29 October 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Chatting with friends: Last weekend I was able to see a few of my friends (in real life) that I haven't seen for a while and as always, I'm forever grateful to have those wonderful adult moments.

Dunkin Donuts gift cards: When I was in graduate school, there was a Dunkin Donuts on campus so my father would get me gift cards so I could buy myself tasty items between classes. Not having given this institution my patronage much since then, I still retained those cards and was able to use the remainder of them to buy a friend of mine some coffee and a muffin (and a chai for myself). I'm grateful to have kept them so long and to have been able to use them for someone other than myself.

The Universe: Even though it's messing with my mind, I feel like I might actually be moving in the right direction right now and I'm grateful for everything that is in store.

My Teaching Philosophy: This is something that is driving me nuts, so like I normally do when things are bothering me, I am declaring that I am grateful for it. I'm grateful for what I've already written, what I will continue to write and what the finished product will be (because it will eventually be a finished albeit work-in-progress product).

Dogs: I love dogs. I can't wait until I have one again. (Technically, I can because I decided that I would not have a dog until both my children are potty trained and even then I will have to make the decision based on whether or not I want the added responsibility, but the idea that somewhere in the future I might have an awesome dog is very pleasing to me.) I am glad that dogs exist.

28 October 2011

Yeah, I'm Pretty Cool

Welcome to the I Love Me! Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the I Love Me! Carnival hosted by Amy at Anktangle. This carnival is all about love of self, challenging you to lift yourself up, just for being you.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from the other carnival participants.

Oddly enough, I’ve always liked myself (and still do). I say this is odd because just about everyone I know has something she desires to change about herself, no matter her age or status in life. I’ve never really felt this way, which is probably weird, but since I have such a high respect for my body and myself, I hope to develop this in my children before they begin heavy interactions with others.

I have never had many issues with self-image in my life, though I did dabble in a few unfortunate practices during my early teen years. This was more about an attempt to sympathize with the individuals who did it for other reasons and understand the methods for which people engage in these activities, than me actually doing it to defile my body. I’ve tried to do “bad” things to myself before, but find I just can’t. In all my years of living, I have only changed my hair once (in terms of its color) when I had a friend put highlights in it. I hated it and haven’t done anything since.

Obviously, I’m not telling you that coloring your hair is bad (even though most methods are just heavy chemicals that I wouldn’t wish on anyone); it just isn’t my thing. I truly, honestly like myself just the way I am. Why? Because I have a deep, heavy belief that I am the way I am for a reason. I was made this way, exactly, in order to serve some purpose in this world. If I was made on purpose, why would I want to change anything about myself?

It is this belief that I wish to instill in my children. They, too, were made they way they are purposefully and as they are, they are perfect. When they grow up knowing these facts, they will develop the same self-respect that I have. When one has such a degree of self-respect, one is far less likely to engage in any activity that will harm one’s body-temple. Most of the time, I think I’m pretty cool and I desperately hope that this “coolness” will rub off.

Thank you for reading this post from the I Love Me! Carnival. Please take some time to read the contributions from the
other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the afternoon of October 28th with all the carnival links.)

