Home Maid Simple: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Oli's Uncommon Cents


Oli's Uncommon Cents
Author: Deborah Allen

About the Book: Oli’s Uncommon Cents is about a young girl, Oli, who is 12 years old, and a die-hard-tom-boy.  She is given a coin pouch and discovers there are five living coins inside.  Together they explore much more than places, they explore life.  Although this book is written as a fantasy novel, there is a lesson of self- worth and personal value that weaves its way throughout the story.  Readers will follow Oli and her coins as they explore the world of money, and adventure, and learn the importance of worth, versus, value. They will discover that a person’s character is often directly related to the choices they make with their money.  Throughout the book there are ethical issues for young readers to consider, and perhaps as they do, they will better understand how money can create tension, or hope, in a person’s life.  Oli’s Uncommon Cents is written with a dramatic yet fanciful and humorous presentation, but seizes the opportunity to teach young people about the vices of greed and the wake of mistrust, fear and apprehension it leaves in its path.  In contrast, young readers will be warmed with the valuable sense of self-worth, generosity, trust and confidence.

About the Author (in her own words): "My professional experience is actually in Landscape Architecture.  I owned my own business for 25 years and then took a position in business at the University of Idaho.  After retiring I pursued my interests in writing.  I am an active children’s advocate. My sole purpose in writing is to incite hope in the lives of young people.  I write Sunday school curriculum, and children’s devotions, although I don’t exclude myself from children’s secular writing.  As an author for LAF Ministry, my experience ranges from writing, to design, to finance to children’s ministry, the latter being my passion.   Working with children and their families, I have become concerned with the grave and desperate concerns young people have for their futures.   In Oli’s Uncommon Cents, I combine my talents and interests and tackle the problem of greed, and its effects on families.  Without abandoning my writing platform as a children’s advocate, I sneak a golden nugget into my creative fiction novel and teach children life lessons about the value of self-worth, generosity, and caring for others."

My thoughts: I truly enjoyed this book. It is written for middle grade readers with a simple writing style, and a great lesson to be learned. I love the thought provoking questions this book raised.  Just what kind of value do we put on things. Although money all has a specific value what kind of worth should we place on money? Is it more important than our relationships?  Do we give more worth and value to our money, and forget about those people in our lives who should be cared for and loved more than money?  I think this book should be one to find it's way into every middle school!

Menu Plan Monday 4/30


Grocery Shopping with 4 kids, with every one of them wanting to ride in the cart, is quite difficult. I am so glad I stocked our freezer with some meals before little Prince was born, but it's been 3 weeks, and those meals are gone. So this weeks menu is going to consist mostly of things we have in our pantry. If I have to, I'll make a night time run to the store, alone, and leave Mark with the sleeping kids. It's just easier that way. 

This week the plan is
Monday - Meatloaf and corn on the cob
Tuesday - Bread Bowls with Cheesy Potato Soup
Wednesday - Girls night!! kids with Nana and Opah, Mark is on his own.
Friday - Church party. I'm making 2 dozen (maybe more) cookies.  I'm going to try these Snickerdoodles
Saturday - Lasagna

Friday, April 27, 2012

Foodie Friday - Grilled Chicken Salad

Hosted by
I love salads! I remember one year as a preteen where all I ever wanted were salads. We had a foreign exchange student one summer. My mom, sisters, the exchange student and I took a weekend trip up to Quebec. Every where we went I ordered a salad.
It's no wonder than that when I'm pregnant I tend to crave salads and fresh fruit and veggies. After this last pregnancy I'm determined to continue eating healthier.
Would you believe I've never created my own salad before?  I tend to use recipes for just about everything. Well this week I decided, salads really don't need a recipe to make. So I created this Grilled Chicken Salad using items I had in my pantry.

Grilled Chicken Salad
1/2 head of Iceberg lettuce, torn into chunks
4 medium carrots, sliced
Asian Noodles
2 Oranges, peeled and sectioned
Grilled Chicken (I used a precooked frozen grilled chicken)
Thousand Island Dressins
Assemble the ingredients in 4 salad bowls. Serve and Enjoy! 
I had such a hard time choosing what recipes to feature this week! You guys are awesome and linked up some pretty yummy looking stuff!  With the inspiration I've added the following to my menu plan this week!
If you were featured please grab the featured button to display on yout blog!

