My Top Ten

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vanilla Bean Peppermint Cake

a.k.a Jesus' birthday cake...

Vanilla Bean Peppermint cake

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, grease one 9"cake pan

Cake Batter:
Dry ingredients, sift together:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In small bowl, combine:
1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean*, slit & scraped 
(*no substitutions- this is what makes the cake)

In large bowl, combine & beat with hand mixer until fluffy:
1 stick (softened to room temperature) butter
1 cup white sugar

Add to large bowl:
2 eggs; one at a time, mixing well after each

Alternate adding the flour mixture & the vanilla bean milk to the large bowl, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

3 Tablespoons softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1-4 teaspoons milk

Put butter and powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl, and beat with a hand mixer. Add the milk one teaspoon at a time until desired frosting consistency is reached. Finely crush one peppermint candy cane and sprinkle atop your cake. 

FYI: Anytime you are baking, it is ideal to have all ingredients at room temperature.
FYI number dos: Vanilla beans can be found at most grocery stores, all health food stores or online at a place such as the Savory Spice Shop. They have the best deal for organic vanilla beans, in my area. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

May your Christmas day be filled with meaningful family time, good food, warm cozy beverages, Classic Christmas music, joyful gift exchanges, and most importantly; time for reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas day:

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village where He worked in a carpentry shop until He was thirty. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never set foot in a big city.  He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place He was born. He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies. And went through a mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross, between two thieves. 
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on Earth.
When he was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. 

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. 
All the armies that ever marched, 
all the navies that ever sailed, 
all the parliaments that ever sat 
and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, 
have not affected the lives of man upon this earth as powerfully as this.......

One Solitary Life.

by Dr. Jame Allen Francis, 1926

the nativity. from Marianne Bach on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats; easy salmon dip

This recipe is very simple to make. As far as finger foods go, it provides a little more sustenance than say cheese & crackers or fruit. It's actually a great addition to both of the aforementioned foods. I will say no more.

Salmon Dip
1 - 6 oz. can skinless, boneless pink salmon
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon real lemon juice
1 Tablespoon dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic or 1 garlic clove
1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped

In bowl, gently break the canned salmon apart with a fork. Next, add all ingredients and mix well with fork. Put into small serving bowl set in the middle of a dinner plate, spread crackers or baguette slices around the salmon dip. Serve.

Done. See? I told you. Easy.

And just to get you in a festive Christmas mood....

The Polar Express Theme 2009 from Scott Reinhold on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats; ginger spice cookies

These cookies are the best ginger spice cookies I have ever had in my life, hands down. Enjoy them with a steamy cup of Celestial Seasoning's Vanilla Sleepytime herbal tea. Mmmmm.....

Gingerbread Cookies (slightly adapted from
 Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves*
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup molasses
3 Tablespoons additional sugar for rolling cookies

*(2-3 whole cloves equal 1/2 tsp. You can pulverize them in your coffee grinder)

Sift together flour, spices, salt and baking soda.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, water & molasses. Stir to incorporate.

Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

The dough is a litte stiff once all the flower has been added in, but just keep mixing (I use my hands) and it turns into a nice, smooth pliable dough. Resist the temptation to add something, stay strong.

Using your hands, roll cookies into bite-sized balls, and then gently coat each cookie with sugar. Then press the cookie down ever-so-gently to slightly flatten, it will flatten even more as it bakes.

Bake for 8 minutes, then move cookies to a cooling rack.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What an incredible Christmas story.....

This video is a beautiful reminder of what Christmas is really all about. And the reason we refer to it as the season of perpetual hope. I ask you to join in me in praying for this man, Thomas Coates, his girlfriend and their son this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats; rum balls

If you don't know what movie that quote is from, we can't be friends anymore. Just kidding. My husband and I can hold entire conversations solely using favorite movie quotes, it's what we do. If you are ever on a tv game show where the looming question is about movie quotes, and you've only one phone call to aid you in selecting the correct answer, call me. (Disclaimer: I get 5% of your prize money, though). Anyhow...

