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!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Importance of Momma Care

Before I begin let me just say that I am one of the worst people ever at taking care of myself, this was a hard lesson to learn. It took a really wicked flu for me to realize I had to take better care of myself. I felt compelled to share my experience in momma care.
Finding Time to Eat
I am constantly feeding the twins. They eat a total of about 30 ounces of momma milk a day but divided into feedings every 2-3 hours. It feels like as soon as a feeding ends you are prepping for the next one. They eat so much but finding the time for myself to eat is hard. Some days I have a single cup of coffee until 2 or 3 in the afternoon when I finally get to eat. This is not good. Our bodies need food to create energy. Even though I joke with people that having twins is the best diet plan out there I did need to find time to eat. So my solution? Force myself to take a few minutes when I am feeding the girls to eat something myself. They are now getting so close to being ready for solids that they watch me with wide eyed wonder as I eat often making smacking noises. The day they can finally sit in a high chair and eat at the same time I will say a prayer of thanks!
Pretty Momma
I read a blog post not to long ago about how a mom of two kids rarely gets the time to shower, get dressed and make herself pretty. She and other commenter's talked about how they will wear their pj's all day and when their husbands come home they look the same as when they left. My first thought was "how sad". Even with twins taking 20 minutes to shower, dress, run a brush through my hair and put on a little make-up is possible. I just bring them into the bathroom with me in bouncy chairs and sing them loud goofy songs while I get ready. I want to teach my girls through my actions that taking care of yourself is important. I refuse to be "that mom" at Target in her pj's who has not showered and looks frazzled, what is that teaching my daughters?
Guilt Free Exercise
The girls are too young to be left in the day care at the gym but even if they were old enough I would think that I may end up feeling guilty during my work out for leaving them in care. In the end I decided to join Stroller Strides. All the mommas bring the babes bundled up in their strollers with bottles, snacks and toys. We all work out while tickling babies and singing goofy songs to keep them happy and engaged. It is a really intense work out, this is no walking momma group! We are running suicides, working out arms with resistance tubes and hopping up and down stairs. We joke that you know you have been to Stroller Strides when it is hard to stand up off the toilet!
Hubby Time
After baby comes home you switch into a momma role and the hot sex-pot your husband fell in love with is snoring in bed at 9pm while holding a nursing baby! Daddy goes through many changes just like mom. It is important that we find the time to just be husband and wife again. About 1 or 2 times a month my mom comes over to have baby time and my husband and I run away like goofy teenagers. It is essential to find time for just us so we can reconnect. On a daily basis we let the girls fall asleep early and spend some time each night just enjoying each others company.
Connecting With Other Mommas
During the first few years it is SO important that we normalize our situation. Having time to talk with other mommas helps us feel like our lives have a sense of normalcy. Even though I have Stroller Strides I find that we can only talk so much, most of the time we are trying to catch our breath! So one day a week the girls and I go to a parent's group at Parent's Place in PG. In this group mommas sit in a warm quiet room, nurse their babies and have a guided conversation. It really helps me feel sane!
A Few Concluding Thoughts
As with all my advice and sharing remember that the best thing to do is what works for your family! Now go forth and continue to be SuperMom!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Not to Say to a Parent of Preemie Multiples - Funny Post

Oh boy do I get attention! Not only are my girls adorable, I have two of them and I dress them in super cute clothes so naturally I get a ton of smiles and stares from others everywhere we go. The smiles I love but the comments that follow sometimes annoy me or just plain make me laugh! Here is a list I put together (with humor in my heart) of all the things we hear on a daily basis that you should just not say!

1. "Wow, you must have your hands full!" - okay seriously? Duh! Of course I do, but that was the 2 seconds when I forgot and was enjoying life. 
2. "Awe, a boy and a girl!" - nope wrong! Why do you assume I have one of each when both my girls are dressed in pink? One time I had giant bows on their heads too, I turned to the woman and said, "Yes, I put a orange bow on my son's head!"
3. "They are SO small!" - if you only knew how small they were before you would never say that!
4. "My baby can..." - that's nice but my babies are preemies so I am giving them more time to meet those milestones.
5. "I know, I am SO tired from parenting a newborn." - unless you also have twins, have more then 3 kids or are in a wheel chair I really do not want to hear how tired you are with one baby. Honestly, you have no idea!
6. "You are so brave to be out." - why? I have babies not little monsters!


