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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WFMW: The Baby Years - Breastfeeding

Today’s edition of Works for Me Wednesday is a “Backwards” edition. What DOESN’T work kind of a thing. Well, since I did a series of posts recently that was a flashback to our baby years and what worked for us, this was the perfect opportunity to wrap it up with one big “What DIDN’T Work” for us post.

Oh, and my favorite male readers (I know you’re there), you may just want to move along today and pretend you never saw this post. I’m just sayin’.

Oh, and this turned really long… sorry.

Breastfeeding certainly didn’t work for me.

I tried, oh, yes I did. I tried hard. I pushed, I worked, I cried, I did everything a mom could do. But it didn’t work for us. And I’m writing this post not because I’m looking for you to tell me how I could have made it work, nor am I trying to start any kind of a breastfeeding debate, but because believe that there are others out there like me. Other moms who need to know that they aren’t alone.

I personally know some. And many, I believe, feel like they are less of a mom because they couldn’t make breastfeeding work. Well, I’m here to tell you, that I am so over that. I just wanted to share my story with you; maybe just as an eye-opener for some of you expectant moms, or just an encouragement to those of you who may have experienced the same thing or know someone who has.

I think I was led to believe that breastfeeding a baby was the most natural thing in the world… what God intended when he gave women breasts. And while I agree with that sentiment, I think that indoctrination caused me to believe that it should just be the easiest thing in the world.

WRONG!

First there was my daughter. I was a first time mom who only knew that both of her sisters had breastfed their babies (and one of them bf’ed triplets, no less). I did all the reading and classes and everything I could do to be prepared. Then, the day came. I gave birth by c-section (which was glorious, I might add) and as soon as we could after surgery, the lactation nurses were trying to help me get her to latch on. Nothing was happening partially because there was absolutely nothing there for her to get.

Fast forward 2 weeks. My milk didn’t come in until day 6 or so. We’ve been in and out of the lactation nurse’s office (otherwise known by my husband as the “breastfeeding Nazis”) several times a week. Feeding time was an ordeal with nipple shields, tubes & syringes to fill the shields with milk so that she would taste something, trying, and trying… then bottle feeding and pumping. On top of all of that she had a mild case of jaundice that just wouldn’t go away.

On the bright side, when I took a bottle of my pumped breast milk into the lactation nurses' office one day, I was told that I produced cream; not milk, cream.

Fast forward another 2 weeks. It’s been two more weeks of the same with no results. She just would not, could not latch on. I gave up. And felt like a failure.

But what a weight that was lifted once we made that decision. Such a simple decision to bottle feed my daughter formula opened us up to be able to see that we had a baby in our house; not just a mouth to try to feed a way that it didn’t want to eat. Looking back those first four weeks are a complete blur which is probably normal in some sense, but even more so since I didn’t feel the ability to just enjoy her. I was so focused on fixing the problem that I didn’t see my daughter. If I have any regrets of motherhood, that is one.

Then came my son. I was no longer that naive 1st time mom. I now knew that things can go wrong on so many levels. That things happen. That it might not work this time. But I was going to try because “breast is best,” right? So I found me some good lactation consultants in a neighboring city and visited with them before the baby was even born to discuss some of my concerns.

Again a c-section. This time, I got to hold him while I was in recovery unlike my daughter. The lactation nurse came in but I didn’t even try all that hard. I knew I wouldn’t have any milk. I mainly just held him and looked at him. And cried a little bit, too.

We had some of the same problems. I knew this time to ask for a pump right off the bat to help my milk to come in. It still didn’t come in until like day 5, but it was better. And he, like my daughter, had a mild case of jaundice.

We had some different problems as well. One of the lactation consultants in the hospital noticed that he had a short frenulum (aka was a little tongue tied). She suggested that might be a reason he was having trouble latching on. I remember so distinctly mentioning this to one of the pediatricians that came by and how curtly she dismissed my concern. I don’t remember what I said in return, but one of the nursery nurses and one of the lactation consultants came back by later because they had heard something about the altercation and I just bawled over it.

