Friday, August 14, 2015

Easy Beef Stew

Beef stew normally is thought of a fall or winter kind of meal, but to me I really enjoy the comforting flavors all year long. It's easy to make and because it's made slow, yet over the stove top, it's flavor is out of this world -- we BARELY have left overs anytime we make it! Bonus -- it's perfect as part of a clean eating lifestyle!

This recipe is the type of recipe that you do have to plan out because the cooking time is long, but the actual prep work is short. It's the perfect meal to cook when laundry is going, homework is being worked on, or other household chores are being completed. I also use homemade beef broth made in a crock pot beforehand. I would recommend you do the same or at the very least pick-up some organic beef/bone broth. This dish works great when you make it on the weekend and pop it in the fridge for later that week or even freeze it for later.

And if you're looking to indulge a bit, pop some dumplings on top of it at the very end. I rarely do that because that's more work and I'd eat all the dumplings....but that's always an option!


2 lbs cubed beef stew meat
3 tbsp cooking oil (EVOO)
4 cups beef bone broth
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 large potatoes, cubed
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons cold water

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add oil and cook meat over medium heat until brown. Once browned, add the beef broth, rosemary, parsley, and black pepper. Bring the stew to a boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Stir in vegetables. Dissolve cornstarch or arrowroot powder into water and add to stew. Cover and simmer for 1 additional hour or until vegetables are fork tender.
  1. I never peel the potatoes or carrots. One, I'm lazy, and two, there are lots of nutrients in the peels. 
  2. I don't usually use an onion, but I'm sure it would make the flavor even better. 
  3. And 2 teaspoons of cold water usually isn't quite enough water for me to get the cornstarch dissolved. I just add a smidge or two more.....yes, "smidge" is a technical term. HA!
  4. If you like peas, they make a fabulous add-in ingredient!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Baby #3: 34 Weeks & Breech With a Side of Inversion

34 Weeks

Breech Assistance with Inversion & The Evolution of a Bump Pic

Half way to 9 months now -- woohoo -- but the latest handheld ultrasound scan showed a most beautiful head....near my ribs. More on that later, but first...34 weeks and Isaac is being compared to a .... butternut squash! And I'd have to agree from what he feels like when he moves around or even when he's taken a good ol' rest.

The Bump says that Isaac is averaging 4.2-5.8 pounds and can range in length from 17.2-18.7 inches...same as last week it would appear. I'm still gaining some weight, so I hope some of that weight is from my little bugger and not just my affinity for OJ right now. No blurry vision for me, but I do have the swollen ankles and feet though the a/c in the house is helping to keep it at bay somewhat. I would say that my swelling is what it was, at this point, with the other two boys. MUCH better than last month! And the peeing. Oh the peeing. Even if there is no pee...the peeing. And the lack of pooping, once again. Hello fiber and fiber boosting my daily Shakeology shake!

Adam and I have began to order our baby things, prepare our Styrofoam cooler and paperwork for my placenta encapsulation, and even have talked about packing our bag even though we were to do it weeks ago. We just both know that if we had an emergency situation, the bag truly wouldn't be important. That being said, we do want some creature comforts so here's hoping it gets packed this week.


Now, back to this order of breech and inversion business. Luckily, for most women, there is still quite a bit of time for the baby to move on his or her own. While that still holds true for me, I'm more of a ticking time bomb ready to go off. To that point, I wasted no time is discussing with MY doula, who has vast amounts of experience compared to me, and we discussed doing inversions as found on the Spinning Babies website. Quickly, here's a pic from the Spinning Babies site that shows a mom-to-be performing an inversion with the assistance of a doula.

I don't have my doula with 24/7, so I have Adam help me. While you might be thinking that this doesn't look super duper hard, the blood rush to the head is fast and fierce as evidenced by the fact that you should only hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time. You should start with once a day and work your way to only twice or perhaps three times a day depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are.  

For those that are experienced yogis, this pose wouldn't be hard at all and in fact you're probably already doing inversions with your headstands...and, of course, you're used to that blood rush to the head. I am most certainly neither trained nor practiced to do a headstand, so a hubby-supported inversion is going to be my cup of tea right now. 

I also have a consult with a local chiropractor who is trained in the Webster Technique and will share my experiences with that next week. 

Just in the few days that I have been doing my daily inversions, Isaac has been moving more and more from the oblique position (diagonal) to the transverse position (sideways). That's more movement than usual and a start in the proper direction, so I'm excited. My doula also has had past clients, since the baby can hear Dad's voice now, talk to the baby more near the vaginal opening to try and coax the baby's head down. Yep, that might sound hokey, but we'll try anything in hopes of a vaginal birth and truly, that isn't anything compared to actual birth of a babe and what you find yourself doing to bribe the kid to sleep.

I'll be sure to give an update next week....and now I'll leave you with this to smile on...

