My Favorite Pinterest Recipe

I often find myself browsing Pinterest for recipe ideas to try at home. Cooking is super hard in my house because not only are my children picky eaters, but I am as well. I am lucky that my husband will eat anything I put in front of him, but I’m often making multiple meals in order to be able to give him a variety, while also feeding the kids and myself. We can get Savannah to at least try most things, but she often doesn’t like it. I am at least happy she will try it. Raylan on the other hand will not try a dang thing; he will go hungry and throw his plate across the room before he tries something new. It is a challenge, but with his Autism, it is not as easy as just forcing it. We even had him in occupational therapy for awhile for feeding therapy.

Back to Pinterest, I have pinned a million recipes, but I haven’t made a lot of them. There are a few pretty good recipes that I have found, and I am going to share one that is a favorite that I come back to often. I will preface this by saying my kids don’t like it. Raylan won’t touch it. Savannah will only eat the ham out of it; for some reason she doesn’t like anything I make with potato (unless it is a french fry or tater tot). I do think that most kids would probably like it though.

The recipe is Ham and Hashbrown Casserole from the blog Written Reality. This is super easy to throw together, but you can’t really decide at the last minute to make it mostly because it takes an hour to bake. I have used the cubed potatoes, which tasted fine, but I definitely prefer it with hash brown potatoes.

Here is the recipe: Ham and Hashbrown Casserole. Let me know if you try it what you think!

Watching The Biggest Loser

Here in Michigan, we currently have a “stay home, stay safe” order like much of the nation. As a nurse, I am still considered to be part of the “essential workforce,” so I have still been going to work. I feel blessed to still have a job, and I am happy to be able to be making a difference. I am also a bit nervous still being out and feeling exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

I have been on social media a lot lately, and it hasn’t been great for my emotional health. Don’t get me wrong, there are currently some great things happening on social media; there are a ton of people volunteering their time and talents right now making masks for healthcare workers, and there are people spreading hope. But for as many positive posts, there are at least as many negatives. Many are laced with political agendas and prejudices, which just upsets me. I am always one to look at the source of information, but currently, even sources that I found reliable in the past, I hardly trust, mostly because we really just don’t know what is going to happen with the pandemic we are facing.

In an attempt to take a social media break (and because I am supposed to be resting after hurting my hip from slipping on Purell at work), I was looking for something to watch. I stumbled across the new season of The Biggest Loser on USA. I have always enjoyed watching the biggest loser. Fun fact: I actually went to Chicago when I was in college to audition for The Biggest Loser! I mentioned in my last post (which was again, quite a while ago) that I had gastric bypass surgery. I have lost a total of about 130 lbs from my highest weight. It was bizarre watching The Biggest Loser after losing the weight.

Here are some of the things I thought about while watching:

  • I compared my weight to everyone weighing in on the show. I thought “I’m bigger than all of the women but one.” Then I stopped and had to remind myself that I used to be bigger than them.
  • I was looking at the outdoor furniture the contestants were sitting on, and I wondered if it is special furniture. At my highest weight, I always worried if a piece of furniture would hold me, and I still think about it for a moment before I sit despite my weight loss.
  • Bob Harper talks about his heart attack/cardiac arrest. If an incredibly fit man like Bob Harper can have a heart attack, it could happen to anyone. It made me think about how much more I can do to take better care of myself. I have come a long way by losing weight, but I still have a ways to go to reach the best me.
  • I want to get in the gym so bad! As an athlete for the first half of my life, I had a strong body. Since weight loss surgery, I have lost a lot of my strength and muscle. I have become a bit more active since switching back to floor nursing from the clinics, and I try to get in walks with the family when I am able to. I really want to push my body and gain the strength I once had.

Overall, it was nice to get a little bit of a break from social media, and to get motivation to keep working towards the best me I can!

Re-usable Water “Balloons”

It has been a LONGGGGGG time since I have posted on here.  I don’t know how it is even possible, but it has been over 3 years!  A lot has happened  My life has changed drastically in that time.  Some of the major changes include having a baby with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Mar 2016), putting one of my kitties to sleep (Oct 2016), a hospitalization on a psychiatric floor (Nov 2017), selling our house and moving into one newly built (Mar 2018), starting a new job (June 2018), the kiddos starting daycare (June 2018), my oldest starting Kindergarten (Sept 2018), undergoing gastric bypass surgery (Sept 2018) and multiple complications that followed in the months since, and most recently losing our first dog (Apr 2019).  Those are just some of the big ones that have shaken things up quite a bit!  Over time I may try to do some posts detailing some of those big events, but for today I want to talk about a new item I crocheted.

