31 Day-Why I Make Detergent

Detergent.


It's expensive, but everyone has to use it. 

Or maybe you don't have to use it. I'm sure there is some brand of hippie out there that would go against the flow of laundry too. 

Needless to say, that hippie ain't me. 


Nope, nope, gotta wash the clothes. Honestly, I almost want to wash our bedsheets more frequently due to my terrible night sweats. Sometimes I wake up dripping in sweat and just want to go to the guest room. 

But I digress... 

I make my own detergent, and I have for probably 5 yeas now. 

This isn't some chemical aversion thing though, it's all money saving. 

You see, it started when Jeremy was in graduate school and we were the poster children for the broke as a joke club. I think we earned the spot on the front of their brochure whilst living almost entirely on our savings for two years. I wouldn't recommend it, but it can be done. 

However, major penny pinching has to take place to survive. 

Insert the year of 31 Day of Frugal Meals... it was more of an excuse to not go out to eat and be able to say no to people because "it was a blog experiment." 

Back to the detergent though, I initially suggested making my own when we were living in Monroe, and awfully comfortable at the time mind you. [Oh the years of no student loans and enough income to pay for my graduate school out right I long for you. I could totally do without the financial years of having to pay off debt from an air conditioner and student loans before having child numero two.] 

Jeremy wasn't buying the idea, not one single sliver of a bit. I couldn't convince him. 

Fast forward a few years later to when J was technically jobless while in graduate school and working as a youth minister as a volunteer when he wasn't knee deep in a paper or something... our bills literally equalled my pay + his tiny check he got for being a graduate assistant. Nothing extra. Our rent was actually exactly the same amount as his grad assistant check. That graduate assistant spot eventually ended (long long story) and we were short a nice chunk of money every month. This is when the eating out of savings really began... and it's when Jeremy started agreeing to every penny pinching way I could muster up. 

I figured up at the time that I could make enough laundry detergent to last us roughly a year + 2ish months for $20. 

Before that we were spending about $6 a month on detergent, give or take. So knocking it down to $20 was a life saver on the ole wallet. 

For years now I've just use the detergent on my clothing, and Jeremy added in a scent booster to his detergent. I've recently started using a fabric softener that has more of a smell, I think that baby laundry got me addicted to the smell of laundry. Oh and FYI - I do purchase baby detergent. We have a history of sensitive skin, and little dude seems to have it too so I don't want to risk my detergent being too strong. 

So there you have it, why this slightly crunchy wife/mama makes her own detergent... you save a ton of money every year doing it! Long live frugal ha! 



31 Days-Don't Bother With The Birth Plan

Going into pregnancy I heard every manner of reasons as to why I should have had a birth 
plan. Heck, people even asked what my birth plan was. 


Had I had the extra cash I would have probably hired a Douala, although Jeremy did great at lower back massage with tennis balls. Counter pressure massage was a big 
life saver. So I guess you could say he and my mother served that role, however I was in so much pain at times I have no memory of Jeremy being around. 

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. 

Birth plans. 

I started to buy into the idea that I needed one, I thought I could control birth. I attempt to control everything else, so why not labor and birth as well. So I started discussing the topic with my doctor when I was a my last month of pregnancy just to see what she said. 

She was against the idea. 

At the time I was giving her the crazy eye, but now, opposed to common hippie practice... I don't think I'd ever both with the idea again. 
If you are communicating with your doctor along the way they already know what you want. 
We discussed epidurals all day every day, or at least it seemed that way when I saw her. 
She kept trying to get me to just write in my chart that I wanted one and I was against the idea. I wanted so badly to just go into labor naturally and "see" how I felt. If it were too much I would simply get an epidural. She knew that was what I wanted, but I eventually let her mark in my charts that I would take one just to have it as an option. 

I'm terribly glad I did too. Going into labor naturally didn't happen. Instead my blood 
pressure was out of control and she wanted the baby out before it started causing damage
 to my organs. Honestly, the pain that pitocin caused was no match for breathing. There was no time to breathe between contractions. Instead I progressed as far as I could until I was 
positive my bones were literally separating from my body. By that point I didn't slow down, it actually allowed me to relax and allow labor to progress more. (I know it can slow you down 
though... that's why I wanted to skip it altogether)

Nothing ever goes as planned. 
I didn't plan on having high blood pressure. I didn't plan on being induced. I didn't even plan 
to get an IV but only got once because I had to have so many fluids in before an epi could 
ever start and there was no sitting around for 45 minutes waiting on it. 

The week I gave birth my charts got mixed up and I was marked to need magnesium. That would have caused me to have to stay in bed and not bounce around on my yoga ball to try and speed things up. Luckily that mix up got fixed, but more on it later. 

You just can't plan for what could happen. The only thing I could try to control was staying as calm as humanly possible every time the blood pressure cuff beeped to start checking me. Which basically means the yogi deep inside did everything she could to keep my pressure down so I didn't need a c-section. 

Ask questions. 
I questioned everything the nurses did, even though my husband was probably cringing in a corner somewhere. In fact it was good that I did, remember that chart mix up? Well, my 
doctor wasn't getting to the hospital until almost 2 hour after I had been induced. Had I not forced the nurses to call my OB and refuse to take the magnesium I would have been put on a drug I didn't need that could potentially have changed the course of how my labor went. 
Instead she told them I was right and I was able to go on my merry way bouncing on my ball as happily as I could. 

