Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Doctor Ultrasound

This past Thursday was our official ultrasound for Baby Buckeye. It is confirmed that he is a he.  He is still measuring a week larger too. He is already 1 lb. and over 10" long. According to averages, he should only be 1/2-3/4 lb. and about 10".

Here are couple pictures and videos of the ultrasound!  We hope you enjoy them.

video


3D picture of his face
Love his little nose and lips :)

His whole body
His head is on the left and he is looking at you.
His feet are on the right.

feet

It's definitely a boy!

This is a profile of his face.
He likes his hands by his face!

You can get a pretty good view of his spine in this one.
You are seeing his profile again only his hand is down by his tummy.
video

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Cake Secrets, Part 1

Leona's 1st Birthday cake
My masterpiece that took like 4-5 hours just to decorate! YIKES!
Ok...so I have been having some people ask about how I make my cakes....so I thought I would share some of my secrets. If you have any secrets, please leave a comment!!!

How do you get a moist cake?
I am surprised that when I google that this isn't a common helpful hint...so I will let you in on my secret.  You need 3 main things to have a moist and yummy cake. (I believe I learned this from my Kindergarten teaching partner, Linny, and my Grandma Robinson.)
1. Use a good recipe.
If you need a good chocolate cake recipe...gotcha covered (just look below).  Seriously...I just love my recipe from my former Dorm-Mom Michelle. Cakes from scratch are really simple. Unfortunately though the recipe below does not hold up well if you are planning to cut your cake. It is too moist when cut. All cake brands from a box are not created equal.  Dunkin Hines is my favorite...but this is only part of the puzzle because you can make a cheap cake still be moist. My favorite blog for goodies is Cookies and Cups. She has some FANTASTIC recipes!
2. Don't over bake it.
As far as not overbaking it...keep your eye on it.  Place a toothpick in the center...if it comes out clean with just a very slight amount of batter...it is done. Most of the time I watch it for the last 3-4 min. of the time given.
3. Put the cake in the freezer to lock in the moisture.
MY BIG SECRET is putting it in the freezer.  Allow it cool so you can touch the pan without screaming :) and cover it. I use plastic wrap and then foil.  (The plastic wrap will keep it from sticking to the foil.) If you have a lid to your pan, this could work too. Place it in the freezer.  Most of the time I bake it and freeze it the night before but there isn't much of a time limit.  I would say at least 5 hours but up to several days ahead of time. Really a cake can last all kinds of time in the freezer, but without the icing on it, I wouldn't try to keep one for weeks or anything.

NOTE: Some people also choose to substitute applesauce for the oil in the recipe. I don't see this as necessary, but whatever works for you :)

How do you make shapes?
This is probably more tricky to explain.  There are several techniques! First, here are some basics:
1. Cookie Cutters
You can make any shape you can find a cookie cutter in.  Simply use a round 8" pan.  Bake it. Freeze it. Push the cookie cutter down into the cake a little and then trim with a butter knife.
2. Cut-it Out
Bake it in a pan that will fit your shape. Freeze it. Find a shape you want---either draw it or print it out. Cut out around the shape and any spaces that you want cut-out on the cake.  Place the paper on your cake as a template and cut it out with a knife.
3. Use a shaped Cake Pan
You can just buy a cake pan that has the shape you want.  Often you can spend $12-20, but this may be your only choice.
4. Use different shaped pans to get the same result
Use heart shaped pans for hearts or wings.  Use bread pans for skinny rectangles. Use bowls for mounds, bee hives, or dresses. Use deep square pans for castles. Use muffin pans for small round parts.

Some fun examples
Here are som fun pictures I have collected from online or from friends:
 
From Leona's 1st Birthday
body: bread pan and cut out a smaller circle from a 8" pan
wings: heart pans
mini butterfly: 8" pan and cookie cutter

From my college roommate, Jenn
dress: bowl
doll: use a special cake doll or any clean doll will do
Love Strawberry Shortcake
Leona's 2nd Birthday cake
pan: used an Elmo shaped cake pan
(it was almost harder than using my own template)
From online
made from cupcakes

From my husband's cousin, Becky
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
What a great idea!! I just love it!!

