Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Well

In spite of eating relatively healthy my family has struggled with staying well. When you have small children they just seem to be germ magnets! Mine all have bad habits that tend to make this worse. I have one (constant) nose picker, two thumb suckers, and one finger sucker. All are at the age when hand washing is not automatic. Not to mention my house is dryer than the Sahara Desert due to heating with wood most of the time. Winter came early this year and so did the battle against the common cold. From October to January my kids had at least two- three colds a MONTH EACH.  Colds that involved coughing, congestion, and waking up at night. This led to some serious frustration on my part. Here are some solutions I came up with that helped.

1. Hand washing. I had to get pretty mean Mom about this one. Hand washing is the number one thing you can do to stay well! I made firm rules about washing before meals, snack, and after using the bathroom. I had to be much more aware of what my kids were doing. When you have four, it is harder to know what everyone is doing! When we were at church I made them wash their hands before they ate or drank anything and as soon as we got home they had to wash their hands. Proper hand washing is with SOAP for 20 seconds and rinse well with running water. To help my younger children remember this I had them sing the ABC song. Now it is fun to hear them washing their hands!

2. We cut back on sugar. Now we don’t eat huge amounts of sugar at our house and almost no processed sugar. The kids were eating the sugary snacks set out on Sunday mornings at church. These were banned until my kids were healthy for three weeks in a row. Here is what Web MD has to say about sugar:

“Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks.”

Since church was the place the kids seemed to be catching their cold from since we didn’t go out much due to having sick kids. The kids and I would go every other Sunday when we were all well- and they would invariably catch something. Having sugar could have been part of the issue. Now that they are not getting sick we can go do fun things!

3. Boost their immune systems. In desperation I did a search and asked friends what worked for them. One friends suggested making some immune boosting tinctures from herbs. I was ready to try anything at this point. She suggested the recipe found in the ABC Herbal. ( it is in the older addition but not the newer ones) I was giving this to them every evening for the first two weeks when I remembered that it should really be given just before you are going somewhere you are worried about getting sick. In our case, this was church. I give them their “medicine” in the evenings starting on Friday or Saturday and go until Monday or Tuesday.

4. Elderberry Syrup. I am also giving them Elderberry Syrup. I used the recipe from Deep Roots at Home. I gave this on  the same schedule as the other Immune Tincture. Three out of four of my children think this is wonderful. One is not impressed, but he likes being well so he takes it!

5. Keep fingers out of noses, mouths, and eyes. I taught one of my children to stop sucking her thumb with a chart, band aids for the first week,  and a reward after 4 weeks. She was so pleased that she did something hard and was able to stop. I am hoping that this will work some of the other bad habits that are floating around in the family!

In the last eight weeks we have had two (milder than normal) colds TOTAL, and those were in the first two week after I started the herbs. There are six people in my house and four in the seven and under crowd. Not bad! Normally my children are still frequently sick until the end of April, so this can’t be because it is later in the cold and flu season! I am so thankful that I found something that works. Now I won’t be dreading next winter- well, not quite as badly anyway.

 

Posted in Health | 2 Comments

Sneak Peak

Last week I got to test a pattern again! Here is a sneak peak. You can see the rest when the pattern is released.

 

 

My current project I am working on is an Easter dress for Lillon. I am hoping to get all the girls a new dress made. That isn’t too likely, but I need a goal to work toward! The pattern I am using is a vintage one that I picked up from the thrift store or a garage sale. Isn’t it cute? I am doing view 2.

I found a couple extras in the envelope. There were some directions for another pattern and a pattern piece for a doll dress bodice with fabric still pinned to it! After reading through the instructions I realized that vintage patterns have way more hand sewing in them than modern ones. This should be an interesting challenge! Maybe I will learn something new in the process.

Posted in Sewing | 1 Comment

Random Update

So lots of little things are happening, but not enough to warrant a post of their own.

The chicken in my basement died.  That was somewhat expected. Chickens just don’t handle trauma well. The rest of the chickens were moved in with the goats for their safety. No more have been killed, but they are driving me nuts! I am trying to trap the critter that killed the others. A friend loaned me a live trap that I am hoping works soon! Something is taking the food but not tripping the trap. I WILL catch it…one of these days. After it is caught, I can move the chickens back in their coop…after it is fixed.

I let my goats out for some sun and fresh air the other day. They escaped and knocked the door off the coop. One of them, Liana, likes to head butt her reflection. Thankfully she just knocked the door out and it isn’t broken!

The baby goat I rescued is doing well. Her owner named her “Hattie”. She is growing by leaps and bounds!

