Sunday, November 30, 2008

Unto us a Child is Born!

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

This is one of my favorite scriptures, especially at this time of year when I can get away with singing it. ☺

In my book, the Christmas season begins as soon as Thanksgiving is over...never before, but immediately afterwards. So it's Christmas time here, and this blog is celebrating! I'm hoping to have daily posts with reminders of the real Reason we celebrate this season. ☺

Friday, November 28, 2008

Frugal Friday: Save the Bones!

I'm guessing there's a good chance you ate turkey yesterday. I'm guessing there's also a good chance that there was a big pile of turkey bones left after the meal. What did you do with them?
Over the holidays many families cook large meals, often with a big meat dish as the focal point. Meat is expensive, and it goes fast, but when the meat is gone, hold onto the bones! Bones are full of nutrients, and can provide several more meals if you know what to do with them. At our house, bones never end up in the garbage can!

The best part of the bird, really!

My cooking blog has (or will have) more detailed recipes for bone broth, but here's a short overview:

  • Bones (in the marrow) have lots of vitamins in them. The best way to get those nutrients out is to leech it out into broth. You know how you always heard that chicken soup was good when you're sick? Well, if it's made with real bone broth, it actually does have immuno-boosting properties! If you add 1 Tbs or so of vinegar to the water, it helps to get the nutrients out of the bone and into the broth.
  • Adding onion, celery, garlic, or other herbs can make for a richer broth, but they are optional.
  • Putting fat and skin in the broth will make it nice and fatty, and it does taste good, but those parts of the animal (especially poultry) tend to hold toxins, so many people prefer to avoid having them in the broth.
  • Putting meat in the broth will not add to flavor, and it will suck the flavor out of the meat...so strip off the meat, then make the broth with just the bones. After the broth is done, strain it, and then if you want to make soup go ahead and put the meat back in at the end.
  • Feel free to use bones that have been nibbled...after all, 12 hours of boiling will destroy any germs...
  • If you don't have enough bones to make a broth yet, just save them in the freezer until you do have enough.
  • Once made, bone broth can be canned in a pressure cooker and kept in the pantry, or it can be refrigerated or frozen. My mom puts it in a jar in the fridge to cool, then freezes it in ice cube trays. Once it's frozen into cubes, she stores it in a big ziplock bag in the freezer. Anytime she has a recipe that calls for broth, she can easily grab a cube or two or five and toss them in!
  • Oh yeah, real bone broth tastes better than that canned stuff or *gag*choke* MSG-laden bullion. Use it for soups, sauces, graveys, or even cooking rice.

Chicken and Turkey Put the bones in a crockpot, cover them with water, and let them simmer at least overnight (they can stay as long as 2 days if you don't get to them sooner) . If you don't have a crockpot, you can let them simmer on the stove for at least 4-5 hours (ideally 8-12). At this point the bones will be bending, breaking, and literally falling apart. This is good--it means you've gotten all the nutrients out of them! Strain out all the solids, and voila, the best broth you've ever had.

Beef Same as chicken, just stick the bones in a crockpot or stockpot, and let them simmer for hours...

Ham Take that hambone and stick it in the pot along with any bits of leftover ham, plenty of water, and lots of beans. My mom always used pinto beans, my mother in law uses white 'navy' beans. You can pretty much use whatever you like. Add some onion, garlic, celery, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Let it simmer all day...

Pork (ribs etc) Honestly, we give these ones to the dog. She loves them. I have never tried making stock with them, and I don't know how well it would work. On the other hand, we don't eat pork that often.

Mmmm, nothin like real broth!

(I wish you could smell this picture!)

Go hug your kids

November 28 is when I remind myself...and all of you what losing a sister to SIDS taught me

So go hug your kids. You don't really have them for very long.

(Love you Amy.)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Year's Worth of Gratitude


Here it is, 365 things to be thankful for, one for each day of the year. I realize it's a long list and you probably won't read every single item, but writing them all out sure was good for me! They are sorted into categories, but are in no particular order within those categories--nor are the categories in any particular order... (And if you did a list too, scroll to the bottom to link up! Be sure to put the link directly to your post, not just to your blog homepage.)
Incidentally, for a little more inspiration, visit this post on Cultivating Gratitude--it's awesome! (She's working on a list of 1000 things!)
Also check over at Internet Cafe Devotions for more thankfulness lists (it's this week's entry in the Christmas series...)

FAMILY (37)

  1. eternal families
  2. my husband
  3. being married
  4. being a mother
  5. Big Wolf
  6. Little Bear
  7. adoption
  8. my mother, who taught me how to raise children, keep a home, and ask questions about everything
  9. my dad, who taught me to get out and do things, and to believe in myself
  10. my sister K, my roommate/best enemy/friend for the last 25 years
  11. my brother B, who is basically me, as a guy
  12. my brother J, who is happy
  13. my sister A, forever a baby, and a reminder to cherish the little moments
  14. my brother C, the first baby who loved me
  15. my sister L, the one who is truly like me
  16. my sister N, who is willing to try anything
  17. my brother D, who is only 7, and younger than my own son
  18. My doggie, Koira, because yeah, she's part of my family.
  19. being part of a big family (and not just because it filled so many slots on this list!)
  20. grandma M for years of glorious pies and jam, and the worlds best recipe for homemade rolls (the food network has got nothin on grandma!)
  21. grandpa M for exciting nights of listening to him on his ham radio
  22. grandma B for remarkable homemade ice cream
  23. grandpa B for his weird stories and dry sense of humor (which I've inherited)
  24. being able to know all four of my grandparents
  25. having gotten to meet five of my great-grandparents
  26. my son got to meet the last of my great-grandparents (so his great-great-grandfather)
  27. I was able to be baptized for my great-grandma Betty after she died
  28. being raised with traditions from my Germanic and Scandinavian heritage
  29. great great great grandpa William Morley Black's journal (it is such an inspiration--the link goes to a short excerpt)
  30. my cousin K who has been my pen-pal (more or less) for 20 years
  31. my cousin T, who has been my pen-pal too, but not for as long
  32. my aunt C, who taught me how to french braid my hair when I was 8
  33. great accepting and generous parents in-law (even though I think I freak them out from time to time)
  34. for my sister-in-law S after my first miscarriage
  35. for my sister-in-law L after my second miscarriage
  36. my brother-in-law T who is a registered socialist. I just have so much respect for him actually making that official. ☺
  37. JH, my adopted grandma, for interesting conversations, late nights on the lakeshore, and a really awesome Challah recipe
FRIENDS/PEOPLE (39)
  1. TC who taught me a whole lot about knitting, and became my friend when I needed one (and whom I miss terribly)
  2. LA who taught me to spin
  3. AM (now AA) who was my one friend in the theatre department who had morals and a work ethic like mine (the one I always tried to do group projects with)
  4. KG who first got me to question my parenting habits
  5. SF who has always been inspiring to me in natural parenting
  6. CS who taught me how to wear my sling
  7. CC who taught me about babywearing with something besides a sling
  8. JZ for great conversations and someone to be accountable to for morning walks after Bear was born
  9. Heather, who taught my BFW class and helped me prepare for a wonderful birth
  10. AT who keeps me thinking
  11. MC, my friend since high school
  12. CF, with whom I carpooled in college, and with whom I had dozens of delightful conversations
  13. AH, one college roommate I'm still in regular contact with
  14. BA, the college roommate who was nothing like me, challenged almost everything I thought I knew about life, and was awesome in every way
  15. NH, the college roommate who taught me to be more genuine
  16. Paulette, who taught me the intricacies of theatrical costuming and makeup
  17. Dr Laila Abdalla, my college English professor of Shakespeare and early British Lit, a short Egyptian-Canadian woman with big hair and an attitude the size of Alaska
  18. Doug Johnson, my college writing professor "the grammar nazi" who taught me 3/4 of what I know about writing
  19. SK, who taught me to make authentic East Indian food
  20. KK, who taught me how to decorate cakes, do a rope braid, and a loose bun
  21. KS, who taught me to sing
  22. TB, who taught me to perform music
  23. all the boys I've loved before
  24. all the people in my mommy's group in Utah Valley
  25. all the ladies in the knitting circle here in Pelican--they probably have no idea how much I look forward to those nights
  26. all the people in my mommy's group in Utah Valley
  27. My online friends (via forums or blogs) who've shown up and become my friends/readers at a time when I needed to feel noticed or loved (I didn't put whole names just in case I forgot somebody...☺): B
  28. B
  29. C
  30. E
  31. H
  32. E
  33. T
  34. S
  35. J
  36. J
  37. A
  38. N
  39. M

