Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Sundays are my afternoons with one of my nephews, while mom, dad and Uncle Nick play softball. My nephew and I loooove our afternoons together, usually getting some fresh air with stroller rides, walks, or playing out front with the neighborhood kids.

He really has a thing for our back bedroom, and since there isn't really anything he can get into and hurt himself, I let him have at it. It can be "his room" until we have a little one of our own to argue the point with him.

Anyhow, he went into "his room" this past Sunday and after a couple minutes, I knock on the door and lo and behold the cutest sight I have ever seen!

He answers the door, and says, " look Aunt B, your chues!" as he steps out in my flip flops, on the wrong feet of course.

I *heart* the things kids do!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's "Sew-Easy": Blanket Instructions

Thank you to my friends & family for your willingness to sew itty bitty blankets in memory of our daughter, which will be donated to our local hospital for nurses to use when presenting pre-term stillborn babies to their parents for that special time they are able to say hello and goodbye. Standard receiving blankets pose a challenge for the nurses, who do their best at making those babies look their best. The Hospital issued blankets engulf the little bodies and they get lost in all that softness.

Our little girl was given to us in a hospital issued blanket, and although at the time, a blanket was the least of my concern, looking back, I would have been touched to have her presented to me in a blanket suited to her size...even moreso, knowing that someone donated the blanket in memory of a stillborn..When you only have a half hour to spend with your baby, every last loving touch helps. Those memories are all the families have of their much loved baby.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making the blankets. And if they seems small when you are making them, it's because they are! NZ had to remind me just how small our little doll was as I sat there hemming and hawing over whether the instructions really were for a 12x12" blanket or not...

You will need:
A sewing machine
An iron & ironing surface ( preferably an ironing one needs to melt their carpet!)
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Marking pencil/pen
Ruler/straight edge
3/4 yd. to 1 yd. Flannel fabric in muted prints or solids

**I was able to get (2) 12x12 blankets out of 3/4 of a yd. and (3) 12x12 blankets out of 1 yd.**

I'm looking to make 2 sizes of blankets.
The 12"x12" blankets are better suited for preterm loss under 30 weeks, and the 24"x24" blankets are better suited for 30 weeks +.

The following instructions are for 12"x 12" blankets

Step 1: Measure & Trace
Using a straightedge/ruler or cutting mat marked with measurements, mark off 12.5" x 12.5" square. ( The extra 1/2 inch allows for a 1/4" seam allowance.)
Step 2: Cut out (2) Squares

Step 3: Place right-sides together and pin around perimeter.
Step 4: Sew.

(Photo A)
Using machine set on straight-stitch, sew around the perimeter, using a 1/4 seam allowance all the way around ( see photo A: there are guides on most sewing machine plates). Leave a 3"gap in one of the sides, so that right sides can be turned out ( see photo B). (Photo B)
Step 5: Trim corners at a diagonal
Step 6: Turn right-side out
Be sure to turn corners out as square as you can get them. By executing step 5, you've done yourself a world of help at getting them square.

Step 7: Press edges and corners.
Step 8: Sew edges.
Use either a straight stitch or decorative stitch ( I used Zig-zag) around perimeter of the blanket. I lined my sewing machine foot up with the edge of the blanket to make sure all seams got pressed down nicely. ( see photo below)
Step 9: Press and celebrate! You're done!

Please contact me at : for my mailing address...and once again, thank you thank you thank you for all your love!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wrapped with love

My sister sends me links to crafty websites every now and then, which is where I get the majority of my ideas from. Today she sent me one for a project that hits close to home, and touches my heart.

Greyson's mom also shares my shoes of being a babyless mama. She gave birth to a stillborn little boy, much too small for the hospital blanket that he was presented to her in. For families who experience this horrific situation, those few minutes we get to spend with our baby are the memories we will keep for a lifetime.

She has started a project of blanket donations for hospitals, in itty bitty baby sizes (12x12 and 24x24), to be used for cases of fetal demise. I know many of my friends and family are crafty, and it would mean a lot to me, and to many others who have grieved the loss of their babies for you to donate to a worthy cause.

Click on the link to her website for blanket specs ( double sided flannel) and an address to which you can mail them to.
I have an inquiry into the hospital I delivered at to see if they have any interest in receiving a donation of blankets. If so, I will start a local drive and keep you updated via this blog.. If interested in participating, email me at for more info.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Bartender

Today, NZ and I celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary..and we're working on 7 years together this December, even though there is no official "date" we became a couple..We both fought the label of boyfriend/girlfriend for a good few months before realizing that spending almost every available moment together makes you a couple by default.

If you ask him how we met, you'll likely get a shorter explanation, but I'm the novel writer here ( a useful quality when dating someone who needed help editing school papers.. haha). It's been a long time, but I can recall the night we met like it was yesterday. I was smitten from the start.

After a trip to San Francisco to see my old roommate JP was cancelled, my 2 girlfriends and I ended up at a little bar on the corner. It was a slow Saturday night in Davis, and we were in the mood to get caught up on each other's lives and have a couple of drinks.

