What we Want You to Know

The holidays are a wonderful time that we get to spend with our families and friends, but they are also a trying time for parents with kids that suffer food allergies. Most people that haven't had to deal with food allergies of their own or in their own children don't give it a second thought.

As a parent of little boy that is highly allergic to eggs and all nuts and seeds, I feel stress each and every time I go to a party or invite people to my home. I feel stress just sending him to daycare each day.

A few weeks ago daycare sent home a newsletter that stated they were going to make gingerbread houses and they wanted volunteers. The next day I asked if they found an egg free gingerbread recipe and frosting recipe (gingerbread house are notoriously frosted with royal icing - did you know it's made with egg whites?). The daycare teacher responded that she hadn't even thought about it. In my head I was screaming at her because I leave my child in her care 4 days a week and trust that she will think about it every day. My actual response, however, was much more appropriate. I offered to find her recipes that did not contain eggs and volunteered to make the frosting. I also volunteered to make 3 batches of frosting myself.

I say all of this not to make you paranoid, but to give you an idea of where we are coming from. This little boy holds my heart in his hands, just like your kids do. I worry about him for all the reasons you worry about your kids, but I have the added worry that he could die from ingesting a chip that has been contaminated by nut oils on someone's hands.

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10 Things Families with Food Allergies Want You to Know!
By Gina Clowes


Severe food allergies require a dramatic change in lifestyle, but unless these allergies have affected your immediate family, you have no idea of what goes on behind the scenes to keep these children safe. This holiday season, we’d love to spend time you, so we need your help. With no rule book or etiquette guide, we don’t always know how to ask for that help. If you really want to know what will make our season bright, here are 10 things that we allergy moms would like you to know.

1. Be careful with your kisses! If you’ve just eaten anything that our child is allergic to, we’d prefer that you kiss her on the top of her head or give her a hug or an “air kiss”. This is what we do! Sound extreme? We know, and that’s why we feel so funny about asking you. But trust us when we tell you that the only thing worse than seeing your child suffer an allergic reaction is knowing that you have caused that reaction.

2. We’d love you to wash your hands. We don’t want to ask. But we don’t know what you’ve eaten or touched and we really don’t want to risk it. We know it sounds crazy but our child has reacted to “just touching” things he is allergic to.

3. Use care with your baby's foods and bottles. We love your children and know that they need to eat a variety of foods. However, those foods and the milk or soy formula that they drink can cause allergic reactions in our child. Please don’t allow your toddler to walk around with a bag of cookies, goldfish or cereal while we’re together. One dropped piece could cause a problem for a child with severe food allergies.

4. Please, watch your pets’ and their food. Many pet foods and treats contain allergens including milk, fish and peanut, and an innocent lick can cause a reaction in allergic children.

5. Please don’t feed our child. Raising a child with food allergies is a whole new way of life. Allergy Moms and Dads can’t possibly expect others to keep in mind all of the nuances of where and how allergens hide. If you’d like to help, hold the baby so mom can get a bite to eat, build a block tower, read a book, or follow our toddler around for awhile to give his mom a break. There are many ways to show love that do not involve food!

6. Call us! If you are hosting a child who has food allergies, talk to the parents in advance. If you are setting out foods that may be safe, save all of the wrappers. Better yet, let the allergy mom or dad help you put the safe chips out. (Remember that if you touch the cookies with nuts or the shrimp, and then touch the chips, they are now cross-contaminated.)

7. Try not to fuss over what our child is eating. If he or she needs to have a different menu of safe foods, please don’t call attention to it. Don’t make food allergies a big topic of conversation. For example, “Well what can he eat?”

8. We’d be grateful if you’d confine the food to one or two areas. For example, don’t allow food into the family room, or the basement if that is where the children will be playing. That way, all the children will be safe and your house will be cleaner too!

9. We’d love it if you’d ask your children to wash their hands. We know that your kids are able to eat whatever they like, but children are notoriously messy eaters. You’d be doing us a great favor if you’d encourage them to wash their hands when they’re done eating. We know it’s not our place to ask this of your children but it we worry that our kids are not safe if they share toys or touch each other with food residue.

