Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chicken Fever

Well, it's that time of year again.  The one were I start thinking about getting chickens.  This is the third year in a row I've caught chicken fever and still, no chickens.  I spent the better part of the morning the other day looking at chicken coops and runs.  I've researched and researched, but I still don't feel like I have a hold on how to really DO it.  I also feel like we're not ready yet in this new house.  There's still so much work I need to do outside before I should start thinking about adding something like livestock.  Yet, the kids are still young enough to really enjoy them.  The dogs are still young enough to train to leave them alone.  My yard is still pretty crappy in the back and it might be a good time to just throw a coop out there and landscape and patio and clean up around it.  Chicken fever is a very serious illness, clearly causing delusions.  Ellie already has her chicken named.  We talked about predators and how they might get the chickens.  She rolled her eyes and told me that she'd keep her chicken in the house and take it outside and stay with it to protect it from predators.  Apparently we're getting the kind of chickens that are really more like dogs.

It's Not Just Me! OnGuard Works!

I saw this study posted on Facebook.  You can read it for yourself, but basically it says that OnGuard works to kill viruses.  Here's the abstract. (Oh how reading this takes me back to Ohio University!  I love you Porter Hall!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's In Your Dog Food?

I saw this link on Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing.  It's a site called Dog Food Advisor and it ranks different dog food brands as well as gives you the low down on all the ingredients.  I found the site as I was reading a post about someone who's dog died from eating a dog food that contained substandard ingredients.  (It was Beneful, FYI.) I feed our dogs Iams, which got 3 out of 5 stars, about what I was expecting.  I like how it explains why each food gets the rating it does.  I found it really informative and it make me think about what's REALLY in dog food.  Check it out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Magazines for Kids

Last night Olivia was brining piles of books out to the living room for us to read to her.  On the top of the pile was an old magazine of Ellie's (?) that I'd totally forgotten about.  There are lots of magazines for kids out there that are really great, but not that well know.  Luckily, when Caden was born Librarian Nana got him started on one of my favorites, BabyBug.  It was a monthly subscription that we enjoyed reading together.  The magazine itself is more of a paperback board book, sized just right for little hands.  It's very short, with only a few "articles" in each issue.  There are songs, rhymes and interactive stories in each issue.  Caden LOVED it.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Way to go, H2O!

This weekend Ellie had some friends over.  I blogged a few weeks ago about not having lots of junk drinks when we entertain and I held firm with that for this party and it was AWESOME!  Water was all I served and the girls LOVED it! I can't take credit since I found iron Pinterest,  but it was super easy and cheap.  Much less expensive than buying "fun" drinks for them and much better for them.  Ok, so here's how I made water fun.  I went to Aldi and bought small bottles of water-24 for $2.50. My mom bought the next item, so I'm not sure if the price, but I can't imagine it was too much.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Car Seats and Growing Up

Now that Ellie is 8 she no longer needs to be in a booster seat. This is strange to me.  I still can't quite make myself take it out of the van yet. The idea that she doesn't need that second layer of security in a crash hasn't registered.  She a big kid.  You would think that this would have been something that I would have had an issue with with Caden, being that he's the oldest and I went through this with him two years ago.  His transition was during a major car seat overhaul though. I kept him in a booster for a few months past his 8 years,  moved Ellie down from a high-backed booster to just the regular booster, moved Vince to the 5 point harness booster and olivia to the convertable car seat.  Everyone was moving up.  This time it's a little different. It's just the one kid. I'm not quite ready to move her out and to be honest, when we don't have all these snow days, she's not really in the van a whole bunch.  Maybe when I clean the disgusting thing out I'll move her booster out as well.  As I'm sitting here typing this on my phone in the doctor's office waiting for Ellie's 8year check up,  this all sounds dumb.  I think it's more about the transition from a family of little kids to a family of school aged kids. I look at other families with 4 kids that are all older than mine and try to imagine what our lives will be like when we no longer think that "wiener" is the funniest topic of conversation. Or when olivia running around the house in a tutu and boots becomes weird instead of part of a normal day.  What will it be like to have kids that are self sufficient and can all shower themselves and get their own glass of water?  It's exciting and scary at the same time.  But I guess that's kind of parenting in general.  Ok, time to go back with the doctor. No shots today at least! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Latest From Honest

I can only think of one person who reads this blog that will actually find this information useful, but I'm hoping, like me, the rest of you may find it interesting.  The Honest Company now offers formula! I'll be honest, this wasn't something I saw coming.  I was really surprised when I got them email about their new products, formula and DHA drops.  It makes sense.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Updated Reading List

Well this is totally out of character.  I'm blogging about a book I've READ.  Not a book I want to read, am thinking about reading or have read the first few pages.  I actually completed this one BEFORE I blogged about it!  I'm really making progress with this following through thing I'm trying.  This one is called Lemons and Lavender: The Eco Guide to Better Homekeeping.     It's a different read that I thought it would be, but still really good.  I expected it to be all about greening your house CLEANING, but it's really more housekeeping--everything house.  The whole first part is about reducing, reusing and recycling to furnish your home, then there is gardening and cleaning and even a little bit of cooking and holidays.  I liked the cleaning part best because it just reinforced what I already know--vinegar and water with a little baking soda, castille soap and essential oils are all you need to clean just about everything.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hot And Sour Cabbage Soup

