Just didn't want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Just didn't want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Today, Sunday, was Solomon's 7th birthday. He had requested an airplane/pilot theme for the party. One of his gifts was a pilot costume, which he got to open earlier in the week so he would be able to wear it to the portrait studio for his birthday pictures.
In his pilot outfit:
This is how I decorated the room:
The favor bags:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
After a recent order from a baby-related website, I received a notification in the mail telling me that my order came with a complimentary, one-year subscription to the magazine "Parenting". This magazine could more aptly be called "Lack of Parenting" or "Parenting Failures", but nonetheless, reading it makes for cheap comic relief after a hard day of real parenting.
Back to the subject at hand, though. The September issue featured an article called "Lost Babies", which deals with the subject of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the diagnosis anytime an apparently healthy baby suddenly dies in their sleep of unknown causes during the first year of life (most deaths occur between 2 and 4 months).
First off, let me make it clear that I do think SIDS is real, that it is not entirely preventable, and that parents should never be blamed in the death of their child regardless of the circumstances.
Having said that, I think there are many factors that could reduce the incidence of SIDS. Some of the more well-known are putting babies on their back to sleep, keeping away cigarette-smoke, not using soft bedding, and breastfeeding exclusively. Personally, I am also convinced that sleeping next to Mom and Dad is infinitely important, and I am not talking about a bassinet by the bedside. SIDS is thought to be caused largely by an immature breathing reflex. If healthy babies do not get enough oxygen in their sleep, this reflex will kick in and make them yawn or turn their head to get more air. This reflex is also responsible for making sure baby doesn't "forget" to breathe once they go into a deeper sleep phase. By being tucked into bed next to its parent(s), the baby has a sort of "breathing pacemaker" by its side. Babies that sleep like that automatically fall into the same breathing pattern as the parent that they are snuggled up to, and thus do not forget to breathe. Also, babies have a reflex that causes them to take a deep breath anytime someone blows in their face, which Mom does all night long when she is breathing next to the baby cradled in her arms, face to face. Of course, there are safe sleeping practices that must be observed when sleeping next to a young baby, but I will not discuss those here.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has also started recommending that all babies should be using a pacifier, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of SIDS by as much as 90%. To me, this further supports my theory that sleeping next to Mom is very healthy, because babies that do so spend their night using Mom for their nursing comfort rather than a binky. This has many benefits for mom and baby: Mom will have a good milk supply, and will have lots of endorphins in her system from the extra feedings, which will create a strong bond between her and the baby. She will also sleep better and never wake up groggy and sleep-deprived from having to get up for midnight feedings. The baby will grow faster, have a close bond to its mother, and will not be sucking on a plastic binky that may contain dangerous chemicals or be recalled for being otherwise dangerous. Baby will also not be taught to find comfort in material objects rather than in his real, human Mom.
The following information, however, was new and shocking to me. According to the article, "In the most recent AAP analysis, about 20 percent of all SIDS deaths occurred while the baby was in the care of someone other than a parent. One third of the infants died during the first week of childcare, and half of those deaths occurred on the very first day." Such was the case of the couple that was introduced in the article, whose 4-month old died of SIDS during an afternoon nap on his first day in childcare. The study suggested that being in an unfamiliar (which to a baby equals hostile) environment might interfere with the baby's sleep cycle, "so that when he finally does fall asleep, he sleeps too deeply". Going back to the binky theory, this would now make more sense because the baby is fooled into thinking Mom is near when she isn't.
So please, do not put your young baby in a childcare facility, and you might save his/her life.
What does that have to do with church nurseries? A lot. Many churches are now making nursery care mandatory for all babies in an effort to eliminate all distractions from the service. For one, I don't know what young baby is ever a distraction when all they do is eat and sleep, both of which are silent activities and can be done during a service.
It has always amused me that it is perfectly fine to whip out a bottle and pop it in baby's mouth in front of everyone, but that discretely breastfeeding under a shawl or blanket is considered obscene, when a bottle that is made to look and feel like the "real thing" is much more graphic than a mom who is completely covered. Here is a shock: everyone is naked underneath their clothes. GASP! So covering up with a blouse or dress is fine, but a (much more modest) shawl is insufficient? That doesn't make any sense. Of course, these squeamish people will be quick to point out that it is the ACT of breastfeeding that is offensive, even if no skin is ever visible. In fact, I have heard one pastor compare breastfeeding to the marriage act, which I can only call perverted. Other people say that there is nothing indecent about nursing a baby if Mom is covered, but it is still inappropriate in mixed company because it reminds men of the fact that women have breasts. To me, that is just as laughable. You mean there are men who DON'T know that?!? Those same people must not read their Bible very much, because it talks a lot about those subjects.
Breastfeeding is vital to a baby. It has become optional in our freak society with science supposedly making life "easier and better", but God never intended for that. He designed for Moms to feed their children, not Nestle. To me, giving a baby formula on a physical level is like reading to him out of a false Bible on a spiritual level. The Bible is called the "sincere milk of the word", and babies should be fed with sincere milk both physically and spiritually. If exclusively breastfeeding Moms should only do so in the privacy of their home, than they would never ever be able to go anywhere, including church, because most young babies need to eat at least once per hour.
Back to the church nursery. Young babies are not allowed in the service because they like to nurse, the thought of which sends most independent Baptist pastors into convulsions. Older babies are not allowed because they might coo, or look at other people in the room and distract them by smiling at them. Young toddlers might drop a toy, say something, or need to go to the bathroom. On and on the list goes.
