The Baker Upstairs: 2021

9.24.2021

Perfect Pot Roast

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This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
Now that the weather is finally cooling down, I have been turning to all of my favorite comfort food meals! I love any excuse to use my Le Creuset dutch oven (which I love like one of my children - ha ha!) and this perfect pot roast is the ideal recipe for it. It cooks low and slow in the oven for hours, makes the house smell totally amazing, and comes out perfectly tender and delicious. It's a low effort meal that tastes like a million bucks!
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
I like to cook the onions and carrots with the meat, and cook the potatoes separately, but you can always throw in some potatoes with the meat if you like. It turns out fantastic either way! I love that the meat gets so tender that it basically just falls apart on its own. It's such a simple recipe, but turns out totally delicious and has a wonderful savory flavor. Since the ingredients are so simple, you'll definitely want to use a high quality roast for the best results. 
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
I usually make the mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot (because it's the easiest, least steamy way to make them!) and my family loves it when I make these perfect crescent rolls as well. It's the perfect dinner for a leisurely weekend evening!
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
If you have any leftovers, this roast also makes really good sandwiches, tacos, or enchiladas! I always love repurposing leftovers and making them into something new and delicious. This perfect pot roast is so simple, and so tasty!
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!
Perfect Pot Roast

1 3-4 pound chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole onions, peeled and cut into quarters
6 whole carrots, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 cups beef broth

Preheat the oven to 275. Sprinkle both sides of the roast liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy (oven safe) pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and cook them for a few minutes on each side, until browned. Remove them from the pot, then add the carrots and cook a few minutes, tossing to brown. Add the seasoned roast to the pan, and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove the roast from the pan and pour about 1 cup of broth into the pan. Use a whisk to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the roast, onions, carrots, and remaining broth to the pot. Cover and cook in preheated oven for about one hour per pound of roast (mine was perfect after 3 hours). Serve hot with mashed potatoes.
This perfect pot roast is tender, savory, and delicious, and so easy to make! It's the perfect comfort food meal!

9.22.2021

Apple Crisp

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This delicious apple crisp has tender juicy apples topped with buttery and sweet crisp topping. It's the perfect fall dessert!
This delicious apple crisp has tender juicy apples topped with buttery and sweet crisp topping. It's the perfect fall dessert!
This summer has been unbearably long, and I'm so excited that fall is finally here! My favorite apple farm is now open and slinging apple cider slushies and apple cider doughnuts, and we have visited an embarrassing amount of times for fall treats. It's time to enjoy all things apple! This apple crisp is one of my favorite fall desserts, and it's the perfect way to showcase that delicious apple flavor. Although the recipe below calls for Granny Smith apples, I've made it with a variety of apples (often just mixing and matching based on what I have available in the house) and it has always come out delicious. So no worries if you are not a fan of Granny Smith - you still have plenty of delicious options!
This delicious apple crisp has tender juicy apples topped with buttery and sweet crisp topping. It's the perfect fall dessert!
This apple crisp is so cozy and comforting, and I love that it's easy to make too! It's perfect for sharing with friends, or just enjoying on a chilly evening. The combination of oats, brown sugar, apples, and cinnamon is totally fantastic. It's definitely a comfort food dessert! 
This delicious apple crisp has tender juicy apples topped with buttery and sweet crisp topping. It's the perfect fall dessert!
I like to serve this apple crisp with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and caramel sauce drizzled over the top. There's something so magical about the combination of apples and caramel! The leftover crisp will keep in the fridge for several days, and I think it's just as delicious warmed up the next day. We will definitely be making this apple crisp all through the fall!
Apple Crisp

for the crisp topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cold

for the apple filling:
2 pounds granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

for serving:
whipped cream or ice cream
caramel ice cream topping

Preheat the oven to 375. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Grate in the cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender or two knives, until the pieces are no bigger than pea sized. Chill until ready to use. To make the filling, in a large bowl whisk together the melted buter and flour until blended, then whisk in the water, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the apples to the bowl and toss to coat them evenly with the butter mixture. Pour the apples into a 9 x 9 baking dish, then sprinkle the crisp topping evenly over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let sit 10-15 minutes before serving. To serve, top with whipped cream or ice cream, and drizzle with caramel sauce.

adapted from Cooking Classy
This delicious apple crisp has tender juicy apples topped with buttery and sweet crisp topping. It's the perfect fall dessert!

