Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Honey Peach Sorbet

This recipe came from one of two of my go-to Casein Free Cookbooks.

Husband and I enjoy a little A LOT of ice cream after Boomba goes to bed. As we lick our lips and indulge we sorrow for our poor boy who can not nearly sniff this casein cream. He is anaphylacticly allergic to traces of casein- this is a secret mom and dad treat! When entertaining some special guests for dinner I was inspired to make a yummy and safe dessert.

The Recipe calls for:
2lbs (plus one) peaches
1/2 C water
3/4 C honey
2T lemon juice (bottled or fresh-squeezed)
pinch of salt
sprinkle of sugar

Here's a little something different than my usual recipe garb.

There she is. Tasty. Casein Free. Safe. Smooth. Treatful. Sweet. Indugent. Easy.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Witch Hazel- The Wonder Solution

A few weeks before my Groom's and my wedding, I broke my finger. Just my little pinky. But- it was broken. As I talked to my co-workers, one product that sounded a little crazy kept coming up. Witch Hazel. So I sent my Dad to the store. I had no idea what this stuff was going to look like. It sounded weird and a little too "earthy" to me.

Here's what he brought. It was only 3 or 4 dollars too!

So I soaked the padding on my splint and it alleviated the swelling.

Then came the clickty clacking. All of my friends were mentioning the ways you can use Witch Hazel, like it was common knowledge. This was all new to me! So there I went: Research!

Here are a couple of sites you may find interesting:
15 Wonderful Uses for Witch Hazel
WebMD's Article on Witch Hazel

Currently I'm broken phalanges-free, knock on wood. OUCH! Just kidding! I still have this huge bottle of Witch Hazel that as I type I'm realizing is over 4 years old. Anyway- I still use it. I use it as a toner for my skin at night, you know after I use my best and cheapest make-up remover. It's a great gentle way to get those pores clean. Remember it helps with inflammation too so those pores that are a little red- ZAPPED!

I have noticed there is a bit of an "earthy" (see it is earthy!) smell to it but it's pretty gentle and the positives out weigh the negatives.

Let's not forget that I was sent home with Witch Hazel Hemorrhoid Pads after delivering my sweet-worth-the-three-days-of-labor-and-over-six-hours-of-pushing-Boomba. Did you click on that first link? It taught you about the 15 uses of this wonder solution and another great use is to treat Hemorrhoids.

So there you have it. Witch Hazel- who knew?
No really, did you already know about all of this? Did I miss anything?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sleeping Snuggle Loves- Every Chance I Get

Every night before bed, like most parents I'd imagine, Husband and I sneak into Boombas room to see him peacefully sleeping. We stand there for a moment, like most parents do I'd imagine, saying a little prayer of a big thanksgiving. Thank you Lord for blessing us with this sweet life of a boy. Thank you for entrusting him to us. Thank you for giving us the strength and making us your tools in this vocation: Parent. It's usually one of us that bites their lip and leans in a bit, looking towards the other. Most recently it was me. I was waiting for the okay, the go ahead. Husband knew exactly what was running through my mind- he had done the same the previous night.

Boomba squirmed. Alright! All forces GO! That's the go ahead that means action!

I smiggled (smiled and giggled) and reached my arms all the way down into the crib to take this boy into my embrace. Ah. That's what this is all about. A Sleeping Snuggle Love.

I love to hold Boomba when he sleeps. Every chance I get. (Which is basically every night). I usually think about it and upright myself convinced I'm not going to succumb -this time. Then I start thinking about how my eldest nephew is starting college. One of my youngest nephews is starting Kindergarten. Boomba is not far behind. I do it now, while I still can. I want to know that every chance I had to snoogle this Boomba I nabbed it. He happens to be an excellent sleeper and so why not?

I don't know if I'm ever going to have a chance like this again so I do it. Every chance I get I steel Sleeping Snuggle Loves.

Probably will do it tonight too.

What a way to end the day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

One of Those Days

It's been one of those days. Nothing too horrible. Nothing too wonderful. Little things turn big quickly. Potty Training. Pantry Organizing. Mothering. Did I say Pantry Organizing?

I was knee deep -quite literally- in pantry items when Boomba decided to help. I'm usually really receptive to a toddler's help. It thrills me to see the development right before my eyes. Life skills learned in real time. Today, not so much. Huffing and puffing between grunts is all that was coming out of my mouth. And then the boy peed all over the floor. Lord help me.

Let's talk again about Magnetic Fridge Letters. I bought Boomba a whole new set because he kicked all letters except "M", "L", "J", and "V" under our old washer. I had dreams of sitting in a well decorated house on a quaint and comfy sofa with sun beams dancing on our skin as we sorted, spelled, sounded, and blissfully giggled holding these colorful jewels, sticking them on a baking sheet when I threw that dollar store package in the cart. I should have known it then and there.

This is what happened instead:

We have two brooms in our kitchen. Why? Well the house came with one and we brought one with us. But- the real reason is because Boomba loves nothing more than the help sweep delicate items off shelves every time he sees the broom(s). Sometimes he even remembers the broom and goes and fetches it (them). I'm not a good broom hopper. In fact I think there are special magnets that connect my feet and the strewn about broom(s) into a tripping fest. I quite dislike the brooms.

But you know what.
As Boomba sleeps and I maul over the situation that angered me so just a few hours ago I can't help but laugh and see that it is amazing that he wants to help sweep and do anything we are doing. Imitation is the truest form of flattery right? I'm not sure he's seen me sweep enough to be able to imitate me- but I'm going to white knuckle this one and run with it!

Ah the toddler years. I really do love it. I can hardly remember holding Boomba when he was a newborn. He's such a big boy now and he even (upon his own action and with no "permission" from me) removed his diaper and went in the potty this morning! Now that's what I should be focusing on. So why did I just write a whole entry about frustration via brooms and magnetic fridge letters.

