Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birth Stories Blog

Hello readers, The girls at Birth Stories saw me on Design Mom and asked if they could post my story on their blog. This time, I included a picture of me in labor. (Check out how relaxed I am) I also really liked the home birth story posted before mine entitled, "The Home Birth of Rosie."

So, if you are pregnant and want an amazing birth, I would get a mid-wife. Part of the reason I loved my birth experience is because I had a mid-wife, who stayed with me through the whole labor and never left my side. I felt so at ease and reassured by her the whole time. I heart midwives. I would never think of birthing without one. Usually, you need to see your midwife throughout your labor for pre-natal check-ups so you get to know each other. But I only started seeing mine the last month of pregnancy, because I switched birthing centers. Not planning on having a home or birth-center birth? No problem. Midwives can go with you to the hospital.

A picture with my midwife, Kelly, one week post part um.

I am So Blessed

I finally convinced my boss to let me work from home and remote into the office on my laptop. I feel so blessed that I get to stay home and be my daughter's mother full-time. I love Hazel! These are some cute pictures of her after a baptism. Hazel is on the left, and her cute friend Hali'a is on the right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Choline by Standard Process

Are you looking for a product to help clear up your "mommy brain" also known as memory loss during and after pregnancy? I take Choline from Standard Process. It has helped me remember what I want to blog about. You wouldn't believe the times I've had a great idea during the day about what to post the next day, and then when the next day came, I couldn't remember what it was. Does that kind of thing happen to you? It drives me crazy, but this totally natural supplement has helped clear the fog out of my memory. Want to learn more about how and why it works? Go here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hypnobirthing- Taking the Birthing World by Calm

By popular demand, I am posting about Hypnobirthing. Ever since my birth story was featured on Design Mom, I've gotten several requests for more information about the method I used. I recommend going to to get a basic over-view of Hypnobirthing and to find a practitioner in your area to take classes from if you are pregnant. Also, the Amazing-Birth website is a great resource to read articles on Hypnobirthing from media sources who have done stories on Hypnobirthing. Click on the "Amazing Birth Stories" tab to read some stories of natural birth via Hypnobirthing.

Go here to read another great Hypnobirthing story from a Hypnobirthing Practitioner in Rochester, NY.

I took a class from Hypnobirthing Practitioner Vivian Keeler with Amazing Births and Beyond in Miami Beach, FL. She was great. I loved the classes because it dispelled all my fears about birth through going over chapters in the Hypnobirthig Book, by watching videos of live, calm births from women all over the world, and by listening to the CD throughout the day and before going to bed. The CD really relaxed me and put positive thoughts in my head about birth. That was really the only "Hypnotic" part about Hypnobirthing, just listening to a cd. Plus I loved learning the deep breathing exercises in class with my husband and learning about the different natural birthing positions that help baby come down the quickest and without straining. I didn't get to "breathe my baby down" all the way because I had a doctor who took over and made me push. But if I would have had my wits about me, I would have told him off and kept breathing my baby down. I think the deep breathing helped me and my baby stay healthy during the pregnancy, because you take in so much oxygen and hold it, and then slowly let it out. When my baby came out, she was completely white and pink. I think that was in part due to the fact that I breathed so deeply and slowly during the birth, which kept oxygen flowing to her the whole time, hence her beautiful, healthy hue.

She was also the only baby underneath those horrible lights that didn't cry for the whole two hours she was there in observation. My husband watched her the whole time and said that she only let out a few little peeps, not even a cry. I like to think that was in part due to the fact that she had such a wonderful and calm birth experience.

Ten minutes after she was born, I immediately started nursing her for the next 45 minutes, until the nurse snatched her away from me. In the hypnobirthing classes, you are taught to apply skin to skin contact to the baby right after birth to a) keep it warm and b) foster a bond between mother and baby. It is thought that a baby's first few hours after birth shape the babies temperment and personality a lot. A plus for having your baby in a birth center or at home is that you control the hours directly following the birth.

What is great about Hypnobirthing is that it is a collaborative, not an alernative method. You can use it in any birth environment: in the hospital, in a birth center, or at home. I would recommend it to anyone who is pregnant and wants a calm, relaxed birth.

Images from IdealBirthing and WellBeing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Non-toxic House Cleaners

It's springtime and it makes me want to clean the house. I like to use THIS product everywhere: kitchen floor, bathroom, cabinets, doors, even for carpet stains. It's called Advanage, The Wonder Cleaner and it's an all-purpose cleaner made from an aloe vera base. The lady who sold it to me even ate some to prove that it's natural and non-toxic. It comes in a huge, concentrated bottle, which lasts all year. I love it for killing ants, too. (Sorry if you think that's cruel, but we get infestations in the winter here. If you know of a different non-toxic ant-killer or deterant, let me know!) I love non-toxic cleaners that actually work, and this one totally does. And the best part about this cleaner is it smells good and you don't have to cover your nose and mouth while you use it. It's even safe to use during pregnancy. A huge bottle costs $39, but if you buy three you get a big discount. My friend, Daniella, uses Maleleuca products, which are also non-toxic and biodegradable. What cleaners work for you in your home?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Milk Facial and Bath

Doesn't this sound refreshing? After the winter, my skin needs some serious revitalizing, especially since I live in the desert. Go here for instructions on how to do it.

