Thursday, July 9, 2015

Red, Yellow, White & Blue - Oh My Taters, I Love You!

This year is my first year REALLY doing a garden. I am getting some decent tomatoes, awesome cauliflower (fresher is WAY BETTER than the store stuff), one large zucchini, and I'm  going to have so many red Italian sweet peppers I'll probably hate them by next spring.

I so tried potatoes! My son hilled them (piling dirt around the stem to keep all those baby taters warm and happy and hidden) and I let them grow grow grow. 

Lately they haven't been looking all that great, so with a Google and a determined mind-set, I harvested most of the potatoes.  I was SHOCKED at how many I have. Easily 25 lbs. 

My purple ones are much smaller than the red, but that's ok. There were many more. Odd though, smaller potato, bigger plant. Hm.
I still have about 5 plants in the ground, they look hale and hearty (always wanted to use that phrase!) so I'm leaving them until they start to look brown.

Had one totally stinky rotten one. Smelled so foul I gagged. Bleh!

Tonight we are dining on the purple - or blue - ones and they're getting sautéed in olive oil, a touch of garlic and salt.  We are having a shepherds pie type of meal - no crust - over rice! Because Asian, duh.

Anyway, here are the photos from today and only one broken nail to show for it!

Also a couple potatoes were weird inside. I chucked them in the compost bin. 


One looked like a baby Pokemon: 

After cutting them, into my reclaimed antique but totally usable square cast iron pan where they turned a nice shade of blue!


I can't wait to eat these!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Say Nothing

One day my foot started hurting. It hurt bad. Real bad. Walking hurt. Standing hurt. 
But I had to do things so I dealt with it.  

When I mentioned it, the doctors couldn't find anything wrong. Suggested physical therapy. That didn't do anything. It came and went and I kept talking about it. I kept dealing with it. Did searches on the Internet for it.  Asked other folks about it. Dealt with it. It After a while, people didn't want to hear about my foot anymore. I stopped talking about it. I kept dealing with it.

Then one day my knees began hurting.  Stairs were a bitch. Pain on the inside, outside and anytime I bent them. You know you bend your knees when you walk, right? I told my family and they were concerned. I told my doctor and they couldn't find anything wrong, really, and sent me to physical therapy. The inside/outside pain kept happening. I pushed through at PT and dealt with it. pT didn't help. The pain continued. I told my family that my knees and foot hurt. They weren't so concerned. Some said I was looking for attention. I didn't say anything else. The pain continued. I dealt with it.

Later, when I would be tired, I was told to go to bed earlier, drink less coffee and more water. I tried but babies don't like that schedule and I got headaches from lack of caffeine. And I was tired. Always tired. I disagreed and was called argumentative. What do I know about my own body? Some called me a hypochondriac. I just kept it to myself. I made excuses for my naps and tried harder to get things done when I had energy. It made me more tired. My foot and knees hurt. I dealt with it. 

Someone told me the gym gives you energy. Would help me lose weight, help my knees, help my foot. All that weight. My joints weren't meant for this weight, they said. I heard them call me fat and I wanted to argue but didn't want to be argumentative. And when I looked in the mirror I thought, "Well maybe I am too heavy. Maybe they're right". At night when I went to bed I would think about saying something but I didn't want to seem whiny, so I kept it to myself. I dealt with it.

I got up every day. I made lunches and ran errands and watered plants. I did laundry and mopped floors. I vacuumed. I vacuumed again. I walked dogs and I stayed up late doing dishes. I went to the gym and I rode a bicycle. I weeded garden beds. I played with a toddler. I took Tylenol. I ignored the pain. There was no reason for me to have it, other than being too heavy, and maybe I wasn't going to the gym enough - you know because I didn't have enough energy. I dealt with it every day. I heard that I was complaining a lot. I heard that I was not fat. I heard go to the gym, eat less, eat more meat, eat more vegetables, eat less vegetables. I did what I could. I stopped arguing and I dealt with what I could. I ignored the pain and pushed through the exhaustion. The fog. The fuzzy brain.

I dealt with it by taking more Tylenol, drinking more coffee and eating antacids.  By exercising like a fiend, by not eating. My knees hurt worse, my foot never stopped hurting, and I'm so much more exhausted. Some days I can't retain a thought for more than a few minutes. I "fuzz out". I try but some days it hurts too much.

I work out and don't eat enough and don't lose a pound. I made myself sick. The doctors just told me to eat more and work out less. I said nothing. I don't want to be argumentative. I don't want people to think I'm making it up. I've begun to wonder if maybe I am? I wonder if I did this to myself? If it's my fault, if this just my life?

I deal with these questions every night after I take something for pain and try to sleep but can't. I wonder if today is the day I find something on the Internet that isn't just my fatness, lack of exercise and/or imagination. 

