Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Week 40: Almost ready to meet #2!

I'm not emotionally good at being pregnant.  I LOVE being a mother--it's a lot of fun and a responsibility I take very seriously.  But I HATE being pregnant.  Seriously.  I don't glow or glimmer, or feel anything but awkward and out of place.  But pregnancy is cheaper than buying one, and a much more sure thing than just finding one on the side of the road, so here I am.

As I enter my 40th week of pregnancy with lucky #2, I keep thinking of things I'm looking forward to doing/being once I'm not pregnant anymore.  So here's my list, and it will not include anything baby-related...
1. Getting off the couch unassisted.  Even Little Man has had to help me a few times...
2. Sleeping on my back or my stomach--anything but on my side(s).
3. Being able to see my lady parts. (I never realized how much it would bother me to not be able to see a part of my body I'm used to seeing.)
4. Weeding my garden. Haven't you wondered why I haven't posted any photos this year?  It's not because it's not there...I'm completely embarrassed by my messy garden right now.
5. Spooning my husband.  He can spoon me, but I can't spoon him.
6. Cleaning my bathtub. 
7. Giving my dogs a bath (likely before I clean the bathtub).
8. Drinking.  I miss drinking a whole drink.  And I miss drinking a sip of a drink without getting weird looks from people everywhere.
9. Eating funky, unpasteurized cheeses.
10. A lack of heartburn.
11.  Eight weeks of unabashed lounging (obviously with my new friend).
12.  Being able to put Little Man to bed--haven't been able to do that for a few months now since I can't really hold him for long or bend down to put him in bed.
13. Being able to travel.  Right now with all this extra weight (and ligament stretching hormones) I can't sit in the car for more than an hour at a clip.  I'm looking forward to seeing people again!
14.  Walking/standing/sitting/leaning/laying in one position for more than 15 minutes at a clip.  Especially the walking part.  I'm so lame I can't even take the dogs out around the block right now...
15. Making dinner.  I'm averaging two meals a week right now--super lame.
16. Wearing normal clothes.  I fit into about 5 outfits right now.  And I'm sick of wearing them.
17. That few days post-pregnancy lightness--since I'll be instantly about 25 pounds lighter, I'll feel like I'm floating for a few days.

I can't wait!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Recipe: Blueberry Buckle

Photo borrowed from thespicedlife.com
I think berry season is my favorite part of the summer--strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries (try them, they're AMAZING), blackberries, whatever.  I'm there, I'm stained red and blue and I'm happy.

So, I'm thrilled that blueberries were on sale a few weeks ago (from CA, but I couldn't help myself) so I could make a blueberry buckle for my co-worker's office wedding shower.

Blueberry buckle is one of those desserts/breakfasts/snacks that reminds me of childhood.  My grandparents had blueberry bushes which my sister, cousins and I spent a lot of time picking, and someone was always making something with berries.  My mother makes a mean buckle, but I did modify her recipe a little bit to suit the lack of Crisco in my pantry (mmm, butter).

Also, if you're wondering exactly what a buckle is, it's like a coffee cake, but with a band or "belt" of berries going through the middle.  I simplified for this recipe and just put all of the topping on top, but it's definitely prettier if you have the patience to split the cake batter into two layers.

Blueberry Buckle--makes 16 servings
Oven: 350F
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Creamed sugar, butter, and egg
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Thoroughly cream shortening and cup sugar - add egg and beat till light and fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking power and salt- add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Spread in well-greased tube pan.
Batter before topping
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter (cold)
Mix together sugar, flour and cinnamon in medium bowl.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Gently mix in berries and sprinkle over top of cake  Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before trying to remove from the pan.  When mostly cool, slip a knife around the outside edge of the pan.  Place a small bowl or short glass inverted on the counter and use that to help you remove the cake from the outer ring. Then run your knife along the inside edge and under the cake to loosen.  It should lift off the tube easily--if not, run the knife around again.
Cut into 16 wedges and serve.

You can wrap and freeze whole cakes and portions as well--keeps for about 3 months without issues.  To defrost, just let sit on your counter for a few hours.

*Please note: the title image on this post has been borrowed from http://www.thespicedlife.com/2008/07/blueberry-buckle.html.  This is because I didn't have time to take a photo before all sixteen pieces were eaten!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I miss making things!

Man, I never thought I'd be so out of touch with my own blog.  I've never been a super-regular journaling kind of gal (even when I had an actual diary with a lock and key that I really just drew on--not in), but the last few months (roughly 7, actually) have probably been the most unproductive of my life externally.

Since January, I've stopped my personal chef-ery business, haven't sewn a darn thing (except a rogue bra strap and hook & eye clasp repair on said bra), haven't brewed a single beer, have knitted or crocheted exactly nothing, and barely have the energy to make dinner most nights.  I've planted exactly 4 tomato plants in my garden, and put together a really cute herb garden in a strawberry pot--that's it.

Internally, I'm sustaining an expectant life.  "#2" as we affectionately call him or her is due, ironically, Labor Day weekend.  As he/she/it is literally sucking the energy right out of me, I do a lot of "supervising".  I'm lucky to have an actually helpful 2 1/2 year old and an understanding husband...

