Friday, December 24

Back to Nature

Usually over the Christmas season, I try to look back over the year, thinking, what have I accomplished? What have I learned? How has this year been better than the last? Well, this has been my year for what I'm calling Major Child-Rearing Overhaul. I have discovered so many things this year, as far as raising my children. I have definitely learned that in almost all cases, the farther back in time you go, the better. Here are a few of the major things I have learned in 2010:



  • Breastfeeding is amazing. It is the perfect food made just for your child. Artificial formulas don't even come close to providing the proper nutrition. Sure, they'll keep a baby alive and functioning and gaining weight, but Big Macs will do that for your toddler, too. It is much easier than using formulas, too. No getting up in the middle of the night to fix a bottle, and then sit and feed. Just pop the boob out in bed, and let baby have her fill! Lol.
  • Which leads me to the next point: co-sleeping. Cribs are still a reletivly new idea. Cultures around the world, since the beginning of time, slept with their babies. The baby stays warmer, can eat whenever she chooses, and both mama and baby get more sleep, as well as better QUALITY of sleep.
  • Cloth diapers. Cheaper than disposibles, less waste, no chemicals against little one's skin. Disposible diapers companies have got parents thinking that drier is better, and wetness causes rashes. In all actuality, it's the chemicals in diapers that cause the rashes, and when a baby has spent her entire life thus far feeling DRY, instead of knowing when she's wet, it makes potty training that much harder.
  • No more vaccinations for us! I have done massive amounts of research, and have come to the realization that the risks of vaccinating FAR out-weigh the benefits. First of all, they are not guarenteed. You can be fully vaxed, and still get the diseases you were vaxed for. Second, it amazes me what they put into these vaccines: aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, even cells from aborted fetuses. Don't believe me? Ask your ped. If he says it's not true, he's lying; find a new one. And finally, what's so bad about getting chicken pox or mumps anyway? These are typical childhood illnesses. If your child has been exclusively breastfed for the first 5-6 months or her life, you've been up on taking your vitamins and whatnot, then they should recover fairly quickly, and THEN be immune. I had chicken pox as a kid, and seriously, it only really really sucks for a day or two. And by the way, there hasn't been a report of wild polio in like 60 years here in the US, and Hep B is only transmitted through needle-sharing and unprotected sex. Sorry, but I just refuse to pump my tiny baby full or heavy metals and dead fetus cells to protect her from something she's not going to get anyway.
  • Drying clothes outside. It's free!! Gotta love free. Plus, the sun is a natural stain remover and brightener, so there's no more need for bleach or Shout. Awesome.
  • Babywearing is a big one. I just discovered this with my third (and final!) baby. I so wish I had known about this before. Women in cultures all over the world wear their babies wherever they go. Babies who are worn cry less, and are more secure and sleep better. Plus, your hands are free for cleaning, shopping, whatever! 
I hope this has been as insightful for you as it has been for me. I could surely go on and on, but I have three kids still in jammies, and I seriously need to stop now. I hope everyone has a very Merry CHRISTmas, and a great new year. I'll be back to blogging sometime after the first. God bless!

Sunday, November 28

My cloth diaper stash :)

For some reason, I just felt like taking a pic of my stash. This isn't everything; there are a few in the wash, and, as always, a few more on the way ;)

Up top are my prefolds, Flip organics, and 4 grovias
To the left, night-time diapers. From top: Bummis Bamboozle stretch fitted, Spicy Kolache fitted tester, Summer Sky Bamboo fitted, The Giving Tree fitted tester
Top row, brand name diapers: Babykicks, two Drybees, Kawaii
Middle Row, WAHMs: Bunkyfluff tester, Summer Sky Bamboo, Full Tilt tester, Two Anna Banana's
Last row: from-swap pink, from-swap owls, Kissaluv fitted, from swap pink fitted
Right column, covers: two Baby Beehinds, Blueberry, Flip.
 I love my cloth! I want more, and more, and more! They are so cute. I seriously never thought I could ever say that I enjoy diaper changes. You just don't get the same kind of love from 'sposies. These make every diaper change an exciting experience.

