Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Friday, April 29, 2011

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soulemama 
photo by Todd!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Handmade Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers save resources and keep disposable diapers out of landfills. I have used cloth diapers with both of my children (although we use a disposable at night so that we can all sleep better).I have done lots of experimenting with many different types of cloth diapers and I have found that a diaper cover with a prefold inserted is what has worked best for our family. It is the cheapest route to go, and we have had the least amount of blowouts.
We used cloth diapers from the start with my son Finn, but only had a few size small diapers and so I found myself doing diaper laundry every day... not so great for the environment or my water bill. For baby #2 I was determined that we would have enough cloth diapers so that I would only have to wash them every few days. And, since near the end of my pregnancy I was doing a lot of nesting-crafting in hopes that it would bring on her arrival, we now have plenty of diapers!
I had never thought to make my own diaper inserts until reading soulemama's Handmade Home. Then I realized it was in fact fairly simple. Her book gives detailed instructions, but you basically sew a couple of pieces of fabric together with an extra layer sewn into the middle. Only takes about 10 minutes per diaper. So, I headed into my garage to look through our old-clothes-stash, where I keep old clothes to be re-purposed into new things. I had some old baby blankets and old t-shirts that would otherwise have been destined for the landfill and I turned them into 10 new diaper inserts... and the only thing that it cost me was my time. Not to mention that my baby is probably one of the only ones who has an "Obama" diaper!
As I said, I made these a few months ago, but wanted to give them a whirl before writing about them. They have worked fabulously. They can't hold quite as much as a Chinese pre-fold, but so far so good. Once I find some more time, I will probably make another 10 or so (the more I have, the less often I have to do laundry!!). Check out Soulemama's book for step by step instructions on how to make your own!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Springtime Explorations

Last week, to go along with our study of ecosystems, I took my students on a field trip to a local wetland (yes, college students get to go on field trips too!). This wetland is an industrial area of town and was used as a dump until the 1960's. It's amazing to see how the land has recovered from the years of abuse, and now supports a whole variety of plants, birds and wildlife. The area is not completely pristine, however. Many invasive species have moved into the area, and keeping them under control is a constant managerial issue.
We were extremely lucky to get a beautiful warm and sunny day for our adventure (a real Portland rarity these days) and seeing everything in bloom made me jittery with anticipation for summer. After the students left, I spent about 20 minutes just wandering around alone. No students. No children. No husband. Just me and the plants. I think that is the first time I have really been alone in a long time, and it felt nice.
I also decided that I am going to keep a plant photo journal this summer as a way to learn the plants that surround me. While I do know many of the species that I encounter in the area, I am far from knowing them all. This summer I hope to take pictures of the plants I find along my hikes and learn their common and latin names. Maybe this will fizzle out, as summer always seems to go by too quickly, but I hope to at least gain some ground in the world of botany. I would love to be able to teach my kids the names of the plants in their environment. Do you know the plants commonly found in your area? Do you share that knowledge with your children?

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Gifts and A Tulip Adventure

This was the first year that Finn really anticipated the Easter Bunny, which meant 2 things: 1. Easter is now way more fun because he is gets so darn excited about it and 2. I didn't do a completely handmade Easter this year because I knew Finn was expecting presents from the Easter Bunny. So I made the kids a few things, and then Finn also got a few store bought gifts (socks, a pair of pants, a board game and, of course, some candy) that the Easter Bunny brought. We also hid sticker-filled eggs throughout the house and man, did he have a blast!

Here is what I whipped up for Easter. And, by "whipped", I really mean what I worked on for the past month since I feel like I have no time for crafting these days! The bunnies were from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. They turned out pretty cute, but not as cute as I had expected. I did learn how to make my first pom-pom though! I also made a few chubby chicks, which is a free Rebecca Danger pattern available from ravelry. These turned out pretty darn cute, although I made some out of both wool and cotton and I think the wool held the shape a lot better, especially when I made the beaks. I also made Finn a rocket applique shirt from a hand-me down tee he got and rarely wore. Hopefully it will now be a big hit with the new design!

After presents and a trip to the french bakery for some croissants, we drove to Woodburn Oregon for a trip to the Tulip Festival. The weather was dreary, but the row upon row of gorgeous colorful tulips definitely brightened up the mood. It was muddy, and we almost had a few wipe outs, but managed to leave only slightly dirty. I only wish that all of the other people could have left so I could have gotten some better people-free photos!

