Friday, January 29, 2010
***Disclaimer: The information about vaccines in this post came from The Vaccine Book by Robert Sears. I am in the process of reading the book and I am simply sharing as I learn. I strongly recommend doing your own research before deciding if vaccines are right for your child.***
I don’t know about you, but when Zachariah got his PC vaccine I had no clue what it stood for. Heck, I didn't even know which vaccines he was being given at the time. Call me crazy, but I think that is something the Doctor should have informed me of. Why did I let my son get that vaccine without knowing what it was? Ugh. Oh well. I cant turn back time. But I can figure all of this stuff out now and hopefully be more prepared with my next kid.
Pc stands for Pneumoccal Disease. It is a bacterium that causes a wide range of illnesses, from mild cold symptoms and ear infections to severe pneumonia, blood stream infections and meningitis.
Things you should know about Pc:
It is transmitted like the common cold.
It is a common bacterial cause of respiratory infections.
It is the most common cause of infant meningitis.
Serious Pc infections occur mostly in infants ages two or younger. Serious cases in healthy children and adults are uncommon.
It is fatal mainly to the elderly.
It is treatable. Serious infections require hospitalization with IV antibiotics for several days.
This vaccine is usually not given after 24 months of age.
This is NOT a live virus vaccine. (That means that it does not contain the entire germ, so there is no way to become infected with the disease from the vaccine.)
This vaccine contains aluminum, which is a controversial ingredient. (Babies should not get this shot in the same month as other aluminum-containing shots)
Seizures are one of the side effects from this vaccine. Seizures are not very common, but it happens in 1 in every 20,000 infants. Many of which already had a history of seizures.
Reasons to get this vaccine:
Pc is a very serious infection. It occurs mainly in infants and in the elderly, so it makes sense to immunize babies.
Some people choose not to get this vaccine because it has a higher rate of seizures than other vaccines and it has other standard side effects. Another reason some parents may decline this vaccine is that if their baby is breasted and not in large group day care, the baby has a lower-than-average risk of catching this disease.
Closing paragraph from Doctor Sears:
Pc diseases can be very bad or only minor irritations. The problem is, you don't know until you're stuck with one. The Pc germ is a fairly common resident in day cares, schools and checkout lines at the grocery store. Unless you are a housebound agoraphobic or a stay-at-home mom who never, ever takes her baby out, you and your kids will encounter this germ. The Pc vaccine offers a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak. The shot does come with some possible side effects, but fortunately these are rare. Overall, I'd call this a fairly important vaccine.
I believe that Zachariah received three doses of this vaccine. I am ok with that. But I am not wild about the fact that the vaccine contains aluminum. If my children were going to be in a daycare setting, I would definitely strongly consider this vaccine. If my future children are breastfed and never enter the doors of a daycare, then I see no immediate need for this vaccine.
(Side note: Doctor Sears discusses the controversy of injected aluminum later on in the book. I will do a separate post for that subject later on down the road.)
Thursday, January 28, 2010
That being said, I guess it is no surprise that we are now the proud owners of, yet again, another fabulous Leap Frog product!
(It was a very rainy day when I took most of these pictures, so please excuse the lack of light. Thanks for your patience and understanding.) :)
This is called the Tag Jr. It is a lot like the Tag reading system, but designed for toddlers. Zachariah received this for Christmas this year and it happens to be one of my favorite gifts!!! It comes with the everything you see in the picture above. The book pal (which is the white and green thingamajig) and a sample book.
Since the Tag Jr only comes with the sample books, any other books you want you need to purchase. Zachariah got The Backyardagins book for Christmas, and then we bought him ABC Animal Orchestra and 123 Dora. They also have Elmo, Cars, Curious George, Pooh and other books too! Eventually we hope to buy him more, but these three are doing just fine for now.
You know whats cool? You can program the book pal to say your kids name. Every time Zachariah turns it on it greets him. It will say something like "Hello, Zachariah!", or "How is my friend, Zachariah?" That one actually freaks me out. But the other greetings are cute. There are about 4 of them.
