Thursday, December 31, 2009

28 weeks! (well more now...)

Here is me in La Push, Washington, at 28 weeks pregnant. It was the day after Christmas and so beautiful, sunny and warm! We got in some exercise and Dave and I were able to get our ocean fix. It's hard moving from someplace right next to the ocean to a city where the biggest body of water is the river.

See, I told you it was warm! No coat!

Anyway, after we got back from our Christmas vacation, I had my 28 week midwife appointment. Baby was difficult again and wouldn't let Nancy get his heartbeat on the fetascope or the doppler! She did get a heart rate from his umbilical cord (which sounds very whooshy on the doppler). She said she likes to establish a baseline for his heart rate so that during labor, she'll know what is normal for him.

I had to get my finger pricked to check my hemoglobin and even though my blood pressure was a little high, she said she can tell that my blood volume has increased from the hemoglobin drop.

From here until 36 weeks, I will be meeting with Nancy every two weeks! I can't even believe we are going to be 30 weeks pregnant at the next appointment!

Well, there is more to write but that will have to wait. We got TONS of stuff for baby recently and I'd like to get some pictures of some of it to go along with the next post. We'll see how I do considering our home computer it being difficult.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

26 weeks!

I'm 26 weeks and 3 days pregnant! Less than 100 days until my due date. I keep telling myself to not get too stuck on that date... I want this baby to bake as long as he needs to so a specific date will not help me relax if I go past that. But, it's hard when I have a little ticker on my Facebook page telling me how many days I have left!

So, as you can see, the belly is getting bigger! Little boy moves around like crazy- usually when I'm laying down. When I lay down for the night, he starts kicking and poking. If I get up during the night, he'll kick a little bit when I lay back down. And then, in the morning, after Dave wakes me up, he'll start kicking until I get up.
He'll sometimes kick during the day while I'm at my desk. Yesterday, I'd been typing in ads and hadn't been talking much. When I answered the phone, he started kicking. I'm telling myself it's because he liked hearing my voice. :)
It's only 10 days until Christmas! Dave and I will be bringing back tons of baby stuff from my sisters' houses. Tubs of clothes, a swing and a dresser for baby. As well as anything else they decide they want to get rid of!
While finishing up our Christmas shopping this weekend we browsed the baby sections. There were SO many cute outfits that I was tempted to buy. But, I'm telling myself that once we get all the hand me down clothes here, we'll go through them and then figure out what things we are missing- if he needs a coat/ body suit for the first few cold months, socks, long sleeved shirts, pants, etc. And I need to get myself in the mind set of buying second hand. I should go to Goodwill/ Salvation Army/ St. Vincent's first and then the baby consignment stores in town before going to real stores. It will be cheaper and it is eco friendly to reuse instead of buy new!
And, I've decided to get a crib. We are going to copy my younger sister and take one side off and put it at the same level and right up against our bed. We tend to use up all our bed space, so this way he'll have his own space but he'll be right there for breastfeeding, soothing, diaper changes, etc. So, we are going to check out a baby resale store in town that I know has cribs and then just buy a new mattress. If he was going to be in a separate room while sleeping, I would prefer a new crib, but since he'll only be in it while we are in the room, a second hand one doesn't worry me.
I think that's everything for now... I'm reading the book Active Birth right now. Trying to make sure to get yoga and stretching in every day. I would walk as well, but it's hard when it's icy and snowy outside.

Monday, December 7, 2009

25 weeks!

Well, I am 25 weeks and 2 days! Only 103 days until my due date... So crazy!

Dave and I are SO excited about this baby. It seriously is amazing to be experiencing this pregnancy and expecting this little boy. It sometimes feels like that's all we can talk about- our future with this little one, how much he's going to change our lives and how much we are looking forward to it.

He was really quiet in there last week, well, except for at my midwife appointment. He kicked something fierce while she was trying to listen to his heartbeat.

So, here's my most recent belly picture. We were driving back from Spokane and decided to stop and take an outside picture while we still had some light. It was FREEZING and very windy.

This week baby is already kicking more than last week. I feel little pokes all the time it seems. I love it... I sometimes get worried when I don't feel him for a while. Thankfully if I bother him enough, he usually responds with a kick. I just tell him that I'm worrying about him and he should get used to it. I'm sure I'll worry about him for the rest of my life!

Oh, and I guess I'll do that little pregnancy survey that I keep forgetting:

How far along: 25 weeks, 2 days

Total weight gain: Unknown, though when I was weighed before my ultrasound, I weighed less than I thought I would so I guess it's not too bad!

Maternity clothes?: Every day! At least for pants. I can still wear some of my longer shirts over the maternity tank tops I got at Target- which I LOVE and will probably still wear when I'm no longer pregnant. It's so hard to find long tank tops and these are perfect! I have actually outgrown one pair of maternity pants... so, I need to go shopping and get a bigger size apparently.

Sleep: It's not bad. I wake up at least once to pee and a few other times to change positions. Also, I've had some VERY weird dreams- the other night's were the worst horror/ monster filled ones. I would dream about it a little, wake up and think how gross it was, fall back asleep and dream the next scene! SO annoying!

Best moment this week: Hmm... Feeling him move is still the best thing!

Movement: Lots of it the past two days! I was leaning against the counter yesterday and he kicked good and hard. He does not like things pushing into his space apparently!

Food cravings: Sugar, sugar, sugar and doughnuts... but I haven't been eating them because I'm not supposed to. The midwife has me on a modified diet- cutting out refined sugar and white flour is supposed to help prevent yeast infections. So, I've been suffering without... I'm trying to find good substitutes for sweet things, it's not working out too well.

Gender: Boy!

Labor signs: None, though I think I may have experienced Braxton Hicks contractions already.

Belly button in or out: Still in but MUCH shallower now. I also discovered that I have a birth mark inside my belly button that I've never been able to see before now. Weird, huh?

What I miss: Sugar!