Thursday, November 18

Ahh, the beauties of babywearing!

Oh, how I wish I had known about babywearing when Isaiah was a baby. That poor kid was so insecure (because of his hospital experience, but that's another story...) that I could never put him down. Ever. For any reason. And nobody else could hold him either. Not even his daddy, usually. So I had to hold him, in my arms, and walk about trying to clean and cook and what-not. Ask any mama who's ever done it; it's no easy feat! My poor aching arms never got a break.

This time around, I am fortunate enough to part of a very loving and knowledgeable community of babywearers on BBC, and have learned the benefits of babywearing. This is for when you are staying around the house and your baby is fussy, or possibly just being high-maintenence for no other reason than because she's a girl (le sigh). Put that sweet little needy baby in a ring-sling or a mei tai and you are virtually hands-free. You can do whatever you need to, and usually your baby will go to sleep. We use it when Rosy's teething or back when she was colicky. It always worked like a charm.

Babywearing is also great when you are out-and-about. I keep a couple of RSs in my car, so I can take her in and wear her whenever we go shopping or run errands. I absolutely hate to see babies lugged around in carseats and strollers all day, and I personally feel that a baby needs to be close to it's mama to help form the secure attachment that all babies need, along with breastfeeding and co-sleeping. So anywhere we go, Rosy rides along on mama! She gets to see the world from our point-of-view, and also gets to lay her head down and go to sleep if she so chooses.

Anyone expecting a baby, or know someone who is expecting, I highly urge you to check into babywearing. The lovely mamas at BBC would be more than willing to answer questions and direct you as needed. I just recently gave my friend a Sleeping Baby Productions ring sling for her little girl (just born days ago!), and hope to help her learn of the joys of having her precious little one near her always, and also be able to continue with her daily life with both hands!

(And here's one of Isaiah wearing his puppy, just because he's so stinkin' cute!)

Sunday, November 7

Summer Sky Bamboo: A Review


 So, I have found a brand new favorite in the world of WAHMs. Her name is Cheri, and her store is Summer Sky Bamboo. She is on Hyena Cart. I must say, I kinda wish ALL my diapers were made by her! She has fantastic prints, in woven, knit, and minky fabrics. She uses bamboo velour (BV) and bamboo fleece (BF), so her diapers are sooooo absorbent, not to mention squishy-soft. I love knowing that I am putting silky smooth BV against Rosy's most sensitive skin.
I get all of mine without snaps, as I have found I get a better fit with fitteds if I can adjust them myself.
Did I mention, they make excellent night-time diapers? Miss Autumn Rose-Marie has not leaked out of any of these diapers AT ALL! Not even once! I have three so far, but plan on getting more, as they are so terrific. I have a custom-made Winter Ooga fitted. It has a snap-in BV soaker, as well as a BV (with 3 layers of BF inside) prefold-type deal that I  can trifold and put on top of the soaker, to add extra absorbency.


 I also have this owl fitted. It has a snap in BV prefold, so I just snap it in the back of the diaper, and trifold it (sometimes around a home-made booster), and it's ready to go. Also an excellent night-time diaper. And the owls are so cute!!



And, of course, y'all need a super-cute pic of my baby girl wearing her owl dipe, with a snappi. I don't use a Snappi with them anymore, since I don't really like the way they pull the diaper out of shape. I only use pins on my SSB dipes.
I really and truly love 
my SSB diapers, and will probably work on replacing most of my Bumgenuis diapers with these. I am super-happy with Cheri's customer service, and awesome, quality materials. I will be recommending her to everyone, with the very highest praises. Thanks for the excellent diapers, Cheri!

