Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Nana's fudge

Growing up my nana used to send us massive care packages full of the most delicious treats - cookies, fudge, candied walnuts. I looked forward to these packages every year, and now as a parent to my own brood I've been wanting more and more to pass on recipes to MY kids. This year has really made me realize that I am going to really be the Matriarch of my family. I'm not close to my sisters, except one. I haven't talked to or seen my brother in years, unfortunately. We can't afford to see our family in California, or our parents very often and they can't afford to come visit us. This was one of my main reasons for wanting a large family. I knew that my kids were only, really, going to have each other when they grew up. They aren't going to be close to their cousins (except perhaps Deanna's kids), if they know their cousins at all, and I really want them to have a strong sense of family. So for the past few months I've really concentrated on establishing traditions to pass down to them, that they can pass down to their own kids. My Nana's recipes were some of the things I wanted to pass down to them.

My dads ex wife has been so kind to send me some of her recipes and I've been trying them out over the past few weeks. The sugar cookies turned out okay, but the pregnancy does not let me enjoy them because they use a lot of lard and this baby does not like the taste or smell of it. I haven't tried the candied walnuts yet but I will attempt them in the next few days! Today I tried my hand at fudge.

My Nana's fudge is not the ooey gooey kind people think when they think fudge. It's not marshmellowy or any of that nonsense. Thats not "real" fudge in my opinion, thats a new type of fudge that is more like a gooey brownie than a candy. My Nana's fudge is old fashioned, sugary, crumbly, and absolutely heavenly. I should admit that my Nana got her recipe from the old Hershey can, so technically it's Hersheys fudge, but it will always be my Nana's fudge to me.

I attempted making this about 10 years ago with my sister Jenny (and I think my brother was present too). It turned out awful. Of course we didn't follow directions very well, or use a candy thermometer, but it made me absolutely terrified to attempt to make it. I don't take failure well, especially in the kitchen.

I'm not an expert cook or baker, but I do like to think I know a little about both. Baking and bread making are definitely a passion of mine, and I've been wanting to try my hand at candy making but I've been too afraid. I think I have found some confidence in it! I expect I'll be making a few tutorials about different candy goodies!

So now on to what you really care about - the tutorial.


  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • You'll want to line an 8 or 9 inch pan with foil, and then rub it down with softened butter. This helps to set your fudge, and to keep it from sticking.

  • Mix the first three ingredients in a LARGE sauce pan. Trust me, you want it large, it expands a lot when it starts to boil. Attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pot, make sure the bulb isn't touching the bottom.
  • Once it is all mixed up well, add the milk and turn the heat on to medium. Stir constantly with a WOODEN spoon. You do NOT want to use a wisk or anything metal. The metal, for some reason, reacts to the fudge and it won't turn out well. Also, stir very gently, it will take a while to mix up but as it heats up it will help. Continuing stirring until it comes to a ROLLING boil.

  • Now, STOP STIRRING. Let it continue to boil until the temperature reads 234 degrees. Your thermometer might also read "soft ball" at this temperature. This is because you can test your fudge by dropping a bit into VERY cold water. Feel it with your fingers, if it turns into a soft ball that flattens when you remove it from the water, your fudge is at the right temperature. Because this is a candy temperature is VERY important. It will take about 20 minutes to get to this temperature but I suggest not venturing far from your pot. I just cleaned the kitchen and checked on it like a mad woman, I was so afraid of failing!

  • Once it has reached the appropriate temperature take it off the heat and drop in the vanilla and butter but DO NOT STIR IT. I just chopped my butter into 4 pieces and poured the vanilla around the whole pot. This is vitally important, do NOT stir it in.

  • Let the fudge cool until it reaches lukewarm temperature, which is 110 degrees. The original recipe said this would take 2-2.5 hours. Mine did not. It reached it in about 1 hour. So check your thermometer frequently and don't rely on set time that it will take to cool. Just like anything, the amount of time it will take depends on a number of factors. Also, the fudge will settle, so reposition your thermometer to make sure it is still IN the fudge. Thankfully my husband caught that!

  • Once it's reached 110 degrees take your wooden spoon and stir it. Stir, stir, stir. It will be TOUGH and similar in consistency to taffy, so if you have someone who can help you stir let them help! I couldn't stir much at all because of my arms, so Chris did the majority of the stirring for me. Continuing stirring until it loses it's sheen. This is where Chris and I made our mistake. The original recipe said to stir until it loses it's sheen, about 20 minutes. It started to lose it's sheen about 10 minutes in so Chris and I thought it was close, but continued to stir. We missed the mark by 30 seconds. The second it starts to lose it's sheen TRANSFER it to your foil. We waited 30 seconds too long and it set up right in the pan. Doesn't make it taste any different but we didn't end up with pretty cut squares.

  • So as soon as it starts to lose its sheen, set it in the pan and let it cool. It won't be the most pretty fudge, it's not glossy at all, it's crumbly and delicious, and melts in your mouth.

  • See ours is all broken into strange looking pieces, but it tastes just like I remember!

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Party Pizza

    I've made this a few times now and all the kids love it, Chris and I enjoy it, and any meal that isn't met with even one child complaining is a major win in our house!

