Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Love Giveaways

Despite the fact that I have yet to ever win anything from an online giveaway, it never stops me from trying.

Here is one worth looking into and plus if you have not checked out "The Nurished Life" now is the perfect time to.


Friday, November 5, 2010

What a Waste!!!

So, I finally convinced Perry that we were going to start buying raw milk. Well, not really because he only agreed to this if I promised not to give it to the kids in anything that hasn't been cooked. This I find really funny considering he grew up on a dairy farm and consumed raw milk every day of his life. Oh well, I agreed to this, for now.

First, let me say that beyond the health benefits of consuming raw milk, there really is a world of difference! Wednesday night I scooped the cream off of the top and put it in a separate container to use for making alfredo sauce and some other stuff. Holy cow (no pun intended) today I made scrambled eggs for lunch with fresh organic eggs and the raw cream. I was blown away by the taste! I am not the biggest fan of eggs but I eat them for protein and normally I have to drench them in cheese to get them down. I could not get over just the aroma that came from my pan as they were cooking, it was so sweet and buttery compared to when I make them with conventional milk. Then I took a little bite before I threw my shredded cheese over top and I could not believe it. These were the best tasting eggs, EVER!!!!!! I put the cheese right back into the fridge and ate my yummy eggs with just a dash of salt and pepper.

So that part of my day was great, now for the really sucky part.

First thing after I dropped Zola and Ajay off at school I rushed back to the house to start making yogurt from my "new" milk. I came down to the computer to see if there was anything different that I needed to be aware of. I have been making really yummy yogurt from my pasturized milk so I was sure that I wouldn't have a problem. The only difference that I read was that the raw yogurt may be a little runnier. Fine, no problem, I was probably just going to make half of it into yochee anyway so the runniness would be strained off.

Wrong!!! First of all my yogurt was not just runny, it was down right snotty and gross. I am not sure where I went wrong but I had chunks of yogurt floating around in LOTS of whey, yuck. So, I thought I could totally save this and strain it. Wrong again!!! After it had been straining over night I woke up to a gritty ball of nastiness that I am half afraid to eat.

It is hilarious that I feel almost as bad about throwing this milk out as I would throwing out my breastmilk. If anyone has any suggestions, please tell me. I am dying to try raw yogurt and hoping to move on to raw kefir.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hey, it's all in the name of God.

I was seriously disturbed yesterday by something I witnessed on facebook and even more disturbed that I wasted 5 minutes of my life that I will never get back reading this crap. Someone posted a comment to start a "debate" when in fact there was no debate. I personally believe that someone was bored and was looking to stir things up a bit. The comments that were posted after were truly disgusting and it saddens me that people even took part in this. They were bashing each other and calling each other names, but apparently it was ok because it was all in the name of God.
Wow, this "Christian way" really amazes me. I can't wrap my head around how people think that their God is ok with them being so hateful towards people, judging them for their choices and having no forgiveness in their hearts. You know who you are, you are the people that speed around me on the street and then give me the finger because apparently I was holding you up from getting to your church group. By the way, nice "What Would Jesus Do?" bumper sticker!

I think I need to find this bumper sticker for my van.

It just really saddens me that people think that treating others like this is ok because they feel they are doing it for their God. This is one reason that I feel fine with my choice to raise my children outside of the church. We occasionally attend the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in town, but that is mainly because I feel that it is important to have a sense of community. My kids are great people that do not judge others or ever try to intentionally hurt people. They aren't like this because they fear God, they have turned out amazing because I strive to raise awesome human beings that respect all living things. I recently read the book "Good Without God" by Greg Epstein that really helped me to feel even more secure in my choices, it really is worth checking out.

I totally respect people for the faith that they have and wanting to pass that faith onto their children, my problem lies when people start to think that they are God and that they have the right to judge others who may be in a situation that they have no understanding of.

"Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why Felted Wool Sweaters Rock!!!!

I am in love with felting wool sweaters to make awesome new creations!! I love the naturalness of wool items and being able to sew instead of knit gives this very impatient mama the instant gratification I crave.

I just wanted to share some of my recent creations...

Kindle Cover

Diaper Cover

Skirted Diaper Cover

Hat (made from the turtle neck of the same sweater I made the skirt)

Felting your old wool sweaters is so easy, basically you just throw the sweater into the washing machine with a little soap and hot water and then run it through the dryer (ok, so there is a little bit more to it than that). The biggest tip I can give (trust me I learned from experience) is to put your sweater into a mesh laundry bag, otherwise you wind up with balls of wool all through your machine. I can't imagine that this is great for the machine.

The greatest thing is that now you are able to cut it apart without it falling apart making it very easy to sew into any project your heart desires. After I had already make the kids lunch bags for their bento boxes the thought hit me to make them from felted sweaters! Lanolize and keep any moisture from leaking into their back packs. Oh well, they will have the same lunch boxes next year. I have been toying with the idea of making reusable snack bags from felted wool shirts too. I would really like to stay away from using PUL for their food carrying bags. I don't mind using it in diapers, but food is a completely different thing. I'll have to play around with this idea and update.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not as Yummy, but Healthier!!!

Homemade "Doritos"

Ok, so they don't taste exactly like a Dorito (though I want to make these again when I have some Wildtree taco seasoning) they are still very yummy.

