Thursday, October 22, 2009

Domesticated Grapes

I learn a lot from failures. And it feels good with successes. I experienced both with my first canning experience.

The yard we have been blessed with in this current abode brought forth some beautiful concord grapes. A friend in the ward suggested I make grape juice with it using a juice steamer. Luckily, my grandma had one that I could borrow! It was suuuuper easy to make the juice. The jelly, on the other hand, was a little more challenging.

I attempted to make 3 batches. Only 1 was a success.

The first batch, I was using liquid pectin. But in my haste to get started I mis-read the two simple instructions (not one of my strong points to begin with, reading instructions) and I mixed the steps up of when to add the sugar and then pectin. With liquid pectin, you put the sugar in first, then the pectin. With powdered, it's the opposite. So, after reading online, I felt I couldn't continue with making it and saved it for a later use. I tried drinking it and it tasted okay, a little bitter. So I decided to make fruit leather in the oven with it. After baking it for 12 hours, it jelled instead of dried. The pectin did that, of course, I should have known it would gel! I had to throw that out. darn it.

The 2nd batch I used the 2nd packet of liquid pectin. I followed the instructions properly this time, or so I thought. After waiting 24 hours (and now nearly a week) they have not "set" yet. I'll have one more chance to re-make those jellies which means I have to buy more lids and pectin (only to use a tablespoon of it and store the rest of the pectin for a later use). My guess for this failure was that I did not let the juice and pectin get to the proper boiling point before adding the sugar. But that doesn't seem right either because it boiled all over my stove! Sooo, I don't know what went wrong.

3rd batch is a charm! This time I used powdered pectin, to see if there was a difference. This batch turned out perfectly and we've already finished off the first jar. I wanted to give these away for Christmas neighbor gifts but I like it too much to share! Selfish, isn't it? But really, it was so much cheaper to make than to buy it in the stores, and I wanted it for my food storage.

I was happy for days after I made this jelly. I felt so domesticated. It was sort of empowering, like a right of passage into the "canning club." or maybe it was just a great sense of accomplishment. Now I wish I had a huge garden earlier in the summer to can all sorts of things. Though I am still scared to attempt making salsa since that has so many steps and gathering the best produce and recipe is important. Hopefully, we'll be living here next summer and we can plant our own garden and start from scratch!

So here they are, it actually yielded one more jar than suggested (and is in the fridge). To learn more about how to make juice/jelly, go to my Bonne Nouvelle blog and I'll post a how-to and helpful websites there.

Baby Elephant

The last time we went to the zoo with my cousins and their children we fought through the crowd of people to see this. Isn't he precious? He's as tall as Samuel. He was really putting on a show. I can't describe how I loved how his little trunk and legs moved. They were so small and uncontrolled still. Precious little baby!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pregnancy update

For those of you that are curious, here is a "belly shot". However, in this phase of life I hate being in photos. So, I made this one small. Just pretend my weird facial expression and all the shadows aren't there but to give added effect.

I think I am ready for this little girl to come soon. I have come to accept the fact that we'll most likely (anything can happen) be bringing this little girl home in January. I think I'm okay with having three children now. I am excited to have a little one, to see her little hands, and other small things that come with babies. I'm excited for the kids to see her too. I feel her move a lot. She makes odd and sporadic movements and it's fun to feel. I feel bad because some of my pants are too tight in my belly area and I feel like she's pushing out like, "hey, give me some room here." I also can't wait to try to have my "old" body back. Which, let's be honest, I am not one to bounce back quickly. But feeling a bit smaller will be nice.

Names we're thinking of: Madeleine, Rosalind, and Lilian. I doubt we'll decide until she's born.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Feeling itchy?

I guess that's a question for Tyler. I'm not feeling it. Today is our 7-year wedding anniversary. Technically, though, we've been together for 12 years!!! Tyler and I met in high school French class. C'est romanitque, non? We lived in the same stake (Church boundaries) but never met until I noticed how obnoxious he was in class. And how I've learned that he has not outgrown that, cough, admirable feature over the years! I've learned A LOT from being married to this man. He's made me better in so many ways and tested my patience and skills in so many other.

What we've been through:
--2 children
--3 cars
--8 moves
--lived in 2 states and one other country
--3 college degrees
--potty training 2 children
--how many computers??
--countless hours of long night discussions
--2 new pieces of new and good furniture (couch and bed)
--failures and successes

Some things I love most about Tyler:
--He's a great father
--He's a better cook than I am
--He can handle putting the kids to bed while I go out shopping or with friends
--He passed his good looks onto our children
--He will do dishes or mop the floor if it gets disgusting enough
--He's taught me many things over the years
--He loves me in spite of my flaws

Here is a photo montage of every year (with the exception of one) we've been together! You'll notice I've gotten fatter and he's lost more hair. Ah, we are growing old already.

1997--first "real" date:

1998: My senior prom

1999: Tyler's senior prom
2000: BYU dance and greeting Tyler at the airport before he embarked on his mission.

