Friday, July 31, 2015

Papal Infallibillity

It seems like at least once a month, Pope Francis makes the news and the media focuses on how he is "modernizing" the views of the Catholic Church.  They don't talk about how he actually isn't saying too many things different from what was said before, he just typically says it in a different way.  He uses vocabulary that is more colloquial and less ivory-tower.  It's his vivacious personality and man of the people personality that everyone gets excited about.  Like with many issues in our modern society, the media paints him the way they want to see him.

His newest encyclical actually encompasses a lot of what Pope Benedict and Pope St. John Paul II had already said.  The media never discussed how the Pope refused an ambassador from France.  There's actually not a whole lot to be found on the discussion.  Refusal of a gay ambassador doesn't exactly fit how the media wants to see Pope Francis.

I am writing about this subject not to get a whole political thing going.  Heaven knows with the recent Supreme Court decision and other cultural debates there is enough of that on the internet already.  I am writing this for those who are confused about the Catholic Church and the role of the Pope.  (I had a friend call me up recently and ask if it was true that the Church was going to change its teaching on some pretty fundamental items)

The Catholic Church has been around for over 2,000 years.  Our founder, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 16, "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against It." It is our belief that the Pope is successor to Peter and so it follows that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against our Church and our Pope.  That doesn't mean our Pope, or any Pope for that matter is perfect. It doesn't mean that everything the Pope says is divine.  Take sports for example.  The Pope can't predict that the Broncos are going to win a game.  Infallibility is a "negative" statement.  It doesn't mean that everything he says is right.  It means in certain situations when he intends to define doctrine for the whole church, what he teaches/states will not be in error.  (There's a great podcast in which Steve Ray talks about this, Catholic Answers Episode 6956).

Infallibility does not = sinlessness.  The Pope is human (although, I believe this Pope is definitely Holier than most of us).  There have been some popes in history that have been far from sinless.

Same thing with a Bishop's impramatur, when there is a Imprimatur on a book (typically ones found in Catholic bookstores), it's not like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, it doesn't mean it's on the Bishop's top 10 favorite reads, it just means the Bishop and/or his office has not found error in it.

In case you are interested in this subject further, check out the book Pope Fiction by Patrick Madrid, (1999 Basilica Press, Rancho Santa Fe, CA).  It talks about "Pope Joan" and all the common misconceptions of the Papacy.  It's an interesting read, if you're Catholic or not (especially if you like history).

The following summary from pg. 135 of his book describes the requirements for an infallible statement.  The words in italics are my commentary.

1) The statement must be made by a lawful Pope
2) The subject matter must be in an area of faith and morals (science, economics, history do not fall within this subject matter). Hmm.  Some of the controversy over whether the Catholic Church would split over some of Pope Francis' recent statements... Also, just because science, economics and history do not fall within his purview of papal infallibility, doesn't mean we shouldn't listen to what he has to say.  Pope Francis has stated multiple times that he wants to start a dialogue.  Not to even attempt to speak for him, but his off the cuff and sometimes vague and taken out of context remarks definitely achieve that.
3) The Pope must be speaking ex cathedra (from the very seat and office of Peter).  He must be specifically intending to proclaim a doctrine and to bind the Church to that doctrine. So this means whatever the New York Times reports or even how President Obama interprets what he says does not = papal infallibility and Catholic Doctrine.

Below is perhaps a more articulate explanation by Father William Saunders:

Also, if the above gives you cranial pain, perhaps the following is a better way to end.  Check out the below link on How do you get to the truth?  It is concise and speaks about faith and reason.

What do you think?  I am definitely not a theologian, but I thought I would bring this topic up because papal infallibility does seem to be a common point of confusion: )

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Different Ways I Try To Save Money and Create A College Savings- Part 2

See Different Ways I Try To Save Money and Create A College Savings- Part 1 for the first part of this series.

6) Opentable.  If you live in an urban area and even occasionally go out (we like to go out when friends or family are in town or for date nights occasionally).  Sign up for opentable to make reservations and get points.  My husband and I have gone out on a few dates that the cost was reduced by using our opentable certificates.

7) Upromise and 529 College Savings Plans
Each different state has its own 529 plans set up.  What many people don't know is that you can use a state other than your own.  It benefits you to get a plan from your own state, as there can be many tax benefits.  The account is set up in your child's name with a parent as custodian.  Our state's program allows us to transfer funds between children/family members (just in case your child get's a full-ride scholarship or pursues plans other than community college or a university.)

