Monday, March 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm following the lead of another Laura and posting my menu plan for the week. I have been writing out my weekly menus off-and-on for a while and decided that its better for the budget to stick with it. This way I buy only the foods I need to make the next 2 weeks worth of meals (or use things I already have) and any snack or kid type things we've run out of since the last grocery shopping adventure. I only shop 2x per month for the big stuff and try to go once in between each major trip for fresh fruits and veggies, so this will definitely help me buy more intentionally. I'm really anticipating the first Tuesday in May, though, so I can start shopping at the local Farmer's Market each week for locally grown produce at a much better price than the organic items at the health food store.

So here is my menu for this week:

Monday - pancakes, eggs, toast (we love to have breakfast for dinner on occasion)

Tuesday - Homemade tacos with all the trimmings (including homemeade salsa!)

Wednesday - Lemon chicken with dried figs and steamed veggies

Thursday - Shepherd's pie

Friday and Saturday - we typically eat out or use up what's hanging out in the fridge on Friday and Saturday.

Sunday - chicken enchiladas

I typically try to make something on Sunday thru Thursday that will provide left overs for Michael to take to work the following day. However, tonights meal of pancakes/eggs will not make leftovers. I need to use up some eggs and I have to go grocery shopping still (which I will do after dinner tonight).
We are also trying a new recipe on Wednesday and I will let you all know on next week's menu post how it was and if everyone enjoyed it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ode to the dying camera

Oh' Kodak Easy Share
You've been such a maiden fair

Even with only 3.1
We've always had so much fun

You've been there to see
The best there could be

It's been a great five years
Now there may be a few tears

But these new photos aren't the best
I think it's time to put you to rest

LOL! This Kodak Easy Share 3.1 megapixel (don't know the model number) has really been a great camera. But, its time has come.... A few months ago I noticed it starting to act up - occasionally it would take a picture and then the file be unreadable (even using a different memory card), or sometimes you could focus and then go to actually "click" the picture and it wouldn't take it, then it started gradually taking longer to process photos before it'd let you take a new one, then today it started taking these white pictures (almost like there was something wrong with the exposure) even on all the 'normal' settings about 50% of the time.

I've been telling Michael for a few months that I thought it was going to die and we've been casually looking at new cameras. I REALLY want an SLR with manual zoom and all, but of the 2 I really like, neither has come below $499 (but the Nikon I would love is still $599) and we just can't swing that right now. So, we'll probably get another point-and-shoot of some sort. I'm ok with that since we'll do our research and test them out, etc., so we won't just get some junky, cheap thing (and they're smaller and fit into a diaper bag more easily). But I'm going to miss knowing how to use all the features on my Kodak.

I got a new one!!!! We found the new 8.2 megapixel version of our camera on sale for $149!! Woohoo. It's doing it's mandatory charge-before-you-use-it right now so I can't turn it on and fiddle with it. But it looks like most of the settings are the same and maybe even some new tricks it can do! I'm so excited. We're going to a Denver Nuggets game tomorrow night and we HAD to have a new camera before the game, and I'm thrilled we got this one! And it's super cute too - don't you think so?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Getting back to basics

I believe that God has called us, as believers, to not only surrender ourselves spiritually, but to surrender the physical as well. The mom's group from our church has been studying Joyce Meyer's book Look Great, Feel Great and I am being super convicted by the Holy Spirit. I don't have a problem with weight and I do exercise regularly, but my (our family's) diet can definitely use some tweaking.

Most of you that know us and know what we eat in our homes probably wouldn't think what we do is all that bad, and you're right, if you're comparing us to the world. But God's word teaches us to be wholeheartedly devoted to His teachings and to treat our bodies as a temple.
"1) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your
bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He
will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much
to ask? 2) Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God
transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you
will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and
perfect His will really is." Romans 12:1-2 NLT.

"...19) Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by god? You do not belong to
yourself, 20) for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God
with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT

A lot of us know these portions of scripture, yet for some reason do not take them to heart and let God teach us exactly what He wants from us/for us. For our family, we are entering a season of taking this scripture in its literal meaning and being mindful of what we are putting in our bodies and the habits and what we are teaching our children with regard to health and how it affects our whole self - including our relationship with Christ. It's a season of learning and a lifetime of change.

