March, 2009 browsing by month


My Mom is Coming!!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Well, she’s got her plane ticket so I think it is official.  My Mom is coming out March 30-April 2.  I’m very excited because this will be my first family member visit since I moved out here over 2.5 years ago!  Mind you, folks back in IL have been in bad health or dying for the last two years thus keeping my parents from visiting, but hopefully all that is past and visits can be some what more frequent.

And it is Wednesday of my spring cleaning week and where am I on the list of completion…not done, yet.  I’m making headway though and put a big dent in it today and will hopefully finish things up tomorrow.  Friday-Sunday is taken up with maple syrup business and then Mom arrives Monday.

In other visitor news, later in April, God & employers willing, my brother might even be in New England on business, but close enough to visit!  What would really make that even more awesome is if his wife and the girls could come too, but I’ll take what I can get.

And it is a really nice day today.  The sun is shining and the temp is supposed to be nearly 50.

Baby News Update: 22 Weeks

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Baby seems to be doing great and moves around rather often.  The other evening I really thought I got a kick that might have been able to be felt externally, but I couldn’t get the baby to recreate the kick for Dave to feel.

My belly is getting out there.  You know how you just know how much space you take up when navigating spaces and doing things like closing a door in front of yourself?  Well, I’ve discovered that I no longer know my own size because I whacked myself in the belly with our backdoor trying to close it the other day.

I can tell the baby is moving further up inside my abdomen because I’m feeling pressure on my actual stomach.  If I eat a normal sized meal now I’m in misery because the space is becoming a premium in there.  Dave said I’ve turned into a nibbler and kind of graze all day now.  I can’t get my mind past thinking I need three normal meals though and still try to eat that quantity only to suffer misery later.   I imagine that in a couple of days my brain will figure it out and I’ll just eat 3 small meals and several snacks.  I’m still doing okay with weight since I’m only up 8 pounds since the beginning.  Now is the time that all the pregnancy guides say a woman can start gaining a pound a week through the end of the pregnancy so I’ve got to be pretty careful.

My normal clothes, well, I should say the normal clothes I still could fit into are now even getting too small.  Today I put on this pink top that is one of my standard weekly apparel items only to discover it not only doesn’t cover my entire belly anymore, but the buttons are now being pulled tight.

My back is even doing decently these days.  I’ve been really being careful and pretty much not helping Dave around the sugarhouse with the maple syrup much at all.  He’s got to work really hard, but if I’m not careful then I’m in misery that evening.  Just one of the things I had to learn as a 36 yr old pregnant gal.  I ain’t 23 anymore…

As soon as we’ve put the sugarhouse and all things related to syrup production away for the season, we’ll start walking probably every other evening at the track.  I keep reading about how important walking is during that last trimester so I’m going to force myself to keep it up so maybe labor & delivery is eased somewhat for me.  I’m trying everything to avoid as many of those first baby, older mom, too many medical interventions difficulties that can easily arise.

Only 6 more weeks until my blood glucose test to see if I’ve developed gestational diabetes.  A pregnant friend just found out she failed the initial glucose test and now has to have the longer (and more needles) glucose test next week.   This one test is causing me some serious anxiety. I can’t do anything about it if gestational diabetes has developed, but my brain likes to freak out about these things anyway.

Oh, and no one REALLY explained to me just how much dreaming is affected by pregnancy.  Holy cow, I swear all I do at night is dream these weirdo, bizarre dreams now.  Considering I never use to have dreams I could recall by morning, this is a new and occasionally disturbing reality.

Update on My Monday

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I posted this below about what I would be doing today.  Monday:  grocery shopping & CVS (there are special sales I’m hitting at both places today in order to stock-up on things), spring clean kitchen & pantry (and possibly finish spring clean in living room), 2 loads of laundry (start to finish), pack 7 gallons of syrup into pint containers for sale at the church on 29th.  Evening:  attend third lecture in series on life & times of St. Paul and help Dave collect sap from at least one location.

It is 12:30 now and I’ve accomplished the grocery shopping & CVS shopping.  At CVS I was able to get 3 bottles of Listerine, my face wash, lotion, & 8 Bounty brand paper towels for $19!  Considering that before my little coupons and such the bottles of Listerine were $5.49 each and the Bounty was $6.99…I think I did pretty good (saving over $15 total).  And at my grocery store I got $96 worth of stuff for $50.83.  I totally stocked up on all this random stuff that I’ve need in order to restock my pantry.   I love watching that register total get pretty high and then watch it slam to the ground after coupons and sales are tallied!

I also spoke with my mom and it looks like she’s going to deal with getting her plane ticket tomorrow!  It really is looking like she’s headed our way soon!!

