Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Pictures 1. Steven. 2. Aeron and my husband the Brigham Young wanna be - he's in a play at our stake and they asked him to grow a beard. 3. Bekkah. 4. Jonathon - the real wild one. 5. Classic Ethan - we had to take his picture when he got the potty seat stuck on his head. It's side splittingly funny!

Here's my Ten on Tuesday:
10. Ethan makes me laugh. He is obsessed with Batman. About six months ago, I bought him a pair of Batman Underoos and he only wants to wear the undershirt. Yesterday I had to wrestle the shirt off him so I could wash it. Then, he insisted on wearing the newly washed and slightly dry shirt to preschool. He wore Batman all day and then wore it to bed. Today he smeared ketchup on it. He doesn't like getting dirty. We took the shirt off and then he changed into his Superman pajama shirt and wore it to school. I don't fight with him anymore. If he wants to wear it, so be it. At least I can get him to wear a pair of jean shorts to school so he looks mostly presentable. I pick my battles with him.

9. My daughter, Rebekkah, is an angel. She is my right hand. She helps me tremendously with the younger kids and tasks around the house. I hope I am not doing her a disservice by relying on her too much. I need to tell her thank you more often. We do reward her too. Recently, we got her a cell phone. For Christmas she got an iPod. We don't want to spoil her but we do want to give her the things she wants within reason and she works hard.

8. Jonathon peed his pants twice today, once at school and the other after school while playing. That really ticks me off. He doesn't take the initiative to change his clothes. He stays in them until he is dry and smelly. Gross! How does an almost 8 year old boy do that? But of course he is a boy. Maybe boys are just like that.

7. I think Aeron has 5th disease. His cheeks are rosy. He had diarrhea and mild cold like symptoms today - runny nose and not feeling well. He also has a rash; some on the top of his shoulder, near his diaper area, on his ankle, and legs. It resembles a blister and is kind of blotchy. The frustrating thing is that there is nothing I can do about it. It can last from 1-3 weeks. It can be contagious. But if he has it, he has already passed the contagious period because he is contagious during the incubation period. Hopefully no one else in the family will get it. Thursday we have a doctor's appointment. We'll find out.

6. Steven just finished reading Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. I am proud of his reading prowess. When recently tested, he the results showed that he reads at a 12th grade level. Rebekkah, naturally being a huge fan of the Twilight series, convinced him to read the books. He has whizzed through them at lightning speeds. His teacher, Mrs. Rush, told him Monday that it has been 17 year since she had a student accumulate as many Accelerated Reader points as he has. Good job, my little book worm!

5. We had a Cub Scout Pack Meeting tonight. We are getting ready for the Pinewood Derby. Peter's calling at church is a Cub Scout Den Leader for the Bears. But, since he has this Cisco training class on Tuesdays, I am taking over his pack in the meantime. I enjoy it. I don't have to teach any of my boys. I like it better that way. I can be a better teacher to the Bears.

4. A couple weeks ago, I think I had walking pneumonia. That's when I had the 103.2 fever. I got antibiotics and cough syrup. The antibiotics have helped. I still have a slight fever and a chest cough. Thursday when I take Aeron in to the doctor, I am going to see him as well. I am going to ask for a chest xray. It may take a stronger antibiotic than what I was given. I hope I don't have it. I have been using an old inhaler recently to help with my chest tightness.

3. I love photography. I have been taking pictures here and there. I took this picture yesterday that I will post that I think is funny. It is of these weird cherry like looking orange spheres. If it is an edible fruit, it is one that I am not familiar with. I have thought of a funny title for the picture. I'm not going to spoil it by telling you what it is. That is what I think about in my spare time. Peter is happy that I'm so taken with photography. I take some pictures of the kids. Some are OK, but I like my photos of flowers best. They are pretty. Flowers make me happy. I walk around in my neighbor's yards and in the neighborhood, photographing flowers. I probably look like a nut. Oh well.

2. I miss jewelry making. It is hard to dedicate the space to it. Plus, with all of the helpful hands this house teems with, inevitably my project gets disturbed. Also, when I start a project, I develop tunnel vision; I just want to work on the project. I will leave my other responsibilities undone. I don't have the luxury to do that right now. I have too many little people that rely on me to meet their needs.

