38 Weeks

Hey there!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of week 38, so I thought I’d check in.

We’re so close to Little Bit’s arrival! The nursery is nearly complete (thanks to lots of help from The Fellow and Daddy and Mama), and I can’t wait to share how adorable it is with you next week.

I’ve finally reached the uncomfortable point in pregnancy. My feet are swollen, everything aches, the heartburn continues, and sleeping is impossible. (I’m sure that’s designed to get me used to no sleep once the baby is here!)

But that’s all ok because I signed up for this.

At this point, I’m just working around the house to get whatever little projects I can done since I know that I won’t have time after she is here.

As comfy as things are getting, I’m more than happy to wait for Little Bit to decide when she wants to arrive. Honestly, there’s a full moon shortly after our due date, and I’m not too sure that she isn’t going to hold out for that and be a little moon baby, but we’re going to have to wait and see.

I’m not certain that they haven’t started taking bets at work for when she’ll make her appearance!


What I’m Listening To Wednesday

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned before that I listen to an odd collection of music. My favorite part of SCA events is sitting around a campfire listening to singing. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of distant period music out there, and what there is doesn’t suit most people’s musical taste.

That means we sing a lot of modern songs or post period songs with an old time vibe to them, and sea shanties are always a welcome selection.

I’ve had “Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her” stuck in my head for days now, so I thought I’d share a bit with you!

I thought I heard the Old Man say:

“Leave her, Johnny, leave her.”

Tomorrow you will get your pay,
and it’s time for us to leave her.

Leave her, Johnny, leave her!

Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her!

For the voyage is long and the winds don’t blow and it’s time for us to leave her.

Oh, the wind was foul and the sea ran high.

“Leave her, Johnny, leave her!”

She shipped it green and none went by.
And it’s time for us to leave her.

I hate to sail on this rotten tub.

“Leave her, Johnny, leave her!”

No grog allowed and rotten grub.

And it’s time for us to leave her.

We swear by rote for want of more.

“Leave her, Johnny, leave her!”

But now we’re through so we’ll go on shore.

And it’s time for us to leave her.

Mountain Pies

Hey There!

As promised in last week’s post, I want to share about one of my favorite campfire foods – mountain pies.

Mountain pies (also called hobo pies or campfire pies) have always been a staple at any campfire cookout my family has hosted. If you’ve never heard of mountain pies before, just think of a perfectly toasted grilled cheese sandwich, but instead of cheese inside there are endless options for fillings. We usually stick with pizza or crab pies.

The trick to mountain pies is A: having the perfect mountain pie iron and B: the perfect fire.

For our Deep Creek Lake camping trip, we borrowed my father’s pie irons so we had the biggest necessity nailed down. They’re well-seasoned cast iron makers and have had many years of deliciousness made in them.

The second thing to making the perfect mountain pie is making sure that you have a nice even bed of coals, not too close to the main fire.

Pie irons heat up quickly, and if you don’t have just the right temperature you wind up with burnt bread on the outside and un-melted cheese on the inside of your sandwiches which is not what we’re going for. (Pancake rules apply here. You’ll probably ruin the first pie dialing in on your location/timing.)

There is definitely an art to making the perfect mountain pie, just like there is to toasting the perfect marshmallow.

Just like a grilled cheese sandwich, you butter bread. The bread goes against the cooking surface butter-side down. Next add your toppings; sandwich on the top piece of bread and cook until “melty.” Unlike a grilled cheese made in a skillet, you have to be pretty quick with your pie assembling because once you put one piece of bread down into the pre-heated iron, it immediately starts cooking. The Fellow did try to completely pre-assemble a pie but trying to push that into the pie iron just wound up with cheese everywhere. Stick to the traditional method and work quickly!

As I mentioned, our two favorite pie fillings are pizza and crab. They both take basic ingredients that are easy enough to tote to a campground

Pizza Pies:

Butter Mozzarella Cheese
Pepperoni Pizza Sauce

Crab Pies:
Butter Imitation Crab Meat Mozzarella Cheese Old Bay Seasoning

We’ve also used apple pie filling, and that makes for a yummy campfire dessert!

