Blueberry Banana Bread

BBB

The anticipation of waiting around for babe #2 to make his arrival makes me hungry and late night baking is good.

When banana bread just isn’t doing it for you, here’s my spin on a great recipe that I wanted to share for blueberry banana bread. In my opinion, banana bread always tends to be just a little bland or missing that extra kick of taste that it needs, and turning it into blueberry banana bread always does the trick for me.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (opt. add also 1/4 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup flour (will need to divide into two 1/2s)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh (frozen will work but bread may turn out slightly soggy)
  • Optional: you can also add a smidge of buttermilk for some extra comfort taste if you’d like

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Grease a 9×5 loaf pan
  • In a small bowl, mash bananas and add 1/2 cup flour (not the whole cup), set aside
  • In large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar(s) until creamy
  • Add and beat-in egg and vanilla
  • Fold in banana/flour mixture
  • In a separate bowl, mix together remaining flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powers and salt
  • Fold flour mixture into banana mixture until combined
  • Pour batter into your pan
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes
  • Remove, test with toothpick and let cool

Optional Delicious Topping:

Afterwards, while still warm, mix together and pour on top…
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (sugar will also work)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Day 1 of Countdown to Oliver: DUE DATE

40Weeks

Today, June 26 is my due date! It’s finally here, and it’s hard to believe how fast this pregnancy seemed to go by in comparison to our first. The countdown list is already complete since there were two items done in one day at some point. It’s safe to say I’m as prepared as possible with the house, food, help, material items, but I can’t say you can ever fully prepare yourself mentally or physically.

You’d think after I’d gone through one pregnancy and birth the anxiousness and nervousness would subside, but nope, it still exists. I think the idea of a newborn + a toddler + no sleep is what worries me most. But it is comforting to think there are unimaginable numbers of other mothers who have done it and currently do it everyday, including most of our families, and they’ve all survived. I’m also stubbornly set on Oliver coming naturally instead of being induced this time, which is also a new aspect where I have no idea when or what to expect.

With my first, I had no sense of urgency toward the end and at no point did I ever think she would be early or come on her own. It’s like I just anticipated being late and being induced anytime I thought about it during my pregnancy. However, with this pregnancy, I truly understand the meaning of feeling like a walking time bomb. There have even been a couple days that with every step I take I think this will be the jolt that breaks my water. It’s a slightly exciting yet anxious way to live. And I’m sure, like anything else, when I’m finally not thinking about it is when it will happen.

Thanks for those of you who stuck with me through the countdown and stopped by to read posts. It was fun and a great way to stay busy and distracted while still finishing all the little things that I needed or wanted to get done.

In honor of my due date and being more than ready to meet our son, I’ll post a list of all the interesting ideas I’ve heard that may help bring on labor. Feel free to comment with some of your own!

Natural Labor Inducing Ideas (although none are 100% proven, why not try?):

  1. Spicy foods
  2. Pedicure – The next three (2-4) have everything to do with pressure points and stimulation
  3. Massage
  4. Acupuncture/Acupressure – Study at the University of NC found “Seventy percent of the women who got acupuncture went into labor on their own, compared to 50% who received standard care. The women who got acupuncture were also less likely to deliver by cesarean section — 39% compared to 17%.” 
  5. Walking/activity
  6. Yoga ball
  7. Sex – According to WebMD, Dr. Harper “…sex releases prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that are like the medications used to induce labor.”
  8. Prunes or castor oil – I tried prunes last time and would NOT recommend any laxative method of going into labor. As to why, I’ll just say I’m lucky I did not go into labor that night…
  9. Evening primrose oil (capsules) – supposedly helps ripen the cervix 
  10. Raspberry tea

 

 

Day 2 of Countdown to Oliver: Date Night

DateNightThis is a great end to a fun countdown: Date night. We decided to eat out at a place called Rooster’s then we saw a movie we’ve both been anticipating since its release, Neighbors. Yes, the boring dinner and a movie combo, but it’s good to be mainstream every once in a while, and I really enjoyed it. It’ll probably be the last time we’re able to leave the house by ourselves for quite a while after this week … or whenever Oliver decides to show up.

