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 website where there is an ASL dictionary and online lessons(free).  Images sourced from

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)


Breakfast has never been sweeter!  We got a Vitamix recently and we have been making smoothies each morning and for bedtime snacks.  People have been asking me what we put in our smoothies that makes it taste great but when it’s still packed with nutrients.  This one is a fruit smoothie and I will post more recipes in the future for smoothies with more greens.

Creamanaberry Smoothie
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 3 Tbsp Plain Yogurt
  • ⅓ pk Cream Cheese
  • ½ cup Homemade Kefir
  • ½ cup Raw Guernsey Milk
  • 5 Dates Pitted
  • ½ cup Dried Mixed Berries
  • 1 Tbsp Palm Sugar
  • 2 Farm Fresh Eggs
  • ¾ cup Wheatgrass
  • 10 Very Ripe Strawberries
  • 2 Bananas
  • 1 frozen Starfruit
  • ½ cup Frozen Green Grapes
  1. Put all the dairy products together first in the Vitamix and blend on 4 to keep the cream cheese from being chunky. Then add the dried fruit, dates, and coconut sugar and blend that until the skin on the fruits are tiny. Then add everything else and blend it together starting on low and increase the speed all the way up and then turn it to max. Blend until nice and creamy.

Quest for Sweet!

In the search to keep my sweet tooth from suffering the change in our diets I’m discovering a lot of great information.  I’m not going to break down all the sugar options available since it’s already been done.  But I am going to tell you which ones I’m interested in and I think are most healthful.  Below is a graph that I hope breaks it down a little and descriptions of each option are listed under the chart.  There are many options that I didn’t list because they were not a healthy option or they were similar to one of the items I did list.  After doing this chart Luo Han Guo is an obvious winner in my book and I will be visiting the Asian market and health food stores to see if I can find it locally.  The benefits we love from Stevia without the aftertaste, longevity of life, and is affordable since you use so little!

Sweetner Sugars/100g Calories/100g $/Serving
Date Sugar 63.4g 282 $1.12
Maple Sugar 91g 354 $4.00
Palm Sugar 60g 300 $2.32
Rapadura 75g 380 $1.00
Sorghum 75g 290 $3.35
Raw Honey 89mg 304 $5.81
Stevia 0g 0 $1.24*
Luo Han Guo 0g 0 $1.07*

*additional $1 for 1 cup of applesauce for recipe consistency equality

Date Sugar– Made from chopped dried dates that have been ground into a powder without processing.  Does not work well in recipes that require melting of sugar as it does not melt and may clump.  Cooking ratio is two-thirds date sugar to one part refined sugar.   Healthy vitamins and minerals.  Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.  $4.20/lb

Maple Sugar–  Made from evaporating the syrup of maple trees and then drying it and grinding into a powder.  It is not processed.  Cooking ratio is one part to one part refined sugar.  Healthy vitamins and minerals.  Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.  $10/lb

Palm Sugar– Made from evaporating the sap of coconut palms which is boiled, dried, and then ground.  It is not processed.  Cooking ratio is one part to one part refined sugar.  Healthy vitamins and minerals.  It has a low glycemic index of 35 compared to cane sugar’s at 50.  $5.80/lb

Rapadura- Made by extracting the juices from the sugar cane, boiling it and then drying it.  It is not processed.  Cooking ratio is one part to one part refined sugar.  Healthy vitamins and minerals.  Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.  $2.50/lb

Sorghum Syrup–  Made by extracting the juices from sorghum stalks, and boiling it down to a syrup.  It is not processed.  Cooking ratio is one part to one part refined sugar.  Healthy vitamins and minerals.  Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.  $3.35/lb

Raw Honey–  Made by extracting from the beehive and running through a strainer.  It is not processed.  Cooking ratio is one part to one part refined sugar.  Healthy vitamins, minerals, and anti-allergens.  Can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.  $7.75/1lb

Stevia– The glycosides are separated from the herb and refined into a liquid or a powder.  It is 30-200 times sweeter than refined sugar and may have a unpleasant aftertaste.  Does not give good results with recipes containing yeast.  There are no calories and it does not raise blood sugar levels.  $11.50/lb

Luo Han Guo– Made from extracted mogrosides of a Chinese fruit and refined into a liquid or a powder.  It is 300 times sweeter than refined sugar with no unpleasant aftertaste.  There are no calories and it does not raise blood sugar levels.  Longer lifespans have been documented in relation to consumption.  $17.25/lb  Note:  I have not found this locally or online yet without additives like xylitol.

