Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ain't No Party Like A Due Date Party

Greetings from Chez Baldwin! I'm fixing pancakes because, heck, why not. We're having a due date party! Minus Bebe.

Look! I'm full-term!

Baby, you don't know the party you're missing! Please come soon!

Hi from us!
What I did today: cleaned the kitchen, folded laundry, paid bills, updated our expenses, took a nap, watched Monk, did some editing and writing, and updated everyone on baby's lack of arrival.

"The Lord is good/ a refuge on the day of distress;/ He takes care of those who have recourse to him." (Nahum 1:7)

Friday, September 20, 2013

#7QT: Kill with Kindness

Four days till my due date... and that's all the baby news I have. Holla back to Jen!


Pope Francis and his awesome interview - my thoughts here at Ignitum Today, "Whom Would Kindness Kill More: Them or You?" on the interview and the spiritual work of mercy of comforting the afflicted.


This week I made two larger meals out of the ground beef we bought. One was spaghetti and meatballs, the other was a casserole. Will does not like cooked vegetables, which is a good reminder to me to think more before I make a big meal of foods I like, because then I have to finish them. Since we don't eat meat on Fridays, this pushes leftovers back even further. Sadly, I am already over both these meals (and ground beef) and onto my next culinary adventure dreams...

Crock pot time!

Will requested a rump roast, and I found this recipe for Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast; its only flaw is that it lacks potatoes, though, which we have an abundance of - it seems like I could add more vegetables too (for my own benefit).

Natalie of The Busy Budgeting Mama posted Round 3 of her freezer crock pot meals, and they look delicious. She also posted the recipes + grocery list, because she is an angel.

I also found this recipe for balsamic vinaigrette, Will's favorite dressing, so we can eat happy salad this week. BOOM. VEGETABLES.

Do y'all have any favorite crock pot or make ahead meals?


The Myers-Briggs test - have you ever had yourself personality tested? Will and I took it at our pre-cana retreat, and I'm glad I wrote it down for reference! I am an ISFJ (married to a ESTP! Which, I was thrilled to read later, is the natural pair to my personality - isn't that fascinating?).

I mention it because Jen asked in her 7QT, if our personality was a song, what would it be?

I've picked Natalie Merchant's "Wonder":

What is your personality type?! What is your song? (It's subjective - just pick one!)


The coolest part of reading my personality "portrait" were my different career starting points:

ISFJs have two basic traits which help define their best career direction: 1) they are extremely interested and in-tune with how other people are feeling, and 2) they enjoy creating structure and order, and are extremely good at it. Ideally, the ISFJ will choose a career in which they can use their exceptional people-observation skills to determine what people want or need, and then use their excellent organizational abilities to create a structured plan or environment for achieving what people want.
One of my possible career paths is child care, and as silly as it sounds, it was exactly what I needed to read today. Nannying for almost two years was my most favorite job - more than writing, more than editing. I have high hopes for this mommy job!


Here is a just found picture from my MIL's camera! Will and I where we got engaged, 6 months into our marriage, right before we moved to NOLA.


Okay people, taking a poll about my bloggy-blog. I'm thinking of changing the name to "The Julie View" (same as my Twitter handle) from "The Corner with a View" (for simplicity's sake). I'm not in the mood to start a new blog, just fixin' up the original for now. May even add a tagline... and an actual, personalized header!


I miss my family! But they're having a good time anyways.

Four of the six of us

The dogs in my sister's high school uniform shirts

Oh hey, E!
Happy Friday, everybody!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Need for Self-Care

Originally published at The Mirror Magazine

Last Sunday, I drove two and a half hours to a beach in Alabama with my husband and a friend, chatting and laughing and singing along to the radio and our CD collection. A couple hours later, we were driving back to New Orleans, with white sand stuck to all the crevices and skin (and in our hair), sunburns, and conversations that would dwindle off as a favorite song came into play.

Once we crossed back over the border into Louisiana, I asked my husband to drive because I was so tired. The waves had been strong and full, white-capping and carrying our bodies forward and onward. It takes strength to stand up against the tide, even when you dig your feet into the sand and swear you shan't move. But moving isn't the problem - it's where you end up. Let yourself get swayed, and you'll end up 20 feet down the beach. But maybe that's where the adventure starts? As I sat on the sand in the late afternoon and watched the sand crabs dive into their holes, I thought: this is self-care.

Self-care "refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development." Self-care starts with self-awareness.

What are you able to do? What do you want to do? Why are you feeling this way?

My husband likes reading on the beach between swims, and our friend took at least one nap on her towel, but as I was less than two weeks away from my due date (a week now!), I cannot lie on a towel without needing Will to physically help me up again or sit comfortably near the hot sand for so long. So, I thought, what do I want to do? And it was a wonderful feeling. I went and sat on the lower part of the beach, and let the waves wash over my legs and my belly, where my baby pokes me and teases me.

