Google+ Authentic Parenting: 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tips for a Successful Surrogacy Pregnancy

Content provided by Janice

Being pregnant is stressful for any woman. The dynamics change when you are not carrying your baby, entrusting it to a surrogate. This collaborative effort to bring a baby into the world is very emotional for everyone involved. With so many people involved, you need to remember a few key elements when you are going through the process.

Trust is key. Not blind trust, but the core feeling that everyone involved has the same goal. The agency, the surrogate and you are all working together so that in a few months, you will be proud parents. This is why the interview process is so important. You want to be comfortable with the woman who is carrying your child.

Communication is important. Talk to your surrogate about the level of communication that you would like to have. Remember that the surrogate has a busy life and may not be able to get right back to you. On the other hand, when your surrogate contacts you, make sure you answer.

When receiving texts and emails, try not read more into it than what is there. When everyone’s emotions are running high, it is very easy to misinterpret words on the screen. Take a moment and breathe when you feel anxious or stressed when responding.

You have to be flexible. The due date is not a definite date, but it’s more like a moving target. Yes, it will be inconvenient when you cannot make absolute plans because you do not know when your baby will be born. Being able to adapt during those final few weeks will keep you from going crazy. Welcome to parenting. Remember that you cannot control everything. Your surrogate may not do everything you expect. Things will not happen when you want them to.

As the due date gets closer, many expectant parents worry over bringing a child home. Even if you have planned and dreamed of the day, it can be scary knowing that you will be responsible for this little bundle of joy. Understand that a lot of what you are feeling is quite normal, even though you are not actually pregnant. Give yourself permission to experience your emotions and feelings, but do not let them overwhelm you.

Find a confidant, therapist, or minister who will help you work through your feelings so that you do not become hostile and anxious with the surrogate. Remember her generosity and that her body is undergoing many changes because of the baby. In addition to the emotional upheaval, your surrogate is fatigued, hormonal, and ready for it to be over too. Think before you speak and be kind with your words. Know that at the end of the journey, you will have a beautiful baby thanks to this gracious individual.

If you are struggling with infertility and would like to know more about surrogacy click here.

photo credit: avitechwriter via photopin cc


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Birth of Our Third

Where to start my son's birth story? On the day he was born? Or before that?

Our third decided his birth would not come unprepared and offered us not one, but two false starts. To prepare his siblings for his coming? To make sure we were ready?

To be quite honest, I had not been ready, even fearful of his arrival. Wondering if it had been a good idea to have a third, given that the other two were already demanding so much of me with their near constant fighting.

So came one Saturday and I noticed I had quite a lot of contractions... I went about my day, dropping off the eldest at horseback, going to the thrift store, having lunch... But the contractions kept on, strong and steady, but not at all alarming.
When we got home, I decided to see how much time was in between, as my midwife had to come from quite far. They were ten minutes apart, but steady.

I pmed my midwife on Facebook, telling her that I'd had quite regular contractions, so it could be near. Yet, by the time I wrote this message, my father in law and mother in law showed up. Unannounced.

And the contractions dead stopped. There would be no baby today!

This was a couple days before my official due date, which was the 8th of October. I'd given myself the 12th as the baby's birth date.

The week went by and nothing steady or regular came about.

The on Thursday - one day after the official due date - my husband went to work in France and I had an extreme bout of nesting, setting up everything for baby's arrival, cleaning the house, taking care of our animals. I hadn't had this amount of energy for weeks, so I wondered? Would it be near? I had incessant contractions throughout the day. My dad came to pick up my daughter so I could rest a bit in the afternoon. Even with rest, the contractions continued. And I cleaned and organised some more, doubting wether I should call my husband to come home. Wether I should inform my midwife or not.

By the time my husband was back, I was in quite a state and we decided to call the midwife to come over. We made the bed as we figured it could be somewhere during the night and we'd managed to sleep a little during the birth of our second child too.

Midwife arrived after dinner and we talked a lot. My contractions kept coming and by nighttime, they were getting quite intense.
I decided to go to bed and get some sleep while I still could. We'd put the kids to bed earlier.

I didn't sleep well that night, and by one in the morning, I knew it wouldn't be now. I felt guilty for having called my midwife and have her come over. I was pretty upset and didn't understand this coming and going of contractions, as I'd not experienced this with my two other children.
By morning, we wondered wether or not labour would continue, I went for a walk in the woods with my midwife, but decided it would be best she go home.

