Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dealing with Food Sugar Cookie Recipe (Egg Free/Nut Free)

My son has severe food, animal, and seasonal allergies. I am never without an Epi-Pen and Benedryl and I am always trying to think ahead. One thing I've learned over the years is that I want my son to be safe while not having to be excluded.

I tend to not trust anyone when it comes to food. I want to make sure that they didn't forget about an ingredient or perhaps they just didn't know there was a "hidden" allergen. For instance, you could have 2 batches of Rice Krispie treats - one made with marshmallows and the other with marshmallow creme. My son would be fine with the first, but the marshmallow cream has egg whites in it and he could go into anaphylactic shock. How many people would know? Did you know that Ranch dressing has eggs? Certain honey mustard do too...of course mayo and tarter sauce has eggs but how many of us really think about what our foods are really made of? I know I rarely read labels before my little guy was diagnosed.

So, I always volunteer to be in charge of snacks whenever I'm given the option. This way, I can guarantee that *First Born* will not only have something safe to eat, but he also gets to eat the SAME THING as everyone else. No sitting at the "peanut-free-table" when Mommy bakes the treats! He really is an amazing little boy and never complains about his allergies, but he does pray that God will take them away. A couple times, he did come home from school and say that he was sad that he didn't get to eat the birthday treats that were brought in for the class. (I did keep some special candy with the teacher so that he always had a treat too.) Anyway, this next week I will be making all the snacks for our vacation Bible school which is always fun...but more importantly - safe. :)

I thought I would share a great recipe for sugar cookies that are Egg/Nut free that my sister-in-law gave me. I actually made several trays for my guy's Christmas Musical called "The Littlest Christmas Tree" in which he played the title role. I was so proud! He even sang a solo...and I cried. :) Okay - I keep getting off the subject! Anyway, it seems that allergies are on the rise so I wouldn't be surprised if you know someone who has them. Maybe you can surprise them with these cookies! (If needed, you could probably substitute the butter if you have a dairy allergy. We are fortunate that my little guy can tolerate some dairy...however he still prefers to drink Rice Milk.)


1 C. powdered sugar
1 C. Butter - Softened
1 T. White Vinegar
2 1/4 C. Flour - All Purpose
3/4 t. Ground Ginger
1/4 t. Salt
3/4 t. Baking Soda
(Food coloring if desired - about 6 drops for half the dough)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, beat 1 cup powdered sugar, the butter and vinegar. With electric mixer on medium speed or mix with spoon, stir in remaining ingredients (include food coloring if desired.) I prefer mixing by hand - it always turns out better for me...

(If dough is too dry, stir in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.)

On lightly floured surface roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into shapes. Place on un-greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 5-7 minutes (not brown) Cool 1-2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool completely 30 minutes.

(Frost if desired.) I just cut a corner of a plastic baggie and squeezed out my frosting on the cookies - it worked great!

Inexpensive Children's Gifts

Hello Friends! Thanks for sticking with me - I know it's been a LONG time since my last post...
I was recently inspired by some blogs I read about keeping costs down when purchasing birthday gifts. My 6 year old son had been invited to 2 parties and one of the birthday celebrations was for twin girls. Previously, I would try to spend between $10-15 per person. However, as my children get older they are getting invited to more and more parties, and well, it could get very expensive. So, I was on a mission. I needed to find 3 "girl gifts" for as little money as possible. The larger goal was 1.) it couldn't look cheap and 2.) it had to be something that I would like my own daughter to receive. So, I scanned the aisles of a local store looking everywhere for something that would catch my eye. And finally...I found it! Discounted from Easter, I found three cute little purses on clearance for $2.49! I decided that I wanted to include something inside the purse as well, and found chap-stick for $3.00 (total). I also added some bubblegum, bringing the grand total of each gift to only $4.49! All the little girls seemed to love the purses and I was able to reach my goal of purchasing an inexpensive gift - multiplied by 3!