 

As a kid, I loved running around during the summer time playing with water balloons!  It was not so fun filling those water balloons up.  It seemed to take forever, and it seemed like in less time than it took to fill them, they were all popped!  Then there was the pain of picking up all of the little pieces.  Fast forward to adulting…it is still a pain to fill them up individually, and I’ve always been too cheap to spring for the devices that fill many up at a time.  Cleaning up all of the pieces of balloon is even less fun as an adult.  Plus, maybe its the nurse in me, but I’m afraid a small child will put a piece in their mouth and choke.  I may be trained to save someone from choking, but that is not something I want to practice!  I stumbled across a pattern for crochet water balloons over at Left in Knots.  I made up a few (pretty quickly I might add), and I cannot wait for it to warm up a little so I can send the kiddos out to try them!  (Who am I kidding, I’ll probably throw a few at the adults in my life too!)  There is no waste using these; I’ll be able to throw them in the washer/dryer when they get dirty, and then re-use them.  I won’t have to spend hours filling balloons, only to have them all gone in a matter of minutes.  And I don’t have to worry about Raylan kids or animals putting pieces in their mouth and choking!

Here are the first few I made (my little buddy picked the yarn color).  I’ll probably make some more in different colors soon!378bPcC5Ssy1DgYAukrWGQ

Once we test them out, I’ll update with how the kids like them!

Raylan’s Birth Story

During both of my pregnancies I was monitored frequently because of pre-existing high blood pressure that required meds to control.  Starting at 32 weeks, I had NSTs (non-stress tests) two times a week, and my fluid was measured by ultrasound once a week.  I was scheduled for an induction when I hit 38 weeks.

Sunday January 24, I felt decreased movement from my little one.  My husband was working, so I took Savannah to stay with my sister, and my mom drove me to the hospital so the baby could be checked.  Once I was on the monitor, the baby started moving like crazy, which was typical for him.  It was clear by his heart rate that he was happy.  All that was left was to measure my fluid, and I would be on my way.  When the midwife started measuring the fluid with ultrasound, I could see there was a lot less than there had been just a few days before.  She said she was going to talk to the doctor and would be back.  Within a few minutes, we were told that we would be staying, and my induction would start that day.  I was 37 weeks 5 days.

At about 1:30 in the afternoon, I was moved to a birthing room so we could start the induction process.  The official induction started at 3:45pm.  My cervix was 1cm, 25% effaced and the baby’s position was high.  A cervidil was placed and was to remain in for 12 hours to help “ripen” my cervix.  The whole week prior to the induction process, I had frequent contractions that varied from just uncomfortable to painful.  On Saturday and Sunday, the contractions had basically stopped.  I was having less contractions those two days than I had been having since 28 weeks!  Fortunately, a few hours after the cervidil was placed I started contracting again.

My sisters were super sweet and brought Savannah up to see me since we hadn’t anticipated staying.  She was a little nervous to see mom in bed, but she was excited to hear her brother’s heart beat on the monitor.  She also got to play in the game room.

At 3:45am, the cervidil was removed.  The doctors discussed placing another cervidil vs placing a foley bulb.  The thought of a foley bulb scared me because during my previous induction an EXTREMELY painful attempt was made to place one that ended up being unsuccessful.  I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea of another cervidil, either.  I didn’t want to sit for another 12 hours waiting for it to work.  I agreed to having the foley bulb placed with morphine prior.  At 5am, I had morphine, and at 6:15, the doctor successfully placed the foley bulb.  At that point I was 2-3cm, 50% effaced and the baby was at a -3 station.

The foley bulb hadn’t fallen out by 8:40am, so the doctor checked me to see where we were.  She found that I was 4-5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 to -3 station, so she pulled the foley bulb.  We were making some progress.  The next step was pitocin.  I had been dreading pitocin for weeks because I wanted to make an attempt at laboring and delivering without an epidural.  I feared that having pitocin would make that much more difficult, but I was realistic and knew my body likely needed that push.  After getting a new IV placed (my veins are terrible with IVs), the pitocin was started at 11:20am.

All day I sat on the birth ball, stood at the side of the bed, walked around the room, and took some time laying in bed.  At around 4pm, I requested to be checked.  I was discouraged to hear that I was still only 5cm, 50% effaced and a -2 station.  At that point I decided to get in the tub to labor for awhile.  My contractions had become pretty painful, so I wanted to see if the tub would allow me to have some relief.  I was only in the tub for about 45 minutes.  It was nice, but it was tough to keep the water warm enough for comfort.  We had to keep draining water to add more hot water.

