Friday, September 30, 2011

30 Day Make Your Bed Challenge-Final Thoughts, Octobers Challenge Announcement and a Survey

Well today is the 30th day of the Make Your Bed Challenge.  I made my bed today, did you?

Overall I feel I did pretty good, making my bed 21 out of the 30 days (and several of those day's Ted was off work so I told myself they didn't count haha).

This is something I hope I will continue to do tomorrow and the next day and the next day.  It really does give me a sense of accomplishment and boost my energy for that day.  It has helped to motivate me to tackle areas I had been putting off for months.

How did you do?  If you took the challenge too please take a few minutes to fill out the survey at the bottom.  I will publish the results next week (which reminds me, anyone know how to make the nifty pie charts appear on the google docs?  I did it one time on accident with my first google doc, which was a giveaway form, I have no clue how I did it though and of course I can't figure it out now).

Now, I was not so organized when it came to planning October's 30 Day Challenge.  In my attempts to come up with an idea I didn't even think about the fact that I should announce the official challenge at least a week before I want it to start.  Therefore October's Challenge is going to be a 20 day Challenge.  It will start October 10 and tun through the 30th.

At first I was going to just skip October and do a challenge in November but I did not want to loose the momentum with these challenges.

Originally I was going to make October's Challenge "Crock Pot Cookin" but decided I did not want to commit myself to anything that required me buying particular things until I knew for sure my van was fixed.  We are hoping to sell our lawn mower this weekend and use that money to fix the van next week BUT it's not 100% for sure yet (since we have to sell the lawn mower first).  Because of this I choose a different challenge for October.

October's 20 day Challenge will be..............

The 20 Day: Eat Dinner at the Table as a Family Challenge-

NOW!  We already do this in our house, 7 days a week (although occasionally Ted works late so it's just the kids and I).  Always at the table, we never eat dinner anywhere else.  I feel it is so important though I wanted to make this a challenge.  For those of us who already do dinner at the table you can pick a different meal.  We used to do lunch AND dinner at the table everyday without fail, in fact I had goals of doing breakfast that way too so we would have all 3 meals at the table.  For some reason though, in the last few months (since Teddy started school) I have stopped that.  I have started letting the girls just eat lunch where ever they are (usually the living room) and it's just creating too much chaos and random food all over the place.

There has been a lot recently on the news and online about the importance of eating dinner together at the table as a family. The benefits you will give your kids by this 1 simple act are enormous and include:

1. Health- Children who eat dinner at the table with their family are less likely to be or become obese and are more likely to eat a larger amount of vegetables and be willing to try new foods.
"A 2000 survey found that the 9- to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently ate more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber. "
2.  Happiness- Kids who eat at the table with their family are happy than kids who do not.  They are less likely to develop and eating disorder or commit suicide.
"Studies have shown that kids who eat with their families frequently are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, and develop an eating disorder. They are also more likely to delay sex and to report that their parents are proud of them. When a child is feeling down or depressed, family dinner can act as an intervention. This is especially true of eating disorders, says Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, who has studied the impact of family meal patterns on adolescents. “If a child eats with his or her parents on a regular basis, problems will be identified earlier on,” she says."
3. Just Say No to Drugs- Kids are much less likely to try cigarettes, drinking or any form of illegal drugs if they eat dinner at the table with their family.
"Eating family dinners at least five times a week drastically lowers a teen’s chance of smoking, drinking, and using drugs. Teens who have fewer than three family dinners a week are 3.5 times more likely to have abused prescription drugs and to have used illegal drugs other than marijuana, three times more likely to have used marijuana, more than 2.5 times more likely to have smoked cigarettes, and 1.5 times more likely to have tried alcohol, according to the CASA report. “While substance abuse can strike any family, regardless of ethnicity, affluence, age, or gender, the parental engagement fostered at the dinner table can be a simple, effective tool to help prevent [it],” says Elizabeth Planet, one of the report’s researchers, and the center’s vice president and director of special projects."
4. It's good for your marriage too- Eating together at the table not only strengthens family ties but also strengthens your marriage.  In turn it sets good examples for your children on what a happy, healthy marriage should look like increasing the odds they will choose worthy partners in the future.
"According to researchers at Syracuse University, family routines such as eating dinner together nightly are associated with happier marriages, improved children's health, and stronger family ties."

5. Boosts Report Cards- Children who eat with at the table with their family are more likely to get higher grades than those who do not.  Most likely because things like school are often discussed around the dinner table.  We also make a point to ask Teddy about the things he did at school that day.  Even if he has already told me dinner time is usually the first chance he gets to sit down and actually discuss things with his Dad.
"Of teens who eat with their family fewer than three times a week, 20 percent get C’s or lower on their report cards, according to the CASA report. Only 9 percent of teens who eat frequently with their families do this poorly in school. Family meals give children an opportunity to have conversations with adults, as well as to pick up on how adults are using words with each other, which may explain why family dinnertime is also thought to build a child’s vocabulary"

6. Helps encourage manners and social skills-  Eating dinner together is the perfect time to mimic manners to your children.  "Pass the peas please", "Chew with your mouth closed", "Please do not talk with your mouth full, thank you"
"Family meals are the perfect time to teach kids good manners and to model appropriate table etiquette. Sharing pleasant conversation around the dinner table can also help improve a child's social skills."

7. Keeps More Money in your Pocket-  If you are eating dinner at home it is more likely to be a nutritious home cooked meal vs eating some take out pizza in front of the TV or some calorie/fat laden concoction at a local restaurant.  Eating home cooked meals at home costs FAR less than restaurants, take out or even boxed/conveinence foods in the stores (you pay for that convenience!).

These are just a few of the wonderful rewards I found.  Even WebMD has a list of benefits kids will reap if you make time to sit down and eat together at the table.

Bonus for those of you who say you find it hard to think of or muster the motivation to cook, I have found eating at the table really helps with this.  I didn't really start cooking until after we started making it a point to eat at the table every night (shortly after Kimmy was born so a little over 3 years ago).  It seemed silly to sit down to frozen pizza, boxed dinners or fast food meals.

I figure these benefits can only increase if we also do lunch everyday at the table (when the kids are home that is).  Plus lunch at the table helps mommy's sanity and keeps mess down.  I ma much less likely to find a who knows how many day old half eaten PB$J if I only allow them to eat at the table.

They say it really takes 30 days to make a new behavior a habit so feel free to extend this challenge into November to make it 30 days if you want.  Hopefully you will continue to eat together at the table as a family LONG after October 30th anyways.  This challenge can easily overlap with November's 30 Day challenge anyways, which will be......