I think about the back spasms that I've said nothing about and the semi constant headache I have. I think about how occasionally I feel good and have no ache's and pains and wonder if I'm just losing my mind. If I'm just "getting old". I look around at other people and I wonder if they are silent too, and that this is normal. Maybe that's why people think I'm making it up or want attention, because they are this way too?

I hurt and don't know why. I say nothing and I deal with it. When I am asked why I say nothing I tell them, and I'm told that's foolish. If I tell
them what's going on they gloss over and look doubtful. 

This is my life. I hurt. I deal with it. I don't say anything.

This is my life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Breastfeeding "Open Air"

To all of you who get offended when you see a mom breastfeeding in public without a cover, I have a question:

Why is it my responsibility to manage YOUR feelings?  If you see my breast while I'm feeding my child and get uncomfortable why is that my fault? I am doing something that is intended for a breast to do, and if you feel sexual about it that is YOUR feeling and Your responsibility.  

WHY DOES IT COME DOWN TO HOW I BEHAVE THAT DETERMINES YOUR ACTIONS?

If I were strangling puppies, punching cats, having sex in public, peeing/defecating on the street, or masturbating in public then I would expect outrage because all are illegal, some are terrible and cruel, and three can spread diseases like E. coli, and STDs like HIV.

Breastfeeding is not illegal. 
It is not cruel and terrible. 
It is not sexual. 
It does not spread an STD or any other disease. 

I am not spraying it on anything. I am not pouring it out down an alley. I am not killing anything. I am not having sex with my child, masturbating with my child, or urinating or defecating with my child.

I am doing the opposite. I am nourishing, bonding, and loving my child. I am giving my child his food.

Whether a mom chooses to cover or not, bottle feed or not, is none of your concern. If you don't want your children seeing me, and if your partner/husband/wife lacks enough self control that seeing breasts turns them into a rape machine - then I suggest you NOT point me out to your delicate children and philandering partner because - and hear me on this one - 

I am not responsible for yours, your partners, or your children's actions or feelings.

So I will continue to breastfeed, whenever, however, and wherever I'm legally allowed to be.

And to all you formula moms, covering moms, & pump n feed moms - you kick ass too! Don't let anyone make you feel bad for doing what you feel is best for your family.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DIY No Sew Baby Wrap/Wrap Skirt for $5.75

If you're a baby wearer then you know the exorbitant cost of a wrap or carrier.  And if you're like me, you just can't bring yourself to spend that kind of money on a piece of cloth - especially if you're like me and sew.

I've seen Facebook pictures, google images, and emails of friends and acquaintances smiling proudly with their little ones all trussed up in some yardage of cloth. Cute prints, cute babies, cute mommies, ugly price.

Wrapyourbaby.com
I think I can fix that last part. It depends, however, if you are a label person. I personally am not and will never be. Most definitely I will not spend huge sums of money on a piece of cloth I can only use for a couple of years.  If you are a label person, no judgement, there's nothing wrong with buying what you like if you can afford it. I can't.  If this cloth was going to go with my kid to graduation, I'd spend a couple hundred. However I don't plan on child wearing for 18 years so.....

On to the "fix".  This is the most budget friendly option I could find.  I modeled it after the African back carry in a kanga.  The cloth I had is not traditional kanga and is just a couple yards of cotton. I bought it on sale at Walmart for $5.75.  Not the prettiest, but it functions for what I needed it for. I had the scarf on hand.



If you can get to any fabric store, you're likely to see some items on sale in prints you like.  I would advise you to use cotton or hemp, thin and breathable. If you've ever used a Moby wrap, you know how warm the synthetics can be.

Follow the video instructions below if you want my version of the back carry.

There was no need, none at all, for me to go out and pay the kind of money I see these items sold for.  I could have picked a better print, for sure, but I just needed something on the fly and that cost was too good to pass up.

I would suggest, if you've never back carried before, to do some practice runs with someone around.  Use a chair if you have to or start out on your knees.  I strongly suggest using a friend, partner, etc.

There is a different way to carry a baby that needs head support, an older baby, and a toddler.  This demonstration was for a toddler, however you can make your own baby wraps/slings for next to nothing and with no sewing.

If you want a finished edge, rather than the raw one I have and you don't sew - get some binding tape from Joanns, Walmart, or any sewing notion store. You can get about 3 yards for under $3.  If you get six yards, plus fabric for under $6, you'll have your own carrier for $12.  Even if you spend more on fabric (remember to get light-weight fabric) it will still pale in cost-comparison from buying an actual baby wrap.

If you wish to buy an ACTUAL Kanga, visit Kangausa.com. They list themselves as, "Kanga USA is a project of Expanding Opportunities, a 501c3 organization and a registered NGO in Kenya. / Copyright © 2012 KangaUSA All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dollars to Kopi Luwak. A DIY Mom's way to save money and have cool stuff.

