Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bridget's 4th Birthday!

This is a bit late to post, but four months ago my daughter turned FOUR! I cannot believe that I have been a mom for four years. At four years old, we decided to make a final adjustment to her bed. We raised it up! The box spring used to be on the floor underneath the bed and the mattress was where the box spring is supposed to be. This is the almost-birthday-girl getting ready to sleep in her new bed.

Finally, it was the day of her birthday! I got started early on her cake. I like to make a special homemade cake for my family members on their birthdays. It's more meaningful and they consider it one of their gifts. When Bridget was 3, she requested a pink princess cake. This year, she wanted a rainbow cake. I wasn't sure exactly what she meant by this, whether or not she wanted rainbow layers or she wanted a rainbow drawn on top. So I did both. It was a big hit and she LOVED it! I think this was my first 100% vegan birthday cake to make.

She got to help me with some of the work. Mainly the licking of spoons and such.

The cake layers finally done baking and cooled enough to be frosted.

First layer of yummy frosting.

Getting ready for the blue frosting.

Pretty blue!

The final result!

Daddy lighting the candles.

A rainbow!
This was definitely a fun cake to make. Do I want to do it again? Not really. It was a long process. But it was worth it.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Recipe: Jenny's Vegan Three Bean Chili

Jenny's Vegan Three Bean Chili

We love chili at our house. My 4-year-old daughter enjoys a good bowl of chili, as long as it’s not too spicy. When I couldn’t find the recipe I typically used to make chili, I decided to create my own. I kept it very simple (and very mild for the kiddos) with minimal prep work and most ingredients are one’s you may already have on hand.


1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can chopped green chiles, drained
2 cups frozen corn
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika


In a large pot, combine all ingredients. Cook on med-high heat, stirring every few minutes, until it begins to boil. Lower heat and continue to cook for 2-3 hours or until vegetables have reached a desired tenderness.  

 Serve over brown rice.
One of these days I'll get better at taking pictures before I start eating my food!

This recipe is packed with healthy proteins and lots of vegetables! When served over brown rice, you’ve added very important whole grains to your diet.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size: About 1.5 cups; Servings per recipe: Approx. 8
Calories: 234; Total Fat: 1.6g; Sat. Fat: 0.1g; Cholest.: 0mg;
Sodium: 1656.9mg; Carb.: 45.8g; Fiber: 11.5g; Sugars: 13.6g; Protein: 10.8g
  • Kick up the heat! Start by adding 1/16 tsp. ground cayenne pepper for spicier chili. Continue to add in small portions until you’ve reached your desired level of spicy. You may want to add additional chili powder and cumin to taste.
  • Pinto beans make a great addition to this recipe.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

George's Surgery: Days 5 & 6

Not much happened on Day 5 at the hospital. We woke up in a new room, having moved the night before. The PICU was clearing out and they wanted to move us closer to the nurse’s station. In the morning, George FINALLY pooped for us. Kinda gross to announce, but it is a big deal following major surgery to know that my little boy’s body is functioning properly. Nurse Monica was back with us again, and she attempted to get George to walk again. This time, it worked. He seemed ready and eager to get out there! His legs were still very weak but he was moving right along.

This was bittersweet, because it meant that it was time to move out of the PICU and to the Peds floor. The nurses in the PICU are some of the most amazing nurses I’ve ever met, and we especially bonded with Monica as she was our nurse the majority of the time we were there. Here is George and I packed up and (sort of) ready for the move.
Moving to the Peds floor was a major change for us, and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. That first night away from the PICU was rough. George threw up twice and needed to be changed and bathed. Luckily, the nurse we had that night used to work in the PICU at a hospital in Raleigh before she moved here, and she was particularly familiar with the care needed for heart surgery patients. She was a lifesaver! She gave George some medicine to stop the vomiting and we went to sleep for the night. That was the end of the vomiting! The next morning, George woke up ready to eat some Cheerios. Doesn’t he look so happy? I enjoyed sitting with him and holding him, especially with him smiling so much. My little George was coming back to me.

