If it's not one thing it has to be another

12:31 PM Edit This
Well I can't get on to Facebook for a month. I can update my status from my phone but I get an error message every time I try to comment on someone's status. I feel like I'm ignoring everyone. I have really grown to love Facebook. It gives me the illusion that someone out there is paying attention to the mundane in and outs of my life I might post. I feel like I have an adult connection to the world and the children are better off for it. Why do I need such a thing? Can't I just be happy with myself? Well it seems the answer is no and I can accept that. I'm sad.

I feel pretty good about the food front now. The freezer is practically full already. I'm going to be making broth tonight or tomorrow to can. That's my base ingredient for my "gravy from nothing" as Doug calls it, to go with the meatballs I picked up at Ikea and any leftover steak we might end up with. I like to slice the meat thin and heat it in the gravy then serve over noodles. Our steak is usually cooked rare enough that a second heating doesn't over cook. Although Doug doesn't yet know the gravy technique it is quick and easy enough that I can do it with little effort and that's really what's important.

Oh here's some smelly revenge to report. The neighbors dog has been back in the yard everyday since we blocked the neighbor out of our internet. Well remember all that Salmon I wrote about (I did remember to blog the 200 lb of salmon we processed didn't I?). All those guts and bones had to go somewhere so we piled the compost near the property line and covered it with manure from the yearly barn scooping. So imagine that pile! It is covered with a tarp. Casey was barking so Doug went out to see why and low and behold, the dog was standing in our front yard playing with Junior. Doug got Junior into his kennel then quietly moved away to get the garbage can while watching the dog who, now bored but never scared, went over, lifted the tarp and started rolling in the poopy gut pile!!! HA, HA, HA!!!!! ROTHFLMFAO!!! There are not words to describe how funny this is. I really hope they let the dog in before they realized what he had just done. Perhaps now they will keep him home, if not the pile is still loosely covered with the easy access tarp. Suddenly I don't mind the foul smell nearly so much!

I'm not even sure of the gender of this dog either. Junior is an intact male Yorkie-Chihuahua and looks like a scruffy tan Toto. If this brindle boxer is female, I think I'm going to have to demand a puppy as fee for stud service. Wouldn't that make the funniest puppies ever? Junior is getting up in years and I don't really think he still has it in him though but the thought is funny all the same.

Cooking for the freezer

9:58 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This
I have this huge worry. I'm scared we will all starve if I'm not able to cook dinner. I'm worried after the baby is born I won't have the energy to spend a hour or more cooking dinner every night. With our food sensitivities, I can't just open a can or box and heat. Cooking for food sensitivities is like needing to reinvent the wheel everytime you want to cook. You know what food should look and taste like but the wheel you are used to doesn't work for you anymore so you have to find another way. I guess there may be a few things out there that are gluten, casin and soy free but the ones I have tried tasted like crap. I'm on a mission to pack the freezer with items I can grab out and reheat or prepare with little effort, things that have instructions so Doug can easily prepare after coming home from work if he had to. I'm not saying that Doug can't cook but I do most of the cooking around here so frankly I am better at it. It's kind of my job to be. There is also the problem that I fear Doug won't really take any time of work then I'm really in a bind for feeding everyone. He gets home at 7pm and is hungry when he walks in the door. If food isn't ready he tends to get a little grumpy and already that is wearing on me so I would rather avoid it if I can.

Last night we made lasagna, lots of lasagna. I was very thankful for Doug's help with the ingredient prep and for cooking the onion. I'm the only one with a true allergy, an anaphylactic reaction to raw onion, my lips and tongue swell and throat starts to close. I have usually caught it before swallowing anything, only once did someone try to kill me with onions but we won't go into that now. Because of this cooking raw onion is really hard for me too. After it is cooked the enzyme I'm allergic to dies and I'm good to go. Onions do add so much flavor, so many foods wouldn't be as good without them, I just need them cooked first.

