Another use for breastmilk.

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine informed me of a shop in the Tied Up With Strings congo on Hyena Cart that was selling a breast milk cream kit. I went on over to the site and read the description. It sounded good. Read the testimonials. They sounded good. So I though of ways I could use this cream in my daily life. Breast milk is commonly used on burn victims. Ryan is always slathering on the Aloe sunburn lotion after he plays baseball so he could use this cream. Ellie is always getting killer rashes so I could use the cream on them. Breast milk is great for dry skin so I could use it on my feet, elbows, and knees. OK I'm sold. So I ordered a kit. I guess it took the lady a long time to package up the oil, butter, wax and secret ingredient because it took over a week for her to ship it to me.

Yesterday I open my mailbox and there was the package. My eyes lit up and I got a big grin on my face. I felt like a kid at Christmas. So I open the package and this is what was inside.

I got out the enclosed sheet and read the instructions. It called for 7 oz. of breast milk so I broke into my freezer stash. It will never get used for anything else since Ellie will not have anything to do with any artificial nipple, LOL.

The instructions say to put all the ingredients into a microwave safe bowl except the pink stuff because adding that can start a fire. A F'ing fire?!?! Yikes! I was extra careful to not let that stuff anywhere near the concoction until it was done.

Next you are supposed to put the mixture into the microwave. This step really disappointed me. You are NEVER supposed to microwave breast milk because it kills the live antibodies that make the milk so special. What is the point of using breast milk in this cream if you are killing all the good stuff? Why not use regular old milk? Oh well, I already started the process so I put the stuff in the microwave. I had to take it out with one minute and seventeen seconds remaining because it was starting to bubble a little and the instruction say "DO NOT LET MIXTURE BOIL". This is what it looked like after it came out of the micro. YUM!!! NOT.

The next step requires you to mix the mixture with your beaters for a few minutes. My kitchen beaters? OK. I guess I can do that.

This is what it looked like after beating. It got bubbly. wow.

After you mix you have to let it sit for a few minutes and then beat it again. After I beat it this time the mixture was thicker. When I was done beating this is what it looked like.

The next set of directions say to put in the secret pink stuff, mix again, then transfer the cream into the provided containers and let them sit, uncovered, for 4 hours. After I filled the 3 containers I had a ton left over. Now in any normal recipe where I would use my mixer I would lick the beaters and scoop up the bowl batter with my finger and eat it. Since this was not one of those recipes I scraped the beaters and the bowl and did what I thought was natural. I put the extra cream in a breast milk storage bag :)

There. Now I can add chemist to my resume.

Although this was a fun project I don't think I will be buying the kit again. I thought the ingredients were unoriginal and the fact that you had to microwave the breast milk almost to a boil completely defeated the purpose of using it.

I used the cream today when I got out of the shower and I would not suggest using it as an all over body cream. It is VERY thick. Unless your skin is damp, it is next to impossible to rub in. I did use it on my feet, knees, and elbows. My hands feel waxy now and I can tell I have lotion on. OH well.........you win some and you lose some.


Do You Believe?

A few weeks ago I was watching Horton Hears a Who! with the girls and it really got me thinking. What if our planet was a speck floating around just like Whoville? Then it occurred to me that Earth is a speck floating around in a gigantic universe. Then I had to stop thinking because it was creeping me out, LOL.

A few days later we watched Tinkerbell and I started to think about fairies. Do they really exist? Where do they live? What do they eat? Are they afraid of humans? I had so many questions that needed answers. I came to the conclusion that if we, humans, are real and we live on this Earth, a speck floating around in an infinite universe, than there is a strong possibility that there are fairies living among us. Then I remembered a book I read to Isabela a few months ago, The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood by Barb Bentler Ullman. The book was about a family of fairies that lived in an old tree stump. The fairies in the story lived in the woods and tried to avoid humans so that answered my questions of where they lived and if they were afraid of us humans. I asked the girls what fairies ate and they said berries. That made sense to me so I went along with it.

Last week I did a Google search about fairies and learned some interesting facts. I will share 10 of them with you:

1. There are many different types of fairies. Some are wild. Some are domesticated. Some are helpful. Some are harmful.
2. They can turn invisible, or blend so closely into the forest as to seem invisible and they move very swiftly.

