Monday, July 23, 2012

The New Baby (and snack recipes)

My new granddaughter came for a visit on Sunday.  She is small and sweet.  We had fun together.  Of course, all of the aunts had to hold her.
Grandpa loves his newest granddaughter
 Oh, yeah, her brother, sister and mother came too ;-)   Brother and sister had their usual energy and played with the girls.  Mother had gotten three kiddos ready for church, attended church and gotten two kiddos to our house (one rode home from church with us), so her energy was fading.

I remember those days.  In addition to constant tiredness, I remember feeling frequent hunger.  I remember those early days of sitting down to feed the baby, realizing I was hungry and feeling like it was too late - I was already feeding the baby so I had to wait to grab something to eat.   Then I got a little smarter and tried to have snacks available to grab before I sat down to feed the baby!  Some of my favorite easy-to-grab snacks were (and still are) fruit, cheese sticks, cereal snacks and granola bars.  Those kind of snacks are also great for keeping busy toddlers happy while you tend to baby or other important matters.  I'll share two recipes that are great for easy snacking for any stage, but with my daugher-in-law and new moms in mind.

Quick Cinnamon Snack
1 14 oz box cinnamon swirl or cinnamon toast cereal
½ cup sliced almonds
½ bag semi sweet chocolate chips         
1 cup raisins
1/3 – ½ box Apple Cinnamon Cheerios or Toasted Oats
Mix together in a large bowl.  Store in an airtight container.  Put individual servings in snack cups or bags to carry in the diaper bag for a quick nutritious snack.  Easy and yummy for tired moms and cranky preschoolers!

This next recipe is more complex, but is full of healthy, filling ingredients.
Michele’s Granola Bars 
2 ½ cups oats                  ¾ cup mayo or butter
½ cup barley, ground (optional)   1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup flour                                  ½ cup sugar
¼ cup wheat germ                        1 egg
½ tsp baking soda                         1 tbsp water
6 oz mini chocolate chips            1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon       handful mini marshmallows

Mix together and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.   Cut into bars or squares.  Store in an airtight container.           

I recently read this article about creating a nursing basket that might be helpful.  The Keeper of the Home sight has lots of helpful information for new moms and not-so-new moms about babies, families, budgeting, meal-planning, etc..  You can search for things by topic if there is something you are struggling with or want to learn more about.

Enjoy your infant and hang in there, mom, you'll start feeling normal again before too long.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Guest Post: Heidi's Book

Things have been a little hectic around here.  

After a whirlwind visit from my youngest sister and her family we finally had to say good-bye.  I will miss her and her husband and those sweet little children who know me as "my cousins' mom."  

And I have a new granddaughter!   She finally made her entrance into the world.  While she and mommy are in the hospital, sister and brother are staying here.  

So I'm going to take a break today and let my friend Heidi tell her story.  I've know Heidi for many years and greatly admire her focus in her journey.  Read her story, check-out her blog and register for her give-away. 

When All You Need Is Family...

            We stood together, just the six of us.  On a day when we buried one, we huddled... holding and upholding.  When others said...we'll be there.  I said... no.  All I wanted, all I needed was my family.   I gathered them around me... my parents, my man, and my kids together.  It was enough.
            Family... that group of people who are defined by blood lines, and maybe more.  Sometimes those closest to our hearts do not share the same family tree.  We cannot choose our relations but we can choose to redefine the term family to include those who are closest to us.  Those we live life with... the ones to whom we cling when the storms of life roar and the winds threaten to overflow us.
            I am blessed with an amazing family.  As I grow older and slightly wiser, I have learned to count that amazing family as a gift.  I now recognize its rarity.  I also know that I have friends who are as close to me as my sisters.  I've learned to count them as family and as gifts.  They are equal but  different treasures to my heart.
            Recently, I wrote a novel about family and friendship, life and loss... The Secret of Counting Gifts and an accompanying journal, The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal.  Both volumes have been released and are now available through 
            The Secret of Counting Gifts is the story of  Kris McClintock and Liz Bower and their friendship that spans twenty-eight years.  Through marriage, babies, and infidelity they stand by each other and hold one another up... until breast cancer delivers the final blow.  As she sits by Liz, Kris recounts the trials and  blessings that made them who they are.  She tells their story and recalls the many "gifts" they have been blessed with throughout the years. She shares of how Liz taught her to notice the gifts in each day and to live with a grateful heart. It is through the telling of their story that the secret of counting gifts is discovered....
            Throughout this month, I'm on a virtual book tour, meeting up with bloggers and talking about friends and family, life and loss.  You can see the stops along the way at  Come on over and say "Hey!" and register for my giveaway... autographed copies of The Secret of Counting Gifts and The Secret of Counting Gifts Gratitude Journal in a hand-made basket, made my lovely friend, Anne.
            All those years ago, my family stood with me as we buried our stillborn son.  Who do you have stand with you when you face loss?  Do you have friends who are as close to you as family?
            ** Heidi Kreider is a wife, mother, author, and friend.  She blogs about life, grace, and gratitude at

Monday, July 9, 2012

Drawing the Line on Green

I've had something on my chest for a while that I want to get off.  I think we need to draw the line on being green.  Now, before you tune me out let me explain.  First, I recycle, garden, compost, reuse, try to reduce and I have never left the water running while I was brushing my teeth. But I recently found some information encouraging "green" actions that would be "less healthy."  Hmm.... is that how I want to live?

I dabble in nutrition study.  As a stay-at-home mom, I try to educate myself on the best nutrition for my family.  If I can reduce doctor visits and medication use, I feel that I am contributing to the family budget even without working and bringing in money.  I am saving money that can then be used on other things.

So here is the conundrum:  every nutrition book or article I have read has stated that we get the most vitamin benefit from cooking vegetables in the largest piece possible.  Cutting vegetables into very small pieces before cooking them depletes some of their vitamin content - it seeps out into the cooking water and I've read it cannot be used again.  (I'm still studying this one, not sure I totally understand it but apparently you can't just save the water for soup and get those vitamins - they're gone.)  Last week I read an article (in a health magazine, no less) about "being green" that suggested cooking vegetables in smaller pieces to reduce cooking time and thus reduce energy use.

So, what is a mother to do?

First, evaluate and decide who to listen to.  Seek God' guidance.  If the choices before you don't clearly fall into right or wrong, then give yourself the freedom to be flexible.

Second, decide what your priorities are.  For example, if you have several young children at home, you may wish to cut vegetables very small to save yourself time and sanity - hey, those things are important too!   

Third, don't believe everything you read! Don't be easily swayed by the latest fad.

Now, go eat your veggies - green and other colors too.