It’s a New Year!

13 Jan

Oh dear. I’ve done it again – neglected this space that I so enjoy writing in. As it is a new year, I’m here to make a fresh start and recommit to filling this space with words and pictures that are dear to me. And if you happen to enjoy them too, then all the better. Maybe a good place to start would be a recap of the past year. And well, since I’ve hardly done a thing in this space for a year and a half, I’m making this post picture HEAVY. I’m also breaking the year up into several posts, because your eyeballs might just pop-out from scrolling down for what feels like eternity (like the never-ending, time sucking abyss that is Pinterest). I don’t want to give you that feeling. I’ll sum it up short and sweet and lay it on thick with photos.  Here, I bring you, the first three months:

January

Most exciting for this month – and well just period – Molly started to walk and didn’t stop! This was just before her second birthday, which is on the 31st. We couldn’t be more thrilled with this milestone being reached! Slow to come, as is the William’s Syndrome way, but all the sweeter because of it. This was also the month I began to feel considerably better post-seizure. How refreshing it was to get out of the house a bit more. We celebrated my mom’s birthday with lemon bars and banana tarte tatin that I baked up. At the end of the month, we celebrated Molly’s birthday at a local pizza place. It donned on us that it was the first time we had all been out at a restaurant together – not that we eat out much, anyway.

Fried Doughnuts with Tea

Spiced Doughnuts with Tea

Sit down? Don't mind if I do.

Sit down? Don’t mind if I do.

Birthday desert for mi madre - banana tarte tatin and lemon bars ala Smitten Kitchen

Birthday desert for mi madre – banana tarte tatin and lemon bars ala Smitten Kitchen (both from her book and for the lemon bars, you throw the whole lemon!)

A Five-Month Old Milo

A Five-Month Old Milo

Collin loving on a dog we really wanted to take home from the shelter, but we adopted a different one later...

Collin loving on a dog we really wanted to take home from the shelter, but we adopted a different one later…

xo

xo

I labeled him MINE. :)

I labeled him MINE. :)

My Favorites - (I'm pretty sure Milo loves his big brother.)

My Favorites – (I’m pretty sure Milo loves his big brother.)

Pizza dinner with the Family for Molly's birthday

Pizza dinner with the Family for Molly’s birthday

Happy 2nd Birthday Molly Moo!

Happy 2nd Birthday Molly Moo!

February

In February, I fed my baking cravings that had been put on the back burner due to the health issues. I tried lots of new things, as I’m apt to do – an experimental baker and cook. It was a month for being sick – the stomach flu made its rounds and Molly and Milo suffered several respiratory tract infections. Tucker took Collin skiing for his first time, and fun was had by them both. Tucker scheduled me a haircut – which I so needed – because he is sweet like that. Winter iced along and we hunkered down together – kinda my favorite part of the whole winter scene.

That tongue! He used to stick it out all of the time. :p

That tongue! He used to stick it out all of the time. :p

A very sweet Family (with an adorable little girl who also has WS and was born in January of 2011, too!) sent this lovely gift for Molly's birthday. What a smile it brought to all of our faces!

A very sweet Family (with an adorable little girl who also has WS and was born in January of 2011, too!) sent this lovely gift for Molly’s birthday. What a smile it brought to all of our faces!

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My Little Entomologist - always reading up on insects.

My Little Entomologist – always reading up on insects.

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Oh baby!

Oh baby!

One slice with butter, one slice with honey, one slice with homemade raspberry jam, repeat.

One slice with butter, one slice with honey, one slice with homemade raspberry jam, repeat.

Beignets! I made these for Valentine's from a Cook's Country recipe - sooo good!

Beignets! I made these for Valentine’s from a Cook’s Country recipe – sooo good!

Sunshine. :)

Sunshine. :)

I love dough - yeasty, warm, and makes the most delicious things!

I love dough – yeasty, warm, and makes the most delicious things!

...Like bread!

