Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Baking (a goal for 2010)

Some people bake. Some people cook. A rare few can do both well. I'm a pretty decent cook. I'm very good with poultry. But I cannot bake. At all. I mess up Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough! I've had one batch of Rhodes frozen dough turn out well. I even have a bread machine and that stuff doesn't turn out. I feel like I'm losing out on some major woman points here. I really want to be able to make my family fresh, healthy bread! I am determined to change this. In 2010 I am going to make at least one loaf of bread every week. If, after 52 tries I still can't bake, I will simply stop trying. But it's time to give it some real effort.

Some members of my family have really sensitive stomachs. I wont get into details, but it's beginning to cause some health problems and as the mother/food preparer I am determined to do something about it. It's not like we have Hamburger Helper every night or anything, but we don't eat all that healthily. We love corn dogs! We also love the "natural bread" from the store or from Winder Dairy, you know, the kind where the ingredients and wheat, salt, honey, and yeast and that's it? But at $4 a loaf, it's not very economical. So let the baking begin!! (we're also expanding the veggie garden and learning to can, but that's another post)

Last year, my church set up a conference for women in my neighborhood. One of the classes was on bread baking, but was standing room only so I didn't get the handouts and recipes. All I remember is the lady said to get this certain kind of yeast (saf-instant) and freeze it and to use Vital Wheat Gluten on wheat bread because it makes it soft. I remember nothing else.

I got a book from the library and make an attempt to whip up one of the batches Sunday. It's called Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand. Yay! I can use my machine. So I grabbed to very basic wheat recipe (I believe it's called basic wheat bread) and followed the directions perfectly and let my bread machine go to town.

It didn't rise. I have real problems with bread rising. I don't get it. My yeast was unopened. Maybe my water was too cold? Is it the machine?

I tried to salvage the dough to make some kind of roll, but it all ended up going into the trash.

Round two starts today. Some things I'll change:

This one is going to use the wheat gluten, I'll use the same yeast (been in the fridge), buy some fresh ground whole wheat (I think mine was old) and do it by hand. This is scary to me. Doing it by hand has only ended in disaster before, but I found someone who I think may be my key to success. Stay tuned....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Children will listen

I'm blogging a lot lately.  I think it's because of winter or something.  Anyway, I had an absolutely horrible, rotten, grouchy day today.  A truly bad day.  I wont even get into it, though it began with poop on the carpet.  I really do hate carpet and all the nasty chemicals in it, but kids in diapers (or out of their diaper, in this case) just make it that much worse.  I may just rip it up in a fit of second trimester craziness.  If that isn't a digression, I don't know what is. 


So after yelling at my kids for the umpteenth time I decided I needed to be put in time out.  I just went and lay on my bed.  I was too upset to even cry.  My wonderful 5 year old came in and told he he got baby girl's Duplos out to keep her busy so he could talk to me.  I looked at him wondering what on earth was going to come out of his mouth.  He said, "mom, just remember that Jesus loves you even when you're bad and you yell at us.  He always loves you."  Then he said when I was ready that I could come out a play with them.

The he gave me a hug and left me to ponder that.

Out of the mouths of babes, my friends.  God sent me an angel in a pint-sized body today.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

hypnobabies or epidural?

I've been debating how I want this third birth to go. I've always wanted to have an unmedicated birth. Just...because. Because I'm curious. I want to feel what millions of other women feel and just experience that. And yet...those epidurals sure are nice, aren't they? This is often a touchy subject because a womans birthing experience is such a personal thing that there are obvious strong personal feelings. My strongest feelings are about the lack of education out there for women. As long as you fully know your options and the consequences of those, I say go for what suits you best. Now, onto my indecision...

My first birth experience wasn't the traumatic one you hear so often with first timers. It wasn't great either. My water broke at 2pm, labor never started, hence the pitocin. I watched the World Series that night barely feeling anything. Max pitocin. Up all night, dilated to a 2. Still not feeling like anything was happening. So the next morning the interventions began. At this point I hadn't slept in over 24 hours. They went in and REALLY broke my water (and never turned the pitocin down). Time for the Hypnobirthing. It worked pretty well. I don't remember a whole lot of pain. But by 2:00 I was only dilated to a 4! I was throwing up with contractions now and soaking in the tub. My blessed midwife came in and said it was up to me, but she recommended getting an epidural so I could get some sleep. My body wasn't progressing and that could end up as a c-section. Didn't want that so I got the epidural on the condition we would let it wear off so I could have my natural birth. Well, after an hour of blessed sleep, the baby was crowning. I changed my opinion on epidurals at that point. They definitely have their place. Since the whole point of avoiding one was to avoid a c-section (they're more common with epidurals), I wasn't too upset about it. But the hypnobirthing thing didn't impress me all that much.