You can also hook the book pal up to your computer to track your child's progress. It basically tells you what your kid has been looking at the most. But since I am always right there with him while he is "reading" with it, I haven't had a need for that feature. That was mine and Daniel's thing with this. We did NOT want it to teach our son how to read. We want to do that. We were very determined to not use this as a babysitter for our kid, and so far we have done a good job of playing with him while he is using this.
Ok. Stepping off my soap box now. Onto the rest of the post! :)
Once you program your reading pal, you go online and download the books you have purchased, then hover over the pages with the book pal. Whatever you touch with the book pal it will "read" it. Or make music. Or sounds.
The book that Zachariah is reading in that picture is the ABC Animal Orchestra. It is my favorite. There is an animal playing an instrument for each letter of the alphabet. For example... the page he is on has the letter J. The animal is Jaguar and its playing a Jug. The Iguana's are playing Indian Bells. The Elephant is playing the Electric Guitar. Get my drift?
You can put the book pal over anything on the book. If you put it over the letters, it tells you what the letter is and what sound it makes. If you put it over the animal, it tells you what animal it is and what sound it makes. If you put it over the instrument, it tells you what the instrument is called and it makes the appropriate sound. There is just SO much to do with these books!
And on the last page of every book there is a song (or two, or three. Depends on the book). If you put book pal over the alphabet it sings the ABC song. If you put it over the animal playing the instruments, it plays the ABC song in different styles of music. Hip hop, jazz, reggae and a few others. Z really loves that page. He likes to dance to all the different types of music. :)
He also loves to see if anyone is living in the book pal. He will often turn it upside down and say "Hello in there!". Its hilarious. And since it talks to him, I cannot convince him that someone isn't there. Poor kid.
The long and short of it is, I love this product. It is a great educational toy. It can be a tad expensive trying to buy all the books, but I say just buy a couple and put others on a birthday or Christmas list. And I would STRONGLY recommend all three that we have. They are fabulous. :)
Stay tuned tomorrow for another vaccine post!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I have never made a cobbler before, so I was a bit nervous. But this recipe was super easy, so I decided to give it a go. And I documented it, step by step, for you all to see.
Your welcome. :)
The ingredients consist of milk, sugar, self rising flour, butter and blackberries (fresh or frozen).
First, place half a cup (1 stick) of butter in a microwave safe dish. Nuke it for 30-45 seconds, or until melted.
Whisk together 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of self rising flour and 1 cup of milk. Mix well.
Then take your melted butter, poor it into the bowl and whisk together.
Now, butter a 3 quart baking dish.
My 3 quart baking dish was being used to hold leftover baked lemon pasta (another PW recipe), so I had to settle for my 2.5 quart dish. It worked fine, but my cobbler would have turned out a little better if I had used a 3 quart. Just so ya know. :)
Now rinse and pat dry two cups of blackberries. Fresh would be fabulous, but all I had was frozen. So that's what I used. And they tasted fabulous. Just so ya know.
Poor the batter into your baking dish and drop the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter.
Once you have evenly distributed the berries, sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over the berries.
If you are trying to take pictures during this process, the sugar may not sprinkle evenly. So, if you can help it, try not to take pictures while baking. It causes sugar to pile up unnecessarily. Ahem.
Now, pop this baby into the oven (preheated to 350 degrees) and bake for 1 hour. Or until golden brown. I kind of didn't hear my timer go off, so mine was a little closer to brown instead of golden. Luckily it didn't burn, but it should definitely be pulled out before this point. Just so ya know.
Oh, and if you want, sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar on the cobber about 10 min. till its done. A little extra sugar never hurt anyone, right?
Wala! You now have a tasty blackberry cobbler ready to serve to your hungry friends or family. Or just keep it for yourself. I will not judge.
