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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Good Raw Milk News

Hopefully you’ve all noticed the none-too-publicised admission by the powers that be that raw milk is, get this, a safe and healthy food! (If not: Raw Milk is a Safe and Low Risk Food info at Weston A. Price Foundation has all the particulars)

So if you live in a state where your access to raw milk is legally limited – it’s time for action! Call your state legislators and tell them to get things changed!

Anyone who would like to see raw milk available in Mississippi, here’s the point of contact:

I emailed our governor and my state representatives, and one response I received was this:

“Good stuff Tiffany! I suggest you contact Jameson Taylor of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, as he’s shown an interest in this topic. His email address is below. I hope your contact will get this ball rolling!”


The adorable photo is not mine, but was featured at HealthyVibrantHappy (a website with which I’m not otherwise familiar) in a terrific post, The War against Raw Milk… Really.


Better Biking

In January, as promised, we bought the kids both brand new bikes. Hooray for the “selling off the excess Christmas inventory” pricing!

They both “graduated” to a pedal bike. “From what?” you ask?

Their prior bikes were modified by Papa (removing the pedals and chain) to create what is commonly called a Strider Bike or Balance Bike. The commercial version comes in a range of designs, but here are a couple of examples:

Although Jewel was 5 (and R.T. 2), neither of them had had a lot of exposure to cycling, and both were struggling. After reading about the balance bikes, we decided to ditch the training wheels approach for good.

With the balance bike, the child learns to balance on the seat, steer the bike, lean into turns, and so on. Many things that they actually learn to do incorrectly with training wheels! Since they didn’t get much chance to ride until recently, our kids had their balance bikes for about two years.

With a little instruction about getting started, Jewel literally got on her bike and took off! Wow!!

R.T. took a few more laps of “hand-holding”, since he was more unsure of himself. For two days (short periods each day) he fumbled along, but after that he was whizzing along with no worries.

Quite a different story from the drama I remember when I had to learn to ride without my training wheels!

I can now recommend without hesitation the balance bike method of teaching a child to ride a bicycle. And with a free or cheap second-hand bike and a few simple modifications, you don’t even have to spend the money on a fancy commercial version.

P.S. Jewel now owns a couple of split skirts for bike riding, to allow her more freedom of movement (and safety) while staying modestly covered even if the wind comes up! More that just culottes, these are more inspired by the women of the Wild West. But these deserve a post of their own, so stay tuned!


A New School Year

I know that most of you probably read the title, then checked the date to see if somehow a post from August or September had been somehow bumped to the top of the blog. Or perhaps it’s a typo in a post that is simply about “The New Year”.

Nope, it’s true.

January marks the beginning of this school year for us. The one that should have started last September.

We began Jewel’s First Grade year on schedule in September 2011… and things skidded rapidly off-course. That Fall I had bronchitis. In the Winter, both Littles, Nick, and I all struggled with antibiotic-resistant strep, and were too ill to do much schooling for weeks and weeks and weeks. We fought against our toxic house the whole year, and moved on short notice in July.

But above and beyond all that, what held us up most was the Jewel simply wasn’t “getting” reading. We considered her in First Grade, but her Language Arts / Reading program was Kindergarten level. And it was a seemingly impossible struggle for a full year. (At no point did we feel that the curriculum was a bad fit – still adore our Sonlight!)

Philosophically, we firmly believe that a child will read when he or she is ready, and that’s okay. Not reading at age six and seven is still within the realm of “normal.” I confess that I did begin to wonder if there was something more I could do to help her, beginning around the time we should have been starting Second Grade, and even started down the path of having her tested. Nick had learned to read entirely without my assistance, and before he entered Kindergarten – I was just somewhat at a loss with this radically different experience, and I was afraid I was missing something.

I didn’t push it very hard, though, and of course by going through the public schools I had inadvertently assured that things would not move quickly.

Before we got as far as any meaningful testing, Jewel suddenly began to have flashes of insight. Some things finally just “clicked,” and we finally polished off the school year in December. (Full disclosure: We had done everything but one read-aloud and a few activities before our Disney and Christmas break, and checked off those last couple of items this first week of January).

Does she read, really? No. Not in any meaningful way… Yet! But things are moving forward now, and I can confidently say “yet” and believe that the fulfillment is coming.

Once more, I learn to slow down and trust.

Trust in God’s plan.
Trust in Mama’s intuition.
Trust in my children.


