Monday, October 29, 2012


I don't know about you but I LOVE to read. I always have. I use to stay up late reading when I was kid and nothing has really changed. For awhile there, I thought I had lost my love for reading and then I read a book by Patricia Cornwell and discovered that 'hey, I still like to read.' I just wasn't reading books that were interesting and that's why I couldn't finish one.

When I lived in Korea I had an iphone and was happy to discover the Kindle app on it. I started downloading all of the free books that I could find on Amazon that looked even a little bit interesting. Side note, this is an amazing marketing idea by Amazon cause I can't tell you how many series I started reading and ended up buying the subsequent books (big word, I know. I amaze myself sometimes).

At one point I downloaded Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning; and I was hooked. It's a five books series and lucky for me, I discovered the series about a week before the 5th book, Shadow Fever, came out. It worked out well for me; don't you hate reading a book or getting into a tv series only to have to wait till the next one comes out?

In a very short synopsis of the series it's basically about a girl who is the sterotypical blonde, Mackayla (Mac), and her and her older sister Alina live in Georgia. Alina goes to Dublin for college and ends up being murdered which shatters Mac's perfect little world. Nothing seems to happen from the investigation so Mac goes to Dublin to try and put some pressure on the Dublin Garda as she's going crazy sitting at home doing nothing. Once she arrives she discovers the world of Fae and that she can see them, not to mention is a Sidhe-seer (someone who kills Fae). She realizes Alina also found this out and something in that world is probably what killed her. She meets people along the way, including Barrons who you love even though you can't figure out what the hell he is and this is her story.

The series actually had a pretty good ending but acknowledged that the world was not better, Fae still existed so this was it... For now... Which of course leaves the reader hoping another book is written. Recently I discovered the Karen Marie Moning wrote another book entitle Iced which takes place right after the Fever Series ends, but from another character in the book's view. This is part of a three book series which of course still has all of the characters we know, love, and are obsessed with. There's also supposed to be some more Fever books that come out as well in the future so I can't wait to see how that all takes place.

But the day is here. Iced comes out tomorrow, Oct 30th (how fitting). And I have to tell you, I'm sitting here going crazy. I can't wait for tomorrow so I can download it on my kindle app to read it!

To keep myself busy though I think i'm going to try my new cleaning trick that I hope works for me (I hate cleaning). You set a timer for 15 min and then you clean until the timer goes off. 15 in the kitchen, 15 in the living room, 15 in the bathroom. Cause I can do anything for 15 min right? I'll let you know in another post how it works out for me.

*If you've read the series or if you go read it after reading this, let me know! I'm seriously obsessed!  LOL.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why you so judgemental?

Did you know that everyone judges? Does it make it right? No. But we all do it. I guess it's part of being human. Some people are more vocal then others or some just do it behind closed doors, but we all do it.

I'm part of a natural moms group on Facebook that I absolutely love. It's a very active group so if you're not around for a day you could end up being lost on what's going on but on the plus side, something is ALWAYS going on. And for those of us that are Facebook addicts, that's a good thing. LOL.

Occasionally a subject will come up that everyone is talking about and someone will accuse us of being judgmental of others and that we need to be nice because people usually just don't know that there's another way. While I agree with that to a point (if you attack someone personally they're never going to change their belief) I don't think we need to watch what we're saying because we may be judging other moms that are doing something anti-natural.

The baby raising "norm" judges natural or AP (attachment parenting) parents all the time. Whether they're complaining about breastfeeding and how long we're doing it, even to the point of calling us child molesters; saying we're horrible parents because we co-sleep and/or bed share; arguing with us when we don't want to let a baby CIO (cry-it-out) vs comforting a child; or even babywearing and if it matters that you use a ergonomical carrier or a "crotch dangler." This of course is just a small amount of the opinions that tend to differ but it gives you an idea. But if in the majority of parenting forums out there, (i.e. The Bump, etc.) the parents put AP people down, is it that awful to create a place for AP/Natural minded mamas to be able to come together and chat? Even if that means we're judging those same decisions but on the opposite side of it?

