Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Neither here nor there...

Seems like I have a lot of little things to report. Nothing worthy of a full post. So, here's a random list of what's up these days...

1. I, like Linda, was a little surprised Aaron McCargo Jr. won the Next Food Network Star. I was kind of rooting for Adam. I liked his "Hungry in Philadelphia" idea. It was different from your average cooking show. Lisa seemed like a nice girl and all, but watching her made me a little nervous. She was a tad intense.

2. I know where I'm sending my son to preschool. I had waited too long to send in my paperwork for the program I was originally going to put him in and it filled up. My remaining options were all less than favorable. I prayed and felt confident God would find the perfect program for Josh this fall (even if that meant homeschooling him). Well, a brand new option was thrown on the table last week. Better teacher to student ratio. Closer to the house. Can do a three-day versus a five-day option. I'm sending the check in tomorrow. Amen.

3. Due to illness, I was forced to reschedule THE doctor's appointment for Jilly and Josh. You remember the one, right? The one that will involve a shot or two? That will happen on Friday. So, stay tuned. I'm sure there will be a good post resulting from that visit.

4. On the karate front, I earned my yellow belt last weekend. But I'm still the only adult in the adult class. Whatever. I actually had to "spar" in class last night -- I got to have a 19-year-old boy and a 15-year-old boy punch and kick at me for two minutes each. It was nothin' I couldn't handle. I'm the mother of two preschoolers and a toddler for crying out loud. Ever have to drag a screaming child from Walmart with two others in tow? That is a much harder battle, I assure you.

5. I've been trying to train Josh to make his bed each morning. I used the House Fairy Program with Jilly and it worked beautifully. But, she's a first born. We tried the program with Josh, and I had to take him off the House Fairy's list. He really could care less about an old woman who comes in his room and leaves a prize for tidiness.

But, Josh discovered a Spiderman kickboard I had hidden in the back closet. I told him if he made his bed three days in a row, he could have the kickboard. You know, positive reinforcement. Well, he made it two days. Tomorrow will be day number three. Tonight, when I walked in to kiss him goodnight, he was laying on top of his bedspread with a blanket over the top of him.

Me: Josh, don't you want to get under the covers?
Josh: Do I earn my Spiderman kickboard tomorrow?
Me: If you make your bed one more time.
Josh: I want to sleep like this so I don't have to make my bed.

That child is always looking for the loophole. Honestly, I begin trembling when I imagine his teen years.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shiny, Pretty and Sparkly...oh my!

When it comes to favorite things, pretty and sparkly almost always tops my list.

Oh, you too?

Well, I have a sterling silver pendant on an 18" box chain, set with a blue topaz that I'm giving away to one lucky commenter this week. (I have a similar necklace that I wear almost daily.) It looks just as great with jeans as it does with dresses and would make a great gift for yourself or someone you love. Here's what it looks like:

For a chance to win this pendant, simply leave a comment on this post by 10 p.m. on Friday, August 1st. One comment per person please (duplicates will be deleted). You do NOT have to have a blog to play along, but please provide a valid email address where I can contact you. I'm willing to ship internationally, but I'm not sure how the duty and taxes will work on your end. (If you're willing to handle that part, please feel free to enter.) I will randomly draw a winner and notify you via email over the weekend.

Thanks for visiting and, if you're new here, feel free to stop back when you have time to look around. Don't forget to check out all the other fantastic prizes up for grabs this week as part of the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival. Good luck!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Here's where I start to feel old...

Anyone remember when this?

When Nirvana and Kurt Cobain first appeared on the music scene with their album Nevermind, I was in my sophomore year of high school and that album was IT. The cool music. The beginning of "grunge." Remember? Smells Like Teen Spirit. It felt so "rebellious." I loved it.

Well, today the baby on the cover? He turns 18. His name is Spencer Elden.

And me? Well, I'm feeling awfully old. Like someone who's thinking back on Woodstock (or Lollapalooza, in this case) thankyouverymuch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And I'd like to thank...the little fish

Have y'all met my pal Domestic Spaz? Can I just say, she is so cool.

Last week the two of us were talking about the vastness of the blogosphere.

There are just so many blogs.

Of course, there are "the big blogs" -- the blogs we all have in our feed readers. But for those of us with only a handful of subscribers, as opposed to hundreds, it's sometimes hard to shake the feeling that you're a very small fish in a very large pond.

So, you know what Spaz goes and does?

She creates an award. For the little fish.

See why I love her?

She is one smart (not to mention inclusive) cookie.