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Today is the 41st Earth Day. We have come a long way in these 41 years; figuring out ways to reduce pollution, save energy, and use our resources more wisely. However, we still have a long way to go. Global warming is looming over our heads, our oil supplies are running low, and habitat and species are being destroyed at alarming rates.
Today, on Earth Day, take a moment to think about our Earth and everything she provides for you. What can you do today to lessen your impact on this planet? Walk instead of drive? Support your local businesses and farmers? Start a garden? Take your children for a walk in nature? Pin It Now!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Experience: Earth Days: A Review

In celebration of Earth Day tomorrow, I streamed a PBS film entitled American Experience: Earth Days from Netflix last night. This film is basically the story of how the environmental revolution started, the environmental problems that brought about this movement, and the hope for a better future that was present at that time.
The film portrays the launch of the first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970. As 1970 was well before the time of emails or blogs, the first Earth Day was promoted by sending notices and telegrams across the country. And it worked. Earth Day culminated with huge gatherings all across the country, showing that Americans were concerned with the health and future of our planet. It united folks who were previously fighting their own battles... those who wanted to save open space were now united with people wanting to stop industrial pollution.... all under the front of saving the planet.
The film discusses Rachel Carsen's book, Silent Spring, which essentially was the biggest factor that launched the environmental movement. Carsen's book talked about how pesticide use was harming the environment, wildlife and humans. She showed that when the balance of an ecosystem is upset, by say killing off a certain "pest", it will ultimately throw the entire ecosystem out of whack.
The film talks about consumerism and the American dream to have more 'stuff'. Then film also delves into the beginnings of our relationship with oil, and how our 'freedom' is in reality ruled by the countries that we buy our oil from. We also get a look at pollution in the 1960's and 1970's, before many of our current environmental laws went into effect. Rivers and lakes were becoming dumping grounds, aquatic life was dying, and air pollution was at dangerously high levels in many cities. Population was (and still is) growing exponentially across the planet, and exponential growth of people means exponential use of resources. And of course, strung through all of this are the political factors both for and against the environment.
All in all, this film was interesting and inspiring, showing what power the people of the United States can have when we come together on an issue. We have come a long way since people were dying of acute air pollution in New York City, but we still have a long, long way to go before our planet is back to a state of health again. My one complaint about this film is that it seemed to jump from topic to topic, from interviews with one person to someone else, and wasn't really in a order that flowed. I personally found it a bit hard to stay focused through the entirety of the film, but appreciated its content nonetheless. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Egg Stained Glass

Earlier this week, Finn and I made some fun Easter "stained glass" eggs. They were simple enough even for a 3 year to do (once I had done the prep work).
Here's what you do:
Cut some tissue paper into small squares or any shape that you fancy. This is a great opportunity to use up some of that tissue paper that is too crumpled to re-use for present packing, but is great for art projects.
Now cut an egg shape out of construction paper
Cut out a piece of contact paper slightly larger than the egg. You can get contact paper at hardware stores.
Lay the egg onto the contact paper. Now stick the squares of tissue paper onto the contact paper, filling up the middle of the egg.
Once your egg is full of color, add another sheet of contact paper on the top.
Now cut around your egg shape, cutting close to the edge.
Hang in a sunny window! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Duck Update

It has been a little over a year since my family added ducks to our tiny urban homestead. Man, they sure were cute as little ducklings! I haven't posted about them much lately, as I honestly haven't seen them that much this winter. Todd took over duck duty while I was pregnant, and the ducks have (very unfortunately) turned our backyard into a mud pit, so it is actually somewhere I have been avoiding. At least until the sun comes out and dries things out back there.
But those ducks are still darn cute, even though they are all grown. And they certainly are as un-smart as ever. We got ducks (instead of chickens) because the research I did lead me to believe that they were less destructive than chickens. They aren't supposed to do as much damage to gardens as chickens as they are pickier eaters and don't scratch the dirt. Well, what no one tells you is that they may not scratch the soil, but once it is muddy their big ol' feet stomp around on it, killing all vegetation and turning things into a swamp. And they seem to eat whatever grows in their reach. They also live for getting wet and splashing around, which makes mud, well.... muddier. Don't get me wrong, I am still happy that we got ducks. They are goofy. Fun to watch. And have big personalities. However, we will likely be purchasing some pea gravel for the backyard to cover the mud pit they have created. So, our thoughts of an idyllic backyard with ducks roaming around is not quite that. Instead of roaming, the ducks are wallowing in mud and digging holes with their bills. Instead of flowers and vegetables, we have mud. But hey, we are working with it, and hope to make some improvements this summer. But I do think ducks would be better suited on a large farm than in a tiny backyard.
And, as far as egg production? Well, the 3 females we picked out ended up being 2 males and only 1 female. We were not able to fully sex them until they were about 4 months old, and at that point, Finn was pretty attached to them all. And if we sent the males away, we knew that they would end up as someone's dinner. We thought a time would come when we would have to get rid of at least 1 male, as they say you can only have 1 male for every 3 or 4 females, but our little flock loves each other so much that the males share their lady and they have all been able to stay together in peace.
So, our 3 egg layers are now 1 egg layer. And she has laid an egg every single day since she started. Seriously. I don't think she had missed a day, even through our long and rainy winter. Pretty amazing. Looking forward to drier days and more time in the backyard with our funny flock! Pin It Now!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Egg Ornaments

