Food

    Low Carb Crustless Quiche

    This year for Thanksgiving, we did a breakfast the Friday morning after Thanksgiving Day with my dad instead of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. I was pretty upset, I’m not going to lie, when Dad told me we weren’t doing a traditional Thanksgiving. It’s my all-time favorite holiday, and honestly out of all the foods out there, breakfast food brings me the least amount of joy. I have never been a breakfast eater. But, full disclosure, my dad is the breakfast king. He makes the best smoked bacon and sausage, the best biscuits and gravy known to man, and he smokes a mean salmon for bagel and lox. I brought my grandma’s favorite Creme Brulee French Toast but added pumpkin to it to make it festive. But in all honesty, the reason I loved this non-traditional Thanksgiving was because of Kim, my dad’s girlfriend, who was the star of the show.

    She made two of the best quiches EVER. I know they were the best ever, because I don’t like quiche and I LOVED hers, so much so, I am now addicted to them. She made a pancetta, kale, and onion one with Swiss cheese and a bacon, sausage, and cheese one. I was a huge fan of the pancetta one, but the sausage one was just as yummy. Her crust was crispy and delicious and her filling was full of flavor and the perfect airy texture. I loved it so much that I asked her to send the recipe. I am gearing up for that low carb life and I thought if I could make this crustless it would be a perfect breakfast for me. So I took her flavors and fillings and modified it to fit a ketogenic lifestyle. First try, I nailed it. But, I definitely wouldn’t of been able to without Kim’s assistance. She’s the true MVP in helping me make a low carb crustless quiche.

    Low Carb Crustless Quiche

    This is a flavorful, delicious quiche recipe that is healthy for all the low carb eaters out there. With only 2.5 g of carbs per slice. Also I recommend doubling the recipe to make two quiches. They freeze great!

    Course Breakfast
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 55 minutes
    Resting Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
    Servings 1 quiche, 8 slices
    Author Paige McDivitt

    Ingredients

    • 6 eggs
    • 1/2 lg onion finely chopped
    • 4 oz fresh spinach/kale
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 4 oz pancetta diced
    • 3/4 C heavy cream
    • 4 oz Swiss cheese, grated
    • 1 tsp mustard powder
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • cooking spray or butter to grease pan

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    2. Prepare a pie dish by either spraying with cooking spray or rubbing with butter. 

    3. In a skillet over medium heat add pancetta. Once it's close to browning add onions and garlic. Let cook until onions are translucent. 

    4. Add spinach or kale and sautee until wilted and tender. 

    5. Take off heat and let cool while preparing the other ingredients. 

    6. (I used a blender for best results, but an electric mixer should work fine as well) In a blender add in eggs, cream, and seasonings. Blend till completely mixed with a little froth on top. 

    7. In the prepared pie dish add a very thin layer of the cheese (this slightly mimics a "crust"). Add the pancetta mixture evenly on top. Top with a little more cheese, saving some for the top. Pour the egg mixture in and top with more cheese. 

    8. Place dish in the oven and bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Turn down heat to 325 and continue to bake for 45 minutes. 

    9. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Should be crusty on top and custard-like in the filling. 

    Food

    The Perfect Pizza Night

    Growing up, I wanted to do whatever my big brother did. He was and still is one of my most favorite people in the whole entire world. I can thank him for my taste in music, from our car rides to school in the mornings listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, O.A.R., and State Radio. I can also thank him for my love of video games. In high school, he let me hang out all the time with his friends. He would have about 10 guys over every weekend with their TVs and Xbox 360s and we would play games like Halo and Call of Duty till 5 in the morning. Those were some of the best nights of my life. I never had as much fun as I did those nights. Even years after, when all the guys went their separate ways to different colleges, they still came over Thanksgiving weekend and we would all play for one night with our tradition of turkey sandwiches.

    Now that we are all grown up and have children, I think it’s the most exciting thing in the world when my brother and me plan a video game night. This weekend his wife and girls were in Florida visiting her family, so we decided to have a video game and pizza night. It turned out to be the perfect pizza night.

    We had three TVs in our living room and decided to unite in the kitchen. In this situation, I was more his sous chef. I cook with intuition, and the natural abilities passed down by the many cooks in my family. Kyle enjoys the science and precision of cooking. So his talents are perfect for making pizza, which requires precise measurements. We have made a delicious pizza together before that was my brainchild with his dough and cooking skills.