It's taken me nine months to get to the point where I can sit in the sand. I've never taken leisure time very seriously. There was work time, vacation time, quality time (with friends and/or family), chore time and productive time. Even sleep time got the short end of the stick, more often than not.

Leisure is not the same as self-care, but it can feel that way to me. Instead of being optional, however, self-care is possibly one of the most important things a person can do for herself. Self-care is a recognition of your limitations, a want to improve, and a desire for sanity. If a person does not relax, their body will become ragged and force rest upon them in forms of sickness or exhaustion, mental and physical.

Self-care can come from necessity - my pregnancy forced me to re-evaluate how I never took time to rest. Self-care must become a habit, verses a special occasion.

I've focused my self-care on four areas: daily prayer, daily exercise, daily writing, and naps.

I've taken small steps - morning prayer, and daily mass once a week. Exercise for 30 minutes. Writing without publishing.

I learned to nap. I learned to sit down and watch. I learned that it was okay being passive, as long as you didn't get stuck there. I learned that it was okay to let people help you, and admit that you can't handle a work load.

This week, I think I'll paint my nails. I've organized the closets and re-written the chore and grocery list, for my own peace of mind. Now, to finish a few bigger projects and book reviews!

How do you self-care, reader? Do you self-care? Why or why not? What is holding you back if you're not?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Five Favorites - In Vino Veritas! Edition

Check out Hallie's here!


The top slot of the day goes to Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam.

Yes, you heard me. MAPLE BOURBON BACON JAM. I have not had this particular kind, but I have had bacon jam, and I am beyond ecstatic at the thought of going home for the holidays and creating my own jars of deliciousness with my bestie and fellow foodie Sarah.

H/T to the always wonderful April, who has made her own jars and is making me seriously contemplate driving west to obtain a jar or two...


Next, Essie nail polish - because it is a happy, classy brand. It also makes my hands look like they have a party to attend.


Every Saturday, we have Supper Club with a classmate of Will's and her sister, who have become very dear friends down here. Unfortunately for them, their neighborhood is infested by roosters. Fortunately for me, I got to spy this sweet mama hen and her three chicks this past weekend!

I know I'm not the one being woken up every morning by them, but GOSH they're cute!


We had another one of Will's classmates over for dinner and he brought the wine. If I was not preggo, I may have consumed half the bottle. It is that delicious; and the label is funny too!

Barrel Monkeys, 2011 Shiraz - from McLauren Vale in Australia.


My Dad ordered me my very own subscription of The Magnificat and it is so comforting to me to have morning prayer, the mass readings, and evening prayer at my disposal, as well as a daily reflection and saint of the day. I was especially touched by this passage: "Behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close." (Rev 3:8)

I love that I can read it all through my iPhone app as well - much better than bringing the book along, and then misplacing it for days.

Have a wonderful day, y'all!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blueberry Bundt (There Is A Hole In This Cake)

Yesterday was my 39 week appointment, which confirmed this baby ain't leaving soon. The nurse asked if I was in any pain, and I gave her the "Well..." answer and went to go pee in a cup.

Note to everyone: do not leave a nurse hanging like that. She will find you and she will demand to know how you are feeling.

I was feeling fine, at that point. I was awake most of the night with a tightness across my abdomen, which was more persistent and annoying that particularly painful. Not contractions, and I'm not close to going into labor. The pain I had to think about (and then forget to mention to the nurse as my brain went into La-La Land on the scale) was my throat. I hesitated to mention it because I wasn't sure if it was pregnancy-related, but as I've never had tightening/slight burning before, I figured it had to be.

Acid reflux, anyone? At least, a very mild-mild case of it. But enough to make me not want to eat ANYTHING. Which most people can tell you is not a good thing. But my MIL told me she would eat bites of angel food cake and sip milk when she was preggo and had acid reflux. Which brings me to this week's greatest idea ever:

BLUEBERRY BUNDT CAKE, with special thanks to Martha Stewart - the bearer of delicious recipe ideas

{Now, if you've clicked on the link you'll see that it is actually blueberry-lemon bundt cake. For the sake of my throat/stomach, I omitted the lemon... for now.}


2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature {I put them on top of the toaster oven 2-3 times, rotating sides}
1 cup packed light-brown sugar {I used part light, part dark}
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain greek yogurt [Chobain brand!] {Martha calls for sour cream} ... I also used more than a cup

2 cups blueberries {I used frozen and did not thaw beforehand}


{Natalie Merchant radio on Pandora is not required, but certainly enhanced this baking experience.}

I used my mixing stand (thanks, Aunt Joanne!) to cream the butter and sugars together first, then added one egg at a time. I added one cup of flour, mixed; scooped in some greek yogurt; mixed; one cup of flour, mix-mix-mix; the rest of the greek yogurt, mix; half cup of flour, mixy-mix; 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and kept the mixer going.