    You can use premade pizza dough if you want, I prefer to make my own. Makes me feel better about feeding my kids party pizza for dinner! Pizza dough is pretty simple to make. I've seen this recipe, or similar ones, all over the internet - this is my take.

    You'll need:
    1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1 Tbsp. yeast
    1/2 tsp. salt
    3-4 1/2 c. flour

    Mix the first three ingredients together and let the yeast rise until bubbly, about 10 minutes.

    Mix the salt in, and then start adding flour. Of course I make this in Betsy.

    Keep adding flour until the dough reaches the proper consistency. It will form a nice ball, and not be too sticky. It takes about 3-4 cups of flour.

    Knead it or let your mixer knead it for a few moments.

    Grease a bowl and turn dough in the bowl to coat with oil. Let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. This time of the year it's always a good idea to turn your oven on warm and place your bread on the stove. The heat will encourage it to rise.

    While this is rising prepare your ingredients. I've used pepperoni and I've used pineapple before. Next time I may try peppers and onions. Any pizza topping, or really any topping in general will work great. Chop it smaller though. Cube your cheese (we use mozzarella).

    Once the dough is ready pinch off walnut sized pieces and flatten. Some people prefer to roll out their dough and cut with a pizza cutter into "x" amount of pieces. This seems like unnecessary work to me, but it's whatever you feel is easiest.

    Place your toppings on the top of your dough. Bring up the sides and pinched closed. Place in your greased pie/cake pan seam side down.

    If you have spare pans, or if you want to purchase throw away pie tins, these make great Make Ahead Meals. I have 4 pie tins, but I think I'll still purchase a few more. I'd like to have 6 or so of these in my freezer for easy meals. I only have 2.5 tins in there right now.

    Make your topping. I mix oil, Italian Seasoning, maybe some garlic powder. Whatever works best for you. I think the Italian Seasoning is a must though! Pour over the top and brush to evenly coat. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan or Italian cheese mix. I prefer the Italian Cheese mix, it has Parmesan in it plus a bunch of other yummy cheeses.

    Bake at 400 for 10-20 minutes.

    Serve with sauce on the side for dipping. This is oh so very yummy, and a great meal to make ahead for nights where you are busy and can't cook!

    My happy campers (Anthony wasn't there for dinner that night which is why there is no picture of him, but he loves it too!)


    Charlie (what an odd expression)

    David (as you can see these pictures are a few weeks old, but it's such a hit around here it will become a staple!)

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    I haven't forgotten, just processing

    I haven't forgotten the challenge, in fact I have two more posts awaiting in the wings for when I get a free moment to write them up. I suppose this is a free moment, but I need to process my thoughts first.

    I was asked a few times if I'm disappointed that the baby is a boy. Of course I'm not! I don't understand going through the excitement of becoming pregnant, maintaining that excitement for nearly 20 weeks, only to become disappointed that the baby has the wrong anatomy between their legs. Yes, we wanted a girl because we already have three boys and wanted to give Anastasia a sister, but we aren't upset at all. On the contrary, we are quite happy and thrilled to be having another boy. When we first got together I thought I'd never have any boys. My family seems to only produce girls - so each boy is just an added blessing and surprise.

    The ONLY disappointment was the tough decision this created. We always wanted 6 kids and had agreed that if we got our second girl we'd cut it early. I had mixed emotions about this but agreed because Chris really feels finished (although he's said this after each child and then changed his mind and bugged me to get pregnant again). Once we discovered its another boy it became more difficult. I had started to come to terms that this may be the last baby, I was trying to mentally prepare myself for it, and I had hoped if it was a girl I wouldn't really have to make the hard decision, but I do.

    For the past few days I had been trying to rationalize stopping, because rationally speaking there are a lot of good reasons to say our family is complete.

    1. We have a large family

    2. 4 teenage boys is already daunting (food bill wise), what if the next is a boy and we have 5 teenage boys to feed?

    3. Pregnancy is HARD on my body and my EDS. I've become more high risk with each pregnancy, and it takes a while for me to recover afterwards.

    4. Chris is ready to stop

    5. I have been pregnant, or breastfeeding, or both for the past 8 years with only a 12 month break total.

    6. We are held back by having a newborn or me being pregnant and can't do a lot of family activities because of it

    7. I'm tired.

    8. I tried to reason that, miscarriage included, I've been pregnant 6 times.


    In the back of my head was one very loud voice saying that I'd regret not having my original 6. That was a very loud annoying voice. And I kept trying to quiet it with all the logical reasons above but I couldn't. I kept telling Chris to give me a few days and I'd try to come to terms with it.

    Then today Anastasia discovered the stash of Charlie's ultrasound pictures and looking at them had me overwhelmingly sad and upset at the prospect of not having one more baby after this. It's purely emotional but it's still a huge factor. My whole life I have wanted 6 kids. My whole adult life has been spent making that happen. I have put things on hold, changed my dreams and goals, and sacrificed a lot to achieve this. I feel as if we had 6 kids waiting in the wings and if we stop we've only opened our arms to 5 and told the 6th to take a hike. I know the child isn't physically made yet but I believe in fate and I believe that everything happens for a reason. I won't be able to shake not having that 6th baby. My husband is an Atheist and this isn't a reason he'll ever understand or accept but it is how I feel.