Last week we used eggs from our backyard ducks (well, duck, as we only have 1 female, and therefore only 1 layer) to create some Easter decorations. I wanted to blow out some eggs to make ornaments for Christmas, but never got around to it, so this was my first shot at doing so. I did a little internet research on how to blow out eggs, and then finally just sort of winged it as I went. I am sure there is a better way to do this, but I figured I would use what I had and learn as I went. And they worked. Sort of. I think I still have some kinks to work out, but I am happy with the result for this first go-round.
What I did was to take a duck egg ( I heard that duck eggs actually work better for this because the shells are stronger, but I did not try with any chicken eggs, so I don't have anything to compare to) and with a clean (washed) nail I punctured a small hole in the top of the egg and then made a bigger hole in the bottom of the egg. To make the bottom hole bigger, I just punctured it with the nail and then moved the nail around in a circle until the hole was dime to quarter sized (they got smaller as I got better, actually). This is where I could have used some tips, as the bottom hole was sort of jagged, not dangerously so, but not smooth either.
Anyways, once you have that bottom hole, puncture the yolk inside the egg (I just used the nail to do this as well) and then shake the egg out of the shell. I shook mine into a tupperware so I could eat it the next day for breakfast... This sometimes take a little while, but once it starts coming it looks pretty cool.
Then, once the egg is out, rinse the inside of the shell with warm water. Once you have all of your eggshells, bake for about 10 minutes at 250 F. Supposedly this helps to harden the egg.
Then, when cooled, paint the eggs with acrylic paints. The problem with acrylics is that they are not washable. And non-washable paint and 3-year olds are a tough mix. I make Finn put on old clothes, go to our art table outside, only let him have one paint color at a time, and watch him like a hawk to make sure he doesnt touch anything besides what he is painting. Eggs are actually really difficult to paint because there is not a good spot to hold onto, they are sort of slippery, and if you want to paint the whole thing at once, you end up touching (and smearing) wet paint. Plus, eggs are delicate. This was confirmed by the fact that we had 8 eggs to paint and only 5 made it onto our holiday tree.
We put the eggs in small jars to dry. Once dry, I used a needle to thread embroidery floss from the top of the egg to the inside. Then I used a pen to keep  pushing the floss down until it came out the bottom hole, where I could grab it, tie a double knot, and then pull it back up through the top. Now the eggs were ready to (carefully) be hung from our holiday tree.
This project was more of a process than I had anticipated, but it was fun and I think once I get more practice, they will end up looking really nice. I think maybe next time I will dye the eggs and then use a stencil to create a design. Hopefully the Easter Bunny will be proud of our work!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soulemama 

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fabric Appliqued Onesie Tutorial

Lately, I have been on a kick of making fabric appliqued onesies. They are fairly simple and look really cute! All you do is:
  1. Draw up a design that you want on the onesie. I like to draw the design on heavy paper and then cut it out for tracing.
  2. Iron heat and bond paper onto the back side of fabric scraps, making sure your scraps are the right size for the designs you will be cutting out.
  3. Now, using the cut out that you made from the heavy paper, trace the mirror-image onto the back of the heat and bond paper. You need to trace the mirror image as you are drawing onto the fabric upside down, as it will be flipped before it is ironed onto the shirt.
  4. Cut out your designs.
  5. Iron onto onesie.
  6. Sew around the edges to secure!
  7. Voila! Cute onesies!
I have made quite a few of these for Phoebe lately and I decided that I need to add some to my etsy shop before I make any more for the little lady!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things again this week for Yarn Along. This week I have been working on knitting some rabbits for Easter presents for the kids. I started one of these rabbits a couple of weeks ago, but then got sidetracked knitting Phoebe a new hat and doing some sewing and so I haven't gotten as much done as I had hoped.The rabbit pattern can be found in Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. Finn's will be a gray wool-blend rabbit while Phoebe's will be knit from light green cotton. I am hoping to finish up in the next few days so that I can get a few more presents started for their Easter baskets.
As for what I am reading this week.....I have started reading the first book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. With a new baby, my brain hasn't been up for much serious reading and I have needed something light and easy to get through. And after going to Africa in 2005, I am a complete sucker for books that take place there. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh, Oh Styrofoam

