Note:

If you’ve visited The Southern Belle Blogs before, then you may notice something missing. A lot of something in fact – mainly every post that I have written since TSBB started back in 2012/2013. But don’t fret, you can still find that content at our site located over on the other WordPress.

25 & 26 Week Update

I decided to lump weeks 25 and 26 together in a short update since there isn’t much news to report. I seem to have passed the point of my pregnancy where strangers can recognize that I actually am pregnant and not just carrying some extra meat on my bones. I’ve been getting almost daily comments asking about my due date, what I’m having, etc. It could also be because I’ve been making an effort the past week or so to wear maternity clothes. My mom has been buying me tops and pants for about the past month now and for some reason, I had been reluctant to wear them. I don’t know what in the world I was thinking. I never want to wear regular pants again. I love not having to button my pants and how comfortable maternity clothing is.

25 Weeks

Symptoms wise – I still have heartburn. If the old wives tales are true and the more heartburn you have, the hairier your baby then I’m expecting our Lil Bean to pop out looking like Sasquatch! My belly has been itching the past few days, right around my belly button. I’ve heard that is caused by your skin stretching but I’m also wondering if maybe it is finally time for me to make the decision on if I’m going to remove my belly button ring completely (I’ve had it since 2004) or if I’m going to get a belly button ring that will expand with my belly. It’s getting to the point as well where my belly button ring is started to catch on stuff (like the edges of counters/my desk) because of my belly being extended.

If I stand right, I can still see my feet!

Another issue that I’ve been having the past week or so is that I cannot get to sleep at night. I lay down at my normal time (about 9:30 – 10:00) but am just not feeling tired. It’s usually about 12:00 or 1:00 that I actually get to sleep – which makes the next day at work drag. That being said, I have gotten some cleaning done around the house – especially up in my studio!

26 Weeks

As for cravings, earlier in my pregnancy it seemed to be whole milk, fried chicken and watermelon that I wanted to eat most of the time. But even those haven’t been of the “I NEED this” sort of craving. There really hasn’t been anything I’ve been dying to have, even now. I’ve walked past some items (such as Spaghetti-o’s and Captain Crunch) that I’ve thought to myself “Oh, that looks delicious” and have indulged myself, but there hasn’t been anything out of sorts.

If you are, or have ever been pregnant, did you crave anything in particular?

Cowboy Candy – Sweet Pickled Jalapenos [Recipe]

Even though I can, I’m not quite at the production level of a lot of homesteaders. Our garden is on the smaller side because of our location so what we don’t eat fresh typically only equates to a couple of quart jars or freezer bags. One vegetable that I always seem to wind up with an excess of is jalapenos. We’ll use the peppers in salsa (canned and fresh), pico de gallo, and just mixed in with dinner but somehow we always end up with way too many peppers.

I hate seeing them wasted so enter “Cowboy Candy”. Basically Cowboy Candy is sweet pickled jalapenos sliced into rings. They are delicious and addictive with a nice sweet heat that stays with you but doesn’t overwhelm you.

The recipe is super easy. First you start off with chopping your jalapenos peppers. Honestly, this is the hardest part of this whole recipe. I have to make my sweet pickled jalapenos in small batches as slicing the jalapenos is tedious and tends to take my breath away from the fumes. I usually wear a pair of gloves when I chop any sort of hot peppers for my safety. I learned the hard way that taking out your contacts at night after chopping peppers is not fun.

Once your jalapenos are all chopped and you take a little break for some fresh air, you’ll get your pickling liquid together. My pickling liquid is pretty basic – apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and garlic cloves. You bring it all to a boil on the stove, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar and salt. Again – key word is to stir gently. The liquid is hot and it will not pleasant if you get it on yourself.

Once everything is nice and dissolved, you’ll add your sliced jalapenos. Make sure that they are submerged under the liquid. They won’t cook long so I usually stand at the stove, stirring them until they darken in color.

After cooking in the pickling liquid, you’ll add the jalapeno rings (AND the garlic) into your sterilized jars. I had a couple of red jalapenos that I tossed in as well which ended up looking really pretty mixed in among the green.

Your pickling liquid will cook a few more minutes and then you’ll add it to your jars. I ended up with almost a perfect amount of everything. The jar on the right is a little low but I think that if I hadn’t been lazy and had chopped just one or two more jalapenos, it would have been perfect.

These two quart jars will last us until about December as we love to eat them with pretty much everything. I ‘m planning to do another few jars once I get out to the garden to pick some peppers.

My method for canning is a little more old school (think a la your grandmother’s era) which is why I didn’t include canning instructions below. If you are wanting to store these for long term, I suggest searching for water bath canning so that you have the most accurate safety information.

Print Recipe
Cowboy Candy - Sweet Pickled Jalapenos
Servings
2 Quart Jars
Ingredients
Servings
2 Quart Jars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine garlic, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring carefully to dissolve the salt and sugar.
  2. Add the sliced jalapenos, making sure that they are submerged. Let the jalapenos cook for 4 minutes and then use tongs to transfer the jalapeno rings to a clean - sterilized - jar.
  3. Reduce heat and let your liquid simmer for an additional 10 minutes before ladling the liquid over the top of the jar, leaving about 1/2" head space or so (you'll probably end up with just enough liquid to cover your jalapenos).
  4. Pop on your sealing lid/band and let the jars cool before sticking them into your refrigerator. Be patient and let them sit for a few weeks before digging in to them.
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Bloggers Recognition Award

Woohoo! I’ve been nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by Mehreen over at Make It With Me. Please take the time to check out her awesome blog and by the way, she just posted a delicious looking recipe for Vegan Chocolate Brownies that is making me drool!