Tonight we'll be cooking up some Key West Grilled Chicken from FEST

On Sunday I'm planning another attempt at meatloaf with Olla-Podrida's Tantalizingly Tangy Meatloaf

And I might have to throw some kind of party so I can have a Cupcake bar, idea courtesy of Simply...This, that and the other

Now it's your turn! Link up what you've been cooking.  Please link no more than 3 recipes that you haven't shared before. We'd love if you grabbed the Foodie Friday button to display on your post or blog as well!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Free Cupcakes? Yes please!

Dreamworks "People Like Us" and Sprinkles Cupcakes are teaming up to celebrate Family!
Starting on May 2nd (that's next week!) with Brothers and Sisters Day Sprinkles is giving away free cupcakes to any customer who comes in between 12 and 2 and say "People Like Us".  After May 2nd, visit again on the following family holidays
Mothers Day - May 13
Visit Your Relatives Day - May 18
Fathers Day - June 17
National Forgivenes Day - June 26

How cool is that?! Free cupcake just for a phrase. I wish there was a Sprinkles Cupcakes store near me.  Is there one near you?
- Beverly Hills
- Chicago
- Dallas
- Georgetown
- Houston
- La Jolla
- New York
- Newport Beach
- Palo Alto
- Scottsdale

“People Like Us” is a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about this family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

The film releases in U.S. theaters on June 29, 2012, and is rated PG-13.

New Brave Trailer "Families Legend"


I am so excited about this movie! It can't come out soon enough. I guess for now I'll have to watch the trailers repeatedly.  June 22nd Brave will be in theaters.
Like Brave on facebook to stay up to date -  http://www.facebook.com/PixarBrave

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: A Story of the West by Susan Spence

A Story of the West
About the Book: Matt Daly arrives in Montana Territory with his father John in 1880, eager to begin his life as a cattle rancher.
He thinks life will be hard but simple. However, things get complicated quickly.
First, Matt falls in love when he meets Lavina Lavold, a young woman who has journeyed west with her family from Illinois. She shares his zest for life, and it doesn't hurt that she's very attractive. But it's not clear if the family is just passing through or if they will settle there.
Then there are rustlers who steal cattle on the vast prairie. Though it's dangerous, Matt joins a band of ranchers intent on capturing and punishing the criminals.
Bully Buehler, a neighboring rancher only concerned with profit, causes the most trouble. He thinks the Daly ranch would be an attractive addition to his land holdings, and he's ready to try to take it. (Taken from Goodreads.com)

About the Author: Susan Spence has always been intrigued with life in the West during the 1880s. She researched historical accounts and first-person narratives as she prepared to write A Story of the West. A lifelong resident of the West, she currently lives in Montana where she blogs about her life on the Rocking Seven Mile Ranch. She is also writing a second novel, a sequel to her first. (Taken from Goodreads.com).  You can follow along with Susan's life on a modern day cattle ranch by visiting her blog Rocking Seven Mile Ranch

My thoughts: When Susan contacted me about her book A Story of the West, I got pretty excited. One of my favorite authors is Zane Grey - big time Western author. He actually lived during the time he wrote about and the time period Susan has written about. I'm fascinated by the old west, where everyone worked hard, yet life seemed simpler than it is today.  As I read A Story of the West, I felt Susan really captured those moments again for me. Living vicariously through her book I was able to imagine life on a cattle ranch. The remoteness that comes with living on a ranch away from a town, and the hard work every member of the family must put in to succeed and live.
I felt at some points in the book things were missing, but I was able to interpret what may have caused certain events for myself. Overall, a great book.  Simple to read, and enjoyable.

Right now on Goodreads Susan is giving away 3 copies!!  Enter here for a chance to win one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday Tips - Using time Wisely

Tuesday Tips

When it comes to being a mom, sometimes there are not enough hours in the day to do all we need to do. Those moms that also have to work outside the home, and then still have all the home responsibilities to take care of, I don't know how you do it!

Today I'd like to discuss the ways I've learned to optimize my time and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.

