Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mark it Off the List! - Week 25

Seems like since January we've been going full speed ahead on making room for Baby Roo. We determined early on that we would be better off financially staying in our one bedroom Condo but we would need to make adjustments. So far our "to-do" list has many items crossed off:

- Combine closets
- Sell second computer
- Sell second desk
- Sell old computer chair
- Clear out hall closet
- Sort and donate clothing
- Set up Stroller/Car Seat

There's still many more things to get done, but the progress has been taking it's toll. I don't know if it's because the coming of our son still feels surreal or if I simply can't handle change but I'm exhausted making decisions about Diapers, Birth Plans, which Immunizations to choose, and so on.

My diet is going well. I have blood work coming up in week 26 so I'm trying to make sure all the levels will be positive. Eric's been so supportive and eating healthier along with me. You can't think of a diet as "just for me" and make meals separate for your family. I just cook what I can eat for all of us and Eric just has to deal (although he doesn't mind it at all).

Baby Roo's kicks are getting stronger every day, although not as frequent. I think he's running out of space in there to move around. This just means when he kicks, I REALLY feel it! Eric says he's going to come out with a six pack he's been so active in there! (Is it really bad of me to want me son to be handsome and toned throughout his life?)

Well that's week 25. Time to go cross more items off my list!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Failure in Me

I pride myself on always being able to prepare the most delicious, scrumptious desserts around! Whenever we have company to our home I am an extra special effort to have something sweet available for their delight. I've been complimented countless times for my Frozen Berry Delight or my Heaven in a Cup.

Well the time for my humbling has arrived.

I spent the most of my afternoon running around doing errands then came home to bake a simple, delicious pie. I thought instead of the traditional apple pie with a top crust, I would attempt a dutch apple pie with crumble on top... 

I should have known better than to try something new. 

I follow the recipe posted from The Art of Natural Living. As you can see the pie is supposed to look something like this: 

I made it through the pie faze, the apples were juicy and perfect and the crust was pre-made so I didn't have to spend hours fighting with it. When I got to the crumble part on top I read the recipe as follows on her site: (someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)

Streusel Topping
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter
  • Mix streusel ingredients (I used my fingers) lightly until they come together in crumbly pea-sized pieces.  Top the apples with the streusel topping.
I set my oven to the correct temp and let it preheat all the way. I then placed my pie on the rack in the middle of the oven to bake. A little later I came back to check on it, making sure no juices were getting over the pan, and low and behold this is what I found...

 Yuck... Please note this picture was taken AFTER the topping was placed on the apples and baked for 30 minutes. Everything... melted and dropped into the apples... 

My only conclusion is that this lady's recipe is flawed... I mean how wrong can you go with three ingredients? So I'm out a bag of apples, lots of sugar, and a little bit of my pride... 

Will I EVER be able to make a pie successfully?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weights and Measure... Week 24

Well, here we are at 24 weeks. Who knew we would make it this far without loosing our minds?

Baby Roo is growing fast... and so am I! A lot of people comment about how small I look for being 24 weeks, yet my OBG says I need to lay off the carbs and slow down the weight gain. I guess she knows something I don't.

My original goal was to stay under a certain weight during this pregnancy. After leaving my previous job, I realized I had gained a whole 30 pounds since starting there a year earlier. It was hard not to gain weight with all the homemade goodies and pot lucks we shared to keep morale up. Not to mention I would sit for 8+ hours a day!

Over Excessive Amounts of Food at Work

After I quit, I set out to live a healthier lifestyle. In the 3 months between quitting and the news about Baby Roo, I had successful lost a total of 20lbs., a fact I am very proud of. So my goal was to not gain more than 20 in this pregnancy... FAT CHANCE! (see what I did there? Ha-ha)

So far I've gained 16lbs. in 24 weeks. Because I was so hungry all the time, I assumed filling myself with carbs like rice would be helpful. As a result, most of my meals consisted of rice and something else. WRONG! I'm so thankful my OBG took the time to explain to me what sorts of foods and nutrition I need for the pregnancy. That's when I started the Gestational Diabetes Diet.

If you're going to diet while pregnant, I would immediately tell you not to. You're growing a human for goodness sakes. The only reason I started this "diet" was because I knew I wasn't getting the correct nutrition and needed a more protein calculated diet. Being that I've never really learned how to balance my diet properly, this Gestational Diabetes Diet is safe for pregnancy and gives me proper nutritional information based on my baby's needs.

