Sunday, December 30, 2007

Learning to draw

I've been meaning to learn how to draw for a while now. I bought a book with my Christmas money, Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes.

It might seem odd for me to buy a book intended for teaching children, but I never really learned much about drawing as a child. I loved art, but unfortunately was discouraged because I didn't have 'natural talent' and never was taught well. Being a self conscious child and teen, I just avoiding drawing so that noone else could discourage me. But now that I'm a confident (cocky?) young adult, and a little constructive criticism isn't going to hurt, I'm looking forward to the experience.

I also desire to teach my babe and future children to draw, so I had better get crackin!

Babe got her block crayons from Three Sisters Toys the other day. She needs a little practice, and mostly likes to put them in my hand and watch me draw. She did get some of her own scribbles, which I think are beautiful! :)

This is my first drawing, a practice exercise from the Drawing with Children book.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Fertility friend

I graduated in 2001 from high school. I think there's something about our generation that mandates we use technology regardless of whether a pen and paper would do better. I'm not even quite sure what my generation is called, I think it's 'Y' But to prove my point, I track my periods on Fertility Friend. I put in enough data during the month to keep it from closing my account, but mainly just use it to remember when my period was. I'm on cycle day 19 today, of maybe a 30-35 day cycle. Last menstrual period of 12/05/07 if we conceive this month the baby will be due on my daughter's 2nd birthday, our 5th anniversary. I remember doing similar calculations (LMP of 12/07/05) two years ago at this time, wondering and waiting for the two lines of my pregnancy test. I'm in the so-called two week wait right now, waiting until I can take a test and see... I hope so! I'd love a baby sister next fall. A year and a half later, I've almost forgotten my resolutions to NOT be 8 months pregnant in August ever again. Ohhh, to have that sweet newborn calmness, the little mouth,the little eyes looking up at Mommy, the first smile... I hope to be blessed again soon. We'll see.


Another day...


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Finding your fundal height

There are times in every woman's pregnany where they have a nagging feeling about the baby, or they are just curious and want to understand their body. Measuring fundal height can give you information about the size of your baby, if he or she is growing correctly, if you have 'dropped' in preparation of labor, and if it is likely that there is more than one baby.

Fundal height refers to how tall your uterus is. The bottom of your uterus is measured from your pubic bone, the one that sticks out in front under your hairline. The top of your uterus (or fundus) is found at different places depending on where you are in your pregnancy. When you are not pregnant, it rests in the pelvis behind the pubic bone.

Nonpregnant Uterus

Your nonpregnant uterus is about the size of your fist. Hard to believe that is how small it is, and how it can cause you so much irritation for your monthly cycle, isn't it? It rests in your pelvis and the cervix (bottom portion) of it can be felt at the top of your vagina.

Finding your fundus in pregnancy.

To find your fundus in pregnancy, you lay flat on your back. On the floor works the best, or some other hard surface. You will want a measuring tape that measures centimeters with you, a flexible one like the kind used for sewing works the best, but a ruler can work as well. While laying on your back, locate your pubic bone. If you know what week you are in your pregnancy, you can lay the measuring tape on your belly, with the '0' of it resting on your pubic bone. Then count up in cm until you get to your number of weeks. Start feeling around, while relaxing so your muscles are not tense, and you will soon feel a vague ridge that is your uterus. Once you have found it a couple times, it becomes easier. It is generally within 4 cm, plus or minus, of your gestational age in weeks. So, if you are 12 weeks your uterus could be 8 cm or 16 cm and that is still considered normal.

Alternative to a measuring tape

If you do not have a measuring tape with you, and you are still curious, an age old method is to use your fingers, the width of one finger is one week.

What the number tells you
If your uterus is measuring larger than 4 weeks ahead of your expected gestational age, it can mean a few things. You could be carrying twins, you could have your due date wrong, or your baby may be growing bigger than normal, due to something like gestational diabetes. It is worth looking into a little further. If you have had more than 2 pregnancies, it is common to measure larger. If you are a larger woman, it is common for that to add a little bit to your measurement as well.

If your uterus is measuring smaller than 4 weeks behind, then you may want to look into that a little more. It could indicate, again, that you just have your due dates wrong, or it could indicate something more serious like your baby is not receiving enough nutrients and is not growing well.

If you measure your fundus weekly, you can keep a chart. This will be helpful for making sure that your pregnancy is progressing as expected and can give you assurance that your baby is growing. This can also help you to determine when you 'drop' or the baby's head engages in the birth canal in preparation for labor.

I hope this helps you to feel confident in your body. As with all things, if you have questions or concerns, be sure to do your research and ask your healthcare professional if needed.


