Thursday, May 23, 2013

7 Things You Will Never Find in my Kitchen

I have, by no means, the perfect eating habits. I never claimed to. But here are 7 things you will never find in my kitchen.

  • Boxed Macaroni and Cheese: We used to eat it. Up until about 3 years ago. I was in the mood for something with a better taste than the boxed stuff. So, I set out to make my own. And ever since, the boxed stuff taste like cardboard - tasteless. Making mine really takes no more time than the box stuff. Boil the noodles and then about 5 minutes for the cheese sauce. 
  • Boxed Hamburger Helper: Another boxed meal we used to eat a lot. We bought some about 2 years ago. It was edible. It was just tasteless (I'm starting to think that everything in a box is tasteless). I went on a search for how to make homemade hamburger helper. And I have succeeded. No more cardboard taste here.
  • Boxed Suddenly Salad Pasta Salad: Chris used to love this stuff. He wanted it almost every day after working in the hot, humid temps. It was good. Then it started to lose its taste. Then, I decided I wanted to figure out how to make it more healthier. So, I learned to make it myself using no more time than the boxed stuff.
  • Canned Veggies: We all know the order of veggies from best to worst, right? {Home grown, Farmer's Market, Fresh produce at store, frozen, canned} Yep, I don't do canned veggies. It's usually fresh or frozen. 
  • Packaged taco seasoning: Something about the taste threw me off. I found a recipe for oven fajitas where they made their own seasoning mix. I adapted it to my own tasting. Is so much better than the packaged mixes. 
  • Soda: When my husband went back to drinking strictly tea at home (kids too. I am strictly water), we stopped buying sodas altogether. We do occasionally treat ourselves to a 20 oz here or there. But, we do not buy them and keep them at home. 
  • Jarred spaghetti sauce: I don't think I have used this in over 10 years. For anything. Even recipes that call for a jar of sauce. I have and always will make my own. The same holds true for alfredo sauce. 
I am also in the process of cutting out gluten. Long tedious process of changing brands over. I also changed my milk from dairy milk to almond milk. The rest refuse to give up drinking cow's milk. I do plan to start cooking with almond milk over dairy milk. 

What changes have you made in your overall diet? What products would I not find in your kitchen?

** Note: The following recipes may find their way to the blog soon: Macaroni and Cheese, Homemade Hamburger Skillets, Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, Taco Seasoning Mix, Alfredo Sauce. **

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Best Reflects Me?

Here in North Carolina, about 20 miles away from me, there is a town called Trinity. However, I first learned about this story on the New Orleans news channel that I still keep up with. So, how did a town with a population of 6,600 make the news in New Orleans?

Simple. A teen sparked controversy in that little town. Caitlin Tiller is a teen mother. Her son just turned one year old. She completed her senior year early and is now in college and working part time. What did she do wrong? The school told each senior to bring in a "prop" that best reflects who they are to take a picture with for the yearbook. Some students brought their parents, siblings, grandparents, pets. Some students brought books, sports equipment, band instruments. Caitlin brought her son. The school told her that her photograph could not be used because it promoted teen pregnancy. Personally, I don't see how it promotes teen pregnancy anymore than watching "16 and Pregnant" on TV. Unfortunately, teen pregnancy is a big problem in the country today. But, making this poor girl feel like she will cause others to intentionally get pregnant is wrong.

At 17, I have no idea what I would have taken in for this type of photo. Probably my nephew because he meant everything to me when I was 17. But, now if you asked what I would take a photo with that best reflects who I am it would, undoubtedly, be my kids. I AM A MOTHER. No matter my age now or when I first became a mother, I am a mother. My kids reflect who I am. Period.

I am assuming the same holds true for this young girl. She had sex as a teen. She ended up pregnant. She has faced the consequence head on. She deserves to have a picture of her and her son in her yearbook just as much as the student who brought their pet. After all, eighteen years from now she will still be a mother to this little boy. Some say that if she wanted a picture with her son, she should have pictures taken on her own. But, why make her treat her son like he is a shameful thing? Sure, he didn't ask to be born to a teen mother. But, he was and she has chosen to do the best she can by him. I would never treat my children like they are a shameful part of my life. This little boy deserves the same consideration by others.

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Places to find this story:
Teen's Yearbook Photo With Baby Banned
Wheatmore High School Bans Teen's Yearbook Picture Taken with Baby

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I am Linking up at:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fifteen Years Ago....

