Stomach Bug and the Baby

Oh my goodness gracious. The last few days have been some of the hardest momming I’ve ever done! I literally feel like it’s all been a blur and I cannot believe we all managed to survive. I need to write this all down so the next time this happens *shudder* I can remember that we made it through! 

On Wednesday, I felt off. I had been battling a rough cold, but it was starting to improve. My stomach wasn’t 100%, but it was no big deal. My husband had a late shift, so I did the nighttime routine with Cupcake myself. I spent the next two hours scrubbing the house because we were leaving the cold Northeast for beautiful Florida the next day (yay!). 

My husband got home at 11 and I woke up as he crawled into bed. I woke up and realized my stomach was in knots. I will not detail what the rest of the night consisted of. I will just say that I eventually gave up and just brought my pillow and blanket into the bathroom. Somewhere around 4am, I told my hubby to cancel our flight. There was no way I’d survive the trip. It was a difficult decision, but one I had to make. 

Thursday was horrible. I was no longer getting sick, but I was in so much pain. I had a million aches and pains. I was exhausted. Since we were supposed to be on a trip, my husband had the day off. I have no clue how single moms do it, but major props to them. I don’t know how on Earth I would have made it through the day without him. I wasn’t at my momming best, that’s for sure! 

By Thursday evening, I managed to have a bit of rice for dinner and we were getting ready to tuck Cupcake in. And then all broke loose, and my darling Cupcake got sick. It was like so sad to see how miserable she felt. We were so worried about trying to keep her hydrated, but she couldn’t keep anything in. After several hours, her tummy quieted enough to let her nurse and sleep for a few hours on me. 

I still felt miserable, but obviously when momming duties call, everything else gets put to the side. To top it off, my poor husband came down with the horrible cold Cupcake and I had been dealing with in the days leading up to the stomach troubles. We were all down for the count. 

Friday was a long day. Thank goodness, Cupcake seemed better. She was able to nurse and ate a few crackers throughout the day. She was super clingy, which usually wouldn’t be a problem for me. But, I still felt horrid. My stomach was constantly cramping, everything hurt, and I was exhausted. My hubby was not doing much better. It was like living the newborn days all over again, we napped when she napped. And we tried trading off as much as possible so we could sneak in extra naps. 

We are now into our third day. Cupcake seems mostly recovered, but still is eating cautiously. She wants to nurse on overload. This is probably a combination of her needing to rebuild my supply and overcome her mild dehydration. My husband’s cold is much more manageable and he’s managed to avoid the stomach bug (lucky guy seems to never get them!). I am definitely in a lot of pain still. I ate about a half cup of rice for breakfast and was stuffed. Sitting upright makes me kind of dizzy and feeding Cupcake is taking a bit of a toll on me while I try to rehydrate myself.

This has me seriously wondering how I will handle these situations next year when my husband starts residency and can’t take the time off. I mean, I guess you just do it because you have to, but ack! That’s a nerve-wracking thought for sure. I guess we’ll see when we get there! 

In the meantime, since we’re supposed to be in sunny Florida and now can’t, I shall leave you with an image of me today- rocking out on my beach towel with my Ginger Ale/Gatorade cocktail in my living room. Who said you can’t have a little fun when you’re sick? 



When to Have a Second Baby

I have literally Google’d this several times over the last few months, hoping that one website would tell me what to do. Cupcake will turn 1 in March, and I’m starting to feel ready to add another sweetie to our world. Since Cupcake is such an awesome baby, I definitely want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for all three of us! Unfortunately, everywhere I clicked said essentially the same thing, the right timing is whatever is right for you and your partner.

That’s not helpful! Can’t someone just tell me what to do?!?

From the oldest of my siblings to the youngest is a 17 year span. My younger sister and I are only 19 months apart. Having lived these two extremes, I know how close siblings are depends more on their character than on anything else. Thankfully all of us are close despite our age gap. However, when I was younger, it was easier to relate to my younger sister because she was going through what I was at the same time. Based on that and the experiences in my DH’s family, we always wanted our children to be relatively close in age.

It hit me the other day that if I want our kids to be 2-3 years apart, we are quickly closing in on the time to start ttc! The idea of bringing another baby into our family is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once! We have talked about it and feel like we’re definitely getting ready to continue growing our family. But, there are still a million questions we have!

How will this next cutie be like and unlike Cupcake? How will his or her personality fit in with our family? What unique traits with this little one have? Having recently emerged from the horrors of having a stomach bug with a baby, am I ready for morning sickness again?

