Wednesday, February 15, 2012

For The LOVE of Food!

Oh my poor blog! As you can imagine, life with twins got interesting. My little sweethearts keep me busy these days. I have a great topic today for you, enjoy.
 
You should know that I LOVE food. I often joke that with my admiration of food I should be 300 pounds! I love everything about food, shopping for food is an adventure for me, cooking food is an art form and going out to try new foods is a hobby. When my amazing baby girls came home from the hospital my relationship with food was neglected. It was hard to find time to eat and shopping for food, even at Whole Foods, became time consuming and at times frustrating. The solution? Join a CSA!
 
CSA = Community Supported Agriculture
This was a heaven send! I joined a local CSA that only grows organic produce, they work with other local organic farmers to create an amazing assortment of fruits and veggies. Then once a week a beautiful box of goodies arrives at my doorstep. The CSA I joined allows me to pay for only one week at a time on an as needed basis, the box is delivered to my home at no extra charge and they have an organic egg option as well. For a 1/2 fruit, 1/2 veggie box we pay $23, eggs are an extra $4. This has saved my relationship with food! I now can plan my dinners around what we get in our box that week. Also, now that the girls eat solid foods I can make them amazing organic baby food! Here is a list of what arrived on my doorstep today...
PEARS, TANGERINES, NAVEL ORANGES, BROCCOLI, DINO KALE, RAINBOW CHARD, BABY SPINACH, GREEN ONIONS, POTATOES, YAMS
Almost every town has a CSA for you to join. Some ask for you to pay for the whole season upfront but others, like mine, allow you to pick and choose which weeks you want. Mine even sends an email out a few days before the box arrives telling you what is in the box so you can decide if you want it that week or not. 
Why Should I Join?
It will save you time and money as well as support organic farmers. Before I joined the CSA I was easily paying over $35 a week at Whole Foods and our local farmer's market buying produce for two adults and two hungry babies. Add that up over a month plus the cost of gas (and what ever treat I find to eat along the trip) and you have over $140 a month. Buying through the CSA and supplementing our favorites that do not come in the box we now pay $23 a month plus about $10 so roughly $102 a month and that is delivered right to my home.
Why Organic?
Why Organic you ask? Have you ever tasted organic fruit compared to regular? It has so much more flavor. That alone gets my vote. Pesticides are another great reason, did you know that most people who are allergic to strawberries are not allergic to the berry itself but rather they are reacting to the pesticides? That is not the only fruit where that is the case. There are certain fruits that are very important to buy organic because they are covered in pesticides and usually the farmer uses GMO seeds (genetically modified organism) which are not good. Those fruits are grapes, all berries and apples. Fruit with heavy peels like bananas and oranges do not matter as much but even my husband has noticed that organic oranges have more flavor and requests them when I go to Whole Foods. 
Who is my CSA?
We use J&P Organics, they deliver in the Bay Area and Monterey cities.
" J&P Organics began with a shattered dream. Twelve years ago, Pablo and his wife, Florencia, were leasing a small raspberry farm. While in full production, a water pump broke. Although they were willing to split the cost for a new one, the other farmers leasing land decided against it. The dreams of Pablo to be his own boss and provide for his family were crushed.

Years later, while JP (Pablo’s eldest son) attended college, he stumbled upon a program sponsored by ALBA (Agriculture Land Based Training Association) called PEPPA (Programa Educativo Para PequeƱos Agricultores). This program, along with the education JP received at CSUMB gave his family the tools necessary to realize the dream of one day being their own boss. Pablo and Florencia took a chance and quit their jobs to train with ALBA and eventually leased some land to grow organic fruits and vegetables.


Five years later, the family works together; Pablo and Florencia grow and wholesale the veggies and fruit, JP and his brother Maickey deliver to homes in Monterey County, drop-off locations in Santa Clara County, and work at the Farmer’s Markets in Oakland, while JP’s wife Wendy coordinates the CSA program that provides fresh, organic vegetables and fruits to over 500 people in two counties.