** I am a day late writing this. This may also get a little long. **

Fifteen years ago, I looked down into the eyes of a beautiful baby girl. This precious baby was going to be the first person to ever call me Mommy.

I found out I was pregnant in September 1997. I had just suffered a miscarriage 6 months before. I was scared. I was nervous. I was happy. The range of emotions at the time was off the charts. I will admit that the timing was off. Way off. Chris was just 18; I had just turned 19. We were in a big world trying to make it on our own. And failing. Miserably. But, this was my baby and there was no way I was ever going to give him/her up.

I remember hearing the heartbeat for the first time. It was an amazing sound. I remember seeing the ultrasound for the first time. Those pictures were my most prized possession for a long time. My pregnancy was easy; too easy. I never looked pregnant until the end. Days of maternity clothes weren't in the cards for me. I continued to wear regular clothes until about month 8. I didn't get many ultrasounds done. At the 20th week growth scan, the legs stayed shut. I felt like I was having a boy so I picked out the name William Michael. I was confident that it was a boy and I never even considered a girl's name.

At 30 weeks, I started cramping a little. I was put in the hospital for observation. I was released the next day because the "contractions" had stopped and I had no dilation. Pregnancy was a cake walk the rest of the time. I had a few times that I went in to be checked because I thought I was having labor contractions. Turns out I wasn't. But, how did I know? I was new at this.

The night before my due date I went to the ER for contractions. It was customary for them to send you straight up to the Labor and Delivery floor and bypass seeing an ER doctor. They wanted to keep me overnight since I was contracting and had slight dilation. The next morning, I was still contracting and had not dilated any further. The decision was to send me home until I progressed further. I went into the bathroom to change and felt a gush of liquid between my legs. I told Chris to page the nurse; that I think my water just broke. The nurse came in and argued with me saying I peed on myself. Like seriously? I may have only been a 19 year old kid, but I knew that I did not pee on myself. She agreed to use a test strip on the fluid. It came back as my amniotic fluid. The doctor wanted me back in the bed. So, the long boring labor begins. I got started on pitocin. Around noon I asked for an epidural. I was having intense back labor. I was in and out of consciousness until around 5 pm. I had Chris and our neighbor, Vicki there as my coaches. At 5:30 pm, my doctor came and told me that if I didn't start progressing more then he was going to order a c-section. A few minutes later, I started pushing. And I pushed. And I pushed. For 2 hours, I pushed. At 7:57 pm, I delivered an 8 lb, 11.5 oz baby girl.

But, one problem. I didn't have a name for her. I was serious. I was convinced I was having a boy, so I didn't have a girl's name picked out at all. I was clueless. So, I let Chris name her.

Crystina Leighanne
May 14, 1998 @ 7:57 pm
8 lbs, 11.5 oz; 21.5" long
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Interesting Things About This Pregnancy:
Due Date: May 14, 1998
Actual Birth Date: May 14, 1998
Vaginal or C-Section: Vaginal
Pain Meds/Epidural?: Yes
Pregnancy Cravings: Twinkies and Mt Dew
Found Out the Sex or Surprise?: Surprise but not by choice

Crystina Through the Years
(Years 2001 and 2011 are missing)

1999 - Age 1
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2000 - Age 2
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2002 - Age 4
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2003 - Age 5
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2004 - Age 6
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2005 - Age 7
 photo CLS2005_zps6e2e1fad.jpg

2006 - Age 8
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2007 - Age 9
 photo CLS2007_zps3dfe5b19.jpg

2008 - Age 10
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2009 - Age 11
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2010 - Age 12
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2012 - Age 14
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2013 - Age 15
 photo Crystina2013_zps8adcb992.jpg 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5th is International Bereaved Mothers Day...

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Image courtesy of Jordans Treasures

 May 5th is recognized as International Bereaved Mothers Day. This day is special to me. You see, I am a bereaved mother. I have three babies who live in Heaven. But, I am still their mother.

Today, I send my sympathies out to all the bereaved mothers in the world. It's a sad way to be connected but we are. Connected through the loss of a child.

One by one, I plan to share my stories of my children. Both those here with me and those who live in Heaven.

Are you a bereaved mother? If you are, please know that send you the biggest of hugs as we live each day without our babies.

For more information, visit the International Bereaved Mothers Day facebook page.