We have funds in both a 529 Investment Plan and also a pre-paid savings Trust.  The one plan is is basically building a non-taxable account in which investment can grow and be withdrawn later for college expenses, our account needed a minimum balance of $25.  The pre-paid account is a little bit larger chunk of change, you are paying for a semester or a year of college at today's prices for the future (we all know that education costs are going to continue increasing unless we become a socialist government which is a whole other conversation...

Upromise is a program run through Sallie Mae that allows you to get funds toward your 529 account from your regular activities like grocery shopping, buying gas and eating out.  To me, it's not giving away any more information than you already let others know with your grocery store and other loyalty cards.

8) Creativity with "Date Night"

a. save money on the activity- date night doesn't necessarily mean going out.  When my son was little, and still today, some nights we feed him early and enjoy a dinner together.  The crystal candlestick holders that we got for our wedding get used and we enjoy a nice quiet meal together.  Sometimes that's the best we can do for a date night and that is fine.  We also make it a policy in our family that we do not eat dinner in front of the TV.  This leads to more conversation and communication.  Always helpful.  Also, no cell phones allowed.  It's interesting how just these little things make the time more special

b. outdoor activity- my husband and I enjoy hiking together and now that we both got bikes, biking together.  This is a free activity which is better for our health and entertainment than going to the movie theater.

c. find a new babysitter or babysitter "co-op".  While there are special events where we pay a babysitter a premium rate, we also enjoy having our family members and relatives give us a date night when they visit.  We also have family friends whose daughter is rather young for prime babysitting age, but is very responsible and great with kids.  We pay her to watch our son (with her parents present in the household) and both our son and her have a great time.  She is Red Cross trained and is probably more responsible than the typical 16 year old, but her parents do not want us to pay her the premium rate as she is getting experience and they are also helping.  This is a win-win for all involved.  We also have done babysitting for our babysitter and thus "decreased" our babysitting bill by the amount that we babysit for her.  We have meant to try to this with some of our neighbors too, so mom and dad can get a break without breaking the bank.

9) Save money on Books.  I wish I had more time to read (with a toddler it's sometimes hard).  Occasionally if he is sleeping on me for a long time, I will read on my iphone with the phone in Airplane mode (I worry about the radiation from the Wi-fi and receiver in close proximity to my son).  I also use a site called BookBub and Moneysavingmom e-mails to find out what books have special free offers or discounted to 99 cents.  With the previous mentioned Amazon Prime, I will elect to get regular shipping instead of two-day shipping in an exchange for a electronic book credit, thus I have built quite a big library on my e-reader without expending any money.

9) Clean/Organize House.  I am no Martha Stewart and anyone who knows me knows that I am on a long-term campaign against clutter.  Having a baby, who is now a toddler, makes it difficult to keep the household clean and organized.  However, I have found as I am trying to declutter multiple items that I didn't even know I had (I had put on the list for Costco to get more Q-tips until I cleaned under my sink and found a Costco-sized box of Q-tips : ).  I have also found different gift cards and other items that didn't have a ton of money on them, but had $1 toward a book or coffee or something to have as a special treat.  Not only does organizing and decluttering clear your mind, it can help your wallet!

10) When you are buying online;  Call or chat with a representative or leave your cart.  I got this tip from another blogger.  I was buying some new products from an organic baby product company that tends to be pricey.  Prior to checking out my order in my cart, I called the 1-800 number they had and talked with the representative.  I told her I wanted to try some bug spray, veggie cleaner and organic deodorant, but wondered if they had sample sizes.  I also mentioned that I had the option of buying on Amazon prime, but I would rather buy direct from the company.  The representative said if I bought the product through them, it a was money back guarantee (so no risk trial).  She also offered to give me 10% off and free shipping.  That was a discount that was helpful and I wouldn't have gotten without asking.

I noticed this with the CVS website and some other websites do this as well- if you go and put items in your cart, then go on to do something else and don't buy the item, they will actually e-mail you a reminder you have items in your cart and will potentially give you a discount to return to your cart and purchase.

11) Consignment In a day and age when you can actually purchase designer jeans that look used, I don't think buying used jeans at a discounted price is a big deal.  I am not a fashion diva, but I have found especially buying maternity clothes on consignment or using a website called "Thred Up"  The following link is a $10 off link:

Kids clothes and shoes on consignment is mostly what my son wears.  Really, when they are growing so fast that they only wear outfits a couple of times, it's great to get them for lower prices.  My son even has "Tommy Hilfiger" and "Polo" attire for a fraction of the cost.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Some ways to promote empathy in your child

As a parent of a toddler, I am not an "expert", but I thought I would share some ways I try to promote empathy in my child.  I did a lot of research about this after my toddler had some behavior (which I found out was normal), in which I became a little alarmed at his lack of empathy.  Then I found out that children aren't truly able to develop empathy until they are closer to three or four.  But... it's never too early to start.

