Do images of soldiers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, Ironman, and Spiderman come to mind when you hear the word “Hero?” Would it surprise you to know “You’re my hero” are the words I try to say to my toddler on a regular basis.


Of course he hasn’t saved anyone’s life and doesn’t put his life in danger for our community. He is just a little boy. I know most people view heroic actions to be things involved in saving a person’s life; things the types of people mentioned above do on a daily basis for their jobs. However, I want my son to see how even small actions can be heroic and an average person can be a hero in their own way.

He loves super heroes and we have talked about how his father was recently a hero by performing CPR on our neighbor and saving her life, and how his Pop is a hero to many due to being a paramedic. These types of heroic actions take a special person, someone who doesn’t crumble during high stress situations. I know I’m not that type of person; I literally shut down, typically, can’t move, cry, and lose all knowledge of what needs to be done. I know many people that react in a similar way. My son is too young for me to know how he will react to this type of stress; he might shine like his father or crumble like me. This is why I think it is important to point out how small actions can be heroic.

The other day I had a stinkbug on my back, it was in a spot I could not reach and seemed determined to stay there. Well, my son is terrified to hold bugs (he loves looking at them but refuses to hold any bug and will cry if he thinks one is touching him), seeing my distress he showed me he could be brave and put my needs over his own. He grabbed a cloth wipe and picked the bug up, then quickly handed it to me. I called him “My hero” and he was so proud of himself. Another recent occurrence when he put another person first was when he took his father a toothbrush and they brushed their teeth together. I know this doesn’t seem heroic, but he HATES brushing his teeth due to some oral aversions developed while having to do tongue stretches after his tongue and lip tie revisions. He will kick and scream the entire time and we usually have to pin his arms down so he doesn’t hurt himself or us.  On this occasion, I asked if he had brushed his teeth and he responded, “No.” I then asked, “Did Daddy brush his teeth?” and he responded, “No.” I reminded him that we all have to brush our teeth before bed and Daddy really needed to brush his before he fell asleep, since he was already laying down. As I was getting my own toothbrush ready he asked me to give him his and his father’s toothbrushes. I obliged and he went to his daddy and made him brush his teeth while he showed him he could brush his own, in a way of trying to encourage and comfort his father (mimicking what we regularly try with him). I thought this was the sweetest thing. He has such a big heart and is constantly overcoming his own fears to help others. On that night he was his father’s little hero.

People don’t always have to overcome fears to be someone’s hero. You also never know when a kind word, show of love or gratitude can help bring a little happiness into someone’s dark world or even help someone stop intrusive suicidal thoughts.

I’ve had people be my hero just by believing in me and encouraging me to be the best version of myself. I’ve seen people be heroes by gifting others medicine, money, food, diapers, or items they can use to sale or repair their home or car. Little things can make a lot of difference, especially when given without payment or expectations. These types of actions deserve gratitude just as much as those who work in a hero based position do (we need to remember to show our gratitude to them, since we tend to forget to show our appreciation when we know the person is being paid.)

Has your child or someone else been your hero lately?

This is my littlest hero. my hero

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Wedding Rules For Breastfeeding?

Do you believe there are wedding rules that a breastfeeding mother should follow? Is a wedding so sacred that breastfeeding shouldn’t be allowed or should be hidden from sight?

Wedding Rules for Breastfeeding

(I know this image has gone viral and several blogs have posted on it. Well, Ceara LaFrance is my friend and I wanted to make sure her entire story was being heard, since not everyone has stated all of the facts. Also, all images were supplied to me directly from Ceara LaFrance).

I had the privilege, not only interviewing Ceara LaFrance but, being witness to the information before Ceara decided to share the controversial images, thanks to our weekly playdates and us being members of the same local birthing center Facebook group (where she originally posted the images and received help editing them together on September 16, 2017, the day after Ceara and her husband attended the wedding).

Let’s start from the beginning. On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Ceara, her husband, Justin, and friend, Bren Melton, were at the LaFrance home.   (Bren was at the LaFrance home, not only as a friend, but as Ceara’s doula. Ceara was in labor with her second daughter). After checking the mail, Justin quickly opened the invitation, knowing it was important since he was to be the best man. A pink slip of paper fell out of the envelope and he decided to read that first. It stated, “To all our mommies who are breastfeeding, we are thinking of you, we are sensitive to the fact you may need to breastfeed during our event, therefore we have designated an appropriate place for you to feed your baby so that you do not have to do so in public in front of our Family and Friends. For your convenience we are accommodating you with a comfortable and private area with chairs and baby blankets in the ladies’ room. We request that you use this area when you are breastfeeding. Thank you.”

Wedding Breastfeeding Note

Well, Ceara was already in labor, so she wasn’t feeling her best, but still, I think her reaction was fairly appropriate. Ceara was pissed! She believed the bride and groom had no right to request this, especially knowing by the time the wedding would come around Ceara would still have a frequent nursing infant. Ceara stated her first thought was, “What is she (the bride) going to do, stop everything in the middle of the wedding to stop me from nursing?” She was also shocked that despite how stressed the couple was preparing for the wedding, they took time to type the note.

Ceara did her best to put it out of her mind since she needed to focus on her labor. (However, I personally wonder if this emotional upset and distraction could have a tiny contribution to labor not progressing quickly and baby not being born until Monday, June 12, 2017. – This is just my own speculation and no comment from Ceara and Justin).

