theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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Thoughts on Breastfeeding

Okay, so I’m coming in just barely under the wire here since August is almost over, but did you know that August is breastfeeding awareness month?

Yep.

And I bet you’re thinking I’m going to give you the spill about how great breastfeeding is and all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding to baby and mom.

Nope.

While there ARE many benefits to breastfeeding, I bet you’ve heard them all before like me. I’m currently reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and it says that about 70% of moms start out trying to breastfeed, so obviously women are aware of how the great potential with breastfeeding is. So no need to go there, IMO.

I guess the real reason I bring up the whole breastfeeding topic is because I’m going to breastfeed and it’s a topic frequently on my mind these days. Note that I said I’m GOING to breastfeed, not that I’m going to TRY and breastfeed. My midwife pointed that out to me the other day. And just how powerful words are and to be positive and confident.

Anyways, the whole thing still seems a bit intimidating to me and the authors of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding discuss just how important support networks are to successful outcomes. I realized that in some ways this blog and everyone who reads it have been a great support to me throughout the last few months and I just wanted to say thanks! Thanks for all the love and interest-it’s so great just knowing that we are not alone out there-whether its discussing the environment (I’m a treehugger and proud of it!) or just about ways to save money while still trying to eat healthy and deliciously and not douse ourselves with unnecessary chemicals. Thanks for just being you and sharing of yourselves, your experiences and opinions! My cup runneth over, y’all!

So on that positive note, I wanted to let you know that if you ARE in the market for nursing supplies, whether for yourself or someone else, Babies R Us has a sale on a bunch of their nursing supplies that runs ‘til the end of August in honor or Breastfeeding awareness month. Yay! I love good deals, don’t you? Sadly, I procrastinated and missed the 20% off sale at Bebe Au Lait organic nursing covers (sigh), but then again, out of necessity and frugality, I did something I probably wouldn’t have otherwise actually done. I made myself a nursing cover. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and then when I missed the great sale at Bebe Au Lait, I decided that I was just going do it. It’s not perfect, but I’m doing my best to get started breastfeeding off to a positive start. Surrounding myself and my baby girl in a beautiful fabric seems like a nice idea.  Here it is….

For the how-to, I followed this great tutorial over at Prudent Baby.

Tell me, do you have any tips or thoughts on how to successfully breastfeed? Something that just really made a difference for you in the positive or negative? (Would love to hear, if you’re willing to share I realize it’s personal experience for everyone.) Or maybe just a tip that someone shared with you about mommyhood in general or an experience that you wished everyone knew to save them some trouble…. (yes, I know I’m opening myself up to all kinds of comments but I’m feeling a bit brave today!)

Love to you all-xoxo!


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Two Easy Ways with Cucumber

Our cucumber harvest is finally coming in-yay! And while I find it hard to beat slicing up a cuke fresh from the garden and sprinkling with some S&P a girl can only eat so many. Variety is the spice of life, after all! Here’s two ways we’ve used up all those gloriously refreshing green veggies coming out of the garden. Got any favorite ways you like to eat them???

Easy Cuke Salad Toss

The Goods:

  • 1 Large Cucumber, chopped
  • 1 C. Tomatoes, chopped (cherry or grape are esp. yummy)
  • 1/4 C. finely chopped red onions (depending on how strong they are)
  • 3 Tbs. Italian Dressing
  • 1 Tbs. Chopped Fresh Basil (optional)

The Grind:

Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!

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This second recipe I just found on Prudent Baby. (One of my favorite sites. I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before.) They really are so easy and I love that you get some veggies in a yummy treat! Sneaky, sneaky!

Cucumber Mint Popsicles

The Goods:

  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 C. “Simple Syrup” (Take  1/2 C. Sugar, 1/2 C. Water, and a a handful of muddled mint and bring to a boil.  Strain out the mint and let cool.)  ***The mint is optional. I didn’t have mint, but these were really tasty anyways. I bet you could also try mint extract and get a good result here.
  • Juice of one lemon (or use 2 Tbs. of Real Lemon Juice instead)

The Grind:

1. Combine all ingredients  in a blender or food processor. Warning: My food processor has little holes in the sides so the first whir I gave it sent liquid flying all over the countertop. So check yours for holes or my recommendation is go with an immersion blender. The immersion blender ended up being the secret tool for me.

2. Pour the mix into molds, cups or whatever you have handy and freeze. Ours took about 3-4 hours to really set firm.

3. Enjoy (=


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Wash. Dry. Fold. (Repeat.)

Basket: $5 from a local thrift store. Liner: $0 addtl. It's leftover fabric from other nursery projects. If you can sew a pillowcase, you can make the liner just add a one half the width of the basket to the length to accomodate the basket's circumference.

A tisket. A tasket. It’s my baby’s new laundry basket!

And it’s surprisingly empty. But not for long I suppose. This last weekend I started washing all my baby girl’s fabrics.