What I'm looking forward to: Him being here! I know it's still a long ways away and I know it's best for him to be in there the full 40 weeks, but man, it's hard to wait to meet him!

Weekly wisdom: When you talk about how much you want something you can't have, it makes you want it more!

Milestones: No new ones really. Well, except that we are passed the viability point in pregnancy. That's when, theoretically, with the right medical care, baby could survive outside the womb.

Finally! Another post... It's Christmas time!

So, my husband and I went looking at Christmas trees yesterday. It was about 10 degrees outside and blowing like crazy. SO COLD! The cheapest tree we could find was $35 and still too big for our living room. We decided to wait on it and ran to the store to grab a few things before heading home.

Well, I saw this tiny Italian pine tree there for $4. So, I decided to go with a living Christmas tree this year. Granted, we won't be able to fit many ornaments on it, but then, we don't have many! I'll just hang a string of lights around the sliding glass door behind it and we'll be all set with Christmas decorations. After Christmas I'll plant it in a bigger pot and keep it with the rest of my plants. Hopefully it will survive the year and we'll have a little bit bigger tree for next Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A few things I've made for baby

The dragon is something I've been working on for a while and finally finished. He's adorable and now I just need to make a little knight that can fight with him. I ran out of the light colored green yarn so I used a darker color and just did spots of the light green on them. I actually prefer it that way to one color.
The vest I knitted in about three days- over a weekend though, so I had lots of time to work on it. It's adorable and I can't wait to put it on him. I found some white yarn that is SO soft in my stash while I was organizing and I'm making another one for him. I figure he can wear it over his colored long sleeve shirts! I skipped the buttons on the gray one but I think I'll put buttons on the white one.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Belly shot, 23 weeks!

I realized I hadn't posted a belly shot recently so here's the most recent one. About 23 weeks, which is really hard to believe!

I'm feeling good. Baby boy is moving around and kicking me a lot. It feels weird sometimes but I still enjoy it.

Protein, protein, protein

A few studies have shown that adequate protein while pregnant can prevent pre-e. So, I'm under strict instructions to get 80 to 100 grams of protein a day. Yeah, that's a lot of protein. I tried protein shakes and there is no way I'm getting that or keeping that down.

Well, I discovered an awesome recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes that has an obscene amount of protein. The batch makes about 6 pancakes and has 50 grams of protein in it. I was able to add an extra 1o grams to the batch with ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ. And, while the name may be a turn off, give them a try. They are very moist and even fluffy.

1 cup cottage cheese
3 eggs
1 cup flour
2 Tbs. ground flax seed
2 Tbs. toasted wheat germ
Pinch of salt (I usually leave this out)
3 Tbs. melted butter

Directions: Mix all ingredients except butter in bowl. Pour melted butter over and mix in. Cook on preheated skillet until dark golden brown, turning only once.

Simple as that! 10 grams of protein per pancake. I usually eat three for breakfast along with an 8 ounce glass of milk. So, I start my day with 38 grams of protein. I think the only other way you can get that is by drinking one of those disgusting protein shakes.

I have topped mine with honey, syrup, apple pie filling or blackberry syrup. The apples help get in a daily fruit but I think the blackberry syrup is my favorite. It was home canned by my grandma and has the perfect blend of sweet and tart. It's almost like eating a blackberry pie for breakfast!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ultrasound pictures!

Here's our little boy! It was just so cool to see him moving around in there. I still can't believe that there's actually something alive inside me... little weird and creepy and awesome all at the same time.
So, we've chosen a name but have decided not to share it. I did not realize how upset people get when you won't tell them the name you've chosen for your unborn child. Then they start giving you names you might like... I finally told one friend that we were not open to suggestions.
Of course, since Dave and I are referring to baby by name while alone, we may accidentally give it away before March!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's a...

We were very surprised when we opened that envelope after the ultrasound! For some reason, we both were convinced it was going to be a girl. We are very excited to be expecting our little man though. Dave is SO excited. He wants to show the picture of little man's stuff off to everyone but I told him he wasn't allowed to post it anywhere. Just seems a little weird to me.

It was so cool to see him on the screen though. It's weird that he's actually in there, swimming around. He moves a lot more than I can actually feel.

So, since I had been thinking girl all this time, I had all these ideas for little dresses and outfits I could sew for her. Little play food sets I would make, little dolls and stuffed animals. Well, now I have to come up with ideas for what to make for my boy! I compiled a little list of things I want to make. I'll post them here in case any other parent of a boy needs some ideas. Let me tell you, there are a lot more tutorials and ideas out there for little girl stuff!

Fabric barn (also includes dollhouse tutorial)
Felt ball (I have a ton of felt that I'll be able to use for these!)
Rocket ship (I love this one)
Crocheted dragon (I've wanted to make this for awhile now... just to have made it. But, it will make a great toy for a little boy! I'm thinking I'll need to modify a crocheted doll pattern to make a little knight so the boy can have battles.)
Felt castle (for the dragon to attack!)

I also found a few patterns for crocheted cars on Ravelry that I might try. And has tons of little animal patterns.

So, my son will not be without homemade toys. I hope to add Lincoln Logs, some wooden blocks and other wood toys. I want to keep my house as plastics free as possible... also as few battery operated toys as possible!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gender ultrasound scheduled for...

November 9th! Almost a month earlier than originally scheduled- the doctor's office had a cancellation. And it's only a month away! I'm very excited to find out...
Also, here's a belly shot- 18 and 1/2 weeks.

Friday, October 16, 2009

18 week pregnancy survey

How far along? 18 weeks

Total weight gain/loss: Unknown... and I will never know!

Maternity clothes? Most definitely. I love that I have sisters that just had babies and are about the same size. We went to visit to pick up clothes and see the little babies.

Sleep: Waking up a lot but thankfully able to fall back to sleep pretty quickly.

Best moment this week: Hmm, I can't think of one. Since I did the last survey though, it's been visiting the family.

Movement: I think I've been imagining some. I'm SO looking forward to it!