    Fried calamari pizza with roasted tomato sauce, a lemony-yogurt drizzle, banana peppers, cheese, and parsley.

    This weekend, I was just Kyle’s humble sous chef. He brought the homemade sauce, his brand new wood-fire pizza oven, and his fancy flour for his homemade dough. He came over a little after 1 p.m., and we got started on the dough. He measure everything precisely by grams and we used my Kitchen-Aid stand mixer to knead the dough. We let it rise for almost three hours and then Kyle went to work measuring and forming little dough balls.

    When the dough balls rose after about 20 minutes Kyle got to work forming his pizzas.

    After that, Kyle put his homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella on it to make a Margherita pizza. He put it in his Ooni Pizza Oven, and it cooked it in less then two minutes. It turned out amazing. He came up with the most amazing crust. That was crispy, dense, but light and airy if that’s even possible. I don’t want to boost his ego, but it was probably the best pizza dough I’ve ever had. His pizza oven gets a huge assist for the amazing pizza we had. If you like pizza and cook it at home, you need one in your life.

    I can’t wait to experience more of Kyle’s yummy pizza and get creative with the toppings. We had a wonderful night hanging out, eating great food, and gaming like the good ole’ days.

    *some links are affiliated

    Life

    Best Finds at Aldi

    For those of us who don’t live close to a Trader Joe’s, I feel like Aldi is our version of it. Fun fact I’m sure everyone knows Aldi owns Trader Joe’s. Or is it Trader Joe’s owns Aldi? Either way they are siblings. I am always amazed when I shop at Aldi. I have a full cart and I’m always like “This is definitely going to be $200”. Because that’s how much it would be at Wal-Mart. NOPE it’s $24.57. I sometimes can’t even wrap my mind about how they come up with the magical price they shoot out of their fairy wands. I feel like Aldi is still a small kept secret. Our Aldi is only mildly busy, whereas Wal-Mart is a crazy cluster you-know-what. My cousin and I are always texting each other with what we found new at Aldi. I will say that is a small negative to Aldi. Some of the things I absolutely love there they never get back. So a lot of these items I usually stock up on so I don’t go months maybe years before they bring them back. Here is a list of the best finds at Aldi:

    Shrimp and Crab Ravilois

    One of my most favorite things I have ever gotten there is the shrimp and crab raviolis. This particular one they usually have pretty often, but I still grab about four bags of them to store in my freezer for easy meal nights where I don’t feel like cooking. They have had several raviolis or tortellinis in their Prima brand that they haven’t brought back, that I loved. So I am glad the shrimp and crab ones make a somewhat regular appearance. But in all honesty, all their pasta products are my favorite.

    Ahi Tuna

    The ahi tuna is strictly my favorite because of the price and the fact it’s sushi grade, which I didn’t realize until my sister-in-law and brother pointed out to me. So I now have a local connection to get my sushi-grade tuna AKA homemade poke bowls coming soon!

    Truffle Cheddar Cheese

    I feel like Aldi always has fun cheeses. They have all these different types of smoked or flavored cheese. But, again, they are not always there and sometimes hard to find again. I just recently came across the truffle cheddar cheese and I never want to part from it ever again. I am a HUGE truffle fan–well fake truffle flavored fan–don’t think I have ever had the real stuff. This cheese comes through. I just made a grilled cheese with it and then topped a quiche I had made with it and it took both those things to the next level.

    Smoked Salom/Tuna Poke Bowls

    Speaking of poke, every once in awhile Aldi has a pre-made poke bowl with smoked salmon or ahi tuna. It’s surprisingly pretty delicious. It comes with rice, the fish, and a packet of semi-spicy seasoning. The rice just needs to be nuked quickly to soften it up, but then it’s ready to serve. I usually always have avocado on hand, so I add that, any other veggies I have laying around, imitation crab, and spicy mayo and I got myself a fulfilling and delicious meal.

    Crab Cakes

    This is also a new thing I found. I wouldn’t say it was the best crab cake I have ever had pre-made, but again the price will always win out. It’s an easy and quick lunch idea. I paired it with a Bang Bang Sauce I found there (which I have yet to see again). Together it tasted delicious.

