Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home-made cleaners

There are a ton of recipes for all kinds of home-made (no bad chemicals!) cleaners at THIS link. I'll blog about more specific ones once I try them out :)

My little gardener

Ok, these pics are from Easter but I forgot to share them at that time and I didn't want to forget about them. My parents had just given Karis a watering can, spade, and other gardening tools and we went outside to plant flowers for the first time. She was so excited!!!!

And then of course, she had to water the puddle and stomp around in it :) She kept looking at us like, "am I really allowed to have this much fun?!?"
She topped it all off with a ride in the car. Grandparents are just so much fun!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Karlie's first "real" bath!

Karlie had a belly button that simply refused to fall off, no matter how often I cleaned it with alcohol. It finally fell off the day she turned 3 months, but there was still part of it remaining! So the doc put that drying up stuff on it and it finally all came off on Saturday! Its still brown from the drying stuff, but good enough for a bath!

As you can tell, Karis just had to take over the bathing duties :) She was so excited she could hardly stand it. More excited than Karlie. Karlie was just very interested, like "what is going on?" But very calm through the whole ordeal, even with Karis bopping her on the head with the sippy cup :) *Note, Karis decided to use the sippy cup all on her own :)

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'd like to buy all organic veggies, but since its more important to eat organic dairy and meat, we spend our money there. So I was excited to see this home-made veggie spray to help clean my veggies :)

Produce Spray

*Makes about 2 Cups

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir slowly and carefully as the combination of vinegar and baking soda causes quite a bit of foaming. Once the bubbles have gone down, pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray on produce before eating. Let sit 10 minutes before rinsing well.

*NOTE: Don’t ever soak mushrooms in this solution, as they will only absorb it.

23 month Karis Update

Is it only a month til her 2nd birthday? That's ridiculous. But this past month has been such a joy. I don't even know where to start. She loves to laugh, to make you laugh, and to be silly. Reading books and "dancing" are still her favorite things to do. And now that the weather is so pretty, we are back to spending much of our day outside, which she LOVES! Her grandma gave her a little watering can and some gardening tools, so she loves to "garden" with Daddy. She helped him plant flowers and veggies and now we go out and water them together every morning and evening. (Of course, she has to water the dog and the bricks and the deck and the ladybugs, and anything else she can think of :) But its so much fun! This past month she had her first badly skinned knee, a trauma that made her burst into tears every time she saw her knee for a weeks afterwards (yes, she's a little dramatic :) And she burnt her hand horribly, which apparently only bothers her when we try to take off the bandage. I'm hoping after getting those two milestone over with, nothing else will be as traumatic! Karis continues her obsession with her baby dolls and is the best little mama I could ever wish for :) She is talking so much now and its still so much fun to hear her copying our words. Her coordination has developed so much as well. We didn't go outside much for a couple of rainy, dreary weeks and when we returned to her playset, I was amazed that she could all of a sudden climb up the bars to the slide all by herself. Obedience is a constant battle but by God's grace, I think we are making progress :) Oh. how we love our sweet, almost-two year old!

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Another "Not Me" Monday :)

Since Lauren told everybody I would, I guess I HAVE to do this again.... :)

What a week! Where to begin?

I did NOT completely forget to put shoes on my toddler for church this Sunday and realize it as we were pulling out of the driveway.... and instead of turning back to get them, I did NOT just let her run around barefoot at church all morning... because that would be completely unsanitary and bad manners as well!

I did NOT make a beautiful meal plan for last week and only actually cook one meal off of it -- because that would completely defeat the purpose of a meal plan!

I did NOT allow Karis to pour kitty chow in the cat's bowl for 20 minutes just to get a peaceful nursing time with Karlie because that would be totally gross, make a tremendous, overflowing mess, and what if she ate some?

I did NOT give my toddler strong kombucha to drink when I couldn't even handle it myself just because its so good for you and I hated to waste it.

I did NOT ignore the phone call from the head doctor at my pediatrician's office just because I didn't feel like arguing with him about my super-delayed vaccination schedule. And if I did ignore it at that time, I sure would have called him back later on in the week, right?

I did NOT completely miss the fact that Karis is already 23 months old (less than a month away from her 2nd birthday!) and have to write her monthly bio almost a week late.

I did NOT just find my half-eaten humongous peanut butter chocolate Easter egg and decide it was too good to just throw away 3 weeks after I started it! That couldn't be healthy, right?

I do NOT finish Karis' (and Mark's) plate after every meal just because I can't stand to let good food go to waste!

I have NOT been ridiculously looking forward to reading all the "not-me Monday" posts!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I love my girls!

