Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Salted caramel pumpkin thumbprint cookies

It's been a bit since I've been able to have some fun in the kitchen and bake something yummy, but I have something for you just in time for Thanksgiving!  We had a thanksgiving meal the other day with our church, and these are what I made to bring.  They're delicious.  A sweet, buttery, slightly crispy cookie filled with a salted caramel sauce that has a touch of pumpkin and spice.  

Salted caramel pumpkin thumbprint cookies
            Adapted from joy the baker 

For the cookies:
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour 

For the caramel: 
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree 
1/4 tsp salt, maybe a bit more, to taste

Powdered sugar for serving


For the cookies, beat the butter on medium speed with a mixer for 30 seconds.  Add in the brown sugar and salt and mix until fluffy. Add inn the egg and vanilla until well mixed.  Mix in the flour until dough is wet and sticky.  

Cover and allow dough to chill for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare two baking sheets with either non stick spray or line with parchment paper. 

After dough is chilled, make 1 inch balls out of it and place on cookie sheets.  Make a dent in the middle of the cookie by pressing down with your thumb.  Bake for 8-11 mins, until sides are lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely. 

For the caramel, bring sugar, water and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat, swirling the pan to stir occasionally.  

Continue to boil for about 5 mins, just until the caramel turns Amber Brown. Then immediately remove from the heat. 

Add in the cream and butter.  Stir until butter is all melted and cream is mixed in. This will foam up as soon as you add the cream.  

Stir in the spice, pumpkin and salt to taste.  Allow the caramel to completely cool.  

Once cooled, spoon about a tbsp of caramel into the middle of the cookies.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

River Willow's Birth Story

We had an almost, sorta, yes but not really, somewhat 95% successful home birth. 

Here's how it all went down: 

 The boys went down to stay with Jeremy's parents for the weekend.  We used this kid free time to go out and about, do a whole bunch of walking (to try and spur on labor) and get a few last minute things we needed before baby came.  I went to work on Sunday and didn't feel any contractions other than braxton hicks, which have been a constant for a while.  That same night, (sunday night) around 10pm, I started to have what I thought might be legit contractions.  They hurt.  They were kinda regular...like maybe 10 mins apart.  I thought I should go to sleep to try to get some rest just in case these were the real thing.

I didn't sleep great...woke up on and off hurting a bit.  It was about 630-700 that I finally gave up on sleeping anymore and decided to get up.  The painful contractions continued.  I didn't start timing them quite yet, because I think I was just in disbelief that this was the real thing.  I didn't get the chance to go into labor on my own with the boys, so I really didn't know how it was when it first starts.  After I walked around the house and cleaned some, I decided that these might be the real thing and woke Jeremy up.  We started timing the contractions and they were about 3 minutes apart.  I also then called my midwife.  She said that since I was induced early with the boys, and hadn't started labor on my own with them, that she was treating me like a first time mom, thus expecting a somewhat long labor.  So when I was on the phone with her about 0800, she said she'd take her time, get her stuff and assistant together and be over in about an hour or so.   It was this time that I also sent out a mass text to friends and family alerting everyone that labor was officially on.

I continued contracting. I walked around the house a lot, vacuumed and cleaned up the area where we were going to birth/set up the pool.  Midwife and her assistant arrived about 0930ish.  They got here and began to set up all their supplies.  I think we started timing contractions again, but I don't remember where they were.  I think around 10 or 1030 My midwife checked my and said I was almost completely dilated.  We didn't expect me to be complete this soon, so we didn't have the pool set up or anything.  Once she checked me, her eyes lit up and she said,

"You're almost complete, we're going to have a baby here soon!"

I got really excited and anxious at that point.  I didn't think that I was going to be dilated so quickly.  It did not feel like I had been in labor very long yet.  My midwife got really excited too.  Her and her assistant and Jeremy started running around getting everything ready.  My contractions started getting more and more intense.  When the pool was ready, I got in and it felt awesome.  I then labored for a while in the pool.

My water had still not broken, and then all of a sudden while I was sitting in the pool, I felt a huge "pop" down there.  And my water broke, in the water.  after that I almost immediately felt the urge to start pushing.  Pushed and pushed for a while, and was even able to reach down and feel baby's head slowly making its way down!

The pain was pretty bad at this point.  I was sort of stuck in a position sitting in the water bent over the side of the pool, on my knees, eating grapes and drinking gatorade between contractions with a cold rag on my head.  At this point my midwife started monitoring baby's heart rate with her doppler. And this is where things got crazy, or exciting as Jeremy says.  As our midwife was listening to the heartbeat, I could see concern on her face.  She said I needed to get out of the pool so that she could get a more accurate listen to what was going on.  I got out of the pool and did some pushing while in the squatting position, and then stood up in between contractions.  Every time I would push baby down into the birth canal, her heart rate would significantly drop.  A significant drop in heart rate like she was having is a sign of oxygen deprivation, usually from cord compression.  We could feel baby's head in the canal, so it wasn't a cord prolapse, but something was going on.  My midwife looked at me after monitoring her during a few more pushes, and she said

"We have to go."

