The Ultimate Fall Lactation Cookies

Honestly I didn’t think I would be eating lactation cookies 13 months into my third baby’s life!  I’ve been going back and forth about when to wean.  But this past weekend he came down with a fever, a really really high fever.  Like 103.9.  He didn’t want to eat.  Would not drink water.  And was so lethargic.  But he would nurse, and nurse, and nurse.  And to quote my dear friend it was “Nursing for the win!”.  I knew he was getting nutrients and staying hydrating so it helped me to worry a little bit less.

However the problem was that my supply of milk had really diminished during the last couple months as nursing sessions decreased.  So my body was trying to keep up with the sudden demand, and I was struggling.  So I dug up my favorite lactation cookie recipe, and gave it the perfect fall boost.  Pumpkin and chocolate.  I also threw some all spice and cinnamon to really kick it up a few notches.  Honestly I had never tried this combination in a cookie until last fall.  My friend made the most amazing cookies that I seriously hoarded in my bedroom and wouldn’t share with my kids.  Or my husband.

The great thing about my recipe is that they are actually pretty healthy for you.  And it makes a really large batch so it actually lasts a couple days in my cookie loving household.  I actually encourage my kids to eat them since they have a pretty great nutritional punch.

Don’t worry, the milk ingredients won’t affect the other people who eat them.  But they will help a nursing mama.  I usually eat three the first day, then 2 each day after and then magic, milk supply increases!

 

The milk enhancing ingredients are Brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and fenugreek.  All of these items can locally be found at Wegman’s or MOMS Organic.   They can also easily be ordered from Amazon.  You can usually find flaxseed and fenugreek at places like Walmart, Target, local food store.  The oats in the recipe are also an ingredient to help milk supply, so having all 4 in one recipe should be golden.

So go ahead and make some for your family, yourself if you’re nursing, or a a new mama who needs a special treat.  Experiment with different add ins such as nuts, chia seeds, spices, let me know how they turn out.

Make sure to Pin this recipe so it doesn’t get lost in cyber space.  Pinterest seems to be the only way I can keep track of awesome new recipes I want to try.

 

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Pumpkin chocolate chip Lactation Cookies

These work!  These lactation cookies really help boost your milk supply thanks to key ingredients.  They are freezer friendly, delicious, and a breastfeeding mama's best friend.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 36 cookies
Author Nicole

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brewer's yeast (main ingredient for milk production)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 capsules fenugreek empty and discard capsules
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla or orange extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

    2. Mix flaxseed meal and water; set aside

    3.  Stir together flour, brewer's yeast, salt, baking soda, fenugreek, chia seeds, all spice and cinnamon, set aside.

    4.  Blend coconut oil, sugars, and pumpkin puree well.  Blend in eggs.  Stir in flaxseed mixture and vanilla, mix well.

    5.  Add dry mixture.  Mix until combined.  Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

    6.  Scoop 2 Tbsp of dough, 1 to 2 inches apart on a silicone lined baking sheet.  You may want to flatten dough slightly.

    7.  Bake for 9 to 10 minutes.

    8.  Once cooled wrap in plastic wrap and place in container in the freezer.  Eat at least 2 cookies the first day, and one each day afterwards.  They can be rewarmed quickly in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

*Recipe altered from Dinnernowdessertlater.com

Warning: Consult with your doctor before making and eating this recipe.  Discontinue use and consult with doctor if there are adverse reactions.

 

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ADHD and the new school year

The start of the school year is just days away.  I have one child eagerly awaiting Meet the Teacher day and bus stop friends on Monday morning.  And I have one child where I have been instructed to not even use the dreaded “S” word, you know it as school.  My eager beaver is able to sit quietly, pay attention, take notes, complete assignments, all with little to no help needed.  My girl needs a bit more prodding, to say the least.  Here’s the thing, one child has ADD/ADHD and one does not.  I let you figure out which one.

To say that I am anxiously awaiting the start of 7th grade is an understatement.  Of course the normal fears of hoping my daughter finds a good group of friends, stops asking for a cell phone, gets good grades, does her homework, and is respectful of her teachers exist.  But the true anxiety comes in the form of helping her to manage her ADHD throughout the day so she can succeed in all these areas.