Wordless Wednesday

On Thursday...My babe is touching his face. She absolutely loves looking at the faces of the dolls I make. I was surprised, even at 8 weeks she recognized them. Living in rural Montana, this is the doll I being with us just to see people's reactions ;) Amazing what just a little dolly skin color can do to people. Nothing bad yet, but I find it interesting none-the-less. We're origionally from California and not used to so much white. Culture shock!

'He' has a 'brother' that will be seen in my shop soon :)


Gift for the niece

Baby doll for the new neice, and the hat that was supposed to be for Babe, but was too small. Good thing someone smaller around here wears pink ;)


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Insurance in America

My dad was a teacher, and when I was growing up, I thought that the only way anyone could ever get insurance coverage was through their employer. Well, upon getting married when I was 20, I learned that it is easy to get insurance coverage, especially high deductible plans, yourself. Even if you do get insurance thorough your employer, it's worth it to check and see if you can actually save yourself money by dropping your employer's coverage and signing up by yourself. When we lived in California, I checked online at an Insurance Broker and found that I could insure both my husband and myself for a little over $100/month. Now, I know that my dad had over $400 taken from his paycheck monthly for insurance, and some people have even more than that taken.

A good thing to evaluate when looking at insurance is whether you are the kind of person who goes to the doctor all the time, or if you are the kind of person who goes as little as possible. My husband and I prefer to self-treat unless it's huge (I've actually never been admitted to the hospital, even for the birth of my daughter!) and if something is big enough that we need to go to the hospital, we will easily make even the largest deductible.

Eating right and exercising and knowing how to tell if you really must see a medical professional is essential to your health overall, and can also save you money through co-pays and insurance coverage. Even high deductible plans usually cover your annual exam and other routine healthcare, so you don't have to pay out of pocket for those. A great solution for young couples, or even older men who absolutely refuse to visit a doctor unless they are on their death bed ;)


Life insurance

I've been thinking about life insurance off and on since I got pregnant, way back in December 2005. I had signed up to get my blood drawn, the whole 9 yards, with a company down in the city but then I ended up not being able to find the office, and I had to get back to work. Since thinking about my or my husband's death isn't high on my favorite thing to do, I've let it slip to the back of my mind. Not a great thing. I've found that actually quotes for term life insurance are inexpensive for us, and for adequate coverage we would be paying less than what we spend on Netflix a month. But with that comes more questions- who would receive our children if we both died? Do we need to go through a lawyer for a will? What if we want friends, not family, to be custodians of our children? This would step on a lot of toes, wouldn't it? Part of my New Year's resolution is to figure all these things out, something that should have been done long ago.


Wordless Wednesday



What a great way to advertise! Blogsvertise is a great solution for a work-at-home mom who is looking to make some money from home while doing what she loves- writing- and a great service for advertisers, who are looking to get their name out there on the web! As a new business trying to make themselves known on the web, exposure is everything.

Blogsvertise is a company that links bloggers to advertisers, so that bloggers can incorporate their company name and website into regular blog posts, and get the information out there. As blogging popularity catches on, and with people using sights like Google Reader and Bloglines to keep up on favorite blogs, companies like Blogsvertise are going to be in high demand.

Just think of when you are looking to buy something on line. If you pop up the words in a Google search, wouldn't you like to see a bunch of sites on the first page of the search engine? That way you can easily find what you are looking for, not be sent on a wild goose chase trying to find the correct company website. This is just what Blogsvertise does, it builds links to companies so that their product and information is easy to find.



Want to find out who's visiting you? Use They are a great free service that gives you what you need to know. Much less complicated than Google Anylitics, they are great for your everyday blogger. Free to use and easy to install!


Working at home

Again, I've found quite a few work at home businesses that are legit and require no startup cost. This one I applied for, was approved, and then decided I couldn't do it because my toddler insisted on shrieking whenever I would talk on the phone. But if you have some time uninterrupted, say, during nap time, Work at Home West takes incoming calls (no telemarketing) for different businesses and you can schedule appointments, etc, over the phone. I throughly researched them before I signed up, and they come back all clear.


Avoiding Made in China this Christmas

Are you avoiding Made in China this Christmas? Because of lead paint? Well, we are, because of not only lead paint but also because of the poor working conditions of people there.

The Chinese government takes advantage of the people there in their workforce, providing them with unsafe working conditions, and even requiring children to work in industrial jobs. It is hard for us Americans to grasp, we are so removed from the situation.

Another place to avoid, but I didn't think of it until lately, is Thailand. They have a full-on industry involving children sex slaves. NOT something I want to report. Some links:

We're just sticking with simple hand made gifts this Christmas. No need for mass consumerism, we have more than enough with just eachother


Friday Fuzzies

If you're looking for good blogs to read, especially in mommy-blog land, check out Friday Fuzzies! Stacey finds all sorts of great blogs, some of my new favorites!