  • The Art of Being Thoughtful – Becky at Old New Legacy likes that she is mostly thoughtful but wants to become more thoughtful. She shares a story that demonstrates that giving gifts doesn't have to be expensive.
  • I love me (and running)! – Sheryl of Little Snowflakes writes about her new love of running and how it has helped her learn to love herself!
  • For the Love of Moe – Valerie at Momma in Progress shares her thoughts on a body forever changed, but forever loved.
  • Where I Find My Worth – Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how finding her worth in worldly things always falls short.
  • Oh Yeah, I'm Cool – Tree at Mom Grooves shares her very favorite gift and the thing she most wants to pass on to her daughter.
  • Loving – Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about some of the things she loves about herself - some easily, and some by choice for the sake of healing.
  • Baby Strikes A Pose – Emma from Your Fonder Heart writes about her family's decision not to let their 7 month old model, and uses the opportunity to think more deeply about girls (young and old) and how they determine their self-worth.
  • I Love Me! - A Rampage of Appreciation! – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle stops waiting for anyone else to tell her she is wonderful and goes on a rampage of appreciation for herself!
  • Raising Healthy Daughters – In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Kate Wicker offers tips to pass on a healthy self-image to the young ladies in our care.
  • Unexpected Benefits of a Healthy Pregnancy – How does it feel to have a healthy pregnancy? Dionna at Code Name: Mama discovers that making positive choices can be empowering.
  • Filling Up Our Watering Cans – Nada at miniMOMist believes that practicing Sabbath is the same as being a gardener who lovingly tends to the flowers in her garden. She needs to fill up her watering can first.
  • Better Body by Baby – Jess from Mama 'Roo and Family Too! shares how having her first baby makes her feel even more beautiful and confident about her body than ever before.
  • These Breasts Were Made for Nursing – Becoming a mother helped Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children to embrace her womanhood and improve her self image.
  • Yeah, I'm Pretty Cool – Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes about her own self love and how she hopes to foster the same self-respect in her children.
  • Who I've Become – The future is bright with That Mama Gretchen who shares her past and present perspective on body image and how she hopes to become a change agent with her daughter.
  • Ever-Evolving Me – Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about her innate drive to continue learning, growing, and evolving.
  • I love you for your mind – Lauren at Hobo Mama turns a dubious phrase on its head with a little self-loving slam poetry.
  • Stop Think of Love with Your Body – Amy of Peace 4 Parents shares an exercise to gradually transition from hating to loving your body - stretch marks, sags, imperfections, and all.
  • I Love Me! – Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy shares the things that she loves about herself!
  • caught in a landslide – jaqbuncad of wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! shares a list of reasons why zie loves hir body.
  • Love Your Tree – How do you picture the ways your body and mind change? Amy at Anktangle writes about how trees help her have perspective about her own growth over time.
  • Pumpkin Butt – Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes about how birth and pumpkins are the way to accepting her body
  • I do love me – Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the lessons about loving herself she wants to pass along to her daughter.
  • Appreciating Who I Am – Linni at An Unschooling Adventure describes the things she likes about herself and the way she appreciates who she is as a person.
  • I love me! : A journey – Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her journey on arriving at the point where she can say: I love me!
  • My Daughter Doesn't Care So Why Should I? – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama calls herself on the carpet for the image of self love and beauty she portrays in front of her toddler.
  • Finding out who I am – Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares an exercise that helped her identify positive qualities she possesses, and how that has helped her learn to love herself.

24 October 2011

The Gratitude Challenge

You may have noticed that for the past few months, I've been writing a weekly post to share some of the things I'm grateful for in my life each week. Since I feel it is important to be grateful all of the time (not just one day a year), I did not want my gratitude posts to have anything to do with Thanksgiving (even though not all of you celebrate it). However, since this holiday is upon us, I decided to take advantage of its meaning by issuing a grand gratitude challenge to all of you. Are you ready?

My Gratitude Challenge for you is: Write a list of 100 things you are grateful for and post it on Thanksgiving Day.

One hundred things? You bet! Don't think you can do it? That's why I'm giving you a whole month to toil, dream and mark down each and every thing you're grateful for. (Actually, there should be far more than 100, but I'm trying to keep this reasonable for you.)

What should this list look like? The only "rule" I would like to give you per say, is not to list any one thing twice. If you have written a gratitude post before, you are certainly more than welcome to include any or all of the things you are already grateful for (since, obviously, you're still grateful for them). Here's a sample for you:

Try not to include the same item more than once:
1. Sharks
43. Sharks

Do include different facets of the same item (if applicable):
1. Shark teeth - They last forever!
23. Shark fins - They're so pointy!
57. Shark intestines - Best necklace ever!

Note the difference.