    As for the logic up above -

    1. We have a large family - Whats one more child to an already large family? Welcoming Charlie into our family didn't affect me at all, I suspect it will be the same with "Stormageddeon" (the baby's nickname). A 6th child will be just as loved as the first 5 and I have always felt a calling to welcome any person into my home. I am a caregiver by nature.

    2. 4 teenage boys is already daunting (food bill wise), what if the next is a boy and we have 5 teenage boys to feed? - This is daunting, but we'll manage. We always do. I'll have a good paying job at that point, we should have been debt free for quite some time, and Chris will be higher ranking. I tend to cook for an army anyway as we have an open door policy on dinner at our home. Everyone is welcome.

    3. Pregnancy is HARD on my body and my EDS. I've become more high risk with each pregnancy, and it takes a while for me to recover afterwards. - This isn't one I take lightly. I will never take my health or my body lightly or for granted again. I AM looking forward to getting my body back permanently and trying to salvage as much as I can for the years to come. Having EDS is tough, every day is a challenge, but it's worth it. I fought so hard in physical therapy and occupational therapy FOR my family. My PT said she'd never seen anyone work so hard. I've had to cut a lot of dreams out of my life because of EDS, I've had to make a lot of sacrifices in my life because of EDS. There isn't a person on this earth who can fully relate to how hard I push myself daily, because they aren't me. I'm not going to just give up. There are days I want to, but I push through it because of my family. I'm not going to stop anytime soon.

    As for being high risk, I am high risk and that is something to think about. However, as long as I'm closely monitored my risks go way down. I'll never have the birth I've envisioned, but thats a sacrifice I'm okay with.

    4. Chris is ready to stop - This is the biggest deciding factor. I love my husband more than I've ever loved anyone (except my kids perhaps, but thats a different kind of love). He's my favorite person in the world, he's my best friend, and it's equally his decision to have more or not have more kids. If he doesn't change his mind all of this is a moot point. I can't, in good conscience, have another child if he doesn't want to. It takes TWO to have a kid, and only one to prevent it. I love him enough to put aside my feelings for his if thats how he really feels.

    5. I have been pregnant, or breastfeeding, or both for the past 8 years with only a 12 month break total. - I have done a number on my body over the past 8 years, but adding a few more years into that isn't a big deal. I mean, afterall, women did it for centuries and look at Michelle Duggar - she's still trucking! I love nursing, I love being pregnant, I will miss both when I'm done for good.

    6. We are held back by having a newborn or me being pregnant and can't do a lot of family activities because of it - Having a 6th would mean putting everything on hold for a few more years. I'd be pushing back going to school, getting a job, doing older kid activities.... But it would be worth it. And it's only 2 additional years. Our 6th would be born around December 2013/Janurary 2014.

    7. I'm tired. - What parent isn't tired? As long as it doesn't affect my ability to be a good parent this isn't really a big deal.

    8. I tried to reason that, miscarriage included, I've been pregnant 6 times. - I have been pregnant 6 times, like originally planned, but I don't want to include Baby C in my 6 kids. It sounds awful. Every year we honor the day we miscarried, October 12th, 2007, in some way. We haven't forgotten that baby at all, but I feel as if that babies time wasn't then. As if, spiritually, that baby is going to be born at some point, if he or she hasn't already, so he or she wasn't really lost. Again, not something Chris is going to understand or agree with. It's just always how I have felt.

    So at the end of all of this I DO want another. I do want my 6th. I'm not sure if we will have a 6th, it all depends on if we can agree. I am NOT upset or disappointed that this baby is a boy, I just want to make that clear.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011

    Broken Glass Jello

    I made this a few days ago and it's been a HUGE hit with the kids. The recipe is super simple, easy to make, cheap, and looks and tastes amazing.


    4 boxes of Jello (I used Raspberry, Lime, Orange, and Blue berry)
    2 packets of unflavored gelatin (each box has 4 packets, I did NOT know this until after I bought the ingredients.)
    1 can of Condensed sweetened milk (not the same as evaporated milk)

    Start by taking 4 square containers, I used tupperware, and dumping the different packets of Jello in them. Ooooh pretty!

    Prepare the Jello like normal, and place in fridge to cool. It's recommended you have a LOT of time for this to cool. I did not, and my jello didn't come out of the tupperwares as pretty as it could have.

    Once the jello is ready cut into square blocks and place in a large dish. Prepare the plain gelatin by adding 1/2 cup of cold water to it (in a separate dish) and waiting just a minute. Meanwhile boil 1.5 cups of water and pour on top, and dissolve the gelatin completely. Add the condensed milk, stir, and cool to room temperature (otherwise you'll melt your jello when you pour it on top).

    Once cooled pour over top of your jello cubes, and chill in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. Cut and serve!!

    You can see mine isn't as pretty because my jello didn't cube up as well, but the kids loved it and thats the important thing!

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Pillow Soft Dinner Rolls/Bread

    I've made this recipe twice now, once a few weeks ago and again tonight. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite bread recipes.

    4.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
    2 cups warm milk (I heat this on the stove and warm until it's hot to the touch but not uncomfortably hot)
    1/2 cup warm water (I use this from tap and just turn on my hottest setting. My water heater is set at 120 degrees. The first time I made this I used 3/4s cup of water. No difference in final product, it just increased the amount of flour used.)
    6 tablespoons shortening (I don't measure this exact, just scoop and dump)
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup of sugar
    1.5 teaspoons of salt
    7 cups of all purpose flour (use good quality flour!)

