Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flat diapers

            Finally! It's been a long awaited blog. I promised a few people back during the 'green on a shoestring' event for the "Birth and baby resource network" that I got to help out with, that I would write a blog about...{Flat diapers} for a cheaper alternative to other mainstream cloth diapers.

          Flat diapers aka "Flats" are a very thin single layer of material in the dimensions of 27 inches x 27 inches of: Birdseye cotton, or something fancier, like organic cotton, terry cloth, or bamboo. Not to be confused with prefold style of cloth diapers, while they are very similar, they are still very different.

I have decided to give flour sack towels a try as flats. They are 28 inches by 27 inches from target and 30 inches x 30 inches at walmart. Standard flat diaper dimension. You can get flour sack towels at: Walmart, target, ikea, and I am sure many other stores too. I grabbed some from both Walmart and target. They are just under $1 per towel, but come in a pack of 5 for $4.98 (at walmart) they come in a 4 pack at target for $5.99, I think. You can not beat that price. It isn't much more to purchase flats online, it's about $14.99 for 12, then you add taxes and shipping, and it sort of sucks.

            You do need a waterproof cover over the top of your flat diaper. I like to take a triple layer bamboo insert and fold it into the origami fold. The origami is my favorite style. I did make sure to wash/dry all of these flats 6 times prior to use (it helps the fabric become really absorbent). I also double up with 2 flat diapers and the bamboo insert, if we use them for night time. I will upload a video on my favorite two style of folds at a later time.

I really like:
How cheap this option of diapering is.
How well these diapers wash
The flat's hand wash challenge
How quick these puppies hang dry
How well they fit my sons body

I dislike:
Folding them.
The 2 part system of needing a cover

I am using a snappi to keep the diaper fastened onto his body. Remember the days of rubber pants and diaper pins? Yeah, you can say goodbye to those. Unless you prefer that method.

When your flat diapers get stained and you are unable to bleach them out by the sun, you can tie dye them to hide the spots.

What I love the most about these...they wipe up spills. They clean mirrors, they work as wonderful diapers when I don't feel like using any of my pocket diapers, and I absolutely love folding them up and using them in place of inserts.

And I can give them away when we are finished with them.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The slacker of slackerton

           I've been on an obvious slacker break from making any of my pocket diapers or soakers. I am quite sad about this. It's just not really anything that has been important the last couple of months, after all these friends passing away (that count has actually doubled since the last blog a few days ago) my son constantly nursing and fulfilling my role as a "house wife" getting stuff done, playing with the kids, I am just exhausted. I am accumulating such a beautiful array of fabrics in the process. I am looking forward to putting it all to great use and saving some landfills.

                I have been dipping my toes in the whole etsy world. I have so much more to make other than diapers, my creative side is bursting with ideas. I can't wait to post it all up for the world to see. I've found a super awesome DIY woven label tutorial, I am ridiculously excited to create and make them. I want to make it all myself, packaging is always such an awesome part to receiving items in the mail.

              I did start making some momma cloth ( menstrual pads) and I actually really like making them. Way quicker than diapers, that's for sure! Ha! I had made some before, but I hated the pattern I used and I just drew out my own pattern this time and I really like it. I think I want to make a bunch for myself. I really want to marble dye some cotton velour for a matching set of them.

           Today I FINALLY got around to starting my kombucha SCOBY.  I am really excited about this process, my friend referred to it as a science project, and she is totally right. It's going to be a LOT of fun. I look most forward to the bottling process and adding in different fruits and making other types of kombucha with white and green tea, as I used black for this one, and I read that the oil in black tea can compromise the SCOBY a little.  So we will see. I will have to write a blog on all that after the SCOBY has grown.

    Its pumpkin season! I'm excited about that too. I love pumpkin spice. I'm sad I didn't plant any pumpkins this year. I could have made a lot of things with them, soup, bread, pancakes, muffins, etc. I love pumpkin. So yummy.  Oh, that pumpkin oatmeal recipe on pinterest...yeah, I will be making that.
    I'm done rambling. I just had an urge to write. It is now gone and my pizza is ready.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why I am glad I did not wean my toddler

  I have had a pretty rough last month and a half. It started back on my birthday, July 22nd. The day went amazing, I had such a great time. The following morning, I found out that a dear friend had ended her life......I remember as I had discovered she had passed away, my son was ready to eat breakfast. He was fussy. I needed to put my friends death to the side, and take care of my son. I was blank, heart broken, sad. I had a lump in my throat and I just wanted to yell, but at who? She was already gone, it wasn't going to do any good to yell at her. It wasn't going to reverse the damage or make her come back. I couldn't address my emotions, my child was now crying. He didn't want to eat his food. He had been teething the weeks leading up to my birthday. It was rough, he was cranky, he spiked a fever, but never got sick. All he wanted to do was nurse. Around the clock. He screamed if I set him down, he just wanted {me}. 

