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Unschooling…

I am no where near “school age” with Judah but I have already begun to think about the topic.  Something about public education doesn’t sit right with me for many reasons and I was never fond of public school myself, so I have already been pondering the alternatives.  Private Schools.  Charter Schools.  Homeschooling.  Unschooling???

Unschooling is a relatively new term to me and I am in no way an expert nor do I have much experience with it. But as I have been researching the concept, it is has peaked quite an interest in me.  Unschooling, also known as natural learning or life learning, is a concept of learning that nurtures a child’s innate curiosity and drive to discover.  Parent’s guide their children and help to facilitate further discovery of the interests of their children. There is no set way to unschool.

In essence, I am already unschooling Judah.  Everyday he is naturally learning and I am coming along side and helping to nurture what interest him.  Babies and children are natural learners and when learning is approached as something natural and freely occurring, the love of discovery will never end.  Kids just grow into adults who never stop learning.

Recently, Good Morning America did a segment on unschooling, which I was not crazy about, but caused quite a stir.  The link is here.  And the follow up interview is here.

Also, here are some great posts and articles concerning unschooling.

Walk Slowly Live Wildly:  Unschooling: A Life of Freedom

The Organic Sister:  The Uproar Over Unschooling

Child’s Play:  Unschooling

Swiss Army Wife:  Parent’s Role in Unschooling

Huffington Post:  Unschooling: How GMA Got It All Wrong

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever heard of unschooling?

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I have been on the search for a deodorant that is non-toxic and actually works.  After trying out various brands without muchDO_Long-Last_Stick_Unscentd_PDP success (meaning they didn’t keep me feeling or smelling fresh in 100 degree heat) I have found one that works fairly well.  You can’t compare it to the common brands of deodorant (secret, dove, etc.) because it doesn’t have the strong flowery scent, nor does it mask or even keep your from sweating, so you still have to take a shower every day. (Smiles)

Overall, I am really satisfied with this deodorant.  I may still keep searching for one that is even better but for now this is one more step towards healthier alternatives in my daily care items.

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Care

  • Hops inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The antimicrobial action of hops inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria while reducing the possibility of skin irritation.
  • Zinc ricinoleate binds up odor molecules. Sourced from castor beans, zinc ricinoleate traps and absorbs bad smells
  • Natural fragrance blocks odor. Encapsulating natural fragrance oils with silica shells makes them last longer.
  • Kosher and Halal

It is available in apricot, lavender, lemongrass and unscented fragrances.

You can see the list of all the ingredients on their webpage


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I became a very healthy eater a few years back.  I started cutting junk foods out of my diet and started trying to eat asfruits-and-veggiesorganically as possible.  Over the past few months I have been a little lax in my healthy eating and have eaten more sweets and junk food than I would like to admit.  It’s been bothering me and I have been looking into what changes I need to make.  I have really be considering cutting out dairy, sugar and even animal products from my diet.  But what would I eat or feed my family is what I ask myself.  Why those things:  Dairy:  I can’t buy raw milk where I live.  So I have been buying organic milk but it is still pasturized and even homogonized, both of which kill any nutritional value.  Also, my husband doesn’t drink milk.  He only eats dairy in the form of cheese and ice cream.  Cheese is usually processed and ice cream is full of sugar.  Sugar:  I have a major sweet tooth.  Which I am discovering is often a sign that you are lacking nutrients that you need elsewhere.  Sugar (refined) is just not good for you.  I would still use natural forms of sweeteners such as honey, agave, rapadura and sucanat.  Animal products:  I have to buy my meat from the grocery store and because I buy cage-free products it is very expensive.  Again, there is no where locally that sells meat from humane and natural sources.

I have never really considered going vegan/vegetarian because it seemed like a difficult thing to do.  But because I don’t live in an area where healthier options are available, I am now reconsidering.  My hubby likes meat – he’s all guy!  But he too knows that some changes need to be made to our diet.  The funny thing is that I am very careful about what Judah eats.  Family members are always pushing me to give him this or that (other than a fruit or veggie made at home).  I keep thinking about how clean his insides are and how I don’t want to see them ruined by eating common food.  So this too has got me thinking.

Then today, I visited goveg.com and was seeing how inhumanely animals are treated.  Here’s a quote from their site: “The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other confinement systems. These animals will never raise their families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural to them. They won’t even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.” Animals are no longer created or raised to be animals but to be meat-makers – I don’t want to be a part of that.

Here’s a video entitled “Meet your Meat” that is very hard to watch but very eye opening.

Add all these things together and I am giving some serious thought how I eat.

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Judah close up nursing necklaceJudah is 10 months and has 8 teeth already.  I wish I could say those teeth just popped right through and he hardly noticed but my little guy teethes something awful.  I can tell when a tooth is pushing up by his symptoms:  fever, fussy, cries throughout the night, chews things furiously.  It is a tough few days!  I have been searching out natural pain relief alternatives and came across what is known as an Amber Teething Necklace.  These are very well known and used in europe.  I decided to give it a try and bought one for Judah.

