Iowa CornQuest Recap | @stephmwise

Sooooo remember that time I told you I went to Iowa to hang out in the cornfields with nine other bloggers and learn all about the corn industry in Iowa?

OK, maybe I just told you about the cornfields part. Now I shall tell you the rest.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to attend the Iowa CornQuest tour in Des Moines for a few days to experience all that Iowa has to offer, from its corn and livestock production to its generous, passionate people. Having lived and worked as a reporter in Iowa City for a couple of years, I was able to catch a small glimpse of this side of the state then, but nothing like what I experienced in these three days.

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A Trip to the Apple Orchard + an Apple Recipe Roundup | @stephmwise

It’s a funny thing, taking a four and a half-month-old to an apple orchard — because all she can really do is pick leaves off the apple trees and sit on pumpkins — but last weekend, we decided to do it anyway. Because it’s fall and it was beautifully warm and apple picking is what you do is what I told myself when I came home with 10 pounds of apples. Ahem.

A Trip to the Apple Orchard + an Apple Recipe Roundup | @stephmwise

Rest assured, if you are an apple hoarder like I am, I have an om-nom-nommy apple recipe roundup at the bottom of this post for you to use them up in — pies and breads and muffins and pizzas, oh my. But I digress. Because I’m first here to bombard you with a gazillion photos of apples, my baby girl, my baby girl with some apples, apples on trees in the backgrounds of photos of my baby girl — you get it.

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Three Months of Motherhood |

As of this weekend, I will have been a mother for three whole months – well, unless you count me carrying around a fetus when motherhood consisted of making sure I took my prenatal vitamins and didn’t eat sushi, in which case I’m coming up on a year. Either way, I’m pretty sure I literally blinked and my daughter went from “newborn” to “baby.” *Cher voice* If I could turn back tiiiiime…

I feel like I haven’t said much about this new chapter in my life since it happened so, because we’re pals, I figured I’d bring you up to speed so you have an idea of what’s been going on behind the scenes of the good ol’ GVD.

Oh, you thought it was all ice cream and slow cooker meatballs and lovely loveliness? HA. I mean yes, those things have happened, along with cuddles and smiles and laughs and feelings of so much love my heart could burst. Truly, I enjoy being a mom more than anything and I always knew this was the role I was meant to have in this world. BUT. There also have been breakdowns and blowouts and fightin’ words and eating of feelings and wonderings of, “Why the heck is she crying?” And wonderings of, “Why the heck am I crying?” and fears that maybe I’m the worst mother in the world and stressy stressiness. Still, I wouldn’t trade a single second of it.

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introducing avery kate

Our friends from our church small group (all of whom have kids) have been joking with us for the last nine months that a baby “changes your life” (a phrase to which my husband always offers a sarcastic eye roll), and while we knew they were right, we had no idea what, exactly, that meant until 4:15 a.m. on May 9, 2014.

That was the moment Avery Kate Wise came into our lives. And that was the moment everything changed.

Of course, we knew we would be sleep deprived — though Lordy, we did not know just how much (for example: My husband thought he lost his socks the other day until he realized they were already on his feet). We knew there would be times we’d feel equal parts scared, excited, confused and elated. We knew there would be joy and frustration. We knew we were ready for children, but we also knew it would be hard to leave behind a life of greater independence.

What we didn’t really know, however, was just how much our hearts would explode with love for this tiny little creature in a matter of seconds. It was overwhelming, really. The bursts still come throughout these hazy days in the form of cuddles, kisses and staring at her sweet cherub face for hours. I can’t get enough of her.

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a lil' nursery reveal

I needed a little breathing time/downtime earlier this week after the whirlwind that was the release of my new eCookbook, so I decided to take that downtime to not make a recipe and instead snap some photos of my upcoming babe’s nursery to share with you. I hope you don’t mind! Slash welcome to my home, sort of? Maybe I’ll do a full house tour once I do the dishes. For now, bebe’s room. Focus.

I’ll start by addressing two things: 1) This is the teeniest room in our house — our storage space in the basement is bigger than this room — so it was a bit of an ordeal getting good angles/photos of the whole thing. So bear with me on the janky photography, kthanks. 2) The color on the walls is not gray nor blue (nor pink nor brown), but instead a purple that apparently cannot get its act together on the whole staying-the-same-shade in photographyville. The wall color is actually Heirloom Orchid, if you want to know what it looks like in real life.

Mmmmk, now that we have THAT out of the way: To the nursery we go!

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OH MY GARSH, YOU GUYS. It’s here. It’s really here. Somebody pinch me and hand me a cookie (I need both to know this is real life).

I am so giddy to announce that my eCookbook, “Quick Bread Love,” is now available for purchase!

This eBook has been in the works for many, many moons (OK like four months, but still) and has required many hours of hard work in the kitchen, behind the camera, on the computer, on the floor in a heap of butter and pouty faces (ya know, when things didn’t go as planned) — but I loved every minute of it. Truly. And I am so excited to share all of that hard work with you today.

So what will you find in “Quick Bread Love”? 31 tasty, easy quick bread recipes (including sweet and savory loaves, muffins, scones, biscuits and coffee cakes!), for sure. But here’s a more in-depth smattering for you of the goods:

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