Hiker Bars on a Budget

This fall I had a brain wave after I was once again disgruntled by the ickiness of a cheap granola bar, contents: oats, corn syrup, preservatives. If it is just you going hiking, you can go buy all the Clif Bars you want, but for a family of seven, this would be about the price of crowd-sized beef roast, and that isn’t how we roll around here. We love homemade granola bars, but I was wanting something not sticky, more in the line of a power bar with lots of protein. I needed it to be portable when we do outdoor sports. I needed it to be reasonably affordable. I needed it to be easy, because otherwise it wasn’t going to happen.

My idea was to combine homemade energy bites with a granola bar recipe. We loved them, but they were too crumbly to be practical except straight out of the freezer. Then the brain wave hit… why not get some quality dark chocolate and coat them, then wrap them individually, just like power bars? Now we were in business. May I introduce you to Hiker Bars on  a Budget, our not so top secret recipe that we made up all by ourselves. 🙂


Combine in a saucepan and stir together over low heat until melted:

½ cup peanut butter

⅓ cup coconut oil

⅓ cup honey

Stir into this mixture:

1 cup rolled oats (we toasted them for 10 minutes, then chopped them up in a food mill)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 scoop protein powder, vanilla flavored

2 Tb. chia seeds or flax seeds/meal   (You could use more. Some of my people think seeds annoy their teeth so I go light on them.)

½ cup of any combination of chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, etc. Here is where I go with chopped walnuts.

a dash of sea salt and a splash of vanilla

Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper then press the mixture into the pan with a spatula. Pop it into the freezer for about an hour so that it sets firmly enough to lift out of the pan. Cut into desired size with a sharp knife. I make 18 bars out of one pan.


Use a double boiler to melt dark chocolate coating wafers (an 11 oz bag is ample, but you can stretch your chocolate with food grade paraffin that will also make the chocolate dry harder) then dip the pieces in it to cover the bar all around. (Keep them frozen until you are ready for this step, or you will have them disintegrating in the molten chocolate, which is not the worst thing that could happen, but just not what you are wishing for at the moment.) You don’t need more than a thin layer to hold it all together, but when you are expending a lot of energy and starving, nobody cares about 50 extra calories. Honesty compels me to say that these photos are milk chocolate and it was thicker than necessary. (Yum.) But the dark is the best.

Once the chocolate has hardened, wrap the individual pieces in parchment paper and store them in the freezer or they will definitely be all scarfed up long before the hike you are planning.


This is not a low calorie food. For that you need celery, or you could just step off the trail and find some birch twigs to chew. According to Calorie Count, there are about 164 calories in one bar without the chocolate. They are small bars, which was the point. They don’t take up much room and they are nutrient dense. This is a power food, easily made, stored and transported in a backpack. These bars will cause the frisbee to fly higher and the bikes to pedal easier, but should not be given to children in low-key-let’s-all-just-play-go-fish-while-we-wait situations.

I have tried these with a number of variations. Gabe and Alex don’t like the sun butter ones. Once I tried sucanat to sweeten them because I was out of honey, but it was too dry and I ended up adding more goopy stuff. Gregory and I agree that any granola-ish stuff held together with nut butter and wrapped in chocolate is fine, just fine.

By my calculations, I can make a batch for less than  5 dollars. Of course, there is the time factor, but I have lots of that. 😉

Try them and tell me what you think. Better yet, add some original ingredients and tell us about them.

Life is Like That

I feel like the train derailed on this blogging thing, and now I don’t know how to hitch it back up. Oh well, maybe I will just start with this past week, in which we had our thirteenth anniversary. We believe that the best thing we can do for our children is to have a vibrantly happy marriage. So we went trotting off without any children. Do you want to know how it felt?

It felt really, really strange. And it was so much fun. You could even say relaxing. Five children seems a bit much to drop on one person, so we left the girls with my parents and took the boys up north to be with Gabriel’s parents, which was close to our destination at Watkin’s Glen. We have never camped without the children, so this time we decided to go all minimalist. One kettle to boil water for hot drinks, some cheese sticks and power bars. Apples. Ramen noodles, just in case we got too hungry before we hit a restaurant. I am not kidding. And high quality chocolate, of course. A duffle bag for each of us and bedding to sleep in the conversion van we borrowed from my folks. That was it.