The 30 Day Crock Pot Cookin Challenge
-you have to cook 1 meal a day (of your choice, even dessert counts) in the crock pot.  The point of this challenge will be to help us all come up with some easy and yummy crock pot recipes because if you have a crock pot it's easy to become an amazing cook (and who doesn't love to already have dinner taken care of by 10am!?!)  I will give you the rest of the details later in October though.

For now, if you would like to sign up for the October Challenge fill out this survey:

If you participated in Septembers Challenge please fill out this survey (and thank you!)


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I am NOT Inferior-Rantings of an LDS Mama

I do not talk about my faith much on my blog, not because I am ashamed or I do not want to share but simply because it just does not come up much in the day to day things I blog about.  I have no clue why that is.  Maybe because I am not doing the things I know I should be doing but we will leave that for future blog posts (possibly).  Faith is something so personal and sacred it's hard to blog about because you don't want someone stomping all over your heart.

I came across this awesome quote today in a blog that was about a completely different topic I would Love (and hope) to blog about some day.  It inspired me to write this blog.  The quote was:

God our Eternal Father ordained that men and women should be companions. That implies equality . . . There is no basis in the gospel for inferiority or superiority between the husband and wife. Do you think that God our Eternal Father loves his daughters less than he loves his sons? No man can demean or belittle his wife as a daughter of God without giving offense to her Father in Heaven.
--President Gordon B. Hinckley

I love this because as SOON as I tell people I am LDS I inevitably get the soft awkward  "oh" response often followed by an eye roll and some half hearted attempt at humor that usually involves the statement "how many sister wives do you have?"

This combined with the knowledge that I am a stay at home mom seems to send the message that I somehow consider myself "less than" my husband,  As if to say he is the one with all the power in the relationship and I just do what he tells me to do.

I always welcome questions about my faith and I know many of my friends/acquaintances are just curious.  They mean well and are not trying to be rude with their questions.  I also know many people I bump into are intentionally trying to be rude with the things they say.  I had 1 mom, not a friend or even an acquaintance just someone in a mommy group, say to me "I could never be a Mormon, I REFUSE to bow down to my husband like that.".  Said dripping with as much disdain as humanly possibly. 

Where was this quote when I needed it!!  I clumsily tried to explain to her that the idea that women are treated inferior is a misconception that many have about the LDS church that is just simply not true.  I was new to the church at the time though, only a month or so past my Baptism and I didn't have quotes like this that I could pull up out of thin air.  She went on to mock about the sister wives of course (seriously must everyone go there!) and I tried to explain to her that was the FLDS church, which I most certainly was NOT a member of.

Obviously this particular person was just intentionally trying to be rude and condescending to me.  More often than not it's just people's ignorance (and I mean that in as positive a manner as possible, not calling them dumb they are just truly uninformed about the LDS church just as I was before I joined) that leads them to the conclusions they have about how women are treated in the LDS Church.

So with this quote I was inspired to just set the record straight.  I am in NO WAY inferior to my husband.  I would never put up with a man trying to make me feel that way or in any way dominate me.  I grew up witnessing the dysfunctionality of abusive relationships and vowed I would never let a man treat me that way.

Ted is an honorable man and a wonderful loving husband (and an even more amazing father!).  He sees me as his equal and I see him as mine.  We share the burdens of life together.  We consult each other's opinions and advice in all things we do.

That's the REAL way it is in an LDS Home.  Father and Mother, man and woman are equal.  They are partners trying to trudge through this world together dodging all the perils that are thrown at them along the way.

Does that mean there are not bad men in the LDS faith, men who may abuse and make their wives feel inferior, obviously not.  But there are men like that in every faith, all over the world.  It is not something that is somehow exclusively occurring only in LDS homes.  It is not something that is exclusive to men either, as there are MANY women out there that abuse and dominate their male partners. I wish this was not the case, I wish there were nothing but good, honest loving people in the world but that is just not so.  Many people struggle with their own demons.

The LDS church does not teach or condone men in anyway dominating women, in fact it is quite the opposite that is taught.  I just felt I needed to clear the air once and for all.  That way when I am inevitably asked these questions by another well meaning (or not so well meaning) person I can refer them back here and leave it at that.  They can interpret and walk away with what they want from it.I will at least know that I tried.

this very much equal mama,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Birds and The Bees....Doggie Style

Errrrr, ummmmm WOW!  That's a really dirty sounding title isn't it!?!  It sounded "cleaner" in my  head.  Oh well, I am going to leave it, it will make since in a few more seconds.  Get your mind out of the gutter haha.

So I had to have "THE Talk" with Teddy yesterday.  Well, the doggie version of "THE Talk" that is.  Still odd and uncomfortable with a 5 year old, even if it was just about dogs (see, I told you it was not as dirty as you thought!).

Sammy with Karma-shortly after we got her (the dog that is)
We have a yellow lab (lab mix?) puppy that was given to us in the Spring of this year.  She was a cast off that had been dumped in the country with her sister.  A friend of mine found her and since we had promised Teddy when we moved to the country we would get a second dog we decided to take her.  I am a sucker for puppies, especially Labs/Lab Mixes what can I say.

Now, before we sound like horrible irresponsible doggie owners I have to say that we have never had a dog before that we did not have fixed, ever(and we have had 4 dogs total).  Until now that is!!  It was one of those things that kept getting pushed back, she was still a puppy it could wait another month right.  Each month random and unforeseen expenses would pop up (as they always do!).  The alternator for Ted's car went out, $220 BAM!  Light bill in August was especially high (REALLY HOT!) almost $300 BAM!  Then my dang van, $500-600 minimum BAM!  Things like having a dog fixed are just not on my radar, I guess I forgot unfixed doggies can make baby doggies.

I thought we had more time, I have never been around an unfixed dog so I had no clue when they went into their first heat.  I thought (was hoping) it didn't happen until after they turned 1.  I was wrong, she is in heat.

Because of this we have had 2 male dogs camping in our front lawn the last 2 days or so.  Yesterday Teddy wanted to go outside and play.  These are neighborhood dogs we know and are always friendly BUT they were being aggressive towards each other (and they normally get along fine) and I was unsure what they would do if our kids were outside.

Teddy didn't understand this and kept asking to go outside.  I told him I was worried that the dogs would not be nice to him and he kept insisting he knows the dogs and they are nice to him.  He also saw both dogs trying to, ummmm, looking for a nice word here "get it on" with Sammy (our dog that is in heat).  He kept asking me what they were doing to her and at first I said they were just playing but it was very obvious she was irritated with them and NOT playing (that's my girl, put up a fight, tell those icky boy dogs NO!).

