Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pineapple, Spinach, and Kale...

...did not make very good pancakes ingredients but they made a great breakfast salad.

Did you know that in order for your body to assimilate the iron in plant food, they need to be eaten with a Vitamin C food? I just learned this last month when we found out Christiana's iron was a little low. After a month of applying this principle of eating Vitamin C foods with iron containing foods, her iron is up within normal levels.

Spinach contains some iron and calcium and the pineapple and pomegranate contain Vitamin C. They are also on opposite sides of the pH scale so they pair together nicely. Christiana loved this salad. I cut the spinach into little pieces and she just gobbled it right up. Amanda ate some of it but did not really care for the spinach. After all of the pancakes we ate on Thursday, eating this salad, cold and raw, was quite refreshing.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eight Months

At eights months, I've started giving Tali baby food. We started with bananas. She's also tried avocados, applesauce and squash. She doesn't really like to eat yet and I only try to feed her about once a day. It's usually at night when the other girls are in bed because Christiana thinks that I should be feeding her while I'm feeding Tali and that's just a little too chaotic.

I adore the funny little faces she makes when she's eating. At first, she would cough and gag like I had given her a shot of whiskey. So funny!

She is very mobile and can get pretty much where ever she wants to go. She will even crawl across the room when she hears Mike come home. She pretty spoiled, too, and will cry if Mike doesn't pick her up right away. Like Amanda, she is slow about learning to sit up because she'd rather be off crawling around.

She often has her little tongue sticking out. It's so cute and reminds me so much of Tony at the same age.

In September, I finally decided I was going to work on getting her to sleep better at night. She seemed to be more persistent and would carry on for a very long time compared to the other two girls. It was always so much easier to nurse her and put her back to bed. But she was waking up twice a night. After a few nights of only changing her diaper and then putting her back to bed for one of the feedings, she began to sleep so much better. It's strange how me cutting out one feeding, led to her not waking for the second feeding.

We got into a pretty good pattern of her going to bed around 10 pm and waking around 7 or 8 am. Until a virus came through the house. And then another one. And then another one. She doesn't always get sick but if she wakes up while there is illness in the house, I always nurse her because I want her to get that extra protection. Thankfully, she gets back to sleeping better after a few days.

Since she's in bed, I'm going to go there too. Good night!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh Yeah, It Snowed!

Yesterday morning Amanda woke up see snow on the ground. She was so excited. She couldn't wait to put on her snow clothes and go outside. She kept talking about the books she had read with snow in the them. She talked about how she would bang up her nose just like the puppy in Ten Little Puppies and build a mouse like in The Mouse That Jack Built.
They had fun slipping and sliding around on the deck for a bit and then came in soaking wet because it was kind of raining, too. By the afternoon, much to Amanda's disappointment, most of the snow had melted already.
Don't worry, Dear, there will be more.

Hair Week Three

My strategy for this week was to do fewer, larger twists in anticipation that I would need to redo them during the week to keep them looking nice. I also experimented with using the Tea Tree Mint conditioner as the styling product. I used my spray bottle that is filled with distilled water and diluted Carol's Daughter leave-in. Her hair was still twisted so I just sprayed the section I wanted to work with and then added the conditioner to detangle, comb and then twist. I worked mostly with the parts from last week and only adjusted a few. It took about an hour with lots of distractions.

The style held up pretty good for a couple of days. Because they were a little wet when I wrap her scarf on and put her to bed, they dried a little wonky but overall they were still neat and tidy. It makes a huge different if she leaves her scarf on overnight.

This is what kept Amanda busy and caused a few distractions. She started out with beads, then colors, then scissors, and playing with the snaps. She is often reaching and twisting and squirming around but the finished product is neater than when I've tried to do it with her sitting on my lap watching a show.

