Secrets of Mom Search Results

Monday, August 29, 2011

Green Chiles

So last week, a few hours after delivering Miss Cindy Lou-Who, I got online to order a Bountiful Basket (which btw was an awesome basket). One of the extras they had available was a 30 lb bag of Hatch green chiles. I love green chiles and my in-laws really love green chiles so I thought I would split a bag with them. My husband got up early Saturday morning to fetch our produce and I mumbled  "Don't forget our 30 lb bag of green chiles". He thought I said 3 lb bag of green chiles because there is no way I could have bought a 30 lb bag of green chiles. Oh, I did.

So Saturday morning I opened the bag and looked at a few of the beautiful chiles within. Fantastic. Sunday morning I noticed a small puddle next to the bag. By Sunday afternoon a good part of my house was permeated by a rotten earthy smell. My ox was in a mire of rotting chiles. The original plan was to bag and freeze the top half of the sack and give the bottom half (or more) to my in-laws when I see them later this week. I'm sure that's exactly what they want to deal with on the day of the wedding reception. Not to mention that I am not really keen on having my house smell like rot until we leave, or having it in my car. Gross.

 So to my in-laws "Happy-your-baby-is-getting-married-and-I-know-that-you-don't-want-a-smelly-bag-of-rotting-peppers"

  To everyone else I recommend that when cutting large quantities of peppers that you wear gloves, because even mild peppers have oils that can cause burning and skin irritation.

 I was disappointed that so many of the chiles had gone bad and that it caused such a mess. I would say about a third of them were rotten. Even so $19 for 20 lbs of green chiles is a great deal. In the future I will post multiple recipes showing how I go through my half of the peppers. But for now here is one of my father-in-law's favorites (he's from New Mexico and happens to know his chiles)

 New Mexico Chile Verde
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb pork loin (remove visible fat and cut into 1/2" chunks)
3 small garlic cloves, finely minced
1 red onion, finely chopped (optional)

8 T flour
4 T cornstarch
4 T water

28 oz Hatch green chiles (roasted, peeled, seeded and finely chopped)*
1-2 T chopped fresh jalapeno
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
4 chicken bullion cubes
1  14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

1. Saute pork in olive oil until pink is gone. Move pork aside in skillet. 2. Add garlic (and onion) and saute until sizzling. Put in crockpot on high. 3. In a small bowl make thickener of flour, cornstarch and water. After mixed thoroughly add to crockpot. 4. Add chiles and spices to crockpot. Bring to a low boil, then turn to low and add tomatoes. Simmer for at least an hour or preferably all day. Serve plain over rice, burritos, chile rellenos, chimichangas, etc. Freezes well. Serves 4-6

*His notes say 1 bag, which is about a quart ziplock bag, roasted.
For those of the vegetarian persuasion I haven't tried making this without the pork before, but the pork is such a small part of it I think that it would still taste great without the meat. I know my other chile verde recipe worked just fine when I left out the pork.

And when I wasn't washing, sorting and chopping chiles, this is how I spent my weekend:
I'm in love.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

She's Here!

Miss Cindy Lou Who arrived Monday afternoon weighing 7 pounds even. Everything went perfectly (I was pretty shocked). Now I'm at home recovering and enjoying some time off with my three sweet kids. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting Ready to be Outnumbered

With any luck by the time you are reading this I will no longer be pregnant. Hooray! Pregnancy itself is a generally an unpleasant experience, but being 9 months pregnant in August in St George, UT makes it worse.
 With Thing 1 I was sent into labor by being hit by an industrial flat-bed truck. With Thing 2 from the time I started having contractions to the time I was complete was twenty-five minutes, going into labor that fast put my body into shock. So let's hope that Miss Cindy Lou-Who arrives without a traumatic experience. My husband is pretty stressed about it. I figure being stressed isn't going to change the outcome, so why bother? I'm too excited to not be pregnant to worry much about what could possibly go wrong between here and there.
  In preparation for her debut I have been getting ready for quite awhile. Here's what I have been up to:
  • Since about March, every time I saw a "stock-up worthy" deal on diapers I bought a few packages.
  • I snagged numerous cute outfits from the clearance section. (Once I got several Disney themed onesies for 50 cents each at Walmart.)
  • I thoroughly cleaned my house so I have less to worry about later.
  • I made a few freezer meals to make life easier.
  • I finished all of my back to school shopping in July.
  • I packed my bag and arranged childcare.
  • I ordered a new car seat and bassinet, which are ready and waiting.
And as Thing 1 observed, "Now all we need is a baby."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Chile Verde Burritos