…Like bread!

The spider, the expression, the lighting, (the Milo) - I just love this photo.

The spider, the expression, the lighting, (the Milo) – I just love this photo.

A spider hat for my blue-eyed boy.

A spider hat for my blue-eyed boy.

Hello people that I love.

Hello people that I love.

Bread - enough said.

Bread – enough said.

My first batch of biscotti - addictive to make as well as eat! :)

My first batch of biscotti – addictive to make as well as eat! :)

"Teacher, the Baby ate my homework."

“Teacher, the Baby ate my homework.”

Chocolate chip biscotti with morning tea.

Chocolate chip biscotti with morning tea.

Homemade Pie Pastries with homemade strawberry jam! Delicious!

Homemade Pie Pastries with homemade strawberry jam! Delicious!

March

March is Collin’s birthday month, and in 2013 he turned my lucky number, 7! His birthday is right after the Spring Equinox, and it couldn’t be more fitting. Oh how we love the arrival of Spring!! My baking fever stayed strong throughout the month. We had a good time staying with some friends in the Sun Valley area, and Tucker and Collin got to go skiing. Outside was calling us, and you better believe we basked in that wonderful sunshine!

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Four different types of biscotti (my biscotti baking craze) and all delicious.

Four different types of biscotti (my biscotti baking craze) and all delicious.

Yeesssss!!

Yeesssss!!

Hey, good looking!

Hey, good looking!

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Tucker and Collin on the hill.

Tucker and Collin on the hill.

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Loooooove these kids o' mine!!!

Loooooove these kids o’ mine!!!

Collin took this picture of us. :)

Collin took this picture of us. :)

Molly working so hard at physical therapy with the awesome Jan.

Molly working so hard at physical therapy with the awesome Jan.

2nd Proof and 1st loaf of wheat bread

2nd Proof and 1st loaf of wheat bread

Can Christmas clothes still be warn in March? If they fit, then absolutely!

Can Christmas clothes still be warn in March? If they fit, then absolutely!

Bring on the Butter

Bring on the Butter

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:)

:)

Those eyes...those cheeks...

Those eyes…those cheeks…

Collin and his bugs, they're besties. :)

Collin and his bugs, they’re besties. :)

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Lemon Sesame Cookies (I need to find where this recipe went to - so good!)

Lemon Sesame Cookies (I need to find where this recipe went to – so good!)

A Member of Collin's Skeleton Dance Crew :)

A Member of Collin’s Skeleton Dance Crew :)

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze (recipe from Made, but tweaked – used America’s Test Kitchen‘s outline for quick breads with Dana’s flavorings.)

Happy Birthday Sweet, Sweet Boy xo

Happy Birthday Sweet, Sweet Boy xo

:)

:)

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White and Dark Chocolate Brownies via Smitten Kitchen

White and Dark Chocolate Brownies via Smitten Kitchen (You might consider making these for Valentine’s Day with a heart, as Deb shows.)

Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee Cake Muffins

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Hello (pink) sunshine.

Hello (pink) sunshine.

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A Carousel Horse in Tucker's Grandpa's Barn

A Carousel Horse in Tucker’s Grandpa’s Barn

Well, there’s three months worth of 2013 in short form! I hope to finish the yearly review before February rolls around, but this post alone took many days with snippets of time available to work on it. Pretty busy here being a mom! :)

I’m so glad to be back in this space. I enjoy writing. I enjoy this format for a means of recording pieces of our life. I enjoy sharing. I enjoy the community aspect. And now, to strap myself in this chair to be sure I’m making the time for it. I’m going to set out for at least one post a month, but I’d prefer more. Need to hold myself accountable!

Hope your New Year is off to a fantastic start!!

