Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I have a bike trailer for Daphne, but riding around town is really difficult because the bike paths are extremely narrow or nonexistent, plus, the cart itself weighs thirty pounds, and when I am out of shape, that is really, really hard to pull up a hill.
After a fair bit of assembly, I got it to the state that I can put the baby in it.
She loves it. I have been for more bike rides since then than I had the entire winter. I will ride around and a round, and as soon as I make a move to unbuckle the seat belt, she starts to scream. If she had it her way, she would spend the entire day strapped to the back of my bike.
It HAS gotten me out riding my bike more, and it is really enjoyable.
Something about moving around on wheels really fascinates her!
Monday, April 28, 2008
I was reminded last night of the reason for this. Jared was trying to sleep in the same bed as us again, and it was looking very hard. I take up a lot of room with all my pillows and the baby takes up a lot of room because she doesn't seem to care about the other people around her. This has left Jared trying to sleep in the same bed but having to hand body parts off the bed in order to fit.
He gave up and went to his own bed where he would have plenty of room.
This morning, I was acutely aware of the baby taking up the whole bed.
You see, the problem is that she has taken to sleeping sideways on the bed. She sleeps not head-to-toe, but side to side, so one of us gets a foot in the while while the other gets a hand in the face.
She does this all the time, I don't get it. Every night she puts herself into this position.
And you know what, she may be getting that room to herself very soon.
One of the biggest problems with my birth was that the gossip of it got out before I was able to tell the story myself. People came up to me after I had recovered to talk about various details that had gotten to them. Some of the details were mundane, but many of them were shocking.
I was on the other end of this recently. My friend recently had a baby, and there was a phone line chain going around with every detail up to the second of what was going on with her. In the end, I decided that I did not want to be a part of it, and I tried to remove myself from it unless my help was asked by the family involved.
All the gossip hubbub got me thinking if there were any ways to prevent this kind of a thing from happening at my own birth in the future.
And then it came to me. What if anyone that was invited to the birth was bonded for $50,000.
And I set out to write it into my next birth plan. You see, either people will not be able to talk about my birth at all or I will be one very rich lady.
Jared thinks I am crazy, but I think that I have come up with the perfect solution to what I consider to be a very real problem.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Satan appeared as a snake to Eve and convinced her to take a bite from the apple and then to get her husband to take a bite.
They were seen by God and were cast out of Paradise. They were banished from the Garden of Eden forever.
As a punishment to Eve for having done that forbidden act, God gave her the pains of childbirth.
And wasn't that nice of him.
Religious teachings aside, this is what I was thinking about a lot this weekend. You know, when I was pregnant, I as in Italy studying Italian Renaissance Art. As the group I was with knew I was pregnant, every time we saw the Banishment, the Professor would turn to me and joke that I was going to have to bear the burden of Eve's decision.
I was pretty optimistic about my birth for the entirety of my pregnancy thinking that it could be not as bad as they say it could be. I even read stories online of women whose babies literally fell out of them while they were doing their daily activities. I was sure that was going to be me.
It turns out, that the punishment given to women was a very real one, but it is also a very spiritual one. Any woman that has gone through something of a natural birth will tell you that there is something incredibly magical about giving birth to a baby, especially if you do it without drugs and in water.
I was hoping on that kind of an experience. However, after 48 hours of labor and a whole hell of a lot of pushing, it was clear that I was going to have to bear the burden further, and I was going to have to have a c-section.
I go back and forth on my c-section. Some days it does not bother me and other days it really does bother me. On a really optimistic day, I feel like it was a blessing. You see, if I had just had a perfect birth, I think I would have gone on with my life and I never would have gotten caught up in the sanctity of childbirth. Though this probably would have been fine, I am discovering that a lot of my passion and experience draws on the fact that I endured a trial, a very real and very tough trial.
The problem is that when other people I know have babies, it stirs it all up. When I know of someone having a natural birth, I feel jealous and I feel like a wimp. I wish I could erase the memory of anyone who was involved so that only I would have to remember what a short straw I drew.
Over the weekend, one of my friends had a baby. She ended up having a c-section after a very long trial of labor. On one hand, if she had has such a long trial of labor and managed to have the baby naturally, I was going to feel horrible, like a crazy little wimp because I had to have my baby cut out of me. On the other hand, I did not want to wish a c-section on anyone. In the end, I think my friend is happy with where she ended up with the birth, but I feel for her that she had to endure the pain of being cut into to get the baby out rather than having the baby naturally.
And that brings up the subject of birth warriors. I think there are a lot of birth warriors out there. It is not just the mamas that make it through a trial of labor undrugged (as I didnt'). I think it includes the mamas that have extremely long labors or the mamas that even try giving natural labor a try. My friend this weekend was definitely a birth warrior, and I think that I am to. It is not so much the method of birth in the end, it is the bravery endured by a mama in a very scary situation.
I am looking now at birth plans for the future, and the possibilities are endless. I only hope that I can prove to be as much of a birth warrior as some of the women I have come to know.
During a recent trip to WalMart, she was being fussy about being held, so I put her down in the parking lot to walk. Jared held one hand and I held the other. She walked from the car to the store as the most independent little baby I had ever seen. She has insisted on doing it every time that way when both Jared and I are at the store.