    A few weeks ago I made tortillas and used cheap cheap store brand flour. They turned out terrible. They were hard and salty, and I quickly learned (and decided) to not use cheap flour ever again when making bread products. I prefer to use King Arthur, and haven't had any issues with it.

    I decided to make two batches, one for dinner rolls and one for two loaves of sandwich bread.

    The first thing I do is to proof my yeast by dissolving it in my warm water. I turn the mixer on slightly and just stir it to make sure it's completely dissolve. It will puff up a bit and thats perfectly fine! It's supposed to do that.

    Then I heat the milk up on the stove until it's warm/hot to the touch but not uncomfortably so, and pour that into the yeast mixture.

    All this time I am stirring with Betsy. Then I add the 6 tablespoons of shortening. It will not completely dissolve and may clump up. This is fine, it will dissolve as the flour is added.

    Then I crack in the eggs, add the sugar, and the salt, and three cups of flour, all while mixing.

    Once the initial flour is added the shortening will dissolve, so don't fret if it's all clumpy until this point. The flour stirs in pretty quickly. After that I add flour by the half cup until the dough begins to firm up. I've never had to use all 7 cups of flour, but I do use a fair bit. Once it begins to firm up I switch to my dough hook. At this point I may still need to add some more flour, normally about a cup or so, but I add it slowly and wait to see how the dough reacts. If it falls apart and beings to get softer I add more flour, if it's starts forming into a nice ball I back off. Making bread is all about feel, and the more you do it the more you'll get a feel for it.

    Once the dough is the way I like it I knead it for a few more minutes and then dump into a bowl with a little oil in the bottom. I turn the dough once making sure that the oil completely coats the bread.

    Place it in a warm place, either near your stove on warm or if it's summer anywhere in your kitchen will probably suffice. Cover it and let it rise for an hour.

    At this point I had both of my doughs rising. You can see the one on the left has been rising for about 30 minutes longer and is well over the top of the bowl. This bread does RISE.

    After an hour your dough should have doubled in size.

    Now comes my favorite part! The dough punch! It is as satisfying as bubble wrap. Literally punch your dough down.

    Once the dough is punched down I start ripping off pieces and placing them on a greased cookie sheet (I rub the cookie sheet down with shortening). You'll need at least two pans to cook all these rolls. The original recipe says to turn out on a floured surface, I've never done this. This is also satisfying. Your dough should be pretty stretchy and smooth. I always make mine way too large, but I use the leftover rolls for sandwiches for the days after. Smaller rolls would probably be better if this isn't your intention. These also freeze well, so don't be upset when you yield more rolls than you and your loved ones can possibly consume in one meal.

    Cover the rolls on the cookie sheets again and let rest/rise for 30 minutes.

    Bake in the oven at 350 degrees.

    I won't give a time as it depends on how big your rolls are. You want them lightly golden browned on the top, but not overly brown on the bottom.

    After they come out melt some butter or margarine in the microwave for a few seconds.

    Rub the melted margarine/butter on the tops of your rolls.

    The finished product is so soft, and such awesome quality. A lot of people complain, in the original recipe, about lack of flavor but I think these rolls taste like great quality bread. They don't need the bells and whistles

    Like I said, I adapted this recipe for sandwich loaves. All the original steps are the same, but instead of pinching/tearing off clumps for rolls, I tore it in half and placed each in a greased (with shortening) loaf pan.

    Baked this for roughly 26 minutes, until the tops were lightly golden brown.

    And did the same butter treatment to the top. This also helps prevent the bread from becoming too dry.

    This is my first time using it to make sandwich bread, but it turned out awesome!

    The inside looks just like sandwich bread!

    Even with broken arms, it sliced up so easily and thin for sandwiches

    I sliced one loaf and got two of these wrapped packages, and wrapped the other loaf and placed it in the freezer for later consumption.

    Even for beginner bread makers this recipe is pretty simple, easy, and very easy to adapt to make other types of bread.

    New cooking challenge

    I'm starting a new challenge! I know my 300/60 challenge petered out, but I DID actually complete it to the best of my ability. I just ran out of things to post by the end of it.

    My new challenge is a cooking challenge. This will keep me from eating out as much, and to get the motivation to try all the new recipes I've been pouring over.

    I will:

    Post at least 4 times a week, complete with pictures and step by step instructions.

    I will link back to wherever I stole the recipe from or give the cookbook and page number.

    I will make at least one "Make ahead meal" a week, whether this is frozen or shelf stable (such as a granola or homemade crackers)

    I'm excited!! I will begin this today and go for the next month :)

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    Had to question myself

    Twice this week I have had to question whether my beliefs were offending or insulting to others, and whether I was in the wrong for them. I came to the conclusion that I wasn't wrong, but perhaps my beliefs insulted others. I suppose every belief out there could be an insult to others.

    Earlier this week a friend of a friend on facebook used the "N" word to describe a group of people. She claimed it wasn't racist as the "N" means ignorant and there are ignorant Black people. I came to the conclusion that the "N" word is racist, shouldn't be used, and that people who use it are either 1)racist or 2)ignorant to the history of that word.