1) When we hear a siren or see an ambulance of firetruck, we try to say a brief prayer for whoever those emergency workers are going to help.

2) When my son either accidentally or intentionally (I'll be honest) bumps into our dog/cat or another child, I immediately show concern for the victim, then I talk to my son about how we need to respect others (especially the 6.5 pound 15 year old cat).

3) When reading a story, or in the rare times he watches Sesame Street or another show, if something distressing happens to a character, we talk about it and discuss how sometimes things can make other people upset and what we can do to make things better.  Also, if we see someone upset, we don't ignore it, we try to do something to help, even if it's just saying a couple of words or saying a prayer.

4) Setting an example.  I'm not always the most patient or empathetic person (that may be an understatement).  I try to realize how what I do sets an example for him.  We live in a metropolitan area and unfortunately there is a rather large homeless population.  There is a whole other topic of giving to homeless people, but I think one of the basic things we can do is to acknowledge their presence.  They are people.  They do deserve acknowledgement.  Now while I do not want to contribute to alcoholism or drug abuse, one of my high school friends had given me the tip to carry McDonalds gift cards around to give to them.  I had forgotten about this for a while (there is also the concern of safety, especially with a small child with homeless people as a lot of the homeless in our area also are mentally ill.)  However, the other day was an EXTREMELY hot day and my son and I were out for a walk.  While I know our city has cooling areas, I also understand the problem of homelessness is multifactorial.  I was walking my son to a fountain and walked by some men trying to keep cool.  On our way back, I asked if they would like a gift card to McDonalds to get something cool to drink.  A man came over and gratefully took the card.  My son was a silent observer to all of this.  He didn't say anything (he is just two), but I know he was taking the whole situation in.  Hopefully he will learn the lesson that every person has dignity and you do what you can do.

What tips do you have for developing empathy in a child?  I'd love to hear them.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Different Ways I Try To Save Money and Create A College Savings- Part 1

1) Live within our means.  This is one that I think everyone tries to work on.  Fortunately my parents and husband's parents have been good role models, but in this culture it is always something people struggle with.  With so many "cool" things out there, it's always easy to want something bigger, better and more convenient.  Just as my toddler is often more fascinated by the "upcycled" items I give him to play with (empty spice bottles, surplus kitchen supplies).  One of his favorite items is a empty milk jug with clothes pins to put in and take out (this idea obtained off of Pinterest).  It reminds me that sometimes the simpler things are actually better than the expensive ones.

2) Cut coupons.  Both my husband and I are couponers.  In this modern day, it's more than just looking through the Sunday paper and clipping.  We use different programs such as Ibotta and Checkout 51 on our everyday items (you can save more when you buy specific items they are promoting, but sometimes by buying items you wouldn't otherwise buy, you aren't saving money).  You can also use brand websites such as Earthbound Farms, Betty Crocker and Stonyfield organics. All have websites that offer specific coupons

3) Pampers, Huggies, Kellogs Rewards websites.   My son's favorite Christmas gift was actually free.  On the Pampers reward site you can enter product codes and get "gifts" every 3 months plus with the Gifts to Grow program, a gift at the end of a year (and you can continue to do this as long as your child is in diapers).  You can also earn points for Mother's Day, your child's birthday and reading articles or posting comments.  There are lots of ways to get points and the rewards are pretty good.  My son got his Step Two Basketball Hoop and a Melissa and Doug music set.  Huggies rewards site you can earn gift cards and other great items, plus coupons off of diapers.  Kelloggs Family Rewards you can link loyalty cards to and also enter in codes to get free products and more.

4) Amazon Prime.  We love Amazon Prime.  I think this should be a must on any baby registry.  Because really, who wants to be making multiple trips to different stores when there is a new baby in the house.  I really loved how I could order diapers, wipes and bottle parts at 3 am in the morning and have them delivered within 2 days.  I also use it to order some household items.  As with everything, you have to shop around, but I found the diapers to be less expensive than Costco at times and often the toilet paper is less expensive and I get to pick exactly the brand I want.  Plus, when the 40 rolls arrive my son has had great fun building toilet paper roll towers and driving his pirate ship into it.