 

 

 

Explanation of My Absence (If it’s a good excuse, it’s valid. :)

11 Jul

SunflowerWell hello world out there. It’s been almost a year since my last post!!! And if I tell you that I have a baby boy that is 10 and 1/2 months old, this may not surprise you at all. Along with that, a month after I gave birth to our sweet little Milo, I had an out-of-the-blue seizure. With this seizure came some crazy period in my life that essentially consisted of me living in ‘a cave’ – this cave being our house with blinds shut, curtains drawn, lights off and limited use of tablet, phone, and computer – except for looking up medical stuff to make my anxious state rise to whole new levels – blasted Internet searches! If I ever left the house, I was sure to be wearing my sunglasses, in and out of doors. I couldn’t drive. I suffered from dizziness, vertigo, double vision, and blurry vision. I had daily headaches – some excruciating. I would get horrible facial pain. Tingling in my hand. Sensitive scalp – so sensitive that even a feather pillow would hurt it. Fatigue. Anxiety. Crazy ‘zinging’ sensations in my head and face. Neck pain. Light sensitive. Sound sensitive. And more. I was essentially in a constant migraine state for four months. It was a long four months. It was scary. It was hard. But I’m looking back on it now…as is the way with these things. I like that knowledge. I often remind myself of this when facing something difficult – it really helps.

This brings us to Today. I have made huuuge progress! I still have some things to figure out – double vision, blurry left eye, headaches (though greatly reduced), neck issues, occasional vertigo (I’m pretty sure it mostly happens when I turn my head and something isn’t quite right…or something), light sensitivity (though one of my medicines contributes to this), and a few other things. As far as the medicines go, I’m on two; and I don’t like them. They make me feel blah. My brain feels fuzzy and dumb. They zap my enthusiasm and motivation. It’s hard to get up in the morning because I always feel really tired, and not well rested. I don’t feel like me. And that is just not OK. My main questions two questions at this point are, “When can I get off the medication?”, and, “What is wrong with my vision?”

The vision part is an oddity, because it is a symptom to something else going on. I’ve had two eye evaluations, and there’s nothing that can be seen from an eye exam, so it’s in my brain somewhere. I’ve had two CT scans (one with and without dye) and an MRI. I’ve been seeing a neurologist, but need to get with him again to figure out the eye issue, since it hasn’t gone away. I have an appointment with my primary doctor tomorrow, and with her, I’ll figure out some other things to be looked at. I’m also going to start going to a physical therapist – I’m hoping that will help me a lot in the neck/headache area. I did fall on a concrete patio after all, with my head hanging off the step! I’m pretty sure I messed something up.

Here is the post I wrote (on another blog) a couple of days after my seizure. It gives the details of the day and experience:

Here I am…so tired…ready for bed, and I have to stay awake. Why? Well tomorrow morning I have an EEG and they want me very tired.

Do you know what an EEG is? You’ve probably seen somewhere a person with their head covered with little wires – that’s an EEG, and that’ll be me.

You might be wondering why I will be having this EEG…that leads us to my crazy weekend:

We’ll start with The Boyz Ride that Tucker has participated in every year since, well, for a really long time. Beings that we had a Milo just a month ago, Tucker had decided not to go this year. But as it got closer, he started to dislike the idea of missing out for the first time. And since we started having kids, he’s hardly gone on a motorbike ride at any time of the year (also due to the sciatica he suffered – take note). So, he thought he’d go up Saturday for one ride, stay the night, then come home Sunday morning.

This seemed doable. I really wanted him to go – and he soooo deserved it. The only problem was that I was no doubt going to have a miserable night, as not only does Milo wake every hour to two hours in the night to nurse, but Molly still wakes in the night as well, and needs bounced back to sleep, usually. So I knew that at some point, I was going to have one hungry screaming baby, as well as one inconsolable, crying kid at the same, with me being deliriously sleepy. We figured, this would be the worst of it, I might have a miserable night, but I could manage.