Found online
directions here: http://thetravelingtable.com/blog/desserts/dinosaur-cake-grrr/

found online

Found online
pan: use a bowl

 As you can see, what you can imagine, you can create. As far as decorating the cakes...I'll have to make another basic post for that :)

Easy Oil Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup baking cocoa
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 300'.
2. Grease and lightly flour pan(s). This will make a 9X13 or (2) 8" pans.
3. Put everything in the bowl and beat. (batter will be thin)
4. Bake for 20 min or until toothpick comes out with just a tad bit of batter on it.
    (Sometimes this can be over the 20 min. depending on the shape of the pan.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apples Galore

So for the past month I have been making some apple butter and apple pie filling to give as gifts this Christmas.  I thought you might all enjoy learning how and looking over some pictures of the process.

Also...for the apples, you need to use cooking apples such as MacIntosh or Fuiji.  My hubby asked why I wasn't using Jonagold or Honeycrisp since they are the best eating apples, but you want a soft, tart apple for your recipes.  DON'T even bother with Red Delicious!

Crockpot Apple Butter recipe (yield: 6-9 half pints)
5 1/2 lbs. of apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 cups sugar (or splenda)
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
dash of ground allspice

Supplies Needed
large crockpot
measuring teaspoon and 1/4 tsp.
measuring bowl or cup
spatula
food processor or chopper
peeler
knife
whisk
canning supplies: canning pot, 6-9 half pint jars, lids, rings, wide-mouthed funnel, jar lifter, & thin spatula
freezer or fridge supplies: tupperware

ingredients
Step 1: Prep the apples!
5 1/2 lbs of apples washed

my personal assistant helping clean up the peels



peeled...now time to core them

apples are peeled, cored and
quartered.
Step 2: Put the apples in a food processor or chop them as small as you can. Then, add them to your crockpot.
Put the apples into the crockpot.
She's getting ready to add the ingredients.
Step 3: Add in the other ingredients.
3 cups white sugar (or splenda or mix)


What a great helper!

2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

a dash of allspice
1/4 tsp. of salt
Step 4: Stir well.


Step 5: Put the lid on and cook on high for 1 hour. 

Step 6: Reduce heat to low (keeping lid on) and cook for 9-11 hours. It will be dark brown and like an applesauce state. Often times I cook it one day for 5 hours, cool it, and put it in the fridge to continue the process the next day.

Step 7: Remove lid and cook on low for 1 more hour. The apple butter is done when you can take a spoon full away from the heat and it will stay mounded on the spoon.

Step 8: Store it. There are 3 ways...
>You can freeze it in freezer tupperware like Gladware.
>Refridgerate for immediate use.
>Can it by putting it in a 30 min. water bath.

Don't know how to can it...it is so simple!
1. You'll need 6-9 half pint jars or 3-5 pint jars with lids and rings. Wash jars and lids in very hot water. Dry.
2. Boil water in a large canning pot. You'll need it to be deeper than your jars.
3. Using the funnel pour the apple butter into the jars leaving about 1" from the bottom rim of the jar.
4. Using a small spatula poke down around the sides to let out any air bubbles.
5. Clean around the rim of each jar making sure there isn't any apple butter on it. This will prevent sealing.
6. Dip a lid into the boiling water and hold it there for about 3-5 sec.
7. Set the lid on top of the jar. Screw a ring on it leaving it a little loose.
8. Using a jar lifter, place your jars into the water. Make sure the water covers the top of the jars.
9. When it is boiling, leave them in for another 30 min.
10. Carefully lift the jars out onto a heat resistant pad or rack.
11. Allow them to cool 24 hours. You should hear the seal pop within minutes of removing it from the water bath.
      If not, either try resealing or put it in the fridge to eat up.

Apple Pie Filling (yield: 7 quarts)
6-6 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
10 cups water
3 Tbs. lemon juice

-Put sliced apples into quart jars leaving about 1-1 1/2" head space. Use warm jars if possible.
-Combine the all the other ingredients (except the lemon juice) in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.
-Add lemon juice to pan. Stir well.
-Pour over apples in jar using a wide-mouthed funnel.
-Using a skinny spatula, poke down around the sides to remove extra air bubbles.
-Follow the canning process above using a 20 min. water bath.
-You can freeze the filling too.

