Monthly Archives: July 2011

Breakfast in one hand

Oh goodness, it’s been a week and a half since I last posted.  I have a long list of topics/recipes to share, but between the heat, my undone to-do list and life with 2 little kids, I haven’t had the time to settle down and think clearly.  In addition to life itself, I’d have to guess that the fact that I haven’t done well with my own personal nutrition lately would probably be a reason for my fatigue and lack of focus.  Breakfast has been at the bottom of my daily routine.  I make it, but as in today’s case, I only got a few bites in before Sylvia woke up and needed fed, once she was done, I had a toddler meltdown to diffuse.  Once that was done, there were visitors and cookies in the oven and suddenly, it was lunchtime and my breakfast plate was sitting on the counter, cold and sad.  
This bar “cookie” is my current solution.  I tripled the amount of oats in the original recipe and used whole wheat flour.  Instead of raisins, I used cranberries and then threw in some dark chocolate chips.  This recipe makes a 9×13 pan that can be sliced and wrapped individually.  You can then freeze these bars as well if you choose to make a double batch.
Mama needs a grab-n-go breakfast bar
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 (scant) c. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 -2 1/2 cup. flour
  • 3 cups whole oats
  • 1 1/2 cup mix ins (cranberries, chocolate chips, peanut butter chunks, raisins, dried apricots, etc.)

Melt the butter completely and then stir in the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.  Add in the applesauce.  Once the butter isn’t scalding hot (adding the applesauce will bring the temperature down), whisk the 2 eggs and add them to the mix.  Stir in the baking soda and powder, oats and 2 cups of flour.  Add more flour if needed to make the batter slightly stiff in texture.  Stir in your mix-ins and then spread across the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (well greased).  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.

**You could certainly feed this bar to your cheflets as long as they are comfortable with chewing and have tried whatever extra fruit you decide to mix in.  If you are nursing, oats are known for helping your milk supply, however, from personal experience, I’d suggest not eating these every day… lots of fiber can lead to lots of gas in the little ones!

Preservation: Pickles, Jelly and Sanity

This post is a participant in the Green Moms Carnival.  This month, the topic is Food Preservation and is hosted by my fantastic bloggy friend, Abbie of the Farmer’s Daughter.  There are many, many posts to read and be inspired by (I know I am!), so take time to head on over to her blog, check out the posts by other authors and go through Abbie’s recipe book.  I for one, can’t wait to make her Cider Jelly in another month or two!

Every year, I sit down and make a list of my canning goals.  I haven’t been doing it for all that long, so each year as my confidence grows, so does my list.  I love to open the cupboard doors and see my neatly organized jars full of the fresh foods I put up with my own hands.  I thrill throughout the winter as I reach into the freezer and pull out a bag of my frozen green beans, labeled in my handwriting with the date they were blanched and sealed in those bags.