Nobody seems to care that Jesus said "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:14) and "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16). They seem to never have read that "when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:14). I wonder why all three times Jesus used the word "suffer" - could it be because babies and young children can, in fact, be distracting at times, but we are still supposed to put up with it?!? What a strange thought. My kids were very distracting to me throughout the day today, but the thought that I should just leave them at a daycare center instead never crossed my mind. You just learn to put up with it. I find adults just as distracting at times. They have coughing fits, whisper during the service, dig through their purse, and are not just allowed but actually encouraged to yell out during the service ("Amen!" "Preach it, brother!" "That's right!" etc.). So an adult yelling out loud is not distracting, but a baby is? Why are children not allowed in church (which is not the building, but the general assembly)? Don't they need to learn more than anyone else, and aren't they the most likely to believe what is taught from the Bible?
If anyone who reads this thinks that our services must be a pandemonium because all children of all ages are in the services, they should listen to the sermons. Outbursts from children are very, very rare, and always very brief. We do have a "mother-baby room" at the back of the auditorium that has a rocker, a swing, toys etc. where Moms can step out while still being able to see and hear the service without being heard themselves. That being said, nobody is ever expected to use it, and the room is empty at most of the services.
In spite of claims of how clean, nice, and loving church nurseries are, I have to yet see one that is. Nursery workers are "hirelings", and a hireling is just that - a hireling and not a loving parent. Back when we were going to a big church in Indiana I heard of several young babies that had died in their newborn nursery, some while we were there. In fact, 3 more died in the year after we left. While some of the ladies in the older nurseries were sincerely friendly, such was not the case with the newborns. The Nazi in charge of the nurseries had picked the meanest, oldest matrons to care for these babies. The routine was the same for each baby at each service: feed, change diaper, put down in crib or swing to sleep. Crying babies were left to soothe themselves and were not carried, rocked, or otherwise comforted, and is it any wonder that the babies who had died were found lying dead in their crib after crying themselves to sleep. Just the thought makes me shudder. This same church issued photo ID cards (they looked much like a driver's license) for babies who due to medical reasons could not be in the nursery (such as a permanent, contagious disease). These babies and their parent(s) were then confined to a glass-enclosed extension of the main auditorium that was soundproof but had the service transmitted via speakers. I think we were the only parents to hold this precious card, other than the family whose daughter was born with a heart defect. She was not allowed to cry much because it could have strained her weak heart to the point of death, which made her ineligible for the loveless nurseries. This same little girl died shortly after she was finally put in the nursery at age 1 - but of course, there is no connection, right?!?
Another argument against telling people where they or their kids have to be during church is found in James 2:3: "And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:" I am well aware of the fact that gay in the Bible has a different meaning than it does today, but isn't it ironic that most churches will in fact allow homosexuals in their service and treat them kindly and respectfully, but ban the babies from church? "Stand thou there in the hallway outside the auditorium" and "Sit here under my footstool in this back office" (or worse yet, the closet behind the restrooms) are all places where I have found myself with my babies.
There are other arguments against nurseries, such as the perverts and pedophiles who are always quick to volunteer to watch the kids, or the never-ending cycle of diseases being passed around.
Why is it acceptable to drop your child off four times a week for Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night services and for soul-winning, but it is wrong to put him/her in daycare five times a week to go work a job? If leaving your child in the nursery means risking him/her dying, being molested by a worker or hurt by another bratty child, and at best coming home with (sometimes very serious) diseases, why does everyone do it even though the Bible says it is wrong?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Of course, fags like to prey on little kids, which is why they like to have babies via IVF. Tell that to all the supposed Christians who run to the fertility clinic because after popping the pill their whole life they are shocked if they can't get pregnant suddenly on their own timetable. Thank you for supporting and financing the medical science that goes into giving gays access to innocent victims.
But wait, Clay himself supposedly claims to be a Christian. Well, he can say that all he wants, but he is a reprobate. Wouldn't be the first one I met who tries to say they are saved, either.
No comments on this post. I don't care what all you fag-loving liberals think, I wish you would stop reading my blog anyway.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I am down to having weekly prenatal check-ups on Wednesdays. While I do enjoy them, it still takes a chunk of my time out of my day. Also this week, I need to take Solomon to the portrait studio for his birthday pictures.
This Saturday, there is a wedding for a lovely couple at our church, which is actually the first wedding that my husband is performing. Sunday is Solomon's 7th birthday, and also the day of his party (like Sundays are not already busy enough around here!). I still have several things to get done before the weekend, such as buying new dress shoes for Miriam and Isaac (and then getting her to like wearing them) and preparing everything for the birthday party.
The kids are still doing their school work this week and next, which is kind of hard to do with all the other stuff I am trying to get done. We mostly do the worksheets in the morning, then run errands in the afternoon, and do subjects like history and science at night.
My energy levels have been pretty good, but walking can be painful. The baby also likes to get its backside stuck in the bottom of my rib cage, which is not comfortable at all. My biggest goal right now is to make it until my midwife gets here on the evening of Oct. 9, which I think is reasonable because I am not having any contractions at all yet. Please pray for me!
Monday, September 22, 2008
A study has found that men who believe in traditional roles for women earn significantly more money than those who see women as an equal.
The study, to be published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, is proof that pay differences between men and women can be attributed to more than just economics.
After analyzing inteviews with nearly 8,000 individuals, researchers found that men with traditional attitudes about gender earned $11,930 more than men with egalitarian attitudes and $14,404 more than women with traditional attitudes. The comparisons were based on men and women working with the same levels of education working the same kinds of jobs at the same number of hours.
"We actually thought maybe men with traditional attitudes work in more complex jobs that pay more or select higher-paying occupations,"study co-author Beth A. Livingston told the Washington Post. "Regardless of the jobs people chose, or how long they worked at them, there was still a significant effect of gender role attitudes on income."
Participants answered questions about how strongly they agreed or disagreed with statements such as a woman's place is in the home; a man should be the achiever outside the home; and women are much happier if they stay home and take care of the children.
The study also found that even when other factors such as industry, occupation, hours worked and number of children, the results remained the same.