If you’re going to purchase your own set of pie irons for your next campfire, I highly recommend getting cast iron. They make aluminum ones that are cheaper and lighter, but I’ve never had a good experience using them.

I also recommend just getting single pie irons. The double ones are so tempting, but trust me, it’s harder to get two pies assembled quickly, and one side always ends up burning.

**A little safety note about pie irons: Whichever ones you buy may come with a little latch to keep the iron shut. Remove it first thing. Two things happen when you keep it on – it gets hot and poses a burn risk when you go to open it and remove your sandwich. Secondly, when you pull your pie iron up and out of the fire, the catch can fall up or down the iron also creating a burn risk. So just pop it off before you even start to season it.

Have you ever heard of mountain pies? What flavors and toppings are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments below!

Deep Creek Lake State Park

Hey There!

We went on what will probably be our last little babymoon trip last weekend. We packed up our Jeep and headed to Deep Creek Lake State Park where my folks met us with Rosie Lee.

Aside from a small snafu with the reservations (which I will admit my pregnant self did not handle the most gracefully), we had a great weekend! 

My folks hung out with us for the better part of the day Saturday, and then shortly after they left, our friends met up with us at the campsite.

We had booked the last RV spot that was open over the holiday weekend and were lucky that they allow not only your camper but 2 additional tents on the pad, as long as everything is on the pad.

With Rosie Lee being as tiny as she is, it should have been no problem. Unfortunately, our friends’ tent stakes were a problem. They have a Soul Pad tent, and the stakes have to be driven completely into the ground. The dirt under the gravel was packed too hard for them to be able to get their stakes all the way in and set up their tent.

We wound up putting their mattress down in the back of my Jeep and throwing some netting up over the windows to make them a sleeping area. We’ve done it before, and it’s not too rough of a night’s sleep, especially with a good mattress, and they didn’t seem to mind too much.

The campsites at Deep Creek were arraigned wonderfully. There was a center bathhouse with a dish washing station and potable water, and then the campsites circled around that making a little pod; then down the road to another bath house with the same set up. This means that no one was more than a space or two away from a bathhouse and that was lovely! (So was being able to do our dishes easily, especially since we were in bear country and I was paranoid about there being any food stuffs left anywhere!)

We only went down to the lake for a short while with my folks on Saturday. The rest of the time I spent in camp with swollen ankles chilling under the awning with my feet up reading. The others went for a hike, and the Fellow picked up another hobby – mountain biking!

We packed in some steak, sausages, and things to make mountain pies (more on that in the next blog) and cooked our meals between the campfire and our little charcoal grill.

The weather was nice overall. Things are finally starting to cool down and feel like fall. Daddy re-sealed Rosie’s roof before he brought her up, and I’m glad he did! We had rain overnight 2 nights and in the morning one day. It rained so much the night before we left that the ground softened to the point that our awning spike came loose and the awning fell soaking our chairs and everything outside. Luckily it all dried relatively quickly and didn’t make too much of a muddy mess for pack out. But we definitely learned our lesson about where to put our spikes!

The general group vote was that we will certainly be heading back to Deep Creek at some point, if not for the trails, to actually spend some time at the lake! Next time we may even look into boat rentals.

What I’m Listening To

Hey there!

Guys, there’s a lot going on in my life right now, and I just am not ready to share. (Little Bit is fine.)

I just didn’t have a full blog in me today, but I thought I’d share the song I’ve been listening to on repeat. It’s an older one by one of my favorite bands, The Killers, and it’s been one of my favorite songs of all time ever since I heard it – “A Dustland Fairytale”.

The music video is phenomenal as well!

I may make this a regular thing. What do you think? The occasional “What I’m Listening To Wednesday” maybe? I’ll ponder on it!