Shelf life is about 2 years.  I would use up any open cans of pie filling within 5 days and open cans of apple butter in about 2-3 weeks.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ultrasound results are in!

Baby Buckeye's profile.
Measuring 19wks 3days instead of 18wks 2 days!
Better than measuring behind about 10 days like Leona!!

LOVE BABY FEET!

Can you tell?
It's not that hard to miss!
Good BOY for spreading those legs for us!

Wearing my blue shirt to the ultrasound!
Yea BLUE!
 Doctor's ultrasound will be Nov. 10.  We got in tonight because a nurse friend got us in with her friend that is a tech :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The "C" Word Hits Too Close to Home

As several of you know, my best friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  In August, at a doctor's check-up they noticed she had a uterine tumor.  She was sent in for an ultrasound and then an MRI.  In September, they removed the 4" in diameter mass and initally dignosed it as non-cancer.  The tumor was sent to a lab and they said that 6mm was atypical.  They could not confirm if it was leimyosarcoma (an agressive cancer) or a stump tumor (kind of a miscellanous tumor category). So...it made a trip to a 2nd lab and it was unconfirmed as either as well.  So...another 6 weeks later...the 3rd lab said it was leimyosarcoma.

My friend is a teacher and has missed all of the 1st quarter and is now making a decision about a hysterectomy.  She will see a oncology specialist next week for a second opinion.  It seems like the Lord is moving in the direction of surgery...and it breaks our heart...but we are trusting God's plan.  It is faith that seems to keep her together and it is so amazing to see all of the little things God has done along the way...from bringing another friend in to be her sub to getting her into an MRI the day she called because of a cancellation....I could go on...

So about 4 weeks into my friend's trials, my Dad calls me.  Little did I know the "C" word would come up again!  To give some background, my Dad had been diagnosed with melanoma last December or January.  They did an outpatient surgery around the area and checked his lymph nodes.  Now...we are in October and my Dad had found another spot above his original spot.  He went immediately into the doctor to be diagnosed with melanoma again...I figured no problem...he'll just get his outpatient surgery again and get it taken care of.  Well...some lung CT scans came back with 3 spots in his right lung and 2 melanoma spots by the spot he had found that couldn't be seen yet.

My Dad went in the following week to the hospital for a pretty invasive exploratory surgery.  They put in a tracer. Then, they put in some tubes and deflated his right lung.  After that, they removed part of the atypical spots. The inital diagnosis was non-cancer.  A couple days later the final results came back that the melanoma had in fact traveled to his lung.  I got the call within a couple hours of my friend's call---both had cancer---both were in waiting! That terrible waiting game!!! Dad gets more information Monday and my friend gets more information on Wednesday.

I have to admit that all of this news has been really difficult.  Both of them live in VA so I feel so far away from helping them and supporting them.  For awhile I didn't get much quality sleep.  My friend, LORD? MY unmarried friend who is so gifted with children??? My Dad, LORD? My young 50 year old Dad???  The questions kept coming.  The answers began coming.  I began to remember some truth.  God has a plan.  He loves both of them and is holding them in His hands.  He is in control.  He wants to show them (and me) Himself.  He wants to plant seeds of faith and sprout them in ways they could  never imagine.  And the being far away...I am never too far away to do the best thing I can do...PRAY...praying for all their needs...financially, sleeping at night, having peace...meeting all of their needs like I have seen Him answer when I couldn't walk or hold my newborn!  He is faithful to complete the work He started. Most importantly...HE IS A GREAT BIG and POWERFUL GOD...and remember my Chapel lesson...Why We Are Here?...it's to bring Him glory!!

I came across some great videos I had seen in 2006 from Louie Giglio, How Great is Our God and Indescribable. God has also used our church's study over the summer by James MacDonald When Life is Hard. I had saw so much truth...but now God was calling me to live out my faith through the trials of my loved ones...in which I have no control, no ways to physically help and sometimes no words of comfort to give...just stunned silence.

Please pray for them...that God would be brought glory through all that they are and will be facing.