"In general if your interest is to reduce the gender wage gap, then teaching your children and adhering to non-traditional attitudes toward gender roles is the way to go," Livingston told LiveScience.com. "If that's your goal, we have to work on promoting less traditional attitudes toward gender."
I would like to know how many working women bring home more than $1,000 net per month after paying for childcare, a second vehicle (with insurance, registration, gas, maintenance, etc.), a professional wardrobe, the higher taxes, the money lost by not being able to shop for bargains, and the endless incidentals such as Starbucks on the way to the office, lunch with the boss, gifts for colleagues, and take-out for dinner because mom is too tired to cook after a long day at the office. Again, I stand by my observation that the majority of working women do not bring in any extra income, but rather often lose money by working.
If a couple is childless through no fault of their own, or if the lady is older and all her kids are grown, I could see why maybe she would like some outside diversion such as a job. But I would like to ask all happily working mothers: why in the world would you pay money to spend less time with your children? Why would you run yourself ragged trying to juggle everything only to find in a few years from now that it just can't be done?
I wonder if Ms. Palin would trade her career for not having her teenage daughter pregnant out of wedlock, but sadly, I don't think she would. I am fairly certain she is convinced the one had nothing to do with the other.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Italian prune plums*
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream sugar and butter until smooth and creamy; add egg and vanilla, beating until creamy. Add flour and milk alternately until well blended. Spread batter in a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Cut plums in quarters, removing pits. Lay fruit in rows, skin side down on batter. Make rows crowded with fruit.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon**
Mix all ingredients together, and crumble through fingers. Sprinkle evenly over batter and fruit.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.
*The only store in my area that carried this kind of plums was Whole Foods. The conventionally grown kind were on sale for only $.99/lb. These plums are only in season for a couple of weeks each year, so if you want to try this cake you would need to make it right around now. Here is a picture of Italian prune plums to give you an idea of what to look for:
**My plums were pretty tart, so I omitted the cinnamon from the streusels and instead sprinkled the plums generously with cinnamon-sugar before crumbling the streusel topping on top of them.
The cake tastes great by itself, but you can also add some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Principal who found newborn baby in school trash can talks
PHOENIX -- Osborn Middle School Principal Marty Makar is the one who first came upon that heartwrenching scene - a baby tossed away with the litter of everyday school life.
Makar shared how events played out that day as she walked back from a meeting and an unexpected sound caught her ear.
”So I went to look in the trash can."
There was a plastic bag, open, and a wad of clothes in it.
”It didn't look like anything special , except that the clothing inside the bag was moving."
Makar called for the vice principal and says they immediately called 9-1-1. Their first concern was the little new born boy, but the fabric in the bag matched their school uniforms - opening new questions about the mother.
“He was healthy he was sucking on his hand, he was doing fine thank goodness, but aside from all that emotion for the little boy, we know this girl, she is part of our Osborn Middle school family."
While Makar says they had no idea at that point who the mother was a janitor had seen drops of blood in the nurses office.
School nurse Ellen Phungrassamee confirmed a girl spent most of the day in her office complaining of cramps.
At 4pm the girl left, saying she felt better.
About 90 minutes later the infant was found in a school trash can.
While some say the newborn's mother should have known better, the principal says that's asking a lot from a 14 year old.
”We are asking a child who we aren't even sure if she knew of her condition, who is experiencing something hardly any other child goes thru, to find a safe haven. I don't know how fair that is."
They "don't know how fair that is" to expect a 14-year old to know not to throw a baby away?!? That is "asking a lot"??? Sounds like the girl is not that stupid if she gave birth on her own, with a few drops of blood the only trace left. Sounds like the principal is a complete moron herself.
This happened at a MIDDLE school. What goes on at high school?!??
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The kids and I recently stumbled across a book about the "Mutiny on the Bounty" at the library, and this particular account was fascinating. It is a juvenile non-fiction book, but illustrated beautifully just like a children's picture book. What I found especially interesting was the depiction of the characters, which traditionally in movies has been somewhat black-and-white, with the ship's captain portrayed as unreasonable and mean. According to the book, this is not accurate. A search on Wikipedia gave similar details. A very fascinating story indeed! You should check to see if your local library carries a copy of the book.
Imagine living in a place that is inaccessible by any modern means of transportation. There is no airport or even safe harbor. Supply ships come to the island twice a year, but stop short of the island - goods are transported there by longboat. No television service, no cars, no hospitals. Everyone lives off the land (and sea for fish), and makes a little money on the side with souvenirs. Compare that to the busy, noisy, and dirty metropolis that I live in - which is actually much nicer than just about any other major U.S. city.
Well, one can dream.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Five little monkeys jumped on the bed.One fell off and bumped his head.The mama called the docter,the doctor said,"No more monkeys jumping on the bed."So,four little monkeys jumped on the bed.One fell off and bumped his head.The mama called the doctor,the doctor said,"No more monkeys jumping on the bed."So, three little monkeys jumped on the bed.One fell off and bumped his head.The mama called the doctor,the doctor said,"No more monkeys jumping on the bed."So, two little monkeys jumped on the bed.One fell off and bumped her head.The mama called the doctor,the doctor said"No more monkeys jumping on the bed."So,one little monkey jumped on the bed.She fell off and bumped her head.The mama called the doctor,the doctor said,"NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED."So five little monkeys fell asleep."Now that is good."said mommy"Now I can go to sleep."
Infants Strangled to Death in Simplicity Bassinets: CPSC Urges Consumers To Stop Using Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 Convertible “Close-Sleeper” Models
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents and caregivers to stop using convertible “close-sleeper/bedside sleeper” bassinets manufactured by Simplicity Inc., of Reading, Pa. CPSC has learned that on August 21, 2008, a 5-month-old girl from Shawnee, Kan. was strangled to death when she became entrapped between the bassinet’s metal bars. This is the second strangulation death CPSC has learned of in the close-sleeper bassinets. On September 29, 2007, a 4-month-old girl from Noel, Mo. became entrapped in the metal bars of the bassinet and died.
