Friday, May 19, 2017

7QT: Advice Needed

Help a Mother out!  I have seven questions that need advice, so spill it! Linking up with Kelly on this beautiful, sunny, warm Friday morning!


Maggie needs shorts that aren't short, aren't button/zipper, and aren't tight.  She's very heard to please, which should bode well for her dating years, but when it comes to clothing it's really hard!


Lucy Doodle Martin pulls on the do we stop this?  She's not always horrible about it, but still too strong for my kids to control her.  Also...she scratches herself a lot - what could that be?


Has anyone gone dairy free?  Is it worth it?  What are some good substitutes for yogurt and cheese (I use almond milk in smoothies)?  Or are good cheese substitutes an oxymoron (as my husband believes) and I should just not even try?


I need a new bathing suit because I wore my last one through pregnancy and now it's stretched out.  Whoopsie.  I want to hide my belly the most, and I also need a skirt or shorts because I won't wear a bikini bottom.  Any suggestions?  Maybe Maggie gets her difficulty in dressing from this apple tree?


For anyone with a wide family like mine (lots of kids with a big age range)...when can you start leaving a 14 year old with an almost one year old?  I don't mind him being in charge of the rest for little pockets of time, but leaving the baby is a big deal, and I'm not sure when a teenager can handle that?  Truth be told, I'm overwhelmed when I have all the kids by myself for too long, so I'm not a great judge.


Can anyone recommend any great summer reading?  I used to think I liked fiction, but I can't seem to get through anything lately unless it's nonfiction.  One day I'll be able to take the kids to the beach and sit and read a book, right?


Last but not least, can anyone give me one great tip for incorporating more prayer time into my day?  The getting up early thing isn't an option for me at this time in my life (we are all out the door by 6:45 am as it is) and I can't stay up late either, so I need a practical daytime tip.  Future me in the next life thanks you :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone - we've got a pretty uneventful one coming up besides the big once a year track meet!


  1. I am temporarily dairy free while I breastfeed.... but here's the deal for me: there's no substitute for cheese. This is hard to come to terms with. I'd give up ice cream for the rest of my life if I could eat cheese. BUT besides cheese, being DF hasn't been too bad. Now that so many people are being more health conscious, my normal grocery store carries so many DF things.

    My favorite things:
    SoDelicious coffee creamer
    Canned coconut milk quickly blended with coffee to make a "latte" (also Starbucks has coconut milk for special occasions when you can afford $478 for a cup of coffee)
    I've learned how to cook some delicious Thai dishes
    Earth Balance or Ghee is a great butter substitute (you can make your own Ghee or buy at Trader Joe's)
    Avocado is my new topping for burgers and salads to replace cheese
    Coconut oil is actually a delicious butter substitute for chocolate chip cookies
    Ben & jerrys almond milk ice cream is pretty decent

    In terms of daily prayer, have you checked out the Girlfriends podcast? Danielle had some great suggestions about how to add it into the day.

    1. I'm also dairy free while breastfeeding due to baby's allergy. I have stayed away from ghee, as it's technically a dairy product, though I understand it contains very little protein, which is what causes the allergic reaction. My son's allergy seems pretty severe... We ended up having to go to GI and endoscopy to rule out some other problem, because it took soooooo long to get his bleeding under control. So, just wondering if it's been fine for your baby, or if you've noticed any issue with it?

    2. I'm lucky that my baby isn't super sensitive. She's never had blood in her stool but eating dairy outright (ie pizza) leads to completely liquid, green poops and one to two nights of no sleeping and fussing due to gas. It seems to be a genetic sensitivity in our family which the babies outgrow by a year or so... I guess I'm not the best help!

  2. I've gotten into non-fiction too! Some of my faves are Unbroken, Deep Down Dark, and A Higher Call.

    As far as praying throughout the day. I try to pray a rosary decade by decade when I'm walking places, standing in line, waiting, etc.

  3. HAve you tried Hannah Anderson? I got my very tall thin daughters shorts from there. They were cotton and also a reasonable length! Oh I found them!

  4. I have very little advice, just some solidarity. Our dog pulls the leash too, so much so that I can't actually run with her and leave her off leash when I run (Just on our property). I do pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet and a decade or two of the Rosary as I run. It's a good way to get some prayer in every day, and my mind is so clear when I run anyway. Anyway, keep us updated on the dairy free saga! I could never give up cheese:)

  5. I just got this top and this bottom for my postpartum mom of three suit:

  6. I am dairy free, for health reasons, and I just don't worry about yogurt or cheese anymore. For sandwiches I use hummus and/or avocado--gives the savory umami flavor we're used to from cheese, as well as the fat. I use almond milk on my cereal but I don't drink it straight. I always buy OJ that's fortified with calcium. I used to mainline yogurt and cottage cheese, but I steered my snacks towards apples with a smear of nut butter, or a fruit bar from TJ, or edamame in the pod. I feel so much better without dairy (and eggs) in my diet, I am finding I don't miss them very much. I recommend looking into some good vegan cookbooks--Vegan For Everybody by America's Test Kitchen is great. Even if you still eat meat it will give you good ideas for replacing milk in recipes.

