Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday!

I am excited to be joining Wordless Wednesday hosted by Momma T and Baby E.

My little ladies were posing (alright I posed them!) in their daddy's sunglasses.


Abigail with her wild hair, and Brittany with her unexplained rosy cheeks.

Dinner Is Served - Chicken Divan

Let me start by giving a great big thank you and shout out to the Casserole Queen! That is actually her picture of Citrus Chicken Divan (I forgot to take a picture of mine!). This is also a recipe that she posted on her blog. I had to do a little changing around because I was working out of my pantry. 

Here is the recipe for Citrus Chicken Divan from the Casserole Queen (with my changes).

  • 2.5lb bag of Frozen Chicken Tenderloins (I used two 12.5oz cans of fully cooked chicken breast)
  • 3 Cups of Chicken Stock (Didn't use because of my rice)
  • 3 Cups of Water (Used 2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 Cups of Brown Rice (Used 2 boxes of Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice, left out the seasoning packs, and prepared as directed on box)
  • 3lbs 8oz of Frozen Broccoli Florets (Birds Eye makes a HUGE bag, I use about half the bag) (I used a 16oz bag of cut broccoli)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Black Pepper
  • 3 cups of Cream of Chicken Soup (26oz can) (I used 2 10 3/4 oz cans)
  • 1 cup of Mayonnaise (I used Miracle Whip, I know, I'm horrible!)
  • 4 Lemons-zest and juice (I didn't have any lemons!!)
  • 8 cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese (I only used 4 cups because that is what was on hand)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Place a large pot with 3 cups of Water and 3 cups of Chicken Stock onto the stovetop on high.  When the liquid comes to a boil, add the Brown Rice, turn heat to medium, and cover.  Stir every 5 minutes for 30-45 minutes, until tender and add to an oversized mixing bowl.
Place chicken tenderloins into a 13×9 pan, sprinkle with salt, and place into the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until baked.  Break up into bite size pieces, then place into the bowl with Rice and Broccoli.
Add the Black Pepper, Cream of Chicken Soup, Mayonnaise and 4 cups of Cheddar Cheese to the oversized bowl.  Next, zest your Lemons.  Zesting a Lemon involves grating the outer layer of skin.  If you don’t have a zester, use the smallest grating level on a cheese grater.  Once you see the white layer of the skin, don’t zest anymore from that area.  You just want the outermost yellow layer.  Add the zest and juice of the 4 Lemons to the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients together until they are well incorporated.  Transfer into a 13×9 casserole dish.
Top with remaining 4 cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese.  Chop some fresh parsley and sprinkle over cheese (optional).
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, then switch to broil for 5 minutes to brown and crisp the cheese.
Sounds amazing right!! Let me tell you, even with all my changes it was great! I cannot imagine how good it would be exactly as it is written. And I will say, use all 8 cups of cheese! I only had 4 on hand and I wish I had the full 8. It would have been a lot better. My children loved it so much and it did not take long to whip up at all. I will most definitely be making it again very soon. 
Be sure to go check out the Casserole Queen blog. She posts a new recipe every week along with a great story to go along with her recipes. She just recently posted Game Day Goat Cheese Spread for that big game we're all waiting for. It sounds yummy and very easy. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pinterest Monday - Wolves

Pinterest Monday From Musings From A Stay At Home Mom

From the time I was little I have had a love of wolves. They are so beautiful. Maybe I could blame my love of wolves on Jean Craighead George's Julie Trilogy. Or perhaps on Jack London with The Call of the Wild (yes I realize Buck is a dog, but he is called to by the wolves) and White Fang. Either way, I just love everything about wolves. They are beautiful, majestic, and fierce. They are also in trouble because they are no longer on the Endangered Species list. So today for my Pinterest Monday topic I am choosing to share some pictures of wolves. Hope you enjoy!!

I'll start you out with something sweet. 

Source: warchild13.com via Yume on Pinterest

Don't you just want to cuddle him!!!

Source: art.com via Donna on Pinterest

Source: weheartit.com via Kirk on Pinterest

Source: tumblr.com via Jaime on Pinterest

Source: pixdaus.com via Jenn on Pinterest

See you all next Monday for my next topic.......that I actually haven't picked yet.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

BrytonPick Review

First a little information:

Did you know: ADA statistics show only 12% of the population flosses regularly, mainly because floss is not convenient or easy to use. With today's busy lifestyle there is rarely time or a proper place to floss after meals.