There was nothing that went into me that I wasn't asking questions about. 

Don't be afraid to ask permission to do things. 
This should also be backed up with having a doctor who supports your views. 

We agreed on most everything, except her view on how long my maternity leave should last. I'll give it to my OB though, anyone else in my blood pressure state would have been told to get on bed rest, she knew how much I needed to save my paid days off and let me go to 
work under the understanding that I basically taught from a chair with my legs lifted up and 
stayed in bed when I was home. 

At one of my birthing classes the nurse talked about birthing balls, turns out all the ones at 
the hospital ran away so I had to bring my own. Which my doctor approved me doing. I felt 
a little silly making Jeremy wander around with a giant ball, but I'm convinced it progressed my labor. 

Now this isn't just about the birthing ball. Had we not talked on the phone two days before, after we had discussed the state of my blood pressure and what HAD to happen because of it regardless of what I WANTED, I wouldn't have known I could still have my ball. Now, 
having asked if I could have it completely contradicted what the nurses were wanted to do to me and I knew I had to quiz the heck out of them. That ball saved me from having to have 
magnesium that I didn't want, and didn't need. Had I not asked permission just days before giving birth I wouldn't have known, but when I was told I wouldn't be able to get out of bed if they gave me the magnesium I knew it wasn't lined up to what we had discussed. 
Turns out, I think the nurses and doctors kind of dislike the whole birth plan thing. 
Mainly because you can only control what's happening to a certain extent. Meaning, "Yes, I'd love some ice" is about the only thing that will definitely go as planned. I went in trying not to boss people around who knew their job better than I knew it and I got on well with 
everyone because of it... minus that nurse who gave me an IV. 

The biggest reason to skip it, you'll likely be dissatisfied with your birth experience if you have a birth plan. 
My OB really stressed the fact that of all the babies she delivered, the most dissatisfied mothers were the ones with birth plans. She said they hardly every go according to the plan and those mothers felt almost cheated in a way and regretted aspects of their birth. 

I have to say I think she is right. I tossed the plan out the window and went with the flow. I 
had things I wanted to have happen and we all knew that Plan A was Plan A, but if Plan B 
had to happen that was okay too. 

I couldn't be dead set on the one hour of skin to skin, and then nursing before the baby was ever taken for a bath if there was something wrong with him. That was out of my control. 

I didn't want an episiotomy, and luckily my doctor agreed that tearing was better than cutting and that's the route we went. 

When push (pun not intended) came to shove I had to trust that this woman who had gone 
to school forever and had delivered more babies than I had ever held knew what she was 
doing. I told her my ideal birth and she did what she could to make that happen. 

Thanks to her suggestion to toss my hippified birth plan out the window  I ended up really 
enjoying the whole event, some parts in retrospective mind you, but I enjoyed it. 

I even broke the rules and was chomping down on some S'mores Gram-fulls while she was stitching me up since I was starving. Funny thing is that the nurses thought something was wrong since I suddenly wanted to guzzle water and eat everything granola bar in hobbling 
distance, but my lovely OB who had paid such close attention to me the last 9 months knew I was just hungry and thirsty... and that neither of those needs had been met with a giant
baby keeping me for eating or drinking much without getting sick. 

So ladies, ditch the birth plan and just find an OB you love. 

Paleo Chocolate Lactation Cookies

If there's anything I've learned nursing it's this, keep plenty of fenugreek & brewer's yeast on hand. 

Here's my go to recipe for lactation cookies for when I'm wanting some brewer's yeast in my system and want to mask it's oh so nasty flavor. 


If you've had brewer's yeast in a cookie you know how bad it can taste. 

These lovelies completely mask the flavor and a bonus is that they contain ingredients you don't have to feel bad about eating. 

Although I'm pretty sure after the amount of these I've consumed my breast milk probably tastes like chocolate milk.


Paleo Chocolate Coconut Lactation Cookies

Ingredients::
makes 13 cookies
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup unsweetened coco powder
2 tbsp flax meal
2 - 3 tbsp brewer's yeast
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions::
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl cream coconut oil and coconut sugar. Add in eggs & vanilla and mix until they are a lighter color and seem like they've taken on some air and become a little fluffy (if that makes sense). Add in salt and baking powder, mix to combine. Add in coco powder and mix to combine. Add in flax meal and brewer's yeast and stir to combine. Next add in coconut flour and stir to combine. Scoop out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. 

*If you haven't used brewer's yeast before start with 2 tbsp and then work your way up to 3. 3 is definitely edging on the bitter taste, but it will get the lactating job done. 
*Make sure you follow the order in the directions, I've made a dozen batches of these and this order and method work every time if you want cookies that will spread a little and not come out of the over in the same shape they were when you scooped them. 

Merino Sleep Sack

I was recently approached by Merino Kids to review one of their sleep bags.

I've gotta say, it was well worth reviewing.


We've been using a sleep sack or some form of sleep sack/swaddle since we got home from the hospital. In all honesty I will be taking my sleep sack to the hospital with baby #2.

