Sunday, November 28, 2010

Just Add Baby!

From the moment we opened up the envelope and found out that our little nugget would be a perfect little princess, we couldn't wait to get started on her room! We started off with a blank slate. The room had old pale blue carpet, white walls, and a hunter green wall paper trim. First thing to go was carpet. We went through Home Designs Studio in Rochester to have the new flooring put in. We thought about doing wainscoting in the room, but decided that since the flooring matched the baseboards already, we would stick with that.

After the floors went in, I steamed down the wall paper trim. We then spent a good 20 hours taping off the room and painting the walls green with white stripes. This is not an easy task to take on. If you ever plan on doing painting stripes in a room, let us know and we can give you so VERY helpful tips that would have saved us loads of time. In the end, though, the stripes turned out better than we could have hoped.

After the painting came reinstalling the baseboards. This is not as easy as it sounds. Think putting together a jigsaw puzzle that needs to fit perfectly. And the pieces are large and cumbersome. With nails. Eek! We survived though, and so did the walls.

Next came the ceiling fan. We wanted to install a dimmer and a ceiling fan, which would require a little rewiring. This task was left entirely to Eric and our go-to handy guy/good friend Brent. Together, they put in the fan (and it is still up!) and put the whole system on a dimmer. It could not have worked out better.

I made some wall art with canvas, mod podge, scrapbooking pages, and ribbon. We added her furniture, clothes, a rug, and hung everything on the walls. Now we are good to go! We just need to add baby, which will happen this week. We are going in for induction tomorrow night and we could not be more excited. Or more nervous! We cannot wait to meet our not so punctual princess. She will be the perfect last addition to the room that we are just so proud of :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Grandpa's Bassinet

This past winter, being that it was my first spent in Minnesota, brought about a multitude of challenges. One such challenge that was almost a daily occurence was getting my car up the driveway and into the garage. This may be a simple task anywhere else in the world, but on a sloped ice covered driveway with a sharp turn into the garage, not so much. So when the image of me trying to haul Little Miss Deutsch and a diaper bag up from the bottom of an icy driveway that my car could not get up come mid January flashed in my head, we decided it was time to clean out the OTHER two car garage that is closer to the house and easier for me to pull into.

This, however, was no simple task. Like most garages, there was hardly any space to move in this one and there wasn't even a car parked in it. With an empty dumpster and a couple ladders, we got to work. Since the garage has been a storage space for Eric's parents since the 80's, you can only imagine what we found. Most of the items were tossed without hesitation (think boxes of moldy stuffed animals and comforters) but there were some pretty neat things that we came across as well. Amidst the several mice skeletons, we dusted off a box of Eric's parent's wedding invitations in perfect condition, a few pictures from the 1970's, and the bassinet that Eric's dad and his siblings slept in as babies.

The bassinet was in pretty rough shape but with a little one on the way, we got a little nostalgic. There is no amount of bleach that would justify putting a child to sleep in this thing, but we thought, cleaned up, it would make a perfect place for blankets and toys. And when Little Miss Deutsch is old enough, she might like the idea of having Grandpa's Bassinet as part of her room.

In order to salvage the bassinet, we had to have a plan of attack. First step- a soap bath. Using a plastic knife, a few wash clothes, and a bucket of suds, I cleaned this sucker down to every last nook and cranny. Since it was missing one of the wheels, we decided to pop off the remaining three and replace them with small wooden balls with some felt glued onto the bottom. Next, we sanded it down to the bare wood. This was not very easy. I have the blisters to prove it. Apparently, sanding was not something this bassinet has seen before. Instead, there were about 4 layers of paint in varying shades, one on top of the other. After the sanding, Eric rolled out the power washer (side note-super easy to get out of the garage now that it is so clean) and went to town on the bassinet. After a thorough bleaching, another light sanding to smooth out the rough spots and a few coats of white spray paint, it is complete. It is the first piece of furniture we have in the nursery so far and we love how it turned out. Hopefully it can stay in good enough shape that one day it can get passed down as Great Grandpa's Bassinet.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Start of Summer

With my summer break starting not too long ago, Eric and I had made some big plans for what we would do with my first couple of weeks off. We were so excited to have our good friends Shane and Rachael in town from Las Vegas for the first week off. Shane and Eric played in the member-guest golf tournament at the country club while Rachael and I relaxed and did typical girl things. It is always a blast seeing those two and hopefully we will see them again in September for a Notre Dame game!

