Easy Toxin Free Mosquito Repellant!

What you need:

2 oz. Glass Bottle With Spray Cap

Organic Citronella Essential Oil

1.75 oz. Unflavored Vodka

Pour vodka into glass bottle and then add 20 drops of citronella essential oil. Shake to combine and then spray on body before going outdoors! See, I told you it was that simple. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to spray it onto your clothing to avoid a drying effect but keep in mind it has essential OIL in it so don’t spray it on anything fancy for sure.

We tested this oil to alcohol ratio out and had complete success. The last time I went outside without repellant, I ended up with a grand total of 15 bites on my legs. Ouch! After using this homemade repellant, ZERO!

Try to select a dark glass such as amber or cobalt, if the bottle is clear just store in a dark cabinet or bag.

Breastfeeding A Toddler? Me?

Many say that when your baby turns a year old, they are no longer a baby- they are now a toddler. A toddler?! That tiny helpless infant that depended upon you for their every waking (and sometimes sleeping) need- now is his own person. The independent toddler.

My little Jack is not so little anymore… he has several teeth, can eat anything that we eat, sleeps in his own bed now and is walking (most often running) everywhere. His birthday is October 14th and he will be turning 1- turning a toddler. A breastfeeding toddler…. a few months back I wrote an article about his growing independence, and at that time, I thought he was starting to wean due to his drastic drop in nursing sessions. I was wrong. He has developed a whole new nursing pattern and schedule with no signs of quitting any time soon.

I never thought I would nurse a toddler. I really did not think that I would make it 6 months let alone an entire year (without a single drop of formula, I might add). The beginning of our nursing relationship was dark and gloomy with little to no hope of success. With the support of my husband, La Leche League and many others, WE MADE IT! As hard as it all was to get through, I am thankful for the process because it has brought me to a place of real understanding and empathy for others struggling too. Before I had Jack, I thought nursing would be so easy and just could not understand why everyone didn’t breastfeed. I was quite judgmental in fact. This experience and life lesson has been so worthwhile and precious to me.

I took Jack to a sleep specialist the other week, this was when I became informed that his sleeping problems were all due to me nursing him at night. The doctor gave the advice to immediately stop feeding at night, and to shut the door of his room and not go back in until morning. While I appreciate his concern and respect his opinion, I let him know that I was unwilling to follow his directions. Then he asked, “How long are you planning on nursing him anyway, he’s almost 1?” To which I replied, WHENEVER HE DECIDES TO STOP. The look on his face was sheer horror. I was not offended by him at all though, my priority is my nursing toddler, not his crawling skin…

If you are having a hard time starting your breastfeeding journey, be encouraged. It may take a lot of work and tears, but it is so worth it and so worthwhile.

To read My Breastfeeding Experience: A Difficult Journey click here.

To visit the La Leche League webpage for more information, resources and support click here. 

October 15th – Not just any other day…

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October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that passes by unnoticed by most, but for those who have experienced the pain of Child-loss…it is certainly not forgotten.

If you have lost a child, while during pregnancy, birth or even after… you probably have encountered people lacking sensitivity to this subject. That whole saying, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all”- lets abolish that right now because “nice” is a relative term. Some people that think they are being nice, even providing comfort – can really tear your heart out due to the lack of understanding on this subject. Here are some of the comments that I received after the loss of my 2 babies…

1. Well at least it was early on in the pregnancy…

2. At least you didn’t get to know the baby and then it died…

3. You can have other children…

4. It wasn’t really a baby- it was just tissue…

5. Maybe babies that God knows will die- don’t have souls…

6. Maybe God is punishing you for something you did…

These ignorant statements (made by people that really did not mean any harm to me) are just that, ignorant. People simply do not know what to do or say in these situations, yet they feel compelled to say something- anything really. The problem is, usually that “anything” is hurtful. Diminishing the loss is not only unhelpful to the grieving process, it is destructive. We need to feel the pain, in order to accept the loss and to move forward. But please understand that moving forward does not mean forget. Women never forget the children once held inside their own bodies and outsiders need to realize this and stop expecting them to get over it.

This is why awareness is so important.  We, as women need to talk about loss. If we can achieve even a fraction of understanding as it pertains to miscarriage, and child loss- then we will be able to grieve better, recover faster and help others in the same situation better.

There will be a candlelight service here in Baton Rouge, LA to memorialize the little ones, lost to this world but never lost to our hearts. It will be October 15th at Baringer Rd Park. Sign in starts at 7:00 PM.

To learn more you can visit http://www.october15th.com for more information.

The Disappointing Wife

This article by a fellow blogger touched me and I want to share it with you.