Each week she has decided to feature a "little fish" blog -- one you don't find all over other people's blogrolls.

And, you know who her first award recipient is? Me! **blush**

I'm so honored -- I don't know what to say! The Little Fish Society is a club that I am more than proud to join, my friend! Thanks so much for the terrific acknowledgement.

So, what "little fish" blogs do you read? What "lesser known" blogs continually have you coming back for more or crack you up with their content? Leave a comment and let me know, or even better, head over and let Spaz know. Because she wants to award the Little Fish to blogs recommended by y'all.

See. I told you she was cool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I've Got a New Gig...

If you've ever wondered about the best brand of mascara, how to keep your eyeliner from smearing or whether a particular beauty product lives up to all the hype, then you need to check out Chic Critique. It's a blog where "regular women review beauty products for regular women."

Pretty cool, huh?

Know what else is cool?

I'm now a regular contributor.

I've over there today dishing about the Ped Egg.

C'mon you know you're oddly fascinated by the commercials featuring all of the parmesean cheese-like foot filings being dumped in the trash. Want to know if it really works? Head on over and find out!

Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment over there to let me know y'all stopped by! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Apparently, she feels the need to make it official...

My 5-year-old daughter Jillian is an event planner in training. Hardly a day goes by when she is not busying herself with the details of the next great celebration she's thought up.

A few weeks ago, when I found myself a little under the weather, I discovered Jilly at the kitchen table designing invitations for my Get Well Party. She had already created a guest list. And planned the food.

Make no mistake, Jilly takes parties very seriously.

Well, it's a new day, so that means a new party is already in the works. This one has had Jilly rushing around in a flurry of activity. You see, it's a very important event. It's a "Crowning Party" (we adults would refer to it as a coronation). Who's getting crowned, you ask? Why Jilly, naturally.

This is the first "Jilly party" we've actually had to rehearse for. Jilly sits on a pillow in the middle of the floor, draws a name from a hat and that lucky person is the one to place the crown on her head and declare her "Princess of the Family."

Her words, not mine.

Josh (3) was the most recent one to be chosen as "crown presenter" and he was practically giddy about it. He ran up excitedly to the make-shift throne where Jilly insisted he bow before placing the crown on her head. Ever the willing servant, Josh happily obliged.

Jilly doesn't think I've caught on, but I'm pretty sure I know what's inspiring this latest celebration. It's all about the "Race to the Throne." Grace (1) isn't old enough to realize what's happening and clearly Jilly's seizing the opportunity to lock in her position while she's got the chance.

That, my friends, is one smart princess.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm joining the Par-Tay!

Hi, welcome to Life with Three! I'm Michelle. I've only been blogging for about four months so, truth be told, I probably haven't really earned the right to attend that big ol' blogging conference in San Francisco.

But, that doesn't change the fact that I still really wanted to go.

My husband says it's the first sign of addiction.

He's probably right.

But, if I can't be at BlogHer, at least I can still take a little tour of the blogosphere and make some new friends.

So, please excuse the mess. Come on in, make yourself comfy and let me grab you a big tall glass of sweet tea. Feel free to take a look around -- it's never a dull moment around here. I've been known to share some crazy moments, like when I was trying to get a lizard out of the house or the time I flashed everyone at Mother's Day brunch. But whether I'm learning more about raising boys or celebrating my baby's latest milestone, it's ultimately the small, quiet moments that bring me the biggest joy.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again, and I can't wait to visit all of you!
(And, if you're looking for another place to meet some great bloggers, go check out my pal Domestic Spaz -- she's hosting an "I'm Not Going to BlogHer Margarita Party!")

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Man Cold

Leah over at Style for the Stay at Home Mom (awesome blog -- so glad you're getting back to posting, Leah!) posted this on Monday. Because it has had me cracking up all week, I couldn't resist posting it over here.

Now, I'm not into man-bashing and I hardly ever complain about my husband because -- honestly -- he is as good as gold. But I'd be lying if I told you I couldn't relate to the glimmer of truth in this clip.

For those of us living on this side of the pond: 999 is like calling 911, Lem Sips is an over-the-counter cold remedy (like Thera Flu) and Cbeebies is like Playhouse Disney.

There's a vegetable in it, so it must be healthy...

I found this recipe in the latest issue of Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking magazine. It's for "Makeover Chocolate Zucchini Bread." My son -- by far the family's pickiest eater -- ate it without complaint. My daughter didn't eat it, but that's because she saw me add the zucchini. If she hadn't witnessed it I'm sure she would have been none-the-wiser. I'll admit, it's pretty darn tasty. In fact, given that it contains a vegetable, I refuse to consider it a dessert and have been eating it for breakfast. So there.

