Archive for February, 2008

Finding Energy During Pregnancy

The dangers of caffeine for pregnant women has been all over the news lately. The latest study was released shortly before I found out I was pregnant—because the Universe loves a good joke!

The latest study, published in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, claims that even 10 ounces of coffee a day might double the risk of miscarriage in the first four months of pregnancy. I’m typically skeptical of new studies—particularly when they contradict multiple studies done in the past—but I also find myself being more cautious with a growing baby inside me.

It’s all a moot point for me, anyway, as the taste of coffee makes me nauseated. So does chocolate, tea, green tea or anything with even small amounts of caffeine. So what can a former coffee junkie do to keep her energy levels up during pregnancy?

- Go to bed earlier.
There’s no way around it—pregnancy makes you tired, especially in the first trimester. You may have to shift your sleeping schedule to go to bed earlier or wake up a bit later (if possible) to accommodate your need for extra sleep.

- Create a new morning ritual.
I have always been slow to wake up, and my morning coffee was a physiological and psychological signal that my day was beginning. I’ve replaced that ritual with a small breakfast and some VitaminWater, savored while I read my morning e-mails. After a few weeks, my body became accustomed to this new signal, and now, after breakfast, I’m ready to face the day.

- Exercise!
Regular exercise keeps your energy levels up, but there’s nothing like a walk or a workout session in the middle of the day to rejuvenate you immediately!

- Take a nap.
When all else fails, 20 minutes of shut-eye can work wonders.

- Eat a balanced diet and take your prenatal vitamins.
This is more of a long-term affect, but I do feel more alert when I eat healthy foods and remember to take my pre-natals.

There is no safe, “magic energy solution in a can? for pregnant women, unfortunately. But these coping techniques have helped me stay awake in a world without coffee.

Posted in Uncategorized, Pregnancy, Nutrition | 2 Comments »

Hold Yourself Accountable

This has been on my mind lately. In fact, this has been gnawing at me quite a bit.

Why do some parents not take responsibility for the action of their children?

I experience this quite a bit. A person I know refuses to ever hold themselves accountable for anything their children may do. If their child breaks something that belongs to someone else, this person refuses to replace it. I asked them why they think that they should not and the answer always is the same: “I didn’t do it.?

What? It is beyond me how anyone could not understand that if their child does something wrong, it reflects on them as a parent. Most parents I know would fall over themselves apologizing, punish the child if the behavior was intentional, then replace the item. Accidents are another matter, which punishment should not be given, but a good explanation of why the accident resulted in the break,injury, or other damage.

Recently, an expensive gaming platform of ours was damaged by this person’s child. We barred them from touching it again, and the parent thinks we are being unreasonable. This person also lies, refuses to believe in consequences for any of their own actions, then wonders why the children they have raised do not behave in a normally acceptable fashion

As parents, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our children’s actions and behavior. But, before we can wonder why our children behave poorly (if they do), we need to take a good look at our own behavior. Are we setting good examples?

Children learn by watching their parents. It sounds simple enough, but some parents do not understand this. I don’t know why, perhaps there is something missing in their thought process. We all know these types and at one time or another, we’ve all been as flabbergasted as I am now.

So, for those who are not quite sure on how to avoid setting a bad example, here are a few tips. Those of you who know what I mean, smile with me.

1. Lying.
If you lie, your children will as well. More than likely, to you.

2. If you act as if you’ll never have to pay a bill, your children will probably live with you until they’re 50.

3. Commit a crime, then act like it was a joke? Be prepared to share a cell with your child one day in the future. He’ll never take authority seriously.

4. Did your child break something and you won’t replace it? Then don’t get upset when she breaks YOUR stuff.

5. If you can’t keep a job, don’t complain about how your son and wife move in with you later on down the road. He’s only living as he learned.

Posted in Uncategorized, Parenting | 2 Comments »

Total Mom: Total Advice for Today’s Women

The bookstore is stocked with more self-help books than anyone could possibly read in a lifetime. But every once in a while, a book fills an important niche in a way no titles before it have. Such is the case with Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover. Subtitled The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family, and Life, this book promises a lot—and delivers.

