Author Archive for Abra Carnahan

27
Apr
13

Stomach Bug Survival Kit

Whether you need to run to the store for your family or you want to bless someone else’s family whose  has been hit by the stomach bug, here is a list of survival items we’ve found essential to weathering the storm.

  • Saltines: Mild carb, easy to digest.
  • Sprite: Sugar helps balance electrolytes and fights dehydration.
  • Chicken noodle soup: Salt also helps balance electrolytes. I’ve found chicken and rice soups to be more unpleasant to throw up. The rice gets stuck in the throat. The noodles slide back up easily.
  • Jello: Sugar and Salt for electrolytes and smoothly travels up and down.
  • Pedialyte: For electrolytes and fights dehydration, use sparingly since it is pretty strong and overuse can actually induce diarrhea.
  • Wet wipes: Because you can’t give them a bath every time they vomit on themselves.
  • Lysol III: It’s the only cleaner (aside from bleach) that I’m aware of that kills stomach bug viruses.
  • Rubbing alcohol: For cleaning cloth furniture that has been vomited on. It disinfects and evaporates quickly.
  • Paper towels: For vomit clean up.

Luxury Items:

  • Spearmint essential oil diluted in water (brown bottle): I spray this inside their cleaned vomit bowls to keep the vomit smell at bay (which can make them feel more nauseous).
  • Nice smelling all-purpose cleaner: To use as needed.
  • Laundry detergent: Because we do a lot of extra laundry during these times!
  • Diapers (if sickies are at that age): We go through double (triple?) the amount of diapers we go through normally.
  • Entertainment: Thankfully we have Netflix, but  if that isn’t available, bring some movies or stories on tape to help keep the kids entertained while they are laying down.
  • Food for mom: Often mom will end up neglecting to eat because she is so busy with the kids. Bring her something easy to eat (a sandwich, a ready made salad, protein smoothie?) and maybe some coffee to keep her going strong.
  • Garbage bags: For mess control!
  • Straws: Because it is better sip then gulp when you are throwing up a lot.

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05
Mar
13

Pancit Bihon (Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

Pancit Bihon (Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

Tried this recipe from Lemons and Anchovies today and fell completely in love. This is going to be a new staple meal in our home. Even my almost 11-month old son loved it!

Ingredients:

(See the link above for the recipe and original ingredients. This list is how I altered the ingredients a to serve 2 adults and 4 children to our liking.)

  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly in 1 – 1½ inch pieces
  • 5 ribs celery, sliced thinly on a diagonal
  • ½ cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 4 Bok Choy stalks, sliced thinly on a diagonal
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts, poached in the stock
  • 4 cups stock  (vegetable)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 8-ounce package bihon noodles (rice stick noodles)
  • Lemon wedges
  • Ground white or black pepper for garnish

dinner

03
Mar
13

Port Infused Mushroom Bruschetta

Since having tasted Maialina‘s Funghi Pizza last week, I’ve been craving mushrooms. The goal today was to make a mushroom bruschetta for lunch that was crisp on the outside and moist on the inside.
Mission accomplished!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/3 c. port
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 8oz white mushrooms, sliced
  • 5oz Aged Kerrygold Cheddar, grated (or other favorite aged Irish cheddar)
  • 2 small loaves of sourdough bread, sliced lengthwise (this recipe makes enough to top 3 halves, with the 4th, I spread broth over it and just topped it with the cheese and rosemary since my kids struggle with the texture of mushrooms)
  • 1 spring of rosemary

Directions:

Combine butter, garlic, bouillon and port in a saucepan. Mush up the bouillon cube. I know these aren’t the healthiest, but they add a nice kick of flavor with virtually no work and don’t change the consistency like adding a liquid broth would have. On top of that, layer your onions and mushrooms. Cover and cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400′. Place all four halves of bread on a cookie sheet, crusts down. Remove the saucepan from the stovetop and spoon the broth evenly over the bread. Return the onion and mushrooms to the stove, uncovered, and saute until the mushrooms are seared to your liking. Depending on how particular you are, you may wish to transfer them to frying pan to sear the veggies. Spread the bread with the mushrooms and onions and sprinkle the grated cheese and rosemary pieces over the top. You really could use any green herb. I was thinking cilantro, parsley or basil would bring a nice pop of flavor. Bake the bruschetta for about 10 minutes and then broil it on low for about 4 minutes (until cheese begins to brown slightly). Remove from oven and serve when slightly cooled.

Port Infused Mushroom Bruschetta

06
Feb
13

Because it is Wednesday

I decided it was time to take a break from winter casseroles, pasta, potato dishes and soups. Tonight, we partied! The best part was, the whole thing was easy to throw together without much preparation. The only thing I had prepared was soaking the garbanzo beans overnight to make hummus. Other then that, it was easy to whip up on the fly.

