Important Announcement for my Newsletter Subscribers

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I am needing to make a change to a different company for sending my newsletters. Since the new company prohibits me from automatically adding you to the new list without your permission, I need your help.

Would you take 5 seconds to sign up for the new newsletter?

I have some nice Thank You gifts for you once you complete the process.
(new subscribers will also be able to get the freebies, so feel free to tell your friends)

I have been busily at work, setting up some great stuff for you guys in 2009. Don't miss it!

News about Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales

Friday, December 05, 2008

For those of you interested in the wonderful Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales that I have available over at my Baby Boutique, we were disappointed to find out that the product will not be here in time for us to ship for Christmas. This was a glitch on the part of the manufacturing process and the state of the economy. Basically, small businesses like Grandpa Read's had their orders bumped back in favor of huge vendors like WalMart and Target. Instead, we expect to have everything ready to ship in mid-January.

The GOOD NEWS is that now the special sale pricing continues on into January, PLUS I've decided to sweeten the deal by adding a FREE Grandpa Read Music CD along with every purchase of the 12-DVD set.

If you haven't already watched the sample video, please gather your children around and check it out. This is very sweet that I am SO eager to share with you!

Countdown to Christmas Activity Book!

Monday, November 24, 2008

When Amy Puetz showed me her Countdown to Christmas book, I was almost in tears within minutes. This book features a wonderful collection of old-fashioned holiday stories, activities, recipes, games, songs, and more---a grouping for every day from December 1-25.

This collection is just the kind of thing I like to do with my children. It's fun. It's interesting. The stories are great, and will also expose my children (and me!) to some old-fashioned language and concepts. The crafts look fun and manageable. Now that I've got this resource I'm looking forward to December 1 so we can get started with it. I really think that this is going to be our most fun December ever!

I strongly encourage you to go check it out for yourself. Amy has her book on sale at a GREAT price right now, PLUS she has an extra freebie book for you as well. You can see sample pages of the book and a list of stories, etc. here. I feel like this is going to be a wonderful thing for my family, and think it will be for your family too! :)

Quick! This offer ends Friday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So many people have been delighted to find out about Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales. This 12-volume DVD collection features classic children's stories read to your children by the friendly Grandpa Read. Each DVD is approximately 60 minutes long and features four stories plus an original song.

From now until Friday I have a special offer for you:
Purchase the 12 DVD collection for the discounted price of $129.99 (regularly $149.99) and you will receive the Quiet Time Tales Music CD FREE!

This is a special offer from my baby boutique. You can expect the same fast, excellent service that you are used to here at Supermom's.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Just a little head's up here, in case you don't know....there is a really fun 12 Days of Christmas giveaway going on here. I think today is day 6 or something, so there's still plenty of time for you to check the site every day and see what fun stuff they have. So far I have really enjoyed all of the goodies they have given away!

2009 Family Dear Calendar

Thursday, November 20, 2008

If you are a fan of the sweet, homespun look of Marmee Dear's lovely store, you will loooove her all-new 2009 Family Dear Calendar! Each month features adorable and heartwarming pictures from vintage storybooks. Too cute!

This big 17" x 22" calendar has nice, big spaces to write in and is printed on sturdy paper stock to keep it looking good and holding up all year long.

Right now Marmee is offer a special deal for my readers! Use coupon code EJ2009 and you will get FREE SHIPPING on your calendar (or go ahead and order several for Christmas gifts).

You can check it out and order here.


Making the Holidays Family Friendly

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Holidays are supposed to be all about celebrating with the folks you love, yet all too often the focus is on the preparations instead of the people and the children especially seem to get lost in the shuffle. If holidays are stressful to you, or you come to the end of the day wondering where and what your children were doing all day, this book is for you. It is a reminder of why we celebrate, and how to celebrate in a more family-friendly way. Memories are made at every holiday, are they good ones or bad ones? Learn how to make them good ones for everyone.

Check out this new release ebook from my friend Penny Raine! It's at a super low price right now, too. :)

Tis the season...for dry skin!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's dry skin season again! Between cooking, cleaning, the bathroom, kids, and a dog, I must wash my hands dozens of times every day. It's great to have clean hands, but it sure does dry out my skin in the winter months!

So I'm back on with my love affair with the All Natural Lotion Bar. I avoid chemical hand lotions (which includes almost everything on the market) and I'm quite sensitive to fake scented stuff. Plus, with needing to be at the computer, take care of contact lenses, and everything else in a day, I don't like having my hands all goopy.

The All Natural Lotion Bar is a stick (sort of like a deodorant tube) that allows you to rub lotion wherever you need it. Right now the backs of my hands and in between my fingers are the dry spots, so I can rub lotion right on without getting my fingertips touched, so I can keep on typing or doing whatever else I want to do without any interruption.

All natural ingredients and a light, pleasant, natural scent. Just my kind of thing! You can find it at the store here.

Check out this film!

Friday, November 14, 2008

If you enjoy the films from Franklin Springs Family Media, you are probably going to love this one from IVL Media. This documentary follows a pastor's family as God faithfully and miraculously provides for them through all sorts of situations. You can watch the trailer for it here.

Right now they are taking pre-orders, which includes free shipping. Looks like an uplifting night at the movies for the whole family!

More Freebies!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hey folks--I have brand new copies of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, and the new Above Rubies magazine too. If you place an order at the store I'd be happy to send either or both of them if you want me to. Just leave me a note during checkout or send an email. OK? :)

Free Kitchen Planning Goodies!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I found out about this wonderful and fun little goodie today and wanted to share it with you. It's a collection of printable kitchen organizing forms that are just perfect for this time of year. Check it out here.


Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Do you wish that there was something gentle, classic, and beautiful for your children to watch and listen to?

Do you miss the simplicity of shows like Mr. Rogers and wish you could find something comparable for your children today?

Grandpa Read's Quiet Time Tales is the answer! These beautiful, friendly, and gentle DVDs share classic children's stories with your children in a way that will delight them.

Each 60-minute (approx.) DVD features Grandpa Read, who reads 5 classic children's stories with your children, as well as illustrations and an original song. Grandpa is accompanied by his faithful canine companion Champ, and some special fish friends, Sparky and Wanda.

My very energetic little boys are ages 5, 7, and 8 and they loved watching the sample story and songs. The warmth, humor, friendliness, and classic stories was just the sort of thing I was looking for!

What a wonderful gift for a family with young children, or for a new big brother or sister that needs a calm and enriching activity to do while mommy feeds the new baby! I plan to use these as a quiet educational activity for little boys who need something worthwhile to do when I help other siblings with their school work. :)

Enjoy a discounted price as we accept pre-orders for a limited time. Products will be shipping in early December, so you will be sure to have them by Christmas.

You can now watch a 12 minute sample video here. Gather up your children and enjoy!

Free Christmas ebook

Who wants a freebie? I've got one for you--a Christmas ebook with lots of great decorating and activity ideas, as well as recipes! Clickety-click!

And the winner is....

Heidi! I'll be sending her a bottle of Bee Strong. With 5 kiddos ages 6 and under, I'm sure she can use the energy!