Our 2 week summer vacation went into the next phase on Sunday soon after Shane and Rachael left for the airport. We had a nice father’s day brunch with Eric’s dad and then packed up our bags for our 3 city road trip. First stop: Geneva, Illinois. Eric had been invited by Brad, someone that Eric’s company does business with, to play in a charity golf tournament in Geneva. Geneva is about 1 hour west of Chicago is perhaps the cutest little town I have ever seen. We were lucky enough to go during their “Swedish Days” festival that is held every year. There were so many street vendors, bands, and little shops that could have kept me entertained for weeks on end. And the hotel we stayed at could not have been better. A quaint little balcony overlooking the river, a sitting area with a toasty fireplace, and warm cookies and perfectly cold milk brought to you before bedtime. Really, does it get any better??

We left Geneva on Tuesday to head up to Milwaukee for the Twins- Brewers game. I was a little disappointed that I could not enjoy one of Miller Park’s finest brews, but was so excited to see a new ballpark and cheer on the Twins. Eric did an awesome job with finding tickets online and our seats for right behind home plate! The Twins couldn’t pull off a victory, but we had a blast anyway.

Wednesday morning came a little early as we wanted to get on the road by 8 am to avoid Milwaukee traffic. The final leg of our trip was one we were looking forward to for a long time: 5 days up on Lake Millie Lacs with our friends Brent and Brenda. The trip was made even better since Brent had proposed to Brenda the day before!! We spent our time celebrating, fishing, and just enjoying some sunshine. I caught my first walleye and Eric filleted up our catches like a champ. We even went to a meat raffle! Eric and I didn’t win any meat, but leave it to the pregnant lady to win a free cocktail J. There were some perfect nights for fishing on the lake and you couldn’t have asked for a prettier sunset.

We are home in Rochester until we head to Pensacola Beach for Eric’s mom’s birthday next week. It will be nice to relax and get some household chores done. And I suppose Eric should go to work. Sidenote: Eric played in a Minnesota State Amateur golf qualifier on Tuesday and qualified!! The tournament is later on this month so I will keep you updated. Fingers crossed that he does well!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Forbidden Fruits & Satisfying Substitutes

When the word “baby” first made its way into our daily conversations at home, I started reading all of the “I’m going to be a new Mom so I am hoping to be dreadfully over prepared for my first doctor’s visit” books I could find. Besides the shock of the potential weight gain and the promise of little to no sleep that would be coming, I had to just drop my jaw at the list of foods and activities that I was now to avoid at all costs. For the most part, it has been pretty easy to stick to the list knowing that the little bundle of joy coming in November will be worth every missed bite of a medium rare steak and sip of a perfect margarita. However, when 24 weeks seems like 24 years, I turn to my now favorite substitutes to keep me happy and the little one healthy. Here are some that have become my pregnancy staples:

1.) Replace a Jimmy John’s #16 (oh-so-delicious) with a #6 with hot peppers. I love Jimmy John’s. And since we did not have one in Phoenix, it was still a delicacy to me once we got to Minnesota. But then Heidi Murkoff goes and tells me that lunch meat is not something one should consume if they are “Eating Well While You’re Expecting.” So when that aroma of fresh baked bread comes over me, I get the all veggie sandwich with hot peppers to add some spice. Really pretty tasty, even without the meat!

