Monday, February 28, 2011

I Cannot Make This Stuff Up

You guys might remember a post that I wrote in January about GracieAnn marking all over herself?  You can read the whole thing HERE.  Just to remind you of what it looked like, though, here she is:

Gracie wasn't the first to try the whole "write all over myself with a marker thing".  Nope, Kanin beat her to that one back in 2008, when he was four.

March 2008

So I guess it should come as no surprise that Caleb had to have a turn at writing all over himself.  Of course, he is only 20 months old (in 3 days), so I guess he is a faster learner than his brother and sister.

Not only is Caleb younger than either Gracie or Kanin for his first body-marking art show but he is also more creative.  He decided to go ahead and help Mommy decorate the house.  First, he thought the hallway bathroom needed some paint.

He also did not like the stark white wooden 6 panel bathroom door.

I guess Caleb really didn't like GracieAnn's dresser, either.

Or, the playroom walls.

It looks like he was very tired of not having any pictures up ono the walls.  He found some stickers and started decorating the stairwell all by himself.

I promise you that we do actually watch our children.  The marker incident happened tonight while I was taking a bath.  Scott and Kanin are at hockey and Dora was on so I knew that I could jump in the bath really quickly and get right out.  Usually Caleb is in the bathroom with me trying to crawl into the tub but tonight he stayed out with Gracie.  That's ok because he is starting to watch TV a little more.  I yelled out to Grace after about 5 minutes,

"Gracie, what's your brother doing?"

"Writing on himself with markers." 

Well, you can believe that I jumped out of that tub in all my glory with water dripping all over the floor and carpet and sure enough, it was too late. 

"Why didn't you tell Mommy that Caleb had markers?  Or, why didn't you take them away?"

"I was watching Dora." 
That REALLY DOES explain everything.  I'm sure she was oblivious.

There was nothing else to do at that moment other than take a few pictures, put all of the markers away (again), get back in the tub and finish my bath, and worry about cleaning him up when I was finished.

I don't really understand my kids' obsession with not actually using paper to write on.  I swear that I don't just let them run around like heathens and I have no idea how they keep getting these out.  I put them up and the next thing I know, they are right back out again.

Note to all of our friends and family, though, Please, Please, Please--no more markers until all kids are at least in kindergarten!!! 

CSN Stores $20 Giveaway

I am so excited for this giveaway! 

$20 to spend at any CSN store!

If you've never heard of or shopped CSN, let me tell you that it is amazing.  One site with tons of stores.  Home Improvement, Kitchen & Dining, Bed & Bath, and the list goes on and on.  You can find anything from kids' bedroom furniture to wooden swing sets

This giveaway will end Friday, March 4 at noon (CST).  Unfortunately, this giveway is good for US and Canada residents only--sorry all of my ex-pat and abroad friends  :( 

Please leave a separate comment for each entry:

1. Follow Party of Five (this site)
2. Follow me on Twitter
3. Include this giveaway in a blog (and provide the link in a comment)
4. Like us on Facebook

Good luck!

Thursday Giveaway Link Up”=

Totally Random

I was flipping through some pics of the Oscars last night and I ran across this picture.

A few things came to my mind:

1.  How old are these two?  Judging by the hand on his knee and the hint of cleavage, you would think they were in their 20's. 
Nope.  Bieber is 16 and Gomez is 18.

2. When I was 18 you could not have caught me with a 16 year old.  Guess it's different if it is Justin Bieber?

3. Where are their (at least his) parents?
No 16 year old boy (or girl) of mine is going to be snuggled up "til the early morning hours" with anyone.

The 2 Ultimate Blogger Questions

#1 Wordpress or Blogger?  (and WHY?) 
I actually have a Wordpress account already opened but I can't figure it out to save my life.

#2 To domain or not?  (and WHY?)

#3 just because I'd like to know . . .
Do you think I should combine my food blog and family blog?
(and WHY or WHY NOT?)

Miscellany Monday

 Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1. I am so tired today after dealing with tornado warnings and screaming children last night.

