Friday, July 11, 2014

Nursery Organization (Chest and Dresser/Changing Table)

I plan to post a full blog on our nursery design, description, product information, and the amazing job my husband did making my vision come to life.  However, since I am still waiting on a few things to arrive (they should be here by the first of next week) and I really want to put something together, I am going to go ahead and write this post about my attempt to organize the nursery.  I am aware that once Genevieve arrives, things will probably change, but this is at least a good start.

Furniture: Crib, Chest, and Double Dresser from the Baby Cache Montana collection in Driftwood Purchased at Babies R Us, Baskets inside double dresser purchased from Dollar Tree, Aqua decorative drawers with starfish purchased at Home Goods, Diaper Caddy in Coral and Grey (size XL)purchased on Etsy from Yoon1206greene.

Chest


Top Drawer
This drawer has burp cloths, receiving blankets, and bibs.  I need to get a few more burp cloths at this point.  The embroidered burp cloths were a gift, so Im not sure who made  them, but I do believe the were purchased from Etsy.

Second Drawer
This drawer has changing pad covers, mattress pads, sheet savers, sheets, pack n play sheets, cradle sheets, and bassinet sheets.  My husband built my cradle and the mattress is made of foam core and not a standard size.  I ordered the sheets for it from Birdshaveflowers.

Third Drawer
This drawer is stuffed full of blankets!  The blankets on the right side were made by my Great Grandmother for me when I was a baby.

Fourth Drawer
This drawer has only two blankets in it because they are both super plush and large.  The top one in this photo was made for me by my grandmother and given to me at my baby shower.

Double Dresser / Changing Table (I havent put the changing pad on it yet)
The following pictures start with the top of the dresser and then move on the drawers in order from left to right.

Starfish Drawer Tower
I had trouble decided what to do with this drawer tower, but its so pretty and I really love it. Right now the top drawer is empty, but I think I will put alcohol pads in it.  The 2nd drawer has cotton pads.  The 3rd drawer has baby q-tips.  The 4th has small binder clips.  These may seem odd, but right now I am using them to clip socks together in matches.  Most of her socks have patterns on them and they are so small that if I fold them I cant see the design.  This may become more trouble than its worth, but its my current solution.

Misc. Plastic Bins
These bins are really random, but right now they are holding things that I couldnt decide where else to put.  In the first basket I have a sample surface cleaner from Honest Company, a few pens, a notepad, and some hand sanitizer.  The smaller basket in the corner has baby coupons in it.

Diaper Caddy

I ordered this diaper caddy from Etsy and the fabric perfectly matches my crib bedding.  In the left side I have tissues, nursing pads, and pacifiers. The middle section has baby wipes, baby lotion (Shea Moisture), and diaper rash cream (Aquaphor).  The last section has 20 newborn diapers in it. 

First Drawer

This drawer contains baby hats, mittens, headbands, hairbows, tights, diaper covers, 0-6 month socks (back), and newborn socks (front).

Second Drawer
This drawer has travel wipes, extra diaper disposal bags, Nose Frieda, Boogie Wipes, baby meds, non-latex gloves (I figure if we end up wanting to use diaper cream in a tub instead of a squeeze tube, I wont want to contaminate the jar), baby grooming supplies, pacifiers, and extra diapers.

Third Drawer

This drawer had newborn sleepers and gowns on the left and 0-3 month sleepers on the right.

Fourth Drawer

The left side of this drawer has newborn pants and onesies and the right side has 0-3 onesies and pants. 

Fifth Drawer
This drawer is an oddball.  Right now it has items that I cant hang in the closet, but that Genevieve wont be using for several months.  It has larger socks, a bottle leash, a large size sleep sack, onsies and hats for 6 months and older.

Sixth Drawer
I wanted to put these items in the chest, but I ran out of room.  On the left side are my muslin swaddle blankets and on the right side is my Woombies and swaddle wraps that fasten closed.

Our Birth Plan

We will be delivering Genevieve in Little Rock at Baptist Hospital, which is about an hour from our home.  This makes me nervous and probably has me over preparing for her arrival. I have attended all the classes my hospital offers and I have read several pregnancy and labor related books.  I feel like having a written plan will make me more comfortable about the process, and even though I know that my plan is only a guide to be used and cannot be guaranteed by my medical professionals, it still makes me feel better to have all my thoughts in one place.