10. Ask for suggestions because we want to make this work for everyone. If you want to bring something to a home with a food allergic child, talk to the parents in advance for specific suggestions. Your homemade casserole or brownies may not be suitable but a bottle of wine, some fresh ground coffee, a fun board game, whole fruit, or some beautiful disposable hand towels for the powder room might be appreciated.

I walked into my dark house last night and my mood was brightened by the arrival of my Pink Christmas package. Its arrival let me forget my lack of power for a moment. I opened the box right away and put the beautifully wrapped gift under my tree. There is sits waiting anxiously for me to open it. I'm so excited.

At the bottom of the mailing box I found a necklace. I wasn't certain if it was for me or if it fell into the bottom of the box by mistake. When I got to work this morning an email was waiting for me - she wanted me to have the necklace early! So sweet. I love Pink Christmas!

I need to plan carefully for next year. I'm not super crafty, so I fear that my Pink Christmas gift (which should be safely in Cali by now) won't be up to par. Next year will be different. I will scour crafty peoples' wares for the perfect gift(s) for next eyar.

Light Me Up


Power outages are rampant across the state of New Hampshire. We were not spared. The power went out at 2:30am, and was still out when I left the house at 6:30am this morning. That's 3 days without power.

We are very fortunate, however, to have a generator. The hubs picked up one of the last ones available Friday morning to the tune of $700! YIKES!!! It was well worth it though. Without it we wouldn't have heat or hot water, which many people have been without. It was 17 degrees when we woke on Saturday morning, so going without heat would have been harsh. With a generator we have limited power also; we keep only one light on at a time and don't run things like hairdryers or washing machines.

This is a first for me. As we were driving home from dinner at the in laws' last night (they have power), we noticed quite a bit of power had been restored. Many house were lit up and taunting me giving me hope with their Christmas lights. About 5 blocks from our house the lights stopped. Power, it seemed, was not back up for everyone. Bummer. I am hopeful for today, but am not counting on it.

Santa's Bad Day

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said very cheerfully, “Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?”

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.


Cream Cheese Cookies

My attempt, with Try it Tuesday, will be to post a recipe every Tuesday.

This week's recipe is for cream cheese cookies. It's my Mom's recipe, and it is excellent. The hubs swears it the best cookie he's ever had and he's not fond of sharing them with anyone else. Unfortunately for him, I only make them once per year. For no reason in particular, these cookies only get made at Christmas time.

Dough
1 Block Cream Cheese, softened
2 Sticks Butter, softened
2 Cups Flour

Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the flour, slowly. Beat until combined and smooth. Remove dough from mixing bowl and form into disc. Wrap disc in wax paper and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Filling
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Milk
Cinnamon

Combine all ingredients with a fork or spoon. This filling recipe makes enough for 2 batches of cookies. I have also substituted (for my allergic son) raisins for the nuts, and it worked just as well. The hubs liked both versions.

Putting the Cookies Together
1) Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into quarters. Roll 1/4 of the dough in granulated sugar into a large, thin circle. Turn the dough as your roll, to keep the sugar evenly spread on crust. Once you have rolled the dough, turn it over one last time. Upon turning it over, wipe away some of the excess sugar from the pastry mat (trust me this will help when the cookies are baking).

2) Cut the dough into 16 triangles. I use a pizza cutter for this - works really well and makes a long smooth cut.

3) Place a small amount of filling at the wide end of each triangle.

4) Roll, beginning with the wide end, each triangle to the center of the circle.

5) Place on lined cookie sheet. If you don't have a silpat, use parchment paper. It is essential that you line your cookie sheet, as the sugar on the outside of the cookie caramelizes. All 16 cookies will fit on one cookie sheet; they don't spread much.

6) Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15-17 minutes. The cookies will be slightly golden when done. Start checking them at 15 minutes.

7) Remove the cookies from the pan right away. The caramelized sugar will cause the cookies to stick if you do not remove them right away. Scrap sugar from silpat (or discard parchment paper) and repeat the process.



Enjoy the cookies - so tasty! I wish I had taken a nicer picture of the cookies - perhaps on a nice dish - but the cookies were gone before I could think to do that!

Lullaby

This is what I use as a lullaby for Ladybug. I love it and have since the moment I heard it years ago. Every time I start to sing it, she gives me an angelic smile and just listens.

