Saturday, September 27, 2008

Great Green Globs....

The childhood song, "Great green globs of greasy, grimey, gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, chopped up birdy feet..." is stuck in my head. The reason is because I'm getting big batch of chicken feet from a young lady who's butchering her chickens today. Chicken feet make a very rich, hearty, healthy broth. She's giving them to me for free since she was just going to throw them away.

After getting the bear meat and now the chicken feet, I'm beginning to wonder what other free meat I can get. If I had the time to do my own butchering, I could get all the free wild rabbits and squirrels I wanted.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Raw Milk, Mother's Milk, etc

Hurray!! I finally found a local farm that's certified to sell raw milk! I'm going to try to make a trip there some time next week! Oh, all the wonderful, healthy things I can do with raw milk (the way God intended milk to be before man poisoned it with pasteurization and homogenization).

Also, my Mama's Milk Tea came in from Bulk Herb Store today. It's really tasty. I don't even have to put any honey or sugar or stevia in it. I hope does it's job and increase my milk.

I can't believe baby girl will be 4 months old tomorrow! According to Nourishing Traditions, she can start egg yolk feedings at 4 months old. I bought some organic, free range eggs from a local homeschooled young lady yesterday.

I think some of my family is beginning to think I'm nuts with all this strange health food and against-mainstream baby care. I'm telling you, read Nourishing Traditions and it'll open your eyes to how literally sick and degenerative American children (and adults) are because of our mainstream diet thinking. Top it off with chemically crazy convenience items like disposable diapers and plastic everything and cheap paraben-filled lotions and soaps and it's no wonder cancer is rampant, dementia is growing, obesity has become the norm, and heart disease is a matter of when and not if.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cloth Diapers/Economy

Bubby isn't progressing as quickly as I'd like with the potty training. I've been using cloth diapers and cloth training pants while we're home. When we're out and at night, I put him in pull-ups. Thankfully, I found a large box of Huggies pull-ups at Big Lots for $24.00. I'm hoping they'll last him until he's fully trained!

Baby Girl is in cloth diapers part-time, too. I've only made her three so far, and they're used up in half a day, but they work well, so I'll make her more.

Things are just so expensive! I priced out what I'd need to make home-made formula and it's really expensive. The doctor's office gave me some free samples (enough for 3 or 4 days). That'll help. Oh, how I wish I could still nurse!

The media is abuzz with this whole fiscal crisis and bailout. It's hard to avoid and hard to not worry about it. I know the Lord will provide for us, but it is very real that we may have to really cut back. On one hand, it bothers me because I know it'll be an added stresser, especially on hubby. On the other hand, I'm up for the challenge and have already been taking steps to prepare for a possible economic depression.

I've always been drawn to a simpler life, a life closer to God's creation. I've sometimes wondered if it's God's way of helping me prepare for a time when the best way to survive is to be agrarian.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Daddy, can I have a pony?

I've been invited to a mom's day out (kids welcome, of course) to the horse auction next month. I mentioned it to hubby, but it doesn't look like we'll be able to get a riding horse now. The farmer who owns the farm where we'd keep it doesn't believe his draught horses will appreciate another horse. The oldest mare doesn't take well to other horses, except for her offspring.

On the other hand, a couple years ago, the farmer bought a pony for his grand-daughters. The pony can be ridden by small children, but it's also trained to be driven and can carry two adults. It's the sweetest pony, but the draught horses don't like it and the grand-daughters are losing interest. They're looking towards a horse they can ride.

Soooooo.....the farmer already said that my children can have use of the pony when his grand-daughters lose interest. I would LOVE to make that little horse my own and learn to drive it.

I've already made cutesy eyes at hubby about it. :b We'll see.

I've also been offered a miniature jersey cow, for a price. Ok, here's my country-girl dreams. I want a good-sized garden and herb garden, which I have. I want a cut-flower garden (working on that). I want a miniature cow to milk (or goats)...hubby says no. I would like to raise pheasants, too. Hubby refuses to have chickens.

