Friday, August 27, 2010

What I'm into this Month- August

I borrowed this idea from Megan at SortaCrunchy (a great blog, by the way), and thought it would be fun to do here, just so you all could get to know me a little better!   Enjoy!

On My Nightstand: Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley (The FlyLady), re-reading A Wife After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Want To Read:  Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris, Radical by David Platt, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
T.V. Show Worth Watching: I like watching Wife Swap though it seems to be going the route of Jerry Springer (silly and shocking). 
Movie I've Seen (in or out of the theater):  I watched Premonition with Sandra Bullock yesterday.  I was not such a fan!   
In My Kitchen:  Dirty dishes right now, as we're ending a pretty rough week health-wise (3 our of 4 of us have not been feeling well at some point or another).  Last night was chili, and tonight is meatballs- so yummy!
In My Ears:  "Your Love is a Song" by Switchfoot...also earlier this month I was constantly listening to "Lord Speak" and "Arise" by ShachahGood stuff...and probably not so much what you would think I would listen to!  Lol.
What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month:  I hope it cools down at least a little!  We're roasting over here! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Go Away Headache!

So for much of today, I've had a headache and I've really been trying to avoid taking any kind of pain relieving medication for it.  It's mostly gone now (praise the Lord!) but I got to thinking about some natural ways to get rid of headaches and thought I would share.  

I will say that for a time, I got into the bad habit of automatically reaching for the bottle of acetaminophen or ibuprofen just because I didn't want to deal with the pain, but I feel that kind of approach opens up the risk of potential side affects.  These side affects include liver damage (for acetaminophen) and various stomach and digestive issues (related to NSAIDs like ibuprofen).  I'm usually really conservative when it comes to medication, so I just wanted to break the habit I had gotten into of relying on pain relievers. 

Headaches can be caused by many things and it's important to take care of yourself in order to avoid them.  Get enough rest (easier said than done with little ones around, I know!), make sure you're getting balanced nutrition by avoiding junk food, too much sugar or caffeine.  Sometimes throughout the day as we're chasing after little ones, we neglect ourselves, and that's no good!   Also, if you're a mom, it's a good idea to evaluate what's going on in your world.  A lot of headaches are caused by stress.  Are there some things you can eliminate from your day to day life?  It's important to avoid that whole "supermom" scene, as we women have a tendency to spread ourselves too thin by saying "yes" to everything. 

The number one natural way of getting rid of headaches that I know of is to drink some water!  It sounds simple, but I think I heard once that about 90% of headaches are due to dehydration.  So next time you feel one coming on, pour yourself a glass of water, drink it and wait about ten minutes and you should feel relief.  Another non-drug method I've used is to take a hot shower.  I just let the hot water run over my neck and shoulders, and it relieves tension (if you have a bath tub, it might be relaxing to just sit and soak for several minutes).  If you happen to have a sinus headache, letting the hot water run on your face really helps too.  Neti pots are really good for sinus headaches too.  When I was pregnant with my son, I would sprinkle lavender oil on my pillow at night and it really helped me relax.  

Those are just a few ways that you can avoid taking pain relievers if you have a headache.  There are many other ways as well, but those should bring you some relief! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I Love this Time of Year!

Ok, somebody (my husband) better keep me out of Walmart right about now.  Hee hee.  I've been entranced by the aisles and aisles of back to school supplies.  I know it's probably a bit nerdy, but it's true.  Furthermore, don't send me to Staples...I could spend hours in that place.  Seriously.  I always thought I was completely in my element as an office manager (before being a SAHM) times...I could buy all the office supplies I wanted.  *Sigh* 

In our house, we still have about another year before I really need to start stocking up on supplies, so I can't really justify going "hog wild" on crayons and pencils and notebook paper and binders and pencil cases and sharpeners...oh my.  Just in case you're wondering, we are pursuing the home schooling route, and our three year old son is technically already "kindergarten ready" (if he would just get the hang of using the potty! ;-))  But I can hit up the clearance items in a few weeks!  Some of that stuff is practically free.  I love it. 