I don't know if it's because AP/Natural mamas tends to get linked in with hippies which means we should be more tolerant or what, but we're still humans. We still judge. I just don't think we should be told we're wrong by judging. Like I said before though, there is a line for that. When someone starts to attack someone personally, they've crossed over that line. That is not acceptable and should not be tolerated regardless so something should be said then. And sometimes it's a very fine line, but I think it can be walked without being told we need to censor ourselves.

I feel the need to add that I am not crunchy to the core. haha. Not everything I do is an aspect of AP. There are some things that I disagree on in that world. But you know what, I don't argue with someone on that subject of it. Especially in a group of naturally minded parents. I know what they believe, and that is there place to talk about their beliefs. I don't need to go in there and argue my belief. It's not like they haven't heard it before from everyone else around them. This is where they can go to get away from all of that other stuff and be able to talk with like minded parents. Do I have the right to take that away from them?

Study from in 2011 shows that we all judge

Here's some other blogs that I found where judging other moms was the topic: Selective Judgement: Moms judging other moms, Is it really wrong to judge other mothers, and When other moms judge.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


My handsome little boy
Today, Gideon brought home his school pictures. I was excited to see them but slightly nervous as he tends to say cheese with a grimace and looking off to the side. Michael tells me its because I take his picture too often so he knows what to do but just goes through the motions while he's still preoccupied with whatever is going on. Maybe that's why? I don't know. Does it mean I'm going to stop taking his picture so often? No, of course not. I read this interesting article that someone posted on Facebook the other day asking about whether we take our children's pictures too often. "Why we should take fewer pictures." It was basically saying that we are making our children self absorbed by how often we take their pictures. They're becoming obsessed with themselves. I would have to say I disagree with this. I take pictures of my family and especially my child because I love him and want memories of everything. I get slightly frustrated with other people who don't do the same which leaves me without pictures of certain family members. I want to be able to look back and have everything documented, preferably in scrapbook style but that might not always happen... *cough, cough* I will admit sometimes I need to know when to edit or delete but I'm thankful for all of the pics I have. Maybe I'm the one obsessed? I can look at his pic over and over again and it makes me smile. Is that so bad? What do you think?

Monday, October 15, 2012

My take on car seat safety

Before I write anything, let me tell you that I am not a car seat expert. In no way shape or form. I'm not claiming to be. I'm also not perfect... Are you as surprised as I am?  I know, it's astonishing, but I'm not.

Gideon in his car seat

Now why am I writing this? Because I see pictures pop up in my Facebook newsfeed all the time of kids sitting in their seats improperly. Whether it's a baby forward facing (FF) instead of rear facing (RF), or a chest clip in the belly, aftermarket additions, or who knows what else. I see these pics all the time! I've said something a couple of times. It really depends on the person and/or what it is. By the way, I do see pictures of kids who look perfect in their car seats. Not everyone does it incorrectly. Do I think these people are bad mothers? No! I just think they don't know. I didn't know. I honestly don't know why I didn't considering I research EVERYTHING. But for whatever reason, I didn't. I knew the basics. Keep baby RF till 1 year  (this is outdated, it's now 2 years old) . I switched Gideon right at 1 year and I thought I was doing good. I knew others who switched their babies around earlier then that but that wasn't me.

We moved to Korea when Gideon turned 2 and moved right before he turned 4. We brought a FF car seat that had RF limits of 35 pounds and a booster seat that has no harness. You just use the seat belt across it. I know we started with using the original car seat (this is what Gideon used in the states) FF but at some point we started using the booster instead because it was easier and what really was the difference? What's worse is Gideon did not like the seat belt over his chest so we would tuck it behind him in the seat and he just had the lap belt. Thank you Jesus that nothing happened to him and we didn't get into a car accident! Really. I am so thankful.