We did end up at an ENT’s office who clipped his frenulum. It was a 2 second thing, a drop of blood, and it was over. Now, in our case, it didn’t solve the problems, but now we knew that it would not cause any speech problems later and we were able to rule that out as a latching issue.

Again, this time, we were in and out of the lactation consultant’s office. These ladies were the best things ever! Not nearly the breastfeeding Nazis that the other ladies were. Their first priority was that the baby got fed. Period. Next, that my milk supply was okay. And last were any issues we were having with nursing. (Priorities I would suggest you look for in a lactation consultant, by the way.) I'm not saying that the group that I dealt with when I had my daughter didn't have these same priorities. What I'm saying is that if they did, they certainly were not verbalized and did not come across in any dealings I had with them.

And I learned a lot from them. For instance, the jaundice acts like Valium to the baby’s system and makes them sleepy, causing them (obviously) to want to sleep and not eat. They get the bilirubin out of their system by pooping (it’s a baby post, you knew poop was going to come into it somewhere). If they don’t get enough calories, they don’t poop and therefore the jaundice doesn’t go away and might even get worse, causing them to not want to eat… it’s a downward spiral.

So after 3 weeks of trying and mostly just pumping and bottle feeding him, that’s just what we decided to do. I’d pump on a fairly regular schedule and we’d bottle feed him breast milk. It was a great system and we did it for about 6 weeks. We could have gone longer, but we were headed on a long car trip to visit family and decided to quit.

Like I said, this post is to not generate debate over breastfeeding, but to hopefully show other moms that they are not alone and to also show that there are other options. That’s the great thing about being a human and having such creative and wonderful minds. We have come up with ways to feed and care for our babies when what appears to be the natural solution seems to fail us. People created pumps and formula so that those of us who are nursing challenged can still sufficiently provide nourishment for our children.

And by the way, providing nourishment is only part of being a mom. If how you do that defines your whole existence as a mother, then yes, you will feel like a failure like I once did. And yet, I can look back now and see that my time those first few weeks with my daughter would have been much better spent holding and rocking her rather than fussing over something that is so inconsequential as how I got food into her stomach. In other words, as long as the food is there, who gives a rip how it got there whether it’s by breast or bottle.

And that’s what DIDN’T work for us in the baby years.

Go visit We Are THAT Family to see more Backwards WFMW posts... you might be able to give some advice or just a little nod of encouragement by telling someone, "Yeah, that doesn't work for me either."

Previous Posts from "WFMW: The Baby Years" series:
Schedules/Routines
Cloth Diapering
Homemade Baby Food


(Again – I’m not looking to start a debate or for anyone to tell me how I could have made it work better by joining La Leche League or anything. The point of this post is that it just didn’t work for us and that’s okay. Please keep any comments or remarks in a positive and encouraging tone. Thanks.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Foodie Friday... kind of. A Sourdough Update

Hello blog friends.

I'm sorry that I have neither a Fitness Friday nor a true Foodie Friday post for you today. I was way too busy yesterday evening actually exercising and cooking Chile Rellenos and cheesecake.

However, I did want to share with you that I am still working on getting the sourdough thing figured out. In fact, I asked @thefoodgeek on Twitter "Why, oh WHY won't my sourdough rise???!!!" And you know what, he wrote me an answer in his FineCooking.com column entitiled "Kitchen Mysteries with The Food Geek."

And it includes a video that is about 15 minutes long. It is well worth it as Peter Reinhart (the guy in the video) talks about transformation in bread in such a way that it has far reaching, even spiritual, implications. Take a few minutes to listen. He's humorous and very informative.

Click here to read "Sunken Sourdough Sadness" on FineCooking.com.

And I plan on posting a few recipes next week.

Have I told y'all how much I LOVE all of you my blog peeps? Thanks for reading here at Way More Homemade and being my blog friends. You're all just as great as you can be!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's just too cute when they don't get it

One of our morning rituals is waving good-bye. Every morning Mike takes Sarah to school and Nathan MUST go out on the front porch to see them off.




The other day, as they drove out of the driveway, he yelled:

"Bye alligator!"

"See you soon crocodile!"

He'll get it one of these days, but I'm not sure I really want him to.

