Monday, January 31, 2011

February Thankful Challenge

A friend of mine posted (in a couple of forums, actually) about her February Thankful Challenge. It is a challenge she has given her (homeschooled) children and it is a great exercise in positive thinking. In fact, some negativity from her children is what started the challenge so many years ago.

Each day this month, post (in whatever forum you choose) three things you like about yourself (though on FB I believe she is just doing one) plus three things for which you are thankful. I plan to do this in my online journal and thought I'd share it with you here... since February is a few minutes away!

hand mirrorMirror, mirror...

My Day 1: I have always loved my height. This may sound shallow, but I think 5'8" is perfect... at least for me.

  1. I am thankful for the health of my children.

  2. I am thankful for the support of my husband, no matter how crazy the scheme!

  3. I am thankful for internet community, especially of like-minded moms.
What makes you grateful? And, more importantly, what do you like about yourself?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Surf: Art Poop Consulting

I was dealing with Sasha feeling ill through most of the week as well as a sick Daddy and a touch of sick myself. The good news is that we are all on the mend, though still suffering a little bit. I have not spent much time at the computer because of all that, so the list this week is a bit short:

  • Willard Wigan makes sculptures so small that they fit in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin! What does he use? It varies. He might use a single grain of sand to carve a church. He might use tiny pieces of glass or even dust particles. He has been known to accidentally inhale a project, can you imagine?!

    Church Carving from SandThis church was carved from a single grain of sand!
    Click the pic to read an article about it / him.

  • This week I stumbled upon a link to BecoThings. More specifically, their becopotty. They are potties made from waste plant material, so while they last for years in your home they will start biodegrading as soon as you pop them in your garden. How awesome! A biodegradable training potty! Shape-wise they look a little similar to the BBLP, so I'm sure they'd be great for Elimination Communication! They even call it a newborn potty!

    BecoPottyBecoThings Newborn BecoPotty

    They also make pet food bowls (dishwasher safe!), food scoops, litter scoops, litter trays, and hangers made from recycled cardboard. Their colors are nice, too.

  • I have never (before) paid for any sort of consulting, outside of having my taxes done professionally. However, I was inspired by The Organic Sister back in November when I decided I had to make some major changes in my life. We discussed her consultation services and I was definitely interested. I just wasn't in a position to pay for such services before the holiday. True to my word, I managed it in January. One of her consultation topics is transitions. We had discussed (via email) consultation on how to transition onto the road. We talked yesterday about a more specific topic: income on the road. I have a lot of ideas, possibly too many. While I had to push the idea of "paying someone to be my friend" out of my head, I think I was really looking for some reassurance that I was on the right track and get some feedback. I needed some help choosing which path to take as far as income. It was a good conversation.

    Organic Sister Mobile ServicesThe Organic Sister's Mobile Services

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Sick Baby

Sick Sasha with Foogo BottleThis has been our week.
Notice the raw lip?
Love the Foogo bottle, though!

Sasha sleeping on body pillowand I couldn't resist a good sleeping pic!
Thank you Daddy for catching this shot while I was at work!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Surf: Food, Activism & Money

I've spent the weekend holding and nursing a sickly baby. I learned from some Natural Parents Network chatter on Facebook (I'm loving all the question sharing and responses!) that a good way to break a fever is to strip the child down and hold them skin-to-skin. Sasha's fever was 100.5° Friday night. At some point (that night or in the morning, I don't recall - it is all a blur) I went for it and it totally broke her fever. I agree that the fever has a job to do, but I managed to break 2 more fevers this way this weekend! On the the links:

  • Food
    • Dietz & Watson'sI discovered through Wordless Wednesday hopping that 99.5% of Dietz & Watson’s meats, cheeses & condiments are Gluten Free! I thought some of you might be interested. If you click on the picture (at right), you can go to their site. You can actually browse their products by viewing Healthier Lifestyle, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Lower Sodium, and Soy Free. Looks like a good company! I'm not sure I've seen their products locally before, I'll have to be on the lookout for them.
    • Global TableMy mom also sent me a link to Global Table Adventure blog. This woman is making 195 meals from 195 different countries in 195 weeks! She shares the meals with her family (and their reviews of them). It is a great educational blog!
  • Activism
    • Red Pump ProjectRaising awareness about impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, the Red Pump Project looks like a new and fun approach. I don't own any red pumps... I'm not even sure I own ANY pumps any more. However, if you do or want to participate, check out the site. Awareness is always in style!™
    • Conserving Now OfferConserving Now.com is giving away Free! Static cling for your car window to remind you to take your reusable bags into the store with you! They also remind other people to do the same. I think it is a great idea. I have bags and often forget to take them into the store with me. I hate having to go back out to the car for them, especially if I have Sasha and the weather is bad. Ugh.
  • Money
    • money mistakes5 Most Common Money Mistakes; Here's how you can stop throwing dough down the drain. I think that is pretty self explanatory and I doubt anything in this article will be real mind-blowing for any of you, but if you're really trying to improve your financial health, you might find this article helpful.
    • Mint.comI found this last one on another blog. Mint.com brings all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets & helps you achieve your savings goals. Okay, I stole that tidbit directly from the site. You get the idea, though, and I have a sickly nursing toddler in my lap that can hardly breathe. :-( I hear great things about tying all of your accounts together with Mint for easy review. It could really help you determine down which drain your money is disappearing. Oh yeah, and its Free!

By the way, the images for each link came from the pages themselves. I used the images to link to Facebook pages, where available. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting here. Thanks for dropping by! Please leave a comment to let me know which link sparked your interest!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Family Bed

Sasha Family BedMomma Jorje and Toddler Sasha taking up more room after Daddy Elmo has gotten up for the day.

Sasha & MommyI love Daddy for taking these pics!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Water Debate

Haier WDNSC145 Convertible Freestanding Full-Size/Tabletop Water DispenserI have been buying water in bulk for probably about a decade. I originally purchased a water dispenser that would dispense cold, tepid, and hot water on demand. It was awesome to have those choices! Plus, we had 5 gallon bottles of water delivered; terribly convenient! Then my dispenser leaked the entire contents of a bottle onto my floor. What a mess! Dispensers are not cheap, but it was a (home) business expense, so I bought a replacement dispenser. I've since "gone out of business" and as far as I know, my ex-husband is still using that dispenser. I still see 5 gallon bottles on the porch when I take our daughter back there.

When I got my own place, I contacted my water supplier and rented a water dispenser. I also learned something from them: the big leak was likely a faulty leak on the bottle. They should tell people that in advance! I can not believe I replaced the entire dispenser! The major benefit of renting the unit is that if something goes wrong with it, they replace it. In fact, they offer to clean it annually which really means they bring you a new one anyway.

Brita 42629 Slim PitcherIn our plans to hit the road, it occurred to me that I would not be able to travel with a water dispenser. They take too much room anyway, for such a small space. So I began searching for an alternative. Then one day it hit me: filtration pitchers! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner! In a very timely manner, I found a deal through The Money Saving Queen! The coupon offered a $5 discount on Brita Pitchers. There is also a rebate, but it is on the more expensive pitchers and I went with the cheap one (two of them).

Now I've stumbled upon another issue: Pitchers don't filter out fluoride. I don't like that at all, but haven't yet come up with another viable option. I don't want to purchase bottled water for so many ecological and economical reasons. I also don't want to keep giving my daughter fluoride in our water, though that seems the lesser of the evils. I just need to make sure I'm not using fluoride products on her teeth in addition to that.

For now, we'll stick with the pitchers. I think that will be the best plan for hitting the road and it has already saved us a bundle! I was spending about $25-30 per month on water (more in the Summer) and I've spent nothing after the $4 initial purchase! I currently re-use plastic bottles for a couple of months and then replace them, but I plan to get one or two good quality metal ones.

How do you deal with water in your home? How do you feel about the chemicals the government adds to our water? Do you have a metal water can you love and could recommend to me?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Surf: Mostly Food & Friends

I'm fighting off some sort of sick and Sasha seems to be swept up in it already. So far we're doing alright, though. Here are the links I found worth sharing this week:

  • We've just been faced with lice on our toddler. I was really crushed at first and I'm working on a blog post all about the experience, but it will take a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I found this great site: The National Pediculosis Association®, Inc. Chemical treatments aren't approved for children under 2 and I am not sure I'd choose that route anyway. The NPA is supportive of using comb-out only and offers a lot of great info.

  • I'm just not quite sure what I think of this one. NPR did a piece on how Big Babies Helped Shape Early Human Societies. However, they talk about how our babies are (and have been for so long) SO big that we needed a village to raise a child, saying
    "The whole expression that it takes a village is in part rooted in the fact that we have really big infants that are pretty helpless," he says. "If we wanted to get anything done, we have to hand them off."
    What do you other Attachment Parents think of that theory?