I believe that if our spiritual and our physical are not in sync and we are not striving toward excellence in both areas, we cannot truly understand what all God has in store for us or how He wants to use us.

My goal is to continue posting the normal happenings around here and also take you on our journey right along with us. I will try to post about new things that we are trying or changes we are making, etc. So, now you'll hear me talking of using fresh, whole grains and soaking or sprouting them, making my own sauces, making breads and tortillas, homemade yogurt, cream cheese and sour cream and having my own "small" garden. I've been reading a great site of another believer - who is a stay home mom striving to do God's will for her family and be a true Proverbs 31 woman - who is many steps ahead of me and am finding great inspiration in her posts, her tools, her methods, books she's reading and the overall ease and cost effectiveness of not relying less on processed or prebagged, etc. items and how great an impact it is having on her family.

For now, if you have ever been interested in the journey to better, more Biblical health, I suggest you pick up these 2 books: Super Baby Food - yes, it's mostly about preparing food for your child, but has some invaluable information about the homeade process of many of the things I listed we are going to start doing - along with her website; the other is The Maker's Diet - this book will knock your socks off if you aren't prepared for it - and there's also a supporting website. It is an indepth analysis of God's word and His directions and teachings on foods that we are and are NOT suppose to eat and many of the reasons why and what health implications straying from God's direction can have (based on his own personal life struggles).

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm back

I've been MIA for a few days because Eli's "off" week ended up being a full blown stomach virus - complete with vomiting and never ending diarrhea. I won't go into all the details of exactly how much diarrhea and vomiting there was, lets just say it's the least fun 4 days I've had in a very long time. Oh, and the yeasty diaper rash that left Eli screaming each time he had diarrhea - thankfully I had about half a tube of Nystatin left that gave him a tiny bit of relief.

Monday morning I took him to the doctor and got a new, stronger prescription of the Nystatin. He also had to have blood drawn (that was fun since he was dehydrated) to see what his CO2 and electrolyte levels were. Turns out, they were too low and he needed IV fluids. They had to poke him twice because the first vein blew as soon as she got the needle in - again because of the dehydration. He ended up getting 3/4 of a bag of fluid over about an hour. He fell asleep with me holding him, about 20 minutes into the bag. Which was good because he wasn't very happy about having his arm strapped to a board to keep it straight.... He had a wet diaper and was cleared to go home.

Tuesday he woke up a completely different person! He actually told me he was hungry and wanted "befast" a/k/a breakfast and a "anana" a/k/a banana! Since then he has progressively gotten better and seems almost normal this afternoon.
Now we just have to break the all day tv watching. Since every time he would have a burst of energy and run around, it would make him throw up - we plopped him on a pallet in the play room in front of movies all day from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon..... So, he thinks he's entitled to watch whatever, whenever now. OY!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The week in photos: Art

Jacob's fish. Notice the spot where the eye is suppose to be - Eli got to it.....
Jacob's pipe cleaner man. He did this all by himself following my lead!

My pipe cleaner person.

Lady bugs. On the left is Jacob's creation and on the right we have the creation of Eli!

Jacob's crown from tonight. It's still drying so that's why it's not all put together yet.

Jacob's paper plate, finger paint and construction turtle.

Eli's turtle!

In the land of sick kids...

(Warning: if you get disgusted easily, you probably shouldn't read this post.)

Eli has had a very off week. It all started on Friday with a severe seasonal allergy attack. The weather had been warm on Thursday and I had let both kids play outside and roll around in the grass, etc. Boy, did I regret that when they both woke up Friday with the worst case of seasonal allergies we have experienced since we moved to Colorado almost 18 months ago - they had sneezing, itchy faces, runny noses, watery eyes, dry hacky coughs and scratchy throats galore.

They both got Zyrtec'd up (with an extra dose of cough suppressant during the night). The most severe part of this round of allergies lasted about 48 hours with things starting to get a little better by Sunday evening. Jacob was completely better in about 4 days and Eli still has a runny nose from it.