Keeley, a gorgeous blonde with a psychology degree and seven kids whom she home-schools, is a bundle of inspirational energy. “Average? women may wonder how they’ll find the time, energy, or confidence to execute her life improvement plan. But the book lays it out in such easy-to-follow baby steps that anyone, no matter their situation, should be able to see how small changes build on each other to make a big difference.

Drawing on her psych experience, Keeley takes Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and transforms itinto a pyramid custom-made for moms, building up from Starter Mom, to Basic Mom, Secure Mom, Nurtured Mom, Confident Mom and finally, Total Mom. Daily exercises and weekly plans help readers climb the pyramid gradually.

In Week 1, readers develop a vision of what they want their lives to be like. Keeley breaks it down into four areas: Home, Health, Family and Life.

By Week 2, a mom’s “basic? needs (for food, clothing, and shelter) have been met, and it’s time to work on meeting these needs in the best ways possible—with the healthiest food and clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. You’ll even begin to get your house in order, making it the home you’ve always wanted to live in. I found the home organization tips particularly useful!

Each lesson builds on the ones before it until you reach Week 6. Here, readers are urged to fulfill their spiritual side to reach “Total Mom? fulfillment. Keeley also presents tips to keep the program going long-term, to continue living the life you want to live everyday.

Don’t believe it can be done? Think six weeks is not enough time to improve your life? One of the tenets of the program is to maintain a journal and to communicate with friends and family about your plans. Jenn Hollowell, a mom in Richmond, Maine, is taking it further and inviting blog readers to hold her accountable for her progress, or even to join her in the Six-Week Total Mom Makeover.

Why not give it a try?

Posted in Uncategorized, Daily Living | 1 Comment »

Snow Angels!

Winter is still going strong here in the Northeastern U.S. and being from the Southeast, the snow each year is a treat. My children enjoy bundling up then making snow angels. I think that is their favorite part of playing in the snow. Last year we had a giant fort, complete with a snow slide!
I thought I would share a few pictures of my children making snow angels.

ambisnowangel1.jpg
That’s Amber, she has already made 6 or 7 snowangels by the time I had snapped this!

Teesie
That’s Terisa. She’s 3 and if you look at her boots, you’ll notice they’re on the wrong feet. Ah, toddlers and their ‘I can do it myself’ phase.

We came inside and had some hot chocolate after this afternoon of winter fun. What does your family do in the winter for fun? Care to share?

Posted in Uncategorized, Outdoors | 1 Comment »

Concerning the Post On Romania

*Edit*

The picture has been replaced. I do not have the authority to remove it. If you still disagree with it’s placement, then please contact the people who placed it on the internet in the first place. Family Resource did not take the photo, but this site has a right to display a link to the story.

If you feel the need to comment on this post, feel free to do so. Insults and threats will NOT make it through the moderation process, but you can feel better knowing that I’ll see them. I’m not going to lower myself to replying back to them. See you guys later, I’m off to buy some more rolaids.*end edit*

Ok, I have been getting a lot of comments, threats, insults, and everything imaginable about the post on Romania.

I have said over and over, I did not write this post. I did not remove it because it was written by another author. I did not feel I had a right to do so. I’ve wrestled internally with this, BUT:

Another writer placed it, I cannot and will not take the blame for it any longer. I am sick of not wanting to come to this blog and write because of threats that people who think I own the site or wrote that entry or the stupid ‘article’ on Romania (from the other site)make to me. The other site is a christian ’save the world’ type site.

I want those of you who keep writing me about how evil I am to have written such a post to understand, I DID NOT WRITE IT. If it makes you feel better, I will happily write a post on how Romania has improved in recent years. Just provide me with information based on a real world view so I do not need to rely on links from people who do not know the country.

Is that fair?

And to the person who mentioned I need to take a writing course, thank you for the critique. I appreciate your opinions and input. I will forward that to my editors who think I am ok enough at writing to pay me to do it.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Tuna Salad

Since Dawn has been talking about fish, I thought I would offer a recipe for tuna.