Well, Friday night – the night before Tucker was to leave – I told my mom over the phone that I would have to run to the Farmers’ Market during my niece’s and nephew’s birthday party to get some corn for freezing. Tucker suggested that I just have my mom pick it up since she was going also – but earlier – but I wanted to go myself. Then my mom later texted me suggesting the same thing, so I said OK, and that Tucker had agreed as well.

Saturday morning Tucker left before I woke and left me a very sweet note. Milo, Molly, and I woke around 7:45 AM. I felt so very tired – as usual – and made myself some coffee. At 9:42, Tucker called me from Smiley Creek Lodge. We discovered that he did not have his cell phone with him. We chatted for a little, and I was so glad to talk to him.

My mom called me at 9:49 to let me know she was on her way over with the corn. A few minutes later she was there and I was excited about these wood bushel baskets she had brought me. Then I noticed I didn’t feel well all of a sudden. I felt dizzy, like my head was shifting funny. Things around me were shifting and out of focus. All of a sudden I felt so tired, like I couldn’t keep my eyes open and was going to fall asleep right there in my kitchen. I didn’t know what was happening, but I thought it could be the worst.

I told my mom I was sick, I didn’t feel well. Soon enough I was yelling that we needed to go to the emergency room. I felt a desperation to let her know the urgency before the sleep over took me. I yelled that I didn’t want to go to sleep. I almost collapsed in my kitchen, but we started to get the carseat for Milo, then I yelled for her to call 911. She said I was shoving my phone in her hand, but she couldn’t figure out how to use it. She scooped up Molly and went outside to get her phone from her car. In that time, I remember having said to my mom that maybe I needed sugar, some juice possibly. I think I remember opening the fridge, but the rest I have no memory of.

Apparently I grabbed a half gallon of chocolate milk, went down the stairs to the back door, stepped out on the porch step, and then collapsed.

My mom came back around the corner to me laying there (chocolate milk spilled all over). She set Molly down in Collin’s carseat that happened to be back there. Molly screamed and cried, but did not try to get out of the seat. My mom called 911 while I experienced a grand mal seizure – also known as a tonic-clonic seizure. My body tensed and convulsed, jaw locked, eyes rolled back. And at some point my mom said I looked up at her and smiled very sweetly – like I was so relieved and happy to see her.

The ambulance arrived around the time it had ended. Apparently I stood up, and was somewhat functioning, but I have complete amnesia for a long stretch of it all. I finally came to in my head while sitting in the ambulance with it still parked outside the house. And even then, I really didn’t have full brain capacity until more like that night or even the next day. Completely dazed with short-term memory loss.

Molly didn’t stop crying until my mom set her on my lap while I was lying on the stretcher. My mom said she laid her head down on my chest and I wrapped my arms around her, then the tears stopped. Sweet girl.

In the ambulance I felt sick to my stomach and was given anti-nausea medicine. At the emergency room they gave me anti-seizure medicine. Drew blood, performed an EKG and a CT Scan, and ran a number of tests. Everything came back good.

My sister Jaime, visiting from Arizona, came and got Molly and Milo from my house before my mom left to be with me at the hospital. Chase had brought Collin right before my mom left, so he drove him over to my mom’s. Then we had Jaime bring Milo to the hospital so I could feed him. Later, Tink and Dy had Collin and Molly until Tucker got home that night.

Tucker did get to go on his bike ride, and I’m so glad he did. We had this misinformation that a friend was going to be able to meet him at the half-point of the ride to let him know, but this never occurred. So we were waiting, hoping he’d be home around 4:30.

Tucker then called me at 6:13 PM. They just finished their ride, and he stopped at Smiley Creek Lodge to call me before heading back to camp. He had no idea what had happened still. He came home immediately.

I couldn’t have been happier when he got home. The one time he couldn’t be reached…He was so happy to be home with me too. He truly is the sweetest. Truly. I love him!

I am so glad my mom came over with that corn! I feel badly she had to go through that scare. I love her…and the rest of our family too, and am grateful for everyone’s help!

