Monday, June 30, 2008

Do you tell your children when you're grouchy?


Everything seemed to irritate me tonight. Bryan was playing volleyball and my usually cheerful Kalen was whining about everything. The house cleaner was sick, so the dishes weren't done and laundry was stacked up in the hall. But I boldly pressed on and tried to create a new recipe for myself--which failed and looked horrible. By now, I'm really annoyed and I'm ready for Kalen to go to bed. I change her diaper and she kicks me in my recently operated on nose! Ouch! Now, I was ready to put her in bed with her clothes on an hour early and let her cry herself to sleep. But wonderful mom that I am, I let her stay up and I played with her and read with her.

Here's my question. What do you do when nothing will go right and you have no backup to give you a 10-minute-attitude-adjusting break? Do you tell your child that you are grouchy? Do you try to hide it?

I'm torn on this one. Our children aren't responsible for our feelings, but they do need to know that even adults get grumpy....

Time-saving tips for keeping house

Not many people love to clean house. This blog post suggests ways to save time and reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do. My favorite tip? Hire someone. Oh wait, I've already done that and now she's leaving. Tonight, I had my two-year-old daughter help me pick up a room. And she helped me clean the bathtub. Maybe I'll teach her to love cleaning house.What time-saving tips do you have?

read more | digg story

Less blue — more green (Translation: Less water - more money in your pocket)

Use less water and save money. This article lists great resources for learning how to use less water while still enjoying getting wet in the hot summer months. Virginia residents will find great tips at www.hrwet.org. All others, visit www.wateruseitwisely.com.

read more | digg story

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miracle Blanket GiveAway and Coupon Code, Discount

Thank you to everyone who has entered the Miracle Blanket giveaway. Because of my surgery, I didn't post all the details, so here they are:

  1. To enter, post a comment to this post or the previous Miracle Blanket post saying why you need/want one.
  2. On July 5th, I'll choose a winner.
If you can't wait to find out if you are a winner, or if you want to purchase a Miracle Blanket at a 10% discount, email rusty@spot4tots.com and mention this blog. If you are ordering multiple blankets, you can get even greater discounts at the Miracle Blanket site. UPDATE: So many of you are mentioning my blog, they have given me my own discount! YEAH! When you checkout, use the discount code HOLLY. You'll get a 10% discount and free shipping.

Happy sleeping to everyone!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips - dairy, soy, and gluten free


Enjoy Life chocolate chips are great! I can eat them. They taste just and melt in your mouth just like regular chocolate because they are chocolate. They only have three ingredients: Evaporated Cane Juice, chocolate liquor, and non-dairy cocoa butter.

These chips are actually mini-chocolate chips, but a handful of mini-chips is pretty much the same as a handful of regular sized chips. Yeah!

And, Bryan said that they taste just like regular chips. He wouldn't know the difference it I didn't tell him. I don't always trust my taste buds these days. I've been deprived of normal food for too long. But Bryan's sense of taste is trustworthy.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Help! I'm Losing My House Cleaner

My sister lives with us and cleans our house. She does dishes, laundry, washes floors, cleans the bathroom, etc. But she's moving out in a couple weeks and I'm freaking out! I'm remembering back to the dark days when Kalen was little, I was breast-feeding, I was cleaning the house, and I never had a moment for myself. Is it going to be like that, again? Yikes!

Well, I've learned a lot since those first days as a new mom.

  1. It's important to ask for help. That means, tell your spouse when you need him to iron clothes and do the dishes.
  2. Just because you're the mom, that doesn't mean you are responsible for everything. Your child and your spouse are responsible for the state of the house, also.
  3. Things don't need to be perfect. My bedroom hasn't been clean in about two-years. I figure that that's the place people are least likely to see, so it is the least important to keep clean. (I am re-evaluating this philosophy.)
So, all you working moms and stay-at-home-moms---how do you manage to keep a clean house (by that I simply mean not filthy) and have time for yourself and your family?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reduce Night Wetting in Toddler

OK, this is one of those things that makes me say, "Why did it take me so long to think of this?"
When my daughter started attending a daycare center, she would come home very, very thirsty. So, I made sure she had all the liquid she wanted at home. But then, she started wetting her diaper every night and waking herself up. I asked them to give her more liquid at daycare, and they did, but she was still so thirsty when she got home. Obviously, I wanted to give my daughter all the liquid she needed.

