Sunday, January 31, 2010

Great Deal on Pouch Sling by HugaMonkey

Just have to pass on this great deal I spotted through www.ecobabybuys.com (a great website with deal alerts, by the way!) HugaMonkey Pouch Slings are currently on sale for just $17.99 with Free Shipping when you use the promo code MONKEYFREESHIP. These are simple pouch slings in a lightweight organic cotton. The colors are all neutral... a great for a mom and dad who like to trade off babywearing duties! I am a big fan of pouch slings for the newborn days as well as hip carrying toddler. However, I do have to note that the HugaMonkey website shows pictures of mamas carrying babies on their backs with their sling and I DO NOT recommend pouch slings for back carries - use a soft structured carrier or a mei tai for better safety. Pouch slings are a great addition to your babywearing stash! Get one while this deal lasts!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kissaluvs Cloth Diaper Giveaway at Thanks Mama

Check out this fabulous giveaway at Thanks Mama - a fabulous online baby boutique! The are giving away nearly $40 of Kissaluvs cloth diapering products, including a contour fitted, a one-size fitted and specialty diaper lotion spray. This is a great giveaway! Thanks Mama also carries just about everything a cloth diapering family needs, and has free shipping on orders over $60!

 
 

Good luck!!!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Discount Stores are an Excellent Resource for Children's Books!



 Look at these adorable books! Would you believe that these treasures, from small board books to beautifully illustrated stories, were all found at discount stores, and all bought for under $3 each? UNDER THREE DOLLARS! My quest began after Thanksgiving, when I began looking around for good children's books that told the story of the 1st Christmas for Ruby. It was a challenge to find anything decent under $10, and even Christian bookstores had a limited range and exorbitant prices. Now, I'm usually one to try to support local bookstores, and I'm also willing to shell out the cash for meaningful books. But I'm also a deal hunter, and boy am I excited to have stumbled upon some really great resources for Christian children's books for Ruby. One of my favorite things to look for at garage sales is quality children's books. We try to keep our toy collection simple, but we will always have room for more books! Reading Bible stories, simple prayers and stories of God's love and promises has become an important part of how we are trying to shape Ruby's heart as she grows. It's amazing what she is able to take away from the messages in books. Most of these books retail for 3-5 times the prices they were sold at. I'm not a big fan of cheap, "made in china" looking books with generic illustrations - amongst these are some really beautiful, quality pieces of art! I don't know how discount stores do it! For my readers in the Central New York (Syracuse, more specifically) area, the above books were all found at Ollie's on Erie Blvd in Dewitt and The Christmas Tree Shop in North Syracuse. Though I hate to shop there, Walmart sometimes has a decent selection. Other places to try are Big Lots, Dollar Tree and other dollar stores and any other liquidator or buy-out discount store where books are sold. Happy Hunting!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Steady Days" Giveaway at Keeper of the Home

Posting about another great giveaway on another fabulous blog that's on the top of my list! Stephanie at Keeper of the Home is offering a copy of a book she gave rave reviews - Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood, by Jamie C. Martin. It looks like an inspiring read and definitely worth your time to enter! I highly recommend Stephanie's blog for daily inspiration, too!!


URGENT CALL FOR HUMAN MILK DONATIONS FOR HAITI INFANTS


URGENT CALL FOR HUMAN MILK DONATIONS FOR HAITI INFANTS

The Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), United States
Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International Lactation Consultant
Association/United States Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA/USLCA), and
La Leche League International (LLLI) are jointly issuing an urgent call for
human milk donations for premature infants in Haiti, as well as sick and
premature infants in the United States.

This week the first shipment of human milk from mothers in the United States
will be shipped to the U.S. Navy Ship "Comfort" stationed outside Haiti.
"Comfort" is currently set up with a neonatal intensive care unit and
medical personnel to provide urgent care to victims of the earthquake. An
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant stationed at the U.S.
Navy base in Bethesda, MD is assisting with providing breast pump equipment
and supplies to the "Comfort." Dr. Erika Beard-Irvine, pediatric
neonatologist, is on board the "Comfort" to coordinate distribution of the
milk to infants in need. HMBANA, USBC, ILCA/USLCA, and LLL are responding to
requests to provide milk for both premature infants and at-risk mothers who
have recently delivered babies on board the U.S.N.S. Comfort, but an urgent
need exists for additional donations.