So you may remember a couple weeks back my husband surprised me with a  brand-spankin' new sewing machine (whom I named Hilde). Such an awesome gift. The only problem is that it came immersed in a box of styrofoam (#6). Styrofoam is a plastic, which can cause a whole host of problems and are definitely NOT good for the environment. They are made from non-renewable petroleum, they do not biodegrade and therefore clog landfills, and they are making their way into the oceans and other natural environments and harming wildlife. So, we try to use as few plastics as possible and make sure to recycle whatever plastics we DO use.
Here in lies the problem... this styrofoam, which is technically recyclable, is not readily recycled, at least not here in Portland. After some research and several phone calls, I found one place that will take it, however, it is 5 miles each way to drop it off (and a $5 fee to do so). I don't think the greenhouse gases emitted by me driving 10 miles in the car makes it worth it to recycle a fairly small amount of styrofoam packaging. If I had a whole car full yes, but for a box full, nope.
So, why make recyclable things if they are not being recycled? If there is not a market, can't we create one? Require all styrofoam to have at least a percentage of recycled material in it?
Has anyone else found a place to take styrofoam or found a good use for it? I decided to send the company an email and see if they would take the packaging back and reuse it. I will keep you posted with the response I get, and hopefully the news will be good! Otherwise this styrofoam will sadly be making its way into my trash can.... Pin It Now!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Weekend....

We were very lucky to have a mostly non-rainy weekend, and my family managed to squeeze in a lot of productive time, as well as a lot of fun.
We did a lot of work in the garden digging up old bulbs, planting potatoes, dividing some bee balm.
I also threw together a fence (made from sticks and hemp) as we have had some folks who have been letting their dogs walk into our yard, and onto our planting beds to pee. I have dogs myself, so it's not the dog aspect that bothers me, just the fact that my tiny seedlings may get smashed. And, this fence obviously is not going to actually keep anyone out, I just figured that it subtly sent the message to please keep your pets off of our yard! I hope so anyways.....
We (OK, mostly Todd) also built Finn his very own raised bed in our driveway for him to plant whatever he pleases. We got a wagon full of free dirt from a house down the road, but still have to get a few more loads before it can be planted in.

On Saturday morning, the family (dogs included) headed to nearby Sauvie's Island for a morning of fresh air, napping for some, playing in the sand for others, and Finn's first run at flying a kite! There was just enough wind to get it launched a couple of times....

 After Sauvie's Island we made it to the Farmers Market for some lunch and to grab some produce for dinner. Pickings were sort of slim, as it is still early in the season, but being there made me so excited for the local abundance that will be here soon! And we saw the largest parsnips I have ever seen!
We spent the rest of the weekend doing a HUGE spring organizing of our home and garage (which we use for storage). We put together a carload full of stuff that we no longer need that will be donating, and I spent a lot of time organizing baby clothes and reorganizing the art supply shelf. Not the most exciting of tasks, but it sure feels good to downsize and to feel like our tiny house is a bit more in order.
Now if I can just fit in a little sewing before I fall asleep.... Pin It Now!

Friday, April 8, 2011

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soulemama                        

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Life After Baby... Back to Diapers!

