I’m a Natural

…at nursing in public. My first venture was at my brother’s house a couple weekends ago.

I mean, look how at ease I am. Can’t you tell by the look on my face? And that color does wonders for my jeans.

Ruth tends to disagree. We constantly find her with a scowl and biting her finger in disbelief that she’s stuck with us.

My Birth Story – More detail than you ever wanted to know

Most of you are just dying to know the details of my homebirth….not. But there are some of you who are genuinely interested. And for you three, here it is (and it’s partly for me, too, because I’d like to have a written account for those 12 hours of my life.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, the night before Ruthie was born we went to see a concert in a nearby town. I waddled my way around and joked with the girls that this baby was gonna be danced out. I bought a bag of Tootsie Roll pops, passed them around, and silently cursed my swollen ankles. Earlier that week, I had had daily talks with the baby, reassuring it that it was free to stay right where it was or it could come early. I stressed the early part though, hoping for relief from my burgeoning body.

We arrived home around 11:30 and climbed into bed. I don’t think I even washed my face I was so tired.

Then I woke up at 12:30, felt weird, blamed the Banana Tootsie Roll pops (seriously? Who likes those, but you know that didn’t stop me from eating 5 in a row) and dropped back off to sleep. An hour later I awoke to a wet bed.  Other women have said they thought they peed their pants, and they’re not alone, because I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that my water broke for 5 solid minutes. So I woke up R, who I felt made a big show of scrambling out of bed. “Settle.” I said, “This isn’t the movies.”

And thus begins R’s marathon of patience with me.


He deserves a medal. Or a baby. Either one.

We called our midwife around 1:45am and apologized for waking her up. Surprisingly she was already awake and was finishing up another birth a couple towns away. A girl in our birthing class was due a couple of weeks earlier than me and we joked about fighting over Janessa. Turns out we barely missed having that throw down. Thank goodness too, because this girl had some killer eyeliner going on, and I just don’t trust people with perfectly applied eyeliner. She’d kick my butt, I’m sure of it.

So Janessa suggested that even though she knew we were excited, to try to go back to sleep and call her in a few hours.

We decided to call our parents since they were coming from 4 hours away, and then agreed to rest.

But first I wanted to take some scary model photos in the pool. Take a look at that sleepwear too. I call it Farmhouse Sexy. Don’t judge, it was comfy.

I had debated about whether to use the pool at all during the birthing process until Janessa said that it’s the “Midwives’ epidural”. Sold. And I’m so glad I did. As soon as it was filled with warm water, my contractions were well on their way and man, the water felt wonderful.

After my photo shoot I tried sleeping, but the contractions were just slightly too much. Not enough where I couldn’t check facebook or order R about, but a bit more than would let me doze. I went into ‘hostess mode’ and began picking up around the Shack, defrosted the stew, and lit incense everywhere. I was also obsessed with getting lemonade ready and the dishes washed. If neither of those had been done, I’m pretty sure little Ruth would still be sleeping soundly in my belly to this day.

After asking R to please clean the toilets & tubs (Yes. That was second priority after lemonade), I asked him to go to Walmart for some bagels & donuts. All the meals had to be covered for the party that was coming over. You know, because I seriously thought we were going to play Charades and Twister, y’all. And you just can’t get a good left hand on a red dot without donuts in you.

When R returned home about an hour later, I was on hands and knees with my head on the couch. Things were progressing, but it was short and bearable. That position just felt the best. That, and rocking in the chair.

[Side note] I never, ever, ever, ever, ever thought there would be a photo of me in my undies posted on this darn blog. I guess you should never say never (ever, ever, ever, ever.)

At this point, we figured we may as well start timing the contractions, but didn’t know the rules. So yes, we googled it. And it was about this time that I figured out I was a moaner. I always imagined how I’d labor.. would I be quiet or loud? Stationary or mobile? A sailor or saint? Well now I know. I’m a loud, mobile sailor.

