Windermere Half Marathon

Several months ago I decided to do another half marathon.  I hadn’t done one in almost two years, since I got pregnant before racing season last year, and I was lazy/tired and didn’t want to run a lot while pregnant (I went hiking with the dog instead. Less bouncing).  So needless to say, I was in pretty poor running shape starting out!  I was basically starting back at the very beginning.  In hindsight, I really, really wish that I had kept up my running because it would have been a ton easier than “rebuilding”.

It was really frustrating for me to go from placing in the top 10% to struggling to run even half as fast and long as I used to. I ended up having to just forget about my past abilities, or I’d just end each run feeling disappointed.  I did keep in mind, however, that I’ve done it before, and I can get there again.

Training was sparse.  There were several illnesses and injuries that made me miss weeks at a time.  With Sam being extremely busy with school and work, there were some days that I literally had zero time to run.  For a little while I would go to the gym at like 2am once Eleanor would be sure to sleep a few hours, but I soon found out that the treadmill was giving me shin splints. But I did what I could, got up to a long enough run that I was confident I would finish, and that was that!

My parents came down to Spokane a few days before the race, which was awesome! I had just developed an awful cold, so having some extra help with Eleanor meant a little extra sleep.  The night before the race my mom had a sleepover with her so that I could just sleep through the night. I didn’t know that she was going to sleep on the floor!

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The starting line was pretty close to our house, so Sam just dropped me off.  It was a pretty hot day, but it wasn’t windy, so I was happy.  The race was really pretty and interesting– it went along the Spokane River Trail from the valley into Riverfront Park.  The aid stations were well manned and prepared, they had lots of course markings and marshals to help with traffic, and there were lots of very enthusiastic spectators!

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The race had started late due to bus issues, which ended up being a good thing!  The time estimate that I gave to Sam and my parents was pretty off! I had guessed based on my training runs, but I finished almost 20 minutes faster than I thought I would!  They had only been at the finish line for a few minutes when I came in. It’s always nice having people there specifically for you! 

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Eleanor wasn’t all that impressed, but the medal was cool!

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Overall, I’m pleased with finishing, and finishing faster than I thought I would.  I still want to get back to where I was before in terms of speed- but at least I have the half marathon distance down! Now, on to the full!

 

 

 

 

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Spring Fun and Games

We’ve had a lot of fun the past couple of months!  The usual lack of sleep/lots of work hours has been broken up by some really fun trips!

For Easter Eleanor and I got to take the train and go to Canada! Sadly, Sam had to stay home and finish up school– but he also got uninterrupted study time.

Eleanor got to meet a lot of people for the first time!  Her cousins, my grandparents, friends, other extended family…  She’s not shy with new people, so it was really fun!

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For Easter we did the traditional egg-dying and hunting.  It was awesome seeing so many little egg hunters this year!  It seems like it was just three teenagers for a long time.

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My sister also loaned us her Jolly Jumper!  Eleanor just bounced around a little at first, but she’s getting pretty good now!  I LOVE it because she will just enjoy jumping/hanging around while I clean or sew– for the first time in a long time I can get some other stuff done during the day!

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A few weeks later we packed the dog and the baby into our little two-door and headed down to Utah.  We decided to just drive through the night in the hope that Eleanor would sleep most of the way, and it worked pretty well!  Most of Sam’s siblings haven’t seen Eleanor since she was a newborn, so she had a lot of fun playing with them!

One evening we went swimming for her first time!  She just looked very serious most of the time, but she didn’t cry or scream at least!  I think she’ll really like the water as she gets used to it.  We have a pool at our apartment complex, so I plan on going with her during the day if it’s warm enough!

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While in Utah, Eleanor sat up all by herself for the first time!  So exciting!

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I also went to visit the awesome family we lived with (in their basement).  I also made sure to go see the emus :)

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We’re so grateful for our wonderful families and that we got the chance to go visit them!

