Sunday, May 31, 2009


We have recently started composting and I am amazed at how little we throw away now. We made about the easiest compost bin ever and it works great. Mathew cut some chicken wire, tied it together to form a circle and then used zip ties to attach it to a corner of our fence. That's it. Low cost and very simple.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Let me begin by stating that I am not talking about women who can't breastfeed for medical reasons. I also am not talking about women who attempt breastfeeding and are not successful.

Breast milk is a food made specifically for your child. There will never be a recall on your breast milk, you never have to worry about it being too cold or too hot and there's no mixing involved or concern about how you're going to pay for another can. Breastfeeding also helps the mother lose much of the weight gained during pregnancy. For more benefits, please visit here.

Formula costs anywhere from $12-28 per can. I know there are some pre-mixed and special formulas that cost even more. I honestly have no idea how many cans of formula are consumed weekly by infants, but let's assume that it's just one can per week and that it costs $20. Multiply that by one year and you get $1,040. 

If you look at breastfeeding from a financial only stand point it makes so much more sense to me to, at the very least, attempt to breastfeed. When you consider all of the other benefits of breastfeeding versus formula feeding, I truly cannot understand why someone would choose the latter. 

I was told today that a soon-to-be first time mother is not going to breastfeed. Or try to breastfeed. Or have any interest in breastfeeding. In fact, she thinks it's repulsive. Repulsive to feed her child with her breast. Right. Because breasts are only intended for nipple rings.

Obviously this has struck a nerve with me.  I just don't get it. I can understand being hesitant about breastfeeding. I suppose I can even understand not really wanting to do it, but I can't understand a first time mother not even giving it a chance. At least give the baby some colostrum while in the hospital. 

The person telling me about this first time mom defended her choice by saying that she'll be a wonderful mother and will throw herself in front of a bus if it means saving her child. To me, breastfeeding is sort of throwing yourself in front of a bus. It's giving your child the best possible start and is a completely selfless act. Yes breastfeeding can be challenging. Yes breasts leak and are a bit of a nuisance for awhile. But isn't your child worth it? And if the answer is no, why not? You're willing to give your brand new baby a possibly not-so-safe kind of plastic nipple and bottle filled with a man-made substance with a very long ingredients list that you probably haven't read?

Breastfeeding is not a death sentence for a mother. It's not some horribly complicated thing that consumes all of your free time and prevents you from doing anything fun. Heck, you can still give the baby formula if you need to get away and don't want to pump. 

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd nurse my children beyond a year and I am in no way suggesting that others need to nurse that long, although the current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is at least one year and the World Health Organization says at least two years.  I do think that all first time moms should attempt to breastfeed. If they end up hating it, fine. If they never nurse subsequent children, fine. But at least they can say that they actually tried breastfeeding instead of having a completely closed mind.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nesting Much?

I haven't been in the mood to write lately because I've been busy with projects. 

One of my on-going projects has been to make newborn fitteds, small fitteds and small pocket diapers for my sister and sister-in-law who are both pregnant. I only have about eight pockets left to do, but I keep having to re-order snaps. Apparently it is too much for my brain to order more snaps than I might actually need. I will be placing my last snap order tomorrow and am hoping to have the rest of the diapers done and packaged in the next couple of weeks.  

I just finished painting my boys' room. I really like the color and it goes with the curtain and rug that are already in the room. I have to buy, paint and hang wall letters for baby boy, but other than that, the room is done. I will post pictures upon completion.

My next painting project is my daughter's room. She is completely obsessed with the colors blue and green and thinks that her pink room is terrible. My plan is to paint the top half of her walls blue (sky) and the bottom half green (grass). I bought flower and butterfly wall stickers for her to put on after the paint is dry. She said she wants her room to look springy and girly. I will probably end up trying to find some kind of rainbow stickers for her to put on as well. 

My last painting project is my office. I've been painting my office now for a couple of months. I love the color (lime green), but there are lots of things to paint around and the wall is textured so it's last on my list of priorities. My office also has a nine foot ceiling and I'm not looking forward to being that high on a ladder while pregnant. 

The good thing about all of my paint projects is that I have gotten the paint for free. Yes, free. There is a hazardous household waste collection site close to my house and they have all kinds of paints and stains up for grabs. I take all sorts of colors and mix them in a five gallon bucket when I get home. I think it's a great way to reduce waste and reuse. It's also slightly dangerous for me because I tire of colors easily and now, much to my husband's dismay, I have nothing holding me back from repainting rooms in my house. 

Homemade Crappola

I've used a batch and a half of homemade laundry detergent and I regretfully have to admit that I don't care for it. I've read that you can double the amount of washing soda and borax, but I've also been reading that borax isn't the safest ingredient. I really like the cost effectiveness of the detergent, but I've had to buy various stain removers in an attempt to get the kids' clothes clean. It seems as though every little spot stays on their clothes and I have been using the full recommended amount. 

As a side note, the strap on the maternity tank top I'm wearing just broke. Bummer. At least it was only a garage sale find.

In addition to the poor detergent results, I've not been happy with the homemade deodorant either. It's too tedious to get out of the jar and rub into my armpits. Honestly, I'd rather just skip deodorant all together than scrape it out of a jar, roll it into a ball and smear it all over myself. I've compromised by only using regular deodorant every third day. I don't stink and haven't received any nasty comments from my kids. Although now that I think about it, they do laugh and say that I smell worse than Daddy's farts. Maybe they're not kidding. Ah well. 