    I don't like any word that is used to put down a group of people. Among some of my most hated are the "N" word (a word so vile I can't type it or utter it without feeling absolutely shameful and dirty), the word "retarded", "gay, "fag", and just about any other racist term. None of those words have any other inference but hatred. Saying something is "gay" is always an insult, and that in turn insults every homosexual out there. Same with "fag". "Retarded" went from a medical term to one used to insult everything. It's uttered everywhere and makes me cringe every time.

    I understand that there are black people who have taken the "N" word and used it on themselves as a term of endearment. It still makes me cringe, but not as badly. I understand wanting to take a vile word and try to take ownership of it. Someone has less of a chance of insulting you if you own the word. I'm physically handicapped. I'm okay with my husband, my friends, and my handicap friends jokingly calling me "gimp" or something similar. However, if a stranger yelled that at me I would be livid and highly insulted.

    If someone I know uses the "N" word it will forever color my perception of them.

    I lost a friend off facebook tonight. I can't say I'm surprised. It was a long time coming. We were really really good friends years ago. I could have seen myself remaining friends with her our entire lives. Then she converted to a very very strict religious Christian sect. She suddenly became someone it was hard to hold a conversation with. Many things she said or did I didn't agree with but bit my tongue - such as encouraging her child to spread the word of God at public school. She was my friend, she was new to her religion and it wasn't my place to say otherwise.

    A few months ago she posted a copy and paste rant on facebook that basically was complaining that non-Christians are free to speak their mind but Christians aren't. I responded, thinking foolishly that she was expecting responses. I posted that its not that us non-Christians don't want to hear what Christians have to say but merely the way it's posted. Being in your face Christians who tell others they are sinners or are going to hell is not the way to get your point across. This spun into quite a few people, all with similar beliefs as hers, attacking me for being a non-Christian. Please note, I am NOT an Atheist. There are numerous religions out there besides Christianity and Atheism. She told me repeatedly that she can't and will never "respect" my religion or beliefs - even though I told her numerous times that I respect hers and respect doesn't mean you have to agree. She kept telling me that basically I'm going to hell unless I repent and that my religion was garbage.

    A few weeks later she apologized to me only after talking to a fellow Christian who told her the proper way to convert people. I knew at this point our relationship would never be the same. I'm not anti-Christian by any means. Most of the people I love the most are Christians and I respect them completely for their beliefs, I also respect the majority for the way they conduct themselves as Christians. There are those that anger me, and as I'm surrounded by Christians those are the type that catch my attention the most. If I were surrounded by Muslims, or Buddhists I'm sure I'd have more to say and I would read more articles about the ones I disagree with.

    I use MY facebook as my way of posting articles that anger me, fascinate me, or make me happy. I might post an article about a child abuser, or a very sweet heart touching story, or something political/religious. I have learned to not comment on others Facebooks when they post something I disagree with but I welcome opinions on mine. It's how I learn. I believe you must always question yourself to continue learning and reaffirming your beliefs. If it wasn't for debating and discussions I wouldn't be the type of parent I am today. If you can't question yourself and come out still believing you were never really strong in those beliefs in the first place.

    I posted an article about a senator in NC who was very anti-homosexuals and a lesbian in that state who had a conversation with him. She was threatening to leave the state if he was re-elected just like many businesses who left due to the anti-homosexual beliefs. My entire comment was "This is worth reposting". Thats it. I didn't say the guy was a douchebag, although I do believe he is one. Chris's friend, who enjoys "trolling" by arguing everything I write responded and we discussed it back and forth for a bit and then moved on. My mom commented a few times, and then my friend commented.

    Somehow the conversation got off track and became about Christians and their beliefs, the interpretations of the bible, and how the bible has been used throughout history to deny the rights of others. I talked about how different interpretations show that there is no where in the New Testament that strictly prohibits homosexuality if you use the definitions of that time period. She was dumbfounded that I would believe her God could condone it. Never once, in any of my postings, did I say Christians were awful vile people. However, no one can deny that the bible has been used in the past to deny the rights of others - specifically women, and black people, and interracial marriage. Today it's the homosexual population.

    The conversation ended with her deleting me off facebook and messaging me that she's tired of my rants on Christians. She is continuously posting pro-Christian stuff, pro-Bachman/Perry articles, and blogs discounting other religions. She fails to see the hypocrisy in this.

    I am always quick to say that I don't lump all Christians into the same group, but I had to really look back at myself today. Was I in the wrong for my posting? I had to come to the same conclusion I had earlier. No. As long as there are a group of people who are bent on denying the rights to others I will be out spoken against them. This means I am against the belief and those who force it that would deny women the rights over their own body, the rights to homosexuals, and the right to freedom of religion - any religion, even the non-Christian ones. Does this mean I'm against Christians? No. I don't care what religion you are, you have no right to take the rights from others. Regardless of what your bible, preacher, or beliefs say. There are numerous beliefs in the bible that are no longer in use today, and one day this will be another.

    So even though I lost a friend, regrettably, I do feel I am in the right. Hopefully one day we'll reconcile and we'll grow old together, but not as long as she feels that her religion supersedes the feelings of those who believe differently, or the rights of those she disagrees with.