  7. Have you looked at the shorts on Basic, unisex (really) and they tell you in the picture the height and weight of the model for each size you get a real honest idea of how they will fit.

    And I have read a lot of great memoirs lately. So my advice is to find people who's lives you'd like to read about and then buy their memoirs. Authors, actors, politicians etc.

  8. 2. Pulling on the leash: we have an almost 2 year old Golden Retriever who still pulls on the leash occasionally. We have a chain collar on her that we use for walks and runs, and that cuts down on the pulling. I tried a harness for awhile but she was still too strong and it didn't seem to decrease the pulling, but the chain collar works well. Otherwise being consistent - we stop walking whenever she pulls and tell her "no!" in a firm voice, and she wants to keep walking so bad that it usually helps. Buuut to a certain extent dogs always pull so there's only so much you can do. Scratching herself could be a number of things...fleas, skin irritant, allergy to dog food...kinda depends. I'd ask your vet if her skin seems red or inflamed at all!

    6. Nonfiction recommendation: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Not the most uplifting of topics but SOOO good. Or Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman about French moms.

    7. Prayer tips...none here except solidarity!

  9. I just saw a post on The Frugal Girl for Limeapple clothes for girls. Looked at their stuff already?

  10. And not to toot the ol' horn, but I did a mini book review this week. "Home Cooking" is a nonfiction cooking/food memoir (I think it's about 15-20 years old now) and equal parts hilarious and fascinating. And "The Well" is historical fiction in Biblical time that I loooooved.

  11. Lands End on the bathing suit - I love the swim skirts...

    For the girls shorts, mine wear hand me down from Mini Boden and they are more like capri but I haven't seen them recently? Maybe hit up Thred Up?

  12. I just did 2 months of no dairy to see if I could get any noticable health benefits (thyroid disease) and unlike when I cut out gluten (almost 18 months strong now, never going back!) I saw zero difference. Nada. No discernible increase in inflammation, no GI improvements, no clearer skin, nothing. Not to say you shouldn't give it a go and see for yourself, but just that it wasn't the big win everyone assured me it would be. I usually have to give up dairy for 6 months or so whenever I'm nursing, so I figure there'll be plenty of DF penance in my future still. And as for substitutes, there really aren't any that are great. Earth Balance is okay. I've never tasted a single DF ice cream that was good. It was easier just to leave off the cheese from whatever than to find a substitute. And to drink the coffee black. Oh, but, speaking of coffee (lowers voice) I gave up regular about 2 months ago and have felt a pretty amazing return of energy levels and concentration, especially in the mornings. I'll have a decaf once in a while, but some days I drink nothing. I have to rebrand myself...

  13. Ok here we go:

    1. Lands End is my go to for girl clothes that are modest, cute and comfortable:

    2. Pulling on the leash. She needs a shorter leash and train her to walk right next to you. It takes some times. Totally worth it..can't be done while pushing a stroller (Ive tried. No bueno)

    3. Why would you do that to yourself?? Im lactose intolerant and I still won't give up dairy because you live once and how do you live that one life without pizza and ice cream. Vegan pizza and ice cream sucks. IMHO.

    4. Women's bathing suits. Lands End, once again. You need the "blouson" tanki top because the bottom band keeps it from floating up when you are in the water and revealing your belly.

    Lands end skirts are great too. Im actually getting the high waisted one because my postpartum flub won't be gone in time for pool season. read the comments on how to pee while wearing it because you can't pull it back up once it's wet.

    5. If I had a 14 year old I would be comfortable leaving him with 1 year old if the other toddlers were napping or asleep. Otherwise it's really tough for him to pay the right amount attention to the baby... OR leave him in charge of baby, and assign the care of toddler to the next kid in line. Also to be honest if the toddlers would sit and watch a whole movie while you are out I would be down with letting the TV occupy them so it's easier for the teen.

    6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith or O Pioneers! By Willa Cather or The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis--and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance by Ben Sasse or Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

    7. Have you heard of Rev. Jacques Philippe? Sadly none of his amazing books are on audio but you can download talks and retreats he has given to women that are on podcasts (search itunes podcasts). They are beautiful and can definitely used as spiritual reading. Listen to them in the car.

  14. I sometimes leave my almost 1-yo with my 15 year old, but really only if I will be gone for less than an hour I breastfeed, so I still can't leave her that long anyway. And I pay her to watch the baby. I don't pay her to babysit the other kids (4 and 9...and my 12-yo doesn't need a sitter) because the 4 and 9 yo are really easy and low maintainence. She isn't paid a lot, but she does get paid. Which is another reason I don't leave her with the baby all the time. The baby needs a higher level of care and attention than the 4 and 9 yo. If she is babysitting them, she can still pretty much do what she does. If she is watching the baby, I insist she 100% watch her. If the baby is sleeping and likely to sleep the entire time I am gone, I am also more likely to leave her.

  15. Mrs.WinterMay 19, 2017

    I like praying in the car. Even if the kids are with me we say the rosary. We might only get a few decades in but it's a good place to squeeze in some prayer time during the busy season of life.