They just sleep so much better with one.


 I quickly fell in love with the Merino Sleep Bag before I even got a chance to wash it and test it out on Harrison.

You see, I'm a blanket person. There is nothing better than the weight of a comfy blanket, so I know that the same probably holds true for the baby as well.

It's comforting to feel the weight of one and not be out in the open exposed, and much colder for that matter.

As far as sleeping with a sleep bag and without one, we sleep better with.

The only problem is that the only one I had for his current size was a fleece sleep bag from another company and it was far too warm for napping. Our house is typically around 72 during the day and much cooler at night, hence the need for a fleece sleep bag. Plus the nursery is always cooler.

The weight of the Merino Sleep Bag is honestly the perfect napping weight, or summer sleep bag for our South Louisiana weather. Plus it's heavy feeling enough to give you that cozy feeling. I honestly just want a blanket made out of this sack in my size.


 Aside from the fact that I just love the material, here are a few things I love about it.

First up, we received the Merino Kids Organic Cotton Baby Sleep Bag for Babies 0-2 in the Juniper color. (I felt that it was a nice neutral and you know how I like my neutrals.)

Their sleep bag feature two layers of organic cotton, it's 100% natural with no pesticides used.
It fits a growing child and has snaps to adapt to the size.
They also have a safety belt aperture that allows you to transition your child from crib, to car seat, to stroller without removing the sleep bag.
Plus it's ideal for use in warmer conditions... which we happen to live in most of the year.

In the photo above you can see the safety belt aperture clearly. We are going out of town next month and I prefer to dress the baby warmly for long car rides, you better bet I'm strapping him in with his Merino Sleep Bag on. He will be a much nicer car baby when he's snuggled up and warm.


 Now in the photo above and below you can clearly see the snaps that are on the arm holes. These are used to adjust the size of the arm hole on the baby. Right now I like to snap it for a tighter fit, but as he grows I will be able to unsnap it and increase the size.

Oh and don't be alarmed, this child tummy sleeps, side sleeps, back sleeps, and ends up all over the crib. This is how he was when I came in from his nap to wake him up.


Now below you can get a clear view of the zipper.

The way this sleep bag zips is wonderful, it allows for easy of diaper changes without removing the sleep bag easily.



 Below is my favorite feature.

Instead of zipping up the middle this sleep bag zips around the bottom and ends under one arm. Then you snap it together over the shoulder.

Why do I love this?

Well I have a baby who hates having his arms taken out and put through things when he just isn't in the mood for it... which happens to be before and after sleep.

This prevents you from wrestling both baby arms through holes.

Just snap it over the shoulder.


Finally my sleepy head woke up, can you tell how well he was sleeping in his sleep bag?

Our naps have honestly been revolutionized with the Merino Sleep Bag. Since it's so comfortable he is more willing to lay still even when he's away and rest for a moment, eventually drifting off to sleep. Rarely have we had a nap that he fights me on and I usually have to wake him up to nurse at the end of nap time.

I've seriously been sold on the Merino Bags and we will be collecting every size they have come up to this bag come baby #2!

Don't judge the 45 pacifiers in the crib, you gotta do what you've gotta do to get sleep these days.


Thank you so much Merino for letting me review one of your wonderful sleep bags, this mama is super grateful for the better sleep we are getting in this house!

I was not monetarily compensated for this review, I was only provided the product you see featured. All opinions are my own. 

31 Days - Healing Balm

There's something I'm learning this year about 31 Days, doing it with a full time job and a baby + other commitments just doesn't make time for anything extra.

Hence the blog silence so many days.

However, today I'm sharing a favorite crunchy something I keep in my desk at work.


This "healing balm" as I've been calling it has begun to live in my desk at work. 

You see, dealing with the amount of paper I touch in a given day as a teacher means my hands are always dry and constantly riddled with paper cuts. 

Yes, thumbing through papers to grade, pass out, and copy all day causes dry hands. 

It was news to me when I started teaching 7 years ago. 

My skin already has a propensity of not healing quickly, I'll run around with a cut or bruise well past a week when other people seem to have them vanish in days. So my discovery that this little jar of goodness speeds up my skins ability to heal makes me all the happier. 

Here's my little recipe for quick healing hand happiness. 

Healing Balm

Ingredients:
1/2 tsp of vitamin e oil 
1 drop Thieves essential oil (I use Eden's Garden)
1 drop Lavender essential oil
1 drop Tea Tree Oil
Coconut Oil
- A small container that holds roughly an ounce

Directions:
Combine vitamin E and essential oils in container, add in enough coconut oil to fill up container. Mix to combine. Smear a small bit on your hands and cuticles as you would lotion. 
*Note - it might be easier if you mix the coconut oil in when it's at a liquid state and allow the mixture to harden in the refrigerator. I mixed it with hard-ish coconut oil and it wasn't the easiest to combine at first. 


31 Days - Baby Wearing

If you've seen me in the past 7 months there's a good chance you've seen me with a baby attached to the front of my body.

It's actually made me decide that come #2 (or as Honest Toddler calls it - Infant Sibling Disease) I'm adding a few more carriers to my collection.