There are 5 things I have learned not say to my child about their ADHD

  1.  “Why do I have to keep repeating myself?”

If you have asked your child to eat their breakfast repeatedly, saying it one more time will probably not change anything.  Instead have everything ready to go so they can grab it quickly, eat, take meds, and be out the door for the bus.

 

2.  “Just calm down, focus, and then you can get your homework done!”

Um, that’s not going to work.  It’s like saying if you close your eyes and wish hard enough, you can fly.  Instead try to find strategies that will make the task more manageable.  Have a snack first when they get home to avoid a blood sugar crash, let them run around and get some energy out, then do the homework in small chunks of time, preferably in a quiet area of the house.

 

3.  “Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell anyone that you have ADHD.”

All this does is send a message that there is something wrong with them and that they should be ashamed.  Instead you need to focus on the fact that this is how their brain was made, it is special and unique in its’ own way, and is just another part of who they are.  As your child goes through school, it can be up to them when and how they would like to explain ADHD to their friends and classmates.

4.  “The medicine will fix it, don’t worry.”

Medication should be looked at as a tool, just one of the tools in her toolbox.  Tools are there to help us manage different aspects of life, and medication can help capitalize on their strengths.  You never want your child to feel like they won’t be enough if they don’t take their medicine.

5.  “I know what it feels like to be distracted, I know how you feel.”

ADHD is more than just being distracted, and although you don’t want your child to feel alone, you also don’t want them to minimize their challenges.  Letting them know other people have ADHD and connecting them is a great strategy.  There are also many resources online that can be used to help facilitate conversations.

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Potomac Nationals Baseball Game

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We had some last-minute fun this weekend at the Potomac Nationals baseball game.  My son breathes and lives for baseball.  He is one of those kids that always has a ball in his hand, no matter what size, and has been known to fall asleep with one.  It is his passion and truly makes my heart happy to see his enthusiasm and love for the game.  We are fortunate enough to live only 5 minutes away from the Minor League Stadium for the Potomac Nationals, one of the farm teams for the Washington Nationals.

Going to a Potomac Nationals baseball game at the stadium is really a great event, as there are always affordable seats and plenty of giveaways that make it the perfect family outing.  What is even better is that occasionally the Washington Nationals will rehab some of their players here due to the close distance from DC.  This is generally a last-minute addition and liking their Facebook page provides the much-needed insight.

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So I was thrilled to find out that Jayson Werth and Trea Turner were both going to be appearing in Potomac Nationals baseball games all weekend.  Even better the first game started at 5pm which is perfect when trying to get there by myself with three kids, one of which was being toted around on my back in the Ergo.

This is always a great opportunity for my kids to see some great baseball, in a really low-key environment.  You can get right up to the fence, sometimes talk to the players hanging out in the outfield, catch foul balls, and of course get signatures.

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Both Werth and Turner surprised us by playing in the full Potomac Nationals baseball game, as often times the major league players will only play a set amount of innings.  They had some good hits as well as plays on the field.  What always strikes me as interesting is you get a pretty good feel for the players personalities and approach towards fandom.  Some seem much more reserved, focused only on playing, and not that into the whole signature thing.  Others go above and beyond connecting with the fans, signing, taking picture.

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Jayson Werth was fantastic.  He took every opportunity he had to reach out to the fans, sign as many balls and hats as possible, and overall make everyone’s day.

I had a little boy who tried his hardest to wiggle up to the fence and get an autograph, but unfortunately just missed out.  Still he had a smile on his face for such an awesome up close experience.

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I cannot recommend attending some Potomac Nationals baseball games enough.  And you may want to hurry up next season and do so, as it is looking like the team will be building a new stadium elsewhere.  Insert sad face here, as I will be so bummed to see them go.

So many memories with Uncle Slam and lazy summer evenings, thankfully all captured in pictures and my mind’s eye.

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Fast breakfast for school mornings

Breakfast bars and breakfast cookies to the rescue.

With the school year about to get under way, my stress level begins to skyrocket.  There are a million reasons why, but one of the most basic is how do I get a nutritious breakfast into my child so they can be at their best for learning.  This is mostly an issue with one of my children.  That one child doesn’t want to wake up, ever. Anything beyond the novelty of the first day often deteriorates into me screaming, or willing myself to not go into the bedroom repeatedly and let her suffer the consequence of missing the bus.

