Monday, October 29, 2012

All Things Fertility {Product Review w/ Discount Code!}

Today I have the privilege of reviewing my absolute favorite company! 
I discovered this amazing company (with amazing prices) through another blog that I frequent, and being that I, or someone I know, could be needing to take a pregnancy test at any given moment, I decided it would be good to stock up!
My first order to CPT took about 10 days to arrive.  It was at this point that I realized I might be pregnant, and as soon as the test arrived in my mailbox, I brought them in and tested.  Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage {I blogged about it here} - but God's timing was perfect...
Kendra at CPT had felt that she had taken a bit too long to get the tests out to me, and so followed up with an email of apology, explaining the circumstances around the delay.  (I want to add that she also had already sent me some additional tests to compensate for my inconvenience!)  I wrote her back and said, "No worries!  It turns out I was indeed pregnant, but it ended in miscarriage."
Honestly,  I wasn't expecting a response.  After all, the big companies that I normally purchase my tests from aren't personally connected to me, so why would this company be any different?
Boy was I wrong!!!
Kendra, the owner of CPT, sent me the most amazing email with words of comfort for my loss, and a personal reminder to "not keep this baby at arms length".  Those 6 little words spoke so deeply to my heart - and they had come from someone I had never met!!!  A very personal touch from a company that believes in sanctity of life and knows a mother's heart!
But what about the product?
Well, not only were the original tests I took able to detect my pregnancy that surely had very little hormones, but a few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant before I would even have been due to start my cycle!
With the circumstances that surrounded my miscarriage, I ended up taking 6 pregnancy tests to confirm this pregnancy!  Because I had ordered them through CPT...cost was not even a thought...I think at the time I paid less than 30 cents per test!
CPT believes in what they sell
 Not only do they offer pregnancy tests, but also ovulation tests, herbal supplements, educational books around the topic of fertility and a personal blog for women to connect!
CPT is graciously extending a discount to Cook's Cottage readers! 
For now through the month of November, if you enter COOKS into the promo code section at checkout, you will receive 15% off your entire order!
You can connect with them by clicking HERE!
Don't just take my word for it ~ go check them out yourself!!!
Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pearls...{My Best Teething Advice}

See that sweet little necklace on Claire?  No, it's not a fashion statement!  It's my best secret for teething pain and drooling!!!
 Papa calls them her pearls!
A little over a year ago, I had a friend who's son was experiencing horrible teething pain.  She spent many sleepless nights with him, and pain relievers were just not doing the trick.  Numerous times I saw her post something to Facebook.  One friend of hers kept posting about Amber Teething Necklaces, and, being that we were just starting to be in the throws of teething issues ourselves, I decided to take the plunge!
Now, let me clarify...I was a TOTAL SCEPTIC!!!  It seemed to me that in 23 years of raising children and never hearing of these beads, that it had to be some sort of new fangled hocus pocus.  Boy was I ever surprised!
I did a bit of research...found some incredible reviews...and even that in some northern European countries, Amber Necklaces are as common place as socks and shoes!
So, I found some on Amazon and at only $15 per necklace, I figured it couldn't hurt!
The results were amazing!  Claire was one of those perpetual droolers!  If you've never experienced this type of baby, let me just say it's not pleasant!  First, their clothing is always soaked and with that constant wetness comes an unpleasant odor!  On top of all of that, she had a rash on her chest that was basically from her saliva "digesting" her skin (as our pediatrician put it).
Within 3 days of putting the necklace on her, the drooling completely stopped!  I mean completely!!!  And the perpetual teething crankiness subsided!  Claire and Mama were both sleeping better!
So, how does it work?  Well, apparently amber has a natural salicylic acid in it that when warmed will absorb into the skin reducing pain and swelling effects. So, you don't want to have this necklace worn on the outside of their contact with skin is essential! The beads are not meant for chewing on!!!
I purchased a necklace that has light yellow beads, but amber varies from light yellow to dark brown.  So, you can actually find necklaces that you may find more appropriate for boys. 

