About bleeglaser

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! -Giveaway! (Closed)

I am not a fan of bugs in my house.  They belong outside and as long as they aren’t eating my garden, landing on me, or otherwise bugging the family I’m good with them in their element.  Currently we live in a historic neighborhood in Kansas City.  The houses on my street are like 100 years old and the railroad workers use to live here.  We purchased this little bungalow newly renovated at a good price.  It’s cute, efficient, and perfect for this two year transition that we are in.  It is cramped for 6 people.  Thankfully 4 of those people are small and it hasn’t been too bad.  But there is no room for bugs here.  We’ve easily eliminated mice each year as they try to move in with the change of the seasons.  We deal with the giant crickets since they are harmless.  Thankfully we don’t have ants interested in this house(we had ants and termites at our last house).  And after replacing the front door screen the flies are now staying outside(poor chickens).  The fly strips we put up to catch the remaining indoor flies also took care of the fruit flies that were here.  Unfortunately there are a lot of mosquitoes in the area.  They aren’t as bad now since we got rid of the jungle that was once the yard.

Our cute little bungalow is 11 feet from each neighbor.  We share fence lines and the neighbor to the West has a large dog.  We’re pretty sure their dog has fleas.  Cause the fleas jumped the fence, invaded our animals, and entered our back door.  They took up residence in our laundry room.  Thankfully we have a full size door in the kitchen that we could close to contain them.  While a few did enter the rest of the house it hasn’t been too bad.  Fleas!!!  Yuck!!!  My husband got the worst of it.  The day he discovered them he was doing laundry and the fleas attacked his legs(I think they liked the hair on his legs).

On Saturday my husband ran to get Diatomaceous Earth from Well’s Family Farm at the Brookside farmers market.  Kim Wells sent him home with some essential oils bug spray too and we spread the DE in the laundry room, and all over the backyard.  The fleas seemed to be fewer but they were still there.  We did some research and  fleas can lay up to 5000 eggs in their lifetime which can be several years. The info on wikipedia just totally icked us out.  The fact that flea eggs could be in our home waiting to hatch for several months is just gross.  So what are the options for getting rid of them?

Water & Light– fleas are attracted to warmth and a trick that helped until our cedar oil arrived was to use our heat lamp(for chicks) over a cookie sheet full of soapy water.  The fleas jumped right into the soapy water and drowned.  It was a rewarding trap because it worked really well.  They were no longer jumping on us in the laundry room.

Flea Bombs/Fogger– are used to kill cockroaches, fleas, and flying insects by filling an area with insecticide.  The insecticide is dangerous to people and pets and extreme measures have to be taken when using.  Including washing all bedding, dishes, surfaces after a bomb has been used in a space.

Diatomaceous Earth– consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. The fine powder absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. It can be used to help control and eventually eliminate cockroach and flea infestations, but this method may take weeks to work. Wikipedia

Pest Control– calling to have pest control service your house and use insecticides to eliminate infestation.

Cedar Oil– No chemicals, just food grade aromatic Red Cedar Oil and melted Quartz Rock. A genuine BIO based insect control agent. Not only does it command INSTANT DEATH to its arthropod recipients, it can be used on humans as a repellent for Mosquitoes, Chiggers, No-See-Um’s, Flies and a array of other biting and flying pests. There is a version for inside a home and another for the yard. Cedarcide

So my husband fogged our home with cedar oil and it smells like a cedar chest in here.  Not a bad smell.  I was just not okay with using insecticide in my home with a baby that puts every.thing.she.can.find.  in her mouth.  It was too risky.  Even if we did a superb job of cleaning after a flea bomb I couldn’t be sure that I didn’t miss a spot.  It wasn’t worth the risk to us.  Cedar oil is potent for pests, but safe for humans.  It has fantastic reviews and makes sense.  Although a little pricey it’s cheaper than calling the pest control company to come out.  And since we will be moving to a farm we plan to use it a lot in the future.  If anyone wants to use ours just let us know!  We also used the PCO on our yard to kill the fleas out there and it has the added benefit to deter flies and mosquitoes!

