Our Gingerbread House

gingerbread house many hats mom blog
One of my favorite things to try to do is build a gingerbread house. I always see them at the store and think … I can do that! The problem is, I have zero patience and skills for this. So Ryan does it instead.

This morning, the kids (and the patient parent) built a cool, edible house. It even had a chimney! Pretty good if you ask me. I watched Nolan and kept overhearing “That’s enough icing. Hurry and spread it before the icing hardens. Don’t eat that. That’s enough. If you keep eating that, then we won’t have enough decorations for the windows.” Oh, Ryan.

Anyone else on a sugar detox after the holidays? Us too. After we devour the house, of course.

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

Holiday Cookies

holiday cookie exchange party

Kelsey, my mom and I attended a holiday cookie exchange last night. Let me just tell you … if a bunch of your mom’s friends invite you to attend a holiday cookie party, you go! You don’t even question it because these ladies know their way around the kitchen. I mean, just look at our sugar loot! PS – I’m on a diet. Doh!

Baby Boy Celebratory Breakfast

DSC067552

We had a bright, baby boy brunch at Scottsdale’s Morning Squeeze this morning! My co-workers and I gathered around for iced coffee, Eggs Benedict, omelets, strawberry crepes and double chocolate ganache cake! Yes, cake at 9am.

You see, sometimes your co-workers turn into great friends and that’s the case with mine. My Starwood marketing family truly outdid themselves this morning as we celebrated the upcoming arrival of baby Nolan and my colleague, Nancy’s soon-to-be son.

DSC067561
baby shower brunch
DSC06751b
DSC06757

Two cakes for two babies on the way! We have to give credit where credit is due. Andrea is our resident baker. Isn’t she amazing? She did Dayna’s baby shower cake too (seen here) and even came prepared with to-go boxes! Not joking. I literally took home half of this cake. I may have already dabbled in a second piece. Shh.

DSC06748
DSC06758
baby shower
DSC06795

They gifted us soft swaddle blankets, the cutest honest diapers, and a little somethin’ somethin’ just for mom. Hello, Nordstrom. The most important part was we were all together. It’s actually pretty amazing that I’ve celebrated all three kids with this group. 7 years at a company and some of these ladies have seen me through all of these babies.

I have 13 days until my due date. The panic is starting to sink in a bit – are you ever ready? Even if this is my third child, there’s really no good way to prepare yourself for a new human to come into your life. However, I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. And moments like this one just make it feel more real.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Dayna, Melissa, Andrea(s), Allison, Brittany, Nancy, Dani, Kristina, Tania, Heidi, Meagan, Jill and Karla. You really know how to make a girl feel blessed. Nolan is a lucky little guy.

Individual Frozen Key Lime Pies

I logged into Pinterest for the first time in years (it seems) and I saw this beautiful piece of dessert staring back at me. I’m pregnant, hungry all the time, and hot – so this refreshing dessert looks perfect for me. I’ll be making this something this week. Wish me luck. Recipe and link to more photos if you want to join me.

Key Lime Pie Recipe

All photos from Dana’s cooking blog.

Sweet Girl. Sweet Tooth.

cupcakes 6
Kelsey and I walked into Sugar Lips Cakery to pick up an early birthday cake for Colton. I told myself that I would not buy a cupcake, “We are just there for a cake. Focus, Stephanie!” and then Kelsey spotted it … a perfectly pink cupcake with a swirl on top.

I got to the register with one cupcake and then, ah what the heck, throw in another one for me. The lady at the register said, “That will be $2.” Two dollars? As it turns out, Sugar Lips Cakery has a “Happy Hour” one hour before they close on Wednesdays and Saturdays where all cupcakes are one dollar!

Sweet, I thought before turning back to the register and asking for four more. I have no self-control. None. Whatsoever.

cupcakes 1

cupcakes 3

cupcakes 4

cupcakes 7

cupcakes 11
We admired all of the beautiful cakes they had on display, and then we found a great corner in the cakery and dug in!

From the Kitchen of Kelsey Cross

baking a cake

baking a cake
Princess Hamburger Five-Layer Cake

Let’s just say Kelsey and I haven’t perfected the art of making a layered cake yet. The other day, we decided to bake a cake. We didn’t read any directions, we just decided to wing it. That made for half of the fun! We wanted it five layers (Kelsey’s choice) and all kids of colors (again, her call). We didn’t get rid of the ‘bubble’ on the layer that result in a fast bake time, instead we just stacked and let the cake lay where it may.

It was hilarious! No, seriously, this was the best part of baking. Allowing your four-year-old dictate the colors of the cake, not worrying about a mess and frosting with your fingers, and forgetting to tighten the lid on the sprinkles before pouring them on top of your cake. We really did have a great time baking together. After it was all done, Ryan walked in and said, “Is it supposed to look like a hamburger?” Well, no. It’s not. But since it does, we called this our Princess Hamburger Cake. And if you’re wondering, it tasted amazing.

baking a cake - mom blog

baking a cake - mom blogabaking a cake 5

baking a cake

Healthy Snack: Roasted Brussels Sprouts

roasted brussels sprouts

This shouldn’t even count as a recipe, but I love this snack so much it’s worth sharing. Take Brussels sprouts, mix them in a bowl with olive oil (3 tablespoons) and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Shake the pan every so often to mix them up a bit. Make sure to keep an eye on them, mine always brown early. Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and add more salt. And, that’s it. Enjoy!

Downtown Denver Dining

File this restaurant recommendation away for the next time you find yourself in downtown Denver. It’s a restaurant that you’ll want to visit.

A few weeks ago, my colleague and I had a meeting with the Westin Denver Downtown’s executive team. We arrived one day early so we could see what downtown Denver had to offer. We must look like we’re from the 70’s because as we were walking through downtown people kept shouting, “Hey, you in town for the Cher concert?” Um … no?

Besides the ‘friendly people’ we were pleasantly taken back by the charm of downtown. Boutiques, shops and cafes all around. The streets were lined with the same kind of outdoor light bulbs that you’d expect on a cute southern patio. Charming and really set the mood for a good evening.

My friend Meghan recommended a great downtown Denver restaurant to try, and one that was in walking distance of the Westin. So, Nancy and I walked into Osteria Marco. Well, not before I nearly walked into Ocean Prime. Osteria/ Ocean … you could easily mix them up too, no?

Dinner was perfect. Perfect food. Perfect service. Perfect atmosphere. If you find yourself in Denver, check out Osteria Marco. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and there’s a super cute bakery/ market next door where we stopped in for some desserts while we waited for our table.

Two foodie thumbs up, Denver.

Downtown Denver downtowndenverrestaurantsdowntowndenverdowntowndenverrestaurants2downtown-denver-bakerydowntowndenverdiningostera-marco-denver-restaurantdowntowndenverdining