He’s Here! Birth Story

I haven’t been on the computer much these last few weeks because our handsome little man has been keeping me busy! Gabriel Joseph was born on May 12th, at 5:22am. We named him after Marc’s father, Joseph Gabriel (which we planned even before we knew we were having a boy) and it just so happens, they share the same birthday as well! Gabriel also decided to make his appearance the day before mother’s day (the day before I was due), so it was an extra special weekend.

Dad holding his son for the first time

Gabriel is currently asleep, snuggled onto my chest; the perfect spot to give lots of baby kisses. We are absolutely in love with him and think he is the sweetest thing ever. He is quite alert, even in the beginning, but he has been quite kind in the sleep department at night. In fact, there has only been 2 sleep-deprived nights, and that was a result of food I ate that didn’t sit well with him (broccoli the first time and Chinese food the second time). He sleeps 2.5-4 hour stretches at night, and usually goes to sleep easily after being changed and fed. We feel truly blessed!

Now onto our birth story, which is not sugar coated, may be a little TMI for some, but it’s the honest truth (click the “more” link under the picture to continue reading)

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10 Days Until Christmas: Festive Centerpieces

TEN DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS. Holy Moly. My list of things to do seems longer now than it did a week ago!

Our Christmas decorations have been up for a couple of weeks now, but I’m still missing a centerpiece for the table (I’m also hosting Christmas Breakfast at my house). Here are some easy centerpieces that still look elegant and festive.

Supplies you may need:

  • Jars
  • Vases of varying sizes
  • Candles
  • Ornaments
  • Cranberries
  • Flowers
  • Pine cones
  • Pine branches/sprigs
  • Ribbon (anyone else LOVE ribbon?)

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Homemade Laundry Detergent = Success!

Even though homemade dishwasher detergent didn’t work out for me, I was still dedicated to trying the laundry detergent! I compared many recipes online and tried the one that seemed easiest, quickest, and cheapest.

The liquid laundry detergent recipes seem nice, but I don’t have room for gallons and gallons of it to be stored, so I went for the powder type.

Easy Homemade Powder Laundry Detergent:

  • 1 cup washing soda (found at grocery store)
  • 1 cup borax (found at Target and grocery store)
  • 1 bar Fels Naptha soap (I’ve used Ivory as well, it is easier to grate, less caustic to the senses, although Fels Naptha is a better stain remover)

Grate the bars of soap, the finer the better.  A food processor works great for this, but I have also used a cheese grater and that was fine too.

Mix soap shavings with washing soda and borax

Use 1 tbsp powder for each load – I like to start the water, put the powder in, then wait a minute to put the clothes in so the soap can dissolve, but when I don’t, I haven’t noticed a difference.

Makes approx. 36 loads worth of detergent


Prices at Raleys (probably cheaper somewhere else!)

  • Fels Naptha: $1.49
  • Borax: $4.39 (approx. 7 cups) = $.63 a serving
  • Washing Soda $3.99 (approx 6 cups) = $.66.5 a serving

Total: $2.785 for 36 loads = less than $.08 a load!

Natural Dishwasher Detergent Fail

Looks like I have been M.I.A. these last few weeks. I have just been busy doing random things and haven’t spent too much time on the internet. Give me another couple of weeks and I should be back here full-swing!

Anyways, I wanted to post about homemade dishwashing detergent. There are plenty of recipes out there for you to substitute store bought cleaner for you dishwasher with something natural and homemade. The many recipes I looked at involved 2 or more of these ingredients:

  • Borax
  • Baking Soda
  • Castille Soap
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Kool-aid (or citric acid)

Despite using various ratios and different recipes my dishes did not turn out very clean. Even with the vinegar and lemon kool-aid rinse the dishes still came out cloudy with a powdery film.

Maybe my dishwasher is too old or our water too hard, but we had to turn back to store bought dishwasher detergent.

Anyone else successfully use homemade dishwasher detergent?



A natural choice for birth control

Years ago when I was beginning to think about birth control options I felt uneasy about hormonal birth control. I personally didn’t like to take medications or take hormones to alter a perfectly working system. I resigned to the fact that maybe I would just use the ring or an IUD if it came down to it because I figured it would be easier and assumed the hormonal impact would be less.

When my husband and I first began dating (um, yeah, we may be high school sweet hearts…) his cousin was in the seminary and he sent me a book called Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn. The book was quite influential in two things: my spiritual life and my sexual one. Much of the book was about Natural Family Planning. Later on, Marc (the husband) and I also had attended a conference by Chris West on the Theology of the body and it reaffirmed some of my newly founded beliefs. But this post isn’t about religion; it’s about birth control (although they were entwined for myself).

There are several birth control options for couples these days. Natural Family Planning or the Fertility Awareness Method, are symptom-thermal methods of birth control. THIS IS NOT THE RHYTHM METHOD! The rhythm method makes the assumption that everyone ovulates on the same timeline – not true. Your doctor may say that NFP is the rhythm method and then tell you that if you want to conceive you should have sex around day 14 (which is actually the assumption of the rhythm method -how ironic). With NFP/FAM you chart your waking temperatures (thermal) and cervical fluid (symptom) observations to determine your fertile window and act accordingly when you are fertile (to either abstain or not). This week is Natural Family Planning Awareness Week so I wanted to highlight my experience and how it works.

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