Monday, July 30, 2012

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

We have zucchinis exploding from our garden as well as squash, radishes, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, etc.  It is hard to keep up, but we are very grateful to grow our own resources.  Lately, we have been giving away some of our fresh vegetables to our neighbor.  I have made veggie stir fries,  omelets, packaged the vegetables in Ziploc bags to freeze, and made zucchini bread.  
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

This is my most favorite zucchini bread recipe, which we tweaked from an old recipe from my family.  If you like pumpkin spices like nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon then you would love my zucchini bread recipe.  Additionally, an added bonus is chocolate chips, which my children love the most about my zucchini bread!

Yield: Two bread loaf pans
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
3 c. flour 
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. of chocolate chips (we used a variety of chocolate chips from Winco bins such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or tiny semisweet chips).
Optional you may add: 
1/2 c. nuts or dates instead of chocolate chips.
Preheat oven 325 degrees and grease two bread pans with either cooking spray or shortening. With a cheese grater, shred two cups of zucchini and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugars, oil, and eggs with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, soda, baking powder, and salt, mix well. Then add the spices, flour, and shredded zucchini.  Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.  Bake for 60-75 minutes (do the tooth pick method to check if done in the middle).  Cool on racks and then gently remove the bread from the pans. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 2012 Family Fun Events

1. July 4, 2012 We celebrated Independence Day with our usual yummy BBQ and watching fireworks at Pleasant Grove Junior High with family members. Our dog Jagger hated the fireworks, poor pup! 
 2.  July 14, 2012 We went to the Payson Scottish Festival to see the Campbell family who were selling some darling homemade Scottish Dolls. We enjoyed listening to the bag pipes and drums as well as watching the dancers.  As for food/drinks, we bought a large bottle of cream soda, twisted tators, and Boston cream funnel cake! Later we stopped at Daley Freez for dinner, which was my favorite place to eat while living in Payson. We parked at Salem Pond to eat our food. So many memories flooded my mind thinking about my long bike rides to Salem pond, hanging out at Payson Memorial Park listening to band concerts, etc. I had some fun childhood memories growing up in a small town called Payson...
Later that same day, we went fishing at Manila Creek! We didn't have much luck catching anything. Little Sis caught a small blue gill, which we put back in the water.  We enjoyed walking in the sand and cool water.  There was an incredible sunset too.  
 3. July 16, 2012 Uncle Nate invited us, sister, nephew, and Hahn girls (my ex step brother's kids) to swim and watch movies at his house. We ate pizza and junk food.
4.  July 20-22, 2012 Lastly, we went to the cabin in the Unitas with my brother Nate, my sister Karen as well her her sons, and Hahn family.  We had a blast playing card games, swimming in a stream, eating BBQ foods, watching movies, busting moves with Just Dance 3, and enjoying the quiet away from city life!
 I ♥ my family!!! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Summertime Scraps Faves

10 Lazy Days of Summer, 2000
 Credits:  The layout was designed by me for once! The papers are by Amy Sumrall, Valorie Wibbens, and Karah Fredricks. The cloud element is by Jacque Larson.  The rest of the elements, doodles, word strips, and alpha/numbers are by Kate Hadfield, which you could find most of the stuff from my layout at The Lily Pad. I used the segoe print for my font.
Lagoon Amusement Park, 2010
Credits:  The template is by Memory Clips. The papers, elements, alpha, and word strips are from "Carnival" kit by Sahlin Studio and Jennifer Barrette from The Lily Pad.  The felt elements are by Dani Mogstad. To my surprise, I did not use any fonts!
Cawabunga Bay Water Park, 2011
Credits: The template, papers, elements, word art, are from "Sand Box" kit by Shabby Princess.  I used sf Katie Fun font.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Good-bye Angel: My Recent Miscarriage

Although this sculpture portrays the emotions of a woman who regrets having an abortion, I believe all mothers who have been through a miscarriage, stillborn, or death of a small child can relate to the sorrow and suffering that is showed in this beautiful artwork. It brings tears to my eyes looking at it as well as comfort.

Several weeks ago on May 26, 2012, I had a positive pregnancy result from a blood test.  We were very excited about having baby number three joining our household especially my daughters who would love to have another sibling.  My due date would have been January 25, 2013.  My pregnancy started out very difficult with some morning sickness and many PMS symptoms.  To my surprise around the same time,  I had finger numbness and pain due to a pinched ulnar nerve for a couple weeks, which I believe may have been related to the pregnancy (increased blood flow through out my body) because I did nothing unusual to cause the trauma.  Since I could no longer function normally due to the pain in my wrist, fingers, and elbow, I went to the doctor to see what I should do about it.  He recommended to take some anti-inflammatory pills and steroids and assured me that they would not harm my unborn baby.  So I followed his orders and within a week and a half I was back to normal and pain free.