On the other hand, here are the comments that really make my day.
1. "Wow, you are a supermom!" - yes I am, thanks for noticing.
2. "I don't know how you do it, you are amazing" - thank you for recognizing that my two babies are harder then your singleton.
3.  "A double blessing!" - that is exactly how I see it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cleaning Home for Baby

With twins I have only tiny moments here and there to clean (or do anything, right now I am doing the one handed typing while holding one and bouncing the other with my foot in a bouncy chair!). When I can clean I make sure that I am not doing more harm then good. Traditional cleaning products contain allergy triggers, anti-bacterial agents that cause super bugs or irritating fragrances. 
Here is how I have simplified green cleaning!
Basic Cleaning
For a green switch to cleaning all you need is baking soda, vinegar, lemons and essential oils. I buy baking soda and vinegar in ridiculously large packages from Costco. I have a glass bowl and scrub brush designated just for the purpose of cleaning. Into the bowl goes the baking soda, next pour some vinegar and watch the fun volcanic eruption of foam (be warned that this foam will be about twice the height of baking soda). Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar, it will disappear after a few minutes and will not leave your bathroom smelling of a tossed salad. To create a better smell you can add lemon or essential oils to the baking soda. I like tea tree oil because of it’s antiseptic qualities, eucalyptus has a nice fresh smell and lavender smells pretty and calming. That mixture will work for kitchen, bathroom, floors and even laundry (see more on that below). A side note, make sure you buy biodegradable sponges so we do not add to landfills in our green cleaning process! There are natural sponges that work just as well as their evil counterparts. Old rags work wonderfully instead of paper towels.
Laundry and Cloth Diapers

Okay, confession time. I use my washer and dryer for cloth diapers. With twins I just have to go with electricity. Big time kudos to the mommas of twins who have the time and energy to line dry but this gal sure does not! So if you are a momma of multiple children like myself here is how I do laundry in the most eco-friendly way as possible. I like the Biokleen product, you only need a tablespoon measurement for a full load and for diapers I always add about a cup of baking soda and run the cycle on hot. To get that yummy out of the dryer smell I use Nellie's dryer balls with lavender essential oils. For whites add some vinegar into the bleach deposit in your washer, but don’t do that for colors because it does act like bleach and will fade your clothes. Ta Da! Clean clothes that are cost effective, earth friendly and clean!


Carpet
I hate carpet! It traps allergens, tracks the outside inside and gives dust mites a place to hide. Other then a warm floor in the morning when I get out of bed I have no positives to this invention. Sadly, our house has carpet in the living room and all the rooms upstairs so I had to learn to call a truce. Baking soda and vinegar will also work for carpet stains such as coffee, red wine, oil and grease. Just scrub the mixture into the carpet and rinse with water, after it dries vacuum a few times over the spot going in different directions. To get rid of carpet smells dust baking soda on the carpet, leave for a few seconds and vacuum. If your carpet is a darker color make sure you wash out the baking soda and vinegar or it may fade your colors. You can use this same combination in your carpet cleaning machines instead of the chemical filled cleaners at the store. I have a whole post on how to clean your carpets with a carpet cleaner!
Dishes
After the girls came home I graduated to a dish washer. It has been such a help when it comes to cleaning all those bottles! We use the Seventh Generation soup but I add a little vinegar to it because we have really hard water here. I make sure to only run full loads to cut down on our water use. For spot-free clean dishes from the sink I like Mrs. Myers products. For heavy grease you can use...YEP, baking soda and vinegar! Make sure to skip the lemons or anything with citrus for dishes, it can break down the metal on your silverware. I fill one side of my sink with about two inches of warm water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and a splash of vinegar. The nice part about using vinegar is it makes all of your glass spot free and shiny.
Resources
For more information on cleaning green for a happy baby home check out my favorites, no new mom should be with out these books!
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Donate Milk = Donate Life

Our wonderful milk sharing story. 

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 our last 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. 


Since coming home from the hospital I tried to lactate but nothing would work. Last week my doctor said that switching to breast milk is a medical necessity since the girls are not absorbing enough nutrients. 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 paniced 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.


I took this before I organized it :)
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. 


I am beginning to cry as I write this and recall what I change I saw in the girls this week. They went from screaming, scrunching up their legs and constant constipation to happy smiley girls who now sleep soundly and only cry when they see that the other twin is getting more attention! It was a complete turn around in my household and it saved my sanity. 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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Favorite Baby Must-Haves!

These are the items that I cannot live with out that make life with twins possible! 
This is only a small list, I will add more later.