At 7:55pm, the doctor came in to see if I was making any progress.  I was 5-6cm, 75% effaced and a -2 station.  I was frustrated that baby didn’t seem to want to descend.  The doctor felt that breaking my water would help speed things up, so she did.  When the first contraction after that hit, my plans for going without an epidural went out the window.  The pain was intense!  The funny thing is just before they broke my water, I told my mom I thought I should be in more pain, and now I was!  The anesthesia team came pretty quickly to place the epidural.  It was torture sitting through the placement.  Anesthesia tried for a full hour to place the epidural without success.  I finally asked for another person to try.  At 9:08pm, I felt I couldn’t sit any longer.  I was feeling tons of pressure, so I was checked again.  I was still only 6cm, 75% effaced and -2 station.  I agreed to let anesthesia keep trying.  I was given morphine to try to help me during the epidural.  I tried to sit for the placement, and I just couldn’t do it.  I was able to get through the contraction pain, but I started feeling a new tearing pain that didn’t come and go with contractions.  I remember saying I felt like I was being tore apart inside.

From this point on, things are a little fuzzy and went fast.  I was screaming that something was wrong.  I was begging for a c-section.  I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t lie down.  My poor mother and sister were in the hall (they couldn’t be in the room while the epidural was being placed), and all they could hear was my screaming and crying.  My husband was wonderful as he stood by feeling helpless, trying to help me get through the pain.  At one point they placed an FSE (fetal scalp electrode) because I couldn’t stay still enough to keep the monitor on, and it was important to be able to monitor the baby’s heart rate.  I would hear the heart rate drop, and I would panic, but I was assured that the heart rate would come right back up.  I remember hearing my husband ask if my mom could come back in.  The nurse said in a few minutes.  At that point I blurted out that I NEEDED my mom.  When she came in, she got right by my ear and was able to calm me down.  Prior to her being there, I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  She brought me back to what was going on.  At 9:44pm I was 7cm, 100% effaced and 0 station.  I kept feeling the urge to push, and my body was even pushing involuntarily.  The doctors gave me a pudendal block (a lidocaine injection in my cervix), and at 9:53pm I was 9cm.  At 10:08pm, they said I was 10cm and could start pushing.  They doctor said I could do a practice push, but if she told me to stop, it was because they needed to break the bed down.  I pushed, and she said to stop.  While they were breaking the bed down, I was yelling that he was coming.  My body was pushing on its own.  They gave me the green light to push again.  At 10:14pm, after just 3 pushes, Raylan was born.  I heard them say he had a nuchal cord, but my mom and sister say it was wrapped across his face.  My husband cut the cord, and after being placed on my belly briefly, he was taken to the warmer.  I saw the nurse tapping on his feet, and I never heard him cry.  His apgars were 6 and 9.  The first one was only a 6 because he never did cry, but he was fine otherwise.

Weighing in at 7lb 7.6oz and 19.5 inches long, Raylan was brought to me.  He was eager to nurse and latched at 35 minutes old.

We are so happy to have a healthy new addition to the family.

Family Christmas Stockings

My family has had matching Christmas stockings for many generations.  My great-grandmother made them for every new member of the family.  Each stocking matched the others, and the person’s name was cross-stitched on the top.  People would order stockings from my great-grandma from all over the world.  She made them for many years.  After she passed away, we all wondered how we would continue to have matching stockings for new family members.

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Matching Christmas stockings hanging on the mantle

Several years ago, my mom found the pattern that my great-grandma used to make the stockings.  It was very difficult to read, so I kind of brushed it aside.  My crafty cousin was able to decipher the pattern and recreate this treasured family item.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try to tackle crocheting one of these stockings for myself.  I typed out the pattern so that I could read it easily as I worked.  After consulting with my cousin a couple of times, I got to work.

During my first attempt, after several hours, I got 2 rows from the top of the stocking, and I realized something looked WAY off.  I unraveled the whole thing!  When I restarted, I ended up tangling my yarn.  (Yarn and I get in to some serious arguments!)  I worked several HOURS on trying to untangle it.  I finally gave up and just cut it!

The next challenge came when trying to put the name “Savannah” on the stocking.  My great-grandma always said it was difficult to fit “Danielle” on the stocking, and she had to make adjustments to some of the letters in order for it to fit.  The reason Savannah didn’t have one yet on her 3rd Christmas is because my cousin couldn’t get her name to fit.  She really doesn’t have a shortened nickname yet, so we weren’t ever sure what to put.  I tried my hardest to adjust the letters to make her name fit, but no matter what, it wouldn’t work.  Finally I decided to just put “Vannah.”  Imagine my surprise when I found that the standard lettering wouldn’t allow Vannah to fit either.  Using graph paper (as suggested by my super smart cousin), I adjusted the letters to fit.  When I stitched them out, I got to the last leg of the “H” when I realized it wouldn’t fit.  I had to pull everything out and start 2 stitches back.  That worked, and I was finally able to finish it.

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Savannah’s stocking is a little bit bigger than the Mom and Dad ones my cousin made.  I tend to crochet tight, so I tried to consciously make my stitches loose.  It resulted in a bigger stocking, but I am okay with that because at least her stocking matches ours.