I made an appointment with my OBGYN around ten weeks of my pregnancy.  A couple weeks before the appointment I noticed my pregnancy symptoms started decreasing (very little morning sickness, etc) as well as unusual cramping in my side.  I didn't think it was too serious because I was heading towards the second trimester and thought the pain was due to my body stretching to make room for my growing uterus. Then two days before my first prenatal check up, I started spotting, ugh.  So there were "flags" indicating what was happening to me, which I completely ignored.  I kept praying that all will be well, but deep down I had a gut instinct that there was something terribly wrong. Finally on June 29, 2012, I saw the doctor.  To my surprise, my blood pressure was elevated which concerned the doctor a bit.  I also had a full exam since it has been awhile since my last pap smear etc and the baby's heart beat wasn't found using the doppler.  He tried to not alarm me because maybe I was off a week or so on my cycle (but I am very regular and was exactly ten weeks that day).  So we were sent to the ultrasound room down the hall.  I had a regular ultrasound at first then a vaginal ultrasound because my baby was very tiny.  The ultrasound tech quietly measured my motionless embryo that averaged around 7 weeks old instead of 10 weeks.  I could not see or hear a heartbeat or any sign of life and knew before they said anything my baby was dead. A few minutes later my doctor came in reviewed the images/looked closely at the screen and diagnosed me with a missed miscarriage (he was very sad for my loss too) then gave me three options a D&C, natural miscarriage, or induced miscarriage using misoprostol (cytotec).  I chose to take the cytotec option since my body was slow in acknowledging my baby's death. I recall being numb while in the office and refused pain pills (for while passing the baby naturally); however, on the way out the door, I broke down in tears.  I was lucky to have my husband right beside me the whole time.  Next, we went to the hospital to get blood work done for a rhogam shot since I am rh negative and a couple hours later I received my shot in my right hip. I went home cried all evening and went to bed since I planned on taking the cytotec pills in the morning.

The next day June 30, 2012 was an emotional roller coaster and one of the worst days of my life.  The thought of my dead baby stuck inside made me very sad. I had extreme anxiety about taking the four cytotec pills (orally) after reading many horror stories online about them (a big mistake for any woman in my situation).  I panicked because I refused pain pills from my doctor the previous day and it was a weekend. What was I thinking, ugh???  I had a miscarriage in 2002 (I was five weeks along) and it was very similar to a heavy period and terrible cramps.  I was afraid that since I was further along it would be more painful with contractions and back pain like labor, ack!  So I ate a small breakfast and took 1000mg of Tylenol.  After a prayer and priesthood blessing from my husband, I finally had the courage to take the cytotec pills.  Thirty minutes later my miscarriage began (started bleeding) and had an unpleasant side effect from the pills (diarrhea).  It was a long physical and emotional day of heavy bleeding, passing clots, and back/abdominal cramping. I used two rolls of toilet paper and several overnight pads. My pain was managed pretty well thankfully with just Tylenol 1000mg (every 4-6 hours) and I applied a heating pad on my abdomen/back. I was okay with my choice.  If faced again with the same situation, I would take cytotec again. A woman's body is truly remarkable in creating and naturally miscarrying a baby.  I was able to have closure after passing my darling angel naturally with help from cytotec to speed up the process.

The highlights during my miscarriage was the love, prayers, and concern for me.  I was truly grateful for the outpouring private messages via Facebook, phone calls, text messages, etc on my behalf.  I recall making ice cream sundaes with my family and painted my nails with my beautiful daughters during my miscarriage. I got a phone call from a wonderful friend who recently went through a miscarriage herself a couple months ago.  She gave me comfort and great advice on what to expect. I also received some gorgeous flowers from my sister in-law and a pomegranate Jamba Juice. I counted my many blessings and was truly grateful for my daughters, husband, my dog Jagger (who stayed by my side the whole time), extended family members, and friends.  I was a brave warrior who survived a miscarriage without any complications.

I followed up with the doctor a week later on July 9, 2012. My blood pressure was still high 159/106, ack.  I stopped bleeding three days after my miscarriage, which I thought was odd. So I had another ultrasound which concluded that I had passed most of my baby, placenta, etc except a little blood matter near my uterus lining.  The doctor ordered another round of cyotec to clear the rest out and I made another appointment for the following week.

On July 16, 2012, I saw my doctor again. I reported that I bleed a little bit then stopped and he seems to think I am done.  I should get a period in 4-6 weeks after my miscarriage.  My blood pressure was still high 139/98.  He is very concerned about it but not ready to put me on blood pressure pills yet since I haven't had a history of high blood pressure in the past.  He encouraged me to lower my salt intake, exercise, and watch my calorie intake. I am also going to try doing Yoga DVDs to help reduce stress.  He strongly recommended that I should try loosing some weight which would make a huge difference in lowering my blood pressure hopefully.

Although I was absolutely devastated and heart broken about my miscarriage, I am trying to trust in the Lord that it happened for a very good reason.  Something must have gone horribly wrong while the baby was developing, it wasn't the right time for me to be pregnant due to medical issues (high blood pressure etc), or other unknown reasons that I may not ever know or understand.  During my emotional meltdowns of grief, I felt my sweet mother with me.  Even though she passed away a year ago, I know deep in my heart that she is always with me especially during difficult times during my life.