CPSC is issuing this safety alert because SFCA Inc., the company which purchased all of Simplicity Inc.’s assets at public auction in April 2008, has refused to cooperate with the government and recall the products. SFCA maintains that it is not responsible for products previously manufactured by Simplicity Inc.
The Simplicity 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 convertible bassinets contain metal bars spaced farther apart than 2 3/8 inches, which is the maximum distance allowed under the federal crib safety standard. The metal bars are covered by an adjustable fabric flap which is attached by velcro. The fabric is folded down when the bassinet is converted into a bed-side co-sleeping position. If the velcro is not properly re-secured when the flap is adjusted, an infant can slip through the opening and become entrapped in the metal bars and suffocate. This warning does not cover bassinets produced in recent months that have fabric permanently attached over the lower bar.
Due to the serious hazard these bassinets pose to babies, CPSC urges all consumers to share this safety warning with day care centers, consignment stores, family and friends to ensure that no child is placed to sleep in a Simplicity convertible bassinet covered by this warning.
The Commission voted, using its new authorities in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, to release this warning upon making a finding that the health and safety of the public require immediate notice.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
With this nifty device, women's dilation can now be checked continuously via electronic sensors attached to her cervix. A third sensor "is affixed to the fetal crown and at external anatomical locations [to] enable accurate monitoring of fetal head descent". In plain English, this means the sensor is screwed into the baby's scalp. Since the manufacturers probably guessed that some Moms might shudder at this thought, they were careful to add that internal fetal monitoring via ECG is standard practice in most hospitals, which it isn't. Nor has it been in about 20 years. Of course, that leads to the conclusion that the sensors attached to either side of the cervix are most likely also screwed in - how else could they even stay in place? The manufacturer claims that this is painless, but that could only be true if the area is anesthetized. Either that, or their little blurb was written by a guy who has never had his cervix touched during labor.
Cervical dilation is NOT an accurate prediction of how fast or how well labor is progressing. Most moms with many children are dilated several centimeters during the last month of pregnancy without being in labor at all. You could go from 0-8 cm really fast (as is the case, for example, with many breech babies), and then get stuck at the end because the baby is not yet ready to descend after such rapid dilation, poor presentation, or a short cord that takes hours to stretch. On the other hand, it could take a lot of time and hard labor to get to 5 cm, only to have labor kick into high gear at that point and delivering within an hour. Home birth midwives perform manual checks of the mom at her request, but rarely of their own accord. To a midwife, the mother's attitude is a much better indicator. If she is only dilated to 6 cm but saying that she just can't go on any more, everyone knows baby is about to come. If she is still laughing and having a good time at 7 cm, it is probably going to be a while.
Of course, there are many advantages to using such a monitor, mostly financial. By tying a woman to bed with this device, her labor will likely progress much slower, which leads to increased rates of C-sections because it makes it so easy to convince the mother that her baby was in distress and needed to be delivered via emergency surgery. Also, any Mom would get discouraged if she didn't make much progress for some time, or not as much as expected, and would be asking for an epidural at best, if not an elective C-section.
My guess is that another supposed advantage of this device is to cut down on every intern on the maternity floor performing an internal exam on the mother. Which of course, it wouldn't. Not only do medical students have to perform a prescribed number of various procedures before being licensed, but I doubt they would just want to miss out on the fun of examining a helpless, laboring woman. Yes, I did just say that. Since 90% of OB/GYNs are men, and 100% of those men are perverts, I conclude that 90% of OB/GYNs are perverts.
By the way, if that upsets you, please don't forget to check "I hate this blog" on my poll in the right column. Then call your male OB for an appointment to get molested.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
As I had suspected, the baby had turned into the right birth position after the chiropractic adjustment two weeks ago. Still, it was nice to have the midwife confirm this to me. The baby is also a lot lower now, and it is highly unlikely that it will change positions again. Everything else is going very well, too. My blood pressure is always very low (today was 98/63), I have no swelling or other complaints, and I am not too tired. Starting next week, I will have weekly checkups until the birth, but since Connie comes to the house for that it really is not an inconvenience for me at all. All the kids love being there for the prenatals, but Miriam is especially fascinated by them. She tries to imitate the midwife, and it is really funny.
It was also very nice to get to visit with the other midwife today, Marinah, who is flying up for my birth from Southern Mexico. She had to be in Arizona this last week on a business-related trip, so I got to see her while she was here. She was the midwife who attended Miriam's birth, along with Connie, who was her apprentice at the time. Back then, Marinah was living in Phoenix.
Three years ago, when we were thinking about where to start the church, the fact that there was such a good midwife in town actually played a role in our decision. It may seem trivial, but finding the right midwife can make a world of difference. It can be as hard as finding a good church in some areas of the country.
So I was very disappointed last year when I found out that Marinah was moving to Mexico, but after talking to her today it seems there might be a chance that she is moving back sometime in the not-too-distant future. That would be SO wonderful!
Anyway, my due date is Oct. 15th. Marinah will be in town Oct. 10-21. Please pray that the baby will be born during that time. Based on "past performance", I should be on target with those dates. Of course, if the baby comes earlier or later than that, I would still have Connie and another midwife at the birth, but it would be so wonderful if it was Marinah and Connie there.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Of course, I went straight to the "baby" section, where there are literally thousands of items I would be interested in such as cloth diapers, slings, nursing covers, and many more.
Thank you, Joy, for sharing this information!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Sure, you could just use ready cake mix and frosting out of a tub. But I would not recommend any of the main stream brands such as Betty Crocker or similar ones. They have a long list of unhealthy ingredients and don't even taste good at all. In 8 years of marriage, I have never bought ready cake mix or frosting, and don't intend to ever do so.
