Friday, November 5, 2010

Check out Kara - My Frugal Mama inspiration!

Recently, my gal pal and fellow homemakin' sistah Kara and I gave a great lecture at MOPS on eating well on a budget. I gave pointers on eating organic and local foods and focused on nutrition while Kara really dove into her ideas on saving money, meal planning and cooking from scratch to stretch her family dollars. Our new friend Amy from Frugal Mama was there to take notes and she shared Kara's wisdom on her great blog. Check out both of their blogs!

Kara -

Amy -

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Can Mamas Do Big Things for God? OH YES!!!

Here is a little video from a favorite blogger of mine, Sarah Mae from Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. I have really high expectations for myself in just about every area of life, and sometimes I let that get in my way of focusing on my most important calling: motherhood. I always feel like I could or should be doing more - more work, more, ministry, something more purposeful. But what could possibly be more purposeful than lovingly serving in ministry to our husbands and children right now? We are raising "eternal souls", mamas! Let's not lose heart. We ARE doing "big things" for God, starting right at home with our own sweet babies.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dirty Hippie Kale Salad

When a friend recently posted this video of kids eagerly chowing down on a raw kale salad, I was a skeptic. I LOVE sauteed kale with garlic and in soups and especially hidden in green smoothies, but a raw salad? I didn't think any dressing could fancy the frilly greens up enough to entice my kids. I was wrong!! They love it! Clay was literally screaming for more in between forkfuls! Hilarious! I loved it too. Made it with sesame seeds since I had them on hand, but hemp seeds are soooo yummy that I imagine it would make this even better. Give it a try - your kids might just shock you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Value and Purpose of Labor Suport

Sarah Eiley Cowherd
The following was written several years ago when I was working towards my doula certification. It has now been nearly 2 years (gulp!) since I last attended a birth. I've been on an extended mama/maternity leave while I raise my young children and focus on my primary ministry of family life. I've been busy whiping noses and bottoms, nursing babies, meal planning, home-tending, playdate hosting and doing all of the important things mamas do. Of course, I still have years of that work still ahead of me, but I am also forunate enough to be returning to birth work now! I have been itchng to re-connect with "Sarah Eiley" - that doula-girl, hippie-chick, earthy-birthy mama that lives inside of me. I am now an active member of Doulas of Central New York, a wonderful agency serving families in my area. I have incredible teammates who support each other and work together. I am hoping to take on just one or two clients per month. I'm "booking" clients NOW for this fall and winter, so call me soon!! And in the meantime if you see me, don't forget about that part of my name that is so special to me - Eiley! :)

The Value and Purpose of Labor Support

When racked with labour pangs, and sore distressed
the sex invoke thee, as the soul’s sure rest;
for thou Eileithyia alone canst give relief to pain,
which art attempts to ease, but tries in vain.
Artemis Eileithyia, venerable power,
who bringest relief in labour’s dreadful hour.”
—Orphic Hymn 2, to Prothyraeia, as translated by Thomas Taylor, 1792.

