The Beauty of a Baby

“I have seen the majestic beauty of Pike’s peak.  I have beheld massive waves pounding the shore.  I have walked in the morning mist of a tropical jungle.  I have experienced stunning architecture, hundreds of years old.  But, never have I had a view as great as this.  The perfection of each tiny toenail, the softness of his skin, the engineering of his ever developing brain, the shimmer of his auburn hair.”

“And when his eyes light up with joy and his cheeks burst forth in a dimply smile, the sun pales in comparison!  All the music of a thousand symphonies here in my house!  All the wonders of the universe, here in my home!  How is it that I am entrusted with the crowning jewel of all of God’s creation?”

-Anne Brandenburg, Above Rubies Magazine, Issue #88, Sign up for the FREE magazine here. 

Emily bench


Things I Don’t Do

In relation to health topics, here are some things we don’t do at our house.  I could write a lengthy article on each of the items listed below, but will let you do your own research!  Taking the time to research things doesn’t always sound exciting because I know you have a hundred other things to do and it can be time consuming.  But I’ve found that the more I research, the more the changes become part of my permanent lifestyle.  The changes last because I know all the reasons why I do what I do.

Most all these things I avoid like the plague, do your own research, but I hope you don’t keep blindly doing these things without adequate research!

In general, my problem with the medical system is that they treat symptoms and not the whole body.  A medical doctor is pretty much clueless on nutrition because the only thing they are taught in medical school is drugs.  (I even asked a family doctor once if there were any vitamins or supplements I could take for a specific ailment I was having and he said, “Honestly, I don’t know.  I don’t know anything about nutrition.  I was taught medicine and wouldn’t even know what to recommend to you if you’re looking to go the natural route.”  At least he was honest!  Like the time I had a Labor & Delivery nurse actually tell me that if I wanted a natural birth, “Don’t go to the hospital, they don’t have those there!”  The pharmaceutical companies pay for medicine to be taught in the universities.  They are not about to tell someone that they can get miracle Vitamin B17 by eating organic apple and peach seeds.  They are not about to tell you that vaccines can be dangerous.  That’s just not what they’re paid to do.  So if you want health from the inside out, avoiding conventional medicine/ conventional doctors should be top on your list.

Radiation– X-Rays, CT Scans, MRI’s, Mammograms, etc- There are some serious dangers of radiation, so unless it’s an emergency situation, I avoid these at all costs.  Dr. Mercola even has an article about how Mammograms cause breast cancer.

Medications– I always try natural remedies first.  So many medications are so hard on your body.  So many contain harmful ingredients.  Side effects are not just nuisances, they are your body crying out that there is serious harm being done.

Surgery-  So many people actually want surgery and go for unnecessary procedures.  Ugh, if only they knew how much damage they were doing.  Unless I had a major emergency on my hands, I would avoid all kinds of surgery at all costs.  God made your body with an amazing ability to self-heal and get cures through food, herbs, and nutrients.  Surgery should be for emergencies only, the way it used to be.  Breast augmentation, tonsils and adenoid removals, tubes in ears, weight loss surgeries, sterilization… all are most often chosen without fully realizing the dangerous risks involved, not just immediate risks, but long-term health risks, which can be very serious.  Of the big-hitters, the big assaults to your health, I put surgery at the top of the list.

Drugs and Interventions during labor- The c-section rate in this country is way out of hand, as high as 60% at some hospitals.  It should be more like 1%.  Aside from that, we have pitocin, epidurals, ultrasounds, laying on back during labor, episiotimies, fetal heart rate monitors that can be harmful, and so many more harmful interventions.  Few OB/GYN’s have even seen a dozen completely natural, unmedicated births!  This is outrageous.  Your sweet little baby is tiny, any drugs in your system are sure to affect him/her.  I do understand that in certain situations, medical interventions can save lives, and I’m so thankful for that.  But most often, all these interventions are unnecessary and harmful.

