A weekend for making things

Ok folks, I made so many things this weekend!  First I poured off and made some new water kefir.  I’m doing a second ferment with our homemade elderberry syrup because it actually seems to flavor it fairly strongly and it’s one flavor Jesse seems to like.  I also like adding a bit of sugar water with some vanilla, it’s like a cream soda then.  I’ll have to make that flavor again soon, maybe with the next batch.  That’s one item off the list.

Thinking about making our own snacky foods, I then made cheese crackers (think cheese nips) and they were ok, but I think I either need to let them bake longer or have them be a more uniform size.  Also I used a bit more cheese than called for.  Ezra seemed to like them but they get kind of soft after the next day, a little soggy.

cheese crackers

cheese crackers

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And remember forever ago when I said I was going to make homemade deodorant and see how that works?  Well, I finally did it.  There are a lot of recipes out there with similar ingredients, so I went with one that was 1/4 C. coconut oil, 1/4 C. baking soda, and 1/4 C. arrowroot powder.  I added a few drops of lavender essential oil for good measure.  The mix itself smells really good, kind of a light coconut/lavender scent going on.  I wore it today for the first time and doing a smell test after 8+ hours has me believing this just may work.  Some people reported that the baking soda left their skin rashy and tender but if that happens apparently you can decrease the baking soda and increase the arrowroot powder.  Other people use cornstarch in their ingredients, and others yet include shea butter or cocoa butter.  I will stick with this simple recipe unless I am forced to change it.

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Jesse wants to try it as well.  I told him I’d make him some that smelled more manly (think cedarwood) but he said he didn’t mind smelling like lavender:)  My lucky coworkers will get to let me know if I start to stink.  Although they will probably be too polite to tell me to my face and will have to go to my supervisor instead.  I’m not too worried about it if today is anything to go by.

I have a crazy sweet tooth and saw we had shredded coconut flakes, so I found a coconut cream recipe and made a pie.  I think this was a recipe Jesse had made before I wasn’t a huge fan of the pudding filling.  I’ve made a banana cream pie before and really liked that pudding base, but of course I lost that recipe.  In this coconut cream one I did about half the dairy and included a can of coconut milk to increase the coconut flavor.  It’s ok and Jesse seems to like it, but I think the flour addition gives it a more bland flavor.

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I made spaghetti last night and it was so good!  I made everything from scratch using our canned tomatoes and grass-fed beef and sausage.  Of course, we didn’t process the meat nor dry the Italian herbs, but I will still call it from scratch.  Ezra doesn’t like meat sauce (which is weird because he likes meat) so I just gave him noodles and cheese, which he loves.

I made us some smoothies from frozen organic cherries, frozen strawberries, and yogurt.  I want to use our Vitamix more often (that’s why I put it on our new kitchen island).  Ezra liked it, dare say.

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Of our two dogs, Benny doesn’t bark all that often.  Luca will go out at night and I don’t know what the hell he’s barking at.  If it’s some potential intruder, then I’m glad he does it.  However, I’m pretty sure he’s just barking at shadows and that gets old really quickly.  This morning around 4am I’d had enough so I went out and called in both dogs (Benny had just gone out to see what Luca was shouting about) and when they came in I tried to shut the dog door using the metal plate insert but somehow the tracks in the door had become bent so I couldn’t fit the door into the tracks.  I finally said screw it and just put them both in their kennels and went back to bed.  They did pretty well; sometimes Luca just scratches at the base of the floor but it seemed like they both just settled down and slept until I let them out around 8am.  Then a few hours later I looked outside and saw they were both in the chicken coop.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but for the past couple days we’ve been keeping the chickens penned up which meant the dogs had found some way to break in.  The weird thing was both dogs were eating the wilting spinach that Jesse had just given to the chickens.  Jesse had to go to school so he wrangled the dog door insert into place and we’ve had to manually let out the dogs today.  It’s not that I’m afraid the dogs with go to the bathroom inside but really they’ve had access to that dog door since they were little so haven’t learned any real method of communicating to us that they need to go outside.  So it is a wee concern.  (Haha *wee* concern, get it?  Yeah, at least I think I’m funny.)

Now I just need to focus on getting that bone broth into us on a daily basis.  Still haven’t got that ball rolling yet.  But I *DID* just get some milk kefir grains today when I picked up our raw milk at the store.  The cruddy thing is they are dehydrated, and you’re supposed to rehydrate using pasteurized milk, which we don’t have.  I had to pasteurize the milk myself heating it up to a certain point for a certain amount of time.  Pain in the ass.  Once the grains are rehydrated then I can work on transitioning to raw milk.

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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

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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.

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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.

This cold can suck it

I freaking hate colds, really I do.  Not that anyone really likes them, right?  But I’m especially hating colds right now.  I came home from work last Thursday and overnight just started feeling really crappy.  I called out on Friday, and I haven’t been back to work since.  I do have to go in again on Saturday because I basically won’t have any PTO left, not because I’m feeling better.

I left the house for the first time on Wednesday because I still had to get shoes for my company’s Christmas party.  It made me tired just getting dressed, but I was able to find shoes so I guess it was a win.  I am doing everything I can to kick this thing; homemade elderberry syrup, lemon/ginger/honey mix, fermented garlic, kombucha, and heavy doses of vitamin C but I still don’t feel much better than when this thing started last week.  The confounding thing is colds don’t usually hit me this hard.  The only thing that is different now is that I’m pregnant.  So I’m going to blame this all on the baby.  Thanks a lot, baby.

I think parents do a disservice to daughters by not teaching them how to spit properly.  TMI alert, but my step-dad is a crazy-good hocker of lugies and that talent would come in handy when one has a cold.  I think that’s why I still have this cold, because I cannot get rid of all this crap hanging out in my throat.  I’m hoping this is the only cold of the year because I literally cannot afford to get sick again.  If I had a regular desk job, I could have been coming in to work, probably, but I have a phone job and if I talk too long I get these crazy bouts of coughing.  Also, I cannot sleep at night, so a few times I’ve gotten up around 3:30am and just hung out on the couch and lightly dozed before coughing myself awake again.  Good times, I tell you.

Jesse’s been talking about getting rid of one of the dogs, probably Luca because Benny is good in the car and we want to be able to take the dogs with us when we go places.  We could probably train Luca out of his nervousness, but we are lazy trainers.  In any event, I can see logic to Jesse’s argument of having less dogs so I finally said OK that we could get rid of Luca.  Jesse contacted a friend to get the ball rolling on someone who may be interested in the pup, but after about an hour I decided I just couldn’t do it and Jesse had to contact his friend to tell him nevermind.  The way I see it, Luca can be a house dog and Benny can be a travel dog.  They are both generally good dogs, though they can definitely use more training.  We are still planning on getting rid of some of the hens, though.  Maybe I’ll put up that ad tonight.

In other news, the baby is doing well.  We had a gender check last week and results came back that we are having another boy!  I’m excited because I know boys, but I’m a little disappointed because it would have been fun to have one of each.  Now we get to start thinking about baby names!  Jesse probably won’t get in on the act for months, though.  I’m a little nervous because my Dr. said boys are usually larger than girls, so I’m hoping this doesn’t affect my chances of a VBAC.  Fingers crossed!