*** Important Update**** I have split this blog into two. I am keeping this site for all the Kozy Carrier related information and updates, and I started a new blog for all the other stuff (family stuff, thoughts on parenting, birth, natural living, crafts, recipes etc). I have imported all the relevant posts from this blog over there. So come check it out www.entergentlyblog.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Panel or Bling Kozy anyone?

Some of you may (or may not) have seen or remember the panel and bling Kozys I used to make.  For those who don't know what they are . . . 

Panel Kozys are chainstitched silk panels hand made in Kashmir that I put with 100% cotton velveteen to make Kozys. (above right)

Bling Kozys are panels that are made with metal type of material coiled into patterns on top of velveteen, which I also pair with 100% cotton velveteen. (above left)

They are time consuming to make and though I made over 100 of them, I haven't made any in a couple years for lack of time (for some reason, having more children takes up more time AND energy . . . what is up with that?  LOL).  
You can see pictures of over 90 of them (made and sold already) here www.silkkozy.homestead.com

silk panel on red velveteen
I had a friend ask me to make one for her baby (due like a month before 
 mine) and I was like . . . I think I can manage that.  So I went into my sling/fabric closet to see what I had and realized that I have got all these velveteen straps made up, and all these panels (over 40 of the silk, not counting the blings) that have just been sitting on the shelves for like 2 yrs.  And with Christmas coming up I thought that maybe I could find time to make a few if people wanted them.  I used to charge between $120-150 but considering the fact that I know money is tight for everyone, I would probably only ask $100 (plus shipping ;0).  

silk panel on teal velveteen
silk panel on maroon velveteen

 Soooo, if anyone is interested (or know someone who may be) shoot me an e-mail and we can see what I have available and what I may be able to manage to do ;0) kelley@kozycarrier.com
gold bling on black velveteen
Arah (6 now) in my olive panel kozy


Saturday, November 20, 2010

New "Black and Whites" Collection

So Kristi gets the credit for this one as it was her idea and she choose all the fabrics!  And a fabulous idea it was!   I literally gasped when I took these out of the box for pictures.  I don't know what it is about the black/white contrast but they are stunning.  My friends really liked them too.
See all the pictures HERE

 There are 5 prints. I think they would be fab for Christmas, well especially the one with the red bird (first picture above) with red straps (you can see a picture of it on the site).

They seem a bit more formal but I think that is just because of the contrast and black straps in general come across as more formal, as you see they also look good with jeans.

Not a fat roll, but my 22 wk baby belly
 The prints are canvas like the straps, but a more of a med weight canvas.  I like this because they should wear at the same rate as the straps.  Black can fade but if you take care to spot clean or hand wash in cold water they hold up nicely.  Most of my black Kozys look almost new and they are a couple years old.

Of course if you don't want black canvas, most of them go well with natural too.
You can order them or see more pix HERE
We also have a new colorful print (huge contrast to the above Kozys)

I saw a swatch of this print sitting at Kozy with some kid prints that were potentials for Kiddy Kozy pockets, and I was like . . . 'we have GOT to have that as a Kozy print!'
It is eye popping!!  Very fun and with red straps . . . bright!!  Totally makes a statement.  

For more info and pictures, you can find it on the site HERE

Friday, November 12, 2010

We have gone jar crazy! Check out our Autumn jars!

I love, love, love these lighted jars.  I love the ambiance they give the room and the house.  They are a perfect accent!  So when I took down our Halloween Jars everything looked blah, and I didn't want to wait till after Thanksgiving to pull out the Christmas Jars (and we need to make more anyway because we gave some as gifts).  So I said . . . hey, lets do autumn jars!! 

I figured we could just do autumn colors and to make things simple, we would just collect leaves from the yard and decoupage them on.  Much easier for me because the kids weren't cutting, making a mess with paper etc. 

I am not going to get into the process again, but if you want to know how to make them check out my 2 previous blog posts HERE and HERE.

Finally I got a picture of all 5of them gluing their leaves on (well Thrace is just watching)
 I had them choose which color or colors they wanted for their jar out of what I had.  I only had orange and rad tissue paper so I improvised and used napkins to get yellow.  I wish I had some brown because I was curious how it would turn out, but alas, none to be found (and I was not going to the store).  They really did most of the work again, with me helping mostly the little ones.  The napkins were a bit tricky so I did do most of the mod podge on those.
Then we went out and each kid collected their own leaves! We live on a mountain in the woods so we have plenty of trees and leaves.  The leaves on the ground were too hard so we picked smaller leaves that were left on trees.  The cool thing is that they could learn about the types of leaves and trees while we were at it (Charlie knows all that stuff, I am clueless.)

 I had them just glue the leaves on with glue (some were tricky and I had to work with them to get them to curve around the jars and stick) and then we did the mod podge once they were stuck well.  I know they will turn brown (though some were brown already) but it doesn't matter, they are for the silhouette against the colored tissue paper when the jar is lit.