    Honey Goat Cheese

    I love goat cheese. Hy-Vee sells a brand called Chevoo that is Rosemary and Sea Salt and it’s one of the best cheeses I’ve ever had. But it also is like $8 for a small jar of it. So not the best bang for your buck. I love the honey flavored goat cheese from Aldi. I put it on a turkey panini I make all the time and have fried it and used it in salads. It’s so creamy and I love the sweetness the honey adds.

    Sun-dried Tomato Pesto 

    Aldi’s sun-dried tomato pesto is the best. I am obsessed with sun-dried tomatoes in general, so the fact they have a pesto is amazing. They pretty much have this all around so I never run out!

    Special Mention:

    Aldi has really good sweet breads like their Vanilla Swirl Brioche. They also have really fun frozen meal or box meal sides that are easy to throw together like mushroom risotto or truffle mac & cheese.

    What are some of your favorite Aldi finds?

    *none of the images are my own.

     

     

    Food

    Sushi Burrito

    I saw  a video featuring a sushi burrito a couple years ago and ever since then I had to make it. Unless you want to make a plain old California roll sushi burrito, the options for sushi-grade fish is quite limited. But after scouring the area, about an hour away from my home, I finally found sushi-grade tuna. So it was time to make this burrito a thing.

    Like anything I make, this can be completely customizable to whatever you like or whatever you have access to. For this particular one I chose cucumber, avocado, seaweed salad, tuna, and spicy crab. If I was on my A game, I would of ordered Unagi Sauce (eel sauce) from Amazon, fried up some tempura flakes, and got Tobiko (fish eggs). I may make this again soon and update it. I think for the Midwest and doing this on a whim I did a pretty good job!

    About three hours before I assembled the burritos I made the sushi rice. I cook rice according to the package (I did 2 cups of rice to 3 cups of water, it was enough for three sushi burritos and one regular sushi roll, so maybe do 2 1/2 C rice to 3 1/2 C water and it will give you for sushi burritos) and once it’s cooked I mixed together about 1/4 C of rice vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Mix that with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved and then add the hot rice to the bowl and mix well. Place a damp towel over the bowl and let sit until ready to assemble.

    Once I was about ready to start I started prepping my other ingredients. I julienned one cucumber (you’ll have plenty left over) and sliced the avocado.

    I sliced the tuna in long narrow strips and made the spicy crab mixture, which can be done two different ways.

    Then I shred crab (I just use imitation, but lump crab or even real crab would be amazing) and then mix in spicy mayo. I used a pre-made one that I already had in my fridge, but homemade spicy mayo is just as easy. You can just mix mayo (any amount you want, I usually do about 1/2-1 C) and then Sriracha a tablespoon at a time to get to your own desired spiciness.

    I bought pre-made seaweed salad at the same store that had my sushi-grade tuna.

    Then I got my nori sheets (I used two per burrito) and went to town putting the rice and toppings in my burrito.

    NUMBER ONE TIP for making sushi make sure your hands are wet, to prevent the rice from sticking and wet your knife before cutting to also prevent the rice from sticking.

    Instead of trying to describe precisely how I put the rice on and what not in text that’s why I made a video to go with it so make sure you check it out to see how to assemble your sushi burrito. It turned out great and I was so pumped to be eating a GIGANTIC sushi roll like a burrito! I mean how cool is that?

    *some links are affiliated. 

    Homemade Sushi Burrito

    Servings 4 burritos

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/2 C sushi rice (I used long grain rice and worked just as well)
    • 3 1/2 C water
    • 1/4 C rice wine vinegar
    • 2 TBSP sugar
    • pinch salt
    • 8 sheets nori paper
    • 6 oz sushi-grade tuna (or any sushi-grade fish you have access to)
    • 1 C imitation crab shredded
    • 1/2 C mayo
    • 2-3 or more TBSP Sriracha (depends on spice)
    • 1/2 cucumer seeded and julienned
    • 1 avocado thinly sliced
    • 1/2 C seaweed salad store bought
    • unagi sauce (optional)
    • fried tempura flakes (optional)
    • Tobiko (fish eggs) (optional)
    • soy sauce (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Cook rice according to package directions at least three hours before eating. 

    2. Once rice is done cooking, transfer to a bowl. I used a metallic bowl to prevent sticking. 

    3. In a small bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Whisk until salt and sugar are evaporated. Pour over rice and combine well with a spatula. 

