Friday, January 28, 2011

Mercedes turned 3!

My Dusty. She turned 3 on 1.6.11. My baby is 3.
(Dusty is the name the nurses gave her when she was born. Her birthmother wished her gone & we were yet to know God chose us to be her parents. So Dusty she was & still somewhat is - it's a name we refer to her often because it's part of her. I actually love the name. :)

She is so precious & can fake smile like the rest of 'em. Ü

Below she is kissing her birthday gifts. I have no clue why. And yes, her sleeves are wet, as she decided she needed to wash her hands (& obviously arms) before gift time. She refused to let me fix her hair, so ponytail it was. :)
I am a bit sad she is 3. I just want to freeze time so she'll stay little forever. She is a lip gloss (holding it in the below photo, as well as Dora silly bands) fanatic, carrying it/them around in her Caboodle. So cute.
She loves Dora & she adores her singing Happy Birthday Dora from Grandma B. :)
She even reads her own cards! Love this photo! Ü

Just a tad skeptical when Daddy lit the candles. :) And please excuse her chair - that is her chair & it is always filthy! What can I say. Girl's cute, but she's a pig! Ü

She is dreamy! She is one hot mess (thanks Rebecca! :) - so sweet & adoring one minute, & telling you (or Jaguar, typically ;o) how the cow at the cabbage the next. She is so stinkin' cute, very independent, so smart & just a tremendous joy. Such a big girl. When she wants to be held, she'll say "I hold you" while reaching up with her arms. Be still my beating heart. She is happy happy, in so many ways resembles Audi so much, & is just so precious.

As of 1.25.11, she has been removed from the thyroid medication she has taken for 1,084 days. It's a big adjustment & we'll know soon if her body can function properly without the medication. She has labs done in 2 weeks - sooner if I begin to notice signs that she needs the medicine. I'm watching her very closely & was very reluctant to take her off of the medication she has thrived on since she was 5 weeks old. If her body cannot tolerate not having the medication, she will immediately be put back on it & will take it the remainder of her life. That will be the end of that (in other words, there will be no 'trying again' at a later date). If she continues to function normally & her body responds properly without the medication, she'll never have to take it again. She has had thorough testing done over the last couple of years & she does indeed have a thyroid, & her medication dosage has never, ever needed to be adjusted (which it usually does, as baby grows), so it will be very interesting to see the outcome. After what she suffered in utero & after being resuscitated at birth, if God decides she needs to take a pill for the remainder of her life, I'm so fine with that. She is such a blessing, it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. I am just tickled pink she is here, she is healthy & she is simply adored.

To my little big girl - it still hurts me today to think of how your journey began. It hurts my heart. But you ended up right where you needed to be. You are right where you belong. And look at you now! You are a spitfire, full of love & funnies & sassiness & adorablism! You complete our family. You are truly a gift & it is my pleasure to walk with you through life. I love you so much! ♥

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kitchen Stewardship.

I sure am blogging quite a bit for someone who isn't going to blog for quite a bit. Huh? Ü

Researching natural cleaning recipes/formulas I came across this site:

Kitchen Stewardship

Wow! I continue to scour her site, absorbing information. Super site - she's done an amazing job compiling so much useful information. I will be making many of her recipes in the coming weeks. First off? Homemade granola bars! I'm so thankful for her for sharing her knowledge! Ü

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chemical injected into fast food hamburger meat.

"(NaturalNews) If you're in the beef business, what do you do with all the extra cow parts and trimmings that have traditionally been sold off for use in pet food? You scrape them together into a pink mass, inject them with a chemical to kill the e.coli, and sell them to fast food restaurants to make into hamburgers.

That's what's been happening all across the USA with beef sold to McDonald's, Burger King, school lunches and other fast food restaurants, according to a New York Times article. The beef is injected with ammonia, a chemical commonly used in glass cleaning and window cleaning products.

This is all fine with the USDA, which endorses the procedure as a way to make the hamburger beef "safe" enough to eat. Ammonia kills e.coli, you see, and the USDA doesn't seem to be concerned with the fact that people are eating ammonia in their hamburgers.

