Category Archives: Jenna

Easy Way to End Feeding Pump Alarms for Zevex Enteralite Infinity Pumps (plus a little more random info)

I bet you all thought I disappeared. Well, I haven’t disappeared, but life sure is busy! I barely remember how to do this bloggy thing, but I have a few things I’ve been wanting to share and finally found a moment to sit down to write a post.

First of all, we finally found a fantastic, pre-packaged organic formula. It’s called Liquid Hope, and it’s ingredients are remarkably very similar to what I was making as a homemade blenderized formula. Jenna seems to tolerate it very well, and having a packaged formula when you’re on-the-go is a lifesaver.

We also found a way to minimize pump alarms in the night due to the thicker homemade or Liquid Hope formulas. We use a Zevex Enteralite Infinity pump and bag sets, and we found that where we seemed to be having trouble with clogging was at a certain spot on the looped clip part that goes inside the pump. If you take a close look at the loop, you’ll see a raised image of a drop. If you pull that rubbery, teal tubing off of the plastic post, you’ll see something that looks like this:


We take a pair of scissors and snip off that very end piece (which looks sort of like a hat sitting on top of 2 posts with a very small space between them where feeds get clogged – we clip at the base of those 2 small posts) so that it looks like this:


Then, we simply reposition the rubber tubing over the post, and we’re good to go. The result is MUCH fewer alarms in the night. Now, when we have pump alarms, they’re usually from Jenna rolling over onto the tubing or kinking it in some way. It’s a little hard to avoid that completely, but if any of you come up with a way, please let me know!

It’s good to note that snipping this piece results in free-flowing formula, so when you fill the bag, make sure that either the cap is on the end of the tube, or the loop is clipped into the pump, or else you’ll have formula quickly running out the end of the tube. We’ve been snipping off this piece now for months, and we haven’t experienced any problems.

Finally, we’re looking at a variety of ways to rehab Jenna’s gut after two serious bouts of trouble this year. In February, her entire gut shut down from a suspected virus that resulted in hospitalization for gastroparesis and an ileus. This past month, she started having repeated vomiting and diarrhea with increasing frequency that was determined to be the result of bacterial overgrowth. The suspicion is that this was a remnant of her illness in February – some “bad bacteria” held on where they don’t belong and began happily multiplying until her system was overwhelmed. So. We’re doing everything we can to get her back to optimal gut health. We’ve added L-Glutamine as a supplement at the prompting of her Naturopath. I’ve been doing a lot of research and have found supporting evidence for it’s beneficial use for various gut issues. This article is a great summary of many existing studies. You can scroll through to see information on specific disorders and diseases, and check out the bibliography for a huge list of specific research in different areas. We’re also exploring the beneficial use of donor breast milk via g-tube, since research shows that “the oligosaccharides in human breast milk are considered the prototypic prebiotics” (page S84) and offer many protective factors for the gut. And, because she’s lost 10 pounds since her hospitalization in February, we’re desperately trying to get her to gain weight and are currently adding Scandishake to her formula as a calorie boost. It might not be the most natural solution, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Peace & blessings to all.


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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Jenna


Papersalt Books Giveaway


The winner = Punkinmamma! Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you for shipping information! Thanks to everyone who commented! 

I was given the wonderful opportunity to review books from Papersalt, and I couldn’t be more impressed with this company or their products! From their website:

“We make books and activities to help parents teach life lessons and simple things all kids should know. We are parents. We have spent years building content around families. At our best as parents and family members, we still always need help. That’s why we started Papersalt. Building and nurturing your family is the hardest thing you’ll do. With so much media in front of us, we realize thatsimple, memorable, engaging content is extremely effective. Content for all books, games and artwork is researched and written by us and our families. And we produce all of the items in our Seattle facility.”

They boast: “simple ideas, memorable content, cool designs.” And they’re so very right!

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do, and I did with these. Just take a look at that photo above! They’re beautiful! The pages are thick and sturdy, so small hands can easily “help,” and they’ll hold up to lots of use. The spiral binding is strong, not flimsy, and allows for easy reading. The quality is obvious, PLUS, they’re simply beautiful to look at! They have gorgeous colors, simple but eye-catching artwork, and easy to read text.

Here’s a peek inside the books I reviewed:


Dinner Table Manners is full of lots of fantastic, tips that several grownups I’ve met would do good to review. Like the one above. Ahem. Another example is: “Keep dinner table conversation polite – no gross things and no mean things.” And here’s one I wasn’t aware of {blushes}: “Once silverware is picked up from the table, it NEVER touches the table again.” Oops. You learn something new every day!


