Saturday, September 28, 2013

I Thought You Should Know

Since this is my blog about life and loss is a part of life, today I'm blogging about loss.

We are currently going through our third miscarriage. I can't believe that I am even typing this, as I never really thought it would happen again.

We found out on Wednesday, when we went in for our 9 week ultrasound. We had seen a healthy heartbeat two weeks prior but on Wednesday, there wasn't one anymore. Again. This is an all too familiar road for us.

I had my D&C on Thursday, since my body once again didn't recognize the baby had died.

And now I am at home recovering. Physically at least.

I don't think it's entirely sunk in yet and I'm still in the numb stage. I know that it will hit though and I know it will hit hard. It always does.

We named our baby Daylin and I wrote up a page on Daylin's story, if you want to read more.

I'm being open about this loss because I have been open about my other losses. My babies are loved and they existed and I want others to know. Miscarriages happen and I want to help make it less of a taboo subject. Obviously, sharing about your loss is a very personal choice and I don't judge those who choose to keep it private. In fact, I was tempted to not tell anyone about this loss. But I want others to know that Daylin existed, even if it was only for five short weeks.

I am the proud mother of four babies, even if they aren't here with me. And I want others to know.

But I will also put a disclaimer with this post. We are still in the very raw emotional stage of this loss. When we shared about our last two, it had been a couple months and we were a little more healed. We need the love and support from others right now, we need to be upheld by family and friends, we need to be wrapped in comfort.

But we also need you to be gentle with us. We need you to be patient with us. If we distance ourselves from others, especially those who are pregnant or have babies or young children, please do not take it personally. We still love you and we're still happy for you but it hurts. It hurts to see others having something we so desperately want. It's hard to be strong when our hearts are breaking. It's hard to be brave when all we want to do is hide from the world.

Just give us time. We will always carry this hurt and pain with us but over time, it will be easier to bear. I know that. I know that because we have been through this before. And we have survived.

Also, I will do my best to continue to blog on a regular basis and keep up the variety of posts that you have become accustomed to. But if I miss a day or two, please forgive me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Goals: Progress Report #3

Time for another update on my yearly goals. I can't believe I only have 3 months left to complete them all! But I think I am doing decent and I'll probably have most of them crossed off before the new year.

1. Make my own cleaning supplies I guess I could technically cross this off since I made some homemade laundry soap. But since it says supplies (plural) I will wait until I try some other ones.

2. Buy more locally grown food This is totally an ongoing one but so far so good. We have our 1/4 cow in the freezer, 19 of our own chickens and a crazy stockpile of our own produce in the freezer and cold room. Plus, we still buy a bunch of stuff from the farmer's market. So I think we're succeeding at this one.

3. Take a yoga class I took a hot yoga class back in April and actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

4. Read 10 books Done! I made a new goal of 25 and then promptly stopped reading. I think I'm up to 12 books as of now.

5. Quit my job Last day was June 28th!

6. Gain 10 pounds Ugh, this one is so hard. I still have 6 lbs to go, which is totally not going to happen before Christmas. 

7. Reupholster couch cushions They are done! Look for a post on this next week.

8. Have an herb garden The outdoor one didn't exactly work this summer. I got basil out of it because I forgot to water faithfully and everything else died. But I am trying again with an indoor one!

9. Learn to parallel park No progress yet, I really need to get on this.

10. Plant a hedge and build a fence Done and done!

11. Learn to live on one income I totally think this is an ongoing one but so far so good. It's been 3 months and we're not dead yet, so I call that a success!

12. Raise and sell meat birds Done! We raised a total of 39 birds this year and sold 20 of them.

13. Try 10 new recipes I'm up to a total of 8 so I'm confident I can try 2 more before the year is out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Blueberry Plants

So back in April, we happily bought three blueberry plants and set them up in our front yard. We were so excited for them to produce fruit and we happily waited for the day that the leaves would start popping. But that didn't exactly happen, as you might recall me telling you in this post from June.

But the good news is, we might actually finally have some happy blueberry plants!

We sadly took all the dead ones out of the planters on Monday and planted the new happy ones.

We're really hoping take 2 works and we get some blueberries next summer!

Our chances of success are higher too, because we actually started with three healthy blueberry plants. And we know what we were doing wrong last time so we can fix it.

I've decided that our planters look so much nicer with an actual live plant in them, instead of a dead twig.

Wouldn't you agree?

