Friday, September 28, 2012

Things to do when Overdue

Right now I'm about a week "late" in my pregnancy.  Although I know that a better word for a "due date" is a "guess date," and that different children need different gestational times, etc etc, it's still tough!  This little baby feels done to me, and I just cannot wait to meet her.  In order to stay positive and not spend our time just waiting around, we've been keeping busy!

Here's what we've been doing:
  • The best thing was that my lovely mom flew in on the due date.  That was fabulous, because I knew someone I knew and loved was coming on that day!  And, as mothers do, she has lifted morale, and kept us all fed and happy.
  • I cleaned a lot
  • We've gone on walks
  • We've gone to the park
  • We went to the zoo
  • We bought more baby clothes
  • I organized the boy's clothes (I found a solution to child clothes storage!  I'll share soon.)
  • I organized my freezer
  • I catalogued my spices
  • We bought overalls for the boys
  • We've been eating out (thanks to said mom :))
  • We visited Daddy at work
  • We went to a book festival
  • We've had lots of green smoothies
  • And Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • We went to the library
  • We watched movies of our boys as babies
  • We went apple picking
  • We made apple butter
  • We bought a canner and canned (and ate) the apple butter
  • We went to an appointment at the birth center, and disregarded information about how I hadn't progressed in a week
  • We had a picnic
  • Andrew and I went on a date
  • We went to the temple
Here are the natural induction practices that haven't worked for me:
  • Membrane sweeping
  • Caulophyllum Thalictroides
  • Scalini's Eggplant Parmigiana 
  • Trio's chilcken pizza: roasted garlic, caramelized onions, mushrooms and fontina cheese (we tried this for my first pregnancy)
  • Lox, onion and egg on a pumpernickel bagel (There was no reason that this should particularly induce labor, except we thought it would be a nice way to try)
  • Long walks
  • Aerobic cleaning
I think pretty soon here I'm going to try Castor Oil.  Anyone have experience with it, good or bad?  What do you do when you're "late"?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quiet Time

Quiet Time


So that Mama and children can get some needed rest time and break from interaction.


We started quiet time when Abraham was growing out of his afternoon nap around age 2.  I made a big deal out of it, emphasizing that now that he was growing out of naps, he was old enough for what the big kids do.  If your child doesn't have a CD player and doesn't know how to work one, that (along with a few good CD's) is a great "you're growing up and now get quiet time" gift.  We started slowly--with quiet time only lasting ten, or even five minutes.  From there we worked up to where we are now, with quiet time lasting anywhere from one to one and a half hours.  We put an analog clock in his room, so I could show him that I would be back "when the big hand was on the three," etc.  If needed, you could even make a "quiet time chart."  It's tricky at the beginning to teach a two year old to stay in his room alone, but it's worth the effort!


  • You need to have quiet time by yourself
  • Do not come out until I get you
  • You may listen to soft music (see below)
  • You may play with soft toys
  • No loud sounds or noise making toys
  • Reading, playing quietly, listening to quiet music or books on tape and napping are great things to do during quiet time


When we started quiet time, we put a simple little CD player in Abe's room and taught him how to use it.  We taught him the proper treatment of CD's, and which of his CD's were quiet time appropriate.  

Here are some music recommendations that Abe has enjoyed.
This is how Abe ends up more than half the time.  He has some reading time, then gives himself a nap!
Abraham has come to love and look forward to quiet time. It gives him a chance to decompress and relax mid-day, which has proven critical for our energetic, enthusiastic tyke. It gives him an outlet for imagination and exploration. It also gives me much-needed quiet time. I time each day with my youngest's nap, so the whole house is peaceful for and hour or so.

Do you do "Quiet Time" at your house?  What do you do differently?  Do you have any more suggestions for good, quiet music your kids enjoy?  What is YOUR favorite quiet time activity?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY: Encapsulating Your Raw Placenta

This post should actually be entitled DIH (Do It Himself), since no brand-new mama has any business encapsulating her own placenta. This one's for the husband (the mother, the best friend...).