 

Free Bandana Bib Pattern

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First, print out the pattern.  It is a PDF, and you need to print at 100% scale to get a bib that measures approximately 14″ in neck circumference.  I find that this is the best “average” fit for a variety of ages.  If you want to make it bigger or smaller, simply scale the image up or down when you print. Click below to open the PDF:

Bandana Pattern

As for fabric choice, you have tons of different options. If you have a heavy drooler, use a very absorbent front piece (such as terry) and a PUL backing.  If you want to use a cute back piece still, you can just have PUL as an inner layer.  I find that the bandana lays the best if you use a lightweight fabric, such as quilting cotton, but pretty much everything works!  You need just a fat quarter size of fabric for each pattern piece, but if you’re buying by the yard, go for a 1/4 yard for each piece.

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First cut out your pattern pieces and tape together as instructed.  They will look similar the pieces below:

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Cut out one piece of each on the fold.

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With right sides together, match up the centers then pin around the fabric piece up until the pleat marks

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Fold over the pleats on the front piece as needed and pin.  I purposely did not put specific pleat markings on the pattern piece to leave room for error- just pleat enough for the fabric to fit!

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Sew a 1/4″ seam, leaving a hole for you to turn the bib right side out.

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The bib will now be like a flat base with a baggy piece on top.Image

Turn the bib right side out.  With the front turned slightly over to the back, press the edges. 
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Sew a ~1/8″ top stitch all the way around the edge. Image

Attach velcro or snaps.  You can add multiple snaps on one side if you want to have the size be adjustable!

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And you’re done!

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I just love these bibs!  If you love them too, but don’t want to do the sewing, you can purchase completed bibs in my etsy shop!

Let me know if you have any questions!

A little growing

 

Back in February, at Eleanor’s 2 month appointment, we found out that she was very underweight.  She had gained 7 ounces when she should have gained more like 2 and a half pounds. Turns out that she had a tongue tie, which is when that piece of skin under your tongue is too long/tight for it to move properly.  So even though she was going through the eating motions, not much was going down.  Suddenly a lot of things made sense.  What we thought was colic was her nearly constant hunger.  She wanted to eat ALL the time (18+ hours/day)– way more than average– but we were told she was just having a growth spurt.  She also didn’t have a lot of dirty diapers, but when I asked a nurse about it she said that it was common with breastfed babies.

I felt really guilty for a while.  What kind of mom doesn’t notice that her baby is starving?  But with all of the problems we noticed, there was an explanation that made it normal, so we just didn’t know.  Why would a baby who was eating all of the time not be getting enough to eat?  Not to mention that she was hitting all of her developmental milestones and has always been super alert and strong. But still, I felt pretty crappy about it.

The doctor referred us to a lactation consultant/RN.  As with most LC’s, she very strongly encourages exclusive breastfeeding.  However, because Eleanor had been eating so little my supply had plummeted.  Since she was so underweight, we didn’t have time to bring my supply back up.  I had to start supplementing with formula right away, which was super frustrating for me as I had always wanted to exclusively breastfeed.

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 The above picture on the left was taken right before the LC appointment, and the one on the right was just one week later.  I think that the difference in her face is huge!  She quickly started looking way, way healthier and acting a lot happier, too. She gained 3 lbs in a month, her hair started growing again, she slept way better, she acted full after eating… The quick bounce back made me feel less awful about it all.

With the tongue tie, I had to get situated very particularly in order for Eleanor to eat.  Just trust me when I say that it was extremely difficult to get it right. But even then, she had developed bad habits and still had a lot of trouble getting her mouth to work (not to mention the low supply).  She needed to see an Ear-Nose-Throat specialist as soon as possible or I likely wouldn’t be able to continue nursing. Unfortunately, there was a problem with her insurance and they were going to make us wait an entire month to get the fix- which was basically useless.