 I used the multicolored lights again because I couldn't get to the white lights, but I think ideally white lights would provide the best light . . . though the colored lights are softer.

You could really do anything you want that is autumn theamed, but these were easy for us!  We actually did these start to finish in 1 day (had them lit by evening) which is a record for us (usually I have a table full of scrap paper and partially decorated jars for days before we are finished).

I love these jars so much that I am thinking of how I can have them year round . . . Valentine jars, Easter jars, July 4th or summer themed . . . so many possibilities!!

Now, for an added photo . . . because hey, pumpkins are autumn themed and I didn't want to do a separate blog post with just a picture of me . . . but I did want to show y'all how I dressed up for Halloween . . . . 

21 wks
I did the same thing the only other time I had a belly on Halloween, when I was 29 wks pg with Ever . . . LOTS of fun (and lots of comments from people).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Babies wearing Babies . . . Finally, we have Kid Kozys!!

This is Piper (8) and Ever (3) carrying their dolls in their Kiddy Kozys!  (Ever's doll of choice is his baby, Piper has her LPS penguin)  I made my first Kiddy Kozy for Piper LONG ago, I have made some for friends and for gifts since then but that is as far as I have gotten with them.
I have been wanting to add these to the site for years and thanks to Kristi and Dad (who worked out all the details of having them made, cost, materials etc. because goodness knows I can't find the time most days to wash my hair, LOL) FINALLY we have them!!  Check them out HERE

 What better way to teach our kids natural ways to nurture babies . . . how to meet their needs and keep them close, than to example babywearing!!  Kids have this desire to copy us and nurture their baby dolls in a similar way (and I know many of us have experienced seeing our kids nursing their baby dolls.)  This is why there has always been a need for kid sized baby carriers.  Yes you can use anything to make a baby carrier for your child to carry his babies, but it is also fun for them to have something that looks like ours!  
I only hope that my children remember the things they have seen me do and how I have treated them and their siblings, so that they keep that nurturing outlook into adulthood (and yes, I make sure to talk about it often too so they don't forget  ;0)

In coming up with the design for the Kiddy Kozy were trying to keep them as close to the adult Kozys as possible.  Most aspects are the same, only downsized for little ones.  There is no padding (not needed) so it is really lightweight.  It has a body pocket so they can carry extra toys if wanted (or toy diapers) and it has a cute little strap pocket and ties right on, just like Mom (or Dad's) Kozy.  
In order to simplify things and keep costs down we make them solid bodied and you choose the fabric for the body pocket.  But if your little one wants a Kozy matching yours we can custom make it for you for an added charge.  
Of course they are NOT reinforced to hold any weight so remember it is ONLY for dolls!  That is always the first things the kids ask, they want to carry their baby brother in their Kozy, LOL!!  I tell them that they can wear him in a regular Kozy (I can fold it to fit them) but that this Kozy is specially made just for their baby dolls and favorite toys (notice Ever has an airplane in the pocket of his).

For more info and to see fabrics and order just go to the Kiddy Kozy page at the Kozy Website.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lighted Halloween Jars . . . and other spooky stuf!!

We made these a few wks ago and I have been trying to get them up here to show y'all but I am still having a hard time finding time to blog.

I got this idea last year when I saw the lighted jars at the Not So Idle Hands blog HERE  SO CUTE!!  But alas, I was too late for Halloween, so instead I made Christmas Jars.  Some of you may remember them, I blogged about them HERE.  They turned out great and the kids had a ball making them.  In fact we are going to have to make more this year because we gave a bunch of them away as gifts last year.

I was very excited though as Halloween came around again so we could do some Halloween jars.  We made them the same way we did the Christmas jars.  They are pretty easy to make, but beware they are a tad time consuming and can be messy.  Though I was doing them with 4 kids so that will take longer.  My oldest two (10 and 8) could do much of it themselves, I helped with cutting and stuff, but the younger 2 needed some help with the Mod Podge. And since you have to do multiple layers it does take some time.  But it is worth it!!

I'll go over the instructions again for those interested.

  • Glass Jars (I save all our peanut butter, pickle, pasta jars etc. so we never have a shortage of these)
  • Tissue Paper (I chose white, orange, black, and green for Halloween, but you can also find holiday paper that you can use as well, then yo don't even really have to decorate it, just decoupage it on)
  • Mod Podge or some other type of decoupage 'glue'
  • A brush to brush the glue on
  • Construction Paper or anything else the kids may want to decorate it with (we have used glitter, stamped paper shapes etc.)
First you want to cut your tissue paper in strips, then cover your jar with a layer of Mod Podge.   We usually cover just a small section at a time, applying the Mod Podge then the tissue paper till the whole jar is covered.
To make the pumpkins more 'pumpkin like' we did the strips vertically but in the past we have done them horizontally too.  For some of the other jars, I just let the kids put the strips on however they wanted.

 Piper, Arah and Ever adding tissue paper to their pumpkin jars
(notice the dummy hanging from the rafters of the porch in the window behind Piper . . . 
Charlie made this with the kids just a few days before . . . he is creepy!!)