Throw in a horse, and I'd be queen of the little patch of earth God blessed us with!

I have to get my household affairs in order, first. I can hardly care for animals when I can barely get my house running smoothly.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grocery Budget, Little Helper

It is getting harder and harder to stick to a grocery budget. I'm also getting cheaper and cheaper. For example, yesterday I was at the local super Walmart buying some groceries. I wanted a loaf of italian bread for tonight's dinner. The loaf was nearly $4.00. It went back on the shelf and this morning, Bubby and I made a perfect sized loaf of delicious wheat italian bread....and I can pronounce the natural ingredients in it!

I now make my own sour cream (so much tastier than the store bought stuff and easy, too....just put 8 ounces of heavy cream -not ultra-pasteurized- in a clean glass jar. Pour in at least a tablespoon of cultured buttermilk, cover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. It'll thicken after 48 hours.)

Bubby's been my little helper today. He not only helped me make italian bread and knead the sourdough and refresh the starter, but he also helped me wash the kitchen floor and dig another square for my 4-square herb garden.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jelly, Relactation, Insanity

Last night, I made no-commercial-pectin crabapple jelly. Yum! I can hardly wait until next year when I can preserve the bounty of my enlarged garden!

Here's an update on my relactation. A few days ago, it just wasn't working. Nothing but a few drops would come out and my daughter would refuse to even try to nurse. Then, while working in the kitchen after dinner, I felt a let-down! So, I gathered up my pump and the newspaper, ran into the bedroom, bundled myself up on the bed and pumped away while reading the paper. When I was done, I had 2 1/2 ounces of milk in the bottle! It was like a little ray of hope that I could relactate! I felt so happy to give my daughter that milk!

Then, last night when she woke for a feeding, I put her on and I had a let-down! In the morning, I had another one! I felt a bit heavy this noon-time and had a very slight let-down and managed an ounce by the pump. My daughter even attempted a feed and got a little mother's milk while in the Aldi parking lot! I still have to give her the larger percentage in formula. She averages about 4 ounces a feeding every 3 hours. It's a good extraction when I get an ounce.

Still, I was encouraged by saved sinner's comment of "something is better than nothing" when it comes to mother's milk. I'm praying fervently to be able to continue to give her my milk and in even greater quantities.

My son is driving me insane!! It's not entirely his fault. We've had an unusual week and the poor dear really does need some rough and tumble time. Instead, he's stuck with a momma who's tied down to nursing, pumping, hand-extracting and bottle feeding. I might see if hubby can take him to the farm this weekend and let him burn off some of this energy.

I keep promising myself and him that I'll get it all together one of these days!! What really knocks me out of routine are all these stupid errands! (I usually consolidate them to just one day a week, but like I said before, this has been an unusual week.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Blessing for Me, A Blessing for You

The blessing for me came in the form of the foreleg (arm?) of a bear! Hubby came home with this huge hunk of meat loosely wrapped in plastic and shoved it into the freezer. "What is THAT!?" I asked him. "Bear," he says in typical lack-of-detail masculine fashion as he walked out the door. So, around dinner time, I pull out the huge hunk of meat and hubby and I start butchering it (thankfully, it wasn't frozen yet). A few probing questions later and I learned that a customer of the farm next door went hunting in Maine and got a bear. He gave hubby the roughly butchered foreleg for free. I never had bear before, so I cooked up a small piece and it was DELICIOUS! We got around 7 lbs. of beautiful meat off that forearm and all for free!

Now, here's a blessing for you. This is what my pastor told the congregation yesterday, "You are a thought in the mind and heart of God!"

Isn't that just breath-taking? God thought you up! God thinks of you still!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Nursing Retrospect

More Woman-Talk Ahead....

There are a few more reasons why my milk failed:

1. I never bothered correcting a poor latch-on because it didn't hurt me and she seemed to be nursing well despite it. Both Bubby and Baby Girl have a slightly convex upper lip between nose and mouth. It's an endearing feature, but their upper lip would curve in rather than flanging outward during nursing. She often would "click" while nursing. Now I know that this was a BIG faux pas!

