August, 2008

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Been Gone From Blogging World

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I’ve been a bit busy with Farmer’s Markets, helping Dave make syrup sales and fertility stuff. While speaking to one of my sister-in-laws recently she said (because she’s also dealing with infertility) that it is okay for fertility to become an encompassing mission/passion for a time. We’ve got this short window in time to have children so use it wisely. So I’m letting myself think about it often and not getting to wrapped up in much else.

This cycle I started a low dose of clomid and a low dose of synthroid and reduced the glucophage. I am praying like anything that ye olde ovaries decide to start popping out viable eggs soon!

I’m just going to stomp my online feet for a moment… this infertility business just isn’t fair. It really, really stinks. And I hate it. I hate even having to be in a position where I have to contemplate the possibility of not having children. I’m thankful for the fact that there is hope, but I’m sad/mad about that too because it is kind of makes me feel pathetic.

Oh well, I guess everyone’s lives have hurdles and everyone’s hurdles are different. Too bad there isn’t a “life’s hurdles” market, but I guess all the easy to jump ones would sell first since no one ever wants the ones that are hard to jump.

Old Sturbridge Village

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Yesterday, I took my Monday Farmer’s Market helper (aka my nephew) to a place in Massachusetts called Old Sturbridge Village.  We had a really nice time and only visited maybe 1/3 of the whole site.  It is pretty huge and it took two hours just to walk through that 1/3 we were able too see.   The Village takes you back to everyday life of rural New England in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

We went on a 15 minute boat ride on the Quinebaug River, saw sheep, chickens, cows, and pigs.  We watched cheese being made, logs being made into boards at the saw mill and wool being prepared for spinning.  My dear friend back in IL who homeschools would LOVE this place as an educational experience.

Since we were only able to visit such a small amount, it really was all very interesting, I think we might go back next Monday.  The Village offers free reentry within 10 days of purchasing tickets!

St. Clare’s Feast Day

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Yesterday was St. Clare of Assisi’s feast day. Our church had an evening pray service in honor of St. Clare so Dave and I decided to go. It was really, really nice. There were maybe 20+ people there. After the service, we found out that most of those present were Secular Franciscans. What is funny about that is I’d never heard of Secular Franciscans until Saturday when I saw mention of them on a blog. Whenever I have a question wandering in my head about something Catholic, it is pretty awesome how God finds a way of sending me the answer, even when I’m not really looking for it. The woman who sat in front of us turned around after the service and was telling us a bit about Secular Franciscans and about a trip to Assisi, Italy that she’d just returned from only days before. So, now I know that there are three orders (divisions) to the Franciscans. Very basically stated, First Order are the religious men (monks, priests) who live in a religious community of more than two, Second Order are religious women (nuns) and the Third Order is made up of lay people (your normal everyday folks) who work and live outside of a structured religious community. Thus, the question is answered!

Oh, and I also learned why I almost always see St. Francis of Assisi & St. Clare of Assisi linked. They came from the same town in Italy and St. Clare became a disciple of St. Francis after his own conversion. She outlived him by nearly 30 years so when there were questions about following the rules of the Franciscan Order, in those early years, she was the one folks came to for clarification. She is kind of considered a co-founder of the Franciscans even though she was originally a disciple of St. Francis.

So it was an educational and prayerful evening!

Ultimate “Betty Crocker”

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I got a funny compliment from a gal at the Farmer’s Market in Somers on Saturday. We were discussing preserving the summer’s produce bounty. She doesn’t do any preserving (be it canning or freezing) so when I told her of my latest endeavors she called me the “Ultimate Betty Crocker”, hehehe. I explained that this is my first attempt at most of the stuff I’m trying this year, but she still thought it was pretty amazing. So all you gals out there, like my Aunt, who actually can do this preserving stuff for real…you are the “Ultimate Betty Crockers”.

It is funny to think that women have been preserving foods for their family’s future use since pretty much the beginning of time, yet it is considered almost an awesome lost art now. In the 80 years or so since processed foods arrived on the scene and feminism took women from the home, hardly anyone seems to preserve produce. I hope to preserve lots and lots more fruits and vegetables in the coming years. I think it is a great way to know exactly what we are putting in the bellies of our family and a great money saver. Dave & I aren’t trying to live in a world long gone, but just trying to be healthier and good stewards of our monetary blessings.

Nice Time in NYC

Monday, August 11th, 2008

My mother-in-law and I had a nice time baby-sitting my nephew, AB.  He’s about 15 months and really such a cutie pie.  I missed my hubbie though.  It was good to get home.  NYC makes me so keyed up.  It took me all evening to come down out of spazz mode from being there.  The lifestyles there are a million miles away from what Dave and I are use too and enjoy.  Maybe at another point in my life I would have found NYC enticing and interesting, but not anymore.  Hassle, hustle and bustle aren’t part of my daily life anymore.  Right now my nephew just isn’t old enough to bring here while his ma & pa are gone, he really needs that extra stability and familiarity he can get from his surroundings.   Hopefully, one day Dave and I will have a few cousins for him to visit here.