Though it was my intent to keep them fresh but re-twisting them and adding more conditioner during the week, I didn't get a chance to do anything with them until tonight. I took out the snaps and bands, wet the hair with water and diluted leave-in and sealed it with coconut oil and shea butter. Then I put it in a high pony and wrapped her head for the night. I will leave it like this until she takes a bath Friday (tomorrow) night. It works best to wash on Friday nights, style Saturday morning during the babies morning nap, and then freshen the style a bit before church on Sunday. Last week, I washed on Saturday and that didn't leave me enough time to style on Saturday and there was no time on Sunday.
Answering Questions and Asking a Few More
I'm so thankful for all the feed back so far! I'd like to respond to a few of the comments.
First of all, some one mentioned that the oil isn't moisturizing. I think I understand that. So, does wetting the hair with water add moisture that can be sealed in with the oil? Or do I need some other kind of product/ingredient that adds moisture?
I have used Carol's Daughter's products. I was given the Rosemary Shampoo, Hair Milk, Tui Leave-in and some lotion by my adoption group ladies. I used the shampoo and lotion up right away but the hair milk and leave-in were too strongly scented for me to use when Amanda was always in my lap. I've been using the leave-in more lately to add moisture between styles and I've been using the hair milk on Christiana. She has less hair so it doesn't seem so strong. It doesn't seem to any kind of hold and it doesn't make the hair easier to comb so I guess it's just supposed to add moisture.
Regarding the washing, I read once that an adoptive mother was scolded for letting her daughters dump soapy water on their heads. I was quite concerned about using the wrong kind of shampoo that would damage or strip her hair. I've also read about going shampoo free and only using baking soda and vinegar to clean the scalp. I've also read about the oil cleansing method and the co-washing method. Those are the methods I've used to clean her scalp. I will do some more research into how and with what I need to shampoo and why. Feel free to add your suggestions.
Regarding the bald spots, yes, her hair is relatively thin but it doesn't look quite as bad in person as it does on the photographs. :) I don't even notice the parts in real life and am surprised to see them once I load the pictures onto my computer. I don't really care for the way her scalp looks in braids or twists because it is so thin or fine. The main purpose of the twists is to keep the hair protected from drying out, breaking, and tangling. Plus, she loves the snaps and swinging twists.
About the salon, hmm, not really an option. The nearest town that might have a salon is 1/2 hour away. We don't have enough margin in our life for that right now. I have to learn how to do her hair one way or the other. My goals are to try to keep her hair healthy and to retain length so she has options when she gets a little older and can stand to sit for a bit longer.
Dreads? I don't think we're ready to make that big of a commitment to a hairstyle.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Credit Where Credit is Due

Here are some pictures of how our pancakes turned out. I used oats soaked in plain yogurt and no sugar since our sugar is raw and tinges everything a little brown. We used beets for the red, raw carrots for the orange, buttercup squash for the yellow, fresh spinach for the green, fresh blueberries for the blue, and blueberries and beets for the purple. I edited the photos so it looked as close to what I saw as possible. The blue did not end up looking very blue.

We tried pomegranate juice, pineapple and sweet potatoes. I never tried the kale because the spinach gave such a great color. They really weren't very tasty but oh! what fun to make! Amanda tried all the colors and ate most of them. The pineapple were really yucky to us. I always think things taste weird after eating pineapple though. We'll freeze the left overs and pack them as snacks. Christiana ate some of the orange and red but she isn't really fond of pancakes in general. These will sure make a good baby snack for Tali.

When I went over and looked at the panckaes cooling on the rack I found one that looked a little more blue than my first one. Maybe it was the rest of the blueberries mixed with the pomagranate juice. That batter was just pale purple. The colors are actually better in real life. The red and purple look like hamburger patties in the photos.
Cultured oat pancake batter:
4 cups oats
4 cups yogurt

Mix together and soaked overnight in the fridge.

1/4 light olive oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix together and flavor creatively! :)

Original post:

Mckmama warned me she'd be linking over here to give me credit for suggesting making rainbow pancakes with the same beet puree she used to make pink rice. You all need to know that it was not an original thought.

I hardly know where to start.

My cultured pancake recipe came from a Sally Fallon seminar that my friend attended.

My yogurt recipe came from Ruth Yaron's Super Baby Food. That's also where I got the idea to cook and puree kale.

The idea to make rainbow pancakes came from Amanda at i am mommy. The poor girl received so much flack about the food coloring that it got me thinking about how they could be made with healthier coloring. Sure they wouldn't look quite and pretty but it would still be fun. She has another recipe for rainbow colors that use more natural ingredients too.

The idea of using beet puree came from In the Kitchen with Aubrey. Apparently she got the idea from the book Deceptively Delicious.