3. They eat fruit.(the girls were right!!!)

4. They are associated with certain plants, trees and places.

5. They live on hills, in woody dells, underwater, or in the Otherworld.

6. Their powers include shapeshifting and making fog.

7. They are immortal.

8. They sometimes take human lovers.

9. They can breed with humans. (bizarre!)

10. They have holidays/important dates just like humans:
March 15- Festival of river nymphs and water fairies.
April 30/May 1 - Beltane/May Day
August 7- Fairy hills and dwellings are revealed on this day.
September 29- Doors open between our world and the fairy realm.
November 8- Another day when it is possible to catch a glimpse of fairyland.
November 11- Festival of the blackthorn fairies.

I also came across this fairy house craft. I thought it was a really cute idea so I did another Google search to get more ideas.

I found this.

And this.

Which encouraged me to make this.


I found a bird house that was on clearance for $6 at Hobby Lobby, added 2 doll house planters, glued on a few tiny birds, painted a white picket fence, added some pink gravel left over from the fire bellied toads and put it all in a pot filled with soil and there you have it. Our fairy house. As an added touch I sprinkled some lavender, catnip and thyme seeds into the soil for some greenage. If any luck some fairies will call it home. Isabela said she already saw some moving in. I hope she is right.


Blueberry, Oh Blueberry.

Our blueberry bush is doing great. We have it planted in a large container on our patio right next to our cantaloupe plant. I will eventually have to find somewhere else to plant it since it's full growth potential is 6'x6'.

Yesterday when I went outside to water the plants I noticed I had one ripe blueberry. A round, plump, bluish purple blueberry. It looked delectable. The girls were drooling over it too and I thought it would be rude to pick it and eat it right in front of them so I left it on the bush. My plan was to drop the girls off at camp and pick the blueberry when I got home.


I took the girls to camp, came home and went over to the blueberry bush. I know it is only one blueberry but it is always exciting to get your 1st harvest of the season. I bent down to pick the blueberry and it was gone!!! Damn bird got to it before I did.

I'm trying not to get too mad over this. I will take it as my lesson to pick your harvests early and often and to get some netting to put over my plants so birds cant peck.

Fortunately, the bush still has a good bundle of unripe blueberries that should be ready to pick at the end of the week. You better bet I'll get to those before that bird.



Product Review- Cloth diapers.

As a loyal user of cloth diapers I thought it would be appropriate to do a review. Over the past few years I have tried every diaper under the sun and I have found a few that I am loyal to. Here are my favs.

Prefolds- I have just recently started using organic bamboo prefolds. They are soft, stretchy, and can contain a massive blowout. They are perfect for keeping Ellie's bum cool and rash free during these hot summer days. I buy all my bamboo prefolds on Hyena Cart. Here are a few of my favorite stores:

Picasso Tums

Zaichiki Baby
Swell baby

Here is Ellie in a Picasso Tums embellished bamboo terry prefold. Doesn't it look comfy?

Fitteds- I am a HUGE fan of Bagshot Row Bamboo(can you tell I have a thing for bamboo?). Bagshot Row Bamboos are a snappiable/pinable one sized fitted diaper that is truly amazing and is the only type of fitted diaper I own. The leg elastic is encased and kind of padded so it never leaves any marks on Ellie's thighs. They are extremely stretchy and the absorbency is out of this world. I don't think I have ever put a cover over one of these.

Here is Ellie a few months ago in her 1st BSRB

Pocket diapers/ All in ones (AIO)- Hands down my favorite pocket diaper is the BumGenius one-sized pocket diaper. They are my one and only go-to workhorse diaper. I used them on Olivia and I now use them on Eliana. They are prefect. The Velcro is nice and strong and the leg casing is tight enough to contain messes but not so tight that it leaves red marks. BumGenius also makes a one sized bamboo AIO that I love.