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rain Soft

I entered a drawing to win a stove and refrigerator at Home Depot and was contacted by people from Rain Soft. If I agreed to let them come over and test my water, I'd receive a $20 Home Depot gift card. Sweet. 

The Rain Soft guy arrived at 5 pm on Friday. As he was setting up, I mentioned that we had to leave for dinner in 45 min. Apparently his presentation was going to take, at the minimum, one hour. Really? About water softeners?

Anyway, I started asking him some questions because I was genuinely curious about water softeners. Their company does a cost analysis for you on what you are spending on soaps, cleaners, etc for hard water. They say that they can actually save you money if you buy their water softener system because it comes with enough soaps, detergents, cleaners, etc for a year. 

The interesting part about their soaps, at least for me, is that none of them are free and clear and they are heavily scented with peach. Yuck. The guy asked what kind of laundry detergent I use and I said that I make my own. Then he said that we'd save on dishwasher detergent. I make my own, although not for long because the chemical-laden stuff I usually buy works a lot better. He said the cleaners would replace things like Windex. I use vinegar. And shampoo. Right. Except I don't use that either.

He finally laughed and said that he'd never met anyone as "dedicated to my lifestyle" as me. He admitted that having a water softener would definitely add costs for us, but that we'd have a lot of soaps and cleaners to give away as Christmas presents. He left his card and number in the event we want to hear his entire presentation. And do you think my honesty was rewarded with a $20 Home Depot gift card? Heck no.

Seriously, though, I never thought about being dedicated to a lifestyle. I think of myself more as being a cheap, multi-tasking, label-reader. Why pay $2 for a smallish bottle of Windex when I can buy a huge jug of vinegar for $2.50? Vinegar disinfects, washes windows, softens my clothes and does just about everything except put itself into the squirt bottle. I don't like all of the nasty chemicals in most products so I try to avoid them whenever possible. It's simple, really. 

New Additions

We are unable to have ducks where we live since they are considered livestock so we got the next best thing. Rabbits! 

The kids and I were taking a walk earlier this week when Maeve spotted a sweet little rabbit under an evergreen. We talked about the rabbit and what it might be doing under there and then continued our walk. On our way home, the rabbit was still in the same spot and then we saw some caged pet rabbits in someone's yard. It never occurred me to have a pet rabbit, but Maeve asked and Mathew and I agreed. 

I found a great deal on Craigslist (I love Craigslist) and we were able to get two rabbits and two cages (one cage is a very nice indoor/outdoor hutch) for less than it costs to adopt one from a shelter. Their names are Max and Ruby. Maeve had planned to rename Max Heart Princess Rainbow and call him a girl, but I think the name Max has grown on her. She also wanted Max in her room, but I like him way too much to have her hog him all of the time. 

Max tolerates the children surprisingly well. He lets them pet him without running away and even took lettuce out of Maeve's hand. He is curious enough to leave his cage and hop around my kitchen and living room. I would happily watch him hop all day. 

Ruby is a bit skittish. She's not fond of us just yet and jumps away when we try to pet her. Mathew let her out after the kids were asleep and she hopped around and did quite a bit of exploring. I am hopeful that she will one day like us and at least let me get close enough to clip her long nails. 

The dog, of course, is going crazy with rabbits in the house. I don't think she wants to eat them, but she is a retriever so I am certain they'd end up in her mouth eventually. Right now we have to listen to a lot of whining, but Bridget is quick to be submissive and lay down when I give her a command around the rabbits.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

On and On...

This has been a year of repairs. It seems as though everything in our house is failing and it's starting to drive me nuts. 

It started with our dishwasher. It stopped pumping water out and my wonderful husband couldn't fix it. So we had to decide to either pay a service call plus repairs and parts or buy a new dishwasher. We bought a new one. 

Next the bathroom sink was clogged and Mathew had to replace some of the pipes under the house. 

Then my dryer stopped heating. Again the decision was made to just replace the dryer instead of fix it because the repairs would have cost more than the dryer itself. 

Shortly after my new dryer arrived (I had to line dry clothes for over a week), my washing machine quit spinning the water out. We had the door lock assembly repaired and I was in appliance heaven until my washer started leaking less than a week later. This time the dispenser housing had to be replaced on my only two year old machine. That repair took two and a half weeks. 

While waiting for my washer to be repaired, the downstairs bathroom sink was clogged yet again and more pipes had to be replaced. All of the dirty clothes got sewage on them, as did everything in the bathroom. Hard to clean when there is no washer, you know?

Two days ago I had once again caught up with the laundry when Mathew told me that sewage was in the downstairs bathtub, leaking from under the toilet and leaking from the access drain in the garage. Great! No flushing toilets, no laundry, no dishes, etc. The worrisome part of this repair was that we replaced our sewer line two short years ago so the problem or clog was going to be in the line under the street. The very expensive line to replace under the street. 

Thankfully, my father-in-law rented a snake thing and he and my husband were able to clear the tree roots out of the old part of the line. Husband has decided though that one or both of the maple trees in our front yard must come down since their roots are causing the problems. I'm fine with ridding our yard of those dreadful trees, but I suggested that perhaps we ought to wait until next year when our luck is better and the tree won't collapse on our house. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's the Simple Things

I often times wonder why we bother buying the kids toys when they are perfectly content playing with packing peanuts, boxes and spoons. 

The kids spent an entire afternoon playing in their boxes. Maeve created a space ship and I turned Finn's box into a post office. 

Mud Stomping

It was rainy here for several days and then sunny so I took advantage of the wet ground and dug up some Naked Ladies. My children helped by pulling up the bulbs and stomping in the knee deep mud puddle. It was great fun and well worth the mess.