Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Adventures in Breastfeeding

To be honest I never thought breastfeeding would be this challenging. I thought sore nipples would be my only problem. No one warns you just how tired you will feel feeding ever second of everyday. Or the fact your ravenous infant will not want a pacifier so you can go pee. And with feedings so frequent there is no feeding a baby before you leave and waiting until you get back to feed again. That is why I have come to understand how the fight for acceptance for breast feeding in public is so important. I was never one who felt uncomfortable about those who breastfed in public but I did assume there was an option.
My Freya can take up to an hour or more if she falls asleep misreading to nurse herself full. Then it's only an hour before she is starving again. That doesn't give you much time to do anything and with older children, how are you suppose to let those kids do anything if you have to sit in a bathroom stall in the mall to feed for an hour. Imagine a toddler having to sit in a bathroom stall waiting for mommy to finish nursing the baby without touching anything. Yeah, couldn't ask that of my eight year old let alone a three year old.
Also no one tells you about how more often a breastfed baby goes then a formula fed baby does. Although I had decided to eventually do cloth diapers long before I knew how many diapers a breastfed baby would go through, I now see why so many breastfeeding mommies use cloth. It gets expensive!
The burping is our biggest issue. Freya is not a good burper. Morrigan I could just sit up and she would burp. Freya is a struggle and if she doesn't burp she won't latch. No latch mean screaming baby that won't keep her hand out if the way so I can try to feed her.
Freya nurses the way Freya wants to be nursed. If at that moment she wants the left one she won't take the right one. Or she might not want to be held while nursing so she fussed until I find the position she wants.
Breastfeeding is especially hard for paranoid people like me. Always having to worry about milk supply. Is she getting enough? is she full? It makes me feel worried constantly.
Cracked nipples must be nursed through. Engorgment must be nursed through. Clogged milk ducts must be nursed through. Infections must be nursed through. Sickness must be nursed through. There is no, not today, no not this breast, no taking cold medicine to get through it. No chugging caffeine to stay awake. Your nutritional needs can't be ignored as just like in pregnancy, you are responsible for the nutrition of your child.
Those are the sacrifices of a mom who breastfed. Wish all those that think breastfed moms are asking too much to feed in public could spend just 24 hours breastfeeding a hungry infant.  I know they would feel differently by the end of the day. I certainly did, I formula fed Morrigan and there is a huge difference in how the adjustment was getting back to life after the hospital. Its so much harder breastfeeding and doing anything else. I don't sleep, there is no time between feedings. There is not a time I don't have a child stuck to my boobs! If there is a moment it's spent changing one of the 14 diapers we go through in a day. I'm lucky if I can use the bathroom or eat something myself. Breastfeeding an infant is never ending and it all rests on my shoulders. Chris certainly can't help. This is a mommy only job luckily... I've got this!

We Have A New Little One

Freya Mae was born at 8:06 pm on Dec 8th weighting in at 7 lbs 9oz (1oz shy as her sister and just as tall) at 20 1/2 inches long. Big sister Morrigan, Daddy, and Nana joined Mommy in welcoming her into the world.
Man, was I proud. Morrigan, at just 8 years old was an awesome labor coach. She helped the midwife get a ball (or a peanut in my case) during my labor. She waiting patiently the whole time and then watched her sister be born. Morrigan got to hold Freya right after mommy did. It was a proud moment, watching my daughter hold her baby sister and look at her so lovingly. The midwife that delivered Freya came back the next day and told me how amazed she was that my eight year old watched. That her niece is the same age screams at the very sight of blood. She said she was greatly impressed with Morrigan.
Labor was exactly like Morrigan quick but painful. With Morrigan my epidural didn't take. I have scoliosis so it has to go in much higher than usual making it take longer to have any affect. With Morrigan it didn't kick in until I was already in my room and had guests. This time I decided not to even put myself through it, I was going without the epidural. Again I had back labor.  Both times I felt the sensation like my spine was coming down the birth canal. This is because both times my water didn't break. Both my girls made it down the birth canal in a full intact sack. With Morrigan I was laying on my side and my top leg lifts up and there was a noise like a rubber band snapping. Then my leg came back down hard. I knew my water broke. What I hadn't realized, though the intense pressure and need to push was there was Morrigan head was crowning. The nurse came to change the padding and then came the mad dash to get the midwife, get gloves on and start delivering Morrigan.
This time I hit the ring of fire and told the nurse it was burning and she's telling me to breath through it. I start freaking out telling her, the baby is coming now. I had no control, my body we pushing her out whether I bare down or not. I turned on my back and there was no slowing it down. She was right there and my water hadn't broken yet. This time, because I was on my back the pressure of my leg want going to pop the sack. But there was no time. I was in pain and my body was naturally pushing her out without me trying. I felt as if I hit my ultimate threshold. I wasn't able to look like I did with Morrigan. The pain was far more than with Morrigan as Freya was still in the sack when she was born. As soon as I felt the midwife burst the sack there was instant relief and getting past Freya's head was as easy as I remembered. I was able to get a glimpse of Freya just after the midwife broke the sack but my body was still busy pushing Freya out. Once I was holding my daughter (in both cases) the pain of labor is completely forgotten. I looked at Freya, looked her over and saw Morrigan at her first moments of life. Its incredible how not only was delivery nearly the same, both my girls look exactly the same as newborns. I even had this weird feeling when Morrigan sat next to me and I pur my arm around her while I held Freya with the other. For a moment it felt like I was between two different moments in time.
Freya is certainly her own person and she may not grow to look like her sister. Only time will tell. But right now, I can't help but to be amazed at how beautifully similar both my daughter look.
I am just so incredibly happy to have Freya finally here after going nearly 42 weeks pregnant. I was waiting patiently (okay, maybe not that patiently) for the day I would get to see my little girl's face not on an ultrasound screen. I couldn't wait to have her in my arms and now I don't ever want to let go. She is already a week old and I already can't imagine life without her.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wool dryer balls