Here is Ellie today in one of her 20 BumGenius diapers

The creator of BumGenius (Jen) owns and operates a retail store called Cotton Babies right here in St. Louis!! Cotton Babies is a top ranked online cloth diaper retailer and a store that I frequent often. They sell more than just cloth diapers. They have natural toys, nursing wear and accessories, children and infant clothing, feeding supplies, car seats, strollers, baby carriers and just about anything else a mom could want for their child. They host classes like cloth diapering 101 and a birthing alternatives class that I attended while pregnant with Eliana. Cotton Babies also holds a cloth diaper garage sale every year that is great for scoring all kinds of goodies. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I love Cotton Babies!!!!

To end my cloth diaper review I have to give a rave for Imse Vimse flushable liners. Ellie gets terrible diaper rashes so I have to use a very heavy diaper cream on her with every diaper change. Without these liners I would not be able to use cloth diapers. I also love the convenience of peeling off a liner full of poo and throwing it in the toilet opposed to sloshing the diaper around in the toilet and getting your hands full of nasty toilet gunk. (How was that for a sentence?)


Craft weekly- crinkle, tag owl

Over the weekend I was surfing some blogs and I happened upon this post. Scroll to the end of the post and you will see an amazingly beautiful baby holding an awesome crinkle owl. So I clicked on the link and thought "Wow! Ellie would love that!" So I got out my felt stash, some ribbon, colored thread, a noodle package from my recycle bin, some fluff and a pair of scissors and went to town. Although mine is not as fabulous as Julies, it was fun and easy to make and Ellie loves it!

Loves to crinkle it.

Loves to chew the tags.

Loves to wear it on her head. :)

The Garden Week 3.

With all the rain we had last week our garden has began to flourish. I dont know what makes rain water so much better than hose water but now instead of being mad that it's raining I am thankful.


Unfortunately, we have had some deaths. 3 of our 8 marigolds died as well as one of our 4 zucchini plants and I think another is on its way. The stem is cracked all the way through but the plant is still green and flowering. I have no idea what to do with it. Do I cover up the cracked stem with soil and hope it roots or pluck it out of the garden and start over? Im at a loss on that one.

As far as the dismay of other plants I dont think death is the right word. They simply just did not sprout. I call them no growers, LOL. Among the no growers were 6 strawberry plants and 4 squares of lavender.

Because of the deaths and no-growers we had to make a trip to Lowe's and buy some "pre-made" plants. I feel like a cheater but it is too late in the game to plant seeds. We bought 5 strawberry plants, 1 zucchini plant to replace the one that died, 9 sweet potato plants to go in 2 of the 4 lavender squares(we are replanting lavender seeds in the other 2 squares), and some marigolds to add to the established squares and to replace the ones that died. We also bought a blueberry bush and a cantaloupe plant to go in our containers on the patio.

While some area of the garden are doing poorly other areas are doing great. Our tomatoes are doing nicely as well as some of our mixed salad greens.

With all the new plants we had to rearrange our grid.
Starting from top left going across
Row 1
Marigolds, butternut squash, basil, basil, thyme, thyme, marigolds
Row 2
pumpkin, eggplant, empty square, bell peppers, bell peppers, red onion, carrots, sweet potatoes
Row 3
tomato, zucchini, mixed salad greens, mixed salad greens, spinach, green beans, green beans, sweet potatoes.
Row 4
Marigolds, zucchini, empty to accommodate growth of zucchini, tomato, tomato, tomato, tomato, marigolds.

Row 1
marigolds, strawberries, strawberries, basil, basil, thyme, thyme, marigolds
Pumpkin, eggplant, strawberries, bell peppers, bell peppers, red onion, carrots, lavender.
Row 3
tomato, zucchini, mixed salad greens, mixed salad greens, spinach, green beans, green beans, lavender.
Row 4
marigolds, zucchini, empty space to accommodate zucchini, tomato, tomato, tomato, tomato, marigolds.

Since the topic of death came up in this post I thought I wanted to talk about Kate over at Gardening Without Skills. Kate has a black thumb when it comes to gardening and has the added challenge of living in Florida and having(naturally) terrible soil. She hosts Garden Blogger's Death Day on the last day of every month. Hopefully I wont have to submit to her often. If you are into gardening you should visit her blog. Her writing is beautiful and she is a great photographer.


A Care Free Day.