I actually wear Harrison most of the day on Saturday between grocery shopping and cleaning. Let's face it, after Mama's been gone all week she can only get things done if the baby is basically strapped to her body.

When Harrison was little, see also under 14 pounds, I wore him in the Baby Bjorn. This particular carrier was a great starter one in my opinion because it was well structured. The slings scared me a bit in the early months.

Once he started getting bigger I decided I needed something that displaced the weight better, Bjorn is great but it puts a lot of pressure on your back.

A good friend of ours actually found their Ergo and handed it down to us. That carrier is one that I will look forward to wearing come next child. You can't wear it until the baby is 4 months old and able to sit with their hips in a splayed out position though.

The Ergo though is heaven sent when it comes to weight distribution, I can wear him all day without it bothering my back, where the Bjorn started bugging me much sooner.

For infant number 2 I would like to get my hands on a woven wrap. I was advised by a mama of 5 that she liked the woven wraps better than a jersey like Moby because she felt it didn't stretch as much and held together better.

I'd also like a ring sling because I imagine I could nurse in it easily in public. I know people nurse in the soft structure carriers but I just can't figure out how to do it. It would be a hotter mess than I have time for, and I don't own a single "nursing" shirt.


Now, aside from what carriers I love and want to try, there are a few reasons I love baby wearing. Let's get to those >>>

- They cry less - What do they call it? The 5th trimester? Anyway, when babies first enter the world they want to be cuddled, it gives them a sense of comfort.

- I remember reading somewhere that it allows the baby to explore the world in a safe, comfortable place. Being so close to mom, or dad, allows the baby to observe and feel secure.

- Baby wearing helps baby develop his vestibular system and muscles needed to sit, stand, and walk.I noticed Harrison did well practicing holding his head up in the safety of the Bjorn carrier.

- If you're crafty enough you can nurse on the go.

Now some of my favorite tips come from the Boba website:

- prevents ear infections
-regulates body temperature
- enhances lactation
- reduces apnea
- stabilizes heart rate

Were you a baby wearer? What was your favorite carrier and what did you love most about baby wearing? 

7 Months & the Pumpkin Patch

We made it to 7 months without any causalities on the parent or baby part. 

Survival all around. 

Naps for everyone!




Ooo is that grass?



Weight: 17.4 the week of the virus, but I'm sure we are bigger by now. It's been about 3-4 weeks since the last weigh in. 

Length/Height: Who knows


Eyes: more hazel, they go between blue to green/brown depending on what he's wearing


Hair: Brown like Mama's!


Clothes: 9-12 months

Diapers: Size 3 all around, day and night, but we are working towards 4's. 

Likes: We've gotten Mama clingy. Harrison loves bathing in the kitchen sink and splashing like crazy. He loves biting my finger when I put teething oil in his mouth and laughing, same goes for blowing raspberries at us. The more we react the funnier he thinks it is. Basically he likes to think he is scaring Mama. Peek-a-boo is a big one right now. He loves eating, but loves nursing more. The child likes to be on the go and see people. 


Dislikes: Not being within clinging distance of Mama. 


Eating: He went a week where we really liked chicken and broccoli. Oddly enough Chicken Tikka Masala was a hit one night. He eats anything we set in front of him, minus cereals and puffs. He doesn't manipulate them well in his mouth and gags, I think it's because they stick to his tongue. 


Sleeping: We relapsed. Mama hasn't slept all night in weeks, thank you teeth, virus, teeth, cold combo. I thought maybe it was a CIO issue, nope. He goes down fine if I put him in bed awake, he's been waking up hungry. I'm assuming growth spurt. 


Milestones: He sits unassisted for long stretches very well and is army crawling. He made it across the nursery to get the humidifier with his wonky army crawl. 


If I had to describe our seventh month in one word, it would be: Object-permanence, with a Mama and Daddy carrying Psychology degrees we were sure to hit a month that could only be described by a developmental milestone. He's learn that we possess the ability to leave, and he thinks we are never returning. 

Mommy notes: Two teeth, in one month we gained two teeth. Hence the dark circles and lacking of working out on Mama's part.  



Cute with Daddy, attacking Mama. 


Our first time at the Pumpkin Patch last weekend. 

It didn't go over well. 



Clearly next time I plan to ask a stranger to take our picture I should put on my sunglasses if I'm going to insist on taking off my makeup after work.

In my defense it was a week of zero sleep and I had 4 cups of coffee to look awake. After that little sleep my skin gets oily and I can't stand makeup. 


Even though he looks as miserable as can be this is my favorite pic from the evening. It's hopefully not, but it would still be cute if it was, a foreshadowing of Christmas. 


Can you tell mean ole Mama woke him up from an unintentional car nap to stick him with some pumpkins? 

31 Days - Breastfeeding

We've hit the breastfeeding day of the month, and I'm probably the most excited about this one.

While this might not fall under crunchy in some places, it seems to where I live. Not many women nurse, and I've gotten some interesting comments about it over the past 7 months.

With that said, and all the ups and downs I've experience in the past months, I thought I'd share the tids and bits I've learned so far.


First up are two resources that have saved me many times, one being Kelly Mom. This is what I prefer for middle of the night freaking out. She is also a great resource for pumping.

