Week 32 & 33 Update [Trav-L-Park Day Trip]

Eep! 33 Weeks!

I had my 32 week check up last week. My blood pressure measured great, my weight was good (I gained 3 pounds since my last appointment), Lil Bean’s heart-rate was nice and strong, and I’m actually measuring at 33 weeks. Lil Bean seems to be positioned right where he needs to be (for now) which means that what Robb and I have been feeling is likely to have been his butt or thigh. We had been thinking it was his head.

Everything has been going well. There has been some stiffness/aching around my pubic bone but that doesn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. It’s only when I do certain things – stand after sitting in one spot too long, step out of the shower, put on pants, etc. It’s not all the time thankfully. Apparently it’s due to a hormone (called relaxin) causing my  pubic bone to loosen to make birth easier.

I thought that I might have been catching a cold – especially with the weather in North Carolina finally turning more fall-like last week – but after my appointment, I seemed to have perked up and feel so much better. Maybe it was just the blahs.

I did have an incident last week where something didn’t sit well with my stomach and I threw up (first time since my first trimester) but I wonder if that had more to do with the mixture of ingredients I ingested (stir-fry and a Yoohoo) and less with my actual pregnancy. I’m starting to master the art of sleeping while sitting up. Sometimes my heartburn is so bad that nothing will help it so I’ve started building myself a little nest of pillows on the couch. It allows me to still remain upright but to lean to my left enough that the back of the couch supports me and I can sleep. It’s pretty comfortable actually.

I spent this past weekend up at the Trav-L-Park Campground in Virginia Beach. My family goes up there on a regular basis but October is really a BIG month up there. My uncle goes all out decorating his campsite. It’s actually pretty neat because the campground has a lot of activities that goes on – such as hayrides, trick-or-treating, etc. I’m excited about taking Lil Bean next year, even if I don’t spend the night because of the dogs.

One of the biggest perks about going to the campground is the food! My mom fixes an amazing clam chowder, so I ate several bowls of it. Lil Bean seemed to enjoy it as well!

I also made it a point to go sit down with our Human Resources department this week to discuss my options for maternity leave. Even though I know that it is very, VERY likely that our plan will change (we based it on Lil Bean arriving right on schedule), it was nice to be able to have at least somewhat of an idea of how my time will work out and when I should plan on returning back to work. I want to make the most of my time with Lil Bean that I can and am planning on taking the full 12 weeks of leave that the FMLA allows (even though about half would be unpaid as I will quickly go through any time I have accumulated).

33 Weeks and 4 days!

Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s Haul

Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve been working on clearing out my pantry in anticipation for my quarterly Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods excursion. My boyfriend and I almost messed up. The weekend before Christmas, we went to Moore County to visit his family for the holidays. On our way up, as we passed through Raleigh, we decided that we would stop to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Cabela’s on our way home. Monday came and it was a dreary day as we set off back to our house with a truck full (and I mean jam packed) with gifts.

We stopped to Cabela’s but decided to bail on the other two stores. We were tired, ready to get home, and most of all – our truck was FULL! So we decided to stick to our original plan of making a day date of it while I was out on break.

That same Monday night, I attacked the kitchen in a whirlwind after we arrived home. I cleaned out our pantry – putting items that have been in our pantry for months – into a bag to donate to the local food bank (I ended up with two large bags full), throwing some expired items away. Then I started on the spices. There were spices in there from back in 2011! I let Robb go through everything before I tossed it and if he said keep it, we kept it (fair trade).

When we went to Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s the day after Christmas, neither of us were feeling at our best. That may have been why we didn’t go as crazy as I had anticipated. But that’s okay. It still ended up being a good “date” day for the two of us and I enjoy spending time with Robb. Even if it’s doing something that seems as mundane as going to the grocery store!

Here’s what we purchased:

 

Some of our favorite purchases were:

  • Growler of Ginger Kombucha from Barefoot Bucha (first tried at the Heritage Festival at Monticello) from Whole Foods (Me)
  • Olives from Whole Foods (Robb)
  • Creamy Corn & Roasted Pepper Soup  from Trader Joe’s (both of ours)
  • Trader Joe’s Roasted Potatoes (mentioned before in this post)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina Flour from Whole Foods (Me) – this is for homemade corn tortillas using the tortilla press I got for Christmas!

