Monday, October 28, 2013

Roasted Mushrooms

Cooking meals around here has been interesting.
Definitely not like it use to be.
But that's okay, I just have to be creative.
Usually that means being creative in my scheduling.
Many times I find that I have to cook different things at different times during the day,
then just reheat them when dinner time approaches.
That was my plan with these mushrooms.
I was planing on roasting a chicken for dinner and I thought to myself:
"Mmmmm roasted mushrooms would be perfect with the chicken".
But, because I knew that I wouldn't be able to
give both dishes (and Tessa) my attention at the same time,
I would need to roast the mushrooms earlier in the day.
So around 2pm I prepared and roasted the mushrooms.
The house began to smell so good.
After they were done roasting I just had to try one,
you know, to make sure they tasted alright.
And the next thing I noticed, the whole thing was gone!
They were THAT good.

Roasted Mushrooms
Adapted from: reclaiming provencial

1/2 lb. (8 oz.) mushrooms
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
pinch of coarse black pepper
healthy pinch of coarse sea salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes
large pinch of parsley
small pinch of thyme

1. Preheat your oven to 450°.

2. Toss mushrooms with the oil, garlic, pepper, and salt in a baking dish or cast iron skillet.

3. Dot with butter cubes then sprinkle the parsley and thyme on top.

4. Roast for 15–20 minutes.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Have a Happy Autumn Weekend

Hello dear readers.
What are your plans for this weekend?
Tessa and I spent the morning and half the afternoon
doing some much needed grocery/essential shopping.
She does great when it comes to shopping
and is definitely becoming my favorite shopping buddy...
as long as I keep her fed and changed. :)

When we finally arrived home, the sun was shining so beautifully
that I quickly grabbed my camera, a blanket, and Tess
and headed out to our backyard for a spontaneous little photo shoot.

All that to say...
Tessa and I will be hanging out
and playing around the house tomorrow.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

This Day is Special

Autumn will always be one of my favorite seasons.
I am pretty sure I've mentioned that before.
But this year, and every year to come,
it will have a very different significant meaning.

It was one year ago today that Tessa was placed inside of me.
That little embryo who was just bursting with life.
I often think back to that time...
Micah and I started the IVF process here in Montana.
Weekly visits to the doctors, which then turned into visits 2 or 3 times a week.
Daily hormone shots (IN MY STOMACH!!) which a friend came over every night to give me.
And all of that was just leading up to the big stuff.
After 4 weeks of doctors appointments and two weeks of daily shots, we headed off to Seattle.
The drive was literally one of the longest drives of our life.
Seattle is only 8 hours away and we have driven it MANY times,
but because of the excitement and anticipation of the reason why we were going,
8 hours literally felt like 800 hours!
We were blessed to be able to stay with a lovely couple
who will always hold a special place in our hearts.
They not only made us feel completely at home as we spent the next two weeks with them,
but they also took such good care of us by giving us the
companionship, prayer, and space that we needed...
they even unexpectedly cooked meals for us!
The day after we arrived in Seattle, we were headed off to our first appointment.
We met our doctor and did a routine check-up, and thankfully everything was looking perfect.
So, they scheduled our first agenda item... the egg retrieval.
You see, in the IVF process, the doctors must first remove the (MANY) eggs
that they have been growing inside of you.
And to do that, you must go through a minor surgery.
I won't go into the details of that here, but lets just say that it's not a pleasant thought
and thankfully they put me to sleep while removing them. ;)
After the surgery, I was able to rest for 5 days.
And believe me, I needed it!
Maybe it was just me and my body, but after the surgery I felt like CRAP!
For the next few days I'm pretty sure I ate minimal food and slept/rested the whole time.
Oh and did I mention that I still had to have shots in my stomach each night...
only this time, Micah (who has a fear of needles) had the honors of administering them.
Talk about being a nervous wreck each night.
After 5 days, as the doctors did their magic,
we were finally able to make our last trip for the final procedure.
I am pretty sure I prayed every single moment of that day.
From the moment the doctors put Tessa inside of me,
during the 20 minutes I had to lay on the examining table
and wait for the timer to go of indicating when I could move again,
as Micah and I enjoyed our lunch of Mac&Cheese at Pike Street Market,
and throughout the rest of the day as I tried to relax and read, my continual prayer was...
"Lord, please make this work".
And on November 1st, two hours after taking a blood test, we got the call.
I was pregnant.
Best phone call of my life. 
So yeah, the Fall will always hold a special place in my heart.
 (The first picture of Tessa)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Lessons on Being Sick.

I learned something this week...
it's 100x's worse to be sick with a baby.
Because, no matter how you feel, there are no more:
 "I'm just going to lay in bed and sleep all day" days.

Micah left for Washington last Tuesday morning.
And last Tuesday morning I woke up with the flu.
So my whole day was not only spent taking care of Tessa,
but also taking extreme precautions in not letting Tessa get sick
and trying to get as much rest as I could so that the flu would not last a long time.
Luckily, Tessa decided that it was going to be a day where she took a 3 hour nap mid-afternoon...
something this mama desperately needed too!
So I got some good rest as my body worked to kill the virus.
I loaded my system up with Elderberry Syrup, Thieves Oil, and a homeopathic flu remedy,
and by the next morning I was all better!
A bit weak in the stomach, but for the most part, all better.

Recovery had it's perfect timing too,
since Tessa's Nana decided to make a spur-of-the-moment trip
to keep us company while Micah was gone!