I consented to a vaginal exam, which I hadn't really wanted originally, but she wanted to make sure she wasn't leaving only to come back a few moments later; given the two hour drive. I was at three centimetres so she was ok going back.

In hindsight I'm not very happy having had the vaginal exam. I knew she could go home and it did push me off my balance at the time. Plus it hurt.

That was Friday morning. On Saturday morning, the 11th, I woke up and I knew it was on. BUt I didn't feel compelled to call my midwife again. I phoned my mom to take my daughter to horseback, so we'd have some time to get the last couple of things done.

By the time my daughter came back from horseback, I had been in and out of the birth pool several times. I'd paced around a lot. Had spend some quality time with my son in the birth pool. The yoga ball had stopped being useful as contractions became more intense and I felt like I was sitting on the babe's head. We tried watching an episode of Downton Abbey, but I couldn't concentrate on tv at all.

We had the fire going and it was a lovely sunny day.

I still hadn't called the midwife, as I knew it would make me feel inhibited, and I wasn't ready just yet to pop the lovely birthing bubble our family had formed. The kids walked around while I paced and sand and occasionally took hold of a chair to squat through contractions. Deep squatting really helped. Singing too (my oeuvre was mostly the Bastille CD, but also other songs on my birth playlist).

Somewhere in the afternoon, my daughter said it was time to call Leen (the midwife), and I told my husband she might be right. Initially I'd considered calling when my water would break.

Around the same time, it became too difficult for me to have the kids splashing around in the birth pool with me, so my husband took our son to watch something on tv and my daughter stayed to play doula. She sat beside the pool and held my hand.

I'd also found that positive moaning was more productive and meant less intense contractions, so I was alternating singing and "yes!". My husband came in and said he wouldn't let in Leen when she arrived, and I'd just have to shout if I wanted her there. I nodded, that was exactly how I wanted it.

When she arrived I was already pretty deep in laborland. He escorted her though the other door into the living room, my daughter was still by my side. Apparently she'd told him "this won't take very long", given the intensity of my "yes"-es. She was also quite surprised about the "yes" and the singing.

My water broke and I asked my daughter to get Leen to come and check wether it was clear. She did, like a pro, I may add.

Leen came in and said everything was clear, and asked if she could sit there, next to the pool. I was ok with that. The next contraction was huge and intense and seriously downward. It became clear that baby had seriously moved through the birth canal with the sack intact and I'd never even noticed. That one contraction was seriously painful, as if with the breaking of the water, he'd taken a wrong course and I felt like he'd break my tailbone.

"He's wrong, I have to move around" I said.
Leen suggested to get on all fours, but I felt like I couldn't move. She said to breathe and turn. Which I did.

It took another push for his head to be half born.
The another push for the rest of the head.
And with one more push, my new baby was born.

I took my baby and let him float in the water. It was pretty magical. I called out for my husband and kids to come, looking at the baby in the water. He was perfect. He opened his eyes slightly and stirred his limbs.

I called out again, then Leen said to take him out of the water.

The kids came in to gaze upon their new sibling. We spend some moments as a family cherishing this new life. The emotions washing over me.

We didn't know if it was a girl or boy yet. So my daughter went over to the other side of the tub to check. It was a boy. My feelings - and refusal of picking a girl's name - had been correct.

He had a full knot in his cord, and the cord wrapped around his neck. Oddly, I'd quizzed my midwife about her cord around the neck tactic the day before...

My daughter got to cut the cord with her daddy.

We had been guessing about his weight when I was pregnant (given that our son was 4kg710). He seemed really tiny.

Yet he weighed 4kg225 and measured a whopping 54cm!!


Monday, November 17, 2014

My Mother's Blessing in Pictures

It's been quite a while since my mother blessing. Late pregnancy, birth and everything going on in our busy homeschool home - which is still under construction - has left me unable to write... Moreover, this birth has really exhausted me, I can't remember having been this tired, this long after the other babies. Is it age? Is it because there's now three to take care of? Is it because of the incessant breastfeeding my two year old has taken up alongside the newborn?

Without further ado: my mama blessing pictures!

Even though we kept the guest list very small, we had quite a lot of food :) All of which paleo! We were only 4, plus three kids, who then went on with two of the daddies. I intentionally invited very few people, because I wanted to be able to do the activities we'd planned without feeling inhibited. Plus, having few people around made it less tiring.
I also decided to have the kids and husbands out of the house, to just have a day for the ladies. I'm already non stop around the kids, so this was just for me.