Bugging The Kids

Barbeque and Baseball season has begun!  Which means time outside in the grass and lots of chiggers!  The two most susceptible of my kids to chiggers both have a panty line of bites.  They’ve been miserable.  I’ve been spraying Diaper Defense Spray on the bites to help soothe.  A mama on my parenting board shared a great link that can help fight chiggers!  Check it out: MDC Chiggers Article.  We will be implementing more showers and a brush down after activities to help combat these pesky bugs!  We will also be using Bug Stopper Spray from a local KC mom business- Natural Newborn, and Badger Balm’s Anti-Bug Balm & Spray.

The Giveaway!

In honor of summer and the insane amount of bugs invading this year I am giving away bug spray!  It’s all natural, safe for our kids, and made by a local Kansas City mama!  She will be featured on KMBC news about her participation in the upcoming KC Mama Market on Saturday June 2nd, 9am to noon, at The New Birth Company in Overland Park, KS.

Bug Stopper: All-Natural bug and insect repellent for those summer months. Uses essential oils that naturally deter insects, just shake well and spray on. It doesn’t leave your skin greasy or sticky. This stuff really works, but should be reapplied periodically for the best protection.

Share with us your pesky bug stories and what you do to avoid bites to enter to win!  A winner will be picked at random and announced July 1st.  Thank you for participating and sharing with our community!

Our house before we bought it:

7/8/12  And the random winner of the Natural Newborn Bug Stopper is… Jenn T.!  Thank you to everyone who contributed by sharing with us!

Behind the Cover: Are You Mom Enough?

Thursday, May 10, 2012 | By Feifei Sun | @feifei_sun

Dionna Ford of Kansas City, Mo., and her children, ages 4 years and 5 months. "It's so funny that the women who ask breast-feeding parents to cover up wouldn’t write to Victoria’s Secret to ask them to take down their ads."

The subjects on this week’s TIME cover aren’t models in pose. Jamie Lynne Grumet, photographed by Martin Schoeller with her 3-year-old son, is a mother from Los Angeles who subscribes to attachment parenting, the subject of staff writer Kate Pickert’s cover story. Attachment parenting has been on the rise over the past two decades, since the publication of The Baby Book by Dr. Bill Sears and his wife Martha in 1992. Its three main tenets are extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping and “baby wearing,” in which infants are physically attached to their parents by slings.

Visual references of mother and child, at the cover shoot.

In one day, Schoeller photographed four families from across the country who practice this method of motherhood. Using religious images of the Madonna and Child as reference, Schoeller captured each mother breast-feeding her child or children. “When you think of breast-feeding, you think of mothers holding their children, which was impossible with some of these older kids,” Schoeller says. “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.”

The four mothers photographed by Schoeller were all familiar with The Baby Book but said they had adopted the parenting philosophy for their own reasons. For Grumet, the decision was a natural extension of how she had been raised; she was the daughter of attached parents, and her older sister practices the method as well. “I grew up this way and never thought about raising my kids differently,” she says.

While pregnant, Dionna Ford, who lives in Kansas City, Mo., watched a video of a British woman breast-feeding her 7-year-old daughter. Ford thought she could never do the same — until she discovered how difficult it was to wean her son off breast milk. “After six months, I decided I’d wait until he turned 1,” she says. “But after my baby turned a year old, he was still a baby — not talking, barely walking — and I wondered why I’d stop now.”

Capturing various attached parents — and their reasons for attachment parenting — was Schoeller’s biggest goal for the sitting. “It was important to show that there’s no stereotypical look for a mom who practices this kind of parenting,” Schoeller says.

Read more: http://lightbox.time.com/2012/05/10/parenting/#ixzz1ud8VT6eu


Dr. Sears comments on the Time’s Magazine Attachment Parenting Cover Article


Dionna Ford is a local Kansas City mom that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for several years.  She runs a blog over at Code Name: Mama and is the founder of Natural Parents Network.

Radio Interview with Dionna Ford on Afentra’s Big Fat Morning Buzz on Monday, May 11, 2012

My PureWash

We love our PureWash!  We no longer use detergent on our clothes and it even gets the food oils out of our shirts.  No more ammonia in our cloth diapers or musty towel smells!  We save even more money because it only uses cold water.  No energy to heat the water!  With a really poopy load of diapers or diapers that have been in the pail for 3-4 days I will use a tiny bit of detergent and wash twice.  I hope this helps give you another option for washing your diapers.

