Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chocolate Cake Cookies

Usually, I like to make everything I can from scratch, but sometimes, what I really need is a quick, delicious cookie, and these chocolate cake cookies are definitely that!

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
6 oz which chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (I can't ever remember making these cookies with nuts)

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix cake mix, butter, milk, and egg together.  Then, mix in the chocolate chips. Place by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet, and bake 12 minutes.  Makes about 2 dozen.

See, super simple!  And delicious, too!

The dough is really sticky, but bakes into delicious, moist, chewy cookies.  Also, the dough will spread on the sheet, so be sure to give them plenty of elbow room!

The cookies may not look done after 12 minutes, but really, they are.  Let them rest a couple minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies never last long at our house.  We made them one Sunday morning and they were gone by Tuesday afternoon.  They are seriously that good!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Meet Baby O!

I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but I wanted to personally introduce our Baby O!  Here's a few pictures and the story.

My first time holding Baby O

I woke up Sunday morning about 5:00 am with some contractions, but since they weren't very bad and my due date was still a week away, I figured they were just false labor, and tried to go back to sleep.  About 5:15, my water broke, but I wasn't sure if it really had or not, so I went back to bed, but couldn't really sleep, so I kinda timed my contractions.

Sleepy baby

By 6:45, my contractions were getting closer together and I was pretty sure my water had actually broken earlier, so I woke up Clint.  Of course, he wanted to call the midwife right away, but I wanted to stay home as long as possible, and I knew the hospital would want me to go in since my water had broken, so I told him to just go back to sleep while I took a shower to relax.

Proud Daddy

While I was in the shower, my contractions got rather uncomfortable, and I ran out of hot water about 7:15, so I got out to try something different.  When he heard the water shut off, Clint came in to check on me, but I was still doing fine, so I didn't want to call the midwife.  While I dried off, Clint took a really quick shower.

After Clint got out and got dressed, he started timing my contractions for me and helped me get dressed.  By this time, I was having trouble moving during contractions, but I still didn't want to call the midwife.

We're both a little tuckered out

By about 8:30, my contractions had been about 3 minutes apart for 45 minutes, and we were starting to worry that the neighbors might think I was getting murdered because I was yelling pretty loudly, so I let Clint call the midwife.

Our first family picture

During those 45 minutes, I did have moments where my resolution to have a natural birth wavered.  I just kept thinking that first time labors were supposed to take a really long time and if it was that painful already, there was no way I could handle several more hours of contractions.  Luckily, I have an amazing husband who was there to encourage and comfort me through my moments of despair.

His first night

After Clint talked to the Dr. (it turned out that it was an ob/gyn on call at the time) he started packing up the car to go to the hospital.  I had packed some stuff up for the hospital (the day before) but we didn't have everything together, plus it took some time to get everything into the car, so we probably left our house about 8:45.  While Clint was packing the car, I started to feel the urge to push, and my first thought was, "We have to get to the hospital NOW,  I don't want to have this baby at home!"

About to go home

Luckily, we only live 5 minutes from the hospital, so it was no big deal getting there quickly.  When we did get there, they checked me in the triage room and said baby's head was +2 (really low), so they ran me over to a birthing room.  Before I could get in bed, I had a contraction and kind of doubled over on the floor.  Someone said that as fun as it was to have a baby on the floor, I needed to get in bed.  When I told them I couldn't move, Clint just picked me up and put me on the bed and then they pointed out that you could see Baby O's head.

Getting into his first real clothes

 After that, I pushed for a while (I don't know how long, but it didn't feel like very long) and at 9:27 am, Baby O was born!  He weighed 7 lbs 1 oz and was 20 inches long at birth.

Getting into the car seat

So, we were at the hospital for about half an hour before he was born, and I think that was just perfect.  In fact, Clint called my parents to tell them we were at the hospital and then called to tell them Baby O had been born and the first thing my mom said was "We haven't even left Eugene!"  We couldn't get a hold of Clint's parents at first (I guess they were at church, of all the places to be on a Sunday morning!), so he sent them a picture on their phone to tell them the news.

At home

 We came home Tuesday afternoon and things have been going great!  I really couldn't have asked for a better birth experience or a better baby boy!  He is eating well and has gained some weight back and is doing all the other things that brand new babies are supposed to do; eat, sleep, poo, pee, cry, and be absolutely adorable!

Baby O

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Oven Fried Chicken

Want to know what I spent the best 33 cents of my life on?  An Amish cookbook from Goodwill.  It seriously has the best recipes in it!  At least the ones I'm willing to try are really good.  For some reason, jellied meats just aren't in the cards for me. . . but anyway!  This is the yummiest fried chicken recipe I've ever tried, seriously, I think it's way better than shake-n-bake, and I'm sure a whole lot healthier, too!

1/3 cup vegetable oil (I use olive)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp marjoram
1 whole chicken, cut up

Put oil and butter in baking pan and put in 375 oven to melt.

In a paper bag (or if you're me, a pyrex bowl with lid), mix flour and seasonings.

Roll chicken in melted butter mixture, then put in flour mixture and shake!  This works best if you do just a few pieces at a time.

Put floured chicken in the melted butter pan, skin side down.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375.

With tongs or a spatula, turn chicken over and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the top crust starts to bubble, or you think it's crispy enough and done all the way through.  I usually leave the breasts in a bit longer than the rest, just to make sure they're cooked all the way through.  It's good either hot or room temperature, so perfect for Sunday dinner or a picnic!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Starting Seeds

We are a little slow getting seeds started this year, but with moving and getting ready to have a baby, I think we can excuse ourselves for being a bit tardy.  Better late than never, right!

Since we go rid of our cold frame and 4" pots when we moved the first time, we needed something else to start our seeds in this year.  So, we bought a couple seed starter kits that were on sale at Bi-Mart.  Each kit had 36 pellets in it, so that gave us 72 starts.

Here's a list of what we have started:

Egg Plants
4 types of peppers
4 types of tomatoes
2 types of basil
2 types of broccoli
Luffa gourds

Plus, we have a lot more seeds that we want to direct sow in a few weeks.

We are currently on the waiting list for a plot at a community garden, so hopefully that will work out, so that we can have some place to put our plants when they get too big for their little greenhouses.  If not, I guess we'll be buying 72 pots to put on our back patio!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


First, a belly picture!

38 weeks pregnant - about 2 weeks to go!

Just a quick update: we now live in Medford!  I know, we just moved to Roseburg in December, but then a job offer came up at the public defenders in Medford, and we decided it would be best for us to go ahead and take this opportunity.  And I have to say, I am much happier here in Medford than I was in Roseburg.  For some reason, Roseburg just never felt like home, but Medford already does.  So, I think we made the right choice.

Our first fire

And you know what the best part is about our new house?
We have a fireplace!
We have done a few fires and they're so cozy!

The worst part about our new house?
We don't have a dishwasher.
I don't think you need a picture to know what that means our kitchen sink looks like. . .

Snowy view from my kitchen window

The weather here has been typically spring, which is to say crazy!  Since we've lived here (a grand total of three weeks, I think) we've had snow two or three times, some rain, plenty of sun, and I wouldn't be surprised if it got up to 70 this past weekend.  But now its trying to snow again today.  Go figure.

Anyway, just thought I'd give you all a quick update on our crazy lives.  Basically, we're just waiting for Baby to get here!  I'm sure there will be plenty of cute pictures to go around when that happens . . .