The best and cheapest option is to make your own cake and frosting from scratch, which doesn't take that much more time. With four young children and highly pregnant, I still manage to bake something from scratch almost every single day (cakes, pies, cookies, pizza, bread, etc.). Skip that TV show you just HAVE to watch and use that time to make a healthy dessert for your family instead.
Alternatively, you can also find ready mixes for cakes and frosting at the health food store. My favorites are the ones made by Dr Oetger, but these are quite more expensive than making your own.
Here are some additional ideas to increase the nutritional value of your favorite recipes:
- You can substitute the flour in just about any recipe with whole wheat pastry flour without anyone noticing.
- You can use canola oil instead of butter in most cake recipes without having to make changes such as adding more flour or less liquid. Your cake will be a lot moister, too, which makes it even less obvious that you used whole wheat pastry flour. Oil is also cheaper than butter.
- Use butter instead of shortening in all your pie crusts. Shortening should not be an item stocked in your kitchen if you are health-conscious.
- Never use margarine for anything. Even the ones labeled as healthy are not.
- You can substitute up to half of the butter/oil called for in a recipe with all-natural apple sauce or mashed banana to cut down on the fat calories. The texture will be more gummy and chewy, though.
- You can reduce the sugar in most recipes by 1/3 to 1/2 without much noticeable difference.
- Never use sugar substitutes, including Splenda, none of which are safe or healthy.
- You can substitute honey for sugar in many recipes. Because honey has twice the sweetening power of sugar, you will only need to use about half as much (or one fourth as much if you were planning on cutting the sugar content in half anyway). This works especially well in cookies, which will stay very moist and chewy.
- Do not use non-stick baking pans or the new silicone dishes, all of which break down their unhealthy coating into your food. Instead, buy glass or ceramic bakeware, or the old-fashioned metal pans without non-stick coating. Another option is cast iron.
- Instead of using parchment paper (which is lined with unhealthy chemicals to make it non-stick), spray your baking pans with oil or rub them with butter.
There is a place for sweet treats even for the health conscious if you adopt a few of these minor changes, and make more changes over time.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This post is not about the negative effects of artificial food additives/colors, but you can do a google search on the subject if you are curious. In Germany, where I come from, most artificial food colors are not labeled safe for human consumption, and are thus not allowed to be used in food items. Yet, there are many cake decorating items available in all sorts of colors, based on all-natural food extracts. For years, I have been searching to find something similar here in the United States, and I think I may just have found it.
India Tree makes a line of all natural food colorings and sprinkles called "Nature's Colors". Here is a picture of the shades of frosting that can be made with their liquid food colors, which are made from the following ingredients: BLUE: glycerin, deionized water, red cabbage. RED: beet juice, citric acid. YELLOW: glycerin, deionized water, turmeric, sodium hydroxide.
Decorating sugars are available in the following colors:
This is a picture of their other all-natural decorating items. The only thing not shown here are the all-natural snowflake sprinkles.
I am going to order from them later today, and will write another post to update you on how I liked their products.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Instead, here is a video clip of a very impressive storm we had recently. What you can't see in the clip (because it doesn't show you the whole 360 degree view) is that some part of the sky was illuminated by lightning the whole time. It looked like a gigantic strobe light was on. This went on for several hours. The paper the next day said that there were more than 1700 recorded lightning strikes per hour! The storm knocked down a bunch of power lines, trees, etc. so it led to a few days of power outages and blocked roads. Thankfully, I didn't notice any of that because we mostly stay home during the week anyway, and our power was still on. As I was outside watching the storm, I kept wondering how there can be people who do not believe in God, and are not scared of His magnificent powers. I wasn't scared of the storm one bit, but I think I would have been if I were not a believer. It was VERY impressive.
My husband is in town all week this week, which is rare. Usually, when he is home it means that I will get terribly behind on housework because I hang out with him instead, but he has been busy working around town so that is not an issue this time. Please pray for his ear, which was injured during the shooting outing last week. A tiny piece of rock that must have bounced off after being struck by a bullet hit him in the ear. I didn't clean the wound right away so now the area it is somewhat infected and very painful, but improving.
We are in week #6 of school, and it is going much better than I had anticipated. The boys are all enjoying learning. Miriam can be a bit of a distraction, as she insists on staying in our school room the whole entire time that I am in there. She tries to climb into the boys' laps and color their worksheets with them, play with their manipulatives, cut/glue their craft projects, etc. They have an endless amount of patience for her, and find it very amusing.
For years, I have done some freelance work from home as a translator, mostly specializing in the medical field. There is a big agency in Chicago that I work for most of the time, but I have not done much work for them lately because their turnaround times are pretty short and I am exhausted from being pregnant and busy mothering the other four. Although translating pays pretty well (especially considering that I can do it anytime day or night from home since it is all computer-based), I don't do it for the money. My husband has told me many times that he neither needs nor wants me to be working more than I already have to at home. But I really, really enjoy the fact that I get to use my brain on a more advanced level than that required to teach my young children. I also love reading about and learning the latest scientific findings in medicine. It has done little to increase my faith in the medical establishment to read about their botched drug trials, patients dying from terrible side-effects or human error, and a whole bunch of other information that is not usually reported in the mainstream news. Anyway, last week I was contacted by another very big agency in New York who needed someone for medical translations from German into English and vice versa. They sent me an already translated text that needed to be edited. My rate for editing is $30/hour, and they quoted the job at 6 hours. I accepted their quote, but as it turned out it only took me a little under 3 hours to complete, so I actually made $60/hour on that particular project! I am hoping that they will be sending me more work in the future, since their turnaround times are much more reasonable. I only work at night after the kids are in bed or sometimes during their nap, so my translating doesn't affect them at all.