2.) Replace running hard with 30 minutes on the stair climber. Yes, I am one of those people that really enjoy running. I’ve never had coordination so running has always been something I could do and do well. When I get on the treadmill though, I want to test it to see how fast I can go and for how long. Turns out, the baby isn’t a huge fan of that. Having to keep my heart rate around 140, I turned to the escalator-looking contraptions at the gym. At first, I only lasted 8 minutes. These things really work your legs! Now, I just grab whatever book I am reading and set the timer for 30 minutes. My heart rate stays regulated and my thighs, calves, and tush get a workout like never before.

3.) Replace a tasty Cabernet with a wine glass of grape juice. Let’s be honest, there is no replacing a nice glass of red wine. My search for must have ‘mock’tails started with instructions on making a virgin dirty martini. It said “1.)Place two olives in glass. 2.) Enjoy).” It gave me a good laugh but made me realize that water doesn’t have to be the only beverage a pregnant lady consumes. Sometimes making pasta sauce at home just feels more relaxed with a little of Welch’s finest in some nice stemware. And though I tell Eric I would like a margarita brought to me after I deliver, there have been a few other favorites that make me feel a little less out of the loop when out with friends like the classic Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), a virgin Gary Miller Lite ( I think you need to live in Rochester to know about this one- Diet Tonic, a splash of cranberry juice, and a lime), and an O’Doul’s Amber.

4.) Replace sleeping on your back with a really comfy side pillow. Since sleeping on your back in pretty much forbidden after week 20, and I am strictly a back sleeper, I have started to prepare myself for an additional 20 weeks of side sleeping. The first couple weeks went really bad. But after going through all of the pillows in the house and finding the perfect match for me, I have mastered the side sleeping. Bring it on pregnant belly.

All that being said, we are so excited to be expecting the little one and thank you all for the well wishes! This is the latest picture of Baby Deutsch waving hello.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sweet Surprise

Hi. My name is Deanna. And I am addicted to blogs. Friend’s blogs. Celebrity blogs. People I don’t know, but still love their blog blogs. I like to think that they are my version of Eric’s One of my favorite type of blogs are ones that have new and creative recipes to try out. So you can imagine my delight when I came across As I was scrolling through the posts, I “Ooh’d” and “Ahh’d” at just about everything. I wanted to immediately start baking for no other reason than to make something so perfectly cute and tasty. Now, I am not a huge baker. I much prefer cooking. However, one’s mind can easily be swayed to the sweet with confections like snickerdoodle cupcakes, mini pecan pies, fourteen layer cake, and, my personal favorite, cake lollipops.

These cake lollipops have to be the single cutest thing I have ever come across. I tried my hand at making them last night. Seeing as though I think I was born without the creative gene, I think they turned out surprisingly good. What do you think??

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mexican Night!

Ever since we moved from Arizona to Minnesota, we try to make Mexican food at least once a week. Maybe we miss the southwest or maybe we are just accustomed to culinary traditions of Phoenix. Either way, the smell of cilantro, jalapenos, and cumin in the kitchen immediately make our mouthes start to water. One of my all time favorite dishes to make on these nights is Tortilla Soup. The flavor is hard to beat and it surprisingly incredibly filling for a soup. Try making this one night to accompany your favorite Mexican entree. You won't be disappointed!

Tortilla Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil (We've been using this a lot more recently with all the talk of Omega 3's)
1 medium size jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 medium size yellow pepper (or 1 small yellow one and 1 small orange one), diced
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 teaspoons cumin (depending on your taste preference)

*In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is heated, add the above ingredients and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occaisionally

1 tablespoon tomato paste
5-6 cups of low sodium chicken stock (We like to make big batches of chicken stock and store it in the freezer. So much better than the canned variety. But we still go to the canned stuff in a pinch :) )
~1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
~1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice

*Add tomato paste, stir well, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Next add the chicken stock and cook for about 10 minutes on low heat with the lid on. Add the raw chicken to the soup, stir well, and then cover. Cook for another 10-15 minutes on low heat. Add the cilantro and the lime juice, cover, and cook for about 3 more minutes.

