31
Jul

Breastfeeding Is Green – Tips Too

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Breastfeeding MomWorld Breastfeeding Week is coming in August. The goal is too bring awareness to breastfeeding which in actuality seems kinda silly to me. Moms have two feeding implements on their chest at all times and we have to have a national awareness week to make them aware of what they are for?? Hmmm. With the advent of baby bottles and formula feeding it seems breastfeeding has taken a back seat but there are probably hundreds of reasons why it should get the attention it deserves. I truly believe that formula feeding will never – EVER come close to being as good for babies as good old fashioned breast milk. It is nature’s perfect baby food and no BPA in the food like with formula cans. Breastfeeding is the easiest, least expensive, and greenest option for you and your baby.

Think about all the waste generated with the manufacturing and use of millions of baby bottles, millions of cans/bottles of formula, drop in liners, nipples, detergent and water used to wash bottles daily. The practice of bottle/formula feeding is amounting to millions of tons of waste each year.

Beyond all the health benefits…and the green benefits…I found breastfeeding to be the most deliciously wonderful bonding experience imaginable. Breastfeeding didn’t work out so great for my first baby. I let the hospital talk me into supplemental feeding when my milk didn’t let down until 3 days after birth. They sent me home with 3 cases of formula and because I didn’t want them to go to waste….I ended up only breastfeeding 50% of the time and then I quit altogether at 4 months. Coincidence that my first baby was very unhealthy, got Epstein Barr, and had a terrible vaccine reaction…I don’t think so.

My second baby was breastfed until she was two years old with 6 months of that spent nursing her baby brother too and I would have continued nursing both of them in tandem as long as they wanted but cancer kinda ruined it. It wasn’t always easy being the sole feeder of my kids, or nursing while pregnant, or nursing two kids, but it was worth it. Happy times :)

But in acknowledgment of how it not always easy to stick with breastfeeding I have collected some tips:

1) A natural and unmedicated birth is the best start to a breastfeeding relationship. Both mom and baby are more alert and responsive and can start their journey under the best possible circumstances.

2) Alert hospital staff in writing and verbally that you are going to be breastfeeding and that you do not want bottles or pacifiers to be given to your baby…no artificial nipples, as this can create confusion and frustration.

3) Find doctors who support breastfeeding and won’t recommend weaning to formula at the first sign of difficulty. You need doctors who will help you make breastfeeding work for as long as it takes.

4) Babies nurse for a wide variety of reasons, and some of them have little to do with hunger. Nursing frequently ensures you will have a  healthy and steady milk supply to meet your baby’s needs. It is also a source of soothing and comfort for baby.

5) Get comfortable nursing in public. If you start to feel like a caged animal that can never leave the house because breastfeeding needs to stay behind closed doors you might get frustrated fast. The general public needs to learn acceptance of this natural practice anyway. Practice in front of a mirror so you can learn to do so discreetly. Nursing covers are also very helpful.

6) Get the latch right. A proper latch onto the breast is one of the most, if not THE most important thing you can do to avoid pain and ensure adequate draining of the breast (which leads to an abundant milk mama knows breast coversupply). Get help if you and your baby are having trouble or if breastfeeding is causing you pain.

7) Cosleep! Bringing baby into your bed makes breastfeeding so much easier. Everyone generally gets more sleep because 2:00 am and 4:00 am feedings can be handled by just rolling over and making your breast accessible. It just can’t get any easier to handle night time feeding.

Check out my review of a wonderful breastfeeding book called Mama’s Knows Breast.

29
Jul

Homeschool Questions Answered

by Tiffany in Homeschool

SchoolI’m Just Saying has asked homeschoolers to answer 10 questions. I am a newbie homeschooler…only 3 months in so far but I still thought I would like to take a stab at answering these. I hope they can give others some insight into homeschooling.

1. What was your motivation for homeschooling? Was it based on religious reasons? Was is it based on curriculum – did you want more freedom in choosing what your children were being taught? Was it based on socializing – wanting to have more control in the people with whom your children came into contact with? Was it based on logistics – the nearest school being 20 miles away? What made you finally decide to go this route?

