Blog Posts

Chicken pot pie
Health, Recipes

Musings and An Epic Pinterest Fail

Hello everyone!

It has now been a month since our move and I think things are finally settling down.  For the first time ever, I feel like my son is finally getting comfortable and into a routine.  This is the first week that we have not started and ended the day with TV.  And oh, what a difference it has made!  I used to have a rule that he could not watch TV or play on the iPad until after he had lunch and taken a good nap, unless circumstances were less than desirable (poor night’s sleep for me, a busy morning or an emotional day).  I have noticed that since I have reinstated this rule, my son has become much more interactive and creative.  He has made so much progress this week alone!  For example, I have been trying to work with him to use a fork and spoon while eating.  I even relegated him to the high chair with a tray so it would be easier to use one.  But yesterday, my son asked for a fork to use with his lunch, and he forked grapes a hot dog slices all by himself!!!

Forking food

AND my son finished his very first craft this week as well!  It is so hard to get him to sit still and be interested in a craft.  Everytime at the library for storytime he would get upset, refuse to sit down and a tantrum would inevitably ensue.  But, again, yesterday he made a parrot out of construction paper.  He was a little upset at first because the “white” (glue) was on it, but once I explained that it would be covered up he seemed to be okay.

Parrot craft

I am so excited to see what new things my son will discover and learn in the weeks to follow!

Musings

I feel like for one of the first times ever, I am able to make my dreams happen.  I have wanted to create a monetizing website for my health blog for a couple years now.  Over time I had gotten more interested and more serious about blogging and discovered that this free blog platform does not allow the tools that I need to make money with it.  Unfortunately to be able to create a website like that takes money to start and build it, which I did not have at the time.  But now, I have been able to kickstart my dream and start creating a website that allows me to make money through it!  How exciting!  Now my most needed resource is Time!  Hahaha!  So be on the lookout, it’s going to take me time to work on it and have it up and running.  But I can’t wait to share it with you all!

The basis of the website will be very similar with this blog.  I want it to be a place where people can go to when they want to make a healthy change in their lives, whether it be overall healthy living, diet change, eliminating harsh chemicals in your home and exercise.  I want to be the person that people can go to for encouragement and advice.  I also want to introduce ways to improve your health at home by offering membership to a wellness company for better household products, supplements and essential oils; and by offering my services to build meal plans and recipes for those needing help starting an extreme diet change.  All these things I’ve had to implement and undergo in my own household and I know how challenging it can be on your own.  And lastly, I want to make these changes as simple as possible.  As a mother of two little ones, I do not have the time or energy or money to bake a complicated gluten-free dish.  Does this sound like something you would be interested in using as a resource?  I sure hope so!  I feel like this is extremely relevant in our time.  So many people are tired of being sick, just barely getting by with their health and tired of being told to take drugs and hope for the best.  I know I was!

Something else I’ve been kicking around is possibly starting a mom-blog about my healthy living and just my day to day experiences with my children.  What I want them to learn and how I went about it.  Would anyone be interested in that?  I know mom-blogs are a dime a dozen these days.  But I’m starting to feel like I have so much inside of me that I want to share that I need another outlet to let it all out.  Do you think that would be something worth investing my time and energy into?

An Epic Pinterest Fail

And finally, my EPIC pinterest fail!  I usually try to gauge how complicated and involved a recipe looks by the type of ingredients needed, process of cooking and approximately how long it takes.  This time I was so taken by the fact that I could finally eat chicken pot pie that I brushed off how involved this might be.  This was my first time using tapioca starch/flour.  I like to keep ingredients simple but I decided to branch out a little bit this time.  After half a week due to missing ingredients and length and involvement of prepping . . . I finally finished it.  The author failed to mention dish size (which I later found in comments after the fact) and grossly misled the cooking time.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I probably will not make it again until the kids are in school or moved out!

Chicken pot pie

After tasting, I do think that this recipe is worth revisiting later down the road.  I really do like having the sensation of a crust!  ❤ ❤ ❤  I’ve never had chicken pot pie from scratch and this is so refreshing!  So maybe in . . . 5 or 10 years I’ll make it again!  Bahaha!

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Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake
Breastfeeding, Coconut Oil, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

I think this will be my last post before we move.  There is so much going on right now: phone calls to make, boxes to pack and kids to soothe.  But as overwhelming as it all is . . . I am SOOOO excited!!!  Don’t worry, I won’t be gone for long; move-in date is set for the beginning of September!  Woohoo!  I have not shared a lot of details about the place we have been living in, but needless to say it is time to GO!  It has caused a lot of our physical and emotional health issues.  For the first month, my son cried every time that we pulled into the drive for this house.  How sad is that?  But, we are DONE!

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

Since I have been testing the waters for being dairy-free to help my daughter while breastfeeding her, I decided to tweak a favorite recipe of mine.  Recently I’ve been making a banana oatmeal bake to help boost my milk supply and it is quite tasty.  Now, I know that oats can be questionable in the gluten-free world.  I refused to eat it for a couple years for fear that I would have a reaction, but once I tried it I haven’t noticed anything.  So I took my banana oatmeal bake recipe and made it dairy-free.  It is still very moist and very yummy!

Baby Girl at 2.5 Mths

I’ve had several people ask me if I think going dairy-free has made a difference for Baby Girl.  To be honest, it’s been very difficult for me to tell because we’ve had to eat out a lot while getting ready to move.  It’s hard enough eating fast-food while being gluten-free, but adding dairy-free is a little overwhelming to me.  I feel like it’s too much to keep adding to my special order of no bun to no bun AND no cheese.  At many restaurants if I ask for no bun they just give me the slab of meat, no condiments and no fixings!  But I think it has been long enough for me to begin to see a difference in my daughter.  Baby Girl doesn’t seem to have any trouble pooping whether or not I eat cheese.  However, she gets really bad tummy aches where she’s writhing and crying in pain if I eat cheese.  Her disposition and her sleep are so much better if I am dairy-free.  So now that I can see a difference I will continue with my dairy-free diet and work harder to keep away from it while eating out.

