To Fish or Not to Fish?

by Dawn Allcot

February 21st, 2008

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

by Julie Fletcher

February 21st, 2008

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

by Dawn Allcot

February 15th, 2008

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 »

V-Day Aftermath: Love Day!

by Julie Fletcher

February 15th, 2008

In the aftermath of Valentines’ Day, I am wondering how many people are glad it is over.

I spoke with a few people yesterday who expressed that. Either they were sick of the media hype, hated how the holiday was portrayed as for women only, or just had no one to spend it with. All of those are valid reasons to not enjoy Valentines’.

It can be frustrating to try to pick the perfect gift. In the weeks before the 14th, ads showcasing jewelry, candy, and teddy bears are all over the television. Oh, and roses. Flowers are purchased by the millions for V-day alone. Personally, I think that buying a rose bush to plant in a pot or outside the home is a better, more eco-friendly idea.

You have men rushing to buy their wives or girlfriends presents, just not to be glared at or thought of as an ogre. Then you have women who are looking at the gift their man gave them with distaste. What a vicious cycle. The men are not sure what to buy, the women think the men should know, and in the end, everyone ends up with hurt feelings.

And then we have those who do not have a Valentine. What greater tragedy on Valentines’ Day? To be alone, with no one to cuddle or to give one of those gifts to, then be given a dirty look?

Bleh. I am sick of the hype as much as anyone else. So, I declare Feb. 15th to be Love Day.

What? Yes, I have just made a new holiday. Everyone in the world can share in it. For today, don’t go out buying gifts or cards, don’t take your Love out to dinner, and definitely do not buy them roses. A rose bush would be nice, though, just be sure to plant and water it.

Today, give all the love you have in your heart to everyone around you. Forgive arguments. Forget about missed holidays. Spend some quality time with your family, and call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a very long time.

Just give some love, it doesn’t cost a dime.

Posted in Uncategorized, Holidays | No Comments »

Is There Room Here for a WAHM-to-Be? *Waves*

by Dawn Allcot

February 13th, 2008

I don’t know anything about parenting. Yet.

So what am I doing as a guest blogger on a families and parenting blog? That’s easy. Just five weeks ago, I got some information that told me I had better learn—quickly!

The very same day I found out I was pregnant, Julie Fletcher invited me to be a guest blogger on Family Resource. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting—and pass my knowledge on to Family Resource’s faithful readers.

Lest you think I’m some bachelorette noob who knows nothing about running a household, parties every weekend and lives on pizza (you’d be right about the last part), I’ve been married for five years. My husband and I have been living successfully as a couple (and raising four cats) for the past decade. For almost exactly a year, I’ve been a full-time, work-at-home freelance writer or, as Julie calls me, a Future WAHM.

Stacey Graham left some big shoes to fill as a guest blogger. But I’d like to think, over the past decade or so, I’ve accumulated some advice and knowledge to share on the topics of cleaning; cooking quick, healthy meals; organizing a home office; green living; saving money; and of course, most recently, conception and pregnancy.

Who knows? I may even post some interviews with real-live Moms here in this space.

Right now, I’d like to share a few of my favorite places on the Internet for moms-to-be.

Babies Online – This is one of my first stops when I want to track the stages of my pregnancy, find out odd facts or research the latest myth. Today, I discovered that, at 5 weeks into the pregnancy, the baby’s major organs are starting to develop, but the little one is only the size of a grain of rice! That’s simply mind-boggling to me, that something so small can have a heart, lungs, and even a little-bitty hand!

FitPregnancy – This sleek Web site, companion to the print publication, features great breaking news articles. Planning a move and wondering what the best city is to have a baby? Portland, Oregon, ranks number one on FitPregnancy’s list. Click here to find out why.

ePregnancy.com – I know a number of freelance writers who got their start here, so, of course, I had to check it out when we first started trying to conceive. The articles are well-researched and fun-to-read, and the site features a lot of great videos, too. If you’re pregnant and debating between a hospital, home birth or midwife in a birthing center, check out this video.

I’m still surfing around for smaller, personal pregnancy blogs. Feel free to share the links if you know of any good blogs written by pregnant women, who are letting us share their journey.

Posted in Uncategorized, Writing, Guest Blogger | 2 Comments »

Introducing The Next Guest Blogger

by Julie Fletcher

February 12th, 2008

Hi all!

We are going to have a new Guest Blogger this month. Stacey Graham has left us lonely, so to help fill in the gaping hole her absence will bring, I have searched far and wide to bring you another very talented writer.

This month’s blogger is Dawn Allcot. She will be a wonderful addition to the FR family and I cannot wait to see what she shares with us. Dawn also has some great news about herself, maybe we can convince her to share!

We have one more scheduled blogger coming in March, but if you are a parent and would like to blog for Family Resource, email me! Samples of your writing are required and all posts on Family Resource should relate to family in some manner.

Write Guest Blogger in the subject of your email and tell me why you would be a perfect guest blogger!