1. I haven't read a book since I was pregnant with Aeron except Understanding Exposure. It's a photography book. Oh, and I have read the last Stephenie Meyer book too. But, what I really enjoy is audio books. I have a monthly subscription to Audible. I love audio books! Right now I am listening to a book called The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It is a young adult book, in the same genre as Orson Scott Card, science fiction. It is very good. It helps me get through the drudgery of my day to day chores. It also keeps my busy mind occupied.

Well, that's my ten. I've never done a Ten for Tuesday type blog entry before. I'm sure it is a little long winded. I think that should be my middle name: Bonnie windbag Gale. I like blogging. I should have included that as one of my ten.

Monday, March 30, 2009

White washed

White washed
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
It rained this morning. It was just a gentle shower. After getting the big kids off to school, I gave the little ones a snack and left them safely strapped in the car and took advantage of the opportunity.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cool opportunity to win $25!

Want to win $25? Just enter a comment and you will be entered into the drawing. What could you do with $25? I can think of a lot of things I'd like to do. Check out: The Tattooed Gourmet: My 100th Post $25 giveaway! He has a foodie blog. I'm a sucker for new recipes.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Simple Sugar Cookies (No Roll!)

Yesterday before all the hullaballoo of Peter's kidney stone acting up was Cookie Friday.
My kids are big fans of cookies. At the store, they want me to buy this cookie or that cookie. But, being the super woman that I am, I can stop all their requests with this one sentence, "I'm making cookies today." They immediately shut their pie holes and wait in anticipation for the first batch to emerge from the oven.
I want to acknowledge Karen Blackmer for the idea of cookie Friday. I liked her idea and have adopted for our family use. What a great way to celebrate the end of another week of hard work. Thanks Karen!
Yesterday, I decided to make this recipe I got from a friend in our first married ward. It was the BYU 1st Ward and my friend who gave me this recipe is Tracy Dean. She is a great lady and a good example of motherhood and the Gospel. I hadn't made this recipe in YEARS. But, every time I do I ask myself, why I waited so long to make those cookies. They are simple and delicious. They disappear at record speeds! Here's the recipe:

No Roll Sugar Cookies
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine shortening and butter, mix until well blended. Add sugar and the egg and beat until creamy. Add the remaining dry ingredients and vanilla. Form into balls and dip each ball into sugar. Press each ball with the bottom of a glass on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Makes 3 dozen cookies

Icing (optional, but TOTALLY recommended)
Confectioner's Glaze
combine 1 c. powdered sugar and add 1/4 tsp. vanilla and add enough milk about 1 Tbs. to make it spreadable.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Potty training is the pits!

We've been potty training since Thanksgiving 2008. It has not gone well. Usually, after his bath, Ethan gets himself dressed. Usually it is in underwear and whatever clothes he can scrounge from his dresser. Today, even though it was a beautifully warm Spring day, he dressed as if it were winter. He wore long track pants and a long sleeved shirt, and .... training pant type underwear. I encourage him to put on a pull-up. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't.
When Ethan has a bowel movement, he's sneaky about it. He will go into a corner, under the air hockey table, or under the kitchen table to do his business. Then he does the poopy pants shuffle. You know that special walk that clearly conveys he is carrying a present meant just for me. These are the moments I want to look around me say, "Who are these children, any why do they call me mommy?" (Thanks Anne Taintor, I love her art work! She's a comedic genius.)
Today, as Ethan waddled over, little nuggets escaped his pants. Yuck! He pointed to them and said, "Look, I pooped!" Disgusted, I told him to go to the bathroom where I would clean him up. What made me fustrated is that the house cleaner had just come and cleaned our dirty, cluttered house, including the floors. And, now little #2's were migrating from his underwear to the clean floor. Calgon, take me away!
We have a chant we practice with Ethan when we're toileting. We chant, "Where do we poop? We poop in the potty." And, "Where do we pee? We pee-pee in the potty." Did you know there are songs about toileting habits. Kimya Dawson sings "Pee-pee in the Potty" and my children's all time favorite "Alphabutt". I have purchased these songs from iTunes and we listen to them occasionally in the hopes of brainwashing Ethan into compliance. So far, these attempts have failed and simply serve to promote loud, raucous laughter.
We keep potty training, though. Ethan pretty much has gone back to wearing pull-ups almost full-time. What I find particularly onerous about this whole situation is that at school, Ethan will stay dry and mess free most of the time! There has been a time or two where he has had a bowel movement at school. It always comes as a complete surprise to them. I get a note home about it in his daily communication book. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more. But, maybe he saves it all for me. I am that special person. I'm the lucky individual he calls Mommy.
I am grateful for him. I love him desperately. Don't get me wrong! I just have never had such a difficult time potty training any of my other 3 children. The normal bribes haven't worked. For example, Steven had difficulty going poop. I promised him if he could poop in the potty, I would take him to Chuck E. Cheese as a reward. So, he finally decided to poop in the potty on a Sunday afternoon. We dutifully carted him over to Up Chuck's and that cemented it for him. That was his turning point. After that, except on rare occasions, he pooped in the toilet. I have tried to bribe Ethan with a special trip like that. I have bought candy bars. I have bought a special M&M dispenser that he could use when he made his special deposit. None of these have worked!
I am hoping that perhaps it is a maturity issue. I have been told this could be the case. It would be a relief if that is truly the case. Some people have said that these special kids need privacy. We've given him privacy. He goes in the bathroom, locks the door and makes a mess of the toilet paper or plays in that magical holder of water. One time, I even prevented him from drinking that water! Another time, he flushed his underwear down the toilet. A behaviorist I talked with suggested having him help me wash out his dirty underwear in the toilet. (This would be a natural, logical consequence of his behavior. It didn't work. You could say she was full of xxxx! He would watch me flush the toilet while holding on to the soiled underwear and his hand and we'd swish it around the bowl in hopes of dislodging his unwelcome deposit. I think he thought of it as a kind of game. I really don't know.
So, this whole blog entry is one long rant dedicated to the beauty of bowel movements. We have failed thus far in our attempts at civilizing our little hellion. But, we march on! Someday, Ethan will master this most important hygiene habit. That is my hope.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