Baby Carriers
Daddy and Grace in her Ergo
We have two, and not just because we have two babies. I have the organic versions of the Moby wrap and Ergo. Baby carriers have got a bad rap recently in the news. If worn properly they are not a danger so just make sure to follow simple guidelines like not allowing your baby’s chin to rest on their chest and make sure that their face is not against your chest but to the side. Carriers range from wraps to packs like the Ergo to slings. It is really up to you and your back, pick something that feels comfortable. I love the Moby but the first time I tried to put my fussy baby in it for a walk I ended up throwing it across the room yelling “Who makes these things?”. It took a patient and loving friend of mine to show me how to wrap it on MY BODY! If you decide to go for a Moby make sure you find a friend who has one and have her show you how to wear it, youtube videos and written instructions are not enough!
For the simple fool-proof carrier I love the Ergo and so does Daddy! If you are looking for a carrier that Dad will not mind wearing buy an Ergo. Every man I have talked to says it is their favorite and it keeps getting voted as a "Daddy Favorite". It is great for mommas too, it distributes the weight of the baby to my hips making my back nice and happy. I also love the front zipper pocket for my cell and keys so I can run into the grocery store as fast as possible with two little ones. It also has a fabric portion that comes up and snaps on your shoulders to shield baby from the sun. It can be worn on your front, side and back all of which are comfortable. I cannot say enough good things about this carrier, every parent should have one!
Diaper Bags
There is more to being out on the town then just car seats and strollers. Diaper bags and baby carriers are also items to buy. Many diaper bags are waterproof which is a great idea in theory but make sure that you read the label to find out what they are using to waterproof the material. The manufacturer must print BPA or PVC free on the label, if you do not see that do not buy the item. I prefer bags you can throw in the washing machine over ones that are waterproof. Diaper bags that are chemical free cost more, but there are a few brands that are really great. Ergo makes both a back pack and a front pack that attaches to their carrier, these are chemical free. I am in love with my Ergo backpack! It has just the right amount of pockets and it can be worn as a backpack or it can attach to the Ergo carrier creating one rockin’ baby carrier!
Baby Legs - Leg Warmers
Photo from babylegs.com
Remember those awesome leg warmers we all wore in the 80’s and early 90’s? Well they are out of the ballet studio and back in a very cool way. Baby Legs makes these amazing and adorable baby leg warmers which are helpful in more ways then fashion. These are great when you have baby in the carrier because they do not bunch up and leave part of baby’s leg exposed. (The perfect mate for the Ergo!) They are also helpful when your outfit for the day is destroyed, you can pull out a pair of these and baby still looks cute. I like to use them in the winter or on rainy days as a type of layering. Baby legs are great for quick diaper changes and look adorable under dresses. They come in all types of patterns and colors. Why choose Baby Legs over a different brand? They do not get those annoying fabric balls, they stay up on baby’s leg and they offer many organic options.
Book Resources
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Web Resources
www.babyearth.com
www.ergobabycarrier.com
http://www.babylegs.com/

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mothering Organic Twins and Staying Sane

Once you have kids everyone wants to give you advice. The best piece of advice I have received from a fellow twin parent went something like this; many people will tell you what is best to do but really the right thing to do is what is best for your family. So here I go giving you all advice but please know that this is what works for my family and my daughters, your children may be very different!
By reading just one post of my blog you know that I am a green enthusiast, our home is all organic from food to laundry to cleaning. When the girls arrived I knew I had to find a balance in order to stay sane. Here are a few ways I have maintained my green lifestyle but with a twist.
Cloth diapering with Twins
I am a huge fan of cloth diapering but with twins it can become a little crazy! The amount of diapers we go through in a week is so high that I cannot fathom going with disposables all the time. However, I did find a great compromise. We have a Gdiaper system. What I love about the Gdiapers is you can choose to put a cloth insert or disposable insert in a cloth diaper shell. So far I have done all cloth at home and disposable when we are going out for a long day or at night since it holds more with out leaking. I love the system and highly recommend it for parents of twins who want to dip your feet in both pools. It also gives me the option of going all cloth if I ever become so brave.
Twin Scheduling
Many things bothered me about being in the hospital with the girls but this one takes the cake! So far every parent of twins that I have encountered has talked about "the schedule". It is discussed and lived SO much that it is almost a 5th person in the family. What I mean by a schedule is the twins have a set routine of eating times, diaper changing times, nap times, bath times and bed times. You can never waiver from the schedule or the whole system is destroyed. 
So here are my issues with twin scheduling. 1) My girls are VERY different people with separate personalities. One needs a lot of cuddling and attention and the other is happy to sit in a bouncy chair or stroller as long as she can see me. One of the girls wants to eat more often in smaller amounts and the other likes to eat a lot not as often. What I noticed in the hospital is heartbreaking to me. They would let a twin cry for 20 minutes when she was begging for food because it wasn't time for her to eat. It was everything in me not to stand up and do it myself! It just does not make sense to me to teach my children to push aside their natural feelings of hunger until it is time to eat or to force them to eat when they are not hungry. What is that teaching them? I would prefer to teach my girls to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full, what a great life skill to learn now! 
2) My life did NOT end when I became a mother. My girls go everywhere with me. I still do all the activities I did before they came home but it takes me about 2 1/2 times the amount of time it took before. The only exception is going to movies, I really hate it when people bring their babies to a movie and they cry the whole time! We get a sitter for that type of date! When you put your babies on a set schedule then the whole household revolves around the schedule. It dictates when you can sleep, eat and go to the restroom! It also prevents you from fun activities like going out to dinner or having a dinner party at a friend's house because you have to go home to bath and bed time. Instead of making them fit a schedule I made up I follow their schedule. When they nap I either use the time to get things done or I nap too. When they go to bed for the night I spend some time with my husband and then I go to bed too. When they are up in the morning I get up as well and we all have breakfast. I always have bottles ready to go so when they decide they are hungry I feed them as much as they want. I love what this communicates to my girls and this is what works for me. If you are a twin parent with a schedule that you love then that is what works for you but for me I like to keep our lives in an organic flow.
The Biggest Help in Staying Sane!
I cannot say it enough, keep a loud environment as much as possible! This is great for parents of single babies too. The girls had a loud environment in the NICU so I keep up the noise level when I came home. The result? My girls can sleep anywhere! They fall asleep in Target, other people's homes, the car and once they slept through a firework show! The beauty of this runs deep, I can do so many things when they sleep. I can run a load of clothes through the wash, run the dishwasher, vacuum the carpet, talk on the phone, watch a movie...and all with out waking them up! 
Wrap it Up

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Have Twins, Will Travel...

