Saturday, May 28, 2011

Easter - North Star Toys

Now I know Easter was a while ago but I never got a chance to talk about what I bought the Easter Bunny brought for Liam and Ella. I'm part of this Waldorf homeschool curriculum supplies yahoo group. Where I can buy used curriculum and other "waldorfy" things used from other waldorf homeschool moms. It's great! I've gotten a ton of stuff from them it's better than going to Savers.

Well I posted a list of things I would like to buy for Liam and Ella's Waldorf homeschooling adventure and one of the things I posted that I wanted to buy was wooden cars, trucks and planes. Well someone got back to me saying, "Perhaps you are looking for something bigger, but if you are interested in the "Little Rollie Vehicles" by North Start Toys then I have some to offer."  Are they super cute or what! 

I had to buy them even though I knew Liam might think "these are so tiny, and so not colorful and so not detailed." Still I figured if he didn't like them baby Ella would play with them and maybe with more Waldorf exposure Liam would get over his love of cars that go "voom" for him. 

She also had a paddle boat and a pull duck.

They are beautiful, gorgeous unfinished wood. I was in love. Now, here's the best part: North Star Sells the vehicles set for $45, I got it for $25; they sell the duck for $26, I got it for $16; They sell the paddle boat for $20, I got it for $12. Ahh I love a great deal. I and I love these wooden toys. 

After having them for a month now I can tell you Liam absolutely adores the paddle boat, it goes in the bath and the kiddie pool and anywhere there is water. He's not so excited about the wooden vehicles. He plays with them when he makes a city out of pine cones and beach rocks then, he drives them around the city he made. Ella loves them though! She doesn't roll them yet but she loves them rolling on her :) and she loves chewing on them. 

They are really great quality and knowing that they are totally worth the price North Star is asking or them. I plan on buying more from them in the future. especially their wooden camera!

Now, I never wanted to write any bad reviews but I have to be honest. Last year for Easter I bought Liam a little red sail boat from Nova Natural. It is very poor quality. The sail is very clumsily stitched it doesn't look neat or finished or even "artsy" it just looks lazy. It is attached to the front of the boat merely by a  piece of elastic cord poked through the sail (no eyelet or hole just randomly poked through the cloth). Also, the wood wasn't good so the first time it got wet (as sailboats do) the front cracked! It didn't break but it has a big crack in the front of it! Besides it had a little piece of wood filler in the front as if whoever made it made a mistake cutting and filled in the hole. I paid $15 for it plus $8 S&H I would have much rather spend $20 on the excellent quality boat I just bought. That being said. Nova Natural is still the only place to get Michael Engleberger's wood carved figures (much more beautiful then Ostheimer, in my opinion)

Anyway, on Easter we hid them around my mother's house and instead of an Easter egg hunt we had a little wooden toys hunt. 

Where are those sneaky Easter presents? 
 Found one in the microwave! (I found the microwave at Savers for $5)
 What is that horse doing on the stove! Silly horse!
Liam's paddle boat and Ella's duck were hidden n the bath tub.
It spins! Awesome!

 Ella is enjoying her duck already :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Breast Milk Baby is Awesome!

The Breast Milk Baby is Awesome!

I love this doll. All the dolls in the store come with a plastic baby bottle. What is that teaching our kids? Bottle feeding is normal. It's a little prcey but I think the idea is wonderful. Liam sometimes tries to breastfeed his stuffed animals lol (he'll learn soon enough). I'd love to get this for Ella when she is older and wants to practice taking care of a baby.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

World Science Festival

Last year my mom went to The World Science Festival but I was pregnant and trying to not be put on bedrest so I didn't go. This year though we are definately going!

There are a lot of really interesting events this year like:

It’s the thought of your childhood home. It’s that comforting aroma you can still smell ten years later. It’s the way you define yourself. It’s your memory. Where is memory stored? How do we recall? Why do we forget? We’ll shine a light on these and many other questions about memory from a molecular, psychological, and emotional perspective. Discover how your long-term memories can be naturally twisted, tweaked, and changed. Understand how memories of the past can also help us peer into the future. And explore the bumpy road even a youthful mind sometimes travels when experiencing déjà vu, succumbing to suggestibility, or having a “senior” moment. 

We spend a third of our lives asleep. Every organism on Earth—from rats to dolphins to fruit flies to microorganisms—relies on sleep for its survival, yet science is still wrestling with a fundamental question: Why does sleep exist? During Shakespeare and Cervantes’ time, sleep was likened to death, with body and mind falling into a deep stillness before resurrecting each new day. In reality, sleep is a flurry of action. Trillions of neurons light up. The endocrine system kicks into overdrive. The bloodstream is flooded with a potent cocktail of critically vital hormones. Such vibrant activity begs the question: Where do we go when we go to sleep? Based on new sleep research, there are tantalizing signposts. Join us in exploring this slumbering journey. We’ll delve into the one-eyed, half-brained sleep of some animals; eavesdrop on dreams to understand their cognitive significance; and investigate extreme and bizarre sleeping behaviors like “sleep sex” and “sleep violence.” 