 

ImageAfter some prayer and pulled strings from the LC, we ended up waiting two weeks to get a referral to an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist, rather than a month. They fixed Eleanor’s tongue tie that appointment.  It was so sad watching them hold her down and stick scissors in her mouth.  She actually cried less than at vaccinations, though. Those probably really hurt since she had hardly any fat on her!

Now that Eleanor can actually move her mouth the way she needs to, she’s eating way better.  We’ve slowly worked our way back up to about 50/50 nursing/supplementation. We still spend over 3 hours every week with the LC trying to improve that ratio even more.

It’s sad that I feel like I have to justify myself to others when I give her formula. The condescending looks and remarks really hurt. Even if I had just chosen to formula feed from the start, that wouldn’t make me a bad mom. People have no idea how much I struggled trying to get her to breastfeed. Spending over 18 hours daily feeding her and not knowing why it still wasn’t enough. Experiencing physical pain and exhaustion trying to comfort my starving baby. Finding out that my best efforts weren’t enough. Worrying that I had caused lasting damage to my baby. Trying to afford the formula I didn’t even want to use. Being put on lactation medication that gave me depression as a side effect (we since found an alternate, fortunately). Jumping through hoops with crappy insurance. The last thing I need is people accusing me of “not trying hard enough” or “giving up”. I shouldn’t have to justify myself, but I still feel like I need to.

I share this post not for sympathy or validation, but to add to the experiences of other women who have had difficulty nursing. Sometimes I think that breastfeeding is portrayed as this process that should be simple and come naturally. But for a lot of women, for whatever reason, it’s not.

Eleanor is still underweight, but catching up to where she needs to be. I’m so grateful for the doctors and my LC who have been so helpful and understanding through it all, and the support from family and ward members. Some days are harder than others, but we’re figuring it all out and as always, just doing our best.

Five main dishes you’ve seen on pinterest (that you really need to try)

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I’m suspicious of some of the recipes I see on pinterest.  They always look really yummy, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll also taste good!  I like to try at least one new recipe every week, and quite often they’re from blogs I found via pinterest.  Sometimes they don’t turn out at all (I’m lookin’ at you, nasty “one pot mac and cheese”), but sometimes they REALLY turn out!  I’ve collected five of my favourite recipe finds that after the first attempt became instant keepers!  Both Sam and I loved them, and get the seal of approval.  Give them a try sometime!

Cream Cheese and Bacon Chicken Rolls
16,531 pins
by The Love Nerds

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  • When you cook the bacon, first rinse with cold water then lay flat on a pan lined with aluminum foil. Put in a cold oven, turn it to 400F, then leave for 17 minutes (but check on it often for the last few minutes!). Way better than frying it!
  • Might I also suggest using more bacon than it calls for?
  • You can just sprinkle breadcrumbs instead of doing the cornflake coating, but the cornflake coating is worth the extra work if you have time for it!
  • I added 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to the cream cheese mixture, which gave it a nice extra somethin’ somethin’!

Coconut Chicken with Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
68,899 pins
by Skinny Taste

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  • This chicken is fantastic in salad!  I like it with romaine, cucumber, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and almonds.  For a dressing I love this poppyseed one from Our Best Bites.
  • I like to use extra coconut/less bread crumbs to make the coconut flavour more pronounced.
  • Watch this carefully in the oven. If it’s in too long the coconut will burn quickly!
  • If you want some extra of that tasty breading, cut up the chicken before breading it. More surface area for coconut goodness!
  • I’m way more likely to have chicken breast on hand than tenderloins… It works just fine!

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken
121 pins (way underrated!)
by 71 Toes

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  • My favourite restaurant is Bombay House in Provo, Utah.  This recipe is the very best for holding me over until I can get back there :) HIGHLY recommend this recipe.  It totally deserves more pins.
  • When you use a slow cooker, the flavour is much, much milder.  I actually prefer to make it on the stovetop, cooking just until hot! You get a stronger flavour this way!
  • Here’s a naan recipe you can try.  I still need to find one that compares to the BH garlic naan, though!