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

Ingredients

2 cups Oats
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 can Coconut Milk
3 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 large Egg
2 Apples peeled and chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add coconut milk, egg, vanilla extract and coconut oil.  Mix together.
Add apples to batter and mix until apples are coated.
Pour batter with apples into baking dish and make sure that apples are evenly distributed and covered as much as possible with batter.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry.

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

I like this dish because I can use it for breakfast or as a quick snack throughout the day, especially when the kids are cranky and I don’t have time to make food for myself in the morning.  And with the oats, I can also help boost my milk supply!  Over time I have also been playing around with changing the ingredients.  This recipe started out using 1 cup of bananas and I replaced them with apples for this post.  Right now I have a dish in the oven with bananas and peanut butter . . . I’m very excited to see how that will turn out!  I’m seriously thinking about drizzling some honey on top of it once it’s finished baking . . . MMmmmm!

I can’t wait to write again after we’ve moved and let you know what a difference living in this new home makes for us!  Until then!

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Apple Bake

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby's Constipation
Breastfeeding, Essential Oils, Health

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby’s Constipation

For the past couple of weeks my daughter has been really struggling with constipation.  Recently she went a whole week without pooping.  Talk about tiring.  If you have experienced a constipated baby you will understand.  My daughter was constantly fussy, crying and wanting to be held.  I couldn’t get anything done!  I was used to being able to put her down for 3-4 hours at a time and then she went to letting me put her down for only 30 minutes to an hour at a time!  She was miserable and I was exhausted.

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby's Constipation

I ended up calling the pediatrician’s office several times.  The first time was my daughter’s first time not pooping within 24 hours.  I was used to her pooping 2-3 times a day and then all of a sudden NOTHING!  The nurse informed me that it was alright for babies to not poop for up to 3 days.  I was still extremely concerned because it was not normal for my daughter.  I started pumping her little legs constantly and she finally pooped later that evening.  Sometimes it would take her several days to poop.  Then last week she was well past 3 days and I called the pediatrician’s office again.  The nurse told me that it was normal for breastfed babies to not poop for up to a week at a time!  Again that might be true but it still wasn’t normal for my daughter.  I was instructed to call back the following day if she hadn’t pooped by then, which would have made it at least a week!  Of course the day passed without her pooping.  So the following day I called back the pediatrician’s office and was asked to bring her in later that day.  After checking out my daughter, the doctor said she was pleased with how Baby Girl was doing and that her belly was still soft.  I was told that as long as my daughter wasn’t vomiting while being constipated she would be alright.  The doctor suggested Baby Girl was hitting a growth spurt so she would be more hungry and fussy and said that Baby Girl would poop when she was ready to.  Needless to say, I was frustrated and relieved all at the same time.  My daughter still didn’t poop until the following evening.

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby's Constipation

So I wanted to share some ways that helped relieve my daughter’s constipation.  A lot of it is trial and error.  Some things may work better for your baby and some may not.  Some people like to use a rectal thermometer to produce a bowel movement.  I didn’t have one on hand, but I don’t even know if I could have done that myself!  But these are some of the things that I did to try to help my daughter.  I hope this list helps give you some ideas for what you can do to help you with your fussy baby.

8 Ways to Help Relieve You Baby’s Constipation

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby's Constipation

1. Exercise

A baby’s intestines cannot push food through like an adults can and they need constant movement to help things along.  Unfortunately, babies can’t really move on their own (especially early on).  So we have to help them by doing some little exercises.  The most common ones are the bicycle legs, leg lifts and circles, and reaching their hand toward the opposite knee.  A great idea would be to have your baby exercise to music every day for 15 minutes.  It’s a fun way to get all the wiggles and gas out.  You can also try some exercises in a warm bath.

2. Massage & Essentials Oils

Massage is another great way to keep everything moving along.  A great resource is the article How to Massage Baby from Parents Magazine.  It goes through great detail on how to massage your baby from top to bottom.  I like to apply an essential oil blend and then rub her belly in a clockwise direction.  I also gently pressed on her intestines using my third finger from her belly button toward the right.  There are also diagrams of a baby’s feet showing what parts of her feet effect which systems and I like to rub that spot on her feet with essential oils.

As for the essential oils blends that I like to use, I took a roller bottle and filled it with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 1 drop of essential oil for my 2 month old.  You want to make sure that any essential oil that you use is properly diluted before you apply it to yourself or your baby.  Peppermint is typically used to help digestion and nausea, so I put that in a roller bottle along with 1 drop of Lavender to help soothe my daughter.  I also already had a Peace Blend roller bottle made up for my son, and I applied that to my daughter’s feet and rubbed them where appropriate (just above the heel for stomach and intestinal problems).

3. Gas Drops

A lot of people like to use gas drops.  I used Mommy’s Bliss which seemed more natural with less chemicals and contains Fennel and Ginger which both help with gas and constipation.  At my daughter’s age, the instructions said I could give her up to 5 ml 6 times in a 24-hour period.  I tried to only give it to my daughter once or twice a day.  This really did seem to help relieve her pain almost immediately and I was able to get a short break from her constant fussing and crying.

4. Pear Juice

Most doctor’s offices will suggest for you to try to give your baby pear juice.  I was told to only give my daughter a couple of drops a day because she was still so young (only 2 months).  To be honest I don’t think this made any difference.  I gave my daughter 2.5 ml once a day and I didn’t really see any changes.