We purchased our PureWash on Amazon in January 2012 for $399.95 with free shipping from The Green Giraffe. There is another similar product on the market called a LaundryPure. While I do not have personal experience with the LP, Heidi Mills from The Unorganized Woman posted a video of her system in March. The Laundry Pure on Amazon is not the latest version so I would strongly recommend you talk to Heidi if you choose the LaundryPure. She’s a local KC mama too!

I Heart Cloth Diapers- Giveaway!(closed)

Vaylee in her bumGenius Freetime

I’ve been cloth diapering for the last 6 years.  You could say I’ve been around the fluffy block a time or four.  For so many reasons I love cloth diapers.  My favorite is they save me time and headache.  I don’t have to rush to the store if I run out of diapers(or wipes).  I don’t have to shell out my vacation money monthly and then see it on the curb on Thursday mornings(trash day here).  I don’t have to smell Friday’s dirty diaper on Wednesday.  I don’t have to change baby’s whole outfit Every…Time…She…Poops.  Which means I need fewer and wash fewer baby clothes.  With clean cloth next to baby’s bum I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals or rashes.  Oh and I love the cloth wipes…who wouldn’t…they are so much more efficient when I’m changing a wiggling toddler.  With cloth diapers my girls and boys show interest early and potty train by 2 years old.  Washing the diapers is a breeze too.  And baby’s diapers are so cute! Dressed only in her diaper she makes a fashion statement.

So now on my fourth child I’m in a full on love relationship with my diapers.  I found the system that I adore, I figured out the best way for me to wash them, and I’m in a routine to keep up supply.  Don’t get me wrong diaper life was not always this peachy.  Many leaking, stinking, rashing trials had to be endured.  But I’m so happy that I took this journey and now that I’m near the end of it I know I will miss my children’s cute fluffy bottoms.

The Diaper

Vay stylin in her Fuzzi Bunz Elite

Owning a cloth diaper store gave me the opportunity to try a lot of different diapering systems over the years.  I’ve tried prefolds, contours, and fitteds with their PUL, wool, and fleece covers as well as pockets, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, one-size, and all the new hybrid systems.  There are so many options on the market and so many differently shaped baby’s with individually sized bladders to customize for.  After years of loyalty to Perfect sized pocket diapers from Fuzzi Bunz I’ve fallen in love with a new diaper….the Fuzzi Bunz Elite one-size pocket diaper.  The Elite is trimmer than it’s predecessor and the Perfect sizes too.  The adjustable elastic is the ideal way to adjust sizes without extra bulk.  And the amazing minky inserts are super absorbent.

Staying Dry

With newborns we just change baby as often as we nurse or baby poops.  Changing a newborn that often is just how it should be.  No one wants to sit in their waste for very long.  Once baby is older they come to a heavy wetting stage, especially at night.  One option is changing baby in the night.  Another option is an extra insert.  I’ve always used hemp inserts for this but I’m now really liking the new minky inserts.  For even more protection during this stage we use a Sugar Peas Fleece cover or a recycled wool cover.

Rashes

I’ve found one of the best methods for clearing up a rash is a naked night time.  We will put down a waterproof pad or some towels and let baby sleep naked.  This helps clear up a rash overnight.  Otherwise I will use my Magic Stick which is a natural rash ointment in a stick form that works great and is mess free.  If baby has a rash there is an issue that needs to be resolved.  The issue could be that baby is sick or reacting to food they ate, or detergent on the diapers.  Another possibility is that the diapers aren’t getting clean enough or the bacteria isn’t being killed.

Washing

Vay & all her fluff!

Washing my cloth diapers has been a struggle for me for years.  I couldn’t shake the ammonia smell.  Sometimes the build up would be so bad it caused rashes on my baby.  And that I couldn’t stand.  I’ve bleached, boiled, treated, stripped, sunned, and re-washed so many times…….whew.  The happiest testimonials from moms I’ve talked to have been from those who either line dried their diapers in the sun, or from those lucky mamas who had a soft water system.  I can now add myself to the list but for a different process.  I use a PureWash which adds oxygen and oxidizers to the water that goes into my washer.  I only use cold water and I don’t need any detergent.  It’s been amazing!  I feel like my tax refund was put toward some great long term savings for detergent, hot water, and avoiding all the re-washing and stripping.

Traveling

When we go on a weekend trip we take our cloth diapers with us.  We have enough for a couple days and it doesn’t interrupt our cycle.  Trips that last longer than that are a different story.  We’ve tried different cloth options but we prefer getting the eco-friendly biodegradable diapers if we can find/afford them.  A lot of people have great success with the disposable inserts that are now available for cloth diapers.  They are absorbent, easy to use, and biodegradable.

