Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is a natural living go-to. You can eat it, put it on your skin, put it on your baby, and even paint with it. We use coconut oil as our primary baby skin care. We use it to prevent diaper rash and treat the few that pop up and it's completely safe! We've never had build up issues. We also use it as Alex's "lotion".

You want to find an unrefined coconut oil for use on the skin. My favorite is Dr. Bronner's.

Photo from

Not only is it unrefined, but it's also organic and fair trade. It just doesn't get better than that! Ok well, maybe it does. Dr. Bronner's is generally available in most markets. (Here in little ol' Abilene you can find it at Drug Emporium and Natural Grocers. It may be available elsewhere but that's where I've seen it.) Dr. Bronner's also doesn't fetch as hefty a price as some of the comparable coconut oils. Off the Dr. Bronner's website it's about $11 for 14 ounces. That's not a bad price!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Miracle Skin Script!

Some of you may know that Alex has had his share of skin troubles. We started with a little "cradle cap" that ended up being a full blown eczema flare out! At his four month visit we talked with the doctor about it and he prescribed a miracle in a tube: Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment

We try to keep only natural products in our home and really limit what we expose Alex to, but his skin was so bad, I was willing to try just about anything.

Here's the little guy's face before we used his medicine.

Here he is after just two uses. I couldn't believe how fast it worked!

We still have some of the cream and use it when tough spots pop up and it takes just a little dab to get him all fixed up!

Not every medication works for every person. Always discuss your child's medical issues and history with your physician and do not make medical decisions based off what you read on the internet.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baby Eczema- Not So Cute Spots

Alex had pretty bad eczema when he was little. I thought I would share our tips for helping maintain his skin. As an adult I have had eczema and it gets so sore so fast. When Alex's skin flared up, I was eager to get it cleared up.

Here's my little guy at the height of his flare ups.
Come back tomorrow to see what's happened since!

  • Minimal baths- Especially when they're really little, babies don't get really dirty very often. Try giving a bath every 2-3 days unless it's a really messy day.

  • Baths don't have to have soap- This goes with the point above, babies don't get that dirty! Only use soap once or twice a week unless you have reason to use more.

  • Choose the right soap- Not all soaps are created equal. Look for one with simple ingredients without dyes or fragrances. We use the soap I make in the shop without scent or color and it works well for us and a few families we know. Don't be troubled if you have to try a few different brands though, it may take a while to find what works for your baby.

  • Maintain moisture- Healthy skin has just the right amount of moisture. Skin that's too oily or too dry will be prone to problems. Find a simple lotion (dye and scent free again) to use as needed. Some babies will need lotion every day, others only after baths, others may only need a little here and there. Coconut Oil is also a great option and is generally non-irritating. For Alex we use coconut oil only as needed which isn't very often for him. (Another tricky skin item is sunscreen, same principle though- no dyes or scents.)

  • Be careful with clothing and diapers- Your laundry detergent can also trigger flare ups as residue on the clothes rub onto baby's skin. Look for a gentle laundry detergent (once again, skip the dyes and scents). Just like lotion and soap, you may need some trial and error here as well. Once you find a good one, stick with it. We use a homemade soap you can find here.

  • If these things don't work, talk to your doctor about getting a script for a prescription cream that works wonders. (I'll post on that tomorrow.) 

  • Work with your doctor if you suspect a food allergy may be at the root of your baby's skin issues. Sometimes a milk or soy protein allergy can cause eczema flare up.
Just a reminder: I am not a doctor nor a medical expert of any kind. I hope my posts can help give you some tips but see your healthcare practitioner for any medical questions. Do not rely solely on internet sources for medical care and advice!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Recipe: Easy Fajitas

Fajitas are a favorite in our house as an easy dinner and a switch up from the mundane taco night. Here's a quick and easy fajita recipe.

Take some stir fry beef already cut from the grocery store. (Other cuts of meat may be more "appropriate" but this doesn't require any extra work on your part.) Add to the meat salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. Mix the meat with sliced bell pepper and onions. Cut a lime in half. Squeeze the juice over your meat, peppers, and onions. Leave the rind in for extra flavor. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Saute everything in a large skillet with some olive oil. You may want to drain the extra oil and grease towards the end of the cooking to get a nice char on the meat.