Advent for Kids (and a Freebie!)

We are so excited to be doing an Advent devotional again this year!

Last year I purchased the inexpensive eBook Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands after reading a friend’s recommendation on Facebook.

The book has an easily broken-down shopping list of supplies – most of which are things you’re likely to have around the house anyway (or you can easily substitute for such things).

Each day has a Scripture reading, tagged to a “clue” that the kids find in their Advent Calendar (several options for how to do that).

Then there’s a fun craft project for the kids to do, along with some other discussion ideas for you to use (or not, or as you see fit).

The projects are set up to be done as a series of Christmas Tree ornaments, but for a variety of reasons, we decided not to go that route.

I basically “flattened” everything, and mounted each artwork on a sheet of paper. Then each of the kids is assembled their projects into an Advent Book (in a 3-ring binder, to give it some protection), with the idea that it can be stored away in their memory box, or enjoyed again next year, or whatever other use we can think up!

The photo is the Littles at work on Day 1 – a candle, for Jesus, the Light of the World.

We got behind and didn’t finish our books last year, so we’re looking forward to picking up where we left off.

If you’d like a copy, the book is only $7.99. And this year she’s also created a set of printable ornaments, available for $3.99.

Use these on days you’re too busy to do a big craft, for toddlers, while you’re at Grandma’s or if you just want to save a little money on supplies!

And there’s even a Black Friday Sale!

Purchase the book ( CLICK HERE ) on Friday, November 23rd, and you will receive the ornaments as a FREE BONUS!

If you take advantage of that, note the following guidelines:
1. You not have to add the ornaments to your shopping cart. If they do, you will pay for them, and there will be no refunds.
2. Within the initial “thank you” email you will receive a link to the free printable ornaments.
3. Coupon codes will be disabled on this day only. They will be reinstated bright and early Friday morn’. {eastern time}
4. Detailed instructions can be found on the book sales page ( HERE ).

The book and ornaments are, of course, available all the time, but the special sale is one day only.

I’d like to think we’ll finish this up this year… But with a trip to Disney, and our out-of-state family coming to visit, it may keep dragging on until 2013!

I received some of referenced items for review purposes, and may earn commission for purchases made through my links (thank you!). I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.


Nerni – Book(s) Review and Giveaway

I wanted to share with you about an adorable little book that I won in a giveaway from Father Geek (read his review here) – Nerni Invents Clock.

Nerni the gnome loves to invent things, but when she invents an intelligent clock, things don’t go according to plan! Nerni Invents Clock is a picture book designed to be read to 0-4 year olds.

Or, of course, for slightly older kids to read themselves!

The language is simple, and repetitive in a pleasant way. The artwork is likewise very simple and uncluttered. The story is very creative, and the characters are cute. It’s just plain fun and appealing.

My kids really enjoyed the story of Nerni and her clock, and there is much imaginary gnome play after each time it’s read.

You can pick up a copy for your little gnomes on Amazon:

And now Todd Edwards has a new book out for Nerni fans – Nerni’s Ingenious Inventions!

This is a bit longer book, with four separate Nerni tales:

Mice Trouble
Cold Tea
Flying Goblin, and
Og’s New Roaster

It is intended for a slightly older audience, with the author suggesting reading it to your 2-5 year old.

As adults, we found these stories to be pleasant enough, if not quite as engaging as the original. The language and artwork were the same delightful style at the first book, making it fun to read.

The kids were delighted, and the alliterative phrase “Gnome named Nerni” (which is repeated in each story) must have been chanted a thousand times…

Now one of our lucky As For My House readers will win an autographed copy of Nerni’s Ingenious Inventions, and another will win an autographed copy of Nerni Invents Clock, directly from the author!

I received a copy of one book for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. Todd Edwards is providing the prizes for this giveaway, shipped directly to the winners.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Making Babies Cheaper

Okay, I admit it, the title is a contrived way to try and be cute while telling you about this fabulous offer.

I recently received a letter from the Bulk Herb Store folks, in reference to my Holy Week reviews of the Making Babies Book and the Making Babies DVD Series.

They had this to say:

On behalf of the Bulk Herb Store, I would like to thank you for helping us reach the world with the good news of natural health and wellness with herbs. One of the most moving ways that we have been able to encourage others in their journey toward health, has been with our Making Babies Series. What better way of equipping families to give their precious new babies the best start in life?

