Saturday, August 23, 2014

Homemade Sprite-Alike Recipe - Safe Soda

   I like soda, but soda from the store is not good for us. I used to drink soda until I realized how many chemicals are in it, plus the fact that soda is loaded with sugar. I have actually seen people who stopped drinking soda, lose weight. So, my goal is to make a 'safe' soda to drink.

  This one doesn't have sugar in it, nor does it have chemicals to make it taste good. It is easy to make, although you may need to find the ingredients somewhere other than a grocery store.

'Safe' Sprite Like Soda

10-15 drops of liquid Stevia*
1 tsp. pure lemon juice
1 tsp. pure lime juice
1 cup Club soda
Crushed ice

  Place crushed ice on bottom of a glass. Place the drops of liquid Stevia on the crushed ice. Add the lemon and lime juices, and pour the Club soda into the glass. Stir and enjoy.

You may also want to vary the amount of Stevia to your taste. Experiment with the recipe and adapt it to your own taste buds.

Note: Although this is what I would consider a 'safe' recipe for soda, there are other recipes for fermented sodas that are way more valuable nutritionally than this one. I have made homemade root beer and ginger ales, and because of the probiotics in them, they have nutritional value that the soda above does not have. Plus, making homemade root beer can be expensive, but I personally think it is worth making it that way, if you are not in a pinch for time or money.

* If you can't find liquid Stevia at the store, you can order it from here (Click on the picture):

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Simple Meal - Ham and Noodles

  I like this recipe because it is easy, inexpensive, and a family tradition for me. My grandmother made this as well as my mom, but the original idea for this recipe comes from my great grandmother, who came from Austria.

Ham and Noodles

8-10 ounces noodles*
4-6 ounces of ham**
A slice of onion, minced
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Bavarian Seasoning Mixture***, to taste (optional)

  Cook noodles according to directions on package. While noodles are cooking, cut up ham and onion, and on medium heat, melt half of the stick of butter in a skillet. Add the ham and onions, and let cook until onions are soft.
  When noodles are finished cooking, drain well, then add them to the skillet with the ham and onions. Cook until the mixture is heated through. You can cook this much longer if you like your noodles to be crispy.
  When ham and noodles are done to your liking, add salt, pepper, and seasoning if you are using them. If the noodles are sticking to the pan, add the other half of the stick of butter.

* You can also make your own noodles and cook them in boiling water before adding them to the ham and onions. It really doesn't matter what size noodles you use. Use whichever type you prefer.
** You can use leftover ham, or, you can get ham that is sliced in the deli. I get mine already packaged from places that do not add nitrates or nitrates, which are known to be harmful. When my grandmother made this, the ham was in chunks (which was my preference), but since I don't normally make a ham, I have to buy mine sliced which makes the ham much thinner and smaller. That is also a matter of preference as well though.
*** I ordered this from Penzey's. It made the meal more authentic, but it is not necessary to put in.

Note: The measurements in this recipe can be changed around to your preferences. You can add more meat if you want, or even more noodles. There is no set rules for this recipe. I don't use measurements when I make it, so feel free to change amounts around, or even double or triple the recipe if needed. Three-fourths of a standard size bag of noodles, 4-6 ounces of ham and a little bit of onion feeds the three adults at my house fairly well.

Guten Apetit! Ham and Noodles make a lovely dinner entree

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tart Cherry Juice Can Help Raise Melatonin Levels in Children

  I stumbled across some information on how tart cherry juice can help raise melatonin levels in children. A person who pinned the article reported how it helped her children to sleep longer. Maybe this is the long lost answer to our family's insomnia!

   I use myself as a guinea pig for I appear to have, what is called, 'Primary Insomnia' which is a life-long insomnia that doesn't work with the usual protocol for insomnia. I have tried a number of different things to help with insomnia, as well as my son who also seems to have insomnia. I knew there could be problems when I brought him home from the hospital and he slept during the day, but somehow I could not get him to sleep during the night! Somehow, we worked together on this, and neither of us have figured out how to go to bed early and get a good night's sleep, although for me, things are going better lately.