About the New Photo at the Top of the Blog

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

The picture at the top of the blog was taken by us at the top of Mt. Washington.  For the July 4th holiday last year Dave and I took the cog railway to the top of New England’s highest mountain.  It was a great ride and the views up there were spectacular.  I had heard beforehand that the chances of having any visibility my first trip up would be a long shot.  As you can see, we actually had amazing views.   We were taking photos of the horizon when a couple walked out the furthest edge and stood, that’s how we got that shot.

Shake n’ Bake, Sorta

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

My hubbie LOVES pork chops with Shake n’ Bake for a coating. The stuff is a bit pricey so I decided to see if I could make something like it from scratch. Last night’s attempt got approval from Dave.

A while back I bought got a Buy 1, Get 2 Free deal on whole wheat loaves of bread. We can’t come close to eating three loaves of bread before they go bad so I turned two loaves into bread crumbs and put them in a bag in the freezer.

To make the “from scratch Shake n’ Bake”, I used about a cup of the bread crumbs seasoned them with a seasoned salt mix from the grocery store. First, I dredged each chop in a beaten egg then took them through the bread crumb mix and baked on 350 for 35 minutes. They turned out pretty yummy and probably a bit more healthy than the store bought stuff. (hopefully)

First Night Away from Dave

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Since we’ve been married, we’ve never spent a night away from each other.  This morning I am traveling with my mother-in-law to NYC to baby-sit my nephew while my brother-in-law & sister-in-law go away for their anniversary.   Dave & I have been married now almost 21 months and never a night apart.  I’m only going to be gone over night so we can still say we’ve never had a day apart since I’ll see him tomorrow evening.  But it is going to be strange sleeping alone.

Thankfully, my cat, Bailey, who is not known for being kind to others has actually gotten to a point with Dave that he’ll tolerate him.  Bailey will even let Dave pet him, albeit briefly!  (This is a huge improvement in personality!!)  So I’m not too worried about Bailey eating him without me here.

I made enchiladas for Dave and his father to eat tonight since the gals will be gone.

I’m going to miss today’s farmer’s market.  I kind of enjoy seeing how much extra income I can bring in for us so I’m actually kind of bummed I can’t attend today.  But I did line up at least one sale for today.  Before I go to my mother-in-law’s to pick her up, I’ll drop syrup off at the market for my neighbor to sell for me.  She’s really nice!

Freezing Summer’s Bounty

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Yesterday I finally tackled all the produce I’d accumulated over the past several days. There were loads corn, about 4 pounds of fresh from the garden green beans, several zucchini, a few summer squash and 1 full quart of jalapeño peppers.

My neighbor at the Stafford Springs Farmer’s Market (JoAnn) is a font of information about preserving things/gardening etc. So JoAnn told me the easiest way to figure out blanching produce for freezing. She said to bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, drop in the produce, as soon as it comes back to a full boil, remove the produce and immediately put it in ice cold water. That is so much more simple than the stuff I was reading online.

I prepared all the ears of corn and then I used my Bunt pan to cut the corn off the ears. I held the ear upright by putting the end of it in the Bunt pan flute hole. then proceeded to slice the corn off and it dropped right into the pan. No mess all over to clean up! We use corn pretty frequently here, but I’d say we’ve got about 4 months worth of corn stashed in the freezer now. Not only is it all fresh from the field and really sweet, but it cost me a whopping $5. Four months worth of frozen corn from the store would have cost me WAY more.

The green beans were also blanched, iced down, dried off a bit and placed in freezer bags too. And for the cost of a seed packet back in spring, I’ve got about three months of beans in the freezer. The zucchini was grated and placed in freezer bags for later use in zucchini breads (I’ve got a great recipe!). Now the summer squash, I did something a little crazy. I really, really don’t like squash. But I have discovered that I can sneak it into some things and never know it is there. I put half of a small summer squash in our spaghetti the other day and never tasted it! So I diced the summer squash into bits and into the freezer bags it went. Later, it will be used in soups, stews, chili, and spaghetti. We get the nutrients and I don’t have to taste it!!

Now we come to what I did with the jalapeños. We use them frequently in this house. They go in taco, dip, meat for tacos, chili, and a few other recipes. I can’t however use a full quart of the things before they’d go bad. So I diced them up into tiny bits and stuffed an ice cube tray full of the diced peppers. I know peppers don’t freeze well, but here is my hopefully ingenious thought; I finished filling each ice cube compartment with water. So I’ll have little cubes of peppers that I can pull out of the freezer and drop into the pan, the water is minimal and necessary in the recipes I’d use the pepper in anyway. Now, let’s hope it works.

It was a lot of work, but in the long run it will save us money and since everything was frozen within a very short time of it being picked, we should get all the nutritional benefits of fabulous summer produce. Oh, yeah and it was all purchased locally or grown in our backyard garden!

Other Blogs I like

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I am loving this new blog set-up because I can add things all over the place, including links to blogs I really enjoy. That means that not only can I share the blogs I like to read, but when I’m at another computer I can still check those blogs even though I don’t have my bookmarks available. Pretty awesome.

I’m really enjoying this font. I kind of like it.