The second one is what I listen to every single day on the way to work, The Boob Group podcast from New Mommy Media.

Between The Boob Group & a lactation consultant I was able to trouble shoot my way out of a very gloomy few weeks.

You see, it was all roses and sunshine until the end of the second full month when I had a major over production issue. I literally had every symptom in the books but was reaching for help in all the wrong directions.

The doctor was zero help and said the baby problems were due to colic.

I love my friends so don't get me wrong, but they hadn't experienced this and couldn't exactly trouble shoot. They just talked me off ledges.

Finally a good friend of ours directed me to a lactation consultant who immediately said over supply and in no time the problem was solved.

So without further rambling, here are my big lessons I've learned in breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks

- Nipple Shields don't work for everyone. My sister used them and it set her in motion to have a great breastfeeding experience when her baby initially wouldn't latch, it also saved her nipple pain. I on the other hand couldn't get  the baby to latch onto it to save my life. If you can get the baby to latch to one it can potentially help with all the nipple issues that initially arise.

- Skip the lanolin. Skin allergies run in our group so I didn't want to touch the stuff, my sister was allergic to it as a baby. Instead I opted for an organic food grade alternative, Honest Company Nipple Balm. Coconut Oil works great too, and I've recently seen a new line called Zoe Organics released a similar product. I honestly never had chapped nipples for longer than maybe an hour in the early days thanks to Honest Company Nipple Balm. The entire reason I initially bought the stuff was simply because I didn't want the baby ingesting chemicals while nursing, it seems to be a bit counterproductive to me... and I didn't like the notion of having to wipe mess off every single time.

- Invest in a good nursing pillow. The Boppy has held up great for us.

- The first week of the baby's life lay around and cuddle your baby. Nurse on demand. You, yourself, hold and cuddle the baby. Babies can smell breastmilk from 50 feet away, you will more easily learn hunger cues if your baby is at your side and rooting around for your breast. I didn't do this and I regret it, I allowed other people to dictate what the baby was doing when I was too weak to get out of bed and do things myself. Next baby, that ain't happening.


- Your supply is at its highest the first 3 months. How much you nurse and what demand is put on your body has a big effect on your output in the coming months. My supply was at its highest the first 3-4 months. Over the summer I took a break from pumping while I was off work and that mixed with a baby who dropped middle of the night feeds caused my supply to drop big time (as far as pumping output was concerned). It took quite a bit of time to get it back up to where I wanted it to be.

- That brings me to my next point…there is a lot of mixed opinions on whether or not to night pump after your baby drops the middle of the night feed. For myself it hurt my supply during the day. Without the extra demand my body quit making as much, it would have been great had I stayed home (there would have been zero need to night pump) but returning to work meant that I needed X amount of milk to send to the sitter daily. I tried setting and alarm and not setting an alarm, pumping for 10 minutes & going until the flow stopped…I finally decided what worked best for me was setting an alarm. Your supply is at its highest between 1-5AM, and I’ve found that pumping at 2:30 every morning is my ideal time. It allows me enough time to go back to sleep and enough time to build up what I need for that pumping session.

- There is what I’ve considered the unicorn of breastfeed/pumping that I finally achieved at 7 months and that’s the double letdown. When it finally happened for me it was in the middle of the night during a pumping session and I just kept pumping because the milk kept coming, it was a record pumping session! I’ve honestly seen my response to the pump and my output increase once that happened.

- My big tip for pumpers is to do the same thing every single time. I hear a lot of women say that they could just never let down for the pump, and that’s because you have to treat it like the baby. When you nurse your body recognizes the baby, or at least you do, and you let down. There are telltale signs for every woman, some include crying. Many women like to watch videos of their baby to induce letdown, I’ve found that doing the same thing every time works for me. I either read a book or work on whatever bible study I’m currently on. If I don’t…I don’t let down.

- If your supply plummets you can get it back, there is hope. So many mamas quit when it seems to vanish one day but there is so much playing into it that you do have options! First and foremost up your fluid intake, water is #1 but Gatorade and Powerade are great if you’re a bit dehydrated. (Trust me I understand, I’m not a huge drinker and can easily become dehydrated) Coconut water is another great liquid if you’re trying to boost supply. Your intake for the day should be half of your body weight in ounces, at the least. Next up find your supplements, I like brewer’s yeast and fenugreek. The downside of both is that they make you super hungry, but they will boost your milk supply in no time. For fenugreek take 2-3 capsules at every meal (3 times a day), when you and the baby both start smelling like maple syrup in 72 hours you know you’ve had enough. Don’t take fenugreek for more than a few days in a row at a time. I like making cookies out of brewer’s yeast and will just chomp on several of those for a week. Another favorite to increase supply is to start power pumping, I prefer to just pump an extra 15 minutes after the baby has finished nursing though. Oh oatmeal! How could I nearly pass this stuff up, eat it for breakfast and if you’re feeling low eat a bit before bedtime as well. It’s a miracle food.