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Easy crustless ranch quiches, fresh fruit with instant banana pudding to dip it in, hotdogs, veggies with hummus, green pea and avocado crostinis, and sparkling apple-grape Martinellis’ for the kids with an added shot of Domaine de Canton for Mommy and Dad.

The Green Pea and Avocado Crostinis called for lime juice and I found out too late that what I thought was a lime  waiting in my produce bowl was actually a lemon. So I ended up substituting the fresh lime juice for 3 tbsp. of sweetened lime juice I had in my fridge. I also added an extra clove of garlic and some more salt. It didn’t taste as good as it did last time, but there were no complaints.

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23
Jan
13

Birthday Cupcakes

Birthday Cupcakes

I am working on my cake decorating skills. This is what I did for my daughters 7th birthday, as you can see, it’s a work in progress. She asked for chocolate (boxed, thank you very much), with blue and white frosting. At the last minute she decided it needed to be more girly…enter sprinkles. I think I might of messed up the frosting because I had to unclog the decorating nib several times. But she loved them, so mission accomplished.

18
Jan
13

Chore Charts

#3, #1, and #2 camping in the living room

I grew up in a home where there were 6 of us kids. I was the 3rd. Both my parents worked and we were homeschooled, so you can imagine what my chore list was like. My parents did a good job of teaching us to be hard workers.  I’ve been scrubbing baseboards and toilets, doing my own laundry, hand washing dishes (we didn’t have a dishwasher back then), and taking out the garbage for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember enjoying all of my chores, but I certainly didn’t hate most of them. With my own kids,  I have tried in the past to set up chore charts for their edification (they end up being more work for me to enforce then to simply do it on my own), but nothing has stuck this far. The older ones do help me around the house with whatever the current need is, but whenever I tried to have a more structured system it only ever lasted a couple months before dissolving. It could, admittedly, have something to do with my frequent HG pregnancies. It is hard to stay on top of chore charts when you are in and out of the hospital, and barely able to get out of bed. We can make plans, but ultimately, God decides the course of our lives (Proverbs 16:9).  The relative chaos in the housework department doesn’t bother me much anymore. My chaos meter has changed a lot since spending collective years listening to my family live while I helplessly listened from my bed. I can get involved again and bring some order to our little world. Plus, I have long since gotten over any aversions I had to chores. I enjoy cleaning. It occurred to me the other day that since we are done home growing our family, that the odds of sticking to a basic program have greatly increased.   I’ve also noticed a good deal of boredom going around our house. During the day when my oldest is at school, my second plays with our third, but then #3 takes a nap and #2 becomes my shadow, her questions cycle around on a loop, “What day is it? When will sister be home? When will brother get up? What are we doing tonight? Can I play games on the ipad or watch tv?” When I have my wits about me I take the opportunity to give her something constructive to do. Preschool workpages, wiping down surfaces, helping me fold the laundry or tear up lettuce for supper. If I am really on top of my game, I’ll drop everything and build a fort with her or host a tea party for just the two of us (and sometimes baby #4). However, more often then not, my wits get lost somewhere between my morning coffee and the Magic Laundry (you know, it pulls dirty clothes out of thin air and strews them about the house). Add into this the constant direction I give throughout the day and it’s no wonder I am ready to crash the second I load the last dirty dinner dish into the dishwasher (Praise God for technology!). The time has come for change. Today I sat down, searched through all those chore lists I’ve pinned on Pinterest, and came up with what I think is a decent working list for us. I’ll share it here, but I would like to hear what your thoughts are. What chores have you found work well for different age groups? What are your thoughts on incentives? Sticker charts or check lists? Have you found any certain flaws in the system that I should be aware of?

 Chores for a 7 Year old Girl 

  • BEFORE SCHOOL
Mon
day
Tues
day
Wedn
esday
Thurs
day
Friday
Brush your teeth.
Brush your hair.
Wash your face.
Put dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
  • AFTER SCHOOL
*** *** *** *** ***
Change clothes.
Put dirty school clothes in laundry hamper.
Wipe down bathroom sink.
Clean your room (make your bed, put clothes away, put toys away, sweep).
Unload dishwasher.
Homework.
Help fold laundry.
  • BEFORE DINNER
*** *** *** *** ***
Set table with plates or bowls, napkins and silverware.
Wash your hands.
  • AFTER DINNER
*** *** *** *** ***
Clear your plate.
Put on your pajamas.
Put your dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
Politely ask Mommy or Daddy to brush your teeth.
Brush your hair.
Wash your face.
Politely ask Mommy or Daddy to braid your hair for bed.