February 3 ~ JOY
Originally uploaded by segolily
I love this scripture.

It says, "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." 2 Nephi 2:25 Book of Mormon

We were created to be happy! We must seek it, find it, look for it, work for it and savor it when we find it. It is a great reminder for me on those dark days when the rain clouds seem to follow me everywhere.

Hope you enjoy this message and picture.

D is for .....

Storm Drain Cover
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
One of my many and varied interests is photography. Here is one of my photos I took recently as my kids and I walked around the neighborhood getting the wiggles out.
This is a picture of a storm drain cover. I like all the natural rust colors.
If you would like to check out some of my other pictures, they are online at flickr.com. My username is bonniemomof5.
I am accepting suggestions for a clever name for this photo. My best idea was D is for .... disturbed. Isn't that what you would call someone who would intentionally take a picture of a storm drain?
Have a great Tuesday!

Signs of spring

Signs of spring
Originally uploaded by bonniemomof5
I took this as a lay on a blanket waiting for Aeron to finish his nap in the car yesterday. I love it when the buds come out and the tender leaves reappear after their winter nap. I especially love it against the backdrop of the clear blue sky.
I think I will visit the park again today. Anything to get out of the house and escape the dreaded tap tap tapping of the roofers working on our house.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just Stumbling Through

How often do you have the thought, "If I can just get through _____, everything will be better."? And, how often has this premise proved true? Duh... never. Yet, I still delude myself with this false thought.
Moreover, I have been having that thought frequently as of late. This week I came down with the flu. It's the type of flu that makes you wish you would have paid that stupid co-pay and got that wretched flu shot. It's the type of flu that has every joint and muscle ACHING in your body. It's the type of flu that makes you spike a fever of 103.2. It's the type of flu that SUCKS!
Monday I knew something was up when my legs hurt just climbing the stairs to put laundry away, my back hurt... it hurt everywhere. I called and made an appointment with our doctor who will remain nameless.
Tuesday when I saw the doctor, he said that I indeed had the flu. The night before my fever reached 101.7 and then 102.1. I figured I would get better soon. And, usually it does. During my doctor's visit, I asked the doctor if he had received the results of my hip x-ray. He said he hadn't, but they would call me when they did. I had the x-rays taken almost a month earlier.
Later that day, an office staffer called and said they had located the x-rays and they wanted to refer me out to an orthopedic (bone) doctor. They gave me a name and a number and said the doctor would call me with results later. The next 2 days I spent waiting by the phone. That type of response had me worried. Did something abnormal come up in my x-ray? That's the last thing my family needs. When I called on Wednesday, his office staff said he had tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to get a hold of me, even though someone was home all day long. Thursday I called again twice, and the second time I asked his staffer if there was any chance that when the doctor called, he would call in a prescription for cough medicine with codeine because I had a cough that wouldn't quit and I was wheezing. The incompetent nurse or receptionist took my pharmacy number and made a very inadequate notation.
After waiting all day AGAIN, I finally had enough and called his after hours phone. He apologized and assumed that I was calling about my x-ray results. No, I wouldn't waste his valuable time to call after hours for JUST x-ray results. By this time, I felt beyond terrible. I felt like walking death.
Have you ever had a slight fever? You know the kind that makes you feel clammy and sweaty and all the thermometer reveals is that your temperature is elevated by one degree. Well, for me, when I have a serious temperature of 101 or higher, I stop feeling hot and just feel terrible. My face feels like is on fire! The thought had occurred to me on Monday that maybe I had a fever, and when I checked, I had a fever of 102.1.
By Thursday afternoon, my fever was 102.7 and I couldn't stop coughing. So, when I talked to the doctor and asked him for some cough syrup with codeine, you can imagine my shock when he told me he didn't feel comfortable calling that in. I guess when I am calling with a request, I need to be much more forceful. Instead of being polite, I should be demanding and rude and surly. Even when in the midst of an all natural childbirth with Ethan (no pain meds because he came too fast- they literally yanked a Dr. from the hallway to deliver him!) I was nice to the staff and didn't scream when they made me wait for 20 minutes to get checked to make sure I was in labor. I am a nice person, what can I say?
I am not a person who enjoys repeatedly making calls - I am NOT a nag! I like manners, they make life a little more bearable and pleasant. I do not like to go on and on about how terrible I feel and how sick I am (like I am doing right now- now that's irony for you). I am precise with my words. I don't have a lot of time to spend on the phone and I do NOT like to wait - on the phone or in a patient room. I have too many people to care for during the daylight hours and too much to do. Furthermore, I know what works and what doesn't. I have been on the earth long enough to know that when I am that sick and other over the counter medications haven't worked, something stronger is generally called for.