At the current time, the infrastructure to deliver human milk on land to
Haiti infants has not yet been established. As soon as that infrastructure
is in place, additional donations will be provided to older infants.

Mothers who are willing to donate human milk should contact their regional
Mothers' Milk Bank of HMBANA. A list of regional milk banks is available at
the HMBANA website at www.hmbana.org.

Currently milk banks are already low on donor milk. New milk donations will
be used for both Haiti victims as well as to replenish donor supplies to
continue to serve sick and premature infants in the U.S. Donor milk provides
unique protection for fragile preterm infants. Financial donations are also
strongly encouraged to allow HMBANA, a nonprofit organization, to continue
serving infants in need.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Emergency Nutrition Network, and
medical professionals all recommend that breastfeeding and human milk be
used for infants in disasters or emergencies. Human milk is life-saving due
to its disease prevention properties. It is safe, clean, and does not depend
on water which is often unavailable or contaminated in an emergency. Relief
workers, health care providers, and other volunteers are urged to provide
support for breastfeeding mothers to enable them to continue breastfeeding,
and to assist pregnant and postpartum women in initiating and sustaining
breastfeeding.

For more information, contact HMBANA at 408-998-4550 408-998-4550 or www.hmbana.org
Additional information can be provided from the United States Breastfeeding
Committee at 202-367-1132 202-367-1132 (www.usbreastfeeding
<http://www.usbreastfeeding.org> .org)
ILCA/USLCA at 1-800-452-2478 1-800-452-2478
(www.ilca.org or www.uslca.org ),
or La Leche League at 847-519-7730 847-519-7730
(www.llli.org) .

Sincerely,



Angela Smith, President
ILCA Board of Directors

Monday, January 25, 2010

Flirty Apron Giveaway @ Like A Warm Cup of Coffee

If you haven't already visited the blogs from my blogroll, now is the time! Sarah Mae, who writes on Like a Warm Cup of Coffee about faith and motherhood is running an adorable giveaway on a Flirty Apron. She is so cute and peppy in her video! :) And the aprons are cute and retro looking. Worth a few minutes to enter! And Sarah's blog is a blessing to read! Check it out!

Like a Warm Cup of Coffee

Saturday, January 23, 2010

MEI HIP BABY CARRIER Giveaway from Drool Baby Boutique

I'll always be sure to let ya'll know when I find great mama/baby giveaways on the web! This one is particularly easy, as it just requires you to send a quick email! Go to the link and follow instructions for your chance to win this awesome Ellaroo carrier!

Drool Baby Boutique's Mei Hip Baby Carrier Giveaway


Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Adventures in Homemade Laundry Detergent



After many attempts to make my own homemade laundry detergent, I have finally met with success! There are  many different recipes and ideas on the internet for making homemade detergent. I tend to be a dabbler and experimenter. I almost never follow a recipes exactly and prefer to take my chances... sometimes the outcome is great and sometimes not so great! I have wanted to settle on one recipe to use consistently for my homemade detergent. I do a LOT of laundry, considering our family is just 4 people (2 big and 2 small!). I also wanted something that would work for everything I launder - from towels to clothes to cloth diapers!
   Homemade laundry detergent making is VERY Frugal (pennies per load), and depending on your recipe, sometimes much more eco-friendly than what you'll find in the grocery aisle (unless you can always afford Seventh Generation, Rockin' Green, BioKleen and others, which I can't unless I find them on sale) Before you simply copy my recipe, I recommend doing some hunting and experimenting of your own. You have to take your own preferences into consideration. How natural/green does your detergent have to be? How much money do you want to spend per load? How much preparation are you willing to do for your detergent? Also the type of washer you use and settings you chose will make a difference in how effective each recipe is.

Tipnut.com has a collection of different recipes to get your started.

Check out my friend Kara's recipe  - my inspiration!