This combined with his increasing pleas to go outside and play with the dogs caused me to break down and tell him Sammy was in heat.  Of course he immediately asked me what "heat' meant and I told him that when a dog is in heat it means she can make baby dogs.  I told him the 2 male dogs outside both wanted to make baby dogs with her and that's why they were outside and would not leave.

Sammy with Teddy-she was still a puppy here obviously
This lead into a few uncomfortable areas of questions about HOW they were going to make baby dogs.  I think I handled them pretty well though.  I gave him just enough information to satisfy his questions without going overboard and bombarding him with things his 5 year old mind was not ready for.  He seemed satisfied with my answers.  I also threw some stuff in there about the soggies loving eachother so much they wanted to make puppies together, hey what can I say I AM a mom and I DO want him to understand that sex should be with someone you love (preferably AFTER marriage! didn't throw that in because I didn't think he would buy that the dogs were married)

A little earlier than I thought I would have to have any form of this talk with him but I guess that's what happens when you live in the country and are irresponsible enough to NOT fix your dog.

Now he is all excited at the thought of puppies.  He even told me last night he thought he could feel the puppies moving around in her belly.  I told him it was a tad early for that and there is no promise she WILL have puppies but if she does, we cannot keep them.  I for one am hoping she will NOT have puppies, knowing our luck she will.  Anyone need a puppy?  Pretty sure she is 100% yellow lab.  The 2 males trying to get it on with her are 1 that looks 100% black lab and 1 that is brown and looks like some sort of Lab Mix.

As soon as the van is fixed Sammy is getting fixed too!!  If she is not pregnant that is.  OH MAN!!  I don't think I can handle puppies right now!!

How long does heat last in dogs?  I am fed up with these 2 males camping in our yard and trying to come in our house when we open the door.  Oh and the howling all night long.

All I can say is AWKWARD!!

this embarrassed and flustered mama,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Manic Monday Meals: Taco Rice

This is a total comfort food dish, and like most comfort foods it appears like a big heaping spoonful of slop on your plate but it's oh so yummy I promise.

This is one of "my own" recipes.  i use the term "Mo Own" loosely as it simply implies this was something I cam up with on my own with no outside influence from a friends dish or anything I saw on TV/Online.  It does not imply that I think I am somehow the only person to ever come up with a dish like this. 

What You Will Need:
1 can refried beans (or black beans)
cheese-shredded, whatever kind you prefer with Mexican meals.
Rice-I like to make my "Mexican Fried Rice" a Mexican spicy twist on traditional Asian fried rice
1 lb Hamburger-seasoned with taco your own of commercial brand seasoning if you use plain rice
Warm Soft Corn Tortillas or Tortilla Chips (optional)
Toppings of your choice (optional)

To Make:
1- Cook rice and brown hamburger (I leave my meat unseasoned since I use the same spices I would for taco seasoning in the Mexican Fried Rice)
2- Dump entire can of refried beans into the bottom of an 8x8 or 9x9 pan (an 9x13 pan works too everything is just thinner)

3- Add a layer of shredded cheese on top of the beans
4- Layer rice on top of cheese
5- layer hamburger on top of rice

6- add another layer of cheese on top of the hamburger

7- Cook at 350 about 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melty on top.

8- serve with warm corn (or flour) tortillas rolled up, or tortilla chips and desired toppings.  Some of the toppings our family enjoys is salsa, cour cream, avocados, lettuce, tomatoes and black olives.

This is often one of those "Until Next Pay Day" Meals for our family as we always have the 4 main ingredients on hand.  The extra toppings are just a bonus if we happen to have some or all of them (we almost always have salsa and sour cream too).

My Cooking Philosophy:
"Take what you like, leave the rest, be inspired and do your best"
I never follow recipes to the letter, I use them as jumping off points.  As inspiration to make what I want.  I usually google and take ideas from several recipes to make my own.  Except for baking, baking is a science and its important to follow those recipes the way they are written.  Even then my baking is often a combo of a few recipes and our families personal tastes.

this Manic Mama,

30 Day Make Your Bed Challenge: Inspiration

"Make your home clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy"
-Jayne Ann Payne

How is the "30 Day Make Your Bed Challenge" going in your neck of the woods?  Are you still doing it?  Did you give up?  Most important of all, do you feel it making a difference in other areas of your life?  Are you more motivated on days that you remember or does it seem to have the opposite effect on you?

Things are going well in our household.  Once I gave up on the idea of getting it made on days that Ted is off work (because he sleeps in so late) I have not "missed" a day since (all but 1 of my previous "missed" days were because of him being home.

Most importantly the motivation is there most days after making my bed.  Once I am done I want to keep the momentum up and tackle other shores on my days to do list.  Not only that but I have also found myself inspired to tackle those jobs that I just keep putting off.  You know the ones I am talking about.  The cluttered table, the bookshelf that has become a hodge podge of places with no other home, the areas of your home that are conveniently located out of sight form most so it becomes the place you just throw everything when you are in a hurry.  These are the places you think to yourself "I really need to clean that" every time you walk by yet you never do anything about it.

I have a few of these places in my home, in fact 1 is an entire room also known as "The Toy Room".  The Toy Room often has no visible floor and we have found many items in there that we thought were lost to us for good (like cell phone chargers and DVD remotes).

I also have an area in our bedroom that is the "Junk Corner".  The Junk Corner did not start out as a place for junk.  I placed a chair there and nearly stacked books that had no other home in the thoughts that it would become my reading corner.  AH, Dreams!  Like this mama EVER has time for reading, more than a chapter at a time that is.

The corner quickly became very messy thanks in part to Karma sneaking into our room (when mom or dad didn't shut the door properly) and throwing all the books on the floor.  Then mom, tired as she always is, would just throw the books back in a messy pile instead of stacking them neatly/  Quickly this lead to other things being piled high when I was trying to clean, especially when I was cleaning in a hurry trying to beat unexpected company.

Thus the "Junk Corner" was born.

Saturday as I was making the bed I decided enough was enough. I put on a movie for the kids, because I can't get anything done with them in there, and went in to tackle the Junk Corner once and for all.  I had started a few times in the past but quickly became overwhelmed and gave up.

The Junk Corner Before:

And After:

I was so inspired after cleaning up this area of our room that I decided next I want to tackle our "Paper Pile".  The Paper Pile is located in a corner of the dining room that is only visible once you are completely in the room.  It is not visible from the main areas of the house.  It is actually a little kiddie table that I have piled papers on.  Usually mail, bills and other important papers.  The Paper Pile has taken on a life of it's own since Teddy started school.  The amount of papers they send home everyday is ridiculous, save a tree people SAVE A TREE! 

