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Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October 10, 2016
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October is my birthday month, and it has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It’s also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a fact I was blissfully unaware of until a few years ago when I was struggling with my own feelings of loss and grief over miscarrying our first child the month prior.

I’ve been so grateful to have connected with so many of you over the years who have resonated with my posts about miscarriage. Although I was hesitant to share our journey on the blog initially, it’s been one of the greatest blessings to me, and I hope it’s been a blessing and comfort to others who know the pain of losing a baby to miscarriage.

To this day, e-mails come into my inbox on the regular. Women who, like me, were caught by surprise and shock when they miscarried for the first time. Who turned to the only place they knew they could find answers and camaraderie, the internet, and happened to find my posts on the subject. When I was deep in the murky waters of miscarriage – of blood tests and D&C’s and more questions than answers – I, too, turned to blogs that talked about the subject. I didn’t have friends or family members who had miscarried and desperately needed to connect with others who understood my pain.

I’ve learned, through loss, heartbreak and pain, that even in the valley, our God is above all things good. He cares about our pain and holds our children in His arms in heaven, even when we struggle to understand His plan. And trust me, there were/are plenty of times that I’ve questioned what the purpose of all this loss and sadness was.

Out of the women who have reached out to me via e-mail and Facebook messages over the years, there is a common thread. What these women want, more than anything, is to be validated that their pain and grief is real. For so long, our culture’s silence on the topic sends the message that the lives lost to miscarriage are not really lives at all, or at least not something that we should talk about publicly. Which is why I’ll say, and continue to say, that life begins at conception. Of that I’m certain. And that we can and should grieve the lives that have been lost in the womb, whether those lives were counted in days, weeks or months.

Thank you, brave friends, for sharing your stories with me and honoring the lives of your little ones – the ones that made you moms and gave you every reason to remember, grieve and celebrate such a precious gift.

Madison

Food & Recipes

Pie Week #4 // Blueberry

October 7, 2016

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This week has been good and busy and long and short all at once. Joe has been traveling for work (returning home today!) meaning I’ve been manning down the fort at home. I love my days at home with Ainsley, usually Thursday and Friday each week, but if I do a poor job at planning activities, outings and strategic errand running, said days can seem awfully long when they start at 6 am and don’t end until 8 pm. All my fellow mommas, can you relate?

So in addition to keeping the house (relatively) clean, keeping the toddler entertained and well-fed and working whatever hours I could squeeze in between said entertainment and hosting the high school youth group at our house Wednesday night, I managed to stick to the Pie of the Week challenge and make this blueberry pie.

I wrapped this beauty up and delivered it to friends who had their third baby last month, along with this recipe from Pinch of Yum. The report back was that it was all a big hit, so I feel confident sharing the recipe even if I didn’t get to try the pie myself.

I didn’t use the crust recipe below, as I have a favorite recipe that is my go-to these days. But I did use the filling recipe, swapping fresh blueberries for frozen and letting the pie bake about 20-30 minutes longer until the filling was bubbly.

Find the recipe HERE.

Family, Fashion, Food & Recipes, Infertility and Miscarriage

29.

October 5, 2016

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Today I turn 29. I can’t believe that when this blog started, I was just 22 years old, a senior in college, without any background in blogging or the internet world. I wanted to post recipes of food that I loved. I was interning at a lifestyle magazine and working in their food section and inspired by this huge, brand-new world that was suddenly opened to me.

Back then I had unlimited amounts of time and few commitments other than a very cute boyfriend who would eventually become my husband. I worked and then came home and dreamed about the next recipe that I would put up on Espresso and Cream, excited about trying something new, scouring cookbooks for hours for inspiration and reading blogs like they were going out of style. (They are now, aren’t they?)

And then life changed. I got a few different big-girl jobs and I churned out recipes like a machine for those jobs. I developed recipes all day, in fact, and while it was fun and wonderful in so many ways, it didn’t really leave me craving kitchen time when I got home. I spent my whole day in a kitchen! So what once was a food blog became a lifestyle blog, and then for a time an infertility and miscarriage blog and then, even later, a blog about family and beauty and whatever seemed interesting at the time.