Familyresourceblogger [at] gmail [dot] com

Posted in Uncategorized, Guest Blogger | No Comments »

Once A Month Cooking and Oatmeal Bars

by Julie Fletcher

February 11th, 2008

YummyBars.jpg

In the essence of keeping to our healthy resolutions, hubby and I have been moving our diet to a more plant based one. We have cut out all red meat and pork, leaving only seafood and fowl. We feel better and have found that our grocery bill is lower, giving us extra money to spend on the other items we enjoy to eat.

One of my favorite bloggers (and a great person to know), Marye Audet at Baking Delights posted a really comprehensive How-to on Once a Month Cooking. This is probably the best guide with a realistic approach I have found. I’m not saying that just because I like her, it’s really that good.

Since we can buy more, we can put away more. Freezing and dehydrating are two of the best ways to keeping food fresh longer, though I have not tried dehydrating a whole meal yet. That will come eventually! As a work at home professional, it is essential for me to be able to throw together a meal quickly. Healthy meals and fast healthy meals are exactly what we need! I need something quick for the mornings, one child off to school and the two others small enough to be starving to death before their sister is out the door.

Our children do like to eat some sweets and my mother in law would bring the kids doughnuts occasionally for a morning treat. Even once in a while is too much when the doughnuts in question are covered in chocolate glaze and stuffed with whatever can fit inside.

So, I experimented with a sweet but healthy breakfast treat. Pre-packaged oatmeal squares and other types of breakfast ‘bites’ are available. I tend to avoid these because of the preservatives and other unnatural ingredients. So, this morning we had home-made oatmeal breakfast bars with fruit. So tasty and very filling!

I can post what went in, but not the exact amounts, because when I experiment, I throw caution to the wind! You can experiment with the ingredients on your own, I will try to estimate the amounts to give you a better chance of duplicating my results. These bars took about half an hour to bake up, your time may vary. You can place these in the fridge and keep for up to a week without freezing. Make a double batch and freeze a whole pan!

Super Oatmeal-Fruit Breakfast Fuel

2 cups Oat meal, plain (the kind in the big cylinder)
¾ cup flour (all purpose)
1 ½ cup low fat granola (I just used some from a cereal box with almonds and raisins)
½ cup raisins
2 bananas, sliced thin
2 eggs
1 cup milk (more or less)
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Mix everything in a large bowl. It will be slightly ‘goopy’. The milk will not completely absorb, but try to get all of the flour mixed into the liquid. If the mix is too dry, add a little more milk. Once it is all completely mixed, pour into a pan that has been lined or oiled well.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check at 20 minutes for browning. The top of the bars should be dry with spotty golden brown areas. Remove from oven, cool until you can cut and handle the bars without being burned. Serve warm!

Posted in Uncategorized, Cooking, Healthy Living | 2 Comments »

Guest blogger, signing off!

by Stacey Graham

February 7th, 2008

I’d like to thank Julie for the opportunity to write for this great blog!  The past few weeks have brought some interesting challenges to Family Resources; I’m happy to see that Julie will only allow intelligent and creative dialog into the blog arena giving people a chance to discuss real family issues.

I hope my bit of fun brought some relief in a busy day, catch me at Hippie Sounds - my home base on the web!

Best wishes,
Stacey
http://hippiesounds.com
http://staceyigraham.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Hey kid, get off my lawn!

by Stacey Graham

February 6th, 2008

When the heck did I get so old?  Why is it when “Jump” by Van Halen comes on the radio I’m freaked out by the thought of a balding man in spandex, when 20 years ago I thought he was a rock god?  Have you LISTENED to those lyrics?  I admit I had some vague delusions of being Madonna at one point but I turned away from the rubber bracelets and bullet bras by last year and am embracing my inner Hannah Montana.

My tween daughter is begging me for leggings to wear under her skirts.  Am I wrong to own twenty pair of black lace leggings or am I ahead of the trend instead?  I’d better hold on to my scrunchies just in case.  I see big things in ugly rubber bands coming around the bend next year.  Hey, has anyone seen my zippered leather jacket?

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I Apologize

by Julie Fletcher

February 6th, 2008

Sometimes things do not go the way you would like.

Lately, I have had some interesting setbacks which have prevented me from posting as much as I would like. The sickies have gone around the house, landing me in bed a few times or causing the children to need constant attention. Ah, the joys of motherhood. Ahem, and of being a wife. Not long ago another blogger on Seven Babes had mentioned how men (or boys) become babies when they are sick. I think I know why . . .

Men need to feel loved and cared for from their wives. It is something deeply ingrained, but man, I can tell you that when I am feeling under the weather, I would like some of that love and attention. My husband becomes an invalid when sick, like most other husbands, but I can say that when I needed surgery, he really came through.

But, if it is just a fever of 103 degrees, eh, I’m still not feeling as bad as he is. ;-)

That is not the best part, however. My son and youngest daughter decided that Mommy’s keyboard needed to stay hydrated, so a new one needed to be found. Amazing how most of the stores were out of USB keyboards and my computer will only take one of those. I had no idea! I thought all computers would take a standard and a USB. Learned two lessons:

1.Keep posting ahead.
2. Have 5 or so extra keyboards on hand.

For those of you that have an ALDI store near you, check out the electronics by the register. For the past few months all of the stores here have had roll-up, flat, water and dustproof keyboards for $7.99! Get two!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

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