    4. Cover rice bowl with a damp kitchen towel, for at least three hours to cool. This prevents the rice from drying out.


    5. While rice is cooling prepare the vegetables, fish, and other ingredients. 

    6. Mix together mayo and Sriracha and then transfer to a squeeze bottle. 
    7. Shred crab and add about 2-3 TBSP of spicy mayo to the crab, and combine. Reserve the rest of the spicy mayo to either drizzle inside or dip the burrito in.

    8. Assemble the burritos by laying down two pieces of nori, slightly overlapping each other. Spread a thin layer of cooled rice on one whole sheet and half of the other (make sure to have a bowl of water next to you to use for hands to prevent rice from sticking). 

    9. Near the edge of the sheet with rice, start place all the other ingredients in a line, layering ingredients on top of each other.

    10. Roll sushi roll  and close by dampening the edge of the nori sheet with the half amount of rice to help it close. Cut in half and serve. Any questions see video linked above. 

     

    Life

    Holiday Gift Ideas for a Baby

    I feel like a baby is pretty easy to shop for, especially if you are that baby’s parent. My toddler will be the more difficult one to shop for, in my opinion. We plan on getting Charley mostly clothes, at her age, she has no clue what’s going on. But if you have to buy a gift for a baby anywhere from the 4-12 month range. These simple ideas would be great holiday gift ideas for a baby.

    *as per usual, all gift ideas are linked in bold and are affiliate links.

    1. My First Soft Books are perfect for when a baby starts to develop and realize she or he has hands and can hold things. Scarlett loved hers as a baby. They are perfect for the car and would be a perfect stocking stuffer for a baby.
    2. Skip Hop Unicorn Activity Mat is absolutely great for any baby in the 4-6 month range, and maybe even longer than that. It’s so great for development. I asked for this one for Christmas for Charley, but they have several options for boys or girls.
    3. Stacking Cups seem so simple, but I swear these things make hours of endless fun for a baby. Scarlett played with these way past the year mark. They are so great for cognitive development and problem solving skills. I plan on definitely getting these for Charley.
    4. An Activity Cube is another great gift. For some reason the one pictured completely disappeared off Amazon, but the one linked is very similar. These keep baby’s hands busy for hours.
    5. This Rainforest Jumper is perfect for as soon as babies get better neck mobility and are tall enough to stand in it. Scarlett still played with hers when she was clearly way to big for it, but she loved it. This really saves a busy mom who needs to entertain their baby while they get stuff done and it’s fun for the baby too! We loved the one we got for Scarlett and we won’t have to buy one for Charley, but this is a must for any baby. This would be a great big present!

    I hope you like these ideas and let me know which category you want next. What are you going to get for your little ones? You can find my Holiday Gift Ideas for a Toddler here.

    Food

    Seafood Gumbo

    I have been experimenting with some Cajun recipes lately. I made a delicious Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage that I’m going to keep close to the cuff, because I really nailed that one. I nailed this gumbo too, so I didn’t want to keep both of them away from you, so I decided to share this Seafood Gumbo with you. I used shrimp and crawfish for the seafood and also added andouille sausage. It was a great combination. I love crawfish.

    Seafood Gumbo

    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 40 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 lb. shrimp chopped
    • 1/2 lb. crawfish pre-cooked
    • 1 lb. andouille sausage cut into 1/2 in. slices
    • 7 oz. frozen okra
    • 1/2 C celery finely chopped
    • 1 C onion finely chopped
    • 1 C vegetable oil
    • 1 C flour
    • 1 C bell peppers finely chopped
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • cayenne pepper to taste
    • 1 TBSP creole seasoning
    • 6 C chicken stock or water
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 2 TBSP fresh parsley minced
    • 1/2 C green onion sliced on the diagonal
    • 2 C rice prepared according to package directions
    • 1 TBSP filé powder (optional)
    • Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Combine oil and flour in a large cast iron or enameled Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20-25 minutes. The color of the roux should be similar to chocolate. 

    2. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers, and continue to stir until vegetables are softened. 

    3. Add sausage, seasonings, and bay leaves, Continue to sit for about 3-4 minutes. 

    4. Add chicken stock or water. Stir roux mixture and liquid until well combined. Bring to a boil. Cook uncovered for two hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally. 

