Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why we bedshare and why it works for us

Before I had a baby I thought "no problem I will feed her, rock her to sleep and put her in the bassinet at night." This never happened. I must admit I tried for the first few nights. I would feed Olivia, rock her to sleep and then put her in her bassinet. She would wake up five minutes later only for the process to be repeated. I quickly discovered that keeping her next to me made for a WONDERFUL nights sleep. ( plus my mom co-slept with me as a baby so it is only natural to follow in her footsteps) I would wake up before she started crying, sensing her early hunger cues, feed her and fall back to sleep. For me keeping her in bed enabled me to easily breastfeed. Studies show keeping baby close increases mothers milk, perhaps this has been true for me. If you know me you would maybe say I am fairly laid back, as well as the accountant, so the baby in bed has been a natural course for us to take. I have read a lot of studies on both sides of the co-cleeping issue and for me it all comes down to I WANT her in bed with me. It's just easier. I am a light sleeper and wake up in the same position I fell asleep in so suffocating her has not really been a worry for me. Granted at night our bed is much more sparse then this picture. We sleep with one pillow each and a single light blanket following Dr Sears recommendations for a "safe" environment for co-sleeping.
We placed our bed on the floor to prevent the danger of Olivia rolling out in the middle of the night. We don't allow our little puppy to sleep with us he is relegated to a kennel downstairs.

This is her so far unused crib. We tried naps in it but I have moved her back to naps on the bed. Good thing the crib converts to a toddler bed!( It would have saved us money to know we would do this co-sleeping ahead of time!) We have a video monitor which enables me to catch her when she wakes up before she starts crawling all over the bedroom!(0: Interesting note I am reading up on the Montessori method and they encourage you to have your child sleep on a mattress on the floor to encourage movement!

I have been asked "aren't you worried about the transition to her own bed". My answer " no not really." My dad one night decided it was time to move me out of their bed...and that was that. No crying, no fussing. I was ready. I still remember him saying 'I will be back to check on you.' ( prior to this I would fall asleepin in their bed and then he would carry me into my own) Other people have wondered if it affects our sleep or intimacy. The answer is no. 
For us co-sleeping has resulted in a happy baby and happy, well rested parents. 

Co-sleeping resources: 

Book resources:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ginger, my latest spice craze.

Not long ago were the days I relegated ginger to my spice drawer to be used in holiday cookie and cake recipes. Recently though my eyes have been opened to ginger's wonderful dexterity. I now use it in stir fry's, curries, spaghetti, baking and so much more! One day I opened my local CSA box of good (Klesick Family Farm, home organic vegetable delivery) and found this knobby looking thing:
So off to the Internet I went to figure out how to use it. Wow! I had no idea. I am now newly in love. While researching how to cook with it I found out interesting facts about medicinal uses. Here is what I discovered:
  • it increases perspiration
  • stimulates digestion
  • stimulates respiration, circulation and the nervous system
  • ginger tea or candied ginger is used as an anti inflammatory to ease aching joints, 
  • there is the popular nausea and morning sickness relief (found to be more effective than Dramamine)
  • it helps with flatulence
  • works as an expectorant
  • eases the symptom's of colds,coughs and flu
  • it is also said to be a natural pain killer
  • apparently researchers in Denmark believe that ginger blocks prostaglandins which helps with migraine headaches (must be taken at the beginning of the headache)
  • Gingerols one of the active ingredients in ginger are said to be effective in the prevention of colorectal and ovarian cancers

But don't take my word for it. Check it out yourself. I great site linking you to some research on ginger is the worlds healthiest foods.  Check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why I babywear.

If you know me you've seen me do it. Wear little Olivia in a Ergo carrier or a sling as I go about my daily business in the house, walk around the neighborhood, calm her in it, or while running errands about town.

Before I was pregnant I had no idea that baby wearing even existed. Then I saw a girl at church frequently walk in with her baby in a teal green moby wrap. Her little one was always quiet as a church mouse while he was in it. I decided to look into this whole idea of "baby wearing".

