Prairie Boy’s Birth Story {A Natural Hospital Birth} Part One

October 25th was a typical day at home. Prairie Girl (formerly known as Prairie Baby– that nickname won’t work anymore!) and I cut up about 20 pounds of garden tomatoes that had decided to ripen all at once and spent the day working around the house. I was 39 weeks pregnant and absolutely huge and uncomfortable. I had hoped that I would have this baby earlier, but weeks 37 & 38 had already come and gone…

I had been having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and crampy feelings for several weeks, but nothing productive. That evening after supper, the crampy feelings felt slightly different. But, I didn’t get too excited and didn’t even mention it to hubby.

8 pm

I put Prairie Girl to bed and sat down with hubby to watch some pig butchering videos (Yes– really. Aren’t we exciting?). I noticed the twinges started to be more regular and were coming at around 15 minutes intervals. But they were so slight that I was almost positive that they weren’t the “real” thing. I ignored them and watched how to skin a hog.

As the video finished, I got up to take a shower and head to bed. The crampy feelings became more irregular as I moved around, which made me think I was merely experiencing some practice contractions. I decided to mention it to hubby, just in case. Since it had started to snow that night, we briefly discussed what needed to be done in the barn and what vehicle to take to town if this ended up to be the real thing. But I still told him to not get too excited, since I was sure the contractions would be gone by morning.

He fell asleep, but I didn’t. The twinges kept coming, but they were still 15-20 minutes apart. They weren’t painful yet, but I knew *something* was going on.

[Read more…]

Quick & Easy Crayon Remover

how to remove crayon

Before becoming a parent, I would have seen the title to this post and yawned…

Now that I am a parent, I consider it life-saving information.

Several months ago, Prairie Baby (I really need to start calling her something else since we’ll have another baby in the house in a few months!) discovered the joy of crayons.

And not only are they joyful on paper, but also on walls, doors, molding, furniture…. You get the idea.

My end table (a yard sale treasure that I painted, stenciled, and distressed)

So, what else is a blogger to do other than post a frantic question to their Facebook wall?

I ended up with a wealth of responses (because ya’ll are simply awesome) ranging from vinegar to those Magic Eraser thingies to Softscrub and everything in between.

After some trial and error, I knew that vinegar wouldn’t work. And my hot soapy water wasn’t cutting it either. I don’t like most Softscrubs because of the bleach, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about the safety of the Magic Erasers.

The colorful artwork

So, there I was.

I was ready to break out the paint and just cover up the scribbles, when my handy friend and neighbor, Jana, suggested using lemon essential oil.

Yeah. Ok. Worth a try, right?

It worked like magic.

I’m talking within seconds of lightly rubbing the marks with a drop or two of lemon oil on my finger, they were gone.

Going, Going…

No elbow grease, no sweat, no chemicals. Wahoo!

Here are just a couple tips to keep in mind:

  • I’m not sure this will work so great on flat paint. I used it on a satin paint as well as semi-gloss with great success. But, flat paint smudges so badly, I’m not sure anything would help that. (Thankfully, not very many people use flat paint in their homes)
  • If you have a really big area to “erase” you might slightly dilute the lemon oil with something like olive oil so you don’t end up using a whole bottle. Or even a small amount of water would work.
  • You can use a rag or your finger to rub the oil into the marks.
  • Make sure you are using a high-quality grade of essential oils. The cheapie ones at the health food store aren’t great.
  • This works on other stains, too. I’ve even started spot-treating some of my tough laundry stains with lemon essential oil.


Click Here to Get Jill’s Free Essential Oil eBook >>

Other Ways to use Essential Oils around your Home:

Interview with Authors of Super Nutrition for Babies (Plus a Giveaway!)


Considering my recent announcement, I was thrilled to be offered a chance to check out the new book, Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich M.D. and Kelly Genzlinger C.N.C/C.M.T.A. (This is not an eBook- it’s a 240-page paperback.)