With the decision to cloth diapers I had to come up with some money saving techniques since our apartments washers and dryers are expensive. As it is the dryer doesn't dry very well. I needed something that will not only reduce the moisture so we aren't drying the same load over and over again. But also, with the cloth diapers you can't use dryer sheets and fabric softer.
With this in mind, I  researched what other moms were using. I found the instructions to make wool dryer balls. Hubby was skeptical but after forgetting to put the dryer balls in the dryer with a recent load of laundry, he noticed how useful these dryer balls are.
It's over simple to make these dryer balls.
First buy some 100% wool yarn. Make sure this is not machine washable or
Next you start the ball by wrapping the yard around you finger a few times. Pull the yarn off your finger but hold it tightly.Then start wrapping in the other direction. Continue wrapping the yarn around and around as you turn the ball to create a tennis ball or softball size ball of yarn.
Once you have the ball of yarn the size you want take a crochet hook and insert it through the center of the ball. Hook the loose ends of the yard in the hook and pull it through the center of the ball to secure it.
Once you have made 4-6 balls of the yarn, put them into a panty hose tying a bit of cotton/acrylic yarn between each ball. Don't use the wool yarn as it will felt around the panty hose.
Next you take the caterpillar of balls of yarn and put it through a wash with towels. Wash in a hot wash cycle with a cold water rinse cycle. Dry your yarn caterpillar with your laundry using the hottest dryer setting. This should felt the wool together.
Take the balls out of the panty hose. If you can run your fingernail over the ball and the yarn does not separate then it's felted together. If not, then place the balls back into the panty hose and tie them off again as you did before and put them through the wash again. Can take up to 6 times depending on the yarn.
You can add essential oils to the balls but I didn't.
That's that, easy as pie.
Throw 4-6 of the wool dryer balls into each load in the dryer. It will refresh your towels without effecting the ascendancy of the towels like commercial products do. So don't just assume this is just for cloth diapers. This will help anyone.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Birthday Chris!

Happy Birthday to my husband, Chris! He is such a wonderful husband, he has been working extra hard this year so we can have more. He has been so good at helping me. My pregnancy hasn't been hard but my husband has been doing so much cleaning, laundry, and cooking to lighten my obligations at home. I truly appreciate all he has done especially this year. He has been an amazing husband and I love him dearly.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Trying almond milk

In a attempt to be healthier while pregnant I have been trying new founds and trying my best to eat those foods that are healthy but I just don't like. One of my biggest issues is my calcium. I don't drink milk, I hate milk with a passion. I also don't eat many other things that contain calcium. I happen to enjoy cereal, I prefer Life cereal but you just can't eat it without milk to soften it up. But I can only get so many spoonfuls in before I start to regret my decision.
I have heard of almond milk and assumed it was just another Wholefood none sense product. I was surprised to see it at Stop and Shop. On the box it said "50% more calcium" which caught my eye but also almond milk  including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, iron, fiber,and zinc as well. I didn't know this at the time I decided to give almond milk a try but it also is free of both saturated fat and cholesterol. I am borderline with my cholesterol though I don't eat much that is high in cholesterol, my whole family suffers from high cholesterol so my doctor encourages me to watch my cholesterol intake.
The best part of almond milk is the taste. As someone who cant even pinch my nose and down a glass of milk to save my life I was so relieved to find that almond milk tastes amazing.It does taste a bit like cows milk but without the sour bitterness I taste when I drink cows milk. I first tried the unflavored almond milk, it was good but wasn't great. The taste was very bland and it was unsweetened so it was like watered down milk. Then I tried the vanilla flavored almond milk and feel in love with cereal all over again. Where has almond milk been all my life. I can finally drink milk without having to brush my teeth right after. I can't wait to try the chocolate flavor as I imagine it will taste similar to a Mounds bar without the coconut.
My husband is a big milk drinker and he loves having a glass of milk with dinner. I sit and gag at the very idea of drinking milk with my alfredo sauce covered pasta. Yuck! Even he enjoyed the almond milk which was a surprise as my husband is a pure flavor, toss out the health food kind of guy.
The issue with almond milk is the cost. For a 32 fl oz of Blue Diamond Almond Breeze it cost close to a gallon of cows milk. I went through the 32 fl oz container like nothing. To me, its worth the price!