We hiked the Glen and biked all the trails at the campground, then needing a little something, we shared a grape pie sundae. A few hours later we went out for Chinese. This is something you don’t know before your tots come along… Very quickly they will take up your hands wherever you go, or else you will be clutching at them to hang onto them in parking lots and stores. Taking your children to a buffet style restaurant is so… involved. The luxury of just having each other for a few days is just that, a luxury, only one hand to hold, and it isn’t trying to run away!

We slept as long as we wanted, which means that when Gabe asked me if I was ever going to wake up and it was 10:30, I actually wanted to get up. Did I mention that we relaxed? I missed the children like everything. It was so odd to read and read by the campfire and nobody complained about being hungry. Campfire cooking is really fun, but it is also kind of exhausting, keeping ice in a cooler and washing greasy pans in lukewarm water, so this was a nice contrast. On the second day we traveled north along the Seneca Lake to the vineyards, stopping enroute for dessert and coffee at  a funny little cafe, just because.

We picked 10 boxes of grapes to bring along home in just under 2 hours, then found the home of our friends, Nelson and Amy, who graciously served us a lovely supper and gave us a gorgeous guest room for the night.

The next morning it was time to collect the children in a 6 hour process that involved picking up the boys, stopping at an orchard and picking 3 bushels of apples, then coming on home for the girls. Life felt so do-able again, crazy schedules, complex responsibilities, needy people and all. It was good to get away, but it was even better to come back.

Remember the bit about the grapes and apples? There was no option but to don the apron and get to work. Half the grapes were for friends, but even so we steamed 58 quarts of juice. That should last a while. 🙂 While the steaming process was going on, I peeled a half bushel of apples for pie filling and to dry. It was a fun project, not one that I really had to do. By the end of the day, I was a little tired.

Early the next morning I lay in bed trying to decide if I had the stamina to make applesauce that day. It was a toss-up between wrapping up the canning all in one fell swoop or leaving it for another day when I wouldn’t feel like doing it either. I decided on the fell swoop, whatever that is. Alex got a day off school and we applesauced away. When the last batch was simmering on a cooker on the deck, I asked him to check on them while I ladled the sauce into jars. He thought they looked “almost ready”. By the time I checked on them, they were scorched into a brown mass on the bottom of the kettle.

It was the last rite of canning season… a hopelessly scorched kettle to scrub and soak and scrub and soak. I started in on it and quickly realized that this was the worst, horriblest scorched kettle ever. Google brought up a solution that turned on light bulbs in my head. I share this with you because I surely am not the only person who wants to throw kettles into the trash and slink away.

Just in case you ever have apples permanently stuck to your sauce pan, here is what you do: Pour peroxide into the kettle to about ½ inch depth. Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of baking soda and simmer it on low with the lid on for about 20 minutes. Touch the scorched spot with a wooden scraper and watch in delight as it lifts off the stainless steel bottom and floats gently upward.

Then you thank Jesus and pass the word along. Because nobody should spend hours scouring pans when they are dog tired from canning. Amen?

It is cold outside and the hot drinks are waiting. They are calling me to come play Settler’s. Cheerio!

Livvy’s Birthday


This is my little Livvy girl, my fragile child with the determined, sturdy spirit. She is smiling funny so that her very loose tooth doesn’t show. No matter how much we tried to persuade her that the tooth should stay back with six, she insisted that it needed to dangle along to seven.

We did a spur of the moment birthday party with my parents picking up a cake for her.



Her siblings had some little presents ready for her. As she unwrapped this present, it became evident that Rita had gifted her with one of Addy’s most prized treasures at the moment. It took only a second for Addy to snatch it back, “HEY, that is mine!” It is nice that seven is old enough to be amused instead of offended at such doings.



These two are best buddies, sharing the birthday loot and conspiring on how to quietly play with the teensy Strawberry Shortcake stuff without Addy noticing. Poor Addy.