I do hope you will join me in this challenge. I'll provide a link-up as usual and hope you can make some rounds to view other posts to admire what everyone is grateful for. You can even read your list aloud at the Thanksgiving table!

See you in one month.

22 October 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Moments when Piper plays alone: Because of how close Heidi and Piper are in age, it is often difficult for me to distinguish her own personality and identity apart from Heidi. The other day, I was able to watch Piper play with two (plastic) turtles for a few minutes on the back of her high chair saying, "Walk, walk, walk" and it was one of the cutest things I've seen in a while. I'm grateful to have had that chance to just watch her, on her own.

Jillian's Drawers: This is one of my favorite stores ever, located in Ithaca, NY. I could spend hours just staring (literally) at all the pretty cloth diaper patterns and wishing I could build my stash all over again from scratch with unlimited funds. Then I could look at all the "green" toys, dishes, and clothing options for another few hours until they finally kick me out for loitering. I love it and I'm thankful that it has been there through my cloth diaper experience (even though it's a distance from me).

Moosewood Restaurant: Ahh, finally, I got to go to a vegetarian restaurant! I'm so grateful for every vegetarian restaurant that exists out there so that we have options when it comes to eating outside the home. Even though most of the things on the menu for lunch the other day had cheese or something else I don't eat, I was still able to find something fantastically tasteful to enjoy. (P.S. Heidi ate all the tofu off my plate.)

Paint: Heidi and Piper had a wonderful painting experience while visiting my mother and though I do not have any pictures, I can assure you their creations are amazing. I'm so glad that they are developing a love of art and that my mother, as an art teacher, will be there to keep that love growing as long as she's here.

Time to sew: While visiting my mother's house, I was afforded some time do get a little bit of sewing done and it was amazing. Heidi was busy drawing with markers and Piper was with my mother so I had the rare opportunity to get something done (well, most of it anyway). I am always grateful for the time that I have on Earth, but I am even more grateful when I can be super productive during that time.

18 October 2011

Who Paid The Price For You?

Last week, I had the privilege of attending church at Unity Village, which is essentially the headquarters for the faith I have followed most of my life. I visited this amazing place once before in my life when I was in 6th grade so it had been well over 10 years since I set foot on those grounds. After dropping my children off in two childcare areas, I headed down to the chapel, got my bulletin and sat down. The first time tears began to well up in my eyes was upon looking at the bulletin and reading the words:

"Welcome Home."

This may not mean anything to you, but as someone who took a 10 year (give or take) hiatus from this way of life and only recently found an amazing church to attend relatively close to home, this is a powerful statement. So powerful, even now it makes me want to cry. Ahh..moving on.

What I want to primarily focus on here is the amazing message given by Rev. Erin McCabe that was centered around a single chapter of a book the congregation had been studying week by week. The title of this chapter, as you might have guessed, is:

"Who paid the price for you?"


If I could have taken a step back upon hearing that question, I would have, but since I was sitting down my hand automatically jumped up to my heart.

Wow again. This is such an interestingly phrased, deep, probing question that I almost immediately began to cry (again). Why?

I thought of my grandmother. A woman who has had such a difficult life filled with near constant abuse, poverty and terrible loss. This is a woman who was never formally educated beyond the 3rd grade. I have a Master's degree. I have never known physical abuse. I have never lived in poverty.

I am so lucky.

She paid the price for me.

Who paid the price for you?

Naturally, the minister at Unity doesn't know anything about my grandmother, but what she did talk about was the women's suffrage movement. Most of the women and young girls today hardly give this movement a second thought beyond what they study in school and yet if it weren't for those women, they might not be studying at all.

Years ago those women fought for a woman's right to choose her life, to have control and to be who she wanted to be. But, as the minister reminded us, they did not fight for our right to defile our bodies. They did not fight for our right to sell ourselves or to work ourselves to death. It is essential that we realize all that our ancestors went through in order for us to have the lives we have today and not to dwell but rather passionately respect the rich past we all have.

