Say Hello to the Little Mister!

Posted February 24, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 2 Comments

 

 

Howdy, folks! Those of you who follow me on social media have probably seen some posts about my new baby over the past couple weeks. The Little Mister came into the world at 7:52 pm on 2/2/17, weighing in at 7 lbs 9 oz. And now after some R&R, I’m finally announcing his birth here on the blog! I’ve included his birth story below.Β We’re both doing well, if very tired, and enjoying getting to know each other…though I will admit, getting to know him involves WAY more extra laundry than I anticipated. πŸ˜‰

 

The Birth Story

The Labor

I was 10 days overdue when my labor was induced, so we were more than ready for things to get underway. I was doing everything I could to kick start labor, but this kid was determined to stay put!

I went in for a scheduled induction at midnight on the morning of Wednesday, February 1st. Labor went slowly, with many interventions. I was on Cervidil for 10 hours, which ultimately started my contractions. Then they hooked me up to IV fluids and put me on Pitocin in an attempt to regulate the contractions. Even with the Pitocin, the contractions never reached a consistent pattern. I had times when they were 3-5 minutes apart but very mild, then constant and more intense for 5-10 minutes.

Because the contractions were inconsistent, they never actually got that bad (I never rated my pain above a 7). More than anything, it was just tedious to be in pain for so long, unable to sleep or sit comfortably. By far, the hardest part was being tethered to the bed. I had an IV in the back of my hand, two monitors strapped around my stomach, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, and eventually an epidural in my back (mostly so I could sleep). I got so desperate to walk around, I would buzz the nurse to detach my monitors so I could hobble around with my IV every once in a while.

The Delivery

After about 30 hours of that, I was only 6 cm dilated. The baby’s heart rate was gradually beginning to drop, so the doctor recommended a c-section. I was a little sad about this, since I really wanted to deliver on my own, but the Mister and I agreed that it was the safest thing.

Then in a snap, I was prepped, wheeled into surgery, and numbed from the neck down. I remember the jovial tone in the surgical room. The doctors and nurses talked about baseball, and the anesthesiologist showed me pictures of his little girl on his phone. They hung a curtain past my neck, so I wouldn’t see the procedure (though the Mister was with me and could see everything, and he said the incision made him pretty queasy).

Through most of the procedure, I was terrified that something would go wrong—that for whatever reason, my baby would never have a first cry. So when the doctor happily shouted “it’s a boy!” and I heard that first squalling wail, I laugh-cried for three full minutes. I think the fact that the baby was a boy is extra special because I had vivid dreams all through my pregnancy about having a boy. Even though I didn’t really care what kind of baby I had, it’s neat to think that I might’ve somehow known who he was all along.

After they cleaned him up and gave him his APGAR, the Mister cut the cord, and they brought the baby around the curtain so I could see him. Luckily, the anesthesiologist was totally on top of things and snapped this picture of the Little Mister and I getting our first look at each other:

In a matter of minutes, we were in the recovery room, and I got to feed him for the first time. I was worried that I might have trouble breastfeeding because of the IV fluids and epidural, but the Little Mister nursed like a champ. In a strange way, that first feeding stands out in my memory even more than our first look. Maybe it’s because everything was quiet and still in Recovery, and my husband was there with us. I just felt like, in that moment, our little family was exactly where it needed to be.

The Aftermath

When we were discharged, it was 1:30 in the afternoon, and the weather was beautiful. I’ll never forget the Little Mister’s first time outside. Just as the nurse wheeled us out the door, we saw a lady about to enter the hospital. She was crying. When she caught sight of the Little Mister wrapped up in my arms, she said “Oh!” and smiled at him. She then explained that she was going in to say goodbye to her father, who was dying. She smiled again at the Little Mister and said, “I really needed to see this today.”

Someday, I can’t wait to tell him how the first time he stepped outside, he made the day better for the very first person he saw. πŸ™‚

Home Base

And now we’re finally home resting up and figuring out our new normal! Even though it’s only been a little over three weeks, life before the Little Mister already feels like a long time ago. It kinda reminds me of how it felt when I first got married. Even though life was entirely different, it very quickly started to feel like it’d always been that way.