5. Fenugreek (or Extra Fiber)

I realized that one of the changes in my diet that may have caused my daughter to be constipated was that I stopped taking Fenugreek as a breastfeeding supplement.  I had been taking between 2 to 4 capsules a day but ran out.  When I was breastfeeding my son I tried taking them but didn’t see a significant increase in my milk production.  So now with my daughter, I didn’t think that I needed to keep taking them.  But I remembered something that my lactation consultant had said, that it would help keep me regular by taking all that fiber.  So I thought that since my daughter started experiencing being constipated around the time that I stopped taking the Fenugreek that maybe there was a correlation.  The Fenugreek that I am using can be found at Wal-Mart, except now our local stores don’t carry it so I have to order from site to store now.

6. Change Formula

After about a week of no luck in the pooping department, I decided it was time to try some new formula.  I had been using Enfamil’s Gentle Ease, which she had been using pretty much since the beginning.  But I had to consider that maybe this brand or this composition was causing too much gas.  To go hand-in-hand with my next point, cutting out dairy, I decided to try a non-dairy formula, Enfamil’s ProSobee which is soy based.  I understand that with soy that you want to stay as organic as possible.  But unfortunately at this point we really couldn’t afford it.  I had coupons for Enfamil so I wanted to try another composition within their brand before branching out to other brands like Similac.  For the couple of times that I gave her the soy-based formula it seemed to help a little bit and cause less gas.  But within only a couple of days of starting the new formula, I have been able to breastfeed my daughter exclusively!  Woohoo!  Which may be another reason that has helped her poop by being able to cut out formula altogether.

7. Cut Out Dairy

I’m not really sure if dairy is causing problems with my daughter or not.  But at this point, cutting it out couldn’t hurt.  Which is one of the reasons why I changed her formula in the previous point.  In addition to cutting out dairy in my daughter’s diet, I am cutting out dairy from my diet as well because I’m breastfeeding.  Let me tell you, cutting out dairy is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do for a diet, and I’ve already made the switch to being gluten free!  I did it once before when I was pregnant with my son to help with my sinuses.  It really made a big difference for me then.  So I thought that maybe it could help ease my daughter’s constipation, too.

8. Chiropractor Work

Another great way to help relieve your baby’s constipation is by taking her to the chiropractor to get an adjustment.  Unfortunately we were unable to take my daughter at this time because we are just so tight financially.  But, I’m sure this would have made a big difference!

At this point I’m not sure what exactly made the difference.  The longest time between her poops has been a week.  But now she is pooping almost every day!  Woohoo!  I have never been so happy to see baby poop!  So I’m not sure if her constipation had to do with her growth spurt or if it was diet related.  I will try to slowly add back in dairy after a couple weeks to see if that bothers her or not.  As you can tell, with babies there is a lot of trial and error.  And what works for one baby may not work for another baby.  Each child is so unique and special!

I hope this list helps give you some ideas on how to relieve your baby’s constipation.  Maybe you’ve found something else that really helps your baby?  What works for you?  Please share with me!  I would love to hear from you!

8 Ways to Help Relieve Your Baby's Constipation

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole
Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Health, Paleo, paleo diet, Recipes

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I have to say that cooking in this heat is hard to take.  I am so ready for this summer to be over!  I’m ready for everything Fall: the colors, the smells, the crisp feeling in the air, the spices and flavors, and yes, that it’s closer to Christmas!  Since it’s been so hot, even in the mornings, we haven’t had much of a chance to go on walks recently.  But we made an effort to go out this week.  I think my son really misses walking because he ran more than half of the way!  He was quite a slave driver, telling me, “Run, run, run!”  Shew!  I’m pretty sure I lost several pounds from that one walk alone with my son making me run, me sweating profusely in the heat and also carrying my daughter the entire way.  Thankfully, I think it’s supposed to cool down a little bit this weekend.

Summer Walk

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I think this is a recipe one of my friends shared on facebook a while back.  It looked like something that my family would really enjoy.  It also gives my husband a good excuse to fry bacon!  (Like he ever needs one?)

Ingredients

1/2 lb Bacon
1 lb Ground Beef
1/2 Sweet Onion
1 Clove of Garlic
4 large Eggs
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
4 tbsp Cream Cheese
8 oz shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 tbsp Ketchup
1 tbsp Mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp dill

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Dice cooked bacon into small pieces.
Cook ground beef until browned.  Add diced onion and minced garlic.
Once the onions and garlic are translucent add cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, salt and worcestershire sauce.  Mix well in skillet.
Spread beef mixture into 8 x 8 pan.  Top with bacon.
Whisk together eggs, heavy cream and pepper.
Pour eggs over beef and bacon.  Top with cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

I served with pickles, I thought it made a nice compliment to the cheeseburger experience!  And my son absolutely loves pickles!  Can’t go wrong there!  And to top it off, my husband absolutely loved this dish!  I always love it when I can make him happy with a gluten free low carb meal!  I had made some changes to the ingredients this last time around.  I’m not a fan of yellow mustard, but I seem to like dijon mustard so that’s what I used this time and it turned out really good.  (The first time I made this dish I completely omitted the mustard altogether).  Also, I ran out of heavy cream so I used half & half instead.  It seemed extra moist to me but everything tasted the same.

Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

 

Have you been able to stay cool this summer?  I know it is not nearly as hot this year as it has been in years past, but it is oh so miserable!  The humidity has been unbearable for us and it seems to seep into our house.  I hope you are all are able to enjoy your summer!