In Greek mythology, female goddesses gave birth under the guidance of Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth and light. In ancient cave drawings that remain today, Eileithyia is depicted serving women in labor, bearing a torch as she welcomes children out of the darkness and into the light. Early in college, and already on my journey to becoming a Doula, I was delighted to learn that I share a connection with this divine helper to women in labor through my middle name, Eiley.
The Greeks lend not only inspirational figures, but words important to those women who serve as doulas. The very word, Doula, comes from ancient Greek culture and literally means, “female servant.” The idea that women traditionally supported one another in their journeys toward motherhood appealed to me as I began to discover my own desire to encourage and care for women. I believe women lost something profound when birth was removed from the home, family, and feminine community and was reestablished in impersonal medical settings. Today’s modern Doula has the opportunity to become a bridge between a female-oriented birth support model and the modern medical model. Many pregnant women intuitively desire the comforting presence of another experienced woman at their birth, and the evolution of Doula care as a profession has worked to fill the gap in society where family and friends once stood.
A birth Doula is a woman with a sincere desire to support women throughout their pregnancy, labor and early postpartum experience. Doulas provide emotional, practical, and physical support throughout labor and birth. Doulas are trained to offer emotional support during pregnancy, and though they do not offer clinical services, they may have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about topics such as getting prenatal care, nutrition, and preparing the body for birth. A Doula assists a woman during the actual event of labor and delivery with continuous support, advocacy in the hospital, objective information, hands-on comfort techniques and emotional encouragement. Though birth and postpartum Doulas have different roles, the presence of a birth Doula often aids the transition from hospital to home as a new family settles in, bonds with their baby and discovers parenting. Doulas inspire birthing women to trust in their own bodies, in their mothering-intuition and in the birth process as a whole.
There are considerable benefits of a return to a model in which women celebrate and support each other in the transition from maidens to mothers. Studies have shown that women who are supported through labor by a caring individual have better obstetrical outcomes, shorter labors and need less pain medication than women who labor on their own. Research studies on the effectiveness of Doula support suggest that when a woman’s emotional needs are addressed during her pregnancy and labor experience, her perspective of her birth experience is more positive and breastfeeding and early bonding are improved. Overall, a woman who is cared for and cheered through such a life-changing event will likely experience a greater sense of pride and accomplishment.
Birth is a tremendous rite of passage. It can be a wonderful life-changing event for both a woman and her partner. Birth can be magical and joyful. Birth can be about letting go of fears and taking one contraction at a time. The childbearing year is a time that calls for honesty, trust, patience, tenderness, and support. It is an intensely emotional experience. I believe having a Doula present at birth allows a woman the chance to connect with the courage and strength of all of the women who have gone before her in birthing and mothering. What an incredible blessing and honor it is for me to be working with women as they prepare for such an awe-inspiring event in their lives! It makes my heart sing.

A Natural Way to Induce Labor.... "Walk It Out"

"Our midwife told us that if we wanted to induce labor, we should try to "walk out" the baby"....

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm a Breastfeeding Celebrity!

When Ruby was just 6 weeks old, we had an opportunity to participate in a photo shoot for WIC to promote breastfeeding, which had it's NY state offices near where we were living. Several of my nursing mama friends at the time also posed with their babies and children of varying ages and we all got to feel like super models for the day. The photographer ended up calling me back because Ruby was a marathon nurser and had no problem staying latched on for the entire hour and half that it took to get several good shots! And that's how we ended up with out pictures all across the state!! I had completely forgotten about the photos when out of nowhere, 3 YEARS LATER, we were driving down the street and I spotted two huge bus stop advertisements - with me and baby Ruby on them!! Our sweet nursing moments caught on camera are now being used for a state-wide breastfeeding awareness campaign, as well as in all of WIC's handouts for nursing moms.

Check us out:

Healthy Foods for Mom Brochure

Gift of Breastfeeding Poster

And, just to summarize why this is a big deal to me, here is a facebook post I wrote a few days ago when a friend suggested that someday Ruby might be embarassed by these pictures:

Ruby will not ever, ever be embarrassed of these pictures, not if I have anything to do with it. In fact, I am sure that she will look at these photos some day and think about how wonderful it was that I literally gave my blood, sweat and tears, my effort, devotion and time to nourish and nurture her in the way God designed me to; but also that I was passionate about creating a world where other mothers could do that for their babies as well, without fear of public embarrassment or shame. I faced seemingly insurmountable odds to breastfeed Ruby but because of my perseverance and the support of other mothers I nursed her for 26 precious months. And I am raising her to value and cherish the nursing bond that we share. She already shows me that she understands that when she "nurses" her baby dolls.

I am damn proud to be on those billboards. I know she will be, too.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scrumptious, Delicious and Nutritious Soaked Muffins

I seriously can't get enough of these muffins!! This recipe (which is just a basic recipe that you adapt to your preferences) makes incredibly delicious and nutrient dense snack and breakfast muffins. The key is that you SOAK your grains (flour and oats) over night before baking day, which breaks down the phytic acid. Phytates are present in all grains that we eat. It binds with the minerals in the rest of our diet and drags it right out of our bodies - meaning we don't get the necessary nutrients we need! These muffins are also made with many nourishing ingredients - whole milk (preferably raw), pastured eggs, ground flax seed, natural sweeteners and whatever yummy stir-ins you might want to add (like antioxidant-rich berries or dark chocolate and cacao nibs, for example). I'm drooling already, are you??

