Winner of Ginger Mail Giveaway!!

Hi! I am happy to announce the winner of the Ginger Mail giveaway is…

Sara (sarammcgowanATgmailDOTcom)!!!

Congrats, Sara! I will be contacting you via email to collect your info, but if I don’t hear anything from you in the next 48 hours, then I have to pass the prize on to the next. Sad face, I know, so check your email!

In other news, I have some fun things coming up, including my experience with taking my own placenta! It’s not as gross as it sounds, trust me. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!

Charlie’s Birthday

I can hardly believe that she’s here! It’s even harder to believe that I’m about to tell you about my completely perfect, complication-free hospital birth.  You see, I had planned a natural birth from the start. I hired a doula, I got a midwife, and I read all of the books, but I don’t think I ever believed that I was actually going to go through with it. I wanted to, but I just didn’t have faith in myself.

The night of my baby shower, I had some kind of panic attack. I was 38 weeks pregnant, sleeping soundly, when I was awoken by a slightly painful contraction that set off a 30 minute panic episode.  I was shaking uncontrollably as I packed a hospital bag (with 5 sets of pajamas, might I add. So not only was I panicking, but it seems that I was also having some kind of mental breakdown).  I decided to jump in the shower to try to relax and regroup.  I started asking myself why I was panicking then I remembered why I was so scared of a natural birth. The only contractions I had ever felt were the pitocin-induced piggy-back contractions I endured for 3 or 4 hours during my labor with Milo.  It was the worst pain of my life and I couldn’t catch a break from them since they were one on top of the other.  That little episode had me questioning, for the first time in my pregnancy, why I wanted to have a natural, pain-medication free child birth. Yes, that is right. I had not even thought it through before 38 week pregnant. My advice to other expectant mothers: don’t do that.

After a few days or so of over-thinking the whole ordeal, I decided to just let it go and let whatever happen just…happen! Really, that is how I function best. I like to think I’m a good planner, but in the end, I normally just throw my hands up and say, “Whatever…it’s gonna happen how it’s gonna happen”.  And it did.

Five nights after that little episode, at about 12am on the 17th, I started having contractions that were 2 minutes apart. Now, they say, “Oh, you’ll know when they are labor contractions”. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I did not know these were labor contractions.  In fact, I told myself that they couldn’t be labor contractions because it was 12 in the morning and Sam’s parents couldn’t possibly make the trip at that hour and I didn’t want to wake up my midwife, doula, husband, or 2-year old, so I got into a hot bath and decided to call my doula. We went back and forth about what to do and eventually decided to wait it out for another hour (I was already 5cm dilated according to my Dr. appt 2 days prior) to see what happened.  When I got off the phone with her, I kept telling myself that I can’t go into labor tonight. I needed to sleep and to be well-rested and not completely terrified before I went into real labor.  So my contractions tapered off. They went from 2 minutes to 5 then to 10 minutes apart, then eventually they stopped. My son came into our room at about that time, so I snuggled up with him and got about 6 wonderful hours of sleep.

The second I opened my eyes at 6:22am I had a contraction…then 2 minutes later, another one…and another one. I can’t really say they were painful.  I think words like “pressure” and “intense” would work better to describe what I was feeling, but not painful. One of my well-meaning friends commented about how some women have “painless” contractions. To that I say “ha ha” and “no”. I think I could have looked at them as painful, but my outlook on the whole thing had somehow shifted and suddenly all of those books that I read were helping me.  I was choosing to view the contractions as something I needed to work with rather than fight against. I was remembering to relax with each one and to visualize my body opening up with each contraction.  I was really surprising myself with how calm and collected I was during the whole thing. And I’m getting ahead of myself, so back up…

I decided to call my midwife at about 7:30 and she wanted me to come to the hospital immediately since I was already so dilated.  Sam came home from work and I drove us to the hospital (had a few contractions on the way). I didn’t really think I was in active labor. I actually didn’t even bring my bags to the hospital.  When I got to triage, they informed me that they already had a room for me. I felt the pressure at this point…the pressure to actually be in active labor. I mean, they already had a room for me and here are all these poor girls in triage being monitored for another few hours and I get to skip in line and go to a delivery room! Lucky for me, midwife checked and I was at 7cm, so I wasn’t going back home.  We called everyone, the in-laws, doula, parents, and everyone got moving.  Sam came back to the hospital with our son and we all just kind of sat around while I had contractions 2-3 minutes apart for the next 3 hours.

