I don’t remember when I became a citizen of the world of budgets, laundry and meal plans, but over the weekend Katie reminded me that my visa to the world of faeries is still valid. I think I’d like to visit more often. While I can’t ditch dinner for the park everyday, it only takes a few minutes to create beauty with bubbles on the patio or chalk drawings in the driveway. How will you make magic with your little one today?
*Author UnknownRead More »
I am two snapshots away from completing a project eight months in the making. In about thirty days I’ll be ready to push. Yes, I’m having a book baby.Read More »
This cocoa-free blonde fudge is rich in wholesome fats, lauric acid (a nutrient found in mother’s milk that is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal), collagen replenishing copper plus manganese, phosphorous, iron, magnesium selenium and more.
Oh, and the “saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids the body quickly turns into energy instead of storing as fat. Therefore, even though it’s high in saturated fat, coconut can aid in weight loss.“¹ The sucanat probably wont, though.
If you’re into cooking with kids (which I am) this recipe is perfect. Pour everything into a pot and let them stir while you “supervise” (aka check Facebook).
Just one more thing: Leite de Coco is melt in your mouth fudgy goodness. You gotta try it!
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1. Heat milk, coconut milk, sugar, coconut and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
3. Cook, uncovered, until mixture becomes very thick and starts to leave the side of the pan, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Stir often.
4. Transfer mixture to a lightly oiled 8-inch square baking dish/tray.
5. Sprinkle with nuts.
6. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
7. Cut into 1 inch diamonds or squares. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.
Once we start eating healthier, we start to look for other ways to improve our health. As we ditch the Doritos, often we start to question the medicines we use to treat ourselves as well. Antibiotics and over the counter pharmaceuticals are often not the best way to treat children – they can lead to weakened immune systems, reinfection, allergies, and other problems. But most childhood ailments and illnesses respond very well to natural treatment!
Even here in the Northeast, we’re starting to think about Spring, and along with that comes the standard “seasons changing” illnesses: the flu, colds, ear infections, sore throats, etc. Here are some easy remedies that you can try for your family next time something’s going around!
As a child, I was particularly prone to ear infections, but no one figured out that I have a dairy allergy until I was an adult. If your child has recurrent ear infections, make sure to consider eliminating dairy products, or gluten, or both – they are often the root of the problem.
But whatever the cause, my favorite remedy is something you probably already have in your kitchen: Onion! Slice an onion in rings about 3/4 of an inch thick. Sauté lightly in olive oil, until it’s hot all the way through and softening. Wrap the onion slice in a clean soft cloth and lay it on the ear like a heating pad – be sure to test the heat first so that little ears don’t burn.
Why does it work? The sulfur in the onion is carried into the ear via the steam, and kills the infection. Also, the heat is soothing, especially when the swelling is painful. Always treat both ears, as ear infections can travel back and forth between ears via the interior canals. Repeat as often as necessary – I usually find that doing this every few hours for a day is enough to end the infection altogether.
[Note from Mommypotamus: If you’re looking for more ideas like this, check out this post on natural remedies for ear infections.]
For sore throats, as well as upper bronchial infections, another kitchen favorite comes to mind: Thyme! Thyme is markedly antibacterial and antiviral – so whether it’s just a cold or strep throat, thyme’s got you covered.
Our favorite way to take thyme is as a steam – you may remember your grandmother doing this. You take a pot of boiling water, set it on the table and lean over it with a towel over your head. Toss in a handful or two of dried thyme and inhale deeply! (Do not add the thyme while the water is boiling – wait until you’re ready to sit and breathe.) Make sure to have a handkerchief nearby if you have any congestion, because this will clear it out quickly. This remedy is also excellent for styes or other eye infections.
For children who are too young to be left alone near a pot of boiling hot water, you can drape blankets over a table to make a tent. The tent will keep the steam contained for them to breathe in, and then you and your child can climb into the tent together, where you can keep little fingers away from the pot.
For children old enough not to touch the pot and burn themselves, they can be in the tent by themselves or they can sit at the table with a towel over their heads. This is a good, fun way to take your medicine – they’ll feel silly, but you’ll know the medicine is getting where it’s going.
How? The antimicrobial action of thyme is in the volatile oils, which are released when the dried herb is heated. The steam of the hot water carries the volatile oils through the entire respiratory system, into every nook and cranny in the lungs. The medicine doesn’t have to go through the digestive system and get to the lungs and the airways through the blood, it’s right there at the source. Once you’ve finished with the steam, boil the water with the thyme in it again for about half an hour to release all the minerals in the herb – now you have a nourishing tea that will help rebuild the resources you’re using to fight the infection!
A lot of people like to use Lysol or other air fresheners when people are sick in the house, to kill the germs in the air. You can do the same job more effectively and without the chemicals with herbs! Fill a spraybottle with water, and add to it 10-20 drops of essential oil of rosemary, and 10-20 drops of essential oil of lavender.
