Parenting surprise #1

Some times when I look at our son I feel like my heart is going to burst right out of my chest with pride at what a sweet and handsome little guy we made. I know I would love him but my goodness this feeling is more intense than I would have ever expected.

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Happy birthday to Milo’s name sake

When I was pregnant Bob and I discussed TONs of names and honestly we have a much harder time agreeing on a name for a possible male child than female as we both had names for boys that we were quite attached to and that we could not get the other to agree to. One of Bob’s name suggestions was Tiberius which I said I would consider for a middle name thinking that it was pretty unlikely that we would actually end up using it. One morning we were sitting in bed and Bob was reading an article that he thought I would like so started to read it to me. This is not the exact article but it covers the same topic. Any way I was all hormonal and by the end I was crying and just said, “yes!” Bob was very confused and inquired what I was saying yes to. I told him we could give out son if we had one the middle name Tiberius. So you see while Milo’s middle name is the same as Captain James T Kirk he is I fact names after the actor who played Kirk in the original series. Today is William Shatner’s birthday and so in honor of that we had a little photo shoot today. Ironically I bough toe onesie for Bob when I was pregnant and we had not decided or probably even discussed the middle name yet.

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What is this not the right end to put in my mouth?

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I am recovering from a nasty cough that has resulted in either a strained muscle or a bruised rib so am laying low and hoping to heal before we head to Portland in a week or so. The result if this is that Milo and I are hanging out in bed a lot which is where this photo was taken.

Milo has become a big fan of his pacifier and so we got him a WubbaNub which is a pacifier with a small stuffed animal attached to it so that he can hold it into his mouth better and it will sit on his chest and hold itself in. We have a baby that loves to smile which is wonderful but it’s hard to smile and hold a pacifier in your mouth at the same time so he was always loosing it. This seems to have helped a lot plus there are all kinds of other things on the monkey he can stick in his mouth.

About a year ago…

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We are going in for out dental appointments today and it made me think of our appointments a year ago and something I had written then.

This was entitled, “I made my husband pee on a stick.”

So yesterday my husband walked into the living room and we had the following conversation.

Husband, “So what do you want to do for dinner?

Me, “I dont want to talk about food right now.”

Husband, “are you ok?

Me, “I am nauseous.”

Husband, “I have never seen anyone smile so big when they say that.”

Me, trying to hold on to some rationality, “It could be PMS.”

Last night we changed our dental appointments from April when we are planning to go visit my family to today so I realized that while it was unlikely to show anything I should probably take a pregnancy test this morning to see if it said anything even thought Aunt Flow is not due for two more days. So I woke up and peed on a stick not really expecting much of anything…but I got a faint line. So I called the doctors office in the hope that I could get a blood test pregnancy test and find out today wether I am defiantly or not pregnant. Unfortunately they only do the blood testing in cases where they are concerned about other factors that they want to test for at the same time. So I went in and peed in a cup and they should be sending me the results some time overnight. Guess who is not going to be getting much sleep tonight!

On the way home I had Bob stop at the store to get a name brand digital pregnancy test so I could take it in the morning if the one at the doctors comes back negative (the doctor said that because it is so early it might come back negative even if I am pregnant). The test I used this morning was a store brand and it was the first one I had used so I was worried that it was a defective batch or something (I am still trying to convince myself to not get excited) but I decided to try waiting to pee until I HAD to and try it again and I got an even fainter but still defiantly there line. There was only one test left in the store brand batch that I was using and I figured that if I was getting false positives or if I am pregnant I was not going to have any more use for them so I asked my husband to pee on the last one to make sure it was not doing it for anyone. No secondary blue line!

Of course the Dr.’s office test came back inconclusive and so was not at all helpful but in the end I was indeed pregnant as I discovered the next day with a digital home pregnancy test and the rest as they say is history.

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I’ve been a little busy…

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I am proud to announce (if very belatedly) the birth of Miles Tiberius. I have been pretty busy keeping him fed and since I am breast feeding him I have not had much time to be on my computer. It was not until today that it occurred to me that there might be an app to be able to post from my phone. So here I am a mom for two and a half months and having badly neglected this blog. I imagine any one who has been a new parent will understand. There are a ton of things I want to write about and I will hopefully (but probably not) get to them all in due time. For now though I will leave you with this…

The waiting game and making sheets

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My 6 year old niece Allie:  “What day is your baby going to come?”