I have tried to experiment with the recipe to make it healthier. Not so successful. In this case, go big or go home. So, for the holiday season, I splurge on the not-so-healthy ingredients and really enjoy these rum balls. Ok, I refuse to use the corn syrup. But they do taste best with the corn syrup. I just can't bring myself buy a whole bottle of corn syrup for the 3 tablespoons the recipe calls for, because it will sit in my cabinet unused for all eternity. Make no mistake, it will last that long. And that's the scary thing!

Classic Rum Balls

1 (12 oz) box Nilla Wafers, crushed
1.5 cups finely chopped nuts (toasted pecans highly recommended)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup Dutch cocoa
3 Tablespoons corn syrup or honey or brown rice syrup
1/2 cup rum
additional powdered sugar for rolling balls into

In mixing bowl, add all ingredients in order listed. First add the dry ingredients, stir to blend. Then pour in the corn syrup and rum. Mix well. Using your hands, shape the dough into bite-sized balls. Finish them by rolling them in powdered sugar. Refrigerate. The longer they sit, the better they get. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats: succulent scallops

Why, oh, why is the succulent little scallop so intimidating? For starters, it has a high price tag. Another major drawback is that when overcooked, it turns into expensive rubber. The good news is that the positive aspects of scallops vastly outweigh the negative. If you cook scallops properly, they are so worth it. Because scallops are so rich and delicate, you need only one. So they might have a high price tag, but when you are purchasing only one per person, it's not really a splurge after all. Bonus, they cook extremely fast. Hence, they are perfect as a first course for a nice sit down dinner.

Purchase high quality scallops, preferrably from a local Seafood Market that specializes in fresh sea food daily or a Whole Foods. Key words to look for when purchasing scallops: dry packed, chemical free, or IQF (individually quick frozen).

How to cook a scallop:

Look for a little adductor muscle, or tab, on the side of the scallop. It is firm and will easily tear away if you pull on it. It will be chewy if consumed. Scallops cooked properly should melt in your mouth, so the chewy muscle will be unpleasant in contrast to the delicate scallop meat.

Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, allowing a mixture of olive oil and butter to melt & sizzle.

Rinse and gently blot scallops dry. Season each side with sea salt.

Cook scallop for 2 minutes. You want to hear the scallop sizzle when it hits the pan, and there will be smoke.

Important: Once the scallop touches down, leave it alone. You want to sear the scallop, allowing it to caramelize. Since scallops have a seriously limited cooking time, moving them around will prevent the nice crust from forming.


Sear scallop for 1.5 minutes more. Yes, I mean precisely 90 seconds. It's better to undercook than overcook a scallop. If you purchase high quality scallops, the matter of it being slightly undercooked in the middle is irrelevant. If it's high quality, you could eat it raw. Also, it'll continue cooking a bit even after removed from the pan since the cooking temperatures are so high.

Serve immediately.

Serve the scallop with something, or rather - serve something with the scallop; such as, two roasted sprigs of asparagus or a very small mesclun salad.

You want your scallop to have a nice brown caramelized crust, much darker than what is pictured above. I took this photo the second time I had ever cooked scallops and I hadn't properly schooled myself on the art of cooking scallops. The only problem now-a-days is that they are so fantastic to eat immediately - who has time to take a picture? Apparently, not I.

Friday, December 16, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats: bacon wrapped stuffed dates

These bacon wrapped stuffed dates are a sophisticated hors d'oeuvre to offer at a Christmas gathering. They are nutritious, easy to prepare, can be prepared ahead of time & baked just before your gathering, and are low maintenance. Meaning, you could serve them right out of the oven, or they could sit at room temperature for awhile and they will still be delicious.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

Using Medjool dates, slit them just enough to remove pit
Stuff with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon goat cheese or cream cheese
Insert an almond into date
Squeeze date shut
Wrap each date with one piece of bacon*
Place date seam side down on baking sheet

Bake @ 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the bacon is cripsy
 (Turn each date at 5 minutes)

*Most recipes call for half a slice of bacon, but I prefer a full slice per date. Since the dates are fairly sweet & soft, the contrast of the salty & crispy bacon is perfect, why not go for the gold? I knew you'd agree. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

fun eats & sweet treats; homemade almond coconut candy bars

Welcome to fun eats & sweet treats; my mini series offering unique ideas for your Christmas menu!