In recent years, machines have grown increasingly capable of listening, communicating, and learning—transforming the way they collaborate with us, and significantly impacting our economy, health, and daily routines.  Who, or what, are these thinking machines? As we teach them to become more sophisticated, how will they complement our lives?  What will separate their ways of thinking from ours? And what happens when these machines understand data, concepts, and behaviors too big or impenetrable for humans to grasp? Join us in a discussion that will have you thinking twice about artificial intelligence.

Some of the events are free and some of them you need a ticket for. Check out the website to see all 11 events.

We are going to the Youth & Family Street Fair on Sunday June 5th. It's free and I know my little scientist would love it.
The Washington Square Park area will be transformed into a science wonderland when the World Science Festival Youth and Family Street Fair returns to New York City on Sunday, June 5, 2011.  This year’s extravaganza will feature a non-stop program of interactive exhibits, experiments, games, and shows designed to entertain and inspire.  Join us for a full day of free family fun!  Performances and exhibits will include Dancing Mad Scientist Jeffrey Vinokur; Franklin Institute’s Traveling Scientists; Central Park Zoo’s Wild Life Theater; Characters from the Jim Henson Company’s Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid television shows; American Museum of Natural History’s Moveable Museum—Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries; Lynn Brunelle’s Pop Bottle Science and Camp Out Experiments; The Science of Ping Pong; New York City/ New Jersey FIRST Robotics; What Lies Beneath: Science of Underwater Exploration; The Smell Lab: Test your smell IQ; The CSI Experience; and much more.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ella has the Chicken Pox!

Ella has her first illness, and honestly, it's not too bad. I don't know where she got it from but Ella has the chicken pox.

On Friday she had a little red bump on the bridge of her nose which everyone thought was a pimple. Saturday she had a couple red bumps in her diaper area which I thought was just diaper rash. Then Sunday morning there were a ton more bumps in her diaper area, all down her leg, creeping up her back and in her neck. We weren't sure what it was, but we guessed chicken pox.

I called the doctor and he asked if her was cranky and had a fever. Not really. Ella is such a good baby. He said he didn't think it was chicken pox. We made an appointment for Monday morning anyway.

On Monday a different doctor looked at her and kept asking if we fed her something. Nope, just breastmilk. If we changed her laundry detergent. Nope, we've always used either Seventh Generation Free & Clear or ECOS Free & Clear. If we put clothes on her without washing them. Nope, we always wash her clothes in either 7th Gen or ecos and all her clothes are either organic cotton or organic wool. She said it didn't look like chicken pox to her and she would give us a prescription for Benadryl, and said we could bring her to the dermatologist if we wanted.

We asked for a second opinion. Ella's regualar doctor came in and said, "could be chicken pox." The woman doctor said, "but it's not presenting like chicken pox. Chicken pox usually appears on the torso." The doctor said have you been around anyoe who has gotten the chicken pox vaccine lately? That's right people. If you give your child the chicken pox vaccine your child could be contageous and give another child chicken pox! Worse your child can give someone shingles which is extremely painful and causes three times as many deaths as chicken pox! Check out Harmony Health and Wellness for some more disturbing information. The chicken pox vaccine puts other people at risk, such as 5 month old babies. Ridiculous, luckily it wasn't even that bad.

I told the doctor, I wanted it documented that she has had the chicken pox so it won't be a problem when I don't want to vaccinate her later. So they wrote me a referral to go to a clinic. Poor baby Ella had her blood drawn for the test.

On Tuesday she started to get really cranky and her little red bumped started to become big puss filed bumps. Yuck. I really didn'y want to give her benadryl so we gave her an oatmeal bath instead.

It made her a lot happier, and she was able to take along nap :)

So, I have no idea where Ella got the chicken pox from. but thankfully she is finally getting over it. But this visit is making me think that doctors are pretty useless for all their "training" and high cost. It seems all the pediatrician does is look at her height, weight and head circumference and ask if she is developing well which is would know just by reading What to Expect: the First Year. If there are any problems their either prescribe something or tell us to go to the hospital or a specialist. I'm getting a little annoyed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

imagine childhood giveaway

One of my favorite blogs imagine childhood is having an amazing Earth Day giveaway. They are giving away 1 Organic Cotton Backpack, 1 Sturdy Metal Compass, 1 Set Nature Study Cards and 1 Wooden LED Flashlight. I've never even seen or heard of a wooden flashlight! I know Liam would love this explorer set. Good Luck!