9.20.2021

Dark Chocolate Mango Cookies

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These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!
These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!
When my baby had surgery in June, one of the only bright spots was that my parents were able to drive up to Oregon from Utah to help. Not only were they incredibly helpful in entertaining my older kids (and taking care of all of us), they also offered to bring up a bunch of fun things from Utah that I've been homesick for. I put in a giant order from my favorite kitchen store, and my parents graciously hauled all of it up to Oregon for me. They asked if there were any treats or special foods they could bring for me, and ended up bringing a dozen of my favorite bagels (from Rich's Bagels), several Crust Club pot pies, and a bunch of bags of frozen Ruby Snap cookie dough. I have no idea how they managed to keep everything frozen on the long drive, but they did it. I was absolutely thrilled to have so many favorites that I haven't been able to get in Oregon!
These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!
In the time since they visited, we've been working our way through the frozen cookie dough, and a few weeks ago I pulled out a bag of dark chocolate mango cookie dough. I have to say, I was pretty skeptical as to whether they would actually be good, because it sounded like such an unusual combination, but to my surprise, they were AMAZING. I think they are actually my favorite of all the cookies that my parents brought with them. The combination of textures and flavors was just totally outstanding. Literally the next day I set to work making my own version, and they turned out just as delicious!
I adapted my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but added in chopped dried mango, substituted chopped dark chocolate for the chocolate chips, and added a little sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top for a little something extra. I used the sweetened dried mango from Trader Joe's (it's a staple at my house!) and it worked great. I used a giant (3 tablespoon) cookie scoop to make the cookies extra big, and to keep the middles nice and soft. These dark chocolate mango cookies are so unique, and totally irresistible!
These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!
These cookies will keep well for up to a week (although they are so delicious that they probably won't last that long). I like to put the leftover cookies in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make the chocolate extra melty and delicious. Is there anything better than a warm cookie? Yum!
These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!
Dark Chocolate Mango Cookies

12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate (I used Guittard)
3/4 cup chopped dried mango
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (I used Maldon salt)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix until smooth. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the dark chocolate and mango pieces. Scoop the dough into large balls (I used a 3 tablespoon scoop) and place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-3 inches apart. Bake 12-13 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
These dark chocolate mango cookies have a unique and delicious combination of flavors, for a completely unforgettable cookie!

9.17.2021

Huckleberry Muffins

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These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
This year I have developed a total muffin obsession, and I just can't stop making them! I make muffins at least once a week, and I have tried so many different and delicious flavors. Blueberry muffins are always a favorite around here (and I have a great recipe for them that I will share soon!), but I've been trying to branch out a little and try some other fruits. A few weeks ago we were visiting a farm stand, and I found some fresh huckleberries. Muffins seemed like the perfect recipe to try with them. These huckleberry muffins are so delicious, and the tiny and tart little huckleberries add so much flavor!
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
Fresh huckleberries only seem to be available for a short amount of time in late summer in Oregon, but I've found frozen huckleberries at Whole Foods year round. If you can't find any huckleberries, you could easily substitute wild blueberries (or even just regular blueberries) instead. These muffins have such a nice texture, and I love how light and fluffy they are.
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
The muffins will stay fresh for 2-3 days before they start to get soggy, so I often make them ahead of time for breakfasts on school and work days for my husband and kids. They're great to take on the go!
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
I think these muffins are perfectly delicious on their own, but they are also fantastic with butter and jam. They're the perfect way to showcase that delicious huckleberry flavor!
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!
Huckleberry Muffins

2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen huckleberries and/or wild blueberries

Preheat the oven to 425. Add 18 paper liners to two muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix until just barely combined. Gently fold in the huckleberries. Scoop into the prepared muffin tins, filling 3/4 full. Bake 15 minutes, until golden brown.
These huckleberry muffins are so light and fluffy, with delicious little huckleberries studded throughout!

