Top 8 Kitchen Essentials For Large Families

I like my home to be as close to clutter-free as possible. So, in the kitchen I like to have things that serve dual purposes for instance, a toaster oven that can toast and bake. There are many kitchen appliances that can help large families to accommodate cooking in larger quantities which is what you’ll find below, my top eight kitchen essentials I own and that you should too. Although these will make cooking in large quantities easy, this will also help any size family.

This KitchenAid Mixer and Beater Blade attachment can help you make anything from banana bread to cake. A few years ago we began to make the children’s birthday cakes using this mixer.

This Hearth and Hand with Magnolia large footed tray can be used from displaying cheese to a cake stand.

The Rachel Ray 12 1/2 inch non-stick pan makes cooking and frying in large quantities such a breeze.

This is our Presto Griddle, it’s a multi-use griddle, it’s non-stick and heats up quickly.  I can make anywhere from 6 to 8 pancakes at one time.

This KitchenAid Convection Countertop Oven helps toast up to 8 slices bread to waffles. The convection feature just means it heats up quicker than a conventional oven.

So for time sake, I use this Black + Decker to cook rice.

This is our KitchenAid Blender. We make anything from the babies puree to milk shakes.

And lastly this one is not a gadget but still a kitchen must have. This is an over the door hanger, storage and bag holder. Tip: Get one to match the color of your kitchen cabinets.

– Ana

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Syringomyelia – MRI Post Surgery

I had an MRI following my November 7, 2017 Syringomyelia surgery. I had a syringo peritoneal-shunt placed, this shunt will remain in my body forever. This is the procedure that helps divert fluid from one space to another. The name for the shunt is given by the doctor and it’s based on where they start and end. The decision to do this procedure depends on the person’s health situation and the surgeons preference. A syrinx is also most commonly known to be a side effect from another health condition, in my case, I have Syringomyelia because I have Chiari 1 Malformation. A way the doctor would know if a syrinx is present is by performing an MRI of the spine. When I was diagnosed In 2013 Life Began with Chiari + Syringomyelia an MRI of the entire spine was immediately ordered to look for syrinxes. My most recent MRI was done a couple of weeks ago and shows how my syringo peritoneal-shunt has been diverted successfully to the peritoneal space or my abdomen.  It’s always good to continue to check on the shunt because it can fail after having had successfully worked. The failure of the shunt working may be due to various reasons one, the catheter becoming clogged and can no longer able to divert the fluid from one space to another. This failure in the shunt can be seen by MRI, the shunt will show being refilled with fluid or enlarged. However, one way of knowing a failure in the shunt is that you will notice the symptoms returning. My recovery from Syringomyelia surgery is expected to take about a year. I’m still feeling the numbness on my left side, weakness in my legs, numbness in my neck area and back which can only be described as cape like, among other things. The neuropathic pain I have is a type of pain that is difficult to treat as this is damage caused to the nervous system. However, it is found to be common in Syringomyelia patients.  As far as knowing for sure the long-term outcome after surgery, for Chiari related Syringomyelia although surgery will reduce the syrinx, research has shown to stop it from growing 80% of the time. Surgery however still doesn’t always provide significant improvements in symptoms and many people will still experience pain and other symptoms after surgery.

February 2018 Post Surgical MRI

MRI – On the right showing syrinx and on the left showing post surgical placement of shunt.


Eczema + Food Allergy Alerts For Kids

My children have sensitive skin and this has been a struggle for some time. Not all, but most have Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis. Eczema consists of dry scaly and itchy skin, peeling and redness. The main visible complaint is behind the knees and on the arms but it can also appear in other areas. We’ve had to change things like dish soap, laundry detergent and fabric dryer sheets to ones from brands like all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, 46.5 Fluid Ounces, 31 Loads or Arm & Hammer Liquid Perfume and Dye Free Dual He, 50 Fluid Ounce These brands in particular carry a selection for sensitive skin, are free of dyes and perfumes. These changes have prevented my kids from getting major flareups, getting irritated and ultimately itchy. Their dermatologist has recommended over the counter hydrocortisone and brands like CeraVe, Aveeno and Eucerin, to name a few. And none have worked. I’ve also tried prescription creams, but even using these have not given us any results. So, I will share with you what has brought my sensitive skin little’s some relief, all from the brand TruKid.

For Eczema
⇒ Hair and Body Wash TruKid Eczema Soothing Face and Body Wash, Unscented, 8 Oz

⇒ Bubble Bath, this one has Oatmeal, Aloe and Vitamin E TruKid Eczema Bubble Podz, Natural Bubble Bath with Oatmeal, Aloe & Vit E., Unscented, 24 count

⇒ Body Cream TruKid Easy Eczema Cream, Soothing relief therapy, Unscented, 4 Oz

⇒ Serum Spray, I keep this one in my diaper bag, it’s small and best of all, a spray. TruKid Rockin’ Relief Remedy, 100% Natural, Rash & Dry Skin Soothing Serum, 1.78 Oz

⇒ Sunscreen TruKid Sunny Days Sport, Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, Water Resistant, Broad Spectrum, Unscented 3.5 Oz

I also have one of my kids with food allergies. In the beginning of each school year his pediatric allergist will give us new Epi-Pen’s to have. We receive two, one Epi-Pen we will keep and the other we will give to the school nurse.

Food Allergies
⇒ Epi-Pen – We have attached to the zipper of our diaper bag, these pull charms let’s everyone know that there’s an Epi-Pen inside. These have come in handy say on our trips to Disney when we may forget to let security know there’s an Epi-Pen inside. EPIPEN INSIDE Medical Alert Black 1 inch Zipper Pull Charm

He’s young, yet has responsibly learned the foods he can’t eat. I still however have him wear allergy alert bands, he wears two, one that read “PEANUT ALLERGY” and a second one on the other wrist that reads, “FISH ALLERGY.” He wears these all the time, even during bath and bed time. Although the bands I have are no longer available, these from AllerMates are my next option if whenever mine need to be replaced. This one for peanut allergy AllerMates Kids Medical Wristband – Peanut Children’s Medic Alert Allergy Awareness Bracelet (2 Pack) or this one Allermates Kids Allergy Health Alert Multi Charm Wristband that you can customize to show your child’s specific allergies using charms.

Adult Relief from Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis this has been the only thing that has worked for me. Simply. The. Best. For hands this cream in tube form from Working Hands  O’Keeffe’s K0290004 Working Hands Hand Cream, 3 oz., Tube   O’Keeffe’s K0350002 Working Hands Hand Cream, 3.4 oz., Jar
and this helps your feet from cracked or dry heals O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet Foot Cream, 3.2 oz., Jar


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