(Note: If I would have used the 3 quart dish the crust would have risen more evenly. Again, did not affect the taste, just the presentation. Which I was not to concerned about.)
And beware. Your husband may not wait for you to dish it onto a plate. It is very likely that he will just grab a spoon and dig in. Yes, it is that good.
Next time I am going to substitute peaches for blackberries! I cant wait!
Hope you enjoy!
Pioneer Woman's Blackberry Cobbler
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries (or blueberries, peaches, raspberries)
Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.
Rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
A few minutes later I hear a lot of noise in the kitchen. I figure that Zachariah is going through the Tupperware cabinet and ignore it. I was enjoying the fact that I could converse with my husband without a toddler climbing all over me and talking about who knows what. A few more minutes pass and I stop talking and just listen. That noise was not Tupperware. It was definitely the sound of Zachariah unloading the dishwasher.
When we walked into the kitchen he seemed a little worried (we have strict rules that state toddlers will be disciplined if they lay a finger on the open dishwasher), but then he got all excited about the "tower" he built. We couldn't help but crack up. He was so dang cute and so incredibly proud of his cup tower.
I must say, I was very impressed that he only touched his dishes. He did not touch the sharp objects or the breakables. He only unloaded the things that he knew were his. His cups, plates and the Tupperware (which he unloaded on the other side of the dishwasher) were the only things that were taken out.
Moral of the story: I should probably let Zachariah pick the movie next time. Either that, or close the dishwasher. :)
Monday, January 25, 2010
Here is the toy that he played with for three straight days. He LOVES trains. And he was very excited to get his first train set (thanks to my grandparents). Eventually we hope to move up to a Thomas train set, but this has been a good introductory one. And he loves that he can rearrange the animals, trees and signs whenever he pleases. The long and short of it is this: While this train set wouldn't be good for an older child, it has been perfect for my two year old. :)
Next up, the mega blocks. This is one of the gifts that I tried to hide for a few days after he opened it. I had to wait until I was in the mood for blocks to take over my house. Well, that mood never came, but once the newness of all of his other toys wore off I brought this out. And boy am I glad I did. These blocks keeps Zachariah entertained like nothing else. He LOVES to build. He especially loves to build with Daddy. They make some awesome robots together. These blocks get two thumbs up from everyone in the house. They are great! (Many thanks go out to Mimi and Poppie for the blocks!)
Now onto the horses. I'm not gonna lie... I am not a huge fan of these horses. Something about their faces just give me the creeps. But Zachariah loves them. He calls them by name every single time he plays with them. (Left to right: Cocoa, Gandalf, Brownie) Nana and Pops have a couple toy horses at their house and he loved playing with them, so they got him a few of his own! He is forever grateful. Thanks Nana and Pops!
Remember Zachariah's obsession with The Backyardigans? Well, his Aunt Amanda (my sister) got him Pablo (the penguin on the right) for his birthday. Much to his excitement, he was able to add Tyrone and Austin to his his collection last month!
I will be back later this week for another Christmas gift post. I cant wait to show you my favorites! :)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
***Disclaimer: Everything that is stated in this post came from The Vaccine Book by Robert Sears. I am in the process of reading the book and I am simply sharing as I learn. I strongly recommend doing your own research before deciding if vaccines are right for your child.***
HIB is a bacteria that causes serious illness such as meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain), blood infections, bone infections and pneumonia. It is transmitted like the common cold (through contact with an infected persons cough, mucus or saliva). Usually when a person is exposed to HIB, the bacteria usually stays in the nose, ears or throat and only causes minor cold symptoms. Rarely do they “invade” farther into the body and cause one of the severe infections. But when that happens, it is very serious.
And now I have compiled a list of oh-so-interesting (and important) facts for you.