Dear Santa

Little Man's Letter to the Guy in Red:

Dear Santa Claus,

Please can you go put presents at Grandma and Pappa's and Timmy's house? Please bring the presents to my house early. We will have Christmas at my house on December 20th. Can you bring them for that day?

Please bring me Team Geotrax High Flying Airport and the Team Geotrax Blast-Through Barn. I would also like the barn from Word World. Please bring Team Geotrax. It is my favorite. I love Team Geotrax.

I have been a good boy this year. I have been trying to listen to my Mommy and Daddy. I have been trying to eat my food. I have been tying to put Team Geotrax upstairs so it's not messy. I have been praying to Jesus and have been thankful everyday because Jesus goes in my heart. Amen.

Thank you, Santa. I love you.

Christmas Photo Failure Contest



Seriously...I thought I had this in the bag! I read Designher Momma's post about her Christmas Card Failure Contest and got super excited. I mean, it has been a real problem getting a Christmas card photo every year for the past 4 years. I totally and completely expected this year to follow suit - I mean how could I not? With a precocious 3 1/2 year old and an 8 month old - it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Then photo day came last weekend. I feed both kids then bathed them first thing in the morning. Bellies full, hair clean and holiday garb donned we got down to business. We took about 15 photos before we found the right one. I was shocked and amazed. I don't expect to win this contest, but I am posting it here so that you, my 3 readers, can enter should you have the perfect photos for this fab contest.

Here's my sampling. We chose the last one.














Christmas Reindeer




You Are Prancer



You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.



Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.



Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

Perfect Christmas Cake

If you want a cake to impress them all, try this one! My family has been making this cake for over 15 years. It came to us by a friend of the family who offered it to my Dad one holiday season. Try it for people once, and it will be the most requested dessert you take to a party.

Ingredients:
1 yellow cake mix, baked according to package directions for 2 9 inch round pans
2 pints heavy cream
2 Cans rolled wafer cookies - There are several brands out there. The most readily available at grocery stores are the Pepperidge Farm Pirouette cookies.
1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream
powdered sugar to taste
1 tsp vanilla
large chocolate bar
decorative, wired ribbon

With an electric mixer, beat 1 pint of heavy cream, halfway to whipped cream. At the half way point, add 1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream and powdered sugar to taste (I added about a 1/3 of a cup). Continue whipping the cream until it is stiff and the consistency of whipped cream.

Slice each round in half using unflavored dental floss (easiest way to slice a layer of cake in half).

Place one layer of cake on cake plate, cut side up. Drizzle layer with 1 tablespoon of Bailey's Irish Cream.

Repeat the process (drizzle with 1 tablespoon of Bailey's and top with whipped cream) on 2 more layers - a total of 3 layers should have the Bailey's drizzle and the Bailey's whipped cream. Don't forget to place the cake layers cut side up.

Clean out mixing bowl and make another batch of whipped cream, this time without the Bailey's. Whip the cream half way to whipped cream, then add powdered sugar to taste and a teaspoon of vanilla. Then beat the rest of the way to whipped cream.
Place the top layer, cut side down, on the top of cake.
Cover with fresh whipped cream (do not drizzle with Bailey's Irish Cream).
Cover the sides of the cake with fresh whipped cream.
While you want the cake to be smooth, do not worry about crumbs showing in the whipped cream - they will be covered.
Line the outside edge of cake with rolled wafer cookies, placing each cookie side-by-side. The cookies will be taller than the cake, which is okay.










Tie a wired ribbon around outside of cake and make a large bow. There are plenty of ribbon choices out there. Use whatever works for the cake's occasion.










Finally, shave chocolate curls with a vegetable peeler and add to the top of the cake. You should do enough chocolate curls to come to the top of the cookies.

This works best with room temperature chocolate. Just hold the chocolate in your hands. You'll find as the chocolate warms up in your hands the curls become easier to do.

Refrigerate the cake for several hours before serving. I typically refrigerate overnight.
This might be a time consuming cake, but it is so worth the effort. Since Christmas is past, might I suggest you make it for your love at Valentine's Day or make it for Easter. We have friends that are newly engaged. When they get around to having an engagement party, my plan is to make it for them and have the cake plate (a new one, of course) serve as the present for the bride that is a newly emerging baker.