2. So glad that tomorrow is the beginning of March.  Why?  There is a lot to look forward to in March:

*Kanin will be on Spring Break

*The Dogtown St. Patty's Day parade

*Heading to Las Vegas


*Opening Day

3. Kanin has a hockey game tonight at 5:30 which means we either have to eat dinner super early or late.  If late, that usually means "let's just run through and get something".  Ugh.

4. The Bachelor is on tonight.  I made the mistake at looking at a website that has spoilers for the season.  I won't spoil it for you, though.

5. I really need to start Spring cleaning.  Heck, who am I kidding?  I need to start regular cleaning.  Double ugh.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Telltale Signs Your Child Has a Peanut Allergy

When I was growing up, I don't remember peanut allergies being so prevalent.  I have often wondered how you know if your child has a peanut allergy or not.  My pediatrician recommends waiting until at least 2 years old before giving my babies any peanut food.

Telltale Signs Your Child Has a Peanut Allergy
Mother of five, Maureen Gotly earned a degree in social work by taking courses online scheduled around her busy family life

Peanut butter is often considered one of the great all-American children’s foods. Unfortunately, peanuts also account for the majority of severe food related allergies, and these allergies usually develop early in life. If your child has a peanut allergy, or you suspect they might be developing one, peanut butter can take on a whole new, not so positive light.

Fortunately, with Sun Butter, a child developing peanut allergies doesn’t have to give up tasty, easy sandwiches, gooey Check Mix treats, and yummy cookies. If your child has been developing any of the telltale signs of peanut allergy listed below, you should take them to the doctor right away. Then you’ll have to get to work on making them some Sun Butter brownies, to make them feel better.
  • Skin reactions like hives, redness, or swelling: Reactions of the skin are by far the most common sign of peanut allergy, with 89% of sufferers experiencing them. In younger children that can’t verbally complain about an upset stomach, this is the easiest way to tell that your child has developed an allergy.
  • Itching or tingling around the mouth: If your child complains that their mouth feels weird or strange after eating peanuts, don’t ignore it, especially if they have other symptoms like hives and an upset stomach. This seemingly small sign may point to a peanut allergy.
  • Coughing, wheezing, and feeling congested: Respiratory symptoms are the second most common effect of a peanut allergy. In severe cases, this respiratory congestion can constrict the airway, making it difficult to breath, especially for children who also have asthma.
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal pain: About a quarter of peanut allergy sufferers will become sick to their stomach after eating peanuts or being exposed to them. If severe enough, they can also experience vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Tightening of the chest and low blood pressure: In a small number of cases, severe peanut allergies can lead to shortened breathing, heart palpitations, and other cardiovascular issues. Get to a doctor right away if your child is experiencing these symptoms.
What is anaphylactic shock, anyway?
Anaphylactic shock is a full body response to an allergen, and can often be brought on as a result of peanut allergy. In anaphylactic shock, most people experience one or more of the symptoms above, along with a rapid pulse, dizziness, and constriction of the airways. If you suspect your child is experiencing anaphylaxis, you should treat them with an epinephrine pen if you have one, and get them to the emergency room right away.

What if I suspect my child has peanut allergies?
Then a trip to the doctor is in order. The doctor will perform skin and blood tests to check for the allergy. If your child has a peanut allergy or intolerance, there are several ways to be prepared for an allergy attack.
  • Over the counter antihistamines can reduce hives and other minor symptoms.
  • People with severe allergies should carry an epinephrine auto-injector pen. This syringe with a concealed needle can be injected into the thigh during an attack; the single dose of medication inside will quell the life-threatening allergic reactions.
  • Parents can also check out this resource for allergy sufferers, for more information and ideas.

10 Tips for New Mommies

I came across this article and thought that some of the tips were pretty helpful.  Thought you guys might find something useful in it, as well. 

Don't Worry, Be Happy: 10 Tips for New Mommies

By: Joy Paley, who holds a biblical counseling degree and hopes to attend sonogram technician school next Fall

So, you’ve just had your baby! Congrats, you’ve made it through the hardest part (besides the teenage years, that is). Now you’re ready for a care-free period of loving bonding with your new baby, right? Unfortunately for many new moms, the unexpected stress of being a new mother can get in the way of enjoying this precious time. Here are a few ways you can bring down the stress level and deal with the day-to-day trials of new motherhood, in order to make the most out of your baby’s infancy. After all, it will be gone faster than you can imagine.

