Friday, February 26, 2010

Standard Side Effects of Vaccines

In his book, Doctor Sears has a list of common reactions that can occur with virtually every vaccine. He calls them "standard side effects" because they tend to occur about 5 to 10 percent of the time for most shots. Some of the vaccines cause these reactions as much as 40 percent of the time. I have decided to list them out for you, just in case you were curious as to what they were.

Your welcome.

According to Doctor Sears, the side effects are usually harmless in the long run and the short run. The include, but are not limited to:

- Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- Fever
- Crying
- Vomiting
- Diarrhea
- Poor appetite
- Sleepiness
- Headaches
- Body aches
- Pea-sized nodule at injection site lasting for several weeks
- Rash over the whole body or limited to one area

From what Doctor Sears says, these side effects can usually be minimized by holding a cool washcloth or ice pack to the injection site and giving ibuprofen.

That's all I have for you today. I hope everyone has a great weekend! And don't forget to come back next week for a post on the rotavirus disease and vaccine. :)

We Will Rock You

I don't know if you know this or not, but Zachariah's most favorite song in the whole wide world is sung by Queen. That fact alone just makes me beam with pride. But the fact that he requests AND sings along with said song just about every time we are in the car makes me even prouder.

That is why I was super pumped when I found this Queen shirt a while back at Target. And it was ON SALE!

Whats more perfect that a rockin Queen shirt? A rockin Queen shirt with the words "We Will Rock You" all over it.

Yep. I found a shirt with my kids favorite song plastered all over it. Lets just say I was more than a little excited about this purchase. And so was Zachariah.

I just love my little rock star and his amazingly cool shirt.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Apple Dumplings

If you are a diabetic, turn away now. Just looking at this could give you some serious problems.

For the rest of you, this is one of my new favorite desserts! It is super easy and oh-so-delicious. I found this on the Pioneer Woman's site a while back and finally decided to try it. And boy am I glad I did.

I just need to say one thing before we get started: This dessert is going to be the death of my hips. The end.

Here is what you will need. Crescent rolls, sugar, butter, granny smith apples, vanilla, cinnamon and mountain dew.

First, go ahead and butter a 9x13 baking dish.

Then you will want to peel and core two granny smith apples and slice them up into eight pieces each.

Roll out the crescent rolls and separate them into eight triangles

Then take an apple slice and roll it into the crescent roll.

See? Simple. Do this until all of the crescent rolls have an apple slice.

Then line your buttered baking dish with the rolled up apples. Make sure to get them all nice and cozy or else they wont all fit.

Now melt two sticks of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.

Once the butter is all melted, dump in 1-1/2 cups of sugar.

Now just barely stir them together. Barely stir. This is important.

Remove the pot from the heat and then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Gently stir together. You want this mixture to be lumpy. Remember that.

Poor the mixture over the top of the "dumplings". Make sure you coat them all in this sugary, buttery, oh so good for you mixture. You don't want to leave any out!

Now for the Mountain Dew. Oh man. Let me just take a moment to tell you a little story.

I had a serious addiction to Mountain Dew for about four years. I couldn't live without the stuff. If I had less than three a day I would get withdrawal headaches. It was the only way I made it through college and teaching three year olds. This was pretty much my alcohol. Sad, I know. But that is beside the point.

When I got pregnant with Zachariah I stopped consuming caffeine. Due to my "morning sickness" last for the whole 9 months, I couldn't consume much of anything. Regardless, I stopped drinking Mountain Dew... cold turkey. It was rough, but not as bad as I thought it would be. Once I got past the withdrawal symptoms I was golden. After I gave birth I started breastfeeding, and then by the time I was done with that I just kind of forgot about caffeine. I probably only have about a dozen caffeinated beverages a year. Its crazy when I think about it.

Anyway. Those are the facts. I have only had Mountain Dew a handful of times since being pregnant with Zachariah. So the fact that I was holding a bottle in my hands was monumental.

Just thought you should know.

Ok, so the recipe calls for a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew, but all I had was this massive bottle. So I only used about half of it. Pour the Mountain Dew around the sides of the pan and let it flow all around the dumplings.