Bad Parenting

Do you ever look at your children and think you are the worst parent in the world? Do you ever look at them and think where did I go wrong that has caused them to act like this?

Perhaps Little Man is going through a phase, but he has caused me to question my ability to be a good mother. I am at the end of my disciplinary idea rope. I don't know where to go. We have tried time out, rewards, taking things away, spanking, yelling, talking sternly, whispering. None of it's working. Anyone have a magic solution? I'm desperate for help.

Thanksgiving MeMe

Rebecca at A Walk Through the Valley did this great meme, so I am following suit. There are so many things to be thankful for in my life. I have been so blessed!

1. Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home or going elsewhere?
It's less stressful to go elsewhere, but I enjoy hosting parties at home. I have only done Thanksgiving twice.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range?
I am far too cheap to buy anything other than a frozen turkey. We have turkeys running wild in our backyard; perhaps the hubs can shoot one next year - that would be even cheaper.

3. Do you make stuffing or dressing? What kind?
I prefer dressing. When it's stuffed in the bird it gets all mushy and nasty, or as my dad would say it becomes "buzzard puke."

4. Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie?
I've never had sweet potato pie, so I don't know if I like. I do know that I don't like pumpkin pie. It's the hub's favorite pie and I have one cooling now for tomorrow, but I won't be eating it.

5. Are leftovers a blessing or a curse?
Leftovers are great, but we rarely get them. This year we have our own turkey to cook so we can actually have leftovers.

6. What side dishes are a must-have in your family?
Dressing (my mom's cornbread dressing is the best I have ever had and I am bummed that I will miss it this year), mashed potatoes, green beans, squash and cranberry sauce.

7. What do you wish you had that might make Thanksgiving easier?
A laid-back personality (less type A), but when it's not at my house I don't have to worry about it.

8. If/when you go to someone else’s house for the holiday, do you usually bring a dish? If so, what is it?
I would hate to show up empty handed - that's just rude. I usually bring dessert. this year I am doing a new squash dish, cranberry sauce and a dessert.

9. What do you wish one of your guests would bring to your house?
Drinks. I never have enough and I never have something that pleases everyone.

10. What do you wish one of your guests would NOT bring to your house?
I've got nothing. Nothing is coming to mind. I just enjoy having company.

11. Do you stick with a particular menu from year to year or do you mix it up?
I am mixing it up this year (much to the hub's chagrin) with the squash dish. Instead of the traditional roasted and mashed with butter and brown sugar, I am making a butternut squash gratin. The recipe looks great. We'll see.

12. Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday in your home?
It's day to give thanks for all the blessings in my life, but I give thanks for those blessings every day. I guess it's a day to be with family and to know that everyone else is just as thankful.

13. Share one Thanksgiving tradition.
In the early 1980's my great grandma started a tradition at Christmas, but we carried it on for every holiday. It started with a wrapped package that we passed around the table until a timer went off. Whoever ended up with it at the end of the timer got to open the package and keep what was inside. What was inside was an apron and the duty of doing the dishes. That person got to select the way in which the dishwasher was chosen at the next holiday. It was so much fun. Now that we have all grown up and have families of our own, we all volunteer to do the dishes and everyone pitches in to clean-up. The old way, I think, was way more fun.

14. Share one Thanksgiving memory.
My first Thanksgiving away from my family was in 1999. That was, in fact, my first holiday away from them. It was my first year living in Massachusetts. It was my first year living with my husband. I was coming from holidays were there were no less than 20 people gathered around. That Thanksgiving it was just the hubs, his 2 brothers and his dad. It was a very nice time because his Dad was so happy that the hubs had stayed home for Thanksgiving. It was nice to be there for that. On the other hand, it was incredibly difficult for me to be 3,000 miles away from home.



15. Name five things you’re thankful for.

I am thankful for God's grace. He has blessed me with so much more than I deserve. Without His grace, I would have nothing.

It's been a difficult year health wise for the hubs, so I am so incredibly thankful that he is healthy and that we have a marriage that can sustain such trials.

My children are happy and healthy. I can't ask for anything more from them. They are the bright light in each and every one of my days.