When I first began canning, I was able to set aside whole days and dedicate my energy and focus to the task.  That first year, it was a great idea to spend the entire morning grilling tomatoes to be canned.  The next year, I had a brand new baby and no energy or time to speak of.  Last year, our son was just a year old and I was newly pregnant with our daughter.  Oh.  And we moved into a home we were renovating.  In the midst of this, I canned when I could during the week and spent one very long 10-hour day with a friend to can a couple bushels of tomatoes.  The tomato day worked out well since we were able to use an industrial kitchen and completely devote our time and energy to it.  The next day, we were both exhausted and I honestly wondered how on Earth Amish women are able to do it in homes with no air-conditioning, fancy supportive mats for their feet and husbands to run errands for them at the drop of a hat.  Some people are stronger than others I guess.
Last year, I managed to do the tomatoes, peaches, hot pepper jelly, applesauce and blackberry jam.  The tomatoes were a success just by merit of the circumstances by which they were done.  The blackberry jam was ill-fated.  I just threw out the last jar a week ago… we ate none of it.  Reason being I had made a poor decision to start the jam close to the end of Liam’s afternoon nap.  The jam got a little burnt on the bottom of pan, so I tried to salvage it and only use the top part.  What resulted after it had settled was a smoky-flavored blackberry cement that you couldn’t even spread on a slice of toast.  On the upside, the hot pepper jelly was a total success.  I started that after Liam had gone to bed so that before I myself collapsed for the night, the jelly was cooling on my countertops.  Bonus: the 8 hours between when I finished and my son rising for the morning was enough for the air to clear of the sting of 7 pounds of hot pepper fumes.
This year, I’ve already canned 22 jars of pickles and a dozen jars of strawberry jam.  I have a toddler and a 3 month old who need me to still be Mama and not super canning woman locked in the kitchen for hours on end.  Through trial and error these last 2 years, I’ve come up with a few tips to hopefully help myself and others sail through this season smoothly and come out on top.  On top of a good stash of canned goods to be proud of!
  • First and foremost, know your children!  If your baby is more demanding in the morning, this isn’t the time to start a bushel of peaches that need to be peeled, packed and processed before they turn colors.  If you have older children who can entertain themselves, use that time to get your work done.  For me, I know I have about an hour in the afternoon when both kiddos are sleeping that if I have things started before I can use to do anything that needs to be timed, like say, watching for jelling points.  The rest of my work needs to be done in the evening after my husband comes home.  He can entertain our son while our daughter and I hang out in the kitchen, working and nursing as we can until she goes to sleep for the night.
  • Work in small batches.  Yes, it seems like it’ll take longer that way, but I promise you, it will be worth your while.  Trust me when I say this because I was really upset about throwing away 42 dollars worth of inedible blackberry jam.
  • Since I’ve already mentioned the Amish, let’s talk about them again.  There’s a real merit to their canning bees.  As the saying goes, “many hands make light work”, and if you can find another person to work with it makes the day more manageable not only because you have someone to chat with, but also if you need to change a diaper, you don’t have to worry about that finicky point between perfectly jelled and totally scorched.
  • Get organized!  The way to having a successful canning experience to know what you have, what supplies you’ll need and the length of processing times.  Don’t waste precious naptimes by starting those peaches and discover that you don’t have any sugar to make your syrup.
  • Clean all your vegetables/fruits in advance if you can.  The remaining prep work really flies by when everything is already washed.
  • Ask for help.  This is a big one.  I ask my husband to watch our son while I’m working and if I have to stop and nurse, I have him on call to take jars out of the canner or peel peaches or shock the green beans.  The best part of this is that in time, he’ll be a valuable asset to me in the kitchen every year until our kids are old enough to really get involved and we can make food preservation a family affair!
  • And finally, bribe if necessary.  While doing the pickles a few weeks ago, I did have to offer an extra snack and movie to keep Liam occupied so that I could finish the last few batches in the canner.  I don’t want him in the kitchen right now since he’s too young to really help beyond the initial cleaning of the vegetable/fruit and I don’t want him to get burnt.  Maybe next year, he can help me pack pickles into the jars, but for this year it needed to be just Sylvia and I in the kitchen singing and working in between her feedings and naps.

With these tips in mind, head on out to your local farmer’s market, produce stand or (if you’re lucky) backyard garden and get excited about what you can do with little ones and a little advance planning.  Keep it up, because in years to come, you’ll have eager little helpers in your kitchen to make these days even more worthwhile!

    Philosophy in Practice

    Reading together hours after Sylvia’s birth
    I’m a new parent.  Well, newer.  My son has been 2 for a few days at the publication of this post and my daughter will be 3 months old in a few days.  I haven’t experienced the drama of dating or the excitement of competitive sports.  Gosh, we haven’t even succeeded with potty training!  I’ve dealt with tons of tantrums both public and private.  I’m handing the new sibling rivalry.  We have our share of excitement in any given day, even though both kids are still in need of a great deal of Mama cuddles and kisses to soothe the hurts.
    I don’t have plenty of experience to shape my philosophy, but I do have my heart.  My husband and I have determined to raise our children in a gentle, peaceful, loving home.  A home where our children can feel safe being themselves.  In an effort to make this a reality for our children, we’ve realized that we’ll need to tweak our philosophy on a never ending basis.  What worked for behavioral guidance last week might not work this week.  And it might not work from child to child.  Already I see very pointed differences in my children’s personalities and I want to respect those differences.
    To put it most simply, my (and my husband’s) parenting philosophy is respect.  No matter who I am as a parent and how I was raised, I want above all to respect my children.  Part of respecting them is to shower them with the love and affection they need to grow.  But just like a prize rose, another facet of respect is to trim and prune as necessary for growth.  Discipline and guidance that is gentle and peaceful is able to help a child become who they naturally are without forcing them into a mold.  Parenting is a huge responsibility.  In my hands, I hold the lives and hearts of 2 precious little ones.  I firmly believe that if I treat them with the respect each one deserves (and craves deep down), I will be able to parent them in a manner that will help each one grow up with the tools to be all that they were created to be.  And eventually, raise their own children with that same respect.