As a bonus, we counted to three and then lifted her up off her feet. She really liked to be held up like that and it provided some extra entertainment in her independent walking.
Occasionally, Daphne wakes up and tries to convince me that I need to nurse her back to sleep. She was having a rough night last night, and she woke up completely. As she was crying trying to convince me to nurse her, I rolled over and ignored her by pretending to be asleep.
She crawled to the edge of the bed, picked up a pillow and walked it over to me. When I still continued to ignore her, she smashed the pillow in my face so that she made sure that I got the idea that she wanted me to nurse her.
I did manage to get her back to sleep, but I really love that she is so willing to communicate to me.
Every morning, I must put on shoes, socks and a coat so that she can get to playing outside.
A fit is thrown when I try to take her inside no matter the circumstances.
The other day, I was out building the rabbit hutch, and it was pouring down rain. My efforts to go inside were met with a very grumpy baby who wanted to stay outside and get wet.
I sure am glad that summer is coming. We will be spending a lot of time outside, that is for sure.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I do NOT support the Hillary campaign. If anything, I was there spying to see what they were saying at the rallies. I am not much of a political person, but being as this was a former President of the United Sates coming, I decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime deal.
I decided I was going to take Daphne and Jared and we were going to go and see this former President.
It was supposed to start at 1:45, and we showed up to a massively long line. It at least wrapped around the block. We were sure that there was no way all those people would fit into the high school gym, but they did!
They managed to fit every single one of us in. Unfortunately, the President was running almost 2 hours late, so by 3:30, he still had not shown up.
We were thinking of leaving, but we decided to stay and just hear a little bit.
As soon as the President showed up and started talking, I was out of there. There was no reason that I wanted to stay. I did not agree with the campaign or with voting for his wife for President.
I can't believe that she has hired someone to campaign for her that was a President that was almost impeached for adultery and lying under oath. All the more reasons for me to vote for Obama.
Let it be official, I do not like the Obama campaign much, but I feel that my vote in the primaries should go toward making sure that Hillary does not get the Democratic nomination.
Jared and I have changed our political party to Democrat and we will be voting, not for Obama, but against Hillary.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
In order to maintain the debt, we have been shuffling it from one balance transfer offer to another over and over again being diligent to transfer it as the previous offer expired.
We have had the great luxury of keeping it on the same card for a year now, but if we do not transfer it by the end of the month, we will have a high-interest debt on our hands.
And so, the money wars have started. With the financial crisis that is going on in this country, we are having a harder and harder time being able to transfer the debt this time.
We still have not found something that will even remotely work for us.
Jared and I are both motivated to get out of debt, and in fact, yesterday, we were joking that everything in the house was for sale. I wonder how much money we could make to pay off the debt if we sold everything we own.
I put Daphne in the cart where she likes to sit, and started to shop. We went to get bananas first. Daphne is very fond of bananas, but I had no idea how deep that fondness went until this trip. I put the bananas in the cart, and she grabbed onto them and held on. She held on to them for dear life.
There was even a point that she fell over in the cart during a sharp turn and she sacrificed hitting her head so she would not have to let go of the bananas.
When we got back to the checking stand, we had to convince her to let go of the bananas for just a minute so that they could be weighed.
I believe I do have a Monkey Baby on my hands.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
As I was frantically getting ready to go on our trip to California, it turned out that I was having troubles finding people to help me with the animals. I had things all set up, and then suddenly, it all fell through.
In a moment of frustration and panic I went to make the usual trek down into the chicken pen.
The coop is set up in such a way that it fills up the entire width of one side of the house. You can't walk by it, so the back side of it is inaccessible, except by going out the window on the side of the house.
The purpose of having it like this is so that the chickens can go from one side to the other side on alternate days without overusing the land. I like having one side be a permanent run. I planted some clover seed on the open side right now, so the chickens have had to stay in the side of the run that does not open while the clover gets old enough to fend for itself. That has meant that I have had to climb in and out of the window ever day to let them out and round them up. It has been a bit of a pain--until it became a big pain.
You see, in my utter frustration yesterday, I completely missed going back in the window, and I fell out the window and landed onto one of the chickens. Miraculously, the chicken is fine, but I am not.
My ENTIRE body is black and blue. I can hardly sit or walk without having a lot of pain and I am feeling it more and more each second. Jared insists I need a new ladder so I don't do that again, and I think I just need to get half a brain. Come on, how hard is it to not fall out the window, Chris?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Get to know your plastics.
Do You Know What Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?
The Daily Green offers this handy guide on the various types of plastic:
Number 1 Plastics -- PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
Found In: Soft drinks, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles;
peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers;
ovenable food trays.
Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs.
Recycled Into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet,
paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers
It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Recycling rates
remain relatively low (around 20 percent), though the material is in
high demand by remanufacturers.
Number 2 Plastics -- HDPE (high density polyethylene)
Found In: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household
cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor
oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners
Recycling: Pick up through most curbside recycling programs, although
some only allow those containers with necks.
Recycled Into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling
containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses,
picnic tables, fencing
HDPE carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods.