A few weeks ago I took the girls to Theis Farm to get a few hanging plants for around our house. When we got there the girls saw a tractor taking people out to the fields to pick strawberries. They both began jumping up and down begging me to let them go out and pick strawberries. I love hand picked strawberries so naturally I said yes.


We rode the tractor out to the fields where we stuffed ourselves full of strawberries and filled our box with plenty more to take home with us. The girls really enjoyed themselves and it made me happy to see them having such a great time.

On the way home we were driving through Creve Coeur Park and the girls asked if we could stop and play on the beach. Since I was in such a kind and giving mood I said ok. The girls had a fabulous time wading around in the water and playing in the sand. They even found a dead fish and were poking around at it. Gross! Don't freak out though, I doused their hands in Germ X as soon as we got back to the car.

When we got home we ate dinner outside and played for awhile. At the end of the day everyone was happy and went to bed exhausted. I love days when we can be care free and go-with-the-flow. It is a shame that they are so far and few between.


Craft Weekly- Dream Catchers

The inspiration for this craft started with a Styrofoam plate dream catcher that Isabela made in school this year. She hung it on the wall over her bed to ward off any bad dream that dare enter her room. A few weeks ago Olivia woke up with a nightmare. She was screaming and crying and kept asking for Isabela's dream catcher so, in an effort to comfort her and get myself back into my nice warm bed, I gave it to her. The next morning I awoke to the sound of the girls screaming and crying. I walk into their room and see them fighting over the Styrofoam dream catcher ripping it to shreds.

That night both the girls were awake most of the night claiming they were having nightmares and wanted the dream catcher. I decided that if they were certain that that styrofoam dream catcher was keeping their nightmares away I was going to make them each their own real dream catcher.

Dream catchers are an American Indian tradition, from the Ojibway(Chippewa) tribe. Ojibway people would tie sinew strands in a web around a small round, sometimes tear-shaped frame. They would then hang the dream catcher to protect sleeping children from nightmares.
photo from http://www.nativetech.org/dreamcat/dreamcat.html

To make our dream catchers I used metal rings and wrapped them in purple suede lace. I would have used traditional brown or white suede but the girls wanted purple so purple they would be. When I got to the end I put some craft glue on the suede lace and the the metal ring and held it together with a clip until it dried.

Originally, a dream catchers web was created by tying strong deer sinew strands around a circular(tear-shaped) frame. The end result looked like a spider's web. The Ojibwa called dream catchers asabikeshiinh, the inanimate form for the word spider. Since I could not find any deer sinew I used waxed thread. It is really sticky so I think it will do a great job catching all those bad dreams floating around the girls room. The webbing was tricky so I used this tutorial to show me how to do it. Make sure to leave a hole in the center so the good dreams can come through.

I could not find anything directly relating to charms being hung from the center of the webbing to bring luck or such but I put some on there anyway. Cant hurt anything, right? I found some "dream" and butterfly charms. I don't know what they would have meant to the Ojibway but in our house the "dream" charm represents dreams(how original, right? LOL) and the butterflies symbolize good dreams flying in.

The 4 strands hanging down represent the compass directions of North, South, East, and West. Originally the Ojibway used the feathers of sacred birds such as eagles(man's courage) and owls(woman's wisdom) but these feathers are now illegal to obtain so I just used plain white craft feathers and beads.

If you have the resources to get "real" feathers here is a list of different ones and their meanings:
Crane -wisdom/knowledge
Dove - offer love
Eagle - protection
Goose - draw love
Hawk - Protection
Ostrich - truth
Owl - instill wisdom
Seagull - travel
Swallow - good luck\Wren - safe voyage
Woodpecker - used by a Shaman

When they were done Isabela hung them in her window because she said the moon light helps the good dreams find the dream catcher. So creative.

This craft was featured on One Crafty Place.


Weekly pics of the girls

Since we just got back from Vacation I figured some beach pics would be suiting for this weeks pics of the girls.