But two days ago I had an idea. Why not give her only water after dinner? She loves milk and juice and would probably drink it even if she wasn't thirsty. So I tried out my theory. Sure enough, she drank less after dinner and we didn't have to change her diaper in the middle of the night.


Squash Puppies - allergy-free recipe

I have a philosophy that instead of trying to remake my favorite foods into allergen-free foods that just don't taste quite right, I should find recipes I've never tried before. Tonight, I modified several recipes for Yellow Squash Patties to create Squash Puppies. These were tasted and enjoyed by my sister, Kalen, my dog Franklin, and myself.

Squash Puppies

2 1/2 cups yellow squash, grated
2 teaspoons onion, grated
3/4 cup liquid (I used goat milk)
2 cups buckwheat flour
3/4 cup millet flour
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (corn-free)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add squash, onions, and milk. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
2. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, drop mixture in oil 1-2 tablespoons at a time. The mixture should hold it's shape, but be a little less thick than a biscuit. When the bottom is brown, flip the puppy over. Once both sides are brown and crispy remove from oil and put on paper towels to cool.

Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

This recipe is dairy-free, wheat-free, corn-free, egg-free, yeast-free, and soy-free.

The Top Five Things Employers Can Do To Keep Employee-Moms Happy

I completely agree with this post. If I found a job that let me work from home, wasn't picky about the time clock, had an on-site daycare, and gave paid maternity leave to moms and dads...I don't think I would ever leave!And, if it weren't for my food allergies, I would add item number six: free cappucino and lattes.What would it take for your employer to keep you forever?

read more | digg story

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dairy-free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free Chocolate Chips

I really miss chocolate chips. I make my own chocolate concoction from goat milk, 100% Ghiradelli Chocolate Bars, and sugar. But, it's just not the same.

But I found these two places to order dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free chocolate chips.

Enjoy Life
Soy Free Sales

Have you tried either of these? If so, let me know. I'm going to order some for myself and I'll let you know what I think.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vegan Chip Cookie Recipe: Egg-free, Dairy-free, Wheat-free, Soy-free, Corn-Free

Right now I have a batch of these cookies in the oven. I'm hoping for the best. I had to substitute Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour because I was out of rice flour. I'm sure this will change the taste and texture slightly.

VEGAN CHIP COOKIES
(from The Kid-Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook)
Makes 30
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
2 1/2 cups rice flour (although I used a bean flour mix)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder (I used Hain's Featherweight because it doesn't contain cornstarch)
2 cups dried fruit, chocolate chips, carob chips, raisins, or dates (I used1 1/2 cups dried cranberries and 1/2 cup dried pineapple)

1. In a mixer, cream together the applesauce and the sugars. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Stir in the chocolate chips or dried fruit.

2. Drop 2-inch mounds onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 8 minutes or until firm. Cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in a covered container.


THE RESULTS
I really like the texture of these cookies. They are light and cake-like. They actually look like a cookie, too! They rise well and don't turn into a flat pancake. I definitely want to try these again with rice flour. I think that will give the batter a blander flavor so the flavor of the fruit will come through. I like my cookies sweeter, so I dipped these in honey. When I make them again, I will add more sugar and use sweeter fruit. But, these are definitely the best baked dessert I've cooked since I started my new diet with the closest texture to the real thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Take Control of Your Medical Treatment: It could save you 24-hours of puking

Hello! I'm back after a horrid week recovering from surgery. As you may know, the pain medication Endocet (a relative of Percocet), makes me hallucinate and have crazy dreams.

I have a history of weird medicine reactions, so before my last surgery, I prepared a detailed list of all the drugs I remember taking and what their effects on me were. This required contacting doctors that I haven't seen in eight years, but it was worth it. I gave this list to the hospital a week before my operation. I also spoke directly to the anesthesiologist before he gave me the drugs. Because I told him how I generally vomit for 24 hours after the surgery, he gave me three separate anti-nausea medications in my IV.

Unfortunately, for me, I forgot to gather the drug information from my C-section. If I had done this, I wouldn't have been given Endocet and could have been spared a great of mental anguish.
But, on the positive side, my husband said I did the best with anesthesia that I've ever done. So, having a prepared medical history is important and helpful.