I apologize for that rant. I rarely get that worked up. But, I am angry at the care or lack of care that I received. So, after the doctor told me he didn't feel comfortable calling in a prescription for cough syrup with codeine to my pharmacy, he asked me why I hadn't come in earlier in the day, if I was truly that sick? Oh my gosh!! I couldn't believe my ears. One other time I tried going into his office with my children in tow for his "walk-in" hours. That time, his receptionist informed me that he didn't have any space that day and that I should just go on over to urgent care. I have called other times and found out that he didn't have any openings for a week. So, I have gone over to urgent care. So, I was in a state of utter disbelief when he asked me that. I was saintly. I held my tongue. I was too sick to argue.
The doctor went on to add that if I was truly that sick, I should go over to urgent care or wait until the next day and get an appointment with his brother, who is also a physician in his practice. He wouldn't be in the office the next day.
He intimated that I could be asking for codeine to treat my hip pain. My hip x-ray ended up coming out normal, thank goodness. He felt that maybe an ortho doctor might be able to perform another diagnostic type test that might reveal what is going on and the reason why I have been daily feeling pain in that area. I appreciate his diligence in that area.
What I do not appreciate and what absolutely enrages me is the idea that I would abuse a drug. Everyday, I handle my children's medications. Medications that require triplicate forms because the DEA monitors them so closely. There is no way that I could be the mother that I need to be if I was a drug abuser. There are times that Ethan's behavior is enough to drive me to drink - but I abstain. Somehow, with Heavenly help, I get through those rough patches.
I completely understand that physicians have to be careful. They need to screen their patients to make sure they do not abuse drugs. I get it! However, I thought I had developed a relationship of trust with him, sufficient for him to realize I would never ask for anything I didn't absolutely need.
Maybe, it is a pride thing on the doctor's part. I didn't go to medical school. But, I can't help it if I know a little about medicine. I am intelligent. In addition, my mother was a nurse and during college I worked as a CNA (certified nurse's aid). Moreover, I view the patient-doctor relationship as one of equals. Not as one of master and subservient (it should be servant - I am saying it wrong on purpose). Hopefully I have conveyed my meaning here.
So, I angrily drove myself over to the urgent care. You see, I was hoping to avoid paying ANOTHER co-pay by speaking directly with the doctor since he already knew I had the flu and had seen me just 2 days before! I then paid a second co-pay and they saw me. While I was waiting, I was so angry and felt so terrible that I burst into tears in the lobby. I am sure the other waiting patients and the office staff thought I was a loon as I sat there with silent tears streaming down my face.
After waiting 40 minutes, I finally saw a doctor. I told him all the details. He looked and listened and then pronounced that I needed a breathing treatment. He also prescribed cough syrup with codeine and zithromax. After receiving the breathing treatment, I felt much better than I had all day. I then drove to the pharmacy and filled the prescription.
I was so wiped out by all of this that I asked Peter to take Friday off, even though Friday was the last day of school before our spring break. He very lovingly agreed to take it off. I can't tell you what that means. It was so nice of him. He was worried that I would make it home safe from the doctor and pharmacy. What a guy!
Up until this afternoon (Sunday, March 22), I have spent the majority of my time in bed... sleeping. If any of you know me, you know that is something I DO NOT usually do. Even after giving birth, I am usually up and running. You could say I have ants in my pants, I am restless, I am driven, I am crazy! I don't like being sick and don't have time for it, nor do I have the patience for it. I have things to do and people to care for!
This flu knocked me down for the count. Everything else ceased to exist... kids, school, commitments, responsibilites. I would get up and do something innocuous, feel tired and go back to bed. Sleep has never been so therapeutic. Next time, I think I will get that flu shot!
I have stayed in bed most of this weekend until this afternoon when our family travelled down to Lake Elsinore to Dallin Blackmer's baptism. I wanted our family to attend this event. It was nice. It made me feel old. I remember when that kid was born and now he's 8!
During the baptism, I went out to find Peter leaning against the wall in the hallway. He didn't look good. I asked him what was up and he replied that after we were done with the baptism, we needed to go home so he could go to the hospital. He was having another attack of kidney stones. Could this really be happening?I told the people that needed to know that we had to leave and the reason and we left. On the way home, I found a babysitter for the kids.
So, here we sit in the ER waiting for them to call Peter back for pain management. Hopefully they will perform a CT scan and locate the stupid kidney stone. Curse those awful kidney stones!
So, far we've been waiting for 2 hours. San Antonio Community Hospital ER looks like they are hosting a sporting event. Every chair is packed, it is filled with people waiting to be seen. How long will he have to wait? I'm not sure. Oops, scratch that, I just found out... 2 hours and 10 minutes. On the bright side, at least for the most part I have recovered from the flu and can take over the watch while he is down.
That is one of the beauties of marriage. We look out for each other. We take care of each other. He is my champion and I am his. Through all of this, I am grateful for timing. At least, his attack didn't happen while I was so sick. What would we have done had both of us been down?
Thank Heaven for the grace of God. He looks out for us, even when we feel like we are alone in the midst of our trials. Now I feel bad for poor Peter. I was hoping after his last battle with kidney stones we wouldn't see them again. But, I'll have to cover that info in my next entry, this one is long enough. Thanks for reading if you have had the patience to get this far... you're a trooper!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Out to dinner, the nontraditional way!