  • 3 Loads of baby clothes
  • 3 Loads of Diapers
  • 3 Loads of Blankets
  • 1 Load of Baby Bedding (and there’s more bedding to come)

Phew! Glad that’s done! Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining, just a bit surprised. That’s a lot of laundry! But I keep reminding myself that I won’t have to wash all her clothes all the time, and the diapers don’t have to be washed separate from now on. (More to come on the diapers later.) So with all that laundry I think it’s important just to bring up the laundry detergent I’m using.

With children it’s known that they soak up way more chemicals per pound than adults do. So a gentle  detergent is especially important to help avoid unneccesary chemical exposure.

And no, it isn’t Dreft.

Although highly marketed to mommies, Dreft actually contains the same ingredients as Tide. Both are petroleum based. They are  made from the same company, so are you really surprised? Sounds like a marketing ploy to me. Keep in mind that Dreft has perfumes in it-something that babies can be sensitive to so if you are really concerned about baby’s sensitive skin you need something free of perfumes and fragrances too.

The great news is that there are so many more options out there that when Dreft was first introduced.  More companies are not only trying to formulate detergents geared towards baby’s and kids sensitive skin but they are also doing so with the environment in mind. Aha! Now they had me interested. So what did I choose to try for my baby’s clothes???

Seventh Generation Baby.

Now I have to admit after I read how Dreft and Tide contained the same ingredients I got to wondering if Seventh Generation Baby actually had different ingredients than their regular detergent. So I looked it up online. All the ingredients for their plant based products are readily available. That’s one of the things I love about this company. They don’t seem to try and hide information about their products. From what I could tell the main difference with the “baby” formula was the lack of perfumes and fragrances. I also noticed that they have a “Free and Clear” formula. Now that looks like the same thing as the baby detergent. Hmmm…next time I go detergent shopping I just might  see if their is a difference between the “baby” and “Free & Clear”  formulas as far as price is  concerned and try it.

So of course now that I’ve addressed my baby’s needs I have to tell you about the great environmentally friendly potential that this product has. According to the manufacturer of Seventh Generation, if every U.S. household replaced just one bottle of 50 oz.  2x concentrated petroleum based laundry detergent with one bottle of Seventh generation plant-derived product,  over 185,000 barrels of oil could be saved. That’s adds up to a lot of oil! It could heat and cool 10,600 homes for a YEAR!

I’m just sayin’! And did I mention that if you sign up for their newsletter online you can print out some pretty decent coupons????


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Petroleum Jelly Concerns

Petroleum Jelly. Brand name, Vaseline. You know, that whitish yellowy slippery goo that gets slathered on people’s cuts and burns, dry cracked lips and chapped noses. It’s everywhere and in many cosmetics here in America. It was listed as one of “4 skin helpers every baby should have” recently in American Baby magazine. (I will leave my growing dislike for their product recommendations for another day.) Actually, to quote the magazine it said:

“Try: Vaseline or Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Why: They’re the best  (and safest) remedies for dryness. ‘Nobody is allergic to petrolatum,’ Dr Berk says. ‘It has been the favorite of most pediatric dermatologists for years.’ “

This actually had me chuckling to myself. While this statement might be technically true-an allergy is defined as the body’s MISGUIDED reaction to a foreign substance that is usually harmless-it certainly doesn’t give an accurate full picture of some of the concerns related to petroleum jelly (pj).

When I first read the above statement my first thought was “Are they serious? Petroleum jelly is related to petrolatum-not good.” But I really didn’t know any more than the fact that it wasn’t considered “natural.” So I did some research. I was a little surprised and somewhat reassured as well as concerned with what I was able to find.

Besides the fact that pj causes a barrier to be formed on the skin and doesn’t let the skin breath and toxins are not able to get out, there are apparently two big concerns related to pj. One of the biggest concerns with pj is not with the petroleum jelly itself but rather the manufacturing process. While being processed  petroleum jelly is open to contamination from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, common contaminants known as PAHs, which have been linked to breast cancer. Um, hello, no thank you, I’ll pass on that one.

Another big concern is how the pj is used. It is in many of our products in America. I specify America because it has actually been banned in cosmetics in various countries including Europe. The problem is that its known it should not be consumed internally, but when you put pj in lipsticks and baby lotions and other cosmetics you can see how it would be hard not to consume it internally. Um, yuck!

So, if your alert antenna just went up a little like mine did and your thinking why not just avoid the whole possibility to begin with then there are a couple of ideas to get you started in that direction.

  1. First, begin with reading the labels on your cosmetics and try to purchase those that have natural ingredients listed such as shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and olive oil.
  2. There is also a product called “Un-petroleum Jelly”. Made of natural ingredients you might want to try. You can get it here through Amazon.com
  3. I also recently found a book called “Better Basics for the Home.” It’s loaded with “recipes” for making natural homemade  concoctions so you know exactly what you are using on and in your body and in your home. Here’s the recipe I found for homemade non-petroleum jelly:
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 1/2 ounce of beeswax (find it online here or at a natural/herbal type store)
  • 12 drops of grapefruit seed extract (find it online here or at a natural/herbal type store)

To Make: combine the oil and beeswax in a double boiler and place over medium heat until the wax is melted. Remove from heat, add grapefruit seed extract and mix with a hand or electric mixer until creamy.