9.15.2021

Biscuit Pot Pie

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This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!
This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!
A few months ago my kids made a list of all of their favorite foods that I cook, and it has been totally invaluable as I've been planning my menus. I have such a hard time thinking of new and exciting things to cook every week, but it turns out that they just want to eat the same things over and over and over. :) I recently asked my husband to add some of his favorites to the list, and he said, "Um, I just want to eat biscuit pot pie. Every night. Forever." That's pretty high praise, right? This biscuit pot pie is simple and delicious, and way easier to make than a traditional pot pie!
This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!
I make this biscuit pot pie whenever my husband needs a little pick-me-up after a rough day, and it's always a crowd pleaser. Best of all, it's really simple and easy to make! I nearly always have all of the ingredients on hand (I keep rotisserie chicken and mixed vegetables in the freezer specifically for this purpose!) and I can usually have it in the oven in less than twenty minutes. It's delicious comfort food that doesn't take all day to make - a total win!
This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!
This meal is so warm and hearty and comforting, and so perfect for the cooler fall days that are on the way. The chicken and vegetable filling is creamy and delicious, and it complements the biscuits perfectly. I used my favorite biscuit recipe for topping, and I love that they get crisp and golden brown on the top as they bake, while staying light, tender, and flaky in the middle. Everyone in my family loves this meal!
This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!
Biscuit Pot Pie

for the filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 package frozen mixed vegetables

for the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350. To make the filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a paste. Cook 2-3 minutes, until golden. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened and creamy. Stir in the salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Stir in the cooked chicken and vegetables. Pour the filling mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

To make the biscuits, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Grate the cold butter into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Pour in the buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. Pat the dough out to an even layer, about one inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough into thirds, as though you are folding a letter. Pat the dough out again until it is about one inch thick. Cut the biscuit dough into eight equal pieces. Place the biscuits on top of the filling mixture. Bake 35-40 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown on top and the filling is bubbling.
This biscuit pot pie is the epitome of comfort food! It's so delicious, and so easy to make!

9.13.2021

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

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These decadent and delicious Nutella cheesecake brownies have the perfect combination of flavors, and are so rich and chocolatey!

These decadent and delicious Nutella cheesecake brownies have the perfect combination of flavors, and are so rich and chocolatey!

Okay, friends! I'm back with my first new recipe post in months, and it is an excellent one. I've actually been cooking and baking pretty much like normal for the past few months, but with a baby in a cast (and everything else going on in my life lately) there hasn't been a lot of time to sit down and edit photos or write posts on the computer. My husband has been having some tough days at work lately, since his hospital has been so busy, and I wanted to make a special treat for him to look forward to at the end of his three shifts for the week. He is totally crazy for all things Nutella, cheesecake, or chocolate related, so these brownies were a no brainer. They were super easy to make, and so delicious. He was thrilled when he came home to find some rich chocolatey goodness waiting for him!
These decadent and delicious Nutella cheesecake brownies have the perfect combination of flavors, and are so rich and chocolatey!
These brownies are simple to make, and I love the combination of flavors. I'm actually not a big cheesecake fan (don't hate me!) but even I thought the cheesecake layer was pretty tasty. You can definitely eat these brownies at room temperature, but I thought they were even more delicious after chilling. The Nutella cheesecake layer became almost fudge-like, and silky smooth. So yummy!
These decadent and delicious Nutella cheesecake brownies have the perfect combination of flavors, and are so rich and chocolatey!
I would suggest storing any leftover brownies in the fridge, both to keep them fresh and because I think they taste better chilled, but I'm sure they would be fine at room temperature for several hours if you wanted to take them to a potluck or party. These brownies are a must bake!
Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

for the brownies:
6 tablespoons butter
4 ounced semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder

for the cheesecake layer:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup Nutella

for topping:
3 tablespoons Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment. To make the brownies, add the butter and semisweet chocolate to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder, and mix until just combined. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake 10 minutes.

