Monday, May 28, 2012

More on the Dog Food...

So, it's going to cost us somewhere between $1200 and $1700 to have the dog's teeth pulled/fixed!  I'm going to call tomorrow (they aren't open today) and see if there is still time/room to get her in on Thursday...if not, the vet doesn't have another available surgery day until after June 20th!  In the mean time, she needs to be on a soft diet so it doesn't hurt her to eat (when she was forcing herself to do so).

To accommodate her diet needs, I decided that I would spend part of this afternoon making her "meal bags" for the week (knowing I won't want to be getting up with the dog every morning when she wants food).  This is where the problems began...

First, I had a low blood sugar shortly after putting the hamburger (90% lean top sirloin) on to boil.  Of course, the water boiled all over the place while I was off dealing with the low!  So, after we got most of that mess cleaned up, I set a timer for 5 minutes, left the lid cracked and walked away again.  Upon my return to the kitchen (5 minutes later), I discovered that our rice cooker decided that in the middle of cooking a big batch of rice was the perfect time to die (problem #2)!  So, I quickly got the rice dumped into another pot set on the stove.  I stirred my meat that was happily boiling away and set the timer for another 5 minutes after dumping in all the veggies into boiling meat and water.  After another 5 minutes,  I returned again to stir the veggies and check on the rice.  Veggies were almost done, but the rice pot looked "foggy"...  I decided to crack the lid to check on it and was met with a cloud of thick smoke (problem #3)!  In 5 minutes, the rice had not only finished cooking, but had begun to burn!  I quickly got it off the burner and dumped into the now drained meat and vegetable pot.

The smoke from the rice, of course, set off the fire alarm!  I say alarm rather than detector because it set off the alarm that is hardwired into our home security system!  The alarm is beeping, the security panel is yelling "smoke alarm activated", I'm opening windows and pouring water into the pot...and then....the phone starts ringing!  It's the alarm company letting me know that the detector has been activated!  Because, ya know, it was a great time to take a phone call...sheesh!  He was just doing his job, I know that...and it really was nice that he was there making sure I didn't need help from our local fire department today...but why on earth wouldn't they just use the two-way radio that is built in to our system?!?  Garrick was down at the panel trying to get it to shut up...he could have talked to them while I tried to corral all the dog food mess!  I did manage to save the pan I was cooking the rice in...I think, but it really just reinforced the need for a new rice cooker (I ruined a pot making rice in our first year of dating doing this very fact, I ruined two pots before we bought the rice cooker)!

So, after getting the dog's new food all mixed up and cooling...we made a trip out to Best Buy (because we have a "credit card" there, along with a "reward card" that gives us discounts back, & I have tax exempt status there...we also had a $5 cash off reward to use) to get a new rice cooker.  The old one (that died) held 7 cups of rice, before cooking it...prepared, that was roughly 14 cups of rice!  I never made over 6 scoops tended to boil over when I tried to do 7.  The new one only makes 6 cups of prepared rice (3 scoops).  But, for $20 ($15 with all our rewards) it wasn't a bad deal.  It was also the only one they had, so we didn't really have a choice!  It came with the scoop for adding rice, a paddle (for retrieving rice once cooked), and a steamer basket for meat/vegetables!  The steamer basket will be handy if I choose to continue making food for the dog (which I may have to do depending on how many teeth she looses).

So, besides making 7 bags of meals for the dog...(one a day with a can of wet food in the evening as well), I boiled meat water all over my stove top, "broke" the rice cooker, burnt a pot to black, and set off the smoke alarm!  Yup, I'm that talented...

If anyone is still curious about the dog's food for this week, here is what she gets!

  • 1 pound Hamburger (90% top sirloin that we bought for us last week but didn't use)
  • 1/2 bag chopped Spinach (frozen)
  • 1/2 cup or so of Green Beans (what was left of a frozen bag)
  • 1 bag Broccoli Florets (we had 3 bags in the freezer!)
  • 3/4 cup Fresh Pumpkin (cooked and frozen back in November)
  • 6 scoops of rice (cooked, approximately 12 cups of rice)
  • reserved liquid from boiling meat and veggies
  • 2 sample size supplements

Boil the meat, when cooked add frozen veggies (not the pumpkin though) and continue boiling until Veggies are soft.  Cook rice.  Strain meat and veggies, but save the juice, that's beef broth packed with vitamins from the veggies!  Add frozen pumpkin and rice to pot with meat and veggies...stir.  I used my rice scoop to scoop some of the broth, as needed, back into the mix, but kept it pretty dry looking overall.  I had a couple of supplement samples left over from DinoVite...Rosie loves their Lick-O-Chops (fish oil for dogs), but was never crazy about the powdered supplement samples, so I sprinkled those in to boost the vitamin content of the food as well.

After it cooled completely, I scooped 2 cups of the mix into Ziploc baggies (I got 7 bags).  To each baggy, I added 1/3 cup of the cooled "broth" as well before sealing them up.  When we give her a bag in the morning, I'll crack a raw egg over it to add a little extra protein as well as all the other things found in yummy "farm" fresh eggs!  Some sites recommend grinding up the eggs, shells and all, but for now, I'll stick to the egg innards only.  She'll also be getting a can of commercial dog food in the evenings to help supplement anything this is missing and provide her with enough food to maintain her current weight (ideally).  Using a "by weight" food calculation for dogs, she should be getting 20 to 30 ounces of food each day, my 2 cup baggies only contain about 16 ounces.

Without the dog supplements in would be perfectly fit for human consumption...but it smells awful, to me at least.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Big News (and Other Stuff)!

We're still 2 weeks away from our ultrasound, so no "baby news" yet...but we do have big things happening around here!

If you've seen the "What to Expect When You're Expecting" movie (or even the trailer for it), you've seen one of my favorite's when the "dudes group" is talking about one them them "just looking" at houses with their wife.  Well, yesterday we went out to "test sit" in a couple of cars we had narrowed our own search for a second "baby safe" vehicle down to.  The plan was to go out to the Kia dealership ("way out" in Liberty Lake...about a 20 mile drive from the house) and try on the Kia Soul...if you have every car shopped with an extremely tall person (or short person), you know the "test sit" well...said "tall person" gets in to see if they can manage to even squeeze their body into the vehicle to try and take a test drive!