Justin and Ceara were fairly certain they were the only ones to receive the pink note in their invitation. The groom had previously mentioned to Justin for Ceara not to nurse during the wedding at all.  So, I guess this was the bride and groom’s way of compromising.

After the baby was born, the bride had rolled her eyes and walked out of the house when Ceara was nursing her newborn openly in her own home, using the two shirt method (you pretty much can’t see anything while the baby is latched using this method).

Did you catch that? “In her own home.” The bride has such an issue with breastfeeding that she has to show disdain in the mother and child’s own house, the place where nursing should feel the most comfortable and freeing.

While at our playdate, the day of the wedding, September 15, 2017, Ceara asked Bren to wet-nurse the baby for her, while her and Justin attended the wedding. Bren was instantly willing to wet-nurse, but tried to talk Ceara out of it, trying to convince her to stand her ground and take the baby to the wedding. Justin even suggested that Ceara could raise her hand anytime she needed to nurse and he would make sure to sit with her. However, Ceara wanted to keep the peace and not cause any turmoil, since there was an easy solution to the nursing dilemma. Plus, though she was grateful for his support, she didn’t want to distract Justin from his best man duties and, making the most of an awkward situation, turned the event into a date night.

Ceara had an emotional night. It was the first time for her to be away from her 3 month old daughter. She also had high hopes of what the nursing area would be due to how nice the wedding was, thinking it might be a separate dressing area in the bathroom. Instead, when she finally made her way to the bathroom, Ceara’s already sensitive emotions were assaulted further by how the “requested” nursing area was set up. She was expecting a separate room with a comfortable chair and baby blankets (as mentioned in the note). Instead, the nursing area was directly in front of the TOILETS, to allow access to the stall doors in front of her she would have to sit sideways, and the chairs were uncomfortable folding chairs with no arm rests.

Nursing Area

Let me explain why this nursing area was not appropriate in the least. First, you never set up a nursing area in a bathroom. This is not hygienic. Do you want to eat your food where toilet water is being spewed when people forget to put the lid down before flushing? (Read how illness can spread when lids are left up during flushing.)

Nursing AreaSecond, the nursing area should be set up in a way that make the mother comfortable. She shouldn’t have to worry about people banging into her or her child as they try to get in and out of the toilet stall. Also, the chairs should be comfortable and have arm rests. Without hauling around a bulky nursing pillow, lack of arm support and comfort is difficult on a nursing mother, especially with an infant who nurses for long periods of time and at a frequent rate.

Third, don’t supply blankets. That just makes you look like a jerk. I know, it is seen as kind and generous, but mothers that use blankets bring them with them. Not every mother or baby is comfortable under a blanket (my own son absolutely refused it and I needed to be able to fully see how he was latching at all times due to his severe tongue and lip ties causing a nipple only latch, which is way too shallow and needs constant readjusting). Supplying a blanket just enforces the message that breastfeeding is shameful and should be hidden. Therefore, placing the breasts back into the sexual category, instead of the nurturing category. If you are going to provide anything, provide water and maybe some cloth baby wipes. Nursing mothers tend to become very thirsty during a nursing session and the cloth wipes are great to wipe up any drool or leaks from the waiting breast.

At this time, Ceara believes she was the only mom invited with a child under one and possibly the only guest breastfeeding. By sending the note and setting up the nursing area in the bathroom the bride and groom were directing more attention to Ceara than need be. Even if she had decided to bring her child and nursed during the wedding and reception, less attention would have been given to her if she would have nursed where she was already situated than having to get up and make her way to the bathroom and sit in the “requested” nursing area.

This was a child friendly wedding. They even had a kid’s table where messes, bad eating habits, and noise were welcome; however, the feeding rights of an infant were frowned upon, even before this child was born.

Ceara Tandem Nursing

Sadly, even after all of the publicity and support Ceara has gotten, certain family members still haven’t learned and continue their attempts at degrading her. She has been bashed for breastfeeding saying, Ceara “gets off on her child sucking her tits because her husband can’t due to having to work to support her lazy a**,” since she is a stay at home mom. While another female family member worries that her husband will see Ceara nursing and have sexual thoughts.  First, these women aren’t showing any kindness and love like family members should. Second, STOP SEXUALIZING BREASTS!!! Breasts, hands, and mouths can all be used in sexual and nonsexual ways. Are we asked to cover up our mouths and hands when utilizing them in other natural ways? No, we aren’t! We shouldn’t have to cover up our breasts in order to keep perverts from sexualizing them. Perverts are going to sexualize whatever their sick little minds feel like, no matter what we are wearing or doing.

Let’s go back to the pink note: “To all our mommies who are breastfeeding, we are thinking of you, we are sensitive to the fact you may need to breastfeed during our event, therefore we have designated an appropriate place for you to feed your baby so that you do not have to do so in public in front of our Family and Friends. For your convenience we are accommodating you with a comfortable and private area with chairs and baby blankets in the ladies’ room. We request that you use this area when you are breastfeeding. Thank you.”

Why do I have issues with this note?

  1. “We have DESIGNATED an APPROPRIATE place for you to feed your baby” means that all other areas are not appropriate to breastfeed in.
  2. “So that you do NOT have to do so in PUBLIC” means that the bride and groom feel breastfeeding is not appropriate in public.
  3. Our Family and Friends” means that the WANTS of the bride and the groom outweigh the NEEDS of a baby.
  4. “Baby blankets in the ladies’ room” shows that breastfeeding should be hidden away and is equal to that of someone using the toilet.
  5. “We REQUEST that you use this area” continues to emphasize that breastfeeding should not take place anywhere else. This is the rule for attending the wedding with a baby.