Our Birth Plan


The Graves Family Birth Plan 

Mother-to-be: Ashley Kendall Graves 
Partner: William Michael Graves 
Due Date: August 5, 2014 
Practitioner: Jenny Gregory  
Baby's Name: Genevieve Estelle Graves



Hello, Michael and I have been together for 5 years and we are excited and nervous to be welcoming our first child, Genevieve Estelle, into the world. We live with 3 dogs who have been our babies up until this point, so we hope they adjust well. 




I am a Librarian and Michael is an Engineer, so by nature we both like information. We would prefer to be given all the information possible about every step in the labor and birth process. We consider ourselves fairly well informed, as we have attended the hospital classes and read several books, but please assume we want to know more! 




I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis for which I take .150 mcg of Synthroid and I eat a gluten free diet. 




For the most part we want the standard treatment provided by the hospital, but we do want to be included in the decision making processes. There are a few things that we do have options on, and while we know that the health and safety of our daughter may cause changes in our plan, we would appreciate consideration of our preferences. 



Key Points: 

1.) My husband and I want to be the only non-medical persons present at the birth, visitors are welcome during labor and after delivery. 

2.) We want at least an hour to bond with our daughter after delivery, and after that we are willing to have guests again. 

3.) Please preform all medical interventions (shots, tests, etc) as soon as possible to ease our minds and prevent interruptions in our bonding. 

4.) My husband wishes to cut the cord, but other than that, neither one of us wishes to watch the delivery happen (ie. no mirrors). 

5.) Please wipe off our daughter before handing her to us, after the delivery. 

6.) We plan to breastfeed, so please do not give our daughter formula or other supplements without asking us first. 

7.) We are non-smokers and do not wish our baby to be exposed to the by-products of smoking. We ask that any smoker wash their hands after each cigarette and that they brush their teeth as well. We have purchased several toothbrushes and toothbrush cases to provide to all those who may need them (we know this is an odd request). 

8.) We have brought our own toiletry products for our daughter and we wish them to be used over the products provided by the hospital (lotion, wash, and wipes).  
9.) We plan to donate the baby's cord blood through the Cord Blood Bank of Arkansas and we have the collection kit with us.



Preferences:
First Stage (Labor):

* Clear fluids.
* Ice chips.
* Please offer me pain medication, as soon as possible.
* Regular Epidural 
Second Stage (Birth):

* I would prefer to tear than have an episiotomy, but please use compresses, massage and positioning. * Cord Blood Donation * No mirror
Baby Care:

* Prefer partner to cut the cord. * Immediate medical treatments * Breast feeding only
* No formula or glucose water 
Other Baby Care Requests:

* Use the toiletry products we brought with us * Brush teeth and wash hands after tobacco use
Medical Needs: Ashley has Hashimoto's and takes .150 mcg of Synthroid and eats a gluten free diet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Most Amazing French Toast Ever...According to my husband

Amazing Gluten Free French Toast

Ingredients

6 slices of your favorite gluten free bread (we use Hearty Italian from the Dempsey Bakery)
1/2 stick of butter

Batter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 beaten large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar (more if you want it sweeter)



1.) lay bread out in a large casserole dish and pour 1/2 the batter over the bread.  Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Flip the bread over and soak for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
2.) heat a couple of pads of butter in a flat skillet on Medium heat and cook bread until brown on one side.  Flip bread and brown on second side.
3.) continue with steps 1 and 2 until all bread is cooked.

Enjoy with syrup 

The Hearty Italian bread soaks up the mixture without getting gummy and cooks firm on the outside and soft in the middle.  I have not tried this recipe with other gluten free breads, but I suspect that the denser nature of gluten free bread is what allows this french toast to have such a great texture after it is cooked.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Trying to Conceive and getting pregnant

For many people who knew me when I was younger this post may seem odd.  I never wanted children.  Throughout puberty and adulthood I had been pretty steadfast in my belief that I didnt want children.  I was afraid that I was too selfish or that I would be a bad parent or that I couldnt be enough for my children.  Then I meet my husband.  Children were the line he drew in the sand of our relationship.  I needed to come to terms with my feelings and it was hard.  I love my husband and I know he loves me.  I struggled for a long time before I finally decided that it wasnt that I had changed, but that my life had turned a corner I never thought it would.