Being a Girl is full of all kinds of wisdom that I certainly want Jenna to know. The example above is one of my favorites, but I also love these: “The internet is amazing. It is not always truthful.” and “If it makes you feel uncomfortable, something is wrong. Stop. If it’s lying, cheating, putting yourself in danger, hurting others.” and this one: “When someone tells you that you’re beautiful, say thank you. Don’t roll your eyes or say ‘no I’m not.’ You truly are.” This list goes on, because the whole book is fantastic. There’s also one called Being a Boy with some of the same wisdom, plus some specifically geared for boys.


We Do lists the positive things that your family stands FOR instead of all the things that are against the rules. I love this positive slant on family values. The one above is possibly my favorite, but I love them all including this one: “We do quality time. We turn things off, put things down, and pay attention to each other.” A reminder that mom and dad probably need to hear just as often as the kiddos. Ahem.


Finally, I reviewed the new Voting & the U.S. Government. In a nutshell, it’s a book that finally helped me understand the Electoral College. It might be a miracle. Seriously, the entire book summarizes our political system, the branches of government, taxes and how voting works better than most I have seen. It’s clearly organized, simply worded, written with language that’s easy to understand and illustrated in a fun and engaging way. I do think that this book is geared toward older kids. It will help us answer questions with Jenna (who’s 6) right now, but to sit and read the entire book would quickly lose her interest.

The other three books that I reviewed above are suitable for ages 3 and up, in my opinion. If your child will sit still for reading, they’ll be engaged and listen to at least a couple pages at a time. Jenna especially loved Dinner Table Manners and sat through the whole thing with interest.

Papersalt has many other books covering other important topics, including books for teens, a beautiful guided journal, and “Good Stuff for the Brain.” Check out all the fantastic titles at their website. I know the guided journal “Me” and “Good Stuff for the Brain” are both going on my personal wish list!

These books would make fantastic gifts for graduates, new parents, friends, etc. Christmas is only 3 months away, so start shopping early! I know I’d love to receive any of their products as a gift.

Because I love you all, I’m giving my copy of Dinner Table Manners to one lucky reader! Simply leave a comment at this post to enter. The winner will be chosen randomly on Sunday, September 30 at 11p.m. EST. I’ll notify the winner via email on Monday, so make sure you post a valid address with your comment. I’ll also post the results here for all to see.

Disclaimer: Papersalt generously sent me the four books I reviewed, but the opinions stated are all my own. I seriously love their products. If I didn’t – I’d tell you. 


Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Jenna


Beach Dance

I know I’ve been largely absent here, and I apologize. I have a million posts in my head, but they’re just not making it into this computer.

Right now, Jenna and I are in Florida, soaking up as much Vitamin D as we can! We’ve been in the pool at least once pretty much every day, and most of the time, twice. It’s fantastic therapy for Jenna and she loves it. We have to tell her it’s time to get out every time. I think she would live in the pool if she could. She isn’t swimming yet, but she’s SO close! She has no qualms about getting her head under the water, and does an adorable little pseudo-swim where she holds her nose, kicks her feet and paddles with one hand while her little butt is up in the air. She stops and stands up when she needs a breath, then starts again. You can check out my Flickr photo stream (in the right margin) for a couple brief video clips.

The other day, it was too cold for the pool (around 70F and windy), so we decided to take a walk on the beach. I have to share a series of photos from our walk that I just love. We were headed back to the car, and she got a little way ahead of me. I noticed that she was doing a funny kind of little beach dance with her feet and I started shooting photos (she didn’t know I was shooting). As I watched and photographed, I realized that she was trying to make a horizontal line of footprints. I captured her finished work at the end of the series.


Some serious pronation going on – especially with her right foot. Need to ask our ortho team about it.

And a couple of extras from the photo shoot – just for fun:

Have a fantastic day!


Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Family, Jenna, Motherhood, Photography, Random Fun


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Extending Christmas: For the Birds

We had a real Christmas tree this year. We debated much about what was most “green,” and I read several accounts that said a real tree, when recycled after use, is still “greener” than artificial options. Something many people don’t consider is the amount of energy that goes into producing and transporting (usually overseas) artificial trees. Added to that, most people only keep artificial trees for 5-6 years (average), which means the used trees simply end in landfills. Christmas tree farms plant a new tree for the one you cut, and, natural trees can be recycled into mulch when you’re finished. Most of all, we simply love the experience of making a day, as a family, to go out and choose a tree on a farm.

