Wednesday, February 29, 2012

best served cold

think there's enough snow?

Today Riggs and I went to the Alaska Zoo with my sister and her boys.  We had such a great time!  It snowed again (!) but at least it looked extra white and sparkly around town.  I love love LOVE going to the zoo in the winter.  The animals are easier to see and seem to be out more too, and there are so many less people.  It is so peaceful and quiet and such a relaxing experience.  It was Riggs' first trip to the zoo too, so it was special in that way.

making snow angels

my sister, Kelsey

me and Riggs

musk ox :)

little sleepy head


snow leopard playing in the snow

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spinach Lasagna Rolls & Martin the Warrior

I must begin by apologizing in advance.  You might be starting to think that this has become a cooking blog, but don't worry, it's not.  I have just been so into cooking lately and feel very proud of myself when I make a recipe that:
1.  I have never made before
2.  Is really yummy
3.  Is from Pinterest (because it means I'm actually following through on my pins!)

I have been trying to increase the number of recipes I feel comfortable making as every day meals so that I can plan a week of meals at a time.  That way I don't have to experience the horrible indecision that begins to creep into my head in the late morning and looms ever larger with every hour that passes and brings dinner time nearer and nearer.  Because everyone knows that the worst part about making dinner is deciding what exactly to make, right?

It is so much easier to know by Saturday what will be for dinner Monday through Friday of the following week.  It is especially helpful for me since Steve has been using the Jetta {which has much, much better gas mileage than his truck} nearly every day since he has to drive so far for work.  If I know in advance what I will need for every meal, I can pick everything up on Saturday and then I don't have to go anywhere during the week if I don't want to.

Tonight I made Spinach Lasagna Rolls, changing the recipe only a little to add some protein in the form of shredded chicken breast.  I pinned this recipe months ago, and was so glad to be finally making it!

before baking

getting eaten up
You can find the recipe for these gems here.  I love them because they are easy and quick to make, they have less than 10 ingredients, and they are a healthier version of a comfort food.

In other news, I subscribed to and have finally been able to "read", hurrah!  I have not been reading at all since I graduated from college last May, and I don't really have a great excuse.  I just feel like I've read it all {I know that sounds horrible} and there have not been any new books that have caught my attention.

Well I still haven't found any new books that interest me {please! If there's a book I just must read you have to share!}, but I have been able to rediscover old loves by hearing them read aloud or acted out in audiobook form.  I have been getting chores done and enjoying some great stories while doing them!  I also think it's great for Riggs to get to hear the books read aloud to him (even if it's not anyone he knows reading them to him, ha).

Right now we are enjoying Martin the Warrior, by Brian Jacques.  Such a great book!  I can't wait to "read" the rest of the Redwall books when this one is over!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 39

This is an excerpt from my 365 blog that I thought I'd share over here. If you would like to see more, head over to my other blog.

Today we had a visit from Oma and Opa. They were on their way back to Homer from Hawaii, and they were so happy to see you. They couldn't believe how much you've grown! At birth, you were 9 lbs 4 oz and 21.5 inches. As of Friday, you are 11 lbs 12oz and 24.5 inches. What a big boy! I can't believe you are nearly 40 days old, my how fast time is passing...
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Turkey Meatloaf

Well I guess the official title is Turkey Meatloaf with Feta & Sun-Dried Tomatoes, but Turkey Meatloaf works just as well ;).  Anyway, I saw this on the Today Show {you can laugh, but I'm the one eating delicious recipes lol}, and had to make it.  So Riggs and I walked to New Sagaya City Market to grab the ingredients and then came home and whipped it up!

Turkey Meatloaf with Feta & Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I made my own by toasting a slice of wheat bread, ripping into smaller pieces, and chopping it into tiny crumbs in my food processor.  Super easy.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped these up in the food processor as well)
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic and herb-marinated sun-dried tomatoes (food processor)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat (I got free range.  It wasn't dark meat, because the dark meat options I found included mechanically separated turkey, and I try really hard not to eat mechanically separated meat, simply because it's disgusting.  The label actually read:  "turkey, mechanically processed turkey" - what does that tell you? Read this article to learn more, but be prepared to be completely grossed out).  