Some days, with life busier than ever, I think about closing up this blog all together. Because there are days and weeks and months when inspiration runs dry and I am left longing for the days when I wanted and could write about all the things. And there are still other days when I think that what I really need is a fresh start, to move to a new platform with a new name and start from scratch.

But then I think about the history, you guys. The stories that I’ve shared here and the journey that this blog – a diary of sorts – has been along for the ride and I can’t imagine not spending time talking with you all and receiving your e-mails and hearing your stories. I have made so many amazing friends through blogging and I’m richer because of that.

So no, this blog isn’t going anywhere, but on my 29th year, I’m taking a good, long, hard look at what blogging means to me and what I want to talk about on this site. And I want to hear from YOU! What types of content to do you want to see? Is it more recipes or more posts about beauty? Or maybe it’s sharing more fashion finds or talking about motherhood? Since this blog has been all over the place since it started, I’m ripe for suggestions and ideas from you, the ones who read this blog and who I’m so thankful for.

Thanks for being patient with me as I figure out what is next for Espresso and Cream.

Madison

Food & Recipes

Pie Week #3 // Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

September 26, 2016

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You’ll have to forgive me for missing one week of my pie-per-week challenge. Already, I’m only three weeks into this thing and I’ve missed a week? #badblogger

Needless to say, I think I’m going to have to develop a strategy for how we can gift these pies to friends and family throughout the challenge. Although my husband is happy to eat the pies all by himself (you should see this man eat pie) I think for the sake of health we should share the love a little bit more. So Joe’s co-workers, our friends, neighbors and the like – expect a pie delivery sometime this fall. We’re struggling to keep up with the pie eating on our own!

This week’s pie is a Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie. If you’ve never enjoyed the combination that is chocolate and pumpkin, then you’re missing out. It’s been years since I first tried a chocolate pumpkin pie and I’ve been hooked ever since. Joe actually said that the combination is better than traditional pumpkin pie, and I think I might agree. The flavor is both chocolate and pumpkin, leaning a bit more toward chocolate. Adding a little chocolate (and butter!) gives this pie a more decadence, tasting a lot less like a healthy dessert and more like plain old dessert.

Although I won’t be giving up my traditional pumpkin pie any time soon (it’s my favorite, after all!) I do think this pie deserves a place in your pie rotation this fall.

Pie Week #3 // Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Pie crust for one standard 9-inch pie
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Additional melted semi-sweet chocolate for drizzling on top of pie
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and chocolate chips. Melt, stirring frequently, until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the additional chocolate for drizzling. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add the chocolate-butter mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth and well combined.
  4. Roll out pie crust onto a lightly floured surface into a ¼-inch thick circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges with your fingers as desired. Pour the filling mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Cool for 30 minutes on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, drizzle with the melted milk chocolate.

 

Fashion

Fall Fashion Basics

September 19, 2016

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This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Espresso and Cream. 

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Dress: Old Navy Knit Swing Dress || Watch: JORD Wood Watch – Cora Series, Koa & Rose Gold || Shoes: Coolway Open Toe Booties 

Lately I’ve been pairing down my wardrobe in favor of pieces that I truly love and am happy to wear time and time again. It seems that everyone is in pursuit of a “capsule wardrobe”, and I’m no different. While I love having options, I found that over time my wardrobe started to bum me out when it was filled with clothes that didn’t look good or make me feel confident. I wanted to have fewer items and only wear things that I really loved!

Instead of getting stuck on a specific number of items of clothing, I’ve simply been focusing on asking myself the question, “Does this make me feel insanely happy and confident when I wear it?” If the answer isn’t “yes!” then it doesn’t make the cut. It’s also made it incredibly clear what makes sense to buy vs. pass on when shopping.

Since my clothing choices always tend toward the more neutral side, I rely heavily on fun jewelry to make things look and feel special. Pendant necklaces and unique watches have always been favorites of mine, so this wooden watch from JORD fit right into my current wardrobe. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever owned, made primarily of wood and incredibly beautiful. Seriously. I took it with me to Arkansas on my most recent trip and got asked about it at least a half dozen times.

For a limited time JORD is giving away a $75 credit for their products! Enter here — you get a $20 credit just for entering. Giveaway ends October 9th!

Luxury Wooden Watch