We did it!

Yesterday I decided to begin potty training Grace.  I believe she is definitely ready for it.  After countless diaper changes Grace is now understanding what it means to go pee pee on the potty!  After waking up the first thing I told her was, “Grace, Gracie doesn’t need a diaper any more!  Diapers are for babies, like Anya, but not for Gracie.   Grace is going to go pee pee on froggy potty!”  I tried to sound as excited as I could even though deep in my mind I was really thinking oh great here we go…and…do I really know how to potty train?  YIKES!!!! First, Grace did go pee pee in her pants several times and even went poo poo as well.  Each time she would say, “oh no Gracie pee peed!”  I felt so discouraged! Maybe I should try this another time!  I don’t know what the heck I’m doing and I’m not really in the mood for cleaning up unnecessary messes right now! But then I heard a sweet little voice coming from her room saying, “Mommy, I gotta pee pee!”  We quickly scuffled together in to the bathroom and plopped her on her cute fisher price froggy potty and I never thought I’d see the day, but she did it!!  Just a matter of hours after beginning the process and she made the connection!!  So today we are repeating the potty training process.  I am so excited and so proud of her.  It is so wonderful to watch all the mile stones you go through with your child but this time I felt like it was a mile stone for me too.  I do know how to potty train!  YAY!

 


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Herbs for Kids

So the cold season has begun!  Yesterday evening I began feeling something scratchy in my throat.  Wanting to quickly ward off any buggie men in my throat that may cause a cold I quickly scuffled to my vitamin cabinet and downed some olive leaf extract, vitamin c, a multi-vitamin, and of course good ol’ echinacea.  So far so good…no bad symptoms have progressed and I am thankful.  I will diligently take my vitamin/herb regimen.

So there are wide uses for herbs for adults, but what about for our sweet little children?  Do they have to just tough it out in misery because there is nothing we can do or give them to help?  There has been so much study for big people, but not so much for little people (probably because mothers like myself are too scared to allow their children to be put through studies).  However, I am a firm believer in boosting the immune system to allow it to fight off bad germs before giving anti-immune fighting drugs such as antibiotics or cold medicines.  Let the body do what it does best and give it all it needs to do it’s work!

So, how do we know what is safe for children?  What kinds of ingredients are in our children’s vaccines that we feel safe giving?  Think about it…formaldehyde, animal cells and DNA, polysorbate-80…and the list goes on and on.  Would I really feel safer injecting things such as those but  not safe injecting something God made for the very purpose of fighting disease?  How are those any more safe than say an antiviral herb such as echinacea?  I’ve been giving my girls herbs for over a year and with each each case I am extremely careful to not give any more than the recommended amount/body weight.  I have noticed that in each case of giving these herbs when they’ve had colds, their symptoms are dramatically decreased and healing takes place much quicker than it would if I had not given them!  I know this because we did not give my eldest daughter any herbs at all her first year of life, whereas we did so with our second child.  Colds last merely a few days and no longer than a week.

Overall, I just want to encourage other mothers to think about giving their child something natural before giving something chemical, or just letting the child weather the storm on their own.  We give ourselves boosts to help fight the cold why should we deprive our children of the same thing?

Dr. Sears is a doctor who uses the best of both worlds.  He does everything to help encourage parents to feed their kids healthy ingredients, and to give them immune boosting herbs and or vitamins to help them overcome every day germs, vaccines, and colds.  His is an opinion that I trust completely.

Click here to read about what Dr. Sears says about Echinacea.

I also want my reader to remember the benefits of vitamin C.   There are liquid vitamin C bottles available in any Martin’s or Natural Store such as Kate’s in Harrisonburg.  Vitamin C is pretty much harmless in any amount and pretty much necessary in my opinion to help boost little immune systems.  I suggest you at least give this one a try!  You will be pleasantly surprised!

According to Dr. Sears,

“Vitamin C. This anti-oxidant vitamin can help boost the immune system and may decrease vaccine side effects. Give this once a day for 5 days starting on the day of the shots. Infants should get 150 mg daily, toddlers and preschoolers 250 mg, and older kids and teens 500 mg. Vitamin C drops, chewables, and capsules are available at any health food or drug store. The amount of Vitamin C in the multivitamins discussed above (with vitamin A) usually isn’t enough.”

Scroll down and ready through the entire article.  It’s very informative.

Hope you find this helpful!

Anya is One!