The Extras

The items in my diaper stash.

I mentioned this already but I love my cloth wipes.  I use 2 ply organic bamboo velour wipes.  They are so soft but so grippy.  Of the many wipes I’ve tried nothing holds a candle to OBV wipes.  I have 2 wetbags for my diaper bag and 2 pail liners to hang in my bathroom.  Other than that, my Magic Stick, and my Elite diapers, I have some prefolds that we mostly use as spit rags but occasionally are used as emergency diapers with a Snappi that I have stashed away.

The Conclusion

I love the fact that we cloth diaper our children.  I love that it’s healthier for them.  I love that it saves us a ton of money.  I love that it helps us potty train sooner.  I love that I’m not putting a trash bag full of diapers on the curb each week.  I love how cute my baby’s bottom looks in a fluffy diaper.  I love how easy it is.  I love sharing with others when they ask about my daughter’s cloth bottom.  I heart cloth!  Below are some t-shirts that I will be printing for our family and selling here on my blog.

The Freebie

bumGenius OS AIO Freetime in Mirror

Another diaper that I like and is probably one of the most convenient cloth diapers out there is bumGenius’ newest one-size(OS), fast dry, all-in-one(AIO), the Freetime.  There is no stuffing involved and it dries super fast for an AIO.  It’s OS feature snaps in the front, as all bumGenius do, so it’s slightly bulky but it’s a great diaper and bumGenius has some great colors and prints.  I happen to have a new Freetime diaper and I want to share it with you!  So please reply here on this blog post with your cloth diaper experiences/preferences/tidbits, or lack thereof to enter yourself for a free bumGenius Freetime cloth diaper!  The winner will be announced on June 1st!

Click the picture of Vaylee below to see her in action.

6/1/12  And the random winner of the bumGenius Freetime cloth diaper is… Jessica Bretches!  Thank you to everyone who contributed by sharing with us your experiences and all the great cloth diapers that real moms are using!

Keeping a Home in the 21st Century

The newest generation of mothers spent their formative years out of the house 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. More so if they were involved in Girl Scouts, dance class, and/or sports, etc. They learned to wait in line, raise their hand to speak, and ask permission to use the restroom. If they fancied they may have taken a home economics class where they learned to make crepes and pajama pants. If they were ahead of the curve they took a finance class. In college they were taught to embrace the working world and to compete in all areas of the job market.  Society said a successful career makes you a successful person.

At no point did society prepare these young women to care for a household.  There were no classes on how to balance the unending tasks of being mother, wife, and homemaker.  Regardless of occupation, these tasks and duties are still theirs.  Many women have found themselves in a dark place of stress, fatigue, and depression.  Drowning under pressure from work, laundry, and screaming children.  No one is happy.  Even if a mother leaves the workplace and comes home full time she has never been taught how to run her household.  Selfish habits, feminism, and a lackadaisical attitude are ingrained into them.  They are lacking the virtues and self-discipline that the fore-mothers possessed.

The United States was created “…one nation under God…” asking “God bless America”.  Media has morphed society over time and now we are seeing these Christian foundations being shaken.  Children have grown up in these public factories without the skills to teach values, morals, or even faith to their children.  So what is the future for this dependent generation of workers?  Only time will tell….

Some people have caught a glimpse of the forest.  They see through the trees to what is happening in American schools today.  And guess what?  They want no part of it.  They’ve taken matters into their own hands.  Parents have access to more information online than ever before.  They are teaching themselves the lost knowledge that built this country.  The number of homeschooling families increased 74% from 1999 to 2007.  Parents are taking back their children and teaching them good character and ethics.  They are insuring their children’s future as independent, capable, free-thinkers.

So how are these women who have grown up in the public school system going to accomplish the goal of raising the next generation of brilliant minds?  By going back to classical education and reinforcing biblical virtues.  Using the internet to source curriculum and to connect with like-minded women.  Reading books on homeschooling, homemaking, and their religion.  Starting from scratch with helpful guidelines shared by the pioneers in the movement to raise a moral & just nation.


