Baby is Almost One!

So I had a baby.  I know, I haven’t written on here in way too long.  So long that in fact my new baby is almost one year old!

Motherhood has been amazing and exhausting. Our little girl decided to enter the world with big fan fare.  I was diagnosed with a condition called “Placenta Increta.”  It’s an abnormality that isn’t usually caught until delivery when the placenta fails to detach.  Yet mine was caught early.  In fact I was being monitored from twenty weeks on.  At thirty-six weeks my midwife read the results of an MRI I had done.  It was advanced enough that I was going to have my baby the very next week.  With my O- blood, they didn’t want to risk me attempting labor with the high chance of a blood transfusion.

It was such a whirl wind week. With this condition being so serious, they had planned to do a partial hysterectomy to prevent hemorrhaging and safely deliver our baby girl.  David and I just kept reminding ourselves that our God was powerful and if this was to be our only little one, He had a bigger plan than we would ever be able to fathom.  Man did we pray that week.  Every app we owned that offered a verse of the day became a reminder of the hands that held us.  We had friends as well as friends of friends praying for us all over the world! (We later found out that a girls’ school in Africa had prayed for us that whole week!)

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So on the morning of March 6, 2015 at 5:00am, my hubs and I drove to the hospital to have our little girl.  The surgery lasted until almost 9am and oh was it full of surprises!  The placenta ended up detaching all on its own, (our doc was gracious enough to honor my wish and wait a moment before proceeding with the hysterectomy) but our little girl, although technically at thirty-seven weeks gestation, was not breathing on her own.  Her little lungs were premature and she needed to be taken to the NICU.  Praise God that we had chosen the hospital with the NICU in house!  She ended up staying exactly a week there which was two weeks shorter than expected.NICU

Today, you can’t even tell she was early!  She is a feisty one and has reminded us of that fact each and every day since she joined the “G” fam.  NICU2

She is strong, stubborn, hilarious, loving and the biggest little goof ball you might ever meet.  This little firecracker is about to turn one already!  It’s so hard to believe.

As I was planning her first birthday party the other night, I decided it was time to get back to blogging and my Etsy shop.  Those first months were precious and I didn’t want to miss anything.  Now she has hit an age where sometimes she would rather play by herself or read books to her stuffed buddies and that means I can start using those minutes to get back to my much loved hobbies.

I’m looking forward to everything she inspires me to make and blog about.  A birthday party or a product, maybe just a funny story or two.  Allow me to introduce you to Miss C.  The amazing little girl that brings us so much joy!christmas baby and mama

Time For Summer Goodness – 6 Tips On Small Plot Gardening

ImageWhen I lived in the mountains I would longingly wait for those beloved words from our local weather guru, “Overnight temperatures will begin to rise above freezing.”  Anyone who has lived at higher elevations will know what I am talking about.  While snow is lovely and picturesque, it has it’s set backs.  Shoveling, chains, scraping and crazies on the road to name a few. 

ImageThe biggest set back in my humble opinion is not being able to garden year round without a green house. Even cold weather veggies don’t usually survive 6″ of snow. This was happily corrected once I relocated to the central coast.  We have the opposite problem here, crop rotation for year round goodness!  I happily accept this challenge and look forward to new seasons and new plants to try. 

ImageThis week I spent my days off getting my garden ready for the summer/early fall veggies I look forward to eating!  Here’s a list of what I planted:

1.  Beets     2.  Carrots.     3.  Corn     4.  3 varieties of Tomatoes       5.  5 varieties of Peppers (Hot and Sweet)

6.  Basil      7.  Cilantro      8.  Zucchini      9.  Pumpkins      10.  Peas      11.  Green Beans      12.  Onions (White and green)

ImageI have a limited area to garden in.  The property we live on is 3 acres large but not fenced and over run with deer! We decided not to invest in fencing it in because we rent and it’s a temporary residence for us.  This leaves us with the only protected spot being an old goat pen that we have converted into a garden.  It measures approximately 20′ x 12′ of workable ground.  If you plan well you can make even the smallest area produce some amazing amounts of food for yourself and your family. 