We had a henna artist over to do some belly henna and hand henna for the guests and the kids. It proved quite the challenge to find someone in Belgium!!

All the kids and guests got some awesome henna too. Sadly, it was rather cold in the house, so the natural henna she used on me and my friends didn't last very long. By the time I gave birth, it was all gone!

After this, the kids went to the farm to pick up my birth favours and after that to the playground with the two daddies present.

We made an affirmations banner for the birth.

And a necklace with the beads each of the guests had brought.

The last activity we did was having our nails done. An unplanned activity my best friend had prepared.

I'll try to get a post up about organising mama blessings later on, when I have the energy to write another post. And I promise I'll get the birth story and some of our amazing pics up as well!


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Improve the Lives of Children Who Have Autism

Content provided by Janice

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), commonly called autism, is a developmental disability that lasts throughout a person's lifetime. It affects how a person interacts with other people and their environment. All people who have autism share some difficulties, but it affects different people in different ways. It is a neurological disorder that affects normal brain functioning, especially the person’s communication and social interaction skills, and it is usually seen in a child during their first three years.

What Can Be Done? 

There are professionals who work with children who have ASD, such as Lindsey Stone, to help them become more integrated in their communities and develop better communication skills. Studies show that early intensive behavioral intervention improves learning as well as social and communication skills. Some of the features of a good program for toddlers and preschool children are:

• Highly trained therapists perform the intervention.
• The therapy has well-defined learning objectives.
• The child is regularly evaluated to measure their progress in meeting these objectives.
• The child receives therapeutic activities that are well-structured for at least 25 hours every week.
• The intervention focuses on social skills, language and communication, imitation, daily living, play skills and motor skills.
• Children have the opportunity to interact with typically developing peers.
• The parents are actively engaged in the program.
• The therapist views each child as unique.
• The therapy team is multidisciplinary, including a doctor, speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist.

Tips for Helping Children With Autism

There are several things parents can do to help their ASD child, but in order to be effective, the parents must be emotionally strong. When a child is diagnosed with ASD, it may be a shock to the parents, and they will need the support of professionals. There are free government services, in-home behavioral therapy and school-based programs that assist parents as well as their children.

If parents suspect there is something of concern going on with their child, they should seek help immediately and not wait for a diagnosis. The sooner a child gets specialized help, the better chance the treatment will be successful.

Tips for Parents

• Parents should learn as much as they can about autism so they can make informed decisions for their child.
• Parents should learn as much as they can about what makes their child stressful, what calms their child and the activities their child enjoys.
• Parents should value their child as an individual and not constantly compare him or her to other children.
• Parents should never stop the love and support a child needs from them because his or her abilities will constantly be developing.

Recognize the Symptoms

The symptoms of ASD vary in severity and may go unrecognized, especially if they are mild. Some things to look for are:

• No pointing or babbling by one year
• No single words or two-word phrases by 16 months
• No response to their name
• No or very little eye contact
• No smiling at people
• Excessively lining up toys or objects

The treatment for ASD needs to be modified as the person develops into a teenager and adult. Most people still require support and special services, but if they have a supportive environment, they may be able to work successfully and live independently. There is no cure, but with the help of professionals who are trained to help people with ASD, they can experience substantial improvement in their lives.

photo credit: G. J. Charlet III via photopin cc


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cosmetic Dentistry for Teens? 4 Reasons why you could say yes

Content provided by Janice

Cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of different options, from teeth whitening to dental veneers. Although cosmetic dentistry is used to improve the look of your teeth, it can have additional benefits as well, including increased self-esteem.

With the variety of cosmetic dentistry options available, many people question whether or not it’s the right move for them. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Americans spend about $2.75 billion each year in cosmetic dentistry, which means that it’s more common than you may think. If you have any of the following issues with your teeth or oral care, you should consider cosmetic dentistry to fix these issues and get you smiling.

1. Your child has crooked teeth.

If your teeth are crooked, it could cause you to feel self-conscious about your smile or general appearance. Instead of keeping closed lips all the time, opt for cosmetic dentistry. You could choose to get traditional braces, or you can opt for newer technologies that straighten your teeth without being obvious, such as Invisalign. No matter which option you choose, you can quickly fix those crooked teeth and turn them into a straight smile you’re proud to show off.

