Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kitchen Science

So I have a new addiction. If you like a strong taste of yogurt you may be interested in trying kefir. It was introduced to me a few months back by another kefir addict in my FNL group. Its a homemade fermented milk beverage that is jam packed with a ton of healthy pro-biotics. Think yogurt on steroids...with a tart...sometimes fizzy appeal. The beverage starts with a "kefir grain" a gummy live culture that when added to milk, it eats the milk lactose and multiplies into the beneficial kefir after product (for milenia used to cure a multitude of health related issues). Real Kefir grains have been gifted for thousands of years... as the grains multiply (as live culture naturally does)...the extra is lovingly passed to family and friends.

To ferment my kefir yumminess I put the kefir grains into a glass jar on the counter...add milk (we use raw goats milk)...and wait about 24 hours. The milk starts to form this "curds and whey" appearance when the kefir is just right.

I then sift the kefir grains out with a spoon. Put the grains into a clean glass container fill with fresh milk and refrigerate today's finished product.

After the warm kefir has chilled in the fridge...I love this at night while I'm watching TV. I pour it into a mug, add fresh fruit (this time it was nectarines and peaches) and honey. Mix with a stick blender....

YUMMMMMIE! For more information on the benefit of kefir a great web resource is
dom's kefir.

DIY Signature Bundleboo

So, I have heard of plenty of people on line and in the baby wearing forums requesting tips on how to make a Bundleboo. If you need a DVD and a label...let me know I will gladly send you one LOL:) First things first.

YOU WILL NEED: * 1 sewing machine and serger
* 5 yards of woven 100% cotton fabric (linen or linen type non-stretchy fabric is preferable)
*1 yard of coordinating print fabric for the center panel,
*1 package of cream colored "double fold bias tape" (found at your local fabric store)....or you can make your own bias tape.
*1 spool of cream colored "all purpose" sewing machine thread
* fabric scissors and pinning needles.

STEP 1: cut or tear your 5 yard piece of fabric lengthwise down the middle creating two long narrow pieces of fabric measuring approx 22-24 inches wide and 5 yds long. Then take one of the pieces and fold it lengthwise and cut in half. Now you should have two 2.5 yard x 22inch pieces of fabric left over.
STEP 2: take your 1 yard piece of printed fabric (fold it so that the front and back are "correct side" print out. And surge the short sides of the print to the woven fabric.
STEP 3: cut 4" diameter circles (leg holes) 6" apart and 3.5" from the bottom of the fabric. Then cut a slit from the circle to the bottom of the fabric (this will make applying the bias easier) I have been saving my bundleboo circles for something special.... I don't know what yet. I am thinking funky breast pads or something. What would you use your leg circles for?

STEP 4: Give your sewing machine a good pep talk about how you don't feel like using the seam ripper today... and get ready to sew. (works for me sometimes :)
STEP 5: apply your bias using a straight or zigzag stitch. I used a straight stitch in this picture. Then I go back for a second straight stitch to re-enforce the leg hole.
STEP 6: Now, I didn't get a good picture of this so I will try my best to describe as clearly as possible.

Find out what side is the "inside" of your bundleboo by finding the side with the surging showing. So, connect the bias and the vertical slit so that they line up and run it thru the serger.(this is what it would look like connected)

STEP 7: strengthen ALL of your surged seams by using a straight stitch to tack down the surging lip. (is it called a lip? I dunno it sounds good..lol)
STEP 8: If you have a Bundleboo label ... sew it on where you would like to have it. I usually sew it someplace in the center top of the print fabric panel. If you don't want it to clutter up your gorgeous fabric... you can put it on one of the side panel ends.

FINAL STEP: Surge the entire outer length of your Bundleboo finish the fabric and keep it from fraying. You can round the corners or leave them squared off. Its up to you :)
Cut all of the loose strings and voila you have your own DIY Signature Bundleboo. I am hoping the owner of this Bundleboo might send better action pictures. I couldn't do better this time...my kids were asleep and I didn't have pants on...LOL:)

(These instructions are for personal/individual use only and not for resale...thank you!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mount Gonzalez

laundry is my mommy cryptonite. I swear this stuff will be the death of me. This pile has been building over the last week and a half...and this is the clean pile to boot (you should see the dirty pile). My mom was so gracious to come over and help me get caught up before Lucy was born and I swore that I would never get that behind again... sure enough it was only a matter of time. I've tried everything from a load a day to an official "laundry day". I can't seem to stay on top of it. Upstairs there are still baskets of clean laundry folded that have not been put away yet. What on earth am I to do???? The kids are napping now, thank goodness I will try and knock some of this out. I have found that using baking soda helps to strenthen the washing power and allows me to use less soap.
I buy this in bulk at costco and I use it for everthing. I put it in my diaper pail and trash can, spinkle it on my carpets before vacuuming and use it with vinegar to soak and wash my diapers. Its super cheap and eco-friendly. Any how, back to the laundry grind. :)