Sources- Azure Standard, Tried Tasted Served, Small Footprint Family, Wikipedia

Happy, Healthy, & Wise

So in the last 6 years I’ve had four children, started two small businesses, sold one business, and closed another.  I’ve moved our household four times, moved both businesses once each, and short sold our first house.  I’ve worked a bagillion hours at times when I should have been sleeping, eaten horrible and convenient foods, stressed myself into a stomach laceration, upset my natural bacteria, and now I’m off the charts toxic.  Literally the scale is 1-7  and I measure in at an 8!  So what’s the next step?  DISEASE.  If I continue on this path of stress, junk, and sleep deprivation my body is going to say “Hey lady, we’re trying but we are running out of reserves, these bad cells are mutating and there’s no fight left in us.”

So what’s a mom to do?  Well a complete life overhaul!  I’ve gone through the cabinets, fridge, and freezers.  Gotten rid of all sugar and gluten foods in my home(HFCS was gone awhile ago).  Purchased wonderful fruits and veggies, and new flours that we’ve never heard of before- coconut flour and almond flour.  I’ve made batches of homemade butter, yogurt, and sour cream.  I started experimenting with new recipes and fought the urge to eat out.  I started researching about the things that we put in our mouth, what we should do for our bodies, and the small things that fulfill a person’s soul.

So with the close of my business, a highly toxic test result, and a new chapter in my life I am wiping the slate clean and discovering a simple life!  I hope you will join me as I search for happiness, health, and wisdom.  Below are the steps that I’m making to take back my life and regain my spirit!

  1. Looking Inside
  2. Reaching Out
    • Reconnecting with my husband & children.
      • Making our moments together count.
    • Establishing relationships & strengthening friendships.
      • Dinners & meetups
  3. The Ins and the Outs of Food
    • Extensive research into what the body needs and the best foods to get it.
    • Diet overhaul with more family meals at home.
    • Cleanse and detox program for mom and dad.
    • No more sugar, without the withdrawal.  Keeping the recipes that we love just changing the ingredients.
  4. Moving to the Music
    • To the gym for dad and yoga for mom.
    • Children in sports and programs where running is imminent.
    • Evenings of dancing till you drop to the oldies in the living room.
    • Road trip vacations of camping, hiking, and swimming.
    • Yard space to run, jump, and play.
  5. A Home is more than a House
    • Minimizing the clutter and clearing room for the heart.
    • Personal touches from each member of the family.
    • Green space to grow and breathe and connect.
  6. Creating…
    • …an urban farm:
      • Chickens
      • Gardening
      • Compost
    • …a thirst for learning:
      • Passion for books, history, and knowledge.
    • …a product of self expression:
      • website
      • quilt
      • photo album
      • t-shirts for the family
      • a cookbook to pass down

So my goal is to focus on my family, overhaul our diets, get us groovin to the music, create a cozy home, de-stress my life, figure out my priorities, rediscover my passions, and begin healing my spirit.  I need to learn to sit in the sunshine and enjoy my children’s giggles.  There is wisdom in knowing that a happy giggle creates a healthy life.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins


We’ve been working on reducing our sugar and gluten intake. Last week we tried a recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook
but today I modified it since Agave Nectar has high percentages of fructose.

