I just wanted one.

…but I had to make 20.

MySweetValentineHere’s the recipe to the best. buttercream. frosting. ever.

You’ll have leftovers if you make it for cupcakes and you can keep it in the fridge for a bad day (or a good day!)

From Savory Sweet Life.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 C. softened unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3 1/2 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 C. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 Tbs. heavy cream

Cream butter in a mixer with paddle attachment on medium speed.  Turn off mixer and sift 3 C. confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder into mixer bowl.  Turn on mixer to the lowest speed to avoid powdered ingredients blowing every which way.  Mix until powdered ingredients are absorbed by butter.  Increase mixer speed to medium and add salt, vanilla and heavy cream.  Should you want a thicker consistency to your frosting, add a bit more sugar.  Should you want a runnier frosting, add extra cream one tablespoon at a time.


Musings from a wee lad.

I used to think four was the most fun age for little kids.  Then Brady turned five.

Brady is C’s mom’s husband’s grandchild.  Wrap your head around it.

Brady lives in the same neighborhood as C’s mom and spends a good amount of time at C’s mom’s house.  He’s an absolute joy.  In fact, I’ve only seen him in a questionable mood one time, and that was at the art museum the day after Christmas.  I think he was just plain exhausted from the day before.  Generally, he’s got a lot to say and is very inquisitive.

Yesterday during the game (we won’t go there) Brady and I had some good chats.  He’s very interested in the baby and what’s going on in my belly.  So we had a talk and I let him ask me whatever he wanted about babies.

“Can you fit through a door?”  Yes.  ”But do you have to turn sideways?”  No.

“Do people know you’re going to have a baby?”  Yes.  ”Do they know this because your belly is fat?”  Yes.

“Can the baby see me?”  No, but he can hear you and he’ll recognize your voice when he arrives.  ”He can hear me?”  Yes.  ”So he’ll know who I am when he comes out?”  Yes!

“So your baby is just going to slide right out?”  That’s the plan!

“Will the baby be lumpy after he slides out?”  Quite possibly.

“Will he be covered in water and blood?”  Yes.

Brady, what should we name a boy?  We don’t have any boy names.  ”Golf Cart.”

Stocking up on comfy clothes.

In anticipation of kicking around home for several weeks postpartum entertaining only Baby Stroh and C, I’ve started picking up some of the world’s most comfortable clothing to hang in.

There’s really nothing better than lounge clothes.  Comfy clothes remind me of summers at Queechy–cold mornings on the lake and chilly nights in front of a bonfire or out on a boat.  There was no need for outside-world clothing (or while we’re at it, taking showers or washing my hair) as a lifeguard who spent her time between the beach and the cottage.  There was no one to impress.

Since I’ve long loved lounge clothes but never have an excuse to spend money on them, I’m thrilled that I can now shop a bit in anticipation of being cozy at home for a few months.

I’ve bought three of these Make + Model layering camisoles.  They are normally $18 each at Nordstrom.  I found three off-season colors for $3.97 a piece at Nordstrom Rack.  Score!


I bought a pair of Old Navy Compression Leggings.  Also on sale.  Old Navy is always running some promotion or another.  Today and tomorrow use code JUSTFORYOU to receive 20% off adult clothes.  Be sure to look online and sign up for their emails for extra deals and coupons.


Finally, my favorite new purchases, the Coobie Bra.  A few weeks ago, I was shopping with Micaela and an old Denver pal of hers, who is also pregnant.  We were at Kismet, a sweet little boutique on 32nd in Highland, where she bought two of these bras.  When we left the store, she showed them to us and told us hands down, she could not get enough of them.  They’re padded, they’re one-size fits many (sizes 32A to 36D — now a full-sized line is offered, 38A to 42DD), and they have detachable straps.  I went back and bought one to try.  Three days later, I bought two more.  They’ve also received rave reviews online for use as nursing bras due to their comfort, straps and ultimate “give” when it comes to cup sizes.


Today’s lesson?  Keep it comfy, lady pals.  And remember, postpartum isn’t the only excuse…we’ve got weekends too!

Kitchen whimsy.

I’ve lived in a few bizarrely-shaped apartments with small kitchens — and oddly-shaped kitchens — and kitchens that were at one time fancy parlors in pretty brownstones on parks.  No matter your kitchen set up, there is always room for inspiration, and of course, a bit of whimsy.

As I continue to nest during these next few weeks leading up to the full 40, I can’t help but be warmed by photos of light funky food prep spaces.




How fun to put an ornate mirror above the range.  Never-you-mind the curious lobster art above the pot rack.  I could easily make myself at home in this space.