Associated content

In my never-ending quest to make ends meet while staying home with my little girl, not to mention avoiding spending my entire paycheck on the rising cost of fuel, I've tried all sorts of different gigs. One successful one was Associated Content, which I still write for on occasion. They are a legit company that pays per article, and you can choose your own topic. Minimum of 400 words, you can pump out an article on something you know about in 15 minutes or so. Not too bad! I've made over $200 here, and with their performance bonus I still make some money every month on stuff I've already written. Not a get-rich-quick scheme, but a great way for Mommy to make some money during Jr.'s nap time.

Join Associated Content


The Pioneer Woman

Beautiful pictures, great writing, and she's a homeschooler too! The Pioneer Woman Blog is my favorite blog to read. Love her love story, and her 'give this photo a name' contest. And my sister-in-law recently showed me her article in Good Housekeeping. She's soon to be a household name!


Google News

Google news is one of the many little-known parts of the Google empire. Most of us know about the Google search engine for the general web, but searching the news can be handy too. And why do it with anything less customer-appealing than Google.


Contest- Movies and Popcorn

Over at 5 Minutes for Mom they are doing a contest for a year's worth of movies and popcorn, popcorn through Orville and movies through Netflix. We've had Netflix for years now, and it's been just perfect for us. They recently put in a facility in Butte, MT, and now we get new movies 3 days after we stick them in the mail box, opposed to the 5-6 days it took when they had to go all the way to Denver. Wahoo! I'm embarassed to admit, but we have the 5 at a time setup during the winter... Winters are long in Montana!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

On Tuesday ;)


Tackle it Tuesday

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

To tackle today: The 4 loads of laundry that are yet again built up in my port a crib! Timeline: Before nap time today! :)


Thinking about Christmas

Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, one of the most holy days in the Christian's calendar, or is it?

Our family chooses not to celebrate the ever popular, even among non-Christians, Christmas for a few reasons. The first is because of the associated consumerism that is difficult to do in moderation. The second is because we believe that we should speak the truth, and the truth is that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th. And the third is because the Bible commands us to celebrate many holy days, but not Christ's birthday.

We have all see the displays of mass consumerism in relation to Christmas. Even in late September the major department stores have Christmas-related items out, all to condition consumers to do what they do best- to consume. To further the cause, they use tactics to suggest that buying buying buying from them is not only what you want to do, not only what your child wants you to do, but is also what Jesus Christ would want you to do. They play up, ever so slightly as to not offend those who do not believe in Christ, the 'joyous family memories' and 'traditions that will be passed down', all with the purchase from their company in the way of a special Hallmark card with matching Hallmark ornament, Pillsbury Slice-and-Bake cookie dough in holiday shapes, and the artificial dye and artificial flavor-filled candy. Parents are assured, through paid advertisements, that their children will love and cherish them into their old age if they just purchase the WII, the new Barbie, or the latest Dora and Bratz Dolls. This starts a vicious circle of giving, taking, and debt that we wish to avoid in our family.

" Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things." Phillipians 4:8 NKJV

To me, Christmas is a false truth. Ask most Christian children when Jesus was born, they will say December 25th. Wrong again. Most biblical scholars agree that He was born in the spring, which is nowhere close to December 25th. The date for Christmas originally came from the pagan "Victory of the Sun-God" festival after winter solstice (Dec 21st) and did not start being celebrated among Christians until 300 years AD. Christmas was not celebrated in Jesus's time or in the early church.

Lastly, I am a Christian who believes God's word is truth, and that is found in the Bible. The Bible Old Testament, also called the Torah, commands different feasts and holy days to be celebrated. If we do not have the 'time' or motivation to celebrate what is actually in God's word (sukkot, passover, feast of trumpets...), what business do we have putting so much effort into a man-made mock 'holy' day? Do I think it is sin to celebrate Christmas? No, I do not. But I question whether it is 'true, noble, pure, and praiseworthy' for all involved.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Helping Mom

Toddlers and babies just love to help, don't they? As soon as they realize what you're doing, they want to be right there, experiencing it as well.


Monday, November 12, 2007

A family pet

We have had great rewards through having a family pet. My first pet was a rat, when I was 8. 'Ratso' taught me how to take care of something else, on a small scale. My dad and I bonded over making Ratso a 3 story 6 room cage complete with ladders, alcoves, and a kitchen. I learned responsibility because I had to remember to feed and water Ratso. Ratso lived for years, and during that time we have many fond memories of him. One time I left a tissue box too close to his cage, and he proceeded to fill his cage with tissues as they popped up. In the morning he was nestled well into a nest of blue Klenex. Another fond memory was when I placed him on my hoity-toity Aunt's shoulder. This was not a fond memory for her. Ratso prepared me to later be caretaker of dogs. I did foster care for Canine Companions, and got more lessons in responsibility as well as dog training and compassion, as we were training these dogs to work with disabled people. That has carried over to today, when our family now has three dogs. They are great for our daughter to be around, and they are well trained since I learned how to do that as a young girl.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Etsy mini and favorites

My favorites on Etsy; natural family items, playsilks, dolls, cloth diapers, and more!


