Pregnancy: Week 20

>> Thursday, February 11, 2016

I'm solidly in week 20 of my pregnancy, so I think it's safe to safe I'm halfway there. With Ada, I went into (fast) labor just a couple days over 38 weeks. I'm wondering what that means for this time around. I'd love to know how your delivery date changed from kid one to kid two! Of course, I'll be happy to keep this baby in until she is fully cooked.

Special guest in my photo this week:

My midwife appointment went well last Friday. I have been concerned about weight gain since I'm still only up 4.5 pounds, but I guess everything is looking well. With Ada, I was around the same weight gain. I took a lot of questions to my appointment with me, and my midwife is awesome. I couldn't be happier with the care and attention I'm receiving.

Since a few days after ovulation, I was taking progesterone and aspirin. I stopped the progesterone in week 15, but the baby aspirin was supposed to continue on until week 22. The thing is, I was concerned with stopping it so soon because I was never formally diagnosed with a clotting issue. A lot of women take baby aspirin for a variety of things until 32-36 weeks, so I asked if I could either get testing for a clotting issue or just keep taking it to be "safe" -- and we agreed that I will take it until week 36.

I have started getting Braxton Hicks contractions more regularly, but it's nothing like when I was pregnant with Ada (fingers and toes crossed!). Still, it's almost like I have PTSD. If I feel one or two, I freak out. So, I'm really watching my water intake. I also asked if I could take a magnesium supplement to see if it helps -- and my midwife said yes. I am now taking about a half dose of the Natural Calm throughout the day in my drinking water. We'll see if it helps. I tend to get them when I am sitting working versus when I'm running or up and about.

I can't remember if I've written about this before, but I keep coming across blog posts and articles written by seasoned moms about how the second pregnancy (or third, etc.) just flies by and isn't as special. Or that they aren't concerned with as much, etc. This hasn't been the case for me for obvious reasons. I think due to the number of years between my pregnancies and the difficulty it took to get to this point, I'm celebrating and cherishing every single moment. In some ways more than with Ada because this might be my last pregnancy. Photos, baby clothes, nursery decorations, and all.

I'm getting stir-crazy for spring. This winter has been mild, but I'm really craving some long outdoor walks for my mind more than anything else. Today the windchill is in the negative digits, so I don't think I'll be getting those walks for some time. For exercise, I've been doing jogs and walks on the treadmill. I jog 3 miles, 4 times a week. I walk on the days when I don't jog. I always take one full day off from exercise a week. I've also been sticking with Barre3 online about 4 times a week between 20 and 45 minutes. I feel strong and centered.

As far as a birth plan goes, I'd love to try and do things drug-free this time around like I did with Ada. But I'm also recognizing that, like with conception and pregnancy itself, so much of having babies just isn't under our control. I'm going to prepare as if I'm doing everything naturally this time around, but I won't fret about it. I won't be taking a birth class this time, but I do hope to brush up on some things just so I can remember everything that happens with my body.

With Ada, I was only in labor (that I really knew) from about 7:30 AM till 12:00 PM, after that it was the pushing that took a while. I worry I will go really fast this time around, honestly. I guess that's another question I have for moms of more than one. How did your births differ?

Other stuff:

Middle name: Picked
Cravings: Ultimate Vegan Brownies -- everything I crave is sweet
Days till due date: 136
Most excited for: Taking walks on summer evenings together as a family
Most worried about: Nursing working out this time around
Currently obsessed with: Aden + Anais clothing!
Upcoming test: Gestational diabetes draw around week 24. Last time I failed by 1 point and had to do the 3 hour test!

Other updates:
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Green in 15: No More Paper Towels

>> Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I've been meaning to post about our no paper towels system for ages. It's not that it's complicated or fussy. It was laziness on getting a good photo. I figured I need to get over that part and just post about it already! So, here's my latest installment of Green in 15, all about banishing paper towels from your home.