2. She was a fast nurser and I was glad of it. Most of my nursing sessions lasted under 5 minutes!! She would drink away the let-down, switch sides and need a burp and then sleep for 3 hours. I'd be happy and get up and go start another project. Not good...not good.

3. With Bubby, I LOVED the Baby Whisperer books. Now, I feel like they contributed to many issues, including nursing. The author is against letting a baby comfort-suckle mommy because it makes them too dependant blah blah blah. So, I had it in my head to not allow Baby Girl to pacify herself on me. Consequently, she lost the comfort that only mommy can give, and I lost the stimulation and release of oxytocin that could have greatly improved the quality and duration of nursing.

Today, while I was dressing my hair for church, I looked in the mirror and realized that I look older, but that I looked...well...pretty. It dawned on me that my fight for thinness wasn't necessarily about health and well-being, but it was about vanity and trying to stay young. Part of it, too was that I didn't want to join the ranks of so many American women who "let themselves go" after having a kid or two. In the mirror this morning, I decided that it was ok to "age gracefully," of course still taking care of myself, but also realizing that I can't and shouldn't try looking like a teenager or college chick. I've gone from maiden to matron.

I want to be clear that not one of those rude comments I mentioned in yesterday's post were uttered or even suggested by my hubby. He loves ME.

Here's a question: I'm still making some watery milk. Not much, but some. My daughter actually nursed a little last night before dozing off again and I nursed her after church and then pumped 1/2 an ounce. Is it not futile? Can I relactate? I'm willing to give it a try. I'm thinking of checking out the health food store for a nursing tea.

PS. I also only just learned that women who have a hard time carrying their babies to term can have trouble lactating. All of my babies were premature or miscarried.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Retrospect and Looking Ahead

Warning...woman-talk ahead.

Stephanie, thank you SO MUCH for your advice. I should print that out and keep it in my Home Management Binder for when I have baby #3. I did put your advice to work yesterday, but still nothing but a 1/2 an ounce of watery milk. But, it did get me to thinking and thinking HARD about what went wrong this time.

I was doing so much right (exclusively nursing round the clock), so I was pretty shocked when I got my first post-partum period at 2 months. At 3 months, I had a huge hormonal shift that was like crashing into a brick wall. It seemed as soon as I hit that hormonal brick wall, my milk supply went down to nothing. So, I started feeding her more often, but she would still cry and fight. Quinoa, fenugreek, borage, eating enough food that I actually put on weight.....taking afternoons off for nursing and napping sessions. At 3 months I lost my let-down, too. I had a great let-down at the start. But once this hormonal shift occured, my let-down left.

But I don't think this was the ONLY reason my milk failed. I think stress was a big factor. My mom is a worrier. I don't worry so much, but I stress.

The contributer to stress was trying to do too much at once. I wanted to prove to everyone that having a baby isn't the end of sanity and that I could keep a household together and thriving. I also am a project person and I wanted so many projects done. Rather than putting everything on the back burner, I dove right into everything from garden expansion to basement clean-out to re-enacting. I figured so long as I nursed regularly, got enough sleep and ate enough, I'd be all right. After all, there are other moms out there who could do so much and still nurse. Our foremothers must have had to put up food for the winter and care for home and animals and sick children and tired husband and still nurse.

Another factor was trying to lose the weight. I wanted to do it as healthfully as possible, but the nags wouldn't leave me alone. It seemed everywhere I turned, even just a week postpartum, I was getting comments from people like, "you still look pregnant," "when are you going to lose the weight?" and "when are you getting your hot figure back?"

This was also one of the busiest and most stressful summers I've ever had. And what is it with people having us over instead of them making the trip to our house?! Next time I have a baby, I'm putting my foot down.

I missed a lot of church before I had the baby due to a danger of having a premature birth. So, as soon as I could, I started going to church again post-partum, bringing newborn and toddler with me. Hubby came when he could to help me.