On top of all this, Eli has had something else going on. I have no idea what because he exhibits no signs of anything actually being wrong (unless he's getting a molar, which I have been able to feel for several months, so I have no idea if it's actually about to rupture or not....). He just hasn't been himself. He will be completely happy and then will just burst out crying for seemingly no reason and will cry off and on for ages. He has also had random diarrhea throughout the week and his eczema is seeming pretty bad right now. The poor kid, just doesn't feel well and I don't know how to make him feel better.

Last night we met some friends that are visiting from Oklahoma at Zio's for dinner and he pretty much just sat there and cried the entire time. He wasn't really disruptive, just whining and crying (not that loud, obnoxious, take-your-kid-out kind of cry...), he just wasn't settled. He also didn't eat much. We all came over to our house after dinner and put Eli to bed pretty close to 9 (normal bedtime is 7:30) and he was exhausted and went straight to sleep. He woke up once during the night kind of whining and all I had to do was go in and settle him and he went back to sleep until about 7 this morning. 7:00 is good for me, because as I've mentioned before, Friday's are my off days and I like to be left alone until as late as the kids will sleep!

However, I definitely didn't expect what happened this morning.... I laid in bed for a few minutes after they came in with their "good mornings!" and they went in their room to drag some toys out of the closet. About 7:10 I was making my bed and Jacob comes in and says "mommy, I just stepped in something that was yucky." So, being the uber smart mom that I am, I asked him what it was and he didn't know! Honestly, I thought it was snot because I had just heard Eli have a sneezing fit and since he's had a yucky nose, I figured he'd sprayed snot on the carpet while sneezing - I ONLY WISH IT WERE THAT SIMPLE.

I went in there and he showed me in the hallway a very yucky, slimy BROWN spot. EWWW, no, no, no, no, nooooooo, it can't be! Oh contrare my friend, it WAS. Eli had just had some of the most disgusting diarrhea I have ever seen (thankfully it had just happened and he hadn't climbed back in his bed or sat on the carpet or anything). Let me just say it was GROSS. It was running down his legs, the leg holes of his shorts were covered in it, there was some on his shirt and a few drips here and there on the carpet. Thankfully he hadn't tried to play with it or wipe it or anything. I had Jacob rush to get me a towel from the bathroom to lay Eli on, got the entire bag of unopened wipes out and began to get as much off of him as possible. Then, Jacob was sent downstairs to the container in the laundry room where we keep our extra "walmart" bags and was instructed to bring me two, which he did wonderfully! I cleaned Eli as much as possible and then plopped him in the tub for a good scrubbing! And a scrubbing he got! While he was soaking for a minute in the bath (yes, I kept a close eye on him and didn't let him drown) I cleaned the remaining spots from the carpet - did you know Huggies baby wipes work amazingly well on carpet.... gathered up all the poop-infested cloth items into one bag and all the cleanup materials into the other.

Eli got out of the bath a happy and clean camper, got dressed and went on his merry way like nothing ever happened! I was left with rinsing poopy shorts in the toilet (yes, the rubber gloves came in handy once again!) then a load of laundry using VERY HOT water (too much soap and a TBSP of vinegar were also added) and then spraying half a can of air freshener throughout the house, because you do know that diarrhea doesn't smell like just regular poop, right?! Then he got a mega does of a probiotic (good bacteria to help level out the intestinal bacterial imbalance he is experiencing).

Oh yeah, and all of this was accomplished before 8:00 this morning, what a way to begin the day!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Going green, well a little anyway

What kind of changes, large or small, are you making to better the environment, produce less waste, and be a little more green?

Here's my list:
* I am now solely using canvas shopping bags when I go shopping. I already had a few from various places and couldn't really find them anywhere recently, until I was at Walmart 2 weeks ago and what'dya know, they now sell them and they're only $1 - too bad they say Walmart on them.. oh well, that reduces my plastic bag usage by A LOT and they also hold tons more than a plastic bag.
* I also don't put my produce in those little plastic bags they offer.
* Changing our lightbulbs as they burn out to the new compact flourescent ones.
* We have a digital thermostat and we keep it set to 65 degrees 90% of the time right now and we live in Colorado!
* We plan on switching to cloth diapers when the new baby arrives.
* I buy as much organic and naturally procuded, whole foods as I can afford.
* We don't have a/c in our house, so there's no temptation to keep it cold in the house during the summer.