Lately I have been making the pancakes with oats instead of whole wheat flour, light olive oil instead of butter and leaving out the eggs. That makes the recipe edible for me and I couldn't be happier!

Like everything these days, it's taken me a while to get around to making the rainbow pancakes but I'll post pictures when I get them done. I'm culturing the yogurt today and made up the kale, carrot, and beet puree this morning. I've got some buttercup squash cubes already in the freezer and still need to pick up blueberries and grape juice. Meanwhile, my girls are running amuck. I better go rescue the toddler with a bucket on her head before she decides it's no longer funny.

I can't wait to see how Mckmama's turned out!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hair Process Week Two

So after a week of mostly free curls, I tried the suggestion of de-tangling Amanda's hair while it was still dry in the hopes of preventing breakage. It was extremely time consuming because the ends just kept tangling back up. I finally just got Amanda in the tube and saturated her hair with conditioner and used the rat tail comb working on the ends first. Jarmelia asked how often I shampoo her hair. Never. I haven't used shampoo on her hair since she was a year old and we ran out of the Carol's Daughter stuff we were given.
After detangling, I rinsed her hair and wrapped it in a baby towel. After drying and lotioning the rest of her, I put the coconut/cocoa/shea butter mixture in her hair to seal in the moisture. I gave her a middle part and divided her hair into eight section. I made my first attempt at cornrows close to her scalp and then rope twisted the ends. It took about 40 minutes.
The back looks pretty awful by the next morning already, so I took those out and divided each section into about four sections going downward. Most of the twists I started with a braid to see if they would hold longer. It took another 30 minutes. The pictures are from the second day. I also used snaps instead of bands.

This style did not look nice for very long. The above pictures were from Saturday. On Sunday, I just used my Aloe Vera gel to smooth down the frizzy but it still looked pretty messy, especially the cornrows in front. So, on Monday I took them out again. I was going to braid all the little sections, but braiding takes me so much longer than twisting. Again, I used my homemade oil mixture. I wanted to use it consistently to see how it worked. It's probably great as a moisturizer but has no hold so we'll stick with the conditioners for a little more hold. I used black snaps this time.

The varying lengths are an indication of my need to do some trimming. I did trim some of the ends but not all of them because I'm wishy washy and ran out of time. First I wasn't going to trim any and then decided to trim some but never got back around to doing the other side. She is three, remember? When I get to the other side of her head than where I started, she begins to ask hopefully, "All done?"

She has a lot of fun with her twists swinging and clicking but they get in her food and irresistible for her little sisters so I prefer to pull them back into a loose pony tail. I need to redo the pony tail in the mornings and the little snaps tend to get caught so by Wednesday morning at had taken out the snaps. The twists still stayed twisted. In real life, it looked a little messy and fuzzy to me but you can't really see it in the pictures from the farm.

On Saturday, I didn't take out the twists before giving her a bath so that I could easily work baking soda into her scalp to exfoliate it. I used the coconut oil to seal in the moisture again and put it into a bun before bed. I didn't have time to do anything more with it before church except to use Aloe Vera gel to smooth the frizzy and do a single twist in the back. It still had the braids and some of the twist strands were visible.

So that was the process for the second week. Why am I posting all this? Certainly not because I have it all figured out. I'm actually looking for more suggestions. Once I get the third week post done, I'm going to send my link to my hair guru's and see what advice they can give me.

On the Farm

Have you ever noticed how many children's books are all about farm animals? Oh, wait. I should re-state that. Many of the children's books at our house are all about farms. Because I love farms. So when I told Amanda that on Wednesday we would be going to a farm, she was so excited!

She was not disappointed. Cats, cows, chickens, ducks and pigs- they were all there.

Amanda's favorite animals were the cats. They were so friendly and tolerant of her loving. Christiana, however, was terrified of the cats. I got her out of the car seat and stood her up in the driveway while I got Tali out of her car seat and into a wrap. One of these adorable friendly cats came over to rub against Christiana. She screamed in terror and ran to my legs. I spent most of the time carrying her around so the cats wouldn't bother her. She eventually calmed down and wandered around, always steering clear of the cats though.
Tali's favorite animal was this spunky little calf. She thought he was pretty funny. I have to agree. He would play with the cats. At first I thought he was angry with them and chasing them out of his space, but they were both having a good time. Very funny. Ironically, Christiana did not seem too afraid of him and kept trying to approach him.

