Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baby Shower #3 - Month 8

32 weeks!
By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb.
Can you guess who got a hold of the camera? Picture taken by Karl...duh!

OK...this was one heck of cool, thoughtful baby shower. Karl's mom (my mother-in-law Judy) wanted to have a shower and invite all her neighbor ladies who are also in a book club together. They even read a book by Sophie Kinsella, Shopaholic & Baby in honor of me (this was seriously my kind of shower). Judy and her neighbor Angela decided to plan something for us on a weeknight that would be fun. Boy...did they ever. I'm still blown away by the awesomeness of this shower.

Judy and I walked over to Angela's house. Jim (father in law) and Karl soon followed. My mouth dropped when we walked in. Angela spends a lot of time in Amsterdam (she's a flight attendant) and her house shows this. Everything was so modern and put together. From the bottles of water glowing, to the wine (there was a special non-alcoholic wine from IKEA set up just for me) to the entire special Amsterdam cheese spread to the decor, I couldn't even believe it. I was blown away.
The appetizers were insane!!! All brought in from Amsterdam.
Yes, this glowed a really cool shade of blue! Way to make water interesting (and cool)!
A little wine station in the corner. That's my wine chilling on ice. WOW!
The table set up perfectly! Can't forget the tulips! Lots of fresh tulips!!!

Then Judy added her personal touch to the shower. These are the cutest things ever!
Me and Judy and her diaper cake!!! Look at all those diapers!

This awesome baby carriage is back! So yummy!!!!

Then we sat around and played some fun games. I still have yet to play the same two games at my showers. The first game I had to decide which traits I want baby to have... Either Karl's traits (hair color, driving skills, ears (duh!), chin, nose, sense of humor, etc.) or if I want baby to have mine. That was fun. Then everyone had to guess who I'd pick. Karl of course won AGAIN. He dominates at these baby shower games.

In the meantime it began to snow... a lot...
Snowing on February 20

The second game was a little like Scattegories (one of my fave games). We had three minutes to come up with boy names that began with a C and girl names that began with a K. Then we read them off. If anyone had the same, we had to cross off the names. There were some fun creative names like KeeKee. I actually liked a bunch of them and might have to use one or two.

As Angela and Judy put dinner together, I sat around and talked to a lot of the neighbors. They are the coolest women ever! I'm not kidding. I'm getting so used to everyone sharing their horror stories with me, but these woman kept telling me how awesome motherhood is going to be. I could just tell how much they LOVE being moms and how becoming a mother changed their lives for the better. I knew they were good moms! I SO needed a night like last night.
Listening to all the cool, fun stories of motherhood!

Can you guess how many gummy bears are in this bottle?
An amazing Greek salad. I'm telling you...dinner was awesome!
After dinner, Angela poured everyone an after dinner drink (from South Africa)

After eating a delicious meal of baked pasta, Greek salad, garlic bread and fruit. Angela opened a bottle of this awesome liquor we drank in South Africa!!!!!! I even had a sip! Then the dessert came out. Yeah, there was EVEN more food!!
awesome cheese cake and strawberries. Hellloooo!!!

Then it was time for the gifts! Angela first handed over a photo book covered in cute little African animals to match the nursery. In the photo book was an ultrasound pic of baby Koester and then all the women wrote a piece of advice for me, which was the BEST EVER!!!!!!! Next to their advice was a card full of money. Jeesh!!!!!!!!!
Everyone's advice was spot on! Love love love this!

Then Angela handed over a bag full of goodies. The first bag was a diaper bag full of baby items we'll be using. And then...the best part. BOOKS!!!!!!! Lots and lots of books!!! Like...The Giving Tree!!!
Cutest diaper bag with African finger puppets!!!

Then Judy gave me her gift! She's spent almost an entire year knitting a beautiful blanket for Baby Koester!!!!!!! The blanket is GORGEOUS!!!!!
A beautiful blanket made by my mother in law - Baby K is going to LOVE it!

I can't even thank these women enough for the fun evening, and my mother-in-law and Angela for all the work they did putting it together. The night was soooo meaningful and special. Made me wish Karl and I lived in a neighborhood with super cool people. But most importantly it made me see that I can't go into this alone - people WANT to help and I need to accept that help. Amazing friendships bloom that way! I am just getting so excited for everything!!!!!! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!

Healthy Dinner in a Pinch

Christie's Concoction
serves 4
recipe found in Christie's head :)
Tasty little dish with lots of veggies

It was Saturday night. I wanted something healthy and didn't have a lot of energy, but thankfully after my morning workout with my trainer, I headed to the grocery store and bought a lot of healthy foods so I could whip something together - problem was I didn't know what I was going to whip together. Karl was ice fishing and it was just me, so I figured I could make something gross and not feel bad about it. Good thing this didn't end up tasting gross!

A pound of Chicken Italian sausage
Two small zucchinis
Baby Bella mushrooms
1 yellow squash
Fresh dill
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Handful of whole wheat spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese

1. Chop up Italian sausage into bite size pieces and cook in a skillet. Remove from skillet.

2. Add lemon juice, mushrooms, zucchini and squash. Cook until soft and sprinkle with dill.

3. Boil water and add spaghetti noodles.

4. Add spaghetti and meat to veggies in skillet. Mix together. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.

My take: This was great. Easy to make and tasted wonderful. My guess is Karl would want more salt.
Loved this easy dish!

Tasty Banana Bread

Banana Bread
serves 12
recipe found on All

Nice and moist banana bread! Yummmy!

I had a few black bananas lying around the kitchen and a huge craving for banana bread. I spent Sunday morning Googling looking for the best recipe. This one had 4.5 stars out of 5 and over 6700 people commented how much they loved it. So why not try baking it, right?

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.               

3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.               

Karl's reaction: "This house smells SOOO good." Karl walked in from ice fishing. "Ohhh, this is good babe!"

My take: I liked this banana bread a lot. I probably put in more bananas than I needed, and I think I could have used more brown sugar, but still really good!!!