This delicious candy, an organic take on the well-known Almond Joy, is extremely simple to make with minimal ingredients. The recipe calls for no sugar, as the coconut is held together with maple syrup. It is also a very kid friendly recipe. As in, they can help each step of the way, and feel a sense of accomplishment when they make these sweet treats all by themselves. Whip up a batch of these for your neighbor's goodie tray or the office Christmas party, and you will be the star of the show. Guaranteed.

Recipe by Carrie Vitt of Deliciously Organic

Homemade Almond Coconut Candy Bars

What you need:
2 cups unsweetend coconut
1/3 cup maple syrup
*12 whole almonds 
6 oz. dark chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon coconut oil

*Next time I will chop the almonds so as to get little pieces in each bite, instead of one big nut in the midst of enjoying your sweet treat. Also, don't be afraid to roast the almonds for 7 min. at 325 degrees to add more flavor to your sweet treat. Pecans would be a killer substition.

What you do: (this is my personal preference, for Carrie's specific directions, click the link above)
Blend or process the coconut flakes into finely ground coconut. Add maple syrup and pulse until it turns into a moist mixture. Using your hands, form the mixture into minature sized candy bars, and place on a Silpat mat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Set one almond atop each candy bar. Gently melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate chips over low heat, stirring constantly. To ensure that you don't burn the chocolate, use a double boiler method. Spoon the choclate over the coconut candy. Refrigerate at least 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set. 

My little chef, licking the chocolate stirring spatula. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

christmas time ponderings...

I have no food inspirations to offer today. Instead, I have late night ponderings from a tired mama who is holding onto the quietness & stillness of her sleepy household, but should be in bed too.

I just finished trimming the tree, admittedly; I enjoyed my time alone to carefully unpack, remember each ornament, and find it a perfect spot on the tree. My tree itself was gift, and most ornaments on it were gifts, or were purchased for special occasions so they have an "event" tied to them.

What is it about Christmastime that makes it so....wonderful? This question was consuming my thoughts as I decorated my tree. It is love, that came to the world in the form of God incarnate - Jesus Christ. Christmastime is a wonderful time in general, and the wonderfulness comes from the one wonderful gift, Jesus. Even if you don't know Him, or don't believe in Him,  you are experiencing His presence in this "Spirit of Christmas" as so many refer to it. He is the reason for the joy that exists within this season we call Christmas.

You can see it all around you if you stop and look; Salvation Army bell ringers, local toy drives, paying it forward at the drive-through window, genuine smiles from strangers, food pantry drives, thoughtful gifts from family and friends, Angel trees, Christmas Cards, setting aside time to connect with family and friends, handy men stopping in cold weather to assist with roadside emergencies, and my favorite - receiving a genuine "Merry Christmas"from a complete stranger. In essence, loving others.

I believe that God is pleased to see His son celebrated in the giving that goes on within this holiday. These are self-less acts, ones that I most certainly applaud. But for me, for this Christmas, I choose to focus on loving. Loving God, my husband, my beautiful children, my family, my friends, my church, and strangers.

What can happen? Only good. Only good comes from love. This may come out in some of the ways listed above; or it may be family time spent together, prayers for other, really listening to my three year old, encouraging a girlfriend, serving my husband, choosing others above myself. I don't know.... I don't have a list. I just have love.

Monday, November 28, 2011

those bananas are going, going.....

Herein are my top 5 favorite things to do with bananas that are going, going....soon to be gone.
Once they start collecting those speckled black spots, you've got two, three days max before they are "past their potential" in my opinion.

1) Pancakes.

We eat these delicious pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, it's completely acceptable to have breakfast for dinner. Haven't you ever seen the Notebook? You can have pancakes any darn time you want.

Banana Spelt Pancakes

Dry ingredients:
1 cup spelt flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional, but oh boy - delish!)

Wet ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk     (I have used soy, rice, coconut & almond milk. Almond is my favorite.)
1 Tablespoon Sucanat OR Maple Syrup
1-2 well mashed bananas (Yes, this recipe is that flexible. Pure awesomeness!)

Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir to incorporate & cook!

Add chocolate chips and you've got a perfect dessert.

2) PB&H

A peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich.
Spread on the pb nice and thick, layer banana slices all across the pb, and drizzle with honey.
Blueberries also work really well with this method.