Because that was just way too cute.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Counseling will be needed, I'm sure of it

I failed to mention it around here, but the Princess had a birthday a couple of weeks ago. She turned 8 on a day when I was in a serious hormonal funk. Thus, the failure to mention it. I actually started writing a post that day, but it was so whiny that it annoyed even me. So I decided to delete it rather than subject all of you, my wonderful blog friends and readers to such an atrocity of a blog post.

Thankfully she doesn't realize that I didn't post about her birthday that day. But I'm certain she will realize one day that I did not post about how wonderful she in on her 8th birthday and ohmygoodness, let the counseling sessions begin.

But I digress.

Princess turned 8 and one of the things she asked for was in-line skates. Actually, at first she asked for heelies (did I spell that right), but she finally decided against them since there isn't anywhere she could wear them and I think she got over the idea of having to pick up your toes to roll on them pretty quickly. It didn't hurt that she also went to a roller skating party where she discovered a new love for roller skating.

And I realized that there is still a fascination at roller rinks with the disco ball. And yet there was a serious lack of disco music.

So that weekend, we moved the cars out of the garage to let her try out her very own skates at home. Sans disco ball.




And certainly, one cannot expect her little brother, my Little Man, to be left out of the excitement. Thankfully, we found some old skates of one of their cousins that had been passed down to us (OH how I love me some hand-me-downs). They fit him perfectly, so we just had to suit up. And we had to use whatever we could find. Look closely.



Oh! YES! I! Did!

I put princess knee pads and elbow pads on the boy. So, yes, he's going to need some counseling, too. If he ever sees these pictures once he's old enough to know the difference, that is.

But give me a little credit. His helmet is ALL BOY with Tonka all over it and everything. And you wouldn't want him to be completely unprotected would you?

So, if you happen to be the one to counsel my kids once they are adults, you can tell them, I only did what I had to do at the moment.

Yeah. Because that's what counselors always tell people about their mothers.

And just for proof of how necessary the knee & elbow pads were:

What have you done that is going to send your kids into counselling when they are older? I know you have something, because we ALL do.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Is it just me?

I believe I am an anomaly among women my age. I don’t mind the idea of being called “Mrs. Homemade.” It doesn’t make me think that you are referring to my mother or grandmother. In fact, I adore it.

Oh, and throw a “Ma’am” my way and you’ll be on the top of my list for LIFE.

How I long for the days of ‘yore when people who didn’t know you on an intimate level would not refer to you by your first name. I don’t mean we have to necessarily go back to the days of Jane Austen and refer to our best friend as Miss Smith.

But, there has been a trend in the United States, even here in the south, which has taken us to new and, for me at least, uncomfortable levels of familiarity among strangers. Two fairly recent instances in my personal life come to mind.

I was at Panera Bread one day having lunch with a dear girlfriend. I walked up to the counter, politely placed my order, handed the person taking my order my check card and as he handed it back to me said, “Thanks, Donna.”

WHAAT? I really wanted to reply, “I’m sorry, when did we meet before?” But I restrained myself and moved on… kind of.

And most recently I called a local spa to make an appointment to use a gift certificate I have (which incidentally I thought I had lost). Right off the bat the girl answered the phone, “Thanks for calling the Whateveritsnameis Spa. May I have your first name.” (Notice I didn’t use a question mark because it wasn’t really a question the way she said it.) I was so taken aback that it actually took me a moment to respond. Now, I am going to have to call back soon to try again to set up an appointment because the day I wanted didn’t work out. I’ve decided that when she answers the phone like that I am going to say that, “My first name is Mrs.”

Whenever I encounter situations like this, I come home or get off the phone and complain and fume about it. My man tells me that I am going to make a great crotchety old lady some day, and actually thinks I’m already there other than the old part.

So, why is this? Why have we become so familiar with one another that we feel it is okay for a sales person, or clerk in a store whom we have never met before to call us by our first name? Why do they think it is okay to call me by my first name?

I’ve worked in retail and client/customer service long enough that I understand wanting to make a more personal touch with the customer. But only the clients that I talked to on a very regular basis and became friendly with did I ever call by their first names. And even in my current job, the financial advisors I work for will call clients by their first names, but I do not as I don’t have the same kind of familiar relationship with them. At least the checkers at my local grocery store have the decency to look at the receipt and call me by my last name when trying to address me by name.

