Friday, March 21, 2008

Weight Loss, the surgical way

There are many methods of weight loss out there, from ranging to eating a low fat diet, to eating a high fat/low carb diet, to exercising a ton, to taking pills, and the of course there's lapband surgery.

As with all weight loss options, researching before doing anything is very important. You can research your options, talk with your doctor, and visit websites such as lapband surgeon cincinnati.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Montana WIC

I signed up for WIC. My mom would be horrified that I'm on 'public assistance' but the numbers in our budget just don't add up, and I refuse to put the little one in daycare to pay for our past mistakes (credit card debt). And a good $150+ is being taken out of my hubby's paycheck every pay period, so I don't mind taking a little back.

Oh. My. The. Milk.

The little one and I both are allergic to cow's milk. I figured that since I told them this they'd just give us cheese or something. No. They gave us quarts and quarts of goat's milk. And I didn't even qualify, they were able to give her goat's milk without a 'prescription' but not me. I got that later that day, and I'll bring it by next month.

So, just for her, they gave us checks for 24 quarts of goat's milk! I bought 16, and I have most of it in the freezer. They gave us 2 lbs of cheese, 7 containers of juice concentrate, 2 lbs of beans, 36 eggs, and 3 boxes of cereal. I'm going to see next time if I can trade some of the milk for beans. She's still breastfed, and I told them that as long as I have milk (human milk, in my boobies) I'll be nursing her, as human milk for human babies is superior to goat milk for human babies. And beans are cheaper for them anyway. We cook and eat a lot of beans, and could use easily 10-20 lbs a month.

We'll see. I'm not complaining. And for the record, if I have the chance to vote for or against WIC or any other type of public assistance, I vote against it (I don't believe that is the government's job to redistribute the wealth or food). But as long as they're taking so much out of my hubby's check, we'll go ahead and use what we qualify for.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Why does my baby have a diaper rash?

Some less commonly known reasons for a diaper rash, and some solutions

1. Your baby is having a reaction to perfumed chemical-laden disposable diapers. If you don't want to switch to cloth, then try Tushie's brand disposable, which don't have the gross gel beads, any perfumes, dyes, or bleach. Seventh Generation diapers may work too, but they still have the gel beads, which I tend to think are not healthy.

2. Your baby is teething. During teething God designed the body to change the pH, making the teeth easier to push through. You may notice your baby also has a little rash around his or her mouth, indicating that his saliva also is a bit more acidic. Frequent changes and washes with a wet wash cloth will help, and after washing you can also coat the baby's bum with a diaper ointment like Burt's Bees Zinc Oxide to keep the urine from irritating baby's delicate skin.

3. Baby is sensitive to something he just started eating. Citrus (oranges, orange juice, etc) is a common culprit, as are tomatoes. Think about what baby recently started eating, or has been eating a lot of and try cutting that out of his diet.

4. Baby is sensitive to polyester, commonly found in 'wicking fabric' in modern cloth diapers such as FuzziBunz. Buy some inexpensive CPFs (Chinese Prefolds) from an online retailer (Not a department store! The Target and Walmart Prefolds by gerber contain polyester which a. doesn't absorb squat and b. baby would still be sensitive to) and see if the rash clears up. We had some beautiful used work-at-home-mom made diapers that had a 'microfiber liner' that gave my baby a rash every time she would pee :( Very sad. I finally figured out that it was the diapers, not anything else and switched to only cotton interiors. Easy all-in-one diapers with cotton interiors are also sold here.

5. Baby is sensitive to detergents. Unknown to most, 'Free and Clear' detergents are designed to clear the laundry of allergy-causing dust mites, and are not 'clear' of potential allergens. They contain enzymes that babies are often sensitive to. Switch to a natural detergent like Seventh Generation, or, in a pinch, use a natural baby shampoo- just a squirt- to clean baby's clothes and diapers.

6. There is buildup on your diapers. A double wash on hot/hot (turn off the cold water coming into your machine if you don't have a hot/hot cycle and run it on warm/warm). This can be caused by using fabric softener (a no-no for babies due to it's allergy potential and chemicals) or diaper cream. Washing on hot/hot with a quirt of hand dishwashing liquid (like Dawn or Joy or anything) should get rid of the detergent buildup. If you have very soft water, you may need to use 1/4 the amount of detergent always, and run an extra rinse on your laundry.


One of the best solutions for chronic diaper rash is to let your baby's bum breathe each day. Perhaps during 'tummy time' allow him to be on a blanket on the floor in the nude to get fresh air to his diaper area.