Here’s the best part, the bus is coming 10 minutes earlier this year.  The response I got when mentioning this was, “Oh it’s only 10 minutes, no big deal.”  I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes because the bus is now rolling in at 7:17, and she generally gets out of bed at 7:05 on a good day.

So beyond running around like crazy to look presentable, making sure she has her bag and viola, she has to eat something.  Anything, well not really anything.  I have come to love making breakfast bars and breakfast cookies.  They pack a pretty great nutritional punch, as I can throw lots of powerhouse ingredients in to help sustain her energy throughout the morning.  They are also easy to pack for her after school activities, and this way she is not tempted to buy items from the vending machine.

I have rounded up several of my favorite recipes breakfast bar and cookie recipes.  The best part of any breakfast cookie and bar recipe is that they can easily be modified.  You can switch regular flour for whole wheat, add flax seed, wheat germ, chia seeds, various dried fruit that your children enjoy, a little bit of chocolate usually helps, rolled oats instead of quick oats, you get the idea.  And I’ll be the first to admit that everyone in the house ends up snacking on these bars and cookies, not only at breakfast, and I’m totally okay with that.

Cheers to a great school year!

Pumpkin breakfast cookie

Chocolate chip zucchini bread cookies

Healthy oatmeal breakfast cookies

Healthy carrot cake oatmeal breakfast cookies

Apple cinnamon oatmeal breakfast cookie

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A Back to School Checklist- ADHD 504 Plan

Back to school is such a busy time of year.  You are buying school supplies, new clothes, attending Open Houses, sports physical, meetings and more.  But if you are the parent of a child with ADHD then you are also thinking about whether or not to ask for a 504 Plan.

What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 Plan is a written management plan you create, together with the school, that addresses how the school will accommodate the needs of your child. The plan also ensures your child will be able to participate safely in daily classroom and school activities. (This plan is covered under the American with Disabilities Act, so you have a legal right to have a 504 plan).

Review your child’s current 504 Plan

Children change each school year.  They master certain skills while facing new challenges.  The 504 plan should reflect their current status and the accommodations needed to succeed.  Go ahead and schedule€€ a team meeting before the start of the school year.

Bring copies of all educational assessments, report cards, notes from the teacher,  individual testing and any notable assignments. The purpose is to illustrate your child’s current achievement levels. Let the team know which accommodations last year were helpful and which ones were not.  Discuss your goals for your child and what additional accommodations you would like.

Organize with your child

Visit your local office supply store to put together a system that will help contain the mess.  I have found for the middle school age that a large binder that zippers shut to be ideal.  Within this binder you have a zippered pencil pouch full of supplies, folders, loose leaf paper, a copy of their schedule and locker combination.

Stock up on supplies

While you are at the office supply store go ahead and stock up on essentials.  August has the best deals of the year.  There will be lost scissors, notebooks, folders and glue sticks come January.  It’s best to be prepared.

Create a plan for after school activities

Some children need a chance to burn off that extra energy.  Signing up for swimming, gymnastics, or soccer may be best.

Other children need a chance to practice focusing.  activities such as karate or chess club may help.

Find a homework helper

Some children will need additional help, or just help from someone other than mom or dad.  Find a resource list of tutors early on in the year.  This can be from the school, the Office of Special Education within the district, or even online services such as Tutor.com and Care.com

Review medication

If your child was off of medicine for the summer, you will want to discuss when to restart with the doctor.  Some medicines can take one to two weeks to build up in the system.

Set goals with your child

Sit down with your child to discuss goals.  Some can have a social focus, such as make two new friends this year.  One by December and another by May.

Other goals can be academic.  They will prepare and study for all quizzes and tests.

Organizational goals can be related to writing in their homework agenda daily.

 

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Ten lessons learned about parenting in Northern Virginia

  1. There will be traffic.  For real, there is traffic ALL THE TIME.  Ask anyone about their first impression of the area and they talk about the traffic.  But here’s the thing, you get used to it.  For me it took a couple years, but I did and found ways around it.  Regardless of how close a playdate or activity may seem, give yourself an hour.  I’m not kidding, it could be three miles away and take close to 45 minutes.  It helps to avoid rush hour, which around here is like 6 hours.  That means roughly 6:30-9:30 am, and 3:30-6:30 pm.

