Friday, April 1, 2016

See Ya Later, Gerber!

Recently I made a deal with myself that to feel like I really had a handle on this homemaker gig I would make at least one meal from scratch per week. That may be simple for you, but the whole "from scratch" thing puts a kink in my former feminist ideology.

So far I've done pretty good, and it's actually been a lot of fun. I love learning how different foods go together. Some recipes I have done in the past, and some are new. Most of them have turned out great except for that strawberry smoothie I tried to make today (sans yogurt). It was horrible.

To date I've made buttermilk biscuits, sausage + bacon baked beans, deviled eggs (with my mom's help since I was running 102 fever), andoueille sausage pasta, mac & cheese, honey ham biscuits, and of course sweet tea. Maybe more, but I can't remember! Simple for the most part, but I'm pretty novice in the kitchen. So novice with food in fact I once asked what someone's soup de jour tasted like, and when they laughed and said it means "soup of the day" I played it off like that's what I meant..."You know, what does your soup of the day taste like?"

I even made lemonade and put a cute tag on it! However, the lemonade was not from scratch. :/
In a minute I will come back to the cooking thing.

Our pediatrician used to live across the street from us. That was until the week H was born. Literally. Cash told me that Doc just didn't want me running over there all the time, so they had to move. But really, we love our doctor and miss him as our neighbor. His wife always kept an eye on what was happening, and you always felt safe leaving town knowing she knew if someone was not supposed to be at your house. Once or twice they even brought over some food that Doc had made as he apparently really likes to cook.

Well, at H's 4 month check-up, Doc asked if I would be making or buying H's baby food. It took {point}3 seconds for me to put together that a) I'm a HOMEMAKER and b) Doc knows how to cook good food, to decide I wanted to make it myself. For the next 10 minutes he described the baby food making process to us, and it sounded like a breeze.

One catch: we didn't have a blender. Cash being the dear that he is spent some time researching different blenders. Who knew such thought went into blender buying? You have the good ol' WalMart/Target brands that could do the job, but hey, for cooking at pretty much a commercial level how long could we really count on one of those? (Sarcasm to be noted.) You have the luxe high end that costs more than the monthly house payment on my first house, but bringing it back to reality we were only going to be using the blender to make a little bit of baby food. Lord knows this momma is not doing smoothies on the daily (note above where I threw out that strawberry one). And of course you have the middle ground blender that is the high end brand so you know it's good but at the same time it's not touch screen or voice responsive or doubling as a pedicurist so it doesn't cost...too much. Being the middle-class people we are, we went total middle of the road with a blender at our neighborhood department store. Because. Middle Class.

Shoosh. Now that we had a blender, we were off to HEB to shop fresh produce (duh, we are total health nuts so it's fresh all day e'erday...unless we instead of H are eating it, then it's donuts and cookie butter). As a side note I have to admit that I love shopping with reusable grocery bags, because I feel so hipster and Austin. But let's get real. We are Midland. Not Austin. And we don't "love you so much" or keep it weird or have a body of water in our town.

Back to the topic at hand. We got a blender. We got veggies. We got a recipe from the doc. And last night we made carrots and green peas.

boiled carrots ready to go!
mix it all up!
pour into ice cube trays
Cut the ends of the carrots.
Do NOT peel the carrots, but do wash them.
Cut them into manageable size pieces.
Boil them about 5 minutes.
Start with about 1 cup of water in the blender; add more as needed.
Blend the carrots and water until you have a runny texture. (This was H's first food ever, so it had to be runny and will have to be for a while. Ultimately, we will work our way up.)
Pour the blend into ice cube trays.
Cover the trays with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.
The next day put the cubes into gallon-sized freezer bags labeled with "carrots" and the date.

Folks, that's easier than that macaroni and cheese I was bragging about.

Use frozen peas. (Doc says it's not worth your while to use fresh ones that you have to shell {or is it hull?}.)
Boil them about 5 minutes.
Start with 1/2 cup of water or so in the blender; add more as needed.
Blend the peas and water until you have a runny texture.
Pour the blend into ice cube trays.
Cover the trays with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer.
The next day put the cubes into gallon-sized freezer bags labeled with "green peas" and the date.

Folks, that's even easier than the carrots.