I live in a beautiful home. I am thankful that we are able to (although somewhat painstakingly sometimes) live the way that we do.

My family and the hub's family are our lifelines. Without them I am not sure we wold accomplish anything.

Manhunt

I watch the food network a lot. It's my go to channel most days. Most of the shows use creme fraiche every-now-and-again. Some use it more than others. When the chefs use it, they say stuff like "you can find it in any grocery store these days" or "easy to find." Ummmmm....hello? It might be easy to find when you host a cooking show and are based in New York City. I have never, not one time, seen it in any of the grocery stores that I frequent. I've looked. Is it becuase I live in the backwoods of New Hampshire? Do larger metropolitin areas carry creme fraiche? Do the grocery store chains here assume that hicks like us wouldn't know how to use it?

I'm making a butternut squash gratin for Thanksgivng (sorry hubs...we are trying something new with our squash). It calls for creme fraiche. Well....crap! What would the holidays be without one manhunt for something. This year my manhunt was for this stuff that is (so I'm told) a slightly tangy, slightly nutty, thickened cream. I finally found it, but I had to drive to Hanover for it. Hanover is where all the less hickish, more refined well-off folks live. It's where Dartmouth College and Hitchock Medical Center are. They have a store there that is what I imagine Whole Foods to be (imagine? Yeah...we don't have Whole Foods here in the sticks).

Can you find it? Have you every wanted to find it? For a tub, which was rather small, I paid $5! $5!!!! Insane for fermented cream, if you ask me.

If you need it and can't find it, you can make your own. Here's an excert from O Chef:
"Most people make a facsimile of crème fraîche by adding a tablespoon of buttermilk to a cup of whipping cream, heating it gently to 110°F (45°C), then putting it in a loosely covered bottle in a warm place and letting it sit for anywhere from 8 hours to a couple of days, until thick. Store it in the refrigerator, where it will thicken further, and keep for about three weeks. You can also whip it like whipping cream.
But, Madeleine Kamman, whose formative years were spent in France, and who is one of the flavor mavens of our age, says the homemade crème fraîche is a poor substitute for the real thing. Since many people have not had the real thing, they won’t know the difference. But, Kamman says, if you run across real crème fraîche in a specialty shop — and are of adequate means — buy it."


Madeleine Kamman, whoever the heck she is, sounds a bit snobby to me.

Tuesday's Tip Jar



Doing a craft project? Little Man is making necklaces for all the women in his life and all the cousins he will celebrate Christmas with. To make things easier on both of us, I sorted all the beads in a cupcake pan. Give it a try!

Pilgrim Hat Cupcakes



I made these great little pilgrim hats for Little Man's Thanksgiving party at daycare.

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake
24 Ice Cream Cones
3 Tubs Chocolate Frosting
Fruit Roll Ups
Spice Drops
Wafer Cookies

***hint, nabisco chocolate wafer cookies are too small - ignore my ingredients picture. You'll have to make your own - recipe follows

Wafer Cookies:
1 Cup Soft Butter
1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
2 Cups Flour
Granulated Sugar

Blend butter and whipping cream thoroughly. Slowly add flour; mix until a ball of dough forms around your paddle. Form dough into 3 small discs. Cover and refrigerate. Roll dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out circles larger in diameter than the top of the ice cream cone. I used a drinking glass as a cutter. Poke with a fork 4-5 times. Sprinkle with sugar, Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.


To assemble the pilgrim hat cupcakes begin by spooning cake into the ice cream cones.









Frost the top of the ice cream cone, then cover the frosting with a wafer cookie. Turn cone upside down on a wire rack
****hint - place wax paper under your rack.

Melt remaining frosting in a pourable container (I used a 4 cup measuring cup) in the microwave for about 1 minute. Stir frosting, then pour heavily over each ice cream cone. You'll have to scrap up chocolate from under the cooling rack and re-heat several times to get through all the cupcakes.

Let the cupcakes set for one hour. Then wrap the base of the cone in a fruit roll-up strip and dot with a cut spice drop. I wasn't sure these would stick without more frosting as glue, but the melted frosting was still tacky enough to hold them.