Some point in time I met a girl name Sheleah who I knew was quite particular about car seats but I just thought it was a quirk of hers (I hope you don't mind that I mention you Sheleah!). I honestly didn't pay that much attention to it but just thought she was a little too particular. I mean we all lived without these extra car seat regulations, right? Of course those of us that didn't aren't here to tell us that... But I honestly didn't think it was that big of a deal.

After we moved back to the states, for whatever reason I looked the info up. I don't know if it was because Sheleah had posted a video or I just happened to read something about it online, but all of a sudden I started researching and I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Crash test videos do it for me, and when I saw one of a child FF vs RF, I felt so bad that I chanced Gideon's life like that. I would have been devastated if something had happened to him. In case you're curious, now that Gideon is almost 40 pounds which is the max FF limit on my car seat, we upgraded him to a Graco Nautilus that FF's to 65 pounds in a harness. This way he is as safe as I can get him.

So now i'm on the thought that "you know better, you do better." Here's a few things that i've learned that I want to share. This is not an all encompassing list. This is just a few things on my mind.

1. Rear Face your child's car seat as long as possible! The new AAP recommendation is to FF a child's seat until at least 2 years old or they outgrow their limits on their car seat. What does this mean? This means you RF as long as possible! The average convertible car seat is 35 pounds however there are better options out there that have even higher weight limits. That means that if a child's legs are reaching the back of the seat, that is not a reason to turn them around! The child can cross their legs. They're not uncomfortable or scrunched. Actually my son who is FF crosses his feet up on his seat because he doesn't like to leave them dangling. It's more comfortable for him. I understand some children want to look around and may get upset that they can't. Either stick to it and hope they get over it (some will!) or buy them a mirror that hangs on the back of the car so they can see more (or both!). A child's safety should outweigh EVERYTHING! Here's some great videos on RF vs FF.

This first video is not in English but gets the point across

This breaks down what parts of the body will be hurt in RF vs FF

Here is a great article on why to RF as long as possible. It also explains how front and side impact crashes are 96% of the car crashes out there and that's why these safety videos are shown with frontal impact. In the small chance you are in a rear impact crash, your child is as safe as you would have been FF in a frontal impact crash. CPS Safety.

2. Chest clips belong on the chest. What does this mean? That means they are not supposed to be down by the lock but up by their arm pits or nipple level. Why is this? Because a chest clip is meant to break away in a car accident. It's what keeps the the belt positioned correctly. If the belt is too low it might not break away and could cause internal damage. Not to mention since the belt is now not positioned correctly, the baby could be ejected from the seat. Move that chest clip up!

3. No aftermarket additions. What does this mean? That cute bear cover that goes on the straps, not a good idea. The pretty zebra one? Not that one either. If it was not made by the car seat manufacturer to go with the car seat, you should not use it! It alters the fit and/or can compress in an accident which could void the warranty and cause the car seat to not work properly. After all, that's what we want right? To have the car seat work properly. If there is issues with the straps rubbing on the baby, it is safe to take baby socks, cut off the toes, and slide those over the straps. They are super thin and have no padding to them to alter the fit in any way.

4. Harness straps need to fit snugly.  What does this mean? There should be no slack in the straps whatsoever. Try doing the pinch test. If you can pinch any of the straps up, then it needs to be tighter.

The one on the left is correct, the one on the right needs tightened

5. No bulky clothing. What does this mean? This means a child should not be using bulky jackets or blankets, or any type of bunting in a car seat. I understand you want your children warm, we all do. But if you child is wearing any type of bulky jacket you will have to loosen the straps. You may be able to do the pinch test afterwards and it may be snug, but in the case of an accident the compression could be so much that the child could fly free from the straps. Try using a really thin jacket or laying the bulky jacket/blankets on top of the car seat after child is properly restrained.