Food cravings: Fruit and fruit flavored things for a while.

Gender: Unknown though the husband thinks it's a girl.

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out? In. I'm pretty sure it's never coming out.

What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach.

What I am looking forward to: Movement!

Weekly wisdom: Don't try to rush things... people keep saying they can't believe we won't be able to find out what we are having until December (long story about doctor's office issues.) But, I'm trying not to be impatient about anything. I know pregnancy takes awhile and I know things aren't going to happen quickly. And they are already saying how miserable I'll be at the end of pregnancy and how I'll just want it to be over. Another pearl of wisdom: don't listen to them!

Milestones: I'm showing... We need to start taking belly pictures to post on Facebook and the blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's been awhile!

But, I'm 18 weeks pregnant today! It seems like it's going so fast... I've been feeling great. A little heartburn but nothing that sitting up straight doesn't help. I'm showing and Dave and I have decided that we'll start taking weekly belly pictures so we can watch the change. I might try to post some, but it also may never get done!

I've been reading the book "Pushed" by Jennifer Block. It gets me so riled up and frustrated that Dave told me I'm not allowed to read it before bed anymore! I just can't understand how maternity care in the United States got to this point. I'm so glad that we've decided to have a natural birth, free of interventions as long as there are no problems.

I don't think women- or anyone really- in the US understands how far birth has gone from what is normal. Dave has a few coworkers who have been giving him "advice" about birth. When he told them which doctor we were seeing, they said they didn't like her. The reason? She's not quick enough to do c-sections, apparently. Well, that's good to know and I'm glad. I would very much like to avoid major abdominal surgery.

There's so much I've been learning since I got pregnant. I've subscribed to Mothering magazine and I love it. So much wonderful information about natural birth, breastfeeding and raising healthy kids. I like to lurk on the natural birth boards over there as well and read birth stories that are inspiring rather than scary (the ones that everyone seems to think are appropriate to tell pregnant women.) I'll try to remember to post links to the sites I've been reading and talk more about the natural birth that I want.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cloth diapers

The bane of a mother's existence, right? Wrong! I'm very excited about cloth diapering. It's better for the planet, better for my baby and it's SO cute! Here are a few purchases I've made for cloth diapering.

These are basic infant sized prefolds. You can use them with pins or with a thing called a Snappi (the blue thing in the picture below) that won't poke you or your baby!

The picture below is a wet bag you toss the dirty diapers into (no soaking in bleach anymore) that keeps in wetness. The bag can be tossed in the wash with the diapers. Also in the picture is a Thirsties fitted diaper. Super soft and cute!

In the bottom picture are two Muttaqin diapers. They are fitted and include inserts which can be customized for absorbency. The prefolds can be used later for large diapers to add more absorbency as well.

All these diapers need a cover so the pee doesn't get all over you or baby's clothes. We will have some plastic type (NOT like the Gerber kind you are thinking of) and wool. I'll do a whole other post on wool later when I can upload all the pictures of the adorable softness I've knitted for our baby.

There are LOTS of options out there for cloth diapering. For more detailed information, and lots of pictures, check out this blog. Ooh, and there was just a post about wool, so you don't have to wait for mine!

Friday, August 21, 2009

10 weeks and midwife appointment!

How far along? 10 weeks, 1 day... I'm a little late.

Total weight gain/loss: Same... I'm starting to wonder if we should get a scale or if I should even care...

Maternity clothes? Just the one pair of shorts.

Sleep: Okay still. Going to bed between 9 and 9:30 at night.

Best moment this week: Telling friends. It was tons of fun to hear their reactions!

Movement: None

Food cravings: None really. I'll suddenly want something but if I don't have it the craving goes away.

Gender: unknown

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out? In.

What I miss: Being able to suck in my stomach.

What I am looking forward to: Telling my mother in law tonight and then the rest of the world!

Weekly wisdom: Keep eating!

Milestones: Met with another midwife yesterday. I'm thinking she's the one I'll choose.

Also, about the appointment, we tried to listen for a heartbeat on the doppler but couldn't hear it. I didn't really expect that we would since it's so early and I have a retroverted uterus. And I didn't pass out when I had blood taken, so that's always a plus as well!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Already thinking about labor

I'm already preparing for labor! I know, seems a little early, but there's so much to look into. I'm reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth right now. I'm really enjoying it and I'm pretty sure I'll be reading it again before this baby's born!

Also, I've been searching for natural birth videos and information. I just found this link of the 100 best natural birth blogs! I'm very excited to start looking through them to see if I can find a few helpful ones.

Well, that's all for now. This weekend we'll be telling my husband's mom and then the rest of the world! I'm really looking forward to everyone knowing so we don't have to watch what we say when out in public!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nine week post...

How far along? 9 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss: Same as last week.

Maternity clothes? I bought a pair of maternity shorts... they are comfy except for the elastic keeps folding down. Very annoying.

Sleep: Still good. Just waking up to pee several times a night.

Best moment this week: Can't think of anything...

Movement: None that I can feel! But according to the baby is moving a lot right now!

Food cravings: I craved pineapple glazed ham for a week before breaking down and cooking one last night. Now we have lots of ham leftovers to use. I think homemade mac and cheese is on the menu tonight.

Gender: unknown

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out? In. I have an extremely deep belly button. I wonder if it will ever pop out.

What I miss: Being able to suck in my stomach.

What I am looking forward to: Telling everyone. I'm sick of people complaining about not being able to tell other people.

Weekly wisdom: Don't share the news until you are ready for EVERYONE to know.

Milestones: None really. Though apparently our baby grew ears this week!

Sorry, no belly pictures yet!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Something new

I'm going to try to do this every week (or every two) along with a belly picture. I don't have one for this post since I have yet to take one! We need to get on that. I just hate to get a picture of bloat since baby is still well hidden.

How far along? 8 weeks.

Total weight gain/loss: I have not weighed myself... I don't even know what I started out weighing 8 weeks ago. Our scale has been broken for more than 6 months.