 Whenever I have made chile verde sauce my family pretty much inhales it. Here's the secret to my awesome chile verde sauce: I throw in a bunch of stuff until it looks and tastes right and call it good. The recipe below is what I did most recently, but I can't guarantee that it will turn out the same next time. Peppers have a tendency to vary in flavor and hotness. You can't look at a pepper and know how potent it is going to be. If I mix everything together and it's too bland I throw in a dash of green Tabasco or sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. If it needs to be toned down a notch, I'll finely chop up 1/2 a bell pepper and add that to the sauce. May the force be with you in your endeavors.

Chile Verde Burritos
Food Storage Ingredients:
Re-fried beans
Canned pork (optional)

Fresh Ingredients:
grated cheese (I've used cheddar, colby, monterey, pepper jack, and mozzarella, all with great results.)
sour cream
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 Anaheim peppers
3 banana peppers
4 jalapeno peppers
8 tomatillos
4 green onions, chopped

1. Remove pepper stems, leave the seeds. Remove and save tomatillo husks. Cut tomatillos in half, hamburger style. 2. Roast peppers, garlic and tomatillos until well blistered. (Generally 45 minutes @ 375. I did mine in my sun oven, and it took an hour and a half before I was satisfied with their appearance, but it's cooking times will widely vary.) 3. Puree tomatillo husks and roasted vegetables. 4. Simmer pureed pepper mixture with green onions on low for 15-20 minutes or until desired thickness. Add pork if desired. 5. Assemble burritos as desired. (Whenever I make these I like to make extras and freeze them.)
I like my green sauce to be nice and thick.

Notes: I have found that the best re-fried beans come from the LDS Church canneries; they are so delicious. (Don't worry you don't have to be LDS to buy food storage there. They love to encourage everyone to be prepared.) I also love that they are not actually re-fried and are completely fat free, unlike real re-fried beans which are made with lard. (Bleh.) I have heard people complain that they are bland, but it is all in how you cook them. According to the instructions you mix the dried bean flakes in boiling water and let them set. Before I let them set I mix in a pepper. Either a dried and crumbled Chipotle pepper, a chopped Anaheim or whatever other spicy pepper I have convenient. After the beans have absorbed the water, add a heaping teaspoon of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Mix it all together and it makes great burritos, improves 7 layer dip, makes an easy Mexican food side or stand alone bean dip.
When I say Anaheims I mean these beauties
 And as for Anaheims, some stores refer to them as Anaheims, others as Cubanos. I'm not sure why. And when I planted Anaheims in my garden, none of the plants I could find had pictures that looked anything like the Anaheim peppers that I am familiar with. And the peppers that grew were small and red.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Some Tips About Upromise and Sallie Mae

So a few years ago I opened a Upromise account to get a head start on saving for my kids college. It's somewhat like Ebates. You get a percentage of what you spend online put into an account that you can use to pay off student loans, or pay tuition and other college expenses. There are a few other ways of earning money too. Sometimes there are surveys you can take, you can earn money back on dining, groceries, etc. Originally this money was to be for the kids' college fund, but then my husband went back to school and had to take out some loans, so I wanted to the money I've earned to pay off his loans first. His loan was already linked to the account, but there was not an option online for me to transfer money as payment towards his loan. I called the number listed on the website: 1-888-434-9111 (Whatever you do, do not call that number.)

The person I talked to at Upromise said they had to transfer me to Sallie Mae. Fine.

The second person I talked to said I was not authorized to information related to his account. Fine, talk to him. Why would I be trying to pay off his student loan if I am not his wife? He promptly gave them permission, because that means I'll take care of it and he doesn't need to worry about it. After I got back on the phone they transferred me to someone else because they were not authorized to transfer payments.

The third person I talked to was kind of confused and transferred me to someone else. He said that I needed to link the two accounts together before I could do anything and I should try making a payment online. If that had been a possibility I would not have bothered calling.

The fourth person I talked to was also confused and tried to tell me that I couldn't access the loan information, before changing their mind about it. There is no information that she could give me that I couldn't access myself from the Sallie Mae website. She transferred me to someone else.

The fifth person I talked to tried to give me all of the same bologna that the other incompetent people gave me, before deciding that I needed to call Upromise. "I did call Upromise, and they transferred me to three other people before you." "Oh, well just a minute." She gave me a different number to call. 39 minutes of my life wasted. And guess where the number she gave me sent me?