ImageLast summer I happened to find THE BEST book on homesteading/gardening. (Don’t you love stumbling upon a great book?)  It’s called “The Backyard Homestead – Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre.” by Carleen Madigan.  Loved it so much I ended up giving it as a gift last year to quite a few people!  The book goes into all kinds of homesteading from veggies to livestock to making your own wine and cheese.  The idea is to live off your land as much as you can. 

While I don’t have chickens, goats or cows, I do have year round veggies and herbs.  I’m hoping that some time soon I can use the rest of the book!🙂

This is where I go for ideas on which plants to grow for specific seasons.  I even took the author’s advice and now grow a couple types of flowers for looks as well as cooking.  The book, along with my father-in-law (an avid gardener who loves to experiment with new plants) have kept me motivated. 

Here are my tips if you are working with a small area and want to try growing your own food.

1.  Make an accurate drawing of the area you have to work with.  The first time I tried to do it without a diagram I ended up starting a lot more plants and varieties than I had room for.  Measure the outer area and be sure to include pathways for walking so you can harvest the spoils!  Once you know what you have you can narrow down what you can plant.

2.  Start with easy to grow veggies.  Green beans, radishes, zucchini, garlic, leaf lettuces and snap peas top my list of easy to grow veggies.  Tomatoes and peppers are pretty easy too.  If you start with something that you can successfully harvest you’ll be more likely to continue.  Once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll be ready for trying some new types.

3.  PULL WEEDS OFTEN!  I can’t emphasize this enough.  Pulling weeds will make a huge difference in your gardening experience and how much produce you will collect.  Plain and simple, more weeds means less water for what you actually want to be growing.

4.  Only plant what you love to eat.  What’s the point of growing something that is just going to rot in your fridge?

5.  Start composting.  Compost makes a huge difference in the quality of your soil and health of your plants.  There are many books and resources that can show you how. (I might even do a post in the future.)  When I started, I bought compost at our local nursery.  While I love supporting a local business, it didn’t make sense to be buying something that I could make myself with things I was already throwing away. 

6.  Enjoy the process.  You will probably kill a plant or two. Even a seasoned expert will do that from time to time.  Just pick up and try again.  Experimenting is one of the best parts, being outside in the fresh air is another.  You will save tons on therapy by getting your hands dirty!😉

What types of plants do you enjoy growing?  If you’ve never has your own veggie garden before, what’s holding you back?

 

I Admit It, I Am A Lover Of Books

I grew up watching my mom and dad with books in their hands. As I became an adult I began to branch out more and broaden the scope of what I read. Today, I search book lists and solicit recommendations from friends and family.

One of my favorite sources is our local library system. Living in a college town has its perks. Sure I have to put up with certain atmospheres that lend themselves to the average age group around here, but I don’t mind. The benefit is that our library system is pretty broad and new books show up much more frequently than our quaint mountain area hometown did.

In the last two years I have found many little gems tucked on these shelves. I enjoyed Embellish Me by Laurie Wisbrun so much that I requested it for Christmas. I am a crafty girl and enjoy making and selling various items. I even have an Etsy shop! That’s why I enjoyed this book so much. It’s a collection of other creative business owners and the ways they make their products special.

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The author and her contributors touch base on many ways to personalize fabric. From painting to printing and embroidery, it covers a lot! I also loved being introduced to the ways they have grown their businesses through their designs. The pictures vividly portray the textiles and finished products and the steps were easy to understand and thoroughly explained. Which is always a plus!

If you are a crafty person or want to try something new, I recommend checking it out at your library or purchasing it. I feel so energized and inspired looking through it.

What are some of your favorite craft or hobby books?