 Once you have the whole jar covered with the paper (and have trimmed off the excess on top and bottom) do another generous layer of Mod Podge over the whole thing, making sure to cover all the tissue paper with a protective layer.  It is delicate so take care (and tell your kids to be extra gentle).

Once you have done that, then decorate as you wish.  Each of the kids designed their own pumpkin face, then they got to do another jar however they  liked.

Piper and Ever putting tissue paper on their 2nd jars.
Piper (8) drew and colored some black cats (one she colored very dark black, the other she drew on black construction paper and cut out) and we put them on top of her purple jar (with black construction paper stripes on top and bottom) for a silhouette.  Xian (10) did a green Frankenstein.  He used black construction paper for the face and hair.  Arah (6) drew a lot of ghosts and things that he thought were 'scary' out of plain white paper, and then cut them out and put them on his purple/black striped jar.  And Ever (3) made a purple jar too, but he added squares of other colors of tissue paper over that along with a few cut outs.  I made the white ghost.
Make sure you do a coat of mod podge over any additions to your jars.

You can use anything to light them.  Being glass, candles will work.  You can also use battery operated tea lights (I have heard that you can get them at the dollar store 2 in a pack).  I have them all lined up so using a string of lights is easiest.  Usually I will use white but apparently those were like in the bottom of the Christmas box and not so easy for Charlie to get, so we used multicolored instead and they worked fine.

For some reason my pictures of these jars didn't turn out as good as the ones I took of the Christmas jars last year, but you get the general idea.

We had a Halloween party with our local natural families group (love those guys!!).  The kids always have a ball!  We had pinatas, crafts, games, lots of goodies (we made halloween shaped sugar cookies).  Thank goodness we have friends with large houses and generous hearts who are willing to host our bi-weekly gatherings and potlucks (which can sometimes get VERY large).

 Xian (monster) Arah (ninja) Ever (lake monster) Piper (witch) and Thrace (giraffe) 
and our homemade skeleton man (made with PVC pipes, we got info from the Family Fun website)

Hope YOU have a great Fall season!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Chevron Kozys . . . each one unique!

Some of you may remember the Chevron Kozy that was in the commercial that I posted (it is on the Kozy site). It is the one pictured above and IMO it pretty much rocks!! 
We have gotten SO many requests for that Kozy, but alas, my sister Karla only made like 2 and they are long gone!!

So finally we decided to just 'go for it' and give the seamstress some fabric and let her mix and match to come up with some unique Chevron Kozys.  They were time consuming for her to make (because she has to sew each of the 'stripes' on to the canvas body) but oh so worth it!!!  

From this sneak peek you can see there is a lot of contrast and variety!
 We have a few of them up on the Kozy site right now ready to go, first come first serve!
My favorite is the first one pictured, with the red straps . . . love that one!!
Anyway you can check out a larger picture and more info at the Kozy site HERE

Ooh and we have something new we are introducing on the site too in a couple days so I will be posting about that too!  It is something I have wanted to do for AGES!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why I have been MIA most of the summer!

Aug 29,2010
12 1/2 wks with baby #6

With the 24/7 icky feeling (though thankfully a bit better than with the others) and the fact that most of my blogging and computer stuff is done after the kids are asleep, and the past 2 mo and that I have NOT been able to stay awake much past them (either that or I felt too sick to do work) the blog and many e-mails have been neglected!!

I am 13 wks though and starting to feel better and get some energy back so hopefully I can make up for it now!  My 'due date' is March 10th so I figure . . . sometime in March.  My edd's have been based on conception, and so far my babies have been 10, 6, 4, 3, days "late" and only 1 was 3 days "early" (not in that order).  Funny thing is they have all ranged from 7.12 to 8.4 lb (within 1/2 lb or so of each other) and have been from 21-22 3/4".  So not a huge amount of variation in when they decide to come or what size they are, LOL!! 

We don't use doppler or ultrasound unless I feel it is medically warranted, so I haven't heard the heartbeat, which was also the case with my last 3 kids. So it is hard for me to feel totally comfortable telling others till I feel regular movement or can pick up the heartbeat with a fetoscope (usually between 16-20 wks).  So I just have to trust that all is well and do what I can to keep track of how things are progressing.  I know my uterus has been growing just fine, which is a great sign.  I could feel it above my pubic bone by 6 wks this time and now it is at my belly button!!  This is MANY weeks higher than normal, but that is what happens when your uterus has been stretched out so many times! It was similar with my last 3 too (with #5 I could feel it above my pubic bone by 8 wks, so with each one it seems to be a bit sooner).  Just knowing it is growing at a regular rate is reassuring.  So that, and the fact that by 12 wks I could feel some movement at times when I poke around on my uterus (which I also noticed with the last 3) makes me hope that all is well.

Planning another homebirth of course, probably UC, but I like to play it by ear and decide during labor if I feel God leading me to call my midwife friend or not (so far the last 3 times I haven't felt like I needed her).  It is just SO nice to have that option and a blessing to have supportive friends.