Books that I have found helpful in my personal journey to raise a happy, healthy, and wise family are: Birth- The Complete Book of Pregnancy & Childbirth, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth; Children’s Health- Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child, Natural Baby & Childcare, The Parent’s Concise Guide to Vaccinations; Education- The Underground History of American Education, The Well Trained Mind; Religion- Family Bible Study series, Discover the Scriptures; Homemaking- Nourishing Traditions, Large Family Logistics; Parenting- Strong Fathers Strong Daughters, Boys Should Be Boys, Raising Real Men, Large Family Logistics; Motherhood- 10 Habits of Happy Mothers, Large Family Logistics.

I’m currently reading Large Family Logistics by Kim Brennenman.  It’s the how to guide to manage a household.  Regardless of family size this is a great book.  It’s foundation is in the  Bible and it refers back to the Scriptures constantly to reinforce topics.  It explains daily and weekly chores, meal planning, homeschooling, and so much more.  It’s a complete how to guide on creating your own home management book for your household.  I’m so thrilled with it.  It has been very inspiring for me.  It’s the training that I missed out on while I was in public school.  I highly recommend it to the Christian mother struggling to balance homeschool, keeping house, happy children, and a happy mother.

Today I created this schedule and chore chart using the guidelines in the book.  It’s customized to our family but a great example for others reading the book.  I’m thrilled with it and excited to implement it tomorrow!

Large Family Logistics Chore Chart & Schedule- free download/copy:
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Raw Milk

Our family has been drinking raw milk since 2006.  Personally I never realized the effect pasteurized milk had on my system until my second pregnancy.  With my first pregnancy I had horrible acid reflux and I puked a LOT in my third trimester.  I chalked it up to pregnancy hormones and that was just my lot in life.  It was during my third trimester of my second pregnancy that I was able to correlate the puking with pasteurized dairy.  We were only drinking raw milk at that time and I wasn’t puking.  But whenever I consumed pasteurized dairy products like ice cream I would throw it up within 30 minutes.

We’ve gotten our raw milk locally near Kansas City from a variety of different farmers over the past 6 years.  We prefer raw A2 milk from Guernsey or Jersey cows but supply isn’t the easiest to find.  When we can’t find A2 milk we will get raw milk from a Holstein farmer south of Lee’s Summit.  A1 raw milk is still 100 times better than pasteurized milk.

I feel confident that my children are getting the wholesome milk that their bodies need to grow.  I also love that our family can make butter, yogurt, cheese, kefir, and other yummy foods from scratch with no added ingredients.  Kevin and I hope to have a farm someday and raise A2 milk cows to sell their wonderful milk.  Below is more information on the risks of pasteurized milk and the benefits of raw milk.

Some truths about milk:

“DANGERS OF PASTEURIZED MILK: Many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-Intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-Immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation. During a period of rapid population growth, the market for fluid pasteurized milk has declined at 1% per year for the past 20 years. Fewer and fewer consumers can tolerate pasteurized (and ultrapasteurized) milk (Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983).

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE: In a survey of raw milk drinkers in the state of Michigan, over 80 percent of those advised by a healthcare professional that they were lactose intolerant were able to consume raw milk without problem. (LactoseIntoleranceSurvey.doc).

PROTECTIVE COMPONENTS: Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:

  • Killing pathogens in the milk (lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, antibodies, medium chain fatty acids, lysozyme, B12 binding protein, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
  • Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
  • Strengthening the Immune System (lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors) (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

FORTY-YEAR-OLD SCIENCE AND ANCIENT HISTORY: Claims that raw milk is unsafe are based on 40-year-old science and century-old experiences from distillery dairy “factory farms” in rapidly urbanizing nineteenth century America.”  Realmilk.com

The type of cow your milk comes from is just as important:

“All proteins are long chains of amino acids. Beta casein is a chain 229 amino acids in length. Cows who produce this protein in their milk with a proline at number 67 are called A2 cows, and are the older breeds of cows (e.g. Jerseys, Asian and African cows). But some 5,000 years ago, a mutation occurred in this proline amino acid, converting it to histidine. Cows that have this mutated beta casein are called A1 cows, and include breeds like Holstein.

Proline has a strong bond to a small protein called BCM 7, which helps keep it from getting into the milk, so that essentially no BCM 7 is found in the urine, blood or GI tract of old-fashioned A2 cows. On the other hand, histidine, the mutated protein, only weakly holds on to BCM 7, so it is liberated in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk.