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Myspace and Facebook

Sometimes I'll cruise Myspace or Facebook as I'm nursing the babe late at night. Or early in the morning. Or waiting to add one last log of wood on the fire before going to bed..

It's funny to see *who* is on there. I've found it's mostly the 'popular' kids in high school. The prom queen from when I was a sophomore is the leader of our high school 'group' on facebook. I just find it ironic. Lots of cleavage-showing pictures, kissy faces, and tons of makeup. My profile pic is of me with Babe on my back ;)

And I can learn more about my lil bro (who hasn't seen me since we moved out of California to Montana!) via his girlfriend's myspace profile than anything else. I laugh and roll my eyes. He's still a good kid, I'm sure, but it's just amusing to see him there.


Sunday, October 7, 2007


On my to-do list is butchering 3 or 4 roosters. Encouraging, isn't that? I've gotten specific instructions from my friend, Nicole, that I'll post, should any of you need that information. Waiting for a weekend when the temp is above freezing, then I'll go at it, I think. Having to feed 7 chickens, and only 3 of them actually laying eggs (due to the other 4 being male) isn't very cost effective. Hmm.

just hang them upside down and take a razor blade to the side of their neck while holding the skin of the neck tight towards the back. Hold the back of their head, tilt the head up and the will bleed out nicely. After they have stopped moving you can let the head go and do something else for a few minutes. (I put a bucket down to catch the blood and then pour it into the garden.) I do this instead of take the whole head clean off because the blood comes all out nicer this way, and the meat is nicer that way.
Then you dunk into hot (not boiling) water to loosen the feathers, pluck them off. (again in the compost pile or buried in the garden for nitrogen.) Then to the gutting. There are pictures online if you look up how to butcher a chicken. It is not difficult, Then you wrap the dressed chicken in plastic wrap or a gallon sized baggie and refrigerate for three days. This helps rigor mortis finish it's process so that the bird will be more tender and less stringy. They are tasty, and have a much nicer firm texture than store bought.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Making better bread

I've been making bread in my kitchenaid mixer for 3 or so years, and it's always been 'okay'. I recently realized that if I add way more water to the dough than I had been, and let it rise even though it's kind of 'soupy' then the loaves come out more slicable and less likely to fall apart.

A hefty addition of either olive oil or coconut oil helps keep them moist.

After being frustrated with too-dense unslicable bread for the past few years, this sure is nice! :)

I was stuck on adding flour 'til the dough wraps around the hook and cleans the side of the bowl' and that didn't seem to work well, in my case :)


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Positive discipline

Of all parenting techniques, I wish more people knew about positive discipline. An effective correction tool, it corrects the child without shaming, as spoken about here

Discipline often becomes a challenge for parents of toddlers. Try to say things in a positive way rather than using negatives. This may take some practice, but is very effective once you form the new "habit." For example, instead of saying "Don't run," say "Please walk," or instead of "Don't take your shoes off," say "Please keep your shoes on." Developmentally, toddlers (as well as preschoolers) hear the action word and ignore negatives, so when you say, "Don't run," they hear the word, "RUN." Start now with a positive approach and see if it works for you!

Encouraging anyone, including children, to do the right thing is 1000 times more friendly and loving than discouraging them from doing the wrong thing.

A waldorf approach to positive discipline from here:
You Are Your Child's First Teacher, page 257
"Many parents ignore their child's negative behavior until they either give in or lose their temper. For example, a lady with a baby and a two-year-old in one shopping cart and groceries in the other was ignoring the crazy behavior of her two-year-old, who became more and more annoying, trying to get a reaction... Although she was still able to calmly ignore it, we need to recognize that it is frustrating to children to be allowed to get crazier and crazier as they keep 'upping the antie.' There were a lot of calm but effective things she could have done along the way, like stopping the cart and saying it doesn't move until he's sitting down; singing to him; engaging him by saying she'd let him get the pineapple juice... asking him to watch in the produce section and tell her when he saw the carrots. Children don't have to be crazy or drive us crazy, but they do require creative interaction."

Read more... is a huge resource for those who want to work at home! You can get tons of help on their forums, they have tons of links for those who are looking to work at home, be it in sales, telemarketing, medical transcription, medical coding, technology, computer programing- anything. The people on the forums are very helpful and can give advice based on their experience. By far the most comprehensive website for working at home that I have found, and I've been working from home telecommuting over the interent, for years now!


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