My camera died. ( A Canon sx20) I kept getting a lens error. I tried to take it apart and fix it, but I am not so mechanical. I never got to the lens. After about 40 screws, I gave up in frustration and put it back together. It still doesn’t work. I also came up with 4 extra screws…Time to save up for a new camera! In the mean time, I have to use a cheap one that was given to me about 9 years ago.

I made up a couple fun things for a friend this month. It was her birthday! She got a pouch and a “princess” headband. The girls also made her some pictures.

I picked up some fun patterns at the thrift store! They were on sale for between .05 and .25. They were so cute that I couldn’t leave them there! I probably already have more pattern than I can sew up for my children. These are all size 2 except for the ties. The tie pattern is missing the instructions. Oops.  The book in the upper left hand corner has sewing skills for making little girls clothes!

Spring is slowly coming here. We can see patches of the ground. This week we should have some rain. That should help the snow go away! After that it is supposed to warm up into the 40′s and 50′s. Oh bliss! Spring flowers are much needed this year!

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The Little Kid that Could

My last post was a bit depressing. We did lose another chicken and the injured one is still in the basement. On a brighter note, I helped out a friend this weekend.

My friend and I have a mutual interest in animals and homegrown food. We swap chores frequently. Last weekend she had a wedding to attend, so I was on the “doing” end. She warned me before I left that her buck (goat) had jumped the fence last fall and there just might be babies due. She had one other lady who would be helping out Saturday morning so I wasn’t on duty all weekend. Friday evening I went up and all looked good. I checked the two does for bagging up or loose tail ligaments. They both seemed no where near kidding. I went home in a happy state of mind.

Saturday morning at 8a.m. I was leisurely thinking of what to have for breakfast when I got a call from “Jane” the other goat sitter. ” I see afterbirth in the pasture, but I can’t find the baby!” Uh, oh, not good. She talked to me a little while longer while she searched in the pen and checked to see who looked like they had just given birth recently. It was one of the kids from last year- a very young mother that they hadn’t meant to breed this year. I hadn’t thought to check the young does! I tried to be calm, but I felt horrible like somehow I had let my friend down. Jane took one last look around some large spools that had been left lying around for the goats to play on. The baby was underneath a spool that had been tipped on its side. It was alive! It was a bit weak but okay. Jane said she would get it to eat and all would be well.

An hour later, Jane called back. The baby wasn’t eating and she couldn’t get the mama goat on the stanchion to make it easier to milk her. I told her I would be up as soon as I could. I piled up the three girls in the van, and we were off! When we arrived Jane was holding the baby. Together we coaxed the mom on the stand. The baby was too weak to eat. I milked out the mom and used a syringe to feed the little one. Thankfully she wasn’t too weak to suck on my finger while I slowly squeezed colostrum into the corner of her mouth. I gave her all she wanted and we locked her up with her mom who was finally showing a little concern for her kid. A call to the lady coming to let the dogs in a few hours to tell her to check the goat kid, too, and we both headed home.

At evening chores I made sure the mom was watching the baby and let her nurse off her mom while she was on the milking stand. Baby was stronger. In the morning, she looked even better. She ran up to me knowing that I meant breakfast! After making sure the baby was full, I left for church. Her mom still wasn’t feeding her.  The person letting the dog out was supposed to check on the baby, so I wasn’t too concerned. I would get a call if I was needed. Or so I thought.

When I got there for evening chores, the baby was NOT in the corner that it had been in the rest of the time. I peeked into the pen. The baby was flat on its side by the manger. MAJOR PANIC. I ran in and scooped up the baby hoping it was okay. It let out a weak bleat. It could barely hold its head up. Poor little one! I put the mom on the stand again, but the kid was too weak to nurse. I still had the syringe, so I gave it a small amount of colostrum to try to warm it up. Its mouth was so cold! I had Eden with me and had her hold the kid while I did chores in record time. I needed to get the kid home and warmed up or it could die, and die quickly! I shoved it in my coat for the ride home.

Once we got it home I gave it a small amount of colostrum again, not wanting to overload it when it was already weak. I set it up on a heating pad , wrapped in a towel, while my children held it. I knew she would be happier near people since she associated me with food. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. I called my friend to let her know the situation and that I was doing everything I could for her kid. Every so I often I would go over to check and make sure she was still breathing.  After a couple hours I checked on her again and she was hungry- always a good sign! She ate heartily, but was still way below the temperature she needed to be since her mouth still felt cool inside. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right, so I called my Mom. She is an expert on goat health.

