Friday, February 11, 2011

Goat Milk Stuff

A few weeks ago I purchased a number of products from Goat Milk Stuff. I posted to that effect on Facebook and I had a number of friends request that I share my experience. So here I go. Our whole family has sensitive dry skin and Ethan can get intense eczema while mine is fairly minor. We have striven for some time to utilize hypoallergenic, simple and natural products whether it be personal care, cleaners, etc...

I have made our laundry detergent, household cleaners, and I even tried my hand and making shampoo...and failed...miserably:). Joel will pretty much never let me live down the shampoo making, even though it was during the deployment, and he never used it. He thinks it's hilarious that I was nuts enough to take that on during deployment, like life wasn't crazy enough...he may have a point...

Even with my efforts some of the ingredients were harsh on our skin (Castile soap to be exact) but I wasn't sure how to replace that ingredient. Enter the wonders of goat's milk! In goat's milk soap products the water is replaced by goat's milk and so the resulting soap is considerably richer and moist. Goat's Milk Stuff has just about every soap I want or need, they are reasonably priced, and they have a lovely story.

We ordered:

1. Purity bar soap

This works great! It's moist, gets everyone clean, lathers nicely, has simple ingredients, and was very reasonably priced. I highly recommend it!

2. Shampoo bar soap

Ethan & Joel love this one. I can't use because I color my hair. It lathers nicely and leaves their hair clean with a more balanced pH. They follow this up with an apple cider vinegar rinse and Joel is AMAZED at his scalp health! Winter is brutal on his scalp and he has little to no dryness with this winning combination:). I highly recommend it, especially for men, and those with severely dry scalps.

3. Laundry bar soap

The laundry soap substituted on our laundry recipe easily. The laundry has fewer issues with static, and it adequately cleans diaper laundry, as well as normal household laundry. We have less time logged with this product than the others because we just ran out of our old detergent solution and switched over. Thus far, it appears to clean clothing more thoroughly, or at least more consistently, than some of our previous homemade concoctions. I highly recommend it, especially if you are trying to remove allergic triggers or irritants from your laundry regimen.

4. Laundry stick

Stain treatment was one of our last laundry hold outs and I'm happy to rid our house off the blue goop. I honestly haven't used this one yet. I'm not a consistent pre-treater. But I look forward to using it soon. Sorry!

5. Unscented lotion

This one has been a bust thus far. I wanted to switch out my lotion because of concerns about petroleum's effects on your thyroid. Although I'm sure there is debate on the issue, my mom & sister have thyroid disorders so I would rather air on the side of caution. Unfortunately, this product has been a bust for me thus far. It may work better once it is warmer. The lotion is a solid at or below 70 degrees and our house really doesn't get that warm these days. I can rub small amounts off at a time but, not enough. I will try again in spring/summer and in the meantime I'm trying coconut oil.

I would love to hear any natural personal and home products you love.

He's Home!!!

Photo by

After nearly a week of weather delays, Joel came safely home on Saturday, February 5 at about 5:10am. A sweet friend stayed at our home so I could be at the hangar about 2:30 for the 4:30 flight. It was quite cold and there was misty rain but exciting nonetheless! I waited with a friend from the company who's husband was also on the flight. And we trekked out onto the flight line twice before the plane landed:). This time was a bit different then last time out there only because there were 2 Lifetime crews there following 2 families for a special featuring families experiencing their redeployment. It was hilarious because they were all dressed weather inappropriate and some of them didn't have much of a choice because appropriate attire would have interfered with their job:).

As we watched the guys de-board and walk past the family area (we're fenced in but allowed to watch touching!) Joel again missed me completely but I thought he was playing it cool! The guys dropped their sensitive items (they carry rifles, etc... on their person off the plane to turn into their unit) on a tarp and got ready to form up to make their entrance into the hangar.

We all made our way back inside and waited for the ceremony to begin. No matter how many times you experience it, a Welcome Home ceremony is a really beautiful thing sight to behold. The excitement is palpable. Pretty much anyone you know at all is visibly excited for you and generally makes a point to tell you so. The soldiers pretty much all look exhausted and SO ready to have a break from redeployment drudgery for a few moments BUT, they are also brimming with anticipation.