And here we have the cake she really was hoping for: something with fondant decorations, like flowers and monkeys. We plan to share this with the school children tomorrow when we take a hot lunch to school. Marshmallow fondant is very fun to work with, but a project this large was a little ambitious   required all hands on deck. Greg did the bushes, Alex did the monkeys and palm fronds, the little girls punched out flowers and stars with cutters and I supervised, arranged, and made the vine, etc. etc. I was, quite frankly, fried when it was finally finished. Have a happy day, everybody!


(Oh, look! The tooth came out today! Now there is the real smile! )


About that Oobleck I Mentioned

Here it is, but take it from me and just don’t do it. See, it sounds so deceptively simple. My boys stirred the 1 1/2 cups of water into the 16 oz. of cornstarch and suddenly it all seized up. “Hey, this isn’t working! It said to knead it together with your hands.” Naturally I plunged my hands into the mass to knead it and instantly got a traumatic flashback from years gone by.

Back then I was working part time at a bulk food store and occasionally there was a need to scoop corn starch from a large bag into smaller sized bags for the shelf. The first time I was assigned that job, I scooped right into the powdery stuff. It squeaked and felt silky and hard at the same time and my every hair stood on end in horror. I was too embarrassed to tell my boss that I would rather do anything else, please just let me wash up the floors on my hands and knees. Anything else. That day I got cornstarch overload and I got really good at being busy whenever it needed to be bagged again. Anytime a recipe calls for cornstarch, I am very, very careful with spooning it out. I get a nasty little chill just stirring a few tablespoons into liquid.

But after reading how neat this stuff is, today I dug my fingers into the oobleck, then shuddered and quickly went to the sink to wash the mass off my hands. The children found it terribly fascinating, how it gelled and wept and turned mysteriously solid by turns. I let them make a huge mess all over the kitchen because I knew cornstarch washes up very easily. My oldest son couldn’t believe I tolerated the drippings and spills. He got a spatula and tried valiantly to keep it in one spot on the table, to corral it into a bowl, just anything to contain it. “Mama! They even have it on the wall! Make them stop.” He was nearly frantic so I reassured him and sent him out of the room until the little girls were done having fun. They tiptoed into the bathroom for a full scrub down and then I cleaned the kitchen for the second time today.

This is one “neat” experiment that is definitely not for the faint of heart. I guess next time we probably will just pass on it.

Interior Monologue at Two AM

Smiley Flower Happy!

In the past week I lost at least three blog posts to the shadows of the night, because I was too lazy to get up  needed to sleep. I don’t know why it is that sometimes the writing flows and other times it gets stopped up. Neither do I understand why I think up long, interesting bits about life at 2 AM and then cannot remember more than shreds of it at 7 AM. I should probably do what some bloggers do, give myself a deadline. You can expect a fresh post every Tuesday and Friday morning at seven, sharp. (That was a joke, because where would be the fun in that?)

Last night we went to bed early, and here I am, all chipper and feeling like I already slept enough.

The new family vehicle started hiccuping on us last weekend. Some stabilitrak system or other was kicking on and off without provocation. OH, NO. Service stabilitrak soon. It is a little hard to ignore when the lights flash and blink on the dash. We needed an inspection anyway, but the title transfer wasn’t done yet. So we decided to get a tune up, see what we are up against. Halfway to the garage, a distance of seven miles, I noticed that the warning light was off, the vehicle no longer hiccuping at all. Thank the Lord for large mercies!

Driving a Suburban is a little like navigating a smallish whale, although I have to say, this one is smoother than the old van was, by a long shot. And do you have any idea how much cargo room these guys have? It is amazing.

Gabe convinced me to go to our local outfitter’s store last Saturday when they were having a summer blowout sale. He brought me a helmet when he got off work Friday night and told me to go get a bike to wear with it. Something like that. Again, he was working, so I loaded up the little guys and off we went, bike shopping. I haven’t owned a bike for at least 10 years, although I occasionally took his for a spin. Did you ever ride a men’s bike with a really high bar? In a skirt? Awkward. Whoa, I really hope I don’t have to stop until I get back home to the mounting block.

He had preselected what he thought was the one I would like, so I browsed for “a bike with vine decals and a nice seat, but not a granny seat”. There were two with vine decals. Me being me, I got the cheaper one. Gabe being Gabe, he had the other one in mind, the one with the shock on the front tire. However, I can’t see myself doing extreme trails anytime soon, so this is fine. It is really fun to go buzzing around the back roads with my boys. We have no arrangement for the little girls to ride along, so Gabe and I haven’t biked together yet. All in good time.