We did this in 2006 as well when "we" bought our Freestyle.  You spend hours and hours and hours pouring over car websites, reading reviews and the like (mainly I just look at the options).  Then, you find a dealership close to you that has any variety of the cars you think you like.  In 2006, we hit every dealership in Bend...three times at least looking for cars that "fit" Garrick!  His first choice was a Scion xA (the small car)...he couldn't get his entire body in the car, let alone behind the wheel!  The xB was a little better, but still cramped his legs so bad he couldn't even test drive the thing.  This is when being 6'6" really sucks...especially if you're two-thirds leg!  We eventually settled on the Freestyle after a salesman at the Ford dealership suggested he try sitting in it...we had been there so many times and were really getting discouraged by what was available in "our" price range!  It was a perfect fit!  So, we ended up with the Freestyle.

Now, fast forward to we are with the Freestyle (still a good car/SUV, but it does need a little work on it), paid in's ours!  We also have the Nissan pickup, a tiny 2 seat truck with no power steering, it's a stick shift (so Garrick can't drive it), no air bags...totally not baby safe!  So, we go to the Kia dealership...Garrick sits in one of the Kia Souls...he fits!  I check out the LATCH system in the back seats, they're awesome!  So, we go for a test's a great little car!  Even better...they have one in Alien Green that was just delivered last night and isn't even on the lot yet (still all wrapped up in plastic)!  We hem and haw for a bit, but the plan was to not buy a car under any circumstances today.  But, we go ahead and see what kind of payments we'd have on this car because it is in our final two picks for a new vehicle.  By using the old pickup as a trade in (sight unseen) and putting a little down, the payments would be right in the ballpark we are looking to spend (awesome). 

So, we bought it!  Not the one we test drove...the one that was still sitting, wrapped in plastic, with 11 miles on it, that is Alien Green!  Yeah...remember back there when Garrick said we wouldn't be buying a car today....he kinda lied!  So, I'm now driving the Ford Freestyle and he's driving this little beauty...except for the times when I'll be taking long road trips, like next month when I go pick up one of the boys for their "annual" summer trip to visit us.  This car gets about twice as good gas mileage, so I'll take it for the 400+ mile one-way trip.  It also has SirusXM radio too, which is just awesome on long car rides.

In other news...I already made a whole post about the vet trip yesterday afternoon, I'm not looking forward to that call from the vet though!  We know Rosie will need antibiotics and pain killers when she has her teeth worked on and the vet wants to do that ASAP before the infection in her gums spreads to anywhere else.

Since yesterday during the day was so busy (we left the house at 8am and only made a few very brief "potty stops" back home until after 7pm), we spent the evening quietly surfing the web and playing video games.  Well, I "surfed" and Garrick played Diablo 3.  I found myself clicking from blog to blog looking at some pretty inventive ways to do things around the house  (someone turned an empty 2L soda bottle into a sprinkler)!  In my wandering, I came across Patchwork Radicals...or at least a post from the blog!  I have made Yogurt cheese before and it turned out pretty yummy, but very tangy (like a super soft cream cheese).  What I ran across was her recipe for making fresh cheese using nothing but Milk, Vinegar, and a little salt (if you want a harder cheese)!  I'm going out this weekend to buy a small thing of whole milk to try this recipe out with (I'm not tracking down the only raw milk supplier in town, store bought will just have to "do")...she doesn't specify whole milk, but I think it'll turn out yummier using whole!  I already have cheesecloth (and those nice tight woven tea towels), so I'm set to go as soon as I get the milk!

Also in my "travels" around the internet...I found my way to comparing food dehydrators...this is one of those appliances I absolutely love!  My grandmother has two or three of them that I would love to get my hands on one day, but I don't see that ever happening.  What I would really love to have is an Excalibur Food dehydrator, this is the mother of all dehydrators (and "only" $250 at Best Buy...)! 
But, for one-fifth the price, I settled on a Nesco Snackmaster FD-60 ($59, plus tax at Best Buy...$55 at WalMart, plus tax).  I ended up ordering one for myself from Best Buy because we have a Best Buy credit account and a "reward" card there as well, might as well get the points and save a few bucks on something else down the road, right?!  This one has a dial to adjust the temp to fit the food you are drying (low heat for herbs and such, up to 155 degrees for making meat jerky) and the reviews are just awesome on it.  WalMart does have "cheaper" dehydrators, but the $35 model had horrible reviews, the only good one I saw was from someone who gave it away as a gift and hadn't heard anything negative from the person she gave it to!  I like this one in theory so far too...I can add trays (up to another 4, I believe) and get extra fruit leather trays or meat screens if I need them.  Mainly, my big push for one right now is my Sugar Bush (Stevia plant)!  It is growing out of control right now and I need to dry it before I can make the liquid sweetener from it!  IF this works well enough, I can see the extract being very handy when we go back on the low-carb diet at the end of this year (after baby is here)!  For the summer though...I see lots of Strawberries, Blueberries, and the like going in the dehydrator!  These are semi-low-carb fruits that I'll still be able to use in limited quantities later on too!

Well, time to get something done around rest for the wicked this long holiday weekend!

Guilty Dog Mom...

Among other "runnings around" yesterday (that I will talk about later, I promise), we had to take poor Rosie to the vet for a check up and her shots (all way over due).  She'll be 11 years old in September, so we opted for the "Best Care Senior Wellness Checkup", which means they charged us three arms and 6 legs to run blood, urine, fecal tests, as well as take some x-rays too.  With her shots (Bordetella, Rabies, Parvo, and Distemper) the bill for the afternoon was over $400!