What is the Bloggers Recognition Award? 

The Bloggers Recognition Award is awarded to bloggers. This award is given to bloggers to show appreciation for their hard work, dedication and the amount of blood, sweat and tears put into maintaining their blog. Growing our blogger community by showing love and appreciation to others.

 

Why I Started Blogging? 

I started blogging way back when I was in middle school – before blogs were even really popular (that was about 17-18 years ago) as a creative outlet of sorts. I love to write – anything and everything. At the time, I never would have imagined that I would still be blogging so many years later! I really hit my stride after graduating from college when I blogged about healthy living but real life interfered and my writing sort of fizzled out. After moving back home, I started blogging again which brings us to The Southern Belle Blogs. TSBB got its start in 2013 as a way to document my budding green thumb and has evolved now to being focused on my pregnancy, among other things.

 

Advice For New Bloggers

My biggest advice for new bloggers? Find your why. Why are you blogging? Is it to connect with others in your community? Is it to make a profit? Is it to simply let your friends and family know what is going on in your life? The sooner you realize your why the better your focus will be. Also, BE CONSISTENT. Even now, consistency is one of the things that I struggle with but I’m making an effort.

 

Bloggers I Want To Nominate

 

Rules 

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of How/Why you started blogging.
  4. Give two pieces of advice you would give to brand new bloggers.
  5. Select 10-15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  6. Comment on each blog letting them know you have nominated them giving the link to the post you have created.

24 Week Update

I had my 24 week check-up last week. Things went very well – my weight was good, Lil Bean’s heart rate was nice and strong, my belly was measuring on par. Even better, my mom was able to accompany me on this visit. It was great having her there to snap a few photos and to record the sound of the heartbeat, even if she did get a little teary-eyed (more than once). I followed that appointment up with an eye doctor appointment (my eye’s were good), a car inspection (my car was good), and lunch with my mom (lunch was good).

It’s weird to look at pictures of my stomach and see how much it is poking out. Especially when it seems like I am mostly belly so far. I just hope that our Lil Bean has plenty of room in there! Some days it really feels like he is flopping around trying to get comfortable.

My lower bank had been hurting earlier in the week but I’m blaming that one being mostly sedentary at work. I’ve been making more of an effort to get up from my chair and take a longer walk when I go and get water. I think that’s really been helping. I also switched out my chair at work to something a little firmer.

My next appointment (in 4 weeks) will be for the Glucose Test. My mom had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me, but even taking that into consideration, I believe that she had a pretty easy pregnancy and delivery when compared to others. I’m not looking forward to drinking the liquid beforehand but plan on getting it nice and cold.

My next appointment will also be quite the milestone because I’ll be entering my third trimester! I cannot believe how quickly this pregnancy has been flying by. I’ve been blessed so far at how things have gone and our Lil Bean will be here before we know it.

And simply because I haven’t posted a picture of my girls since changing up the blog – here are the ladies! It stormed pretty bad this past Wednesday so I decided to let them run around outside of the coop (3 chickens pictured, we have 4). They enjoyed their freedom even if they had to battle against the wind. Yes – the chicken on the right is wearing a Superman cape. She’s been bullied and is missing some back feathers so we got her a saddle cover to hopefully help the feathers grow back.

In the past few months that she has been wearing her cover, she has had only one feather grow back. I think we just might have a chicken with a bald patch. Oh well – she’s still laying at least!

Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit: Buh-Bye Blackheads [Review]

I’ve been pretty fortunate throughout the years that I’ve never really had issues with my skin. Even now, being pregnant, I’ve been able to use the same cleanser that I’ve used for the past year or so. Every now and then (especially during the winter), my skin will start to look dry and thirsty so I’ll perk it up with a sugar scrub and a moisturizer, but that’s rarely.

One thing that I love to do for my skin on a regular basis (meaning every 4 months or so) are those nose strips that are supposed to help remove black heads. I love those things and it is so freaky to see what sort of gunk the strips pull out. I think of it as a mini “spa day” for myself.

While at Target the other day, I came across the Yes to Tomatoes 2-Step Nose Kit: Buh-Bye Blackheads and decided to give it a whirl. I don’t use the Yes to products normally but I do love how the company is against animal testing and is a member of the Leaping Bunny Program.

The two-step kit comes with a detoxifying charcoal cleanser that is applied with a large Q-tip and a charcoal nose strip. One thing that I noticed right away was how much excess packaging there was and even now, I wonder how necessary the Q-tip is.

When using any sort of pore strip or skin mask, I’ll always wait until after my shower to use it so that the warm water will open my pores. I started with the charcoal cleanser and found that there was enough cleanser in the package to probably last me all week. It felt like a waste of product so I did try to place it somewhere where the cleanser wouldn’t dry out.

It felt a bit clunky to apply it with the Q-tip so after a few moments, I ended up using my fingers. The strip itself was easy to apply but didn’t seem to really fit on my face well enough. Strips from other companies sometimes have tears in them to help the strip adjust to your face better and I couldn’t find any on this strip.

After letting it sit for 10 minutes, I can attest that the strip definitely worked and I could see the difference on my nose. I’ll spare you the gruesome up-close shots of my pore strip and instead just leave you with this fresh out of the shower picture of me. All in all, this was a neat product to try but I would probably stick to my usual line of pore strips for now.