FAITH (25)
  1. Father in Heaven
  2. my Savior
  3. the gift of having the Holy Spirit as a constant companion
  4. agency (the right to make my own choices)
  5. the temple
  6. eternal covenants
  7. vicarious ordinances
  8. having my own temple recommend
  9. priesthood
  10. priesthood blessings
  11. scripture
  12. hymns
  13. tithing (I couldn't afford to not pay tithing!)
  14. a living prophet
  15. living apostles
  16. General Conference
  17. prayer
  18. personal revelation
  19. my testimony
  20. baptism
  21. the Atonement
  22. repentance
  23. grace (for by grace we are saved, after all we can do...)
  24. missionaries
  25. understanding the plan of salvation
MOMMY STUFF (20)
  1. that my not-yet-2-year-old likes to pee in the potty
  2. that he does #1 quite often
  3. seeing my children play together
  4. hearing my children sing
  5. watching my child sleep
  6. seeing their faces when they see something I have made for them
  7. helping my children pray
  8. hearing the things my children say when they pray on their own
  9. pregnancy
  10. feeling a baby move inside me
  11. co-sleeping
  12. breastfeeding
  13. being able to nurse from either side without rolling over (oh yes, the perks of being well-endowed!)
  14. babywearing
  15. cloth diapers
  16. wool longies
  17. my wraps
  18. my slings
  19. my pouch
  20. my 'buckle-tai' structured carrier
WONDERS OF CREATION (22)
  1. Roses
  2. Lilacs
  3. snapdragons
  4. baby's breath (flower)
  5. fields of pink heather
  6. sweet william (aka dianthus)
  7. phlox
  8. moss
  9. thyme
  10. doggies
  11. wolves
  12. bears
  13. eagles
  14. penguins
  15. dolphins
  16. seals
  17. the tide
  18. mountains
  19. sunshine
  20. snow
  21. the full moon
  22. moonlight on snow
MEDIA(13)
  1. The Dark Crystal (my first favorite movie)
  2. Life is Beautiful (my most favorite movie)
  3. Swing Time (my favorite dancing movie, with the best dance I've ever seen on film)
  4. "Be Still My Soul" (my hymn of comfort)
  5. Pachelbel's "Canon in D"
  6. Rachmaninoff's "18th variation on a theme by Paganini"
  7. Rich Mullens' "Awesome God"
  8. Carol of the Bells, What Child is This, Oh Holy Night, and all the other Christmas songs I love (which you'll get to hear about all month, starting tomorrow!)
  9. Point of Grace Christmas album
  10. Celtic Women album (I love the whole thing, which is rare)
  11. Michael W Smith (one of my favorite musicians)
  12. Stephen Curtis Chapman (another favorite)
  13. Janice Kapp Perry (a prolific songwriter)

HOME (17)
  1. kneading bread dough
  2. warm homemade bread
  3. living in a place where I can see Bald Eagles every day
  4. hot showers
  5. bubble baths
  6. jetted tubs
  7. flannel sheets that are never cold!
  8. my cast iron skillets
  9. all my pyrex dishes...I so hate plastic
  10. blender (smoothies!!!)
  11. electric mixer
  12. my crockpot
  13. electricity
  14. the Lay-z-boy recliner
  15. hot cocoa on a cold day
  16. Christmas music
  17. living in a free country
FAR FROM HOME (places I'm glad I've been) (28)
  1. the city of London
  2. Westminster Abby
  3. The tower of London
  4. The Globe Theatre (even though it's a remake)
  5. The top of Saint Paul's Cathedral
  6. Canterbury & the cathedral
  7. Rome
  8. St Peter's Bascilica
  9. The Sistine Chapel
  10. Asissi (birthplace of St Francis)
  11. Pompeii
  12. Delphi
  13. Rhodes
  14. Mars Hill (Athens)
  15. Ephesus (yes, that's in Turkey)
  16. Hawaii--NaPali coast
  17. USS Arizona Monument
  18. Punchbowl Cemetery (Honolulu)
  19. The Sacred Grove
  20. Hill Cumorah (I rolled down the front with my siblings)
  21. Bryce Canyon
  22. The Blue Mountains
  23. Washington DC
  24. SouthEast Alaska
  25. Sunrise viewpoint (Mt Rainier National Park)
  26. Tongue Point, WA (the coolest tidepools ever)
  27. Plimoth Plantation (living history of the pilgrims at Plymouth)
  28. NYC

PERSONAL (38)
  1. that my husband has good job-security (they don't fire teachers!
  2. that my husband has a regular paycheck (even if it's not real big)
  3. that I'm able to stay home, and that hubby is supportive of that
  4. knowing how to sew
  5. knowing how to sew well enough to make money at it
  6. knowing how to knit
  7. knowing how to do stranded knitting (which is SO fun)
  8. being almost done with my first knitted sweater!
  9. knit picks options circular needles (they are SO cool)
  10. knit picks and their yarn prices
  11. free knitting patterns online
  12. lots of free knitting patterns at my library
  13. being able to use my talents to make gifts for the people I love
  14. being able to use my talents to bless those I don't even know
  15. learning how to spin
  16. having a talent with doing hair
  17. finger dexterity
  18. knowing how to cook (which is an art)
  19. knowing how to bake (which is a science)
  20. my eyes
  21. my ears
  22. that my mother made me learn hymns (so now I can sing them without needing the hymnal)
  23. being able to read music
  24. being able to sing well
  25. having a college degree
  26. having a college education (all the stuff that happens outside of class!)
  27. that the first 2 years of my college were free, and the rest were cheap (because of scholarships and grants)
  28. having given birth
  29. dancing--both jazz and ballroom
  30. my long hair (what can I say, I love it!)
  31. my curves
  32. my wedding ring
  33. my mother's ring
  34. writing
  35. my blog (I find it so cathartic)
  36. everyone who has ever commented on my blog
  37. having renters we can trust (since they are 2000 miles away)
  38. my etsy shops
ETSY STUFF (22)
  1. that my husband is supportive of me running my shops
  2. Mothering street team, who first showed me how great a team can be
  3. Cloth Diapering street team, who have become my friends
  4. EtsyBloggers street team, who have gotten me lots of traffic
  5. friendly people in the 'critiques' forum who always give helpful advice
  6. etsy live chat, because it's made me more than a few sales
  7. the US postal service
  8. everyone who has ever purchased from me
  9. everyone who has ever recommended me/my shops to someone else
  10. everyone who has ever made a good trade with me
  11. everyone who has ever made a deal for me
  12. all those lots of people who just make darn good handmade stuff!
  13. having two well-stocked shops right now
  14. having sisters who help me with mailing things (since I'm rural, I left a lot of my stock with my sister and she mails it from down there in the lower 48).
  15. specific people who have been especially encouraging or helpful to me on etsy: laminathegreat, who told me about etsy in the first place
  16. unioncenterknits, who helped me raise my prices to something more fair to myself
  17. weeones, who made me the cutest custom stitch markers ever
  18. bundlesofjoy, from whom I made my first etsy purchase, partner in multiple subsequent trades, and now a dear friend
  19. deebleddo, for giving me a whopper of a deal on a very special embroidery project (can't tell what it is yet, it's a gift!)
  20. georganne, for being just plain inspiring
  21. alisaterry, who makes awesome stuff and traded with me for a whole bunch of it
  22. curiousworkmanship for her gifts, help, and a massive custom order at a time when I really needed the money

