Sunday, December 10, 2017

Choco Mint Snap Cookies

These little morsels have been a staple around our house as long as I can remember.  They go perfectly with a glass of milk.  They are exactly how they sound, a nice chocolate mint cookie with a lovely crunch to them.  They are by no means as snappy as say a traditional ginger snap.  I might indulge in a few too many over the holidays, but they look oh so pretty and they are seriously easy to make.   I'm also guilty of smashing these up and putting them on ice cream.  

  • 1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 Cup unsifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • Sugar for rolling


  1. Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl; set aside.  We cheat and just use the microwave for chocolate melting. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar and egg; beat until creamy.  Mix in corn syrup, peppermint extract and melted chocolate.  Gradually blend in flour mixture.
  4. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Shape dough into balls, roughly 1 tbsp.  A small cookie scoop is perfect for this!
  7. Roll the balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.  Makes 36 3" cookies. 
Do share any family favorite cookies!  What is the cookie your family just has to make every year?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Our Birth Story || Part 2

If you missed part 1 of our birth story you can go back and read it here.  The week following our failed induction I was on modified bed rest, with additional OB appointments during the week to have nonstress tests done to make sure Theo was still OK.  I  left the hospital dilated 5cm, they call it a fake 5 because the foley is a manual dilation.  I was also taking and recording my blood pressure multiple times a day at home, it was still high, but not as bad as it was.  I mostly spent this week sewing with my mom, and Thursday we took a trip to Sam's club to stock the freezer.

Friday (11/10) rolled around and I had my nonstress test in the morning - I just had a gut feeling that we were about to repeat the last week again... My blood pressure was high still, but the nonstress test was great.  It was decided that we would schedule induction for the following week, it isn't recommended that women with high blood pressure deliver past 39 weeks.  I was able to convince them (or so I thought) to be induced on Wednesday, which would have been 39 + 4 weeks.  Before I left the nurse took my blood pressure again, and it had gone up.  Our midwife talked with the doctor, and guess where we were headed.  Oh right, the hospital for induction that day.  I was offered a foley for induction again, but I pretty much said heck no.  I left the appointment, not crying shockingly, and called Paul to tell him leave work and come home.  This time we felt more prepared, and more confident that we would be leaving with a baby.  But also we actually had our bags packed.

We got to the hospital about 1, they already had a room ready for us so we skipped triage again.  Over the course of the week I had actually regressed to only being 3 cm dilated, oh yay.  It makes sense since I was on bed rest there wasn't as much pressure being applied to my cervix.  They placed my IV line, drew several vials of blood, and got the pitocin going.  About 5:30 our midwife came in and was going to break my water to get things started, but since Theo was still sitting a little high she was concerned that her method risked having the placenta come out with the water.  At 6pm my water broke on its own, and the contractions started hurting quite a bit more.  At this point I ordered dinner, because I assumed it would be my last meal.  It all came back up shortly, I got the shakes really bad and I could not keep it down.

Paul decided that it would be a great time to start filling out the birth certificate paperwork... which meant he was me questions like "where were you born?"  Really dude?  I believe I responded with "Why are you asking me this now?!"  He thought I was between contractions and it was OK.

About 9:15  I requested the epidural, the pain was increasing as was my blood pressure, and I had the shakes bad again.  I had dreamed of this beautiful natural birth, not hooked up to machines and I would move freely without restriction, but at this point nothing was really going according to how I dreamed.  I had to tell myself I was still strong, and getting an epidural wasn't failing.  It was hard for me to come to terms with.  It didn't take long for the anesthesiologist to show up.  I'll be honest I was moderately terrified of how it would feel (I have issues with needles...), but I was also at the point where I had been poked enough times that what was one more in my spine right?  It wasn't bad at all, and I'm totally going to get one again.  With every contraction I felt them less and less, it was like a wave of relief.  I texted my mom "drugs are great", and I stand by that statement.  Getting the epidural was the only time Paul had any issues, I look up and he was white as paper and had to sit down.

I don't quite remember the next few hours, it really all felt like a blur to me.  I lost track of time, partially because my eyes were closed and I was tired.  By the time I was fully dilated my blood pressure had risen to 170/100.  I remember my midwife saying I wasn't allowed to push before we got my blood pressure down.  Several more nurses started to show up, they had to place another IV in my other arm to start me on magnesium sulfate, which was to lower to blood pressure, and fast.  The concern was I was going into a dangerous territory where I could have a stroke.  I think it took about 30 minutes and then I was able to start pushing.  Maybe it wasn't as long, but it felt like an eternity when I was ready to go.  At one point while I was pushing our midwife said if I wanted to reach down I could feel his head,  I was too tired to move but I would have otherwise.  I just had no energy left but we were so close.