2. Your child has ‘yellowed’ teeth.

Over time, your teeth will lose their bright white color. This typically occurs because of the food and drink we consume as well as the lifestyle choices we make, such as smoking. Thankfully, you don’t have to let unflattering stained teeth ruin your smile. Instead, opt to have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist. He or she has different options than what’s available over the counter, and you can walk out of the dentist’s office with a brighter smile in a short amount of time.

3. Cracked or broken teeth.

Having cracked or broken teeth can be a nuisance, so it’s a good idea to have them fixed, not just for cosmetic purposes, but for your health as well. If you leave cracked or broken teeth untreated, you run the risk of infection or injury. In order to fix the situation, you can have crowns placed on your teeth, or you could have dental veneers put on. Both options work extremely well and will allow you to have a beautiful smile that you’ve always wanted to have.

4. Oral health issues.

If you suffer from any type of oral health issue, such as gum disease, cosmetic dentistry can help. First, your cosmetic dentist will be able to correct the situation so that your gum disease or other oral health issue no longer exists. And since gum disease is closely linked to other diseases such as diabetes and respiratory issues, this is a huge health bonus.

Another way cosmetic dentistry can help your oral health issues is by improving your oral healthcare. Correcting issues in your mouth cannot only make it easier on you to brush and floss, but it can also motivate you to have better oral hygiene. After all, if you’re going to pay for cosmetic dentistry, it’s best to keep good care of those teeth once you do. Cosmetic dentistry can help alleviate many common oral issues, so if you find yourself suffering from any of these oral issues, contact your cosmetic dentist to find out which options are right for you.

photo credit: Geekr via photopin cc


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

6 Things Your Teenager May Need During Puberty

Content provided by Janice
Going through puberty is something that every teenager will experience, and as a parent, it’s up to you to not only explain puberty to your child, but to also be prepared to help them go through puberty successfully.

Boys and girls will experience different things during puberty, but there are certain things you can purchase or prepare for in order to help. The following are six things your teenager may need during puberty.

Things your teenager may need during puberty

1. Deodorant
Your child may already wear deodorant, but if they don’t, now is the time to start. Your child’s body will start developing differently, and they’ll start to sweat and smell differently too. Be sure to stock up on plenty of deodorant so that your child can stay smelling fresh throughout the day.

2. Body Wash
Along with deodorant, you’ll want to stock up on body wash. Your child is going to smell differently, and they may start to take more showers thanks to practices or general hygiene. Be sure to stock up on body wash so that your child always has plenty of options to choose from.

3. Razors
Whether you have a boy or girl, razors will become a necessity. Your son will start to grow facial hair during puberty, and they’ll need to start shaving regularly. Your daughter may also want to start shaving the hair under her arms as well as on her legs. Teach your teen to shave so that they can go through puberty hairless if they so desire.

4. Tampons/Pads/menstrual cup
If you have a daughter, you know that her menstrual cycle is just around the corner. Because of this, you’ll want to have plenty of tampons and pads throughout your house so that she is ready for when the day comes. Be sure to have your daughter put some in her backpack and keep at school in case it happens while she’s not at home. You should also invest in some Midol too.

5. Doctor/Dentist Checkups
During puberty, your child’s body is going to experience many different changes, so it’s important to ensure your child sees the doctor and dentist on a regular basis. Your child’s doctor will be able to assess their physical health and determine if they are growing and developing at the right time. He or she will also be able to answer any questions your child may have about the changes he or she is currently experiencing.

Your child’s dentist will also be able to assess how his or her teeth are developing and whether or not he or she needs braces or another form of dental work. Getting these issues addressed now will keep your child from having to experience braces or other oral items as an adult.

6. Patience
Your child’s hormones are going to be out of control, and as a parent, the best thing you can do is to have a lot of patience. Your child is going to be moody for no reason, and then happy for no reason the next. He or she is going to get angry and embarrassed with you all the time, and they’re going to be less willing to ask you for help or tell you about their life. Understand that this is something every teenager experiences, and as long as you have patience, they’ll eventually grow out of it.

photo credit: Gerard Van der Leun via photopin cc


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Things to Do Right Before Your 30th Birthday

Content provided by Janice

To some people, turning 30 isn’t a big deal. To others, though, turning 30 means turning into a real
adult, and it can often be scary. No matter if you’re welcoming 30 with open arms, or if you’re petrified of the big day, you have to understand that turning 30 is just a part of life, and it signifies a turning point in your life.