You can stop there and it will be really good. But to send it over the top...

Top the soup with a small dollop of sour cream, some chopped avocado pieces, and some tortilla strips that you can cut and bake in the oven with a little bit of salt on top until crispy.

Mmmm..I think I'll go for a second bowl now...

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Nutrition Soap Box

Anyone that knows the two of us, knows that we LOVE to travel. And since there is nothing better on a plane than a good book, my library card is invaluable. Recently, my favorite topic to read about is nutrition. I love being in shape but hours at the gym are to no avail if we come home and have trans fat, empty calories, and a complete lack of nutrient rich food. The more I read though, the more I want to get on my soap box and preach about what I’ve learned. So I have come up with my top 5 things I think everyone should know when it comes to what we eat every day.

1.) I think we forgot what a serving size is. Sure, some people look at labels and say “Hey, it’s only so many calories per serving. That’s great.” It may be great, but eat 2-3 servings at one sitting and you are getting 2-3x those calories. For the most part, a serving size for meat is 3-4 ounces. That is about the size of a deck of cards! I know that we have a tough time keeping within those portion sizes. I think the main thing to really be careful with is serving sizes of soda, snacks, and carbs. Watch those and you’ll be good.

2.) Mutligrain bread is not necessarily Whole Grain Bread. Bread is a staple in most of our diets. And if you are going to be eating bread, the best bread to eat is whole grain bread. The recommended daily allowance of grains is 5-8, with a minimum of 3 of those being whole grains. However, be careful when you snag a loaf of bread off the shelf. The first ingredient listed should ALWAYS be “Whole Grain” in some form. Next time you are at the grocery store, check out the ingredient list on some loaves marked “multi grain.” I was surprised to see how many had a first ingredient of “Enriched Flour.”

3.) The myth that eating healthy is too expensive is just plain false. I think this can go hand in hand with serving size. Our diets should include way more fruits and vegetables than anything we can buy off a shelf. One of the best tips when grocery shopping is to stay on the perimeter. The middle aisles are most likely the processed foods that we don’t need (and if you look at the ingredient list, you really don’t want). Buy what’s in season and you’ll be spending less on the fruits and vegetables. If the ones in seasons are not ones that you are a fan of, stock up on the frozen varieties. Also, eating less will cost you less. Eating a 16 ounce pack of cookies that cost you $2.00 will pack on the pounds a lot faster than a pound of apples at 99 cents a pound.

4.) The food pyramid still exists. Remember that pyramid that we all learned about as kids? The government still has recommended daily allowances because research has shown that those servings are best for our health. The pyramid may have changed by minor details over the years, the main idea still exists. Get your whole grains in, your fruits and vegetables next, and then round off your day with proteins in dairy, meat, and other non meat proteins. That small tip of the pyramid that is made up of fats is a small portion for a reason. I think that we tend to forget that and our pyramid, and our bodies, quickly becomes out of shape.

5.) Vitamins that are added to food are not better than the foods with vitamins already in them. There is a line in a commercial that says that grapes are “the original grape flavored food.” So many processed foods are “vitamin fortified.” However, the foods sitting on the shelf are not healthier than the good old real thing hanging out in the produce aisle. There is something to be said about eating something natural; something that came from the earth, not a lab.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"I'm Gonna Write a Letter..."

