Monday, September 1, 2014

Birth Story of Titus

So I had another kid.... not that anyone on this blog would know! Something about having tons of little children running around the house that makes blogging drop to the bottom of the priority list. whatev.

I cherish the birth story that I wrote for Isaac (my third) and totally wish I had written the details of my first two births. So, naturally I'm going to write about my fourth lovely birth! If you enjoy birth stories read on...if not - why are you reading this far? weirdo. 


If you've read my story about Isaac's birth or ever talked to me about my labors in general you know that I go FAST. In the back of my mind I was envisioning giving birth in the Jeep or my bath tub. Seriously. 

For the last two weeks or so of my pregnancy I was on high alert - just anxiously awaiting my water to break or something. Just like Isaac I had a false alarm - I thought I was in labor (and was scared to go fast) so we went in to check things out. And got sent home. BOO. I hate that. 

The next day I had an appointment with my midwife (my 39 week appointment) and she was surprised I was still pregnant! As was I. She offered to sweep my membranes (don't we love that word? No, we don't) and I said "go for it". 

This was on Tuesday. I went about my day. No baby. 

Then came Wednesday. I went about my day. Had some contractions (just like I had been for days). Still no baby. Wednesday afternoon my mom offered to bring me with to her massage and have her lady give my feet/legs a good rub. Ummm yes.please.thankYou. 

After a nice relaxing massage we went home and I noticed my contractions we 'maybe' getting different. Nothing that hurt and not close together but a tad 'different'. I didn't make a big deal of it and went about my evening. Had dinner, put the kids to bed and got cozy on the couch to watch middless TV. 

Around 11pm-ish I told Joe I think it'll be tonight and that they felt a little different. They didn't hurt (at all) and weren't getting closer together but something in me said they were different. So we stayed up to monitor. 

Things weren't getting harder, closer, or anything exciting. But I was getting tired. The last thing I wanted was to go to bed and then wake up having to push (and then birth a baby in bed). *Yes these are the crazy thoughts that go through my mind!* 

So I phoned the midwife on call and chatted with her. We talked about how they're not hurting, not close together, blah blah BUT my history of going fast once things got rolling. We mutually decided it'd be wise for me to go in (to avoid a RUSH to the hospital if/when things picked up). 

Joe and I left our house at 11:50pm with no urgency to head towards the hospital. We made two stops on the way (I wasn't in any pain at all and was actually questioning our decision to go in) and got checked in our room by 1:30am. 

All settled in our room and the nurse checked me: 3cm (meh - not too far along but at least things were moving). 

Joe and I hung out for a while and chatted, watched TV, passing time along... contractions still there and same distance apart. 

They offered to check me again at 3am - I agreed (not anticipating much change) and I was 4cm. Meh. 

During all this I was off the monitors and every-so-often they'd hook me up to check things. They started to notice that Baby's heartbeat would drop during a contraction. 

My midwife offered to break my water since it was RIGHT.THERE. and we both knew that it'd get things rolling. 

I pondered it and agreed. Let's do this. 

At 6:00am my midwife broke my water (hello gush!) with me on monitors - they wanted to keep an eye on Baby's heart rate since it was still dropping with contractions. 

To aid Baby's heart rate they had me lay on my side and gave me a mask to hold with yummy oxygen...Mmmm. They also decided to give me an IV of fluids to help Baby - I don't like IV's. Bleh. 

All this is happening and I'm chilling on my side. Then I have a contraction that HURTS. Ouch. Here's a glimpse in my brain:

Contraction ONE: "That hurt. I hope they all don't feel like that now!" 

Contraction TWO: "Crap. It still hurts....Is that pressure already???" 

Contraction THREE: "YES that is pressure! Tell them now!!!" 

"Ummm I have pressure already - should I push??"  I ask my midwife....

"Sure sweetie, you can push if you feel like it. Listen to your body" says my wonderful midwife. 

Contraction FOUR: (feel the pressure and PUSH) "I AM POOPING!" I yell. Totally serious I said that. Kinda embarrassing now but it was funny at the moment. 

My midwife senses my urgency about being uncomfortable with pooping on the table decides to take a look and says:

"Sweetie, that's the baby - you're not pooping! Let's turn you over and do this!" 

What? Ok. I turn to my back and push (and yell) - they ask me to take a breath (to unwrap his cord I later discover) and then push out his body. 

They put my lovely, gooey baby on me! Ack! What? Didn't she just break my water?? 

Here's a breakdown for you to prove that I go fast:

6:00am Break my water (I was a 5cm/6cm) 
6:38am I proclaim "I'm pooping!" 
6:39am Titus is BORN! 

Ha. Good thing my water didn't break at home. 