J&P Organics’ main purpose is to provide fresh organic fruits and vegetables that promote human and environmental health by farming in harmony with the resources of our precious planet." http://jporganics.com/

Book Resources
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan
Organic Baby, Simple Steps for Healthy Living by Kimberly Rider


Web Resources
http://jporganics.com/

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Not To Say...Part 2

People LOVED my "What Not to Say to a Parent of Preemie Multiples" post a few months ago so I decided to do an updated one. Amazingly the comments have changed now that the girls are a little older, have their own opinions and now a lack of patience! Let's just say, going into public is a full contact sport!

If you see a tired momma of twins (or more then 2 kids that are very young) please DO NOT

1. Give me advice! - unless I ask for it please do not give me unwanted advice, it is just rude. If you do not have any children and you stop me to give me advice I might bite you...maybe there should be a warning on my shirt like the puppies at the SPCA? "Bites when provoked!"

2. Touch my baby - this goes for year around but now in winter more then ever I do not want you to touch my baby! Thanks for giving my child the gift of a cold!

3. Say "You got your hands full" - thank you master of the obvious, if you are not going to help by opening a door or carrying a bag then keep your mouth shut, I am just trying to buy some food.

4. Say "Double Trouble" - They don't need any ideas, let's tell them they are sweet and maybe it will rub off!

5. Ask "Are they twins?" - Okay, I have two babies that are the same size that look just like the other one...YES, they are twins! My friend told me she became so tired of people asking that stupid question that she started saying "No, different fathers". SO funny! 

I LOVE it when you say...

1. "They are SO pretty!" - thanks, I grew them myself :)

2. "Let me get that door for you." - love this because doors have become the enemy with no free hands and/or a double stroller.

3. "What a great smile!" - that is one of my favorite things too.

4. "I had a hard time with one, you are amazing!" - thanks, I needed that ego boost!

5. "They look so healthy and happy for twins!" - it was a lot of work to get them there thanks for noticing!

So if you happen to see me out with my amazing girls please keep these in mind. For the most part I am not offended if what you say and do comes from a place of love. If however, you come from a place of judgement you better bring your boxing gloves!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

3 Months of Milky Miracles!

Our wonderful milk sharing story. 

 So it has been three months since we discovered the twin's formula intolerance and began the milk sharing journey. It is nerve raking to worry constantly that we will run out but each time they finish the last drop of milk a new donation comes home. I wanted to repost some of our story to encourage mommas everywhere to donate your extra supply, the life you save could be MY child's!


Three month flashback - a mother's nightmare, two amazing babies are screaming in pain everyday. No matter what I tried the colic reigned supreme in our household. We did the gripe water, probiotics, ruteri and formula changes...and all for nothing. Finally a doctor's appointment confirmed what I have been thinking for a while, the girls have a formula intolerance. Who knows what is causing it but if you have ever looked at the ingredients to baby formula you will see several common allergy triggers like sunflower oil, soy, and coconut. 

Our doctor said that switching to breast milk is a medical necessity since the girls are not absorbing enough nutrients. This was a problem because no matter what I tried I could not lactate. So if they cannot have my milk then I had to give them milk from someone else. He wrote us a perspiration for the local milk bank explaining the medical need and urgency in his notes and sent me home with two very upset little girls.


Then the journey began. I called the bank and even with a prescription the milk costs $3 an ounce. I panicked and quickly did the math, $3 an ounce times 30 ounces a day times two babies = $180 A DAY! So that's $5,400 a month plus the cost of overnight shipping. Needless to say this was not an option, I do not know of any parents who could afford that cost! To add to the frustration the milk bank is not covered by insurance.



Our very first full freezer, I cried tears of joy!
The momma bear in me became a fierce protector of my children and began to take over the Internet. I discovered a whole subculture called Milksharing. Wonderful mommas with an oversupply post that they can help a baby in need with a donation or mommas like myself post that they have a need. This began one of the most amazing experiences of my life outside of marriage and the arrival of my babies. Mother after mother came forward offering to help my girls, they told their friends which led to more mothers and with in a week I had a full freezer of milk and two happy babies. 