I hope you can experience healthier recoveries by using this technique. Take control of your health.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good Parents, Bad Results - Health - usnews.com

Researchers have spent decades studying what motivates children to behave and can now say exactly what discipline methods work and what don't.This is a great overview of parenting techniques and which ones work and why. It can be hard to be consistent with Kalen. Because, really, she can be so funny and cute! Like tonight. I was putting her to bed and I had my head on her stomach so she could hug me. She started filling her stomach with air and then blowing it out so my head would move up and down. Come on! That deserves a laugh! I guess that falls under the fostering creativity category that is considered equally important.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm Off the Crazy Pain Meds!

I called the doctor today. I've been waking myself up talking in my sleep, hearing voices (I thought Bryan and Kalen came home early today), and hearing music. The music was creepiest. The nurse told me to stop taking the meds immediately. Hopefully, I'll sleep better tonight and feel great tomorrow. She did say that occasionally people have weird reactions to anesthesia and pain meds and that I'm definitely one of those people who fall into the weird reactions category. I really hope this is my last surgery!!

Top 10 Reasons to Trade Your Clothes

Everyone wants to look good without breaking the bank and having cool clothes is a big part looking good! Check out these 10 reasons to clean your closet and revamp your look.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 16, 2008

Win a FREE Miracle Blanket to Swaddle Your Baby


I tried it, loved it, and now I have one for you, too! Enter to win your very own swaddling Miracle Blanket and the Miracle Sounds CD. See the video from the Miracle Blanket site.

To enter to win a Miracle Blanket, just comment on this post. Tell me why you need a Miracle Blanket--or why you love the one you have. Or, tell me what you like about the Holly Tried It blog. I will email the winner to arrange delivery.

Good luck! I look forward to hearing from you.

UPDATE: I now have my own coupon code! When you got to www.Spot4tots.com, enter the coupon code HOLLY to receive a 10% discount and FREE shipping.


Go Green: Keep the Cholesterol


Here's a creative way to go green. Make a purse out of your chip bags. Now, I wouldn't spend the time doing this, but I could see this as a project a pre-teen would spend hours on. And, now that I think about it, carrying a bag like this would give me a lot of status and credibility in my eco-green work world.

Strange Percocet Dreams

Last night I kept having strange dreams of talking to people who are already dead. And dreams that people were trying to kill me, or worse, I was trying to kill them. It was all rather demented, and I finally gave up on sleep and started Stumbling. It's just another way to waste time online--or, a fun way to find great content. For example, I found this fun blog of a writer's introspections based on overheard conservations. And I found a great-looking recipe for pototatoes.

But, now the sun is up, and I'm ready to get some sleep without waking up from a strange dream wondering where I am and if I'm in danger or not.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It was easier to sign than to talk after my operation

Since I started learning more about sign language, I've been curious about how it enables children with mental disabilities to communicate at a normal level. For example, down syndrome kids can communicate and even learn to read by age 3! Autistic children can use sign language to communicate.

Several days ago, I had surgery. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I had a very hard time getting people to understand my words. I would say something, (very clearly in my mind) and no one would understand. So I switched to sign language. Wow! It was so much easier! Bryan instantly knew what I needed and wanted.

So, I'm wondering, is there something similar to the brain-scrambling effects of anesthesia and communication difficulties in down syndrome and autistic kids?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Holly's Home and Doing Well

The surgery went fine and Holly's resting at home for a few days.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers...Bryan

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where Am I? Are My Tonsils in a Jar?

You may not be hearing from me for a week or so. I'm having sinus surgery bright and early in the morning. And, if you do hear from me right away, it will be very interesting reading. After my tonsillectomy, I thought the surgeon had put my tonsils in a jar for me to keep. I asked my husband over and over to see my tonsils. It took weeks for it to sink in that they hadn't saved my precious tonsils. Hopefully, I won't ask my husband if they preserved my polyps!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Two Year Old Believes She has a Baby in Her Stomach--Or Maybe a Turtle

Today, Kalen got to feel a pregnant woman's belly. We told her their was a baby boy inside. Of course, she found this very intriguing. She tried to look under the shirt (from the bottom and the top) to find the baby. When Kalen was going to sleep she told me her belly hurt and that she had a baby girl inside whose name was Hops (perhaps named after Hopkins from Signing Time?). Later, she thought perhaps it was a turtle in her belly, but I told her it definitely wasn't a turtle. So, she had me kiss her belly where the girl was and went to sleep.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Raising a Signing Baby: Kalen Chosen as Signing Time Star


Kalen recently turned two. She's been exposed to sign language since she was 5.5 months old. After reading my blog, Signing Time! contacted me to see if they could feature Kalen on their website. Of course, I said, sure. Creating the video of her signing progression reminded me over and over that my little baby has turned into a little girl.