And yes. Yes I did drink the rest of the Mountain Dew. And I loved every second of it.

Now sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 min. Watch them to make sure they dont get too brown. You want a nice golden crispy top.

And here is the finished product! When I took them out of the oven I had a TON of liquid sloshing around. So I just drained a little bit of the excess liquid into a bowl before I served the cute little dumplings.

And that's it! Serve them warm with some vanilla ice cream. It will definitely be worth it. Trust me.

Thanks again, Pioneer Woman. You rock my socks.

2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans crescent rolls (8 0z cans)
2 sticks butter
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 oz) Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


... is our only child (for now).

... is not a baby anymore. Toddler-hood completely creeped up on me. It has been a very bittersweet experience.

... has sworn off vegetables. I honestly cant find a single one that he will eat anymore! Fruit is a different story though. He will eat every single type of fruit that has ever been grown.

... is obsessed with all things music. Drums, guitar, piano, recorder. You name it, he wants to play it. And he has some pretty good rhythm too! I cant wait to see what he ends up playing when he gets a little older. Right now I would have to say drums, but we will see!

... is broadening his list of favorite tv shows. His current regulars are The Backyardigans, Wonder Pets, Little Einsteins and Thomas The Train. Whenever we have a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD from the library that is also added to the list.

... has officially hit is terrible two stage. It is requiring a new level of patience that I have yet to tap into. Lord help me.

... has been sleeping in a big boy bed for almost a month. It looked like nap time was history, but I think we have it under control again. (More on that in another post.)

... loves outside play. Our neighbors are moving in a few days and they were gracious enough to give us their play set. Compared to Zachariah, it is HUGE! He can't get enough of swinging, sliding and climbing up the rock wall type thing. Thankfully the weather is cooperating so that he can run off some of that energy on the play set!

... will be two and a half in two weeks.

... has an incredibly silly personality. I LOVE being able to watch his silliness unfold. He really does keep us laughing constantly!

... weighs at least 500 pounds. Obviously I am lying. He is probably closer to 40 pounds. Its been about a year since we have been to the doctor so I really don't know for sure how heavy he is. But trust me, he is a heavy two year old!

... cannot sleep without gung gung and his blue blanket. He has added quite a few animal friends to the bed recently, but I will showcase those in another post. :)

... would eat breakfast food for every meal if it was an option. Pancakes, eggs, bagels, toast, cheese grits. He will eat any and all of it. 24/7.

... loves to sing. Right now some of his favorite songs to sing for us are: Ten in the Bed, Do You Know the Muffin Man, We Will Rock You, A Bushel and a Peck, Low Rider and The Wonder Pets theme song.

... constantly amazes me with his smarts. At 15 months old he knew his shapes, colors and letters. He could identify the letter and made the appropriate sound to go with it. And he just keeps getting smarter! He can now SAY all the letters (at 15 months he didn't have a large vocab), sing the alphabet song, say the name of the shapes (including pentagon and octagon), count to 15, and identify numbers 1-5 (still working on the numbers).

... enjoys movie nights. We try to do this once a week (usually on Saturday night) and we all love it. His recent movie picks have been Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, Chicken Run, Monsters Inc. and Cars. (We love us some Pixar!)

... has very little patience for coloring. I am trying to work with him on that. We will see how it goes.

... is still using a paci, and I am totally fine with that. I plan to take it away by the time he turns three, but right now I am not about to fight that battle. And besides, it is one of the only things left from babyhood. So I don't mind it one bit. :)

... loves to watch animals. Whether the animal is a puppy in the pet store, a duck at the pond, a bird flying in the sky or a squirrel climbing up a tree, he does a little happy dance every time he sees an animal in motion.

... is incredibly hard to photograph. The fact that I was able to get these pictures is a freaking miracle.

... is loved so much by his mommy and daddy. Even if he is going through his terrible two stage. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hep B

I know it has been a couple weeks, but I am finally back with another vaccine post. Sorry for the delay. The great snow blizzard of 2010 distracted me. :) Ok, so here we go! If you have missed the other vaccine posts, feel free to click on one or all of the links below.