About 7 years ago, I was spending my summers working as a waitress in a small, local restaurant. I learned real fast that if I was planning on making any money at that job, I would have to master the art of customer service. Since then, customer service has played a major role in my professional life. I often joked that being a nurse is comparable to being a glorified waitress. Sure, my nursing career requires an amount of knowledge exponentially greater than my waitressing days, but the principals of customer service are very similar. I believe that doing everything within my capabilities to ensure that the customer (or patient) is satisfied is a high priority. Finding answers, spending time just listening, and apologies can go a long way for a frustrated customer.
All that being said, my latest gripe is with Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. We just spent a few days in Vegas visiting friends, shopping, and cheering on our March Madness brackets. We stayed with our friends Shane and Rachael at their new place in Panorama Towers (check it out- Amazing!) but made reservations at Planet Hollywood since our room would be free and we would receive some resort credits for staying there. The rooms are very nice (we’ve stayed there before, but never actually went up to our room this time around) but the check in process is downright unforgivable. We waited well over a half an hour to get to the front of the line. The “basement level” check in was crowded and completely inefficient. The lack of signage almost prevented people from getting into the casino in the first place. The cake topper, though, was getting accosted by Planet Hollywood employees for “free” show tickets and other Vegas goodies for doing a 90 minute tour of their new tower. If you unknowingly chose to do the tour and did not choose to buy, you were deemed as ignorant for making such a poor decision.
We have to been to Las Vegas several times and will continue to go in the future. However, we won’t be heading toward the red lights of Planet Hollywood and would suggest others to follow suit.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ice Fishing!

We headed up to Lake Millie Lacs this past weekend to experience ice fishing for the first time. We went with one of the guys Eric works with, Brent, and his oh-so-sweet girlfriend Brenda. We had such a blast! There really wasn't any fish to be caught, but it was fun nonetheless. Our little cabin on the ice was 8x20 so we definitely got cozy. On Saturday night, the ice was cracking because of the change in temperature and we could hear it all night. It is so scary to feel the whole cabin shake when that happens!

We also got to experience snowmobiling for the first time. It is pretty crazy how fast you can go on those! If you ever get the chance to go riding though, HOLD ON TIGHT! We went over a little snow mound and I went flying across the ice. Only minor injuries though.

We can't wait to head up to Millie Lacs with Brent and Brenda again! Only, next time, let's find showers :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Maui Christmas and Happy New Year!

We were lucky enough to be able to spend the holidays this year in Maui with some great friends and Eric's family. We absolutely LOVE it in Maui. We went to a amazing Christmas day service at Saint Theresa's in Kihei. If you ever get the opportunity to head to Maui, really try to get to a service there. The priest was so engaging and the band (Yes, band!) made it the best mass we've ever been to. And with a combined 33 years of Catholic schooling under our belts, we've seen our share of masses. New Year's was spent at Mulligan's (more of that to come) in Wailea. We had a blast and we all stayed up to see the fireworks over Grand Wailea.

We were blessed this year with just perfect weather. 80's and sunny every day is definitely something we could get used to. We spent plenty of days laying on the beach (Big Beach and Little Beach in Makena are some favorites), lounging by the pool (the just beautiful Fairmont Kea Lani- Thanks Aunt Pam!), snorkeling (check out Four Winds Maui), golfing (the boys got to play Kapalua's Plantation course!), and eating and drinking to our heart's content.

Food might be one of my favorite things ever and great food is even better. So when I experience great food, I want to tell the world. Maui has some great restaurants and, with everything so fresh, it is hard to narrow it down to a handful of top spots. That being said, here are some places in South Maui I would not only recommend, but will go back again and again:

Four Season's Ferraro's- Right in the middle of Wailea, we didn't dine for dinner, but had a few really great lunches there. A little overpriced, but portions big enough to split. Best Ahi Tuna sashimi I've ever had.
Mulligan's on the Blue- A little Irish pub on Wailea's Blue golf course. Since the time change is 5 hours from the east coast, Mulligan's opens up at 8 am on Sundays for the football games. And, yes, we were there at 8 am.
- Pretty cool bar/restaurant in Kihei. The food was ok (except the "It's Baja, Dude" wrap-that was so good!) but the happy hour was killer. You can't beat $3.00 Mai Tai's.
Cafe @ La Plage- This spot in Kihei is a very casual panini place that we found just this year. Small, personal, and just delicious sandwiches.

We are back in the cold now, but here are some pictures from our tropical paradise :)
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