It seems this is becoming the essential business scheme of choice for some businesses, entertainment fairs, festivals, and carnivals of late. Especially to a whole location like Orlando Florida. Read more…
Liam Marcus’ Voice - The little guy is almost five years old, and while he has enjoyed his older brothers and his older brothers’ friends it has been a struggle to find compatible playmates for him. Thanks be to God for technology, in part, because we have stumbled upon an immense cascade of activities geared towards the little guy. What have we been using to find such a resourceful shower of activities? We have found Meetup.com, and in it we have found a number of groups geared towards physical activities in his age range.
We have been in two groups, and so far it has paid off with dividends abound. The little guy has met new friends his age, visited a nearby petting zoo with the same friends, and more adult women to say things like, “Hi! I’m this old… (hold up four fingers) but I’ll be five soon.”
Mami, a.k.a, Megan Ryan, has found a way to meet like-minded women, too. Seeing that these groups are geared towards mothers of toddlers and homeschooling families, she’s finding it exciting to be able to surround herself with women who have similar dilemmas. Some homeschool and some don’t, but they are all seeking friends for their sons and daughters.
The Meetups.com groups have become a serious problem, though. Megan Ryan has been so busy studying the schedules and planning out trips and get togethers with these other families that she’s forgotten to make dinner on occasion and a few other household tasks, like getting her ginger brew going (she calls it her pain medicine). Isn’t that marvelous, well, not for her if she’s forgetting to brew it.
The whole experience has put a smile on everyone’s face in this family. Thanks be to God.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Yeah, we’ve been going to playdates, etc. at least four days per week, all in an effort to see which group(s) we’ll stick with and which we won’t. It’s been tiring but loads of fun, all of it free too. There were some playdates scheduled in places that charged admission, but we avoided those. It was going very well until public school started. Then all of the children his age disappeared off to preschool and kindergarten. Only one other homeschooling family in the lot, so it’s back to the drawing board. We’ll drop out of those groups and find some for homeschoolers. As most of you know, we already belong to a homeschool group, but it is quite small and only meets twice a month this year. That’s not nearly enough meets on the playground for Preschooler 4.11, a.k.a. the Energizer Bunny. Plus all of his friends in that group live a bit too far away to meet and play a few times per week. Overall it’s been a great experience, lots of fun and has opened my eyes to all kinds of places around home that have free activities for children.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Hey, ever see a cat do her business in the toilet? I try not to. Our cats can do it, and have done it since we got them six years ago. This is one reason why we don’t have dogs anymore, because dogs would not be able to do what cats do, jump on the toilet, squat and sigh with relief. Sorry, that was a bit graphic, but I couldn’t resist. The other reason is the new arrivals. No, not the cats, the children. We wanted a few treats with fur from God, so why not as independent an animal as a cat? Yeah. A cat. Two cats. We don’t have to take care of that messy, smelly, little box “no more”. However, we do still have to deal with the extra fur lying around…almost everywhere.
Ryan Megan’s Voice – Now all we need to do is get ‘em to flush. We used a dandy device called a Litter Kwitter to train them. One cat was fully trained in a month, the other took a bit longer. It was a bit of a hassle, especially if you only have one bathroom in your house, but it was oh so worth it. No mess, no smell, and more moolah in our pockets because we don’t have to buy kitty litter. No litter is also nice for when we have wee ones. The cats themselves are more sanitary because they’re not climbing in and out of their own mess on a daily basis. The babies can pull and grab to their hearts’ content and no worries about extra germs.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We finally emerge victorious from a prolonged battle with Infant 0.9′s wicked diaper rash! We have cloth diapered her since the beginning and use an organic disposable at night. We did the same for Preschooler 4.9 although his disposables weren’t organic. In fact we use his same old cloths on her, because that’s the beauty (and $ saving) of cloth diapers. To make a long story short, she developed a large, painful looking, burn-like rash a while ago. Nothing we did made it go away. Out of desperation we switched her solely to organic disposables (ouch – SO expensive!) and the rash faded after a while. Switched her back to cloth and !BAM! rash city. Hit the reset button. Back where we started. So we sent an email shout out to our Catholic homeschooling group for help. Why not just go to the pediatrician? Because when it comes to curing things naturally and without prescriptions, we don’t have much faith at all in modern medicine. Once you read below, you’ll have a better understanding why. NO WAY would a pediatrician in our town have figured out the problem. They would have simply treated symptoms over a series of wasted office visits. Sad but true. We got tons of great advice from our friends, and now we’ll share with all of you the advice that won the day.