Number 3 Plastics -- V (Vinyl) or PVC
Found In: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles,
cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical
equipment, siding, windows, piping
Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.
Recycled Into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring,
cables, speed bumps, mats
PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous
dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don't let the plastic touch food.
Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.
Number 4 Plastics -- LDPE (low density polyethylene)
Found In: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and
shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet
Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but
some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned
to many stores for recycling.
Recycled Into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping
envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile
Historically, LDPE has not been accepted through most American
curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are
starting to accept it.
Number 5 Plastics -- PP (polypropylene)
Found In: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles,
caps, straws, medicine bottles
Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
Recycled Into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto
battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes,
bins, pallets, trays
Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for
containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more
accepted by recyclers.
Number 6 Plastics -- PS (polystyrene)
Found In: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons,
carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
Recycled Into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents,
rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers
Polystyrene can be made into rigid or foam products -- in the latter
case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence
suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The
material was long on environmentalists' hit lists for dispersing
widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to
Number 7 Plastics -- Miscellaneous
materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and
displays, certain food containers, nylon
Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled,
though some curbside programs now take them.
Recycled Into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products
A wide variety of plastic resins that don't fit into the previous
categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants
(polyactide) and are compostable. Polycarbonate is number 7, and is
the hard plastic that has parents worried these days, after studies
have shown it can leach potential hormone disruptors.
Julie and I talked about it, and it turns out that we decided that I just needed to sell them and make some more.
We went to the fabric store yesterday to check out some more wool to buy, and I picked out some lovely colors that I thought were wonderful.
However, just as I was about to go and spend some money on them, I decided against it. I put everything back and walked out. I don't NEED any more fabric. If we are going to get out of debt, I need to learn to make do with what we have.
This morning, I am inspired, and I plan to cut the diapers apart and make them work. If they end up still being too small, I will sell them on ebay and use the proceeds to make new covers
now that is thinking smart of me.
Monday, April 21, 2008
After some time spent feeding Daphne, I sat down to eat. She kept indicating that I had missed feeding her something, and after carefully trying to give her "Daphne items" she was still not happy.
It turns out that all she wanted was some pasta. She loves pasta (who knew). She spent a good 15 minutes picking it up and throwing it down and flinging it all over the kitchen. I think this may end up being a common thing because I haven't seen her more happy with food.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
After a lot of insistence that I need not go, he finally convinced me to go with him. I wondered why he cared so much.
When we walked in to his mom's house to check out their new ducks, all my friends were waiting there with a nice big "Surprise!"
It turned out that Jared had planned a surprise birthday party. The funny thing about the whole thing is that my birthday is not until June 6. Needless to say I was surprised.
I had never had a surprise party before, so it was a lot of fun. We got to chat and have a good time with some good friends, and that was really worth it.
We got to eat strawberry shortcake, which is a traditional meal for my birthday. All in all, we had a lot of fun.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Since the last incident in the car, I left the peanut butter on the table, open of course (the lid was hopelessly lost), and she actually managed to climb up on the table and get into it.
She now prefers that we give it to her by the spoonful.
What a crazy little lady I have on my hands.
I feel deeply for this mama and her baby, and I read her blog every day to keep track of what is going on. http://feldmanbaby.blogspot.com/
Keep her in your thoughts and pray or do whatever it is you do that this baby gets to live and that this wonderful little family does not have to bear devastation in such a hard time.
This helps to cut down on our heating bill, and it also keeps me from baking in the night. I tend to get very hot with a little baby crawling all over me.
I am always the first to wake up in the morning, so I turn the heater on to get things going, but I almost always check the temperature to see how cold it got. We hit a record low last night in the house of 59. It was a little cold. The heater was not set any lower than normal, and I was wondering why.
It only took me a few more steps to see the snow on my car. A quick examination outside revealed that there was snow actively falling. I am really glad I didn't do my vegetable planting yet, this would have wiped them out. I am told we have snow tomorrow as well and then maybe we can get into spring weather.
God must be playing a joke on the global warming experts.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Today, Daphne was following me around as I was cleaning Jared's desk. She had gotten a hold of a paper towel and she was wiping it down just like mom. It was funny to watch her. She did not get what we were doing, but she knew how we were doing it, and that was the important part.
In other news, I announced to my friend happily yesterday that Daphne will not put anything in her mouth unless it is big and chewable (like for teething).
Of course, I jinxed it, and I spent all day while I was rearranging keeping her from eating screws and Allen wrenches, paper clips and dust bunnies.
Jared is getting a lot more work and needs to be in a space that he can make phone calls without a baby in the background. We decided that we would move his office back into our back bedroom (what was our living room) and that we would move my sewing stuff our here.
That leaves Jared with a nice office that he can close the door to so that he does not get disturbed by the baby when he does not want to be.
We are both very happy about this arrangement. My office and sewing stuff is in the living room as well as the TV and the rocking chair. My office moved to where Jared's office was.
Jared had a bathroom and a couch and the library in his office and it actually looks quite wonderful.
This is going to work out perfectly.
Anytime we go somewhere outside, she looks for the dog, and will spend some time playing with him if she can find him.