After explaining the situation to her, she told me, ” Don’t give her any milk!” Oops, too late. She told me that when you give milk to a cold kid they can’t digest it. This makes them susceptible to enterotoxemia. She told me to give the little goat kid electrolytes in warm water with molasses. ( I put 2 T. in a qt of the electrolyte water.) When I went to feed the kid she thought it was wonderful. She perked up quite a bit after I fed her the electrolytes and molasses water! She was still cold, so I put a little sweater on her and wrapped her up in a blanket and held her. She was in seventh heaven. I swear the goat was smiling. She thought she was people. I checked her temp with a thermometer since her mouth was starting to feel warmish and not cool. Her temp was 100.4. Normal for goats is between 102 and 104. She must have been pretty cold before! Looking back I probably should have put her in warm water to get her body temperature up quicker.

I did feed her milk that evening when she had warmed up some more. ( at about 12) She woke up again at 5 to eat. When her owner came to get her at 9-ish, she looked as good as new. I gave some instructions on how often feed her and some other details, she was headed home.

The next day I got a call saying she was doing well, but her mom rejected her. She is currently living in the house and thinks she is a person.

 

 

barnhop

 

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Death on the Farm (Warning: Photos May Be Disturbing to City Slickers)

Inspector Cluckseau

It seems to be that every predator’s favorite food is chicken. We always lose at least two birds a year to predators. One year we lost thirteen. Yes, thirteen. Those owls that are all the fad are quite fond of chicken. I am not fond of owls. I did manage to outwit them, though, and haven’t had much trouble since. Usually, we lose one chicken to a hawk. Something chewed through plastic chicken wire to get to one last summer. I don’t recommend plastic chicken wire. Get the real thing.

This morning  I sent the children out to get the eggs. They came running in out of breath.

” Mom, one of the naked neck chickens is dead!”

When I got down to check on the chickens, I found one dead and one wounded.

The Scene of the Crime

Something had killed it and tried to pull it through the slats of the turkey coop that is right next door. The chickens sleep on a beam between their coop and the turkey coop. (currently empty) From what I could gather by the evidence, something must have spooked the chickens. When they flew down, it caught them and proceeded to try to pull them through the slats. They are a bit too big fit through the slats. It nibbled on what it could get at. The culprit also managed to slash up one other chicken pretty badly.

The Witnesses

The wounded chicken looks pretty tough. It had blood all over its head and some good sized gashes on its wing and leg. It is currently residing in an old, covered laundry basket in the basement. It did eat and drink a little and escaped before I covered the basket. When I put it in it didn’t look like it was going anywhere, but I suspect when it saw my sorted laundry it thought it looked far more comfortable than a sheet of newspaper. I cleaned the chicken’s wounds and put some salve on and cayenne. We will see how it is in the morning. I think if it makes it through tonight it will be okay. Either way, I don’t think she will be giving me much information to go on.

Poor Chicka!

Whatever did the attack also was eating some dead mice that drowned in a bucket of water and lives in the storage part of the shed. It left some tracks for me to follow, so I know it is a small, four footed creature. I got a somewhat hard to see picture of its tracks. Any ideas? My Dad thinks it is a weasel.

The Evidence

 

*Update*

“It” got my other rooster this morning. After some more thought, I am thinking I may be dealing with a ‘possom.

 

 

Posted in Chicks | 2 Comments

Flashback: Baby Development Milestones

The other day I was going through things on my Facebook wall and cleaning up a bit. I found this note written when my firstborn, Richie, was 13 months old. He was quite the terror then. I often wonder how we both made it through alive during those early years. He is now almost 8 years old! Since Abigail is now at this stage, it was fun to read, and I thought you might enjoy some desperate Mommy humor, too.

You have exactly .25 seconds to snap that picture...

“Rolling over, crawling, walking…these are all the main milestones people tell you about when you are pregnant or watching your new little one grow. There is one milestone they neglect to tell you about…perhaps to prevent the extinction of the species. ;) Climbing. Climbing is the milestone they never tell you about. It comes soon after walking and quickly becomes an obsession. Your life will never be the same. Baby can now climb on the chairs, the sofa,coffee table, in fact, almost anything now. You now spend your waking hours making sure your suicidal toddler does not have to spend the day in the emergency room. His pasttimes now include making flying leaps from the coffee table to the couch or swiping cottage cheese containers to use as a stepping to stool to reach the organ bench and beyond. The dining room table is no longer a safety area. You turn around see your child running gleefully away with a paring knife in his hand. Here Richie, Richie, nice Richie, give Mamma the knife…Of course, endless hours are spent teaching little Richie that he is absolutely NOT allowed to climb on the table. Even if there are fun things up there like the telephone, a pitcher of water, Daddy’s Bible, etc. I must admit I have things easy. My Mother claimed that I climbed to the top of the grain auger at 18months, and I believe there are several similar stories that I will refrain from mentioning. They might damage my credibility. ( Like the one where I thought I could fly…) So new mothers, take heed and rest while you can, because it is your last opportunity. Never ending vigilance is coming soon…”

