Monday, July 25, 2016

Honey Cupcakes!

To say that I've had a sweet tooth since I've been pregnant with baby Pray would be a lie; the truth is, I had a sweet tooth long before pregnancy - in fact, 28 years before! So when I noticed that our grocery store was selling fresh, local honey, I knew I had to scoop some up to bake something delicious.

I searched Pinterest for awhile, and finally came across a recipe for honey cupcakes. Now let me tell you, I love to bake, but I am not one who often bakes from scratch... boxed mixes are just so easy and taste great, so there often isn't need for the extra effort. 

But let me tell you... if you like honey, these cupcakes are so worth the extra effort!



What you need for the batter:
- 1/2 cup of room temperature butter
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
- 1/4 cup of (fresh!) honey
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract

How to:
1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
2. Mix together the buttermilk, vanilla, and honey.
3. Beat together the sugar and butter, then mix in one egg at a time.
4. Slowly combine the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into the butter, sugar and eggs.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes, or until done.




What you need for the frosting:
- 3/4 cup of room temperature butter
- 4 oz of softened cream cheese
- 3 cups of powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons of (fresh!) honey

How to:
1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese.
2. Slowly add in the powered sugar.
3. Finish by adding the honey.

Simple and delicious!



I feel that it is very important to say that I am not normally a frosting girl, but this frosting is AMAZING! Truly, I was a little concerned with how much powered sugar was in the recipe (as I do not like the taste of royal icing, etc.), but it was absolutely delicious.

It is likely that I will make these cupcakes again, but it is certain that I will make the frosting again!



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

25 Week Bump Update

Time has been flying, and I can hardly believe how quickly - I swear, I blink and another week has passed! Here's a quick 25 week bump update!



How far along are you? 
I am officially 25 weeks pregnant! It's really crazy to me to think that I have been pregnant for about 6 months now... time is flying, I'm almost in the third trimester, and there are only 15 weeks left! 

Although I am well over half-way done baking this babe, we just recently got around to sending out our pregnancy announcements in the mail - so just in case it wasn't official before, it's officially official now!



Size of baby? 
The baby is about the size of a head of cauliflower! 

As the weeks go by and my belly is getting bigger, Scout has to work a little harder for cuddle room... she makes it work, but I can certainly tell that she is wondering where the heck this cauliflower belly came from!

Movement? 
Tons - I feel like I have an alien rolling around inside of me, ha! But I have been totally loving all of his kicks and jabs. :)

Symptoms? 
Still super blurry vision... I'm not used to not being able to see things, and it is the weirdest thing ever! And I'm still hot all the time when I am sleeping... the AC needs to be low, low, low or I will absolutely die - dramatic, I know, but it's true!

Sleep? 
Sleep is okay... I have been waking up in the middle of the night, and I am absolutely unable to fall back asleep. I've found that I can go back to sleep a little bit easier if I go sleep on the couch or in the guest bedroom, because otherwise, I will literally lie awake until it is time to get up for the day.

Gender? 
Baby boy! I was recently gifted four boxes of baby clothes (which was perhaps the single most helpful thing EVER... praise God for hand-me-downs!), and the boxes are filled with football, dinosaur, and truck onesies - all things boy and I love them all!



Craving? 
Nothing really! I was just talking with a few ladies about this - let's be real, are pregnancy cravings even a real thing?! I mean, sure, sometimes I really crave Chick-fil-a or cool ranch Doritos, but I don't really think that has anything to do with me being pregnant...!

Maternity clothes? 
Yes! I don't have a ton of clothes, but my sweet friend from my church community group lent me a few dresses and a couple pairs of pants which have been total life savers for me - especially for wearing into the office for work!

It's gotten to the point where I can still wear non-maternity items, but they are quite unflattering... so unless I'm just hanging out around the house, I much prefer a maternity item.

Missing most? 
Mostly just different types of food that I am not supposed to be eating. If I'm going to be honest, I am actually not all that concerned about deli meat, non-pasteurized cheeses, raw juices, etc... They've never gotten me sick before, so I feel like the chances of them getting me sick now are quite low. 

BUT, my sweet husband, on the other hand... he gives me all sorts of side eye if I even mention the thought of a deli sandwich!!! He follows the rules, and insists that I do to... but can't a girl just eat a turkey sandwich?! If you know my husband, you know that this is so him... But this is one of the many reasons I love him. Gold star dad award, for sure. :)

Hubby? 
Aside from making sure that I follow all of the pregnancy rules, he is as sweet as can be! He recently added a baby hiking backpack to our registry so he can take the babe fly fishing with him and on adventures (which makes my momma heart melt!).

Nursery? 
Complete disarray! But we have a vision, and that's the first step, right?