Like Having A Birthday Every Month

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Let me start by saying that I am definitely not a trendy person. However, I thoroughly enjoy knowing about what’s out there and finding new products. And I just LOVE surprise gifts, even when I have to pay a monthly fee to subscribe.

This is where I introduce you to a fun and exciting company called Birchbox. (I am not sponsored by Birchbox. These are just my opinions.). Started by two friends who loved samples, (honestly, who doesn’t?) They built a business out of curating collections of beauty products, snacks, perfumes, skin care and beyond. It’s just $10 a month and you can quit whenever you want. You will fill out a personal profile to edit the types of products you get but ultimately you’ll get a box of surprise goodies each month. Did I mention they have boxes for guys too?!

February brought me a pretty fantastic assortment. Here are some of my favorites:

20140313-092721.jpgI live on the central coast of California and if there is one thing we are not in a shortage of around here, it’s sunshine. As if reading my sun drenched mind, Birchbox sent me Sarah McNamara Miracle Skin Transformer Spotlight with SPF20. This product has a touch of tint and sparkle that went on as a smooth cream with a soft powdery finish. It didn’t even feel like it was there. And that SPF is just what this fair skinned girl needs as Spring bounces in.

20140313-092716.jpgAnother big hit was the Agave Healing Oil Treatment. A little goes a very long way. My ends have never been so happy. I’ve been using it twice a week for the last three weeks and still have some of my sample left so don’t freak at the price tag.

20140313-092707.jpgThe Couture LaLa by Juicy Couture is pleasant and light. Perfect for daytime.

20140313-092726.jpgI also received Ayers Bar Soap in Patagonia scent. I have’t used this one yet, but the scent is relaxing and lovely.

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The only one I didn’t quite care for was the O.P.I. Tinted Top Coat. I think it was just the Amber color on my bare nails that threw me off. It looks great on top of other colors though as a regular top coat. And its O.P.I. so you can’t deny the quality.

So there ya have it. I have been subscribing for 6 months and there have only been a few samples I didn’t care for. One of my favorite perks of Birchbox is the yummy treats they toss in with the expected beauty supplies. I’m talking chocolate, teas, mints etc.

Treat yourself to a special gift! Trust me, you’ll get giddy and excited every month when you get that email that your box has shipped! Let me know if you subscribe and what your favorites are!

Vintage Turns Vogue

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Have you ever been told that a hobby or skill that you have is completely old fashion? Apparently a girl in her 20’s only did crochet and sewing back in the earlier 20th century… This was the conversation I found myself in this week. Defending why I love a craft that used to be considered out dated.

I know this 30 something year old mom meant well, but there are so many amazing crafters out there who have turned what used to be done in “ladies” circles into what is now a thriving industry and fun labor of love.  I mean we have our own term for this industry, The Handmade Market!

I have seen ladies of many ages create one of a kind art pieces and it just makes my heart pitter patter. The only thing as good as making something myself is being inspired by someone else.  And with modern technology (hello etsy and pinterest!), I never have to go very long without seeing something that opens my eyes and gets my fingers itching for something new.

20131105-195523.jpg(The fixings for my sister’s birthday present)

I love designing. There is so much creativity that can be poured into one tiny (or big) project. From the colors of yarn to the patterns in fabric, there is an endless multitude of options and ways to keep myself busy. A good busy at that.

I am passionate about this renaissance. There is something beautiful and nostalgic in knowing that the crafting I enjoy is the same thing that my aunts, grandmas and women before them enjoyed. But now it has a modern flare and new personality. A breath of fresh air if you will.

What inspires you to create? Any closet hobbies going on in your life?

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ” ~ Pablo Picasso

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein

© Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pumpkins and Glitter

ImageOh how I love Autumn!  Sweaters, apple cider, pumpkins, warm colors, and crisp weather.

We went to a local farm and picked out pumpkins on Saturday. Paid a wee bit too much but in our defense, we’ve never had to buy them before.  My adorable little brother-in-law always grows a patch back in the mountains.  So this year we got to help out the local economy.

