Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What that guy you married thinks of you, and why you should care

honeymoon at pacific beach 2004

   Rocking my baby this morning at three a.m. ( I do all my best thinking then, it's quiet!) I thought about all the different views I've taken on my relationship with my husband and how those views have affected our marriage. I've said this a billion-jillion times, but it bars being said again- attitude really is everything. That being said, our marriage thus far has been an excellent living example of that.
When we were first married, my attitude was that everything had happened the wrong way. Being young, I had absorbed others opinions on my marriage. That it was premature. That it would likely not last. That we each deserved a better start than we had. Last but not least, that we were missing out on what we were really supposed to be doing with our lives, on something that was probably way cooler and more important than what we were doing with it now. Those opinions colored my relationship with my husband. It made selfishness and resentment rise right to the surface where it was easy to scoop off for fight ammunition. It gave me the attitude of "I deserve better than this" Well, let me tell you, those opinions and attitudes didn't help us out much. In fact, the first couple years of my marriage were the toughest so far. Even princesses with legitimate crowns in real castles are responsible for the messes they find themselves in, and I was no exception. The biggest mistake I made? Thinking of my marriage as a lesser-value model than others' marriages who had a more socially acceptable start. Like the couple who got married after dating for five years and waited for each other through the thick and the thin, or the couple who had a beautiful romance and got married in an enchanted garden kissing for the very first time at the altar to roaring applause. Those marriages are valuable and beautiful, don't get me wrong, they just weren't more valuable than mine. Once again, that attitude caused me to invest less of myself into my relationship. I always had a foot out the door, and I fantasized about my future instead of our future, my dashed hopes and dreams, instead of what we both may have lost. (by the way, nine years later, I can say that we both gained more than we ever lost)

 "I took a friends concept of duty being to first serve and care for the children, and last after everything else to take care of my marriage, as a wild card and applied it as a motto everywhere in my life."

            That attitude ended after we had our twins. I guess at this point I figured, hey, if I'm going to have lots of kids with this guy, I should be in for the long haul right? Right. Too bad I didn't decide that a few years before, it could have spared us some hardship. However, my progress in positive attitude was a slow one and still not perfect, (who am I kidding, it's still not perfect!) as I might have relinquished myself to being committed to the marriage, but my primary focus of my commitment was on our kids and our parenting, not our relationship. Which when healthy, naturally produces good kids and good parenting. I saw nothing but the flaws in my husband's parenting, the bad examples he was setting for the kids, the ways he was failing to lead our family. Our kids were very young, the oldest in preschool, the twins infants, just barely to an age where they could be led, and I was no prime example myself. I thought I was, I tried hard to find my identity, to not use bad language around the budding ears, to eat my vegetables and explore my true self... Really though, what I needed to be doing was loving their daddy and meeting his needs too. Love is the best example we can give our children and I was blind to that. I was caught up in destructing my husband rather than building him up and partnering with him. I let my friends marital ideals and dysfunctions bleed into mine through spending too much time with the wrong people. I took a friends concept of duty being to first serve and care for the children, and last after everything else to take care of my marriage, as a wild card and applied it as a motto everywhere in my life. I used it as an excuse to not clean my house or prepare dinner for my hungry husband and go on play dates with the kids all day instead, stating in defense that the kids were most important and deserved to have my time and to have fun. Honestly, this attitude was better than my first believe it or not, but still clearly not enough improvement considering I was just as miserable as before. I would still revert immediately to thinking of life as a single whenever we'd have an argument or disagreement. I would still lie awake at night stewing over all the negatives in our relationship.
 "I began leaning more towards real devotion to my husband, but I was still caught up in the island style parenting I had made myself accustomed to."

