Thursday, May 31, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers in a Front Loader

When I decided to cloth diaper my baby I had lots of questions and naturally thought this was going to be really complicated. The thing I feared the most was the washing! I have a newer Bosch front loading washer and I had read so many mom forums that insisted you could not get the diapers clean in any front loader. Of course I panicked at first and had flashes of my poor infant with diaper rash and stinky catastrophies. Well I wasn't going to be getting another washer and I had already bought my diapers so what was I to do? Well I figured out a simple and effective routine with my specific washer but those of you with another kind can probably adapt.

Step one: Take the wet or poopy diaper off your little one and clean them up! Put a clean diaper on. Put the dirty diaper or insert in your pail, I recommend the dry method.

Step 2: Repeat step one until your pail is full or you are down to 3-4 diapers.

Step 3: Dump the pail contents as they are in the washer. If you have a baby that is still exclusively breastfed no need to rinse out the poopies. Babies on solids make solid poop so please rinse out best you can in the toilet before putting in your pail.

Step 4: For my washer I do not have a "Rinse" cycle but I have discovered recently how to do this! I select "Drain & Spin" and then hit the "Allergy Rinse" button. This is a hot rinse.

Step 5: After you have run the rinse cycle add a small (I mean small) amount of your diaper safe soap of choice. has a great list of detergents good and bad for washing diapers. I then select the "Xxtra Sanitary" cycle and another "Allergy Rinse" which will just add another hot rinse at the end. If you want a little added softness DO NOT add softener, add a few tablespoons of white vinegar in place of softener. Softener will make your diapers repel liquid instead of absorb.

Step 6: Check to see if there is any soap on your door at the end of the cycle. If there is you may have some soap build up or used too much soap. Just run another hot rinse until it is gone. Then either line dry or machine dry as your diaper brand instructs. I have gDiapers and the waterproof pouch cannot be machine dried. I just toss them on top of the dryer and let the gentler heat dry them. DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS!!!

There you go! Clean diapers for your baby's bottom.

If it smells like ammonia when your baby pees in their diaper you may need to strip them. It is a good idea to do this periodically anyway to keep them from getting any kind of build up. Same goes for if it seems like the absorbancy has decreased, time to strip.

Happy diapering!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Daughter's Birth Story

I found out I was pregnant in July when I happened to be going to my doctor for a med check and was 4 days late. Curious, yet, doubting I really was pregnant I asked if I could do a urine test since I was there anyway. I had no sooner got back to the exam room and got settled to chat with my doctor than the nurse popped her head in and simply said it was positive. I was thrilled and a bit shocked! I had lost a pregnancy in it's early weeks the month before and had just begun seeing an OB for fertility testing. This was wonderful news, however, I was now nervous as the waiting began to see if this was going to be a viable pregnancy after 3 that were not.
My OB decided I should start on a progesterone treatment to help support my pregnancy. Just wanting a healthy pregnancy I went with it. But in the back of my mind it bothered me a bit. After my husband and I got home from our trip to Montana we had an ultrasound at 8 weeks and everything looked great! Healthy little bean. Then we had a nurse visit before we left to outline the next seven months of care. By about the third test we declined we could tell she was getting a little annoyed at our take charge attitude involving my pregnancy. We got that “Oh, you're one of those couples” look. When we got in the car we both just looked at each other and knew we would not be coming back. I called Susi soon after to set up a consultation. After trying to have a baby for the better part of the last year I was not going to have someone bully me into situations that made me uncomfortable!
We loved Susi and transferred my records to her and never looked back. The first and second trimester went fairly smoothly with no morning sickness and really only fatigue to complain about. I really enjoyed that period! Then came the third. All I can say is UGH! Cue swelling, prodromal labor and heartburn that could melt a skillet. By 30 weeks I was just counting the days until I could be done. I felt and looked like an over saturated sponge begging for someone to ring me out. Suspicious of how I was feeling, Susi ran some blood tests and it concluded that I wasn't eating enough and was heading for preeclampsia if I didn't get my act together. So, I began the full time job of eating. I was not a good employee to my body and there was many an afternoon my mom came home and fed me from then until she went to bed. The extra food and supplements did make me feel better though, and it wasn't until now that I had realized growing a baby is work in one way or another.