5) Swagbucks and other survey sites.  I do Swagbucks and generally only answer the survey question and the "No Obligation Special Offer", as I like to be careful about how much personal information I give out.  I occasionally do surveys on the site (it was fun to give a restaurant chain feedback on new meal options) and if there is an offer on something I buy anyways, I will try to do it through this website.
I've already gotten a $25 gift card for something that takes me a couple of minutes a day.

To be continued...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Just when things seem to calm down

It was a bittersweet moment when I realized that my son has made it to the point where he can contentedly play upstairs (we have a townhouse) in his room (with a baby gate on the door) and I can actually get things done downstairs (like preparing a meal and cleaning!) with the baby monitor still on of course.  It's nice to be able to get stuff done independently (although it's another sign of how fast he is growing up).

He did great, reading to himself and not even making a mess in his room.  Fast-forward an hour or so later and I am working on something in the kitchen (we have a fairly open floor-plan with a look-through area in the kitchen).  I looked up periodically and could see my son playing and having fun in our living room.  Then.... I heard it... the pattern of noise any mom of a toddler knows is like a siren... A mix of giggles and silence.  I couldn't see him within my sight-line.  I came into the living room and found him as proud as punch with his trampoline on top of the couch and him jumping on it.  It did not take him more than a minute to create this set up and he was proud and giddy (now he could really see the neighborhood from our window).  I had a freak-out moment and got him off as fast as I could, but a small part of me felt sad for taking away his accomplishment.  I told him, "while that was a really original idea and you must be so proud, mommy is concerned about your safety and doesn't want you to get an owie."  All he saw was his originality being crushed...  I am sure, though,
he will find other equally great and dangerous ideas in the future.  Just as you take a deep breath as a mother that your child is growing in independence and is able to do more on their own, the flip side of that coin presents itself...

Fortunately he was not hurt.  However, another hour later, he bent over next to a small end-table very quickly and slammed into it so hard that he gave himself a black eye.  I count him and myself fortunate that he didn't fall off of his trampoline escapade...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Homemade Vanilla, berries and a green bean recipe

This past week has been a fairly busy week and as my running partner commented, "you guys are traveling A LOT this summer."  Yes, my running schedule has been kind of taking second (or third) fiddle.  The garden is looking pretty good.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic we got a lot of rain (as I think a lot of the rest of the country has gotten too).  My tomatoes will hopefully survive.  In one of my crazy "homesteader" moments, I decided to plant watermelon and pumpkins in some pots in the backyard.

Our backyard is composed more of clover than it is of grass and my husband and I are not really motivated to change it as the weeds from neighboring yards and common areas would ultimately take over our yard anyway.  Another big reason is we have a dog.

Our townhouse backyard is used more for him than it is for us.  Most of my gardening occurs upstairs in this great elevated, large planter my parents got for me.  It's great because no pests/squirrels, etc. get into it and I don't have to worry about my dog eliminating in my green beans.  Win-win.  Anyways, I decided pumpkins and watermelons are pretty protected from doggy gifts.  I also thought, our backyard already looks like a rain forest, so it wouldn't really wreck the appearance to have some plants there.  Well... when we got back from our last vacation, my husband commented that there was some plant that was climbing up our fence.  It actually appears like it could be out of "Jack and the Beanstalk".  My husband asked if it was the watermelon or the pumpkin.  I told him by the looks of it, I would guess the pumpkin.  The seed packet said "Giant Pumpkins, up to 100 pounds".  I didn't really believe that... But we will see : )

My green beans are looking good, I am making my first batch of one of my favorite green bean recipes I came up with randomly:

Meg's Mediterranean Green Beans:

Green Beans (1-2 handfuls), I usually boil them, but have done frozen and canned when needed.
2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
2-3 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
Abundant feta cheese (I like to use Trader Joe's mediterranean blend feta cheese)
Oregano to taste

The pumpkins' success must be due to the fertility of our backyard.  Our backyard does not seem to be good for growing grass, but it seems good for growing everything else.  My raspberry bush, which I planted when we moved in about 3 years ago, is taking off as usual and is almost bionic, it even tries growing up between our paving stones and has taken out other plants.   I got about a pint of a raspberries from it daily last year.  I trimmed it back to the size of a medium planter and the thing has still taken off.