So my goal this week is to tackle the Paper Pile, go through it and throw out everything (to recycle of course) that we do not need.  The important things we do need/want to keep will go in folders and neatly placed in the red crate located underneath the former Junk Corner.  I eventually would like to buy a filing cabinet but for now this will do.

After that, perhaps the dreaded Toy Room!  I do clean it about once every month, it is definitely due for that! 

I just started reading The Potentially Sane Mother's Guide to Raising Young Children again last night (I am bad with that lately) and have not yet decided if I want to continue blogging through it (since those posts take time and so few read them) or not.  I did find it ironic that in her chapter on cleaning she said if you do nothing else that day try to make your bed, do the dishes, and put away some folded clothes so things do not pile up on you.  Those are my 3 goals as well.  Her advice on toys is very similar to mine as well, only allowing a few toys out at a time and having your kids exchange them for "new" toys you have stored away somewhere.

I have a few ideas for the October 30 Day Challenge including:
30 Day "Eat Dinner at the Table as a Family" Challenge-
We already do dinner 7 days a week BUT I used to do lunch too and have stopped that recently so I would do lunch as my goal.  I truly believe it is so important to eat dinner together at the table as a family and have seen a few news stories recently revealing the positive effects it has on kids, especially when they are teenagers.
30 Day "Eat a Healthy Breakfast" Challenge-
Because I am forever forgetting to eat breakfast, I average 1-2 days a week.  Which reminds me, I forgot to eat breakfast today!!
30 Day "Exercise With Your Kids" Challenge
30 Day "Eat Dr. Oz's 100 Foods" Challenge-
I REALLY want to do this one but may have to wait until November simply because of the van situation.  I know if I were to put many of those foods on the list my hubby would laugh at skip right over them haha.  He already has a hard enough time at the store, I don't need to add to that by putting crazy foods that I am not even sure where they are located at.

If any of those sound interesting to you, whether you participated in the 30 Day Make Your Bed Challenge or not I would love to hear from you.

this bed makin mama,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bamboo Nature Eco-Friendly Diapers Review

I have to start this review off with an apology to Kyle Sather, the owner of Bamboo Nature Eco-Friendly Diapers.  He was so awesome to send me not 1 but 2 packages of diapers to review and actually took the time to talk to me on the phone about his diapers and my concerns for Karma's skin, in all the reviews I have done here and over on Instinctual Mamas I have never talked over the phone to anyone.

Now, on to my excuses as to why this review is so late.  One of the MAIN reasons is I wanted to wait until after Karma's Pediatric Dermatologist appointment because I wanted to have 1-an answer as to what was causing the rash and 2-the dermatologists opinion on the Bamboo Nature Diapers.  I packed up the few diapers I had left as well as the package the day of her appointment and set out.  Unfortunately my van broke down on the way there and we never made it to the appointment.  The appointment that took MONTHS to get!!!  This was September 7, 2011.  Our "rescheduled" appt is not until the end of November, SHEESH!  I cannot believe how hard it is to get in to see a pediatric dermatologist!

My other excuses include the fact that most of my readers also follow Katie, aka The Sparkle Mama and I wanted to have some time in between her review and mine and I try to do my reviews in order of "obligation" and I had a few ahead of Bamboo Nature Diapers.  They are all excuses and the reality is I get really overwhelmed at the idea of doing a review because I want to not only make the company happy but I also want to remain true and honest and I want to convey to you, my readers, how awesome (or not) the product was.  I don't think I am really cut out to be a bloggy reviewer.  Most of my blogs are inspired in the moment and come from my heart, anything that requires research or days to write usually fizzles out for me.  That's why I am just sitting down now and letting it flow, because these diapers are wonderful in my opinion and I want to share that with all of you.

Now, on to the review.......

I asked to review these diapers after I saw The Sparkle Mama post that she was reviewing them.  I was desperate at this point.  Karma's tush was once again inflamed with the mysterious burn like rash that we had been battling since November 2010.  The rash was so bad that it was peeling all over the place.  After countless doctor's appointments, prescription creams, over the counter aids, natural/holistic attempts and more diaper brands than I can count I was desperate.  When I read about Bamboo Nature Diapers I thought they could be our answer so I contacted the company.

Kyle was awesome, he called me over the phone and we talked not only about his company but about Karma and her rash.  He said he could not promise me the diapers would help her rash because rashes can be caused from countless things but he felt his diapers; which are breathable, eco-friendly and free of hazardous chemicals and all known allergens; would be a great option to try for her.

her rash at one at it's worst.  This was
sadly after a few days in cloth!

Karma was right at the cusp between the top weight suggestions for the size 3 and starting weight for the size 4 so Kyle sent me both sizes.  We did the size 3's first and they worked great but, once those were gone and we moved on to the 4's it was pretty obvious that was the size for her.  I would definitely suggest going to the larger size if your little one is in limbo between sizes like Karma was.

At the same time that I started using these diapers the doctor suggested to me (after I brought her in once again for her rash) that we try potty training.  At this point I had tried almost every diaper brand/style out there.  In order of worst to best, these are the brands/styles I tried (listed by how bad they made her rash to the least)
11. Pampers
10. Luvs
9. Parents Choice
8. Cloth Diapers (yes they rank way down here sadly.  Cloth while AWESOME on the other 2 girls were not Karma's friend!)
7. White Cloud
6. Kirkland Signature (Costco brand, actually equal to Kidgets and Huggies, 3 way tie)
5. Kidgets (local Dollar Store Brand-actually equal to Huggies)
4. Huggies
3. Huggies Natural
2. 7th Generation
1. Bamboo Nature
This was almost 10 months worth of trials too.  Out of everything I tried Bamboo by far preformed the best for Karma.   
Numbers 8-11 resulted in the worst rash, the type of pictures I posted on FB where her skin was blistered and peeling.  the type of rash that would cause me to go in to the Pedatrician and she would stump even them.  At one visit 3 different doctors came in and all 3 thought the rash was something different and prescribed a different treatment option for it.  This is what earned her a referall to a Pediatric Dermatologist. 
Numbers 4-7 resulted in moderate to severe breakouts that seemed to correspond with how long she had the diaper on.
Numbers 2 and 3 resulted in mild to moderate irritation for her skin, again depending upon how long she wore the diaper for.
Number 1, Bamboo resulted in almost no reaction to a very mild reaction.  Honestly, she gets the same reaction now as she potty trains if she simply pees in her undies or even just on her bare skin (as a lot of our "potty training" involves her just running around bottomless because she forgets to pull them down otherwise).

more of her rash-poor baby!