A day or two after that, his nose started to run, he had a couple pretty gross poopy diapers and was still super cranky. A terrible rash broke out on his body. It didn't seem to bother him, but it got worse when he got hot or worked up, and it was in huge patches, looked like a food allergy and a viral rash.. It actually turned out to be a pretty severe case of Parvovirus, you may recognize it by the name of '5ths Disease'. Either way I said it, people would get worried. "Isn't that what dogs get?" "Don't they have a vaccine for that?" "Aren't you going to take him to a doctor?" "Why does he not have antibiotics?" "He has a disease?!?" 
           Parvovirus is in the same family as the chicken pox. In fact, it is the 5th virus in that family to be discovered, hence the name '5ths disease'. I can't give you the correct listing, but the family includes: chicken pox, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, hand foot and mouth disease, roseola, parvovirus, etc. Those kinds of rash causing illness. While there is a vaccine for preventing a few of these viral infections, They do not include a vaccine for parvovirus.

**Please note that vaccines are NOT 100% effective, so even if a vaccine is given, your child is not fully protected from anything, and if you are choosing to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren) please know what vaccines you are allowing to be put into them. You should know what vaccines you are giving to your child. You should want to know what you are trying to protect yourself against, and not just assume that you have protection from every germ/virus in the world**

Johnny's rash went away after a week and a half. He was still cranky. I blamed it all on teething. He was still wanting to nurse. All. The.Time. He screamed when he would unlatch, he was cranky, he did have some new teeth break through. We had been using a mixture of clove/olive oil for his gums to relieve his pain. That has always been the most effective way to help the teething pain for johnny.  He had a rough few days, and in that time, big brother had a bad cough, runny nose, and watery eyes. A couple of days in to taking care of hunter (and still constantly nursing the sick baby) Johnny came down with the same symptoms, followed by another rash on his entire body. This time, it seemed to be roseola, the '6th disease' in that family. Now, the Roseola virus also has 'no' vaccine....{ I am notified that the elderly man I care for on Sundays has survived a heart attack. More emotions.}

This time johnny had trouble breathing from being so snotty, his nose was really nasty. He did not like me to clean it, and he would resist me coming close to his face. He started being cute and would shake his head from side to side all crazy, non-stop for a minute. We just figured it was because of the music we were listening to. He started blowing raspberries on my skin. Then he started doing this funny thing where he would come at me like he was going to give me raspberries, but would suck and blow on my skin. He started making a lot more faces, like the "Ohhhh" face a lot. And those very well could be something that he is learning at his age (15 and a half months) but it also pointed towards and ear infection. Another fever spikes....and the emotions of losing a second friend to a death arise.

 So now, we have battled 2 virus's and are graced with ear infections. How do I know its an ear infection? He has a high fever (104.2), he is pulling on his ears, refusing to eat, wanting to nurse, miserable, his ears looked a little swollen inside. I do not want to see a doctor. I know that they will look at his middle ear and diagnose him with a double ear infection and prescribe him antibiotics, which if you know anything about antibiotics and your bodies bacterial flora, antibiotics can be the devil. We have good bacteria in our guts that help us to stay healthy, antibiotics are to kill the bad bacteria that causes infection, but sometimes kills the good bacteria in our body, and then all those refined sugars rapidly turn into yeast and start taking over. I wanted to avoid yeast infections, the possibility of contacting thrush from him being on antibiotics, and having to treat all of our cloth diapers for yeast, not to mention restoring his poor little belly. I also wanted to avoid medicine, but I knew that he was in pain, so I gave him some medicine for the ear pain, and I mixed 2 drops of lavender essential oil into 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil and massaged this over his body to help bring his really high fever down. Fever is good though, that is your body fighting off that bad bacteria and when you use fever reducers, your body can not properly fight off the bacteria. If you see what I mean. The body hits a certain heat to start killing the bacteria. It's all really beautiful, I guess if you are a health nerd, like me.

