Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity. ~ Margaret D. Nadald

Our Father also gifted us with the nature to nurture, keen sensitivity to the Spirit, selflessness, discernment, and heroic faith. No wonder our Father placed us at the heart of the family and thus at the center of the plan of salvation. We are the Lord's secret weapon. ~ Sheri Dew

I'd love it if you would follow my blog!

16 December 2009

A Whole Lot of Crazy

I think if I called myself just a little crazy, I would be lying. So, my post title has to be "A Whole Lot of Crazy" because that's really the only way I see myself most times. It seems like every year I end up deciding to do at least one thing that ends up being pretty life changing in how it affects me and my family. I don't try to do this, it just happens.....

For instance. We just moved. Like I've only been unloading boxes for a week, just moved. My oldest goes to TaeKwonDo 4-5 times a week, my husband is at the work or gym for many hours a day, so I never know when I'll see him, and like I said, I (and my 29 weeks pregnant self) am unloading boxes with a 3 year old and 18 month old underfoot.... while still providing meals and laundry services. If there was ever a time in my life that I was ABSOLUTELY NOT looking for something else to do, it would be now. However, it seems like in the midst of these moments that I end up stumbling on my new goals/passions. (That actually pretty well describes how I got together with my husband too... I was super crazy busy, career oriented, and then out of no where I get hit over the head and realized that only he and the life he had to offer really matter. Boy did that change things!)

Anyway, I had to drop off my sons uniform at an Outdoor Adventure store to get patches sewn on, and I happen to look down and see a registration form for the "Polar Bear Triathlon." I notice that the event actually took place 3 days before I saw the flyer, and for some reason I asked if this was an annual event. Well, it is!! Now my mind is super focused on not only completing this event, but using it as a jumping off point to doing more and eventually trying to make it through an Ironman qualifier so I can participate in the Hawaii Championships.

Hello???????? I think I briefly entertained the thought of doing a triathlon last year, but that was just because I was working out a lot and thought training for it would be an even better workout, but where has my mind gone! *laugh* I have to say that the most rewarding part of all this is how supportive my husband is. We talked about an hour after I saw the flyer and I filled him in on everything and he got really excited. He's now talking about participating in the June Triathlon (same place, a little longer though), and I would do this one in December (I'm sure it'll be a little annoying to have to wait for mine, but seeing as how I can't really train hard until mid-April, I think the timing will work out well.)

I was just thinking that I'd train for this and do other races locally, but my goals got a lot bigger when I started thinking about doing the IronMan down the road.... (WAY down the road). I think too that while we're healthy eaters and care about exercise/fitness, that I'm especially excited for my kids to see me participate in these kinds of things. I've always been up for having a large family, but I've never been willing to accept being an overweight mom "because of it." I thankfully have slimmed down between each one, but I think this takes my views to a whole new level. My kids are already wanting to train with me and it's only been barely 3 days since this idea landed in my lap. I'm really looking forward to a time where I can enter these races with them! What an amazing opportunity!

So, thus we go creating change within the family yet again. I find solace in the fact that our other "ah ha" moments have worked out well and am excited for a new adventure with my homeschooling, cloth diapering, homemade laundry detergent, corn syrup free, mostly vegetarian, book reading, always discovering, music playing, 4 kids under 4, family!

07 October 2009

Corn Syrup

I figured I should probably get up and write about this topic since it's been burning a hole in my brain since 4:30 this morning. After about an hour of considering what I wanted to put in this post, perhaps finally doing it will allow me some rest! (Which is a little laughable seeing as how by the time I finish here my husband will then be up and leaving for work and my kiddies will start trickling out of bed sometime between 7 and 10.) It is what it is!

Anyway! I can't remember exactly when we caught on to the "corn syrup=bad" concept. I know it was sometime in the last 4 years, but what caused the change I can't seem to remember. In any case, as usual, much research was done and we started checking label's and stopped buying products with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm sure the documentary "Super Size Me" by Morgan Spurlock may have been a catalyst for further research (that's an awesome movie by the way, we have it if you've never seen it... makes you think! Although, I do have to say thanks to that show and the book Fast Food Nation, as well as yet more research, my kids have never been to a McDonald's, and they never will as long as we're paying for food and health care!)

Recently we watched a documentary called "King Corn." If you have Netflix you can watch it instantly... it's worth your time. It starts a little slow, but the information in it is eye opening. These two men follow corn (which is engineered to have more starch so they can make corn syrup, and is inedible by the way!) to see where it goes. Here's a clip for you:

I think one of the most shocking things that has happened in America is how ignorant we've allowed ourselves to become when it comes down to such a vital thing as food. Companies use corn syrup because it's a cheaper sweetener, it's a cheaper sweetener because the government subsidizes it, and because as a nation we're too busy to care, medical problems are on the rise. Hello? I've seen and read about plenty of doctors who will tell you that things like non-genetic diabetes and other degenerative diseases that just "came from nowhere" are related to food and most of those will tell you specifically corn syrup. Why? Because there's a spore in the corn that actually can't be refined, and that your body is allergic to and can't break down.