We knew she had some bad teeth, but last time we were there, we just could not afford the $400 (or so) per tooth they wanted!  We had to borrow money from Garrick's parents to have our kitty cremated (I know it sounds silly but the alternative was not getting her back at all)!  Yes, it really has been that long since we took the dog in to the least for a full check up (she was there about 18 months ago for shots when we had her boarded last time).  So, now her teeth are really bad!  We are waiting for a call from the vet today with the blood work results and a price estimate on her teeth (I expect this to be in the thousands of dollars...).  In the mean time though, we have chosen to take Rosie off of her normal diet of dry dog food and just "plump her up" on wet food.  We do have a single can left over from several weeks ago when we were trying to coax her to eat the dry food by mixing some wet in with it, but at 2am last night I had the brilliant idea to use our leftovers to make her a soft food that she would really enjoy (and I could stand the smell of)!

Rosie's Doggy Heaven Breakfast:
  • 2 ice cubes frozen Pureed Pumpkin
  • 1 small handful frozen Celery (pre diced)
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen green beans
  • ~1/3 cup prepared Country Gravy (we buy a powder that you mix with water and "cook" for a few minutes on the stovetop)
  • Large helping of leftover Jasmine Rice (from our dinner several nights ago)
  • 2 Hard-boiled Eggs (from our girls outside, I keep these pre-peeled and in a jar of water in the fridge)
  • 1 RAW Egg (again from the girls!)
  • A little of the cooking water from the veggies
I started by microwaving the pumpkin for 30 seconds, then swapped bowls an put the frozen peas and green beans in another bowl with some water and popped those in the microwave for about 2 minutes.  To the pumpkin, I added the celery to thaw it out and cool the pumpkin down a bit.  Meanwhile, I prepared the gravy (I made a half batch, just enough for 2 meals for the dog) on the stove.

After the veggies came out of the microwave, I strained them, but saved the cooking water, and added them to her dog bowl with the pumpkin/celery mix.  Next, I added the rice, I just broke this up the the bag (a ziploc for easy access) and dumped about half of what we had in the bowl (to help cool the hot veggie mix down.  Next, I added the gravy and stirred.  To help up the protein in this, I quickly diced up a couple of hard-boiled eggs and stirred them in (no pre-cooked meat or that would have been good too).  I added a bit of the cooking water because it looked really "dry" to me.  Lastly, I cracked a raw egg over the bowl and gave one last good stir!

All in all, this filled about half of her dog bowl and she gobbled up the whole thing (I assume) and is now hapily asleep at my feet 5 minutes after putting the bowl down for her!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

One Week Until June?!? (Part 2)

Okay, so in all my "catching up", I got a little long winded for just one post...

Earlier this week, Garrick called me from work to ask me if I wanted another Tomato plant (can we say, "Duh", ha).  I was expecting a small plant like the ones I currently had growing in planters on my back deck...that is so not what he brought home though!  This plant is huge compared to my little plants!  It's even got little tomato blooms on it already!  This one is a "Northern Delight", which I assume is red tomatoes but we'll see soon enough!  I planted this one using the same method that I did with the smaller ones, plopped it into its new home (a 20-inch planter that cost me $9.74 at WalMart because they were sold out of the cheaper ones), broke up the root cluster a bit, pulled off the lower leaves (to form more root shoots), and piled an entire bag of potting soil up around it!  It got pretty "wilty" having spent the day in an office building, but it is slowly perking back up thanks to a gallon plus of water added after planting.  For added support, we also got a Tomato Cage up around it. 

I had three of these cages left from last year, but went to buy two more for the rest of the planters.  Instead, I got stakes and "stake supports, but I'm going to have to return the supports and just use tomato twine instead, the supports are too wide for my planters!  All of my tomatoes are doing great, despite being left outside overnight during several frosty mornings!  The four "tiny" tomato plants have all grown several inches taller recently, with the Black Prince plant really leading that charge!  The photo to the right shows the plant stakes I bought today (they didn't have any cages), I'll go get some tomato twine (green twine that is"softer" than normal twine) in the next few weeks...these guys don't really "need" to be caged just yet.  The stakes were $0.88 each, so at least they're cheap!  Pardon the "dirty deck", we haven't gotten out there to do our spring cleaning yet!  The table is still sitting in our dining room (off to the side of the "indoor table") and I have yet to remember to measure it again for a new tablecloth this year!

I mentioned earlier (in part 1) that I went on a shopping trip today...mainly I went out to go to Home Depot to pick up an outdoor clothes dryer (otherwise known as a Clothesline)!  I was there last week and they were sold out (under $40 for the only one they stock in the store), but the gal that helped me looked it up and told me they were getting more in today.  We checked out the other options that Home Depot sells (Lowe's does not sell these at all...I looked), since there is only one option to purchase "in store" and the reviews on it kinda suck.  The first one I picked out was around $75, but did not qualify for free shipping (even though the site says orders over $50 ship for free).  With shipping and was going to cost us $155!  No thank you, next!  I settled on one that was about $10 more, but did qualify for free shipping (oddly enough, the tax was less on this one too...), bring the total just under $100.  Still, a little more than we really want to spend on the "umbrella" style clothesline...I really want a set of steel T-posts, but the only T-posts I can find are flimsy and come in pieces!  I want solid (hollow) steel darn it!  So, we got the $40 one at the store (long story short, lol)...if it breaks (as all the reviews complain) we can replace it once and it'll still be cheaper than the others...if it breaks twice though...I'm commissioning a steel worker to make me a set of sturdy T-posts!  For now...I just need someone (Garrick) to help dig the hole for the post anchor and I'll be off to line drying this summer, yeah!  This one even came with a couple dozen clothes pins...I'll buy more soonish, I forgot to pick them up at WalMart today while I was there.  I also got another screwdriver set while I was at Home Depot today...we have managed to lose our little Husky set!  I found a set for $6, so it's gonna live in the "junk drawer" in the kitchen...along with the bolt action for my 30-06 that's still in Oregon...I need to get those "home" someday.