Here you go:


  • Basically, we have 25-35 assorted towels. Some are flour sacks, some are nubby bar cloths, some are tea towels, and there are a few stray rags and washcloths in there, too.
  • We hung a fabric tote (similar to this one) containing all towels using some hooks in the closet right off the kitchen. I think this space was originally a utility closet, but it's quite small. Our vacuum doesn't fit very well, so I like using it for this purpose.
  • Underneath, we have a slim Simple Human Trash Can lined with a diaper pail liner to collect all the dirty rags.
  • You take a clean rag, use it up, and when it's dirty -- toss it into the bin. Easy, right? 
  • When the bin gets full, we grab the liner and take it downstairs to wash everything. We usually have a good stock of towels to use on wash day (and only do laundry once or twice a week).
  • We don't take the time to fold the towels. We simply toss them into the bin. We use the towels for general kitchen cleanup, napkins at dinner, and general cleaning tasks. 
  • Though they're all tossed in together, we use the nubbier cloths to do heavy cleaning, the flour sacks for everyday kitchen spills and even helping bread rise (in place of plastic wrap), and the tea towels for napkins. It's not always perfect, but it works.
  • To wash, we use our homemade laundry detergent and pour some vinegar into the rinse. They don't smell, though some do have stains from heavy use.
And that's really it!

You may already have towels on hand and some of the other supplies you need to get a system like this going. Mostly it's a matter of finding nooks and crannies to store everything into. You could probably sneak something like this on a smaller scale underneath your kitchen sink or in an unoccupied kitchen cabinet.

Those of you who don't use paper towels, what do your system look like?


Green in 15: Revamping Your Cleaning
DIY Natural Lotion Cubes
Powerful DIY Laundry Detergent
Cleaning with Vinegar
5 Green Cleaners That Work
5-Minute Homemade Deodorant
8 Ways We've Eliminated Plastics
Cleaning Produce The Natural Way
Chemical-Free Clean With Castile Soap

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Vegan Chocolate Cake + Chocolate PB Ganache

>> Monday, February 8, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that my cravings revolve around anything baked or sweet. It was this way with Ada, too. Oh, who am I kidding? It's this way all the time. I try to keep myself in check and not indulge constantly . . . but when you endure enough Northeast winters (even though this one isn't too bad), you learn to embrace the warmth of your oven on a blustery day.

This cake is light and fluffy. The ganache is nothing short of incredible. I made this recipe following the PPK's Just Chocolate Cake, but with a few modifications. And then I jazzed up the topping because, well, I felt like it.


What you'll need . . .
  • 1 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk) 
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder 
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
Method . . . 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine your coconut milk and ACV in a small bowl. Let sit for a few minutes.
  2. Whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  3. Then mix the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract into the coconut milk mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until everything is incorporated. 
  4. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and dust the inside with a little flour (to prevent sticking). Then pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes. Check center for done-ness. You may need up to five more minutes for a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean.
  5. Let cake cool for a few minutes in the pan before gently turning out onto a cooling rack. I always run the dull end of a butter knife along the edge of the pan before flipping it over.

While your cake is cooling on a rack, make this ganache!

// You'll put 2/3 cup coconut milk over medium heat on the stovetop and add 1 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips to it (I may have used 1 cup and a few tablespoons because I was using up a bag) and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. Whisk until smooth. Then take off the heat and let cool for 5 minutes before adding 1/2 to 3/4 cups peanut butter (depends on the texture you're after -- start with just 1/4 and go from there). 

// Whisk until smooth and cool enough to spread without spilling everywhere. Place your cake on a dinner plate, then pour ganache over cake and immediately move it to the refrigerator to cool and set. Serve after one or two hours of cooling.


PS: And don't miss the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup recipe. I posted it over the weekend because it's a video (full instructions are also written out).


Valentine's Day Gifts Under $20
Ada's V-Day in 2015
Chocolate Biscuits for Valentine's Day
Peanut Butter Hearts (aka Homemade Reece's)
Red Velvet Black Bean Brownies
Beeting Heart Veggie Burgers

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!

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