My midwife, me, and my doula…about 30 minutes before Charlie was born.

My midwife, me, and my doula…about 30 minutes before Charlie was born.

Milo wasn’t supposed to actually stay for the delivery, but it just happened that way, and I’m glad it did.  Close to the end, around 9cm, when contractions got super intense, he was a wonderful distraction.  He was so sweet and concerned and he was constantly saying things to make me laugh.  At about 11:45am it was time to push. So, for me, this is where things got painful.  I only pushed for 5 minutes, but it was a painful 5 minutes.  On a scale of 1-10, I’d say my pain was at an 8…or 9.  We had planned for me to reach down, grab her and immediately put her on my chest while the cord stayed attached for however long it took to stop pulsing, but when her little head emerged, the cord was wrapped twice around, so the midwife had to cut it.  I actually ended up getting a little squeamish as I was pushing her out and when the midwife told me to grab her, I took one look and said “ew, no!”.  Haha…I know that sounds terrible, but I was off somewhere else trying to deal with the pain internally as I had been doing all along. I eventually (like 20 seconds later) took her and held her for a long time and it was perfect.

Charlie's Birthday 1

Soon after I delivered her, they brought me lunch and there was a huge brownie sitting on the tray. Let me tell you something…that hospital brownie was, and still is to this day, the best brownie I have ever tasted. I don’t know if it’s because I was physically exhausted from pushing a baby out or if the baker at the hospital is just that amazing, but I want another one. I have dreamt about that brownie several times since that day.  A couple hours after I delivered her, I was up and walking around. I felt great! Nursing was going great, too.  I kept wondering when something bad was going to happen, but it didn’t.  The only thing that kind of irked me was the little gathering of nurses outside my door who were discussing, rather loudly, my decision to opt out of the eye ointment and hep B vaccine and how I needed to sign a letter of consent saying if she dies, it’s my fault and blah blah blah.  Okay, thanks, now go away.

Proud Dad! He finally has a little princess.

Proud Dad! He finally has a little princess.

So that’s the story of how Charlie was born!  She is now 13 days old, eats like a pig, poops like a horse, and is the sweetest little girl I will ever know.  We are all so in love with her, especially Milo.  He always asks to hold her (actually he says “ho-me” when he wants to hold her) and he just stares at her.  I know he’s only two, but you can totally see all of the love and adoration in his eyes. He is just as captivated as we are.

Andrea Hauck Photography

Photo by Andrea Hauck

Ginger Mail **Giveaway**

Alright, you lovely people, I have an adorable giveaway this month from Ginger P Designs.  If you haven’t heard of this wonderful little paper company, then definitely check out the link. They offer invitations, greeting cards, place cards, menu cards, and so much more with designs that are clean and simple.  They also have this neat little mailing service called Ginger Mail which sends you a little package of greeting cards (related to upcoming holidays), a cute little calendar for the month, and other adorable stationary items every 6 weeks!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the idea of this mailing service.  I am the type of person who always intends on sending that birthday card, but never actually picks it up at the store. The day comes, then goes, and I am, once again, that mediocre friend who didn’t send a birthday card.  I’ll share with you the Ginger mail I received for the December 1st mailing:

December Ginger Mail


There was also a shopping list notepad, but I have been using that religiously, so it’s almost gone.

I’m giving away the January 15th mailing which includes lots of Valentine’s Day goodies and a few other fun things.  To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below along with your email address (so I know how to contact you if you win).  The giveaway is open from today until Friday, 1/31 at 12am MST.  The winner will be announced and contacted Friday morning and will have 48 hours to claim the prize.

In the meantime, check out these adorable freebie printables from Ginger P Designs….Valentine’s Day Wine Labels!!

Valentine's Day Wine Labels

Photo from

You can find another Valentine’s Day printable, and some fun Mother’s and Father’s day printables too!

**Giveaway open to residents of US, Canada, and UK. Disclosure: I did receive these items for free to review, however, I am not receiving any other compensation**

Last day to enter November’s giveaway!

Hi loves! Sorry I have been away this whole week. Seems like life had other plans than for me to diligently post every morning, like I normally would. The giveaway is still open until midnight! The winner will be selected and announced tomorrow morning, so come back to see if you’re the lucky winner! Also, I have an awesome DIY Christmas stocking project coming up! Still tweaking the design, but it should be up soon.