Corn Tortillas (organic)
Grape Seed Oil
Seasoning and Salt
(I had Cajun and Fajita on hand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil both sides of the tortilla, stack all of them and cut with a pizza cutter. Arrange in a single layer on your baking sheet and season. Bake for about 9 minutes or until a nice golden brown. Enjoy!!!

I have made these before, but I had only salted them. Having these healthy seasonings in my cupboard has opened a brand new door to my homemade chips. The next time I make these I think that a garlic blend could be really yummy.

So, maybe I really bit the big one when it came to selling Wildtree, but maybe I could get a job in their test kitchen.

I have been trying to make more and more of our food from scratch and my reasons were certainly validated at our recent Holistic Moms Network meeting! This was the first time that I had heard about Morgellons Disease and it's link to GMO's. It really is frightening and I don't understand why we aren't standing up as a nation and fighting for our food!!!! Here is a great site and source for foods to avoid and foods that are safe.

Now, I am off to the store to buy a GM free baking powder, ugh.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Yes, I changed it again.

Why do I feel like I am constantly struggling to maintain my identity? Sometimes I feel like I have these labels on me and there is nothing I can do to shake them.

Yes, I may be into living a holistic lifestyle and yes I am very out spoken when it comes to breastfeeding, parenting, wearing your baby and many other things. But guess what, that is about a fraction of who I am and I am tired of stuffing it deep down and trying to always act like I have got it all together. Holy crap, I am about to be 33 I think it is time that I start letting it all out.

Still the same stuff, but more and without the labels. I am who I am and that's all that I want to be.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It is going to be a long week.

So, I have my mom in town for the week and I am thrilled. It is great to have her here but I am saddened by a comment that she made on her first day. This morning after breakfast Taj looked at me and said "nee nee please" and my mom looked at me and asked what that meant. I told her that he was asking to nurse to which she replied "Don't you think it is about time you knock that off? He is almost 3." I told her that it has been shown that a child will naturally wean between the ages of 3 and 4 and that I wasn't comfortable with forcing him to wean before he was ready. Her reply was "Well, maybe but come on we aren't living in a 3rd world country." I quickly ended the conversation with a "Well, he doesn't really nurse that much any more any way." This his hilarious because my almost 3 year old nurses more often than my 1 year old does. He practically nursed through an entire play date the other day.

So after this very brief conversation I have felt really uncomfortable nursing him around her and so I feel like I have been brushing his needs aside all day. At one point when he asked to "nee nee" I told him that we would nurse later and he throw himself on the ground crying. So, we didn't nurse before we went off to my older two's soccer games and at one point he was begging and trying to pull my breasts out of my shirt right there on the side lines. We had a quick talk about being patient and I promised that he would nurse before nap. So after we got home him and I went upstairs to nurse and the poor child seemed so frantic, like I better take what I can get now because I don't know when I will be able to do this again.

It was a long evening and can I say uncomfortable one. When you have two kids nursing on a daily basis and then all of a sudden just one, hello very full breasts! Finally it was time for bed and the poor child nursed for almost an hour. I can not go another 9 days like this, I need to figure out what to say to her and also how to not push aside Taj's needs because I am not feeling comfortable in a situation. He is only 2 1/2 and this is not his problem, he just wants to know why all of a sudden I am not allowing him to "nee nee" whenever he would like to.

Any good words of advice would be really appreciated right now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Montessori Dreams

This evening I went into my kids school for an annual parents night, this is where the teachers explain what is going on around the class room for new and returning parents of Montessori kids. Can I just say how much I love being in my kids classroom...All of the natural wood, colors and I love the minimalist look in a room that is so organized. I strive for my house to look like this after the great de-clutter project.

Every time I enter their classroom I leave praying that Perry will win the lottery so that I can have all of these awesome learning materials. Looking around, I do not understand why mainstream classrooms aren't using some of these tools as well. I think that I might have done so much better in math if maybe I had been given the opportunity to have a hands on experience of like this. Maybe I would have a better grasp of measurements if I had had a Cuisenaire Rods set.

Oh well, I do what I can. I search yard sales and every birthday and every other gift giving holiday I am asking the Grandparents for Montessori learning tools and soon I am even going to attempt to make my own. I found this great link for making my own sandpaper alphabet here and I can't wait to get started on this for Taj's 3rd birthday present. For Christmas I decided that the kids get one thing bought and one item that I made. Zola has already asked for a ring sling for her American Girl doll, but I am thinking that Ajay will be receiving a moveable alphabet that I am going to attempt to make. Luckily I have my moms husband that can make the box with all of the squares to put the letters in.

Actually, I am very excited about the changes I am making around our home. We are gathering small amounts of Montessori tools and I am also trying to incorporate more Waldorf concepts as well. This weekend the kids and I will be decorating gnomes for Peylyn's birthday doll house. I can't wait to show you how these turn out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Little Reminder...

I love sitting and watching a spider in action, especially one that is working so hard to clear the Box Elder bugs off of my house (we get hundreds swarming the front of our home on warm days). Sitting and enjoying the beauty of a spiders existence is what keeps me from squishing them when they come into my home. OK, well at least the non-poisonous ones...sorry, if I came face to face with a Black Widow or a Brown Recluse in my home that sucker is fair game!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


So I had this insane idea the other day that I was going to go through the entire house and either donate or toss every item that we do not need. I have been going through every closet, drawer, cabinet and any other place that items have been shoved for the past 2 years that we have been in this house. Some how this plan has left my house in more of a mess than when I began. I am feeling like there is no end in sight and about ready to throw in the towel.