A friend of ours just bought a home. Congrats Mary Anne! We sold her some of our furniture we hadn't gotten around to getting rid of. Saturday afternoon, she needed some assistance from Peter setting up the furniture and we brought her dinner kind of as a housewarming gift. Who wants to cook dinner after moving stuff all day. It was nice to get out of the house. It was also nice to eat dinner with someone else. She is a great friend to our family. Food + friends = Fun!
I had made a huge batch of beef stroganoff Wednesday, we brought those leftovers for the adults. (It's actually a pretty plain recipe. I think I'm going to look for a better, more flavorful recipe.) And, for the kids, I brought a Tater Tot Casserole. It isn't highbrow food. My friend Karen Blackmer, also a great cook, gave me the recipe. But it is a treasured recipe at our house. The kids see it and celebrate. They say, "Yes! It's tater tot casserole." It makes a huge 9X13 casserole dish; it's really heavy. And, generally doesn't last. The whole thing was pretty much gone in one sitting. Steven and Bekkah had big seconds. I liked it better than my beef stroganoff. I also brought jello salad. It's called Magic Jello Mousse. It's so easy and tasty. Ethan liked it so much when I made it Wednesday, he ate 3 servings of it, got all messy and wiped his face all over Bella's fur. She makes the best napkin! The jello is magic because it separates into 2 layers. It looks pretty cool, if you're a kid!
Our goal is not to eat out so much. We're ratcheting down the finances, cutting out the extras. I am going to get creative with our eating out. I really enjoyed going to someone else's house to eat. We might have to schedule another date with someone else. Let me know if you are interested! I'm more than happy to bring the food if you will host us.
I thought I would share the recipes with you. I'm sure many of you have a good recipe like that. But, until a few years ago, I had NEVER had tater tot casserole. I really like this one, though. Hope you enjoy!

Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic
2 cans cream of mushroom soup + 1 soup can of milk
2 cans of drained green beans
1 package potato rounds (they are like mini-sized tater tots shaped in the size of a quarter)

Brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with the potato rounds. Next layer the meat mixture. Then cover with the green beans. Next, combine the soup and milk and mix well. Add the soup mixture on top of the green beans. Then, layer the potato rounds on top. Bake uncovered at 400 for 45-60 min. or until the tater tots are golden brown. Eat with lots of ketchup!

Jello Magic Mouse
3 cups boiling water
1 pkg. (8 serving size) Jello, raspberry or strawberry is great
1 tub (16 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed

Stir boiling water into dry gelatin mix in a bowl at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Add whipped topping to hot jello mixture; stir with a wire whisk until whipped topping is completely melted and mixture is well blended. (Mixture will still be thin.) Pour into a mold sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 5 hours or overnight until firm. Unmold onto serving plate just before serving. Store leftover dessert in refrigerator. Makes 10 servings, 1/2 c. each. This dessert looks totally fancy but requires little effort and tastes great, if you like jello.

Just Chicken

Last Sunday morning, March 8, as I was getting ready for church I heard some alarming facts about chicken. I just want to share them with you. I was listening to KFI 640 AM to the Jillian Michaels show. She does a fitness and health show Sunday mornings. No, it isn't the type of show to help get you in the mood for church, but it was something to listen to to keep my mind moving.
Jillian talked about chicken and the need to buy free range organic chicken. I haven't been a big subscriber to this type of meat because it is so costly and with 7 mouths to feed, price is VERY important. But the facts that she revealed, have prompted me to change some of my buying behaviors.
Chicken which isn't free range and isn't organically fed is fed arsenic laced feed. Something about the arsenic in the feed helps to fatten the chicken up quicker. The average person gets only 8.1 micrograms of arsenic from a serving of chicken. And chronic exposure to the arsenic in chicken is about 40 micrograms a day. But, arsenic is cummulative in it's effects. There is arsenic in our drinking water and many other aspects of our life (she didn't specify what, I think I might email her and ask her about it). But this is a direct quote.
Furthermore, because of the inhumane conditions the chickens live in, they are constantly fed a high diet of antibiotics. They ingest them and you eat it and then you ingest the antibiotics. It can create candida, yeast infections, and leaky gut syndrome. That's why so many people are talking about the benefits of probiotics. You can get probiotics in yogurt and nutritional supplements. We eat so much antibiotics in our non-organic meat foods. It's not just chicken, it's also in beef.
Next, when chickens go to the treatment plant, they are rinsed in chlorine to try to help kill some of the bacteria, which isn't always effective. Chlorine is not good for you.
After revealing all these gruesome details, she gave some helpful hints to detoxify our meals. The first thing we can do is to buy organic. You can find organic meat via the internet at Peaceful Pastures and Local Harvest. She definitely encourages everyone to go organic in every aspect of our eating. Today she was talking about raspberries. And if you eat non-organic raspberries, you are ingesting 7 different pesticides. Yikes!
Jillian also talked about a few brands that are better. She listed Tyson, Rocky Jr. Natural Chicken, Gerber Amish, and Smart Chicken. She advises to stay away from organ meats like liver and to skip eating the skin. Not only is the skin fattening, it also stores toxins.
When buying nonorganic chicken, make sure it is frozen. Freezing the chicken helps kill bacteria. She also said to be mindful of the packaging of chicken. If the packaging is leaky, drippy, or sticky skip it. It's likely contaminated and can get spread to other items in your shopping cart. Moreover, when handling raw chicken, act like you are handling contaminated meat. Cook food thoroughly and when you go out to dinner, be a food snob. Go only to Grade A restaurants.
After hearing all this grisly information, I was absolutely shocked. I don't want to feed toxic meats to my family, especially knowing that such toxins can build up over time and cause damage. I don't want my future or that of my family's cut short. My goal is to buy Tyson brand chicken frozen and buy organic free range chicken when it is on sale.
If you don't believe this information, Google it. You can check out her information on KFI 640 AM. She didn't have any show notes but you can go back and listen to that particular episode of the show.
On a happier note-
Now, knowing all this stuff, I'm going to rave about a chicken sandwich I sampled from Trader Joe's. I love that store. I really enjoy their food. I love their free food samples, more than once, their samples have been a source of inspiration for our family meals. In this case, it wasn't a family meal, it is more an adult meal. The sandwich is comprised of Trader Joe's Just Chicken. I believe that Trader Joe's chicken is organic, I'm not sure though, I'll be checking tomorrow. Whatever it is, it makes a tasty chicken sandwich. Their grilled chicken is sliced into nice sized pieces. The sandwich also had Havarti cheese. Now, I am not adventurous when it comes to cheeses, but I was hugely impressed when I ate this sandwich with this particular cheese. To be honest, I had never had Havarti cheese before. Wow! I didn't know that Havarti cheese is a great cheese for use in sandwiches. It melts great! The bread they used is Cracked Wheat Sourdough. You prepare the sandwich as if it is a grilled cheese sandwich and just butter the outside of the bread. That's it; it's not rocket science. In fact, if you really want a fancy sandwich I imagine you could make it in a panini grill. Or, to spice it up put some fresh leaves of basil in there. Use your imagination! Whatever you do, it is sure to turn out with great results.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekend excitement!!