    "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Feeling like a whale, and stuff

    I feel like a whale. Here I am at 14 weeks 5 days. I think my body has given up on me and has just decided to pretend we're already nearly done. I was looking at belly shots of when I was pregnant with Anastasia, I wasn't much bigger than this at 32 weeks 5 days. I am so excited to eventually be done being pregnant and get my body back into rocking shape and LEAVE IT THERE.

    Some where along the way I've lost my brain. Completely lost it. Without thinking I volunteered to not only be a Girl Scout Leader but to completely START UP a new troop. Completely. This is really stressing me out as there is so much to do and all the literature was kind of dumped on our laps without too much guidance. We (another insane mother volunteered with me) have to start a business bank account once we decide on dues and convince other parents to give us money, map out an entire year of girl scouting, make sure the girls are earning patches and petals, and adhering to Girl Scout Guidelines (which are actually pretty relaxed which only makes it more difficult to figure out a starting point).

    As if my insanity hadn't caused enough stress, at Anthony's first Cub Scout meeting it was revealed that they didn't have any den leaders for his Wolves den. So of course I volunteered. I can't help myself. I've been told numerous times in the past I need to learn to say "no" but I can't. I can't ignore someone in need. It will be my downfall. Luckily, the previous Wolves Den Leader was super organized and just handed me all her supplies, so this will be a lot easier than the GS. Plus, I'm one of 7 leaders in the Pack and all of them have been supportive, which is a lot more help than just one other mom who has no idea what she is doing either.

    The Blue and Gold ceremony for the CS is only 7 days after my tentative induction date. Originally it was ON my induction date, but thank goodness it's not anymore! As long as I'm out of the hospital I'll be there! I get cabin fever sitting at home too much.

    Couple all of this with raging hormones, a flare of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and looser joints (which means more dislocation and pain) and I am worn out. I'll rest when I'm dead I suppose!

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Sometimes I feel as if I'm drowning

    I know I have been awful lately about updating this. I have been so busy being sick, and tired, running after the 4 kids, getting the older 2 ready for school, and dealing with the fallout that school brings. Especially with Anthony.

    I feel as if I fell off the wagon a few weeks ago and have been running to get back on - and repeatedly missing it. I have been so stressed out and grumpy that I'm not being the wife, friend, or mother I want to be. I pulled back out my go to author, Dr. Sears, for advice, and am currently rereading "The Discipline book". I don't feel as if I've done the best job of gentle discipline lately. It's so nice to have affirmation that the way I'm parenting isn't bad, and a gentle nudge to get back on track.

    Anthony can quickly make me want to bury my head in a pillow and scream as loud as possible. There are days I feel we need to walk on eggshells around him to make sure he doesn't have a meltdown. I talked to his teacher and told her his issues with TV and she replied, "Are you sure its not something YOUR watching at home - he's fine at school". Thanks lady. I'm sure. We don't watch TV when he's home. And his outbursts can come days or hours later, it's not always immediate.

    I spent the first 2/3rds of his birthday party dealing with meltdowns and urging him to complete the task he was set to do hours prior to the party. All because Chris, being nice, let them watch a cartoon that morning while we got the house set up.

    I don't even know where I'm going with this post, I just needed to vent as I am dealing with, yet another, meltdown this morning and Chris is at the gym and unable to help.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    9 weeks 1 day

    When I was in the ER this weekend the doctor told me I was beginning to show. I had kind of been in denial up until then, but after that Chris kept telling me that I DID look pregnant. This is me at 9 weeks 1 day.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    Ended back up in the ER!

    Chris and I were about to walk out for a date night and I went to the bathroom and there was a gush of bright red blood. I freaked out and told Chris we needed to go to the ER so he loaded the kids up and took them to the babysitter anyway and met me at the ER. They were so kind. I was crying and could hardly talk while giving them my information but they were very sympathetic and patient. They told me they couldn't do much for me but drew some blood to check my HCG level and took me down to ultrasound.

    We saw the baby. Absolutely beautiful! Normally they don't let you see the screen or tell you anything but they let me watch and I was so grateful. I didn't even need a transvaginal. The baby actually looks like a baby now. It was the most adorable looking thing, and I could even see the little outlines of it's little fingers. It had it's hands near it's mouth And we saw a beautiful heartbeat! The baby looked wonderful.

    I saw the same doctor I saw last time. He said the bleed is in the same spot. It had been trying to clot off but now it's bleeding again. Chris and I had sex the night before and I worry that it caused the bleed. The doctor said I'm on indefinite pelvic rest for now - no orgasms, and no penetration of any kind. Thankfully Chris was there and heard it from him! He thinks I have a 95% chance of delivering a healthy baby, which means I still have 5x the risk of miscarriage as the average person but its still good odds. This babe is holding on tight!

    Chris had damaged his foot last week so while we were there they took the stitches out for him too, which I was grateful for! He was youtubing how to do it himself! His doctor who stitched him was the same one I saw both times so it was kind of funny.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Attachment Parenting is not a tool for spoiling!

    Earlier this week I encountered a conversation with some friends of a friend that actually surprised me. I suppose I am so use to be surrounded by people who at least can admit that validity in Attachment style Parenting that I'm not used to people completely dismissing it as a form of spoiling.