The cupcakes were a big hit with the kids, parents and teachers. They were a lot of work, but the ahhhh factor made it worth while.

I was that Mom

I spent all day Friday and all day Saturday with Little Man. No breaks from each other. We had a nice time. Saturday I took him to the movies for the first time. He did really well.

Something must have happened while he was sleeping Saturday night because he woke a different child on Sunday. He was a nightmare. It was tantrum after tantrum. It was the worst day I have seen. Before it started I had planned to take him to a store with me to buy some white glue for a project we were going to work on. He didn't want to sit in the cart, so I let him walk. He started the non-listening phase of the trip about 10 minutes into it. I put up with it twice. The third time, he landed himself in the cart. The fourth time I took the glow necklaces he wanted from the cart. He flipped out. He started crying and screaming, then kicking.

I stopped in my tracks and did that low growly voice (you know the one...you have it too) in his ear and told him to knock it off. It only slightly improved. We got to the register and he started crying and screaming all over again. He saw the batteries and started grabbing at those. I told him no and that he could try again next time we were at the store. That only met more crying, screaming, kicking and grabbing. I half expected to see him start foaming at the mouth and for his head to turn completely around.

There I was standing in line surrounded by at least 10 others standing in line with a tantrum throwing 3 year old. I was that mom. I was the mom we all pity and wonder what kind of discipline she uses. I was horrified, angry and embarrassed all rolled into one. I pulled the cart out of the line, I picked his sorry little tushie up out of the cart and left. Did I make the right decision? I don't know, I do know that I am annoyed that I didn't get any of the stuff I wanted and am forced to go back tonight following bedtime.

The day didn't get any better. He continued to have tantrum after tantrum. It has continued on in to today. Is this normal? Does their horrendous behavior come in waves?

IUD or IUT

I have been reluctant to post about this because it’s not what my blog is about. However, my posting has been so sporadic lately I thought you might like an explanation. Here it goes…the most boring post I can come up with.

Intrauterine Device or Intrauterine Torture?
In my case it was torture. I don’t begrudge the oodles of women that this handy little piece of hormone releasing plastic has worked for. For those women, I say I am very happy that it works for you. The hubs has had the little snip snip, so I didn’t get this as a method of birth control; nope, I got it for a very different reason.

About 2 months ago I went to the emergency room for severe abdominal pain. If I were pregnant, I would swear a baby was about to crown. That’s how bad the pain was and it had been going on for 12 hours! They ran lots of blood work and couldn’t figure anything out. It was a mystery pain.

I started doing some research of my own. I was on my period at the time. My research pointed to endometriosis, so I made an appointment with my OB/GYN. The truth of it is, it sounds just like endometriosis, but there’s no way to really know without doing exploratory surgery. To avoid that the doctor and I made the decision to treat

it as if it were endometriosis. The Mirena® IUD has been shown to be helpful for women with endometriosis because it lessens bleeding. After 1 year of it being in place, many women won’t have any periods at all. Because pain from endometriosis typically accompanies your period, it should help.

So I made the decision to give it a shot. I bled from the very beginning of insertion. There hasn’t been a day in the past month when I haven’t been bleeding. The very pain we were trying to get rid of came back with vengeance just 10 days after having the IUD placed. Instead of one day of pain, however, the pain has continued for 14 days. Today is the 14th day. At its worst I am curled up in a ball, crying, nauseous and begging the pain to stop. At its best I am hunched over, not able to walk and reminding myself to breath through it.

On day 4 of the pain, I made an appointment with any doctor in the group that would see me. It was a man. I don’t have anything against male doctors when it comes to delivering my babies, but when it comes to understanding the pain that accompanies it or anything else female related, they just don’t get it. How could they? His advice was for me to suck it up and stick it out. Yeah, okay I’ll do that. I left there thinking, “I’ve birthed 2 children. I can handle this.”

On day 12 of the pain, I decided that I can’t handle it. I’m pretty tough, but not that tough. It’s just not normal to feel that much pain. I can’t do an hour presentation at work contort my face in pain and practice Lamaze breathing in the middle of it. I can’t carry Ladybug when I am hunched over and unable to walk. I made the call and got to see my doctor that day. We agreed that taking it out would be the best thing. It came out on the 12th day of pain. The pain, however, did not go away instantly. Nope…I sit her 2 days later still in pain. I find myself contemplating what I can medicate myself with and still be productive at work.