BCM 7 has been shown to cause neurological impairment in animals and people exposed to it, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes. BCM 7 interferes with the immune response, and injecting BCM 7 in animal models has been shown to provoke type 1 diabetes. Dr. Woodford’s book presents research showing a direct correlation between a population’s exposure to A1 cow’s milk and incidence of autoimmune disease, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia.”  Mercola

So where can you buy raw milk?:

A list of farmers in the US who sell raw milk can be found at RealMilk.com

“CURRENT SITUATION FOR RAW MILK SALES IN USA

  • Retail sales are legal in 10 states
  • On-farm sales are legal in 15 states
  • Herd shares are legal in 4 states
  • There is no law on herd shares in 6 states
  • Pet food sales are legal in 4 states, implying that human consumption is feasible
  • Raw milk sales are illegal in 11 states and the District of Columbia

SITUATION IN EUROPE: Raw milk sales legal in England, Wales and most of Europe; sold in vending machines in several European countries.” realmilk.com

Below is one of my favorite videos of a couple using a raw milk vending machine in Slovenia.  There is a built in UV ray to prevent bacteria contamination.  I want one of these on my farm someday.

A friend sent me this link after I posted the above information.  All dairy cows in Missouri have to be hormone free and the cow must be rested if antibiotics are used.  So if you are getting local Missouri milk you don’t have to worry about those.  Grassfed vs organic grain fed vs. conventional grain fed information is also something to look into from the farmer.  A good article with more information about milk and all the options can be found at this blog.

Urban Farming Part 1 of 3

Kevin and I have been working on our backyard this spring.  Moving a ton of dirt so that we can level off the yard to be useful.  We built a retaining wall/raised bed, we are cornering off the 3 chickens, and we are fencing off the dog.  We were able to setup the trampoline which has been SO great for my boys who are literally climbing the walls in our little 100 year old bungalow in Historic NE KC.  Now we are waiting for the weather to decide to really be spring before we plant our seedlings.  The retaining wall will be full of yummy food including strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, herbs, and so much more.  The chickens keep us in eggs and are super easy to care for.  They also supply us with great fertilizer!

We have a fire pit and we love to sit back there roasting brats and singing songs together.  The backyard project is very exciting for us.  The kids can’t wait until we get the sandbox installed under the trampoline(shade for the summer).  We have a front yard project that we will be doing too but….we have to wait for the funds to do it.  A little at a time.  😀  I will be posting more pictures once the seedlings are planted, the chicken fence is up, and the grass fills in.  And then another post in the late summer when the food is plentiful!

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Our backyard.

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Our backyard.

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The side yard.

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The chicken corner.

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Piences of the trampoline that have been there for a year.

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The wall is finished, just got to move all the dirt.

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The ancient retaining wall holds up the alley behind our house. Neighbors peak into our yard.

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Jaxon helping dad hold down the plastic.

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Spreading the chicken compost on the raised bed!

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The retaining wall filled with dirt and compost!

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Chickens eating all the yummy bugs from the upturned dirt.

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Diesel- our guard dog that sleeps with the chickens.

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Burrying cinder blocks to keep the dog in.

Trampoline is up! Takes up half the backyard but it's worth it!
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Kids love the trampoline!

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Singing at the campfire after a hard days work. The kids are all jumping on the trampoline in the dark.

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We replaced the crumbly back stoop and burried some stepping stones.

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Kevin finished the side gate and we laid the stepping stones.

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Side yard- gravel removed, dirt leveled, stepping stones laid out.

Our backyard.Our backyard.The side yard.The chicken corner.Piences of the trampoline that have been there for a year.The wall is finished, just got to move all the dirt.The ancient retaining wall holds up the alley behind our house.  Neighbors peak into our yard.Jaxon helping dad hold down the plastic.Spreading the chicken compost on the raised bed!The retaining wall filled with dirt and compost!Chickens eating all the yummy bugs from the upturned dirt.Diesel- our guard dog that sleeps with the chickens.Burrying cinder blocks to keep the dog in.Trampoline is up! Takes up half the backyard but it's worth it!Kids love the trampoline!Singing at the campfire after a hard days work.  The kids are all jumping on the trampoline in the dark.We replaced the crumbly back stoop and burried some stepping stones.Kevin finished the side gate and we laid the stepping stones.Side yard- gravel removed, dirt leveled, stepping stones laid out.