         When we moved to Adna and discovered our pregnancy with baby #4 is when attitude phase #3 came into play. I began leaning more towards real devotion to my husband, but I was still caught up in the island style parenting I had made myself accustomed to. (and I don't mean relaxing on a beach with a margarita, I mean everything was done resentfully alone) That time was when some of the very worst of the potty training nightmare with my second son was occurring, the beginning of school troubles with my oldest son had begun, and my young daughter even began a nervous tick of pulling out her hair. In hind sight, I can see that my marriage problems effected my children and their behavior much more deeply than I ever imagined. My further absorption with my kids and my slightly better attitude towards my husband made some friendships that were better off gone begin to dissolve. A step in the right direction, though still not where I needed to be. When our baby was born and my mom helped us move to a bigger house out in the country is when life really took a change in the right direction.
       Moving to our current home was the best thing that could have happened to us. I went to fewer and fewer moms group events, naturally weaning away thanks to my distance from town, my growing number of children, and the inconvenience and cost of traveling long distances that often. I'd like to say to all moms out there that moms groups are a fantastic place to live and grow and, but in reality that's not what I found. I gleaned a small handful of genuine friends from the experience that made it all worth while, but probably a larger fistful of emotional complexes thanks to the silent but constant comparison and competition. Perhaps not all moms experience this, maybe it was me that was easily persuaded into a different train of thought by others. Whatever the circumstances, it was best for me to not be in that circle anymore. On the plus side my children were actually happier to just stay home and chill more often, and our home life regained some much needed routines and structure. I also began to see more clearly what was lacking in my marriage. Regular conversation, blunt chats about our relationship, honesty about our future. Now don't go mistaking those for easy talks!

"He pushed our kid capacity number from 'large but handle-able' for one strong mom, into the 'can't do anything without help' realm where I just plain had to start demanding more  from my husband."

       Before our fourth baby was even a year old, we discovered we were pregnant again. Wowza! "Can't that lady figure out some birth control?" and "Are they crazy?!" probably come forefront to your mind. Alas, my children are my life's greatest blessing, and birth control is a whole separate blog post waiting to happen, so we'll refrain from that part of the discussion for now.  Cohen (baby #5) did amazing things for my marriage: He pushed our kid capacity number from 'large but handle-able' for one strong mom, into the 'can't do anything without help' realm where I just plain had to start demanding more from my husband. You know what? He started giving me the help I needed. In return I was grateful, which in turn made him proud to be a good daddy, which in turn made me hot for this new monster I'd created. It was a good vicious cycle! I realized a great many things too. That involved dads are sexy. That really giving my whole self to my husband and pouring my desperations about parenting and life out to him do much more good than ranting to friends, who tend to give bad advice if it's not coming from God and prayer.
     Finally, I entered the current phase, where my marriage has been better than ever. Through good old fashioned time and suffering, I discovered that I want my man to be happy. I want him to think I'm a good worth while woman. Both of those things take work, everyday. It's worth it, and worth the effort to climb back up the hill after you fall off the horse now and again (which I do frequently) because he is after all what you're going to be stuck with after the kids are all long gone on their own journeys. The kids are all the better for it too. I pray everyday that they don't have to wait five or six years into their marriage to have it start to get good. I love my husband more now than I ever fathomed I would while saying "I do" back in 2004. I think I could have loved him more thoroughly years ago if I'd have stopped to realize his value and began investing in him, in us sooner. Today I am glad to cook and clean for him, I'd even wear a polka dot apron, high heels, and pearls while doing it if it'd make him smile. Oh yeah, and we had one more baby. Maybe it was because of the cooking. ;) I hope to be able to write another blog post (or whatever they might have then) about how much greater and stronger my marriage is in another ten years from now.

 Love and blessings,
Mama Donna

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My opinions on the world...or maybe just on how people come into it...

Welcome to the crazy blog, of a crazy pregnant mother of six! 
Photo taken by Brenda Schaefer Photography of our fourth son Cohen :)

