31 January 2013

Thank God Ethan's Been Rescued

Thank God little Ethan is safe and in his family's arms once again. I have been watching the news like a hawk over the last several week to catch any updates on that horrible story and sending prayers for Ethan and his family several times a day. I wrote the below post last week but ended up not posting it. I am beyond happy Ethan was rescued and I hope he will be ok after this incredibly traumatic experience.

That is my nightmare as a mother. That my children get taken, abducted, hurt, or killed by some evil person. I seriously check windows and doors multiple times a night (and during the day, too) to make sure that no one is going to walk into my house and get my boys. I don't think I'm alone in this fear, many of my girlfriends have said they have the same obsessive worry. I don't let this impede in living our lives and having experiences and fun but it is something I think about regularly.

My original post:

Disclaimer: This is coming from my heart and I do not want to start some sort of discussion on gun rights or control, or any other politically fraught issue.

My heart is breaking with all the recent school shootings, child abductions, and other instances where young children are no longer safe either going to school, being at school, or coming home from school. Horrific things are happening. I am in tears about the little boy in Alabama abducted off of his school bus. What is wrong with people, and how can this happen????

I want to do anything I can to protect my children. I want to keep them at home and constantly by my side. I want to homeschool. I just want to protect them. I know I can’t just keep them locked up at home where no bad guys can get to them for the rest of their lives but I am scared to send them to school, to let them ride a school bus, to take them to Target or the park.

I don’t care what you think the solution is, I’m not here to talk about arming myself or whatever. I guess I just needed to get this out. I am praying for that family in Alabama today, and praying for the families of those killed in Newtown and anywhere else there is a school shooting or a abduction or a hostage situation.  And praying to figure out how I can give my children a good safe life while still living and being a part of the world.

15 January 2013

Cheater Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Cheater Italian Wedding Soup

1 bag Trader Joe’s Mini Party Meatballs
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup minced yellow onion
1 cup diced carrots, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 cup diced celery, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
10 cups chicken stock
1 cup ditilini
8-12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1 tbsp freeze dried dill
Fresh grated Parmesan
juice from half of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

Pan fry meatballs, according to directions in the label.

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute until the onion is transparent, about 7 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and meatballs, return to a boil, and cook until the pasta is cooked al dente. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning to your liking with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the spinach, dill, and Parmesan and simmer for a couple of minutes more, until the spinach is just wilted but still a vibrant green. Stir in lemon juice.

Ladle into bowls and serve with extra grated Parmesan cheese.


  1. I am horrible at measuring things, I usually just throw things into the pot, add stuff, taste, add more….. So, these amounts are mostly estimates. Add more dill or Parmesan if you want. Love carrots? Add more! Want more lemon? Sounds good! Need more pasta? Go for it! 
  2. I really like the Trader Joe’s Mini Party Meatballs. They have a great flavor, are tender, and are small enough that they don’t overwhelm the soup. So, use whatever meatballs you want but I recommend mini ones. 
  3. I had a jar of freeze dried dill in my cabinet that a friend left at my house so I gave it a shot one night when I didn’t have fresh dill. It worked great and I didn’t have to deal with tearing the dill leaves of the stalk and chopping it up. So it works for cheater soup.

14 January 2013

How to Strip Cloth Diapers

So, last week I wrote about Owen’s awful yeast rash. He wore disposables for about 2 weeks while I stripped my diapers and we waited for his rash to heal. Everything I’ve read suggests waiting 5 days after the last symptom disappears before using cloth again (to prevent anything from getting back into the cloth). So TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT- we are finally going to start using cloth again tonight and I AM BEYOND HAPPY.

We use a combination of prefolds/covers and BumGenius 3.0/4.0/Freetime (speaking of the Freetime, it’s an amazing diaper and I plan on reviewing it here soon). BumGenius recommends using bleach when necessary, so I felt comfortable doing so. Some diaper manufacturers do not allow bleach and it will void the warranty so please check with your own diaper manufacturer before following my process for stripping cloth diapers. Prefolds are just cotton, so you can use bleach on them, no problem. Again, check manufacturers recommendations for your covers. I wasn’t too worried about ruining my covers (they are Thirsties) and just went ahead and washed them with everything else.

Also, I currently use a front loader, however I used a top loader until last year and would use much the same process for either machine.

How to Strip Cloth Diapers and Get Rid of a Yeast Infection

1st wash:
Throw a load of diapers into the machine.
Apply 5 drops of Original Dawn (the BLUE stuff) directly to the load.
Fill bleach cup with ½ c bleach.
Set machine on HOT with extra water.

