Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Egg School Lunch

I love holidays and I love family traditions.  I think having traditions to go along with holidays helps build nice memories for children.

Easter is such a sad yet joyful holiday.  Sad because Jesus died but joyful because he died and rose from the dead for mankind!  We try and emphasize the Christian reason for holidays but we also let Blue Rock enjoy some of our culture's traditions such as going on an Easter hunt and finding an Easter basket with some goodies on Easter morning.

I read somewhere about surprising your child with a candy filled plastic Easter egg in their lunch box.  I thought, what a wonderful and genius idea!  However, why only put candy when you can put their whole lunch in the eggs?  Blue Rock LOVES plastic and pretend eggs.  So I knew he'd love this!  I washed the Easter eggs, cut up some ham, cheese, carrots, washed grapes, and added cheddar bunnies, and some dark chocolate almonds (for his candy).  You can add anything your child likes that can fit in an egg.  I wrapped them in surround wrap (you could just put them in a clean egg) and placed the little baggies in different Easter eggs for Blue Rock's lunch.  To make it extra fun I added a little green grass.  He was very excited watching me make his lunch.  I think he's going to love it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Last December

Last December was a very difficult month for me.  I experienced my 4th miscarriage.  Like every miscarriage I have had, it was hard.  However, for some reason this one really made me mad.  I became angry at God for allowing me to get pregnant, again, only to lose the baby and never see his or her sweet face.  This also brought back anger that God allowed my mother to pass away when I was a child.  Being angry at God was hard because I love God and didn't want to be made at Him.  However, I was and I knew He can handle it.  But still, it was hard to be so mad at the one I love the most.

I was 10 weeks along when I went in for my 5th sonogram.  The baby didn't have a heartbeat and it looked like the baby was shrinking in size.  The doctor suggested I rush in and have a D&C so that they could get a sample to test for reasons why I lost this baby.  She thought if I waited I could start miscarrying on my own and we wouldn't get the sample we needed.  This was a tough decision since Christmas was around the corner and I was volunteering at Blue Rock's school the following week and with a D&C you can't do anything for 24-48 hours such as drive or see (my vision was very blurry the next day).  My appointment was in the morning and my doctor said she could do it that afternoon.  I had to go without food for 6-8 hours.  So I walked across the parking lot to the hospital.

I was literally crushed.  I love children and had always thought I would have 2-4 of my own.  My husband was with me and my parents had Blue Rock.  They thought they were only watching him for a few hours while I went to my doctor's appointment.  I called and told them what happened and they brought him up to the hospital to see me before I went in for the procedure.  God was watching over me because one of my good friends who is a nurse anesthetist, was working that day in the hospital I was at.  I texted her and was able to request her to do my anesthesia.  I was so blessed that she was there with me.  I trust her with my life and there's nobody else I'd want to put me under but her.  But still, I had lost my baby, another baby and was extremely sad.

In February, I called to find out what the results were from the D&C.  Unfortunately, the doctor did not give the lab a good sample and so we found out nothing.  The whole reason for me to have this procedure was a waste.  I do not like surgeries, I do not like being put under, I'm a pretty big advocate for natural childbirth for myself, and again became very angry.  I most likely would not have had this procedure done that day if I knew we would find out nothing.  Not only is it very experience, around $8000, but I felt it was unnecessary that early on.  I will say, I don't like miscarrying naturally either.  The other three I did that and had to "catch" part of the baby to give to my doctor in Germany.  I knew I also didn't want to do that.  However, I would have liked more time to think and pray about it.

I went on a ladies retreat at church the first weekend of March.  On the retreat I finally was able to let my anger at God go.  I can again truly rejoice in Him.  The months following this last miscarriage I really tried to be thankful for what I do have.  I have an incredible husband and amazing son.  I may not have a large SUV full of kids of my own but what I do have is very special.  I have great friends and extended family.  It's not always what I would hope for but I know they love me.  I know that God loves me.  As angry as I was at God, I subconsciously thought he was angry at me.  I thought it was cruel to allow me to get pregnant only to lose the babies.  While I still don't know why I was born this way, I am truly grateful for Blue Rock.  Blue Rock was my first pregnancy and I didn't have any trouble with him.  I am so thankful that while I was in a new country I had a normal pregnancy with my son.  I could truly be excited about being pregnant and joyful as I planned for his arrival.  Now I get anxious and fearful of losing the babies.  I, however, am changing.  My purpose may or may not be to have a pew full of children.  But I do know that I have a purpose and that God is generous to me.  Therefore, again I can rejoice in our Creator and be happy even in my sorrows.  

If you have experienced a loss of anytime, I hope that you can find peace in it.  One of the biggest things that has helped me was to think about my blessings.  I would encourage you to do that as well.  Stop comparing your life with others but be truly glad for what you have.  Because I guarantee, someone out there is wishing they had something that you have.  Try not to compare, I'm not saying that, I'm only trying to encourage you to find some peace and joy in your current life.  You never know what your life will be like in 5 or 10 years from now.  I may still only have one child, if so, I am so grateful for him.  God may bless me with another child, either naturally or through adoption.  Whatever the case may be, I am going to rejoice in the Lord always and seek His will for my life.

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Amish Friendship Bread Recipe

One of my sweet friends gave me an Amish Friendship Bread starter. I'm going to change the name to Amish Friendship Prayer Bread because everyday when I mix the dough I say a prayer for my friend and her family. One purpose of friendship bread I think is to share delicious homemade bread with others. It takes 10 days from the day you get the starter until you can bake it. From each starter you make 4 new starters, one to keep and 3 to give away. The bread is delicious and of course Blue Rock loved helping mix it! If you want me to share a starter with you, let me know. Here is the recipe my friend gave me with the starter bag. 

Amish Friendship Bread
Do not use a metal spoon or bowl for mixing.
Do not refrigerate.
It is normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment.
Day 1 – This is the day you get the batter, so do nothing.

Day 2 - Squeeze the bag.

Day 3 - Squeeze the bag.

Day 4 - Squeeze the bag.

Day 5 - Squeeze the bag.

Day 6 - Add the 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk to the bag. Squeeze until well mixed.

Day 7 - Squeeze the bag

Day 8 - Squeeze the bag

Day 9 - Squeeze the bag

Day 10 – In a large bowl, combine the contents of the bag, and 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of milk. Stir with wooden spoon. Scoop out four (4) 1-cup starters into separate ziplock bags. Keep one starter for yourself and give the other 3 to friends with a copy of the instructions. To the remaining batter in the bowl, add the following:
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ t. baking soda
1 ½ t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
1 box instant vanilla pudding
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup oil
1 t. vanilla
Nuts and raisins (optional) 

Mix well. Pour into a well-greased and sugared pan (bundt pan or 2 regular size loaf pans). Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan.
Be creative! Make a new recipe from every starter. Here are 2 ideas:
Lemon Poppy Seed – substitute lemon flavoring for vanilla, 2 T. poppy seeds for cinnamon, lemon pudding for vanilla, and leave out the nuts and raisins.

Chocolate Chip – substitute almond flavoring for vanilla, cocoa for cinnamon, chocolate pudding for vanilla pudding, and mini chocolate chips for nuts and raisins. 
Baking is so much fun!

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