Solomon, who is turning 7 this month, is a very avid swimmer now. While we were in the pool today I noticed that he got a lot of freckles this summer. He still has all baby teeth, and none of them are even loose, which he is not happy about at all. He has been getting his big molars in the back though, so maybe the baby teeth will start falling out soon. I can't believe how fast he is growing up! Seems like yesterday he was a grouchy baby from teething. His favorite subjects in school (he is in 3rd grade) are history, science, and what he calls "verbal math" - which means I sit down and go over the particular math chapter for the day with him, and he gives me all the answers verbally rather than having to write the problems and answers in his notebook. He spends most of his free time sitting outside reading biographies and other non-fiction (he is currently all into George Washington and Christopher Columbus) or pondering scientific questions that he can bombard me with later. Today, he wanted to know whether the absence of cold is warm or hot, because warm would still have to contain some cold in order not to be hot, but how hot is the absolute absence of cold? Which led him to ask what the hottest temperature in the universe was. Which led to the question of why is space cold. Then he wanted to know what would happen if we pumped air from the earth through the atmosphere into space. And on and on. I was just trying to relax in the pool but instead left feeling somewhat inept. He also flooded both bathrooms today carrying out several water-based science experiments with magnets that he had read about earlier.
Isaac is 5 1/2 and in 1st grade. He is getting very good and fast at reading, and is also starting to enjoy it more and more. I think once he gets to the point where he feels confident to pick up any of his children's books and start reading it his reading skills will skyrocket. Right now, he seems to think he can only read his first grade readers, when he could actually read pretty much any simple book. One of his favorite subjects is penmanship because he writes very neatly, especially for a boy, and neater than Solomon, which makes him very proud. I think his favorite part of being in first grade is that he no longer has to take naps. Isaac is the one responsible for caring for our dog, which means he feeds and waters her and plays with her, which really suits his personality. He loves anything that has to do with being outdoors, being active, and interacting with animals. Thankfully, he hasn't tried to convince me to buy him a horse lately. Of all our kids, he gets the most attention when we are out and about because he is very outgoing and charismatic.
John, who will be 4 in December, is still going through K4 at double speed (I skip every other lesson). While he is very smart and has no problem at all learning a new letter every day and retaining both its name and sound, his attention span is very short. I use lots of different games to keep his attention, and can only teach him for about 10-15 minutes at a time. I was very surprised when he suddenly started sounding out blends like "ta", "te", "ti", "to", "tu" and blends with other consonants with complete ease. Getting kids to blend letters together (rather than sounding them out individually) is one of the hardest things about teaching them to read, and one that takes a lot of time and patience. If he keeps going like this, I will use the Landmark Freedom Baptist Curriculum for K5, which has much more advanced reading than the A Beka kindergarten program. Like Isaac, John has very good fine motor skills as evidenced by his neat writing and the fact that he can cut things out near perfectly. He continues to get changed at least 4 times a day because he loves dressing up as all sorts of things. Not only does he get all his outfits dirty each day, but he also rips a lot of clean laundry out of his closet that then ends up in the dirty hamper. I have no doubt at all that between all the kids, I end up washing a lot more clean than dirty laundry.
Miriam is very sweet and starting to be less stubborn after I won the last few showdowns. She still does not talk hardly at all, which is weird because about a year ago, she could say at least 20 different words. Once she started walking, she pretty much never talked again. She understands just about anything we tell her, though, and she also gestures to tell us what she wants (either that, or she screams). She is also very neat and tidy. Earlier this week, my husband got home from work and laid down on the sofa, his shoes still on. She immediately walked over, pulled his shoes off (with his help), and then carried them to the shoe closet. When I change her clothes, I have to hand her the dirty ones so she can put them in the hamper. She also loves to get on her stepstool and help me with the dishes. Yesterday, as I was loading the dishwasher, she started handing me dishes one by one. She noticed that after taking the first dish from her, I rinsed it under the faucet before putting it in the dishwasher. So before handing me the second dish, she rinsed it herself and handed it to me very proud of herself. It was so cute! Of course it wasn't so cute a few weeks ago when she decided to wash my cell phone. She brought it to me dripping wet, with a huge smile on her face and chattering unintelligibly. She was seriously devastated that I didn't just jump for joy when she had "helped" me so much. The good news is that my phone is still working. The bad news is that the screen stays lit up now all the time, which means that my battery is dead at the end of every day.
That's pretty much it. No big news, just everyday fun stuff. We have only 4 more weeks of school before our "baby break". I am busy trying to assemble all the supplies for the birth, sterilizing and putting away sheets, getting the baby stuff out of the shed and washed, and just generally trying to keep the house as clean and clutter-free as possible. I am also planning activities for our church's new homeschool group, something I am very excited about. Right now, including us, there are 4 homeschooling families in our church.
Hopefully I'll get some pictures on here in the next few days.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Some of the exciting things I got to do were:
- Ride an escalator: I can't remember the last time I stepped onto an escalator. I always have little ones with me, so I use the elevator even if I am not using a stroller because I'm afraid one of them might get scared and fall.
- Try on clothes: I was shopping for a dress to wear to an upcoming wedding. While the boys are old enough to stand outside the waiting room, I always end up with the baby in the changing room with me. Any nursing mom knows that getting changed in front of your baby to them is just an invitation for a leisurely dinner, so I usually skip the trying-clothes-on part. But not so tonight!
- Browse the magazine section at Borders: Most magazines these days are so horrible I would never even walk down the magazine aisle with the kids. I have been wanting to find some nice craft magazines to give me ideas for the ladies' activities at our church, so tonight was a good time to look for them. Did you know there is a whole genre of magazines for dog owners??? One title that caught my eye was "Modern Dog". I didn't know that there were modern dogs - as opposed to what? Old-fashioned dogs? Fuddy-duddy dogs? Our dog is just a plain dog. She eats, sleeps, and barks if anyone tries to get into the yard. She has few, if any, opinions of her own as far as I can tell.