A Ford dealership. No, I'm pretty sure that they can help me about as much as the fools at Sallie Mae. Later my husband asked me a question about the account. I told him that the people at Sallie Mae were idiots. "Well, at least they are using the money we are paying in interest to provide jobs for the handicapped."

I went back to the Upromise website and found a different number. 1-800-877-6647. After talking to the guy for a few minutes, he set it up so at the beginning of the next quarter all my money will be transferred over to the student loan, and every quarter when there is a balance of at least $10, that money will be applied to the student loan also. Hallelujah! $689 down, some odd thousand left to go. Why couldn't I have talked to that guy in the first place?

Lessons learned:
  • Call Sallie Mae at your own peril and only if you are interested in being transferred around in circles and hoping to waste a lot of time.
  • Some customer support numbers listed on websites are better than others. The one that actually spells the name of the company is usually a safe bet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food Storage Friday: Stir-fried Green Beans with Rice

Sometime in the last month we got green beans in our Bountiful Basket. My husband has a tendency to turn his nose up at green beans and my kids won't try them either. One day I mentioned that we should eat them and my husband said "I can't imagine that there is anything you can do to green beans to make them delicious." I took this as a challenge. Heather has a tendency to be fairly irritated when someone tells her that she can't do something. When I was in college my department counselor laughed at me for a good 15 minutes when I told her I was thinking about graduating with University Honors. I did it and in less than four years too, so there.  So I turned to How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food  for ideas. I found a recipe for Twice-Fried Green Beans, that sounded like it had potential, except it involved deep-frying, which I am pretty aversive to. So I took all of the ingredients, stir-fried them and served them over rice. My husband loved it and admitted that green beans can taste good as long as they don't come from a can. He liked it so much that I caught him multiple times sticking his finger in the empty pan to scrape out the remains of the sauce. Mission accomplished.

Stir-fried Green Beans with Rice
Food Storage Ingredients:
rice, prepared per package directions
4 Tablespoons of oil
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
dash of salt

Fresh Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup scallions, chopped*

1. Stir-fry green beans in oil for ten minutes on medium heat. 2. Add cashews and cook until they just start to brown. 3. Add garlic, scallions, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onions turn clear. 4.  Add soy sauce and salt. 5. Sprinkle sugar evenly over vegetables. Saute until evenly coated with sauce. (It will be thick and sticky.) Serve over rice.

*The original recipe called for scallions, but I used the small red onions that I had just harvested from my garden with very satisfactory results.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where to Find Grocery Coupons

