Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Small changes

Before I start this post, I would like to add something about the post I wrote earlier this week; 10 things I've learned in the first year of raising a baby with a CHD. One of the absolute most obvious thing I totally forgot to write was the friendships I have made in the past year with other CHD parents. The compassion and caring in the CHD community is just incredibly beautiful. I have made some close friends and talked to so many other moms in our same situation. We all support each other - there is no room for hate, negativity, jealousy or gossip. It's just pure honesty, emotions, & sharing. What a great bunch of moms I have met locally through my support group and online through my Facebook CHD and TAPVR groups. Simply amazing. 

Here is my original post for today about SMALL CHANGES:

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that our family is undergoing a big change towards our goal of 100% healthy living. (Go here to see that post). It's a process that can't happen overnight (I feel) and needs to be transitioned over slowly, which we've been doing. I find myself focusing on a few foods, recipes & ideas each week to substitute or changeover to. For instance, we are trying to cut out most or all processed foods. Due to the fact we don't live near a Whole Foods store and our Shop-Rite (food store) severely lacks in the organic and healthy department, we can't really cut out 100%, but I sure want to try! There are many reasons for switching our lifestyle, none of which I will get into right now (again) because everyone has their own causes, and I don't want to turn into a preacher. Everyone does what they do for their own reasons. We have ours.

So, one of the things I am really focusing on when buying store-bought (premade) food is the "5 ingredient or less" rule. Reality is, we do have a busy life; my husband and I work, and we have 2 kids. We do need some quick snack alternatives - so this is where the '5 ingredient rule' is going to come into play for us, when purchasing things from the food store. When anything has 5 ingredients or less, it usually is free of artificial junk, sugars, preservatives and chemicals. This past week, I was trying to find some breadcrumbs at the store that met this requirement. I couldn't even come close.
Every can of crumbs had loads & loads of chemicals and not even any real bread in it! So I thought- heck with this - I am going to make my own.
(Click here to see the instructions I followed to make breadcrumbs - It's SUPER EASY folks!).

I bought fresh whole wheat bread from the store bakery (which has 4 ingredients) and I made my own breadcrumbs for the first time ever this weekend. And you know what- it was very EASY - almost too easy - and they came out great. I pan fried some fresh fish covered in our fresh crumbs, and it was excellent. It's so easy to make the breadcrumbs - I am SO DONE with the store bought ones. I want to know what's going into our bodies and my kid's bodies. I also am taking on the task of making home made chicken nuggets for Julianna. This is her weakness, like every 3 or 4 year old child. Again, when I look at the ingredients for the ones in the store, I cringe. We buy the Perdue naturals for her - but still - that stuff scares me. Since this is a staple in her diet, I am going to make my own big batch of them, freeze them, and pull out 3 or 4 at a time as needed. HERE is the recipe I am using for her nuggets. Can you tell I am in love with the "100 days of real food" website?! Great stuff there.

One huge 'change over' I made with the 5-ingredient-or-less rule is this; We love the tiny thin pretzel sticks. I think they are usually called 'Amish' pretzels sticks. Once I really read all the unpronounceable stuff they are made with, I tried to find a healthier choice- and I did! I found THESE at our local Shop Rite (which is amazing that they carry them). They taste great and only have 5 ingredients, without any yucky stuff! Score big time. Yeah they are a little pricier, but so what. When I used to commute to work (I work from home now), I thought nothing of spending $5+ a day on coffee. You can justify any cost if you really want to, for the right reasons.

One thing I am having a hard time with making a healthier choice with is Deli cold cuts. I still buy our cold cuts from the deli. I have tried the "pre-packaged" organic cold cuts by Applegate farms and they do not taste good and kind of slimy I think, along with enough salt for a lifetime. So, I have been begrudgingly buying the normal fresh cold cuts from the deli with tons of God-knows-what in them, and who knows where the meat comes from (it's sure not from my local farm!). I do try to get the natural stuff without nitrates, etc - but still, I know they are not good. Again, this is where living by a Whole Foods or Trader Joes would be terrific. I could also make my own by baking up a ham or turkey and slicing them - but that honestly is just too time consuming for me, not to mention I don't own an industrial meat slicer. Here's my solution for this week: I just found out that Applegate makes fresh organic (uncured) cold cuts for our Shop Rite, so I am going to give that a shot. Baby steps, right. My daughter and husband like their sandwiches too much - I'm not giving up on them yet.

No thanks... 

I am going to be posting some of my favorite websites and recipes later this week. 
Do you have any favorites you would like to share? (leave in comment area)

Monday, April 14, 2014

10 things I've learned in the first year of raising a baby with a Congenital Heart Defect

Life throws curve balls when you least expect it. No kidding.

I have slowed down and truly enjoyed the precious moments with my kids. I sincerely enjoy every hug, smile and nuzzle with Tyler. He is a blessing and I thank God every day that he is with us.

I see other parents of children with special needs differently now. I am now part of their club and understand the emotion of having a child with a major medical issue or special needs. (Click here to read Tyler's story) I have compassion and understanding of what those parents have gone through, especially since we have been there. I have learned what 'love unconditionally' means.

I have grown so much in the last year, as a parent, a human and a wife because of Tyler.

I have learned not to judge people so quickly, especially since you never know what is on their plate. I have an absolutely different perspective now.

I have learned not to care about petty things and don't get annoyed as easily (with exception to the couple of months when I thought I was losing my mind when pre-menopause was kicking in! Go here for that story.)

I have learned that being happy & healthy for my family and with my family comes first.

I am grateful for the doctors and hospitals that Tyler has been to in the last year for his Heart Defect and open heart surgery. The doctors were incredible, and we had the best outcome for Tyler's scenario.

I have also learned that the reality of Congenital Heart defect can be death (there, I said it) and I say a heartfelt prayer when a parent in one of my online groups loses their baby to CHD. It breaks my heart in ways that I can't even put into words. I hold my Tyler even closer & say a prayer to thank God for him.

I know my baby boy is on this planet for a greater good. God put Tyler here to do big things.


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