Finn has so far been a phenomenal big brother. He is helpful, understanding, and so so sweet with Phoebe. However, we have had a little problem with pee. Yup, my 3.5 year old who has been potty trained for some time now is constantly having accidents in his pants. So much so that we have reverted back to diapers on days when he is not at home and can't be reminded to use the potty every hour. And we aren't even using our cloth diapers, or even natural ones at that. We are using pull-ups, with Toy Story characters none-the-less, so that Finn can still use the potty on his own when reminded. And, they now make these 'magical' pull-ups that have a design on them that disappears when it gets wet (see the rockets and stars on diapers above)... which means that I can tell if he has peed or not. This has actually come in very handy, as we are back to bribing him to use the potty. He gets a treat after dinner if he hasn't had any accidents all day, and if he ever again goes a week straight without an accident, he gets to chose some new art materials. Before I became I parent I swore I would never use bribery for anything. Boy, have I ever failed myself on that!
This has been pretty stressful for me, as I feel like I have done something wrong or am not giving him the attention he needs, but the worst part is that I can tell he is really sad about it too. So, I am trying to not make it into too much of a big deal, while still trying to fix this problem ASAP. Although Finn is only 3.5, he is the size of a 4.5-5 year old and I am not sure how much longer diapers are going to fit him!
He is cooperative, and uses the potty when I ask, but as soon as I forget to remind him for a couple of hours he will have an accident. I am sure this is just a "phase" and part of adding a new sibling, but how long is this going to last?
Have you ever been in a similar situation? How long did it last? Any advice on how to remedy this? For now I am resorting to magic diapers, bribery, and a whole lot of patience. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scrumptious Applesauce Muffins

Yesterday I was craving apple muffins, but didn't have a recipe that I was totally in love with. And, some perusing online resulted in many recipes, most of which I couldn't make because I didn't have an ingredient (like sour scream), hadn't set butter out to soften, or they just didn't sound that great. So, I sort of amalgamated several recipes into one of my own, and the muffins turned out to be delicious! I thought I would share the recipe with you:

What You Need:
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I used some chunky applesauce that I made last fall. It had a lot of cinnamon in it.... if you use plain applesauce, add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to this recipe as well)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Cinnamon and sugar for dusting
What You Do:
  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Beat oil, eggs and sugar until smooth.
  • Add applesauce and vanilla
  • Blend in flour, baking powder and baking soda
  • Pour into greased muffins tins
  • Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to the top of each muffin
  • Bake for about 20 minutes
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Family Bed

I know the whole idea of co-sleeping, or sharing your bed with your baby, is pretty controversial in our society. Many doctors will report that it is unsafe and others will say that it fosters an unhealthy attachment. Other parents I have talked to say that they wouldn't sleep well with their baby in their bed because they would hear the baby all night long.
I do understand this reasoning and I do realize that every family's situation is different. But, man... especially during the early weeks with a new baby, I couldn't imagine NOT sharing my bed. I love that I can roll over to nurse in the middle of the night, and that neither one of us fully wakes from sleep during this time. I love that if I wake up in a panic I can reach my hand over and feel her chest rise and fall with each breath. I give props to all of the nursing mamas out there who can actually pull their butt out of bed, get their baby out of the crib, and nurse them back to sleep before they can go lay down in their own bed. That takes some serious dedication and middle of the night motivation, neither of which I have.
I think more families co-sleep than will admit it, even if it is only for the first weeks or months after the baby comes. And many families choose to sleep using a co-sleeper attached to the bed so that baby has its own space, but is still a part of the family bed. It is seriously convenient, especially for mamas who nurse, and honestly, I am so paranoid those first few weeks when they are so tiny and fragile, that I couldn't imagine putting a new baby to sleep all the way across the house.
However, co-sleeping doesn't work for every family. First off, you need a bed big enough for 3... we are lucky to have a king size bed. You also need to feel confident that you are not such a sound sleeper that you will roll over and smother your child while you are sleeping. I have always slept soundly while co-sleeping, but yet seem to have a continual awareness of where I am in relation to the baby. And I never really change positions at all while I am co-sleeping. Co-sleeping would not be a good idea if you take sleeping pills or consume large quantities of alcohol, because you could actually smother your baby! Todd was pretty nervous about this when we first started co-sleeping with Finn, but I kept the baby closer to my side and we never had any issues. The only other sort of annoying thing is the blanket issue. You need to make sure your covers don't go over the baby face and suffocate them. Which for us means that Todd and I each use our own blanket, and I have to be careful that my blanket is kept well below the level of Phoebe's head. I do miss our big ol' king size comforter that I could just cozy down under, but I am willing to sacrifice that for the added convenience of the family bed.
Finn slept in our bed for a long time. By the time we were motivated to put him to bed in his own room he was waking us up all night by smacking us in the face and kicking us (he is a wild man in his sleep). But by that time, Finn was really accustomed to sleeping with us, and it took a very, very, very long time to get him to fall asleep on his own in his own bed. Much too long.
So although we are going to co-sleep again with Phoebe, we are going to work on transitioning her out of our bed before she is taking over it. Which is going to be a challenge as we don't really have anywhere to transition her too. Our bedroom is too small for a crib, and Finn's room (our only other bedroom or possible space for a crib since we live in an 800 square foot house, would need a serious make-over before we could fit a crib in there). Our current plan is to keep her in our bed until we are ready, and then transition her to sleeping in a co-sleeper attached to our bed (which is currently used for nap times and a storage area for night time baby needs!). Then, at some point, things will need to get rearranged in Finn's room and Phoebe will share his space. But, until then, I am going to enjoy these nights of snuggling with my new baby, lazy nursing in the middle of the night, and hearing her tiny breath go in and out and she sleeps.
Do you co-sleep? When did you move your child to their own bed? Any tips or tactics for a mama hoping to make an easier transition the second time around? Pin It Now!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Weekend of Ewwwwwww....