The last thing I thought I would be doing just days after our babies came home is move to a different house! With in minutes of arriving home we knew that our small 2 bedroom beach house would not be enough space for two adults and two babies with all their stuff. Right now my living room looks like the showroom at Babies R' Us! When a house opened up in the university professor housing we just could not pass it up. Our new place is three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms on a cute cul de sac with a fenced backyard (yay swing set time!) an attached garage, a separate laundry room and...gasp...a dishwasher! The best part is that is can be a rent-to-own so if we really love the place we never have to move again!
I am so excited for the girls to have their own room and kid bathroom and the hubby is excited that he does not have to give up his office! Although packing with two tiny babies has been challenging I keep thinking of what the future has in store. I love the idea of living with the other professors and having our children raised in an academic environment, besides, who doesn't love fresh ocean breezes and sand dunes?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Be A BuZy BeE and Make Your Own Candles!

The art of candle making. Recently I have been tackling this new art 16th century style and in this blog I will give you step-by-step instructions on reasons to pick beeswax candles, how to choose your wax provider, and how to make your candles. 
There are many reasons to use beeswax candles in your home. Here are my top reasons,
1. Beeswax is a clean burning wax that does not ruin the air quality in your home.
2. It makes your house smell wonderfully of honey
3. Save money and the planet by conserving energy with a little mood lighting
4. Low impact, high reward
Before I began this project I knew that I wanted fresh, raw wax from a eco-minded bee keeper. After some research I found Owl Naturals on Etsy. When the wax arrived it smelled like heaven, my husband kept trying to eat it! Here is a little bit of fun info on Owl Naturals...
~ Meet Nicole ~ wife to lover of life and mama of two young boys. ~ She loves ~ family, keeping house, soap making, reading, natural and simple ways of living and being in nature. ~ Her Products ~ are well thought out and come from hours of research. All natural,  biodegradable ingredients. ~ Her inspiration ~ natural, practical and simple ways. She drawn to recipes with the least ingredients necessary. Good stewardship is very important.             ~ Why bees? ~ Bees have been interesting to me for years. Honey replaced sugar in her kitchen years ago. She has been using honey and beeswax to make products for about two years. She recently joined a local beekeeper's association and hopes to keep her own bees in the next year. Currently she is using honey and beeswax from local and Midwest beekeepers. ~ Her favorite products ~ the fresh peppermint lip balm, her fair trade body butter and her salt soap bars. She is also very excited to say that she is now making goat milk soaps, with goat milk from her neighbor's farm. They are definitely her new favorite item that will be in the shop in the next few weeks! ~ How to find her products ~ visit her shop at www.owlnaturals.etsy.com and owlnaturals@gmail.com.

So here is how to create your very own candles in 8 simple steps.
Step 1 - break your beeswax into smaller pieces and place them in a glass bowl or cup
Step 2 - place the cup of wax pieces in a pot filled with water, make sure the cup weighs more then the water so it will not tip over!
Step 3 - bring the water to a boil and then lower the temperature to a medium setting, let the wax melt slowly and wait until all the pieces are melted before moving on.
Step 4 - while the wax is melting cut the right length of wicking for the mold you want to use. Dip the wick once in the wax to give it a single coat, this will prevent the wick soaking up the wax for the candle. 
Step 5 - if you are not planning on burning the candle in the mold then you must rub a tiny bit of oil on the inside of the mold so the candle will release from the sides.
Step 6 - place a tiny dot of wax at the bottom of your mold and stick your wick to the wax by using a stick of some kind, I used a BBQ kabob stick. Now place another stick across the top of the mold and use a bobby pin to hold the top of the wick to the stick. This will prevent the wick from slipping down while the wax cools.
Step 7 - carefully pour the wax into the mold in one motion, do not pause or you will get a crack in your candle. Make sure that the wick is still position in the middle of the candle and let it sit for a few hours.
Step 8 - remove the bobby pin and stick, turn the mold upside down and gently hit the bottom of the mold so the candle will fall into your hand. If it does not come out you can push down on the candle gently to break it away from the walls. 

I hope this post inspires you to create some candles of your own! Don't forget to enter my current giveaway!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let The Sun Do All The Work - Eco Laundry In The Summer

This is the one we have
It is summer, the perfect time to line dry your clothes! The best way for you to dry your clothes is line drying, it is easier on the wallet, leaves your clothes smelling great and naturally takes out stains. The down side is waiting for the sun! Luckily most of us are experiencing hotter weather now that it is summertime. For the few warm days that I can line dry outside I have a retractable clothesline. It attaches to one side of our fence and connects to a hook on the other side. The best part is the retractable feature since most days I have to dry inside.

For me living in a foggy coastal beach town does not allow for outside line drying for most of the year. For those of you in a similar location there is a solution. For indoor drying you will need to buy a laundry rack, these usually are more vertical then horizontal and work well for laundry rooms. The only downside is having enough space and heavy fabrics take forever to dry. The upside, other then saving money, is your clothes will last longer and colors will stay brighter. 