Despite all the difficulties of adding another child, we know that we are getting close to ready. There is no one specific reason why, we just both acknowledged we felt it. Perhaps it’s that Cupcake is now older and gaining more independence. Maybe it’s because she’s sleeping better. I’m not sure I can pinpoint one reason; it just feels right.

So I know that I’ve arrived at the same conclusion of everyone else- the timing is right when the timing is right. So simple and so hard all at the same time!

Calling all parents of 2+ children. How far apart are your kiddos spaced? I would love to hear about your experiences!

Easy and Clean Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

I literally have no idea how I made it the past 27 years without this recipe. My sweet friend Katie posted a picture of these delicious little treats online and I knew I had to have it. Please drop whatever you are doing and make these!

The original recipe is awesome and super easy to follow. It’s dairy-free (and vegan!), which is always a big winner with me because I LOVE me some chocolate, but it can be really hard to find without milk. I knew I had to try it! I made a few substitutions based on what we had in the house and personal preference, and they came out perfectly and took me almost no time to prep. The hardest part was waiting for it to freeze!

I highly recommend using refined coconut oil to avoid an overpowering coconut flavor in this recipe!

Ingredients

Crust:

3/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Peanut Butter Filling:

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Topping:

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (or use a silicone pan like mine!).

IMG_3735Mix together the ingredients for the chocolate crust. Press evenly into the bottom of the lined pan. Put in freezer to set. (Approx. 10 minutes)

IMG_3737Mix together the ingredients for the filling. Remove pan from freezer. Evenly spread filling over the top with a spatula. Return pan to freezer to set. (Approx. 15-20 minutes)

Now it’s time for the topping! Stir the ingredients until you have a smooth sauce with no clumps. Take the pan out of the freezer and pour the sauce over the peanut butter layer. Return to freezer until firm. (Approx. 1 hour) If you were using a pan lined with parchment paper, you can gently pull the paper to remove the bars from the pan after they are firm. If using a silicone pan, just pop those bad boys out!

Disclaimer: I have no pictures of the chocolate sauce stage because I may or may not have started trying to eat it the second it was ready.

Store these in the fridge (up to 2 weeks) or the freezer (up to one month) in an air-tight container. The original poster preferred to keep them in the fridge so they did not get too firm over time. I find that hysterical, because ours did not last long enough to ever get “too firm” in the freezer. Perhaps in you have more restraint than I!

Here is the one picture I managed to snag before we immediately devoured it! I cannot wait to make these again!

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Silk Cashew Milk Review

This week’s New Years Resolution Recipe is brought to you by Silk Cashew Milk. (I’m just being silly and am not affiliated with them in any way.)

IMG_3794So, darling Cupcake is still nursing, and therefore I am not having any dairy still. I saw a commercial for Silk’s new Cashew Milk. I have tried a ton of non-dairy milks in the past few months and have mostly stuck with Almond Milk. However, we recently purchased some Flax Milk on sale and both my husband and I LOVE it. We have been using it as the creamer in our coffee and couldn’t be happier. So when I saw that this new product was coming out, I got adventurous.

I rushed to the grocery store and purchased this product. I was SO excited. I poured myself a nice glass and was nothing but disappointed. It had an interesting flavor that didn’t really float my boat. My husband also did not like it. Thankfully, Silk has a super awesome policy. If you try one of their products and do not like it, simply contact them for a refund. I emailed them and within 24 hours, I received a reply indicating a refund was on the way. I couldn’t be happier!

But, I also had a big carton of cashew milk left. We are on a pretty tight budget these days, so I couldn’t let the whole thing go to waste. But, I couldn’t exactly pour myself a glass either. While I was visiting the Silk website to log my complaint, I noticed they had an intriguing recipe for Creamy Cashew Curry. I thought I’d give it a try (with a few Momming revisions, of course)!

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 t garlic powder

1/4 t ground ginger

1 T curry powder (I used 2 for our taste preference)

2 1/2 c Cashew Milk (or other milk of your choosing)

2 T cornstarch

Salt, to taste

Directions 

1. Saute onion in olive oil, garlic and ginger until tender (approx. 5 min)

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2. Add curry powder and cashew milk and let simmer for 5 minutes. Be careful to keep heat low, as cashew milk can scorch just like cow’s milk.

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3. Add cornstarch and mix well. Let simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Results 

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We served ours over cooked vegetables, rice and chicken. The original recipe did not call for cornstarch and it was the consistency of broth. I prefer a thicker sauce for curry based recipes. Adjust the amount of cornstarch for your chosen thickness.

The taste also was slightly bland in the original recipe. As you can see in the second picture, I added a hearty dusting of curry and garlic powder to the finished meal. I also thought that there needs to be a decent amount of salt to bring out the curry flavor.