For the most part, the Little Mister sleeps and eats very well, but getting back into a schedule after having a baby is pretty tough (as evidenced by the fact that I started writing this post while I was still in the hospital, and it’s JUST NOW going up). I already miss being able to sleep through the night, but I wouldn’t trade my new snuggle bug for all the sleep in the world! πŸ™‚

Baby Love

His little personality is already shining through. He ADORES his hands—inspecting them close to his face, splaying his fingers, sucking his fists, and laying them against his face as he nurses. In fact, we’ve only been able to put him in a half swaddle to sleep, because he gets so upset when his hands are pinned down. We can’t even put a blanket over them when he naps in his swing, otherwise he wakes and fusses.

He also loves curling himself up as small as he can and sleeping on people’s chests (getting him to sleep anywhere else has been a challenge).

And he’s curious. So curious! He can already hold his head up, which he does whenever he wants to stare out windows or into mirrors, look around his room, or look for me and the Mister whenever he hears our voices. It’s fun to watch his brow furrow like a little professor as his eyes search over everything. You can practically see the wheels in his brain turning as he tries to take it all in.

I can’t wait until he can talk, so he can tell me what’s going on in that whirring brain of his! πŸ™‚

…but now it’s time for me to get back to the very important job
of staring in awe at my new roomie!

You’ll all hear from me again soon. Regular recipe posts resume next week! πŸ˜€

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10 Book Themed Valentine’s Day Desserts

Posted February 14, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 2 Comments

 

Yellow and Red Heart Knot on Black Labeled Book

 

What do you do on Valentine’s Day when the person you love is wild for books? Make them a dessert inspired by their favorite story…and then take them to the bookstore, of course! πŸ˜‰

These are my top ten book-themed Valentine’s Day desserts. Stay sweet, Wonderlanders! πŸ˜‰

 

The Queen of Hearts’ Painted Rose Cupcakes — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Give the king or queen of your heart a different kind of rose this Valentine’s Day! πŸ™‚

 

Romeo’s Sighs and Juliet’s Kisses — Romeo and Juliet

These two-toned cookies are a sweet tribute to Verona’s most famous lovers.

 

French Hot Chocolate — The Three Musketeers

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No one knows love like the French…and nothing says “I Love You” like this French hot chocolate recipe from The Three Musketeers!

 

Cinnamon S’more Mini Baked Alaska — White Fang

These White Fang-inspired desserts make baked Alaska easy!

 

Dragon Scale Madeleines — The Hobbit

Want to show your favorite Hobbit fan you care? These red and gold madeleine cookies will do the trick!

 

Dauntless Chocolate Cake — Divergent

A love as dauntless as yours calls for the most intense chocolate cake! (Note: If you’re concerned it’ll be too sweet, swap out the bourbon frosting for whipped cream blended with a little cinnamon)

 

Brandy Snaps with Coffee Cream — Sherlock Holmes

This Sherlock Holmes-inspired dessert will make it easy for your sweety to deduce your feelings. πŸ™‚

 

Butterbeer Trifle — Harry Potter

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No time to cook? These no-bake trifles are quick and easy to throw together…and they’re a fun make-together project!

 

Katniss Cakes — The Hunger Games

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You can choose between Girl on Fire, “Cinna”mon, and Nightlock…or make them all!

 

Little Belgian Truffles — Agatha Christie

Wanna try your hand at candy making? These truffle tributes to Hercule Poirot are the perfect gift for the Agatha Christie fan in your life.

 

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day dessert?

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Quick Baby Update

Posted January 31, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Uncategorized / 4 Comments

 

White Bear Plush Toy on Baby Mobile

 

For those who are keeping track, my baby was due 9 days ago. Don’t worry, we’re all fine! I just haven’t gone into labor yet. It looks like this baby is determined to camp out as long as possible! I think someone told them how cold it is outside right now, and they decided to stay where it’s warm (I told my mother-in-law that if the baby sees it’s shadow while being delivered, we get 6 more weeks of winter). πŸ˜‰

I’m scheduled to be induced tonight if nothing happens earlier today, so either way I’ll likely be MIA from the internet for at least the next few days.