So there you have it, my fall post on blueberry plants. Hopefully the next update will be mid-summer and show off the fabulous blueberry crop we get!

Oh, and I want to give a shout out to Michael and Sonia at Wilson's Fresh Blueberries who have been awesome at replacing our plants and giving us tips and advice on how to care for them. They are so cool and we are totally happy we went with them when purchasing our plants! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's Growing Wednesday?

Today marks the last post in my What's Growing Wednesday series. I've decided that now that September is over, I probably don't need to do weekly posts on how my garden is doing. But don't worry, I'll update you at least once or twice on the final numbers of produce stored away for the winter and how the garden is looking once everything is harvested.

For now though, it's looking bare.

We pulled up the all the tomato plants but one and a whole row of beans that had stopped producing. We also took down the pea fence, since the peas have been done for a few weeks now.

The cucumbers and beets will probably be harvested this week, leaving even less in the garden.

But we will still have one tomato plant, two rows of beans, broccoli (sort of), carrots, peppers and swiss chard. And the reason why I only say sort of broccoli, is because this is all we got from our plants.

I'm disappointed in our broccoli again. Last year we got enough to put into one stir-fry and this year we'll have enough to mix with a tiny bowl of pasta. I'm pretty sure we won't be wasting space in our garden growing it next year. It's cheap enough during the winter months, I'll just buy it fresh.

Even though our garden is winding down, I'm still getting a small basket of produce each time I go out. Although I am going out less regularly, only every couple of days.

So there it is, my last post. I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it. Until next year!

Psst, don't forget that I will be starting up a new series in October. And to give you a hint, it involves money!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crabapple Jelly

I LOVE crabapple jelly. I'm pretty sure I ate half of the years supply when I was younger and didn't know how much time and effort went into making it. My mom sure does love me to have let me pig out so much on it. I put it on my chicken (from a chicken dinner) and it tastes a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Some people like cranberry sauce, I adore crabapple jelly. If you haven't tried it, you totally should.

Ever since moving out, I've had to source out my crabapple jelly for myself. The first couple years, I just bought a couple jars from the farmer's market and then last year, a friend of mine lovingly shared two of her jars with me. But this year, this year I decided to make some for myself!

So I found some friends who had a tree, went and picked a basket full and then started the long labour-intensive job of making crabapple jelly.

First, you have to cut up the tiny little apples and boil them down into a mush like consistency. Then you have to put that mush into a jelly bag or cheese cloth and let it drip overnight.

I had to do that step twice, since I had too many apples to fit all in one bag. So this was a long process.

Next up, making the jelly! I only have one picture from this step because it's too hard to take pictures while trying to make the jelly. But all you do is, sanitize your jars and lids, boil down the crabapple liquid until its the right consistency and then pour into the jars! Okay, so there's a bit more to it but you get the idea.

Even though this whole jelly making process took me three days from beginning to end, it was totally worth it. I made 7 1/2 jars of beautiful crabapple jelly!

I am so proud of myself and they totally make my heart sing. I mean, how can you not just stand in awe of this incredible jelly?

I did good. And now I have my years supply of crabapple jelly to enjoy with each chicken dinner I make.

What's your favourite canned item? Jelly, jam, pickles, relish, fruit? Do tell.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homemade Laundry Soap, Finally!

I've been meaning to make my own laundry soap for a while now. Proof, just read this post about my 12 Goals for 2012 and you'll see that #10 is "make my own cleaning supplies". But I never got around to making any cleaning supplies in 2012 and so I put it on my list of 13 Goals for 2013. And then I procrastinated for months and months and now that it's finally the middle of September and I realize that I'm quickly running out of time to complete my goals, I decided it was time to make some laundry soap.

I won't even tell you how long I've had the ingredients sitting in my cupboard waiting to be used. It's embarrassing.

I used this recipe from DIY Natural because it looked simple and had good reviews.

And simple it was. One cup of Borax, one cup of washing soda, 1 1/2 bars of Ivory soap (depending on size) and you just shake it all up until it looks like this.

Pretty easy, eh? I thought so.

Except I thought that my container needed a little sprucing up since it was just boring and blah. So I used some of my creativity and made a cute little sign to go on it.


But I didn't think ahead enough to take a picture of it before putting it on the container. Or making the writing smaller so you can see it all. Oh well, you get the idea.

