire (or the heater haha)
  • Breakfast in Bed
  • Take-out
  • Make personal pizzas from scratch
  • 1,000 piece puzzle
  • Football and Wings
  • Popcorn & Romantic Comedy
  • Breakfast for Dinner
  • Make a fancy dessert together
  • Dinner on our patio
  • Home improvement project

 

What would you add to this date jar? Always looking for ideas 🙂