 More On Eco-Friendly Laundry
My passion for eco-friendly laundry happened by accident. I am allergic to...well it is easier to say what does not give me hives. Years ago I had a battle of the dirty clothes, laundry detergents and dryer sheets were constantly giving me hives no matter which brand I used. I became so frustrated that I abandoned laundry soaps all together for a while and washed my clothes with baking soda. That got rid of the hives but did not leave my clothes with that yummy clean smell and it was not enough for messes that a baby could throw my way. Here is how I clean my clothes using products that leave me hive free, smelling great and with zero residue.

Washing
For laundry soap I love Biokleen products. They are so concentrated that you only need a tablespoon of soap for an entire wash cycle. For baby messes I add a scoop of baking soda and run the water on a medium temperature. I have also recently discovered a brand called Nellie’s which sell soap in small squares that last for a few loads. I am still on the fence about that product because I finally found something that does not flare up my allergies but I thought it was worth mentioning because it is the brand that I use for my dryer balls.

White Without Bleach
Bleach, just say no. Bad, bad, bad...get rid of it. There are natural ways to bleach your clothes and clean your home. The combination of baking soda and vinegar naturally whitens and hydrogen peroxide will also work. For washing machines just use your soap as normal but add some baking soda then pour a little vinegar into the bleach drop off for your washer. You can also whiten your clothes by line drying, for more on that see below.

Machine Drying
In the past I used Method dryer sheets because they were closer to nature and did not make me itchy. When I was visiting Eco Carmel a few weeks ago I found Nellie’s Dryerballs. I had heard of dryer balls before but never took the time to research why they are used. These stood out from others I had seen before because they came with lavender oil fragrance sticks which are placed inside one of the balls to give that yummy laundry smell. Here are some reasons to switch to dryerballs. 1) They are reusable which means they are better for our planet then dryer sheets. 2) They reduce the needed drying time saving you money and resources. 3) They naturally soften fabrics. 4) They reduce lint and wrinkles - this was a BIG selling point for me. I really hate wrinkled clothing and sheets but I rarely have time to iron! 5) They last about 5 years and each fragrance stick will last for 10 loads.

Small Steps, Big Results
You do not have to have a complete laundry overhaul, small steps have a large impact. You could change just your laundry detergent or add dryer balls or line dry just a few items. You will be surprised how much money these simple steps will save and if you are full of allergies like me you will be hive free!


Online Resources
Biokleen: http://biokleenhome.com/
Nellie’s: http://www.nelliesallnatural.com/
How to use dryer balls: http://www.ehow.com/how_2123231_use-dryer-balls.html 
Retractable Clothes Line: http://www.sanliv.com/bathroom-accessories/series/retractable-clothes-line/

Friday, June 17, 2011

DIY Eco-Friendly Carpet Cleaning

I have mentioned before that I HATE carpet! I really, really do! However, we are currently renting and our lovely landlord loves his carpet so we have to deal with it for now. With a little time on my hands this summer I just had to clean the carpets. Here is my adventure in cleaning carpets in an healthy, green and eco-friendly way that only cost $30 and took out all our stains. 
First I needed a carpet cleaner. I watched sales and did a ton of researching but I could not find a unit to purchase under $150 that was worth buying so I decided to rent. After reading some reviews I found that it is much better to rent a cleaner from a shop that does tool rental instead of a grocery store. I rented ours from the Home Depot because they had a tool rental department and the cost of renting the carpet cleaner is only $24 for 24 hours. As you can see our kitty was trying to help me!
The next decision was about cleaning solutions. Although they have "green" cleaning products for these machines do not be fooled. They still contain stinky fragrances and chemicals that are questionable. Instead I offer this recipe for a homemade and very low cost cleaning solution that will not destroy your carpets or harm you in any way.
- For each load in the machine use 2 cups of baking soda dissolved in hot water.
- Add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil 
Travel over stains slowly and go over them twice if they are particularly pesky. We had a few coffee stains and normal wear near the front door. All those stains came up with a little patience and going over them twice with the machine. 
So that is all you need to do to clean your carpets. It took me two days because I moved all the furniture to one side of the room, let it dry overnight and then moved it to the other side to clean the second half. When all was said and done it cost about $30 and now we have clean eco-friendly carpets. 


Make sure to link up to our blog hop that will be going on until Saturday at midnight to be entered to win this cute organic embroidered scarf!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Time To Save Superwoman From Her Make-up - Full Post

This is a piece I did as a guest post a few weeks ago, I thought I would repost it here for whom ever missed it the first time.