    I'm not speaking ill of methods of parenting, but I do believe whole heartily in the logic with AP and there are numerous studies and research to back it up.

    Baby wearing is not "new age". Wearing your children has been around since the dawn of time practically, and nearly every culture has their own ways to do it. Strollers are more new age. The first stroller was invented in the 1700's. Babies were worn long before then. It's not new, and it's doesn't spoil the baby. Studies actual show that a child who is attended to, a child raised in the AP style, tends to be more independent and well adjusted when they grow up. Thats not to say using a stroller will make your child dependent and maladjusted, it's just more in favor for babywearing.

    Not all baby wraps and slings are made equal. Snugglie, Baby Bjorn, ect are very bad for baby's spine. The more primitive the carrier the better for baby. Slings, wraps (like Moby's) and soft structured carriers are far better. The ERGO is a good compromise as the baby sits, rather than dangles. Plus the baby is skin to skin with mama where the Baby Bjorn and Snugglie are more in a pouch.

    The other comments made were about breastfeeding. It is NOT child molestation to breastfeed your child past the first birthday. The biological age of weaning is between 2 and 7 years of age.

    Just because babe can eat food doesn't suddenly make breastmilk unhealthy. I love this quote, " the first six months of breastfeeding are clearly much more important in terms of the baby's nutrition and immunological development than the six months from 3.5 to 4.0 years. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue to provide breast milk if your baby wants and you don't mind. It would be like saying, "Well Mabel, we don't get very much income from that oil well anymore. Used to get $56 a month in royalties, now we're lucky if we get $25 a year. Guess we should tell that oil company just to keep their durn money." And Mabel says, in return "Good grief, Clyde, don't be ridiculous. That check still buys $25 worth of food. Where has your mind gone to now?""

    Breasts were made to feed our babies. The sexual pleasure some women and men derive from them, are not their first function. Nursing a child is no more sexual than changing their diaper. Anyone who thinks otherwise is the pervert - not the mother nursing. The health benefits to nursing are far to numerous to list, but are undeniable. Nursing a child will not spoil them or make them grow up to be sexual predators.

    Whether you are an attached parent or a traditional parent there should be respect for the way other people parent. There also has to be acknowledgment when research and history tells you that something is beneficial and not harmful.

    Saturday, July 9, 2011


    The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
    -Richard Bach

    The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have.
    - Ring Lardner

    Even as a young child I used to dream of the perfect family. The kind where you can confide in your mom, and your dad scares all your boyfriends (out of love, not just because it's fun), you borrow your sisters clothes and gossip about your latest dates. Where, as adults, you visit each other frequently, and your kids and nieces/nephews are the best of friends and every year at holiday time you gather around the same tree and it's fun.

    Thats not the family I have. I love my family, even with their faults and I hope they love me despite mine, but we are not close. I have one sibling who I DO see myself growing old with while our children play together. One. Out of five.

    Chris gets very frustrated with me because I spend way to much time upset over things my family does that continues to hurt me. He'd rather I just move on and cut as much ties as I can. He doesn't like to see me hurt, and I love him for that. He cut ties with his mother for nearly 5 years because of drama. They have a decent relationship now and the drama is gone. He wants the same for me, but I have never been one who has been good at cutting someone out. They are FAMILY, it's difficult to give up completely.

    I have a great non-biological family, though. It's not the same, at all, as one you are tied to - but it's still nice. Everyone deserves someone who is happy for them, and who they can confide in.

    Perhaps this is why my need to have a large family of my own is so great. My children will know barely any of their cousins. My sisters kids, if she has any, will be the only ones they see regularly. She is the only one I don't have panic attacks at the idea of seeing. I hope I can somehow raise a family that is different than my own. One where everybody visits at the same time, without stress. I hope my grandkids grow up together.

    Chris tells me that perhaps this is a good thing. I will be the Matriarch of my family. He is always trying to find the silver lining when I can't see one. It's hard to foster something in your family that is foreign to you.

    My two best friends, and myself (I hope), are all moving away from each other over this next year. We already plan to meet up once a year or so to visit with each other. It may not be a holiday gathered around a tree, but it's still a visit with people I consider my family. I am lucky, in the regard, that I have many amazing people who I love and who loves me that live scattered across the country. No matter where we go we'll be close to someone.

    Perhaps one day I'll reconnect to my other siblings - and see my parents again (it's been 4 years since I've seen either of them), but there is a lot of bad blood thats never been discussed and I fear it's that - more than anything else - that keeps us from being close.

    Thursday, July 7, 2011

    Baby is a little troublemaker!

    The reason I haven't posted is I didn't want to relay bad news.

    On July 4th I went to the ER after three days of light pink bleeding. On the 4th it picked up a bit and became clots, but was still light pink in color or brown. No bright red thank goodness! But I was scared enough, especially since EDS can raise your risk of many things during pregnancy - such as a placental abruption and miscarriage. The ER was very nice which is much different than my experience when I miscarried back in 2007. Even though I was early, roughly 5 weeks 2 day, nobody made me feel ridiculous for being worried I was miscarrying.