Finally after a few hours of pushing (I think?) our sweet Theo was born at 2:37 am.  My first reaction when I reached out to grab him was "he's so small!"  We had some skin to skin time, it was magical.  Meanwhile I was having some hemorrhaging issues.  I remember hearing "she won't stop bleeding" which doesn't ever make anyone ever feel good, but it is pretty common.  There is some research looking into the use of magnesium sulfate and an increased risk of hemorrhaging.  As a result of my blood loss, being on magnesium, and epidural,  my blood pressure plummeted - which now made me at risk for having a seizure.  They called the anesthesiologist back, not totally sure why, and he wasn't pleased about it.  I think it was when my blood pressure dropped that Theo was taken off my chest to weight him, a tiny 5 lbs 6 oz, and he was having some issues getting and staying warm so the took him to the nursery.  Paul went with him while I was being put back together.  They both came back not long after, and we ordered some food because I was starving.  A fruit plate, cheerios, and a chocolate milkshake- a shake has never tasted so good in my life.
It was finally after 5 that we were able to get some sleep, and we slept until 8.  When we woke up our favorite nurse from the previous weekend was here and took care of me the next day.  We spent another 24 hours in labor and delivery because I had to remain on the magnesium.  They needed to do some blood work on me,  but I had swollen so much due to all the fluids that were being pushed.  2 different nurses tried 3 times to get blood, and failed all 6 times.  At which point I started having an mild anxiety attack and started to feel very faint and I was on the verge of passing out.  They called a phlebotomist up, and man she studied my arms for awhile, and even she took a few tries.  Man, I was a human pincushion for a bit.
Both Theo and I spend the whole next day zonked out, the magnesium was making me exhausted.  Poor little Theo had it in his system as well since it was started pre-delivery.  The only visitors we allowed were our parents because I was not up for much, and we did some more sleeping that first day.

All in all we feel blessed that we safely welcomed our baby boy into the world, and avoided a c-section.  It certainly didn't go to plan, but we are grateful he is here and enjoying how full our hearts feel.

It is crazy to see how he was swimming in those newborn clothes, and now he is filling them out nicely at 4 weeks. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Week One

It only took me a week to pull out the dslr and attempt to snap some photos of our sweet Theo.  I wanted to capture that sweet newborn phase he is in.  It was a crappy rainy day, so the light was terrible, and the little guy was dealing with jaundice.  

Our sweet little man had a doctor appointment when we was 3 days old and he was already back up to his birth weight of 5 pounds 6 oz, little pig gained over an ounce a day, he had dropped down to 5 pounds 3 oz when we were discharged from the hospital.   

He is the perfect addition to our family, we could not feel more grateful.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Our Failed Induction || Birth Story Part 1

Our sweet baby Theo is officially here, but I'll be honest it wasn't the easiest end of pregnancy to get here.  The weekend of 11/3 - 11/5 was a particularly rough one for us.  I think I cried more in those days than the rest of my pregnancy, I think the hormones are hit me hard.  This story is a long one, but it is part of bringing our son into the world.  This is the story of how we had a failed induction, part 1 of our birth story.

Thursday November 2nd: I wrapped up night 2 of parent teacher conferences which meant day 2 of being gone from home for 14 hours.  I came home with a slight headache that turned into the worst headache of my life within a few hours.  I tried sleeping but I was so frustrated with the pain I cried.  I was worried about popping more pills, so I showered at 2 am.  I was provided with some relief from the shower, but I caved and took more meds. I finally fell asleep about 4 am.

Friday November 3rd:  I awoke at 8 to get to my OB appointment.  Feeling and looking miserable no doubt, they were concerned the moment they laid eyes on me, my blood pressure was high in the 140/90 range I think.  Couple that with a headache and a few other signs, warning flags went up about preeclampsia.  I was given 2 options.

1.  Go to the hospital and be induced.
2.  Go get some blood work done and leave with a prescription for my headache, come back 4 hours later to take my blood pressure again.