As a token of our appreciation for your review of the Making Babies Series, Bulk Herb Store would like to offer your readers a SPECIAL 40% OFF of the Making Babies Book & DVD Series. That is a huge savings of $44 dollars for you and your readers! Have a fantastic day and happy blogging!


So you, my lucky friends, can head on over to the Bulk Herb Store and decide if you want the book, the DVDs, or the complete set.

Just enter the code MBBFMH at checkout for your 40% discount! And hurry – this is good for one week only, until July 16th.


How Long to Nurse Him?

When I had my first child, I knew I would breastfeed. My mom had nursed my sister and I, and she encouraged me to attend La Leche League meetings and get informed.

I figured I’d go at least to the two years that is the current AAP recommendation. By the time he turned two, though, and then three, it all just seemed natural, and cutting him off arbitrarily seemed cruel and unnecessary.

My second nursed past three as well.

Then came my “baby”, the last for us (at least biologically) unless the Lord has some strange designs for the future.

I treasure this photo: R.T. nursing at the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche – in front of the statue of Mary nursing the baby Jesus.

He nursed past four. The longest-nursing of my kiddos. I would have thought four was “too old to nurse” even not that long ago. But walking through it daily, with our life, and his concerns, it still seemed right and natural.

For most of the past year he has declared from time to time, “I’m weaned!” and it was a topic that was discussed as part of growing up. But he just wasn’t ready to give up that reassurance when he was going to bed at night (typically the only time he nursed, by that point).

Then one night he was so tired he fell asleep without nursing. With one thing and another, it happened again. And, at 50 months old, he quietly but officially passed out of that stage of his life.

In some ways, I was more than ready for this. It makes bedtime duties easier to share, and gives me the freedom for the occasional “Moms Night Out” with my homeschool friends.

[Male readers may skip this paragraph] Not to mention the freedom that I now have to find better-fitting, and perhaps even (gasp) attractive undergarments!

But it is a bittersweet moment.

I enjoyed the special bond and relationship with all my children that nursing creates.

Weaning marks in a concrete way that they are growing up. Taking one more step towards the day when they will be adults, and off on their own. Desirable, of course, but sad as well that we “lose” the babies and children that they were(are). Maybe having my oldest graduating and preparing to move forward with his life has brought that home to me even more clearly right now.

Additionally, I think R.T. being my last “baby” makes it even more of a “finish” for me. Jewel’s weaning was the end of her babyhood, but not the end of that phase of my life, since she has a younger brother.

This time the baby and I are both closing a chapter.


Easter Activities – Recap and Evaluation

I had big plans for Easter activities with the kids.

But the Easter activities didn’t seem to be on board with my plans.

We got a bit of a late start trying to grow grass on our Easter Garden after seeing the idea posted on Facebook (I apologize – I have no idea who to credit with the idea and the lovely garden pictured here).

First we discovered that Lowe’s didn’t really have a terra cotta pot small enough. Since we were already behind, we got the smallest one they had. [We have since learned that Michael’s has adorable small sized pots for craft use].

We had trouble with the steep slope this created for our hill, but we soldiered on. Jewel and R.T. dutifully took turns watering the seeds with a spray bottle.

The grass was JUST beginning to sprout by Easter. Not ideal, but, it worked…

On “Easter Eve,” we made Easter Story Cookies.

The kids had fun making them, and we enjoyed reading the Easter story to them along the way.

The first batch, I realized I was in trouble when I got to the final step that said “add the nuts” … since I had put the nuts into the bowl after breaking them up in the first step!

Yes, I know I should have read through more thoroughly first, but it was the best I could do with a migraine.

So we put them in the oven and sent the kids to bed.

Then Wolf and I set about re-making them. (Yeah, we were going to “cheat” and stick them in the oven and not tell the kids!)

We beat and beat and beat, but they never fluffed. We read some other meringue recipes to try and figure out what the problem might have been.

Throwing them out, we made another whole batch with a couple of tweaks. We burned out the cheap hand mixer I’d just picked up (I should have known better). Then we burned out my stick blender! Ack! And still, no fluff.

We did put them in the oven, but with no hope of success.

The kids were surprised to see that they had “baked” overnight, but there was no miraculous “cracked open” or “empty (hollow) tomb”.

And I don’t even know what to do differently next year!

The only up side?