Since I didn't end up buying anything, I stopped to pick up some dinner at California Pizza Kitchen to enjoy with just my husband and I after the kids were in bed. I think this was a great idea and a much better option that taking the whole family out to eat. On the drive home, I was sure to stop for every yellow light just to extend my evening by myself by a few minutes.
See, I like to get a break from being a mom, too. But at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade riding escalators for raising kids on a permanent basis.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Here is my own little break-down:
Hosptital birth: $ 20,000 - 30,000
Home birth: $ 2,000 - 4,000
Well-baby checkups: $ 70 - 120 each, at least 6 during the first year
Going in if baby is actually sick: $70 - $120 maybe once during the first year
You will actually pay even more if you take your baby for checkups because of the sickness that they will pick up from going to the office, which in turn will make it necessary to purchase medicine for them. Since I "saw the light" on this issue and stopped bringing healthy babies to the doctor, two of our youngest three have never been to a doctor, and when I took Miriam it was a complete waste of time and money as I was told everything was fine and she would recover on her own in a couple of days. Such is the health of children who are not drugged at birth, vaccinated, fed formula, and left with babysitters/daycare centers/church nurseries (i.e. leper colonies).
Formula: $ 1,000 - $2,300 depending on brand/type
Mom: $ 0
For women using formula, again the actual cost is much higher because of such necessities as bottles, sterilizers, etc. Breastfeeding women not only do not need any of these things (or a breast pump for that matter), but they actually SHOULD NOT buy them because they might be tempted to use them if their milk supply is down for a day or two due to sickness, etc. Giving a baby a bottle under those circumstances will only aggravate the problem. Most breastfeeding moms eat much less than normal (the body's natural way to lose baby fat) so extra food for mom is not a factor.
Jarred baby food: $.60 - $1.50/jar
Home-cooked food: practically $0 for the amount a baby eats
By the time a baby is old enough for solids (around 8 months of age), it can go straight to table foods such as mashed banana/avocado/potatoes/peas/etc., cooked oatmeal/rice pudding/cream of wheat, applesauce, all-natural crackers, and many more foods that are part of every family's normal routine, which completely eliminated the expensive (but oh-so-cute) baby food jar phase. That stuff tastes revolting, anyway.
Crib + bedding: $ 200 - $800 (and much more if you want designer stuff)
Parents' bed: $ 0
Yes, our babies sleep in bed with us, and let me tell you: it's priceless! Waking up to sweet milk breath and the scent of baby skin and hair right under your nose must be one of the most rewarding things in life for any parent. You may need to buy a bed rail once baby gets older (about $30). If you have a waterbed or a bed with a very poor (i.e. saggy) mattress, you should invest in a nicer mattress instead of buying a crib. If you do buy a crib but are the attached type of parent that finds it natural to nurture their baby, you will have gotten yourself a very expensive clothes hamper.
Clothes: $500 - $1,200
My cost: about $200 - $300 if I don't have any clothes to pass down, much less when I have several babies of the same gender right in a row
Changing table: $70 - $600
Your bed: $10 for a waterproof pad for beginners, pros can change a diaper in less than 30 seconds and know how to avoid "accidents"
When I had a changing table, it suffered the same fate as the crib: we stored our clothes on it. Using the bed/sofa or whatever other flat surface you are near is so much more convenient ("So-and-so, get me a diaper and wipes, please!") than lugging the baby to the changing table. Plus, once the baby knows how to roll over it is a lot harder to keep them up there than on a large surface such as a bed.
I could go on and on about other useless purchases. Instead, here is a list of all the things I think you really need. Items that are not absolutely necessary but are nice to have are in italics.
- car seat
- (receiving) blankets
- diapers + wipes
- bouncy seat, swing, or Bumbo (to keep baby busy for a few minutes when your hands are full)
- bassinet (to keep baby near during daytime naps)
- nursing pillow
- a couple of new, soft towels (NOT the flimsy baby towels)
- high chair (once baby is about 6 months old and would enjoy sitting with the family at meals even if they are not yet eating)
Remember: pregnancy hormones and BabiesRUs are a bad combination. Now on my 5th baby, I couldn't spend a $1,000 gift card in there if I had to - it's a plastic world for plastic babies. Human babies need Mom, and that's pretty much all they need.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Lo and behold, other people seem to think the same. The following article goes so far as to call child care "abuse":
Childcare for babies is 'abuse', says author Mem Fox
By staff writers and wires
August 31, 2008 02:35pm
- Author says babies shouldn't be in childcare
- Babies need time, not posh clothes, she says
- CareerMums slams comments as "irresponsible"
PUTTING babies into childcare is a form of abuse, leading children's author Mem Fox claims.
Ms Fox, a children's literacy advocate and author of the best-selling Possum Magic, said she believed society would look back on the trend of allowing babies only a few weeks old to be put into childcare and wonder, "How could we have allowed that child abuse to happen?".
"I just tremble," she said. "I don't know why some people have children at all if they know that they can only take a few weeks off work.
"I know you want a child, and you have every right to want a child, but does the child want you if you are going to put it in childcare at six weeks?
"I don't think the child wants you, to tell the honest truth. I know that's incredibly controversial."
She said a Queensland childcare worker had told her earlier this year: "We're going to look back on this time from the late '90s onwards - with putting children in childcare so early in their first year of life for such long hours - and wonder how we have allowed that child abuse to happen".
"It's just awful. It's awful for the mothers as well. It's completely heartbreaking," Ms Fox said. "You actually have to say to yourself, 'If I have to work this hard and if I'm never going to see my kid and if they are going to have a tremendous stress in childcare, should I be doing it?'