My decision to homeschool was based upon necessity IMO. I had always toyed with the idea of homeschooling so that our family could travel but by the time my son was ready for Kindergarten he REALLY wanted to go to school and so I let him lead the way. K was good but in first grade we got a rude awakening. We transferred to a new state where the students were very much ahead of my son academically. In his K class in Arizona they played games, did art, and learned their ABCs. When we transferred to K in Ohio the kids were already reading, spelling and reciting all the US states, and more. You should have seen me at his graduation ceremony when I saw what the other kids could do…you could have knocked me over with a feather. I also learned that these kids had started school at age 4 with free preschool via the city school district. They already had two years of all day school under their belts and my son had only one year of half day school.

Obviously you can see why he started to have problems in first grade. IMO he is right where he should be academically…perhaps a little behind in reading but that I attribute to the school making him feel like a failure when he couldn’t read as well as the other kids. He lost interest in it. The cookie cutter mentality and the unwillingness to have realistic standards was what motivated me to pull my son from public school. If he couldn’t keep up they insisted on making him feel like a “special case” and that was NOT okay by me.

2. Don’t hate me for asking this. How to you handle socialization? What steps do you take to make sure your children are around other children and adults? Are you active in a home school group? Do you spend a lot of time at church activities? Maybe you utilize the local Y for activities and they meet friends there?

Socialization is one reason I wanted my son to attend public initially. In general I don’t think homeschooled kids are lacking socialization but MY son was when the it came time to enroll in Kindergarten. He spent years being sick and in and out of hospitals (vaccine injury). He couldn’t be around other kids so much because he had a very weak immune system. We had spent a year in Ohio…on a remote country farm. We didn’t know anyone really other than family and we had NO neighbors that had kids. Then we moved back to AZ (for my cancer treatment) and were living on a remote mountain with NO neighbors at all. It was a 30 minute drive into town and all my friends had kids much younger than my son. He wasn’t getting to socialize at all. Kindergarten seemed like a blessing…and it really was. He made friends and he loved his school. Then I did the worst thing I could have done probably…I moved him back to Ohio. :(

I wasn’t impressed at all with the socialization he got in first grade. A twerp would spit in his lunch or touch his food because he has a germ phobia. Girls were regularly kissing him which he despised. Older kids on the bus would make him hold their books and one 5th grader even slapped him across the face. Being an out-of-towner in a small town put him at a disadvantage too.

That kind of socialization he can do without! Now he socializes regularly with two kids his age that live behind us (our yards touch) and a younger boy who lives down the street. My son knows what is going on with all our neighbors before I do. My moms cousin also has two grandsons (both older) who come and spend the day with us. He got to spend a week recently with his cousin that lives in Mexico too. We go to the park, to museums, to children’s plays, to art camps, etc. He goes to the drag races with his grandfather and Uncle to watch his grandfather race almost every weekend and meets all sorts of people. He gets plenty of socialization and my other two kiddos do to. They are not exposed to people with the same family life, the same values, the same religious beliefs only. I want them to be exposed to all sorts of people with different values and beliefs.

3. Do you use the public school system for any part of your child’s routine? Some children here come to the school for band or chorus, or maybe for science class. Do you send your child to the public school to take advantage of any of their programs?

Not at this time but I wouldn’t hesitate to do so in the future.

4. Do your children begin and end school at the same time each day? Do they have a strict schedule, at least as far as waking up and reporting to the school area of your home? If not, when/how will you transition your children into following a more rigid schedule – awaking at the same time each day so that they can follow a routine outside of the home like for college and work?