I found the wooden flaslights: imagine childhood sells them for $47

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rag Rug

We have beautiful wood floors in our Living Room/ PlayRoom/ Dinning Room. However, if we drop anything on the floor or if Liam and Bill are wrestling to loudly it is very loud downstairs. We can't afford a lovely wool rug, and I don't want to put down a plastic VOC leaching rug so I decided to make a rag rug. I don't really have any rags, except for Bill's black T-shirts (which really wouldn't match our room). So I went out and bought 6 yards of 36" wide unbleached muslin.
Liam was really excited by how long it was so we made a circle for him to march around :)

Ella watched while I cut the muslin in half so I have 2 sets of 3 yards by 36".

Then I cut it in half again so I have 4 sets of 3 yards by 18"

Then I cut it in half so I have 8 sets of 3 yards by 9"

Liam practiced balance beam walking when I folded it in 3.
Finally I cut it in 3, so I have 24 strips of 3 yards my 3".

Now I'm ready to start braiding.

First, I take 3 strips and tie a knot at one end.

Then I do a standard 3 strand braid.

When I get to the end of the 3 yards. I have to splice another 3 yards onto the end of my rope.

First, I cut a hole in the end of each of the strands on my rope.

Then, I cut a hole in the end of each of the new strands.

Then I push the new strand throught the hole in the old strand.

Then I loop the new strand around and push it through the hole in it'self.

Then I pull it tight.

I do this three times and I'm ready to keep braiding!
I haven't figured out yet how to keep the ends from poking out where they are spliced.

So, I finished the 6 yards then I bought another 5 yards and added it on using the same method. I have tons of rope!

Originally I had planned for Liam and I to do this project together. At first he helped then he got bored. Maybe if he was a little older and/or more focused he would be more help. Still, I think it's good for him to watch me make something. Although he'd rather use the rope to go mountain climbing than make it into a rug :D

When I start sewing it into a rug I'll write another post.

Good Luck!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The 18 Minute Video Everyone Needs to See

The 18 Minute Video Everyone Needs to See If you are questioning if buying organic is worth the money. I you've ever said, "Well I didn't eat organic food and I'm fine why should I nspend the money for my kids to eat organic?" If you've ever wondered, "What is genetically modified (GMO) food anyway?" or if you just need a little boost in your confidence in your decision to protect your kids. You HAVE to watch this video!

Monday, March 28, 2011

10 Things You Don't Need For Your Baby

Sorry everyone that I haven't written in a while. We've had a lot going on lately. Anyway, I've seen a couple of these "Things you don't need for your baby" lists around but I decided to make one for Natural Attachment Parents. This is the first of a series I'm going to do of things you don't need, things you do need and things that are nice to have. You'll be surprised how little your baby actually needs.

1. Crib - One of the biggest most expensive purchases that is totally not necessary.  One of the 7 B's of Attachment Parenting is Bedding Close to Baby. Co-sleeping just makes everything about caring for an AP baby easier. Breastfeeding on demand is so much easier when you can just roll over to nurse instead of having to get out of bed, take your baby out of their crib, nurse your baby, put them back in their crib and get back in bed. No wonder non-AP parents are so tired! My son woke up every 2 hours all through the night when he was born, I couldn't imagine getting out of bed that many times while recovering from the delivery! If you don't need a crib that leads into number 2.

2. Crib Sets - While cute, if you don't need a a crib then obviously you don't need an expensive crib set. These can cost between $70 and $500 and the soft bumpers are not safe. Your baby can easily suffocate if they roll into them.

3. Changing Table - Another big expensive furniture item that you don't need. Don't get me wrong babies need their diaper changed but you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to do it. All you need it a waterproof changing pad and you can change baby anywhere. We had a changing table for my son but we hardly ever used it. We always just ended up changing him on the bed or floor or couch. We bought two organic wool puddle pad from White Lotus home for $36 with a 40% off coupon, so we have one in the diaper bag and one at home.

4. Disposable Diapers - Disposables are bad for your baby, the environment and your budget. Disposable diapers have Sodium polyacrylate in them a super absorbent polymer. It was used in tampons until 1985, when it was removed because of toxic shock syndrome. Also Some dyes and dioxin according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The (FDA) Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes.  Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include, chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors. 

A study conducted by Anderson Laboratories in 1999 and published in the Archives of Environmental Health found that disposable diapers release volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), including toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene. All of these VOCs have been shown to have toxic health effects, such as cancer and brain damage, with long-term or high level exposure. The researchers also discovered that mice exposed to the chemicals released by disposable diapers were more likely to experience irritated airways than mice exposed to emissions from cloth diapers. These effects were increased during repeat exposures. The authors suggested that disposable diapers may cause "asthma-like" reactions and urged more study into a possible link between diaper emissions and asthma.  

