Sunday, November 23, 2008

“Microwave safe” containers release chemical BPA

I just read this article and thought it was good to share.

This just seemed like a given to me but apparently a lot of people don't know that when a container says "microwave safe" it really has nothing to do with whether or not the plastic will leach BPA, but that the container won't melt in the microwave. BPA is a dangerous chemical that companies in the US are only now starting to warn consumers about despite the fact that plastics that leach BPA are being banned in many countries. You should NEVER microwave plastics that leach BPA, or freeze them either for that matter. Extremes in temperatures cause the plastic to degrade which leachs BPA faster into the food or liquid.

What other options do we have then? Well, there is always glass or ceramic, which may be more expensive, but it will last you longer (pending breakage), heat more evenly and is better for the environment. Another plus that I have found is that with glass, food can be baked, served and then stored, all without changing the container. Less dishes to wash! Yay! One mom suggested looking at thrift stores for old Pyrex which would definitely save a lot.

What plastics should you look out for? You should definitely avoid: #3 PVC, #6 PS, and #7 PC. The "safer" plastics are coded as such: #2HDPE, #4LDPE, #5PP and PLA.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Carrie's Babywearing Top Ten

1) Daddys who wear their babies look even more handsome

2) Ravenna loves to be worn! Up until she was about 3 months just putting her in the wrap would put her right to sleep.

3) It is super convenient for traveling. Going through airport security with Ravenna was a breeze in the wrap. It also was great when I was traveling alone and needed to use the bathroom!

4) The adjustability of many types of carriers is amazing. A hard carrier like a Baby Bjorn cannot be adjusted to the size and age/development of the baby. The Moby wrap can support up to 35 lbs. comfortably.

5) I love to have Ravenna close to me and it saves me from having to cart around all that extra baby gear.

6) These carriers are much more affordable than hard carriers. My Moby wrap was $35 and my sling was $20 on sale. You can even make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.

7) So many colors and patterns! Not only do you get to show off your cute baby, but you can be stylish too!

8) Babywearing is good for a baby's development. As I said in my last post, having your baby close to your body, as with the Moby wrap, really helps the baby learn to breastfeed and there are lots of other benefits as well.

9) I can get tons of stuff done when wearing her. Somedays she just doesn't like to be put down, especially when she isn't feeling great so this way I can get my tasks done and fulfill her needs.

10) It is fun! Think of all the things that you can do with your baby that you can't do with hard carriers. Plus, babywearing is a great conversation starter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy International Babywearing Week!

Ravenna at 2 weeks old, sleeping happily in Alisa's Moby wrap (Thanks again, Alisa!)

Yay! Notice the blinkie to the left!

I love babywearing! It has been such a great thing for my little family, and such a lifesaver, too. We have worn Ravenna since she was a newborn. I had always planned on wearing her because I knew of the benefits, thanks to my crunchy friends and Dr. Sears, but I never realized how important it would be with helping Ravenna learn how to breastfeed. Keeping her close to me, skin-to-skin (in a Moby wrap), for those vital first few weeks was highly recommended by all four of the lactation consultants that we met with. I credit babywearing with helping Ravenna learn to breastfeed sooner than she might have without it.

Wearing Ravenna attracts a lot of attention here in Gillette. I always wear her in a sling when we go out, it is much easier, and I get so many comments. Many people have said, "Oh, I wish I had one of those when I was raising my kids!" A lot of people have asked me where I got my sling or wrap, which gives me an opportunity to tell them about the shops on Etsy (if you make them I will happily pass on your name when I get asked). We get a lots of comments from little kids especially, I guess because they are delighted by the novelty. I am pretty sure that we have become the ambassadors of babywearing in Gillette.

Later in the week I will do my Babywearing Top 10 and post some great pictures from our baby wearing adventures. If you want more info about babywearing check out Brighton Woman's blog or clink on the blinkie. TopHat is having a great giveaway of a versatile Ring Sling if you are dying to try out babywearing for yourself. Remember, there are LOTS of different ways to wear your baby and lots of different types of carriers with a range of prices, but the best advice I can give you is, whether your make your own carrier or buy it, try it! You and your baby will love it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ravenna Photo of the Week

This is Ravenna's favorite toy, mainly because she likes to chew on the tag.
It looks like she is saying, "Daddy, this is a turtle."

Sourdough Success!

No, Ravenna with a plastic container on her head doesn't have anything to do with making bread but she sure does look cute!

For the past few weeks, probably due to my lack of friends here in Gillette, I decided to take up a new hobby: bread making! Alisa's blog has done a great deal to inspire and help me in this process, so she should also be given due credit. My sourdough story starts with lots of flour, tears and frustration, i.e. creating a sourdough starter. I failed at this more than I should admit considering how "easy" everyone else says this is. Most people don't realize that when someone like me is trying to learn something new, we need precise instructions. Things that would normally be obvious to others, are not so obvious to me. For example, I pondered why the starter smelled so bad and why I was missing the bubbles (oh yeah, you have to FEED it every day). Another time I wondered why the starter just kept getting bigger and why it never seemed to ferment (oh yeah, you have to throw half of it away every time you feed it!). After this last adventure I found that I had used nearly 2 lbs. of whole wheat flour and had enough starter for SIX normal starters, so I kept 3.

Probably one of the reasons that I kept failing, and Alisa commented on this, is how confused I was because of how freaking complicated most people make this process. Example: You can only use non-chlorinated or distilled water, no metal anything, stirring only counter clockwise on odd days etc. Ok, the last one I made up but there are lots of unnecessary rules out there and everyone has their own way of doing it. Seriously, this IS supposed to be easy. Well, after using another pound of flour I finally had three working starters ready to go. I dried one and I have two working starters in the refridgerator.

So far I have made three loaves and they just keep getting better as I figure out the mysteries of bread making. Here is a great site for all things sourdough and for baking with a starter, including a great FAQ section to help solve a sourdough novice's woes.

Today's bread; quite a beauty if I do say so myself

My first attempt! Not very sour but a great crust!

Monday, November 3, 2008

You can't be LDS and a Democrat...or can you?

In 1998 Elder Marlin K. Jensen, at the time speaking for the Church as the chairman of the Public Affairs Commitee, addressed the subject of political affiliation and Church membership and especially the issues that it has caused in Utah because there is such a political imbalance. Here is the link to the entire article, orginally published in the Salt Lake Tribune, which is very much an antidote to the widespread belief in the LDS Church that being a member of the Democratic party goes against Gospel teachings. I love this quote:

Pro-choice and, more recently, gay-rights stands of the national Democratic Party have helped Republicans paint the donkey-symbol party as taboo.

Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation. "We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say,[parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."

What I love about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it does not dictate to us everything that we should do or believe. Instead, we are to guide our lives by the two great commandments: To love God, and to love our neighbors. When I make choices about politics, I decide based on the principle of charity and the example of Jesus Christ, not by what any politician or pundit may say. That is my litmus test.

Sunday, November 2, 2008