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I come from a very long line of strong-minded women. Sicilians on my Mom’s side and French on my Dad’s side. It’s safe to say that if your mind is not made up, we won’t hesitate to make it up for you. You know that saying “put on your big girl panties and deal with it’? Well, we invented the big girl panties and we will be quick to let you know if yours get into a wad! I may look like my Dad’s family, but my disposition is entirely Sicilian…my husband will not argue with this.  He wouldn’t dare argue! I may just change his mind for him really quickly. 

In all honesty, my husband can think entirely for himself, and after 13 years of marriage, he DOES argue with me quite a bit. I’m proud of him. See, he’d much rather just give in than argue. So for…

View original post 3,980 more words

Lemon Herb Chicken Moscato Recipe

I came across this recipe online and just had to share it with you all. This comes from What’s Gaby Cooking, and if you haven’t been to her site, click here to visit now.

My neighbor had given me a bottle of Moscato wine and while I do not personally consume alchohol as a beverage, I will use it in cooking. So I started searching for recipes that I could use the wine and I found this one for Lemon Herb Chicken. Now Moscato is a sweet almost dessert wine with floral and peachy notes so if you are cooking with it, make sure to choose ingredients that will work well with that type of flavor. Also use ORGANIC mushrooms. Mushrooms tend to absorb everything from the environment around them so its important to always choose organic when dealing with mushrooms.

Here is the recipe from the What’s Gaby Cooking site:

Ingredients

  • 1-pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 6 ounces)
  • ½ cup The Naked Grape Moscato wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Paste or rice to serve

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken into a large bowl and sprinkle the flour on top. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and toss with a pair of tongs to make sure the chicken is evenly coated in flour, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken into the skillet and sauté until fully cooked, about 10 minutes, making sure to stir the chicken to ensure it cooks evenly. Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add the remaining olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir. Sauté the mushrooms for about 3-4 minutes until they are partially cooked. Add the Moscato wine and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and let the wine cook, and the mushrooms continue to cook down for about 5 minutes. Season the mushroom mixture with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the chopped parsley, basil and cooked chicken into the mushroom mixture and stir. Season everything with salt and pepper to taste and reduce the heat to low until ready to serve. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the chicken to give it a burst of freshness.
  5. Cook some pasta or rice, whichever you prefer, according to the package directions. Serve the chicken over the pasta or rice and enjoy.

This recipe really came out great and was really fast to cook. I already had some pre-cooked rice in the refrigerator from the night before so the whole thing came together in about 25 minutes. Jack loved the chicken and the mushrooms. I find that kids love flavor just as much as us adults, so if you want them to eat, feed them things that you would want to eat yourself.

 

The Birth of Liam Lawrence: A Guest Post

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Have you ever gone through a time in your life when you felt that everything was happening at one time and you had no control over any of it? Well that’s exactly how I felt during the time of Liam’s birth. I was trying my best to prepare myself for what would hopefully be a very smooth and complication free natural birth. I wanted to have a natural birth with our daughter Layla, but that did not happen. After having an epidural and feeling like a bystander at my own child’s birth, I was determined to have a different experience with Liam. We met Liam on May 23 at 3:59 am. So many unexpected events happened during the week of his birth.  Justin and I had been trying to close on our new home for some time now and received word that we would be closing on May 24th. Of course, we were elated, but nervous because we did not know when Liam was coming. I was in my 38th week and had been having strong Braxton hick’s contractions for two weeks. In that same week, Justin had gotten into a terrible accident in which his car was totaled. For some reason, I felt total peace over that situation. Normally I would have been really upset, but I was just grateful that he walked away from it perfectly fine. Since we knew that we were moving soon, we starting packing up the house, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that Liam was coming. I was allowed to sign the papers for the title of house early since I just knew Liam was going to come that same morning that we close. (You know, mother’s intuition…)

On Wednesday night, we called my mother over to help us pack and watch Layla as well. I had been feeling sort of crampy all day, but nothing to worry myself about after speaking with our doula. Well the sensations continued through out the evening, so we asked my mother to keep Layla just in case tonight was the night. After calling the doula a couple of times, I decided to try and relax and get some sleep. I told Justin that I was fine with him trying to get sleep and I would wake him if I needed him. Well, around midnight the pressure waves began to intensify so I tried some relaxation techniques. They helped tremendously, but the sensations were not letting up. I knew I was in labor. Our doula asked that I try to labor as much as I could at home so that I would not go to the hospital and be turned away. I did just that. I labored for about an hour or two on my own. I walked the halls, I rolled my body on the exercise ball, I bounced on the ball and finally decided to have a nice warm soak. I was not in the water for more than 10 minutes when the most intense pressure waves I have ever felt went through my body. It was out of no where. Justin was still sleeping and I was trying to lift my body out of the tub. Finally after calling for him a few times, he wakes and I say in a very stern, but calm voice “YOU NEED TO GET UP.” He has the look of a deer in highlights. I was hoping he would not start washing dishes or cleaning up like he did when I went into labor with Layla. He immediately packed my cooler and put everything in car while I used every bit of strength I could muster to put my clothes on.

