Monday, October 28, 2013

Holiday Special

Well, another giveaway has come and gone and our winner is....

Amanda West!!!

Amanda, you should have received an email on Saturday regarding your prize. Please get in touch with us TODAY and claim your custom longies!

But wait, there is more! I know you are probably disappointed if your name is not Amanda West, however, there is still a chance for you to get some fabulous longies from The Raspberry Patch Boutique at a steal! For the next seven days you can purchase a package from Malina for nearly $20 less than the regular price!!

Usually, the package below would cost almost $60 after shipping! If you private message the code: HOLY GUACAMOLE to Malina at The Raspberry Patch Boutique, she will ship these 3 items to you for the price below! You could buy Christmas gifts, or just pick up some awesome goodies for your favorite kiddo!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five on Friday!

Wow, is it really Friday again? Where did the week go?

Re-reading a jewel this week. There are not many books I can read over and over again, this is one of the few. In every season of my soul it has spoken truth to me. One of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Give Me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to Me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to Me, give yourself to Me and I will make of you a new self---in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” 
No half measures will do.
Teething babies are no fun. Really and truly. However, teething makes you appreciate your happy, babbling, excited baby so much more! This has been one of my most challenging weeks as a mommy to date. Blaze has cut his two front teeth, a molar, and one of his incisors all in a matter of 7 days! We have cried together, whined together, and learned together more this week than any week of his life so far!

I am really, really, really looking forward to the return of this show come January! So I can live vicariously through its characters (in my imaginary world, I am a midwife that does home births, in case anyone is wondering).
Call the Midwife!

We planned to go to Burt's Pumpkin Farm last Saturday. Sometimes my plans are disregarded. LOL. So, this Saturday we will go to Deal's Pumpkin Farm. I even invited some friends so my dearest, most beloved husband cannot thwart my desire to have pictures of our family at a Pumpkin Patch each Fall!

I kind of have baby fever. I know, I know, I have a baby! Yet, something inside of me is ready for another one. Not too sure if it is my age, or just because I always wanted my kids close together so they would be pals. Either way, I would not be upset at all if another one showed up in the near future.....maybe our 3 year old foster child will fix me!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five on.....

Obviously, this should have been posted yesterday, however, I was busy welcoming this angel into the world!
6lbs 11oz of pure joy!
Nora Rose!

This mom is kick butt during contractions!
Sophie the Giraffe made a comeback this week. Little man worked hard cutting his top two teeth aaaaaaaaand a MOLAR! Yep, my 9 month old now has a molar. It would be nice if frozen wash cloths and mesh feeders would soothe his teething woes, but Blaze only likes Sophie, well, and Hyland's teething tablets. Maybe he won't get anymore teeth for a while.
Yes, we have two!


Without fear of the future....
During my time with the Word this week, I have been drawn to this scripture and all it requires. For years, I just dove into whatever new venture was before me, without fear of the future. To be honest, most of my early adulthood, I envied the future, looked forward to it, reveled in the beauty of it. Now, as a mother, the future contains so much completely out of my control. This babe in my arms is swiftly growing into an independent boy, to soon become a young man. He will form his own opinions and make his own choices - good or bad, I will only be able to share my thoughts with him, I won't have the final say. THAT SCARES ME.

I want Blaze to live a life dedicated to God.
I want his future to be filled with success, joy, health, and good character.

Yet, I really don't get much say in the matter.
This week, I have been trying to come to terms with that and still laugh without fear of the future.

Our third anniversary is soon approaching. We found a cabin and are going to spend some wonderful time in the woods with some of our dearest friends (and previous pastors). I have not looked forward to a vacation this much in a long time. Blaze is old enough now that he actually enjoys certain things too. There is this wonderful Thai Food restaurant in the area we are staying, and I am sincerely hoping my dear husband takes me there for our anniversary dinner! The owner is from Thailand and her food is outrageously delicious! Only 33 days and we are off to celebrate!
Moments before we left for our very first anniversary trip; we still looked like newlyweds!
Party planning has begun (can you sense I am a planner?)! Blaze will be ONE in less than 3 months! Be still my heart! I keep wavering between a super simple family and closest friends only event or a big bash with all his baby buddies included too. We don't have a very big budget since his birthday falls in our "Crazy Holiday" season - from November to February it feels like we have a major holiday/celebration every week. In chronological order: our anniversary, our nephew's birthday, Thanksgiving, my mother-in-love's birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's, Blaze's birthdays, my birthday, and Valentine's Day!