If you are going to set up a breastfeeding area and send a note, do not make it  forced. Make it a courtesy you are offering nursing mothers, if they so choose to accept it, and never have it be in a bathroom. You never know a mother’s comfort level or needs. When I was starting out, I needed my husband’s help with nursing. He helped me latch without fully flashing everyone, made sure I was comfortable, got me anything I needed, and even helped me switch  sides when I was too weak to do it on my own. Being forced to use a bathroom, where he would not have access would have made my nursing situation even more stressful than it already was.

One thing Ceara wants to make clear is that posting the pictures was NOT about shaming the bride and groom, in fact Ceara hasn’t disclosed their names. She shared the pictures because she wants to keep other couples from making the same mistakes. The fact that the nursing area was in the bathroom and not set up in an appropriate way is not acceptable. Ceara also feels this could have been handled better if the bride had talked to her in person, instead of writing the note.

Ceara wants to raise awareness that it is 2017 and breastfeeding shaming is still happening. She said, “You can’t dictate where I feed my child. Don’t request and demand I feed my child in a set up area and don’t put it in the f****** bathroom.” There is no appropriate time or place for a baby to feed, it happens where and when they are ready. Mothers should also not be forced to stay home with their child, just because our society has led people to sexualize breasts and have perverted thoughts when they see a baby nursing. If Ceara had chosen to push her point of view and taken the baby with her, would the bride and groom had rather the baby being continually crying, getting louder and louder, interrupting the ceremony until Ceara was capable of getting to the designated nursing area, or would they have rather the baby cry and Ceara automatically offer her breast, instantly providing the milk and comfort the baby was needing?

[10/4/17 Edit: Yes, the couple does not have children or know what breastfeeding is like. This is why Ceara has repeatedly tried to keep their names out of it and wanted to use this to help educate others. She has not stooped to name calling or bashing them, only presenting the facts.]

Please share. We need more people to know that this type of wedding “request” and nursing area is not appropriate and degrading to breastfeeding mothers. I might have sent them my article, “Dear Stranger, MY BREASTS ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!


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DIY Train Costume

It’s time to prepare for Halloween and start making your DIY costumes.

Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. No, it has never been about the candy, I only ate a few pieces. I loved it for the sheer joy of dressing up as someone or something else. I always loved playing make-believe and this was the perfect excuse. Making a costume always made the experience better, even when it was simple things like wearing a bathrobe and slippers, curlers in my hair, my mom’s giant glasses, a dried on facial mask, and carrying a coffee mug to be “a woman who just woke up.” The creativity involved always added to the excitement of the holiday. Plus, there was something empowering knowing that my costume was one of a kind. I would always feel special wearing my homemade costume, while most of the other kids were sporting something from the store, typically matching a handful of our peers.

I wanted to continue this with my family and  keep costumes as zero-waste as possible. Let’s be honest, costumes don’t tend to last long, the store-bought ones are too expensive or they don’t have what you need, or your child, like mine, will be having a bad day when it comes time for them to wear the costume in public (he loved playing with it at home).

This DIY train costume was worn by a very grumpy 1 1/2 year old, for less than 5 minutes out in public. Despite crying halfway through his turn and trying to throw himself on the ground as we walked through the costume contest, he still won the award for “Most Original Costume.”

This DIY train costume is very simple to make and we used items we already had at home, but it did take a week to complete due to the time required to let the paint dry and having to work on it during my son’s nap.



First, I found a rectangular cardboard box that he could fit in without it being too large. I then cut off all 8 flaps, keeping them for further use.

I then gathered my remaining supplies: The cardboard flaps, 6 Noosa yogurt lids, 1 Noosa yogurt container, an empty oatmeal box, a Pringles can, a toilet paper roll, clear packing tape (next time I work with a box, I will use Kraft Tape), cotton balls, a hot glue gun (I love this mini hot glue gun, found here), scissors, dark red paint, gold paint, white paint, black paint, a yellow highlighter, small paint brushes, black felt (found here), a piece of white paper, a pencil, and washi tape (found here).

Since, my box had seen better days, I gave it a little more stability by taping the edges, on the outside and the inside. This helped my box not fold flat while I was working on it.

Using one of the small flaps, I cut out a rectangle which would fit on the small face of the box, leaving room around the edges. This piece was used to make the sign. I then took my Noosa container and used it to trace a half circle on the bottom center of the cardboard rectangle and cut that section out, creating an arc shape.  (See figure 2 on the image above.)

Using  the arc shaped cardboard, I traced the shape on a piece of paper and cut it out. After painting the cardboard sign gold, I then drew the train name, “Orion Express,” on the cutout paper. Flipping the paper over, I used a pencil and heavily traced the name. Using washi tape, I was then able to tape the paper with the pencil drawing against the dried red cardboard sign. This kept the paper from moving around while I rubbed on it, allowing the pencil drawing to be left behind on the red paint. (The washi tape comes off easily, with no sticky residue, and doesn’t harm dried paint.) I was able to complete the sign by painting over the pencil markings.

To make the light, I colored the center circle of the bottom of the Noosa container with a yellow highlighter. I then painted the bottom outer ring and the sides of the container with gold.

Glue your sign and light to the front of your train.

(You can either paint the large cardboard box before or after glueing everything on it.)