    ***
    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
    (This list will be live and updated by afternoon July 12 with all the carnival links.)

    • Between Love and Fear: On Raising our Children Sensibly — Mamma Earthly at Give an Earthly discusses the fear factor in parenting and how she overcame it, despite societal pressures.
    • really, when do i get my cape? — Sarah at small bird on fire is a working city mama trying to learn how to set aside her expectations of perfection and embrace the reality of modern parenting.
    • Baby, Infant, and Toddler Wearing — Child wearing is part of Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured‘s parenting philosophy. In this post, Sarah describes benefits of child-wearing and gives tips for wearing babies, infants, and toddlers (even while pregnant).
    • First Year Reflections — As her daughter’s first birthday approaches, Holly at First Year Reflections reflects on how she and her husband settled into attachment parenting after initially doing what they thought everyone else did.
    • Making an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a guest post from Sam about the unexpected lessons giving a four-year-old an allowance teaches the child — and the parent.
    • How to be a Lazy Parent and Still Raise Great Kids — Lisa at Granola Catholic talks about how being a Lazy Parent has helped her to raise Great Kids.
    • Philosophy in Practice — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how her heart shaped the parenting philosophy in her home.
    • What is Attachment Parenting Anyway? — Gaby at Tmuffin describes the challenges of putting a label on her parenting philosophy.
    • Of Parenting Styles — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom talks about how she and her husband tailored various parenting styles to fit their own preferred parenting philosophy.
    • Moment by Moment Parenting — Amy at Peace 4 Parents encourages those who care for children (including herself) to explore and appreciate parenting moment-by-moment with clarity, intention, trust, and action.
    • Maintaining Spirituality in the Midst of Everyday Parenting, Marriage, and Life — Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured shares her perspective on finding opportunities for spiritual growth in every day life.
    • Parenting Philosophy — Lily, aka Witch Mom’s parenting philosophy is to raise child(ren) to be compassionate, loving, inquisitive, and questioning adults who can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in a way that avoids harming others.
    • Long Term — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis thinks about who she would like to see her daughter become — and what she can do now to lay a strong foundation for those hopes.
    • Connection, Communication, Compassion — She’s come a long way, baby! After dropping her career in favour of motherhood, Patti at Jazzy Mama discovered that building solid relationships was going to be her only parenting priority.
    • My Parenting Inspirations – Part 4 — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at her biggest parenting inspiration and how that translates into her long-term parenting philosophy.
    • A Parenting Philosophy in One Word: Respect — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction summarizes her parenting and relationship philosophy in one word: respect.
    • Knowledge and Instinct — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that knowledge and instinct are super important … as are love, encouragement and respect. It’s the ideal combo needed to raise happy and healthy children and in turn create meaningful relationships with them.
    • THRIVE!The Sparkle Mama wants to set a tone of confidence, abundance, and happiness in her home that will be the foundation for the rest of her daughter’s life.
    • On Children — “Your children are not your children,” say Kahlil Gibran and Hannah at Wild Parenting.
    • This One Life Together — Ariadne aka Mudpiemama shares her philosophy of parenting: living fully in the here and now and building the foundation for a happy and healthy life.
    • Enjoying life and planning for a bright future — Olivia at Write About Birth shares her most important parenting dilemmas and pours out her heart about past trauma and how healing made her a better parent.
    • My Parenting Philosophy: Unconditional and Natural Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about her parenting philosophy from a year of following her instincts as a mama.
    • An open letter to my children — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine writes an open letter to her children.
    • My Starter Kit for Unconditional Parenting — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses her wish to raise a good person and summarizes some of the nontraditional practices she’s using with her toddler son in order to fulfill that wish.
    • Responsiveness — Sheila at A Gift Universe has many philosophies and goals, but what it all boils down to is responsiveness: listening to what her son wants and providing what he needs.
    • Tools for Creating Your Parenting Philosophy — Have you ever really thought about your parenting purpose? Knowing your long-term goals can help you parent with more intent in your daily interactions. Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers exercises and ideas to help you create your own parenting philosophy.
    • Be a Daisy — Becky at Old New Legacy philosophizes about individuality and how she thinks it’s important for her daughter’s growth.
    • What’s a Mama to Do? — Amyables at Toddler in Tow hopes that her dedication to compassionate parenting will keep her children from becoming too self-critical as adults.
    • grown-up anxieties. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life explains her lone worry concerning her babies growing up.
    • Why I Used Montessori Principles in My Parenting Philosophy — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells why she chose Montessori principles to help her now-adult children develop qualities she wanted to see in them as children and adults.
    • Parenting Philosophies & Planning for the FutureMomma Jorje considers that the future is maybe just a fringe benefit of doing what feels right now.
    • Not Just Getting Through — Rachael at The Variegated Life asks what truths she hopes to express even in the most commonplace interactions with her son.
    • Parenting Philosophy? Eh… — Ana at Pandamoly shares the philosophy (or lack thereof) being employed to (hopefully) raise a respectful, loving, and responsible child.
    • Parenting Philosophy: Being Present — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses the changes her family has made to accommodate their parenting philosophy and to reflect their ideals as working parents.
    • Who They Will Be — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a short list of some qualities she hopes she is instilling in her children at this very moment.
    • Short Term vs. Long Term — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts how long term parenting goals often get lost in the details of everyday life with two kids.
    • Parenting Philosophy: Practicing and Nurturing Peace — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle sets personal goals for developing greater peace.
    • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 1: The Yamas — In part 1 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie guest posts at Natural Parents Network about how the Yoga Sutras provide a framework for her parenting philosophy.
    • Yama Niyama & the Red Pajama Mama — Part 2: The Niyamas — In part 2 of a set of posts by Zoie at TouchstoneZ, Zoie explores how the Niyamas (one of the eight limbs in traditional Yoga) help her maintain her parenting and life focus.
    • Our Sample Parenting Plan — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shares hopes of who her children will become and parenting strategies she employs to get them there.
    • Philosophical Parenting: Letting Go — Jona at Life, Intertwined ponders the notion that there’s no right answer when it comes to parenting.
    • Unphilosophizing? — jessica at instead of institutions wonders about the usefulness of navel gazing.
    • Parenting Sensitively — Amy at Anktangle uses her sensitivity to mother her child in ways that both nurture and affirm.
    • how to nurture your relationships — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog believes that sometimes all kids need is a jolly good listening to …
    • Philosophy Of An Unnatural Parent — Dr. Sarah at Good Enough Mum sees parenting as a process of guiding her children to develop the skills they’ll need.
    • Life with a Challenging Kid: Hidden Blessings — Wendy at High Needs Attachment shares the challenges and joys of raising a high needs child.
    • Flying by the Seat of My Pants — Heather at Very Nearly Hippy has realized that she has no idea what she’s doing.