Serve on tortillas with cheese, salsa, or guacamole.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Simplicity Sunday

I hope you're enjoying your Sabbath. Here are some sleeping baby pics to help you relax.

Fell asleep after a long walk.

Little guy sleeps on his tummy now. (His doing.)

Here's an oldie, but a goodie.
It's crazy how bad his eczema was!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida

Last summer we were blessed to visit the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. Big Cat Rescue was founded in 1992 and is home to over 100 cats who have been rescued from various abusive situations. The Rescue allows you see many of the rescued animals in their enclosures and actively participates in awareness and lobbying for better legislation to protect these gorgeous animals.

Here are some photos from our visit.

Big Cat Rescue can provide you with tons of information about the works being done to protect and support these glorious big cats. If you want to help their work, feel free to make a donation. If you're going to be in the Tampa area, I strongly suggest making a stop. The weekend tours allow for children under 10. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Adventures in Baby Food Making

Even before Alex was born, I had my mind made up to make his baby food. The store-bought jarred food can sometimes have all these nasty fillers and chemicals that just don't seem like they belong in baby food. Those little jars are awfully pricey too. So it seemed like a win-win to make our own baby food.
Boiling up baby carrots in the crock pot.
A giant bag of baby carrots will run you about $4 at SAMs.

In general, I've really enjoyed making Alex's food. Not only do I know exactly what's in it (a little mommy-control), but I've gotten to expand my culinary skills as well. I want Alex to enjoy a variety of fruits and veggies, unlike his momma, so I've made him veggies that I would never eat! I do take a taste each time though so maybe his good eating will rub off on me.

Cooking up plums!
Plums are great for constipation, should your
little one get a little stopped up.

Alex really loves it too! He's a great eater. He doesn't like the green veggies so much (and they tend to upset his tummy). Alex will eat his carrots, kiwi, squash, yogurt, avocado, and so much more!

Our favorite foods and how we cook them:
Baked Butternut Squash; Steamed Zucchini; Boiled Carrots and Chicken (with organic broth); Mashed Banana, Kiwi, Avocado
Alex also has been trying more chopped "finger foods". He doesn't usually succeed in getting much in his mouth on his own, but is chewing rather well. He's had green beans and raisins this week (chop the green beans about the size of baby's thumbnail and the raisins into 1/2-1/4s).

Alex finishing off his zucchini!
He loves zucchini!
Just steam and blend.

One thing I couldn't live without in making Alex's food is this website. Homemade Baby Food is a website run by a British mom living in the Caribbean and she is a wealth of information! Not only does she list suggestions on what foods at what age, but also gives recipes and cooking tips (great if you've never touched butternut squash before), and tips on baby-led weaning should you go that route.

One thing you don't need: any special baby food appliances. We use our regular kitchen blender and freeze purees in ice cube trays. I do recommend some small tubs or reusable food pouches for travel if you want to take your homemade purees with you on outings.

Do you make your baby's food? Have a favorite recipe you'd like to share?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where Do We Place Our Values?

A few months ago I attended a workshop called Champions for Children. As part of the workshop, they included the local child abuse awareness "shoe walk". This has several pages of information about child abuse and prevention lined out with children and teen shoes. It really is eye-opening. Here are a few snippets of the walk. (Warning: some of these statistics may be upsetting for some people.)

I post this video to bring up the point that we as a society seem to have misplaced our values. I'm not talking specifically about Christian values, but simply the value we used to place on our children as our future.  I think we have lost the view of our children as being our greatest asset and our strongest resource.

I encourage you in whatever interactions you may have with children whether as a parent, a teacher, a minister, or a friend, to make sure that you tell each and every child with your words and actions that they are loved and worthy.

If you have any reason to suspect a child is in danger or is being mistreated, please speak up. Contact your local child protective service or call 911. In some states you may have a mandatory duty to report within a certain amount of time.

In Texas, adults have 48 hours to report any suspected child abuse or neglect. In Texas you can report online here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great Cloth Diaper Change in Abilene

Ok, another late post, but I just realized I never posted these photos!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change is an event put on by the Real Diaper Association to raise awareness of cloth diapers. Each year we try to break/set a new world record using cloth diapers. In 2013, each site through out the world hosted their change at 11:00 am local time.