So far, the plan is to do a circus themed party. I found some adorable ideas on various sites and I already purchased a custom made diaper for his big day! My next hurdle is planning the cake sweet treat that will hold birthday candles. We don't plan on giving him any refined sugar or any grains until around two years old.....maybe I can create a fresh fruit tart?
Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins!
We are headed to Burt's Farm tomorrow with my parents and I am really looking forward to starting a Fall family tradition!

Hope you enjoyed your week! Don't forget to sign up for our current giveaway!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Plumber Issues?

So, my son is in the 99th percentile.
For weight.
For height.
35+lbs and 31 inches at only 9 1/2 months old.
He wears 24 month and 2T clothing and is nearly the height and over the weight of your average 2 year old.
He takes a couple steps here and there and stands by himself.

Most of you already know we cloth diaper. The above stats can make finding a good quality, great fitting cloth diaper a challenge. It has been a great experience overall and we are very happy with our choice. However, if you cloth diaper you know you are always working on some part of your system. For us, we found the type of diapers that work (you can read more about that here), but now we occasionally have fit issues. We do buy used cloth diapers sometimes and the best brands for our big boy are Heidi Oh and Little Fancy Pants in a size 2. They work well and fit well, but at $25-40 a piece new, they stay kind of out of reach for us.

So, how do I find a diaper that covers my son's, er, crack adorable bum, and not pay a lot of money for it? While purchasing used diapers I bought some Work At Home Mom (WAHM) brand diapers for only $5 a piece, and fell in LOVE! They are cute, soft, they hold his pee, and they fit!!!

Snuggly Baby Boutique is the shop name. Check out how adorable my baby is these are.
I ordered some new ones with some money I made selling off our pocket diaper stash, and I am so impressed!
I might just have to buy 10 more and use only her diapers! Anyone feel like donating $150 to our cause?

Since we are so pleased with her diapers, I thought I would do a review of them so others can get an understanding of just what I love about them and why they work so well for us. I was not asked to do this review, nor did I receive anything in return for doing it. Although I am hoping she might let me host a giveaway one day!

I am going to cover several categories that I find important when choosing diapers for our son, and rate each on a scale of 1 to 5.

5 - Go buy these diapers, NOW!
4 - Reliable, should definitely own a few.
3 - Good diaper, not perfect.
2 - Eh, it is okay, get one used?
1 - I really want to like them,

Absorbency - 4 out of 5

I own 10 different brands of hybrid and fitted diapers. These are up there with the best of them when it comes to absorbency. It took us a few months to find diapers that he does not pee through right after he is changed. Last night, Blaze wore one of our used Snuggly Baby diapers with an added bamboo soaker and NO WOOL or cover over it, just his pajamas. He went to bed at 10pm and woke at 8:30am.....his diaper was soaked all the way around, but his clothes, the bed, and I were not! The diaper held all the moisture and did not leak. I consider this a HUGE selling point. The only reason I do not give this category a 5 is that I do have some hybrids that do not get as damp on the exterior when used overnight. All in all, this diaper is very absorbent. 

Customer Service - 5 out of 5

Hands down, Kim was easy to communicate with, listened to my requests, and created a product that I like. She kept me updated every few days by asking me questions about specific details I wanted (snap colors, interior fabric options, etc.), and let me know when she shipped the diapers. She even let me make two separate payments! Also, she makes more than one type of diaper, you can order AI2s, pockets, covers, and fitteds from the same place!

Dad Appeal - 4 out of 5

This is kind of specific to my baby's dad. He has big hands. Diapers with snaps are a challenge for him. He also is not so great with figuring out the best way to position soakers. Velcro/Aplix is the way to go for my husband, That said, this diaper is pretty straight forward. Snaps, a soaker, bam! We like it.

Cost - 5 out of 5

Folks, you just can't complain when you get to choose your sizing, fabric, colors, and type of diaper for only $15 plus shipping. Seriously, I have purchased used diapers for what I paid to get these custom made for my son. Enough said.

Drying Time - 4 out of 5

I think this really depends on what the out fabric is made of. My two used Snuggly Baby diapers dry differently. One is a knit and the other is a woven. The woven dries pretty quickly (35 minutes because we use 8 wool dryer balls), but the knit often comes out of the dryer and the exterior is slightly damp. I usually just hang it to finish drying. The snap in soakers actually dry faster than my Heidi Oh and Little Fancy Pants soakers.

The Fit - 4 out of 5

As I said before, this is a big deal for us. We buy diapers and they fit his waist but show his crack, or they cover his bum but are too tight in the waist. Half the time I am not sure if it is a rise issue or a waist issue. Our first two Snuggly Baby diapers fit Blaze pretty well, although he occasionally had that plumber's crack bottom going on. They were cut as a One Size (os), to fit 8-35lbs and he was pushing 35lbs when we purchased them. He actually had quite a bit of room to spare in the waist.