Maternity clothes? Nope, though trying to stay in the looser stuff.

Sleep: Like a log for eight hours except when getting up to pee.

Best moment this week: Telling the family the news.

Movement: None except for little cramps that I assume is my uterus stretching to make room for the kid.

Food cravings: If it's not making me feel like throwing up, I'll eat it! It's so weird being starving and sick at the same time.

Gender: unknown

Labor signs: Nope.

Belly button in or out? In.

What I miss: Energy.

What I am looking forward to: Telling more people... really just having it out in the open.

Weekly wisdom: Lemon heads will do wonders with morning sickness.

Milestones: None that I can think of... I guess telling my family. I felt a little like I was lying to them because half the time I don't believe I'm actually pregnant!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We are having a baby!

We found out July 12, 2009, that we are expecting a little one on March 22, 2010!

We are SO excited about it. I've met with some midwives in the area but haven't chosen one yet. More later, I suppose!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Yay for saving things from a landfill!

My grandma is moving soon and destashing some of her craft stuff. So, when I visited recently, she gave me a box of fabric. She had marked how many yards each piece was (will be helpful when deciding on a pattern!) All total, it's about 27 yards of fabric!

I should have taken up close pictures of it. There are some really fun patterns.

She also was getting rid of yarn, so I took a box of that. Some of the labels on the yarn are gone so I'm not sure what it is. And some of the labels are very vintage looking. Who knows how old it is! This will be added to my stash of yarn that doesn't have set projects... Someday!

She also had about 400 grams of wonderful 100% wool yarn that her daughter bought her years ago in New Zealand. She had a project half started but I frogged that so I can make wool diaper covers! The project started will be shorties (if the pattern changing I'm doing works out anyway!)
Such fun new additions to my craft stash!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I made some cloth napkins

I made four cloth napkins the other day out of some fabric I got from Goodwill. So, now we just need to remember to use these napkins instead of paper towels and it's another "green" move!

A little something about myself- I hate buying fabric new... it's so expensive. So, I got about three yards of this fabric along with about ten yards of other random fabrics for less than $6. Granted, you can't choose your patterns or amounts, but it's sure nice for little projects like this!

I also made an apron out of this material but was never able to get a good picture of it. And I made a shirt for a friend's little girl. I was doing some minor alterations to a shirt I'd made for myself when she was over and she asked if I could make her one. It was very simple to make. Just a rectangle of fabric hemmed and sewn into a tube. Then I put a piece of elastic around the top and put in sleeves.

It was difficult to get a good picture of her in it because she likes to run and hide from the camera. She really liked it and wanted to wear it right away. She also insisted to her mom that she be able to wear to church the next day.

Okay, so there's your second crafty post I promised!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some felt food

It's pasta! I bought a pile of felt from a garage sale and wanted to experiment with some felt food. So, I had seen some farfalle pasta on another site and decided to try it. It's super easy as long as you have pinking shears. Then I made some meatballs (which are not perfectly round- but then what meatballs are?) and cut out some red pasta sauce.

I think it's pretty cute. I have tons more of the felt. I need more inspiration! Also, more time. But then, don't we all?

More crafting posts to come soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More reusing!

So, I posted about how I make lemonade for my husband from jugs of it I get at Costco. But, all those jugs are collecting in my cupboard, so I've tried to find ways to reuse them.

So, I cut the top of one and used it to sprout some pepper plants. It was almost impossible to poke holes in the bottom for drainage though so it wouldn't work for a real planter.
Also, I switched to an eco friendly dishwasher soap. The only problem is that the soap tended to solidify. So, after crumbling it back apart I poured it into an old lemon juice container. This keeps the moisture out and makes it much easier to pour.
So, now I just need to find more uses for the rest of them! Suggestions are welcome! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The best carrot muffins ever!

Carrot Muffins

2 apples, peeled and grated
2-3 peeled and grated carrots (about two cups)
2 cups flour
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup toasted wheat germ
1/8 cup ground flax seed
3 large eggs
¾ cup oil (You can replace some of this with applesauce but the muffins won't be as tender)
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, along with the carrot and apple. Stir until ingredients are just moistened. Do not over mix. Divide batter into greased or papered muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. After 10 minutes, remove from muffin tins. Cool completely before frosting.

More reusable bags

The other day, I ran to the grocery store with my resuable bag stuffed in my purses. I needed a few things for dinner- all of them from the produce department. So, I grabbed some green onions, cabbage, sweet onions and bell peppers. But, what was I going to put them in? I had no choice, just the plastic produce bags were there. I didn't put the onions in the plastic, but felt like the cabbage should go in one since it was so tender and I didn't want any dirt from the cart or bag getting on it. So, I ended up taking about three plastic bags home from the store, even though I had my reusable ones!

I had seen some reusable produce bags made out of mesh material with a drawstring online. I knew I could easily make them myself but I would just need to get material. But I would have to buy new material. I would rather reuse than buy new, so I slept on it. And, seriously, as weird as it sounds, in the middle of the night, I thought of some old mesh material that I had.

Two years ago, just before my wedding, I was shopping for veils. And I could not bring myself to pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of netting and a barrette. So, I made my own. I bought a yard of tulle and sewed it onto a barrette I already had. It was perfect and no one could tell I had only spent $2 on it!

Well, that veil has been hanging in my closet with my wedding dress. So, I fished it out, ripped out the stitches holding it onto the barrette (this also means I get that old barrette back) and cut it up!

Here are the finished projects. I used up some neon green thread I bought for a different project and some leftover bright orange cotton yarn from another project. The neon colors really catch the eye, don't they? I think that yard or so of material gave me four large bags and three skinnier, taller ones (the one the celery is in.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let's talk about reusing...

Reusable bags were something I put off for awhile. When I did finally get some, I loved them! I just bought the 99 cent ones at Safeway and they worked fine for awhile.

