Heartland Summer for Little Kids 2012

Our children’s ages are from 1 to 6 years this summer.  So our activities are geared around things that would be appropriate for them to enjoy.  Staying inside all summer is no fun, and when you live in the city like we do, sometimes you just need to get out where you can stretch and run.  Below is a list of some of the things we will or have participated in over the summer.

Summer Reading Program– a program by our local library encouraging the kids to read over the summer and turn in there reading hours for prizes.  The libraries also have different activities all summer long.  Free!

Vacation Bible School– offered through our church.  The children join their friends for 5 mornings of singing, praise, scripture, crafts, snacks, and games.  They love it, talk about it for weeks, and look forward to it each year.  We get the music CD that goes with the theme and the kids sing it out as we drive home and for the rest of the year.  Free!

Swim Lessons– offered at our local pool.  A 10 day intensive to help our kids learn basic swimming skills.  Fun in the sun while learning something new!  $ Lesson prices vary per pool.

T-ball/Baseball– nothing says summer like hotdogs and baseball!  My kids love playing in the dirt, hitting the ball, and catching grounders.  We’ve really enjoyed the Christian sports group we are a part of.  $ Lesson prices vary per sports organization.

Summer Ballet Workshop– after two boys and their wonderful sports activities I’m so excited that my daughter is old enough for ballet!  We are doing a once a week for four week workshop at the Kansas City Ballet!  $ Lesson prices vary per class.

Family Camping Trip– our annual trip with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the grand kids.  A time to fellowship with family, play all day with cousins, and have some relaxing fun!  We camp out in tents at state parks, hopefully with a river to float on, eat s’mores and roast hot dogs.  $ Park entrance, camping reservation, & food.  Cheaper than camping alone as you split the cost of everything with the family.

Out on the Lake– there are some great lakes in this area.  If you know someone with a boat a day on the water can be a fun time.  Pack some drinks and snacks and head out on the waves.  Free! unless you’re buying the gas. ;D

Kansas City Zoo– it wouldn’t be summer without lots of trips to the zoo.  There’s lots of room to roam and expect this to be a day of walking.  The discovery barn is fun with the playground right outside.  We always trek to Africa to see our favorite animals.  Lions, cheetahs, leopards, gorillas, baboons, hippos, and now the polar bear!  Can’t wait until the penguins arrive!  $ Tickets or season pass$  If you live in the county there is a reduced price.

Spray Park at Loose Park– we always have so much fun at this spray park and it’s free!  The park is gorgeous and has an amazing playground on the North side too.  We have our annual picnics and family pictures taken here.  It’s home to the famous rose gardens and has nice walking trails and duck ponds.  Free!

Deanna Rose Farmstead– The kids always love to see the animals, fish in the pond, ride the ponies, and splash in the water.  Monday-Thursday is Free!

Park After Dark Movie Series– a fun family time to enjoy the big screen.  Blockbusters played on big screens after sundown are another fun way to appreciate summer.  Located all over the metro.  Some theaters offer $1 movies during the day as well and it’s a great way to beat the heat. Free!

Park Days with Friends– scheduled throughout the summer.  Facebook groups, parenting forums, Meet-up groups all get together around the Kansas City area at different parks year round.  During the summer there are even more friends who come out to play.  We will be participating in some weekly meetups to swing, slide, and picnic!  Free!  We also enjoy meeting up with family at parks for picnics, frisbee, cookouts, roller skating, bike riding, etc.

Family Swim with Friends– we have some good friends who have invited us to cool off on hot summer evenings.  Pools often offer family swim time in the evening.  It’s a great time to fellowship and cool off.  $ Price will vary by location.

Worlds & Oceans of Fun– And of course we also have our local amusement park.  Our kids have not been old enough to really enjoy these parks yet.  We may drop in for a day and see how it goes.  $ Day & season passes available.

Nature Hikes– We’ve been looking for land for a farm someday and so we’ve had some amazing nature hikes on property that is for sale.  There are some awesome trials in local parks that are Free!

Please share with us fun things you like to do during the summer.  I’d love to hear about other activities around the Kansas City metro or ideas that don’t have to be specific to a particular area.