Here is what I found out and have decided from my own experience to be true:

1. Slings save you money. If you know how to sew you can make your own, find them on craigs list for 1/3 of the price bran new, I have even found them in thrift stores! I use my sling in preference to a stroller.
 In fact I dislike using my stroller. Olivia is always happier while on me. She just nestles her head in and falls asleep. The only time a stroller has been necessary is on really hot days when holding her close is just too hot!
2. When I carry Olivia in her sling I don't have to worry about "forgetting" her while I shop. She is always close so I know where she is. It is really convenient for me. I can breastfeed on the go and no one even notices! In the sling she isn't easily distracted. In the airport in LA and Seattle I carry her around without a worry in the world. It makes for great hands free time enabling me to carry bags...push a cart, hold hands with my husband.
3. Carrying baby is great for their neurological development, enhancing their sense of balance and equilibrium.
4. Carrying infants help lower stress hormones and adrenalin circulating in baby's blood stream as well as mine. When she is happy so am I.
5. Babies in slings cry less. Olivia is a very happy baby. As a newborn she had a lot of colic due to GI distress. Putting her in the sling and going for a walk was my sanity! She would calm right down and fall asleep.
6. Baby wearing has been fantastic exercise for me. My arms, back and stomach have quickly regained strength.

Ultimately I carry her because I LOVE to. She is so snuggly and warm. She is close and looks up at me with her big eyes and smiles. She seems interested in everything I do, a part of it all. I will be carrying her for a long time!

There are many other claims made by the baby wearing advocates. The above are the one's I have found to be true for Olivia and I. Others are true these are only the ones I feel I can prove. 
Here is a link to other things baby wearing is said to do:

Olivia is only 7.5 months so I am waiting for this to be true...we shall see "Infants who are carried have less head lag, stronger neck and shoulder muscles, and walk on their own by ten months old versus the average North American walking age of eleven and a half (or more) months. Baby-carrying allows infants to retain the standing/stepping reflex present from birth which they use to push themselves up and grab onto mother."
I would say she has a very strong neck and shoulder muscles. Her posture is nearly perfect. Currently she is walk/ crawling. (crawling on her hands and feet not knees) She pulls herself up constantly.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Organic Chicken Turkey Curry

Yesterday we celebrated my dad's 59th birthday. My mom suggested I make curry so this is the recipe I came up with. It is a conglomeration of multiple recipes I found on the web. I went with what I had in the fridge and only had to go to the store to buy ginger. This recipe serves 8-10 people. Prep time is 40 minutes.

6 Tablespoons of organic extra virgin coconut oil ( if you like nutiva on facebook you can get 20% off your order)
2 organic yellow onions, chopped (Klesick Family Box of Good)
12 cloves of garlic, minced or use a garlic press
6 tablespoons of organic curry powder
2 teaspoons of organic paprika 
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons of organic ginger powder or the same of freshly grated organic ginger ( I looked for fresh and could not find organic, only conventional originating in China...)
1 teaspoon of organic sugar ( large bag from Costco) you could also use honey or brown rice syrup
4 cups of cooked chicken ( I precooked an organic whole chicken and deboned it)
3 Tablespoons of organic tomato paste 
2 cups of coconut yogurt (or any type of yogurt)
1 1/2 cups of organic coconut milk (canned is thicker and better for this recipe)
1 lemon (you need the juice of one lemon)
salt to taste

First place coconut oil, onions and crushed garlic in the dutch oven on the stove top. Cook on medium high until the onions are translucent. 

Then add curry powder, ground cinnamon, papricka, bay leaves, ginger, sugar and salt to taste. Stir with onions. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring often.

Then add pre-cooked chicken ( I precook and freeze my chicken), tomato paste, yogurt, coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Then let simmer for 20-25 minutes on low. This allows the flavors to spread and deepens them.

After the pot has simmered add the lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes then serve over rice.

This dish turned out delicious! We used brown rice as our base and served with a side salad. Enjoy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mint-Vinegar Skin Toner

About a week ago I got my copy of  "The Herb Companion" in the mail. It is one of my favorite magazines. I look forward to it coming in the mail as it is always chock full of fun ideas and recipes.
This time around they had an article on Herbal Vinegars for your skin and hair. Here is my favorite one so far:

3 Tablespoons of fresh mint leaves (or 1 Tablespoon of dried). I pulled mine from the garden making this a very very cheap recipe to make.
2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 cup of distilled water

Directions as stated in the magazine:
" Mix together all ingredients, then pour into a clean container and let sit for 3 days"
"Strain of filter out all solids and pour into a clean bottle with a tight fitting lid."
"To use: Apply to clean skin with a cotton pad."

