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)!!!

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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.

Vaccines.
Natural Child Birth
Solids.
Bed Sharing.
Breastfeeding.
Cloth Diapers.
Attachment Parenting.
Child Spacing.
Pacifiers.
Organic food.
Essential oils.
Budgeting.
SIDS.
Formula.
Babywearing.

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

Success

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.

Struggles

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 bought.....organic 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! 

Resources


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!
ONE.
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.
TWO.
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!

THREE.
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.

FOUR.
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!


FIVE.
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.

Fitteds.
Hybrids.
Flats.
Wool.

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.

 Daytime
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!

Nighttime
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 -
Borax
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
Rearz
Thirsties
Snuggly Baby

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

Brands of covers I like:
Blueberry Capri
Thirsties

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:
http://www.attachmentparenting.org/
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting
http://www.amazon.com/Attachment-Parenting-Book-Commonsense-Understanding/dp/0316778095/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379013295&sr=1-1&keywords=attachment+parenting
http://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Your-Baby-Parents-Cosleeping/dp/1930775342/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379013358&sr=1-1&keywords=co+sleeping

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.
Ergos.
Mobys
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
Ergo
Moby
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!!!!