Why I recommend Sweet Leaf Stevia over all the others

Monday, November 03, 2008

I've been selling Sweet Leaf Stevia in my health and wellness business since I opened it, and I love using it in my own home. Sometimes people ask me why I don't sell other brands of stevia. Here's why:

Sweet Leaf Stevia has a ZERO glycemic index, NO carbs, and ZERO calories. There are some other brands with stevia products that are also zero glycemic index, but not all others are. Sweet Leaf is the best tasting stevia I have ever used. I have had people tell me that they like NuNaturals brand stevia, so I decided to check that out as well. Unfortunately, the NuNaturals products contained a lot of additives such as alcohol, corn derivatives, and more, so I do not use or recommend any of those. Sweet Leaf brand is a pure stevia, does not have fillers, has no alcohol in it, and so on.

Factors to be considered for stevia products:

How is the stevia extracted from the plant?
Sweet Leaf uses only pure water in their extraction process.
Other companies use alcohol, ethanol, and other methods that are not safe, healthy, or pure.

What additives are used in the powdered stevia?
Sweet Leaf uses inulin fiber in their Stevia Plus products, and no additives in the plain stevia powder or liquids. The inulin fiber is a safe way to add some weight to the stevia (otherwise it is very, very light and a little hard to use because of the very small amount needed) and is a benefit to people that want a little extra fiber in their diets.
Other brands add dextrose, maltodextrin, and many other products.

Where does the stevia originate? (Where is it grown)
Sweet Leaf stevia is grown exclusively in South America. Usually Paraguay.
Other companies get a lesser quality stevia from China.

I can tell you that from a taste standpoint Sweet Leaf Stevia is a winner with me, far above the other types I've tested out. To me it seems that the quality and commitment to making a really pure, healthy product pays off with an outstanding product. :)

Tooth Tissues!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am so excited about our newest product: Tooth Tissues! These convenient wipes are for cleaning off your baby or toddler's teeth when brushing isn't an option. Developed by two dentists for use with their own children, I was delighted to see that this product is fluoride-free and paraben-free. This is a rarity these days!

I would have loved to have a product like this a few years ago. My youngest child has asthma and in his life we have sometimes needed to use oral or inhaled steroids. When he was just 3 he had such extensive cavities throughout his baby teeth that he needed oral surgery to deal with all of it. I ended up finding out from my dentist that the steroids (both oral AND inhaled) are quite damaging to tooth enamel, and that was probably to blame for my little boy's dental troubles. (none of my older children had ever even had a single cavity!) Now I know that it is important to have him brush his teeth immediately after any inhaler use, but for times when we are not at home and unable to brush, Tooth Tissues are going to be a big help!

My ten year old son and I tried out Tooth Tissues on ourselves, to see how it tastes and feels. We are happy to report that although there is a slight taste (not an unpleasant one) when using the wipes, there is no aftertaste at all. (I even drank some healthy lemonade right after using mine, and had no bad taste reaction at all) This product gets two thumbs up from us!

I Love the Homemaker's Mentor!

Friday, October 17, 2008

HomeMaker's Mentor

This wonderful place teaches so many of the lost arts of homemaking in a beautiful, gracious way. Subscribe for a month, a year, or just get the classes that you need. Either are gonna love this!

Today I downloaded 3 of their resources:

Laundry Tips and Tricks (FREE!!)

Growing and Using Fresh Herbs

Kitchen Sparkle

I don't know about you, but I'm almost always up for some fresh inspiration and ideas. These downloadable lessons are very nicely done. I am quite impressed and really looking forward to digging into these soon!

Muffin Tin Meals--How Fun!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I found this post about using muffin tins to make fun meals for kids and thought it was really inspirational. You could do tons of cool stuff with healthy foods with these ideas.

My "baby" is 5 now, but I think all of my kids would enjoy this idea.

What would you put in a muffin tin meal?

(now I need to go dig up all of my muffin tins, and figure out how many more I will need to buy in order to have one for each child.....)

Make the holiday season easier this year

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I have heard about this 12-week holiday planner for a couple of years now, and I guess that every time it came to my attention I was far enough into the holiday season that I didn't think it would be a help to me.

Yeah, well, this year is gonna be different.

Today I got a copy of this great book and I am so excited about it! The main thing that I was looking for in this book was organizational help. I was not disappointed!

The book has a great 12-week plan to help get everything done without lumping it all into the 11th hour.

There are a whole bunch of really helpful planning sheets, blank calendars, places to make organized lists, and other great things like that.

There are a lot of really yummy-looking recipes that did not strike me as the kind only Martha Stewart would make.

The Jesse Tree devotionals do look neat. Somehow I have never done any sort of advent devotions with my kids (ever!) but this look doable, and like something we would enjoy adding in to our regular school days in December.

The other thing I really like about this planner is that I can use it year after year. The lists and organizer pages can be printed out as many times as I need them. Which makes a ton of sense to me. (just the one grocery shopping organizer page will be a huge help to me all year long. I already have one printed out and ready for the front of the fridge....)

So, there is my encouragement to you to go take a look and see if this planner would be a handy thing for you for the rest of this year.

Click here for more details

Homeschooling ABCs

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Yesterday I found out about a wonderful resource that I think will make a huge difference for those of you that are homeschool moms who aren't feeling quite as confident and at peace with the way things are going in your home school this year.

The Homeschooling ABCs course offers you 26 weeks of ideas, direction, and encouragement in your inbox to help you, PLUS over $200 worth of free curriculum and resources!

Check it out here.

White Bean Chili for the Crock Pot

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This is what is in my crock pot right now. Super easy, not expensive, and for my anti-tomato children, this is a chili they actually enjoy. :)

Soak one pound of dry white beans overnight in the crock pot (without the heat on). I used navy beans, but Great Northerns work well too.

In the morning drain off the water, and add in six cups of chicken broth. The best choice I know of right now, for avoiding glutamates, is the Imagine Brand Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. It comes in cartons (like rice milk).

Also add in 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, and a chopped up small onion.

Cook on high for a couple of hours until beans are soft.

After that, sautee

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

3 teaspoons of minced garlic

another chopped onion

Once those are lightly cooked, throw in a pound of ground turkey, beef, or venison and cook it up, breaking the meat into small pieces with your spatula.

Add in 7 teaspoons of the homemade taco seasoning mix. (Recipe at the end of this post)

Once the meat is cooked, add it to the beans in the crock pot. Also add in about two cups of frozen corn.

Cook on low until it's time to eat! (when it's getting to within a half hour of dinner time, add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar)

If you are not going to be home for doing those steps in the middle of the day, I see no reason why you couldn't just throw the cooked meat and everything else into the crock pot first thing in the morning and cook on low. **The one exception to this would be the seasonings. If you add salt to beans before they are cooked, they prevent the beans from getting soft. Not good! So, if you want to leave this chili to cook on low for the day, hold back the spices and just add them as soon as you are able to before eating, but after the beans are soft.

I used to keep a lot of leftovers on hand, but lately I am just freezing the leftovers into containers that are good sizes for my husband to take to work for a meal, or for us to have for dinner another night. This recipe makes a lot, so we will almost definitely end up with enough for two dinners for us. Especially if I serve some homemade bread or salad with it.