This takes about half and hour to prepare and stores for about a year in a glass jar with a lid.

If you try this I would love to hear about it! My plate is pretty full these days with projects to complete before DD is born so I will probably start with the Un-Petroleum Jelly sold online and then when I have more time-maybe when I run  out of that-I will try my hand at making my own.Will have to let you know how that turns out!

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So here’s to lowering the risk of breast cancer for all women, self-sufficiency and the satisfaction of knowing that knowledge is in fact power.


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Welcome to the Jungle-er, my garden!

So I came across this picture a few days ago:

This was taken way back in March.

I remember how concerned I was. Would I get anything to grow? What would I do with all that room in there?Well, I guess nature has its way of taking care of somethings for you:

I had never tried growing squash before-they definitely needed some more room, don't ya think?! Notice the cucumber plants struggling for sunshine down at the bottom.

Almost ready for pickin'!

We’ve also had great success with green beans this year!

Yum!

The onions, cabbage and cucumber, melons, and tomatoes show great promise but aren’t quite there yet. But what really has my interest is the pumpkin….

Run, run for your lives! (At least I'm pretty sure that's what I hear all the other garden plants screaming!)

I had never tried to grow pumpkins. My good friend, Rachel suggested I plant them on a small hill outside the garden and that the pumpkin would cover the entire thing. Well, I got a little nervous-we had some gopher interference a couple of months ago, so I put them in the garden. Next to the watermelon and the cantaloupe. Can’t see them? No? They are in there-somewhere- just a growin’ away!

I honestly thought pumpkins would take forever to grow. But there is one big guy who just couldn’t help but take off…..

I'm so excited! He must be a foot or two around.

Then I noticed several more smaller ones starting to grow. I was so suprised how soon they we’re popping up so I went back and looked at the seed packet. “Fruits can reach 6 ft in diameter. Excellent for prize pumpkins!” OMG! Note to self: READ THE SEED PACKET NEXT TIME!”  (LOL!)

But hold on! That’s not all. I was reading one of the many blogs I like to peruse  a few days ago and I saw where this lady had stood her children next to these gigantic “mammoth” sunflowers. She was saying how every year they just kept growing back taller and taller. The first year they we’re approximately 12 ft and now this year they we’re about 20 feet high. I went out to the garden. I stood there for a couple of seconds and gazed at the sunflowers studiously shading my cantaloupe and even part of my gigantic pumpkin plant. Could it be? I quickly waddled over to my seed packets just to check. My eyes grew big. Yep! I had bought mammoth sunflowers! They are about 6 feet high so far. I keep looking for the flower head but they just keep growing-and growing! LOL!

How much taller are these guys gonna get???

Seriously, next year, I have got to do better space planning! If not, I’m afraid my little girl my get lost in there and not find a way out (=

Hope you are all enjoying your summer harvests!


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Calendula Home Remedy for the Whole Family

Doesn't this picture almost make you wish it was fall time?

I can’t believe its been almost two weeks since my last post! Life has just been, well, life! I was gone most of last week and into the weekend to visit my old hometown and my in-laws who we’re throwing DH and I a wonderful baby shower! It was so great to see family and friends! We received some amazing gifts and I will have to show you some of the more eco-friendly ones we received later on. (The cord that connects my camera to my pc has gone MIA so no pictures are getting uploaded until that valuable piece of equipment turns up, unfortunately!)

For now I wanted to share this “radiant remedy” that I found in the June issue of body+soul magazine. The baby home remedies I recently posted about had me really excited to pursue some home concoctions that the whole family could use to try and avoid unnecessary chemicals.This particular recipe is great to use on various skin conditions like burns, bruises, cuts to help prevent infections. You can also use it as a moisturizer for dry skin. It takes about a month for it to be ready so if you get started now, it would be ready to carry you into the cooler fall/winter months coming up. I know, I know, its still 90 degrees outside but my coming little one has me nesting and getting prepped for things farther ahead than I normally would. Besides dry skin and cuts and bruises are bound to happen anytime of the year.

Here’s how to make your own:

Step 1. Place calendula blossoms in a quart size jar. Mmmmm, just imagine how great these are bound to smell! Make sure the blossoms and jar are COMPLETELY dry because any moisture will lead to mold. Blossoms can be purchased online at zackwoodsherbs.com or frontiercoop.com as well as others.

Step 2. Pour extra-virgin olive oil or sweet almond oil over the blossoms until they are completely covered. Seal the jar, and place in the sunniest spot in your house. Let it sit until the oil turns golden, about 4 weeks.

Step 3. Use a mesh strainer, to strain the liquid into clean dry bottles or jars. If you want very refined oil use a cheesecloth along with the mesh strainer to get out every last bit of stray flower.

Step 4. Label and date the oil. One of my favorite parts is that it can last up to a year!  So you get a similar shelf life to a chemically derived product (can you say Neosporin?) giving you plenty of time to use up your home remedy.

So pretty and so useful!