Monday, November 1

Spicy Kolache: Review

 I bought a gorgeous Ooga fitted tester dipe from Spicy Kolache a couple of weeks ago. Here is my review:

First of all, just let me say that the customer service is sensational! This is one sweet mama, and she will help you in any way she can. She answered my questions promptly, and tried to accommodate me when I asked about other prints. Unfortunately, her store really is in the newborn stages right now, so her selection is limited. I'm sure this is only temporary, though, and that she will be doing much more business in the near future, because the diapers are wonderful! For a fitted, this diaper was not very bulky like I had expected it to be. It was quite absorbent, though, after a couple of washings. I will say, I did not think it very absorbent at first, but that was just because it needed a little more prepping. Two hot water washes with a little detergent, and a few hot water rinses, and it was much better. It is super-squishy soft, and also very stretchy, which for me is a must in any diaper to get a proper fit. The tabs could be just a little longer/wider, in my opinion, but that may be changing. I do not use a Snappi on this diaper, because I did not like the way it all caved in on itself, so I will definitely be using pins. From what I understand, though, she will be offering snaps soon.


We just used this diaper over-night for the the first time last night, and I must say, it performed even better than I had hoped. I used: a Flip cover, this diaper, a Thirsties hemp insert, and my very own double-thick microfleece stay-dry liner. She slept in this for about 12 hours (I know, right!?), and it never leaked one bit. Her skin was still mostly dry, and the very outside of the ooga dipe was only slightly damp.

So if you are looking for a new fitted to try, please give this WAHM a shot. You won't be disappointed. All in all, I would definitely buy from this mama again!

Tuesday, October 19

WAHM

So I have just recently entered into the world of WAHM-made diapers. What is WAHM, you may ask. Why, it stands for Work-At-Home-Mom, of course!! Mama's such as myself, who are home with their children all day, cleaning their house, and basically NOT going to work outside the home, because they want to spend as much time as possible raising and loving their children. Of course, speaking from experience, we could use some extra supplemental income, for things like gas, taking the kids out to lunch, and fun stuff (like diapers!). So what's a mom to do? Open a business!
I am a member of BBC community and have found that a lot of mamas make diapers and wipes and baby carriers and so on, and that they tend to be of exceptional quality. So far, since deciding to cloth diaper Rosy, I have just been going to Kelly's Closet to order diapers from big-name companies, such as BumGenuis and GroVia (both of which I still love!), but now I am delving into a whole new experience. 
I just received my very first WAHM-made fitted diaper from Anna at Spicy Kolache, and even though I haven't used it yet, I am in love! Yes, I realize that being in love with a poo-catcher may seem a bit strange, but if you've never CD'd before, then you really can't know the beauty of a perfectly made, extra-soft, squishy diaper against your baby's bum, instead of the bleached-paper-and-chemicals of disposables. I now have about 5 more dipes on the way, by various different WAHMs and will be doing a review on each here on my blog, so stay tuned, mamas! I'll let you know which are super-awesome, and which (if any) are more hype than happy.

Sunday, October 10

Different Uses for Breastmilk

It's not just for feeding babies anymore! LOL! 
No, seriously. I was looking at ehow.com and found this list of things that you can use breast milk for. If you make a lot, or if you're like me and pump a HUGE stock for your freezer, just to find out that your precious bundle would rather starve than take a bottle (sigh...), then you may want to try out some of these ideas:


Drop some milk in irritated eyes using a needless syringe or medicine dropper. This works for infected or plugged tear ducts, pink eye, sties and ophthalmologic allergies (watery eyes). You can also use for contact solution on soft, hard, or gas permeable lenses, or use it in place of or in addition to tea bags or cucumbers to soothe red, puffy, tired eyes.


Rinse your skin with plain water, pat dry, spread breast milk on skin and let it air dry. This can help soothe and heal a number of skin calamities, including diaper rashes, cracked or bleeding nipples, acne, eczema, chicken pox, chapped cheeks, and rashes or hives due to allergies or poisonous plants like poison oak or poison ivy. You can use a cotton ball moistened with the breast milk to spread it on the skin. This will also help any bite or sting, whether it comes from an insect, a pet or another child.