Several times I thought I was going into labor, but it always petered out. At 37 weeks I was loosing it. I cried uncontrollably for a whole day after I had been up most of the night with regular contractions. I watched announcements of other people's babies crop up on facebook what seemed like daily. I was envious and miserably so. I struggled for days with this trying to be happy for others as I bawled at their status updates! I will admit this was not one of my prouder moments, I was acting like a toddler demanding to know when her surprise party was. I was tired from the strain on my body and the constant contractions, I just wanted to be done. So what did I do? I gave up. Said, screw it, she'll come out eventually, for now I give up trying to get things going.

I was 38 weeks on the first of March, a Thursday. Friday I decided to make an appointment to get my hair cut the next day. I figured with two kids I would have no time to get it cut after she was born. Saturday came and I woke up in a bit of a bad mood. Kyle and I had argued the night before about something, I can't quite remember. I went to my haircut and came back feeling a bit better and noticed I was having contractions quite a bit. I decided to dismiss them and went about my day. Jeremiah and Kyle went to a play date that evening and my mom decide she and dad would take me to my “last supper” out. To Mexican. Subtle. Just wanting to go out I said fine and away we went. The dish I got was not spicy and wasn't terribly good either. Oh well, it was another break from the house! That night Kyle and I settled our grouchy attitudes and went to bed. He got up at 2:15ish am. to get ready to work a short shift at the airport and I thought about getting up to pee. I fell back asleep until about 3:00 when my bladder firmly suggested I get my butt out of bed and empty it. Away I stumbled across the hall. For some reason I flicked the light on that time, usually I just left it off considering the night light sufficient. After I wiped I looked at the paper out of habit and was shocked to see a bloody streak on it. I had a flash of the same emotion I had when I got my first period... weird. Then when it sunk in what the streak meant I got a stupid grin on my face and hurried to see if Kyle had left for work yet. He just happened to forget his keys that morning and was on his way back in the door as I came to tell him I thought I was starting labor. I told him if I needed him I would call him home and he went to work. I thought about going back to bed but I had started having really crampy contractions and figured I might as well encourage things to get going. I sat on my birth ball and watched a recorded show while I did hip rotations and relished the feeling of real labor surges. They had immediately organized into a pattern of 3-4 minutes apart and about a minute long but were fairly mild. By 4:45 I figured I would just let mom know I was in labor. She was so excited she almost shot out of bed, but I assured her I was just getting going so she should go back to sleep. I went back to the living room with a bowl of cereal and just hung out in the quiet. I called Susi at 6:00 to let her know my labor had started and she said she would be by to see me around 7:30. Then I called Kyle to come home soon. Susi came and checked me out and listened to the baby and said I was in early labor and then left. She called to check in around 1:00 and I was still plugging away at the same pace though things were getting more intense by that time. I was handling the surges well and felt good although a bit tired. Susi said she would call back to check on me at 5:00 unless I felt I needed to call sooner. I snacked and enjoyed Jeremiah's nap time in the rocking chair. My feet and legs were so swollen that mom suggested laying down with my feet up for a bit, but that sounded awful! I liked my chair! Things were getting heavier and the motion and even the creaking of the old chair were really soothing me.

By 4:00 I wanted to be checked. It had been 13 hours since I had started labor and I wanted some reassurance that it was going to fruitful in the near future. Mom called Susi and she arrived about 4:30. When she checked me I was 2 cm (call the press!!!) and 90% effaced. Oh, I tried so hard to not act disappointed...