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For the glittered ones, I just painted on some Modge Podge and sprinkled on purple and gold glitters.  They look beautiful when the sun hits them just right.

Off to have some apple cider and grab one of those sweaters I was talking about!

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© Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spanish Lessons for Food Lovers

“Hey, we should learn Spanish!”  This was the enthusiastic statement my hubs made a few weeks ago.  We’ve both been trying to keep our minds active through learning new things.  I know, I know, didn’t we get enough of that sorta thing in college?  Well believe it or not, we are not sadistic.  We just really enjoy learning new things and trying out new hobbies.  Especially when they are neither graded nor due on a specific date.

I took Spanish years ago when it was required of me in order to get that little piece of paper that actually means something in the real world!  Although I only took two years in class I also live in an area where Spanish is a frequently used language.  This gave me the chance to understand words here and there and communicate in a humorous way with Spanish speakers.  By humorous I mean they were humored and I was well…eh…you get the idea.

So this time around I have a fun study partner and a renewed interest for language proficiency.  We are two weeks in and so far we are getting the basics and can speak some simple phrases.  And no, not just the menu at our local restaurant.  We are having a lot of fun while we do it too!

Each of us have committed to taking a different Spanish speaking country and studying it.  It’s been fun learning about different countries and cultures and how varied they are from one to another.  But my FAVORITE part is that we decided to start cooking some of their food!  This is how a chef learns a culture apparently.  Fine by me!

  Dave took Puerto Rico and came up with a delicious Puerto Rican Pumpkin Soup and Tres Leche Cake (lactose intolerant peeps beware!)

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  I studied Argentina and did a Spicy Grilled Shrimp and Scallop Kabob and a Chimichurri Grilled Steak and roasted potatoes.  We got all the ingredients locally .  Now this is the right way to study a foreign language!

Recipes are at the bottom!

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Puerto Rican Pumpkin Soup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 lbs. fresh pumpkin peeled and cubed

4 cups chicken or veggie stock, heated (we used chicken but veg will make this vegetarian friendly)

1 cup cream

1 Green onion, finely sliced

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a stock pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion, garlic and pumpkin until onion is tender.  3-5 minutes.  Stir in stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.  Stir in cream and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.  With an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and oh so silky.  Season with Salt and Pepper.  Serve with chopped green onions.

Tres Leche Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

1 cup Milk

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup good brandy (optional)

1 1/2 cups Heavy cream

cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x13x2 baking pan.  Sift the flour and baking powder, set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and half the sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and half the vanilla.  Mix well after each egg.  Add the flour mixture in 3 stages, mixing well.  Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 30 min.  When cake has finished baking, pierce with a fork in 10 to 12 places.  Let cool.  Combine the milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, and brandy.  Pour over the cake allowing it to soak in.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream, remaining sugar and vanilla.  Top each serving with whipped cream and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

Chimichurri Sauce

(used to marinate seafood, steak and potatoes)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley

5 cloves of garlic

1/2 chopped onion

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp white vinegar

1 jalapeno, seeded

1 tbsp. lime juice

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust oil for a smooth sauce.  add salt and pepper last to taste.

For Kabobs:  Soak bamboo sticks in water for about 30 minutes.  While they soak, combine washed seafood (about a 1/2 lb. of shrimp and scallops each) and 1/3 of the chimichurri sauce.  Skewer the seafood and grill for about 8 minutes turning every 2 minutes.  DO NOT OVER GRILL!  Scallops are nasty when overcooked.

For Steak:  Coat any steak you choose with 1/3 of the chimmichurri sauce and grill until it reaches the temp you prefer.  We like Medium – Medium rare.Slice thinly.

For Potatoes:  Dice 3 medium red potatoes and mix with the remaining 1/3 chimmichurri sauce.  Pour in a 9″ glass pan.  Roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.

© Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Elizabeth Gerszewski and Bow Bezzy with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.