Things to do before you're 30
When you turn 30, you can still have all the same fun you had in your 20s, you just may have a harder time recovering because of it. But no matter what your thoughts are on 30 or what you expect about turning 30, there are a few things you need to do before you turn 30 to help ease your way into a new decade full of responsibility.

Visit Your Doctor for an Annual Exam

No, 30 does not mean that you’re old, but it does mean that you’re aging, as and much as you may hate to admit it, your body is not working the same way as it did in your early 20s. Because of this, it’s very important that you visit your doctor for an annual exam. He or she will be able to take your vitals and do an overall assessment of your health, and use this information to help you stay healthy. Maybe your doctor wants you to go on a diet, or maybe he or she believes you need medication to help cure or prevent a disease. By visiting your doctor now, and by regularly visiting him or her from here on out, you can keep your health in check and prevent any possible illness or disease before it becomes too serious.

Visit Your Dentist for a Regular Exam

Maybe you already see the dentist regularly, or maybe you haven’t seen the dentist since you’ve had your own insurance. No matter what, be sure to see your dentist now. Your oral health is just as important as your physical and mental health, and it’s something that can help keep you healthy all around. As you get older, your teeth and gums become weaker, and it’s important for your dentist to not only clean and assess your mouth regularly, but to also keep track of any issues. This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily need restorative dentistry on your 30th birthday, but it could help you ward off any underlying diseases that may be sprouting.


You’re at the prime of your life right now. Not only do you have the means to splurge on luxuries such as a vacation, but you also have the knowledge to appreciate it all. If you can, take some time before your 30th birthday to travel. Maybe you want to get out of the country, or maybe you just want to travel locally. It doesn’t matter where you go, but this is the time to get your friends and/or family together and take a memorable trip.

Make an Investment in Your Future

When you turn 30, you are just under halfway to retirement. Before you realize it, you’ll be even closer to retirement, and your opportunity to make an investment in your future may have passed. If you haven’t already, be sure to start a 401k or other retirement savings plan to help you prepare for your retirement. Investing money now means having more to retire on later. Plus, you’ll likely pay a lower rate than you will years from now, as inflation will just keep continuing to rise.

photo credit: marfis75 via photopin cc


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is NOW LIVE!!!

We all want to make better health and lifestyle decisions for ourselves and those we love. We want to have more energy, use greener products, create nutritious meals for our families, get fit, and feel confident that we’re doing all we can to prevent serious diseases.

But it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the masses of healthy living advice out there – to the point where we’re frozen into complete inaction instead!

That’s where The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle comes in. For the ridiculously low price of just $29.97 (for the PDF version) or $39.97 (for the eReader version), you can get access to a carefully curated collection of eBooks and eCourses with a total combined value of $1,030.

The bundle contains a wealth of information from the very finest healthy living writers out there – but there’s no risk of getting overwhelmed! A useful Getting Started Guide is included with your purchase, which will help you identify the most valuable resources for your specific health priorities.
The Ultimate Bundles team has done all the hard work for you – finding the top experts across a number of healthy living fields and combining their products into one essential collection. If you want to take control of your health, there’s no better way to start!

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am EST on Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 15.

But don’t wait until the last moment – there are only 30,000 bundles available and once they’re gone, they’re gone!
You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles one-year guarantee: you have a full year to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s health, you’ll get your money back in full!
Click here for more info or to buy now.

As if this great collection of eBooks and eCourses wasn’t enough, the Ultimate Bundles team has also partnered with 10 fantastic companies who’ve each agreed to give a special bonus to every buyer. The bonuses have a total value of over $200 – more than 5 times the price of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle itself!

The bonuses include free goodies aplenty: a bottle of Healthy Mouth Blend from OraWellness, a baltic amber bracelet from Sweetbottoms Boutique, and a starter culture from Cultures For Health. You’ll also get gift sets from Made On Skin Care Products and Homegrown Collective.

