Welcome to the first edition of Purely Home. A new segment here on the blog, that will be featured every Monday. I will be sharing tips that I have learned on creating a greener, cleaner, simpler home.
Yes, you did read that right. I recently started using Soap Nuts and they have changed my laundry life. Though, they aren't actually a nut, rather the fruit of a Sapindus tree. The tree is native to mostly the Himalayas. The fruit is simply dried and de-seeded, becoming a natural laundry solution. Concentrated forms can be used in a multitude of household cleanings and personal care. (More about that another day.) How?
When activated the nuts release saponine, a natural detergent. The detergent is chemical free any hypoallergenic. Perfect for those with sensitive skin, or for anyone wanting to take a more natural approach in their home.
Five to seven nuts are placed in a muslin bag and can be used for about five washes. When the nuts are no longer needed, they are biodegradable, as any fruit would be.
They have a very slight scent of vinegar when you smell them right out. Once your clothes are washed, they leave no scent. My Routine.
I keep an old mason jar with its cover in my laundry area. I start the washer on hot, place the muslin bag of nuts in the jar and fill it half way with the hot water. I cover the jar and give it a shake. The nuts release the saponine with just a little bit of suds. They will never become really bubbly like detergent, but that doesn't mean that they are not working.
I then will turn my water temperature to what ever I am using at the time, temperature/water amount does not matter. I throw the bag into the bottom and do my laundry as usual. I do NOT add any fabric softener, though sometimes I will use baking soda and vinegar for extra soiled items, like diapers.
They should be taken out of the washer after the load is done washing. It has been an adjustment for me, but is actually helping me not to forget about the laundry in the washer. I just place them on my dryer to dry. While it does't necessarily damage them if they are put in the dryer, it is not really recommended. Also, you don't have to use hot water to activate, it just speeds up to process, helping them to work more efficiently.
If I want our laundry to smell pretty, I'll add a few drops of essential oils to my wool dryer balls
. They are expensive, right?
You should really know by now that I am cheap. After all, I started making my own carriers, because at the time others were not in the budget. Like a lot of things, the higher in bulk you buy, the cheaper they become. Soap nuts costs around 10 cents a load, give or take a few. It really depends on what size, and brand you use. Regardless, they are CHEAP and will probably save you money in the end. I also love that that they are no fuss, unlike homemade detergents that take grating and cooking.
So I dare you. I dare you to order soap nuts and give them a try. Will people think you are a bit nutty? ;) Yup. However, your clothes will be naturally clean!http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=soap%20nuts&sprefix=soap+n%2Caps%2C233&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Asoap%20nuts
They said it couldn't be done. They said we were crazy (and we are, but that is not the point). They said that I would cry, a lot. (They didn't say that, in fact, I said all of this.) Some how though, we have survived the first two weeks with three kids. Actually, all things considered we have almostkindofsortof thrived in the past 14 days.
I'm sure you are thinking that this is simply a "honey moon" period, you're probably right. Have these two weeks been 100% perfect and flawless? Uhm. No. We have all been tired and cranky. Petunia is in full force two year old mode, Ballerina is well, Ballerina. They have endless energy and don't understand why mom can't bring them here, there and everywhere. My house is far from perfect (normal for us, I know), I wear spit up and my old glasses 24 hours a day and the little people might have a bit (or a lot) of cabin fever.
But you know what? I am here. I survived. I fed, bathed, and nurtured the kids. I have held Squish just as much as the amount that I held the girls. I even managed to keep up with the home schooling. Tonight I have been thinking about how I (we) was able to to get through the last two weeks. I came up with a list, just in case you are expecting your third (4th, 2nd, 1st) child (or kitten).
1. Prayer- Seems cliche right? We hear all the time about how prayer can and does change things. I used to be so bad at praying about the little things. Then I had Ballerina. Ballerina is the most strong willed child I have ever met. She challenges me daily and has taught me to pray about to most random little things. Like "please help me to find the pink blankie" or "if she would just sleep for 2 minutes I could accomplish any thing. Ballerina has taught me that God cares about the little things. He, the creator of the universe even answers those small prayers. I find that if I miss my quiet time with Jesus, that my day is off and I can't get it together.2. A super awesome support system- Over the past two weeks I have felt so loved, so overwhelmingly blessed and cared for. My mother in law took the girls for three days while we were in the hospital, our church family blessed us with delishous dinners, friends stopped by, facebook messages and posts flooded my account. Good friends are even planning to come and take the girls for a day. Sometimes as a first time mom we don't want people to help us. Now that I am on my third I gratefully cherish the love and support. I can not express to you enough how amazing my friends and family have been.