Isabela and Eliana

Ryan, Isabela and Olivia


Product Review- SafetyTats

As some of you may know on St. Patrick's Day this year we lost our 3 year old Olivia. The parade had just ended and we were packing our stuff to leave just as the police were opening the barricades. When we looked up we saw Isabela but Olivia was nowhere in sight. Ryan started running around calling her name and looking for her. Other people around us started calling for her too and asking us for a description of her. After a few minutes of searching for her we began to panic. I spotted 2 police officers and told them my little girl was missing. They asked for her description and sent out a missing child alert on their radios. Then we had to wait. I felt like throwing up. Ellie was crying because she wanted to nurse and Isabela was complaining that she was tired and thirsty but I did not even care. I wanted my Livi to be found. After 20 agonizing minutes the police officer we were with got a page on his radio saying that they found a little girl matching our description. They found her 3 blocks away from where we were. We waited while they brought her back to us. I was never in my life so happy to see her.

Luckily for us she was able to tell the police officer her 1st and last name and told them our names but I knew that may not enough if this ever happened again. I needed something else. I contemplated buying her a kid leash for the next time we went anywhere crowded. I have always been against those things thinking they were cruel and stupid. It is crazy how fast our opinion changes about something once you actually have a need for them. Then I came across SafetyTats on a website. I thought they were cool but I did not order them.

When we were planning our vacation I remembered the SafetyTats and was going to order a package to take with us. You could imagine my surprise when I opened my in box to see that I won a trial package of Safety Tats from iBreastfed.com. Unfortunately, they did not get to us before we left for vacation(they arrived the day after) and fortunately we did not have a need for them. But we were able to put the tats to use when we went to the reptile show.

SafetyTats carry more than just "if lost" tats they also carry tats for special needs children, allergies, medical conditions such as diabetes, school tats for field trips and tats for tweens. They have tons of cool designs to suit whatever your child is into and you can buy them in travel packs of 6 up to big packs of 120 tats. Don't want to write your own info out? No problem! SafteyTats offers customizable 2 line tats too!

I just want to say a big thank you to both the people who were kind enough to bring my daughter to the police instead of leaving her on her own and the creators of SafetyTats. SafetyTats are a great product that I think all parents should carry in their cars or purses just in case.


The Reptile Show

Every couple of months The St. Louis Herpetologist Society holds a reptile show. Ryan and I started going to these shows 12 years ago when he bought me my 1st pet, a leopard gecko, named Norma Jean who, by the way, is still alive and kickin' it. It was also at one of these shows that I became the proud owner of my most favorite amphibian of all time, the Red Eyed Tree Frog. Every show I would buy one or two more frogs. I had many, many frogs. Some lived, some died. One day we went to a pet store and I saw a Red Eye there and bought it. Too bad for me because that frog was wild caught and carried a disease that killed off all my other frogs. I did not buy any more frogs after that.

This was the 1st year that we brought all the kids with us. They were very excited when we told them we were going to a reptile show. They thought it was going to be a movie and we had to explain to them that it is not a TV show or a movie but a place where reptile breeders from all over the country come and sell their products and animals. They were so excited that they both woke up super early that morning ready to go.

When we got there you could tell that the girls were just as excited as we were about seeing all those different species of reptiles. Along with the reptiles there were other animals like sugar gliders and hedgehogs and there were spiders(gross!) and necklaces made from petrified bugs, spiders and scorpions in colored resin.

Isabela was excited that she got to hold a snake,
a chameleon,
and a crested gecko that was really cool. Ryan said if we ever got another lizard it would be one of those. They are really calm and friendly.

Olivia was mad that she could not hold anything and started crying and pouting that she wanted to go home. This just was not her scene.

Our intentions on going to the reptile show were to buy a $10 aquarium for our fire bellied toad . Well our focus blurred when we caught sight of a man selling my beloved Red Eyed Tree Frogs.

One look at those frogs and my heart melted. Ryan knew it and said we could get some if I wanted. If I wanted!? Are you kidding me?! Of course I want some! So we ended up buying a terrarium already set up and 2 Red Eyes, a male and a female. We ended up spending a lot of money but we did haggle the guy down and ended the deal getting one frog free and not pay any sales tax. Here are my beauties and all their glory. Our Male is pictured above. He is the guy in the top left with his eyes open. May they live happy healthy lives.

We do plan on getting a couple more at the next show in August :)