Then, this happened to one of them:

I wasn't very happy about it! But the bags are pretty thin and probably won't stand up for much longer.

So, I made one of my own from some heavy duty fabric I found at Goodwill.

It's a little bigger than the Safeway ones and the straps are thicker. I like it, I just need to get some more material to make more. It works way better than the other bags! I'm pretty proud of it since I made it without a pattern!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Let's talk honey

Recently, I stumbled across some information about honey being good for allergies. It was intriguing so I decided to read more. My husband has been suffering from allergies since we moved here and has just been using claritin and benadryl when it gets really bad. I've looked at some natural remedies but nothing seemed like it would actually work.

Raw local honey (made by bees where you live) contains pollen from the plants that cause your allergies. When you eat this honey, it builds up an immunity to those pollens. There are all sorts of studies and Web sites out there about it. It is important that the honey you get has not been pastuerized because that process kills and gets rid of all the good stuff in it like pollen and dust (appetizing huh?)

I found an ad in the paper by a guy that sells local honey and he's just a few blocks from our house, so I don't think it could get any more local unless we owned the hives! He does strain the honey but it is raw and does still contain pollen. I'd read a few things about unstrained honey but this stuff should work for the allergies. I might continue to look for unstrained honey locally. Maybe my supplier would bottle me up some special ones that haven't been strained.

Anyway, it was $6 for a quart, which I think is pretty good. So, the husband and I will be eating 2 to 3 teaspoons a day in the morning on toast or muffins. We hope that will help with our allergies this season!

Following up on a few things...

I was looking back through old posts and realized I haven't updated on several things!

So, on the creamer. Turns out that getting so many cans of condensed milk and all that is not really that eco friendly. And, the husband didn't love it. So, I realized that Darigold makes flavored half and half. We've started buying that instead. It's in a carton so not as bad as the plastic, it tastes good and it's made with real milk!

On the lemonade. Months later and still going strong. It's easy peasy to make and adding the strawberries is amazing! I bought a big bag at Costco. Whenever I decide to make strawberry lemonade, I take a few out and let them sit in a dish for about 15 minutes. They are then very easy to smash with a fork. I throw them in a glass and pour in lemonade! I used the blender for awhile but it doesn't work so well and then I have to wash it.
I also got some popsicle forms and made some strawberry lemonade popsicles. They were pretty good though I thought they needed more sugar.

Crafting is going well. I've started making shirts for myself! I've made three in the past week from a pattern on It's so nice to be able to customize the fit, choose the material and it's very neat to know that you made what you are wearing, even if no one else does. I'll post pictures soon.

I think that's about it. My house is a disaster since I've been sewing so much and putting off cleaning. I've really got to tackle that this weekend.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Spinning update!

I love it! Here's my first project with the alpaca sample that came with the spindle.

Yarn that I spun.

I took more pictures of the process but they are on my camera which is at home. This was taken awhile back with my phone (that's why it's not the greatest picture.)

Well, I spun up the yarn, set the twist (soaked in hot water) and let it hang dry. Once it was dry, it sat around for awhile until I decided to crochet it into a small bowl.

It is very small and I felted it a little bit to make it really fluffy. Just to let you know that alpaca fiber, when wet, smells like dirty wet dog. Now that the bowl is dry you can't smell it unless you put it rightupto your nose.

But the bowl is cute and fuzzy. I have it sitting on my sewing table with scraps of wool yarn and fuzz in it.

So, my first project, from fiber to finished object is done! So exciting. And, I ordered some more fiber from Paradise Fibers in Spokane and started more yarn! It's merino top, undyed and SO soft and fluffy! And, my yarn is getting more even. We'll see what I can make with this!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I did some greening this last weekend!

First of all, I bought enough reusable bags to take on a normal grocery shopping trip. Can I just say that I LOVE them? So much easier to carry than plastic ones.

And I also bought Dr. Bronner's and mixed up some all purpose cleaning solution. No more soft scrub in my house! Now I think I will need to start buying the giant bags of baking soda at Costco since my little box in the cupboard won't last long!

I'm also contemplating buying flour and sugar in bulk like that. Less packaging, less waste. And it stores for awhile. I just don't know where in my house I would store it. I don't have any pantry space...

In other news, I bought a spindle. Actually, I bought this:

On Etsy. I don't know why, but I have this fascination with homespun yarn and decided I might as well try to make it myself. Strangely enough, I feel like I've spun before... I wonder if my mom did it as a craft project for us children before. I'll have to ask her.

Well, it came in the mail this morning, dropped off at my work. Thankfully, I went home for lunch so I started spinning... and it's yarn! It doesn't look perfect, but that's the beauty of handspun yarn, isn't it? I'm just working with the alpaca fibers that came with the spindle for now. But, I've been researching places online to get wool fibers. I found a real store in Spokane that sells spindles and supplies so the next time the husband and I get up there I'm going to track it down.

Even though I only spun for 30 minutes or so, I'm itching to get it in my hands again! I think I'm addicted. I just really want to spin up the rest of the fiber so I can finish it and make something with it! What to make? I might dye it first (it will be my first time dyeing yarn too!) I don't have any idea of how much yarn the fiber will make. I'll post a picture of the process once I get something finished. Maybe a cup cozy or a scarf. Or some baby booties... who knows?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More crafting...

So, the pi symbol and the little funny shaped toy are for a friend of mine who is having a little boy. She's a math nerd and I thought she'd enjoy the pi. And, it makes a perfect baby toy because it's easy to grab onto. The funny shaped toy is actually a rattle, it has a bell inside so it makes a little bit of noise.

These shoes were made to try out a pattern. I used some scrap fabric I had and the bottom of the shoes are cut from off-white stiff placemats that were stained during the first use. I think they turned out pretty good. For the next pair, I need to work on the elastic. The shoe on the right isn't as tight as the other one.

So, those are my latest crafting projects. The pi took me awhile because I set it down for a month or so. The rattle took me about an hour and the shoes about that too! Pretty quick little projects!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Another step: Cut out the fake creamer!