Sooo, hopefully things can get back to normal a bit more around here since I am starting to feel a bit more normal too. There are so many things I want to blog about, I am just so long winded that it takes me forever do to a post, LOL!!  I have also considered breaking off and splitting the blog into 2.  Having just the Kozy part for Kozy related stuff and then another blog for all my other stuff.  If/when I do that though I'll let y'all know and make it easy to transition.

Monday, August 9, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

OK so I know I have been MIA (super busy summer here).  And of course I am behind on breastfeeding week too (which was this past week) but in honor of the occasion I put my breastfeeding stats on facebook and figured I may as well blog about them too!

 Me nursing 13mo old Thrace in Yellowstone, June 2010

OK, so here are my Breastfeeding Stats . . . . 
  • I started nursing with my first child in 2000
  • I have been nursing for almost 10 years non-stop
  • I have been tandem nursing (nursing 2) for over 8 years non-stop
  • I have nursed through 4 pregnancies
  • I have tandem nursed through 3 pregnancies
  • I have nursed 3 kids for a total of a year (6mo after #3 was born, 6mo after #4 was born)
  • I have nursed a child to sleep every night for almost 10 yrs straight (and almost every day for nap)
  • I have nursed 2 kids to sleep (for bed and nap) for 8 yrs straight
  • So far, my 3 kids who have weaned did so at 4.6, 5, and 4.8 yrs old
  • I am currently nursing my 1 and 3 yr old (to bed and for nap ;0)
  • I started pumping to donate milk after #4 and 5 and have pumped 1000's of oz
  • All of my kids nursed exclusively for a min of 6mo (till they insisted on eating table food)
  • None of my kids has ever had a drop of formula 
  • None of my kids has ever had a bottle, not even of expressed milk (nor a paci)
  • And I am very grateful that I, or my babies, have never had any 'issues' or problems nursing, other than the occasional 'episode' of mastitis, ugh.
So I suppose all of this makes me 'special' or some amazing person right?  Uh no!! LOL!!  There is nothing amazing or special about me.  I just do what I have to do and what I feel is best.  What is amazing and special is the fact that God created our bodies so wonderfully and perfectly!  That we can make the most perfect food for our babies!  That breastfeeding has a host of benefits not just for baby but for mom too!

I happen to feel very strongly about nursing, and I also happen to be pretty stubborn and determined and idealistic about some things too.  No it is not always easy (especially when you are 9mo pg nursing a toddler and just barely being able to tolerate it) but I am just so convinced that allowing them to nurse as long as they need to is not only the most natural choice, but it is also so beneficial to them, that any 'issues' I may have are simply minor inconveniences and I can suck it up and deal with it (even if it means I spend over an hour every night nursing kids to sleep, LOL).  It becomes normal, it becomes natural and it is like second nature.

It is life with little ones and I wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'll have some grape juice with a splash of lead please!

It seems that as hard as you try you just can't ever get away from chemicals or impurities or even heavy metals!!

Some of you have probably read the recent reports released by The Environmental Law Foundation.  The articles have been passed all around Facebook but as usual, I am behind on blogging about it.  Apparently, the ELF tested some juices, fruits, baby food etc. and after testing some 148 products (mostly juices) they found that 85% contained LEAD!!  They contained enough lead actually, in one serving,  to warrant a warning label under the CA's Prop 65 (the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act).  And the shocker to me wasn't that it was juice in general (juice which is fairly natural with few additives) but that the ORGANIC juices had lead in them just like the regular stuff!!

For more information here is the ELF site where they have links to the products tested and which tested high for lead. 

My first thought was, oh crap!  Then I thought . . . OK, we get all freaked out over these little things, lead is naturally occurring, I'm sure it gets into things.  People get all worked up over minuscule amounts of lead or toxins when some of those things are almost unavoidable in nature.  Not to mention that government wants to over regulate us (product manufacturers) to death.  Which I found particularly ironic because here we are drinking lead with our juice, and yet the CPSIA seems more concerned that the fabric of our baby carriers may contain lead! (though thankfully they have backed off of many of their insane testing requirements)  Crazy!!  But I digress . . . 

Doesn't the FDA regulate juices (they regulate everything else) and aren't they tested for stuff like this?  Apparently they are, and the FDA's required min levels are supposedly higher than CA's Prop 65 which is .5 micrograms of lead per serving.  Of course I don't really trust the government to tell me what is safe to use or not.  I mean there is aluminum in antiperspirant (which many poeple are rubbing on their sensitive skin daily) and baking powder and cooking utensils etc.  along with a host of other 'toxic' items, and don't even get me started on the crap in vaccines that we inject into our (and our children's) bodies . . . these are apparently OK too.  I guess you just can't win no matter how you look at it (personal responsibility folks). 

Anyway, this is just my cynical side coming out here. 