Do you have any inexpensive gift ideas? Please share them!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This year, I decided to do something a little different for Mother's Day. The kids and I picked up 4 clay pots at Wal-mart and spray painted them white. After the paint dried, my husband and I, along with our 3 kids put our thumb prints on each pot making the shape of a caterpillar. I then took a Sharpie marker and wrote "Happy Mother's Day" along the top and 2011 on the back. I drew a little face and legs on the caterpillar thumb prints. Now, I used ink thinking that you would see a better print than using paint, but if I did it again I would use paint. I feel like the ink just doesn't show up as well as paint would have. On the back I had each child put another thumb print which I made into either a face, spider, or butterfly. We then planted a pretty pink geranium in each pot and gave them to two Great-Grandmothers and two Grandmothers (who are also great). Overall it was a fun project for all!

(Sorry for the bad picture - you can barely see the thumb prints! By the way, that big, round thumb print is mine!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Butterfly Cupcakes

My daughter recently turned three years old and she asked for butterfly cupcakes for her party. It's definitely not the best picture but I was up at 1:00 a.m. putting icing on them. Life right now is very busy and unfortunately, it was the only time I could make them!

I made homemade chocolate cake and buttercream frosting. Using this template I was able to create butterfly wings. I melted large bars of white chocolate in the microwave then put the melted chocolate in a ziploc bag. I placed parchment paper (or you can use wax paper) on top of the template. After snipping the corner of the ziploc bag, I was able to pipe the melted chocolate on the paper. Quickly, sprinkle sugar on the chocolate then allow it to cool. Place wings on frosted cupcake with jelly beans for the body.

The kids were so excited to eat them and had trouble deciding on which color butterfly to eat first. :)

Since we were also celebrating my nephew's birthday I decided to have a "masculine" cupcake available. So, I simply crushed up some chocolate Teddy Grahams and dipped the frosting in it. Then, I topped it off with a gummy worm.

One word of advice...if you do decide to try and make these fun cupcakes be sure your little ones are carefully watched! I turned around for one minute and found my daughter had dumped sugar all over the table. She was then frantically trying to get as much sugar in her mouth as possible!

(This was of course the following morning...not at 1 a.m.!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"God made us all different, Sweetheart"

Well, I knew it would happen at some point. I assume that every parent has a story of when their child said something inappropriate. I had my "moment" yesterday while checking out at a doctor's clinic. I was with my 6 year old son trying to keep him standing still, since he had just been given medication that made him "jumpy." :) Well, his attention was diverted and he said "Whaaat??? That Daddy is so weird! Look at that weird little Daddy!" I was horrified to hear my son say this! I tried to grab him quickly and stop the chatter that was exiting his mouth, but it was too late. There was no way that this man (or anyone else in the waiting room) did not hear what my son said. The man had walked by swiftly and I quickly knelt down and explained that God made people of all sizes and that some are very tall, some are short and others are right in the middle. I told him that just like he is not exactly like his brother, all the dads are not same either. He seemed to understand, but this morning he was very concerned and asked me if his Daddy will get little soon too.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you have any suggestions on teaching children that just because someone looks different on the outside they are the same on the inside?

(I changed the settings so anyone can leave a comment by choosing to be anonymous - of course you can always leave me your name if you want!)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cheap Fabric Softner

I received a lot of positive emails and facebook comments from my post about homemade laundry detergent, so I decided to try a new fabric softener too. To be honest, the only time I ever use fabric softener is when one of my kids has an "accident." One of my children has severe allergies and so we don't use anything scented; however, I typically need a little "extra" when laundering those accidents out. Previously, I used scent-free dryer sheets but I heard that they may contain chemicals so I switched to dryer balls. The balls are okay, but everything comes out full of static. So my Mom mentioned an alternative to the Downy I had been using, but I wasn't convinced. I figured my clothes would smell funny. Have you guessed? Have you tried it? It's VINEGAR! I used it today on 5 loads of laundry and I think the clothes are actually softer than with the Downy. I used around 1/4 cup per load and everything came out smelling clean and fresh! There is still some slight static cling out of the dryer but it was much better than when I don't use anything but the dryer balls. I'm sold and plan on keeping a gallon of white distilled vinegar in the laundry room from now on! :)

Happy Laundering!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Questions and Answers

My lovely sister-in-law, Katie, tagged me in a Question and Answer post and I'm finally getting around to answering the questions. :)

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family?
We do not have any pets; my son is allergic to dogs and cats.

2. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Pay off the mortgage, fully fund college accounts, tithe, and then give it all away...

3. What helps to pull you out of a bad mood?
Prayer and reading my Bible

4. What is your bedtime routine?
I don't really have a bedtime routine for myself. I do make sure all the kids are tucked in though. Then, I turn the bathroom night light on and pull the toilet seat up in case my little guy gets up during the night. :)

5. Name something that has surprised you this week about motherhood.
I feel like every day I fall more in love with my children. Lately, my 2 year old daughter will give me a hug and say "Mama, you're my best friend." It melts my heart!

6. What kind of books do you read?
Well, I don't read nearly enough, but I try to read my Bible every day. I also like Jane Austen novels and I am currently reading Bringing Up Boys by James Dobson.

7. What’s your fear?
I am not typically a worrier. However, if I'm going to be honest, I fear that I will somehow not be able to protect my children or that something will happen to me or my husband. I love Katie's answer to this question though so I will leave it intact. "2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that God has not given us a spirit of fear but rather of power, love, and a sound mind. Yet, He knows that we do fear many things because His Word instructs us not to be afraid repeatedly! I have feared many things in my lifetime, and I still struggle with this so often. However, my aim at this point in my life is to fear the Lord and Him alone. He's teaching me! In Him, I trust!!"

8. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space?
I'd stick with the junk food - I don't think I could handle getting into a spaceship. :)

9. What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Depends on the morning...some morning I am abruptly woken up by my daughter shouting "Mama!!! Potty! Potty!" While other days I have a little boy crawl in bed asking if he can get up now even though it's not "Seven-O-O" yet. And then there are the days where I have a little guy wake me up with "Mom? I peed the bed." You gotta love it! If I try to get up early, everyone seems to "know" and they get up with me, so now I just stay in bed as long as I can. :)

10. What is one thing you love about your husband?
I love my husband SO MUCH! I love that he makes me laugh - he is incredibly funny. I also really love that we are so similar in so many ways. One way, is that we are both musicians; there are times where no one would understand what I'm talking about - but he understands completely. And by the grace of God, we are also both Christians and ultimately we aim to be more like the Son.

11. If you could pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?

This is kinda funny because I used to dream up new names all the time when I was in college. I decided that the name I was given, shouldn't be used in my performing career and so I needed a stage name. I know it bugged my Dad when I performed on a cruise ship and only used my first and middle name. (Sorry, Dad - our last name was so long!) Anyway, nowadays I don't think about changing anything. :)

12. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose?
Sun...although I love reading on rainy days.

13. If you could only eat one thing for the next 6 months, what would it be?
hmmm....I won't read into this, so I'll just say chocolate. :)

14. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most?
It's still so new to me, but I really enjoy helping others with what I've learned along the way.

15. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?

16. What items are in your purse right now?
Epi-pen Jr, Benedryl and my Dave Ramsey wallet

17. If you had to choose between vacationing at the beach or in the mountains where would you go?
Mountains!! We still miss living in Boulder, Colorado...

18. What websites do you visit that you know you shouldn't?
Honestly, I can't think of any! I'm not one who would spend a lot of money if I go to a certain site. I mainly just read some blogs, check my facebook, and do research online...sorry, I guess I'm boring! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

I love finding homemade alternatives to items I previously purchased in a new favorite one is homemade laundry detergent. The soap recipe I used is found in the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting! Now, here is where I reveal how clueless I am. :) One of the ingredients is "washing soda" and I had no idea what it was. I actually thought it might even come carbonated in a bottle!!!! I hope that some of you reading this can relate to me right now, and secretly don't have a clue either! I would imagine that there are others laughing at me right now - it's all good, I love to learn new things! Anyway, after doing some internet research I found out what washing soda was and how it is similar to baking soda. So after searching all over town and realizing that no one had washing soda, I found that I could substitute baking soda. Since I was so clueless in my initial endeavor, I thought I would share how to make laundry detergent and describe it as simply as possible. Therefore, I decided that I would try to take after my sister-in-law and post pictures with instructions...Katie, I hope I do you justice! :)

