Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From one mama to another: book recommendations

My friend Suzy Popchicks (not her real name) asked me if I had any book recommendations for a potentially-pregnant lady. Wellllll, yes. Of course, I took it over-seriously and hashed out an entire list of recommendations.

  1. Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting - Peggy O'Mara: It has been awhile since I looked at this book, but I appreciated it for its "natural" and holistic look at parenting - from childbirth and nursing to night waking and first foods. She also talks about "alternative medicine", which not many parenting books cover. I especially appreciated that at the time.
  2. The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two - Dr. Sears: As an overview to babies and parenting, I thought this book was very good. Helpful and extremely thorough.
  3. The Happiest Baby on the Block - Harvey Karp: There were a few things that I didn't agree with in this book (an example: the author claims that babies should never be nursed lying down - pshaw, what a laugh!) but overall, I found it very insightful. Both my boys, but especially Diego, loved being swaddled as babies - it really calmed them down. The 5 S's - Swaddling, Side/Stomach Positions, Shushing, Swinging, Sucking - helped me gain a greater understanding of how to soothe my babies. I didn't have it from experience, but I learned quickly with a jumpstart from the information in this book.


  1. Vaccinations: The Thoughtful Parents' Guide - Aviva-Jill Romm: Out of everything, this is the book I wish I would have read before giving birth. Vaccinations are heralded as all-important in our society. But the truth is, there are a lot of extremely complicated factors that go into the decision to vaccinate. Contrary to how vaccinations are presented, you, the parent, actually have a choice in this matter: whether to forgo, go with a delayed schedule, or pick and choose what is right for your child based on your own research. You will be pressed from the very start to begin vaccinations (I'm not kidding: it will be immediate. It starts with the Hepatitis B vaccine the day or day after the babe is born in a hospital-based birth). Romm's book was the most balanced presentation of the history of vaccinations, pros and cons, and most importantly, the choices we have as parents. In my opinion, it is best to go into the decision to vaccinate with eyes wide open.
  2. Naturally Healthy Babies and Children - Aviva-Jill Romm: I reference this book regularly. It really helped qualm my fears of, "What do I do when...?" It has an A-Z listing of ailments with practical advice on how to deal with it. I cleared the only ear infection we have ever had in this household (a double, at that) with garlic oil and hot compresses. A fever needs to be assisted, not quelled; and so on and so forth. It has empowered me to take my children's health in my own hands, with a great sense of peace.


  1. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats - Sally Fallon: If only for the general nutritional overview at the very beginning, this book would be very good to check out. For the first time in my life, a nutritional paradigm made sense to me -- I feel like it gave direction to my already-existent "whole foods" outlook. Plus, with little ones, you are entirely responsible for their health and well-being. Kids don't have to live on chicken nuggets and mac'n'cheese (and other "food-like substances"). Introduce them to a wide variety as wee ones and they'll eat what you eat. The "kid's menu" at most slow-fast food restaurants? Total junk.
  2. Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health - Toni Weschler: If you haven't already learned about all your female reproductive organs and how they work, do it now. It is fascinating. I was angered (though 'anguished' might be a more apt term) by learning "everything" at the ripe age of 31. Things would have made so much more sense if I had "only known". Sheesh.
  3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - Gwen Gotsch: I haven't actually read this book, but have heard a lot about it. I imagine it is a very good introduction to breastfeeding for the otherwise uninitiated.
  4. PUSHED: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care - Jennifer Block: This book is fascinating and particularly important for those who don't feel "quite right" about the current medicalized model of birth. I had inklings before my first babe, but didn't have any direction or true experience until I was thrust into it. I honestly don't know if it would have resonated with me pre-babies, but when I read it in the spring of 2008, it struck many-a-chord. A very important read. I was unimpressed with her comparison of birthing rights with access to abortion at the very end, but otherwise her observations throughout the whole of the book are extremely astute.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Root Cellar 2009