This is really Garrett's specialty. He makes an exquisite bananas flambee. It involves brown sugar, cinnamon, Grand Marnier and vanilla ice cream. Yum. It's worthy of blog post on it's own though, so I will post it soon.

4)Banana Bread


Peel, cut into chunks and freeze. Frozen bananas are amazing. You can make "ice cream"with frozen bananas and you don't even miss all that cream & sugar in store bought ice creams. Amazing. They also make a mean smoothie!

There you have it, my top 5 things to do with bananas that are going, going....... (better catch 'em before they're gone!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours......
 We have greatful hearts today for the many blessings our family enjoys. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Organic Pumpkin Spice Latte

I made this organic Pumpkin Spice latte this morning. It is the perfect fall indulgence. It's a bit of a production without an espresso machine and kids running around, but I will tell you this - it is absolutely worth it.

I changed the recipe ever so slightly; I increased the sugar to 1.5 Tablespoons and reduced the vanilla to 1 Tablespoon. I reduced the vanilla because I have pure Tahitian vanilla, not imitation vanilla. I also used almond milk instead of cow's milk.

I brewed extra (as in quantity) extra-strong Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated espresso so I can repeat this luxurious beverage tomorrow without the additional step of brewing coffee.

If you are feeling extra frisky, whip up a batch of my Dougnut Muffins to compliment your Pumpkin Spice latte.

Monday, November 14, 2011

de-Frenched Chicken Cordon Bleu

How do you de-French Chicken Cordon Bleu? Well, for starters, it's not fried in butter, half and half, or white wine. I also added vitamin & iron rich green leafy spinach. Don't get me wrong, I adore a good Beurre Blanc sauce. Seriously, don't get me started on French cuisine - I dream of Nutella stuffed croissants, creme brulee, crepes drenched with Grand Marnier, crispy & chewy perfectly baked french bread as well as all of their amazingly rich and decadent sauces, not to mention their cheese! Yum. However; French cuisine is not the type of food my family eats on a regular basis. So we press forward in our quest to eat well and still enjoy some kind of French influence in our meals. Because if there is one thing the French know how to do with flare and finesse: it's eat.

How to make de-Frenched Chicken Cordon Bleu:

Filet as many chicken breasts as needed & open the breast to receive the goodness.
Lay a thin slice of deli ham, one slice of swiss cheese and a healthy stack of fresh spinach leaves.
Close the breast. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, parsely, sage. Next, pile on the veggies, any veggies will do.

We added onion....

Add chopped carrots....

And peeled, cubed potatoes.

Drizzle with evoo again and seasonings again.

Bake @ 425 degrees for 30-ish minutes - perhaps longer if the potatoes are still crunchy.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

cookie fail & bread dreams

I was all too excited to try and make chocolate chip cookies a teensie bit healthy by using freshly ground wheat. I lovingly hand cranked the 2 1/4 cups of flour. Giddily watching the hard red wheat kernels turn into flour perfection. Then it happened - cookie fail. What's worse than the anticipation of homemade chocolate chip cookies that don't turn out? Nothing really. (I might be slightly dramatic, but it is devastating after the taunting aroma of them baking). I don't have a photo to share, why would I subject myself to all of the laughter that would ensue due to said photo. Besides, we ate the cookie mush fail.....

I was perplexed, and feeling a bit silly. How could I not produce a chocolate chip cookie? I decided to blame it on the wheat. I did some investigating. I asked my experienced wheat grinding sister-in-law, Tara, and turns out - my hunch was right. Thank goodness, because that would be a large blow to my aspiring Chef skills if I couldn't pull off chocolate chip cookies.

You see, it all started with Garrett attending a preparedness class series at our local church. One of the classes was about food preparation in the event of a national disaster or city wide emergency. They discussed heating, cooking methods, food preparation and water purification. None of the above mentioned are new topics to my man.  

 hut-to-hut snow shoe trip

fly fishing

standing atop his Ice Box Igloo 

 Red Rock Canyon

 hiking the Crags with baby Bodhi in tow

successful elk hunting = lots of fresh meat all year long

Garrett in his natural state; backpacking in the wilderness

Roped in, fixing the roof leak with his little helper

Cross country skiing the Continental Divide

I am married to Mr. Backcountry, as you can see in the photos. Garrett is the most prepared person I have ever met in my life. I say that un-baised (honestly).  If you are going to spend the amount of time outdoors that Garrett does, you must know how to fend for yourself with the clothes on your back and little else in case of emergencies. All that to say, there was a competition at the preparedness food class for the person who could properly cook a MRE (military issue meal-ready-to-eat) the fastest. Garrett was pretty much a shoe-in. He won a Back to Basics grain mill! Hurray. This was a most exciting day in our home.

