Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Things I Make From Scratch

I just had the privilege of doing a "Cooking From Scratch" presentation for our local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I was brave and decided to do the presentation in Power Point (never used it before). I had so much fun!
I started my healthy eating journey a little over two years ago when I went to my first MOPS meeting and there was a nutritionist there who explained why unrefined sugars and whole wheat products were so much healthier. She also encouraged us to use natural fats instead of hydrogenated oils and discouraged the use of dyes. I'd never heard of any of that before. I began to actively research natural foods. I discovered that even processed "health foods" weren't really healthy, so I decided to start making my own things from scratch so I could use the ingredients I knew were healthy. I didn't want to compromise taste either, and so began my journey.
I decided I'm going to post parts of my presentation in sections, maybe one a week, so it doesn't overwhelm everyone. The first part of my presentation was a list of everything I make from scratch. As I created this list, I started getting overwhelming just looking at it, but then I realized I don't do make everything on this list all at once. I make a lot of this stuff in big batches (like barbecue sauce) and then freeze it in increments I use, so I don't have to make it more than once a year. I really only cook dinner maybe three times a week because when I do cook, I make a ton and freeze the leftovers. I pull those leftovers out on the days I don't have time to cook. Same goes with breakfasts.
Here's some things I cook/make from scratch:

•Mayonnaise, ketchup, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, marinades
•Dressings, dips (humus, cream cheese dips)
•Jam, mock maple syrup
•Cookies, muffins, graham crackers, chocolate bars
•Pancakes, waffles, hot cereal
•Soup/Broth, gravies, condensed soups
•Spaghetti sauce
•Bread, biscuits, rolls, hamburger buns, hot dog buns
•Apple juice and sauce
*Hot chocolate
*Dark chocolate bars/Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
•Most dairy products (ice cream, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, butter, buttermilk, yogurt, whipped cream)
•Home cleaning products
* Sauerkraut
* Tooth Soap
*Body soap

I'll be posting more on the health benefits, savings and practicality of cooking from scratch in the weeks to come. So stay tuned! In the meantime, check out some of my healthy recipes I've posted.
God Bless,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Misc Pictures

My MIL got Hailey this adorable cotton hat for Christmas. It just looks so cute on her.

This is a picture of the kids on our biggest snow day this winter. We were trying to have a snow ball fight, but the drifts were too high!

Biker chick in the making! She's got Josiah's helmet on, which made her a little top heavy.

Hailey warmed up to Papa during our last visit to the Ranch.

This picture was taken at my in-law's house. Josiah loves to eat "Cup of Noodles" at their house. It is a special treat for him. Hailey thought they were pretty cool, too. Look at all that red hair between them!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Still Best Friends

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

I thought I'd post these pictures of Michael and his best friend, Tim. They've been friends since elementary school. They don't get to see each other very often, but when they do, it's like no time has passed. We were able to visit Tim and his family over Christmas Break.

Tim and his wife, Carrie, named their son after Michael. He is a little bit older than Hailey. They are getting acquainted in this picture. They also have a sweet daughter, Hannah.

Hailey loved Tim and Carrie's piano. She's crazy about music!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dressin' Up

I love how creative kids can get. I thought I'd post a few cute pictures of some of the outfits my kids come up with. Hope this brings a smile to your face this cold Feb day.

Josiah bought the Indiana Jones hat and (soft) whip with his Christmas money. He's using the Civil War haversack his dad sewed up for him as his Indiana Jones "man bag". He absolutely loves anything to do with Indiana Jones.

Hailey wanted to wear my apron, so I folded it and tied it around her. It looked more like a cute sun dress on her.
Josiah discovered my elf ears that I bought a couple of years ago when was Arewyn (from Lord of the Rings) for Halloween. He wore them for 3 days. He wanted to be Legolis (sp?).