So, I cut out our Coffee Mate creamer, effective this morning. I found the recipe by googling creamer recipes. There were lots of options but I chose one using sweetened condensed milk, regular milk and flavoring.

Here's the recipe:
One can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups regular milk
Any flavoring you want!

I added a capful of vanilla and a capful of almond (which, by the way, goes a LONG way... there was a lot of almond flavor from that small capful.)

I mixed it together in an old Ragu jar (16 ounces)- see I knew those saved jars would come in handy! We just have to remember to shake it well before pouring it into the coffee.

I have to say that it was good. I did add a little more sweetened vanilla syrup to my cup, but it was really good. And it was nice to know that my coffee actually had milk in it and not some milk derivative. Have you ever read the label on a Coffee Mate bottle? Yeah, not so much cream in there!

Next step- actually getting reusable grocery bags and remembering to use them!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some sewing projects!

I made a newborn gown and then a newborn sweatshirt!
I used the same pattern, just shortened it for the sweatshirt. I used some fabric I bought at Goodwill... it was about five yards for $2.50. So, these things cost almost nothing to make!
I think the newborn gown turned out really cute. So, I'm going to make a few more for some friends of mine who are pregnant.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More eco change

I know, these eco changes are tiny... and done mostly out of a desire to save us money! But, a change is a change, right?

Anyway, when I was a kid my mom always bought blocks of cheese and grated it as needed. There were five of us so she would grate mounds of it for macaroni and cheese (we never had the boxed kind), tacos or pizza. I remember trying to sneak a handful because it was so good.

When I was on my own, I just bought the bags of preshedded cheese. It was just me and it was so much easier. I'm pretty sure I didn't even own a grater. This habit of buying bagged cheese continued after I got married. I bought two or three bags of it every week for tacos, lasagna, or toppings for pasta.

Well, then I started comparing prices. Good grief! I couldn't believe how much I was spending on grated cheese compared to buying it in a block. So, I switched to block cheese recently. Of course, the grater I had broke the first day I used it. So I sent the husband to Ross and he bought me a heavy duty stainless steel box grater with the no slip rubber on the bottom. I had put that thing to good use since I got it.

When I have some spare time in the kitchen now, I just grate half a block of cheese and we keep it in a plastic container. This way, it's readily available when I just need a little bit as a garnish or if I'm trying to make a quick dinner of tacos and the grater is dirty in the sink.

I didn't really think of this as being eco friendly- more saving us money. But, really, all those plastic bags the cheese came in with the ziploc top were being thrown away! And, I'm sure that there were extra preservatives and chemicals to keep the cheese from getting clumpy. I've even noticed that I've gone back to snitching some grated cheese. I never just snacked on the grated cheese out of the bag because it looked so dry and unappetizing.

So, even if it wasn't a concious eco change, I figure I'll rack it up as one anyway.

Next up, getting rid of our Coffee Mate creamer. I found several recipes using evaporated milk and flavor. That'll save us a ton too!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We have a coat rack!

I just made a coat rack and love it.

So, I got some frames at Goodwill for 99 cents. I painted them in Winter Spinach (yes, that's a color). We paid about $10 for the three hooks at Home Depot. And we hung them up! The smaller frame below needs a hook that sticks out farther from the wall since it's a thicker one. That will be reserved for my purse so it won't be sitting on the floor. We'll head to Home Depot after dinner.

Yep, I really like how it turns out! My husband was the one who suggested the color. I wasn't quite sure about it, but I really like it. We have a ton leftover though... maybe I'll get a little table and paint it the same color for the entryway.

Do you see it!!!

My basil is sprouting! I'm so excited. I knew it would probably happen but part of me couldn't believe that such tiny seeds could grow!
These are the first sprouts of the things I planted. I'm so looking forward to fresh basil on pizzas, pasta and salads in a few months!

Look what I made!

It's a tag blanket for my new nephew. It's from ribbon I had on hand, the white fabric is the back of some that I found at a thrift store and the front is a fat square I found on clearance. After I started sewing I realized that I forgot to prewash the football fabric. I hope it doesn't shrink a bunch! I'll try washing it today and see what happens. I sure hope I don't have to rip it all out... Oh well, I'll remember next time. I really like how it turned out. I sure hope he likes it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring... please hurry!

You know the old saying, "March comes in like a lion"?

Well, that's very true for here this year. We've had snow and freezing temperatures since the beginning of the month. I really hope the month goes out like a lamb and it's planting season soon!

Since the end of February, I have been scouring gardening Web sites and blogs for information about planting vegetables in containers. We have a nice big deck behind our duplex that I want to fill with veggies. It gets morning sun and will be PERFECT for it!

So, I'm thinking of starting seeds soon. I bought some seeds, just from the grocery store. I decided for this first year, I'll just do regular seeds. Maybe after I am schooled in the art of growing things, I'll branch out into heirloom seeds.

Well, here's the line up for this year!

* Peppers (we eat A LOT of green and red peppers, so I thought these would give me the best return on my money). I plan to plant these in a large tub so there's plenty of room for the roots to stretch out.

* Carrots. I need to find a container about 1o inches deep and very wide so I can have lots of rows.

* Strawberries. I actually could not find ANY seed packets for strawberries. Do they not sell those? Anyway, I'll buy starts from a garden center later on. I'll plant those in smaller containers around the large ones.

* Tomato. I think I'll plant one or two of these. I would love to get enough to make and can my own tomato sauce. I'll use some big tubs for these as well since they need a lot of root space.

* Basil. I use a lot of this in my cooking. I will be planting this around the tomato plants. It'll use up the extra space and I hear they grow well together!

OK, I think that's all that I'll be planting. More than likely, while I'm getting my strawberry plants, I'll see a few more things that I'll decide we can't live without! I'm also considering planting spinach, but I haven't seen seeds for that either. I know they have to be somewhere... Who knows, I may go back to the store and get seeds for pumpkins and zucchini, just for fun!

