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How far along are you? 38 weeks 4 days 
Cravings? Smoothies, orange juice, water with ice and real fruit popsicles. 
Weight Gain: At my 38 week appointment I was up 29 pounds. I’ve heard that as labor approaches sometimes you lose a few pounds? I’m guessing my total weight gain will fall right around 30 pounds for this pregnancy. 
Fears: I’ve been increasingly worried about our baby’s health. I think it’s pretty normal, but it’s hard not to worry about things going well and baby being born healthy. Just one more thing to turn over to God and realize that it’s all out of my hands, as it has been all along! 
Generally Feeling: I’ve had a terribly easy pregnancy when I really think about it, so I can hardly complain about a single thing, but in the last few weeks my nausea has started to return. Nothing as bad as it was in the first trimester, but it’s making eating a little more difficult. Additionally, sleep has been spotty. Sometimes I sleep like a rock and other times I wake up in the middle of the night for a number of hours before I can fall back asleep. And, of course, I’m waddling quite a bit these days but very thankful that I can still be active at the gym. These days working out is limited to light hand weights and lots of walking. 
Looking Forward To: Not being pregnant anymore! Seriously, I’m getting to that point where I’m dreaming about jeans with zippers and buttons, walking without a painful waddle, and wearing some of my old clothes. I know it won’t happen right away, but moving in that direction will be exciting! 
What I’ve Been Loving: My weekly doctor appointments! I’ve been doing weekly non-stress tests since 36 weeks and getting checked for progress by my doctor each week. It’s fun to be able to be hooked up to the non-stress machine and hear baby’s heartbeat for 20 minutes straight. 
Maternity Clothes? Ha! Yes, maternity clothes and a lot of Joe’s clothes for lounging around the house.
Signs of Labor? Some contractions here and there but nothing too regular. I found out this week that I’m 2 cm dialated and 70% effaced, so there is some progress being made! My doctor said I could go into labor any day or a week or two from now. 
Boy or Girl: Keeping it a surprise until March!

Lactation Cookies (3) | Espresso and Cream

For the next number of days (or perhaps weeks?!) I think I’ll be talking about how we’re in “the home stretch” with this pregnancy. At 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, not that anyone is counting, I’m quite ready to be done being pregnant and meet our little peanut! I’ve been doing a little nesting around the house over the past few weeks, cleaning the house from top to bottom and organizing every drawer and closet in our house, except for that really scary one filled with clothes that no longer fit me in the basement.

I’ve also been doing a little cooking, although not nearly as much as I thought I would. I had grand visions of making a thousand healthy freezer meals to eat at a moment’s notice, but instead we settled for going to Costco and stocking our basement freezer with frozen lasagna, loaves of whole wheat bread, soups and frozen pizza.

The one thing I did make from scratch, however, were these lactation cookies. I’ve heard great things about different types of lactation cookies over the years but never really paid much attention to them until I actually had a need for my own recipe. Most of the recipes I found online were laden with lots of butter, sugar and white flour. And while I totally support cookies made with traditional ingredients, I know that I’ll also be trying to lose the baby weight and eat a little more healthfully in the months to come.

Lactation Cookies | Espress and Cream

I decided to play around with finding a happy balance, creating a cookie that’s both delicious and semi-healthy. I cut the butter down a bit and reduced the sugar. Additionally, I added plenty of flax seed and oats and used a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat flour. I think the end result is a cookie that tastes amazing and slightly sweet but also doesn’t leave you feeling guilty after you eat one, or two, or three. Not that I would know or anything.

Lactation Cookies
Serves: 30
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons brewer's yeast
  • 2½ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F. Spray a large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add in the sugar, brown sugar and flax seed and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and brewer's yeast. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the oats, followed by the dark chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

 

Banana Bread Doughnuts (2) | Espresso and Cream
I now fully understand why everyone says that the last few weeks of pregnancy are the longest weeks. There is something very strange about technically being “full term” knowing baby could arrive any day while being fully aware that baby could still be a month (!) away from his/her arrival. The suspense! The patience! I’m not great with the whole patience thing and have never really loved surprises, so you can imagine how this is all going over with me.

I’m working hard on keeping myself busy after a number of friends suggested that’s the best way to keep yourself sane and happy. I’ve got a pedicure on the calendar and a hair color appointment, along with a bunch of coffee dates and a to-do list of house-related projects. Hopefully I’ll welcome baby relaxed, pampered and fully socialized, right?!