This ammonia-injected beef comes from a company called Beef Products, Inc. As NYT reports, the federal school lunch program used a whopping 5.5 million pounds of ammonia-injected beef trimmings from this company in 2008. This company reportedly developed the idea of using ammonia to sterilize beef before selling it for human consumption.

Aside from the fact that there's ammonia in the hamburger meat, there's another problem with this company's products: The ammonia doesn't always kill the pathogens. Both e.coli and salmonella have been found contaminating the cow-derived products sold by this company.

This came as a shock to the USDA, which had actually exempted the company's products from pathogen testing and product recalls. Why was it exempted? Because the ammonia injection process was deemed so effective that the meat products were thought to be safe beyond any question.

What else is in there?

As the NYT reports, "The company says its processed beef, a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips, is used in a majority of the hamburger sold nationwide. But it has remained little known outside industry and government circles. Federal officials agreed to the company's request that the ammonia be classified as a 'processing agent' and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels."

Fascinating. So you can inject a beef product with a chemical found in glass cleaning products and simply call it a "processing agent" -- with the full permission and approval of the USDA, no less! Does anyone doubt any longer how deeply embedded the USDA is with the beef industry?

Apparently, this practice of injecting fast food beef with ammonia has been a well-kept secret for years. I never knew this was going on, and this news appears to be new information to virtually everyone. The real shocker is that "a majority" of fast food restaurants use this ammonia-injected cow-derived product in their hamburger meat. It sort of makes you wonder: What else is in there that we don't know about?

"School lunch officials and other customers complained about the taste and smell of the beef," says the NYT. No wonder. It's been pumped full of chemicals.

There are already a thousand reasons not to eat fast food. Make this reason number 1,001. Ammonia. It's not supposed to be there.

You can get the same effect by opening a can of dog food made with beef byproducts, spraying it with ammonia, and swallowing it. That is essentially what you're eating when you order a fast food burger.

It's almost enough to make you want to puke. If you do so, please aim it at your windows, because ammonia cuts through grease like nothing else, leaving your windows squeaky clean!"


Thank you Emily, for sharing this smelly (get it, smelly? Ammonia = smelly? Oh nevermind. I try. :) information! Ü

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gone for an undisclosed amount of time.

Last week my children all had the stomach flu. Fortunately, it was only a 12 hour bug. Unfortunately, all 4 children were struck. Prior to that, Bentley has suffered with Strep Throat 4 times since July '10. He now gets to visit an ENT for further options/treatment.

This week, I have both boys who tested positive for Strep, & both girls who tested positive for Influenza A. I have not been tested, but oh believe me, I gots it too. Ü After spending approximately over $510 on drs. visits & prescriptions (just this week alone! Monday-Wednesday), a priceless amount of suffering, an undetermined amount on cleaning products/laundry detergent/Ibuprofen - I now have a new priority.

My family is not sick often (Bentley aside - but he also has the worst eating/sleeping habits in our family), other than the occasional allergies/colds, but after this bout, I feel like there is something I am just not doing right. I could be wrong, but I'm going to devote a whole lot of time trying to find a solution to help my children/family. I'm not confident that what we are experiencing is normal, or not normal. I tend to believe we fall in the 'not normal' category.

I have tried diligently to cook more from scratch, incorporate more fruits & veggies, implement adequate sleep, offer daily vitamins, etc. That said, there just seems to be no improvement.

Over the years, I have gone from cleaning with commercial products, to tossing all of those chemicals & going 'green' (I even purchased books to help me transition), then switching back to commercial products. Currently, I'm in between. Some things I use are commercial, others are natural.