So I had planned on making 4-11x7 pans of lasagna then realized that I only have two Stainless steel pans for freezing and that they could not be popped back out and vacuum sealed when I was done because the bags are not that big. I decided to make 2- 11x7 pans (after all that's what I bought them for) and 4-8x8 pans lined with parchment so they can pop out easily and get vacuum sealed. Now after the fact I realize that I should have done them all in 8x8 because that's the size of everything else I have frozen so it would all fit nice and also it's the size of one meal for the family. In the case of the lasagna they are so dense that it might still be two meals. The 8x8's weighed 4 lb each! In the end my kettle could not have held anymore sauce than I made and it was only enough for 2-11x7 and 2-8x8. I have extra meat mix and mushrooms so everything else was the right amount. The left overs will make great pizza toppings, another item to freeze!! Here's my recipe:


Gluten Free, Dairy Free Lasagna
Ingredients:

Meat mix
3lb ground beef (2 would probably do but I wanted to increase the meat with the lack of cheese)
2 small bulbs garlic - minced
4 large onions
2 bell peppers
Italian seasoning
Sea salt

Sauce
(This is very close to what I make for spaghetti sauce as well but I like it a little thicker for pasta sauce)
5 lb carrots-shredded
1 head cauliflower- chopped into 1" chunks and steamed
1 large handful spinach- steamed
2 6oz cans tomato paste
2 28oz cans diced tomatoes
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Sea salt
Triple Flake
Italian Seasoning

Additional layers
2 lb fresh mushrooms
4 cans olives sliced (or as many cans of sliced olives as you like, depending on your brand)
16oz spinach- steamed and chopped


Meat mix
Brown your beef in batches seasoning with sea salt and italian seasoning to taste. Sweat out the onions and garlic until just transparent then add bell peppers until soft. Mix with beef, cover and set aside.

Sauce
Shred 5lbs of carrots in the food processor. Add to large kettle with a little water and a tight lid, cook on med-high until soft. At the same time steam your cauliflower until soft. Add to carrots, change water to avoid bitterness and steam your spinach for about 2 minutes. Puree together with the 2-6 oz cans of tomato paste. This is the easiest way to get the paste integrated. When you have the desired consistency add in 2-28 oz cans diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or to taste (adds a cheese like flavor) and season with sea salt, kelp or triple flake and italian seasoning to taste. Add water as needed to thin the sauce so it is quite spreadable.


Assembly
Boil water to cook your noodles one pans worth at a time. Mine took three minutes to cook. Take the noodles out immediately but do not rinse. Now is the time to work quickly before you noodles dry out and stick together.

I kept kitchen scissors on hand too for fitting ends. If you plan to remove them from the pan when frozen, don't forget to cover the bottom with parchment paper.

Start with a thin layer of sauce. Place in a layer of noodles. Top with cut steamed spinach squeased out well to remove as much of the water as possible. Just rip off little pieces from what is now a ball of spinach in your hand and dob all over. Next layer olives, then mushrooms then a healthy handful or meat mix. Add sauce and spread it out. Apply your next layer of noodles. Top with olives, mushrooms, meat mix and more sauce.

Repeat this as many times as you have pans for. When finished cover with several layers of plastic wrap, label and freeze. I added little cards listing the ingredients, and approximate cooking times. I *think* they should be baked at 350f for 35 min covered with parchment or foil then uncovered for 10-20 minutes or until done.

Sleep-a good thing!!

1:04 AM Edit This
I got a nap today. Woo Hoo!! I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but to me it is. The kids and I all slept for two hours! I have to admit when I looked in the mirror this morning I scared myself. I though, "Wow. Do I always look this bad?" I looked much like a zombie. After a two hour nap I felt much better and when Doug came home, out of the blue he said "You look great!" Ok well I guess the question is answered, he doesn't usually say that so yes, I normally do look like a zombie.

We got salmon today. A friend picked some up from gleaners for us because we didn't think we would make it before it was all gone but Doug went by after work and found that it there was in fact some left over. He was able to get about two canner loads and dinner out of what was still good.