Easy answer: sin.

That's why we keep cute pictures to gussy up and remember the good times. Moments of frustration and anger come and go. It's just one of those days.

So now we're ready to Mom Up and continue trudging forth... and maybe a skip or two too.

Welcome to Parent's Club.

Want to read more about parenting and Magnetic Fridge Letter Frustration?
Click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best (& Cheapest) Make-Up Remover

I picked up an excellent little read at my local library.

This excellent book's author has an excellent blog and web site. Check it out!

It taught me many tricks and tid bits. I now know exactly how to make my own Ever Lasting Plant Food for those fresh flowers Husband surprises me with. I also am proficient at Thank You Card writing and much more! One tid bit I was so unfamiliar with I almost didn't try it out. Boy am I glad I did.

Vaseline as Make-Up Remover!

You smear it on (maybe before you jump in the shower) and then wipe it right off with a soft cloth you don't care about or a Kleenex. I was amazed at how well this worked. I was amazed at how fresh my skin looked. I don't know about you, but I used an oil based make-up remover prior to learning this secret and my eyes always felt foggy with the film of oil lingering on my eyes. This hydrates your skin and I've read there isn't much of a problem with clogged pores especially if you keep in near the eyes. Giv'er a shot. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lessons I Never Knew I'd Learn...from a 2 yr old

Okay, so he's 21 months... but 2 is coming rapidly and that's a topic I've spent too much time thinking about recently.

Staying at home with Boomba has been a dream come true and a blessing for sure. I love seeing him develop and learn. He's been picking up new words daily now! I enjoy making scrumptious meals and snacks for Boomba and his daddy. I love snuggling him. I did not expect to love learning from him.

Boomba has taught me to:
Dance every time music plays
Slay every grass monster possible
Motor Boat my lips when board or thinking
Smile when facing trouble
Hug my Mom- she'll like it
Play with my food
Get sand in my diaper---er pants, I mean
Enjoy a bath
Snack- because that is one of the many highlights of the day
Sing along with Sponge Bob
Break-dance even if I don't have the muscle structure
Learn daily
Lay in the grass
Meow at passerby cats
Discover new treasures in the pantry
Trust blindly
Show off, hey they're watching for a reason!
Give a running hug to Daddy
Embrace every entrance into the outdoors like an adventure
Never worry where my food/clothing/needs/wants come(s) from, God provides

Life is an amazing thing. I can remember always wanting to be a mother. A stay at home mother. I knew I wanted to go to college but I couldn't decide on a major because I knew ultimately I would be mothering at home full time if there was any way at all to do so. I married earlier than any of my friends- while still in college. I was pregnant my last year of college. That was so tough. I imagine like many pregnant mothers in college obviously homework and education was hard to think about as there were other things on my mind. I never realized it then, but I was different from my friends. I was never a partier. I had no interest in wasting time in a relationship that wasn't marriage bound- and by that I mean a relationship that was a smart and Christ centered choice.

God had blessed me with one God fearing, kind-hearted, intelligent and handsome husband. God has given me three pregnancies- chances to marvel at the miracle of life. God has given me one amazing baby son who even has a thing or two to teach his mother. I am thrilled with the blessings I have been handed and I trust God will not leave me. He will give me everything I need and then some. I was reading the story of Hannah and Samuel in the Bible today. Hannah has such faith that she gave her only son to be a servant of God, knowing that Samuel had always belonged to her Lord.
Please Lord I pray. Give me such faith.

Oil Cloth: Re-purposed- again!

This post is a follow up to a previous entry.
If you'd like to get caught up, give 'er a click!

Even after making a sewing machine cover and a table runner I had so much Oil Cloth left over and a craft idea eating me away. What to do? Do it!
I was bound and determined to make a letter organizer like this one.

My sewing machine crapped out on me about 1/10th of the way through this project but that didn't stop this girl! I staple gunned and hot glued where the sewing machine had left me high and dry and got this beauty.

What can you up-cycle and re-purpose oil cloth into?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Flour in the Kitchen: Lemon Poppy Seed Scones & Glaze (glaze not pictured)

This May 2011 Country Living Magazine recipe is adapted into a casein-free delight.

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

2C flour
3T sugar
1T poppy seeds
1T baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1 stick (CF) butter substitute, cubed
zest of 2 large lemons
1/2C coconut/soy creamer (So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer)
1/4C + 1T fresh lemon juice
1/2C confectioner's sugar

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
-Combine flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda & salt.
-Add cubed "butter" and cut in with a pastry cutter or two knives held together
till mixed into very coarse meal.
-Pour creamer and 1/4C lemon juice, stir dough.
*NOTE* Don't over work the dough!
-Get your hands in there (dust hands with flour if dough is sticky) and form the
dough into a ball, transfering the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Shape into an 8" disk.
-Cut disk into 8 wedges & separate 1" apart.
-Bake till golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean.(12-14 minutes)
-Cool on baking rack.

-While the scones are baking into delicious golden-ness, in a small bowl
mix confectioner's sugar with remaining 1T lemon juice.
-Stir till smoooooooooth
-Use a spoon and drizzle this goodness over cooled scones.

Estimated Nutritional Value (Per Scone)
4 g protein, 18 g fat, 39g carbs, 2 g fiber (YAY fiber!), 169mg sodium, 51 mg Cholesterol, 330 calories.

I planned on making these last night when Husband was at a meeting and Boomba was sleeping. When a storm brewed a power outage flashed in my head and I took no chances on my oven going half-baked on me. That's okay. This morning Boomba and I (I) decided to make this a teachable moment.
Here's that little buggar getting right in there.

Pantry Raid: Granola Bars

Check these little puppies out!

If you're baking Casein-Free, make sure to check every package to ensure it has not been produced in a factory that also handles casein products.