Needed: 1 Fels Naptha Soap Bar, grated
1 Cup Washing Soda (I used Baking Soda)
1/2 Cup Borax
5 Gallon bucket with cover
Small saucepan

That's it! That's all you need for (...wait for it...) 10 GALLONS of laundry detergent! No kidding, you will seriously get TEN GALLONS of laundry detergent!!! The best part, is that the whole things costs LESS THAN $2.00 to make! I even saw that Wal-mart is now carrying the Fels Naptha soap bars so they're easy to find and cheap - around a buck. Okay - so here's how to make it:

Grate the soap bar into a small saucepan. (notice the thumb? Hee-Hee)

Mmmm...this Thumby Mummy thinks it looks yummy enough to eat...but DON'T DO IT! - remember it's soap! :)

Cover the soap with hot water.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continually until soap completely dissolves.

Put washing soda (I used baking soda) and Borax in a 5 gallon bucket.

Pour in the hot, melted soap mixture. Stir well, until all the powder is dissolved.

Fill the bucket to the top with hot tap water.

Stir, cover securely and let sit overnight.

The next morning, stir the mixture.

Mix equal amounts of soap concentrate and water in a smaller laundry detergent dispenser or container.

(Each of my containers used 6 cups of detergent and 6 cups of water)

Store the additional detergent and use as needed.

I now have containers neatly stored in my laundry drawers and enough laundry detergent to last a LONG time!

Before each use, shake container. Top Loading machine requires 1 Cup per load and Front Loading (High Efficiency) machines only need 1/3 Cup!

I should add that I laundered several loads in my front loader machine before putting the instructions on my blog. I washed sheets, stinky socks, clothing, winter coats, hats and mittens - everything came out clean and fresh!

Good luck - I promise it's easy to do!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Dinner

The other day, I decided to try a new recipe, which is always a challenge with my family. A typical meal at our house consists of constant reminders to "take a bite" and even some tears at times. My (almost) 5 year old can work himself up so much that he will start to gag even without tasting any food. My husband is not a fan of casseroles but I thought this recipe was a borderline casserole so I might be able to pull it off. And, my oldest son has food allergies so meal time can be...interesting. So, far my daughter has been a good eater with no allergies and we pray that everything stays status quo with her. :) Anyway, I got the recipe from 5 Ingredients or Less! by Gooseberry Patch (thanks Mom!). Technically, the recipe is called "Crunchy Corn Chip Chicken" but I actually substituted BBQ Potato Chips. Tegan Reeves is cited as the author of the recipe.

6 Boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
10 3/4 oz. Can Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning
2 Cups Barbecue (corn) potato chips, crushed

Arrange chicken in an ungreased 13" x 9" baking pan; set aside. Combine soup, one cup cheese and taco seasoning ; spread over chicken. Bake at 450 degrees for 45 minutes; sprinkle with chips and remaining cheese. Return to oven; bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

I plan on cutting up the chicken next time so the whole thing has more flavor but the meal was really delicious. I was worried that the chicken soup would be gross with the taco seasoning but it was super yummy! The best part, was that after my son's initial crying about the "yucky chicken", he tried and then THANKED me for making "the bestest chicken ever!" And, even though it was presented in a casserole dish, my hubby had seconds and asked that this be added to our rotation of meals. :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Introducing...THUMBY MUMMY!

I know, what a weird name for a blog, right? Those of you that know me (and my thumbs) can see the humor in the name. My thumbs look like toes...seriously. As a kid, I used to hide my thumbs under my fingers so no one could see them, and yet now I name my blog after them?! :) At first, I wanted to name the blog "Thumbuddy" - cute, right? My husband came up with that one! But apparently, it's someone's small business and I didn't want to confuse anyone. So, I decided to stick with the "thumb" theme and clearly "Mummy" goes well with "Thumby"...right?!