I washed all of her diapers several times in hot water alone, then once with a long soak with washing soda, followed by a few more rinse cycles in hot water. The washing soda balanced out the pH of the diapers as there must have been some buildup. The several hot rinse cycles removed any oily residue from the store-bought organic detergent (with fabric softener) I was using. An oily residue also would have trapped ammonia and contributed to the pH buildup. Click Here for the website that taught us about pH.
Then I made some homemade, organic laundry detergent using Dr. Bronner’s organic castile soap, washing soda, borax and water. It wasn’t much effort at all and yielded four gallons of detergent – yay! I made a liquid version of my friend’s recipe, but you can Click Here for a similar version.
In the meantime I used organic disposable diapers and liberally applied a homemade balm of organic coconut oil and tea tree oil with every changing – just in case it was a yeast/bacterial thing. The recipe is 10 parts coconut oil to one part tea tree oil. I used tea tree oil because it is anti-fungal, but diluted it with coconut oil because the tea tree can be quite strong. I chose coconut oil because it is anti-fungal AND antibacterial while remaining very mild.
Finally, I switched from using a wet diaper pail system (a plastic kitchen garbage can filled with water and detergent) to a dry diaper pail (no water/detergent). This also helps keep the pH neutral.
All in all, she has extremely sensitive skin. The same system that gave her a horrible rash was the same one (the diapers too) I used with our previous baby with no problems whatever. I guess it proves (once again) what one of my wise momma friends told me: Just when you think you have the parenting thing down, you get a new baby with a whole new set of obstacles to overcome
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Thanks be to God. We spent a few months battling the little one’s issue with her rash. Megan had to stop eating certain foods for fear that the foods may have been the culprits. Little did we know. Megan, don’t forget about all those baths in the natural goat’s milk soap we got from the local lady at the farmer’s market. It appears that the way to cleanliness isn’t always what doctors and commercial product companies have in mind for us. What I mean is that chemical soaps apparently aren’t reliable enough to keep us clean from everything. I personally wouldn’t mind doing it the way it is healthy and literally clean.
“There are fields, Neo, endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time, I wouldn’t believe it. And then I saw the fields with my own eyes, watched them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. - Morpheus, from the movie The Matrix
Megan & Marcus’ Voices – We just read this riveting article titled Dirty Secrets of The Pet Food Industry, and we’ll be changing the way we feed our kitties. The scene from The Matrix quoted above immediately came to mind. Megan’s Abyssinian has recently developed skin allergies but has also had potty problems since day one. Her veterinary care has entered the amorphous no man’s land of “Let’s try this and see what happens. Oh, and fork over all your money please.” The challenge will be to change the food they eat without spending too much money. Don’t get us wrong, we love our cats, but we love our human children more. We’d rather spend our money on them.We’ll keep you posted on our progress so we can help you by learning from our mistakes, and saving you the trouble of reinventing the wheel.
If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear about them in the comments section of this post. God bless!
