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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Waiting Game

One of the verses that keeps going through my head this week is just a snippet, but so encouraging, "peace that passes understanding." I've just been thinking about it and praying for it over and over. To back up a bit, for just about two weeks I was feeling so good. I came off some insulin, avoided an extra shot, and really, I just felt good. Hardly any contractions and some extra energy and I actually began to think that we might go pass 36 weeks this time and we're somehow blessed to go back to "normal". Then over is weekend, I woke up and felt funny. My sugars were hypoglycemic low and I was shaking really bad. Then that day after getting my blood sugar under control, I began contracting again and puffing up. When I went on Tuesday for a doctors appt instead of getting a really good report like last time, it was the complete opposite. My BP had gotten worse than previous visits, I had packed on a lot of water, my face looks puffy, headaches, nauseausness.... Basically I have every symptom of preeclampsia now but protein in my urine. So we are at the point where it is too soon for them to take the baby and he is still protected in his little cocoon and doing amazingly well, so we will just continue to be monitored until the moment when it gets out of control. It's a fine line and it means extra time at the hospital for observance so they can monitor me. but we are so thankful for the diabetes for once because it keeps me off bed rest and I just get lots of extra rest. So I am still allowed to be out and about and take walks, just on a more relaxed and scaled back level. That's very nice. So we'll take several hours at the doctors and hospital each week over bed rest any day! But, we do appreciate prayers as we await either this little guys arrival or for things to get worse or for both to happen at the same time. We have been given such a peace as we wait along with the doctors for the moment when we need to deliver or have to deliver and are just trusting God that He understands the timing so much better than we do. And in the meantime, I will continue to drink our house dry, enjoy he last few days of our homeschool year, the warm spring sunshine that seems to finally be arriving, and those precious baby movements that remind me how worth it this all is!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Baby Fever

I recently told my daughter I dont think Ill be able to share her new baby brother with her-- I have just waited to long and am afraid Ill hog him. Her response, "well, you have to share him with me cause I rub your belly and talk to him. He wants me tohold him too." And my husband shared similar thoughts too-- he was kind of thinking he'd get to hoard the new baby. And so on and so on-- we're all pretty determined that we won't be able to share this new little guy cause we all have waited for him for a long time. I mean a really long time. Like years-- and now that we're getting so close, noone wants to share. Is there a chance this little guy might get spoiled from being held so much? Absolutely-- but I see it as him getting 5 times the love from 5 people who just cant wait to hold him. And smell him. And kiss him. And stroke those newborn cheeks and hair. And change those little diapers... okay, well, that might be one area we all are willing to share! I also keep thinking Im ready to trade first morning finger pricks with morning feedings. And night time bathroom runs with nighttime feedings and cuddles. And so much more-- Having a baby for me is more than just having a baby, its like the long awaited prize after months and months of strict diabetic restrictions. And they might not let up this time and I have just given that all over to the Lord, but there is so, so, so much joy when we have our baby! And this time, there are 3 more people to love on this little man and share in the joy. I know people think bigger families mean you have to spread the love and time around, but I think its the opposite-- there is just 5 times more people to love on this little one. 3 big siblings waiting to hold and love on him instead of just mom and dad. We are just so excited to be in the home stretch-- the last lap. Sure at times it seems like Ill be pregnant forever, but I know at some point God will give him the perfect birthday at just the right time.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easy Clean Eating Homemade Spaghetti Sauce-- Minimal prep work!