    5. Add the shrimp to the gumbo, let cook for a couple minutes before adding the pre-cooked crawfish. 


    6. Continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in parsley and filé powder. 

    7. Remove bay leaves.

    8. Spoon rice into a bowl, ladle gumbo into the bow, and add green onions. Drizzle on some Louisiana Hot Sauce for extra spice if desired.


    Life

    Holiday Gift Ideas for a Toddler

    I thought it would be helpful to start posting some holiday gift ideas. I am going to plan on posting these once a week on Sundays, since for me Sunday is my day for perusing the internet. I especially want to help those parents, like me, that have no idea what to get my toddler who already has it all. These are things I have either bought for my own child, or am thinking of getting, that would be a great idea for Christmas. They are mostly gender neutral and I think both girls and boys would enjoy them. I’d say these toys ideas range from at least 2-5 year olds. Some can be for even older than that. I also tried to keep them in an affordable range, with a couple bigger ticket items. We usually get Scarlett a bunch of cheaper littler items and then one big item.

    *links are in bold and are affiliated


      1. Little Tikes Trampoline- We got Scarlett one of these for Christmas last year, and a year later she still loves jumping on it. They have a ton of versions of these online, with slides and cages. So if you have the space and a bigger budget, you can totally go all out. But this style was perfect for my little one and she loves it still. $45
      2. Water Wow Pads- I just plan on loading Scarlett’s stocking with these. She got one from her great grandma for her birthday and she is OBSESSED with it. They are water activated coloring pads, that cause zero mess and are reusable. These would also be perfect if you are traveling for the holidays for long car rides or plane trips. pack of 3 $15
      3. Melissa & Doug Grocery Store– If we can swing it, and decide we have the space for this. This will be Scarlett’s big present. She loves helping mommy at the store and loves pushing the little cart at Kroger. I think she would love this and this will be a great present for both of the girls when Charley is old enough to play with it too. The only thing preventing me from getting this is the size and the potential mess it will cause. It’s my dream to remodel our basement and make it a little cozier down there so we can turn it into the girls’ playroom and be able to fit things like this down there. $178
      4. Big Wheel- Raise your hand if you were a 90s kid and had a Big Wheel. My grandparents had about six of them for all of us cousins. We would spend hours in their cement floored basement riding our big wheels. Hours of endless entertainment. I love the idea of getting Scarlett one to live out her mama’s childhood. $50
      5. VTech Kidibeats Drum Set- Scarlett got an actual mini drum set for Christmas last year and she loves it. I love her playing it, because she tries to be like her dad and it’s the cutest thing ever. But, with a sleeping baby sister, this seems like a better option for any of those musical toddlers. $18
      6. Aqua Magic Doodle Mat- My mom is getting this for Scarlett and I’m sure Scarlett will lose her mind. She loves to color and do artsy things and this is right up her alley. I will probably have fun playing with this too! $19

    Here are some ideas for a toddler. I hope you find this helpful. I plan on doing a bunch of different categories, so keep an eye out for one that pertains to you!

    Life

    A Passion for Cooking

    Everyone cooks for different reasons. Everyone who cooks, cooks out of necessity. Others who cook, thoroughly enjoy doing it. Many enjoy creating art in the kitchen. Cooking in a way is an art form. These all tie into my passion for cooking.

    I have always had an interest in art. As a child, I loved to paint, draw, sing, and write. Being creative always made me feel close, to my artist great-grandma that I never met. When I realized that I didn’t have a natural ability in any of these things, I slowly stopped. I have never been someone with natural ability. I was always envious of people who had it. So when I started things up, I didn’t last long because I never wanted to work for things. That was and still is one of my biggest flaws in life–and one that I tirelessly try to improve. It wasn’t until I started cooking, that I found something I was naturally good at.

    My earliest memories in the kitchen began with my grandma, Vickie. She is the queen. All my cousins who cook can agree that she was the one who sparked their love for cooking. To this day, she is still the best at pulling together an entire meal. She always has a beautifully set table, a perfect main dish, and the best side dishes to accompany her meals. I have made everything in her kitchen from cookies to her homemade family favorite dinner rolls to becoming a master meatball roller. I temporarily lived with my grandparents when my parents got divorced, and she let me cook once a week at home. That’s when I started creating my own meals, and almost started a fire trying to flambé some liquor.