I have to keep telling myself how much better a clutter free home is going to be for the family. I think that with 6 people there really is no choice but to live in a clutter free and very organized home. I am so tired of digging for things that the kids can't find, searching for hours for a particular paper that has to go to school the next morning and trying to find that stupid other shoe.

In the great "Clutter Free Meinnert House" project, my biggest thing was to go through our mountain of toys. For the last year I have been really trying to make our toys more about quality rather than quantity. So this time around I have really been clearing out the plastic and battery operated toys and only leaving behind the quiet and natural ones. Over the last few days I have really been seeing my kids play more kindly with each other! I love it they are coming up with awesome games and really using their imaginations to create fun from the toys that have been allowed to stay. This was made even more clear when I opened a bin of toys last night and I found their V-Smile. They asked if they could play it so I hooked it up, even with 2 controllers and 2 kids they immediately started arguing over the game. After 3 times of trying to work it out between them and nothing was helping I walked over to the tv and disconnected the video game. I think this is another toy that will find itself on CraigsList.

Since they were so agreeable about purging the toys they had a great treat today. We went to the library and they were allowed to each check out a toy from the "toy library" that I just discovered. How awesome is that, now we can rotate toys around but I don't have to worry about storing them because they just go back to the library in 4 weeks! This toy library is awesome, it is full of wooden trucks, cars, puzzles, ride on toys and so much more!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Cleaning

Now that I have a few frozen tundra winters under my belt, once the weather turns cool I realize how very shortly we are going to be cooped up for a LONG Wisconsin winter. Once this sets in I open my eyes to the disaster that my basement has become from just shutting the door and putting off cleaning it because we had a sunny day to enjoy.

Today I just couldn't take the mess any longer so I sat Taj and Peylyn down with a shape sorting game and got to work. I have pretty much cleaned out the last of the few lingering battery operated toys. Not only was I tired of going broke from replacing the batteries, but as I look at these things you realize just how they rob a child of using their imagination. What fun is it to shake a car and watch it go around a plastic track when you can make your own track from blocks or something else and push a car where ever it is you want it to go. I always feel so proud when my kids get some fancy, shiny and loud toy and all they want to do is play with the box.

I am no where near done, I still need to set up an art table for Zola and Ajay, pick through last years art work to hang on the walls cheer the place up and try to figure out the best way to sort the stuff we still have so that it always gets put back in its place. Hopefully now with the older two in Montessori this year they will both really carry the rules of organization in the classroom back home as well. A girl can dream right?

Awesome folding plant stand I bought at a rummage sale. I felt it was too great to sit around all winter waiting for plants and my kitchen is too small to use it indoors for my soon to be herb garden.

Cabinet filled with crocheted food and dishes, I plan to add burners and a sink some time this winter.

Talk about an awesome rummage sale find, how about the Haba pram that my dad picked up for $30! The kids play non stop with the pram, grocery cart and cradle that was made for me when I was little. No plastic toy would hold up this well outside of the landfill!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I will never shop at another yarn store!

I was beyond proud as I finished my very first large knitting project, the babywearing poncho picture here. Before this it was all wash cloths, blankets, simple hats and 2 knit lightsabers for Ajay and his friend. So, filled with my knitting confidence I went to Iris (a local yarn store) to search for a pattern for a friend so that I could start on a new knitting adventure.

First of all, God bless the woman that owns it for never batting an eye lash when I walk in there with my large crew of 4 kids. I tend to shy away from stores like this with my kids after we were treated pretty nasty once at another yarn shop. My kids were even on their best behavior that day, she is just anti child. Anyway, we walk in and I tell her what I am after and she leads us to where we need to find it.

As she is answering my questions, she is not only acknowledging that my children are talking to her but is completely engaging in a conversation with them. The kids were interested in the store because it used to be house. She was telling them all about how people used to live in the back and have a store in the front, took them around showing them the kitchen and bathroom. Even naming the body parts on Taj's Triceratops as Taj was pointing them out to her. Plus, on top of all of this she is so patiently explaining to me how this sweater will knit up.

We have had many occasions where we go into a store or other place of business and feel like people just want to rush me and all of my kids out of there. All that really accomplishes is making me feel like I never want to walk back into those places.

I walked out of the store and called my mom (who also loves to shop there when she is in town) and told her that we will only be shopping at this store for now on.

It is funny that we all start out as children yet so many people just don't seem to have the patience to deal with them as they get older. Thank goodness for the special people out there that take the time to not only see and hear our children but who also take the time to teach as well.

This world needs a lot more people like the kind women at Iris.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What should a 4 year old know?

A fellow Holistic Moms Network mom posted this on facebook yesterday and I just had to share.

"What should a 4 year old know?
by Alicia Bayer

I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. "What should a 4 year old know?" she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only 3. A few posted URL's to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn't. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn't be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.
  1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
  2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn't feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
  3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
  4. He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he'll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
  5. She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she's wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it's just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that-- way more worthy.