Recently a neighbor asked me where I find my coupons. Here's my list.
  1. Newspapers- I take a subscription to the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune for weekends only. I know that The St George Spectrum carries the Red Plum inserts in addition to Smart Source, Proctor & Gamble, and General Mills, however the subscription costs 6-8 times as much as the Salt Lake papers, so whatever additional coupons I would get are not really worth the cost. Two newspapers provides me with more than enough coupons. If there is something to good to pass up I'll get it from a newsstand.
  2. Coupon printing websites- is the biggest one, but I have found that most often any coupon found there can be printed from the Swagbucks website instead, which gives you points that can be exchanged for Amazon gift cards.  Big food companies like Kellogs and General Mills will often have coupons on their websites that you can print. You can also try &, but I have found the printing widgets to be less reliable and their trouble shooting tips to be worthless, and I consider myself to be fairly technically competent.
  3. Facebook- Many companies will allow you to print coupons for their products if you "like" their page. I tend to not use my personal account to do this, because I prefer to have my FB feed be full of updates from my family, friends and neighbors and not cluttered with ads. When I find great printable coupons I share them on my public Facebook profile.
  4. I Heart this website. Not only does it match up coupons with ads, it tells me where I can find individual coupons to print. It totally makes my life easier. This one also gives tips on how to get Catalinas.
  5. Mail- Because I am pregnant I have been getting oodles of coupons for infant formula for free (I think I filled out a survey at some point and that's what started it). Smith's also send me a booklet of coupons for various products at least once a month. If you are really ambitious you can write away for more coupons, but I'm not. CouponingtoDisney is great reference for companies you can write to for coupons and samples.
  6. Another printable I am generally not patient enough for this one. There are great savings to be had, but I usually have to sit and watch a video to get them, and I find that the vast majority of the time when I go to Rite-Aid the great deals are all gone.
  7. Grocery Checkout- Often coupons (aka Catalinas) will print when I am paying for my groceries, or sometimes they will be on the back of the receipt.
Virtual Coupons- I love these because there is no clipping involved. The only hassle is remembering your login and password to load them.
  1. Upromise- These can be stacked and do not show up on your total. I often forget about them. You just have to link your grocery cards to the Upromise website, and if you purchase one of the items instead of getting "money off", you get "money back" in the form of college savings. The problem with these is that are for national brands and I find that many of them are for products that my local stores don't even carry, but I still try to look through them once a month. Another problem is that these coupons are slow to show up and there have been occasions when I know I have bought a product from the list (even without stacking with other coupons) and never received credit for the coupon. But I have saved a few dollars using these.
  2. These Proctor & Gamble coupons are also linked to your grocery card, but are not stackable. There is some overlap with Smith's digital coupons. You can also request that they mail samples and coupons to you and I find that these coupons often are of higher value than the ones found in the newspaper inserts, plus they're free.
  3. Smith' These are also linked to your grocery card, but are not stackable. This site sometimes also provides a few additional printable coupons. You do have to wait at least two hours after loading them to redeem them. Warning: if you have a better paper coupon for a product and have already loaded one of these to your card, you don't get to pick. You have to take the digital discount. There is an exception to the stacking rule. As an example if you have a digital coupon for Reese's Puffs and a paper coupon for 2 General Mills cereals, you can use both if you buy 2 GM cereals and one of them is Reese's Puffs. This site also sometimes has promotional games you can play for free stuff. Last summer I played a spin game and got a free package of Johnsonville sausage and a free Gatorade.
  4. Same rules as the first two, and it also offers a few printable grocery coupons, but I have never printed from this site. There is some overlap for the digital coupons found here and the Smith's website and sometimes it won't let you load from both, but then sometimes it will, you just have to purchase 2 of an item to redeem both coupons. Annoying thing about this one is they are always sending me emails trying to get me to do my online shopping through them. I'm happy with using Upromise and Ebates.
  5. I like this one because I log in using my cellphone number and birthday. I can remember that regardless of what computer I am on. This one doesn't offer a huge selection, they're mostly GM product coupons that are also found other places. But when I find a stock-up sale on fruit snacks they come in very handy.
  6. This one is either really great or meh. Like Upromise you link coupons to your grocery card and you don't get money off, so they're stackable, and once you reach a savings total of at least $5 you can use your savings to purchase a gift card. (The only one I remember is an Amazon gift card, but there were others.) I've gotten some awesome ones like Huggies and Carnation Instant Breakfast, but this month doesn't offer much that I might actually buy. I also found that they're somewhat retroactive. I bought the Huggies and the next day discovered the digital coupon here and loaded the coupon in case I went back for more. I never did and the next time I checked my account they had given me credit for the Huggies coupon. Sweet. (That was just my experience, no guarantees that that will happen every time.)
Are there any places that I have missed? I hope that was helpful.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thoughts on LDS Doctrine & Vegetarianism