If she can't find him, she says, "Bwaff," in ever increasing volume until we either direct her to her dog or distract her thoroughly. I love how smart she is getting and how well she is learning to communicate.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I got some wheat berries and some oats and some corn. I now have the raw grains that I need to be able to make practically any meal. That is nice. I will have to do some hand grinding until I am able to get an electric mill, but that doesn't really bother me right now.
I spent a good deal of time reorganizing the pantry and everything in it, and I am happy to say that it looks wonderful. We got some plastic tubs to store the grains in, and they are now securely safe from little critters, which is nice for me.
We also rearranged everything so that the Daphne monster will no be able to get into the things on the shelves. If I keep the door closed, I will be able to eliminate a fair amount of cleaning up after the little monster that she is. :)
My strategy is to buy in bulk. We almost don't have to to go the store anymore. The only thing that we really need to buy is some of the cheeses that I can't make right now (cheddar) and eggs. The cheese problem will all be handled when we get a cheese press and the cheese is able to age for a while, and the eggs will be handled in about 6 weeks when my 8 little laying hens will be producing eggs.
That brings our grocery bill down to about $100 per month for other random stuff, mostly produce until the garden starts to give me veggies.
I am proud of what I have been able to do with our food budget with just a few small changes.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
School has got me going a little nuts. I am taking 14 credits because I have no other choice. I usually take 12, and those extra 2 credits are really getting to me. You see, one of my classes is a 6 credit class, unlike the regular 4 credit classes. Because for my financial aid I have to have at least 12 credits taken, I ended up having to do the 2 extra this semester leaving me at 16.
The good news is that either 1 semester in Greece or two more semesters at PSU and I will offically be a graduate. I like the sound of that.
Speaking of Greece and going to school. I really do dream of it, but I just don't see it happening. It all works out in terms of taking my family with me and doing the classes that I need to do. The only problem really comes down to money and the stupid economy. You see, it costs about $10,000 or more to go to school, which is 3-4 thousand more than it was when I was attending before. Even with financial aid, it brings it down to 5 or 6 thousand still left to make to be able to pull it off.
This would all be fine if we were not swimming in $46,000 worth of credit card debt that needs to be handled. As so, I will forego doing my last semester in Greece, I guess, to pay off our debt.
It makes me kind of sad in one way, but I am happy to know that I am not draining the money that we would be using to pay down a nice big chunk of the debt to do something that isn't totally necessary.
And so, with 2 semesters left to do of school, the world is looking a little more bright.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The other day, I was watching a TV show on my computer. At the end of it, a couple was talking about kissing. After they kissed, Daphne looked up at me and gave me a nice big kiss on the cheek. It was pretty sweat of her.
Monday, April 14, 2008
In conjunction with the spring-like weather, I have wanted to be outside for some time. The winter seemed long to me because most of it was spent indoors or trying to do indoor activities. The rain wasn't always nice to play in. However, now the weather is starting to cooperate a little more, and it is starting to be time to play outside--and I have.
I have been outside moving dirt and putting together a garden. We have been building animal cages and working on other things in the yard. I recently mowed the lawn for the first time and even broke out the weed eater. The yard actually looks really nice. And you guessed it, Daphne was with me the whole time.
I take her outside and she likes to run around and explore as much as possible. It has been nice that she has wanted to go outside a lot because it has allowed me to do the things that I need/want to do.
Now, however, she wants to go outside all the time. She stands in the window sill and knocks on the window trying to get it to open. She rushes for any open door and tries to get out. I literally had to jump up from the party we were at yesterday several times as people were leaving. One time, she even made it to the parking lot before I could catch up with her.
Now, in the morning, she insists when she is getting dressed that I put on her shoes and socks. She knows that if I put those on that she has a really good chance of going outside.
What a silly baby.
Now, however, she begs to go outside.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
I was watching the chocolate show, and he made some chocolate muffins that I just had to try. Daphne and I made them (she licked the spatula) and they came out wonderfully chocolaty with a cake-like top and a gooey fudgey inside. What a wonderful combination.
Sadly, I am losing my taste for desserts for now, so I think I will be moving on in the food world.
The muffins will be good while they last though.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I think it all started one day when the neighbors got some dirt delivered in a dump truck. She was amazed and fascinated, and she stood in the window sill with me behind her watching them dump the dirt. She was hooked. Now, she climbs up on the couch and stands in the window sill to watch me put the chickens away at night, and most recently, she has started standing in the window sill to watch the garden grow.
She often knocks on the window to try to get it open, but to my knowledge, that hasn't worked yet.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Daphne came over and wanted to be picked up. When she saw what I was eating, she wanted to eat the same thing, and so she tried to take a bite.
Somehow, she managed to get a hold of the brownie. There was only a little bit of brownie left, so I made an attempt to try to eat it all before she could take another bite.
She caught on to what I was doing, and she made the same attempt. She managed to cram the whole whole thing into her mouth and eat it before I could do anything else.
It was very funny to watch her reaction to possibly not getting the brownie because I was going to eat it all. She thought really fast on her feet and managed to beat me out.
This is Emril's bagel recipe. Thank him, not me.