But more important, here's what parents need to know.
  1. That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
  2. That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
  3. That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children "advantages" that we're giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
  4. That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children's toys and they wouldn't be missed, but some things are important-- building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too-- to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it's absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
  5. That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That's not okay! Our children don't need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.

    They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they're a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.

And now back to those 4 year old skills lists.....

I know it's human nature to want to know how our children compare to others and to want to make sure we're doing all we can for them. Here is a list of what children are typically taught or should know by the end of each year of school, starting with preschool:
Since we homeschool, I occasionally print out the lists and check to see if there's anything glaringly absent in what my kids know. So far there hasn't been, but I get ideas sometimes for subjects to think up games about or books to check out from the library. Whether you homeschool or not, the lists can be useful to see what kids typically learn each year and can be reassuring that they really are doing fine.

If there are areas where it seems your child is lacking, realize that it's not an indication of failure for either you or your child. You just haven't happened to cover that. Kids will learn whatever they're exposed to, and the idea that they all need to know these 15 things at this precise age is rather silly. Still, if you want him to have those subjects covered then just work it into life and play with the subject and he'll naturally pick it up. Count to 60 when you're mixing a cake and he'll pick up his numbers. Get fun books from the library about space or the alphabet. Experiment with everything from backyard snow to celery stalks in food coloring. It'll all happen naturally, with much more fun and much less pressure.

My favorite advice about preschoolers is on this site though:

What does a 4 year old need?

Much less than we realize, and much more. "

If you have yet to check out this blog it is a must! I have been spending too much of my free time going through her old posts. She is the mother that I aspire to be!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Am I doing this right?

Oh my goodness, I can't believe that we are almost to the middle of August! Where does the time go? Now that I have school aged kids the end of summer makes me so sad, even more than birthdays. It blows my mind that my oldest is going into 2nd grade.

Every year at the end of summer I feel terrible because my kids have not gone away on some fantastic vacation to Hawaii or Disneyland. I can't help but wonder what my kids will feel about their childhood when they are grown ups. Will they realize how difficult it can be to raise 4 kids on one (not so huge) income? Will they feel cheated that we really weren't able to travel and they wore a lot of second hand clothes. Will they get how material things don't mean anything to me for the chance to stay home with my kids and raise them myself?

The other day all of us went to a park and I was sitting in the grass with Peylyn while the others were running around. A construction worker walked through and asked me how old she was and commented on my completely bald baby and we laughed. Then before he walked away he said "It's great isn't it." I replied with a "What?" "To be able to stay home with your kids" he said. I almost cried after he walked away. It truly is a blessing and one that I know I take for granted sometimes. While it is rough and I get frustrated and worn out, I have a husband that never underestimates the importance of me being with the kids. I do get the occasional grumbling about me driving the kids all the way across town to a Montessori charter school, but other than that he does not complain a lot about trying to support 6 people on his pay check.

I know that we get to do fun things by making vacations out of conventions Perry needs to attend for work, but is that enough? Do the little things that we do together around town count for anything? Will the kids grow up and remember all the times mom took them to the park, all of the playdates and free events that we went to? Heading down to the Farmer's Market on Saturday's even if all we could buy was some yummy popcorn.

I just worry that my need to be with them and do my best to raise some amazing human beings is short changing them due to our lack of money to be able to travel and give them all of the things they deserve. Is this just regular stay at home mom's remorse?

One of our stops on our tag along vacation to Des Moines, Iowa.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank You

So this week we went along with Perry to Des Moines, Iowa where he needed to travel for work and we decided to add a little family time into it for a mini vacation. Because he was there for business I was left alone with the kids for a huge portion of the time. Every time we ventured outside of the hotel room I kept hearing "Are they all yours?" "Boy, you have your hands full!"over and over again. As if I wasn't stressed enough being in a strange town, on my own with four kids did they really think that these comments were helping?

Well, on our last day there I decided I was going to try an Art Museum with the kids. About 2 minutes after we walked in, Taj walked up to a painting and touched it. This sent the woman right over to us telling my two year old that he was not allowed to step off of the carpet. This sent my two year old into instant tears (She was not mean, she was just doing her job and Taj is really sensitive when being corrected). So I grabbed hands and walked right back out the door. We got outside and I took a deep breath and thought, "No, we came all this way and Zola and Ajay really want to do the treasure hunt. Everyone else thinks I am overwhelmed, maybe I am and we should just go back to the hotel."

Instead of listening to all of the negatives in my head and heading straight for the car, I decided to get some fresh air in the rose garden behind the Museum. Let the kids run around and maybe they will be ready for a quiet space after that.

So, after about 30 minutes of running around in the hot sun I decided we were ready to try this again. We walked to the van and got the stroller which Taj willingly crawled up into and Peylyn was in the Ergo. We walked back to the main doors and went in. We went back to the lobby to get the treasure hunt board and start all over again. We had to go past the woman that had sent Taj into tears earlier and he waved and said hello. So at this point I am thinking, ok we can do this. Then an older lady walks up to me and I feel myself stiffen and wait for the inevitable "Gee, do you have your hands full." comment. But it doesn't come...She looks at Peylyn in her Ergo and tells me "Of all of the babies I have seen being carried around next to their moms heart like this, I have only seen one that was crying." I replied with "At her first whimper, I am able to nurse her without even breaking my stride." She hugged my shoulders and told me to keep up the good work. It was all I could do to hold back the tears.