I've already used my new laundry soap twice, once on a load of Dan's work clothes and once on a load of bed sheets. Both times my clothes came out smelling and feeling clean, so I call this soap a success!

Next up, bathroom cleaner. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

So, what do you think?

I know I know, it's Sunday and I'm not supposed to be posting. But I couldn't resist because I made a few changes to my blog. I've been meaning to for a while now but just haven't gotten around to it yet. But since I'm in bed sick with a cold today, I thought I would finally get around to working on it.

So, please take a look along the top there and read my new pages I added! And once you're done doing that, come back and let me know what you think. I always love getting feedback from my faithful readers.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Love

It's craft time! I'm pretty sure it's been a while since I've shared anything crafty. Heck, it's been a while since I've DONE anything crafty. But never fear, the time has come.

I brought out my paints and glue gun this week and whipped up a cute little craft in no time at all.

I, of course, got my inspiration from Pinterest and with a little extra push from a friend, I made this adorable little sign out of popsicle sticks. If you want to see the original inspiration, click here.

I do plan on eventually making a full size one like the Pinterest one but since it will probably be a while before that happens, I thought I would start with a little mini one.

I liked how quick and easy it was. The longest part was waiting for the paint to dry between doing different layers. Oh, and practicing my handwriting with a toothpick.

It's a lot harder than you'd think actually. But I was happy with the end result.

Really happy actually. I put it up on the windowsill above my kitchen sink and it makes doing the dishes a whole lot nicer. I can just stare at my sign and smile.

Do you like it?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Growing Wednesday?

I think it's a good thing that I only have one more of these posts to do after this one. My garden is getting boring and I'm feeling less and less inspired each week to post about it. It's slowing down and I'm okay with that.

We're getting a couple "chance of frost" nights each week and so every evening we go out and cover the vegetables. We haven't had frost yet but we're prepared for when it does.

The tomatoes are basically done. I'm still getting a few off my yellow brandywine and black cherry plants but I'm pretty sure by next week, they'll be ready to pull up.

The beans are still producing but it's getting more and more annoying to pick them. I have to really search and then I only end up with a few small handfuls. But I'm not going to pull them up yet, as long as there's still beans on them I'll keep picking!

The peppers are still going strong though! We had a crazy good crop of peppers this year and they still seem to have quite a bit of life left in them. My only concern is that they won't ripen before it gets too cold. But for now, they seem to be slowly inching their way towards picking time.

I still have swiss chard, beets, carrots, green onions, cucumbers and broccoli not pictured here. The rest has been harvested and is safely in my cold room or freezer.

And I have one more picture to share, of our little raspberry plant that is happily producing raspberries in September. We've already eaten 7 off of it and have a few more to pick.

That's it for this weeks garden share. Be sure to check back in next Wednesday for your very last What's Growing Wednesday post!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hanging Plant Sanctuary... Sort of

Last year some time (or maybe even before?) my mom gave me a hoya plant. She has always had one in her house and they tend to do well there, sometimes even flowering.

Well mine doesn't like it here. At all. In fact, it's gone downhill since moving into our office and has been steadily losing leaves and looking sicker and sicker. I blame it on the fact that it was in a low-light area. Plants like sun, so I have learned. The problem was, I had no where to put it where it had sun since we're low on surfaces for plants.

Solution? Make it a hanging plant! I just didn't know how, so I made my way over to Pinterest for inspiration. And came across this tutorial on how to make your own hanging planter.

I headed off to Home Depot and picked up my supplies for under $6. Got to love a cheap easy-to-complete project.

I followed the instructions in the tutorial I found and got to work assembling it.

 I had every intention of taking pictures of my step-by-step process but got way too distracted actually making the thing and ended up being finished when I remembered I hadn't taken any more pictures. Oops.

But you get the idea, right? Just tie a bunch of knots, stick the pot in and voila!

We hung it in our bedroom with our other hanging plant, since the windows give a nice amount of light and it's out of the way enough. Every other window we tried it at, it just felt awkward.

I like it in the bedroom though. It makes for a nice little hanging plant sanctuary. Okay, not really a sanctuary but we've definitely got a theme going.

Plus, I'm pretty proud of how my hanging planter turned out.

What do you think of it? Does it look better than the ones your Grandmother had from the 1960's? You know, the hairy brown ones? I think it's an improvement over those and it totally does the job. I'd say this is a successful Pinterest project completed.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes - New Recipe #8

Before you continue to read this post, I want you to listen to this song, if you can. Obviously if you're at work or don't have computer speakers or you have some other amazing excuse, I will forgive you for not listening to this song while you read. But if possible, please listen, it's worth it.



