Tag Archives: health

GFCF and EF Cranberry Orange Muffins

Since I’m now dealing with Bean’s food allergies and trying to prepare food for her, I am going to try and share some recipes from time to time that take those allergies into account, taste good and are kid friendly. Maybe there are some of you out there dealing with some of the same problems and can be helped by it.

As such, these muffins are gluten, casein and egg free. They taste great though and you would never know it. Muffins are a really simple food for kids. I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t like muffins. This recipe isn’t super fancy. I basically slightly modified the instructions on the back of a mix box.

Ingredients
-About 4oz of dried cranberries (I used around half of an 8oz bag)
-10oz jar orange marmalade
-1 box 365 Everyday Value Gluten Free Muffin Mix
-6tbsp Earth Balance organic buttery spread, softened
-1 cup alternative milk (I use a blend of coconut, hemp, soy, and rice)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Spoon into muffin tin. Bake for 16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (mine actually took about 20 minutes). Turn onto rack and cool completely.

I tend to make a batch of various muffins every couple of weeks and freeze them. I defrost them in the microwave for 45 seconds and then break them up into bite sized pieces to feed Bean. My last batch was similar to this one, but instead of the orange marmalade I used two mashed bananas and instead of cranberries I used diced peaches from two individual fruit cups. I think my next batch will probably be blueberry.

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Filed under Gourmet Lisa, Homemade

A proper update

So I realized that I have been great about documenting all my knitting adventures lately, but not so great about documenting Bean and this pregnancy. The last time I did anything close to a real update was about a month ago when I talked about the learning adventures of Bean. So I’m well overdue, I’d say.

I guess I will start off back at the learning adventures, as it seems like as good a place as any. We’re still trying to make learning a daily part of our lives in a natural way.


Reading with her Papa just before heading out to a Halloween party we attended.

However, I’ve completely cut the DVD portion of the Your Baby Can Read! system out. When all the stuff about the Baby Einsteins videos came out I decided that Bean did not need to be watching TV, even TV specifically designed for babies, yet. Actually, the DVD part of the system is what bugged me the most anyway and that is what I was talking about when I said I was not willing to follow his strict plan for learning.

His suggestion is that you watch the DVD for the unit you are on twice a day. You are also supposed to move on to the next unit once a month and once you move on to a new unit you are still supposed to watch the DVDs from the previous units three times a week. So you figure that by the time you get to the end of the five or six DVD system your kid is basically going to be watching TV a majority of the day. I think this is ridiculous.

Besides, Bean is a very inquisitive and alert little girl. She wants to learn about the world around her. She is constantly asking what stuff is. She loves music and particularly likes it when we sing songs with hand motions in them like The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I really don’t think I have anything to worry about as far as her ability to learn. And besides, she’s ONE.

Bean has become a full-time walker. It has been so nice because now I don’t have to carry her everywhere anymore which is admittedly getting harder and harder to do as the pregnancy wears on. She can climb the stairs and will follow me around the house or walk somewhere holding my hand.

I completely weaned her on November 1. It wasn’t something I was really planning on. Actually, the biting issues had completely stopped (finally!) and I was pretty much fine with continuing to nurse her before naps and at bedtime. Plus, everytime that I thought I was going to do it she’d get a cold or had a reaction to vaccines or something and I felt like I needed to continue so she could get antibodies and stuff.

About a week or so before I weaned her I had started getting really uncomfortable Braxton Hicks during every nursing session that would last for several hours afterwards. So I started to think that I really should reconsider weaning her because I didn’t want nursing to send me into premature labor or something. I was still feeling really torn about the whole thing though because I knew she just wasn’t ready to stop. She was always coming up to me and tugging on my shirt. I guess my philosophy is more along the lines of child-led weaning in some ways.

Well, on the afternoon of November 1 I nursed Bean as usual before her nap and she basically treated me like a jungle gym the entire time. She was even upside down at one point. It was pretty ridiculous. That combined with some contractions afterwards had me frustrated. I came downstairs and told Stephen that I was done. However, in the back of my mind I wasn’t sure if this was really going to be the case. I’ve said that many times and then not actually quit. Well anyway, the rest of the day she didn’t ask to nurse. I gave her some regular milk before bed that night and she didn’t ask to nurse again. The next day came and she didn’t ask to nurse at all. It’s been like that ever since. So I guess she was just done like me. I’m really glad that this is the way it went and I didn’t have to make it happen because I’m not sure I would have been up for it.