OK, things from here on get a little jumbled and fuzzy. I think I got in the shower for a bit as active labor kicked into gear. Sometime later (11:00 pm. I was told) Brenda, the assisting midwife came to take over for Susi and her student Lara. She listened to the baby with the Doppler and then strongly suggested Kyle and I cuddle for a bit. I had been checked again a bit earlier and was only 5 cm but fully effaced. I had retreated to my bed even though the contractions were more painful laying down. I was getting exhausted. Food and drink did not interest me and it took a lot of coaxing to get some into me. I think about an hour later I started getting nauseous and shaky and unwillingly giving a bit of a grunty push at the end of the surge. At the time I thought nothing much of it but when I asked Susi after the birth when I had gone through transition she told me that was it. We figure I went from 5 to 10 cm in about 2 hours or so. At some point I went to my glider in the corner of my room and labored there for a couple hours only leaving it's relative comfort to pee. I remember glaring at Kyle as he lay sleeping on the bed only feet from me. Someone came in to listen to the baby and make me take a sip of water every few contractions. It wasn't hard to tell when I had one because I was moaning them out fairly load now. Oh, the back labor, how I hated it. If not for that crap that labor would have been cake. Finally, I think around 6:00 am. Susi came in and wanted to check me again. This time I was complete and she thought I had been so for a little while. She told me not to get in my chair and that it was time to get things moving. So I stationed myself at the end of my bed and practiced pushing. I didn't really have much urge to push yet but she suggested I give a little push at the beginning of a surge to encourage that feeling. Oh man did it work! Kyle and mom watched over me as I got the hang of pushing. Kyle and I were alone when my water broke with a short splat on the chux I was standing on during a push. He was sitting right next to me and got his socks splashed. I apologized for the fluid that was soaking in and asked if he would go tell Susi my water broke. Not sure if he did or if Susi just happened to come in right after but announced clear fluid, dried my legs a bit and then got down to business. I tried squatting while hanging on to my foot board, standing, kneeling while Kyle sat in front of me and held my upper body and squatting being supported by Kyle from behind. Once I got her head through my cervix and down low enough to see I assumed the kneeling/ hands and knees position for most of the remaining push time. Susi gave my perineum support with hot washcloths and coached me to try to get her head through my bones. Finally I gave in to the burning pain and was crowning. In my head I was thinking to myself, “Holy sh*t this burns! They aren't kidding about the ring of fire!”. I buried my face in Kyle's knees and pushed hard, not that my body gave me many options. Trying to stay in control of that kind of force is challenging to say the least. My mom had gotten Jeremiah and they were on hands and knees in the doorway staring at the squishy head of hair I was working hard to get out. Jeremiah exclaimed, “Baby's head! Baby's coming out soon! Good job mommy”. My mom was giving me a play by play of what part of her face she could see with each push until finally her head was out. Then Susi asked me to step one of my legs forward to get her shoulders out. “What?”, I said, bewildered. Kyle told me to again and helped me straighten and get the leg up there. I pushed really hard and at 11:39 am. out she came! Along with Sebago Lake. She got passed under my legs to Kyle and he handed her to me. She was wet and warm and smelled like a hot tub. A little in shock I managed to seat myself on Kyle's lap and tried to get Grace to cry. She was breathing fine but her lungs were a bit wet still. I chuckled in my head as Kyle asked for a rag to wipe the meconium off his arms.
In the background I heard a sickening splattering. Realizing it was coming from me I looked down to see a puddle of blood forming at my feet. I expected to see my placenta come flying out with it. Didn't happen. I pushed a little as Kyle stimulated my nipple. Still didn't happen. I was given a tincture, nothing. So we cut the cord and I hobbled over to my bed. I got Grace latched on to my breast and just admired her perfection while Susi checked me for any tears. Not so much as a skid mark! Jer came and met his sister and mom snapped pictures. After a few minutes it became apparent that the placenta that was half in half out needed some attention. I reluctantly gave Kyle Grace and was helped into a squat on the bed. I pushed, coughed and pleaded with the stupid organ but no luck. And Susi and Brenda's faces were getting worried. I got catheterized and Lara fed me more tinctures. While on my hands and knees I had a big gush of blood and Susi quickly said, “Pit her”, to Brenda. Things were starting to get desperate. After I got laid back down and Susi unsuccessfully tried to manually help the placenta out, she and Brenda went into the bathroom to talk. I knew the word hospital was being said. They came back and I agreed it would be best to transfer. I had lost a lot of blood, so much my ears were ringing now.

