From Vine to Cookie: The Little Grape that Could

Of the three varieties of fruit we were lucky enough to inherit from the previous owners of our house, only one of them was productive. Technically, all three were productive, managing to make fruit, but only one was productive enough for human consumption. The plums never sweetened up and the apples went crabby.

But our grape vines were VERY productive. So productive in fact, that we’ve been more than impressed with ourselves in aiding these plants generate such an abundance of grapes.

In an effort to get the most out of our backyard grapes, Jason stated early on that he intended to try his hand at making raisins. This statement was made shortly after my mom presented us with her seldom-used food dehydrator. We never really intended to go all out this year and try juicing or making jelly/jam. What we did discuss was how to set up even more vines for next year. A real Grape Escape, complete with one of these.

To begin, Jason collected, de-vined, and washed the grapes. Then he delicately placed them onto the trays of the food dehydrator.

After all the little grapes are snug in the dehydrator, we left it running… and running…and running. According to the manufacturer’s website, grapes take ten to thirty-six hours. Now, granted, our dehydrator is a little more antiquated than what they currently have listed on the website, but come on… it took about two days (literally 50 hours of enduring the low hum of the machine).

But, in the end, it was well worth the hum.. er wait. All those grapes gave us all these raisins. More than one man needs (one man is all who’s gonna eat them too because I don’t).

                     

And what better way to use these raisins up than to use them in cookies. Oatmeal cookies.

A few days ago I was reading this blog, and while her cookies have neater things than raisins in them, it reminded me that I promised Jason I would make him cookies with his raisins.

So today, between work projects, I did just that. I just used the recipe from the Quaker Oatmeal box.

Everything you need for making cookies… Including a kitteh cookie jar for storage.
Mixed together
Dough balls
Save the rest for later

And finally, after a batch without raisins (for me) and one with (for Jason), we have cookies.

His and Hers Oatmeal Cookies
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Preggo Girl’s WIAW #8

After yesterday’s allergy assault, I was surprised that I had been able to sleep as well as I did. Aside from my now regular bouts of tossing and turning, I had a kicky, hiccupy baby to tend with, as well as a nose that would just not turn off. But, sleep I did. I credit the odd dreams I had which were brought on by both the condition of my nasal passages as well as the fact I spent a good portion of my evening leveling my blood elf. (The things we do for love…)

Oddly, at some point in the early AM I found a good position on my right side, something unheard of on account of my worsening carpal tunnel. So my sleep was comfortable despite everything.

Work was the verb of the day, as I had three proofs to get through, but I was able to pull together some nosh to tide me over while I plodded through.

This week’s WIAW focuses on what I ate while working. 

Since I haven’t done any belly pics in a while, I thought I would include one here. Appropriately, I’m wearing my Dr. WhoAre you my mummy” t-shirt. The braces are for the afore-mentioned carpal tunnel.

I have to comment on my choice of sandwich. It’s NOT a pregnancy thing. I actually love cheddar and mustard sandwiches, regardless of being pregnant. They’re so darn good!

Baby-Moon Rising

Any plans we might have made regarding taking a baby-moon went out the window when I hit 30 weeks. My friends, Katy and Chris, went on theirs to Durango a few weeks ago. I was jealous.

I can honestly say that the last several weeks, nay, months, have been almost a dream. I’ve had mucho swelling, some lower back pain, and strange finger numbness, but all in all, nothing that was so unbearable that I was ready to induce labor. So a baby-moon would have been OK.

We had talked about going back to this place, where we’d gone last fall (BEST eggs Benedict ever). An artist friend of ours was participating in an art show last year and is doing it again this year. But it’s three hours away and everything I’m reading these days says that I should make sure that should I go into labor on the load, my insurance will cover it…meaning I need to know where the nearest hospital is in this small town, otherwise it’s a three-hour trek home!

Now, with 6 weeks and 5 days to go, I haven’t had any signs of premature labor. No Braxton Hicks contractions, no spotting, nothing… just a very kicky baby looking for more room in his….room.