I cringed when I read that the oats and wheat germ were to be toasted. Do it. It makes all the difference!

Right at the last minute I noticed my Dollar Store peanuts were indeed Casein-Contaminated so I adapted like a ninja and subbed for more sunflower seeds! I used a small package of Trail Mix Dried Fruit and especially loved the flavor and texture the banana chips added.

Husband likes to keep these in his office as a snack so I'm going to make them again- only this time I got Craisens!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oil Cloth: Re-purposed

I'm very actively working on my kitchen.
I've picked out the pallet of Teal and Yellow, Red as an accent and white base to showcase my prized white dishes.

I stepped into WalMart a few months ago and love-at-first-sighted a huge Better Homes and Garden's Oil Cloth Table cloth. It was perfect! Teal with a white outlined floral! It was perfect! A mere 5 dollar bill and it was mine.

Got it home and it slid all over the table. Boomba would enjoy spending meal times kicking at it until the whole table top was aloof. Into the closet it went. I switched it out for a homey runner that a friend had quilted as wedding gift. I loved the size of this runner but it became dirty very quickly.
The Idea Bulb sounded.
In one time it took boomba to nap he awoke to a re-purposed Oil Cloth table runner and while I was at it, a sewing machine cover too! He didn't care. But I did. Do.

1 Nap Well Spent.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Spaghetti Squash & Marinara Sauce, Oh and Homemade French Bread!

There are many things I’ve learned recently. One of which is how to spell "Spaghetti".

This staying at home mothering is really getting to my kitchen lately. I’m so glad to be able give my dear husband the relief he earned after 10 months of dinner cooking last year by cooking for he and my son starting NOW. With Boomba’s allergy to casein home cooking is basically the only way to go ’round here. I’m having a lot of fun networking and researching, learning and experimenting to accommodate this challenge.

I have also acquired a large variety of garden vegetables from my new neighbors! These two factoids added together equals a whole new plate full of who knows what at the dinner table.

When I was handed the Spaghetti Squash I was only thinking thankful thoughts. After is sat in my kitchen a few days and the cookbooks turned up nothing in the index I had a stare down. Then I called my Pastor’s wife. She admitted after her cookbook came up blank after her searches that she treated it like any other squash and put the ole’ brown sugar butter to it and desserted it up. And there it was. A sweet treat! I can do that. Husband will like it too. But as my fingers clickity clacked I realized there is much more to this squash then it was letting on. It was bound for greatness. It was designed to be a Gluten Free dieter’s dream. It was to replace the pasta in Spaghetti. I think this is true. After I found a random recipe and announce I would try it many of my friends encouraged that they too make this vary dish for their deserving families.
My googleing and researching turned up this recipe.

I’m not going to lie. Especially after I committed to quick making French Bread I did not make homemade marina sauce- I grabbed a Prego Chunky Garden Veggie and delighted in it. That brings us my my very first ever homemade bread adventure: French Bread! Husband is a bread maker. He digs that. It’s always been his thing. I may have committed theft here. Try this.

The recipe made two loafs so I froze one for later. 10 points for Winter Mommy! This was a little dense. One of the loafs I reshaped a second time so I think this one was that one and that’s the reason it wasn’t as fluffy as I dreamed. But dang- was it yummy. Smelled soooooo good. It looked good too. See:

Homemade Basil Noodles

I finally did it. After literally a year of pondering, I did it.
I made homemade noodles!
I used this site as a guide.
Check it out.

I read many different tips. Some say knead the dough for 5 minutes, some say knead it till your backside sweats and then keep going. I collected the general consensus agreed that the more kneading, the better. As I was mixing the ingredients I sprinkled a healthy amount of dried basil in there too. Good thing I did because otherwise they would have been rather flavorless. It was not as hard as I imagined and I did it all by hand- no rolling machine involved. Still easier than I imagined!

You may have noticed that this blogger measures in grams and ounces. He’s English. I’m American. I was lost. Thank God for Google search “conversions” and a little sticky math. Here’s my version of his recipe:

1 1/2c plain ole’ flour
2 lg eggs
Salt -pinch
Dried Basil -hearty sprinkle

There, now that’s an American Recipe.

Here’s how it all went down:

Mix dry ingredients and make a well for your eggs. This is where I sprinkled those yummy little dried basil leaves in. Get your hands in there and turn that lovely pile into a sticky doughy mess! Lightly flour the surface and knead till your back side sweats aka at least 10-15 minutes. I’ve read this is where it’s all at: the knead. You want an elastic but tough and smooth dough.

Roll this hummer out till it’s thinner than a dime! whew. Yea that’s right- THIN. Continue to flour the surface if needed, and use the rolling-pin as a way to flip the thinning dough by rolling it onto itself an then off again.

Roll the dough into one big fairly taught roll and cut into 1/4 inch wide noodles. Shake out the curly Q’s and cut at desired length. I’ve read you can boil them immediately, otherwise lay them over a chair back to dry. I just left them on the counter till dinner time… They only take literally a couple of minutes to cook- so CAREFUL! Theses aren’t your store packaged noodles.

Wool Dryer Balls: How To & Review

I learned of Wool Dryer Balls about 4 minutes before I decided I was making them. It all stemmed from trying to find a way to soften my son’s cloth diapers. I was looking for the as seen on tv rubber jobbies and I quickly read about using tennis balls. Momentarily after the tennis ball incident I clicked on a lovely page that I cannot find at the moment that described Wool Dryer Balls and why in the world anyone would use them. Here’s my impromptu run down on why and how:

Dryer Balls Rock because:

-They beat your clothes up, but in a nice way, softening them (nearly as well as the chemicals in fabric softening sheets do).
-As they bounce around the dryer they heat up and disperse the heat while separating clothes thus lessening dryer time.
-Speaking of bouncing- they really are not that loud. In fact they are a nice little tumble in the background.
-They are Hug-A-Treeable, as green as it gets.
-The natural oils found in the wool act as a natural (safe) softener for clothes
-Cloth diaper safe (let’s mention point number 2 again: Lessens dryer time!)
-Cute (Yea I’m grasping here- but I get a certain joy out of seeing them sit perfectly in my basket reminding me they are ready to tumble when I am). Honestly.
-Easy to make

What are these things anyway?

