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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month? If you watch TV and don’t skip the commercials (unlike my parents who never watch commercials) perhaps you’ve seen the commercial with the man and woman sitting down for what looks like a meal at a restaurant. The gist of the commercial is for the viewer to understand that a personal struggling with mental illness needs to be able to talk about it if he or she chooses. Don’t stay silent, that’s the mantra for the campaign and I couldn’t agree more.

The statistics from 2011 stand clear: One in five adults struggles with a form of mental illness; one in ten young people will experience a period of major depression. As someone who struggles with depression I cannot tell you how freeing it is to speak openly about it. I’ve always been the kind of person who lives my life like an open book but not everyone is like this. The last thing that a person who is struggling with mental illness, whether it’s depression, anxiety or even bipolar disorder, needs to think about it hiding the darkness that they’re living in; unfortunately, that often what happens. Society has a stigma that comes with mental illness and trust me, if you struggle with it there’s no way around feeling like an outcast, like a woman walking around a small Puritan village wearing a scarlet “A” or in my case, “D,” across her chest.

If you don’t struggle with mental illness how do you support someone who does? That’s a great question and really at the heart of May’s Mental Health Awareness month. There are a lot of really helpful websites out there and I’ll share them with you in a little bit. The theme this year for the month is Community. People struggling with mental illness need a safe and supportive community to lean on. As someone who actually struggles with this, however, I’m going to tell you how I would like to be supported:

Allow me to talk about the bad days; you don’t have to offer any suggestions or “fix” the problem. Just give me a safe place to share who I really am.

Don’t treat me like I’m frail and can’t handle anything. I have good months and bad months. I can handle real life problems; don’t treat me like a frail little bird. Let me make that choice.

Understand that it’s not as simple as “snapping out of it.” When I’m stuck in my depression, whatever the trigger may have been, please know that I don’t like feeling like this and living this way. Tough love is not going to make me snap out of it. It’ll actually make me retreat deeper inside of myself.

Believe that I am not a danger to myself or to you; become educated on what mental illness really is rather than assuming it’s what you see on the big screen or you TV screen.

Visit these websites for more information and to better understand mental illness:

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Bring Change 2



Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Since 2011, Kim Rosas, the blogger behind Dirty Diaper Laundry has coordinated and hosted the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. Originally, she created the Challenge as a series of blog posts to spread awareness that using cloth diapers does not have to break the bank. Discouraged by a news report she saw that depicted the high costs of diapering a child with disposable diapers, Kim wanted to prove that any family can use cloth diapers economically and still have the funds for their other every day needs. Kim writes on her Dirty Diaper Laundry blog,

“A quote from the LA Times: ”Cloth diapers are often not an option because they require frequent and expensive trips to the laundromat.”  Ask the thousands of families making cloth diapers work who are considered “low-income” before making such statements.  It can work, with a washer and without!”

Now, she’s into the fourth Flats Challenge and it has turned into so much more. Each year participants collect and send data back to Dirty Diaper Laundry with tutorials and other information on how to use flat diapers, handwash diapers and airdry diaper efficiently. The wealth of knowledge that’s accumulated over the last three Challenges is amazing. Much of the information Kim has received has been turned into free downloadable pamphlets to aid new cloth diaper users and those considering using cloth diapers.

So why should you participate in the Challenge? I had to ask Kim why it would be beneficial for a person, who isn’t a blogger, to join in the cause. Kim responds,This year, the same as in years’ past, bloggers from around the continent are participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge. They’re blogging about their experiences, what they’ve learned, the victories and the failures of their week with no washer and dryer using anything simple as a cloth diaper. This year Kim is also looking raise money to help the non-profit organization Giving Diapers, Giving Hope; a charity that lends cloth diapers to low-income families.

“At the heart of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge is the message that anyone can cloth diaper under any circumstance. Participation teaches you more than just how to handwash, it shows you how affordable diapering can be and makes you appreciate the things you may already have. Washing machines look really miraculous after handwashing for a week.”

If you’re interested in participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge sign up on the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog by clicking here. There you’ll find a registration form, helpful videos about using flats and prefolds, making your own camp style bucket washer and of course, the rules for participation. And don’t forget…we have some great prefolds and covers for you to use!


Packing a Hospital Bag. thirstiesOne more month…supposedly. I have one more month until this baby arrives. So…what better question to ask than what’s in my hospital bag? 

I started packing my hospital bag about a month ago when I experienced some annoying and (somewhat) concerning preterm contractions. It’s not that I was thinking I’d go into labor that early but I needed, okay wanted, something to do that was productive since my doctor wanted me to relax a bit. In my two labor and delivery experiences I’ve gone early so for the control freak in me early preparations work in my favor.

What’s in my bag?

  1. Two nursing sports bra
  2. Two fashionable hospital gowns. One is from this adorable Etsy shop, Mod Mum. (not pictured)
  3. A few pairs of underwear; the hospital will have some super awesome postpartum underwear to go along with the gigantic pads for you to wear while you’re there. It’s not a bad thing to wear their special underwear, afterbirth is well, um, very messy to say the least.
  4. Postpartum Mama Cloth – it’s ten times more comfortable than disposable pads. Hospital Gown Hospital Bag. Thirsties
  5. Going home outfit for myself.
  6. Bathroom bag filled with toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, hair product, and daily medications. I’m also going to pack some make up but that’s going to come a little later and I may send hubby home to pick it up.
  7. Muslin swaddle blanket for baby because baby should be comfy too!
  8. Glasses
  9. Slippers
  10. Breastfeeding pillow – I didn’t bring it with my first delivery but I had to with my second because when I left the hospital with my first I didn’t even really get how to use my breastfeeding pillow. Bringing it with me gave me lots and lots of practice.
  11. Tablet for entertainment. Duh! What else would I would do for entertainment in between visitors?