My roommate at the time started flirting with the bartender as he took our order, telling him that we were interviewing prospective fathers for our unborn children ( keep in mind, none of us were in the mood to meet anyone , so asking random bartender dude a silly question that might scare him away was no biggie). I mean, not like any of us were his type anyways. He saw pretty girls on a nightly basis, and surely had a woman that was spoken for. Anyways, R. asked the bartender what 3 qualities he possessed that he hoped to pass on to his offspring.

I still remember his words, and now that we're working on the family thing, I hope he passes on the qualities he listed as well!

All this, and I didn't even know his name. ( was this guy for real??? He was pure awesomeness!)

He later introduced himself after the interrogation by us 3 girls, and mentioned he remembered me from the local gym. The girls and I continued to drink until closing time ( so much a for a "couple of drinks", eh?).

I remember walking up to the bar to thank him for the drinks, and he passed me what I thought was a credit card slip. I told him that it wasn't mine, and that I was going to pay cash. My friend H., who had been talking to him, laughed as he said to me, " I don't care what you write, but write something down."

Then I got it.

He wanted, MY number. Not theirs, but MINE. Flustered by his proposition, I did my best to write down the correct number..How bad would it be if I messed up giving him my real number?!

As my friends and I walked the 5 blocks to my little apartment on D street, I couldn't help but wonder, out of all the girls he sees every night, why pick me? I'm sure I "wondered" their ears off, and they were happy to see us go out on our first date a couple nights later.

With the years that have passed, we have had highs and lows, including career changes, moves, home purchases, personal fitness goals achieved, and the loss of two babies. There is nobody I would want by my side to share in these life experiences, other than him. I truly feel like I hit the jackpot, finding a stand-up guy who's the apple of my eye.

I laugh now when I think back to the night we met. Little did I know that a ruined trip to the City would turn out to change my life forever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hold, please.

Sometimes I feel like my life ( our life, actually) is like one of those calls to a really busy Doctor's office. You know, the kind where you call and the phone gets picked up, with the person on the other end immediately greeting you with,

" Hold, please".

You get no explanation for why you're on hold, although logical thinkers can figure out the possible scenarios. I usually wait out those long "holds" ( 13 minutes, really?!) and politely speak to the person who finally picks up. No complaining, cause I figure that they've already caught the wrath of the 6 calls ahead of me..

But with life, and being on hold, I want to yell at the fact that I'm on hold. I don't want to be polite. But I have no choice. Kicking and screaming will get us nowhere, but it would feel damn good. I want to have an explanation on why I can't have everything at the drop of a hat, or at a time that is convinient for me. Uhm, last year woulda been nice to have a baby...But, my baby making phone got picked up, answered briefly, then put on hold again. We're patiently ( okay, I lie..I'm not patient, but working on it) waiting again for our call to be answered..

However, life outside of the TTC world goes on while we're sitting here on hold.

There are many things I would rather be doing if the dang call could just get answered. There is just no way to do two things at once when you've been waiting so long. It's a decision of what we want the most..Do we want our call to be picked up, or do we want to hang up and make other plans?

I know, I know..What are you getting at, Brie?

You see, when NZ and I started trying to start our family, I thought to myself, a year away from training, max. I was going to be one of those moms who went back to the gym at 6 weeks postpartum and squashed all those blame-it-on-the-baby extra pounds. I saw myself getting back on stage within a year after having our first. I think NZ would have liked to do the same on his end. We both sacraficed our gym-bound lifestyle to have the best odds at getting pregnant.

Miscarrying at 9 weeks, with my first, was tough. I immediately wanted to get back into the gym to "do something with myself" and get my mind off the pain. I did get back in there, but only sporadically, as I had so many internal arguements with myself that usually questioned "what are you doing ?! You can't be super lean right now if you want babies!!". NZ helped to be the voice of reason, always keeping one foot in front of the other, for both of us.

Finally getting pregnant with #2 last December, I opted to embrace pregnancy and not worry about working out or weight gain. It's what you're supposed to do, right? I was just so excited to be pregnant and have another chance that every thought of working out went out the window. I had better things to do, like eat! ( mmmm, taco bell & Bagels!).

Now that we've lost our baby girl, and all of my postpartum issues and weight have gone away, I have motivation again. I've been back on the treadmill and in the gym, working MODERATION. But, with this renewed love for the gym, comes the desire to compete again.
Every ounce of me knows that I can not (and really do not) need to do a competition anytime in the near future. Doing that would be like hanging up the phone after spending 45 minutes on hold and pressing every prompt available on the automated system.

For now, I will just sit on hold and doodle down my dreams on the paper in front of me...Patiently waiting for my call to be answered.