I'm not asking you to change how you do things around your place, I'm asking you to think. Open your cupboards and your refrigerator and freezer and look at the labels on the products you buy. Just keep a little tally in your head of how many have corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup. If you don't think you have anything check just a couple things for me.... ketchup, yogurt, ice cream/popsicles. What did you find? Are there any products at your house that you were surprised had corn syrup... like tomato sauce, crackers, cereal, bread? Please leave your thoughts, I think this is a fun experiment.

I'm asking you to think about corn syrup, because we usually don't. Corn is everywhere though, and we're not talking sweet corn that you can go out into the field and take a bite out of. We're talking the same corn that's refined for corn syrup that is used for livestock feed.... so therefore it ends up in your meat and pretty much everything else you're eating (by the way, cows can't actually handle corn as part of their diet. Their feed plus hormones make them grow big quick, but they have to be slaughtered within months of being on a corn diet because they'll die otherwise... livestock get 70% of the antibiotics in America because their diet is killing them... makes you think doesn't it?) Anyway! I believe in moderation in all things. If you're being slipped corn all day long, that you can't process and is making you sick without you knowing, there's going to be some fall-out.

If American's demand more from manufacturer's, they'll get it! We budget way more for food then we would have normally, which means we sacrifice in other places, because every time we go through the check out line we're "voting" for what products the stores buy. What good is a "healthy" food like yogurt when it's laden with corn syrup? So, we buy Stoneyfield Farms, or Brown Cow, or Horizon. What fun is having a yummy treat when it's literally taking years off your life? Brands like TLC, Back to Nature, Breyer's Ice Cream (but you have to read label's with them these days, any 'Country Style' or 'Churned' blah, blah, blah, is made with junk), provide some great treats that are made with real sugar. Don't be afraid of real sugar! You'll also find the most AMAZING soda's that are made with real sugar, most of which are still bottled in glass bottles and made like they did in the 1800's. Nathan has actually started a "Finer Soda's Club" here and the members, which are growing every week, are so excited about it that they want to start branches of the club at their new duty stations when we leave here. The only rule is that none of the beverages at their meetings can have corn syrup or artificial sweeteners (like aspartame etc.) We've been lucky to have at least one store everywhere we've been that sell cane soda's, plus we look for them on vacations, and have ordered them online. They're really good!

"Real" foods are really something this generation is missing out on. My parents are the healthiest people alive. Their doctors ask THEM why their bad cholesterol is so low and their good cholesterol is so high. THEY EAT REAL FOODS. They eat butter, and sugar, and mayonnaise, and they use olive oil. All the stuff that scientist engineered to help us because these "real foods" have too much fat, is killing us! I'm sorry, but I will not eat a product that has a list of ingredients full of things I can't pronounce and is as long as a novel. Eat good things and get active!

Again, the moral of the story, think about what you're eating. It's worth doing some research on and "getting scared." There's a reason we're obese, there's a reason our health issues our ballooning out of control, and you NEED to know where you're food is coming from and what's in it. Don't be passive on this one, your health and your children's is at risk. Start good habits now, make small changes, find alternatives.... vote for your health.

Kids can understand what is good for them. If we're filling them up with junky food then that's what they know and love. Our kids LOVE fruits and vegetables and will eat anything we put in front of them. We've never had a "picky eater"... "picky eaters" are taught and encouraged in their behaviors, not born that way. My kids will tell you that corn syrup is bad for your body and that we shouldn't eat it. Are they deprived? Nope! We buy hard candies made with cane sugar and make sweets at home with a mixture of organic cane sugars (sometimes things are a little grainy since some of the sugars are coarser, but it makes things so good!)

I'm not anti-sugar, I'm anti processed junk. :-)

06 October 2009


True dedication to something really makes a difference in how you see that thing, doesn't it?

I did a pretty decent job of keeping up with scripture study.... some days were definitely better than others... but starting this challenge has made a huge difference on what I'm learning, and how I see the time that I spend in the scriptures. I wrote about my experience at http://scripturepowerchallenge.blogspot.com. Again, that's the page I created to track what scriptures/pages to read each day to read the Book of Mormon all the way through by November 31.

What I've learned about my time in the scriptures is a principle that can be applied anywhere. A change of mindset and a drive to complete a certain task, coupled with a specific daily goal in mind to do so, brings a satisfaction and peace that I think is sometimes lost in day to day life.