And why are we as adult men and women so offended by someone calling us Mr. or Mrs. Whatever? In most situations, I think it is a sign of respect for the unfamiliarity of the relationship. Not a sign of how old you are.

Now, I will grant you that sometimes it is a sign of age as there are some people in my church, with whom it does not matter one iota how familiar our relationship is, I will only EVER call them by Mr. or Mrs. Whatever out of respect of their age and simply because of the respect I have for them as people.

Certainly I resented at the time having to “ma’am” and “sir” my parents. I thought it was awful that I was supposed to address them that way. But, it taught me a certain amount of respect is due the person to whom you are speaking. It is a lesson that I carry with me to this day. And you’d better believe my children are expected to address us with a ma’am or sir when the situation calls for it.

Are you okay with being addressed by your first name by people whom you have never met before like store personnel? Tell me, because I really am feeling like I’m the only one who notices this.

Is it just me?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Foodie Friday - Aspirations and Chocolate Cherry Bread

I have aspirations, y’all. I aspire to do so many things… especially in the area of cooking. Many of which I didn’t realize I had until I had two kids, and a job to keep me pretty darn busy outside of the kitchen. But I have recently reached a place in life where I have felt that I could begin to really cook again.

I realized this recently and decided that I needed to try to begin making some of those aspirations into reality. So I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes lately. I haven’t blogged all of them because quite honestly some of them have busted… flat.

And that’s not figuratively speaking.

One of my aspirations is to bake bread. Lots of it. Because bread and I have a special relationship and qualities that compliment one another. Bread is good to eat and I like to eat it. We go great together, you see. This is only one of my many culinary aspirations but one I felt like I could fairly immediately begin to achieve. Gluten, yeast and I were going to become good pals.

Or not.

Actually my first attempts at yeast usage went well. I made these Black Forest buns which turned out pretty darn incredible. In fact, they ended up as big as my hand...












Come in closer for a good look... Don't you wish blogs had scratch and sniff capability? I do, because these smelled wonderful.


Then I made some other cinnamon rolls which were a recipe from a new cookbook that I found one day at the grocery store. The actual bread making part went fine, but then the taste was a bit off. I realized as I placed the rolls in the oven that the recipe in the book itself omitted any salt whatsoever.

Insane.

At least it wasn’t me omitting the ingredients this time.

All of that yeasty baking was going so well that I decided to start down the road of actual loaf of bread baking by trying my hand at sourdough bread. I made my starter and was just giddy with excitement when it smelled so nice and sour by only day two of sitting on my counter top. But then, I had, no kidding, 3 loaves just sit there and do nothing. Didn’t rise. They stayed, well, flat.

It’s been a little bit frustrating this week.

But amidst all of that, I had one {kind of} success as I made some Chocolate Cherry Bread which is a recipe I’ve been searching for and trying to develop in my mind ever since we tried some from Central Market in February. I found a similar recipe on the King Arthur Flour site and just adapted it to my tastes. And speaking of taste, it tasted really incredible; even if it did stick to the bottom of the pan like stink on a 13 year old boy’s gym socks.

Ewww. I can’t even believe I said that.

Oh, wait, yes I can.

But it was good enough that we just chowed down on it right out of the pan. I think I have figured a way around the sticking issue, but have not had a chance to test it yet.




So. After all that, the one recipe I feel comfortable sharing with you all today is the Chocolate Cherry Bread. Because it is, after all, Chocolate Friday with my friend Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates.

To see the complete recipe with pictures, click here.

Ingredients:
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) rye flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) cool water (about 80 degrees F)
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) dried cherries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips

Method:
Place the dried cherries in water to hydrate and plump them up for several minutes before beginning the mixing.

Mix flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl, using paddle attachment at first and switching to dough hook when it gets too thick. Add cherries and chocolate chips. Stir well to make a very soft dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will become bubbly and puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times. Let it rest 15 minutes, then form it into a ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.

