Archive | February, 2009

Mommy’s Day Off

I am taking a lovely day to myself today! My gracious sister in law is taking Karis for the day in order that I can rest and relax. I am trying to store up strength for the labor and postpartum. Baby is coming soon! Baby has dropped and I have been experiencing a good amount contractions. So I am signing off for the weekend…blessings upon you all!

UPDATE: Okay, I am sorry…some readers thought I was in labor…but I should clarify. I was having a lot of Braxten Hicks contractions! We will let you know of the arrival as soon as it takes place. ;) Thanks for all your sweet comments!

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Preparatory Resources for a Natural Pregnancy & Birth


What books and resources do you recommend on the topic of natural pregnancy and childbirth?

I am currently reading The Christian Childbirth Handbook by Jennifer Vanderlaan and what a huge blessing it has been to me! I cannot more highly recommend this resource for any couple preparing for birth (yes, a good read for husband and wife!). It is solidly based upon Scripture and covers every topic in relation to making wise birthing decisions, the process of birth, preparing your heart with Scripture, etc. It has an excellent section on dealing with the fears that most ladies experience with the thought of giving birth and counteracts a lot of the lies that our culture presents. God has beautifully designed women to give birth, and so establishing a biblical understanding of the process and preparing for it is wise. This resource is excellent to accomplish both goals!

bradleyBradley Classes - I recommend anyone desiring to prepare wisely for giving birth to take a bradley class! This class was such a huge help to both my husband and me. It gave both of us the tools to understand and manage the different aspects of birth. I love how it encourages and promotes the husband to be the main coach in childbirth. My husband is my number #1 assistant and this course supplied us with the knowledge necessary to know how to do that. This second time around we took the last two classes as a refresher. Relaxation and abdominal breathing practice is so important! If you live in my area, I recommend Amber Langeliers as a bradley instructor. She also served as my doula and it made a great impact upon me to have her knowledge right beside me during my birth. Visit here to find a class near you!

If you cannot take the course, I would encourage you to borrow or buy the books based upon the course: Husband Coached Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. These are excellent reads whether you take the class or not. You can also purchase the Bradley Method Student Notebook.

Naturally Healthy Pregnancy by Shonda Parker is another excellent resource written from a Christian perspective naturally-healthythat has been recommended to me on multiple occasions. It answers all questions in regards to nutritional and herbal medicine for optimal health during pregnancy. Beginning with God’s design for health and nutrition, the following is covered in detail: how to eat for a healthy baby, which herbs are safe and which are dangerous during pregnancy, and the best ways to minimize those times of nausea and discomfort.

The Wise Woman Herbal to the Childbearing Years by Susan Weed has been a very helpful resource for understanding what natural herbs and supplements are useful during this season of life. It also has numerous recipes for homemade tonics, teas, and various baby problems. I recommend removing pages 11 & 12 for some strange New Agey materials.

Lastly, I would recommend you check out Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Although I have not read it myself, it has been recommended to me by both my midwife and other friends as a solid read on natural childbirth.

Next week I will be sharing some rich quotes and verses to have on hand for preparing for birth and to use in labor…

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Water Filters: What do you recommend?

Amy asked: I was wondering if you filter your water, and if so, what filter system you use? I’ve been distilling for 15 years, but am looking to change to a filter in order to keep minerals in our water.  I would be interested in any information you have on the subject.

I simply use the water filtration system that came with my refrigerator, as my area does not have flouride added to the water, so it does filter out the chlorine.

I did come across this Q & A from the Weston A Price Foundation:

Q. I have heard that reverse osmosis filters remove minerals, is that true?

A. Yes, RO filters take out all the minerals, but they also are the only way to take out all the fluoride. So if you have fluoridated water, use an RO filter and then add minerals back in via mineral drops.

I have heard good reviews about the filtration system that Urban Homemaker’s (an excellent Christian natural resource company) sells: Multi-Pure Water Purification. If you subscribe to her e-mail list, it seems like it is always going on sale! Currently, you can get a free shower filter with the purchase of one of these systems.

I would love to hear what recommendations might come from the readers! The floor is open!

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Two Tasty Recipes: Sweet Potato Burritos & Macaroni & Cheese!

I am excited to recommend two new recipes that I have been experimenting with lately!

Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos

sweet-potato-burritoesThanks to one of my readers, I recently received and tried this Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos. I found it extremely delicious, frugal (as it is meatless) and a great freezer meal. I used black beans in replacement of the kidney beans, along with my homemade soaked tortillas and it turned out fabulously. I thought the sweet potato and bean a rather odd combination at first but was pleasantly surprised by the results. You must give it a try! You can use this as a freezer meal by simply stuffing your burritos in advanced with the cooked ingredients, covering as you desire and placing it in the freezer.

Until I can get my own, this photo is the original photo from the recipe…just to wet your taste buds! I put mine in the freezer for after baby before I could get a picture! Alas!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese


My second recommendation is Baked Macaroni & Cheese! I have been trying several recipes lately to find a delicious homemade version using my own raw milk and cheese and this is the one! I made the following changes to make it more nutritious! It remained extremely moist and full of flavor!