Upon it’s arrival, I was excited to discover that this book is “rebellious” as I am when it comes to our society’s ideas of how children should be fed. Not only do they recommend raw milk for kiddos (Raw is all Prairie Baby has ever had…) but they whole-heartedly advise against rice cereal (I can’t stand the stuff!) and conventional “kid” junk, aka ‘health’, foods. Yee-haw!

This book is written from a traditional foods perspective (think Weston A. Price style), and has no problem tackling the controversial aspects of feeding your kids. Not only will you find lists and guidelines for feeding babies and toddlers of all ages, there are plenty of recipes packed into the pages as well.

I was thrilled to also have the chance to ask the authors a few questions of my own. Check out their responses below, and after that find out how 2 lucky readers will win a copy of Super Nutrition for Babies! 

(My questions are in green– the authors’ answers are in black)

Q1. My husband has had severe environmental allergies, food allergies, and asthma since childhood. Our firstborn daughter is (so far) free from any of these conditions. (I have been very particular about her diet and breastfed her for over a year) In your experience(s), what are the chances that our future children will possess these problems if we are careful about proper nutrition?

A1. There is no way to ensure that your daughter or other future children won’t have similar allergic conditions to your husband. But by feeding yourselves and your children the cleanest and most nutritious of diets, you will be improving your family’s ability to detoxify and enable your bodies to work most efficiently. By doing so, you will be providing yourself and your family the best possibility for healing and reduce the chances of illness.

Breast feeding is by far the best thing any mother can do for her child/ren, but still plenty of mothers who breastfeed have children who still get allergies and other issues. As good as breast feeding is, if the mother is deficient of nutrients or overwhelmed by toxins during her pregnancy or while nursing, it will not be alone enough to protect her children. The best prevention is to start our program the earliest possible, most ideally BEFORE a mother even becomes pregnant. If a mother can minimize toxins coming in, maximize her detoxification, and maximize nutrition BEFORE becoming pregnant, she will create an ideal environment for that new baby to develop within. This is what our ancestors did and what primitive cultures continue to do. If we follow their guidelines, we too can improve the health of future generations. Healing has to start somewhere.

Q2. Do you have any advice for busy moms who might find it difficult to find time to prepare the traditional foods found in the book?

A2. There are mom-to-mom tips throughout the book to try to help busy moms. We know first-hand as we are busy moms! Keeping a running list for the grocery store, farmers market, and online ordering helps – then having a day per month that you online order and a day per week that you go to the farmers market or grocery store. Taking one morning or afternoon each weekend to prepare food ahead – such as making broth, meal planning, marinading meats, etc. Involving your kids in the kitchen – often kids love to measure, concoct recipes, and experiment in the kitchen – it can be a fun family time that allows you to get things done and spend quality time with your children. Finally, as much as you can afford to do so, get the tools you need – makes life much easier (Vitamix, dehydrator, extra freezer, etc.).

Q3. Can you explain your concerns regarding rice cereal in a nutshell? (I’ve run across several people who were horrified when they found out I never fed rice cereal to our daughter. As you know, it is very much considered a “staple” of modern childhood…)

A3. First, rice is a grain. Babies at 4-6 months do not make amylase – the starch-busting enzyme and thus can not digest rice well. Secondly, the rice cereal commonly used is a refined grain – having had almost all of the natural nutrition and fiber stripped from it – resulting in nutrition-deficit as well as an unnecessary spike in insulin after eating it. Third, the synthetic nutrition “fortifying” the rice cereal is poorly absorbed – so while the box reads as being nutritious, it isn’t actually helpful for optimal growth and development of your child. Further, highly sugary/high carb foods predominating the diet at young ages may result in a tendency to have a diet high in such foods throughout life. Lastly, have you ever tasted rice cereal? I taste everything first before feeding it to my kids. Rice cereal tastes disgusting.

