Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Pasta Bake - DELICIOUS!!!!!

OMG!  This was AMAZING!

This can be made as an organic or Non-organic pasta bake.

The best part, was that not only did Jonathan and I love this....Noah did too!!!  

AND - It's healthy! Remember - Pumpkin IS a squash! :)

It is incredible!!!  Note: I used the white wine option to cook the meal.

Easy Pumpkin Pasta Bake


  • 1 box (14.5 ounces) whole wheat penne or other short-cut pasta, prepared according to package directions
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 pound (about 4 links) sweet or spicy lean Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup water or dry red or white wine
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 tablespoons (0.75 ounce) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese


PREHEAT oven to 375° F. Spray 3-quart casserole dish or 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

COOK sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through. Stir in garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in marinara sauce (reserve jar). Add water or wine to jar; cover and shake. Pour into skillet along with pumpkin and 2 tablespoonsParmesan cheese. Stir well. Stir in prepared pasta. Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and mozzarella 
cheese; cover.

BAKE for 15 minutes. Carefully remove cover; bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Spring Crafting (Spring Chicken)

Noah and I took a moment yesterday to make a spring craft for Daddy.
We found this craft at
We traced our hands on yellow cardstock and cut them out.
Then we cut out an oval out of the yellow paper and a beak and feet out of orange cardstock.
We attached the hands to the oval with brads – Glued on the feet, beak and googly eyes.
And whala!  We have a spring chicken!

Oranges and Cloves

Want to make your house smell nice without having to burn toxic candles?

Here's an easy way...

Eat an orange for snack time - then put the orange rinds in a pot of boiling water.  Add some whole cloves and simmer.

Make sure to keep an eye on the water level.

Enjoy the aroma!

Low levels of radiation found in West Coast milk

WASHINGTON – Low levels of radiation have turned up in milk samples from two West Coast states.
Traces of radioactive Iodine-131 were found in milk in California and Washington, according to federal and state authorities who are monitoring for contamination as the nuclear crisis unfolds in Japan. But the officials say the levels are still 5,000 times below levels of concern and do not represent a public health threat.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that radiation was found in a March 25 milk sample from Spokane, Wash. The California Department of Public Health said on its website that a similar result was found March 28 in San Luis Obispo County.
The EPA always monitors radiation levels in the air at several sites throughout the country, but the agency said this week that it is increasing the level of nationwide monitoring of milk, precipitation and drinking water in response to the situation in Japan. Those substances are normally monitored for radiation only a few times a year.
EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the radiation detected in Spokane is different than what is normally found there.
"While there can be naturally occurring levels of radiation in milk — as there are in the air, at levels far below levels of concern — we don't generally see this particular isotope as part of those background levels," Gilfillan said.
The EPA has found very low levels of radiation in the air connected to the Japanese incident in Alaska, Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Saipan, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Washington state. Gilfillan said the low level of radiation most likely ended up in the milk after a cow ate grass or drank rainwater that contained it.
The FDA, which oversees the safety of the nation's food supply, said such findings were to be expected in the coming days because of problems with the nuclear plant in Japan, and that the levels were expected to drop relatively quickly. Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex began leaking radiation after it was damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month.
"Radiation is all around us in our daily lives, and these findings are a minuscule amount compared to what people experience every day," said Patricia Hansen, senior scientist at the FDA. "A person would be exposed to low levels of radiation on a round-trip cross-country flight, watching television, and even from construction materials."
The United States had already halted imports of dairy products and produce from the affected area of Japan. Other foods imported from Japan, including seafood, are still being sold to the public but are screened first for radiation.
Japanese foods make up less than 4 percent of all U.S. imports. The FDA has said it expected no risk to the U.S. food supply from radiation.

Fun Spring (Earth Day) Craft Idea: Upcycled Bird Feeder

Recycle a milk carton and make new feathered friends with this creative nature craft for kids.

Basic Materials: Milk carton, string, bird seed
Difficulty: Very easy
Another option is to make a FULL milk carton Bird Feeder:

What you'll need:

  • Empty quart sized cardboard milk carton
  • Scissors
  • String or cord
  • Hole punch or pencil
  • Bird seed

How to make it:

  1. Have an adult help you cut a hole in the bird feeder – it should be big enough so a bird could come and sit and eat the feed, but not too big or the carton will become unstable. (See photo.)
  2. Have an adult help you cut a hole using the hole punch in the top of the milk carton and put a string through the hole. Alternatively, you can poke a hole on either side of the flap at the top of the carton by poking a pencil through the top. (See photo.)
  3. Tie a knot in the string. (See photo.)
  4. Fill the carton with bird seed until it reaches the top of the hole. (See photo.)
  5. Hang the cart on a tree branch and watch the birds enjoy their snack! (See photo.)


  • A quart size carton works perfect as it isn't too large and holds a decent amount of food.
  • You may choose to decorate the outside of the carton but keep in mind that it will be outside in the elements and decorations may wash off in the rain. Also, you wouldn't want the birds pecking at flaking paint!
  • Check your bird feeder regularly and refill as needed.