There are virtual goodies, too – a 4-month membership to and a 3-month premium membership to meal planning service Tradishen. And as if all that weren’t enough, there are also $15 gift certificates for, and Trilight Health. There is a nominal shipping charge for many of the bonuses, based on each company’s standard shipping rates, and is usually $3-5.
Here’s what you need to know about the sale:
When? 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, September 10 until 11:59 p.m. EST Monday, September 15
What? 73 eBooks and 7 audio & eCourses, PLUS over $200 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!
Where? Purchase the bundle HERE.
How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth $1030, and it’s selling for less than $30. Sweet deal, right?
We think there’s something here for everyone, and don’t forget… our Getting Started Guide will show you exactly which resources cover the topics and health concerns that matter most to you!
We know you’re eager to see exactly what’s included in this bundle, so head on over to the website, where you can see the full list of eBooks, eCourses, and bonus offers.
When you’re ready, you can either buy here directly, or right through the website. It’s fast and easy, and you’ll have your bundle sent to you via email within minutes.
Click here for more info or to buy now.

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 7 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, September 10th to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, September 15th.


Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle


Friday, September 5, 2014

Eating Closer to Nature

In moving back to Belgium, I was quite anxious about our food. In Liberia, food isn't abundant as it is in Europe, but we did eat mostly wild, local, grass fed etc. Things that aren't even concepts in Belgium. Yes, Organic is gaining terrain in the supermarket, but even just the concept supermarket is something we dislike.

Now, I have adopted a strategy of saying yes to whatever comes along my path (I will talk about this in a future post), so I have in the past week, received a part of my mom's apple harvest, as it was too much for her to use.
Aside from apple sauce, we've made juice (with the raisins my dad brought in).

We ended up juicing for the whole family.

We also got really lucky and found out about a CSA farm nearby. Which we joined instantly. We already took the family to harvest.

Pulling those lovely carrots out of the ground made my daughter crave some apple-carrot juice.

And here's another creation with our harvest:

As I'm writing this, I've got some herbal vegetable broth on the stove and will be starting cabbage mash with salmon and sour cream for dinner. Guess it's no surprise we'll be going back tomorrow.

We still need to go to the store for a couple of things, but we're slowly finding our way to healthy, nutritious, sustainable food.

So why is food sourcing so important?
  1. I think it's really important for the kids to know where their food comes from, plus, as unschoolers, it's all about learning from reality. How better to learn about food than to get your hands dirty in the field?
  2. Our family eats primal, so it's important to know where your food comes from, what the animals you eat have eaten, how the vegetables were grown.
  3. Food is the biggest chunk in a household budget, growing your own, participating in community agriculture are both ways to cut the cost but still get awesome produce!
Do you grow your own? Have a community garden? Support your local farmer? Tell me all about it!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

I've got a cleaning lady coming for the first time today and realised that I basically don't have any cleaning products. When I am cleaning, I just throw a couple of things together on the spot, but as
somebody else is coming in, someone who's probably used to cleaning with ready made products, I figured I had to whip up a couple of things, to cover the basics.

So I made:

  • No streak Glass Cleaner using this recipe on Whole New Mom 
  • Bathroom cleaner with this recipe on Crunchy Betty
I tweaked the Glass cleaner by adding a couple drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil. My original, store bought (but eco-friendly) glass cleaner had Eucalyptus and I rather liked that. As we use very little scented products in general, some scent now and again is welcome. Given that Eucalyptus is air purifying and we've all got a bit of a cold (seriously, is this summer in Belgium? Missing Africa already), this is a good way of getting rid of bacteria and adding some aromatherapy to our home.

I usually have scented vinegar (like this) on hand for making my on the spot cleaners, so I don't need to add essential oils, but I haven't come around to making any since I moved back to Belgium. Yet writing this post (and receiving some lovely rosemary from a friend) reminded me to do so. 
I do have a bottle of store bought eco-friendly all purpose cleaner on hand for days when I don't feel like mixing anything up or lack the supplies.

Find more homemade cleaners on my Pinterest 'cleaning' board


Monday, July 28, 2014

Postpartum Paleo Freezer Meals - Recipe Roundup Post

The early days with a new baby can be hectic, tiring, earth-shattering... preparing food may very well
be the last thing on your list. It's better to be prepared, than to rely on stir of the moment eating that may have you rely on fast foods, low in nutrients at a time where you need these nutrients the most.

Freezing foods during your pregnancy will leave you with a nice stock of healthy meals that are ready to be popped in the oven or reheated on the stove. This list will give you the inspiration you need to get started.

