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Looming surgery…and a chaotic life!

If you’re wondering what’s up the radio silence, here’s the deal…Early last week we got a call that Sara’s hip surgery would be Nov 1, and not the 11th, as I had originally thought. My whole world was thrown into a tailspin. We had planned to spend this week at my mother’s house in Missouri and were taking strides to make that happen.

Suddenly, instead of having two weeks AFTER our trip to get my life in order, I had the FIVE days prior to our trip. I’ve been in panic mode since then.

I still have so much to do. My house has slowly been disintegrating into disorganized chaos because I’ve been spending all waking hours researching hip dyspliasa…I haven’t bought all the supplies I need for Sara post surgery, and I still have bags and bags of free apples, walnuts, and a few sugar pumpkins to deal with.

Additionally, the college class I taught ended last week. Grades were due and my next class started. Yes, it WAS a seriously chaotic week and blogging took a back seat. We were determined to go to Missouri so I worked hard to get things organized around here. It’s hard to put someone else in charge of my life if I can’t find what we need in my own house…

Happily, I got our homeschooling shelf cleared and organized. I cleaned out and organized almost all the cupboards in my kitchen and packed the apples to can in Missouri. I decided the pumpkins and walnuts will wait. I’ve also been making sure the kids have winter clothes because who the heck knows when winter will descend on Iowa. I bought coats and boots. Dug out all the gloves, scarves, and hats. Reorganized all their clothing so other people can find it.

Yesterday we packed for our afternoon departure to Missouri and had everything waiting by the door when my mother called to tell me she’s been sick. Normally, I’m not scared of being sick. But Sara won’t have her surgery if SHE’S sick. So, we stayed put. Now I’m dealing with disappointed kiddos and no food and no food plan…and me – a germaphobe for the first time in my life who’s afraid to go anywhere for fear of getting sick.

And that’s my life right now! I do plan to get back on track with the blogging and have some fun posts in the words for the next few days! I hope your world is good!

Cheesesteak Sandwich with a Couple of Twists

I’m always on the lookout for good lunch options as I often feel we’re in a lunch rut. I try to avoid lunch meat for a variety of reason, but mostly because it’s expensive and often full of questionable ingredients like nitrates and nitrites (known carcinogens). The problem is, we LIKE lunch meats! So what’s a cook to do?

Today I was looking at my options at the grocery store and decided to make a cheese-steak style sandwich with butterfly pork. The butterfly pork was on sale for $1 each and is one of my husband’s favorite. I added some of the last few peppers from my garden, onion, garlic, and provolone. It was super tasty!

First, I sauteed the pork and the veggies in a little coconut oil. Have you tried coconut oil yet? It’s really nice!

Then I sliced and buttered my own homemade 5 Grain Bread. It probably would have been better on a bun, but I have not yet mastered my own homemade buns. They’re hit and miss with me unfortunately. Anyhow, this was still good! It ended up being a cross between a grilled cheese and a philly cheesesteak – except with pork! YUM!

Do you have a good, non-bread machine bun recipe you’d like to share? And, what’s your favorite lunch recipe?

I’m linking up to Life as Mom, The Joys of Home Educating, and

Hip-Healthy Swaddling

You may or may not know, but my 17 month old daughter was recently diagnosed with a dislocated left hip. We didn’t know anything was wrong with her until she started walking with an obvious limp, and pressed hard for answers after her pediatrician was not very concerned.

Her hip dysplasia diagnosis has been a huge blow to me. I, like so many people, have an expectation of 100% healthy babies. Of course, there are no guarantees in life…and we love her just the same!!! 🙂 It’s just beyond sad to me that she will be fighting hip problems her entire life and that I have to put her through a horrible surgery in a couple of weeks and then deal with her in a spica cast for 6 weeks to 5 months.