It was perfect. No tears, no stitches, minimal bleeding. THREE intense contractions. Not bad at all! I felt absolutely AWESOME after. I become a chatty chic after giving birth and am soooo hyper! I love the endorphins you get from the rush of it all - crazy I know. 

There you have it! I'm glad we decided to go in when we did - I'm not a fan of the fast-drive-to-hospital deals. My midwife was joking with me that I didn't give her a chance to scrub up for delivery I was so fast! She never checked me to see if I was 'ready' or complete - I love that she just lets me trust my body. 

We're adjusting to our family of SIX well - the big boys love their littlest team member! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oven Tacos

I've mentioned this recipe before here...we eat it so much I figure it deserves it's own post!

This dinner makes an appearance on our table 2-3 times a month. Easy. Healthy. Yummy. Fast. Score.

I love that it only takes a few ingredients and minimal prep time.

Let's get started, shall we?

First, brown your meat. I normally use ground turkey since it's cheaper but ground beef is delicious too!

Once it's fully cooked, drain the extra grease and add back to the pan. ADD in a can of refried beans...

Don't worry - it's not supposed to look pretty. At all. It will taste me. 

Spice it up however you please - I like to use CUMIN, CHILI POWDER, GARLIC POWDER and ONION POWDER. I never really measure....just some of this and that....more cumin and chili powder and less garlic and onion your nose. 

Once everything is all mixed and smelling good turn off the heat. 

Get out your hard shell tacos....and line in a 9x13 pan. I like to line mine with foil so clean-up is super easy. 

I have 12 in my pan - which works perfectly since the pack I buy has 12 in it! 

My secret to this recipe is this next step....totally not in the HAVE to do it though....

Sprinkle cheese in the bottoms of the shells! My logic is that the cheese melts and creates a 'barrier' of sorts to keep the moist meat/beans away from the shell and avoids a soggy bottom. Who wants a soggy bottom? Not I. 

Then scoop in your meat/bean mix. I can fill all my shells and have maybe a tablespoon or so pretty much all my meat/beans are used up! 

Then sprinkle MORE cheese on top! Mmmmm....

Pop in a 350* oven for about 10 min or until cheese is melted. All you're doing is warming the shell and melting the you really can't go wrong. Unless you leave it in there for an hour. That'd be wrong...and burned. 

Here's what comes out! Yum! 

Carefully take out your tacos and top to your liking. (Use common sense when taking them out - you have melted cheese as 'glue' to your pan so gracefully pull them up) 

This time we had sour cream and cilantro for toppings. Other times we'd had shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole or green onions as options. These are also delicious plain! That's the way my oldest son enjoys them. 

Oven Tacos
Inspired by


1 lb ground meat (turkey or beef) 
1 can refried beans 
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Shredded Cheese
Hard Taco Shells
Toppings of choice! 


1. Brown and drain your meat. 
2. Add in can of refried beans and seasonings.
3. Stir till combined and turn off heat. 
4. Line up shells in 9x13 pan.
5. Sprinkle cheese in bottom of shells. 
6. Distribute meat/bean mix in all shells.
7. Top with more cheese.
8. Bake in 350* for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
9. Carefully remove tacos and top as desired! ENJOY! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kiwi Trick

I love Kiwi.

I used to take a knife and cut off the peeling like you would a potato. Not horrible -- it worked.

Then I saw this method.

I laughed - I thought it wouldn't work.

I tried it.

Guess what? It TOTALLY works. It's super slick.

Here's what you do....

Cut off the ends of your kiwi (so it has a flat part to stand on and an open flat part on top)

Slide a spoon into the fruit really close to the skin and circle around....then pop your fruit out!

Cool 'eh?

I thought so.

Happy kiwi eating!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken - aka the BEST dinner ever.

I've raved about this recipe a few times's the original link where I found this gem.

My family gobbles this up like no one's business - I don't blame them. I'm in on the shove-as-much-as-you-can-in-and-get-seconds-FAST game.

I normally double or TRIPLE the amount of chicken the original recipe calls for (remember, I said my family likes it??) - If I double my chicken I keep the sauce amount the same but if I triple it I will make more sauce....totally up to you. Joys of cooking!

The only CON of this recipe (which really isn't a's just proof that I'm a tad lazy) is that it takes TIME. It takes time to coat the chicken, it takes time to sauté the chicken and then you babysit it in the oven for an hour (stirring every 15 min) - BUT it's TOTALLY worth it. Do it. You'll thank me. I accept chocolate and flowers. Or Caribou. Or all three. I digress. Here's the How-To....


Start with thawed chicken (I've done it with chicken breasts and a different time with chicken thighs - use what you want - or whatever's on sale) and cut into bite sized pieces.