I've been very blessed with the ability to stay home with my kids. Mark works and takes care of our financial needs, while I take care of the household needs and make sure the kids are taken care of. Some may look at what I do, and think I have it easy. I can do whatever I want during the day. I could sit and eat chocolate and read a book all day if I so choose.
Guess what? They are right! But I don't choose to do that. In fact I don't know any moms that choose to do that. From my personal experience, moms often get pretty down on themselves for not doing enough. They may not have gotten that last load of laundry folded, or they let the kids watch television while they attempted to get a shower. Perhaps dinner wasn't on the table and ready when their husband got home from work, or one of the kids missed doing some homework because mom forgot to double check they had it all.
By the end of the day, moms are stressed, and feeling inadequate. That chocolate and book are sounding pretty good. The kids are in bed, so why not? Oh wait, look a sink full of dishes, the tables not cleaned off, shoes are all over the place, and school lunches need to be made.

To all Mom's out there, STOP! Really, it's ok if something gets left undone. With the addition of our 4th child, I'm finally learning to let some things go. My first week home, I felt like I was being really lazy. I posted about it on facebook, and had some nice responses reminding me I had a newborn, and I didn't need to do everything.  I'm so glad for those friend, because I've been able to take it to heart. Let me share with you how I've been able to slow down, and optimize my time with 4 kids.

1. Plan.  At the beginning of the week pull out your calendar and plan what is going on that week. Who has to be where and when. Take the time to think about each day.  Plan dinner for the whole week as well. This is something I was already doing, but has been so handy with the addition of a newborn. I don't have to think each day what I'm going to cook, because I already know. I can then work around baby's feeding schedule and any other plans for the day.

2. Sleep. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. If your kids nap, nap with them. If your kids don't nap, have a set quiet time. I know we've all heard this before, but really sleep is very important. For me, my kids don't nap (except for the baby), BUT the baby happens to be the best night time sleeper I've ever had. So my nights are full of pretty quality sleep.
Once you're kids are in bed, ignore the housework. Really, it doesn't need to be done at 10pm. It will still be there tomorrow. Go spend some quality time with your husband. By giving this time to my husband, it strengthens our marriage, and in turn strengthens our family. You don't have to stay up late either though. Watch a movie together, read a book, or play a simple game. Just make sure you both get to bed at a decent time as well. You're husband needs just as much sleep as you do.

3. Prioritize.  Are you out of clean clothes? Run out of clean spoons?  Make a list, in writing or mentally, of what is the most important chore than needs to be done. Get that done, and be happy.  You've accomplished the most important thing for the day. Anything else you do will be icing on the cake.

4. Spend time with your kids.  Take a look at your day. How are you spending it? Have you focused so much on keeping everything cleaned and picked up, that you've forgot to play with your kids. Sure they may be happy playing with their toys, they may be playing nicely together. What I've learned though, is when Mom or Dad gets down on the floor and plays with them, their happiness lasts longer, and Mom and Dad are more patient as well. You may go to bed that night with your house looking like this...
(yes this is my house, right now. Yes it's been like this for a day or two.)

But it was worth it. Trust me! By spending time with your kids, you will find you have more energy, and joy in cleaning up afterwards. The messes will bother you less, and the joy in your house will abound.

5.  My last piece of advice for optimizing your time, is to find the little things that can be done. Are you headed to check on your kids in their room? Grab those kids books that you read on the couch the night before, and take them with you. Don't walk past those pieces of garbage on the floor, take them to the trash can. Have 5 minutes of quiet time? load the dishwasher and get it started. Eventually you'll find your house is cleaner, you feel more accomplished, and the stress is minimizing. You're happy, your kids are happy, and when your husband walks into the happiness he can't help but smile as well.

You're House is now a Home, and you've learned to let go, step back, and enjoy life. You know what you do is worth it every day. That chocolate and book still sound good, AND you actually feel like you deserve them. You're able to take that time for yourself, because you spent time doing the little things that matter.

Now tell me please, what do you do to optimize your time? How do you keep the feeling of inadequacy from hitting you?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flirty Aprons Mothers Day Sale


Every woman wants to look good while cooking.  This Mothers Day get your mom (or wife) a gift of style with a Flirty Apron.