It can take 200 - 500 years for disposable diapers to decompose in a landfill. Not to mention the chemicals used to produce the diapers pollute the environment. For those who say that using cloth diapers is bad for the environment because of the water used to clean them, it makes no sense. It uses about the same amount of water as flushing the toilet four or five times a day. The average baby needs about 6,000 diaper changes in their life, at an average cost of $1,600 for two years. 

Cloth diapers can cost between $300 and $1,000 we spent about $350 for our diaper set and if we ever have more children they will be able to use the same diapers doubling the savings.

5. Disposable Wipes - If your using disposable diapers it's better to just use washcloths. When you change a diaper just wrap-up the washcloth in the dirty diaper just like you would with disposable diapers. Besides a lot of wipes contain dangerous chemicals as "wetting agents." All babies need to be clean is a washcloth and some warm water.  

6. Wipe Warmer - They cost around $20 and are a complete waste of money. Besides if you are using washcloths just run them under warm water and Ta-da! a warm wipe.

7. Formula - We all know that breast is best. Breastmilk helps prevent infections, allergies, asthma, diarrhea, cavities and helps form proper jaw, teeth, speech and facial development. It also helps prevent breast and ovarian cancer in women, as well as helps the uterus to contract back to it's original size after birth and helps the mother to loose "baby weight" and helps prevent postpartum depression and helps the mother and baby to bond. But they way you really should think about it is: If I don't breastfeed I am increasing my babies risk of developing infections, allergies, asthma, diarrhea and cavities. If I don't breastfeed I am increasing my risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The World Health Organization and UNICEF recommend breastfeeding for at least 2 years. Breast feeding also just makes life easier. You never have to worry about sterilizing bottles and nipples, having clean water and formula, and mixing and warming it. If you breastfeed you always have milk for your baby.  Plus it's free! Which brings me to the next couple of unnecessary baby items. 

8. Bottle Warmer - If you can stay home with your baby (that doesn't mean you have to stay home, I have breastfed at the beach, museum, zoo, grocery store, library, clothing store, birthday parties, while Trick-or-Treating, Christmas Parties, New Years Parties, friends houses, family's houses, on the bus, train, airport, and ferry, while camping, on road trips, cooking and sewing. Just because you are breastfeeding doesn't mean you need to limit what you do. Breastmilk is always the perfect temperature. 

Now if for some reason you can't stay home with your children, and you have to pump and freeze your milk. You still don't need one of these silly contraptions. Recently a few bottle warmers have been recalled because they have burst into flames! All you need is a pot of water and a stove.

9. Bottles, Nipples, Bottle Cleaners, Bottle Drying Racks etc. - Once again if you are exclusively straight from the breast to the baby's belly breastfeeding all these are not necessary and it's better for your   baby to not have to use these anyway. Especially in the first few weeks/ months your baby can develop "nipple confusion." 

Let me explain The way a baby sucks on a breast and they way he/she sucks on a bottle is totally different. Babies have to form a suction and pull your nipple into their mouth in order to get milk out they have to work for it which is why breastfeeding helps develop jaw and tongue muscles as well as the pallet. When sucking on an artificial nipple all babies have to do is press on it with their tongue and the milk just squirts right into their mouth, this makes for a lazy baby ho doesn't want to have to work for breastmilk, which leads to breastfeeding problems. 

Not to mention that plastic bottles have a lot of toxic chemicals such as bisphenol-A which have been linked to a variety of sex-hormone-imbalance effects, including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty, miscarriage, low sperm count, and immune-system changes. What's worse is that in developing infants, such sex-hormone effects may come into play at exposure levels far below what health authorities have deemed safe for adults. 

So if you absolutely have to pump a bottle then make sure you use a glass bottle. Don't buy a plastic bottle that says "BPA free" and think you'll be OK because who knows what other chemical in plastic will come into the public knowledge next. 

10. Pacifiers - Pacifiers are entirely a bad idea. Besides also causing "nipple confusion" because they teach the baby to suck in the wrong way. They can also tire your newborn out. When your baby is born sucks uses a lot of energy. So, after sucking on a pacifier your baby will be too tired to suck to eat. Not to mention it is a difficult habit to break, I've seen quite a few 4 or 5 year olds still sucking on pacifiers. Pacifiers also increase the risk of middle ear infections and can cause dental problems. Also, it's another thing to worry about keeping clean. Your baby will become dependent on it. When it falls out of their mouth they'll start crying in the middle of the night or at the playground. It's not necessary and just causes more problems. If your not at a breast feeding friendly hospital, make sure you tell the nurses not to give your baby a pacifier. When your baby cries just give them your breast. Soon they'll learn that their needs will be met and will be much happier, confident, independent babies.