Get your coating stations set: Cornstarch in one bowl and Eggs in another bowl...

Take your chicken (a few pieces at a time) and toss in cornstarch - then transfer to the eggs and swirl around...then set in a pan (with oil and heated at Med-High) to brown...repeat until your pan is full

Let your chicken hang out in your pan until each side is nice and browned (not cooking it all the way through) may have some stray pieces of egg that will fry - no worries. Just take them out when you transfer your chicken to the pan.

This step is the most time consuming for me....probably because I have a small-ish frying pan and I do SO much meat. I normally have to do this process three times (washing my pan in-between). Even though this is the longest (and therefore annoying) step it's a necessary step to create that 'take-out' taste and feel to this dish. DO IT.

Back to making dinner....

While your chicken is browning away on the stove (remember you're not cooking it all the way - just crisping the outside) make your sauce..

It's a super-easy sauce. If you're anti-ketchup (I'm personally cool with ketchup...I know some are not...) you could always make your own. 

Remember how I said this is a 'time consuming' recipe? Well, in my house, when I do a dinner that might require some extra time I normally get to re-organize my kitchen. AKA: my baby takes everything out of my cupboards and I get to put it away....TOTALLY worth it for this meal. Plus he's cute. And sitting on a mini-muffin tin.

So, once you're done browning your chicken put it in a GREASED dish. Since I do a ton of meat I use my 9x13 pan and my glass pie pan. Make sure you spray it. Pretty Please. You'll thank me later. 

POUR your sauce over the chicken (once you've browned ALL your chicken and it's ALL in your dishes) - I normally split it 50/50 between my pans. 

POP it into a pre-heated 325* oven, uncovered. 

Take it out every 15 minutes and STIR your chicken around. Do this FOUR times (grand total of 60 minutes cooking time). 

I have issues remembering to stir things if I don't set a timer. So, set a timer for 15 minutes and go about your business. 

THIS is what comes out after 60 minutes --- gorgeous!! 

See why I said to SPRAY your pans? Can you imagine what it'd look like without spray? Ugh. Spray those bad boys.

Oh this is so good. I don't know what does it...maybe it's the sauce? Maybe it's the coating? Maybe it's the fact that you worked in the kitchen for over an hour? Whatever it's AWESOME.

Eat Up. And fast - go get seconds!

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken 
Adapted from

Ingredients (as I do it):

3 lbs chicken (breast or thighs) *3-lbs will fill two pans - use 1.5-lb if you only want one pan* 
1 cup cornstarch
2-4 eggs (start with 2 and add more if you run out)
Vegetable Oil

3/4 cup sugar
4 Tb ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tb soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder


1. Cut chicken into bite size pieces and toss in cornstarch and dip in beaten eggs.

2. Heat some oil over med-high heat and cook chicken till browned (not cooked all the way though).

3. Transfer chicken to SPRAYED dish (9x13 or glass pie pan).

4. Repeat steps 1-3 until all chicken is browned.

5. Make sauce - mix sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce and garlic powder.

6. Pour over chicken.

7. Bake in a 325* oven, uncovered, for an hour. STIRRING every 15 minutes (four sets of 15 minutes).


**Let me know what you think when you try this! I know you'll love it. **

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas

I made these for dinner last night. Whenever I try something new I'm always a tad nervous incase it's a flop....well...this one is AWESOME!

I got the recipe from here and modified it a little to fit our liking.

To make the filling - start some oil in a pan and sauté some garlic till fragrant, then add in a can of green chilies, a can of white beans, 1/3 cup chicken broth and some cumin...

Turn the heat to low and move over to your sauce. 

In a medium sauce pan melt 1 Tb of butter....add in 2 Tb of flour and mix it up...add in a can of green chilies and 1 cup chicken broth...stir till thickened and remove from heat. 

Back to the filling...

Add in some cooked-shredded chicken (about a breast) and stir it in...

Your filling's done!

Back to the sauce....

With your pot off the heat stir in 1/2 cup of sour cream till incorporated...

Sauce is done! 

Now to assemble...

Pour about 1/2 cup of your sauce in the bottom of a SPRAYED 9x13 pan. 

Take a flour tortilla and lay about 1/3 cup of filling in the middle and wrap it up - and line it in your pan. 

Pour the rest of your sauce over your enchiladas and top with some shredded cheese...

Pop into a 350* oven, covered, for about 30 minutes...take foil off and broil the top if you want...looky what you get! 