    2 years of changes

    Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

    This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

    There are few things I like more than diapering a teeny little newborn heiny.  I just love to wrap them up and then admire the cuteness, even if the clean diaper lasts only a few moments.  With my son, I used the Bum Genius diapers exclusively until about 4 months ago when I added the Econobums into our stash.  He was a big baby from birth, so he never looked like he was drowning in his diapers.  My daughter in contrast, is rather petite.  I was grateful to borrow some Kissaluvs that fit my daughter like they had been custom made for her.  Once she was big enough, we started the BG diapers back on the newborn size and I marvel at how small Liam had once been.  Putting her diapers next to his is just another way for me to realize how my baby has changed.
    After 2 months of having both children in cloth diapers, I’ve decided to start potty training.  This Independence Day weekend, I’m making a bid for my son’s independence and we’ll be pulling out the cloth trainers and underpants.  We had started training back in the Fall and he was really starting to catch on and like wearing his truck printed underpants.  Sadly, just when he was really “getting” it, we had a family tragedy and I needed to stop so I could be available to others.  I’m looking forward to teaching him how to listen to his body and give him the independence he naturally craves.  I will say that I’ve liked that he is so used to frequent diaper changes because I’m not taking any chances on diaper rash from being in a wet diaper, that the continual trips to the bathroom during this early stage of pottying aren’t a big deal.  He loves the feel of the cloth against his skin in contrast to the scratchy pull-ups, so we don’t have a fight over putting them on.  And, when he has an accident, he actually gets to see what happens in contrast to the traditional method where the pull-ups act like a diaper still.  