2001: We were apart during the mission
2002: Married in the Manti Temple. The weather was much like it was today, in the 70's and beautiful!

2003: Christmas time

2004: My graduation from BYU in front of my 2nd year "dorm" where we said many good nights. I am also pregnant with Samuel.

2005: Paris, sadly I couldn't find any photos with just the two of us. I guess we need to work on that.

2006: Fishing in Alaska. I was pregnant with Jocelyn here. (I wish I could be that thin now while being prego!)

2007: New Years Eve Party and Family photos

2008: Family photo shoot at the Salt Flats

2009: Today!

Happy Anniversary! May the next 7-12 years be even better!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Early Summer Fun

Now that it is Autumn I thought I should finally post some more things that happened this summer.

Moving from Murray

Help from Aunt Hannah. She and Grandma helped a TON with packing.

At Gourmandise with our favorite friends we met while in Paris, Julia and Chet and their two boys. Chet is a professional chef, studied with one of the best chefs in Paris!

Unpacking in Denver. When Jocelyn "reads" books she puts the book up really close to her face, speaks jibberish, twitters her feet and shakes a little bit with zeal. It's really fun to watch for us but most people probably wonder what she is doing.
"Helping" carry things in while wearing my shoes.

Some of the boys at my nephew Warren's blessing over Memorial Day weekend. (my eldest brother Alex and Dad). Notice Jocelyn wearing someone else's shoes.
And yet another pair of shoes....

Most of the grand kids.

Me at the Molly Brown house tour in downtown Denver. She was a neat lady. And her house is gorgeous.

Um, ya. Jocelyn didn't want to change out of her birthday suit after swimming at Grandma Furber's.

Graduation days

Tyler graduated with his Master's May!!! ya, so this is a little late.

Just a little bit of background. Tyler graduated from BYU in 2007 with two degrees, one in Philosophy and one in Music (Organ) and a minor in French. He graduated summa cum laude. (or was it magna? it's the 2nd to the highest....). Ya, he's smart. See all those medals? And I'd forgotten what a little chub Jocelyn was.

Then onto get a Masters in Philosophy at the other school, the one up north. University of Utah. Our car with the BYU sticker didn't get smashed in the whole two years! He loved his academic experience there. Didn't have to pay a cent in tuition and was able to be a real professor for two years as he taught at the U and at SLCC (Salt Lake Community College). He loved it. And he didn't have to shave everyday or keep his hair super short.

So when he was not able to go on and get his PhD he was sad. Fortunately, though, he applied to BYU law school at the same time and was accepted, AND offered a scholarship (yes, I like to toot his horn about that, because, well, it's pretty hard to get into law school and then to get a scholarship on top of that is pretty cool). We decided we couldn't justify paying tuition for any other law school and live with that debt and so we chose BYU because it is so cheap (in case you were wondering).
So far, although he admits, law school is not as stimulating to his brain as philosophy was, but he seems to be enjoying it. His teachers like him, as far as I can tell. When you receive no red marks on your paper and the teacher asks to use it as an example for future students, that usually means they like you. Plus he's received 100% on his tests so far, which only a fraction of the 140 students can admit. I've learned a little about contracts and properties too. Though I still can't keep the terms in order. Anyway, I am proud of him and what is doing. I hope after these 3 years in school he'll be happy with where we've traveled in this academic stage of life. I've enjoyed it! I do hope, however, that he'll finish his schooling before Samuel does!

Here are some pics (courtesy of my father) from graduation at the U.

Tyler's sisters holding him up like in Anne of Green Gables (or Avonlea?) after she wins that scholarship thing. You remember that part?

Tyler's Fam

Jocelyn's diaper issues...I had to put it on w/o a changing table. awkward. While on this subject...did I tell you about the creepy thing that happened at this graduation?
Well, Samuel was getting (understandably) bored and decided he wanted to sit across the aisle in some empty bleachers. He was getting frustrated (in a silly way) that I was trying to taking photos of him. Well, then he thought it would be fun to run away from me as I was trying to get him to sit near us. Well, he was fast and I was literally running after him, looking in every entryway into the big stadium thing., until I couldn't see him. Then I turned around and headed toward the bathroom thinking he'd ran in there. I was starting to panic a little. Well, luckily he came out! He had to go potty! Okay, fine, I understand. But then this guy came in from outside. He was wearing rollerblades and looked kinda weird (like weird expression). And I did not have a good feeling about him. He wheeled up to Samuel and asked, in front of me, if he wanted some candy. He said he had some outside!! I looked out there and saw his knapsack sitting there. Was this guy for real? Did he just say what I think he did? I could tell that Samuel was stunned and did not oblige him in his offer. I, of course, declined. And then he made some comment like, "oh, the mommy says no". and wheeled off into the bathroom, the same one Samuel just came from!!! What a freak! If Samuel had been in there a few minutes longer I don't want to imagine what could have happened. I immediately scooped Samuel up and pulled him aside. I explained to him the danger of strangers and that I was sad that he ran away from me. It scared me and to never take offers like candy, from strangers. I think we both learned our lesson. That people at the U are creeepy. No, kidding. That running away from parents is not cool.