During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a bread crock (or a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot) in the oven while it heats. When the dough is risen, remove the crock from the oven, and turn the dough out of the bowl and onto a sheet of parchment paper. Lift parchment paper by the sides (like a sling) and place into the crock; the smooth side of the bread should be facing up. Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 25 to 40 minutes, until the bread is deep brown in color and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.

Remove the crock from the oven, again lift out the parchment paper like a sling and turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday - Leftover Egg Whites

I have several recipes that call for several whole eggs plus one or two egg yolks.

For the longest time, like before I had kids, worked full time and had money to burn, I would just separate those eggs over the sink and let those egg whites go down the drain. I found out later the tip that I am sharing with you today.

You can freeze egg whites.

I have a myriad of small containers around my house that have been used for everything from homemade baby food to snacks to carry in the car. So any more, all I do is separate the egg so that the white goes into one of these containers, slap a lid on it, and stick it in the freezer.



"What then," you ask?

Simply thaw and use. I have thawed mine using the "defrost" setting of my microwave for 30 seconds or so. Or if you plan ahead, like I am unlikely to do, you can just set it out for a little while. They really thaw fairly quickly.

"What do I use them for," you ask?

Lots of things. While I've read that a previously frozen egg white is not as useful for whipping into a meringue for a pie or angel food cake, it is fine for many other purposes. For example, it can be used:

* In your scrambled eggs to increase the volume with out increasing the fat.
* To make an egg white omelet.
* For an egg wash (1 egg white + 1 tsp water) for browning a pastry.

And those are just a few.

Can you think of other uses for egg whites? Maybe you'd like to leave a comment with your idea of how previously frozen egg white can be used.

That's what works for me.

For other Works for Me posts, visit We Are THAT Family.

Dora's New Look

Did you know that Dora the Explorer was growing up?

Finally after all of these years, she is maturing a little bit... just like our own daughters (and sons).

*Tear*

The idea was to get some of these girls back and interested again once they outgrow the younger version. This new and older Dora is supposed to appeal to 5 - 8 year olds who watched the original cartoon when they were younger.

I get it. From an advertising perspective and having this age of child at home, I get that the 5-8 year old is more likely to try to influence their parents' buying habits based upon what they see in commercials. It seems that would naturally make advertising time in time slots geared toward that age group a little more valuable.

I tweeted last night with a couple of people and one person mentioned that they thought a different character, like an older sister should have been developed. I think that's a fair statement. Another spin-off like Diego was for boys. But for some reason, Nickelodeon decided to just let little Dora grow up a bit.

However, I think Nickelodeon has done a sorry job of releasing the new image. For a week or so, all we had seen was this silhouette. You can't tell a whole lot other than her hair is longer as are her legs as noted by what appears to be quite the short skirt.

As knowledge of this image has made its rounds, many parents, and rightly so, have expressed concern over the possibility that this innocent little character was going to be over sexualized. I, too was concerned, not wanting sweet little annoying Dora to go the way of the Bratz dolls.

I'm pretty protective of my kids and of what they watch on television, as I'm sure many of you are as well. And while Dora the Explorer can be incredibly annoying on so many levels, both of my kids have learned from her and enjoyed her adventures.


Well, last night, I saw on the news that they had finally released the full image of what this new
and older Dora will look like. Can I just say, CUTE.

I think they've done an amazing job. And if there is an actual show (I am questioning based on this article that talks mainly of a doll) I hope it is every bit as classy as she looks. And as far as the sexualized/trampy concerns... well, I just want to point out that the poor girl's bare mid-drift is now covered. End of discussion.

The original younger Dora will still be around for our preschoolers, but I am looking forward to what this older Dora has to offer my now 8 year old.

What about you? What do you think about the new Dora? Had you heard anything about it? Leave me a comment, 'cuz I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sometimes it's all about perspective

I have been recognizing recently that the difference between success and failure can sometimes be just a matter of your perspective.

I have been looking forward to posting today for a good week or so. We had a great weekend planned to kick off spring break for us and the kids and I was really stoked about coming here on Monday morning and sharing with all my friends out here what a great weekend we had.

Long story short? This weekend = FAIL.

First, we planned months ago for Mike and Sarah to go rock climbing on Saturday at a nearby state part with some guides through our city’s parks & recreation department. They did this once last year and had a great time.

