Handmade doings around the house

We’ve been eating out a lot lately.  A LOT.  So I’m trying to be better about making things around the house.  Yesterday I decided to make taco soup using our canned ground beef and canned beef stock I had made.  This was my first experience with canned ground beef.  Some folks don’t like canned ground beef because the texture isn’t as firm as freshly cooked ground and I would have to say that they are right about the texture; it’s definitely softer.  However, I didn’t mind it at all in the soup.  Now, I might not like it for stroganoff or something like that, but it worked great in this iteration.

canned beef stock and canned ground beef

canned beef stock and canned ground beef

When the beef came out, it had this perfect fat cap layer that I was able to just scoop out of the pan and throw away.  I wish I thought to snap a picture of the finished soup because I think it all turned out quite pretty.  I put in black beans, canned corn, canned tomatoes, and some taco seasoning.  When I dished it up, I garnished it with shredded cheese and sour cream and ate it with tortilla chips.  Totally great soup.  And, because I used our beef stock, we get the added benefit of the natural gelatin that is so good for joints and overall wellness.  Go us!

I’ve been eating our chicken eggs with abandon, frying up a couple for dinner when I don’t feel like actually making a main meal.  Of course, since we are trying to be better about eating out, that whole “meal planning” thing would probably come in quite handy.  Still need to look into that.

We took Benny for a walk the other night.  It was a very stilted affair, he definitely needs work.  It makes sense, because we’ve only tried to walk him maybe twice now in his 10 months of life, so nothing will be perfect.  Definitely need to work on that.  Still kicking around the idea of only having one dog.  Velvet may have a coworker for the other one, we’ll see how that pans out.  I think Benny might miss Luca at first but would *probably* grow to be ok with being the only dog in the house.  Anyone have experience with that, removing a dog from the household?  How did your remaining dog react?  Our Jojo kitty would probably be very happy about it.  She’d be ecstatic if we got rid of both dogs.

I’m thinking on my days off from work I should be more hands-on with Ezra.  Like, maybe schedule a definite time for things.  10-11am, coloring.  11am-12pm, reading.  Something along those lines.  Of course, I really like my non-scheduled days off because of their flexibility.

Potty training with Ezra is coming along.  He’s really very good when he doesn’t have on any bottoms, and he absolutely hates to poo in a diaper anymore and always tells us when he needs to do that business, but he WILL NOT tell us when he has to pee.  Just goes in the diaper and calls it a day.  Maybe if we put him in underwear and he gets wet a couple times it will start to bother him enough to make the effort.  Of course, then I’ll have to clean up pee puddles around the house…. Ideas are welcome!

It’s gotta be weird to be in a uterus

As I sit here, this baby must be doing all kinds of contortions in there, because my belly is moving like crazy.  And it’s not overly predictable patterns.  Sometimes it’s up top, sometimes it’s down low.  But he’s fairly active right now.  I smile when I see or feel him moving, but it’s also one of the strangest experiences.  I don’t recall Ezra being this active, but then it’s been a few years and my memory isn’t the greatest.  As weird as it feels to me, I wonder what it’s like for him.  Of course, I don’t think he has thoughts in the sense that we do, but more like sensations.  I imagine he’s probably pretty warm and snug and generally very comfortable, but slowly his style is getting more and more cramped.

I finally had to go back to work.  It was a hard, hard day when the time came.  I woke up probably five times that night because I kept thinking I’d miss my alarm going off.  I hate being late to work.  I was pretty much awake by the time my alarm finally went off, but I made sure to snooze it for another 10 minutes before I finally got up.  I’ve been lucky in that we weren’t slammed the last couple days; it’s always nice to come back to a more mellow setting after a long time off work.

I bought a bunch of candy the other day and dumped a couple different flavored bags of Skittles into a ziploc bag and mixed them together.  I’d given Ezra a couple pieces here and there and he loved them, of course.  About two nights ago I left a few Skittles in a dish on the counter and I figured Ezra would get them at some point the next day.  Jesse ended up texting me that Ez had gotten into the cupboard and dumped the rest of the Skittles bag on the floor, smashing them flat with the glass dish from earlier.  Who knows how many Skittles the dogs ate.  He also got into the bag of mini Cadbury eggs.  I couldn’t figure out how he had gotten them all because we have child locks on the cupboards, but apparently the shelf I put the candy on was at just the right height for Ezra to squeeze his arm through the gap and grab the candy.  I’ll have to be better about that next time.  Although Jesse would argue that we didn’t need candy to begin with.  My quickly-swelling body would probably agree with him.  I guess Benny puked that day and when Jesse cleaned it up it smelled like a fruit rainbow, so I’m guessing he ate a bit of the Skittles.  No chocolate in it, though, which makes me think Ezra hoarded those for himself.