2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup lightly toasted chopped onions (2 teaspoons each)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (about 1/4 teaspoon each)
Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)
Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, about 2 to 3 ounces each, measuring about 4 inches across. Form each piece of dough into a ball. Roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer)Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter or pastry ring and using a 7/8-inch ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I have a new recipe where you put peanut butter in them, and as much as I like peanut butter, that sounded like a good idea to me. It was my job to bring the peanut butter. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, we lost the lid to our peanut butter jar. Daphne really likes to lick the peanut butter straight off a spoon, so she has been working her way through my 5 pound tub. The lid has been long gone.
On the way back, I put the peanut butter and the rice crispies in the back seat of the car.
Apparently, I put them too close to my baby. All I heard the whole way home was, *crunch* *crunch* *crunch* I was sure that she was all gooey eyed for the rice crispies. It turns out that she had stuck her hand in the peanut butter jar and was eating it. She got peanut butter everywhere.
It was pretty darling!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Daphne has been sleeping through the night. She has now done this 3 nights in a row. I don't really understand why it has suddenly happened, but is has, and I am quite thankful.
She does not want to nurse to sleep, and she does not particularly want to nurse in the middle of the night either. She has fallen asleep for the past three days and woken up in the exact same position.
It is pretty amazing.
I think I am going to try putting her in her own bed tonight and see what happens. It sure in a nice break after a year of waking up in the middle of the night with her to nurse her and try to get her back to sleep.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
This does not seem to be the case. She will fall asleep without nursing, but the one trick to that is that it takes a lot longer to coax her to sleep. I put her to bed at 8:00, and she just fell asleep at 9:30.
What I do like about this is that she is learning to fall asleep without having to nurse, which is a very good thing for me.
In case you were wondering where all my time was being spent.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Yesterday, when I was feeling particularly determined about this, I went through and starting thinking about things that we could sell that we no longer need. It turns out, that when you are motivated to pay off some debt, material things don't seem so important. My list grew to be very large.
One of the shocking things that made this happen was that we took some books to Powells to sell, and Jared actually made $48 on a relatively small stack of books. I am inspired to maybe try to get rid of some of the books I don't need anymore.
With moving to a new house last year, our expenses had gone up a lot. We are now paying our own water, and garbage bill. Our electricity bill is higher because we have a forced air heater and we have to heat the whole darn house when it is cold. Our insurance also went up because we were insuring a much more substantial house. The move changed our finances substantially.
Coincidentally, Jared started to feel bad right after we moved in, so he wasn't working as much as he had been. And so things just got a little out of control.
Now that we are on the other end of Jared feeling better, it is time to really start to focus on the debt that we have. We want to eliminate it. My ultimate goal is to own a house free and clear. I just want to own my own house without any additional strings attached so that no matter what, the land belonged to me.
First thing is first, though. We have to eliminate our other debt to be able to do that.
Jared and I sat down and pared away at the budget. We got rid of everything that was not absolutely necessary and we cut down on the amount of money that each of us gets to spend personally each month.
It turns out, that unless we start to turn it around big time, that we won't be out of debt for 8 years! Best case (not counting taxes) the earliest we could pay the whole thing off is 18 months, but truthfully, that is being incredibly optimistic.
We would really, really love to pay it off before we have another baby, but it turns out that we don't want to wait 8 years to have another baby.
We now are trying to get creative with what we have to try to produce some more income that we can use to pay off this stupid debt so we can move on with our lives.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from my adviser that told me that if I took my current path that I would only have 19 credits left, and the classes would need to be in "whatever" as long as they were 300 level and above classes.
This got me thinking. I had gotten a lot of credit from the Aegean Center in Greece toward my degree, and if I were to go back, I could easily get 19 credits in "whatever upper division classes."
The more I thought about it, the better the idea was. Jared, Daphne and I could all go to Greece. I could do a WHOLE semester and get the credit I need to graduate.
You see, of the 3 semesters that I did attend, I ended up either going late or coming home early for all of them. I never completed a whole semester. I left so abruptly for the last semester that I never got to feel like I actually completed the time over there.
The only thing was, that it wasn't a good idea for one reason--the deal breaking reason-- MONEY.
The value of the dollar has declined so heavily that school in Greece went from 7000 dollars per semester to 13,000 per semester really quickly. So, even with some financial aid, we were still going to be short 5-6 thousand dollars.
And so, what once was a fabulous dream and a wonderful idea is now thwarted. It sure was fun to dream about again.
Two more boring but free semesters at PSU, here we come.
I am proud to compost, and I actually am about to change our garbage service to only once a month. We just don't have much to throw out.
Here is the first one.
In January and February, Jared was getting a lot of medical supplies shipped to him because he was doing IV nutrition at home. We had boxes galore and all kinds of packing supplies. It was taking over the house.
I was able to take the boxes, the Styrofoam and all the packing peanuts to the UPS Store. The told me that they don't usually take boxes and Styrofoam but that they would take the packing peanuts. They ended up taking it all. It was nice to not have to throw all that stuff out and to know that it will at least have another life and another use.
