Based on a true story...
OK, rant OVER :)
I had one of those crazy days where I bit off more I could chew, and then I decided to make laundry detergent! At this stage in the pregnancy game, I tend to forget I'm pregnant until I'm exhausted and my back hurts, then I remember to breathe and rest, and eat vegetables... that's all I have to remember, right?
Anyway, back to the laundry detergent! I've been wanting to make my own for years. With three basic ingredients, it's healthier and has fewer chemicals. It's incredibly cost effective, and can be tweaked for your family’s needs, so what's not to love?
For this recipe, I followed Wellness Mamas laundry detergent instructions for powdered soap. It calls for washing soda (not baking soda), borax, and a shredded bar of natural soap.
For the soap, I chose an amazing smelling natural bar of soap I had received from the Wow Bloggers conference. This bar held a special place in my heart after its beautiful fragrance soothed my first-trimester morning sickness. Yes, I'd smell the bar every morning and it would help squelch my queasiness.
Now, my food processor went caput about a year ago, so I spent way too much time hand grating this bar of soap. I have a whole new level of admiration for pioneer women after this task… and sore fingers. I highly recommend popping your soap in the food processor for a few minutes, or be forwarned that grating soap is quite a task!
The ratio is simple 2 parts borax, 2 parts washing soda, 1 part shredded soap. This bar produced about 2 cups of shredded soap, so I ended up with a large batch that should hold us about 6 months!
In 2018, Tricare underwent many changes. Some made being health easier, like not needing a referral from urgent care. But along with these changes came hikes in co pays and prescription fees that haven’t been easy on many military families. What’s shocked me the most has been the astronomical increase in costs for maternity care.
In 2012, I gave birth to our first child on Tricare Prime in Danbury, CT. All of my routine prenatal care was covered by a local OBGYN practice with the exception of the 20-week anatomy scan. We chose to pay out of pocket for that ultrasound so we could find out the gender of our baby [and they got it wrong, but that’s a different story]. At the end of the 9 months and after my routine hospital delivery, we received a $30 bill. In 2014, the next baby arrived, along with the very same bill. Two years later, we welcomed our third baby in a home birth covered under Tricare Standard, and guess what the bill was? $30!
Now, in 2018, we’re expecting to pay much, much more. Instead of a $30 copay for all the prenatal care, we have a copay per visits. So that’s $30 x 15 visits for a total of $450 and THEN there’s the additional $150 hospital fee, bringing the total cost of care to $600. I hate to complain because I know that that cost is nominal compared to what some have to pay for maternity care, but when VA income is didn’t increase at remotely the same rate, this pay hike hurts! AND it gets a whole lot worse…
Being well over an hour away from a military base has left us three maternity providers that Tricare works, but due to the changes, NONE of them will take on new patients with Tricare. So, I had to get on Medicaid maternity care as a secondary insurance plan. I found a local provider that takes Medicaid, but because Tricare is my primary insurance, they’re too concerned with taking me on as a patient because they think if the my federal health insurance denies the claim, then the state-run insurance will also deny it, so they asked us to pay $7,500 up front and then they’d reimburse us for what insurance pays. Despite my calls to Medicaid which confirmed they’d pay what Tricare denied, we don’t have that kind of money to shell out ahead of time, and that just seems silly when you have not one, but two insurances.
So this endless cycle of “no, we don’t work with Tricare anymore” and “Sorry, we don’t know if Medicaid will pay…” have landed me 8 weeks behind in maternity care. I was finally able to see a provider, but the drive is nearly an hour without traffic, which is longer than my last labor, so I might have to go with I-84 for a middle name if I don’t actually make it to the hospital.
Insurance is always a headache, and Tricare has driven me crazy many, many, times. But, between the cost hike and the ridiculous drive, I think we’ve hit an all-time low. At 26 weeks, I feel like my quest for quality maternity care is just getting started… even though many practices don’t take patients after 28 weeks…
And not broccoli with the zucchini, broccoli ricotta. My kids don't even realize it's there, but it adds amazing color and nutrients. And if you want to really take it to the next level, you can add some spinach to the ricotta as well!
Start by grilling your zucchini slices. This helps you avoid zucchini lasagna soup.
While the zucchini is grilling, cook one cup of broccoli. I used organic frozen broccoli and microwaved it, or you can sauté fresh broccoli. Then send it through the food processor. I used my nutribullet to turn it into a pure.
Next, mix ricotta with one egg, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, a pinch of salt and your broccoli pure.
By now you should be able to pull the zucchini off the grill. Charred zucchini doesn't compliment this dish, trust me in working on my grill skills ;)
Pour some sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Add a layer of zucchini, then ricotta, then zucchini, and more sauce.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes uncovered. Then pull it out and top with extra mozzarella cheese for another 5 minutes.
Enjoy, and pat yourself on the back for eating your veggies!
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!