All joking aside, it was a lot of fun to make H's baby food. Next we are doing green beans before we move into any of the fruits. We thought the fruits would be perhaps too sweet that he wouldn't want to move to veggies after that. Who knows?! We don't. We're just winging it really.

ready for the freezer

bagged and back into the freezer they go
You better believe that I'm counting this as my "made from scratch" meal this week. I've been the sole provider of H's food for 9 months in utero and 4 1/2 months on the outside. That's over a year! When I buy something precooked and he eats it, we will quit saying I'm the only one feeding him. Until then, yep, it's still me and my homemaking skills.

the verdict is still out on "big boy food"
If you have a baby to make food for, I hope you get a chance to do these easy veggies. It is not only fun but cheap too! And you may get a new blender so your husband has something fun to keep him occupied when he gets home from work on a rainy Friday afternoon. Yeah, we definitely are more Midland than Austin.

Keep wandering...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Swaddle, Baby, Swaddle, Baby...Until You Don't

Yesterday we had one of those days that when you wake up and your feet hit the ground, you are fierce and ready for what the day has in store. That is until the day unleashes mad fury on you.

H has always been a good sleeper. Literally his nighttime routine is change into his PJs, wash his face, nurse, read a book, get swaddled. Then he lays there just blinking at us as we walk off, and we don't hear him again until the next morning. My sister and I were in Waco a few weekends ago sharing a room, and when I put H in his pack 'n play for bed that night I told her to check him out. He was just laying there staring at her with his big eyes. She walked off and as she went past me said in a matter of fact tone, "I hate you."

I've known I've been living in this fairy tale world that all other new moms do not believe, so we've tried to enjoy it. And we have. We've enjoyed it so much we never thought about the next step. What happens when he starts rolling over?

Well, in case you never thought about that step, I'll let you in on a secret. You can't swaddle when they roll over! No one told me this. I learned this yesterday morning when I put H down for a nap and heard him giggling a few minutes later. I went in to check on him, and he was sideways in his crib with a rather loose swaddle blanket. (And don't you dare judge me that I have a blanket in his crib.)

the moment when the swaddle becomes the nightmare
I stood there and observed the situation and thought, "Okay, big lady, it's time for you to go without some sleep. Today. Today we lose the swaddle."

When I get my head on something, I go full force. As I began googling ways to stop the swaddle, I knew I only had one choice: cold turkey.

The day was one for the record books. My 4 month old napped for a whopping 1 hour. And that 1 hour was induced by the stroller ride back from my hair appointment (my cosmetologist lives just down the street, so we walk to her studio in her backyard). So really he never took a single nap in his crib. I tried. Oh, I tried. But every time he ended up playing or hitting himself in the head.

I was talking to my friend Meredith and telling her of the day's events. She felt so bad for me she cooked dinner and brought it to us. She kept saying, "You can do it! And remind me in a few months that I said all this to you."

Bedtime came around, and we went through our routine. Except we didn't swaddle. It felt so weird to just put him in his crib. It was also a bit sad, because I had never prepared for his first big boy move like this. So we put him down, and I kissed his little cheeks and walked out.

The first 10 minutes were a breeze. He didn't make a sound. Then suddenly the sound of pure agony came from his nursery. Cash and I were in the middle of a Bible study on Hebrews, and that distraction was probably the only thing that got me through the next 15 minutes. H cried. And cried. And cried. For 15 minutes. Then he stopped. I was so scared when he stopped crying that I went in and checked to make sure he was breathing. And there was my little angel fast asleep on his tummy (not how he started!) and dreaming sweet dreams.

Throughout the night I heard him rustling a few times but nothing I needed to get up and check on him for. At 7:45 this morning Cash and I went in to check on him, and he was just starting to stir. Cash got him up to give him a kiss before he left for work, and H acted like it was the most normal night of his life.

So here we are 24 hours after this all started, and we have survived (so far). Thinking about the turn of events made me realize perhaps I was more attached to the swaddle blanket than H was. Maybe I'm more attached to him as a little baby and am scared the bigger he gets. Maybe I've been faking this whole "I know what I'm doing" thing and really I just google stuff like "do only bad moms let a baby cry it out."