- If oversupply ever becomes a problem (baby choking while nursing, spraying milk, green poop) start block feeding. That basically means only feeding the baby from one side per nursing session. If your letdown becomes too aggressive take the baby off and let down into a burp cloth to prevent baby from choking. If you want to take advantage of the oversupply you can pump out the other breast and start storing that milk for later. If not within a few days you will see your supply level out. It may be painful, but if need be pump for a few minutes just to release the pressure. If you don’t want to do that and then clean a pump you can always hand express a bit out. Do be careful to not get a plugged duct though, I had a nasty fever one night when I was trying to correct my oversupply due to plugged ducts.


I don’t think I’ve covered everything I could have, but this post is getting long and at the moment my mind has gone blank. I’d love for everyone to share their nursing tips in the comments below, I always love hearing your ideas! 

31 Days - Thrifty Decorating

I admit, I'm terrible at 31 Days this year. But this baby is going to be the death of me if he doesn't get past this growth spurt soon.

But on with the 31 Days...

I love a beautifully decorated house as much as the next female, but I've learned over the years that buying it right this minute... and at full price... isn't always the best way.


Something I've had to learn over the years is to live within my means, not the next door neighbors means.

When Jeremy was in graduate school (and I know I revisit this time period a lot) we were as broke as broke could be. That year my 31 Days topic was frugal meals, and we ate on 60 dollars a week for the entire month of October just to prove that I could do it.

The issue was this, I still wanted a cute house.

How exactly are you supposed to buy things when you are making less than your cost of living?

Get thrifty.

It started when I was in college and lived close to my favorite decorative store on earth, Paul Michael Company. If you haven't been there I suggest you check them out. They have many pricy items, but in the very back of the store lives a magically place called their markdown room and withing it's walls is the hold grail of mark down items.

Many of the nick-nacky things in the house have come from there.

While living in Thibodaux I learned the art of "dumpster diving." 

Doors. They were all over The Nesting Place several years back and I was in love with her door that hung over her couch. The issue was locating a door.

I knew of a antique store in Monroe that carried a ton of them... but that's kind of 5 hours from Thibodaux.

It just so happened that driving home one day I saw an apartment being renovated and perfectly good doors in the trash, well one side was perfectly good. The other had a hole.

After a few months of playing with modge podge, scrap book paper, spray paint, and Vaseline I finally achieved the look I wanted.





Another great "left outside by the road" find has always been old windows, you just have to scour the older neighborhood to find them.

Sometimes, if you're lucky you can find chairs and recover them. I would only do this with a dining room type chair that was wood and had minimal fabric that could be replaced.

I know how to do this, but need to actually do it just for the tutorial process. It's surprisingly easy.

Good Will, Salvation Army, and the Habitat for Humanity Store have always been great finds for a few of my friends. One of my Thib ladies joking refers to Good Will as the GW Boutique!

The key to these stores is to go often, which I'm terrible at.

I've found great books over the years there but not much on the furniture side for myself.

I do however find pants there, shirts no so much, but designer jeans have popped up from time to time.

Last but not least is the Target end cap & dollar bins. 

Here I have found a number of cute decorative items over the years marked way down.

Just recently, in my attempt to make bunting for holidays to hang on the mantel, I used a $3 burlap bunting I found in the dollar bin and painted thankful on it with blank acrylic paint. It maybe cost $3.05 when I was done. The IG photo below was after I traced the sharpie and before the paint.

A photo posted by Emily (@labride) on

Hopefully you found a few helpful ideas about the place I love to browse for decorating bargains. I'd love to hear a few of your favorite places.

31 Days - Detox Bath Recipe

One of my favorite ways to relax is with a hot detox bath. 

I've used it for years throughout cold and flu season to either keep myself feeling well or to get rid of whatever was ailing me. 

Then pregnancy hit and I was so huge and sore that the only reason I slept at night was this detox bath recipe. 



Here's the basics of a detox -

1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup baking soda
as hot of bath water as you can stand, and a glass of ice water to sip while you're in there.

Try to stay in your bath for 20-30 minutes.

From there you can add in what you need to -

To soothe skin irritation, boot magnesium levels, and overall detox:
5-10 drops of peppermint or lavender essential oil (I prefer lavender)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
+ the basic detox bath recipe


If you're suffering some cold, allergies, or any other sickness related to those try -
1 tbsp ginger powder
+ basic detox bath recipe

Other essential oils I like to add in are chamomile and tea tree oil (especially for skin issues) but I mainly stick to lavender before bed to sleep better.


After all this talk I think I'm about to soak up the rest of nap time with a detox bath! 

31 Days - Crunchy Products

What makes a product "crunchy" for me?

Ingredients I can read!

Be sure to share your favorite crunchy products in the comments!!


(all product names are links... and they aren't affiliate so don't worry)

Punkin Butt Teething Oil

Honest Company Healing Balm - this stuff is amazing, I can put it on a scratch and it's gone from Harrison's face by the next nap time usually. I put this stuff on everything from bug bites to zits. Any kind of skin issue gets slathered with this in our house.

Honest Company Nipple Balm - I only used this, and coconut oil a few times, nursing and past the first week I never had an issue. Granted the pain I had was from his latching issue the first few days, but he worked that out. This lovely stuff though, never had a cracked nipple, and by the next nursing session my nipples felt normal again.

Boiron Oscillococcinum - start getting sick at all, this is what I take. It's basically a healing cure in a little tube that doesn't taste like medicine.