    They ran a few tests, a urine analysis, and HCG blood draw, and two ultrasounds (abdominal and transvaginal). The HCG came back great at 1418 which was a relief. However, one of the ultrasounds showed a moderate to large bleed under the placenta (which would increase my risk of miscarriage, and in later pregnancy would be akin to a placental abruption). I was told to have hope but that I would most likely lose the baby. I was devastated.

    I've spent the last few days guzzling water, and resting as much as I can. I went back to the OB yesterday to have another HCG draw. I'm still awaiting results.

    The good news is the bleeding has completely stopped. Morning sickness set in yesterday and hasn't let up. A lot of things I've read online and from my friends have said that there is a good possibility I WON'T lose this baby. I also read that it can be hard to diagnose a subchorionic hematoma so early in pregnancy because it may resemble that of a gestational sac. So I have hope. And hopefully next week I'll have great news!

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011


    It's amazing how quickly this pregnancy is taking the life out of me. I've never been tired this early before. I guess your body reacts quicker when you've had so many kids. I know I promised a blog post about the desk and I will deliver sometime this week/weekend.

    Today the clinic confirmed the pregnancy. It feels so great to have it confirmed. The kids are super excited too. I am due between March 4th and March 9th and will deliver between February 11th, and February 16th.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    And Baby Makes 5!

    Thats right! We are pregnant again! I'm due between March 3rd and March 7th making me 3 weeks 4 days to 4 weeks 1 day pregnant - so still very early. I am very excited but also quite calm this time around. We let Anthony read the test to the kids and he was so excited as was Anastasia. David doesn't really care and Charlie has no clue what is going on. One of my best friends just found out she is pregnant and is due March 6th so we are literally due within days of each other!

    I'm preparing myself for the comments that always seem to come with pregnancy. So....

    1) Yes, we know what causes this. It's hand holding, right? We quit holding hands years ago and yet we still keep finding ourselves knocked up. It's strange. Perhaps it's because we keep sleeping in the same bed.

    This pregnancy was planned, and we are quite happy.

    2) No, we are not trying to beat any records. Five kids is hardly a record. The record for most children is 69 (you can find the link here) I highly doubt that 5 is anywhere near enough to constitute a record. When I give birth to my 60th child, (which at this rate will happen when I'm 140 years old) then feel free to ask me if I am trying to set a record.

    3) Yes, we can afford them. Why is it that whenever a woman gets pregnant people feel as if all social politeness no longer applies? Do I get to ask you if you can afford to buy that new car when I know you are behind on bills? How about can I ask you how you feel you can afford to pay for that new home? Are salon visits really affordable? Are you sure you can afford your tenth pair of shoes?

    It is rude to inquire about someones finances, regardless of whether their uterus contains a child. If I was on food stamps or welfare perhaps I can understand your concern about me being able to AFFORD a new child, but it is still rude to ask. For the record, we are not on Government Assistance, and yes - we can afford another child. We wouldn't be dumb enough to have a child we couldn't afford (at least not on purpose).

    4) "You can only afford to have more because you have Tricare". Um, okay? And...? Isn't that the point of insurance, and having a job with benefits? My husband chose a job that has amazing benefits. We know it has great benefits. One of them is we don't have to pay out of pocket for prenatal, labor and delivery, or post natal care among other things. The only reason I could afford my wrist fusions are because of Tricare. I don't see why we should feel bad about having health insurance. I'm pro-UHC so I believe everyone should have health coverage. I won't apologize for it.

    5) "You're too young to have 5 kids!" Obviously, I am not. I'm turning 26 next month. Yes, I am young. I am not, however, TOO young. I had my oldest when I turned 19. I graduated from High School, I have supported myself since I was 18 years old without help from family, or the government. I may be young but I am an adult and have been for nearly 8 years.

    6) No, we are not trying to create a sports team. We don't even watch sports.

    7) It's not our fault the world is going to crap. We may have had more children than we needed to in order to replace ourselves, but our carbon footprint is still far less than those who waste and overuse. We don't drive Hummers, we DO recycle and reuse, we use cloth products and we breastfeed (no formula cans). We are less wasteful than many families who are smaller than we are.

    I'm sure there are more points to be made, in fact I'm positive. It seems that a womans uterus is everyones business. However, it's annoying. So before you ask me something dumb, or make an ignorant comment why don't you just say "Congratulations" instead and not look like an arsehole?

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    on my wall

    Tomorrow I shall reveal my nearly complete office space. I love it, it's a place all my own. It still needs paint but that won't happen for a while, so it is what it is until then. I have this poem hanging on the wall and I love it. I need it to remind me that sometimes the dishes can wait and even if I've read that book a billion times I should read it again. For some people the bible is their source for comfort and inspiration. For me, it's my quote book and this was one of the quotes I copied in it when I was pregnant with Anthony.

    My hands were busy through the day

    I didn’t have much time to play

    The little game you asked me to,

    I didn’t have much time for you.

    I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook

    But when you’d bring your picture book

    And ask me please to share your fun,

    I’d say, “A little later, son.”

    But life is short, the years rush past,

    A little boy grows up so fast!

    Now the picture books are put away,

    There aren’t any games to play.

    No good night kiss, no prayers to hear;

    That all belongs to yester year.

    My hands once busy, now lie still,

    The days are long and hard to fill.

    I wish I might go back and do

    The little things you asked me to!

    -Alice Chase