We couldn’t find a rock big enough to cover the overly-large tomb opening in our Easter Garden… But one of our Easter Story cookie-patties worked as an excellent stand-in!

Some good lessons learned for next year, and one mystery unsolved.

Good thing Easter isn’t about my homemaking endeavors!


Seven Years Ago…

Seven years ago today… was a LOOONG day!

We had planned a home birth, and things progressed rapidly in the morning. But just before we expected her to come any minute, progress stopped (but the painful contractions didn’t).

After trying everything known to, well, woman, our midwife transferred us to the hospital (a 30+ minute drive). Thank God that her backup doc was the one on the floor, so we were not immediately confronted with a C-section battle.

People may see me as “opposed to medical intervention in birth,” but what I am opposed to is “UNNECESSARY medical intervention.” Medical intervention saved one or both of us from a very bad outcome seven years ago, and allowed me to give birth to my beautiful daughter, Jewel.

Her grandma (my mom) caught her, we nursed right away, and a few hours later we were home with our whole family cuddled up in bed.

  • Thank you, Lord, for the medical knowledge and help that was there when we desperately needed it.
  • Thank you for my husband, Wolf, an amazing partner and father.
  • And thank you for Jewel, who is a blessing beyond measure…

Happy 7th Birthday, Jewel!


Review and Giveaway: Making Babies Book

Follow along from conception to birth and beyond in this delightful book (and companion DVD series) from Shoshanna (Pearl) Easling of the Bulk Herb Store. (Don’t miss yesterday’s review and giveaway of the DVDs!)

It’s the FIFTH and FINAL DAY of the As For My House Holy Week Giveaway Bonanza!

So you say a bunch of blog giveaways aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “holy” or “Easter”?

Me, either. But I wanted to share my joy with you at this blessed time of year, and share gifts in honor of the Greatest Gift of All that Christ gave us.

There are five giveaways, each lasting for a week, leading up to Easter Sunday.

Like the DVD Series, this book is AMAZING

The book is GORGEOUS! It would make a fabulous coffee-table book, just to flip through and look at the gorgeous pictures of food, herbs, and kids.

The book is HUGE! More healthy recipes than your average cookbook (including a good number of gluten free and casein free options), more herbal concoctions than your average herbal book, more pregnancy information and exercises than your average pregnancy book… Just, WOW!

Look at all this stuff:

  • The first three section of the book are direct companions to the DVD Series – containing the recipes, exercises, and herbal goodies mentioned in each section.
  • My Pregnancy Cookbook – a bunch more recipes!
  • Did You Know? – basically an FAQ section with at-a-glance information on everything from “tips for morning sickness” to “mercury in fish”
  • Grandma’s Remedies – everything from soothing tea, to toothpaste, to treatment for diaper rash
  • Baby Diary – a journal framework for you to records the details of your pregnancy journey
  • Resources, Glossary, and Index

For my regular readers, I will comment that while I had no problem with yoga pants for exercise segments [since you are presumably at home alone (or with your husband) while doing these moves], I was disappointed to see her wearing pants about as often as skirts in the rest of the photos, as well.

There is one thing (as in the DVDs) that I found, frankly, both disturbing and entirely out of place: Shoshanna recommends circumcising your baby boy. Not only does this seem quite contradictory to the expressed views of “natural”, “simplistic” and “organic”, and the implied view that God knew what He was doing when He created us — it also flies in the face of current medical research, and even practice.

The 2009 national circumcision rate was just 32.5%, and less than 25% in some states — a far cry from the 55% – 65% she claims in the book. A concise collection of the basic facts and figures (including debunking the myth, which Shoshanna’s second-hand experience of eveidently led to her decision, that circumcision is “cleaner”) – can be found at the Circumcision Resource Center.

Although I find that quite a serious issue, it is still only one item out of literally hundreds. Let us not lose sight of the big, wonderful, picture.

You can purchase your own Making Babies Book directly from the Bulk Herb Store. Or, as of this writing, has it for the same price, with Free Super Saver Shipping!

And one lucky As For My House reader is going to win a copy!

Enter with the RaffleCoptor form below to win a Making Babies Book!

I received a copy of the book for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review. This review has not been approved or edited by anyone. Bulk Herb Store is providing the prize for this giveaway, shipped directly to the winner.
I was “disclosing” before it was cool. See my Review Policy for the full scoop.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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