Monday, December 17, 2012

Steak Soup

I actually came up with this recipe well over a month ago, but just haven't had time to get it up on my blog. At least I remembered to write the ingredients down this time!

So, what do you do when you end up with lots of left over steak, and don't want to eat the same thing 3 nights in a row?  Make soup of course!  When I grilled the streak originally, I put garlic butter over it, so it already had some flavor to it.  My husband is not typically a soup eater; he'll usually only eat one bowl full even if he says it came out really good.  Well, after trying this soup he ate two full bowls!!  So here we go.
Steak Soup

Left over steak, thinly sliced
1 can Itailian diced tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
Season salt
Worcestershire sauce
Chopped onion
Chopped garlic
Beef broth

Put all ingredients into a pot except corn.  Use as much of each as you prefer.  Bring to a boil, and simmer for at least an hour.  15 minutes before serving, add corn, and continue to simmer.  Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Our Hobbit Breakfast

For our hobbit breakfast we had:
 White gravy over English muffins 
Scrambled eggs 
And black tea (you can't have a hobbitish meal without tea!)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Late Blooming Flowers

I wasn't able to start my flower seeds until much later than I wanted this year. So I've been waiting all summer to enjoy some home grown flowers. These last couple of weeks they've finally started blooming!

First, the Cosmos.
Daddy taught her how to smell the flowers!

 And the Four O'clock's.  These are planted in a narrow flower bed at the back of the house.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Things That Keep Me Going

Things that remind to not give up on this whole mommy-hood thing on the really rough days: 
When my toddler runs up to me repeatedly and throws her arms around my legs, with a big smile on her face.
Being called "Mama" for the first time.
Looking into my infant's eyes and hearing her "ooo" at me.
And seeing those precious first smiles that she is starting to give out more and more.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Delivering my Second Child, Part 2

To read part 1 click here.

My husband, Zack, dropped me off at the hospital at 3:30pm on Monday the 4th and left for a video job.  The job started at 4, and was supposed to be done at midnight.  We were really hoping that I would not go into active labor before he got back.

The on-call midwife for Monday/Tuesday was Deborah, the very same midwife who delivered my first baby.  She came in shortly after Zack left and we discussed my options.  I told her how I had wanted my ideal labor to go if I didn't need to be induced, and she promised to make it as close as possible to that as long as there were no complications.  Next, we talked about which option of induction I would want.  Pitocin, or a pill called Cytotec.  The OB had had talked to week prior preferred Pitocin, but Deborah preferred Cytotec because she felt it would allow my body to labor more naturally.  And after all the horror stories I had read about Pitocin, I was than happy to take option B.

The first Cytotec pill was put in around 6, and I had to stay in bed for 30 minutes so the baby could be monitored.  After that I could get up and walk around, and pretty much do whatever I wanted.  Around 8ish I started having contractions fairly regularly, strong, but not too painful.  Zack's job got done early, and he made it back just after 9.  5 hours after I had been given the first pill, the contractions had just about stopped, so after checking to see how far dilated I had gotten, I was given a second pill.  I was given 3 pills total, but I'm having a hard time remembering when I got the last one.

Deborah came in to see me just before 6 the next morning.  After checking me again, and discovering that I was only 3 1/2 cm. dilated it was time to make a new decision.  Either I could be given Pitocin to get things going, or she could try and break my water.  I choose to have my water broken.  The very next contraction was super strong, I ordered my breakfast.  I wanted to be able to eat before I got into active labor, and wouldn't be allowed to anymore.  However, the contractions were coming faster and stronger everytime so I asked my husband to fix me a piece of bread with peanut butter, (when brought some from home so Zack would have something to snack on).  But I only ate half the slice before the contractions were coming so fast that I couldn't chew and swallow before the next one came!

If you haven't read my first birth story, then it might be time to say that I really don't handle labor pain very well, also that I never actually got the urge to push.

The contractions had become so intense and painful by now that I either needed to get in the jacuzzi right now or be given an epidural.  My nurse, Nina got the tub filled up as fast as she could and she and Zack helped me hobble over to it.  I started feeling like I really needed to go to the bathroom, like really bad, and since I didn't know what that internal urge to push felt like, I didn't know that that was what I was actually feeling.  After I got into the tub I had such a strong contraction that I really screamed loudly.  Both Nina and Deborah popped back in the tub room and asked if I needed to push.  After they explained it was supposed to feel like, I told that was what I was feeling so they wanted to get me out as quickly as possible and check me.  Words cannot explain how disappointed I was when Deborah said 5 cm.  Only 5 cm!!  It had only been an hour since my water had been broken.  The worst part was that no matter how strong the urge to push was, I was no allowed to push.  Being only halfway dilated, I could very easily tear my cervix if I pushed my baby out that soon.

Well, I can honestly saw I tried.  But it was so hard not to push!!  And it wasn't very long afterward when it became so strong that my body kind of took over and made me push.  The first time that happened everything was okay, but the second time I felt the familiar feeling of a baby's head coming through!  I remember screaming out "She's coming! She's coming!"  Zack says I also said, "No, No, No!"  But I don't remember saying that.  Well, it seemed like it Nina didn't really believe me, and it felt like it took her forever to walk over to my bed and lift up the sheet.  But when she did, she immediately exclaimed, "Oh my goodness!  Call the midwife!"  Told you so.  Fully three quarters on the baby's head was out.