We have no schedule. We wake when we want to wake, sleep when we want to sleep, and do schoolwork when the inspiration strikes. At this young age I think schedules for the sake of teaching them what holding a job will be like is silly. Especially since I work from home and I have no schedule….I work when I want to work. Of course my kids learn about keeping appointments and scheduling activities whenever we have a workshop to attend or a play to see. If they don’t manage their time well they miss out on things. Those are life lessons and they learn them on their own. I want them to know that they don’t have to do the 9-5 workday or that work has to be tedious. I want them to know what they actually want in life and then go after it…whatever that may be…even if means selling chalk drawings on a beach in between surf sessions.

5. How many spelling bees has your child won? Oh, I’m kidding. We all know most of the recent national spelling bee winners have been home schooled children. I just wanted to throw a little funny in there?

I wouldn’t be likely to enter anything like this but it is cool that homeschooled kids are frequent winners.

6. Do you have a sense of humor? It’s probably a little late for me to ask that but…

Oh yes…no stuffiness here. We all LOVE to laugh.

7. Where do you find your curriculum? Do you shop for it and order it? Do you create your own?

No curriculum so far. We have an assortment of workbooks, printables (paid and free), we visit the library often, we have online learning games, we play educational board games and do puzzles, we take field trips, and we work on whatever interests us that day. For instance…a few weeks back we went to COSI. We sketched a crime scene, looked under a microscope at hair samples, looked at dog DNA strands, watched an autopsy, watched a circumcision, participated in hot air balloon races, used a bottle rocket, toured a submarine, and went through flight training for a NASA space shuttle. We also watched an IMAX movie about renowned American climber John Harlin III, and his journey to the Swiss Alps to climb the Eiger, a peak famous for its treacherous north face, a vertical rock wall that juts more than a mile into the air. We stayed all day until they had to kick us out at closing time. They learned more in one day than they would have in a week at school…and we do stuff like this all the time.

8. Do you have any worries at all about teaching your teenagers the higher level math and sciences? I, for one, could not teach chemistry to my children but I could probably teach them calculus. Is this a concern for you?

Well, I did high school myself (at home) in two years. I taught myself algebra and the like with books. I got accepted into college at 16 and tested out of all the intro math and science classes. I also did plenty of advanced level science classes…biology, anatomy, organic chemistry, etc and I had a 4.0. So it can be done. :) My hubby is a math wiz. However, if my kids need extra help I will get them tutors.

9. What bothers you the most about the reputation home schoolers have? What things do you hate to hear people say about you for your choice? I really hope you don’t say that it’s my previous post.

The idea that bothers me the most is that all homeschoolers are religious fanatics who are trying to hide their kids away from the real world and breed intolerance. That is SO not what we are about.

10. Be honest, do you, at least in your mind sometimes, judge those of us who choose public school? Do you ever think we are making a bad choice for our children? Are you vocal about that disapproval?

Honestly…no. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone or every child. This year I will have one child at home and one in private school. You do what works for your child. Public school could very well be in our future again some day and if it is I will be just as involved in their educations as I am at home. I do think public schools are pretty awful across the board but that just means that parents need to become activists for change. If change will ever occur it will take a certain percentage of people leaving them (homeschool) to get their attention and a certain percentage need to stay and try to re-work things. Everyone has a part to play.

Recommended Reading: 100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing The Right Curriculum And Approach For Your Child’s Learning Style

A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-first Century

28
Jul

Bloggy Giveaway – Natural Baby Prize Pack

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

CONTEST CLOSED! Winner announced here!

It is time again for another Bloggy Giveaway! This time around I am giving away a baby prize pack. All you have to do is comment to win ALL of the great baby products outlined below. They would be great for your baby or maybe as a baby shower gift…they will work for a boy or a girl.

So let’s get started!

First off we have a Terra Tees T-shirt to give away courtesy of the Terra Tees company. Terra Tees, Inc. is a mom owned and operated company based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Terra means “of the earth” in Latin and this is one eco conscious company. They sell organic cotton kids tees and onesies. The designs are printed using low impact, water based dyes that Sappling Hugger Shirtare PVC and phthalate free. Everything is grown, sewn, and printed in the USA! They are also incredibly cute clothes with some snazzy designs and slogans for our little tree huggers. The t-shirt being given away today is size 12-18 months, it is organic cotton, in a natural color with a small seedling tree printed on it, with the words  Sapling Hugger below. VERY CUTE!!