Grinding my own grain is something I have been interested in doing for awhile now, but have refrained due to the initial investment required to start baking all of your own bread. The health benefit of freshly ground grain is deserving of a blogpost on it's own, but for now; let me direct you to an informative website that explains why one would grind their own wheat. It is worth your time to be informed about the history of wheat and the lacking nutritional value in all shelf bought bread & flour today.

Anyhow: The moral of the story is; when baking with freshly ground grains and the recipe involves yeast it's fine to use hard grain kernels. However; when baking muffins or COOKIES or something else that doesn't require yeast, you must use soft grain kernels. Duly noted.

Let me say that I am so happy to have the little grain mill in my posession, and as Gru would say in Despicable Me, "Light Bulb". Why I ever thought I had to go all or nothing on the wheat grinding is beside me. The Back to Basics grain mill has been a great way to introduce our family to the taste of fresh bread and myself to the method of using freshly ground grains. I am now empowered to work my way up to baking all of our bread from freshly ground grains. Once I know what I am doing (clearly, I don't know what I am doing concerning grinding grains as of yet!), I aspire to purchase a high quality grinder, such as the Country Living Grain Mill and a handy-dandy Bosch to make my bread dreams come true!

p.s. I blame this whole cookie fail fiasco on Shonni. The woman who makes perfect, absolutely PERFECT chocolate chip cookies. Her cookies are amazing. Ever since I tasted one of her cookies five years ago, I have strived to make a chocolate chip cookie like hers. Though I toil & labor over endless chocolate chip cookie recipes (slight embellishment), I cannot make a cookie that is even worthy of sitting next to her cookies, or below her cookies, or in the same room as her cookies. I think that God has blessed her cookie making skills. I really do. You are awesome Shonni!

Monday, October 31, 2011

the Making of a Whimsical Owl Birthday Party

I don't usually throw myself so diligently (or creatively) into party decorum preparations, but if ever there were an appropriate time in my life - it must be the 1st birthday of my baby girl! I decided on a whimsical owl birthday party theme. I have been in love with Pottery Barn's whimsical owl/woodland theme since they first introduced it, so it was the obvious choice.

Whimsical Owl invitations, hand made with love. FYI - googly eyes cost more to mail. And yes, that is their official name "googly eyes". 

I always throw myself whole heartedly into the menu planning and food preparation. Eden's party was at lunch time, so we served a meal. The menu consisted of: white turkey chili, fried sausages with bell peppers over rice, pumpkin muffins, chips with homemade salsa, a grape & banana fruit salad and warm apple cider. There was some marveling going on at the white turkey chili, so I will leave you with that recipe for the upcoming chilly winter nights. Marveling, as in, what ingredients classify chili as "white"?

White Chili
In deep pot, brown 1 lb ground turkey meat
Add 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced 
Add 1 tsp each; parsley & garlic
Add 1 can white canelli beans
Add 1.5  cups sweet frozen corn
Add 1 can green chiles
Add 1 box vegetable or chicken broth (i used veggie)
Add 1 bay leaf
Add 1 cup or more of FRESH cilantro, finely chopped stems and all. Don't be afraid of the stems, they have great flavor.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer a good 20 minutes or so before eating.

Following are some close-ups of party decor:
Paper towel star art idea found at Wound Up Mom. By the way, this is my amazing cousin Annie's blog and she is full of creative goodness!

Mini pennant banner idea as seen on baby ben's 1st birthday cake at meg + andy; who are sure to inspire anyone with the slightest twinge of craftiness in their being.

The "dimensional hanging photo tulle" was Garrett's brillant idea. I used mini rolls of tulle from the craft store, cut three strips the same length, safety pinned them together at the top, and then safety pinned pictures on the vertical strips. I scotch taped them to the ceiling and it held just fine.