Liam Marcus’ Voice – There is nothing like the real thing baby, there is nothing like the real thing. I will begin talking today about our experiences in court. I have been letting it linger enough thinking that it would come out better when we won. Well, I should have known. It has been a long road to redemption, and there is no light at the end of this tunne yet. While becoming well learned in the law is the rule in this household, and we can probably take on anybody in court and beat them as a consequence, taking on the political de facto franchises like our City of Niceville has been a stretch. Suffice it to say, we have visited the court room downtown about eight times. Each time being more revealing than the last. We will continue to give you some updates on our legal cases, and I will leave you now with these thoughts. There is power in knowing what to do with the law. Folks, if not for yourselves, then for your children, learn the law, and how to use it. That’s it for now.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Taking on ‘da man’ hasn’t been a picnic. It has swallowed up way too much of our time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been well worth it. I say ‘too much’ because that’s how they have the system set up. Set up to crush the little guy and make a tidy profit for the ol’ boys in control. You could say we are representing ourselves in a battle over a ticket, but it’s more like defending ourselves against the encroachment of big government. The City of Niceville sent me a ticket in the mail because our grass was too high. In the Land of The Free, we have the “freedom” to rip babies apart in the womb via abortion, but if we go a little too long between mowings…Lord have mercy! So we told the city where they could put their ticket! Why go to all the trouble of a court battle over such a small thing? It’s the principle of the thing. Plus it has been good practice and a great learning experience.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Let me just go ahead and say it before you do. We’re wacky. We’re getting wackier every day. We’re okay with that. My recent kooky idea was to ditch our deodorant – for a trial period, anyway. Why? Because we wanted to see if we could do it. Click Here or Here to read why deodorant/antiperspirant aint’ such a good thing. We tried the natural deodorants like Tom’s of Maine, etc. but they didn’t work for more than an hour or two. Then we stumbled across a mineral block deodorant like this one. We were intrigued and after reading the customer reviews, decided to take the plunge into that area of Foreign Waters. If it worked, it would be a nice way to save money too.
Here is the breakdown of our unofficial Dare To Ditch Our Deodorant:
- Day 1: Rubbed the wet stone a little in the right places after our morning bath, and midday brought body odor along with it.
- Day 2: Rubbed the wet stone A LOT and didn’t smell a little horsey until that night.
- Day 3: It’s 80 degrees today minimum, just like the previous days. Ready to forget the whole thing because today is “park day” outside with the children and our homeschool group. I was afraid to start smelling ripe around our friends, but decided to give it a shot anyway. Maybe the outside breeze would allow me to stand downwind of people, should the need arise.
- Day 4: Yesterday was encouraging because I didn’t smell until that night. When I say smell, I mean get-right-up-on-it-and-take-a-big-whiff sort of smell. So, not really too bad.
- Day 5: I decided to keep it going a bit longer thinking maybe my body simply needed time to adjust. I mean, what did people do before deodorant was invented anyway, right??
- Days 6 and 7: No body odor whatsoever for 24 hours.
- Days 8 and 9: Only smelled a bit horsey just before bedtime, but Marcus couldn’t tell.
- Day 10: No odor even though we spent four hours at a theme park in the late afternoon, 80 degree weather.
- Days 11-13: No odor again whatsoever for 24 hours.
- Day 14: a bit horsey before bedtime
So I think I’ll keep using the deodorant stone. I haven’t had to supplement with normal deodorant/antiperspirant, and if I do, I think the natural stuff like Tom’s of Maine would do the trick. However I don’t think that will be necessary. I have a hunch my body will continue to adjust. Although I must warn you, the stone is NOT an antiperspirant. I did feel wet occasionally, but dried up quickly with no wetness showing on my shirt. I’ve never been a real “wet” kind of sweat person anyway. Marcus will sweat buckets (SO attractive when he does – rowrrr!) when he plays roller hockey and works hard outside, etc. so he may shed some light on that subject for you.
Liam Marcus’ Voice -Wacky! LOL Megan, that’s funny, but don’t you think you are being presumptuous about what our friends think of us? My lady, the reason why it didn’t work on us is because we ain’t couch potatoes – pardon to some of our readers if you are. Though if you are, we would like to trade you a couple of our deodorant stones for something You know Meg, you better be speaking for yourself. The rock worked on me well enough. I never smelled horsey! What’s the matter with you?!
I agree, the stone is not an anti-wetness product. It won’t block your sweat glands like most junk out there with the chemical orientation to do the blocking. You know, I’ll bet you, if we go out and get some sand from the beach, and rub it under-there, and then use the stone, it might work a bit better – on you. It’s still works for me, although I’ll spare our audience with the details of why it worked on me better than on you God bless!