 And of course we threw in a trip to the local market for buy a few pumpkins!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

Did I ever tell you about the time I managed and cooked for a YWAM cafeteria?
Two days after returning from our honeymoon,
Micah and I jumped into the job of managing a cafeteria
that fed over 200+ YWAM students three times a day.
And, here's the kicker... I had never cooked before.
Sure I had learned how to do a few things (like cook rice) before getting married,
but apart from that, I knew nothing.
No joking.
Thank the Lord for places like
that will calculate just how much I need to feed 200 people.
I also had a ton of ladies (and a few gents) teach me some essential basics
(like how to make a roux or how to bake bread).
They also taught me a few yummy recipes.
One lady who came in to help me had lived in Thailand for many years,
and one day she taught me this Thai Coconut Curry Soup recipe.
Probably one of the easiest soups to make ever...
and SUPER delicious.

Thai Coconut Curry Soup

What you'll need...

2 cans coconut milk (apx 15oz each)
2 cups chicken broth (or bone broth with a few tsp of chicken bouillon added)
2 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
2 tbsp freshly minced garlic
apx. 2 tbsp red curry paste (I use the May Ploy brand)
salt and coarse ground pepper
1 onion, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms 
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup cubed potatoes
2 cups shredded green cabbage leaves
1 cup cooked rice

How it's done...

1. Cook the rice ahead of time, so that it has time to cool before the soup is done. I usually just cook it earlier in the day and leave it on the stove top. Plus, I don't need to worry about cooking one more thing at dinner time.

2. In a large stock pot,  heat the coconut oil on medium high heat. Add the chicken, onion, mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. Season generally with salt and pepper. And by generally, I mean at least a 1/2 tsp of salt and a 1/2 tsp of coarse ground pepper.

3. When the onions start to soften, add the curry paste and stir until the paste has broken down and is coating the chicken. (Towards the end of making the soup, you might need to add more curry paste. Curry is one of those seasonings that some people like hot and others like mild. So keep in mind you might need more than 2 tbsp. Also, if you use a different brand of curry, like Taste of Thai, you might need to start off with a bit less curry and adjust as you taste the soup towards the end.)

4. Once the curry has coated the chicken add the chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. 

5. Add the peas and potatoes and simmer slowly until the potatoes and chicken have been fully cooked.

6. And lastly, taste to make sure the flavors are to your liking (adjust if needed), then add the shredded cabbage. Cook for another few minutes or until the cabbage has softened.

7. Serve hot topped with white rice.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tessa - Three (and a half) Months

Holy lack of blogging!!!

Right after I gave birth to Tessa I said to myself...
"I'm gonna be so up to date on blogging everything about her.
I'll blog updates each month.
I'll blog and document all of her 'firsts'".

Well, lets just say that reality sunk in.
What was that "reality?
It's the reality that finding time to blog as a mom is hard!
I now have a whole new respect for you mom bloggers out there
who can do it and do it well.
I'll keep reading and fully enjoying your blogs,
dreaming of the day I'll find the time to post on mine.

But, now that I'm here...
Here's Tessa's three (and a half) month update!

Tessa now weighs 11.5 lbs.
Which, by the way, is not even Tessa's cousin Cefwyn's birth weight!
My sister had her 5th baby 5 weeks before Tessa was born.
She had a home birth and her son weighed 11 lbs 8 oz.
She is my birthing role model!

Clothing Size:
She is wearing 0-3 month clothing now and I have to say,
packing up her newborn outfits one by one is such a sad thing.

Eye Color:
Her eyes are still blue.
Light blue in the center and darker towards the outside.

It keeps getting lighter...
and a bit more strawberry too!

She is moving and shaking that's for sure!
She loves to move in her bouncy chair and get that thing bouncing.
She also is super active when I'm changing her diaper on her changing table.
That is probably because I have her clothes hanging up above her
so she is able to stare at all the colorful dresses!
She's also doing great and lifting and balancing her head on tummy time.
Plus, she has started to balance her back upright while sitting on our laps.
Next step... rolling over and sitting up! Maybe next month?

She has definitely got her "Ah-goos" and "Gaaas" solidified into her vocabulary.
And she just loves our "talking time".
That's when I prop her up on my lap and we just talk and talk and talk.

She is still loving her activity gym.
Plus, now she can actually reach out and grab the toys and try to bring them to her mouth.
We've also started "reading time" during the day.
She just loves to reach out and grab the book as I'm trying to read to her. :)

Whoever said that babies will start to sleep more as they hit three months
obviously did not take every baby into consideration...
because Tessa has definitely regressed on the sleeping routine.
At one point she slept about 5 hours straight, but unfortunately that's not the case anymore.
Our nightly routine goes like this:
1. Tessa will fall asleep around 8:00.
2. I wake her to nurse around 11 or 1130, right before I go to sleep.
3. Nurse again at 2:30.
4. At 3:00, place pacifier back in Tessa's mouth because she spit it out and has woken up.
5. Nurse again at 4:30.
6. Wake at 5:00 to place pacifier back in her mouth again.
7. Nurse AGAIN at 5:30. 
8. Somewhere in between 5:30 and 7:00 I either place paci back in her mouth or turn the sound soother back on agian... but I'm so tired I don't even check the time.
9. Finally, at 7:00, bring Tessa into the bed with me (because Micah just left for work) and nurse her till we both fall asleep.
10. Sleep soundly together a full 2 - 2 1/2 hours... or until around 9:00ish.
11. Wake up and make a TON of coffee.

Tessa's Favorites:
She finally doesn't protest when I put her in the wrap.
She will actually sit contently and eventually fall asleep!
She also LOVES the mirror and seeing her and mommy's reflection.
As a matter of fact, she love it when anyone looks at her.
If she sees someone looking at her (especially smiling at her)
she will just light up with a big toothless grin!

Mommy's favorites:
I love the smiles she gives me, especially when she is waking up from a nap or in the morning.
The moment she sees my face she will give the sweetest smile of happiness.