I have bruises and scrapes. My muscles are very sore. (I could hardly even lift my legs for a while after – like lead). It all feels very surreal. I can’t convey it all in words. It was a strange and scary experience. I am OK though! That is something to celebrate!

I wish I could get a good night’s rest though – as good as it gets with a little baby that is – but, alas. One test in the morning, then hopefully some good naps in the day.

At least I have a Tucker sitting next to me on the couch! – Even if he is snoozing. xoxo

And so there you have it. After that EEG, I returned to the emergency room with a bad case of the start of my symptoms for my stay in the ‘cave.’ During that time, my mom was of sooooo much help to me – staying with me to help with the kids until Tucker would come home from work, and being my companion to pass the time. And then Tucker was the amazing person he is and took on more than his fair share of duties and offered all the love and support I needed. I am so lucky to have the two of them.

Well, now that I’ve finally made the breakthrough post to get me going after all this time of quiet, I hope I’ll return more frequently. And I hope you’ll come and join me. Next post will be less medical and more along the lines of cute kids, summer fun, and chickens (yup! we finally got them this year!!). Until next time.

Canning, Dinners, & the Number 37!

12 Aug

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I am 37 Weeks! Plus a few days. That means this baby can come any day now! Oh the waiting – not knowing when the contractions will strike. When he’ll make his appearance. I just want him here with us. To hold him, look at him, and love him. And I’ll be glad to be done with this pregnancy, for sure!

I foolishly started to question our name choice. Why did I have to go and do that? We essentially had two names thought up, and I didn’t really care to look any further. I am not a fan of reading through the lists of a baby name book – with 97.959% of them so far from anything I would ever choose. And I am of the notion that boys names are much harder to come up with than girls names. Add to the fact that I don’t want a name in the top 50, let alone top 10 – it makes it that much more difficult. When one of the names we selected was found to be moving up there on the list, it was cast aside and the remaining name won out. I love the name. I think maybe I just started to wonder if I should have scoured the book of names…just to be sure.

PHOTOS (A small sampling of some of the food activity we’ve been up to.):

* Blueberries turned into blueberry syrup, and blueberry butter. I can’t wait to drizzle the syrup onto warm pancakes slathered in butter. Mmmmm. The blueberry butter was done in a slow cooker via Food in Jars. She describes it as “blueberry pie in a jar” and I think it reminds me of Christmas. Must be the cinnamon and nutmeg that I kept sprinkling in there in large heaps, adding to taste – apparently I like the way they taste.

* Raspberries were made into what I thought were going to be preserves, but I’m pretty sure they ended up being a jam. My understanding is that preserves have more of the fruit intact, but these raspberries were not going to hold any sort of shape, and were much more content melting into jammy goodness. OK by me.

* Pickles! These were my first pickling experience, and oh what fun. They are Zucchini and Sweet Pepper Refrigerator Pickles. Easy and yummy – so fresh tasting. The zucchini and peppers came from our local college’s Ag Department’s U-Pick located at the Farmers’ Market. We love going “grocery shopping” there! The only bad thing about the pickles is that they made five pints to be eaten up in one month – and well, that wasn’t going to happen. If they were dill, spicy, or garlicky, we could have done it. Good thing they are delicious enough to share!

Jalapenos, potatoes, and squash from the Farmers’ Market and U-Pick. I just love those fresh, vibrant colors. (See them further down in the meals photo. Yum!)

Good eats…1. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies” via Pioneer Woman. These are ever so tasty – spicy pepper, creamy cheese, and salty bacon – you can’t go wrong. I liked that these were made in the oven – a cinch! I did suffer from burning pepper hand though and that was slightly miserable. Nothing like having your hand feel like it’s on fire – can’t rub your eyes or touch your sensitive skinned children. The burn dissipated by the next day, and I’ll be sure to wear gloves in the future! Though this was the first time I ever had that happen from jalapenos.