    Time to Save Superwoman From Her Make-Up
Photo by Happy Worker
    As women so often we make sacrifices for beauty. We give up comfort for glamour, junk food for skinny jeans and quiet time for make-up time. I will admit that I am at fault for all of these just as I am sure many of you are as well. In our quest for perfection it is important that our health is one thing that we never sacrifice.
    A few years ago I was first discovering that my husband and I had infertility problems. I bought a book called The Infertility Diet thinking that I might be able to make small changes on my own before consulting a doctor. There was a whole chapter devoted to beauty products and the dangerous chemicals that fill our favorite make-up, perfumes and hair care. I was horrified. This was the first time I ever heard about parabens and their effect on our bodies. It was almost midnight but I dropped the book and ran to my bathroom to check the ingredients of my make-up. Sure enough my supposedly healthy mineral make-up was full of three different parabens! I tossed ALL my products and began to rigorously research the best for my health as well as my beauty.
Here are some important reasons to do a beauty overhaul.
99% of beauty products contain parabens which are preservatives that help extend the shelf life. Parabens are a cause for concern because over and over they have been linked to cancer, hormone disorders and infertility in many different studies. They are a xenoestrogen which mimics real estrogen in our bodies creating an imbalance.
The color in beauty products has to come from somewhere and often it comes from bituminous coal which is a carcinogen. These colors are usually referred to as FD&C and D&C.
Most lipstick and lipgloss is made with petroleum, the same base as gasoline! I know that I typically “eat” my lipstick through out the day unintentionally and I shutter to think that before I became green I was ingesting the same chemical I put in my car!
    There are not many make-up brands to choose from in conventional stores, you will need to go to a specialty store like Whole Foods or online. I tried a few different brands before I found one that worked well with my skin. I am not a fan of wearing a lot of make-up and looking overly done. I have that “hippie chic” look most of the time so I wanted something light just to cover up any skin blemishes. I settled on a brand called MyChelle for make-up and John Masters for hair and face products such as cleansers and sunscreen. I like these products because they met my criteria for beauty as well as overall health and eco-friendlyness. There are other trustworthy brands with all different price points. Other great choices are Dr. Hauschka and Pangea.
    There is a saying that “Beauty is only skin deep” usually this is meant to deter you from paying too much attention to your looks. I will argue that beauty IS your skin and your skin is the largest organ on your body. It needs to be loved and nurtured. In our effort to save the world, pinch every penny, take care of our families and be an amazing career woman all while looking like a super model I ask you to pause for a moment and consider your health. We cannot do all these amazing things with out a well functioning body so I will changing the saying and create a new mantra for us, “Beauty is only my healthy skin”. Now go forth and continue to be Superwoman!

For more information on the research studies and beauty product brands you can glance at the resources below.
   
Resources
The Fertility Diet by Jorge Chavarro MD, ScD and Walter Willett MD, DrPH
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Quest For Homemade Bread

I am an amazing cook and baker but when it comes to bread I fail miserably. I have no idea why but as far back as I can remember if a recipe calls for yeast and tons of waiting around for dough to rise then I end up with a bread brick. For all other baked goods I am the master. It might have something to do with my lack of patience or my hatred of yeast, I am not sure but my quest for homemade bread is not going well. 
I decided to use a bread mix the other day hoping that its helpful suggestions and corner cutting would end this bad luck. As my college students often say, it was an "epic fail". I followed the directions but the darn dough would not rise. In the end I had yet another bread brick. 
I am considering a bread machine or perhaps a recipe with out yeast or watching a bread guru. If you have any helpful suggestions about how I can overcome this issue it would be a great help!

Don't forget that you have until noon today PST to enter the organic giveaway!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Green Kitty

My kitty is not actually green, he is an orange tabby but he lives a green life just like the rest of my family. Last year my husband and I were waiting on the adoption and it seemed like it would never end, we decided to take home a "kitten band-aid". Thus a little orange kitty became my feline child. While waiting for a name that seemed to fit we called him "the kitten" or "kitty" after a week or so we would just say the word kitty and he would come running and meow, so Kitten became his name.
Kitten is an eco-friendly kitty with a natural vet. Don't worry, I am not one of "those people" my cat is just that...a cat! I keep a balance. Our vet is great! She told me that if Kitten was an inside only kitty that he did not need any additional shots outside of the ones he had in the shelter. Also, inside kitties so not need conventional tick or flea medicine. If you do track in something on your shoes which gives your kitty live-in bug tenants then you can feed him a little brewers yeast (one tsp. daily in his food). The bugs hate the taste and will drop off of him in a hurry. I vacuum about every other day so this has never been a problem for us.
We feed him "Spot's Stew" which I buy from Whole Foods. It was one of the brands that my vet recommended but I chose it because all the ingredients were FOOD not weird stuff that I cannot pronounce. Plus, I read in Healthy Child Healthy World that most pet foods have the "four D's" which are disabled, diseased, dying or dead animals as meat for the food, I wanted to avoid my sweet kitty eating gross food but I also wanted to avoid foods that might cause diabetes. I kept the same rules for the cat as I do for my family, if you do not know all the ingredients then you do not eat it! This way if you get a curious toddler who sneaks a few kitten food pebbles you will not have to freak out. We also supplement with scraps from our dinners like salmon or chicken, he loves it when we share. Just make sure not to give him anything with bones, the tiny fragments can hurt his intestines. 
Inside cats need litter boxes which is my least favorite part of having a kitty. Our vet warned that little kitties sometimes try to eat their litter so you must choose wisely. We tried several litters before finding one that everyone liked. I have read several articles over the years urging people not to use clay litters so I tried wheat and corn. Both of those did not do a great job of masking odors and they would get stuck to kitty's paws which then spread around the house. Next I tried recycled newspaper pellets. Kitten hated those and started to look outside of the litter box for another place to do his business which alone was a reason to try a different litter but on top of that they also did not do a good job of masking odors. Finally I tried pine pellets. After one or two trips to the box they begin to break down into a powder which is handy because it tells you when it is time to clean out the box. They also mask odor fairly well and Kitten did not seem to mind. Finally, a winner!
When we first took little Kitten home he was the definition of "scardy cat". Everything frightened him, which was sometimes funny but mostly just sad. He ran from sounds like a phone ringing, movements like me walking into a room and new people. I was concerned that he was SO high anxiety but after a few weeks he calmed down...and then we had family visit. The whole process started again. Poor kitty! Our vet gave us an herbal supplement called "Animal Relief Formula" it is a blend of flower essences that have a calming effect on cats and dogs. It is natural, safe and impossible to overdose. All you have to do is put a little in their water bowl and it helps to keep them calm during anxious times. This has been great when we have visitors or during times when he becomes super high strung for no apparent reason.
I hope this helps you with just a few of the important choices we make for our pets. When I think of how much joy and love this little kitty brings to my life I know I am doing the right thing. Just like with anything else we learned through trial and error I included some resources for you if you want to do more research on your own.
Resources
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan
Spot's Stew: http://www.halopets.com/faqs/spots-stew.html
Animal Relief Formula: http://www.animalsinourhearts.com/store/flower-essences/animal-relief-formula.html