Another Recipe that inspired my own, from Lindsey at Passionate Homemaking


And finally, my recipe for Cheater's Homemade Detergent - the most SIMPLE recipe you'll find! Instead of making one typical homemade detergent, which usually forms a messy gel (the borax causes this texture), I decided to break it into two simple steps, so I have a liquid detergent and a dry mix that I add a scoop of. Much less preparation, and more customizable for different loads (ex. I use more of the dry mix for cloth diapers).

Step 1 - Liquid Detergent:

Fels Naptha Bar Soap is the main ingredient in my liquid detergent. All you do is grate the entire bar of soap into a large pan of about 6 cups of hot water, and cook on medium until it melts. Be careful not to let it bubble over! Allow this mixture to cool and then add one cup of Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap. You then dilute this mixture with 4 gallons of water. I always save the empty containers of commercial detergent, so I have a convenient place to store all of this liquid! This will be much thinner than regular detergent.


Step 2 - Dry Detergent:

Instead of mixing Borax and Baking Soda into my detergent, I opt to keep the dried powders separate in a 15 quart rubbermaid bin with a snapping lid. I am also a huge fan of Oxiclean, especially for my cloth diapers. I saved myself a few steps and combined all of these powders together in the bin. I mixed 12 lbs each of Oxiclean and Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (these sizes are found at discount stores like Sam's Club and BJ's) with 4lbs of Borax. I'm happy with this ratio using less Borax. It works incredibly well as a laundry booster, but some people do disagree on how environmentally friendly and safe it is. I do what I have to do to get clean clothes and stink-free diapers!

For each normal load, I use 3/4 cup of the liquid detergent and 1/2 cup dry detergent. I should also add that I always use white vinegar as a fabric softener and for it's disinfecting properties. Just add 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle or in a downy ball. A few steps, yes, but so simple, mess free, smells fresh and works GREAT!! Have fun experimenting, you Frugalistas!!!!!!!!



























Donate Breastmilk to Babies in Haiti!!

Breastfeeding Mamas, If you haven't already considered donating your pumped breast milk, there is no better time than now. The Human Milk Banking Association of America is gearing up to send processed donor milk to infants in need in Haiti. (Right now their website doesn't indicate that milk is already being sent, but that is probably because the hospitals and clinics are still in chaos.) Donor breast milk is typically used for premature infants and babies whose mothers can't produce enough milk. I personally haven't been able to donate my milk because I have an extremely low supply, but my babies have been the blessed recipients of donor milk. What a precious and life-saving gift!!

 Click here for information from the Human Milk Banking Association of America






New Documentary about Formula vs. Breastfeeding - a MUST SEE!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bottles for Breastfed Babies

   One of the most frequent questions I get asked by breastfeeding mothers is about bottles that will be used for baby when mama is away or when supplementation is needed. We've all heard about "nipple confusion" and though lactation consultants tend to disagree about this issue, it has been my experience both as a doula and a breastfeeding mom that babies can have difficulty going from breast to bottle (and pacifiers, too!) That is why I highly recommend to all of my new mamas to wait until breastfeeding is well established (good, strong latch, no more nipple soreness, content baby, etc.) before introducing a bottle or pacifier.
     There is also concern about BPA, a chemical found in several types of plastics that are used to make baby bottles. Safe Mama is a great organization that takes all of the guess work out of shopping for BPA-free shopping for us. Check out their "cheat sheets" on a variety of topics, including bottles and sippy cups!

http://safemama.com/2007/11/22/bpa-free-bottle-and-sippy-cup-cheat-sheet/

I've been through a number of different bottle types for Ruby and Clay. Because of my low milk supply (more on that later) I avoided bottles in the first few months and used a Supplemental Nursing System that allowed additional breast milk or formula to flow into baby's mouth via a tiny spaghetti-like tube. I promise to share more info on low supply soon!

Below are the bottles that we had success with, after many trials. My criteria for bottles were that they had to a) be BPA free, b) have a breast-feeding friendly, wide-mouthed nipple and c) be economical (over $10 per bottle is ridiculous!) and d) come with slow-flow nipples. I only use slow flowing nipples and occasionally medium flow, because a faster flowing stream of milk will cause baby to slow down the sucking action that is so important in nursing.






