Lemon + Thieves

Since we’re coming into colder weather and cold and flu season, I’ve been thinking of ways to protect my family. Since we have a new baby I’ve been on a little terror. This little girl is my life, and I want to do everything that I can to protect her.

We had our first lazy Sunday for once in a very long time. Daisy doesn’t sleep in, but we all took it nice and slow in the morning and cuddled in bed. When we finally did move into our living room, I felt like my thieves oil was calling to me. Josiah sat down on the couch to play a video game, and I decided to go through my oil drawer.

When I first got into essential oils, I bought the Young Living starter kit. It came with a diffuser and so many amazing oils to start my oily journey. Two of those oils were thieves and lemon. Thieves is amazing for immune system support, something that I want this time of year! It also helps with respiratory support (and I mean, can’t we all use more help with that?) My lemon oil is a staple in my house for so many things. It has such a clean fresh smell, which makes me feel like my house is way cleaner than it actually is. But something that I just recently learned is that lemon is also great for immune system support. So when I was deciding what oils to grab, I immediately went for those two. I put three drops of each in my Aria Diffuser and the moment I turned it on Josiah asked me what I was diffusing because it smelled so good, I kid you not.

I will do anything I can to keep my family happy and healthy. I’m so happy that there is a company out there like Young Living that allows us natural products for me to use.

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Crock Pot Italian Chicken Sandwiches

On today’s episode of Lauren’s Crock Pot, we have this little recipe I recently found online. I was drawn to it because once again, it calls for minimal ingredients. I’m not certain if I mentioned this before, but I do not eat red meat. I eat turkey, chicken, and fish, so those are the only meats you’ll find me blogging about.

Since I cook a lot of chicken, I wanted to try something a little different from what I’ve been making lately. The thing that I was drawn to about this recipe was that it was a sandwich. It suggested putting mozzarella cheese as a toping, so that’s what I did, but you could do whatever your favorite is!

One day I’ll blog about a meal that I make that doesn’t involve the crock pot, but today is not that day.

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Crock Pot Italian Chicken Sandwiches

2-3 large chicken breasts

14.5oz can fire roasted tomatoes

2 tablespoons basil pesto

pinch of salt

kaiser rolls

shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Put chicken, fire roasted tomatoes, basil pesto, and salt into crock pot. Stir ingredients until chicken is coated. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (mine was done around 7). Serve on your favorite roll with shredded cheese. Enjoy!

Buffalo History Museum

Yesterday, Daisy and I took a trip with her Papa to the Buffalo History Museum. There are so many things to do in Buffalo, but because of my job and work schedule (or lack of schedule) I don’t get to enjoy a lot of them. I’ve been trying to take advantage of my maternity leave now that I’m feeling better, and her Papa suggested the museum, so off we went.

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The history of the building itself is amazing. It was built in 1901 as the New York State pavilion for the Pan American Exposition. After the exposition, the  Buffalo Historical Society moved into the building. It was designed by a Buffalo architect, George Cary.

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Even though Daisy slept through the entire experience, it was so much fun to be able to go and spend some time with my dad. It’s been years since I’ve been there and there were some things that just haven’t changed at all! My favorite part, which I didn’t get a picture of (I was living in the moment) was seeing the Apostolic Clock.

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We had so much fun and we can’t wait to explore more fun things to do in Buffalo!

Crock Pot Chicken Chili

My good friend Christine got married on October 13th. It was such a beautiful fall wedding and so much fun! The food was delicious, and they had this chicken chili that was to die for. Honestly, if I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, this chili might be the winner.

Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to try to make chili at home. I’ve been looking for a crock pot recipe (surprise) and came across this one. Although it is a little different from the one I had at the wedding, I was pleasantly surprised with how good this came out.

If you know me at all, you know that I incorporate essential oils into my everyday life. They help to keep my family happy and healthy! I only use Young Living Oils, as every oil company is so different. Young Living created “Seed to Seal”, which basically means that they control every step of the process from planting the seed to shipping the oil to you. Because I know the company’s commitment to the quality of their oils, we’re able to use them in so many amazing ways! And that includes our recipes! For this one, I used my Black Pepper essential oil, and Josiah had a great idea while we were eating our dinner. He recommended adding my Lime essential oil to the chili next time, and now I can’t wait to make this again!

This recipe calls for a few more ingredients than my Hawaiian Chicken, but it’s still so easy! I took the leftover chicken from the night before and cut it into cubes and kept it in the fridge. that way, I just had to prepare everything else the following day. This meal is so flavorful and it’s going to be another staple in our fall/winter menu. This recipe makes a good amount, too, and since it’s just Josiah and I eating it we had a ton left over. We’re going to eat the leftovers today and we’re going to put it over white rice for a little different variation.