One Week Until June?!? (Part 1)

So, here we sit on May days until the start of June!  I can't believe how fast time has flown by this year!  Of course, June marks more than "Summer" and "half-way through 2012" this also marks the half-way point through our pregnancy!  June 6th will be my 20 week mark (although half-way for me, since I'll be having a C-section at 37 weeks will be at the 18.5 week mark, which is this Saturday)!  We have our Ultrasound scheduled for June 8th (and a trip out of town that evening)!!!!
I have really been dragging my feet as far as diaper making goes...I hate, hate, hate cutting out fabric pieces!  I do have a ton of super cute fabrics to use though, just need someone who's good at cutting them out to come over and help (Mom)!  

That doesn't mean I haven't been crafting though, oh no!  I have had a very busy week in my "crafting world"!  (I know, I'm using way too many explanation points, but I'm excited...)

First, I picked out a new yarn, not because I "wanted" to, but because I had started a crochet project and run out of yarn.  I went looking to purchase more of the same yarn, but sadly...I cannot find it anywhere in Spokane!  So, I picked up a couple "big" balls of Bernat Pipsqueak yarn in "Baby Baby Print" color with the idea of using it with the same pattern I had been using.  Bernat's Pipsqueak yarn is super soft and has an almost "new terry cloth" feel to it, I really love this yarn!  It's the same stuff I got to knit my sister's cowl that I gave her for Christmas last year, only in different colors, obviously.  The variegated I got for this project is mostly white with pastels in blue, green, yellow, and pink so it will fit well for a boy or a girl.  The pattern I had been working on turned out to be too difficult to work with this yarn though, so I had to go off searching for another pattern to use.  Each one I found though did not work well with the yarn, until of course, I went to Bernat's own site for free patterns!  There you can search their free patterns for the type of project you want to make, who you intend to make it for, your skill level, the type of work you want to do (crochet, knit, or non-needle), and you can even search by yarn type if you're like me and buy the yarn first!  Of course, the pattern I chose called for Bernat Baby Blanket yarn, not the Pipsqueak yarn...but it worked and looked pretty!  I also modified the pattern slightly to fit my own needs/wants, The pattern calls to change colors every other row, but I chose to use a single color (this saved on the amount of yarn used overall too, the pattern calls for 3 balls of 100g each of one color and 2 balls each of the other 2 colors...7 balls of yarn!  I did it in less than 2 250g balls.)  In case you're wondering by now, I chose the Bernat Baby Blanket From the Middle Baby Blanket (to crochet).  It even worked up to exactly 36-inches square!  Basically, it's a big granny square, but the double crochets all line up right on top of each other.

The next project I picked up at WalMart the other day.  I was browsing through the crafting aisles and wandered in to the counted cross-stitch.  This is one of the first crafts I ever picked up with much passion, I love doing counted cross-stitch!  Mostly though, I love doing the tiny can pick them up at WalMart for around $0.97 usually (sometimes they're as much as $1.25) and they generally work up over the course of just a few hours!  They even come as a kit so you have a finished project ready to hang!  Of course, I haven't gotten "that" far with my latest creation...but it is stitched up and ready to iron!  I went today and got two more of these little "kits", one is another set of baby feet (with pink and blue thread so it is customizable) and the other is a rattle with some cutesy saying on it.  I also picked up a low-temp glue gun and a small package of glue sticks to put these all together with.  (The glue gun was $1.47, so I didn't really break the bank with that impulse buy.)  I really had to reign myself in though when it came to the set of quilt blocks!  It's probably a good thing they were stamped cross-stitch (something I cannot get the hang of to save my life but that Garrick's mother does all the time)!

After semi-finishing the counted cross stitch, I was in a "thready" mood, so I broke out the crochet thread (used to make doilies and such) and found a cute pattern for a Peplum top for Barbie (thank you Kathy's Kreations).  I worked this top up in the course of one evening save the frilly trim at the bottom, I finished it the next morning though in about 20 minutes.  I do still need to add a small button to the back to keep it closed, but that is just waiting on me to go down stairs and dig a button out of my sewing stuff (that recently got moved downstairs so it wasn't taking up a large portion of our dining room).  I was going to attempt a straight skirt to go with this top (like it shows in the photo on the website), but I really like the length of this top for a short "spring time" dress for Barbie!  I mean, come on...Barbie has awesome legs (especially for her age)!  I love crocheting for my dolls (I have two of them after getting bit by the bug last winter and not having anyone else to make cute doll clothes for, since we have 5 nephews)!  I also started another dress for them...the newest dress has a very similar bodice to this one, but the skirt is very "frilly" (each row is basically a chain 3, sc in next ch-3 space).  For this next one, my plan is to give it a full length skirt, mostly because everything else I have done has been super short and my favorite Barbe outfit I had as a kid was a purple variegated long dress that my Mom crocheted for me.  I actually have a ball of purple variegated thread, but I haven't found a good dress pattern to use it with yet!  A longer skirted version of that Peplum might look awesome in it though...

I also bought myself a "sewing related" present last week...I first saw these at Hancock's Fabric when they first introduced them (for $35-50) and loved them then, just not enough to pay that high price for one! So, when I was there looking for my yarn last week (and picking out 7 yards of clearance fabric), I picked up not one, but two of these bad boys!  They were on clearance for $7 a piece, if I thought I could resell them and make a little profit, I would have bought all 4 they had left!  But, one will do me just fine...and the other is a "birthday" present for my Mom (she already knows about it because she started talking all crazy like about going to the Hancock's near her house to see if she could pick one up for herself).  It's a battery-operated drum that spins the pins into a slide, pinhead up.  Then, you just tap on the winged thing and up pops a single pin!  How cool is that?  It even came with a little paper funnel thing to use to reload the drum.  I'm keeping mine in the box for now, but hopefully when we get the offices moved, I'll be able to actually set up a nice little spare room/craft space!