The plan now is to try the pill. I am hopeful the pill will work. I really want it to work. If, after 3 months, it hasn’t helped then they will do surgery to see what’s what. Then what? I have no idea. My current thought, I’m not using my uterus any longer…just take it out while you’re in there. It’s drastic, but the pain has pushed me to the edge.

Mini Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecakes


Not only are these mini cheesecakes delish, they are low in calories! If you count points, they come in at only 2 points each! I signed up for a 100 Days of Holidays newsletter from Parents.com and Better Homes and Gardens. Pumpkin recipes were the topic one day. This recipe is adapted from theirs.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 8oz package reduced-fat cream cheese
2 8oz packages of fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Zest from one orange
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup of orange juice

For the crust: Stir together crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crackers are moistened. Press mixture into bottom of 21 cupcake tins. Tip: do not use paper cupcake cups; I did and the filling is too wet. Buy the foil cups for this recipe.





For the filling: In a
food processor, combine the reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the milk, the vanilla, and orange peel. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.

In a food processor, combine fat-free cream cheese, pumpkin, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining 1/4 cup milk, and the pumpkin pie spice. Cover and process until smooth.

In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the orange juice; let it stand for 5 minutes. Then cook and stir it over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir 1 tablespoon of the gelatin mixture into the white cream cheese mixture and the remaining gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture.

Using an ice cream scoop (I used the pampered chef large scoop), scoop one scoop of the pumpkin mixture into each cupcake cup. Using a large spoon, spoon one spoon-full of the white cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Using a narrow, thin-bladed metal spatula or a table knife, swirl pumpkin and white mixtures.

Cover and chill overnight before serving. I was able to make 21 mini cheesecakes with this recipe.

Christmas Shopping

Phewwww! I just took a huge “to do” off my list. Every child that I need to buy Christmas presents for has been scratched off my list. I profited from Little Man’s accident AFLAC sent us money for the collar bone incident. While it did what it was supposed to and repaid me for the $160 the accident cost me in doctors’ visits, new button-up shirts, and the “you’re a brave boy” present, that money was already considered out of the picture and spent. What that means is that the $345 they sent was fair game.

It came at the perfect time! Toys-r-Us released their big toy book and it included many sale items. Online, there were many items with free shipping. With the exception of one item, I got it all with free shipping!!! I love online shopping!

It’s going to be a game Christmas for Little Man. He’s not really into building anything other than Geotrax, and he’s got plenty of that (according to hubs…there’s always room for more Geotrax – just wait until Ladybug is ready for Barbie, hubs!). I bought him several little games that I think he will enjoy.

Don’t Spill the Beans,
Honey Bee Tree and the classic memory game are some that I found. There are other things too, but these stand out in my memory.









Ladybug was a bit more difficult. She’s already got so many toys from when Little Man was her age. It’s hard to justify buying more of the same type of toys. I bought her a hairbow holder (so cute) and a
baby doll by tidoo; it got great reviews. The developmental therapists at work told me a doll would be a perfect present for her age; she can practice washing it, combing its hair and pointing out body parts.





I still need to buy for both sets of parents. I am also questions stocking gifts. I bought them for the kids (thank you dollar section at Target), but am wondering whether or not to buy them for me and hubs. I think Little Man is at the age where he will notice if we don’t get something from Santa. I may just buy a bottle of wine and a few other little things that I will end up buying for us anyway. What do you do? Do you buy fill your stocking and the stocking of your hubs?

If you're looking for another way to save money check out these Lowes Coupons including a Printable Lowes Coupon

Tuesday's Tip Jar



You know those plastic spice and herb jars that you toss in recycling (or…gasp…the trash)? Stop! Rinse them out, peel the paper label, and toss them into the bathtub. They make great bath toys. Little Man loves to sprinkle water through the shaker lid!

Baby Mum Mum

When Little Man was Ladybug's age, I was giving him the Biter Biscuits, and they were terribly messy. He loved them, but boy what a chore. I think, in the end, I only ended up giving him 4 or 5 of them because of the mess they caused.