Hailey is obsessed with shoes, kind of like her Aunt Stacie. She loves to clunk around in daddy's combat boots. Yes, my baby wears combat boots!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sticky Handprint Nostalgia

I was sitting on the couch yesterday, snuggling with my daughter who woke up grumpy. I looked over and saw a perfect hand print on the gun safe that Josiah had just cleaned a couple days ago. I bet you are thinking, "What is a gun safe doing in a living room"? I know interesting decor, but it was that or animal heads in the living room. I opted for the gun safe.
Anyway, at first I did the mom sigh of frustration, but as I continued to stare at the tiny hand print, God started changing my heart. I began to wonder how I could preserve that sweet little hand print and never clean that spot on the gun safe again so that I could look at it after my kids are grown and out of the house and remember these sweet memories of when they were young. While I know it really isn't possible to do that, God helped me put things in perspective that morning and appreciate my kids even more. Yes, even when they make yet another mess I have to clean up or change another diaper. I know someday I'm really going to miss these days when they are little and still want to snuggle up to me when they wake up grumpy.

Jackie's Any-Fruit Crisp Recipe

This one's for you, Jodi!

You can make this with pretty much any fruit or combination of fruit (fresh or frozen). This recipe contains no refined sugar or white flour and can easily be made dairy-free.

Jackie's Any-Fruit Crisp Recipe:

With 4 cups of any kind of fruit or combination of fruit, mix in :

1/4 cup honey

1 heaping Tbl Tapioca flour (acts like cornstarch)

If doing an apple crisp (add 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

Then add topping:

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 c sucanat

1/2 cup melted butter; or for dairy-free option you can use 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

After spooning topping onto the fruit, flick some water over the top by using your fingers (this makes it come out with a wonderful crunchy top). Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes, if doing fresh apple, may need to cook 50 minutes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some Natural Medicine

Since Hailey is fighting a mild cold, as am I, I thought I'd share a few natural remedies (in addition to prayer of course) I've discovered in the last couple of years.

I use this when I just feel a cold coming on. Sometimes it gives my system enough of a boost that I won't end up getting a cold at all. It is cheap and you can get it anywhere. It doesn't have any dyes or bad stuff in it (that I'm aware of). Pink lemonade is my favorite flavor.
Ear Infections:
Mullein Garlic Compound, brand name - Herb Pharm. It is in an olive oil extract. I know this sounds crazy, but I promise I've tried this out on myself before I did the kids and it works! I just wish I had known about it BEFORE I had tubes put in my son's ears (twice) and his adenoids taken out (not to mention all the antibiotics he was on). You just slightly warm up the bottle and drop a few drops into the ears and they usually start feeling better within four hours to six hours. This stuff is amazing. You need to replace it every year as it loses it's potency. I always keep it on hand.
Sore Throat:
I gargle and swallow a mouthful of Bragg's Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (three times a day). Do not do this on an empty stomach! If you can't stand to swallow it, than gargle and spit it out. You can also use straight lemon juice. If you can't handle acidic products, try gargling some natural sea salt dissolved in water. Either acids or something extremely alkaline (saline) will kill most bacteria that is causing a sore throat. Try not drinking or eating anything for 10 minutes after you gargle or swallow to give the acid or saline a chance to work on the bacteria. Garlic and cayenne are supposed to work as well, although I've never tried it because I can't stand hot stuff.
I use Osha Root Complex Syrup, brand-name: Herbs, Ect. Very nasty tasting stuff, but it does work. To get it down, I mix it with a little apple juice. Also give you or your kids a spoon full of honey, it helps sooth the tingling.
Congestion/Sinus Infections:
I'm really prone to sinus infections and I use to have to go on antibiotics until I learned that snorting a few droppers full of saline water (three times a day) works wonders. Also, gargling with vinegar, helps clear the sinuses as well. I've had some luck with steam tents, but it doesn't seem to be as effective as the saline in the sinuses treatment. I'd like to try a Netti-pot (spelling?) someday.
Avoid Nasty Bruises:
This is yet another wonderful Herb Pharm product. It is called Trauma Oil compound. Having two redheads, you can imagine how easily they bruise. Hailey has received this particular treatment many times as she is a climber and has a high pain tolerance. In other words, she doesn't seem to learn from her many falls! I just put this on the hurt area (try to do it soon after the incident) and you will be amazed whe next day you will see either nothing in an area that should have bruised, or just a very light bruise.
I know some of you will think I'm cruel, but I let my kids have a fever as long as it stays below 102 degrees F. If it goes above that, I will give them Tylenol or Motrin, but usually I don't have to. Low grade fevers raise the body temperature to naturally kill whatever bacteria or virus is present in the body. Usually my kids are 100% better in 12 hours or less if I let them have a fever. Some people think it is cruel to let them have a fever, but in my few it is harder on the child to prolong the illness. This is just my opinion and I don't judge others for giving their kids medicine as soon as they have a fever. This is just a parenting preference.
I have another product I keep on had from Herb Pharm called Children's Herbal compound. I honestly have never had the need to use it yet. If anyone has used this, please leave a comment and tell us if it worked for you or not.
Now it is your turn. I'm always up for new ideas when it comes to natural medicine. I've only just started exploring this in the last couple of years, so I know I have A LOT to learn. If you know of any home remedies that I haven't mentioned all ready, please leave a comment and share it with us.
I good resource link I've found is