This is a very small list and it's not much at this point, but we are currently doing what we can. There is still lots of room for improvement.

Here's my list of goals for the future:
* Recycle - I currently don't do this AT ALL....
* When our washing machine dies and we have to replace it, we'll buy a front loader. They use less water and are more energy efficient.
* As I use up my cleaning supplies, start switching to 'earth friendly' versions.

What am I missing? Are there other small, less expensive changes that I can be making that I'm just not thinking of? Help me out here and also let me know what your family is doing.


I don't really have anything profound or life altering to say about exercise, except - DO IT.

I get so sick of people complaining about how disappointed they are with the way they look or feel, etc., it just really angers me. My rule in our house (about anything in general) is that you are not allowed to complain about something -unless you're truly sick, it's broken, bleeding, falling off, etc. - unless you are actively doing something to try to remedy the situation.

I think that should be a rule for all people to follow. You are not allowed to complain about how you look unless you are trying to do something about it. It seems so simple to me.

I spent several years unhappy with how I looked and how little energy I always had and how I had this or that complaint about whatever happened to be ailing me at that point in time.

It took being diagnosed with a very serious illness - Ulcerative colitis, think Crohn's disease, it's very similar - to get a clue that my diet was definitely in need of repair. We drastically changed our diets/lifestyle to a much more healthy option. We eat much more natural, whole foods than we did before and almost immediately I started feeling much better and even lost a little weight. But I still didn't feel great about how I looked, and though I felt much better, I still had pretty low energy.

It took me a while, a couple of years to be exact, to finally get a clue. I started going to the gym 3 days a week about 9 months ago and it has made such a tremendous difference in how I feel! I love working out now! I don't have trouble sleeping anymore and can get up fairly easily when my alarm goes off in the morning. I have much more energy and don't get as worn out with the boys during the day. I have muscles that I didn't know existed!

Here's my secret to finding time to go to the gym: Michael and I decided that since it was definitely worth it, we would rearrange our budget a little and pay for a gym membership at a gym that also has a childcare center. I am a member at the local YMCA that has "child watch." The family membership provides for both parents and any number of biological/adopted children. The membership inclues unlimited entrance for me to all of the services of the gym and it includes 2 hours of child care EVERY DAY (Mon. - Sat.) and unlimited pool use for the children! This membership has been wonderful for all of us. I get to work out in peace and at the same time don't have to worry about the kids, and the kids get to play, do crafts and just have fun.

In my opinion, I use this gym membership more since I know I'm paying for it and with our budget (since I'm a stay home mom and have very little income) every penny is accounted for.

If you already have a gym membership and aren't using it for whatever reason, then shame on you (unless you have a really good reason, why waste the money??). If you don't have a gym membership and can work it in to your budget, by all means, please get one AND USE IT! You won't be disappointed. If that really doesn't work for you, please do what you can at home. Get some yoga or pilates or aerobics tapes, or if you can swing it, invest in an eliptical machine or something to help you with your cardio. Just try it, once you get into a good routine and make it part of your life, you won't regret working out.

I guess that's enough of my soapbox for today......

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ultrasound pics.

We had our first ultrasound of this pregnancy yesterday! This is our newest addition. Sorry, but I'm only 12 weeks so it's too early to tell the gender (but so long as this child cooperates next time, we WILL be finding out!). The little bean had a nice, strong heartbeat of 175 and all looks well, you can even see the fingers on the left hand in that second photo!!