“Agave nectar’s glycemic index and glycemic load are comparable to fructose, which in turn has a much lower glycemic index and glycemic load than table sugar (sucrose). However, consumption of large amounts of fructose can be deleterious and can trigger fructose malabsorption, metabolic syndrome, hypertriglyceridemia, decreased glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, and accelerated uric acid formation.”Wikipedia

Here is the recipe from today:

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
We toured a farm house last month and the wife made us chocolate chip cookies in a muffin pan. They were delicious! So I took that idea, a gluten free recipe from Elana's Pantry, and modified it to use Stevia and palm sugar instead of Agave. Everyone loved them!
  • 1½ cup almond butter (homemade with blanched almonds and grapeseed oil)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup grapeseed oil
  • ⅓ cup palm sugar
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp stevia powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup 60% cacao chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan. In mixer bowl combine all ingredients accept chocolate chips. Once ingredients are well mixed then add the chips and spoon into pan. Whatever shape the tops are will stay that way so you may want to shape them a little. I had the muffins in the oven for twenty minutes and the tops were crisp and brown. Perfect. But the insides were gooey. The good thing though is there are no eggs so it really didn't matter that it was gooey inside! The chocolate chips were melted so it was scrumptious and the 12 muffins were eaten within 20 minutes. :D Yum! I think this gluten free, reduced sugar lifestyle won't leave us missing desserts!

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 or just email the entire committee:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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.

Juicing by Mercola

SOURCE: Dr. Mercola website

Reasons to Juice

There are three main reasons why you will want to consider incorporating vegetable juicing into your optimal health program:

  1. Juicing helps you absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to “pre-digest” them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet.
  2. Juicing allows you to consume an optimal amount of vegetables in an efficient manner. If you are a carb type, you should eat one pound of raw vegetables per 50 pounds of body weight per day. Some people may find eating that many vegetables difficult, but it can be easily accomplished with a quick glass of vegetable juice.
  3. You can add a wider variety of vegetables in your diet. Many people eat the same vegetable salads every day. This violates the principle of regular food rotation and increases your chance of developing an allergy to a certain food. But with juicing, you can juice a wide variety of vegetables that you may not normally enjoy eating whole.

Please note that the order listed below is only intended for those that are new to juicing so you do have a pleasant experience with it. However, if you use ¼ to ½ lemon or lime to the juice lemon and lime effectively counter their bitterness.

Please note it would be FAR better to use lemon or limes than carrots, beets or apples, which have far more fructose than lemons or limes.

Step 1: If you are new to juicing. I recommend starting out with these vegetables, as they are the easiest to digest and tolerate:

  • Celery
  • Fennel (anise)
  • Cucumbers

These three aren’t as nutrient dense as the dark green vegetables. Once you get used to the 3 vegetables listed above, you can start adding the more nutritionally valuable, but less palatable, vegetables into your juice.

Step 2: When you’ve acclimatized yourself to juicing, you can start adding these vegetables:

  • Red leaf lettuce
  • Green Leaf lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Spinach

Step 3: After you’re used to these, then go to the next step:

  • Cabbage
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Bok Choy

An interesting side note: Cabbage juice is one of the most healing nutrients for ulcer repair as it is a huge source of vitamin U.

Step 4: When you’re ready, move on to adding herbs to your juicing. Herbs also make wonderful combinations, and here are two that work exceptionally well:

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

You need to be cautious with cilantro, as many cannot tolerate it well. If you are new to juicing, hold off on the cilantro. These are more challenging to consume, but they are highly beneficial.

Step 5: The last step: Only use one or two of these leaves, as they are very bitter:

  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Mustard Greens (bitter)

When purchasing collard greens, find a store that sells the leaves still attached to the main stalk. If they are cut off, the vegetable rapidly loses many of its valuable nutrients.

Lesson 3: Make your juice taste great.

If you would like to make your juice taste a bit more palatable, especially in the beginning, you can add these elements:

  • Lemons and Limes: You can also add a quarter to half a lemon a lime (leaving much of the white rind on).
  • Cranberries: You can also add some cranberries if you enjoy them. Researchers have discovered that cranberries have five times the antioxidant content of broccoli, which means they may protect against cancer, stroke and heart disease. In addition, they are chock-full of phytonutrients, and can help women avoid urinary tract infections. Limit the cranberries to about 4 ounces per pint of juice.
  • Fresh ginger: This is an excellent addition if you can tolerate it. It gives your juice a little “kick”! And, as an added boon, researchers have found that ginger can have dramatic effects on cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).