Ratatouille
Breastfeeding, Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Health, Paleo, paleo diet, Recipes

Ratatouille

I can’t believe that it almost has been 8 weeks since my Baby Girl entered our lives.  We are finally starting to settle down I think.  Breastfeeding has continued to become easier since my last post.  We had Baby Girl’s 2 month check-up a little early, but we were so happy to find out that she is doing fabulously!  She is now just shy of 10 lbs and is 22.5 inches long (2 inches longer from birth!).  I asked to see the Lactation Consultant again.  Breastfeeding had improved greatly but I was still experiencing some pain and nipple trauma.  I had already corrected part of the problem at home by making sure Baby Girl wasn’t ripping off when she was done eating.  But the LC also suggested just shifting her over a couple of inches while I was feeding her so that her head wasn’t scrunched in.  Amazingly enough, that little shift has helped with the pain and I think it has helped her empty my breasts better as well.  I’ve only needed to supplement 1-2 oz per night now instead of 4-6 oz it had been previously!  The LC also suggested supplementing my diet with the herb, Fenugreek, oatmeal and adding one extra feeding a day to help boost my supply.  Honestly, I just haven’t had the motivation or energy to try to get in an extra feeding.  But we seem to be doing alright by just using those supplements and having corrected Baby Girl’s breastfeeding position.

Baby Girl 7wks

As for my family’s health journey, I have finally been able to consistently cook healthy meals during the week.  One of my goals after having Baby Girl was to start eating whole foods more often again.  I also wanted to try to have vegetable sides for most of my meals to make sure that my son was getting enough nutrients.  He has pretty much lost all interest in the fruit and vegetable to-go pouches and so the only nutrients he will get are the ones that I cook.  How intimidating is that?  Knowing that your child’s health depends on what you cook and provide for them.  I really wanted to have a cleansing diet since I had eaten so poorly while pregnant and also because I had another ovarian cyst during this pregnancy.  But, I have to be careful since I’m breastfeeding.  Toxins leaving the body can enter into my breast milk supply and effect the baby.  I also have to make sure that I am eating enough calories that I am able to support the amount of nutrients and calories that my daughter takes while she is breastfeeding.  So as much as I’d like to have a cleansing diet, I really shouldn’t.  Which leads me back to my goal, eating healthy whole foods.  Exciting isn’t it?  But it really is the best thing for us right now.  Lastly, I would like to start stretching and walking again.  I only had to wait until after my six week postpartum appointment to be cleared to start exercising again.  Unfortunately the weather has been so hot that it has made it very difficult for me to make an effort to start an exercising routine.  I would have to do it early in the morning or late at night once everything has cooled down.  I think once I get my house in order and I get into a good routine with the kids then it’ll be easier for me to work out consistently.  I’m hoping to start maybe in the next couple of weeks.

My son

Writing this post I realized that the meal I was planning on sharing would be a perfect fit.  My goal was to start cooking whole, healthy meals for my family and having a vegetable side with most meals for my son.  One of the sides I made this past week was Ratatouille.  This was the first time I made this particular dish.  I had hoped that it would be full of flavor.  In the past, I had tried another recipe that layered chopped vegetables and it turned out extremely bland and boring.

Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Ingredients

1 Zucchini, large
1 Japanese Eggplant, large
3 Roma Tomatoes, large
1 Sweet Onion, medium
1 cup crushed Tomatoes
1 tsp minced Garlic
1 tbsp Basil, fresh
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 6 x 9 baking dish.
Combine the crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, olive oil, chili powder, rosemary, oregano, thyme, pepper, salt and basil and mix together.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and smooth out.
Layer the veggies in the dish in an alternating pattern forming rows until dish is filled.
You can spray or brush the exposed veggies with oil to encourage browning in the oven.
Bake for about an hour or until the tomato mixture is bubbling and the veggies are tender.
Garnish with additional fresh basil.

Ratatouille

This dish certainly did deliver flavor!  I really enjoyed it and so did my mom who was visiting!  The only part I wasn’t so sure about was the Eggplant.  I had never made much less eaten Eggplant before.  The recipe called for Japanese Eggplant, but my local grocery stores don’t carry it as far as I know.  I used only a regular Eggplant which made the slices much larger and I probably should have made them thinner.  It was kind of spongy, but I think that was because it wasn’t cooked a thoroughly as it should have been.  If you have any tips or suggestions on how to better cook Eggplants or at least know how it is supposed to look and taste that would be muchly appreciated.  I think I would use it again if I was more confident on how to cook it.

Do you have any health goals for your family?  How are you planning on accomplishing those goals?  I’d love to hear from you!

Breastfeeding - When it Doesn't Work the Way You Thought it Would
Health

Breastfeeding – When it Doesn’t Work the Way You Thought it Would

Breastfeeding – When it Doesn’t Work the Way You Thought it Would

Our New Baby Has Finally Arrived!

So here she is!  Our Baby Girl has finally arrived!  After 5 hospital visits, 2 scheduled inductions and 4 hours of labor we finally got to meet her!

Baby Girl Arrived

I apologize for not writing sooner, the last couple of weeks being pregnant with Baby Girl were miserable.  The acid reflux was horrible, I was so uncomfortable that I had to sleep in the recliner, and having briefly mentioned above, we made several trips to the hospital before she arrived.  And then afterwards, it has taken me several weeks to heal and recover, it has been a struggle to breastfeed, we again have had several trips to the doctors and the hospital for Baby Girl, and also I’ve had to learn how to take care of two kids and a dog now!  So much has changed and has been going on for me!  Some expected and some unexpected.

