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It’s Gardening Time!

Every season we try to grow something and even many things. Last year we had a late start on our seeds and plants but we learned our lesson with that.  So far we have cabbage in the ground (Flathead Dutch and red) and several seed pods started…with more to do still. We also have garlic growing still from winter.

So, what are we planting this year?

Well, an abundance of things:

1. Golden Jubilees (orange tomatoes with less acidity due to my husband’s sensitivity to acidic foods. He can eat these delicious tomatoes without breaking out–win)!

2. Jack O’ Lantern pumpkins (this will be a first).

3. Cherry Hybrid 100’s.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE these tomatoes because they produce about 100 tomatoes per plant, sometimes more. And they are super scrumptious!  I pop these suckers in my mouth as though they were candy.

4. Black Beauty squash

5. Yellow Crooked Neck squash

6. Straight Eight cucumbers (my husband will not grow any other kind).

7. Lavender

8. Mint

9. Various flowers

10. Sunflowers (I love these as well. They are stunning and are my second favorite flower to Lilies).

11. Turnips (do not knock these delicious veggies off of your list of things to eat because they are, well, delicious)!

12. Beefsteak tomatoes (great for canning and making sauces because they are huge).

13. Various herbs

14. Butternut squash

15. Bell peppers (all colors). I love peppers and bell peppers are among my favorite and are incorporated into a variety of meals my family eats–they also freeze rather well, too.

16. Sweet Banana peppers (they are a fav. also).

17. Kale (I love this healthy green. They are great in salads, mixed in with certain dishes, and blended into fruit or veggie smoothies. The bonus: the health benefits of it).

18. Spinach (another tasty and healthy green).

19. Mustard greens ( a common meal my family odors. Add some diced and sauteed onions and Golden Jubilees and voila! a tasty side dish).

I also would like to grow onions this year as well. And we plan on putting a few Citronella plants out to ward off mosquitoes. Mint also wards off some unwanted pests.

We organic garden mainly because of my sensitivity to pesticides and herbicides.  However, organic gardening is much healthier, too.

After the harvesting periods are over, we enjoy eating the fruits (and veggies) of our labor, canning and freezing what was not consumed, and sharing crops with others, too.

Not only are we enjoying a tasty harvest, but we are also creating memories with and for our children while enjoying family time together and educating them in the process.  Gardening is an excellent way for families and siblings to bond as well. I have many fond memories of organic gardening with my mother and sisters. My husband has the same wonderful memories with his father and siblings, too.  He and I hope our children will carry on the tradition of gardening to their children someday.

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Syndactyly and My Son

syn·dac·tyl·y
/sinˈdaktəlē/
noun
 1. The condition of having some or all of the fingers or toes wholly or partly united, either naturally (as in web-footed animals) or as a malformation.

I’ve never heard of this term. But, I became very familiar with it once my son was born. My son was born with Syndactyly on both of his hands. The skin on his right middle and ring finger were fused together, almost looking as on entire finger.
And his left middle and ring had webbing in between.

This isn’t life threatening but can cause some setbacks for children, and it does require surgery.

His former pediatrician (before we switched to a better one) recommended a plastic surgeon an hour and a half away from where we lived.  My son was two months old when he first saw him.  When we walked into his office, we were greeted by silcon breast implants inside of glass cases (yes, these were everywhere–displaying them like ancient artifacts in a museum).
We were to wait until he was at least a year before surgery because my son would have to be placed under anesthesia.

However…

This momma, did NOT want this doctor touching her son. Why? Not because of the implants but because of eight words he said:

I will have to look at my textbook.

Me: “Excuse me?”

He then explained to my husband and I that he rarely does these surgeries, maybe once a year and would have to look at his textbook to see how to perform this type of surgery.

Uh-unh! No way!  Hands off my boy!!

So, I began the search for a surgeon myself–one who does hand surgeries often, especially these types.

While talking on the phone to my mother about this one day, she mentioned Shriners Hospital for Children.  She had been there when she was young as well (she was born with only her right arm).  So, I called them. They set me an appointment date so we can discuss whether this was the right surgeon for my son or not.

And, he was. He does these types of surgeries several times a week to several times a month.  He even explained to me what he would do, step by step.