Please, for my sake, try to contain your excitement. :)
is diagnosed through blood tests or spinal tap. Which is not done unless a person is sick enough to go to the doctor. Therefore it is very difficult to diagnose.
most cases go undiagnosed, so no one really knows what percentage turns serious.
can be caught more than once.
is treatable, but permanent damage can result.
is not common, but it used to be. Only 25 cases are seen each year, almost all occurring in children under the age of five and most in the first two years.
is VERY rare beyond the age of three.
is NOT a live virus vaccine. That means that it does not contain the entire germ, so there is no way to become infected with the disease from the vaccine.
This vaccine has one of the safest side effect profiles. The standard reactions to this vaccine (which occur in about 5% of babies) include fever, fussiness, redness and swelling.
Reasons to get this vaccine:
Meningitis and blood infections are very serious. Although HIB is now extremely rare, continued vaccination keeps the disease out of our population and will help protect your baby from the rare chance he may catch this germ. This shot also has the safest side effect profile of all the vaccines, and the ingredients are very pure compared with those found in most other vaccines.
Some people choose not to get the vaccine because HIB is extremely rare. A breastfed baby who does not attend daycare is at a particularly low risk of catching this illness.
Closing paragraph from Doctor Sears:
“HIB is a bad bug. Fortunately, its also a rare bug, so rare that I haven’t seen a single case in ten years. Ongoing use of this vaccine in our country helps keep it that way. The HIB vaccine is one of the very safest we have. The ingredients aren’t too strange, and the known side effects are minimal. Since the disease is so rare, HIB isn't the most critical vaccine. But its definitely high on the Top Ten list.”
I could do without this vaccine. Zachariah has had at least two, possibly three doses of it, but I would feel totally fine if he had never received a single does of this vaccine. I do not think it’s a bad vaccine, but when I consider the facts (this disease is very rare, he was breastfed and he is not in daycare), I see no NEED for the vaccine for my child.
(Side Note: This is just my brief summary of the HIB vaccine from The Vaccine Book. If you want more information, I strongly recommend reading the book. Doctor Sears includes important information about how the vaccines are made and what ingredients are included. Very interesting stuff.)
Alright. Well that about does it for the HIB vaccine. If you made it this far, feel free to let me know if you have any questions and I will be back next week with my brief run down on another vaccine!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Ok. Now onto the reason for my 504th post.
Dr. Pepper pork chops.
Yes. You read correctly. I am about to share with you my mother in law's recipe for Dr. Pepper pork chops. It is SUPER easy and oh so yummy. Lets dive in, shall we?
You need a whopping three ingredients. Pork chops, ketchup and Dr. Pepper (duh). Easy peasy.
Place your pork chops in a skillet. And make sure to coat it with cooking spray first. You don't want them to stick!
(Side note: Normally I would be able to get 4-6 pork chops in the skillet. But Daniel was in charge of the meat on grocery night and got the wrong one. So I was stuck with these whoppers. They tasted fabulous, but just bigger than what I was used to.)
Lightly sear the chops until they turn white, then flip them over and sear the other side.
See? Nice and pretty. :)
Now, take one cup of ketchup...
and one cup of Dr. Pepper...
and combine them together in a bowl.
Then pour the mixture over the seared pork chops.
Don't be afraid. Drown the pork chops in this stuff. It is definitely worth it.
Now, cover your skillet and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. I usually let them simmer for closer to an hour. I really like it when the meat just falls apart on your fork.
And that is it folks! I would have one last picture showing you the finished product, but my husband and son inhaled these things as soon as they were done. So here I am with no picture. Its a rough life I live.
Dr. Pepper Pork Chops
1 cup ketchup
1 cup Dr. Pepper
Salt and pepper chops
Lightly sear chops just till white in skillet
Combine ketchup and Dr Pepper and pour over chops.
Simmer about 45min. - 1 hr.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Quite a few of these bunches were starting to peek out at me. I was very happy to see them!
I am not 100% sure why I was happy to see these random berries, but I am guessing it has something to do with the hope of warmer weather. Not too warm though. 60's and 70's would be nice.
Ah yes. I feel some of my sanity coming back already. Outdoor fun, here we come!