A couple of hours later things were really starting to pick up  and R was running back and forth filling up the tub with pots of boiling water, trying to get the right temp. He was also keeping track of the contractions. One disastrous time, he asked, “Did the contraction start?” This really annoyed me. Didn’t I just start moaning, or was that not big enough of a clue. So I snapped, “Figure it out.”

R got scared then. We remember Janessa saying, “When she starts snapping at you, I should be there.” At the time, we joked that she should come to our house right then. But this was my first growl during the labor and R did figure it out. That he shouldn’t talk to me anymore.

The contractions started coming less than 5 minutes apart and then steadily closer and closer. We had called Janessa about an hour earlier (around 8:30am) and he held up the phone so she could hear how I sounded. She and I talked and I remember not caring about silences in the conversation. That was a signal that something was happening. I always care about silences. She said she’d take a shower and be there afterwards. Remember, she had just gotten home around 4am from another birth. I just can’t imagine the exhaustion. I’m so grateful, though, because I’m sure if I were in the hospital I’d get whoever was on call, not necessarily the OB with whom I’d built a relationship.

So it’s now around 10am and Janessa still hadn’t arrived. R was getting really nervous. The contractions were seemingly right after one another, I’d get a quick breath, and then pow! There came another. I’d waffle between laying my head on the edge of the pool, or laying back on my elbows, propping up my back and swaying from side to side. The feel of the water across my belly was soothing. In between breathing through the contractions in order to keep me from tensing up, I was now moaning really loudly and deeply. Janessa’s voice kept coming back to me (If your lips above are loose, so will your lips below be.) TMI? Just wait, it gets better.

After hearing those moans, R thought that the baby was imminent and called Janessa to let her know we’d be going to the hospital if she wasn’t here soon. He was panicking. Just as he left the message, she called and said “Getting anxious?” and that she had just pulled into the drive.

He breathed a sigh of relief as she and her apprentice, Dana, swooped in and immediately got to work. You just feel the competence as they worked around you, that was one of the reasons we decided to go through her. Not just because of glowing recommendations, but in that first conversation with her. We asked all the normal “Who would ever be crazy enough to have a home birth” questions. She answered them in such detail that calmed us immediately.

And that’s how it was for R when she came. Instant relief. They said he was running around like a hummingbird, but finally started to settle down and focus on me. I was wrapped up in my own little world at this time, but their presence made me feel better too. Partly so I could know how I was progressing.

She checked the baby’s heartbeat (sounded great!) and then me. I was at a 7 and she said, You’re gonna have this baby, mama! Crapola, I was farther than I thought.

After hearing both of these things, R forgot cardinal rule #1 and said, “Oh Carrie, Did you hear that? You’re doing great!”

I looked at him and said something which I will deny having said until the end of time. I do not remember saying it and if I did, I’ve already apologized to R and am quite embarrassed.

A sailor’s n da haaayouse!

But R didn’t get his feelings hurt and went back to holding my head and blowing on my forehead. Silently.

Out the window, I heard my parents arrive in their RV (aka: the waiting room. However, I’m sure our neighbors thought we were just adding onto the shack. “Oh, look Henry. They’re building a wing to their shack. How lovely”) My mom was originally going to be in the room with us, but at this point I did not want any new people around me. We four had already gotten into a rhythm that I was afraid to mess with. R went out to tell break the news to her, but mom immediately understood. We can always count on that… her understanding.

I was unaware that R had even left, but he quickly came back (after moving his car because my dad had to park the RV in his spot?? Poor R. He runs out there and is immediately ordered about. Nevermind that his wife’s in labor. I guess bossiness is genetic.)

The only time R could talk without me biting his head off was when he whispered prayers in my ear. I could be in the middle of a strong one and just hearing him pray for me gave me more strength than I thought I had. It was wonderful.