Me: “Unfortunately babies come whenever they want to and don’t tell you when.”

Allie: “Thats not very nice of them.”

Oh Allie you are so right.  Playing the waiting game all month is going to be interesting (and very frustrating!).  I am slowly but surly crossing things off of my list of things I feel like I have to get done before the baby comes.  Last night I finally finished making bassinet sheets for the wicker bassinet I got off of craig’s list and for the bassinet that snaps into our stroller.  Hopefully two each will be enough, ideally I would have liked to have three each but I have other things I want to get done and so they will have to wait.

I had been hunting around for bassinet sheets to fit the two very different sized bassinets I needed them for and found that there is so much difference in sizing that it was a little difficult to find one that I felt would fit well so I decided to make my own to custom fit my bassinets.  I took that a step further and made some darts around the curved parts of the mattresses so there would not be an excessive amount of extra fabric under the mattress making it lay strangely.  If you want to do something quicker I am sure it would have worked just as well with out the darts but I wanted a really good fit.

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Before I could make the sheets I had to finish the wool blanket mattress that I made so I got some heavy duty thread, an upholstery needle, and my thread snippers and went to work.  I lined up all the layers of the mattress I had cut out (except for the two I lanolized to be the piddle pads) and starting at the middle worked my way out tufting them together.  While the mattress is still a bit more floppy than I would like it does hold together for putting sheets and such on a lot better.  If there is some kind of monster diaper leak on this I just have to snip the threads that hold the mattress together and instead of having a thick mattress to wash I will have much thinner layers that will wash and dry much faster.  I also learned a trick for cutting drying time a bunch when lanolizing the pads that will work if I have to wash the mattress, place the washed or lanolized wool in the washing machine and do a spin cycle before laying them out to dry and instead of it taking a day or two to dry it seems to happen overnight.

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To start making a pattern for the sheet (I knew I was going to be making more than one so wanted to make a pattern but if for some reason you only plan on making one you can probably do this part directly on the fabric) I taped a cut open grocery bag and some craft paper I had laying around together.  You want to make sure that there is as least 6 inches of available paper all the way around the mattress (here I am using one of the piddle pads to make my pattern from since it is the same size as the mattress).  If you are making a pattern for something thicker you should measure the thickness of the mattress and how far under the mattress you want the sheet to go and add a few inches for seam allowance.  After you have your pattern paper taped together measure 6 inches all the way around the mattress making marks you can connect (like connect the dots!) and cut out.

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Next I used my judgment and figured out where on the curved sections of the mattress I would need darts and cut a straight line into the pattern.  When I made the pattern for the bassinet that snaps into our stroller I forgot about having the line be straight and in the middle where I wanted the dart to be and had a much harder time getting the seams to match up properly so be sure you do this part as pictured.  Now lift up the two sides together and have them overlap as while holding them at a 90 degree angle from the table.  Using a marker put a dot at each end of the shorter side of the triangle (the part on top).

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Then take your marker and a ruler and connect the dot with the point of the dart and cut there (but only cut if you are making a pattern, if you are doing this directly on fabric don’t cut this yet!).

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When you are done cutting all the darts into your pattern lay it out on your fabric and pin it down so it will not shift as you cut the main large oval shape out (again do not cut that darts yet!)

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After the oval (or whatever shape you are making) is cut out take some tailors chalk or if you are not worried about it showing marker and a ruler and trace the darts onto the fabric.

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For each dart you need to fold the fabric in the middle of the dart trying to match up the lines on both sides of the fabric.

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Pin the fabric so it will hold its shape.  It is actually much easier to put the pins in at a 90 degree angle from the line but I was not thinking about that when I was doing this and forgot to take another photo when I was making the other sheets.  I also find it is easier to know where to start sewing if I put at pin in at the very tip of the point of the triangle.  Now go to your sewing machine and sew all the darts.  I decided that since I was going to be putting a hem on the sheet and due to issues I am having with my sewing machine that I would start the seam at the small point making sure that there was enough thread trailing for me to tie a knot instead of doing a backstitch.  I may live to regret that but so far it seems to be working.  Since I am putting a hem on the other side I also didn’t do a backstitch there, but again I may wish I had done so in the future so use your best judgment.