Glue 3 of the Noosa lids to the bottom of each side of the train’s body. Make sure you have the label glued to the box, so it isn’t showing. (I only glue a little in the center of the lid, so I could gently lift the edges out of the way while painting the train body.)

Take one of your small cardboard flaps that you saved. From the bottom corners of the long side, draw two lines towards the top center side, creating a triangle. Cut the triangle out, you should be left with 1 large triangle and 2 small triangles. Use the large triangle to create the same size triangle out of another small flap. You should now have 2 large triangles and 4 small triangles. Glue the 4 small triangles between the 2 large triangles, with the bottom side of every triangle lined up together. Then take your tape to make a smooth surface for all sides, so you can’t see the 4 small triangles when looking from the front point. Paint the entire thing black. This will be your pilot and it will be glued at the bottom of the front of the train body. Make sure you glue it with the side all 6 triangles are lined up on against the box.

Take the oatmeal box, you want one of the large faces standing horizontally, so it can attach to the inside (or backside if there isn’t enough room for the box and your child) back face of the train body. cut a circle the size of the Pringles can on the new top side. Insert the Pringles can, with no lid, and glue them together.

Paint the Pringles can, front, bottom, sides, and top half of the back of the oatmeal box black. After it has dried, glue the bottom half of the oatmeal box to the back of the train body. Half of the box will be sticking above the train. You now have a smokebox and smokestack.

Take the toilet paper roll and glue cotton balls all over it. Even glue cotton balls on top of the cotton balls at the top, to cover the entire cylinder. You can even gently tug the cotton to get it to shape the way you want. I tugged to make it look like it was floating backwards due to the train moving forward. Then, glue your smoke inside the Pringles can smoke stack.

Now you can paint the train body red and add any details. (I painted gold rivets along each vertex and white identification numbers on the sides.) You can use washi tape to help keep glued on items clean, or quickly wipe paint away.

After everything has dried, take your black felt, found here, and cut rectangular straps (I just cut it in half). Glue them to the inside-front and the inside-back of the train body. (Make sure you first test them with your child to see what height and width they need them to wear the train costume comfortably.

DIY Train Costume Instructions:

Train body 1: Cut off all 8 flaps on your box.

Sign 1: Cut a small rectangle out of one of the flaps for a sign.

Sign 2: Using the Noosa container, cut an arc out of the bottom of the sign.

Sign 3: Use paper and a pencil to create the letter rubbing for the sign.

Sign 4: Rub the letters onto the gold painted sign, then paint over the letters with white.

Sign 5: Glue the sign onto the front face of the box/train body.

Light 1: Color the bottom inside circle of the Noosa container with a yellow highlighter and the bottom outer ring and container sides with gold paint.

Light 2: Glue the Noosa container, with the rim against the front of the box/train body, directly under the arc in the sign.

Pilot 1: Cut two large, equal size, triangles out of 2 small flaps; also, creating 4 equal size small triangles.

Pilot 2: Glue the 4 small triangles inside the 2 large triangles with all of them having the largest edge touching.

Pilot 3: Tape the sides of your 6 triangle pilot piece, then paint it black.

Pilot 4: Glue the 6 triangle pilot piece with the point facing out, to the bottom of the front face of the box/train body.

Wheels: Glue all 6 Noosa lids, with the top of the lid (label side) to the train body. Make sure you have 3 equally spaced on each side at the bottom of the box.

Smokebox 1: Your oatmeal box will lie horizontally, with the front of the box facing you.

Smokebox 2: Cut a hole the size of the bottom of the Pringles can in the new top side of the oatmeal box.

Smokebox 3: Paint the smokebox black on all sides, except the back; only paint the top half of the back of the box, since the bottom half will be glued to the train body.

Smokebox 4: Glue the bottom half of the smokebox the the inside-back face of the train body, making sure the top half is above the train body.

Smokestack 1: Glue the Pringles can inside of the smokebox, where the circle was cut out.

Smokestack 2: Paint the smokestack black.

Smoke 1: Glue cotton balls all over the toilet paper roll. Making sure the sides and top of the cylinder are covered.

Smoke 2: Shape cotton balls to create the smoke look you want by gently rubbing and tugging at the cotton fibers.

Smoke 3: Glue the smoke inside of the smokestack.

Train body: Paint the inside and outside of the box/train body red, then add any gold details. You can use washi tape to help minimize touchups from dripped paint.

Costume Straps: Cut the black felt in half, lengthwise. Have your child hold the box in place while you determine the length and width of the location the straps need to be glued inside of the box, then glue them on.

Your train is complete!!

You might want a few accessories to make the costume complete, like conductor clothing and a train whistle. (My son still wears his overalls and keeps his conductor’s hat and whistle in his dress up box.)

Have a fun Halloween and enjoy your DIY train costume.

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Elimination Communication/ Natural Potty Training Supply List


When practicing Elimination Communication/ Natural Potty Training it doesn’t mean your baby/toddler is naked and peeing wherever they want. Certain supplies can help reduce your stress and assisted in simplifying the process. This is a list of possible supplies and links to buy them from. You don’t need every supply on this list. Do what is comfortable for you and your family, and if something isn’t working change it up.

(I do get a tiny commission from the sale of certain products listed, using the link provided, but the price does not change for you. I only recommend supplies I have personally used, multiple families I have taught have recommended, or another fellow Go Diaper Free coach has recommended.)