The goal of this post is not to persuade you to consume your placenta. I'll let you weigh all that out for yourself. My reason for doing it is simple: I took great pains to build that placenta into something extra special for my growing baby, and I would like all that goodness back, please. After my baby was born, my midwife told me that she'd like to give a photo of my placenta along with a copy my eating record (which we had to track scrupulously for a few days during pregnancy) to pregnant mamas saying, "This is what your placenta could look like if you eat right!"

The placenta is a wonderful source of iron (of which postpartum women are starved), protein, and key hormones and nutrients that can help her avoid postpartum depression, enhance her milk supply, decrease blood loss, and help her restore balance faster than she might otherwise. I have been taking my capsules since two days after delivery. If anecdotal evidence is worth anything, my hardest days have been the ones I've forgotten to take them. So I'm a believer! (I recently read this wonderful testimonial from another mama, in case you're interested.)

You can hire someone to do it all for you, but with the right equipment you can do it at home for free. Treat the placenta like any other organ you might (and should) eat (liver... liver... liver...), storing it in the fridge in a food-grade container. Start the encapsulation process within 1-2 days after delivery, both for freshness and to start reaping the benefits right away. I wanted my placenta encapsulated raw to preserve the nutrients and life of the organ, but some people steam it first. We got between 150-200 capsules from this effort.

  • A placenta
  • A dehydrator (if you don't have one, search for a tutorial with directions for an oven... and also, if you don't have a dehydrator, put one on your wish list)
  • Capsules and an encapsulator (these are cheap and work well)
  • A handy husband

Rinse placenta thoroughly with water, removing any blood clots and traces of blood.

Make sure it's a handy baby-wearing husband.
You go take a nap or a bath.

Using a knife, remove the bags/membranes from the placenta. It will probably come apart in small pieces, which facilitates the dehydrating.

Dehydrate overnight at about 115 degrees to preserve living enzymes. It should crack apart in your fingers when it's done.

Run the placenta through a good food processor or mill. We used our grain mill.

Encapsulate, following the instructions on your machine.

Load long ends of caps into the base.

Pop a few each day. :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekly Planning

As we get ready for our third baby and simultaneously send our oldest off to preschool, we have realized that our lives are suddenly getting more complicated and probably won't get less complicated again until we're empty-nesters.  Sad prospect, I know.  We realized we can "get by" by hanging on and being surprised as each day comes, or we can grab this bull by the horns and stay on top of it (you know--tell our life and schedule what to do instead of it telling us what to do--act and not be acted upon).

To this end, I made a template that Andrew and I use every Sunday night as a reference during our new Weekly Planning Meeting.  Sounds exciting, right?  It really has been great for us. We address everything on the list weekly, unless otherwise noted.  We re-save the template with the date in our files and take notes on what we talk about for our records.

Here's the basic outline:

Weekly Planning Meeting


Once a month we review our Vision, Mission, Values Statement

Family Assessment

Here we talk about our family as a whole, our relationship as a couple, and each individual.  We talk about the family as a whole every week, but the individuals are on an as-needed basis, and at least monthly.  It breaks down like this:


  • What is the current spiritual state of the family?
  • Is there anything that needs to be addressed?

Marriage Relationship:

  • What is our current spiritual state as a couple?
  • Is there anything that needs to be addressed?

For each person:

  • Give a compliment to the individual
  • How is he/she doing emotionally, physically, spiritually?
  • What can I (we) do to serve him/her better?


  • Weekly Calendar Items (our template links to our google calendar)
  • Future Calendar Items
  • To Do List (we use

Financial Planning is a wonderful, free online resource for budgeting.  It links all your accounts and keeps track of your budget.  This section would be different for everyone, depending on what they're working on, but here are some possible discussion points:

  • Review accounts and previous week's expenditures
  • Any big payments coming up?
  • Pay credit card
  • Review "To Buy List"*
  • Long-term savings
  • Budget
  • Emergency fund
  • Donations
  • Financial goals
The "To Buy List" is a Word doc we've created to curb our spending.  If we think of something we "need" or "want" (if it's not a legitimate emergency), we put it on the list where it sits for a month before we decide if it's really worth fitting into the budget, and if it really needs to be bought right away.  When we do this, we often find that it's a) something we don't need, or b) something we can put off buying because we want other things more.


