Friday, March 29, 2013

He is still enough.

This is the season we remember.
We remember betrayal.
We remember sin.
We remember a Man.
We remember a ministry.
We remember a cross.
We remember death.
We remember abandon.
We remember a tomb.
We remember a KING.

We remember He is no longer on a cross. He is not dead. His ministry continues. His death atones. His life redeems. What was stolen is returned. What was missing has been found.

As my life is filled with dreams, vision, and hopes for the future, Good Friday reminds me that "It is finished". I do not have to strive. I do not have to contend. I need not grow weary of well doing. I don't have to plan out my future. All else is sinking sand. I am naught. He is enough.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baby Tropical...Coconut on His Bum

As we continue to delve into the world of cloth diapers, I feel the need to share a recipe! I have several friends that are just about to start their cloth diapering journey (so excited for them) and I think they might like to try this easy cloth wipe solution.

Cloth Wipe Solution

Ingredients:
  • 2 drops tea tree oil (read about why I use this oil here)
  • 4 drops lavender oil (read about why I use this oil here)
  • 1 Tablespoon almond oil (olive oil would work as well)
  • 1 cup of water

You can make this solution several different ways. 
  1. You could save a wipes container and fill it with folded cloth wipes. Then you could mix up this solution and pour it over your wipes. 
  2. You could pour it into a glass jar and keep it with your wipes. Then, just shake the jar at each use and dip your wipes into it.
  3. I purchased 2 spray bottles for $1 a piece (1 for the diaper bag and 1 for his changes at home) and pour the mixture into the bottles. Then I shake and spray each change!
I plan to start making larger batches (a gallon at a time) soon in order to save time. This current recipe lasts for about 2 days of diaper changes.

What do I wipe his bottom with? So glad you asked. After looking at hundreds (literally) of adorable handmade cloth wipe packages on Etsy, diaper junction, and other CD websites, I finally decided I could not justify spending twenty dollars on 25 cute fabric squares. Since many of the items we bought for our sweet boy were found frugally, I frequent yard sales and thrift stores. During one thrifting trip I purchased a bag of twelve soft and well loved receiving blankets. Two baby showers left us with a plethora of new blankets, so what better way to upcycle our used blankets than to cut them into thin, soft wipes? I was not precise and took no measurements, but the basket next to Blaze's changing pad is filled with super soft and colorful cloth wipes for only TWO DOLLARS! Oh, and if used items just aren't your thing, check out these wash cloths which I have seen at Wal-Mart for $3.99. You could get 100 cloths for what most people pay for half that many!

We have covered many of the basics regarding my cloth diapering practices, but I know you are all wild with wonder regarding the enticing title on this post. Well, who doesn't love cuddling a sweet smelling baby? My baby always smells faintly of a long day on the beach. Why? His little bum is slathered in coconut oil! Yes, no need to reread...COCONUT OIL! The benefits of coconut oil are so numerous I have read posts that cite over 100 uses for it! In a very soon coming post I will be elaborating on the various ways we use this wonderful oil in our home. Little man man was given some A+D cream for free at the hospital which we used while in disposable diapers (his circumcision cite was healing up). Interestingly, he developed a small rash despite our religious use of the cream at each diaper change. Once we switched to cloth, I used some Burt's Bee and also Boudreaux's which did not clear up his rash and left me stripping his leaky diapers (watch for a post about CD, diaper creams, and stripping). Finally, at the suggestion of a friend who also CDs, I started using coconut oil at each diaper change - and oh the joy that filled my soul as I overheard my nay-saying, anti-crunchy, crazy soggy, most wonderful and beloved husband announcing to his mother, "Sarah began using coconut oil on Blaze at diaper changes and his rash went away in two days". Ahem, surely he will now bow at my feet. crown me crunchy momma queen, and NEVER mock my homemade soaps, detergents, shampoos, and condiments again! SURELY. NOT. You win some, you lose most in my crunchy little world.

Next time you hold little man man you can thank me for slathering his little bum in coconutty goodness, yummy little baby!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Extra Load of Laundry Every Third Day

Okay, so as most of you already know, I am pretty much addicted to cloth diapering. I remember researching cloth diapers even before I got pregnant; then, once pregnant, spending hours searching every blog and website on cloth diapering that I could find. It was not hard to make the decision - anytime I find something my family needs that has a healthier and less expensive alternative, I figure it is worth its weight in gold. Several friends have recently asked me how cloth diapering is going for us, what types of wipes we use, how we launder our diapers, and on and on. I will comment on these and other cloth diapering pros and cons in my next couple of posts.

Let's begin at the beginning. What type of cloth diapers do I use? After much research and upon the recommendations of two friends, I went with these diapers. They are fairly inexpensive compared to other brands (I paid $6.00 per diaper, and each came with 2 inserts). You can look here to get an idea of how expensive many name brand cloth diapers are (ranging from $7-$25 per diaper). Some people take ethical issue with these being made in China, but this particular company is run by a lady who cloth diapers her own children and not a mass producing, low paying, sweat shop set up.

It did take a solid month for me to receive these beauties from China; I am pretty sure diapers made in the good old USA would arrive a bit faster. Tracking them proved confusing as well. Even though Sun Baby sent me a tracking number right away, I could not track much until they arrived in the States, and it was all a day or two behind....made me appreciate our system a little more!
My best friend, Blaze's godmother, gifted us 12 extra diapers for our stash.
My favorite thing about these diapers kind of happened by accident. When I purchased them I did not have a good understanding of the various types of diapers. These are called pocket diapers which I now know means the insert slips inside a pocket in the cover. The downside (in my opinion) to this type of diaper is that it means you have to wash the entire thing every time you change the baby - and how is that economical? So, I use the inserts outside of the pocket. All I do is lay the soft, bamboo blend insert inside of the diaper and snap it closed. Voila! Now the diaper cover lasts for multiple changes...sometimes an entire 24 hours! We only have to switch out the insert and snap the diaper back together.