Also this week, my kitchen window got a new buddy and a little planter update!  As for the "new buddy", while I was out observing the chickens the other day, I found another Hazelnut tree growing near the coop!  I gently ripped it from the ground  and brought it inside to join my other tree growing in the window (I realize these will grow into huge trees that cannot live in my house, but for now at least that is the safest spot for them)!  I had to trade out the short little red plastic glasses for tall milkshake glasses because the root systems are getting so big that the little red cups just weren't tall enough anymore!  These are way prettier least in my opinion.  Also, you may have noticed that my Rabbit planter is missing,  the planter was just taking up too much space on the sill!  So, I found a set of 3 mini planters at Joann's for $5!  They had a 50% off all planters sale last week (no promises as to if it's still going on)!  I only needed one planter, but the set of three had the best price and was the right size for what I wanted...the other two are cream and pale green.  I'm still looking for a decent planter for my fern/palm thingy there and I haven't decided what I'm going to do with my Sugar Bush this year, but it sure has done better in the window than it ever did outside!  I may need to add hooks to the window and forgo a kitchen window curtain all together!  The Sugar Bush (Stevia plant)  has vined up and covers most of that left panel of the window anyway!

So, I did a little "baby shopping" last week too...first I went to my new favorite resale shop (Sweet REpeat Kid's Resale Boutique)!  Of course, today, tomorrow, and Saturday they are running a 25% off sale (even on cloth diapers)...but I don't think I'll be able to make it down there.  Like them on Facebook though if you are interested in cheap clothes that are in awesome shape for your kiddos though!  Anywho, last week I picked up three nice looking KCK all-in-two diapers for $9 each (new these retail for around $19 (from the gal who sold them to this shop) or you can order "kits" direct from the company, Kalya's Cloth Kits, for $23 and you can cut/sew your own, for that price you can  make 2-4 diapers depending on the size you need).  These use a microfleece towel (like I use to clean with) as a can get a dozen of these in a pack at WalMart for around $10, talk about cheap inserts!  Each diaper I got came with one "liner". 

I also picked up another all-in-one diaper in size small.  This one appears to be a very well made "home made" diaper, with a size tag and everything, but I have been incorrect about that before!

And, because it was only 69 cents, orange, and orange onesie that says "Quack" and has a ducky!
I also did a little online shopping too...I really love the idea of the nursing "capes" (okay, nursing covers), but they just looked too small!  At least, all of the ones I had seen in the resale shops looked too small anyway.  But, given the chance for a "free" one, I signed right up!  Udder Covers sells these for $34.95, plus $11.95 shipping.  If you are signed up for all the cool free baby stuff through a number of websites, you should be getting "spammed" a code to get one of these for free though!  You just type in the "offer code" and they knock $35 off the price!  So, not really "free" since you still have to pay $11.90 to get it to you...but what a deal!  I got mine in "Porter"...mostly because I really like the fabric and figured if I couldn't use it as a cover (or cape), I could always sacrifice it to the sewing gods for something.  I got it in the mail the other day though and it covers everything up while I'm sitting!  Of course, that's without a little one under it too...I may need to use this in conjunction with a light jacket or something once baby gets any sort of heft to him/her just to keep my side boobs from flashing anyone.  I don't plan on sitting at the local Starbucks nursing while I sip a latte either though...this/these (I want several of these) are more for when family/friends are over and I don't want to be sequestered off in another room of the house or while sitting in the car while "out and about".  Also, with the purchase of the Udder Cover, they give you another "offer code" to get a "free" Sling and a car seat cover as well!  I opted to not get the sling...I wasn't sure what size I'd need and even with adding the extra $3.50 "insurance" so I could exchange it, you only have 2 weeks to return and exchange!  I'm also not a huge fan of the sling carriers anyway, so no big loss there.

I did order the car seat cover though...I got the "Reagan" from that "site", but the site says it is on back order until July 6th (when I placed my order it was back ordered until May 21st, so I hope I got one of those)!  This was another "free" offer, this time you select your pattern for $49.95, plus $12.95 shipping and they take $50 off the total price.  I love the look of the covers (car seat canopy), I made a no-sew fleece one for my sister's last baby (Nephew #4).  Again, variety here would be nice just in case it gets dirty...I know, babies/kids never get anything dirty...but why tempt fate!  Ha!  The interior of the cover is a grey minky fabric.

All three "offers" come from the same parent company, Mother's Lounge...they also sell Milk bands.

Speaking of free stuff...I got a post card in the mail a few months ago from the "good folks" over at Similac inviting me to join their website!  In exchange for allowing them to email me me every once in a while, they sent me a 4 ounce bottle for free!  Totally and completely free even!  Of course, the bottle is designed specifically for formula fed babies, but free is free none the less and I'm sure it can still work for "Mom milk" too.  The bottle is BPA-free (my favorite trait since I did a Chemistry project on it, it's nasty stuff!), has a cool locking system for the cap, and a little rubber thingy that kinda floats in the bottle (attached to the side) to reduce bubbles in the bottle.  They also sent me a coupon for $2.50 off more of these bottles...I'd rather have Born Free Glass Bottles (but the plastic ones would be great too) though.  When I did my research for our chemistry project several years ago, I spent a good deal of time researching that company (mostly because it was right before the big push to get BPA plastics out of infant & child feeding devices).  I really like the idea of using glass bottles as opposed to plastic, even BPA free plastic, because I know I can get it truly clean if there's a bug going around or something.  Plastic can't withstand as high of temperatures as glass can...  If anyone that works over at Born Free sees this, I'd love to do a review for you (hint, hint...wink, wink?)!

Continued in next post...

IBA #414 & 502

A couple of short IBA's today...mostly because I don't have a ton to say on either topic and just didn't feel like rolling for a third topic to write about!  I want to get writing about my actual "life"!  But, I did want to do a "warm up" so to speak, mostly because it's been a while since I did one and I was awaiting my breakfast (a Venti Decaf 7 pump Sugar Free Vanilla Breve Latte).

#414: Explain a regret.

[ri-gret] Show IPA verb, re·gret·ted, re·gret·ting, noun
verb (used with object)
1.      to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
2.      to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one's vanished youth.

I know, I know…not what they “meant” by “explain it”…but what can I say?  I don’t really have any specific regret to talk about today!  So, there you have it…a perfect explanation/definition of the word regret.