The guys marched in and the general made some remarks, we sang some Army songs and then we had 15 minutes for, the colloquially termed, Hug-a-thon:). Joel always feels more comfortable to embrace then I remembered, with a deeper voice than I recalled, and a smile that actually makes an audible noise (I promise). Thankfully since our R&R was so recent, he did not appear to be a figment of my imagination! The family time ended quickly and it was time to part.

Soldiers loaded onto buses and families too. I went back to my car and made my way to the hangar where our brigade's soldiers would be transported after their paperwork and sensitive items were taken care of. Thankfully our brigade did a rocking job for this deployment's redeployment! We were in a hangar, not a tent, and our soldiers made it to the hangar lickedy- split! Of course, their bags got mixed with the other brigade on the flight so we waited an extra hour to no avail for bags. But even then, they did an awesome job. Joel finally got his bags 2 days later and his 7 day reintegration has been humming along since Sunday morning.

Joel & I arrived at home just a few minutes after Ethan woke up. As promised, Ethan had breakfast with Daddy:).

A sweet moment captured between my guys. A restaurant burger was amongst one of Joel's requests. It did not disappoint:)

It has not yet sunk in that this deployment is actually over. I'm not sure when it will. Amazingly it has already been a sufficient length of time for me to be thankful for the works the Lord has done in our family throughout this deployment. I'm thankful for the supernatural way in which the Lord of all bound us together regardless of time or distance. I'm thankful that we will have the opportunity to get away as a family and visit family and friends.

I'm just plain thankful.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Books to read (and a documentary): Childbirth

I am a big believer in normal birth. Ultimately the Lord has a perfect plan for every birth, and that is not always it. But I am a big believer in working towards that goal. To that end I had 2 books that were invaluable in preparing for birth, and 1 documentary.

1. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

The first half of this book is filled with birth stories that take place on the Farm*. The stories are varied and beautiful. The second half of the book discussed birthing techniques in detail. The book also shares fascinating statistics at the Farm and in the U.S. and how our births have changed during the 20th century. Her point is basically that our abilities haven't changed, despite obstetric "common knowledge" to the contrary.

I highly recommend this book!

*The Farm is essentially a commune in Tennessee that was founded in the 1970's and is still in existence today. They do many things themselves there, to include midwifery. They are well known for their collection of midwives that are trained through apprenticeship. It is common within this community to grow up attending the births of others in the community from a young age. Ina May is chief among those midwives and is an extremely respected individual in the field of midwifery. Although our world views differ, they have some valuable insights into what is natural for your body and what is not. I genuinely wanted to have a Farm midwife delivery Ethan but alas, we're about an hour outside of their serviced area.

2. The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth

The title is a bit condescending, and the book can be just that at times. However, the information contained within it is invaluable! Henci goes through different elements of birth, mostly focused on interventions, and discusses the statistics associated with those interventions. The intent is to help you make an informed decision about all aspects of your birth. I used this book to sway my OB in Houston to leave Ethan's umbilical cord connected until blood was no longer pulsing through it. Of course, I ended up delivering with a midwife in Tennessee but it was a great nonetheless. I was able to give her bibliographic references from the book on hand that day. And then at our next appointment I had printed off the referenced medical journal article for her perusing.

I highly recommend this book!

3. The Business of Being Born (Documentary)

This documentary was suggested by the all knowing Netflix;) based on my other viewing interests. I watched it the first time with rapt attention and this was all after our miscarriage a before we were pregnant with Ethan:). I have since watched in probably 5 times with various family members. The intent of the documentary is discuss how birth practices have changed over the 20th century in America and how that effects us as a people. It also shows several birth experiences. I love this movie, it's statistics, it's stories, and I will watch it with you happily if you're interested! It cracks me up but Joel and my brother-in-law Dylan are such big believers in this documentary and the information contained therein, that I have heard both of them spouting off it's information to all kinds of people:). I also had a blast watching Joel sharing his passion with a soldier friend, in the middle of their office! It was quite an amusing scene to hear the back and forth of 2 Infantryman touting the wonders of natural childbirth!

I highly, highly, highly recommend this documentary!

Mooched Mommy Idea: Prayer

4. Prayer

What I'm about to say may sound common sense to you but it was revelatory for me. As Ethan has grown older and more verbal we now give him an opportunity to pray aloud at night in addition to our prayers. He was so excited to talk about Jesus but, a bit shy to decide what to say. I figured this was to be expected and he would have something to share eventually.

