Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mother's Milk Bank Tour


Ready for Action!

We here at Wifey With A Knifey want to send our love, gratitude, and appreciation for the efforts and determination of all those  involved at the Mother's Milk Bank of Colorado.

As a breastfeeding mama, I know first hand how rewarding, frustrating, and tough nursing can be.  In the beginning when your milk is coming in, and your baby is so incredibly small it seems like that precious gold doesn't start to flow soon enough.  Now 2.5 years down the road I realize how incredibly lucky I have been to have had the opportunity to give my baby with special food allergies the milk and nutrition for her to grow.  Not all families are as lucky as mine.  Some families are in desperate need of life saving breast milk.  Some have milk, but have lost their babies and need a way to feel connected to the lives of others during their loss.  Some mamas have an overload of breast milk sitting in a freezer at home that another baby could really benefit from.  Some just have no idea what a milk bank is, or that what happens before milk arrives to them to feed their tiny little ones.

Back in December, Wifey and I had the pleasure of visiting and touring the Mother's Milk Bank of Colorado.  Located across from St. Luke's hospital in Denver, this once small effort now reflects the hard work and determination of many women.  Today the Mother's Milk Bank is a safe haven for hundreds of ounces of precious breast milk, pasteurized, tested, and sorted and ready for babies in need all over.  The clinic works long hours to maintain the milk supply donated by mother's from all over Colorado and other satellite milk bank sites around the country.

The master log where all of the incoming milk from satellite sites is recorded
Mother's who donate milk, freeze their supply into 1oz bags or sterilized jars and ship them to the milk bank in Denver.   Some bags are provided by the milk bank, others donated.

Opening up a fresh shipment from Utah

Anyone who said not to cry over spilled milk never pumped an oz of milk EVER

Frozen liquid gold!
Once they arrive, the milk is unpacked, sorted, and tested to the standards of all blood donations for any contaminant. The donors information is cross checked in their data bank for safe medications and for authenticity.  Once tested and verified, the milk is transferred into 1oz jars and placed into large batches ready for pasteurization.  Before it goes into it's pasteurization bath, it's measured for fat content and separated into similar groupings.

Pasteurization bath, rub-a-dub-dub!
Here the milk is slowly oscillated back and forth through the water and heated to a safe temp to kill any dangerous bacteria, while still maintaining the medicinal properties of breast milk.  All milk that is received by the Mother's Milk Bank goes through this process to assure safety of donor milk.

The milk is then again tested for fat content and separated into high needs, special needs, and 'regular' breast milk. The milk is cooled and then refrigerated, ready for transport.

Donation fridge with all milk that's ready for shipment.  I wish there were more...

The milk is now ready to be shipped off to babies in need.  High fat content milk goes to preemie babies in the NICU.  Special needs babies receive some of the special blends of milk, including gluten free, and lowfat/fat free donated milk for babies who can't digest fats.  As a new special need arises, a new blend of milk can be concocted to help that baby in need.  The Mother's Milk Bank works around the clock to fill the needs for all babies, and to process all of the collected milk.

While the need for human milk is always high, the supply is not.  Many don't even know that they can donate, or have never heard of a human milk bank.  Please help spread the word, make a donation, or donate yourself.  Fundraising for the Mother's Milk Bank helps families afford the milk their babies need.  While monetary donations are important, their largest need is actual donors.  Please consider signing up to donate or help by making a tax deductible donation to the Mother's Milk Bank of Denver.  Also consider donating breast pumps, breast milk containers or milk collection bags (all FSA deductible) to the milk bank.  These tools can be sent to potential donors that would normally not be able to donate without the use of a good pump, or storage bags.  You can help, no matter your lactation situation ;)

Mothers, children, donors, all involved in such an amazing symbiotic circle.  Please consider helping babies in need.  Tell them your Wifey's sent you!

The wonderful ladies of the Mother's Milk Bank of Denver, and your two favorite Wifey's squeezed into the middle <3
To become a donor click here to fill out the paperwork needed to get you on the road to saving babies lives.  To learn more about the Mother's Milk Bank of Colorado, please visit them online at: http://www.rmchildren.org/programs/milkbankcolorado/index.htm

With Milky Love from your Wifey's <3
Proud breastfeeder for 10 months

Proud breastfeeder and donator for 2.5 years

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spiced Baby Belly Henna cake!

Babies, we all love babies.

We have them ourselves, we watch them for our friends, everybody and their brother seems to be pregnant right now.  So when one of our fellow Wifey's and Doula extraordinaire was about to have her third, we at Wifey put our collective awesomeness together and threw her a Blessingway!

Our beautiful friend and Doula, Morgan

A Blessingway is an ancient tradition, where women come to celebrate and bless the mama-to-be through their labor, birth, and recovery of their new baby.  Unlike a baby shower, a blessing way pampers and showers the mother-to-be with love and support from her most trusted inner circle of women.  The tradition incorporates positive birth stories, pampering, henna, and food into the celebration.

Each person is asked to bring a special bead of their choice to attach to a necklace that will be worn during labor.  The necklace will be used to harness the strength of the mama's dearest friends and family during her labor.  With each bead, you write and bring a special blessing you're willing to share.