Gargle it. This will heal a sore throat very quickly. In addition, giving your weaned older children or your husband/partner a cup of expressed milk will help them get over a cold or flu occurrence quickly. It's a great remedy for chapped lips, canker sores, cold sores, and other mouth sores in both children and adults.


Use breast milk to ease the symptoms of colds as well. It can be used in place of nasal saline drops to loosen mucous of the nose, and it can be used as ear drops to ease the pain of an ear infection.


Remove makeup with breast milk. Alternately, you can use it as a general facial cleanser.


Treat injuries like scratches, abrasions, ingrown toenails, scrapes and burns with breast milk. Just dab it on and let it heal, or in hand/foot injuries, let it soak in a cup of milk.


Calm the pain of teething or toothaches. Experiment with different temperatures to find the one that brings most relief. Chewing on a cloth soaked in breast milk really helps.


Cook with it. It can be used in the same proportions that you would use cow milk in cooking and baking.


Donate it. If you are a super-producer with your pump, consider donating some of your overage. Milk banks will use this precious commodity to heal babies who need it the most, such as preemies and babies with severe congenital problems.


I
know I filled Isaiah's cup with 
breast milk when he had a cold, and the next day, he was all better! See, breast milk is the miraculous, magical elixer...

Friday, October 1

PHOTO BOMB!!

Here's Rosy being cute. We're rocking in our chair.
Here's Rosy in her duckies from Miss Lorraine. I love how she just happened to be centered in the wings on my shirt. Like a little angel!

Kory at the apple orchard. That bucket was heavy! (I'm not sure why this pic is small and blurry. Can't fix it. Weird...)

Isaiah on his birthday. Sorry it's sideways. I'm still trying to figure this out.

Rosy in the cutest outfit EVER! Given to us by Miss Regina.

Isaiah on his birthday again. Wearing my shirt. He was so cute in that great big shirt!

Isaiah opening presents, wearing his Curious George hat.

Rosy at the apple orchard, in her Kozy mei tai. Knocked out!

Rosy again. Hmm... This pic is small and blurry too. Wish I knew why.


That's all! Thanks for looking. Thought you would all like to see some pics of the cutest darn kids in the whole world.

Tuesday, September 28

Cloth wipes

Today, I was just thinking about why I decided to start using cloth wipes. When I first started thinking about cloth-diapering, I didn't think I would use cloth wipes, too. I figured CDing would be extra work (which I now know it really isn't), so why would I add the additional work of cloth wipes, when disposables are so convenient, and not really that expensive? Well, once I started CDing, I found out why. Disposable wipes are actually INconvenient, and here's why: When you change a cloth diaper, you toss it in the diaper pail (mine is actually a rolling hamper with a liner in it), or the wetbag, if you're out and about. So why not just dump the wipe in with it, instead of having to separate them and carry the wipe to the trash can? Using cloth wipes too actually cuts down on the work. And of course the dipes and wipes are all washed together.

Now, you can buy cloth wipes online at sites like www.kellyscloset.com or www.momsmilkboutique.com They are pretty inexpensive, and come in fun colors and prints. Or, you can do what I did, and make your own. I just upcycled a few receiving blankets from Isaiah's infant days that had a little staining from spit-up and the like. I just cut them into squares, stuck the squares together in twos with the wrong sides facing out, and sewed almost all the way around the edges, leaving an open space on one side. Then I turned them right-side-out, sewed up the hole, and then all the way around the edges again. Now I have about 40 double-sided cloth wipes that only cost me the price of thread.
I keep a bottle (my peri-bottle from the hospital, actually) next to my cloth wipes, filled with my own home-made wipe solution:
two drops lavender essential oil
two drops tea tree essential oil
water