Antibiotics- These destroy the gut flora.  Our body has natural built-in methods to destroy bad bacteria.  Most often, rest and water (and some natural remedies if needed) will bring your body back to health if you’ve had an infection.  Antibiotics are handed out like candy.  I worked at a doctor’s office in college, I know.  Just about every single patient walked out with a prescription for antibiotics, I’m completely telling the truth.  There are many dangers of antibiotics, so I avoid them.  My children have never had antibiotics.  Fevers, by the way, are such a great way to destroy infection, your body knows how to really heat up to kill off bacteria.  Artificially bringing down that fever means you’re keeping your body from destroying the very bacteria that’s causing your problems.  Fevers, most often, are a good thing.

Fluoride- A known carcinogen.  We don’t use dentists who use fluoride, and we don’t do fluoride toothpaste.  NO fluoride!!

Mercury and Aluminum– Besides being in fish, mercury is still in the flu vaccine and traces of it in other vaccines, despite the CDC recognizing that it is extremely dangerous.  A flu shot that a 6month old baby gets has the same amount of mercury in it that a 6’5″ man will get, it’s not even adjusted for body size!  That is scary.  That is a LOT of mercury for a wee babe.  Aluminum is in most all vaccines and is a heavy metal neurotoxin that your body can’t excrete very well at all.  Injecting it into your body overloads your system with this highly toxic metal.  It builds up in your system over time and can cause severe neurological problems.  Aluminum is also in regular white table salt, conventional baking powder, regular deodorant, aluminum cookware, foil, and even regular dryer sheets.  If you buy bakery items/ crackers/ pretzels with baking powder in them, you can be sure there’s aluminum in your food.  Avoid both mercury and aluminum like the plague!

Tap Water (a chemical cocktail)- We only drink pure, filtered, reverse osmosis water.

Microwave – We don’t microwave our food but use a toaster oven instead.

Teflon– Teflon cookware and other teflon products (including Scotch Guard) are highly toxic.  I threw out all my teflon years ago and only use stainless steel or glass cookware now.

At the Grocery Store:
Before switching my family over to eating healthier, I had researched extensively about what kinds of junk was being put into our food.   By the way, it took me about TWO years to completely switch over from the normal American way of eating.  Take it slow, one change at a time!  After my research, I decided that I would no longer buy ANY products with the ingredients listed below.  You HAVE to read the ingredient lists on the back of every package!!  Click here to see why that is way more important than reading the “Nutrition Facts.”
I say NO to the following:
Hydrogenated or Partially-Hydrogenated Oils (talk about artery blocking)
MSG, monosodium glutanate, glutanate (big time neurotoxin)
Artificial Flavorings- BHA, BHT, TBHQ, etc
Artificial Colorings- red 5, lake 40, blue 5, etc
High Fructose Corn Syrup (this stuff is terrible for you!)
Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, Equal, Nutrasweet, etc)- (also so bad for you!!)
Preservatives- sodium benzoate, etc (Food is not meant to last for years in your pantry).
Soy (soy lecithin, soybean oil, soy protein, etc)– Soy is a hormone disrupter and I try not to consume ANY soy at ALL.  I definitely don’t buy any soy products.  And unless you buy organic soy, you are most assuredly eating a GMO food.  Genetically Modified Organism- This food has been engineered and altered on a cellular level.  This is not a food that God created naturally, a big money hungry company manufactured it for profit.  Uck.

Sunscreen/ Lotions- Your skin is the largest organ your body has.  Sweat is excreted out to detoxify your system.  These same pores allow foreign material in.  Whatever you put onto your skin (lotions, ink, soaps, etc) is absorbed into your bloodstream within minutes.  This can add a heavy load of toxins to your system.  Our family has found it completely do-able, even in our hot climate, to wear clothing that will block sun so that we don’t burn and/or to be in shaded areas when needed to avoid burning.  If you must use a sunscreen, pick a product that gets a 0 or 1 rating on the Cosmetics Database.

Flame Retardants- Did you know most of your children’s pajamas are treated with flame retardants?  Ugh.  And our mattresses, couches, foam products, and even baby gear like boppy nursing pillows and head rests/ sleep wedges, etc.  Check the tags on items and avoid buying things that have been flame retardant treated!  (Pajamas that say they are snug fitting have not been treated with flame retardants.  Wool is naturally flame resistant.)

Store-Bought Household Cleaners– Even name brand “natural” household cleaners have more ingredients than I’d like.  So for most all my cleaning, I use baking soda, vinegar, and/ or Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds soap.  My rule of thumb is that if it smells strong (excluding vinegar!) or if it makes my nose kind of twitch, it’s probably not good for me and I don’t allow it in my house.