Here it is strained. I had not found a bottle to put it in yet.

I love this recipe! Note it tingles when you apply it to your freshly cleaned face! The magazine says it is good for the blackheads in oily skin and the flakiness of very dry skin. My face feels soft after using it.
Make sure you wash the mint leaves before cutting up. The water does get a dirty brownish color but it feels AMAZING as it tingles on your skin. I want to experiment with more mint to see if it tingles more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Avocado's health benefits.

I have a new food love, avocados (ginger too but that is for another day). They are quickly becoming a staple in our diet. I fell in love with them when I realized how easy they were to feed seven month old daughter. In fact she loves to feed them to herself. Avocados are chock-full of vitamins. They contain Vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, among others. They have the highest soluble fiber of any fruit and are loaded with 2 grams of protein per 4 ounce serving. They are rich in phytochemicals one of which is glutathianone which is a strong anticancer agent. Luteins also have a strong presence and are great for protecting against hardening of the arteries and preventing prostate cancer. Avocados are loaded with fat. The good kind of fat. The kind that heals. Yes some fat is good for you! The fact acts as a nutrient booster enhancing the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in foods eaten along with the avocado. Avocado has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL. 
We add avocado to our salads, eat them alone with lime and salt, make guacamole, top our stir fry's with them and so much more. Enjoy an avocado today!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My decision to make my own shampoo

It's been a while since I bought "conventional" shampoo. You know things like Pantene Pro-v, Bed Head, or any other regular shampoo.

 When I got pregnant I decided to go all organic. What I didn't know or check into is that even though it might say "organic" or "Natural" doesn't mean it is good for you. Then one day I ran across the environmental working groups pageSKIN DEEP and googled my "natural" shampoo. What was I using at the time? A brand called  Jason. It was their one for kids so I thought it was good. When I checked into it I was horrified to find that there are ingredients in it that cause "reproductive toxicity". I threw it out the same day. I went to the nearest natural co-op and asked them what they recommended. They said it was always best to make your own but if you are too busy you can buy Hugo Naturals which is the least toxic one they sold. Since both the accountant and I were still working at the time I went the "easy" route and bought Hugo. It worked great and I loved it (cheapest place I found it was on amazon.com

But then little Olivia came. I quit working, money got tight and I ran out of shampoo. All I had in the shower with me that day was castile soap. So I tried it...along with the "natural" conditioner I had bought at the co-op and it worked fantastic. Then I started to experiment with it.
Here is what I currently use and love.

You will need a container to store it in. I use this  large empty plastic one from a former shampoo. For travel I use this nifty thing from humangear. I love it! (My sister bought one and I fell in love)
4 oz of castile soap any scent that is available. I buy mine in the gallon size, because I use it for so much.
10 drops of lavender oil
10 drops of sage oil
10 drops of rosemary oil
Original recipe found here
 The original recipe calls for MSM or organic sulphur. I don't have any so I didn't use any and what I have works fine.

Place all ingredients in the bottle and shake before each use. Talk about simple to make! I have a few more recipes I would like to try but for now this is the cheapest for me and the easiest. Next on my list to try is the baking soda shampoo. I will let you know what I think when I do it!
The best thing about making your own shampoo? It is so CHEAP!
Now to make my own conditioner!
(note: when you make this shampoo it is more runny than what you are used to and does not really suds up, suds are from an additive.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

link to cosmetic database.

This website is great! It ranks everything from dishwashing liquid to the foundation you put on your face. I use it frequently when I have questions about something I am thinking about buying that claims to be "Green", "eco-friendly" and so forth. Check it out at .
It is from the environmental working group and called "Skin Deep".

Chicken salad sandwich for the accountant's lunch

So last night we had chicken for dinner. The accountants favorite lunch is a sandwich. So I thought I would mix it up and make him a chicken salad sandwich. This recipe is dairy free and depending on what bread you use could be gluten free too. I plan on having a sandwich too with Udi's gluten free bread!

2 Chicken breasts
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of mustard (Dijon would be best)
salt to taste
1 tsp of pepper
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup of organic extra virgin olive oil

Place chicken in a large bowl, broken into small pieces

In a separate bowl whisk together all other ingredients

Then pour over chicken and stir

Then place chicken salad on bread and make the rest of the sandwich. For the accountant I just added tomatoes...

Then pack it in the lunch or serve. Yummy!


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