2. Veggies atop a chicken carcass – boy do I dislike that word – to be made into chicken stock for chicken noodle soup. The stock was frozen for a later date when baby is making it unlikely we’ll get a good, home-cooked meal on the table in any sort of timely manner. This has been the week of freezing meals – and it feels soooo good to have some done! I didn’t do it with the previous two kiddos, but we most certainly would have benefited from it!! And now with Collin starting first grade, we’ll have to be getting him to bed early, so in turn, dinner will need to happen earlier. I’m not going to accomplish the amount I set out to do, but some is better than none! The chicken meat from the, ahem, carcass was made into Chicken Posole from Martha Stewart – also a freezer meal. We roasted another chicken last night, and the same will be happening with it. The Posole recipe makes two batches, and then we get the stock for the soup – so three meals!

3. Long-cooked Beef Ragu from America’s Test Kitchen – to sauce pasta. This is another freezer meal and I’ve made two batches. What a great dish for a cool fall night!

4. The ingredients for pesto from America’s Test Kitchen. I like that they toast both the garlic and the nuts. It is done in a dry skillet. The garlic is done in its skin – like a quick roast. Adds great flavor. I picked basil from the U-Pick, which resulted in two batches for the freezer – enough to sauce two pounds of pasta. I love pesto – and happily, so do Tucker and Collin.

5. Delicious red and purple potatoes from the Farmers’ Market cooked in a skillet by Tucker. The garlicky, lemony dish is a recipe from one of my Cook’s Country Magazine (from America’s Test Kitchen). Not only did these potatoes look good color-wise, they were some very good eatin’!

6. This is what became of the sqaush, jalapenos, and potatoes from the previous photo. Just love how a meal can be made from the food sourced locally. (And yes, I should have taken the picture BEFORE I put on that embarrassing amount of sour cream!)

7. Onions cooking in red wine for the Long-Cooked Beef Ragu. I just love that burgundy color.

What are your favorite freezer meals? I just might have time to add them to mine!

Have you been canning/preserving? I’m now on to peaches!

Dental Woes, Summer Kids, & Flowers

25 Jul

 

My teeth hurt. Badly. I have to go back to the dentist tomorrow, and I don’t wanna! Except to be done with this pain of course. It’s not actually the tooth that he thought I might have to go back for, it’s the other. The filling is chipped. I think everything I eat, drink, breathe must be reaching that nerve and causing it to ache. I go from having a cavity that doesn’t even hurt, to having it hurt like crazy AFTER getting it fixed! This seems backwards and I am so not pleased!

Collin had swim lessons this morning and soon we’ll be off to his piano lesson. He did t-ball earlier in the summer as well. Has been our busiest summer yet, and his first participating in any organized activities. I prefer not to create too much chaos by having kids in a million things – especially with Molly’s therapies added to the mix. Also though, because I love home time. It’s good to slow down. To take in everything around you. Collin is very good about going outside and looking for bugs, examining the plants, looking at books, drawing, etc. He is passionate about a lot of things because he has had the chance to find out what he likes, what makes him happy. He doesn’t always have to have a friend over, which allows him to discover his Self. I think that is very important.

Jam Happy – A Muddied Success

24 Jul

Oh dear, oh dear. Yesterday I made my first attempt at hot water bath canning. I have done freezer jams before, and I have assisted my mom some in the canning of applesauce and tomatoes, but that is it. This was my first solo go round – though it ended up my mom had to assist me! The canning was a muddied success – here’s what happened:

We have a lovely apricot tree out back that could use a serious pruning. Tucker eyes it on a regular basis, envisioning which branches are getting the hack treatment. Last year it was so heavy with apricots, that gravity took away a large branch that was aesthetically pleasing, leaving the tree a tad lopsided. This year the harvest was sparse. It seemed the tree only bloomed partially, then several wind storms landed many a juvenile apricot nestled in the grass. Last year I made freezer jam in the middle of August, this year, most everything was ripe by the middle of July. Could it be the heat?