I knew what that meant and I was terrified.  I wasn't terrified that something bad was going to happen to baby, I was terrified that we'd get to the hospital and I'd have to be rushed in for an emergency c-section, and since I've had no pain medication on board, they'd have to put me under general anesthesia.

I totally had a feeling of defeat come over me at that point.  I was hoping I could just hurry and push baby out quickly before EMS got there and then it wouldn't be a problem, but she was taking her time coming out, so unfortunately we had to go in.

The ambulance crew arrived and put me on the stretcher and took me into the back of the ambulance.  They wouldn't let Jeremy or my midwife ride with us!  Which I thought was awful, because had I delivered that baby in that ambulance, those dudes would have had no idea what to do.  The ambulance ride was the worst part of the whole thing.  Here I am still contracting and pushing, lying in the back of a bumpy ambulance with 3 clueless dudes just chilling next to me.  I really thought I was going to deliver on my own in that stretcher.  We finally made it to the hospital and I was rushed up into a L&D room.  Immediately the room was filled with what felt like 20 people in blue scrubs all surrounding me while I'm in terrible pain and trying to push a baby out.  Some of them are positioning me to push, some are strapping on monitors, some are starting IVs, some are talking to me about possible c-section and anesthesia risks.  They have me push a few times in there, and then they have me bear down and not push (which is AWFUL, btw, when all your body is trying to do is push out a 7 lb baby out!)

They tell me that they're going to try everything that they can to allow me to deliver vaginally, but they roll me into an OR room, just in case.  This was when Jeremy showed up.  He had to follow the ambulance and I was afraid that he wouldn't make it in time.  They start prepping everything and I continue pushing.  I think I started crowning at this point, and they mention that they need to use forceps to get  baby the rest of the way out.  I never caught a glimpse of the forceps, but Jeremy said they looked like salad tongs.  As they were maneuvering the tongs and getting ready to pull her out, the doc let me reach down and feel her head coming out.  It was crazy.  I could feel her hair!  Next thing I know she is out and on top of me and the doc said, "look at what you have!"  We looked down and were so excited to see that we now had a little girl in our arms.

She stayed with me for a long time.  They didn't take her away to get her weight or give her shots.  They let me hold her for as long as it took to deliver the placenta and clean everything up.  I was very thankful for that.  We then went back to our room and Jeremy's parents came with the boys not too long after.

River Willow Tucker
Born on November 3rd, 1:52pm.  7 lbs 5 oz.  21 inches long. 

Foxx meeting River

Judah meeting River

Even though we ended up having to transport to the hospital, I am so thankful that I was still able to deliver River vaginally instead of having a cesarean.  I was also thankful how respectful the staff was about treating me having come in from a home birth.  That was also a fear of mine, that I would have gotten some push back or fingers shaken at me for attempting a home birth.  I knew that there were risks going into it.  But there are also risks with hospital births.  And the statistics for the 'crazy emergencies' that would result in severe injury or death are extremely low in the first place.  The key was having a birth attendant (my midwife) whom I knew well and trusted well.  She said we needed to go the hospital, I trusted her.  We did and it all turned out great anyway.  

The heart rate dropping problem?  River had her cord wrapped all around her back and through her arms in such a way that when she would get pushed down into the birth canal, the cord would be squeezed so that it would stop blood flow during the squeeze.  Solution:  Push baby out quicker! 

So there ya have it.  Attempted a home birth, ended with a vaginal hospital birth.  Not too bad.  
All that matters is we have a perfectly healthy, thriving little girl.  



Sunday, October 26, 2014


So yes, we're planning a home birth this time.  And I'm soooo excited about it.  Having the boys in the hospital was such an awful experience, that we have decided on having this baby at home, with a midwife that we trust.  I know that this is sometimes a hot and debated topic, so I won't throw all of my opinions on the topic at you right now, but just know that I've done my research, and lots of it. I know the facts, risks, and benefits, and I am completely comfortable with my decision to birth at home.  There are plenty of risks and benefits that come along with a hospital births as well. 

People think I'm crazy.  Maybe I am.  But I'm excited.  
Here are some different reactions that we get from people when we tell them we're doing this birth at home.  All of these have actually been said to my face, at least once.  

"Wow, you're brave."

"Ha, well good luck with that!"

"With no pain medicine? You're crazy!"

"I think that's really awesome, and wish I would have done that."

"Yeah...that's not very smart.  You should rethink that." 

"How does that work?"

"Aren't you scared something is going to go wrong?"