It wasnt that I didnt want children, I just never thought I would be in a place in my life where children would fit or that I would be in a relationship stable enough to support children.  I never thought I would want to be married before I met my husband, but after meeting him I quickly knew that I wanted to marry him.  That I wanted to spend my life with him.  Learning that I wanted children so dearly, was just another part of this journey in self discovery.....

My husband and I got married on October 6, 2012 after having been together since 2009.  We did everything backwards to the traditional relationship milestones: 1.) date, 2.) buy a house, 3.) raise a child (we got custody of our 16 year old nephew), 4.) get engaged, 5.) get married.   We loved our life in rural Arkansas with our 3 dogs (2 are ours and 1 we are fostering for my brother in law).

When we got married I was 29 and my husband was 30.  We knew that we wanted a family and we knew that we weren't getting any younger.  Most of our friends and relatives our age have had kids for many years now.  I told Michael that if we had more than one child that I wanted them to be about 3 years apart.

 Knowing that I didnt want to be giving birth and raising an infant after age 40 (in an ideal situation) and that in a perfect world, we didnt know how long it would take us to conceive a child, we started trying to get pregnant right away.  I quit taking my birth control pills a few days into our honeymoon.

I am a librarian, and what do librarian's do?  We research.  So that is what I did.  I found and read message boards, I learned about ovulation cycles and basal body temperature.  I read What to Expect Before You are Expecting and several other books and articles.

On our 1 year anniversary we still hadnt managed to get pregnant.  I have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, so I had my Endocrinologist run extra labs to see if there was anything thyroid related preventing us from getting pregnant.  He found nothing he felt was causing our infertility.

I have always been curvy and big chested and have heard my whole life about my "child bearing hips" and I couldnt get pregnant.  Yes, I know there are people who struggle for years with infertility.  I know several and I know my struggle was no where near the trial that they had been facing, but I still felt inadequate.

We made an appointment with a fertility specialist in October  that was scheduled for December, but after learning that my insurance would only cover the most basic testing once per lifetime made us reconsider our options.  We choice to cancel the appointment and keep trying on our own until my annual exam at the end of January.  We decided that if we still hadnt conceived by then we would ask the doctor for her recommendations.

As it so happens we got a positive pregnancy test on December 1st (15 cycles of ttc)!  I was so nervous and excited.  I took two tests to be sure.  Michael wasnt home when I found out, but months earlier I had bought a super cute t-shirt that said "Daddy est. 2014."  I put this t-shirt out on the bed along with my two positive tests and when he got home I told him to come into the bedroom because I had a present for him.

He was so shocked and so excited.  He hugged me and asked "are you sure?"  He wanted to shout the news from the roof tops, but I asked that he wait.  I wanted to tell our families at Christmas and I wanted to wait til the end of the first trimester to tell work (I live in a small town, so once one person knows the whole world knows).

We met with a nurse at my OB/GYN clinic on December 18th which was basically just blood work and we meet with the doctor on January 9th.

This blog entry will post to the public on January 22nd, and their might be a few follow up posts that go hand in hand with this one that will post around that time too.  After that point, all blog entries about my pregnancy will be posted the same day I write them.  I am so excited for this journey!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gluten Free Mini Pies

I was craving pie the other day and so I decided to try my hand at making a gluten free version.  I had also been concerned about whether or not I would get to eat dessert at Thanksgiving or not.  I decided to go for a mini version of a pie for 2 reasons: 1.) higher crust ration and 2.) ease of eating and storing.




This recipe makes 9 to 12 mini pies using a muffin pan.  I used a drinking glass to cut the pie shells.  The pie shown here is peach.

Gluten Free Mini Pie Recipe:

Filling:

Any of your favorite gluten free pie filling.  Many brands are gluten free, so just read the label.  A couple of examples are Comstock and Musselmans.

Crust:

1 cup almond flour ( I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 Teaspoon xantham gum
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup butter - chunked
2 Tablespoons of cold water (you may need to add more, just watch your dough and see - add a Tablespoon at a time until the correct consistency)
Cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste (optional)

Directions:

1.) Add dry ingredients to your food processor and pulse to mix
2.) Add in butter and pulse until the texture is crumbly.
3.) Add water to bind the dough together
4.) Sprinkle flour on flat surface and roll out dough.
5.) Use a drinking class that is floured or greased to cut circles.  You may need to re-roll scraps until you get the right number of crusts.
6.) Grease muffin pan and place crusts in the bottom of each section.  You want the crusts to go up the sides a little bit to hold the filling.  The dough is really forgiving, so if you need to patch holes, cracks, or thin spots go ahead and use scraps to patch the crusts.  This will not make the crust tough.
7.) Bake in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes until it starts getting golden brown (but not quite done)
8.) Remove muffin pan from the oven and add filling to the crusts.  If you are using a pie filling with large pieces of fruit (ie. peaches), put them in the food processor for a few pulses first.  You want the filling to fit in the crusts, but not be mush.
9.) I sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar at the point, but its optional.
10.) Bake the final product for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (10 is normally enough)

These pies should slide right out of the molds, or you should be able to scoop them out with a spoon.  These are best served fresh, but do hold up well for later.

This recipe was developed by using this recipe from the All day I Dream About Food blog.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Southern Style Biscuits and Gravy for the Gluten Free Crowd

Last night I made Breakfast for Dinner.  Our normal "go-to" breakfast is pancakes/waffles, bacon, and eggs, but I wanted something different.  Tonight I wanted to try biscuits and gravy.  My husband was skeptical.  In fact, he told me to cook him something separate because he didnt think they would be edible.  Boy did I surprise him!

*Sorry there are no pictures in this post.  I was too hungry to think about taking pictures.

Biscuits (This is very similar to the recipe provided by the Betty Crocker Website)

2 Cups gluten free Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs

Add the salt to the Bisquick. Using a fork, work the shortening into the Bisquick mix until the texture of the Bisquick changes.  Stir in the milk and eggs.  This makes 10 nice sized biscuits.  Separate the dough out onto a greased cookie sheet.  I recommend using surgical gloves that you have sprayed with PAM as the dough is very sticky.  Bake at 400 degrees for 16 minutes or until golden on top.

Gravy

2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of gluten free all-purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 cup of oil or bacon/sausage grease (use however much you want.  I just used all the drippings from my bacon)
Milk (I eyeball this so I dont really know how much - probably 2 to 3 cups)
Pepper and salt to taste

Toast the flour in a skillet.  Be careful because I found that the GF flour burns more quickly than standard flour.  Add in your grease and stir until combined.  Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add in the milk.  Stir until combined.  Add in salt and pepper.  Cook until thickened.  (adjust thickness by adding more milk if needed)  This yielded enough for 5 or 6 biscuits (if you like to slather on the gravy like I do).

*Notes: These biscuits are really good, but dont expect them to taste like homemade buttermilk biscuits, because they aren't.  My next foray into biscuits will be to try a buttermilk version.  The gravy needs work, but is very good.  I think this gravy would be awesome with sausage crumbles in it.  Next time I will also add more salt and pepper than I did this time.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gluten Free: a beginner's guide

I started my Gluten Free journey in June of this year, after educating myself about my Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and ways I could reduce my symptoms and make myself healthier.

I wont go into a lot about my illness, because I have posted about it before, but I will say that since going gluten free, I have been healthier.  Prior to changing my diet, I was sick a lot and when I had a cold or something similar it hung around for weeks.  Since my change in diet, I have not been sick once.  My headaches have mostly disappeared and I have not had a cold or sinus infection.  The one exception to this was the one time I ate macaroni and cheese (even though I knew better).

Enough of that.  This post is not about my health.  This post is about the resources I have found that make eating gluten free easier.

Before going gluten free myself, I had heard a little about the diet, but I really hadn't paid that much attention.  Therefore making the change was a huge task.  I educated myself about how my body reacted to gluten (mine is an immune response), what gluten actually was, what types of foods I was going to have to give up, and where I could find information about gluten free alternatives.

This post is what I wish I had found on day 1.  No its not a fancy list with eloquent reasons why or introductions to each link, but you know what? I'm not a fancy person.  I like facts, and I dont like fluff.  So here is a list.  A simple (and by not means all inclusive) list of websites, blogs, etc. that I have found useful in the last several months of my gluten free journey.  I hope it helps.

Informational Resources about Gluten and Hashimoto's :

Discussion Boards about Gluten and/or Hashimoto's:

Websites and Web Resources:

Gluten Free Blogs (My favorites):

Other Resources:
  • Living Gluten-Free for Dummies (Book)
  • Gluten-Free Made Easy As 1, 2, 3 (Book)
  • The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide (Book)
  • 2012/2013 Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide (Book)
  • Find Me Gluten Free (App)
  • Is That Gluten Free? (App)