I hope that you're able to find things in your life that you could do better at, and make some serious goals on how to attain them. If it's spiritual aspects, might I suggest my scripture challenge, truly devoting myself to spending the time to read 8-9 pages a day has made a HUGE difference to me and what I've learned... as opposed to reading just a verse, or page, or chapter each day.
If it's physical goals, I've learned that choosing activities or times that don't depend on anyone else is really the only thing that works. If I want to do something without my kids, that requires my husband to be home... and since that's a variable I can't control, unless I set out to do things that are really within my power each day, it won't happen! So, find a couple good workout video's to cycle through, get used to sharing room on the floor with the kiddies (unless you do it before or after they're in bed), get the Wii Personal Trainer (this program rocks and shakes things up while documenting your workout), or whatever you think you'll stick to, and get to work!
If you're looking for more time to read a good book, paint, do music, whatever it is that drives you, make a plan and go forward! Dedication is what it takes to make your desires come about. Don't let anything stand in the way of keeping your from your goal. I'm pretty sure your house will still be standing if you take 10-15 minutes here and there throughout the day to attain whatever it is you're striving for.
The best parents are ones that are well rounded and have gifts and talents to share with their kids, don't let yours fall by the wayside. They are important to your family, take the time to develop yourself with your kids right by your side learning and growing with you!

04 October 2009

Know what you're eating!

I've done years of research on food, but I won't subject you to it here. Just know that all of my quirk's and food preferences DO stem from real hard facts that we just can't ignore.

I know ground beef is a staple in many homes, and I don't fault anyone for that, but please do some research on what you're eating, it really IS that important. I've read lots of information on the meat packing industry, cows, companies, you name it! I'll give you things to read and watch in you want, but here's a short article that's worth your time right now: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=1&hp

01 October 2009

Scripture Challenge

I have an awesome friend we met 5 years back while we were stationed in CA. We recently connected on Facebook and she shared a challenge that is beginning today. She's reading the Book of Mormon all the way through from today Oct 1, until Nov 31, and has invited all who want to join to do so!

I'm really excited for this opportunity. I created a blog for the people who'd like to participate, it's at scripturepowerchallenge.blogspot.com. The blog itself will get more put together over time, but I wrote a little blurb there to kick things off as to why I joined this challenge, and you're welcome to go there and check it out. If you too would like to participate, just let me know and I'll add you to the contributor's so you can post about your experiences. This is open to anyone, so if you can think of someone that would benefit then pass the word along.

To fulfill this goal on-time it will take reading 8.5-9 pages a day. I panicked one day after I agreed to join this challenge because I didn't know what kind of commitment reading on this time schedule would be! I calculated things out and realized 531 pages in about 61 days is 8.7 pages a day. In all honesty, there is time throughout each day to fulfill this goal. My friend takes her Book of Mormon with her everywhere so when she's waiting for things she can pull it out (Dr.s' appointments, post office, etc.) This doesn't work out so well for someone with a bunch of little kids, but I have had moments where I've had to wait somewhere, and I had the scriptures in my car so I read aloud. I also find many times throughout the day where I just like to sit with my kids, what a great opportunity to just read aloud. Or, first thing in the morning start with a little reading as your gearing up for the day, or in midday at or after lunch when you need a pick-me up, or before bed when you're winding down. There's no rule that says it all has to be read in a perfect scenario and all at once. Read a page here and there through the day. I know plenty of people are busy, but I also know that no one is a perfect manager of their time, so there are plenty of idle or misused moments throughout the day that we could fill with the best of things!

I hope you'll join! There's no time like the present and waiting for the perfect time is a myth. I promise that you're not too busy, and that the Lord will increase your ability to do other things in your life if you give Him His time. It'll be worth it to you and your family! I can't promise that things will be less crazy, but your ability to handle them will amaze you!

02 September 2009

Why?? :-)

I've been corresponding with a retired Lt. Col that we might be renting from at our next base. He wanted to know how old our kids were and to plug that the schools in the area were the best in southern New Mexico. I let him know that we were homeschooling (just because that meant the kids would be home all the time and I thought he had a right to know in case that made a difference). He thought that was fine for now, but would hate to see our kids miss out on the great schools so he wanted to know why we homeschool. I just sent him my response and thought I'd add my explanation here for you too (as long as it was already written!) We do homeschool for a lot more reasons then I mentioned in the email, but these are the basics.....

We chose to homeschool for lots of different reasons... and I don't know how much sense I'm going to make, but I'll try to lay some of them out.
Nathan and I literally made the decision over 3 years, and it started when I was pregnant with our oldest. We were stationed in CA at the time and had about an hours drive to my doctors appointments each way. We'd listen to talk radio along the way and we were hearing a lot of crazy stories about things that were happening all around the country within public schools and the challenging of parental rights. That didn't sit so well with us at the time, so we started considered alternatives after that. As time progressed we'd continue to catch news here and there with the same problems, and were seeing similar problems with our DOD school while stationed in Korea. We still hadn't made a decision about what we wanted to do for our kids until we moved back to the states and I ran into a master violin maker that sparked a little fire within me. He told me about Leadership Education and the different path it takes from traditional learning.

Just a side note about me.... I went to public school and college in CA and was known as "the smart kid." However, looking back over my bookshelves I honestly can't remember when I acquired most of my books or what classes they corresponded with. I really don't know a thing now, and I didn't at the time either, but I could fake it well, and I hated that! I ended up graduating 2 1/2 years early from High School because I wanted someone to really challenge me and not give me A's just because, and I still didn't find that too much in a University. Anyway, I wanted something different, but didn't know what that was and everything seemed like a huge waste of time.