Here's your ingredient list:

1 and 1/2 cup of whole wheat Flour (I've tried also tried Spelt and buckwheat for lower Gluten content with good results)

1 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vineager or Lemon Juice
1 Cup of Whole Milk
2 Eggs
3/4 cup of natural sweetener of choice - my favorite is Sucanat. Try Rapadura, Raw Cane Sugar, etc
2 tbs of ground flax seeds (optional)
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of Coconut Oil or Butter (bonus points if you use half and half of each -absolute baking genius!!)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup to 1 cup of add-ins of your choice (see below)

The night before baking (or a minimum of 8 hours before), mix flour, oats, milk and acid of your choice- ACV or lemon juice. Yes, you can leave the milk out overnight when mixed with the acid. It won't kill you, I promise. Stir well until it forms a pasty goop texture, cover with a kitchen towel and set aside on counter or put in fridge.

The next morning, add remaining ingredients... The soaked grains will be very thick and pasty and will need lots of stirring to incorporate with other ingredients. Melt butter/coconut oil before adding. Grease baking tins. Sprinkle tops with chunky raw sugar before baking... yummy!!Bake at 375 for 22-24 minutes. They will not puff up a ton like regular muffins- they are more dense, dumpling-like goodness.

Possible add-ins:

Ginger, cinnamon, raisins
Dried coconut
Chopped apple, raisins
Any kind of berries mixed with chocolate powder
Cacao nibs and raspberries
Nuts, dried fruit, anything!!! Get creative!!! These are SOOOOO good! 

 Here is the recipe that inspired my own:
Basic Soaked Muffin Recipe with Video Tutorial from Gnowfglins

Free Download-able "Thank You" Cards for Nursing Mamas!

In a day and age when nursing a baby in public can land you in the news, it is nice to see that there is a movement to make the most natural of acts more socially "acceptable".  Visit the link below, and print up some of these beauties - little encouraging cards to give to a mama who isn't afraid to nurse her baby in public. Next time you see a lovely live action Madonna and Child, grab one of these cards and tell her that what she is doing is important! Now, that's sure to be a conversation starter!!!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sending a Little Inspiration Your Way....

Oh, Mothers of young children, I bow before you in reverence.  Your work is most holy.  You are fashioning the destinies of immortal souls.  The powers folded up in the little ones that you hushed to sleep in your bosoms last night, are powers that shall exist forever.  You are preparing them for their immortal destiny and influence.  Be faithful.  Take up your sacred burden reverently.  Be sure that your life is sweet and clean.
-JR Miller

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here and post a tutorial on how to make your own homemade yogurt, when there are already some fabulous guides already available online. I would however love to encourage ya'll to give it a whirl and share my experience with some tips and tricks. There is nothing that you can pull off a grocery store shelf that compares to fresh, homemade yogurt. Nothing! Homemade yogurt is healthier, much less expensive and better tasting! Making your own yogurt gives you control of the quality of ingredients (your choice of milk and starter cultures) and additional toppings. There are many ways you can make yogurt, either with a machine or creating your own system for controlling the temperature.

Here are some of my tips and tricks:

*I've used several types of "starter" - the fresh and active cultures that turns milk into yogurt. There are powdered varieties, or you can use any commercial plain yogurt. You can even use 1/2 cup of yogurt from your last homemade batch, but I have always found that the yogurt that produces is runnier than I like because the cultures aren't fresh enough. By far, my favorite results come from using a full cup of fresh commercial greek style yogurt, like Oikos by Stoneyfield. Makes a delicious and thick, protein packed yogurt!

*I add 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered milk to my yogurt mix before I culture it. This adds protein and also helps thicken the end results. I like a thick and creamy texture rather than runny or drippy.