While the brownie batter is baking, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and flour until well blended. Add the egg, heavy cream, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until well combined. Add the nutella and mix until smooth. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the top of the brownie batter, spreading evenly. Heat the 3 tablespoons of nutella in the microwave until warmed (about 30 seconds). Drizzle the nutella over the top of the cheesecake mixture, and use a toothpick to swirl it throughout the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set and only jiggles slightly when the pan is shaken gently. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

adapted from Life Made Simple
These decadent and delicious Nutella cheesecake brownies have the perfect combination of flavors, and are so rich and chocolatey!

9.10.2021

How to Survive (and Thrive!) with a Hip Spica Cast

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Caring for a child in a hip spica cast can be challenging, but it is totally doable! I'm sharing everything we've learned from our spica journey.
Caring for a child in a hip spica cast can be challenging, but it is totally doable! I'm sharing everything we've learned from our spica journey.

Psst... I don't normally share much about my family here because I like to keep my private life separate from my blog, but I felt like this was important to share in the hopes that our story could help someone else in the same situation! Please be kind and respectful.

Hello friends! It has been nothing but tumbleweeds over here for the past few months, but for good reason. In April my daughter Bee (who was six months old at the time) was diagnosed with development dysplasia of the hip (DDH). She underwent surgery to correct the problem in June, followed by twelve weeks in a hip spica cast. It has been a very challenging summer for us (to say the least!) but the end is in sight! My daughter's cast will be removed this Wednesday, and she will graduate to wearing a supportive brace for a few months, and then will be done with treatment!

We are so glad that our spica cast journey is FINALLY ending, but I wanted to share all of the things we've learned this summer, in case my experience can be of help to anyone else. When Bee was first diagnosed, I spent many a late night scouring the internet for information, and personal blog posts were a lifesaver to me! It is so helpful seeing other families not just surviving, but actually thriving. I'm hopeful that our story can be a help to someone else going through the same thing!

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the bones of the hip joint are not aligned properly. In my daughter's case, she was born with her left hip dislocated. Sometimes hip dysplasia can be caused by breech positioning before birth, and may be more common with multiples, but in our case there weren't any risk factors before birth. It's generally not painful in children before adolescence, and we probably wouldn't have even noticed unless Bee started to walk with a limp. From the outside, her hip looked normal, and she was scooting, sitting, and rolling over like any typical child her age. 

Bee was diagnosed during a routine well baby visit when the resident examining her noticed a clunk in her hip. If you have any concerns about your baby or child's hips, I would definitely recommend getting an ultrasound or x-ray (depending on the child's age) to rule out hip dysplasia. In general, the earlier it is treated, the easier and shorter the treatment (although obviously every child/situation is unique). 

What is a hip spica cast? How does it help with hip dysplasia?


A hip spica cast is used to hold the hip in place so that the bones can mold each other and create a more normally shaped hip socket. In my daughter's case, her acetabulum (the cup shaped area on the pelvis that holds the head of the femur in place) is very shallow, which means her femur was able to slide in and out of place. During surgery, her hip was aligned the way it should be (called a closed reduction) and then the cast was put on to hold the hip in place so the bones can shape each other. She had her first cast (pink) for 6 1/2 weeks, then had a cast change under anesthesia, and had a second cast (purple) for 6 1/2 weeks. (There's a fascinating video of how a spica cast is applied here.) My daughter's cast weighs somewhere around 3-ish pounds (about 15-20% of her body weight) and it has definitely made it a little more challenging to pick her up and carry her around. 