And just in case you are wondering, he is just as attached to it as ever.
He honestly believe that he considers "gung-gung" his friend. He will include that giraffe blanket in everything that he does. Coloring, reading, watching the Christmas train, watching tv, playing with Daddy (he even makes Daniel "talk" for "gung-gung". It is HILARIOUS.) In the picture above he is showing "gung-gung" the squirrels outside. How cute is that?
I am going to cry when the day comes where Zachariah doesn't need "gung-gung". That and his paci are about the only things that constantly remind me of his baby days. *tear*
And yes, I am aware that I have the cutest kid on the face of the earth. Thanks for the reminder though. :)
Monday, January 18, 2010
First thing's second. I do not think vaccines are horrible. I think that vaccines play a useful role in eliminating some diseases from our population and making sure others don't get out of hand. I do think that to many vaccines are given to children at too young of an age. I do think that parents need to be more informed about what is being injected into their children. That is why I am reading this book and sharing my finds. :)
Zachariah was on a regular vaccine schedule. He got four shots every other month for the first year or so of his life. Right before he turned 15 months Daniel and I decided to stop having him vaccinated. Not forever, just for the time being. I wanted to do my research before he got the MMR. That vaccine gave me a bad gut feeling. And if I have learned only one thing from motherhood it's this: always go with your gut. So, that's what I did. He has not been vaccinated since. I am not closed to more vaccines, but as long as Zachariah is not in daycare/school I am not overly concerned with them.
Anyway. That is where I currently stand on vaccines. My opinion may change completely by the end of this book, but for now, those are my thoughts. Ok! Enough of my babbling. Onto the book!
The Vaccine Book was written by Dr. Sears in 2007. This was (and might still be) the first ever open minded guide to childhood vaccinations. He simply lays out the information and lets parents form their opinion about vaccines. How nice is that?
Here is a little excerpt from the preface of the book.
little about vaccines, other than the fact that the FDA and pharmaceutical companies do
extensive research on vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective. We don't review
the research ourselves. We never learn what goes into making vaccines or how their safety
is studied. We trust and take it for granted that the proper researchers are doing their jobs.
So, when patients want a little more information about shots, all we can really say as
doctors is that the diseases are bad and the shots are good. "
Doctor Sears spent thirteen years doing research and learning everything everything he could about vaccines and the diseases they are designed to prevent. He says, "Even though vaccines are important, you as a parent are still entitled to know what you are giving your child. You have a responsibility (and a desire) to make informed health care decisions for your family."
I am so pumped about this book. After the first chapter I knew I was going to love it. I've been looking for something like this. And luckily for you, I have decided to document all of my findings. :)
Stay tuned later this week for chapter one!
Friday, January 15, 2010
For the crust, you will need flour, butter (or margarine), brown sugar, corn flakes and cinnamon.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of corn flakes, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. (You wont need to do anything serious here. I just stirred it around with a fork. And feel free to mash the corn flakes so there aren't a lot of huge chunks.)
Once that is combined, cut in 1/2 cup of butter (or margarine) until coarse crumbs start to form.
After you finish cutting the butter in, press half of the mixture into the bottom of a (greased) 8 inch square pan. Make sure to firmly press the mixture in. You need to show this sucker who is boss.
Ok, after you have the "crust" in the pan, start on your filling. You will need flour, flavored yogurt (I prefer organic) and one egg.
In a separate mixing bowl, stir together one egg, 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of yogurt. I choose strawberry yogurt, but you can also do peach, banana, blueberry... whatever you prefer. Just make sure it is nice and fruity!
Poor the yogurt mixture on top of your firmly pressed crust (yes, I am stressing the firmly pressed crust for a reason) and spread it out nice and evenly. Isn't it pretty? I think so. I love me some strawberry flavored food!