Lemon-Lime Tuna Salad

1 can tuna, drained and rinsed.
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp lime juice
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl. Place in the fridge until cold, then spread on crackers, bread, or a bed of lettuce. Makes a great light lunch of afternoon snack.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Eating More Fish, Made Easy

The average American eats only 16 lbs. of seafood a year. Health professionals recommend eating 39 lbs., or at least two 6 oz. servings, a week.

Since a friend introduced me to this easy tilapia recipe, it has become a family favorite! You can substitute fluke, flounder, or any other mild white fish if you prefer.

You can also change the flavor by using Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (you’ll want to forego the added oregano and basil, but in my opinion, you can never have enough garlic!) I recently made this recipe using diced tomatoes in garlic and olive oil, (yes, I added even more garlic) and it tasted great, too.

I like to serve this with whole wheat pasta and pour some of the diced tomatoes mixture on the pasta, as well. (I just add a little more to the pan with the fish and spoon it out before serving).

With less than five minutes prep time and about 20 minutes in the oven, you can’t go wrong with this 30-minute meal!

Tilapia filets
1 cup diced, canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Oregano
Basil
1 Tablespoon Parmesan or Romano cheese

Spray non-stick cooking spray on the bottom of glass baking pan and place fish filets in pan. Spread minced garlic, then tomatoes on top of fish.
Sprinkle oregano, and basil over the mixture.
Sprinkle parmesan or romano cheese evenly across the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. The liquid from the diced tomatoes keeps the fish moist every time!

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

To Fish or Not to Fish?

Stay away from certain fish because they contain high mercury levels. Eat fish because it can boost your unborn baby’s IQ. What’s a mom-to-be to do?

A study out of the University of Bristol has found children whose mothers ate fish more than three times a week did better in tests of cognitive function.

A-ha. But there’s a catch. It’s not just any fish, but oily fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids, that help raise baby’s IQ. Unfortunately, some of the fish highest in Omega-3, like swordfish, are off-limits to pregnant and nursing women due to their higher mercury content.

Fortunately, many lower mercury-content fish, including, shrimp, canned light tuna, certain salmon, Pollock and catfish, are also high in Omega-3s. Farm-raised salmon tends to be lower in mercury, but also lower in Omega-3s, while Alaskan salmon tends to be the purest in the ocean. Use his handy mercury calculator to find out how much mercury is in the fish you want to eat.

To get the most benefit for the baby-to-be, pregnant women should aim for three servings per week of heart healthy (and brain healthy), low-mercury fish. You can also supplement your fish intake with an Omega-3 vitamin. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Of course hubby and I want to raise a genius. So I’m starting to introduce more canned, white tuna (not albacore) and salmon into my diet (and longing for the day when I can enjoy a nice swordfish steak, again—and a cup of coffee after dinner!)

I won’t lie and call the recipe below “healthy,? but it’s definitely tasty, easy to prepare and is making eating more fish easier for me!

1 salmon steak or filet
2 cups low-sodium soy sauce
1/8 cup lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon ginger, or more

In a baking pan or marinating dish, combine soy sauce, lemon juice and honey. Place salmon, skin side up, in marinade, for 30 minutes to an hour or more. (Refrigerate immediately!)

Remove fish from marinade and grill for 5 – 7 minutes on each side or until salmon is cooked through.

If you’re not pregnant, this entrée tastes great with a chardonnay like Robert Mondavi Private Reserve. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

Posted in Healthy Eating | 3 Comments »

Winter Preparation

It has been snowing and blowing here in New York. I have a lot of people ask if we really enjoy the cold and the snow.

Yes! We adore it. I love the snow each winter, I grew up in an area that did not have much snow and before moving here to New York, I had never experienced a White Christmas. The children are adorable in their snow pants and jackets, bundled up against the cold.

It isn’t always fun. Be Prepared.

Sometimes, the snow is not so fun, though. Occasionally storms roll through and take the electricity out for a while. It can become freezing inside of a home then. Careful stocking of clothing ready for such an emergency is critical. If a strong storm is headed towards your area you should always have plenty of warm clothing ready, in case you need to bundle up.