I took one bite of this for dinner and and knew I had to share it at a blog post.  It's from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Roberto Martin.  I've blogged about this cookbook and shared some of his recipes before and this one didn't disappoint.  With the weather being so cold I thought soup sounded like a nice warm dinner.  This soup was a perfect choice!  I don't have a cold, but if you're feeling under the weather, I think this would be perfect!  It was quick and easy to make with minimal ingredients.  Even Evan liked it! (Although he said he didn't think it was very filling, but I think that's his obligatory response to anything vegetarian.)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blue Apron

A few days ago I blogged about my Girl Scout Mom Time.  One of the topics we discussed was cooking.  One mom said, "I don't cook."  Which I love.  I love this because it's a chance for me to ask questions about how other people eat.  I'm always interested in other people's diets because everyone always seems so interested in mine--like it's totally exotic and I cook strange things strange way.  Oh, and I cook.  Everyone always assumes I cook a lot.  I'm realizing this isn't really so true.  "I don't cook" mom, does, in fact, cook.  I think people associate "cook" with "prepare elaborate meals every night".  I think very few people actually do this.  I know I don't.  I cook most night, but there are always a few nights a week (sometimes more) when I take the lazy route. Like last night (grilled cheese and tomato soup) and tonight (vegetable soup my mom made a few weeks ago and is not in my freezer).  But I do one thing a lot of people don't and that's menu plan. I learned this from my mother. I can remember her sitting at the kitchen table with a list and her recipe cards and cook books surrounding her.  She'd plan the menu for the week, make a grocery list and shop for the week.  So this is what I've been doing since I moved out on my own. (Not, of course, when I lived in the Phi Mu house.  Jackie Chan cooked my pink chicken and crack brownies then!) I need to do this now.  I need to look at the week's activities and plan what I'm going to cook each night so I don't have a night where I'm going to arrive home at 5:30 after haircuts and need to have a meal on the table.  Or the opposite, where I need to be somewhere at 5:30 and I need a meal that is quick to clean up.  Anyway, back to "cooking".  I have no idea how this became a topic of conversation, but last weekend was Ellie's birthday party and my brother in law started telling us about Blue Apron.  (He was actually supposed to write this post.  When he was talking about it and showing the page I kept encouraging him to open blogger and just write his thoughts down--didn't take.) Blue Apron.  Great idea, perfect for his family, not great for ours, but worth sharing alway.  In a nutshell: It's a subscription service that will send you all the fresh ingredients to cook a meal.

It looks really interesting, but as it says, families of 4.  It might be worth a try to just do the vegetarian options and do 2 people.  Then I won't have to worry about creating a veg dinner for Liv and I every night.  Cost?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Eight Is Great!

Today is Ellie's 8th birthday!  We all got up early so we could open gifts before Evan left for work.  It was a little odd having all that time in the morning.  It's usually so rushed, but it was great because Ellie got a chance to play with her new toys before she had to put shoes on (drama ensued of course) and go to school.  She was really enthusiastic about all of her gifts, which made me feel good because I didn't really spend a lot on her.  Usually there's one big gift, but this year I just got her a few little things. Guess it went over well.  Evan had a great idea (have to give credit where credit is due) to give her a cork board for her room.  It was a "big" gift but it was only $11 at Target.  She was so excited she wanted to hang it before she left.  We started the process, but I finished it and it's all ready for her when she gets home.  I hung a newborn picture of her on it already along with her first birthday card, from Meema, and a picture she colored at art class last night.  I thought about covering it with fabric too to give it a little fancier look, but I'm not sure if we'll ever really do that.  I'll have to get Ellie's opinion.

I'm excited for her to be 8.  With Caden,  because he's the oldest, it's always a shock when he gets a year older. ("I can't possibly have an 8 year old!  That seems so old!")  But with Ellie I'm over the shock and I can put it in perspective.  I remember 8.  Seven, a few things here and there and the years before, a few memories, but 8.  I remember being 8.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bath Recipe

YEARS ago my mom got me a bath book, The Scented Bath by Maribeth Riggs,  for Christmas.  I LOVED it!  I've moved 6 times since then and it's been one of the VERY few books that's made every move.  Sadly, I haven't taken a nice relaxing bath in years.  We had a garden tub when we lived in Columbus, and I loved the idea of taking baths in that, but it took forever to fill the thing up and used a ton of hot water.  Anyway, back to the book.  I was watching Olivia in the tub last night and I thought about adding a drop of lavender essential oil to the tub to help soothe her and get her ready for bedtime. It made me think of my bath book and I dug the thing out and reread some of the recipes.    It's pretty dated now (Clan Of The Cave Bear Bath) but I love the descriptions of each bath almost as much as the recipes. The really sets a scene in each description.  I remember scouring Canton for some of the more "exotic" ingredients.  The back of the book lists locations, addresses and phone numbers.  How much easier it would have been had there been an internet!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Last night Ellie had Girl Scouts.  I love Girl Scout nights.  Evan calls it "Stacy Time".  This is true.  While Ellie is downstairs learning all kinds of fun Girl Scouty stuff, I sit upstairs in the church lounge and talk to my friend.  It's an hour and a half of adult conversation.  It's AMAZING!  Granted, we talk about kids a lot, but still, Evan usually has the other 3 at home with him and I can just--BREATHE! This year there are a few other moms that stay and wait for their girls so it's not quite as much "Stacy Time" as it is just adult time (I'm slowly coming to terms with this) but I always leave there feeling more like and adult than like Mom.