FOOD (35)
  1. pasta alfredo
  2. apples
  3. applesauce
  4. chocolate bavarian pie
  5. dutch apple pie
  6. Marie Callander's sour cream blueberry pie
  7. harvest (pinto) bean pie (yes, I like it more than pumpkin)
  8. cinnamon rolls
  9. cream cheese frosting
  10. Ben & Jerry's "Half Baked" (chocolate chip cookie dough meets fudge brownie)
  11. vanilla soft serve
  12. frozen yogurt
  13. frozen custard
  14. butter
  15. whipping cream (the real stuff of course!)
  16. blueberries
  17. strawberries
  18. peaches
  19. plums
  20. root beer
  21. homemade ice cream
  22. homemade smoothies
  23. onions
  24. cardamom bread
  25. swiss chocolate
  26. italian ice cream
  27. italian cream sodas
  28. brownies
  29. chicken (it's my favorite meat)
  30. Indian food
  31. Chinese food
  32. halibut parmisan
  33. lemonade--actually i prefer the fake stuff. go figure!
  34. people who cook for me
  35. people who share nummy recipes with me
TECHNOLOGY (25)
  1. indoor plumbing
  2. hot running water
  3. my sewing machine
  4. my serger
  5. long-distance phone service
  6. satellite broadcasts (for things like General Conference...and Iron Chef ☺)
  7. email
  8. internet
  9. Instant messaging
  10. ldssingles.com (cuz it worked for me! ♥)
  11. NaturalLDSLiving forums
  12. MotheringDotCom forums
  13. LongHairCommunity forums
  14. blogs in general (since I already mentioned mine in specific)
  15. scheduled blog posting!
  16. google
  17. Mozilla Firefox
  18. Firefox's username/password rememberer (oh how I love that feature!)
  19. word processors (because really, editing before printing and spellchecker are AWESOME you know?!)
  20. digital cameras
  21. my laptop
  22. rechargeable batteries
  23. electric stove (I'm not a fan of cooking over a fire!)
  24. dishwashers!!!!! (I'm so sick of handwashing--it's not too bad in college, but for a whole family it's a real drag)
  25. reliable mail service
LITTLE THINGS (44)
  1. pockets
  2. pillows
  3. combs
  4. hugs
  5. cuddles
  6. the way a new baby smells
  7. the softness of baby's skin
  8. baby kisses
  9. baby fingers and toes
  10. kids with dimples
  11. smiling
  12. straight teeth
  13. nail clippers
  14. the smell of freshly cut grass
  15. knowing how to type
  16. beanbags
  17. dangly earrings
  18. licking the beaters
  19. hot cocoa on a cold night
  20. sitting in front of the fireplace with a big blankey
  21. snow angels
  22. wristwatches
  23. wristwatches that light up
  24. German cuckoo clocks
  25. soft wool sweaters
  26. a clean kitchen sink!
  27. the color pink
  28. wool socks
  29. claw clips for my hair
  30. learning how to make these ☺♥☻♠○♣
  31. watching movies or seasons of TV shows (on DVD) with my Hubby
  32. when my hair makes ringlets (which it does occasionally)
  33. the smell of henna in my hair
  34. stairs (hey, they're good for me!)
  35. a good set of kitchen knives
  36. fuzzy slippers
  37. fleece
  38. lambswool
  39. alpaca yarn
  40. bamboo velour
  41. the feel of seal fur (it's the softest thing I've ever touched!)
  42. fabric gift bags (I ♥ them in the biggest way!!)
  43. automatic bullets/numbers in blog posts!
  44. being done with this list (it wasn't easy, and I confess to getting a bit stressed over it!)
365!

(I hear that Mr Linkys have been having issues lately, so if it's not working for you, please leave your link in the comments!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFMW--Christmas shopping on etsy

So, I usually celebrate "Black Friday" as "Buy Nothing Day."
In other words, on the day after Thanksgiving, when half the population of the USA gets up in the wee hours of the morning to go stand in three-hour-long lines to wait for one of only 137 wii consoles which are on sale for a mere $245...or who gather with friends, trade lists, and then spend 11 hours covering stores from one end to the other to spend hundreds of dollars (in the interest of saving dozens)....yeah, I sleep in.
And when I do get up, I stay serenely at home, buying nothing.
BUT, if you are one of those people who likes to buy things on Black Friday (and apparently it now carries through the whole weekend and includes "Cyber Monday"--this was news to me!), well, I have a recommendation: Etsy. I don't just say this because I'm a hardcore etsy fan, although I am. I don't just say it because I sell on etsy and I'd really like to make some sales this weekend, although I do and I would. No, I say it because shopping online is economical (no gas money!), lower stress (no lines and no crowds), and frankly, most of the stuff at walmart is cheap junk and most of the stuff on etsy is good. Also, literally hundreds of sellers on etsy are offering massive sales this weekend. Here is a link to one that I'm involved with (huge long list, sorted by category of shop contents), the EtsyFest icon at the top will take you to another (over 200 sellers, organized by category), and here is a third (click the icon):
...and there are lots lots more! Just wander on over to etsy, search around for things you're interested in, and see what specials that shop is offering!