It reminds me of that line from the movie "You've Got Mail"..."Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." (Aww...)  

I wish I were in New York (or some other place that's starting the transition of seasons) right now!  It's still 107 degrees where I am!  Sheesh, there should be laws.  Anyway, I look forward to the days when the weather turns cooler and the school supplies are in great abundance (at rock bottom prices).  Anybody else with me???

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Swimming Upstream- Breastfeeding from My Perspective

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival hosted by The Leaky B@@b. It's World Breastfeeding Week and the carnival theme is "Perspectives: Breastfeeding from Every Angle." Visit The Leaky B@@b for more perspectives on breastfeeding.

Ten years ago, if you would've asked me if I would breastfeed my future children, I'm sure I would have said "no way!" There are several reasons why I was not likely to do so. First of all, I was not breastfed myself. Second, none of my sisters (all three had children before me) were successful at breastfeeding. I was never around anyone who breastfed their child, and if I was, I sure was oblivious! I guess people just didn't do it around me. I have no idea how that's possible, but before I had children, I'd only really ever seen a baby being fed formula. From a bottle.

I was born in the late seventies. From what I gather, many moms of that day subscribed to the formula feeding method, and also started their babies on rice cereal early on...especially to get their baby to "sleep through the night". I was one of those babies. In fact, according to my baby book, my mom started me on rice cereal at six days old! Six. Days. Old. I can't even imagine. But, moms back then- like moms today- did what they knew was best. As far as I know, all of my sisters were fed that way as well. So needless to say, I never saw my mom breastfeeding any of my younger siblings. I don't think I remember ever hearing breastfeeding mentioned in our home in any capacity. I was pretty unaware that breasts were designed for feeding babies! Further, during my pregnancy with my first child, my step-dad asked if I was going to try to breastfeed. When I answered in the affirmative, he said something to the effect of "well, good luck with that, kiddo, your mother never could" (I've never been able to ask my mom about this, as she passed away when I was a teenager).

As I entered adolescence, I became an aunt. I really have no idea whether my sister ever considered breastfeeding. Several years later, another sister started a family. Again, as far as I know, bottle feeding was the preferred method. Good, bad or indifferent, that's just the way it was. At that point, I certainly didn't have an opinion about breastfeeding. It still really wasn't on my radar. I've seen cousins, sisters, friends and others have children and I can't remember a single one breastfeeding.

I have spent almost my entire adult life in a state where breastfeeding rates are extremely low. (I think it's something like of the 85% that start off breastfeeding, only 15% are still breastfeeding their child at six months old). I think I finally was aware of a breastfeeding mother when I started attending a church as a single in my mid-twenties. She and her family were also very committed to healthy organic eating. In fact, this mom ended up being a teacher in a health seminar that I attended at our church. Basically what I knew about being "healthy" at that point was to avoid drinking soda, and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. That was about it. Since attending that health seminar, I really caught on to even more truths about healthy living. It's been something that I've pursued wholeheartedly since that time more than seven years ago.

So, almost four years ago, when I learned that I was pregnant, the decision was an obvious one for me. I would breastfeed. I began receiving prenatal care from a midwife, and also saw a chiropractor on a regular basis who also was a good resource for natural baby care. I researched and read all that I could, and took a free breastfeeding class at a local store. I prepared as much as I knew to so that I could be successful in my breastfeeding relationship.

I was absolutely floored when I faced such a struggle during my early breastfeeding days with my newborn son. Between my postpartum hemorrhage, needing a blood transfusion, and being ordered to stay in bed for the entire day after my son was born, as well as my son having Jaundice and needing to be in the nursery (so I was told- not sure if there were any alternatives available), there were many things working against us. Add unsupportive hospital staff and a lactation consultant who had the weekend off (I gave birth on a Friday night) to the mix- and you can well imagine the drama that ensued there! It was kind of a nightmare. I left the hospital with a son who did not know how to latch on and a breast pump. He eventually learned sometime around three weeks old after I received counsel from an independent lactation consultant.