Makeover Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups shredded, peeled zucchini
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flours, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in zucchini. Transfer to two 8"x 4"x 2" loaf pans coated with cooking spray.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
1 slice:
137 calories
4g fat (trace sat fat)
26 mg cholesterol
165 mg sodium
23 g carbohydrate
1g fiber (more if used whole wheat pastry flour)
3g protein
For more great tips and ideas (even another tasty recipe or two) head on over and see Shannon.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm Open for Suggestions...

I have a teensy little problem that I was hoping y'all could help me with. This Friday I'll be taking Jillian (5) and Josh (3) to the doctor for their yearly checkups. Normally, going to the doctor is not an issue. Josh, in particular, has grown into quite a cooperative patient. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when he would spend the entire appointment screaming in one corner of the room while I shouted questions to the doctor standing in the other corner.

Good times.

But, because the last several visits to the doctor have not involved pain of any sort, Josh has mellowed a quite bit. By "mellowed" I mean he's not hyperventilating in waiting room.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

These checkups are going to involve shots -- one for each child. And, what's more, because I choose to vaccinate on a delayed schedule, it will require another visit after this one for my daughter to get her second shot. She's gonna love me for that, I'm sure.

Here's my problem. On the drive to the doctor's office, I'm going to be hit with the inevitable question, "Will we get a shot today?"

Not to sound all dramatic, but what am I supposed to say?!?

I hate to lie. But is there really any point sending them into hysterics 45 minutes prior to the event? And do I give my daughter a heads up now so that she knows she'll be getting another shot in a few weeks? Do I bribe? Do I promise ice cream after? What do I do?

So tell me, oh wise Interpeeps, how do you handle it? Do you feign ignorance? Or do you just lay it all on the line up front?

Please help. I'm all ears.

Got Fear?

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to fear.

Namely, how much of it I have in my life.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not holed up in a dark room, Howard Hughes-style, afraid to venture out and live life. But, if I were to be completely honest, fear is never far from my thoughts. It lurks in the shadows of my mind, like a wild animal waiting to pounce. Then it leaps out and attacks, robbing me of joy. In the midst of even the happiest moments, I can quickly be overwhelmed by a worrying sense of "what might" or "what could" happen.

I used to chalk this phenomenon up to motherhood. It seemed that once I gave birth, a microchip was implanted in my brain that allowed me to envision the worst-case scenario in every situation.

My husband and I laugh about it. I marvel at his relaxed approach with the kids. I fantasize about the peace that must accompany life in my husband's head. When we temporarily lost sight of our 5-year-old at the pool a few weeks ago, he calmly searched the pool deck, confident in the knowledge that she couldn't have gone far. My mind, on the other hand, was immediately panicked with the idea of abduction. It was the longest 8 minutes of my life.

But, even if I reflect on my life before children, I can quickly see that fear and I, we go way back. Fear has always been my constant companion. Fear of sickness. Fear of loss. Fear of hardship.

The reason why, at the age of 34, I've decided to take up karate has little to do with physical fitness and much more to do with fear. I am sick of living with a fear of being attacked. Raped. Even killed.

As a Christian, I know the "head answer" to my problem.

Give the fear up to God.

Let go and let God.

Trust Him.

And I would make attempts at doing this. Sometimes, I would do it several times a day. But, in my heart, I was never completely at peace. I was "giving it up." Wasn't that what God commanded? Wasn't I doing what the Bible said? If I was, why was my soul always feeling like it was being battered by a tempest?

I finished reading The Shack this weekend. It deals a lot with the subject of fear. At one point in the book, the main character, Mack (who is surviving a parent's worst nightmare), is having a conversation with Jesus. Jesus is talking about living in the present -- the only place where He is able to live with us.

"Mack, do you realize that your imagination of the future, which is almost always dictated by fear of some kind, rarely, if ever pictures Me there with you?"

Again Mack stopped and thought. It was true. He spent a lot of time fretting and worrying about the future, and in his imaginations it was usually pretty gloomy and depressing, if not outright horrible. And Jesus was also correct in saying that in Mack's imaginations of the future, God was always absent.

"Why do I do that?" asked Mack.

"It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can't. It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn't even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear."

...."So why do I have so much fear in my life?"

"Because you don't believe. You don't know that we love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe that I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it; but you don't know it." (emphasis mine)

And there it is -- the heart of the matter.