Afterwards we went for a moonlit walk on the beach, just kidding. If only we lived near a beach, sigh. Such a nice night though, and now I’m exhausted. Maybe we’ll have an Oliver on my due date tomorrow! Good date, good night.

Here are some of our favorite, unique date ideas for those on a budget, those stuck at home, or those of you just trying to figure out what you can do besides the same old thing each time…

On a Budget:

  • Walk and/or people watch downtown or in a park
  • Drive around and look at houses for sale
  • Go to a library and find something interesting to read together or sit together reading
  • Swimming
  • Play a sport or go to the community center/gym and do something active
  • Photoshoot
  • Half price appetizers somewhere

Stuck at Home:

  • Netflix or Redbox and a pizza
  • Game night (board games, card games, made up games, anything goes!)
  • No electronics, no power, light some candles and talk
  • Make dinner together
  • Work on a project you would both enjoy
  • Grill out

Unique Ideas:

  • Go to a wine and design class
  • Take a dance class, or any class
  • Go to a place where you can make something–Pottery Place, Build a Bear, etc.
  • Outdoor concert
  • Wine/beer tasting
  • Festival or local festivity–First Fridays, Movie in the Park, etc.
  • Aquarium or zoo
  • Look in the newspaper or online for community events

 

*List Completed!*

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Make something
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post-baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest

Day 3 of Countdown to Oliver: Take a Class

We’re getting to the final couple items and today’s list item is “take a class.” Considering I’ve taken the breastfeeding and newborn/new mom classes with my first babe, my class of choice this time is yoga. Relaxing, modified, and I can still label it as exercise. Sounds good to me!

I do still want to suggest some great classes I think every new parent should take. Honestly, the birthing class alone I never found helpful. Anyone can look up all the techniques and watch informational videos online of birth and how to breath, and it may help some but probably won’t make a huge difference either way once you’re actually delivering. I’d recommend saving your money or spending it on a different class and looking up birthing info yourself.

My two favorite classes are the infant care class and (if you’re breastfeeding) a breastfeeding class. The infant care class is all-encompassing, SO helpful for first time moms on all accounts and even normally includes a section on birth (much better than paying for an entire birthing class). I learned a ton of little tips and tricks, a few things I didn’t even know were things, and also it was a great way to get my facts straight and rid myself of all the ridiculous myths and “advice” others like to share.

The breastfeeding class basically just taught me everything I needed to know about breastfeeding and provided helpful tips I never would’ve known until I figured them out myself down the line. For example, as long as baby eats 7-8 times a day, they don’t have to eat every 3 hours on the dot; some may go 5 hours without eating and cluster feed every 1 1/2-2 hours for a portion of the day. Or to go see a lactation consultant with any problems. Breastfeeding was brutal for me at first, and had I not gone to see my lactation consultant, who knows if I could’ve stuck it out. I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t utilize that tool. Another important trick I learned is to get pumping supplies and nipple creams from your hospital; insurance, in many cases, will cover it or it’ll at least go towards your deductible. Plus, so many other helpful techniques and how-tos in a breastfeeding class. It’s a class well worth it in my opinion.

I’d also suggest enrolling in some sort of exercise class, whether it be a yoga class, Zumba or just going to a one-time class that will teach about the importance of health and exercise during pregnancy. Pregnancy is hard enough on your body, but it’s unbelievably easier during and bouncing back afterwards when you take care of yourself throughout. I cannot even begin to convey the difference I see in those around me who are/were pregnant and didn’t stay active or eat well versus those who did. It’s night and day. I may even write a post on it eventually–do some research into it and get some legitimate comparisons. Anyway, take an exercise class or a class to learn about it; you’ll feel much better.

For those who have been there, were there any classes you really liked or didn’t like when you were pregnant? Any knowledge you wish had been offered to you prior to baby?

Yoga

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Make something
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post-baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest

Day 4 of Countdown to Oliver: Make Something

sew

I originally wanted to take a sewing class for this list item, but the next one available here at Jo-Ann’s isn’t until mid-July. No worries, I’m signed up! But in the meantime, I want to create something for Oliver. I decided on sewing my own ring sling.

No pictures yet; fabric decisions and purchasing will be made tomorrow. I will update this post then!