Tomorrow night we will start back up on apple cider pressing. I also have plans to freeze a bunch of "London Broil" rolls. I have the hamburger all thawed and ready to roll so to speak. That should make at least three dinners for the freezer and dinner for tomorrow night. Perhaps if we get started early enough we can get two loads of cider canned before bed time., That would be about 100lb of apples down. I really need a bigger stove, with a five burner gas stove top I could can two batches at once. Imagine all the time we could save!! Maybe someday....

!!Warning!! Pregnant lady ranting!!!!

2:13 AM Edit This 1 Comment »
Last week it really hit me. See Wednesday is my change over day, the day we start new week of pregnancy. Last week we hit 29wks. That means 10 weeks left until due date. Now hold your hands out in front of you, fingers spread, that's right JUST THAT MANY!! Where did the time go? I'm so not ready yet. 10 wks is only the due date too, not the "safe" date Robin was born quite before his due date, nearly 4 weeks before. I get dizzy and faint when I think about it, I try not to think about it but it keeps coming back. There is so much to do. I can't currently keep up with the normal day to day stuff right now because:

1. I can't bend very well - when I do I either get stuck on the floor because the kids climb me or my indigestion gets so bad I have to stop.
2. I'm so tired I don't feel like doing much when I have a free moment anymore, mostly because I'm too uncomfortable to sleep and shortly after going to bed usually the kids pig pile on top of me, so that makes three kids sleeping on me, kicking me and head butting me at the same time.
3. Both my 3yr old and 19mo old want to be babies right now probably because they can sense change is coming and they are regressing - they want to be carried everywhere, both of them, they won't hardly even feed themselves right now and my 3yr old thinks he wants to be in diapers again rather than use the potty some days and he has been using the toilet for over a year!
4. My house is so small I don't fit anywhere - I can't fit to carry a laundry basket up the stairs, just can't make the corner and not being able to see my feet makes the stairs a little dangerous anyway. I have to shuffle sideways to get around things here now, most of the time because the floor is a mess with toys (refer to list item #1)

My point is I'm already so behind on the regular things. for instance, I worked my ass off getting all the laundry caught up. It has come to a point that I can't fit to get back to where the laundry hamper is so I can't get the clothes out to sort and wash them, also I can't carry them downstairs from the floor upstairs, where clothes get dropped off the ends of beds for me to trip on because I nearly tipped over and fell down the stairs last time I tried. I need to hold the rail and can't carry laundry at the same time. I asked for help with this but other things were always more important and it was never gotten to. It's been over a week since I have washed regular clothes. This is a real problem for me since I only have 4 pairs of pants. I went to a concert on Saturday but had to wait to have my pants washed before we could go, I really had literally nothing to wear (unless I was to see Danzig in my striped Hanna Andersson pj's) That's just one thing, how about the dishes. I have to wear an apron if I go near the sink now because I am guaranteed to get soaking wet. I'm short, no really I am. My arms don't reach too far and with a short torso my belly sticks out so far that I have a hard time even reaching into the sink to wash the dishes. It's that it really strains my back to do it. Then there is putting them away when they are washed. I want to cry sometimes because out house was designed so poorly, I can't reach to put the glasses away. I have to get on the floor to put anything in a cupboard and getting up and down is hard for anyone I'm sure. Oh and here's a kicker, Dallas can unpack the dishwasher onto the floor faster than I can get back and forth to where the dishes go. If I leave a cupboard or cabinet open and turn around for a second, he can have that unpacked onto the floor in seconds as well. The bin I had for him to play in, that was always enough for Robin bores Dallas and he's not happy unless he's actively "helping".

It's harvest season right now and we just gleaned an apple orchard and have around 1000lb of apples to make into cider and then can, then there's the salmon runs we need to can about 4 or 5 load of fish, possibly twice.