Round 2. Developed my heart condition and it was recommended I have an epidural so as to put less stress on my heart. The only problem with this was I already had ridiculously low blood pressure and it made me pass out. And I was bored. I sat there in bed trying to watch tv totally and completely bored out of my mind. About 10 minutes before birth, I called the nurse because the epidural was wearing off below my navel. They were calling the anesthesiologist when I called out "I need to push!" So I felt a little of that one. It was kind of cool! I love medical stuff and was fascinated by what I was feeling. I didn't like feeling the placenta though. Kinda creepy.

So what to do this time? No idea. I don't know if we'll have another one (let's take this one at a time) so it may be my last opportunity. And yet, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I don't think it'll make me feel more empowered or give me more "hippie points". I think it will just be a different experience I can say I did. Epidurals didn't seem to have any negative effect on my kids or I, I'm not worried about that. What's important is doing what you can to have a good birth experience. I've heard that hynobabies works much better than hypnobirthing, but I think I'm too much of a comic to get serious about labor. I guess I just don't want to regret my decision. Unfortunately the only one who knows what I'll really regret is me. And I just don't know yet (I still have about 22 more weeks to decide). Please share your thoughts or experiences.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Urban Homesteading

Can this be me?

Path to Freedom

Urban Homesteader I LOVE this blog!!! Much less extreme and more doable for the everyday person who doesn't lean toward extremes like I do.

We've been hanging out on urban homesteading websites lately. We have lofty dreams of transforming every square foot of our yard into food producing awesomness! Granted, I don't want to be exactly like those people on the Path to Freedom link. I'm hesitant about owning a goat. The chickens idea is growing on me. Maybe some rabbits. I really should bake more bread from scratch (yummm!)

Defnitely expanding the garden and getting some fruit trees going though. Today, hubby suggested ripping out the entire front lawn and just going crazy with edible landscaping. Have I told you how in love with him I am?? Obviously we have to consider if we're actually going to stay in this house that long (I really want a second bathroom!). But it's fun to dream and even implement a little of the dream, right? Here's a few more sites I've visited about urban homesteading if you're interested. And if you're not, visit some of these sites anyway and it may motivate you to do more baking :)

http://urbanhippiefarm.blogspot.com/ This one is great!




chicken raising


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Away from the things of man

The purging is slowing down. I think we've sent about 20 bozes of stuff to the thrift store. How did we get so much?!! I don't even miss any of it, I don't even remember most of it....

I started re-reading the Little House books last week and my husband has even gotten in on it. It's helping us take a good look at our lives and how we use our time. So much of it is spend idled away. I love reading about how they stored food and made butter and cheese. Sometimes, okay frequently, I wish I could move out into the middle of Wyoming or Montana and just live off the sweat of my brow. It feels like we're always caught up in this cycle of work-spend-consume. It's so hard to escape that when you live in suburbia! I know there are people who do it and maybe I just need to try that much harder to live it. I own a house, so I can finally get a clothes line (there were always restrictions at apartments). Plus I can terrace my whole backyard into a giant vegetable garden. And I really should make more food from scratch.

I don't really understand it. I know a lot of us romanticise the past and forget that a lot of people died from the elements and such. I truly am grateful I can eat bananas while living in Utah. But still, that pull to move into the mountains in a cabin pulls at me. I think you either have that desire or you don't; not a judgement, just personal taste. Maybe it's like camping, you either like it, or you don't. I think I could spend a whole summer camping if I could...

I'm proud of some things we've done already. We live 1.5 miles from my husband's job so that he can be home more and we use less resources getting him to work. Sure, we could've lived in a much nicer home, farther away, but a 1 hour commute time just wasn't appealing. We buy most of our clothes second hand because it's better for the environment and our wallets. Maybe I need to focus more on what we have done and can do here instead of running away from modern life. Meanwhile we'll secretly be hoping my father-in-law leaves his cabin in Alaska to us when he dies ;)