Let's move on to the smell factor.  For all of you who use cloth diapers you know if you go back to sposie's the smell is AWFUL.  Some brands are much worse than others.  I am happy to report that Bamboo Nature Diapers do not have this "sposie smell" to them.  I am not a scientist nor an expert, just a mom who has used TONS of diapers but I imagine there is no smell because there are no nasty harmful chemicals in these diapers.  Many of the "natural" diaper brands out there still have some chemicals in them, many are considered "natural" simply because they are cholorine free or contain small ammounts of organic cotton.

This leads me in to the environmentally friendly aspects of Bamboo Nature Diapers.  We all know that cloth is best BUT we all must admit that there are times that cloth just does not work.  In Karma's case, cloth was her enemy and made her break out worse than many sposie brands.  Other reasons why cloth may not be an option include vacations, care givers who refuse to use cloth, daycare environments, rashes that require creams that can damamge the cloth diapers, etc.  I knew there were sposie options out there that made Karma's rash much MUCH better but I felt so guilty when I used them.  Bamboo Nature Diapers eased most of this guilrt for me. (and I did make sure to flush the poos down the toilet!)

Bmaboo Nature products, including their eco-friendly diapers, hold the Nordic Swan Eco Label.  They are the only diaper brand to hold this label.  What does that mean?  The Nordic Swan Eco Label is issued based on a products overall life impact on the environment from production, use and disposal.

Bamboo Nature Diapers are 75% bidegradable (verses 35% for standard disposable diaper brands).  The wood pulp used for the inner of the diapers are derived from sustainable forestry; where more trees are planted than cut down.  There is absolutely no chlorine used in the bleaching process and
Bamboo Nature Diapers are not made with any known substances that are harmful to health or the environment including:
- Phthalates- Formaldehyde (HCHO)
- Organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT)- Colophonium
- Heavy metals- AZO-pigments
- Chlorine (CI)- PVC

Taken from the website:
"Abena certifies that no known substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, harmful, causing allergy, or locally irritating or sensitizing have been added during the production of the raw material or used during production of the finished product: Bambo Nature Premium Baby Diapers. In addition, Abena has successfully passed independent tests from proDERM and the Danish Asthma & Allergy Association which declare that the product poses the smallest possible risk of causing allergies and skin irritation. Bambo Nature products also explicitly list all of the “Product Ingredients” as well as the harmful chemicals and substances NOT within their diaper"

This actually relieved the guilt I had anytime I put a sposie on Karma.  It had been a long, hard road because I knew cloth was best for most BUT in her case cloth just was not the best option.  Her inflamed tush sent that message loud and clear.  I knew it was not anything I was doing to the cloth diapers too (there was no build up of ammonia, yeast or anything like that) as I used the same cloth diapers on all 3 girls and the other 2 had 0 problems with them.  I feel confident and good about using Bamboo Nature Diapers.

The final aspect, performance.  When I first posted (back in July!!) that I would be trying and these diapers many of you posted that while you liked the idea of a natural, eco-friendly diaper in the past when you had tried them the performance was less than.  Many reported having diapers literally fall apart on their baby's tush.
Karma is my super soaker.  I quickly learned why when we started potty training, she is seriously on that potty 1-2 times every hour going.  Most diapers, including sposies, could not hold her overnight.  She would either leak out or worse, the diaper would break open and the icky chemical gels inside would get all over her skin.  I found some cloth that could hold up BUT often she would wake with a fiery red tush (but she was leak free!).  Bamboo Nature Diapers held up to the "Karma Leakage Test"  Just in case you think I am exagerating I took a picture of a few of her overnight diapers.  I also weighed a few, they average about 3lbs.  THREE POUNDS OF PEE!  But Bamboo held up, no leaks, no rips or tears, nothing.

overnight diaper, side view-look at all that
wetness!  Not a single leak!

overnight diaper, inside view.  Notice how
there is no separating or tearing anywhere
on the diaper itself.  We did not have an issue
once with the diapers busting open.  Even when
her overnight diapers sagged down to her knees!

overnight diaper all rolled up, look at the size
of that thing!  Am I a bad mama for not changing
her in the middle of the night?  She would sleep
all the way through the night though.  She would
wake up crying if a diaper leaked through and she
got wet, that never happened with Bamboo
Nature Diapers though.

Over all I am very please with these diapers and so happy to have found them.  I did try them on Kimmy and Sariah too so I could say I used them on all 3 girls but I only used them that way for the first week.  After that, they were reserved for Karma because of her skin issues.  Karma is almost 100% potty trained now.  She goes in the potty all day and even at night as long as I keep the potty in her room.  She only wears a diaper when we go out in public and that is because I do not yet trust her to stay dry or use public bathrooms.  We received the diapers in early July but because of this I still have 5 diapers left.  I will be very sad once they are gone but have decided at that point I will try her out in public with just undies.  If she is unable to stay dry in public Bamboo Nature Diapers will be the ONLY thing I buy for her.  These will be the only diapers to touch her tush from now on.

The rash also appears all over her body-mostly on legs, tush,
tummy and occasionally arms.  It just appears the worst on
her diaper area because of the constant moisture down there
when a diaper is in use.

I do still plan to save 1 diaper to take in, along with the package, to her dermatology appointment in November.  I will be sure to let you all know what the dermatologist says about them.  I was really excited at the thought of having a pediatric dermatologists opinion to include in this review, stupid van!!

Just within the past few days I have noticed twice that after Karma wrote on herself with "NON-TOXIC" markers she almost immediately broke out in a rash.  Poor baby just has some seriously sensitivr skin!  I cannot wait for our dermatology appointment in November.  The second time it happened at her SPD therapy session (Sensory Processing Disorder<--yet another "excuse as to why it is hard to get on and blog long enough to do a good review) and her therapist saw it occur so I know it's not all in my head.

I feel confident that if you try these diapers you will fall in love with them.  They are the best sposie option out there so for the mamas who do not have the time or money to invest in cloth or for you cloth mamas just looking for a break these diapers are your dream come true.  You can purchase the diapers directly from the Bamboo Nature Website or you can even get the through (Kyle himself told me they are slightly cheaper on Amazon, something he is perfectly happy/excited about, AND if you join the Moms Club through Amazon you get free shipping!).