My "splurge" bottle of choice is the soft and lightweight Nuby which is BPA free, and has a great wide base on the nipple that helps baby open wide and latch on. This makes it a good choice for a first bottle. We do use glass bottles, but they are very heavy, and this bottle is super lightweight. Other bottles with similar wide bases are:

MAM Sassy
Born Free
Breastflow Bottles








Our economical bottles of choice, and the ones we use most often these days, are a throwback to the good ol' days. The Evenflo Classic Nurser is a glass bottle with a classic tapered nipple. Because the nipple is thin with a narrow base, I DO NOT recommend this as a starter bottle. Something with a wider base will help to avoid nipple confusion. However, now that Clay is 5 months and is a nursing champ with a good latch, these suit us just fine. They are the least expensive glass bottles and are available in stores everywhere. Target has their own line of similar bottles in the same price range. I should note that I only use the 4oz glass bottles, because the 8oz glass bottles are so darn heavy! Evenflo also makes a BPA-free plastic version and I keep these on hand to throw in the diaper bag and for travel.




Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Womanly Dominion" Giveaway at passionatehomemaking.com!

 Dear Ones, 
      Be sure to check out one of my favorite blogs, www.passionatehomemaking.com for info on a new giveaway for the book Womanly Dominion: More Than a Gentle and Quiet Spirit. I haven't yet read the book, so I can't say whether or not that I would highly recommend it yet, but it's been on my list of "must-reads" since I read blogger Lindsey's review. I am always inspired Lindsey's blog about homemaking, mothering, natural living and Biblical womanhood, so I fully trust her book recommendations. We have a lot of common interests and passions, don't we? She has 7 copies of these books to give away, and it's so easy to enter! Take a good look around while you're on her blog... I hope it will bless you as it has me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Disaster Relief for Mothers and Babies in Haiti


I'm sure like me, many of you have been thinking about the pregnant women and mothers and babies in Haiti whose lives have been devastated this week. My mind is filled with images of women thrown in to preterm labor by the stress of the earthquake, children separated from their mothers and parents wondering how they will feed and shelter their children. Thank God for babywearing, which will keep babies close and safe next to mamas and breastfeeding, which protects infants from quickly spreading disease and contaminated water! I am amazed by the way technology and the internet have pulled people together to quickly raise funds for much needed supplies. I hope to keep a growing list here of fundraising incentives that are related to mothers and babies. If you are going to spend any money now, do it wisely and thoughtfully- shop with companies that are giving some or all of their proceeds to the relief effort! Check back here often as I update and be sure to include any ideas in the comment section!

Text HAITI to 90999 to send a $10 donation to the Red Cross.
Text HAITI to 864833 to send a $5 donation to the United Way.


Quirky Baby $100 Raffle

 50% of online retail sales go to Haiti when you shop at Hotslings.com  - Monday 18th only!

Zerberts baby slings is donating 10% of all sale proceeds to disaster relief


Fluffy Fundraiser - Cloth Diaper Raffle for Haiti at Kelly's Closet

Baby Sling Raffle at Piece of Cloth


Sling Exchange Raffle -  beautiful tie-dyed Neobulle Lin wrap

Sleeping Baby Raffle

softbums.com the will match your purchase price and donate the same amount of diapers to Haiti

Happy Heineys is accepting Cloth Diaper donations for haitian orphanages

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Download FREE Music for Kids!!

I am so excited to share a fabulous link with ya'll! I was surfing the web looking for some new tunes for Ruby when I stumbled upon an online database of free downloadable mp3s! I discovered fun bands like The Sippy Cups, The Boogers, Chuckleberries, Einstein's Monkey, etc. (Bands for kids get to have really fun names, no?)  Have fun listening!!

www.freekidsmusic.com

Friday, January 8, 2010

Testing, Testing... 1, 2, 3!

Welcome to Sage Femme Mama!