Thermal underwear is a great investment. Each person in your household should have two pair in case one gets wet. Thermal socks are also available and work great inside another pair of thick, warm socks. Another thermal item that has become an essential in my home is a thermal blanket. Each bed has one and it really makes a difference. Just be sure to sandwich it between other blankets for the best effect.

Food Stocking!

Food and drink is very important. But, don’t follow suit of many other people who rush out to the grocery store and buy all the milk and bread available. There is no reason for that. Come on, what in the world are you going to do with milk and bread? Milk is not that healthy for humans to start with and plain old white bread is going to make you feel full? Buy canned food and an extra hand operated can opener. Canned soups, vegetables, and meats are the best thing to have on hand in case of a power outage. If the meat is processed, more than likely it is ready to eat out of the can.

If you have small children, stock up on baby food and ready to eat toddler meals. Most of these do not need to be heated to be edible. Some may be expensive, but in the case of an extended power outage, this is much healthier to eat than fast food.

Water.

Water is very important. Try to have enough water for three days per person. A good formula to remember is 3 gallons per day per adult and two for children. I have heard as little as one gallon for children, but since children are growing, they need hydration. Extra is preferable over not enough.

Have a safe winter and take heart, spring will be here soon.

Posted in Uncategorized, Personal Safety | No Comments »

Conception Myths

When you’re trying to conceive, you’ll find myths all over the internet and in the advice of well-meaning friends and relatives. A close friend and I recently went through this adventure together (well, not together, of course…) and, in researching for this post, I noticed we were perpetuating some old wives’ tales to each other!

The myth we were most guilty of repeating to each other? “Just relax and don’t think about it. That’s when it will happen.?

Extreme, life-threatening stress may cause temporary reproductive problems, but lying in bed wondering, “Was this the night?? or spending money on EPTs so you can test five days before your period is expected will not prevent the pregnancy from happening.

Tracking your fertility, either by tracking the dates of your periods to predict ovulation, tracking your basal body temperature, or tracking cervical mucous, (in other words, “worrying? about when you’re ovulating) are easy methods that do help!

Other myths relate to sexual positions when trying to conceive. The missionary position, especially with the woman lying with a pillow beneath her hips, deposits the sperm closer to the cervix. It can offer a slight advantage over vertical positions when trying to conceive.

However, one myth recommends the woman stands on her head (either during or after sex) so the sperm aren’t fighting gravity. If you want to try this for fun (and are physically adept enough to do so) go for it! But the fact is, it is entirely possible to conceive from woman-on-top, standing up, doggy-style, and almost any other position you can imagine.

However, douching after sex can actually wash some of the sperm away. It also alters the acidity of the vagina, making it harder for the sperm to live. So that’s a no-no.

What about men’s myths? One we’ve heard a lot is that wearing briefs instead of boxers lowers the sperm count. While research does show that sperm prefer cooler temperatures—that’s why it’s a good idea to stay out of the hot tub while TTC—doctors say that in healthy men with no fertility issues, the difference in sperm count based on wearing boxers and briefs is negligible.

According to an article on WebMD, approximately 60% of couples who are actively trying to conceive (having intercourse two to three times a week) will conceive within the first 6 months of trying, 75% within 9 months, 80% within a year, and 90% within 18 months.

Since my husband and I started trying to conceive in September of last year, I read all the myths, considered a few, and started tracking my cycles by means of a fertility calculator.

We didn’t worry too much about positions. While I remained aware of my most fertile periods, we had sex about three times a week throughout the month. I did remain lying down for about 20 minutes after sex. After reading this “myth? online, I decided I liked the idea of just relaxing after sex, whether it helped our TTC efforts or not.

If my calculations are correct, it’s entirely possible we conceived during a quickie, standing up. Afterwards, I sat at the kitchen table to do an interview for an Internet radio show. With so much going on, the thought didn’t even cross my mind that it may have been “the night.?

Coincidence? Or maybe there is something to the myth of just relaxing and letting nature take its course?

Posted in Uncategorized, Conception | 2 Comments »

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