First time in my life I said please take my blood & give me all the pain pills.  I was alone at the appointment, and overwhelmed at the thought of being induced at 37 + 5 was terrifying.  Our home was a mess, my sub-plans were not ready for school, I thought we had more time - so I cried.  I cried at the OB, in my car, calling Paul, again at the hospital getting blood drawn (oh those poor phlebotomist, they were so sweet comforting me and giving me juice - which I would later throw up...).

Once I took the pain meds I couldn't drive, so I went to my parents house to take the meds and for a nap before going back to the OB for the test results and to check my BP again.  I managed to fall asleep, the drugs took the edge off the headache, but it had not gone away. At the OB I pulled a scary high BP of 190/110.  They did a non stress test at the OBs office which looked good, baby was doing fine, but after a consult it was still decided I should go to the hospital for induction.

In order to get the ball rolling, or should I say my cervix ripening,  I opted to have a foley balloon catheter inserted at the office before going to the hospital.  OUCH.  I had a friend who this worked very well for... but holy hell I'm going to avoid it ever again.  Basically they got halfway though injecting the saline into the balloon, and I was writhing in pain and getting the shakes.  When they finished I ended up puking all over myself.  They only had the world's smallest puke containers which I promptly overfilled and splashed on myself.  I ended up wearing a gown home because I smelled wretched.

We got home, my mom helped me pack my hospital bag while we waited for Paul to come home.  I managed a shower during that time as well. My dad cleaned my car and brought it over from their house.  Basically my parents are amazing. 

We headed to the hospital finally having accepted that would we soon meet our son - earlier than expected but finally feeling excited.  The day before at work I had just been talking with my co-worked who had a baby 2 months ago about how I wasn't ready to not be pregnant.  I wasn't ready to not have him on the inside, I was going to miss all of his kicks.  It was all happening sooner that I thought.  In my mind that was the last car ride before we would meet our sweet boy. (wrong).   We got checked in, our room was ready no trip to triage,  we did the registration papers, took vitals, and placed my IV.  They started pumping me full of fluids, and hooked me up to the monitors.  This was nearly everything I didn't want.  The IV in my right hand made it hard to do much, it was very uncomfortable and I was swelling up quickly.  We ordered some dinner, and tried to relax.  I started having another bad cramp from the Foley, and ended up losing all of my dinner - thank God the puke bucket was bigger this time.

The nurses came in several times to re-tape the Foley tighter on my leg.  Sometime in the night maybe 2 am the Foley came out while I was trying to pee, which was a good sign because it meant I was dilating, and finally I was able to get some sleep.

Saturday November 4th:  They checked my cervix at some point, I don't remember when.  I was 4 cm dilated, at 5:30 the pitocin drip was started.  The contractions were minor, but they got fairly regular.  By no means were they hard.  We lounged, took a nice walk in circles before lunch.  Our midwife came in with her daughter who was there to observe a c-section to check my progress.  I was only at a 5.  Right before walk #2 a code blue alarm went off for the c-section that was going on, so we stayed in our room for a bit until the alarm was taken off.  Once it stopped we went out for walk #2, we came back after a few laps because I yet again had to pee.  While in our room the code blue went off again, so we stayed in our room.  Silently I prayed.  I thought I had seen the dad pulled from the OR, and the OB kicked his daughter out of the OR.  It felt like a very heavy situation.  All of the labor and delivery nurses were in the OR, and the postpartum nurses were covering both wings.  At 2pm a nurse came in and shut off my pitocin.  Basically they could not monitor everyone with so many nurses in the OR.  They were going to turn it back on asap.  Asap never happened...

We were out for another walk when we were asked to go back to our room at about 6, they finally had the c-section patient stable 5 hours later and wanted everyone out of the halls before moving her.  My parents came at 6:30 and Paul went home to shower, get more clothes and grab some dinner.  I can't remember when, but the decision was made that I would take cytotec in up to 4 doses to get labor going, and then start pitocin again in the morning if necessary.  The cytotec got contractions going well, they were close together, but still not hard I slept through the without a problem. I was hooked up to the monitors all night.

Sunday November 5th:  During the night the nurse checked my cervix, and I was at 5 cm.  I was failing to progress.  When our midwife came by that morning she laid out our options.  We could start pit again at 12 once the last cytotec wore off and hope it worked, or we could be discharged and go home.  If we started pit again, the concern was if it didn't work we would be officially labeled failure to progress and we were headed down the road to an unnecessary c-section.  We opted to be discharged.  Thankfully they never broke my water, and my blood pressure was lower.  I was discharged and put on modified bed rest, more appointments, and several times a day I had to monitor my blood pressure.
We left the hospital feeling all sorts of emotions.  I felt discouraged, and like I had failed.  The look on Paul's face was sort of crushed.  The truth is it was very hard to leave without him in our arms.  We went in not realizing an induction can fail, and we could leave without him on the outside.  It was hard to accept my body didn't fail and that we made the right choice. 