I've tried to sit down and write this post nearly 20 times, but each time I get distracted by, um, super important stuff. 

Attempt number 21 commencing in 3....

2....


1....


tappity tap tap....

Lately I've noticed a trend of baby wraps, baby carriers, clothing, handbags - etc. It feels like if you are a woman and/or a mother, you must buy these things in order to be viewed as a good mother. Part of the popular crowd.  As if in some way, our insecure selves as new parents need yet another reason to feel insecure about our parenting choices - now there are even more labels, and even MORE pressure to buy or get the newest best thing for our kids. I've been suckered more than once.  Over the years though, I've grown more practical.  When I did cave and get or ask for some cool item that wasn't exactly necessary but really fun to have, I didn't feel bad about it.

It used to be (and yes, I remember these days as I was a mother figure back then too) some 10-15 years ago, that a baby carrier was used to carry a baby.  Now it's used to show status with some soft carriers running as high as $329 on Amazon such as the Vaude Koala Pack all the way down to the Cosmo Cow baby bag sling for $0.01 (plus $30 in shipping).

Absolutely my family looks like this.
Wraps are no better, and the same goes for strollers, diaper bags, and if you're female and reading this I don't need to tell you about shoes, handbags, and clothes.  I'm sure there are many of those out there who can afford a pram for $3,999, however I am not one of them.  


While I don't like "cheap" I do like practical and inexpensive.  A name tag means nothing to me.  If what I have can do the job I don't care if it has a pedigree or not.  The only time I stray from this is when the brand gives back, like Toms Shoes and Alex & Ani's Charity by Design.  



For those of us who don't want to mortgage our house or get run over by crazed soccer moms for some "preppy styled clothes" or contemplate selling a kidney to get a decent baby carrier/wrap that works for more than one thing - going forward every Friday I will post a way to get the SAME EXACT THING as some "high-falutin" overly expensive item.  Some videos and photos may accompany my post.  Actually video and photo will always accompany my post. Any item I do you are free to use my pattern.

The trick is you have to do the work.  If it's just covenience you want, and not cost savings, then go buy the item you want and keep it moving. No one will judge you.  But if you want to save money, then follow along and take whatever money you've saved and go put it in the bank or take your family to get ice cream.  Or buy Kopi Luwak. Whatever floats your boat and puts you in your happy place Mom or Dad.

Please feel free to message me if you have something you want to recreate, to work around, or to get but don't want to spend the money for. I'll try and figure out a way to get it, make it, or trade it for next to nothing.  



This week?  Baby carrier/wrap, skirt, and some super comfy wrap pants - all from one single piece of cloth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Label of "Parent"

The purpose of my blog originally was to write about my journey as a SAHM, or a stay at home mom.  I do that sometimes but I think lately I've been getting away from that and trying to stay "current".   I'm not awesome at that.

I've been reading other bloggers lately and trying to find my groove. I'm not a shock-blogger, I don't have a lot to say that's edgy.  A few things, but not enough to base a whole blog on. I'm not into any industry that is marketable really - unless you count parenting. I do know one or maybe three things about parenting my children.

Something invaluable that my parents taught me was that just because a thing is out there and costs money, has a label, and says it will sing your little one to sleep while making dinner, walking the dog, and giving you a foot rub - doesn't mean that is in any way true.  The only thing that can do that is yourself or your partner.  Unless you are a celebrity, then I suppose you could have a team of assistants. But for those of us less celebrity-fortunate, it's down to us.



New parents. Be easy on yourself.  Trust yourself to do the right thing for your babies but know that

once in a while you will fail. Because you are human and are not perfect. If you try to live up on a pedestal with very little sleep juggling first a baby, then add house work, a job possibly, a to do list, going to the doctor (yours and the pediatrician), diaper rash, colic, groceries, dinner, the dog walks, play dates, mom's birthday - guess what? You are going to drop something or you're going to fall off the pedestal and land down here with the rest of us mere mortals.  We will gladly offer a hand and pick up your spilled groceries and re bag them, offer to walk them into your counter, help you find an app to schedule your mom's birthday reminder, advise some diaper rash cream, get you a cup of tea and take your dog for a walk.  Because we've been there. You are not alone.  Every child is different, yes, but every child is still a child. And you are still a person who needs attention and a village.