About 1 in 1000 babies is diagnosed with hip dysplasia. HD can range from a looseness of the ball in the socket (meaning the hip is not stable), to an all out dislocated hip (my daughter’s problem). Some babies are born with an immediate problem, and in some, it just happens because of a predisposition sometime during the first year of life. Most newborn doctors and pediatricians screen for HD at well baby checks, but it’s still not found all the time.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  1. Uneven thigh folds – they should match up on both legs
  2. Less flexible hip on one side
  3. Strange gait when walking (limping or waddling)

Some things you can do:

  1. Have your baby evaluated by a pediatric chiropractor
  2. Discuss any risk factors with your doctor. Risk factors include family history, breech baby, c-section delivery, girl, and first born. Best I can tell, 75% of babies with HD are girls! And the leg most often impacted is the left.
  3. Practice hip healthy swaddling if you swaddle. The hip socket is still developing during the first year of life and pulling legs down tightly and not allowing them to be in their natural state can encourage more hip problems.
  4. Carry your baby on your hip and cloth diaper. These things help keep the hips properly aligned so they can develop as needed.

Since my baby was diagnosed, I have been researching almost non-stop. I’m compiling a list of resources and blogs that have been helping me and will post it soon, but if you’re facing this problem, The International Hip Dysplasia Institute is a good place to start.

day2day joys

Resources to Help Teach Kids Environmental Responsibility

Teaching my children to be good environmental stewards is very important to me. I’m always on the prowl for cute books and teaching ideas since a big part of our learning process is simply reading. Here are some wonderful resources I use to teach kids environmental responsibility.

Resources to Help Teach Kids Environmental Responsibility

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission on your purchase.*

1. The Lorax (Classic Seuss) My ALL TIME favorite book teaching kids to conserve resources and take care of animals. My kids love this book and ask me to read it almost every day. Dr. Seuss has a really cool Lorax project here rife with fun activities, information, and free downloads. Seussville also has a lot of great educational resources.


2.. The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest – Another fabulous book with beautiful pictures that shows how many animals are affected when one tree is cut down in the Amazon Rail Forest. Homeschool Share has compiled a list of different activities for teaching about the animals of the rain forest and the countries of South America. From the San Diego County Office of Education, this website has fun interactive activities to study South America, climate, mapping, and practice writing.

3. Compost Stew. Did you know you can compost dryer lint? I didn’t until I read this cute book about composting! I love this “cookbook” take on learning the alphabet! It’s very unique and refreshing. The author, Mary McKenna Siddals, has a website with lots of fun composting ideas!

4. The Berenstain Bears Don’t Pollute (Anymore). I love this book because it takes on a reformist tone. It talks about some harmful activities people do and shows how to make small changes to help the Earth! My kids love the all Berenstain Bears Book and this one in particular. If you’re looking for ideas to each your kids about air pollution and chemicals, this website has a nice compilation of activities.


5. Heroes of the Environment: True Stories of People Who Are Helping to Protect Our Planet – Finally, if you’re looking for good information for a more advanced reader, this is an excellent book! It tells stories of every day people making big changes in their own communities and encourages kids to find their own ways to make positive environmental impacts!

How do you teach your kids to be good environmental stewards? Do you have favorite books? I’d love to hear!

If you like this post to help teach kids environmental responsibility, you might like these posts too:

Books & Activities for Teaching about MLK Jr Day

Fun Groundhog Day Activities 

30 + Valentine’s Day Books for kids of all ages


Toad or Towed?

I’m sure I’ve never seen anyone accidentally mistake these two words, but I saw this sign at the St. Louis Zoo yesterday and it cracked me up!

Toad or Towed? Which Should You Use When?
toad or towed? Which one should you use when?

This just goes to show how many different word choices there are in the English language! 🙂

Just in case you want clarification…a TOAD (noun) is an amphibian. Some interesting facts I learned about toads: females are larger than males. They go through true metamorphosis from tadpole to toad. While they spend the early part of their life in water as tadpoles, they live the remainder of their lives on land.

Toads double in size in the summer and hibernate in groups during the winter to keep warm. Toads hop (frogs jump) and have dry warty skin. But, toads CANNOT give you warts. My kids have spent most of the summer collecting toads in our yard. I never realized the difference between toads and frogs, but if you want to know, just ask. After this summer, I am somewhat of a toad expert. 🙂



Mater from Cars


TOWED – is the past tense of the verb to TOW. TowMater is brought to you courtesy of one of my kids’ favorite movies.