Good luck to you in the next 3 years my dear!!


Or more commonly known as the Swine Flu.

I fear I am turning into a hypochondriac as of of late. I think it's mainly because I am pregnant. I went into the ER a while back because I was experiencing heart palpitations (feels like your chest is fluttering, or skips a beat) for days at a time. Of course, after sitting in the ER hooked up to a heart monitor for 3 hours, nothing abnormal happened. And then after wearing a holter monitor for 24 hours, that test proved to be normal arrhythmic patterns too. What the? So I felt pretty stupid.

But now, every little sore throat or cough sort of scares me. We went to Colorado last week for fall break and Tyler's sister had just gotten over a flu-like illness. Which is normally not a problem except when her teacher was hospitalized the same weekend for swine flu!! So I freaked out and made her take a test to see if her symptoms were the same. I monitored every cough she made for the rest of the week. Plus Samuel's newest little friend was hospitalized for strep that lead into scarlet fever last week also. So now I am even more paranoid because my throat starting hurting on Friday. And after experiencing strep throat in April I do not want to experience that again!

So, as you can see, I am probably over-reacting. BUT it still shouldn't mean we need to stay in the dark and assume this virus will not hit us directly. People are still dying from it people (click on that link to see the weekly situation reports)! And the vaccine is not yet available in my area.

Here are some things you should know: (taken from the for Disease Control)

What To Do If You Get Sick: 2009 H1N1 and Seasonal Flu

How do I know if I have the flu?

You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever *
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

What should I do if I get sick?

If you get sick with flu-like symptoms this flu season, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with 2009 H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs and the same is true of seasonal flu.

However, some people are more likely to get flu complications and they should talk to a health care provider about whether they need to be examined if they get flu symptoms this season. They are:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have:
    • Cancer
    • Blood disorders (including sickle cell disease)
    • Chronic lung disease [including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)]
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Kidney disorders
    • Liver disorders
    • Neurological disorders (including nervous system, brain or spinal cord)
    • Neuromuscular disorders (including muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis)
    • Weakened immune systems (including people with AIDS)

Also, it’s possible for healthy people to develop severe illness from the flu so anyone concerned about their illness should consult a health care provider.

There are emergency warning signs. Anyone who has them should get medical care right away.

What are the emergency warning signs?

In children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
So there you go! I am sure you have received the same info from your family doctors, the news and pediatricians, but I found this website to be more helpful (and to add or calm my worries).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Night and Day

Wasn't that episode of Oprah good? I even made Tyler watch it (Christian is his home-teaching companion after all). Nie Nie is a pretty cool gal.

I thought I should post an update on family life.

Jocelyn is officially potty-trained!!!!!

And guess what? It didn't take over a year to do! I really believe mercy has been granted to us in this endeavor. Because Samuel was so difficult to potty-train, I think someone from above knew that I would not have the patience to go through that trial again, at least not so soon. She basically trained herself in about a day. She was successful with #2 before #1. What? I was shocked. I have hardly had to think about it. Such a blessing!

Jocelyn's motivation was being able to go to pre-school. Samuel told her that if she pooped on the potty she would get to go because, well, that is what we told him. Sadly, however, it isn't true for her. She is too young still and being potty trained is only one step. But in her little mind she believes she is big enough and ready. So now I have to remind her that she needs to be 4 years old (she'll be 3 in December) and potty trained. She reminds me everyday that she is growing bigger. And she is.

My little girl has hair nearly down to her waist. She wears her princess dress every single day and it has consequently turned from a beautiful gown into rags, opposite of Cinderella (good thing it was a 50 cent garage sale find). She worships princesses, prays to get married and kiss someday (she picked up this notion from Sleeping Beauty), still copies her brother, loves her nails to be painted, is a good helper, keeps me company while Samuel is at pre-school, has the vocabulary of a 5 year old and has beautiful brownish eyes. She is excited to have a little sister coming soon and is probably more excited for her pink birthday party after Christmas. We love you little Jocelyn. Can't you stay in this fun stage of life??

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Nie Nie on Oprah

Have you heard of the Nie Nie Dialogues? If you haven't checked into her blog, you should take a look. It's written by Stephanie Nielson. She writes the simplicities of her life as a mother. Often times when I am reading her blog I tear up. She says things so simply and is so raw about it. She and her husband were in a terrible plane crash just over a year ago. More than 80% of her body was burned. She still writes on her blog, about the pains of physical therapy and looking in the mirror at a diferent face. Because of her story and auctions held to raise money for her medical bills are what inspired me to start sewing on my own which lead to my Etsy shop. Well, guess what? I moved into the ward she and her family lives in!! I feel like I know a celebrity. Silly, I know. I even gushed the first time I met her. But for the first time, I'll actually know someone who is going to appear on Oprah! Yes, she'll be on Oprah tomorrow (Wednesday, October 8th). So tune in! I'll be there, via TV land, with a bowl of popcorn (or maybe not the popcorn) participating!