If you have tried or decide to try these diapers I would love to hear what you think about them.

this eco-friendly mama,


Kyle liked my review (YEAH!) and was not angry or frustrated with how long it took me to get it done (DOUBLE YEAH!).  Bonus, he wants to extend some discount codes to all of you so you can try these diapers too WOO-HOO.
The discount codes are:
95910 – This is a 10% off code
 Macaroni – This is a 15% off code

And, he wants all of you mamas to know that Bamboo Nature Diapers are being sold through Amazon with Subscribe and Save.  This is the lowest price anywhere.  The listing is called Abena Bambo Nature Premium Baby Diaper.   This allows 30% off for Subscribe and Amazon Moms. 

We are in the process of planning a family vacation and I know we will be using Bamboo Nature Diapers on Sariah for that.  This mama is not cut out for trying to wash and use cloth outside of the home, I am so happy I have an eco-friendly option like Bamboo Nature Diapers to turn to ♥

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baby Myah..... It was all a Hoax! But we can still do good!

Countless hours spent laying awake at night praying for the life of a precious little girl.  The "what ifs" I didn't want to face running through my mind... "what if that was my baby?" "what if I had to face childhood cancer?" "could I handle it?"  "would anyone help me fight for my baby?"

Hours and hours spent, often late into the night, searching for colostrum donations.  Baby Myah's blood counts were down again, she needed more colostrum, liquid gold.  That precious substance that had the perfect little stem cells and building blocks that could boost Myah's numbers and help her hang on just a bit longer while the search continued for a cord blood//bone marrow donor.

Hours spent surfing the web, posting anywhere and everywhere I could find asking, begging, pleading for any pregnant mothers in the Leigh Valley, PA area due before July, 2011 to please consider donating their baby's cord blood to help save precious Baby Myah.  The clock was ticking, it was April and Myah needed a match before she turned 1 in July.

Post after Post on Facebook, every page I moderated, every group I belonged to, anywhere I could think of looking for these things.  Asking hard working WAHMs to donate something, anything to the up coming auction to help raise money.  A cord blood donor had been found, now they needed thousands and thousands of dollars to pay the gap between what insurance would cover and the true cost of a cord blood transfusion.

I even scraped up a tiny bit of money myself to send in, and felt guilty for weeks that it could not be more but we just honestly couldn't afford to send more.

Then the Save Baby Myah Facebook page disappeared about a month ago.  Suspicion mounted by many but I brushed it off.  No mother would make a up a story about her baby dying from childhood cancer, that was cruel and just unthinkable.  I sent messages to Myah's mom asking her what happened, where did the page go, how was Myah doing, etc.  One week passed with no response so I sent another message.  Another week passed, still no response.  At this point I was very hurt and removed her from my friends list but still never had a doubt that Myah's fight was real.  I just assumed her mother was young, naive and very inept at showing grace and gratitude towards those who fought so hard for her baby.

Then last night SMACK!  I received a text from my good friend Cathy, owner of Blissful Booty Diapers, on of the many hard working WAHMs I had asked to donate to baby Myah.  Her text read that it was all a lie, Myah was never sick, her mom made it all up.  It was a scam  (allegedly-I say that only because I know until they find her guilty all charges are just alleged charges.  I think its pretty obvious though)

My heart sunk.  Not only had I been scammed but I had helped this mom scam so many others.  I felt sick.  Then I thought to myself, if I am this upset I can't imagine how others such as Jodi of Mama Knows Best feel.  Jodi organized one of the charity auctions, the same auction I asked so many to donate to.  She put her blood, sweat and tears into the effort to Save Baby Myah.

I wanted to jump on and immediately blog my feelings at the time but I am glad I didn't.  I decided to wait until morning because I did not want to sound too bitter or angry.  I am angry but I am only angry at the (alleged) actions of Luci (Myah's mom).  I am NOT angry that I believed the story and acted.  At the time I 100% believed Baby Myah was sick and I just felt this urge deep inside of me to do something, anything.  It was as if Myah was my own baby.  I placed myself in her mother's shows and knew I would want anyone and everyone to fight for my baby so fight I did.  I am not sorry for that.  I am sorry that it turned out to be a (alleged) hoax as I know so many of my friends also donated time, goods and money to this cause.  Just know that our donations came from the heart and therefore were not a waste. 

Yes, in the end it was a (alleged) scam but please do not let this stop you from continuing to do good and help others.  Sadly people like this make it hard for us to do exactly that but we can't live our lives in such a negative place that we believe only the bad in everyone.  Ted tells me all the time that I try too hard to see good in all people, but I think that is important.  Am I a little too trusting of others, well that's pretty obvious.  Do I regret helping, no not now (although I would have had a different answer last night in the heat of the moment).

As I once again read the article today exposing the (alleged) hoax I clicked on the YouTube video.  I had never seen this video before.  The video asks that everyone watching it please send off for a Be The Match Kit to see if they were a bone marrow match not only for Baby Myah but all those like her waiting, praying for a match.  I was inspired by this, in all the time I spent trying to help I never did this.  I focused on trying to find a cord blood donor because that was the best option for Myah.

As soon as I post this I plan to send away for a kit.  Who knows, maybe I will be that one!  The person a family has been praying for to save their loved one.  Maybe I can save another baby Myah, a baby who is REALLY sick.  If nothing else, at least that 1 good thing can come out of this!

I urge you all to do the same, especially if you are of mixed ethnicity.  Myah was of mixed ethnicity and the video said those are the donors most in need right now.  Maybe you will be the ONE!  Turn this awful situation into something positive, Be A Match!

“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
– Mother Teresa

Always do good anyways, even knowing there are those who are all too willing to take advantage of your good deeds.

If you feel so inspired, please share this blog with others, not in a negitive way because of the scandal aspect of it but in a positive way.  This entire situation can shed light on those babies, children, teenagers and adults waiting......waiting.......praying.......praying...... for a match.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toy Wars.... Saving My Sanity

The bookshelf with todays toys on it all
ready to play with.  At any one point this
is the maximum amount of toys that will
be on my floor today, AH-MAZ-ING!!!
If you are a mom you can identify with this.  You pick up toys all over the living room floor and 10 minutes later it does not appear as if you did anything at all.  You ask your kids to help you pick them up again but they whine and cry that they are playing and there is "too many" toys, "it's hard".  So you pick them up, have everything put away and POOF the floor is covered AGAIN!

Sound familiar?  It's a vicious cycle that plays out in our house many times a day.  I used to pick up the toys mid-morning, after lunch, before dinner and before bedtime.  Then I decided we would just start doing it once a day because it seemed pointless to do it so many times when they all ended up back on the floor anyways.  I decided that 1 time should be before dinner, so that the house would at least appear clean when Daddy came home.  The problem with that was I figured out quickly if we didn't have the earlier pick up times the toys just compounded upon themselves making 3x the work for that 1 pick up.