Also, check out this milk bath recipe I found via Bath and Body Recipes. And you can read the benefits of a milk bath in this article from The Spice Diva via

I think using whole or raw milk would be the best, as they have the most fat. The fat and protein in the milk are what rejuvenate the skin.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Ink Stains and Milk

Has your kid ever taken a pen to something and you thought it was ruined? That happened to me with my beautiful, 700 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets I got for my wedding. My daughter had just turned one and she took a blue ink pen to my bed. It wasn't just a little mark, it was a good 1/4 of the sheet, covered in bold, blue circular one-year-old marks. I frieked out for a minute, and then I called my friend's mom who is from Venezuela. I'm sorry but "Latin mami's" totally know where it's at. She said to try putting milk on it. I was seriously skeptical. I had never heard of milk taking out any kind of a stain before, but it was worth a try. I was really just debating between throwing them away or scrubbing on them with Stain Stick until the cows came home, which hadn't proved fruitful with past ink-stains. So I went for the milk option. I dipped a large part of the stained sheet into a cup of milk for a good minute. I thought, if I'm going to do this, I better go all the way, right? When I took the sheet out, I almost couldn't find where the stain had been. It worked that well; it had disappeared, without even scrubbing it. Then I took a toothbrush to the little parts that hadn't been completely erased by the milk, and it came all the way out with little to no elbow grease. Not a trace of ink was left, and my sheets thread didn't have to be scrubbed and bleached to almost transparency to accomplish the whiteness. Just milk. When I saw my sheet completely white again in such a short amount of time with so little effort it made me so happy I think I cried. I still use those sheets to this day, and the greatest part is that my husband has no idea it even happened.

Go here to see four more amazing uses for milk like: make frozen fish taste fresh, mend broken china, get heavy grease and dirt off hands, and make a refreshing facial mask.

Check out this Reader's Digest link to see more amazing uses for common household items. Who knew you could do so many things with sugar, tomato juice, or mustard.

Healthy Snacks

Perhaps you are in the snack-predicament phase like I was when my daughter became a toddler. There are so many snacks out there, but I hate all the processed, packaged junk. Then one day it hit me: apples and peanut butter. It's so simple I never thought of it. And the big plus? It has fiber and protein, two things that most American kids and adults lack in their diet. My daughter can't get enough of it. Make it even healthier with Adam's 100% Natural Peanut Butter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I cook with so much garlic. Not because I'm Hispanic or Italian. I'm actually American, but I use almost lethal amounts of garlic whenever possible because it creates an indestructable immune system. I live in a household with three different families: My dad and little sister, my brother and his wife, and my little family of three. We all cook different meals at different times and eat separately. I know, it's sad, but again, we're American, and that's how we roll. My sister-in-law and brother are vegetarians, my dad and little sister eat a very American diet (you know what I'm talking about), and my little family eats whatever I cook :)

So this winter, everyone got sick in the house. Everyone but my family. My dad got the flu big time, my little sister did too, my brother was on and off sick the whole winter... but my family? Not a symptom. And I will tell you why I think that is: garlic. When a recipe calls for one clove, I put in 5 or 6. When I crack open a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, I chop up a good 4 - 5 cloves and boil it with the rest of the soup. (I use that quick fix a lot if I feel a sniffle or something worse coming on.) When I make spaghetti sauce, I not only saute garlic and onion before browning the meat in it, but I will slice several cloves and put them in with the tomato sauce. And when starting any sauce, salsa, soup or frying up meat, I ALWAYS start it with a saute of onion and garlic, and usually more veggies like green pepper, celery and carrots... but one thing is for sure, I never leave out the garlic. :)

The saddest thing I have ever heard about the use of garlic is that some moms stay away from it because they don't like the way it makes their hands smell. Are you kidding me? When I chop up garlic, I try to get as much under my nails as possible (ok not really). I love the after-garlic-chopping smell. It's like a natural anti-bacterial soap on your hands for two days that will keep germs at bay. If you don't believe me, just google "garlic." And besides, moms need that extra immunity boost after all the lost sleep and dirty diapers we are changing.

And a tip for getting kids to like garlic? Start them in the womb. I ate it when I was pregnant, and my daughter loves it.

Organic Cotton

I never saw my baby happier than when she was wearing organic cotton onsies. I'm not kidding. I literally saw a physical change in her. I could see her say, "Ahhhh, now that's what I'm talking about," .... even at 2 months old, no joke. It's that powerful and that comfortable. When a nice friend gifted one to me after my daughter was born, I thought, well that was probably a waste of money, I don't see any difference between this onsie and all the others I have, but what a nice thought. And then I put it on her. I actually remember the moment I put it on her for the first time. I was standing by my bed she was laying on, and I saw it. I saw the difference. It's undescribable. All I can say is that she wore that onsie as a shirt when she grew out of it, almost until she was 1 and 1/2 (it was made big). If you have an infant, just go and buy one and you'll see. Mine was by Gerber, but I found some even lovier ones with a little more design on Fawn & Forest here.