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Burn update

I took Karis back to the doc yesterday to check on her burn and he said he thought it was healing correctly. We finally took some pics of it, although they don't quite show it all. She has a smaller blister stripe above the large, visible one (where her knuckles bend) that didn't show up in the pic. Karis has done amazingly well with it. She doesn't mind us re-dressing it too much, but actually taking off the dirty bandage throws her into a hysterical panic. Whenever she clenches her fist, the pain intensifies because it stretches the blister, but she hasn't made the connection yet. She thinks that clinching her fist will keep us from taking the bandage off, so thats what she does and makes it so much more of a painful process! So it breaks our heart every time we have to force her to unclinch her fist to remove the bandage, but as soon as that battle is over, she calms down and sits still for us to dress her wound. Oh, I hope it heals quickly!
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

1st cupcake and "hiding" veggies

Karis had her first "real" cupcake last weekend. (She was allergic to milk her 1st birthday, so I just made a home-made cake topped with non-dairy cool whip for her.) Her cousin, Keaton, turned 2 and graciously allowed her to have a cupcake! Let me tell you, she was pretty intrigued! She very carefully used her finger to test the icing and then very intensely and methodically devoured every bit of icing. Then she turned around and handed the cupcake to me, because seriously, what good is a cupcake without icing? :)

After my last post, Melynda asked about my techniques for hiding veggies in meat sauce, etc. First of all, I don't worry too much about Karis actually liking veggies at this point --check out this quote from one of my favorite nutrition websites:

"But my kid refuses to eat veggies!" In his article Feeding Our Children, Tom Cowan, M.D., explains "...because children have a relative paucity of the enzyme that converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, children younger than five years generally do not do well with vegetables. I tell all my parents not to worry about their children not liking vegetables, as this is normal in this stage of life."

So rather than stressing about her dislike for veggies, my goal has been for her to view them as a normal part of a meal so that when her enzymes develop, she won't be afraid to try them. So I don't just hide veggies; I always want to offer her some visibly, no matter how many veggies I put in the sauce or soup. If I always hide them, she'll never think they are normal. So I try to always have some kind of veggies for a side dish.

I also don't like the thought of deceiving my family (plus, it seriously annoys my husband if he figures out later that I've tricked him into eating something "healthier :) So I try to remember to tell him if I have added something so he can tell me if he likes it. But since Karis has had such an aversion to veggies for the past few months, I did start trying to add them to normal meals to up the vitamin count.

The article I mentioned above continues with further good advice: "With that said, veggies, especially those in the cruciferous family, do offer an abundance of nutrients, and properly prepared varieties should be incorporated into family meals in a balanced way. Try some fun ideas to make these colorful foods part of a meal, yet be gentle and don't become overly worried when few are consumed. Blending veggies into bone broth-based creamed soups is a tasty way for the whole family to enjoy these foods. Try sautéing chopped cabbage, onions, garlic, and carrot bits into your morning egg scramble. Make zucchini rounds sautéed in butter with a touch of salt or chili powder. Creatively cook veggies right into your meat dinners, such as shredded carrots and zucchini in meat loaf or chopped red peppers, carrots, and onions into sloppy joes. Into that next roast you put in the crock pot, add in some broccoli and cauliflower along with potatoes and carrots, during the last 30 to 45 minutes."

I found these tips on the Cooking Traditional Foods website and found them to be really helpful.
  • To help get good fats into your child, make avocado pudding. Mix mashed avocado, banana, stevia and organic cocoa powder.
  • Add sauteed veggies to your spaghetti sauce, marinara, or other tomato-based sauce and simmer until completely tender. Process in a food processor, blender, or using a stick blender until smooth.
  • Add spaghetti squash to any pasta dish.
  • Place chopped spinach into lasagna. Thaw it, squeeze it out thoroughly, chop finely and add in with meat sauce or as a layer in the lasagna.
  • Green smoothies hide the taste of the green vegetables nicely. If you use a dark colored berry, they won't be able to see the green, either.
  • Put shredded carrot or zucchini into banana breads and other baked goods. These are especially helpful for baked goods that need extra moisture.
  • This tip comes courtesy of Karen in Marysville, VA: We add shredded veggies into spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce and taco meats. The easiest are shredded zucchini, carrots, eggplant and mushrooms. We also add shredded carrots into mac -n- cheese. The orange color of the cheese hides the carrots so well.
The last tip is the one I utilize the most although I can't wait to try the avodaco pudding! I've also made it easy by just cooking up a bag of frozen California blend veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots), pureeing them, and adding them to a big batch of marinara sauce. It makes it thicker, but didn't seem to change the flavor at all.