I wanted to begin making our own homemade pasta sauce to go with our homemade pasta, but some of the recipes were pretty overwhelming and seemed like they'd take forever or were meant for canning. And I wanted some sauce now... like right away for dinner. So, I thought I'd see what would happen if I plopped some plum tomatoes and this and that into the food processor and just saw what happened. Well, What happened was Itallian yuminess across the board! You will need 5 medium plum tomatoes *** 1/4- 1/2 cup of water *** 2 tbs of olive oil *** handful of fresh spinach *** some itallian seasoning (ach-- i was out of fresh basil, but a tsp of dried was still a culinary delight) *** and optional, a few roasted peppers or if you were roasting it yourself, 1 pepper roasted. Puree or chop all together. And done-- less than 2 minutes to really good homemade pasta sauce. I cooked it up and added some parmasean cheese on top and then just placed it on cooked homemade spaghetti-- it was out of this world yummy!! To see our Roman theme dinner night, go here http://bsharks26.blogspot.com/2013/03/when-in-rome-dinner-theme-night.html and to see how we make our own pasta, check out http://bsharks26.blogspot.com/2013/01/homemade-pasta.html.

Safe Baby Sleeping Tips (and the difference between suffocation and SIDS)

I feel 100% compelled to right this post as my background is in early childhood and then having worked in numerous infant preschool rooms before having my own kids, I really cant imagine not sharing what I know-- especially when I see so many people break safety sleeping rules. First of all, there is a difference between SIDS and a baby suffocating. I am a firm believer that SIDS just can't be prevented-- its a dangerous and mysterious thing that happens to a little one and only God knows why when you get right down to it. My heart goes out to parents who have experienced a loss like this-- I can't even imagine. Suffocation on the other hand can and should be prevented. Here are my tips on safe baby sleeping: 1. No matter how cute that bumper is, dont buy it. The baby getting a little bump on their head is far more preferable to rolling under and suffocating or choking to death. These are not even allowed in most daycares and should be forbidden to be sold in stores. I hate, hate, hate seeing bumpers on cribs! End of story! Also, I see them in there still with older babies-- this is dangerous because anything baby can use to stand on and help themselves out of crib is a no-no. 2. Skip using a baby mobile as well. They are only allowed in crib till baby can sit, so why even bother with it? I know some of them now come with shorter cords, but again, why bother? These are a strangalation hazard and it irks me that these are still sold as well and so many people disregard the warnings. 3. Stuffed animals-- the crib is for the baby-- not the animals! The only thing that should be in the crib is the baby. Stuffed animals are a breeding ground for germs (are you washing them every week with crib sheet?), suffocation hazard for small infants, and something to be used as a standing prop for older children. When our babies are 4 months old we give them a beanie baby sized lovie to sleep with. Once they are asleep, we take it out. As they get older, we let them keep this one lovie in their crib, but move it away from their face while they sleep. I dont care if aunt Sally Jane gave them the cutest sweetest bear ever-- put it on a shelf or in a toy box- NOT in the crib. 4. Lets talk bedding-- you only need a crib sheet and a sleep sac. I love sleep sacs to pieces! Seriously, the inventor of these fabulous items deserves a gold medal! We use thermal blankets for swaddling newborns for maybe the first two weeks and then right on to sleep sacs. I won't use crochet or knit blankets with infants either for fear that their fingers will catch in holes and they'll pull them up over their heads and suffocate-- better to be safe then sorry. 5. Take off the Bibs and Bows! It drives me crazy when I see a sleeping baby with their hair bow still around their head-- it can slide right down and poses a choking hazard and as for bibs-- if the baby rolls just the right way, its a strangalation hazard. Little clippies should also be removed from baby when she is sleeping-- you wouldnt want her to wake up and put it in her mouth would you? Keep the cuteness and drool stopping for awake time! 6. When baby can climb out of crib, move them out! I dont care if their sibling stayed in the crib till they were 3, whenever baby can get themselves out, you need to get them out. 7. Co-sleeping... I know this is very popular for nursing moms and what not, but I know that I personally have no clue what I do when I am sleeping, and dont want to accidentally roll on baby while I am not coherent. I just cant imagine the heartbreak-- or them rolling out of bed. We heard on the news of a baby rolling out of their parents bed and hitting the night stand and dying when our oldest was a newborn and that was so devastating to hear, so we dont allow any babies to sleep in the bed with us. When they are bigger and maybe around 18 months and mobile, we allow them in after bad dreams or nightterrors or teething hardships, but we take all pillows and blankets off the bed. We are pretty serious about this. I do suggest if you have a family bed that you use caution and research safety guidelines before doing so. Im not saying this as a high and mighty thing, but just because it would break my heart if I knew all these safety rules and never shared them. I see them broken all of the time and feel very passionately about safe sleeping-- I am beyond cautious in this area and as a mom of 3 and soon to be 4, its always better to be safe than sorry. Happy Sleeping to all the mommys and daddys out there!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why you might be getting sick...