While the ceremony focuses on birth and motherhood, it is usually only for women and babies in arms. Please dress comfortably and casually, and prepare to share in a great ancient tradition involving the power of women and the special journey into motherhood!

We also asked that guests brought a meal to freeze for Morgan and her family to enjoy after the arrival of their new baby so  that bonding and rest would take the place of cooking for the family.  Easily accessible, and healthy snacks for labor, delivery, and breastfeeding were recommended.

We made an amazing Spiced Apple Cake that we transformed into a henna belly with a matching henna pattern from her recent session with our local favorite henna artist.  Below is a short layout of how we transformed an easy box cake into an extraordinary show piece!!

Our list of party favorites

Ingredients

  • A spice cake mix
  • A bag of powdered sugar
  • eggs (per box cake instructions)
  • 3 sticks Butter unsalted
  • 1/2 jar Apple butter
  • Apple cider, equal substitute for water in recipe
  • Apple sauce, equal substitute for oil in recipe
  • 2-3 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • Fondant (found in the baking section of Hobby Lobby, Michael's, or any other specialty baking department)
  • Tube frosting of your color choice
 

Preparation

Prepare the cake based on the box instructions, but instead of water, substitute equal parts of apple cider.  Instead of oil, I used apple sauce.  This cuts down on calories and fat, and is also substituted for equal parts.  I had a jar of apple butter in the fridge, so I dumped half in the batter.  I added about 2 T of Garam Masala into the cake batter.  The theme was Indian, so we wanted to incorporate the flavor of Indian spices into our cake.

Now comes the interesting part.  We wanted to do a belly with henna, so we had to find a way to make those shapes out of cake.  I had a deep muffin pan, actually a popover pan, that I filled to make breasts.  I also had a round cake pan that was perfect for the belly.  We baked the cake as directed, giving the popover pan about 5-7 more minutes since it was much deeper than the 'tummy' part.  We baked the cake until a toothpick inserted came out clean.

Our attempt at pregnant belly cake!

After cooling the cake, we made a batch of our amazing butter cream.  We first creamed all three sticks of butter together, then added slowly the entire bag of powdered sugar.  The vanilla was added next.  After we got the buttercream to our desired consistency, we threw in the remainder of the apple butter, garam masala, and added cinnamon to the batch.  We adjusted it as we felt necessary to obtain the perfect 'spiciness' for the cake.

Once completed, we lathered our cakes up and together with the frosting.

Starting to take shape is a belly!

We rolled out the fondant to a uniform, thin sheet, long enough to cover the entire cake.  We rolled the fondant onto our rolling pin, making sure it was all covered in powdered sugar so it didn't stick to the rolling pin.  We then carefully unrolled the fondant onto the cake.  We gently patted down the fondant around the edges and used a pizza cutter to remove the excess.


All rolled out...

Trimmed up and ready for decorating!

Next, we used our magical cake decorating and artistic skills to carefully copy the henna from a picture to the cake, freehand.  We used the back of a utensil to trace the pattern onto the cake, then filled in the design with the tubed frosting in black to make a nice contrast to the cake.


Freehanding henna!


Yes, we were henna-licious too!

Our finished masterpiece!

The cake was a huge hit, and so delicious!  It's amazing how you can transform a box cake into something absolutely show stopping!  It was an amazing day, and blessing to be part of this magical celebration!


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays from the Wifeys



We admit. We kind of sucked it this year. Right after our last post, one wifey ended up in the hospital and another wifey... well... lost her mom. To say 2013 wasn't the best year on record would be an understatement. I truly believe our redeeming factors are the over $2000 we raised for marriage equality and the undeniable proof that every wifey needs her gals. Especially when getting through a sticky situation. (Through gooood tiiimes and baaad tiiiimes... thaaaat's what wiiiiives are forrrr)

We promise to actually give away that $20 Target gift card when we return in 2014. We're also going to be giving away an awesome gifty from the Mothers' Milk Bank of Denver. So all you nursing or soon to be nursing mamas, come back by.

Thank you as always for showing us the love. We love you all so much too.

Kisses and Happy Holidays!

Love,

Wifey & Wifey B.




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Monday, October 7, 2013

Goodbye Summer... Hello Fall! { Giveaway }


You know that special time of 2am when you solve all the world's problems, mentally fold all the laundry and write all your brilliant blog posts? Yeah. Me too. 11:56pm - 2am is about when I write all my pithy and brilliant Wifey With a Knifey blog posts... in my head of course... which never seem to magically translate to pithy brilliance on the keypad at 11:56am the following day. Or the day after that... or the day after that. This is precisely why upkeep of a blog is about manic jots in a Hello Kitty spiral notebook and forgiveness from fans for writing a new entry about twice a month.

I had all these great topics I've been wanting to write about. Stuff like 'How to organize your children's toys in 5 easy steps so you never have a mess to clean up after 8pm ever again' and 'Kama Sutra for married 30-somethings'. Important mind-blowing topics that will better your home and enhance your marriage! 