BrytonPick is stylish, convenient and discreet, making it more socially acceptable than typical products. It is designed to be used daily, when on the go, to remove food debris and plaque from between teeth after meals and snacks.

BrytonPick is made in the USA from completely recyclable materials. An additional environmental benefit is that BrytonPick is reusable up to 30 days (because of it's germ-resistant stainless steel cleaning strips), thereby reducing the waste stream.

My opinions:

As a mother of five I am very guilty of not flossing. It is one of those little things that gets over looked in my busy days. When I got the opportunity to review BrytonPick I was very excited. I love finding ways to take shortcuts but still get things done.

I received two BrytonPicks, both in their own reusable credit card size carry-pouches that can fit easily in a purse or wallet. I was unsure at first because of the stainless steel. I think that will probably me a worry in some peoples' minds. I tried it just as I was instructed. After eating a meal I stood in front of a mirror. I gently slid the BrytonPick between my teeth while avoiding contact with my lips.

It worked great! It did not hurt at all and it worked to get the food out from between my teeth. My gums bled a little but that is because that is what my gums do. I was able to clean between my teeth in a relatively short amount of time and without the struggle of floss.

I would recommend this BrytonPick to a multitude of people. Busy moms, business men and women on the go, or just any person who does not like the hassle of using floss all the time. This is a quick and simply way to floss on the go. I loved it!

You can learn more about using BrytonPick and purchase one for yourself at their website.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Allergy Appointment and Answers

We recently took Robbie to an allergy appointment. We were trying out a new allergist and trying to get some answers about his eczema. I am so happy that we went. This doctor was amazing, and by the time I left I felt that I had a much better understanding of Robbie's condition.

Around a year ago we took Robbie in for allergy tests and he only tested positive for eggs. Truthfully, I was excited about this because it was only one allergy. After Riley's list of multiple allergies I was glad to only have one to deal with for Robbie. We immediately started removing eggs from his diet. That is what we were told to do, so we did it blindly. I didn't research it or question it. I didn't seek a second opinion. I thought, it's just an allergy, he is the doctor he should know. I am sure that in many situations this advice would have worked but with Robbie this was not the case. His eczema continued to be a huge problem.

Our new allergist seemed pretty alarmed at Robbie's eczema. He says it is at a moderate to severe stage and he decided to re-test his allergies. This time Robbie tested positive for ragweed, cats, dust, and eggs. The doctor says that his allergies are progressing very quickly and he could very well end up needing allergy shots for them. He also informed me that children with eczema are 75% more likely to develop a food allergy, and they are 50% more likely to develop asthma. We discussed his snoring and that he sometimes has a cough at night. The doctor says if he coughs during the night we need to use the nebulizer on him.

We also discussed Robbie's current treatment. We use Zyrtec daily, a steroid cream for his bad outbreaks, lotion every where else, we don't bathe him daily, and no eggs in his diet. To start off the doctor upped Robbie's Zyrtec dose, and told us to give it to him at night. Then we discussed the steroid cream. Apparently sometimes a cream will start off helping but after some time it will begin to cause a rash. So we got three new creams. Two are the same kind just different strengths to be used on his eczema depending on what stage it is in. Then a third cream to use on any small itchy places, like the little splotches on his back. We are to continue the lotion everywhere. And we do all of this everyday after his bath. We are to use the "soak and seal" method. He soaks in water for 10 minutes every day. Then we pat him dry and put all the medicine and lotion on him to help seal in the water. He loves it so far. We also have to get a special pillow cover for his pillow to keep the dust away from him. And he can eat eggs! The doctor wants us to start giving him eggs again. If we see that it is breaking him out worse, then we stop for a little while. Then we go back to eggs. We will be trying to teach his body to accept eggs. Since he doesn't start swelling or having breathing problems this is a safe method for him. We hope that we will outgrow the allergy.

I learned so much at this appointment. I would say I was overwhelmed but this doctor explained things so well. He gave me information, pamphlets, and he didn't talk to me in "doctor speak". When we were done I didn't feel stupid. I now understand eczema a little better. I could never understand why Riley and Robbie continued to itch even after they were bleeding. It was so horrible to see and we bandaged them up all the time. The reason they don't stop is because the itch from eczema is worse than the pain from them digging at their skin. It is like a horrible itch under the skin that they just have to get to. 