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Crock Pot Chicken Chili

4-5 large chicken breasts cut into small pieces (I like thin sliced chicken breast)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 of a sweet onion, diced

I cup frozen corn kernels

6oz can of tomato paste

14.5 can of fire roasted tomatoes

1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

1 drop of Young Living Black Pepper oil

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low for 7 hours. Enjoy!

Easy Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken

When Josiah and I first got married, I was amazing at planning our weekly menu for our dinners. We’d go food shopping every Sunday, buy the groceries we needed and never waste a thing. Life became busy, I became lazy, and slowly, planning our weekly meals became a thing of the past.

Planning meals is great for so many reasons! First, it’s healthier for us to cook our meals at home rather than buying out all the time. And speaking of buying out, cooking at home is also way less expensive! Lastly, by planning ahead it saves so much time and stress at the end of a long work day. We don’t have to go through the “what do you want to eat?” conversation because there is none! We’ve already discussed it and know what we’re going to be consuming.

I’ve been wanting to get back into meal planning for some time now. And since I’m slowly starting to feel like my normal (but sleep deprived) self, I figured now’s as good a time as any!

The only thing is I’m responsible for a little life, so I’m trying to find meals that taste delicious but also doesn’t confine me to a kitchen.

Enter crock pot!

We’ve had our crock pot for as long as we’ve been married, and I basically only use it at Christmas to make macaroni and cheese for my family’s dinner. With Daisy, I’ve been researching more recipes and today’s dinner was so easy and delicious that I wanted to share it! We had Hawaiian chicken, and it only calls for THREE ingredients! I mean, you can’t get any easier than that!

 

All you have to do is put some chicken breasts in the crock pot, throw in your favorite BBQ sauce, add some crushed pineapple and four hours later you have a meal. The crock pot makes the chicken so tender, so I take a fork and shred it. I then put it over white rice; my husband loved it! (Oh yeah, I used that 5-minute rice as well. Easy, easy, easy.)

We’re going to be adding this to our normal rotation for certain!

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Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

2-3 large chicken breasts (I like thin sliced chicken breasts)

8oz crushed pineapple

18oz barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

Put everything in the crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours. Shred with a fork. Serve over white rice. Enjoy!

Daisy’s birth story.

I’ve been wanting to write down Daisy’s birth story, more so for myself. It was the hardest day(s) of my life and I worry that one day I won’t be able to recall all of the details. Sometimes I think I don’t want to remember all of the details (birth is NO JOKE), but no matter how horrible labor was, at the end of it I got my baby girl. I would go through it a million times over again for her.

My due date was August 20, 2018. For the entire length of my pregnancy, August 20th was always the goal. Even though my doctor told me I could go into labor two weeks before or after that date, I never once thought that I’d go past it. I worked at the funeral home until the 20th, which also happened to fall on a Monday. I woke up that morning and decided to stay in bed and wait for contractions to start.

Except they didn’t.

This was an extremely hot summer, especially since I gained over fifty pounds in my pregnancy. Add a black suit that is the uniform of a funeral director and pluck me in the middle of a cemetery that has NO trees (because why would there be shade when I need it most!?) I basically died myself during the last trimester. Needless to say, I was ready to give birth. I don’t think I’ve ever been more uncomfortable in my own body than I was in the last few days before Daisy’s birth.

On August 23rd I still had no contractions and I was determined to walk this baby out of me. So my dad came over early and we first went to get breakfast. I had a cheese omelet that was so good; it’s funny how I remember that little detail! After, we grabbed Lindy and walked ALL over my neighborhood. By the time Josiah got home from work I began to have very light cramping. I was so excited because I thought, finally! Maybe this is the start of everything! But it was so light that I also started to second guess myself. So Josiah and I went on with our normal evening. About 7pm I decided to take a bath, and it felt so good that I didn’t get out of the tub until 10pm! I kept refilling the hot water it was just so relaxing. At 10:30pm, just as I was about to crawl into bed for the night I felt a little water run down my legs. Great, I thought, I just peed myself! So I went to the bathroom and attempted to crawl into bed again. Except I peed myself again. This caused me to stop and think, because pregnancy makes you do a lot of things, but peeing myself two times in a row? I had more confidence in my bladder than that! At this point, I realized that this was my water breaking (but there was never this huge gush! It was just a little trickle). My doctor told me if my water were to break before my contractions started to call them right away and let them know. So at this point I picked up the phone and called, thinking that they’d tell me to stay home until my contractions were a minute long, every five minutes, for an hour.