***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.***

Hep B is a sexually transmitted virus that causes liver damage and sometimes liver failure. It can be transmitted through unprotected sex, it can be passed on by the sharing of IV drug needles, the use of improperly sterilized tattoo needles, or an accidental stick with an infected needle. It can also be acquired through a blood transfusion.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, jaundice (yellow eyes and skin), vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue.

Hep B virus...

- can survive outside a person for one week (on a toothbrush, razor etc...).
- can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during the birthing process
- is diagnosed with a blood test
- is very rare in infants and children. It occurs mainly in adults.
- is extremely serious. About 90% of babies who catch hep B during birth become chronically infected. They may not show symptoms for many years or decades, but about 20% will develop liver cancer or liver failure eventually.
- is not treatable. In adults it passes without much consequence. For kids it is more likely to cause long term problems.

The vaccine...

- is given in three doses. Birth, two months and six months.
- the vaccine is given moments after birth, but the only babies who need this birth dose are those born to a mom with hep B. Most babies can safely wait until they are two months old.
(Note: Some hospitals give the hep B vaccine to babies without discussing it with the parents first. If you want to delay the shot, you need to make sure you communicate that to the hospital staff.)
- both brands of the vaccine used to contain mercury, but now they are both 100% mercury free.
- controversial ingredients include aluminum and formaldehyde.
- side effects are pretty standard (blog post on standard side effects coming soon).
- other reactions that have been reported (but are very rare) include: Severe, life-threatening allergic reactions, severe rash, heart palpitations, minor liver damage, bleeding disorders, visual problems, hair loss, arthritis, lupus, migraines, nerve dysfunction, Guillian-Barre syndrome, seizures and multiple sclerosis.

Reasons to get this vaccine:
If you are a health care or medical worker you will come in contact with other peoples blood. In this case, it is very important to get this vaccine. Newborns with hep B positive moms would benefit from this vaccine. Family members living with a hep B-positive person benefit from the vaccine. Most parents feel this vaccine is relatively safe because the manufacturing process and ingredients do not include any animal tissues.

Some people choose not to get this vaccine because some parents feel their babies and children aren't at a high risk of catching hep B. It is highly unlikely for hep B to be transmitted b casual day-to-day contact. Its main route of transmission is sexual. Another reason people tend to stay away from this vaccine is because of the reported side effects. And some parents simply decide to delay this shot while more important ones are given first.

Closing paragraph from Doctor Sears:
Even I have to admit that when it comes to the question, What diseases is a baby at risk of catching? hep B is very low on the list (unless you have one very rebellious baby). Yet, getting a whole generation of kids to grow up with the hep B protection is a good way to minimize this disease in the future teen and adult population. So, do you get the shot early, while your child is young and can't voice an opinion? Or do you wait until she's older and getting closer to really needing the vaccine? (Not your kid, of course, I'm just talking in general terms.) It's not always easy to drag a teenager to the doctor to get one shot, let alone a series of three. Overall, this is an important vaccine from a public health standpoint, but its not as critical from an individual point of view as most of the other infant vaccines.

My opinion:
My main beef with the hep B vaccine is the fact that it is given at birth. Not just at birth, but seconds after the baby is delivered. Unless the mother is hep B positive, I see NO reason for a newborn infant to receive this vaccine. It just baffles me that it is ok to inject chemicals into a perfectly healthy newborn. I do think that it is important, but I do not think it is a necessary thing at such a young age. Zachariah has received all of the recommended doses, but I will probably delay this shot with my future children.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Hopping

The last couple weeks have been very rainy and cold. Rain and 30 degree temperatures do not make for good errand/outing days, so we have been staying inside a good bit.

Which gives us a nasty case of cabin fever.

Which means that we have to come up with silly things to do to pass the time. And one of Zachariah's silly things happens to be jumping on books.

He picks out the largest books on his shelf, and then lines them up very carefully. Making sure each book touches the next one ever so slightly.

And then he jumps. All the way across. And once he reaches the end, he turns around and jumps back.

And when he gets tired of jumping across the books, he switches gears and starts running.