Ok, now take the other half of your cereal mixture and sprinkle the rest of it on top of the yogurt. There should be just enough to cover all of the yogurt. Pop it into your oven (that is preheated to 350) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
I'm not going to lie, the smell that fills your kitchen will be very deceiving. It doesn't smell like you are cooking anything that is remotely close to being healthy. My husband walked in and I am pretty sure he was expecting to find cookies in the oven.
Mmmmm. See how nice and golden brown it is? This is when its ready to be taken out of the oven. It took just about 30 minutes. Probably a few minutes more, but it was close.
My only beef with the recipe was I didn't feel there was enough crust. See how the crust on the bottom was very thin? I think next time I may try make a wee bit more. But I will have to try and see if I can successfully do that without messing up the recipe too badly. :)
Let them cool for a while. You want the pan to no longer be hot to the touch. Then when the are cooled, cut into bars! I froze about half of them so they wouldn't spoil in the fridge, but I think you are good with keeping them in an airtight container for about 5 days.
These are GREAT for kids. Z eats one almost every day. He LOVES them. And you can make them even healthier by adding some wheat germ or flax seed to the yogurt mixture!
Here is the recipe without all of my ramblings and pictures. Enjoy!
YOGURT CEREAL BARS
2 cups corn flakes
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2cup butter or margarine
1 cup flavored yogurt (banana/strawberry etc..)
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat oven to 350F
Combine cereal, 3/4 cup flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Cut in butter or margarine until coarse crumbs form.
Press half of the mixture firmly into the bottom of a greased 8inch square pan.
Mix yogurt, egg and 2 tablespoons flour in another small bowl.
Spread over cereal mixture in pan and then sprinkle the remaining cereal mixture on top
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown; cut into bars when cooled.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I have three books I am reading right now. I have never floated between this many books at one time before. I am more of a read-one-book-at-a-time kind of girl, but for some reason I have started three dang books. And by golly, I plan to finish them all in a timely manner too! One of the books I am reading is The Vaccine Book. It is a great un-biased book about the different types of vaccines that are administered to babies/children. I am thinking about doing a blog post for each vaccine that I read about (12 total). I am only on vaccine number two, but it is really interesting and I think that everyone should be more informed about what is being injected into our kids (both good AND bad). Anyway, would anyone actually WANT to read about the vaccine stuff, or is that something you would skip over?
Zachariah and I have been getting on each others nerves lately. I don't really know what to do about it, so I am just dealing. But we have really been pushing each others buttons here recently. I blame the cabin fever. And my mood swings. But for now we will just pretend I am a perfectly patient non-moody mommy. So lets blame the cabin fever. :)
Daniel went to bed before me last night. Since he is an insomniac, that almost NEVER happens. But the night before last Daniel didn't sleep AT ALL. Not a wink. So he was very tired and fell asleep sometime before 9:30. I'm not gonna lie. I really hate it when he falls asleep before I do. I HATE having to lock up the house. I am convinced that I will either forget something or that as I am locking up someone will kick in the door and kill me.
Yes, I realize that I may need some therapy. Leave me alone, I cant help that I watch to much TV! Well, I guess I can. But still.
Alrighty. I think I have done enough damage for now. If you are still reading... well, I'm sorry. :)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
So we started picking the movie without asking his opinion. So far it has worked wonderfully! Last week we watched Cars and this week we watched Toy Story 2! Saturday was very exciting for all of us. You see, Zachariah has never seen any of the Toy Story movies before. We tried to get him to watch the first one a few months ago, but he was just not into it. So we were pleased as punch when he ended up LOVING this one!
In fact, this kid didn't move a muscle during the whole entire movie!
Except to hop off the ottoman (his preferred seat) and move it closer (And by closer I mean directly in front of) to the TV.
And then he moved because he didn't think he was close enough. Obviously kneeling gets you much closer to Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
And he did get up to gallop around like Bullseye for a little bit.
Ok. So I fibbed. He moved a muscle or two. But he did remarkably well for a toddler. And if we can get through a movie without Zachariah begging for Happy Feet, then it is considered a success!
I love movie nights.