Next to the bush is a composter I got through our county.  (Check out if your county has a composting program, I actually was able to get the composter for free through Whole Foods and being a county resident).  Due to being a townhome and close to a large city, I don't compost food, mostly plants and old soil, some cardboard and newsprint.  Next to that is a potted grape vine which gave me two large containers of Concord grapes last year and is also bionic.  I actually gave a friend some clippings from my raspberry bush last year and she said it is taking off in her yard too.  The funny thing is, I asked the nursery I got the plant from, what is a good or organic way to keep it under control?  They said that they've really never had a problem, most people complain about the plants failure to thrive.  Hmm.

I also finally got around to making another batch of homemade vanilla.  This is super easy, makes great gifts for people at Christmas (it takes 4-6 months of sitting fairly passively, so now is the time to do it).   It's also very economical and money saving to make your own if you do a lot of holiday baking and it's better quality than what I have found in most normal grocery stores.

I used the above recipe and ordered the Madagascar vanilla beans from Olive Nation (see below link, where I believe you get a 10% off your first order, this post contains affiliate links, and if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no cost to you).

Last year I simply gathered all the leftover vodka that seemed to accumulate in my household and my parents' (it's amazing how many people bring vodka to parties/get-togethers and how much is just sitting around).  This year I broke down and bought a bottle.

So that's what I've been up to (plus another trip back to the midwest for an excellent family reunion and time for my son with his grandparents).

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bubbles and Pete

A month or so ago, we got a coupon booklet in the mail from a local shopping plaza.  They have a fish and aquarium store and had a coupon for a free Beta fish.  I had been thinking about it for a while as something my son might like.  He has really liked seeing fish in the past and Tuesday morning he was in a classroom that had a fish and got really excited about it.  We ran some errands Tuesday and unfortunately he fell asleep in the car during lunchtime, before he had eaten lunch.  Recipe for a grumpy kid.  After we got home, and I tried to get him to go asleep again, it was about 45 minutes of grumpiness, tantrums, hitting and wrestling and did I say tantrums?  He was hungry and sleepy and I don't think he knew which was more important to him.  When he was past reaching the end of the rope and I was on my way, I asked him if he wanted to have a picnic outside.  This slowed down his tears (not a full stop) and he became curious as to what this might mean.  I grabbed the lunch I had been trying to get him to eat and took it to the back porch.  We went to the porch and he slowly calmed down a little, because this was a new experience for him.  I also remembered hearing someone say a great recipe for tantrums (kids and adults) is to blow bubbles.  I blew some bubbles and he tried to blow bubbles and it slowed both of our respiratory rates down and got oxygen flowing.  He then ate a TON of his food calmly.  Crisis averted.

I now had a kid though that had only had a 30 minute nap when the previous day he had had a 3 hour nap.  He was sleep deprived.  As he was about to go into more tantrums, I told him we would go get a "fishy".  He was curious.  What did this mean?   He threw a little tantrum, but was trying to figure out why I was putting him in the car, so he didn't give it his all.  We went to the aquarium store (which also had a fountain he was mesmerized by) and went up and down the aisles looking at all the fish.  He was almost as happy as when we had gone to the Baltimore aquarium.  Mental note- in the future when there are winter days and we have to get out of the house, a trip to the fish store is not a bad idea...

We went over to the beta fish and I picked out a beautiful, bold blue fish and asked him if he would like it.  He said blue fish.  I decided to truly give him a decision I needed to give him two different options.  I saw a very active orange fish (looked more like a goldfish than a beta fish to me, and my husband agreed).  He said "orange fish".  I asked him did he want the orange fish or blue fish, assuming he, like me would be more attracted to the bright bold blue.  Nope.  He was insistent on the orange fish.

When we got home he was fascinated by his fishy and repeatedly tried to "pet" it.  I had suggested that we might name his new pet "Pete" after a character in his favorite book series.  If you haven't read them it's a pretty cute series by Eric Litwin, "Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes".  My son then began calling his fish, "Pete the Cat".  My mom asked how Duchess the (real) Cat likes Pete the Cat.  So far, so good, but when they can't be supervised, Pete the Cat comes up to mommy and daddy's bedroom (out of the cat and dog zone).

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

5 Things that Make My Life easier

1) My Smart Phone.  I am of the generation that the first cellphones were large, shoe-box size boxes that you could keep in your car.  I did not have a cell phone until I was a senior in college.  I can not think of living without it long-term.  I do think it has a place and a time and I would like to keep my son from getting a cell phone until he is driving.  We will see how that works out.  I think it's very easy to become addicted to our devices, so I do try to go without it at times so I don't develop a dependency.  But let's face it, my schedule, my calendar, my grocery list, my to do list, my access to Liturgy of the Hours (a prayer resource), podcasts, news updates, e-mail and texting all do help keep my life organized and connected.