Body Care Products that contain Mineral Oil, Fragrances, Dyes- Again, a simple check of the ingredient list can assist you in choosing your products.  Also, I look up all my potential purchases on EWG’s Cosmetics Database.  I definitely avoid petroleum products which includes mineral oil, vasoline, and many others.  I do NOT want petroleum absorbed through my skin!!  Products with a lengthy ingredient list that you can’t even pronounce are products to avoid!

Chlorine- This means no chlorine bleach and no regular diapers (that are bleached with chlorine).  And I know I’ll be unpopular for saying this, but this means we also don’t do swimming pools… chlorine overload.  There’s a reason your eyes get all red and itchy when in chlorine.  Your body does NOT like it!  When at a hotel recently, I walked past the indoor pool and had to gasp for air, the smell was overwhelming.  Avoid chlorine as much as possible!  I think we’ll see more salt water pools showing up as many people are realizing the dangers of chlorine.

No, I don’t have it all together.  No, I don’t live a life of perfect health.  I wrestle with many things including the fact that I’m still trying to get my sugar intake down.  I buy some frozen foods at the health food store that aren’t nearly as nutritious as cooking from scratch.  We go to a restaurant on occasion.  I’m not even close to being as healthy as I’d like to be!  I’m not an expert either.  I’ve just spent time researching subjects that affect my family’s health so I can be the best Mama and wife that I can be.  I’ve made so many mistakes it’s not even funny.  I ate terrible the entire first 25 years of my life.  But I’m convinced that as we search for answers, we’ll learn and grow.  Knowledge comes with effort.

And you want to know what my most FAVORITE Bible verse is concerning food and health?…
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:11

How I Get It All Done

A few ladies have asked me if I could post how I fit all my goals into daily life.

How Do I Get It ALL Done?… I don’t!

But… setting goals means I’ll get more done than if I hadn’t set any goals in the first place!  Setting goals keeps me on track with what matters most in my life.

But to give you a quick run down of how I fit most things in…

A “perfect” day (where I get most everything done) would look like this for me (I aim for this 4 days per week):

1).  Do Morning Routine (Read Bible first thing, Get dressed and ready, Breakfast while reading Bible to children at table, Lay out vitamins for the day, Get children ready for their day).  I do wake up maybe 15-30 minutes before my children, so I get a slight head start on my day.

2).  Do Our Homeschool List-  I use my own pre-written lesson plans that I plan out every 6 weeks or so.  This list includes our Bible story time, Memory verses, praying for the world, and then all our basic subjects as well- reading, writing, math, character, Creation science, etc.  Whew, don’t think I have it all together, homeschooling time can be some serious HARD work around here!  And I rarely finish the WHOLE list… I’m much more ambitious in my brain than what I can actually accomplish with three little ones!  It’s true that we do a lot in this area though, it gets the bulk of my day, probably 3-4 hours.  But my little learners have little play-breaks all throughout, we try to make homeschooling FUN!  And by the way, this isn’t our only homeschooling time.  We’re lifelong learners so we’re constantly homeschooling throughout our days, evenings, weekends, wherever we go!

3).  Put baby down for nap, Eat lunch while reading Bible to children at table, Ask myself “What’s for Dinner?” to make sure I don’t need to start something that takes longer, Clean up lunch.

4).  Finish any homeschooling, Have some play time, Put 2nd child down for nap.  Exercise either goes here or it waits until evening and we do family exercise time.  I’ll be open and honest though… if something can’t get done in my day, it’s usually exercise that’s the first thing to go.  😦   I’m going to work on that though!

5).  If I can sneak in some extra computer work or read a book late afternoon, I will.  But usually baby is up and I can’t get away with that.