  Chores for a 4 Year Old Girl

  • MORNING
Mon
day
Tues
day
Wedn
esday
Thurs
day
Friday
Brush your teeth.
Brush your hair.
Wash your face.
Put dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
Do school.
Help fold laundry.
  • AFTERNOON
*** *** *** *** ***
Dust coffee tables.
Disinfect doorknobs.
Clean your room (make your bed, put your clothes away, pick up toys, pick up garbage and throw it away).
Unload dishwasher.
  • BEFORE DINNER
*** *** *** *** ***
Wipe off kitchen table.
Set table with plates or bowls, napkins and silverware.
  • AFTER DINNER
*** *** *** *** ***
Clear your plate.
Put on your pajamas.
Put your dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
Politely ask Mommy or Daddy to brush your teeth.
Wash your face.
Brush your hair.

Chores for a 2 Year Old Boy

  • MORNING
Mon
day
Tues
day
Wedn
esday
Thurs
day
Friday
Brush your teeth.
Brush your hair.
Wash your face.
  • AFTER NAP
*** *** *** *** ***
Make your bed.
Wipe down front of dishwasher.
Wipe down front of oven.
Wipe down front of fridge.
Wipe down bathroom cabinet.
  • BEFORE DINNER
*** *** *** *** ***
Wash your hands.
Wash your face.
  • AFTER DINNER
Put your toys away.
Put on your pajamas.
Put your dirty clothes in laundry hamper.
Politely ask Mommy or Daddy to brush your teeth.
Wash your face.
11
Jan
13

But someone is wrong on the internet!!!

I like people. Individually, every one of us is a unique puzzle. We all have a story and each one is interesting. Collectively, we are generally pretty amusing, too, but in a different way. I enjoy learning peoples likes and dislikes. I find individual reasons to be thoroughly fascinating. We all do what we think is the right thing to do, and for moral issues, I do believe that there is right and there is wrong. With methods, however, often there is no one right answer for every situation. We see this manifested in about a million and one different ways. It ranges in importance from what type of shoe we prefer to wear all the way over to (the oh so hot topics of) parenting practices. Of course, anything can become a moral issue (just as wine in of itself is no sin, we can make it one for ourselves), but more often then not, it simply comes down to preferences. One thing I have become quite convicted of is that women, generally, need to approach diversity more like men.

Men don’t tend to take their differences personally. My husband has a friend who is really into Terry Pratchett novels. My husband enjoys some of them, but is not gung-ho. He is more of a read a history book on the Peloponnesian wars for funsies kinda guy, but back to the point… I know that if my husband out and out hated Terry Pratchett novels, that there would be no awkwardness or breach of fellowship between the two men. They would probably give one another a hard time about it, poking fun, one upping, but all in good spirits, being able to enjoy and even applaud well worded gibes. It isn’t a sin to dislike Terry Prachett. It causes no rift between them and I admire that. Of course if my husband was all gung-ho about, say, 50 Shades of Grey, well, that would probably change their friendship, not because of the difference in taste, but the moral philosophy of the novel. We all do what we do for a good reason. If we don’t know why we do what we do, that is different problem. But philosophy and methodology aren’t the same thing. Some people get them confused, or sometimes they accidentally idolize a method into part of their philosophy. The two parts play off one another, for sure, and it is healthy to fellowship with people who have philosophies that are pleasing in God’s sight, but we need to remember not to made gods out of  our preferences. It is not a sin to have preferences. In fact, it is good to have them, especially when it comes to what you will or won’t let your teenage daughter wear, but as Christian women, we should not allow ourselves to let them become our religion.

For example, my two closest friends are women who have very opposite approaches to (look out!!) birthing methods. One prefers home birth, the other prefers the whole hospital experience. I’ve done both, and certainly have preferences, but I also see the appeal to the other approach. Obviously, we  all have different opinions about what environment and resources we want our baby born in and  we all practice our preferences. This has not once cause strife in the friendship, to the best my knowledge. In fact, it is often the subject of our jokes. We are each confident in our decisions and don’t allow our preference to be part of our identity, which means that nobody is threatened or feels the need to get worked up over our differences. In short, we handle this difference in a manner more often seen in men then in women. Both my friends visited me when I had a hospital birth and when I had a home birth. They were happy for me despite our differences and we could fellowship freely. Sadly, often I have seen this subject in particular create barriers in fellowship between women. Even topics of lesser gravity; cosleeping, cio, cribs, breastfeeding and all the controversy that surrounds it, VBAC, formula, EBF, child led weaning, ERF, even what kinds of food we feed our families (special diets like organic, vegetarian, factory farmed, or the more extreme), or what cleaners we like to use, favorite tv shows and books. When it comes to women, it seems like if you have a preference, there is always someone out there who is hell bent on making sure you know you are wrong for choosing it. Sometimes all it takes is a passing comment to set off a barrage of passive aggressive (or just plain aggressive) arguments on why what you think isn’t optimal in their sight. It can be maddening and exhausting to have to strategize everything you say to avoid conflict. We should always think before we speak, but that is not the same thing as tip toeing around subjects. If someone has to tiptoe around you, eventually, they will grow weary of it and go elsewhere to fellowship. We should be able to disagree in an honest, gracious and God glorifying way. In my opinion, if you can’t disagree with someone amicably, then you probably shouldn’t be voicing your opinions at all. Feel free to disagree with me, though….