I wanted to hang a "curtain" of tulle as the main backdrop and it turned out exactly as I was envisioning. I hole punched the tulle, strung it with satin pink ribbon and gathered it to create the curtain effect. We hung by drilling into our cieling and slip-knotting the satin ribbon around the screws so it was flush to the cieling. And when I say I or we here, I really mean Garrett :-) He really delivered on the whole curtain thing. My only recommendation for anyone who wants to do a similar tulle curtain, would be to use several layers of tulle so it isn't so sheer and see-through. FYI - That was 3 yards of sparkle tulle used for Eden's tulle "curtain"spread across about 6 feet of length.  

the adorable {and delicious}Whimsical Owl cake, made by my talented friend Paula

I saved the best for last, the birthday girl herself with her very own zucchini cake, daloped with organic vanilla yogurt. I have made this recipe several times over as muffins, so Eden was familiar with this food and enjoyed her cake. Familiarity is a baby's friend. Notice her super cute high chair cover, it was made with love by her grandma!

As if this post isn't long enough, below are some picture of Eden....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eden is One!

Today, one year ago Eden entered this world. In honor of her birthday, I would like to share the story of her birth. I am natural childbirth advocate and have educated myself extensively on the subject. My husband is a huge supporter, and I firmly believe that is a crucial component to any woman who wants to birth naturally. I could go on and on about this subject, but that's not the objective of today's post. Today, I want to take time to remember Eden, and her first year. I want to savor each little memory of her first year, because this year passed altogether too quickly. She is a gift of love from our Heavenly Father, and I do dote on her.

She's cute even when she is crying!

My Delivery of Eden

It was October 25, 2010 at 3:33 a.m. I was awakened by an intense contraction, which immediately required me to wake up and get with it mentally. I had trained myself for this moment, but it was a long time coming. Eden's "due date" was October 10, and I had been waiting 2 weeks for this day arrive! I had experieinced several bouts of Braxton Hicks contractions over the previous 2 weeks, but this contraction was markedly different. I knew it was labor. I lay in bed, on my left side, using my mental relaxation techniques to allow my body to work (for that is precisely what labor is, a work of love. And we all know real work is never easy, but the end result always feels so good). After about 20 minutes of laying down, I got up to use the bathroom. Upon returning to bed, my next 2 contractions were extremely intense. I was using all of my energy to focus on staying calm, breathing and working with the contractions, not against them. At this point, in between contractions, I woke my husband, Garrett. In retrospect, I think the crazy intense contractions were my transition. I tried to lay there a few minutes longer, but it felt uncomfortable to lay down. I got up and wanted to let gravity work. I went back to the bathroom again. I sat down and my water broke on the toilet (that was convenient!). It was go time. Garrett immediately called our midwife, Jessica. Garrett drew a warm bath and I climbed in. I tried to relax and keep my body from delivering a baby without a midwife present.  I knew Eden was coming out too fast, so I was lying on my side to try to slow the process down. I was trying not to push, but at a certain point it just can't be helped. From the time Garrett called Jessica until she walked in our front door was 17 minutes. Eden was born 5 minutes later. It was a one hour and 28 minute labor, and we were both exhausted afterward.

 Background: Eden was my second baby I delivered naturally. My husband and I took a 12 week training course in the Bradley Method before our son was born, and took the teacher's training course for the Bradley Method before Eden's birth. This knowledge & training was imperative for me to bring our babies into the world naturally. I experienced no complications in either pregnancy or delivery. Both times I delivered with a midwife; the first time in a hospital, the second time at home. I will never deliver in a hospital again. I understand that hospitals save lives, but more often than not they get in the way of letting the woman do what she was made to do - deliver her baby, naturally. I relish in the fact that I was able to deliver & begin recovery in the comfort of my own home.

Papa cutting the cord

Our midwife weighing her - she was 7 lbs 9 oz

about 10 hours old

2 weeks old - photo by Shanks Photography

2 weeks old - photo by Shanks Photography

2 weeks old - photo by Shanks Photography

2 months - Eden's First Christmas!

4 months

This was the first time she rolled over; as soon as I put the camera down, naturally.

 7 months - Uncle Austin's Graduation Day

10 months

12 months

Happy 1st Birthday Eden Solveig!