Our most recent purchase from Snuggly Baby Boutique were custom made larges with a little extra added to the rise. They are a great fit for Blaze. He actually has room to grow in the waist and rise! 

Another note about these diapers and fit: they are not bulky. Compared to other hybrids in our collection, I would consider these pretty thin actually. He still has a darling fluffy butt, but it is not overwhelming. I could slip pants over these diapers quite easily.

Cuteness - 5 out of 5

This one is easy! Snuggly Baby Boutique has lots of fabrics to choose from, a variety of snap colors, and plenty of interior choices. These diapers are pretty much designed to your taste exactly and then she makes them for you! Adorable, adorable, adorable!

So, there you have it! I found a great diaper for a great price at Snuggly Baby Boutique and so can you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wooly Little Bottom

As you have probably figured out by now, we cloth diaper our son.
I love it.
It is economical, better for his health, and environmentally less taxing.

And an entirely new world.
Blaze is now 9 months and I think we finally have navigated through the cloth diaper world.
Our destination: fitteds/hybrids/flats and covers.
You can read more about our routine here.

Today I want to share another place in Cloth Diaper world. It is called Wool.
Oh wool! Intimidating until you handle it yourself.
No, you can't just toss it in the washer.
However, for my friends that cloth diaper, you understand the value of a nighttime system that works!

And wool works.
If you find the right diaper to go underneath your wool, you will NEVER have a leak.
We haven't in 3 months.
It is very, very nice not being wakened by a warm bath on my belly and hips around 5am each morning.

My favorite place to get wool: The Raspberry Patch Boutique

Listen, wool longies and shorties can completely ruin the economical part of cloth diapering. Some companies charge anywhere from $60 to $150 for longies or shorties. Malina, of the boutique above keeps hers below $20 a piece including shipping! Not only that, but she is mom to 6 beautiful children (ages 7 weeks, 17 months, 3, 6, 7, and 9 years old) while providing her family's sole income! She started out creating doll/play sized cloth items and eventually fell in love with the idea of making the real thing! She enjoys shopping for fabrics and at one time, her entire dining room was covered in them!

An example of applique Malina does.
These belong to Blaze!

I have purchased multiple items from Malina and her product is well made, plus, her customer service is stellar. Once, something I ordered was not a great fit for my son....she made two brand new ones and shipped them to me free of charge!

If you cloth diaper, I strongly recommend checking out her shop! And.....getting in on this GIVEAWAY!!!

Yes! The Raspberry Patch Boutique is sponsoring a giveaway! One blessed mama (or daddy) and their baby will get to work with Malina to create a custom pair of longies with an applique of their choice! Wool or fleece, you pick!

Enter. Share. Win. Yay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 10, 2013


It has been asked for time and again.
The recipe.
That inspired.
This blog.

SarahRuth's Holy Guacamole (endearingly deemed "holy" by the husband).

In all its glory.

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 small/yellow onion
  • 1T fresh, minced garlic (in a pinch, organic garlic powder will suffice; 1t)
  • 1 small tomato or 1 can of lime and cilantro Ro-tel
  • Juice of 1 lime or 1T lemon or lime juice
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Dice your onion and your tomato and throw in a bowl. If you use a can of ro-tel, drain it first and then put in a bowl with the onion. Also put your garlic in the bowl. Cut your ripe (squishy ripe) avocados into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss all remaining ingredients and your avocado in the bowl. Use a fork (or your fingers, or your child's fingers) to mash the ingredients together. We enjoy ours pretty chunky so I don't mash much. If you like a smooth guacamole pour all of your ingredients in the blender. Voila!

Note: I choose organic produce and spices for my family.

So simple. So good.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ch-ch-ch CHIA!

The 80s were stellar! I couldn't resist!
Did you have a chia pet?
If you did, I bet you were born in the 80s!
It is items like this that show my age. I tell the girls at my church I am 74 1/2 plus 2 weeks. I can't stand to think I am nearly twice their age (more than twice some of their ages). Where, oh where, has the time gone?

So, back to the future folks! Along with my morning coffee (which is currently this Fall version), I have been finishing off a bag of chia seeds my good friend brought with her to our home during her last visit before leaving for China!
Anna on the right, Blaze's God-mother; my very best friend sister!
Apparently, chia seeds are quite healthy. Did you know that one tablespoon of chia seeds contains the following?