If you want to use cream, and sometimes bad rashes demand something more than air-time, I recommend Burt's Bee's natural ointment. It is zinc oxide based like Desitin, but doesn't contain fish oil that makes your baby smell icky and can be an allergen. A&D can be okay, but it does contain mineral oil, which is controversial. Plain coconut oil is antibacterial, as is vitamin E oil (just buy capsules in the vitimin section and break them open and spread around).


Web To TV

Web To TV

This is a good idea. Especially for those who are addicted to YouTube videos, or past episodes of The Office. We also download from Netflix and have to watch our movies on the computer monitor because we can't get them over to the TV. With Web To TV you can search on your laptop or desktop and then play what you want to watch right on your TV. A good combination of both media, so you don't have to squint across the room to try to see what you're typing or read the fine print of search engines.


Still working on dropping a nap

We were good with one nap for a few days, and yesterday we took two. Bummer, up twice last night. I think the key to sleeping more at night is going to be dropping down to one nap. But it's a whole cycle... because now, after being up at 2:30 and 5:00 this morning, she's back down at 8:34 right now. I'm going to go ahead and let her sleep for a half hour and then wake her up and hopefully she'll take a nice long afternoon nap around noon and then be down for good at 8:30.


Vacationing in the UK

lodges for sale

If you're looking to go to the England coast this summer, or planning your dream vacation for your 25th anniversery next year, be sure to check out lodges for sale and rent at Be near water if you like boating or swimming, the countryside if you are looking to hike or take a romantic picnic, or the city if the hustle and bustle of city life is what you thrive on.

With offers to rent or buy, starting as low as 25 lbs, SouthLakeLandParks is a place everyone should check out before booking their vacation. Know another family or two who is looking to do the same thing? Go in together and buy a vacation home as both a favorite vacation spot and an investment!

When you are traveling with children, there are many houses with more than one bedroom near attractions that will make your vacation a bonding family experience. In one broad psychological study, the most common memory of happy successful adults was vacationing with the family in the countryside. That's right, a strong common link between happy successful adults is having strong family bonding vacations. Provide lasting memories for your children, or a special time with your spouce, and check out lodges in England some time soon.


Brushing little girl's hair

A part, getting ready for pig tails today

My daughter is 18 months now, and about a month ago her hair got too long to stay out of her eyes. Knowing that I didn't want to deal with bangs, we're letting her hair grow. So it needed to be put up in pony tails, pig tails or something else. For a few days I tried clippies, but they eventually would come out and I was always worried she'd take them out in her car seat and choke (paranoid mama, I know). We still use clippies when we get dressed up, they're cute, but for every day hair we do a pony tail on top of her head, or pig tails.

First we spritz all the fine baby hair with California Baby Hair Detangler. It isn't gummy like other detanglers, and it has lavender and other herbs in it to promote calmness and smell fresh. Then I brush her hair, starting from the back where she rubs against her car seat or the bed at night, with a hair bristle brush. I bought our that came with a comb for 2.99 at Walmart. I love the one they have in Nova Natural, but we can't afford that right now.

I brush the front back away from her face. Then I decide if we're doing a pony tail or a pig tails. I love pig tails, but it's only on really complacent mornings that I'm going to get her to be still long enough to put two elastics in ;) For a pony tail, I do it right on the top of her head, so that it catches the 'bangs' and they don't go in her eyes. Yes, she does look somewhat like Pebbles Flintstone, but she's a toddler- she's adorable with her hair any which way. To put in the elastic, I buy the small elastics (about the size of my wedding ring) from Target that are 'no ouch'. I don't like the rubber ones, I'd have to cut them out of her hair and she wiggles so much that I'd be afraid to accidentally cut off her ponytail.

To put in the elastic, I have the pony tail in my hand, and I twist it a few times to bring all the hair together so no stray ones are stuck out. Then I wrap the elastic around three times and call it good.

By this time she's generally wiggled enough that the elastic isn't right against her scalp, but is about 1 inch down the hair length. To tighten I divide the pony tail in half and pull on each side, so the elastic slides down. As you get used to this, you can use this to help center the pony tail as well, changing how much pressure you put on each side as you tighten. I aim for the pony tail coming up in the center of her head, though if it is off to the side a bit it's still cute, albeit a tad 80s ;)

For pig tails (I'd try pony tails first until you're fast enough!) we do the same thing, but eyeball the centerline of her scalp and brush the hair down to each side to make the part.