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Cloth Tots CD Pants Pattern

Lace and Piggies

Last week I got to test out a new baby pants pattern, the Cloth Tots CD Pants. CD stands for cloth diaper. ;) I have been in the tester forum for Cloth Tots for a while now and have been waiting for these! When you cloth diaper, regular baby pants often don’t work.  The rise is shorter and you don’t have the volume needed for that bulky diaper. Usually you can get away with knit pants, but who wants to limit themselves totally to knit??? So here is a brief review.

Pros:

  • The instructions were simple and easy.
  • The pants whipped together in no time. The longest part of putting them together was the lace I added.
  • They fit over cloth diapers. If you have REALLY bulky diapers I would recommend you use knit fabric, but for “average” cloth diapers woven fabric works great.
  • They aren’t just for cloth diaper children!

Cons:

  • These were quite long. This is a great thing if you have a long legged child. Mine tend toward average to short legged…lots of short people in my family! They were actually about 2″ too long for Abigail.  They good news is that they should still fit her in a year.

These pants would be great for a beginner or advanced sewist.  The Cloth Tots CD Pants Pattern comes in sizes Newborn to 4T. You can find out more about them HERE if you are interested.

Minus the Baby

 

Standing...briefly.

 

Laying is fun, too.

*This post is purely my experiences and opinions. I was not paid or reimbursed in any way for it.*

Posted in Sewing | 2 Comments

Tummy Talk 4: Halfway Through the Tummy Team Update and Review

Check out my other posts on this subject!

Tummy Talk Part 1

Tummy Talk Part 2: A Little History

Tummy Talk Part 3: The Education

 

I left off my last post with the mention that I was beginning “Abdominal Rehab”. The program I am doing is online physical therapy with Kelly Dean of the Tummy Team via video and a Skype session or two. I have just finished week four and am entering week five. Starting out I had a 6-5-4 diastasis. Apparently, I have been doing A LOT of things wrong to get in such bad shape. My motivations to heal and strengthen are a weak back (goes out), occasional sciatic pain or chronic during pregnancy, a protruding belly that made it difficult to find clothes that fit, and a couple of very unpleasant pregnancies and deliveries! Now to the stuff you are probably interested in…what I have been doing!
The program is 8 weeks long. It starts out with some very basic belly exercises that work on breathing and posture. You wear a “splint” over your tummy. It felt pretty easy at the beginning, but I had some shoulder and neck stiffness by day 3. Even after only one week I was already seeing some progress! Each week you are introduced to more concepts and exercises. The stretches that are in some of the lessons were just what I needed. I tend to hold tension in a lot of places! You can only see the weeks you have done- there is no access to the weeks ahead! This makes it sort of exciting to see what you will be doing at the beginning of each week- like opening a present of strength and better health! It also takes away the temptation to work ahead and overdo it or be overwhelmed. Some weeks are harder than others just because of the way, as a woman, my body fluctuates even over the course of a month. ( Know what I mean?) Bloating was an issue at one point and it was a bit discouraging, but I knew that
things would settle back again soon and they have.
Today was my Skype session with Kelly. My first Skype session with anyone EVER. I wasn’t sure how it would go. I didn’t come into it with a lot of questions,but I learned a lot! Kelly helped me check my belly again. I am a 5-4- almost closed. Progress is a wonderful thing! It feels good to know I am healing. When I first started I never thought I would reach this point! Here I am making more progress than I thought possible! Most of my diastasis is right around my belly button area- an upside down tear drop shape starting about two finger widths above my belly button and tapering to almost nothing a few finger widths below my belly button. Kelly gave me some great insight into things I could do to improve more quickly and some things I was doing a good job on. My posture has improved hugely, and I have lost about 1.5-2″ off my belly button area.  Not bad! I am excited to see what the next four weeks will bring!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is my progress so far.
If you want to check yourself here is how.

 

How to check Yourself for Diastasis from fit2b.us on Vimeo.

Check out the Tummy Team!