  • Fiber - 5 grams
  • Total Fat - 3 grams
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Alpha Linolenic Acid) - 2.9 grams
  • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids - 0.31
  • Saturated Fatty Acids - 0.41 grams
  • Calcium - 92 milligrams
  • Magnesium - 44 milligrams
  • Iron - 1 milligrams
  • Zinc - .75 milligrams
  • Niacin - 1.5 milligrams
  • Folate - 7 micrograms
  • Vitamin A - 7 International Units
When my chia seeds are not donated by amazing friends, I like to get mine from Amazon. This is the brand I like.

I prepare my chia breakfast pudding the night before I plan on eating it. Reminiscent of tapioca or rice pudding (I enjoy both) due to its texture, this is a great morning meal with a good kick of protein if you prepare it as I describe below.

Good Morning Chia Pudding

  • 1c organic milk (you can sub any type of milk - coconut, almond, rice)
  • 1t organic or homemade vanilla
Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Put in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 2 hours). Enjoy!

You can add in any of the following:
  • Dried cranberries
  • Slivered almonds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin puree
  • Shredded coconut
  • Bananas
In my bowl this morning! Just delicious!

Mocha Chia Pudding

  • ½c brewed coffee (chilled)
  • ½c organic milk (again, any type works)
  • 1T organic almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1t organic or homemade vanilla
  • 1T gelatin
  • 2-3T grade B maple syrup
  • 1T unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • ¼c chia seeds
Blend all of your ingredients EXCEPT THE CHIA SEEDS in your blender or food processor until well incorporated. Pour the mixture over your chia seeds. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before eating (I let mine sit overnight).

I hope you enjoy this delightful breakfast treat as much as I do. It is definitely my go to breakfast at the moment. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tastes Like Fall II

My very favorite fall stew is the sweet and savory Mulligatawny. An Indian curried soup, with a delightful mix of root vegetables and fruit. I prepare mine in the crock pot. Every year, in early or mid October, I bring out this food splattered, hand written recipe; my beloved friend Hannah-Joy introduced us to this culinary delight, and we have enjoyed it each Autumn since she first prepared it for my husband and I while we were still dating six years ago! We have added our own personal touches, and it has become a staple in our home!

Oh, and I use entirely organic and/or local ingredients for ours.


A sweet and savory Indian inspired dish. This recipe provides
8 ample servings. Nicely paired with rice or naan.


  • 1-2lbs Chicken (thigh or breast)
  • 2 apples (any kind but granny smith)
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 turnip
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 4 red skinned potatoes
  • 1/2c golden raisins
  • 1/2c currants
  • 10 carrots
  • 3T brown sugar
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1T Himalayan pink salt
  • 2T coconut oil or real butter
  • 1/2t nutmeg
  • 1t coriander
  • 1t allspice
  • 1/2t clove
  • 1/8t cardamom
  • 1-4T curry powder (based on how strong you like your curry)
  • pepper, to taste


1.   Heat your coconut oil in a skillet. Chop and add the garlic and onion. Caramelize.
2.   Scoop out your caramelized onion-garlic mixture and add your chicken, curry powder, and ¼ cup water in the same skillet without washing or rinsing it out. Add the caramelized onion-garlic mixture back in. Brown on both sides. Cut into ¼ inch pieces.
3.   While your chicken browns, cut up all of your vegetables. Good sized chunks work best for this recipe (1/4-1 inch).
4.   Toss all of your ingredients together in the crock pot.
5.   Make sure to add all of the juice from cooking your chicken.
6.   Fill your crock pot with water until only ½ inch of the veggies are not covered.
7.   Cook on low for 8-12 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot over rice or with homemade naan. May also be garnished with cashews. I often eat mine topped with extra sharp white cheddar cheese.

If you would like to print a recipe card for this recipe, I made one for you! It can be viewed here.
Mulligatawny stew is fully endorsed by this adorable 9 month old. 

If you click on any of the ingredient links it will take you to Amazon, which is where I purchase many items for cooking. I participate in the Amazon Affiliate program where I receive a very small commission if you purchase something through one of my links.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Five On Friday!

Do you meal plan? Well, I do! Gearing up to make out the next two months' worth of plans. I usually only do a month at a time, but the next 8 weeks are so busy I figured I better get ahead. Our favorite family meal is white chicken enchiladas with homemade salsa and guacamole. Guacamole has a near holy status in our home (we eat it at least three times a week)!