You can see other Works for Me Wednesdays here!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Growing Up

If you've been reading a while, or know me at all, then you know that I am firmly against the idea of sticking a baby in a crib and letting them cry it out to go to sleep on their own. I breastfeed on demand and my baby sleeps in my bed with me. When he cries, I attend to him promptly. Of course, Bear is nearly 2 years old now, so if I'm in the middle of something I sometimes tell him he needs to wait a minute, because I know he's gaining understanding about that kind of thing...but I still attend to him when he asks for me. Perhaps a dozen times in his life he has gone to sleep somewhere other than my arms or by my side (ok, not counting roadtrips!) Some nights I've wished I could lay him in his crib at 8pm and he'd snuggle in and go to sleep on his own, but I have never regretted having him be a confident, attached baby.
The thing about attachment parenting is this: it needs to be working for both child and parent. Obviously I support breastfeeding, but if mom is unable to get two consecutive hours of sleep because the toddler keeps waking to nurse, well, nightweaning is a valid option. If mom likes the idea of co-sleeping, but is on medication and can't safely share the bed with an infant, then alternatives should be considered.
Last night had been a long time coming. For the last few months I've been working on getting Bear to go to bed at a regular time, and also trying to help him transition into a crib in our room. He's big, and we have a little bed. I snuggle and nurse with him in our bed, then once he's asleep i put him in his crib. I get him when he wakes, and sometimes nurse him then replace him in his bed, or sometimes he just ends up back in our bed again. He's never made it a full night in his crib, but he's done more than half on a couple of occasions. (I also want to night-wean him because I'm hoping to be pregnant again soon (now that I'm finally fertile again!) and extreme breast tenderness has always been my earliest sign of pregnancy.)
In spite of my efforts to make bedtime a peaceful quiet time with cuddles and lullabyes, Bear often uses it as an opportunity to play...he'll say "uder side" as he climbs over me, asking me to roll over and nurse him on the other side. Two minutes later it's "uder side" again, with more climbing... when this starts happening I know that his tummy is pretty full, and that he doesn't really want to nurse anymore...but he's too tired to know what he wants. He will keep this up for an hour if I let him. Well, last night after about 40 min of cuddles and nursing (20 of it with him goofing off), I had sore nipples and was going nuts. So I finally just put him in the crib with his stuffed tigger and his blankey, said "night night" and I went out.
He called for me of course, and I came back in, hugged him, explained that it was time to lay down and sleep, and left again. There is a nightlight near his crib, and the ambient light of the hallway comes in, so it's dim but not totally dark in there. I could tell that he was upset with me, but he was not scared. He called out to me a couple of times "hug!" and I came and gave him a hug--then set him back in the crib. Once he asked for "nurn" so I offered him a breast (but left him standing in the crib), and he turned it down flat. Clearly it wasn't the nurn he really wanted, and I knew that, but I still offered it because he asked. Once he started calling "mom! what doin?" and I called back that I was getting ready for bed and that he needed to lay down and go to sleep. Several times I snuck a peek at him (where he couldn't see me) and I heard him talking quietly to himself "way down, way down, way down..." [lay down] or "seep, seep, seep, seep" [sleep]. He complained a little, but never worked himself into a crying fit. He talked a bit and called out to me--and I responded to him, but always put him back in the crib.
He fell asleep in about 15 minutes. When I went to check on him, he was laying peacefully in his crib, snuggled under his little blanket, and with tigger laying on his tummy.
We'll be doing this again--cuddle and nurse, then into the crib to go to sleep. It's a major step towards his learning to sleep through the night (going to sleep without the breast!) He is almost 2, and that's certainly old enough to night wean and sleep through the night...I'd like a couple of months of real sleep before the next one comes!

Yes, Bear cried a little bit. But here's the thing: I believe that he didn't really "cry it out." He was never scared, he was never abandoned. He knew I was close, and I heeded his calls. He was upset with me for putting him in the crib rather than playing with him (or, rather, allowing him to play with me), but that is a very different thing from But at some point every child has to learn to go to sleep on their own. Someday I will need to be able to go to a meeting without having to take Bear (and keep him up late). Someday he has to learn to go to sleep for daddy or grandma or a babysitter. Leaving an infant alone is one thing, but Bear isn't an infant anymore, he's a toddler, and he knows he's not alone. It's just that at bedtime, mommy and the nurn have become a distraction rather than a help, so it's time to take them out of the room for a while.

Here's an interesting observation--Bear woke up around 1am (as he always does) and wimpered a little. I decided to remain silent for a minute and see if he would drop back off to sleep... He continued to wimper though, so I spoke to him, and immediately his light wimper turned into a full out cry and "mamamamamaaa." I think if I had left him longer he might have managed on his own...tonight I'll wait longer and see what happens.

ETA:
I try to parent in a Christlike way...so if I'm not sure how to handle something, I try to think of what Christ would do. I do not believe that Christ would ever leave a (spiritual) infant alone in the world. However, as we get older and stronger, with increased understanding, He does stand further off to the side to allow us to do things on our own...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How We Met--really!

If you are not familiar with the 'how we met' series, you should go read here first.

So I've told a few stories about how we didn't meet...I thought maybe I'd finally share how we DID meet.
I was in my final quarter of school at Central Washington University. Most of my friends had graduated the previous spring, but not all my classes were available every term, so I had to hang around one more quarter to get them done. My roommate went home every weekend, leaving on Friday around lunchtime and returning Sunday night...so I had long and lonely weekends. I mostly spent them online, surfing around and wasting time. One night, in a fit of boredom, I decided to check out LDSsingles.com. It was not a free service, but they had a short free trial, so I signed up for that.
Hubby was a young single father, living in Utah, who didn't go to many social events because he wanted to be with his son. His dad (who is somewhat of a technophobe actually) had encouraged him to join LDSsingles as a way to meet people while still being home with little Wolf. Over the course of a year or so, Hubby met and went on dates with a lot of women in his area, but nothing was going anywhere. One night, seeing that he had met everyone on the site who lived within 100 miles of him, he decided to extend the search parameters to 1000 miles...and found me the same weekend I joined.
When I saw that I had a message (and no, he wasn't the only one), I went and looked at his profile. I confess that my initial thought was "it's a divorced guy with a kid, that's not what I'm looking for..." but he'd said hi so I figured the polite thing to do was respond. (For what it's worth, by the end of that weekend I'd had messages from some real freaks, and stopped responding to most of them...so if Hubby had waited one more week he might not have found me, or I might not have responded...) Truly we were a match made by God. Coincidence could never have pulled it off!
We chatted online periodically, and even on the phone a couple of times, but we were over 800 miles apart, I was starting my student teaching, and we both started dating other people...
Skip forward about 7 or 8 months, and one night in April we found ourselves chatting online asking each other for dating advice about our current relationships which were falling apart. Really! Within a couple of weeks I had the distinct feeling that this was the man I was going to marry. (Hubby says that he knew from the very beginning that if I ever agreed to marry him he'd be a very lucky man. ♥ ) Anyway, in late May I went to the temple and prayed about him, and had the distinct feeling that he should come visit, and that when he did I would know for sure one way or the other.
On June 20 he flew up for the weekend...