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After you have sewn all the darts trim off any excess fabric to help reduce the bulk.  I made sure to not cut very far into the seam as I assume most of the strain on the sheet will be at the tip of the dart and so wanted to have plenty of fabric to keep it from unraveling to the seam.

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Now start pinning all the way around the sheet to make your hem.  It will be easier to thread your elastic through if you lay all the seam allowance for the darts in the same direction when doing this.  after you sew the fabric over repeat this making sure that you leave enough of a tube to feed your elastic through.  Also make sure you leave about an inch open in your last hem to be able to put the elastic through with the aid of a safety pin.

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I didn’t get a photo of my putting the elastic through the sheet (its kind of a two handed job) but I suggest threading the elastic through with out the mattress on and then place the sheet onto the mattress as you want it to fit and tighten the elastic as needed.  I used 1/4 inch elastic though if you were making something larger like a crib mattress you may want to use something thicker.  I can’t really tell you how much elastic you need since this is for custom sheeting but I got a three yard piece and was able to make two sheets for this bassinet and have some left over though I don’t think enough for a whole other sheet.

I hope that was clear!

The flannel I used for the sheet shown was on sale at Jo-Anne’s for around $2.50 a yard which is how much I bought and had some left over as well so I think I saved a substantial amount for this custom sheet.  For the sheets I made for the bassinet that I snap into the stroller I actually used part of a huge flannel sheet set that I picked up at the thrift store for $1.50.  I could not find a size on the label but we have a queen sized bed and they were to big for our bed (hence getting turned into other things).  My point is that if you keep your eyes open you can find very affordable ways to get fabric for your projects.  I know that just a few weeks before I started on my sewing projects I saw these absolutely beautiful curtains at the thrift store but there were only 3 and while we were actually looking for curtains I needed 4 so passed them up.  Now that I am sewing I am kicking my self for not getting them as I have the perfect project for them but not the fabric.  So if you are in need of a lot of fabric for a project don’t be afraid to look at the sheets, blankets, curtains, even extra large clothing at thrift stores and such to get it.

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Now go put your feet up and reward your self for a job well done!

 

My pregnancy must haves

Since I am coming to the end of my pregnancy I thought I would make a list of the things that helped me survive these last 9 months or so.  There are tons of lists like these out there so I am going to try to list things that are not on the typical lists or are not the things people usually think about.

1.  Organic Preggie Pops & Strong Ginger Ale

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These sour hard candies and a strong ginger ale saved me from a lot of the tummy upset of the first trimester.  I kept stashes of the preggie pops all over the house and in my purse for when I was feeling a little quisey and when it got bad enough that I was concerned that I would toss my cookies so to speak I would drink some ginger ale (the stronger ginger flavor the better).  In fact I am planning on taking both of these to the hospital with me incase I start to feel sick during labor as I hear is quite common.

A note about the ginger ale, I really loved the one pictured though it is a bit pricy and my husband ended up making me a ginger syrup by boiling down some fresh grated ginger root and then adding honey to it.  While we have yet to successfully make it quite as potent as this bottled stuff it has helped to settle my stomach many times over the last few months and saved us a ton of money.  We simply mix about a 1/4 cup of the ginger concentrate with a glass of soda water and it did the trick almost every time.

2.  Boppy Pregnancy wedge

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I did not even know this thing existed until we went to the first JBF consignment sale and I found one of these for $8.  Before this when I slept I would kind of jam a pillow under my expanding belly to give it some extra support.  This was not a huge deal except that with a pillow sometimes I would end up with more or less support than I needed and sometimes some areas had more support than other which would leave me with constantly readjusting things and cutting into my precious sleep.  This is great because since it is a wedge shape and my body was changing so much I have ended up slowly moving it further and further out from under my belly and now I just use the narrowest part to help support my poor stretched out muscles.  I also have started to wonder if this has not helped prevent some stretch marks.  After all I spend a good percentage of the day sleeping and this helps to keep my muscles and I would think skin by extension from being stressed when I lay on my side.  Who knows for sure about that but I know it made it much easier for me to sleep.