    My aunt, Laurie was another crucial person for igniting my passion for cooking. I hung out with my aunt a lot, again when my parents were in the process of divorcing. Together we compiled a family cookbook and then we started cooking together on Sundays. I would bring a recipe and her and I would tackle it in the kitchen. She also would teach me recipes from the same great-grandma, like her homemade egg noodles, that were also passed down to her from Nana (my great-great grandma). We made things like pumpkin rolls and freezer friendly foods. My aunt Laurie is an amazing cook. She went from making the world’s best Italian Beef (a recipe I started with to create my own version) to now being a very experienced Vegan cook. A lot of the times, I enjoy her Vegan dishes she brings to family events over the non-Vegan dishes.

    The last person who inspires me daily is my daddy. My dad is single-handedly the best cook I know on this planet, and half of our small town agrees. He is known as the soup nazi (Seinfield reference), the Meat Doctor, ect… He ignited my passion for cooking as a profession (even though I am currently not doing it). When I was in college, my dad bought a large trailer smoker. We did events all over the Midwest, he was even considered to do Sturgess out West, a huge biker event. I had an absolute blast doing these events with him. He did most of the cooking, because he makes the best BBQ I have ever had. But, I helped with whatever he needed and usually was his server. He has taught me how to use up ingredients in my house to make an amazing meal, he has attempted to help me to grill (but I haven’t got that yet), and he has instilled a passion for me to cook amazing meals for my family. He’s the first one I call for help, or he’s the first one I take a meal to that I think I really hit out of the park. My dream would be to run something with him when he retires, but he has gotten to the point where he just enjoys cooking for others for the love of it and not to make money at it. I just absolutely love being in the kitchen with him; we not only create amazing food together, but I usually am dying from laughter.

    I am so thankful everyday for these three people. They instilled a passion for cooking in me that I will never lose. I am so grateful to them that they gave me the ability to cook for my own family. I hope in the years to come my own girls want to be in the kitchen with their mom, baking cookies and my favorite dishes that I can pass down to them.

    *I’d also like to give a shout out to my mama, who is the queen of Thanksgiving and holiday meals. I also love being in the kitchen with her. We have a blast and we usually always go all out like seafood galore dinner or prime rib!

    Life

    Christmas Came Early with Basic Invite

    This blog post is sponsored by Basic Invite but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Nothing makes me happier than the holiday season. Our family has so many fun traditions. One of our longest ones is the Young Family Breakfast. Every year we go to a really mediocre restaurant and eat the Paul Bunyan breakfast that usually consists of cold eggs, pancakes, potatoes, and a meat. At the end of breakfast we take a family picture that gets bigger and harder to do every year on a stage with really bad lighting. Then visit their quirky gift shop and go on a sleigh ride around their property. It’s really stressful to do, with how large our family is becoming.  But, we still look forward to it every year. We’ve been doing it since I can remember, at least 25 years. I love having those memories and pictures to look back on.

    The last time I made Christmas cards was the year Scarlett was born. So with our new arrival of Charley it was time to continue the tradition. I mean who doesn’t want to see our cute kids? I love doing things like this. I get to live out my dream of being a graphic designer.

    Basic Invite made it so simple for me. I decided to go with multiple designs because they have 500 designs to choose from. Not only does Basic Invite have tons of designs, you can then make them completely customizable by changing the font, background color, etc… Which I love that I can make it completely unique. They are especially perfect for weddings, they will send you a sample of your invitation so you can see it in person. I definitely wish I had this option for my wedding invitations.

    I love how my holiday cards turned out and right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with the coupon code: holi30. You can create holiday party invites and make Christmas cards onlineSo check out all the holiday cards sales.

    Motherhood

    Ending My Journey with Breastfeeding

    It comes with great sadness that I have decided on ending my journey with breastfeeding. If you haven’t read my two updates so far on breastfeeding, you can check them out here and hereThe short story, is I haven’t had the easiest journey breastfeeding, but I wanted to do it so bad that I pushed myself to get as far as I could. I ended up not being able to actually breastfeed, so I lived next to a pump. Then we thought little Charley either was colic or had a milk protein allergy, because she screamed most days for six hours straight. But, after some experimenting we figured it out.