    Kitchen Supply 2373 1-7/8-Inch Mini Muffin Silicone Baking Cups, Set of 12+
  • Muffin Tin Monday looks like a fun, healthy idea for feeding little ones. It is a weekly link up all about serving healthy food to kids using muffin pans or liners. I like how this kind of mixes the idea of a Bento Lunch and a Monkey Platter. Okay it really is just another take on Monkey Platters, but I'm tying it in with Bento because I like Bento. So sue me.

  • I have a good friend that rocks the kitchen. She is posting a recipe every Friday and plans to add relevant articles along the way as well. I love her budget cooking approach and she has a good sense of humor, too. So... if you can't afford anything but potatoes this week, she has your fix. Sound like help you could use? Check out DragonTamer's Recipe Weekly.

  • Speaking of cooking, Tara posted a new article on Sustainable Baby Steps about choosing Cast Iron Cookware: The Eco-Friendly Choice. The article provides the whys and hows. I've always been a bit intimidated by the idea of using cast iron cookware, but now I've added cast iron skillet to my next grocery list. We use non-stick junk that gets scratched. We use it beyond when we really should, then we toss it. Meanwhile cast iron lasts for generations and (did you know??) it is non-stick after you season it!

  • I have another great cooking friend, go figure because I don't consider myself to be too much of a wiz in the kitchen. Anyway, Byn also has a food blog going. This one, however, is about clean eating. She is posting recipes every day that she is actually using in her home with her family. She tries to include pictures with all of her posts, too. Check out 365 Days of Clean Eating. So far, she doesn't think clean eating is raising her food budget.

  • I have yet another friend (really! I promise!) with a couple of really bright, funny, homeschooled boys. She also happens to be great in the kitchen and loves to use the Crock Pot. Anyway, her older boy took video of his younger brother doing a goofy dance in an attempt to embarrass him. Fail. The little brother loves it and I'm trying to help it go viral! It IS a cute video:
It occurs to me that every one of these blogs I linked involves homeschooling families. I homeschooled Tyler through third grade and was somewhat involved in the local homeschooling community back then. I've been friends with most of these women since then.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: In Our Tiny Apartment

Sasha SleepingThe view from my kitchen in our tiny apartment.

Sasha NursingStill going strong at 16 months!

Glider ChairOne last sit in the glider before we passed it along.
It won't fit in a travel trailer.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Could All Learn from the Children


Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***


This month's carnival seems to be all too timely. I've stumbled upon statements lately that fit very well. From the December 2010 issue of Full Time Families Magazine, in an article by Sam Suva titled Focus on the Family; the W'onger Years,

"They will teach us how to forgive, how to lose, gracefully, how to giggle, how to be surprised at simple things, wonder, and how to be generous."

And from the Creasy Clan Adventure,

"The ability our girls have gleaned to make fast friends (never) ceases to amaze me. Just another tidbit that I learn from them as my teachers."

There are things to learn from our children regardless of their age. I think many, many more people could learn from the children, if we just stop to listen. It is easy to think that whatever we're reading or writing or whatever dish we're cleaning is more important than that tug at your pant leg or that "Hey, Mom!" It is so important to just pause and really look at that comparison. I realize the dishes must be done, but what would it hurt to drop everything and sit on the floor for a few minutes with a little one that wants your attention, to share with you a viewpoint that you can nary imagine without their input. Not to mention that our responsibility to them is vastly more important than any bill that needs paying or shirt that needs folding.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Surf: Sunday Surf

I don't think I've read many new links this week, but here is what I found to share:

  • I think I found this link to Mama Mo's Attached at the Nip on a Sunday Surf last weekend. I can so relate to what other bloggers have said regarding the freedom our children have at home vs. the battle when we take them to see relatives. (Yes, this is still from the holidays, but other visits, too.) Mama Mo tells us how to Set yourself up to succeed by choosing to home-proof your child rather than child proof your home. (Have lots of stuff accessible and LET your child explore, even if it isn't toys.) It is what we have done here and it works for us, though visiting family is always exhausting.

  • I don't drink straight tap water. I don't know how much my Brita filter actually filters out, but I will say this: I have always felt that adding chemicals to our water (namely: fluoride) is a fishy practice. The idea of the government deciding such a big thing for the public is, honestly, scary to me. Well, Kelly (from UnschoolBus.com) posted to her FB how she felt vindicated about her own choices against fluoride when she read this article from the Associated Press: US Says Too Much Fluoride Causing Splotchy Teeth.