My son will be 9 months this coming Monday. NINE MONTHS. As in, he will be as many months as I carried him in the womb. This makes me sad, excited, scared, and joyful all at once. Our lives are so beautifully full with our little man crawling, er, walking around! Every night we sit in the glider and I nurse Blaze while singing over him and praying for his future. As I hold onto his solid little body and caress his back, head, feet, I am in awe of the Creator. How does He trust me with such greatness? What do I really have to offer this babe? All I know is He gave me one of the most precious jewels on this Earth. Every day is precious, every moment an opportunity to enjoy God's gift to us! My favorite pictures of our Blaze are when he is in pajamas! So sweet.
Morning snuggles.
As of Monday we are three-fourths of the way to breastfeeding for ONE YEAR!!! I knew from the beginning I planned to nurse Blaze for at least a year. Now that we are in it, that goal has shifted to at least two years. I cannot describe the beauty of our relationship. It took quite a bit of time and effort at the very beginning, but once we figured it all out, it has been one of my favorite parts of motherhood. There is nothing like looking at your sweet chunk, his little rolls, and bright, healthy eyes knowing you nourished it all with your own body! 

And of course, nursing brings on this as well:

Dances, human videos, monologues, solos, casting, scripts, and schedules, oh my! I kind of volunteered to head up our church's annual Christmas production. This includes writing the script, choreographing 4 dances and a human video, creating the power points, designing the set, and a lot of other things I cannot even fathom right now! Here is to hoping I can pull it off with excellence.

Our third wedding anniversary is swiftly approaching. My husband has requested three days of work. We don;t have much of a budget, but would really love to go somewhere this year, since last year I was only 7 weeks from my due date and we only went out to eat. We are not exactly sure what we want to do. Camp? A cabin? November 20th is perfect weather for camping, we just aren't too sure about taking a 10 month old camping!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jessica, You Get to Wear Your Baby!

Congratulations to our Custom Kanga Wrap winner!!!!!
Thanks to all that participated!
Watch for more giveaways very soon (think bulletproof nighttime cloth diaper solution)!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Won't He Choke?

Probably not.

Currently, my sweet babe is nearly 9 months old! Don't ask me to explain how that happened...I might cry.
Before he was born, I spent nearly the entire 9 months of pregnancy researching.

Natural Child Birth
Bed Sharing.
Cloth Diapers.
Attachment Parenting.
Child Spacing.
Organic food.
Essential oils.

Just to name a few.
I read a lot.
I mused a lot.
I talked to friends a lot.

Now you know where many of my ideas on parenting come from.

In a previous post I promised to share how we introduce solids to Blaze. Well, here it is!

Baby-Led Weaning (BLW)

This is how I wanted to introduce solids to our son.
7 1/2 months old with an organic carrot.
For several reasons:

  1. It seems the most natural. Around 6 months old you watch your baby. Is he grabbing for food? Does he want to try what is on your plate? Then let him try foods that are age appropriate and easy for him to self feed.
  2. Developmentally it makes the most sense. Instead of spooning pureed foods into your baby's mouth, you allow your child to self-feed. They determine how hungry they are. They learn to chew. Their pincer grasp develops earlier.
  3. Purees are a liquid and teach a baby nothing about the texture of various foods or how to handle those textures in their mouth without choking. They just suck the puree back and swallow as if it is milk. Real food must be chewed/mashed and then swallowed.
  4. As a family that is in a strict budget, this method of feeding our son is the most cost effective. He eats the natural, usually organic, whole foods we eat. No special baby foods to purchase or prepare.
  5. Our family palate is shared from the beginning. Instead if bland purees, our son consumes what is already being prepared in our home. Less chance of a picky eater!
Here is how another blogger describes BLW: 
“The idea is that as babies gradually start to learn how to pick up and eat food, they will proportionally start weaning themselves from breast milk or formula. At first when babies don’t get a whole lot of food in their mouths it is OK, because breast milk or formula is more than enough to sustain them. Introducing food at this age, whether traditional or BLW, is just about introducing food to them, not getting X amount of calories in them at each feeding. So it is a very easy, gradual and peaceful way to introduce food and start the very slow weaning process.” – Stephanie Cornais


Blaze eats some days and others day he isn't too interested in food. We offer him food about twice a day now. He adores lemons. I love watching him eat them. He puts it in his mouth and makes a terrible face! Then he eats more. So far, Blaze has tried squash, pumpkin, apple, lemon, lime, carrots, avocado, egg yolk, sweet potato, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, watermelon, prunes, and green beans. When I give Blaze his mid day meal he has lots of fun. I strip him down to his diaper and let him enjoy playing with and tasting his food.


I wish I could tell you I have never given Blaze anything but whole foods from our meals in a BLW style of feeding. I can't. I was going to leave this part out, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized this is probably the most important part. 

We have family that eats with us often. We live in a small, sheltered mountain town. There is a way people are used to doing things. They are definitely not afraid to tell a new mom about that way. After probably 20 meals where people alarmingly exclaimed,

 "Won't he choke?" 
"Oh, no, there is a piece in his mouth!"
"Shouldn't you just feed him baby food?"