I called the doula and our birth photographer on the way and told them we would be at hospital in about 30 minutes. Justin got us there in 11 minutes. I was admitted into triage, where I was interrogated and annoyed by the nurses (Sorry… its true!). I just knew this baby was coming… and coming fast! I asked to go to the bathroom and when I could not, our doula knew what that meant. She asked the nurse to get me to the room and in the water immediately. Of course, they ignored this request and continued to question me and monitor baby. Justin, politely, asked again and they ignored again. Finally, I said “Can you get me to the room before I have the baby right here?!” They checked me and rushed me to the room when they realized that I was already 6cm. They laid me on the bed to monitor more, but I was insistent on getting in the water. I got off the bed, started taking off my clothes and told them that I was getting in that water NOW! I was helped into the water and felt immediate relief. The water felt so good and my body was weightless. Justin held onto me and gave me strength and encouragement. I was only in the water for about 10 minutes before I felt the surges. This was it! It was time! I had a moment of panic, but the doula brought me back. I released my mind and body to do what it was meant to do. I trusted my body and my baby. I did not know what to do, but they did. I gave up my control and my power to them. Justin entered the water with me just in time. He held my body while our sweet, beautiful son was born into the water. He was put into our arms where he took his first breath. Everything was right with the world.

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My body did exactly what I knew it could do. The right to birth our babies how it is meant to be has been taken from us and I had taken it back! I had never felt more proud to be a woman than in that moment. I truly feel that the way that I gave birth to my son has had a profound effect on our relationship, especially with breastfeeding. If there are any more little Lawrence’s to come, we pray that we can be so fortunate as to have them enter the world the same way as Liam did. Maybe next time we will have a home birth… never know J.

(Oh! We closed on the house the day after Liam’s birth and Justin’s family moved us into the new house while I was in hospital.)DSC_0106_zps18f1efca

Improving Birth on Labor Day

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Every year there is a rally across the nation for improving birth. This rally is held on Labor Day in various locations by volunteers who want to promote awareness and make a difference in the current birth practices in the United States.

I attended the rally here in Baton Rouge last year when I was big and pregnant with Jack- 8 months pregnant in fact. It was a great gathering of like minded women reaching out to our community on the facts about Birth. Unfortunately I was unable to attend this year, as I was moving this weekend. Grrrr…(insert anger and rage here!) But I am sure that it was a tremendous success. The woman who ran the rally here in Baton Rouge is an inspiration and a warrior for Evidence Based Maternity Care- which is the slogan for the Improving Birth Organization. You can read her birth story on my blog by clicking here.

On the very front page of the Improving Birth webpage, there is a quote by the founder that sums everything up perfectly. She said,

“This movement isn’t about natural birth vs. medicated birth.

It’s not about hospital birth vs. home birth or birth center birth.

It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions

about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, 

including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.

Then, within that choice, they are treated with dignity and compassion.”

~ Dawn Thompson, Founder of ImprovingBirth.org

I really like this organization because of what they stand for, supporting women. I have my own opinions about the way Birth should be and the way that birth should go, BUT I nor anyone else has the right to choose for another mother. Each mother should have access to all of the information needed to make an educated decision about her own maternity care and the care of her baby during birth and thereafter. I do not have a problem with epidurals, or cesarean sections- they are just nouns. My problem is the lack of proper communication, information and support for women that end up traumatized by epidurals and cesarean sections because they did not understand totally. An adequately supported, educated mother who has a section, is not suffering from fear or regret years later after the birth of that child.

If you would like to know more about the Improving Birth Organization, visit the website by clicking here.

Below are some pictures from the Baton Rouge rally provided by Ginny Soutiere.

I love to feature birth stories that are empowered and also those that did not go as planned here on my blog so that others can gain encouragement and support. If you have a birth story that you would like to share, comment below with your email address so I can contact you. We have so much to learn from each other as women through our experiences. Reading birth stories during my pregnancy filled me with hope, inspiration and power to birth my son, MY WAY.  To read Jacks Birth Story click  here and to watch his birth video click here.

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