Monday, April 30, 2012

Cranberry Apple Salad

The other night, my wonderful husband grilled some incredible chicken, over a hickory fire. We are very lucky to have a massive hickory tree in our yard, and we pick up and save the bark that falls off to use. Since I knew that he was going to make some incredible smoked chicken, I thought that I would make a delicious salad to go with it. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe it! Everyone wanted more of this salad, and it's so easy to make! Here's the recipe!

You Will Need:
A bag of your choice salad mix. I got one that had romaine lettuce, red cabbage, and carrots in it.
2 apples, diced
small can of salted cashews (or pecans)
Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded or cut into small cubes
Bag of dried cranberries
Poppy Seed salad dressing (I got the Ott's brand)

Mix everything, but the salad dressing, together. Serve with a light drizzle of poppy seed dressing. The flavors go so well together, and the crunch from the apples and cashews is divine! Husband is already talking about when he grills out next, that I have to make this salad again! It's a winner!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Make Your Own Disinfecting Wipes

I used to buy those disinfecting wipes, to clean up messes, all the time. Once I started making my own baby wipes, I started thinking of other things I could make, that would save money. One item I thought of was making my own disinfecting wipes. I don't know about you, but even if I buy the generic brand, they can run about $3 and up, for a large container! I use these all the time, especially in the bathroom to clean up the messes that little boys can leave. So, I made some, and used them. I love them so much, I will never buy those expensive ones again! Here's the directions!

You Will Need:
An empty large container with lid. I just used an old disinfecting wipe container I kept, for this purpose.
A roll of paper towels, cut in half
2 TBSP. Disinfecting solution, like Mr. Clean, or Pinesol
1 Cup of water

Measure your paper towels, after you've removed the center core. Even though I had a large container, my paper towels were to wide. So, I had to re-roll the paper towels, so that they would fit into the container.

Once I had the paper towels rolled in half, I put my cleaning solution and water into the container.
Once you have it mixed, put the paper towels in and let them soak. After they are all damp, you're ready to use them!
These clean wonderfully, and are so much cheaper then buying them at the store!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring Is In the Air Part 2

So, it's been about 2 weeks since I last posted about the baby birds we have, along our fence. I've taken a couple of pictures, the past couple of weeks, and they sure are cute!
                                                       3 Birds in the nest. Picture taken 4-21-12

 The biggest change is that this week. All 4 eggs, in the other nest, have hatched, and it looks like one of the birds, in the nest of 3, has died. The children were rather sad about the fact that one of the baby birds died, and my oldest (always the sweet heart) promptly told his sister that, "It's ok, he's in heaven with Jesus." The faith of a child!
                                                       4 baby birds, photo taken 4-28-12
                                         2 baby birds, photo taken 4-28-12

What I love about these nests, is that we can watch them from my bedroom window. We can watch the mommys feed their babies, and when they get big enough to fly, watch them try- without getting in the way! We'll keep taking pictures and showing you the latest on our bird neighbors!

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fighting the Battle Against Unhealthy Food

As a mother, I am very concerned with what my children eat. I refuse to give my children food that is overly processed, not natural, or high in sugar. High Fructose Corn Syrup is a four letter word in our family, and is not in any of our foods. When I heard that Michelle Obama was trying to wage her own war on childhood obesity, I was excited. True, I'm not a President Obama fan, not at all, but his wife I support in this effort. In this day and age, when PE and recess are being cut out of classrooms, and kids are more likely to sit in front of a TV then play outside, it's nice to know that someone is trying to make people aware that kids need exercise and good, wholesome food to thrive. I was feeling optimistic... until I read this report . It is a sad state of affairs when the government won't properly back the children, but will go with those who have the most money.

Now, to be fair, parents need to step it up. My children see a McDonalds sign, and start begging to go. They never get it, and I always explain that it's because the food isn't good for their growing bodies, and swiftly switch the conversation to asking what healthy foods they want for lunch. I go so far as to not give my baby that nasty, over processed jar food. I make everything that he eats, myself, and use natural ingredients. It's not hard, and to be honest I don't understand why alot of moms don't make their own baby food. I love knowing that my son is getting living food that is good for his body and mind.