Possible Potty Receptacles:

1. Grown-up toilet, held over it (with or without a mirror or sticker stuck  inside of the lid for baby to have something to look at)
2. Grown-up toilet with toilet seat reducer:

Potette Plus (My favorite!!!) It is a seat reducer plus a mini portable potty that can easily fold away. We keep one in the house and one in the back of the car/diaper bag. When used as a portable potty it uses disposable liners, a reusable silicone liner, or plastic bags with napkins or a cloth wipe to soak up the pee.

Other toilet seat reducers are:


  • Foldable travel seat reducer. This is probably the second most popular portable seat reducer style.


  • Seat Reducer with Handles.


  • Seat Reducer with steps: I own this one. It has a stable ladder, folds away, and has a cushioned seat.

I have also heard good things about this brand.

3. Sink (bathroom or kitchen).
4. Bathtub (good for boys). When the toilet is occupied and my son can’t hold it any longer, he uses the bathtub like a urinal.
5. Stand-up shower (also good for boys).
6. Any bowl-like container that works for you (ie: mixing bowl, tupperware bowl, chamber pot, etc.).
7. Shallow container (such as a wide rectangular/ circular basin with low edges) used next to bed on floor.
8. Water bottle or jar (boys).
9. Mini potty/ potty chair:
High Back Potty chair for support while sitting. We keep a Potette Plus as a seat reducer in our bathroom, but we also kept a floor potty, when my son was young and willing to use it, for when the toilet was occupied. It’s also handy to use in other rooms of the house, like the living room or playroom.

There is also a 4-in-1 soft seat toilet trainer. It is a floor potty, toilet seat reducer, portable potty, and step stool.


10. Top Hat Potty: This is great for newborns, especially to catch pee/poop while they are feeding. http://www.naturallydiaperfree.com/Potties.html
11. Disposable, cloth/plastic-lined, or wool puddle pad : I prefer wool puddle pads, since we use wool diaper covers anyway.

12. Frisbee or whatever else is laying around in your car.
13. Towels.
14. Potty cozies can keep a baby comfortable on their portable/mini potty, since it helps them avoid sitting on hard, cold plastic. http://www.naturallydiaperfree.com/Potty-Cozy-Menu.html


  1. Split Pants: These keep your baby’s legs warm, but allow them to sit on the potty without taking their clothing off.

Open Crotch Romper.

2. Tiny Undies: I love these undies. You can’t find underwear to fit a small baby or toddler and these start at 6 months. These are amazing! They are made by the author of Go Diaper Free.
Purchase directly: http://tinyundies.com/our-shop/tiny-undies-new/?invite=31
Purchase from Amazon:

3. Toddler Undies.

3. Leg warmers: We wear leg warmers and undies a lot. They are great for layering or to just keep legs warm during diaper free time.

4. Shirts.


5. Wool soakers: We use these with our flat diapers, with undies, under pants, or as pants (commando/undies) when going on a long car trip or at someone’s home. If we have a miss, properly lanolinized wool creates a breathable, yet water proof layer. You will still have to clean up your child, but whatever they are sitting on should be protected. [Wool typically only has to be washed and relanolinized (the process that keeps it from leaking) once a month, when it gets an odor, unlike PUL diaper covers that need cleaned daily. Another benefit of wool compared to PUL is that it is absorbent, like regular clothing, which is what we are going for with EC backups.]

EcoPosh Wool Diaper Cover.

Disana Organic Merino Wool Cover. (These are my favorite soakers and pretty much bullet proof.)

Personalized Wool Cover. 

Eucalan Lanolin Enriched Delicate Wash (Lanolin is used to make wool waterproof).

Rebourne also has some amazing wool, especially the OS wraps, and has a great lanolizing kit with wonderful instructions. Send the owner a message if you have any questions or if she is out of stock of anything you are needing.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/rebourne


It is always handy to have a reference book on hand. Here are a few I recommend.

Go Diaper Free/EC Simplified (0-18 month) (My class is based largely from this book.):


The Tiny Potty Training Book (I reference this for children who are 18+ months.):

The Diaper Free Baby:

Tiny Potty Board Book (A book you can read to your baby.):


1.Snappi: These are used to hold prefolds/flats/burp clothes on babies.

2.Cloth Diapers:
Thirsties Hemp Prefold:

Bummis Organic Overnight Cloth Diaper:

OsoCozy Indian Cotton Unbleached Prefold:
Disana Organic Cotton Muslin Flat:
OsoCozy Organic Birdseye Cotton Flats (Love these!!! They make one size cloth diapering for all sizes a breeze, plus you can fold them to fit your child’s needs (wet zone, jelly roll legs and back to keep poop in, etc.):

3.Cloth Wipes (We use these for baby, family cloth, blowing noses, cleaning messes, etc.) (Read this article for more information http://cleaningouttheclutter.com/2013/05/all-about-homemade-cloth-baby-wipes-and-wipe-solutions/):

3.Wipe Box: We love this thing. It has a weight for easy access and you don’t have to worry about how you fold the wipes.

4.Diaper Belt: Diaper belts are elastic belts that are worn around the waist to hold a prefold/ flat diaper/burp cloth in place for an easy back up option. http://www.naturallydiaperfree.com/Diaper-Belts.html
There is also an adjustable option:

5.Wool puddle pad: we use these to protect our sheets in case I don’t wake up fast enough.


7.Wet Bags: I love wet bags! I use them for a variety of things. For EC I use the large to hold wet clothing/diapers.