Consider taking your packing peanuts to the UPS Store to be recycled next time rather than throwing them out and having them fill your garbage can.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Over the years, Jared and I have stocked up on a lot of food in the pantry, and in an effort to save money for a month or two, we are planning to eat through our food supply in the pantry only buying food necessities. We have done a very good job, and all told, we have spent less than $150 on food since 3 weeks ago. That will even go down more in the coming weeks as I continue to milk the goat and get more and more milk from her. I have big plans for the milk as cheese and as other useful dairy items.
As a byproduct of using the things in the cupboard, I have been cooking almost everything from scratch. This is how I normally am, but there are some things that I had never attempted.
I managed to cook pinto beans the other day, and I made a batch of refried beans. Granted, they are not exactly the same as the ones that come out of the can at the store, but they were pretty darn good. We ate them on tostadas the other night, and Jared agreed that they were quite tasty.
I also managed to make some yogurt out of the goat's milk that I had. I made almost a gallon of yogurt. It came out OK, but I messed up and tried to re-culture some yogurt that only had a 1 generational starter in it, so it took a little longer to make with a little boost from another starter. It is a little more liquid than I would like, but it tastes pretty darn good, and Jared even said that he liked it.
Yesterday, we were in the store, and I was getting very hungry. We walked by some dough nuts, and I insisted that I wanted to eat one. Jared said that I could not have one. Rather than not ever eat them, I went home, and I decided that I was going to make a batch on my own.
I actually managed to do it, and it actually was very, very good. I made a glaze for some of them, and for others I rolled them in sugar. I am going to make a batch of donut holes this morning and take them up to Scott (my goat guy) and his wife. I am happy that they came out so well because they taste so darn good. I will never be able to eat a store bought donut ever again. Attempt it, I dare you.
I also made a very nice batch of Fromage Blanc cheese. It is just a nice little goat cheese that works well on bread or other foods. I am excited to use it.
I have a batch of bagels rising in the oven right now. I had better go turn them into something before my husband mutinies on me.
Jared sat on the hay bale watching me, and he held Daphne in his lap for me.
I went over and put one of the goat kids on his other knee, and both Daphne and he liked it. Daphne loves animals, and she just said, "Hi" and continued to pet the goat for a while. I am glad that she is so interested in my projects because in a way, they are her projects too.
Jared likes Milky Way, and thought that both her and her kids were very pretty!
Last night, as I was trying to put her to bed, she was waving good night to her dad. I showed her how to blow him a kiss, and she made a very sweet attempt at it.
She made a kissing sound on her hand and then she blew on her hand without pointing it to where she wanted her kiss to go. It was very, very cute. I pity people who don't have children.
That is a good thing to announce. I got more dirt than I thought that I needed, and I really, really did get more than I needed. I was able to fill in the yard in places that will need some additional planting. That is very exciting for me!
I have a long list of stuff that needs to be done, but at least this is done. I spent an hour or so last night with Jared's help spraying off the remaining dirt from the driveway. As soon as I get the garage all set up again, I will be able to park the car in there, which is very nice.
More projects, here I come.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
I do have to admit that when I wake up in the middle of the night not able to sleep, it was nice to watch the Food Network for a while, but I'm sure I can find something else to do if I have to (Last night, I got up and did research on the Internet).
It will take some getting used to, but we are going to be just fine.
TV is like a vortex that sucks you in at times, and when you watch it is never ending. You can sit down and watch TV go on and on and on and not ever get up because it just keeps providing something for you to lazily do. We DO enjoy movies, and we have a nice DVD collection because at least when we watch a movie, it is often turned into a family event, something that we do together.
The director of the Aegean Center once put it to me this way: why would you want to sit down and watch TV? When you do that, you are watching other people "live" their lives. Why don't you go out and create a story of your own? Why don't you live your own life and make it more interesting than anything you can see on a dumb little box. He was all about finding new activities and adventures, and he was the one that led me into the Greek countryside to discover so many, many wonderful things I never would have discovered sitting on my lazy bum.
I do not like the effect that TV has on children. I want to be the kind of parent that can provide wonderful and exciting experiences that help my children learn about the world around them. I want to be creative about finding things that my kids can do while I need to do something else rather than sit them down in front of the TV.
I think that kids that watch a lot of TV lack experience in life. Also, they take on a kind of crazy other personality where they go wild. Most of the TV shows for kids show such a short attention span that they move so fast the kids become transfixed.
I want to be able to raise my kids, not my TV. Hopefully, my decision will allow me to come up with creative things to do that help us live a better life.
Thanks for listening.
Backdated within rules: Daphne was especially cranky last night which forced me to get creative.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Jared just canceled it. No more TV for us.
I will miss the Food Network, but not too much.
She was supposed to be registered as Milky WEIGH, but apparently when it was sent on in the papers, they processed them as Way, not WEIGH.
I was telling Jared about this, and he thought that I was talking about WHEY, and now he insists that it should be spelled like that.
What a funny language we have.
I personally don't like Milky Way as a name, and I am looking for a replacement, but one has not come to me yet.
Milky Way is a wonderful animal. She is calm and collected. She does not get upset by being milked or having her udder messed with, which is not the case with other goats. I am so thankful that she is such a calm and lovely girl.
