Pregnancy + Caprese Salad

20weeks

This pregnancy has not been a very easy one. I have heard many a mother say that they were much more sick when pregnant with their girls than with their boys. I don’t know if there is actually anything to back that up, but it is holding true for me too. However, come 20 weeks – halfway there! – nausea is basically gone. Thank heavens! I will admit that it was nice to lose weight in the beginning because come the last weeks of pregnancy, I will probably bloat up like last time! haha. It was a miserable few months at the Gossling household though earlier this spring. James can attest. I spent four months in hibernation practically. For you women that just adore pregnancy and want to have baby after baby – props. I hate it. It sucks. I am very grateful to have a healthy little one on the way – do not get me wrong there. Counting my blessings.

BUT, I am to the point of loving food again. Hooray! Ever since I visited Italy with my mother, I have been obsessed with caprese salad. During my pregnancy with Jude, I craved them all the time. Fresh tomatoes! Basil! Balsamic. Mozzarella. Mmmmm. Good thing I keep my pregnancies during the summer. I have mentioned we are out our ears with garden tomatoes – no complaints here – so every day, lunch is amazing. It is a tomato, pesto & cream cheese sandwich…Or caprese salad. . .

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Heaven on a plate. Absolutely. And I am not kidding when I say literally every day. While my supply lasts…indulge!

When in Itlay, my mom and I took a cooking class – best day ever (view that blog post here)! They took us through the Florence open market to buy our fresh ingredients and educate us on them. Of course, I bought seasonings and other goodies to bring home and cook with. My favorite was a raspberry balsamic glaze which I have been salvaging and trying to make last as long as possible. I kept telling James that as soon as my bottle was empty, we had to make a trip back to Florence. Ha! Wishful dreaming. I was in denial for a while because my bottle sat, basically empty, in the fridge for weeks before I could throw it away.

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But then something marvelous happened. I came upon this fig balsamic glaze at The Fresh Market! Oh, happy day! It does not have quite the sweetness of the raspberry glaze from Florence, but it is delicious. Thrilled about having a comparable replacement, my summer and pregnancy can be complete. Yes, I am a little obsessed. The best part is that I can use it to my heart’s content knowing that I can go buy more when I need it. Divine!

xoxo

Whit jude21months

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Summer of the Tomato | Vegetable Gardening

Having a successful vegetable garden is always my summer goal. Growing up, my parent’s garden thrived each summer and I anticipated those ripe summer tomatoes. Nothing beats fresh homegrown tomatoes! They are like gold to me. Though, since being married, we have either been living in an apartment without a yard or been in the middle of a move where my “container garden” suffered and would get neglected. Last year, in our inexperience, we got started a little late and learned from mistakes with diseases, pests, over/under watering, and soil amending. Live and learn, right? So this was our year. Our summer of the tomato! (James thinks I overdid it with my 24 tomato plants of many varieties…but it was a must for me! Next year, I know which kinds I like best.)

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Last year we did amend our soil and put in compost. We got a soaker hose with a timer on it. And we had some success, just nothing like I had hoped. We learned a lot about working with our yard full of Stone Mountain granite and Georgia red clay. About different plants and their pH needs and different watering needs. And that our “compost” was perhaps a tad too fresh which caused some issues. Georgia sun and heat can be brutal. The bugs…mainly stink bugs and caterpillars are intense! So I was sure to do my research and plan properly for this year. Of course, James was on board and ever so helpful. I also made it a goal to start from seed in the winter so that I could have heirloom varieties. Thank you, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! Starting from seed is just that much more satisfying and I am finding out that, like my mother, gardening is a happy place for me.

Before spring hit, we – and I say WE lightly – doubled our bed from last year from 10×10 to 10×20 feet. Handy husbands are the best! We also bit the bullet and bought and had two square yards of compost delivered to amend in (not pictured) – We bought ours from Soil3 online. Being early in my pregnancy, amending soil was even more back-breaking work. Ugh! Worth it though.

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Jude loves being helpful! ^^^

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garden.progress

I like taking pictures to see the progress. We did lose some young plants from an unexpected freeze…mainly all but one tomatillo plant and a few tomatoes. Luckily, I had plenty tomato plants I started still in my milk jug greenhouses! I was able to replace most. Though then I learned about the need to adjust my young plants to the sun slowly after having lived in milk jugs. I made the mistake of planting them in full sun right away and a few suffered from sun-scorch. Nothing too drastic though! We bounced back. It is crazy to me how quickly everything grew in just a couple weeks! ^^^ . . . And now, pictured below, we are thriving and I can hardly stay on top of picking. I fill up a couple buckets a day with tomatoes, peppers, & squash. There is endless basil for my pestos. Jalapenos for pico de gallo & tomatillos for salsas. And sweet potatoes for later in fall. We had sugar snap peas growing up the trellis in the back, but come mid-june they were drying up.