I also used a $10 body pillow from Target instead of getting one of those fancy full body pregnancy pillows that cost a fortune.  My sleeping situation was a body pillow on one side and a regular pillow on the other and I would roll back and forth as needed taking the wedge with me.  One of the things I didn’t know before getting pregnant is that you are suppose to only sleep on your side starting at around 12 weeks pregnant because the weight of your growing uterus can press against a blood vessel pinching it against your spine and cutting off blood to your legs and the baby.  I kept having my legs fall asleep if I was sitting slouched in bed and it turns out that is what was causing it.  To solve this I keep a pillow on each side of me at night so that I can roll back onto one of them but still be at enough of an angle to keep that blood vessel from being pinched.

3.  Bert’s Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter

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This is pretty self explanatory, you rub this into your skin to help prevent stretch marks.  I had pretty horrific stretch marks from puberty so I was keen on trying to keep from getting this very bad this go around.  I have read some people saying that it does not make any difference or that it does not matter what kind of lotion you use as long as you are hydrating your skin, I think that is silly since both Shea Butter and Vitamin E are famously good for your skin and vitamin E is especially known for healing skin.  Any way I read a lot of reviews on these kinds of products and liked what I heard about this one, I have also been a fan of Burt’s Bees products for years so wanted to give it a shot.  I found it to be very effective not only in keeping me from getting stretch marks but also it generally helped keep me from getting the itchie skin that is common in pregnancy from your skin being strained.  A few times I noticed what looked like the beginnings of stretch marks and I would give that spot a little extra attention with the lotion for a while and they would fade.  However I discovered about a month ago that I had some sneak stretch marks on the underside of my belly that I can not see that have formed so I am not escaping with out any marks, just less that I might have otherwise.  I usually apply this every night, after showers (to help hold in the moisture from the shower) and if I think of it in the morning as well.

4.  Apples

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I have had a history of having acid problems with my stomach so its no surprise that as my stomach is being mushed by my growing uterus that I was having some of my food come back to visit me.  I even had my throat burned a few times from this issue but I really wanted to avoid taking medication while I am pregnant and so I started eating at least one apple a day (usually as the last thing I eat before going to bed) and it did the trick.  In the past I have had acid issues so bad it felt like a heart attack and my husband looked online for something to help me combat the issue and found that some people swore by eating apples, and sure enough it works.  So instead of chewing on chalky tums or downing other antacids give apples a try.  We recently took a trip to one of the last organic apple orchards (apples are one of the most heavily sprayed with pesticides foods we eat) in our area and got half of a bushel which I have been quickly eating my way through.

5. A Bra Extender

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As noted several times already your body goes through a TON of changes during (and after) pregnancy and trying to keep your self clothed during all of that can be frustrating and expensive.  When I first grew out of my pre-pregnancy bra I got a cheap sports bra type things that had a lot of stretch to it hoping that would give me lots of room to grow, what it ended up giving me was an incredibly sore back after a few weeks that at one point left me sobbing in the shower at 4am out of frustration and pain.  Get yourself a real bra that fits your cup size (or maybe has a little room to grow in the cup) and then get a bra extender so that as you get bigger around in your rib area (your ribs start to expand to make room for your lungs that are being squished upwards).  I was able to keep wearing that one bra that I got after finally realizing that my back pain was not pregnancy related but from a bad bra for my whole pregnancy because of a $3 bra extender I found at Jo-Ann’s.  Depending on how much and when your boobs get bigger you may have to get a bra with a bigger cup size at some point but at least you won’t have to do it because of your expanding ribs.

(I think the one I linked above is the exact one I have and I really like it and judging from the pictures I saw of others I think this one gives you more room for expansion than many others as well.)