Part of the problem is my kids have a ridiculously large amount of toys.  I go through them periodically (once every 3-6 months) and purge yet there still remains a ton.  I think they somehow multiply on their own, like they are in the toy room breeding or cloning at night.

I know a lot of my frustration stems from my inability to keep the house clean.  A cluttered, dirty house = stress and anxiety for me.  I often just sit on the couch glancing around at my house thinking to myself "how am I ever going to get all of this clean?".  I often become so frustrated with all the toys that I make empty threats that I am going to throw away all the toys that are on the floor or donate them to kids who will appreciate them.  I never follow through and my kids know this so they continue to play and refuse to pick up anything. <---and by "kids" I am mainly referring to Teddy and Kimmy because Karma and Sariah are still little enough that they don't get the whole picking up concept yet.  Ironically they are the 2 most likely to try and help me pick up, only to dump everything out again once we are done (or halfway through) like its a game.

Then this week I became so frustrated that I put all of the toys into the toy room, shut the door and told the kids since they can't take care of their toys or help me clean the toys were off limits for awhile.  Of course at this point Teddy starts crying and promising me he will keep things picked up from now on. 

Almost instantly I felt guilty about the proclamation I had just made.  Then I had an epiphany, partly inspired by Teddy's tearful request to just have a few toys and thus was born our new House Toy Rule:

Each morning the kids get to go in the toy room and select several toys, enough to fill our bookshelf in the little computer/play area of the living room.  Once selected those are the only toys they get for the rest of the day.  At bedtime the toys get put back into the toy room and the next morning they get to select again.

They always have this cube climber in the
corner of the room.  I placed a few books and
stuffed animals here too.  There is also a
Fisher Price Bounce-n-Spin Zebra in the living
room to play with.
Can I just say this is AWESOME!  No more living room over run with toy clutter!  I help Sariah and Karma choose toys and also pick a few things like puzzles, blocks, books, etc so there is a well rounded balance for them to play with.  I keep 1 empty orange bucket out so that when the toys are all over the floor and no one is playing with them I can have the kids quickly help me throw everything back in the bucket and put them away on the book shelf.  The toy level is low enough that this takes less than 5 minutes to do.

It is helping me so much!  My anxiety levels are down.  Since a lot of my yelling usually came from my frustration at how messy the house was and that no one would help me clean it there is WAY less of that going on.

My house has never looked better!!  Well, except for the toy room, I really need to go clean it up and once again purge some things.  I also need to get some sort of chain lock or child proof fridge latch to put high up on the outside of the door because Karma knows how to open doors now (ironically Kimmy does not).  Both the toy room and bedroom are off limits during the day now (bedroom because Karma is destroying the wall and bed in there).  I tried those so called "child proof" door knob covers, Karma removed it in less than 10 seconds after I placed them on the doors!

What do you do to tame toy clutter in your home?

this toy happy mama,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ask 5 for 5; Bloggers Worldwide Unite

I am so excited and honored to be a part of this today.  Like the Ask 5 for 5 founder, Sarah, I too avoided the news at first.  I felt so overwhelmed, small, insignificant and helpless at the stories I saw on my TV.  I wanted desperately to help but thought to myself "I am just 1 person, what can I do?".  Sarah proves that it starts with just 1 person, who tells 1 person, who tells 1 person.  Even those among us (my family included) struggling with our own country's economic crisis can afford to send in $5 and then ask 5 friends to do the same.  We all can help, every little bit counts.  So hug your kids a little tighter, say a prayer (or whatever) of thanks for the food you have, send in $5 and then PLEASE reshare this blog (or one of the other 150 like it).   Knowledge is power!  I hope you see this same blog posted dozens and dozens of times today!

Ask 5 for 5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kreativ Blogger....who me? Aww Shucks!

I was very touched to see that Julia over at A Little Bit of All of It decided to include me in the 10 bloggers she wanted to pass this award on to.  It really did mean a lot to me, so thanks!

Now, This is the first time I have ever received anything like this but I guess, when you are chosen you are supposed to share 7 random facts about yourself and then pass it on to 10 bloggers you admire so here goes.......

My 7 Random Facts:

1. I can't swim!  Seriously!  I am a grown woman and I cannot swim.  I am terrified of it in fact.  As long as I can touch the bottom I don't mind getting in water but I am terrified to go under and to go in the deep end.  I can somewhat doggy paddle but I have a feeling, if put in the deep end, I would sink.  I think it's because my 3 first and most vivid memories of life were all of drowning.  My first memory is at age 2.  Most of it I do not remember so much as I have been told, and that is I was with my mom in CA on vacation.  My Uncle Pat lived out there at the time and my mom went to visit him.  We were on the beach and I was near the waters edge with my feet in the lapping waves when a rather large wave came in and drug me out.  What I do remember is water rushing everywhere around me, feeling terrified and unable to breathe.  It didn't last long as my mom (or my uncle, I don't remember which) quickly pulled me out.  The second memory I was at my grandparents lake cabin and I was in what seemed like shallow water until I stepped into a sink hole.  Again I mostly just remember lots of water rushing around me, terror, helplessness and the inability to breath.  I can't recall my age but I was young.  Thankfully my grandmother saw my arms flailing in the air and pulled me out.  The third memory I was not yet 5, because I was not in school yet.  My mom signed my sister and I up for swimming lessons at the YMCA and someone knocked (or pushed?) me into the pool.

2.  I never wanted to be a mom.  It's true!  From the time that I was a little girl through my late teens/early 20's I didn't want to be a mom.  I thought I would be horrible at it.  I felt I was too selfish, I couldn't imagine giving up my time, sleep and money.  I liked sleeping in until noon on Saturdays and buying myself a new pair of shoes just because I could.  Something shifted around age 22 and I started considering the idea.  Now I couldn't imagine my life with out my babies, although on the bad days I do still think that maybe I was right all along and I am not cut out for this motherhood thing.

3. I have not bought a new pair of shoes (unless $2 Flip Flops at Walmart count) since Teddy was born 5.5 years ago!  I just had to hot glue the sole back onto my favorite pair of pink Dr. Martens a few weeks ago because it was peeling completely off.