Baby Girl2

This blog has been mostly focused on a healthy diet and recipes.  But I would like to take a step outside of my normal focus for a moment.  This has really been brought on by my recent experiences in fighting for a healthy lifestyle for Baby Girl.  I had been struggling to successfully breastfeed for several weeks.  Breastfeeding is probably the best source of nutrients and antibodies to help fight infections and allergies for your baby.  Now I understand that there are some women out there that can be very mean when it comes to using bottles and formula, where you almost feel inferior or like a failure because you can’t or choose not to breastfeed your baby.  I believe that “Fed is best.”  You do whatever it takes for your baby to be healthy and happy.  If that means that you have to supplement with formula (which I had to do with my son), then do it.  If you physically do not have a supply to breastfeed your baby, by all means use formula (or there are even people that donate or sell their own breastmilk to benefit others).  You do what is best for you and your family.  But I would like to share my experiences and my struggles to try to give Baby Girl the best healthy choice that I could.  This post is going to be very long, but I hope it helps that one person out there who is struggling just like I did.

My Struggles with Breastfeeding

For those of you reading, especially expectant and new mothers, I don’t want you to become frightened or worried that your breastfeeding experience will be the same as mine.  There are mothers that I know that haven’t had any trouble breastfeeding and get their babies to latch correctly immediately and have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship from the beginning.  But I do know, that there are some mothers out there who have struggled and are searching high and low for help.  Some of you may not have gotten the help you needed in time, that was my experience with my son.  From Day One in the hospital, I knew that his latch was not correct and it was a physical issue with how his mouth was formed.  But I could not get the help or resources I needed to have it taken care of until it was too late and I had lost my supply.  I still tear up to this day thinking about it.  And I still get angry knowing that that did not have to be the case.

Electric Pump1

When my daughter arrived, I initially thought that she latched on a lot better than my son did.  I thought, “Thank goodness!  This one won’t be nearly as much trouble!”  I was wrong.  I first struggled with her lethargy.  She is probably the hardest baby to wake up from sleep.  It got to the point where I had to completely undress her and rub a cold, damp cloth on her to get her to wake up.  If I was lucky, I would have a dirty diaper to change as well and that helped wake her up too!  My Girl would clamp her mouth shut and it was extremely difficult to get any food into her.  The following morning after delivery, both of our vitals looked good and we were both released to go home.  I continued to struggle to feed her over the weekend and by Monday (Memorial Day, so we hadn’t even been able to see her Pediatrician yet) she had only had one wet diaper within 24 hours.  We took her to the ER and found out that her blood sugar was extremely low and she was borderline with her jaundice.  At this point, this was the one and only time that we had to supplement with formula for Baby Girl, to see if we could bring up her blood sugar levels quickly.  Since that worked, she didn’t have to get an IV.  The hospital admitted her and kept us overnight to observe her blood sugar levels and bilirubin.

Bottle Feeding Baby Girl

I started pumping and bottle feeding her breastmilk while working with the Lactation Consultant to see if we could improve our breastfeeding.  I was given some methods to wake up Baby Girl (mentioned above) and was given a nipple shield to help her latch on to me.  That seemed to help at the time and by Tuesday afternoon she was released from the hospital again.  Later that week we finally had our newborn appointment with the Pediatrician and met with another Lactation Consultant.  She was very encouraging and reassuring; she gave me instructions on how to hold Baby Girl while breastfeeding, using the nipple shield and even how long and often to pump and massage my breasts.  Some old and some new information.  We met with the Lactation Consultant again the following week.  In this appointment Baby Girl finally did reach her birth weight!  Woohoo!  We had a weighted feeding and found out she is intaking about 1 – 1.5 oz per side and that I have an over-abundance of supply with a very forceful letdown.  So the Lactation Consultant believed that the reason Baby Girl was pulling away and crying from me all the time was because she would get shot in the mouth with milk and was being overwhelmed when she was trying to breastfeed.  Using a nipple from one of our bottles (since that was all we had with us), Baby Girl seemed to nurse better and have more control of what she was intaking.  The Lactation Consultant also suggested for me to lean back and recline while breastfeeding Baby Girl to help her not get overwhelmed, but unfortunately I was never able to because Baby Girl would always pull away any time that I leaned back.

Reached Birth Weight
“I reached my birth weight!”

 

The turning point happened that weekend when both me and Baby Girl were at our wits end with each other.  One night I was trying to feed her and all she did was pull away and scream and cry at me.  But she would immediately take the bottle.  I was frustrated, I was hurt, I was stressed out … and so was she.  If I couldn’t get any better help soon, I was going to give up and just bottle feed.  There was no point in stressing each other out while attempting to breastfeed, pump and then bottle feed as well.  At this point, it was taking me between one to one and a half hours to feed Baby Girl and I was supposed to feed her every three hours.  I never got anything done and I was exhausted.  I was overwhelmed just thinking about having to feed her and take care of my son on my own.  So I reached out to a support group on Facebook, asking if they could tell if there were any other issues going on that could be addressed.  And a lot of the responses I got were that Baby Girl possibly had a lip and tongue tie that could be corrected.  I knew that my son had them.  Why didn’t I think that my daughter could have them too?!?  Relief washed over me that there were other reasons outside of myself and my failure to breastfeed correctly.

 

What Are Lip Ties and Tongue Ties?

 

Lip and Tongue Ties are when a piece of skin (frenulum) connects the lip or tongue to the mouth where it restricts movement.  Depending on the severity this can cause issues such as acid reflux, poor latch, sore and bleeding nipples, fussy and gassy baby, and falling asleep at the breast before actually being full.  The two most common ways to correct a tie is by having it cut or laser surgery.  Some parents choose not to have their babies corrected because the symptoms aren’t severe enough to inhibit breastfeeding.  I was so blessed to have a friend recommend a doctor who can do laser surgeries to correct ties.  He was so caring and tried to fit us in as soon as possible because Baby Girl was a newborn struggling to breastfeed.  The Lactation Consultant called to check on us at the end of the week but just reiterated that it could take time for Baby Girl to learn to breastfeed and get bigger to not be overwhelmed by my flow.  I was extremely disappointed and so glad that I had already started communicating with the doctor to have Baby Girl’s ties corrected.  At the appointment, the doctor confirmed Baby Girl had both a lip tie and tongue tie at the first and lowest level of severity.  We went ahead with the laser surgery.  The doctor made sure that I understood that this was not a magical procedure and he couldn’t guarantee it would help our problems.  I already knew what would happen if I didn’t go ahead with the surgery, I had already witnessed it with my son.  I had to try and see if this would make a difference.  Yes, she was given Tylenol; yes, she had a local anesthetic; yes, she cried and screamed the entire time.  It was hard, but for me, she was already crying and screaming whenever I tried to breastfeed her.  So if this could help us, it would be well worth it.