Today my precious little girl, Anya, is one!   I can hardly believe it.  It seems like it was just yesterday my water broke and I was continually reminding myself to relax and get rest for the up and coming marathon that was labor and delivery.  Her labor was a good one!  We had a quiet, dark room up in the hospital (room 412 I believe) and only every once in a while would the nurse come to check in on me and check Anya’s heartbeat.  From 9 o’clock and onward my wonderful midwife, Tammy, let me do the work and was there in an instant with her calm directed instructions when I was ready to push.  Pushing took a little under an hour.  It was painful, but a welcome relief from the hard contractions.  I had never felt so excited before and never felt so alive and physical at the same time.  I say physical because labor truly is your body taking over and just doing what it does best.  Afterward, with the instant cessation of pain and the truly beautiful sight of my second daughter, I felt absolutely euphoric!  As the nurses cleaned up and prepared to transfer me to a post labor room they kindly offered to give me a wheel chair.  I didn’t want it!  I felt so alive and so happy that my baby had arrived I wanted to walk.  I remember hearing the nurses at the nurses station as we walked by, happily admiring our beautiful little girl who came in at a whopping 8 lbs 11 and a half oz.

“Did she just have a baby?!”

I smiled and then returned my gaze to my little one.  August beamed at me as he cuddled Anya close to his heart in his strong daddy’s arms.  I love my husband.  He was the best “doula” I could have had.  He was my quiet strong tower when I needed him.  I couldn’t have done it without you, sweet husband of mine!

Anya took to nursing the next day.  The first day she didn’t show much interest and as I expressed my concern to the nurses they said it was normal for larger babies to not have an appetite right away since they have so much stored within themselves already.

Going home was a little hard.  It’s always hard to leave a place where everyone is doting on you all the time and then going back home where you have to take care of yourself!  But we managed.  Craving a scrumptious burger and fries on our way home August indulged me and bought me a huge burger and lots of deliciously salty fries.  Yum.  I remember craving similar things after a 3 mile cross country race in high school.  Only this time I felt I was the first place runner.  I finished the race as number one!

A year later and after many challenges of getting Anya to sleep through the night, she is FINALLY sleeping well.  I never thought it would be so hard to get her to do so, but it was.  Through every mile stone, from raising her sweet little head, to rolling over, to learning to crawl at 7 and a half months, to standing, to saying her first word (which was “no” by the way!) and finally to walking at 11 months, Anya has been one energetic, happy, and boisterous little angel!  I LOVE my little girl and she has been such a blessing in my life.  I thank God that He saw fit to entrust her in my care, to raise her, to love her, and to teach her all about Her sweet Father in Heaven.  Thank you…thank you!

Happy Birthday sweet little Anya of mine!  I will ALWAYS love you!

Christmas Creations

So today during the girls nap I decided to get crafty.  I absolutely loved doing these little projects as it allowed me to relax and have some me time.  I used to do things like this a lot but alas time is short nowadays so it is rare that I can snag a moment like this one.

A few days ago my sweet mother-in-law bought me a grapevine wreath because I had said in passing that I wanted to buy a real wreath just so I could smell the fresh pine.  After being delightfully surprised by this small gift I took to the outdoors and carefully selected a gorgeous pine.  I then cut a handful of branches to make my little creation.  It was so easy.  To make the wreath, all you do is insert some of the branches underneath the grapevines and then tie some of them down with bailing twine (or something thinner if you like).  After wrapping the branches around the wreath I then grabbed some lavender from the herb garden and decorated it as I pleased.  I am so thankful for a generous mother-in-law who just wanted to indulge my desires of making something crafty.  Thank you Leah!

I then wanted to make the red decorative paper flower to be the finishing touch, which you see in the photo above.  I originally got this idea from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine and they used felt.  I didn’t have felt but I did have this brown paper down in the garage.  So that’s what I used.

To begin draw two circles, one larger and one smaller.  I colored the smaller circle using PrismaColors® colored pencils.  They are simply the best and work well for blending colors, which is what I did.

Next, cut out the circles (large and small) and glue the colored circle to the large uncolored one.Once glued, pinch from one side like you are going to fold it completely in half.  Fold until only one side is squeezed.

 

Repeat this process until all five circles are folded in a similar fashion.  I used five because that is the amount of petals I wanted in my decorative flower.

You then will glue each petal together by pasting the glue to each side of the back of the petal.  Hold together for a minute to allow the glue to set.  It was a little difficult to keep the flower completely flat once all the petals were together, so I very simply cut out a little square and glued the flower down onto it.  (You should not see this at all from the front of the flower).

To make an ornament out of it that would hang in the center of my wreath, I glued the paper raffia to the back.  When all was said and done I was very pleased with it!

Here is the final product.

So beautiful!  So much fun!

 

Here are just a few more photos of little creations I have done to bring in a little Christmas cheer to our apartment.