Back to my master violin maker. He suggested that I read A Thomas Jefferson Education and look into George Wythe University. So, I found a copy of the book at the library and set to work! What I found in there completely changed how I looked at what an education was, and how to go about getting one! My husband understood it at the time as learning from classics, and he was all about that because that meant adding to our library, but he didn't have a desire to read the book at the time. A couple months later he found a copy of A Thomas Jefferson Education in a thrift store and thought he'd pick it up for me so I could have my own... well, he started reading it and it stayed with him for a couple weeks as he'd ride the bus to school... he was hooked too! The author, Oliver DeMille, was able to put into words what we had only hoped for and didn't know how to attain.

Okay, I think that's enough back story... here's just a few points as to why we do what we do, and if you're still curious you're welcome to ask specifics:

-We want our kids to love learning, be able to develop their talents, and have free time to study what truly drives them. We feel like learning from classics and being mentored (like Thomas Jefferson was by George Wythe and many of our founders for that matter), will create a life long love of learning for our kids and that they'll retain the information that they glean. That dynamic also allows us to follow our kids pace and doesn't require them to speed up or slow down to meet an average, which regularly happens in larger classroom settings of peers. (That's not a criticism, it's just an observation, and it makes sense why it happens. A teacher, as good as they are, is trying to meet a lot of requirements and has to teach at a certain level to get everything in. I respect what they're trying to do even though it's not what we want at this time.) So, academics or education really is a top priority for us and how that information is presented to our children. This probably isn't the best explanation of what's on my mind, but I can try better if you'd like, or I'd be happy to lend a copy of A Thomas Jefferson Education to you! I should note that this book isn't pro-homeschooling, it's pro-leadership education and implementing that no matter what your school situation is, public, private, or home.

-Secondly we homeschool because it works well for our family. Previously we were moving every year, and at odd times of the year. We've watched the struggles that have ensued in other military families with kids moving to different states with different requirements, having to take a bunch of classes to "catch up", or just having to leave at weird times of the year. That just wasn't for us! We figured that having the kids at home would bond them together as good friends, and that no matter where or when we move, that they'd always have their support system and their school would go right along with them. Even now that we won't be moving quite as much as a family, Nathan will be gone a lot more, and homeschooling allows us flexibility to be able to go on trips or just spend time with him when he is home... and that's important to us. We don't have to ask permission of anyone to leave for a certain amount of time and our kids won't be missing out on anything. In fact, we're trying to instill in them the knowledge that learning is all around us all the time, so even family trips are a time of exploration and truly learning things that will stay with them.

-The last thing I'll throw out there is that we think our home is a great social learning environment. People always wonder about socialization when it comes to homeschooled kids... I'll tell you right now that ours will probably be weird in lots of ways, but that's inevitable even if they did go to public school because Nathan and I aren't the most normal people you've met. :-) Anyway, to us learning proper social behaviors don't get taught in a classroom of same age peers. Proper social behaviors are learned as you are out among people of all ages and backgrounds and you are taught to adapt to different situations. The world is our classroom and between exploring it and learning to function well in the home with different ages and abilities, we feel like we've got "social learning" pretty well covered.

29 August 2009

Back to School Frenzy

There's something about the good ol' "Back to School" environment that makes me uneasy. I must first preface my thoughts with the mention that I am in no way anti-public school. I believe public-schools serve a good purpose to many people and are the right option for others, even though it isn't right for our family dynamic. I think watching the movie "Freedom Writer's" reminds us all how powerful an education, and a teacher that really cares, can be.

What I'm talking about here is the craziness that seems to ensue on the brink of a new school year. I almost had to cancel my Facebook account because I couldn't handle all the complaints mom's were throwing left and right about "what was needed" to get their kids off. Personally, I've seen the tax bill on my home and the amazingly large percentage (like 97%) of which goes to public education. However, despite the amount of money that people pay in taxes (in many areas, I know there are some counties that don't have property taxes or the money doesn't go into education... mainly I've only encountered that in AL though), parents and even teachers provide a good deal of the in-class materials, activities, and field trips for their students. We'd end up paying about $100 per kid to send them to public school just on registration day alone! I have a problem with this.
In any case, I've been bombarded with the knowledge that school supply lists are not only large, but very specific. Instead of parents being able to buy cheaper crayons, or tissues they're asked to buy name brands like Crayola and Puff's Plus with lotion. They're also being asked for specific colors of folders and other things that would be cheaper found in bulk or random finds. I've spent two weeks reading and hearing of these complaints of how these items are totalling around $100 and they still haven't found everything on the list, and how school clothes for their kids are racking up, and I ask myself.... why?