After a prayer, I changed positions onto my hands and knees and apologized to Dana for her having to stare at my butt. She joked that I had a nice butt, but that she wasn’t checking me out. I just stared at her.

Didn’t even laugh.

In my head I even said, “For God’s sake, Carrie, at least smile!” But I just couldn’t. And she hurriedly said, “Just kidding.”

Being a good hostess – fail.

I don’t care if you’re edging on 9cm, you always laugh at your guests jokes.

At 11:30am I started getting the urge to push. At least I thought it was an urge to push. I couldn’t tell if I just wanted to push for push’s sake or if my body was telling me to. So Janessa measured me again and sure enough I was at a 10 and that I was fully dilated. If it feels right, start pushing, mama!


Yes, that’s what I said. And I own that one, at least. I couldn’t believe I had made it to the pushing stage. It was like I had already won. At one point during the transition part of labor (when you’re going from 7 to 10cm), I begged someone to tell me when this would be over. Dana grabbed my hand and reminded me that it was the shortest, but most intense part. It wasn’t going to last as long as the first two stages.

So hearing that I could now do something besides simply enduring…. You bet I dropped the F-bomb.

And thus begins the idealistic thought process of how long I thought it would take to push this little baby out. I swear, when I was with my sister in the delivery room, it took her 2 grunts, three pushes, and out came baby. So I figured it would be the same for me. Nope, talk about 2 hours.

For the first sixty minutes, I started off on my elbows in the water, then on my hands and knees. Throughout it all, the baby’s heartbeat was good. But it was just moving very slowly through the canal. Janessa asked me to put my hand inside (sorry folks!) and feel the baby’s head. I said No. She asked again for me to do it , so I did and felt a nerf football. No joke! But it didn’t really motivate me, which is what I think she was going for, because it still felt way up there (to me). Apparently I don’t have a good idea of how long my canal is. Note to self: measure birth canal before going into labor.

She then suggested that I squat while hanging onto R’s shoulders as this would help push the baby through the canal. I was so physically tired at this point, that it was hard for me to keep my balance. R held me in place (and later complained that his shoulders hurt. Oh sorry, honey. You deserve a massage. You know, because you didn’t go through labor?) So I’d switch between squatting and leaning back on my elbows again.

She then told me to stand up and hang onto R. My legs were shaky and I felt like I was going to fall down if R wasn’t there. I wanted to go back onto my elbows, but if Janessa thought this would bring the baby quicker, I wasn’t about to argue.

After 30 minutes of squatting and standing, we moved to the bed. Janessa took out some olive oil and started to lube me up (sorry!) throughout the rest of the process. At one point, I remember her asking how often we had done the perineal massages. R said, Oh a few times. and she replied, You should’ve done it more. Too late, woman! But that did worry me. I’ve been hardly able to say the ‘T’ word throughout this whole pregnancy. (Tear – as in tearing a piece of paper, or you know, tearing a vagina. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But I’m leaving it.) So hearing her admonish us made me nervous.

The nervousness faded away as soon as they brought out the mirror. What the.

Dana asked me to look in the mirror. I said, No. She waited a few seconds and then calmly said I really think you should look in the mirror, Carolyn in her baby/pregnant woman whisperer voice. So I relented and looked and could just barely see the head emerging. It was getting close. R was holding my hand, Janessa was still lubing me up, and Dana was sending out her calm vibes. I could feel the baby move forward with each push and heard Janessa say, Don’t rest in between, build on that push!!

When I did rest, I could feel the baby move back up a little. So after feeling that, I’d do a long push, take a quick breath and then push hard again.

After 20 minutes, that darn mirror was pulled out again. I looked into it, and low and behold the head was almost out.

Janessa whispered, “You’re almost there. Baby can hear and sense us. There’s five of us in the room right now. Ease up on the pushing, let the contractions do the work.”

That was hard. I wanted to push hard and get her out fast, but still had to control it so as not to tear. After a few more contractions that I mildly helped along, I gave a final big push and out she came. Immediately I leaned back and closed my eyes. R was ecstatic and kept rubbing my head and telling me how proud he was.