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Baby Whispering

I'd have to say that this is my most profound attachment parenting endeavor. EC or Elimination Communication is all about reading you babies elimination or potty cues and responding by allowing them to void over a receptacle (a toilet, sink or infant potty). I was introduced to this after recently joining a Families For Natural Living group when Lucy was only 5 weeks old. At this time I was also educated about the benefits of cloth diapering. A mom during an FNL meeting casually held her baby over the ground and prompted her baby to go the bathroom by using a "psssssssss" noise. Whala, her baby pee'd right there in the grass! What the heck? I was stunned and intrigued. I asked her as politely as I could..."whats the point?" She explained that each baby has distinctive elimination cues...IE: squirming, grunting, panting. She said that if you can read the child's cues...why let them mess in a diaper if you can respond by giving them a more sanitary option. "hmmmm, weird." I thought. Sure enough I went home and started "listening" closer to Lucy. Sure enough, Lucy gave obvious cues when she was about to go to the bathroom. Her cues were fussing, squirming and farting for Poop....and fussing, squirming and nasal panting for pee. Sooooo, Initially she had about a 30-45 second headway before she went...that gave me time to get her diaper off and hold her over the toilet. Once I had her at the toilet I could then "signal" her to go by making a "psssssss" noise for pee...or a low grunting noise for poop. This video shows how it works.

I was really impressed that a major news station featured this. This talks about it as "infant potty training" I don't necessarily agree that it is infant potty training. More like, infant communicating. Potty training IMO is teaching them to do all the steps on their own. I have found great benefit with the EC methods because it has saved me an immense amount of laundry and has allowed me to be in better touch with my baby's needs. I find that all of the other cues she has...hunger, tired, needy...are all amplified (because I am very in tuned now) and thus attended to her needs much faster. I don't believe that this would be easy for someone who isn't extremely involved with their baby. Attachment parenting practices and EC are one and the same when comparing the level of attentiveness that you would need to achieve this level of communication. IE: a baby's need while in a sling would be noticed far sooner than a baby in a swing or bouncy seat.

I started Lucy at 6 weeks and at the time all I could catch at first was the poop. Over the last few months I am getting better at even catching about 80% of her pee. Now I think even Lucy has the hang of it to the point that she will now wake me up at night to pee. By 8am she will still have a dry diaper! The kids as you can see, get a kick out it too. I think that it is even helping them potty train knowing that their baby sister is going potty on the toilet. Katy and Max were both in disposables and I wish I knew about this earlier because they have been very difficult to toilet train. I believe that both of them are desensitized to the "dirty/wet" feeling and don't care to go on the potty.

Momvolution and Carriers

I have officially joined the obsessed world of blogging! My life as a wife, SAH mother, friend and business owner is full of daily adventures, trials and interesting "momvolution" (my new term for mom evolution :). Balancing all of my responsibilities is my biggest challenge...however without the mass amount of insanity I fear that my life would feel dull and meaningless. I have inert desire to give as much of myself as possible.

Andy...the big man to the left is my husband and my best friend. My momvolution has taken its toll on him at times, as he is not a big fan of change. I believe he trusts my instincts and is supportive of my all good intentions...although I don't think that he understands most of them.
Max and Katy-Ro are my two oldest children. Max is 4 and Katy is almost 3. I did breastfeed, babywear and co-sleep with both of them. Of course as a new mommy I took much advise from those who were experienced around me. Which meant initially I had to give into consumerism and "product parenting". I had everything from bouncy seats, strollers, pack and play, exersaucers, floor gyms, jumpers...(wow, looking back now...it seems that the product parenting market was doing as much as they could to keep me from carrying my children.) I will say that thankfully instincts kicked in at some point and thus the momvolution began. (really should say slingvolution)

I owned a baby bijorn with Max and he shortly grew out it... I believe that If I had not followed my instincts to continue carrying him, Max would have been a stroller baby. I continued to breastfeed Max well into a year and then just past...despite the gawks and comments about how he should be on a bottle by now. I found a sling that worked for me the maya wrap was wonderful and enabled me to nurse in public. I was a working mother (EMT-CT) until Katy was born. After being on bed rest and receiving the news that she would need surgery shortly after birth...I then decided to stay at home to care for my kids. That's when the momvolution really began to take place.

I wanted to find an even better carrier to support a breastfeeding cleft affected infant while chasing after a toddler. (pheuf) ... after searching online I found out about ellaroo wrap carriers. With a little practice I quickly found confidence wearing it, and my "wrap carrier" became an essential part of daily living.
Wraps really brought the crunchy mama out of me...LOL. The public certianly had many comments about my "piece of fabric" carrier. Many concerns prompted a change. Thus my business making Bundleboo wrap carriers was born. Babywearing has not just been something fun to do with my kids...it truely has become a strong evolution of parenting. IMO babywearing has been the key ingredient to the rest of my attachment parenting practices. Since the birth of our third child Lucy this past May 2008, I have also enforced a "whole living" structure in our family life and daily routine. To include eating whole or Organic Foods, cloth diapering, EC (elimination communication), attachment parenting incorporating positive discipline/conscious parenting techniques and using Alternative (natural) remedies as a first line choice for prophylaxis or treatment. I am excited to publish this blog, in hopes to reach other like minded moms.