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I do not mind having more tomatoes than I know what to do with. I live off of tomato sandwiches, caprese salads, and have cooked up batches of delicious pasta sauce. Not to mention, I enjoy gifting tomatoes to others that appreciate them as much as I do.

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peppers

^bell peppers^

We had one of those huge blue plastic barrels (I have no idea what from), so James cut it in half and drilled holes in the bottom so we could plant our sweet potatoes in containers. Being able to dump out our potatoes seems easier than digging them up like last year. Carrots are in the middle white tub.

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James also planted cantaloupe in some compost bags ^^^  – He was meaning to get lawn fabric and plant them behind the stables. That may or may not still happen.

Last year, we planted seven blueberrie bushes and a couple raspberries, so we enjoyed more fruit from them this summer as well!
raspberries

flowers

cone flowers

. . .And some random pictures I have of some of my flowers and nooks. Perhaps I am a nerd because I like to document my plants?

Some relevant iphone shots from the last couple of months:

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Jude always in the middle of building and helping

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These green zebra and solar flair heirlooms are my favorite!

xoxo

Whit

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My Little Garden

This is the first spring that James and I have successfully planted a garden. In the past, we were in the middle of moves or I was pregnant. My potted tomatoes and peppers became neglected and sadly, there were little to no fruits of our “labors”. A lot of work has gone into creating plantable beds in our yard – a big thanks to my mom and dad who helped a ton when they came out last summer for Jude’s birth and blessing. It made this this year much less of a pain. Many hours have also been put in by James who leveled and built a 10×10 ft raised bed for our veggies this year. We’re starting small and hoping to expand in coming years.

I wanted to post some pictures so that I can bask in the satisfaction of seeing how things grow and change over time. Gardening really is very fulfilling. Each little plant has become almost like a child to me now.haha! I know what they are and I weed them and water them. Sounds dweeby – but true!

So, this is what the back of our house looked like back in the day before we ever moved in. The place was for sure a “fixer upper”. Of course, there was a lot of cosmetic things done to improve it before we moved in as well…but I post it because I like to see how far it’s all come.

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A snapshot from this last Memorial Day weekend…

 

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coralbells

The coral bells from my mother’s yard when she lived here in Georgia are doing way better this year than last. I also feel like the start of her hibiscus grows a foot a week. Also better than last year because it was confined to a pot.

house before

^ The only “before” shot I can find of the front/kind of the front of the house. ^

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I planted gladiolus bulbs and they have all come up. Three already bloomed and each in a different color. The deep purple is back by the kitchen window. They make me so happy!

gladiolus

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Some of my favorite little personalities of the yard…

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succulent pot

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Our veggies are doing well. I have some phone shots from while James was building…

raised bed

We literally filled it with the piles of manure/straw/sawdust from behind the stables. Perfect compost!

raised bed

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Everything has been sprouting up really well. We already have some bell peppers and yellow crook neck squash that will be ready for picking soon! I also have eight tomato plants, cucumbers, jalapeños, chives, onions, garlic, and some pumpkin plants that came out of nowhere (from the compost). Our spinach and cilantro pretty much already bit the dust. Live and learn.

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James planted seven blueberry bushes and two raspberry vines behind the house. They are doing surprisingly well and going to give fruit this year. I have already picked a few juicy ripe raspberries and they are delicious.

blueberries

raspberries

I have my fresh herbs growing here and there. My favorite is my herb tower that James helped me put together with some rebar and pots. He also built the bed that it’s sitting in.

Phone shot when he was building it (and also some pics in this post) …

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Then our hydrangea there in the center got a disease and shriveled up! So sad. I planted some flowering vines and other herbs in its place and hope they fill in through he summer.

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herbs

Love my herb tower! Basil. Parsley. Italian Oregano. Stevia. Dill. Lemon Thyme.

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We’ve got some random pumpkins sprouting again – and I decided to just leave them there. And more oregano, mojito mint, and chocolate mint in the bed. I doubled up on basil & thyme and have a large rosemary bush growing on the other side of the yard as well because those are my favies that I use most (and the basil in the tower is not doing so well).

A little throwback to when I was planting and Jude was in a sailor suit (James did not approve)…

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Those are all that I have on my computer right now. I’ll take more once the rainy and stormy days pass. Here’s to my little garden!

xoxo

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