Now I have a plan! I eat a certain amount of protein at each snack/meal and have replaced some other, not so great, food items with healthier alternatives. Is it easy? NO!! I still fail and eat half a row of cookies in one sitting or demolish the box of chocolates my husband got me for Valentines Day. (PS it's girl scout cookies time... what wonderful timing!)

Here are a few of my goals for my diet
  • 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks - same time every day
  • foods high in fiber - replacing white flour/rice with Whole Wheat
  • 4 servings of Dairy Products - milk, yogurt, etc...
  • 8 cups of water each day!

So far it's been a good week! I can tell I'm eating differently and need to adjust accordingly. All in all, it's worth it for my little guy and for the health of our family! Nutrition will be a life long battle in this country, and especially for me.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Carrot Zucchini Bread

I remember growing up we had a small garden in our backyard. It was always the family joke because dad built it over the sewage so the grass was always greener in that spot. As kids, we learned to plant, weed, water, and harvest our family garden, and the results were so delicious!

One year mom and dad planted some Zucchini and soon we had great, big, ripe squash to make use of. I'm not sure if this was the first sighting of Zucchini bread in my life or if it was a regular around the house, but with the coming of our child I've been feeling nostalgic lately.

I found this recipe online for a beloved childhood favorite. Looking back now, I should have found a recipe with less sugar in it, so I am currently on the hunt for one made with applesauce instead.

This bread cooked wonderfully - it was easy to prepare and so delicious! I baked it into one loaf and the rest into 12 muffins for at work.

Carrot Zucchini Bread
Carrot Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Pies and Plots
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar (you see now why I want a different recipe?)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts (I did not use walnuts - not my favorite)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour 2 loaf pans. (I used 1 loaf and 1 muffin pan)
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fully combined.
Stir in flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves, but do not over mix. Add in the grated carrots and zucchini and walnuts. Stir until evenly distributed.
Divide batter evenly among the loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaves comes out with only a few moist crumbs. (For muffins bake at same temp for 20-23 minutes.)
I packaged up my muffins, two by two, and tossed them in the freezer where they will be good for up to 4 months. This way I can pull two our to add to my lunch/snack for work!

I'll be back in another post soon with a recipe that is a little more "healthy" friendly as I still have some fresh zucchini to use up!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crochet What...?

I posted earlier this year about my new hobby, trying to crochet, in my post "Crochet My..."

Needless to say I haven't become much more successful. I've had very little difficulty with patterns for flat objects such as wash cloths, scarves, and so on. However when we get into the three dimensional universe... I simply can't get the trick!

Here's the first hat that I attempted to make... please note that not only does it look HORRID but I had already taken it apart and re-crochet it multiple times.

Alas this is when I learned that the gauge is important. I bought a set of different needles and tried again. but now, they're all coming out FLAT! People keep commenting on how "Jewish" they look. I do admit, most of them look like little Kippas.

pattern from Little Monkeys Crochet
I'm ready to throw the towel in... I follow these patterns to the letter but obviously, I am missing some sort of knowledge despite my extensive YouTube research.
Maybe this just isn't the hobby for me...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Saw It - Made It - Ate It

Last week a friend of mine shared a recipe with my via Facebook. I'm always looking for new and inventive ideas for dinner to keep myself occupied in the kitchen, so I was excited to find this recipe easy-peasy.

I never knew Sweet and Sour Chicken would be possible in my kitchen, I've never really attempted anything "ethnic." I changed a few things to make it more conducive to the ingredients in my kitchen, and I think it turned out wonderfully!

Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from: Made it, ate it, loved it

Chicken Breading:
3-5 chicken breast
salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch (more as needed)
 3 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil
Rinse chicken, trim off fat or extras and then cut into 1 inch cubes. season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in the cornstarch and then into eggs. Heat oil in large skillet. Cook chicken until browned. Place in 9/13 baking dish.

3/4 cups light brown sugar (changed from White sugar)
4 Tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Whisk until smooth. Then pour evenly over chicken. Turn chicken so the sauce gets on both sides and then put in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. turn chicken and then cook for 15 more minutes.