Monday, September 8, 2014

eBay lesson learned

I sold my first item on eBay this week. My daughter's old baby swing was missing an arm which I assume we lost in our last move as I remember seeing it just before moving. Anyhow, I bought a whole one from Craig's list and replaced the one arm. I had found eBay had a large selection of parts but none had match my color. I decided to sell the leftover pieces on eBay. I had never even used eBay myself so I had no idea what to expect. But I put up two pieces and one sold after a few weeks.
Of course it sells when my husband is working late hours and I am watching two toddlers. I walked to the post office to buy a box, having baby kicking my butt the whole way. When I got there they had no boxes that could fit the piece. I did get a rough estimate according to the size and weight of the piece which was going to be close to $8 which was fine sense I charged nearly $10 in shipping.
Well, I had 3 days to send off this package but I was unable to buy a box with everything going on.
My husband decides to get a box from work and package up the piece (very poorly I might add) and seems it off himself. He paid $18.95 And called me freaking out since this had now cost us money rather than us making any money off of it. Well, the receipt said priority mail 2 days with insurance. So of course it cost that much. Now, he's upset and doesn't want me to sell off any more parts. But he doesn't understand his error.
Mistake were made and lessons have been learned but my lesson learned is do not give my husband the task of shipping things off. :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pregnancy update

To give a bit of an update, according to the ultrasound we are expecting another girl! Freya Mae will be joining us in three months and this momma can't wait.
Big sister Morrigan prepared a surprise announcement of the gender. She picked out what she wanted to do and then painted and decorated the box herself.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where is my brains?

Well, I'm thinking my brains are leaking out my ears as a sleep at night. Its the only way I can explain my recent forgetfulness. I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant and suffering from pregnancy brain.

Not only did I forget the deposit on the dance class I had already put in the registration for my 7 year old. I keep forgetting to make a dentist appointment for her as well. I made one for me as well. I keep forgetting to put things in the mail. Never mind the sudden lack of vocabulary. I'm forget whole words. I could be looking right at an object but the name of it will completely escape me. Basic math is also a miss. I couldn't remember how to do basic subtraction.

My brain is mush and I'm not sleeping well, which doesn't help. So where did my brain go?

The truth is that pregnancy brain is a fact. You don't lose brain cells but rather you have hormones, baby thoughts, and a lack of sleep to mess with your head.

I'm trying my best to stay prioritized and rested so I don't forget my own name by writing down things to do and leaving myself notes. Lets hope my brain returns after baby gets here.

Pampered Chef Easy Pasta Carbonara

1/2  of a 12-oz (350-g) pkg uncooked turkey bacon (see Cook’s Tip)
1  medium onion
4  garlic cloves
1/2  tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1  pkg (14.5 oz or 411 g) uncooked multigrain bow-tie pasta (5 cups/1.25 L)

1  carton (32 oz/1 L) unsalted chicken stock
1  can (12 oz or 370 mL) fat-free evaporated milk
1  oz (30 g) fresh Parmesan cheese
4  oz (125 g) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), softened
1 1/2  cups (375 mL) frozen peas, thawed
1. Stack bacon and cut in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise using Santoku Knife.
2. Cook bacon in 11- or 12-in. (28- or 30-cm) Skillet over medium heat 4–5 minutes or until browned. Meanwhile, finely chop onion using Food Chopper.
3. Add onion, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and pepper flakes to Skillet. Cook another 3–4 minutes or until onion is tender.
4. Add pasta, stock and evaporated milk. Cover and bring to a simmer. (Do not boil.) Simmer 12–14 minutes or until pasta is still a little firm, stirring occasionally.
5. Grate Parmesan using Rotary Grater. Remove Skillet from heat. Stir in cream cheese, peas and Parmesan.
6. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes or until sauce is thick and creamy.

