Gluten-Free White Peach Tart

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Makes one 10-inch tart; serves 8

2 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free all-purpose flour (I use the Trader Joe’s Brand)
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons cold butter
3 to 5 small ripe white peaches, pitted and thickly sliced (about 1/2-inch wide)

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a mixing bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Stirring enables the salt and sugar to sift the flour, so you don’t need to sift it in advance. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, almond milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just enough to dampen; do not over work it. Then, transfer the dough to an 10-inch tart pan (you can use a smaller or bigger one if needed), and use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge. This will work if you pat firmly and confidently, but not if you curl your fingertips into the dough. It should be about 1/ 8-inch thick all around; trim and discard excess dough.

2. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. (If your peaches are especially juicy, add 1 tablespoon additional flour.) Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine granules and tiny pebbles.

3. Starting on the outside, arrange the peaches overlapping in a concentric circle over the pastry; fill in the center in whatever pattern makes sense. The peaches should fit snugly. Sprinkle the pebbly butter mixture over top (it will seem like a lot). Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until shiny, thick bubbles begin enveloping the fruit and the crust is slightly brown. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Published in: on August 8, 2013 at 5:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Birth story of Elise Marie

Elise Marie – 3 hours after birth

The morning of July 23rd arrived. This was my “due date” that had been given to me about 9 months ago. At the time I laughed and thought “why do they even give you a due “DATE”? They should just give you a due week or even month! I was determined to not let that date be too engrained in my head and so when people asked me when I was due I replied “Sometime at the end of July or early August”. That worked for a little while, but once this day was approaching and even more so when it came I felt the pressure. Having been fully effaced and 1cm dilated for over a week now I was ready for this baby to come! Well even though I spent the previous week hiking my butt up the hill behind my house, there was still no sign of her arrival on that day.

Two days later, Wednesday, July 25th, I spent most of the early morning getting unusually sick. I was thinking I must have eaten something bad the night before, but wasn’t sure what that could have been. I spent the morning and afternoon trying to sleep it off. Around 3pm I started getting sick again so I took another nap. I decided not to go out that night like I planned and just stay home and rest instead.

Around 7:00pm I began feeling very strange, unlike the sickness I felt before. I got my first contraction that felt different than any of the braxton hicks I had felt in the months before. I decided to spend some time on the exercise ball, getting in a good cry (from the show) while I watched Army Wives. Around 7:30 I felt a contraction that was very intense and completely different even from the few I had just felt. I continued to sit and rotate my hips on the ball.

My husband got home at 9:30pm. By that time my contractions were about 9-12 minutes apart. I looked at him right when he walked in the door and said “Babe, I’m totally in labor!” He laughed and got so excited! We decided that while I was working through contractions we would put on a few episodes of Burn Notice we had to catch up on as a hopeful distraction to their discomfort.

Around 11:00pm we decided to go for a walk. At this point my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and would last at least 30 seconds long. As we walked my contractions got stronger and stronger that I couldn’t move when they came on. We got back home where I took a bath and shower and the contractions kept on coming.

By 1:00am (now July 26th) my contractions were 3-5min apart and lasting 45-60 seconds each so I decided to call Kaiser to let them know I was coming up at some point. The nurse told me that she wanted me to wait one more hour then come up if my contractions stayed as consistent. Well, 2:00am came and passed and even though my contractions were still getting stronger and staying consistent, I wasn’t ready to go to the hospital yet, I wanted to be home.

Around 3:00am my husband so lovingly reminded me that we had a 25-30min drive to the hospital and that if I was now at 3min contractions lasting for just over 1 minute that it would be best for us to head up. So he packed the rest of our things in the car and at 3:45 we did just that. Being in the car was awful. Traffic was terrible due to night construction and every contraction felt worse and worse, especially since I was strapped to a chair on a bumpy road!

We checked into Labor & Delivery at 4:15am, where I was given a vaginal exam by my amazing nurse – I was dilated to 4 1/2 centimeters. My contractions were lasting almost 2 minutes at that point. I got in the shower and stayed in there for almost 30min through several painful contractions. After I got out the midwife came in and she wanted to check me; I was then at 6 centimeters! During the next hour, between 5:45-6:45 I moved around, squatted, sat on the birthing ball, whatever I wanted to do during the contractions to make myself feel a little relief from the pain. I was amazed at how the contraction seemed to last for so long but the in between time flew by so fast!

The nurse came in and calmly told me “Ok, we think your baby might be on the larger side. This could be potential for complications that we just need you to know about right now just in case. We are thinking she could be somewhere between 8-10lbs, and because you have never given birth we don’t know if she will fit ok or not. We will let you continue to go completely natural and we will watch for any warning signs to keep you both safe.” She went on to explain some of the risks, the main one being shoulder dysplasia. I kind of panicked! 10 pounds!? What if she did get stuck? What if I get some insane tear? Oh my gosh – Why do they break this news to you while in labor?? Come on!

Well, at 6:45am I was in so much pain, I looked at Dave and said “I don’t know what I was thinking with this whole “no drugs” thing! I can’t do this! I just can’t do it. I need to rest but they won’t stop coming and they hurt so bad!” He calmly and sweetly reassured me that I was strong, that I was capable and that I could do this for our baby girl. I wanted to believe him, but I had been under the impression that I was going to have this crazy long labor since it was my first, so I was thinking I was going to have to go on like this all day long! I told the nurse “I don’t want an epidural but is there anything I can do to just give my body a rest for like 10 minutes even. She told me about one drug I could take that would help me sleep in between contractions. For a minute it sounded so tempting. She then said “the only way I can give it to you, if you decide you want it, is if you’re under a 6. Let’s check you.”

Well to my surprise, here I was at 9 centimeters!! My husband later told me he knew I was in transition because of the classic sign that we learned about in our birthing class, the sign that the woman will beg and plead for any relief, even drugs, because of the intense pain of transition.” I was so happy to know he was paying so much attention in our Bradley class!

A 9! I couldn’t believe I was at a 9! Oh my gosh, it was really happening! At 7am the midwife came in and told me I had just a little lip of cervix over the baby’s head and that if I spent the next few contractions squatting that I would be fully dilated and ready to push. However, the baby was in posterior position so before I could squat I needed to spend time on my left side so she could turn. I spent the next 3 most incredibly painful contractions on my left side and sure enough, she turned, and it hurt like hell. I then went from my side into a squatting position on the side of the bed.

Just then they had a shift change and I lost my amazing nurse who was such a great coach and support and gained one who was a lot more commanding and serious. I wasn’t very happy about this change and neither was my first nurse, but she wasn’t allowed to stay overtime. I didn’t have the energy to really spend time thinking about the change too much, I was very focused and engaged on what was going on inside me.

Around 7:35am I went on my hands and knees on the bed when I felt the urges to push. I had a fetal monitor on my belly at that point but it wasn’t picking up her heartbeat as well as the new nurse wanted so she put a pulse reader on my finger, which I constantly took off in the middle of contractions because it was so annoying to me. She wasn’t very happy with that and wasn’t able to find the baby’s heartbeat and said we needed to put an internal monitor on the baby’s head. I got into a side lying position, continued to push and they put on the monitor, quickly her heart rate showed up.

Next thing I remember is that the midwife and a doctor came in. I later found out the doctor was there “just in case” the baby got stuck. She just stood against the wall behind the midwife. I continued to push and they asked me to reach down and feel the baby’s head. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I couldn’t believe it was MY BABY’S head!! After two more pushes she emerged, screamed out loud and was plopped right onto my stomach and chest.

The feeling of this beautiful life coming from my body was the most intense rush I’ve ever felt in my life, one that I doubt will ever be topped. I was overwhelmed with emotions of joy, pride, adrenaline and pure love. Tears flowed so fast that I could barely see through them, but hearing her cry was all I needed in that moment. I looked up and saw my husband, also in tears, with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. He later said something like “I was overjoyed and amazed at our baby girl but the tears of joy were all for you – I was so incredibly proud of you, you did it! I wanted to go shout to the world that my wife is a superhero, she just birthed a baby all on her own!” haha. I love him so much!!

Elise Marie was born on July 26th at 8:22am weighing 8lbs 6oz and 20.5in long. She had a beautiful head of hair and eyes that were so wide and absolutely stunning from the moment she opened them. We were both absolutely head over heels in love in a matter of seconds.

Despite a horrible tear that brought on all kinds of complications for me, I was very happy with the whole birth experience and what my body was able to do. I am so honored to be a woman who was able to have this experience that changed me forever. I am so amazed at the incredible thing God created my body to do and that He gave me the strength to do it. The sense of accomplishment I feel is unreal and unlike any other feelings I’ve had before. The post-birth “high” I felt lasted for days and every time I think of it I feel a little bit of it again. I pray that I get to do it all over again someday!

Since I had denied antibiotics for Strep-B (that I had tested positive for at 20wks but negative for at 37wks) we were asked to stay for 48hrs for observation. The nurses treated me like a queen, I was so happy with the postpartum care. We had a beautiful room with a bed for Dave to stay with us and plenty of room for our family and friends to visit. To top all of that, Elise was a great breast feeder from the start, I was so happy!

This child has the most beautiful personality. She is so laid back, content and happy. I knew something was special about her from the moment I saw her, but when she looked me in the eyes the day after she was born and gave me a huge smile it was even more confirmed. She smiled since she was a day old and hasn’t stopped smiling since!

I have to give some credit to my amazing midwife I had the privilege of seeing for my pregnancy at Kaiser, her name is Connie. She was such a blessing to me in a way I don’t think she will ever really know. She made me feel so comfortable, like more than just a patient she had to see next. She always gave me so much if her time and made me feel confident in my pregnancy and in my birth plans. She took time to get to know me and my family and during the time we had to give N back to her biological mom she was such a comfort to me about it. She is the kind of person I feel like I could enjoy sitting across from having coffee and hearing about all her birth stories as a midwife – I don’t know any other medical professional I could say that about (besides my father in law). Even though she wasn’t able to be the one to deliver Elise I am still so grateful for the way she went above and beyond to make my experience one to remember fondly.

I owe my husband a paragraph, too! From the beginning of my pregnancy he was so incredibly supportive, helpful and surprisingly willing to read the 39th article I had found on whatever pregnancy or birth topic on any particular day. He went above and beyond what I ever would have expected him to do for me, but that should not have surprised me since he has been that way since the day I met him; always wanting to serve others so selflessly. Our birthing class was 6 weeks long, almost an hour drive each way and full of information that most men don’t enjoy learning about, but he came, participated and made sure I knew how much he was supporting me. During labor he was so gentle, patient and present for me, listening to the things I needed and watching for the silent cues so I didn’t even have to ask. He prayed over me both out loud and to himself and that made me feel so at peace. I don’t know how I got so lucky to have someone so incredible as my husband and as the father of our beautiful child.

I could not be more thankful for an amazing pregnancy that I enjoyed so much and the birth experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I am so in love with this beautiful life and the blessing to be a mother again!

Proud daddy! (Photos taken by Briana Sherry)

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Published in: on September 17, 2012 at 3:43 pm  Comments (3)  

Will I ever get my sleep back?

After we said goodbye to “Little D” we decided to take a few weeks of a break before we took a new foster placement.  I had 4 weddings in 4 weeks and Dave had a lot of work to do to gear up for all of his summer trips so we knew it would not be fair to a child to go through our crazy month with us. We now see that God had a plan in our waiting because our next baby was going to be a special one!

On the day we were open to a new placement we received baby N, aka: little Nugget.   At 6lbs 10oz she was the smallest bundle of love to live in our house so far.  She was only 4 weeks old and as beautiful as can be.  As many of you know in gaining a newborn you say goodbye to precious sleep.  The first few nights were the “honeymoon” portion for me thinking “aw, this isn’t so bad, I can deal with this…”.  After about night 4 I think I wanted to cry.

I am happy to say now, 5 weeks and 3lbs later this baby is getting some pretty good sleep!  We have one 5-6 hour stretch starting around 8:30 or 9:00pm, which is so nice, if only we went to bed that early!!  That has become a new mission of mine, to change my bedtime…yea right.  We’ll see if I can do it.

Baby N is such a joy.  We are so in love with her and love to watch her as she starts to do new things.  Her newest: smiling and cooing.  Oh my gosh, SO sweet!! I could just sit and watch her for hours.  As a matter of fact, Dave is doing that right now, they are talking about roller coasters, haha.

Thank you to all of you who have blessed us with baby clothes and other items.  We are putting them to great use!! More updates to come, but I will leave you with my favorite picture of her so far – that I’m allowed to post that is.

 

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 10:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Because I said so…

I think it’s pretty safe to say that you know you’ve become a parent when your vocabulary starts to transform into four word sentences, like the following:

Sit down right now.
Don’t you touch that!
Listen to me please.
Don not talk back.
Come over here now.
And my personal favorite: Because I said so.

You see, I never thought I’d ever say that.  I have heard countless parents utter the phrase and I suppose it was only a matter of time before I became one of those poor souls.  🙂

About a month ago (sorry this is so late) we were blessed with our first foster placement, Little D.  She is 2 years old and absolutely adorable.  Even though we only had her for 2 weeks we fell in love with her.  Just like any typical 2 year old her vocabulary was full of questions.  Well…maybe just one question: Why?  I finally realize now why so many parents resort to “Because I said so”.  I think there is only so many times you can repeat yourself before you just go nuts.  The first time it came out of my mouth I have to say it surprised me but during that time with her it became kind of typical.  I tried my best every time “Why” came up to answer with as much detail as I possibly can within reason for a 2 year old, however, more times than not it usually ends in those four words.

Little D is not with us any longer because she was transferred to a home where she and her brother can be together, which is the best thing for them both so we are very happy.  We are hoping that we can spend some time with her in the near future.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

With Licensing comes Patience.

It’s been several weeks now since we finished our Foster Parenting class and finished up our massive amounts of applications and other paperwork for our license.  As eager as the county is to get foster homes you would think they would have worked a little faster to get us licensed and be careful not to lose our paperwork.  As of right now all we are waiting for is a piece of paper in the mail saying we’re licensed then we can start accepting babies.

At the same time that we have been waiting there has been a lot of reason to be thankful for the delay.  Who knew that I would learn not only patience but also to be grateful for the long process after this weekend?

Many of you know that this last Sunday my dad had a grand mal seizure early Sunday morning that brought us all to Petaluma Valley Hospital at 2:30am.  After a long night of tests and flowing emotions by all of us, my dad was released and has been undergoing a series of tests each day since.  We didn’t know until we were at church that morning that Dave’s brother, Kevin, had also been admitted to the Emergency Room in Los Angeles just hours before my dad was due to severe abdominal pain.  Sunday afternoon could quite possibly be one of the most emotional days I’ve had in years.  Dave started on a 6 hour drive to be with his brother while I stayed back to help my family in any way possible.

As I look back on the events of the last 4 days I see many places where God’s hand was so visible.  If we had been licensed when promised we both wouldn’t have been able to go to the hospital to be with my family and Dave probably wouldn’t have been able to go to LA to be with Kev since we would most likely have had a baby by this last weekend.

I am so thankful for the lesson in patience and for the way God looks out for us even when we don’t know what is happening or about to happen.  I am also thankful that Dad and Kevin are both doing much better now and also for all of the prayers and support we got from our friends and family.

Now, let’s see how long after today we will wait for our license to be done…Can you tell I’m a little anxious? 😉

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm  Comments (2)  

Home Inspection #1

So imagine someone told you they were going to come and inspect your house before you could become parents.  How nerve racking would that be?  Yea, it really is.

I believe we’ve spent the last 6 days cleaning.  Doing laundry.  Setting up the nursery.  Cleaning again.  Rearranging our bedrooms.  Doing more laundry and then more cleaning.  The night before the inspection we stayed up til 1am, and probably kept our neighbors up too, setting up the most annoyingly imperfect dresser ever.  When we finally did get to bed I was wide awake so nervous that I forgot to clean something!

The morning of the inspection and home interview came and I made sure I didn’t mess up the bathroom getting ready for my day, wiping the surfaces and floor as I went.  I forget to eat breakfast and more importantly I forget to have coffee!  In fact, I was so nervous that I didn’t realize until AFTER the interviewer declined my invite for a cup of coffee that I actually forgot to put the water in the coffee maker before pressing “Start”.  Boy was I thankful she said she didn’t want any – that would have been just a little embarrassing.  I suppose I made up for it by perpetually yawning throughout the course of our time together.  Classy, I know.

At 9:58 my doorbell rings and my home inspection begins.  She walks through the front door completely overlooking my immaculate looking living room and moves right on into the kitchen.

‘Wait a minute!’ I thought to myself, ‘You mean you’re not going to check under my couch cushions to see that I’ve vacuumed them?  Or look at my lampshades to make sure there is no dust?’

Well, as it turns out, they really don’t care if every slat on my blinds was clean or if I used a Q-tip to clean the cracks of the furniture.  They really aren’t worried that I had a spoon in my sink even though I shrieked inside when I saw it!  So how relieved was I when I realized that they understand that homes are meant to actually be LIVED in??  Oh my, words can’t even describe.

Well after almost 2 hours of inspecting and interviewing it turns out I’m going to need another appointment just like today to finish up the other 47 questions left that we didn’t get to on the interview form.  Thankfully, we did pass the home inspection with only a suggestion to remove a dying rosebush in the backyard and get a few locks for our cabinets, simple really.  But for next time I know that it will be okay if there are a few dishes in my sink or a few specs of dust on my coffee table.

And next time I will make the coffee veerrryyy slowwwlyyyy.

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 8:37 am  Comments (1)  

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Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 1:50 am  Leave a Comment