I use the small to store clean cloth wipes.

I also like Planet Wise’s hanging wet bag and diaper pail liner.

My favorite hanging wet bag is by Kanga Care. It held 3 days worth of flats.


8.Potty Training Dolls (I like to use these as a teaching tool.):

  • Once Upon a Time Plush Doll Set w/ Potty :
  • Potty Time Elmo
  • Potty Time Elmo DVD (This is great to have with the doll. My son loves this movie and it helped him with the steps of potty independence.):

  • Potty Training Caucasian Baby:
  • Potty Training Black Baby:
  • Boy Potty Doll with Book and DVD:

Not every Elimination Communication/ Natural Potty Training Supply listed is needed. Figure out what works for your family. Use what will help you have the least amount of stress during this process.

For more ideas look through my free support group (www.facebook.com/groups/NaturalPottyTrainingETx/), or ask a question.

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Are You A Cyberbully?


Why do people feel it is alright to bully online?

I constantly hear how teens are bullying online and their actions need to be stopped. I completely agree, but I think adults need to also look at their own actions.

I don’t see adults going on another individual’s account and degrading them as often as I do teenagers. However, almost on a daily basis I see adults bullying through private groups or with the reply feature of comments that differ from their own. Name calling, cussing, sarcastic memes, and hurtful accusations are all brought out as arsenal.

When another person has a differing opinion than your own, do you really believe that person will be willing to have an open heart and mind if you create a full on assault against them?

What’s the old proverb? “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

I get it, I’m part of a lot of crunchy groups were things like circumcision, car seat safety, vaccines, and breastfeeding are very heated topics of discussion. My own social media circle is extremely diverse, with people who could be classified as liberal, conservative, homosexual, transgender, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, agnostic, etc., causing LGTB, abortion, and marijuana use to be extremely controversial subjects.

I get the need to stand up for your own world view or pointing out possible harm that can come to another individual. What I’m not agreeing on is how people go about trying to accomplish this. Personally, if I’m going to comment against a completely different opinion, I’m going to do it in hopes of making some difference, even if they only take away one little piece of information that can get them thinking and doing their own research.

If I were to start telling them how horribly wrong they are, that they are a bad person, belittling them, and making them go on the defensive, I’m not going to accomplish my goal. They aren’t going to take in a single word I say. They are only going to feel attacked and not like they can have an open, calm, and respectful dialogue.  If the person has an aggressive personality they will attack back, if they have a passive personality, like me, they will most likely back off and probably unfollow the post after the first few hurtful comments are made towards them.

Let’s all try to show some compassion and patience. If you absolutely can’t say anything nice or in a caring way, then don’t say anything at all. It isn’t worth it starting an online fight, which is only going to end with hurt feelings. Before you send anything, read what you have wrote and pretend you were the one receiving that information. Would you be willing to consider the information and further discuss the differing opinion, or would you go on the defensive? Don’t be the cyber bully. Be mature and respectful, even if a differing opinion or action has you upset.

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My family has big news!

My family has big news!

As many of you know, especially if you read any of my articles on CleaningOutTheClutter.com or follow my personal page on Facebook, hubby and I have lived and traveled in a RV for his job since 2011. We have lived in 4 different states and been able to experience some wonderful things. Our 2 ½ year old has been to more places than many adults have.
Well, the traveling is ending. Hubby now has a permanent job located only 10 miles from our home property. Stationary living will be an adjustment for us and I will desperately miss traveling. However, we will be starting a mini-farm!!!

This is such a major change that we actually acquired a mailbox, instead of having to rely on the generosity of family for accepting all of our mail.


Our overall dream has been to own at least 45 acres to have an organic, Non GMO, pasture-raised farm, to supply food for both our family and our community. This will be a very small taste of what our future will be, since we have less than 2 acres, but it’s a start.

We are trying to find wooden pallets to make fencing, repurpose wood to build portable coops and sheds, and old wooden windows to make a greenhouse, not to mention we are still trying to purchase or trade for an appropriate trailer. We want to have chickens, quails, goats, sheep, and bees and utilize them for eggs, meat, raw milk, wool, and honey. This is going to be a major learning process for us, from planning everything that needs to be built, learning how to care for each animal and the laws on what can be sold with/without a license, growing fodder and raising mealworms for Winter supplementation, etc.

So, please pray and wish us luck as we go about the planning process and search for all of the supplies needed to get Honey Hill Farm up and running. I will try to take pictures and keep everyone updated throughout the process.

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Reusable Bags

Reusable Cloth Bags

I love Reusable bags and baskets! I have a large variety in my collection.

Here are 4 of the reusable bags I am currently using:

1. The Door Hanging Laundry Hamper is the perfect size for holding 1 large load or 2 average size loads of laundry. Since we have no floor space in our RV, having a hamper that hangs on our door, without having to use screws, is an added bonus. I also hate the bulky plastic laundry baskets, so having anything else is  amazing for me.

It has an easy access opening at the top and on the bottom of the backside there is a zipper to empty the bag quickly. It also comes in multiple colors.