♥ ♥ ♥

On December 20 we were married.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another WIP

Because this one deserves its very own post. ☺

You may remember how I took up spinning this fall? Well, along with spinning yarn, I've been knitting it up. :)

"Chocolate blueberries" in the batt (hand-painted by my friend Lamina)


and spun up...


knitting it together with plain vanilla (which I also spun)
(see how it's all ridged? this is my funky twisted stitching, which I have since figured out how to do correctly, so I'm having some trouble picking up this hat again because I'd have to go back to the funky knit...I've got several gifts I'm knitting /sewing right now plus trying to get my etsy shops well-stocked for the holiday season, so it's not like I've got extra time on my hands anyway, but maybe in January I'll get back to this one!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Frugal Friday--Laundry

Here's a list of ways to make laundry day a bit more economical:
  1. Hang clothes to dry on a clothes line.
  2. Cut your drier sheets in half or use them twice (drier sheets have FAR more stuff in them than the average load needs. Since the sheet usually ends up in the middle of the clothing, and I rarely see it until I've hauled all the clothes back upstairs, I just cut them in half.)
  3. Wash in warm or cold water rather than hot. (I use hot for the diapers, warm for undies/socks, and cold for everything else.)
  4. If you use a drier, do several loads back to back. The residual heat in the drier from one load to the next means it won't have to heat up as much for the next load, which saves electricity.
  5. Wash large loads rather than several smaller ones--it saves water.
  6. Wear clothes more than once before washing (ha, I just snuck that one in there!)(It's true though--if you wear a garment a couple of times before washing it, then not only will you spend less on washing it, but the garment will last longer because let's face it, washing machines are hard on clothes!) (Obviously if the item is visibly dirty or smells bad you should wash it, but I'm talking especially about things like jeans that can go all week!)
  7. Add a little plain cheap salt to your laundry--it loosens the fibers of the fabrics and makes the detergent more effective (so you can use less detergent per load)
  8. Use half the amount of laundry soap for average loads--you rarely need the full scoop.
  9. Make your own laundry detergent (recipe below).
  10. If you've been buying the expensive liquid detergent because it's gentler on your clothes, try this instead: get an old cup, and put the powdered detergent in the cup with some hot water. Mix until dissolved, then pour into the washer--voila, liquid detergent! (and also no more white detergent residue on dark clothes!)
  11. Be sure to regularly clean the lint screen on your dryer. If it's full of lint, it inhibits air circulation and slows drying time. (Also it's a fire hazard!)
Laundry soap recipe
please note that this recipe is NOT appropriate for cloth dipers with PUL, as the borax breaks down PUL...it'll work for everything else though!
1 cup borax
1 cup baking soda (it's milder than washing soda--washing soda is actually caustic and dangerous, and with the possible exception of diapers, you just don't need it)
1 grated bar of soap (~1.5 cups) (fels naptha is usually recommended, but it is pretty hefty stuff, I have used "pure & natural" and it's worked great...I have heard that you do NOT want to use ivory since it's a soap rather than a detergent...I have no personal experience, except to say that if you want to make a mix for washing diapers, you definitely want a detergent, NOT a soap!)
Mix all ingredients together. Add 3cups salt if desired.
Use 1 Tbs per load (2Tbs for heavily soiled items, or if you used salt)
Now see, that was easy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Traditions

I was already planning to spend much of the Christmas season (which for me begins the day AFTER Thanksgiving) sharing recipes and traditions and even holding giveaways! (click the blinky above to see the schedule of what's happening when, or to get the blinky for yourself!) On Thanksgiving Day they are holding a "Day of Gratitude" so it fits in perfectly with my Thanksgiving Challenge!
Today, Holiday Traditions, one of my favorite things in the world! Frankly, I think pre-Thanksgiving is a little early to be discussing this, but hey, it's a carnival, and some things take preparation so oh well, here goes!

I already told you about Pie Night which is a tradition we 'stole' from some neighbors and have made our own.
We try to incorporate the traditions of our ancestors into our holidays. My Germanic ancestors celebrated on Christmas Eve, so along with hanging stockings, and reading Luke 2 and other stories, we each open one gift on Christmas Eve (it's always the same thing--I sew matching flannel jammie pants for all the kids, which they then wear to bed that night).
In Norway, where it's cold and dark, Christmas celebrations are not limited to one day! They celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, then the 26th is "Second Christmas" and "Lil Juleaften" (Little Christmas Eve) on the 23rd. They mostly celebrate by having massive quantities of rich foods on all four days. We have chosen to celebrate Lil Juleaften by making a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner on that day (centered around Pork tenderloin, boiled potatoes, and whatever other Scandinavian foods strike our fancy that year).

Each family member has one personalized tree ornament and they always get to hang their own. We also have one from our first year as a married couple--we got married just a few days before Christmas, so Christmas was more or less on our honeymoon. ☺
We are also slowly collecting one ornament from each country where our ancestors were from...I'll be sharing pictures of some of those on the Dec 11 "Tour of Homes."

I have several awesome recipes, but I'm not posting them today...I'm saving them for Dec 18 when we post recipes!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

WFMW Have a Happy Period--no, really!

I hate the kotex ads, but the idea of a happy period is one worth considering! After all, for years we've heard about 'the curse' and 'that time of the month' in every negative way imaginable...but it doesn't have to be a negative thing!
Here are a few things you can do that can make it a much happier experience for you (and all the people who live with you!)
♥ Red Raspberry Leaf (in teas, capsules, or tinctures) RRL promotes general reproductive health, and will reduce cramps,
♥ Drink your water! Being dehydrated will exacerbate anything, and most people are dehydrated most of the time. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
♥ Take calcium and magnesium (magnesium is in chocolate, which is probably why you crave it, but the sugar will increase symptoms, so don't do it!) (RRL has both calcium and magnesium, as well as iron which is important because you're losing iron with the bleeding)
♥ Avoid caffeine, sugar, grease and salt.
♥ Drink chamomile tea.
♥ Exercise! Get those endorphins flowing, and it will lift your mood. Some women also report that it helps with cramps. If you're able to get out in the sunshine that should help too.
♥ If you can't get sunshine, try Cod Liver Oil--it is like liquid sunshine for your body, providing vitamins A and D as well as essential fatty acids. It's a major mood booster. (The brand I linked is actually quite pleasant--I mix it in yogurt or orange juice and it's not fishy at all!)
♥ Vitamin E can help with cramping pain (it must be chelated and powdered, the oil will not work).
♥ Vitamin B can help with stress and mood
♥ Try some yoga--cat's pose and child's pose are both good ones for menstrual woes. Aside from the relaxation and improved circulation, yoga can also release endorphins and improve mood.
♥ Many women report that switching to cloth pads or menstrual cups shortens the duration and heaviness of their flow, as well as reducing cramping.

Works For Me Wednesday is brought to you by Rocks in my Dryer. Come share your tips, or see what works for others! Click the icon above to go to this week's entry.

You Need a Wrap Too

Special thanks to RasJane (and her adorable sons) for letting me use so many of their photos in this post! I am still a relatively inexperienced wrapper, and didn't have many pictures of my own! I have linked to photos of a number of other carries that are publicly posted at TheBabyWearer. I used links rather than copying the actual photos because I do not have permission from those individuals to use their actual photos here.

A few months ago I wrote a post called "A Dozen reasons to have a ring sling" so here is the sequel...a dozen ways to wear a wrap...


1--cradle hold (mostly for newborns--it doesn't work so well as they get longer)
one
two

2--little baby upright--head tucked in (for sleeping, or for little ones before they can hold up their heads)


3--little baby upright--head out (when the little one can hold his head up himself)


4--siblingwearing


5--rucksack carry with a little one

here is a slightly older child in the same carry (with legs long enough to hang out)

6--side/hip carries
one
two
three
four

7--around 1 yr old--facing in with legs tucked in for a cold day
(yes, when he wiggled his toes it did tickle my armpits ☺)

8--the next month--facing out, legs out (on a warmer day!)