After Laser Surgery

I’ve heard that several mothers were able to get their babies to latch on immediately after they had their baby’s ties corrected.  I had hoped that I would have had the same experience.  Not so much.  What did Baby Girl do?  Cry and scream at the breast.  Again.  But she did take the bottle.  I figured after having such a traumatic experience with surgery, she was probably just too worn out to try.  I was given exercises to do with her lip and her tongue to keep them from reattaching while they were healing.  Thankfully Baby Girl was not too upset whenever I did those.  Her lip exercises only lasted ten days and her tongue for three weeks.

 

So began our long (at least long for me) journey to breastfeeding.  I had to begin feedings by giving her a bottle so she wouldn’t be hangry and frustrated to start out with.  Then I could switch her over to breastfeed using a bottle nipple.  After a couple days I was able to get her to consistently breastfeed without starting with the bottle.  After about a week I started introducing her to my breast.  The first several times she pulled away immediately and started crying.  Even though her hindrances had been removed I think she still associated my breast with pain and frustration.  So I tried to be patient with her.  After about a week and a half, Baby Girl started latching onto my breast!  It was only about once a day, but that was a huge accomplishment for us!  I started to alternate using the bottle nipple and my breast throughout the day.  And finally by about two and a half weeks she was successfully breastfeeding the entire day!

A Word on Chiropractor Care

The doctor who had done Baby Girl’s laser surgery strongly encouraged me to take her to a chiropractor for body work.  He had noticed that she was favoring one side when she turned her head.  But generally chiropractor care is encouraged when doing a tie revision because once the tongue muscles are released usually there is a lot of tension in the body that needs to be released as well.  I found it amazing how many muscles the tongue is connected to and can effect motor skills.  Thankfully my personal chiropractor also does pediatric work.  He confirmed that Baby Girl had several spots that needed adjusted including her neck, back and even her hips.  Having her adjusted was so worth it!  The difference, I think, has made breastfeeding so much easier and comfortable for the both of us.  Baby Girl had been refusing to lay on me while breastfeeding, but after her adjustment she could which allowed me to not have to keep leaning over and hurting my back while breastfeeding.  I couldn’t tell if she was favoring one breast over the other, but I could tell that she would have trouble getting a latch due to being uncomfortable with her position.  That resolved after her adjustment also.  It is amazing how much difference a calm, relaxed baby can make for a breastfeeding experience!

Baby Girl4

Brief Scare with Supply

Lastly I just want to mention my brief scare with my supply.  Since my son’s ties were not corrected, I lost my supply by the time he was six months old.  I had taken him to a eating and speech therapist who did a weighted feeding and told me that he wasn’t getting anything when I was breastfeeding him.  I cried so hard that day.  I was so hurt and angry.  So when I started noticing that the amount of milk that I was able to pump for my Baby Girl had decreased significantly and that in the evening she would keep crying until I gave her an extra 2-4 oz of formula, I was afraid that I was losing my supply again.  I went to the Lactation Consultant again to have another weighted feeding.  I was so relieved to find out that Baby Girl had gained almost two pounds since her last appointment!  When we did the weighted feeding, she took in 2 oz!  And the Lactation Consultant said that her latch looked great!  She was so pleased with the progress that we had made.  I was so relieved and so happy!  Since Baby Girl was successfully eating now, she wasn’t stimulating my breasts to create more milk without being emptied which had in the past caused me to be constantly engorged and pumping 4-5 oz after every feeding.  I also realized that Baby Girl likes to eat a lot more in the evening because she sleeps longer at night (she did this on her own!).  So it wasn’t that I didn’t have enough milk, but that she was preparing to sleep longer in the evening.  I do end up supplementing with formula in the evening for this reason.  I hope that my supply will adjust for this in time, but if it doesn’t I’m okay with using formula just at night.

Bottle Feeding2

I know this was a long and arduous post that is not at all typical for my blog.  But I felt like this was really important to share.  Healthy lifestyles for ourselves and our families come with many different challenges.  It may take determination and self-advocacy for you to get the results that you want.  But please know that it is possible.  It may take time, frustration and tears but it will come.

Baby Girl5

I would love to hear about any of your breastfeeding struggles.  I’ll also gladly take any encouragement and advice.  We have certainly come a long way from the crying and screaming phase, but it still feels like a long road for me.  Even though Baby Girl is almost six weeks old now, it feels like I’ve only begun breastfeeding her two weeks ago.  I’m still sore and frustrated at times.  But we’re going to make it through this!

Breastfeeding-When it Doesn't Work the Way You Thought it Would

Chicken Alfredo on top of Spaghetti Squash
Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Health, Paleo, paleo diet, Recipes

Chicken Alfredo on top of Spaghetti Squash

Chicken Alfredo on top of Spaghetti Squash

Lately I have been trying to start networking with fellow bloggers and have been finding some new meal ideas in the process.  This is one was inspired by a recipe shared by instagramer @mypaleoishlife.  It looked absolutely delicious and I loved the idea by using spaghetti squash along with chicken alfredo!  I just used a simple alfredo sauce instead of his Better than Alfredo Cauliflower Cashew sauce.  Last night I finally had a chance to try it and it turned out great!