Co-Parents of a more than one kid - please take time to yourself. Remember that you aren't being selfish by doing something for yourself, but you are being healthy. Your relationship MUST have time for you and your partner if you are going to survive the tiny terrors that are threatening your very existence yet affirming it at the same time. Such a constant battle - being so proud and so in love with your little ones yet - so desperately needing to get away. Don't forget the one you chose. Remember how you thought they'd be a good parent? Don't get mad when they don't live up to your expectations.  They're juggling too. Talk to them and then LISTEN too.  Don't think that just because you know what's going on that they'll know why you're mad.  Your children will grow up and move on - you have to work harder to keep your partner.  Do the work.  Reap the rewards.  Love them but more important, love yourself too.  This is hard.


Single parents - you have one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Being your kids' everything at some point. Having no one to really share the burden with. Feeling all of the responsibility and man that's a heavy load.  Your children WILL remember how hard you worked for them. They will grow up and if they have kids of their own become awed by how much you did and marvel at how you did it all on no sleep, $7 in the checking account, and worry always nipping at your heels.  Think back to when they were tiny and you had no sleep? You've got this. You can do it.  Find people around you who can be your support, your rock, your friends and family. Other moms, dads, or grandparents. We are out here, and can lend a hand.

And all of us, if we practice patience, kindness and make a commitment to ourselves and our kids, it will be ok. They will grow up and think of us one more time as super heroes.

Because we are.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Run Money Pig, Run. My thoughts on Josh Duggar and Mama June

Run money pig run! Before Big Bad Wolf Mama Shannon catches ya and eats ya all up! Or the Duggars! They have a lot of mouths to feed, and clearly they have at least one predator in their midst.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't watch reality television, with the exception of Wheeler Dealers or anything with Chip Foose.  I had remained, until recently, happy in my ignorance of everything Honey Boo Boo.

However -  thousands (maybe more) watched every week with horror and rapt fascination a mother exploit her child for money and fame.  This "Mother of the Year", Mama June Shannon also exposed, knowingly, her children to two DIFFERENT sexual predators. One of those children was molested by one of the predators.  This very same woman is seemingly blasé about that and is now angry that her molestation issues have caused her money pig to run away but didn't cause the Duggars money pig to go away.   She's mad that people are upset she let men abuse her daughters and then INVITED ONE BACK????  Unbelievable.

On the same network (The I-don't-know-what-it-is-we-are Learning Channel), we find out that the eldest Duggar has also incestuously molested young children. This man ran the Family Values Association. He has since resigned.  The law was not brought into it because the statute of limitations ran out. Statute. As in crime.  However Mr. Duggar was a minor as well and in my opinion his parents and church were complicit in the crime by covering it up, because let's just be real, that's what it was, a cover up.


People are trying to blame the networks but I don't really blame them.  Who do I fault?  Wilkinson County and the state of Georgia's Division of Child and Family Services. The Washington County Police and the Arkansas Child Welfare Department are responsible for failing those 4 or 5 sisters. THEY failed their communities. THEY should be held responsible for the atrocities these children faced and will probably continue to face as there are no repercussions for their abusers. Those poor little girls, one as young as FIVE.

Just to give you some clue as to the rates of abuse in these states:


Arkansas - Population 2.96M*Georgia - Population 10.1M*
REPORTS of Child Abuse (not confirmed)45,656**,***33,723**,***,
*Google.com for 2014
**In 2011, 11,105 children were victims of abuse or neglect in Arkansas, a rate of 15.6 per 1,000 children, representing a 13.4% decrease from 2010. Of these children, 71.4% were neglected, 18.1% were physically abused, and 20.5% were sexually abused.
***http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Arkansas.pdf
*Google.com for 2014
**80.9% of perpetrators are parents; 6.3% were relatives and only 2.8% were unknown (http://georgiacenterforchildadvocacy.org/facts-and-statistics/)
***http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Georgia.pdf
15.6 per 1,000 children7.4 per 1,000 children

I have no idea why those states aren't prosecuting these offenders.  I do understand that the "church" and Josh Duggar's parents helped him avoid true repercussions and enabled him to do this again but be more careful and discreet. Helped him rise to a position of authority.

Josh Duggar is sick and depraved.  You don't molest 5 year olds when you're 14 because you are curious. That's masturbation, hiding magazines in your mattress and sneaking into porn on the internet at a friends. You put your fingers in a five year old's vagina because you are a pedophile. You have a predilection for children and should be kept FAR FAR away from them.  Not hired for a position where you can shape their future.  And his parents, Jim Bob & Michelle? Well my personal message to you is:

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL ACTIONS HE TOOK,  and for any damage to your daughters that could take decades to manifest.  You. You were responsible for protecting your daughters and you didn't.  You protected your son from his repercussions.

Mama June - She is a disgusting human being putting her children in danger. Valuing her love life over the lives of those she brought into this world. Valuing her daughters' marketability over their safety.

The lot of them, the Duggar parents and June and her "boyfriends", should be roudned up and put on an island and left there to rot or eat each other.  They are all terrible human beings.

Just my two cents.

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