3. Food- I need to eat. I need to to eat food that is good for me. The first week home our church family brought us meals. Everything was amazing and home cooked. Honestly, we would have ordered out every day that week if they hadn't brought us the meals. If you don't have people to bring you meals, I highly suggest freezing meals ahead of time. It is so important to be well nourished to get your energy back up. The last thing your postpartum body needs is to be sluggish from fast food. This past week I have put us on 100 days of real food
. It is very similar to how we normally eat, I am just taking it to the next level.
4. Keep them busy- I swear I have the most active kids. Before Squish came I loaded up on craft supplies at the dollar store. I have kept the girls busy with crafts, books, dance parties and so much more. I've actually found that the more I have the tv off, the less bored they are. I have learned to strategically turn the tv on when I most need it. Like on Thursday nights. Thursday nights Mr. Daddy comes home for literally ten minutes and then heads straight to class. By the time I get through dinner I am a ball of nerves and ready to run away. Those nights are a guaranteed movie night. Plus, since I keep the tv of most of the time, I don't feel bad when I do have to use it.
4. Your house will be a mess- and that is okay. Give yourself small daily goals that are DOABLE. Don't plan on scrubbing the baseboards or reorganizing attic. Plan on getting half the dishes done, nursing the baby, giving the kids lunch and then finishing them. Don't be afraid to ask for help either. The first two nights we were home my mother in law washed my dishes and you know what? I let her. She is gifted in serving and this was one of the biggest ways she could help me. Your kids, husband, family and friends can pick up the slack. Delegate and let them help.
5. Have a moment- This is one that I seriously struggle with. I suffer from this illness called mom guilt. I feel guilty when the baby is sleeping in his swing. I feel guilty when toys are all over the floor and I am not picking them up. I could really feel guilty about anything. One thing I learned this week is that I NEED to be able to push that guilt out of my head and take shower for ten minutes, by myself, with out kids. Sometimes those me moments don't happen until Mr. Daddy is home. A few times this week I have lucked out to have three kids sleeping at the same time (see miracles do still happen). Normally I drink a cup of coffee and zone out for a few minutes. Thursday and Friday I even did light Pilates. When I went back to mom mode, I felt 100 times better.
6. The enemy whispers failure- Those moments when the baby is screaming, the older ones are beating on each other and the house looks like an episode of hoarders happen more often then not. When we are exhausted the enemy seizes the opportunity to tell us how much we are failing at. Knowing that he is out to destroy our relationship wit God is the first step in defeating him. When I am feeling weak, like I am not cut out to be a mother or that I am the worst wife ever, is when I need to call upon Jesus the most. Guard your heart and remember that God called YOU to be your children's mother. He has put you in this place not to fail, but to lean on him. Every.single.day you are ministering to your children. You are in the forefront of the battle, raising the next generation of believers. While scrubbing the floor or braiding your little girl's hair seems so small, it is really so big. Failures will happen. Learn from them, accept them and move on.
What is your biggest adjustment when you have a baby? Do you have anything to add to my list?
And because I have the cutest family ever... some pictures of the past two weeks.
Last January I post this
story about a mom who was persecuted at a mall for breast feeding her young child. Since then I have seen countless similar stories on facebook floating around.
While I wasn't planning to post another story, this one has hit way to close to home.
Today 9/29/2013 an unnamed nursing mother was asked at the local Manchester restaurant Baked Downtown Cafe & Bakery, to go into the bathroom to nurse her child. Another patron, Cheryl Debelis witnessed the incident and proceeded to write the company about the horrendous and illegal actions of their manager.
I have been a customer of your restaurant ever since you came to Manchester. I loved patronizing your establishment and enjoyed often a good sandwich, bowl of soup, or even a treat from the bakery. As of tonight, however, my feelings about Baked have completely changed.
I came into the shop at 5:40 to grab a sandwich. When I sat down at the table to eat, there was only a mother and father with their 1-2 month old child, myself, and the employees of the store present. The mother was in the corner of the restaurant, sitting with her back turned. I sat perhaps 10-15 feet from her, not paying any attention. Then, a few minutes later, the manager on duty says very loudly "Umm ma'am, wouldn't you rather do that in the restroom? You can have privacy there."