The necklace we purchased has each bead individually knotted, so the risk of baby swallowing the beads in the event of it breaking is eliminated.
We eventually kept the necklace on Claire full-time - night and day!  I was a bit worried about it choking her at nighttime, so I would wind it around her ankle.  After talking to as many mommies I could find with babies wearing these, I discovered that the majority of moms were having the best results with just keeping the necklaces on their babies full time.
Claire is now coming to the end of her teething journey with only 4 teeth left to erupt.  But we will definitely be putting this necklace on baby Zion when he begins his teething journey!
Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Friday, October 19, 2012

All In A Days Work... {you might just find me on YouTube!}

Today was a typical Friday {well with one little incident}...

Co-op in the morning, home for lunch and chores, and back to co-op to do our final bathroom cleaning. {Cleaning the bathrooms at the church is the job that we have been assigned to for the year.  We requested to have all of our cleaning days at the front end of the year instead of them being spread out so that I wouldn't need to think about it after Baby Zion comes!}

So, on our way to clean, we were coming up on a local cemetery.  Familiar flashing lights were approaching ahead of us and I pulled to the right...

The lights belonged to the police escort which would block the traffic for the funeral procession to cross 3 lanes of busy traffic...

Having pulled to the right, my vehicle was essentially blocking the bus lane on the far right.

Noah piped up and asked, "What are the police doing? What's that big car in front?  Whoa, there's a limo!"

As I began to explain to him the reason for all of the different officials and vehicles, I heard honking behind me.  I just sat there...  More honking...  I still sat there...  More honking... {Well, you get the picture.}

Now let me interject here:

Have I ever told you how awkward it can be to drive a large passenger van?  Especially one that has a back up beeper louder than your typical construction equipment?  Well, imagine the thoughts going through my head as the person behind me is honking, and I'm thinking they can't see around me and I already have this uncomfortable feeling about how "in the way" I am in my big van!

So, as I'm sitting there trying to figure out how I could navigate my way out of the way, I get a tap, tap, tap on my window. Rolling down my window I say, "Ummmm...where do you think we're going?"  To which the man replies, "I'm trying to get to that funeral, could you pull out of the way?"  So I say, "Oh, O.K.!"

As best I could, I tried to maneuver back into the non-moving traffic and scoot as close to the car in front of me as possible so that the man could pass behind me.  Only there apparently wasn't enough room...honking pursues... I sat there... More honking... I sat there...growing more uncomfortable by the minute...  Then, tap - tap - tap!!!!

I roll down my window!

"You need to get the _____ out of the way! Can't you back up?"  To which I reply, "Umm, no..." {Duh!  He's in my way...}  So the profanities ensued!  I was called all sorts of names and sworn at up and down.  So, what did I do?  Rolled up my window, locked the doors and looked away!

Back to his van he went...then started honking!!!

Then...tap, tap, tap...

I rolled down my window again, planning on calmly explaining that there was a car in front of me that would also block him.  I even suggested he see if the person in front of me could pull forward or he could back up and go through a parking lot that would take him around the traffic.  But, I don't think he heard a word I said, because he continued with accusations and profanities.  When I began to say that he couldn't speak to me like that, he said, "so you're not going to let me get to my friends funeral?"  To which I said, "Nope!"  and rolled up my window again.

I did hear him say, "That's fine ____!  You're going to be all over YouTube!"

I did get his license plate number before the traffic started moving again.  And the owners of the local shop which I had suggested he drive through were yelling at him and motioning him to go through their parking lot.

Was I shaken a bit?  Absolutely!  And try to hold it together as your 10 year old starts asking questions about why the man was behaving that way.  I simply told him that people act differently when they are experiencing grief.

Later while we were cleaning, Isabelle said, "Well, mom, that guy will get punished for treating you like that...whether here on earth or after he dies."

And you know, it made me think of Jesus on the cross!  He suffered so much more on that day.  Really, my little incident could happen on the streets of larger cities every day!  What were Christ's words, "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do!"

That's the cry of my heart for this man...

Oh, and if you see me on YouTube...comment with a link to this post, K?  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ballerina Girl...

So, again, I'm taking a Friday and posting something that is on my heart.  I usually save Fridays for a "Fast Tip".  But, once again, my heart is full of words that I need to release...

Thursday is one of my favorite days!  It is usually busy, but always culminates in an afternoon trip to the dance studio where Sarah and Isabelle take ballet.
Last week was "watch" week for Isabelle's class, and I couldn't help but notice this one Mama.  She would instruct her daughter every time she could get eye contact.  Not in the, "your doing great" type of way, but in the "do it better" type of way!  I had to chuckle to myself, thinking, "they're 7 for Heaven's sake!"