Being a mom is challenging enough, why do people feel the need to point out the obvious? We need more people like this woman telling us what a great job we are doing. Though I will never see her again, I hope that some how she may know how she really turned my day around. It was her praise that not only got me through our trip, but we had an awesome time searching for pieces of art and learning new things.

I even was relaxed enough to let out a loud laugh that rang through the entire place when Zola commented on how small the penis was on a particular sculpture.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New WildTree Rep in Town

Well here we go, I am going to try this one last time. Third time is a charm right? I have tried this "selling" thing before and failed, but I have a good feeling about this one. I joined the ranks of WildTree pushers the yesterday under Rachel. I really felt that I needed to give it a try since I really do feel that it is something that I can stand behind. When Perry comments that I might want to look into it because it has really helped my cooking then I know that this could be something worth looking into.

My order from my party was small, but what I do have (grape seed oil, fajita blend, korma curry and Thai red curry paste) gets used almost every day and I want more. I have found that these spice blends have really helped with my cooking creativity. Trust me, a lot of that is needed when you are cooking for 2 meat eaters, 2 vegetarians and one child on the raw/breastmilk diet (Taj). I am anxious to see where Peylyn winds up with her choices of food once she starts eating.

Today I was really craving some hummus, but my lack of tahini in the house had me thinking that I should make something else with my garbanzo beans. As I was standing there trying to come up with something for lunch I noticed my left over guacamole blend from my tasting. I thought I would give it a try and I wound up with an AWESOME batch of hummus!!!!!

Thomasa's WildTree Hummus:

1 Can Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
4 1/2 tsp WildTree Guacamole Blend
2 Cloves of Garlic
Juice from 1/2 of a Lemon
1 Tbs Grape Seed Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy (you may need to add a little water). Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

This stuff was seriously good and really hit the spot! I sat down at the table with a huge plate of veggies, a ton of hummus and New Moon and enjoyed an incredible lunch!!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fun in the Sun

The kids and I had a great day today. On our way to return a really over due library book, the exit we had to take off of the highway was closed. So I called a friend to give me some detour instructions. I got a little lost and Zola blurts out "Mom you are going south so you have to turn around." She gets a little panicked when she thinks we are lost and starts yelling out directions. I said "No I am heading west and that is where I need to be going." So this started up an entire conversation about the sun and how you can tell your direction or what time of day it is. Ajay, the creator of many things decided that we needed to make a sundial so that he would always know what time it is when he is playing outside.

For once I decided to not say "Sure, we'll do that one day," and instead make today that day.

So after we got back from the library and a new playground, we got to work (well, after Taj and Peylyn were down for their naps). We got on the computer and googled sundials and found some great info and directions on the BBC sight here.

I wanted to make it more sturdy than what they were showing so I pulled out a piece of wood that Zola brought home from summer school last year and we decided that it would be perfect.

We made the markings on the wood with a razor blade and then filled in the lines and marked the numbers with a marker. Then we traced the gnomon onto cardboard and cut it out so that it would be more sturdy. We wrapped it in tape and nailed it to the base.

The only thing that I was lacking for this project was a compass (and sadly that was a pretty important part). But I pulled out my cell phone and got the time and placed our fantastic sundial on the ground so that the shadow was on the right hour. I couldn't have been too far off because it kept pretty good time all afternoon and best of all, my kids were beyond thrilled.

Then, this evening I got to have my own fun in the sun. For a rare treat I was able to go to the movies with a friend and enjoy the movie "Eclipse." Ah yes, it was a good day had by all. I must add that after Twilight I was a total "Team Edward" fan, but New Moon and Eclipse have definitely put me on the "Team Jacob" benches. I don't know if I can stand to wait until November 2011 for the first part of Breaking Dawn to come out! They better get part 2 out before December 2012, otherwise no one will be around to watch it! LOL!!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fun with Flax

I think that this was probably one of the coolest things I have made in a while. Who know that you could make an egg replacer from flax seeds. I do have to say that it does slightly resemble that thing from the movie "Flubber." It does work though, I made banana bread later that day and I think it was probably the tastiest loaf that I have made to date. I think that flax seed egg replacer will be a staple in my baking for now on.

After this cool experiment I decided to try another recipe that called for ground flax seed. The kids and I made a batch of raw cookies. Well, ours were semi raw since I didn't have raw carob chips or agave (I used regular chocolate chips and maple syrup). We mashed all of the ingredients together and rolled them into little balls. They were a little hesitant to try them, but the four of us managed to eat them all up by that evening and they have been asking for more ever since.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Many Paths, One Journey to Health

So, I can not believe that I haven't flipped through this book sooner. The Holistic Moms Network has had a cookbook out for a few years and just recently published a second one. Well, on Wednesday Mary brought both with her to our leaders meeting to help give me some ideas for my topic of "Living Green on a Budget" at the next meeting. So once nap time finally rolled around that afternoon I sat down and flipped through both of the books and all I have to say is WOW!!! I think these books are going to be the most useful of all of my cookbooks (and trust me there are many). First of all they aren't just about one way of cooking, the are almost all inclusive with vegan and vegetarian, raw, macrobiotic and even an awesome section on fermented foods. Not only does this book contain many, many yummy looking recipes (even many that I think my kids would even eat) but there is also an entire section for remedies and other recipes.