ABC's of Christian Parenting: Day 5 - "E"

I am an avid follower of Steals and Deals for Kids and she recently had this collection on her website and was given permission to repost here.

For the next 26 days I will be posting the ABC's of Christian Parenting.  This is a compilation of the framework built by Steals and Deals for Kids and additional information that I found by Robert and Debra Bruce.

I hope that you enjoy this series.

DAY 5: "E" is for Affirmation

Exercise self-control when you are angry, committing your feelings to the Lord rather than using them on your child. 

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 
(Eph. 4:26)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food coloring and hyperactivity: FDA holds hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FDA is examining the link between dyes found in everyday foods and hyperactivity in children.
At a two-day meeting starting Wednesday, an FDA advisory committee will decide whether available data links the dyes and the disorder. The panel will recommend Thursday whether the agency should further regulate dyes, do more studies on the issue or require better labeling of the additives. They could also recommend that the FDA do nothing at all.
The FDA has so far said there is no proven relationship between food dyes and hyperactivity in most children. But the agency said that for "certain susceptible children," hyperactivity and other behavioral problems may be exacerbated by food dyes and other substances in food.
Public health advocates agree that dyes do not appear to be the underlying cause of hyperactivity, but say that the effects of dyes on some children is cause enough to ban the additives. The FDA is holding the meeting in response to a 2008 petition filed by the advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest to ban Yellow 5, Red 40 and six other dyes.
Michael Jacobson, the director of that group, said at the meeting Wednesday that the only reason that dyes exist in food is to trick consumers. Some manufacturers use less dyes in the same foods sold in Europe because of concerns there over hyperactivity.
"Dyes are often used to make junk food more attractive to young children, or to simulate the presence of a healthful fruit or other natural ingredient," Jacobson said. "Dyes would not be missed in the food supply except by the dye manufacturers."
Jacobson conceded that completely banning the dyes would be difficult, urging the FDA to at least put warnings on food package labels.
Scientists and public advocates have debated the issue for more than 30 years as the use of dyes in food has steadily risen. The advisory panel is sifting through a variety of studies over the two-day meeting, some showing more of a relationship between dyes and hyperactivity than others.
The food industry is warning consumers not to rush to judgment. David Schmidt, president and CEO of International Food Information Council Foundation, a food-industry funded group, said dyes help consumers enjoy their food by maintaining or improving appearance.
Suggesting a link between the color additives and attention deficit disorder in children "could have unintended consequences, including unnecessarily frightening consumers about safe ingredients that are consumed every day," he said.

Poison Control - Review your "Non toxic" knowledge

Child safety is our utmost concern. Children may face danger inside the house as well as outside, but making our homes childproof of hazards, such as electric shock, fire, sharp objects or drugs, is somewhat easier than trying to control the outside environment.

As we can imagine, poisoning can be a dramatic experience to children and their parents. Because of this, parents or caregivers may begin a series of actions, which if not based on professional advice, may unfortunately do more harm than good. Our golden rule is ‘Primum non nocere’ which is Latin for ‘First, do no harm’.

Here is a list of Non-Toxic home substances or items found around the house and which are commonly mistaken to be toxic. This is important and can prevent a panicked parent from following faulty procedures that may do harm, such as induced vomiting or even making an unnecessary visit to the ER.

- Air fresheners
- Aluminum foil
- Ashes
- Baby lotion
- Baby wipes
- Calamine lotion
- Candles
- Charcoal
- Clay
- Crayons
- Glue
- Deodorants
- Erasers
- Eye makeup
- Glitter
- Lip balm
- Lipstick
- Mascara
- Matches (less than 3 )
- Newspaper
- Paraffin
- Pencils
- Rust
- Saccharin
- Shoe polish
- Silica gel
- Soil
- Starch
- Sunscreen products
- Suntan lotions
- Superglue
- Mercury in thermometers
- Wall board
- Watercolor paints
- Wax
- Zinc oxide ointments

These items are non-toxic in small to moderate exposures, but the taste and texture may result in mild stomach upset. Depending on the age of the child and the amount or size of item ingested there may also be a risk of choking. We may also need to make sure from labels and constituents that they are not compounded with additional substances.

Lastly, parents should be calm in all cases, and give their child the most helpful and safest antidote; which is: ALWAYS CALL THE POISON CONTROL CENTER.

ABC's of Christian Parenting: Day 4 - "D"

I am an avid follower of Steals and Deals for Kids and she recently had this collection on her website and was given permission to repost here.

For the next 26 days I will be posting the ABC's of Christian Parenting.  This is a compilation of the framework built by Steals and Deals for Kids and additional information that I found by Robert and Debra Bruce.

I hope that you enjoy this series.

DAY 4: "D" is for Dedicate

Dedicate yourself to the body of Christ through commitment to a congregation, regular worship attendance, Bible study, prayer and service.  Take your children and make it a priority in your life.  Little eyes are always watching!

Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king. (I Chron. 29:20)