Then, I removed the mixing top and plopped it in the sink. (Fine, I ate some of the batter first, then plopped it in ze sink.)

Now, this is where it gets tricky. The instructions say to fold the blueberries into the batter. I took this as, generously guesstimate 2 cups of blueberries into the mixing bowl and stir, stir, stir.

However, after spraying the bundt pan with nonstick butter spray, and the timer for the oven went off, and... I got impatient about putting it into the oven, so I stirred less than I should have. The only thing that happened was that there were more blueberries on the bottom of the bundt cake, but I think that is easily remedied if you, dear reader, took more time - or put the blueberries in half at a time, so ensure them to be better spaced out.

Here you go, in its raw glory {see, I could have folded the blueberries better}:

Then, 70 minutes later at 350:

(The recommended cooking time is 60-70 minutes on the lowest rack.)

After letting it cool in the pan, I covered it up and went to bed. In the morning, I had this for breakfast:

Consensus: delicious!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#7QT: Life, Listlessness, and The Ladies Who Lunch

Hey-o, gang! Check in with Jen and the crew here!


Officially 11 days till my due date... the bets are rolling in steadily. My brother John lost first; he said September 11. My MIL bet I will go into labor tonight and deliver tomorrow... fingers crossed that doesn't happen either.

Any bets, readers? We're asking for date, time and gender! And thank you all so very much for the sweet prayers, notes and comments y'all have sent my way during these past nine months. I couldn't have made it through the nausea without my vast support system!


I love Pintrest, but do you know what would make it even better? REVIEWS.

Here's one Amazon reviewer who had me laughing out loud over his reviews of hummingbird nector, milk, toilet seats, et cetera. (H/T to this lady for pointing me there.)

But seriously. We need a Pintrest reviews board! This Epic Pintrest Fail website will suffice for now.

(Pinning? Follow me! I loves it.)


“Brother, I’m not depressed and haven’t lost spirit. Life everywhere is life, life is in ourselves and not in the external. There will be people near me, and to be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter – this is what life is, herein lies its task.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 'The Brothers Karamazov'


I plan to tackle tasks this week with muffins, specifically blueberry, which I will be making without a box of mix and a can of blueberries for the first time EVER. I hope they'll be delicious. I've stalked Pintrest for delicious blueberry muffin recipes, but I think I am going to stick with my cookbooks for now... too many healthy recipes and substitutions abound. People! Some people just want their muffins to resemble a dessert!

This recipe understands me. Then again, these zucchini blueberry muffins do look enticing.


I'm also exhausted. I have not posted on the blog since last Saturday, but I've started four pieces... I just can't finish them. Listless is the word I've been searching for when people ask how I am doing - "characterized by lack of interest, energy, or spirit" and "lacking energy or disinclined to exert effort; lethargic"... dot dot dot.

Next week I'll be 39 weeks. I'm having contractions but ... yeah, no. Yesterday at the gym/ Tulane rec center, Friends was on t.v. in the elliptical area and Rachel was rushed to the hospital by Joey because she was experiencing contractions. The doctor told her not to worry, they were only Braxton-Hicks, a.k.a. practice contractions.

Which made me preggo-rant/ think while sweating/ labor training, Had her doctor SERIOUSLY never talked to her about Braxton-Hicks?! What kind of doctor does she have? And why did she go to the E.R.? And why did the doctor tell Joey he did the right thing by bringing her in?!

Sure, they hurt. Fine. But the E.R.? C'mon Friends writers. No-no-no-no drama!


Prayer request: one of my in-laws' chickens might be biting the dust soon. My MIL is very sad about it, even though she will soon have a grandchild. (Will thinks this is a good trade-off!)

I call them "The Ladies Who Lunch"
Also, my husband and our friend Katie start the Match process on Sunday. It's a stressful time, but I pray it will be a fruitful time as well. Three months of interviewing, followed by two and a half months of waiting, and a grand reveal in mid-March after the giant algorithm computes where the aspiring doctors are to spend the next couple (or many, many more!) years of their life. All the prayers you can spare, please!

Prayers for Colorado, peace abroad, and an increase of charity too.


Have I shared this picture yet? Me at 38 weeks:

Happy times as Casa Baldwin. Happy Friday, all!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

#7QT: Forget Multi-Tasking!

Friday? It's Friday? Again?! (Just kidding, it's Saturday now.) Hi-ya to Jen and Co.!


I was complaining at my more recent inability to multi-task well, and Laura sent me this:

Thanks for this wisdom, Laura!

Which ties in a bit to the next few...

Okay, Syria. This has been on my heart and mind so much. Today is the a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria. I can't fast, but Will and I are going to confession and mass today.