I've been a Christian for 14 years. I have experienced God's grace more times than I can count. He reached into my life and saved me from continuing on, what was fast-becoming, a very destructive path. I sing about it. I've told others about it. Yet, I still live life as someone who's constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, half-expecting God at any moment to orchestrate a tragedy that would take something I love away.

I complete my daily quiet time or attend church Sunday morning, then I "put God away." I busy myself fixing problems and trying to stem off the problems that haven't surfaced yet. Instead of running to God and resting in relationship with Him, I refuse to rest. I play God and prepare for the "future" that I am certain is coming.

I choose to have a continual relationship with fear, instead of a continual relationship with the One who has the power to cast away all fear.

And, frankly, that approach has left me exhausted.

I'm slowly coming to the realization that God doesn't cause bad things to happen. Bad things are, unfortunately, a result of the chaos of life. And they will happen. But my relationship with fear does not have to be. I can choose a deeper relationship with God, instead.

Such a relationship will only be built over time. It will involve me bringing a "mustard seed" of faith (and, believe me, sometimes that's all I have) and placing it before Him each day, trusting Him to nurture it into a seedling, and eventually something much more mature. Only through the power of His Spirit, can I begin to realize the depth and breadth of His love and goodness. By deepening my relationship with Him, I can finally begin to really trust and believe that He will never leave me or forsake me. Whatever might happen.


A life without fear.

That is my prayer these days.

That is the cry of my heart.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bloggy Business

This is the first time I've been able to really sit down and blog in weeks and this post has been a long time in coming. Kendra at A Superhero, A Princess and A Monkey and Domestic Spaz have given me the Arte Y Pico award. Wow! I am so honored -- particularly because I'm a huge fan of their blogs. Both have three kids, just like me. So, we've all got a lot in common.

The Arte Y Pico award (not Pico de Gallo award -- which I'm sure would be quite a tasty award in and of itself) basically translates, "Wow. The best art. Over the top."

Gosh. I feel like such an artist! An artist who needs a margarita to celebrate! Thanks for thinking of me girls!

Winners are supposed to pass this award on to other blogs that are deserving due to their creativity, design, interesting material and contributions to the blogging community. Well, Lizz at Yes, and So is My Heart, Jackie at Our Moments, Our Memories and Kellie at La Vida Dulce -- this one's for you!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

NAET Assessment or How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

I've been conspicuously absent from the blogosphere lately. We've been doing quite a bit of driving this summer -- which has sucked up a lot of time. Being the procrastinator I am, when the end of the day rolls around, I find every excuse in the world NOT to blog. I'm stressed. I'm tired. I'll do it tomorrow.

One of the reasons we've been on the road so much is due to an alternative treatment we've started for my daughter's chronic eczema. (I first talked about it here.) The treatment Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) uses muscle testing, acupressure and "energy medicine" to eliminate allergies. It's incredibly difficult to explain and, if you're looking for a technical explanation of how it works, you won't get one from me.

When I begin explaining how the treatment works to other people, they start looking at me like I've got 12 heads. The best explanation I can offer is that allergies are detected through muscle testing. Then, by massaging my daughter's back and having her hold a vial of water charged with the energy of the said allergen, the allergy is eliminated. She then has to avoid all interaction with the allergen she's "clearing" for at least 25 hours following treatment. When I say "all interaction" that means she can't ingest, touch or have the said allergen come within a certain number of feet from her.

It's fun times, let me tell you. Especially with two other children running around.

We are halfway through the "Basic 15" treatments. I'm offering up this post for anyone who's interested in how things are going, but also for the people who regularly come to this blog through Google searches on NAET. There are at least a few of those visitors each day.

The thing with NAET is that you don't start out eliminating allergies for things like peanuts or milk. You begin with clearing large groups of nutrients. Here's what we've done so far:

Egg Mix
Vitamin C
B Complex
Vitamin A
Mineral Mix

We try and do two treatments a week, although Jillian gotten sick a couple times. The Vitamin C treatment required her to avoid all interaction with Vitamin C for 120 hours. That's five days without fruit or vegetables. We followed up Vitamin C with the treatment for B vitamins. Ever try finding a food that doesn't contain B vitamins? Yeah. There aren't really any, other than McDonald's french fries and hash browns. Which is what she ate for 25 hours. No wonder she got sick.

There have been several times during the course of treatment, as I'm driving an hour and 45 minutes EACH way for treatment (or serving up french fries for breakfast, or press and sealing door handles because she can't touch metal for 25 hours), that I've thought, "I am absolutely crazy. This is ludicrous. Why are we doing this?"