I hope my dear husband doesn't have any plans to actually USE the deck for sitting on or barbecuing... cuz I don't think we are going to have room!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The problem with juice

I've never liked juice. I was the strange kid who would ask for water or milk instead of sugary Kool-aid, juice or sodas. I VERY rarely drink anything other that water, tea, milk and coffee.

My husband is a different story. He drinks juice by the gallon- like a gallon every two days! He doesn't really care what kind of juice. The real 100% fruit juices from the refrigerated section can get spendy and the ones you buy in big jugs that don't need to be refrigerated before being opened are pretty much high fructose corn syrup with some fruit juice added.

(On a side note, our children will not drink juice because they will not be offered juice as an option. That may sound mean but it's empty calories and so much sugar!)

So, I mulled over this dilemma for a little while. I thought about getting a juicer but I think the cost of that along with the cost of all the fresh fruits and vegetables would be just as spendy and I doubt I could juice enough to keep up with my husband's drinking!

After we moved, I noticed that I had two LARGE bottles of lemon juice. I used to buy the cute little lemon shaped ones from the grocery store since I use it in cooking but realized that with how often I was buying it and the cost, it didn't make sense. So, I bought it from Costco for about the price of four little lemons and got about a gallon of it! Lo and behold, there was a recipe on the back for lemonade. Now, there was a workable idea.

When the juice fiend finished off a gallon plastic jug of his high fructose corn syrup, I rinsed out the container, added lemon juice, sugar and water, mixed well and tested. It was good! The husband likes it- it costs us nothing since it's all stuff I have in the pantry. When I need to replenish those supplies... OK, I just figured out, with overestimating the cost of the lemon juice and sugar, it is LESS THAN $1 for a gallon of lemonade! I figured out a formula so I only have to measure lemon juice and sugar into the container, then I just add the water to fill.

So, this is my new strategy for saving some money and for keeping the husband in his juice addiction. I'm going to experiment with some additions to it as well. I think if I get some frozen strawberries, I can blend them in the blender and add it in for some variation.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Knitting some dish clothes...

So, in the interest of "going green" I decided to make some dishclothes so I would have something for dishes when I run out of sponges (I used to buy in large packages so I have a few left).

I got some 100% cotton yarn and started knitting. I chose two different colors- one for kitchen clothes and one for washclothes to replace my loofah in the bathroom. I just knitted a large square for the bathroom ones.

But then decided to try something a little different for one of the kitchen ones. OK, to be honest, I didn't keep track of how many I cast on in the first place so it ended up too long. I realized it was going to be giant if I made it square, so I folded it in half and crocheted the edges together to create a square with a pocket for my hand. I also crocheted a little loop to hang it on a hook or over the faucet. I really like how they turned out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm such a bad blogger

I haven't written anything this month!

My hubby and I will be in the throes of packing this weekend. We gave our notice to the apartment manager after a late night of murderous thoughts against the teenagers outside our window. We've complained before and been told to call the police. Well, that doesn't work since the kids run away when the cops pull up.

We were told this time that if we can get pictures of the kids causing the problems the manager can do something about it. Um, I don't want to be up at midnight trying to take pictures of kids I would rather drop large buckets of ice water on. So, we gave up the fight and are moving out. We're not sure where yet. We looked a duplex that would be PERFECT and will find out this weekend if we get it. Otherwise, we have a few more we will be calling about today.

I've been making lots of crafty things recently. I really need to get my butt in gear and post pictures. See, I really am a bad blogger!

Friday, January 30, 2009

To save or not to save? Eco friendly #2

I remember my great-grandma having drawers full of plastic containers- empty yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and butter tubs. She had so many glass canning jars that she used to keep her beads, polished rocks, oddly shaped sticks and other odds and ends for her craft projects in. She kept everything!

My grandma holds on to old tubs to store leftovers, sewing supplies and small things around her house.

My mom and my aunt both keep plastic containers and those plastic gallon tubs from ice cream (we ate a lot of ice cream as children). When we were little there were always plenty of plastic tubs to use while playing in the dirt, mud puddles, picking berries, gathering plants or for holding the random insect that we found outside. There were boxes of canning jars saved for the next season's canning, for drinking out of, for catching minnows in the creek, and they worked really well as bug holders too!

When I got my own place, I told myself that I did NOT want a drawer full of plastic tubs and lids that didn't have matches. I didn't want to search through it to store leftovers and go through the trouble of labeling them. So, I tossed all the plastic and glass containers for years.

But now, with the eco friendly ideas seeping into my brain, I've started saving. Slowly and carefully though, so as not to overwhelm my cupboards (or my husband with leftovers stored in sour cream, yogurt and cottage cheese tubs).

I've started saving glass. My husband loves Ragu spaghetti sauce (eventually I'll make my own, I just need to transition him into it). So, all those glass jars were being thrown away. In the past two weeks I've saved three of them! (We don't really eat that much spaghetti- I made two lasagnas last week, one to eat and one to freeze.)

Since they are glass, they work really well for leftovers- they freeze and they are dishwasher and microwave safe. And the label comes off so I can relabel it easily.

So, there's another step that saves some garbage and gives me more options for storing leftovers!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eco change numero uno!

Okay, my first post about a change I've made that reduces my impact on the environment. And probably something that will make me healthier!

I don't have time for breakfast at home in the mornings. But, it's important that I eat it otherwise I will snack all day at my desk. So, I was buying those Quaker oatmeal packs and eating them soon after I came to work in the morning.

It's about $4 for each box of 10-12 packets I think. That's not too much money. And sometimes when Grocery Outlet had them, I'd buy several boxes and save a few dollars. I never did check the nutritional value on them. I mean, oatmeal is good for you, but I can't imagine how much sugar was in each of those packets! Plus, there was the box that went in the trash and each little packet that was thrown away, so definitely not eco friendly.