I cleaned out my garden this week, all but the fall stuff. I feel cleansed. No more blighted tomatoes and unhappy watermelons. No more weeds on steroids. Just their babies. I can now look out my kitchen window without feeling the failure of neglected plants. And those grapes that we were fondly anticipating? It puzzled me to find that all the ripe ones kept getting neatly picked off their bunches, the green ones left behind by some fastidious critter until they were ripe, when they would also be neatly picked off. I myself ate maybe 5 grapes, total. Rita solemnly insisted that she did not touch the grapes. The thing was, there were no deer tracks. Then the children told me they kept seeing the cats in the grape vine. I suppose for the cats, those 65 dollars we spent to get them spayed is pretty good insurance. (We are now responsible pet owners.)

We took a ride up to the ski slopes last evening, looking out over the vista of mountains to the west, the glorious sunset highlighting  the shapes of scores of windmills in the distance. Gabe thinks they look clean and green. I think they are just a little annoying when I am trying to see the scenery. On our way home we stopped at a local ice cream place where you can get 5 kid cones and 1 medium for $4.25. It was dark and cold and shivery for ice cream eating, but when has a child ever objected to that?

I recently read a thought that impressed me. “When it comes to child training, you decide how you want it, then you make it that way.” (Elisabeth Elliot, who else?) Maybe that is a little overly simplistic, but it is pretty true. When your children are allowed to whine, grab, belch at the table, disobey Mom when they feel like it, and other such socially unacceptable behaviors, it is because you have decided it is too much work to train them otherwise.

We are starting a new initiative this week: The Annual No Complaining About the Food Act. Every so often I notice that my children have fallen into a bad habit of grumbling about what is for dinner. Not everybody dislikes the same food, but with 5 children, there is a good chance that at least one person will not be impressed with the fare. All you need is one person turning up his/her nose for the chorus to begin. “Not beans again! Couldn’t we have spaghetti and meatballs?” Addy: “Have getti and meatballs!” Next meal: “I wish you would make rice instead of quinoa.” Addy: “I wants rice!” Random other child: “No, no, I don’t like rice!”

Mine all like broccoli, by the way, which makes it a bit puzzling when someone chokes about chicken noodle or fried potatoes. Some of them love oatmeal and others prefer eggs, while still others just wish they could have a bagel. And of all things, the kid who hates mayo loves mustard! It sounds like I really have a lot of children, doesn’t it? 😉 I don’t mind preferences. It makes birthday meals fun when you know what they love to eat. But you can’t always have what you prefer. Deal with it. I got tired of displeased sighs at meal time. It’s time to decide how we want it and make it that way.

Last year I purposely made foods they didn’t enjoy until they quit complaining. This year I amped up the stakes. We are having dessert every night this week. Gasp! If you forget and grouse just one time about the food you are served, you get halfsies on dessert. If you grouse more than once, you don’t get any. Fortunately, a jar of peaches counts as dessert for our children. Or a piece of Dove chocolate. Ask Rita how big a half piece of dove chocolate is.

Last night, sort of by accident, I made a total fail of a meal. It was edible, but it wasn’t good. We excused Addy for saying, “It’s yucky.” The rest deserved their ice cream cones.

I just read Code Name Verity, which is actually considered a young adult book, although I wouldn’t recommend it. It made me cry. While I could never be a spy, I love reading spy stories. (I don’t know if it is some housewife thing… me, in my safe little world, reading about the intrigue and unbelievable duplicity of the CIA or Mossad.) I wondered if I could be that brave if I were being interrogated concerning my faith in Jesus and my fellow believers like so many Christians are today.

All right, I will spare you more stream of consciousness and go back to bed.

External Vexations Vs. Eternal Verities

Sorry about the ponderous title. It was fun to extract it word-by-word from the Thesaurus, especially now that it sounds like some sort of article from the 1800’s .  🙂

I wouldn’t really say it was a good day. But it wasn’t a bad day, exactly. I sometimes think I am getting more skilled at rolling with the punches, but occasionally the punches come more fast and furious than usual. It leaves me feeling, at the end of the day, like I have not lived it very well.