6.  Yoga Pants with fold over waist (non maternity)

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I think with the exception on a few shirts I got on clearance at Target all of my maternity clothing was second hand.  I just can not rationalize spending very much on clothing I can only wear for a few months (although I have fallen quite in love with maternity jeans and may keep on wearing them as that elastic waste is pretty darn comfortable!).  I got a pair of cropped yoga pants when I first got pregnant and was to bloated to be comfortable in my regular pants but not really needing maternity clothing and loved them because with the fold over waist if I felt like there was to much pressure on my belly I could just fold the waist band up and have more even pressure over my whole belly.  I found that in the later stages of pregnancy this was also great as it gave my sore belly muscles just a little bit of extra support as well.  I am not saying to skip the maternity clothing all together but don’t be afraid to look at some things that you will be able to wear beyond your due date.

7.  Mama Bottom Balm

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So this will probably elicit some Ewwws so I will try to talk about this in terms that are not so icky but this has been a life saver.  When you are in the late stages of pregnancy there is a lot of pressure being placed on your bottom area that can cause some unpleasant issues with the last stage of your digestion (the kind of issues that would normally have your running for the Preparation H but even that stuff did nothing for my issues).  I had read great things about this company and so when I was looking for an alternative treatment I decided to give them a try and boy am I glad I did.  This stuff is immediately soothing and has a nice herbal smell.  It cleared up my painful problem in about a day and with continued use has kept it away.  It is also suppose to be good for applying to issues you may have after giving birth but as of yet I can’t attest to that.

Thats all I can think of at the moment.

Sleepy with lots of things to do…

persimmon pudding

Well now that I am into my ninth month of pregnancy I am really feeling the crunch to get things finished for the baby, this has sometimes proven difficult at times as I am also sore and tired!  Luckily I have had a few days, like today, where I woke up with some (I initially wrote lots but realized that compared to non pregnant me that was not quite the right word) of energy and a strong desire to cross things off of my to do list.  I made a second sheet for the wicker bassinet that I made the wool blanket mattress for, unstuffed, washed the cover for, and then restuffed with fresh stuffing for the hand me down Boppy pillow that I have had sitting around for months, AND I found time to make a double batch of persimmon pudding!  If you are not from the midwest you may not be familure with persimmon pudding but it is something I grew up eating and every fall I look forward to it.  One of our neighbors apparently has a persimmon tree and gifted us with 5 persimmons so I decided to break out the family recipe and give it a go.  Here is the recipe;

Doud Family Persimmon Pudding

1/2 and 1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup persimmon pulp

2 cups sour milk *(more on this below)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups flour

Cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar together and add the eggs slightly beaten and the persimmon pulp.

combine 1 cup sugar, flour, and cinnamon in another bowl

add the baking soda to the sour milk and then add all of the ingredients together including the vanilla

pour into a 9×13 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour

After you bake the pudding top with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

*This go around I didn’t have enough milk so substituted four cream for some of the milk which I think I will just do in the future.  Previously I have used a recipe I found online to sour the milk by adding 1 Tbs white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk and that has worked well.  This is an old recipe so I am not sure exactly how previous generations have done the sour milk so just play with various ways to do it until you find what you like best.

Kangaroo Care (or Skin to Skin)

I am the kind of person that feels more secure with the most amount of information and so since I am quickly approaching a pretty major event in my life that is unlike anything I have ever experienced I have been doing a ton of research on birth and to a lessor extent parenting.  One of the things I read about early on after winding out that we were indeed pregnant was Kangaroo Care.  I have not ever heard anything about this practice before and was immediately fascinated.