As much as I applaud, and support, Michelle Obama and her efforts, it doesn't start and end with her. It is, ultimately, the parent's responsibility to say "No" to their children begging and pleading, and make them do what they should. I've heard EVERY excuse under the sun, from other moms I've talked to, as to why they don't feed their children good food; including, "He won't eat it, he just sits there and whines till I get him something else.", "It's to hard to make, and I don't have time to make something really nutritious for them.", and "He refuses to eat it! If I don't cave, he'll never eat anything, and he'll starve!" First off, consistency is the key. My kids know that they have to eat their veggies and fruit, with every meal. My oldest decided, once, to try and fill up on the main course, then claim he was to full to eat his veggies. Well, we remedied that the next meal, and gave him his veggies first, then after he was done with those, he could have his main course. Secondly, your child WON'T starve! They may miss a meal, but trust me, if they are hungry enough they WILL eat it! In my house, you eat what I make, or you go hungry till the next meal. I offer an assortment of veggies, for every meal, and like to add something new, every once in a while. My kids know that if they don't like a veggie, that's fine, but they have to eat the others, and in a couple of weeks I have them try the veg again. I don't just say, "OK, you tried one veg, didn't like it, so you never have to eat it again!" Please! My oldest was convinced he hated onions, until he helped me make something with onions, then suddenly he loves them again! Kids are fickle! And if you're going to help them make GOOD choices, keep having them try the things until they can truly decide if they like it or not. Third, it's not that hard to make a nutritious meal! Seriously, if you're running short on time, opening a bag of salad mix, putting some in a bowl with some chicken, tomatoes, and mushrooms is a lot easier to make and eat then microwaving some TV dinner that's full of artificial ingredients and salt.

It's all about priorities and what's important to you. I understand that every situation is unique. I, fully, understand being so tired all you want to do is feed the kids so they can go to bed. Trust me, I do. But even if you don't have any time to make something when you get home, get a crockpot and make something. I make everything in my crockpot; from meatloaf to baked potatoes. It is possible to keep your kids healthy, even if you are working 3 jobs and have no time. I don't know about you, but I want my kids to long out live me, to have lives that are healthy and productive. It all begins with you.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weekend Project: Putting the Swing Set Together

For the past few weeks, and for the next 4 months, my husband and I are taking our house remodel to a whole new level. With 3 kids, one of them under 1 year, it's not easy to get anything done, let alone major remodeling! We are so fortunate that we have a wonderful babysitter. This woman is an anointed woman of God, and has the patience of a saint. I swear, she watches her 3 grand-kids 6 days a week, some days for the entire day and night, and watches other people's kids too. I think, on Sat., she had 5 kids under 5, and later in the afternoon 4 kids under 5 and 2 under 12. There are other days when she has even more kids, and she LOVES it! We are so grateful for her, thank God for her all the time, and love her to pieces. She knows who she is, so I won't mention names, but if you're in the KC area, and need a great reference for a babysitter; message me! This women is the BEST!

Anyway, I am rabbit trailing here. One of our projects was to get the swing set, that we bought last year, put up. We bought this Swing Set last year, when all the swing sets were on clearance. Trust me, if you can wait to buy a swing set, till it's not in season, you can save over 1/2 off! We just didn't tell the kids what the 3 massive boxes, in the garage, were; they sat in the garage all winter until it was warm enough to put up.

If you're going to get a swing set like this, or anything this large, there are a couple pieces of advice I would give you.

1. Have 2 people, or more, to help. My husband and I were able to put this together easily, because one of us could hold the piece while the other drilled or put the bolts in.
2. Sort all the wood piles. Trust me, it will save you time it you sort everything before you need it!
3. Sort all the hardware needed for each step and put them in little labeled baggies. 
4. Seal the wood. It is very porous wood so you have to seal it.
5. Pay attention to the direction! The pictures in the instructions were very good so pay attention to the orientation of the wood. 
6. On the slide, once you get one green side in, screw it down before trying to put the other green side on. Trust me, it won't stay in, unless you screw one side down to keep it in. 

I was able to get most of the large stuff put together, with my husband, so that when I had to pick up the kids he could finish all the other stuff. The kids absolutely love their new swing set, and have had a blast playing on it! I know that they are going to have many years of fun adventures with this!

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

I love Spring! I love watching the new babies coming out, watching everything grow! But the past 2 weeks have been especially exciting here, as I found 2 birds nests, at waist level, for us to watch! I was clearing a fence from some wild honeysuckle that was attacking it, and found out that 2 birds had made nests on top of the fence! At the time I cleared the fences, only 1 bird had laid eggs, but it was an exciting time for me and the kiddos!
                                                                                   Picture taken of 3 eggs on 4-7-2012

The children got the see the eggs on Easter Sunday, and was quite the topic for hours! It lead to many questions about what was in the eggs, how they got there, and how the momma sitting on the babies wasn't bad for them. It was a great lesson in science and nature! It was so fun to see them get so excited about the new babies. Well, the next Saturday, we had an even bigger surprise! 2 of the babies had hatched, and my other nest had 4 eggs in it! Oh, we were an excited bunch! The children have had so much fun looking at the birds, learning not to touch, and have been asking so many questions!

                                                      Newborn birds and 4 eggs pictures taken 4-14-2012

 I plan on taking pictures every week, so we can watch and see how they grow. It has been so neat to see God's creation in progress!