On a related note, we’ve been having some food issues around here. Today Bean once again proved that she’s willing to eat pretty much anything so long as it is in a restaurant. She shared chicken nachos from Baja Fresh with me and ate quite a huge portion of them. If I try to make the same thing at home, she picks at it. Same goes for anything from orange chicken to broccoli to pasta, etc. At home she’s just incredibly picky and I can hardly get her to eat. It is very frustrating. Some days I/we go out to eat for lunch or dinner just so I know that she’ll get something to eat besides grains (cereal, bread, oatmeal, or crackers), dairy (yogurt or milk mostly and cheese only in the form of a quesadilla) and fruit. I thought I had solved this problem by eliminating Cheerios from her diet and while that did seem to make things a little better and get her to try a few new items, the problem still seems to persist. I’ve tried the “toddler boat” idea (an ice cube tray or muffin tin filled with various items for them to graze on all day) from Dr. Sears, spoon feeding jar food (works sometimes), and a whole host of other things. At her last doctor’s appointment Bean was anemic and her pediatrician said I need her to eat leafy greens and red meat. I have not been successful at all in this. Any suggestions from parents of other picky eaters would be welcome.

She’s also teething yet again. A couple of bottom teeth are coming in. She’s been a bit of a bear to deal with some days. She is also chewing on everything. I’ve actually had to take her books and other cardboard type toys (some blocks and a couple other items) out of the toy box only to be looked at and read with our active supervision because she was eating them so much. I feel like a bit of a bad mom because of this since she loves her books so much, but the amount of cardboard consumption was getting ridiculous.


Chewing on her crib to alleviate the teething pain.


You can see the damage from her chewing just above her hand on the right side of the picture.

As far as pregnancy, depending on which due date calculation you use I am somewhere between 32w and 33w3d along. In the last week or so I’ve had a resurgence of some of my first trimester woes, particularly heartburn and morning sickness. The morning sickness is fairly easily taken care of by Zofran and Unisom, but both make me really drowsy and so can only be taken just prior to Bean’s nap or bedtime. The heartburn, on the other hand, really doesn’t seem to have any cure. Sometimes it is so bad that it makes me cough and gag.

Even without nursing anymore I am still experiencing a lot of uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions. They usually occur when I have busy days or when I have to climb the stairs a lot. Sometimes they make me have panic attacks. I think this is because my uterus gets so hard that my lungs and other organs are even more squashed than usual. I start to feel like I can’t get a good breath and then I panic. I know this is not good. I’m really trying to figure out ways not to panic and calm down. Sometimes just drinking some really cold water seems to help. I really want to figure this out before it comes time for real labor though or I might be in some serious trouble.

Anyway, that just about sums everything up around here. Hopefully I’ll be more prompt with my updates in the future. ūüôā

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Filed under Family, Homeschooling, Natural Living, Parenting, Pregnancy and Birth, Ramblings

One of those crazy moms

I’ve had Jenny McCarthy’s book, Mother Warriors on my bookshelf since last Christmas. It was a present from my sister, Andrea.

I started it today and I’m about 1/3 of the way through. I’m wading through the Hollywood crap, the therapist and weird spiritual beliefs, like praying to other people’s guardian angels. I keep leveling with myself that this woman is not a scientist or a doctor, she’s an actress/comedian.

But it is really hard to ignore what she and the other moms in her book have to say about their children and vaccines in light of last week.

It started yesterday, but really became obvious today: I have my daughter back. A week and 2-3 days later.

Today she didn’t refuse to eat. She has been “talking” nonstop. Pointing to every object in the house asking, “dis?” and wanting me to tell her what it is. She hasn’t flopped on the floor at all. She giggles when I give her kisses. She’s alert and playful. Her smile is ridiculously cute and huge over every little thing. She is so interactive!