There are so many other things out there to watch for that i'm not even touching on but like I said, i'm addressing all of those random Facebook pictures that pop up through my newsfeed every day. If you are one of these people, i'm not judging you! I'm just trying to educate you on something you may not know, just like I didn't know. There are people out there that are misinformed that shouldn't be. I tried to share some info with a mom who had turned her less then 1 year old FF because his feet were touching the seat. The mother was adamant that it was OK because a firefighter told her it was. I know he's a firefighter and should know, but they're not always trained in car seat safety. They may not know! You are the parent and it is your job to educate yourself for your child's safety. It's one of those things that I thought I knew so I never thought twice about. There's nothing wrong with not knowing. It's when you do know and you still make bad decisions where it's a problem. Our children's safety should be our #1 priority. Not convenience. We always think it could never happen to use, but every day it happens to thousands. Don't be a statistic. Here's some more great websites to check out for more information:

Is rear facing safe when you're rear ended?

11 DEADLY mistakes you didn't know you were making!

Car Safety Basics


Apple Pie Filling

Recently I discovered how to can Apple Butter and how easy it really is. It did take a little trial and error but I will talk about that more on the Apple Butter post. However the canning portion of it was really easy. The other day I saw a recipe for Apple Pie Filling and thought that that would be something neat to make as well. My ultimate goal is to make some baskets of things for Christmas gifts that would include Apple Butter and now Apple Pie Filling.

Tacoma Boys down the road had Fuji Apples on sale for $.60lb! So I went in yesterday and picked up 22 lbs worth of apples. I should have taken a pic of them but since I hadn't planned on blogging about it, I didn't :/ I wasn't looking forward to slicing all of those apples with my little apple corer/cutter (I have a version of this: Apple Corer and Divider) as I still needed to be able to peel and that was going to take forever! Not to mention, that apple cutter REALLY doen't work all that well. I don't know if you've ever used one before but you shove it down to the counter but then have to flip it over and shove the pieces through to get it to cut the rest of the way. I usually end up cutting my fingers in the process. And it takes FOREVER.

I asked around on my JBLM Natural Mamas group on fb (I <3 these ladies) and a great gal (I feel old using that word but it seems to flow well) offered to have me come over and use her peeler and she'd help me out with it (a version of her awesome peeler: Back to Basics Apple and Potato Peeler). So I hung out and sliced apples over at her house while Gideon occupied himself playing with her kids' toys. Let me tell you something. That peeler is SO EASY to use! I will have to be getting myself one next year! She did tell me that she's heard the Pampered Chef one works even better though, so I will probably look into getting that one and spending the extra couple of bucks for it.

I went home with probably 5 gallon ziploc bags full of sliced apples! Yay! I threw the first bit in for apple butter and then started in on the pie filling.

By the way, I debated a lot on how I was going to do the pie filling because a lot of recipes called for cornstarch as the thickener however I also read that the USDA only recommends clear jel/ultra jel to be used as a thickener. I looked all over and couldn't find any so after some debate with Christina (she's the lady who let me use her apple slicer) I decided I would just go ahead and use cornstarch after all. It seems to be a popular thickener and obviously people aren't using clear jel often if it's so difficult to find. 

I also had a jar issue as I didn't want to spend a fortune on jars. Lowes has their canning supplies on sale for half off but of course our store is completely out. Actually he told me all of the stores in the area are out. I tried getting Walmart to price match but they were out of the Ball brand and wouldn't do it with the Kerr brand. By the time I figured all this out though I was out of quart jars and didn't have time or the desire to drive back to Walmart to buy their Kerr jars... So I just ended up using the 1 pint jars that I had on hand and i'll give away two at a time to people... Of course i've now run out of those too and still have apples left so I will be going to the store tomorrow to pick some more up.

So here's the recipes I was looking at Crunchy Meets Diva and Our Best Bites. For the most part I used the first recipe but I did end up using some apple juice in it as well as water. I also combined my spices and used the Cinnamon Blend from Pampered Chef that I had. I actually bought it awhile back at a random party I had gone to in Korea and didn't know if I would really use it much but now I use it in my Pumpkin Bread Recipe and now all of my Apple recipes. I will definitely be buying some more though 'cause i'm almost out!