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, if using, eggs, milk, feta, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently stir to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat.
Carefully pack the meat mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the internal temperature registers at least 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice. Put on a serving platter and serve.
Per Serving: Calories: 329; Fat: 17g (Saturated Fat: 6.5g); Protein: 29g; Carbohydrates: 14g; Sugar: 4g; Fiber 0g; Cholesterol: 213mg; Sodium: 1,257mg
Recipe borrowed from the Today Show website.  Thanks Giada!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Due to a grocery shopping mishap, we had double the bell peppers we could normally eat before they go bad. I decided to remedy this tonight by making stuffed bell peppers.  I improvised a vegetarian recipe I found online by adding leftover halibut I had from last night and even included some diced bell pepper in the stuffing.  I have never made stuffed peppers before, simply because I loath green peppers, but luckily it had finally dawned on me that I didn't have to use the green ones {I'm so brilliant - ha}.

They turned out delicious, as I hoped, so I thought I'd share:

Halibut Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 large bell peppers of any color
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 can black beans
1/2 can corn (I used frozen - tasted great)
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 small bell pepper, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz crushed tomato (jarred or fresh tomatoes crushed by hand)
1 cup cheese (I used cheddar, but whatever you have will work just as well)
1/2 cup water
Serve with salsa and sour cream
1/2 packet or a few shakes of fajita seasoning (optional)

1) Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.

2) Cut the tops off of the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds and white stuff.  They need to be softened before being stuffed, so either steam them for a few minutes or boil them for about 8 minutes.

3) In a small fry pan, sautee the onions, diced pepper and garlic in a little olive oil until the onions become translucent.

4) In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sauteed mix black beans, corn, fajita seasoning and 1/2 a cup of cheese.  Stir it up good.  This is your filling.

5) When the peppers are softened, stand them upright in a baking dish and fill them with stuffing mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

6) Pour a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the dish around the peppers (this creates a steamy environment and prevents the peppers from browning too much).

7) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and enjoy!

improvised from here

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentines Treat

The other day I saw something on pinterest that I wanted to eat and decided to actually make it:

They're called Pretzel Buttons and I can now speak from experience and say, yes, they are as delicious as they look.

Steve and I ran to Carrs for some Chinese food Steve just had to have, and I saw the valentines candy and actually remembered to get all the ingredients! I was so proud :). Only problem is they only had a bag of hugs & kisses and it didn't have very many hugs in it so I could only make a few. But those few were good, let me tell you!

I am hoping to get more ingredients, hopefully tomorrow after church, to make a bigger batch and will post a better picture then. For now, here is the picture of my final product:

Yummy! Even Steve loved them, and he is a very tough desert critic. We had about five left over this morning, and those were gone with Steve's first cup of coffee :)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Riggs' Birth Story

I was really hoping that Riggs would be born before Christmas; just one week before his due date, and we could share our first Christmas as a little family. Yet I knew that he would come when he was ready, and that the longer he stayed in (within reason) the better. Then Christmas came and went, and I thought he would at least come by his due date (the 31st of December). He would be our little tax deduction, and I was so ready to meet the little being that had been growing inside me for so long. Then his due date came and went, and I hoped that he would come before my little sister went back to college on the 9th, and my grandpa went back home to Michigan on the 10th.

Unfortunately both those days came and went as well, and I started to fall apart.  I was 41 weeks pregnant and getting closer everyday to being too overdue to have him at the birth center.  But that wasn't even what was really bothering me. I was so ready to see him, and was having emotional breakdowns nearly every day that I couldn't really explain. One minute I'd be fine, just going about my day know he'd come eventually, then the next moment I'd be crying. I had a midwife appointment on Monday and managed to keep it together during the beginning of the appointment, until about the time Laura checked me and told me there'd been no significant progress.

I started crying then, and did not stop for about 30 minutes. Laura was amazing, she talked through everything with me and listened to my concerns. I'm always such a planner, and I realized then that I just wanted to have an end date in mind. After talking things through, we decided that I would come back on Wednesday and we would make a final decision then.

