When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu and Vaccines~I Don't Mind a Little Controversy Now and Then

I worry, just like any mother, about illness affecting my children. That's why I do research and that's why I love this article (a reprint from Dr. Mercola's site, which is being bombarded with readers right now searching for answers to Swine Flu questions). As for me, I also believe that vaccines are dangerous; not all vaccines, and not necessarily to the point of complete avoidance, but I do believe there is danger there. That's why I do even more research. The answer, ultimately, lies in your gut. But Dr. Mercola brings to light some very important issues and questions in the context of the Swine Flu that I believe every mom should read.

This is a link to a reprint of Dr. Mercola's article because his own site cannot handle the influx of hits right now:


Especially important in this article, I believe, are the ways noted to avoid the Swine Flu (at the bottom of the article, reprinted below). I hope this can help other mommies feel more at ease and equips us all to avoid not only Swine Flu, but illness in general in a healthy, more natural, non-pharmaceutical way.

Quoting Dr. Mercola:

"Optimize your vitamin D levels.
As I've previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. I would STRONGLY urge you to have your vitamin D level monitored to confirm your levels are therapeutic at 50-70 ng.ml and done by a reliable vitamin D lab like Lab Corp. For those of you in the US we hope to launch a vitamin D testing service through Lab Corp that allows you to have your vitamin D levels checked inexpensively at your local blood drawing facility and relatively inexpensively. We hope to offer this service by June 2009. If you are coming down with flu like symptoms and have not been on vitamin D you can take doses of 50,000 units a day for three days to treat the acute infection. Some researchers like Dr. Cannell, believe the dose could even be as high as 1000 units per pound of body weight for three days.

Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.

Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.

Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma. You can check out my free, 25-page EFT manual for some guidelines on how to perform EFT.

Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. You can review my exercise guidelines for some great tips on how to get started.

Take a good source of animal based omega-3 fats like Krill Oil. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.

Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.

Eat Garlic Regularly. Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use. However, if you are allergic or don't enjoy garlic it would be best to avoid as it will likely cause more harm than good.

Avoid Hospitals and Vaccines.

In this particular case, I'd also recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to this new bug. Vaccines will not be available for six months at the minimum but when available they will be ineffective and can lead to crippling paralysis like Guillain-Barré Syndrome just as it did in the 70s."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chickens Among Us

We got new baby chicks the week of Easter. We are not sure why, except that the chickens we have are so great. They provide us eggs, fertilizer, bug control (they can only eat so many earwigs, but they try to help out), garbage disposal (they eat anything) and a good laugh now and then. So, why not have more???

We're still not sure about this decision. It's kind of like having more kids. The ones we have are great, so...bad reasoning...

Anyway, the new baby chicks are different types than our old ones. My favorite new chick is the light brahma, which has feathered FEET! Scott built them a great little enclosure in the garage complete with pine shavings, DE, and the perfect little roost. It's nice to see the little girlies whenever I travel to the garage fridge for my daily (one of my daily) Diet Pepsi(s). It is sad for the van that it had to be displaced for now, but if the van ate earwigs, maybe we'd reconsider.
Everybody's gotta love that last view of the rear...I mean chicken cage. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bread Dough Recipe

Photo from www. deliciousdelicious.com

I use this recipe for everything: bread (duh), dinner rolls, pizza dough, you name it. I like it because there are no eggs, no butter, and no sugar, and it still tastes fantastic. I have honed it over the years I have been making my own bread and this is what always works for me.

I love knowing what is in my kids' sandwich bread, and knowing there are no preservatives or fillers. I know bread flour and whole wheat flour (not self-ground) are not inherently nutritious, but it's still a good healthy recipe when compared to most store bought breads I think. I occasionally add some flaxseed meal or bran to the recipe, but have to be careful with little tummies not to overdo the fiber additives. I also add dried cranberries or blueberries for a fun breakfast bread.


3 c. bread flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. warm water (borderline HOT water, not just room temp.--like 105 degrees-ish)
1/8 c. honey (I just make five big circles in the bread dough pan)
1 package active dry yeast (I use Fleischman's--sometimes rapid rise if that's all I have)
1/4 c. olive oil
2 t. salt

Put all this in the pan of your bread maker and start it.