#502: Exercise….friend or foe

Definitely, a foe…I “can” do it, but I do not “want” to do it!  I know I should do it though…so that counts.  Right?  Not much else I can really say here though…I do not have any sort of exercise routine or anything.  As I said, I somewhat just avoid it as much as possible!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Finally, the Tomatoes are in DIRT!

Tiny Red tomatoes in the yellow planter...
I finally got around to planting the tomato plants!  I know, I know..."Why didn't you do that weeks ago silly woman"!  But, I did have a semi-good excuse...I didn't have any soil for my planters!  I don't have a good spot to go "in the ground" with my plants, the window boxes just aren't big enough to truly utilize (though my tomato plants grew huge in them, they hit the roof and I only got very small tomatoes), the "hanging from the under side of a planter" didn't work at all last year, so....I'm trying ginormous planters this year!  They are 15-inch planters...that's 15-inces across at the top and about knee high on me!  I told ya they were huge...  I got them at WalMart a few weeks ago for around $6 a piece.  I love, love, love the bright colors too!  I got two planters in bright yellow and two in bright red (they were my only color choices or I would have gotten all different colors)!

Dark Purple tomatoes in a red planter...
Another "new" thing I am trying this year is that I have planted the tomatoes deep into the soil.  When I say deep, I mean deep too!  I read an article (most likely someone's blog post on the subject, but I couldn't tell ya who) that if you plant them with only the top few inches showing above the soil, that the rest of the stem will produce more roots, making the whole plant that much stronger (after pinching off all the lower leaves of course)!  So, I tried that this year too...that's why they all look so tiny in the photos.  The Black Prince (dark purple fruits!) reaches nearly to the bottom of the planter under all that soil!

Yellow tomatoes in a red planter!
I even used up some of my "old" soil that I found in the garage a few weeks ago when we cleaned it out!  You see, when we moved from Bend, OR, I had to bring six rhubarb plants with me...mostly because they were doing so well, and just a little bit because the home owner of the house we were renting there made a comment to me when she found out that we were moving out that she couldn't wait to get that rhubarb to her new home!  Yeah...I don't think so lady, it went with me.  So, I bought some cheap (huge) planters, and a ginormous bag of potting soil (Miracle Grow with all the nutrients to help the Rhubarb survive the 400+ mile road trip).  However, I only ended up using about half of the bag and so it got moved with us too...and then stuffed in the back of the garage.  I did use some of it the first summer we lived here, the house came with a set of four planters under the front window...I dumped them out, added new soil and my own flowers that first spring.  I soon realized though that no one can actually see those planters from the road and the only ones enjoying them were the freaking squirrels who were digging up my pretty flowers to bury peanuts in my planters!  So, I haven't touched those planters since...I really should just get rid of them.  Anyway, there was enough soil still in the bag to partially fill one of the new tomato planters, so that bag is finally gone!

Orange tomatoes in the last yellow planter...
In the end, I did not need all four bags of new potting soil that I least not for the tomatoes!  I used the old bag, and then three and a half 20-quart bags of potting soil, leaving me with two and a half bags remaining (I had two more bags of Turf King left from last summer too).  All I really have left to get into pots or planters are my Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, four Coffee Plants (those are going to be hung inside), and that odd looking palm-like foliage that I have in my kitchen window!  I don't think that will require all the soil I have, but having spare is nice for those impromptu purchases in the garden center that I know I'm so good at doing!

Here is to a happy "garden" filled with many fragrant herbs (Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, Apple Mint, and Chocolate Mint this year) and many, many colorful tomatoes!  I know it doesn't sound like much of a garden this year...but I wasn't going to do any!  Oh, and I finally found a recipe for turning my Sugar Bush (Stevia plant) into a sweetener I can use!  I just need to dry the leaves and buy a bottle of Vodka...

What are you all growing this year, if anything?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy Day (and Stuff)!

I know I talked a little about the homemade products I wanted to give a try, well I actually got my rear in gear this morning afternoon and got the stuff I needed to make a few of them!

After a trip to Walmart to pick up supplies (cheap shampoo and conditioner because I don't want to "waste" the spendy stuff on it), I was set to go.  In fact, while at the store, I even picked up an ingredient to make another product I had been dreaming about since last night!  Okay, so we all know how (not) good I am at taking photos...what this "is" is a "Gardening Scrub"!  The original recipe called for the pink "flavor" of the dish washing soap made with Olay.  I like the scent of that one, but the purple one is Lavender scented, so I got it instead!  My scrub came out a very pale purple.  All it calls for is sugar (plain old white sugar) and the soap, how easy!  You take your jar (I used an old pickle relish jar) and fill it about 3/4 full with sugar, then top it off with the soap and stir.  Mine came out really runny, so I topped the jar off again with more sugar to make it more "paste-like".  It feels so good scrubbing your hands with it!  It will get the true test tomorrow (or later today) when I get the bags of soil upstairs and get my Tomatoes and Herbs planted...I generally just dig in with my hands anyway.

Next up was another "un-photographic" recipe for Fabric Softener!  I made a "small" batch, using only 1/2 cup Conditioner, 3/4 cup White Vinegar, and 1 1/2 cups Hot Water.  I also bought some flannel that was on clearance to make "dryer sheets" out of.  At $1.50 a yard, it was cheaper than buying washcloths to keep in there!  You could also put the solution in a spray bottle and just spray a rag to toss in the dryer, but I liked this idea and a 3-pack of these containers was way cheaper than the spray bottle!

Last up in my "homemade" lineup today was "Homemade Moisturizing Shave Cream"!  Yes, I may have lost my very last marble...but the recipe was so easy, I had to give it a try!  This one is 1/2 cup shampoo, 1/2 cup conditioner, 2 1/2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, and 2 1/2 Tablespoons lotion (I used Suave Vitamin E lotion)!  Stir and use!  Of course, the blog I found it on (One Good Thing by Jillee) put hers into a pump style bottle, but try as I might, I could not find a bottle like that that wasn't full of something!  So, I put mine in a mason may not be pretty, but it works!