9--you can even use a wrap when you're pregnant (I've done it, although with a smaller child than the one in that photo, so it wasn't quite so awkward!)
ahh, here's another one

10--Here are some photos of other ways to tie wraps--there are literally dozens of ways to tie the same wrap (and end up with more or less the same position for the child). Each person seems to find one or two that are easiest for them, but just so you know there are a lot of options out there...
loopy shoulder link
extra twisties behind baby

11--here are a few carries that are adapted (or taken directly) from indigenous cultures...honestly these ones make me a little nervous because many don't go over shoulders, but I know that if I knew how to do them correctly, they would be secure and comfortable too.
one
two
this one is nursing!
four
five
several angles of one carry


12--by the way, wraps will even work for that not-so-little one who really needs some mommy at the exact moment that mommy really needs to be cooking dinner...

(Incidentally, this is basically the same tie she used above, just wrapped around a bigger kid. And she just posted an awesome video tutorial for how to do it!)


Saturday, November 15, 2008

I could just spit

Really. And the timing too...Motrin must have been taking a little too much of their own product and been a leetle loopy the day they decided to release this ad right in the middle of International Babywearing Week!! Go ahead, go watch it if you want, or read this blog post or this one or this one, they all have the text... Basically Motrin came out and said babwearing is a fad, and I look cool when I do it, but it hurts, so I have to take motrin... Um, remember just a couple of days ago when I posted those babywearing myths? If wearing your baby hurts then you are not doing it right!! Watch some tutorials, have a more experienced babywearer help you learn how to wear/tie the carrier properly, or get a different carrier...motrin is not the answer here people!
If you are as disgusted as I am, feel free to go here and give them a piece of your mind. I did. Here's a copy of the message I sent them:
I am disheartened and disgusted by your recent commercial centered around babywearing. Clearly whoever came up with the ad is woefully ignorant of the truth about babywearing.
Babywearing is NOT a fad. It may be new in the spotlight, but it is not new to the millions of women who have been doing it for centuries. There is hard science to back up the claims that it is healthier for the child.
Wearing a baby is NOT painful if it's done correctly. Many parents have never been taught how to properly use a sling or wrap, or they have an ill-fitted pouch, and so yes, they are in pain. However the solution is not to take drugs, but to learn how to wear the baby properly! There are many groups and individuals who are working hard to educate parents in safe and comfortable babywearing practices. I recommend www.thebabywearer.com as an excellent resource for starting out.
I wear my 30lb son daily, and have done since his birth nearly 2 years ago. Sometimes I do tire of the extra weight, but babywearing has never been painful to any degree.
Therefore, I ask you to withdraw your ad, as it is full of lies, and respectfully suggest that you apologize for airing such a rotten thing in the first place.

I have to agree with TopHat when she said "Making fun of babywearers isn't going to get you their business. You've certainly lost mine."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The whole "Domestic Goddess" thing

I never considered myself a domestic goddess. I mean, yeah, I can cook and sew and whatever, but my house is cluttered and my kids are often dirty and I don't always even comb my hair every day--some days I just undo the braid, run my fingers through it, and braid it again.
But I've reached a conclusion--most people picture "the domestic goddess" as a 1950s housewife with high heels, a starched apron, and a string of pearls... I'm not that DG.

Nope, I'm an 1850's domestic goddess. Don't believe me? Consider the evidence!
  • I have a long braid (or bun) with an abundance of stray hairs. I only wash it once a week, and I never put styling products in it.
  • I don't wear makeup, and I shave only very very rarely.
  • I'm (almost) always clean, but (almost) never pressed.
  • I cook hearty meals, but rarely gourmet. I'm pretty darn good at looking at the nothing in our fridge and making a meal out of it anyway.
  • I breastfeed and share a bed with my toddler. I also take that toddler everywhere with me--usually tied to my back
  • I want a lot of kids--I love being a mommy, and it definitely takes precedence over having a fancy house (or even a clean one)
  • I want chickens, and sheep, and bunnies, and possibly goats, and maybe an alpaca...
  • I seem to spend at least half of my life either cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, or mending something.
  • I sew a lot, and I knit and spin too. I use those skills to bring in a little extra money for the family.
  • I live in the middle of nowhere

I know, I have internet. I'm greateful for it too...but if I had to pick another time in which to live, well, now you know when it would be. I'm a pioneer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WFMW + Wear Baby = Be Happy

What is Babywearing?
“Babywearing” simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child using a baby carrier. Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living. Babywearing helps a new dad put a fussy newborn to sleep. It allows a new mom use both hands to make a sandwich. It lets an experienced parent or caregiver carry a baby on her back and wash the dishes, do the laundry, take a hike, weed the garden … all while keeping the baby safe and content.



Today is the first day of International Babywearing Week, so I thought it would be an extra great time to share about why I love babywearing!
First of all, let's dispel a few myths about wearing your baby!
Here is a description of the various kinds of baby carriers (with pros and cons of each), and here is a post I made this morning on my etsy blog of some awesome carriers available on etsy right now!
I've posted about babywearing several times before, with such posts as "The NINO Principle" "A Dozen Reasons to have a Ring Sling" and "Priceless." I don't know that I have a whole lot more to say for myself, but I wanted to share a short list of the benefits of wearing your baby:
Happier Babies they do cry less!
Healthier Babies they tune into the caregivers heartbeat, breathing rhythm, and body movement, all of which help the child to regulate his own. Premature babies who are worn develop faster and are healthier than those who are not worn.
Confident Babies the constant contact helps the baby feel safe and secure. They are often able to let the caregiver know what they need without resorting crying, which increases their trust in us and, in turn, our confidence in ourselves.
Happier Parents rates of postpartum depression are lower in mothers who wear their babies.
Loving Parents wearing little ones promotes bonding, and helps establish a stronger relationship between parent and child.

Confident Parents
they are literally in touch with the child, and are therefore more sensitive to his needs
.
Comfortable and Convenient there is no massive carseat or stroller to lug around, and I can still do almost all of my normal chores with the kiddo on me. Using a two-shoulder carrier such as a wrap or ABC spreads his weight around so that he is easier to carry than if I held him in my arms. (Most moms also find they can nurse while babywearing, making it possible to get stuff done even while nursing!)
Here is a 6-page fact-sheet about babywearing, and here is some scientific research about the benefits of babywearing.

Please be aware that just because the child is next to you doesn't mean you don't need to pay attention to them--in rare cases small babies have suffocated when they were not yet old enough to turn their heads up to breathe, and larger babies have arched out of carriers when they were not sufficiently secured. Always pay attention to your child, even when wearing them!



For more Works for me Wednesdays, go here.

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As a note to my new visitors today, I wanted to let you know that on Thanksgiving Day I'll be posting 365 things I'm thankful for (one for each day of the year). It's a carnival, so I'd love for you to make a list of your own and come link with us! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My favorite babywearing pictures

So, over at Adventures in Babywearing she's holding a contest...enter your favorite babywearing photo, win a sling (a really fancy groovy sling) from Nonny & Boo.
I have three slings of my own actually, and I don't need another, but I thought it would be fun to play along (and I know of a great place where I could donate it if I win).
Without further ado, my favorite babywearing photos (clicking on the photo will take you to the post where I originally posted it)
wear baby, go cool places!
(try to use stroller, get stuck in mud on steep, narrow trail and never make it up to beautiful Payto Lake in Banff National Park!)