I should have stopped all the running around when it was obvious my daughter didn't like to nurse in public. I was fine with it, but she rarely seemed to nurse well unless we were at home. Now that she's nearly 4 months, I see that she doesn't usually sleep well unless she's home. I wonder if this is part of her personality and character....a homebody or consistant type.

There is also a lot on my plate in just my every day needs existance. But, I heaped to overflowing.

I was trying to live up to everyone else's expectations and failing to live up to my nurse for 6 months to a year.

But, it's over now. And now I know even better for next time.

So, in preparation for the future and successful nursing (3rd time's the charm!) for my next baby, I'm going to get myself as healthy as can be and in my post-partum preparations, I'm going to include an arsenal of nursing aids.

As for formula, I usually buy Walmart's brand. Avoid soy formula at all costs! Soy is highly dangerous for young children. Phytic acid in soy blocks the absorption of minerals. Protease inhibitors block the digestion of protein. Soy formula also has high levels of fluride, aluminum, MSG, and manganese that have negative affects of the brain and nervous system. The phytoestrogens in soy can cause delays puberty and adverse affects on manhood in boys as well as learning disabilities. In girls, it can cause early puberty (as early as 2 years of age!) {Read Nourishing Traditions}Unfortunately, ALL commercial formulas contain some amount of soy. I'd love to try my hand at a home-made milk-based formula, but I can't get raw milk where I live, nor can I find non-homogenized milk that's not ultra-pasteurized. I might try my hand at Sally Fallon's meat-based formula.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Plastic Elimination Day 3 / Sad Day

Here are some more things I'd like to find to be rid of some plastics in my house:

glass salad dressing bottle
metal fans (there are some nice vintage-style ones out there)
If my basement was dry enough, I'd love to get cedar boxes rather than plastic totes to store baby clothes in

I really need to go through Bubby's toys and throw out the broken ones. This'll also be good in preparation for Christmas and then his birthday. He has such a large family and friends who consider us family that he gets so much!

If hubby gets the new job he's looking at, we're going to get a new computer. I want a laptop. That'll eliminate a large amount of unsightly plastic around the house in the form of a monitor, keyboard and tower.

It's a sad day because it's painfully obvious that breast-feeding is no more (at best, reduced to what little watery milk I can squeeze out by hand). After 3 days of my daughter literally beating my chest with her little fists, pulling and fussing at me, having very few wet diapers and obviously dropping weight, I've given in to formula. I promise, I've tried every trick in the book to keep my milk supply up. It's not so much that I've given up on it, but my daughter has. She refused to nurse any longer. If you just looked into her eyes, they were sad, sunken and weary. I finally gave in and gave her formula. She sucked it right down with amazing enthusiasm and immediately returned to her normal self.

I'm sad because I was really looking forward to nursing her for 6 months to a year.

I'm still going to put her on to nurse every day, but if she refuses after a certain amount of time, I'm going to give her formula. It's not worth it to watch her failing to thrive simply because breast is best. I believe it with all my heart, but for some reason, I'm not able to now.

Formula is expensive. If you have unopened, unexpired cans (no soy-based, please) that you're not using, please consider sending them to me. I'm willing to pay for shipping. Just e-mail me at scottlass at juno dot com. Thanks!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Plastic Elimination Day 2

Walmart has these really cute glass pumpkin containers in various sizes. I'm thinking of getting one for a cookie jar (rather than storing cookies in a plastic tupperware container) and maybe one for a cream cheese jar when I make homemade cream cheese rather than a plastic tub.

I'm also using mason jars to transfer things in plastic bags like baking chips, hubby's candies, nuts, etc.

While cleaning the bathtub today, I realized we can get rid of plastic net spongies and replace them with all-natural loofah. I can get a loofah at Big Lots for $1.00.