Mommy's Health

Two weeks ago I had some issues. On Monday, October 17, I started getting really dizzy after dinner time.  I took an easy and was very careful.  By 8:00 I was still really dizzy so I thought my sugar might be low so I ate a couple sour gummy worms to see if that would help. About an hour later I called my Mom for some advice and asked her about when her sugar is low.  She made me list what I had ate and drank all day and suggested that maybe I hadn't ate enough...so I ate some peanut butter and a large apple too. She also said that I seemed out of breath a little, but I didn't really notice anything. By 10:30 or so I was spinning even worse as i laid down in bed.  I figured maybe a good sleep would help.

The next morning I got up and could not walk straight.  I figured my sugar has to be low so I poured a huge bowl of Raisin Bran.  I figured the carbs and sugar would def snap me out of it...no such luck.  I did feel well enough to go teach Chapel, but stopped by the school nurse's office on my way in the door.  She checked my sugar (now an hour after I had ate breakfast) and it was at 142...which is perfect after eating.  By then I was out of breath too, so she took my blood pressure and listened to my chest.  I was feeling a little better, so I went to chapel and taught most of the time from a chair and had others set up the stage.

During Chapel I became really out of breath. I felt like I couldn't even finished a sentence with one breath.  At the end of the first hour I started to get really dizzy too.  As soon as we were done teaching I called my OB nurse and awaited a call back on what to do.  Meanwhile I went back to the school nurse and she tested my blood pressure lying down, standing and sitting.  They were all in my normal range.

My OB nurse called back and said that she wasn't worried about the dizziness as I probably had an inner ear thing, but she was concerned about the out of breath issue...she told me to get to my family doctor or ER by the end of the day.  I went just a few hours later to my family doctor. He said that I had floaters in my inner ear causing my vertigo.  He checked my lungs out and said they sounded great.  He said the pregnancy was probably causing the out of breath (I did have this later in the pregnancy with Leona). He also gave me a script for a diabetic glucose tester so I could watch my levels since it was over 200 the week before.

I was so fearful that it was my sugar.  I am so thankful that everything was just fine.

It seems with controlling my sugar intake I am maintaining a better weight gain and that my sugar is staying right where it needs to be. YAY!  Keep praying that it stays that way!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Why Are We Here?

Baby Buckeye
The ultrasound is scheduled for November 10.  We can't wait to find out if we are having a BOY or GIRL! My sugar is still being an issue, I think.  They bumped my glucose testing up 8 weeks to the day of the ultrasound for my peace of mind.  I also had blood work done for downs syndrome, spina bifidia, etc.  My weight went up 6 lbs. in the last 4 weeks! YIKES!  I read a statistic in the doctor's office that said that women carrying boys eat about 10% more calories.  Maybe that is why I am moving so fast in my maternity clothes. Continue to pray that my back would hold up with the weight gain!The baby is also kicking a lot!  It is just so exciting to feel that again...what a blessing!


Leoni Bologni
This 2 year old continues to push the obedience issue. She is spending a lot of time in time-out which seems to work for her! We have started charting some with her. She has not gone back to milk and probably won't be a real milk fan.  We are getting her vitamins in in other ways...broccoli, V-8 fusion drink, and oatmeal saturated in her special formula...with a huge focus on her proteins.  Potty training has been on the back burner and it is frustrating to me that b/c of my health we haven't gotten there yet.  I know she would be long done by now if I was able to keep up on it everyday.  Guess it will come sometime...but hopefully soon so I don't have 2 in diapers!! YIKES!


Daddy
Ben continues to work on-call.  This has been a huge blessing to our family's budget.  He also found out that he will be getting a raise this week.  We are so excited!  It's been like 4 years I think...due to the economy.  We also had a huge blessing of someone who paid his surgery bill.  We praise God for His provision!  God had blessed someone with an unforeseen gift who then passed the blessing onto us!  It is so awesome to see God continue to provide for our family!

Mommy
Well...God has been throwing some challenges lately.  As most of you know, my Dad and my best friend are facing possible cancer.  Both are in the waiting game of what to do and what comes next.  It has been difficult to deal with that "C" word.  Please keep both of them in your prayers!  My Grandma continues to struggle with her Alzheimer's and my Grandpa struggles as he loses her a little day by day. Seeing so much physical struggle makes me all the more ready for Christ to come...but I trust He still has work for us to do while we are here!!!