Admittedly, it is a work in progress for myself. I do some work online interacting with women I don’t personally know  on a daily basis, which is why this issue comes to my attention repeatedly. Often I’ll see women who are asking for help on a topic, but have to preface their question with “please don’t bash me for this”, and unfortunately, that preface is smart (although often ineffective). I once saw a woman respond that you probably had made the wrong choice if you had to ask people not to bash you for it. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) No, I am not equating internet arguments with Christ dying for a sins, but the point is effective, even when you are doing the right thing, someone is gonna bash you for it. I’ve even heard it said that if you are a Christian and someone isn’t mad at you, you aren’t doing it right. That one has kept my brain busy for some time now.

It is Up to You

So application, which is going to be flimsy since I’m a newbie, myself, but here goes:

  • Don’t moralize non-moral issues. If you feel yourself getting worked up over someone elses preferences, even if they worded it indelicately and thereby practically asked for an argument, it is probably a good idea to examine your position, thoughts and motives and make sure they are glorifying to God.
  • When writing, texting or typing (any medium where the recipient isn’t right in front of you), imagine your audience is sitting next to you. One of the biggest problems with the internet is that it allows anonymity, which is very, very bad. We all need accountability. We are sinners by nature and being allowed to do, or say things without consequences is just asking for trouble! You are you, you are a child of God, don’t say something you’d never say to a person face to face. Also recognize that often online, you aren’t just speaking to one person, you are speaking to literally thousands and you can’t pick who does or does not see what you have said.
  • Train yourself to be more neutral on non-moral topics. This one is a bit tricky since we all have reasons for our preferences. The most helpful thing I have found is to remember that with methods, what I find best for my situation may not be best for this other situation. So if someone asks for advice, give it, but give it in a way that your preferences don’t become a moral high-ground. Avoiding inflammatory language is also a helpful way to smooth rough waters and reestablish camaraderie.
  • Defend whoever is getting pummelled, regardless of your personal preference. We are God’s people. We are called to protect the weak. Anytime someone is getting the snot beaten out of them and you can take a hit for them, do it, but do it in a way where you are blameless, which is much easier said then done. Don’t sin. Just don’t. If you can’t protect someone weaker than you without having to apologize later, then you need to level up your skills. Don’t pass an opportunity by to glorify God  because you are unprepared. Make sure you have the time, energy, and attention (this means no neglecting the responsibilities put before you to take care of a problem over there) to engage prior to getting involved. As a general rule, I try not to log on until my chores are done and, if my children are awake at the time, I am prepared to put the computer aside at a moments notice.
  • And lastly, man up. You need to be prepared for people to disagree with you, and you need to be prepared for them to do so in an ungracious way. If your children, family, home, attitude, chores, or ability to fellowship with “haters” is going to be effected by interacting with them, it is better not to get involved at all. Basically, if hubby comes home to find you in a mood or weeping due to an online altercation, you aren’t a good candidate for online discussions.

It is a lot of work to disagree in a Godly way. Sometimes I am tempted to not bother at all, but that would be a cop out for me. I know I can glorify God more by learning the discipline of kindly discussing topics and defending the weaker online, and as long as that doesn’t interfere with my immediate responsibilities (as I mentioned above) it is healthy..(.and sometimes I can make money doing it ;-)) I have learned and continue to learn how to proof myself against letting disagreements get to me. It has taken time and deliberate planning and I know sometimes I have failed. I try not to get online or read inflammatory articles when I am especially tired, or feeling particularly contrary. Like I mentioned before, I get my house cleaned up, and laundry in the machine, kids down for naps or playing happily in the real world before jumping into the digital world. I’m learning not to be easily offended. Learning not to be unnecessarily aggressive and yet not be a doormat.   Learning what battles are worth the fight and which ones to ignore. It’s a work in progress, but it is one to consider working on, at the very least, it is something to be aware of.

I’m not trying to “jump” on anyone in particularly. I am not referring to any single instance. I am not trying to be unkind and I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on the topic. I’ve been in chat rooms (which I tend to avoid now because I don’t have that kind of uninterrupted time to devote) and online forums and blogs for roughly 15 years. This is simply a problem I’ve noticed crop up regularly.

So tell me, what tips do you have for interacting online without loosing your identity in Christ?




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