What is life with a spica cast like? How do you change her diapers? Give her a bath? Feed her?

Obviously pretty much everything is a little more challenging with a spica cast! We've had to adapt and get creative in lots of areas, but I feel like we have done a pretty good job of it. Here are some things that have gotten a little trickier with the spica cast:

- Feeding -

I was very worried about how we would keep her cast clean, and keep messy food out of it. We had started baby led weaning a few months before she got her cast, and the spica table made it pretty easy to continue. I covered her cast with a kitchen towel, added a bib (I love these ones from Tiny Twinkle because they cover so much), and put her in the table. She stayed clean and dry while exploring lots of different foods. Even when she dumped spaghetti on her head or flung applesauce all over the room, her cast stayed clean and dry.


I was worried that breastfeeding would be significantly harder, but we adapted pretty quickly and easily. I know lots of people have struggles in this area with a spica cast, but we were pretty lucky! If you are able to make it work and keep breastfeeding, I think it is definitely worth the effort. On days when Bee was uncomfortable and upset, it was such a comfort for both of us to be able to snuggle and nurse. 

- Car Seat -


We had to borrow a car seat from the hospital (a Wallenberg), since she couldn't fit in her infant car seat after she was casted. As much as we loathe this gigantic brown slab of a car seat, we are so grateful that we had the option available to us so we were able to get out as much as possible this summer! At first the rough straps on the car seat were scraping up the back of her head and causing sores, but we figured out pretty quickly that the padded insert from her infant car seat could fit on top of the straps to protect her head. 

- Spica Table -

I heard people say over and over that a spica table was a lifesaver, and I was like, "Really? How much difference could it actually make?" They can be expensive (often several hundred dollars) but I found ours to be totally indispensable. My daughter ate all of her meals in hers, played with toys in it, and got pushed all around the house by her sisters in it. It was the perfect solution to hold her when I was cooking or cleaning and just needed her to be in a safe place. She had been using a bouncer seat and swing before her cast, and didn't fit in either of those afterward, so the spica table was a lifesaver when I needed my hands free! My husband is a fantastic carpenter and was able to build one for her (in one day!) but if you're not handy, you can buy one from Ivy Rose (they have so many fun designs!) or borrow/rent/buy one from this Facebook group

- Diapering -


This is the area I was most worried about with the spica cast, but it turned out to not be as hard as I had imagined it would be. Our surgeon left a big enough opening in the cast for us to position her diapers easily, and we had very minimal problems with diapers leaking. We used her normal diapers (size 2) on the inside of the cast with the tabs ripped off so they didn't irritate her skin. On the outside of the cast, we used these reusable diaper covers to hold everything in place. (I also like that they look cuter and more like clothing, come in lots of fun colors and patterns, and are easy to wash and reuse!) We were also lucky to have a gore-tex liner inside the cast, so it was super easy to wipe clean. On a few occasions we needed to use a blow dryer to get her all clean and dry, and Bee thought that was hilarious. 

- Bathing -


This was probably my least favorite thing about having the spica cast. It was such a pain to bathe her! The way I found that worked the best was to lay her down on her back on a towel next to the kitchen sink, with her head hanging over the sink, and use the sprayer to gently wash her hair. I then did a sponge bath for her chest, back, feet, and diaper area. I can't wait until she is out of the cast and can take a real full-body bath! (Almost 13 weeks without a real bath is way too long.) I generally used Burt's Bees baby shampoo and a soft infant washcloth, but when I was short on time, a quick wipe down with Mustela no rinse cleanser was super helpful. 

- Entertainment -


We didn't own a baby gym before my daughter was in the cast, but it was incredibly helpful in keeping her entertained and happy, and it was worth every penny. We got this one from Target and it provided hours of entertainment. Our surgeon was a little concerned about us putting her on her tummy (for fear of suffocation), but she pretty quickly learned to scoot all around in her cast and even managed to roll over a few times. I just scattered various toys all over the floor for her, and she scooted over to them and played. When she wanted to sit up but didn't want to be in the spica table, this little chair from Target was very helpful. 

