Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The sad, sad state of my garden...

My gardens, or lack-there-of, are quite a disappointment this year. I just didn't have the energy to get outside this spring, and haven't had an opportunity to get out there since the little man's been born (who shall henceforth be known as DJ ;) 

 My dad came and did some weed-whacking a few weeks ago and pulled the weeds from in and around these two beds, but that's about all that had been done. We had nothing but rain for the entire month of May, I'm talking rain for all but like 4 days in the month. And then no rain for June. July has had a little, but I think we're still down about 3 inches from average. Everything in pots died.

Joe's work schedule and the crazy hot heat and high humidity have made it difficult to mow even. I think we've mowed three times. Or I should say he has. I haven't done anything. Our yard looks awful!

dead herbs...

more dead herbs...

overgrown beds...

all the strawberries went to waste...

no weeding done. no flowers planted...

out for a walk, assessing the sadness...

herbs I bought at the farmers market to replace the ones I killed. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I've been up to...

Daniel Joseph

He's here! I know I didn't get back while pregnant, but he's here now, so I hope to a little more. At least as often as I have two hands!

Daniel was born two days before his due ate at 7:54 in the morning, 30 hours after my water broke. He was 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 21.25 inches long. He is beautiful and we love him more than could have ever imagined.

As for my birth story, absolutely nothing went according to plan, but I'm okay with that. My water broke in the middle of the night. Contractions started shortly after, but only about 10 minutes apart. So we cleaned up and went back to bed. After about 4 hours of contractions every 10 minutes, I fell asleep for about an hour. Then woke up and they had stopped completely. I spent a couple hours washing my sheets and trying to get them started again, but with no luck. We called the midwives and they asked us to come in that afternoon.

By the time we got to their office, the contractions still hadn't started back up, no matter how many times I climbed the stairs. The midwife checked me and I was dilated to a big fat ZERO, 0% effaced and all the way to the back. Not good. At this point, my water had been broken for 13 hours.

 Since there we no signs the contractions were starting again on their own, we concluded my water had broken early (stupid full moon) and decided to go get induced. I was a little upset at this point, but we really had not choice.

10 hours into labor, I was only a 2-3, but finally 100% effaced. I was devastated. I had spent time in the tub, even tried some nubain at half-dose. But nothing was helping. i had thought for sure I was in transition: I was shaking terribly, I kept throwing up and on the monitor, my contractions were plateauing. I broke down when she said I was barely at 3cm. We decided to get the epidural. I didn't think I had any energy left, especially not enough to push. At this point it was VERY early Thursday morning and I had had about 5 hours of sleep since Monday night when I went to bed.

 The epidural let me get some on and off sleep for a few hours, after which I was dilated to 10, finally! I was checked in the middle and we all gave a little sigh of relief when I finally from 3 to 5, my mom especially. I could start to feel my right leg a little, and just a hint of a contraction when they came, so I started to push.

I pushed for nearly 3 hours. I tried to get three good pushes with every contraction, and towards the end I was vomiting with about every other one. I think they still weren't very regular, thanks to the pitocin, and my energy was fading quickly! At the 2:45 mark into pushing, the midwife called the doc and we all decided to use the vacuum. A few good pushes assisted, and he was out! My beautiful little boy! He was very alert, looking around, and nursed great right away.

8 days old!
He's been doing great ever since. We're loving parenthood, and I'm dreading my return to work. He's putting on weight like a champ.He was down about four ounces when we left, and at his 1 week check, was already up to 7 lbs. 11 oz.! And now, at 5.5 weeks, he's 11 lbs. 3 oz.! He's focusing, tracking and holding his head up great. Breastfeeding is awesome, and we're loving his cloth diapers.

Same outfit at 5.5 weeks. He's so big!

There is now a link to Kelly's Closet in the right-hand tool bar. It's where we've gotten nearly all his diapers. We love them. They have some great coupons and deals all the time, and great customer service.  It is an affiliate link, so buying from them through me will help me out just a little! If you're interested in cloth diapering, please check them out. Enough of the cuteness for now. Hopefully we'll be back to some regular programming soon. I need some good recipes and meal plans in my arsenal before I head back to work next month!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wow, it's been a while!

Six months is a long time to stay silent, and I'm truly sorry. Apparently this momma likes to avoid the net as much as possible while making a baby!

Today I am one week from my due date and ready for this little guy to be out of me and in the world!

Here are some quick updates in pictures. I hope to have more to share soon, of an actual baby!