It would be one thing if she just had a fever for a couple days last week. But even after the fever subsided and the “sick” symptoms went away, Bean just wasn’t herself. She didn’t talk. She zoned out. She didn’t want to play with her toys. I feel like I don’t know how to explain it and then again I do.

I’ve always felt like the benefits of vaccines in protecting our society against disease outweigh the “standard” side effects. Did I want to minimize those side effects as much as possible? Of course. That’s why we were going with a much less accelerated vaccine schedule than what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

But now I am finding myself questioning the value of injecting our children and ourselves with toxins and diseases. And whether a breastfed baby growing up in the United States where these diseases are almost obsolete that I’m probably going to homeschool really needs them.

And if I do make this decision, I’m trying to figure out how I can muster the courage to not back down at the next pediatrician’s appointment. To not find myself frazzled once again and fumbling over what I think is best for Bean.

I don’t know. I guess I’m just becoming one of those crazy moms.

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On grasping at the wind.

Our culture is one driven in many ways by sex, beauty and the images of both. We’ve always heard that “sex sells” and as such nearly every product sold here is advertised by lengthy, toned and tanned models with perfect skin and hair. From a young age, I think these images shape our perceptions, especially those of us girls, of what the “ideal” is for the appearance of women and even men. As such,¬†I don’t think the story I am about to share ¬†is much different from most girls and women today.

From about the time I was in junior high, I began struggling with both my and others’ perceptions of my physical appearance.

Unlike the rest of the girls in my junior high, I never “shot up” and instead I remained under five feet tall well into my sophmore year of high school. These days I top out at a whopping 5’2″. I was encouraged to wear “tall shoes” to compensate. At the time platform white tennis shoes and wedges were really in. I quickly discovered the pain that comes from trying to make yourself something you are not in the form of excrutiating shin splints at the end of every day.

Next came the acne. I was nicknamed “stucco head” at the time because that was precisely what my forehead resembled.

Also unfortunate for me was that I still had a super fast metabolism. So when all the girls my age were getting perfect curves in all the right places, I was skin and bones. It used to be great fun among my friends to see who could fit a single hand around various body parts (wrist, ankle, stomach, etc.) or try and feel my ribs. Soon this changed, however, and just like all my other girlfriends the metabolism slowed down.

I didn’t exactly like the results. I was taking a ballet class at the time and one week I suddenly felt like I was twice the size of the other girls in my class. Just to put things in perspective though, I was still under 100lbs.

Around this time I remember consciously making the decision to skip a meal. Then two. Eventually, I got to the point where I could go whole days without eating. I’d tell my parents that I wasn’t hungry or that I’d already eaten. Some days they were on to me and made me eat. I hated these days. This sounds cheesy, but a Lifetime movie came on all about this girl that died from an eating disorder. So I started eating again. Because I didn’t want to die.

The struggle with my¬†appearance in comparison to others¬†didn’t just end there though. It was and is always there. Festering and nagging me.

My next attempt at control was vegetarianism. I knew that meats had a lot of fat in them. I figured I could make everyone happy by still eating, but eliminating meat would be an easy way to get rid of calories and fat. My parents weren’t into “special” meals though so I was often stuck with steamed veggies or salads (iceberg, tomato, carrot, shredded cheese and ranch dressing). It got old really quick. One day, I just wanted a hamburger and that was the end of my being a vegetarian.

Right around this time I was finishing high school and lot of good things were happening in my life. I had a circle of friends that came in all sorts of different shapes, colors and sizes. We were friends because we liked eachother for who we were. I was going to church and discovered that God loved me for who I am.

These, among a few other things, really started to pave the road to my learning to be OK with the way I am.

But I was (and am not) cured.

Right about the middle of my freshman year of college I got Valley Fever. As scary as this virus can be for people (mostly because of secondary infections like pneumonia), my only symptoms were a one time case of violent hives, a cyst in my lung that I didn’t really even know about until they took an x-ray, some funky blood count, extreme exhaustion and complete lack of appetite. I lost 40lbs in a month. I was scary skinny.

Once I finished up my anti-virals, gained about 10lbs back, and started remingling with the rest of the world it quickly became apparent to most other people that I saw that I “looked good.” It seemed like everywhere I went people that hadn’t seen me in awhile said that and wanted to know about my diet, fitness routine, etc.