And then the great deluge of 2009 (or so I’m calling it) happened last week. In an area of the country where we are thankful for a sprinkle of rain once a month, we had two SOLID days of cold rain.

The rock climbing guide called Friday evening and said, “Um, yeah. It’s STILL raining so I’m thinking tomorrow is off.” We rescheduled for April.

But that was okay… because there was still Sunday. The rain was supposed to clear on out and we had planned our first trip to College Station with the kids. We were taking our kids to Aggieland to watch the Ags BTHO Baylor and they were really excited about it.

(If you’re thinking to yourself, “What does BTHO mean?” It’s an Aggie thing. It stands for “Beat the hell outta…”)

I was going to have stories to share, tales to tell, and exciting memories to recount. (Do you notice the tense with which I am talking about this?)

We woke up later than intended Sunday morning due to an alarm clock malfunction. (I swear that alarm clock is going to malfunction right out the window one of these days.) But we got up and moving. Then, after a trip to the donut shop, Mike went in to get Nathan up. He came out, carrying him and said that he had a headache and didn’t feel well.

“Maybe he just needs to eat something,” we thought and hoped. So we got him buckled in and a little bit of food, only to have that food come right back at us. SO, little man and I stayed home while daddy and sister went on to visit the promised land.

Nathan cried… hard. I wanted to also, but had to stay strong because that’s what we moms do.

So instead of seeing this…







I saw a lot of this…


He wouldn’t let me put him down at all Sunday morning. I saw a lot of the top of his head…



And as I sat there in the rocking chair with this pathetic little 3 year old boy lying up against me, I kept thinking, “I could be doing laundry, or baking that bread that I want to try, or working on some cinnamon rolls…”

Then I remembered what two very wise moms reminded me about when we had lunch last Thursday. I’m not guaranteed the next day or even the next moment with this little man. And I decided that if he didn’t want me to put him down and wanted to take a nap cuddled up with me, I was just fine with that.

The rest could wait.

This weekend = Success.

It’s all about perspective.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

1st & 15th Scripture Memory

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fitness Friday - Blog Swap


Wii Mommies is hosting a Blog Swap this Fitness Friday. So, today, you can find me hanging out with @3boyzmom at her blog Save Your Money Mama.


Now, let's all give a warm welcome WayMoreHomemade welcome to Courtney from both
Giftfully Simple and The Apple of My Eye (@TheAppleOfMyEye) as she guest posts here today.

*cue applause*


The Unhealthy Way to Diet

After the birth of my second daughter, I was bound and determined to get rid of the baby weight. I wasn't going to let the baby weight hang around, bothering me. I didn't want to wear my "fat" pants anymore and I wanted my energy back. I was ready to get back into my "hot mama" body again and feel good about myself.

The first diet I tried was one that you start off with a cleansing by drinking a lemon, water and maple syrup drink while taking these huge horse size capsules of fiber and herbs. Then you ease back into food by drinking shakes and then slowly introduce fruits, veggies and then lean meats back into your diet. There was also an intense workout program which included cardio and weights in a fast paced regimen. I had a hard time getting into this diet plan, so it really didn't work for me. I think I just wasn't determined enough at this point and with a diet like this, you have to be very determined!

The diet that finally worked for me, but was extremely intense, was the Medifast diet. The Medifast diet consists of pre-packaged soups, shakes, oatmeal and bars along with one actual meal a day that consists of a lean meat and veggie. I ate a lot of chicken breasts and broccoli and ended up losing 30 lbs in 3 months. I did not cheat once by eating sweets or drinking alcohol while on the diet. I guess I was finally determined to get rid of the baby fat, plus a few extra pounds from my first pregnancy. By the time I was done with the diet, I weighed 20 lbs less than I did prior to my first pregnancy!

This was the hardest diet I had ever done! I was starving the entire 3 months and was irritable and lost hair! I made the mistake of not taking a multivitamin and my poor body was vitamin deprived, which resulted in me losing my hair.

I also had the worst case of post-partum depression ever as a result of the diet. The mixture of starving myself and normal post-partum was not good. I ended up on some super strong antidepressants which really sucked for me and for the people around me!