Seriously, I had never even thought to make my own Elderberry Syrup. If you have never heard of this, it is a great immune boosting syrup that I give to my entire family religiously through the fall and winter. Well, at about $13 per 4oz. bottle of Sambucol passed out to a family 6 (well, only 5 take it) equals not lasting long and costing A LOT of money. The money that is going to be saved this fall/winter will be great.

Well anyway, I have been watching "Julie & Julia" a lot on one of the movie channels the past few weeks and this has given me an idea...I am going to work my way through the second HMN cookbook "Many Paths, One Journey to Health" and write about how it tasted or worked for my family.

The first item on the list was window cleaner. I was out of my natural brand of cleaner and was just thinking about googling a homemade batch when this book fell into my hands.

The ingredients are water, vinegar and a drop of dish soap (or Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap), I mixed it up in a spray bottle (I just rinsed out the empty one I had from the natural brand) and went about spraying the windows. This window cleaner gets an A+ in my book!!!! I sprayed and wiped down the windows with a micro fiber cloth and my windows have never been cleaner. I have sliding glass doors by my kitchen table that seem to always have toddler hand prints all over them. This stuff cut right through those nasty prints and left my windows clearer than ever. They might have even been perfectly crystal clear if I had some old crumpled news paper to wipe them with, but oh well we do not get one.

All I can say is that "window cleaner" will never be on my grocery list ever again.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Please Stop Comparing

Yes, my little 8 month old Peylyn looks like she is starving, right. What is it about people comparing the weight of babies? I am so sick of hearing how much some ones baby weighs!!!

Seriously, this makes no sense to me since we don't sit around as adults comparing our weights. What is it that has people thinking that "bigger is better" when it comes to babies?

I was at a picnic over the weekend and people were asking me how much Peylyn weighs now. To which my answer is always "I have no idea, I have more important things to worry about." Then they start telling me how much some little formula fed baby weighs. I just want to tell them, "Well if I was force feeding my child every few hours maybe she would have a weight problem too."

My beautiful little girl is 8 months old, still exclusively breastfed and is doing amazingly well. To each his own when it comes to how and when you start feeding your child, but just because something is the "norm" in this country, it doesn't make it the best option.

While we are on the subject, yes my son Taj nurses more than 10 times a day!! Look at him, he looks like he is starving too. This little boy barely eats breakfast, naps through lunch and picks at his dinner but has an adorably round breastfed toddler face. And you know what, some days I do feel like a super hero knowing that it is my body that is nurishing my two fantastic babies! I am sending out high fives to all nursing moms, tandem nursing moms, moms nursing toddlers and older. You are all awesome!!!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


OK, so don't get me started on Dr. Michael Smith who said that natural repellents don't work and how to safely use DEET products. Really!?!? Yes, as if washing the stuff off at the end of the day is going to make a difference. How will that help after your skin has soaked up all of these toxins shortly after you apply it to your child. If you do use DEET products, please educate yourself on how strong of a toxin it is.

Anyway, there it is, the "Need-To-Know News" #1 Yes, keeping your detergent and all chemicals out of reach from your children is a good idea.

#2 Holy cow we really should be looking into what is going on with a child before stabbing them with not just 1 but 2 Epi-Pens. WOW, that is frightening!!!

#3...this is where I got really annoyed. "Engineers in Japan are developing a baby monitor that will interpret cries and let you know if your tot is tired or hungry. By measuring sound frequencies and using parents' interpretations of whines, researchers have already created one that distingueshes cries of pain from other causes."

Seriously, have we become that lazy as parents that now we can't even get up out of bed to go and see why it is that our child is crying? What parents would hear their child over the monitor, look at it and say "Oh just go back to sleep dear, the baby is not hungry he is just crying because he is tired."

Sometimes I am guilty of blaming the parents for being so disconnected from their children, but I am starting to wonder if it is their fault at all. They keep coming out with this stuff saying that it is for the benefit of your child and convincing you that to be a good mom you have to have it. They have done a wonderful job of selling you on the fact that your baby wants to swing, sit in a seat, hang out in a play pen, bounce in a contraption and stair at cold plastic toys all day long. Why on earth would you wake a child after being in the car when you could just put that car seat into a stroller and go on with your day or hook that seat onto a special swing so the baby can just go on sleeping. While the baby is sleeping in his car seat swinging you don't even have to go into his room to check on him since you have a monitor with a video camera. UGH!!!!

We just need to get back to basics. Peylyn's crib is attatched to my bed and when she starts to wake I hear and feel her. I think that being so close and in tune with our baby actually helps us to get a better nights sleep. When she starts to wake I pull her close and nurse her and she is right back to sleep. Since I am able to be in tune with her cues she does not get upset and does not need to settle down.

Here's a thought, instead of trying to create more useless baby crap, why don't they just work on making the stuff on the market a little safer. Call me crazy but I think it is more important for my childs' crib to not injure him than to have a monitor that gives me someone elses interpretation of what my child's cry means!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Little Tree Hugger (literally)

The other day when I picked up the kids from school I noticed that Ajay was holding a sad little branch in a bag. I soon discovered that he was given a tree from big, bad Wal-Mart in celebration of earth day, to take home and plant. OK, I guess I can cut them a little slack for one day, because I did find it to be a nice gesture to give all of the kindergarten and first grade students at our school a tree to plant.