  • Since I haven't read much new stuff this week, I'm also going to share with you some other blogs that do Sunday Surf. And I'll confess, I totally stole this list right off Hobo Mama (which is who got me started doing this blog, Wordless Wednesdays, and Sunday Surfs). So yeah, she should be the first blog I link here:
    I had not yet visited most of those before today. And now... I think I'm going to have to go back to several of them, read more of what they offer, and add some of them to my blog list! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bad Mommy Confessions

First, a little bit of background. While I was pregnant with Tyler, I got so tired of eating, but I was so hungry all the damned time. I got to where I most often grabbed peanut butter because... well, it is stomach Spackle. Supposed to eat protein - check. Filling - check. You get the idea. Then comes baby. I eat peanut butter. I nurse baby. Then her face breaks out in a rash. She was so allergic to peanut butter that if I ate it, she broke out in a rash. I stopped eating peanut butter, the rash stopped. Wow.

We avoided peanut butter for her until she was two years old. Then she didn't seem to like it. She got to where she liked saying she was allergic to anything she didn't like. She eventually did like peanut butter, but has never been a very big fan of it. She did, at least, outgrow her allergy!

Fast forward ten years. While pregnant with Sasha, I avoided eating excessive amounts of peanut butter with a little bit of paranoia. At one of her check-ups I asked the doctor what he thought of peanut butter and as he started to give us approval to introduce it, I told him of my history. He decided we should wait until Sasha turns two. I suspected as much. I know peanuts are a high allergy food. I get it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: New Kitchen?

1992 Shasta KitchenMaybe this will be our next Kitchen!

1992 Shasta DiningI can't wait to have a view like this out OUR dining room!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dreams & Realities

I feel like I've been dreaming pretty big lately. I've had some fears to which I was afraid to give voice, regarding whether these big dreams were truly feasible. But here recently I feel we've made it over a hump. I feel like all the research, soul searching, discussions, etc. are actually getting us some progress! We had my father over on Monday and he talked to a good buddy and did some shopping online with me. The buddy even sent us some links. We have a travel trailer in particular that looks very promising. After waffling about what exact rig arrangement is right for us, I've finally loosened up about that end of it. I just want to get on the road! I value my father's input, so that has gone into the decision as well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Surf: Free Green Acidic Soda

I know, weird title... just bear with me here. Let the linkage begin:

  • Ever heard of Boondocking? No, not mudbogging, boondocking. Boondocking is camping in remote areas such as deep woods or desert locatons without power, sewer or water hook-ups. Most Walmart stores allow boondocking in their parking lots. Depending on how self-sufficient your travel rig is, boondocking is the cheapest (read: free!) way to go. So on that note, Free Campsites.net is dedicated to becoming the primary source for information on free campgrounds and boondocking locations in the United States and Canada. These sites are often the most beautiful and peaceful sites.

  • The Green Bag Lady is an eco-friendly art project. The founder and volunteers make bags out of donated fabric and give them away for FREE in exchange for a promise to refuse paper & plastic bags when shopping. She documents the use of these bags world-wide on this site. Now Green Bag Lady has teamed up with Sew Mama Sew for a Green Grocery Bag challenge. While the challenge was about wrapping gifts in reusable bags and I'm a little late sharing the link, I still think the page is a good one to share with you.

  • If you've been researching TTC (Trying To Conceive, it took me a while to figure that out during my last pregnancy when I saw it all over forums!), then you've probably seen some mention of making your vagina as alkaline as possible. This task can be a bit tricky because foods that are acidic don't necessarily have an acidifying effect on your body. The Acid/Alkaline Foods List is the best list I found for providing you with lists of foods based on their Acid / Alkaline effect. Oddly, they offer several different lists all within the same page. So, whichever one is easiest for you to read, have at it. I tend to just search the page for the food that has aroused my curiosity.

  • The Peaceful Parenting site actually feels peaceful to the eye. I don't even like brown shades, but something about the yellows and the softness of the images there, just seem peaceful to me. Sorry for the tangent, but I found an old article there from January 2008 that breaks down what happens to your body within 1 hour of drinking a can of soda.
See? Something Free, something green, acid vs alkaline, and an article about soda. I swear there is rhythm to my madness! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! I guess I could have gone with peaceful. I went from peaceful free camp sites to peaceful parenting. Oh well, I'm a bit crazy so there you have it.
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