This is our table-top tree!  I chickened out on getting a full size tree because I didn’t want to deal with chasing Anya around and trying to keep her from playing with the ornaments.  If we had a bigger place, I’d get a bigger tree…but small spaces call for small decor ideas!

Who am I writing about?

This past lesson that was assigned from the Institute of Children’s Literature was so much fun for me.  Mostly because it involved descriptive writing and dialogue which I love because it’s like oil painting, except you use words instead of paint.  I do tend to have trouble with some grammatical stuff but the critique I got back from my already published author and instructor was positive.  It just about gave me the boost of self-confidence I was looking for.  With each assignment I begin to to feel more and more confident about submitting one of my stories to a publisher.  My goal?  I want mothers across this nation to read my stories to their little ones at bedtime!  Just being honest there. 😉  It makes me feel good that I am finally pursuing a career that I actually will LOVE and LOVE working at.  Writing!!  What could be more wonderful?

The small dark-skinned girl caught my attention almost instantly.  Her skinny jeans and brown suede knee-high boots complimented her feminine blouse, which was tiered with ruffles.  Her long curly  hair fell a little below her shoulders and a few strands were twisted along the side, which then culminated just below her crown.  She had big brown eyes and a petite nose that scrunched as her mouth broke in to a vivacious smile.  the girl’s white teeth beamed.

Her black curls bounced as she  quickly scuffled through the kitchen and into the living room.  The girl plopped on the floor next to a box of toy cows, polar bears, turtles, and old matchbox cars.  She picked up a stuffed polar bear and snuggled it close to her face.  As she did this, her eyes closed and her cheeks once again lifted in a faint smile.  With the white furry bear still close to her face, she opened her eyes.  They seemed to fall upon the fair blonde toddler who bounced on a well-worn leather couch cushion.  She suddenly dropped the bear and skipped over to the couch.

She then sat next to the toddler.  The curly haired girl let out a seemingly joyous laugh.  When she bounced she kept her legs crossed beneath her.  The toddler watched and let out a chuckle.

“Alexandria!”  said a voice from inside the kitchen.  The woman appeared to be her mother by the way she addressed the girl.  Alexandria bounced one more time.

“No, let’s not do that again.”  Alexandria gave a slight frown.  Then as quickly as she had run into the room, she flitted back into the kitchen and climbed onto a black wooden chair that sat at the head of the kitchen table.  She picked up a purple crayon.  It was missing its paper covering.  Alexandria seemed to sit contentedly as she turned the pages of the coloring book found next to the box of Crayola crayons.

Again…LOVE writing.

Chocolate Applesause Cake

I keep thinking about how much I actually love baking.  When all is quite it is a wonderful way to rest my mind.  It’s just relaxing!  Recently, the mood struck me to whip out my non-stick bake ware, a few colorful mixing bowls and some yummy ingredients-like chocolate ingredients.  Trouble is I can’t find the time to do it because I’m just too busy during the day chasing two kids around!  I wanted to do it while the girls were napping today, but I just didn’t get around to it.  I actually read instead…relaxing enough (reading is SO wonderful to me).  Now that the girls are sleeping I still can’t bring myself to want to bake because of how late it is.  I’m tired!  But I want the warm chocolaty goodness in my tummy so badly!  What can a girl do?

Trouble is now is since August is not here at all this week I absolutely detest grocery shopping by myself with the two girls.  It’s just a bit hectic and since they are both so young hauling them around is a lot of work on my own.  So, in my fridge I have no milk or cream.  I was wondering how I could bake a cake without it.  That’s when the thought struck.  A few months ago when I was preparing my oldest daughter’s birthday cake my mom suggested putting in applesauce because I had run out of yogurt (which that particular recipe called for).  I got to wondering if I could just use only applesauce as a substitute for cream or dairy products.  Google says yes you can!  In celebration of August coming home tomorrow (yes finally) I hope to have this for him.  We’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour  (spelt is what I have and thus what I will be using)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce

I also have some m&m’s I might try inserting into this cake.  Could give it a little pizazz!

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the pans and the paper well.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla extract and 3 egg yolks until smooth.
  • In another large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy at low speed. Turning the mixer up to medium-high, gradually blend in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and keep beating until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Set aside for the moment.
  • Alternating additions, blend dry ingredients and applesauce into the oil mixture. Start and end with additions of dry ingredients and mix only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten up the batter. Fold in remaining egg whites in two or three additions, mixing only until no streaks of egg white remain and color is uniform.
  • Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Turn cakes out onto a wire rack and remove parchment circles, then allow them to cool completely before frosting.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.  If your asking me though it sounds like it will be good.  (A few days later)  IT WAS DELICIOUS.  Personally I loved finding the m&m’s in it. They were a delightful surprise.  I suggest you give this recipe a try!