So then there's all the things still to do to get ready for a baby coming. Let me put this into a list as well.
1. Place for baby clothes - I mean a dresser, a full sized one, not a plastic tote
2. A safe place for baby to sleep - I need to order an organic co-sleeper mattress. I can't get the big kids to not sleep on me or to even stay to one side. I fear they will try to sleep on the baby if I don't put him someplace else. The kids are not doing so good at staying in their own beds all night.
3. I need to order more diapers. This alone is a $300 purchase. We know we want the Motherease onesize because we have some and love them. We would have enough diapers for both kids if Dallas could wear the fuzzi bunz but he has been getting a rash from anything synthetic so needs the cotton diapers too and with they way he poops, prefolds just can't hold it all the time.
4. I don't have a swing, bassinet or hammock to set the baby down in while I take care of the other two. - Yes I baby wear but sometimes you still have to set them down for their own safety and here the floor ain't' it. We own a large floor model swing but Doug took it out to the shed which means it's gone forever. I told him to bag up the fabric pieces first so they didn't mold and I'm near 100% sure that didn't happen because he didn't think it was necessary. Besides, there isn't room to put it anywhere in here. We had one on the table for Dallas and we might have to do that again. It's a little portable swing but it eats batteries like you've never seen and doesn't really work that well. It will have to do I guess.
5. I don't have a birth kit set up. I need to look into what I need to get and what I still have. I know I need to order new peri bottles, the kids stole all mine for bath time pouring.
6. I meant to line up a care provider but have not gotten around to it yet. I really wanted Doug to go with me but he had meetings all the time that he can't miss so for 29 wks I have been waiting for him to make an appointment he thinks he can keep. This also makes me worry about being all alone after the baby is born. He has said make the appointment and he will be there but I actually did try that once and all three of the days I gave him didn't work for him. If he can't make the prenatal appointment because they need him at work so badly, how can he possibly take off time to say home and help me with the kids?
7. Go through the baby clothes and get rid of what's ruined and put away all the stuff I have bought that is sitting in boxes waiting to be fit in the the proper sized tubs.
8. Cook a bunch more meals for the freezer so we won't starve when the baby comes and Doug is at working until late and I don't have energy to cook while not getting any sleep as I predict will be the case even more so with three kids.

A friend of mine just had her baby at 33wks. Her baby is doing great by the way, but I had not though of what to do if the baby came really early. Doug and I talked it out and at least have a plan now if that were to happen.

Can you all tell I'm very nervous and needing someone to talk to. When I try to talk to Doug about it I feel like he just blows me off. I'm sure that's not his intention and he probably doesn't mean to. He has a large list of things he feels are more important to him. I understand, it's a different perspective and his things are just as important in his eyes, they all need to get done. The difference is my things require him to help me and I can't even help him with most of his tasks either besides keeping the kids occupied. Here's the list as I know it.

1. The animals need to be set up for winter - the goats need some weather proofing and straw
2. The yard needs to be cleaned up - Doug's not home much right now during daylight and the yard is full of recycle and crap to take to the dump.
3. There's about half an acre of kids toys to be put under cover, requiring cover to be build or cleaned out.
4. The garden needs to be prepped for winter and two more green house frames need to be built before spring. I think this is on his before January list.
5. Plan the garden, pick and order seeds (this one is my job also requested to be done before January.
6. Bee hives - we need find plans for the right type, build hives and buy bees.
7. Pick house plans. He wants house plans for the expansion picked and nailed down before January for some reason.
8. Fence the property. Doug has said all he wants for Christmas is fencing. He wants to get the fence put it before Christmas and he wanted to ask my dad to help. I don't think he will. It has been my experience that he can tell you how to do something in theory but seems to get upset if you need him to help. I found this was the case when working on my car. I changed my own breaks but couldn't get the seized calipers to budge so had to ask for help and he was really irritated at the time (he did help though). The thing with the fence is it can't be done any other way but right. He built some bee hives differently then the plans said because he had help that thought it should be done a different way and the hives are now useless. I don't know who we could ask for help on this fencing but I don't think he can do it alone. (If anyone wants to volunteer please speak up)