But then I remembered . . . for children, any lead exposure is bad, and any lead ingestion is worse, no matter how much it is . . . it shouldn't be in there to begin with!!  And even in nature (untainted by man) we wouldn't be getting lead in our fruits and juices.  And any exposure to lead in nature under normal circumstances would be minuscule, we wouldn't be drinking it with our lunch (or shouldn't be). 

So my conclusion is that it doesn't matter what the recommended max levels are from any 'governing' body (CA prop 65, or the FDA) and how they may differ.  We, and especially our children, shouldn't be consuming lead in any amounts.  Because "No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered—that is, there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm."  Wikipedia

So how would lead get into our fruits (and juices)?
Here is what I got from the FDA website, and I am sure there are other explanations as well (all man made)
Juice can become contaminated with lead if lead-contaminated produce is used to make the juice. Lead contamination of produce can occur as a result of past use of lead in agricultural settings. For example, past use of lead arsenate as a pesticide in what were apple orchards is believed to have caused persistent lead contamination of the soil causing carrots presently grown on these sites to contain elevated lead levels. Produce could also become contaminated with airborne lead if it is handled at sites where vehicles or equipment are operated that use leaded fuel, if the equipment is operated in a manner that exposes the produce to excessive emissions from the equipment.
So if lead comes from the fruit then what about fresh fruits?  If the lead is coming from the fruit then yes, fresh fruit would contain it as well.  But with fresh fruit you are getting fiber and other nutrients that actually help prevent the absorption of lead in your body.  That means that eating fresh fruit with traces of lead wouldn't impact your body in the same way as drinking juices from concentrates of the same fruits.  So basically I would say don't stop eating fruit!!

How does lead damage the body?
Children consume juice in huge amounts and they are the ones most vulnerable.  There is really no safe level of lead for kids, and it is also especially bad for pregnant women (and babies in utero too).  Lead toxicity can cause problems ranging from irritability and aggressive behavior, developmental issues, headaches, tremors, insomnia, seizures, coma and even death.  Children with lead poisoning are often diagnosed with autism.  HERE is one such story (and you can google to find more info about it).  Heavy metals in general (which include mercury and aluminum) can overcome children's bodies, especially considering they are more susceptible to them.  I know several kids personally who have tested high for heavy metals, for no apparent reason (not obvious exposure).  I have never tested my kids as I have never had a reason or felt that they exhibited symptoms that may be attributed to heavy metals in their body.  But I know that heavy metal testing testing has proven to be a life saver and eye opener for many, so it is definitely something to be considered as part of troubleshooting potential health issues.

What what do we do now?
For some of us, there is really very little to do.  Check the lists of products that tested high for lead and those that didn't, and buy accordingly while we wait for more info.  For others . . . DRINK MORE WATER!!  If you ever had an excuse to stop giving your kids juice in favor of water this is probably the best one.  I have never understood those kids walking around with sippy cups full of juice that they chug like it is going out of style.  First of all I don't get why they have to have a drink in their hands at all times (though granted, my 12mo old does nurse whenever he wants, LOL), maybe it is a security thing like some kids have with their paci?  Who knows.  But avoiding juice is good and it isn't just because of the lead issue.  Unlike fresh squeezed juice that you drink immediately, store bought juice has very little nutritional value . . . it is mostly just sugar. It has loads of calories.  It is horrible for the teeth and if kids drink too much it can even interfere with development (they are filling up on juice and not getting the other stuff they need in their diet).

Don't get me wrong, I am not all anti juice.  I'll give my kids juice occasionally, but literally, it is a special occasion thing (just like the occasional Gatorade or sprite when we are out).  I like them to be able to have fun stuff occasionally but they know as a rule, we drink water (or raw milk or kefir).  They get juice to drink maybe 1-2x a month and then I dilute it with water.  We use juice far more often to flavor our kefir (which we drink more often) but again, we use so little that they are getting only 1-2oz per cup of kefir.  I'll also let them have a few sips of juice to chase down any herbs or CLO I give them that taste icky (though most taste pretty good).

I definitely drink the most juice in the family.  Ever since having kids I have craved juice, particularly grape juice.  I think it is a nursing thing (since I am always nursing 2) and I think it is not just the liquid but the sugar that my body needs.  I love my grape juice!! But I ALWAYS mix it 50/50 with water (and lots of ice so it is really cold . . . mmmmm).  So if I chug a glass a day (usually the most I drink, many days I don't drink any) it is still only maybe 1/2 cup of juice.   Basically between me and the kids the most juice we will go through is a bottle every other week (sometimes a bottle of juice lasts us a month!!).  

Because we already consume very little juice I am not too worried, but you can bet I am going to be a bit more picky about the juice (and canned fruits) that we do buy.  The foods we put into our body are vital to our overall health, and being a responsible parent means that I will never cease to research and learn and be informed to try to make the best choices possible for my family (while still letting them have some fun . . . I did make regular old chocolate chip cookies last night . . . does it make it any better that we dipped them in raw milk?  LOL!!)

For more information check out these articles on lead in juices (along with the links included above)
NY Daily News
Inhabitots (has a list of the lead tainted products)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

RED straps and New Limited Edition Patriotic Prints!!