Then yesterday another situation arose...this time not as funny!  Before the girls were dismissed, the instructor had given them a "free dance" time.  Twirls, and crawling, and silliness ensued.  As Mama came around the corner, she called to her daughter.  When her little one didn't respond, a more insistent call was made.  This time her daughter came out...but was met by a Mama that completely laid into her..."What were you doing?  Why didn't you come when I called?  You are supposed to be dancing and listening! What were you DOING in there?!"  You could visually see the deflated spirit in this little girl.

Averting my eyes and silently motioning to Isabelle to avert her eyes, we walked away from the scene!

As we pulled out of the parking lot, Isabelle spoke up..."Mama, that little girl wasn't doing anything wrong!"

"I know," I said.  "But sometimes Mamas react to their children like that when they think that how their children behave reflects who they are as parents."

"Mama, last week she was making her do the splits and then pushing her down when she couldn't go all the way!"

It was here that my heart broke!  Not just for the little girl, but for the Mama!  For what ever reason, this Mama is projecting her insecurity onto her daughter.

Know why I can spot it so well?  Because I have been that Mama!  I have walked in the lie that if my children are well behaved and "_____" {fill in the blank - smart, athletic, cute, etc.} then it somehow reflects how terrific of a parent I am!  Only, the results of this thinking can be devastating on the child! 

I can't tell you how many times the words, "Remember, you represent our family!"  have passed my lips as I've dropped my children off somewhere.  (And don't get me wrong - I do believe we need to train our children to be respectful and pleasant, and having high standards is not necessarily bad.)  Only, my heart motive was in the wrong place!

I am thankful that somewhere along the way God showed me that He is the perfect parent, and we still don't represent Him very well!

I am thankful that my children were resilient to a Mama that put on a little too much pressure...though I apologize to the older ones...especially my oldest...that they have had to walk through the consequences of my own insecurities!

My message is to the other Mamas out there that struggle with this! 

Learn to relax - at least a bit!  Childhood is a journey, not a race!  Give them grace and remember...

God is the perfect parent and yet we are not perfect children!
Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Get Well" Chicken Soup {Repost w/ recipe}

With cold and sickness season just around the corner, I had a sweet friend looking for this recipe.  I figured it would be a great idea to repost it so that many of you can head off illness in your own homes before it hits!

I can testify that this "soup" works!!!!!  I was better within 1 day of starting it, and fully recovered within 3!!! 

You can easily run out today and buy the ingredients and then freeze it in ice cube trays!

As preventative, our family also takes a daily dose of vitamin C and if we feel something coming on, we start taking Elderberry Syrup ~ that recipe can be found here.

So, without further ado, here's my previous post for Dr. Zinments Chicken Soup!

Some of you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while! That is because, today I am on day 18 of the flu! Not the stomach flu, but the "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, fever, but can't take NyQuil because I'm pregnant" flu! What started out as what I thought was allergies, turned into a full blown flu! This Mama hasn't been down like this in a LONG time!

So, last Sunday I decided I was feeling well {and not contagious} enough to brave church. While there, a sweet friend of mine, Kelley suggest this "soup" for my congestion. Later she sent me an email with the recipe.

Church completely knocked me out...and I've been up and down since. So today, I braved the local grocery store to pick up the ingredients I would need to make this sworn by concoction!

Oops...garlic not pictured!

I have to say, with a full head of garlic {meaning about 15 cloves}...this thing better work!!! All of my kiddos have come through the house and mentioned, "What is that smell?" Even my neighbor who delivered my mail asked what was cookin'!

Smell? I'm so congested I can't smell a thing! Seriously, not even a hint of garlic or cayenne!

Here's the recipe:

(All writing in green is what Kelley actually sent me...I skipped a few optionals...noted in black!)