Planking is still in full effect, even if it's a modification of a modification. Those inner transverse muscles are still working something crazy! And we even got to enjoy another local pool together despite the overcast weather. The boys really had a glorified picnic and swam for just a bit, but we hope to make it this pool again before the swimming season ends!

Now, for the entertainment...The Evolution of a Bump Pic with two other little ones in tow....

Hopefully I'm back here next week explaining the joys of the babe rotating! Until then...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Guest Blogger: Nursing-Friendly Summer Style

Happy Friday and welcome to First Fridays -- a new guest blogger series at The Ramsey Roost! I'm so pumped about my first guest because of what she means to me and the connection that we have. We go all the way back to sixth grade, our middle school days, and through the power of social media have reconnected and discovered our mutual love of helping other women in the areas of our lives that are so passionate about. It turns out that these areas, while different, overlap and we have energized each other within these new endeavors

Her name is Amanda Moatz and she writes about finding one's style again after kiddos over at Moatz Notes. She loves helping mamas of all stages venture out beyond the daily yoga pants and workout gear, though those things are important, with reasonable and easy everyday style finds. I love that she shows us how to incorporate our past style sense into our new or not-so-new selves as moms.

For me personally, I have never been one to have any style or fashion sense -- to the point that Adam actually does a lot of my shopping for me. The older more sophisticated I get I realize that I really do enjoy how I feel when I take the 10 to 15 minutes to put myself together in the morning. Unfortunately, until reading Amanda's blog, I never really thought that I could be effective at it or even know where to start. I'd get my make-up on, comb my hair, look at my clothes.....and then put on sweats and a t-shirt. Almost always. Those days, now, are very few and far between....and I owe most of that inspiration, if not all, to my girl behind Moatz Notes. 

I hope to continue capturing the feeling of "put together" after baby and while nursing. Energy can be at an all time low those weeks and months, so these styles have to be easy, interchangeable, and full of pieces that can become staples. Amanda delivered! 


First, I would like to thank Heather for allowing me to pop in this month and share my two cents on nursing-friendly summer style.  (Yes, that is a viable phrase!)

If you are a nursing momma or are about to become a nursing momma, congratulations!  And my condolences.  I’ve been there – staring down the hottest days of the year in all my leaky, padded, albeit shapely glory. 

Of course the foundation of any style is what you’ve got under your clothes and there’s hardly a more important time than when you’re nursing to have the right support.  With so many budgets, sizes, and personal preferences I can’t recommend which will be the best nursing bra for you but this guide is pretty comprehensive regarding fit, features, and general tips. 

Especially in the summer, I’d recommend going with as much cotton content as you can, although some stretch in a nursing bra helps it fit properly in the ever-fluctuating circumstances and accommodates nursing pads.  Some folks swear by the sleep bras, but I often used a nursing cami as my pajama top.  Finally, read the reviews as part of your research. Hundreds of nursing mommas are sure to be giving their full and honest opinion on something as near and dear as their bras.  Amazon, Motherhood Maternity, and Target are all great sources of reviews and will offer a range of options to best fit your needs and preferences.  Below are some of the top-rated bras from each site.


Motherhood Maternity

Now let’s talk about what goes on top!  Sure, there are plenty of nursing tops (and regular tees and tanks that can just be yanked up), but if you've been wearing maternity looks for the last four to six (or eight) months, you may be longing for some "regular" clothes.  Of course you have a few new factors to consider when getting dressed so jumping right back into your regular clothes or favorite outfits may not be your best option.  Your body is a nourishment-producing furnace.  You're never without some form of leak protection.  And it's always nice to incorporate a cover-up option.  (Incorporating a cover-up option makes an actual nursing cover totally optional.  Also handy if your neurons have not yet reconnected and a nursing cover is regularly forgotten at home, in the car, in the dryer, etc.)

Here are four everyday looks with a range of interchangeable cover-up options.

Nursing-Friendly Summer Style

Nursing-Friendly Summer Style

A few notes:
  • button-ups are your friend (dresses, shirts, rompers, etc.); just pick a light-weight fabric and roll those sleeves
  • "regular" tops can be paired with maternity bottoms for as long as needed
  • embrace trends that accommodate your transitioning body (boho tops, jogger pants, boy/girlfriend denim)
  • loose-knit cardigans and gauzy scarves add interest and eliminate the need for a bulky cover-up
  • go loose and flowing for easy nursing access and a shape that pulls away from the tummy or 
  • let structured seams create and/or emphasize your shape for you

Confession time...
I nursed both my boys and never owned a nursing cover.  If I could or get to do it over again, I’d snap one of them up in a heartbeat.  Some women see no use for them, but I am just more comfortable (and therefore the whole business of nursing works better) with a healthy dose of privacy.  A cardigan, scarf, or swaddling blanket gets the job done, but the features on these two options are so specifically crafted for the task, it’s hard to argue with their benefits.  Two options I love...