I knew that the only reason I looked so good was that I had barely eaten anything. I knew this wasn’t healthy or a healthy way to maintain an “ideal” weight. I knew that I shouldn’t be excited about others’ perceptions of me because it wasn’t a real possibility for my body under normal conditions.

But I was happy with what they said. I was happy with the way I looked. I was happy that I could share clothes with my sisters again. That I could fit into the “skinny” jeans in the back of my closet that I never wore.

As the pounds came back on, I decided to accept that this was the way I am and I just wasn’t ever going to be as pretty or skinny as the other girls, models, actresses, etc. Besides I’d met and started dating Stephen at this point and he liked me so I figured this was just a dumb thing I had in my head I needed to get over.

When we decided to get married I went on birth control and like most women blew up like a big balloon. No amount of eating healthy or working out could combat it. So I gave up. Not having kids was more important to me than being skinny.

By the time I finally went off birth control I was wearing a size 14 and I weighed 168lbs. There were stinging comments from well meaning friends and family trying to motivate me. I knew that I was overweight for my height. I cringed at pictures of myself. It just seemed a hopeless cause.

And then I got pregnant. If you’ve read the birth story you know that I¬†went from 168 to 136lbs in the first trimester because of all the throwing up I did. Once I started feeling better, I was again greeted by friends and family members telling me that I looked “soooo good!” and that you couldn’t even tell that I was pregnant. Other pregnant friends were jealous of my barely there tummy. And when I looked in the mirror, the double chin was gone.

Even after I had my baby people wanted to know what I was doing and they just couldn’t get over the fact that I looked so good. What to tell them? How to respond? I wasn’t doing anything. I had only gained 12lbs my whole pregnancy. I weighed less after giving birth than I did pre-pregnancy.

The thing is, I’ve never really resolved that nagging, festering mode of thought about my appearance. My last pregnancy update post on baby #2 is full of it. And this time around (for the most part) I’ve also gotten the “you look so good” comments that I don’t know how to respond to. My midwife and I jokingly refer to my “luck” at not gaining much weight as “Lisa’s pregnancy diet.”

As of this writing I currently weigh 145lbs. I started out the pregnancy at 136lbs. At my sickest point I weighed 134lbs. The only maternity pants that fit me are size 2 or small. Most of my pre-pregnancy clothes still fit me. Most of my maternity clothes from Bean are like a tent on me.

But is this something to really be proud of? Especially considering the unhealthy manner in which is was achieved? What do I really say to the people who want to know my secret? And what about the other people who think that even this is too much weight? What do you say to yourself when you feel and see huge in the mirror?

I don’t really know if I have the answer. I do know that the “ideal” we are fed through the media is not achievable for me or most other women. I know that I am tired of being compared and comparing. And honestly, I’m kind of sick of compliments on appearance in general because I don’t look “so good” or “so much better” than you or anyone else. I look like me and the way I’m supposed to look based on me being a unique individual, my genes, lifestyle, habits, diet, how much time and energy I decided to put into personal grooming that morning, etc.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting…”

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Candidiasis

It is nearly midnight as I am writing this. Why am I up you ask? Because I stupidly drank a caffeinated beverage with dinner and because I am in pain. I’ll get to the pain part in a few minutes.

The following is probably more information than you ever wanted to know about me. I blame it on the caffeine induced insomnia. I also share it¬†so that other breastfeeding moms don’t make my same mistake(s).

On March 20 (I share the date because the amount of time that has passed shows just how dumb I am), I started to feel like I was getting a yeast infection. ¬†This is really nothing new for me. I am just prone to these things. Please spare me the “clean up” lecture. I’ve had that awkward conversation enough times with enough awkward parties.

I’ve been getting them for as long as I can remember. If I do something really physical like running or hiking or whatever I get one. If I don’t wear cotton underwear I get one. If I go swimming for the day and stay in my swimsuit the entire day, I’m definitely asking to get one. Like I said, I’m just prone to them.