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas
inspired by


1 tsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic - grated 
1 (4.5 oz) can Green Chilies
1 (15.5 oz) can White Beans 
8 oz cooked, shredded Chicken breast (about 1 breast) 
1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Cumin

1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoon Flour
1 (4.5 oz) can Green Chilies 
1 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Shredded Cheese
Flour Tortillas (I used 8) 


(preheat oven to 350*)
1. In a pan heat your oil and sauté garlic till fragrant. 
2. Add green chilies, white beans, broth and cumin - stir and lower heat to low. 
3. In a medium sauce pan melt your butter. 
4. Stir in flour and move around till paste-like. 
5. Add in can of green chilies and chicken broth and stir till smooth and starts to thicken then remove from heat. 
6. Add cooked chicken to filling pan and stir into beans/chilies. 
7. Stir in sour cream into sauce (away from the heat of stove) till nice and smooth. 
8. SPRAY your 9x13 pan and spread 1/2 cup of sauce in the bottom. 
9. Assemble enchiladas: Lay about 1/3 cup of filling in the middle of a tortilla and wrap it up. Line up enchiladas in your pan (I was able to fill/fit 8 in mine). 
10. Pour sauce over the top of enchiladas and top with cheese. 
11. BAKE covered for about 30 minutes then uncover and broil for a few minutes. 
12. ENJOY! 

*This recipe was so good on so many levels! 

I loved that it had a homemade sauce - for some reason it makes me feel all susie-homemaker or it's really fun to do! 

I loved that it only used ONE chicken breast! I'm all about stretching my meat (and budget!) - thankfully my family will eat beans without blinking an eye. 

I love that it's an oven meal - this means I can prep everything in advance and have my pan hanging out in the fridge. Then when late afternoon rolls around all I have to do is pop it in the oven! Score. 

I love that it's tasty - there's lots of flavor from all those green chilies but not a lot of heat (which is good considering 3/5 of my crew are kids!) - of course my hubby doctored his up with lots of hot sauce and other spicy goods. 


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One Pot Dinner - Pasta and Broccoli

We've established I like easy -- and healthy -- and most of all YUMMY.

Well, this little gem from Martha Stewart is all 3 of those!

Start with your boiling water...add some penne and set your timer....

While it's boiling away chop up a head of fresh broccoli....

When there's SIX minutes left for your pasta ADD in your broccoli to the same pot....

While that's boiling away whip up the super simple dressing - I like to GRATE my garlic and lemon zest....

Drain your pasta/broccoli and then toss with your dressing - throw in a handful (or two) of cheese and dinner's DONE!

Told ya it was easy. 

Here's the actual recipe if you need it....

Garlic/Lemon Penne with Broccoli

1 Box Penne Pasta
1 Head Broccoli
6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic - grated
1/4 Lemon - Zest and Juice
1-2 Handfuls Fresh Parmesan or Romano Cheese


1. Bring a big pot of water to a boil - ADD penne and set timer according to directions for Al Dente (mine was 12 min).

2. While Penne is boiling, CUT up your broccoli into cut florets.

3. When there's SIX minutes left on your Penne timer ADD your broccoli to the same pot.

4. While Penne and Broccoli is boiling - MIX your Oil, Garlic, Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice in a bowl.

5. DRAIN Penne/Broccoli pot and return to big pot - POUR your Oil mixture and TOSS. ADD a few handfuls of cheese and mix gently.

This meal took me 12 minutes from when my water started boiling. Can't beat that for speed! It was the perfect quick and healthy meal for my family. I'm sure if you needed meat you could toss some cooked shredded chicken or ring sausage at the end.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Creamy Avocado Dip

I'm a dip kinda gal...I love salsa, sour cream, hummus, guacamole, ranch and the list goes on!

When I saw this dip I knew I'd love it.

*Greek Yogurt - YUM
*Avocado - YUM
*Garlic - YUM
*Lime - YUM

Seriously? How can you go wrong with those ingredients?

Here's where I got the idea: Link. 

We enjoyed our dip with black-bean/corn oven quesadillas

What I ended up doing was a tad different but still delicious - here's what I did....

Creamy Avocado Dip
inspired by

1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
2 Avocados, peeled and pitted
1 Clove Garlic, grated
2 Tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
1 teaspoon fresh Lime Zest
1/4 teaspoon Cumin


1. Mix everything in your food processor (or blender) till almost smooth. I like to leave a little texture to mine.


*Don't forget the lime juice - or your avocados beautiful green may turn to a non-appealing brown.
*Other add-in ideas: Jalapeños, Cilantro, Purple Onions

**I bought jalapeños specifically for this dip and guess what....I forgot them! So, if you're not a jalapeño person the dip is still AWESOME sans peppers. Next time I'm totally adding 'em in though.

Kid Plate - I wish my plate had little sections! 

This dip is perfect for chips, quesadillas, on tacos, burritos, or anything else that's dip-able!