I was thinking about this in the shower, and suddenly I just burst out laughing. Gabe has a week of night shift, so I shall tell you about the day.

It started last night with a late iced coffee, and it was so good, so very effective at wiring me that I stayed up until 1 AM catching up with Facebook  posting our checking account and credit card data in our budget program. At that hour I even entertained a brief notion of surprising the boys with a day of school today! Haha. We have all our supplies, all our books, shiny new desks that Gabe made. Everything is ready except the teacher. I decided to wait another week or two, make tomato sauce instead.

We all had breakfast together before my hubby needed to go sleep. Then it was daily chores, little girls getting dressed in whatever picturesque outfit tickled their fancy, boys cutting up tomatoes. Everything went just fine, except for the fact that doing food preserving in a small kitchen, where every time you turn around you stumble over a fresh configuration of the chairs and people, becomes a little wearing. Also there was a small matter of literally sticking to the floor when I walked. I am trying hard to break the habit of saying, “That gets on my nerves,”  because my children repeat it. But I will just tell you, in confidence, a sticky floor really gets on my nerves. 

Lunch was very dry sandwiches lovingly prepared by the little boy who hates mayo. And a bit of chocolate on the sly for me. Then I shooed them all out while I washed up all those dishes and the sauce simmered on the stove and burned slightly on the bottom for lack of stirring. About then the littlest tot complained, “I NEEDS to go to bed!” Me too, tot, me too! Not an option, of course, but a nice thought.

We needed to go pick up milk from our friendly farmer. Even though Gabe was fast asleep, I took just one person with me. The van didn’t start, but the car worked. All but the AC. While we were over in horse and buggy country anyway, I had some kind of lapse and thought we should maybe do some sweet corn for the freezer yet today, the floor being already sticky and all… But God was merciful and the produce stand was sold out of corn. When we got home, I discovered the food coloring/homemade paint project crossed with cleanup involving a new white towel.

The house was hot and reeked of garlic and tomatoes. Unfortunately, our AC unit fried. All the females around here had a bad hair day due to the humidity. I found it mildly depressing to know that I looked exactly the same sort of hoodlum as my girls. 🙂 Then it rained and poured. Somehow there were two carseats out in the lane that got soaked. The little girls listened to the same story CD for the tenth time and I was feeling ready to write a scathing letter to the producers. The kiddos ran in and out, let the flies in. It was just drip, drip, drip. On and on and on my nerves. Oops.

Two hours after lunch everybody was hungry again. The tot bit chunks out of all the plums. The self sufficient little girl found a lunch box, filled it with an apple and pretzels. Then she poured milk and cleaned up her drips with a tea towel.

They were bored. They were housebound. They dragged folding chairs into their bunk beds. So I set them on the couch and they howled mirthfully at  Dennis the Menace until a very uninspired supper of spiral pasta and fresh tomato sauce. But the sauce was really good!

I sent my man off again with a lunch packed for his midnight snack. One boy took out the trash and folded the laundry while the other washed the kitchen floor. He missed a few spots, but it was a definite improvement.

Someone emptied a can of shaving cream into the tub. The baby deliberately puddled onto the floor. And they were all hungry again after our bedtime story. The tot got out of her bed five times. The girls were hot with their hair on their necks and giggled while I made them really high pony tails.

Downstairs there were dehumidifiers to empty and reset, some last instructions about the proper placement of dirty clothes, and NO, you may not wear that shirt again tomorrow, even if it is your favorite. And then…

There was the kitten under the blankets. That was the last, the final drip that turned it all from just driving me nuts to hilarious.

What was that I read just this morning? It sounded so ideal, so peaceful… I just found it again in Isaiah 54:13.

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;

and great shall be the peace of thy children…”

I ask myself, in this very ordinary, hilarious, sometimes frustrating life…when at times I am ashamed to hear my voice, provoked to high pitchedness about food coloring on a white towel and chairs in my way… how does He turn my very flawed efforts into children “taught of the Lord…”?

I asked God the same question, and this is what He said, “My grace is sufficient for you… really. Not just sufficient in the middle of a hard place, but sufficient, too, at the end of the day, when you have messed up and been impatient and irritated. My grace is sufficient for you… and your children!”

