Monday, January 30, 2012

Taking care of mom; milk supply

As I said in this post, if mom is not well cared for often the whole family can suffer.  When a mom is nursing a baby the smallest, most dependent member of the family can be the first to suffer the consequences of a poorly rested, stressed out mama.  Knowing this we were careful during our move (when baby was just 1 month) to be sure I was able to get the rest, hydration, and nourishment I needed to keep him doing well.  We also took steps to reduce the stress level and the amount of physical activity that would be required (knowing that much would be unavoidable).  We planned well and were able to keep my milk supply up for baby through our move.  But what happens when the unexpected happens?

Last month my Dad passed away.  To say that was stressful and exhausting would be an understatement.  Travel, shock, grief, sadness etc all combined to take a toll on me and my milk supply.  While I acknowledged in my head that I needed to be careful and watch my supply; in the middle of the pain and sadness I had not noticed that my poor little guy was not getting enough.   Then it clicked (he was grumpy and just not sleeping so well, and just seemed to be hungry all the time) and I needed to move into action.  I took steps to care for myself and my sweet little guy.

1. I prayed that God would give me wisdom and help me provide the milk my baby needed

2.Nurse!  I cuddled up with that sweet little baby and nursed, nursed, nursed!  When the demand goes up, the supply will too.  Having extended nursing/cuddling sessions with baby were so sweet and relaxing too.

3. WATER!  I drank and drank.

4. Rest!  It was a Friday afternoon when I noticed this issue.  Our plans for the week-end quickly changed to make sure that I would be spending much of my time resting while daddy was home to hold down the fort.

5. Mother's milk tea seems to be very helpful in boosting my milk supply, and I've heard the same from other moms.  I drank a bunch and I'm continuing to drink it knowing that I'm not through this rough time and I don't want this to sneak up on me again.

6. Because I had already been thinking about starting him on "solid" foods I added this in.  It helped fill his belly and he was thrilled to take this new food; so it ended up being a good time to introduce it to him. I had already made up baby food for him in the form of cooked/pureed squash that was frozen in ice cube trays.  Having this ready ahead of time allowed me to start it up right away with out the need to run out to pick up supplies.

Within a day or two my supply was coming back up, but over the next week it would come and go a bit.  I'm continuing to be careful and watch both myself and my little boy for signs of this happening again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cooking for a crowd; coffee cake mixes

Nearly every Sunday we have coffee cake for breakfast.  Mmmm....fresh, hot, right out of the oven.  Sound like a bit too much to do on Sunday morning or even Saturday evening?  Not if you make up mixes ahead of time!

I found a coffee cake recipe we all liked and then split the recipe up in ways that could be pre-mixed and packaged to make our own mixes!  I mix up 5 or more at a time and keep them in the freezer until I need them.

Here is how I do it.

First is the sugar mix (I cut the sugar in half from what the original recipe called for), label a small zip lock plastic bag "sugar mix" and put
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar.

Next the Flour mix (I use either all whole wheat pastry flour or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour) label a small zip lock plastic bag "Flour mix" and put in
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Then the Topping, label a small zip lock plastic bag "topping" and put in
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put all three bags in one large (gallon size) zip lock bag and write these instructions on it-

Mix 2/3 cup Oil with sugar mix in a mixing bowl.  Then add 2 eggs and 1 cup buttermilk (or you can use 2 Tbsp vinegar and milk to equal one cup) and mix in the flour mix.  Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.  Top with topping.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator over night.  In the morning bake this at 350 for about 35-40 minutes.


*You can play with this by adding frozen or fresh fruit or berries.  I've also added spoonfuls of apple butter to the top of this before adding the topping.  Jams or pie fillings would work for this too.  Play with it, do what works for your family.  This is a very versatile recipe!  Just set up an assembly line and grab some little helpers, you'll have a bunch of these mixes made up in no time!

We serve this with sausage or bacon and eggs (we need the protein to keep us going through the long Sunday morning) and, when I remember, fresh fruit.

I'm linking to Raising Homemakers and Make your home sing Monday.

Monday, January 9, 2012

$75 a week groceries for 9 people?

***I've been struggling this past week with the sadness of the loss of my Dad and trying to keep up with things at home.  As much as I wanted to be able to keep up this series this month this is something I don't HAVE to do, so it needs to go.  I need to focus on my family and get through this grief.***

Last week did not go quite according to plan.  I was having a rough day on the last day of our Christmas break, and my sweet husband took us all out for lunch totally blowing the food budget.  It was a blessing though to get out of the house, have a good time and let him bless me in this way.  This week should be better though as far as the budget goes.

Knowing that I'd be tired and just off I had done the shopping for this week the week before when I could go on my own since my wonderful husband was home and happy to hold down the fort!  I only spent $52 at the commissary for two weeks of food, since much of our food would just be coming from the pantry and freezer.  Milk will need to be picked up at some point though.

Here is the menu for this week
Baked Oatmeal 3 days
Dutch baby pancakes on Friday
Pancakes on Saturday and for a Birthday breakfast!
Coffee Cake and sausage eggs on Sunday

Nachos x 2
Homemade bread
Leftover soup
Chuck E. Cheese (Just our family for a birthday.  We don't usually do this, but it has been on this child's wish list all year long!)
Biscuits and gravy (Saturday)
Cheese, crackers, salami, apples (Sunday)

Whole chicken in crockpot with potatoes, onion, carrots
Baked beans (with ground beef) biscuits, salad
sweet potato soup, bread, salad
tacos (made with rice, pinto beans, lentils) cheese, salsa, sour cream, lettuce will be available
Chicken garlic sausage, salad... Not quite sure what else, this is a birthday dinner and the birthday child has not finished putting in the requests!
Left overs
Homemade Pizza and maybe homemade carmel corn (for family movie/game night!)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A heart for children

We recently received a mama cat and her three kittens. We've had cats in the past, but they never had kittens. These new arrivals inspired a conversation between myself and my six year old.

