Monday, March 31, 2014

We are a haven for illness this month.

Oh my goodness this month.

It seems like one after the other after the next we've been sick.

First I had a cold and fever.  Thankfully, I'm the only one that had that one.  For about a week after that, our home was fairly healthy.  Then after that Little Man picked up the stomach flu.  It took him about three days to get back to good health.  About two days later Little Lady had the stomach flu next.  Same presentation, only this time she was up at midnight throwing up while Little Man had started at 6a.

I kind of feel like being up with vomiting children all night long is some sort of horrible parenting benchmark.  I mean, I always remember my parents sitting up with me, cleaning up after me, offering me reassurance.  It was a rather unfortunate deja vu scenario in which I had a complete role reversal and was now the parent.  

It's absolute misery.  Not only watching your little ones feel so uncomfortable, but especially at this age watching their confusion and lack of understanding why they're feeling so uncomfortable.  I was immensely grateful when they both were back to their normal, little, happy selves.

And then a few days later - I got that, too.

The even more surprising thing was, though, that a day or two after I started feeling all of the horrible the kids just had - that DH got it.  DH never gets sick.  Since I've known him {which has been over ten years}, he's been sick maybe once or twice.   But when he gets it, he really gets it.

So basically, we have all either been sick or are currently sick - and wow am I ready for everyone to be feeling better so ridiculously soon.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Catch the Moment 365 - Days 78 through 84

This week was another lovely one for both good and bad reasons.  As soon as I'd recovered from being sick and started feeling great again, my parents came down for a visit.  The kids {as well as DH & I!} absolutely love seeing them and playing with them.  Both Little Man and Little Lady had a blast, especially since my parents always bring them a little something new to play with when they come to town!  

{Thank you Aunt M, Uncle L, J, L & G for the hand-me-down toys!!!  Um, especially the motion detector noise-making cars.  Hah!  But really, the kids are super smitten with all the fantastic toys!}

However, a few days after my parents went back home, Little Man caught some sort of stomach flu.  He hasn't been sick in a really long time, and he hasn't been sick enough to throw up since he was only a few months old.  Understandably, he was not only sick but also scared of being sick.  Poor thing.  Thankfully, as of today {the reason why I'm posting later than I typically do - as we were up late again last night} he does seem to be on the upswing to feeling better!

78/365 - Little Man unsuccessfully trying to take a bite out of an orange from our Green Bean box that week.

79/365:  Some days I wish I were a man.  It seems like it's a man thing to be able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.    I can sleep nowhere but my actual bed nowadays unless I'm really sick.

80/365: The babes playing with Grammy = giggles to be had by all!

81/365: A few of these this week also ended up being from the same day, because I just couldn't pass up including this photo of Little Man & his Grampy.  

82/365: Just in case you were wondering, this is how close Little Man requires my chair to be next to his at mealtimes in our household.

83/365: In the words of my friend MJ - If it fits, I sits.  Again.  Lol.

84/365: And then this happened and Little Man has been out of commission and super sick this week, poor kiddo.  

Nurse Loves Farmer

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tips & Tricks #54 - Garlic Oil for Ear Infections!

* Disclaimer - I am not a doctor.  If you or your child is sick and you believe you/they need a doctor, don't take advice from the interwebz, mmmkay?  Also, I am a speech pathologist who has a bachelor's degree in both speech pathology and audiology {as well as a master's degree in speech pathology} - so don't stick ANYTHING like a Q-tip or an actual piece of garlic in your ear or else you will perforate your eardrum, you won't be able to hear, and I will give you the stink eye.  

A looooong time ago on the blog, I chatted about the Natural Cold Remedies we use in our home - but since we recently have gone through a bit of a bug, I thought I'd hit on one of our most favorite natural remedies again.

Garlic Oil is a mixture of actual garlic hidden in a carrier oil - so that you can use a dropper to put it in your ears.  You can purchase garlic oil {ref. link} on Amazon here as you'll see in my photo below - all ready for use.  Or alternately, you can purchase garlic and oil separately and make up your own batch every time you need it.

I prefer the easy way of pre-made oil, personally.