I only use these ingredients because Rosy has such very sensitive skin. But you can add all kinds of things that are good for your baby's skin, such as olive oil, almond oil, pure castile soap (I LOVE Dr. Bronner's in Peppermint), a little baby wash, etc. You can visit http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml for more ideas on creating your own solution. Some recipes on this site include:

Basic Wipe Solution

This basic recipe can be adapted by changing the type of soap or oil.
1/2 cup baby oil
1/2 cup baby wash
2 cups water

Castile Solution

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap comes in several yummy scents!
1 tablespoon almond, apricot, or other oil
1 tablespoon Dr Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap
2 drops tea tree oil
1 drop lavender oil
1 cup water

Chamomile 'n' Honey

Brew the tea, add the honey, and drink any leftovers!
1 chamomile tea bag
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup boiling water

Easy Peasy

Just three simple ingredients...
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons baby wash
1 1/2 cups water

Eight is Great

Similar ingredients as other recipes, but in different amounts.
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup baby wash
8 drops lavender oil
4 drops tea tree oil
2 cups water
If you are thinking about cloth diapering, you should seriously consider using cloth wipes, too. It's so easy, and better for you baby's skin, than the chlorine and other chemicals that commercial disposable wipes contain.

Saturday, September 18

Applesauce and Cookies

We took the kids to the apple orchard today. It was so much fun. I love watching my kids enjoy nature (if you can call an orchard natural!), and being out in the sunshine. I wore Rosy in my Kozy mei tai for the first time out. She slept the entire time! I kinda figured she would. Isaiah loved picking the apples and putting them in the bucket. He was a little upset that they didn't have a blue bucket for us to use, but he got over that pretty quickly.

We filled up four buckets full of apples. In case you didn't know, that's A LOT of apples! I wanted to make sure we had enough, though, because my plan is to make applesauce. When you make your own, you control exactly what is in it, like how much sugar (none in mine!), and it's cheaper than buying it at the store. And I don't make like a bowl of applesauce. I make enough to fill at least 10 quart-sized jars. I love to can, and I love to bake. I can use applesauce in place of some of the liquid in many recipes. My kids love oatmeal applesauce cookies, which even though they are cookies, and tremendously healthy. I let my kids eat just about as many as they want.


So here's how to make applesauce:
Don't bother peeling the apples; just quarter them (or use the cool apple-cutter-thing that cores and slices them into eight pieces. I would be lost without that thing!) and put as many as you can into the biggest pot you have. A stockpot works nicely. Add enough water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer for a few minutes, until apples are semi-soft. Drain. Run apples through a food mill. This will remove seeds, skin, etc. Add a little cinnamon if you like (cinnamon balances out insulin levels, keeping you full for longer!) and voila! Applesauce. Easiest thing you'll ever do in the kitchen.


And here's Applesauce Oatmeal Cookies:

  • 3/4 c oil
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 c rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 c applesauce

Mix together oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix in salt, oats, and applesauce. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten with back of spoon. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Second easiest thing you'll ever do in the kitchen!




Let me know if you have any healthy and easy recipes. I am always looking for new recipes to try.

Wednesday, September 15

I love my cloth!

I have always wanted to do what was best for my kids and the environment. That's why I always knew I would breastfeed, and make my own baby food. But one thing I said I absolutely never would do is cloth diaper. I mean, eww. What do you do with the poop? And a stinky, poopy bucket of water? And pins? Near my baby's nether regions? No freakin' way!!