“A Dustland Fairytale” –

Dustland fairytale beginning
Just another white trash
County kiss
Sixty one
Long brown hair and foolish eyes
He looks just like you want him to
Some kind of slick chrome American prince
A blue jean serenade
And Moon River what’d you do to me
And I don’t believe you

Saw Cinderella in a party dress but
She was looking for a night gown
I saw the devil warping up his hands
He’s getting ready for the show down
I saw the minute that I turn away
I got my money on a pond tonight

Change came in disguised of revelation
Set his soul on fire
She said she’d always knew he’d come around
And the decades disappear like sinking
Ships we persevere God gives us hope
But we still fear
We don’t know
The mind is poison castle in the sky
Sit stranded vandalized
The draw bridge is closing

Saw Cinderella in a party dress but
She was looking for a night gown
I saw the devil warping up his hands
He’s getting ready for the show down
I saw the ending were they turned the page
I threw my money and I ran away
Strait to the Vally of the great divide

And were the dreams roll high
And were the wind don’t blow
Out here the good girls die
And the sky won’t snow
Out here the bird don’t sing
Out here the field don’t grow
Out here the bell don’t ring
Out here the bell don’t ring
Out here the good girls die

Now Cinderella don’t you go to sleep
Its such a bitter form of refuge
Ah don’t you know the kingdoms under siege
And everybody needs you
Is there still magic in the midnight sun
Or did you leave it back in sixty-one
In the of the cadence in the young mans eyes
And were the dreams roll high

Pregnancy Reflections – Part II

Hey there!

I wanted to pick up where I left off last time with the rest of the things I’ve learned during this pregnancy. We covered 1-8 last week and were wrapping up with 9-15.

9. Someone gave me some advice early on and said, “Let people give things to you. Baby items are expensive and you have no idea what your baby will like,” so I’ve been going with that. We’ve been blessed with so many hand-me-downs of baby goods from high chairs and pack ‘n plays to baby bath tubs and carriers – not to mention clothes. I don’t think I’d feel nearly as calm about Little Bit’s arrival if I didn’t know that all of the basics were covered. And it’s so easy to fall down a rabbit hole of reviews and forums trying to decide which baby item is the best or most necessary. I’ve been going with a “If it worked for them, it should work for me” mindset, so I’m not spending hours reading about which baby carrier is ACTUALLY the best.

10. Maternity Body Pillow is a must have. I wanted to put off buying one of these because they can be a bit pricy, but when I really needed to stop sleeping on my back and my back started to ach a bit from the weight redistribution, I broke down and bought one. It’s the best thing ever. I’m going to be kinda bummed when it’s not necessary anymore, but The Fellow and I will be happy to be able to snuggle to sleep again. It forms a pretty effective barrier between us, so now he just tries to fling his arm over it to me to rub my belly and hold me as we go to sleep.  

11. Choosing baby names is hard. You may think you know what you want to name a future baby, but your spouse may just have something to say about that, and The Fellow certainly did. He also has the habit of being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory, so we’d mention a name, agree we’d like it; then two days later I’d bring it up and he’d hate it! Eventually I started writing the name down and having him (literally) sign off on it! We also decided to keep the name a secret. There are too many opinions and stories that people are inclined to share with you out there for us to have to start over from scratch looking for a name, and I LOVE the name we picked.

12. People have been generally wonderful about respecting our decision to go with a birth center. I’ve only had one unpleasant interaction where I was told I was stupid and didn’t know anything for choosing the type of birth we have planned. Largely, everyone has been supportive and inquisitive, and I feel so comfortable with the center. There has only been two times that I’ve cried during this pregnancy, and the first was while watching a hospital birth video. I have had so many terrible experiences with doctors. I’ve had my opinion ignored, been unable to find care, misdiagnosed, been told I could have a brain tumor, and had so many other issues that I knew that I needed to feel heard and safe during this process, and I didn’t trust a hospital to make me feel that way. (And Lord help whatever doctor who was ignoring his wife in pain with The Fellow in the Room. We’d probably have a whole slew of other issues with the Doctors after that!) Thankfully, the wonderful midwives we’re working with have made me feel all of the things I need to feel in order to meet Little Bit.

13. Plan ahead for Day Care. Like, really. Like, 3 years ahead. Which is what the wait list is for the “good” daycare in town. This was the second time I’ve cried during this pregnancy. I did a tour of one of the only facilities which had an opening for when we’d need care, and it was such a sad, dingy, unorganized facility I couldn’t stand it. My mother worked at a daycare for several years, and I visited and helped with Relay for Life activities there. It was bright and clean with a great playground and good structured classes with wonderful teachers and that’s what I want for Little Bit if I can’t stay home with her. We’ve found a place that isn’t the nicest facility I’ve ever seen, but they’ve tried to make it nice. The teachers seem wonderful, and they have a good curriculum in place so I feel comfortable with her going there.