2nd wash (this is to ensure diapers have no bleach or detergent left in them):
No detergent, soap, or bleach.
Set machine to HOT with up to 3 extra rinses (2 is probably enough, I like 3 to make sure).

Then they go into the dryer.

It took me about 3 loads to get it all washed but they smell really nice and clean now and nothing was ruined by the bleach either.

Can’t wait to be back to the cloth diapers after we get home tonight. The disposables are so so so gross and I am so so so done with them.

08 January 2013

Making Better Eating Habits

I really want to get this family back on track with our eating habits. Especially over the last month (between the travel for the holidays, the holidays themselves, general busy-ness, and everyone being sick ALL THE TIME) I have taken the easy way out and just fed us what we can. A lot of nights the boys got fed pasta or chicken while Chris and I just foraged for ourselves later (which usually meant a bowl of cereal or even nothing a lot of times). We were in survival mode, I guess.

But I think the worst is behind us and I want to get us back on track. I have lots I need to do, especially with Casper. He is a very picky eater, but I think that is more about control than anything. Typically if I prep him enough with my expectations for his behavior as well as prepping him to help with his expectations that helps in anything new with him. So I am going to start discussing with him what I expect of him at meals BEFORE WE EVEN GET TO THE DINNER TABLE.
  • He needs to try a bite of everything on his plate.
  • He can then eat what he wants from what I have offered.
  • If he eats everything on his plate he can have dessert.
I have read that exposure to new foods will eventually encourage a kid to eat (because it isn’t really new anymore) and hopefully like it. So I feel like as long as he tries something, I am not going to force it down his throat because every time we have that for dinner we’ll hopefully be one bite closer to him happily eating it (one day). If he actually doesn’t care for something, then fine, one bite and he’s done. No dessert but that will be his choice.

Another thing I am focusing on- less processed/packaged food. I really have come to rely on these “convenience products” too much since the boys started daycare/preschool in the last 6 months. We don’t even get home until dinnertime now, so it is hard to make a meal from scratch before everyone is just cranky and starving (parents included here). But I think if I carefully choose recipes that are simple but full of REAL FOOD that I can do the majority of the prep for on the weekend or even the night before we will all feel much better. After all, those “convenience products” from boxes or bags are just health hazards for all of us down the road. So, some examples of what I can do here:
  • Stirfry- cut up all veggies/meat the day or weekend before and marinade. Set rice cooker timer to cook rice before we get home.
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Freezer cooking
There is a link between the crap we’ve been eating and the number of days our family has been sick this winter, I know. I need to strengthen our bodies to make us healthy again.

Any tips or ideas to help out with this? Have any of you gone through the same thing? Any advice on how to deal with toddler and preschooler pickiness?

03 January 2013

Bad News for My Cloth Diapers

The day I have dreaded since I had kids is finally here.... Owen had a horrible yeast infection and it is in my cloth diapers :(

Owen had a few ear infections over the last couple of months and the rounds of antibiotics really did a number on his gut. I was giving him extra yogurt and probiotics in his food, too, but he still had a horribly upset tummy, was getting a bad rash on his face, and eventually got a yeast infection. It was so bad. But our pediatrician gave us some sort of creamy concoction she made up and that has cleared up the infection really nicely right away. So that's the good news. The bad news is that I am in the midst of a multiple day project of stripping my diapers and making sure I kill any sort of yeasty thing that might be in them.

I have Owen in disposables for right now (7th Generation ones) so I can take my time making sure I really get my cloth good and clean. Also, I don't know if the cream the pediatrician gave us is cloth diaper safe (it's probably not) so I thought I'd err on the side of caution and just use the disposables for a few days. They are yucky and I am not too happy about them at all. I can just smell the chemicals in them (I think it’s the super absorbent gel stuff that reeks) and my house smells like poo, too (which is not normally a problem since we rinse and flush any poo down the toilet when sing our cloth). I am rushing every dirty diaper right out to the trashcan outside immediately just to lessen the stench of chemicals and poo. Clearly, I HATE disposable diapers and I can’t wait for him to be back in cloth. Plus, can you even imagine how wearing paper and plastic underwear must feel to someone who is used to soft cozy fabric? Poor thing.

These pictures are from about 6 months ago.... but they are the only ones I have access to right now with Owen in cloth, so enjoy the cuteness!

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