(Available here: http://astore.amazon.com/educate0d4-20/detail/B01FYGKHBQ)

Laundry Nook, Door-Hanging Laundry Hamper with Stainless Steel Hooks

2. Grab Bag Reusable Grocery Bag is awesome. It quickly fits over a shopping cart, allowing you to fill it up with ease and folds up for easy storage. I love it for this purpose.
Where I do have issues, is the plastic arms that attach to the shopping cart break very easily. On separate occasions, both of our bags were left on the floor and broken. So, if you do use these make sure to fold them up, place them in a cabinet or hang them up.
Another complaint, which could be my fault, is the fabric started wearing out very quickly. We used these bags once a week to every two weeks for grocery shopping, and a couple of times a week to carry laundry to and from our clothes line or laundromat located at the RV park we were staying at. After about 6 months the fabric below the elastic tore.
(Available here: http://astore.amazon.com/educate0d4-20/detail/B00RTSV3BG)

Grab Bag Shopping Bag (Pkg Of 2)

3. Reisenthel Carrybag Fabric Picnic Tote can be used for a variety of things. It has a metal handle that folds flat when not in use, the fabric comes off and can be washed, it has an inner zippered pocket, and the basket can be folded flat when the support pieces are removed.
We use this for shopping, laundry, carrying lots of items from one room to another, and it is light enough my 2-year-old son uses it to carry his dolls and toys around.
(Available here: http://astore.amazon.com/educate0d4-20/detail/B01L25XKJO)

reisenthel Carrybag Fabric Picnic Tote, Red

4. BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System comes with either 5 or 10 bags of a color of your choice. The bags are made from RipStop nylon, are water-repellent to help avoid spills dripping through the material, and are Bluesign certified, meaning harmful substances are removed throughout the manufacturing process.
The bags can be washed in cold water and air-dried.
When shopping, they can be hung for use just the like disposable plastic bags the store provides.
The storage system allows you to clip your bags onto your shopping cart, or even your own belt loop. When putting the bags away, you simple ball them up and shove them back into the storage system. No need for folding. Due to this aspect you have 10 reusable bags in one small space.
(Available here: http://astore.amazon.com/educate0d4-20/detail/B01LYF2RJQ)

BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System - Caribbean Blue (Contains 10 Bags)

What is one of your favorite reusable bags?

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DIY Color Matching Square

I have been increasing the number of homeschooling supplies I have and the color matching square I found on Etsy.com was $35 and not exactly what I wanted. So, I decided to get crafty and make my own color matching square with the fabric and pattern of my choosing.

I used small patterned felt, found here, to make each section. I chose dots for primary colors (blue, yellow, and red), snowflakes with swirls for secondary colors (green, orange, and purple), and stars for my black and white sections.

To make it easy on me, I made my square out of 8 sections by cutting each square fabric diagonally in half, creating a 45 degree angle.

I used Mod Podge glue, found here, to keep each section in place over a large piece of felt, found here, then sewed the edges of each section to keep it secured in place. (Please, don’t judge the quality of my sewing. This was my first time using a sewing machine and it took me a very long time to not just have one big knot of thread.) I then trimmed off the remaining felt from the back piece.

DIY Color Matching Square 3

On the back of the felt I wrote the name of each color next to the corresponding edge (As you can see, I tried paint and it didn’t turn out well. I ended up using a permanent marker instead).

Back of Color Matching Square

For my 2 year old to be able to play with the color matching square (more than just dancing on top of it like he loves to do) I painted 8 clothespins in  corresponding colors.

His new toy is already working. After only a day of playing with it he now recognized the color “orange!”

DIY Felt Color Matching Square

Using the front of the color matching square, we can practice matching colors (we use other manipulative besides the clothespins), naming colors, learning the difference between primary and secondary colors, match fabric patterns, and practice fine motor skills by manipulating the clothes pin. On the back he can learn to match the color of the clothespin to the written name of the color. As he gets older, we can discuss angles and how the square is made of 45 degree angles and right angles.

As you can see, a simple felt square can provide a lot of learning opportunities.

How will you design your DIY color matching square?

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The Not-So-Terrible Two’s!

two years old

Does every age become your favorite age as your child grows? It seems like your child can’t be any greater, you finally are in a groove with how to meet their needs at one age range, this age is your absolute favorite, then boom, you are two months into their next stage of development. New challenges arise with each stage and those challenges can be completely overwhelming but also bring new levels of joy.

My son, Archer, is now 2. This is the age I have been dreading. The “terrible two’s” were something I fully believed in and had experience with. Through my years working with children, it was the age I despised being in charge of. They were always so fast, agile, and curious but their communication skills were never to the standards we both needed. That lack of communication always made emotions high, because they truly wanted you to be able to understand their wants and needs. It seemed like every two year old I knew had tantrums, hit, and bit multiple times a day. So, you can see why I was dreading this stage as a stay at home mom.

Today, as I was nursing my little boy for his nap and he kept smiling at me, hugging me, and gently rubbing my face in the same way I was rubbing his, I was struck by how much I love him being 2. Yes, he does have extreme emotions, but I have been fortunate his sign language and oral communication have been a little advanced for his age; however, that also means when he doesn’t understand why we are preventing him from doing something or we can’t figure out which new word he is saying, he can have a total meltdown.  Along with these extreme levels of anger and sadness comes so much love and happiness. I have never seen a child who is so affectionate. He gives hugs and kisses like he needs them to stay alive. He also loves to be “funny,” as he calls it. He is constantly wrestling, tickling, and licking those he loves just to make us smile and laugh.

Another wonderful part of the not-so-terrible two’s, are how interests and desires to learn about the world really starts to develop. My son is now obsessed with tractors, trucks, cars, trains, and airplanes. He can now identify them in person, from images, and from their sounds (he even learned how to start the truck and tractor and operate most of the controls). He also has a fascination with cleaning and using tools. He wants to know just how they work and where to put everything away when tidying.