Homemade, Healthy All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

I just bought this book called, "Clean Planet, Clean Earth", and I thought I'd share an all-purpose cleaner spray recipe with you all. This is much more kid-safe than traditional cleaners and it will save you money!
Alice Wonder Spray

16 oz spray bottle (we used 32 oz from the $1 store)
Mix 2 tbsp of vinegar w/ 1 tsp borax. Fill the rest of the bottle with very hot water. Swirl (don't shake) until the borax is dissolved. Add the 1/4 cup of liquid castile soap OR 1/8 cup liquid Dawn dish washing soap. To scent (optional) add 10-15 drops of essential oil (we used tea tree oil). You can use combination lavender and lemon if desired.
Use filtered, purified or distilled water due to minerals in tap water.

It is important to dissolve the borax in hot water so that it doesn't clog the spray nozzle. Don't mix the soap and vinegar directly together, because the soap will clump up. Please follow the order of the recipe by mixing the vinegar, borax and water first and adding the soap last.

Spray and wipe. Use this as you would any other spray, refrigerator, walls, tile, shower and toilets. For really tough jobs, spray with Alice's Wonder Soap, let it sit for 5 minutes. If it still won't come off, sprinkle some baking soda or straight borax powder on area, the scrub. My husband was amazed how it got the hard water stains off our tub. Can also use on carpets and mattresses to get urine/excrement out.

Safe to use on carpets, laminates, enamel, porceline, tile and mattresses, but not wood finishes. It will streak if you use it on windows or stainless steel.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Check out this Cute L'il Chick!

These pictures crack me up. Hailey looks like a baby model walking down a runway. She definitely thinks she's hot stuff in Josiah's sunglasses!
Oh, watch out for that sassy red-head attitude!

She's givin' me the Auntie April look here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Misc. December Pictures

Here are some misc. pictures from December that I hadn't had a chance to post yet because I didn't have my home computer. This first picture is one of my step-mom, Diana, with Hailey. She bought Hailey and her cousin, Jessica, matching dresses for Christmas

Aren't they adorable together?

This is Hailey and Michael on Christmas morning. Hailey had a hard Christmas as she was teething 3 out of 4 incisor teeth. She was pretty snuggly that day.

I attempted to use the timer on my camera to take a picture of all of us with our stockings. This was the best one, except it is a little discolored around the bottom.

Here is Hailey Baby sitting on the toilet like a big girl. She's absolutely facinated with it! Now I'm having a problem with her keeping her diaper on when I need her to, like in her crib when she's supposed to be sleeping! She seems to be really aware of when she's going to the bathroom, so we'll see she can make the switch to going in the toilet intentionally.


I finally got my computer back! It turned out to be a 3 hour fix. It took 5 1/2 weeks to get it back. Unbelievable! I'm so happy to get it back, virus free and with more RAM to make blogging a lot faster. I got my web cam hooked up and I'm able to talk/see Stacie and the kids. It is wonderful, especially for the cousins to show each other what their latest creations are.
Michael just left for New Mexico for the Society of Rangeland Management Meetings. So I'll be flying "Hans Solo" for the next week. At least he comes home on Valentine's Day! That is one thing about being a military wife, you sure appreciate it when hubby's actually home for events like that. We will be missing his birthday this Monday, but we took the family to Hought's for our traditional birthday dinner last night. We always go to this cute little 50's hamburger joint here in town for each of our birthdays.
I'll be posting some pictures soon!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cavalry Ball Picture

This is a picture of Nathan and Abby at the Cavalry Ball just a couple of weeks ago. Abby made this dress herself. I just had to put this on my blog because they look so great together.

