big shoes to fill...

or is it a big shirt to fill?!

Bjørn found one of his daddy's shirts the other day (used, so it still smelled like daddy!) and insisted that I put it on him!  Such a cutie!

He loved it, until he realized it was a little hard to get around.  :o)


the cravings are changing...

Remember my ice cream craving from my last pregnancy (and a little bit of the beginning of this one...)??

Yeah, this stuff:
Well, that craving has changed.  Now, this new one is not so different, but just as opinionated, and the lonely half-eaten container of Vanilla-Chocolate-Strawberry ice cream in my freezer is now inedible to me.  

My new friend?

Breyers Vanilla, Caramel ice cream.  Well, actually just the caramel ice cream, but they don't sell it by itself.  Only in this duo.  So, yes, there is a container half-full of vanilla ice cream in my freezer too...  This could get complicated! 

But back to the point...  if you have never tried Breyers' Caramel ice cream you are really missing something!  It is so amazingly good.  Just don't grab the last container if we are at the store at the same time, or I will come after you!  ;o)

Oh, and in case you're keeping track...  my blueberry craving has ended now too!  Which is a great thing as I was beginning to worry this little one was going to come out looking like a smurf!


shortcut strawberry shortcake

Strawberries are finally in season...  and we are SO excited!  We've been to our local berry farm twice already since they opened this week for strawberries.  The first half-flat, Bjørn and I polished off almost completely on our own!  The second batch, we decided to share.  :o)

This is one of my favorite ways to serve strawberries.  Store-bought angel food cake (you can of course make your own, but why?!) toasted and topped with sugar-sweetened strawberries and fresh whipped cream!  Yum!

Toasting the angel food cake slices really does something special to this dessert.  Think of it like the difference between eating a plain marshmallow, and roasting one over the fire!  SO much better roasted!

Shortcut Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

1 angel food cake (store-bought or homemade)
1-2 pounds strawberries
2-4 tablespoons sugar
Fresh whipped cream

Preheat your oven's broiler on low.  Slice your strawberries into a large bowl, sprinkle with sugar, toss well and let the berries sit while you get the rest of the dessert ready.

Slice the angel food cake and lay out the slices on a baking sheet.  Toast the slices under the preheated broiler for a few minutes, watching carefully, until they are golden brown.  Remove the baking sheet, flip the slices over, and toast on the other side again until they are golden brown.

Serve a piece of toasted angel food cake with a few spoonfuls of the macerated strawberries, and a big dollop of whipped cream!


16 weeks!

Here's the baby bump at 16 weeks!  4ish more weeks until we get to hopefully find out what we're having!!!
Oh, and I have no idea what I was looking at, or why I was looking at the ceiling, but this picture actually had the most genuine smile, so there you go!


cardamom waffles with berries and whipped cream

My blueberry craving is slowly fading, and so I actually needed to come up with something to use up the last of my berries!  These waffles were the perfect solution.  I can't wait for fresh strawberries to be ready at my local u-pick farm...  I will definitely be making these again!
Cardamom Waffles with Berries and Whipped Cream Recipe

2 1/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the milk, oil and vanilla.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just blended and no large lumps remain, being careful not to overmix.

Cook the waffles according to the directions on your waffle iron.  Serve warm with lots of sweetened fresh whipped cream and berries, or cold with butter and jam!


why i want to have a home birth

I have been trying to figure out how to explain this all to you for a few months now... as we have known since long before this baby came into the picture that we would plan a home birth for our next child.  Some of you know this already and have had long conversations with us about it, and others are finding this a total surprise!

I came across this blog post by Melody a few weeks ago, and I felt like I was reading my own words.  She said everything I was trying to figure out how to explain (obviously she has been in the same boat!) and so I asked her if I could repost her thoughts here.  Really, other than the names and a few very small details, this is our story, and I was so excited to not have to try to formulate my own thoughts clearly for you all!  :o)

I know some of you may not understand or support our decision, and many of you will, but we are so excited about this next step in our journey as a family and are happy to try and answer any questions you may have!  (Or choose to respectfully decline to answer...  whatever the case may be!)  ;o)  Either way, whether you support us or not, we covet your prayers and are excited for you all to meet this newest member of our family when he or she gets here!

why i want to have a home birth

many people have been questioning what on earth has gotten into me with wanting to have a home birth! even though i could think of many more reasons than this blog has time or space for, i will try to stick to a couple of the main reasons. what really got me interested in it is after watching the documentary The Business of Being Born. before watching this, I really had no clue what it meant to have a "home birth"...

i just assumed it meant you didn't make it to the hospital in time! i knew friends who had delivered at home with a midwife, but i honestly wasn't even remotely interested in the prospect. it seemed too "unsafe". i liked knowing that a hospital is prepared for all emergency procedures, were something to come up. however, after watching this beautiful film, i was totally transfixed.