After breakfast, we were allowed to go into the playroom early to pick out some toys for George to help him start standing/walking on his own. As soon as he got in there, he was all over the place! It was hard to keep up with him and at one point he fell down trying to push around a toy car. That was pretty scary, but he was fine and recovered quickly. Once we picked out a few toys, we hung out in the play room for a bit longer to play while the nurses set up and awesome play area in our room, complete with a soft playmat for him to stand on.

But before he was able to start playing, we were told that he will be getting released from the hospital at around noon!!!! The nurse took his last IV out, which he did great with except once it was finally out and she put the Band-Aid on he started crying. Go figure.

Then it was time to play! We got him out of his hospital gown and into a pajama top. The pants were a bit too long and we didn’t want him to trip over them. His legs had gotten so skinny since we first got to the hospital. I didn’t realize how much muscle mass he was losing just laying in bed until I saw him standing on those little sticks. My little boys chunky thighs were all gone. Now I can see why he was so wobbly.

Shortly after playing, the pediatric cardiologist and pediatrician came in to talk about care at home, when to call the doctor, fever concerns, etc. All that fun discharge stuff. Then all we had to do was wait for Aaron to leave work and get the van to pick us up! Once he arrived, he started loading the van while I signed the official discharge papers. Then the nurse brought in the wagon for George to leave the hospital in style. He wasn’t too sure about the wagon this time and looked rather grumpy/unsure to begin with.

But then as we started going down the hall, onto the elevator, and down the main hallway where he could see out the window, he started to get happier. Then for the first time in almost a week, we were OUTSIDE! I saw George light up as soon as we walked out the door and he could hear the cars, feel the breeze, and then he saw our van and I knew that he knew he was finally going home!

Here is Aaron and George shortly after we got home from the hospital. George was all set up on the couch with some juice and crackers, a blanket, and the TV. So happy to be home!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

George's Surgery: Day 4

Nights have gotten better with more sleeping. Still not a full night’s rest, which is almost impossible to do in a hospital with vitals constantly being checked. Aaron came by early in the morning and Nurse Monica said it was time to get George out of bed and get him to start walking again. I’ve been too scared to hold him myself, for fear of injuring him, but Aaron seems to have no problem with it. So I stood by with the camera and Aaron and Nurse Monica got George out of bed and ready for some walking. This did not go well, as George’s legs were wobbly. He reminded me a lot of Bambi learning to walk for the first time. George couldn’t even hold himself up much less take a step on his own. And he was absolutely miserable being out of bed. He spent most of the time crying and we all finally just gave up and put him back in bed.

After his walking attempt, it was time to remove a drainage tube! He also got a new IV started in his hand because the old one was getting irritated. The best thing that happened was that George got his central line in his neck removed!!!! This meant that George got to have his arm restraints taken off and could give his teddy bear a great big hug. As you can see, it wasn’t very much fun for him to get these things removed, and he did a lot of crying and straining and worked up quite a sweat. But he does look content now holding his teddy bear and being able to lie on his side.

He was quite pouty for the rest of the morning. Too much going on, I suppose.

We got a new nurse in the afternoon, named Elise and she had a wonderful idea of taking George on a wagon ride around the PICU. I had the task of lifting him out of bed and putting him in the wagon. I was so nervous about it and it was the first time I held him in days. It was special, yet scary for me.
George was not too happy about being taken out of his bed and being put in the wagon. He did not know what was about to happen. But once the wagon started moving, you could see him just begin to relax. He sure was a cute little guy! After doing a couple of laps around the PICU, the nurse practitioner suggested that we take him around the rest of the children’s hospital. So off we went!
With the children’s hospital still being very new, the halls and waiting areas were very quiet. We stopped by a fish tank just outside the special care nursery. It was here that Nurse Elise felt we should try to get George to walk again. George was not happy about this but he did take a few steps with some assistance. He wanted to get back in the wagon so we made him walk to the wagon.

Once back in the wagon, he decided to be pouty again. But the rest of us were very happy with his accomplishment. Here he is with Nurse Elise.

To cheer him again, we went downstairs to the lobby to check out the “wall”. He enjoyed popping all of the bubbles but it was time to head back up to the PICU.

It was time to put him back in his bed and then he spent the rest of the evening entertaining us! He began making his big smiles again, showing lots of teeth as he was playing with his Papa. He also enjoyed some graham crackers and some banana. I was so happy that he was finally eating real food again!

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