He was so excited to plant it as soon as we got home. Well, those plans were put on hold since we are renting and I told him to go next door and ask the landlords if and where we could plant his new tree (yes, that is the landlords dog in the background).

It was fun how this little tree quickly became a bit of a community event. Our entire family came out to watch Ajay plant his tree as did our neighbors and their two dogs. Ajay was beaming from ear to ear as he placed it in the ground and Perry covered it with dirt.

One of the things that I really admire about my son is how in touch with nature he is. He loves to rescue the toads that get stuck in our window wells, put the worms on our driveway after a rain back in the dirt and will talk about how sad it is that a plant dies once it has been picked. Last summer was the first time that we had the space to have a vegetable garden and Ajay couldn't get enough of it. He was right there with me all summer pulling weeds, watering and harvesting the fruits (or veggies) of our labor.

He has been so connected to this little tree, watering and talking to it each day. He even started a tree journal where he writes about any changes in the tree and has taped photos of the tree in it. He told me the other day that we are going to take a picture of him and the tree every year on his birthday so that we can watch Ajay and the tree grow. I just hope that for his sake this poor little tree does take root and grows to be a big strong tree. My little boy will be devastated if something were to happen to it.

Of all of my passions that I had hoped to share with my children, one of the things I am the most proud of is that they get how important nature is to our well being. My kids amaze me every day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Fond Memories of Mother's Day

Well, first let me wish every mom a very happy Mother's Day! This day is so special to me and not just for all of the celebrating that I am a mom kind of reasons. On Mother's Day 6 years ago I gave birth to my first son, Ajay. His is probably the most dramatic of all of my birth stories with lots of humorous moments. First of all it was bad enough since I was still living in PA and Perry was working and staying with his sister in VA preparing for our move down there.

So on May 8th when I thought I was going into labor after calling my Dr. my next call was to Perry. He had taken on a job at Bonefish Grill for health insurance (since he was moving to VA to work in real estate) and it was his first night. I called and asked to speak with him, the owner got on the phone to tell me that he was working to which I replied "Fine, when he gets a moment why don't you tell him that his wife is in labor." His boss put him on the phone pretty quick after that.

So, Perry raced up to Lewistown only to find that I really wasn't progressing. The Dr. decided to head home for the evening and said he would be back early in the morning so Perry and I snuggled up for a long night of no sleep. Yes, it was our own bed as Ajay was baby number 2 to be born on S. Main St. The next morning Nelly (the nurse) and Kim (nurse and doula) showed up and Dr. Custer was soon to follow. He checked me and I really hadn't progressed at all over night so we discussed some options. Since Perry was living in VA I really wasn't up for risking the chance of him not making it back in time if he left. So I decided to go ahead and allow him to induce me.

So at about 9 am Dr. Custer inserted a pill vaginally (sorry it was 6 years ago, I can't remember the name) and told me to get a good breakfast and to call when I felt the contractions were getting stronger. Since this was Mother's Day, Perry asked where I wanted to go for my Mother's Day breakfast. Of course if you know anything about breakfast in Lewistown, PA you head to the Honey Creek Inn (french toast is there best item on the menu!). So off we went and funny enough there was Kim (nurse and doula) also enjoying a Mother's Day breakfast with her family. We also ran into a few other people we knew that could not believe it when the asked "when are you due" and I replied "well, I was induced this morning so hopefully I will meet him in a few hours." Geesh, if I was induced in a hospital I don't know if I would have a shot in hell at heading out to a restaurant for breakfast!

So after breakfast we headed back home and relaxed as much as we could. I believe that it was somewhere around noon that I called the Dr. to come back over since the contractions were starting to come more regularly. I remember spending most of my labor in the bathroom alone, conentrating and trying to deal with the pain while Perry, Nelly, Kim and Dr. Custer sat in our bedroom watching a movie. I could not believe how much worse the pain was from my labor with Zola. At some point I finally came out, crying to Perry that I just couldn't deal with the pain any longer and I did allow the Dr. to give me a shot for the pain. I still knew when I was contracting but it just took the edge off. Obviously not a decision that sits well with me, but I did what I felt I needed to do to get through it. About an hour after that I felt that it was time to push, and it did not take very long to deliver my beautiful 6 lb. 9 oz. baby boy into the world.

Ajay Micheal Lee Meinnert was the most amazinge Mother's Day gift I could ever wish to receive. To this day the boy amazes me! He is funny, smart and has such a beautiful soul. I see so much of myself when I look at him. Most importantly, he is such a compassionate person. He makes me proud every day that I was blessed to be his mom.

I hope that every mom out there has a fantastic Mother's Day!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Dear Corn, it is scary what they have done to you.

I am still trying to figure out why my husband bought these last week. I don't like them, the kids said they looked gross and Perry said he doesn't like them.
Would it be weird to put Corn Flakes on Freecycle?

Well, at least they stand true to their name! Milled Corn, Malt Flavoring (which can be derived from barley or corn and my guess is it is corn here), High Fructose Corn Syrup (corn) Also noticed that it says BHT has been added to the packaging. I had to google BHT and that is certainly an interesting read, YUCK!!!

I finally got around to seeing the film "Food, Inc." this week when they had it on PBS. I was already aware of how frightening things have become when it comes to meat, thus I do not eat it. But the entire corn issue really blew me away...