Frittata breakfast muffins on Real Food RN
Grain free waffles on Real Food RN
Pineaple banana green smoothie on A Harmony Healing
Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Cups on Fresh Bites Daily


Creamy Coconut Green Chilli Chicken Soup from Delicious Obsessions
Chunky Chicken and Vegetable Soup on The Organic Kitchen
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup on Delicious Obsessions
Curried Beet Soup on Fresh Bites Daily
Nettle Leaf Soup on Fresh Bites Daily

Greens Soup on Fresh Bites Daily
Chicken and Dumpling Soup from Healing Cuisine by Elise
Smoked Turkey and Pea Soup on Healing Cuisine by Elise


Bison and sweet potato stew on Delicious Obsessions
Slow cooked pulled porc on Economies of Kale
No bean sweet potato chilli on Happy Healthnut
Grass Fed Beef and Vegetable stew on Delicious Obsessions
Easiest Crock Pot Taco Meat on Delicious Obsessions (or this one from Fresh Bites Daily, which doesn't require a crock pot)

Simple Chicken and Vegetable Curry on Delicious Obsessions
Beef and Parsnip stew with marjoram on Gutsy by Nature
Hidden Liver Meatballs on Real Food RN
Spicy Pork on Fresh Bites Daily
Salmon Casserole from Healing Cuisine by Elise

Ginger Cranberry Pork Roast on Mama and Baby Love
Ginger beef on Divine Health from the Inside Out
Three Freezer Recipes on Divine Health from the Inside Out

Snacks and Sides

Crustless Quiche with beets and Greens on Fresh Bites Daily
Zucchini Casserole from Healing Cuisine by Elise
Zucchini Mushroom Crumble from Healing Cuisine by Elise

Lemon Macadamia Coconut Blueberry Muffins on Delicious Obsessions


Homemade pizza sauce on Real Food RN

Freezing tips
How to slice and freeze avocados on Real Food RN
How to freeze herbs on Real Food RN


Friday, July 25, 2014

Preparing Your Postpartum Time

Even though our culture tries to breeze over it like it is nothing, the postpartum time is truly a sacred time in the lives of our babies, as well as in the lives of the new mother. Hormones rage through your body, your little one needs to adapt to a new... well... everything! You might feel frazzled or insecure, your partner and other kids need to adjust to this new creature in your midst.

The postpartum experience can be destabilising and tip over an otherwise healthy mom into PPD if she is not well surrounded. Better to avoid than to heal, you can plan for your postpartum time to be a happy time, a time of connection and recovery.

Learn about natural postpartum healing
Every mother's body needs to adjust to the change in hormones and the radical shift in your body. Luckily, you can assist your body with gentle, natural remedies.

Prepare the needed supplies in advance. You can order them online and have them delivered, but it will be useful to have them close instead of having to run around looking for herbs etc. 

Ensure Healthy Postpartum Food

Having a freezer full of lovely, nutritious meals, will ensure you and your family eat well and get those nutrient dense foods even when you're too tired or worn down to cook. Start cooking ahead of your delivery. Know that you can freeze soups and sauces for six month, meat or fish dishes for about 3 months. Get lovely in season products and cook them when you feel up to it during your pregnancy. 
If you want to make sure you stick to the deal, you can organise a mamaBake with friends. Ask around if your friends or family are bulk preparing, maybe you can get a batch too?

Look out for a post about post-partum freezer meal later this week.

During your pregnancy, look into home delivery services, anything that cuts down your shopping time and running around. Maybe you have a local brewer who does a weekly round with milk, juice and water. With the additional bonus of being in glass bottles - less toxic exposure!!
Can you get a weekly fruit and veg basket from a local farmer or food co-op?

Get Help

Try to find out who will be around to help you after the birth of your baby, and make clear arrangements ahead of time. Do you have a friend who can come babysit the older kids once a week? Maybe your mom wants to do your ironing? Maybe your inlaws can drop by and bring some food once a week?

Consider what you'll be comfortable with and talk it over before your baby is born. You will need help the first couple of weeks. Making sure you have all the help you can get will be a huge benefit. 

If you don't have someone to help you out regularly, look into hiring help. In the US, you can get a postpartum doula. If you're in the UK, you can hire someone specialised in postpartum care through an organisation such as Nursing Personnel . Most European countries offer some form of assistance with your local family care centre. 
These people can help you with your household, the care for your baby and yourself.

Prepare your postpartum wardrobe

Having soft, comfortable clothes, that also look good, will ensure a good mood during the postpartum time. If you will be breastfeeding, you'll need adapted clothes that enable you to nurse in all situations; without hassle. 

Is your partner having a baby shortly? Read about how you can help and become a perfect postpartum partner.
Read about how postpartum care is organised in Ivory Coast