Is there anything else we need to address?

And that's it! This planning session has really assisted us on a number of levels. On the most basic level, it has brought an awareness of what we have going on in our calendar, family, and bank accounts. On another level it has provided a forum to discuss the important/not urgent items in these categories that could easily be overlooked or forgotten until they become urgent. It has enhanced our interdependent relationship as a couple as we have a dedicated time to talk about our relationship, our children, and our family. We talk frequently about these subjects outside of the meeting, but as life gets busier it will be essential that we have this time set aside for such conversations. Above all, it has increased our love, discipline, and synergy. 

What recommendations do you have for planning as a family/couple/individual? Any suggestions for prompts we're missing in any of the categories? Any cool apps that would keep us more consistently aware of the plans throughout the week? 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Easy Changes for a Better Life

One year ago, or just over it, I could never ever have believed that my family would be living the way we are today.  We have so far to go, and are in most areas frightfully delinquent compared to my sister-authors, but I feel great satisfaction and joy in our lifestyle and in our continued improvement.

The moral of this story is that what seems overwhelming becomes easy if we break it down, priority by priority.  Here are some good changes we have made in our family for better health, and better stewardship of the environment, over the last year or so (in no real order).

 By Cameron 

  • We buy organic produce, dairy and meat whenever possible (especially the latter two)
  • We eat grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chickens/eggs, locally produced when possible
  • We grind our own grain (and often sprout it, and often soak it)
  • We eat less grain in general.  Once upon a time it was pasta at least 2x a week, and now it's maybe once a month.
  • We soak our beans and nuts
  • We make our own bread 50% of the time (more than that until our bread maker broke)
  • We make our own snacks --- homemade crackers, dehydrated fruit, tortillas, granola, fresh veggies, ice cream, etc.
  • We drink raw milk
  • We have dramatically reduced our plastic consumption.  We use glass containers with lids to store leftovers (an initial investment that makes a whole lot of sense over time).  We reuse jars and bottles for other storage.  We use real plates and forks when we go on picnics.  And when we remember, we bring our own cloth bags for shopping.
  • We recycle
  • We haven't had paper towels or napkins around in a good 4-5 months, using rags and cloth napkins instead
  • We take fermented cod liver oil daily
  • All of our soap products, detergents, cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, etc. are rated 0-2 on EWG's Skin Deep website
  • We avoid preservatives, GMOs, estrogen-containing foods (like soy), growth hormones, and processed sugars
  • Though perhaps an unnecessary luxury, we love sleeping in our organic cotton sheets
  • I make my deodorant from scratch
  • I use a squatty potty.  Funny as that may sound, it has made a world of difference.
  • I virtually never wear heels anymore, and gave almost every pair I own away.  When I hike, run, or go walking, I wear Vibrams.
  • I pay close attention to the way I stand and sit for good alignment, and I sit in a chair less than ever
  • We avoid unstable oils and mainly cook with coconut oil (and use it for lotion, salves, etc.)
  • We seek natural remedies first for everything.  Two comments on this: neither of us has gotten a cold since we started drinking raw milk a year ago (I used to get 2-3 per year).  The exception was when we went out of town for 3 weeks and had none to drink.  The other comment is that since we made the decision to move toward natural remedies, we have never needed anything else.  1.5 drug-free years and counting.
  • We have no processed sugar in our house
I can't emphasize enough that while this seems like an overwhelming set of changes, it wasn't hard at all!  I didn't vigorously pursue this lifestyle --- it just naturally changed as my priorities changed, one shopping trip or meal plan at a time.

We still have a long way to go, but I'm not afraid anymore. 

Things I want to do in the near future, or eventually
  • Grow a garden
  • Make all our bread
  • Ferment stuff (at least I think I want to do this)
  • Make a standing work station in my office and at home so I don't have to sit to work at the computer.
  • Cloth diaper.  (Eek, why do I keep putting this off!  It's not so hard.) 
  • Drive less
  • No more plastic wrap or bags
  • Walk a few deliberate miles on a daily basis 
What's next for you?