6).  Now it’s time to start dinner.  Meals do take longer at my house because we pretty much make everything from scratch.  I grind my own grain to have flour to make bread dough for quite a few of our meals (no, I’m not super-woman, grinding grain only takes a few minutes and a high powered blender!)  We make our own dips, condiments, and salad dressings.  We use mostly all fresh produce so there’s always a lot of chopping to do (anyone know of any time saving techniques for chopping?!)  So needless to say, meal prep takes quite a bit of time usually.  Back in the day I used to have dinner ready when hubby got home, but since baby #2 he usually comes home ready to help pitch in and get it on the table.  And a little plug here for pressure cookers, I use ours most every day, saves so much cooking time!  I stick to super easy meals for breakfast and lunch (oatmeal, fruit, toast from my frozen bread stash; leftovers for lunch- always).  I’ve gotten good at freezer cooking so even though it takes a little longer, I cook in large batches and stash some away in the freezer for a “rainy day” since we don’t really do restaurants either.  Frozen lunch-size portions also make packing lunch for hubby a snap!

When do I clean my house?  I don’t have any set time in my day for this.  I just clean as I go, constantly doing little tasks here and there to keep things in order.   Every day in late-afternoon the children and I do a quick general clean-up/ pick-up of the house  so everything looks nice when hubby gets home.  Then for deeper cleaning and stuff that takes longer… nights and weekends, and hubby usually helps me tag-team it.  Thank the Lord for my awesome husband!  And no, my house isn’t always a wreck, I keep it pretty tidy (or at least try).  My ‘minimalist’ goal from last year has helped keep down on clutter!  My motto I’m constantly reminding myself:  “Get.  Rid.  Of.  Stuff.”  It all came from “Stuff Mart” and “stuff” can steal your money, your time, and your energy.

-Throughout my day I remember to drink my daily water quota.  Drinking water is super important!  Also just throughout my day, my thankfulness journal is usually laying around and I quickly jot down a few things I’m thankful for.

When do I get on the computer?  I sit down to nurse my baby several times a day and that’s when I get computer time.  If I’m not nursing and someone in my family sees me on the computer, they pretty much bark at me until I get off.  🙂  What do I do on the computer?  Well… I love reading and learning, so I’m constantly researching something.  I stay on top of my emails, blog a little here and there of course 🙂 , do our budget/ bank/ investing tasks (we track every dollar), and a thousand other little tasks.

7).  Our ideal evening would go something like this:  Sing a hymn before we eat, Eat dinner, Have a short work/ quiet time, Exercise (we love to go on walks), Relax and play, Hubby leads Bible-time with family, and then once we’re all in our pj’s, it’s Family Stretch time- ah, stretching is a relaxing end to a long day!

Now… on my less structured days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), it would basically be our Morning Routine, any Errands I need (hello grocery store), Some fun homeschooling things, Plan/do our field trip, Work on longer term goals, Have my planning sessions (meals, upcoming hospitality, Homeschool lesson plans, To-do list updates, People’s birthdays, etc).

When do I read books?  Anytime!  I can usually sneak in 15-20 minutes each day during the day (I’ve taught my children how to sit and “read” books in the living room with me reading my book beside them.  When the timer goes off, my time is up!)  I also read for 15 or so minutes in bed at night.  And when I have a book I can’t put down, I pull a late-nighter and read to my heart’s desire!  If I were honest, I’d say that yes, most of my reading time is when little ones are sleeping, whether it be early morning, late night, or nap times (I can usually have at least a little reading time during someone’s nap).  I also have quite a few newsletters/ Christian magazines that come in the mail that I love reading (Answers in Genesis, Above Rubies, No Greater Joy, American Family Association, etc).  For all these, I keep them in the van and whenever hubby is driving I can read.  And… If all 3 little ones happened to have fallen asleep during a car ride, I don’t wake them up!  I just park once I’ve arrived at my destination and sit in the driver’s seat and read!

So no, I’m not super-woman and I rarely get it ALL done.  I don’t have an endless supply of energy and I need my sleep just like the next gal.  I just focus on working hard and keeping a written to-do list handy so I stay focused (honestly, I’m lost without a written game plan).  I think one of the things I have going for me is I watch pretty much ZERO TV.  We don’t have regular broadcast television at all in our home (don’t want the negative influence), so we only watch DVD’s we’ve chosen to purchase.  I don’t have to fit in time to watch the news, catch my favorite show, or any of that.  Pretty freeing actually!  My “down” time usually means I’m playing with the children, snagging some computer time, or  reading a book.  I’m definitely super busy at this stage of life.  I used to think I was busy when I had one child, and I’m sure I’ll look back and say, ‘ha, you thought three children kept you busy!”  But three little ones basically means my life is poured into them and there’s not too much time for other stuff, gotta stick to the basics and love on my little ones while they’re still little!  Time is fleeting.