1. Let Go of Rigid Schedules
One thing new moms may not realize until after their baby is born is just how much time it takes to get anything done with a newborn. To lower your stress, don’t make hard-set schedules; taking it moment by moment will help your mental state.

2. Get Organized
Your house is never going to be as neat as it was before you had children. After that has sunk in, remember however that the more organized you are, the easier your day will go. Preparing to go to the store won’t be a 30 minute ordeal, if you always have a diaper bag packed.

3. Recognize that Your “Bad” Feelings are Normal
There will be times when you wake up in the middle of the night to crying and have passing thoughts about wishing the baby didn’t exist and that you had your old freedom back. This is totally normal, and all parents (especially new ones) have them from time to time. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, just human.

4. Make Time for Sleep
Many new parents will both wake up in the middle of the night to care for a wailing baby. While it feels nice to support each other, you must resist! Taking turns getting up at night is the way to go—it will let you both get at least a little sleep every other night.

5. Get Help
It’s okay to take time for you—in fact, it’s essential to feeling fulfilled as a parent. Consider getting a nighttime babysitter one or two nights a week, so you and your spouse can have time alone.

6. Clean Their Hands, Then Let it Go
Many new parents want to wage germ warfare on every toy in the house and on every individual that comes within a 10 foot radius of their kid. In reality, you can’t keep even close to all germs away. Stick to washing you and your child’s hands frequently, and carry around a little bottle of hand sanitizer for others who might want to hold them.

7. Keep Your Mind Busy
Once the baby “honeymoon” wears off, many new moms find themselves bored by taking care of their baby all day. Not that they don’t cherish the time, it’s just that many people need additional intellectual stimulation to feel whole and content. Whether it’s working a sudoku, taking an online class, or going back to work, determine what sort of brain exercise you need to stay sane.

8. Eat Well and Stay Healthy
Taking care of a baby is difficult enough without the added stress of feeling down because of lack of exercise and bad eating. If you have to, plan meals ahead to avoid making food decisions you’ll regret later.

9. Share With Your Spouse
In scientific studies, the happiest new parents were the ones that talked completely honestly with each other about what they were feeling. This sharing helped each partner understand that they weren’t alone in the stress and pressure they were experiencing about parenthood.

10. Know Your Limits
These days, it’s easy to feel like a crap parent. You can’t open up a copy of Us! Weekly without seeing some celebrity breast-feeding her cloth-diapered baby. Realize what your own limits are, and if you can’t follow the “experts” advice to the T, don’t fret—a loving, calm mother is most likely better for your baby than an incredibly stressed out one who follows all the latest trends.

A Recipe: Crockpot Spanish Braised Chicken

While I was out with Holly last night, she and Noel mentioned how much they liked the Crockpot Spanish Braised Chicken recipe from my food blog, Meals For Real.  I think I am going to start posting some of the most popular recipes from Meals For Real on this site and maybe one day combine them into one blog.  Any thoughts on that idea??

Anyway, Holly and her family make this and eat it as sandwiches on hoagies.  It is such a fantastic, easy, no-stress recipe.

Crockpot Spanish Braised Chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking
1 T of butter (not pictured)
4 large chicken breast halves
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 t dried thyme
3 bell peppers, sliced (I used red and orange)
1 medium yellow onion, sliced in rings
1/2 cup cooking sherry (you could use apple juice)
2 t orange juice
12 large green olives, chopped

Directions: Plug in your crockpot and turn it to low. Add the butter to the bottom of the stoneware insert. Add the chicken--my chicken was frozen, but thawed would work, too. Add all of the dried spices to the chicken. Cut the peppers and onion, and chop or mince the garlic, to add to the mix. Top off with the cooking sherry and orange juice. Chop up the green olives, and sprinkle them on top. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Here's what you'll need: 
Since this post is from a while back, it makes me a little sad to see that can of baby formula.  We haven't had bottles for a long, long time.  :(

My crockpot works more like a slow cooker so I set mine for 10 hours.  I would say 8 hours is a good starting point for yours.