Surgery was scheduled for July of 2015. I was a complete mess that entire week before it happened and could not sleep at all the night before. I would beg God every minute I could that He would allow me to switch places with my son. I was scared and nervous. The thought of them putting my baby under and cutting into him petrified me.

My fears subsided after he came out of surgery. It went very well and the entire staff at Shriners was utterly AMAZING, especially the surgery staff.  I, mean, they had to deal with a stressed out, overly emotional momma.  And, yes, I was a complete mess that day (although I could blame it on the hormones of pregnancy (I was 2 months pregnant with my daughter at the time).

I am a stay-at-home mother.  I am with my son all day long. I have never been away from him but for an hour one time. So, when the nurses took my sweet boy out of my arms, I broke down and sobbed like the biggest baby, ever.  Luckily hubby was there to comfort me.

Do I have any regrets of choosing Shriners? Absolutely not! As I stated before, they were all AMAZING and ever so incredible. I’d recommend them to anyone.

(After surgery–right hand)
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We are not done with surgery. My son’s left hand still needs operated on and there is always the chance of the skin creeping up and trying to grow together.  But as of now, he can separate the fingers on his right hand and it is not uncomfortable for him to put pressure on anymore.

(Before surgery–left hand)
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I will not be as nervous about this next surgery (in April) as I was the first time, but I still am dreading it. I will be glad when it is all over with.

Thanks for reading!

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Seasoned Cabbage with Bacon & Onion

Cabbage with sauteed onions, minced garlic and bacon.

(I created this days ago. It was on a whim, a cook as I go–adding things to the dish. Well, it ended up being a hit with the entire family, even the picky nearly 13 yr old).

I am by no means a chef or talented cook, in my opinion. However, my family seems to enjoy my cooking so that means something.  I love to cook and bake and my favorite things to make are things I create…the toss in as I go recipes.  Hubby nagged me to write this one down in my cookbook, so I caved in. I thought I would share the recipe on my blog as well.
So, here ya go!

Boil cabbage in a medium to large pot, depending on how much cabbage you are cooking. I did a half a head.
Meanwhile, slice an onion and saute it in coconut oil (any oil can be used and even Crisco but I chose this because it is less greasy and tends to be easy on stomachs). I used about a tablespoon or two. I also added a little Crisco butter flavor. When the onion starts to become tender, add 2-3 tablespoons of minced garlic. Cut bacon into 1-2 inch pieces and toss in with the onion and garlic. Cook thoroughly and then drain the excess grease off.
Drain the cabbage after it becomes tender. Mix with the onion and bacon mix. Sprinkle a little sugar and pepper and toss.

It is delicious!

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Confessions of a Stressed Out Mom

I have a newborn daughter. I also have a two-yr-old son and a step-daughter who is nearly a teenager. To say I am exhausted is an understatement. I am many things. I am tired. I am exhausted. I am stressed. I am overwhelmed. I am frustrated. I can become cranky and even irritated throughout the day with all I have to do, with the tasks never completed, and with children constantly needing me.
I get mad at my husband because he falls asleep after dinner (a lot) and because he walks off to talk to others while I tend to the children. And I know he works, too. I know his job is difficult and stressful and takes a toll on his body. And then I feel guilty because I want to be the perfect wife. The perfect mother. And I feel powerless because I can’t be all things at once. I can’t be supermom and super-wife.
And, I beat myself up over it.

All. The. Time.

Every. Single. Day.

I beat myself up because I am not the perfect mother/wife. I am far from being one. And, I look at my children while they sleep…and I cry. I cry because they deserve better. They deserve the June Cleaver of all mothers.

And I can’t be her.

But, the reality is, she doesn’t exist. And the fact remains, we all do the best we can. We all try our best to ignore others’ negative opinions about how we raise our children. We smile and take it on the chin with a grin when all we want to do is lash out at those people. We take so much in and let so much go. So much, often too much, is required of us. And those people, they fail to realize it. And some of the older ones have forgotten what it was like when they had children and had to hear and consume what people had to say while under so much pressure already.

I hope I do not become this someday. I hope I can tell another mother, without criticism, that it is all going to be okay. That parenting is the toughest, most demanding, yet most rewarding job out there…and you are doing the best you can and that makes you an incredible mother (and father for all those guys out there–dads rock, too)!