14. People are so excited and concerned for you! If I’ve been asked if I’m ok once, I’ve been asked if I’m ok a thousand times. People are so sweet and considerate. Nearly every time I get up, someone asks if I’m ok or there’s something they can get/do for me (especially now that my walk is turning into more of a waddle.)

15. It’s been crazy, but a good journey, and I can’t wait to see where the next league takes us!

Pregnancy Reflections

Hey There!

Whew! We’re about a month out from meeting Little Bit, and I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on this pregnancy.

There are so many Pinterest pins and blog posts about pregnancy, and so many of them are written as the end-all-be all advice or reality. I went into this journey with the mindset that what was going to be would be, and as we’re getting closer to the big day, I’m surprised to say that it’s worked out pretty well for me. I’m really not even too terribly anxious about the actual delivery portion of this experience. I’m sure it won’t be fun, but stressing about it is only going to make it harder.

I will say that the biggest source of anxiety (as I knew it would be) is still trying to get the house ready for baby. But that’s been a source of stress for me for so long now I don’t think I can even really blame it on the baby. (It’s getting a lot better though!)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been very fortunate as I’ve had a very easy pregnancy. I have experienced no real morning sickness outside of a little nausea which I kept at bay with plenty of carbs and some SERIOUS heartburn. Really though, if this baby isn’t born with a full head of hair like The Fellow’s niece. I’ll be SO surprised!

There were some things that the all stories and blogs were right on though, and I’ve learned a few things for if we decide to have more children, and so I thought I’d leave a little list here of things I’ve learned so far in this pregnancy:

1. They weren’t kidding about overheating. I’m usually always cold. They make fun of me at the office for wearing a blanket, clutching my coffee, and sometimes even wearing USB heated gloves!  But, with Little Bit, I’m chilling around the house in shorts, and I have to have a USB desk fan on my desk in order to drink my coffee!

2. I bought probably 6-8 maternity tops, a few dresses, 3 pairs of maternity jeans, and 2 pairs of maternity shorts which have largely been the staples of my wardrobe. I wish I would’ve bought less maternity tops. The ones with the side ruching are super cute, but they are really only now becoming “necessary.” I’d probably have been better off and felt less awkward buying several cute flowy tops or tunics. I’m still wearing several of my non-maternity pieces because they were loose to begin with. I felt silly wearing the maternity tops too early, and they can be PRICEY! (Seriously. Motherhood Maternity, I don’t know what you’re doing with your $60 tops you only wear for 6 months . . .) I will recommend Zulily for buying maternity clothes though; I don’t think I paid more than $12 for any of my tops!  

3. I also wasn’t prepared to dislike the full-panel maternity jeans. I bought one pair and rarely wear them. Instead, I love the side-panel option. I have 2 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of shorts like that and although they were difficult to find, they’re the ones I like. They feel more like regular jeans, just with a bit of belly stretch.

4. Leggings are life. I’ve been living in leggings as lounge wear for a while now, but I never really hopped onto the LuLaRoe bandwagon. The two pairs that I had were given to me, and I didn’t see the point in paying $25 for a pair of leggings when you can find knock-off ones for half the price. Plus I’m super picky about the patterns. However, once the belly really began to pop, I broke down and bought a few pairs of LuLaRoe leggings. Unlike the knock-off ones I’ve been wearing for the last year or so, true LuLaRoe don’t have a real waistband. It’s more like a waist panel. And it fits so nice over my belly. I’ve been scouring FB marketplace for deals and have even found some plain black ones, and they’re basically all I wear now. As soon as I get home from work, on they go.

5. You can live without caffeine. You’re allowed one cup of coffee a day, but I’ve only had caffeine beverages maybe 5 times since January. It was rough at first, but I think it was time for a detox.