Have you had a failed induction?  I'd love to hear your birth stories!  Part II is coming soon, as I try and piece it all back together. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Theodore Dale

On 11/11 at 2:37 in the morning we welcomed our son, Theodore Dale, or as we like to call him baby Theo.  He was named after both of my grandfathers.  

19.5" long, weighing 5 lbs 6 oz

He is as sweet and cuddly as can be, which is a dream because I can't get enough baby snuggles.  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Makeover Monday || Hutch

This makeover is a long time coming, and I love a good makeover.  My mom wanted some more storage at the lake, and so she found this hutch on craigslist.  It was $40 so we hopped in the truck, and drove 30 minutes to look at it.  It fit the bill, so we loaded it up and brought it home.  That was the summer of '16.  Last fall I worked on the painting of the hutch, and got it almost done.  We took it up to the lake last fall to store it knowing I still had to finish the doors and a few details this year.  It technically isn't done yet, I have to finish the detail work still - touch up paint and caulk in a few areas will make it look more polished yet.  Maybe spring of '18 I'll finally call this one done. 

So here is the lowdown of what was changed, because this piece did get more than just a paint job.  However, I can only claim the paint job, my parents did most of the work.   
  • Took off the doors on the upper portion - this allowed it to function better as open shelving storage
  • Added bead board on the back to replace the crappy cardboard back - when the doors came off it also needed some reinforcing since the body is not real wood
  • Added real wood shelves for more stability
  • Took off the bottom trim, and added 1"x 4" around the bottom so we had something to drill the foot plates into
  • Added bun feet!  partially for looks, and the ability to level the hutch.  The kitchen floor is pretty darn uneven
  • Painted it white - primed it, and then used BM Ultra Spec 500 in base 1 which is just white
  • New hardware

It is now a super functional piece and has added so much storage.  I am sure I could style it so much better still, but the truth is we use the dishes almost daily so there has to be a functionality / pretty balance.
I hope you find a little inspiration in what you can do with a can a paint!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

They said what?! || 3

It is hard to believe I am in the middle of only having 4 weeks of teaching left before maternity leave starts, and I am ready.  I have hit that spot in pregnancy when sleep is elusive - partially because I pee all the time, and the heartburn has started to rear it's ugly head.  I quite literally cried this past Monday when I had to leave.  Cried real tears, and told Paul I don't know if I can make it.  But then my kids say funny (to me) things and I know I'll not only make it, but I'll miss them. 

First up I was telling my kids about ligers, because cats are awesome, and we were defining what a species is.  I brought up a few photos, and the on liger looked like she had spots on her.
One of my kids asks "why does the liger have spots if it is a a lion and tiger mix?"  
Another kid responds "Because she was cheating with a cheetah!"  

Not quite how that works, but quick and often witty thinkers they are.

We later in the week were looking at a photo of an ecosystem and they had to pick out as many abiotic and biotic factors that they could going back and forth between teams.  One of snakes in the image was a scarlet king snake, a classic example of a mimicry.  I always teach the phrase "red next to black safe for jack, red next to yellow kills a fellow" 
I was going to give massive bonus to the group that could finish my statement
"Red next to black..."
The response I got was "racist!"
Puzzled I looked back at her, and realized she heard "redneck's black"

Next up two quotes from one of my favorite girls.  First up in the middle of class, taking notes she has this epiphany. 
"Oh my god, I just realized Pumba is not a puma!" 
How much of her life did she spend thinking Pumba was a puma, and the whole "When I was a young warthog!!!!! part of Hakuna Matata.  
Image result for pumba
And mere minutes later after picking out her invasive species she comes up to me and asks if I can google her species so she knows what she picked.  
I said "Sure what did you sign up for?"
"The zebbbra moosell"
  My co-teacher and I can't help it, we bust out laughing "Any chance you mean the zebra mussel?"

In other news,  things that had to be said to high school kids this week are "Don't throw the scissors"  and  "Did you just put the dried beans in your mouth?!  You know that every class has used those for the lab today and you just ate them!"  

And for my education this week, I learned that rap snacks are a thing. Chip flavors with rappers on them.  
Image result for rap snacks

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