We all have elements in our own pasts that may not please us or make us proud, but they are part of who we are, a part that we cannot change. I think it is important for us to understand what our past meant and what the people in our past endured in their time.

Think about this question for a while. I'd really love to hear your take on it.

15 October 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Dionna at Code Name: Mama: I met her for the first time last weekend as she welcomed me into her home right off the street. She was such a wonderful hostess and at 8 months pregnant, pulled everything off seamlessly. I am so grateful to the hospitality offered to me and my family by her and her husband I just cannot thank them enough.

Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch: She hennaed my ankle! I am so grateful for her willingness to give her amazing talent to all of us and so glad I got to meet her in person.

Shannon at The Artful Mama: I love that Shannon jumped in a car and drove to my house, threw my stuff in it and then allowed me to drive her car, half an hour after we met! That is pure trust and I am so grateful that I had her to travel with and that she entrusted hers and her son's life in my hands.

Unity Village: Again I am so, so glad that I got to attend church while I was attending the fabulous get together last weekend. Being there brings such a great sense of peace (even though I cried at least 3 times) and I can't wait to go there again.

Heidi Using the Potty: FINALLY! I've been waiting for her to take the lead in her own potty learning and she decided that right before we left for Missouri would be the perfect time. Yeah. Right. But at least she has used the potty (for both occurrences!) every day since then (with the exception of during the trip)! I'm so excited at the prospect of only one child in diapers I could scream it from the rooftops! Yes, that is what mothers have to be excited about.

13 October 2011

The Gathering

On the weekend of October 8 some of the amazing women and men who work hard to make Natural Parents Network the wonderful community and resource that it is got together for a meet-up at two locations across the U.S. — the Midwest and the Northwest. This was the first time that many of the volunteers have met in person after a year of collaborating on this amazing website. Please scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of links so that you can read what some of the other volunteers had to say about this incredible First Annual Natural Parents Network Team Get-Together!

As you might remember from last week's Gratitude Post, I spent this past weekend with some awesome people who I've only had contact with online before, the volunteers for Natural Parents Network. Even though not all of them could make it to the two planned gatherings, we had a good turn out and did some cool activities, but overall just enjoyed being together. And now that I feel like I'm writing some sort of sappy novel, I'll move on to a more interesting commentary.

Shannon from The Artful Mama and I (not having met in person before, but having chatted on Skype) drove half-way across the country with three small children to go to this meeting. Crazy? ..........I'll leave that up to you.
This is an exact replica of the car we drove. Almost.

H & P and Little Man did really well during this trip. It took us 24 hours to go each direction with Shannon and I trading off on driving the whole time. Stopping every few hours for gas, food, diaper changes, missing water bottles, more diaper changes, caffeine, diaper changes and random detours made it constantly eventful and relatively entertaining. It was certainly not without its challenges, however, specifically the final 2 hours of our time heading to Dionna's house when all three children took turns screaming in a chorus of "Get me out of this car!" I'm not proud of my mothering during that time when I simply had to keep my mouth shut for fear of saying horrendous things I knew I'd regret, but the point is that we made it!

Contemplating the vastness of freezer stencils.
For our "troubles," we each received amazing goody bags filled with great stuff from Tom's of Maine, Natural Newborn, Luna Pads and more. Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children was generous enough to hand make each bag holding all the great stuff, which doubles as a reusable produce bag! I am so grateful to each company's generous contribution to our gathering as well as Mandy's handiwork! Thanks!

As you might imagine, after 24 hours in a car we all passed out pretty well upon walking into D's house and seeing two already made up air mattresses for us to crash on (Thanks again, peeps!). After sleeping, we were able to regain some sort of normalcy and enjoyed breakfast before heading out into the back yard to make freezer stenciled shirts! I had no idea what I was going to make up until two seconds before we did it and then it took me about 100 years to do both designs for both girls. ("Perfectionism" at its best!) I'm fairly happy with the way they turned out, though, and I'm definitely going to be doing more freezer stenciling in the future.