Attention Stock Junkies!

Click here to join MF/X and read more

MF/X is a new community for those who make a hobby out of trading stocks, looking into new IPOs (initial public offerings, these have the potential to double, triple, or more your investment as they are first released onto the market) and researching. Get together with investment-minded people and participate in discussions, give your take on the stock market, and share or learn investing strategies. Do you check your stock portfolio as your coffee is brewing in the morning? Then click here to join MF/X and read more - this might be 'the place' for you to check out!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Sweatshop labor and clothing

In my old age (or is it my idealistic phase... heard that in Clueless that Babe and I watched a couple months ago. I thought Clueless was the coolest thing ever when I was in like 7th grade... now... it wasn't so entertaining. I feel old) I'm getting more and more concerned with sweatshop labor. Am I supporting mean bosses and communist countries with my clothing purchases? Are the people sewing my clothes treated badly? What about child labor... did a child work long hours on dangerous machinery so I could get a cute maternity shirt?

To avoid sweatshop labor I first try to shop used. For Babe I'm able to find stuff used often, and the profits actually go to small local, often mom-owned, second hand stores or a charity such as Montana Rescue Mission.

Next, I try to find clothing made in the US, Canada, or Europe. I was disappointed to find out that even Hanna Andersson has some of their items made in China. Though, if they run their own factories it may not be as bad as a company such as Gap, Nike, or Carter's.

I still fail. The baby clothing section in Walmart is right between the fabric section and the grocery section, both places of which I frequent. The spring flowery little girls clothing called to me. I looked. I put items back. I took them again, and finally checked out with a little spring pajama top and pants for Babe, for 6.28. Made in Pakistan. While I'm sure there are non-sweatshop clothing manufacturers in Pakistan, most likley if I"m paying for a top and pants for 6.28, they are not getting a fair or even close to fair wage.

Regardless, I renew my vow to do a better job at resisting impulsive purchases like this. And I will be more diligent in saving up for a serger so I can make my own...

But then we even get into the issue of where fabric is made, and sadly, a lot of it is made in 3rd world countries with awful conditions.


Good Prices on Outdoor Gear

Discount Luggage and Backpacks

During the long Montana winters we most look forward to going outside and visiting the outdoors. From spring til fall, that's where we are- outside! When backpacking or even just going for a day hike, having the right equipment makes or breaks the day. With Discount Luggage and Backpacks it's easy to find the backpack or day pack you need at a price that still leaves room for the tank of gas it takes to get to the wilderness.

Look for Discount Luggage and Backpacks today and be prepared for the glorious spring days ahead.

If you're looking for great vacation or hiking spots in Montana, here are a few:

Yellowstone (watch for bears!)
Mystic Lake (moderate hike, hubby had no problem, I found it steep)
The Beartooth Mountains between Montana and Wyoming (beautiful streams and fishing spots)



Izea's real rank is kind of confusing to me. It seems to be confusing to many. But on my other blog I've gotten indication that my real rank is in the top 40% of blogs on PPP :) That's encouraging! It's just kind of confusing to figure out at first.


Wordpress Bloggers, listen up!

Links In Content

I just learned that you can monetize your Wordpress blog with Links In Content, Wordpress bloggers can start making money in minutes, using posts they were already going to write so the monetized links don't interfere with content or other blogging obligations. What a good idea!

I've been a Blogger blogger by default, it was simple to set up, so I used it for my family blog, business blog, technology blog, and health blog. With a plugin that allows monetized links about content I was already going to wrie, I may just go ahead and check this out.


The dog is barking

Busy week. Lots of custom orders, and baby to take care of, monthly cooking to do, and things to plan. I'll sketch out a menu here so I have something to reference:

Chicken and rice
in Billings- pizza - thaw the night before
French toast
Chicken fried rice

To make ahead: I'm doing a make-shift bulk cooking each week, got 5 batches of cookies done last week, that *should* last us through the month.
Cinnamon rolls for weekend breakfasts- dough rising now
bread for sandwiches- 2-3 loaves
cook chicken for lunch meat
form patties
make 4-5 pizzas for the freezer
thaw meat to cook tacos- pull out of freezer


Friday, March 7, 2008

Black Friday

cyber monday

I just learned about black Friday this past year, as I now 'work' in retail. It's the day after Thanksgiving when people are jump starting both on their retail goals for the year, and jump starting on their Christmas shopping to get their presents in soon.

