Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ahh about time...

That is what happens when you wake up at 2am and then biggest sister walks you around the neighborhood.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

If you can't appreciate a cotton field why live in Alabama?

As I work in rural counties I come across a lot of things. This time of year the cotton fields are white and ready to be harvested. Cotton can mean a lot to different people in Alabama. For some it is a respected crop to grow and to others it is a symbol of slavery. I am going to keep it simle. As I gaze at a cotton field and hold a fresh picked piece in my hand I will be greatful for a plant that keeps me in jeans, warms me at night, and wraps my baby's bottom when needed.....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Labor and Delivery Candles

I am trying something new. I took two simple white candles and etched two designs into them. One is a spiral and the other is a simple mother figure. I then took some beet root powder and mixed it with safflower oil. I rubbed the mixture into the designs and wiped the excess off. These candles burn for 5 and a half hours each. I added them to a Blessingway kit for a friend. No one needs to watch the clock when they are in labor but these may offer some comfort as they burn. I'll be adding them to my Etsy store soon. Tell me what you think?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Fall Equinox

My favorite time of year has arrived. As I was waiting to go to work today I spotted these growing on the roadside. I picked a few to take home. I am not 100% sure they are Black-eyed Susan's but I am going to say they are. Just seeing them today made me happy.

I could not wait to get home today to update our altar for the season and decorate the house a little. I felt rushed all day. I was able to stop by a friend's house though and drop some apples and apple pie fixin's for her kids. She is letting me borrow some books for my post-partum doula training. I am required to read at least 9. Between her and the library I am set and don't have to buy any except those I really want to own.

This friend of mine is pretty amazing. She is the mother to 4 wonderful children. They are smart, beautiful, and just plain COOL! And because she is such a good mother (and her husband is such a great father) the universe has found two more children that need her desperately!!! She is fundraising to bring these two beautiful girls home. They are so close. Take a moment to visit their blog to see their whole story and consider helping the last little way to bring them home.

There is Mayah and Sharon!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My favorite tree..

The Tulip Tree has always been special to me. It is so different than most other trees. It is almost one of a kind. It is in the Magnolia family. As I was working in a wooded part of St. Clair County I came across a lot of them growing wild. I picked a few leaves just because I felt they are so beautiful. I took a few pictures and just being in the quiet woods helped recharge me that day.

Today I finally decided I could wait no longer. I bought the last tree for sale at the local hardware store. I am going to plant it in my front yard with plenty of space to grow. Hopefully it will bring me a lot of joy with its flowers next Spring....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My version of a homemade hearing screener...

I made this to screen a child in more detail than my regular screening tool uses. I have had some daycare teachers ask me how to see if a child can hear the "little sounds". Well, this is my version.....

Homemade Hearing Screener for Toddlers

Materials needed:

Bucket of dry real leaves or store bought silk leaves

Small metal bell

CD of animal and environmental sounds (sounds such as snakes slithering, rain falling, and wind blowing)


Small stones or pebbles

Dried beans

Uncooked rice


Empty water bottle with top

Plastic bowl

Glass or porcelain bowl


This screener is best used in a child’s natural environment when they are in a good mood. Try to avoid naptime or when the child is hungry. Allow the child to play and set up your items out of his reach at first. Make sure the room is quiet and there are minimal distractions. Start exposing the child to one sound at a time. There is no particular order in which to offer each sound. No more than 3 feet away from the child drop leaves into a large plastic bowl or bucket. Try to do this where the child cannot see you. Watch for any response. This can include a look up, a glance toward the noise, a “thinking” look on the child’s face, a “questioning” look on the child’s face, or a verbal response such as the child saying, “What’s that?” At this age a lot of children are verbal yet not using a lot or any words. Any response can show that the child can hear the sound. Next, ring a small metal bell. Remember to not let the child see you do this. Try not to let your own body language give away the “answer”. Scratch on a piece of sandpaper. Follow the same procedure as above. Drop small pebbles or rocks (those decorative ones from the Dollar Tree work really well) into a glass container one at a time. Let there be at least 3 seconds in between each drop. Repeat with at least 5 rocks. Repeat this with a plastic bowl. Do this same exercise with the dry rice and dried beans. With the rice and beans you can dribble them into the containers. Place some of the dried rice (no more than 10 grains) into a small empty water bottle. Gently tilt the bottle from side to side. This should make a sound similar to a “rain stick”. You can repeat this with the beans. With the paper crinkle it slowly into a loose ball. Open it up slowly and repeat. You can use different weights of paper like tissue paper, newspaper, wrapping paper, or magazine paper. Regular computer paper works fine. Using the CD of animal and environmental sounds is optional. It is best used in a group setting such as circle time or at home with siblings listening too. Keep the volume down fairly low. Listen to a sound and stop the recording. Ask everyone what they think it is. Listen to it again. Look to see if the child you are evaluating is trying to listen or just mimicking his friends. Listen to different sounds and label them by telling the children what they are listening to. Start over with sounds they have already heard and look for reactions. Mark down the reactions of the child you are screening with this activity and all of the above activities. If the child did not react to at least half of the sounds a referral to an audiologist for a full range hearing evaluation may be warranted.