Q4. How important is the nutrition of a pregnant mother, in regards to her developing child’s nutrition?
A4. As discussed in the answer to your first question, nutrition for the pregnant and nursing mother is of utmost importance. Sadly, many mothers leave ensuring that their baby develops optimally to a single pill each day (the prenatal vitamin). I often ask expecting mothers: What is your baby made of? Meaning, as their baby is growing, bones are made of minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus; muscle tissues, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and neurotransmitters are made of amino acids (protein). Our brain and nerves are coated in fat. I once put a picture of a baby with a label of “ingredients” underneath reading: high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, red dye no. 5 – that really drove home the point. Our babies are built of nutrients, and run on them, so what a mother eats while pregnant and nursing determines whether or not her baby receives sufficient nourishment to grow and develop optimally. We see what nutrient deficiencies can do: miss out on the mineral iodine and your thyroid suffers, miss out on vitamin D and chances for diabetes and cancer are higher, miss out on vitamin C and develop scurvy, miss out on folic acid and your baby has a higher risk for neural tube defects, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. Nutrients are critical to avoiding all sorts of health problems. The newer classes of children’s issues (we call them the 3Cs – autism, allergies, asthma, ADHD, diabetes, obesity, etc.) are showing in research to be a combination of deficiencies: probiotics, vitamin A, D and K, Omega-3s, and others.

Q5. Any advice for the parents of the “picky” eaters out there?

A5. Believe in what you are feeding your children. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your kids. Once you remove all those foods that you wouldn’t eat yourself, then remove or reduce from your home all those foods that you and your family crave. Wheat, sugar/juice and dairy are the typical main addictive foods. Once those addictive foods are not present, often taste buds become more responsive to new foods and kids become more adventurous in what they will eat. Try and try again – taste buds do evolve, so often the first time a child eats something they may not like it – especially if coming off a juice/grain type diet. Keep trying. Also, use a chart system with stickers showing healthy eating progress – or some other visual aid in terms of progress and positive efforts. Reward children with non-food based rewards for healthy eating – more time together, a trip to the park, computer / game time, a new lego, etc. Show your joy when they eat something you prepared to nourish them – as opposed to your anger/disappointment when they don’t like it. Parents can use their praise to positively motivate. Be creative in the kitchen to try different recipes and options until something seems to work. Often including kids in the kitchen helps open kids’ minds to trying new foods.

A HUGE thanks to the authors for taking the time to answer my questions. Absolutely fascinating stuff here!

And now, a chance to win a copy Super Nutrition for Babies for yourself! Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

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Giveaway ends 6/13/2012 at Midnight. Winner will be drawn randomly and announced on the Rafflecopter widget.

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22 Activities for the Country Toddler or Preschooler

country kid activities

Ever since Prairie Baby was born, we have made an effort to have her be an active participant in our lives. It always makes me sad when I see couples constantly dropping off the kiddos at grandma’s house or the babysitters so they can go out and “enjoy themselves” or work on a project.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional date night, but if we think we must continually separate ourselves from our kids in order to accomplish things, the kiddos will miss out on many valuable life experiences.

Since Day One, Prairie Baby has been a part of our team. Some days I stuck her in a Moby Wrap, or buckled her into my giant jogging stroller as I worked outside. We took her everywhere with us… During her first 6 months of life, she attended multiple cattle brandings, went antelope hunting, hung out at several equestrian clinics, and took many a nap in the cool shade of the barn. She’s experienced more in her few years of life than many city-dwelling adults have seen in a lifetime.

Now that she’s a “big girl” (two years old!), she can take an even more active role in our activities- and she is already comfortable and familiar with our routine, since she’s been along for the ride since the day she was born.

It’s never to early to start sharing your homestead life with the kiddos. Below, you’ll find my list of simple activities for the homestead toddler or preschooler to help inspire you in your journey.