Well, here we go... I'm diving into the blogosphere! Those of you who know me know that I always need a project to keep me busy. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom 100% of the time I need something that keeps me connected to my previous work as a doula, childbirth educator and friend/advocate/guide to new mamas everywhere. My two little ones keep me busy (crazy) at home, and I am excited to embrace this new chapter of my life. I am passionate about my calling as a wife and mother - something that may seem antiquated to many in this busy world. My experiences as a doula and as a new mom have led me on quite a journey of discovery and I have many thoughts to share on pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding, mothering, "going green", homemaking and the domestic arts, and living frugally and healthfully. This blog will be a place where I can collect and organize my thoughts on a variety of topics related to motherhood as I go on this journey with you. I hope it will be a resource and a blessing to many!
      I sure would appreciate your help and feedback as I figure my way around blog-land! Be sure to follow me on Twitter or Facebook for blog updates. Spread the word to friends who might be interested in reading and/or contributing. Check out my sponsors' websites and also be sure to take a look around my Amazon store at the very bottom of the page - full of all of my highest recommened books! And please, please join in on discussions with each blog post by leaving a comment! 


Looking forward to this! 


Woman Sings Worship While in Labor

This beautiful video never fails to give me goosebumps. I wish every pregnant woman could know that labor can be this peaceful and relaxed. What a testimony to the power of music! As a Music Therapy student, I loved studying the impact music could have during labor. Singing and dancing along to my playlist was incredibly uplifting and encouraging to me during my long labor with Clay. Go to www.templetunes.com for more info on this awesome musician couple and a link to download the recording of this gorgeous song!

Dude-la!

Continuing with the theme of sharing some of my favorite youtube videos as test posts, here is one of my favorite funny doula videos. I guess whether you choose a doula of a "dude-la", everyone needs an advocate in the labor room, right? Hilarious! :)



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blog Post Brainstorm

My Dear Friends,

    Please do me and my cluttered mind a favor and help me brainstorm topics for posts in this little blog of mine. I want to make sure I cover all of the Frequently Asked Questions I get (ie. "What on earth is a DOULA?" "Where did you get that baby sling?" "Do people seriously still cloth diaper these days?") So here is a beginning list of my ideas. Please contribute! :)

*Reviews of books, baby and toddler products, etc.
*All of my favorite secret recipes
*Babywearing Info -  carrier reviews, deal alerts and how-to guides
*Thoughts on Nutrition, particularly in the childbearing years and for young children
*Links to and discussions of recent studies/articles of interest
*Natural Home Remedies
*Tips on "going green" and Organics 101
*Midwifery Model of Care info
*Activity ideas for toddlers/preschoolers
*Guest posts from friends and family
 *Frugal Living ideas
*Hopefully relevant GIVEAWAYS and contests as my readership grows!

Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam...

     Our 2 year old, Ruby, just adores her recordings and videos of children singing songs about Jesus.  Many of them are songs I grew up on. In fact, when I picked up a copy of Wee Sing Bible Songs at Barnes and Noble and popped it into the CD player for her, I couldn't believe it as the words o every song came flooding out of my mouth as I sang along. I looked at the fine print and realized I had chosen a reissue of the very same recording my grandmother played for me in 1986! My grandmother, Rita, had a huge influence on my faith and the formation of who I am. She believed that young children could learn biblical truths and scripture memory from music just as easily as we learn our ABC's and the Itsy Bitsy Spider. She was right! The words to those songs were ingrained in my memory, and now I get to enjoy them with my children! Come back soon to see a more in-depth review of some of my favorite (and not-so-favorite) recordings of Bible songs for kids!
    I have been amazed at what great teaching tools these simple songs are. For weeks, Ruby has bounded about the house joyfully chanting and singing the words of Proverb 17:22:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine,
 but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."


When she is getting fussy or complaining, I remind her of this song and we sing it together or talk about what it means to have a cheerful heart. It's a simple message that even a 2 year old can grasp, but as I find myself humming the repetitive and catchy melody throughout the day, I know it is also a scripture God is laying in my own heart. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by life with 2 little ones, or to get caught up in everything that isn't going my way in life. I have no secrets about the fact that I have wrestled with depression throughout my life. However, I do think God has blessed me with an optimistic spirit. I've been called a Pollyanna, a dreamer, an idealist, and optimist.... it is ironic to me that for someone who tries to look at life through rose-colored glasses, such darkness can sometimes overtake my existence. Which is why I love another song from my childhood that has resurfaced in Ruby's music... "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam". It's a sweet little tune that reminds me that I am called to be Christ's light in this world, "to shine for Him each day..."