Next is a 100% cotton/fleece, stuffed Palomino Pony from Ezoetic. The perfect cuddly bedtime comfort companion.  The Pony is all organic, inside and out and made with soft organic cotton fleece in Palomino brown (fox-fibre color grown). Approximately 10″ in length from head to tail.  Made by mothers for mothers in New England, USA. It is really an adorable toy that is sure to be a favorite for years. What child doesn’t like ponies?

Next is a Perlina clutching toy from Haba. It has bright and colorful wooden beads in an innovative design, secured onto sturdy elastic bands. In the center is a blue bell that rings sweetly to delight baby. It has multiple coats of natural, water-based, non-toxic lacquer that renders the surface especially resistant to humidity and mechanical strain. It is a quality toy crafted to withstand years or even generations of play. It encourages clutching skills, fine motor skills, and auditory perception.

siliskin glass baby bottlesLast is a BPA Free Siliskin Glass bottle. It is 8 ounces with a white sheath. Siliskin bottles are sturdy, glass baby bottles with a silicone sheath that helps to prevent the bottle from breaking. You can toss these bottles across the room and they won’t break. They come in 4 or 8 ounce sizes and they have several colors. They are microwave safe, hypo allergenic and dishwasher friendly, the translucent silicone sleeve allows you to see measurements and liquid in the bottle. Cleaner than any plastic, parents-in-the-know realize that glass bottles are the best! No nasty plastic chemicals to leach into your baby’s beverages.

This package is valued at nearly $75.00!! All you have to do to win is comment.

If you want two chances to win you can link to this blog from your own blog…make sure to leave a trackback or a second comment to let me know about the link to so you have a total of two comments and therefore two chances to win. The winners will be announced on Friday, August 1st. US and Canadian entries only please. Good luck everyone!

26
Jul

Knowledge Adventure Games for Homeschoolers

by Tiffany in Homeschool

This summer my 7 year old has been homeschooling with the aid of some great online learningJumpstart World games/adventures and I just wanted to share them with you. These would be an excellent edition to any homeschooling home or any home or that matter where you want to show your kids how easy is is to have FUN while they learn.

Knowledge Adventure has several options in Educational Software but the series we have is called JumpStart World. They have games for toddlers to second grade. Honestly these games are so cool I think it might be hard to try any others…these are top notch. They are 3D and have VERY good graphics…not cheesy or cutsey at all. My hubby plays online role playing games and he was quite impressed with the quality of these.

They are also very educational and engaging. In JumpStart World first grade you have 12 levels of play and the first level begins in the learning arcade where you have 18 lessons to complete..of course they are so fun the kids never know they are lessons. One of my son’s favorite lessons involves swimming through the ocean collecting rubies and avoiding eels. This helps him with motor skills and hand eye coordination and then after one round he is transferred to a screen where you have to put mixed up numbers in the correct order. Once you do that you can go on and play the game some more.

Another lesson involves watching and listening to a story and then afterwards answering questions about the story. Other lessons require you to match objects, find the one that doesn’t belong, finish patterns and sequences, solve problems, and locate missing words in sentences. Disbursed among the lessons are adventures and they get better the further along you progress. You can unlock hidden caverns, look for treasure, and learn to scuba dive. You also collect gems (kind of like points) along the way and you can buy game gear with them to make the game more fun. The whole game world they have created is really remarkable and it is based on natural and state curriculum standards.

If you subscribe online the adventure keeps going too and more units, lessons, and adventures open up. I love the fact that they have really created a FUN, engaging way to learn. I also love that they provide incentive for kids to want to keep doing the lessons and progressing further. My son likes to play 1-2 times a day for an hour or so…taking breaks to do other things, play outside, etc. His progress and “grades” upload to the Jumpstart web site after every session so I can login at any time to see what he was working on and how he did…this helps me identify anything he is struggling with. In the parent area I can also create custom badges and awards if I want to. I can see why this game has won over so many parents!