Wool Dryer Balls are balls made of wound wool yarn that have been felted. By using 6-8 balls in your dryer they eliminate the need for any softener (liquid or sheets) plus give you the other benefits listed above. I used Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool. It was about $10-15 for a skein at Hobby Lobby. I really should have displayed some patience and waited for a 50% coupon to come in the mail. I’ve noticed you can also find this yarn online- that might be worth doing the price comparison on. I also bought a very very small crotchet hook for about $1. You will also need an old nylon and I’ve read that an old light weight sock will work too.


1 Skein of 100% natural wool (no polyester here, folks).
1 crotchet hook
1 old nylon/pantyhose (cut the leg of one to use)

Do it:

Take the yarn and pull it from the skein so you have plenty of yarn to work with (you’ll be doing this repeatedly). Between your pointer finger and thumb wrap a few rounds of 1 inch long ovals. Now you have something to wrap around to create a ball! Begin wrapping the yarn around the long skinny oval loop you made and continue rotating the wool ball as you go so it’s evenly wrapped. Wrap until the ball is about 5 inches in diameter. Cut the yarn leaving a few inches. Take your crotchet hook and pull the end through the other end of the ball to secure the tail. Repeat until you have 6-8 balls. One 8oz. skein made 6 dryer balls plus I have extra that may or may not be able to make a 7th. After all of the balls are complete and secured, put them into the leg of a nylon one at a time and I just tied the nylon off after each one was inserted- like a sausage link. Throw this wool ball caterpillar into a regular load of wash and toss it into the dryer with the same load. Wash as normal. I did this twice to felt the balls twice. Felting sort of seals the surface of the ball. I’ve read that it can be suggested to take the balls and wrap them again and basically repeat this process. I did not and I like my dryer balls like they are. Oh and plan on noticing a little shrinkage after they are felted.

Wool Dryer Ball Real-Life Review:

Bottom line- LOVE THEM!

But seriously. The only complaint I can muster up is that after several uses there is a bit of piling on the balls. These lint bunnies can be sweater shaved off or just yanked off. Otherwise I am astounded at the dryer time that is cut by using these. I must say that the softness of the clothes is not *as* soft as when I used dryer sheets, but I hate crunchy clothes and these are pretty soft! The noise level of the balls tumbling around is not too bad. There is a bit more static cling without dryer sheets too. I used to have an apartment sized washer and dryer in my kitchen-right between my kitchen and living room and it really didn’t add much noise. A gentle tumble is all I noticed. I’ve been line drying my cloth diapers recently but when i was drying them I think the ball worked great.

What are your thoughts on dryer balls? Do you have any questions?

Work Hard, Play Hard.

Two weeks and counting until we pull out of our 2 year home and travel to our new home in Nebraska. We’ve got a garage sale this weekend and then it’s the countdown!

Amidst the boxes piling up and the lists and lists of whom to call and addresses to change and what To Do’s, little Boomba reminds of something very important.

Right around the time of day where a lazy itch starts spreading and we realize the day is too perfect to let get away just yet, we remember. There is a toddler sized playscape at my husband’s school and Boomba can run free and slide, climb, and crawl till he’s tuckered out.

I’m always resistant, at first, to leave the indoor world inside the haze of packing-frenzy and go play. Boy am I sure glad the my son and husband commit to convincing me otherwise. We work hard and in return must remember to play equally as hard!

While Boomba runs free at the playscape Husband and I play a vigorous round of catch. I love the instant success a captured baseball in a glove returns. We’ve learned that the sun is a needed daily dose in our house. We all feel so much better after the Vitamin D and fresh air medicate us.

Who Needs Can Openers Anyway?

Yesterday was my last day of work. That makes today my first day of being a Stay at Home Mom (SaHM). I stayed at home with Boomba until he was about 9 months old. Now he’s 19 months old and the school year is over and we’re a’moving to Nebraska! I thought long and hard of what my first day of staying at home would bring. Would we sleep all day and do nothing -because we can? Would we have 3 play dates in one day-because we can? We had a nice morning and decided on the fly to go to the library and see what we could find.

I’ve also been thinking long and hard about what my husband’s first dinner would be from his Stay at Home Wife. Steaks? Glazed Ham? I’m sure he didn’t care as long as he didn’t have to make it! He’s been such a trooper cooking every night of the last 10 months! I dug through my recipes and decided a Spicy Chili Cornbread Casserole was a nice choice.

The meat was browning

The seasonings were dancing and creating the perfect blend.

Problem: Canned Tomatoes and Chickpeas.

No, I’m not an anti-canned food nut. Of course I prefer fresh foods, but this was a different matter. I had packed the one and only family can opener in my dear husband’s lunch today. You know, so he could break into that nutritious CANNED meal I packed for him. See a pattern?

As I looked around the kitchen and searched for sharp objects, I paused and looked over at my sink. There they were! The glorious tin snips my dad gave me when I moved out for college. How lucky it is that we dug those snips out of my truck’s tool box just about a week ago!

Sweet Resourceful Success.

We will eat well tonight.

Why Does Parenting Have to be So Hard?

You dream of parenting. “I will never do so-and-so” you lie to yourself. You watch others parent and think “How could they?! I would calmly reason with my child and then we’ll skip merrily over to the ice cream shop (hand in hand) and talk of magic rainbows and live-mud-monsters giggling in still shot moments.”