This kitchen reminds me of an old farmhouse in Columbia County.  I adore the square windows above the sink and counter.  White on white on white.



How charming to paint the inside of an otherwise all-white cabinet a bold color.  And that wallpaper!  Very, very sweet.  With all these colors on the flat surfaces, why not add a fun-colored stand mixer on your counter top too as industrial, functional art? Check out this shade from KitchenAid – Buttercup!



What captured my eye in this kitchen was the wire-ware garlic basket hanging on the hooks over the counter top.  My mom has one in her kitchen.  I believe it is from her grandmother’s kitchen.  It always has a few heads of garlic in it.  I’ve never seen another like it.  In this kitchen, it really adds to the primitive, simple nature — and I love it!

Keep the whimsy in your eat space!

The wind.

Again last night I was woken up by the wind.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, it is VERY blustery up here and in Denver in general.

The first thing I did was see if I could spot my planet out the window from my place in bed.

There is a planet, or I guess more probably a satellite or some light in the clear night sky that is bright enough to see without my glasses and it’s been in the upper left corner of our bedroom window for a few weeks now.  It’s a bit of a comfort, flickering in the urban canopy.

I am having trouble sleeping, which I think is just part of being less than four weeks from my due date.  Where did our time as two go?  What will it be like to be someone’s mother?  How will we handle it all as a couple?

Chris has been working massive hours.  I mean, home by midnight at the earliest on nights we don’t have birthing classes and sometimes nights we do — when class lets out at nine, he goes back to his office.  He goes back to the office for seven a.m.  I have been handling things at home and at work (and not doing that great at either).  Yesterday it all came spilling out before Micaela arrived from Boston for a visit.  We are freaked out.

How do we fit this tiny person into our small space?  I totally get why people move to houses in the suburbs.  It’s so they can have a nursery big enough to fit a large tufted glider without having to sacrifice a guest bed.  It’s so they don’t have to get rid of dishes to fit bottles in their kitchen cupboards.  It’s so they don’t have to put their desk in storage so a crib can fit in the office.

How will we live with limited sleep?  Or at least, super interrupted sleep?  Will we be really cranky with each other?

Baby will be born during corporate tax season and I’ve been forewarned that Chris will not be able to take much time off to help me those first few weeks and unfortunately, we’ve decided my mom should come out when Chris receives radioactive iodine rather than when the baby is born.  We think this will happen some time in March.  What will I do without my mom or my partner here to help me?  Leaning on others is NOT my strong suit.  My mother-in-law has been very gracious and wants to be here to help and I know I need to take her up on this — “What are you doing from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day for two weeks because I’m worried I won’t be able to do this without a little help and guidance?”

I have been told over and over again to ASK people to come and visit.  Come hold the baby so I can take a shower.  Please feel free to do a load of laundry.  Clean our bathroom.  I’m not really comfortable with much of that kind of thing–you know, the asking for help thing.

Last night after worrying for an hour and writing an email to Micaela (who was right next door in the nursery) about my Wednesday and Friday schedule, I decided there was really not much I could do about it.  It is what it is and it’s only for a short while.  Just like that planet in the night sky.  It’s going to change position.  It’s going to shift.  And I have to have faith that all this concern will work itself out and in a few months I’ll be wondering what all this apprehension was about to begin with.

wind runner[source]

36 Weeks. Chunk-a-monk baby.

And here we go.  One week until I’m considered full term.  Of course, I want this little babe to cook as long as he or she needs — preferably the full 40 weeks.  I have a LOT to do until we welcome Baby Stroh.

Today I had an ultrasound because two weeks ago, my doctor thought I may be measuring a bit small.  Today, that is not the case.  Baby is already around 6 lbs. 3 oz.  The technician made sure to mention both of her kids weren’t even that big at birth.  Yikes!

It is unbelievable how much the baby’s profile looks like Chris.  I almost cried when I saw that nose and those squeezable, kissable cheeks!

Tomorrow, our crib arrives.  It’s feeling very close!

Last weekend. This weekend!

Snow1Last weekend I left the house only once – on Sunday.  It snowed for two days.  The weather fit my feelings and mood.  Quiet and hushed.  When we finally went out on Sunday, Denver was fairly still and VERY cold.

This weekend we’re expecting a huge rise in temperatures – into the 50s!  We’re seeing friends tomorrow and the Broncos play on Sunday (and everyone is making a really big deal about it!)

Product 19. The best cereal ever.