To make your own homemade taco seasoning just mix up:

6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I just stick it all into a Tupperware spice container and have it on hand for times when I need taco mix. It saves money and helps avoid the unhealthy fillers that are in so many pre-packed mixes.

Making Progress

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey folks! Good news--progress is being made with the new shopping cart. You can now shop through the regular store!

A few little issues:

The store doesn't look quite like it will when it's all done.

Ebooks and the class aren't working to not charge shipping, so for now they are not being shown on the site.

Coupon codes are not working yet. Still having some technical problems with these. If you have a discount coupon you want to use, just leave me a note with your order or send an email to me at and I will take care of it for you.

It will help me a lot if some of you brave folks will start using the new cart so we can make sure everything is working. If you find that something does not work properly, seems weird, whatever, it would be a big help to me for you to let me know so that I can figure out how to fix it. :)

Vitamin Commercial, Take Two

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here is my second attempt to document how well the kids like their vitamins. I hope you get a kick out of the extremely authentic dirty dishes, dishwasher waiting to be loaded, and kids dressed in costumes.:)

Vitamin Commercial, Take One

Monday, September 22, 2008

For awhile now I've been thinking that I should interview my kiddos while they take their Bone Ami and SuperKids vitamins. They love both products and are great about reminding me to make sure they get some each day. Here is a little video of a few of my children. Sorry that it's so dark. (come back tomorrow for another one)

Making Juice (and applesauce!) at Home

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When you have three trees full of ripe apples in the back yard...

And a whole bunch of ripe grapes, too...

It's time to get to work picking! Thankfully, our trees are pretty small, so there are tons of apples that our kids can pick without any trouble at all.

It only takes a few pleasant minutes of picking in order to get bags full of apples!

First you toss those apples into the sink and wash 'em. Ours are never sprayed with any pesticides, so we're pretty much cleaning off bird doo and spider webs. :)

You don't technically *have to* take the grapes off their stems, but I do. Otherwise, the grape juice turns out really bitter.

This is my steam juicer. It's really cool. The bottom pan holds water. The second pan is like a bundt cake pan, with a cone in the center that goes upward. This allows the steam from the heated water to travel upwards to the third level, which is a colander where the fruit sits.
You just load up the colander with fruit, put on the top, and heat up the bottom, and leave it for awhile. (apples take 90 minutes or so, grapes only 60 minutes) After that you unclamp the little tube that comes out from the side of the second pan, and out comes juice!
Here you can see some pitchers and a jar of finished juice. Although we make the apple and grape juice separately, we combine them in the pitchers to make apple-grape juice. We find that the taste isn't that great unless a sweetener is added. I use some plain liquid stevia (about 3-4 droppers full per 2-qt. pitcher) and that makes it taste really great without adding any calories OR any sugar. Just wonderful, organic, homemade juice!

At this point you can choose to can jars of juice if you want to, or you can freeze it, or just store it in the fridge and drink it right away. I don't really have the wherewithall to get into the canning right now so we've just made juice a couple of times a week and had it to drink at breakfast. We've also enjoyed giving some to friends. :)

Now, what's left in the colander at the top of the steam juicer is a bunch of cooked-down, miserable-looking apples. Good news: You don't have to waste it! Just turn it into applesauce!
We use our food mill to make quick work of this. You just pour the mushy apples into the top funnel of this gizmo, turn the crank (easily kid-powered) and out one side comes nice, fresh applesauce, and out the other side comes all of the skin, seeds, and stems. We used plastic containers to freeze our applesauce, and took the other stuff to the compost pile. Easy!

One steam juicer colander-full of apples makes about 2-3 quarts of juice plus a 9x13 pan of applesauce. not bad, eh?

The applesauce also benefits from some liquid stevia being mixed in, so again you can enjoy a sweet treat without sugar! You can make popsicles with the apple sauce, use applesauce in place of some oil in certain kinds of baking, or make applesauce bread, which is one of the things I did. Mmmmmmm mmmmmmm good!

We're out of juice again, so I'll be starting this process again later today. Wish me luck! :)

I'm Still Alive!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I just wanted to pop in quickly tonite to let you dear people know that I'm still here, still struggling away to get things fixed and running in a normal manner. As I wrote elsewhere over a week ago:

I do not exaggerate one single tiny iota when I tell you that literally every. stinkin. little. thing. that needs to happen in order for my businesses to get up and running again is taking way, way, waaaaaaaay, way more time, energy, learning curve, and frustration than I ever could have imagined.

If a malfunction could occur, it has.

If a server could go down, it did.

If a weird setting could be in place to cause extra trouble, you can bet your bippy it was there.

If I needed help, you can believe that it was nearly impossible for me to find in a timely manner.

If emails could get lost in cyberspace, mine did.

If I could possibly waste money on solutions that turned out to not be, I did.

If a computer, printer, or other piece of technology could refuse to work, break down, go slow, crash, malfunction, disconnect, or otherwise not do what I needed it to do, that happened as well.

And THAT rosie missive was written before my computer virus resulted in a total crash, which meant that I lost ALL of the files on my computer, which included several mostly-written books, tons of photos, all of the already-downloaded and organized and resized pictures needed for both of my web sites, and much more. (Helpful Hint for Hopeful Heroes: Get an external hard drive and save all of your files. TODAY! Do not be like me when your husband calls to ask if you want him to buy one of these gadgets and say, " about if we wait until I have a chance to do a little more research on which one to buy?....." NO WAITING! Learn from my mistake, mmm-kay?)

And then my modem decided to quit, leaving us without internet service for several days.

And I've been treated to an in-depth look at how many layers of possible problems exist in a web site. You think onions have a lot of layers? Onions got nothin' on web sites, baby! ;) I am amazed at how many settings could be messed up, directories could elude us, and so on. Just about every day I sit down to get something done, and within minutes I've hit another wall and have to wait for someone else to help me fix the problem. (Thank the Lord for good tech support! I now have an amazing web hosting company that provides me with 24 hour a day PHONE tech support, which is worth a million dollars to me these days!!)

I tell ya...I've wondered more than a few times what on EARTH is going on here. I've prayed. I've wished that it would be clear to me what to do. And every time I get right down to it, the answer I come back to is that this business has been growing and blessed from the get-go, and my family and I have invested a ton of time and effort into it, and I am not going to let this tricky situation keep me down! Somehow, someday, the web sites are going to be working again, and we're going to be back in the saddle.

I don't dare predict a date for all of this to be resolved, but I do want you to know that I am actively working on it and have not given up! You can still order through the sidebar, or of course you can call or email. Lots of you are still ordering and I appreciate you so much! Unfortunately, all of this fixing is very expensive, so your support means a whole LOT to me!!

I CAN tell you that I am already planning some fun sales, special deals and goodies and MORE to celebrate when we get back up and running. You will NOT want to miss it, so if you aren't already subscribed to the newsletter, DO IT NOW so you won't miss a thing. (sign up box is on the top left sidebar on this page)

I do have some fun stuff coming up here on the blog in the next couple of days, so check back with me soon, ok?