This was our raw reaction to what just happened. I swear I was happy.

When I opened them, Janessa was holding her out for me. I stared at her for what felt like 5 minutes (R later said that he didn’t think I liked her, because I had no expression on my face. I was just tired.) We saw that it was a girl and she was laid on my chest. I leaned back again and closed my eyes, only to open them when R said, “Oh RuthAnn!”

RuthAnn?? That name was ruled out years ago, fella. So I had to remind him that it was Ruth Margaret.

R ran to the RV and gave my parents the news. We heard them yell and clap. (My parents later said that they thought they heard me in labor and then a baby’s cry. Turns out it was the neighbor’s goat. Thanks.) He then called his parents and his voice cracked when giving them the news. Everyone started to come over and tailgate by the RV as we were getting cleaned up.

Baby was weighed and measured (8 lbs, 20 inches) and I was given some herbs to take because I was bleeding a bit too much. I did not need stitches though, so I considered that a win, but I did lose enough blood that standing up made me dizzy. The herbal bath that mom & baby get to take would have to be on hold for the next night. (We want to do this bath again. Ruth just unfolded into the water and swayed back and forth. I think that might have been the first time I squealed at our new friend.)

After about an hour, the family started filing in and thus begins the series of scary photographs of me in my wrinkled t-shirt.


Well, you made it through this story. That was probably as difficult as labor itself. But I do have one more thing to mention to those who read about my previous fear of not having enough time to, well, groom…

I couldn’t care less about shaving my legs/bikini line. Take that, razor. And my apologies to R, Dana, & Janessa.

So Unfair

You know, immediately after welcoming Ruth into this world, I felt high on life (albeit a bit depleted). I was physically so relieved to be done and thought I was glowing. As people took my photo, I remember thinking, “Oh that shot of me is going to be a good one. Oh yeah, that one’s even better. Man, I’m freaking bursting with the new mama glow!” I didn’t even ask to look at it on the camera to ensure of said success, I was so confident. (And let’s be frank, if I were on my deathbed and someone took a photo of me as I was being given the last rites, I’d still ask to see how that shot looked before actually dying.)

So yeah, I was feeling pretty glowy.

Then I made the mistake of scrolling through my cousin’s photos from a few months prior. I was like, Oh look at K in this photo. She must be resting before heading out on a dinner date with her hubby.

And then I cussed.

What. The. Heck. (insert proper cuss word here.) She is still in the hospital in this photo!

Let’s do a little comparison of our afterbirth photos, shall we? (Gross. I hate the word afterbirth.)











First off, I gave birth at home. At home, people. Do you know what that means? No need for a hospital bag. Complete access to my entire wardrobe. So why exactly am I wearing a wrinkled ratty old t-shirt that probably had been holed up in the corner of the room for the past 6 months. “Oh this will look darling, honey. Let me slip this on for my first ever photo with Ruthie.” I never thought a hospital gown could look so fancy.

And aren’t I a mere 2 steps from my bathroom? You know, the place where you keep brushes and combs and such? For the love of all that is good and holy, could someone please tame that gray mess and at least give me a side part? I’m pretty sure K went to have her hair done while in the throes of labor, right? Someone had better say right.

Last but not least, my war paint. I don’t know why I didn’t get the same creamy skin genes as K, it’s pretty unfair. But that’s no reason not to throw on a little cover-up, especially when you know photo-ops are eminent.


I guess little Ruth needs to get used to her awkward, ratty t-shirt wearing, messed up hair, wrinkly mom. It’s certainly not going to get any better. In fact, considering I’ve worn pretty much the same outfit, kept my hair thrown back, and have let my wrinkles shine for all to see, it looks like things have gotten disconcertedly worse.

My goal this week: Find ratty t-shirt in corner from only three months prior. But only if company is coming over.