There, now that we have you listening to pure awesomeness, I can continue to talk about eating pure awesomeness. Okay, my banana pancakes weren't as amazing as Jack Johnson but really, how can I compete?

Onto the pancakes. Ever since going gluten-free back in December (has it really been that long???), I've been on the look out for truly amazing pancakes. I have yet to find any that fit the bill each time I make them. I did find one decent recipe that works most of the time but occasionally, it just flops. Which is sad because I love pancakes. But then again, if you put enough fruit and maple syrup on them, they'll taste decent no matter what.

But last week, I think I found the perfect pancake. Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes, to be exact.

I don't know why I never thought of making banana pancakes before but in all honesty, it just never crossed my mind. Ever. Until last week.

Let me just say, that I think this is my new go to recipe. The only tweak I plan on making to it is not adding the chocolate chips next time. You say "what?!?!" Let me explain. Imagine a sweet pancake (it has a banana in it after all), with sugary chocolate chips (I didn't have any dark ones, just my GF/DF ones), smothered in maple syrup. It turns out WAY too sweet. So the plan next time is to eliminate the chocolate chips.

And I'm pretty sure banana pancakes with fruit and syrup on top will taste just as good. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the awesome pancake consistency stays, considering the banana will still be added. They're light and fluffy and just the perfect moisture level. So good.

I recommend trying these, especially if you're gluten-free and dairy-free. And if you aren't, at least try banana pancakes once in your life. Dan doesn't like bananas but he liked these pancakes, so they are totally worth a shot!

But be sure to listen to Jack Johnson's Banana Pancakes song while making them. And eating them.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Motorcycle Accident Update

It's about time I gave you guys an update on how we are doing since our motorcycle accident in July. I haven't really posted much about it since my blog post on using crutches and complaining I had nothing to blog about.

Since today marks two months exactly since the accident, I thought it was the perfect day to let you know how we're doing. So here is your update!

We're doing really well actually and have healed up nicely. I'm basically back to normal and usually forget that I ever even sprained my ankle. There is still a small mark on my leg though, right above the sprain, where I think I damaged some tissues. It is also still pretty sensitive to the touch, as is most of my bruising. But for everyday activities, I'm fully functional. I'm not back to running yet but have been taking some small walks down the road.

Dan is a little slower healing up, because his injury was a bit more serious then mine. He tore tendons in his right thumb, which pulled small pieces off the bone. So basically, it takes forever to heal. The good news is though, that he graduated from the big awkward cast to a smaller more functional splint!

So at least now he can work and do stuff with his right hand. It's still annoying to wear and gets in the way of a lot of things, but it's protecting his thumb and letting it heal. He is going to physio once every couple of weeks and has to take it off when he's home and do thumb exercises. We're hoping that it will be back to normal soon.

That's how we're doing. Still healing but overall doing a heck of a lot better than we were two months ago. And still appreciative of how easy we got off, considering.

The bike is mostly fixed and back up and running. Dan spent the first couple of weeks finding parts for it and getting it into usable condition again. Since most of the damage was to the body, it was fixable. Although some parts are harder to come by, like the instrument cluster. We're keeping our eye out for a new one but for now, the old one has some black tape on it. Just don't look too closely and it looks fine!


Dan has been out on it a couple times, usually just quick trips into town during the day. Definitely no night riding. I haven't been out yet, mostly because I don't have any more riding gear and I'm not getting on it without a leather jacket. I'm worried though that the longer I wait, the harder it will be. I'm scared of riding the bike again. I really am. Sometimes, when I think about it, I just imagine the last time I was on the bike and the whole accident just comes flooding back. I have a hard enough time when Dan is out, convincing myself he's probably crashed. So who knows when I'll get back on it and how I will feel when the time comes.

That's it for the update. If I missed anything or you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Simple Pleasures - September

I was on the ball this month and started my simple pleasures early so that I wouldn't forget like in July or be really late like in August. Go me!

Fresh raspberries from one of our plants out back

Five jars of pickled beets (from our garden)
New material I chose to reupholster a chair
My newest addition to my VW Bug collection

A gorgeous canoe ride
Yummy supper with fresh garden produce and local happy meat!
Another week of finding joy in the little things. Another week of smiles. Another week to be thankful for.