This year, we found another way to extend the life of our tree. Jenna was very upset to see the tree go, but my allergies were flaring up, and we suspected the tree (mold? pine?). In an effort to compromise, I suggested that we set the tree outside the French doors on our patio. Then, inspiration hit, and I suggested that we decorate the tree for the birds with peanut butter and birdseed ornaments. Jenna was sold.

Here’s how our project went:

First, we tied dental floss (any string/yarn would work) through the holes in Saltine crackers to make a loop. (We also decorated one cardboard toilet paper tube that we poked a hole in for hanging. I preferred the crackers because the whole ornament was edible.)

Second, I pulsed chunky peanut butter in my food processor with a little sesame oil to make it thinner and easier to dip. Those lucky critters got some organic peanut butter (Yikes! $$) because that’s all I had on hand. We poured the peanut butter in a glass for dipping.

Next, we dipped the crackers. We pushed them down in with a spoon and sometimes scooped the peanut butter up over the crackers to cover completely. We laid them out on wax paper to wait for the next step.

Then, we dredged the peanut butter crackers through the birdseed. We pushed the seeds in, to make sure they were stuck more securely. This was an EXCELLENT sensory exercise for Jenna, who did NOT like the way the peanut butter and seeds felt on her hands. She wanted to get them done to hang on the tree, so she stuck with it.

The finished product waiting on wax paper.

Next, we strung popcorn on dental floss. This was good fine motor therapy for Jenna, but she didn’t do it long. My needle-phobic girl (too many bad blood work experiences) was too terrified of the threading needle. Especially after this happened to Mommy’s thumb:

Finally, we decorated the tree:


Now, to sit back and wait for the birds to come.  ……..

By that evening, our guests arrived.

They didn’t have wings, but they were still fun to watch. Within a day, we had six at a time climbing all over the tree and trying to pull the popcorn strings out! Within three days, the tree was bare. That’s OK! We can do it all over again. Christmas can last as long as the tree does. Then we’ll recycle it to mulch.

Next year, we’re considering finding a tree at a nursery that we can decorate for a couple weeks and then move outside for planting.


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Lentils: Another Homemade Blended Formula Recipe

Lentils and Peasphoto by photobunny

As a vegetarian, I’ve known about the wonders of lentils for a while. Not only are they delicious (especially in a soup or stew), but they also provide a powerhouse of nutrition high in protein, calorie dense and balanced out with a healthy dose of carbs. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to try a recipe for Jenna’s homemade formula using lentils. Here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 c. Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix  (green & yellow split peas, barley, lentils & vegi pasta)
  • 1/4 c. quinoa
  • 2 T raw honey (No children under age 1 should consume honey!)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 T ginger (read this, too)
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 4 c. coconut milk
  • 1 c. goat’s milk kefir and here
  • 1 c. powdered goat’s milk
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T Udo’s 3-6-9 oil (read here for benefits)
  • 2 T Hemp butter
  • 1 c applesauce
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 c. chopped spinach (dark, leafy greens are an often overlooked source of protein)
  • 3 T kelp powder read this also (especially for it’s iodine, iron & selenium)
  • 6 brazil nuts (for selenium)
  • 1 c. water

All my ingredients are organic from our local co-op.

Preparation is easy. I simmer the soup mix & quinoa in the 4 cups of coconut milk. While that’s simmering, I add all other ingredients to my Vita Mix blender and blend well. I add the mixture from the stove, blend very well (sometimes adding more water to achieve the desired consistency to pass through the feeding pump tubing) and pour into storage jars.

Nutritional info:

  • 2651 calories (30 cal/oz)
  • 112 grams of fat  (38% of total calories)
  • 90 grams of protein (14% of total calories)
  • 344 grams of carbohydrates (51% of total calories)

Good to know when making these calculations:

  • Fats have 9 calories per gram
  • Proteins & carbs have 4 calories per gram

I’d like to get the protein percentage a little higher and will probably do so by using more of the lentil soup mix the next time. BUT, even though the percentage of protein for the overall mixture is not as high as I’d like, I calculated what she consumes in a day and found that she’s still getting the 18 g/day recommended for her age and weight.

Happy cooking! Happy feeding!


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Oh Give Me a Home……

Yesterday, we visited a Bison ranch for their yearly Calving Festival. We had a wonderful time and learned a little bit about the fluffy buffalo! Here’s a photo journal of our day with some things we learned mixed in:

First, we heard some music. Then, we hit the petting zoo

It’s a duck!



A burro….

A fawn….

