Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm doing grape, how about you?

So- not nearly as many pictures were taken this weekend as I though would be.  But, that's ok. We'll live. 

I went over to my Grandma's house this weekend to put up some grape juice.  Turns out I am really bad at estimating weight.  I told Grandpa I had 15 pounds of grapes.  I actually had more like, 30.  Oops.  We ran out of lids after 24 jars of juice.  We decided to try freezing the leftover grapes.  We'll try cooking them down for jelly later on, after the wedding. 

So - on to the exciting stuff. 

Canning isn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  You hear all kinds of terrible stories about how intimidating it is.  So and so's great grandmother burned the house down while canning, or my husband's great aunt lost an eye when a jar exploded.  It sounds like canning is a full contact sport, when in reality, it's a lot of sitting around and waiting.  And moving slowly so you don't burn yourself or spill boiling water on the dog. 

For our juice recipe, the most difficult part is keeping the water boiling, and cleaning the grapes.  I did most of the grape cleaning - I stood over a sink and picked each grape from the stem and dropped it into the sink filled with cool water, swished them around and dumped them into a bowl.  The end. Just kidding.

We sterilized the jars in the diswasher, so that was easy.  Then we added grapes, sugar and boiling water to each jar.  We placed the lids on each jar and screwed on the ring. Then we put 8 jars into Great Grandma's canner, made sure they were covered in water, and processed them. 

When the timer went off, we carefully took each jar out and set them on the counter on a clean and dry towel, making sure they weren't touching each other.  We covered them with a dishtowel and let them cool.  As they were cooling, you would hear the occasional 'Pop!'  This was the lid sealing itself on the jar. 

I left them at Grandma's to cool, so I don't have any pictures of the finished product, yet.  I'll pick them up later this week and I can't wait to try it!  Our juice is very red, where Grandma's juice used to be kind of pinkish, mostly due to the grapes.

As I said, we're freezing the leftover grapes to make into jelly.  For jelly, you cook down the grapes, and strain it through cheescloth.  Then you add sugar, and gelatin to the juice you strain out.  I'll let you know how that goes, too.

So that's what my weekend was all about.  How about yours?  I think I've been bitten by the canning bug, now that I know it's not nearly as hard as I thought it was.  I'm officially adding a canner to my Christmas List.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Grapes of Wrath

It's been a crazy week - so no posts.  Sorry about that.  My little sister is getting married (!) in two weeks, so we've been consumed with wedding crafts.  50 pew bows have been made, 4 flower stands were decorated, and her card box was constructed, painted and decorated.  Mike has worked on her programs and table numbers, and also her placecards.  On top of all that, we've been trying to keep up with all our social obligations.  We're going to Festa Italiana on Harriet Island tonight, and we're going to the Minnesota Rennaisance Festival tomorrow. 

Frost is imminent here in Minnesota, so we needed to pick grapes.  Our good friends bought a house this summer and they found out they have lots of grapevine on their fence.  The grapes were really good, and they didn't want them this year, so I said I would take them and can some grape juice with my grandma.  We pulled the grapes last night since it is supposed to frost this weekend.

We gathered them all in bags and brought them home.  I had to lay them out in a single layer, using every. single. last. pan or tray I have.  I do this so they don't get squished and lose all their juice before I am ready to can. They are very heavy, and just the weight of the grapes will smash the ones on the bottom if you're not careful.

Holy grapes, Batman!

Then I stacked them in my fridge to wait until canning day on Sunday!  Hopefully, I will remember to take lots of pictures on Sunday so I can document my first attempt at canning! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Babies and Animals

Before Mitch, our animals were our babies.  I know lots of people say they love their pets like children, and I thought I did, too.  But then I had a baby and I realized that my love for my son is NOTHING like what I had for our pets. Totally different. Not better or worse, just different.

I gets this thing gets that human...

Apparently, our human kids and our fur kids will get along just fine.  Greta likes to french kiss the baby (she does not have permission to do so, but sneaks it in anyway).

At least buy me dinner first, dog!

As you can see from the look on Mitch's face, he does not enjoy this display of affection. Just wait until the boy starts pulling on her ears.  That'll teach her!

It didn't start that way - Greta was wary of the little guy at first.

The cats, on the other had, are completely different.  I don't even have any pictures of Scotch with the baby.  He stays far, far away from the little grabby hands. We do have another cat in the house (for now).  His name is Paul.  He was my Father-in-Law's cat before he passed away last month.  While FIL was sick, we offered to take Paul.  Paul will be living out his 9 lives with my Sister-in-Law when they close on their new house (!) later next month. 

Paul LOOOOOVES Mitch.  He can't get enough of the little guy.  He just sits by the baby and lets him run his fingers through his fur, over and over again.  When Mitch grabs a handful of fur, Paul gets up, walks in a circle around the baby, and lays back down for more.