Only then did I realize that the woman was breastfeeding. She was covered and not drawing any attention at all to herself. She replied calmly, "would you eat in the bathroom?"
The manager then made several snarky and rude comments to her, including, "I don't want my customers to feel uncomfortable with you exposing yourself in the restaurant", "I ask all breastfeeding mothers to use the restroom", and "(pointing to her breasts)These are mine. If I were you, I wouldn't want to show these to the public like that".
At this point, I was uncomfortable. I spoke up, saying "Ma'am, she has the legal right to breastfeed anywhere she is allowed to be. If she doesn't want to use the bathroom, she doesn't have to."
The manager then proceeded to argue with both of us, tossing in phrases like, "I'm not saying she CAN'T, but I just thought that it would be better if she used the restroom", to try to make it seem somehow less offensive... but however still not backing down from her "point". She was antagonistic, and I calmly told her, "I understand you gave her the option of using the restroom. It sounds like she'd prefer not to use it.". Even then, she kept going. She even went and gossiped loudly (so everyone could hear) to the other members of the staff about how the woman should be in the bathroom instead of out in public.
The breastfeeding mother started to cry. The only reason I knew this is because her husband came to console her (since she was turned to the wall, it was tough to tell). I told her that she should be proud that she stood up for herself and was doing what was best for her child, and how sad it was that places like Baked make it a policy apparently to shame new mothers. As if becoming a new mother, or if not a new mother then having several children to tend to at once, was an easy task. I'm ashamed that so much of our society does not support mothers, and I'm disappointed that Baked is aligned with this part of society.
The clock struck 6pm, closing time. The manager loudly told her employees to lock all of the doors. "All of the doors, except for the exit, right?", the employee replied. "No, all of them. If they want to get out, they'll have to ask." the manager responded.
How is this customer service? How is this kind behavior? How is this legal?
Answer: It isn't.
When your manager tried to shame the breastfeeding mom, not only did she succeed in causing her shame, but she caused me to have shame too. Except that I'm only ashamed of you.
She then received this message back from the company.
Baked Downtown Cafe' & Bakery -Thank you for bringing this to our attention! Baked does not condone the actions of this employee and it will be dealt with. We fully support a woman's right to breast feed in public and have never given direction to any of our employees to say or do anything to the contrary. We apologize not only to this mother but anyone who was or may be offended by the actions of our employee. I have 3 children whom I breastfed proudly. I will address this immediately. Thank you again.
I have been siting at my computer for an hour trying to think of what to say. I honestly can not express what I am feeling. First, I am thrilled by the quick response from the company. It pleases me that they are dealing with the situation and that the attitude of the employee does not reflect on the entire establishment.
I am though, deeply saddened and absolutely outraged at the actions of this manager. I wonder how many other moms she has bullied. Once again, I come back to the fact that this mother has a LEGAL right to nurse wherever she is allowed to be.
As I sit here timing contractions, I wonder what more we can do to educate the public? Social media is full of stories just like this, nurse-ins are publicized, nursing mothers standing up for their rights. Yet, I'm left feeling defeated. Really, what can we do? How can we prevent this from happening again?
So what do we need? We need more people like the Cheryl D. to stand with us. People to jump in and defend the rights of nursing mothers. We need companies to train their employees in their state laws. They need to train employees to embrace the nursing mother, not shame her for feeding her child. We need grandparents, husbands, sisters, friends, co-workers, and business owners to stand up for what right. We need the media to help us normalize what is so natural and so normal. Our children need to be taught that breast feeding is a natural and necessary part of life. The formula vs. breast feeding mommy wars need to be put aside. ALL mothers need to stand together to defeat this discrimination.
What will you do? What would you do if you witnessed a nursing mother being shamed? Would you just sit there or would you step in and help?
I applaud Cheryl D. I thank her for following her convictions and offering support to this new mother. I also applaud this mom, for having the guts to give her child what she needed and to not let the bullying stop her.
We need everyday heroes like you to spread the word. We need you to stand with us to normalize breast feeding in public.
Will you join us?