From now until 5/16 get 40% OFF everything at FlirtyAprons.com

Just use coupon code Mother40 at checkout

*this post contains affiliate links

Menu Plan Monday 4/23


Today is Princess R's 2nd birthday. I can't believe she's already 2, but at the same time it feels like she's been here longer than 2 years. I was going to get her cake made last night, but the kids fought bedtime pretty bad and we weren't all in bed until almost midnight. So at some point before dinner tonight I'll be whipping up a heart shaped cake and frosting it purple, her favorite color. I wanted to do something like this cake but decided I needed to keep it simple.
Source: bit.ly via Susanna on Pinterest
Monday - Pasta and Birthday Cake
Tuesday - Bean Burritos
Wednesday - Soup in Bread Bowls
Thursday - Stouffers Lasagna
Friday - Key West Grilled Chicken Skewers with Salad
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Tangy Meatloaf

What's on your menu this week?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Foodie Friday - Chocolate Syrup

Hosted by
We still have not completed our kitchen remodel.  Although we have a working sink and dishwasher, we are in the process of finishing the butcher block countertop.  That means, I can't use the countertops. Once again, cooking has become a tad difficult.  So this week I headed to pinterest for some fun treats to make with the girls.
Awhile ago I came across a pin for home made Chocolate Syrup. It claimed to be more chocolatey then Hershey's Syrup, plus you get the added benefit of knowing exactly what was put in it.
Home Made Chocolate Syrup
(recipe originally from Annie's Eats)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
1 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp Vanilla extract (I used Rodelle Organic Vanilla Extract)

Combine sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan.  Whisk together to break up any clumps.  Stir in the water and salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it boils reduce heat to low, and simmer until thickened.  Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla.  Store in the fridge.

Voila! Home made chocolate syrup! These are all ingredients I always have on hand, so it is definitely cheaper for us to make our own, then to buy it.  I do think it is more chocolater than Hersheys as well. 

I am so excited to try out all the recipes you linkd up last week!!  Check out these three delicious looking treats, and then link up your recipes below!
Mixed Berry Muffins from Sugarbeams
Roasted Garlic and Butternut Squash Soup from Being MVP
and don't forget dessert with Simple Nests Rice (Krispy) and (Swedish) Fish Sushi

Thursday, April 19, 2012

15 Free Kindle Books

Give Your Child A Free Kindle Book Day (Or 15 of Them!) 
15 Free Kindle Books From Established Children's & YA Authors Plus One Bonus E-Book in Multiple Formats!
April 19, 2012
for another way to browse the 15 Kindle Books.

Date:April 19 Only

The Event: Fill up your Kindle and get your children reading this summer with these 15books, free on Kindle only on April 19 during the Give Your Child A Free Kindle Book (or 15 of Them!) Promotion. The list includes picture books,middle grade novels, and young adult books spanning a range of topics from sports, to paranormal, to historical, to educational. Selected books include the Florida Historical Society's Best Children's book of its year,  books that have been recommended in Best Books for Young Teen Readers Grades 7-10 and an edition of Children's Book of the Year compiled by the Child Study Children's Book Committee in New York City, and a finalist in the Valley Forge Romance Writers Sheila contest and in the Florida Romance Writers Golden Palm contest.

Belgrave House has also offered a 16th bonus book, an Agatha-awarding winning novel,which will be free on that day and can be downloaded in the e-book format of your choice.

The authors in the promotion have been published by houses such as Scholastic, Dell, Harper Collins, Simon Pulse, Avon, E.P. Dutton, Millbrook, Lerner, and St.Martin's Minotaur, and have written for Broadway, to name a few of their accomplishments. Don't miss this one-day exclusive offer to give your child an e-book (or many e-books!) Adult readers will find much to enjoy on this list also.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Welcome to
Home Maid Simple

We're partying it up this week with 5 Minutes for Mom in the Ultimate Blog Party. 
If you're a first time visitor to Home Maid Simple, I want to welcome you, and say thanks for stopping by!  Let me tell you a little about myself and Home Maid Simple.

About me
 My name is Adelina. I was named after my great grandmother, and feel a close bound to her even though I never got to meet her. Family is very important to me.  I married the love of my life at age 19, and in July we will have been married 7 years.
I have 4 children. 3 Princesses and a week old little Prince. They are my world, and I would do anything for these precious spirits!
Princess V is our girly girl

Princess C loves the outdoors

Princess R...well...she's Princess R. She has a personality all her own

Then there's Prince L. He's going to be spoiled with all these sisters.