*After several attempts to make yogurt in old fashioned mason jars while maintaining the temp in my crockpot, I "splurged" on one of the most affordable yogurt machines on the market and I have been thrilled with the results! While it is nice to have small individual portions, I do miss having a full quart made all at once in one container. There are models of machines that make a quart sized container.  My Yogurt Machine

*I am now enjoying the benefits and delights of Coconut Milk in my yogurt!! Coconut milk is full of healthy fats and Lauric Acid. Don't let anyone tell you that it's unhealthy or "fattening"! I substitute about two cups of the whole milk with a can of coconut milk, and follow the same process as regular yogurt.

*Most recipes will tell you to culture your yogurt for about 8 hours. However, according to food researcher Amanda Rose, if you stretch your culturing time to 16 hours, the amount of B-12 increases about four-fold and the folic acid content increases fourteen fold!! I have had a few batches taste a little too sour for my taste after that long, but I am very happy with about a 12-14 hour wait.

* To make a Greek style yogurt, simply strain your finished plain yogurt through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set aside the liquid whey for other healthy recipes!

*Get creative with your toppings and flavors. I am just getting started with different flavors and add-ins. Some of my favorites are: raw honey, homemade granola, vanilla extract, almond extract, elderberry syrup, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, chopped nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, pureed fruits, frozen berries.... you name it!!

Check out these online tutorials and recipes:
Make Yogurt in Your Crockpot  
Planet Green's Guide to Homemade YogurtYoutube Video Tutorial

Eat up and enjoy!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Teething Wisdom

Would you believe this happy little guy of mine is teething? Just a week ago he was cringing in pain with swollen gums as his top two teeth made their debut. My poor baby!! Clay seemed to be exibiting those classic signs of teething at about 5 months old - the drooling, slobbering, knawing-on-nuckles, nursing non-stop and the "mama-hold-me-and-make-it-better" general misery. His first bottom teeth came through at about 6 1/2 months and now he's working on the top. For a week his gums we so swollen they looked bruised and blue. I can't imagine the pain! My first, Ruby, seemed to get her teeth without even noticing, so I was unprepared this time around. Of course I want to help my babies with as little medication as possible and I am open to trying anything that is safe and time-tested. Naturally, I turned to the wisdom of my fellow Sage Femme mamas - I polled my Facebook friends, fellow doulas and even mothers from the generations before us! Here are some suggestions I've gathered as well as some general guidelines on how to help your babe get through teething safely and naturally.

Some of you may remember my giveaway a few weeks ago with Inspired by Finn. They sell beautiful Baltic Amber jewelry and specialize in amber teething necklaces for babies and toddlers. The giveaway is now closed, but remember that all of my readers are eligible for a 20% discount when you enter the code "Blog68" at checkout. I just got Clay's necklace ("maple syrup" colored) and he has word it 24/7 since it arrived in the mail. I think it has helped tremendously! He is his usual cheerful self again after a nightmare week of teething. My hubby isn't a huge fan of his boy wearing a necklace but I think it's adorable and say, "oh get over it - whatever works, works!"
Mesh feeders have been a life-saver for many moms. This relatively new invention allows a baby to try new fruits or vegetables in their purest form without the risk of choking. Many moms recommended filling one with frozen fruit or vegetables (or how about frozen ice cubes of breastmilk?) for a teething baby to knaw on for comfort. This is a great idea and will keep an older baby content for quite awhile! However, if you have an early teether who can't sit up yet or doesn't have the eye-hand coordination to hold  the feeder in their mouth, you may need to offer some more assistance.
When choosing a "teether" for your baby, be sure to choose from the many non-toxic options that are becoming available these days. Those old plastic key rings we all grew up on were loaded with dangerous chemicals and plastic stabilizers. Look for products that are free of BPA, PVC and Phalates.Here are two cute examples - Sohie the Giraffe, made by Vulli, is made of all safe rubber materials and is soft and liable and lots of fun for babies to chew on! These beautiful maple teething rings are smooth hardwood perfect for babies to cut teeth on, and free of any toxic varnish or paints. Safe Mama has an excellent list of teethers that are toxin-free on their website. Of course, a cold washcloth soaked in water or juice and frozen bagels are also popular choices, too!
I cannot personally vouch for Gum-omile yet because I haven't tried it. It is a natural, herb-based product used to rub on sore gums, like mainstream Orajel. The main ingredient is soothing chamomile. Some of my friends swear by it!!
For years I have used Bach's flower essences, mainly Rescue Remedy, for a host of different ailments and in stressful moments. As a doula, I use Rescue Remedy for laboring moms when pain or anxiety overtakes them. I've discovered that it works well for teething babies, too! Many friends suggested the old fashioned remedy of a drop of rum or brandy or even vanilla extract - alcohol - to rub on baby's sore gums. Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic mixture in an alcohol base and works very well rubbed on the gums, but has the additional benefits of calming homeopathic flower essences as well as the alcohol. Mamas can take some too, when baby has been up all night screaming! Good stuff!