38 weeks and looking quite puffy! I haven't been able to wear
my wedding rings or my watch for a couple months now :(

The crib all put together and pictures hung on the wall.

Changing table with shelf on a perpendicular wall.

The material on the floor is what I'm making curtains out of :)

The wall opposite the crib, though I promise it looks a little better now, lol!
This was during the messy phase of the room!

My mom (middle), sisters and I at one of my showers.
Ok, only 6 of us are actually related. The lovely girl on the far
left is a pseudo-sister ;) But loved just the same!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

Just because I had to do it before the New Year, last night I sent the last payment in for Hubby's truck. That's one less payment and one less debt to start of 2011!! I'm so excited :) I can't wait to tell him when he wakes up (he went to bed at 7am this morning after working nights again).

To add to the great day, it's going to be nearly 50 degrees here in NW Ohio today. And I am looking outside right now and the sky has cleared. I can see blue skies and white fluffy clouds. The sun is even peaking out a bit.

Now, if I can just get rid of the annoying headache, the day will be great. A day for me to finally get to some of those outside things I neglected in the fall. Here's to hoping my carrots are still good!

Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 27, 2010

At a loss for words...

...and I just don't know what to write about! I'm just doing my best to try and keep up with everything and nothing exciting is going on.

I was going to take a picture of the disaster area that is my kitchen. There are dirty dishes everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE!! I was going to show you that I am not perfect, no where near it! HA! But, my camera batteries are dead and I don't have any charged to put in it, so I can't even do that.

I am getting things done now, just slowly. Very slowly. I spent the last two days doing laundry (over 2 weeks worth!), hemming pants, mending things and going through a very large pile of unread magazines. If you'll notice, that was mostly done from the couch :) I have two more days off and I'm hoping to get the kitchen caught up and the office cleaned up. Those are my not-so-lofty goals.

Though I do have much more energy now than I did in the first trimester, I'm still dragging. I'm not falling asleep at 8:30 to sleep for 11 hours, but I don't have the energy to be up on my feet all day quite yet. Needless to say, this is not how I thought pregnancy would be for me. But, I love it nonetheless!

Food and meal planning has definitely been an area of slippage for me. Big time. Most mornings I'm eating cereal. Eggs just still aren't sitting right with me first thing. And cereal is quick, easy and delicious. I craved it big time for a while in the beginning. I know it's not the best nutritionally, but the way I see it, it's better than not eating, and right now those are pretty much my choices! We've been eating out quite a bit more than I would like to. And it's mostly just because I don't have the energy to think about dinner, and that I'm hungry, now! I'm hoping these few days off work will allow me to catch up a bit more with the house so that I feel like I can use the kitchen and think clearly in there. A cluttered kitchen makes for a cluttered mind in this house. I'm not going so far as to make a meal plan this week, but I at least know what's in the freezer now :)

Adding to the difficulty is that Hubby is working nights. He leaves before I get home most days when I'm working, usually by 5pm and gets home when I'm getting up for work. Which means the only cooking I'm doing for him is occasionally packing his lunch (he's actually been doing it himself, which amazes me!) or leaving leftovers for him. Coming home in the dark to an empty house and cooking is just not appealing, especially when I know it's just going to make more dishes to wash!

As you may have noticed, dear readers, I'm in a bit of a funk. I'm working my out of it, I hope. Tuesday is my next appointment. They should be doing an ultrasound. I'm hoping that seeing our little one will motivate me to get off my butt and do something!

Oh, and Merry Christmas :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh my! It's been a while.

And I do apologize for that. But believe me, I've had my reasons :)

Hubby and I are expecting our first little one in June of next year! We've been keeping it a secret until just about a week ago. And I've been sooo tired. I'd come home, take a nap for a while before I make dinner and then, if I'm lucky, maybe clean up a bit before I head to 8:30! That hasn't left a lot of time for much of anything.

My house is a mess and I'm entirely unprepared for Christmas! I have finally started to get my energy back the last few days and I'm hoping to be able to catch up a bunch this weekend. Hubby' just got called in to work tonight, but he's off tomorrow and Sunday. So hopefully I'll have some help from him too!

He's really been working quite a bit lately. Anything over 36 hours is overtime for him, since we works 12 hour shifts. And he's had at least 12 hours over every week since he started on shift work. And the 12 hour shifts means he comes home, showers, eats and basically goes to bed to start over again in the morning. It's been a bit of an adjustment for us.