          This is where I most become thankful for my breast milk and my breasts. Breast milk has antibodies inside it. So nursing johnny is providing him with some antibodies in his system. It is helping to fight off bacteria. I am also able to express a few drops of the warm 'liquid gold' into Johnny's ears, to help penetrate the infection in his middle ear. There are other natural methods for treating ear infections if you do not have access to breast milk (garlic and oregano). Here is a quick example of what is going on with Johnny's ears. The middle ear is like a pocket. It is dark. When a sickness happens, things can get swollen in their ear,nose and throat area. When the ears get a little swollen, it makes it hard for any liquids to drain from the middle ear. When you factor in the wet & dark, middle ear, you can imagine bacteria growing in there, and it can't escape. That is an ear infection. So, the breast milk is helping to penetrate the middle ear and fight the bacteria that is causing the infection. Its ready when I need it, and it is warm, alternative methods require warming oils before hand, and that is one less step I have to take.  Not only am I thankful for it for this reason, I am thankful for it for a list of reasons why, but secondly because it has comforted my son while he needed it the most. He was aching and in horrible pain, and nursing helped soothe him. He hasn't ever taken a pacifier, but if one had been used to comfort his suckle reflex, it would not have hydrated him. So I am also thankful that he was getting hydration/nutrition, as he refused to eat/drink anything.

      Now that he is almost 100% back to his normal self, I question myself and why I wanted to quit breastfeeding him in the first place. I can factor in that I was feeling stressed out because I was dealing with emotions of losing a friend, and I didn't feel like I had any time to myself, because of johnny wanting to nurse, a lot. I feel slightly guilty that I wanted to end our nursing relationship. I am so glad that I did not at that time because of everything that was going on around me. I can't imagine the way I would feel if I had actually gone through with the way I was temporarily feeling about nursing.

          I feel that johnny will wean from the breast when he is ready. I feel that, that time will come before I know it. I feel selfish, I don't have anything else to do, I don't have a "real job" to go to 40 hours a week. My kids ARE my job. My almost 5 year old doesn't need me like my 1 year old does, and it just reminds me that this is such a short period of my life that I will be breastfeeding.  I'm thankful I didn't rip out my hair and throw in the towel. I wanted to so many times, but allowed myself to take it day by day.

         Somehow I am still hanging on for this extended breastfeeding journey.  Its taken me many places, and we have taken many pictures along the way. I am so glad that I have the right and freedom to share my breastfeeding pictures with the world. I am so thankful to tell my story from day 1 of this breastfeeding journey to those who are willing to listen. I KNOW that people have doubts, they need encouragement, someone to hold their hand and tell them what to do and that it will be okay. If you have ever breastfed for any length of time, even 10 minutes, you know that it can come with frustration. Seeing other peoples stories and pictures have really helped encourage me along my 15 month journey, especially at times when I felt like I had been sitting alone, nursing the baby for days on end.

         I feel so thankful for my breastfeeding support system. They happen to be online, and it just so happens to be that I haven't met more than a handful of a hundred of them, but they are {AMAZING}. They have lifted my spirits when I needed them most during this journey and it has made all the difference. They have enlightened me so much.
                                       Now, I shall share some pics




I love the picture below. Her name is Vanessa Beecroft. You can read about her story under "The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins".

Here was his severe parvovirus rash.
We chose oatmeal baths to soothe, instead of cortisone's. The cortisone is a steroid and it suppresses the immune system to rid of the rash, and you have the rash because it is your body's natural reaction to defend itself. See where I am going with this?

And below was his rash from, Roseola.
It looked worse in person. It only covered his chest, belly and back. Again, we used oatmeal baths to sooth him, but he really was not bothered much by this. I think the teething pain was the worst for him.

It really was a long month and a half. I must admit that this month and a half was hard for him, not for me. It was hard for me because I had trouble accepting the fact that I needed to drop everything in the world and just take care of him. This is not spoiling a baby. He has needs. He has very little wants at this age he is at and I am pleased to meet them all.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homemade 'slime' aka Gak

Remember Gak from the 90's? That rubbery, gooey, silly puddy style of gunk that you could squish into those awesome slime shaped containers and make fart noises? Well, we figured out how to make it for really cheap! It is a lot of fun. Both of my boys ended up enjoying it very much.

You will need:
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon of borax
1 container of elmers glue
2 bowls

 Okay, {step one}! Take your borax and pour it into 1 cup of warm water. Set that bowl off to the side.