Wednesday came around and I was actually excited for the appointment.  I saw a different midwife this time, Felicity. She checked me, and I had actually made some progress! I was about 4 centimeters dilated and 70% effaced, so she was able to strip my membranes. This gave me a little hope that I would go into labor on my own, but at the same time, a small part of me had already resigned myself to thinking I would have to be induced. I was 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant, only 3 days until the dreaded 42 weeks.

We talked about the upcoming deadline and I (emotionally and somewhat rashly) decided I would like to be induced as soon as possible with pitocin (which meant I would have to be at the hospital). I waited around while Barbara and Trina talked about their schedule and called Alaska Regional to see if they had space for me. I know my face fell visibly when Barbara told me there was no space on Thursday, that they already had the maximum amount of inductions planned for Thursday, and I would have to wait until Friday at the earliest.

Now I know that was a blessing in disguise, and I am so thankful I hadn't been able to go through with my emotionally decided plan that went against what I wanted deep in my heart. As I was about to leave the office, Barbara told me she had a plan for me. She wanted me to go home and get a good nights sleep, then come in around 8am to try some more natural induction techniques at the birth center. If that didn't work, they would send me off to the hospital to be medically induced.

I remember breathing a loud sigh of relief and quickly agreeing to that plan.  I left the birth center with a big smile on my face. My mom and I went to a shopping center to walk around per the midwives' suggestion, and I felt so much better know that tomorrow I would have a baby for sure! When Steve got home from work, we went out to dinner to enjoy the evening together as just a couple. It was so nice and I was finally relaxed and completely at peace. We got everything in the car that we would need for bringing baby home and going through labor. I got enough food ready for a few meals, assuming we would be there for lunch and dinner at least - I didn't want Steve to get hungry and run out of energy.

We finally went to bed around 10:45, and we were both asleep by 11pm. I woke up to pee around 11:55 and then got back in bed. About five minutes later, I had a contraction that made me sit up in bed - I looked at the clock and it was 12 midnight. I thought it might have just been a bad gas pain, so I laid back down. Then five minutes later, another. This time I couldn't stay in bed through it, and had to stand up and lean against the wall. They were hard and painful!  Everything I've ever read says you'll know when you're actually in labor, and man did I know!

I left the room to deal with the contractions and let Steve sleep a little longer. I thought it would be at least twelve hours, and more likely the next day before I actually had him. But after three more contractions, I decided I had to wake Steve up so he could warm up the car and call the midwives. At this point I wasn't handling the contractions very well. I was crying during them and trying to get away from where I was feeling the pain. I thought that these were just "early contractions" and that they were going to get much worse.

Luckily all of our things were already together and either in the car or by the front door. Unluckily, there was a winter weather advisory for 12" of snow during the night. It had already snowed about two inches and was still coming down heavily. Steve called the midwives, and he talked to Laura. She asked to talk to me, probably to gauge my contractions, and after hearing me go through one, she told us she'd meet us there as soon as she could get there.

It was about 1am when we called her, and she thought she could be there by 2am. These two hours from when I had my first contraction to when we got to the birth center felt more like 20 minutes to me, I was in another mindset completely and was not as aware of time as I usually am. Steve texted my mom to let her know we were heading over. She asked if she should head over then or wait until we got settled in. Luckily I told her to head over then, if she would have waited she could have missed him being born completely!

The car ride was probably the worst part of labor.  I still wasn't handling contractions well, I was resisting them and feeling pretty panicky. At this point they were two minutes apart and lasting about 50 to 70 seconds. Never in my life has one minute felt so long. I felt so bad for Steve, having to be stuck in a small car next to this loud, panicky woman who had replaced his wife. He handled it so well, and was so patient and comforting, just what I needed.

We got to the birth center first, followed closely by Laura. My mom got there about 15 minutes later, and by then I was in the exam room where Laura wanted to check me. I was 5 centimeters and 98% effaced and still a bit panicky. Laura was amazing, and calmed me down almost completely, softly giving me advice and support about how to better handle the contractions.