"Babies have much higher levels of stress in childcare."
Fox, 62, who has a daughter Chloe, 38, said parents were sometimes distracted by "the trappings" of having a baby, such as designer clothing and decorated nursery.
"When they have the good house, the good car, the good job - we're talking about very advantaged people - they have everything and they think, 'Now we need a baby which we can dress up and make look perfect'," she said.
"But do they realise that child needs love more than anything else in the world? It needs love, time and attention."
The Australian Family Association (AFA) said it was "largely supportive" of her comments.
"She's right, large amounts of research are coming in showing that - particularly for children under two but also under three - childcare is generally likely to be harmful to them," AFA spokeswoman Angela Conway said, pointing to research from the US and UK.
The founder and director of CareerMums, Kate Sykes, slammed Ms Fox's comments as "irresponsible", saying many couples have no choice but to place their infant children into childcare.
"There's so many pressures these days on just being a good parent that having negative coverage on childcare like that is very frustrating for a lot of parents," she told AAP.
CareerMums is an online careers centre for working parents and also advises workplaces on retaining working parents.
Ms Sykes said there were some "really good childcare centres" that were "doing a huge amount" for children.
"Things are different these days," she said in response to the Ms Fox's comments.
"Over 65 per cent of families have both parents working and ... for a lot of people it's not about choice, it's because they have to.
"They both have to be earning money to pay off the mortgage."
Ms Sykes, who has a two-year-old and a four-year-old, said they had been in part-time child care since about eight months of age and "I think it does amazing wonders for their social skills".
"I don't see anything that's gone terribly wrong putting them into child care," she said.
The AFA said the association was "largely supportive" of Ms Fox's comments but the language used was "perhaps a little bit unfair".
"Childcare is not a good place for babies and we support her in that but we know that many families have elected to put very young children and infants into childcare because of serious economic pressures and ... we need to face up to that."
Ms Conway also said the childcare sector employed "strong marketing strategies" to convince parents children were better off in care "and large numbers of parents have been convinced that their children should be in childcare at least one day a week".
She said a solution to the problem was for the Government to redirect the money it provided to childcare providers to families so parents could afford to choose whether to remain at home or not, free of financial pressures. [What a joke! How about if the government, instead of "redirecting" funds, stopped taking away the money that it now gives to childcare providers from the families? Maybe if people weren't taxed like that, they could more easily afford to live on one income? What sense does it make to pay the government, so that they can give money to childcare programs, that you then end up paying for while you are at work because your taxes are so high?!? And why does this article capitalize the word "government? Have they really taken the place of God?]
A Federal Government census of childcare services released this year found 757 children were attending long daycare services for at least 60 hours a week in 2006. [Can you believe that? Most children ages 3 and under sleep 12 hours in every 24 hour period. That means that of the 84 hours/week spent awake, more than 60 are spent in the care of a complete stranger.]
A further 9426 children were in care for between 50 and 59 hours a week.
An Australian study that measured levels of the stress hormone cortisol in more than 100 children in childcare found children in centres with lower standards became more stressed throughout the day.
- With the Sunday Mail (QLD) and AAP
But even in the case of those women who "must" put their kids in daycare, the damage to the child and its relationship with its parent(s) is just as real and permanent. Maybe if girls thought about these things when they are young, they would be less likely to get pregnant out of wedlock and end up as single moms. They may have no other choice but to leave their baby in daycare, because jobs from home are rare and do not pay much.
Maybe young, single girls would think twice about dating or marrying a deadbeat who works 2 days a week and spends the rest of his time playing soccer with his buddies. No doubt, that same lazy jerk will expect them to put on a pair of pants, drop the baby off at daycare, and march off to work all day every day in order to support a lavish lifestyle in spite of his slothfulness. After all, that kind of guy needs toys such as big trucks, big TVs, every electronic gadget, fancy clothes, and let's not forget the booze and party life. When material things are the only impressive thing about yourself, I guess you have to get a lot of them.
No doubt, kids can be really annoying, and are certainly more work between the hours of 9 AM - 5 PM than just about any job I can think of. So if you don't like hard work, just don't get married and never have kids. But if you do, you will just have to stop being selfish and take responsibility for your actions. Children are a priceless treasure, but that doesn't mean there isn't a huge price to pay and countless sacrifices to be made to have them.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
- She is a woman - see Exodus 18:21. Her place is NOT in politics, but in the home, caring for her family and raising her children. While she was pursuing her wonderful career as the governor of Alaska, her 17-year old daughter apparently decided to seek attention from her peers and wound up pregnant out of wedlock. Yes, I know that this is very typical these days, and that many families deal with the same situation - but how many of those families had mom stay home with the kids their whole lives? A very small fraction, I would guess.
- She is not pro-family. Even though Ms. Palin is touted as a pro-lifer because she chose not to abort her Down Syndrome baby (wow, I am so impressed), she clearly has higher priorities than her 5 children if she is the governor of Alaska and now hoping to become the second in command to the most powerful political figure in the world. And what kind of an example is she setting for her own daughters and young ladies all over the country? That politics is more important for a woman than family? Her message of "women can have it all" is just not true, as her daughter just proved to the world.
- She is a feminist:
Mrs. Sarah Palin’s National Press Conference Announcement With John McCain:
To serve as vice president beside such a man would be the privilege of a lifetime. And it’s fitting that this trust has been given to me 88 years almost to the day after the women of America first gained the right to vote. I think — I think as well today of two other women who came before me in national elections. I can’t begin this great effort without honoring the achievements of Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, and, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton who showed such determination and grace in her presidential campaign. It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.
P.S. Please don't bother sending me dissenting comments. There are plenty of websites out there who think highly of McCain/Palin. This isn't one of them, and I will not post your comment.