I read somewhere, & had a friend confirm via Facebook, that maybe I clean too much. Maybe not "too much" per say, but too thoroughly, if that makes sense. Being I use commercial products that kill this bacteria & that germ, possibly I'm not leaving enough bacteria behind, so my family can build a resistance. To be honest, I have no idea, but with all my might, I hope to find out. What I do know for certain is that I will be transitioning back to all natural products - not only is it less expensive, as we all know, it's much healthier for our bodies (lungs & cute noses, just to name a few). :)

I have felt quite a bit of guilt because I just haven't been able to update my blog as I'd like. I have so many posts to do (including Mercedes' 3rd birthday photos), so many that I want to do, but getting my family healthy takes precedence to my blog. I have to know that I have done everything in power to help them, even if I'm not successful. I'll be able to say I tried. Ü

I know I don't have many who read & I'm so ok with that. But I also know I have a few regulars who check in, only to discover that yet again, there's no new post. My hope is that you'll hang in there with me (I'll still Twitter & Facebook - those don't take as long). And while you're at it, if you have any cleaning tips or vitamin suggestions (or anything else) you can toss my way, bring it & thank you! I have received much advice on Facebook, some I'm implementing, some I'm still researching, but I'm so thankful! I am not a proud person & I will certainly take any & all advice/suggestions you can offer. :)

Thanks for understanding but most importantly, I hope you all stay healthy! I cannot tell you how absolutely horrible these illnesses have been. Do everything you can, too, to rid the bacteria & germs! But be sure to leave some. Teehee. Off to take my Tamiflu! Ü

Bon Voyage!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My heart overflows.

They, are why. ♥

Two hours.

To make homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.

Two hours. Two long hours. Pouring & cooking & boiling & simmering & chopping & cutting & simmering some more. I felt like I was being punished. Don't let the photos fool you. It sucked! The only reason I'm posting photos is because I took the time to take them in case it turned out. LOL I am not a fan of cooking chicken in water. Or liquid. This recipe kinda lost me on step 1. Ü

In other news, I'm redecorating my blog. In spare time only. So it could take a while. Or months. Ü

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jaguar turned 6!

New Year's Day - 1.1.11. (Love that date!)

I kid you not when I say, I could stare at her all day long. Ü

Daddy helping read her birthday cards. Ü

Zoobles! Ü

Barbie convertible! Mom wants a real one of these. ;o)

Yep, cupcakes for her, too! Ü

This last photo kills me. She was totally freaked out by the flame. LOL Eventually, she did blow it out. Ü

My girl. I'm telling you. She is something else. Doesn't do her work in school, because she "doesn't want to". She is so laid back & just has the 'I don't care' attitude. I love it. She's actually making great strides in school. This girl can turn on the tears in a split second. For example, we're talking about the snow that may come tomorrow. In the middle of all the family excitement, Jaguar will break down hysterically & exclaim "Emma didn't like my pants". LOL She does this sort of thing constantly. I'm actually somewhat afraid to enter the teen years with her. ;o) But most of all? She's hilarious. She beats to her own drum (ahem) & that makes her, her. She is very sensitive, but a lovable, happy, healthy little girl who loves anything funky & mismatched. She is loaded with fun. Witnessing her journey through life is going to be very interesting (& very eventful, I'm sure) & I'm honored to have a front row seat. I better hold on tight. Ü

To my Jags, I adore everything about you. I love you so very much! Happy Birthday! ♥

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Audi turned 7!

New Year's Eve - 12.31.10.

He can read his own birthday cards now! And pull out the $10 from Grandma Jan! Ü

A Star Wars Lightsaber from Grandma B.! Ü

Finally, now that he's 7, his own Nintendo DS! Ü

(The few remaining gifts we didn't capture by camera.)

I'm not that frugal - he requested cupcakes! Ü And I have absolutely no idea why in the sam hills he's sitting in Merc's booster! ;o)

A little leery when the flamed 'seven' toppled over...

Quickly rectified by repositioning & relighting. Ü

I am so blessed not only to be his mom, but to be able to encourage, guide, support & love him for all of his days. He's smart. He's focused. He's determined. He's funny. But best of all, he's happy, healthy, caring & so lovable! He drives me c-razy only because we are so alike - but I would never change a thing. I love him to pieces! God's going to take him great places in life & I am honored & excited to witness his journey.

Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet boy! Mom loves you so incredibly much! ♥