I'm not scared.  I'm excited.  I feel very at peace with my decision to birth at home, and so does Jeremy.  Should either of us have felt any differently at any point, I wouldn't do it.   

I know something could go wrong.  There is that teeny possibility.  But I also know that something could go wrong in the hospital, and there is more of a possibility of that.  My opinion is that today's modern medicine intervenes in the birthing process way too much when it's not needed.  I am very thankful for maternal-fetal medicine  as I have worked with it first hand in the hospital.  I am thankful that we have access to that type of medicine and interventions when it is really needed.  I'm also thankful that in most situations, women are allowed to choose what kind of birth they'd like to have, whether it be in or out of the hospital, medicated or natural, vaginal or cesarean.     

I'm excited.  Have I mentioned that already?  I cannot wait.  All of our home birth supplies are out and ready to go.  We've picked up our birth pool, and have everything ready for that.  Midwife is officially on call for labor.   Just waiting on baby now!

"Giving birth should be your greatest achievement, not your greatest fear."

haha, Got to love Jim Gaffigan!  Home birth daddy x4.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pregnancy #2, Baby #3

I feel a little bad that I haven't been documenting this pregnancy as much as the first.  I'm 37 weeks now and this is the first that I am really writing about it.  This pregnancy has been a bit different than my first.  Obviously, the biggest difference is that I'm only growing 1 baby this time, instead of 2!

Check out these belly pictures:

This one was taken when I was 34 weeks along with the boys.

And this one was taken last week, at 36 weeks with our single baby #3.

Even though i'm a couple weeks ahead of where I was with the boys in this latest picture, I am definitely not as big as I was with them.  

People constantly ask me if I'm having twins.  Or if I'm way past my due date.  People are hilarious.  The things they say to pregnant women are hilarious.  If I were someone who took offense easily, I might be offended sometimes.  But I find it humorous.  

"You must be overdue!" 

"Are you sure there is only 1 baby in there?"

"your belly is sooo big! You could not possibly get any bigger."

"I bet you're ready for that to be over with!" 

And my replies (AKA things I say on a daily basis):  

"It's just 1 baby in there"

"My 40 week due date is in a few weeks, but I'm considered full term now, so it could be anytime."

"yes, I know my belly is enormous, but I was even bigger when I was pregnant with my twins"

"yes I'm ready to meet my baby, but I actually enjoy being pregnant, and am enjoying these last few days/weeks that I have with my baby inside me."  

What can I say?  I grew 2 babies the first time round...my body knows what to do and how to grow to make room for a baby or 2.  

This pregnancy has been similar and different to my first.  

Similar things:  
-No sickness/nausea/vomiting
-Really tired during the 1st trimester
-craving orange juice & spicy things

Different things:
-I can feel a lot more movement from this baby.   I guess since there is only one, he/she has more room to move.  With the boys, they were so squished they didn't have much room to flip and flop a lot.  
-Some heartburn
-Not near as much weight gain
-started showing a bigger belly earlier, but overall not quite as big
-craving anything coconut
-WE Don't know the gender!
-planning a home birth

I'm 37 weeks now, which is technically full term, and am very excited at the prospect of meeting this little babe here very soon!  I've been having tons of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but nothing that shows true labor is starting yet.  My 40 week due date is November 5th, but I hope to go into labor around 38/39 weeks on my own.  We are planning a home birth with an awesome midwife who has 30+ years experience with delivering babies at home.  

The nursery is just about complete, co-sleeper is set up on our bed, car seat is in the car, all our supplies for our home birth are sitting out ready to go, and our birth pool is here and ready. 

We're ready to meet you baby!   

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blueberry Poptarts

I love pop tarts.  I used to eat the boxed kind all the time.  Especially the blueberry muffin flavored.  I have been trying recently to make some more healthy snacks at home instead of buying them.  They usually turn out to be a lot cheaper, as well as without all of the extra ingredients and preservatives that come with buying them from off the shelf.  

These that I made are blueberry filled.  I made a small batch of blueberry jam for the filling.  They're so good!  The dough is made with some whole wheat flour and turned out perfect.  

Blueberry Poptarts
from A Kitchen Addiction

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp corn starch

For the dough:
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat or all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2-4 Tbsp milk
coarse sugar for garnish (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir together the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn down to med-low and boil for 10 mins.  Stir in corn starch and boil for another 5 mins.  Set aside and let cool.

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with silicone mat or spray with nonstick spray.  

In a large bowl of a mixer or food processor, mix together flours, sugar and salt.  Add in egg, butter and 2 Tbsp milk.  Mix or pulse until the dough starts to form together.  Add the other Tbsp or 2 of milk if needed.  