We talk about all kinds of things but last night there were two topics in particular that I keep going over in my head.  One was about Stella's surgery.  This is actually a conversation I've had with a lot of people, but I was AMAZED, at how many people would have put Stella down had they been in my place.  The thought never even crossed my mind.  She's my child.  I adopted her with the intent to

Friday, February 6, 2015

Meat/Meatless Vegetable Soup

This is one of my (and now my family's) all-time favorite recipes.  It's a really simple, hearty soup that my mom used to make.  It's called Autumn Soup and I always can't wait for fall to come around so I can make it.  I've tried it many different ways to make this recipe meatless.  Generally, just omitting the meat in a recipe doesn't work, but for this one, I think it's just as good.  The trick is using a good bouillon base.  My recipe says this makes 2 large servings, but I'd say it's really more like 4.  Evan says he thinks it tastes even better the next day, and I agree.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Urban Homesteading

Since I started writing this blog again and since I've been reading a lot more lately, I thought I should probably grab a book on something "green" from the library.  I didn't ask, I just tried to remember where I found "green" books before and I ended up in front of some organizational books with a few homesteading things thrown in there.  I left the organization for another day and grabbed a few books on homesteading.  The first one I'm reading is The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.  As usually I'm writing this post early.  I should write it once I've finished the book, but I'm a little harried today with the invalid puppy and IAT meeting and crayon in the dryer so you're just getting my take on the first section. So there.

So the first section I read was about farming, which translates to just gardening.  They had a TON of useful info about how to plant in small spaces, which is kind of what I have.  I actually have a really big yard, but so much of it is in the shade that it doesn't allow for a lot of room for veggies.  This book is about homesteading though which suggests that you turn even your front lawn into a useful plot of land for food.  I considered this for about a minute then realized that part of my front yard has a hard time growing grass, so it probably wouldn't make the best place for a veggie garden.  The other half...well, I'm just not ready to make that jump yet.  While I agree that the front yard is really pretty much a waste (this book says that the #1 crop produced in the US is lawn) I'm not totally ready to make such a cut from the "norm".  One thing that I AM willing to try in the front yard is a bean teepee.  You take stakes or poles or anything else that beans will climb and assemble them to make a teepee.  Plant beans around the base of each pole and as they grow they'll naturally climb the poles and fill in the gaps to make an enclosed structure.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Short post today.  I just noticed while I was digging around in our medicine cabinet for alcohol (you know, to get the nail polish out of the carpet) a bottle of children's cough syrup.  Seeing this made me remember that the last time I had a kid into the doctor for a cough (not to be confused with the ear infection I took Vince in for Monday) she told me that studies she had read showed that cough syrup wasn't really that effective or necessary for kids.  She said if you're going to use something to help with a cough, just use honey.  I'm definitely going to use this next time we have coughs in our house.  When I was getting sick last week (I really do think the essential oils helped!) I woke up each morning and made myself a mug of hot water, honey and a drop of lemon oil.  It worked like magic,  the hot water opening up my sinuses and the honey sooting and coating my irritated throat.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stella's Drama

Today's post is about how I don't really have time to blog today because I spent the whole afternoon at the vet.  Last night Stella started puking (mostly on the floor but also all over Ellie's bed-at bedtime of course) and continued to throw up all morning (all over our bed).  She didn't eat at all and she looked miserable last night and this morning.  After preschool the two little ones and I took her up to the emergency vet in Green and after some blood work and x-rays we found out she had something in her stomach.  This isn't a surprise to me at all because I am constantly taking things out of that dog's mouth.  She always has something of the kids and it is though this that I have learned about that famous pit bull grip.  It's like an iron trap.  I can pry Jacks jaws apart to get an action figure from him, but not Stella.  When she clamps down I just have to wait until she's ready to let it go.

Good news is that her surgery went well this afternoon.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow Ice Cream!

With all the snow we were supposed to get, I got all my ingredients ready for snow ice cream yesterday!  I put a big container out on the grill (up high enough that that dogs couldn't get it) and waited for the snow to fill it up. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get as much fluffy snow as we were supposed to get, but even with the rising temp, the snow that I had worked great for this recipe.  I'm sure there's more snow in our future so I'm sharing this recipe.  The original recipe calls for milk, but I use heavy cream.  It makes it much richer-if you can imagine that!