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Stockings made by my cousin

This week I made another stocking for little one on the way.  I made sure to make my stitches tight this time so it would be closer to the size of the others.  Turns out I made the stitches too tight, and his stocking is smaller than ours!  Now I know for the next one I make to just crochet as I normally would and it should end up a size in between, which will be perfect!

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The size difference between baby and Savannah’s stockings.  (I couldn’t put his name yet and ruin the surprise!)

 

 


On another note, tonight I opened an Etsy shop.  None of my creations are on there yet, but they will be soon.  For now, some of Scott’s Can Cars (actually the motorcycles) are on there.  It will probably be a variety shop.  Until I post actual listings, feel free to request a custom order if you have seen something I’ve made that you want for yourself!

Here is a link to the shop: Delicate Dani Designs

Let me know in the comments what you would like to see in the shop!

 

 

(If you are interested in opening your own shop on Etsy, let me know.  If I send you a referral link, you get 40 free listings, and I get 40 free listings.)

 

Gender Reveal Party

There are many differences in opinion when it comes to finding out the gender of a baby during pregnancy.  I respect everyone’s individual decision, but personally, I could not wait until the baby was born to find out.  We didn’t do anything special to announce we were having a girl the first time.  This time, my sister-in-law mentioned that we should have a gender reveal party.  It sounded like a fun idea, so that is what we did.  When I went for my big anatomy scan ultrasound, the technician asked if I wanted to find out the gender.  I told him I didn’t want him to tell me, but I asked him if he could write it down and seal it in an envelope for me, which he did.  I wanted to be surprised with everyone else!

I took the envelope to my mom’s house, and from there she would drop it off at the bakery we got our wedding cake from.  It was such a tempting ride to her house, being alone with the envelope next to me.  I knew I wouldn’t be cheating anyone but myself if I looked, so I resisted the temptation.

It was a long 2 and a half weeks waiting for the party, but the day finally came.  It was a small party, with just immediate family and a few close friends.  I had a wives tale list circled with my experience this pregnancy.  I then asked people to write their name on a sticker and guess what the baby would be.  If they thought it was a girl, they put their name under Team Pink, and if they thought it was a boy, they were on Team Blue.  Before we found out, we took a picture with each group.  The majority was Team Pink.

Dessert Table

Dessert Table

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Team Blue

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Team Pink

Team Pink

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I am so thrilled we are having a boy!  I was so surprised; I was convinced until the minute I heard someone yell boy that it was a girl!  Now the struggle is coming up with a name.  We keep the name a secret until the baby is born, although this time we may not even be able to agree on a name until he is here!  For now we will call him “squirt.”

A Sofia the First Birthday Party

Last year for Savannah’s 1st birthday party we had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme.  There were lots of homemade decorations that were adorable (thanks to my mom and her cricut).  It took quite a bit of time for both her and I to make the decorations and put them together, and they were only up for a few hours.  This year Savannah loved Sofia the First, so we decided to have that be the theme for her 2nd birthday, but I toned it down a little to save on time and stress.

We did put up some decorations, and my mother-in-law made adorable cake pops for the occasion.  I am so glad we didn’t do as much with decorations this year because the party was just as much fun, and I wasn’t as stressed!  I did make Savannah’s outfit again this year.  With more sewing experience, it wasn’t as stressful, although the embroidery portion was new to me!

Here are some pictures from the day

Reversible skirt and embroidered shirt made by mommy

Reversible skirt and embroidered shirt made by mommy

Embroidered Shirt

Embroidered Shirt

Sofia the First background scene

Sofia the First background scene

Gift table

Gift table

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Cake pops

Cake pops

Walmart Sofia the First cake

Walmart Sofia the First cake

It down-poured that day, but fortunately most of the tables were set up in the garage.  We still had fun despite the rain.

At the end of presents, we had a special surprise for everyone.  It just happened to work out that Savannah wanted to sit with her grandmas by the time she got to her last few presents.  I embroidered a couple of shirts for her gift, so my mom helped her open them.

Grandmas helping open the last present

Grandmas helping open the last present

Grandma looks surprised, what could it be??

Grandma looks surprised, what could it be??

The other grandma is catching on

The other grandma is catching on

Showing the rest of the group

Showing the rest of the group

A baby is on the way!

A baby is on the way!

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Savannah's embroidered shirts from mommy

Savannah’s embroidered shirts from mommy

Thanks so my sister-in-law who was in on the secret, she was able to capture some great pictures of my mom and mother-in-law’s reactions.  I had my cell phone taking pictures as well, I just wish that I would have done a video instead!  The reactions from everyone were priceless!

Due with baby #2 February 2016!