For dinner rolls: Use dough cycle (on mine, this is about 2 hours and 30 minutes.) When the dough is finished, split it into balls and bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes or until the balls are hard on the outside and lightly golden brown. Makes 18. (2 pts. each for Weight Watchers.)

For pizza dough: Use the same instructions as for dinner rolls, but instead of making balls, roll dough flat onto a pizza stone, cover with pizza sauce, cheese and toppings and bake at 375 until crust is hard to the touch and toppings are melted--usually about 30-45 minutes depending on how thick your crust is.

For bread: Bake on basic bread cycle, XL loaf. Mine takes 4 hours total. Voila! Yummy homemade bread, no work! :)

I just put in this recipe this evening and I can't wait to wake up to the smell of baking bread in the night. Yummers.

I would love to hear how this recipe works for you. Post your comment here if you use it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where Have All The Plantings Gone?

I went out to water my new plants this morning and all but two were gone!!! On closer inspection, I found that the root balls and tiny little stubby stems remained just below the soil surface. I suspect pincher bug devastation came in the night. I have replanted and sprinkled diatomaceous earth around to kill the little suckers from the inside out in an environmentally friendly way. We have thousands of earwigs (pincher bugs) around the yard right now. It is really creeping me out. Things like that always seem come in plagues here. We have had plagues of frogs, black beetles, aphids, but the only recurring plague has been these darn earwigs. EVERY year!!! Yuck.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Garden Today

It felt good to get out in the garden today and plant some things. It has been unusually hot here for late April. Our thermometer got up to 96.1 in the shade. Yuck. But as the dusk approached, before I got dinner started, the whole family headed out back to do some gardening.

We picked up the boards covering our freshly turned raised bed soil to find hundreds of earwigs scurrying about. Yuck again. So we set one of our hens over there to scratch and peck for a while and clear the area. The chickens have proven not only to be good egg producers but also great pest control.

Soon after Miss Chicken did her work, I got in the bed with a rake and some Dr. Earth organic fertilizer and mixed up the soil a bit. Then I planted six cherry tomato plants from seedlings and two basil plants, also from seedlings. We started them indoors a few weeks ago and are hoping they will be able to stand this heat (which the news man assures us is going to subside in the coming days.) I found last year that having a little basil and rosemary near our garden attracted the bees and kept pests at bay. I'm not at all sure this is scientific, but it seems to work. Also, I love a nice tomato, mozzarella and basil side dish with dinner in the summer, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Mmmmm, caprese always reminds me of my much too short time in Italy...

Oh, my mind wandered for a moment, but must return to the reality of Bakersfield...less culture, more fast food.
I also planted peas along the back of the raised bed where Scott will build a permanent trellis this year. Our pea trellis last year could not stand the weight of the plants and began to buckle toward the end of the pea growing cycle. I am looking forward to planting cantaloupe, squash, and zucchini this weekend.
-The best time to water your plants is from sunrise to 10:00 AM or 6:00 PM to sunset. -The plant enjoys water too. Don't just water the soil around the plant.
-You can wash picked fruit immediately and eat it. (OR I have noticed that if you are not going to eat the fruit right away, wait to wash it until you are ready to eat; otherwise, the fruit doesn't seem to stay fresh as long.)
-Avoid watering your plants during the hottest part of the day (12:00 PM - 2:00 PM).
-Discard any unused fruit that begins to rot. The tomatoes will appear darker in color and become very squishy feeling when they are starting to go bad.
-When you start to see yellow flowers sprouting, you've done it. You should have tomatoes coming off those sprouts within a week.

Some Tips & Warnings and Image courtesy of http://www.ehow.com/how_4512245_grow-tomato-plants.html

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mom and the Kids

Life with three kids under the age of four is so interesting. It is totally different than I ever imagined. I get to use problem solving skills in every decision I make during the day.

Who ever thought those critical thinking classes in college would actually come in handy? It may seem like an exaggeration when I say EVERY decision requires problem solving, and I do have a penchant for exaggeration, but this much is true. From the time I get up, I have to decide how I will manage to shower, eat, shop, organize, teach, play, change diapers, etc...all while keeping the non-occupied kid(s) sleeping, occupied, safe, caged...it's like a never ending riddle.