{Notice the warning not to eat this like actual soup!}

Dr. Zinment's Chicken Soup

1 quart chicken broth

1 garlic head- about 15 cloves, peeled

5 parsley sprigs, minced (I add half a bunch)

6 cilantro sprigs, minced (I add half a bunch)

1 tsp lemon pepper (better to substitute with fresh squeezed lemon 1/2 - 1 whole)

1 tsp dried basil, crushed, or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 tsp curry powder

Optional: hot red pepper flakes (I prefer cayenne pepper) to taste, sliced carrots, a bay leaf or two

{I simply wasn't up to peeling carrots, so I skipped them, no bay leaf and used 1 tsp. of cayenne}

Place all ingredients in a pot without a lid. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes. (If the soup is for your own personal use, carefully inhale the fumes during preparation as an additional decongesting treatment.) Remove the solid garlic gloves and herbs and along with a little broth, puree them in a blender or food processor. (I use a Kitchenaid submersion blender right in the cooking pot). Return the puree to the broth and stir. Serve hot.

Dose: Take 2 Tbsp of Dr. Zinment's Chicken Soup at the beginning of a meal, 1-3X a day. (If you feel you want a little more than 2 Tbsp, fine, but do not exceed more than 1/2 C. at a time.)

Caution: This chicken soup is a medicine and is not to be eaten as one would eat a portion of soup. Please follow the dosage instructions.

The above is all straight from the book. Below is how we think it works best...

For me it works best to take it before bed, when I get up the next day, and once at some point mid-day. I do this until all congestion is gone. I normally take about 2 1/2 Tbsp. If you want it stronger you can add some cayenne pepper when you heat it up. We keep it in the fridge until we need it and then only heat up a single serving. We also add in all of the optional ingredients.

{I just finished taking 1/2 cup of this...we'll see how it works!}

Thanks for stopping by! Be Refreshed and Well!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Our "Go To" dinner! {Recipe}

PIZZA!'s as easy as pie I suppose!   And for about $1.50 per pizza  you can't beat the price!  I make mine using whole wheat, but you can substitute white flour if you like!
For our family of 10, I make three 15" pizzas...and there are always leftovers!  I can't think of a dinner that gives you more bang for your buck!
Here's the recipe as I make it with substitution options in blue:
Mama Cook's Pizza
3 Cups warm water
1T honey
2T yeast
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp. salt
2T Italian Seasoning
1teas. minced garlic
1/4 cup gluten flour
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
{White all purpose flour can be used in place of the gluten and whole wheat flours will need about 8-9 cups.}
Mix first 4 ingredients and let sit 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and knead for 7-10 minutes. {I use a Bosch mixer - gifted to me by one absolutely generous friend - so I simply mix all of my ingredients together and knead for 5 minutes.}
Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll onto 3 15" greased pizza pans. {I picked up my pans at Business Costco for about $2.00 a piece!}
Let dough rise 10 minutes and bake at 425 for 6 minutes.  Add toppings and return to oven for 12-15 minutes.
Cook Family standard toppings include:
BBQ Chicken and Apple
Cheese {of course}
So basically, when I pull the crusts out of the oven, I spread tomato sauce on them...I usually do not end up seasoning my sauce...with the seasonings in the crust, you can cheat on this step!
Next, I sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese on top, add additional toppings {get creative...our favorite pizza was born out of an empty refrigerator} and sprinkle a smidgen more mozzarella {and Parmesan if I have it on hand} on top of that!  Then do a final bake!
There you have it!  Enjoy!!!
Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My sentiments exactly...

Today one of my absolute favorite bloggers posted about having an overfull plate...and how sometimes her blog suffers from it. {You can read about it here!}

I absolutely understand what she is saying!  I LOVE blogs!!!  I love writing one, I love reading them, I love being encouraged, I love getting a little peak into other people's homes, families and lives.

But sometimes, we get busy!  We have children, husbands, schedules...and our best intentions are thwarted.  I always feel like I'm letting my readers down...but while I love my readers...I wouldn't change my "virtual world" for the real world - EVER! 

For me, I "think" in blog posts!  Seriously, my kiddos do or say something and I think, " I should blog about that."  Or, I'll be in my prayer closet {the shower} and God will place an issue on my heart that I know He wants me to write about.  Sometimes I get around to it, and sometimes I don't!  Not because I don't want to...simply because life happens...and I have chosen to live in the role that He has placed before me. 

That is what my purpose for this blog is all encourage you to do the same!  He has placed a path before you...your job is to walk on it, allowing Him to be a "lamp unto your feet."  You may let people who have different expectations of you down, but ultimately you answer to Him!

So, reader, thanks for continuing to check in...hopefully the posts are worth the wait!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!