One of my trusted remedies for teething pain is Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets. It is especially helpful for those wakeful, restless and irritable moments in the middle of the night. The main ingredient is homeopathic chamomile. 


I hope you've found some of these suggestions helpful! Do chime in in the comments section if you have any other tips and tricks! Now go enjoy those adorable, snaggle-toothed, slobbery sweethearts of yours!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Songs From My Heart...

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~ Red Auerbach 

I'm taking a little detour from my usual banter about birth, babies, and mothering to share some recordings I made with my husband this winter. It seems we've both rekindled our passion for making music together as a team, and it began when we started working on some recordings for a Christmas project. These recordings are super simple, recorded quietly in our basement family room while our daughter Ruby slept upstairs and while Clay, just a newborn, sat in my lap or nursed. (You can hear him making his musical contributions occasionally) Just wanted to share!

River by Joni Mitchell

Into the Mystic by Van Morrison

All My Tears by Emmylou Harris

Jesus Savior Pilot Me 

Old Pictures by the Judds

Goodnight My Baby by the Kingston Trio (a childhood christmas favorite!)


Monday, March 15, 2010

Nursing on the Job

Roselle Park councilwoman nurses baby at meetings so other mothers can too

By Eliot Caroom/For the Star-Ledger

March 14, 2010, 6:12AM
un0314breastLNS.JPGRoselle Park Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning, with her newborn son, Enzo, discusses an ordinance with Councilman Modesto Miranda at a council meeting earlier this month.
ROSELLE PARK -- The strongest public statement at this month’s Roselle Park council meeting was never entered into the minutes.
Near the end of the meeting, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Larissa Chen-Hoerning brought her 6-week-old son, Enzo, onto the dais with her and began to breastfeed him while the council debated an ordinance regulating overnight truck parking on borough streets.
Chen-Hoerning said that she doesn’t think the act of nursing her baby, discreetly shielded from view by the desk in front of her, should be stigmatized as dirty or shameful.
“I want to help women say ‘Someone else is out there breastfeeding, and maybe it’s OK to do,’” Chen-Hoerning said last week.
Mothers in the United States often face complaints when they nurse in public places like restaurants or stores, according to La Leche League International spokeswoman Loretta McCallister. Over the past few years, a woman was kicked off an airplane for breastfeeding her child, and after Facebook removed photos of a mother and her baby, a petition sprang up on the social network titled “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!”
But McCallister said despite all of the grassroots support, she has never heard of an elected official like Chen-Hoerning breastfeeding her baby while conducting official business at a public meeting.
The Roselle Park councilwoman is not new to advocating for nursing mothers.
Last summer, at the behest of a then-pregnant Chen-Hoerning, Mayor Joseph DeIorio proclaimed August “Breastfeeding Awareness Month” in the borough.
On several occasions since his birth in January, Enzo has dropped into Roselle Park council meetings for a snack. No one on either side of the dais has batted an eye.
“I was telling someone about it the other day, and they said, ‘Do you nurse on camera?’ and I was like, ‘Well, yeah,’” Chen-Hoerning said.
After the meeting, resident Eugene Meola said the baby was so quiet he hadn’t even noticed him during the meeting. Other residents, Chen-Hoerning said, have expressed their support for her. Former councilman Jacob Magiera, who attends many borough meetings, said last week the councilwoman is modest and perfectly within her rights.
“If other council members don’t object to it, she’s entitled to do what she wants to do,” said Magiera. “If that’s her forte, God bless her.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cloth Diapering 101... Part 1: Do Your Homework