With each age there are obstacles, 100% dependence during infancy, high emotions due to communication issues during the toddler years, confusion while trying to understand the world and find independence during childhood, and dealing with extreme hormonal shifts and learning to become an adult during the teenage years; however, with each age blossoms a variety of  beautiful and amazing personality traits. We all need to take time each day to see the good in our child, focusing on how they bring joy and light into our lives. Parenting is hard enough; don’t make it harder by dwelling on the negative. I don’t believe the terrible two’s are so terrible.

The not so terrible two's.

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Tree of Life Breastfeeding Photos

I am obsessed with the “Tree of Life Breastfeeding” photos. They are all absolutely beautiful and unique. They are such personal and exquisite images, many moms are having them printed on canvas. (You can order your customized canvas print here.)

Based on my Facebook newsfeed, the Tree of Life pictures are causing more tension in the mommy world. Some feel it is a way to shame mothers who exclusively formula-feed and others are in an uproar about the tree of life being used on bottles, feeling it is a breast exclusive image.

First, the concept has nothing to do with shaming mothers who only  formula-feed. It is to help show the beauty in breastfeeding and a representation of the anatomy of the breast and lactation process. The roots of the tree are the glands and milk ducts of the breast, the trunk is the nipple, and the leaves represent the milk flowing into our baby’s mouth. (Please continue reading and look at my images to see my complete view on the use of the tree of life image.)


Second, when the tree of life is placed over a bottle, how do you know formula was in that bottle? It could be the mother’s own pumped milk or donor milk. More importantly, how do you know that the mother did not try everything in her ability to exclusively breastfeed?

Trust me, I know the science, breastmilk is far superior to formula. However, having a fed and nourished baby is the most important part of the feeding process. So many mothers struggle with breastfeeding. For generations breastfeeding was seen as taboo and formula was pushed. Women lost the knowledge and support they need to succeed. Many women that start breastfeeding don’t even know what a Lactation Consultant does, what a proper latch should feel and look like, or how to look for lip and tongue ties (many LCs and pediatricians don’t even know how to properly diagnose ties). If you are new to breastfeeding, please find your support system, “IGT and Low Milk Supply Support Group” and a few other breastfeeding Facebook groups were a godsend for me; I also highly recommend you read “Making More Milk.” Instead of judging another mother for how she feeds her child, take the time to ask her questions and maybe provide her information about what the “Tree of Life” image represents, and if she is receptive, how she can gain the knowledge and support for her next baby.


My breastfeeding journey has been complicated. As I have learned over the past 24 months, breastfeeding doesn’t always look the same for everyone. My son was born with severe lip and tongue ties, which resulted in him becoming failure to thrive and loosing weight from month 1 to month 2. The doctors never diagnosed him and were oblivious even after his first revision. I did my own research, diagnosed him myself, and took him to a dental specialist for revisions.


The first time we tried giving him a bottle of the little milk I could pump, my husband had to physically flair our son’s lips out but he still couldn’t take a bottle. We ended up giving his supplement with an eyedropper.  It took a lot of training to get him to ever use a bottle. During our 10 months of supplementation we used the little I could pump, donor breastmilk, and by recommendation of his pediatrician, a homemade goat’s milk formula.




I also worked with him on using a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). I had to make sure to keep it lower than him or he didn’t have to work for the milk. I wanted to make sure he was nursing from me and use the system to help increase my milk production after it dropped to 4 ounces per day. Part of my challenge was keeping the system hidden until he was latched, then inserting the tube into the corner of his mouth without him knowing, otherwise he pulled off. (You can buy your SNS here.)


My breastfeeding journey hasn’t ended. It was very bumpy at times but the entire process was worth it. At two years old he is still nursing on demand about 3 or 4 times a day (he self-weaned from the bottle at 11 months).  The pictures of our journey stir so many emotions in me. The Tree of Life pictures are a perfect way of turning that journey into beautiful art, even if part of that journey involved a bottle and formula.

I have seen so many unique Tree of Life pictures. Each picture means something special to the family involved. I have seen some with pregnant mothers, g-tubes, and even one used with placenta during a delayed cord clamping ceremony.

Let’s take the time to honor how beautiful each of these pictures are and let families create the art they feel comfortable with. You haven’t participated in their journey, so you don’t know what that photo edit means to them.

How to create your own Tree of Life Breastfeeding Photo

(I did not create my Tree of Life images, Facebook friends did it for me, but I have read the instructions posted multiple times. Also, there is a Facebook group called, “Milky Art – Tree of Life,” where you can share your creations and get help editing your images.

  • Download the PicsArt app onto your phone.
  • Download a free tree with roots image.
  • Upload the image you want to edit.
  • Click “Add Photo” and add your tree image.
  • Click “Blend” then press “Multiply.” (The white background should disappear.)
  • Rotate your tree to fit across your breast and your babies head. You can bring the  leaves up into your babies head or keep it on their cheek.
  • Use the eraser, located on the top left-hand of the screen, to edit and crop tree to make it fit better.
  • Click the “Magic” button and choose the effect you want to use. My pictures all have the “Midnight” effect. There are multiple options such as “Rainbow.”
  • Save your completed image.
  • Enjoy sharing and printing your Tree of Life Breastfeeding Image.

What does your “Tree of Life” image mean to you? Feel free to share any of your creations.

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