Great Deal for Homeschool Families!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

If you're like most of us, you're usually on the lookout for ways to help your home and homeschool run smoothly. You want suggestions, encouragement, and practical how-to information. You need a storehouse of helpful articles for those days when you yearn for a fresh idea, a little boost, or facts to share with potential critics – all from a solid Christian perspective. That's where The Old Schoolhouse Magazine comes in.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has just launched their fabulous Fall Special for new U.S. subscribers and you'll want to respond early. It's a 50% savings off of cover price and they even have a homeschooling tote bag for the first 1000 to respond!

Right now, during their Fall Special you can subscribe for only $39! You’ll receive 2 years of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (8 large quarterly issues), the current issue (so you get a quick jump start!), and 6 fabulous Bonus Gifts (for the first 3000). PLUS, the first 1,000 new subscribers will also receive their Homeschooling with Heart tote bag!
View the full details and subscribe online here.

Update #1

Friday, August 29, 2008

So, I got into the new shopping cart and it's clear to me that it is far more complicated than anything I can manage myself. So I've been searching high and low for someone to hire. You would be amazed at how difficult that is!

In the meantime, I had the idea to add products to the sidebar with Add to Cart buttons. I'll be working on this until I have our most popular products available there. You'll have the option to checkout with paypal, or you can use a credit card through paypal even if you don't have a paypal account. This is just a stop-gap measure to allow you regular customers to still do your shopping while we're under construction. I hope it helps!

Web Site is Temporarily Down

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Supermom's Health and Wellness will temporarily be under construction starting Thursday, Aug, 28, 2008. We will be getting the site back up and running as soon as possible. If you need to place an order, please email us at or give Erica a call at 859-339-9417. We still have all of our products in stock and would be happy to ship things out to you!

Thank you for your support and patience as we go through this crazy transition. Keep visiting us here at the blog for the latest information, or join our email newsletter. We will be sure to let you know as soon as we are open for business again. :)

Hello from a very stressed out Supermom

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

If you've been to the store yesterday or today you may have noticed that it's impossible to place an order. Unfortunately, that is because my web hosting service has violated their terms of service, gone out of business, become incommunicado, and now I am scrambling to fix not just one but TWO web sites where nobody can shop.

This involves me having to move to new hosting (done!), needing to move two web sites to completely new shopping carts (not done! will take much time! Not a good thing!), and much, much technical stress, strain, and chaos in between where I would normally be, and where I'm going (kicking and screaming all along the way). The good news is that once all of this gets resolved, Supermom's Health and Wellness is going to be better than ever and in a much more secure situation as far as hosting goes. So, it's a good thing, just a hard way to have to get there.

I plan to delight and amazed you (ha!) with the Long Version of this terrible tale once I get to the other side of it. In the mean time, here are some things for you to know:

If you want to place an order soon, please just go ahead and call or email me. The checkout will not work, and I am not sure how long it will take to get it working. It looks like I may be stuck with non-working web sites for a few days or maybe even a week or more. (don't get me started crying--I may not be able to stop!) I still have all the products here and would be very happy to take your call and send you what you need in record time, as usual. :)

My phone number is 859-339-9417. The best times to get a real, live ME answering is from 8am-10pm Eastern time. (BUT, after 1pm is better because in the mornings I'm normally doing school with 5 kiddos.) If I don't answer, just leave a message. I really will call you back! It's just that sometimes I have to take showers, eat dinner, and wipe the stress tears from my eyes as I try to get this business back up and running properly.

My email address is supermom (at)

When you email me to place your order just let me know if you would like to pay by credit card (I will call you for that--don't put it in an email. I want your info to be safe!) or paypal. If paypal, let me know your paypal address and I can send you an invoice once I tally up your order.

To thank you all for supporting me through this really tough situation, I will be including a free little giftie with every order. I just love my customers and it really upsets me when things like this happen. I appreciate your kind comments and calls--just a few minutes ago I had the pleasure of talking to one wonderful customer for a few minutes, and it gave me a nice boost in the middle of a distressing day.

I'll be updating here and with regular newsletters as I have updates. I would appreciate your prayers as I juggle the responsibilities of home, family, and business during this Code Red situation on the business front. :)

Thanks again,


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I bet that a lot of you would enjoy checking out the Lunch Tote giveaway that I've got going on over at The Baby Boutique Blog this week. Hurry! It ends Saturday morning!

A customer writes about the lemonade

I thought this was a fun little "testimonial" from one of my new customers:

I recently bought some lemon stevia from you, and now I am addicted to your healthy lemonade!!
My kids are so picky and they all just love it, hubby likes it also.
Just wanted to share, I like to put a couple of cherries in the bottom and let the flavors mix. Very tasty and gives the little ones something to look foward to at the bottom.
You may be able to find some healthier ones at a health food store,not for sure.
Just thought I would share.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hey everybody,
You will definitely want to check out this report about the dangerous endocrine-disrupting hormone BPA that is often found in children's feeding products. It'll only take a few minutes to become better-informed and able to protect your children.

Question: Would you like to see Supermom's offering BPA-free bottles, sippy cups, and so on? Which ones interest you the most.

Comment from a recent customer:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Your company is great! You offer what most people lack........service!

Service is HUGE to me. I am always so disappointed when I shop somewhere and it is apparent that my purchases there mean nothing. My goal is to get orders out the same day when possible, and the next day without exception. I love to pack up your orders and get them on their way to you speedily. :) I think of how delighted you will be when the package arrives and you say, "Wow! That was fast!" :)

Thanks for your support of my little home business!

Getting Organized for the New School Year

Friday, August 15, 2008

I know that not everybody visiting me here is a homeschool parent, but a large number of you are. So every now and then I have some homeschool-related goodie to pass along to you.

First of all, I have the brand new edition of The Old Schoolhouse magazine here and can add one in with your next order FREE! Just leave me a note in the comments section of your order and I'll take care of it. :)

Secondly, I just found out about a wonderful set of resources from Cindy Rushton that is designed to help homeschool moms get organized and be prepared for the upcoming school year. The set includes:
Full Ebook library
Mp3 Downloads for all audios (over $700 in workshops!)
Organization 911 Seminar Set
Let's Get Organized Seminar Set
Free Gifts
Printable Planning Pages

You can check it out here.

There are always things to get for the kids at this time of year, but it's important to remember that moms need refreshment and resources to help them do their job, too! Please be sure to take good care of yourselves, ladies. Burn out is no fun.

Hugs to you ladies!

Free Stress Relief for Moms!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A lot of moms are needing a fresh burst of inspiration these days, and I've got just the thing! Check out this page with great ideas for:

summer activities for kids

family-friendly summer recipes

summer exercise ideas for moms

and more!

It's all here, and it's all free. Enjoy!

New Product: Omega Balance 3-6-9

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Omega fatty acids are extremely important to our health, but most of us aren't getting anywhere near enough of them in our everyday diets.I've known about Omega fatty acids for a long time and have taken them in the past, but usually found that the capsules smelled very fishy, and had the unfortunately side effect of producing fishy burps hours after taking them. Yukk!