If you have been following our family's road to healthy eating, then you know we have cut out all bleached or white sugars. We have completely switched to raw honey and on occasion I might use a small amount of raw sugar. It has been a nice transition and one we don't even notice anymore... Even my husband has adapted to the taste of honey and the different textures. Over the time that we have switched our diets and made a commitment to eating better, we haven't gotten sick. There was a small time when I ought my daughter MIT have picked up pink eye at the state far, show, but it didn't spread beyond her and we used no antibiotics to cure her. We just gave her some clear eye drops and rest and lots of cleaning (sometimes with a little lemon juice) and she was fine. And again, it didn't spread at all and if you know pink eye, that's what it does best. So, why do I think we were so healthy this past year? Was it because we had the flu shot? Nope. I was the only one who had to get as a pregnant diabetic is at risk to catch everything under the sun and if I got sick, it could mean hospital stays instead of couch time. So much to our dismay. We felt like given the two extreme situations, any extra protection for mom would be best. But, we were we healthier because we homeschooled? I don't think so. We know lots of homeschooling gap families who got sick this past year... Especially large families... When one gets it, the whole gang takes a hit and then sometimes it makes it's way through twice. Is it because we are hermits? We kind of are, but even with belonging to our community YMCA for two months where I'm sure the germs were rampant and I fully expected us to pick something up during this time period, we still went unscathed and continued on our healthy course. I believe that the reason we didn't get sick was because we eliminated all white sugars and dyes from our diet. Even my husband who works in retail and comes in contact with an abundance of sick people and co-workers had his healthiest year ever as well. It is a scientific fact that sugar will feed the virus. http://www.examiner.com/article/the-know-how-s-of-sugar it suppresses the body's natural ability to store and use vitamin c and literally welcomes colds and flus with open arms. How much could we as a society cut back on flus without using a flu shot, but by saying no to sugar and dyed food. And if you are eating anything that is not homemade from a burger at a fast food place to a loaf of bread to pizza sauce to fruit snacks.... You're consuming more sugar then you would even realize. Making things homemade might take more time and it is a life adjustment, but the benefits of knowing exactly what you are eating and how much sugar or sodium is in your food has such wonderful health benefits that it is worth it. You really will get into a groove of making something every day or even every other day and I highly suggest doubling the batch. Freeze extra bread or rolls or muffins and then you have them on hand for those nights or lunches when you need a quick meal. We are so thankful for Gods provision in a healthy winter.... It was such a huge blessing. And believe me, I'm not naive enough to think we won't pick anything up ever again, but I can say there are no sugars in our system that have made a welcoming environment for bacteria and viruses to flourish.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When in Rome Dinner Theme Night