Speaking of work for us to do....I keep plugging away with Chapel.  It is such a blessing to be teaching God's Word to the kid's at ECA!  It definitely keeps me busy planning and organizing, but I love having the ability to use my gifts for His glory! 

This past week I was blessed to create a lesson that I titled "Why We Are Here?" It was inspired by a sermon that Pastor Blodgett gave a few weeks ago.  I didn't take the same route, but it inspired me to focus on answering it for these young kids....challenging them to make living for God a part of their everyday life. We started off with the Creation days.  We talked about how the sun's job is to shine.  When the sun does it's job, it brings glory to God. The same with the stars that twinkle and the animals that roam the earth.  We talked about how our job is not to shine or twinkle or just roam the earth.  Looking at Genesis 1:27 tells us that we were created in HIS IMAGE!  Thanks to a friend I explained this concept like this: we look a lot like our parents. Sometimes we even act, walk, or talk like them.  We aren't exactly them, but we are made in their image.  Colossians 1:16 tells us that we were made FOR God and BY God...to be His image to others. Isaiah 43:7 also tells us that everyone was created to bring God glory. I Corinthians 10:31 tells us that we are to do EVERYTHING for His glory.  Romans 3:23 tells us that we sin we fall short of showing His glory to others...in other words, we aren't doing our job! So...Why Are We Here?

Showing WHO God is by WHAT you SAY and DO brings God glory!  That's our job!  We should look like Christ so we can reflect WHO He is!  My challenge to them...and now to you...is how are you doing?  Do you look like Him?  Do you reflect patience, peace, joy, love, kindness, gratitude, self-control, gentleness, etc? We don't have the easiest job of His creation, but we have the best one!

I fall short of my job everyday in some way, but this lesson and Pastor Blodgett's sermon have inspired me...to get busy living like Him and obeying His Word...not to mention trusting Him in all of these difficult things that are going on around me and the fears that come and go!  To God be the glory!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

15 Weeks

Well...I am currently 15 weeks and the tummy is definitely growing bigger ! I FEEL HUGE for only being 15 weeks!

You be the judge!  Here are some recent belly shots:



My next check-up is on Friday.  We get to schedule the ultrasound then and I am so excited.  I really think this little monkey is a BOY, but guess we'll see! No doubt I'll be wearing a blue shirt to the this ultrasound!! I am guessing it will be scheduled around the week of Nov 13.

Baby Movement
This past week I felt the baby kick for sure.  The week or so previous I had thought maybe I was feeling him/her kick, but couldn't be positive.  On Saturday while I was driving I determined for sure that that was what I had been feeling. I have felt it a few more times since then :)  It's so exciting.  It is definitely the best part of the whole pregnancy thing!!!

How is your back doing?
Many of you know that about 3 weeks ago I had an episode with my back.  I spent the whole week down and out.  I could barely walk for the first few days...but soon began to feel the healing taking place.  This is not normal for my back.  Normally if I am that bad, it lasts for a long time...several months sometimes.  This was a huge blessing.  It definitely made me aware that I need to be careful and exercise as much as I can.  Luckily I have a husband that will just step right in and help out where needed and tells me what I need to hear when I need to take better care of myself.

It also gave me an opportunity to talk to my orthopedic dr. about possible things we can do if I get really bad again.

Another prayer request!
At about 9-10 weeks I had a sugar issue for about 2 days.  I had weird vision and a headache so I checked my sugar. My sugar had spiked to high 100's.   It seemed I had been overeating sweets and it just built up.  It leveled out and has been fine since.  Today I had some of the same feelings.  I check it and it was at 228.  YIKES!!  I had slowly had more and more sugar since that other episode.  LESSON LEARNED!!  I am going to have to cut-it-out and just watch it if I am going to stop it from becoming gestational diabetes.  I think I may be checked in 2 check-ups, so around 24-25 weeks.  Please pray I keep my self-control in-check and prevent anything further. 