Even my husband is a little nervous about the whole idea.

I found meal times to be stressful. Constantly trying to defend how I introduce solids to my son. So what did I do? I wimped out. I caved. I purees. I fed them to him at certain meals when others were watching. I felt guilty. I did not want to do it this way.

Concluding Thoughts

We have found our way back to BLW. I am gaining confidence as a mother. Baby steps for me and our Blaze. Purees are not bad, they just weren't part of the plan. Sometimes he may gag, but he won't choke. People will have their opinions, Blaze only has one mommy. Each new food is an adventure, that is one of the best parts of BLW....he gets to experiment with his food! 


Friday, September 27, 2013

Five On Friday

I have been keeping up with a couple blogs that do this. I enjoy reading the little snippets from their lives! I decided to join in the fun!
Autumn. It is in the air. It is in my heart. Does anyone else get as excited as I do about Fall? The leaves, the beauty, the change! So rich and beautiful in color and design I can't help but think of the Creator. He did such a great job! Below is a view from our driveway last Autumn....I can hardly wait for it to look like this again.
TheGuacShop is open for business. Made three sales between opening day and this week! Since I began staying home after the birth of our son, this is the first "income" (other than an occasional babysitting job) I have brought into our home. I just couldn't stop smiling! It isn't nearly finished; in the future I plan to add items like homemade, organic, cloth diaper safe Baby Butt(er), homemade deodorant, gift tags, and more!

Isabelle Klevansky.
My 5'2" Russian Jewish grandmother.
She passed away when I was only 9.
I will never forget her.
Some people are seared on your heart with such clarity....
Hot tea, bangles to her elbows, fairy tales read from a book 80 years old, a little cottage in the woods, antiques, flea markets, my first trip to Disney World as she battled cancer, eating lox, writing on the mirror with her lipstick - she was full of fire, vivaciousness, and a zest for life! I hope I have made her proud.

At just over 8 months old, Blaze took his very first steps last Wednesday! Talk about exciting! This mama was jumping up and down and dancing around. So proud of my boy!

Foster babies, er, children, but they are all babies. I walk into their room each morning with Blaze (he likes to pull the fan and light cords). I pray for the bed to be filled with the right child. I pray for my own heart and motives. I pray for my husband who works 70 hour weeks but still wants to open his home to children in need. I am honored. I am frightened. I am excited. May we love them well.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tastes Like Fall!

I adore this time of year!
Cool weather makes me feel more alive than any other type of weather.
Not to mention that pumpkin is the flavor of Fall!

I thought I would share my newest Fall recipe. I have always enjoyed a good pumpkin spice latte. Over the years I have created and re-created this classic drink in my own kitchen. Well, below I will share the ultimate re-creation: the Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Latte!

Make it.
I promise Fall will explode in your mouth.
Oh, and you will consume 12 grams of protein.
And some good fat.

Bulletproof Pumpkin Spice Latte

Blend all of your ingredients for about 1 minute in the blender! Enjoy the perfection. 

As an added bonus, I will share my homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice recipe:
  • 5 parts cinnamon
  • 1 part nutmeg
  • 2 parts clove
  • 1 part ginger
  • 1 part cardamom
I make this up and store it in a glass jar! I use it year round.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cloth Diaper Revisions

Back in March I shared my thoughts on cloth diapering....Blaze has grown quite a bit since then. and our cloth diapering routine has changed some. I get questions from friends on facebook at least once a week about various cloth diaper related issues, so I figured an update is warranted.


Yep, we ditched the pocket diapers.

Pocket diapers are wonderful the first couple months when your little person only pees a couple ounces every few hours. Then, your little person gets a bladder the size of a grown man (don't ask me how it fits in their body, I have proof it is there in every diaper I change) and can pee through a double stuffed pocket onto you and the couch immediately after you changed the last soaked diaper. No. Fun.

Another thing about pockets: they seem to breed yeast. I have talked to several mamas that agree their microfiber inserts seemed to keep yeast coming. If any of you have had a little one with a yeast diaper rash you know how challenging it can be to get rid of. We went through two prescription creams with no success. I will share the natural remedies that did work in a future post.

So, if not pockets, what works?
Every family is different, so take this with a grain of salt. I am sharing our personal experience, but I realize cloth diapering is not a one-type-of-diaper-works-for-all situation.

I like to think of our routine in two sections: Daytime and Nighttime.