I returned to work when my son was three weeks old. Thankfully, I had really great employers who were family-friendly and allowed me to have him in my office with me. I opted to enroll him in the on site day care when he was three months old as I was not able to focus on my job and him! The first in-real-life person that I knew who was breastfeeding at the same time as me was my younger sister who gave birth to her fourth child when my son was seven months old. It was nice to finally have somebody to actually talk to about breastfeeding triumphs and challenges, and it felt good to be an encouragement to her. Aside from my experience with her, I felt basically alone in my commitment to breastfeeding. I would be on the lookout for other moms with babies- at church or what-have-you, but all seemed to be formula feeding. (I don't know the reasons or anything, but it just felt pretty isolating to not be able to connect with other moms in my "circle" about breastfeeding).

I breastfed my son until just past his second birthday. Now I am nursing my second child and this time around (I'm happy to report) it was much easier getting started. I wasn't fighting with anyone over feeding preferences or anything like that. I still get surprised responses from doctors and others that learn I am breastfeeding, and it just makes me wonder if it really is that rare to encounter a breastfeeding mom. I really hope that it's just my perception! I am so thankful for the online resources that are available for the breastfeeding community, but hopefully someday breastfeeding will be much more common with the people in my "real" world!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Farmer's Market

Today we took the family to the local farmer's market.  It was small, but I think that's due to the summer season.  We got a late start (we got there at 11:00) and it was already 101 degrees!  We were there for about 40 minutes, and by the time we left I had sweat running into my eyes, and both children had red faces.  Umm...maybe we'll return when it starts to cool down!

But...I wanted to share some of the cool things I found there.  First of all, most everyone was really friendly, and there were food samples in abundance (my kind of place)!  I especially liked the samples of pickled asparagus and green beans (I know it sounds weird, but it was really good).  I will more than likely pick up a jar next time we're there.  I wish I would've grabbed the business card from that booth.  One of the vendors there was Double Blessings Lotion and Cosmetics...her products are made with goat's milk and other natural ingredients.  I picked up a couple trial size items...some soap, a shampoo bar, and some face/hand/body lotion.  Everything smells really good, and the lotion is really great.  My hands tend to get really dry, and this lotion feels very nice.  I also picked up some awesome smelling poblano peppers that I will do something with later on.  I picked up a couple other things too, but like I said, the market was pretty small, so there wasn't a huge variety of produce (at least not like I expected).  Here's a picture of some of what I got:

In addition to the peppers, we got some peaches, shallots, and in the little tub that says "chili pepper" are some little gluten-free crackers made with flax seed. By the way, the peaches were delicious- I'm totally sold on the locally grown organic aspect of that.  They taste way better than some I've gotten from the store lately. 

Anyway, that was our morning.  We were going to drive around and look at the homes in the historic district, but didn't get that far 'cause the baby was upset. time! 

What's going on where you live???

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Random Stuff

So last night, as I was posting about our dinner (as I often do), my wonderful husband said, "so are you just going to blog about our dinner?" to which I replied, "of course not!"  I never really intended for that to be the case...and so, since I'm up for no apparent reason at 5 am, I'll take the opportunity to share some things that happen to be floating around in my head at this moment. 