I may be feeling super ambitious and post something on social media the same day the baby’s born, but realistically I may not get to it until this weekend. I have a post planned to share the birth story, though. So if all goes well, I’ll hopefully be able to share more of the details with you as early as next week.

Any prayers and good thoughts you want to send our way would be highly appreciated! See y’all on the other side! πŸ™‚

– Alison

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Snow Candy: A Quick, Easy Pioneer Recipe

Posted January 26, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 4 Comments

Β Β  Β Β Β Β 

 

There are lots of great desserts in the Little House books, but I had my heart set on snow candy from the very beginning.

This is one of the fastest and most rewarding recipes I’ve ever made. Start to finish, it doesn’t take more than 5-7 minutes, and the resulting maple candy is delicious. The version I made (a recipe from Happy Hooligans) is truthfully nothing more than boiled maple syrup, but there’s something about the chill from the snow and the texture from the few remaining snowflakes still clinging to the candy as you lay it on your tongue that just make it so darn satisfying. ^.^

This is a fun, quick snowy day recipe to make with kids. I highly recommend eating the candy straight off the snow, as it tends to go soft a few minutes after being removed from the snow (the melting snowflakes start to dissolve it).

NOTE: You’ll want to be careful to use “food safe” snow—clean snow that hasn’t been walked or touched by animals. We had a big snow the weekend I made this, and I went out while it was still snowing and gathered some fresh snow off our back porch railing. If you’re sending out kiddos to gather the snow, make sure they know a safe place to get it.

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TTT: Top 10 Books I Plan to Read to Baby

Posted January 24, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Link Up / 7 Comments

Most of the Top Ten Tuesday prompts this month revolved around reading goals, but with a new baby arriving any day now, I have virtually no reading goals for this year. So instead I decided to do a slight twist on the suggested theme and write a Top 10 list that was more applicable to my current station in life.

I got a big stack of picture books as shower gifts, and I’m already looking forward to reading to our new little person. The books listed below are the top ten books I’m most looking forward to sharing with Baby. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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Pioneer Sweet Potatoes

Posted January 19, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 3 Comments

laura-ingalls-little-house-sweet-potatoes-sd-pinterest

In the Little House books, many of the foods are simple and hearty, but they’re also a little unusual. You don’t see many people eating smoked venison or salt pork these days, and Johnny cake is even more rare. So I thought it would be fun to take some time to make a pioneer food that’s a little more familiar to modern palates: roasted sweet potatoes.

Like most Midwesterners, I’ve eaten sweet potatoes all my life, so it was fun for me to read about a food I recognized in theΒ  Little House books. In Little House on the Prairie, a friend brings some sweet potatoes to Christmas dinner, and the Ingalls family bakes them whole in the ashes of the fire. I wanted to make something a bit more involved that still remained true to the simple, natural way the Ingalls cooked, so I diced my potatoes and roasted them (skins still on) with a little salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh thyme.

The end result was a hearty dish perfect for a pioneer kitchen! πŸ™‚

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There and Back Again: Two Book Themed Baby Showers

Posted January 17, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Holidays / 6 Comments

 

birthday, christmas, gifts

 

My baby’s due any day now, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about the two awesomely bookish baby showers my family threw for me! πŸ™‚

At first I didn’t think I’d have time to write a post about the showers, but I was so floored by the incredible effort my family put into them, it seemed like such a shame not to share them. Plus, if you’re planning any book themed baby showers of your own, there are some great ideas here! πŸ™‚

P.S. I can’t take credit for any of the cool things described below. It all goes to my mother-in-law, mom, and sister. They’re the creative geniuses behind these parties. ^.^

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Smoked Venison

Posted January 12, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Book of the Month Recipes / 8 Comments

Β 

Today’s post is more of a technique than a recipe, but it’s one I’ve been wanting to try for months now! πŸ™‚

This past weekend, I got to do something super fun and pioneer-y: I made smoked venison! When my brother got his first deer this year while hunting with my dad, I begged for a hindquarter steak to use on the blog, since nothing could be more perfect for a Little House on the Prairie menu than smoked venison. πŸ™‚

Then I called up my friends David and Gina, who were kind enough to let me use their smoker. I’ve included details about our process below. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

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Happy National Hot Tea Day!