Some things we like to do around the house during the summer:

Bubbles in the front yard.  There’s just something magical about bubbles.

Sprinkler under the trampoline.  (Which creates mud with our yard under construction, which means mud people!)

Watermelon in our swimsuits.  Since it can be quite messy with little kids.

Homemade Popsicles- the kids love to eat these.  It’s one of those fun summertime treats that drip everywhere.  Recipe- blend strawberries, orange juice, kefir, and dates!

Kiddie pool in the yard.  If it’s hot enough outside we will even put ice in the pool.

How do you enjoy summer at home?  Do you have a creative activity that your kids love?

Attachment Parenting at our house

The world is filled with different styles of living, religion, schooling, etc.  So it’s no surprise that there are a lot of different ways to parent.  Even within each parenting style each family is going to interpret that style to fit their family.  While there are no “rules” to how to be an Attachment Parent there are some great principles to follow.  While most families will adapt the La Leche League philosophy of Take What Works For Your Family and leave the rest, others strive to live closely by the AP principles when raising their children.  The goal of AP is to raise children with a deep connection to their parents, in a non-violent environment, using our interactions with them as an example to follow, that will nurture our children into empathetic adults.

Attachment Parenting International Principles

1) Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care. Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations and remaining flexible.

2) Feed with Love and Respect

Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant’s nutritional and emotional needs. “Bottle Nursing” adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment. Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behavior.

3) Respond with Sensitivity

Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.

4)  Use Nurturing Touch

Touch meets a baby’s needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement. Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical play help meet this need in older children.

5)  Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.

6)  Provide Consistent and Loving Care

Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving, responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship. Keep schedules flexible, and minimize stress and fear during short separations.

7)  Practice Positive Discipline

Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft solutions together while keeping everyone’s dignity intact.

8)  Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life

It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.

How We Implement AP in Our Household

For sure parenting has been a step by step process in our family.  While some things were automatic for us there were outside influences that had us try other things.  Some things stuck and others didn’t.  Our parenting is still constantly evolving.  We are far from perfect but in striving for perfection we will always be improving.  For me it all started when we discovered we were pregnant with our first child.  I began my research journey that has become a passion.  I have never liked hospitals and so birthing in a hospital just seemed wrong.  I wasn’t sick and I believe that God created my body with the ability to give birth.  So I started looking for alternatives to birthing in a hospital.  At that time there was only one birth center in my area and it wasn’t close enough to me so I didn’t consider it.  I found a homebirth midwife online and started my AP journey.  Thankfully I met some wonderful parents in our childbirth education class and was introduced to a local online AP forum of mamas.  From there I was introduced to so many aspects of AP that my journey has been a string of dominoes.

Principle 1:  I did a lot of research on natural birth, eventually becoming a childbirth educator professionally.  This research journey continues beyond the baby years, as I strive to raise children.  Looking to the future and what information I will need in guiding my children.

Principle 2:  We breastfed from the beginning but I didn’t have the self confidence with my first baby.  I hid under blankets and in private rooms to nurse.  I didn’t understand the nutritional value that breastmilk has or that my child could survive solely on breastmilk past 6 months old.  I weaned my first child at 11 months when I became pregnant and supplemented with formula for a few more months.  That is one of the things I regret most.  I wish I had nursed him longer.  But I learned.  I joined La Leche League and started attending monthly meetings.  I researched and became a La Leche League Leader by the time my third baby was born.  I learned to ignore insecurities about my supply.  I figured out that my supply  had to do with demand and that nursing my baby as often as he/she pleased was key.  I learned the medicinal value of breastmilk and that it’s one of the best things to give when baby is sick.  It’s even great for pink eye and ear aches.

As we evolve past breastfeeding I am on a new adventure of eating organic whole foods in our household.  We’ve been eating more healthfully each year but these changes have happened at a gradual pace for us.  Currently I’m striving to make dairy products from scratch and grow our own organic vegetables.  Someday I will be much better at natural eating but we are still in the learning phase.  For now I’ve almost eliminated sugar from our house, reduced gluten, and introduced living foods.  I’m watching the changes in my family(hopefully healthy), striving to find balance(choosing the right foods), and long term health.