I started my water so that my jars were nice and warm and mixed all of the dry ingredients, water and juice in another pan for the sauce.

I opted to cold pack (I think this is what it's called) my apples in the jar instead of mixing them into the sauce then adding them in the jar. If you look at the two recipes above, one was done one way, one was done another. I did however blanch about half of the apples just to see if I could tell the difference. When I started putting the apples in the jars, the blanched ones were a lot easier to stuff in there compared to the fresh cut ones. I stirred the sauce till it was thick and poured it into the jars (1 in headspace) tapped them, stuck a plastic stick in and rubbed it around, then put the lid on. I screwed the band on fingertip tightness then put them in a water bath canner for 20 min.

Me sneaking an apple

Water should not be boiling when you put jars in

Boil for 20 min with lid on

If you don't have one of these picker upper things, they're awesome. Get one

Pulled them out after 20 minutes then let them sit on the counter till they popped. It took a little bit but they should all be popped within an hour. 

Remember when I mentioned I blanched half the apples and put the other half in raw? Well I could tell a difference in the end. There was more apples in the jars that I blanched first and more juice in the jars that I put in raw apples. In the future, I will be blanching the apples cause you don't want too much juice.

This was the blanched apples - more apples

This was the raw apples - more juice


4 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon P.C. Cinnamon Blend
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • juice from 1 lemon sliced
  • 6 pounds apples

1. In a lg pan mix sugar, cornstarch, spices, water and juice. Bring to a boil and cook until nice an bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
2. Sterilize jars, lids and rings and make sure they're warm when adding ingredients.
3. Peel, core and slice apples if you have not already done so.
4. Place apples in pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain into collander and leave sitting until ready to use.
5. Pack apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1 in. headspace.
6. Fill jars with juice and gently remove all air bubbles.
7. Place lids on jars and process in water bath canner for 20 minutes.
8. Remove and wait for pop!

If you're new to canning or making pie filling, good luck! Please share if you make them for gifts. I would love to see pics if you have them too!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've been gone... again...

It's been awhile since i've written a post on here... I keep meaning too but it just doesn't happen. It's not like i'm busy. I'm really not. My life is actually pretty boring with random nights of business in them.

Randomness has happened since the last time I wrote... Hubby deployed was one thing. I had planned on writing all of these neat posts and taking pictures of all these care packages that I made. So far, nothing. I mean, I've sent them. They haven't been as awesome as I wanted them to be, but I did send them. But no pictures, no posts... I'm a slacker, i'll admit it. Actually most of it is probably due to the fact that i'm a procrastinator. I try really hard not to be, and i'm trying to work on it. But sometimes it gets the best of me.

Holidays have happened... Well, they haven't actually occurred yet but the prepping for them has. Halloween is right around the corner which means trips to the pumpkin patch (so far two!) and Halloween wreaths and decorations. I need to write a posts on the pumpkin patch and my Halloween wreath. I actually think it's pretty bad ass.

I need to try and take a better pic but here's a quick one

I was robbed... Well, not my physical self but my car was broken into :/ Luckily it wasn't actually damaged. Sometimes the car door doesn't always lock and it can be opened easily. I have started manually locking that door now though so it's not a problem. I should have started when I realized it did it, but i'm naive and trusting and didn't think it would happen to me... My purse was stolen which had my ID cards, credit cards, and camera in it :( It's a pain in the butt to replace all the cards and such but because of renters insurance I was able to get my camera replaced. I now have a much better one which is exciting. I already took a lot of pics but have now been going overboard. I've been trying to practice using manual settings but have settled with using the (P) setting so i'm working on going completely manual. I alternate between that and auto or scene.

Gideon started school again! So exciting. He is such a cutie, and I love him so!

Gideon's first day

And now here I am. Eating apple crisp that I made. And deciding I need to actually use some of my time playing at the computer and write a post. I think I will get better and start writing more again. It's somewhat therapeutic to write my thoughts down. But in the meantime, I think i'm going to go read some more of my book...