At exactly 11:00 each baby was changed into a 100% reusable cloth diaper. This was Abilene's first time to participate and we had 46 babies changed at our location. Worldwide we had 8,331 qualifying babies changed!

I'm already planning for next year's event on April 26th. I'm hoping we can go even bigger and better (and maybe make the top 10 locations!)

Here are some photos from last April

Alex and I were very honored to be on KTAB 4U to promote the GCDC.

Before the change, everyone holds up their 100% reusable diaper.
Afterwards, everyone holds up their freshly changed baby!
It's not a race, but Philip was very proud to be one of the first to finish. ;)
We were blessed to have a great photographer offer family photos and take our official before and after shots. Emerald Lemmons is a wonderful lady and great photographer.
You can find more about Emerald here.

Here's Alex in his outfit for the big day!

We were blessed with a number of sponsors who provided samples and coupons for our participating families.
This was when I first learned about Milkin' Cookies. You can find more info on them here (affiliate link).
We had tons of great giveaway sponsors including local WAHMs,  Kid's Village, Baby K'tan, Nose Frida and so many more!

Here is a complete list of our local sponsors. (Links provided if available.) Thanks again to everyone who helped out and changed their babies for making Abilene's first event a huge success!

Kid’s Village 
Chickapea Baby 
Baby K’Tan
Frida Baby
Casa Campbell Soaps

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Family Photos

We were very lucky to be able to take some family photos recently at the Jacob's Dream area on ACU's  campus. Korri Roberston is a local photographer just getting her business started here in Abilene. Here are some of my favorites.

Many thanks to Korri for helping capture this special time for our family! You can contact Korri here:

We did receive this service for free as part of Korri building up her portfolio. I was not compensated for this post.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Belated Father's Day

I've been meaning to get this up for a while, and just haven't yet. It seems Philip's first Father's Day went well. We had a good time at church and went to Bonzai for dinner.

Here's what Alex made for Philip at day care.

I had a local artist, Chris Summers, make this for Philip.
It's a stylization of Philip riding a chocobo with a little baby chocobo.
We have several of Chris's works and love them all.
Check out Chris's Facebook here.

I hope the men in your family had a great Father's day!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Simplicity

Today is Alex's baby blessing at church.
Here he is last week, sitting with Daddy and listening to the sermon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cloth Diaper "Cakes"

I have several friends expecting right now. I've really enjoyed getting creative with gifts for them. Here are a couple of cloth diaper/wipe "cakes" I've made recently.

Here's a rose I made out of six cloth wipes
for a friend's gender reveal party.

One of my male co-workers' wife is expecting.
They aren't using cloth diapers (can't convince everyone)
but I made a motorcycle out of blankets and
Gerber prefolds (my fav burp cloths ever!).

Side view of the motor cycle.
This includes 10 Gerber Prefolds, 3 receiving blankets,
two pairs of socks, one bottle, and one teddy bear.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Caribbean Cove

This past week the Abilene Zoo opened their new Caribbean Cove exhibit. We were very excited to get the opportunity to check it out. They have over 30 new species in this exhibit including a two-toed sloth! They've redone the old reptile house to feature some new amphibians and their exciting research on the coqui frog!

The new exhibit opened in late June. 

This handsome fella welcomes you as you come up to the new exhibit.
There's a beautiful collection of new birds.
The Two-Toed Sloth! He wasn't very active, but still rather exciting!
This prickly little one has an awesome open "enclosure".
I love that you can actually watch them as they work on the coqui frog research.
They've also posted updates near the window on their research.
The zoo has been able to breed some frogs and have already learned
tons about the frog's breeding that no one knew before!
I'm so excited to watch as their research progresses!
Our Abilene Zoo is partnering with a group in Puerto Rico
to study the adorable Coqui Frog.

 I'm very excited for the new exhibit! It was so hot when we went last week that we weren't able to stay long, but I hope we can go again when it's cooler and spend some more time with the new animals. I love our little zoo and look forward to watching it grow!

We are zoo members and frequent the zoo often. I did not receive compensation of any type for this post.