Amazing Homemade Ranch

I try to be a good wife and mother and devote my time with my family strictly to them. I only write posts and things when little man is sleeping either during naptime or in the morning or evening and when the hubby is busy with school work. And then during that time I only let myself write posts when all my household duties are taken care of (cleaning, cooking, dishes, laundry etc you get the idea). To me, if my home falls apart because of time spent online I have truly failed indeed at my favorite and most important job. In life there are seasons, and we happen to be in one that demands my time, a lot. So when it’s been a while just know that I am still here, loving and thinking of you, but trying to do a million other things as well.

We really needed a dairy free version of Ranch Dressing especially when the little man decided that: 1. Dipping food is the second coolest creation ever; and 2. Ranch Dressing is so amazing that he will eat it plain. (True story). So I started scouring the internet trying to find a recipe that we could use to make some ranch.  Trouble is all of those recipes that I found are made with a soy alternative and that didn’t work for me (and I suspect the little man too) because I am allergic to that, too. Fun right? So then I had the idea to just try to make it with the dairy substitutes we already use. Right now we are currently using either unsweetened or original almondmilk and original coconutmilk. We prefer to use the almondmilk for the ranch. Of course you could always make this into regular ranch, though we honestly can’t taste the difference, with soured milk or buttermilk (you would just leave out the lemon juice).

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See we love this ranch, looks like it’s time to make more!

Ranch Dressing*

1 c Homemade Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice, poured into a 1 cup measuring cup (leave out if using buttermilk)
7 1/2 tbsp Almondmilk, or pour the almondmilk into the cup containing the lemon juice until it reaches 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp dried Chives
1/2 tsp dried Parsley
1/2 tsp dried Dill Weed
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp dried Onion Flakes
TT fresh ground Sea Salt
TT fresh ground Black Pepper

1. Let the lemon juice and almond milk sit for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, chives, parsley, dill, garlic powder, onion flakes, and salt and pepper. Add in lemon and almondmilk mixture.
3. Let rest for 30 minutes in the fridge, (lf you can stand not eating it by the carrot stick full) and enjoy!
*We do like to make this doubled because we eat so much of it!

Hope you enjoy this ranch recipe! What is your favorite salad dressing/condiment?

From my Family, to Yours..

Whole Food Budget Challenge

I have had many people tell me that they would love to eat like we do. Nothing but whole foods. But they then say that they just can’t afford to right now, maybe later in their life when they have more money (probably has something to do with the fact that we are poor college students, and almost everyone that we associate with, are as well).

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First, I want to say that we don’t “eat whole” 100% of the time. We are still in the adjusting process of this whole experience, we by no means are perfect at this. Just check out todays lunch Instagram, we had a mixture of frozen homemade pasta sauce and store bought, becuase I didn’t make enough to last us until this summer last year, partially becuase we only have so much freezer space (oh pressure cooker I would love it if you magically showed up on my doorstep). Someday I hope that we are at 97% or above but for now we eat whole (meaning we do not eat pre-packaged processed foods, rather we make things from scratch etc etc) around 60%-70% of the time. But whenever I do eat processed foods my body is really starting to feel it, equaling bad headaches and a fog that overcomes my being. Not pleasant.
Second, I want to say that we are broke too! We set aside a larger portion of our budget for whole food shopping, but it is still restricted. I wanted to challenge myself this month though and keep to a tight budget and still eat whole foods in the process!
I set the budget to $200. But my budget plans might get messed up a little becuase we are going to have my parents, brother and his girlfriend staying with us this weekend and they have to eat too.
What do you think of this plan? Impossible? Do-able? Is the budget too high? Or too low?

Cloth Diapers: Questions and Concerns

There really is so much to learn when it comes to cloth diapers, it can be very overwhelming at first! I know I felt like a deer in headlights when I started looking into it. My goal is to hopefully help simplify that a little bit over the next several posts. Today let’s look at some cloth diaper concerns that people have.

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Cost
Will using cloth diapers really save me money?
I think everyone realizes that they will save you a little money because you are not buying bags or boxes of diapers all the time, but did you know that over your child’s diapering years you can spend anywhere from $1,200 – $3,500 or more if your child isn’t potty trained by 2 and a half, on diapers and wipes! If you don’t believe me do the math yourself!  A newborn on average uses 12 diapers a day. As they grow older they use less and less until it averages out at 6 a day around 6 to 8 months old.
But what about me, I shop sales and or use coupons?
Yes, though you will be spending less on disposables, think of all the extra money you will be saving by purchasing something you can reuse over and over,  even with your other children so that savings will continue to add up as you continue to use them. And when you are done with them they have a pretty good resale value too!
Okay, but what about all the water and electricity/gas that you will use to wash and dry them?
I am so glad you asked! First, let’s think of all the trees, water, electricity, and other precious resources that went into just making that little disposable diaper. Then, I will point out that most diapers are not supposed to go into the dryer, and in fact hanging diapers and liners out on the line in the sun not only sanitizes them further, but the sun has awesome stain-fighting power! So that cuts your drying time down to almost non-existent. Finally, I will concede. You do have to use water to clean your diapers, and to remove the waste, which I will discuss more in posts devoted entirely to those lovely topics. But you can be smart about how you do it, so that way you are not paying a ridiculous amount, nor using a ton of water. With cloth diapering you are not adding laundry that needs to be done daily (unless you don’t have a large enough stash), rather you will add 2 to 3 extra easy loads per week.
Before, I leave the cost factor I do want to say that there is an up front price tag associated with cloth diapers. You need to purchase your supplies almost all at once in order to cloth diaper. For example: If you purchase only diaper liners and wipes, you will not be able to achieve leak proof-ability (that’s a word right?) without a cover nor will you be able to wash them with out a detergent that is safe with cloth diapers (more on this in its own post as well).