I'll keep posting to keep you updated on what's happening as it comes :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Homemade Disposable Wipes

Well... I'm off on another adventure to save some money and take care of my family...by making some Homemade Disposable Diaper Wipes.


 I can't wait to try them! I will update this post when I have tried them and see how long they last.

Here is the recipe:
     1 roll Bounty paper towels, select-a-size (You will only use 1/2)
     1 c. water (using filtered or distilled water is better)
     1 Tbs. Baby wash (Right now I am using Melaleuca's Koala Pals) or shampoo
     1/2-1 Tbs. Olive Oil (some use vegetable oil)
     optional: 2-3 drops Tea Tree Oil

Note: Many comment that it must be BOUNTY!!
Things You will need:
     1 large, sharp knife or electric knife
     cutting board
     1 c. measuring cup, plastic or glass
     1 Tbs. measuring spoon
     1 rubbermaid container that is at least 5.5" tall with lid (You can just use a freezer gallon baggie too!)



Directions:
Cut the paper towel roll in 1/2 using the knife or electric knife. Remove the cardboard insert. Place one of the halves in the plastic container.

Warm up the water in the microwave for 1 1/2-2 min.
Add Baby wash/shampoo and olive oil to the water and mix well. (See my note below about ---->Baby wash!!!)
Add Tea Tree oil to the water if desired. This will help prevent any mildew. Mix well.


Pour the water over the paper towels evenly. Place the lid on top.


Let it set 10 min.

Flip the container upside down.  Allow it to set 10 min. (Some people remove the cardboard insert at this time instead.)


UPDATE: Here is my new container:
I bought this at Wal-Mart for around $7.
I used the 2nd size. A extra fat paper towel fits perfectly!

Here is the cost breakdown:
     Bounty paper towels, select-a-size (12pk. at Wal-Mart $16.74)....so that's $.70 per 1/2 roll
     Baby wash (3 pk. of 11 fl. oz. at Melaleuca $14.49)...so that's $.22 per Tbs.
     Olive Oil (25.5 oz. at Wal-Mart $5.88)...so that's $.12 per Tbs.
     Tea Tree Oil (from Trader Joe's $2.99)...it's like $.02 per recipe
     Rubbermaid container (1/2 gallon 2 pk. at Meijer's $1.99)...so that's $1.00 as a 1 time cost.

That's $1.06 for 121 sheets.  That's $.008 so less than a PENNY per sheet!

Compare that to my normal Pampers Sensitive $10.97 for 448 sheets (which granted are a little larger) with normally a $.50 coupon....that comes to a little over 2 cents a sheet. 

Now while this might not save the bank, I know what is going into the wipes...which is one of my main causes for switching. Not to mention I don't have to run out to the store if I need more wipes...just grab the items and make them.

According to Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database, Pampers scored 3-5 on the toxicity chart. The sensitive wipes included all of these ingredients and scored a 3 toxicity level:
Water
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (DEVELOPMENTAL AND REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY!!!)
Disodium EDTA
Xanthan Gum
BIS-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone (ORGAN TOXICITY)
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (SERIOUSLY????!?!?)
Sodium Phosphate
Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (THIS IS FERMALDEHYDE!!!!! YEP FROM YOUR HS DISSECTION CLASS!!!)
Benzyl Alcohol (RATES A TOXICITY OF 6)
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
Citric Acid
Bisabolol
Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract

----Now I can be sure what is going into my wipes....obviously water, olive oil and then the ingredients in your baby wash.  I am not exceptionally happy with the ingredients in my current baby wash, so I plan to switch to a brand with a Skin Deep scoring of 0-1 to make it even healthier. 

Unfortunately many people don't realize how dangerous their child's shampoo or baby wash truly is...especially when you use it on a newborn's head that is still soft!!! Did you know that the Johnson & Johnson collection range from 3-6 in their baby washes?  Thought Aveeno is more natural...their ratings are about the same.  Be careful of things that say organic...this word has no regulation by the FDA.

Here are some great rated products I found on Skin Deep.  I am not sure which one I will try next...potentially Earth Mama Angel Baby. I will post my reviews of any that I try at the bottom of this page. I included any links if you want to purchase them online.