I did keep a few plastic containers for leftovers. Like I said in my prelim. post, we can't get rid of all plastic and in some cases, plastic is better. For example, I do NOT recommend using glass, ceramic or stoneware for your shower stuff. Keep your shampoos, etc in plastic.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Plastic Elimination

First of all, Candy, I even bought the most expensive kefir in the store thinking it was the best. It touted still having live active cultures in it. Maybe I'll try another brand. I'm just happy my kombucha from a store-bought bottle worked! I've got my second batch brewing right now. Also, I found out that if I use Brown Cow organic cream top yogurt as my starter for a new batch of yogurt and I put in just a little more than 1/4 of a cup, my yogurt comes out quite thick. I've had inconsistent results with Stoneyfield.

Tiffany, I do know about quinoa and I have a fair amount in my cupboard, but I haven't eaten it in a while. So, I'll have to set out a batch for sprouting tonight. I also learned that herbs can only work for so long, so I've finished up the fenugreek and started using borage. has a tea that's supposed to be great for Mother's Milk.

I spent today at my parents' house while I waited for my grocery-getting to get fixed, so didn't have time to actually do some plastic elimination today. However, here are some thoughts of plastic things to get rid of and what I'm replacing them with:

plastic leftover tubs ~ glass jars and dishes
plastic lunch baggies/plastic wrap ~ waxed paper
plastic wash basin for dishes ~ enamel wash basin
plastic colander ~ enamel colander
plastic baggies for cheese ~ glass or stoneware cheese keeper
plastic milk jugs ~ glass milk bottles
plastic bags for homemade bread ~ wrapping homemade bread in a good linen towel and storing the bread cut-side down keeps it fresh for a week, it seems.
plastic herb jars ~ glass herb jars
plastic trash bins ~ metal trash bins

Other ways to eliminate plastics in your life:

~ don't buy plastic-based clothing (polyester)
~ cloth diaper
~ buy in bulk and use glass storage containers for your pantry

Vermont Country Store also sells and American Made vacuum cleaner that's mostly steel rather than cheap plastic.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Goings On

First of all, here's a picture of Bubby's toddler bed. I made the quilt, the pillow and the pillowcase. It was pretty much my first time quilting (I've dabbled before, but never finished a project) and I rather enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to doing more quilting.

It's been so busy lately with no signs of slowing down. Today, I went grocery shopping, picked a bowl full of wild cherries, made kombucha, sourdough starter, yogurt, whey and cream cheese, and catfish with brown rice cooked in turkey broth and grilled zucchini for dinner. I have a chance to sit down this evening while I have a load of laundry in and I'm waiting for my daughter's 9pm feeding.

I finally bought Celtic Sea Salt and I'm hooked! I'm not a person who usually goes for salty things, but the flavor of Celtic Sea Salt is so good!

It was a hard time finding multivitamins for Bubby. All the ones in Walmart had nasty stuff in them like aspartame and words I couldn't pronounce. The local heath food store had all-nature multivitamins for children made out of whole foods. They were costly, but worth it in the long run. It drives me nuts all the bad stuff that's in stuff we consider good for us, especially infant formula. Why in the world isn't there an infant formula on the market that contains absolutely NO soy!?
Speaking of formula, my nursing has it's up and downs. There's occassionally days when no matter how hard we both try, I have to give my little girl formula because she's so hungry. I hate doing it, but it's most important to make sure she's getting the food in her tummy. So, I've had to throw my weight loss to the wayside because it just diminishes my milk supply. These last few days have been better with exclusive nursing and definate signs that she's getting plenty.
Oh, and yes, I did manage to make a homemade SCOBY and kombucha. I picked up the goopiest kombucha at the health food store and made a batch of sweetened black tea and dumped the whole bottle in and let it sit for 2 weeks. I'm hooked now! It's nice to have something other than water to drink, and I know it's healthy for me.
My homemade kefir didn't work out, though. I think my mistake was I didn't let the milk warm up first. I just dumped some store kefir in a glass jar of cold milk and let it sit for 24 hours on the counter. All I got was icky milk with a skin on top.
Remember, next Monday starts Plastic Elimination Week!