Turn the dough out onto a  lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth.  Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle.  Cut out rectangles 2.5 in. x 4 in.  collect all the scraps and re-roll to make more rectangles.  
Place half of the rectangles on the prepared baking sheet.  Put a healing Tbsp of the jam in the middle of the rectangle, leaving at least 1/8 in. Around the edges.  Top it with another rectangle and press the edges together with the prongs of a fork.  Do this to all of them.  Sprinkle with sugar and poke a few venting holes in the top.  

Bake for 10-12 mins until edges are lightly browned.  Cool and eat!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm finally back.

I've neglected this little space for a loooong time.  way too long.  I'm not sure why.  I kinda just got bored with it for a while.  I was over it.  I kinda took a long break from a lot of things.  We got rid of TV (just have netflix/amazon), I stopped blogging, only checked Facebook every now and then, etc.   And as of last week we've joined the bandwagon on smartphones.  Yep, we finally had to cave in.  Tossed my 10 year old flip phone and now have an iPhone.  Still unsure of how I feel about it.

But I'm back.  I've redesigned the blog, cleaned up some things, and also combined my food blog into this one.  Although it was a big task to transpose most of my recipes onto this blog and into a recipe index, it'll be much easier to have it all here in one place and only have to keep up and post onto 1 blog instead of 2.  So expect some food posts here on occasion.  I've also been doing some more DIY projects, so expect some more of those sort of posts as well.  

A lot has happened in the past year, most exciting of which is that we're pregnant again!  (although if you're reading this...I'm sure you probably already know.  old news.) But anyway, we're excited.

The past year has also been kind of a rough one.  I think I left after my last blog post about our future plans of moving to Brazil and being full time missionaries there.  Because that's where it kinda all went downhill...Long story short and lots of depressing feelings later, it doesn't seem like that is the direction that we are suppose to be going right now in life (more about that later).

So, for the welcome back post, I'll share some our favorite family photos/3 year pics/maternity pics with you.


*All photos are credited to Lane Hamilton, of Meredith Lane Photography 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cleaning with Toddlers & Talking

(This photo is from a couple months ago)

So last night after dinner, the boys and I cleaned up the entire kitchen.  The boys thought they were helping, but actually they were doing nothing, or making it worse.  But I figure it couldn't hurt to let them make a little bit more mess, and have them learn how to clean, while thinking that they are helping me.  I gave them each a rag and we all wiped down the counters and tables...They would wipe (or spread things around rather), and I would follow behind them.  They assisted me in putting dishes in the dishwasher (they actually were helpful with this!).  Then they also helped me sweep.  They thought that they were just so awesome getting to sweep the floor.  When actually all they were doing was moving around the junk, sweeping a lot of it underneath the stove, or onto the carpet of the next room.  But they had fun and I think I'll make it an after dinner routine for them.  That way they can learn a cleaning routine and hopefully continue to like doing it as they grow.   

I also need to start having them help me clean up their toys on a more regular basis.  Occasionally I'll have them help me put their cars back into their box, or the blocks back into the bag, but most of the time, it all stays there until they go to bed, then I clean it up.  They do love to throw things in the trash.  If we have trash out somewhere, they will take it and throw it in the trash, a lot of times without even being told to.  

 The boys are also talking more and more.  A lot of their words can usually only be deciphered by Jeremy and I, but they're making the effort at least.  Here is a list of words that they use often:

(they tend to drop the last syllable of their words)

"MIL" - milk
"ISH" -fish
"EAT" -eat
"APPU" -apple
"NANA" -banana
"OH BAW" -oat bar
"TOOTOW" -turtle
"BUG" -bug
"COCO" -Coco, our cat. (Conan)
"ANDY" -Andy, our other cat
"CAT" -cat
"BAW" -ball
"CA" -car
"STA" -star
"BOOBERR" -blueberry or blackberry (I'm not convinced they know the difference)
"NA NA" -night night
"PEAS" -please
"TANKOO" -thank you
"BEAR" -bear
"COW" -cow
"BAT" -bat
"PING" -pig
"FLOWA" -flower
"JOODAH" -Judah
"DOX" -Foxx (we're still working on Fs)
"DADDY" -daddy
"MAMA or MOMMY" -mommy
"POPOP" -pop pop, what they call Jeremy's dad
"MIN" -minions from Despicable Me
"AIPLAY" -airplane
"KY" -sky
"TEE" -tree
"WOCK" -rock
"WAWA or PAS" -pacifier or paci.  Not sure why they say wawa for this.
"PAPEW" -paper
"CACKER" -cracker
"TUCK" -truck
"NO" -no
"ELEPANT" -elephant
"HAT" -hat
"GO" -go
"DAYCA" -daycare
"JOO" -juice
"CHICKA" -chicken
"BYE BYE" -bye bye
"BUBBOW" -bubble
"OW SI" -outside
"OTT" -hot

I'm sure there is more but that's all I can think of at the moment!  Baby boys are growing up so fast it's ridiculous!