I undressed quickly and got into the shower, where I stayed for about 45 minutes, with my mom right by my side timing my contractions and encouraging me. I was still loud during some of the contractions, but was not panicking at all and was now focused on the task at hand. After a while, I decided I "hated" the shower and got out as quickly as I could, wanting instead to try the bath. Laura wanted to check me again to make sure I was favorable for getting in the tub. I was a 6-7 and 100% effaced, but she said baby's head was tilted a bit to one side, he wasn't quite in the right position. Because of this she positioned me on my side on the bed with one leg bent to get him to straighten out. During this time,  about 30 minutes or so, I felt my contractions changing and him moving down into the birth canal.

She checked me again and I was 8-9 and he had straightened out completely, so she gave me the go ahead to get into the tub.  I wasn't in the tub very long before I realized that I "hated" that too.  I just couldn't get into a good position, I felt like I was floating around when I needed to concentrate.  My contractions were almost completely different now and I was feeling the urge to push.  Laura was so amazing, she could tell this just by my face and body language.  She checked me while I was in the tub, and I had just a little cervical lip left, which she held back while I pushed through a contraction.  At that point I was complete and ready to push.  I tried pushing a few times in the tub, but it just wasn't working, so we moved to the bedroom again.

I laid in the bed on my back, with my mom holding one leg back for me and Steve holding the other. At first, I claimed I "hated" pushing.  I didn't feel like I was making any progress, and didn't acknowledge at that point that I was truly having a baby.  Laura encouraged me to reach down and feel his head, and I was so surprised to actually be able to feel what felt more like a soft, damp peach to me.  I became more determined at this point and really pushed well through each contraction.  After about 20 minutes I felt that I was losing focus and that it was taking too long.  Laura looked me in the eye and told me he would be out within 15 minutes if I kept up with such strong pushes.  That was all I needed to hear, even though a part of me still didn't believe it.

Laura's birth assistant, Casey, had arrived by this point and they were both amazing, keeping warm, damp washcloths and warm oil on my perineum to help it stretch rather than tear.  My sac of waters was still intact at this point, and Laura thought he might be born in them (known as being born in the caul).  But the next contraction I had, I felt a 'pop', and Laura told me they had just broken.  He was crowning at this point, so there was no gush of fluids.  Laura told me to grunt slowly through this contraction, so that his head would be born slowly and in a more controlled manner.  This might sound strange, but it felt so good to feel the pressure, because I knew in a moment (or matter of seconds) there would be sweet relief.  I never really felt the "ring of fire" that I had heard other women describe.  The next second I felt relief when his head was completely out, his shoulders and rest of his body sliding out easily with another push.  It felt so good!  They placed him on my belly and I reached down to touch him, still not believing it was my baby.

But it was my baby, and I was so glad to finally have him!  I tried to pull him up to me, but Laura reminded me he was still attached and that they were waiting for the cord to stop pulsing.  Steve was so happy and was snapping pictures as my mom cut his cord.  Neither of us were really crying, although there were definitely tears in both our eyes.  It was just such a happy moment, and I felt that I'd never stop smiling.  Riggs had begun crying the second he was born, and it was such a welcome sound, but he quieted down quickly when I snuggled him close to my chest.  After I had birthed the placenta, about five minutes later, I got into a more comfortable position in the bed and tried breastfeeding him.  He latched on right away, looking up at me with the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen.  This is when the crying started - both Steve and I were overcome with emotion during these quiet moments.  It is indescribable how we felt, to finally have this little miracle in our arms.

Riggs had been born with his right hand in a fist up by his right eye, so I had torn a little and had to have three stitches.  Even with the small tear, Laura was still very happy with how things went, and said I wouldn't have torn at all if his hand had not been there.  We got to go home about three hours after he was born, which was also such a relief - I was so ready to be back in my own space.

He was born at 5:10am, five hours after the first contraction.  It was such a whirlwind, but I was so happy with how everything went, I couldn't have a imagined a better situation.  My contractions never got worse, so my fear had been for nothing.  It actually almost felt like they got better, and pushing, although a lot of work, was actually a much better feeling than just contractions alone.  Riggs William was 9lbs 4oz and 21 1/2 inches - just perfect.  We love him so much and loved our birth experience too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

making the switch

Yesterday was a great day.  I had secured 5 used Rumparooz one-size pocket diapers from a woman on Craigslist {who also went for my super low offer - yay!}.  Only problem?  She lived in Wasilla and wouldn't be coming to Anchorage for at least a month.  Luckily for me, Steve didn't mind piling in the car with me and Riggs to head out to the Valley and pick them up!  Also luckily for me {and for Riggs' poor, sore little bum} there's an amazing cloth diaper store in Wasilla called Arctic Baby Bottoms.  My friend Sally recommended them to me, and I was excited to check out the store and meet the owner, who I'd only heard great things about.