 Last week I wrote a post with a vegetarian recipe and some good reasons to consider becoming a vegetarian, or at least eating less meat. Anna commented that she and her husband have been considering the change because of what is said in the Word of Wisdom. This is something that I have been thinking about, but not saying. For those of my readers who are not LDS, the Word of Wisdom is a name given to some guidelines given to us in the scriptures that we believe will increase and preserve our health. In addition to the advice to avoid "wine, tobacco and strong drinks", it gives recommendations on what we should be eating. Some of the relevant points I will summarize and discuss below.
  • wholesome herbs are for the use of man
  • fruits and herbs are to be used in season
  • flesh of beasts and fowls of the air are to be used sparingly and only in times of winter, famine and excess hunger
  • grain is good for the food of man and to be the staff of life
 When I was in college I was required to take a class called "Nursing Ethics and Values". One discussion centered around diet. I remember one of my classmates mentioned that she was a vegetarian and she received a lot of flack for it. Almost everyone asked "How in the world can you not eat meat?" (BTW, this was at BYU, where the vast majority of the student body is LDS.) Her response has stuck with me. "The Word of Wisdom says that meat is to be eaten in times of famine and excess hunger. I don't feel that during my lifetime I have ever really experienced a famine. If I do experience a famine I will start eating meat." That makes a lot of sense to me.
  As I read it, the scriptures are saying that our diets should be built around grains and include fruits, herbs and vegetables in season. We can have meat, but very rarely. Sounds almost like a vegetarian diet to me.
  I also believe that the Lord loves the animals that he has created, and while he said that their "flesh is ordained for the use of man", I don't think He approves of animal cruelty. The more I read and hear about how livestock is raised in America, the more unsettling it is to me. I don't believe that He intended the lives of those creatures to be such a completely miserable experience. There is something very wrong about raising an animal to spend its entire existence in a cage, fed on a diet mixed with steroids so that it's legs can not support it's own body weight.
 And lastly as members of the LDS Church there are some basics that we have been advised to have in our food storage: beans, rice, wheat, oats, pasta and potatoes. We have been advised to store these staples and rotate them on a regular basis. We have been told to store these items because they have a long shelf life and these items can sustain life. It seems logical that meals that are centered around these food items would include many vegetarian entrees.
  Now I am well aware that giving up meat is a huge life-style change for most Americans. We love our meat. In most restaurants, most options are centered around meat. I can't say that it is easy or convenient, but I do believe that it is good for us to cut back the meat content in our diet. And I can't say that I personally have been able ever go 100% without meat, but I'm working on it. The way to do it is start with one vegetarian meal a week and build from there. And I just have to say that I think that sometimes pregnancy and breast-feeding count as times of excess hunger. There were times when I was breast-feeding my kids that I would have a baby on the breast in one arm and a tall glass of undiluted eggnog in my other hand and I felt that there weren't enough hours in the day for me to get in all of the calories that I needed. The Word of Wisdom says that if "they do these sayings they shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge...and shall run and not be weary and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them." Those are some pretty great promises, and it seems that they are worth putting forth an effort to earn them. I'm not trying to tell anyone what they should believe or what they should eat, that's up to you, but I believe that eating less meat is definitely worth some consideration.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Food Storage Friday and Vegetarian Link-Up

 My husband has recently decided to be a vegetarian. And I sort of follow suit because I don't want to bother making two or three meals every night. Right now I find that if I go two or three days without eating meat I start feeling weak and nauseated (more so than usual). I also found that when I don't eat meat I don't gain weight, which I need to be doing right now. I don't need a lot of meat to fix the problem, a turkey sandwich will usually do the trick, but I have to have meat. Perhaps I will give it a more concerted effort when I am not trying to grow a person in my belly. For now I cook vegetarian meals at home and when we go out to eat, or sometimes when I'm at work I eat meat. (The kids don't really like to eat meat anyway, except for the occasional chicken nugget.) So I'm eating some meat, but not very much.
 So why go vegetarian? Here are a few bonuses about the lifestyle:
  • It dramatically lowers your cholesterol and calorie intake.
  • Cutting out the meat significantly reduces your grocery bill.
  • Vegetarian protein sources are cheaper to store and last significantly longer in your food storage than canned or dried meat.
  • Meat is unfortunately "fortified" with steroids, antibiotics and growth hormones. None of which I recommend taking without a prescription.
  • It forces you to pay attention to think about what you are eating. While you are looking at the ingredients, it's more likely that you may be thinking 'Is this good for me?'
  • Vegetarians live longer and don't get sick as often.
  • Going vegetarian leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
 Here's the my vegetarian experiment of the week:

Crock Pot Pepper Pasta
Food Storage Ingredients:
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/8 cup olive oil
2 cans (6 oz) tomato paste
2 Tablespoons jarred, pre-chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 lb pasta, prepared according to directions

Fresh Ingredients:
3 bell peppers, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
6 Tablespoons shredded Parmesean

1. Mix everything except pasta and cheese together in crock pot. Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 hours. 2. When sauce is almost done prepare pasta. 3. Season sauce to taste. Serve with Parmesean.

This stuff made my house smell wonderful. I served it over whole wheat pasta with green apples and french bread (in the interest of providing something I could guarantee my kids would eat.) I thought the sauce was a little thinner than I liked, so next time I may drain one of the cans of tomatoes. My husband loved it the way it was and used his french bread to soak it up.

Now I am well aware that giving up meat is a huge life-style change. I obviously can not say that I have managed to do it. But if you can reduce the amount of meat that you're eating, think of the benefits. You will save money and improve your health, (which also saves you money). It has taken a little work and experimentation, but I have found myself trying and loving many foods that I never would have thought of trying before. Vegetarian cooking has also given me a boost of confidence in my culinary skills. Where my husband works they go out to eat/order in pretty frequently, and usually he's more interested in my leftovers than what is available at local restaurants. Haha!  So this week I am inviting anyone out there to share their favorite vegetarian recipes. And if it includes rice, pasta, oats, potatoes, wheat or beans, all the better!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Preparedness Wednesday: July in Review

For those of you just tuning in, every week I try to do something to get my house in order (fix things, get out of debt, etc) and purchase something to add to my emergency supply. If you want to follow my deals as I find them. I post them on my public facebook profile as I find them if you are interested.