Onto the canning, our first bunch of picked apricots rotted in their plastic bag environment before I could even get to them. Upon opening the bags, the unpleasant smell of fermenting overripe fruit, along with a colony of fruit flies, filled the room. Out to the compost with them.

Luckily, there was another batch waiting on the tree for Tucker to pluck. I made sure to get to them in a more timely manner, as like the last harvest, they were quick to spoil. Rinse. De-pit. Chop. Toss into a bowl with sugar and lemon juice. The recipe said to let those ingredients meld together for two hours. Two hours soon turned into five, then six, then seven, then me resigning at 9 o’ clock to let them macerate for 12 hours, as another recipe suggested. So the next day the jam making would commence!

Twelve hours later is 2:00. Tucker comes home for lunch, then puts Molly to sleep, as this has become almost impossible for me to manage, as she has us bounce her on an exercise ball to get her to sleep. Me on ball, Molly on my pregnant ball of a belly, the four of us (Ball, Baby, Molly, Me) all bouncing – it’s not a very comfortable arrangement. A little after 2:00, Tucker and Collin head to the shop. I turn on the water to boil to sanitize my jars. The sound of Molly babbling in her crib reaches my ears. A five minute nap, that won’t do. At 2:40, I finally am able to lay her down. Back to jamming.

Usually on this jamming day, Molly would have physical therapy at 3:30 then occupational therapy after that. But PT was canceled, so she just had OT. This means I had until around 4:00 to get this jam done, seems feasible.

Jars sanitizing in canner. Apricot mixture bubbling away in pot. Stirring here and there. Skimming off copious amounts of foam. Feeling exhilarated – eyes big, lips drawn up into a smile.

Do a plate test, and jam is not yet set. Cook a little longer. Good on time. Jam-making high still coursing through me. Then a certain odor reaches my nose – the smell of burnt sugar. The beautiful bright orange color takes on a shade of brown. Black flecks begin to surface. I pull the pot from the burner and do another jam test. It passes. A quick taste tells me that the flavor is still bright and sweet – no hint of burnt.

I spend some time researching if I am able to can burnt jam. And then looking up why when I pulled my jars out of the water, they quickly transformed from crystal clear to filmy white upon drying. Hard water encrusted inside and out. Nice. Now I was cutting it close for time.

Fill jars. De-bubble. Wipe rims. Put on lids and rings. The time is 4:10. Molly’s OT starts in five minutes. I call my mom to come over and supervise the hot water bath. She arrives. A rude awakening for Molly and in the car we go.

When we get home, my mom has the jars sitting on the counter, dishes done, and a load of laundry folded. She informs me that I missed out on hearing the jars pop as they made their victorious seal. Sigh.

But there they are, four half-pint jars filled with lovely jam from fruit growing in our backyard. I inspect them. A few black flecks, in an amber colored jam. But I feel proud, and once again exhilarated. I’ve a lot of jam making ahead of me, and that is an exciting thought!

(Blueberry syrup is next on my list!)

*Note 1: Eat your foam! We enjoyed it on vanilla ice cream last night, and I had it on a piece of buttered toast this morning. Mmmmm.

*Note 2: I read on Local Kitchen that if you add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to your water, it will keep the hard water film from forming.

Do you can? What are you putting up?

HodgePodge

19 Jul

Dentist yesterday and the day before. Filled two cavities. I have dental anxiety (and needle anxiety), but I was pretty proud with how well I handled it. My teeth chattered only a little (do yours when you’re anxious?) and my heart pounded for a bit, but overall, it was an improvement. (I’m having a baby soon after all! The comparison was useful.)

He did have to go deeper than he thought, and said if I get throbbing pain, then I’ll need to come in for a root canal. Now that makes me nervous!

