Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Care Package 2019

Happy Easter!

I am enjoying the day with family in Mayberry; we have indulged in good food, refreshing cocktails, and, in some cases, sugary treats. Currently, naps are underway for four out of ten of us, not including the dogs. I will write a more in-depth post later this evening, once we are safely back in Petticoat Junction, but, for now, I will document the care package that I sent to the Man-Cub earlier this week.

In the Box:
Little Debbie Snack Cakes
Little Debbie Marshmallow Puffs
Paas Egg Dying Kit
Easter Trail Mix
White Cheddar Puffs
Reese's Pieces
York Peppermint Patty Bunny
Reese's Eggs
Charms Blowpop Minis
Whoppers Robin Eggs
Regal Cinemas Gift Card
Four Magic Tricks (Dollar Spot at Target, I love you!)

The Cub opened the package yesterday and he Facetimed with us, eager to show off his skill at the magic tricks.

Today, he and his roommates are off to the beach to bodysurf. We wish he was here, but, I'm glad he had a little bit of love from home.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Oh, Baby!

My first foray into delivery room photography went as well as I could have expected. I had the anticipated challenges: poor lighting, small, cramped space, numerous bodies taking up the real estate, etc. I didn't, however, have to contend with a middle-of-the-night phone call, since Bethany managed to hold off on delivering until the morning. I appreciate her sacrifice.

Seriously, though, she was a champ! Her labor started Tuesday morning, a little before dawn. She and Anthony headed to the hospital around nine, but, were sent away when the doctor determined that, although she was in active labor, she was barely dilated to a two and not even minimally effaced.

They spent the day shopping and walking around Hooterville, hoping to get things moving, and, when they returned to the hospital at five o'clock that evening, Beth was finally admitted. I left work and headed to their room, where I spent the next five hours visiting with them and Mama Jill, and, snapping an occasional photo.

Once it became clear that they were in for the long haul (despite consistent, strong contractions, Beth had only dilated to three, and, the doctor decided that they would let her rest for the night and would start Pitocin in the morning, if there had been no progress), I excused myself to go home, hoping that Beth would actually get some rest.

At 4:42 a.m., Jill texted me a photo of Beth and Anthony, crashed out; the anesthesiologist had visited with an epidural and Beth was taking advantage of the pain relief.

At 5:30, I got up and got ready for the day. I figured I would go into work, and, leave from there once I got "the call".

At 6:10, Jill texted the following: "She's dilated to 10! It's time to push!".

Apparently, the epidural relaxed her enough to allow her to dilate rather rapidly.

I grabbed a cup of coffee, jumped in my car, and sped to town, arriving at the hospital at 6:24. Sixteen minutes and three pushes later, Cooper came wailing into the world.

He's perfect, of course, and, his parents are over the moon.

I'm so glad I said yes when they asked me to be there; I felt a huge responsibility to get it right, and, thankfully, I think I did.

I can't wait to watch this baby grow up.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

He's Finally Here

Baby Cooper made his entrance into this world at 6:40 this morning and it was an honor and a privilege to document the experience for his parents.

I'll write a longer post about it just as soon as I get caught up on my beauty rest (Beth was in labor for damn near twenty-four hours, and I got a front row seat for a lot of it).

For now, I'll leave you with the photo that Beth and Anthony approved as the "sneak peek" for friends and family.

More to come!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Paybacks Are a %@#^&

This weekend, Queen B accused me of being a honey nerd.

That's right; my daughter shamed me for my love of honey.


I guess it's only fair that I call her out for being a tulip nerd.

That's right; I said it.

Need proof?

How about the plethora of pictures she texted to me over the weekend?

She also had a mini-meltdown over the fact that the purple tulip bulbs that we bought last week ended up with pink blooms.

                                                                      NOT purple, 

So...who's the nerd, now?

That's what I thought.

Also, I love my nerdy little tulip-lover, and, I have a jar of honey with her name on it.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

DIY: Liquefying Raw Honey

I think I've mentioned here that my friend, Jana, is a beekeeper. I think I've also mentioned that she keeps me stocked with honey, but, I don't think I've ever mentioned that she gives me the honey in it's pure, unfiltered, raw form.

Raw honey has all of the pollens, enzymes, and antioxidants that make it a super-food. The "honey" typically found on supermarket shelves has been pasteurized and filtered; straining out everything that makes the honey healthy and leaving behind just the sugar. So, if you have heard that regularly consuming honey will help alleviate allergies, typical grocery store honey won't do a thing for you; you must consume honey that contains pollen, preferably honey from local pollen producers, if you are to see improvement in allergy symptoms.

Some people won't eat raw honey, based solely on its' appearance; this is a crying shame, because, raw honey is delicious, and, it actually spreads better on toast than the runny syrupy "honey" found packaged in cute little plastic bottles shaped like bears (I will admit, I LOVE the bear bottles, themselves).

If you are a fan of "creamed" or "spun" honey, you may be surprised to learn that you are actually eating raw sugar that was taken through a carefully controlled crystallization process, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture.

I love spun honey, which is probably explains why raw honey doesn't freak me out. I do, however, also like honey that is more liquid, especially in my tea, or for using in certain recipes, so, I de-crystallize my raw honey for those purposes, and, the process is quite easy.

1. Crack open the jar of raw honey, admire the rich, sweet aroma of the beautiful bee nectar...

2. Spoon raw honey into a glass jar or small container of some sort (I use recycled yogurt jars because they are twee and precious).

3. Fill a small saucepan with enough water to cover the sides of the jar, without going over the top. Bring water to a boil.

4. Remove pan from burner, carefully set jar into hot water and allow to sit until honey liquefies, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove from waterbath, dry outside of container, cover with lid or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

The honey will recrystallize, if not used within a reasonable amount of time, so, I only liquefy what I plan to use fairly quickly. If crystallization occurs, the process can be done again, but, too many times will result in less tasty honey, so, I keep that in mind.

And, that's it! Now, please excuse me while I decant a bottle of homemade vanilla extract from my latest batch; I owe Jana one! She keeps me in honey, I keep her in vanilla. It's a win-win for us both.