But, alas, the shining moment for these ideas expire as soon as the melatonin kicks in and before I know it it's October and there are no new recipes or food-porn and certainly no toy-organization and (sadly) no suburban sex dungeons. What I do have for you is this adorable photo of my kiddo enjoying the last days of Summer on our beautifully manicured (and fake) lawn, a Monday night dinner idea, and a $25 gift card to giveaway to Target!

That's not so bad, now is it?

So first thing's first! A Monday (or Tuesday or Thursday) night meal plan. Over the past year I've been oscillating between Once A Month Cooking/Freezer Cooking (where you cook enough food for 30 days and keep in the freezer) and ordering fresh fruits and veggies from Door to Door Organics and Cooking Light every night. I couldn't really tell you which I prefer more over the other. They each have their own pluses and minuses and as I far as I can tell, cost about the same. 

The trick is with cooking fresh, however, is only buying what you need for the week. Otherwise you risk losing quite a bit of produce (and money!) when perishables go bad. So here's my Wifey compromise: Plan each week of meals the week before and shop accordingly. 

Yes - it means hitting the market every week, but in my experience thus far we are eating much fresher and healthier and spending a lot less on wasted food and eating out. You can also use one of several free meal planners out there in the cybersphere to help. I personally pay the $50 a year for Cozi Gold because we use it to plan everything like Hubby's travel schedule to Cupcake's play dates and my laser hair removal. Being able to see our activity calendar next to our meal planner is super helpful. 

There are so many recipes and plans to choose from, but here's ours for tonight just to give you an idea. Hubby will pick up Cupcake from school around 5, I'll start dinner and we'll all be seating by 6pm. Done and done! I've even included a fun pre-Halloweeny dessert (courtesy of our friends at Breyers Ice Cream #partners #ambassador #deliciousmoments). Ok ready? Let's go!

Dinner: Fiesta Biscuit Casserole


I've been craving some serious WT (you know what it means) comfort food lately. Yesterday I made chili dogs during the football game and don't think for a second I wasn't eyeing the Frito Pie at my nephew's birthday party last Saturday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!!!!). In keeping theme here, I'm making this repeat recipe for Fiesta Biscuit Casserole, slightly hijacked and tweaked from A Cowboy's Wife. I adjusted ingredients to accommodate the gluten free and low-fat needs of our family.

You can use whatever wheat filled, fat stocked ingredients you like! 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb extra lean ground beef 
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies 
  • 2 cups corn 
  • 2 cans (15–16 oz) ranch style beans 
  • 1½ cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar 
  • 2 cups Bobs Redmill Gluten Free Biscuit Baking Mix 
  • ½ cup water

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. 
  2. Cook ground beef and tomatoes in large skillet until beef is browned. 
  3. Mix in corn, beans, and ½ cup of the cheese. 
  4. Pour mixture into casserole dish. 
  5. Combine baking mix and water in a medium bowl, and pour over the meat/bean mixture. 
  6. Top with remaining cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve with a salad mix (lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and you've got a pretty decent meal in regards to flavor, comfort, produce, and family time. And now for dessert...


Dessert: Ice Cream Goblin






This isn't as much a dessert as a fun and silly after dinner family activity. Who doesn't like to play with their food? Even if you make one serving and split it, you've had a hand in (1) building your child's creativity and (2) swapping 1 episode of Caillou on the Sprout Goodnight Show which no matter how you avoid it, is a solid win! Also, remember that October 14th is National Dessert Day (as if we needed a reason to dessert haha)!!!







Ingredients

  • 1 sugar ice cream cone 
  • Decorating icing, candies and/or sprinkles 
  • 1 scoop Breyers BLASTS!® REESE'S® Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups 
  • 2 small soft square candies, halved diagonally 
  • 2 small round candies 
  • 2 small black oblong shaped candies [or black sprinkles] 
  • 1 small red candy

Preparation

  1. Decorate sugar cone "hat" as you wish with decorating icing, candies and/or sprinkles. 
  2. Place scoop of Breyers BLASTS!® REESE'S® Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups on plate. Place two soft candy pieces on sides of ice cream scoop for goblin's pointy "ears". Use remaining 2 soft candy pieces to make "nose"in center of scoop. Place small round candies above nose for "eyes". Place small black oblong candies or sprinkles above eyes in downward angle for goblin's angry "eyebrows". Place small red candy below nose for "mouth". 
  3. Place hat on top of ice cream scoop. Dot eyes, if desired, with decorating icing for "pupils". Serve immediately or place in freezer until ready to serve. and bake for 25 minutes.
Last but not least...

Giveaway: $25 Target Gift Card

Our friends-with-benefits at Breyers are giving away a $25 gift card to Target via Wifey With a Knifey and it's so easy for you to win! All you need to do is comment on this post! Say hi! Share a recipe! Share your favorite meme! A randomly selected and amazing individual will be announced in our next post and it's off to my favorite mid-day SAHM hangout: Target.

I hope everyone is enjoying their transition from green to gold and bikini bod (PHHHT BWAHAHAHAHAHA) to fall sweater body! See you in a few weeks!




Loves,


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