This small, powerful bottle packs a huge punch of awesome anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties due to the amazing bit of wonderful that is garlic itself.  Since ear infections can be caused by Eustachian tube blockage from allergies, respiratory infections, etc - whenever either of the kids has the signs of a cold, I start putting a few drops of garlic oil in each of their ears once per day.

Fight and prevent ear infections naturally with no antibiotics using willow garlic ear oil - also works for earaches

I can honestly attest that since I started using garlic oil, Little Man hasn't had any more ear infections.  Because I used garlic oil on Little Lady since birth, she's never had an ear infection.

I've been asked before by family and friends if I think it's just "hippie nonsense", and to that I can definitely tell you that it is not - because I also use garlic oil for my ears.

Anytime I have an itch in my ears, an earache, or a cold - I also put a few drops of garlic oil in my ears.  And - let me tell you, friends - it is almost instant relief.

So, if you're looking for a really easy, simple way to keep your family and yourself healthy - definitely check out garlic oil for your ears!!!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

6 Foods Your Body REALLY Does Need If You Stop Eating Meat.

Vegetarian and Vegan food and nutrient sources - seriously tricky, right?

Ever since I was a full-on, I-won't-eat-a-speck-of-cheese, complete, no-seriously-that-better-not-be-cheese vegan - I've heard the above sentiment.

It seems like most people become highly perplexed and troubled by a vegan diet focusing mainly on obtaining nutrients without meat, dairy, or seafood.  One thing is for certain, though - it can be very controversial.

While scrolling through my Facebook news feed the other night, I came across a post shared from the Food, Inc. page discussing "7 Foods Your Body Needs If You Stop Eating Meat."

Almost as immediately as it was shared, an flurry arose - over 700 shares and also hundreds of comments in response.  After reading the list of foods, however, I was left slightly frustrated as most of the food items {including edamame, tempeh, and yogurt} were not even close to correct in my eyes.  After all the research I did prior to becoming vegan {a practice I currently do not uphold}, I realize the importance of providing healthy options and information to other prospective veggie lovers as well.

Especially since it is SO very easy to eliminate animal products from your diet to eat healthier and then end up eating only carbohydrates - thus becoming a "Carbatarian", which also isn't the healthiest diet to consume.

So, here is my list of the Top Foods to Try If You Eliminate Meat!

1.  Green, Leafy Vegetables

If you're thinking about becoming a vegetarian or vegan and you aren't planning on nomming some leafy veggies?  You might want to reconsider the idea.  Green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, and even broccoli give you a huge bang for your buck nutritionally.  You may not expect this to be the case, but those vegetables contain fantastic amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron - as well as plenty of vitamins!

{To increase the nutritional value for things like Vitamin K, toss or dress your greens in a little oil while preparing!}

2.  Quinoa

Ever since I first tried Quinoa a few years back, I've been addicted - mainly because quinoa packs a huge punch for such a little guy.  In fact, an uncooked cup of quinoa has almost just as much protein as a half of a chicken breast {if you want specifics - 1/2 chicken breast has 30g of protein, while 1 cup of quinoa has 25}.  Quinoa also contains B vitamins, iron, lysine, magnesium, & manganese - to name a few!  And let's not forget about fiber, because we all know our post-baby-bodies need that.  When I haven't been eating a very healthy meat-free diet, I make sure and whip up a salad full of leafy greens with some quinoa on top to get me back on track - especially with my next food!

3.  Avocadoes

I will admit into the microphone that I'm a huge fan of cheese - and that is always my downfall in a completely animal-product-free diet/lifestyle, but a bit of creamy avocado topping my salad or veggie burger completely fills that void.  Besides for tasting so mouth-wateringly fantastic, avocado contains almost 20 vitamins and minerals, plus some good-for-you fats.  And - while we're talking about good for you fats - throw in some olive oil and coconut oil to your menu plan as well!

4.  Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds tend to be a new one for me - but I'm not unfamiliar to the concept.  We've long used flax and chia seeds in our daily smoothies, but hemp seems to have taken off ahead of the pack recently in health buffs.  The main reason for this is that hemp seeds contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need but cannot produce on their own - all in one teeny little wrapped up package!