  • Had the yard done. It looks soooo much better. It makes me happy.
  • Bought a sun oven. Actually my husband bought this for my birthday. For all of the sun that we get here in St George, why not use it to cook my meals instead of heating up my kitchen? (I'm putting this with doing because it makes my home more energy efficient.) Expect a post about this in the future.
  • Replaced the air conditioning filter to help it run more efficiently
  • Got an estimate on air conditioning and heating installation for our basement so we can start finishing it.
  • Made curtains for the area under Thing 1's loft bed. Ok, actually I just bought the material and my mom made them when she came to visit for my birthday while I took a nap. Thanks Mom! This was very important to Thing 1.
Emergency Preparedness/Food Storage:
  • Made peach salsa & peach raspberry pancake sauce
  • Bought a few jars of Classico Pasta Sauce- $1.04 each after coupons at Smith's
  • Maggie Moo's Powdered Milk & Chocolate Milk- $11 each for a #10 can at Walmart (this is was their everyday price) I've had friends claim that their families can't taste the difference between this and fresh milk.
  • Wheat Gluten- I thought we would try this stuff out, but I didn't buy much because I've yet to find it at a good price. But we have been experimenting with it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: Full of Life

Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was PregnantIt is my belief that just because this is my third baby and I have a BS in Nursing doesn't mean that I know everything there is to know about pregnancy and having babies. So I picked up Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant by Nancy O'Dell, hoping for some new insights. This book is not an encycolpedia reference for pregnancy and motherhood, however it was more enjoyable to read than any of the other pregnancy books that I have read. It didn't tell me anything that I didn't know, but it does have some really good tips and is written in a style like you are talking to a friend. I would recommend it to first-time moms. Here are some the tips that I thought were most helpful.
  • A typical fertile couple has a 20% chance of conceiving with each cycle and an 85% chance of becoming pregnant within one year.
  • Your pregnancy is really 40 weeks, not just 9 months.
  • Your cravings may be very specific and may change at a moments notice.
  • When telling your boss the news, know your rights before hand. If you have worked for a company full-time for at least 12 months before your date of delivery the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to 12 weeks of maternity leave, during which time they have to hold your position for you. Whether or not you get paid during that time is another story.
  • If you were exercising regularly before you were pregnant, it is safe to continue to do so while you are pregnant.
  • It is not uncommon to have irrational, panic-inducing dreams while you are pregnant.
  • If you are having constipation issues, try baking pureed prunes (yes, baby food will do just nicely) into a spice cake. It should take care of the problem without the taste and texture of actually eating prunes.
  • When creating a baby registry, don't register for blankets, stuffed toys and smaller baby clothes. You will probably get enough of those anyway. Register for sizes 9 months and above, and items like a 2nd car seat base, strollers and baby socks.
  • Sleeping on your left side is best for baby. It improves circulation. Sleeping on your back can cut off circulation (and oxygen) to your baby.
  • Things that can prevent leg cramps: drink plenty of water, eat Potassium rich foods, take a warm shower and stretch your calves before bed.
  • Things to relieve leg cramps: get you husband to massage your calves (yes, I realize these will probably occur at some ungodly hour, have him do it anyway), stretch and flex your calves repeatedly, get up and walk it off.
  • Fetal hiccups show that baby's diaphragm is working.
  • Your breasts can leak breast milk even before you have a baby.
  • Bladder leakage can happen: wear a pad, do your kegels, limit bladder irritating beverages (those that are carbonated, acidic or contain caffeine), and cross your legs when you cough.
  • Breast-feeding is not automatic. Take a class or read a book before you have your baby.
  • Register at the hospital before the big day.
  • In addition to comfy clothes, make sure that you pack your laptop, camera, extra batteries and camera card for your trip to the hospital.
  • The most effective way to push a baby out is like you're pushing to have a bowel movement. Yes, it is true.
  • Despite all of the discomforts and trials of pregnancy, it is all worth it in the end. :)

Planetarium Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Clark Planetarium Ticket vouchers is Deanna who made comment #16. Congratulations! And thanks to everyone who entered.