We were kangaroos for his first halloween!
(now I'm trying to think of other pouch animals for future costumes--leave me your suggestions if you've got any!)

Thanksgiving Challenge

I mentioned before how I had planned to try to post one thing I'm thankful for each day this month, but thanks to being depressed (and a little to forgetting my own idea until several days into the month) I didn't do it.
Join the challenge by writing your own list of things you're thankful for and joining the carnival
Well, I've had another idea--on Thanksgiving I'll be posting a massive list of things I'm thankful for. Right now I have my sights set on the lofty goal of 365 things--one for each day of the year. I haven't started writing the list yet though... I may end up settling with 100 things if I get too overwhelmed....
Anyway, I wanted to issue an official challenge to all my readers to work on lists of their own, so that when I post my list we can all link them together and revel in the gratitude. ☺

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I would LOVE to see this get big! On Thanksgiving morning (or the night before) when I post my post, I will include a Mr Linky on it, so that anyone and everyone who joins me can share their links there. So tell your friends, spread the love, and Be Grateful!!

BTW, I will be posting my list in sections--Family, Skills, Home, Faith, Technology, etc so that it's more reader-friendly (it's gonna be a loooong list!)...just a thought for anyone who plans to join me!

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If you would like the button, the script is there in the sidebar! (Thanks a million to this site for teaching me how to make a scriptbox for my button!!!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Myths About Babywearing

International Babywearing week is coming up, and I thought I'd take a few minutes this morning to write about some prevalent misconceptions concerning babywearing...
(little Bear, age 14months, tucked in and toasty, and ready for the morning walk with the dog)

The baby will be delayed in walking if you never put them down or Baby's spine development will be damaged by being 'unsupported' in a soft carrier or Baby will get bowlegs from having them spread out in a back-carry
Your baby will still learn to walk just fine, no he will not be delayed in doing so (I wore Bear almost constantly, and he walked at 11months). In addition, being against the caregivers body and feeling their motions as they walk and move often seems to help little ones learn that motion for themselves.
Some firm carriers (such as snuglis) have been reported to damage spinal development because they hold the baby up and do not allow him to learn to support himself, however softer carriers do not have this problem!
The bowleggedness seen in some traditional cultures is the product of nutritional deficiencies, not of being worn. Remember that babies and small children have much softer tissues than adults do, and are much more flexible.

The baby isn't comfortable "all squished up like that" or "with his legs sticking out that way"
Soft tissues = flexible = baby is comfortable almost any way so long as they are supported! It's pretty rare to meet a baby who doesn't love being snuggled and, yes, even squished a bit. The soft nature of fabric carriers means that the baby is more likely to be comfortable this way than in a carseat, crib, playpen, or roomier firm carrier.

The baby will be spoiled /never let you put him down /never learn to go to sleep on his own
I think these myths are based in the false premise that babies are meant to be independent creatures. They are not. As I discussed here, from an evolutionary standpoint humans are born only about halfway through the average mammals gestational development. In other words, until they are around 9months old, they are not even able to do what a 9 minute old baby of other species can do. A continued 'external gestation' is entirely healthy and appropriate.
In terms of the baby developing 'bad' habits, well, obviously I feel that it's acceptable and appropriate for a baby to want to be held all the time, and to go to sleep with a caregiver rather than alone. In terms of shyness, and the baby becoming a "mama's boy," studies indicate that children who are worn may take a little longer to strike out on their own, but when they do so they are more confident than babies who were forced into independence at earlier ages.

Babywearing is dangerous
There are several versions of this this myth--the baby is unsupported and will slip out the bottom of the carrier, the baby will flip out the top of the carrier, or that the baby will suffocate being all smooshed in there. The truth is that these are valid concerns, and all of them can happen if you are not paying attention. Just because you are wearing your baby doesn't mean you can ignore them--you do need to still pay attention, make sure baby's face is clear so they can breathe, and be sure you wear the carrier properly so that the child is secure. Here is a site full of help for how to properly and safely wear your child.

You can only wear them when they are little/lightweight or You can't wear a baby if you have a bad back
There are a few people in the world who have exceptionally bad backs, and yes, it's true that they cannot wear a baby, or at least not a older toddler. However, with the variety of carriers and carrying methods, most people (even those with somewhat-bad backs) are able to wear both babies and toddlers in comfort.
Back carries with wraps, structured-carriers, or ABCs (such as Mei Teis) are usually preferable for larger children or weak-backed parents because they offer more support and spread the weight around better.

You can't babywear if you're short/disabled/plus-sized/pregnant
Nonsense! Some carriers and carrying positions may work better for you than others, but you can certainly still wear your baby! Check out these two articles on plus-sized babywearing, this one on pregnant babywearing, and this one on babywearing for those with disabilities.

Babywearing is new or a fad
Babywearing has been around for about as long as babies have been around...indigenous peoples around the world have been wearing their babies for centuries, and using a variety of carriers and carrying positions to do so. The 'modern world' is the culture that is behind the times!

Babywearing is expensive
$140 for a wrap?! Yes, it can be expensive if you buy the name brand carriers, or have a dozen different ones (and yes, a lot of us do have several carriers of different types)...but it doesn't have to be. I got a good quality wrap for only $35, and many people find that they can make their own carriers for $5-20 (depending on the style and what fabric they choose). Here is a site with a list of different types of carriers, the pros/cons of each, and where to find them.

Babywearing is complicated
It is true that some styles of carriers (most notably wraps) look difficult to tie on. However there are a lot of great online demos (both pictures and videos) that can help you learn to do it correctly and safely.
If you are considering babywearing, or want to do it but don't know where to go next, I recommend looking for a local babywearing group such as NINO. (If you can't find one, look for a local chapter of LaLecheLeague, as a lot of breastfeeding moms also wear their babies, and you can probably find support or advice for babywearing there too!)

You can't wear twins
Wanna bet? Look here! And here!

For additional resources, I highly recommend visiting The Baby Wearer. It's a massive archive of helpful articles and tutorials on topics from choosing a carrier and reviews of specific brands, to how to correctly (safely) wear your baby in the various carriers, or how to make your own. They also have forums where you can chat with other babywearers and get encouragement and help.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

some thoughts after the fact

I have a lot of friends who shared their presidential preferences with me prior to the election. Apparently I'm the friend of rebels, because my McCain-voting friends all live in states that swung for Obama, and my Obama-voting friends all live in states that swung for McCain. Except for Indiana, which was split almost down the center (I actually don't know which way it ended up) but anyway I know people who voted both ways there, so the original statement still holds. I hang out with rebels people who do their own thinking rather than following the crowd. ☺

The night before election day I was talking with my dad about the candidates and issues, and suffice it to say that my priorities are not the same as his. He commented that when he was my age he was more liberal than he is now, but that with age he has become "more jaded and cynical" (his words, not mine). Then he said "you know, I would expect a young person to be idealistic and hopeful--if they weren't then I'd be worried."
I thought that was a very interesting commentary on politics.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pie Night!