And since it is getting late in the day, I need to get myself busy doing laundry, cleaning and packing syrup.

A Maybe Visitor!!

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Well, my mom MIGHT be visiting us here March 30th!!!  Yeah!  She’s not been here yet and it will be wonderful to finally show her where I live now.  There are a couple things happening back in IL that might still make it so she can’t come, but we’ll see.  Dad sounded hopeful when I spoke to him Sunday afternoon.

So this week I’m going to proceed like she’s coming for sure.  Her visit should offer me some really good incentive to finish spring cleaning too!  This is kind of a busy week for me, so I’m going to have to eek out time wherever I can to accomplish my cleaning chores.

This is how this week is shaping up:

Monday:  grocery shopping & CVS (there are special sales I’m hitting at both places today in order to stock-up on things), spring clean kitchen & pantry (and possibly finish spring clean in living room), 2 loads of laundry (start to finish), pack 7 gallons of syrup into pint containers for sale at the church on 29th.  Evening:  attend third lecture in series on life & times of St. Paul and help Dave collect sap from at least one location.

Tuesday:  Deliver 10-15 gallons of syrup to a restaurant in MASS (1.5 hours drive time each way), regular cleaning in bathroom and spring clean our bedroom.

Wednesday:  Home Only Day!!  Spring clean upstairs & downstairs hallways, stairwell and organize some stuff in attic,  if time permits clean office/guest room.  And get laundry completely caught up.  (Our hallways & stairwell have killer amounts of woodwork so those projects could take me several hours…)

Thursday:  Finish any leftover cleaning projects, Bible Study at 1PM.

Friday:  Spend morning with Dave helping with maple syrup production (this could be our last weekend because some trees are starting to bud.)  Spend afternoon with sister-in-law between picking up niece & nephew from school then taking nephew to choir.  Home by 5PM.

Saturday:  Maple syrup production.

Sunday: Mass, sell maple syrup for church fundraiser at pancake breakfast between masses.  (Dave tapped all the giant maples on the church property making 7 gallons of syrup to use as a fundraiser for a missions trip some folks at church at taking to Jamaica.  We’ll be selling “church syrup” in pint containers so hopefully lots of parishioners will take advantage of buying syrup. )  And then finish maple syrup production potentially for the season.

Kind of roughly, that is the plan for the week.  I’ll have finished spring cleaning the house on top of having the house “mom ready” if she’s able to come out.

Over the weekend, I made four dinner’s worth of meatballs and froze them in individual dinner packets.  I need to update my 21 Freezer Meals post because I’m further along with that project than I previously thought.

Another Great Bible Study

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

When 1PM rolls around every Thursday, I frequently dread having a commitment of my time.  But every single time I make the decision to go to bible study it is ALWAYS a blessing.  The woman that teaches is so wonderful. Everything about her exudes God’s graces.  I am not sure if I will continue to be able to attend after the baby arrives since the baby might be too distracting.  Until I have to sop going though, I hope I remember every Thursday afternoon how blessed I feel after attending.

Comically, we’ve been working our way through Romans every since I started attending.  We get maybe 2 chapters in per session and get sidetracked with additional conversation.  But it’s all good stuff.

Good Ideas from My Auntie & My Sister-in-Law

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

One of my aunts posted a comment with good ideas for a couple more excellent freezer meal ideas, but now I must ask for the recipe.  Especially, the beef tips recipe.  I’ve had them in restaurants before, but never made them.  Stuffed green peppers are one of Dave’s favorites, but I have to admit that I only like the stuffing part.  Large pieces of cooked green peppers is one of those textural things I can’t make myself eat.  I LOVE uncooked green peppers though…yes, weird, I know.  And the beef stew idea is excellent and one I’ll be making tomorrow.

As for my sister-in-law’s idea to bring preemie outfits as well as the newborn outfits to the hospital, that’s a good one.  I’ve been looking at these two newborn outfits I’ve purchased and they just look big.  The tag says they are for babies 8-12 pounds.  Dave and I were both 8+ pounders at birth so I’m expecting a baby in the 7-8 pound range (hopefully 7 and not 9!!!).

So I’ve not been blogging much because there really hasn’t been any happenings around here lately.  Dave’s been working like a crazy person on maple syrup making (I’ve mostly watched from a lawn chair).  So our weekends have been entirely taken up with syrup.  And my couple days at home, I’ve been slowly working on spring cleaning.  My dining room will be finished today, except for the floor.  And if I get myself busy here pretty soon, I’ll also be able to say the living room is done.  You never really intellectualize the quantity of woodwork in a 100 year old house until you decide to wash it all.  DEAR HOLY HEAVENS does this house have some woodwork.  Every doorway has a door with trim (seriously…there are 2 doors in the dining room, 4 doors in the kitchen etc).  Every window is wooden with trim.  Every floor is bordered with trim.  And the window casings were at one time painted white, but are now peeling.  And I can’t even imagine the last time all that woodwork was washed.  The doors all have decorative panels, which were housing more dust and old nastiness in the cervices than is imaginable.  So it was a long slow process to wash everything down thoroughly in just that one room.  Oh, did I mention all the floors except the living room & kitchen are wooden as well.