2.  Number two kind of goes with number one, but it is to make the WAZE app your best friend.  Download it now onto your phone and never leave home without it.  If you have never used it, I swear it is genious.  It is like a crowd sourced, real time traffic, program to give you directions to your destination.  There will be several route options, toll options, time estimates, accident updates, pretty much everything you could think of.  So go download it now, and start using it!

3.  There is so much history around that it is almost hard to not see a historical marker on a drive or hike.  We are so fortunate to live in a state that has places such as  Old Town Alexandria, Mt. Vernon, Fredericksburg, and Manassas just to name a few.  There are tons of great sites and attractions in these locations, but a quick tour of any local area will leave you with a history lesson and probably an opportunity to walk where George Washington may have been.  Case in point, our first rental house in Lorton was across the street from the Pohick Church where George Washington used to attend services.  How cool!

4.  There will be allergies, and lots of them.  Even if you are someone who has never suffered, I would say start the allergy medicine and buy some tissues.  Some people say you get a free pass your first year here, but everyone I know seems to be pretty miserable at various points throughout the year.  The glass half full take on this is that Virginia is beautiful and so many flowers, trees and shrubs bloom with the most amazing vibrant colors so get your cameras ready.

5.  You would be hard pressed to find a more patriotic place to live in the country.  Everywhere you turn there are reminders of our brave men and women who protect our country.  Flags fly proudly all year long, not just on holidays.  Our children recognize the fact that freedom often comes at the price of a deployed parent, and are proud to talk about their service member parent.  Odds are if you aren’t connected to the military, then your neighbors are and you will be there for them at the drop of a hat.

6.  There is an endless variety of activities to have your children try.  Now sometimes it’s nice to not have a crazy schedule, I’m the first to admit that.  But it’s also great to know that if your child asks to try gymnastics, or soccer, or horseback riding, that a quick Google search can locate an option that won’t be too far away (use WAZE!)

7.  The schools are pretty great.  They can be big, sometimes huge, but are pretty great.  When looking for a home near a great school, make sure to check the Virginia Department of Education site.  You are looking for the school report card section.  This quick fact sheet on each school will give you some important information when trying to figure out where you want your children to attend school.

8.  There are wineries.  Lots of them.  And there are wineries that are kid and dog friendly.  Now that’s a pretty awesome combination if you ask me.  One of my favorites is Barrel Oak Winery.  It is a pretty quick hour drive that makes you really feel like you are out in the country and can escape the hustle and bustle.  Ask for the kid scavenger hunt when you get there, this will keep the kids busy for a while.  There is plenty of space for the kids and dogs to stretch out, make noise, eat food, and overall have a great time.

9.  You will never have to pay for a museum visit if you don’t want to.  I didn’t realize how amazing this perk was until we visited Chicago and had to pay an arm and a leg to get into a pretty great museum.  That’s because we are totally spoiled with the Smithsonian Institute Museums.  There are so many options, events and exhibits that you could live here for years and still go experience something new each time.  You do have to plan whether you will drive or metro into the city.  That’s a whole other topic, but weigh the options to see what would be best for your family.

10.  There are lots of ways to connect with other mom’s, but you do need to put yourself out there.  I wasn’t so great at this 10 years ago.  But I’ve become better now that I have three kids, a husband that travels, and a dog and cat to take care of.  I really can’t do it all, believe me I try.  But I need my mom’s, even if its just for a quick chat at the bus stop.  So try to figure out one way you can connect, and come back to read some surefire ways you can start to grow your tribe.

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New Beginnings

Today is the day for new beginnings.  I am launching my blog.  I am allowing people into my life.  This is scary, but this is also exciting.  I am a deeply private person.  I am an extroverted introvert.  I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, a southern transplant, an Army wife, a friend, and most of all a person ready to share my story.

My story is just that.  Mine.  But I am choosing to share in hopes that some of the wisdom I have garnered over the years can offer hope or help to others.  Maybe a smile or laugh some days.  Maybe a mutual tear.  We are not in this alone, and it has taken me a long time to realize that.

Making this blog public scares me to death, but the adventure ahead is bright and promising.  I am looking forward to what is to come!

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