I found a tutorial for a board and batten on Pinterest, and it required you to pull off the trim from the wall... and let me tell you, after pulling the trim off the wall, I started to get a little concerned about needing some professional intervention getting the room back to normal. We will see how it goes... but please keep your fingers crossed for us!

Although the nursery is a bit of a mess, we are already getting things/gifts to fill it, which makes the whole process super fun to envision the end result... yay, for baby gear!! :)




Best part of the week? 
Last week was the first time that I had a stranger approach me about being pregnant... and I totally loved it - in fact, it was the best part of my week! I am always asking John whether or not it is clear that I am pregnant or whether I could just be looking pudgy, and it was nice to have a non-invested person assume that I was pregnant and talk to me about it.

Looking forward to? 
Feeling set up... I am in Arizona for work this week and then immediately leave for a bridal shower in Michigan afterwards. We have been traveling so much and have been quite busy with life that we really haven't done a whole lot in terms of baby prep.

I am sure this is just my nesting instincts kicking in, but I really just want things to be in order so we can relax and enjoy the process a bit more! All in time, right? :)


For more baby Pray:

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alaskan Adventures: Girdwood and Seward

Well, it took way longer than it should have to share the second half of our Alaskan adventure, but I have finally gotten around to it... and better late than never, right?!

The first half of our trip was spent exploring Denali and Talkeetna (interior Alaska), and the second half of our trip we spent in Girdwood and Seward (coastal Alaska). We loved being able to explore both the interior and coastal areas of the state... Alaska is so large and there was so much that we didn't see, but it was a great taste of the two, very different aspects of what the state has to offer.

***

We started off in Girdwood and stayed three nights at The Hotel Alyeska, and to say I didn't want to leave would have been an understatement. It was an absolutely beautiful resort with shops, restaurants, hiking trails, and so much more all within the resort.


Our first day in Girdwood was spent hanging around the resort and relaxing... John even insisted I get a prenatal massage at the spa - don't have to tell me twice! It was a very nice break from all of the hiking that we had been doing in Denali and Talkeetna.


One of the hikes that we did in Girdwood conveniently started at the resort. The trail was called the Winner Creek Trail, and is well known for its hand tram that you have to use to pull yourself across a large river. I'd love to say I pulled us across, but really, John did all the hard work and I was just along for the ride! ;)



The river that the tram crosses.


Log crossings: John's favorite part of the hike.


View from the Winner Creek trail head - still snow covered in June!


The trail was absolutely beautiful and had rivers and bridges all throughout the hike without too much elevation gain - that's my kind of hiking!



The resort has a restaurant at the top of the mountain, Seven Glaciers, and John made us reservations for dinner. To get to the restaurant, you take the ski lift tram to the top of the mountain, so you get to enjoy a fun ride and beautiful views on the way to dinner!


Our table at the restaurant had the most incredible view, and come to find out, when John made reservations he requested "the best view in the house" - one of the many reasons he is my favorite vacation planner... all about the details! :)


We headed to Seward the next morning where we went to the Kenai Fjords National Park for a scenic boat tour. It was cold, cold, cold - but incredibly beautiful.

Note the bald eagle on the sail boat mast below... does it get any more picture-perfect than that?!


The scenery during the boat tour was incredible - which is a good thing, because a 6 hour tour on a boat could perhaps be a bit much if it wasn't engaging!


Raining, but braving the cold!


In addition to bald eagles, we saw several species of whales, otters, mountain goats, seals, and way more birds than I will ever remember. My favorite, of course, were the whales, and they actually got quite close to our boat! The tour wasn't a whale watching tour, but a tour of the National Park, so getting to see so much wild life was a real treat!



The tour took us to view several glaciers, and let me tell you - they were beautiful, but just looking at them had me freezing to the bone... not to mention the icebergs in the water!



Our next day in Seward was spent hiking Exit Glacier. We had done so much hiking during the first part of our trip that I wasn't sure I would be up for the glacial hike, but I absolutely loved it - in fact, it was one of my favorite things that we did in Alaska.



The hike was guided by a local company, and they really kept us moving at a good pace, so I was thankful that I was able to keep my pregnant butt moving without too many issues. In order to stay balanced on the glacier, you really have to drive the crampons into the ice, which as you can imagine, gets pretty tiring after awhile.

We were totally decked out in helmets, snow pants, ice trekking poles... the works!



John drinking fresh glacial water... although I am sure it was super clean, I decided to just stick to my CamelBak. ;)


Our Alaskan adventure came to a close back in Girdwood where we had our last dinner at Jack Sprat - a perfect spot to reminisce over our beautiful vacation!

We headed back to Anchorage in the morning to catch our flight home; we were sad to leave, but are confident that we will be back - it's just too beautiful to not share with baby Pray when he is old enough! :)



You can read about the first part of our trip here!


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