Mongolian Beef
32,984 pins
by Blog Chef

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  • Deep fried foods have a bad reputation for being greasy, but did you know that with the right technique, this doesn’t have to be the case?  If you keep the oil at the right temperature (325-372F), cook it in small batches, and place on a paper towel right when you take it out of the pot, your food will contain next to no extra oil.
  • If you don’t want to deep fry, you can just pan-fry this recipe.
  • If you don’t want to do the breading, just stir-frying the meat and then adding the sauce is still really good!
  • Try it with chicken!

Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup
4,234 pins
by The Girl Who Ate Everything

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  • I like smaller bits of meat, so I use shredded chicken rather than chopped up pieces. If you plan your meals to include similar ingredients that you can prepare ahead of time (such as cooked, shredded chicken) it will really cut down on prep time.
  • I always have a ton of cans of plain diced tomatoes on hand rather than the chile ones, so I often just use those instead and add some hot sauce.
  • You don’t have to add sour cream and cheese.  It’s tasty without it, too!

Let me know if you try any of these (which you really should) and tell me how it went!
Do you have any other must-try main dish recipes?

Oh hey there, new tiny human!

Oh how the time flies! I don’t even know where to start with all that has happened since the last post.  I’ve taken several hundred pictures with my phone, so I’ll use those to help me remember everything!

I woke up to contractions at 6:30am two days after my due date.  

Just checked in and slightly freaking out! I spent the 17 hours of labour reading and playing games on my Kindle and wishing that I had brought in more food. 

Eleanor was born late on December 21st.  She didn’t cry at all– just opened her eyes and looked around.  Plenty of crying has come since then, though ;)  She was 6lbs 2oz and 19.5″ long.
My parents were here for a bit too, which was fun!
Zoe has been pretty great with her!  The first several days she was just super curious and wound up, but she has calmed down a lot and just sniffs and tries to lick her.  I think they’ll be extra good friends once Eleanor is throwing food on the ground.
…when there’s “no room”, she makes room.  Zoe takes advantage of my lap when there isn’t a baby in it! 

Right after Christmas Sam’s side of the family all came up to visit, too! We had a little baby shower (thanks girls!) and just hung out for a few days. (You guys need to come back! It went by too fast!)
Eleanor will only sleep if you hold her, so we’ve taken up residence on the couch most of the time.  

She’s pretty small still, and even newborn size clothes are a bit baggy.  She’s too long for preemie clothes, so she just swims in them a bit.

Here she is making up for not crying when she was born…

Looking glamourous with the carrier wrap. It keeps her happy while I make (futile) attempts to get chores done.

Jennifer also came for a visit!  I got to gather some wisdom from her experience with her own kids. 
Eleanor kept us entertained with her funny faces.
This picture kind of captures the gong show that sometimes occurs in the middle of the night.  Since the newborn pjs were too big, she kept getting her foot stuck in the crotch and choking herself when she kicked– so here she is screaming, half naked, diaper falling off.  We’re so competent!

Another favourite face– so serious!

We sure love our curious, strong, snuggly, wonderful baby!

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

For our church Christmas party I was in charge of bringing a dessert.  I had some Andes candy cane bits that I wanted to use somehow, so I decided on mini chocolate cupcakes with a peppermint frosting.  My approach to frosting tends to be “mix some things together until it tastes good”.  Sometimes this results in making WAY too much frosting in my effort to get it just right, but this time around it actually came together really well in easy measurements that I can actually remember :)

This frosting is nice because it has subtle flavours, isn’t too sweet, and holds a piping shape well.  If you want a stronger peppermint flavour or a thicker frosting, just add a little extra extract and sugar! It makes enough to generously frost 24 regular sized cupcakes, 48 mini ones, a 9×13 cake, or a double layer 9″ round cake (so basically, one box cake mix :)

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 8oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1-2 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Whip butter, cream cheese, 3 cups icing sugar, 1 tsp peppermint, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add additional extracts to taste, and additional icing sugar to adjust consistency as needed.  