Nope! They told me to go straight to the hospital! I thought they’d just want to check me out and send me home. There was no way they’d keep me there if I didn’t have contractions and things weren’t progressing. Before walking out of the house I told Josiah to grab the hospital bag, just in case. I also snapped a quick picture of me and Lindy, just in case this was the last time he’d be the only child.

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Since we arrived at the hospital after 8pm (it was 11:30pm by the time we got there), we had to go in through the emergency room. Right as Josiah and I entered the doors we were immediately stopped by security. He very urgently asked “How many weeks!?” Before I replied 40 and he told me to stay right there. About a minute later a man came to get me with a wheelchair. I thought it was a little much, since I still didn’t have any contractions, but they made me sit down and I was wheeled to labor and delivery with Josiah behind me.

When we got there, I handed them my license and insurance card and they brought me to a room. They handed me a gown and told me to put it on. I was so confused! I asked them if I was staying (I still thought they were just going to check me out) and the nurse told me that yes, I was staying as I was now admitted. I was so overwhelmed at this point because I wasn’t expecting to stay. I changed and she told me she was going to send some other nurses and doctors in.

About five people came in shortly after. The doctor, who was a complete asshole (I’m sorry for the language, but I have no other word to describe him) checked me and informed me I was 3 centimeters dilated. That shocked me! I guess those little period-like pains were doing something! He then tried to hook me up to an IV. I told him no – I did not want an IV. He asked me what kind of pain management I was thinking about having and I informed him I wasn’t; I wanted to have a natural unmedicated birth. He looked at me with this face and did this little smirk-laugh and at that moment I wanted to punch him! I could tell he thought I was crazy. Did I mention that when he spoke he had no personality? I was nervous being in a hospital as it was, and he was so cold and made me even more uncomfortable and nervous. I finally agreed to have a port put into my arm in the event of a medical emergency where they’d need to pull me in for a C-section. Once he left I told the nurse I did not want to see him again. Thankfully, that was the last of him.

I asked the nurse for a medicine ball and started to bounce up and down on that. Shortly after  12am on August 24th, the contractions started. They were manageable at first and I thought, this is it! I’m so ready!

Well, no one is every really ready, are they?

Because I quickly learned that I wasn’t. About 2am I decided to get into the shower, as the hospital did not have a tub in the room. Thankfully, they had wireless monitors which allowed me to do this, and I really contribute the shower to me making it as far as I did. Because the contractions just got worse and worse. Josiah got into the shower with me at one point, and having him there with me helped so much. Just knowing he was with me, even if he couldn’t physically help me, eased my mind. But as time went on I began to doubt myself more and more. It just hurt so bad! I called my mom and cousin and started to ask them their opinions on epidural. I was adamant that I did not want one! But the pain was getting to be too much to handle. At 7am, my nurse informed me that her shift was ending and I’d have someone new. I wasn’t particularly happy about that because I didn’t want to get someone else with the temperament of that other doctor, but God had me covered. A real life angel by the name of Deb walked in and I honestly credit her with getting me through the rest of my labor. I asked her if she had children and she said yes, she had three. I asked her if she had an epidural and she said yes, for each one. With each contraction at this point, I began to not be able to breathe. I knew that if I couldn’t breathe through them, that I was going to stall my labor because my mind was working against my body. I knew at this point that I needed to get the pain medicine. I went back to the bed at this point and Deb called the doctor in to check me again. This time there was a new doctor. He looked so young, I was in so much pain, and since I hated my last doctor I saw, I asked this one how old he was. He said he was insulted! But told me he was thirty. I smiled at this and told him that I have a job where I’m constantly asked how old I am aswell, so it felt nice to be able to ask that to someone else for a change. He checked me and told me I was seven centimeters dilated! I couldn’t believe it and asked him if he was lying. He laughed and hit my leg and told me he wasn’t lying. I loved him! He made me feel so much better with his personality. It seemed like God was putting the professionals in my life at this point that I needed. This also explained why I couldn’t handle my contractions anymore. I was in transition, the most intense part of labor. So I was hooked up to the IV and began to get the fluids that I needed to get the epideral.

I finally got it at around 9am. I was always so afraid of getting an epidural, but I didn’t even feel it. As the medicine started to work I began to relax, thinking that I’d finally be able to get some rest.

And that’s how I stayed. Drifting in and out of sleep as time went on. My epidural didn’t stop the pain, because I still felt loads of pressure with each contraction, but it made it more manageable. Josiah diffused lavender in the room to help me relax some more. We had a TON of oils that I was prepared to use to help me labor, but I couldn’t think straight to ask for them. Lavender is our go to for everything though, and through really bad contractions he would hold the bottle directly under my nose. At around 2pm, Deb had the doctor come back to check me. I was 8 centimeters dilated. Even though it was an improvement, I was so discouraged. I know a side effect of the epidural is that it can stall labor, and that’s exactly what it was doing.  She said that my OBGYN had called to check my status, and since I wasn’t progressing as they’d like, she suggested I start a Pitocin drip. I did not want this either! I wanted a unmedicated birth and was already disappointed in myself for getting the epidural. So I asked Deb if the baby was in any danger. She said no, so I told her in that case I did not want the Pitocin. Since Pitocin causes your contractions to increase, it can put more pressure on the baby leading to more C-sections. If I could help it at all, I did not want to put myself down that road.

At around 4pm, the doctor came back in and checked me. I was still 8 centimeters. He and Deb talked to me and strongly suggested the Pitocin. They said if it put too much pressure on the baby they could always stop it, but if I didn’t progress any more I may have to end up having a C-section. I agreed and they started it.

I asked for more pain medicine with my epidural because the pressure was getting to be too much, so they increased it and honestly, at this point I didn’t feel a thing! I wondered why they didn’t give me this dose to begin with because if labor had felt like this from the start of the epidural I could have handled it much better!

I actually drifted off to sleep again at this point. At a little after 5pm, my OBGYN came into my room. She asked me how I was doing and asked if she could check me. I told her of course, even though I knew nothing had changed. I was just so tired and discouraged! She checked me and smiled, and exclaimed that I was 10 centimeters! I couldn’t believe it! She told me to get ready, because we were going to meet my baby! As she got ready, she told me that I had to wait for a contraction, and as soon as I felt it I would have to hold my breath and push three times in a row. Josiah was going to hold my  one leg and Deb would hold my other. As I started to push I was overwhelmed with how hard it was. It took so much energy for me to do it. Pushing was by far the worst part of the entire experience, which was so odd because all of the birth stories that I had read the women would say how pushing felt good! And it definitely did not feel good for me! I pushed for over an hour, getting more exhausted as time went on. My doctor told me that I was beginning to tear and that she wanted to do an episiotomy. If she would have asked me this an hour ago I would have said no way! But at this point I needed this baby out of me!When the baby’s head started to crown, Josiah told me that he saw a lot of hair! I didn’t think I’d be able to do one more push, but with the encouragement of my doctor, husband, and nurse, I did it and before I knew what was happening the baby was out! I didn’t even ask what gender the baby was, I was way too tired. Josiah told me that Daisy was here! The name we had previously decided on if the baby was a girl. He cut the umbilical cord and stayed by Daisy’s side as she was weighed and measured and as I got stitched up. She weighed 6 pounds 1 ounce, had so much hair, and was absolutely perfect. Twenty one hours of labor. The hardest twenty-one hours of my life, all worth it for her.

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The Great Pumpkin (farm), Charlie Brown!

If you live in the Buffalo area than you’ve heard of the Great Pumpkin Farm. Once Fall hits, social media begins to fill with photographs from the patch. They have thousands of pumpkins, a Halloween store, food, drinks, rides and games. I’ve always wanted to go, but I’ve never wanted to pay the admission to get in (it is free on weekdays, but half of the attractions are closed). This year I finally found the excuse I needed; the start of a new tradition with our little family!

It was a very cold and slightly rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from bundling up and heading out. Even though Daisy is so young and couldn’t appreciate a lot that the Great Pumpkin Farm had to offer, I know that I’m going to love looking back at the photos that we have. And each year will just get better and better I’m certain, as she grows and can really appreciate the Fall season and Halloween!

Josiah and I have a tradition of our own; we’ve been making fleece blankets for as long as I can remember. When the weather starts to turn we get into our car, head to Joann Fabrics, pick out some fleece and make our yearly blanket. This year, we decided to make two for our little lady. The first one has Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck on it (obviously for her name, but also because we love Disney!) The second blanket was Josiah’s idea. He loved the Peanuts, so when we saw this fabric we knew we needed it. It was perfect to keep Daisy warm on this day.

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Josiah decided to carry Daisy in a different carrier for this adventure, which I have to admit was easier to set up, but I personally didn’t like it as much. I still love my baby wraps! I can keep my little lady close and know that she’s snug as a bug in a rug. Josiah did say that this carrier was more manly, and I guess I agree with that, and it was much easier to get in her in and out. We ended up getting 4 pumpkins! One each for Josiah and I, a little one for Daisy, and a painted Sabres pumpkin for our pup, Lindy Ruff. When we carve the pumpkins I’ll make Josiah’s favorite; pumpkin seeds! He’s already been begging for them, but he has to wait just a little bit longer!

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