4.  I listen to Christmas Music year round.  It just makes me smile and puts me in a good mood.

5. I LOVED coffee and even after 3 years I still often miss it, especially iced coffee drinks.  I gave it up though when I joined the LDS Church

6. I hate onions but put onion powder in almost everything I cook- go figure!

7. One day I want to move off the grid, or as close to it as possible.  I am talking I want to grow my own food, raise animals, get some solar panels and a wind mill, the whole 9 yards.  I would really like to do this somewhere in Wyoming but I know Ted will never move.  Ah, dreams......
OH! But I would still want Internet of course!

Now for the 10 bloggers I would like to pass this on to, in no particular order....

This was hard, first I had to narrow it down to 10 (I have SO MANY that I love!) then I had to double check and make sure this award  had not been given to them already.  If I pass this on to you do not feel obligated to post about it or pass it on too, I just want you all to know that I admire your blogs and enjoy reading them.  You all inspire me, make me laugh, make me cry and just make me feel normal in this confusing mommy world.

1.  Rockin Mama Blog
2. Alternative Mama
3. All because Two people fell in Love
4. Not So Average, Hippie Mommy
5. Dulce de Leche
6. Jersey Girl in Louisiana
7. The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones, and Missteps
8. Beautiful Spit Up
9. Crunch Time: Getting Back to Natural
10.  Zen and the Art of Cloth Diaper Maintenance

this Kreativ Blogger,

Pumpkin Doughnuts

I was rummaging through my cabinets this morning desperately trying to find something, anything for breakfast.  With the van broke down and Ted working crazy hours (as usual) our cabinets and fridge are pretty bare.  We really needed to go to the store on payday (Wednesday).  Thankfully he will be going today after work.  That still didn't help this morning though.

My usual easy (lazy!) go to's for breakfast, cereal or oatmeal, were out as we had very little milk.  As I searched I stumbled upon a can of pumpkin,  My first idea was pumpkin pancakes, perfect for the chilly Fall weather we are having.  Alas the 1/2 recipe calls for 1 cup of milk and with the way my kids scarf down pancakes we need the full recipe. We did not have enough milk for that.  While pondering what to do now Kimmy out of nowhere asked for doughnuts and it clicked, Pumpkin Doughnuts!

Mmmmmm, I have not made these since last Fall but they are so good.  I should really rename them Pumpkin Doughnut Holes because at best that's what they resemble, maybe just Pumpkin Fried Dough would be an even better name.  Whatever you call them they are flavorful fried pumpkin yumminess.

Since I already shared the recipe last year on 3 Moms and a Kitchen I am going to be lazy and just repost here. (so ignore the tags on the pictures, it is my work so I can repost it haha).

After I began to make them I realized we were also completely out of baking soda thanks to the girls baking soda debacle earlier in the week--> Karma broke down the gate blocking the kitchen off and she and Kimmy proceeded to go in and pour an entire LARGE box of baking soda all over the floor!  Ted was in the shower and I was in our bedroom putting new sheets on the bed and putting away folded laundry.  I had cleaned the toilet earlier in the evening and instead of putting the baking soda away like I should have I just left it on our center island table.  That was my bad I guess.

Since the recipe called for Baking Soda I just replaced it with Baking Powder.  NOW! , I know this is really a no-no and they are not the same thing but I was desperate and they still tasted yummy.  I think the difference is that, in the recipe below it says to drop by teaspoonfuls because the dough doubles (at least) in size as it cooks.  These did not get larger as they cooked, therefore I dropped more like 2 tablespoons at a time into the oil.  As I said, I have not ate these since last Fall so it's hard to compare but I imagine the ones I made today were also denser than the ones I made last Fall.  It worked though, and in the end that's all that matters right!

Oh, and lastly, I had to mix 3 oils to get enough to fry them in haha.  Sad, sad day in my kitchen for sure.  You need enough oil for them dough to sort of float in.  As with everything else in the kitchen, we were low.  I used all of the Sunflower oil I had left, mixed in the tiny bit of Canola Oil I have had forever now (since I switched to Sunflower Oil) because I hate to throw things away.  Those 2 were still not enough so I had to add some Olive Oil in too.  I was worried this would affect the taste but it didn't seem to, again I can't really compare from 1 year ago.

The 1 thing I did miss was a nice tall glass of milk to wash them down with, I used pretty much all of the milk we had just to make them.  Which is sad since the recipe only calls for 1/4 of a cup.

Here is the recipe, if you try them let me know what you think:

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Doughnuts? Donuts? However you spell it they are sticky gooey fried dough yumminess.  These are a great treat for this time of year when pumpkins are in the spotlight. 

What You Will Need-
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tblsp Brown Sugar
1 1/2 teasp Baking Soda
1 teasp Salt
1 teasp Cinnamon
1/2 teasp Nutmeg
1/2 cup Pumpkin puree
1/4 cup Cold Milk
1 egg
2 Tblsp Melted  Unsalted REAL Butter
1-2 cups Powdered Sugar (optional)

Step 1: Heat oil -
Heat oil on stove at medium/high heat (if you have one of those nifty pans you plug in to deep fry things even better, no clue what they are called I obviously do not have one).  You want a lot of oil, 1-2 cups depending on the size of the pan you are using.

Step 2: Mix Dough-
While oil is heating mix the dough.
In 1 large bowl combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix until well combined
In another bowl combine pumpkin, milk, egg, and butter.  Mix with a wire whisk until well combined and smooth.
Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and mix with a spoon.  Dough will be thick and sticky, similar to sticky bread dough or cookie dough.

Step 3: Cook Doughnuts-
Drop dough by the teaspoonful into hot oil. 
Allow to cook for 1-1.5 minutes on one side before flipping.  Metal tongs (salad tongs) are best for flipping.
Flip and cook for additional 30-60 seconds or until all sides are nice and golden brown.
Transfer to a towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
If desired, roll in powdered sugar.  Don't fret if it looks yellowish.  The pumpkin does something to the oil which causes it to look yellowish.  Some of this sticks to the doughnuts when done and turns the powdered sugar yellowish as well.  They taste amazing so who cares what color they are right.  Besides, yellow is a lovely Fall color.

Little Helpers can help with mixing the dough and rolling the finished doughnuts in powdered sugar-just make sure they have cooled off enough first so no little hands get burned.

* After making these your house will smell  like you have been burning a Pumpkin Spice candle all day long, YUM!

this Pumpkin Lovin' Mama,
P.S. I also just did 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  The original recipe I based mine off of just called for 1/2 cup of white sugar.  I added in the 2 Tblsp of brown sugar because I just associate using brown sugar with pumpkin/Fall cooking.  Today I I just did 1/4 cup of each and omitted the extra 2 Tblsps of brown sugar.
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