After the three months, I continued to watch what I ate and tried to stick to a vegetarian diet. I kept the weight off and maintained a size 6 figure for about a year and then became pregnant with my third daughter. This wasn't a planned pregnancy and I was selfishly disappointed when I first found out. I had worked so hard to maintain my body, but of course that changed almost immediately when I realized the life that was growing inside of my body. The gift God was giving me was the opportunity to take care of a precious little life.

I immediately started eating well balanced meals, taking prenatal vitamins and made my doctors appointments. I focused on having a healthy pregnancy, not a perfect figure and having a healthy baby. This past December I gave birth to a healthy, blue eyed 7lb 6oz baby girl!


Thanks, Courtney, for a great reminder to carefully choose how we go about our dieting so that we stay healthy. And congratulations on your baby girl!


To see more Fitness Friday posts, join us over at Wii Mommies.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Kitchen Tips - Onions


The onion. It's probably one of the most used ingredients in the American kitchen, and yet one of the most difficult to master. If only it didn't have that darned defense mechanism of making you cry.

Well, to be honest, I don't know if they make you cry, but I look as if I've watched the movie "Rudy" for the 5 millionth time after chopping up one of these bad boys.

I've tried all the tricks to keep from crying. I can't even remember all the things I've tried, and yet nothing has ever worked.

So, I thought I'd share today what works for me in chopping / dicing up onions. Maybe you'll find it works for you as well.

First, I cut of either end of the onion.




You will notice the onion "juice" seeping out. This is important to note because I have found that rinsing off the exposed edges where this milky white "juice" comes out can help in delaying the onset of the stinging and watering that will certainly ensue.



Quarter and peel the onion.



Now, rinse off the onion quarters.



I have many times tried to chop onions like the real chefs do, the way I learned in the few cooking classes I have taken. It has just never worked all that well for me. So, this is what I do.

First slice the quarters into relatively thin slices.





Then take the slices and chop. Notice the knife I'm using. I find that it works best when using a good chef's knife so that you can get the rocking up on the tip and back down motion.



Notice how I am gripping the back end of the knife itself and not just the handle. I find this gives me the most control and force on the knife.



If you're like me, at some point, you will have to eventually just set your knife down and step away for a moment and compose yourself while the air clears of the eye stinging molecules.

The end product...



And not even any finger tips in the mix. (I was actually a little nervous to demonstrate this for you guys today.)

(Oh, and by the way, the finger has healed nicely. It's pretty much back to normal. That is if you don't count the huge divot that was left.)

So that's what works for me when dicing onions and trying to keep from crying in the process. It doesn't keep the tears completely at bay, but my discomfort is much less now that I rinse off the exposed edges of the onion. Heck, maybe you'll find that this works for you as well. Or maybe you have your own onion tricks or tips. Please do share them when you leave a comment.

Thanks for coming by today and for more Works for Me posts, visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I have a love and his name is cheese

I have a special relationship with cheese products.

I can't get enough of them.

I can't think of a single variety of cheese that I do not like.

So, on Food Network's show Unwrapped recently they showed how Mimi's Cafe makes their famous grilled cheese sandwiches.

We're talking the Rolls Royce of grilled cheese sandwiches here, people.

It was truly love at first glance. And I am here today to share the love.

Here's what you do need:

4 varieties of cheese (sliced)
(ex: sharp cheddar, provolone, Swiss & muenster)
Sliced sourdough bread
Grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Garlic herb butter
Sliced ham (optional)



Butter one side of each of the slices of bread and press the buttered side down into the grated Parmesan, gently shaking off the excess. Putting the cheese side down on your griddle, place one slice each of two varieties of cheese on one piece and two varieties on the other (leaving the sandwich open) and add ham in the middle (if desired). Grill the sandwich open for most of the cooking time. Once the cheese is really beginning to melt, then flip one side over on top of the other, thus assembling the sandwich.



This is your end product:



That is a level of cheese decadence that I had never tasted before. I had it with a glass of milk and was on a dairy product overload the rest of the evening.