I don't know if it's nurse policy, or just something that Nina always does, but she put her hand around my baby's head and found that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.  Deborah rushed in, and after being told what was happening she told mu not to push again until she had cut the cord.  After she had done that I pushed once more and out came my baby.  Deborah quickly put her on a towel and handed her to me.  I told her "hello," and held her for a few moments.  But she was terribly blue, so they wanted to get some oxygen in her as soon as possible.

As soon as the labor was over I felt so good!  And so very different for last time where I was a mental train wreck.  I even had the presence of mind to tell Zack to get my camera out!
Just a few minutes old.
Because she wasn't breathing very well the nurses took her to the nursery so the peds could look at her better.  The doctor told Zack that our baby was stunned, and that's why she wasn't breathing.  The doctor was just about to send her in for an x-ray when she snapped out of it.  Once everything was looking normal Zack brought her back to me.

While all that was going on, I was actually able to carry on a normal conversation with my midwife as she waited for my placenta to detach.  I was so relieved when she checked my cervix and found that it had not torn!  So basically, it had taken an hour to get dilate 2 cm. and only 30 minutes to dilate the last 5!!  If I had known that it was going to go so fast, then I probably would have been okay without wanting medication.  Here's hoping that any other labors I need to go through will go just as fast!
Finally back in mama's arms.
Oh, and as a side note, turns out that our baby was perfectly healthy, and my placenta looked great.  Deborah had told me beforehand that that was very likely to happen.  But we had to make the decision based on the information we had at the time, and definitely didn't want to run the risk on loosing our precious daughter.  So while I wish I could have gone full term, I am grateful for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby.
Mommy looks so much better this time!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Delivering my Second Child, Part 1

On June 5th 2012 a new little blessing entered into our lives. I've decided that I'd better write down her birth story before any more time passes and I forget too many details. ;-)

Before I can start on the birth story itself, I need to back up and give a little background information.  First off, this baby's due date was actually June 20th!  When I went in for my regular pre-natal check up in the beginning of May I found out that the 1 hour glucose test I had taken last time had come back elevated so I needed to take the 3 hour test.  This was quite a surprise considering that I hadn't gained very much weight this time and didn't have an problems relating to gestational diabetes.  So I took the 3 hour test and it too, came back elevated, though just barely.  And I got the unhappy diagnosis of gestational diabetes.  It still doesn't make any sense to me, especially since my baby wasn't growing super big.
Me at 37 weeks
Later, when I went in the day after making it to 37 weeks, we found out that I needed to have special ultrasounds done to keep track of the baby's weight and growth because of the diabetes.  Usually the midwives would do them twice a week at their office, but since we live so far away from them, the one I was seeing decided that I would only need to get it done once a week if I went to the hospital right then and had a more extensive ultrasound done.  Even though it was late in the day, she called over and was able to get me in before closing time.  After the ultrasound was done, I needed to head back to the midwife office to pick up my appointment card for the next 2 visits plus ultrasound times.  When I got there, the midwife wanted to talk to me.  So while Zack kept little miss Angel Cakes outside to play in the grass, I went in to talk to my midwife once again.

Turns out that the ultrasound showed my baby's abdomen being too small.  About 3 weeks too small.  Very strange considering that the ultrasound I had 3 weeks before showed everything to be perfectly normal.  The reason this could be a problem was that if it was true, then my placenta might not have been working properly.  This would cause all the nourishment that was getting through to go straight to her brain, not to the rest of her body.  The risk was that if the placenta wasn't working right, then it could decide to stop working altogether at any time, meaning we could lose the baby. The midwife had put a call into the OB they all worked under and was waiting to hear back from him.

Long story short, they decided to keep me in the hospital over night to monitor the baby, then give me a second ultrasound in the morning, Friday.  This ultrasound showed the same result as the last one.  Tummy 3 weeks too small.  So it was decided that the safest thing to would be to induce.  Since I was only just barely into my 37th week, and the ultrasound showed that the baby would be fine for up to 4 days, the OB felt it would better to wait until Monday night to begin that induction.  That way the baby would have that much more time for her lungs to mature.

All this was really hard to take in.  I really wanted to have as natural a labor as possible this time around, plus delivering early meant that things weren't quite ready at home for her arrival either.  My main prayer during this time was that the Lord would make me more flexible.

I was told that there were two different types of inducing methods that could be used, an IV drip, or a pill that would dilate my cervix.  The OB preferred the IV drip because if the baby didn't like it, they could turn it off right away, whereas with the pill, once it dissolved, there was no getting it back.

When I got home I asked on a forum that I'm on for some advice for preparing for an induction.  Amongst the replies I discovered the IV drip referred to Pitocin.  Reply after reply told horror stories of Pitocin, and how I would definitely want an epidural.  There where a few ladies who said it was possible to be given Pitocin and deliver without any pain medication, but since I don't have the greatest pain tolerance in the world, I really didn't think it would work for me.

