Monday, July 31, 2006

My Latest Project

Here are a couple of pictures of my latest crochet project. I had a bit of trouble with the pattern, which can be found here, but I finally figured out a way to make it work.

I eliminated the ties, which you can see on the pattern web site, and instead attached a button:

I will probably also make the matching diaper cover and booties. We don't know if we are having a boy or a girl, but I figure it doesn't hurt to be prepared. If we have a boy, we can save this for sometime down the road. :-) Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

My Birth Plan

Even before I became pregnant, I knew I did not want a typical hospital birth with typical hospital interventions and germs. My search for a natural birth alternative led me to a local freestanding licensed birth center with midwives as the caregivers. My birth team involves three women: the supervising midwife, who is a licensed direct-entry and certified professional midwife; an intern midwife; and an apprentice midwife.

One thing that is advantageous about this birth center is that my husband and I have the final say over what tests and procedures I or our newborn will undergo. For example, we chose not to have an ultrasound, and I also opted out of a glucose test for gestational diabetes, because I did not have any of the risk factors. We are in the process of researching newborn screening tests and Vitamin K administration.

The birth center is in a three-story house with two nicely-decorated birth rooms. The idea is for it to be a home away from home. I would have liked to have a home birth, but our current apartment is so tiny and not-soundproof that we felt, for this baby at least, a birth center would be a better option. Both of the birth rooms are equipped with huge birthing tubs, which can be used for relaxation during labor or for the actual birth. I plan to at least labor in water, if not actually give birth in the water.

A typical appointment with my midwives involves a urine test which I do myself with a test strip; questions from the midwives about how I am feeling and what I have been eating; checking my pulse and blood pressure; listening to the baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler and calculating fetal heart rate; measuring my fundal height (from the pubic bone to top of the uterus); and checking what position Baby is in. That’s about it. I did have one internal exam toward the beginning of pregnancy so that the midwives could tell the position of my uterus and size of my pelvis.

Mainly my midwives just emphasize good nutrition, including 60-80 grams of protein during the first and second trimesters, and 80-100 in the third trimester. I eat a lot of yogurt, cheese (cottage cheese especially is great for protein), and meat, and I have two eggs every day. They also stress the importance of light exercise. I walk for about thirty minutes five or six days a week. I was taking a regular multi-vitamin before I knew I was pregnant, but when I found out, I researched prenatal vitamins and ended up going with Promise Stages, which have a slightly different formulation for each trimester of pregnancy and are very reasonably priced. Within a week after I started taking them, I noticed my fingernails were much stronger, so they must be doing something!

When I was searching for a birth place, I knew I wanted to be able to labor not flat on my back, but in any position I chose. The birth center encourages squatting or just about any position that is comfortable. There are also birth balls to sit or lay on. I will be allowed to eat and drink during labor; in fact, one of the mandatory items on my birth supply list is six bottles of Recharge, an all-natural sports drink. I am also supposed to bring an unopened bottle of olive or almond oil, which the midwives will rub on my perineum if I give birth out of water, instead of an episiotomy. The cord will not be cut until it stops pulsing, and I will be able to immediately hold and breastfeed my baby. We will stay at the birth center for at least three hours for monitoring, and then home we will go with our newborn!

I have read dozens of books about labor and birth, but to be honest, I still don’t have a clear idea of what to expect. I guess I’ll have to just experience the process this first time, and then I will have a better idea for future pregnancies. I have a wonderful, supportive husband, knowledgeable midwives, and most importantly, a God who loves me and is in control.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Almost There!

My baby ticker just moved to the last month! I am planning to do a post soon about my birth plan.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread (for Bread Machine)

I made this for the first time the other day. For 100% whole wheat bread, it rose well. And it's quite tasty! This recipe is for a 2-pound loaf.

100% Whole-Wheat Bread


-6 tablespoons combination of oat bran, wheat bran, and/or flaxseed
-1/2 c. milk
-5/8-3/4 c. water
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons butter
-6 tablespoons honey
-2 teaspoons salt
-4 c. whole-wheat flour
-1/2 c. raw unsalted sunflower seeds
-2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast


Use whole-wheat cycle of bread machine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clip and Save

Did you know that you don’t need to get the newspaper to take advantage of coupons? Many grocery stores have their weekly ad on their web site. You can get an idea of what is on sale and if there are any coupons available. Depending on the store, you may not be able to print out the coupons you find in the online ad and use them at the store, BUT, I have found that if you ask at the customer service desk of almost any grocery store, they will give you a copy of their weekly ad, including coupons! Some stores even have their ads in a stand near the front of the store.