After 20 minutes of crying during the nap time he needs in order to have the best day he can-ahem I mean “we can”, his silence tempts me to open the bedroom door to “make sure everything is okay”. I must still be that new to this. Don’t I remember the countless (literally countless) times I’ve opened that door just to push the “restart” button. Resist.

Magnetic Fridge Letters- Then there’s magnetic fridge letters! It’s not that I don’t appreciate the fact they must have an interesting curvature when experienced solely by the blind tongue. It’s that they happen to be the perfect size to CHOKE on. Sorry kid, no beans. Magnetic fridge letters are a “no-no” in the mouth. The end. Wait, you say it’s not in fact the end? “V” slips easily inside the gummy void as I exhale with gust. Gotta love the persistence. It’s that persistence that his dad won me over with right about 6 years ago. Isn’t it incredible the sympathy Parent’s Club hands out for free?

30 minutes into nap time the fit sounds more like music. Yes lulling, comforting music to my desperate ears. Lied again. The music is the part where it drowns out into quiet hushes of compliance. “Yes, Boomba. That’s right….. sleeeeeeeep……sleeeeee-eeeeeeep!” Ahhh. HA! I think it really happened! I’ve heard only wind blowing and the radio- the real radio not Boomba’s “music”- for a full 3 minutes now! It’s got to be true.


*double glance at the clock*

Nearly noon? This wont do. I dare to whip out a paper to do the math. The nap must equal X in order to have a Y or greater than day at work this afternoon. Arrrrrg!

That’s okay. I choose Phone a Friend. What would the idealistic parent-inside-myself say to me? Probably something to the tune (bahahahaha “tune” sounds like I need an ipod moment see: http://momuporgohome.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/gumption-other-learned-traits/ ) of “Make sure you are extra happy and positive when he wakes up so that in turn, he will be positive and happy, thus fixing the fact he is nap-deprived. Wa-la! Sometimes you’ve just got to ask.

Anyway. Deep inside I know he slept a bit longer last night than usual and my day doesn’t in fact, depend on his napping – solely that is. I also know that my former childless self is right. A lot of it is between my own two ears. This – this is HUMP DAY and I will appreciate it for that reason alone.

Something my childless former self will never believe no matter how much she hears it is “parenting is hard”. Hard in ways that cannot be fully explained. This is what this blog is all about. The discovery of how hard parenting is. The effect of learning this is equally unable to be fully explained. Let me try. Parent Club gives you access to a secret. You know to what extent your parents loved you. How much they dreamed for you. Worked for you. Prayed for you.

Parent Club is forever.

Parent Club is not for the weak.

Parent Club gives you compassion, understanding, a deeper love you never knew possible. Parent Club also lets you taste the sweet, sweet drops of smiles, giggles and the magic of rainbows and live-mud-monsters in still shot moments.

Gumption! & Other Learned Traits.

It’s simple. Why can’t I remember to do it. I know the signs. I know it will work to fix the problem. But I go months with out this.

I wouldn’t call myself a good singer but I do happen to know that I need to sing. I know my secret to happiness is to sing.

The best two things I had in my childhood- tangible things, that is- were a walkman and a rocking chair. I would spend hours- LITERALLY- hours every single day rocking in the chair and singing at the top of my lungs. Now that I’m more self aware I can’t understand how my parents allowed me to do that in their home. They were more patient and loving than I thought (ie. intangible things I had, among countless others).

I remember having a great childhood. My dad taught me about psychology, building anything out of anything, and how to listen to an engine. Later I would come to know my mom taught me strength and logical thinking skills. What a combination. Together they taught me about marriage and God. These two stayed together through it all and drug me to church every single Sunday of my life. My dad openly talked about Jesus and His mercy. Fast forward a bit: I have one beautiful, smart, growing, charming, son that teaches me more things than I can even imply. The thing this boy has taught me for the last year and a half, plus nine months is how much my mom (and dad) must have REALLY loved me. To see past the innate sin and to love me enough to do what I needed, not wanted. They must have spent a lot of time swallowing hard and biting their tongues.

I also remember going to work at the Feedstore for five years through high school and college and hearing “Do you always smile?” I didn’t understand. “Yea, I guess so. Why wouldn’t I? Doesn’t do a lick of good to frown.” I would reply. I’m not being impractical- I would have my fits of frustration and sadness mixed in with some anger but generally an exceptionally happy person. It’s only been in the past few years I noticed a change.

Call it “growing up” or “wising up”. I call it “my-singing-stopped”.

I want a rocking chair and a walkman. Okay, my ipod and our nursery rocker will do just fine. What is it I’m missing?

Gumption? Maybe so. With a teaspoon of Gumption maybe I wouldn’t be fearful of being caught singing. It’s happened before you know. Neighbors above us in passing conversation saying “they noticed I liked so and so musician” for example.

… gumption is better caught than taught. As is true of most character traits, it is woven so subtly into the fabric of one’s life that few ever stop to identify it. It is hidden like thick steel bars in concrete columns supporting ten-lane freeways. Gumption may be hidden, but it’s an important tool for getting a job done.

This morning I looked at my bedroom wall where a calendar and three sticky notes were posted. “Drink 32 ounces or water a day”, “Drink 1 (and only 1) soda a day”, and then the third post-it. The one I had been ignoring while mostly faithfully abiding by the other two: “Sing for at least 20 minutes a day-everyday”. Today was my day!

Hello fully charged i-pod!

Hello 30 spare minutes of son-isn’t-sleeping!

Hello Jewel (only my most favorite musical artist)!

Hello “This Way” (my favorite of her albums)!

Just as I was about 5 tracks in and really feeling good…. I feel a vibration on the front door where I was preforming. I of course didn’t hear the knocking- because I am that loud.

“Uhhhh. Hello Mail Women”.