So we just flew back home yesterday.  I have been gone all week at the Babywearing Conference in Rigby Idaho.  We had a blast!!!  Such a beautiful area of the country out there!! (and much nicer weather than muggy VA, ugh).  I'll post info and pictures from the conference soon. 

But for now let me introduce to you . . . .



Just in time for the 4th!!  Both can be put on natural or new RED canvas. 
(for a limited time, red is in short supply around here)

 Here is our sister Kim and her daughter Shiloh (who is 6 wks younger than Thrace), with Kristi and Jackson (yes he is getting big!)

Order by June 25 to ensure delivery by July 4th.

Click HERE for more information


We also have a new fabric that I love . . . . .

Owl Trap

Here is Jackson cruisn in an Owl Trap on black canvas

I have it on brown and I wore it at the conference more than any other print!  Love it!
You can see more of it HERE

So anyway, I woke up sick this morning and though I feel a little better now I am still a bit out of it (headache, tired, achy etc.).  But I will get some pictures and stuff from our trip when I can.  I am just SO glad I wasn't sick like this yesterday flying home . . . that would have been horrible (I try to avoid airplane bathrooms if at all possible, LOL)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tribute to my Uncle Stacey, May 26, 2010

My Uncle Stacey

He was always our favorite uncle growing up (and still today).  My dads brother, one of 4 boys in their family, he was the baby and I always thought he looked a bit different from his brothers.

1953 My dad is on the right with his brothers and my late grandpa
. . . uncle Stacey is of course the little one

He was the cool one, with his long hair, smooth voice, and that look in his eye . . . a real charmer (and boy did the ladies love him!)  

He had this 'glow' about him (family knows what I am talking about).  We called it the "Davis Glow"

He always made you feel welcome, like you were special, and he gave the best hugs!  I regret that he lived in GA and we in VA . . . didn't get to see him often and wish I knew him better.

Oct 09 at my sister Karla's wedding in GA.  My uncles Duron and Jerry
. . . my dad and Uncle Stacey on the right.

He had a beautiful singing voice.  Coming from a musical family, to their dismay, he was too shy to sing when he was younger.  He made up for that in the last several years.  He loved going out to sing and proved that he was the most talented of all the brothers!

He was a brother, a father of 3, a grandfather and a friend to many.

He loved life, was a hard worker and took excellent care of himself. He struggled with his health but he never complained.  Having found out he had type I Diabetes at age 21, he was told he would not make it past 40
. . . . he was 57
 We love you and will miss you Uncle Stacey and we look forward to seeing you again!!

Here he is singing.  See what good shape he was in!  The cigarette was fake (part of the act)


Here is a video of him singing with my cousin Ryan.  His "performance" name was Spencer Lang.

Our prayers go out to Casey, Courtney and April and their families.  As well as with my Dad and his 2 brothers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Penile Adhesions

Ha!!  Did that title get your attention??  But seriously, this is good info for those who may have a baby boy who is circed or who may be considering circumcising future children . . . 

First Do No Harm

Whenever I think of that creed that Dr's strive to abide by I can't help but think circumcision, and how ironic it is that the goal is to FIRST do NO harm . . . yet they are performing elective cosmetic surgery on a baby.  Without the procedure there is no harm, things are left perfect as they are, as God created them when He declared "it is good" (they have disproved supposed health benefits from circumcising).  The procedure has the potential to cause harm (or I would argue doesn't have the potential to not cause harm) . . . so it seems like there is a conflict here.

We all know there are complications with any surgery or any medical procedure period.  I am not talking about trauma or lingering pain or mental issues (much of which is also experienced)  . . . but actual physical issues as a result of the procedure.  Among the many potential complications you have things like infection, hemorrhage, buried penis, phimosis, deformity (can be caused by removing too much foreskin or actually cutting into the penis) along with more serious complications like amputation and even death.  Of course the more serious complications are very rare.  But rare or not, they do occur, and wouldn't otherwise, so it is right to acknowledge their existence.  In this article on the Estimated Incidence of Circumcision Complications in the US from 1940-1990 they estimate . . . 
At the present rate of over 1.25 million infant circumcisions annually, the estimated death rate of 1 in 24,000 translates to one infant death per week (52 deaths annually). An estimated death rate of 1 in 500,000 translates to one infant death every 152 days (between 2 and 3 deaths annually).
I know babies can die from any number of things, it is so terribly tragic, heartbreaking . . . but because this is due to an elective cosmetic surgery gives me pause.  In this case I refer you back to the first bold line of this blog post above.
Like I said though, serious life threatening complications from circ are rare.  But there are complications that are much more common, and adhesions are often either overlooked or catch parents by surprise.