About Home Maid Simple
I started Home Maid Simple as a place to motivate me to clean my home. We were living in a fairly small apartment at the time, and I felt overwhelmed with how messy it easily got, and how little space there was for anything. On top of that, if you've ever lived in an apartment, you know it's hard to really make it YOUR space. Painting isn't allowed, only so many nails in the walls, you have to work around the set up, etc.
My goal was to learn to make any place we lived not just a roof over our heads, but really a home; a place anyone could walk into and feel the love of our family.  I wanted people to feel like our home was theirs.
Shortly after starting the blog, we also started house hunting. Mark was in his first year of teaching, and things were going well.  We wanted to find a more permanent place to raise our family.
Since then, Home Maid Simple has grown so much more! I now offer product reviews, have my own weekly Link Party - Foodie Friday, and have "met" so many friends through blogging.

You can follow Home Maid Simple in many ways, including

I hope you are all having fun hopping around the Ultimate Blog Party!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Review: Shaman, Friend, Enemy

Shaman, Friend, Enemy
An Olivia Lawson Techno-Shaman Novel Book 2

About the Author: "M. Terry Green is a full-time writer, former archaeologist, and budding minimalist. For more information about her and Livvy's techno-shaman universe, please visit mterrygreen.com" (from amazon's website).  You can read more in depth about Terry and in her own words on her website.

About the Book: Shaman, Friend, Enemy is Book 2 in a Techno Shaman series. Reading Book 1 is not neccesary to understand the events of Book 2. Terry has provided enough back story throughout Book 2 to help the reader understand what is going on. In Book 2, Olivia Lawson, the Lightening Shaman is faced with her personal challenge with her mom, and a broader challenge of keeping the Multiverse in balance with the world. With the help of her friends Olivia takes on these challenges, and learns more about herself, her shamanic powers, and the lives of those around her. 

My thoughts: I greatly enjoyed this book. It was a nice way to spend my day in the hospital just reading and caring for the new Baby Prince.  Shaman, Friend, Enemy is an easy read, with a plot simple to follow. I felt there were some parts that didn't quite make sense to me, and were never fully resolved, but perhaps there's a book 3 coming out.  Overall, this was a great read from a self-published author.  There was a little language, but not too bad.

Tuesday Tips - Plumbing


Tuesday Tips

Have you ever worked with plumbing? Has your spouse?
When it comes down to electricity and plumbing, I get very nervous doing our own remodeling. To me those should be left to a trained professional. Sadly, they also cost a lot of money to update as well.
We've come down to the last few steps of our kitchen remodel. We could've been done last week actually, except that the plumbing to the kitchen sink was giving us a pretty hard time. I wish I'd taken a before picture, but I of course didn't think we'd hit that many problems.
Every time we turned the water back on, the tubes would pop out and spray water everywhere.  It was quite the mess really. Finally, after 3 days and a lot of white tape, we had it! We had one small leak, but it was just a drip.
Or so we thought. Sunday night, I found the Princesses dresses pretty wet. I thought as my mom had done laundry that maybe she just hung them up to dry, so I just moved them from the closet to my line dryer.
I should've used my brain a little better.  Monday morning when I went to get clothes for Princess R, I found a sopping wet carpet, and ALL the girls dresses soaked. Plus, Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit (my two favorite games) completely ruined.  Of course at this point Mark was gone to work and couldn't come home. I found every dry towel we had, and made a facebook plea for fans. I hauled our massive shop vac down the stairs and started sucking the water up the best I could as well.
Thankfully, a neighbor came over and was kind enough to spend 5hours working on our plumbing.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to stop all the leaks either.
Finally, a certified, licensed plumber was called in. After another 1-2 hours the plumbing under our sink was completely replaced and brought up to code.
Now our problem is fixing the carpet in the basement....again....I feel like we're back to last year and the flood we had from a frozen pipe.

So my dear readers, all this to bring you today's Tuesday Tip.
If you've never worked with plumbing, or your plumbing is many years old, don't touch it. If you think you can figure it out, give it a try, but after 24 hours, I suggest you stop and bring in the professionals. Most importantly though, if you think it's just a drip, think again. Turn off the water, and get it taken care of before you find a flood elsewhere in your house.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - 4/16


Monday - breakfast: pancakes  dinner: sloppy joes
Tuesday - breakfast: strawberry banana smoothies  dinner: baked ziti
Wednesday - dinner: chicken pot pie
Thursday - dinner: sour cream potato bake
Friday - dinner: grilled chicken salad
Saturday - breakfast: mixed berry muffins  dinner: leftovers
Sunday - dinner: potstickers and rice