The fabric softener and shave cream are both made using Suave Rosemary Mint shampoo/conditioner, I love the smell and it's pretty strong, so hopefully it will hold up in the dryer!  Also, I spent a whopping $7 on the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion combined...I hardly used any of them too, so these are cheap to make!  That's actually Lou Ana (un-organic) coconut oil in the jar too...I just saved the jar to melt my coconut oil in after the first jar was empty.  I do have another jar of it, but I'm "saving it" for something special!  I get the Lou Ana brand at Walmart for under $6 for a 32 ounce jar.

I figured it was also about time to share what's been growing in my kitchen window, you know, since I have another actual tree growing there and all!

Yup, an entire tree!  And this one I pulled out of my backyard!  It's a Hazelnut tree that was growing a few inches away from the chicken run (ya know, under the deck), I pulled it thinking it was another Sumac sprout, they grow all over the freaking yard.  However, when it popped out of the ground, it came still attached to the nut!  I ran it inside and into a cup of water (we were leaving and I was running late as it was) and there it has sat for about 2 weeks now!  Can you see it?  Poking out of it's little red cup?  It has grown about 6 inches since I brought it inside!  I'm searching the yard for another one as need 2 trees to produce nuts, ya know!  Sadly, the only one I found after this was in the front yard and I broke it off at the ground trying to pull it out.  So for now, I have a lone little Hazelnut tree growing in my kitchen window.

The Hazelnut is not alone by any means though!  Oh no, sitting next to it is a "palm-like" plant that I haven't managed to identify yet, I bought it several months ago on clearance for a few dollars (right after Valentine's Day, I think). 

In the corner is the Stevia plant, it is huge!  The vines (for a lack of a better word) have grown clear to the top of the window!  I think I need to either cut this back again or give it something to really climb rather than the window...

My little Burning Love Bush is still holding its own in the bunny shaped planter, not really growing, but not dying either, that's a plus, right?

And last, but certainly not least, my tiny Aloe Vera plants!  They were nearly dead here a few months ago, so I tossed the terrarium top back on and gave them a big drink of water (they were pretty dry even with daily watering)!  Not only have they survived, but they plumped right up and even sprouted a new leaf on each of them!  I think I'll keep the lid on for a while longer, they seem to like it better that way, these tiny little plants are over a year old and still only about an inch tall!

Garnier Fructis, A Review

I've been a BzzAgent now for, oh, 10 months or so.  I love it!  What's a BzzAgent?  Well, let me tell you about it!  Basically, you go to this page, fill out a ton of surveys, and then they match you with companies looking to get their product out and enjoy the benefits of word of mouth advertising (this is what "you" do).  So far, I've done a dog food campaign (Bil-Jac, Rosie loved it), a cat food campaign (Hill's Science Diet Ideal Balance, the cats really loved it), Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Care (I loved this one!), and several "online" type campaigns as well.  Currently, I am enjoying participating in 4 campaigns, Neutrogena Cosmetics (they sent me 3 lipsticks in shades of pink, an eyeliner, and an eye concealer...but that's a post for another day), Filippo Berio Olive Oil (my bottle of EVOO arrived a few days ago, but I have yet to crack the seal on this one yet...again, another post), Dr. Scholl's for Her (high heel shoe inserts...these have yet to ship yet, but I await anxiously), and then there's the product I want to discuss today...Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine shampoo and conditioner!

So, it really doesn't "sleek and shine" as well as it "could", but then again, I have some pretty darned frizzy hair so I'm happy with what it does!  The first thing I noticed when I used this product (which they were nice enough to provide full sized bottles, one of each, for free) was the smell!  This could be due to my "pregnant hormones" and all, but it smells like a Fuzzy Navel Wine Cooler!  I'm not a huge fan of the peachy-orangey smell, but I "suffer" through it because it does fade fairly quickly into a more pleasant smell as my hair dries.  I am not the only one that smells it though, my boyfriend is always telling me that the bathroom (and bedroom since they are attached) smells "fruity" after my shower!  He, of course, does this with a wrinkled "who got sick on my chair" look on his face...he doesn't like fruit at all.

Other than the smell though, I absolutely love this stuff!  I may even continue to use it once the free bottles are gone (a rare thing for me)!  While it doesn't get rid of the frizz that is always around my face, kind of like my own "out of focus effect", it does tame it down by quite a lot.  I generally don't really bother with what my hair looks like, especially now that the weather is warmer...Garrick drives with the windows down and it just  makes the frizz worse.  However, we did go out to dinner one night while everyone was visiting (Nephew #3 was here for 2 weeks, Mom and my Cousin here for the last 5 days or so of his visit).  I ran to the bathroom and ran a brush through my hair so that I looked semi-presentable...although, having a 4 year old in tow, I think I get forgiven for looking like a mad woman!  My hair was smooth and most of the frizz calmed right down!  A quick spritz of my favorite "stay down darn you" hair spritz (it's a pump style) and off we went with me looking like I hadn't spent all day in the garage sorting boxes, moving things about, and taking truckloads to the dump and Goodwill!

Do you like the brand already?  Have you "liked" them on FaceBook?  If not, here's a link to their page...go do it now (or a bit later, but here's the link anyway)!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Seis de Mayo!

Well, we did not celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but we did go out this evening for a yummy Mexican meal at our favorite local restaurant, Pueblo Amigo!  I had Chicken Fajitas (that I ended up sharing with the chickens, they got the leftover grilled onions and peppers, some Gaucamole, Sour Cream, Lettuce, and a pile of Mexican Rice) and Garrick got his standard "Nachos".