I so want to go back to Abiquiu though…

And the Doctor Said…

We had our first bi-monthly (of two) OB visits this morning.

Things that have me excited:

1. We’re at 33 weeks, which means only 7 more until Tucker arrives.

2. I only gained two pounds this visit, one pound less than expected at the two-week point in what has been averaging to be 6 pounds a month for the last 4 or so months.

3. Tucker’s heartbeat is still strong.

4. The doctor seems to think he’s head-down at this point… a very good sign (not sure if he’s sunny-side up or face-down though).

Things that have me flummoxed:

1. The tips of my thumb and forefinger on my right hand have been completely numb for about two weeks. Cause: carpal tunnel.

2. Heartburn only when I roll over from my left side to my right side.

3. Tucker’s knee or foot likes to lodge itself beneath my ribs. Ouch. This started last night.

4. Wondering if my belly button will ever become an outie. It’s quite shallow these days.

5. Wondering how long linea nigra takes to go away after delivery.

Things I’m not really looking forward to:

1. Whooping cough vaccine. I saw a news story about a month and a half ago about the epidemic that seems to be afflicting more of those in the Northeast. I had meant to ask the doc about it at our last visit but spaced it, so I brought it up today and he said “yes, we recommend it for you both.” We had to get to CVS anyway to pick up some RXs and asked if they administered it. They do. But they said if we’d gotten the TDaP booster in the last 10 years, we didn’t need it. So now both Jason and I have to run down to UNMH to figure out if we’d gotten it. Some quick research says that this particular booster (which includes vaccines for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis or Whooping Cough) wasn’t available for adults before 2005–it would seem that NO Pertussis vaccines were available for adults or adolescents before 2005 anyway. I’m leaning toward my not having it at all, and possibly Jason having it when he was applying for the Peace Corps in 2005.

2. Group B Strep test. I had read up on this a little bit before today, but both the MA and the doc let us know that this will be happening at the visit. Yucky.

3. Weekly doctor visits beginning September 13-14…these are invasive and uncomfortable. But this one also is exciting because my progress will be closely monitored up until delivery.

Drum Roll…

This is the blog where I share with you our baby’s name. Only a handful of people know it, and now we’ve decided to release that information to the rest of the world…save the doctors and nurses at the hospital and the person who does the birth certificate (we’ll let them in on it a little later).

When deciding on the right name, we had “the right name” all picked out for a little girl. And while our lips are going to remained sealed on that, lest we end up with a baby girl in the future, I will say that it is a family name, coupled with a well-matched power name. According to Jason, power names have X’s and/or R’s in them.

The name for the boy was a lot more difficult. We had a great name… for three years. But when it came down to crunch time, we had to pass on it because of my family’s tradition of only naming our babies after relatives who’ve passed away (if we were going to name them after relatives, that is). The name we had chosen was much too close to my mother’s.

So we toyed around with some other names like Xavier, and some others that have now been lost to me.

The name we settled on? Tucker. As in:

This is one of Jason’s dream cars. He has a model of it an everything. We also found the Hot Wheels version at the toy show a few weeks ago.

 

 

Some of you may have noticed that I address the baby as THe baby. This is because I’m being clever. His first name is Tucker, and his middle name is Henry.

NOT as in this guy:

(although we tossed around the idea of naming him Tucker Henry J … Henry J is another car!)

Instead…

He’s actually named for this guy:

 

He’s my grandmother’s brother and my mother’s favorite uncle. Since Jason didn’t want to name our boy after himself which is a tradition in his own family–his father, brother, and nephew are all Christopher, and many of my family’s names have been taken: Benjamin Jerome (my cousin) is named after our great-grandfather and our grandfather respectively, and my brother’s Hebrew name is Moshe (again for our grandfather).