Hello shifting eyes and nervous instructions. “Hi, Uh…. you- I…I just need you to sign this….. err umm… here. Here’s the pen. Alright! Okay, well. That’s all. There-you can get back to…. ummm. Okay. Great! Bye. Thanks. Bye” She said in one very long exasperated breath.

There it is. I feel it now. Spunky. Courage. Confidence.


Most folks get a little gumption in their initial birth packet, but it’s a tool that rusts rather quickly. Here’s some sandpaper.

*the two above quotes were stumbled upon by yours truly via the world wide inter-web and evidently come from page 109 of a book entitled ‘Man to Man’ by: Charles Swindoll.

Making the Call; God Bless EMTs

Boomba and I were celebrating at an Anti-Super Bowl Super Bowl party when I asked a little boy “Where is your milk?” That’s when little E turned and pointed to a shiny blue sippy, bottoms up against my son’s thirsting tongue. This has happened before. It’s easy to get lost in the sippies of a playdate. Toddlers don’t care whose cup is whose when all they want is a drink. I tried to calmly state “That’s not your cup, it’s E’s.” What I was thinking was “AHHHHHH!!!!!”

Boomba is severely allergic to casein, the protein found in milk. If he has food that has been processed in the same factory as something containing milk he has a reaction. We went to my mother in law’s house for Christmas this year and he reacted because the table must have touched something with milk earlier in the day. When he was a baby he would ride in those infant cart seats and react because at some point a milk-consuming-baby spit up or chewed on the strap that was snugly across his body.

After I removed the blue cup from my son’s death grip-pun intended, I checked him for signs of anaphylactic shock. I was confused to see he looked surprisingly fine. A little red around the mouth- but with milk in everything that’s a daily occurrence. I darted to the diaper bag and administered benedryl to head off a possible flare. He seemed fine. Was he really growing out of this allergy? The Dr.’s said Casein is the #1 allergy grown out of by children. A swelling relief buzzed inside. I let Boomba play as he willed, watching him closely. Just when I relaxed I heard a series of tight coughs. I didn’t know what else I could do so I grabbed him and stood in a hot shower room. How do you know when to call 911? He still looked relativity okay as far as a rash goes but I knew this reaction was different. A few minutes later my friend asked if he needed to go to the hospital. I didn’t know. I didn’t want to over react, or go for no reason. My husband received a call at work moments later. I explained everything as quickly as I could and ended the story with “Should I take him in?”. Dear husband wasn’t there. He couldn’t assess the situation. Silence. The words of my friend “Go. Momma.” meant a lot. “I’m gunna go, I’ve gotta go.” I said, hanging up the phone.

As I grabbed my diaper bag I saw my son who is normally happy and full of life exhibit half closed eyes and a shallow breath. I have never seen him like this and that was reason enough for me to make the jump. I remembered what I had been told about severe allergic reactions. They depend on EpiPens because there isn’t enough time to get an ambulance on site or to drive. “We need to call 911.” I said. “I think we need to call them”. My friend grabbed a phone and made the call. They were there so quickly I was shocked. We heard the sirens and my friend’s two sons E and C were watching out the window. “The important thing about emergencies is to stay calm and stay out of the way to let them do what needs to get done.” I said as if I were in a classroom presenting. The situation wouldn’t hit me for a while.

“Cover him with a blanket and take him into the ambulance.” a man said to me after asking for the specifics of the situation. The three technicians kept looking at charts and running numbers to decide what to do next. They settled on an additional dose of Benadryl. It was a faster acting, more potent version in a small syringe. Boomba was given two breathing treatments. I was relieved to hear him screaming. He can obviously breath if he’s screaming!

My husband found a replacement at work and called me on his way to the hospital to find out we were still in the ambulance on the street. He turned around and soon came walking into the little mobile medical room. We were sooner or later taken to the ER. When they wheeled that small boy out on the gurney I noticed he was red. Red from head to toe and back again. When I mentioned it, the EMT connected it to all of his crying. We stayed in the ER for over three hours. Monitoring the reaction, shooting him up with a steroid and Epinephrine. The Dr. said it was a good thing we called. I asked the ER Dr about his redness and he said it was part of the reaction.

We hadn’t eaten well all day and in order to take care of ourselves we decided husband would go out in search of food. We didn’t know how long we would be staying and Boomba was stable. Ironically the only food they had available to us was Cheez-its “Enjoy the Real Casein Taste in Every Bite”. We were released to go home late that night.

Walking into our home stepping across all the the toys our dear son strewn across the floor earlier that day was bittersweet. All I could think is, if this had gone the other way we’d be walking home to these toys with out a sweet blessing of a child in our arms. A constant reminder of the tragedy that could have happened. I couldn’t imagine coming into a home to see only the remnants of a playing, lively child- our son. Now I understood why my Mom had warned against buying the clearanced baby snow suit when I was only a few weeks pregnant.

The next day I went to Walgreens and while waiting for the Rx of steroids that was to help with his extreme casein sensitivity in the next three days, I picked up a pink Ty Beanie Babies Valentine’s Day Hippo named Big Kiss. The silly little poem inside the tag said everything I was thinking.

I’m a hippo that’s red and pink

I look this way because I think

Of only you each and every day

I love you more than words can say!

Silly. Irrational. Juvenile. Yes. Yes. Yes. But Boomba smiled and hugged that pink hippo of fluff. We didn’t necessarily have to money to “waste” but because I had a child I could still buy for, I DID.

The next few days were full of Dr.’s visits, nebulizer treatments every 4 hours, oral steroids, calls to the insurance company and searching for an allergist to prescribe an EpiPen. The first allergist we were referred to didn’t have an opening for over 2 months. I could hardly stand the thought of going another minute without an EpiPen or some sort of plan, let alone 2 months! The allergist we were next referred to is a sweet, compassionate woman who is very knowledgeable and practical. She was surprised we didn’t already have an EpiPen and gave us a Rx for TWO! She also found a restaurant that would be safe to take Boomba to! We can’t wait to eat in public with this little man!