So, Monday arrived, and I got ready to deliver my second daughter...  To read part 2, click here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring 2012 Herb Update

Here at our new house we have a shed, so I was able to store my herbs in there rather than in the house this past winter.  Unfortunately, I didn't remember to have Hubby put them in the shed until sometime in December.  So they got snowed on several times, and were encased in ice for a while.  Then after they were safely stowed in the shed, I forgot to water them for the rest of the winter!

Once the weather warmed up enough to melt most of the snow, I asked Hubby to get them out again.  I really wasn't sure if they had survived.  It still took me a few more weeks before I was able to get out there and trim all the dead stuff off.  Here they are before the trim.  They look pretty dismal, don't they?
As I was cutting the sage I discovered that it, at least still had a tiny bit of life in it!  Thankfully I still have plenty of dried sage leaves in my kitchen, so I'll be able to let it grow uninterrupted for most of the summer.
However, I didn't find anything living on the mint.  Time will tell if it comes back.  I honestly won't mind having to replace it though.  It's never been as fragrant as I'd like, so I'm sure I can find another variety that I like better.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Tragedy of the Teddy Bear Cake

We had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate a very important, and special birthday last week. Little Angel Cakes 1st! A few months ago I asked my mom if I could borrow her sitting teddy bear cake pan for the birthday party.  It hadn't been used for over 20 years, so naturally she was very happy that it could be used again.

Last Tuesday my parents arrived and after dinner I took the box of cake mix I'd been saving and we made the cake.  But apparently sometime in the last 20 years the amount of batter that a cake mix makes has been reduced.  So the poor bear came out with only half a foot; which fell off as soon as the pans were removed.
So the next morning mom came back up early and we used 2 box mixes.  One yellow, and one chocolate.  We didn't need to put all of both of them in, but mom wanted to be sure that the pan would be filled completely, and we figured that any extra would run out the top anyway leaving the inside filled. 
Well, it certainly ran out the top!  The problem was that too much ran out and that the cake wasn't getting cooked inside.  We left it in the oven for an extra 20 min (60 min total).
Here you can see that while the cake has feet, too much ran out around the support column.  I was in the shower at the time so my husband, Zack got the unlucky job of trying to determine if it was done, and removing the cake pan.
He got the front off easily, but the back piece wasn't going anywhere.  But then the real tragedy struck.  Scroll down to watch what happened next!  I'm so glad he had the camera ready!

Yep, that the poor teddy's head falling off!
It turned out that even though the toothpick tested it done at the top, deeper inside and especially around the support the batter was still completely raw!

It was now 10:30 in the morning, the time when my mom and sister-in-law, Heather, were originally to arrive to help me ice the cake.  My parents were staying at my in-laws so I called my mom up again and explained what had happened.  After talking it over with my mother-in-law they decided that the best thing to do at this point was to make one more batch of cake batter, this time from scratch, and bake it in one of my mother-in-laws cake pans.  After it was cooled they'd bring it to our house so Heather and I could decorate it.

My mom had, to my knowledge, never made a cake from scratch before, though she is very accomplished in all other ares of baking.  After getting the batter mixing (it had to beat for 7 minutes) she was rereading the recipe one more time and discovered that she had put 4 cups of cake flour in, instead of 3, and 1 1/2 cups of milk instead of 1 1/4!  But, God was at work, and the cake came out wonderfully and baked perfectly!

So while I didn't get to make the teddy bear cake, I was still able to decorate my little Angel's cake after all.  And it came out beautifully!  Thank you so much to my mom, Liz, mother-in-law, Chris, for making this cake possible.  And to Heather for helping me decorate it.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mock Beef Stew

Ever had one of those days when you get an idea for dinner but don't have the right ingredients? I did today. When I finally remembered to go through the freezer to figure out what to make for dinner, it was already 5 o'clock. I had considered defrosting a roast and putting it in the pressure cooker, but I don't have roasts anymore. So I looked for some stew meat instead, but we're out of that too. The only other option I had at such a late time was hamburger. But you can't make beef stew out of hamburger... or can you? I did!

If I had had more time I would have boiled some fresh potatoes and carrots, but especially up here at 7,000 ft it takes at least 30-40 minutes before they're done. So I used canned potatoes and carrots instead.

And now that I've gotten all that out of the way, here's the recipe I came up with!

1 lb hamburger
About a teaspoon of garlic powder (fresh garlic would have been better, but I'm out of that too right now)
Half a teaspoon of onion powder
1 can of tomato soup
1 cans worth of water
A few tablespoons of oregano
1 can of carrots
1 can cooked potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger in a large skillet over high heat with garlic and onion powders. Once browned, add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, then simmer for about 15 minutes.

All told, it only took about a half an hour to get this meal on the table!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from our little Angle Cakes!
I hope you had a blessed and loved day with your loved one's. :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Growing up so fast!

Why do our children grow up so fast? How in only 9 short months could my little Angle Cakes go from just barely able to lift her head off the floor for a couple of seconds...
To holding on to her highchair to stand with one hand!
How I wish time could slow down, just for a little while at least.