Posted January 11, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Teas / 6 Comments

 

drink, food, kitchen

 

National Hot Tea Day is tomorrow, so in honor of my favorite beverage, I’m ranking the best teas from my Alison’s Wonderland Tea gallery! Of course, choosing favorite teas can be super difficult, since the differences between varieties can make them hard to compare (how do you choose between a rich, robust black tea and a truly excellent herbal tea?). That in mind, I decided to sort them all into categories based on the type of tea (black, green, white, chai, honeybush/rooibos, mate, and herbal) and choose favorites in each category. Let’s get started!

NOTE: Varieties like oolong aren’t featured because I don’t have any blends that use it…yet! πŸ˜‰

 

National Hot Tea Day: My Favorite Teas

 

Black Tea: Miss Mary’s Garden and Second Star

Straight out of the gate, I had trouble choosing and came up with a tie. However, much of my difficulty came from the fact that these two teas are VERY similar. They both have an Earl Grey base and feature lavender, but Miss Mary’s Garden is accented with strawberry and rose petals, while Second Star is mixed with cream tea. I love them both because they’re rich Earl Greys with floral notes that are strong but not overpowering.

 

Green Tea: Calypso’s Tea from The Odyssey

I’m not usually a big fan of green tea, but this blend is so fresh and airy with hints of fresh tropical fruit. I could sip this by the seaside for the rest of my life! πŸ™‚

 

White Tea: Becky’s Peach Tea

This might be my all-time favorite non-black tea. It’s so fresh and summery! I love to make it as sun tea, and it doesn’t even need sugar (and I say that as a self-professed sugar addict). Personally, I think it’s the inclusion of white strawberry tea that makes the big difference. It adds a level of complexity that I have trouble finding in other white teas.

 

Herbal: Tori’s Peppermint Tea

Tori’s Peppermint Tea is the best mint tea I’ve ever had. I love the refreshing but not overpowering mint flavor, tempered with faint hints of lemon. Add some honey, and it’s divinity (plus, it’s great hot or iced).

 

Chai: Hallowe’en Party

This tea is a blend of spiced apple chai and cinnamon that totally tastes like autumn in a cup. I can’t get enough of it!

 

Rooibos/Honeybush: Abbot’s Chocolate Hazelnut Tea

This is hands-down my best selling tea, and it might be my favorite out of all the blends I’ve ever made. It combines honeybush hazelnut, chocolate, and cream to make a rich, sweet, robust tea. It’s practically a dessert all on its own. I like to think of it as Nutella tea! πŸ™‚

 

Mate: Chocolate Mocha Tea for Ze Little Grey Cells

This tea is a tribute to my favorite Agatha Christie character: Hercule Poirot. Since he likes coffee and hot chocolate instead of tea, I made a mocha nut mate blend with chocolate and hazelnut. It’s got a definite coffee flavor, but the chocolate adds sweetness where you would otherwise expect to find bitterness. I don’t normally like coffee, but I LOVE this blend!

 

 

What’s your favorite tea to brew for National Hot Tea Day?

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Ma’s Apple Pie Tea from the Little House Books

Posted January 10, 2017 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Teas / 3 Comments

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There are lots of classic, All-American desserts mentioned in the Little House books, but when I decided to make a tea for the series, I couldn’t get Ma’s pies off the brain. Dried apple pies are a specialty of hers that stood out to me, so I chose it as the theme for my tea! I chose one of my favorite rooibos blends from Adagio (Rooibos Cinnamon Apple) as my base, adding cream, apples, and spice to make the flavor more unique. The result was a tea that conjures of the cozy scent and taste of a winter day bundled up at home. Enjoy!

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