In other pregnancy news, this ultrasound was actually done at the high risk specialist's office..... I had to see her because I developed a DVT (blood clot) in my right leg after Eli was born (about 6 weeks post partum) and had to be hospitalized for a week and have blood thinners injected daily. Then when I came home I had to take oral blood thinners for 6 months.... Anyway, I knew going into this pregnancy that there was a possibility that I would need to be on blood thinners during the pregnancy and for 6 weeks afterward. My OB comfirmed my suspicions at my last appt. 2 weeks ago and sent me to the specialist to see what she thought. In the time between my last OB appt. and this specialist appt. I had done tons of research and pretty much decided that they were going to put me on them, so I was prepared. What's the big deal you ask? The big deal is that you can't take oral blood thinners during pregnancy because there's something like a 90% chance of birth defects. So, instead you have to give yourself daily INJECTIONS in the stomach. YIPEE! Doesn't that sound fun? I will start them sometime within the next 2 weeks....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's no wonder...

. . . people in this country are physically unwell, overweight, etc.

I got the April issue of Reader's Digest yesterday and was reading thru it and half of the articles were about how to avoid this illness, or how to cure another, or this or that.

Did our ancestors many generations ago have Alzheimer's... probably not. Here's what the article I read says about Alzheimer's:

"Chemicals, obesity and smoking have all been linked to Alzheimer's." Monroe, Bridget Nelson. "Avoiding Alzheimer's." Reader's Digest April, 2008: 58.

They didn't have 'chemicals' (including processed foods, sugars and preservatives - convenience foods, or pesticides or even antibiotics to give their cows and chickens so they'd grow bigger), they probably didn't 'smoke' at the rate this country now does, and as a result of the type of diets they ate and lifestyles they lived, they weren't 'obese'.
Here's another article I read:

"The healing power of food extends to your lungs. What you eat - and avoid - may help keep you from developing asthma. Best choices: Have fruit every day, especially apples, oranges, grapes and tomatoes. Eat more healty fats (like olive oil) and DHA omega-3s (fish and walnuts), which seem to prevent damage to lung tissue and reduce inflammation. Worst choices:
Saturated fats, trans fats and cured meats with nitrates, like many cold cuts and ballpark staples. These foods worsen inflammation caused by air pollution and inhibit dilation of the airways, among other things." Michael F. Roizen, MD. "Eat to Beat Asthma." Reader's Digest April, 2008: 56.

I'm just going to put a big DUH here. Going back to the ancestors again... I'm sure they didn't have much in the way of saturated fats or meats cured with nitrates.
On to yet another article:

"Raw garlic may prevent blood clots and keep blood pressure down." Joseph K. Vetter. "Garlic: The Raw Truth." Reader's Digest April, 2008: 54.

RAW is best. Haven't we always known that in the back of our minds. I mean, vegetables in their natural state, are raw. Why would anyone think that cooking them (especially something like sauteeing at high heat) wouldn't make them lose at least some of their nutritional value....

There is something seriously wrong with the mentality of this country when most people don't realize that chemically altering our foods, cooking them vigorously at high temps. and processing the heck out of everything is affecting the health of this nation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect at all. We don't eat a 100% perfect diet, but are doing what we think is best for our family and teaching our children to choose healthy things BEFORE going for the unhealthy. Fresh is definitely best, but that isn't always possible, so I try to buy as much organic food as I can afford (even processed things can be healthIER for you if they're organic, because it means the ingredients are organic and are also as close to their natural state as possible), I try to also buy 100% whole wheat pastas and bread, I also buy unsweetened applesauce and frozen veggies (because they haven't been cooked yet) etc.

But we also do allow ourselves and the kids treats and "bad days." I believe it's healthier for them to have things like sweets as a treat because it teaches them moderation without completely depriving them of something. I think complete deprivation is not good (unless there's some sort of allergy or health reason) because when they're on their own or out with friends they might be tempted to gorge on the unhealthy because they are never allowed to have it at home and that's definitely not teaching them moderation. Jacob and Eli really, truly and thoroughly enjoy their treats when they get them because they really are a "treat" and not an every day occurence.

I believe moderation is they key. People become obese because they make the wrong choices regarding food and lifestyle and eat too much. People have things like high blood pressure because they make the wrong lifestyle and food choices. Seeing a pattern here?

I realize that there are also genetic factors involved in the two health issues I mentioned above, and these are only two of the MANY health issues this country is facing, but do you think there would even be such a thing as a genetic "pre-disposition" to certain illnesses - cancer, hypertension, etc. - if the last several generations of our ancestors hadn't begun eating unnaturally, processing their foods and going toward convenience rather than health? Hmmmm, something to think on.