UPDATE:If you are using raw milk, you can adjust the recipe as follows: Heat the milk long enough to get it quite warm but not hot, 100 to 110 degrees, then turn off crockpot. In our crock that’s about two hours on low. Add yogurt starter, then cover and let sit overnight. We do it this way now because we found out accidentally that the original recipe was getting the milk too hot and essentially pasteurizing (killing) our lovely, living milk.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – I just made yogurt for the first time, and boy it is EASY! Most of the recipes I looked up online were rather daunting and complicated looking, but this recipe for yogurt in the crockpot was easy and fabulous! The only change I made was I used organic raw milk, heat it to ONLY 105 degrees, and instead of using a cheesecloth or coffee filters to strain the yogurt I used Crunchy Catholic Momma’s idea of making your own reusable straining cloth. The yogurt is delicious and SO much cheaper to make it yourself – not to mention how much healthier than the organic, store-bought, pasteurized junk. The final yield was 32 ounces of thick greek style yogurt, and 32 ounces of leftover whey. I use the leftover probiotic whey for making oatmeal, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, or just mix in some honey and slurp it up with a straw! With so many uses, why let it waste a-whey? <guffaw>
Liam Marcus’ Voice- Wow! This yogurts beats them all, even itself. No, wait, that doesn’t make much sense. It is ridonculously delicious, though. What I love about it the most is that it has a recyclable feature – ‘da whey! Finally, a food that gives back in more than one “whey”.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Marcus whipped up a batch of the most incredible cookies I have EVER tasted, no joke. They are copycat Oreo Cakester cookies and (I kid you not) they are so good you can’t help but sit there with your eyes closed and chew as slowly as possible so you can savor every second. Click Here to get the recipe from Crunchy Catholic Momma and prepare yourself for a little taste of heaven. Just to save you some trouble, here is what we learned from our first batch that failed: 1) You can substitute the palm oil for coconut oil or any other light oil. 2) Don’t try to use a substitute for the butter. 3) Watch them like a hawk while they’re in the oven, and whip them out of there if they might get too done. Otherwise they’ll end up hard…but still tasty!
Liam Marcus’ Voice - Oreo Cakester cookies, yumm. Yep, the first two tries were excellent learning experiences. I don’t know, there is something special, yet wrong with gas stoves. They are not (very) consistent. I mean, come on, I haven’t been able to find a (happy) medium with ours. It is either not done, or burned. Geez! That’s all right though, I’m not discouraged…yet! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to eating junk, that’s for sure…no offense to those of you who are still eating it. Ahh ok, I’ll admit, from time to time I eat junk too. You know, once a month or so I slip in a slice of Oscar Meyer’s so-called ham. In any case, the cookies are awesome, and the experience is great. It’s like heaven. You know heaven here on earth when you are in communion with God, but when your palate says more, more, more and it itches with a tingly sensation, that’s heaven from a great cuisine point of view
Megan Ryan’s Voice – It’s funny how your life changes when you have children. When our first child was born I searched far and wide for new friends because I needed to hang out with other moms with babies. I envisioned mommies sitting around pleasantly gabbing about mommy stuff while the wee ones cooed and drooled while sitting happily on our laps…HA! I was living in a fantasy land. For me it was more like trying desperately to follow along with other conversations because I was too busy attempting to comfort my screaming infant to do any talking myself.
It was a different story with our subsequent children. Each new baby made me want to get out of the house about as much as I craved being boiled in oil. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and nurse the little one while the older children played or watched movies with me. This time I am forcing myself out of the house once a week with Preschooler 4.1 and Infant 0.1 to meet with our homeschool group. All because Preschooler 4.1 is longing for a friend. A REAL friend, not just his teenage brothers whom we occasionally have to coerce into playing with him. The little guy was watching a DVD episode of Little Bear when he put his face in his hands, heaved a big sigh and said, “I wish I had a friend.” Well it darn near broke our hearts to hear him say that! So even if the stress of getting a newborn out of the house on time each day kills me, we are GOING to that playgroup so he can make little buddies of his own. But whatever happened to the days of going outside to play with the neighborhood kids?? Times have changed I guess.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – It’s also difficult to experience the lack of companionship due to people’s schedules or some other issue. The egg has rolled off the table and went !kasplat! on the floor, meaning the old ways of doing things, the simple ways, the ways in which people could have control over (the egg) their lives was simpler. Life is too complicated nowadays and people just don’t seem to appreciate it as they used to. Could it be the food they are eating? Could it be they are not as close to God as they should be?
Oops! Went off subject there for a minute. Yes, we want the little guy to experience the world the way we did as children, when the world was a big playground and it was full of companions (other little children). However, that is impossible too. Hmm, no wonder I still act like a child - the children look to me for what they lack, companions/playmates.