5.  Beans/Hummus/Lentils/Etc.

One way to obtain an adequate amount of protein, iron, folate and more is to add in some beans.  I've highlighted lentils and hummus specifically as they're both excellent options that {in my opinion} stand out just ahead of the typical bean options - and may cause less um, you know ... gas.  Eating a few vegetables dipped in hummus is also the perfect snack for you and your family!

6.  The Cover-Your-Bases Addition

If you eat a perfect diet of all the right foods, add in a little iodized salt, watch that you're representing all the colors of the garden on your plate, and getting outside into the sun for your Vitamin D levels - you've covered almost 99% of your nutritional needs.  However - if you're like the rest of us, you may need to pop that powerful little multivitamin once a day, just to be sure you're completely covered.

Just like you would when eating a diet that included animal products!

You also want to make sure you cover your bases by adding in a little B12.  A multivitamin will contain some B12, but in our home we also check to make sure that any almond milk we're drinking or cereal we're eating is also fortified - or by actually taking a B12 supplement.  It's a small thing to check and make sure you're eating that could protect you from any deficiencies!

So, there it is.  Simple, right?

If you read the 7 Foods list above, you'll notice I clearly omitted several of their top-ranked foods.  More specifically, I completely left off soy products and Greek yogurt.  While I don't massively mind Greek yogurt, I'm really not a huge fan of dairy being on a list for vegetarians - especially since most Greek yogurts are super sugared up.

When it comes to soy products {including tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.}, I tend to stay away outside of the occasional treat.  For sure, I am not including soy prodcuts as a staple in my diet.  There just isn't enough research yet to prove the claims against soy to be unfounded.  And since arguments that large levels of soy consumption disrupt levels of estrogen and hormones still speak loudly, as a person with prior thyroid issues, I stay the heck away from it.

If you are entering into a vegetarian or vegan diet, it will certainly be some work to establish, learn, and experiment with your new eating patterns {and not turn into strictly a carbatarian!}, but it isn't as tough as it seems to be on the outside.  I hope this list helps and gets you on your way to a tasty and nutritious plant-based diet!

Want to learn more about how we eat?  Check out my post on Green Smoothies here!

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Little Lady 15 month update!

For this update, I thought I'd try something a little different and structure it like my friend Sarah does at Nurse Loves Farmer.  If you like it, check out her son's one year post here!

  • Tops?  Size 12-24 month depending on the brand.
  • Bottoms? 18 month - 2T depending on the brand.
  • On days that we're at home, Little Lady mainly wears jammers during the day - which at this time are still footed sleepers for the most part.
  • On days that we're out, Little Lady typically wears either jeggings or leggings and a long sleeved top.
  • Bedtime tends to be around 7p each night.
  • From there, Little Lady usually will sleep a few hours, maybe until 9-10.  Typically at that point she is back up and down a few times {four on a bad night, one or two on a good night} until about midnight or one a.m.
  • Some nights she is back awake for an early waking right around the time DH leaves for work, but always nurses right back to sleep.
  • Awake for the day anywhere between 8-10a, typically around 9a.
  • Little Lady is down to only one nap per day, at the same time as Little Man - from around 12:30-1p most days to around 2:30-4p.  
  • Most days when she goes down to sleep, Little Lady wants her head on her pillow, a blanket tucked up to her chin, and a stuffy or two to play with when she first wakes.