Here are some benefits on Amber and the why and how teething necklaces work:

– Amber as a remedy to ease a child’s teething pain has been used for thousands of years. Unlike a stone, Amber is warm to the touch and is very comfortable and light to wear. Wearing amber has been a custom in Europe and the Far East for centuries. Associated with sunlight and warmth and attributed with reducing inflammation, accelerating the healing of wounds, and boosting the immune system, Amber is the perfect natural remedy for anyone who wears it.

– When amber is worn against the skin, it releases miniscule amounts of its unique healing oils which are absorbed into the skin and then into the bloodstream. Amber offers a perfectly natural, drug-free alternative that relieves pain and promotes healing.

– Be certain that the product is Baltic amber from the Baltic Region. Baltic amber has some of the highest concentrations of succinic acid found in nature, and this is what makes it so special. Succinic acid is a natural component of plant and animal tissues, and it’s presence in the human body is beneficial in many ways.

– When amber is worn on the skin, the skin’s warmth releases miniscule amounts of healing oils from the amber which are then absorbed via the skin into the bloodstream.

– Amber’s anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties are also recognized by allopathic medicine. In Austria, Switzerland and Germany, you will find amber teething necklaces sold in local pharmacies.

– Amber teething necklaces and bracelets are made to wear but not to chew! Children should be supervised at all times when wearing jewelry, and it should be removed when child is sleeping or unattended!

– They are individually knotted between each bead, making them strong enough to withstand tugs from little hands. The clasp is completely surrounded by smooth stones, so no wires or metal touches tender baby skin.

Cited from Amber Teething Necklaces1

I have a few mom friends whose kids have worn these and they say they have seen a positive difference.  I’ll keep you posted to see how it works on my little intense teether.

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baby eatingBefore I became a mom I always figured I would give my baby jarred organic baby food.  But when it came time to give Judah solids I found myself entertaining thoughts of making my own. I am certainly a novice in the kitchen and I had no idea where to start in making food that my son would eat.  To add to my already existing lack of confidence, I had tons of images of babies making faces and spitting out their food while parents make airplane noises in an attempt to get their babies to joyfully swallow their food.

I pushed through the images and decided to give it a go.  I thought of all the foods and food combinations hubby and I like and came up with some ideas.  First, I bought some BPA free food trays at Babies R Us (ice cube trays would work too) to freeze my purees in (each cube will be about 2 oz).  Then I headed over to the grocery store to pick up my food supplies.  Before I share what I did, let me preface it with saying that I waited until I thought Judah was really ready for solid foods.  I waited until he seemed interested in what we were eating and was able to sit up on his own, which was about 7 mo.  I’m glad I waited because I have never had him spit any food out.  If he doesn’t like something he usually turns his head away, which is a clear sign because other than that he gets so excited about eating!

Homemade baby food is healthy, budget-friendly and not at all time consuming.  I typically buy fresh/frozen organic fruits and veggies.  At this point, I don’t add any seasoning.  I do occasionally add purified water to the purees if they seem to be too thick or chunky.  Judah is only 9mo. so I have not ventured into meats yet.

I have thought about how much I am saving by making my own food.  Baby food jars are sold in stages:  Stage 1 (4-6mo): 2.5 oz Jar, Stage 2 (6-9mo): 4 oz Jar, Stage 3 (9+ mo): 6 oz Jar can cost between $.50 – $1.25 per jar/feeding.  Homemade baby food:  A 16oz. bag of organic frozen peas costing $2.00 will fill make 14-18 cubes (depending on trays).  If you give 2-3 cubes per feeding that will last you 5-7 feedings.  $1.00 per feeding vs. $2.00 for 5-7 feedings. Homemade baby food wins!

Homemade Baby Food Steps:

– Create a menu of what you want to make (Frozen/fresh corn, peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, avacados other veggies single or combined; apples, bananas, strawberries, peaches, other fruits single or combined)

Steam and puree or just puree fruits and veggies.  Add water if needed to bring to desired consistency.

– Spoon or pour purees into trays and freeze

– Once frozen pop cubes out of trays and store in ziploc bags in the freezer for easy access

– To defrost:  Place cubes in a bowl and store in fridge or at room temperature.  You can also place cubes in their bowls and place that bowl in a larger bowl with water.  The microwave defrost can also be used.

– Serve and enjoy!!!

Smile-baby

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greencleaning-main_FullHome sweet Home!  We had a great weekend.  On Saturday, we took a spontaneous trip to the beach (Judah’s first) and we spent the day there and headed back late that night.  I was so ready to get home and get to bed seeing how we had church early Sunday.  But when we got home we walked through the door and were greeted with intense heat.  Our A/C broke! Judah was exhausted and we decided that I should head over to the our parents house to get Judah to bed.  Hubby quickly called a friend who rushed over to discover that it was a broken fuse – they got that fixed well past midnight.  So this afternoon after the house had cooled down I came home to get my cleaning for the week done.  Last week I posted some non-toxic cleaning mixtures that I use and there is an interesting article in the book I refer to on the History of Housekeeping.  I just love being home and I want to do all I can to create a home that is clean, organized and a haven!