The temperature is about 53 today so I’m opening windows and going to get busy.
PS:  Ya know, when you are a homemaker, it is interesting to see the stuff the goes on during the day in your neighborhood. While sitting here composing this post, I’ve just watched 3 grown men rifling through a dumpster that belongs to the apartment house next door.  None of the men even live there.  It is funny to see how much stuff people do when they think a neighborhood is deserted because everyone is out working.  (Obviously, if they do something illegal I’ll do something, but for now they seem to be mostly interested in being trash crawlers.)

20 Weeks

Monday, March 9th, 2009

This morning I had an appointment with my midwife.  She got baby’s heartbeat right away and then we got to hear four sweet little hiccups.  Everything is good though.  Baby and I both seem like pregnancy agrees with us!!

21 Frozen Meals

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

So I’m working on putting 21+ meals in the freezer for after the baby is born.  I figured three weeks worth of pre-prepared dinners will come in handy.  And we have the freezer space to work with too.

This post is going to be kind of a running tally of this project.  I’ll post my 21 meal ideas as I think of them and cross them off or something as I actually get them into the freezer.  For each dinner I try to have a protein and 2 vegetables (or maybe a fruit)  or 1 vegetable and a starch (potato, rice or pasta).  Most of my casseroles have at least 2 vegetables in them so some dinners will be as easy as one-dish!

Any great freezer recipes anyone can offer, will be appreciated!

1. Meatloaf (served with broccoli from freezer and canned pears)

2.  Spanish rice, re-fried beans, corn & meat burritos

3 & 4.  Two dinners worth of enchiladas (with black beans & corn)

5.  Kielbasa (from freezer), canned sauerkraut, canned red cabbage and applesauce (from jar)

6 & 7. Two dinners worth of Spaghetti and meatballs (with sauce)  (pasta freezes pretty well)

8 & 9.  Chili (Jiffy boxed corn bread)

10 & 11.  Vegetable Beef Soup (Dave really likes this and it is really healthy!)

Okay, that’s all I can work on for right now.  Like I said, this will be a “working post”.

Recipe Books

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I really enjoy reading and owning recipe books, but I’ve discovered that they are not practical instruments for usage.  I’ve got about 5 square feet of shelf space devoted to recipe books in our pantry and that is were they sit.  There are zillions of great recipes I’ve never tried because going through recipes when I’m making up our weekly menu plan is tedious.

So I want to go through each book and pick out recipes that have ingredients we enjoy and seem to be something I would actually make.  But what to do with those recipes after I’ve done this is my dilemma.  Do I copy them into a computer file?  Do I type them up and reprint them onto index cards?  I’m undecided as to whether to have them available on a computer screen or on paper.  I do have a computer in the kitchen and have accessed online recipes using them directly from the screen so I’m not opposed to this format.  Having them in a binder or on index cards also is perfectly acceptable to me.  But what is the most efficient and effective way to make these recipes more useful and available to me?

In the end, I’m not going to get rid of all my recipe books.  There are a few to which I hold no attachment and will get rid of as soon as I’m gone through them and decided what to do with the recipes I like.  Other books I will keep readily available in the kitchen, but the remainders are going into storage to free up space.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the billion or so loose recipes of every shape and size imaginable that I’ve collected over the years.

I’m kind of leaning toward a paper format for organizing these, mostly because I’m still sentimentally attached to paper unlike some folks from the generation behind me.  Paper is still easier for me to perouse versus a computer, but a computer can organize all those recipes in all sorts of useful ways.  Argh!  I’m not convincing myself of an organizational plan here.  Any ideas from anyone??

First Weekend Boiling Sap

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Last weekend Dave finally got to use his brand new evaporator.  He boiled some 100 gallons of sap from the first week’s run.  This week really didn’t look like the sap was going to run at all, which would have meant another weekend of boiling lost, but the temperatures are warming up so we might have some sap by Saturday or Sunday.

Dave’s used an amazing 3/4 of a mile of tubing for sap between his parent’s woods and three friend’s woods.  That’s not a very impressive number for the big producers, but it is a HUGE number for us and it meant a whole LOT of work over the winter for Dave and his Dad.

Dave’ Dad took some nice photos last weekend and I’ll ask Dave to put them on here for everyone to see later maybe this evening.