So, you think you wanna cloth diaper, eh? Let me guess, you caught wind of the trend of returning to reusable cloth diapers instead of disposables. You want to save money; you'd like to try "going green".  So being curious and open-minded, you tried a Google search to learn more. And when you saw about 2 billion websites on the subject and the hundreds of options and styles that are available now, you ran away from your computer screaming, "But I thought they were just squares of cloth and plastic pants!!! There are too many choices!! Somebody help me!!!!!" OR perhaps you have looked into cloth diapering your baby a bit, but have met with only sharp criticism from well-meaning friends and family who say, "Why would you volunteer to do that? It's too much work!" or "My grandmother cloth diapered her kids and had to boil the diapers on the stove - Gross!" or "I bet you don't really save any money when you consider the electricity and water to wash them." ........
     What you need, my dear, is a friend. An experienced mama to come alongside you and show you the way. It's not that hard. Cloth Diapering is simple (once you choose your diapers and settle into a routine), frugal, definitely "green" and even FUN!
   In the coming days/weeks, I will be posting a series of guides to cloth diapering. I used cloth part-time with my first baby and now full time with my son and have helped countless doula clients and new mama friends navigate their way through Modern Cloth Diaper Territory. This Cloth Diapering 101 series will include:

Part 1 - Do Your Homework - a brief intro and some resources to get you started
Part 2 - Ten things to Know
Part 3 - Laundry Day! Everything you need to know about caring for and laundering diapers


Instead of reinventing the wheel and writing a complete list of the reasons why and how to choose cloth diapers, I just want to point you in the right direction. There are some fabulous resources out there, and that's where I recommend getting started.

 1. Research the "Whys" and decide if the benefits of cloth diapering are enough to convince you that an extra one or two loads of laundry a week are worth it. Examine the cost savings, environmental impact and health benefits.
2. Research the "Hows" of cloth diapering by learning about your style choices - there are sooo many brands o choose from and many different features, but only really a handful or different styles. My friend Christine, a WAHM who runs Essential Saltes Baby diapers breaks it all down for you in the best graphic depiction of the choices available that I've seen. Check out her "How to Get Started" guide. is a great resource for articles on all topics pertaining to cloth diapering and thousands of product reviews by experienced mamas and papas. is an online forum that invites users to chat about diapering and buy, sell and trade gently used diapers. An excellent way to learn more and make some frugal investments! is an online boutique (as well as a brick and mortar shop that you can visit, if you are lucky enough to be near Ithaca, NY) that offers a fantastic cloth diapering TRIAL package. For very little financial investment, they will send you enough diapers in a variety of styles to try for one month. You can send back what you don't want and stick with the brands you like best. How cool is that??

Be sure to check back soon for the next installment of Cloth Diapering 101!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Consignment Shopping - Frugal and Green!

All the cool Mamas and Papas know that when it comes to being Frugal and Green, consignment shopping is where it's at. Why buy expensive, new clothing for your baby when he or she will only grow out of it before you even get the tags off? If you have a keen eye you can shop thriftily and still dress your baby in the best of the best. There's a popular trend these days in seasonal flea-market sized kid's consignment sales, where you can find nearly everything you will need for your little one's wardrobe and  nursery gear. When you begin your spring cleaning and start weeding out Junior's closet, you may even find a few items that can be sold at a consignment sale to earn back a few precious pennies. (Of course, donating to charity or passing down hand-me-downs is also highly encouraged by Sage Femme Mama!)

I am thrilled to see that baby consignment sales have made their way to Central New York. I love the thrill of the hunt. I'm not a name-brand-name-dropper but I do just love when someone comments on my kiddo's cute Gymboree or Baby Gap outfit and I can proclaim, "I found that at a consignment sale for $2!!" And don't even get me started on garage sales (Mommy Crack!!)...

Sweet Little Repeats brings you a great way to Buy, Sell & Shop for New and Gently Used, high quality children’s clothes, toys and gear. 
At Sweet Little Repeats, you will find items in “Like New” Condition!
This is also a great way to Recycle the Items your Children have outgrown and Earn Money for them!
Come shop and be sure to bring your friends for great deals!
Please go to to register to consign or volunteer!