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Overall, this recipe sort of saved the cashew milk experience for me. I still have quite a bit left, so I will be looking into a few baking recipes to try and use up the remainder.

Bottom line, would I buy this product again? Probably not. Would I make this recipe again and substitute a different non-dairy milk? Definitely.

The “V” word

In our house, we freely throw around the “v” word without any problems. Although Cupcake is talking (and definitely listening to everything we say), we feel like her use of the “v” word is totally acceptable.

So two weekends ago, we had my in-laws over to celebrate a birthday. When they walked in the house, they immediately remarked how great it smelled. I presented my cake it by my husband’s affectionate name for it- Pancake Cake. As we dug in, they oohed and ahhed over it. When it was time to wrap it up, they happily took home ALL the leftovers.

Little did they know I had really made “v” cake. That’s right, people, I served my family members a vegan cake. What “v” word did you think I was talking about?

When I told them it was vegan, they were definitely surprised. It seems like in our social-consciousness, vegan is a dirty word. It represents a lesser alternative. It’s gross. It’s out there. It definitely isn’t so delicious that you take home all of your leftover came. No, with a vegan cake, you politely smile and make up some reason why it’s really ok, you do not need the leftovers. You’re on a diet. It would go to waste at your house. Oh no, no, the baker should get to keep the leftovers. Right?

I hate to admit, I used to be afraid of vegan foods. When I was originally told I had to avoid all dairy for Cupcake’s intolerance, I was not pleased. An avid baker, I had no clue what I was going to do! I didn’t want to make gross food! So, I gave it all up. No faux cheese for me! No butter! No yogurt! No milk chocolate! It was rough.

But one day, I was at a restaurant that literally only had ONE option they could promise was dairy-free. It was called “Vegan Ravioli.” This presented many problems. 1. It had the dreaded “v” word. 2. Ravioli without cheese? 3. Ravioli without cheese? (I’m half-Italian, clearly ravioli sans cheese should count twice). I begrudgingly ordered it and awaited the disaster.

As they put the plate in front of me, I crinkled my nose and poked at it with my fork. I cautiously dug in. My husband watched as I carefully chewed my bite. And people, it got weird. It was the best ravioli I had ever ever ever tasted. Not the best vegan ravioli-the best any kind of ravioli. Shh, please don’t tell Grandma Rose! And so, my eyes were opened.

Over the past few months, I’ve experimented with many vegan recipes. I find when I present them to others, they have my former reaction. “And it’s vegan?” they say. I see the judgment happen before a single taste. So now, I let the food speak first. I just wish someone would have captured my sweet father-in-law’s face when I told him about Pancake Cake!

My sweet Cupcake is sick this week, and I hear her waking in her crib, so I will post the Pancake Cake recipe soon! In the meantime, any delicious recipes you have that are vegan? Please comment below!

Momming at Home

Technically, I guess one would say that I am a stay at home mom. This term is usually given to a mom whose career revolves around the raising of her children and caring for her home. I do all of these things, but I always had a problem with the “stay at home” part of it. I feel like Cupcake and I were always out and about from the day we came home from the hospital.

And then winter hit. And I have become a stay at home mom. All of my momming is seeming to occur in the walls of my home. I have to admit that this part of the year always makes me stir-crazy. I actually do not mind winter, per-say. I just dislike being stuck in. And days like today definitely require a lot of in.

Cupcake took an awesome nap this morning, and so I started the shoveling.

IMG_3705 Glamorous, huh?

By the time she was awake, the driveway was completely covered again. It looked like I hadn’t been out there for the last 45 minutes clearing all that snow away. Sheesh.

Cupcake can’t really play in the snow for real, so I gave up any hope of a clean driveway and resigned myself to another at home day.

We played with her favorite toys and she even sat still long enough to let me put her hair in pigtails!

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But then I looked at the clock and it was only noon! Hours and hours until Daddy came home. I made myself a second cup of coffee and rearranged the kitchen table to another wall. Then I swept the floor. I tell ya, I sweep at least once a day, but now that Cupcake is learning to feed herself real food… Once a day is not enough! I realized the floor could really use a washing, but had no good ideas of how to do that without Cupcake being around.

So I decided if she was going to be with me, then she was going to help me! I pulled out her tub and attached the booster to make a water table on the kitchen floor.

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(Note, I surrounded the tub with towels and took off her pjs to make the floor not slippery- but I took these blog-appropriate photos first! Please put safety first if you ever try this!!)

Although I went through about 10 towels that I kept changing so she could play safely and we were both soaked to the bone after, it was a blast!

What do you do to keep your little ones busy when you’re stuck inside for what seems like days and days? I need more suggestions!