We are whittling down fridge items and haven’t really cooked much of anything for the past week or so.  I had the best of intentions to can some turkey soup before the turkey got too old, but that didn’t happen so we’ll probably use the rest of the turkey as dog treats.  We still need to do a check on the freezer downstairs and start doing meal planning; that may not happen for a few more weeks, though, because I procrastinate like crazy.  Oh well.

And a happy new year!

Oh my, this past month has been absolutely delightful in many ways and not so much in others.  In December, I came down with a bad cold and took off about a week from work because I was so sick and tired.  I went back to work for about two days, and then it was time for my sabbatical!

Velvet took her sabbatical at the same time, so we all went to visit Mom and Jim at their new(ish) house for Christmas.  We drove down and let me tell you, I’m still not a fan of car trips.  We left at slightly different times than Velvet, so we met up with her clan that night at the same hotel.  We stayed at the Best Western and I’m not sure if it was specific to that hotel or all Best Westerns, but they had a very good breakfast spread the next morning.  None of this prepackaged bear claw crap.  Well, they did have that, too, but they also had eggs, sausage, bagels, toast, yogurt, cereal, fruit, breakfast burritos, and a waffle station.  I was impressed.

While we had a really good time at Mom’s, the sleeping accommodations left much to be desired!  (Mom, get a new mattress on that bed!)  The first night, Ezra was supposed to sleep on the floor next to our bed, but the room was too “spooky” for him to sleep on the floor, so he slept on the bed between Jesse and me.  The next night Jesse slept on the floor in the kitchen area and Ezra slept on the bed with me.  The third night Jesse and Jim pulled out the king mattress from the RV and Jesse and I slept on that while Ezra got the whole bed to himself.  To top it off, I was still fighting my cold so I was coughing all the time.

The drive home was pretty uneventful, we stayed at the same hotel on the way back.  Jesse was awesome, he drove the whole way, both ways.  We actually ended up coming home on the 24th so Velvet and the girls could spend Christmas day with Carl, who had to work over the holiday.  Jesse and I went over to his folks on Christmas day to celebrate and to pick up the dogs (Jesse’s friend had watched them and dropped them off the previous day).

We had a couple days at home to do laundry and unwind before we left for Dad and Dani’s to spend the new year.  We left around the same time as Velvet again, and we all met up to spend the night in Vegas.  Dad and Dani met us there at the casino, and some of Velvet’s friends who live in Henderson came for dinner and to hang out for awhile.  It was good seeing them.  I will say the Sunset Station casino has a very nice setup.  The have a kid place where you can drop off the kids while you gamble away their college funds.  The kid place has a large jungle gym tube system, a tv area, a section for iPads, and other stuff.  The kids all seemed like they had a good time; Ezra basically collapsed when we told him he had to leave and one of Velvet’s girls had to pick him up/drag him out the door.  I didn’t win anything but Jesse did pretty well.

The next day we headed out to Dad’s and when we got their I realized we had left our pillows at the casino, so I had to call and tell them we’d be back in a few days to pick them up.  They were pretty understanding.  I guess they have a 30-day hold policy for lost/found items.

We spent a nice couple days with Dad and Dani.  We opened Christmas gifts and went to the rec center.  Ezra loved being in the water but he wasn’t sure about the wave machine.  He actually went down the big tube slide with the girls but did NOT want to go down it again after that one time.  I went down the tube slide, too, and I think it was probably the first time in over 10 years I’d been on a water slide.  The last slide I’d ever been on ruined it for me.  It was one of those really tall slides where you basically lean back, cross ankles and arms, and it feels like when you go over the bend that you are hurtling into an abyss and you’re going to die.  And it gives you insane wedgies when you hit the water at the bottom.  But this slide at the rec center was pretty mellow and fun.

On New Years eve I truly debated going to bed about 15 mins before the ball dropped, but I kept telling myself, you’ve already made it this far!  We let Ezra stay up and that kid was bouncing off the walls, loopy sleepy.  Oh man, there was this really inappropriate moment that night, it was HILARIOUS.  And an older Ezra would never want me to tell it, but that’s the joy of being a parent, embarrassing your children.