Principle 3:  I’ve learned through four children that an infant cries for a reason.  If their needs are met they won’t cry.  Being an intuitive parent meant that our fourth infant cried minimally.  As our children grew we introduced sign language to help with the language barrier a 1 year old has.  And now we are striving to continue that intuitive parenting with our children into their childhood.  At each age we find ourselves in new territory, and we stumble and fall a lot, but other times we do okay.  It’s a step by step learning process that requires our awareness, attention, and action.

Principle 4:  When our children were born they were placed on mama’s bare chest.  I held them skin to skin as we met them for the first time and then dad held them skin to skin soon after.  We spend the first two weeks of their life in bed nursing with a lot of skin to skin contact.  Breastfeeding gives babe a lot of skin to skin contact as well.  We babywear our children too.  Mostly in public but occasionally a fussy day will call for a sling around the house.  My husbands favorite carrier is a Moby Wrap because it comfortably distributes the weigh all over his body and doesn’t strain his back.  I love my Beco Gemini.  It’s comfortable to wear for mom and baby can be forward facing or mama facing with a wide bottom support(important for their spine).

As the kids are getting older I’m finding that they need individualized cuddle time.  My oldest son especially likes to be cuddled at bedtime prayers.  My second son will come sit on my lap in the day periodically.  My third child, daughter, still sleeps with us and gets her touch time all night.  And of course the baby is held all day and closely snuggled between mama and daddy at night.  When the kids get hurt or upset we hold them close.  We like to give hugs throughout the day too.  I want to start giving them massages as another way to incorporate individual touch.  Oh we also playfully wrestle with them and they love that.  Dog pile!

Principle 5:  We co-sleep with our children from birth.  Our sons both slept with us until my second son turned two and then the boys moved into their own bed to co-sleep together.  For several months we laid down with them until they fell asleep.  Often we still wake up with them in our bed.  Both our girls are co-sleeping with us now.  Dad’s on the edge, then baby, then mama, and our 3 year old is by the wall.  We have a king size bed.  The boys will come in and sleep at the foot of the bed, especially our 5 year old son.  I wish I would have co-slept with him a little longer.  But with a third baby arriving we didn’t have enough room and I didn’t want to put our oldest in a bed by himself.  I remember being a kid and feeling lonely in my bed.  Now the boys have a bedtime routine of bathroom, vitamins, story, prayers, and we sing to them.  After that they are pretty good about going to sleep.  Some nights we hear them talking to each other, and other times they goof off.  But I’m glad they have each other.  The girls cuddle close to mama and sleep soundly when I’m in bed with them.  When I get up and take my laptop to the couch in the night it won’t be long until one of them wakes up.

Principle 6:   I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job in this area.  My husband and I are almost always with the children.  When we are not they are either with one of their grandmothers or with my cousin who has been a nanny off and on for us for years.  The children are very comfortable with her and love her dearly.  She also parents them like we ask.  We do our best not to interrupt the children’s day with our hectic work endeavors.

Principle 7:  This has probably been the hardest principle to follow for us.  All the voices from society have preached crying it out, spanking, time outs, etc.  Society doesn’t teach you successful alternatives for gentle disciplining.  While we did try crying it out with our first child, it was horrible for mom and baby and just didn’t make sense.  It wasn’t for us and thankfully we knew that immediately.  We have implemented time outs but it’s always in the room where we are and not separated.  I can’t say that they are effective for disciplining.  Usually they accomplish removing the child from the offense and giving mom time to clean up, calm down, soothe hurt sibling, etc.  I find that I rarely use time outs anymore and will send the child to take a nap or burn energy jumping on the trampoline.  Some days mom looses it and yells and no one is happy about that.

What I’ve found is that when a child is misbehaving at a younger age(well really any age, even adults) there is almost always an underlying issue.  Usually the child is hungry, tired, or both.  Once fed and rested they are usually back to their happy selves.  They could also be sick or hurting.  Teething is a trying time with a baby/toddler.  With older children I’ve found the most effective thing is talking to them about the offense.  We do count down from 5 with our kids.  Usually we will ask them to do something or not do something.  We give them a chance to follow instructions before we have a talk with them.  For example if they are running around in a store I will ask them to come to me, if they continue to goof off running down the aisle I will count, usually they return to me.  If not then I stop my shopping, go to them, and talk to them(on their level) about appropriate behavior in a store(again).  Counting is effective but I sure wish they would just listen the first time I ask something.

