Weekend Update

I'm sitting on the couch next to a snoring Hubby watching an SNL rerun. It's been such a long weekend - but long in a good way. I think Thanksgiving may be one of my favorite holidays because it falls on a Thursday. Almost everyone has the following Friday off and then the weekend. It's wonderful to know you don't have to rush back to the daily routine the next day. Even on the normal weekend, we really only have Saturday, and then Sunday we get up early to get everyone dressed and off to church.

Thursday, I spent the morning cooking. I ended up making two pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpking muffins (my pumpkin made more pulp than I anticipated, thus all of the pumpkin dishes), a pound cake, and a strawberry rhubarb pie. Then we all went over to my parents for dinner. My brother and his family were up visiting, and my husband's brother joined us. My parents put out a fantastic spread of food - I wish I could have ate more, but I needed to save room for desert. Afteward, the ladies played Scategories (eventually the rest of the family joined in), the guys watched a movie, and the kids played with toys.

Friday we all got together again and went to a shopping center - NOT a mall. I absolutely stay away from malls from Thanksgiving until New Years. I can't stand the traffic and inconsideration drivers have for each other around those places. We went to a smaller town with a series of little shops nicely spread out. After checking out a couple of stores, and buying our Christmas tree, we all went to dinner together, which my dad paid for! Later that night four of our good college friends came over and we watched a movie together after the kids went to bed. It was nice for the three couples to hang out and not worry about the kids.

Saturday we ran a couple of errands, Hubby put up Christmas lights around the house and I printed pictures to send out with Christmas cards I made. I ran over to my parents' house to pick up some Thanksgiving leftovers so that I didn't have to cook. After dinner the kids trimmed the tree, had their baths, books and went to bed. The only drawback to today is that I've had terrible heartburn all day. Another pregancy symptom. I know of a few natural remedies, but I'll have to do a bit more research.

Sunday we'll be off to church. A friend of ours is preaching at our church tomorrow. It will be nice to hear him for the first time, and see my girlfriend and their kids. Afterward, Hubby will be focused on football for the rest of the day and I hopefully will be sewing - at least during the Little Guy's nap.

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too!


'Tis the season...

The holiday season always makes me want to bake. Pies, breads, cookies, cakes... Our home is toasty warm and smelling of sugar and spices from November through January! While everyone else is excited preparing their famous mac n cheese or award winning turkey for Thanksgiving, I get charged up slicing up fresh fruit and rolling out pie crusts. That is going to be my contribution for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents this year. I plan on making an apple pie, a strawberry rhubarb pie, pumpkin bread (from pumpkins, not from the can) and a pound cake.

We usually spend the holidays out of town with my inlaws and I don't get to contribute much. My mil is one of those who has her holiday menu perfectly timed from start to finish. Another cook in the kitchen throws the whole plan off! This year we moved our visit up to this past summer so that we could avoid traveling so close to the due date. Not that people don't travel at 7 months pregnant, I'd just rather be close to the comfort of my own home at this stage. We've done the airport traveling with two small children when I'm NOT pregnant, and it's just not fun.

Anyway, yesterday I tried out a new cookie recipe. A friend gave me the recipe but I made a few changes. After the regular base for many cookies (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, creamed butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla), it called for lots of coconut, pecans, old fashioned rolled oats and chocolate chips. I decreased the amount of pecans by a fourth because Hubby has convinced himself he's allergic to them. He's SO not, it's just that the first time he had a fresh pecan, he happened to eat the very bitter red part in between the meat. I also decreased the amount of chocolate chips by a third because I'm trying to cut down on my chocolate intake. And then I added fresh cranberries to half of the batch. They turned out great. However, this morning, they were pretty crunchy. I think next time I'll also decrease the amount of rolled oats.

I guess the crunchiness didn't bother everyone. I sent some to work with my husband and he said everyone liked them. I'll bring some to church with me this evening and over to my parents. For Christmas I'll be baking cookies and making chocolate covered pecans to give along with my handmade gifts. What are you baking this holiday season?

funny pictures of cats with captions


Beware of Cat

While I was away last weekend, my husband had a little encounter with our cat. He is just the most gentle thing in the world and would never hurt a soul (or so I thought). We adopted him last spring and he came to us declawed, spayed with all of his shots. Since he is declawed, we do not let him outside - though he has ventured through an open door once or twice, but was so in awe of the great outdoors that he stood frozen, making it easy for us to grab him and bring him back inside.