Geometric baby quilts

This weekend I finished up the quilt tops that I made last weekend! All three are now posted in my etsy shop, as well!

Geometric star baby quilt:

This one is just little, at 30×30″.  It’s a great size for a car seat, tummy time, or just snuggling.  I used the blues and oranges from the Birds and Berries line.

Star block patterns are pretty common. This one is just a bunch of full squares and half triangles.  I just drew out the plan on some graph paper, then assembled! Very easy with a charm pack!
Herringbone crib quilt:

I’ve seen a ton of similar quilts on pinterest over the past year, so I figured I’d try my hand at it.   I just cut some big parallelograms and assembled.  It could easily be done using half triangles, too, but this method was faster for me.  I backed it with this adorable orange and white bird fabric that I’ve had in my stash for at least a year.

Black and white “plus sign” quilt:

This is another quilt that I have seen around on pinterest.  I like the clean, crisp lines of it!  I backed it with a minty blue flannel rather than my usual plain cotton, so it’s extra snuggly.

I think that I’d like to add the herringbone and plus sign quilt layouts to my custom quilt listings (once I reopen the custom quilt option after baby is born :).  They’re so easy to customize just by changing the colours, and resizing wouldn’t be a problem at all.  I already have some sweet colour combos and slight modifications in mind to try!

Hairy baby!

We’re coming in on the homestretch with baby girl!  There are 5 weeks until the due date, which feels pretty unbelievable!  My fundal height was measuring small, so I went in for an extra ultrasound this week.  Great White shark baby is on the small side, but no reason to worry! Both Sam and I were/are small too, and all of the other stats are really good.  It was also fun to see that she already has hair on her head– I LOVE newborn baby hair! I wasn’t surprised, considering how much hair I had:

Sam was pretty hairy too!

Since she’s small, I’m wondering if this means that she might come later than the due date in order to grow a bit more.  While I’m obviously excited to meet her, I’m in no hurry, really– she’s safe and cozy in there, and I have soooo much to do still.  We haven’t even purchased a car seat yet!  Not to mention that I have a ton of things that I want to sew and crochet for her.  And not to gloat, but I’ve had a crazy easy pregnancy so far.  I can handle several more weeks.  I just hope that simplicity carries on through delivery and her temperament :)

(People have been asking if we’re registered anywhere for baby stuff.  There’s a link in the sidebar to the registry list!)

All Them Scraps

When I get a custom quilt order I’ll usually order a bit extra so that I can get another quilt out of it.  If the person wants a lot of different fabrics I’ll end up with even more extra because most websites have minimum orders of 1/4-1/2 yard.  If the fabric is on sale or discontinued, you might even have to buy a yard.  But I don’t really mind, because I can grow my stash and play around with some layouts!

The Timber Leaf and Scrappy Patchwork quilts that I posted the other day had quite a lot of leftover fabric.  I was able to get four more quilts out of it!  I still have some extra of a few of the prints, too, which I’ can use for a future project.
All four of these quilts are currently for sale in my etsy shop!
For the arrow quilt, I ended up leaving off one row of blocks from the custom ordered one, so I had extra arrows to use.  So I whipped up a few more to make this little crib quilt:
A perk of the arrow pattern is that with an extra row of stitching on some of the blocks you can get a TON of half square triangles that you would otherwise throw away.  Instead, I put this scrappy chevron quilt together:

For the scrappy patchwork quilt I had a ton of extra little squares.  This was one of those fabric orders that I had to buy WAY more than I needed due to minimum quantities.  But it worked out, because I put together this star/nine patch:

…and this fun plus sign baby quilt!

Go check them out in my etsy shop!  I’m also still accepting custom orders for Christmas– but not for long, so go look quick if you want to make that deadline!