I’ve been reading several books in an attempt to really understand my active boys and I will continue to research as I try to navigate this area.  I will also be reaching out to some local mamas who are embracing an AP style of disciple so that I can get more perspective on this principle.

Principle 8:  With owning two businesses along with all the things I’m involved with it has been a struggle to find balance.  So that is a big part of what I am doing right now.  I’m trying to finally balance our lives after years of chaos.  For us adults more so than for the kids.  I think we’ve done okay with the children having calm, dependable day to day.  But especially for mama it has been chaos and I’m worn out.  Also after having to close my store there are a lot of emotional things that I’m sifting through and trying to heal from.  So in my search for a simple life I’m embracing the AP’s eighth principle.  This search includes all areas of home life, parenting, social involvement, religion, profession, etc.


Most of attachment parenting comes naturally for us.  It just makes the most sense.  Moms are equipped to breastfeed, it’s convenient, easy to do in the middle of the night or out and about, soothes babies quickly, and it’s health benefits are exponential.  Each area of AP seems to be this way, although sometimes society’s voice or the examples we’ve had can overcloud our natural instinct.  This attachment parenting journey, for us, has been step by step.  Some things we did by nature but over time we became aware of why we chose those things.  We became more conscious of our parenting style and our convictions.  Other parts of AP we are learning, becoming more aware, and finding that they work for us.  We are Attachment Parents making conscious efforts to raise whole and complete children.  Many people parent this way and most don’t even know that it has been classified as Attachment Parenting.  With or without the title these principles help to improve us as parents, bring comfort & support to children, and create empathetic adults.

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

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.


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.


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.


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!

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.

Baby Sign Language

Vaylee(11 months) happy on the potty after signing diaper!

One of the most frustrating things with an infant can be the lack of communication. Mom can’t understand baby, baby doesn’t understand why mom isn’t listening, and there can be crying on both sides. While my first child may have been exasperated with me, he helped me to get a head start with his siblings. So by the fourth child I feel like this baby is a genius…but really it’s that mama finally figured out all the cues and coos that our little ones give us. A huge tool in that communication has also been baby sign language. It’s an automatic thing in our family now and I forgot that I had to learn it in the beginning. So I thought I would post our favorite signs to help other new mommy’s teach their babies to “talk”. Please share with us if you have any favorite signs that help in your family. 😀

The first sign that we teach is milk.  Then we teach food, diaper, water, please, and thank you.  After we have them down we may learn mom, dad, and special symbols for her siblings.  But she may just say our names by then too.  As of 3/27/12 we haven’t started please and thank you with Vaylee(11 months old) yet.  But she has milk down, as well as food and diaperWater is usually grunted rather than signed.  Sigh, ah well, you can’t win them all.  😀

Milk- put your hand in a fist and mime milking a cow’s udder.  Open, close.  Vaylee looks like she’s almost waving hello with both hands, accepts she adamant, and she is signing to mom.

Food- All five fingers together bring them to your mouth, then away, then back to your mouth, them away, rinse and repeat as needed


Diaper- I just pat my pelvis with my hands flat.  Baby’s with finger positions it more difficult.




Thank You


Please-  Rub your hand on your chest in a circle.

All these signs and more can be found on the http://www.lifeprint.com/ website where there is an ASL dictionary and online lessons(free).  Images sourced from lifeprint.com.

Newborn baby Vaylee

Newborn babies talk too!  While a tiny baby can’t sign to you, they do have their own special language.  It’s easiest to hear what they are saying if you listen before they get frustrated and start crying.

Neh(may sound like Nah, listen for the n sound)- I’m hungry

Owh- I’m tired (mouth tends to be open like a yawn in an oval shape)

Eh(listen for the e beginning sound)- Burp me

Eairh- lower wind pain (lower more urgent r sound)

Heh- uncomfortable (too hot, too cold, diaper change)

New KS Vaccine Exemption?