i began to wonder if this something i could do! it took me about 4 or 5 months thinking about it, but nathan and i finally came to the decision that we really want this! the movie discusses how hospitals are very much so a "business" when it comes to labor and delivery. (get the woman in and out as quickly as possible!) not that we had a traumatic experience at the hospital with davis' birth, but i felt very much "out of control", as far as the dr's and nurses telling me what i needed - for the "sake of my baby" (double dose of pitocin [the drug from you-know-where], nubian, epidural, vacuum extractor leading to episiotomy... UGH) plus, while being hooked up to the i.v. and fetal monitor, i was very limited in what i could do as far as moving around. they said that i would be able to walk around, but really they made me lay in bed for all 18 hours. i would say i had to go to the bathroom, just to be able to actually sit up! of course, no food or water (which i don't understand why... because labor is the hardest work you ever do!) with all the conflicting drugs (which really do act against each other) poor davis' heart rate began to slow down, and i had to use an oxygen mask. no fun. thank the LORD, he was born healthy (and i did not have to have a c-section, even though nathan said i did ask for one at some point! the nurse laughed at my request and said "honey, those are only for emergencies." my response: "this IS an emergency!")

needless to say...  i wish i had done more research of what my options were before automatically signing up for a hospital birth. in The Business of Being Born, it is stated that people will put more energy in researching what new camera or tv to buy before weighing their options about giving birth! isn't that bizarre? it's really our American culture. we watch shows like "a baby story," or see screaming laboring women in movies, and grow up assuming that childbirth is a traumatic, scary, painful event that must take place in the hospital. we assume that as women, our bodies are "lemons, and are unable to properly deliver a baby on their own. we think that we must have medical intervention to help us through this "illness."

i have been pouring over countless midwifery/home birth books, (especially Ina May Gaskin - the woman is a rockstar!) i thought an interesting point she makes is that as women, we are uniquely designed so that our emotions are deeply tied into how our labor and deliver are. if we are strapped down to a hospital bed, in an unfamiliar room with drs and nurses we don't know coming in and out of the room, our bodies naturally take longer to labor and dilate. it is much like the concept if someone tells you to stand in front of a group of people and just pee on the spot... your body tends to freeze up! however, when a woman is able to labor on her own non-rushed terms, in a comfortable, nurturing environment, surrounded by people who are lovingly supporting her decision (and not trying to convince her of drugs she needs, but instead allowing her to walk/squat/eat/lay in a warm tub or water, doing what she feels is right for her body), the experience is totally different. my friends who have delivered both in a hospital and then at home or a birthing center with a midwife have all told me the same thing: the difference is night and day. they would do it again any day.

it's really funny when i think about it. before bjørn was born, i had such a totally different view of giving birth. i really didn't understand why people would want to refuse drugs. i thought it was a "feminist machoism" type thing. i said that the only reason i would ever refuse pain drugs is if 1. labor was totally painless, or 2. i was trying to prove something to somebody. 

people ask me if i regret having given birth in the hospital with bjørn. honestly, i don't. i am beyond thankful that he was born healthy and without complications, but were i not to have had that experience, i don't believe i would be as passionate as i am about wanting to do this the 2nd time around. i would probably be more scared and insecure of my decision.

i am so beyond excited about this pregnancy and birth. on those rare occasions when nagging doubts start to creep in, i speak truth to myself. i know i can do this. this is how God designed my body. obviously, i won't act foolishly, and if any emergencies do come up, my midwife is beyond prepared to intervene until help arrives. believe me... i asked her plenty of questions before deciding to do this, and i know without a shadow of a doubt that her 12+ years of training, along with her diligence and meticulous attention to detail will notice and act upon it if anything is not right. plus i felt an immediate connection when speaking with her for the first time. i knew right away i wanted her to deliver my baby, and nathan said the same after we met with her. (plus another special thing: when she came over to meet with us the first time, she said "i remember this house. i've delivered a baby here before!" how cool is that?!)

so... there you go. some of the many reasons i am totally excited about this upcoming event in our lives. i covet and appreciate your prayers and support in this decision!


kay's sure and creamy fudge

My dad's birthday was this last weekend, and on the list of desserts he sent me of birthday-treat ideas was "Kay's Fudge".  I was immediately intrigued!

Kay is our cousin who lives in Minnesota, and so I emailed her and asked her if she had a special fudge recipe, as that must be what my dad was talking about!

She did, and it is a lovely, smooth and creamy fudge, with a great layer of flavor coming from the two different chocolates!   I will be keeping this recipe in my recipe book for sure.  Thanks for sharing Kay!

Kay's Sure and Creamy Fudge Recipe

4 1/2 cups sugar
1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup butter
8oz Hershey milk chocolate bars (2 large bars), coarsely chopped
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7oz jar marshmallow cream

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, milk and butter.  Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolates and marshmallow cream, mixing well.

Pour into a foil-lined and buttered 9x13" baking dish.  Cool and cut into bite-sized squares.  Store in Tupperware in the fridge!

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