Another wonderful component of many cloth diapers is they now make them in "one size", meaning they have various sizing options on one diaper. Our Sunbaby diapers are made to fit Blaze until he is 35lbs. He was 10lbs 4oz at birth and we began using them on the smallest setting when he was 10 days old (just after his circumcision site fully healed). They fit him quite well and we have had very few leak issues.

Now, I have heard soon-to-be mommas site extra laundry as a huge draw back and aversion to cloth diapering. What if I told you I only do ONE extra load of laundry every third day? Essentially, I do two extra loads a week in order to keep our diapers clean and in stock! In my next post I will share how I make my own cloth diaper/baby and mommy clothing detergent for about $20 a year, what type of wipes I didn't buy, and more!

One last note on health related to use of disposable diapers. The initial article I used above mentions dioxins in disposable diapers. The following article discusses the problems cause with a rise in male infant scrotal temperatures when in disposables. This is definitely a concern for moms of male babies.

Food for thought: Up until the early to mid 1980s, all babies were cloth diapered. Why the switch? Convenience? At whose expense?

Please feel free to post questions and I will make every effort to address them in future posts.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You "Dye" Your Hair?!???!!?

Well, not exactly. I suppose you could say that I stain my hair. Maybe you don't have the kind of hair I do; you know, brown hair that is medium thickness and very long - that turns a brassy copper in the sun? Since you probably don't have my kind of hair, this post will seem ridiculous, but here goes anyway.

My hair turns RED, not pretty red, copper; like a penny!
So there you have it, a BEFORE picture....with copper NOT (pretty, Anne of Green Gables) red. I know you don't have this problem. Just me.

My goal in "staining" my hair is to get my nice, brown hair back. What is staining? Well, as you have probably figured out from the picture in my last post, I use tea to stain my hair. Yes, tea! And coffee, yes coffee! Here is how I do it.

I use black tea, and just so happened to have a nice smelling vanilla black tea at the house. I use between 8 and 10 bags and steep them in 2 cups boiling water until the water reduces to about 1 cup. Then I place a mesh strainer in the pot and add a coffee filter to it. I add 3 Tablespoons of coffee grains and 1 more cup of water. I boil the mixture for 5 minutes. I then remove the coffee filter and mesh strainer and allow the mixture to cool for a solid 30 minutes. Finally, I drape a towel over my shoulders and pour my "stain" over my hair. I leave said mixture on my hair for at least one hour (sometimes, I lay a towel over my pillow and leave it on overnight). Once I am ready to rinse my hair, I wash it just like normal and enjoy my renewed and refreshed hair color! 

Now I have hair that is a pretty, dark brown!


Okay, so there you have it....how I go from copper to espresso. What about blondes and redheads? Well, you can enjoy tea staining as well. Omit the coffee, and blondes, you should use chamomile tea (about 6 bags); redheads, you guessed it, red tea! Staining usually lasts a good couple months for me, but I use homemade shampoos without chemicals that would quickly fade the results.

Have fun ladies, experiment! Oh, and for those of you that still love your pretty box of chemicals, here is some light reading.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Holy Guacamole?

So...I have decided to try this - again. I am hesitant to create a blog. In the past I have not been successful at it. I am uncertain as to whether that was due to my inability to capture an audience or a lack of life experience; either way, here we go again. Welcome.

Over the past weeks and months many of you have requested my recipes, advice regarding natural childbirth, help with breastfeeding, and how I use natural and/or homemade products in our home. I look forward to sharing with you on here. If I get lots of responses I will know that this blog is helpful; if I don't, I will probably consider it another flop.

Well, I have enough chili on the stove and in my crock pot to feed 20 people...no joke! My four nephews are headed over for a hearty meal tonight, as well as my mother-in-love and brother-in-love! Here is my favorite way to cook an inexpensive, healthy, and easy chili.

Crock Pot Chili
Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of red kidney beans
  • 1/2 bag of black beans
  • 1/2 bag of white navy beans
  • 1/2 bag of pinto beans
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1lb ground meat of your choice (I use local, grass fed beef)
  • 2 cans unsalted, diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans ro-tel (I use the store brand most of the time)
  • 3T chili powder
  • 2T cumin
  • 1T fresh, minced garlic (or you can add garlic powder)
  • 1T onion powder
  • 1T real, unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
I soak my beans overnight in the refrigerator. If you don't, I highly recommend reading up on phytic acid. Once soaked, add beans and all the canned tomatoes to your crock pot and turn it on low. Next, put your butter in a pan and turn it on medium-low heat. Dice your onion and add it to your pan. Saute until translucent and slightly golden. Add your meat, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and onion powder. Brown your meat and then add it to your crock pot of beans. Cook on the high setting for 8-12 hours or low for 14-18 hours. This recipe serves about 8 people heartily. It is also very low in sodium, high in fiber and protein.


Beautiful noises are erupting from the kitchen - so I better go and give my pots a good stir!

I leave you with a picture of the cutest baby on Earth...
Blaze Josiah...2 months old. 12 pounds 8 ounces. 25 inches long.


and a hint about my next post...
Do you color your hair?