Rated at 0:
Adorable Baby 100% Natural baby wash
Belly Buttons and Babies baby wash (Amazon)
Earth Mama Angel Baby baby wash (find a store or on Amazon)
Poofy Organics baby wash
Terressentials Organic Baby wash
Herban Lifestyle Baby Got Bath Wash
Nourish Baby Organics baby shampoo and baby washes
Tawna Hill Baby

Rated at 1:
Burt Bees Baby Bee shampoo (Amazon or Drug Store or at a local store)
California Baby shampoo and baby wash (find a store or on Amazon)

Maybe you are wondering about the items you use everyday?  Some of the woman's cleansing products will just AMAZE you!!  Check out the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database to see what's in your products!

-------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE: My Review

Positives
-SAFER: I know what is going into my wipes!
-LESS CHEMICALS: No more unknown or unnecessary chemicals in your wipes!
-EASIER: No waiting for a coupon or stopping at the store. Just have to make sure I have the paper towels on-hand.
-LESS WASTE: Smaller towel pieces ensure less waste into the trash pile and they look like they would disintegrate very easily.
-SENSITIVE: These are sensitive on my baby's very sensitive skin because I can control what wash I am using.
-SAVINGS: About $1.20-$1.70 per batch.
-EASILY ACCESSED: With the exception of needing 2 hands for the container, the wipes come out easily.

Negatives
-SMALLER: Sheets are thinner and smaller than a regular wipe.
-RESEARCH: You have to do some research on your baby wash to make sure it is safe for your baby.
-CONTAINER: Not as useful as the store bought containers. You have to have 2 hands to open the container.
-THINNER: I have ripped 1 sheet this batch.
-LESS WET: Some have commented that they do not stay as wet as long as the store bought brands.  I have not experienced this
-TRAVEL: These don't fit my little travel case that I used to use with my Pampers wipes.  I will be using a freezer baggie or zipper dry bag from now on.

How Long Did They Last?
On my 2 year old's bottom, using on average about 4-5 sheets a day, my first batch lasted about 3.5 weeks.

Reviews of Level 0-1 Baby Wash/Shampoos
-Melaleuca's Koala Pals Baby Wash or Hair Wash
       Positives: love the smell, lasts a long time, average in price with natural products
       Negatives: not in Skin Deep's database
-Earth Mama Angel Baby Wash and Shampoo
       Positives: Level 0 which is awesome, love the smell, good in diaper wipes, good on sensitive skin
       Negatives: price is very high, didn't last long, did not like when using it on my toddler's hair, hubby did not like it either
-Burt Bee's Baby Wash and Shampoo
       Postitives: Level 1 which is still good, great scent
       Negatives: I don't like it as much for a hairwash

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Strickland Coming Soon!

We are officially announcing our newest member of the Strickland clan...
coming this March!

My due date is
March 30, 2012.

You can see the countdown on the right
in case you are interested in keeping tabs on how far along I am.

As you can see,
I am almost 7 weeks along.


Needless to say, we were
thrilled, excited, scared and surprised
all at the same time!

How are you feeling?
So far not much nauseau...just some fatigue and indigestion! During weeks 4 and 5 I did struggle with my back.  I have added 4 tablets of calcium on top of my prenatal which seems to help. Honestly the doctors don't know how my back will handle pregnancy again, but we are hoping that the information we now know will help.

What can we be praying for?
Of course the main thing is to pray for the health of the baby, especially in these early weeks when the brain, spine, and circulatory system are starting to form. We'd also appreciate your prayers as I balance the symptoms from the pregancy and taking care of Leona...and for Ben as he helps out more on top of his busy schedule! It'd be nice if Leona could be done potty training in the next few weeks too! No diapers for a few months would be a blessing!!! Pray that the doctors would have wisdom especially when it comes to my back! My first prenatal appt. is August 22, so hopefully we will be able to come up with a plan. Lastly, I'd appreciate prayers about being able to teach Chapel as long as possible.  Pray that I would be healthy enough to teach and that they would find a great replacement while I am out with the baby.

We appreciate all of your prayers and support!  We'll keep you up-to-date as things progress and even post some preggy pictures for you to see!