Going above and beyond, before she realized just how high "beyond" is.

Our Saturday afternoon activity was a visit to a local nature center and a mile long hike in beautiful woods complete with limestone rocks. I'm eternally grateful for having brought my Connecta carrier with me, though it didn't do me quite as much good when I had to carry both Heidi and Piper on said trail while it was nearly 90 degrees outside. This hike caused me to come to the awful conclusion that I am out of shape. Terribly. Sure it was 90 degrees and I was carrying 50 extra lbs at some points up hill over large rock formations, but still. Out. of. shape. My legs felt it for the rest of the day.

On Sunday, while everyone else was doing yoga (which I wanted to do pretty badly), I took H & P to Unity Village, which is the headquarters of my church and a place I had only been to once before in my life. After driving all that way, I needed to at least visit because it is such a wonderful place to be. I was fortunate enough to attend their Sunday service while H & P spent some time in their child care program and I must admit that service made me cry at least 3 times. I'll be posting more on that later, but for now you can enjoy pictures of the rose garden (sans roses, sorry).


Ahh, fountains.

The remainder of Sunday consisted of a lovely parenting talk led by Amy at Peace 4 Parents where many of us really got to open up about some of the every day challenges we face in trying to be better parents. It's always nice to be able to open up safely about the troubles we have since, believe it or not, none of us is perfect! We followed that up with an evening of quinoa chili and henna by Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch. You'll probably see a lot of her awesome work floating around, but if you don't get the chance you can at least see my amazing ankle (Even if the photo isn't that great).

One of the things I loved most about this gathering was never having to worry about where my children were. Having so many natural, attachment parent-minded adults around left me feeling so comfortable that I never hesitated to walk out of a room or in and out of the house when I had to. I always knew that my children were in good hands and would never be spoken to in an inappropriate manner or treated poorly. If only we could all be together all the time, to take turns watching children and disciplining, cooking and cleaning...oh wait, that's Utopia right? Or perhaps a commune.

I'm already looking forward to next year's gathering, wherever it may be, because this was such an energizing trip for me (mentally) that I feel the inherent need to do it again. It is so hard to find like-minded friends, especially like-minded parenting friends, and I certainly don't plan on leaving this group any time soon.

To learn more about all the members of the Natural Parents Network team, visit our about page. To become a volunteer for NPN, first please check out what we're in need of, then contact us if you're interested in helping out. Here's information about some of our lovely volunteers, including all of those who are writing about the gathering today:

In The First Annual Natural Parents Network Cross-Country Get Together, Natural Parents Network thanks the many volunteers who made our first annual get-together a success, and the awesome companies who donated to fill "welcome bags" for the Midwest group.

Northwest Gathering Attendees:

Lauren at Hobo Mama writes Meeting My NPN Friends.  Also find Lauren on Twitter and Facebook!

Amy at Anktangle writes Meeting the NPN Family.  Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

Arpita at Up, Down & Natural writes Me And My Ladies ~ First Annual NPN Team Gathering.  Also find Arpita on Twitter and Facebook.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings writes Seattle Bloggy Meetup & Gluten-free Shortbread! Also find Kristin on Twitter and Facebook!

Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writes Meeting Those People.... Also find Jennifer on Twitter.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes writes Thanks.

Moorea at MamaLady: Adventures in Lesbian Parenting writes The Natural Parents Are Coming! Hide the Stroller!

Midwest Gathering Attendees:

Dionna at Code Name: Mama writes Wanted: More NPN Volunteers in Kansas City! Also find Dionna on Twitter and Facebook!

Jorje at Momma Jorje writes Vacation Weekend with Volunteers.  Also find Jorje on Facebook!

Amy at Peace 4 Parents writes The Value of Parent-to-Parent Support, Truth, Love, and Healing.  Also find Amy on Twitter and Facebook.

Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes The Gathering.  Also find Amanda on Facebook.

Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch writes The One Where I Go to the NPN Gathering.  Also find Joni Rae on Twitter and Facebook

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children writes First Natural Parents Network Get Together.

Rebekah & Chris at Liberated Family.  Also find Rebekah & Chris on Twitter.

Fabulous NPN Volunteers who were unable to attend:

Melissa at The New Mommy Files writes Building a Modern Day Village.  Find Melissa on Twitter and Facebook.

Rachael at The Variegated Life.  Find Rachel on Twitter and Facebook.

Luschka at Diary of a First Child writes Dear Screen Name, Are You Really My Friend? Find Luschka on Twitter and Facebook.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way writes The Natural Parents Network Gathering I Couldn't Attend.  Find Darcel on Twitter and Facebook.

Sarah at Parenting God's Children. Find Sarah on Twitter and Facebook.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It. Find Julia on Twitter and Facebook.

11 October 2011

The Importance of Food Planning

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Though I feel like a hypocrite for writing this right now, I’m doing it anyway. Why do I feel this way? Read on and I will illuminate your mind.

When I started feeding the two mouths of my children “real” food on a regular basis, I also started to understand how beneficial it would be to make meal plans and a monthly food budget so as to get the most for our money. Of course, some things are always easier said than done and though I set a budget right away, I wasn’t great with the meal planning aspect. I tried my first weekly meal plan when I started my blog in January, but it didn’t make an appearance on my blog again for months.

In the beginning, I created a budget of $300 a month for food. It worked for a little while, but when I noticed just how much my children can eat when they are growing, I quickly decided that $300 was not enough. Some months I could do it, spending $302 or something close to that, but I eventually decided that I needed an extra hundred and settled on a $400 budget.

Four hundred dollars a month for food works out pretty well because it equates to $100 a week. Of course, some months are longer and it feels tight towards the end, but that is when I draw upon my pantry stash to sustain our regular eating habits. So, how do I spend that $100 a week? Let's break it down.

Fresh Veggies/Fruits: It's very important for me to have a wide variety of fresh ingredients to work with, making everything in my pantry a bit more nutritious and appetizing. Right now, I like to spend around $20 at the farmers market each week and I do my best to buy as many fresh items from other local farm stands as possible before going to the store. This includes whatever is in season, of course, but I always need to have lettuce, some sort of greens, broccoli, green beans and/or artichokes otherwise my fridge feels empty. Also, we always need apples and bananas and whatever other fruit is on sale.

Restocking: This varies every week and every month since I do not always run out of the same things at the same time, but I like to spend as much as needed each week to rebuild my stores of product. If it isn't essential that I purchase anything particular item, I'll have more money to spend in other areas, but I generally like to purchase another of the same item once I have started using it. For example, once I open a jar of salsa or peanut butter, I purchase a new one when I go to the store so I'm always sure not to run out. (What would I do if I ran out of peanut butter or salsa?)

New Ideas: On rare occasions, I try new recipes and need new ingredients that I've never used before. At other times, I've wanted to try something for a really long time and never got around to purchasing it, so I try to reserve part of the food budget for interesting finds whenever I can. This means that, whenever possible, I try to spend closer to $80 per week so I have a bit more to work with.

This sounds all peachy keen, right? Sure, especially if you plan out your meals every week or month and only take one day to do all your shopping so you save even further by not using as much gas. Yeah, once upon a time, this worked pretty well.