  • Little Lady continues to breastfeed, anywhere from 4-8 times a day, depending on how many night wakings we have.
  • Since she is now over a year old, if we were to transition to an alternate form of milk at this point, we'd probably switch to a mix of almond/coconut milk.  I do, however, have a rather large supply of frozen breastmilk in our deep freezer, so we'll have to get through that first.
  • And then food.
  • Since we do Baby-Led Weaning, Little Lady eats any and everything we do.
{Um, can we stop for a moment and I'll have a little tear over how TEENY Little Lady looks in the BLW post I just linked?  TEENY!}
  • Her favorite foods are berries {strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries}, cheese, oranges, pasta, and eggs.
Gross Motor:
  • For the past few months, Little Lady has walked like a champ.  She first started toddling and getting more proficient at walking between furniture around 12 months old, and took her first steps about a week before their joint birthday at 12.5 months old.  Now at 14 months, she has really great balance and is walking like a pro.
  • In addition to the walking, Little Lady also climbs now.  She climbs on chairs, tables, Little Man's lap desk, and the couch {although she requires help getting up if the cushions are on it}.
  • With significant parental monitoring, Little Lady also climbs up the stairs independently - often chasing her big brother.
  • She also is getting better and better at running every day and has quite a bit more coordination at this age than Little Man ever did - which is most evident when she dances.  Little Lady tries to mimic me when I dance, and can actually move in similar ways.  Which may not be such a good thing.  Lol.

Fine Motor:
  • Little Lady sometimes feeds herself with a spoon, but really likes us to scoop the bite for her when she sees anyone else eating from a spoon.
  • She points to herself, pictures, and people.
  • Little Lady also loves holding onto chalk and drawing with it on our table.
  • Lots and lots of babbling!  This girl loves to chat!
  • Little Lady's words include: Mama, Dada, Bubba {for her brother}, hi, bye-bye {intermittently, I'm not decided that this one has stuck yet}, choo-choo, duck, an approximation on vroom, yes & no by nodding, and more/all done by signing.  Now that I have these written, I feel like I may be missing some words, though...

  • Little Lady currently has almost twelve teeth.  I say almost because her front four are in on the top and bottom, and she has four molars {her first molar on the top right and left as well as bottom right and left} that are pushing through and have been working on coming through for the past month or two.  
  • She also has grown quite a bit of hair in the past few months.  Just like her big brother, Little Lady grows hair really slowly, but has just started to alllllllmost get enough hair for a cute little pixie top ponytail.
  • Little Lady's favorite toys right now are her Melissa & Doug caterpillar and Little Man's trains.  She also really loves one of our books that has simple "First Pictures" in it.  I think she likes the book even more because there is a photo of a boy in it who looks like Little Man.  No matter what page we're on, she's trying to turn it to get back to him.  
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Fashion with Kohl's Fashion Hangout!

* Disclosure - I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Kohl's.  I received a gift card as a thank you for participating.  As always, content and opinions are 100% my own!

Since the Spring season is finally upon us, I am looking to put away all those huge sweaters and winter coats and refresh my daily wardrobe a bit with this season's trends!  One of the trends I'm absolutely loving right now is the roll-cuffed denim pants - because they are so easy to wear.  A quick grab of a pair of roll-cuffed denim pants are my number one go-to dressed down at the park with my kids paired with a t-shirt or spiffed up a bit out to dinner with DH with a more romantic, flowy top or a blazer and scarf.  If you're looking up your mommy wardrobe and see this season's trends - you can check them out here in the Kohl's Spring Fashion Hangout!

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Catch the Moment 365 - Days 71 through 77

I will fully admit that this week I had to phone it in a little.

A few of the photos from this week are from the same day, mainly because I was completely out of commission Friday afternoon/evening, Saturday, and Sunday of this week - and maybe even a little of Monday.  I don't know what sickness that was, but I don't ever want it again.

Once I got out of bed for more than a hot minute, I grabbed my camera and tried to catch up!

71/365 - Cookies are the best ever, yo.  Unfortunately since I was not in the mood to cook, we definitely had carry-out quite a few times this week.

72/365 - And I'm melted.  If you need me, I'll be that puddle over there on the floor.  Little Man & Little Lady have really, really started playing together recently and it's adorable.  Little Man can't play any game without constantly calling Little Lady to come play with him, trying to hold her hand and steer her over to him, and bringing toys over to her.

73/365 - So.much.happy in this child.

74/365 - Except when she's tired and gets pensive.

75/365 - But then Little Man pops over to the camera to lighten it up a bit!

76/365 - Hugging is their favorite.

77/365 - And oh, the life of a mom.  DH did a fantastic job keeping up with the house while I was sick, but the general rule of parenting is that the laundry never ends.

Click below to check out everyone else's photos and to show our hosts some love!

Nurse Loves Farmer

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