Here were my concerns -
1. I thought the egg would defeat the cornstarch and wipe it all off, It didn't!
2. I assumed the sauce would make the crispy chicken soggy, it only glazed and was delicious.
3. I changed the recipe to use BROWN SUGAR to make the sauce thicker, and used light for my figure.

I cooked up some white rice and mixed veggies for a delicious blend and served to our guests. I am very happy with the results and added a "*" to my recipe card for future use!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Flutters for Daddy - Week 23

Today marks 23 weeks of pregnancy but also has a special mile marker for our family.

Today Daddy got to feel Baby Roo for the very first time!

I've been impatient with our child as he only ever so slightly kicks inside me. I think he's trying to trick us because the moment he starts kicking and I grab Eric's hand to feel - Baby Roo stops...

Come on man, seriously??

But today, as we curled up to fight off the cold weather of the Florida Winter (yes this does happen when you're adjusted to 100 degree weather on a daily basis), Eric finally got to feel the little kick of our little man.

We've known since our ultrasound that he's an active little guy. As I mentioned in my post "The Most Wonderful Sight of the Year" Baby Roo was all curled up in a ball grabbing at his feet, then suddenly he would kick straight out to almost a standing position. The technician had a hard time getting a good shot of his face because he was too wiggly.

It's been an adventure getting used to his kicks and twists, mostly they start when I'm in a stretched out or lying down position. This makes for going to sleep more difficult; one - because I'm so enamored by the life moving inside of me that I can't get enough, and two - it's annoying once the wonder of it all fades by 2am and I'm still staring at the ceiling.

Well that's really about it for this week so far. Baby Roo is about 1.5lbs. light and 11 inches long (the size of a large mango). One thing that brought comfort to us is that now in case of an emergency, Baby Roo's lungs have developed enough that he has a higher chance of survival in case of an emergency delivery at this point.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

But Today... Week 22

There's so many things I want to write about right now. Many titles come to mind; "pregnancy, the good the bad and the ugly," or "things they never tell you." The list goes on and on.

Week 22 brings on the first wave of severe discomfort and frustrations with my body's new limitations, I don't think I can complain about it enough. 

I write with a certain amount of restraint for I know many women who would love to be mothers at all costs that cannot have children for various reason. Even the women who are mothers compel me to look to the future when I can hold my bundle of love and joy as the memories of pain and discomfort dwindle in my mind. 

But today it really sucks! 

Sorry little Roo, mommy loves you and she's so glad you're coming, but do you really have to take over every aspect of my body? 

One of the harder aspects of pregnancy, I believe, is your marriage! I kind of thought things wouldn't change much between conception and the visit from the stork, but I'm quickly learning marriage is ever changing, every moment.  It's difficult for husbands to understand what is going on, what is changing, and what to do about it all. At first they can be so proactive by researching and being patient with you. But that can wear off as the novelty fades and the months drag on. 

This is not of the husbands fault in any way of course. Women have an ever present reminder of pregnancy... Their body is continually making changes, then there's a little person inside of you kicking at all hours of the night, just in case you fell asleep and forgot about him. For the dad, it's way more difficult to change their expectations. It's easy to become complacent, even impatient  at times as the wife's body quickly limits her from a previously normal lifestyle. 

What's the secret dads? I haven't got a clue.  You'll haven't find the blog of a successful father to help you get a grip on it all. And ladies, there's nothing you can do but be patient with dad too. His life is changing. Things aren't the same any longer. Dinner isn't on the table like clock work, you're constantly nagging him to pick up items you can't bend to reach, and even the level of intimacy you once shared may be different (although no one warns you of this...). 

I look forward to when it "clicks" for my husband. Most first time mothers attest to the fact that this usually doesn't happen until dad feels the baby kick for the first time, or even until delivery when reality comes crashing down. I really do feel bad for dads. Moms that have the whole nine months to accept the reality, their body is screaming at them every hour of the day that everything is different. Dad only gets a dropped fork or a sobbing wife from time to time to bring him back to the true reality. 

So patience. That's what week 22 has to offer as a challenge for me. Patience in waiting for Roo to arrive, patience with my husband who loves me whole heartedely, patience even with myself as my limitations grow with every inch of my expanding belly. 

One day I'll look back and remember how different and beautiful life became when Roo came into our lives. When that day comes, I will know it was all worth it... But today it sucks.