Dupois Infant Colic Remedy - a upset infant lifesaver. If he looked at me cross eyed he basically got a does of this. It was wonderful for those early months of "why is he so gassy and crying so much?"

Dupois Natural Health Store basically has every homeopathic solution you can conjure up, and they are only about 15 minutes from where we live, but you can order online. I highly suggest their products, everyone here loves them.

Zarbee's Cough Syrup & Mucus Reducer for babies 2 months + - This was a life saver several weeks ago when we were up to our elbows in snot around here and there was "nothing" we could take.

Fridababy products - I admit I gagged a few times when I was pregnant and watching my friends suck snot out of their babies using the NoseFrida, but y'all... it's the holy grail of snot sucking amazingness!

healthy mama brand products - I fell in love with their prenatal vitamins over the summer and I have to say anything that is dye free and gluten free in the vitamin world is a friend of mine! In case you're wondering... it's really good that you continue taking prenatal vitamins throughout your baby's first year.

I know there are more stashed around this house, but it's all I can think of at the moment. I can't wait to hear what products y'all love!


31 Days - Coconut Oil Uses

Tonight's post is going to be a quick one. 

So hang on tight. 


Coconut Oil is basically my love language.

So I thought today I'd share how I like to use it and what types I like to use for what.

My favorite to date is Better Body Foods Organic Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, it has a great coconut taste that is perfect for cooking. It has a wonderful coconut smell and taste.

As far as cooking with this particular brand goes I like using it in my Paleo Lactation Cookies (that I'll be sharing later this month) as well as just a smear on top of a sweet potato with salt and pepper.

For any other cooking, that I don't want a strong coconut flavor in I like to use Tresomega Organic Coconut Oil, it's refined and can be used in medium to high heat cooking.

I use the refined for more non consumption uses and higher heat cooking.

Here's a list of my uses:
- salt scrub
- eye makeup remover - dab a cotton ball that you wet slightly in coconut oil, rub over eye to remove makeup.
- face & body lotion
- hair mask - saturate hair in coconut oil, warm with hair dryer, wrap in a warm towel and let sit for 30 minutes. Wash hair as normal, rinsing with apple cider vinegar
- eczema treatment for the baby
- oil pulling (this is a Jeremy one, I can't stand the texture)
- as chap stick
- heal perineum after birth
- use on nipples when nursing (way better than lanolin)
- increase milk supply
- soothe sunburn
- use it to dilute essential oils
- mixed with baking soda for natural teeth whitening

These are just a few ways I like to use it, but I found a great article from Wellness Mama with her uses that you should check out!

What are your favorite coconut oil uses? 

31 Days of Slightly Crunchy

Today's all about the essential oils I use, and there aren't a lot.

I also don't buy the super expensive ones either.


I grew up with a mother who used tea tree oil from the drug store on skin conditions. Like I said in the home remedies post, I personally like using it on ring worm.

But it works great for other things as well... I'll get into that more in a bit.

I don't buy my oils from companies that sell through individuals, I've found that I like what I get at the health food store just fine and don't see the need in the marked up price.

Plus, let's be real, I don't want to spend that kind of money on it.

Here's a list though of what I keep in my medicine cabinet, how I use them, and the brands I like.

Tea Tree Oil


- treat ring worm or any form of fungal infection really
-treat acne
-heal cuts faster

I also use this in a healing salve/oil I made, but I'll be sharing that recipe later in the month. It's also a great household cleaner and is anti-microbial.

Chamomile


I mainly use this in hand scrubs and detox baths for it's calming effects.

A great scrub recipe I make using this in sea salt, baking soda, chamomile oil, and sunflower oil or coconut oil. Mix together to the consistency you like and use as a hand scrub... or even a foot scrub. I've even used it on my face a few times.

Eucalyptus


- natural antiseptic
- put on a cotton ball on my night stand when I'm having respiratory issues like a cold (I also add a few drops of oregano)
- instead of a cotton ball I sometimes put a few drops with oregano and lavender with a bit of water in my Scentsy to get the smell around really well to help with cold symptoms.
- can be applied topically to treat skin infections
-bug repellent, can be used to treat lice
- can be used to treat fever and reduce body temperature
- antibacterial and antiseptic qualities

Oregano


I mentioned a few ways I use it under Eucalyptus, but it also is great for colds. It's considered a hot oil so you have to be careful if you plan on applying it to your skin. Or even accidentally getting it on you after you put it elsewhere.

- I primarily like it for it's allergy support qualities. It can promote a sedating effect on hypersensitivity to allergies.
- Some people claim that taking a few drops a few times a day will get rid of a cold, but I haven't tried it out just yet. I mainly just keep it on a tissue or cotton ball nearby or in a wax warmer.