For our third dinner theme night we went with a Roman theme for a few reasons: 1. we have just finished sturdying roman history in the Mystery of History and 2. Pasta was already on the menu for some time that week, so we bumped it up and made our them around a dinner already planned for. I have to say, my husband and kids really enjoy these nights so much. I'm not going crazy over the top with planning or decorating or costumes-- we just use things we have on hand already or can print off and decorate ourselves. But its amazing how a few extra touches can transform a normal family dinner into a memorable event. I think some other great ideas would be a dinner based around a color, a book, a time period, a country, a missionary, a favorite toy collection (lego dinner night anyone?), and so much more! We loved pirate night and tea party night and this was yet another success! For our meal, we had homemade pasta and tomato sauce, homemade bread (which mommy let rise a little too long, hence the extreme width), and baked broccoli. For dessert, I did torture myself a bit here, but we made snickerdoodle brownie bars. They smelled amazing and from what I heard, they tasted pretty darn good too. I followed the recipe from http://frugalanticsrecipes.com/2010/11/snickerdoodle-cookie-bars/ and just substituted honey in for the sugar in the bars and used whole wheat instead of white flour. And then to decorate a bit that night we colored in some pictures. The kids had fun talking about how they dined back in Roman days (if you're feeling really brave to recline around a low table or blanket, be my guest, but we stuck with our table) and how they dressed (turns out, eating in a toga sheet can be a little tricky). Hope you and your family can enjoy dinner them nights as well! ~ Becky

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My baby Sister Hopey

My youngest, very yougest little sister is getting married in just two and a half months. She gets married on May 31 and our due date is May 29th-- we just are close like that (although in all reality, we wont go anywhere near that date and I even bought the baby an outfit to match his big brothers for the wedding). Growing up my mom always called her and I the bookends-- two people cut from the same cloth. Hope and I are still different in many ways, but we are also so similar and like minded that when she needed to fill some class time in her school photography class and I have always desired some great maternity pictures but am just too controlling to let just anyone take them, this seemed like the perfect solution for both of us. It was great because we are so like minded and I could bluntly say no, I dont like that or she could say I think you should do this-- and it all worked out and was a lot of fun. Plus, bonus, seeing where she goes to college at and meeting her professors and hearing what wonderful things they had to say about my baby sister was very special too. Also, one of them asked me if I was a student there and when you're pushing 30 and 7 months pregnant, well, that does inflate ones vanity just a tad. ;) Those are some of my favorites....and now some of the silly moments taht most people wouldn't show but remind me of what a good time we had that day: And this is what it kind of looked like behind the scenes: And what some picassa and editing can do for a picture. Before: And then after some editing, cropping, and text you get this: And honestly, Hope did such a wonderful job that these were the only two I played with even though she gave me full reign because she knows I am a ,ahem, control freak. This is all 3 of us girls from a few years back. If my dad saw this he'd start singing sisters from White Christmas :) I really and truly do love my sisters who are now my friends-- for real this time (not like when your little and you have to be friends). "A friend is for all seasons." Proverbs 17:17

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

Previously I shared how we make our own laundry detergent-- all dry ingredients to better help the function of your washer and we still love it and I am hoping to get a nice big batch made again before baby #4 arrives :)http://bsharks26.blogspot.com/2013/01/homemade-laundry-detergent.html Today I made some homemade hand soap after finding a similar recipe on pinterest and then tweaking it a bit and making it more refined I guess you could say. All you need is one bar of natural soap (I went with Toms of Maine as they're pretty easy to find), 1 tbs of glycerin (this is also great to have on hand to make big batches of bubbles for the summer), and 8 cups ow water. Grate the bar soap right into a pot, add water and glycerin, and then cook on medium heat stirring slowly until soap pieces are broken down. It will be watery. Thats okay. Allow to cool and pour into a container. Since I knew we would be making some soap at some point, I saved our orange juice container from aldis and all of the soap fit in there perfectly! 59 fl oz. of hand soap that is natural and gentle on the skin for about 3 dollars (which is less than the big refills bottles of softsoap which I find to be very abrasive on our skin-- especially inthe winter!). Im also glad I went with the Lavendar Toms as it smelled so nice and well, relaxing, as it cooked up. Happy Soap making friends!