    I love that cloth has served our family so well.  I love that my cloth diapers are lasting through multiple children and that there is no waste.  These products grow with us and adapt to our needs without a hassle.  And it doesn’t hurt that their darling bottoms look cute the whole time, too! 

    ***

    freedom of cloth carnivalVisit
    Natural Parents Network
    for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

    • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
    • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
    • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
    • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
    • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
    • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
    • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

    Wordless Wednesday: Cloth Diapers as Fashion

    Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

    This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

    One of my favorite ways to introduce people to cloth diapers is by playing with the colors and showing off the cuteness.  For instance, Sylvia’s little green diaper coordinates perfectly with her top, a choice that prompted a few conversations and lots of interest while we were grocery shopping that day.  Little by little, as mother and daughter we get to educate others about the joys of cloth… and the fun of color!

    freedom of cloth carnivalVisit
    Natural Parents Network
    for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

    • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
    • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
    • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
    • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
    • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
    • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
    • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

    Simple Needs

    Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

    This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

    I’m a pretty simple person in general, so my needs go along with that.  When it comes to cloth diapering, I only need to have a few things in my possession to make my days easy.

    I am a big fan of the Magic Stick diaper cream.  It’s like a giant, pleasant smelling glue stick that prevents your baby’s heiny from getting irritated by the the contents of their diapers.  I love it because it’s cloth diaper safe so it doesn’t effect the absorbancy of the diapers as commercial diaper creams will.  It’s not messy and I’ve never opened my son’s door after a nap and found it smeared all over the place!

    I have tried every single suggestion for laundry detergent for my diapers.  I started out with the homemade detergents that were Borax based.  I tried Soap Nuts.  I used all-natural liquid detergents.  They were all nice, but nothing has compared to the success I’ve experienced with Rockin’ Green.  For me, when my babies are nursing, diapers don’t stink.  With Liam, I had to switch to formula around 4 months of age and that’s when the trouble started.  Formula poo is vile.  Add in the solids he devoured a few months later and boy howdy did I have a problem.  Once he was officially eating like an adult, I never really felt like I could quite get the stink out.  One cold, snowy night in February, I ordered the Rockin’ Green detergent and a package of the Ammonia buster.  Since that time, I’ve only used the buster once and even with mixing diapers used by a toddler and a newborn, everything comes out of the wash smelling… clean.  That my friends, is all I really want.
    Since I plan to be cloth diapering for the next several years as we add more children, Lord willing, I also have a few things that I’d really love to have.  We moved last year and still haven’t put up a laundry line.  We have a neighbor who also cloth diapers her son and every time I see her diapers hanging out, I make a mental note to nag the husband again about a line.  Someday soon, I hope.  Otherwise, I might start pinning them to the shrubs to dry!  Another thing I’d really like to get is a sprayer.  I have plans for how we can modify the sink in my laundry room to also deal with the diaper waste that doesn’t let go when I flip them into the toilet.  I have plans, but again, they include nagging the husband.  He tells me that I need to remind him to the point of nagging for him to remember a to-do request.  Perhaps I should just put him on diaper care duty!  But no, I won’t.  Why?  Because for all the extra steps it adds to my week to tend to the diapers, I find it one of the most cathartic chores in my household.  I love to look over the stack of diapers at the end of the day and know that I’ve got everything I need to diaper my children for years to come in a simple, natural way.

    ***
    freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

    • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
    • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
    • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
    • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
    • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
    • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
    • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

    Decisions, decisions

    Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

    This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.

    Just waiting to be used!
    When Matt and I realized we were expecting Liam, I had a good feeling that this baby was the one.  We had had 2 early losses up to this point and I was so anxious for a baby.  After that first ultrasound where we both swooned at the sight of our little bean and the sound of his heartbeat, I came home and started shopping.  Not for clothes, not for books and not for toys.  I shopped for diapers!  At the time, I didn’t really know very much about cloth diapers.  There were so many choices and I only knew 2 people who had experience with them.  My cousin who lives in Canada loved her Bum Genius diapers and a friend in town used the traditional pre-folds with the sized covers.
    Liam spent a lot of his first days hanging out in just a diaper.
    Some people will tell you that they researched all the different types or bought a sample pack with a variety of styles to try before making a commitment.  Not me.  I chose the Bum Genius 3.0 brand because my cousin was so in love with them, it’s true, but really, I chose those diapers because they were colorful.  I was completely in love with the Clementine color and I just knew I’d love to see the darling little heiny of my baby swaddled in it.  I opted to use the BG diapers also because at the time, they only had Velcro closures and I was intimidated by the snaps on some brands.  I also made the decision to use the one-size diapers instead of the size specific All-In-Ones.  Between my mother-in-law and my purchases from a few locations, I managed to have a stash of 20 diapers washed and ready for the birth of my son and 6 more still in the packaging, just in case.