Someday, someone will pick it up, I know it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A true Blue fan

Proof that Dodger love runs deep in the Zentil family. NZ & his younger brother circa 1987.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sissy's Birthday

We spent the afternoon in Santa Barbara on Sunday to celebrate my sister's birthday. This year was a special one ( no, she's not 40...yet) because her in-laws were here from New York to celebrate with us. I treated the cupcake Queen to something new, and I bet within a few days, she will have outdone me with her creativity on cakeballs as well. Bring it on, sis! Can't wait to see what she can do with them...they're so much fun to make, and tasty too!
And remember my apron infatuation? The Emmeline Apron, from Sew-Liberated? Well, I surprised my sister with one. I even embroidered her name on the bottom of the polk-a-dot side. It was a hit! Now she can bake in style and save her clothes from frosting stains.Happy Baking Stephanie!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A first time for everything..the cake ball experience

I've spent the last two nights making my first "Cake Balls". Thanks to Sara for informing me of their existence during her visit in August. I googled recipes for Cake Balls, and ran across the Bakerella blog, and OMG that woman has amazingly good ideas and so much talent. I didn't fully understand her talent until trying to make cake balls myself..

Mine have a loooooong way to go before they look as professional as hers...but it's a goal worth working toward...besides, NZ tasted one and gave me the thumbs up..along with, " These would get smoked in 5 minutes if I took them to work!" , so even if they aren't absolute perfection, they're man approved.
To make Cake Balls you will need:
Box cake mix (unless you're a real go getter and make it from scratch )
Buttercream Frosting ( enough for one cake)
Wilton Melting chips (or baking chips)
Assorted sprinkles ( jimmies, confetti, nuts, sugar crystals)

I made 4 different kinds.
Yellow with vanilla frosting and sprinkles coated in Wilton Pink Melts
Yellow with vanilla frosting and sprinkles coated in White chocolate

Chocolate with peanut butter chocolate frosting coated in Reeses PB chips
Chocolate with peanut butter frosting coated in semi sweet chocolate chips

I did my best to take photos of each step, but some...scratch that..MOST... are missing because it's so easy to forget to stop and take a picture..The sheer excitement of baking got the best of me!

Step 1: Bake Cake as directed ( I was so excited I didn't take a to a good start, right? But ya'll know how to bake a I'm not teaching you anything new here.)

Step 2: Let Cake Cool. Super duper important. Don't rush this step!

Step 3: Make Buttercream frosting ( I always use the recipe off of the C&H Powdered Sugar Box)

Step 4: Crumble cake into a bowl
Step 5: Mix in frosting with Hands ( at this point I was glad I had taken my rings off. It was an icky gooey mess!) The crumbled cake and frosting mixture will resemble a paste.
Step 6: Cover bowl in Saran Wrap and Refrigerate overnight.

Step 7: Make 1-2 inch balls and chill for at least 3 hours ( fast forward the process by putting them in the freezer for an hour..if you're impatient like me)
Step 8: Melt Candy coating or chocolate chips in a microwave proof bowl, or use a double boiler ( if microwaving, zap for 20 second intervals until melted)

Step 9: Insert Toothpick in each ball, submerge in melted coating. Use a Spoon to drizzle over uncovered sections.

Step 10: Place dipped balls on WAXED PAPER ( The use of WAXED paper is imperative. Anything else and it sticks!)

Step 11: Sprinkle toppings while coating is still soft.

Step 12: Refrigerate until ready to serve.

They're so much fun to make! I am already looking forward to trying Bakerella's Turkey cake ball pops for Thanksgiving. What a fun baking project!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'd die without you

Yes, and ode to my KitchenAid mixer...

Dear Mrs. KitchenAid,

Since you came into my life, you've made everything so much easier! I wondered, as I registered for you, if anyone would purchase you and send you to my home...and even moreso, I worried that I may get you to my house, and then (gasp!) let you collect dust as many appliances do.

We've spent almost 3 years together..and they've all been beautiful. According to NZ, the sheer magnitude of your mixing abilities makes the best cookies, ever...and without you, he may be subjected to dry spots, clumps and edible- yet- not-so- delicious- cookies.

It wasn't until last night, that I realized just how versatile you are. I usually use you for baking purposes, mixing in that stubborn flour...and sometimes for the granola I make, you save my hands and spoon from that sticky honey mess...but last night, you wowed me with your mashed potatoes making ability. In just 20 minutes from raw tater to mashed...LOVELY.

So, Mrs. KitchenAid, I can safely say that my domestic skills would suffer without you, and therefore, I will never, ever leave you. In fact, I may just die without you.

Your proud owner,


Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet Southern California Nights

Taken at last night's Dodger game.

Beautiful night in So Cal, and we had fun despite the loss to San Diego. NZ picked out fantastic seats. Probably the best ones we've had this season.

Not much beats a night at a ballgame with someone you love...and peanuts, and soda, and Dodger dogs, and soft-pretzels and get it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Steak's done!

Our household learned another Multi-tasking lesson ....
Never play video games while BBQing a steak. Video games take wayyyyy too much attention, and you may end up cooking your steak 2 hours past it's prime.
Jerky anyone?