And while I'm on the subject, I'll end with an attempt my husband did NOT like: I was making the best home-made sloppy joes ever and the recipe calls for chopped celery and onions. I don't love to chop veggies, and I HATE chopping onions, so when I was at the store and saw that Kroger had their frozen veggies 10 for $10, I grabbed a bag of chopped onions, celery, and carrots. I thought it would be a great idea to use it to save time and add in the carrots for nutrition, but Mark didn't like the texture of the carrots at all and couldn't believe I would do such a thing to one of his favorite recipes! I think it would have been fine shredded or pureed, but chopped just didn't work for him :)

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Like night and day...

For the last year, Karis has been fighting veggies. I always give them to her, tell her how wonderful they are, show her how much I love to eat them, etc. But she never eats them. Pretty much the only veggies she likes are carrots and corn. She loves soup, so a lot of times I throw veggies in there and if I'm lucky she won't pick them out. And I usually puree some veggies and hide it in my meat sauces. But that's the only way she eats them. So you can imagine my surprise Tuesday night when she asked for veggies! I had made a batch of frozen veggies -- a yummy mix of carrots, broccoli, red peepers and yellow peppers. From previous experience, I knew that if I gave her the whole mix, she would refuse to eat any of it. So I just picked the carrots out for her, hoping she'd at least eat that. She watched me for a minute, and then asked for broccoli. Broccoli, the weirdest texture of any of them! I gave it to her, expecting her to just play with it as usual. Nope, she ate it and asked for more. And more. And finally, she just grabbed the whole bowl of veggies and started shoving it in. Needless to say, I had to take a quick video in case she forgot her new love. But so far, she has eaten her veggies every night. In fact, the past two meals, she has shoved away her main dish and only wanted veggies. And more veggies! Its like she is a totally different person!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What a way to start our day!

Notice the bandaged hand? Yeah, that's all my fault... As most of you know, Karis is my little helper and does everything I do... including cook with me. We are super careful and she knows what "hot" means. But we still managed to get a 2nd degree burn on her hand early this morning as we finished fixing our scrambled eggs together -- I turned off the burner,
grabbed the pan and turned to throw it in the soapy water. During those
seconds, Karis managed to palm the hot eye of the stove. We immediately stuck her hand under cold water, but it blistered up right away. We put some Burts Bees burn salve on it and some Tylenol for the pain and took her to the doc. Luckily, Mark was still home to help me! I don't know how I would have managed without him! I was afraid the nurses would lecture me (in which case I was certain to break down in tears!) or try to take her away from me or something horrible like that, but thankfully everyone was super nice and all had stories to share of their children doing similar things. But it is a bad burn. We now have a 6-step process for dressing her hand twice a day, and you can imagine how much she likes that! She is currently trying to take off her bandage every chance she gets, so I expect to have to redo it by myself after she gets up from her nap, which is probably near impossible! We are taking her back to the doc Sat. morn to make sure it is healing correctly. Karis was pretty much hysterical til the Tylenol kicked in, but has been pretty happy since, as you can see in the pic. (Other than the fact that she wants to take of the bandage and that it is so frustrating not to be able to use that hand. But thankfully it was her left one!) I praise God that it wasn't worse; that I had already turned the burner off so it wasn't blazing! And that Mark was home! The doctors think it should heal up ok, but please pray that it does and that we are able to dress it as we should. Whew! And this was going to be my day for finally getting my house back in order since we could stay home all day :) Nope, I just sat down and played with my girls until naptime. Who needs housework after such a traumatic experience? Now I'm going to go take a nap myself so just maybe I'll be fit to get some dinner on the table by the time Mark gets home.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why Karis does dishes

So I probably should have included this in my last post because sensible Mamas surely would have made her stop instead of grabbing a camera, but oh well :)

Whenever I tell Karis its time to do dishes, she gets really excited and says "bubbles?!?!" She usually plays in them and pours from dish to dish, but when I left her for a second to grab a washcloth, she evidently decided it was time for some pampering :) Oh, and please excuse our incredible mess. We had just finished our "meat day" where we made 3 pounds of taco meat, 2 pounds of sloppy joes, and 6 pounds of cooked chicken and chicken stock. Needess to say, we made quite a mess!
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Monday, April 20, 2009

A new kind of therapy....

My friends Lauren and Katie have introduced me to a new kind of therapy called "Not-me! Mondays." Hope you don't mind if I indulge myself :) I figured it might help you know how to better pray for me :)

For starters, I am NOT writing this as I rock Karlie to sleep, with one hand on the paci and one hand on the keyboard :)

I did NOT just cut Karlie's fingernails on her left hand for the first time EVER!

I am NOT taking Karis to her 18 month apt tomorrow when she is actually almost 23 months simply because the nurse called and made me feel like a horrible mother. And I am NOT going to completely forgo the 2-year apt. simply because I think its ridiculous to go back a month after her 18 month apt!

