Monday, February 28, 2011

Doll Cloth Diapers

What do you give a little girls who loves to steal her sisters' cloth diapers for her dolls? You make some for her own of course!I made a template from wrapping paper around her doll to get the right fit, cut it out of fleece so I have no edges to finish and sewed some velcro on. THAT'S IT! It seriously took about 30 minutes and she loves them!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sugar Addiction

Hi, my name is Kris and I'm a sugar addict. And now you're all laughing and going, "yep, aren't we all?" But I'm serious. It's manifesting itself in actual physical side effects. I get severe headaches, jitters and this morning I was really dizzy until I had a piece of candy.
That is not normal folks.
I really overdid it over the holidays and stress has kept me going back to the sweets. This morning was a wake up call for me. This is real and I need to make some major changes. I've always had the attitude that of course we all need less sugar and processed food. Everyone knows we do. But I never cared much about it because I was always so healthy. But I'm not that healthy anymore. I married a guy who grew up eating hamburger helper and unfortunately I've started taking on these easy meal ideas.
I am feeling less depressed these days (yep, pretty sure it was SAD), but my anxiety is getting much worse. I LOATHE anxiety. I think medication is probably in order, but I don't want to just pop a pill forever. I want to feel healthy again. I want to be healthy again. That might help the anxiety or I might need to pills longer, but it's worth a shot, right?
I don't think just cutting out sugar will be enough. I think we need to finally make that lifestyle change. What I would love is to have a diet of mostly fruits and veggies, whole grains: corn, brown rice, whole wheat and the occasional meat. And not grain fed meat. Grass fed.
I've been researching a lot about where our food comes from and it's a bit scary. When you really start to learn what is happening to our food it's no wonder there's so much sickness in our society.
Obviously the biggest obstacle is money. Grass fed beef and free range chicken doesn't come cheap. But we shouldn't have that much meat anyway. Perhaps this is the way to stick to that. It's becoming more important to me than ever that my family starts growing much of its own food. Have any of you had success moving to a whole foods diet? What were the biggest drawbacks?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Take Back Urban Homesteading

Everyone else did this Monday. But I didn't because I'm a rebel. Better late then never, right? I've been out sick with a nasty cold and my third (yes, third!!) mastitis infection. I swear Tumbleweed did permanent injury with that first one because I've had problems since. But I am not here to write about breasts, I am here to write about something that has been on my mind for over a year, a movement I've been trying to become part of called urban homesteading. Or rather non-rural homesteading. I have to refer to it as something else now. You see, the Derveas family of Path to Freedom fame has decided to trademark the term so we have to attribute it to them. Numerous blogs were notified (including my favorite: rootsimple) and facebook removed many pages for the urban homesteading movement. The blogosphere has responded with a Urban Homesteaders Action Day. I missed it. Because I had a 104 fever. But here I am now to give my response to a situation I find ridiculous.
I'm a wannabe urban homesteader. Maybe I'll feel like I'm part of the group once we have honey bees or chickens. Or when I start canning more than jam. I'm not sure. If I make rugs out of old
sheets that counts, right? Regardless, of whether or not I get to be included in the club, I read a LOT of blogs and books about the subject.

A week or so ago the head of the Derveas family sent out some fairly polite letters to a handful of bloggers asking them to please refer to the Derveas Institute when referencing urban homesteading. Annoying, but whatever, I sort of get it since they own the domain name. But THEN they took it to facebook. And this was when they really took it too far. They closed down pages for grassroots organizations and farmers markets. The obvious point to everyone except that family is that when you are trying to promote a grassroots idea and promote education about the idea, the LAST thing you want to do is shut down other little guys who are also promoting that same idea.
They were denied in 2008 when they tried to trademark the words, so who messed up this time? Being able to trademark those words in the first place reeks of Monsantoism (I made up that word. Can I trademark it?). Who is Monsanto? Never heard of them? They're the ones genetically modifying all your food. The ones that sued the little farmers because their genetically modified soy had cross bred with their regular soy and so the little farmer was in violation of patent law (or whatever). I have another post about that I'm working on. The point is, it's just plain stupid.
And now there's a backlash. The Rootsimple folks wrote a book in 2008 called The Urban Homestead and have now obtained a lawyer to help them protect it and everyone else in this crazy situation. Almost 5000 people have joined the facebook group Take Back Urban Homestead(ing) and they're growing and they're mad. And that's something you don't want to do: piss off people who handle pitchforks on an almost daily basis.
Derveas are of course on the defensive and I can almost see where they're coming from with some of their arguments. One problem is here where they list a whole bunch of trademarked words that are also fairly ridiculous: simple living, honeybee, gardener....
The thing is, whoever owns these trademarks aren't shutting down facebook pages and google searches over them. THAT is where you crossed the line you guys. Now I'm just talking to the Dervaes family apparently. A lot of us really liked you. We wanted backyards like yours. We wanted bicycle powered blenders. Mostly, we wanted to know where our food was coming from and do our own little part to help this little planet we all call home. We're disappointed because the people who were fighting the man became the man, whether you intended to or not. When you shut down the free exchange of ideas you shut down and credibility you have gained as pioneers (sorry Jules, not "founders") in a wonderful movement.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Munchkin is 3!