  This experience has created lasting friendships with lovely women I may never had met. I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who helped us. It was more then just giving us milk, it was giving us life. It is my hope that sending this blog post out into the vast space of the Internet will inspire more mommas to donate their oversupply and bring hope to other families like ours who are struggling with feeding.


Human Milk for Human Babies - http://www.facebook.com/HM4HBCA
Eats on Feets - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Eats-On-Feets-Northern-California/184156834960174

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ultimate Diapering

Okay so I know I have been MIA lately but I am a momma to twins so that happens sometimes! I wanted to write a quick post sharing what I have learned about cloth diapering and how to do it with multiples. If you look at my last few posts I talk about having ammonia issues with our diapers. That battle lasted a while! After I wrote that post I tried using Grovia diapers for a while but then I met some wonderful crunchy mommas and ended up falling down a diaper rabbit hole!

 Grovia's Were Not the Answer
The Grovia diapers worked well for long car rides and over night but I began to notice that if I used them all the time my girls would develop a rash. Preemie babies tend to be sensitive to just about everything (for example, I can't use wet wipes either!) so I thought maybe it was the baby diaper laundry detergent. Then I did some research about Grovias and found that they are full of PUL. For those of you who are new to the idea of cloth diapering PUL is a plastic lining used to make cloth diapers water proof. The obvious benefit is very few leaks, the down side is the diaper does not breath at all which is one of the main reasons why we cloth diaper. Just as I was discovering this fact and wondering what to do next I met some lovely mommas who take cloth diapering to the level of an art form.

Down the Rabbit Hole...
Goodmama Diaper
This new type of cloth diapering involves fitted ALL cloth diapers which have no water proofing at all. Then you add a diaper cover or wool of some sort to wick away moisture. They showed me a diaper called a Goodmama and I was hooked! The diapers are so gosh darn cute and I noticed that my girls rashes went away with in a day. The options are endless with adorable designs, soft fabrics and stylish wool covers. You might be wondering about leaks so here's the skinny...

 Leaks
they do get compression leaks but not dripping all over the place leaks. Every once in a while I will pick baby up and notice that her wool longies seem a little damp and I just take that as a cue to change her diaper. I have noticed that I am much more comfortable with the idea of pee then I have ever been in my life! At this point I would rather know right away that baby needs a changing if it means I can avoid a nasty rash later. 

Covers, Woolies and Longies...Oh My!!!
Cloth Diaper Club - Etsy
There are two fibers that work really well with cloth fitted diapers, my favorite is wool but if you or baby is allergic you can use fleece. I wish my knitting skills were awesome enough to pull off knitting my own longies, skirties and covers but alas they are not. Instead I buy them from SAHMs on Etsy or I get them second hand on diaperswappers.com. We use almost all wool here because they are SO cute and feel great this time of year. You can also buy fitted diapers made of wool if you want to skip the extra step of adding a cover. Honestly, I also let the girls go coverless and put baby legs on them to keep them warm. Those diapers are way too cute and demand to be seen!

A Side Benefit
One of the reasons we jumped on the cloth diaper wagon was the potty training aspect. The idea is baby hates to be wet and cloth diapers let her feel the wet so she will potty train faster then a baby who can't feel the wetness because it is absorbed with a synthetic gel.
Gooseberry Knits - Etsy

Wrap it Up
I have SO much more to share but the babies are over letting me type right now so I have to run. Feel free to ask any questions and I will add more later!

Monday, November 14, 2011

BIG sale just in time for Christmas!

Who doesn't love a sale?! I will be hosting a sale on my Facebook fan page 11/15/11 at 6pm. Come on over to enjoy some great deals. There will be a few custom order options as well!