I grew up in a family where we had birthday pies more often than birthday cakes...after all, pie is a whole lot better than cake, don't you think?!
When we were engaged, Hubby and I were invited to his neighbor's home for pie night. We know a good idea when we see one, so we latched on to the idea and have held annual pie nights of our own ever since. The 5th Annual Brighton Family Pie Night was last night.
I took "Chocolate Barbarian Pie" and a savory pie,
and yup, I've posted both of the recipes for you on the recipe blog...
I'm going to be posting pies there all month, so check back in!!

So, what is Pie Night you may ask? Good question! Go ahead and take notes now, because as soon as you finish reading this you're probably going to run off and start a pie night tradition of your own.
1--everybody brings a pie (and server). (As hosts, we provide plates, forks, and whipped cream along with a pie or two.)
2--there are many many kinds of pie
3--everybody pigs out on lots and lots and lots of pie!

The first year we did it it was a small affair, with only 5 pies (two made by me). The next year it grew, and our third year had 36 people crammed in our little house. Then we moved to Pelican, and had to start over...however this is a friendly little town, and we had over a dozen attendees last year...now that the locals have had enough time to get to know us, this year was a little bigger. Last night we had 22 people and 17 pies! (It was the year of pumpkin pie--there were 6 pumpkin pies!) I think this years winner as fanciest pie was DS's Pear-Almond Creme Tart with Cranberry Flakes... although I personally also really love the Upside-down Pumpkin Pie that CS makes (she said she hates making crust, so she makes the pumpkin pie filling, then puts it in a casserole dish and does a nut-crumb topping on it!)


A couple of little notes if you want to host a Pie Night of your own:
  • Put out a couple of pitchers of ice water! With all the rich pie, people tend to need a drink!
  • Be sure to remind people to bring a server with their pie, otherwise you might have 8 pies and 1 server...that's awkward!
  • Use index cards or something to put labels in front of each pie, so that people can tell what each one is when they go to choose their slices...for example, last night we had a plain chocolate and a chocolate-mocha which looked almost identical, but some people like mocha and some don't, so it's good to have labels!

Friday, November 7, 2008

SBE when Lactating

It's the first Friday of the month, that time when I remind everybody to do a Self Breast Exam. Feel 'em up folks!
For what it's worth, men can get breast cancer too, so hey, go for it guys, poke around a bit, ok?

OK, so like I mentioned before, with each months reminder I'm trying to add some additional health info. This month (at the request of a commenter) I'm taking on doing SBEs when lactating. Obviously lactation (while reducing the likelihood of future breast cancer) leaves the breasts full of milk, which makes it harder to feel lumps.
The short and simple answer can be found at Breastfeeding123, which recommends doing the self-exams immediately after nursing, so that the breast will be as un-full as possible.
MamaKnowsBreast (Oct 4 entry) agrees that it's good to continue to do self exams when breastfeeding, although there is a good chance that you'll notice tissue changes which are not cancerous. Everyday Health comments that if you have not previously been doing SBEs, then pregnancy or lactating may not be great times to start because your breasts are going through so many changes. On the other hand, if you already have the habit, then it's a good thing to continue.
My own thought is that SBEs could be helpful with those non-cancerous changes too though--for example if you are familiar with the 'normal' feel of your breasts, then if you get a plugged duct you'll be able to quickly recognize the abnormality and address the issue... For the same reason, I think it makes sense for lactating women to do at least 'quick once-over' type exams in the shower on a more frequent basis.
This article is packed with information about breast health during pregnancy and lactation. (Incidentally, you should never have a mammogram while lactating.)

Here are directions for doing a SBE when you are lactating.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

stuff lately (with an update)

One of my friends recently posted that she's been having issues with comments not getting through, and that she resolved it by switching the format of her comment form...I have noticed the same lack of comments too (I participated in two blog carnivals this week and didn't get a single comment on them...) so I made the switch too and it seems to help! So sorry if you've tried to comment lately and it hasn't gone through, but we should be good now!!
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On a personal note, I've been having a rough time lately. I've had problems with varying degrees of seasonal depression for as long as I can remember, and then when I started having miscarriages the grief brought on long-term (non-seasonal) depression. Each new pregnancy brought me out of it, each miscarriage dropped me back in, and each dip seemed deeper than the last. In the first trimester of my pregnancy with Bear, (which was even in summer) I was suffering from some of the deepest depression of my life. Hubby and I would sit down each night and he literally had to help me think of one thing from the day to be happy about--I had the whole world to be happy about and I couldn't find any of it.
Thankfully, in the latter part of my pregnancy things turned up. In spite of a January delivery date, I had neither seasonal nor post-partum depression. Last year when we moved to Alaska (with the long dark nights in winter) I was worried about SAD, but again, I had no problems at all. I thought that perhaps that period of my life was over and that I was finally free of depression... but alas, that is not the case. In the last month or so I have been sinking again. (The timing of it--coinciding with my recently returned fertility--makes me wonder if it's hormonally linked.) I feel down in spite of all my efforts to keep busy, be productive, and do things I enjoy. No amount of successes seems to make up for the days I neglect to make a decent dinner or the nights my son gets mad at me. I am insanely jealous of my friends and family who are pregnant. I am lonely. I go to my weekly knitting circle, sew things for my etsy shops, knit, and chat online with my friends...they all seem to help in the moment, but nothing lasts. At the end of the day I again am having to sit down with my husband and have him help me think of something to be glad about. I wanted to spend the month of November sharing lists of things I'm thankful for, but the truth is that I have been having a hard time finding anything to be happy about. I know there are things, and when someone points them out to me I do recognize them...but I struggle a great deal to think of them on my own.
In short, I am depressed right now. I cling to your comments more than you know--it's a much-needed reminder that someone out there cares. If I seem a little obsessive--posting daily (or more), checking my email 4 times a day, and crying on days when I didn't have lunch ready on time for my family...well, please just realize that this is me not coping very well. I know all the stuff I am supposed to do; it's just really hard to care enough about anything to do it.


I guess I go into all this for the same reason that I talk about my miscarriages: just to say hey, there are a lot of people out there dealing with this. It may not show on the outside--it may not even show to those who are right around us--but that doesn't make it any less real, or any less important.

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11:22pm
So I come out and tell everybody how I'm depressed, and within hours I have 10 comments. Maybe I should be depressed more often!!
Thank you all so much. I realized today, after writing about how much I crave comments and feedback, that you probably could already tell that about me...after all, the title I put on my followers is "people who love me" and I changed my comment form to "__ people love me enough to comment." It all makes me sound a bit needy, doesn't it?! But you have lifted my spirits (for now at least), and I thank you.
I ended up having quite a nice night at knitting circle tonight (I got to the armpits of my sweater, so now it is starting to look like a sweater instead of just a tube!!), and I had a remarkably good hair day in spite of neglecting to braid it last night, and I made yogurt tonight which always makes me happy...and tomorrow is Pie Night (if you don't know what that is, well, you'll hear about it this weekend, I promise!) Things are feeling much more up at the moment. That may or may not mean anything for tomorrow, but hey, I'll take all the good moments I can get. ☺
To those of you who responded to my comment about hormones...the more I think about it, the more I realize that I think my depression is related directly to my menstrual cycles. I have had my hormone levels tested before (when I was going through the recurrent miscarriage testing), and from out here I don't have a way to have them re-tested...however I'm going to read up on some things and may look into supplementing. I think it's very likely that my depression set in at menarche, was gone during the amenorrhea of breastfeeding, and now has returned with my fertility...

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