Our fitted, flats, and hybrids.
At home I have Blaze wear flats most of the time. I leave him coverless so his skin can breathe. We have three different brands of flats. I have some osocozy flats that are the thinnest and least absorbent diaper we use. They are fine for around the house when I am able to change him immediately. I purchased some used bamboo/hemp blend jersey flats from a mom who makes them herself. They are stretchy and wonderful all around. I have 9 of them and we use them a lot. Bamboo/hemp blends are very absorbent even though the material is pretty thin. My favorite flat is an Orange Diaper Company bamboo terry loop toddler square. These guys are the real deal. Organic, cushy, absorbent! So cute on the bum. I only have three I purchased from a mom that never used them. They run $14 each if you buy them from OCD, I got mine for $8 each!

If we are running errands or going to visit someone for a couple hours, I like to use a hybrid fitted diaper. These diapers are usually made by WAHMs and are still breathable for babies skin because their is no PUL in the diaper at all. They are not entirely waterproof, but they have an added material (usually fleece) hidden in between the inside and outside layers to repel the moisture back into the core of the diaper. I can keep Blaze dry in these for about 2-3 hours at a time.

If we plan on going out for an extended period of time, or I know that other people will hold Blaze a lot, I use a fitted or a flat with a PUL cover over it. I am his mommy and it does not bother me much if he is a little damp and I touch it, but most people are kind of grossed out if you hand them a baby with a diaper that is damp to the touch!

Wool is bulletproof. I mean it. I do believe wool works for all babies (unless they are allergic to it), you just have to figure out what works best for your baby underneath it! Before we switched to wool, Blaze was wetting me and the bed every night. We tried disposables, he wet through them as well. Apparently, night nursing keeps him quite hydrated. I tried getting up in the middle of the night to change him, but he is bone dry until sometime between 4 and 6am when he seems to empty his entire bladder all at once!

Our wool and our covers.
After much trial and error, I found his perfect combination! I take a hemp double and a bamboo soaker and lay them inside a hybrid fitted. Then I cover his fluffy little bum with wool longies or shorties. If I am out of soakers, I fold a bamboo flat diaper bag style and put it on him under the hybrid. He has not wet through this system yet!

We still use our homemade detergent and have had no stink or ammonia issues whatsoever.
The recipe is:
2 boxes each of -
Arm and Hammer Washing Powder
Baking Soda

Mix well.
For cloth diapers do not add any scent, but if you want to make a batch for your regular laundry, adding 20-40 drops of your favorite essential oil makes it pretty wonderful.

We quit using dryer sheets a couple years back. We use wool dryer balls. They cut our drying time by 20-30 minutes as well as reduce static.

I often pick up Blaze's diapers used. I purchase off various sites and have even befriended a couple of the mamas and learned quite a bit from them. Buying used saves between 50 and 95% on cloth diapers. A fitted or hybrid can cost $25-50 brand new; used is the way to go! We strip our used diapers with boiling water, vinegar and lots of hot washes.

Here are some resources for those of you interested:
Brands of fitteds/hybrids I like:
Bagshot Row Bamboo
Good Mama
Little Fancy Pants
Snuggly Baby

Brands of wool I like:
The Raspberry Patch Boutique
So Simple Natural

Brands of covers I like:
Blueberry Capri

Do you cloth diaper? What are your favorites brands/types/styles? Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask me and I will try to help troubleshoot.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Grand Opening

I am stoked to introduce my Etsy shop!

I struggled to find a name I like that was not already taken. After many tries I finally came up with The Guac Shop which I think goes well with my blog name, right? Check it out by clicking the link below!

Currently, I have a couple monthly onesie stickers in the shop. In the very near future I will add some Organic, cloth diaper safe Baby Butt(er) and homemade deodorant! I also hope to add some creative, vintage Christmas tags.

I am all about custom orders, that is how my shop began! If you want me to create a custom set of monthly onesie stickers for you, or as a shower gift, please convo me on Etsy and I can make some very special stickers for a little one you love! 

Now for the fun part! As part of our Grand Opening, I have created a special coupon code for my readers! If you enter OPEN20 at checkout, you will receive 20% off your total order! This includes custom orders as well! 

I can't wait to begin creating more! Suggestions for items are welcome!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Name Game

Alright, I am taking the plunge....
And opening my very own WAHM shop on Etsy!

I made my very first cloth diaper last week. It is a hybrid fitted (because I used fleece on the inside to wick the moisture back to the center). It fits Blaze okay and has pretty good absorbency, but definitely needs a little work before I begin selling them! I am crazy excited about it though! Especially since I had sewn a total of four times prior to making this diaper. Oh, and I was using an ancient (as in 40 years old) sewing machine. Anyone have a newer dinosaur they can donate to my cause?
Bought the print from the clearance section at Wal-Mart.