Ow. Ow. Ow. rubbins. Can't beat that!

On a different note - baby toys and dog toys are ridiculously similar.  Seriously.  I could mix up the toy bins and both baby and dog would be completely happy with anything they pull out.  Except the dog bones.  Although, they would probably make great teethers (Mom of the Year, here I come!).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Munchkin

So, we recently had to switch daycares.  It was very traumatic, at least for me.  I didn't think Mitch really cared that much. That is, until I started reading the notes the lady sent home every day.  Mitch isn't napping at daycare.  I'm not talking little, short crappy naps. I mean he's NOT NAPPING AT ALL.  Yesterday, he slept a total of 30 minutes all day. 30 minutes, people. So of course he's a crabby mess for Mike when he gets picked up. And of course he wants to go to bed at 6pm.  Which then leads to GOOD MORNING! at 4. AM.  This is crazy talk.  This is insane.  This does not do good things for Mommy. 

Don't let this face fool you.  I'm pretty sure he was looking at apps to play with at 4 am when he can't sleep.

I still have no idea what to do about it.  I talked to our daycare lady (I suppose I can give her a name, since she'll probably pop up on the ol' blog every once in a while - she's Jill) and it's not for lack of trying.  She rocks him with his Nuk and when he falls asleep, she goes to put him in the crib.  That's where he wakes up and wails.  We do the exact same thing at home, so I don't know what the malfunction is. Same Nuk. Same blankie. Same routine.

I suppose I'm grateful that this has been our only hiccup so far.  Oh, but what a hiccup it is.  He comes home hoarse because he cries, and there really isn't anything I can do about it.  I have to trust that Jill is really trying her best to put him down for his naps, and I do.  Jill is amazing.  I could tell the first time I met her that she was a no nonsense kind of care provider.  She doesn't mess around.  The kids are on a great schedule that includes outside time, walks around the neighborhood, healthy meals and naps with a little tiny bit of TV mixed in for fun.  She doesn't really let the kids set their own schedule, but still follows their leads and gives them exactly what they need.  I also have to trust that if Mitch is really tired, he will sleep no matter what.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First post!!!

I don't really know why I'm trying this again.  I was terrible the first time I tried blogging - although maybe that was because I was blogging about dog training instead of my daily life.  Yeah, we'll go with that.   So, here goes!  I want to blog so people who are close to us but physically far away can keep up with the who's and what's of our daily life. Also, because I like attention.  Not.  But seriously. I'm going to blog about our life because I'm pretty sure my coworkers are sick of seeing ANOTHER BAYBEH PICHER! AGAIN! AND FROM ANOTHER ANGLE! Also, I'm sure they really don't care about my boobs, or the baby's butt rash, and yet, I insist on telling these stories over. And over. So I will begin being more humble at work and instead insist that the interwebz ooh and aah over my baby, my home, and my husband. 

So.  Where to start?  I have no idea, so I'll just start with today, I guess.  It's 9/11 again.  I was flipping through the channels last night while trying to put the baby to sleep (tangent: The baby is a wiggling mess of I have to see all the things! But I want your boob!  Don't they make this thing in a takout cup option??!!) and the 9/11 documentaries had already started.  I quickly flipped past them, not ready to subject myself to the downer yet.  I mentioned this to Mike and he said he was surprised it wasn't a whole week of it.  On one hand, I understand that we need to remember and memorialize what happened that day, but on the other hand, I really wish we could just put it behind us.  Personally, I will not be watching any of the 'coverage' today.  My hormones just cannot handle it.  I do not want to cry today, and if I were to watch or read any of it, I will.  I can't help but think about all those mothers who did not return to their babies, or those fathers who will never be with their families again - and then the obvious line of reasoning brings me to what our little family would be like if either Mike or I were involved in a tragedy that took us away.  I picture Mike and Mitch sitting without me and it makes me so deeply sad.  Wow - sorry to be such a downer.  We'll move on now.

I suppose I can introduce our little family to the interwebz:

I am Courtney.  I was born and raised in St. Paul, so I am a Minnesota Native. Actually, so was Mike, so that doesn't really set me apart from the rest of the family.  I'm a classically trained flutist, I like to think of myself as being crafty and artsy. I paint and draw in my free time (ha! What free time??!!). 

This is Mike, the husband.  He's just...Mike, I guess.  He's solid and strong.  He's one of my pillars of strength.  He knows when to pick me up and support me, and also when to knock me down a little. I love him.

This is Mitch.  Stats:  6 months old, 96th percentile for weight.  Likes: Boobs, sweet potatoes, pulling the dog's ears.

Supporting characters:  Scotch the cat, and Greta the dog.  Our first babies.  Both of them are very weird little animals, so they fit in just fine.