I'm a homeschooler... it's no secret... and yes, we're the weird kind! :-) Even reading about the stresses of these other mom's stresses ME out. Once all of those supplies are found and "YAY" school starts, then everyone is getting up early, mom is making sure homework is finished and everyone has the right things to take with them, and getting everyone ready, and lunches made, and, and, and, and, and then getting everyone into the car and back and forth from school(s) at different times and with different kids, and, and, and.... how does this not create ulcer's for others? I don't know how people with more then one kid do it! I know you "just do," but seriously, if you have 3 or 4 kids, chances are you're back and forth to the school an average of 6 times a day. And when you get home you get to do what 3-4 other people (your kids teachers) want you to do... which sometimes means 3-4 hours of work when you've already spent the day "learning" and if you try to throw in extracurricular stuff on top of that?? I honestly think public school mom's are superhero's because there are literally not enough hours in the day to do all that plus be a wife/mother/housekeeper/etc.

So, my big pet peeve that I set out to write about is this... "the frenzy." I HATE this time of year for one specific reason... and normal people are kept from this because I do try and censor myself in public, but this is one place that I put all my "PC" abilities away for a moment so since you're reading this, here's what I REALLY think and want to say..... "I am so sick and tired of hearing people rejoicing about sending their kids away!" It's honestly the saddest thing that I can think of. It's one thing to talk up how much fun they'll have, or how great a teacher there is, or whatever, but to just talk nonstop about how much having your kid around is bugging you and they just need to go away? How do you think that makes them feel that their own mom doesn't want them around?

I get so many mixed feelings around this time of year that I just want to hide in my house until its over. I'm overfilled with mom's so excited to get rid of their kids, and yet so irritated about what they have to do, and then whining about how much they wish they could get done while their kids were done but can't (because they're running to and from the school), and how hard mornings are...

Anyway! Onto happier thoughts. I like a good clean house like most people, and like most people that's easier to achieve when no one is around. Now, minus the times that space alien's come and abduct my children, I don't usually get to have no one around while I'm cleaning, but I get a lot in return:

-the kids get up when they're ready.... everyone is happier for this, and they get the rest they need. We don't have to wake people up from naps to go sit in line to pick up kids, and I think when our kids are teenagers, they're really going to love the fact that mom isn't going to come and beat on their door in the morning.

-School and "learning" is a year round event, and everyday holds new opportunities in the most average of places... like doing household chores, exploring outside, going to the store. I see my kids wondering and exploring their world and really truly learning things that will stay with them for a lifetime. They don't think of learning as something that starts and stops because of specific dates, but of something that is continuous and worth their attention.

-I'm very selfish and LOVE to watch my kids learn new things. I don't want to share this with anyone else! I want to be there watching them grow every step of the way. There's a light in their eyes that is worth every moment of "hardship" that comes with having everyone at home all the time. And they get to share it with you too! Homeschooling allows us yet another tying bond that brings us closer together and the kids can feel that.

-We get to choose what we're going to do everyday! My personality conflicts with trying to keep other people's time schedules. I dread having to be somewhere at a specific time and that's especially dreadful when I have to actually DO something that someone else wants me to. I know, I'm a funny duck, but what can you do? Trying to figure out someone else's homework assignment for my kids (especially if I don't see the utility in it and therefore it's just taking away from family time by providing 'busy work') doesn't bode well with me.

-My kids always have something to say! When dad comes home and asks about their day there's always something to tell him... and yes, building houses and towers out of lego's or putting together puzzles, counts! Normal school days are LONG, so, if my kids were going to be gone at one I would demand that they have something to tell me everyday. The statement "we're not really doing anything right now" is ludicrous! This could probably be minimized by school's having flexibility with their mandatory class dates... let's face it, starting school midweek or later isn't doing much but meeting their "days of school" requirements... and close to no one starts new curriculum right before a holiday.

Anyway! I'd best go and tend to things around the house, but it's been nice to hash out some of my thoughts for a minute! I don't know that there's any real "solution" to my problem(s), although, hiding in my house does tend to help! :-)

Good luck with the school year, whatever form it may take in your life. Try to enjoy it, and remember that school is a place of learning and learning should be something that is loved and encouraged throughout a lifetime!

18 August 2009

The Impact of Inspirational Learning

This clip has been widely seen by many people, but it bares repeating. The message that hit me hardest is that President Hinckley remembers the moments when he sat playing quietly while his mother read the Bible and his father read or told stories from memory. This particular story had such an impact on him that he was able to remember it through the years, and subsequently share it with us. I wonder how much he thought of this story through the years, and how it's message changed him for the better each time he implemented its teachings.

26 May 2009

The Great Cloth Diaper Debate

I had a friend ask me about what I finally decided on doing as far as cloth diapers go. I decided that it might be helpful to share my email to her with the rest of you...