So I was so thrilled to find Omega Balance 3-6-9 because it's got all the good stuff we need, and none of the bad stuff that makes us not want to take it!

Omega Balance contains a blend of borage, organic flax seeds, and fish oils. This unique combination provides an excellent source for these extremely important fatty acids!

You can read more about it here. Good stuff! (and with 180 capsules per bottle, it lasts a good, long time! I like that. Don't you?)

Doggie Rescue

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One of the things I did while the site was down was rescue a dog.

The other evening as I was sitting in the living room my oldest son looked out the window and said that there was a dog in the road. My husband and I got up to take a look, and there was this pitiful looking dog right in the road, not even reacting when cars were slowing and going around her.

I went right outside to try to call to her to get out of the road. Her stance was very sad--her head was hanging down and she was barely moving. I wondered if maybe she had already been hit by a car because she seemed so odd.

I called to her, whistled, clapped my hands, and knelt down in the yard near where she was in the road. She barely looked up, and stayed where she was.

At that point I started wondering if she was sick with rabies or something. I had never seen a dog act this way before.

My husband came out of the house to get involved. At this point quite a few cars had gone by, the dog was not really responding to us, and was walking right down the middle of the car lane.

My daughter brought out one of the little boy belts so that we could make a leash from it. My son used a piece of pizza from our dinner to lure the dog off the road. My husband finally got the dog off to the side of the road and got the lead on her and brought her back to the house.

He had asked me to call the dog warden, so I was in the house looking up the number in the phone book, but I couldn't find it. When I went out to ask him for ideas about who we could call that might know the number, we started looking at this dog more closely.

She was very thin. Not aggressive at all. But pitiful looking, like we wondered if she would live until morning. We started thinking that if we called the dog warden, she would probably be put down immediately since she wasn't looking too promising.

We got her into our fenced back yard and fed her some dog food that our neighbors donated to the cause. As we observed her we decided that we would keep her in our yard for the night and see what we could do to get her some medical care in the morning.

She lived through the night. However, we hadn't realized how chilly it would get. The poor thing is so skinny that she was shivering when my husband went out to see her this morning. She couldn't even stand up.

We got her wrapped up in some blankets and brought her into the house. Here's how she looked around 7am:
Such a sweet face!

Here's a full body shot of her this morning. The picture doesn't show it that well, but her hair is very coarse and full of burrs. When you pet her you realize that she has almost no body fat at all. She's very, very thin.
In this picture you can sort of see the back of her neck and the bad condition of her fur. She looked a lot worse in person.

We called our local vet and were able to get her in there bright and early today. Thankfully, what they learned is that although she is very underweight (only 24 pounds) and somewhat dehydrated, she doesn't seem to have any illnesses except for some worms. (yumm!) (No more bare feet in the backyard!!)

The vet said that he would guesstimate her age to be 5-7 years, so we were way off there. We had thought that she was maybe 6 months old.

And, the big twist is that she seems to be deaf. Which explains some of her behavior when we first found her in the road. Oh, she has cataracts too. So she probably couldn't even see me at first.

After we got her home my husband gave her a hair cut to get all the nasty crud off of her, and then it was bath time (using a Scrappy's Choice Dog Shampoo Bar, of course!):

She was mighty dirty. Here's what the tub looked like afterwards (and, yes, it was actually a clean tub before she got in there):

The big question at the vet's office was: What is going to happen to this dog now? Did we want to keep her?

What can I say. My compassion for the hungry, sick, and needy of the world extends to animals as well.

So now apparently we have a dog. At least until we get her back to health and see what's what.

The kids are so excited. They are saying things like "This is a dream come true!" and "God sent us the perfect dog!" Truly, the dog is rather ideal. Not even the slightest bit of aggression. Very submissive. She seems to have almost no expectations from people, either good or bad. We wonder if she has been around people very much at all. She is very calm. Of course, she doesn't have the strength to be anything but calm. So, things could change as her health improves. The vet thinks that she should gain around 12 pounds to be at a normal weight. (Can you imagine needing to gain 50% more body weight?! The poor thing!! She is so thin!)

I can see that it will be a challenge to figure out how to train a dog that can't hear. She doesn't react to any finger snapping, clapping, or vocalizations. How on earth do you correct and teach a dog like this? I googled "training deaf dogs" and found that there is quite a lot of helpful information about it. Hopefully we'll be able to have some measure of success, because she doesn't seem to understand even the most basic body language or signals from us. She doesn't seem to know the first thing about what to expect in life.

We brainstormed about possible names for her. We thought about having a Name That Doggie contest here on the blog. The kids were suggesting things like "cocoa puff" and "oatmeal chunk" and "jasmine." As I was watching the dog out the window and thinking about how cute she is, and about her being deaf, I thought of the talented deaf actress Marlee Matlin, and realized that Marlee would be a perfect name for her. Everybody agreed.

So, meet Marlee, my deaf, worm-ridden dog. My guess is that she's here to stay.


Monday, August 11, 2008

I just wanted to let you folks know that there is a great giveaway happening over at The Baby Boutique Blog this week. It's for a Child Safety Pack. I thought some of you might enjoy entering the contest!

Yay! The site is back up!

I've had a very stressful four days waiting for my sites to reappear. I apologize to any of you that tried to visit Supermom's Health and Wellness and were unable to. Apparently my hosting service had a gigantic problem. :( Anyhoo--all is well now. To celebrate, let's have a sale! Use coupon code YAY to take 10% off anything at the store! (coupon is good through Sunday, Aug. 17)

Zoinks! My site is down!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh me oh my, Supermom's Health and Wellness is down right now! Don't know why, but have emailed the web host to try to get it straightened out. Sorry for the inconvenience! We'll be back up just as soon as possible. And I have no idea when that will be. :(

Who Wants to Wheel and Deal?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Hey folks,

As some of you may already know, I'm discontinuing some products that haven't been strong sellers, so that I can have space to bring in more NEW products.

Right now I am down to a small selection of a few things and am wondering if any of you would like to wheel and deal with me.....

Here's the plan: I'm posting these items at wholesale prices just here on the blog. If you want any of this stuff, email me at with Wheel and Deal in the subject line, telling me what you want and how many of each you would like. (do NOT go through the regular shopping cart) You get these great prices, but will be paying actual shipping instead of the usual flat $6.95. For some of you that might mean you pay less, and for those of you that choose heavier items or live farther away, it might mean you pay more. I want to let these go at low prices, but I can't lose money on the shipping. So, I'll scratch your back with rock bottom prices, and you can pay your own shipping. :)

You will be able to pay by paypal or credit/debit card once we figure out your total.

If you want to purchase any regular items along with these bargains, just let me know in your email.

Here's one little Pretty Please for you folks: Please only email me with your order if you are ready to commit to it. I am starting homeschooling with my children tomorrow, so I really, truly do not have time to figure out shipping costs, get back to you, and then have you change your mind. I am going to pack up your order once, weigh it once, and plan to get paid and ship it out once. :) I hope you know that I don't mean to be rude--I just have to be realistic about what I can do in light of all of my other responsibilities.