Well, this past weekend, my bil and a couple of friends were visiting Hubby and one of them left the door open when they left in the evening. Hubby took the dog out for a walk and didn't notice the open door. When he returned, the dog was on high alert for some strange reason, and Hubby and his brother realized she was staring at the cat. My bil went onto the porch to try to get him, the cat freaked and ran under the porch. Hubby spent the better part of the night trying to get the cat from under the porch. When he was finally able to get a hold of him, my cat was so upset that he used his only defense - his teeth. They sunk so far down into Hubby's hand that it swelled up.

Now Hubby and cat are not on the best terms and the little ones tell everyone they run into about how "the cat bit daddy". But just look at that angelic little kitty face, do you really think he would have hurt dear Hubby if he really didn't think he was in danger? The funny thing is, Hubby still cleans the kitty litter for me every morning since I can't due to being pregnant, and he feeds the cat. Such a sweetie - still mad at the cat, but a sweetie! Hopefully Hubby will be able to forgive him soon.
By the way, these are all pictures a photographer friend of mine took of my cat. He is supposed to be playing with these lovely little handmade cat toys, but he was not in a playful mood that day.


A worry free weekend!

This past weekend I got a rare treat. I went to a 48 hour scrapbooking event at a Christian retreat center. The weekend included all meals, a room and plenty of space and time for scrapbooking. There was also a massage therapist on hand (for an extra fee) and an exercise class. It was great that it was at a Christian center. There was prayer before every meal and no drinking or crazy behavior. The setting was beautiful, albeit a bit far out for me. It was a couple hours away, out in the wilderness and I was sure I was going to come face to face with a moose or bear while out there. From 2pm on Friday until 2pm on Sunday, about 95 ladies worked on their projects and albums. A few, like myself, worked on holiday cards. I made 50 Christmas cards throughout the weekend! Now I have no excuse for not getting my cards out on time.

While I was gone, hubby took great care of the kids. He even did Little Miss' hair for church on Sunday morning! What a man! He told me I should go away more often because he and the kids had a lot of fun together. He'd better watch what he says or I just might run off again - just not so far away this time.

On top of that, I decided to take my 3 hour glucose test on Friday morning so that I wouldn't have to think about it during my scrapbooking weekend. It was a rough day because having fasted since 8 the night before, then taking the test and having four blood draws, then meeting the kids at their homeschool co-op (another mom agreed to bring them for me) and helping to clean up at the co-op, just about did me in. By the time everyone was leaving, I couldn't even put the car seats back into my car. I was shaking and could barely stand. One of the other moms had to put the seat in for me, strap the kids in and follow me home to make sure I made it safely! I nearly passed out once I got home, but luckily, hubby arrived shortly after we did and ran out to get me something to eat. After eating, I regained energy quickly and was able to pack and get on the road. I even put together an apple pie and popped it in the oven for hubby before I left. I felt good about having taken the test beforehand. I felt free to eat almost everything they served, and got some exercise in while I was there!

I haven't heard any information from my midwives, and the way I figure, no news is good news! I've been with them for several years, and usually if there is something off about any test results, they tend to call immediately. The fact that I haven't heard from them leads me to believe that I passed. I have an appointment next week (I can't believe I'm already on the "every two week" schedule) so I'll find out for sure then. In the meantime, I'll just focus on my healthy eating and exercise habits.

The Definition of Failure

I failed the 1 hour glucose test. I'm so disappointed. I didn't have any issues with the first two babies. It's weird how things can be so different with each pregnancy. I know I have a few of the risk factors, including the last baby being large and my ethnicity. I'm frustrated that I now have to go in for the 3 hour test. The midwife said, "Look at it as a mini vacation!" Really? Are you kidding me? It's a hassle to try to find someone who can watch my kids for four hours - the three hours I have to sit there, the 15 minutes total before and afterward of paperwork and bloodwork, and the travel time to and from the lab. Most people are at work during the day. I have a small handful of folks I can ask to take four hours out of their day with their kids to watch mine. In addition, I have a special scrapbooking event coming up this weekend and I was looking forward to enjoying lots of goodies while scrapping. Now I feel like I can't eat anything special during my scraptime.