You can record your findings on a homemade chart or just write them up in narrative form like a story. Remember to only document what you actually observe. Try not to write what you “think” the child heard. Try to stay away from saying “it looked like he heard something”. Instead write exactly what you see such as. “He raised his head from the book he was looking at and looked around and up at me”.

This screening procedure is not meant to replace a screener from a child’s pediatrician or an examination from an audiologist. If there are any further concerns please contact the doctor for a full hearing evaluation.

Created by Susan Betke, MAE ECE

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Walk for Midwives

The kids and I had a great time this morning at The Walk for Midwives sponsored by the Alabama Birth Coalition. This was a great opportunity to make the voices of families known. Having a Certified Professional Midwife attend a mother's homebirth in Alabama is illegal. This walk helped raise money and awareness about this cause. I was proud to walk and lend my support. Besides, I was able to hang out with a lot of great people and meet some new ones. The kids and I made shirts for the little kids and posters for the walk. I am so proud to be a small part of the movement to help bring birth home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Americans just don't eat enough fermented foods...

OK, because you probably can't tell this is a tomato sandwich. Yes we eat them here in the South.  Traditionally you have a large slice of a tomato on white (yuck) bread with mayonnaise. My sandwich tonight had a bit of a twist and a kick. I used toasted whole wheat bread. I added mayonnaise that had mixed dried dandelion leaves and dried nettle leaves in it as well as a dropper of my homemade fermented liver detox / general health tincture. I added some onion, Swiss cheese, and spinach leaves. Now that was some good eating. I had some fresh raw green beans on the side with a carrot.... yes, most of the kids had a variation of the same.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

And volleyball has begun!

Lyn's team is the Blazers. She is so proud. (Her mom graduated from UAB, you know the Blazers.)
There she is with her new short haircut. It was a little bit of a challenge but her team won. She is playing with the eight graders. She matches a lot of them in height but they definitely have weight on her. She is fast and has pretty much perfected her overhand serve. She has skipped up to 8th grade in her schooling so I guess it all evens up in the end.... 

Today with at least 4 kids...

Kids getting all muddy. I joined them....

Pine needles collected for smudges

More Lyn

Lyn posing

The water was so clear I could pick out which stones I wanted to pick out.

Buck Creek clear and full after tropical storm Lee
Dad was somewhere in the background pushing Ben in the swing and the kids' favorite adopted aunt, Aunt Jenna stopped by....

Great day!

(The rest of the kids were at their dad's house for the weekend.he

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mama Beads....

What do you make? Thanks to wonderful local beadmaker (she made the mama bead) I am able to make these lovely mama beads. I use this one that I made especially for me in mediation and to provide me with grounding and strength. Check out my Etsy site to order your own.....

In the rain...

Tropical storm Lee dropped a lot of rain on us this week. The kids had to play outside even though the temperature has dropped. I am so ready for Fall this year!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It will come back to you....

Where to start? Well, at  the beginning of course. It is a beautiful day today. I took 5 of the kids down to the Farmer's Market at Old Towne Helena. We looked at everything from fresh vegetables, homemade soap and pottery (I saw a small platter I liked) and headed straight to the playground. The kids played for quite a while. They were giving away free lemonade and tomato sandwiches so we were able to refuel. I sat on a bench and watched the kids play. A mom with a 11 month old son sat beside me. Lyn and I recognized her as a mom we met at Babypalooza. We talked mom talk and watched the kids. Lyn then brought me a wallet she found around the club house on the playground. It belonged to a teenage boy complete with his mom's health insurance card, his driver's licence, love letters, and two dollars. I took his mom's name looked her up online, matched her phone number with the address on the licence (power of the Internet on my phone), and called her. As I was leaving a message she answered the phone. She had just got home from working the night shift as a nurse. She got right back in her car and found her way to the playground. Lyn ran the wallet up to her so she would not have to look for us on the playground. The mom gave Lyn $10 for finding the wallet. Later the mom and the teenager both texted me to thank us for finding the wallet. I reminded the teenager that it was our pleasure and to try and return the favor one day if and when he finds someones wallet. He said he would. As we played in the water afterwards I held a sleeping baby in my arms. As we were driving away I remembered the platter I liked and sent Lyn to buy it for $4.00. That left us with $6.00....

On the way home I talked to Lyn about the law of three. I asked her how much money was in the wallet we found. It was $2.00. I asked her how much was left? $6.00 and a platter.... I told her some people would have taken the $2.00 and thrown the wallet away or taken the $2.00 and then called the family or turned the wallet over to someone else to handle.

I asked Lyn to count how many people were affected positively by us finding the wallet. She came up with at least 5. The mom, the teenager, the potter, herself, and me. I reminded her of even more like, the teenager's friends he tells the story to and the mom's friends and family and all of you that read my blog. Now that is the power of three!!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

My new henna....

Thank you Heera!!!

Hanging out with friends and making "clean mud"

Ingredients needed:
toilet paper (any brand)
Ivory soap (grated)
warm water
kids and / or adults that want to squish and mix everything together. If you are afraid of cotton (you know who you are) stay away from this activity or adapt as needed!!   :)

Just keep adding the ingredients to your liking till you get the consistency you want. I like it thick. Some like it squishy and runny. I know, it sounds like fun. The best thing of all is that the kids end up clean and smelling like soap. The whole house can end up smelling that way!!

It can be saved in a Ziploc bag or plastic container or you can just make more!!!!