    If you pump, you may know how lonely it is. Even when you are sitting right next to your family. I started pumping exclusively at four weeks, with maybe a couple attempts at breastfeeding a day. If I had known my journey would of been pumping, I definitely wish I would of invested in a cordless pump. Being confined to a corner of my house for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, numerous times a day, was terrible. If I was home alone and Charley started to cry, that was a huge process of stopping my pump, taking it off, soothing her, then starting back up. If she had one of her days of discontent, it was sometimes impossible for me to even pump, messing up my stash in the fridge or causing a dip in supply. Since I wasn’t breastfeeding, I was relying solely in myself for keeping my supply up. Which was hard work. I pumped every two hours (if I could), I woke up most nights at least twice a night (even when my baby slept the whole night through), I bought car adapters so I could pump in the car. Like I said, I lived next to a pump. It was rewarding in the sense I was providing food for my child, but I felt cheated, because I wasn’t getting the bond I craved for my whole entire pregnancy. Even after saying all this, this was not the reason I am ending my journey. I was prepared to continue this as long as my body would allow me to go.

    Since we came home from the hospital, Charley has had issues. The first week we had issues with latching that caused her to lose weight and endless nights of both of us crying. Once we got that under control, we found out she couldn’t transfer milk because of my breast reduction, hence why we started pumping. Then after that she became inconsolable. Based on her stools, I gave up dairy, thinking she had an allergy. I never felt like I got any help from the pediatrician on this aspect, and she suspected colic. I still don’t really know what happened the last 4 weeks. But, we figure the fix–formula.

    In the last week, my supply crashed. She was eating 3-4 oz. every hour and a half and I was only pumping (excluding my first morning pump that produced 6-9 oz.) 2-3 oz. every 2-3 hours. Something was not right. Everything I read was saying an ounce of milk should last an hour. so 3-4 oz. should equal 3-4 hours. I couldn’t keep up, so I decided to start supplementing formula to build back my supply. Since at this time I suspected a milk protein allergy, along with possibly soy, I figured it would be the safe bet to buy the expensive allergen free Similac formula. I must add, that we were supplementing at about 4 weeks, because she had lost so much weight, but after gaining weight and a jump in supply the pediatrician let me stop, because I felt like it caused constipation (we were using Enfamil Gentle Ease at the time).



    The first few feedings using the allergen free formula were okay. It was Halloween, so we packed her three bottles, since we would be away from home for most of the evening visiting family. She took the bottles, but almost was acting like she wasn’t hungry. The next day I was continuing giving her breastmilk, but trying to give her the formula and she was refusing it. At first, I thought she wasn’t hungry. But then, after mixing some of my breastmilk in it, I realized she hated the taste. She wasted about 4 oz. of my very low supply of breastmilk and over 6 oz. of formula. I was running dangerously low in my supply, but I continued to just give her breastmilk, and she continued to cry. Finally, after talking with my husband, we still had some Enfamil newborn samples, so we decided to try that. We still had never been confirmed for a milk protein allergy, so we decided if she continued to cry on it then it really is a milk protein allergy, if she was content and happy there was something wrong with my milk.

    After the first feeding she was giddy and smiling the whole dang time until she fell asleep. Charley started smiling early on, but was so discontent I never got to see it. Seeing her smile, in what felt like weeks, made my heart so happy. She then had a blow out, which was a relief as well, because we hadn’t had a good poop in awhile. We continued the formula for the rest of the evening and continued having a happy and content baby. The next day we continued on, had our first seedy poop since probably about her second week. The only time she was discontent was after the ONE breastmilk feeding she had.

    So what I have self-diagnosed is; that my milk has zero fat content to it. I always knew it in the back of my mind, but I felt like my supply has been on a rollercoaster. Some weeks my supply would have a good line of fat on the top of my refrigerated milk, but of lately my milk was almost clear in color with a very thin line of fat. This would explain the multiple feedings, along with the discontent. She was never getting full, causing her to cry and causing the frequent feedings. It was hard for me to figure out, because she was gaining weight, she was having symptoms that matched a milk protein allergy, and although stools were never consistent, she always had wet diapers.

    I’m going to call my lactation consultant Monday, to confirm. But, I already know that my journey is coming to an end. I will continue pumping, pumping less frequently, until my supply naturally runs out. I have a huge stash built up again, because that last few days we barely gave her any breastmilk, that I will keep on hand for emergencies or for when I think she needs it. Even though it was a very hard decision, one I worked very hard on for weeks, I do believe in the end this is the best decision for her.