Locations: East Area Family YMCA, Fayetteville, NY:  sale dates: April 9th-11th
                  North Area Family YMCA, Liverpool, NY: sale dates April 30th-May 2nd                                                                                            

If you live in the Capital Region of New York State, you must check out the monstrous consignment sale called Pass it On. This baby and kids sale has grown so much in the past few years that the consignment items fill an entire indoor field house to bursting at the seams. Expect long lines, fussy toddlers but AMAZING deals.

Pass It On Children's Consignment Sale
New and Gently Worn Children's Items at Bargain Prices!
March 16-20 (Our 16th Sale!!!!)
Over 20,000 Sq. Ft. FILLED!    525 Consignors !

Be sure to keep an eye out for consignment sales that may be coming your way this spring... Happy Hunting!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Nipplephobia" and Nursing Covers - Part 2

   Okay, okay.... so I just rambled on and on about how we nursing mamas need to stop using nursing covers in the company of other women and bravely bring breastfeeding back into the norm in this country (read it here). BUT... sewing your own nursing cover is such a simple, easy sewing project that I just can't stop myself from sharing the online tutorial with ya'll! Why spend nearly $40 when you can make one for well under $15 (depending on the cost of your fabric, it could cost as little as $4!) Now, the downside to these things is that eventually your sweet little nursling will become curious about the colorful toy you keep draping over his or her head, and he will start yanking it around and making being discreet more difficult.
    If you aren't motivated to sew OR you just want to try out a different design that is really fabulous, check out my friend Juliane's beautiful nursing ponchos on Etsy at Wind in the Trees.
     Here is a simple online tutorial for you to follow. So EASY! :)

"Nipplephobia" and Nursing Covers - Part 1

So, I have found my self in quite a little dilemma lately. I have been sewing nursing covers (ala Hooter Hiders) for my baby shower gifts since my interest in sewing started about a year ago. It is such a simple and easy project that takes only about 15 minutes. It was one of the first projects I taught myself to make. The problem is..... I sort of wish we didn't need them!
    Now, let me first say that I think these creations (basically an apron of fabric that drapes over mother and baby while nursing in lieu of a blanket that may slip off or be too heavy) are fabulously useful.... at the right place and at the right time. Many mothers are simply not comfortable nursing in public, or maybe choose to wear a nursing cover when male guests are around. Mine sure comes in handy when my father-in-law or husband's friends are visiting! I am a fan of anything the will encourage a mother to confidently nurse and care for her baby regardless of her whereabouts. When I see a mother sitting in public using her nursing cover, I am reminded that she is one less woman sitting in a dirty bathroom stall trying to feed her baby.

    What BOTHERS me is when I see women wearing a nursing cover in the sole company of other women. I have witnessed moms donning their nursing covers at playgroups, baby showers and even in the private nursing room at my church. Has nursing really become that taboo? Are we so unaccustomed to the sight of a child at her mother's breast that even in circles of women, mothers feel a need to cover up? I understand and respect modesty, but I think this takes it too far. if we are going to see breastfeeding become the norm and standard for how we care for our children, breastfeeding needs to be SEEN. We see more breast exposure in a Victoria Secret advertisement than we ever do from a nursing mother. Breasts have been so sexualized that we've forgotten the precious purpose God created them for.
    Famed Midwife Ina May Gaskin recently published THE BEST book on breastfeeding I have read (and I've read them all), Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding. Not only is it a great resource for new moms learning the art of nursing, it also includes an entire chapter on "Nipplephobia" - her term for our culture's distaste for public nursing - and her thoughts on how we can turn the tide. She believes that bring breastfeeding back into the norm starts with women seeing other women nursing!
     I feel fortunate to have been the oldest child in my family and to have witnessed my own mother's nurturing way or nursing my younger siblings. All of the women in my extended family breastfed their children. My mother's friends nursed their babies on playdates at my house. I nursed my baby dolls. Breastfeeding was the norm. Perhaps that's part of the reason why I have nursed my children with such confidence and conviction (in spite of a lot of difficult roadblocks which I will be sure to share with you some day). When Ruby was a baby, we even participated in a "Nurse-in" to demonstrate a woman's right to nurse her baby anytime, anywhere. Now Ruby nurses her baby dolls while she watches me nurse her brother. She is growing up with breastfeeding being the norm. And even though I am making nursing covers for my friends and even though I may occasionally find a situation that requires me to use my own, I will continue to nurse uncovered (still discreetly) when I am amongst women. Who knows? - I may be the first exposure a young woman may have to nursing, and maybe one day, when she is ready to have her own babies... she'll remember.   :)

Apparently, this kind of exposure is "OK"... but a nursing breast isn't?