Mothers, fathers, and guardians, we are in this together–despite our parenting differences. And, we are doing the best we can and that is good enough, even more than.

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Benefits of Organic Parsley

I grew up in a family where homeopathic remedies were used.  Yes, my mother was and is a hippie. 🙂 I am not ashamed of this. In fact, I prefer herbal supplements and oils to OTC medications.  Why? I find them safer and healthier.

One main one my mother often uses is organic parsley.  She simply takes the leaves of the plant with some boiling water, and makes a tea of it. Albeit it is not the tastiest of teas, but it does help tremendously.

Benefits:

1. Fights off colds and other viruses.
2. Helps boost the immune system.
3. Can be used to draw out infections of insect and arachnid bites.

My mother had a massive bite on her leg one day. The bite had swelled as well. She took her organic parsley, and made a paste out of it with filtered water.  She laid the compound on the bite, wrapped it, and left it on overnight. The next morning, the swelling was gone and so was the infection.

I am far from being an expert in explaining plant and other natural derivatives, but I know this works.

One thing you can also do, if you dislike hot teas, is to place the parsley in a blender with other fruits and veggies such as blueberries, cranberries or the juice, oranges/orange juice, kale, strawberries, and kiwi and make a smoothie of it (wheat grass is another immune booster).  Plus, all of this is rich in antioxidants!

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Those People

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(This took a while for some people to comprehend so we had to post our positive pregnancy test).

Since becoming pregnant with my second (hubby’s third), I’ve been hearing:

“Wow, you are going to have your hands full.”
“If I could, ‘I’ would not have ANY more kids.”
“You know, me, personally, I could not handle anymore little ones.”
“You and Steven are going to be run ragged. You won’t have time for anything.”
“You’re having ANOTHER one, really?!”
“You want HOW many?!”

And these are just some of the unwanted, senseless opinions I am being “graciously” tossed.

But, I . . . . . . . . . I am about ready to scream and let my pregnant self tell them what I think because these same things were stated when I was pregnant with my son. You’d think they learn to shut their mouths by now, seriously.

Normally, I like to keep the peace and keep quite but, sometimes, enough is enough and then. You. Crack!

Pregnancy tends to bring forth those who think they are experts or those who think you need to limit your family to a certain number and yadda, yadda, yadda. I’m sure you’ve all had your share.

So, I’ve decided I am going to start backfiring some overdue responses to “those people.”

1.) Well, I have all of these eggs and I see no sense in wasting them so…
2.) Well, we are trying for our own TV show.
3.) Yes, I am having another. That’s usually what happens when you’re married.
4.) Yeah, you’re right. I will have my hands full. I guess we’ll have to sell one of the kids. Hmm,do you think the circus would take one of them?
5.) It’s a tradition in my family to have loads of kids.

Honestly, since when did having three get frowned upon in the U.S.?

It’s not like we are going to be driving around in a clown car, stop, and a plethora of children emerge from the back. It’s number 3! Number 3! For now, anyway.

So, mommies expecting another or planning to, remember:

We are the ones giving birth to these beautiful wonders, not them.
We will be the ones raising them, feeding them, nurturing them . . . breaking up the sibling spats, kissing bruised and scraped knees.
So, what’s it to “those people” anyway.

If you have something negative to say about a woman or family having another, here is some helpful advice:

“Keep it to yourself.” Because, truth be told, get ready for it . . .

WE DO NOT WANT TO HEAR IT!
WE DO NOT CARE WHAT YOU THINK OR HAVE TO SAY!

We’ve got enough things to worry about without you adding your input.
So, just smile, keep your unwanted opinions to yourself, and go about your business.
And you will not have to deal with a hormonal pregnant lady. 😉

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A Cheaper Way to Protect Those Precious Heads in the Tub!

I am proud of myself. I found an innovative and inexpensive way to stop my son from hurting or hitting his head on the tub’s faucet. We searched several stores and not one had something. Then, on the way out of Walmart, I spotted arm floaties. Being they were 97 cents, I thought I would try them. I put air into one and placed it around the faucet. It worked! It stayed on through Jonah’s bath and withheld him sliding and bumping into it, because even though I try holding that boy while bathing, I do need to free my hands to get soap and shampoo for him).

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