What I haven’t packed but should?

  1. Going home outfit for baby – I don’t know the baby’s sex so I haven’t packed an outfit yet.
  2. Nursing scarf – Again for visitors when baby’s needing to nurse; this isn’t something that everyone has to pack though. You don’t even have to cover up if you don’t want to. It’s a personal preference.
  3. Hubby’s clothes. He still needs to pack but we’re only ten minutes from the hospital so he’ll most likely come home to grab some necessaries after the baby’s born. If you live farther away from your hospital your partner really should pack a hospital bag.

What about you? What do you pack for your hospital bag?

A few weeks ago I shared with you all how we were moving our youngest daughter into our oldest son’s room. We’re preparing for baby #3, who is due really any day now, so our two oldest have to share a room. We wanted to get everything started so that when the baby comes our daughter will be comfortable and used to being out of the crib. She’s quite the territorial almost-three-year-old little girl and my hope is that she’ll soon start to see her new shared room as hers. One can really only hope when dealing with a toddler, right? Yes, I thought so too so we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m happy to report that actually moving her into the room was an easy process! About a week before the big move I started moving her clothes into her new room. Once the clothes were all moved we started using the room to change in. She was resistant at first; it just didn’t make sense to her why she was getting dressed in her brother’s room. Slowly but surely she got used to it though and that was step one completed.

Part 2 Moving One Kid into a Room

Next we really started talking it up with her. We had slated Wednesday, April 16th, as the big move in day. The morning before the 16th my husband started talking with Kendall, our daughter, about how that day was the last day she was going to sleep in her crib and wasn’t that so exciting that she’s going to be a big sister. He must’ve done a great job because that afternoon she announced to me that she was going to sleep in her, “I a big sister now bed.”

We weren’t home on the 15th because my husband is an accountant and every year his firm hosts a end of tax season dinner. She slept in her crib that night because we weren’t certain how she would handle us being gone and the big change into a new bed and new room.

The next day was move in day. She took her nap in her big sister bed with flying colors. Since she’s the only napping child in the house going down for a nap was the easy transition. It was just me and her doing the nap routine and then she was alone to rest. The nighttime transition is what I was worried about the most. Both of my kids are excellent sleepers (a lot of work went into it though, it didn’t come naturally to my son at all) but they’ve always had their own bedrooms. The few times the kids shared a room it took a good part of an hour to get them to settle down enough to sleep. This consisted of my husband (he’s the patient one in our marriage) sitting in the room with them shushing them as needed. Needless to say we were prepared for a few long nights…

We couldn’t have been more wrong. So far, they’ve needed a few reminders that it’s time for sleep and not for play. The mornings have definitely been early since Brennan, our oldest, is an early riser and Kendall, adores her big brother so she’s willing to do whatever is asked of her. Other than the mornings the transition has been relatively painless and I’m really shocked.

As far as tips go, here are a few that I’d suggest:

1. Keep age in mind – the older your child is the better able he/she will be to understand what is happening and why.

2. Make it fun! Let them be a part of the process from decorating the room to moving stuff into it.

3. Look at life as a whole – What big changes are in the near future? A new baby? A major change in schedule like daycare or school? Any big change that’s happening in conjunction with the move will have an impact on your child.

4. Make a Plan B. If you are able to have a backup plan I would highly recommend it. Now, some living situations just won’t allow for that but if at possible always look for another way to approach a big change just in case the whole thing back fires. If this entire thing hadn’t worked out for us we would’ve been fine and would have just waited to move Kendall into Brennan’s room after the baby was born.

Using Mother Nature to Dye Eggs the Thirsties Blog

Unnatural food coloring is a hot topic out there and while there isn’t any firm evidence from the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) you can’t deny that biting into a bright pink deviled egg is less than appetizing. In the past the FDA has banned the use of Orange Number 1 and Red Number 2 finding the first to be toxic and the second to be a carcinogen. There have also been studies out there linking some food dyes to the increased number of children with ADHD. All I’m pointing out is that you might as well stay on the safe side and use the dyes out there that Mother Nature gave us.

How do you dye eggs naturally? From the research that I’ve done I’ve found that there are two ways to dye eggs naturally: Hot Dye Method and Cold Dye Method. The Hot Method for dyeing uses the natural dye as part of the boiling part in hard boiling the egg. Basically you place the item you’re going to use to dye the egg, like a beet, and boil the vegetable for about 15 minutes. Then, use a hand held strainer to get the plant particles out of the dyed water, add the eggs and enough water to cover the eggs. After that add a little vinegar (most things I’ve read have said 1/8 cup) into the beet-dyed water and begin boiling again. This time you’re dyeing your eggs and hard boiling them at the same time.

The Cold Dye Method is basically your standard way of dyeing eggs: hard boil the eggs first, make your dye (the same way you do with Hot Dyeing Method) and then add the egg to the already cool dye. The longer you soak the egg the more vibrant the color will be. Obviously, if you are going to let the egg soak for more than an hour you should place it in the refrigerator.

Dyeing Eggs Naturally Thirsties Blog

Here are some recipes for dyeing eggs naturally:

Dirty Gourmet’s Natural Dyed Easter Eggs

Itsy Bitsy Foodie’s Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Food Network’s Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs Recipe