Don’t automatically rule out the more expensive grocery stores in your area. If you pay attention to their ads and coupons, you will often find a few top-notch-quality items for a lower price than you could get them at your local discount grocery store. Run in, grab these “doorbuster” items, and then mosey over to your regular less-expensive store to get the rest of your groceries.

Many stores are accepting manufacturer’s coupons that can be printed off the internet from sites such as SmartSource. It may be worth your while to call around to all the stores in your area and ask about their coupon policies.

You can also go to the web site of any product you regularly use (think baking items, dental supplies, snack items, frozen goods, household supplies, etc.) and see if there are any coupons available to print directly off the manufacturer’s site and/or if you can get on their mailing list for future promotions and coupons. I would recommend using a separate E-mail account than your personal correspondence account, as many companies “share” your information with other companies, and your E-mail box can quickly become overloaded with dozens of offers and newsletters.

I have also written to manufacturers when I really like their products or if I have had a problem with their products, and received many high-value coupons (some for FREE items) this way.

Even if you only save a few dollars a week by using coupons, you are honoring the Lord by being a good steward of His money and making the most of the resources He has given you.

I am still learning how to stretch my family’s food dollar, and if there are any coupon pros reading, I would be blessed if you would share some of your tips!

Turkey Sausage

This morning I walked to the grocery store to buy some peaches, which I knew were on sale. While I was there, I found some ground turkey with a $2 off sticker on it, bringing the price to $1.99 for 1 ¼ pounds. This is the best price I have seen on ground turkey in my area. Do any of you use ground turkey? If so, I’m curious, what do you usually pay for it? I have been looking around to find a good price ever since I found a recipe for Turkey Sausage:

Turkey Sausage


-1 lb. ground turkey
-1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
-1/4 t. each cumin, marjoram, pepper, nutmeg, oregano, cayenne pepper, and ginger
-1/2 t. each dried basil, thyme, and sage
-2 t. sea salt
-2 T. whole-grain bread crumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-2 T. butter


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Form into patties and sauté in butter.

I made this recipe for lunch. Hubby and I both really liked it! The patties came out moist and flavored just right. I had been avoiding sausage for quite a while because of the MSG and/or nitrates in commercially-prepared sausage, so this was a treat. I think it would also be good crumbled as a pizza topping.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Hope Chest Memories

Tonight while preparing dinner (Chicken Spaghetti--recipe below), I reached into a drawer for a can opener and saw several kitchen gadgets in the drawer that made me smile. Why? They were gifts from my parents, one every day for the month leading up to my sixteenth birthday. Every night at dinner, I got to unwrap a different kitchen item—-a set of measuring cups, a turkey baster, an apple slicer, dish towels, etc. Then, on my birthday, Mom and Dad gave me a beautiful hope chest in which to store all my new treasures. I used to spend hours sorting and re-organizing the items in my hope chest, all the while dreaming about the man who would become my husband and the home we would have together. I am so grateful to God for bringing Hubby and me together and for helping us have such a happy marriage.

My hope chest is still very special to me. Right now it is holding baby clothes!

Here is the recipe for Chicken Spaghetti. It’s a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken.

Chicken Spaghetti


-1/2 large onion, chopped
-1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
-2 stalks celery, chopped
-1 can sliced mushrooms or approximately 2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-30 oz. Tomato sauce
-6 oz. Tomato paste
-1/4 c. water
-1 can sliced olives (optional)
-2-3 c. cubed or shredded cooked chicken
-1/4 c. or more parmesan cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
-dash black pepper
-3/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
-3 teaspoons Italian herbs (use a blend or just use basil, rosemary, and oregano), or to taste
-12 oz. spaghetti noodles (I use whole-wheat)
-1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese


Sauté onion, bell pepper, celery, and fresh mushrooms (if using) until just tender in olive oil in large pot. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, olives (if using), canned mushrooms (if using), chicken, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, and Italian herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes or until flavors are blended. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti noodles in boiling water. Drain. Serve sauce over cooked noodles. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

My Day So Far...