There have been interesting articles posted around, explaining the conflict in Syria, and it's just tragic. But Syria is not the only place in the world when horrible crimes are being committed against its citizens, and the hubris of our government to think that they have a moral obligation to "right the wrongs" abroad when our own country is crippled by our abortion rates, the sex trafficking happening right under our noses, the ridiculous war on drugs which sounds good but is causing more violence and crime, the callousness towards anyone attempting to live in a counter-cultural way and the want to conform our country to one standard (be it in education or mores) is truly disturbing.

Syria has not attacked us. Syria's peace crisis is not going to be solved by another country attacking them and then forcing them into a peace treaty. The devastation of war in the 20th century are multiple examples of that. In the peace treaties following WWI, the humiliation of Germany (an ally, not even an aggressor) was a direct contributor and catalyst to the renewal of pride in being German, the so many closed eyes to wrongs done by the National Socialist Party and its leaders, and the death of millions of innocent people across the European and Pacific theaters.

Hubris can be a greater evil if we allow pride to dictate our power over others.


The USCCB has written to the President and Congress, following Pope Francis' call for peace. I haven't yet, but I'll be writing too. Pro-life means valuing ALL LIVES. War is not the answer. The end does not beget the means.

Contact your Congressmen. Let's really start keeping people accountable.


Okay, fluffy part now. I am in love with Shutterfly. Huggies gave me a "free book" for being a "new mommy" so I made a wedding book, because the offer expires on September 28, and the baby is due on September 24. No way I could make a baby book before then, and I reeeeally wanted to make a wedding book before the deluge of baby pictures come rolling in.

It came last night.
I texted this to my sister last night. 
I love it so much.

My favorite page with my sister's MOH speech.
She's fuuuuuunny.

They're having another general deal for the end of summer - one free 8x8 book with the code "SUMMERBOOK" - hop on it, y'all!


I am a list girl. Before Baby arrives, I want to have my chore list established and my pantry list in working order, as well as our finances and passwords in one location so Will can contribute to the process. On a larger scale, I think this is going to be a big step for me in not micro-managing.
My current list!

Also, on a personal question level, does one ever get used to taking care of the majority of the housework, cleaning, errands?! Will helps out when I ask, but I have to be specific because I don't think he notices a majority of the messes I am obsessing over... Maybe that's why I fit this job description better.

{He can also memorize a ridiculous amount of information and comprehends it all - which I really only benefit from when I have a pregnancy woe or when we're watching a t.v. show and someone has the flu, and the doctor says they're running low on antibiotics, or something like that. Laugh laugh laugh - the flu is a virus! You can't cure it with an antibiotic!}

Another question: I know chores is a constant adaptation to one's surroundings, but how does you stick to your goals? I tend to get side-tracked by other jobs (which perhaps ties into the first part - struggling with multi-tasking!)...


One perk of an OB's office are all the adorable baby announcements one gets to look at while waiting for the doctor to come in the room. Since my baby is due in 17 days, I've been thinking more seriously on this. I also don't want to wait to see if it's going to be a boy or girl when deciding... I've been thinking of a New Orleans onesie!

I found this one at a local store, Fleurty Girl:

Thoughts? I'll probably keep looking around, and buy one by next weekend.


Fun links:

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for Lazy People (like me)

By lazy, I mean they're not even cookies. They're bars. Why separate them first when I can cut them later? Hello gooey deliciousness.

I really can't decide if I've always liked desserts or my pregnancy is making me extra craaaaavy for them. Either way, we're going to a Mississippi beach with friends this weekend, so I decided to make some sort of dessert to-go. We have all the ingredients on hand, so that was my decision making process.

That tea cup is now empty of gooey goodness
(I was also a half-hour early to an editors meeting for The Mirror Magazine  because I'm all off on this different time zone thang, so the extra time obviously went to making baked goods. I called my sister too. Now I have a sweet bite for the 15 thank you cards to go and one more Miss Marple episode... tonight's going to be a good night!)

My next decision came down to two recipes. Here's Megan's recipe - for the bigger is better crowd; I went with this one.

{I also loved this recipe - thanks, Rachael Ray! For those who want a smaller batch of yum.}


first bowl:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (ja, that's 16 tablespoons of butta... I lowered that slightly)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

second bowl:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

After those two are combined, add in:
2 cups quick-cooking or old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

375 degrees for 20 minutes or so! 10x15 baking pan is recommended; adjust baking time accordingly! (Or just stick a knife in it to check. Mine took an extra 10-ish minutes.)

I started cutting into it, and then remembered I had to take a picture.
Thoughts on making lemon bars next? Will likes those (I think... but so do I, so it's a win-win). I'm also drawn to Megan's recipe for chewy peanut butter brownies... because if there is one thing I know, it is that peanut butter is the bomb dot com and I am always into peanut butter.