It's has been quite the extravaganza trying to sift through SO MUCH information. You'll certainly never run out of things to read on the subject! After all of my research, I decided that the most cost effective, and easy, way for us to go about doing thing would be prefolds with a cover. However, I then finally got a hold of my sister-in-law who has been doing cloth diapers for a few years, and she shared some tips with me as well. The biggest thing I learned, was that prefolds are really just that, a prefolded flat diaper, so if she had things to do over again she would probably just get the flat cloths and fold them... which also brings the added perk of being able to adjust how thick the diaper is. She also recommended pocket diapers. However, I had already purchased some all-in-ones (basically has some of the utility of a pocket diaper because you can add inserts and whatnot, but I thought those would be easy for babysitters/husband/transition etc), and pocket diapers were kind of costly when you figure that you have to change THE WHOLE DIAPER at every change.

After some searching I found a few sites and a couple of good deals. I think the worst thing for me was deciding WHO to buy from. There are so many people out there to buy from, and I didn't want to pay more than I needed to if it could be found elsewhere etc. In the end, the differences in price aren't too bad, so even when I found that something on a site was a little cheaper after the fact, it didn't bug me for too long. I also ended up buying some things after my initial order(s) that I hadn't thought or didn't think necessary at the time.

So, here it goes:

I bought 6 BumGenius All-in-one diapers at Target. They are a one-size diaper, so there are snaps to adjust them to different sizes. They also come with a newborn insert, as well as an additional pad. I like these, I think they're cute, and like that they're soft. You can use them with or without the inserts, or add more. There is a pocket in them, so additional pads or flat/prefold diapers would work. I'm most interested in using these at night. They had a 5 star rating from quite a few people (like over 20), and many loved how absorbent they were. One drawback may be the sizing. I think they work fine on my baby, well, 1 year old, but it seems like the leg gussets are too tight for Nyah. I'll have to play around with that and get back to you. I haven't been able to use them since I'm still waiting on some soap to make my detergent and didn't want to hurt my cloth stuff by using something I shouldn't. Anyway!

I really like Wildflowerdiapers.com. I ended up buying a bulk of my collection through them because they carried Blueberry covers. Looks like I sold them out of some of the patterns they offer. You can find them at other websites if you're interested though. I went with the Blueberry covers because they are adjustable. Since I know we're not finished having kids, I wanted to save a little money by buying these covers and allowing them to grow with my kids from newborn and up. There are cheaper covers out there that'll work just fine from what I've read, but I decided to make an initial investment and not have to buy different sized covers. I tried one of these out with Nyah, just over a pull-up, and it works for her size just fine. I also like that covers will save you a little bit of money in general because you buy maybe 6-8 and that's about it. If you just have a pee diaper you don't even need to change the cover, unless it's smelly for whatever reason. Plus you can rinse them, hang them dry, and they're ready quickly. I also ended up buy a few Bummis Super Whisper wraps, and Bummis Super-Brite diapers covers*** see below for more on these. I've seen lots of reviews on these, and my sister in-law had good things to say about them, so I added them to the mix. I also wanted to have a few things that had snaps and some that had the aplix (velcro-like stuff), so we could see what we liked. Orders over $150 are shipped via Fedex home delivery for free. They ship quickly, and are just in AZ, so they'd get to you pretty fast.

***I bought my Bummis Super-Brite diaper covers in green, blue, and yellow from Tinybirdsorganics.com. They're actually clearing them out because they have too many products, so you can get them for about 4 dollars cheaper, and they don't charge shipping.*** I would have liked to have bought more from them, but they didn't offer what I needed.

As for my flat cloths, there are so many choices! I decided to go with the natural, unbleached cotton. People that do bleach them use a natural method (peroxide), but from what I've read, the natural ones hold up longer because the fibers haven't been treated. Plus, if you do have a lingering stain, it's not as noticeable. If you do choose white, the sun is a good bleach... but I'm thinking that'll work for the natural ones as well. I was after something that would give me the longest life, so I found some flat cloths here. Really, you could easily make these. My sewing machine and I have been fighting a lot, so I wasn't ambitious enough to try making them on my own, but that would probably be the cheapest route. I'll give it a shot someday, there are LOTS of sites that give patters etc., but I wanted to get started right away, and wasn't interested in making the transition any harder than it needed to be. There are also websites that show you patterns to make covers, and that would be simple as well, just not for me at the moment! I need things to be fool-proof whilst I get my feet wet. (And I wanted tried and true products to help my husband see that this really was worth the switch.) The link above goes to Green Mountain Diapers, and they have a lot of information "how to's" that are awesome. It is one site that I will definitely be going to for tutorials etc. Oh, as a side note, the unbleached cotton has to be pre-washed a few more times to get them ready "fluffed" for the first use.