Lavender


- this is my detox bath best friend, I always add a few drops in when I soak in the bath.
- I rubbed a few drops into the space right below my ankles when I was pregnant and couldn't sleep
- place on an insect bite or sting to reduce swelling and stop itching
-treat cuts, it can stop bleeding and kill bacteria
- great on dermatitis

Thieves


- I like to "diffuse" this in the room with my wax warmer, to support immune function
- add a few drops to a humidifier
- I keep a spray bottle at home and at school with 1/3 rubbing alcohol, 2/3 water, and about 5 drops of Thieves. I spray this around my classroom at the end of the day and sometimes between classes to ward of the sickies!
- add a few drops to homemade cleaners

Now for the brands I like -
Eden's Garden
Wyndmere (lavender)
Star West Essential Oils
Nature's Alchemy

Oils On My "To Try" List -
Clary Sage
Eden's Garden: Age Defy, Breathe Easier, Good Night, Immunity, Purify

Eden's Garden actually has several really great sets I would like to try, I highly suggest checking them out for oils. I've been really pleased with the company, their product, and the price.

What are some of your favorite essential oils and brands? 

31 Days - Crunchy Home Remedies



Before I reach for the medicine cabinet I tend to scour the house for a bit more natural ways of curing whatever ails me. 

Some little cures I've found over the years have stuck around, those are the ones I'm sharing with your today! 

So here's to day 4 of some slightly crunchy Louisiana Bride. 


Let's just go ahead and start the day off with this one... I'm a Vicks Vapor Rub addict.

My grandmother was too, so I get in honest. Honestly, that's probably the source of my obsession.

I have no less then 3 containers of it at all times. One in the bedroom on my nightstand, one in my desk at work, and here recently... a baby version in the nursery.

Vicks Uses - 

- put a good bit on the soles of your feet and cover with socks before bed when you have a cough or cold. Even better if you can put those socked covered Vicks feet on a heating pad.

- I use it on my chest, but I break the rules when I do what I typically do with it... I put it around my nostrils. The smell is much stronger this way and the bonus is that it soothes a chapped nose pretty well.

- I only did this once, but I Cajun once told me to swallow a spoonful for a bad sore throat. Wasn't my favorite tactic.

- During a bad cold I like to put a spoonful in a candle warmer (such as a Scentsy) and let it permeate the room overnight.

Sore Throat Remedy - 

Fill a cup with the warmest water your can stand to gargle(about 8 oz), then add a good sprinkle of salt (not overly salty tasting though), and then stir in as much ground red pepper as you can stand. Gargle the mixture (a few sips at a time until you've used it all up), spitting it out into the sink between sips. This usually gets rid of a bad sore throat in a day or two if done every few hours. It's great at soothing the throat as well as clearing up your sinuses.

Plus red pepper is known to be an antibacterial.

Hiccups - 

Eat a good spoonful of sugar. Works like a charm every time. I faked them as a kid to get this remedy.

Detox Bath - 

This is great for any kid of sickness, I did a version of it my entire pregnancy (which not so hot water).

2 cups Epsom Salt
1 cup Baking soda

Soak for 30 minutes in the hottest water you can stand, be sure to have a glass of water on hand to sip. You can also add in ginger if you want to sweat more or any essential oils you prefer. Lavender was my go to during pregnancy when I was tired but couldn't sleep well. I've used this for colds and seen a great improvement in just two days.

Cinnamon Honey Cold Cure - 


Ringworm - 

Soak a cotton ball in unfiltered apple cider vinegar and place off affected area, I like to hold it in place with a large band-aid for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight depending on how bad it is and how long I was trying to get rid of it. After removing the cotton ball the next morning I would rub undiluted tea tree oil on the area. 

I did this several years ago after zero success with two rounds of  prescriptions from my doctor. This is honestly the only thing that worked, but I stunk to high heaven at night. 

Bug bites - 

Rub it with Lye Soap. Plain and simple, my grandmother did this to me when I had ant bites. 

>>>>>>>>>>

That's all I can think of at the moment, but if I remember more of the remedies I use around the house I'll be sure to update this post. 

What are some home remedies you use? 

31 Days - Slightly Crunchy Cleaning


Before I get knee deep into today's topic let me say this... I bleach mop our kitchen every other week. We have a dog and a baby that goes to a sitter, and honestly the kitchen is the most high traffic area in our house. So in an attempt to ward off viruses and anything on the dog, I bleach mop.

With that said, here are a few of my favorite homemade cleaning recipes:

All Purpose Vinegar Orange Cleaner - fill a mason jar with orange peels and then top with as much white vinegar as possible. Allow to sit at least a week before putting in a spray bottle and using to clean and disinfect.

This orange one is also great for dusting! Just use with a microfiber cloth or old rags.

All Purpose Counter Cleaner (I even use this in the bathroom) -
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hydrogen peroxide
2 tbsp vinegar
20 drops of tea tree oil
water

Combine all ingredients except water in a spray bottle (I use the larger type from Home Depot), fill the rest of the way with hot water.

Mopping Solution -
1 cup vinegar
5-10 drops of tea tree oil (or other essential oil you like)
1/4 c baking soda
1 tbsp castile soap or blue Dawn dish soap

Mix with one gallon of hot water and mop away!

Stove Top Potpourri-
few lemon slices
2 tsp vanilla
few sprigs of rosemary
water

Put in a sauce pan with water and simmer all day, be sure to check and keep the water level up.

Microwave Cleaner - fill a glass microwave safe container of some sort with a tbsp of vinegar and a cup of water. Microwave for 5 minutes and then wipe grim away with a paper towel.

Talk to Me


What are your favorite homemade cleaning products and tips?