22 Activities for the Country Toddler or Preschooler

1. Teach them to plant things. Larger seeds like peas, beans, or corn are fun to poke into the ground, and items like seed potatoes and onion sets are downright fascinating!

2. Let them water. Prairie Baby loves to hold the hose as we water our trees or fill up water tanks. She makes designs with the water stream and loves the splashing. If your garden is dry, stick a spray nozzle on your hose and let them go crazy. Yep, they’ll be muddy and wet when they’re done, but that’s ok.

3. Pull weeds. You’ll have to be careful when you teach this skill, otherwise you’ll end up with a bare garden from over-enthusiastic little helpers. Better yet, give them a play shovel and let them hack on the weeds with that.

4. Reap the harvest. Digging up potatoes, onions, or beets is a real-life treasure hunt, while pumpkins and squash are fun to select and carry out of the garden. Peas and beans are a blast to pick from the plant- and make sure that you let them “sneak” a few bites so they equate gardening with food. (As long as you maintain a chemical-free garden, a few unwashed, homegrown veggies won’t hurt them…)

5. Fill pots. As you prepare your containers for planting, let them use their toy shovels to fill the pots with soil.

6. Make newspaper seedling pots together.

7. Dig in the compost pile. We don’t have a sandbox, so Prairie Baby climbs and digs in our finished compost pile instead. Chat about compost and how it’s food for plants.

8. Allow them to collect eggs (a classic country childhood favorite!) and then place them into the cartons. (A great time to practice counting skills)

9. Show them how to fill the nesting boxes with fresh shavings or straw.

10. Have them carry your bucket of chicken scraps outside to the coop, and then let them go crazy slinging potato peelings and fruit bits for the hens to eat.

Brand new baby goat. (I promise, she’s not choking it…)

11. Allow them to be present if you have dairy animals to milk. Talk about where milk comes from and allow them to touch the udder and even apply udder salve, if they wish.

12. Have straw or bedding to spread in your pens? Little helpers love this one- show them that they can kick and throw the straw all over. This one is a big hit at our house. 😉

13. Have your kiddo carry and dump any grain or supplements in the animal’s pans (preferrably when the animal is a safe distance away).

14. If you have bottle babies that aren’t overly pushy, let your helper hold onto the bottle as they drink and chat about how people and animals drink milk when they are babies.

15. Sweep out the barn or coop together.

16. Invite your kiddo to hand you laundry to hang on your clothesline or drying rack.

17. Give them their own lump of bread dough to knead/smash/squish.

18. Get them a mini-rolling pin to help make tortillas.

19. Snap beans and shell peas-allow snacking to give them a taste of food fresh from the garden.

20. Shuck corn.

21. Let them scoop, dump, and mix ingredients in your recipes.

22. The most important part? Let them get dirty, and muddy, and dusty, and covered in bits of hay if they want. Don’t freak out when they sneak a taste of dirt, or grass, or hay, or alfalfa pellets, or even goat poop. It won’t kill them, and I truly believe it’s good for their immune system. (Prairie Baby has never been to the doctor for an illness or had an ear infection…Ever.)

Praise them as they help, even when they accidentally spill something or spray water in the wrong place. Show them that “work” is enjoyable, not punishment. Show them they are a valuable part of the team and you genuinely like having them around.

(Now, before anyone yells at me- NO, I’m not assigning “chores” to my two year old. She doesn’t do these every day, nor does she get in trouble when she isn’t in the mood to collect eggs or pick beans. These are simply learning experiences for her to partake in as she grows- and I have to say- she loves it. All I have to do is say the word “outside” and she starts squealing and running to get her mini-rubber boots. When she is older, she will have “assigned” duties– but not now. She is too young for that now.)

So, I encourage you this week to include your children or grandchildren in your homestead activities. Embrace the imperfection and the mess, and enjoy those little helpers!

This is in no way a comprehensive list– what ideas can you add? Share them in the comments!