Good news for those who aren't willing to get up at 5:00 a.m. to catch all the deals (and the crowds!) in stores the day after Thanksgiving, we can catch sales online from the comfort of our living room, on our laptop or desk top! One of my favorite stores to shop Black Friday for is, I'm almost ashamed to admit, Walmart. Known for their already low prices and oftentimes 97-cent shipping, I adore catching even bigger bargins at Walmart's Black Friday sales. Having everything from cute organic Clothing for the kids, to groceries, to electronics for Dad, Walmart is America's one-stop shop for Christmas. With the ease of online ordering, the UPS man can deliver it all to your door, oftentimes for free shipping!

For us, we love Walmart online because our Walmart is over an hour away. Ordering on line actually saves us money, as it costs us $25 in gas just to drive to the store. We all know time is money, so even if you live right around the corner from Walmart or another store on cyber monday, visit online and place your order quickly without waiting in line or battling the crowds in the parking lot.


White lingers in the shadows once more. A small blanket of snow covered the ground yesterday. While the sun is out, threatening to loosen the grips of the ice cycles from our tin siding and roof, the world at least is brightened by snow. It's a nice change from the brown grass, mud, and foliage of last week. In just a few weeks we'll have shoots of green grass, which is so nice!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Online Trivia

online trivia games

Online Trivia games are popular among everyone. They inspire friendly competition and provoke us to keep our minds sharp! As a stay at home mom, sometimes I crave adult interaction and using my brain for a little more than one more round of 'good night moon'. An online trivia game show would be perfect! Let's face it, a lot of the websites geared to moms revolve around complaining about our kids, competition, and bad mouthing other moms. A much better solution is to go to something that is completely removed from our 'mommy' world and stimulates our minds! It's like a mile jog for the brain, and it's fun too!

Senior Citizens also can benefit from such online trivia games. They don't have to depend on someone else to drive them, or leave the house themselves, to interact with others. A win-win situation for many. Brings the Thrill of TV Game Shows to the Internet

Trivia game-shows are a huge hit on TV. Now they are arriving on the Internet in a big way. Leading this trend, lets its members participate in online game shows and win cash prizes.

With trivia game shows on TV being viewed by huge audiences worldwide, it is little surprise that online trivia games are emerging as a big trend on the internet. Several new websites are being launched every month and all of them seem to be gaining ground rapidly, leading industry observers to predict that online trivia games may well enjoy high growth rates for years to come.

247trivia, a pioneer in the field of game shows on the Internet, is leading this trend by offering its members online trivia games that simulate a game show experience. The flash games include captivating game-showesque graphics and music scores and have players from around the world meet and compete in different categories of knowledge. To make the game show atmosphere complete, the site is now offering cash prizes in daily tournaments, so players can win money like on TV game shows.

Many trivia fans who love to watch trivia game shows on television are discovering that they no longer need to be just spectators; they can be the contestants in sites like 247trivia.

"I can't believe how addictive these games are," says Jennifer Davis, a trivia player on "And I keep meeting many other regular players who seem to log on as much as I do. I love watching Jeopardy on TV, but here I am actually playing and even winning money."

247trivia holds several daily tournaments with free entry and cash prizes, as well as a weekly Grand Slam tournament with prizes that grow as more players join to play. Players can also win money in cash games in which they pay an entry fee to join the game, and the winner takes the whole pot, minus the website's facilitating fee.

"Online trivia games have been around for years, but in recent months there has been a big surge of interest and our community of trivia lovers is growing very rapidly. We are trying to keep everyone happy with new games and special offers as well. Whenever we ask our players what kind of promotion they would appreciate the most, they ask for more Freeroll tournaments, and we are happy to oblige with several new tournaments added in the past month," says Nick Roberts, 247trivia's community manager. "But we also like to offer promotions with an added value. Last month, for example, we cooperated with another website in a promotion in which we balanced out the paper used in the books read by our leading players by planting trees in under-developed countries," Roberts added.

The selection of games in 247trivia includes upfront multi-player trivia quiz game-shows as well as more sophisticated trivia games that require strategy and thinking and not just good trivia skills. There are also different games for sports trivia and entertainment trivia with different graphics and rules that are suited for lovers of these special categories.

To experience the thrill of a game show on the internet, visit our website at is the leading online trivia games site on the internet, with tens of thousands of players in its rapidly growing community of trivia lovers, 247trivia offers its players non-stop trivia games online with the best flash based multiplayer trivia games that offer a real game-show experience.


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