Use this in place of the Lysol – just walk around the house spraying the bottle, and you’ll kill off all the germs floating around. This mixture was found, in the French state hospital system, to be as effective as standard hospital sanitizer, but in fact longer lasting, because the oils stay on whatever surfaces they land on longer than the alcohol-based sanitizers. Not only that, but it smells great! In our house, we use this mixture to clean countertops, the kitchen table, the bathroom sink – just about anything.
One last trick for today: So you want to be healthier, but your 5 year old wants Kool-Aid. What to do? Why, you reach for your herbs, of course! Here’s a recipe that’s kid friendly, supremely healthy, and sure to please everyone. You’ll need rose hips, hibiscus, orange peel and lemon peel. These should be available in the bulk section of your local health food store, and if they don’t have them or can’t order them for you, try www.mountainroseherbs.com.
You can mix these ingredients to taste, but I like 3 parts rose hips, 1 part hibiscus, and 1 part each of the lemon and orange peels. Per quart of water, add two or three tablespoons of the herbal mixture (depending on how strong you want to make it), and bring to a boil. Simmer the mix for 20 minutes, and then let it cool.
The flavor will be sweet-tart; you can add some honey or dark maple syrup to sweeten. The result? A super high-vitamin naturally bright red Kool-Aid replacement! Rose hips are one of the best sources for vitamin C – one rose hip has as much vitamin C as four lemons! There’s vitamin A in there too, along with a whole host of bioflavonoids (which are antioxidants). Hibiscus has nutrients that nourish the cardiovascular system, and orange and lemon peels have vitamins C, B1, folic acid, many bioflavonoids (over 60!), and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals! And when it’s cold and flu season, toss some dried elderberries into the mix, or add elderberry syrup as a sweetener, and you have a potent and delicious immune-boosting brew.
So what are you waiting for? This is one brightly colored kid drink that mom and dad will love!
Next up: Natural Therapies for Seasonal Allergies: Learn how to build a stronger you and get through allergy season without the Kleenex!Read More »
This is a photo of me on the way to a shoot ‘em up movie with Daddypotamus. Okay, not really, but it might as well be since I cover my eyes through most of those movies. I’m tough like that.
I don’t like to pay money to NOT WATCH a movie, so Daddypotamus usually catches action flicks on his own. But last year we saw Green Zone, and although I don’t remember much about the storyline I can tell you this: Somewhere between the part where U.S. Army officer R. Miller begins his hunt for Magellan and the big dramatic conclusion I felt something completely new . . . a little leap from the spirit growing in my belly. Baby wasn’t big enough for me to feel movement yet, but I sensed an exhultation as the story of heroism and adventure unfolded. It was then I knew I was carrying a boy.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
I can tell you the moment I knew Daniel was the one (over a salad bar before I’d spoken one word) and the moment I told Daniel we were pregnant both times (long before a test could confirm).
Although I am pretty good at second guessing them, these fleeting sensations are burned into me with a clarity that only gets stronger with time. From the moment he was conceived Micah’s spirit has been drawing me to him.
. . . Until a few weeks ago, when it began to feel like he was drifting. He would nurse for a few seconds and push me away, or just not latch on at all.
Then last week, with blood smeared all over his cheeks and on my chest, my son and I found each other all over again. It wasn’t easy. Or simple. Or pretty. I wish there had been another way.
But it worked, and it was worth it. Last Friday, after a rough 24 hours following his tongue-tie clipping procedure, Micah completed the longest nursing session of his life. When his belly was full he leaned against my chest and breathed a sigh of contentment I’ve never heard from him before.
Have you experienced the sixth sense of motherhood? Tell me about it!
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Dear bloggity blahg blawg,
It’s our first blogiversary today. The first anniversary is usually paper, right? That doesn’t seem appropriate . . . maybe a new button for your sidebar or something?
Though we had been flirting for several months, it was this week last year that I committed to you thanks to the constant badgering gentle encouragement of Daddypotamus. I think he was hoping to deflect my GMO rants away from himself, but whatever the reason I’m so glad he hooked us up.
In the past year we have tackled breastfeeding myths, celebrated the birth stories of moms and babes around the world, posted controversial blogs and then regrets, learned to make nourishing meals in teeny-tiny blocks of time, made not-quite Augustinian confessions, outed me for being terrified of having children, pushed a baby out, changed my discipline style, and accidentally claimed my daughter was 1095 years old (the title has since been changed from sun to moon). All from the comfort of home. Through all of this you have taught me there is a cozy place in the world for just about anyone . . . even a quirky research toad like me.
Thanks to you, little blog, I have met the most amazing, passionate people. Moms (and non-moms – hi Megan!) who love breastfeeding, real food, gentle birth . . . and of course their kids (or future kids ;-)) I have connected in ways I didn’t even know were possible . . . email “pen pals”, interstate playdates, local readers turned real-life friends and everything in between.
Thank you for challenging me to become a better communicator, but most of all thanks again for introducing me to such an incredible community. They have literally changed my life. Yes, them. They are epic.
I could say so much more, but there is a certain little boy that is going to need my full, focused attention for the next 24 hours or so.
So that’s it.