It's been almost 10 weeks since I have bumpdated. First things first, the pregnancy. This pregnancy has been long and hard. Very different experience then my last. Every time I turn around, I have another complication. For the girl who wont even take Tylenol, getting a butt load of prescriptions and test after test is extremely taxing. So I apologize for my lack of communication and presence. Having a very high risk pregnancy with two kids is VERY hard. Thankfully the end is near! (Or is it the beginning?!?)
You'll notice that our facebook page and shop are currently shut down. I am taking a maternity leave, and hope to relaunch the entire store in November . Just in time for Christmas shopping,. Everything will be new and updated with some big, exciting, awesome changes! Thank you for your patience and for all of the support.
Squish is continuing to grow very well. I am currently 36 and a half weeks along. At this point they would not stop labor if he came. He is by far my most active pregnancy to date. I so look forward to meeting him and see his little personality! My Midwives project his current weight to be around 6lbs, and he is in the 49th percentile. Although, I have learned that ultrasound size projections are almost never accurate. Ballerina was 7lbs 3oz at 42 weeks, and Petunia was 6lbs 1oz at 38 weeks. I would honestly be surprised if he was bigger than Ballerina.
If you know me (or feel like you know me from this blog), you'll know what a huge supporter and advocate I am of natural child birth. I am about as low intervention as you get. Unfortunately, due to some of my complications, squish will have an eviction date. I was originally told that we will be induced by 39 weeks. However, with much buttering up and a bit of tears, I was able to have them agree to let me go to my due date! (As long as he is still doing well of course!) In the gestation world, even a week can make a huge difference for baby. This is another week that his lungs can develop, and another week to tell my body do its thing to bring him out on his own! My only concern is that my first labor was four hours and my second was two! I am a bit nervous being that we are forty minutes from the hospital! However, I truly trust that whatever happens my squish will get here safely! And hey... I really wanted a home birth anyway!
Finally almost ready now that we have the car seat!
His profile reminds me of Ballerina.
I've also done a ton of sewing for Squish. I still have a lot more to do but here some of what I have so far!
Now to make six more newborn covers...
A nice fuzzy swaddle blanket.
Burpie from left over muslin.
Hand stamped muslin swaddle blanket!
We have also recently started our school year again. Ballerina has started K4/Kindergarten. I'm not giving this year a formal title yet. If she is ready for first grade next year, then that is great! If not, I am ok with that too. Petunia started "tot school," she loves participating in our Bible class and being able to do her own lessons. When I come back from my "maternity leave" I hope to do weekly school updates.
She LOVED color sorting
Early apple picking. They got to see a fire truck up close!
And for the heck of it, here are two more bump pictures!
That would be baby wearing at 33 weeks!
(photo courtesy of Fawn French) This is me and two other moms from my moms group, all due in October! I'm the short huge one. ;)
I warned you in the title that this would be picture heavy! I have no clue whether or not if this will be my last update until Squish is here! It's all a big mystery!
When I had my first daughter I knew I wanted a natural birth. At the time I was working at a pregnancy center and was literally able to research pregnancy and birth everyday. With the support of my coworkers I made the choice to choose a midwife and have a natural delivery.
However, in all my research, delayed cord clamping never came up. My midwife never spoke of it, nor did the hospital nurses. All the books I read never had anything about it (that I remember). It wasn't until my second pregnancy and spending time on a popular baby forum that the subject came up. I admit that I didn't do as much research as I should have. I wanted to do it because it was the "crunchy" thing to do. During an appointment I asked my Midwife to do it and she agreed. The problem is, I didn't bring a birth plan with me and we didn't discuss it the day of. I have no idea if we delayed the cord or not. Mr. Daddy is not useful at all and does not remember if we did or not. We do remember waiting a bit to actually cut the cord though. It breaks my heart not knowing if we gave our sweet Petunia the best or not. This baby I will make sure that the cord is not clamped until it stops pulsating. Lesson learned, always bring a birth plan! Even if you know your provider well.
What is it?
In a typical American birth a clamp is automatically put on the baby's umbilical cord after birth. It has been done this way for the past 50 years or so to "help control" the third stage of labor (afterbirth). While it is unclear how this process started, it can be assumed that it started as America moved into its birth intervention happy self.
Delayed cord clamping is the process of waiting until the cord stops pulsating before it is clamped and cut. It can range from 1 to 10 minutes. Their is no set time, it depends solely on the birth. The cord turns white and becomes flat when it is finished.