Enjoy, y'all.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday: Kitchen Tips - Knife Organization

I know that today's WFMW theme is "Greatest Hits." However, I've not been doing WFMW long enough to really have what I consider a greatest hit that y'all wouldn't have seen, oh like, two weeks ago. So instead, we begin a new series of kitchen tips starting with one of my favorites. My very own greatest hit.

Knife Organization

I have been into so many homes of friends and family and tried to cook in their kitchens only to find that their knife situation makes me crazy.

And all my friends say, "Yeah, we could tell!"

I don't hide my feelings on such things very well.

But I digress.

I see knives just stored in drawers or wherever with no thought or method to it. So my tip is: Be intentional about how you store your knives.

For example, mine are stored in a wooden block on my counter top strategically placed to be out of reach of children from any side. But the real beauty of my system is the organization of the knives themselves within the block.

My knives return to the exact same spot each and every time. I KNOW exactly what knife I need and I KNOW exactly which slot that knife is in EVERY time.


I can tell you that in this picture, my knives are, listed from top left to bottom right are: Chef's knife, Sharpening Iron, Santoku, 8 " Carving knife, Bread knife, Fillet knife, Tomato knife, 6" Utility knife, and Paring knife... and of course, the shears on the bottom.

The particular order is not the point, however. It's the fact that they go in the same place every time. That way, when I'm in the middle of prepping my ingredients and my hands are all ookey, I'm not groping around messing up all the handles looking for just the right knife. I can just reach over and grab the correct one every time, pretty much without even looking.

Being intentional about how you store your knives and putting them in the same exact order each time will save you time in the kitchen; both in the knife selection process and in clean-up.

Because who wants to leave ookey stuff all over their knife handles?

(And don't think for a minute that the irony of me talking about knives was lost on me.)

For more Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit Kristen over at We are THAT Family.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I must be crazy to think that this is a good idea

I posted a while back that we were able to re-do our kid-centered "play room" into a more family centered t.v. room with some Christmas money. It has been such a fun thing and a blessing that we have enjoyed immensely.

However, all good things have by-products. This one had two.

One of those were the huge boxes that the sofa and chair came in. They were so much fun to play in that we had an entire Sunday afternoon devoted to playing in the boxes before they went out in the trash on Monday. We cleaned out the garage and invited friends over and everything. Here's a glimpse...


Yeah, I think they had a good time.

But this is the other by-product. All the stuff that I cleaned out and need to get rid of. And this doesn't include the empty entertainment center that is sitting in my living room that can't be rearranged with it still sitting there. Nor does it include the 3 sets of speakers we need to get rid of.

It's not nearly as pleasant or fun as the boxes, is it?

And it's all just stacked in what is supposed to be my guest room / office / craft room (if I were to have time to do crafts any more).

So, here's my dilemma. I think I need to do a garage sale, but I've never done one.

I've never had so much to get rid of all at once. I have always worked at keeping up with the kids' clothes and taking them and some toys to our local resale shop. I have never dealt with anything like this before.

So I need your help. I need your garage sale advice. The day of the sale thing doesn't stress me out as much as the time I anticipate it will take to go through all the stuff and price everything. AND, I know I have a couple of expensive toys that are still in excellent condition. How do I price those? How do I efficiently and most effectively set up the items for sale the "day of?"

I am pleading for your help here. Picture me on my knees with my hands folded...

Will you help a girl out? PLEEEAAAASE!

So, if you have ever posted on your blog about garage sales, link up here. Or you may be so inclined to write a post just especially for me... awww, wouldn't that be sweet. Please just enter your little ol' name in the top box and the link to your post in the bottom box. (Be sure to use your post's permalink.) Or please, leave me your tips in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

Thanks!!! Y'all are the best blog friends EV-VAH!

1st & 15th Scripture Memory

Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)

Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.


Yes, I 'm still participating.

It took me a while to come across a new scripture for the 15th of February amidst the finger cutting and bronchitis having difficulties. But since I chose 2 verses, it's going to have to count for both Feb. 15th and March 1st.

This is a passage that we studied at the Living Proof Live event back in August down in San Antonio (AKA The Siesta Fiesta). I came back across it in my BSF lesson a week or so ago and just knew that this was my scripture for this period of time.

Have a great week, y'all.