January- The Kansas House committee Health and Human Services is about to consider a new exemption for immunization based on reasons of conscience or personal belief. There are already medical and religious exemptions.  HB 2094

Find your House member with this link http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/vote/ or just email the entire committee: jim.denning@house.ks.gov; barbara.bollier@house.ks.gov; brenda.landwehr@house.ks.gov; Owen.Donohoe@house.ks.gov; j.stephen.alford@house.ks.gov; bob.bethell@house.ks.gov; terry.calloway@house.ks.gov; david.crum@house.ks.gov; phil.hermanson@house.ks.gov; ann.mah@house.ks.gov; peggy.mast@house.ks.gov; kelly.meigs@house.ks.gov; susan.mosier@house.ks.gov; bill.otto@house.ks.gov; geraldine.flaharty@house.ks.gov; ed.trimmer@house.ks.gov; jim.ward@house.ks.gov; brian.weber@house.ks.gov; valdenia.winn@house.ks.gov

Dear Representative,

It has come to my attention that the House Health and Human Services committee is considering a new exemption, HB 2094, for immunizations based on reasons of conscience and personal belief. As the mother of three young sons, I strongly support this bill as I believe that parents, not the state, should have the final say in what immunizations their children receive. The current exemptions for medical and religious reasons are not sufficient. Many faiths, including my own, do not formally weigh-in on the issue of vaccination. This puts parents who, for well-formed reasons of their own, disagree with the current mandated vaccination schedule at odds with the current law.

I am proud to live in a state with a strong history of supporting individual freedom. HB 2094 extends freedom for parents.

While I know that you are not on the Health and Human Services committee, I hope that if HB 2094 gets out of committee, you will throw your support behind it.


Mom & Dad

February- At this time, after much work, there is not enough support in the Kansas HHS Committee to send the Conscientious Exemption HB 2094 out for a House vote.

THANK YOU to all of you who worked so hard to make phone calls and send emails to the committee members and to your Representatives and Senators.
The only other option for this year is to try and get a bill going in the Senate. If everyone could call or email their own Senator and ask if they can help get a bill introduced that would be helpful. We will continue sharing information with the legislators and gaining more support in preparation for next year.

There are 3 main reasons the Conscientious Exemption HB 2094 did not succeed this year:

1. There are not enough legislators in the committee and out of the committee, who are educated enough on this subject to support it.

2. They are not hearing from and talking with enough citizens from across the whole state who want and need this bill passed.

3. They are under too much pressure or are too afraid about how this new exemption might affect the public health in Kansas.

Kansans for Vaccine Rights

Kansans for Vaccine Rights (KVR) is a group of volunteers in Kansas working together to promote and protect the right of every person to make informed independent vaccination decisions for themselves and their families without the risk of penalty or discrimination.

KVR shares this vision: passage of a bill to provide parents and individuals with a conscientious exemption to mandatory immunizations in Kansas.

Fluoride & Infant Formula

Fluoride in the water is a controversial subject these days. But regardless of your opinion for the benefits(or not) for adults it’s a detriment to our children, especially infants. If you are formula feeding or supplementing with formula or juice that contains tap water, consider using bottled spring water instead. The health of your child’s teeth depends on it.

“The lack of a warning is concerning because parents are using fluoridated tap water to reconstitute baby formula, and fluoridated drinking water contains up to 250 times more fluoride than breast milk (1000 ppb in fluoridated tap water vs. 5-10 ppb in breast milk). This means that babies consuming formula made with fluoridated tap water are exposed to much higher levels of fluoride than a breast-fed infant. A baby drinking fluoridated formula receives the highest dosage of fluoride among all age groups in the population whereas a breast-fed infant receives the lowest, and few scientists dispute the concept that mother’s milk has the optimal nutrient composition for infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics clearly states:
“Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short- and long-term outcomes.” ”
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Fluoride in Kansas City Water since 1981
The McCones led the fight against fluoridating the Kansas City, Missouri, water system in the early 1960s. The couple gathered signatures to put the city’s purchase of fluoridation equipment on the ballot. The city ignored the petition, contending it was an administrative matter not subject to a public vote. In 1963, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the McCones and the issue went before the people, who defeated fluoridation in 1964. But the issue resurfaced in 1980, and this time voters approved it. The next year, fluoride began flowing into Kansas City’s water system.
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