Friday, April 13, 2012

Foodie Friday Spotlights and Linky

Hosted by
Baby Prince was born last monday night. With the events surrounding that, I obviously have not done any cooking this week. The two nights we've been home so far, we have had some wonderful neighbors bring us dinner. We haven't even had to pull out my frozen meals yet! 
I'd like to thank everyone for linking up last week! WOW, you guys are awesome.  I can't wait to start trying some of these yummy recipes.
From Foodie Patootie: Gnocchie with Thyme Butter
Mmm, I love gnocchi, but have never made my own!
From MJ's Kitchen: Buttermilk Cornbread
Who doesn't love a good cornbread?
And dessert from Growing Up Gabel: Nelli and Joe's Key Lime Pie
Again, a big thank you to all the submissions last week!  38 new recipes for me to try!!!
If you've got a recipe to share, please add it to the list below!  Diane and I would love for you to follow our blogs, and grab the Foodie Friday button!
You can link up any recipe that has not been linked with us before, but we ask that you keep it to a maximum of 3 per week.  Thanks so much, and Happy Cooking!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guest Post - Relieving Back Pain

As I settle into my ‘thirty somethings’, I’m noticing that things aren’t functioning the way they used to.  My stomach throws temper tantrum when I over-do it on the dairy, my eyesight is playing tricks on me, gravity is ‘shifting things’ to and fro…and my back…my back is killing me.
There are many reasons that women suffer from back pain. Pregnancy, osteoporosis, onset arthritis, fibromyalgia, emotional stress (causing tension), large breasts…even the wrong bra…can all be responsible for the unbearable back pain that so many of us have been trying to ‘get used to’.  It’s awful, and often agonizing.
I’m no Madeline Manning, but I’m still far too young, to feel this old. I don’t want to move like an old lady. Even when I’m an old lady, I don’t want to be moving like an old lady. So, as I do...I hit the books in search of potential solutions to my achy-breaky-back problems.
First, above all, seek out advice from your health care practitioner. Your doctor will be able to first assess and diagnose your situation. Any medical will first want to rule out potential disease and/or injury before deciding the best approach to treatment.
After seeking the advice from your doctor, here are some tips for keeping your back pain in check.
This form of traditional Chinese medicine uses needles, inserted along specifically chosen pathways, to unblock energy.  This treatment is said to calm the nervous system and release natural pain relieving chemicals.

Breathing techniques
Many people underestimate the power of breathing to help improve health. In relation to back health, breathing techniques can help reduce pain, can have a significant improvement on stress-levels associated with dealing with pain and disability. 

Vitamins and Minerals
Eating well, and maintaining a healthy supply of vitamins and minerals…is a no brainer. These nutrients however, go the extra mile.
- Vitamin D – Chronic muscle pain has been linked to deficiencies in Vitamin D. Dose up on your Vitamin D through healthy exposure to sunlight, or an affordable supplement found through your local drug or health store.
- Vitamin B12 – This has been shown to help problems with lower back pain, reducing pain and disability. Vitamin B12 is found predominantly through meat, eggs and dairy. For those who are cutting down, or have completely eliminated meat products from their diets – Fear Not! Vitamin B 12 Supplements are also easily tracked down through local drugstores!
- Magnesium – Tests have suggested this mineral has a dramatic effect on the pain experienced with chronic lower back pain. Consume more magnesium by taking supplements or by eating more green leafy vegetables, dairy products, fish, meat and nuts.

Capsaicin Cream
Capsaicin is  found in chili peppers.  Word on the street is that when the skin absorbs capsaicin, it has a pain relieving affect. The good news with capsaicin cream, is that it can be found in nearly local drug or health store, and doesn’t come with the questionable side effects of a pharmaceutical product. 

Yoga has been all the rage for some time now…but this low impact form of exercise has significant bonuses to just ‘getting fit’. Yoga focuses on creating a sense of balance within your body by developing flexibility and strength. Yoga can reduce pain and decrease flexibility. Don’t be intimidated. Everyone who started, felt silly and inflexible. That’s the point. The point is to push your limits and get stronger! Beginner classes in your community will be easy to find.

Krill Oil
Krill is a tiny shrimp that lives in the cold ocean waters in Antarctica. While fish oil has been getting attention for some time now, not a lot of specific attention has been placed on Krill Oil even though it has quite the impressive resume. Studies have proven that krill oil will reduce inflammation, and, by association, a lot of the pain associated with arthritis.
With such a high Omega 3 content, krill oil is also known to alleviate some of the symptoms attached to premenstrual syndrome, boost immunity and promote cellular health.