From top to bottom:
Squeeze's homemade wine, tomatoes under paper
grape jam, tomato sauce, salsa, fermented veg
(salsa, cukes, sauerkraut, pickled beets)
apples, apple sauce

Another view
Top shelf:
tomato soup, tomato sauce, misc.,
another wine rack

A view from the back:
carrots, cabbages
Wenk's Yellow Hots (hanging)

And a bonus shot:
Our basement wood burner,
which is hooked to the forced-air heating system
Notice the straw-filled nest in the window
(Squeeze loves his kitties)
* * *
The basement has a chute to toss the wood down
vs. hauling it in and down the stairs
The square piece of wood is packing wood (oak!) --
a business Squeeze goes to discards it almost every week

MAY 2016 EDIT:
This post gets a lot of hits. (Hooray for root cellars!) (They are the greatest.) Click on the years below to see more recent pictures of our root cellar.  It has gained in stature quite a bit in the last seven years.  Though I see I haven't posted pictures since 2013.  Goodness.  That was the year that I really caught my stride.


My food preservation notes. (Though now I would put almost everything in the freezer section over to the dehydrator.) (I love-love-love my dehydrator.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What I've been up to

  • Reading to myself.
  • Reading aloud to Diego -- the Little House books (we are Farmer Boy right now, which is the 3rd book) and I am enjoying it as much as he is! Squeeze even listens and relates it back to his remembrances of the television show. Trubies usually nurses or runs around and plays while we read.
  • Attempting to keep myself in the groove of forced organization and scheduled tasks. It is getting harder, though I am committed to sticking with it.
  • Enjoying snuggling at nap and bed times.
  • Organizing two Friends of the Library fundraisers two weekends in a row. My organizational skills - which come naturally in part, but which I was also able to cultivate during my 6 years at Wells Fargo - come in very handy for mobilizing volunteers and all the ensuing details of fundraising. I'm proud of myself.
  • We've raised $2,000 in less than a year -- not too shabby.

And now, to my books.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Robot pumpkins unite!

The boys were thrilled to carve pumpkins this year
Squeeze's pumpkin was yet another
--- ROBOT ---
(getting his bum tweaked)
ggg ggg ggg
I think mine looks rather quaint and happy-go-lucky

Friday, October 09, 2009

Which, in turn, makes me smile

Truen has been talking in his sleep --
  • "Food ready, Mama?"
  • "More raisins . . . more raisins . . ."

Monday, October 05, 2009

From the middle of nowhere, straight from my burning heart

The pain of a new idea is one of the greatest pains in human nature...after all, your favorite notions may be wrong, your firmest beliefs ill-founded.

~Walter Bagehot

This quote struck me square in the forehead this past summer. How true. I have noticed it in my own life, observed it in others, and can sense the undercurrent of it running throughout society.

But honestly, we all base our opinions on what we know from how have lived: the people we know, how we grew up, what we have experienced, and the environment we are surrounded by - be it social, physical, or intellectual. Is it any wonder that, collectively, we have strayed so far from "ideal"? Nay, that there has never been an Ideal.

We are all so different - even in our sameness, i.e. "culture". No one will ever agree. I don't believe it is possible to be on the same page. We must all agree to disagree and simply respect human life for what it is: valuable. Everyone else is as special as I am. As you are.

So why is this so hard to reconcile? The world is too big.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Deo for my BO

I actually had time last night to do a non-food and non-kid related activity:

I made my own deodorant.

I've been using this particular deo for the last year; it was a gift from my SIL. When it ran out, I wanted more. The recipe is very simple. (While making it, I felt amazed and actually thought to myself, "Lookie at what I have time to do!")

Homemade Deodorant

1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
5 TBSP coconut oil
essential oil to scent to your liking (I used lavender)

  • Mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • Add the coconut oil and mash until well blended
  • Add the essential oil and continue to mash
  • Store in a covered glass container

And there you go -- deo for your BO.