    Sylvia’s first cloth diaper: Size small Kissaluvs

    A few months ago, I added some Econobums to my stash and a few of the Bum Genius 4.0 snapped diapers.  A friend of mine also loaned me some Kissaluvs to try on Sylvia’s teeny, tiny newborn heiny.  I like all my diapers, but I’m still very partial to the initial 26.  I’ve used them regularly for 2 years this July and they are still in wonderful condition (minus the chocolate stain on one blue diaper and the laundry tabs having been put to serious use).  I don’t have trouble with leaks or blowouts and I’m not afraid of my baby’s tender skin experiencing chemical burns from disposable diapers.  I have a variety of colors in my stash and it was great fun to shop for some sweet, feminine colors prior to the birth of my daughter in April.  I’m so thrilled to be passing along these diapers from my son to my daughter and to see that even though they were different birth weights and sizes they still work wonderfully.  I love to know that my investment was a wise one and I’m very interested to see how many children these diapers still hold up through!

    ***
    freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!

    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

    • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
    • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
    • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
    • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
    • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
    • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
    • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

    The Freedom of Cloth Blog Carnival

    I’d say it’s fairly well know among those I spend time with that this is a cloth home.  Cloth diapers, wipes, napkins, UNpaper towels, produce bags, grocery bags, rags, even the training pants for Liam are cloth.  I’m completely in love with this simple, frugal and natural method for our family.  This week, Natural Parents Network is sponsoring a Blog carnival.  The participants are going to be discussing a variety of topics that range from their style of diaper to how cloth diapers have influenced other changes in their lives.  I participated, so this week you get a chance of pace with what you have to read on my blog!  Be sure to check back every day for the new posts, enter the giveaways and maybe even get inspired if you aren’t already!

    Summer Steak Salad

    I struggle every summer.  On one hand, I really enjoy the sun and fresh fruit and the outdoor fun we get to have and on the other, I can’t stand the heat.  Last week, we had a few cooler days, so I did as much meal prep as I could and in process, found myself reminiscing about my childhood summers.  I can remember sitting in the kitchen while my mother, putting plates of spaghetti in front of us, announced that it was the last warm meal we’d eat until Fall.  During the summers growing up, we ate meals that were cold or required very little cooking until the weather settled down and we wouldn’t sweat through supper.  I find myself digging deep into my memories every summer trying to come up with meals that my mother served us.  
    I’m certain my mother would have never fed us this meal, though.  We were vegetarians, so steak wasn’t in the meal rotation, but I’m thinking that this salad is going to be a regular on our menu.  It takes a whole pint of hot pepper jelly to do justice to the marinade, so I’m already making big plans for my canning list to include lots of the jelly.  The cut of meat is one that when I asked out butcher what he would use, he picked out for me.  I marinaded it in the jelly for 24 hours before grilling and the result is amazing.  The meat is tender and sweet from the peppers and smoky from the grill.  We grill a large steak on the weekend and then keep the leftovers for a quick salad during the week.  This recipe is basically a formula that you can add to as you see fit… I’m working on a salad dressing recipe that I think will be perfect for a hearty salad like this, but so far it’s only been an idea.
    Summer Steak Salad
    • 2lbs London Broil
    • 1 pint hot pepper jelly
    • 1/2 cup cheese, crumbled or cubed
    • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and shredded
    • 1 cup vegetables
    • croutons
    • Salad dressing

    Marinate the meat in the jelly for  8 – 24 hours in the refrigerator.  Grill until the doneness you desire is achieved.  Arrange on the shredded lettuce and add the cheese (I used Feta), vegetables (I used cucumbers), croutons and Dressing (I used Italian).  This recipe feeds 6-8 people or can be made into additional meals for the week as long as you keep the ingredients separate during storage.