This is the recipe available on the Pampered Chef website. I don't use the fat free or light ingredients. I also don't care for Turkey bacon, so I usually do a maple bacon. The Pampered Chef consultant that did the party I attended made this recipe with frozen asparagus instead of the peas. This is now I prefer to make it.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cloth Diaper Giveaway, by Cloth Diaper Contest

A great blog I found does amazing giveaways for cloth diapers and inserts. This is there latest one. Check them out if you are interested.

Cloth Diaper Contest

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to make boxed cup cakes better

I love a good cupcake but I've always felt like the can frosting just doesn't cut it. Especially now, companies have cut down on the ounces of frosting in each can. So, what's a mom to do?
I found just a little confectionary sugar can go along way. I can't tell you how much confectionary sugar, that should be up to your taste. I love mine sugary but my husband doesn't. I make two batches so he doesn't have to eat my sugary sweet frosting.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Italian Anise Cookies

I love anise cookies, outside of the chocolate chip (I live in Whitman, the home of the chocolate chip cookie, of course chocolate chip will be my favorite.) anise has to be my second favorite cookie of all time. I never knew how easy it was to make these cookies. I readily have these ingredients in my cabinets at any given time. Once you buy the anise extract you could make these cookies on a whim. Anise extract is not hard to find. It is available at your local grocery store usually with the spices. If you live in my neck of the woods go to Ocean State Job Lot. The price difference between OSJL and Stop and Shop, like $4! I bought anise extract and almond extract for the price of one anise extract at Stop and Shop. Granted it was pure anise for around $7 but you really wont tell the difference.

Italian Anise Cookies
For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons anise extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 -3 tablespoons milk
For the icing:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon anise extract
food coloring (optional)
decorative candy sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

For cookies: cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add anise extract. Blend flour and baking powder. Start by adding about 1/3 of these dry ingredients to the butter/sugar in your mixer, then add 1 T. milk. Add another third of the flour and another 1 T. milk. Finally, mix in enough of the remaining flour until your dough is like a brownie batter (it should be softer than a drop cookie dough). Use a 1 T. cookie scooper to make simple round drop cookies - use wet fingers to pat any rough edges OR for an Easter-Egg look, roll 1 T. dough into an elongated ball. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes (they won't be brown but the insides will be soft and cake-like).

For icing: mix sugar, milk and extract to make a sugar glaze. Add food coloring if desired. Make sure the cookies are somewhat cool or the icing will just melt. Hold cookie in your hand and turn upside down so you can dip the top half in the glaze; turn over and immediately top with sprinkles so they will stick. Give the icing sometime to harden up before eating.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Small Peanut Butter Trifles

Brownie mix
1/3 cup oil
1/3 water
1 egg
1 box vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tub Cool Whip
Mini Reeses
Make the brownies as directed on the box using the egg, oil, and water (change the measurements as according to the box). Let cool.
Mix pudding and milk. Then add peanut butter and mix well.
Crumble up the brownies and add to the cup about a 1/3 of the way. Then add peanut butter pudding. Top with Cool Whip.
Chop Reeses into fours and toss on top of the Cool Whip.
I put it in the fridge for about 5 mins.
It is that simple.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Personal Shepherd's Pie

Its easy enough and the kiddo loved them. It was actually fun for her to eat. My husband loved them too. He thought it was kind of like eating a pot pie with shepherd's pie inside. Plus, the idea that these can be picked up and eaten made them go fast.

Shepherd's Pie
1/2 lb ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup frozen corn
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup canned beef gravy
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
2 boxes (4 rolls) pre-made pie crust
8 slices American cheese, quartered
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two (or three) baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cook the ground beef and onions in a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the meat is no longer pink, about 5-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While the beef is cooking, add the potatoes and carrots to a small saucepot. Cover the veggies with slightly salted water and boil until they’re cooked through, but not mushy, about 3–5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add the beef, onions, carrots, potatoes, peas, corn, Worcestershire sauce, and gravy into a medium-size mixing bowl. Fold together and set aside.
Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl; set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, unroll one of the pie crusts. Using a 3-1/2″–4″ biscuit cutter, cut five rounds. Repeat with the remaining rolls of dough.
On half of the rounds, place a generous Tbsp of filling in the center, leaving a 1/2″ border. Stack two quarters of the American cheese on top of the filling. Then, using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash on the border of the crust. Place an empty round on top and seal the edges together with a fork.
Place the pies on the papered baking sheets and brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
This recipe went well. I think I will egg wash the whole top next time. Also I had no biscuit cutter so I used a large mug and cut around it.