May I introduce…

…Ruth Margaret

She was born on a date that R and I had discussed would be awesome to have for his/her birthday: 9/10/11. If I had known she was going to arrive a week early, I would’ve done the dishes and cleaned the kitchen floor the night before, instead of going to a free Huey Lewis and the News concert in Fayetteville. Dancing plus two nights of hot wings for dinner created the perfect storm for little Ruthie. Honestly, that combination makes me think she just might have a little of her mama in her.

She was 8lbs, 20 inches and arrived just before 1:30pm in our bedroom at the Shack. I had never really talked about my homebirth plans because I didn’t want to count my birth plan chickens before they hatched, but I do intend on sharing more details in future posts.

Looking back, I’m incredibly happy it happened this way. It’s amazing what just 24 hours does to your memory. Anyone who talked to me immediately afterwards got the “I think I’m just going to adopt the rest of my kids thank you very much” speech. But now the hardest parts have blurred and what remains is an overwhelming feeling of comfort, strength, and security through it all.

Couldn’t have done it without my midwife, her apprentice, and sweet (not to mention incredibly patient) R. But more on that later.

Several months after R and I started dating, I had a weird dream. His mom was standing at the edge of a farmhouse on a dusty, country road. I was apparently leaving…. walking down the road away from her. She yelled out, “Oh Carrie! Carrie!” And I turned. Then she hollered, “Don’t forget to read the Book of Ruth!”

I woke up thinking, “Hmph. That was interesting” and the next time I saw R, mentioned it to him. He widened his eyes and cautiously asked, “Have you ever read the Book of Ruth? Do you even know what it’s about?” I said no. (Later, R confessed he thought I was lying and that I was just a psycho girl hinting at marriage too early in the game. Didn’t stop him from dating me though.) He asked me to look it up and read it.

The crux of the book falls on the relationship between a mother-in-law, Naomi, and her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Talk about creepy. Since then we’ve always had a special spot for that story and when we started to discuss girl names, Ruth kept popping up. It felt a little rough to me at first (despite it having the meaning “friendship”) and kind of still does, but the story means more to me than the abrasiveness of the sound. Remember how insane I am about the sounds of words? Read this really early blog post of mine.

The middle name Margaret helps soften it up a bit… after my mom’s mom, Mary Margaret, who loved dancing the jitterbug, opening presents, and generally being a busy bee. It was either that name or after my dad’s grandma, Appolonia. I didn’t think I was Hollywood enough to pull that one off, though.

Can’t wait to see who little Ruthie turns into! One day (and long night) at a time. Thank you for everyone who prayed and thought of us during this pregnancy and delivery. It was so much appreciated.


I mentioned a while back that I had tweaked my laundry detergent recipe to make it even cheaper.

Well, here goes.

The actual recipe is so easy to remember, it’s the identification of each powder that was difficult for me. Maybe because it took me 2 years before labeling each of the jars? I’m pretty much a genius when it comes to those things.

It’s just 2 to 1 parts, soap to other ingredients.  So if you do 1 cup soap, throw in 1/2 cup Borax, Washing Soda, & OxyClean. Once mixed, use 2 tbls per load.

The soap is what changed. You can’t buy soap flakes off the shelf anymore (which I think is a conspiracy, but I think everything is a conspiracy right now. I can’t go for a jog 9 mos pregnant? Conspiracy. I can’t make it through the night without eating a meal at 2am? Conspiracy.) So I’ve had to buy the flakes either off ebay or through a distribution center based in Michigan that imports them from England. Tell me how this is cost-effective.

Then I discovered that Ivory soap is the most similar to boxed soap flakes due to it being almost (sigh) made out of 100% vegetable oil.

Hey, not to change the subject, but see those flowers on the coffee table?

My sister-in-law picked those from her garden for me! I love what fresh flowers does to a room: instant class.