Banana Bread Doughnuts (3) | Espresso and Cream
I’ve also been doing quite a bit of baking lately since I have the extra time on my hands. These Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts set a record in our house for how quickly they were consumed. I ate one, my husband ate 11 and they were gone in 24 hours. I’m not kidding! I’ll take that as a sign that these babies are one of the better recipes that I’ve made lately. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Banana Bread Doughnuts (1) | Espresso and Cream

Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • Doughnuts
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • Doughnut Glaze
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Garnish
  • Additional powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F. If your doughnut pan is nonstick (I think most are) then do not spray. Otherwise, if it isn't nonstick, spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. In a second bowl, stir together the egg, sugar, bananas and oil until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Spoon some of the batter into each of the doughnut pans with a spoon. Alternately, you can spoon the batter into a pastry bag and pipe the batter into the pans, if desired.
  5. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into doughnuts comes out nearly clean with just a few moist crumbs. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  6. Meanwhile, stir together the milk and powdered sugar. Spoon glaze over warm doughnuts. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

 

 

 

No Makeup Photo

Okay, this post’s title is a little bit of a joke when you consider the photo above, but I just had to bop in and share a little tip that’s been making a huge difference in how my hair looks and how often I have to wash and dry it.

Now that my hair is getting on the longer side, it’s become more and more of a hassle to blow dry. I am to only wash my hair 2-3 times a week to keep it healthy and to save me time, so anything that can help my hair look good for days on end is something I’m interested in! I don’t quite remember where, but a few months ago I remember reading about how to keep your blow-out looking great for days on end. The tip said that when you’re sleeping at night, the key is to take all your hair and put it in a loose, super high pony tail.

I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first but I agreed to give it a try. And you know what? It totally worked! Something about the high nature of the pony tail left a much less noticeable crease in my hair the next day and helped keep the volume created when blow drying. So, in case you’re looking to speed up your routine and wash/dry your hair less, give it a try!

Madison

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First, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted a pregnancy update. I looked back and the last update I did was at 27 weeks. Honestly, the third trimester has been a combination of busy and uneventful, so I haven’t had much to write about pregnancy-wise. Now that I’m in the home stretch, I’m excited to get the updates going again!

How far along are you? 36 weeks 4 days 
Cravings? The entire third trimester has been all about me craving smoothies! I just can get enough of them. I’ve been blending up fruit juice, milk and frozen berries in all ways, shapes and forms and swear that I could drink a smoothie for every meal of the day. I’ve also been drinking a ton of orange juice which is strange considering I’ve never been a big fan of orange juice prior to the end of this pregnancy. Oh, and water with ice!
Weight Gain: At my 36 week appointment I was up 27 pounds, so right within the normal range. 
Fears: Now that labor and delivery is becoming a reality, I’ve been a bit more nervous about actually giving birth. There are just so many unknowns! I’ve read what I think is enough to be informed, but I’m doing my best to leave any expectations for labor and delivery at the door when I give birth. Sure, I have a vague idea of how I would like things to go, but I’m not tied to any one way in particular. 
Generally Feeling: I’m generally feeling large and uncomfortable. That’s pretty normal, right? I’m finding that very few of my clothes fit at this point, even the maternity ones, so I’ve been living in a constant rotation of a few pairs of leggings/jeans and a few tops and dresses that still work. The other day Joe put my favorite wool maternity sweater in the washing machine and I thought I was going to break down in tears because I have so few items of clothing that make me feel pretty at this point. Ha! 
Looking Forward To: Meeting our baby! I’m just so dang excited. Joe and I both feel like this is a big race we’ve trained for and we’re ready to just start running! The anticipation is killing me. 
What I’ve Been Loving: We had an ultrasound this week to check on baby’s growth and a non stress test to make sure little one is doing well. Everything checked out great and made me even more excited for this baby to actually get here. 
Maternity Clothes? Ha! Yes, maternity clothes and a lot of Joe’s clothes for lounging around the house.
Signs of Labor? Just recently I’ve started experiencing a few Braxton Hicks contractions now and again. At our 36 week appointment we found out baby is hanging out really, really low, so low that the ultrasound tech couldn’t even get a good, accurate measurement of the head. Also, during the ultrasound baby’s heartbeat was on the lower side, around 118 BPM, so my doctor volunteered to do a non-stress test to ease my mind. Good news is that baby’s happy and healthy! But the non-stress test did pick up plenty of contractions, so maybe our peanut will come before March 1st? At this point that would be fine with me! 
Boy or Girl: Keeping it a surprise until March! (edit)

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