I did NOT give Karlie a bath for the first time in 3 weeks today because I all of a sudden realized the doctor was going to see her tomorrow and might notice :)

I am NOT rushing to read through a book I bought for another family member so that I can finish reading it before his/her birthday.

I do not leave dinner's dishes in the sink EVERY single night because I am just too tired to do them.

I have NEVER washed 4 loads of laundry without folding a single piece.

I have NEVER put Karis down for her nap at 11:00 when her naptime is supposed to be 1:00 simply to make sure she and Karlie slept at the same time so I could get a break.

I have NOT had 150 baby announcements sitting by the couch waiting for addresses for 2 1/2 months!

I did NOT allow Karis to get away without discipline for eating raw cookie dough when I told her not to simply because I felt guilty for disciplining her for something I did myself :)

ok, I guess that's enough for now. If you choose to join me in this new therapy, please let me know so I can know how to pray for you, too! :)

Karlie at 3 months!

Sorry this is a little after she turned 3 months-- we had a crazy weekend :)

Karlie is such an incredibly sweet little girl! I call her "Little Smiley" a lot because she just smiles all the time when she is awake. There is absolutely nothing she loves more than for you to lift up her shirt and kiss her little bare belly. She will yell with laughter and keep on laughing as long as you do it (and of course, the hiccups come next :). She is definitely a Mama's girl and if she hears my voice she will look around til she finds me and then start grinning that big smile at me. I love it! She is also thoroughly entertained by her big sister. If I put Karlie down on a blanket, Karis will usually bring a toy over and play right next to her. I didn't think they would be entertaining each other so early on, but its great! I'm so glad we were able to have them so close together!

Karlie actually enjoys tummy time again this month because she loves being able to look around and see everything in the room (vs. just being able to see what is above her when she is on her back). Plus, she has found her fingers and chews on them non-stop! She is definitely in pre-teething chewing mode: watch out for that drool!

Sleep, ahhh, sweet sleep! Karlie has become a great sleeper! She usually goes down around 8:30 or 9:00 and will sleep anywhere from 5-8 hours, normally closer to 8. Then she wakes up for a feeding and goes right back for another 3 or4 hours. Last night she slept 9 1/2 hours straight! I was so excited. We'll see if she keeps it up :) She has totally calmed down now and is no longer restless in the evenings. I still swaddle her for all sleep time, unless we are out and about and I just pop her in my sling. She hates the act of swadling, but as soon as she is nice and tight, she calm right down and closes her eyes. And nothing makes her happier than being in the sling all snuggled up next to me! I don't know what I would do without that thing!

All in all, its been a great month! I love my 2 girls!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The game that never ends: :)

Karis got a tremendous kick out of hunting for Easter eggs. In the first place, she was just excited about the eggs in general. She had played iwth them for a long time inside. So she just couldn't believe her good luck that they were all over the yard! It was so much fun to see her excitement. She would see one and point, saying "ooohhhh, oohhhhhh!" over and over til she picked it up and out it in her basket. Then she would say, "ummm.. more? more?"until she saw another one, and would scream "I see more!!! Oooohhhh, oooohhh " again, and it would start all over. And the fun just kept on going because we kept stealing them from her basket and throwing them on the other side of the yard so that she never ran out. Definitely one of the best games ever for an almost-2 year old and we will probably play all year long now :)

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Awesome toddler books!

Ok, I have a new favorite set of books for Karis and I just have to share it with you. Ever since teaching preschool, I've loved anything by Eric Carle. Kids of all ages seems to love the bright-colored pics and simple phrases. I recently bought Karis his "My Very First Library" set of books. It was super reasonably priced at Amazon and has 4 awesome books inside about first words, colors, shapes, and numbers. They are so neat because they are cut in half so that the child has to match up the color with an animal of that color or a word with the correct picture, etc. (if that didn't make sense, just clink on the link to read the Amazon description :) Anyways, Karis and I both love them. I started out making it a game for her. With the word book, I would say the word and then ask, "is this a sun?" She would grin and shake her head "no" and we would move onto the next picture til she found the right one. She thinks its so much fun! I have always done the sign for "no" with her (mainly for discipline purposes :) but have recently gotten out of the habit. And I never did "yes" with her very much. But I decided to bring it back as we read this book and introduce "yes" and she picked it up in just a few pages. She really thinks these books are so much fun and is learning so quickly that I just had to give my thumbs up for the books :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If you thought it was hard...

to get one baby to look at the camera -- its pretty much impossible with 2! Karis has taken to scowling at the camera if she notices you are taking a picture, so the only way to see her smile is to catch her unawares :) But even if we didn't get the perfect family picture, we still had fun taking shots of our girls in their matching Easter dresses (thanks, Nina! :)