Before I became a vegetarian, I was really good at meal planning. Ever since I made the switch, I have been having a rough time coming up with interesting meals all week long ahead of time. Making a food formula helped me out a lot, but I still feel like I spend more at the store now than I *should.*

Yes, I am here spouting the benefits of food planning yet have fallen out of the habit of doing it myself. (Secretly, I'm hoping that all of you will virtually slap me and tell me I'm acting silly and hopefully, that will make me do it again.) I do think that the importance of food planning cannot be underestimated, especially in larger families. So I humbly ask you to set aside the fact that I have neglected my own meal planning duties, look at the value of it and see how much you can save by knowing what you want to buy before you do it. If you do it right, it is possible to live on a tight food budget while still purchasing high quality foods.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
  • A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
  • Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down & Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the financial aspect of infertility treatments.
  • Material v Spiritual Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4 Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and spiritual wealth.
  • If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
  • Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of working outside of the home.
  • Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
  • Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
  • Money MattersWitch Mom hates money; here's why.
  • Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
  • What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
  • Making Ends Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a working mom and natural parent.
  • Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
  • The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on creating and mothering.
  • Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
  • 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier — Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life (and budget) easier.
  • Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from realizing her dream.
  • Total Disclosure and Total Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget under control.
  • Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
  • Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in BudgetingMudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a recent zoo outing.
  • ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes for her children's financial future.
  • Money vs. TimeMomma Jorje writes about cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater value: Time.
  • An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about planning for parenthood.
  • 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend as little money as possible.
  • Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same time.
  • Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
  • Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun, she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
  • Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can take care of her health.
  • Spending IntentionallyCatholicMommy loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to buy.
  • New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
  • How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
  • It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. — Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has some answers.
  • "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little greener.
  • Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
  • Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
  • Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most important item to budget for.
  • Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting too much of a focus onto it.
  • Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
  • Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her surprise at what she learned.
  • Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's finances.
  • The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if she doesn't always do it.
  • Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.

08 October 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

NPN get together: Several of us Natural Parents Network volunteers decided to get together in the midwest this weekend, which is awesome! Look for more about it soon!

Elderberry pills: My mother gave me elderberry capsules a while ago and I'm now starting to use them, particularly with this trip looming ahead of me. I love boosting my immune system naturally and these are a really great way to do it.

Tea: Mmmm. I love tea. Heidi and Piper have started to enjoy it as much as I do since I've been drinking it much more often (like, all day). I cannot find enough words to express my love for peppermint tea and its smooth taste. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

Seeing the sunrise and the sunset: Most people, I would venture to guess, usually only see the sunset on a daily basis. Thanks to driving all night long to reach Missouri for this fabulous get together, I had the pleasure of seeing both. Amazing.

Sleep: Not having had very much in the past two days, I am greatly looking forward to getting as much as possible tonight. No matter how much it is, I am grateful to it so that I might have the energy to go about the rest of the weekend in a reasonably pleasant manner.

01 October 2011

The Gratitude Post

I'm writing a weekly post to express gratitude for everything I have been blessed with in my life. Will you join me in sharing just five things you are grateful for this week?

This week I'm grateful for:

Decisions: I made a significant decision about my life this week and I'm very thankful for it. It feels good and right. I'll let you know later.

Support: I'm eternally thankful for all the support that I have in my life, no matter who it comes from or when or where. It would be difficult for anyone to go through life without any support whatsoever and I am so glad I don't have to.

Using the Potty: Yes, I've been using it for some time now, but Heidi finally did it on her own, without any prompting or guidance whatsoever! (She has done it once or twice before, but this was the first time she actually sat there and emptied her bladder, rather than just a spurt or drop.) I'm so happy that the end of her time in diapers is actually in sight! I cannot even begin to describe the sigh of relief I feel at the prospect of not having to cart diapers everywhere we go anymore! Yes!!!! Thank you, Heidi!

Peppermint Tea: I love it. I've been drinking it more lately because A. it's getting colder and B. I put the tea bags around in hopes of deterring the ants who continue to invade my home. It hasn't really worked, but I'm enjoying it anyway.

Frozen Soup: I've been freezing good size portions of most of the soups I made this month in preparation for days when I don't feel like doing anything. After eating out for 5 days straight this past week while some in-laws were visiting, I needed my own food. I'm so grateful to the giant bowl of soup plus brown rice I had because it made me feel like a real person again. Ahh.