Today we are going to Knott's Berry Farm! We have a sitter lined up to watch the wee ones - Ethan and Aeron. And we are going to ride all the scary roller coasters and have a good time with no worries. 
The best thing about today's activities is that they are FREE!!! My friend Robyn and her husband invited us to a Duck's game last year in November? I really don't remember dates very well. They had INCREDIBLE seats. We were row 11 (I think - I'm not one for details, I remind you, but wherever they were we were really close to the ice) and you could see all the action with out the aid of binoculars. It was so cool. I had a good time! Peter and the kids tota!ly did. 
To get to the point, they generously purchased these kids fan packs for the kids. They were totally cool. The kit had dog tags, a water bottle, am beanie, a calendar, a ticket for a free game, a tee shirt, a coupon for a free kids meal from Red Robin, and a little noisemaker - WOW. When you join the club they will send you updates. So the Ducks are having their end of the year celebration at Knotts and if you bring your dog tags you can get in free with a parent today! So we are going. If you are interested in joining this totally cool club check out this link:  Wild Wingers Kids Club.
One of the best things about going to Knotts is going to Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. They have the best fried chicken dinner with delicious fresh buttermilk biscuits and yummy Knott's jam. That is the thing I'm also excited about. How silly am I? But, I'm a sucker for good food.
I'm feeling good today. It's a nice feeling. 
I got up this morning and made breakfast for the kids. We had scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese, orange juice and hootnany pancakes. They are simply delicious and easy! I'll include the recipe at the end for you foodies out there.
In addition, yesterday I spent a lot of money (relatively speaking) to pay a housecleaner to come and help me clean the house up. There has been no way humanly possible unless I was a crackhead that I could care for all the kids, provide the attention that Ethan needs ALL THE TIME, and keep my house clean. So, really it is worth any amount. I have to tell myself that to rationalize the expenditure. I still feel a tiny bit guilty about it. But then I look around at my sparkling clean house and breathe a sigh of relief and the guilt quickly passes. Then I just feel gratitude.
Somehow we'll adjust and find the resources to pay for it. We'll have to be creative (they government took an extra $1000 out of our paycheck this month - they reset the tax exemptions and Peter didn't get over in time to correct it.) I need the help though. 
Peter says he's a deadbeat. He says that because he can't help. He's too bogged down with school work. The other night he stayed up until 3:30 AM creating curriculum for his business ownership class. My friend's husband gave him his business class syllabus and tool and he has some stuff from the district but he really has to pull this all out of his head. He's trying to keep it current so it is relevant to the students' interests. This class is just a dumping ground really for kids who didn't get into other classes. So, in a way, he is a glorified babysitter. But, he sincerely is trying to teach them something! Whether they choose to learn or not, that's up to them. He also just finished trying to register for Crafton Hills Community College to take a class to finish up his Cisco certification so he can continue to teach it at school. Then he has the grading. So, long story short, he doesn't have the time to help at home. Someday, maybe. He tries, I give him credit for that, and what I am most grateful about is that he didn't even bat an eyelash or flinch when I told him the housecleaners had come! Thanks, I appreciate it.
What was humorous about yesterday's housecleaning episode is that Mirtha came with her friend. I can't remember what her friend's name is. But, she felt bad for me, they both did. My house has been in shambles, and, I am not EXAGERRATING!!! We all decry the state of our homes, but mine really was in need of a good cleaning and organizing. And boy did these women work their tails off. I was shocked when they didn't run screaming from my chaotic and disorganized home! But, they were brave, determined, and kind souls who spent all day whipping my house into shape!
Mirtha's friend even offered to come and do a daily maid service at my house - helping me with the dishes, laundry and general upkeep - yes that needs work, I will freely admit it. I won't tell you the amount she quoted me. I can't afford it. I am going to have Mirtha come once a week and that is just going to have to get me by. And maybe someday, when I am fabulously wealthy (yeah, right) I can hire a maid service (when pigs fly!!!). My children MUST learn to help out, and they are doing it. Either that or I will make their lives miserable and they will do nothing fun. It is starting to work so far.
I am happy though. It is refreshing to have the floors clean all at the same time! The kitchen is perfectly clean, not just a little so it's passable. The bathrooms are all clean, no urine on or around the toilets from my blind boys. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my back. It's that darn monkey I tell you! 
I'll update this blog with the pictures we take today. I need to finish the dishes and get ready for my day of play! Wahoo!