Homemade Butter

Making homemade butter has never been easier with great appliances like a KitchenAid Mixer.  A gift from my dad 8 years ago my KitchenAid gets daily use at our house.  Below is a gallery of images of the process of making butter from local raw milk cream.  It’s super easy and I know exactly what’s in it.  Cream!  You can also add herbs and salt as desired.

Skim the cream off the top of your raw milk.  Put the cream in your mixer.  Mix on medium/high until whipped cream starts to solidify and then turn speed slower so the buttermilk doesn’t splash out.  Once the butter clumps onto your whisk remove butter from bowl and whisk.  Fill a bowl with ice cold water.  Massage butter into clear water to remove any excess buttermilk(it will keep longer with the uncultured buttermilk removed).  Refresh water and massage butter until water remains clear.  Then place butter on wax paper and you can add salt(will make it last longer) and herbs to taste.  Then shape butter and wrap in wax paper and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  Or store in butter dish for daily use.

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Skim cream off the top of raw milk.

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Mix on medium/high

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Cream will start to thicken.

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Soon the beginnings of whipped cream.

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A beautiful whipped cream! Just add sweetner and put on any dessert!

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Then the cream will start to seperate and solidify.

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You can start to see the buttermilk.

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The butter is starting to clump.

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As you finsh mixing the smaller butter particles will stick to the mass on the whisk.

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Almost done.

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All that's left in the mixing bowl is the buttermilk.

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Put butter in ice cold water to remove excess buttermilk.

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Massage the buttermilk out.

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Refresh cold water until the water remains clear after massage.

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Shape butter and wrap in wax paper.

Skim cream off the top of raw milk.Mix on medium/highCream will start to thicken.Soon the beginnings of whipped cream.A beautiful whipped cream!  Just add sweetner and put on any dessert!Then the cream will start to seperate and solidify.You can start to see the buttermilk.The butter is starting to clump.As you finsh mixing the smaller butter particles will stick to the mass on the whisk.Almost done.All that's left in the mixing bowl is the buttermilk.Put butter in ice cold water to remove excess buttermilk.Massage the buttermilk out.Refresh cold water until the water remains clear after massage.Shape butter and wrap in wax paper.

Planning Ahead

After reading The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling and much more research, last February, Kevin and I decided to homeschool our children.  We pulled our kindergartener out of his private Christian school and spent the rest of the school year and summer de-schooling him.  Allowing him to clear his slate and get back to a place where he loved to write birthday cards to family, color pokemon, build sculptures from scrapes, and read.  Although it’s been a rough transitional year for our family he’s done so great with reading progression and literature comprehension.  So as we head into the summer months we will continue with our curriculum to finish up 1st grade.

Spring is the time of year to plan for the upcoming school year and the Midwest Parent Educators Conference is the place to be.  They have a curriculum fair that is amazing.  I went to it last year, a week before Vaylee was born, with my three kiddos in tow.  It’s a great place to see what local groups are available for support, the variety of curriculum(religious or secular), and classes to help you on your homeschooling journey.  This will be my first time to attend the classes and I’m looking forward to it.  The boys will be attending the children’s activities which is really exciting for them.

2011-2012 1st Grade Curriculum

  • First Language Lessons 1– grammar made easy.
  • Writing with Ease 1– super easy to teach and not frustrating for a super active boy.
  • Apologia Science Zoology 3– We skipped ahead to 3 as the boys are really into big cats.
  • Classical House of Learning, Grammar Stage– a free literature program that has been so much fun.  I read a story, Zavien tells me about it and I write it down on his sheet, and then his draws a picture about the story.
  • Story of the World 1– History and religion combined with suggested supplemental reading, map work, art projects, color pages, and more.
  • Saxon 2– this program is one level above the child’s grade level.  We haven’t had much fun with it but Zavien is doing well with it.
  • Phonics for Reading and Spelling– this has been working really well for us.  I really like it.  It was overwhelming at first but it’s actually pretty simple.  We supplement with Biscuit Books, McGruffy readers, and Dick and Jane books.
  • Living Scriptures Lessons– We really enjoy what we call “Jesus movies” and these lessons are great for the young kids.

2012-2013 Kindergarten Curriculum

2012-2013 2nd Grade Curriculum

I will be looking for literature to expand our reading library at the MPE conference.  Religion, Art, and Music are three other subjects that I will be looking at curriculum for as well.