I can tell you that I use Priority Mail service most of the time, but will also be able to let you know what the Parcel Post rates are in case you prefer that. I have both sizes of flat rate boxes available for larger or heavier orders. The regular flat rate box mails for a little more than $9. The bigger one mails for a little more than $12, I think.

Teeccino: Canisters now $5.25, Sample Packets just $1 each
Vanilla Nut Teeccino--just 3 sample packets
Java Teeccino--just 2 sample packets
Maya Caffe Teeccino--just 1 canister left, and 7 sample packets

Baby Ganics--all varieties
All-Purpose Cleaner $4 each
Floor Cleaner Concentrate $5 each
Glass and Surface Cleaner $4 each
Tub and Tile Cleaner $4.50 each

Handmade Soaps (these are AWESOME! My family loves these. They are also great for little gifts. Stock up for Christmas.) $3 each

Herbal Lavender--just 1 left
Coconut Almond Fudge--just 1 left
Peppermint Shaving Soap tin--just 3 left (these never even made it to the site for some reason, but are great for guys who like to shave with soap-in-a-tin and a shaving brush!)
Shaving Brush with fine bristles and wooden handle--very nice--just 1 left $8
Goat Milk Peppermint-just 1 left
Goat Milk Lavender--just 2 left
Goat Milk Hyacinth--just 2 left
Peppermint Shampoo Bar--6 left
Scrappy's Choice Dog Shampoo--4 left
Unscented All-Vegetable Soap--5 left
Herbal Kitchen--3 left
Lively Lemon--4 left

Teas: Boxes of tea bags are now $4, Canisters of Instant Tea are $5.50

Rooibos tea bags--2 boxes left
Yerba Mate Royale Chai Tea bags--3 boxes left
Yerba Mate Royale Vanilla tea bags--7 left
Yerba Mate Royale Instant tea canister--3 left

Vegan Laundry Detergent Kits are now $4.50 (just 4 left)
Regular Laundry Detergent Kits are now $4.50 (just 3 left)
scents available for either type of kit: peppermint or unscented

Sweet Leaf Stevia Plus 100 count packets on clearance for $8

Larabars on clearance for $1.20 each
Pistachio- 5 left
Banana Cookie- 4 left
Cashew Cookie- 7 left
Cocoa Mole- 9 left
Pecan Pie- 5 left

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine: I've got lots of Spring 2008 and Summer 2008 issues here. I'd be happy to send you as many of each as you'd like, for free, since you're already paying the shipping on your total order.

I also have free Sonlight catalogs for any of you that want those. Just let me know how many you want. :)

I will try to update this list as things sell, depending on whether or not I have time. Hopefully I'll be too busy reading to my kids and packing up your orders. ;)

Half Price Sale from Amy Puetz!

For those of you that have enjoyed Amy Puetz's books Come and Get It! Revolutionary War era recipes, and Tea Time from the Victorian era, you will be excited to know that Amy is having a half price sale on all of her ebooks until August 16. If you will be studying history with your children this year, you will not want to miss these unique resources!

Check it out here

Back to School Blast Seminar ONLINE!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Anybody ready to kick off your new school year with a great homeschool seminar--in YOUR home? Do you want practical, real-life, proven ideas for homeschooling? A big dose of encouragement? Real help is available from real homeschool moms who guarantee to help you kick off the best year ever.

Coming to YOUR home!
Virtual Seminar Series
Free Gifts!
Special offers!
Mp3 Downloads for all audios!

Tickets Now On Sale!

Get More Details here

Welcome to the new blog site!

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'll be working on getting the old blog content over here just as soon as I can! If you're missing something that you need right away, you can always go back to the old blog to find it.

Floatie Swim Suit Safety Alert

I wrote this post several years ago, and now dig it out every year and re-post to share with people each summer.

We have an Easy Set pool at our house. It's a pretty big one, and we have floatation swim suits for our three youngest boys to wear, although we keep the pool shallow enough that all of them can walk around in it and still have their heads above water. Last year when I bought the suits the baby was one and the better quality suits did not come in his size, so I got a cheaper one, which he had continued to wear this year.
The other day the kids were playing in the pool while my husband and I sat on the deck watching them and chatting. Our youngest, who is now 2, lost his footing in the pool and very quickly was floating face down in the water. Fortunately my husband saw it right away and got to him within just a few seconds, so everything turned out ok.


The problem is that this suit was not designed to flip a child over onto their back if they needed to rely on the floatation! Our baby was helpless, face down in the water. He would have actually been safer with no suit on at all, since he would have been able to stand to his feet after losing his footing.

It only takes a very few moments for a little one to drown. I am so thankful we were right there with our eyes on the pool happenings.

We tossed out that suit and today I went and bought him one of the better ones, that are designed to keep a kid floating on their backs. Here is the difference between the two suits:

The kind that flips a child onto their back has a float in the front of the suit that is longer than the one in the back.

The kind of suit that put my baby into the pool face first is a kind that is designed for children who need a floatie while learning to swim. The floats are all around the suit and are the same size all the way around.

Just thought someone else might appreciate the reminder. Go check and see if your little one's floatie suits will flip them to their backs in their moment of need.

Two New Products!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I've got two new additions to the store today that I am so excited about! Wanna hear about 'em?

The first is Miracle Salve. This is a wonderful product for minor scrapes, burns, cuts, stings, bites, sores, rashes, eczema, dry skin, and more. I have been using it on my family for many months now and am very pleased with it. I appreciate it that this one product can do so much, instead of needing to purchase many different items for specific ailments. And my children appreciate that it does not have a strong scent like some herbal skin salves do. :) We have tried some that were so very, very *healthy* smelling ---aka stinky!-- that the kids just really didn't want to use it at all. They love the Miracle Salve and now put it on all of their little ailments on their own.

I bought the four ounce size to try out, and can see now that this product lasts a really long time. So I decided to just offer the two ounce size in the store for now. I could have made a little more profit on the 4 ounce size, but I think that 2 ounce containers will probably be helpful for most families without having to spend ten more dollars. If you feel that you would rather have the four ounce size, just contact me and I will be happy to get it in stock for you.

The second new product is Glucosamine/MSM. This supplement is great for helping your joints stay lubricated so they don't hurt! Back almost ten years ago after my third child was born (he's turning 10 tomorrow!! oh my goodness!) I started experiencing a lot of pain and soreness in my hands. Thankfully, someone told me about glucosamine and how it helps lubricate our joints. Through three more pregnancies and entire decade I have found glucosamine to be a good friend in helping me feel good and stay active with my growing family. :)

Glucosamine is an amino acid that contributes to making cartilage, which is the shock-absorbing gel in our joints. As we age, or as our bodies take on a lot of hard work (like pregnant mommies!), our bodies can slow down the production of cartilage, resulting in us feeling sore even while doing regular things in life.

Although pain killers can take away the symptom, that doesn't help solve the problem. Glucosamine gives relief from the symptom while also helping your body repair itself!

There are several more good things about this particular formulation, so if you are at all interested, please check it out here.

I hope to be bringing you more helpful products this summer. If you have any suggestions of what you would like to see sold here, or a health problem that you would like a solution to, let me know--I'd love to help you!