Boy was I wrong! I am an active member on www.babycenter.com/communities and decided, on a whim one day while I was pregnant with Rosy to visit the cloth diapering board, just to see what all these modern women were thinking. Well, I got a reality check, and a new perspective. So for anyone wondering what on earth I'm thinking, here it is:


  • No bucket, no soaking. No kidding. I have a rolling hamper that came with my crib. I have a waterproof pail liner in the hamper. Toss in diapers (and cloth wipes), roll hamper back under crib shelf. 
  • No stink! A breastfed baby has poop that is actually not stinky, believe it or not. You would never know that I have a hamper of poopy diapers right there in my living room.
  • No touching poop. Ever. I just lift up the pail liner, carry it into the laundry room, and dump it into the washer. Which leads me to my next point:
  • A breastfed baby's poop is water-soluble. That means, it just washes away. There is no need to swish diapers in the toilet before you wash them, like I had heard before. There are no chunks of poo in my washer, or in anyone's clothes.
  • I wash diapers every other day, but you could do less often if you have enough diapers to get you through. A baby=more laundry anyway, so this is really no big deal.
  • Pins are almost obsolete now. There are cloth diapers with velcro (also known as aplix), snaps, or you can use a Snappi, which is a "Y" shaped rubber piece with little plastic teeth on each of the three ends that grip the diaper and pull it together.
  • No more plastic pants, either. Now there are diapers with a waterproof layer built right in, and also diaper covers made of polyurethane laminate (PUL) which is super-breathable, and won't cause baby's skin to become waterlogged and break out.
I really wish I had known more about cloth diapers with my other children. I would never have used a disposable. To learn more, you can visit http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a16235/cloth_diapering. And to see all the different types of diapers available, go to www.kellyscloset.com You will never look back. I promise :)

Monday, September 13

Re-lactating: amazing

I have breastfed all three of my children. I am breastfeeding my youngest as we speak :) Breastfeeding is something I have always been passionate about. I disagree with the popular view that breastfeeding is like an added bonus for mama and baby. On the contrary, NOT breastfeeding is actually detrimental to the health of both. By artificially feeding (aka: formula), you are setting your baby up for more ear infections, breathing problems, skin problems, fussiness, future weight problems, etc. The list goes on and on. You also miss out on a very specific bond that, I'm sorry, you just cannot get from artificial feeding. Knowing that you are providing your baby with a full tummy, and every little chubby roll, BY YOUR OWN BODY is such an awesome thing. I know I'm gonna piss a lot of people off with this post, but this is the honest truth as I see it.

Now my husband has said that we absolutely will not be having anymore babies. However, I told him that I would love to maybe adopt a baby a little later on in life. My problem with this, though, would be how to feed the baby. I couldn't bring myself to give the poor thing something as substandard as formula, and certainly couldn't afford the milk from a milk bank. Would I be at the mercy of hopefully having a lactating friend who would be willing to BF another baby? Heck no!

Believe it or not, it is actually possible to make yourself lactate!! Now if I had actually sat down and thought about this, I'm sure it shouldn't have come as a surprise. Obviously this is just God's way of seeing to it that babies can be fed in an emergency situation, or even in the aftermath of a disaster. I have been reading up on this, and you can find the info at: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/supply/relactation.html

This is such a great site with literally EVERYTHING you could want to know about BFing. Now I can be happy knowing that if (and that's a big if) we ever decide to adopt a baby, I will not have to resort to formula as "nourishment." Thank God.

Sunday, September 12

Welcome!

So glad you came to check out my new blog. I am a stay-at-home mother of 3, so I am usually pretty busy, and may not have time for a new post everyday, so please bear with me. I will post as much as possible, but there may be days, or even two or three days in a row, when I may not be able to manage it.

I have come to the conclusion, in raising my kids, that it is almost always a better idea to do everything as close as possible to how God intended it done. Here on Semi-earthy mama, we will discuss breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, buying organic, making baby food and other foods from scratch, and cleaning with natural ingredients. I would love feedback from experienced mamas, and questions are more than welcome. If I don't know the answer, I will do everything I can to find it for you.

I would love suggestions as to what other kinds of topics you would like to see on here. You can hit me with any links or information to anything you think might be relevant. I could definitely use some help getting started here!

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to click the "follow" button at the right side of this page. I hope you enjoy my blog, and find the information here useful.