       I have spent the last several months of my pregnancy watching youtube birth videos. Why? Because I feel it helps me prapare and bolster emotionally for repeating the journey of birth, also because it gives me the courage and even the desire to give birth again when I see other women's beautiful birth stories unfold. However, this is where my crazy opinions on the world and how its inhabitants arrive here explode into a blog worthy rant.
        Why, have hospitals and society in general decided to rob women of this beauty? To strip them of their strengths and feast on their weaknesses? To shove medical text books and unnatural fears where they were never intended to be? There are few things that make me truly angry, but this subject is a top qualifier. I am not angry at the women who have been blind folded and practically led to the tune of the pied piper into these staged, intervened upon, and sometimes even violent births. I am angry at the educated, who turn a blind eye deliberately, who mislead and lie encouragingly, to these last few generations of women. I am angry at those who remain ignorant on purpose, who have no desire to see what other options might be out there, who are so fearful of change that they force the old and dead upon the new eras of strong and vibrant women. I believe strongly in the strength of a woman. I believe that most women can bring her children into the world without fear, intervention, or a Doctor at all.
           Now- let's pause there to clarify a little. I did not say all doctors were evil, I did not say they didn't serve a purpose. What I mean,  is that they have no every day purpose in child birth. At least not without some serious retraining.  Doctors are trained as surgeons, and unfortunately that lends them surgical sight, seeing many situations that didn't require surgery or intervention as a place to do so anyway because it made the situation beneficial or easier for them. I cannot even count how many women I know who were induced because their delivery time range was going to cut into the doctors vacation time. Or because the doctor was "concerned" about some inane detail, acting like an excited detective discovering a meaningless clue that allowed them a warrant to do what they really wanted to. Cesareans performed because the labor was lapsing past the indicated time of the doctors level of trained comfort, or was going to cut to closely into a shift change. One of my own deliveries was rushed into happening because they had decided they had the proper staff on hand and therefore broke my water and began the pitocin. The end result was fine, but it's a bad foggy memory for me. The mandatory epidural I received was botched at best, and what should have been a quick smooth delivery was drawn out and long thanks to intervention. And I still didn't deliver in time before shift change so they were under staffed after all!
             I feel like I have been blessed with a broad expanse of experiences practically covering the whole gamut of child birth. My first pregnancy was delivered in a hospital by nurse midwife practitioners who had hospital privileges. Which was mostly an average hospital delivery, as I was able to scream for an epidural, even though it was too late and therefore denied, I had an IV, and was induced two weeks early for no great reason. I forgive myself of all of this now because I was just freshly 18 years old and highly uneducated on...well, everything. My second pregnancy, being a twin delivery, was at yet another hospital and delivered by an OB since there were no midwives who had the proper insurance to take me for any other birth option since twins automatically made me "high risk". I actually went to multiple different doctors until I landed on one that didn't want to immediately just do a cesarean. Stranger yet, this doctor turned out to be local to me, compared to the specialists I had been interviewing two hours away from where I lived at the time. The pregnancy and eventually the delivery were still filled with people with medical degrees trying to scare me to death , threaten me with unnecessary bed rest, and give me night mares about the horrors of premature babies, and the loss of one or the other twin. However, in the end, even though I delivered in the operating room, Betadine and hair net prepped, and a full staff hovering over me scalpels in hand, I escaped c-section free and with two very alive happy and pink babies. That though, I firmly believe is thanks to God looking out for us, certainly not my doing as they had me drugged to the max! They are now five and have no lifelong physical or emotional scarring. My third pregnancy was my first wholly natural home birth. I found a midwife I loved, and gave birth to a great big full term baby in my own bath tub at home. Finally! I had found my inner power and strength! My fourth pregnancy, and now this current pregnancy were and are also with the same midwife, and were and will be delivered in her fabulous jetted tub she has at her birth center. (The jets really do make all the difference)
             I don't for one second think that women who deliver at hospitals are lesser for their choice. I don't belittle or begrudge other Mothers for going where they feel safest. That is not where this article is headed. What I am trying to loudly proclaim from my soap box is, women need to be handed back the power WHEREVER they choose to birth. If that is in a hospital, then I'd like to see more birth story videos posted with women being listened to, hands being kept off of her when she's working hard, IVs and drugs being left behind unless truly needed or desired. I'd like to see more birth support teams, professional, family, and friends alike being more educated on what they're witnessing, and not shushing the Mom to be when she's vocalizing her birth pains, ordering her to speed up or slow down, or giving her an unneeded sense of panic. Women know instinctively how to birth without help. I want birth to be handed back to who it's always belonged to- Mom, baby, and God.  Everyone else should only be there should a true emergency occur, and to help the Mother and baby achieve comfort and serenity in the birth they are looking for. Perhaps then we could see America's ridiculous c-section rate drop, and in so doing the professional level of care takers could truly take charge in seeing the correlation between unnecessary intervention and c-section, and ending it where it started.  Yes, in most cases, Mom and baby turn out fine no matter how and where the delivery occurs, but is that something to strive for? Fine? OK? That sounds along the same lines as WHATEVER to me.

This Mama is out~ Most likely to go to bed, or at least put these crazy swollen feet up!
Please feel free to leave questions or comments below


Friday, December 21, 2012

A dash of Christmas love from the Lines family

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2012!! 