I hate that it’s been so long since I’ve posted. There’s soooooooo much I meant to share. So many pictures waiting to be flourished by words. There was a wedding, two family visitors, a surprise birthday party for Tucker, food, garden, cute kids (Collin & Molly), a hike, a boat ride, a baby shower, and MORE!

My computer has been acting weird, which has been a big hindrance. It doesn’t like to wake up from sleep/hibernate mode. I have to turn it off and on many times, then wait forever for it to come back to life – but more often than not, it doesn’t and I give up. So now I have computer anxiety because I’m afraid it’s going to give up on me. It’s already on life support – a laptop tied down by its need for electricity since its battery quit working some time ago. The poor thing just isn’t like it used to be.

And unfortunately for me, I mistakenly looked at Mac’s on the Apple website. This was totally prompted by Tucker and just as I had built my more than amazing desktop iMac, he quickly reminded me that this was out of the question due to the large sum of money we’d have to fork over for such a beautiful happy-inducing piece of modern technology. Sigh. I was quickly plummeted into a minor state of depression (i.e. poutiness), but by the morning, practicality had set in, and I decided that a plan to one day get my dream computer could actually happen. Fingers crossed!

Pregnancy-wise I am 33 weeks and 5 days along. I am ready to be done. It’s true. I’m hoping this baby is a 37 weeker. That would mean he could safely arrive starting on August 11th. I have baby anxiety as well, you know, the whole having a baby part, yeah that.

I have not been enjoying this third trimester very much. My grand plans are now being pushed aside until next year. All sorts of baking, canning, pickling, gardening – all falling to the wayside. Sad. I’ve been getting some done here and there, but since I’m prone to pre-term labor symptoms, I have to take it easy, as too much activity provokes a slew of contractions. Plus, added to this pregnancy has been some varicose veins in my legs (blek and uncomfortable) as well as something called SPD – not cool. So essentially my legs, pelvis, and hips, hate me. I am certain that pregnancy gets worse the more kids you have. Has this been your experience?

Well, I had better get going with my plan of freezing a whole lotta meals for when the baby boy comes. I think I’ll start with cookies…and there’s some apricot jam to make. Me taking it easy.

Food Pictures: No one loved the upside-down apricot cake which was disappointing. The best part was the apricot infused buttery, sugary topping (or bottom?). The cake part was just not interesting enough. I’ll try another recipe next time.

The Dutch baby (from ATK’s Cook’s Country) was tasty and fun to watch puff up in the oven. It’s like a mix of a popover and French toast. We ate it with lemon juice and powdered sugar (there’s lemon zest in the batter). Next time I would add berries and whipped cream. This morning Tucker and I finished it off topped with maple syrup. Collin wasn’t a fan as it was too eggy for him, and well, he doesn’t like eggs, but he did help make it – and he’s a good and eager helper.

 

Strawberries, Strawberries, and More Strawberries

18 Jun

Been swimming in strawberries, and it’s been splendid! Freezer Jam, Strawberry Cordial, Strawberry Cream Biscuits (Amazing!!), and 5 pounds in the freezer to be turned into Strawberry Wine at a later date. I’ll be sharing the recipes in a later post. (As well as a recipe for hamburger buns I made last week!)

The delicious, local berries came from Tubbs’ Berry Farm – a lovely Family farm that offers up all sorts of goodies. We get amazing honey from there and got lots of excellent pumpkins last fall. This summer, we’ll be getting our fill of raspberries for more berry fun!

We ended up getting the berries at the same time as a particularly busy week, so I was squeezing in berry time at all hours between all the other obligations. One very wonderful event that occurred, was the wedding of our friends Brett and Jenny. It was a delightful and joyful occasion, and we are so happy for them and their kids!!

I am now into my third trimester, and am starting to feel the homestretch coming on. In some ways I can’t quite believe we’ll have three kids very, very soon! But in other ways (aches, an in-the-way belly, and near heatstroke – our air conditioner hasn’t worked all year) I am very aware!

In what ways have you been savoring strawberry season?

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