I put Daphne in the Ergo yesterday to milk, and it kind of puts her in a funny position because she is on my back while I lean over. It didn't bother her one bit. She just took her hand out and was petting Milky Way saying, "Hi, Hi." It really was very cute. It will be fun to have her help me milk her in the summer. I can't wait!
She is still doing this, and it is very cute. Really, any pillow will do. I was sitting down doing a project with some photos and, she wanted to nurse, so she got the pillow from the couch and brought it over to me.
The other day, she managed to get a pillow out of the closet and bring it to me.
The funny thing about this is that the pillow is as tall as she is, so it is not an easy task to drag a pillow across the room. She must really, REALLY want to nurse.
About 30 minutes later, I came back in desperate to put Daphne in the Ergo so she would fall asleep and so I could work, but I couldn't find it anywhere. Apparently, we had both missed that the Ergo was in the car and needed to come out.
I wouldn't want to spend another day without my Ergo. It literally ruined the day that I didn't have it, and it ruined Daphne's day. It goes to the top of the "things to buy when you have a baby" list.
Usually when I do this, she waits at the door and knocks hoping that someone would open it, however, she had something else in store.
When I got back to the door, she had managed to lock it, so I had to run all the way around the house to get back in. It was a very funny surprise.
People keep offering me wheel barrows so that I can get rid of it.
I guess I should take the hint and move it all today. It is supposed to be sunny just for that occasion.
At one point, I put her down to play while I tried to catch up on something in my computer.
He response to that was to drag the Ergo across the floor to me and say mama. I couldn't really resist her. It was adorable.
Note: Backdated within Blog 365 rules.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Back in November, Jared helped me get a design for it and I have been slowly working on it since then. We got the wood and cut it all up about a month ago when Jared's dad was here.
I have been working on it here and there since then also. There seemed to be a lot of steps that needed to be done before this or that could happen.
Apparently, there are a few things that we overlooked here and there in the design, so we have had to alter it as we went along.
Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and finished all the major parts of it. There are nesting boxes in it now, and I high up board for them to sit on if they want to. I even installed boards for their food and water to sit up on so they don't get it quite so dirty.
Jared picked up some dowels at the store yesterday, so the next step is to install them and then I just have to put a latch on the door and put a light out there to help keep them warm.
The chickens are moving outside today! That is a very exciting thing indeed. I will only keep the ducks inside in the bathtub until I can figure out what else to do. The meat chicks will most likely all hang out in the run I built during the day and go in a box at night until I slaughter them. There are only 6 weeks left for that. I just can't mix everyone together because they get different feed. Perhaps I can work something else out...
This is a big project that is almost done. Now I just have to get some other basic things done and I can start planting in the garden, which will be very nice.
As I stumble along in this farming venture I have been working on lately, I have run into a very unexpected realization. PEOPLE DON’T GET WHERE THEIR FOOD COMES FROM. I find this to be so true now more than ever. When I was in Greece, I started to come to a realization about the way that food is processed and where it comes from. A lot of the food production is done out in the open there. Everyone knows when it is olive picking time. Everyone knows when the grapes are ready. The chickens that lay the eggs you eat wander around the farms and sometimes onto the roads. If you drive outside the country it is clear that just before Easter the young lamb population takes a great dive.
I think that the problem is that the production of food in America is done behind our backs and we have lost connection with the food that we eat. Children REALLY think that milk comes from the grocery store. The understanding of food ends there. The production behind the food is completely lost by the glimmering storefronts that promote that they have everything you will ever need.
My problem has been along the lines of the other animals we eat. I have been raising our chickens and our ducks out in the open and it has been well known from the beginning that I intend to eat them. Apparently, the idea is horrifying to a LOT of people. The problem is, that it does not make any sense. The people that have a problem with me eating my chickens are not even vegetarians. I literally had a conversation about raising and butchering my chickens with someone over a chicken dinner. Somehow, it is horrifying that I would consider slaughtering an animal, while it is perfectly ok for that animal to come from the meat case at the store.
I have also run into this with the goats. There are two weathers on the farm that are being raised on Milky Way, and I just don’t have a use for them. You can’t keep them all, and not all animals can be raised as pets. We have a wonderful packing plant just 2 miles down the road, and my idea is just to have them butchered when they reach the correct age. I can’t tell you what kind of a horrible person this has made me in so many people’s eyes, YET THEY STILL EAT MEAT! It is as if the closer the people get to the true production of their food, the more the “magic supermarket” lie turns up. I feel like I need to plan a trip for everyone I know to a factory farm where these people’s eggs and meat really come from.
This has been a particularly frustrating venture to me, and I feel that it is an uphill battle. Of COURSE I think that my chicks are cute, and I like to watch them play and run around and be babies, but they have a purpose. I have chosen to eat meat, and I enjoy being sustainable in my production of my food. That is, I am going to raise these animals for meat because I know that I can do the job raising them that I would want done. I don’t think that makes me evil. Unfortunately, my friend Julie is around me enough, and I talk about it enough that I actually made her daughter vegetarian for a while because she just didn’t want to eat her cute little chickies. I’m not one for torturing children and their innocent ideals, but I feel like we are doing a disservice by allowing the future generation to believe that the food really “comes from” the supermarket.