Chicken Alfredo on top of Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

Chicken

1 lb of Chicken Tenderloins
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
Spices to Taste: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Rosemary, Parsley, Oregano, Salt & Pepper

Alfredo Sauce

2 cups of Heavy Cream
1/2 cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup of Shredded Italian Cheese Mix
1/2 tsp of Parsley
1/2 tsp of Oregano
1/4 tsp of Garlic Powder

Spaghetti Squash

1 medium Spaghetti Squash

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Poke holes in spaghetti squash and place in oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.  Once spaghetti squash can be cut easily pull out and let cool off.  While the spaghetti squash is baking, place 1 tbsp of olive oil in large skillet and set to medium heat.  Place raw chicken tenderloins in large skillet.  Sprinkle on spices to taste and turn chicken until cooked through.  I like to add a little bit of water while I cook the chicken so it doesn’t dry out.  Place cooked chicken onto plate and save the large skillet for later.

Chicken Tenderloins

Pour heavy cream into sauce pan.  Stir in Parmesan cheese and Italian cheese.  Add spices to taste.  I kept it on a low to medium heat for a couple minutes and constantly stirred until sauce thickened.  Once sauce has thickened remove from heat.

Alfredo Sauce

Now that the spaghetti squash has cooled off, cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Scoop the squash meat and place in the large skillet.  Stir until the squash meat has been coated with the leftover spices and juices.  You can place the spaghetti squash on a plate or in a bowl and top with the alfredo sauce and chicken.  Yum!

Now that the rain has finally subsided in our area, we have finally been able to start getting back to a normal routine.  It had been over a week since we’ve been able to take a walk so we finally got a chance to do that this weekend.  We even got to take a trip to see my friend’s farm critters, which my son absolutely loves!  As for Baby Girl, she is still doing great!  Only about two and a half more weeks to go!  I can’t wait!  I can’t wait to meet her; I can’t wait to have my body back . . . hahaha!  My wonderful sister-in-law took my maternity pictures for me last week.  They turned out so good!  I’m so excited that I want to show you a sneak peek!

Maternity Pictures

Maternity Pictures

Aren’t they adorable?!?  After I deliver Baby Girl, I would like to share with you some of the ways that I helped this delivery naturally.  When I had my son, his heart rate was in distress during most of my labor so I wasn’t able to do a lot other than lay on the bed since he had a scalp monitor placed on him.  But since my pregnancy with Baby Girl has been a lot less stressful I have been so much more healthy and feel like this delivery will go by much smoother.  Some things that I am doing to help prepare my body for labor is to take walks (as long as we don’t have any more rain), sit and bounce on an exercise ball, and eat a handful of dates every day.  Blogger Evelyn Ojeda quoted a study from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology stating that eating six dates daily during the last four weeks of pregnancy “significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. ” You can read more about it on her webpage here, it is all quite interesting.  I also plan on getting a pedicure the week I’m due to help start contractions.  For all you moms out there, what other ways did you try to naturally induce labor?

How to Make Shredded Taco Meat
Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Paleo, paleo diet, Recipes

How to Make Shredded Taco Meat

How to Make Shredded Taco Meat in the Crockpot

How to Make Shredded Taco Meat

This has been a nice relaxing week for us.  Usually we are going non-stop to doctor appointments or viewing houses (we are currently looking for a new house to live in).  But this week we decided to take a break from looking at houses and I did not have any baby appointments either.  Of course, all it has done for this past week is rain, so we’ve been cooped up in the house and I think everyone is going stir-crazy!  Even our dog!  We’ve had to turn around my son’s crib again so he can’t get out because he kept trying to play with his toys during naptime.  He’d been doing really well for a while but I think since we haven’t been able to go out on our walks like usual or get out of the house it’s been difficult for him to go straight to sleep.

But thankfully I think we are finally over the worst of our colds.  My son had developed a really bad cough over the past couple of weeks and last week it sounded so bad that I went ahead and took him to the doctor.  Fortunately he didn’t have an infection and his lungs sounded clear.  The doctor prescribed him some allergy medicine to help clear up his congestion and drainage which we thought was causing his cough (very similar to what I was dealing with).  So in addition to the allergy medicine, I also pulled out my steam vaporizer to put in his room during the night.  I have been avoiding it because our house has such a bad moisture problem I was afraid that it couldn’t handle extra steam.  But my son’s cough was so bad he was up all night and keeping me up all night as well.  We both needed our rest.  This particular steam vaporizer I really like because it has a little pool on top where you can place extra liquid like camphor or essential oils.  So I also added water, 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops of lemon to the steam vaporizer to help my son’s breathing at night.  And it worked amazingly!!!  We have finally been able to sleep through the night.  And after about a week I have been able to quit using the steam vaporizer as well so I don’t have to worry about the condition of his room being warped by the steam.  Sweet victory was finally mine!

Since we have been recovering from such a busy schedule and finally starting to feel better, I wanted a meal that was cheap and easy to make.  When I was still working, I threw this dish together one day out of desperation.  It turned out so well that it has become a regular staple in my house.  My husband absolutely loves it because the chicken turns out tender . . . and let’s face it, it’s Mexican.  So here’s my recipe for shredded taco meat:

How to Make Shredded Taco Meat

Ingredients

2-3 lbs of Raw Chicken Breast
1 cup of Water
1 Tbsp of Chili Powder
2 Tsp of Cumin
1 Tsp of Salt
1 Tsp of Pepper
1 Tsp of Garlic Powder
1 Tsp of Onion Powder
1 Tsp of Cayenne Powder (optional)

Directions

Place the raw chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Pour 1 cup of water on top of the chicken.  Sprinkle seasonings on chicken and stir in water.  Set crockpot on low for 5 hours or until chicken pulls apart easily.