Have a wonderful Thursday and come back tomorrow to see who will win the handmade Christmas wreath from Alicia Rose Crafty Creations and a $25 Etsy gift card!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

I wish I could blame my chocolate-peanut butter addiction on pregnancy, but alas, I have been plagued with it all the days of my life! I love salty/sweet combinations in my dessert, just like I love sweet/savory combinations in my dinner entrees.  


This recipe is a good balance of sweet and salty, especially with the addition of salted, roasted peanuts crumbled on top! The frosting is a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Yum! You will definitely need a big glass of milk to wash a piece of this down. 


I used a basic chocolate cake recipe, so if you have one that works for you, then use it! If not, keep this one handy!

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup neutral tasting oil (I normally use grape seed, but you can use canola or vegetable)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of freshly brewed coffee (you won’t taste it!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8- or 9-inch baking pans by spraying with baking spray or greasing with shortening, then flouring.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then, with the mixer set on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 cup of coffee and mix until just combined, scraping to bowl to make sure you got it all. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cake is done (test with a butter knife or toothpick).

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoons milk

handful of salted peanuts, chopped

In your standing mixer, mix peanut butter and cream cheese on high for about 3-5 minutes.  Turn the mixer off {or don’t and see what happens} and add the sugar, one cup at a time. Add the vanilla and milk. Taste and feel the frosting to make sure it’s the consistency of normal cake frosting. If it’s a little dry, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s a little wet, add another cup of sugar. I sprinkled my cake with a tiny bit of cocoa powder and a handful of salted peanuts. 





I am pretty sure my son is suffering from seasonal allergies. So sad he didn’t get lucky like his momma {knock on wood}.  Everyone else in my family, and my husband, suffers from seasonal allergies, so I guess all of my children are doomed and I’m just completely weird.

Looks like we’re going on a hunt for some local honey and plenty of vitamin C fruits and veggies!

So, I’m thinking of making some changes to my blog schedule. Many of you faithful readers love it when I post food recipes and DIY projects, so I want to incorporate more of those instead of just one each a week. I’ve decided to have a dessert day in addition to my normal recipe day! Sometimes the desserts will be on the healthy side, but sometimes, like this week, the desserts will loaded with good things like sugar and fat. But they will always be made from scratch! I’d like to have another DIY day, but I think instead of another craft day, the additional DIY post will focus on homemade cleaning solutions, homemade moisturizers, and the like.

Anyway, those are some cool changes to be looking forward to, so stay tuned!

Since I just mentioned food, what’s everyone having for dinner tonight?? I’m making these delicious-looking salmon patties with broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes!  Yum.

New Blog Title

Some of you may notice the new site title, so I thought I’d explain. The General Specific was the name given to my blog before I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it. It was less structured and very random. I would post about food for a week, skip a month, post a sewing project, then maybe a review of a sushi place in Okinawa. It was all over the place.

Now, I have a better idea of what this site is about. I know myself a bit better now, I know the things I like to do and the things I like to write about and mostly everything that I do on my blog revolves around me and my family {which, explains the “me plus three” since we are a family of four…well, almost).  Anyway, I thought that title would suite my blog better than “The General Specific”, especially since my husband decided to start calling it “The Broad Absolute” or something like that.

Enjoy your Monday night!

Upcoming Blog Events {Hint: Giveaway}

I had a sick baby this past weekend. Last Tuesday, I picked Milo up from preschool and noticed clear, slimy mucus running from his nose. Too bad I didn’t notice it earlier, because I’m pretty sure they are most contagious when the clear mucus is present. He didn’t act like he felt bad, so no need for any medicine. I just gave him ACV/raw honey drinks and plenty of fluids and took him back to preschool on Thursday. Thursday afternoon he seemed fine, still had some mucus, but that night he developed a fever.

When the fever comes along and the mucus turns from clear to greenish, then you know the infection is almost gone! He held a steady 101.6 for 2 days and it finally broke Saturday night as I put him down for bed. He wasn’t uncomfortable, so I didn’t want to give him anything that might take the fever down. After all, fevers are a productive way for the body to fight off the infection.

Sunday was a good day! Still pretty boogery as his body was ridding itself of the infection, but we played outside in his little pool and had a great day.

I have some fun things coming up this week! An amazing recipe, and my first **GIVEAWAY**!!!!  I’m really excited for the giveaway, so stay tuned this week so you can enter to win some handmade items by yours truly!

Have a great Monday, everyone!!