Here are some more of the verses in Isaiah 54. They make a very fine resting place, even a reason to laugh in the shower!

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;

and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.

This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,

and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

Send the Flu Packing: Homemade Elderberry Syrup

It’s my repost day, and I would like to make a public service announcement:  The flu is really bad this year. Have you noticed? My husband keeps telling me what an awful strain of flu this year is packing. This is not to be confused with stomach bugs, which are bad enough. It is the aching, please-let-me-just-die-now flu, and a lot of people are dying. By the grace of God we have not experienced anything worse than common colds this entire winter. I have a weapon that I keep in my fridge all winter long. I think this may be the blog post I am asked about more than any other. You could always search for it in the archives where I posted it four years ago, but here it is, with love and a few edits.

(My husband is extremely skeptical of potions, home-remedy-cure-alls, etc, but he swigs elderberry syrup as soon as he feels a little bit ill. He works with sick people all the time, and he has not had to take a sick day in five years. We credit the mercy of God above all, and these amazing little berries are a part of His mercies too!)


  • 1 Cup fresh elderberries or 1/2 cup dried
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in a saucepan: simmer until reduced to half, about 20 minutes. Squash berries and strain mixture. Add honey to strained liquid: pour in a glass jar and store in refrigerator. Take 1 tsp or more when cold or flu symptoms start, up to 3 Tbsp a day. This is safe for children, but because of bacteria concerns in the raw honey, it is not recommended for children under 1 year of age.

There it is! My go-to potion when anybody in our house sneezes or sniffles/pukes or flus. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, Rhonda, who got it from a friend… I don’t know who really gets credit for the original, but it is really good. I tweak it a bit, double the fresh ginger, halve the honey, and after it is strained, I stir in 1 TBS of bee pollen. The ginger soothes upset stomach, and we find it too cloying with so much honey, even though raw honey has many healing properties. I have seen other recipes where people add lemon juice, and the product you buy from Beeyoutiful contains apple cider vinegar. My children struggle a bit with the sourness of the flavor, so I haven’t added it. Yet. As you can see, the recipe is quite open to interpretation, made as pleasant or unpleasant as you like.

Edit: The cloves are the spice cloves, whole ones. Somebody I love dearly thought it was garlic cloves, which probably would also help the immune system, just not too tastefully in this preparation. She was ready to cook her concoction when it dawned on her that something was not quite right.

The star is elderberry, lovely elderberry.

Elderberries are effective against both bacteria and viruses, and act to prevent viruses from entering cells. Taking elderberry syrup, extract or juice can lessen the duration of flu symptoms. Elderberries contain anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Anthocyanins also boost the immune system by inducing the production of cytokines, small proteins that play a role in regulating immune response.


Photo credits here, along with another informative article on flu-fighting elderberry studies. Listen to what they say, “A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine…found that elderberry decreased the symptoms of influenza (including fever) within 2 days and achieved a cure of influenza in 2 days in 90% of the group receiving elderberry, compared to 6 days with placebo.  The most interesting thing about this study is that it was looking at Influenza type B – a type of influenza that Tamiflu and Amantadine are not effective in treating.” I would so prefer to feed my family a medicinal berry made by God than a drug with dubious side effects, which might make you feel even worse than you did before you took it.

I want an elderberry bush. Actually, I would like a whole thicket of elderberries, so I could share with all my friends. I bought my freeze dried berries at Sunburst Superfoods. The price for one pound is less than the price for one (smallish) bottle of elderberry syrup, already prepared, which is why I bought them, of course. (edit: I have two elderberry bushes. The dog loves to chew on the stems, for some odd reason, and the birds have a way of robbing all the berries before I get to them. It made me feel good to try raising them, but my best sources are still the bulk herb stores.)

Does this actually work? Yes, it really does. I stay on the ball with dosing someone who is starting with flu like symptoms, and we rarely have any sickness that lasts longer than 2 days. I keep them dosed every couple of hours. This is really important to me, because I have a child with a compromised immune system. Flu is our biggest enemy, the doctors say. She has not yet ever needed to go to the emergency room for rehydration, thank God! Give it a try, and let me know what you think.

Stay well, my friends!