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Breastfeeding Stories

When I had my first born, I had so many problems trying to nurse him. The pain was beyond imaginable, and no one could figure out why. My latch was perfect, there was no tongue tie; nothing that should make it feel like a vice was clamping down on me, but it did. I even had the lactation specialist, at the hospital, tell me to give up and just bottle feed. Well, she didn't know me very well at all. I didn't give up, but kept looking for the answers. Finally a doctor, who had a family with a ton of auto immune diseases, told me that my symptoms were a product of Rayaud's disease.  Low and behold, with some medication, the pain disappeared completely! After 8 long and painful weeks, I was able to nurse my son with no pain at all! I have, and am still currently, nursed 3 children, the last 2 with no pain because I knew what the problem was. I love hearing of women who don't give up, refuse to listen to other people tell them to bottle feed because it's to hard, and battle thru and have successful breastfeeding relationships. This lady, though, takes the cake Breastfeeding, the ICU, support, and Facebook- Support that keeps on giving  

I have so much respect for this woman and the people who helped her. I know, from my own experience, that a lot of nurses don't know a lot about breastfeeding, and the hospitals are so quick to give you tons of 'samples' of formula (for if you find breastfeeding to much) and really screws up a successful breastfeeding relationship. I wish there were more nurses, like the ones who helped Serena, and would help you no matter what, instead of insisting you just give the baby a bottle. Serena truly is an inspiration to all of us, no matter what breastfeeding battles you're going thru.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gluten Free Chicken Strips

I have 1 sister, with a confirmed case of Celiacs, and 1 sister that has serious sensitivities to wheat gluten. When I was pregnant with Alexsaur, I had a pretty bad sensitivity to wheat gluten, as well, so with all these allergies in my family, I like to try new recipes that I can make for everyone. These chicken strips are gluten free, and so incredible that my husband and 2 oldest children wanted 2nds, and my oldest wanted 3rds, but there wasn't enough!

Here’s what you’ll need:

boneless chicken tenders – 1 bag
2/3 cup Instant Potato flakes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1 stick of butter, melted

Mix the potato flakes, cheese and seasonings.  Dip the chicken fingers in the butter and then into the dry mixtures.  If you have extra melted butter, drizzle it over the chicken fingers.  This will help them brown.  Place them on the pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes. 

This is what they look like before baking. Make sure to really pack on the mixture. Serve with some Ken's Honey Mustard dressing for a yummy dip! I made homemade Mac and Cheese with this, and it was definitely a winner!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Home Births and Midwifery

My midwife, Suzanne Ryan, posted this Article that really got my blood boiling. Basically, this certified midwife was arrested, in the state of Indiana, where it's illegal to be a midwife. This is the United States of America, and we claim that this is the land of opportunity; where you can be whatever you want to be, if you work hard. I guess not in Indiana!

As a mom, who had a home birth, I don't see what the big deal is. My midwife was incredibly knowledgeable, and very much for what I wanted in a birth. I had my first 2 at a hospital, and after being induced for both, because it was more convenient for the OB to induce when it fit in her time frame; and having the epidurals fail, but being forced to labor on my back anyway, I knew when I had my 3rd that I wanted it to be different. A midwife isn't someone who doesn't understand what your body is going thru, someone who just studies it out of a book. No, midwives go thru tons of book training, then lots of hands on training under another midwife. Honestly, my midwife was so knowledgeable, that she was able to answer questions that my OB was never able to answer! Of course, my OB was always so rushed for time, that she never really sat down and talked with me anyway! With a midwife, you have the 1-on-1 attention that you need, while you are pregnant! She made me feel so calm, so in control of the birthing process, that I can honestly tell you that there was NO pain during my labor. Sure, it was a bit uncomfortable, but the skills that my midwife taught me helped so much that I was not in pain. My midwife wasn't even sure I was in active labor, when she came to my house, since I wasn't acting like most women do during active labor. 20 min. later, though, a healthy baby boy was born in a birthing tub, safe in my arms.

I could understand if this midwife, in Indiana, was being arrested because she was practicing as a midwife without a license or training. But, she's not. Something has to change in America. The doctors and Pharmaceutical companies have everything so wrapped up, that you can't sneeze without being written a RX for something, costing the insurance companies, and you, alot of money. I, for one, am excited about home  birthing making a come back. One of my favorite shows, Bones, had the main character wanting a home birth. Sure the labor and delivery part, on the episode, was ridiculous; having her deliver on her back, but it really put a good light on the fact that hospitals are really only good for the sick. If you pregnancy is normal, and you are healthy, why deliver in a hospital? If you are worried about the pain, trust me, there are natural ways to handle it and cope. I regret having my 2 oldest in a hospital. I wish I would have had them at home, safe and comfortable. Plus, I would have saved myself, and my insurance company, thousands of dollars. Just think, the average cost of a normal labor and delivery (minus the prenatal and postpartum care) is over $10,000! My midwife, in Kansas, cost me only $2800, and that was for the prenatal, the labor and delivery, and the postpartum care! And, my insurance did cover it (after I met my deductible)!

I don't understand why this poor lady is being arrested, and treated like this. I'm sending money to help cover her legal bills, and hope that this case is thrown out of court. In the meantime, I hope that you will think about having a midwife, instead of a hospital birth, if you are expecting. I can guarantee you that you will not regret it, at all.

Until Next Time,

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