If you’re looking for inspiration on time management, discipline, goal setting, budgeting, being frugal, being a giver, homeschooling, getting up early before your children, and more- you should subscribe to MoneySavingMom!  I’ve learned a ton by following her blog for the past couple years, I really enjoy reading the motivational articles that she posts!

Raising Autism Awareness

Autism is a real thing.  It robs little children of LIFE.  It is extremely sad.  Very sad.  It can break up marriages and can cause major struggles for many families.  It can be a huge financial burden.  Not to mention all the extra care the child requires.  Mommy’s dreams of having a little first-grader that reads and writes and sings the lead role in the school play…  shattered.  The bottom line… it hurts.

Young mom, please don’t think “it can’t happen to me.”  It can.

Unless you know someone personally who has experienced autism, maybe you haven’t thought about it much.  I hadn’t.  But a dear, close friend of mine now has a son with autism and it has gripped my heart greatly.  I find myself reading articles and trying so hard to learn how to help and support other families that are going through TOUGH times.  One way I can help is by raising autism awareness.

Please click on this WHAMMY of an article.  Powerful.  I especially listened loudly to the last paragraph which says:

“This is a NATIONAL EMERGENCY. Now that we know Congress recognizes this we need the rest of our country to fall in line and start treating it as such. It’s a tsunami that is taking our babies one well-baby visit at a time. And if you… were having your first baby and you didn’t happen to channel surf to CSPAN yesterday, how would you know?”

Most first time parents (well, even veteran parents) never even look into vaccines, they don’t even read the small print label insert that’s included in the vaccine package itself!  They just follow the vaccine schedule like their Doc says they should, and sorry to say, the Doctor oftentimes hasn’t even read that insert himself!  May I challenge you to research both sides of the argument before making an incredibly huge decision as to what you will inject straight into your wee one’s body?  It’s WAY more important than you might think.  Here’s a great website to help you get started on your research.  Also check out Dr. Mercola articles and Mary Tocco’s DVD, “Are Vaccines Safe?”  There are also countless books on the subject!

I emailed my dear friend to ask her what she thinks of this post, and her response made me want to cry.  Will you PLEASE listen to her?  Will you not write this off as unimportant or heresy?  Your child is YOUR responsibility.  Step up mom, research your tail off before doing one more injection!!

” SOOO wish I’d spent a fraction of the time researching vaccines as compared to how much time I spent planning the dumb nursery…and sadly, I don’t think I’m uncommon in that. 😦 I also try and think what may have changed my mind back then. While Jenny McCarthy is certainly not a role model in many areas, her Mother Warriors book is VERY powerful. I think as women we are drawn to stories of real people. The book is about 12 chapters highlighting 12 different families whose lives changed virtually overnight from vaccines. I have seen countless before and after videos on Warrior Moms’ FB pages. So so sad. I wish I had read the vaccine inserts. And I think reading the CDC’s website data about the number of kids that die or are injured (encephalopothy is generally the CDCs way of stating autism in a cover-your-toosh-kind-of-way) each year from vaccines. I just didn’t know. SOOO many people think you are crazy and irresponsible for NOT vaccinating. I’m a peaceful don’t-rock-the-boat personality, and now my autistic son is paying for it.”

Need Some Quiet Time?

Blanket Time!

I learned this from Michelle Duggar and it has been such a help to me!

It’s called Blanket Time.  Here’s how it works:
1.  Tell your children it’s “Blanket Time” and let them pick out 3-5 books and take them back to their own small blanket on the floor.
2.  Set a timer and let your child know they are not to make any noises until the timer goes off.  Now you may read or do whatever it is that you need to get done.
3.  When the timer goes off, they have to put away their books and their blanket and then Blanket Time is all finished.