Well, the good news is that it has not been confirmed that I HAVE gestational diabetes. The three hour test will determine that. But in preparation, I've done some research on ways to avoid or prevent gestational diabetes. It seems to be quite a controversial subject and many articles stated that there is no way to prevent it, only management and treatment once it's diagnosed. I have never agreed with that mindset. I always think prevention is better than treatment.

Disclaimer: I'm no doctor and this is not medical advice. Just a few things I found around the web that I plan to incorporate into my day! Please seek the professional advice of your doctor.

One of the MOST important things I can do to possibly prevent gestational diabetes is to exercise regularly. Twenty minutes to half an hour a day or even every other day is not that much. A short daily walk with the kids should take care of that.

The second most important thing to do is to change my diet. I already began watching what I ate once I found out I was pregnant - though certainly in a much more relaxed manner than with the first. I was religiously following the Bradley diet with the first child - and using it as a strong guide with the second child. Anyway, it seems that the difference when focusing on preventing gestational diabetes is the timing, pattern and food combinations. I need to break up my food intake into smaller portions and spread them out throughout the day, and take in protein with carbs. This provides a more consistent amount of energy so my system will not be overloaded to respond to strong swings of blood sugar highs and lows.

Here are my new nutrition guidelines
  • Eat like a bird in the morning: Make breakfasts very small and conservative, and be sure to have protein
  • Eat like a cow throughout the day: Graze on smaller meals and snacks, but eat more frequently
  • Be even and consistent: Never skip meals or go for a long time without eating (I am notorious for missing breakfast - it just gets so busy around here)
  • Did I mention protein?: Eat protein every 3 hours, and always eat protein with carbs
  • No sweets: Eliminate ALL or virtually all sugar during pregnancy (this will be the most difficult for me - especially with the holidays approaching)
  • It's quality that counts: I don't need to worry about eating more, but focus on choosing nutrient-dense foods
  • Where's the fiber?: Cut back and be very cautious with highly refined or simple carbs
  • Watch my load: Limit my carb intake at any one time and know the carb loads of typical foods (I'm sure there's a list somewhere online)
  • My bedtime treat: Help stabilize my nighttime blood sugar with a good snack with protein about half an hour before bed
  • Timing is everything: Make sure my breakfast is 8 to 10 hours after my last snack

First and foremost, I am going to pray about this whole situation. I know that God is in control of all things. I will pray that the 1 hour test was wrong and I will pray that I have the discipline to change my exercise and eating habits regardless of test results. My body is a temple and I am going to incorporate these things into my life in order to be a good steward of the body God has given me. Hopefully by the time I take and get the results of the three hour test, I'll not only be in the clear, but be much healthier, thus turning failure into success!


Testing 1, 2,3

One thing I have never liked too much about being pregnant is taking tests. I am not fond of pain and certainly don't like watching containers of blood being taken from me. However, hubby and I also want healthy babies, so we've always agreed to most of the testing that the doctors and midwives have suggested - with the exception of the genetic tests that determine any possible birth defects. We feel that the results of those tests would not change anything for us, as God would never put anything on us that we cannot bear, so whatever is in store for us is for us.

Well, today I was supposed to take a 1 hour glucose test. This is a test to determine whether or not I have gestational diabetes. If one fails the 1 hour test, they then have to take a 3 hour glucose test. I have already taken the 1 hour test earlier in this pregnancy because my chart is flagged due to the Little Guy being a really big guy upon birth. He was 9 pounds 4 ounces at birth and 10 pounds 4 ounces by the time he left the hospital a week later (we spent a little extra time there for silly reasons I won't go into but would probably make a good malpractice suit if we were into suing people). Anyway, I was all set to take this test when I remembered that the midwife instructed me to not eat anything sweet the day before. Well, yesterday we had to go to a birthday party and I think it would have been quite rude of me not to eat the cake and ice cream offered to everyone. It was made from scratch for goodness sake!