Bebe Au Lait

Udder Covers

Overall, I hope all moms - nursing through the dog days of summer or otherwise - can find some time each most days to get dressed in a way that expresses their best selves.  It can be a little act that you do just for you during a season of life when so little is about you.  You deserve it and your kids will benefit from a confident, empowered, happy mom.

Thank you again to Heather and The Ramsey Roost for hosting me!  Feel free to visit me over on Moatz Notes any time for another dose of real life mom style.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Baby #3: 33 Weeks & Possible Go Time

33 Weeks

Slow Prep for Isaac, Contractions, & Things Get Real

I'm a full 8 months, plus some, now and in a huge moment of honest, I'm ready for this pregnancy to be over. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a small part of me being okay with going early just to end my time being pregnant. I'd also be lying if I said that there wasn't an even larger part of me that knows and wants Isaac to stay put in there until I'm full term so that he can have as many of the benefits of his stay with me as possible.

I also am reminded of friends and family that would give their right arm to be in my state of uncomfortable, yet, for whatever reason are not able to do so. That, coupled to the known complications surrounding a premature birth, keep me from refusing the pokes, prods, tests, and extra doctor appointments. As my doctor pointed out yesterday, my 33 weeks is like most women's 38 weeks....except that the baby's health is still in danger.

Whoa. Point taken and dually noted. And so we continued with the internal exam even though I would have liked to waited until next week. But I realized that the reason I wanted to hold off wasn't because I didn't want to know or even so much I didn't want to be examined. It was mainly because I already knew what lay before me if I was, in fact, in preterm labor. More on that in a bit.

The Bump says that Isaac is averaging 4.2-5.8 pounds and can range in length from 17.2-18.7 inches....and that's the size of a durian. What's a durian you ask? Good question and I had to Google it myself. Apparently it's a fruit that tastes wonderful, but you have to get past its smell of mushy onions to find out. An easier comparison would be to say that Issac, if on the high range, is already larger than Duders was at his 36w3d premature birth. He weighed a whopping 5.3 pounds and was 18 inches long.

But back to Isaac...his eyes are open while awake, his bones are hardening even more, his brain activity continues to flourish, and he is beginning to coordinate his breathing with sucking and swallowing.

The Bump at 33 weeks also talks about signs of preterm labor. Fitting. And how to pack a hospital bag. Also fitting. And post-delivery crotch care. Been there, done that. All of my BTDT moms know what I'm going to say....mesh panties. Amen.

What's really happening is my abdominal muscles are tightening and releasing A LOT. Braxton-Hicks contractions most likely, but I had them all weekend. ALL WEEKEND. Blah. Nothing that has a pattern, but I never really had them with the other two boys and so they are concerning now. I've given up the workouts for longer hikes, upper body exercises, and squats, lunges, and balance ball work. The swelling is continued to be an issue, so with the help of compression socks and sneakers, I've worked out a system to better deal with keeping it to a minimum.

The pic below was take right before Team Beachbody's Super Saturday event and I was a day short of 32 weeks here. The picture below that is one week later and I thought it was cool how the sun could capture the bump too.

We're slowly but surely preparing for Isaac's arrival...the excitement is still there, but it's a different kind of excitement than with a first baby. There is no hurry up and wait....It's a calm excitement because we know we get to do this journey together as a couple one last time. And share it with our boys. There really isn't a whole lot of unknown even though all kids are different. That anxiety is long gone. So, we have one basket of clothing to wash. A rock and play set out. The car seat covers out off and ready to be washed. The BOB tires were filled with air. Bottles are near should we need to sterilize them sooner than expected. A list for Target has been made.

Yet, I still have to pack my hospital bag.

That's just simple procrastination on my part, yet, again, I know that if I head to the hospital with just the clothes on my back I'll be okay. No more, no less. I will be fine. My bag will be packed this weekend most likely, but as much as anxiety as I felt about getting an internal exam yesterday I was glad I did it....

Because the results provided a huge sigh of relief for me and Adam. My cervix is long and closed. BOOM! No signs of preterm labor at all. Amen!! We held off on this full moon and now I'll be hoping for the next full moon! Plus, that's a whole month longer for us to work on the house!

And it will give baby some time to flip around again. He was presenting frank breach yesterday, so Dr. Moyer and I had a convo about a possible vaginal breach birth. They are very uncommon today, but Cesarean birth scare the bajeezus outta me. I would love to avoid one as much as possible. We talked about version, when that was possible, when it wasn't, and the complications. I also know though my doula contacts a fantastic chiro that is well experienced in the Webster technique.

And I will updating my birth vision to make sure I have my section on Cesaren birth thought out wholly.

The belly is like a watermelon and the boys love touching it and kissing it. I believe I have only about one more week of this shirt left in me before it's too small.

When did my first baby turn into a little man. There are times when I can't believe I've been allowed to keep someone else alive for almost six years. It boggles the mind. 

Anyone else around 33 weeks and feeling like they're about to explode? Who out there had the p-shots and how did they work for you?