   My son really likes the Neuro-Sleep drinks that help with sleeping. I like them too. They contain magnesium, which is helpful for a good night's sleep. You can get them at the grocery store for around $3 a bottle. Amazon has them slightly cheaper if you buy them in a 12 pack. You do have to check frequently though, for the price fluctuates almost daily.

   But back to the tart cherry juice. Amazon does carry this product as well, with many reviews. Tart cherry juice has a lot of benefits besides helping to raise melatonin levels in children. It is full of antioxidants as well. Here is amazon's description of one of the tart cherry juices that they carry: Tart Cherries have pleased the palates of food lovers for centuries. Now there are new reasons to love tart cherries. As a recent Newsweek article said "The day when doctors say - 'Take 10 cherries and call me in the morning' - may not be far off." According to ongoing research, tart cherries are a rich source of antioxidants that can help maintain heart health, joint health and blood circulation. The secret is in the pigments that give tart cherries their rich red / black hue. They belong to a class of natural dyes called anthocyanins. These compounds are being called "Mother Nature's all-natural chemotherapy agents." In addition to the antioxidants, tart cherries are rich in two important flavonoids - isoqueritrin and queritrin. According to leading researchers, queritrin is one of the most potent agents ever discovered. Consuming it in foods, such as tart cherries, is like unleashing inside your body an entire army of agents that are adept at neutralizing harmful oxidants in the body.

   So, if you want to take good care of your family, and you want each member to stay healthy, perhaps tart cherry juice is part of the answer. 

Here is the one recommended for children to use to help their melatonin levels to increase:

Magnesium is very helpful in allowing people to fall asleep. Whatever works, which could be different for each person, should be used, but should be as close to natural as possible.

One more suggestion about trying to get to sleep that has been helpful to us. If you have an I-Phone or I-Pad, you can download 'white noise' apps. They are very helpful in helping people to relax. Not only children do well with these kind of apps, but also adults sleep better.

  Here is a picture of a white sound machine sold on

And here is one made for babies:

  Of course, you could always play Christmas music in your baby's room. We didn't have noise machines available when my children were babies, so we improvised. I made up audio tapes of Christmas music and would play it in my daughter's room. She absolutely adores Christmas music to this day, some 34 years later!

  You could sing to your baby too! That didn't work as well for me as the Christmas music did though. But some people find that successful in getting their children to relax.

  On the phone app, there are a variety of sounds besides the white noise one. Actually, there is brown noise, pink noise, and other color noises as well. There is one that sounds like a dishwasher, and there are quite a few that sound like nature, such as waterfalls, rain, air blowing, and thunderstorms (not sure if kids would like thunderstorms though)! Kids might like the train one. The sound of it is just like being on a train.

  Don't forget to speak words of love to your child before you put him in the crib. There is much truth to the saying, 'The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world'. How we underestimate the power of loving our children and speaking words of life to them! The world could be changed if we knew how to do this right.

On Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

   I know I am slow at learning, and this experience is not exception. A couple of years ago, we bought all new appliances for our kitchen. All the appliances are stainless steel, and the stove top is glass. Up until about two months ago, I tried everything to clean these appliances. I used different natural cleaning products, soap and water, and even Basic H, which cleans everything well. Smudge marks were still there. And forget trying to keep the stove top clean.
  The refrigerator, dishwasher, and stovetop never looked clean. In fact, wherever I washed them, when it dried, you could see streaks.
 Finally, it dawned on me to clean it off with a napkin or paper towel. Something finally worked! The streaks are gone now. It's about time!
  Yes, I do still have to use soap and water occasionally, because there are things stuck on the appliances that need to be washed off. But when it is finished drying, I can go over it with a paper towel. Even a dish towel works, if it is not too wet.


How easy it could have been, if I had only known!

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Is The Value of A Homemaker?

  Sometimes, stay at home moms think they really do nothing, but, I bet if they had a pen in hand, and some paper, and wrote down everything they did during the day, the page would be full.

   The problem with us, is that we think nothing of the mundane. We all like to see the spectacular. But, managing a home can be a mundane job, but a job of much value.