6. Feeling Little Bit wiggle and kick is simultaneously the most bizarre and natural feeling.  The first time was so weird, but it will be strange not to experience that anymore when she arrives.

7. The exhaustion is real. 8 hours of sleep is non-negotiable. There is no getting up normal time if I get to bed late; I just won’t shower.

8. I don’t feel like I’ve had “cravings.” When I think about cravings, I just remember the scene from Lady and the Trap when Jim Dear is heading out into the snow storm and stops to ask, “And you sure that you want watermelon?” That being said, chicken tenders, fries and chocolate ice cream have been all I’ve really felt like eating – no weird combinations or urges that I have to have right now, just some good old comfort food that I don’t have to cook myself. I’ve only had a few weird food sensitivities. Broccoli being one, but other than that no smells or foods have set me off, so that’s been a blessing!

More pregnancy reflections coming in my next post.

Pennsic XLVII

Hey There!

My favorite vacation has come and gone, and I thought I’d share a few highlights with you.

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about this year considering I was 31 weeks pregnant, and it promised to be a hot week. There were a few “cooler” days, but with Little Bit making me warmer than usual, I’m not going to lie – it still wasn’t the most pleasant of temperatures.

Thankfully, I have wonderful friends and campmates who took extremely good care of me.

The Fellow and I took two 0 gravity chairs and left one in our camp and the other in the camp we often hang out in, so that I had my comfy chair both places where I could relax and keep my feet up. Basically, I either sat in our camp or theirs and  drank copious amounts of Gatorade and water and kept a cool, wet cloth around my neck and for the most part I was pretty comfy.

This was the first year for us to camp in our new-to-us vardo and THAT was a total game changer. It’s pretty easy to set up/tear down and has a lot of room. Next year we want to build some type of storage shelving over the one bench, especially as we may have Little Bit with us and will need floor space for a Pack n’ Play. It also has a full-size memory foam bed and that was every bit as fantastic as I was hoping it would be. The other nice thing about it is that it has a back window and a front door that swings open which allowed for a nice cross draft. It was the perfect temperature at night and even in the mornings it wasn’t too bad because of the canvas top. The Fellow bought me a Ryobi fan that runs off drill batteries and that was such an awesome addition.

My Pennsic mornings typically look like this:

Wake up, coffee, breakfast, shower, get dressed for the day. In between the shower and getting dressed for the day, if I can I like to lie back and take my time getting my hair done and figuring out laces or accessories on the day’s outfit. The Ryobi fan made that portion of the day SO much better as it kept me quite cool, and I was able to just chill in bed for probably half an hour before emerging for my day which is pretty high up on my list of favorite parts of Pennsic.

I knew that garb would be a bit of a challenge this year as all of my apron dresses are quite form fitting, but I had at least one pleated apron dress and counted on my laced front kirtles fitting. They did not. So I was doing a bit of a last-minute scramble when I decided I’d wear what I had and if I had to do a mid-week laundry run I would. Thankfully, a friend loaned me a flowy tunic (that was sooo light it felt wonderful in the heat), and I managed to get through the week only having to wash some bloomers.

I think my goal for next year is to make some more single layer tunics. That way I can go sans-apron dress on hot years, and they’re pretty roomy so they should fit no matter what my weight. (And I weigh as much as a baby elephant right now . . . )

While I spent a lot of time just relaxing in camp (and napping, probably my most favorite thing to do at Pennsic), I was actually surprised at how much other stuff I was able to do. The second camp we hang out with is about halfway between our home base and the market place, so I would stop there, rest, rehydrate, then continue on into “town.”

I picked out about 4 classes on blacksmithing and Viking metal working that I wanted to attend and made it out to two of them. Unfortunately, only one of the teachers showed. The one that I was able to take was on blacksmithing and was entitled “Forging in Clay.” I had assumed that this would be something to do with using clay to make molds or crucibles as I know that’s how Viking Age metal casting was done and figured it probably had other applications. Instead it was a hands-on class where we used a firm clay in place of molten metal. They provided a wooden hammer and anvil, and we learned and practiced hammering techniques. It was a neat introduction, and I really enjoyed it!