This time around someone told me about Baby Mum Mum crackers. Have you tried these? They are crackers made from rice flour and are incredible. Ladybug loves them. They leave her slightly sticky, but nothing in comparison to the other crackers.

They are wrapped with 2 crackers per package. I giver her both after she eats dinner. She nibbles on them while we eat. It works out very well. She actually kicks her feet and laughs when I pull out the package.

I buy them at Wal-Mart, but I am sure they can be found at a number of places. I know you can buy them on Amazon, Baby Mum-Mum, if you can't find them locally. If you have a little one - give them a try.

Happy Happy

Happy Halloween from Little Man and Ladybug!

Our rocket!

















Our ladybug!

Toilet Seats

In our house, we leave the toilet seat down. The hubs puts it down when he's done with his business. I teach my son to put it down. It's just the right thing to do.

My parents are here this week. My parents actually take putting the seat down one step further; they close the lid. I don't recall them doing this when I was living at home.

Since birthing two children, my bladder control isn't what it used to be. I get within five feet of a toilet and I start doing the potty dance. If I can't get my pants unfastened fast enough, I start to panic.

I was in panic mode yesterday. I finally got my pants unbuttoned and practically ripped them off of me as I was lowering my tush to the sitting position. The moment I sat I started to go, then realized that I was sitting on the lid not on the seat. ARGGGGHHHHHH!

Slow Down

I keep asking my little Ladybug to slow down, but she just doesn't seem to listen to me. Over the past week she has started to do the "army crawl." What started as a slight move forward has now turned into an across the room venture.

And now, for your viewing pleasure...a little video of my Ladybug enjoying the tulle that surrounded her infant swing (that she wanted to reach so badly while in the swing).

video

Oh What A Web We Weave


Celebrate the season with this wickedly webby cake!

What you need to Decorate this Cake:
Chocolate Frosting
Vanilla Frosting
Edible Glitter
Plastic Spiders

Make your favorite round cake recipe (mine happens to be chocolate) and frost it with chocolate frosting. Remember, the first layer of frosting should be very thin. Allow that layer to harden, then go over it with another thicker layer of frosting.

Before the second layer of chocolate frosting hardens, pipe white frosting in thick concentric circles around the cake. Using a butter-knife, drag lines inward to the center circle, thus creating a cob-web like effect. Wipe your knife clean after each line.

Sprinkle the web with white edible glitter. (This stuff is amazing! If you don't have any, I recommend buying some. It doesn't add any flavor, but just gives your cakes that little extra sparkle.)

Top the cake off by placing plastic spiders all over the cake. I used plastic spider rings that I found at Wal-Mart. The rings made it easy to poke the spiders into the cake.

Enjoy the cake with your family and friends!

Giving up Wine

I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner.

I took out my wallet, got out ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy wine with it instead of dinner?"

"No, I had to stop drinking years ago", the homeless woman told me.

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked.

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.

"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!"

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight."

The homeless Woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

I said, "That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine."

Flashback Friday - First Emotion

Remember when you first laid eyes on that bundle of joy? That very first moment when you saw your baby? This week let’s flashback to that moment. No long labor stories, just raw emotion - what did you feel inside?





March 24th, 2005 Little Man made his debut at 5:05pm. When your first one is born, the emotion is so raw and overwhelming. I was so exhausted and so completely amazed that I had just given birth to a child. It was an amazing experience. I remember feeling annoyed that the doctor held him for what felt like an eternity. In retrospect, they probably only had him for less than a minute. The moment I laid eyes on him I started crying. Crying with joy and complete and total love. My heart was fuller than it had ever been. I didn't realize there was room in my heart for as much love.















March 14, 2008 Ladybug made her entrance sometime shortly after 8:00pm. Things went faster than they did with Little Man. I pushed like 3 times and it was over. The emotion wasn't as raw because I knew what to expect. I knew that my heart would expand to fit the love I had for her the moment I saw her. I was, of course, amazed that I gave birth to another child. I was even more amazed at how quick it happened. Then I just felt joy to have her in my arms and relief that she was healthy. While the doctors and nurses did their thing in my nether regions, I happily held her oblivious to the number of stitches and all the pushing and pulling taking place.

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