Double Break

July 12, 2017

Double Break

Once there was a princess.  She was seven years old and she loved climbing in trees.

She had a pretty purse her aunt had given her for her birthday.  For four months, it had never left her arm.

She also had a favorite pair of shoes.  Not active, sturdy, outside shoes, but dressy magic boots so worn out that the bottoms were falling off (mom had tossed them into the trash can multiple times, but magically they appeared back on Jaquline’s feet).

It was the end of a long, fun day.  Mom called everyone in for dinner.  It was almost 7pm.  Jaquline, Jillian, and Kimberly decided to play one more game of tag.  Jaquline raced to climb up base (the tree) and got about 5 feet up before her shoes slid, purse got caught, and she fell.

Echoing through the neighborhood was the type of pain scream that Moms dread.

Within 5 minutes, Christina had gathered the other 4 kids into the SUV, while Rebeccah (with her awesome bedside calming manner) soothed Jaquline and Mom carried her into the vehicle.  We could see one of the breaks easily – it looked like a crumpled, tiny T-Rex arm had grown just above Jaquline’s right wrist.

Mom sped to the hospital.

Christina called Daddy so he could meet them there (he was at work).  Jaquline had her call Grandma so she could pray with her.  Rebeccah sang funny songs and told jokes while she held Jaquline’s body and arms still.

Jaquline had broken her right distal ulna and radius (within 2 inches of the wrist joint is “distal”) in a “closed break” (it didn’t break skin, but was “compound” because the break was completely through the bone – in 3 places on both bones) and her left distal ulna was broken, distal radius cracked, and scaphoid (a wrist bone) dislocated.  She told every doctor, nurse, and CNA who came in that as she fell she didn’t want to hit her head or neck, back, tummy, legs, so caught herself with her arms.  When they gave her some “funny juice” to make her not feel the pain while they snapped the bones back in place, she told us about unicorns, a palace in the clouds, and flying.  She told the doctor that “God is sewing my bones back together.”

She was limited (barely! she was still only for the first few hours) for a few weeks in two casts.  We had to keep telling her she was a princess and couldn’t get up off the couch (this was the first time she didn’t want to be a princess).  She had the right cast on for an additional three weeks.

There were many miracles during this time.  First, God put strong, capable medical staff in our path.  Several even prayed with Jaquline.  Jaquline’s bones started knitting back together quickly.  At her 6 week appointment (removal of second cast), her x-rays showed complete healing.  The doctor said “normal” regrowth would have been 1.5mm, Jaquline’s was over 5mm.  There was a bone “spur” (part angled out that wasn’t straight, it looked like a bump on the bone) but by the 3 month appointment, it was completely gone.  They were concerned about range of motion in her wrists, especially the right one because of being in the casts so long, but that was fine too – she did hand and finger exercises every day.  (She did all kinds of stuff every day!  We moved while she was in her casts!)

We learned a lot about our bones, how our bodies heal and grow, and about the various medical professionals who were part of helping Jaquline.  She is considering orthopedic medicine because “I want to help people like my doctors and nurses helped me.”

The picture is from the one week when she had matching purple and pink camo casts (the nurse even put glitter on one).

Although she hasn’t been climbing many trees lately, she’s back to 100% and has learned a lot through this adventure.  She taught us about her faith in God.  She never even considered that her bones wouldn’t grow back straight or that she wouldn’t be able to “work” her thumbs and wrists.  She always trusted God and never quit trying.

I learned about the faith and determination of my Princess Jaquline.

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

Bulk Canning

June 16, 2017

Bulk Canning

Four hours of simmering marinara and the house smells like Italian spices!  Oregano, sweet basil, flowery parsley, smooth garlic, marjoram, sage, thyme, onion, and rosemary flavors blend together with a yummy tomato base to make five gallons of nearly meatless red sauce (nearly, because we use one pound of finely ground meat for flavor).  This is a family cupboard staple.  We use our marinara for lasagna, in soup, for rice dishes, and our favorite way – as spaghetti sauce!

One pound of any noodle + one quart of marinara + a handful of meatballs = yummy spaghetti!

This cooks in the time it takes to boil noodles (usually 15 minutes) so it’s a fast meal.

We started making our healthy bulk marinara about 15 years ago.  First we experimented with small batches for taste.  When we got taste down, we started making full canning-pot batches. (Our canning pot holds 5.5 gallons, but we leave space for stirring, so each “batch” is 5 gallons.)

We spend about 4 or 5 hours canning and processing for one batch of chili or marinara.  But after one batch, we have jars for 10 to 20 meals.  They are perfect for any busy day.  (Like when I’m trying to finish writing but everyone, including my tummy, is hungry!)

This helps on time and on budget!