The store was amazing!  I was able to pick up two used Rumparooz for $16 each {new they are $23.50}, two  used Katydids and one new Bumgenius 4.0 {Steve just had to have the Albert print}. All for under $80, which is a great deal, and it was nice to support a local business!  I now have 10 diapers, and am working on increasing my stash by at least another 10.  I've got one on the way from and online swap and if I love how the Rumparooz work {which I already pretty much do}, I'll probably just order the rest new from Arctic Baby Bottoms.

Anyway, happy Sunday and hope you have fun watching the Superbowl, participating in the Ski for Women, or whatever else you plan on doing today :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

little snowflakes = lots of shoveling

Yesterday I spent all day at the computer setting up the blog for my 365 project and editing pictures.  This morning it looked like I was going to spend all day on the computer again.  Although it has been very addicting and enjoyable, I knew I needed to get outside.  The only problem?  There's a blizzard going on!

Despite the blizzard, I bundled up, wrapped Riggs up in the Moby, and headed out to get some fresh air.  20 degrees felt heavenly {sad, but true} and it was so quiet and peaceful.  We saw a grand total of two people and one Labrador during our entire walk, which was unusual considering I live one block away from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, AKA the busiest trail in Anchorage.  But it was so nice, and just what I needed.  
love having him wrapped up
close to my heart
at the end of my street

so glad to get out of the house
When we got home, I had nearly a bucket-full of snow trapped in my bibs.  Only I didn't know about it until I was taking my boots off inside and it all tumbled out of my pant legs and all over the entryway rug.  I had to get out of the Moby and bibs as fast as I could to grab the dustpan and collect the snow before it melted and soaked the rug.

Now I'm back on the computer {obviously} and getting into all sorts of trouble.  I set up a Google+ account, so if you have one, you should add me to your circles.  If not, you should get one, then add me to your circles.  It's been nice to squeeze in so much computer time, and I know it's only possible right now because Riggy takes nice long naps multiple times a day.  I work at a desktop computer {which I love} in the kitchen/dining area/desk area, but I always feel a little wistful when I'm stuck on the couch nursing, cuddling, or consoling Riggs {which I love to do, don't get me wrong}, wishing I had a laptop so I could keep "working".  It would also be great for having something interesting to do when Steve wants to watch a boring movie/show in bed.  Also I could take it anywhere I wanted, on trips both long and short, and have a way to upload pictures and keep up on my blogs.  So that's what I'm wishing for right now - a nice macbook with some good photo editing software.  I guess I'll have to save all my pennies {seriously, I collect all the change Steve discards or leaves in his pockets} and hope to get one soon.

a lone bald eagle watching over us
love seeing footprints in the snow

I could barely see the radio tower from my side of the Lagoon

365 project

Inspired by Georgia over at Gregarious Peach, I have decided to start a 365 project.  Rather than starting on New Years Day {January 1st} I started my project on Riggs' birthday {January 12}.  Georgia challenged her readers to take, and share {this being the harder part - taking the photo is the easy part, at least for me} a photo every single day in an attempt to document delight in our every day lives.

At first I thought about trying to incorporate my new project into this blog, but quickly dismissed the idea.  Instead I have created a blog dedicated only to my daily photographs.  Hopefully this will also allow this blog to be a little less focused on Riggs and a little more focused on other {hopefully} interesting things I happen to come up with or want to share.

there's also a Facebook page
to help keep fans{ha} updated on new posts 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

three weeks old

Today Riggs is three weeks old.  We are having so much fun seeing how he changes everyday and learns new things about the world around him.  He is growing like crazy and is now fitting exclusively into his 0-3 month clothes and size 1 more newborn sizes for him!

Of course I love seeing him wide awake and looking around, but there is just something about him peacefully sleeping that is so special.  Here are some picture from his morning nap today: