Easy Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries (frozen or fresh)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I bake my oatmeal in a cast iron skillet so I put my skillet in the oven while its preheating to warm up (I also add 3 TBS of butter to it and let it melt to coat the pan).

Mix ingredients and pour into hot skillet (or into a greased casserole pan if you aren’t using cast iron). Sprinkle a little extra coconut or brown sugar on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Best served warmed up with a slice of butter on top. We are loving this in the mornings. And it smells sooooo good while baking. Very “Fall-ish.”

Garden phase 3 // video tour

Well I kind of dropped the ball on updating you guys on our garden progress. ha Here it is July and we’ve been reaping tons of veggies from all of our hard work and I never even posted about me planting our seedlings! We obviously planted them. 😉

I got really sick towards the end of my pregnancy with Hollis and every ounce of my lack of energy was put into keeping myself and her alive (oh and my other three kids too ha) and blogging kind of fell to the wayside.

But Chris and I recorded a video update for you guys to see which will hopefully be even better than a blog post.

We are new to gardening and this is only our second year so we have a lot to learn, including how to better ward off diseases and mildew on our plants. We share the good and the bad to hopefully if you are new to gardening too you can learn from our mistakes and triumphs! Let me know if you guys enjoy the video.

Two pink lines

Two pink lines
Laughter and tears
Baby showers and gifts
Nausea and ginger and peppermint
Checking your belly in the mirror for a sign of growth

Your body swells with life and fluid
You waddle
You dream
You toil and push and cry
Or feel pressure and pain and fear and relief behind a thick blue curtain

You look down at your chest and see a brand new face
A person you get to discover and know before anyone else
A person who has spoken to you for months through kicks and jabs and swirls

You wake at night
You stumble
You reach for paci’s and wipes
You rock and cry
You rock and smile
Your heart and your breasts swell beyond capacity
You rock and sing

You lend fingers to chubby hands that need support as they take their first steps
You freeze ice packs for swollen gums as teeth make their painful entrance
You clap and sing
You say no and pop hands away from danger
You cry behind closed bathroom doors
You marvel at growth

A sigh of relief as your child puts on their shoes and clicks their seat belt unassisted
“We made it” you whisper as you feel a slight release in the boulder of responsibility on your shoulders
You sing together
You answer questions
You fix snacks
You answer more questions

You watch arms and legs once rippled with rolls now long and lean
You buy them bigger shoes and longer pants
You sometimes sing together
You sometimes sing alone
You buy them bigger shoes again

The realization sinks in slowly
The skin of your stomach loose and stretched but empty
Your arms and shoulder ache
Missing the rhythmic breathing of an infant
Why does your heart hurt so badly?

“Enjoy every moment” they say
“It goes by so fast!”
“You will miss this!”
Words that used to irritate
Words that meant well but never helped you get more sleep or soothe a toddler tantrum
Words you now realize are the grieving song of women who’s wombs are empty like yours

Why does no one tell you how much it hurts
This unnatural feeling that your body will never bring life into the world again
Why does no one talk about the sobbing that shakes your body
The regret that you should have heeded their words and enjoyed it more
The always wondering if someone else should have been born into your arms

How does a season go so slow you almost can’t bear it?
How does a season move so quickly you sit in shock, eyes wide that it has ended?

I didn’t know
I swear I didn’t know
How fast it would be done

So I sit
And I cry
And I let myself grieve
The wonder and beauty
The pain and agony
The blessing and privilege
Of my childbearing years.

how to can tomatoes without a canner

I’m so excited to share my video tutorial on how to preserve tomatoes without any fancy equipment. All you need are your jars, tomatoes, salt, lids and rings and a hot oven or dishwasher. Easy Peasy!

This is my Granny’s recipe and her tomatoes were notorious in our family. We absolutely loved them for spaghetti sauce, soups and chili’s. She was a great southern cook, gardener and canner and she would be proud to know so many of you guys would be using her recipe if she was still with us.

I hope my step by step video is helpful! Let me know if you guys try it out!

Pregnancy Update

So many of you guys have been checking up on me and being so incredibly kind in doing so. But I figured this might be a little bit easier than responding to every DM on Instagram.

For those of you who may not have seen my update, around 2 weeks ago I started vomiting uncontrollably…we’re talking like 7 times in 4 hours. My upper right side and across the top of my belly started hurting terribly. We called the nurse call line (because of course it was the weekend and the office was closed) and went into triage. They ran tests and hooked me up to an IV to give me fluids and nausea medicine (thank you Lord) and they were worried because of my history of this kind of pain at 34 weeks with Elliot’s pregnancy. With her I had the same symptoms and my liver was swollen and she ended up having to be delivered at 37 weeks because my symptoms wouldn’t let up.

I was 30 weeks and 1 day this time so we were all concerned about Hollis being delivered so early. They sent me home because my labs were all fine and the doctor told me to come back in Tuesday if I wasn’t feeling any better. I ended up going back the next day because the pain had gotten unbearable and I couldn’t make it until Tuesday.

I was still severely dehydrated so they gave me more fluids and ran tests and did an ultrasound on my gallbladder and liver. Everything came back normal, but I was still doubled over in pain and in tears. The doctor on call that day came in and said “Everything looks fine! Are you sure its not just heartburn?” I couldn’t even answer her because I was so in shock. Heartburn?! Really!? She then said “Pregnancy just sucks sometimes doesn’t it?” It took every bit of willpower for me not to strangle her with my IV. haha She sent me home with some pain meds. Thankfully they gave me some relief.

When I saw my doctor later that week he said the plan was just to basically survive. If the pain came back, I needed to take pain medicine to manage it.

That was two weeks ago and honestly I’ve been really struggling. I’ve been so sick and barely able to eat. I’ve lost 9 pounds in 12 days and am now back to what I weighed at 6 weeks pregnant. Thankfully I’ve been able to manage the pain with Tylenol and when needed the stronger pain medicine.

Today Chris drove me to the doctor and I threw up on the way there…and all I had eaten was jello and a smoothie. So that was fun haha We had an ultrasound and praise Jesus Hollis is looking great. They estimate that she weighs around 4lbs 7 oz.

My doctor said the new plan is to schedule a c section for me at 37 weeks. I am 32 weeks 3 days today, so in a little over a month! Honestly right now with how miserable I’m feeling that feels almost unbearable, like how am I going to make it 4 1/2 more weeks with constant nausea and vomiting and pain? But at the same time, I am determined to do the best I can to keep my daughter in there as long as possible to give her the best shot at life I can.

If my pain or dehydration gets too bad, the doctor said I need to check myself into the hospital to get some pain management and fluids to help me survive these next few weeks. Hopefully I won’t have to do that, but we shall see.

So that’s the “plan.” I hope that update helps and again thank you all so much for your kind messages and your prayers! I read every single one!

2021 Garden: Phase 2

This weekend, we got to work on our garden and this meant: building raised beds! We had planned to complete all of them, or at least get the supplies for them, but with lumber prices being way higher and our budget being tight…we decided to just get the supplies to build two beds. One for the onions I need to get in as soon as possible and the other for my lettuce I’m starting from seed soon.

One way we made the beds more affordable was to buy cedar privacy fence pickets. They were about $3.50 a piece, so way more than we were expecting but also not ridiculous. We used 2×4’s to create four “legs” on each end to put into the ground the level the bed.

Chris did a great job assembling the beds…especially considering we didn’t have plans for how to do these. He just made it up as he went and as usual it turned out great! The area we chose for our new garden is the most level in our yard, but it’s still downhill slightly, so I was excited to see what it looked like once he leveled the beds. Much more pleasing to the eye than the wonky way my other beds last year were laying. ha

After the bed was leveled, it was time to fill ‘er up! We used a soil combo recommended by one of our favorite youtube channels Hollis and Nancy’s Homestead. Its cow manure, peat moss, and soil. We used top soil from Lowe’s (and got the other two from there too). We aren’t planning on buying soil from the store for all of the beds because its EXPENSIVE. But we needed to just get these two done and it didn’t kill our budget in small quantities. We plan on finding bulk soil from a local farm for the next ones.

I used cardboard boxes to line the bottom to keep grass from growing through. I did this last year and it worked great. And it eventually decomposes so the plants can grow through it if they so choose. Then we added some limbs from the tree we cut down. It will take a while for those to decompose, providing lots of organic matter as food for the plants throughout the next few years.

We added some leaves from our pile we’ve been saving since the Fall. And then we added our soil mixture on top of that. And we were done with the first bed!

We didn’t have time to build the second one due to it starting to rain, but I’m hoping to get my onions in the bed by tomorrow. This is my first year growing onions and I’m nervous but hopeful I won’t screw it up too bad. ha

I’m so excited to have one bed down and ready to go! Gardening season cannot get here fast enough!

Check out our vlog of building the beds today.