I have been able to bring a few people around. I actually convinced Julie that she should raise some meat birds, and Jared seems to be supportive of whatever I do (so long as he does not get attached to the chickens).
I see so many people around me who claim to be organic food activists who are really naive about our food and our food production practices that I just don’t get it. It is not a mystery to me why America has a problem with so many obese people.
Please, PLEASE have some compassion for a ‘lil lady trying to raise her own food the way she wants to.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Last semester I had a lot of exams that consisted of timed writing of essays that was very difficult to do with Daphne around.
This semester, I just have 3 research papers to write, which is relatively easy for me. I have a whole 8 weeks to get them done, and I am feeling very good about it all.
I will make it through this semester of school and be looking at only 19 more credits to do *fingers crossed*.
I was just fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out why my printer wouldn't print.
It turns out that my little angel left me a magnetic "6" in the printer. It SHOULD be on the fridge.
1 Christos anasti
2 fayum portraits
3 naming ceremony script
4 morbid nursery rhymes
5 naming ceremony scripts
7 patron saint of babies
8 dr. Laura, "anti feminism"
9 easter church pictures
10 fabric store
Some random searches. Perhaps I should write more about birth and farming and breastfeeding and get people to my blog for more appropriate things?
I had 33 people visit in one day a week ago, which is pretty incredible!
I still have 5 Cornish Cross Chicks under a heat lamp, though it may be overkill at this point. If I can get my coop ready today, I will move the heat lamp out there for all the chickens, and the ducks can stay inside without a heat lamp.
The problem with the ducks is that they make a huge mess with the water playing in it until it is all gone and then they thirst for the rest of the night until I get up to give them more water. A quart of water is more than enough to keep ducks happy for a night, but they just keep splashing and spilling it everywhere. I really think that it is going to be a much better situation when all the chickens are outside and the ducks are just acting as inside animals. They can spill their water all they want without disturbing my meat chickens.
On May 18th, I will butcher everything that is not a layer. I timed everything perfectly, actually, and that is a very good thing.
My flock will be reduced to my 7 laying hens with 9 chicks off to the butcher and 4 ducks. Peace will once again reign.
Julie is trying to convince me to do do another set of meat chicks, but I am not sure if I am ready for that.
Now I just need to get the doors on the chicken coop, and we will be in much better shape.
After the trip, and a little bit of thinking, I finally went back up and got the goat. I am going to board her at my friends house in exchange for help with his own goats and other projects he has going around his farm. It seems to be he perfect arrangement.
Her name is Milky Way. She is a first year freshener. The lady she came from, breeds Nubians and hand raises them for show. I have never seen such a tame and tolerant goat, which makes me very happy. The goats at my friends house all have pretty tolerant temperaments also, and it is nice to not cause more havoc in the herd with a stubborn goat (stubborn goats are easy to find).
I have now milked Milky for two days in a row. She still has some kids on her, so I am getting a decent amount of milk considering that. I don't plan to push her too hard, especially considering that I am only milking her once a day right now.
Other than the fact that I am out of practice, things are going well. She is very patient for a goat that has never been milked before considering that I spent a good deal of time fumbling around getting back into the groove of it both times I milked her. It can only get better.
It is sure nice to have fresh goat milk in the house. I promised Jared some yogurt, and I will have enough milk to do that after I milk today.
I am a very happy girl.
Recently, she has been very cranky. She has been sick with a cold/sore throat/cough, etc., it is the usual stuff that goes around this time of year. I hope it improves because it has been very rough on her, and we have had several screaming battles where she does not want to be put down but she does not want to be held and there is nothing she wants other than to throw herself on the floor and cry.
I am told, as a nursing mom, that this is my time to just comfort her and nurse her a lot, which I have been doing.
When I nurse her during the day, I always use a pillow. She knows when I go get a pillow and sit down that I am going to nurse her, and she makes a little, "Heh, Heh, Heh, Heh, mmmmm," noise.
Yesterday, I was sitting at my computer working, and she went over and got the pillow herself and walked it over to me while making the, "I want to nurse" noise.
Later, she actually managed to drag a pillow from the bedroom into the living room to give me a hint that I was forgetting someone.
The gesture is very cute, and I am glad that she has a way to tell me she wants to nurse.
They had hit a patch of ice on the road and wrecked their car. They were fine, and when they got out of the car, another car came and hit the same patch of ice. The car headed straight for Rachel and Ben managed to get her out of the way before the car struck and hit him, killing him.
I am deeply saddened by this news. Rachel and I worked together practically full time for 2 years, and she is an amazing photographer and a very loving friend. Her husband was also a good friend who I saw often at get-togethers. I feel deeply for her because Ben was Rachel's whole world.
In the long run, the only way to honor someone who has been so tragically killed is to help ensure that his family make it through the tough times and to ensure that our own lives are being lived well.
In examination, I feel like we are doing the best we can in the Anderson household. Jared is doing so much better and is well enough to do anything he wants to do, which has not been the case in the past. I get the chance to be a stay-at-home-mom with Daphne, and I get to see her learn and grow, I cannot think of a more fulfilling life than that.
Ben and Rachel are in my thoughts, and I hope there is something I can do to help Rachel out in these tough times.