The Day

I'm talking about the day most people probably think of when I say we homeschool and they say, "Oh, I dont think I could ever homeschool my child!" Well, homeschoolers do have those days.. I feel like we have had several in a row as a matter of fact. But, honestly, they dont happen all of the time, but I don't think it would be fair if I only talked about the highs of homeschooling. Every single thing in this world has its highs and lows-- sports, buisnesses, regular schools and teachers, and also homeschoolers. If you think my children are perfect or I am perfect, then you need to see the bigger picture. At this moment while I sit typing this, frozen pizza (nope, not even homemade because yes, we have those days too!) is heating in the oven and the kids are watching bob the builder. I'm tired and it was a long day and this is my white flag of surrender-- This is obviously a different day-- a better day! But each type of day is good-- if we didnt have the bad, how could we fully appreciate the absolutely amazing ones? Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials- James 1:2. I think we need days like today to work on our attitude of joy. To focus on what is good, and pure and lovely-- not on whats getting us down. Isnt he precious? Today I was thinking of my mom who had 3 girls and would occassionally spend time cleaning out all of our barbies and giving them a much needed brushing and dressing because I was organizing and cleaning out a big tote of legos and then one of playmobils-- thats life with 2 soon to be 3 boys ;) This little munchkin though thought it funny when mommy was sitting on the floor trying to go through everything and bending over around a bowling ball of a stomache to keep coming up and poking me in the hiney. Never a dull moment.... except when frozen pizza is cooking and sprout is one... ahhhh... I love you dull moment!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pirate Theme Dinner and Aunt Rose's Cheesecake

Last week we had our impromptu tea party themed dinner, but tonight we planned this one out a bit more. We actually began thinking and talking about it during school and then even got a book out from the library on pirate food this morning as well. I like that we knew it was coming all day and had fun "planning" our special dinner. It really is what we would have normally had but we added some pirate planks (aka breadsticks) and made a dessert as well. Well, not just any dessert, my great aunt Rose's Cheesecake. Only we made it with clean foods and healthier ingredients and I can't even lie, the kids were literally licking their plates clean at the end (which is a little embarrassing to admit). I also have to confess that I havent been making desserts for my husband and the kids that I dont care for, but this cheesecake had me weak with desire! First things first, put your bowl and beaters in the freezer. Set out 2 blocks of cream cheese to soften and bring to room temperature. Now, move onto the crust. For the crust: In your food processor combine 3/4 cup of pretzels, 1/2 cup of flour, and 3-4 tbs of butter. Pulse until its a nice blended powder. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of a pan and bake at 350 degree for 10 minutes. Allow to cool before adding filling. For the filling, you will need the 2 cream cheeses. Start whipping them in your bowl fresh from the freezer. Add in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream or we actually used organic 2% milk. Whip until it becomes fluffy and foamy. Add 4 1/2 tbs of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Mix until blended, but do not over mix. Pour mixture into shell and freeze until set. At least 2 hours. On a side note, make sure you take it out to be soft and yummy-- I was afraid mine hadn't set and left it in the freezer till the last possible minute and they had like an ice cream cheesecake but they still licked their plates and said it was super yummy! For decorations, we kept it simple and fun. We had some red streamers on hand from someones birthday party and hung a few. Then we looked on BING for some free pirate printables and got these http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=free+pirate+printables&qpvt=free+pirate+printables&FORM=IGRE. We also printed out some pirate coloring pages and the kids colored those nand we hung those up in preparation. Really simple, but it def. added a special touch of fun. For dinner, we had our Greek stuffed peppers and fish (because that seemed like something pirates would eat and toothpicks stuck into everything really easily!). For those recipes, you can check them out at http://bsharks26.blogspot.com/2013/02/greek-stuffed-peppers.html. Our library book suggested breadsticks for Pirate walk the planks and so we whipped up some yummy homemade ones and they were awesome! We got the recipe from http://straightupgoodfood.blogspot.com/2011/10/honey-whole-wheat-breadsticks-with.html. Instead of the honey glaze on top, I drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled some parmesean cheese on top-- very yummy! Now, are you ready to see how our special dessert turned out? It was divine! We added some fresh berries to the top and voila! A perfect ending to our Pirate themed dinner! Heres our happy Band of Pirates! It was a fun night and we look forward to our next family themed dinner night!