We’ve been following a relaxed potty training schedule with Ezra.  Basically he just goes without pants and a diaper when we’re home because he’s really good about taking himself to the bathroom that way.  Well, NYE he was running about without any bottoms, like usual, being all crazy from food and sleepiness.  He turns to us and says something and I was pretty sure I misheard him so I asked him to repeat himself.  He goes, “There’s a carrot in my butt!” and turns around and we see he had clenched a baby carrot between his cheeks.  It was so unexpected and just to hear him say that, we started cracking up.  He’s laughing, and I’m laughing, and I had tears running down my face and couldn’t catch my breath for the longest time.  I went into the other room to tell Jesse about it and just broke down all over the place; it took awhile for me to relay the whole story to him, and by the end I couldn’t talk because I was crying and laughing so hard.  Good, unexpected, times.

We did eventually make it to see the ball drop and made all the appropriate shouting and noise makers.  We put down Ez to sleep a couple minutes later and despite all his protestations, he was OUT in about 5 minutes.  We all drove home the next morning, with a little side trip back to the casino to pick up our pillows.

For that trip we had boarded the dogs at Diggity Dog Resort and I think they have a pretty good setup there.  They said by the end of the trip both our dogs were playing with other dogs and not just cowering in their kennel, so that’s good.  It would be beneficial to take the dogs there probably a couple times a month to retain social growth for them.  We are fairly bad dog parents in that we don’t socialize them too well with unknown dogs.  You can see Benny enjoyed coming home.

It's a hard life being a dog

It’s a hard life being a dog

benn2

After we got home we relaxed for a couple days and then I had a prenatal appointment so Velvet and Carl watched Ez for us that morning.  It was great because they also brought over their unneeded bunk bed and set it up in Ezra’s room while we were gone.  We’d just had Ez sleeping on his crib mattress on the floor but had decided it was time to get him an actual bed and they had this bed they weren’t really using, so it all worked out.  He really likes the new bed and I think it will be long enough between now and when the baby gets moved into the crib (we use a bassinet/cosleeper for the first couple months) that there shouldn’t be any leftover possessive feelings toward the crib.

new bunk bed

new bunk bed

Jesse and I were supposed to get our hunter safety certification so we can go hunting, but the prior couple days my cold had come back stronger than ever and I had been relegated to sleeping upright on the couch so on the morning of the class I decided to skip the class and go to InstaCare to see why I couldn’t kick this cold.  I had been taking elderberry syrup, and the honey/lemon/ginger mix, and huge quantities of vitamin C but it just wasn’t getting any better.  Turns out the cold turned into bronchitis which may have turned into walking pneumonia.   While I could have waited out the next month or two for my body to resolve the illness itself, I opted to go with the antibiotic route.  Within a few days I started feeling better.  While I really think homeopathic remedies work for most situations, sometimes you just need modern medicine.  I ended up taking my hunter safety class one week later and I passed.  Maybe not with flying colors, but I passed enough to get certified and really that’s all I was looking for.

Our chickens had stopped laying near the end of last year and then we got rid of maybe six of them so there has been more food in the yard and not as much competition.  Yesterday morning we heard the egg song and when Jesse went out to check the nestboxes they were full!  Not sure if it’s the less competition, or they were done molting, or if the days being slightly lighter for longer is the reason (or maybe it’s all of the above) but we are happy to have eggs once again.

first eggs of 2015

first eggs of 2015

I bought some eggs from the store a couple weeks ago for a baking recipe but we are now homegrown egg snobs and very reticent to use store-bought eggs to just fry up or scramble and eat.  Yay for homegrown food!  Except we do need to get more chicken feed…

The baby is doing well, he’s moving quite a bit these days and Jesse was able to kind of feel him kicking the other night.  I’m 24 weeks now so the end is somewhat in sight.  I’m a little nervous about the whole birth process since I’m trying to go natural this time and really don’t want to end up with another C-section again.  *sigh*  I guess time will tell, huh?

We recently bought a kitchen island because we have this space between the two tall kitchen cupboards that wasn’t being well utilized.  We went to Ikea with one stand in mind and ended up buying a different one that fit the space much better.

island1 island2 island3 isnald4

Now we have more space than I know what to do with.  Still trying to figure out what to do with the drawers but I’m sure we’ll think of something.