I learned that their have been new studies that show that introducing allergens early can actually help children. Babies need to go outside and be around pollen as much as possible and at a really young age. If the body gets used to the pollen then it doesn't feel "threatened" by it later in life. The same goes for things like eggs and peanut butter. I am supposed to start giving the twins these things now. The doctor says we have a very allergic family and we need to try and help the twins not suffer with these allergies if we can. 

Riley will be going on a visit to our new allergist soon. I am worried how her tests will go, and I am worried about what he will say about if she has asthma or not. The ER trips every time she gets a cold may be an indication that she does. We have gone ahead and started the "soak and seal" method with her for her eczema.

Also, after only a few days of this new routine with Robbie, his skin is already improving. He is itching less and the sores are healing. I am very optimistic about this. I hope when we go back in a month he will be much improved. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Material Girl

As Madonna put it "We are living in a material world" and Ashlynn is a material girl. At five years old I did not expect to see a diva when I looked at my daughter. I suppose in some ways I brought this on myself. She was my firstborn. I lavished her in clothes, although we never shopped designer. Wal-mart enjoyed my shopping trips, though. Her first Christmas she had probably three dresses just for the holidays. Easter was the same. She had so many outfits and little shoes. I don't think she even wore half of it before she outgrew it. Some things never even had the tags removed.

Now she is wearing skinny jeans, leggings, those tunic tops, and suede boots. She never wears her tennis shoes any more. She has to have her calf length suede boots on. It is crazy. Lately she says she needs new boots. Apparently there is a new boot fashion out there. One that I am not yet privy to. She absolutely has to have these boots. She needs to have all the latest trends.

I was (and still am) a jeans and t-shirt person. I never had the latest fashions and I never worried about it. I guess I never expected to have such a materialistic child. Where will this go in the future? In a world where our children see is how the famous dress their children, I have a feeling things could get worse. I love my material girl, and I don't mind her looking nice, especially her school clothes. I just hope that she is okay with being fashionable on a budget. With four siblings, she might not have a choice.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinterest Monday

Pinterest Monday From Musings From A Stay At Home Mom

I am joining the Pinterest Monday Blog Hop hosted by Musings From a Stay at Home Mom. Since today is National Reading Day I am going to pin some new books I found on Pinterest that I would like to read.

Source: amazon.com via IsaK on Pinterest

Source: amazon.com via Pete on Pinterest

Source: amazon.com via Michelle on Pinterest

Source: amazon.com via Carrie on Pinterest

These are just a few of the great books I saw on Pinterest today. Grab a good book and read!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gluten, Peanut and Egg Free Life

Like so many people my children suffer from allergies. Ashlynn seems to have been very lucky, and, except for a strange incident of hives after some apple cinnamon oatmeal, she only has typical seasonal allergies. The twins have unknown allergy issues. I hope they don't have any. Riley and Robbie are not so lucky.

When Riley was around a year old she got into one of Ashlynn's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She didn't even eat any, she just rubbed it on her face. We wiped her down quickly but didn't think much else about it. Suddenly though, her face started to swell up. We had to rush her to the hospital. We were lucky and the swelling went down on it's own. Our pediatrician sent us to an allergist and we learned that Riley is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, cats, and dogs. We now carry an epi-pen for her and they do not expect her allergies to improve. For this reason we are a mostly peanut butter free home. Wheat leads to horrible eczema on Riley. So we started trying to limit wheat for Riley.

Then here comes Robbie and from the start he suffered from eczema. No matter what we did he always had it. So, once again we went to the allergist. The news for him was not quite so bad. He has an egg allergy. The allergist said no eggs and his eczema should improve. Here's the problem with that. We try to give him absolutely no eggs, and he still has horrible eczema. It is so much worse than Riley's has ever been.

Well after all that lovely back story, on to the main point of my post. I have started researching ways to help with these allergies. My sister-in-law also suffers from allergy problems and she told me that I should try gluten free items to see if that helps Riley's eczema. So I did some online searches and I learned that gluten is one of four proteins in wheat that can cause allergies. The bad thing is that wheat and gluten seem to be everywhere. I plan to buy gluten-free flour and we'll be making our own bread at home from now on. As well as cakes, cookies, and anything else that will require flour. I also plan to start replacing eggs in my recipes. Thanks to some fellow moms and Pinterest I found a link to a page on PETA that helps you find replacements for baking, called The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet. I am not a practicing vegan but the tips there were very helpful in finding replacements for eggs based on what the eggs were being used for.