If you are unfamilure with it as I was I suggest doing some googling but I will do my best to sum it up here as well.  Kangaroo Care was a practice started in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in third world countries that saw a dramatic percentage of babies born premature and underweight due in part to a lack of food to pregnant mothers.  Some of the babies were lucky enough to be born in hospitals who had incubators but there were so many babies in need f them and so little money available to supply more incubators that the Dr.s would have to put two or three babies in each incubator which caused infection to spread rapidly.  However there were even more babies born in hospitals with out any kind of incubator or not in hospitals at all.  One of the first hospitals to try out Kangaroo Care was one in Zimbabwe in the early 1980’s that did not have incubators and had a 10% survival rate of its premature and underweight newborns, after adopting Kangroo Care they saw a dramatic increase to 50% survival in that same group.  The theory behind Kangaroo Care is that kangaroos give birth to babies that are not quite prepared to be out in the world and so are placed into their famous pouch until they can finish maturing.  During this time they are skin to skin with their mother who helps to regulate their body temperature and the baby has constant access to food.  Indeed many primates often carry around their infants in much the same way.  When this theory was applied to human mothers and babies were placed onto their naked chests they found that the same thing occurred, mother’s skin would rise and lower in temperature to help the baby adjust to a healthy body temperature and that the baby would sort of crawl to the breast when it was in need of nourishment.  Babies also sleep better and when awake appear to be more alert that babies who are not given this care.  Infact in the later stages of pregnancy human mothers will see large blue veins closer to the surface of their skin on their chest just for the purpose of helping to regulate the temperature of the baby when placed there.  While this practice was an amazing breakthrough for premature babes it is also a worthwhile practice for all newborns and is recommended to be done not only immediately after birth but for a while every day for the first few moths of life.  I have read about this being referred to as the fourth trimester where we as parents (Dad can and should practice Kangraoo Care as well) help ease the baby from life in the womb into life in the world.

Isn’t nature amazing?

Baking day!

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I have loved baking for many years, when it comes to cooking I get a little board because I know how the different elements taste and I want to play and experiment and not follow recipes (unfortunately I am not experiences enough to have most of my experiments work out well) but baking is taking things like flour, oil, raw egg, and spices and mixing them in just the right proportion to make them taste divine.  Its like magic.  I am experienced enough as a baker to be pretty good at picking out good recipes for baking, or to tweak them if I think I can, but by no means to I feel like I can just experiment and have it turn out well.  I am also a big fan of Michael Pollan and one of his food rules is about not feeling to bad about indulging in sweets and such if you make them from scratch since they will not have as many of the nasty things as the processed boxed cookies and thing at the grocery store.  And so I bake, and today turned into a marathon baking day (that is not over yet).

I have been working on stocking the freezer with meals for after the baby comes and we will be surviving on little sleep.  Of course it will also be a time when it will be extra important to be getting lots of good nutritious food in our bodies so I have been setting aside two canning jars filled with whatever I have extra of (or that I made extra of) to put in the freezer for dinners.  I also wanted to have some things that will be easy for me to eat while I am breastfeeding as I have heard that I will be ravenous and thirsty all the time so things I can eat one handed while feeding baby George will be good.  I started out this morning making Sausage and Cheddar Biscuits I made last year for Christmas morning that was a big hit and is packed with calories and protein.  I even managed to get most of them in the freezer before my husband ate them all.  Next up I made Groaning Cake which is traditionally served after a baby is born to but I found a pretty good recipe that is recommended to snack on while in labor to help keep energy up.  I made a few tweaks to the recipe of my own by increasing the raisins to 1 cup and instead of 3 cups of flour I did 1 cup oat bran and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  I made them as mini muffins so I could eat them in one bite while I am in labor and not get crumbs all over my self and the bed if that is where I am at that point.  I think the recipe is still missing something but I cant pinpoint what it is yet, however if you put some jam or butter on them I think they will be quite tasty.  Even if you are not expecting it is a great recipe with LOTS of very nutritious things in it that would be great ti take on a hike or something.  These will also be going into the freezer to grab as we are on out way out the door to the hospital.

I’m still planning to make a pumpkin pie tonight as well, the Groaning Cake called for pumpkin and my sweet husband offered to get some of the beautiful organic pumpkins that the grocery store had for sale and cook it up for me instead of using canned pumpkin. I gladly accepted his help and suggested that it would not take much more time to do two pumpkins and then I would make a pie.  Bob loves pie so he was happy to comply.  I found this yummy sounding recipe as well as an alternative to make it with carrots that I am hoping to give a try out soon as well.  Hopefully my tired pregnant body will be able to get the pie done tonight because a slice of fresh made pie sounds absolutely perfect about now.  I have to say that I have no idea how much pie may or may not make it into the freezer for later consumption, probably none if I am being realistic.