On Friday afternoon, I got the unfortunate news that Finn had lice. Ewww. This was a first for our family, although probably not the last, as I have heard it is fairly common in the Portland school system. One of the downsides of sending Finn to preschool I suppose. The whole idea of lice sort of just creeped me out. I felt like we were dirty and I also felt overwhelmed by the night (and subsequent days) full of lice-removal that laid ahead of me. Little was I to know that I also had lice, although not nearly as bad as Finn did.
Throughout Friday night and Saturday, I did quite a bit of research about lice (and lice removal) and thought I would share some of what I found here, as I am guessing that some of you have gone or will go through this problem with your children at some point. The pharmacy lice removal kits that are conventionally used to get rid of lice are full of harsh chemicals that are essentially pesticides that you apply to your head. Gross. Grosser than lice? Not sure about that, but definitely still gross. These are NOT safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and I definitely would not want to use one of these on a young child.... and probably no one should use these. When I first found lice on my head, my first urge was to go get as many chemicals as possible to dump on my head and kill those little bastards. But since I am breastfeeding, this wasn't an option, and some further research made me realize that there really is no point to these store bought lice treatments.
First off, over time, lice have developed a resistance to these chemicals and so now more and more of them need to be used to be effective. Many people have reported that if you don't leave the chemicals on for twice the time stated by the package (against warnings, mind you), they won't work at all. Also, usually these chemicals often have to be applied several times over the course of 1-2 weeks. I am sure sensitive people would have a tough time with harsh chemicals on their skin, especially with repeat treatments. The other silly thing about these chemical treatments is that they are only able to kill the live lice. Eggs don't seem to be killed by anything, and so the only way to remove them is actually combing through the hair and picking them out. Time consuming and sucky. However, that means that the conventional remedies are having you dump harsh chemicals on your head and you STILL have to do the comb and pick thing.
I chose to use the olive oil method to kill the live lice, which basically entails covering your head in olive oil, putting a shower cap on and leaving it for several hours. Finn and I left our shower caps on overnight, which ended up being really messy and olive oil leaked onto our pillows and sheets as we slept. Next time I do this (which will be within the next few days!) I am going to do it in the evening and leave it on for the minimum of 3 hours. The olive oil, when left on for at least several hours, smothers all of the live lice, basically drowning them, and then they can be combed out with a metal lice comb. So the olive oil does the same exact thing as the chemicals except it doesn't burn your head, irritate your scalp or cause cancer. And it's much cheaper. The olive oil is not killing the lice by poison, but kills them by smothering, so it has no side effects on the human. Plus, it is said to actually be much more effective because you are not dealing with the issue of pesticide resistance. Just like the chemicals, however, you need to do a repeat treatment within 5-7 days to kill any eggs that have been missed by the combing (that have now hatched).  So, either way you have to comb and pick the eggs, but you can choose to kill live lice with poisons or with olive oil. I say that olive oil is the way to go.
The other method that works well and is proven safe is the method we chose for Finn on Saturday afternoon. Although the olive oil had worked to kill the live lice, he had lots and lots of eggs in his hair, and I just really wasn't up for the hours of work that it was going to take to get them all out. Plus, I was afraid that we would miss some, our house would get re-infested, and we would never get rid of these critters. So, with a little convincing, Finn agreed to try the Buzz Method (see below for a description):

Although it's not my favorite look for him, he still looks cute and at least we know he no longer has any lice. Sadly, however, I am too vain to chose that look for myself, so I have been combing several times a day and will be doing another olive oil treatment soon.
I don't wish this upon anyone, but at least know that you don't have to use harsh chemicals to get rid of these things. You just have to spend lots and lots of time...... Here's to hoping we don't get lice again. Ewwwwwww.
Have you dealt with lice in your home? How did you get rid of it? Pin It Now!

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Moment...

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 
Inspired by Soulemama 

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