Photos from the Highland Games!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Here we are, in the car on our way to the Games. We took 7 kids + 2 adults. Woot!

The next photo is of my oldest son, demonstrating How Not To Sit While Wearing a Kilt. His was given some skirt-wearing pointers, but as you can see, he didn't take the advice.

The first thing I did when we got to the Games was to fall and hurt myself, thanks to a sharp difference between the pavement height and the grass next to it. Somehow, I was so skillful as to have my right foot get half on the pavement and half off of it. So my right foot kind of rolled sideways downhill, and my left knee went crashing into the cement. So here is a picture of my scraped up knee, just to prove it. (thankfully, I was wearing cropped pants that covered my knees. I am so thankful that I didn't hit the concrete with bare skin. And, extra bonus!, my new cropped pants *did not rip* which I thought was pretty great)

I got right up and kept walking. My husband has been ahead of me, as had most of the kids, so they hadn't seen what happened, although they heard me say ouch. They checked in with me and I thought I was fine, so we kept on truckin' for another few feet, and then I decided that maybe I should get some ice.

We found an ambulance so walked over to it, only to find not a single emergency services type person in sight. What a crock. We couldn't find any ice near where we were, and then we saw a pipes and drums band starting, so we just went to watch that. I toughed it out.

After that we had to go to the farthest reaches of the grounds to find The Old Man, who is the vendor with the cheapest array of wooden swords, knives, and muskets. THIS is what our boys were looking forward to more than anything.

As you can see from the next photo, they had fun selecting their weaponry just in time to take the closest hill in a battle.

The thing that I was most looking forward to was seeing NeedFire play again. We just loved this group last year and have listened to their CDs since then. Well, they did not disappoint! Such a fun group to watch on stage, and super nice to their fans off the stage. Four of our kids had t-shirts that they got signed by the band members. Cool people. Very fun to see them again.

The one and only down side to the concert was that as I sat there, I noticed my foot starting to hurt. It had hurt just a little bit after it twisted as I fell off the pavement.

I don't know if it was sitting for so long, or the amount that we walked, or just the amount of time since I fell, but the pain started intensifying and then extending all the way up my leg, almost to my hip. And that was just when I was sitting.

When I got up to walk...zowee! The pain was quite intense, and all I can say is that having birthed six babies, I do know how to breathe through pain. However, constant pain is quite a bit different than intermittent contractions with a cute baby to show for it at the end.

My husband stopped at a store on the way home to get me souvenir meds. (My daughter said to him, "Maybe you could find something herbal and natural for mom.." He was like, "Honey--they aren't going to have anything herbal here...." It was nice of her to think of that, and I realized that I really, really need to get that first aid kit made up for the car like I've been thinking of doing for....years!) Neosporin for the scrape, Blue goo to make my foot feel cold, and Aleve, which ended up saving the day.

I could walk on my foot without too much misery by the time we got home. Yay! Thankfully, by Sunday my foot was feeling quite a bit better, although I took a lazy day to mostly stay off of it, seeing as how *Monday* we will be helping my husband's sister's family move into their new house, near us! They are moving here from 14 hours away.

Overall, it took a lot of energy and patience to take the kids to the Games, particularly when speaking through teeth clenched in pain. They had fun, though, and say they want to go back next year. :)

True to my make-lemonade-out-of-lemons personality, I have decided to experiment with a wonderful herbal healing salve on my knee scrape. One side of the scrape is getting the herbal stuff, the other side I am leaving alone. I already notice an obvious different in how much each part hurts. (the herbal side feels much less painful) I am thinking of offering this new product after I return from my vacation. :) This is a perfect opportunity to give it a good test.

Photo Op: Kilts-n-Stuff

Sunday, June 01, 2008

So it's been a year since my husband and I first went to the Glasgow Highland Games, and the whole family has been looking forward to attending in 2008. Since we knew we'd be going back, we started accumulating some good Scottish garb for the children. Would you like to see...??

This first little Highlander is my 5 year old. It was kinda sunny that day, so he did a lot of squinting.

Pained squinting, to be exact....

And this is my 6 year old. Cute, eh?

My daughter was quite happy with her costume.

Wild clan of cute young men...

Here's one of all the kids together.

We had these kilts and my daughter's outfit made by some very sweet and talented young ladies. You can go to their web site here. I highly recommend them.

Tune in next time for actually photos from the Games!

Veggie Tacos: Something my family loved!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For today's lunch I threw together this veggie taco meal and my husband and kids loved it. So, of course, I have to share it with all of you. :)

Start with melting about 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. (You could use olive oil instead)

I added about a teaspoon of garlic and one small diced onion. (whizzed it up in the food processor)

after sauteeing that for a few minutes I added in four carrots and one zucchini, both of which I had whizzed up into small pieces using my food processor.

Also added three cans of beans: 1 kidney, 1 black bean, 1 pinto.

Plus 7 teaspoons of my homemade taco seasoning mix. (basically equals on taco seasoning packet from the store--will share the recipe at the end)

I stirred this up while heating, making sure it didn't scorch on the bottom. Brought it to a boil, then covered and simmered for about 10 minutes or so to get the carrots cooked. Then uncovered and continued to cook and stir at medium temp. for about 20 more minutes. Basically, once the carrots aren't too hard, you can be done. (I liked leaving them just a little crunchy for texture)

We had hard taco shells and soft tortillas. You can probably find whole wheat tortillas at your grocery store. I also had

organic lettuce


sour cream

colby jack cheese

and taco sauce to put on these.

My kids do not like tomatoes, so this recipe really made them happy. Of course, you could add some diced tomatoes while cooking, or just have them to add afterwards for those that enjoy them.

It was definitely a messy meal, but everybody ate happily and there were no complaints. A golden recipe for my arsenal! :)

I am sure you could use more or less veggies, different beans, etc. This is a great "cooking from the hip" recipe because it's hard to mess up. As long as it's hearty, and not too liquidy, you are good to go. This recipe did seem a little runny in the skillet, but once it started to cool off it turned into a perfect consistency for tacos.

If you plan ahead you could soak and cook the beans ahead of time.

Zucchini is so great for adding into recipes like this. When we get excess zukes in the summer time I just whiz them up in the food processor and freeze 'em in ziploc bags. They don't have a strong taste, so they are easy to throw into soups, stews, casseroles, and other stuff to add nutrition and heartiness without setting off anybody's "veggie alarm."

To make your own homemade taco seasoning just mix up:

6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I just stick it all into a Tupperware spice container and have it on hand for times when I need taco mix. It saves money and helps avoid the unhealthy fillers that are in so many pre-packed mixes.

Mexican Minestrone Recipe

Friday, May 02, 2008

My 15 year old son needed to bring a Mexican food to a Cinco de Mayo celebration (which is today, Dos de Mayo, but hey....whatever!) and so we made this super easy and delicious soup. I am HAPPY to say that it is healthy, inexpensive, quick, and MSG-free! Woot!