Use Twitter in Emergencies or Disasters

This post describes a great way to contact your family and friends during an emergency. For example, a hurricane, a bridge collapse, a shooting, etc. Using Twitter notifies everyone of your status at once, and reduces the load on the cellphone network.

Great idea! If I could only get my family and friends to sign up for Twitter! If you want to "follow" me on Twitter, search for "HollyTriedIt" and add me to your list. Do this, and you'll always know if I'm safe and sound!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Calling All What Not To Wear Watchers: Rachel Coleman Needs Help Dressing for the Emmy's








Rachel Coleman, the star and co-creator of Signing Time!, is going to the Emmy's but she's having a hard time deciding what style of dress to wear. Her blog post brought out another one of my interests--What Not To Wear. So, I think Rachel should get a dress with an empire/high waist and a V or deep-scooped neck. It makes you focus more on her face. Like in the grey and yellow dresses. But--NO flowing, draping fabric, like in the white dresses. I think the sleeker look is more elegant. What do you think? Come on, I know you watch What Not to Wear, too!

And, yes, I'm wondering, too...is this post crossing the line from happy-with-the-product-fan to psycho-parent-fan?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Can My Baby Watch TV? What about Signing Time?

I am definitely a follow the American Academy of Pediatrics kind of parent. No crib bumpers or walkers for my Kalen! But, I did let her watch DVDs with us, even though the AAP recommends no TV until a child is two.

I really wanted Kalen to learn sign language, which is a visual language, so I bought several Baby Einstein signing DVDs. I decided they weren’t that good! They didn’t show the signs nearly enough for her to be able to catch on. I spent hours looking for a better alternative. I found Baby Signing Time! and what a difference that made! She learned so quickly, and so did we. It was amazing. But, I was very involved while watching the DVDs. We signed on each other’s bodies (I would sign CAT on her face, etc.) We danced together, and we talked with her about what she saw on the screen.

I must admit that I felt a little guilty doing it–who was I to abandon the AAP’s guidelines? Was I causing my daughter to be ADHD? But, my mom assured me that I had the intelligence to make up my own mind on Signing Time’s impact on my daughter. (Can you tell I was a nervous first-time mom?)

Anyway, we bought more DVDs and Kalen is doing amazing at 2. (She’ll be the June Signing Time Star, so keep an eye out for her.) She’s energetic, but definitely not ADHD. And she constantly amazes the adults around her with her abilities. So, thank you Signing Time, and thank you for reassuring us that quality programming with adult interaction isn’t going to ruin our children!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Internet & Blogging Safety Tips

A great list of does and don'ts for safe blogging.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sign Language Videos for Babies and Kids on YouTube

My daughter loves watching videos of other children signing. It keeps her entertained, shows her she's not the only signing baby out there, and teaches her new signs. To save money, I started searching YouTube for Signing Time clips and videos of other babies and kids showing their signing skills. I put my favorite clips into a playlist on YouTube. That way, I could just start the playlist and let it run. Feel free to use my playlist with your family.




What is Twitter? How do I Tweet?

Twitter is a combination of instant messaging and micro-blogging. The concept is simple. Just write an entry with 140 characters or less. The post is supposed to answer the question, "What am I doing?" but nobody is policing you. Write whatever you want.

So, what makes Twitter cool? You can write and receive messages on your cell phone, the web, or on a desktop application. And you can read all your friends' posts. So, if you load Twitter unto your cellphone, you could know instantly that your mom decided to go to art school or that your best friend just found the man of her dreams. Pretty cool. It's completely interactive, so all of your friends can find out about the dream guy at the same time and send "tweets" asking, "What color hair?" "You didn't blow it by doing something embarrassing, did you?" etc. So it's great for instantaneous connections throughout the day. Because, if you don't tell someone right now about the spunky squirrel you saw chasing a Great Dane, you might forget. Phew!! Twitter to the rescue.

It's easy to get started. Just go to www.twitter.com and set up an account. Search for some friends (I'll be your friend. Just search for HollyTriedIt.) and start tweeting. There are news feeds (Drudge Report and AP) and mom blogger feeds (Mom101 and the irreverent Dooce).

Have fun!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why I Love My Husband: He's Got Style

Too bad he doesn't dress like this everyday. At 6'6" he needs the additional two feet the platform shoes give him. He wore this to work to help attract more business....what?