Sited from Green Clean by Mason Hunter and Halpin

In the beginning, life wasn’t easy but it was simple.  Humans lived in caves and hunted and gathered their food; trash went into a heap.  Then the mighty agricultural revolution swept the planet.  Shelter changed and families began to live in huts.  Housekeeping progressed – floors were swept, cobwebs whisked from the corners and hygiene became more important.  In the mid 1600’s, the Western world entered the Industrial Age and houses became larger and housekeeping more complex.  By the mid-seventeenth century, spring cleaning was a widely observed ritual – a week long marathon in which housekeepers whitewashed walls, aired mattresses, beat the dust out of rugs and oiled hardwood.  The Industrial Revolution caused epic shifts in the way people lived.  By the beginning of the last century…at home, indoor plumbing replaced outdoor privies; central heating replaced the wood or coal stove; electricity lengthened the productive hours of the day; and the hand-cranked washing machine, the icebox and the gas oven simplified everyday chores.

Still, housekeeping solutions remained pretty simple.  Through the 1930s, homemakers continued to make their own cleaners and stain removers from everyday ingredients – baking soda, distilled white vinegar, salt, lemon juice.  WWII changed much of that!  Chemicals initially developed for warfare sound their way into America’s cleaners, building materials, cosmetics, pesticides, and hundreds of other products.  Advertisements promised to get clothes “whiter than white,”  make countertops “cleaner than clean,” and bring “sparkle” to the toilet bowl.  It was “better living” through chemistry.

Though most people weren’t aware of it at the time, America’s houses were filling up with fumes from paints, stains, cleaners and other human-made materials.  By the 1970s, the term “sick buildings” became part of the lexicon, describing places where people reported an unusually high instance of symptoms like lethargy, fatigue, headaches and nausea – all due to indoor air pollution.

Today, we are far more likely to breathe unhealthy substances inside our homes than outside.  A 5 year study revealed that pollution inside the typical American home was two to fives times worse than the air outdoors.  We’ve insulated, caulked and weather-stripped to the point where our houses no longer breathe.  Unsafe chemicals hang around for days, creating a synthetic brew for us to inhale.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

I’m a strange girl – I LOVE to clean.  Really!  I do it for fun!  I have always been like this and b/c of my love of cleaning I grew up around cleaning products.  Lots of them!  I remember cleaning the bathroom or the floors with strong smelling “products” and would literally have to cover my mouth and open a window b/c the smell was horrific and the way it affected my nose and throat was awful!  I didn’t know any better at the time nor did my parents, so I exposed myself to thise stuff for years.  As I grew into my understanding of living green and non-toxic I went all natural.  It’s tough at first because you have to fight the thoughts that things wont really be clean.  But now I love to clean and never have to cover my mouth or gag.  And I don’t have to worry about exposing my family to things that are harmful to them.  And I no longer spend money on needless products!  Now I gladly clean green!!!!!

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greencleaning-main_FullThink of your house as a second skin.  If you nurture your physical body, keeping it tuned and healthy, you’ll want to extend that TLC to your shelter, the four walls and roof surrounding you.  Your home is an extension of yourself.  It deserves to be healthy too.  -Green Clean

About a year and a half ago we decided to make every effort to have a healthy and non-toxic home. Some things I did right from the start were: stopped buying commercial cleaners and started making my own, stopped using air freshners and aerosols, and began recycling.  Deciding to live a non-toxic and environmentally friendly lifestyle is a process. Little by little I try to adopt new ways of living – from our food, cleaners, toiletries and even now to the toys Judah plays with.  It seems like I am always coming up with new ways to live as non-toxic, healthy and frugally as possible.  It’s quite an exciting thing to pursue!  

I wanted to share a few cleaning mixtures I have used and stand by.  I’ll keep adding other things over time.  I’m also going to post some info on the history of housekeeping.

All Purpose Cleaner:  Scented Vinegar Spray

1 Tablespoon castile soap

1/8 Cup distilled vinegar

2 cups water

5-10 drops of essential oil – optional

16 ounce spray bottle

Mix all ingredients in bottle.  Use as needed and wipe with sponge or rag.  Shelf Life: Indefinite

Glass/Surface Cleaner:  Club Soda Spray

2+ cups of club soda

16 ounce bottle

Spray and wipe with sponge, rag or newspaper.  Shelf Life:  Indefinite

Liquid Dishwashing Soap:

Castile Soap (liquid or bar)

Distilled White Vinegar

Mix ingredients in bottle if using liquid soap.  If using bar soap:  grate soap and add to dishwater.  Shelf life:  Indefinite

Mildew Remover:

Baking Soda

Distilled White Vinegar

Mix vinegar with water or sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge to clean affected area.  Vinegar helps prevent mildew because acid kills mildew fungus.  Shelf Life:  Use and discard

Floor Cleaner:

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Warm water

Bucket

Mix ingredients in bucket and mop lightly wood, laminate or tile floors.  Rinse with water.  Do NOT leave pools of water on the floors.  Shelf Life:  Use and discard

Furniture Polish:

Olive Oil

Lemon Juice

Mix oil with lemon juice.  Apply with a soft cloth and buff until desired.  Shelf Life:  Use and discard.

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