Some of my favorite bloggers have been putting up their schedules, so I thought I would join them. Here is mine so far today:

5:30 Woke up, prayed and read one day of one-year Bible with Hubby
6:00 Breakfast, contacts, hair, brushed teeth, ran dishwasher
6:45 Walked, listened to Michael Card's Unveiled Hope album on CD player—-I had Braxton-Hicks contractions during my whole walk today, so I tried to just walk slowly and take it easy
7:15 Shower, dress, hair, makeup
7:45 Organized craft supplies into closet to make more room in bedroom for crib, did dishes, tidied kitchen
9:00 Errands with Hubby—returned video, grocery store, hardware store for shelf brackets, looked at craft store for photo album
10:00 Continued organizing bedroom, researched photo albums for our wedding photos; I really like the 12x12 white leather bay box album from ScrapWorks, but I’m having trouble finding anyone who has it in stock.
11:00 Lunch; I have a new shelf by my side of the bed and the crib is set up! Yay! (Thanks, Sweetie!)
11:45 Made lunch for Hubby; organized coupons; blog-surfed
12:45 I'm planning to read a bit and then take a nap.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Currently Reading

I have added to the sidebar a list of books that I am currently reading. One of them, My Antonia, I am listening to on CD as I work on crocheting my big afghan.

Friday, July 21, 2006

What I've been up to

We found a nice crib on Craigslist for a good price, so we've decided to just let Baby sleep in the crib next to our bed right from the start.

I have been walking 30-45 minutes a day 5-6 mornings a week. It really helps stretch things out in my back if I've slept in a weird position (I don't think there's really any super-comfortable sleeping position during late pregnancy! Hubby did buy me a couple of extra pillows the other day to artfully arrange around me for sleeping and sitting up in bed).

I just checked out from the library the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon. It has convinced me of several things:

1) to do all my cooking and baking with real butter or olive oil, instead of margarine or vegetable oils.

2) to try lacto-fermentation--this involves soaking grains overnight or longer in warm water mixed with yogurt or whey. This neutralizes most of the phytates in grains, so that the vitamins and minerals in them are absorbed more easily, and encourages the growth of healthy enzymes. Vegetables and fruits can be lacto-fermented as well.

3) to continue a low-sugar (especially refined sugar) diet.

4) to eliminate processed foods from our household as much as possible. I don't want or need all those chemicals and preservatives in my body, especially with a baby growing inside.

5) to incorporate more nutrient-rich stocks into my diet. I made chicken stock today using the recipe in this book. I don't have many pregnancy cravings any more, but I did during my first and second trimesters, and what I craved most was broth! It still tastes great to me, even though I don't crave it like I used to.

I'm working on crocheting this afghan, except I am making it adult-sized instead of baby-sized. I am using Caron Perfect Match Country Basket Ombre. The afghan is almost large enough now to cover our queen-sized bed, but I want to make it long enough to be tucked in at the end (plus, I still have several skeins of the yarn left that I don't want to go to waste!)

I have been learning a lot on the internet about using coupons. Coupon Mom is a good source of information.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Stuffed Peppers and Other Stuff

We had a fun Independence Day. Our home group from church met at a park for a potluck dinner, then played games and chatted until the big firework show started.

I found a good deal on green bell peppers, so tonight I made stuffed peppers for the first time. Neither Hubby nor I had ever eaten a stuffed pepper. I looked at several recipes and came to the conclusion that there is no “correct” way to make a stuffed pepper, so I made up my own recipe. I cooked some ground beef with chopped onion, celery, and green pepper, mixed in a couple handfuls of bread crumbs, and stirred in about a cup of leftover spaghetti sauce. I stuffed this mixture into the pepper cups, poured a little more spaghetti sauce over the top, and baked at 350 degrees for half an hour. Then I sprinkled on some grated cheddar cheese and additional bread crumbs and baked for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They came out great! While we were eating them, we came up with the idea of pizza peppers, made with pizza sauce, pepperoni or sausage, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Maybe we’ll try that next time.

My belly button has been slowly turning into an “outie” for the past several weeks, but yesterday I stood up from using the computer and realized that it had finally completely popped outward! Weird.

I have been doing well with avoiding sugar. It helps to not keep junk in the house! I’m not even having any serious cravings, and I think I’ve lost a couple of pounds, too, just by eliminating refined sugar and filling up on healthier foods instead.