Photo Credit: Clare & Anthony Got MarriedRead More »
Homeschooling has many benefits, including spending more time with your children, learning and discovering about the world with them, and providing a solid education. In fact, it’s not hard to find hundreds of inspirational essays extolling the virtues of homeschooling.
I’ve been at this for a few years, and let me tell you, there are also some great, secret perks of homeschooling that get taken for granted. Here are my top ten unexpected benefits of homeschooling;
1. You can sleep late, because there’s no bus to catch or lunch to pack. You make your own schedule, so you don’t have to anything before noon unless you want to. And if you decide to have family movie night but it’s a Wednesday, it’s no problem because the kids don’t have to be in bed by 8.
2. You get a nifty cyber-tan from surfing all of the homeschool mommyblogs for hours each night after the kids are in bed. You’ll look just like all the young, cool kids and no one will know your eerie glow doesn’t come from managing your friends on Facebook or creating viral videos.
3. You can teach kids to make chocolate cupcakes and bacon, and call it Home Ec. And then someone else can make you bacon every single day. Win-win!
4. You’ll be in on all the radio jockey’s inside jokes because you spend hours listening as you ferry your progeny from Nature Journaling to Science Co-Op to the library. If you use your cell phone for the call in shows, they’ll become old friends!
5. Your kids get plenty of fresh air as you throw them outside every afternoon for a mental health break. Since all the other kids are still in school, they’ll be forced to ride their bikes, built tree forts, or dig a hole to China instead of battling their BFF on the PS3.
6. You know more about the War of 1812 than anyone else you’ll ever come in contact with. Impress at dinner parties with your knowledge of where lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner came from, and then look really smart as you seamlessly segue into an analogy featuring the classical personality Icarus and his ill-fated wings.
7. You know thirteen different ways to fix or jerry rig a printer. And you’ve taught the kids, so they already have a marketable job skill.
8. You get to go to the amusement park when there are no lines. And hanging out at the children’s museum all morning drinking a latte while you explore with your five year old? Totally counts as school. It sure beats waiting in the pick-up lane at the local elementary.
9. You learn how to handle humiliation and embarrassment with enviable grace and poise, because practice makes perfect. Next time your goofy third grader tells his grandmother -a professional, licensed teacher- that he doesn’t know how to spell his name because he thinks it’s funny, just imagine how much more gracious and like Jackie O you’re becoming!
10. More time for Twitter! Homeschooling often means you have to be physically present but not really mentally engaged, as you wait for the kids to finish a worksheet, silently read a chapter before a quiz, or practice their multiplication tables. This is the perfect time to catch up on the latest social media fail and find out what all your friends are having for lunch.
About Milehimama: Lisa is the disorganized, discombobulated mother of nine children in Houston, desperately trying to get her act together before they all graduate high school. You can catch up on her latest frugal tips, real food recipes, and big family adventures on her website, Mama Says.Read More »
I once confided in a friend that Micah prefers sucking his thumb to nursing. “Oh yeah, my boy is like that,” she told me. “I nurse him until he’s sleepy and then he pops his thumb in to finish the job.”
So I let it be.
Something didn’t feel right, but I was juggling life with two little ones and excuses were just so easy to find.
Excuse #1 – He’s just a lazy nurser . . . a typical laid back second born.
Excuse #2 – I’m comparing him to my experience with my daughter and they are different babies.
At nineteen pounds he’s not exactly malnourished, but he never rolls back his eyes with satisfaction as he gulps down milky goodness. That bothered me, so when I ran out of excuses I called Mellanie from For Babies Sake. Mellanie immediately pug me at ease with her warmth and kindness, which was a plus because the next thing she did was ask to see my boob.
Turns out the reason my little man looks like he’s doing calculus while he nurses is that it’s hard for him. He has a tongue tie that went undiagnosed for FIVE MONTHS, which means he really has to concentrate to get any nourishment.
On the night I found out about it I sat on the floor and cried my heart out. That sounds overly dramatic, I know, but I really did. I’m so grateful that he’s otherwise uber-healthy and that this can be corrected, but I thought he hadn’t comfort nursed for the last five months because he didn’t want to . . . not because he can’t.
This Thursday Daddypotamus and I are taking him to an ENT in Dallas in hopes that he will agree to do a frenectomy (cut the little flap of skin that’s holding Micah’s tongue down.)
He has never experienced the satisfaction of a deep latch and a flood of sweet milk, but I am giving him what I can. And as you can see in the video below he’s compensated well and is not underweight. Still, I can’t wait to get this corrected so he can get the comfort he’s been missing out on. (On the other hand I’m totally freaking out that someone is going to go near my baby with a knife. My mama heart aches at the though of that!)
The revision with the ENT actually made things worse. Micah developed scar tissue that actually restricted his tongue and lip more, and we were not instructed properly about how to care for the area after the procedure.
The good new is that we had it revised with a laser a few months later and it made a HUGE difference for us. Micah went from waking every two hours to nurse because he couldn’t keep his belly full to sleeping long stretches, and I feel human again.
I’ve written more about the differences between the scissor method and the laser method here if you’re considering either one, and I’ve also written an informal guide to identifying tongue and lip ties at home.Read More »