- Positioning -


Positioning was challenging because a child in a spica cast can't sit in a typical seat, reposition themselves when they're uncomfortable, or sit up when they are on the floor. We often used a Boppy pillow for support and positioning when she was on the floor, as well as random pillows from around the house. 


We also bought a bean bag chair from Pottery Barn and it was helpful for getting her up off the floor and giving her a different point of view. Occasionally she even napped in it (although obviously I stayed close by to keep an eye on her)! 


For on the go, a modified Bumbo chair (with the sides and front cut down using a serrated knife) was really helpful. It was lightweight and easy to throw in the back of the car so the baby had a place to sit when we were out on adventures. We took ours to the beach and on little road trips, and it made feeding on the road much easier.

- Sleeping -


I had the best of intentions that she would sleep in her crib every night, but she had a really hard time getting comfortable and wouldn't sleep on her own. After reading lots of other spica mom blogs, I bought a wedge pillow to help with positioning and added another pillow under her legs to boost her up comfortably. Still no luck! She has slept nearly every night in the bed with me (my husband has been sleeping in the guest room) and has more or less given up on naps. She only wants to be nursed to sleep, and won't fall asleep on her own. I've done my best, but there's only so much I can do! Sometimes you just have to do what works and not feel guilty that it's not perfect. I'm hoping that in the next few weeks I can coax her back into sleeping in her own bed, even if it's still in my room.

How are y'all still smiling all the time?


Honestly, I think the number one reason that we have survived all of this mostly in one piece is that I have made it a point to get out of the house pretty much every day. We go for walks (usually twice a day) and we have a few different stroller options that work. I really like her Chicco Mini Bravo stroller (with a pillow underneath her bum to help position her), and she also has a tricycle stroller that works great.


Besides the spica table, the one piece of gear that has been completely indispensable is my Ergo carrier. She fits perfectly in it in her cast, and it's what I use 95% of the time when we leave the house. She doesn't fit in shopping carts or most strollers, so it is definitely the easiest way to lug her around. We've done everything from visiting the coast to shopping to berry picking in it, and it has made life so much easier. I bought it in December, way before we knew that she had hip dysplasia, but it just so happens to be perfect for carrying her around in the cast!


I realized at the very beginning that these twelve weeks were still going to pass whether I enjoyed them or not, so I might as well make the best of them! It has definitely not been all smiles here all of the time, but for the most part we've still enjoyed life and had lots of fun. If you are just starting your hip spica journey, be assured that there is hope! Things will be okay. You know your child best of all, and the two of you will work together to make things work. You are stronger and more resilient than you think you are, and you will get through this! (Those are the things I wish someone had told me.)

What are some good resources for hip dysplasia parents/grandparents/friends?

Some of my favorite sites for information about DDH and spica casts are hipdysplasia.org and spicalife.com. Spica Life has a series of videos for how to do just about everything related to cast care, and I found them really helpful. I have also found this Facebook group for spica parents to be wonderful. Pretty much any question or problem I've had, someone else has already asked the group and I can find an answer within a few minutes. It's so nice to know that other people have been through the same things I am going through, too!


If you are in the Portland Oregon area, we have been so pleased and impressed with the care we have received from Doernbecher Children's Hospital and our orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Yang. I would recommend him highly! We have received such compassionate care, and have always felt like our questions were answered and that we were partners in our child's care. The nurses and staff at Doernbecher were wonderful during both of our procedures, and despite a few inconveniences related to Covid restrictions (which I totally understand!), they really did their best to make it as pleasant an experience as possible for all of us. I am so grateful we were able to receive such excellent care!

If you have any questions about spica cast care (or just need a listening ear!) I'm happy to help! Please feel free to email me at thebakerupstairs (at) gmail (dot) com or find me on Instagram @thebakerupstairs.