We never got around to a Christmas letter or even cards for that matter, so this is what we did instead this year!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Because life is sweet!

Sweet as a Cupcake

First off, I have to give credit where credit is due. This idea and subsequent tutorial came from a Pinterest idea (shocking, I know) The link for this source can be found here: Pinterest cupcake tutorial
So, now that I've confessed, let's get started! Also, just as a side note for those wondering why I am writing a tutorial on something that already has one- because mine are quite a bit different even though hers were my inspiration, and because I had so much fun doing it and taking the pictures along the way that I didn't want it all to be only for my enjoyment
Let's gather the supplies:
  • polyester snow balls
  • sprig of berries (your choice on size and color to achieve your desired end result)
  • hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
  • yarn, buttons, beads, glitter (anything you want to adorn the cupcakes with) 
  • scissors
  • cup cake papers/liners 

* I would say that right before and right after Christmas is a great time to shop for these supplies, I was able to get my snowballs and berries for a steal from my local craft store due to the awesome holiday sales they had going on.  


  • Hot glue a spiral onto the bottom of the snowball and place it in the cupcake paper. Squish it down in there really well. 
  • Slowly glue a dot at a time around the edge of the snowball and cupcake paper to make it all stick evenly around, making sure to shape it along the way to maintain a nice round cupcakey look. (roll it around in your hands afterward to make it take proper shape and really bond well)

  • Begin gluing one round at a time your base yarn or "frosting" until you've covered the whole thing. See pictures below.

  • Next, make your ornament hanger. Cut a length of yarn two to three inches long and hot glue the tails to the top center of your cupcake.

    • Pull a berry off the sprig and hot glue it into place on top of your hanger tails to hide them and more firmly secure the hanger. 
    • Lastly, top your cupcake! Glue yarn on in a zig zag pattern to make it look like drippy icing, glue buttons on one to make it a polka dot cup cake, glitterize one just for fun, but most importantly, have fun! If you have questions about how to make a cupcake look like any I have pictured below, comment,  and I'll help you out!

      Merry Christmas!!