Hootnany Pancakes
6 eggs
1 c. flour
1 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven at 425. In a 9X13 dish put the stick of butter in the pan and put it in the preheating oven. It will perfectly melt it for you while you assemble the batter. Combine eggs, milk and salt in a blender until fluffy and well mixed (about 2 minutes). You don't want it to separate. Add flour a little at a time until well blended (about 2 more minutes or so- eyeball it!) When the butter is bubbly, pour the batter into the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve warm with powdered sugar sprinkled on top and top that off with maple syrup. It's delicious this way!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random little snippets

No more nursing
Aeron has now officially weaned himself. I am sad. It was one of the last vestages of babyhood and my childbearing years that I have been clinging to. Really, the only times I would nurse is in the morning when he woke up and right before bed. We have been slowly cutting it down to shorter and infrequent periods. And this weekend after our whirlwind trip to Sacramento, when I didn't have the time to nurse, he put his foot down and refused.
Granted, Aeron is 18 months old and has joined the ranks of cranky toddlers full of attitude. He would rather have a bottle on the go than sit and snuggle. I don't blame him. There is so much to see and do. 
Now I must say goodbye to the end of my nursing cuddles and snuggles. Kids grow up regardless of our efforts to keep them young. I have enjoyed nursing my kids, especially Aeron because he has enjoyed the cuddling and quiet time the longest. It has also forced me to take a break from the everyday chaos to sit down and be with him. I will continue to cuddle him, except with a bottle now. Breaking the bottle habit hasn't gone so well. Maybe in a month we'll try it again.

Jonathon and Bus 21
What can I say about Jonathon? He is such a boy! His is dirty and messy. He is the middle child and thus struggles with his position. He isn't a baby and he's not a big kid either. He will turn 8 in August. I worry about him. 
Yesterday, he got a bus ticket! No child  of mine has ever gotten a ticket before. He got it for writing on the back of a seat on the way home. What was he writing? Well, that's the funny part (although I can't tell him). He was writing, "I don't like you bus driver." When I was alone and thinking about it, I laughed. I can't help but smile. That boy was just trying to make his feelings known. He struggles with that. His older siblings tend to ignore him. The younger ones aren't old enough to understand yet.
So, yesterday after we lectured him about the importance of respecting other people's property and talked about how riding the bus is a privilege. We punished him by not letting him play on the computer or his Nintendo DS. He also lost out of the chance of going over to a friend's house to play. We also talked about the need to voice our feelings. I believe we will be revisiting this topic continuously. When he gets frustrated, he will physically lash out in anger, start to scream, or break down in tears. I really feel for him. It must be hard to be 7 and feel stuck in the middle and misunderstood. We're trying to teach him responsibility and how to appropriately express his emotions.
He had to return the ticket with our signature on it in order to ride the bus. Before I sent it back, I made a copy of it and plan to write a note to the transportation department. This particular bus driver is always SCREAMING at the kids. I think I will write that while I do not condone his behavior, maybe if there was less screaming and hostility towards the kids behavior would improve. I doubt it will accomplish very much, but I do want to make the effort. I can't excuse his behavior, but I do find it humorous. I'll can't let Jon know that I think it's funny. Jonathon just struggles to express his feelings. We'll be working on that.