It didn't take long for the EMTs to arrive. Brenda was finishing getting me dressed as I told mom what to dress Grace in when they came in the room. Having worked at a store during high school that they frequented, I recognized two of them right away and the other I had grown up with in school. Familiar faces were a comfort. Given the tight hallway they brought in a wheeled chair to get me out to the truck. As I stood up and got seated my vision immediately went fuzzy and gray and my hearing reduced to a muffle. I wasn't scared though, I knew God was with me and I was going to be OK. I reassured Kyle as I was wheeled past him, barely able to hold my head off my chest. He looked terrified as the last of my vision disappeared. Outside the cool air registered against my skin as did the brilliant sunlight that filtered in through my darkness. The men lifted me onto the gurney and as I laid back the blood was able to restore my vision and hearing rather quickly. Susi climbed in with me and sat at my head and two of the EMTs stationed on either side of me. The kid I went to school with took the wheel and off we went. Kyle and mom were going to follow with Grace. They got IV fluids started after fitting me with oxygen and Susi called ahead to let Labor and Delivery know we were on our way so we could skip the ER. I chatted with the guys on the way and the ride went pretty quick. When we got there they rolled me out and through the sliding doors. I got a wrist band and we headed up to the L&D floor. In triage I told the nurse my baby was being brought by my husband and I wanted to be able to nurse her again before anything was done to me. She assured me I would be able to. I met a couple doctors and it was decided after examination that a D&C was going to be the best action to take. I signed forms, had another IV started and was briefed by the anesthesiologist. The nurse and Susi helped me nurse Grace and then collect some colostrum for while I was in surgery. I was then wheeled over to the OR and things got going. I woke up as they were wheeling me back into my triage room. Everything had gone fine, they had found that my membranes hadn't separated from my uterus and had stopped my placenta from being able to birth. It was a rare complication and not something I should expect to see again.
I got settled in my postpartum room after getting two pints of blood to replenish a good amount of my total volume. Our pastor came to see us and held Grace for a bit while I ate some supper. After he left, I tried to get some sleep between feedings and nurses coming in. Mom left in the morning when Kyle got up. We spent the day trying to get me discharged and after I had my catheter removed and peed twice, I was. Susi had been by a bit before to check in and give Grace a better exam. We hadn't had time for a full one before I transferred but we did manage to weigh her the night before at the hospital. 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches! I was given instructions and some Floradix for my iron and was told she would see me Thursday. I showered and dressed while mom was on her way to pick us up and finally we got to go home! Nothing was sweeter than returning home to my bed to cuddle with my new baby.

Her birth was perfect, third stage not so much. But, honestly I have no fears to have another home birth. I was in good and skilled hands as well as my Father's, He never left me through out my 33 hours of labor or the weeks of recovery after. I was and am happy with my story.


We heat with wood in our home and every fall we seem to be staring winter in the face before we have all our firewood cut, split and stacked. This year Montana Man and I are determined to have two years worth of wood in the barn to cure before we reach winter. From now on we will have a goal of keeping two years worth in supply, one to burn and one to cure and rotate each year. Some of my parents land has been cleared recently so we are fortunate to already have trees to process.

So, Montana Man and I decide this weekend was the weekend to work on it. It's saturday so I got to hand Mini Me off to her daddy and sleep in a bit. I was up at 9:00 so I spent the next hour getting the kids ready and kyle got me coffee! Good start so far! Once I got Mini in her stroller and waters (it's hot today), we were ready to go.