So, when my most recent box ran out, I decided to try to mix my own. Here's my recipe that I've hashed out so far. It might change a little as I continue to eat it. But, this morning's oatmeal tasted great!

Emilie's instant oatmeal
1/4 cup instant oats
1 Tbs each, milled flax seed, toasted wheat germ and brown sugar
Handful of raisins or chopped dried fruit (I'm going to try mangos next!)
Spices to taste (I add a sprinkle of cinnamon)

Mix thoroughly and seal in small container until you need it (for now I'm using a ziploc baggie that I will reuse until I can find a glass container it fits well in.) To make, heat about 1/2 cup water in microwave about 1 minute. Mix in oatmeal and stir. Let sit about 2 minutes until it's thickened. Enjoy!

It does taste different from the Quaker oatmeal, obviously. But, I kind of prefer less sweetness and I really like the raisins in it. Fruit and whole grains!

I'm going to go to Goodwill and see if I can find small glass containers to keep it in Five would be good because then I could make five portions for the week each weekend and just keep them in my desk. Then take home the containers as I use them, wash and reuse!

Some eco friendly thoughts

So, I've never been too bothered by the ecological impact I have on the world. It just wasn't something I thought about. And with the "green movement" that is in vogue now, the media had me believing that going green meant lots of money- you had to buy new and more expensive products.

Well, I've been lurking on an eco friendly Web site. I have learned SO MUCH! Apparently, going eco friendly is not expensive. In fact, if it's done right, it usually saves you money!

So, I've been thinking about ways I can reduce my impact on the environment and save money in the process!

We'll see where this leads me... and we'll see if I can get the husband to follow along!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A craft picture!

Okay, I'm finally posting a picture of a craft I did! I made this little guy out of old yarn I had. No pattern, just made it up as I went along. I think he turned out adorable.

I took the picture with my phone so it's a little blurry. But, still cute! He's pretty small, that's my coffee cup handle to the left.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Today I'm also

Feeling very crafty.

I want to go home and make something. I've been browsing craft blogs lately and have so many great ideas that I'd like to make my own.

I recently started making amigurumi animals. I know, I'm a bad blogger that hasn't posted any pictures of them. So far I've made an elephant, turtle, frog, snake, octopus, bear and a bird. I think my favorite is the elephant. I have plans to add a pink flower to his trunk and I will call him Horton. I searched blog after Web site after blog for ideas and patterns. I'll post pictures later, promise!

But, today I've been looking at blogs that have quilts, purses, toys and so many sewn things. It makes me want to get out yards of pretty fabric, thread my sewing machine and just sew all day long.

And all those projects gave me an idea. I want to try new things this year in the crafting arena, so, I made a crafting resolutions list.

This year I want to (in no certain order):

  • Make a quilt
  • Sew baby/ children's toys out of fabric
  • Sew t-shirt designs (actually my husband's idea.)
  • Knit or crochet a sweater (maybe just a baby one)
And make many other little things. These are things I haven't tried before. I also plan to continue the crocheted animals because I think they are great little gifts. And I'll make the odd scarf or afghan as the desire strikes me.

With all these plans, I might have to open an Etsy shop to unload the extra craft projects.

Today I am...

A doorman apparently.

Or door woman.

Either way, everyone at work was born in a barn. At work I sit with my back is to the door that leads into the employee break room/ bathroom. They tell me there used to be a sign asking that the door be kept shut, but it was never put back up after they painted (years ago). The open door wouldn't be a problem if the soda machine didn't sound like it was a plane taking off. But, instead, when the door is open, I hear a constant roaring behind me.

So, I've been at work for two hours and have gotten up to shut the door six times. This is definitely cutting into my internet surfing time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The most amazing banana bread ever!

My sister gave me this recipe awhile ago and I made it then. I remembered it being really good but hadn't made it since then. This weekend I had some bananas going bad so I decided to pull out the recipe. OH MY! So much better than I remembered it being... So, I thought I would share the recipe.

Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
four bananas (mashed)
1/2 cup yogurt
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
Wheat germ/ flax seed (if desired)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Butter two loaf pans or muffin tins.

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and continue beating. In another bowl, mash bananas and yogurt together until smooth (or leave some chunks if you like your bread that way.) Mix with butter and egg mixture.

In another bowl, sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together. I added 1/8 cup wheat germ and milled flax seed to mine, but it's up to you!

Add flour to the wet ingredients and stir until flour has disappeared. Don't overmix! Pour or scoop into your pans. Bake loaf pans 50 minutes, muffin tins 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.

My house smelled so yummy while it was baking. It's perfect by itself but I'm sure it would be very good with butter and honey as well!


Friday, January 2, 2009

Recipe post: Chicken adobo

I love to cook. Have I ever mentioned that? That fact is responsible for the extra 15 (OK 25) pounds on me right now.
So, I thought I'd post a recipe that I make a lot for my husband.
Chicken adobo is a Filippino dish that my husband LOVES. He says the way I make it is better than his mom (who actually agreed with him when she visited- talk about a nice mother in law!).
So, here it is. Try it with steamed rice and vegetables.
2 or 3 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into strips (you can use any part of the chicken really, I use chicken breasts because that is what I have.)
Half an onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, diced

2/3 cup vinegar (any kind is fine)
1 1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbl black pepper
1 Tbl garlic powder

Heat a little oil in a deep skillet and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken and put it on a plate (it will go back in to finish cooking once the sauce is ready so don't worry about pink insides!) While your chicken is browning, mix your soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl (I use a 2-cup glass measuring cup).
Once your chicken is removed, soften your onions in the same pan.

Add the garlic and saute until fragrant- about a minute. Make sure to stir it so it doesn't burn!
Pour in your soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!
Note: With a tablespoon of pepper it is pretty spicy. If you don't like as much spice, use less pepper, if you want more, use more!
Also, this makes enough sauce to double the amount of chicken you put in without having to double the sauce! My husband likes to pour it over his rice while I prefer my rice clear of sauce to balance the spice!