{Step two}
Pour your glue into a bowl, mix it together with 1/2 cup of water, and mix in 14 drops of food coloring.
{step 3}
Pour your borax water into your glue water.
You will see it start to into a blob of some kind, the second that they touch.
{step 4}
Dig in with your hands and start squishing and mushing! Keep squishing and smashing the glue together. It wont absorb much of the water, you will probably think that you really messed it up, just keep smushing it. It will look stringy,
It will look like the below picture when it is done.
I just toss it on a plate and let the rest of the water come out of it, it turns into a nice pretty blob as it does this. (doesn't look pretty yet in the picture)
I asked hunter how this stuff made him feel. His response:
Johnny is thrilled he can actually hit, pinch, and slap stuff.
Enjoy and have fun!
*we store ours in plastic baggies. We also have not had to remove it from clothing or hair. it did get on the carpet, but I was able to peel it off, and rub off the tiny parts thats stuck.*

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Just a little drive on the back roads

            This is the kind of Saturday I like. We wake up early, make breakfast and clean the kitchen and then we load the kids up and go for a drive. It's not something we do every Saturday, but it is always fun when we do go.

           Yesterday we decided to go drive to a vegetable farm stand on templeton road. We had found one by accident on South El pomar road on a Saturday morning drive a few weeks before this Saturday, and we were unable to find it this time, possibly because we didn't drive far enough. I had another stand fresh in my mind from my friend, emilie. She had text me the day before about some elderberries she picked up, and she gave me directions. It was easy enough to find, although the name templeton road, confuses some with templeton, CA, but it's just a road off highway 41 east, and about 2 miles down, on a gigantic bend in the road, and it is on the left side. You can't miss the big metal poles with the speed limit sign.


              This is such a magical little place. So unique looking. An old flatbed truck that sits under a a giant canopy, and really cute decorations, hay, and adorable cork board to communicate/share recipes, a giant white board with super great prices, and an overload of awesome vegetables. About 1/4 mile down the dirt road, which we assume was the driveway into the farm, was a huge herd of cows, so we let hunter run down to them (they were fenced in, don't worry). While he enjoyed hooting at and dancing for the cows, we got busy Picking out our vegetable loot. We ended up with: squash, green onion, yellow baking squash, corn, lettuce, mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, Egyptian onions, and garlic. Johnny slept through this entire event. While waiting for hunter to come back from the cows, we saw a mini cooper club. I'd say 20 mini coopers came driving by. We also saw a few bicyclists.

                Loaded up hunter and Johnny woke up, perfect timing because we saw a sign that was pointing out a farm further down the road. We took of in search of that farm. We come around another bend, and I spy a beautifully built gigantic open barn. Inside I see baskets of white bottles and I get excited thinking we have come across raw milk (I've now discovered its illegal for farms to sell it to public, but legal to buy from a grocer) We turn around and go back.
            This farm is gorgeous! We park and get both boys out of the car and enter the barn to see that this is a goat farm! The baskets with white bottles were baskets of their goat milk based product line of different Chapstick, lotions, face creams, night creams, soap. Everything smelled AMAZING! The first I smelled was plumeria hand/body lotion and it blew bath and body works out of the water, not only because the the mouth watering, delicious scent of the product, but it is also free of anything you would not want to be massaging I into your body, and it's goats milk.


                There was also a Giant fridge that had eggs from happy cage free chickens, goat cheese, fetta mixed stuff with olives. We grabbed some eggs and I admired the decorations inside the barn. This creepy chandelier type thing, cute signs, all the baskets (I have a thing with baskets), the open feel of the barn with the cool breeze coming in. It was so exciting, haha.

               We exited the barn and checked out this really awesome chicken coop. I think it was just a laying coop, because the chickens were running around this giant yard, bigger than my backyard, and I have a great sized yard. There was a giant metal chicken statue, we took a picture in front of that. Around the other side of the barn was a couple of goats, and a big bronze planter filled with goat food. We fed the few goats that were there and then we saw a giant family of goats running from a barn really far onto their property.

                We ended up meeting a bunch of goats, a family of 4 wanted to take a picture with us, I literally got pinned back by a goat for a picture. I put my back the the fence and he wrapped his neck around my shoulder/neck area and started kissing me all over. I was holding Johnny and its partner goat started kissing him. It was all funny, and slimy. Two bikers had stopped and witnessed is being on by the goats.
We went back to the house after all this
                                 {above is our gorgeous veggies}

This is worth the health benefits, the small town support, and the family bonding time/memories.