Anyway, I did what I always do. I upped my yogurt intake (as in actually ate some) and took a couple acidophilus capsules for a few days. When the symptoms stopped I got lazy again and stopped taking all the stuff. Being that I’m prone to them, I should probably just make acidophilus a regular part of my daily diet, but I don’t. Who really wants to be stuck on pills their whole life? Not me.

Anyway, about this time is when Bean was starting her crankiness. She also had develped a diaper rash. I attributed the diaper rash to the change in laundry detergents because that brand had been implicated in diaper rash problems amongst other babies. I felt confident in this diagnosis when I made my own detergent and the diaper rash seemed to be less red and yucky looking after a couple diaper changes.

Well, then the diaper rash came back with avengence. Nothing was working on it. Baths? Nope. Hanging out without a diaper on? Nope. Diaper rash cream? Nope. Changing the diaper every single hour? Nope. Poor little Bean still has a nasty red bottom as I write this.

Also during this time I thought Bean was teething. And who knows? She probably was some of the time. Motrin did seem to help last week during the worst of it and she now has a little tiny white spot showing through on the left side of her mouth to match the one that showed up on the right side at 3 months.

Well, because she was¬†teething she was nursing a lot. And I was getting really, really sore. Like as bad as it was in the beginning sore. But the thing is, she has had long nursing spells prior to this and it didn’t hurt a bit. So I figured that maybe she wasn’t¬†latching on properly. Or she was biting me. I started paying¬†more attention to her during nursing time and it wasn’t any of those things.¬†

A few nights ago the pain was so bad that I could hardly stand to nurse. I almost wanted to give¬†it¬†up completely.¬†Bean’s fussy behavior and constant night waking coupled with the¬†painful nursing experience¬†really had me in an emotional state. I told Stephen the next morning that I didn’t want to breastfeed anymore and that I wanted to get a “real” job because I just couldn’t take¬†being a full time mom anymore.

After some talking down from the ledge by a few different people I was OK.

But breastfeeding was still hurting. Like a lot. 

So I’m running the gamut of possibilites… “Am I pregnant? No way. I would know. My chart would tell me. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Well maybe I’m getting ready to have the monthly thing a little early. I’ve heard that some women experience painful nursing during that time so maybe that’s what it is. But then why hasn’t it hurt all the other times? And this is like a lot of pain. Wouldn’t they just give up? What is going on? Why does it hurt so badly?”

I usually¬†knit or read while Bean is nursing because they are easy things I can do while sitting. Knitting is so easy for me that I can do it with my eyes closed. Only tonight when I was breastfeeding it hurt so bad that I couldn’t even knit because¬†that task would require way too much of me when I was in this kind of pain. All I could do is grit my teeth and try to breathe.

And then for some reason I remembered a post I read about sudden onset of pain during nursing and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It all made sense. How could I be so dumb?

Thrush.

Also known as a yeast infection or candidiasis.

So once again I miss all the signs and symptoms for a significant period of time. You will note this all started back on March 20 as I said and it is now APRIL 13.

Anyway, where I went wrong in this whole thing is that I didn’t take the acidophilus for long enough. Do not be lazy like me. The recommendations that I found said to take 2 capsules 3 times a day and that it should continue to be taken 1-2 weeks AFTER symptoms have gone away. I also found that Bean can have one capsule three times a day (made into a paste and put in food).

Since this particular infection has had quite a bit of time to get established I think I’m also going to throw in the other recommendations I found to help the acidophilus along. These are:
-rinse infected areas with a vinegar and water solution (excluding baby’s mouth)
-antifungal creams (Monistat or Lotramin) can be applied to baby’s bottom, mom’s nipples, etc., but needs to be washed from nipples prior to a feeding
-take 4-6 capsules of odorless garlic a day for 1-2 weeks until after symptoms are gone
-take 250mg of grapefruit seed extract three times a day for 1-2 weeks until after symptoms are gone
-yeast thrive on milk and sugar so aside from yogurt, try to avoid them in your diet until symptoms are gone

So yeah. I took a couple acidophilus capsules tonight. I’ll be picking up my other fungus fighters tomorrow. I’m hoping to kick this thing good and hard and make it go away for awhile.

At least I know what the heck is going on finally. Jeeze.