I can't dispute the results that I've seen so far.

Jillian is 5 and has had cradle cap from the time she was an infant. By about the third NAET treatment, her scalp began to clear up. She complained that her head was sore where it was flaking, but within two weeks every single flake was gone. Her scalp is now completely clear.

I also stopped using any creams on Jillian beginning with the third treatment, as we determined that she had an allergy to the creams I was using (even though they were olive oil, not petroleum, based). I figured my not moisturizing her skin would result in huge flare ups. I would normally moisturize her every morning and evening. But, her skin actually has never looked better. It's soft and smooth. I haven't had to do a thing.

But, perhaps most notably, I have not given Jillian any Zyrtec for two weeks. This has NEVER happened before. She has had Zyrtec every night of her life from 15 months old. If we would forget to give her the Zyrtec, she would wake up itching. When we cleared for sugar, I couldn't give Jilly the Zyrtec because it contains sugar. I figured I was in for a long night, but I didn't hear from her once. Since then, she hasn't needed it at all.

I'm not saying that she is "cured." I'm not willing to concede victory, yet. I've been to this movie a time or two. Jilly's skin is notorious for looking good one minute and flaring the next for no reason at all. But, I cannot deny what I've seen so far. In six weeks I've seen more improvement in Jilly's skin from NAET than I've seen in five years from modern medicine.

So, long story short, we're sticking it out. Will this fix the problem once and for all? I have no idea. But, we're hanging in there. Ultimately, time will tell.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Someone please pass the hair dye...

What is it with boys?

Can someone please clue me in?

I've mentioned before that I don't have any brothers, just a sister. I didn't grow up with any "boy" friends. Since having a son, I find myself continually amazed at what life with a boy entails.

Take today for instance. I just finished dealing with yet another one of Josh's head injuries.

The first head injury happened a few months ago and was to the forehead. Josh was busy flying through the house like Superman, with his head turned the opposite direction. When he turned back around -- whoops! -- there was the corner of the wall. Huge gash on forehead. Lots of blood. One late night trip to the emergency room. A few steri-strips later (couldn't do stitches due to the location of the cut). It's fixed. He still has the scar.

Second head injury came after falling off a stool in the bathroom. Head crashed into a ceramic wastebasket on the floor. Smashed the wastebasket and the side of his head in the process. Huge gash over the ear. Lots of blood. Probably could have used stitches. Opted for steri-strips. Luckily his hair has grown over the scar.

Third injury today at the pool. Josh asks me to wrap him in a towel. With a crabby baby in one arm, I use my free arm to wrap him up mummy-style and sit him on the end of the lounge chair. That's when, for whatever reason, he loses his balance, rolls off the side of the chair and smashes his face into the cement pool deck (because I so kindly wrapped his arms tightly against his side with said towel). Huge gash on chin. Lots of blood. Lots of Mommy Guilt. Could probably use a stitch, but really, why break the steri-strip trend? Now resting peacefully and Mommy could really use a stiff drink.

Here's the thing that scares me the most. Three head injuries in seven months -- and he's only 3.

I'm exhausted already, and I'm sure this party is just getting started.

5 ingredients (or thereabouts): Pineapple Salsa Salmon

Shannon has deemed this Works for Me Wednesday the "Five Ingredients or Less" edition, so I'm going to share one of the easiest recipes I know. Technically, if you count the salmon filets and the lemon pepper seasoning, it's just over five ingredients, but most of the ingredients for the sauce are usually things I have on hand. So, really it couldn't be simpler. Serve it over some 10-minute Boil in a Bag brown rice and you're out of the kitchen in 15 minutes. Promise.

I will warn you that the mix of ingredients sounds a little crazy, but the result is delicious.

Pineapple Salsa Salmon (courtesy of Publix)

1/2 pound fresh pineapple chunks (you can also use chunks from a 20 oz. can, just drain them)
1 cup refrigerated mild or medium salsa
2 tsp. horseradish
1 tbsp. honey mustard
2 tsp. cornstarch

1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillets (I use frozen)
cooking spray
lemon pepper seasoning

Chop pineapple into 1/4 inch pieces. Place in medium mixing bowl and stir together with salsa, horseradish, honey mustard, and cornstarch. Set aside. Rinse fish and pat dry. Cut into 4 servings, if needed. Spray both sides of fish with cooking spray and sprinkle with lemon pepper seasoning. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, place fish in saute pan and cook 3 minutes. Turn fish over, and add pineapple mixture. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5-7 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Season fish to taste with salt and pepper. Serve fish and sauce over rice.