As for the garden, well, I didn't quite get it put to bed as well as I'd hoped. I was just too tired. No fall or winter garden for me this year. The hoses are still out and connected, despite it being constantly below freezing now and about 4 inches of snow that isn't going anywhere. The trees didn't get trimmed, and I still only have one apple tree planted. I'm hoping I will have enough energy to make up for it in the spring. And I may just have to buy new hoses, but such is life! I will be asking for my rain barrels to be set up for my birthday in April, so I'm hoping to not have to need the hoses on the spigots much next year!

I guess that's it for now. I'm hoping to be able to have the energy in the next coming months to keep updating. Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Adventures in Harvesting

This carrot was twisted all the way to the tip!
This past week I've been on vacation and so has my Hubby. We've gotten quite a few things done, especially outside. Not all that I had hoped, but still quite a bit. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of just about all of it! Most of it wasn't exciting anyway.

We ripped out a bed that had been neglected long before we took possession of the house. It was overrun with lily-of-the-valley and three large lilac bushes. As much as it pained me to do it, I cut down all three of the bushes and ripped up the lily mat that lay on top of the actual dirt over there. In it's place, we've planted an apple tree. I want to get two more dwarf varieties for over there, and find something that does well in semi shade until they get bigger.

I also dug my potatoes. I got quite a few and some much larger than I anticipated. I filled up my potato basket and kept a handful of green ones for seed potatoes for next year.

Last of the kohlrabi and some carrots.
Most of the green plant material got pulled up in the other beds. Spent squash vines and tomato plants and bean plants were pulled up. I even harvested about half of the carrots. And I'm glad I did. This variety got huge! A couple broke off in the ground and I couldn't pull them out. I'll leave those for the squirrels.

Adventures in Pop Tart Baking

That's right, I made my own poptarts. The real things, the ones from Kellogg's, are my Achilles heal. I lived on diet coke and chocolate poptarts when I was in college. The were my breakfast most days. I love them, I can't help it. Even now, when I know how terrible they are, they are my go-to breakfast when I'm running late. I can get one strawberry tart at the gas station for $0.69. And then I feel like crap the rest of the day. Hubby loves them too.

So, I set out to make my own and try and make them at least a little healthier. I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen. I followed her recipe almost exactly, except I did the half whole wheat, half white flour version. And they were pretty good.

Homemade Nutella tarts
 I made two different kinds. One with raspberry jam and one with my homemade nutella. But, my nutella is very crumbly because I store it in the fridge and I made it with coconut oil, so they don't look as  pretty as hers do! I also made one that was half and half because I had just a little jam left from the first four. That one was amazing!
Raspberry tarts
 Apparently my fork pricks didn't make it all the way through the top layer, because they all puffed up quite a bit. And the tarts with the jam in them are a little soft still, they didn't bake up hard like the others did. I'm thinking they could've gone in for a little bit longer.
Baked and cooled the next morning. Not bad really.
The verdict: These are good, but they aren't the same. Which is okay I guess. They're good on their own. And if I keep some around, I won't succumb to the 8am frenzy that is the gas station!

This post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday and Pennywise Platter!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best Homemade Ice Cream Ever

And I'm not kidding, at least that's what my husband says :)

This is a recipe based on an Alton Brown recipe, but entirely different.

3 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cups 2% milk
1 1/2 cups rapadura or sucanat*
2 vanilla beans

Heat milk and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla beans and place beans and pods in pan with liquid. Heat to 170°F or until the very first bubble appears. Do not let it boil!

Mixture heating on the stove.

Turn heat off and let cool on the stove. Once cooled down, strain and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Then process according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Straining to cool. Yes, it was mostly cool at this point,
but my kitchen was VERY cold. I refuse to turn the heat on yet :)
After processing, it will still be quite soft. Place in freezer until hardened. This is where I add cocoa powder to some of it to make it chocolate. I mix about 1/2 a cup of cocoa with about 1/3 of the ice cream before hardening.

Then eat, both are delicious :) My hubby says the vanilla is so good that it's not worth making anything else! It has a little bit of a carmel-like flavor. It also isn't too sweet and, as my husband said, has a nice, refreshing taste. It doesn't leave you thirsty like some ice creams can. And, I feel good eating it. I know that there's only good things in it (for the most part anyway) and it's delicious. Enjoy!

*It is VERY important to use rapadura or sucanat, not regular white sugar. This isn't just for health reasons, but because it's what imparts the unique flavor to the ice cream and makes it oh-so-delicious!

This post is being shared as part of the Pennywise Platter.