In a crock pot, combine:

two 15-ounce cans black beans

two 14.5-ounce cans of diced or stewed tomatoes (read those labels--I found stewed tomatoes with high fructose corn syrup in it! ugh)

28 ounces of vegetable broth

15 ounce can of corn, or the equivalent of frozen corn

15 ounce can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)

2 cups of diced potatoes

2 cups frozen green beans

1 cup salsa

Cook on low for 9-11 hours, or on high for 4.5-5.5 hours. You can serve it with a dollop of sour cream if you want to. :)

If you want to be even thriftier, you can always use dry beans and just soak them overnight. Drain off the water in the morning, and throw those soaked beans into the crock pot to cook along with everything else. I would say that you would probably only need about a cup-and-a-half of the black beans, and about 3/4 of a cup of the garbanzo.

I've noticed that a lot of crock pot recipes require you to do a whole lot of advance cooking before putting the stuff into the pot. I like ones where you just throw the stuff in and come back later to a meal. :)

We'll be having this soup tomorrow night along with a loaf of fresh honey whole wheat bread. Yum!

Adventures in Cheesemaking

Saturday, April 26, 2008

So earlier this week I tried my hand at cheesemaking, using the mozarella kit that I purchased from We bought a gallon of milk (we used 2%) and got to work. The description of the kit had said that it would help you make about a pound of mozarella and some ricotta cheese as well, all in about a half hour.

Yeah, well, don't believe everything they tell ya. ;)

First of all, it takes quite awhile to heat a gallon of milk to 88 degrees without scorching it on the bottom. So, my children, who had previously been set up to help me make this cheese and observe this scientific wonder :) gradually faded away to the back yard while I stirred, and stirred, and stirred a slowly-heating pot of milk. :)

Eventually the milk got warm enough and we moved on to the stage where you add another thing (I can't remember if it's the rennet that you add now, or the citric gets added at the beginning, one at the point where the heating is done) and then wait for the milk to firm up into curds and whey. (Hellooooooo Little Miss Muffet!) This took about 15 minutes for us (or, more time for uninspired children to play on the swingset) and then I got into the highlight of the experience, which was trying to *separate* the curds from the whey. Also known as the "Why did I think this was a good idea and why did I think it would be fun?" stage.

I used a slotted spoon to try to fish out the curds, which are like milky, slippery jello pieces floating in a yellowy sea of liquid (whey). As you fish out the curds, you get a lot of whey with it. According to what I learned from watching the cheesemaking DVD, the curds are quite fragile, so if you do not treat them with tender loving care they will break apart and end up being too small to corral into your cheesemaking process.

Again, this portion of the process is not on that exactly keeps children on the edge of their seats. They walked in, saw me fishing out curds, pronounced it "looks gross!" and went back outside. Who could blame them? I was up to my elbows attempting to fish out curds for probably 20 minutes (which feels like a lot longer when you're doing it, let me tell ya!).

I had a lot of trouble trying to pour off that pesky whey. You'd think it would be a no-brainer, but for me, it wasn't. I think that by the time I finished I learned that I could have worried less about the whey and just moved on to the next step without trying to be too thorough about it.

Eventually I got annoyed enough with the whole curds-and-whey thing that I did something that they tell you not do to on the DVD, which is to pour the rest of the curds and whey into a colander that was inside a bowl. Apparently some curds are just too fragile to even be poured this way, but I felt like it was either that, or stand there all day fishing for my long-awaited curds, or waste a whole lot of material that was supposed to be turning into cheese. I was willing to throw cheesemaking caution to the wind and take my chances.

I got a good amount of curds from the colander, and then I used the cheese cloth to line the colander and poured the whey through it again, so that I could catch all of those teeny-weeny pieces of curd that I had traumatized thus far in the process. That worked out fine and I probably got another cup and a half of curds that way.

After you get your curds together you microwave them for about a minute, then do some kneading or stirring, and this is where the curds start sticking together and it becomes a lot easier to pour of the whey. (Next time I'll worry less about the whey and just get on to microwaving.) You microwave a little, add in your cheese salt, then stir and knead and stretch a little, microwave again, etc. until you get to the point where the whey is gone, and your cheese is now looking like it should. By the end it is shiny and stretchy and doesn't break apart even when you stretch it for a long way. At that point I started feeling pretty excited. "I made cheese! Yessirree I did!"

When your cheese is done, you plunge it into icy cold water to cool. One tip that I thought was fun was to stretch the cheese into lines (log shapes) before cooling it, and you end up with string cheese. I also did some twists of cheese as well. And the rest I just left in a circle.

It tastes very good, just like it should. Nothing weird about it, nothing objectionable in any way.

It took me about an hour and a half, and that didn't even include ricotta, which I found out was not something that could be done with the leftover whey as I thought it would, but required a whole other gallon of milk. And, frankly, I just didn't care at that point. :)

I did save all of the whey by pouring it right back into the gallon jug. I was amazed to see that there was about 3/4 of a gallon of whey. Seems like a lot of waste to me. Apparently you can use this in any recipe that needs sour milk or buttermilk, and it can be used when making baked goods, pancakes, etc. Of course I made pancakes the other day and forgot to use the whey, but am thinking of making a big batch of pancakes for the freezer, so I can use some of it up then.

Overall, it was a learning experience, and although it didn't go super-easy or super-fast, I feel like I will enjoy trying my hand at cheesemaking again. It would be a decent activity to do while doing some other kitchen things and chatting with my husband. There were some really interesting ideas and suggestions for things you can do with the cheese where you combine the cheese with herbs and so on that seemed like they might be really yummy. (and in true "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" tradition, this made me think that I really, really need to get started on growing my own herbs....ha ha!!)
I don't consider cheese (or milk) to be all that healthy, but have found that it is something we just aren't ready to entirely part with yet. Now that I know about the various chemicals that are added to cheeses that are sold in the store (brick cheese as well as shredded) I am more motivated to try to get better at this cheesemaking thing and see if I can fit this into our regular life.

The DVD (included with the kit, as well as a very nice book with lots of cheese recipes and instructions) of the cheesemaking was very interesting and I learned about many cheeses that I had not heard of or been familiar with. I think that the DVD is a lot more interesting for children since it edits out all of the boring wait time involved, which is a whole lot of it.

I did get a hard cheese kit as well, so that I can make my own cheddar, colby, and so on. I think I will need a cheese press to get into that, so haven't tried it out yet.

Each kit has enough ingredients to make many pounds of cheese (I think between the two kits I have enough material to make 100 pounds of cheese!) so when I look at it like that, it was a decent investment. I plan to keep my radar up for bargain organic milk ever time I pass by Kroger.

I did notice that they sell the Yogotherm at, and they also have *kefir* which I mentioned a few weeks ago as having been on my radar. Apparently in the yogotherm you can make cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, and a bunch of other fancy-shmancy sounding soft cheese that I am not cultured enough (ha ha punny!) to be familiar with. So, I will have to think about whether or not it would be worth it to me to try that out as well. ($69.95---I'll have to be pretty sure, won't I?)

I do think that cheesemaking has the potential to be a fun activity and to provide for some creativity that could be a fun thing to dazzle people with at the meal table. Loving to be an enigma as much as I do, adding "I make homemade cheese" to the list is quite appealing, I must say. :) (even cooler than "I make homemade bread and grind my own wheat"!)