Prior to dinner though, we had a fairly uneventful day.  My blood sugars were pretty high this morning, so I was really only up long enough to test and get some insulin.  I went back to bed after asking Garrick to check on me periodically just in case my blood sugars took a dip in the other direction.  Several hours later (just in time for Lunch), with more "normal" sugar levels, we headed out for Breakfast/Lunch and to do our weekly grocery shopping.  Of course, my afternoon plans were thwarted by my forgetting the coupons for potting soil!  I did manage to keep myself entertained though by watching A Turtle's Tale on's a cute little cartoon.  While I was "busy" with that, Garrick was (and still is) busily working away at whatever class he is currently taking in his Master's degree program (it has something to do with computers...other than that, I have no idea)!  Then, of course, was the aforementioned dinner at Pueblo Amigo.  Followed by a trip back to Fred Meyer, with coupon this time, to pick up 4 bags of potting soil!  Along with the 2 bags I had leftover from last year, I hope to have enough to plant my Tomatoes and herbs tomorrow.

A few weeks ago, I had family visiting.  My cousin who came is a wonderful woman whom I love to pieces!  We are a lot alike I think...  She even came bearing gifts for us!  She gave us a brand new HealthMaster!  I can't wait to start making some of the yummy recipes that came with it and will most likely "juice" my way through Summer when I just don't feel like doing a lot of cooking. 

She also stocked me up on makeup products, a full line up!  Of course, I don't really "know" how to "wear" it, but I do like playing with it and may figure out a decent "look" for myself one of these days!  This morning while "playing" with it, I found that the foundations are way too dark for my skin (according to Garrick, it looked like someone had punched me in the cheek while he was helping look for cotton balls).  So, when the search for cotton balls turned up empty, I realized, I also do not have makeup remover either!  I tried the stuff my cousin gave worked but it left me feeling very dried out. 

What's a gal to do after that happens?  Hit the internet, of course!  I poured over pages and pages of "how to" guides to make your own...most just say to take a cotton ball and dowse it in Olive Oil to get rid of makeup "naturally".  Now, I have no problem with the "natural" approach, but I do take issue with just rubbing oil on me and expecting to be "clean" when I'm done!  So, after pouring over more pages, I came to the conclusion that I already had a perfectly good recipe here that I could modify (slightly) and have a great makeup remover!  So, I went back to the "How to Make Your Own Baby Wipes" page over at Want What You Have and did a little math!  I didn't want 2 1/2 cups of makeup remover after all!  I worked it down to 1/4 of the recipe, or just a little over 1/2 cup.  Of course, the little jar I grabbed only held 1/4 cup, so I just halved it again and adjusted as I went as well.

My Makeup Remover Recipe

4 Tablespoons hot Water (I turned the teapot on while I melted the oil)
1/4 teaspoon Melted Coconut Oil (I keep mine in a glass jar & mcrowave the whole thing for 30 seconds to melt it)
3/8 teaspoon Baby Shampoo (anything tear free)

I used my 1/8 teaspoon measuring spoon to measure the oil and shampoo, I wanted it to have a bit "extra" oil to help can use more or less of both of these ingredients, but I wouldn't go nuts on either!  Then, when they were in the jar, I measured the hot (not boiling, but it could if you want to wait and aren't planning on running straight to the bathroom to try it out) water into the little jar and gave it a stir (with the 1/8 teaspoon to get the last bit of shampoo and oil off it).

Simple, huh?  Of course, I still had the dilemma of not having any cotton balls!  I tried a few squares of toilet paper, but it left little balls of paper on my face, yuck!  Then, I grabbed a semi-soft cleaning cloth out of my linen closet (the lightest color I could find to make sure the makeup was actually being removed), dipped the corner in the solution and wiped away the makeup I wore all day!  Afterward, I wet the other side of the rag with cool water and gave my face a final once over (to sort of rinse the shampoo residue away but hopefully leave the oil behind).  An hour later, my face still feels clean and super soft!  This had the added bonus of letting me "try out" the wipe solution I plan on using once the little one actually gets here...if it works this good on my face, I'm sure I'll be happy about using it on his or her little hiney! 

I also found my way to a new "favorite" blog that I've added to my list of daily stocking reading list!  Her recipe, looking back on it now, for the makeup removers is darned near the same...okay, exactly.  I just don't bother with purchasing water when I can just get it out of the tap.  If you "must" have distilled water though, boil it hard (you know, that really fast boil that spits hot water at you) for 10 to 15 minutes then let it cool to room temp, voila, distilled water!  She also has recipes for homemade shaving lotion, fabric softener, stain remover, and many more that I want to try!  Garrick will appreciate the fabric softener I think, he is still getting used to doing the laundry without dryer sheets, fabric softener in the wash, and OxiClean!  When I make the fabric softener, it will go in a spray bottle to be added to a washrag and tossed in the dryer.  We can't have softener residue in the washer, it'll ruin the cloth diapers!

I am still working on figuring out how to "adapt" my homemade Laundry Soap recipe to something that doesn't take up quite so much room and uses less water (it tends to separate and annoy me).  An added bonus to making it with less water would be that I would need less "product" per load because it would be more concentrated.  A note if anyone made the recipe I posted about a while ago...make sure you put it in either before you put the clothes in (while running water into the machine) or stick your full soap cup under the water stream.  Do not pour it directly on your clothes, especially dark colors!  I've had to put things back through the wash a second time because the white soap left soapy marks on the clothes!

Busy week this week....veggie planting, house cleaning, diaper making(?), and Friday I have another OB/GYN appointment!  We should know at this visit when our ultrasound will be (assuming 4 weeks from Friday since I'll be 20 weeks in early June)!  Today I am 15 weeks 5 days, if anyone is counting.  My how time is just flying!  We went this weekend and picked up the crib and high chair from Garrick's parents.  I had no idea what the crib looked like and was pleasantly surprised to see an exact match to the crib my parents had for me when I was born!  This one is much newer though.  I'm still considering using it downstairs in our soon to be moved office space though, rather than as the "full time crib", I think I still want one with no drop sides and stuff for the overnight use.  This will work excellent for baby napping in the shared office space though!  The highchair is perfect, it actually sits in an upright position (the newer ones lay back and drive me insane)!

Well, I'm off to take inventory of the "homemade" supplies I have/need...I think tomorrow will also be a day of making some "supplies" too!