Thank God for EMTs. Thank God for 911-calling friends. Thank God for my son’s life. Thank God.

“What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits to me.” -Psalm 116 v.12

Thank God.

PCOS and a little thing called trust

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5

I went to the Dr.’s office expecting a blood glucose test. I walked out with racing thoughts and a heart heavy with sadness and fear. I was about to be married in less than a month. I had planned on finished school soon after and then without further adieu, multiply our family. This was my dream. Not a big house. Not a fancy car. A family. A loving, supportive, Christian family who is contented in daily vocations. The Dr’s voice was sharp and quick. I nodded trying to go over the words- put meaning to her phrases. She walked out of the room. I was composed. It hadn’t hit me.

“If you were any older I’d schedule you for a hysterectomy now.” She said as if she were telling me the sky was blue.

In the cold medical white room I was left to think “PCOS? What did she say that stood for? Ahh, yes. Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Doesn’t sound that bad…. Really? A hysterectomy? But. Wait. I want kids. I’m only 21 years old. I want to be a mom. This isn’t right. I’m just getting ready to start my family. This….sounds…….

She came back in long enough to tell me she wrote me a script that will help with both PCOS and Pre-Diabetes and sent me on my merry little way.

At this moment I was far from being a mom. Ha, at this moment I was left to think I would never be a mom. But, all the same this is what a mom-up moment is comprised of. Heart break and determination, that and a little trust. I asked for a pamphlet on PCOS and she told me to “Google it, we can’t just keep pamphlets on everything.” I swallowed deep and called my fiance.

We had a wedding planned. Invitations were out and RSVP’s were in. “Do you… do you still wanna marry me?” I asked later knowing the plans for our future together had assuredly included becoming pregnant. silence. It was a lot to take in. It was a big question. It deserve consideration. “Of course I want to marry you” his voice calmly, quietly stated.

Cue water works.

I was put immediately on a birth control pill to encourage regular cycles. The Metformin made me so sick I could hardly work. I was nauseous, dizzy when upright and achy everywhere. To say the least I was not my happy, get’ R done ole self. After a while my body got used to the pills and I actually found that I was happier on them. My blood sugar kept level and I didn’t need to eat every couple of hours. I remember before being on Metformin how hard even going out with my friends was. I needed to know when we would be eating and how often. I felt awkward about asking about the food schedule but my friends knew it was just part of me. Now I feel 180 degree better! I’m so glad I kept taking the medication.

We were married about a year when I had a miscarriage. We didn’t even know we were pregnant. i had been on an antibiotic which cause the birth control to weaken in efficiency. I felt like I had killed our child. WEe decided to get off of the birth control pill. I was about to graduate in a few months and I hated being on the pill now more than ever.

We became pregnant that month! Thanks be to God!

Now that Our lovely son is a year old we have been anticipating another pregnancy. Our friends are pregnant, our son sleeps through the night, and hey, we’re moving again- timing seems perfect! hahaha. I’m writing you now one week after another doctors appointment. Only this time the doctor is a beloved and trusted man whom backed his gentle words with explanation and compassion. The PCOS is the reason we’re having a “difficult time”. I was afraid to up my Metformin doses because of how sick it had made me to start it. A week later I’m feeling fine physically, my body is already used to the drug so it’s not hitting my as hard as it did at first. Dear doctor didn’t give me a reproductive death sentence. He’s determined to work closely with my husband and I to get me healthy. He in fact never mentioned the possibility of not having more children.

I know it is the Lord who gave us our son and it will be the Lord who decides to bless us with children in the future, through pregnancy, adoption, or fostering. I also know that there are women and families that have it hard than this. Really, in the spectrum of health problems PCOS is not the worst case scenario type of syndrome. For someone who’s goal it was and is to have children it’s a bit discouraging. Then again. It was the Lord to healed the sick and made the blind to see. As it turns out I do have a loving, supportive, Christian family who is contented in daily vocations. We will see what unfolds before us. We never expected to be here, now and we probably cannot expect too much that will actually happen. Besides the fact that we are and will always be in the loving and protective hands of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Stay at Home Mom Goes to Work…and Likes it

My husband and I have always agreed that I would be a stay at home mom. We stacked the list of supporting reasons to include (but not limited to)

-making the few years you get to teach your children to, well, teach our child(ren).

-most likely any job I would score would not bring enough income to pay for childcare let alone gas to get there.

-I would be able to spend the time and energy on creating healthy meals for the family

-housework can get done so evenings can be more family oriented

…so on and so on…

I’ve always liked the saying “Want to hear God laugh? Tell Him your plans”. We always think and plan but the future is always at least a little different from we imagine.

We were seven months pregnant when we moved so my husband could attend grad school. Crazy. I know. I still don’t know how it all worked out-but it did! Then the opportunity arose for me to work part-time for an after school program at a local school. My husband is going to school full-time and also works diligently at three jobs (it was four but the paper route proved a bit too much). Not only is he a hard worker, but he’s an incredible husband and father. Thank God for this man. When this opportunity to take some weight off of my husband’s broad, strong shoulders presented itself we couldn’t say “no” because -get this- our son is welcome to come to work with me! PERFECT!

I have always been the type of person who was smiling and singing and exceptionally happy no matter what was happening. “The worst thing that could happen is death, but then again that would be the best as it would be the moment I would meet my Lord” was my mantra. The past year or so has been the worst of my life, but at the same time has been the sweetest, most humbling, grace-filled year I’ve ever lived. God’s people have been too kind to us. Blessings have flown freely and flooded my family. God truly is good. This job has been rough on me, though. I have had jobs I’ve disliked more and that’s for certain. There is something over whelming about this vocation that I’ve been entrusted with. This is the reason I was shocked to feel what I felt the first day back after Christmas break. JOY. I was overcome with joy. I smiled and strangely felt a familiarity I hadn’t expected to feel- not here, not now. Although we pulled into town from our excursion to see the family over Christmas days ago, it was this moment I finally knew I was home. Ha, who knew?