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    A Whiny Mom

    Dear Blog readers,
    I am ranting to you today and avoiding facebook, where I would undoubtedly be christened the "overly long, boring, whining, ranting, status updater" Here I know only my friends will come and read it and everyone else can easily ignore!  So read on to find yourself on set of the newest tragedy drama to hit a theater near you, or, if this already sounds like it's not for you- plug your digital ears!
     First off: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Okay, I feel much better. Maybe now I can relay my day without using profanities every other word. ;) Act one, scene one of this day begins at 7am when everyone in the whole house is awake and every one needs something different. All of you who have children know exactly what I'm talking about- Oldest "I can't find clean underwear!" Youngest "waaaa!(feed me) waaaaa!" Middles "Can we have pancakes for breakfast? With chocolate chips? Syrup?? Do we have butter too?!"  "Mom, Steven won't get out of the bathroom and I have to poooooop!!" "Mom, I think Steven plugged the toilet with too much paper AGAIN!!" Okay I'll stop giving examples, or THIS could take all day!
    After trudging through getting diapers changed, kids wrangled downstairs, read everyone's two favorite books, get a voted on consensus for the breakfast menu and begin cooking, I remember that we have an appointment in town at 9:30am. Well, we have five kids to get ready and live 30-45 minutes from town on a good day. I call the office and sure enough (as is always the case) the appointment can't be moved. So....we turn the grill back off, shove the bowl of pumpkin pancake mix into the fridge, I throw outfits at kids and scramble to jam the littlest two into the shower with me, because there was NO way late or not that I was making a public debut with hair fashioned into a grunge faux hawk styled by grease. I don't know about you, but being late and having to scramble my jets in a hurry makes me a monster. I'd like to say I mean that metaphorically, but I'm pretty sure I really do grow tusks and become feral.  I'm a planner, I love to fly by the seat of my pants, but each component of the flight needs to have some semblance of structure to it...make sense? It doesn't to anyone else either. Call it my adult ADD mixed with a wandering personality glitch.
    We are all in the car, finally. I am making muddy water and gravel fly as I break the sound barrier squealing out of my driveway and onto the highway. I do a mental check as I always do: "Diaper bag, check....though I'm not 100% that there's wipes in it" Crud. "Appointment folder, check. Ohhh except it has some baby food spilled on it." Crud. Maybe they'll give me a new one? I have to go to the store after the appointment to get groceries and a few other things too. " shopping list?" No. Double crud. I hate shopping without a list!! Everything gets forgotten!
    I was told by the secretary that if we were more than ten minutes late we'd likely have to reschedule. As in another month from now, and this was a REALLY important appointment. Looking at the clock....9:32am and we still have a 10-15 minute drive ahead of us. Also, the fat bald guy in front of us that is obviously picking his nose in his cream colored Toyota pickup with the home made wood pallet sides is driving 35mph on a 55mph road. Oh dear, here come my tusks again. Sorry children for the clever and witty new traffic phrase lines you learned from Mommy today. FYI, don't repeat this please!!!
    It is absolutely pouring rain and is 40 something degrees at this point, and I've made sure all the children have coats but forgotten one for myself. Lovely. We slide into a parking spot nearly 20 minutes late to our appointment and I jump out to get the double stroller out of the back, directly into the mother of all mud puddles. Could possibly be called a pond. I am soaked to my knees, and now that my pants are five pounds heavier after sucking up all that water they begin sagging in the back. Just fantastic. So I look like one of "those" moms now. A whole brood of unruly children, my hair plastered to my head and my butt crack hanging out. If I had the option of just going home right at that moment I would have. But alas, we have worked too darn hard to get here so we are not turning around yet! Babies in the stroller, older three given feral barkings to stay with Mama hog or else, we march soggily in.
    This building has two options, a tiny ancient and extremely stinky elevator or the stairs of ultimate doom. Obviously, with a stroller and no ramp options we choose the elevator. Did I mention it was tiny? My three older kids cram in against a corner while I push and pull and have to keep hitting the doors with my butt to keep the automatic door closer from crushing us as we work hard to maneuver. We make it in and begin the slow decent to the second story. When the doors open there is another crowd of people waiting to get in, giving us no room to get out. Also, the stroller is stuck, with three kids pinned to the back wall. After my face flushed to shades of red previously unheard of and I'm pretty sure everyone has seen my entire butt, I get the kids out of the elevator. You'd think this story was nearly over now, but honey, it's not. The dietician graciously meets me in the main waiting room and accepts me into the appointment even though we are ridiculously late at this point. Bless her heart! The kids drive me the normal amount of crazy during the appointment running in and out of the room, asking too many questions, getting into her things, but overall nothing earth quaking or story worthy.
    I think maybe I've finally gotten into the swing of the day and we pack back up into the soggy slush and into our van. We are all like aldente noodles swirling around in cold stew water about now, and we've still got two stops to make and eventually, we must eat lunch since breakfast had been skipped entirely. I swing by and drop off my husbands rented tux without a hitch, and then, we head to Walmart, the one stop hell shop. Believe me, if there were other options for places to shop in our area, I'd do that instead. I'd like to hate Walmart more, but admittedly, I still occasionally go there on days like this, when I need to go to the bank, feed the kids, get groceries and a long list of other items and really really really, don't want to have to go to seven different stores with five kids to achieve all this.
    Once again we all slog into the nasty weather and brave our way into the store of wonders. We deposit the check and head to McDonald's. After we receive our five waters (imagine the glares) eight cheeseburgers with no pickles no onions (double the glares for this) and one large fry to split, we spot a seat. Before we can even sit at it, the antagonists begin their work. I must have a burning beacon on my forehead, because they come after us like zombies after the last piece of roadkill on earth. With their "My, your hands are full" and "Woweee lady, don't you know what causes kids?!" comments. Then, they want to stand in our way and stare at us for a while, because, we're that awesome. So my children begin (of course) their normal banter with these strangers who love to talk to us, straining my patience and making life's lingering moments even longer. The kids have mostly to completely finished their food after almost an hour of pushing and prodding by me and we are ready to reload and begin the shopping palooza. Four year old and infant in the stroller, toddler on my back in the Ergo, four year old being pushed my seven year old in the cart. Here. We. Go!!
    We make it to the produce section with only three people interrupting us to make rude comments. Believe it or not, this is nearly a record! We gather what we need, minus all the things my fried brain has forgotten due to not having a list, and head, bulging arms and overflowing cart, to the checkout line. Baby is screaming now because it's been nearly three and a half hours since poor little bitty has eaten, and the toddlers, are all losing patience faster than me. So, clearly, we were in desperate need of teller who's brain had been so fried by the bleach she used to color her hair that she most likely can no longer do simple math with a calculator. Okay, that was cruel, cash registers are similar to calculators, and with the help of a manager four separate times and 45 minutes later, she completed our transaction.  Yes! Freedom was ours! We had made it in and out of Walmart alive! Home James!! Well, except for the stop at the preschool to drop off the twins since we'd overstayed our allotted time in town and had now missed the bus....but it was still a bright prospect.
    Have you ever had those days riding with a car load of kids who were fighting so badly that you adjusted the music to the rear speakers and blasted them with heavy bass just to get their attention to tell them to be quiet, and quit killing each other or you'd beat them to it? That was today. Eventually, we were at the preschool, and I ran the twins inside and signed them in after explaining my way out of their tardiness, and wondering how crazed I must have really looked over the silent stares I received,  then dodged back out to the car...where my oldest had decided to make the toddler stop crying by getting into my purse and giving him my chocolates. Awesome. I'm seriously beginning to wonder just when this day is going to end.
    Once we were home I unloaded babies, fed them and put them to bed for a nap, and gave my oldest instructions to begin unloading groceries. All was quiet and lovely and peaceful until I discovered that he had become distracted, and had left the bag with the toilet paper and the yarn in it on the sidewalk. Where it was pouring. There's a chance he won't live until the end of this story. Have you ever heard of harder won toilet paper?! You better bet he received the whole lecture in full!
    In conclusion, before you become bored to tears by a profound lack of care for what happens next, I will say, I still forgot to buy a new phone while I was at the store, so I didn't get to call my best friend and tell her all of this, and in sparing facebook the world's longest status while simultaneously sparing my children their lives, you're welcome, for a page out of my life on a very very bad day.
    Great love and blessings will befall all who read this, amen!  