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! 🙂 More on what we learned in St. Louis about hip dysplasia later. I’m still reeling from the second opinion appointment…

Boosting Immunity with Thieves Oil

thieves ol

Have you heard of Thieve’s Oil? It’s an essential oil that many friends have recommended to me  and I’ve been researching boosting immunity with Thieves Oil.

Boosting Immunity with Thieves Oil

Thieve’s Oil originated during Bubonic Plaque when  “outbreaks decimated the population of Asia and Europe for the better part of a thousand years. Out of this period emerged a legend of four thieves who were captured and charged with robbing the dead and dying victims. When the thieves were tried, the magistrate offered leniency if they would reveal how they resisted contracting the infection as they performed their gruesome acts. They told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs, including garlic, cloves and rosemary, that they rubbed on themselves before committing their crimes.” You can read more here.

I’m trying really hard to keep my 16 month old healthy as we’re getting ready for her hip dysplasia surgery. She’s prone to colds in the winter and has a snotty little nose right now and a bit of a cough. In fact, last winter she wound up in the hospital with pneumonia. I tell you what, I’ve not had such an unhealthy child before! I’m treading new waters with her.

Here are my efforts at keeping us all healthy:

In addition to eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies, I’ve also beefed up my own vitamin intake because I’m still nursing her. I’m taking probiotics, a multi-vitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and fish oil. I’ve also limited my sugar intake and have starting using Thieve’s Oil. The cheapest I found for the  Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living Essential Oils – 15 ml was on Amazon. So I ordered it and it arrived last week. Following the directions, I diluted a little into lotion and am massaging it on her feet at night. I also added some to our humidifier and have been running that at night as well.

I think everything I’m doing is helping her cough. We’re still working with the runny nose, but I’m encouraged right now by the improvements in her cough. Of course, I’m not a medical professional and I can’t attribute her improvements to anything in particular. I’m just sharing what we’re doing right now in case you’re also looking for ways to boost immunity. I really feel pressure to kick the runny nose and cough so she’s not rejected for surgery.

If you’re curious about Thieve’s Oil, you can read about its Legend here. And here are 33 ways to use it! If you want to buy it, Amazon is the cheapest place I found it online. Here’s that link: Thieves Essential Oil by Young Living Essential Oils – 15 ml.

What do you do to keep your kids healthy? Visit Healthy 2day Wednesdays for more good ideas.

Witch or Which or Sandwich?

Earlier in the week as I was grading my college comp I papers, I noticed a few mistakes with the witch and which. So, in honor of my college students, here’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson!

#1. A WITCH is a magical woman. A noun. She might ride a broom and wear a pointy hat. Or, she may have tattoos and like to knit. You never know. Which is why you might not want to judge and brings me to point #2.

#2. WHICH is an adjective or a pronoun. You generally want more information when you use WHICH. WHICH car did you buy? WHICH book did you read? WHICH witch did you see last night?


#3. Of course, just to utterly confuse you, English has a third type of wich – SANDWICH – notice, no t or extra h as found in #1 and #2. But doesn’t that look good? 😉

Unfortunately, these three words are NOT interchangeable. As with so many other things in English, they just have to be memorized. I highly suggest not getting them confused on formal papers for English teachers! 🙂

And that’s your 5 Minute Grammar Lesson! Enjoy!!

Witch or Which or Sandwich ~5 minute grammar lesson

Walking with Hip Dysplasia

It’s a little hard to tell, but below is a video of our 16 1/2 month old daughter walking with hip dysplasia – specifically a dislocated left hip. If you look carefully, you’ll see that instead of her left leg rolling like it’s supposed to, she hikes it up and over. If you’re here because you have a nagging feeling about your own child, the good news is a diagnosis of hip dysplasia is fixable! Our daughter is now almost 9 years old and you can’t really tell she ever when through this. <3

girl in a spica cast

When she first starting walking, I had a nagging feeling in my head about it being bad, but I dismissed that thought because she was such a new walker. After she didn’t get any better, and more people started commenting, I pulled out my handy dandy Dr. Sears’ The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Revised and Updated Edition) and started reading about limping. Frankly, it scared me.