A little bulky, but they work! You hear me? They work!!!!!
Okay, so obviously I hope to sell these in my shop. Additionally, I intend to sell monthly stickers that go on baby clothes. I created some for Blaze before he was born and I recently made some Disney themed ones custom for a friend! I am stoked about these as well.

Not the greatest photo (I don't plan on selling any photography), but aren't they just adorable???

4 Months and the cutest boy on Earth!
After 8 months, I have finally perfected my diaper cream, and it even smells nice now! 
Blaze always gets complimented on how he smells...thanks to homemade organic baby oil.
So, you get the picture, I plan to sell cloth diapers, onesie stickers, homemade organic diaper cream, and possibly even my homemade deodorant. I am sure there will be other items relevant to mothering, breastfeeding, natural homemaking, etc.

Here is where you come in: my shop needs a name! 
I typed in all the good names I could think of and they are taken. 
Holy Guacamole, All Good Things, Sarah's Place, Blaze Mama, Mama Llama, The Crunch Shop, Not So Crunchy, Mama Designs, Good Things Designs....
Some of you know me personally, some of you know me through the blog; when you think of my lifestyle, my products, my personality, what comes to mind?

Post in the comments any ideas...who knows, there may be a reward....MAYBE! If not a tangible one, then at the very least I will credit you here if I use your idea!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Keep Them Close Part II

Remember how I promised a giveaway hosted by the amazing mama that owns this Etsy shop? Today is the day my friends! I am stoked to be partnering with Megan as she so generously decided to sponsor this giveaway!

What will you get?
A custom made Kanga wrap suitable for newborn babies up to approximately 35 pounds (shipping will be covered as well)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Two custom Kanga Wraps!

Nearly 30 pounds and still babywearing.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Keep Them Close

For those of you that don't know me personally, I am a huge fan of Attachment Parenting (AP). What does that mean, exactly?

Bedsharing (sleeping with a snoring husband and snoring infant).
Exclusive Breastfeeding (until 2 years old, just kidding!).
Baby-led weaning (letting your child make messes with food).
Babywearing (pregnancy goes on, and on, and on).

There is more to it than this, but these methods of parenting are what usually happen when you ascribe to AP. Essentially, the philosophy is that your baby (under three years old?) should feel secure, safe, and attached to their parent pretty much all the time. If this is done successfully, the child (four and up?) will have that secure bond as a starting place for independence.

I do allow my son to cry. Just not to "cry it out" (as in, scream for me from his crib until he falls asleep exhausted).
I do let my baby play independently. Often for up to an hour at a time. If he gets upset or needs attention, he gets it. He is eight months old!

So there you have it, my parenting style in a nutshell. If you want to learn more about AP, here are some great resources:

Why even bring this up, you ask?
Well, I want you to know the reason I asked a Work at Home Mom (WAHM) to sponsor a giveaway on your behalf. I am passionate about keeping our babies close. Keeping them secure. Safe. Warm. Held.

Babywearing is a fundamental part of my parenting style. We never used a car seat carrier. We did not put our son in a stroller often at all until he hit 30 pounds. He was worn. Funny sounding, but true. I have used a baby carrier since his birth and loved it. Blaze would sleep while I did dishes, vacuumed, shopped, washed laundry, etc. It was wonderful!
Until 6 months old, he almost always slept while carried.
Valentine's Day 2013; Blaze was just 5 weeks old.
Feeling successful! Very first solo shopping trip as a mommy.
Blaze loved being carried. I purchased my Kanga Wrap from a WHAM that did a beautiful custom job for me! It was thin and stretchy so Blaze and I stayed cool and it fit my plus figure!

There are many styles of baby carriers.

Ring slings.
Mai Teis.
Greenville, SC; carrying my nearly 30lb baby!

The lingo can get confusing.
My two favorites are the Ergo and Moby or wrap
style carrier (mine is called a Kanga Wrap).

Here are some links to the various styles:
Ring Sling/Pouch
Mai Tei

For an infant, ages newborn to about 6 months, I found the Moby to be my favorite option.

After Blaze hit about 20lbs, he was more easily carried in my Ergo.

Here is the fun part:
The amazing mama that made my Kanga Wrap has agreed to sponsor a custom Kanga Wrap Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!

Megan is a college educated WAHM of two beautiful children. An outdoorswoman, artist, and California native, she is raising her family in Arizona. She owns the Kanga's Pouch Etsy shop where she sells custom made wraps similar in style to a Moby.

 I am nothing but pleased with my Kanga wrap, so much so that I purchased one as a gift for a close friend recently!

And the giveaway starts.........very soon!!!!