Then there's the project I have that need attention not exactly baby related but still needing to get done before the baby comes.
1. get the toys under control - we need to pack a bunch away, sell a bunch and donate a bunch. They need to be organized. They don't get played with just thrown around if they aren't put away together. If the blocks are with the puppets the kids won't dig out the blocks from the puppets they get side tracked and throw all the puppets on the ground, and oh look blocks so they take them out and then oh look bouncy balls, so on and so on until all the toys are out, nothing is being played with and everything is mixed up, all because I couldn't put them away myself and had to let it be good enough (aka not good enough since it's the source of the messy floor)
2. There is a stack of things in the corner where the tree would go, were we to have a tree this year and as of now, it looks like we can't. Does that make it a sad christmas? Maybe so but I can't do anything about it and WILL NOT let it all get shoved elsewhere of thrown on the porch, that's a death sentence for any item as "the wind" will knock it off never to be seen again regardless of what it is or how much it means to me.
3. I'm very behind on entering receipts, have changed platforms and don't even have access to my old program and I'm not sure how to do the book keeping anymore.
4. I am quite behind on scanning to PDF all the bills and filing. I have a huge stack to do but have not yet even figured out how to get the scanner to work with this computer.
5. I need to sew lots of things. Like the maternity yoga pants I can wear for another 10 weeks. (the pattern is not for maternity I was going to alter it so it's not money lost.)
6. Put up those new shelves for the kitchen I blogged about months ago. To start requires climbing ladders and pulling stuff down from on top of the shelves. If that could be cleaned off we could transfer the shelves pretty easily.
7. When the shelves get replace, the kitchen needs to get painted actually probably before the shelves get put in. Again I can't help Doug with this, someone has to stay clean for the kids.

I feel lonely and scared, very scared but hope putting this all out will at least let me calm down enough to sleep at night rather then worry about it all. I'm sure everything will work out in the end, after all life keeps on rolling even if not how planned.

Nothing in particular...

10:52 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I felt like writing something but I don't have anything in particular to say really. I'll just ramble about my feelings then. I feel great stress over the election. I made a mistake and voted for the wrong county commissioner and I don't know if I can open my envelope and change my vote. I'm going to go to the court house tomorrow and ask if there is a way. I feel so strongly that I made the wrong choice on this one person that I am wondering if perhaps I shouldn't keep my ballot rather then send it and and vote for the wrong guy.

We went to an old friends wedding today. I could tell the kids had no intention of keeping quiet so we waited until we thought the actual ceremony was over to go in. There is absolutely no way to keep a 3 year old quiet when he has a mind to make noise because he gets bored. Dallas on the other hand is a very hungry fellow and at 18mo a cup of freeze dried peas will still keep him happy for a while. We had to leave the reception before the bride and groom left because Robin got bored and wouldn't stop drumming with forks on the glass wear. He also started throwing the fake flower petals at the candles and almost caught one on fire but Doug pulled it out in time. That would have been just great my kid setting a fire and causing sprinklers to go off. There was no diverting his attention elsewhere. It was also cake serving time and we can't eat that so he might have felt upset by that too. Either way we said our congratulations and good byes and packed into the car to head home. Robin didn't want to leave and yelled at us for talking saying he needed some quiet time. We honored that and he fell asleep shortly after. It's interesting to see him tell us when he needs a break or time to think. He does mirror our reactions and when I get upset I have been trying to tell him I need a time out or some quiet time to calm down rather then yell at him and clearly it's working for him too. Yep, good to see this parenting stuff I'm working so hard at does work sometimes.

Karla was such a beautiful bride. She looked so happy and Mark was so kind to her and attentive especially how he had to carry her train every time they had to walk somewhere. It was cute. I wish I could have seen the actual wedding but I know it was the right thing to do, waiting until the kids didn't need to be quiet. The day was about Karla and Mark and I certainly didn't want to ruin any moment.

On a humorous note, when Robin saw Karla he said to me, "Mama, I love Karla I want to marry Karla, Mark can't!! I was really surprised for one thing he hasn't spent a whole lot of time with Karla but the few times he has seen her must have left a strong impression, second He doesn't really throw the word love around and last I heard he was going to marry me, then MaryClare. When I told him that she already married Mark he looked like he was going to cry but I said, look how happy they are, and he did and he said well ok Mama, but I love her too. I understand kiddo. He then took some pictures of them and was happy for a while. He's really going through a shy phase and people kept talking to him and he didn't know how to handle himself. Dallas is still a ham and loved the attention.