Spring, please come quickly. I am running out of books for my toddler to exercise on!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Grilled Orange Chicken

When it comes to cooking, I am all for a simple recipe. I think you all know that by now. Most every recipe I have shared on here has been easy peasy. That's how I roll.

This recipe is no exception. In fact, it is probably be the simplest one I have ever posted. All you do is throw some simple ingredients in a bag and let it marinate for a couple hours. Talk about a walk in the park! This is a very simple, but yummy way to give your chicken a little "umph"! And let me just say, my chicken meals have been a bit on the boring side lately. So it desperately needed some "umph".

Ok. Lets start by putting some chicken breasts into a zip lock bag.

I only used three for this meal, but next time I will use more. Daniel could have eaten another one, and leftovers are always welcome in my fridge!

Once you have your chicken in a zip lock bag, gather up the following ingredients...

1/4 cup of orange juice

1/4 cup of some extra virgin olive oil

3 teaspoons of lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

(if you are not a big fan of thyme just use half a teaspoon. A whole teaspoon was too much for me. I will definitely tone it down next time.)

1 teaspoon of salt,

1 teaspoon of black pepper.

and 3 garlic cloves, minced.

(Pretend that I have a picture of both of those)

Throw all of the ingredients into the zip lock bag with the chicken. Zip the bag up (please don't forget this step) and massage the chicken for about a minute.

Then put the bag-o-chicken in the fridge for at least an hour. Personally, I would recommend letting it marinate for closer to two hours, but if you are in a pinch an hour would do.

Right before you take the chicken out of the oven, take out your George Foreman grill that your fabulous parents gave you for Christmas. (Thanks mom and dad!) If you don't have an indoor grill, or if you prefer to use a regular grill, you still cook it for the same amount of time. Nothing really changes.

And if you want, you can put a light coat of olive oil on the grill right before you heat it up. It does wonders for the sticking.

When the grill is ready, plop the chicken on and cook it for about 4-8 minutes. Or until the juices run clear. I cooked the chicken for the full eight minutes and that turned out to be perfect. (On a regular grill you will want to make sure to flip the chicken about halfway through.)

Now plop the chicken on a plate and serve. It would be great with some mashed potatoes and broccoli casserole. Whatever you serve it with, make sure you savor the citrus-y goodness!


3 chopped orange segments
1/4 cup orange juice (no pulp)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts


Place all ingredients into a Zip-Lock bag. Massage the bag for a minute or so. Put bag in the refrigerator for about an hour.

When desired time has passed, take out the bag and remove the chicken breasts. Grill chicken for around 4 to 8 minutes, or until juices run clear.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not Potty Training

Don't be fooled by these pictures. We are NOT potty training yet. But I need to document the very first time he went pee on the big toilet. Even if it was just a random coincidence.

Lets face it. Pictures of the cutest kid in the world reading a book on the toilet are just too good to pass up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day Recap

We started a new Valentines Day tradition. Its a yummy one. Its a sinful one. But it is going to be my favorite tradition of all times.

Chocolate covered strawberries. Aka: heaven in your mouth. This is one of my favorite things about Valentines Day.

Well, that and my pretty flowers. :)

Enough about me. Lets move onto the real reason for this post.

Zachariah received two valentine cards in the mail. One from Daniel's grandparents (Opa and Grandma Pat) and one from my grandmother (Grandma Howell). This made Zachariah's day. He was very excited about the fact that he got letters!

My grandmother included a picture in her letter. It was a picture of a salamander that used to be a "pet" at my grandparents mountain property. As random as a picture of a salamander may seem, it was one of the cutest things ever. My grandma (Grandma Sweet Pea is what the great grand kids call her) and Zachariah have an inside joke about salamanders. Its adorable. And so she mailed a picture of one for him. And he carries it around everywhere.

Daniel's grandparents didn't disappoint either. Inside the card was some nice green money! And what did Zachariah do with the cash?

He threw it into the air and repeatedly said, "I got five dollars!". Crazy kid.

So a big thanks goes out to Grandpa Pat (and Opa) and Grandma Sweet Pea! You all made his day very special. :)

And I will allow you to have one more glance at the chocolate covered fruit.

You are welcome.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentines Day! And please share your Valentines traditions. I might want to steal them. :)