  1. Hubby and I will be celebrating our "fruit and flowers" (learn more about that here) anniversary tomorrow.  I'm super excited, especially since he's able to take the next three days off!  We like following along with the traditional gift ideas, just for fun.  For instance, last year, for our "leather anniversary" he got a nice little leather pad folio and some extra paper to put in it...he's always taking down notes for some reason, and the legal pad just wasn't cutting it!  I got some flip-flops made with leather...neither of us spent more than $10 for our gifts.  I can hardly wait to see what gifts we celebrate with this year...not that it's about the gifts...being married for four years (and counting) is a gift in and of itself! 
  2. Our church is moving into a new (to us) building this weekend.  We've been in our temporary location for almost two years, so this will be an exciting event for our church family.  So, needless to say, we won't be going too far from home for random topic #1, as my husband will be helping get stuff in order in the new place.
  3. I'm looking forward to the end of summer so I can finally go outside again! Ha ha.  Ok, I go outside from time to time, but it's so darn hot out there...not really conducive to outdoor activity with two little ones!  But, on a more thankful note, we've had some pretty good storms lately for the summer Monsoon. 
  4. Speaking of the upcoming end of summer (I hope), why is this year going by so fast?  Is it speeding by for anyone else?  I find it hard to believe that it's already August. 
  5. I am excited about World Breastfeeding Week, and I am participating in the blog carnival at The Leaky B@@b...look for that post on Saturday.  My story is also being featured at Rediscovering Domesticity sometime this month (thanks Audra!). 
  6. We plan on going to the local farmer's market on Friday!  I don't think I've ever actually been to a farmer's market, so that should be a treat!  I've really been thinking about getting more produce into our diets, and especially local organic produce.  I was actually looking into joining a Community Supported Agriculture group, but whether we will has yet to be determined.  It's such a neat idea though.  Is anyone else a part of one?  My other (time sensitive) thought was to plant a small garden on our patio- yes, we only have a patio right dirt to call our own at this time.  But I think I need to get that ball rolling in the next month or so if I decide to.
 Anyway, I think that's all for now!  I'm going to go back to bed (for a little while)!  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Eggplant and Cumin Rice

As I was planning our meals for the week, I was looking for something new to try out.  We had eggplant on sale at our local market, so I searched for a recipe containing eggplant and rice.  Well, I came across a recipe on, that I have adapted to be allergen-free (and I added a couple special touches just to personalize it a bit).  It sounded interesting, but worth a shot, as I love cumin (and the other ingredients-just wasn't sure about mixing them all together!)  

But first, a side note about eggplant:  I first fell in love with eggplant at a local Italian restaurant- I had it grilled on a "build your own pizza".  The first time I tried to cook with it, I was disappointed.  It tasted funny and was somewhat bitter.  Well, I found a really great Italian cookbook, and I picked up this tip once when I cooked Spaghetti alla Norma (spaghetti w/fried eggplant): Slice or cube the eggplant, and place it on a cutting board at an incline...sprinkle it with salt, and the bitter juices will run so:
I just used a rolled up kitchen towel under the cutting board and placed it right next to the sink so as not to make a mess.  Leave it for about 30 minutes or so...that should do the trick.

Here's the recipe:
1 medium eggplant, peeled, cubed and salted
about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper (I used Kosher salt)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 can 15 oz of diced fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375.  Heat olive oil in an oven-proof stock pot, and add eggplant, onion and red pepper.  
Add fresh ground pepper to taste.  Cook until the veggies get somewhat tender like this:

Add fire roasted tomatoes, rice, cumin, broth and water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and place in the oven.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Stir the rice mixture, serve and enjoy. 

It looks like this after you serve your family and then remember to take a picture ;)

I was really pleased with how this turned out...and I'm not sure which culture to thank for this particular combination of flavors...perhaps it originated somewhere in the Middle East???  Anyway, it's a really good meatless dish, and so filling and flavorful you don't even miss the meat.   A wallet and waist-friendly meal! 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Welcome to my home...sort of!

So on some of the blogs I've been following, the ladies have posted tours of their homes.  I'm so not totally there yet...but here's a couple of pictures...there are more that I'll put up in the days to come.  But these are just a couple of recent ones I'm sort of proud of.  (Don't laugh, ok?)

Welcome to the inside of my microwave.  It's clean.  It wasn't clean last week.  It is now.   
Here's the top of my stove.  Someday I will have a gas stove.  It may not look that clean, but it is.  I may have ruined those aluminum plate thingies, 'cause I have no idea how to properly clean them. I'm guessing that they should be cleaned somewhat regularly, but that's one of my least favorite chores!  I need to get some new ones from Walmart or somewhere.  Note the tea kettle.  It was a wedding gift.  I love tea.  And the old vase I use to corral my cooking utensils.  Very handy! 

 So that's it for now.  Maybe in the near future, I'll start taking more pictures of other things around the house.