SOURCE: Dr. Mercola website

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.” ”
Source: link

Source: link

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.
Source: link

Thoughts on Postpartum

Okay so I love birth but I don’t get too excited about the end of pregnancy nor the postpartum period. Granted the newborn phase is my absolute favorite time with the child. I love, love, love hanging out in bed with a nursing baby who sleeps cuddled on my chest.

The end of pregnancy you get to deal with peeing minuscule amounts every one-two hours making solid sleep a lost memory. You have the aches from your pelvis(multips) and the extra weight from babe, making any activity more challenging. (And again chiropractic and yoga made a HUGE difference with this for me.) Most women get to the point where they are so uncomfortable they are desperate to birth the baby.

There is also usually a period of nesting. It’s funny how it takes form differently for each child. One evening Kevin finished the laundry shelf we desperately needed and the next day I picked up the whole house and scrubbed down the bathroom. I was worn out and in other circumstances wouldn’t have been up for it. But there is this drive that I had and I just couldn’t stop. That would have been the Thursday or Friday before the Saturday that our daughter was born.

With my second and third children I had several days of pre-labor. So when I went into labor with this fourth baby I completely thought it was a warm up. After all there was no way she would come early and we didn’t expect her for at least two more weeks and quite possibly longer than that. So sex the evening before, the full moon, the consistency of contractions, it was all brushed aside while I forged forward with the activities I “had” to do that day(turns out things will work out without me).

After our baby arrived I was reminded of all the postpartum stuff that I had thankfully forgotten about. The intense cramping, that helps stop bleeding and reduce the size of the uterus, still knocked me over. The extreme emotional mood swings over the littlest, dumbest thing. My brain is often like “why are you crying over this?!” but I can’t help it. Thankfully my placenta pills have really helped level this out for me. They are magical! And the increased bleeding when I over do it. Which is a visual reminder that I’m still in a fragile state and need to take it easy. Not to mention the initial encouragement that comes with breastfeeding. Thankfully completely allowing babe to nurse often and on demand minimized the discomfort this time around(hey you learn and grow with each babe). Hubby can help too if it gets too intense. In the past I also used a breast pump just once(didn’t want to increase supply).

  • Cramping- ibprofen for the first day then it’s not so bad
  • Baby Blues- placenta encapsulation
  • Bleeding- REST! stay in bed for the first week. Cleopatra style!
  • Engorgement- let baby nurse as often as possible.
  • Mummy tummy- gentle exercises(below) & Belly Bandit

This time around I’m more conscious about my health and wanting to get my body in a healthier, stronger, and more stable state. After all I now have four kids and I want to be healthy for them so we can really enjoy our lives. And the fact that we are probably done having babies is a nice motivator too.

I have a three finger wide Diastasis Recti. That’s when your abs split into two halves. Fun, fun. So I did a little googling and looked for exercises for strengthening my core. Specifically exercises that would focus on my transverse abdominus. Below are descriptions of the exercises that I will be working on to help heal the diastasis recti. These are gentle and I can start now(1 week postpartum). In a few weeks I will also be returning to my yoga class(prenatal and postpartum). I ordered Belly Bandits for the store and am looking forward to using it to help minimize my tummy and to use as a cinch for the diastasis recti.

Do the following exercises 3 times a day (morning, nap, and bedtime):

  • Lying in bed(can move to carpeted floor or yoga mat when you feel up to it) on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the mattress. Contract your abs and press your lower back into the bed. You will feel your pelvis tip toward you. Hold this contraction for a few seconds and then release. Do 20 of these pelvic tilts. (Use a towel as a cinch option.)
  • Same position as previous exercise. This time draw your belly button toward your spine hollowing out your tummy. Continue breathing steadily and hold for 10 seconds. Then release, take a few breaths, and repeat 10 times.
  • Same position as previous exercises. This time tighten your abs and slide your left leg out until it is straight. Then slide it back in and do the same with the right leg. Alternating do it 20 times.