And looking at our coffee table, we need that. The basket on the left (which I think is a rice steamer, actually) is really our junk drawer, believe it or not. In front of everyone. You walk in – bam! Junk. That’s how we roll, folks.

The chest we bought randomly on our way home from Nebraska one year. We squeezed it into R’s Honda Civic and scraped the ground all the way back.

The year was unknown, but when we had it re-stained, the guy went on and on about the top piece. It was a single piece of wood indicating that it came from a tree that wide. Really old, he said. I’d take it on Antiques Roadshow, but I know they’d yell at me for re-staining it. I can just hear them, “I really wish the original patina were still on it.” And then my heart would break because I do want the Roadshow folks to be my friends. Nevermind the worth, just be proud of how well I’ve taken care of something.

Ah, well. We love the dark color.

It’s where we house our blankets and sleeping bags for now. Probably a future junk drawer waiting to happen, though.

But back to the exciting stuff: Ivory soap. No shipping costs and occasionally I get a coupon in the paper for it. Score!

I really need a good food processor. Instead, I diced up the soap curls as small as possible.

Then stored  it until ready to use!

I diced up 3 bars worth of soap and it almost reached the top of the jar. Good deal.

The ingredients I buy more frequently than others is a) soap and b) washing soda. That you can buy on the shelf. The borax and Oxyclean just keeps going and going.

I’ve never done the cost breakdown on it all, I really should. I’ll just approximate from what I have.  I buy washing soda about once a year ($3.00), soap once a year ($15.00 for the imported soap flakes withOUT shipping. $4.00 for 8 bars of Ivory soap, coupon used), Borax once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($3.00), and Oxyclean once every 2+ years – still using from the original box ($18 for 14lb box from Sam’s Club. It was difficult to justify spending that much money up front, but look how long it has lasted!)

So, with the imported flakes I would spend around $28.50 a year. Probably less than that, because I’m still using the Borax & Oxyclean from original purchase. With Ivory soap I’ve cut it to $17.50. We’ll see how this changes with a little one and more laundry loads.

I really just like having all the ingredients on hand. I don’t have to time my run to the store with how many loads I have left in the bottle. I can just whip up a new batch whenever needed.

And it does give you an excuse to buy a vintage tin for storage – Hurray!

Have a great weekend!

Tango with Arañas (minus the rose)

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. well, I’m still shamin’ on you because no way am I gonna let an 8-legged creature make me feel bad. You got me once in college when I stepped on your furry back, thinking it was a sock on the ground. And you almost got me the other day too. But you didn’t. No, not this time. Hah, not this time ole buddy ole pal.

But I still reacted in a way that would’ve puzzled even the most talented of horror film actors.

It was the first of a series of beautiful mornings, so the hubs and I woke up early to eat at Einstein Bros. There’s only one in all of Arkansas and, yes, we drove 20 minutes to wine and dine there. I had a coupon, surely that offset the gas? I didn’t care, actually, because in KC we literally lived within walking distance of one and, man, do I crave those shmears.

Before leaving, we went out back to try and make nice with our four-legged friends. If there’s one animal that God surely put on this planet to provide for us, it’s the cow. All they do is eat and sleep; and we are lucky enough to enjoy it’s juicy bounty of meat & milk without danger or much effort. I love them.

But they weren’t lovin’ on us that morning, so R turned to leave.

And nearly walked into this garden spider. It is so hard to show how big it is, but I do have witnesses who saw its sister. This one was tucked neatly behind the rabbit hutches, safely out of my line of sight and my foot arches. So I bravely laughed in its face for trying to scare me, and called upon its ancestors in a ceremonial dance of triumph over it.

It just sat there. I took that stance as fear, wanting to stay as still as possible in the shadow of such an angry human. Little did I know that fear was not what I saw, but arrogance.

It knew what was about to happen. And just sat there. Staring at me. Laughing on the inside.