I am amazed! I love this kid so much! I love her spunk and her energy. I love her confidence and paradoxically her shyness. She pretends to read and cracks me up with her stories and the songs she makes up. She loves to sing! I'm amazed at her artistic ability and love to hear her tell me about her stories. I struggle with munchkin more than any other kid. She's willful and defiant and still throws tantrums like a pro, but she's getting better at controlling herself and I'm getting better at learning to pick my battles. She has a zest for life that I hope she never loses and I know I learn a lot from her in the coming years. Happy Birthday to my sweet little Munchkin!!
This year I went on strike. I am so tired of making a cake in a 9x13 pan when there's only 4 of us to eat it. I refuse! So we took my middle out for dinner - she wanted beans, her favorite - and went to Bajio where she got a big plate of black beans. I was feeling guilty about not making her a cake when I remembered that The Sweet Tooth Fairy was across the street. I've never been there but we decided to go and have her find her perfect cupcake. Folks, I cannot recommend this enough if you don't have enough people to eat a whole cake.
The rest of us had leftover valentine cookies and she still got to blow out her candles. And those cupcakes are amazing! She couldn't finish it so I had a bite. I never knew a cupcake could taste like that!
I got tired of her stealing diapers so I made her some of her very own "cloth diapers" out of fleece. SO EASY and a huge hit!! Her brother gave her a feather boa, also a huge hit.
This next part is more for family and friends who have been wondering about Munchkin's illness. We went to see her pediatrician this week who gave her a working diagnosis of PFAPA, which stands for Periodic Fever, Apthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis and Adenitis. There are no tests yet to confirm it, we just have to rule out other diseases in the periodic fever family (she had blood/urine tests to rule out other diseases). What this means is she gets really high fevers (like 105) every month or so which last for a few days. She does get canker sores (that's what apthous stomatits is), but I don't know if they're related to her fevers or not. She doesn't have it as severe as some of the kids I've read about so I'm still not sure if this is really it, but for now it seems to fit the best. Some of those kids get really enlarged lymph nodes and really bad sore throats and their fevers last all week.
We don't have a lot of info and I hope the specialist we see next month will have more answers but I'm not too optimistic. It's listed on the National Institute of Health's Office of Rare Diseases so they just don't know a lot yet. But NIH is currently doing studies and I'm hopeful about that.
The specialists may want to do genetic testing to rule out other periodic fevers, but since she doesn't have any of the associated symptoms I'm not sure. Right now it's wait and see. The good news is that this is simply an inconvenient disease with no known long term effects that she'll most likely outgrow. Either that or we'll get her tonsils removed since it has been shown to be effective treatment. I'm leery of that though since she doesn't get sore throats with it.
That should catch everyone up where we're at with it. I've spent some time on NIH's website reading the literature about it, but right now it's mostly theories and anecdotes. The nice part will be having a doctors note showing she isn't contagious so she can go to things (like church) shortly after a fever!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Build a compost bin from pallets

Someone is thinking about spring. I'll bet you can't guess who. (it's me!!!!)
I think one of the signs farming is in your blood is when you feel guilty throwing away apple cores. "This would make great compost!"
One of these years I will get a fancy tumbler that will make some black gold in a few weeks, but until then I have 2 big piles in my yard.
One is the "heap" where stuff gets thrown and the other is the compost "bin". The bin consists of 5 pallets loosely put together where we get a bit more scientific about what goes in there and try to have a good ratio. But I'd like it to look prettier. So I'm going to attach the pieces with heavy duty zip ties and paint the pallets. It sort of looks like the picture below. Only with pallets more leaning on each other and more old looking.
I wish I could take credit for this, but I can't.

Ours is set up a little differently. We have one half of the bin full and the other empty because we find it's easier to turn it if we can just rotate it between sides. Find what works best for you.
Also, check out:

There's also this VERY handy sheet you can print out to help you make your ideal compost. I'll admit, since I'm kitchen scrapping, I tend to have waaaay too much nitrogen in my compost. I LOVE having this list!
http://media.animalnetwork.com/channelmedia/urbanfarmonline/compost-materials.pdf (if the link doesn't work try reloading it. I had to)

I want to get a worm bin but I have no where to keep it in the winter. Maybe someday I'll get hardcore and keep it in the kitchen.
Do you compost what do you use? Anyone here used a small scale kitchen composter???

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Where Did I Go?

I'm still around. I'm just not on my computer as much anymore. We've had much in the way of sickness here which is why I find myself blogging at 12:30 am. Tumbleweed had a fever so I let her nap longer and of course now she feels fine and guess who gets to be up with her?! Jealous? You should be. She's crying right now because I wont let her unplug my computer. I can hear the phone call for "mom of the year" already!
I think I'm getting a sore throat. No church for mama tomorrow. Now if I didn't have to keep sick kids home with me I could look forward to an actual day of rest.
Thank goodness for Veggie Tales!
I finally redid the family routine and when people aren't sick it works pretty well. I really can't recommend one enough. One particular thing I like this time is that instead of my "chore time" I've divided it up throughout the day. Morning, afternoon and evening chores. I'm a lot less stressed and feel like I have more time with that.
I'm also starting to feel like everything has a place so it's easy to put it back in its place. Now to make sure well-intentioned in-laws don't keep sending stuff!!! Now there's a post!
I think all this cold is getting to me. Well, I think it got to me a couple of months ago, but now it's just overstayed it's welcome. Maybe I'll need to go on meds, but I have a feeling a shovel and some soft earth will help me out of this funk faster than anything my doctor can give me.
I have a replacement camera so hopefully I'll get around to blogging about redoing the kids' rooms. They're sharing again and everything is cleaner!!!!