Well… funny question. God knew.

How I Became a Cloth Diapering Momma, and What I Learned Along the Way.

“I am in no way a professional. Many’a mom has come before me and they are more knowledgeable than I. But, everyone has a story, and this is mine.”

I remember riding in my sister-in-law’s car and hearing about how her sister was committed to cloth diapering (until she tried it). My response, a loud, resounding “EWWWWWW!” “Ewwwww” is the same response I received from a close friend when they discovered I had was standing in the unknown territory of Cloth Diaper Land.

Why in the world did my mind change? Was it a strike of sudden consciousness to hug trees? No. I recycle, mostly because it saves me money on buying trash bags. I also figure if I have to pay monthly for those recycle bins whether I use them or not, so I’d better make it worth my money! Did you get it yet? It’s right there.

I am a Class A Tightwad.

That’s all there is to it. I get “free” diapers at my husband’s grad school’s co-op. The sad thing is we don’t receive enough diapers to keep us in supply. I bought my first package of disposable diapers and one by one threw them away. Two hours of use and -BAM- trash. “This can’t go on!” I thought to myself.

Like most decisions in life it isn’t just one thing that changes a mind, it’s a compilation of circumstances. So in addition to my money pinching desires there was a “situation” that got me thinking. My son’s circumcision started bleeding a little too much. After a frantic-first-time-mom-call to the pediatrician I had my Mom Up assignment. “Wait. You mean I’m supposed to put a washcloth INSIDE his diaper?!” All I could think was “What happens when he poos?!”. Turns out Drs orders did the trick. The washcloth kept pressure on the circumcision and the bleeding eased up. But there were still dirty wash cloths. I guess it’s true, you do a lot of things you never expect you can when you’re put in the situation. Washing out the wash cloths was not a big deal at all, when it came down to it!

The third factor that made me into a Cloth Diapering Momma is a dear friend who was excited to tell me that her cloth diaper order would be coming in the mail “any day now!”. This is when I scoffed- SCOFFED- and rolled my eyes asking “Why would you do that?!” between “ewwws!” and “blechs!”. I never knew anyone who cloth diapered. I really didn’t know people did that anymore. Well any -normal- person anyway. So I clicked my way through google and educated myself on this new, usual world. Then, before I knew it, I put a bid in on ebay for my first Kawaii diaper covers! I was going to try this out!

In addition to the Kawaii diaper covers I purchased a Kawaii pocket diaper, a Bummis Swimmi diaper, a Bum Genius 3.0 AIO, a Bum Genius Flip insert, and I was given a TON of old prefolds by a VERY generous lady.

What I’ve Learned about Covers & Prefolds/ Flats, AIO, and Pocket Dipes

Covers & Prefolds (and Flats too)

As mentioned above, I have 6 Kawaii diaper covers. They are made of PUL which is a waterproof material that feels more like fabric, less like plastic- very nice! The covers are also OS (One Size) too. This means there are a series of snaps that allow the rise of the cover to be adjustable in size! Covers are also sold in specific sizes, I didn’t go this route because I didn’t want to buy a full stock of covers in each size- the OS covers will be able to be used for much longer! I was the covers with regular laundry (on cold) and hang them to dry.The cool thing about using diaper covers is if they are just peed in you can rinse them off really quickly and hang dry them and reuse them without having to wash them every time. I’m getting along pretty well with only 6 covers. It would be nice to have more, but certainly doable.

The prefolds I have are diaper service quality. This is important because they are nice and thick and absorbent. Gerber brand prefolds are thin and light weight. I think they work best as burp rags, not as diapers because of their lack in absorbency. Flats are big pieces of fabric that need to be folded into a diaper to use. I once saw a youtube video about how to use those little flannel receiving blankets and fold them into the “origami” style to use them as a flat. They were not very absorbent at all, but I do like the idea of using a flat. I spent a lot of time on youtube watching demos, learning how to fold diapers in different ways. I would recommend this activity if you are interested in using flats, or even prefolds. The great thing about flats is there is very little dry time! they come unfolded to wash and dry so more surface area is being dried at a time.

All in Ones (AIO)

All in Ones or “AIO” are a disposable diaper in style, only made of fabric. They are portable, compact, and some are even One Size (OS) like mentioned above. They are so handy and *CUTE*. The bummer is they dry much more slowly than the prefolds and the flats. Because all of those lovely absorbent layers are sewn together in one handy package, all of those layers make a thick, slow drying diaper. AIO are not always OS and so you would need to buy a whole stock of them in each size. -not my style! But I can most certainly see why moms and dads choose this route!

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers are the best of the two worlds- they are compact and easy to use like a disposable, and they come apart to wash and dry like covers and prefolds do. This means there is a bit more prep work to stuff the removable absorbent “insert” in place after drying, but I have to say these are my favorites! The drag is you can’t reuse the covers because it gets dirty during every use. But a special bonus is you can choose to use more than one insert to create a custom level of absorbency in your diaper.


I had a really hard time at first. I wanted to see everything, feel it. Youtube videos were my bread and butter. And my tactile drive is what ultimately pushed me to buy some overs on ebay. I needed to work with the diaper to really see how they worked and washed. I would recommend tons of research if you’re thinking about this. Get in touch with women (even if it’s online) who are CD Moms. They would LOVE to talk to you about it I’m sure of it. If you can find a retailer to talk to, that’d be great too. Look at an online company that is based in your area and see if the manager would be interested in meeting in person with you.

I could go on and on about Cloth Diapers (CD) and the art of CDing, so I’ll sign off and give you time to wrap your head around this idea.