Instructions (directly from the Maya Wrap site actually, which is nice of them):
Maya Wrap instructions

Items needed:
2.25-2.5 yards of fabric (fabric without a “wrong” side since both sides will be visible)
Two metal or nylon rings (extremely sturdy is important)
Sewing essentials (needle, thread, etc.)

Total cost:
$16 for 2.5 yards of fabric (I went to Jo-Anns and found a sale but I would recommend Hobby Lobby for cheaper fabric plus this 40% off coupon!)
$3 for thread
$3 for 2 sling rings (although I’m going to go ahead and order a $4 pair from SlingRings because they’re thicker and more sturdy)

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Make something
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post-baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest

Day 5 of Countdown to Oliver: Invest in Post-Baby Clothes

Post-baby clothes are a nice thing to have after the baby is born. Even continuing to wear maternity clothes isn’t bad, but some can fit funky and eventually or immediately (ideally) they won’t fit very well at all. So, today I’ll focus on a few great post-baby items to stay comfy or help reshape body after baby.

Comfortable and/or helpful post-baby wear:

  1. Yoga pantsof course, of course, anything with an elastic band that hugs your legs and hips comfortably but isn’t suffocatingly tight is going to be ideal for after baby
  2. Nursing tanksthese are perfect to wear under shirts or as is at home for when you need to nurse (or even, at first, if you’re not nursing)
  3. Loose fitting, low-cut shirtsamazing… once again, simple to breastfeed or take off to breastfeed and not revealing enough to show the not-so-confident, post-baby bod. 
  4. Postpartum support or abdominal wrapyes, they’re said to at least help in getting the pre-baby shape back, which works for some, but beyond that, wraps, girdles, etc. give support, help with posture and can help with comfort as well. 
  5. Gra-ny panties and disposable–the hospital will provide disposables which are the best and most comfortable in my opinion, plus they can be thrown away (because guess what, you’ll bleed afterwards). It’s also a good idea to invest in some comfy underwear you won’t care to wear again.
  6. Nursing brasof course if you’ll be nursing, a few comfy fitting nursing bras are ideal. So much easier to function and nurse with. 

 

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Take a sewing class and make something for the newest babe
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post-baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest

Day 6 of Countdown to Oliver: Pampering Day

New Hair

Pampering day, yes, finally! I’d be misleading you if I didn’t say this is a day I’ve been looking forward to since I started this countdown list.

The hair has been chopped into what I’m calling my mom-do (long bob), and my-physical-self was pampered today. And yes, that is the Cocker Spaniel I had cut off my head today in the picture above. Perfect for donating … or making a small rug, whichever.

I have to admit it’s amazing how relieved and weightless it felt. Throughout most of my countdown and prep for baby number two, I’ve done just about anything I can think of to prepare my mental state and environment. However, aside from my health, I hadn’t paid much attention to myself. I saved this pampering day, strategically, to as close as I felt comfortable to my due date, because I want to go into my second birth and child feeling refreshed and confident, in all aspects.

There are true benefits to taking care of and time for yourself–not only what you put into your body but also self-pampering. It may not be quite as important as healthy eating and exercise, but self-care does have an overall positive effect. For those of you who need a reason or extra push to plan a day for yourself, here’s why:

 

The Countdown List:

1. Create the segment “Countdown to Oliver” and make list
2. Make a hospital bag
3. Create a baby registry
4. Prepare the baby’s space
5. Set-up pediatrician visit/appointments
6. Install the car seat
7. Pampering day
8. Prepare birthing plan
9. Wash shower curtains, rugs and sheets
10. *Reader’s idea* Virtual gift-opening
11. Finish an art project
12. Finish a book
13. Create an exercise regimen for the final 4 weeks
14. Take a sewing class and make something for the newest babe
15. Have a special mom and daughter day with Ella
16. (Re)organize files and paperwork
17. Finalize plans with the OB
18. Prepare for visiting family
19. Cleaning day
20. *Reader’s idea* Clothe diapering
21. Meal prep (frozen meals)
22. Write a letter to the new baby
23. Design birth announcements
24. Date night
25. Invest in post baby clothes
26. Clean pumping and feeding items
27. Take a class
28. Clean the carpets and floors
29. Stock up on toiletries and groceries
30. *Reader’s idea* Put feet up and rest