Massage therapy
Massage is a common remedy (and treat!) for achy backs. A good therapist will use techniques that reduce tension, alleviate pain and provide relief to anxiety and depression. Personally, I don’t think you should even wait for back pain to get yourself a massage. Chances are, even as you read this, it’s well deserved.
So, those are a few ‘tricks of the trade’. Nothing fancy. But I hope next time I go to pick up my nephew, I’m not stuck moaning on the couch for days afterwards.  After all, I plan on teaching the little guy how to boogie when he grows up!

*Sandra Goldstein has been working in the nutrition industry for a number of years and prides herself on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When Sandra is not down the gym she likes to watch TV on her couch and annoy her cat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday tips - pinterest edition

The following ideas I found on pinterest. Follow the picture links for full details on how to accomplish these in your home.

Keep top of cakes from ecoming stale over night.

DIY chip clips!

Clean up all those cords around your computer!

Use less cups with a family cup coaster

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: Smart Baby Clever Child by Valentine Dmitriev

Smart Baby, Clever Child: Brain Building Games and Activities

Author: Valentine Dmitriev, PH.D.

About the Book: "(An) updated...landmark work on early child development, Smart Baby, Clever Child. The new edition considers in depth the positive and potentially negative aspects of new media and technology in raising a child from birth through the toddler years."

About the Author: Born in Shanghai, China in 1918, Dmitriev migrated with her Russian refugee family to Vancouver, Canada, and as an adult settled in Seattle, Washington.  Dr. Dmitriev was a pioneer in infant learning and early intervention for children with special needs and received national and global recognition for her Model Preschool Program for young children with Down syndrome and other disabilities.
Over a period of 15 years she traveled widely giving lectures and workshops in 40 cities in America and 11 foreign countries including Australia, England, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Russia and Spain.
Valentine Dmitriev has written numerous professional articles, seven books on parenting, education and child development, and four romance novels, Lori, Runaway Wife, Wedding Belle, Five Magic Words and Stolen Bride.
Graduating from high school at fifteen, Dmitriev earned a B.A. from the University of Washington at nineteen, and subsequently a Master’s and Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education.  You can learn more about Valentine and her works at http://www.valentinedmitriev.com

My thoughts: Even though I already have 3 kids, and baby #4 is coming soon (today perhaps?), I feel like there is still so much I can learn. While reading Valentine's book I've looked back and had the thought "Man, I could've avoided those problems if I had read this book!"  I know I'll still make mistakes, and won't/can't be perfect, but after reading Smart Baby, Clever Child I feel more equipped and ready to start good learning experiences from birth! 
One thing I absolutely loved is that Valentine doesn't believe we need to go buy every toy and "educational" product to have successful happy children. She actually seems to promote using what you have around the home. And tells you how to make different toys that will be just as effective for baby as a manufactured toy. I feel like I've learned a lot and am ready to try again with Baby Prince, and start putting into effect other strategies with the Princesses. Even though some we didn't focus on when they were babies, I believe through some hard work we can still get positive results!

Menu Plan Monday - 4/9


Well, it's another crazy meal week here. Planning meals for some is hard enough, but planning when you don't know how your week is going to turn out is even harder!  If you haven't been able to tell, we have not had Baby Prince yet. He was due last Wednesday on the 4th, but he's still hanging out in my ever growing belly.  However, today I believe will be the day! I have an appointment to go see my OB this morning, and we should be scheduling the hospital for later this afternoon, when Mark is off work.  My mom picked up the Princesses last Saturday and will have them until this coming Friday, so I don't have to worry about food for them - just Mark and I. 
Here's a somewhat Meal Schedule for us this week.

Monday - hospital food
Tuesday - hospital food (Nice romantic dinner provided by the hospital!)
Wednesday - posisbly hospital food, or a Freezer Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday - Frozen Pot Stickers (store bought)
Friday - Freezer Bean Burritos from Martha Stewart
Sunday - ?

I have no energy to think a full week ahead right now.  I may try and put up a chicken enchilada today before going to the hospital, and that will give us one more freezer meal.
I also have a wonderful Visiting Teacher (sisters from my church that visit me monthly) that has promised to bring me dinner one night when we're home as well. 

So what's on your menu this week?  What do you do for meals when you have no idea where you'll be during the week?