This leads us into the Hebrew name… which we’re still not 100% on. Mainly because I find cool names in different resources, but not the SAME cool names… which makes me wonder about the validity of all of the resources. So far, we like Oz (עוֹז) which means “strength.”

And we like it ’cause of this:

 

**Question: How’d you come up with your baby’s name(s)?**

Another Obligatory Cat Blog

I feel the need to write about something other than being pregnant, so this is my foray into just that.

I suppose I’m not technically a cat lady because I live in a pretty nice sized house and am married… although I could be considered for the title because there are four little animals running around this house. In all fairness, however, the hubby is a cat man (if such a term exists), and has had family cats and cats of his own longer than I have.

I like to think of my self as a cat AND dog person. While I don’t get all fanatical about my animals, I do enjoy dropping some coin for them when I can. My family’s dogs are still living with my parents. Every now and again I like to pop into this cute patisserie and pick up a few treats for Copper and Nikki.

And para los gatos? Since they actually live with us, Jason and I do tend to visit our local Petsmart often (about monthly) to get big things like scratching posts and kitty litter when we’re desperate (otherwise we try to buy bulk from Costco…there are FOUR cats, remember). Last December, after the holidays, we hit up Target and scored a ton of holiday-inspired cat toys… they’ll get them in their stockings this year.

Speaking of toys and treats for the cats, our last venture to Petsmart resulted in a new litter box (one for four cats wasn’t cutting it and we needed something to tide us over until we got around to ordering this one) and few toys.

Abner–the BIG boy–is prone to chewing on anything plush, so in order to save our baby toys and our own sentimental stuffies, we packed everything with stuffing away in the baby-room closet. This also meant that the cats had a limited supply of items they could actually play with. The result was our afore-mentioned trip to Petsmart. Random, cat-friendly items were purchased. We also picked up one of those feather-duster looking things to get the cats really active. A well-exercised cat is a calm, non-neurotic cat.

The day before yesterday, I was playing with the feather-duster toy. Ebenezer and Lillith LOVE LOVE LOVE this thing. They are very into movement and hunting. Millie also has taken a bit of interest (although she tends to enjoy tossing stuffed / rubber mice into the air for herself and amuses herself that way). But Ebenezer and Lillith go nuts with this thing. They can get some serious height…like two feet!

During this particular play time, Ebenezer was flipping and flopping for the feathers when he inadvertently landed too close to Lillith who is a definite Prima Donna. Needless to say, Lillith got P.O.ed and Ebenezer got a face full of massive Maine Coon paw. His poor little face was swollen for about 24 hours.

After checking out the area around his eye, I wasn’t able to detect any cuts or wounds, so luckily for all of us, it really was just a good wallop and not something more serious. He was walking around all that night and most of the next day pretty pathetic looking. But he was a real trooper and still more alert than his brother–by this I mean that Ebenezer is decidedly more active than Abner, even on a bad day.

As for Abner… he’s not at all that interested in the feather-duster. He responds to the jingle of the attached bell, but he doesn’t go after it at all. He’s more of an observer. Perhaps he’s rebelling since we took away all his toys. I’m not exactly sure how to get a chubby kitty to exercise if he’s not interested in anything cat-related. Although he did used to run with me in Korea when I would run around the apartment… food for thought.

Lillith & Millie
Ebenezer & Abner

Preggo Girl’s WIAW #7

Last week we totally spaced picking up our share at Jesse’s CSA. Usually, we’re scheduled to pick up on the odd weeks (as set by him from the first week). On Saturday, Jason and I went downtown to the farmer’s market and made a point of stopping by Jesse’s kiosk. He said we could pick up our share this week. Now, we’re set up to pick up on the even days.

Making their debut this week were the peaches. These are pretty small little guys, about the size of golf balls. But that’s the price you pay for organic. I accept this price.

And, since it’s WIAW, and I already had most of a batch of scones ready to go (I just needed to add the butter and milk), I wanted to try out this idea from another blogger I follow.

 You can find my plain scone recipe here.

Happy eating everyone!