But even though I spend most of my days dreaming about making things and plotting what I might be able to make while on maternity leave, I am lucky enough to be reading a ton lately.  In addition to voraciously reading my National Geographics each month, finally catching up on my SKI and 32 degrees magazines (ironic since there's no snow and I'm really not fit to ski), I've re-discovered the awesomeness that "Leisure Reading" section at Temple University's library which is awesomely situated across the street from my office.

If you're interested in keeping up with what I'm reading or suggesting a new book, please link up!  I hate walking blindly into a book without a recommendation and I'm game to read anything.  I'm 99% sure this is my profile.

Until I'm game for making again, here are my current craft-crushes:
The Cutest Darn Thing to entertain your toddler on Two-Many
I need to have this skirt but am too lazy to make it, but I still really want to buy the pattern
Signs I may miss drinking a bit too much

I hope to have more fodder to share with you all soon, but it may just be musings on what I plan to brew for my post-baby hospital bed celebration...I'm excited about that!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My best creation to date

The official b-day pic
Sunday was a big milestone in our house--Little Man turned two.  And since I've never actually recounted any of the story of his birth (not even in a baby book I'm a bit ashamed to admit), I figured I'd do it now.  He deserves it!

My due date was January 13th--a Friday, which really made your Grampa nervous.  I worked until you came, and was planning for the 13th to be my last day at work.  But you had other plans.

On January 11th, after a long day of some last-minute projects your father and I needed to get done (we were re-wiring the 3rd floor so Nana had a place to sleep when she came to visit), I finally made my way to bed around 1130pm while your father finally ate dinner and watched South Park downstairs before he came up.  I washed up, got changed, and I think I may have even laid out clothes for the next day at work (it's not hard when only about 3 things you own still fit).  I then went over to the bed, picked up my leg to get in, and...my water broke.
The three of us at our baby shower in Nov. 2011

At first I thought I peed myself, but I soon realized what was going on and called down to your father.  (p.s. thank Jeebus a co-worker had convinced me to sleep on a towel for the last week or I probably would have ruined our mattress). I asked him to meet me in the bathroom with my phone so I could call the doctor, and then sent him back downstairs to finish eating.  As suspected, the doctor on call told us to come in, but since I was pretty comfortable, I read the Farmer's Almanac until your father came back to check on me.

He may have fallen asleep on the couch (though he'll never admit to it) because I was in the bathroom for a WHILE, when I decided to call him to see what the deal was. Your father came upstairs, helped me get cleaned up, dressed, and packed (no I hadn't finished packing for myself though your bag was good to go), and off we went.  Since we wanted it to be only us at the hospital, we didn't call Nana or Gramma or Pap or Grampa--I sent a smiley text message to Aunt Manoshi and Auntie.

On the way to hospital, we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts--your father was in desperate need of caffeine and I knew they weren't going to let me eat once we checked in.  It was the most glorious egg and butter on an everything bagel sandwich I can remember, all washed down with a hot chocolate.  Oddly enough, once I started eating, I started feeling the contractions for the first time--nothing huge or painful yet but a bit uncomfortable.

When we finally got to the hospital around 2am, the duty nurse said she was just about to call me back--they thought something might have happened since we arrived more than two hours after my initial call...but we had to eat, right?

The labor nurse I started out with was not the most pleasant person in the world, and to be frank, I felt really pressured to start taking labor inducing and pain numbing medications--both of which I didn't want to start until I really had to.  The only response that seemed to quell the resident on duty was that I wanted to wait until my doctor came on to make any decisions.

Mommy was on vicodin
Daylight changes everything, including shifts at a hospital and the strength of contractions.  By the time my doctor got in, I was laboring moderately but apparently not making a lot of progress.  Since my water had been broken for about twelve hours, I decided to let them give me pitocin and demanded that they give me an epidural if they were going to give me pitocin.  It was pretty rough trying to manage staying still for the epidural during some strong contractions, but we did it. 

I 'm glad we did.  After the medicine kicked in, your father and I settled in, relaxed and watched Indiana Jones for a few hours.  The doctor even stopped by a few times to ask us where we were at in the movie--I guess he's a fan.

Just before two o'clock, the doctor and labor nurse, Ella (who happened to know a work friend of mine) told me it was time to start pushing, and push I did.  About twenty minutes later, you came into the world, all slimy and off-color, and fairly odd-looking.  But we were so relieved to finally meet you.
1 day old

We hadn't found out if you were a boy or girl before you were born, and frankly it didn't matter much once you were here.  It mattered so little in fact, that the doctor and nurses had to remind us to check!

You were born at 2:21 PM on Thursday Jan. 12, 2012 weighing in at 7 lbs. 2 oz. and 19 inches long.  We named you Michael for your grandfathers (Pap and Grampa are both named Michael) and Michael Jacob for your  Grampa, Great Grampa, and Great-Great Grampa who are/were all MJ

You went home in a Flyers onesie, and watched your first Flyers game about 2 minutes after you got home.  The dogs (Pearl & Bob) were instantly taken with you.  The cat took a while to warm up, but now he's probably your best friend.

Happy birthday, buddy.