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Giveaway Winner And How To Be A Lean Green Cleaning Machine!

 Thank you to everyone who entered my organic giveaway. It was lovely to get some new readers! I am preparing another giveaway to be announced soon so make sure to keep watching the blog! I have a great post below on how to clean "green", make sure to keep reading.
 The winner of the organic embroidered body suit is...
Christine!
Please contact me with an address in the next 48 hours.

A Lean Green Cleaning Machine!
What a week! For a person like me who obsesses over a clean home it was difficult to rip the Windex, 409 and Bleach from my gloved hands. I will even admit to vacuuming the floor, cleaning the canister out and vacuuming again to see how much I had missed. This week I was reminded of how obsessive I can become about the cleanliness of my house. Our little kitty decided that my house plant looked like a tasty treat, munched on it when I wasn't looking and then began to throw up on my carpet. After chasing kitty around the house with a rag and bowl of baking soda mixed with vinegar I thought it would be helpful to post how I clean my house with out any harsh chemicals.
Basic Cleaning
For a green switch to cleaning all you need is baking soda, vinegar, lemons and essential oils. I buy baking soda and vinegar in ridiculously large packages from Costco. I have a glass bowl and scrub brush designated just for the purpose of cleaning. Into the bowl goes the baking soda, next pour some vinegar and watch the fun volcanic eruption of foam (be warned that this foam will be about twice the height of baking soda). Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar, it will disappear after a few minutes and will not leave your bathroom smelling of a tossed salad. To create a better smell you can add lemon or essential oils to the baking soda. I like tea tree oil because of it’s antiseptic qualities, eucalyptus has a nice fresh smell and lavender smells pretty and calming. That mixture will work for kitchen, bathroom, floors and even laundry (see more on that below). For specific cleaning I do purchase certain products. The very fashionable 60s hot pink tile in my shower loves to hide mildew and in a beach town the battle never, ever, ends! To combat this problem I needed something that was easy to use everyday so I turned to the Method brand's tub and tile cleaner. It is as safe as you can get with out having to break out the scrub brush. If we do a deep clean every few weeks all I have to do is spray down the tile after a shower every few days. A side note, make sure you buy biodegradable sponges so we do not add to landfills in our green cleaning process! There are natural sponges that work just as well as their evil counterparts. Old rags work wonderfully instead of paper towels.
Carpet
I hate carpet! It traps allergens, tracks the outside inside and gives dust mites a place to hide. This sick week the carpet was hated even more, wood or tile would have been easier to clean! Other then a warm floor in the morning when I get out of bed I have no positives to this invention. Sadly, our house is fully carpeted so I had to learn to call a truce. Baking soda and vinegar will also work for carpet stains such as coffee, red wine, oil, grease and kitten throw up. Just scrub the mixture into the carpet and rinse with water, after it dries vacuum a few times over the spot going in different directions. To get rid of carpet smells dust baking soda on the carpet, leave for a few seconds and vacuum. If your carpet is a darker color make sure you wash out the baking soda and vinegar or it may fade your colors. You can use this same combination in your carpet cleaning machines instead of the chemical filled cleaners at the store.
Dishes
For spot-free clean dishes I like Mrs. Myers products. For heavy grease you can use...YEP, baking soda and vinegar! Make sure to skip the lemons or anything with citrus for dishes, it can break down the metal on your silverware. I fill one side of my sink with about two inches of warm water, 1/2 cup of baking soda and a splash of vinegar. The nice part about using vinegar is it makes all of your glass spot free and shiny. The one draw back is dry hands, places like Whole Foods sell eco-friendly washing gloves. I have a pair but almost always forget to put them on. For those of you with dish washers other then your hands there are excellent products from Seventh Generation and please only wash full loads!
Resources
For more information on cleaning green for a happy baby home check out my favorites, no new mom should be with out these books!
Green Babies, Sage Moms by Linda Fassa
Ecoholic by Adria Vasil
Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan

Friday, May 6, 2011

These cookies will rock your world!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
For the last several years Mother’s day has brought only tears of sadness to my household. I have mentioned before that we are waiting for our adopted baby to come home but many of you may not know that we tried for years to get pregnant first and the adoption process has been years long with birthparents choosing us and then keeping the baby in the end. To cope I usually declare the weekend of Mother’s Day a stay-at-home, PJ’s only zone with funny movies and comfort food. Today after work began the first day of the adventure and I made my amazing cookies as a “baby band-aid”. 
There are a few tricks I use to create the best cookie you have ever had. One of my secrets is mixing flours and sugars the other is having a recipe that is heavy on the flour and light on the butter. My cookies are all about the preparation, make sure you follow how to handle the dough. Here is my recipe, I hope you make them at home and enjoy! (if you do please comment and let me know what you think)
Preheat oven to 345 degrees 
Begin with the the sugars in a bowl
3/4 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
Mix
1 stick of butter slightly softened and cubed into the sugars
Use a pastry fork or whisk to combine
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
Combine
1 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of oat flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 bag of chocolate chips 
Combine first with pastry fork then with your hands. The dough should be tiny pebbles and not smooth. Form dough into balls with your hands, flatten the ball slightly and place on a cool baking sheet. Place in the middle of the oven, only one sheet at a time! Bake for 10 minutes only, they will appear slightly doughy and not brown but that is how they should look. If you bake until they are brown you will have cookie candy! 
Don’t forget to enter my current giveaway and to stop by my Etsy store for an awesome Spring Sale!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Microwaves and the Dirty Truth

A years ago as a young bride I was heating a seed filled “boo boo” pad in the microwave and it had a small explosion. Needless to say after that the unit was toast and the tiny apartment we were currently living in had an odd smell for a few days. At this point I was not very “green” and my motivation for not replacing the microwave was monetary...just not worth it! Fast forward a few years and I have been transformed to a green guru. Now my reasons for a microwave free kitchen are more grounded in fact. So here is the deal on microwaves,
The food molecules are transformed
Heating from the inside out. My favorite example is the burrito. The middle heats up faster then the outside so to the touch it appears to be uncooked and in need of more time. Then you bite into the beast and the middle is boiling lava hot, ouch! This process was enough for me to stay away from the unit but then I found that the process of microwaving food causes certain carcinogens. It shifts around the molecules causing the food to become unrecongizable by your body and / or toxic. In fact, in 1976 the Soviet Union banned the use of microwave ovens! (healthscience.com)
Not good for baby
Mothers are told in parenting classes, by seasoned mommies and by breastfeeding literature that breastmilk cannot be heated in the microwave. Have you ever wondered why? Why would it be okay for me to heat cows milk and drink it but I shouldn’t heat up human milk? It is because the process destroys important properties of the milk. On top of that it is recommended that formula should also not be microwaved,
“Microwaving baby formulas converted certain trans-amino acids into their synthetic cis-isomers. Synthetic isomers, whether cis-amino acids or trans-fatty acids, are not biologically active. Further, one of the amino acids, L-proline, was converted to its d-isomer, which is known to be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system) and nephrotoxic (poisonous to the kidneys). It's bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving." - Dr. Lita Lee of Hawaii
It changes your blood
This is truly creepy, here is what happened. “In 1991, there was a lawsuit in Oklahoma concerning the hospital use of a microwave oven to warm blood needed in a transfusion. The case involved a hip surgery patient, Norma Levitt, who died from a simple blood transfusion. It seems the nurse had warmed the blood in a microwave oven. This tragedy makes it very apparent that there's much more to "heating" with microwaves than we've been led to believe. Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed, but not in microwave ovens. In the case of Mrs. Levitt, the microwaving altered the blood and it killed her.” - Robert O. Becker's The Body Electric, and in Ellen Sugarman's book, Warning, the Electricity Around You May Be Hazardous to Your Health.

What’s a Green Guru To Do?
Get rid of the microwave! I have happily lived with out one for about 5 years. Yes, it does take a little longer to cook foods but if you have a working oven, a nice toaster and several pots then you will learn quickly how to deal. I have found that food just plain tastes better when it is heated in the conventional oven. So here is the dirty truth about that magical heating box in your kitchen, do with it what you may.

Resources
http://www.health-science.com/microwave_hazards.html
Robert O. Becker's The Body Electric, and in Ellen Sugarman's book, Warning, the Electricity Around You May Be Hazardous to Your Health.

Make sure to check out my 1st ever Spring Sale in my Etsy store on hankies and baby items. Also come on over and enter my latest organic giveaway!