The only thing I do know for certain is a Baby Shusher is a parent's sleep in a box and some of my own tears along the way are bound to happen. Yesterday was hard without the swaddle. Today might be hard watching a little boy emerge where my little baby just was 2 days ago. They say it goes fast, but surely they didn't mean this fast.

his play-mat has become a taco shell
you know, just hangin' out
taking in a softball game

Keep wandering...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Life of an Arkie in West Texas

I'm so glad Kelly has decided to do this link-up. I love getting to know others through the stories they share on their blogs. The friends I have made in this way have helped me see the world from a different place and a different perspective. In fact I met my husband through Show Us Your Singles, and my life has changed dramatically since that January day in 2011!

My name is Avery, and I currently live in Midland, Texas, with my husband Cash and our 4 month old son Baby H. Before I moved here I was beyond blessed to be born and raised for 26 solid years in the great state of Arkansas. To this day I bleed Razorback red (WPS!) and am a proud UCA Bear (Da Bears!). I turn the dirty 30 this year, and Cash has promised to take me on a "tour of Arkansas" to celebrate. It is no doubt he loves me to his very core, because he is Texas through and through; but he lets me be an Arkie in a Texas world, and he loves me all the same.

these are the moments you miss: hanging out in the national forest playing on rocks
Growing up my parents had a small farm that they still operate to this day, so I love to chat with them and get my dose of country life by living vicariously through them via Skype. (Isn't technology amazing?!) I keep a Facebook page (Jethro Farms) and most recently an Instagram account (@jethrofarms) for them. I can't promise a weekly post, but I can promise some neat sightings of cows, peacocks, or various hunting seasons. To bring the country to me, I'm starting a new venture with backyard chickens in the near future. This will be something in a town of 120,000+!

Jethro Farms

Jethro Farms

After college I taught middle school for 4 years. I loved it and the people I worked with an incredible amount. But as I mentioned I met my husband in 2011, and I moved to his hometown once we were married in 2012. We had an amazing courtship, one I never dreamed of for myself as a little girl on the farm. I was lucky to blog through that time of our lives, and it's fun to reminisce on the adventures.
dating my boo thing and visiting some rigs

When I moved to Texas, I started working for a local bank that allowed me an awesome opportunity to help develop a Training Department. I would not trade those experiences for the world! Many of my closest friends in Midland are former co-workers, and I know God led me to that during that season of my life for the friendships that I was fortunate enough to make.

Currently I stay home with Baby H. This is a whole new ballgame for me! I try to dig into my inner-self, and I think down deep I could be real earthy and green. I like to think of myself as a bit of a hippy who has no hippy roots or abilities. I just like to think about it. So I do share on my blog about being a first-time mom, the woes of public breastfeeding, and what the heck I do with myself since I stay home now (mostly warm up my coffee 13 times a day so I can finish 1 cup). This is all new territory for me!

Cash and Baby H ready for a day on the golf course

hanging out with my little bird; as you can see
I am a bit Texas now with H's Cowboys paci

some days...this is how you feel
The hubs is a geologist for an oil & gas company. We also live in the hometown of George W. Bush. In fact Mrs. G.W. Bush grew up about 1 block from our home. While I think this is simply neat trivia, I guess it could give you an insight into some of our core beliefs.

the family came to visit, so this stop was a must

Some of my very favorite things to do are watching Razorback football (and all sports and teams, but mostly the Hogs), travel throughout Texas and Arkansas to see some local flavors (we used to travel a bit farther, but you, and volunteer in our church & community. I also live for the days that my Southern Living and hometown newspaper arrive at my doorstep. My heart is entrenched in the South, and I am currently loving down-home recipes like buttermilk biscuits and simple home decor like galvanized buckets. I perhaps also like a tad bit of gossip, but I am working on that. (Don't judge me.)

In the summer we spend a lot of time with my in-laws at baseball games and having cookouts in their backyard. We look for any reason to celebrate, and some of my favorites are the Kentucky Derby, 4th of July, and good weather. We also celebrate bad weather. I mean, in Midland, Texas, we really will celebrate anything except these plunging oil prices.

celebrating Claytie's 80th birthday with my friend Barb at one of the infamous Ranch Parties

2012 election party

crawfish boil at the in-laws'
Over this next year I plan to devote my "other than the baby" energy to Women's Ministry, those backyard chickens, and writing a historical fiction book based loosely on my bootlegging ancestors. And I do hope there is some Monday night Bachelor viewing in there as well.

That's me. I do hope I get to know you and can't wait to read your stories. This life is crazy, but these things don't just happen, you know?

Keep wandering...