If one child is sleeping and the other is in the kitchen cupboard, how will one mom watch the third child coloring in the living room such that he or she does not Sharpie the entire living room? (to Sharpie: infinitive English verb, used primarily by moms of toddlers, meaning to take permanent marker and draw all over walls, desks and upholstery.)

If one mom has three children and goes to the grocery store, two children can ride in the main part of the basket while the baby rests comfortably in the top portion in his carseat, but where do the groceries go?

If one mom with a backache takes three children for a walk and carries the baby in a sling contraption, one child falls and skins his or her knee and the third child refuses to walk any further, how does that mom get them all home? (Thank God for cell phones.)

You see how the day is filled with little games and puzzles. Endless fun really. I'm certainly being a little sarcastic, but I am never ever ever bored and never lonely. And those are really nice things not to be.

One mom, three kids, and one fantastic husband...it's a pretty good recipe so far. Thanks honey for finally getting a picture of me with all three kids. (Yes, I made them all matching outfits for Wyatt's construction-themed party.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Cousins and Me

I got this picture from my aunt Tara (my dad's older sister) today on Facebook. I'm the one with the puffy pink shoes naturally. In this picture are my cousins Carlos, Miguel (who now goes by Joseph), Kristen (sp?) and Katie. My vague recollection is that we were at my Grandpa Mac's house for some sort of holiday celebration. Good times.

Oh Happy Day

All I can really think about today is how blessed we are, which is a nice change from my usual thoughts about how much I want to go to sleep.

We have three children now. They are Kya, age three and a half, Wyatt, who just turned two, and Caden, five months. Each has his or her own special contribution to our family dynamic and I cannot imagine life without any of them. Although I am increasingly frustrated with the fact that kids get sick all the time, I am thankful that my kids have strong immune systems that fight off invaders. I am thankful they are running crazy around the house because that means they are healthy and "normal."

I am so thankful that my husband has a job that is fairly secure. A qualified high school math teacher is always in demand. There is very little chance that his job will be affected by this economic mess. Kids always need to know math, and schools are always short on people who want to teach it. Our finances are nothing exciting, but we are committed to our 15 year mortgage and having no credit card debt, something I bucked at first, but for which I am now so thankful. We will have no mortgage at the age of 45 and be able to fund our kids' education, weddings, etc. because of these "sacrifices" now.

I am incredibly thankful that my husband trusts me enough to homeschool our kids.

I am so happy our federal tax refund came in today.

I am also having so much fun with my business. How many people get to make pretty stuff for a living? I have a new account with one of the most fantastic fabric manufacturers and am enjoying the new friends I have met in the crafting community. There are so many incredible designers out there. They inspire me each and every day. I am especially thankful for other stay home moms who want to help each other succeed in their home businesses. That is a true blessing. We're all in this together after all...our kids are the future, and those of us who choose to stay home should band together and support each other. We don't have to do everything alone, contrary to what popular culture says!

And finally, I am excited about Wyatt's construction-themed birthday party tomorrow. This will be the first real party we have had for him. The middle child is always neglected. So this one is going to be a big bash! I can't wait. I'll post pictures tomorrow night!

I am thankful for talented friends who are going to make this party awesome! Raquel, the best cook ever, thank you for being willing to "cater." Tina, the most crafty paper creater ever, thank you for making such creative, gorgeous invitations! Stacey, my new party planning friend, thank you for your AMAZING party favors! They are fabulous!

We are going to have a scavenger hunt for "boulders" (tin foil balls), truck races on a tarp, and running relays around orange caution cones. I am hopeful that Kevin Charette is actually correct about the weather for once tomorrow because it's supposed to be beautiful!!!

Glory to God for all our blessings and for making our life totally bearable even when things aren't going this well. Thank you Lord!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Upon Us

Scott said to me today, "I am really happy with our home, our family and our life." I coughed in response. I have been sick all week and most recently a lovely cough and earache have added themselves to my myriad of miserable symptoms. I can barely hear anything because of the ear infection. But, truly, what have I got to complain about? My life is LUSH compared to many, yet I find myself a little melancholy today, the day before Easter.

Easter comes as a celebration for Christians of a risen Lord, a time for joy and rebirth, a time to take stock and clean up before Spring is sprung and the heat of summer swelters. But here I am sitting at the computer feeling melancholy.

I finished some projects and took a bath, but still felt melancholy.