While you are waiting to clamp the cord, blood is flowing from the placenta to baby. Giving baby important iron and blood that will help in the long run. Iron can prevent anemia and other issues. It will create red blood cells and help build muscle. It will also deliver oxygen, which will help build brain cells. Low iron can cause anemia and risk of cognitive, motor, and behavioral defects.
It is rumored that delayed cord clamping can put baby at a higher risk for jaundice. However, this is currently being disproved.
"The idea that delayed clamping causes jaundice has gained disproportionate support with the publishing of the 2008 systematic (Cochrane) review by McDonald and Middleton. This review reported a significantly higher rate of jaundice requiring phototherapy in infants that received delayed cord clamping. However this result was only found with the inclusion of one of the review author’s unpublished thesis, which does not report a predefined level of bilirubin for treatment, masking of paediatricians and has not been peer reviewed (Hutchon, 2012; Mercer et al, 2012).
A 2007 systematic review by Hassan and Hutton, including only published trials, found no difference in rates of clinical jaundice or jaundice requiring treatment (Mercer et al, 2012).
Additionally, a recent large RCT by Andersson and colleagues found there were fewer babies requiring phototherapy with delayed clamping (Andersson, Hellström-Westas, Andersson & Domellöf, 2011). "
I will say that Ballerina was very jaundice and Lady Petunia was not. Clearly I am just one case, but to me it is worth what ever risk may be there.
Did you delay cord clamping? Will this change your mind?
Got questions? We want to hear from you!
Onions. Some love them, some hate them. They are almost always used to add a bit of extra flavor to dishes. Once in a while you will meet some weirdo who eats them whole. Me, I love onions. I love them raw, love them cooked, and I love french onion soup.
The onion is one of this things that people often wonder why God made. I mean it smells funny, makes our eyes water, and is just plain odd. What most people don't realize is how amazing the onion really is.
For centuries people have been using the onion to heal various ailments. They contain chemical compounds believed to have anit-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant properties. Scientists use onions when studying cells, since the skin is soft and can absorb easily It is said that if one has a cold or the flu, to peel and cut onions. Then place them next to the bed and around the house.The onion will absorb the germs in the air and draw them out of the sick person. Also, many use onions to treat ear infections. They simply quarter it and place it on the infected ear for 30-60 minutes. Repeat every few hours, or when the ear is in pain. The onion will draw the infection out, healing the infection faster then any modern day antibiotic. Many use the onion to treat digestive issues, and to raise their good cholesterol.
In order to use the onion for it's healing properties, they must be raw. Once cooked the onion loses its ability to absorb. Also, onions should NEVER be stored and kept. If you save a cut onion, it will absorb everything in the air. Making it inedible and toxic.
Next time your or a family member is sick, try an onion! Do you have any other uses for onions? We would love to hear about it!
Baby wearing is a beautiful thing. It allows mama and child to bond, supplying comfort and warmth. However, some baby carriers on the market can be unsafe and downright dangerous. Why are they still on the market? I and others in the baby wearing industry really don't know.
Carriers we do NOT recommend.
A bag sling is a sling that has a very deep pouch and goes over the shoulder.
The sling offers no support to baby and baby is set so deep within the pouch, that its chin presses up against its chest. In 2010 at least 14 deaths were because of this style of sling. To learn more watch this video. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36007916/ns/health-childrens_health/t/more-million-baby-slings-recalled/#.UL9laIPAfl8
Many of this style of carrier have been recalled. However, they can still be found used and on sites like ebay. If you have or found a bag style carrier, dispose of it immediately.
Bjorn style carriers:
Bjorn style carriers are probably the most famous carriers currently on the market. Every big box store carries them, and it seems as though every new mom is gifted them. Before I really researched baby wearing options we were gifted a Baby Bjorn. Often Mr.Daddy would wear Ballerina in it, I rarely did since it always hurt my back. .
Their are so many issues with the bjorn. First, to insure optimal safety, baby's head should be close enough to kiss. Second, the Bjorn style carrier has been coined "crotch danglers." I'll let this picture from International Hip Dysplasia Institute explain why.
Finally, it has been proven that carriers that allow babies to face forward can cause spinal damage. Here is an in depth article for Boba explaining why. http://www.bobafamily.com/research/strollers-baby-carriers-and-infant-stress/
Their are so many other options for baby wearing on the market. Please provide your baby with the safest option. Check out our baby carriers at our store!