    MamaDonna <3

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    More fun with recycled jeans!

    This isn't a tutorial but just a fun picture of my latest project and the links to the two tutorials that I combined to make this fun project so that you can replicate! 

     This is where I got the idea for the ruffles and the liner:
    This is where I got the idea for the basis of the bow:

    Happy upcycling!

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Zucchini Zucchini Zucchini!

    This must be the year of the zucchini, because I have had them coming out of my ears! If you're in the same boat then this is the post for you. :) This is also the post for you if you're looking for a way to please crowds of hungry people with healthy delicious food! Never was I more delighted than when I whipped up this recipe and my kids not only ate them but devoured them and begged for more!(insert shock and awe) Vegetables. As breakfast food. Can it get better than that? 
    • Zucchini 
    • eggs
    • cinnamon
    • vanilla extract

    • Shred your zucchini, skin and all
    • Heat a skillet to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (you just don't want to start them in a cold pan, so just the high setting on the stove works)
    • Whip two eggs along with a dash or two of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract french toast batter style in a small bowl (minus the milk of course)

    • Add the shredded zucchini to the mixture and use a spoon or your hands to toss the shredded zucchini and get it thoroughly coated. It will be runny ooey gooey, and that's okay. The eggs in it will cause it to all stick together beautifully when cooked. 
    • Thoroughly grease the pan/skillet with your choice of butter or oil. You don't want these babies to stick, and they will if they're not greased up. 
    • Simply grab or spoon a nice ping pong ball size amount of battered zucchini onto your skillet and then flatten to round pancake thickness.
    • Listen to that delectable sizzle. :) check the cakes and flip them when they reach golden brown in color. If your first flap jack comes out crunchy lower your temp and cook longer. My favorite ones were very slightly aldente, but your crowd might not appreciate that like mine did. 
    • Enjoy! This recipe is friendly to doubling, tripling, adding different flavor extracts and any other artistic ambition, just post the different things you tried and how they turned out below in the comment section! 
    p.s. Our favorite topping for this was home made blueberry syrup. Which is just two cups brown sugar to one cup water along with one cup fresh blueberries brought to a boil and then a squirt of maple extract added. Okay, so it's blueberry maple syrup but great on the zucchini cakes none the less. ;)
    Happy Munching!