Amanda loved her visit to the farm and has asked to go back to the farm many times since Wednesday. Before we go back again we need to be sure to find some mud boots for Amanda because you-know-what-else is on the farm.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hair Process Week One

I am in process of trying to get into a better routine so Amanda hair doesn't like so frightful all the time. It's quite possible we're dealing with a lot of breakage from the day I played with the hot iron, so there's really nothing but time that will solve that error in judgement. I've been doing some reading on Happy Girl Hair and Tightly Curly to get some new ideas. I ordered some coconut oil, cocoa butter and shea butter and mixed some together with a little olive oil. I mixed approximately 1 tsp cocoa butter, 1 Tbsp of shea butter, 3 Tbsp of coconut oil and 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Then I recorded our progress through the week. First I started on Friday night by saturating her hair with the moisturizer mix. It had been in a single low twist. We used this style quite often this summer because we went biking almost every day and it needed to fit under her helmet. Then a exfoliated her scalp with baking soda and rinsed her hair really well. I don't use any soap or shampoo on the girls; I just use baking soda and a wash cloth to exfoliate their dead skin cells. I've been told soap and shampoos can strip too much moisture. After the rinse, I wrapped a baby towel around her head while we put lotion on. I still use the baby Aveeno lotion. She likes to help put it on. I didn't do much detangling just enough to divided it into four braids for sleeping after coating it with more of the oil mixture.

In the morning, I undid the braids and began dividing it into small sections to put into little black rubber bands. I've read information that putting into the bands in hard on the hair but that it makes for neater styles. So this week we were going to try the bands. I only detangled enough separate the sections and I used the oil mixture to keep things slippery.

It took 30-40 minutes to get all her hair into sections. After that was done, pulled the hair back in a low bun with moisturizer to keep it from get more tangled before I could get back to it.

After naps, I attempted finger detangling and then comb detangling. Pulled the hair back into a pony tail again, dipped the end in water to get it to curl up and added Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera jelly to define the curls. I just put the jelly on my palms and crunched her curls up. This probably took another 30 minutes. Then we went for our photo shoot and to the park.

The next morning before church, I used Organix Tea Tree Mint Conditioner and water to wet and define her curls in each section of hair. I used the process explained on Tightly Curly's website. We are almost out of the Coconut Milk Conditioner which is why we used the other kind. The conditioner worked fine in terms of hold and slipperyness. I kept a cup of water nearby to keep my hands and her hair wet while I was working.

The styling held up okay after her nap, but she had been very uncomfortable with the bands. Perhaps I got them too tight but they seemed to be hurting her and catching on her clothes and when I tried to put it into to pony tails. I had been planning to twist or braid each section for the rest of the week but I decided to cut out the bands. I used the end of my rat tail comb to pull up the band and then clipped it with baby fingernail clippers. Then I put her hair into four protective braids for bedtime.

I've been wrapping her head in a play silk and she has a silk pillow case but her hair still looks like this in the morning:
With some distilled water and more condition, 30 minutes later her hair looked like this.

So cute but 30 minutes a day to do hair just isn't going to work for us. At bedtime, I pulled her hair into a high ponytail. I've been using big ouchless bands but I'm going to look for some of the round clips recommended by Tightly Curly that would require less pulling on the hair to get them in and out.

In the morning her hair looked like this:

I don't know why I never thought of it before, but I decided to use some water and oil mixture to define the little frizzies that don't stay in the pony tail. I also spritzed the pony tail and crunched some of the oil mixture to seal in the moisture. I had thought the water was the enemy and avoided wetting her hair regularly, but I am following the advice from Happy Girl Hair to spritz daily and seal with a moisturizer.

This style took about 10 minutes to spruce up each day and that's what we did the rest of the week. One of the problems with the style are that it won't fit under a hat or helmet. We pretty much go from helmet season to hat season. So it's always an issue. This time of year, I just wrap her head in one of her playsilks and pull up her hood. That's enough to keep the cold air out of her ears. When we're biking, I can put the helmet over the play silk (not with this hairstyle though).
The second problem or consideration is that free hair tangles and dries out. Braids or twists keep away the tangles and expose less of the hair. So, that's what we're trying this week. I let you know how it goes.