Molten Chocolate Macaron from Trader Joe’s – this thing is HUGE!

Since we went on Monday, we were able to take advantage of the Pasta Night at Whole Foods. For $12.99 we were able to get a pound of fresh cut pasta (our choice was spinach pappardelle), 16oz of Severino sauce (we went with the Fra Diavolo) and 4oz of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Our pasta night deal from Whole Foods with chorizo, mushrooms, and onions thrown in. Delicious!

A few nights ago, I was able to try out my new tortilla press. I know that a tortilla press is a weird thing to ask for but I love the idea of being able to make fresh corn tortillas. I still need to practice but I think I did okay! I paired my homemade corn tortillas with homemade pico de gallo, homemade lime crema, cilantro, coleslaw mix, and pan seared Alaskan halibut (with a adobo seasoning purchased from Whole Foods).

Tacos?? A good first try.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

The Fitzroy [Charlottesville]

[Note 12/5/2016: I had some website issues this morning that involved me just getting irritated, deleting the hosting system and starting from scratch. I only lost one post – this one – so I am attempting to recreate that lost post now. I did have a few drafts saved but since I had wanted to cross post them to The Southern Belle Blogs, I had copies there. Lesson learned: I need to back up my files more often. This post also doesn’t have any pretty pictures.]

Exhausted after a fun day at the Heritage Harvest Festival, mom and I went back to the campground, though we weren’t exactly excited about the notion of hot dogs cooked over the fire for dinner. Yes, they would have been delicious (and basically free) but we just were not feeling it that evening. Instead, we hopped into the truck and headed downtown to explore and hopefully find something good to eat.

The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville seems to be the happening place in town. It is a bit trippy for newcomers as sometimes the road runs right next to people dining outside, but there are lots of cute little shops and restaurants to check out. Almost too many options we quickly discovered.

Initially I wanted to eat at Citizen Burger. Citizen Burger had been on my to-do list for months but after having a burger for lunch that day, we decided to go for something else. My mom and I wandered the streets for a while, growing hungrier and hungrier, as I browsed through menus on my phone. While I wanted something tasty to eat, all mom wanted was a cold Bud Light and nothing “funky” to eat. I finally came across the menu for The Fitzroy, a relatively new establishment, but one that met both of our requirements.

I went with the Fried Chicken [boneless, buttermilk battered, a little honey, hot sauce] with a side of Broiled Mac & Cheese. Mom chose the Shrimp Po’Boy [fried shrimp, remoulade, tomato, crisp lettuce]. While my fried chicken was delicious and cooked exactly how I like it, I did have a rare bout of food envy once I tried mom’s dish. It was really good (though the remoulade could have used a bit more kick – mom makes a version that is perfect to me). I wasn’t crazy over the mac & cheese and wish that I hadn’t ordered it (it was good but we had so much left over).

Looking back, I wish I had tried one of their signature cocktails. The Majestic [St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Drambuie, Bubbles] sounded amazing but I simply stuck with water.  After being in the sun all day, that was probably not a bad choice though.

All in all, this place was a definite win. The service was good, the prices were reasonable, and the ambiance was great. The Fitzroy looked like it would be the place to come after work and hang out with friends or even a great spot to bring a date.


The Fitzroy

120 East Main Street
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 am – 12 am
Friday and Saturday 11:30 am – 2 am

Heritage Harvest Festival [Charlottesville]

This is a continuation of my post detailing my adventures at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. This blog post was previously published at The Southern Belle Blogs.

This is probably my favorite photo out of them all.

This is probably my favorite photo out of them all.

TJ and I

TJ and I

For lunch, I ate at Gryffon’s Aerie (grass fed beef burger with aioli, arugula, local tomato) while my mom ate at Bada Bing (philly cheesesteak). My burger was absolutely delicious while mom’s cheesesteak had a nice heat to it. For dessert, we shared a refreshing popsicle from King of Pops (lemon basil). It was delicious (which I’ve had their popsicles a couple of times before in Atlanta).