Posted in diastasis, Health, Tummy Talk | 6 Comments

Baby Bear Beanie

A friend of mine had her first baby not too long ago. This is a reason to celebrate! I decided that a little hat was in store since it has been SO cold this winter. When I saw this Fuzzy Bear Hat with Ears pattern from Ali Crafts.When I started the hat I didn’t know if my friend was having a boy or a girl, so I chose a Chocolate brown color. ( my favorite color of brown!) By the time I actually got to sending the hat the baby was born, so I added some pink bows to add some cute factor! I hope my friend enjoyed the hat. I forgot when I started it she had mentioned she was wanting to use mostly natural fibers on her baby! Oops! I hope she likes in anyways.

The pattern went together so easily I finished the hat in two short sittings. One for the main hat and one for the ears. The bulky yarn and tiny size makes it a quick, easy, instant gratification project. Too bad my kids all have plenty of hats! My friend’s just need to have more babies.

 
Skip To My Lou

Posted in Crochet | 1 Comment

Tummy Talk 3: The Education

Check out my other posts on this subject!

Tummy Talk Part 1

Tummy Talk Part 2: A Little History

In my previous Tummy Post, I mentioned starting a free one month sample of a fitness program. That program was just the boost I needed after reading Julie Tupler’s book “Lose Your Mummy Tummy”. The book was good but it was less personal and lacked variety. I didn’t have the focus to keep up with it. The new fitness program I started was Fit2B and it would change my world one day at a time!

I was surprised by how much I liked the videos. This was not a “feel the burn and then quit ’cause it hurts too much” type of program.  The videos start out gentle and encouraging. I could work at my own pace and choose the length. I could pause them if my children needed me. I WANTED to do them, because it felt like I was doing them with a friend! I could see slow, steady progress. There are even stretches and relaxation videos for a hard day. By the end of the first month, I had been doing 3-4 videos a week and had lost 1.5″ off my waist. Talk about encouraging!

The program, Fit2B, is run by Beth Learn with some videos done by Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team. Fit2B has a great facebook forum where Beth answers questions and the ladies are the nicest group of ladies EVER. Over the past year I have been doing the videos I have thoroughly enjoyed them! I have fallen off the wagon some months (maybe quite a few ;) ) and have been more consistent in others. Some months I only worked out twice and others I may have made it close to twenty videos! I have lost three inches and closed my diastasis by four to six fingers! I also learned A LOT about proper posture and alignment. I started out with a 10-10-10 diastasis with some areas being stronger and shallower than others and some being deeper.  That spot on my belly that looks “unzipped” is the widest part of my diastasis. Last I check my diastasis is a 6-5-4. Fit2B offers some sample videos you should definitely check out if you are interested! It also offers challenging videos for the non-decrepit.

Now to answer a question you have probably been asking is ” What IS a diastasis? Diastasis Recti is the separation of your outer abdominal muscles. These are the muscles that support your back and organs. When this separates ,it stretches the connective tissue underneath and leaves it thin. This means your organs are all hanging out in front and not high and tight inside. This could cause some problems! It can cause back problems, hernias, pelvic floor issues, lack of bladder control, sciatic pain,pregnancy discomfort, and a host of other issues. It is caused by outward pressure on the muscles. Things that can contribute to it are pregnancy, hard pushing in labor, c-sections, crunches, sit-ups, bloating, and/or poor posture.
As for me, I have struggled with pregnancy pain in the past, occasional sciatica, fatigue (yes, I have more energy now!), my back went “out” about 1-2x a year, my former “innie” belly button was an “outie”, bloating, and had a bulging belly that made it hard to find clothes that fit. Some of these things I have made progress with in my year with Fit2B and others I haven’t.
Since I started out with such a large separation and am still considered a large separation even with my good progress, I decided I needed to bring out the big guns- abdominal rehab. Fit2B works with and highly recommends Kelly Dean of The Tummy Team. She has an online program ( and a “real life” clinic)that works specifically on diastasis rehab- something I desperately need! I bit the bullet and signed up in January and started rehab online on January 23rd.

I will leave you with pictures of my progress with Fit2B. The next posts will be about my experiences with The Tummy Team.

From the Front

From the Side

The first picture was taken AFTER I had already lost 1.5″. It is 3 months postpartum. Scary, huh?

To be continued…

Tummy Talk part 4: Halfway Through

 

*Note: There are some affiliate links in this post.  I wouldn’t recommend either program if I hadn’t fallen totally in love with them myself!

Posted in diastasis, Health, Tummy Talk | 5 Comments