After making these purchases I decided to watch a diaper changing "how-to" and realized there were a couple of extra things that would probably help ease our transition. I had thought about using a diaper pail that we already had (a diaper genie), but realized that I should probably get something a bit more suited for my needs that could be washed along with things, and that would prohibit odors etc. I also wanted the disposable diaper liners, because it would be easier for my husband to flush away solids and not have to worry about cleaning the diapers. And, I also realized that there are enzyme sprays that eat that bacteria that cause odors and will make the whole thing a lot less smelly if you "treat" every diaper before you toss it in the bin. My other qualification is that I wanted to get these all at the same site. Some of the sites listed above have some products, but not all, and Wildflower has the products, but they aren't in stock. So! I found softclothbunz.com . I had actually started my search with these guys, but when they didn't have the prefolds/flats I wanted I went elsewhere. Their price on the all-in-ones were comparable to Target, and provided more colors. I decided to "cut my losses" on the colors, but after receiving the Target ones, I don't think I did too bad... they're pretty cute! I bought one of each one they had (seeing as how I have two in diapers).

The bag(s) I ended up getting were the planetwise... I think the patterns are fun. I have a large for the house, and a medium as a back-up for when I'm washing one/to take in the diaper bag. I decided on BumGenius odor remover. And Bummis flushable liners .

Wipes are kind of a "whatever" thing for me. The ones I wanted... just fleece with a cute rim weren't in-stock on wildflower when I ordered, so I got something else, but it's basically a 7 x 7 washcloth (I wanted something softer). You could make these easy... or tinybird has the ones I thought would be softer, other websites have them too. I think the one perk about getting or making something specifically for wipes is that you end up with a better size then a normal washcloth. Then I bought a small resealable container for my solution to soak wipes in a home, so they're ready to use, and a small spray bottle so I can have some solution made up and ready to have if we're out that I can just wet a dry cloth with.

My method of going about finding things was both functional and fun. You can go with the white Bummis Snaps or prowraps and some flat cloths and call it good for cheaper than I did. However, I wanted to have some fun/cute patterns (that always makes the job more fun!), and I wanted things that I wouldn't need to buy more of down the road. The Blueberries allow me to use the same ones on both of my kids because I can adjust the size, and they'll be all ready for whenever we have another baby.

I have researched things up and down, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'm happy to save anyone the trouble of having to sift through the overwhelming amount of information that's available!

19 May 2009

So, what have I learned?

If only there were enough hours in the day to tell you!! I am once again settled (see nathanandcherie.blogspot.com for pictures/commentary). I haven't really gotten "bitten" by the bug that would inspire me to write my thoughts out, but I've decided that perhaps that means that I should force myself and we'll see where that goes!

Despite my absence from the digital world, I can't even begin to tell you all of the things I've learned in a very short amount of time. I'm currently undertaking some pretty big changes in how we do things. I've taken small steps over time to change (more like CORRECT), things that I have found deficient. With Nathan's help we've embarked on making bread at home, finding out how to make and perfect different foods we enjoy, cutting out corn syrup & hydrogenated oils, supporting organic farms via Organic milk/eggs, and after a few years of teetering on the edge of what "school" would like like for our children, last year we found A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille (the first edition, I recently bought the second edition because our other one found it's way into a puddle, but I haven't been able to finish it because it doesn't seem as well written.... that may be for another post), and now we've 100% committed to keeping our children home, and I couldn't be happier!

So, what other changes could we possibly make? Much to what may be my husband's dismay, (only time will tell!), I received an e-book through The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I had signed up to read their e-magazine a few weeks ago, and have been very inspired by the issues, I'll have to share some thoughts on that sometime, but this particular e-book was on a natural home and baby. I didn't imagine as I was reading it that I would now be supporting even more change in my home.

I really enjoy being able to do things myself. Having the knowhow to complete day-to-day tasks on up to spectacular things is so much fun! I've had a drive to figure out how to make foods at home because I have a hard time buying products that are subpar, more expensive then what I can produce, and full of preservatives, so I don't! My solution to that problem has been to avoid the bad stuff and either shell out money for the goodstuff, figure it out myself, or do without. This philosophy has been a lot of things: a fun learning experience, a sad commentary on the junk that's available, and a BIG reminder that we need to be more prudent in our habits. I walk through aisles stocked with box after box, and at this point see so many products with chicken and beef and turkey, that it's nauseating. Sorry for the diversion, but have you noticed how many dead animals there are in your store just waiting? Add to that the fact that your store is only one of the 100's in your area, then multiply it by the rest of the US, and it's an amazing number. It makes me sad that our nation has necessitated having such a stockpile of food, and to think of the amount that goes to waste. When did it become okay to kill just because? I really don't think that we're being very good stewards over animal's when we not only kill them at an alarming rate, but also inject them with drugs to make them grow faster and produce more quickly, and feed them diets that are not suited for them.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox for the moment. Again, sorry for the detour, but it's been bugging me for so long! I don't even know that I articulated all my thoughts well enough, but at least I got something down. Anyway... since you've waited so patiently to find out how I'm driving my family crazy this time... da, da, da, da!!! ................

Cloth Diapers, wipes, homemade laundry detergent, and homemade cleaning solutions. Yep, all at once no less.