A few weeks ago I was reading a post on Baby Bangs and Amanda discussed her nightly prayer with her daughter that is a few months younger than Ethan. Somehow, it really had not occurred to me that I should give him a simple prayer to repeat after me for his own individual prayer...Sad but true. My hope is that the reason is not total ineptitude but rather my lineage as a Butler pray-er:). You see, my family's prayers are characterized by their length and extreme inclusion. I love it!

It's so amazing to see how excited Ethan is every night to pray his prayer. For now we are keeping it short and sweet: "Thank you for loving me, Thank you for dying for my sins, Thank you for Mommy & Daddy, Thank you for Lady, and Thank you for this day. Amen." My favorite part is that we build toward the thank you for Daddy like a crescendo and then Ethan adds in where Daddy is right now:). I finally convinced him last night/this morning that Daddy is in fact, coming home!

"Don't Make Me Count to Three!"

This book rocks my socks off! I started in months ago right after completing Shepherding a Child's Heart but I took a break as I digested all the goodness from Shepherding. I went back and finished the last little bit this past week and wow. Just what I needed! The concepts are not different, both are focused on the heart and how our parenting bends our children toward a need for a Savior. The big difference I experienced was that Ginger Plowman had some very practical means of application from a mom's perspective.

I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mooched Mommy Ideas

Ironically enough I'm mooching the Mommy idea of Mooched Mommy Ideas:) from my friend Sara over at Domestic Goddessing.

Idea #1
Pool noodles as bed bumpers.
It's brilliant! Ethan squirms a lot in his sleep, a trait he inherited from me, so we had been padding the floor with pillows. Now I have a pool noodle on both long edges of the mattress and it works like a charm! They fit nicely under his sheets and he loves to sleep nestled in a spot anyway.

Idea #2
As many tiny potties as it takes to keep potty training moving forward.

I don't know where I read it, or maybe Ashley told me about one of her friends doing it? We only used 2 potties but having one in the car was invaluable when we were still training. Thankfully I think I can safely say that Ethan is trained fully in step 1 and moving into full training of steps 2 & 3. Wahoo!

Idea #3
Homemade yogurt

Ethan loves yogurt! I, on the other hand only like soy yogurt, but I digress. Ethan loves yogurt but buying the whole milk, non sugary stuff is pricey when he's eating 1-2 a day. Plus, when Joel's home, he loves yogurt too. Enter homemade yogurt (duhn dudha duhhhh!) Making homemade yogurt makes you feel like quite the culinary master, a bonus, and even better it's easy! I've tried several different methods but the Crockpot method is, by far, the easiest. My only down fall with this one is cutting off the yogurt supply to take a little bit and start it all over again. This coupled with making sure that our milk supply is sufficient:). When you have plentiful clean, non wonky smelling/tasting yogurt abounding in your house, there are SO many ways you can work it into your cooking! There are certainly recipes that call for it but you can also use it as a substitute. If you don't like the consistency of your yogurt consider straining it for more of a greek yogurt texture.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Books you should read

I love to read. It's a simple pleasure really, one that I have long enjoyed. In recent years, with lots of moves and not a ton of room to store books, I've gotten more organized in my reading pursuits. Try not to make too much of fun of this...

I keep a running list of books I want to read. I read reviews on the books, a lot of reviews. Then I look for means to procure said book. Is it at the library? Can I get it through Paperbackswap? Or is it one I'll need to buy? As a result, I've still had some lemons but there have been loads of lovely novels and even more nonfiction books that I want everyone I know to read. So, in the spirit of my friends the Pitts, I'm going to start sharing some of my favorites of late.

I'm going to start with some that have come up a number of times in this season of life, ones that I am constantly going back to. Parenting books.

1. Shepherding a Child's Heart, Ted Tripp

If you have not read it, it is a book that very aptly points you as a parent to focus on the heart issue's involved in your child's behavior. And a great deal what that starts with is understanding your own heart issues. I think that for anyone that reads it, it's an eye-opener to your own sin, but in a good way:), and one you could read every year and find great utility each time.

2. Wise Words for Moms, Ginger Plowman

This one isn't really a book but rather a pamphlet or reference sheet. Nonetheless is a great tool for parents. It hold a list of heart issues the heart attitude you desire to produce instead. The root of the heart issue and then multiple verses to address it. It's an easy reference tool and I keep it on our fridge.

There are a few other parenting books that I am in the midst of reading or are in my stack to read, so I'll get to those soon enough.