Walking with Hip Dysplasia

I honestly avoid doctors. We only go unless absolutely necessary which isn’t very often. One of my favorite medical books is How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor. But I also trust and rely on my Dr. Sears’ books. When I read that we needed to have her seen right away, we did. And even when the doctor said she wasn’t concerned, we pushed until we were seen by a pediatric orthopedist. I trusted my mom sense and my mom sense said something was wrong.

I have been on pins and needles since her hip dysplasia diagnosis. I’m in and out of tears. I’m sad, mad, terrified of what’s to come. But I have finally come to peace. We’re headed to St. Louis next week for a second opinion appointment, more so to check out one more surgeon before we make our decision than to try to second guess the diagnosis. It is what it is unfortunately, and it’s totally obvious on her xray that her left hip is not in the socket.

Here is the video of her walking with DDH

2019 Update Hip Dysplasia Update

This post kind of leaves you hanging on where we are today – eight years later. We did operate on Sara. She had an open reduction at 17 months at the University of Iowa with Dr. Weinstein. At 3 1/2, she had a double osteotomy also with Dr. Weinstein. When she was 6 years old, she was finally cleared to once every two year check ups. At 8 years old, she’s still looking good. We see her surgeon again in about one year. You can read more about our journey here. Please feel free to email me if you need to vent. I’m here for my fellow DDH parents. <3

What you need to know about hip dysplasia in babies

What to expect on open reduction hip surgery day

Supplies for spica cast post DDH surgery

Preparing for Pemberton and Femoral Osteotomies in the fight against DDH

Artisan Bread in a Bosch

I love a good, crunchy loaf of artisan bread but I don’t like to use store bought flour because I grind my own. The health benefits of freshly ground flour can’t be beat, but it takes a while to get used to as it’s different to work with than the flour you can buy in stores.

I used to buy a lot of unbleached flour. My price point was .99 / 5 lb bag and when I quit seeing that price, I quit buying it. At the same time, I also found hard white wheat berries instead of hard red wheat berries. I’ve been grinding my own flour since 2005, but I had only used hard red wheat until just this year! While I adore the rich taste of the hard red wheat, we found it too wheaty to use exclusively in delicate baked goods so I mixed it with the store-bought unbleached flour.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the hard white wheat tastes light and nutty, though. I’ve been using it in 100% of my baked goods for months now and it’s delicious! So flavorful!! For the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with the hard white wheat and artisan bread. I think I’ve finally found a winning combination!

The problem I’ve been having is that the dough is too runny and the bread won’t hold shape. It tastes good, but the loaf had been turning out too flat. To fix it, I simply added more flour. I was worried because the authors of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day say the dough needs to be really wet and sticky so I didn’t want to add too much flour. But at the same time, flat bread’s not what I’m after.

I double the basic recipe here. To clarify, I used the basic recipe from the Original Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (not the Healthy Recipe Book). If you want to make this bread using unbleached flour, I recommend you follow the exact recipe. If you’re using freshly ground flour and double the recipe, I recommend adding 15 1/2 cups + of flour instead of the 13 the recipe calls for. Don’t be afraid to ruin the dough by adding too much.

Artisan Bread in a Bosch

Mix up your ingredients and continue adding flour until your mixer bowl sweeps clean. That means dough does not stick to the sides. For me, the right combination was about 15 1/2 cups, but that amount can vary slightly based on how much water you’ve added.

Artisan Bread in a Bosch
After you’re satisfied with the dough, follow the book’s recommendations for allowing it to rise in your chosen container.

Artisan Bread in a Bosch
When your dough is ready, shape the loaf and allow it rest. Before baking, slash the bread with a bread knife. Make sure you slash it very deeply or they slashes will bake out.

Artisan Bread in a Bosch

See? I didn’t slash mine deeply enough and it looks funny. But it still tastes good!

Artisan Bread in a Bosch
Slice, butter, and enjoy!

Do you grind your own flour? Have you tried Artisan Bread with freshly ground flour? What’s your favorite baked good?