This evening at work I was dreaming about what I was going to eat next, which is very much at the forefront of my mind lately.  I thought I’d love a hearty bowl of cereal.

I could only think of one cereal I wanted, and of course, it would be a challenge to find it.

Product 19.

I haven’t seen it in a grocery store for years so I was thrilled when after I Googled it, I noticed I can buy it by the case on Amazon.  Production has not stopped.

I said out loud at my desk I was determined to get my hands on Product 19.  My manager agreed that it’s one of the best cereals and she too hasn’t seen it for a while.  Another coworker said that I could go to the Kellogg’s website to see where certain products are sold in the area.  I immediately opened the site and found that Product 19 is available in two stores within 15 miles of my zip code.  One is very close.

I left work and headed straight there.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in the cereal aisle.

I asked a store manager what I should do and he got me a request card.  He said to fill it out and hand it to cashier when I was checking out and they would order the cereal for me.  Isn’t that fantastic?

Some lines on the request card needed special attention and I was unsure I was filling them out correctly.  UPC number? Ummmm.  Quantity?  I don’t know if a year’s supply is enough.  Product description?  Most awesome cereal ever.


When I got in line to check out, I realized the cashier and the bagger were boys, each about 14 years old, so I had a feeling I’d have to have the same store manager come over again to help with my questions.  I thought I’d give it a try with the cashier, however, before I panicked.  Perhaps he was an old soul and knew about this incredible, robust, flaky breakfast dream.

“What is it called?”  The cashier asked as he read what I had filled in on the card.

“It’s called Product 19.  It’s a cereal.”

“That sounds healthy,” the bagger said.

“It is.  It’s delicious.  It has eleven essential vitamins and minerals.  I want a whole lot of it.”

“Product 19!?  Oh my gosh, it’s like Special K but WAY better!” An older female cashier in the next lane piped up.

We continued our conversation about it for a while, the four of us.  My whippersnapper of a cashier continued checking my other items.  Among some fruit and a box of cream cheese and green tea I had three more boxes of cereal.  I felt I needed to say something about the obscene amount of cereal I was about to order on top of the few boxes coming down the rubber belt so I said, “Pregnant ladies love cereal.”

The young lad cashier looked at me and said, “Yeah, when my mom was pregnant, she said the same thing.”

That made me feel old.

I am consoled by the fact that in eight to 13 weeks I’ll have my Kellogg’s Product 19 to satisfy this early January craving.

Baby prep: A Saturday for nesting.

Snow has been falling lightly all day and I’ve stayed snuggled in the apartment.  I’ve just figured it out.  I’m n-e-s-t-i-n-g.

I’ve made vodka cream sauce.  I have a load of Hallmark movies on the DVR.  Chris is working at the dining room table.  I’m planning to stay in jammies.


There is baby laundry in the wash.  It’s all so tiny.

Now that we have the dresser that will be used for a changing table together and in place in the nursery, we can start organizing.  One load of wash is filled with the knitted and crocheted blankets we’ve received as gifts.  My mom’s friend knit us a gorgeous purple, white and blue soft, soft, soft blanket for Baby Stroh.  And she sent me home this fall with two crocheted blankets my great-grandmother, Mimi, made for me when I was born.  One is yellow and one is white.  The white one has never been used.  I came home from the hospital in the yellow.  A knitted cream-colored blanket was sent along with a few sweet little knitted infant hats from Aunt Grace.  All such treasures.  My friend Frannie told me the knitted and crocheted blankets made by people you love are the absolute best.  When I saw her little baby in the fall, she was snuggled in a pink blanket made by the same friend who made the purple, white and blue blanket for us.  Soft.  Made with love.  And…washable!

Baby is on the move inside me.  Busy kicking and stretching.  It’s very comforting.  Stay safe and warm in there, little one.

Let. It. Snow!

I think I’ll make a pan of brownies now…

Reflections on 2013.

Last year’s New Years Eve was just about the most fantastic I could have imagined.  We were on a game ride in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with Luds and Amy.  It was such a blast.  After a sweltering day in the bush, we were subject to sweet relief.

The cold rain and thunder were incredible during the ride and it was just gorgeous.  I don’t think we saw ANY animals, but we did have lots of delicious ZA beer and get soaked to the bone.  We spent the entire time laughing.  I was the spotlight holder for the back of the jeep.

NYE_SouthAfricaThis year, things are a smidge different, but happy nonetheless.  We’ll be glad to leave behind these last few months of the year and start fresh with a bundle of baby joy at the beginning of 2014.

We sent out 2013 with steak and scallops.  With Christopher at our dinner table we toasted to new beginnings!