Each 32 ounce jar of marinara costs us approximately $0.80 to make.  Our chili is about $2.40 per quart jar.  It is easy on the budget, it’s a taste we love, and we know what’s in it!

Now we bulk cook and process (can) many things: chili (our fully organic, vegetable packed, vitamin-loaded spicy soup), broths from our chickens, grapefruit juice, garden vegetables, and soups.  This gives us healthier options with fast cook times!  Since we can adjust the recipe to our liking, we develop bulk recipes that we love.  (There are a few ratio rules to research and remember when attempting to process soups with heavy starches like rice, corn, and other grains – I keep a booklet with notes.)

Canning can sometimes create funny stories.  For example: once, a little helper scooped out 4 tablespoons of crushed red pepper instead of 4 teaspoons and accidentally created “Dragon-Fire Chili,” which she and Louis loved (however, that has not been duplicated on purpose!).

Canned food is also easy to share!  We once had truckloads of fresh grapefruit.  It took us days to juice the excesses we couldn’t eat.  We canned the juice and had fresh grapefruit juice for almost two years. (And so did most of our family!)  We love to buy mountain apples by the bushel when they are in season and anything not immediately eaten turns into homemade applesauce – one of our favorites!  Overly ripe peaches in the soup-stuff box at the local produce market?  This becomes awesome peach preserves!  Any overage of garden vegetables (like 12 bushels of beets) becomes canned away for a rainy day. (Actually, it was separated into beet greens and beet roots, processed, and opened as a side dish with at least three weekly meals until we ran out!)

Canning also saves us freezer space (we buy whole local beef & pork and save freezer space for Unca ChaCha’s occasional gift of venison).

As with any type of cooking, all the instruments must be clean, food fresh, and preparer(s) maintain a clean working environment.  If you take these precautions and take it slow (plan an entire afternoon or whole day) the first few times, you just may discover that you enjoy this “old way” of processing and storing food.   I love it!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you next time…

~Nancy Tart

Health Changer

June 10, 2017

Health Changer

I have this thing about being dehydrated (low water) and anemic (low iron).  Or at least had that problem.  Pregnancy was like wake up, puke, attempt my multi-vitamin, puke, get to work, puke, and be falling asleep in the truck when we drove home.  I loved everything else about pregnancy.  My midwife told me I was anemic and needed to drink more water.

I didn’t like water.  I tried tallying glasses, but never got more than 3 in a day!  I tried carrying a huge bottle representing how much I needed in a day, but that was seriously discouraging because I didn’t seem to make a dent.  I eat healthy; mostly local and organic, almost never any hydrogenated, bleached, or processed foods, but it just wasn’t enough.

My sister introduced me to Shakeology.

It was $100 a bag (month) if you signed up as a coach ($15 monthly fee) which made it $3.83 per day.  I am a major saver (actually, skinflint, scrooge, etc.) with money when it comes to spending on myself.  I didn’t want to even try.  My coworkers spent $4 or $5 a day on a coffee though and that’s not a meal-replacement shake with over 90 essential nutrients.  But I was pregnant with #3 and if this vitamin stopped the puking and dehydration (as my sister claimed it would), cool.  They have a “bottom of the bag” guarantee (they want you to find your favorite way of making Shakeology).  Return an empty bag if I didn’t like it for a full refund?  Okay, I decided to give this almost-$4-a-day daily dose of dense nutrition a try.

It was awesome!  Within a week I was craving water!  Actually filling my tally sheet with plain, normal, water!  Not flavored water, not sweet tea, not even lemonade, but plain, healthy water!  No dehydration headaches!

But that wasn’t all it did for me!  It filled about half of my iron requirements, so with my other healthy foods, I was no longer anemic!  My bowels were regular. (Yes, all through pregnancy & just after too!)  I wasn’t that exhausted tired where you don’t feel like moving.  Toss in some potassium and I was full of energy.  No need for coffee anymore (I was using large amounts of caffeine to make me awake for the normal day) – coffee was now my treat!

That was about 9 years ago.  Shakeology was a game changer for my health.  More vitamins = more energy = being involved more in my children and life!  Most people say it’s a weight loss shake.  True; we crave food because we are missing nutrients so a shake with most of your essential nutrition = more vitamins = less craving = less calories = healthy weight loss.

When I started we just had chocolate (awesome with milk, Louis likes his with water), now there are six flavors (dark chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, café latte, and greenberry) so the neatest way to try them all is the sample pack.  If you are interested in the business side of it, try the coach link (I’m a coach for the discounts, like some people do Mary Kay for makeup discounts) but know many who make a living being a coach for Beachbody.

I encourage you to give Shakeology a try.  Who knows?  It could be the best investment in your health – I know it was for me!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you next time,

~Nancy Tart