The first time you do this, you’ll need to remember:
1.  Explain the whole process to them and tell them they are not allowed to talk or make noises.
2.  You sit nearby (you may have to do this for about the first three times).  Every single time one of your children talks or makes noise or moves off his/ her blanket, you must correct them and tell them again that they have to stay on the blanket and stay quiet.  Calmly keep reminding them.
3.  The first time you do this, just set the timer for maybe two minutes.  The next time make it three minutes, and so on.  I had my children up to 30 minutes after maybe about 4-5 times!

When to Use Blanket Time:
1.  When everyone has gotten excessively loud and quiet time is needed.
2.  I often use it just before Dada gets home.  I’m working super fast to try and finish dinner and I want them to be calm when Dada walks in the door.
3.  This is where it pays to train at home!  You can use blanket time when you have to go somewhere like a baby shower or an appointment.  Just take along a small blanket and a few books.  People will be amazed at how well-behaved your children are!

And don’t feel bad that you’re “making your children sit quietly,” it’s a good thing, it’s good for them!

My Toxic Baby

I haven’t yet seen the whole film, but check out the trailer and four clips of My Toxic Baby, a documentary of a mother determined to find out what toxins her daughter is being exposed to.

Synopsis From
From feeding and fussing to poo-poos and boo-boos, new moms and dads have enough to worry about. But with heightened awareness of health risks posed by chemicals used in everyday products, modern parenting is fast becoming a decision-making minefield. Just how far would you go to protect your growing child? As award-winning filmmaker Min Sook Lee discovers in her eye-opening, intimate and wryly funny documentary My Toxic Baby, it’s not so easy going green.

With her baby daughter on her hip, Lee embarks on a determined quest to find simple, sane and affordable ways to reduce toxic threats, spurred to action after news reports of toy recalls and plastic baby bottles leaching bisphenol A fill her head with questions. She takes her own body on a detox journey, looks more closely at everyday products and food she buys and even invites an analyst to measure lead levels in her own home—with startling results.

Along the way Lee meets other dynamic young women finding healthy, eco-friendly alternative ways to raise their children—nursing moms, organic entrepreneurs and even a support group of parents who practice “elimination communication” with their infants, so they can live diaper-free! Persuasive but never preachy, My Toxic Baby looks at how one parent broadens her options to lessen the toxic load. Essential viewing for new and expectant parents.

Homemade Baby Wipes and Solution!

Regular baby wipes from stores are loaded with harmful ingredients.  Even if they don’t visibly cause problems with your child’s skin, they are still adding toxins to your child’s body.  And anytime you can reduce exposure to chemical ingredients (especially the strong smelling ones), the better.  Here’s what I do for homemade baby wipes!

For the Wipes:
Baby wash cloths are great to use.  Or if you sew, you can hem some 7×7 or 8×8 squares of fabric (flannel or other preferred fabric).  Or you can cut some baby blankets or baby towels into squares and wa-la, free homemade wipes!

For the Wipe Solution:
Dr. Bronner’s Option- My favorite recipe is to put 2-3 drops of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (citrus and rose are my favorite scents) in some water, and that’s it!  Just add wipes!  (Dr. Bronner’s soap is very mild and is much safer for your baby’s skin than 99% of the other soaps out there.  You can buy little travel sized bottles of it for around $2.  Use it for baby’s bath time too!)

Tea Tree Oil Option- I’ve also used 2 drops tea tree essential oil diluted in water for my wipes (I don’t measure the water, just however much is needed to wetten all your wipes).

Oil– Some people also like to put a few drops of olive oil or almond oil in their water solution to act as a moisturizer, this works great too!

Getting Your Wipes Ready-To-Use:
Option One:  Get a gallon sized baggie.  Add one cup water or so and your chosen ingredient(s) from above.  Shake up the baggie a little, add a handful of dry cloth wipes.  You’re ready to go!  (Although I usually use a baggie, I plan on switching to a leak proof container or wet bag soon).  (If your wipes are still too dry, add more water).  Wipes will store for about a week, or perhaps a little less, when wet.  I usually prepare them each Sunday to take to church and then use the rest throughout the week.

Option Two:  Get a small spray bottle, fill with water and your other chosen ingredient(s) from above.  Grab a handful of dry cloth wipes.  You’re ready to go!  When it’s time to change baby’s diaper, spray your wipe to get it wet and then proceed to change your baby.  Don’t spray baby with the spray bottle, he/she probably won’t like it.  🙂