Throw in the butter and then your chicken breasts.  Mine were frozen and that is fine.
. .

 I seasoned the chicken with Home Seasoning and then added the thyme. 

Slice up the peppers and add them.

Slice up the onion into rings and add to the crockpot.

Chop up the garlic cloves and throw them in.

I didn't have any apple juice but I did have an Apple Harvest Fruitable so I emptied the whole box into it. #10 I also poured in a couple Tablespoons of orange juice at the same time.

Chop up the olives and add them.

Here's what you'll end up with:
The Finished Product: Our Thoughts:
I put this in the crockpot early in themorning and went out for the day. Man, when I walked back in the smell was fantastic. This chicken was really moist and tender and had a great juice with it. The whole time I was eating it I kept thinking that it would taste fantastic as a sandwich.

I served this with mashed potatoes and Scott had a great idea that made it taste even better . . . he poured it over the mashed potatoes and ended up eating 3 helpings of it. I tried it that way, too, and he was right. The juice was great on the potatoes, kind of like a gravy, and it really enhanced all of it.

Let me know how you guys like it!

Meeting the Pioneer Woman Vlog Style

Showing the line for Pioneer Woman. It was ridiculous!

Waiting for Ree to come out
The Pioneer Woman. This video is right around 3 minutes long. Question and Answer session. About 11 minutes and 30 seconds long. Holly finally meets PW. Holly made last year's Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family using Pioneer Woman recipes. She was so excited!

Meeting Holly and the Pioneer Woman-Words and Pictures

Ok, I decided to break this up into 2 parts or it was just going to be incredibly long.

First of all, I am so happy to say that I finally met my first real-life blog friend, Holly.  I met Holly about a year and a half ago on a different, local STL site.  I think she was my first blog follower that wasn't a family member.  Holly has a sweet little boy, Haven, and a funny (sometime guest-poster) husband, Chris.  I forgot to ask Holly the story behind her blog title,
Where We Can Live Like Jack and Sally.  I had to laugh because Holly brought her sweet sister, Noel, along with her just in case it was weird or awkward.  LOL.  Poor Noel, didn't really care about PW and had no clue about all of the blogs we were talking about but she was a trooper!

Here is Holly and me getting ready to walk in to have our books signed.

Before we actually got to meet PW, this is what we saw: 

Can you believe that?!  The event was scheduled to start at 6:00.  We got to the library right around 5:15, thinking we'd be early.  Nooooo.  There were people who had been "camped" out there since about 4:00.  Wrapped in blankets.  With their little coolers.  Really?  I mean I think the PW is as cool as the next person but I would not have sat out in that cold weather for over 2 hours just so I could sit in the front row during her 10 minute talk.  Now, Dave Matthews . . . that's another story.  LOL

When we got inside they handed us these little tickets that had Row #'s on them.  Ree would be signing books by row #.  There were 40 people for every row#.  We were Row #8.

Ree talked for about 5 minutes and then did about 10 minutes of Q&A (I'm going to post the videos on a different post).  Then, off she went to a separate room to start the book signing.

Holly, Noel, and I thought it was really weird but PW's husband, Marlboro Man, was there and had his own line to sign autographs.  I understand that he is an integral part of Ree's story but I just thought it was really weird that all of these women were waiting in a huge line to get his autograph and, basically, swooning all over him. 

So, Ree's little presentation lasted for about 15 minutes and about 2 1/2 hours later.  Yes, you read that right 2 1/2 hours later, we finally got to meet her, get our books signed, and take a picture.  She was really sweet and taking time to talk to each and every person so I guess that is why it took so long.  She asked about our families, commented on my outfit (yay!), and just seemed really genuine.  And beautiful.

No, I didn't end up wearing my make up shirt.  I had it on but then I was afraid that I would be too underdressed. 

Meeting PW was great but the BEST part of the night was hanging out with Holly and Noel.  I am so happy that we finally got to meet each other in person and I can't wait to meet little Haven and Chris.