Facebook - Anya's Green Baby
Here is the Etsy store filled with possible sale items!
http://Anyasgreenbaby.etsy.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Battle of Stinky Cloth Diapers - How to Solve Ammonia Issues

Cloth diapers are better for your baby, right? Right? A few weeks ago I was changing my daughter and noticed a foul ammonia smell coming from her diaper. Honestly, my first thought was that the kitty saw an opening for the 2 minutes I was gathering dirties and decided the girl's pile of dirty laundry looked like a litter box so I threw it back in the wash. The next day my other daughter's diaper smelled the same way. This was a strong cleaning product smell that burned your nose! I tried taking all the diapers at once into the laundry and ran the water super hot with an extra rinse cycle. The next day my daughters developed ammonia burns and the cloth diapers, for now, had to go! I temporarily switched to paper Nature Babycare diapers. 

I went online and discovered that cloth diapers, even when washed properly, can build up stink. When the urine mixes with what the diaper is holding it creates ammonia. Different sites had different tricks, here are some that I came across and tried...

1. Soak overnight in Bac-Out. This product is by Biokleen and is a natural safe stain and stink remover. Good product but it didn't work.
2. Sun dry. Ya, like I have time with twins to wait for the sun to appear in my coastal beach town! However, did try it and it failed.
3. Boil for 30 minutes then wash with a special detergent for my very hard water. This sort of worked but I had to do it after every use...also will not work with twins!

After trying all these and finding no solution that was manageable with twin 5 month old babies I started asking locally for advice. I finally found a diaper guru who explained that the hemp in my gDiaper inserts holds on to stink strongly and suggested changing to an all cotton or a cotton/wool combo. Finally I did not feel crazy anymore!

So here is what I learned...

1. Cloth diapers are great but make sure you always start with a diaper detergent that is formulated for your type of water. Our hard water here hastened the process of developing a stink problem. In this process I tried 3 different brands and fell in love with Hard Rock by Rockin Green. The have formulas for soft water and middle of the road water as well as an Ammonia Bouncer (which I wanted to try but everyone was sold out, it must work!)

2. Hemp = Bad! For cloth diapering stay away from hemp. Anything that holds on to stink is your worst enemy! 

3. It may be a good idea to "strip" your diapers clean every now and then, that means boil for 30 minutes. Sometimes detergent becomes lodged in the fabric causing diaper rash and ammonia issues. A good test is to take a diaper and immerse in water, if it does not absorb evenly right away or has patches that do not seem to absorb then you need to strip it clean. 

4. When laundering your diapers pick the hot water setting, add an extra rinse cycle and only use half of the amount of detergent you would normally unless you have the Rockin Green, they got it down so follow their directions. 

5. Pick cloth diapers that are "All in Ones". When I became frustrated and thought it might be the gDiapers I started to check out other systems. I fell in love with the Grovia hybrid system for a few reasons. First I love that you can still "cheat" with flushable inserts when needed. Second, they are all organic cotton with NO hemp! And third, their shells fit from infancy to potty training with a series of Velcro and snaps. They fit my little ones really well and I am very happy with that system and prefer it over the gDiapers. We were already growing out of our small sized gDiapers and had to upgrade anyway so I chose to upgrade now to Grovia so we do not have to buy a whole other set of larger diapers later!

Resources
Rockin Green: http://rockingreensoap.3dcartstores.com/Hard-Rock-4590-Loads-Remix-_p_74.html
Grovia: http://gro-via.com/

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Safe Way to Seed a Pomegranate!

Do you love pomegranates but hate seeding the fruit? I have a fool proof method for getting those amazing pink seeds out of the shell with out ruining your shirt. 

Step #1 - make a shallow cut down half of the fruit.
Step #2 - get a large bowl, big enough for you to immerse both hands, then fill with water.
Step #3 - place the fruit in the water and pull the sides apart. Slowly pull at each bunch of seeds under water, they will come off the peel and sink to the bottom. The peel is light and will float in the water.
Step #4 - hand scoop the peelings off the top of the water and drain the seeds.

I hope this helps you enjoy one of my favorite fall fruits!