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More praise for my cloth diapers

Over the holiday Bean was in disposable diapers because I thought it would be easier for us since we were going to be out of town for four days.

Well, it wasn’t easier.

For one thing I felt like I was changing diapers around the clock. We went through a whole package of Pampers and about 10 Huggies during our trip.

There were two blowouts.

And Bean developed a diaper rash the last day of our trip which was completely gone 24 hours after putting her back in her BumGenius diapers, no creams or other treatments were necessary.

I was willing to overlook the blowout problem for future vacations, but I am not willing to overlook the diaper rash. Bean has never had a case of diaper rash before and it doesn’t seem fair to put her through that discomfort for the sake of a “convenient” vacation.

I know some people would probably say that diaper rash is just a part of having a baby, but it really isn’t. Prior to the introduction of cloth diapers, diaper rash was a very rare occurance. If I remember correctly it occurred in under 10% of the population. Once disposables came along it skyrocketed to 90%.

As such I’ve decided to never buy a disposable diaper again. Future vacation planning that occurs while Bean or other kids are in diapers will just have to include planning for washing whether it is researching laundromats or staying somewhere that has access to washing facilities.

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Already? No way!

I think Bean is teething. She’s been having all these signs and I thought that she was getting sick, but she wasn’t actually getting to the sick part. Stephen asked if she could be teething and I was like, “No way! She’s only¬†two and a half¬†months old.” I just wouldn’t even consider it.

Well this morning I let her chew on my finger and I totally felt a place where the gum was bulging. I pried open her mouth to take a look and sure enough there is a bulgy spot and there is even a VERY tiny little hard white spot where the tooth is already cutting through. It all makes sense now. So here’s the story from the beginning…

Last week Bean started drooling a bunch and blowing spit bubbles all the time. I thought it was really weird because she has NEVER really drooled before. I just brushed it off though as a new thing she was doing.

Well then on Sunday while we were in the mother’s room her cheeks kept getting all rosy and staying that way. I brushed this off too because it was cold outside and we’d been coming in and out. It was also a bit toasty in there.

Monday night she woke up twice in the night. So then I thought, “Oh great, she’s going through another growth spurt.” But both times she barely even nursed. Just for a couple minutes and then she was back asleep.

Wednesday when Andrea came over in the afternoon she was starting to be a bit of a grump. She didn’t want to lay on the floor and play with her toys. She didn’t want to nurse. She was just kind of upset the whole day. Finally Andrea got her to go to sleep for awhile. She brightened up a bit at church. When we got home that night we noticed that she just couldn’t keep her hands out of her mouth. Stephen even got a little scared because she was practically choking herself trying to stick the whole thing in her mouth.

Yesterday she was mostly fine in the morning, but in the afternoon she was pretty fussy. She wouldn’t let me put her down. She’d be fine and happy as long as I was distracting her for the most part, but if I tried to lay her down to play with her toys she’d have a fit. And we’re talking major cry-fest melt down here which is completely unlike her. I also noticed yesterday that her cheeks were really rosy and warm again. She kept chewing on her fingers the whole day.

We went to Bible study and she was pretty unhappy while we were there too. I finally put her in the sling and just stood up the whole time, swaying her until she fell asleep. Stephen asked the other couples about the possibility of teething while we were there and they all confirmed what I thought, five months. So then I figured that I was right and she was probably getting sick. She fussed a bunch when we got home.

I nursed her at 11 and she bit me really hard, at which point I broke suction, said “No bite!” and put her in the swing. I felt pretty bad about it afterwards because I’m not sure she even understands “no” at this point. She fell asleep a minute later anyway though.

Her cheeks were all rosy again this morning so I took her temperature and she’s not actually running one. After I nursed her all she wanted to do was chew on her hands. So then I let her have my finger for a minute and that’s when I noticed the bulge.

I tried giving her a teether, but she didn’t really want it. I also tried rubbing an ice cube on her gums, but that caused a melt down. I nursed her again and she didn’t really eat much, but she did fall asleep. So I guess I’m going to head to the store with her and get some of that numbing stuff.

Poor dear! No wonder she’s been so upset. Probably didn’t help that Mama was ignoring it either.

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