My smart phone definitely does make my life easier, but it's good to go without it when on vacation and other times, to know I don't NEED it at all times.  The American Society of Pediatrics has seen a rise in playground and other childhood injuries related to parents being distracted on their cell phones.  There is also some concern that in children the radiation from the cell phone is twice as high in the brains of children and 10 times as high in the bone marrow of children as it is in adults.  I am trying to keep my cell phone away from my son as much as I can, or turn it onto airplane mode.

2) Immersion Blender.  I love my immersion blender.  I use it for smoothies, soups, homemade salsa and more.  It is a time-saving wonderful kitchen device that I continually use.  I like to make strawberry, pineapple smoothies with a little bit of kale thrown in (not enough to make it taste like kale) and am always looking for more recipes to try.  I also like making fresh salsa with it, which is way more tasty than store-bought and helps save money and is great with fresh cilantro and tomatoes.

3) Spot Bot Pet.  My Spot Bot was a wedding gift that has possibly saved our marriage.  With the dog, cat and baby, we get all sorts of stains all over.  I love that I can just put it on top of whatever substance anyone does and it sucks it up, cleans it and steams the area while I'm away getting other stuff taken care of.  It also has worked well with its attachment on our microfiber furniture.  (In retrospect, as a pet owner, I would probably stay away from microfiber in the future, it sometimes seems like it's just a giant tape-roller).

4) Roomba.  Our Roomba is not 100% great at keeping the floor free from pet hair and crumbs (it is an older model, so maybe they have gotten better with the newer versions).  It is great at at least keeping the coating of hair at bay.  My son actually was the one who when he was messing with it taught me it can be set on a schedule (he also changed it to speak in German and go off at midnight, a task that he completed in 2 minutes and took me 30 minutes and a online tutorial to reverse).  I still try to use the regular vacuum to get problem spots and do a thorough cleaning, but the Roomba is great at at least getting big material and removing a layer 2-3x a week when everyone else is away from the house.

5) Creuset- Dutch oven.  I use this quite frequently to make the bread I talked about previously.  I find it works best with King Arthur bread flour and letting it sit 10 hours.  I have also added Asiago cheese to it and made it nice and tasty.  I'm trying to stay away from bread, but this is still really tasty and I know it is completely free of treenut allergens.  I also created a recipe in this that my husband loves.  It's one dish-nachos.  I'm kind of lazy when it comes to washing dishes.  I really don't enjoy it.  One night as a newlywed, I browned the meat in the Creuset and then kind of shimmied it all to one side and then put down tortilla chips.  Then I flipped the meat over onto that side and put the chips down on the other side.  I like to mix it taco seasoning (and stewed tomatoes to stretch the meat and make it a little healthier.  I will add in onions and beans as well.  To top it off, I will put cheddar cheese and move the pot from the stove to the oven and cook it in the oven at about 300 F for about 6 minutes (or until the cheese is melted).

Just thought I'd share some of the things that make my life easier : )

Friday, July 3, 2015

Celebration of 1,000 Views

In celebration of 1,000 views (and to get some feedback).  I'd like to do a raffle... This could be fun : )

Any comments I receive during the month of July will be put into a raffle for a free prize.  Ideas for the free prize include something from my Etsy shop or a copy of All Creatures Great and Small.  Let me know what you prefer : )

This week has been a hard week to eat healthy (as we have been on vacation and traveling).  It's hard to make healthy choices on the road.  Also hard with a toddler who is addicted to carbohydrates and french fries.   We have fortunately found out that his food allergy is not as broad as what we were once told, but that is also a whole other issue to navigate.

It was also interesting when I went to board my dog overnight and was told he was due for a vaccine. As I multiple times told the technician that, "I am a veterinarian, I take care of my dog's vaccines and he is up to date," she was still trying to convince me my dog needed more vaccines.  For anyone who is interested in finding out what the standard recommendations for canine vaccines are, check out the following:

Vaccines do have regional differences (for example, in an area that doesn't have Lyme disease, Lyme vaccine would not be recommended, etc.).  However, overall as an industry, we are finding out that we do not need to vaccinate as frequently as we previously did for some vaccines, while others should get boostered more frequently.  Use the above guidelines to educate yourself and start a discussion with your veterinarian for what is best for your dog.