What are Penile Adhesions

Penile adhesions occur when the foreskin, that has been ripped away from the glans of the penis during the circumcision procedure, adheres back to the glans in the days/weeks following the procedure.  Or if you want the words of a professional, here is a description by a nurse
When a circumcision is done, tissue which would normally be intact is split. Unless proper care is taken, the epithelium of the inner prepuce at the point where the foreskin was removed can reattach to the epithelium of the glans. The result of this is a penile adhesion.
 This has always been a complication, however I really believe that it is becoming more common. A study by Dr Van Howe showed that some 25.6% of circumcised babies had problems with adhesions and 4.1% had skin bridges.

With circumcision not being recommended by any medical establishment, and with the current trends in the culture today, I understand that a lot of Dr's are becoming more conservative and cutting off less of the foreskin.  At least this is what I am hearing from others as well as seeing first hand on children I know who have been circed and have much more of their foreskin remaining (especially compared to the dozens and dozens of preschool kids I worked with 15 yrs ago).  This is a step in the right direction, the less you cut off the better, however you are going to have the same recovery and pain issues as well as many other potential complications no matter how much is cut off.  So cutting off less doesn't make it "right" or somehow ok.  Nor can it serve as a compromise . . . a circumcision is a circumcision . . . period. 

The issue is that they are ripping the foreskin away from the glans to perform the circumcision (on an intact penis the foreskin will naturally separate in time, and should never be forced).  Then, instead of doing a "high and tight" as we may call it, and removing most of the foreskin (which can cause it's own problems like painful erections, harry penis and bent penis because, for some, there isn't enough skin left to allow for full or normal erection as adults) they are leaving more of the foreskin on.  This skin then adheres back to the penis wherever it may fall, which is where you have your adhesion issues.  The ultimate result of these more conservative circumcisions is a penis which requires the special care of a circumcised penis (especially in the first days and weeks) but you also have a good bit of foreskin remaining, that eventually, once healed and separated, must be cleaned like an intact penis (ultimately retracted and cleaned under).  I don't think parents realize this.  The circumcised penis requires more care than the intact penis during the first 3 years of life. 

As mentioned, the excess foreskin, if left alone, will adhere back to the glans causing adhesions.  Basically the remaining foreskin is just trying to do what it is supposed to do and what it would have done before it was forcefully retracted from the glans.  There are also other types of adhesions that are more serious, those involving the actual scar and the forming of bridges. Some dr's recommend constantly retracting the foreskin after birth, and doing it daily to prevent adhesionsa baby's intact penis is self cleaning and completely protected and requires no special care whatsoever . . . and I have 4 boys so I know this to be true from experience).

So it is a catch 22.  If you cut off a lot of foreskin you risk deformities, issues with function etc.  If you leave some on you have a good chance of having adhesions and it requires special care.  Seems that either way you slice it there are issues (OK bad pun, LOL, but you get the picture).

So what do you do if your baby has adhesions?   Many Dr's recommend forcibly retracting the foreskin (which would be excruciating initially unless some topical numbing cream was used) and applying ointment and repeating daily till the foreskin no longer adheres.  Remember, this is raw skin that is sticking together, I can't help but think that separating it over and over would have to be painful, especially if it is starting to 'stick'.  In my research on this I have read some message boards where parents have said that they have had to retract at ever diaper change till their child was out of diapers in order to prevent the adhesions from forming.  Yikes!!  This is backed up by a statement by Dr Van Howe . . .
There is little medical advice available on this problem but Dr. Van Howe writes that "the circumcised boy needs to have any skin overlaying the glans pulled back and cleaned regularly until 15-18 months of age to prevent adhesions from reforming and debris from accumulating." He says the debris consists of "lint, dirt, talc, stool and detritus." He found strong association between coronal adhesions and the presence of subpreputial debris. Dr. Van Howe state sthat most preputial adhesions in circumcised boys resolve by 24 months "afterparents were instructed to apply gentle retraction on the adhesion.
Some say leave it be and it will separate on it's own as they get older.  I tend to think the 2nd advice is the most sound (no surprise, I tend to take the most natural route).  Eventually, hormones will naturally cause the skin to separate as it does for an intact penis.  But there is the potential for more complications since it has been altered from it's natural state and excess skin may adhere anywhere.  Infections and debris getting caught inside, (see quote above)  skin bridges and pain etc. are all potential complications  There have been times where there have been referrals to urologists and a 2nd circumcision is recommended, HERE is one such story.  I don't know if these are always necessary or just the medical profession trying to 'fix' something they think needs fixing (something they messed up to begin with).  In fact 1 of my 5 brothers in law (who shall remain nameless) was circumcised for a 2nd time as a baby, because there were problems after the first circumcision.  His mother told me the heartbreaking story of hearing him screaming from down the hall as it was being done again. . . and 20+ yrs later she is still regretful and saddened by how needless it all was.  From the Van Howe study linked to several times above . . .
According to past studies, between 1%[2,3] and 9.5%[4] of boys circumcised at birth will have the procedure revised or redone
 I think many people think that circumcision is supposed to make things easier, it is supposed to be cleaner, it is supposed to look better (all of which is untrue by the way) and I am sure plenty of people have seen no outward issues at all after their sons circumcisions . . . but what we are doing is altering the body.  We are taking a functioning organ and removing it for no medical reason.  And we are doing it on a baby when the organ is 1/10th (shoot even smaller than that) the size it will be when that child is an adult.  Plastic surgeons won't even do many surgeries on children with deformities until they are older, because they know how much children's bodies change as they grow.