Why? Well, it probably starts with me being a little off my rocker, but that's okay by me! For a while now I've been buying diapers, wipes, and cleaning supplies at a pretty good rate. Having 3 kids 3 and under has provided me an opportunity to pay a HUGE amount of money to keep everybody diapered and the house clean. I've never found it easy to shell out over $100 each trip to a big box store for these things 1-2 times a month. In fact, I dread it and it makes me quite sick to my stomach, which always makes me wonder "HOW CAN I REDUCE THIS COST!" To which the world and my brain says, "Suck it up, pay the money... do it!" to which I say "FINE!" and I make my purchase and then forget about the money and go on with life until the next time.

Well, NO MORE!! I have been empowered further and I'm not turning back! To diaper my two that are still in diapers I have spent what I would spend in a month on disposables, but put it into cloth diapers... which means... NO MORE BUYING DIAPERS AND WIPES!! Yay, there was much rejoicing in the land! I no longer will be literally throwing away my money. There's something that feels so great about that. It's great for my pocketbook and the environment. A two-fer! And when we have our next child(ren) we'll be able to use this investment to diaper them as well. Plus there's a very easy wipe solution of distilled water, lavender, and tea tree oil to keep them clean and adds an antibacterial element that doesn't exists in the store bought stuff. And what's BEST OF ALL?!?!? Just like our food, I know EXACTLY what's touching their skin. Love it, love it!!!

Hee, hee... that makes me giddy. Plus when my Fels-Naptha bar soap gets here I'll be making our own laundry detergent of grated Fels, washing soda, and borax. Again, I don't have to pay someone else, I get to control what's in it, and it is more cost-effective! Oh, and I'll be cleaning my bathroom today with a mixture of borax and essential lemon oil in a homemade shaker (an old jar that we had anyway), and I'll be able to have a clean bathroom minus harsh chemicals. Again, a two-fer! Good for us, good for the environment.

So, those are the new changes around here. Someday I'll have a garden and an energy-efficient house.... we plan it out everyday! But for now, we're at least making some steps towards saving money and being self-sufficient! Now I'm off to make graham crackers... why? Because it's fun, and I'm sure you guessed it! The store bought stuff is full of junk :-D.

18 January 2009

Still learning

Despite my great delays, I still learn everyday! I've been out of town for a while, but have kept little notes of things I want to write about. My road trip took me through 9 states (Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia) in 7 days, and there's nothing like being exposed to new places and people to get your mind whirling. Additionally, I was able to get some reading in and am excited to write all about that! I'll hop to it first thing tonight when the kiddies are in bed!

01 January 2009

A New Year

It's officially a new year, and I don't think I could have rung it in any better then I did. Nathan and I were busy in conversation and snuggling our youngest when we realized that we were just seconds from 12:00. So, we counted down the seconds together and wished each other a happy new year.
Life is a lot of things, however overall it ends up being a culmination of experiences.
Marriage too is many things. Anyone who is married realizes that not all of the experiences you've had in that setting are happy joyous ones, but how blessed is the person that can look for the good even in these moments.
Being one who is what I hope is a rational, and normal... well, maybe not normal, but definitely not insane, I think.... I too have experienced the lessons that life and marriage have brought. As such, I sit here today on 1 Jan 2009 and say that I love my husband and am grateful for the man that he is and the life we have.
I started this blog to throw out ideas that aimlessly wonder my mind about homeschooling, politics, military, and anything else really, but the driving force behind everything in my life is my husband and the religion we both strive to live.
I guess this post could also be titled "An ode to my husband." He's always doing things for me, or thinking about me, but I can give you a few instances that just have melted my heart the last little bit.

I really hate having the tv/electronic stuff as the center of a living space. We had a hydrolic lift cabinet that hid our tv and all it's junk until you pushed a button and it raised out of the top of it. Because it just looked like a piece of furniture it hid well and I just put pictures and stuff on it so that it would make it ore challenging to raise it. Well, my cute husband knows that I would rather have a common area with books and good things and has just in the last month sold that tv and a game system that he used on it and has taken the lead to rearrange furniture so that our living room is a wonderful family area.
While we could have created this family area even with the cabinet in place it's been so wonderful to not have the temptation to turn on a show. Our kids are pretty good about entertaining themselves and taking steps to find new activities and be creative, but they know even more now that watching a program (of any sort) isn't part of the daily schedule. I would never have asked Nathan to do this for me, but I'm so grateful to him for it!
Night time in our house has been really pleasant these last few nights since our new family area has been established. We've moved lots of quiet toys and puzzels into the bookshelves in there and have been favored with readings by Nathan. Learning together has been so wonderful.
It's really an answer to prayers of inadaquacy on my part. I feel so jumbled and unorganized, and he's just come in at the perfect time and has put things in order the way I've wanted but haven't been able to pull of myself.
Actually, that about sums up what I'm trying to say. My husband is everything I need and want at exactly the moment that I need the most. I look forward to this year with him and all the experiences that will come with it!
May the new year bring to you feelings of joy and peace, and someone special in your life that is loves and cares for you. There is no day like today, but I have to admit, I look forward to eternity too!