A Beautiful mama and baby pair... nursing naturally and discreetly without a cover.

Not much to see here - except for a sweet gaze shared between mama and baby!
An intimate moment.

Nursing on the go! Anytime, Anywhere.

In good company.

Maria Lactans  - JESUS WAS BREASTFED. And I don't think Mary wore a Hooter Hider.


A Wake Up Story

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baltic Amber Teething Necklace GIVEAWAY

There's nothing quite like holding your baby through the first rough night of teething! Though you'll hear a lot of unsolicited advice on ways to tame the teething tears, there's not a whole lot that you can do - or so I thought. I'm not the type of mom to whip out the infant tylenol or orajel at the first whimper- I prefer safe and natural and less invasive home remedies. The more I hear about Amber Teething Necklaces, the more I am convinced that they are a worthwhile investment for your little ones! I know so many parents who swear by these necklaces for soothing the aches and pains of teething. And the parents who are unsure of the benefits are at least thrilled with how cute their little ones look wearing one! Inspired by Finn is a company that makes these sweet necklaces by hand. Each stone is knotted onto a silk thread to prevent choking hazards. And let me be clear - these necklaces aren't for baby to actually teeth or chew on - it is a special property in the amber that when worn against the skin, helps soothe and comfort during teething. Inspired by Finn explains the benefits of Baltic Amber here:

Among other things, amber is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory.  When amber is worn on the skin, the warmth of the skin releases trace amounts of healing oils on the skin.  Commonly known as "teething jewelry," baltic amber has been a natural and traditional European remedy for teething discomfort for hundreds of years.   To read more about the many benefits of baltic amber, click here

I am thrilled that my friends from Inspired by Finn have an incredible offer for my readers!! One lucky reader will win a free teething necklace under 16 inches of their choice and ALL of my readers are eligible for a 20% discount when you enter the code "Blog68" at checkout.

There are several ways to enter this giveaway. First, go to Inspired By Finn and look around. Come back here and simply leave a comment here and tell me who the wee one is that you'd like to win this for, and what color you'd choose. That is your first and mandatory entry. Be sure to leave me your email address!

For additional entries, leave me a comment here for any of these actions:

1.Follow/subscribe to my blog via Google
2. Follow me on Twitter here
3. Tweet this giveaway and leave me the url in a comment. (2 entry points!!)
4. Leave me a comment telling me what other kinds of giveaways you'd like to see here.

I will read all comments, promise!! The giveaway will close by Wednesday, February 24th and a winner will be announced the following day. Hooray for my very first giveaway at Sage Femme Mama!

There's Still Snowy Weather Ahead... Make a Babywearing Coat!!

 This post may be unforgiveably late in the winter season, but since I live in the northeast where there is still plenty of cold weather left (ughhh!!!) I thought it would still be worth posting! I made this very simple, very useful coat last winter and used it for Ruby for all of our neighborhood walks outdoors. Once my babies get over 6 months I find it much easier to wear them on my back because the weight is so much easier to bear. As an avid babywearer, I'm not about to let cold weather stop me! Putting Clay on my back inside this cozy coat is so much better, warmer, easier, etc. than dragging the stroller around in snow!
   I am a beginning seamstress without a lot of sewing chops, and I can guarantee that ANYBODY could do this simple project. I was nervous about hacking up a good winter coat so i found this one (ugly as it is) for only $4 at Salvation Army. I used scraps of fleece from an old blanket instead of buying new fabric, amking the cost of this babywearing coat about $5!! (You can find them in specialty online stores retailing for $50 or more!) Frugal and useful!! :) I followed this tutorial and made it up as I went along when necessary. SO EASY!!