When they posted a list of all of the food additives that were once corn I was completely shocked! Call me crazy, but I had actually thought that when a list of ingredients said citric acid I thought that it came from a citrus fruit. Oh no, it comes from corn because that makes sense. Right?

So after being completely disgusted that even the vitamin E that is added to my food comes from corn I had to get on the computer and start reading. It is unbelievable the number of ways that they have discovered how to manipulate this grain into some seriously terrible stuff for our bodies. Even more unbelievable are the lists of non food things that are some how related to corn that you can check out HERE.

We have been avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup like the plague for a long time (OK minus this box of cereal, when I pointed it out to him after he brought it home he said "Really, they even put it in cereal?" I guess I need to do the shopping from now on.) but now I am on a new mission. I am going to the store with my list of corn additives and unless it should be in the food (ie corn or corn chips) I am passing on it. The scariest part of all of the corn products in our food is that you know it is not organic and is probably genetically modified to grow bigger and faster. UGH!!!!!

If you have yet to see the movie "Food, Inc." I highly recommend it, it will change the way you look at everything on your plate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Organic for WIC Mamas!

Yes, since having Peylyn (our 4th baby) we have been bumped into the WIC and reduced lunch category. It is rare that I allow the kids to buy but if they ask to buy on a special day I allow it and if I only have to pay 40 cents for a not so great meal, so be it.

Anyway, I have to laugh because whenever I send Perry to get the food with the checks he comes back moning and whining about how rediculous it is that they will not allow you to purchase any organic food. Well, this evening we all went to the store and Perry had picked out organic cheese which was rejected when we got to the check out line. Ajay asked why we weren't allowed to get the organic cheese. I replied that if the government allowed us to get the organic cheese than they would be admitting that something was wrong with the other cheese. Yes, forgive me I was in a bad mood from the way the lady at the check out line was talking to us. I use the term "lady" loosely as she was a snotty teenager! Anyway, Ajay said "well it is better, right?" I said "yes, but the government doesn't want you to think that." To which my bright 5 year old said "Oh, so they think they know it all and we are stupid." Man, I love that child!!!

While yes, I do appreciate the help because some weeks we really need it. I don't see why they would object to a healthier choice. We are fortunate to have fairly descent insurance through Perry's work, but considering that a lot of people that are receiving WIC are probably also receiving some sort of government paid insurance I don't understand why they wouldn't want to offer up the healthiest choice of food. Don't they understand that by allowing women to purchase a higher quality food that they could be saving money when it comes to healthcare? Not to mention giving the money back to US farmers! No, they want to pay for the food that is lower quality, shipped from China and Argentina and spend more on healthcare.

Sadly, I know that most families don't look at WIC the way we do. We use our checks and receive a locally farmed rBGH free milk, cereal that is free of HFCS, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors, dried beans and juice so that we have the money to buy organic produce and meats.

I can't wait to walk into the office next month and return the checks for the jars of baby food and rice cereal. I will be proclaiming loudly in the office that my 6 month old is doing just fine on mommies milk and does not need anything that comes from a grocery store shelf!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Late Night Ideas

So here I am, it is 12:30 pm and I just could not go to bed until I completed an idea I had in my head.

Repurposing items that I bring into my home is a complete obsession. Just because something has served its purpose does not mean that it should be tossed out. Find a new purpose for it and give it a new life is our motto around this house!

So sitting next to my washing machine were 2 cloth bags, one from Rock N' Green and the other from Charlie's Soap. I knew that I could figure out some way to reuse these small cloth bags. Well, today it finally hit me, make small wet bags from them!

Not only did I now have a new use for the cloth bags, but also a new use for a bunch of pocket diapers I bought on Ebay a while back. The diapers were terrible since the touch tape was not holding the diaper on my children at all. I have been repurposing the soft part of the touch tape for some capes that I had been making and saving all of the PUL trying to figure out what to do with it.

Well here is, the awesome small drawstring wet bag that I came up with.

It was so simple, I think I sewed it in about 15 minutes. All I did was sew the PUL on 3 sides to the measurements of the bag and then sew a hem for the top (open) part of the PUL. Then I put the wrong sides together and zigzag stitched the whole way around to attach it to the detergent bag. DONE!

Help, I Need a New Title!

When I started this blog I thought that I would just use it to discuss all thing tandem nursing, but I am finding that I have so much more to say. I had attempted to have 2 blogs but that was just too much to keep track of. So I want to put the question out there and see if someone can help me with a new title.

What I am looking for is a title for my blog that will sum up all of the things that I love to write about: tandem nursing, holistic living, crafting, parenting and all of the other fun things in my life that get me out of bed each day.

Giveaway: For the person that comes up with a title that I like the best I will giveaway this beautiful non-toxic messenger style bag from Ecogear.


• organically-grown cotton canvas & rope materals

• non-toxic dyes

• sustainable wood components

• adjustable shoulder strap

• internal zipper pouch

• dual side water bottle holder




15 in. x 11.5 in. x 4 in.

All you have to do is post a comment with your idea for a title. I will be choosing the winning title on April 15th (not for taxes, for my late grandmother's birthday) at 10:00 pm central time. Hey, and while your at it why not click the link to be a follower of my blog :-)

Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it!