So I've rescheduled the test for tomorrow. Now I just have to make it through today without eating any sweets. I already gave up my iced pumpkin muffin from Dunkin Donuts - and I was so looking forward to eating it for breakfast. I was going to have a P&J sandwich for lunch, but I worried that the strawberry jelly might be considered a sweet. I ended up simply having peanut butter on whole wheat bread and a glass of milk.

This is a really hard task in our house. I love to bake and we as a family love sweets. Everywhere I turn there are cookies and ice cream and pie. We do try to balance our love of sweets with eating lots of healthy foods. I try to make sure the dinners are nutritious and well balanced. So tonight I'm going to make meatloaf, oven fried red potato wedges and veggies with cheese sauce. Simple, healthy and hopefully not anything to knock tomorrow's test out of whack!

I did spend some time researching the test to see if there are any little "tricks" to make sure I pass it. For example, eating a certain type of food the day before or exercising the morning of or anything so that I don't fail the test and have to take the 3 hour test. But then I decided, why try to fix the test? Wouldn't I rather know if I'm at risk for something that might affect the baby? So I'm going to behave and do as I'm told. I'll eat my dinner, have a snack of toast around 9pm, and then fast until I take the test at 7am tomorrow. Keep me in your prayers for good results!

The Daily Challenge

I get a fun task each day - trying to come up with something for dinner that my children will eat and that hubby and I will enjoy. My daughter is a terribly picky eater. She didn't start out that way - being a healthy breastfed baby and moving on to lovingly homemade babyfood, she ate everything we put in front of her. Then she turned two and apparently decided she had a mind of her own when it came to mealtime. Now my son is a great eater, but also a loyal follower of his big sister. So if Lil' Miss says something is yucky, you can rest assured that the Little Guy will follow suit. If my kids could have their way, they would eat mac-n-cheese (out of the box), grilled cheese sandwiches or peanut butter sandwiches every night.

I spend a great deal of time scouring the internet and and my many cookbooks for recipes I think everyone will enjoy. However, the online recipes that claim, "Your children WILL eat this," are not things I would put on a plate in front of my husband. They are dishes such as tater tots covered with cheese or weiner wraps or slices of bread baked under shredded cheese and milk. And I am most certainly NOT going to cook two separate meals for the kids and the adults.

So almost every evening, I say a little prayer, and proceed to prepare dinner. Each night is hit or miss. Some nights the kids are happy and hubby politely thanks me for dinner (we all know what that means). Some nights hubby raves about the meal and the kids refuse to touch it. And then there is the rare night that everyone actually cleans their plate. Tonight was one such night. I had taken the kids for a walk in the afternoon and was quite exhausted upon our return. I was convinced that there was no way I could cook dinner tonight and called hubby to see if he wanted to pick up some already prepared food from the deli at the grocery store. When I found out that he was no where near ready to leave work, I sat dejected on the couch while the children played. Then common sense kicked in and I realized that we'd spend way more money piecing a prepared meal together than if I just got my butt up and made something - especially knowing that I had plenty of time since hubby was still at his desk.

I pulled some chicken breast tenders out of the freezer and thawed them. I sauted a couple cloves of minced garlic, sliced up the chicken and added that to the pan, cooked it all for 10 minutes then added some soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger and chopped veggies. I let that cook for 5 more minutes and then added cornstarch to thicken. I boiled a pot of low mein noodles and served the chicken dish on top of the noodles, topping with crunchy chow mein noodles. It was a tad salty (too much soy sauce) but everyone's plate was clean by the end of dinner, save a stray noodle or mushroom.

There are only a few dishes that turn up successful results (defined by how much food is left on the plate) and I realize that I need to begin keeping track of them. A while ago I started a log of everything I make for dinner, so that I can eventually make a monthly dinner menu. However, the majority of things on the list are meals the kids (or the kid and her devoted apprentice) won't eat. Maybe if I just write down the things that everyone likes, I can ensure that all plates are clean every single night! What a miracle that would be. It would probably take me a year to build a month's worth of dishes liked by all! Oh well, I can dream can't I?