Forts, Movies, & Popcorn


Forts, movies, and popcorn... they kind of go hand-in-hand, wouldn't you say?  Movies are more fun to watch and popcorn is more fun to eat when you do it inside of a fort (at least for a toddler.. but who says it can't be fun for an adult too?).  Now that I've gone from working 5 days a week to 3 days a week - a perfect schedule for this pregnant lady - I get to spend more time playing with my girl.  And I'll take all the one-on-one time I can get with her before baby #2 come along. 

For our fort, we used the tent frame that my husband built for my daughter not too long ago.. but hey, you don't have to be fancy like that.  Get your kid and have them help you drag a couple chairs out to the living room.. drape some extra blankets or sheets over the tops, and plop some pillows on the floor!  It makes some great rainy day.. or just lazy day.. fun!  There tends to be a lot of lazy days going on around this house, since my energy is completely dwindling the closer I get to my due date.

After you get your movie ready to go on the TV, you absolutely cannot forget the popcorn!  We love Pop Secret microwave popcorn.. my go-to is either the movie theater butter or the kettle corn.  This particular day I was feelin' more in a movie theater butter kind of mood.  Who needs to actually go to a movie theater for the popcorn?  Not us!  My child would probably eat a whole bag of it herself if I let her.

What are your favorite things to do with your kiddos on a rainy and/or lazy day?  Do you have any other favorite fort-building-snacks besides Pop Secret popcorn?  I suggest you go visit Pop Secret's Facebook page for a $1 off coupon and stock up on some for those days you might just get all crazy and bust out a fort in the middle of your living room.  ;)

This post is sponsored by Pop Secret.  All opinions and forts are my own.  ;)

33 Week Update {pregnancy}


The end is in sight... almost.  Just 7 weeks left until my due date.. hopefully 5 weeks left until we meet this little man (which is when Clara made her appearance, at 38 weeks) for the sake of my always-in-pain body.  That and I'm just completely anxious to see his sweet face..

What will he look like?  Will I get a kid that has dark hair like me?  Or will he look more like Clara?  I still find it kind of hard to believe I'm having a boy.. it hasn't quite 'hit me' yet.

And although my body feels ready, I'm totally unprepared.  This second time around I've been a slacker.  We were totally ready for Clara by this time.. but no where near it with little guy.  The nursery is still very much 'under construction'.. I need to find a good bassinet that fits on my side of the bed.. I need to find a good car seat (recommendations, anyone?).. I must admit, I've been procrastinating.. and now I'm a bit overwhelmed.  But it'll get there.  But the biggest thing is - he has no name!  We only have a couple names on a list that are kind of just... eh... to us right now.  But maybe once we meet him, one of them will pop out to us.  We've hardly thought about it, because it's been very frustrating for me.  Picking a good name is a big deal, I think. 

I've gained 25 pounds so far, and although that's not much.. I'm feeling pretty frumpy these days with this big ol' belly.  Some of my maternity clothes don't even fit right anymore and I'm to the point where I just plan on wearing what I've got until this guy decides to come out.  No more maternity clothes for this gal - I want to save my money for a new wardrobe after baby.  So if you see me wearing the same shirt a couple times a week.. that's why.. and I'm ok with that.

Clara is starting to become a little impatient, I think (me too, kid).. she keeps wondering when baby brother will be here.  And although I keep saying.. just another month or so.. she doesn't quite get it.  But soon enough it'll be like Crazy Town USA around here, and I'm really praying she will adjust well.

Homemade Bagels {recipe}


I was kind of intimidated at the thought of making my own bagels.  It just seemed like a lot of work, and easy to screw up.  But I am so glad that I did it.  I can honestly say that I will never go back to store bought.  The taste is so fresh, and they freeze very well!  And while they do take a little bit of time, it's not really hard work.  While my bagels don't look totally perfect, I assure you they taste fabulous.. and I was pretty darn proud of myself.  Now if you have some extra time this weekend, I suggest you roll up your sleeves and give these a try!  And don't let the lengthy directions scare you off!

Homemade Bagels
recipe from Annie's Eats

For the sponge:
  • 1 tsp. instant yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  •  2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
For the dough:
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
To finish:
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • cornmeal, for dusting
  • toppings of your choice (cinnamon-sugar, cheese, seeds, or everything topping)
  •  Everything Topping - combine 4 tsp each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, and 2 tsp salt

For the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a medium bowl.  Add the water, stirring until it forms a smooth, sticky batter.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until it becomes very foamy and bubbly.  It should get nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

To make the dough, in the same bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir.  Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and honey (or brown sugar). Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.

Knead dough for about 6 minutes with the dough hook.  The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth.  If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading.  If it seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required.  Should be satiny and pliable but not tacky. Immediately divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces (recipe should make about 12 bagels).  Form the pieces into rolls.  Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.

Line two sheet pans with parchment and mist with spray oil.  Shape bagels by pushing a hole through the center and stretching out the hole to 2.5 inches.  Place each one 2 inches apart on the pan.  Mist bagels with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Check to see if they are ready to be refrigerated by using the float test.  Fill a small bowl with room temp/cool water.  Test one bagel by putting it into the water and if it floats within 10 seconds then they are ready for the fridge.  If it does not float, return to the pan and continue to let them set at room temp for 20 more minutes or until it passes the float test.

The following day (or when you're ready to bake them), preheat oven to 500 F.  Bring large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda.  Have a slotted spoon nearby and your toppings ready.  Remove bagels from the fridge and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as will fit (should float within 10 seconds).  After 1 minute, flip them over and boil another minute.  if you like chewy bagels, you can boil 2 minutes per side instead.

While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment lined sheet pans with cornmeal.  If you are topping the bagels, do it as soon as they come out of the water.  When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the middle shelves in the over and bake 5 minutes, then rotate the pans.  After rotating, lower the oven to 450 F and continue baking about 5 minutes or until bagels are light golden brown.  Remove the pans from oven and let bagels cool on rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy their amazingness!