Along with all of this information, my mom happened to find a few cookbooks to help us along in our ventures into gluten-peanut-egg free lives. The first one is the Allergy-Free Cookbook.
I am really excited about this book, it starts out with an introduction to different types of food allergies and items to have so you can cook allergy free. The recipes each have a little symbol that tells you if the recipes is gluten-free, dairy-free, has no nuts, or has no eggs. I cannot wait to start cooking from this cookbook. She found me another one called Gluten-Free 3 Books in 1. It is huge book full of gluten-free main dishes, desserts, and breads. I have a feeling that I will be very busy making our family gluten-free. My first adventure: Make a gluten-free cake! The twins' birthday is in February and Robbie's is in March. I need to find a recipe that tastes good now, so that I can make their cakes gluten and egg free this year. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

I haven't posted in a very long time. Life has been pretty wild and finding a schedule that works for me and all the kids isn't always easy. Now the holidays are over and I am hoping to start finding more time to blog (nap time is my friend).

Abigail and Brittany will be turning one in about three weeks! I cannot believe how quickly they are growing. They both stand up and surf all the time. I love watching them talk and play together. I have no idea what they are saying but I can tell that they are definitely having a conversation. They also fight with each other over toys. It doesn't matter that we have been getting two of everything, they still take each others' toys and then cry about it. The only issue we have been having is with eating. They do not seem to want to move up from 2nd foods. They make bad faces and gag on the 3rd foods. I hope this changes soon. I've weaned all of my babies off bottles by the time they were one. It doesn't look like that will be the case with the twins.

Abigail and Brittany sleeping. This is one of my favorite pictures.

Robert is a busy little guy. He's finally decided that he wants to work on talking. His new favorite words are "mine" and "no". He also says his own name now and when we count to three for someone to stop being naughty, he counts with us. He is a very musical little guy. He is constantly drumming on everything, dancing, singing in his own little language. He does the funniest little beat boxing thing that always makes me laugh, and he tries to do some weird break dancing thing where he bends over with his head on the ground and walks around in circles. It won't be long and he will be my two year old little man. He isn't my baby any more and he doesn't let me cuddle him nearly as often. It makes me sad and happy at the same time. 

Robbie at Christmas this year.

Riley is by far my most aggravating and most entertaining little monster. She has turned into such a little diva and she is such a smarty pants about everything. At least once a day she says something that just cracks me up. I am never sure what to expect from her next. She is so incredibly smart and picks up on everything all the time. She has finally potty trained and I am so proud of her! We didn't have to bribe her or anything. She wanted to wear big girl panties, so she did. That was it, a few accidents, and then completely potty trained. Her biggest goal right now is school. She'll get to start next year and she cannot wait. All I ever hear about is going to school with her big sister. I can only imagine the calls home I will get about this little girl. I just know she is going to go to school and beat someone up.

Ashlynn is doing so amazing in school. They have a smiley face system and she has been doing so great, bringing home green smiley faces almost everyday, only a yellow once in a while. She can read so much and points out words and spells them to me all the time. What makes that better is that she loves to read! I cannot wait to get her some new chapter books that we can read together. I know she's only five, but I'll help her along. She loves math, too, which is something she shares with her daddy. They fire addition problems at each other all the time. She's pretty good at it. She loves to dance, and sing, and make up new songs all the time. I want to hopefully get her into to girl scouts this coming year, and maybe karate if we can. She really wants to do karate.

Ashlynn and Riley at Christmas.

As for me and Stuart, well things have been going goodish. We have had some hurdles this past year and we have made them through with just a few scratches, I think. We have a few more coming but we'll get things figured out. We'll be moving soon, although we haven't completely decided if we'll be staying in South Carolina or moving to Missouri. I think in the end we will do what is best for us and hopefully everything will turn out okay. Stuart is a store manager now, while I still stay at home with all of our monsters. I have started a book review blog though. I may not be able to write a book but I can sure read them and tell other people what I think.

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