Next up we might try the Math Blaster game they have…since I love Jumpstart World so much I know I can pretty much expect awesome quality and a great learning environment from this one too.

See also: JumpStart World Kindergarten

25
Jul

Vaccines, Toys, and Homeschool Stuff

by Tiffany in Tidbits

friday wrap upTGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone! I am hoping for a laaaazy weekend with my hubby and kids. I really hope hubby won’t try and talk me into going to Zoombezi Bay but I think I will be outnumbered if he does.

I went garage sale hopping this morning but there weren’t that many unfortunately and the lack of available sales made for traffic jams and buying frenzy at the few there were. I think the economy is getting to people. I bought one book today…one of those Little Golden books that I used to have when I was kid called The Monster at the End of This Book. I used to love it and I am sure my kids will too. I got it for a quarter.

I wrote for some other blogs this week so check out Getting Rid of Bugs Naturally and Getting Plenty of Protein from a Raw Diet.

Other cool links I found this week include:

The Forest Gump Homeschool Method – A really helpful look at how challenging it can be to homeschool, especially with higher needs children and how it is okay to take a break and see where their interests lead.

Related to that I found a cool website that creates cool printable handwriting worksheets where you choose the words. These will be awesome for handwriting and spelling practice. I can use scrap paper too.

This list of homemade art supplies and recipes is cool too.

I bookmarked this Etsy store that sells Waldorf Playstands. I think this will be my daughter’s 5th Nin Ballerinayear birthday present.

This week she got a pretty cool toy from Melissa and Doug. It is a Nina Ballerina Magnetic Dress-Up Doll and she can’t quit playing with it. It comes in a nice wooden box and has a flat doll made of wood. She can be made to stand inside a small wooden doll stand. You can then dress her up with magnetic clothes. There are many different tops, skirts, dresses, hair ribbons/tiaras, shoes, etc. It is pretty fun. It is only $8.75 at Amazon and they also have several other similar dolls too.

I wanted to get free shipping so I also got the wooden spelling puzzle board…also from Melissa and Doug. It too is really pretty cool. It has 10 two-sided spelling boards and over 70 wooden letters. Place the colorful wooden letters in their proper places to spell words. It makes learning fun!

And did you happen to catch the latest buzz in the anti-vaccine community? Amanda Peet was recently interviewed and the subject of vaccines came up. She basically lambasted non-vaccinating parents and called them parasites. She has decided to fully vaccinate her daughter with no alternative schedule or delays and she feels comfortable with this because get this….she is “educated” on the matter. I had to laugh my hind off after reading that because almost every single non-vaccinating parent I know has devoted many, many hours and weeks to researching vaccines, their side effects, the problems associated with them and their ingredients, ect. Many have been researching this stuff on and off for YEARS.

Amanda Peet claims to be educated because she discussed vaccines with an infectious diseases doctor at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. This doctor also happens to be a co-inventor of the rotavirus vaccine, and a board member of Every Child by Two, a pro-vaccine organization cofounded in 1991. Does she really expect that a doctor making money off of vaccine sales to be honest with her???? Sorry but I have lost all respect for Amanda Peet. Non-vaccinating parents don’t give two hoots if other parents choose to vaccinate…we won’t name call…we just want the medical community and other parents (who really have done the research) to admit that there is risk involved with vaccination. We aren’t parasites…we did our research and we came to the conclusion that the vaccine side effects are more dangerous than the probability of getting the diseases they protect against. If other parents find the opposite to be true…fine…to each his own….but no name calling at the non-vaccinating parents ok? If your vaccines are so great then why are you even worried about the non-vaccinated kids hmm???

Read: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child

Okay….now I am hoppin mad and ready to go do some cardio kickboxing….but I have one last link for those feeling crafty. Check out these crayon roll/travel pouch hybrids….pretty awesome!

Have a great weekend all!