Cloth Diapers Won’t Work
For one reason or another people don’t think that they will work anymore. Notice the word anymore. They used to work fine, but now with our modern society we need a more modern diaper, instead of the flat cloth that you have to fold and risk pricking either your little one or your self and finally some plastic pants to wear over them. Thank heavens for our modern life and the fact that we have more modern options. Cloth diapering has changed quite a bit and we will go over some of those changes in the following posts. I am happy to say that cloth diapers do work! In fact, they work better than disposables! They hold in the poopy messes so much better, which is music to the ears of any parent’s of newborn babies out there. I know with the little man we had diaper blowouts that went up his back and down his legs, using disposables, and we ruined tons of cute outfits in the process.
But I’ve heard that Cloth Diapers leak really bad.
It is true that cloth diapers cannot go on indefinitely absorbing urine as it seems some disposable diapers can. It is a good rule of thumb change your babies diaper every two hours. Then you should never have to deal with leaks. As for nighttime use there are certain liners and other tricks you can use to maximize your diapers absorbency. Also, I would avoid any cheap brands of diapers, they are not as well made and can delaminate or come apart easily.

Too Much Work
Cloth diapers are a great idea and all, but they take too much work to fit into my busy day.
I agree that life is incredibly hectic and busy and trying to do one more thing a day can seem overwhelming. But all in all I think I spend 1 hour altogether during the space of a week actually dealing with cloth diapers, not including diaper changing time because that would happen regardless of our use of cloth diapers or not. I have an entire post planned on our laundry routine and another one just for our daily routine.

Poop is gross
That is a true statement if ever there was one! And using cloth diapers doesn’t make poop less gross, but you don’t smear your hands in it! In fact, I have a whole post where we will discuss this whole “poopy issue” as well. And also did you know that you are supposed to flush the poop from a disposable diaper down the toilet to? Yep! Because otherwise that “loaded” diaper you are throwing away will go to a landfill creating a toxic dump, especially if that waste is contaminated with any kind of virus, bacteria, or disease. And beyond that, disposable diapers can take anywhere from 300-500 years to decompose. That means that none of the disposable diapers that have ever been used are even close to decomposing yet. Now THAT is gross!

Cloth Diapers Smell Terrible
The truth couldn’t be further from that. I actually have a hard time knowing when the little man has gone, because they hold in the smell so well. We have to actually look and see if he has or not. If your diapers do smell really bad of ammonia, then that most likely means that your diapers are in need of a good “strip”. A not difficult process that we will discuss in more detail later, but otherwise they do not smell bad at all.

There are a couple of extra pluses to using cloth diapers too. The use of disposable diapers exposes your baby to unnecessary and dangerous chemicals from the very beginning and, though the consequences may not be immediate, no one is sure of the long term outcome of such exposures. In my opinion, it is better to avoid chemicals as much as possible.
Cloth diapers also are more gentle on babies sensitive skin. The chemicals and toxins in disposable diapers can seriously irritate babies skin. It is not true though that cloth diapered will never get diaper rash. There are many factors that go into diaper rash such as: being left took long in a soiled diaper, food sensitivities or allergies, harsh laundry detergent, yeast infection, teething and so forth.
It is also possible for the use of cloth diapers to lead to earlier potty training! The reason behind this is because most babies do not like feeling the wetness that the cloth diaper produces compared to disposable diapers which are more of a stay-dry experience. There are many factors that go into potty training though so I would not have this be the reason you are cloth diapering.
And finally cloth diapers are just cuter! That may seem silly, but they make those adorable baby bums just that much cuter!

*The information in this post was taken from my own experience and also referencing “Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert” by Erin Odom an excellent resource on cloth diapers. You can also check out her websites here and here.

Were there any concerns that I didn’t address? Make sure to let me know in the comments below! And stay tuned for the next post in this cloth diapering series where I will discuss how we use cloth diapers and our daily routine.

From my Family, to Yours..

By the way, We are doing this

I have hesitated for a while now, sharing this piece of information on the blog, but I figured it is now time.

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It’s not that I was ashamed that we use cloth diapers, in fact 95% of the time I prefer using them, and wish we would have from the beginning (we would have been spared from so many nasty newborn blowouts and not stained so many cute outfits), I was just not sure how much we would like them. And that’s what I am here to share with you.  We do! I never want to go back to disposable diapers! Even when we are not broke like a joke college students. So, every so often I am going to be posting different topics about them like: where to start, my advice, things that we use, and how our cloth diaper system works.

And let me just say one more thing before I go: These are not your Grandma’s cloth diapers. The world of cloth diapering has changed folks, even from my early babysitting years. So stay tuned and we will take this one step at a time.

Have you ever used cloth diapers? What was your experience? Please share your story below.

From my Family, to Yours..