Here's what I have planned for my next two health posts: exercise and commercial medications/drugs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What would you have done?

Read this story and see how ridiculous it is that this mom is on trial for child endangerment.

I know I've done things like this with my kids and would be totally shocked if I were arrested for it. I frequently leave Eli in the buckled in his carseat, locked van in the preschool parking lot while I go inside to drop off/pick up Jacob and the two boys I babysit. In my opinion, he's much safer inside the locked van than he would be if I took him inside and let him run around unattended (while trying to get coats, hats and backpacks hung up for 3 children) while the door to the preschool stands open where he could just run out.

I can also think of one time when I left both of them locked in the van while I ran in to the gas station to pay for my gas (because I was in desperate need of gas and the place didn't have pay-at-the-pump...). But seriously, I was only 10-15 yards away and could see them the entire time.

Let me just say that I am VERY leary about leaving my kids unattended, even in the locked vehicle, but sometimes there are circumstances where I think it's ok for several reasons.... I would NEVER do it in a "shady" place, or if I were going to be gone more than just a few minutes, or leave the van unlocked, or on a hot day, etc. But, in reality, it snows a ton here, can be extremely cold, there can be icy walking conditions in parking lots, I always lock the doors and leave them buckled in their seats, am never far away and watch the van like-a-hawk. So, I think if someone were going to break into my van which does NOT have automatic locks, so this would require breaking in the front door and manually unlocking the back sliding door - then opening the sliding door, unbuckle my toddler from the 5 point thing and get him out while he's crying because of the stranger - I'm pretty sure I would be alerted to something fishy going on and this process would take more than just a few seconds to accomplish....

I am aware there are laws against leaving small children unattended in vehicles. But I am also aware that these laws were created for stupid parents who leave their kids in hot cars on summer days where the temp. inside the car can reach over 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes and kill the child. And parents that run in the grocery store to get "a few items" while their kid is screaming in the car. Or parents who's kids are old enough to get out of their seatbelts and seats and unlock the car door and get out of the car and be taken by someone, lost or worse, get run over or something. These laws were created to protect children from their dumb parents, not to incarcerate good parents who make an educated decision regarding leaving the child in the car.

Please say a prayer for this mom and what she's facing. I know that you can't really tell what kind of parent she is from just this article, but to me it seems she made the right choice for the right reasons. I probably would have done the same thing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Home building...

We own a brand new home that we closed on in October. When we moved in, we knew that there were yet to be any neighbors on the left (that house is still for sale now) and that our house was the last on our side of the street at that point. So, we were fortunate enough to not have any neighbors (and still don't 5 months later!!). There also aren't any houses on the other side of the street past the one that's diagonal to ours either (the houses on the other side of the street are more expensive because they have full basements). However, we did know that it probably wouldn't be long before they started building more houses. And it wasn't.

Building a house next door is not nearly as noisy and bothersome as I thought it would be. The only complaint I have about the building process of the house next door is that I was constantly encountering a blocked driveway. Apparently, construction workers and delivery men think it's ok to block the neighbor's driveway while they are working/delivering goods..... I had to go find someone several times to move a vehicle so I could get in or out of my driveway at various times during the day. However, once I lodged a complaint with the sales office down the street, all that stopped!! That house is finished now and I suspect we'll have neighbors fairly soon.

This past Friday morning was interesting though, you see, Friday is my off day. I do not babysit and there is no one to take to school and I try not to schedule anything that morning. I am usually fortunate enough to get to sleep until 7:00 when the kids get up and we just putter around, then eat breakfast and then we go to the gym. So, when I was awakened at 5:55 Friday morning to some strange, loud rumbling noise - seemingly right outside my window - I was none too happy. Do you know what it was......... the waste removal company vacuuming out the two port-a-potties a little way down the street! UGH. Like that's what I wanted to wake up to on my morning off. Oh, and why so EARLY? Seriously, trash and waste removal trucks are loud, there should be some rule/law that they can't pick up until at least 7am.