I tried to rest on the couch, but Caden called, so I fed him and he slept for a little while and daddy had the other kids in the garage...still melancholy.

Then it hit me. I have been looking forward to something for a long time. I have been looking forward to Spring Break...and it's almost over!!! And there are no more holidays for Scott for a loooong time. It's that feeling that the happiness is almost over that is tugging at my mind and heart. So, I better get out of this funk and go do something fun before our time is up!

No more moping. I think I'll go get some Easter basket goodies for the kids and help my hubby in the garage. Oh, and it sucks to be on a diet during Easter time. OK, Lord, I'm sorry for my pity party. Back to the grind, with a joyful heart and a better attitude!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Baby Caden

Baby Caden, four months old and almost 18 pounds, can scoot across the entire house now. He cannot be left alone anywhere. Why oh why do you have to be growing up so fast little man?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What our Kids Remember

What kinds of things do you remember your parents doing that made an impact on who you are today?

When you thought I wasn't looking...(author unknown)

When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little things can be the special things in life.
When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make ameal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of your time and money to help people who had nothing, and I learned that those who have something should give to those who don't.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have to take care of what we are given.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't feel good, and I learned that I would have to be responsible when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that some times things hurt, but it's all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and productive person when I grow up.
When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and wanted to say,' Thanks for all these things I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.'

Monday, April 6, 2009

Wyatt's Family Birthday

This is a picture of Wyatt practicing blowing out a candle before the real thing with big sis Kya supervising (she is in full blown teacher mode these days. :))

I have always heard of birthday traditions, but never really had any in my own life, so I decided my kids would have some. In particular, I thought each child could have a special food or dessert associated with their special day. So, for Wyatt this year, we had homemade cookies and milk (the milk was homemade only for Caden ;)). The cookies weren't very good, so next year perhaps a different recipe wouldn't spoil the tradition? I don't know, maybe Wyatt's birthday tradition will be crappy cookies and milk...

Anyway, my folks and Scott's came to Wyatt's little cookies and milk party and shared a special time in honor of Hanerman 2. Thanks little man for making us smile EVERY day and for being just about the cutest kid in the world (in this unbiased mom's opinion)! WE DO TRULY ADORE YOU WYATT SCOTT (even though we gave you crappy cookies and milk as your birthday tradition). Hey, you are an April Fool's baby after all. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Green Beans for Dinner

There is something about the competition, accountability, and challenge of The Biggest Loser group of which I am a part, that has changed me completely. I couldn't control my eating before this started. That is so cliche, but honestly, I am talking dozens of cookies in one sitting...and honestly, I had kind of given up. With three little kiddos, lots of responsibilities, and a husband whose love is unconditional, I just couldn't get motivated to lose the weight.

Then came the invitation to join The Biggest Loser competition with my former partner, Rachel. In ten weeks, I lost 22 pounds. And I find myself now on Sunday nights, the night before Monday morning weigh-ins, eating green beans and fat free cottage cheese and drinking lots of water. I cannot believe how my habits have changed. I actually say "no" to cake!!!! (Those of you who have known me for any significant time know this is just plain CRAZY talk!)
When I am tired or emotional, I don't eat chocolate or cheese anymore; I reach for a low sodium V8 or popcorn. My daily intake is so healthy that when I eat something super fatty or high in sugar, my body actually feels yucky. And mostly, I just don't want to pay anyone ten bucks (the penalty if you are the lowest on the totem pole for the week!)
So I sit here munching green beans, and kind of enjoying it as my pre-pregnancy pants are starting to fit again. Oh dear, what will I do when the competition is over?????

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Midnight Squeals

Let me set the stage:

It's pitch black, the sleep machine is humming, and everyone is soundly sleeping. The dog is snoring at the foot of the bed, the cats are curled up in the living room, Kya and Wyatt are asleep in their bedroom. Scott and I are huddled up under our blankets dreaming happy dreams of a less sleep-deprived existence. Suddenly, a piercing sound disturbs the slumber. I kept the camera nearby last night to capture the excitement (you can't see anythng because he is doing this in his Pack 'N Play in the corner of our room and I'm not about to turn on the lights and play with him at 2 AM despite his insistence.) This is the fourth night in a row.

Oh Caden, we love your happiness!!! But will ya please go to sleep??