We humans try to improve on Gods design, but we can't!!  It is one thing if a child is born with an anomaly, but to alter a beautiful, perfect creation . . . there are often consequences, great or small (mental or physical).  I think back to the saying First Do No Harm and I can't imagine any procedure it applies to better than performing cosmetic surgery on a baby who is not deformed.

Here are some first hand accounts online from parents who have had to go through this, as well as some of the recommendations from their Dr's (which you will see vary greatly)

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/adhesions.htm (bottom of the page)

If you have a son who is circumcised and has adhesions, do your research and make sure to get a 2nd (or 3rd) opinion before deciding on something drastic like a 2nd surgery.
If you are pregnant or contemplating circumcising future sons, I encourage you to also research. While I can understand and respect that certain religions feel bound to circ (and any Christians reading need to understand that we are NOT commanded to circumcise in the Bible, nor is Circumcision spoken about positively under the new covenant), the fact is that no medical society in the world recommends circumcision.  I encourage everyone to consider their child and his rights, and consider allowing him to make this very sensitive and personal decision for himself.

More information
There is more information about circumcision and adhesions at the links included throughout the post.  More info can also be found at these links below (some are duplicates from above)
Penile Adhesion: The hidden complication of circumcision
Adhesions, what are they
Post Operative Complications of Circumcision 
Penile Adhesions after Neonatal Circumcision

Doctors Opposing Circumcision
Mothers Against Circumcision
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages

p.s. . . . If anyone wonders why there are sometimes weeks between my posts . . . it is because it sometimes takes me weeks to write them, LOL!!! (can't recall the number of times I fell asleep in bed trying to finish this one, I am only 1/2 awake right now, LOL!).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Natural Playdough

OK if you are brave (like me) then you give in and let your kids play with playdough despite the huge mess it makes!  And there is no denying that it makes a mess . . . pretty much every time!  But they just love it so much!  My kids have always loved it and lately they have been loving playing with their pokemon figurines in the playdough.

If you are thrifty (like me) then you like to make your own playdough.  I started making playdough like 15 yrs ago when I worked at an Early Learning Center (long before having my own kids).  I have seen many, many recipes on the web and I have tried many.  I like to stay away from Alum which many recipes use.  But the ones that use Cream of Tartar call for SO much of it that it seems almost wasteful.  And the natural recipes I came across talked about using natural food colorings or making your own natural food coloring to add to the playdough after it was finished and that seemed too complicated.  

So I decided to kind of wing it and take some ideas from several recipes and come up with something easy and still natural . . . and to my surprise . . . it worked!! 

What I did was start with a good recipe I knew worked.  They all call for water, so instead of water in the recipe I replaced it with some type of natural liquid that was colored. 
Then I used less cream of tarter than what is usually called for (trying to conserve it) and it turned out great!!
Here is the final recipe I came up with.  I am giving you the full recipe but after my first batch I ended up cutting it in 1/2 because I had a lot of different colors I wanted to try.  Most of the pictures you see here are of this recipe cut in 1/2 and it still makes a nice sized ball of dough.

The Recipe
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of liquid*
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

* For liquid I used what I happened to have on hand that would make color.  I used raspberry juice concentrate, grape juice (either full strength or diluted if I thought it was needed) blueberry juice (from boiling blueberries) strong tea (coffee would have worked too).  I also used paprika and cocoa, which I just mixed in with some water.  If I would have had some liquid chlorophyll (or even spinach that I could have boiled to make green water) it would have rocked the green!!  Next time.  Not sure what I would use for blue but really, you can use anything.   Some more ideas, carrot juice, beet juice, shoot any juice you have on hand or any liquid left after boiling veggies or whatever can be used in place of water, and any powder (herb, spice etc) as well.  The raspberry, grape and blueberry turned out very similar in color, just slightly different shades. 

In a pot, mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil . . . slowly add your liquid

Put your pot over med heat and stir.  As it warms up it will start to thicken.

Continue to stir until the dough gets thick, forms a ball and separates from the sides and bottom of the pan.
Turn onto something like wax paper or floured surface.  Keep in mind that it is hot!!

As it cools you can kneed it to a nice smooth consistency (the kids are usually anxious to help with this part)

For these I added cocoa (left) and paprika (right) to the mix

I was concerned that using juices and stuff would make it go bad quicker, and you can always store it in the fridge if needed.  But I made this stuff over a month ago and it is still good.  I keep it in ziplock sandwich bags and make sure that I squeeze all the air out.  It still works great after a month (homemade playdough usually lasts several months for me).  If it starts to get a bit dry just put some oil on your hands before playing with it.


Grape Juice


Blueberry Juice


Raspberry Juice