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That afternoon, after leaving mom in a nice breezy spot, I went to watch Jeanine Davis’ presentation on Unusual Edible Plants & Fungi for Home Gardens. Fun fact: Jeanine is a horticulture extension specialist with North Carolina State University (my alma mater). Listening to her presentation made me want to try growing wasabi again and is making me very curious about the status of the ginseng I planted last fall. It was a great presentation and she brought lots of goodies – grey griselle shallots and Japanese hull less popcorn seeds for us to plant and a dried ramp spice rub (which smells delicious). I haven’t had the opportunity to try ramps before and am delighted experience them.

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We walked around, checking out some of the other sights – such as the farm animals. I love goats and cannot wait until I can have a goat of my own!

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Before we left, I made it a point to stop back by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and take advantage of their 3 for $5 seed packet special (and no shipping!). SESE is one of my favorite companies to order from every year, right next to Baker Creek. I went with some seeds that were on my wish list (White Sage, Tulsi Kapoor Holy Basil, German Chamomile, Resina Calendula, Carolina Gold Rice), a few that sounded interesting (Seminole Pumpkin – which Jeanine discussed in her workshop, Rouge d’Hiver Romaine, Monticello White Sesame), and one “practical” seed packet (Georgia Green Collards).

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My goodies.

My goodies.

Thank you to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation for making this a great weekend for my mother and I! I hope to come back again next year and encourage everyone to go at least once in their lifetime.

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Heritage Harvest Festival [Charlottesville]

Cross-posted from The Southern Belle Blogs.

I finally made it to Monticello! I have been wanting to visit Monticello for years now and ended up going this weekend for the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. The Heritage Harvest Festival is this huge even

The first thing that you will notice when you arrive at the top of the mountain is the view. The view is gorgeous.

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The garden at Monticello is amazing. It is basically my dream garden. There were so many varieties of plants (many, like fish peppers, I identified by sight) that I could probably have simply explored the garden all day. I want to go back on a non-festival day and really browse the garden.I’m also jealous at the large amount of fig trees and the size of the orchard! One day…~!

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I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.

I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.

This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.

This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.

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The Tasting Tent seems to be the highlight of the event. We made our way around the tables for the Tomato, Melon, and Pepper tasting. There were so many different varieties that neither of us tasted every single product. We did have our favorites though – the main one being a tomato by the name of Nepal. I MUST have seeds for this one next growing season – it tasted like sugared tomatoes, that delicious touch of sweetness.

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The first cider we tried from Castle Hill Cider was a bit to dry for our taste (Levity), but the Serendipity was perfection. We both ended up purchasing a bottle of it. Back Pocket Provisions was at the top of my list of vendors that I wanted to check out. We tried all three of their Bloody Mary mixes (Bloody Brilliant, Bloody Bangkok, Bloody Baja) and decided that Bloody Brilliant was our favorite. We purchased 3 jars of it. I’m not a big Bloody Mary fan but I loved the taste of their mixes and even more so, I love that they use local farms for their tomatoes.

American Heritage Chocolate

American Heritage Chocolate

Barefoot Bucha was a bit hit with my mother and I as well. I love Kombucha but she has never tried it. We both tried the ginger kombucha, which we preferred over the Elderflower Sunrise. I ended up buying a 1/2 gallon of ginger. What is neat is that the container is refillable!

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I had been curious about Falling Bark Farm’s Hickory Syrup since I had heard about it. It is an interesting taste and though I didn’t buy any then, I later purchased a small jar from the shop at Carter’s Mountain Orchard. I have followed Farmstead Ferments on social media for a while and was thrilled to see them there. My mom and I tried the strawberry mint water kefir. It was both of our first times trying water kefir and we enjoyed how refreshing it tasted. When we went back to buy some later that day, they were out. :-/ What was really neat is that they had kombucha scoby’s for sale as well. I purchased a small jar of hand-harvested salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. There were several other food vendors we tasted – they were all delicious. The Peppermint Dark Chocolate Sauce from Willie Byrd was delicious and the sage vodka (?) was quite an interesting experience.

Part two will be posted tomorrow!