Husbands and Church

Here is my sister's latest devotion. I think it is one of her best! Enjoy.

Husbands and Church Devotion
Husbands and ChurchHave you ever had the Holy Spirit step on your toes? I have and I’ve found that sometimes it really hurts! Some topics are just not pleasant. But my goal is to try to be as real with you as possible and to address some of the more difficult issues of being a Godly wife and mother.

The issue I’m going to address today is about husbands and church. Before getting married I had a real fantasy going. I believed my husband and I would load up the kids and go to church together. I believed we would drop the kids off at their Sunday school classes and then we would go off to our Couple’s Sunday school class. My reality was that my husband was a firefighter with a crazy schedule. When we were first married, he didn’t like church much anyway.

During this time the enemy used a powerful weapon on me. The weapon was FEAR. I had read all the statistics of how “if the father doesn’t go to Sunday school the chances of your children wanting to attend church when they grow older went drastically down.” I was so fearful of this that I tried everything to get my husband to go to church and to Sunday school (when he wasn’t working). You name it and I tried it. Shame, guilt and manipulation were my “tools” to get my husband to do what I wanted him to do. Needless to say, we were both miserable.

If he wouldn’t go to church or Sunday school, then surely the next best thing would be a couple’s Bible study, right? Wrong! He would attend for a short amount of time to please me, and then would start using excuses and eventually I could tell he really didn’t want to go. I would end up with feelings of bitterness, anger and resentment towards him.

After years and years of this miserable cycle, the Lord had had enough of me! He confronted me with my fears, unforgiveness and my lack of trust in Him. He told me that I was no longer supposed to worry about Steve. I should go to church for my children and for my own benefit. God would take care of Steve. He showed me that if Steve didn’t want to be there, it really didn’t “count” in His eyes when he did choose to attend.“But what about the children?” I asked. “What about all those statistics that say my children will most likely fall away if their father isn’t’ attending Sunday school or church?” The Lord told me that I didn’t trust Him with my children and that He was bigger than any statistic.

I had one more problem, though. “But it isn’t fair! He gets to sleep in while I get all of these children ready for church by myself. This is hard work, Lord, not to mention when we finally get to church and then I have to get everyone to where they are supposed to go. Many times I am exhausted and distracted by the time I sit down to worship.”The Lord said, “Yes, it is unfair and yes it is hard work. That is your sacrifice to me. Stop complaining and grumbling about it and realize that this IS your act of worship.”

From that day on, I trusted God enough to take my kids faithfully to church by myself. I left Steve alone about going. After many years, God has changed his heart in regards to church. If he is not working, he regularly attends. He comes on his own accord, not because he is afraid of displeasing me. Since I left Steve to the Lord, he has changed in ways I could have never imagined. He is growing in the Lord by leaps and bounds! Only God can do that! Steve is still the type of person that is not interested in group Bible studies, but is now reading the Bible all the way through on his own and is loving it.

I may be harried and distracted as I walk into church and I try to worship while having to discipline a child or two, but the Lord knows that the true sacrifice for me is just getting there!

I know several moms that don’t go to church regularly, if at all, because they are waiting for their man to be the spiritual leader and get their family there. Don’t wait! Your children need to see that church is important. They need to go to a place where the lessons reinforce what you have been teaching them at home. If you are one of these ladies, may I encourage you to go to God with your reasons and excuses. Be honest with Him and let Him speak to you. He will give the strength to do what you need to do. I guarantee one thing, if your children do not see one committed parent who wants to go to church, why would they ever be motivated to go when they are grown up and on their own?

Be encouraged, God wants your husband to “not forsake meeting with other Believers”, but He wants to do it His way, which is always the right way. He is wooing your husband to Himself and your husband’s spiritual walk IS a priority to Him. Remember, God will not woo your husband the same way He wooed you. Everyone learns differently. You take care of your spirituality and let God take care of his. The benefit of this is LASTING peace, joy and a renewed sense of love and grace towards your husband. The conflict leaves in the home, then God can begin HIS work. Trust Him in this!

From One Mom to Another,



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