And a cougar! (That we weren’t allowed to pet) ???

Then we waited for our covered wagon to arrive to take us out to feed the buffalo.

Ah-ha! Scientific classification: Bison Bison Bison. Seriously. Look it up.

A mature bull is 6.5′ high at the hump, 9-12′ long & 1800-2400 lbs.

During mating season, males are so “busy” (hehe) they have little time to eat & lose up to 200 lbs.

Gestation is about 9 months & calves are born around 50 lbs (ouch).

Buffalo can run 35 mph for up to 1/2 hour!

They can jump 6′ high from a standstill.

They are excellent swimmers! Who knew? They look more like they’d be excellent sinkers.

Buffalo fur allows them to withstand temps of 50 degrees below zero.

In warmer weather, they shed by rubbing against trees & rocks or rolling.

In the 1700s, there were around 60,000,000 buffalo in North America. By the 1800s, thanks to white hunters, the numbers dropped to as few as 500. Today, there are around 500,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

Their meat is lean (2.4 grams of fat in 100 grams of meat!), free-range and hormone free. They’re not confined to small feedlots, they eat the grasses from their pastures, and are only given antibiotics when they’re sick (instead of in their daily grain as most cattle are given).

Cowgirl Jenna is in heaven. She says this was her favorite part of the day.

We checked out the full-sized teepee (with a real fire inside!)…

…and painted some kid-sized versions!

We watched buffalo jerky being made over an open fire (Yes – those are Amish girls in the background),

Waited for a balloon animal from a freaky clown in a weird hat (Yes – that’s an Amish man in the background),

Jumped in a bounce house,

Said goodbye to my favorite critter,

And called it a day.



Posted by on June 12, 2011 in Family, Jenna, Random Fun


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Green Art, Office & School Supplies

I recently had the opportunity to review art supplies from O’Bon. O’Bon carries a variety of eco-friendly art, office and school supplies, and when they asked me what I’d like to review, I decided on the colored pencils pictured above since Jenna loves art so much. They generously included the notebook pictured above as well. That photo doesn’t do it justice, either, because those kiwis look incredibly like the real thing when you see the notebook in person.

At O’Bon’s website they explain their goals:

“To give the consumer a a better choice. A selection of products that look better than what you find on any shelf. A collection of lines that are environmentally-friendly so you can make this world a better place through purchasing for your needs. A standard of quality that is top-notch and ideally suited for your high expectations.”

I have to say that I was immediately impressed with the quality of the products we received. The paper in the notebook contains bright white pages made from white sugarcane paper, that comes from recycled sugarcane pulp. It doesn’t look at all like the typical brown textured look of the recycled paper I’m used to. With a touch of humor, the back of the journal states: Trans fats (0%), Cholesterol (0%), Carbohydrates (0%), Rainforest fiber (0%). Hehe! The cover is recycled cardstock that is printed with soy inks, and, as I mentioned, the colors are absolutely vibrant.

The pencils are made from recycled newspapers that they claim last 2-3 times longer than standard wood pencils. They’re non-toxic and well protected so the colored wax core doesn’t break as easily, and they sharpen easily. We received the Wildlife Series set, that includes 12 colored pencils printed with animal patterns. Jenna was fascinated by this feature, and we even talked a little bit about each animal represented. The set includes: Turtle (light green), Zebra (black), Parrot (red), Alligator (dark green), Leopard (yellow), Tiger (orange), Snake (light brown), Bear (dark brown), Kingfisher (dark blue), Starfish (pink), Hummingbird (light blue), Marine Fish (purple). Jenna’s favorites were Kingfisher Blue and Tiger Orange. The pencils were smooth to write and color with and Jenna didn’t have any trouble sharpening them. Here’s a photo journal or our test session:


“Wow! Look at that! It worked!” She was fascinated by the newspaper print that you could see once you sharpened them.


Kingfisher Blue in motion! (Psssst! Check out that pincher grip! We’re working on it….)

All in all, we were thrilled with the products and their quality, and I’m pretty happy about their reasonable pricing and the fact that they plant a tree with every purchase! Besides the products we reviewed here, O’Bon also carries art (graphite) pencils, pocket journals, binders, folders, and “regular” pencils. Perfect for keeping the kiddos on summer vacation occupied and marvelous for stocking up for back-to-school in the fall, which will be here again before you know it!

This was not a paid review. I was sent the notebook and the pencils at no charge to review & keep, but the opinions expressed are honest & solely my own.


Posted by on June 10, 2011 in Going Green, Jenna, Product Reviews


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