The Fellow fought again this war, and I even managed to make it down to the battlefield to watch a battle! I didn’t stay long though because it was truly HOT out there. I don’t know how the fighters stand it with all of their armor and how long they’re out there! Someone posted a video online and you can see him if you watch closely around 3:00 He’s in the yellow tabard with the white legs using the pole arm. He takes an arrow to the throat. (Reason why I don’t prefer to watch the battles. I know they’re all armored up and the weapons are foam and blunted, but it still makes me nervous!)

The camp behind us throws a party on Sunday night so we wandered over there that evening to say hello and enjoy the drums and the dancing. I paused on a bench under a tree for a bit, and while I was sitting I swear Little Bit was kicking perfectly in time with the beat of the drums. I’d be surprised if she wasn’t a dancer. She’s already got better rhythm than her mother and hopefully she’s more graceful too!

There was a torrential downpour in the middle of the week and camp flooded which was something I’ve never seen before. Now I know what people mean when they talk about muddy wars. I think next year we will tuck some rain boots in the car juuuuuuust in case.

We ate good food and hung out with good people and spent nights surrounded by drums in the distance watching shooting stars and had an absolutely marvelous time.

I’d finish this post here, but I thought you’d all enjoy a laugh.

As you know, I can be just a taaaaad bit clumsy.

Well, when we were tearing down the vardo, we had packed up all of the clothes and the chairs and emptied it completely out and were just waiting to fold town the top front/back pieces and secure her for travel. The Fellow had removed the support jacks and then had to excuse himself for a moment. I was waiting for him to return and chatting with a camp mate while sitting on the bed. Everything was fine for the first five minutes until I decided to lie back. I forgot that the jacks were removed, and we were parked essentially in a ditch on a hill. The vardo tipped backwards (Thank goodness the chocks were still under the tires), and next thing I know I’m pointed downhill with my feet up in the air – stuck!

Of course, everyone in camp panics that the pregnant lady is in a runaway vardo with her feet up over her head and rushed over to help. It took two of the stronger men in camp to balance out the weight on the front of the trailer and get me leveled out enough so I could scramble onto safer ground.

Both I and the vardo were completely fine, and my campmates were much more shaken up than I was. (I just laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.) So lesson learned; jacks stay on until the very end.

Anyone else have any camping mishaps to share?

Gettysburg, PA: Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium

Hey There!

Ok, y’all. You remember my post about Dinosaur Land? It’s basically the quintessential road trip tourist stop, right?

Well, on our Gettysburg trip, we stopped at another perfect road trip destination – Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium.

It’s got the perfect road side amusement vibe to it, and that’s probably because it’s been around since the 70s.

When you get out of the car, the first thing you are invited to do is talk a stroll through the gardens and the woods. You’ll be glad that you did!

Each bend in the path takes you by a different themed pocket garden. There is so much to look at! An elephant swimming pond, giraffe garden, rose garden, the Hi-Ho trail, featuring characters from Snow White, (Yes, they’re all there!), winding past my favorite – the Teapot Museum (the building is shaped like a teapot!) before you enter the Enchanted Woods.

You never know what you will see next! There is something to look at nestled into every tree and around every bend. You could spend an hour outside just trying to see everything that they’ve collected.

Even Sasquatch!

But, of course, knowing me and my sweet tooth, I was excited to get inside to the candy.

They had all kinds of old-fashioned candies just piled on shelves lining one half of the store. In the center, there were (of course) peanuts in different styles, and the other half of the store was comprised of a gift shop.

The elephant museum was also inside (which my pregnant self was SO grateful for to be back in the AC), but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer number of elephants. I wonder just how many elephants they have in their collection, or if they even know! The museum is small, but you literally cannot look at everything. There are elephants of all types, shapes, and sizes. Plus necklaces, carvings, plushies, coins, and even beads!  Along the walk way, there are scattered elephant trivia facts making the stop not only delicious but educational.

It’s sort of one of those places that’s hard to put into words. Clearly, Mr. Ed had a dream and just went for it and has just never stopped building and adding on to it! If you love a little bit of vintage roadside distraction, you must stop at Mr. Ed’s! Oh, and try the fudge! Trust me.