  16. 1. Old Navy. Old Navy. Old Navy. While they have some short cut stuff, 90% of it is very wholesome.

    2. Gentle leader (head harness) & firm regular training. Always wearing regular collar...train with 2 leashes...a "naughty" leash and a "good dog" leash. Reward profusely.

    3. "So Delicious" coconut products. Great "icecream" great "milk" as far as cheese, look up legitimate asian and Mexican recipes. Most will not call for cheese. Also you can make your own using nutritional yeast and almond butter.

    4. Lands End/L.L. Bean

    5. Depends on the kids. Worth every penny to get any 13+kids red cross babysitter certified.

    6. Pirate Coast by Richard Zacks. It's non-fiction but easy to pick up and put down. Intriguing. Funny. Enlightening.

    7. musical rosary by these folks. There is NOTHING like it. Its not a sung rosary. Its a Musical rosary. Like a Musical production. CD's can be turned into MP3's. Listen when jogging or in the car. GREAT STUFF.

  17. Cashew milk creamer and ice cream are good. Forget the cheese- no good subs. Dairy seems to be present in everything processed. Oreos are vegan though... If you need a treat. I would not do this voluntarily (am dairy free due to breastfeeding), but I do think it has helped me with my diet some. I don't think I will return to cheese and sour cream on everything. I drink more water. Almost no processed foods, very few desserts.

  18. We have had 2 chocolate labs, and both are super friendly and obedient, but pulling on the leash is such an issue! This gentle leader collar is miraculous. I can let my 3 year old walk the dog while she is wearing this. :) Looks kind of like a muzzle, but if fitted properly they can actually eat and drink and everything with it on. Hope it helps!!

  19. AnonymousMay 19, 2017

    Hi Colleen, I get so many of my childrens' clothes from Walmart. I just checked on their website and they have faded glory brand girls' bermuda elastic waist shorts in a plethora of colors for less than $5.

    I am expecting my 9th child in about 5 weeks. My other children are about the same age as your's. My oldest is 14, youngest is 20 months. I leave my 14 year old in charge of everyone. Actually, he and my 12 year old run the roost when I leave. If I have to leave I try to go during naptime. Otherwise if everyone is awake, they can watch movies in order to keep everyone happy. It really is a comfort level thing. You'll know when you're ready.


  20. I prefer non-fiction. I just read Outliers and last summer I really enjoyed Into the Plex.

  21. "I have to rebrand myself." ��

    I already leave my big kids with my littles for short periods of time. The big kids work as a team, so no one is in charge of everything. I delegate specific duties to each of my big girls. The boys are younger and also have duties, but mostly related to obedience. The 4 big kids all get paid according to responsibility. Boys usually get about 1/4 what the girls do. Kids get paid for executing their duties, so any shenanigans result in docking pay or a total loss of money. (We've never had to do that.)

  22. Your dog may have allergies. Just a thought! When I can't get in my usual prayer time, I pray in the shower! Also, I've been trying to pray the rosary more and have found using my rosary app in the car (and having it play over the speakers through the blue tooth) is very helpful and convenient.

  23. AnonymousMay 21, 2017

    For the leash try a gentle leader! My parents got one for our first dog (100lb black lab) who pulled. With it we were able to walk her as little kids (plus the adults).

  24. I just went milk and egg free due to our still nursing 6 month olds allergies. It has been extra challenging because our older son has a nut allergy and we keep a nut free house so none of the almond milk products are an option. The so Delcious coffee creamer is great and the tofutti frozen treats are ok. Everything else I've tried, especially the cheese is disgusting. Sorry, I find it easier to just go with out. I did try the coconut yogurt and it was tasty, but has no protein and is super expensive.
    I can't say I've noticed a ton of health benefits. I find my supply dipping because I don't think I'm getting enough fat/protein in my diet. It would probably be great if I was adding extra meat and veggies, but I'm struggling to do that thanks to working full time, a husband who works nights and two little kids to keep up with.

  25. Currently, I am meat and dairy free. It is hard, but not impossible. But I made the decision because it was necessary for my health. I did an elimination diet because I was experiencing painful inflammation in my hips, headaches, and intestinal discomfort. I thought I was gluten intolerant and had trouble processing sugar. It turns out I can eat gluten all day and enjoy natural sugars with no problems at all. Diets are not one size fits all, so no need to torture yourself unless necessary!
    And thanks for the book recommendations! I purchased the running book and the companion to the diet book that you recently read. Also, thanks for keeping me motivated to run! :)

  26. As far as dairy free: skip the cheese, make/buy ghee (Trader Joes is an affordable option, but it takes 10 min to make), coconut milk in the asian section of your grocery store is a great option. Check out paleo or whole30 resources for going dairy free. For me personally, it has been life saving! Swimsuits: amazon dot com. This one is what I have: As for girl shorts, my daughter prefers running skirts to shorts. The waist band is forgiving, the length is longer, and the lighter weight fabric keeps her cooler. Good luck and please follow up with this post... I'd be interested in what you find.


Talk to me...