We also participate in the Discovery Homeschool Academy program.  It’s been so fantastic for all those activities that you actually like from public school.  Classmates, PE class, class parties, spring programs, Grandparent’s day, etc.

The boys are taking Piano lessons, very conveniently, immediately after DHA.  They really want to play the guitar but they aren’t quite old enough and the instructors want them to know piano first.  So as soon as their hands are big enough, they will know piano, and be able to start their guitar lessons.

We are doing Boyscouts with Zavien too.  Jaxon can’t start until he’s in 1st grade.  Both boys do soccer and t-ball.  Tylea is starting t-ball and ballet this summer.

Safe in the Sunshine- Giveaway!(closed)

The sunshine came early this year.  It’s been such a mild winter and an amazing spring.  Mom’s are already talking about the best sunscreens to buy for the summer.  The favorite at our house is by Badger Balm.  The main ingredient?  Zinc Oxide. 

Active Sunscreen Ingredient: Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 18.75%
Other Sunscreen Ingredients: *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), and CO2 Extract of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn).

* = Certified Organic

Application Notes: For maintained protection, sunscreen reapplication is recommended after 40 minutes of swimming or sweating, after towel drying, and at least every 2 hours. Children under 6 months of age: ask a doctor.  Where to Buy.

From Mercola.com:

“… the sun actually protects you from cancer and about 50,000 Americans die every year from cancers that could have been treated by having higher vitamin D levels from proper sun exposure.

What most physicians fail to appreciate is that the major risk factor for melanoma is not sun exposure but a distortion of the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. You can read the article Mercola wrote on that for more information.

Does excessive, irrational exposure to the sun contribute to skin cancer? Certainly. But this is easily minimized by limiting your exposure early in the season to before 10 a.m or after 2-3 p.m. when the rays are the strongest. You can also use protective shirts and hats to block the sun.

Another fatal flaw in the sunblock recommendation is that most of the commercial products are loaded with toxic chemicals that will cause you far more long-term damage than the sun you are seeking to protect yourself from.” – mercola.com

“Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two main wavelengths – UVA and UVB.  It’s important for you to understand the difference between them, and your risk factors from each.

Consider UVB the ‘good guy’ that helps your skin produce vitamin D.

UVA is considered the ‘bad guy’ because it penetrates your skin more deeply and causes more free radical damage.  Not only that, but UVA rays are quite constant during ALL hours of daylight, throughout the entire year — unlike UVB, which are low in morning and evening, and high at midday.

If you’ve ever gotten a scorching sunburn on a cloudy day, you now understand why; it’s from the deeply penetrating UVA!

Since UVA’s are inherently more damaging, AND persistently high during all daylight hours, wearing a sunscreen that doesn’t protect you from UVA is going to give you virtually no benefit, and be detrimental to your overall health.

Two non-toxic ingredients that scatter both UVB and the more damaging UVA rays are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. They’ve been used all over the world for over 75 years as safe sunscreens.”  -mercola.com

EWG Skin Deep Sunscreen Safety Scale

I appreciate the rating system over at the EWG Skin Deep website where all the sunscreen’s you can think of have been tested.  Badger Balm comes in at a safe 1 rating on the 0-10 scale.  They even have a Hall of Shame list that will probably shock you as they dominate the center isles at the super markets.  Not to worry though because the list for Best Sunscreens makes it easy to replace that toxic sunscreen you used last summer.

Kevin and I don’t go too crazy when it comes to limiting sun exposure.  We enjoy the outdoors and when I have a newborn I tend to keep the wee babies in the shade.  The older kiddos get Badger Balm, probably a hat, and off they go.  We do take a massive umbrella
with us to soccer and t-ball games too.  I used my yoga mat over some suitcases on the beach last summer to protect 3 month old Vaylee from noontime rays.  And I LOVE my muslin blankets during the summer with a new baby.  They are super light weight but provide good coverage.

We have a fun giveaway to start off the sunny season!  Mama’s please share with us what sunscreen you use at your house to protect your little ones.  On May 1st a free tube of Badger Balm Sunscreen will be given away randomly to a mama who shares here on this post.

5/3/12 And the random winner of some wonderful Badger Balm Sunscreen is……Leslie Clinton!  Thank you to everyone who contributed by sharing with us all the great & safe sunscreens that real moms are using.