  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni (I use brown rice penne pasta, so technically it is penne & cheese at our house!)
  • 1 cup milk, preferably raw or whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (replaced with equal quantities of paprika, ground mustard, coriander & salt to equal 1 tsp or slightly more)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. In a bowl mix milk, eggs, sour cream, seasoning salt, and pepper. Layer macaroni, cheddar cheese, and milk mixture until pan is full. Sprinkle bread crumbs and further paprika on the top.
  4. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until milk mixture is done.
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Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 3

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 3 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 3 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. For part 1, visit here. For part 2, visit here. We are so glad you decided to join us! I Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading. Chapter 3 focused on Hos­pi­tal­ity & Family.


“If the Lord has given us a family, extending hospitality to our family is our first priority.” Once we have established this ministry to our own family, we can then begin to offer it to others outside our home. Hospitality will then become a natural extension to others of what we are already exhibiting to our own families. Why is this important?

  1. For the sake of our integrity – loving our husbands and children are our priorities (Tit. 2:3-5)
  2. For the sake of our children – neglecting our children can build unnecessary resentment that will not bear fruit of the gospel in their lives
  3. For the sake of the gospel - your godly behavior and service to your household and family can be a powerful gospel witness

How can we practice hospitality with a family?

Continue Reading →

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The Skirt that works for it all!

skirt1I love this skirt! Do you know why? It is one of those pieces that can work with everything. Brown is a wonderful color! But not only that, it is the most comfortable skirt I own and it works beautifully for when I am pregnant and also when I am not. The best investment of my money on clothing has been to find items that work for both regular and maternity use. This skirt has a fold over waist that can  pulled up over your belly, giving such wonderful support especially during pregnancy. It is fun and cute for everyday wear! Plus…this skirt is available through the clothing business, Christa-Taylor, that my sister and family started two years ago. Just a little plug!img_53112

So when you think you need maternity clothes…consider all the wonderful options out there that can work for both seasons of life.

Empire waist tops are another excellent choice. I have one non-maternity empire waist top in particular that is long and cute and still fits me at 37 weeks! Tunics are a fun multi-purpose addition as well. You can use belts with your tunics prior to pregnancy and then either remove the belt or let it rest above your expanding belly. See how my sisters use belts here. I also don’t bother with maternity pajamas…a large shirt and some sweat pants will do! It may not work for everyone, but I have definitely been able to save a few dollars by thinking in advance before every clothing purchase. Could this be multi-purpose?

That’s my frugal tip for the day!

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BumGenius cloth diapers are redeemed!



I have been a faithful fan of BumGenius one size pocket diapers for the duration of the 18 months of usage they have received at our home (read more about cloth diapering and my review here). It keeps my diapering simple, convenient and easy for everyone to use (even the grandparents)! My only complaint…the elastic around the legs of the diapers wore out relatively quickly, within the first year of use. Thankfully, Cotton Diapers (the manufacturer) offers a one year warranty on these diapers. They have amazing costumer service! I returned seven of my diapers within that one year warranty and received replacements in just two days. For more information on making returns/exchanges, visit here and check out the BumGenius FAQ page. Recently, the remainder of my stock was beginning to show wear in the elastic.

They remained in excellent shape beside the legs (velcro is working perfectly and fabric is still very soft), which was leading to more frequent leaking. I was not sure what to do, and was disappointed to think they were reaching the end of their life. Thanks to my friend, Chalon, my diapers have been redeemed! With the use of some new 1/4” elastic, small safety pins and a seam ripper (costing me a total of $2), I have been able to easily replace the elastic in my diapers and they now look brand new! Praise the Lord! You don’t know how excited I am! The Lord is providing all our basic needs…isn’t that awesome?

Find a step by step picture tutorial of the process of replacing the elastic here. The only requirement is very basic sewing skills, and then again, you can do it easily by hand as well!



So if there is any other fellow BG diaper users out there, don’t give up too quickly! If you are considering cloth diapering, I give another vote to these diapers if you are willing to put a little effort into them (hanging them to dry is a good way to preserve their life as well). They are the second cheapest option for diapering beyond prefolds while remaining more convenient and softer on the babies bottom. I still have yet to see how well they fit on a newborn, as we started Karis on them at four months (thus the reason I have prefolds for our baby). They will fit your little one all the way through to potty training! Karis can wear one of diapers for at least 3 hours (often times up to 5 hours) without any leaking problems! I have tried a few other one size diapers (Happy Heiny’s, Haute Pockets), and BG diapers surpass them all!

Further Resources

Recommended Cloth Diaper Detergents
Bum Genius FAQ Page

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Truly Natural Mascara Options

mascaraBlessings asked: Do you wear mascara and if so what brand? I remember a blog post about mineral makeup but use maybelline mascara, and since it’s gone, I thought I would ask if you have a better brand or alternative.

Yes, I do wear mascara, and have been in pursuit of finding a truly natural alternative, but have been quite stumped. Your question got me motivated to dig deep and find the best options.

I have been surprised to see how many mascara options are available that claim to be “natural” and yet still contain parabens of all varieties. Natural brands such as EccoBella, BareEssentuals mascara, and Palladio.