Raw Chicken in Crockpot

Once chicken is tender, pour out as much excess water as you can.

Cooked Chicken for Taco Meat

Using two forks pull apart the chicken until completely shredded.

Chicken After Being Shredded

When I first made this dish I was pleasantly surprised at how tender the chicken was and how tasteful it was with the seasonings.  The seasoning is enough to taste but not punch-you-in-the-face overpowering.  I personally haven’t been using the cayenne powder since Baby Girl won’t let me eat anything super spicy and so that my son can eat it too.  I love this dish because it is so easy to prepare, you can have it cooking while you are working or out running errands.  And you can use it for just about anything!  You can use it for tacos and burritos.  Since I am gluten free, I like to add it to a bowl of rice and add cheese, salsa or ranch dressing.  This is also easy to add to my son’s meals.

Shredded Taco Dish

This has quickly become a favorite in my house and I hope you like it too!  Are there any other ways that you can think of to use this meat?  Let me know what you think!

Stuffed Pepper Casserole
Gluten Free, gluten free diet, Health, Paleo, paleo diet, Recipes

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

How to Make Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

So much has been going on in the past couple of weeks.  The end of March was my last day at work.  My cousin who watches my son is returning home after I have Baby Girl, so we decided since I get paid about the same amount of money as it would cost to put two kids in daycare that I could stay home.  And I would much rather stay home and raise my own children.  So this time between now and when I deliver will give me time to rest and stay healthy during the last two months of this pregnancy and to help my son adjust to a new home-life routine.  And as for how Baby Girl is doing . . . we got to see her again last week!

Baby Girl at 33 Weeks

She is doing so well!  Unlike her brother, she is constantly moving and kicking.  During this last ultrasound she would keep putting her hand in her mouth and at one point tried to fit both in!  The doctors were estimating her weight at 4 lbs and 10 oz, which is only one pound away from my son when he was born at 39 weeks!  I’m so happy at her progress, we really want a healthy baby weighing at least 6 lbs or more this time around!

At the end of March we also had the baby shower and were given a lot of food to take home.  I tried to make the most of it for as long as possible so I didn’t need to make a lot of new meals for a while.  Since then I was looking for a new meal to try and this one popped up on my pinterest feed.  It looked really good and I decided to give it a try!  I was looking for something simple and tasty and this turned out very well.

Recipe for Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Ingredients

1 lb of Ground Turkey
2 Peppers chopped
1 Onion chopped
2 Garlic Cloves minced
2 cups of rice cooked
1 jar (24 oz) pasta sauce
2 cups of shredded Italian cheese blend

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown ground turkey and saute the peppers, onion and garlic cloves in a large skillet.  Add rice and pasta sauce to the skillet and mix together.  Sprinkle in about a cup of shredded cheese and mix together.  Pour everything into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese on top of mixture.  Place in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

I thought that I would like some sort of bread to go with the casserole so I decided to try the Gluten Free Bisquick Biscuit mix.  You can find the recipe on the Gluten Free Bisquick box.  I didn’t particularly like these biscuits with the casserole myself.  Stand alone with butter (and even some honey, yum!) they seemed alright.  But I still would like to tweak the recipe to improve the flavor a little bit.  It seemed rather bland and had that Bisquick taste to it.  But it was something that I had wanted to try for a while.  I like using the Bisquick mix for my pancakes and pizza dough now.  The pizza dough is especially easier than any of the other gluten free recipes I’ve used in the past.

As for the casserole, the flavor was very good and I will certainly make this again.  Of course, my husband was disappointed that it wasn’t Mexican flavored.  He likes to make our stuffed peppers with Mexican seasoning.  I personally wanted to try something different, and Baby Girl doesn’t seem to like Mexican food nearly as much!  But I’m sure this would make a great Mexican casserole whenever I feel up to it . . . even if it won’t happen until after she arrives!

 

Essential Oils, Health

Essential Oils – How to Survive Sinus Congestion

Essential Oils

Breathe Easy Blend – How to Survive Sinus Congestion

For the last couple of weeks I have been so busy with work and trying to get ready for the baby shower I haven’t really had much time to work on any homemade meals for this blog.  So I decided that I could share about the essential oil blend that I’ve been using to try to help me get through yet another bout with sinus congestion.  I had seemed to be doing better with my cold, my cough has improved and basically gone away.  But then the congestion came back and my sinuses have been draining down the back of my throat causing a sore throat.  Ugh.  It had gotten to the point that when I would walk into my bedroom my nose would immediately close up and I couldn’t breath.  Sleeping is becoming more difficult as the baby is getting bigger so any extra discomfort makes sleeping miserable.  And I need all the rest I can get at this point.  So I decided to try an essential oil blend to help open up my breathing passageways.

What Essential Oils are in my Breathe Easy Blend?

  • Peppermint – 3 drops
  • Eucalyptus – 3 drops
  • Lavender – 2 drops

There wasn’t any real science to the drops count that I used.  That was not the original drop count that I wanted but I’ve been having trouble controlling how fast they come out so that seemed to be the average amount!  Hahaha!

How Has it Worked for Me?

Oh my word!  Every night that I have my diffuser on with this blend I can BREATHE!!!  Sometimes only one nostril will be open, sometimes both.  But nevertheless I can breathe!  And on the nights that I didn’t use it, you betcha, I couldn’t breathe at all.  It is like magic!  So this has been my best friend and constant companion for the last week or so.  Along with doing the nasal rinse every morning, I added another antihistamine to my regimen temporarily and on the mornings that my throat particularly hurts I’ll gargle with salt water.  Thankfully, I think that my congestion is finally starting to clear up.

What about you?  Have you tried a similar blend or do you have a favorite blend that you like to use?  I would love to hear from you!