"Mommy, why are some cats born not being able to have kittens, but some can?"

"Oh, all girl cats are born able to have kittens, but animal doctors sometimes do something to their body so that they can't have kittens"

A look of surprise bordering on horror came across his face. "Why would they want to do THAT?" And so we had a talk about if they don't find homes or are not cared for properly they become a nuisance and a problem. Then I continued the conversation with this...

"You know, doctors sometimes do that to people too." Even more shock, more horror. You see, even at six years old my little guy knows that children are a blessing and God made our bodies to have babies. However these days people see children as a nuisance and a burden, often because they are not well cared for or well trained. Selfishly we do not want to take the time to give of ourselves to train up our children, to give them the love and attention they need. When these things are not done for children they do become a problem, and a burden. We close our hearts to children either by our own experience or by watching others with their poorly behaved seemingly burdensome children. When we close our hearts to more children not only are we not willing to accept further blessings, but we cause children to wonder if they truly are blessings. Think about it.... If you truly thought something was a blessing wouldn't you desire to continue to be blessed with such a thing?

*This is not written to judge, simply to get one thinking. It does not matter how many children one has or how they come to be in a family. What matters is the heart (love) for children. Remember love is an action, not just a feeling. Love of, and a heart for children IS hard work. It is disipleship, it is training, it is putting others first. As we do this hard work God works in us, it does not always seem so hard. This hard work has eternal implications and rewards; and therefor so worth the doing!

I'm linking to Raising Homemakers and 

Monday, January 2, 2012

$75/week food budget? week 1

Over a month ago when I planned out this series I had no idea that the last couple of weeks would include racing out of town to be with family after my dad's death, or that friends in town would be providing my family meals while I was gone.  Life does not always happen the way you plan it, flexibility is important.  While I still plan to stick to around $75 a week when shopping, this week I'll still be pulling things from the freezer/pantry and doing very little shopping.  Family Feasts for $75 a week is the inspiration for this series, but I'm not sure I can stick to that with a family of 9.  We will see!

Something I should mention is that after moving all over with the military I notice that prices are different in other areas of the country so what I'm able to get may not be what you find.  Also, I'm able to shop on base at the commissary with does help with my budget a bit.  I buy my grains and some other things in bulk through Azure Standard co-op; if you have a drop in your area I highly recommend buying through them.

I have not had the time to do all of the math for these meals, I hope that next week I'll be able to do a better job of this.
Breakfast- Apple rolls (from freezer) and sausage $4
Lunch- church potluck we will take chili and maybe cupcakes
Dinner- Leftovers 

Breakfast-Baked Oatmeal $9 (for the whole week including maple syrup and some fruit)
Lunch- Nachos (one bag of organic chips from Costco will last us a week; about $4.50), cheese $1 if there is leftover meat or toppings around we will add those, but my kids like these plain.
Dinner- Chicken Sandwiches (freezer), sweet potato fries (freezer) and salad (I'll buy organic spinach from Costco for about $3.50)

Breakfast- Baked Oatmeal
Lunch- Whole wheat bread, butter, and apple butter $2.50? have not priced out the baking the break or the homemade apple butter.
Dinner- Split pea soup using the ham bone from Christmas, homemade chicken broth, and left over veggies that were frozen maybe $2 (this will make enough to freeze some and have some leftovers!) and homemade whole wheat bread (I have not priced this out yet, I'll get to it though!)

Breakfast- Baked Oatmeal
Lunch- leftover soup
Dinner- pasta w/sauce (pantry about $3.50) and meatballs (freezer)

Breakfast- Twice Baked Oatmeal (left over baked oatmeal all mixed together, add an egg or two and bake again!)
Lunch- pinto beans and chips (
Dinner- Lasagna, salad, and bread (from freezer, had been delivered by a friend two weeks ago)

Breakfast- Dutch Babies (also known as German pancakes)
Lunch- Nachos
Dinner- Family movie or game night! Homemade pizza, salad and homemade microwave carmel corn (about $5 total)

Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch-biscuits and gravy 
Dinner- Leftovers


Snacks will be 
Cuties bought a couple of weeks ago on sale $2.99
Apples bought through azure standard co-op $1 a pound
Carrots- $2
Pop corn (I'll have to price that out later)

I'll purchase two gallons of milk which should get us through the week that should be about $6 around here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bible Reading

Two years ago we started reading through the Bible together as a family.  While we had always known that God's word was important and had done our best to teach our children from God's word up until then we just had not made family Bible reading a priority.  It has been such a blessing to us!  Just being in His word works in us, just reading it daily together taught us so much!

So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11

We have been stretched, we have grown.  It has not always felt good, but it has been a blessing to be in HIS word every day as a family.  To grow together building on the foundation of God's word- the Bible.

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.  Psalm 127:1

We had been going through the Bible chronologically which was a great way to help us put various Biblical events into the context of when they were happening and who would have been around in those times.

This year we are switching to the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, which includes family Bible reading time and individual Bible reading time.

I'm linking to Raising Homemakers Making your home sing Mondays, and Titus 2 Tuesdays