Parabens (such as methyl­paraben and propylparaben) are synthetic preservatives and studies link them with cancer, endocrine dis­rup­tion and hor­mone mim­icry, developmental and reproductive toxicity, aller­gies and skin tox­i­c­ity, tissue irri­ta­tion, and tox­i­c­ity to var­i­ous organs, to name a few.

As mascara is the easiest of skin products to quickly enter and be absorbed into the body through the eyes, it is definitely something worthwhile to consider finding a safe paraben free alternative. Check out your ingredient lists carefully and always refer to the Skin Deep Database.

I have been doing various research and have found the following options to be your best choices. Please note that these natural mascaras are not waterproof.  Companies use plastics and high alcohol content to achieve this effect. Prices range from $14-18 per tube, which is actually quite reasonable since the standard brand I have bought in the past was at least $9-10 and lasts for approximately 6 months for me. Remember, the least amount of ingredients listed on a label the better, and they should be readable! ;)

Origins Lash Loving Mascara
Tarte Lash Hugger Natural Mascara
– (read reviews on this product here)
RealPurity Mascara
Earth’s Beauty Mascara
Sun Coat Naturals

The majority of these mascaras can be found online through Natural Solutions, a great source for truly natural cosmetic products.

Further Reading

How Safe is Your Mascara? - most standard mascara brands are compared

I would love to hear if any of you have tried these safe alternatives? What do you recommend? Remember…double check your ingredient list before making a recommendation!

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The Wonders of Green Smoothies

img_5296Did you know that through one green smoothie you can consume 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables? Did you also know that eating green smoothies is one of the easiest way to digest the full nutrients of fruits and vegetables?

Green smoothies are a wonderful alternative, as opposed to juices, of absorbing the full potential  by retaining the entire whole form of the fruit/vegetable, thus receiving all the fiber. They can assist in boosting energy, building your immune system, detoxing impurities, and loosing weight. Greens are rich in magnesium and alkaline minerals like calcium and are superb in their Omega-3 unsaturated fat content.  Believe it or not, greens are one of the richest sources of protein.

Another one of my new year goals was to begin eating more greens in our diet. What better way than to include these in our morning smoothies? We serve kefir smoothies three times a week for breakfast, so my desire was to discreetly begin adding some nutritious greens to the mix. I have found it to be incredibly simple, delicious, and so much easier to eat than a large salad (especially for the kids). Not only can you really not taste the greens at all, but you are getting a huge boost in nutrition. Greens are especially frugal and thus another good encouragement to begin consuming them. We have stayed amazingly healthy over this past month since beginning the green smoothie pursuit, even when we have been exposed to some nasty illnesses around us. Could it be?

Continue Reading →

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Practicing Hospitality: Chapter 2

Wel­come back for our chap­ter 2 dis­cus­sion on Prac­tic­ing Hos­pi­tal­ity: The Joy of Serv­ing Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tat­lock. This is part 2 of an eight week dis­cus­sion on this book. For part 1, visit here. We are so glad you decided to join us! I will once again start by giving a brief recap of the chap­ter fol­lowed by a few dis­cus­sion ques­tions which you can use to lead in shar­ing what stood out to you in this chap­ter in the com­ments below. Even if you are not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the study, I encour­age you to keep reading…Chapter 2 focused on Hos­pi­tal­ity & Strangers.


This chapter highlights both the Old & New Testament commands to practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 says, “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” The very core of understanding this biblical command  is understanding that this command is a practical way to visualize our love for God and for His people. Our foundation for practicing hospitality must be found in the truth that God’s remarkable grace has been demonstrated to us (Romans 1-11), and thus we should witness our transformed lives by showing brotherly love to others.

Hospitality is:

  • Proverbs 14:31 – a means of honoring and loving Christ by meeting the needs of the poor
  • 1 Peter 4:9 – to be practiced without grumbling or complaining, or thought of reward.
  • Hebrews 13:1-2  – literally “a love for strangers” – treating fellow believers (Rom. 12:3, 1 Tim. 3:2), widows, orphans (1 Tim. 5:1-16), unbelievers (Luke 5:29), the poor and needy (Luke 14:12-14), missionaries (Matt. 10:9-11; Luke 10:7-16), foreigners, immigrants, refugees (Gen. 18:1-22; Lev. 25:35), and even enemies (Rom. 12:20) as if they were your very own family.
  • Proverbs 19:17 – helping the poor, understanding that the Lord will repay you!
  • Meeting the basic needs of others – and can include preparing food, providing lodging, giving physical protection, sharing material possessions, offering a place of rest, extending love and encouragement, sharing the gospel and spiritual teaching or encouragement.

The authors then proceed to give four points in summary of the Old Testament understanding of hospitality:

  1. Hospitality was viewed as a duty – considered a responsibility or obligation.
  2. Hospitality was offered sincerely, earnestly extended from the heart.
  3. Hospitality was inclusive of all people – friends, strangers and enemies.
  4. Hospitality was mutually respected, meaning that guests reciprocated the hospitality with a permanent and loyal friendship.

Do you and I view hospitality with the same kind of commitment?

Continue Reading →

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