Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Miracle in Me & My Greatest Gift

When I noticed a bump, I suspected, but I said to myself 'too soon.' At that point, I would have only been within my first week. As the weeks progressed, and the tell-tale symptoms along with time, there was no more denying. I finally confirmed my pregnancy nearly four weeks later. When the pain in my lower back and abdomen began and then persisted, along with the growth of my belly, I knew something wasn't quite right. I had been feeling this way for a couple of weeks. Upon the reassurance of women who've had children before: 'You're fine', 'I experienced the same thing with my first.' 'That's normal.' and so on, I tried to let their words ease my fears, but in my heart, I knew differently.
After an agonizing 3 weeks of self imposed bed rest, my appointment with the Ob/GYN finally arrived. After the needles, exam and two types of ultrasound, my fears were confirmed. The size of my abdomen and pain were indeed an indicator of a problem. No poetic way to articulate this: I have a fibroids. Such is the case, my pregnancy is high risk. But my hopes remain higher than any risk could be.

Ultrasound: 12/21/2010

Today, I will venture out in the blizzard of '10 to my first appointment with the high risk Ob/GYN at Brigham & Women's hospital, where they specialize in such pregnancies.
Now upon my 10th (or so) week, I've decided I will allow myself to relish the glory of this tiny being becoming inside of my body, come what may. Something I, hitherto, was reluctant to do. Daph and I are overjoyed! We're becoming parents. WE'RE HAVING A BABY! I never thought I would be able to say those words, but it's true. I'm not dreaming.
I couldn't have imagined the fearlessness and unconstraint with which you could love another human being until the moment I learned that human being was beginning inside my own being. What an incredible thing!

Update: Earlier today I trenched through the 17 inches of snow and made it to my ultrasound appointment in tact. After a more in depth ultrasound I learned I have "innumerable fibroids" and an ovarian cyst. I'm the kind of person who thrives on information, no matter how bad or difficult it is to hear and deal with. So, aside from the natural fears and concerns, I also feel empowered. The baby's heart is beating at 171 beats per minute, and she/he is active. The baby seems as determined as I am to pull through okay.

Ultrasound: 12/27/2010

My Dearest Baby,

I will fight for you, with you, to keep you growing and strong in only the way a mother could. There is nothing stronger than the will of a mother for her child. 32 years ago on the day you are due to be born, I was born. This confirms everything I believed that, despite it all, ultimately only the best things were meant for my life. And equally, only the best things will be dreamed for yours.

I love You,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

& The Winner Is...

Katrina, number 5. Congratulations Katrina! I'm sure your daughter will enjoy her trunki.
Check your email shortly for the promotional code.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway & I'm So Excited!

When CSN Stores contacted me and asked if I'd like to host a giveaway for my readers, I was super thrilled. Whether you're looking for Leather Messenger Bags, home decor, awesome cook and bakeware, or anything in between, CSN Stores has got you covered. If you haven't yet visited one of their 200+ websites, CSN Stores offer virtually everything. And today, they've generously offered a $55 dollar promotional code to one of my lucky readers. Now you're excited too, right? Good!

Here are just a few of the things I love.

David King Three Compartment Messenger Bag

Blissliving Home Gemini Pillow

Rachael Ray “Bubble & Brown” 2-Piece Stoneware Baker Set

Nordicware Kugelhopf Bundt Pan

*To Enter You must be a U.S. or Canadian resident. Sorry to the rest of my international friends.

*Leave a comment telling me how you'd like to spend the $55 dollars at CSN Stores.

* Additional entries can be made by leaving separate comments letting me know you've liked CSN on Facebook or follow CSN on Twitter.

*Don't forget to include your email so I can contact you when you win.

Giveaway ends December 14th, 2010 at 11: 59 p.m. EST. Winner will be chosen via random number generator.

Good Luck, Everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Pt. 2 & Cranberry Apple Pie

This, the second of our two Thanksgiving pies, is my new absolute favorite pie of all time. Hands down! Hitherto, I thought I didn't like apple pie very much (because I don't like most apples), but when I came across a recipe that called for green apples (the only apple I do like) I was eager to give it a try. And the addition of cranberries made it all but impossible for me to not make it. I had exactly two cups of Lee's lovely cranberries remaining in the freezer, waiting for the perfect excuse to be used. This. Is. Quintessential. New England. Served with homemade ice cream, whipped cream, or both, cranberry apple pie will happily make an annual return to the dining table come every holiday season. And maybe yours, too!

Cranberry Green Apple Pie
Recipe courtesy and adapted from Taste of Home


1 & 3/4 cups sugar (I cut this down from the original two cups)

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*

1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice*

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg*

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

4 cups sliced peeled tart apples

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon each flour and sugar, mixed

In place of the spices called for, I used 1/2 teaspoon homemade apple pie spice blend and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

Apple Pie Spice Blend

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Add all ingredients to small bowl or zip shut bag and mix (or shake, in bag). Store remaining mix.


Add first 7 ingredients to large bowl and stir to combine. To same bowl, add in sliced apple and cranberries; gently toss to coat. *See below for pie crust directions.
Sprinkle bottom crust with flour-sugar mixture. Add apple mixture to bottom pie crust. Add 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of butter in small pieces over apples. Add top crust; fold hanging edges underneath and crimp to seal. When pie is assembled, cut vents in top of crust to allow air to escape while baking.

Refrigerate pie while preheating oven to 450 degrees. Add pie to preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until top of pie is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Allow to cool and set before cutting.

Shortening-Butter Crust:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup Plus 1 teaspoon chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water


Rolling Pin
Wax Paper

To Sprinkle over bottom of crust before adding fruit:

Mix together 1 tablespoon each, flour and granulated sugar. This will help prevent pie filling juices from soaking through bottom of crust.

To Make Crust:

In standard sized food processor, or large bowl, process, or mix with hand mixer, flour, salt and sugar until combined. Add in shortening and process or mix until mixture resembles coarse sand, approximately 10 seconds. Add pieces of butter over flour mixture and process in 1 second pulses, or mix, turning hand mixer on then off, until pieces of butter are no bigger than small peas. Add 6 tablespoons ice water to mixture and, using a rubber spatula or hand mixer on low, fold in, or mix until just combined. Pinch dough with fingertips to be sure it sticks together, If not, add an additional 2 tablespoons ice water. Do not process or mix more than 30 seconds.
Turn dough onto work surface and gather into ball. Divide dough in half and flatten each into a round disk-like shape. Cover each with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

After an hour, remove one round of dough from refrigerator. Measure out and lightly flour two equal pieces of wax paper. Place dough, in center, between two pieces of wax paper, begin to flatten round of dough with rolling pin. Give wax paper square a quarter turn after each roll. Roll dough two inches larger than inverted pie plate. (Place pie plate, upside down, over dough to make sure it's big enough.) Carefully remove only top layer of wax paper. Turn remaining wax paper holding dough, so that the dough is facing down, into pie pan. Make sure dough is even in pan. Carefully remove second piece of wax paper, which should be bottom side up. Brush off excess flour. Roll hanging dough under itself to crimp or cut off excess. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Reserve both pieces of wax paper and repeat process of rolling with second dough round, only this time, leave rolled out dough in wax paper and refrigerate until needed.

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