A pile was already sitting in the yard in a scrambled heap of small and large logs. Puzzel Boy and I started to work on sorting and stacking the smaller of the logs and leaving the larger ones by the splitter. For a four year old he is a good little helper! He stacks very neatly. I was a bit distracted as I worked until Mini decided to nod off. Then Puzzle Boy and I got the wheel barrow and got down to business. Montana Man was busy dragging up logs from out back as well as some cut logs. I have a lot to split! I am hoping to get a cord or more up today. The kids are sleeping now for their afternoon naps so I better get going! Pictures to follow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Natural Deoderant Review

I'm sure many of you have heard about the harmful effects that aluminum can have to our health. Most antiperspirants have aluminum in them to pulg up your pores working so hard to keep your body cool. Now I have nothing against a little grooming in the armpit department, but I do have a problem with causing harm to my body. I do realize that not many people actually get cancer from their morning slathering of their "stink pretty" of choice (my husbands term btw), but I just don't see the point in potential heavy metal poisoning. So I switched! My last stick of regular old A/D ran out and I found myself standing in the aisle debating with myself. Finally after a few sniff tests I chose the above pictured deoderant.

I think:
It feels nice and light and the fragrance isn't too strong. I cannot say it is the most effective deoderant in the world but for a light sweater like me it is adaquet. It says it is 24hr protection but I believe this would only be true for a VERY sedentary person. Like, they don't move... ever. I do put it on twice a day if I am really working or if it is hot because about half way through the day things are starting to get a bit funky. New coat and I am good til bed. Being home all the time this is no problem for me. If I were at work I would need to carry another in my purse. The last thing is that while my skin adjusted to the new slick, it broke out a bit. Not an issue, I don't really run around with my arms up so I was the only one noticing. It has gotten better and over all my skin looks healthier.

Yes, I would, however please don't blame me if it doesn't work out! I am not terribly vain about these things so I tend not to be mortified if I don't smell like peaches and green tea (or whatever they have come out with now!). I have found it a decent alternative to traditional antiperspirant/deoderant.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

My son is gluten and dairy free. This has been a learning curve for me as I have been making a lot of his treats I took for granted. We started this diet the end of March and went cold turkey. The changes and improvements in his behavior and speech have been profound and I am so glad we did it. Today he ate his last GF muffin and it was time to restock the freezer. I skimmed through his cookbook, The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cook Book, and from what we had in the pantry I chose Pumpkin Bread. I made 12 muffins and 3 mini loaves so we should be set for a month or more. If you are gluten free this is a must try because it is so good!

3 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wet to the dry and mix very well. Add chocolate chips if desired (I didn't this time).

Divide batter among three 8X4 bread pans or two 12 cup muffin tins that have been sprayed well with cooking spray. Bake loaves for 45-50 minutes until they test clean, muffins for 40 min until they test clean. Cool completely before cutting serving.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Greetings! Welcome to Maine, where the weather changes as often as our underwear! In all seriousness I absolutely love living here and am very greatful to my husband for letting me drag him here from Montana where we met. That's a story for another day. Now! Let me explain my blog title. It is what we are aspiring to do and have been for a few years. We realize with a tanked economy and the unstable nature of life in general that it is the prudent thing for our family to become self sustaining. But as we have found it is not the easiest thing to do cold turkey. But I think I have finally worked out a reasonable "5 year plan" to accomplish this goal. More details to come.

A bit about me: I am a 22 year old mommy of a 4 year old stepson (December 2007) and a 3 month old daughter (March 2012) who was born at home. I am married to my husband of nearly 2 years (October 2010), who is possibly more passionate about sustainable living than myeslf! I like to cook and do fiber crafts and quilting, and I would like to improve my seamstress skills so I can make clothing. I love and hate housework depending on the day, I cloth diaper my baby and my son is gluten and dairy free for ASD. I love staying home with my children but will work as much outside the home as I need to. I plan to homeschool my son beginning with kindergarden in fall 2013. I like to garden although I am not very good at it yet from lack of experience! Animals come a bit more naturally. Someday it is my dream to have a root cellar and huge pantry filled with food at the end of fall and take comfort and pride in knowing we can feed ourselves. And I HATE money. It will come up I promise you!

Everyone has nick names for their family members so here are mine: Husband: Montana Man Son: Puzzle Boy Daughter: Mini Me