I was still tap-dancing my way through the Shack, sauntered out the front door, and started down the steps. Oh happy day! Tra-la-la-la-la…

And then I saw it. Backyard spider’s big sister had spun a web halfway down the steps. Across the steps. On top of the steps. In fact I think it actually created steps on its web to lure me onto them. I don’t know how I kept my front-heavy body from toppling over it, but after a quick blackout session, somehow I ended back up on the deck.

And then grabbed my breasts and stomped my feet like a 3 year-old, all the while letting out a low guttural growl.


Is that how I react when confronted with my fears? Grabbing my chest? What exactly is that going to do besides protect me from becoming an Amazonian woman. Please, I’m not looking to fight with bows and arrows anytime soon. And stomping my feet? I guess at this stage in the pregnancy, it might actually cause a big enough tremor to topple an enemy, so I’ll let that one slide. Barely. Really, a low growl? The only time that actually works is if someone is coming near my plate of food.

R must have felt the minor earthquake and came outside. I no longer could talk, but pointed and grunted at the spider’s trap. He chopped off one end of the web, allowing it to fall back away from the steps.

If I could’ve hopped over the railing to the car, I would’ve. But instead had to walk the far side of the steps, white-knuckling the wood all the way down.

Halfway into our bagels and shmears, I forgot about Big Sissy the Spider.

And then we came home to find her missing. I refused to walk any further until the spider hunt was over. It didn’t take long, because guess where she ended up? Right next to my deck chair, where I’ve shared many laughs and thoughts and fears and innocent moments this past year. Right. next. to. it.

I shook my head slowly and glared at her. How dare you. Little did you know that I’m a mama bear now and will do anything to protect my … deck chair? You got that right, Big Sissy. My deck chair. So you best back that thing up.

If, in that moment, I could’ve become an amazonian woman and cut off my right breast to shoot it with a bow and arrow, I would’ve. But then R touched my arm (which made me jump because I thought it was another sister spider) and read to me about the garden spider. One insect they eat are grasshoppers. And since our front yard has become the latest Hedonism Resort for those jumpy creatures, I reluctantly agreed that it should stay.

So here I am, having to endure this big spindly thing mere inches from my favorite sitting spot and watch it eat its prey. After it’s done, it drops the carcas to the deck. So not only am I an undertaker to these mummies, but also a counselor to those still living. I sat and watched a grasshopper stand off to the side staring at the latest casualty. Was it a family member, a friend? I don’t know, but it sure looked grief-stricken.

Now let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Circle of Life.’ I’ll karate-chop you if you lay a fake spider on me though. Just a warning.

Stocked up

Who else was in absolute weather heaven this weekend? My energy level sky-rocketed, especially after nearly having a tea party with a monstrous garden spider. It didn’t even have clotted cream ready to serve, which is what really caused all the drama, but more on that later.

We had early breakfasts and back-to-back days of Spades-playing with family. It was relaxing, yet interactive. Plus, R was off a whole extra day and I do enjoy his silly company. Even truer now that we are entering the twilight phase of being alone together.

But before I get into all of that, let me share my latest “Why haven’t I been doing this all along?” experiment.

A friend posted on FB that she made some homemade chicken stock. I bullied her into writing about it, because God forbid I go a day without yelling at someone to do something for me.

She obliged and here’s her blog post on how to make chicken or beef stock from scratch. Sigh, she makes everything seem so easy, so I’ve put it off knowing it must be harder than it looked.

Then I found a great deal on whole chickens at the supermarket and resigned myself to try it.

So this is my teeny, tiny batch from it! And like I’d been thinking all along, it was really easy.

Next time I need to add more water, but for my first rodeo, I was pretty proud.

The fat was scraped off from the top leaving this jelly-like stock underneath.

And right into the freezer it went. Snuggling up next to the big batch of stew that’s ready to be defrosted for baby’s Birthing Day. You can feed stew to a newborn, right?

Settle. I know you can’t feed that until at least 3 months in.

Have a great shortened week!