   Think of all the things you do at home. List them. Here are some suggestions:

* Clean toilets
* Make Yogurt
* Grocery shopping
* Meal planning
* Clothes shopping
* Transporting children to school
* Transporting children to extra-curricular activities
* Planning birthday parties
* Taking family members to the doctor
* Sending out birthday cards
* Cleaning out closets
* Taking old clothing to Goodwill
* Planning a date night
* Praying for the family
* Taking a meal to a sick friend or someone who just had a baby
* Going to PTA meetings or meetings with the child's teacher
* Shopping over the Internet
* Christmas shopping
* coupon clipping
* Making the beds/changing the sheets
* Cleaning litter boxes out
* Taking pets to the vet
* Picking up laundry at the dry cleaners
* Making curtains or drapes
* Cutting up vegetables for dinner
* Cleaning out the refrigerator
* Washing and putting away clothing
* Changing diapers
* Taking children to a park or to a friend's house
* Vacuuming
* Picking up prescriptions and giving out medicine
* Washing dishes/cleaning out dishwasher
* Hanging up pictures
* Pulling meat out to defrost for dinner
* Comparing products and finding the best deals
* Mopping the floors
* Baking
* Ironing
* Sewing
* Making a trip to Trader Joe's
* Running various errands
* Fixing tummy aches
* Blowing bubbles
* Taking the kids on field trips or being a room mother
* Disciplining the children
* Planning a romantic meal or evening
* Decorating the home
* Growing herbs

The list goes on and on. If you took each of those items listed above, and put a price on how much a person would charge for each one, you would see that the tasks of homemaking are invaluable.

  For a season, it might be hard. You might be used to being out of the home, and now you are stuck inside with a crying baby, and you think it will never end. Believe me though, it does end. And it goes by fast.

  I think of my little baby girl who always was crying. Her little eyelids turned red when she cried. I would pat her on the back and when she got a little older, she would pat me on the back as I patted her on her back.

   The little baby girl now has four children of her own, and she is patting her babies' backs. They are all so cute and precious. Yet, they will grow up fast. We will be asking ourselves where did the time go?

   There is a saying that is very true. We don't see today, how what we do will affect our families tomorrow. The saying goes like this; "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world."

   I'm sure we have no clue of how powerful we are in influencing our children, for good, or, for bad. If we are out having a good time, while everyone else is working and serving others, we are going to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime. What we do in our homes, does matter.

   We can invest in our homes, or we can tear them down. The choice is ours.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Grow Your Own Safe Food

  You have probably heard many of the news reports about people buying organic food, and some of the reasons why. Many today are rushing to the stores that sell organic food and will pay the extra cost of having food that is nourishing in the house, vs, the food offered conveniently at the common grocery stores.

  People will pay more for good food, simply because they know it is better for them, for many reasons. One reason is that eating good food will probably result in less trips to the doctor, in the long run.

   With that in mind, why not grow your own food? If done right, it will be more nourishing and probably taste better too!

  Not as easy though, as you think, but there are some things about it that aren't too hard. If you eat organic produce, chances are, you can replant the food you eat.

   Take an avocado, for example. You can eat one, clean the pit off, and let it dry, then plant it. It takes several weeks before the plant will come up, but when it does, it will grow into a beautiful plant which will bear good fruit that you can eat and use in cooking.

   I did that with a couple of plants. So far, I have an avocado plant and a mango plant, both being organic, growing on my porch. You can also grow potatoes and other various vegetables in the same way. Put the seeds in potting soil, and let it sprout and grow, then when big enough, replant the plant in a place prepared using organically prepared soil. Or, plant in containers that are the appropriate size for the plant.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Concerning Laundry and Fires

First of all, I would like to make sure all my readers are aware that houses burn down sometimes because of lint in the dryers.

Yes, I have seen or read about houses which have burned down, because in the dryer there is a lint filter, and if too much lint is on it, and the heat is high, it could start a fire.

Fires from dryers usually happen when people leave their homes and leave the dryers running. You can pull out the lint filter on your dryer and pull the lint off. You should do this as often as you remember.

Also, I have heard of a good product to wash clothes in. In fact, I just bought seeds to plant a soap nut plant, but they haven't germinated yet.

The product is called, 'soap nuts' and they are the fruit of the soap plant. I have never used them but have heard of high recommendations of them.

Here is a description of them:

"C'mon soap plants! Grow!"