Healthy Cleaning on a Budget…Part 3

Here it is, part 3 on Healthy Cleaning on a Budget.  Be sure to check out Part 1  on an All-Purpose cleaner that is very inexpensive, safe, natural, and words, and Part 2  on an exceptional Laundry detergent that is also Natural, Safe, Effective, and Budget-friendly.

Today we are looking at the DISHES!  Now–this was the last switch I made.  I actually made my switch to Shaklee’s Get Clean Dish Washer Automatic Concentrate 10 months after I switched all other cleaners!  You are probably thinking what I did before I made the last switch.  Why do I need a natural cleaner for my dishwasher?  I keep my dish detergent out of reach.  My kids do not get to it.  Natural cleaners cannot be better than Cascade!  Simply put….there’s NO NEED for an all-natural, toxic free dish detergent.  Right?

WRONG!  According to mamashealth.com, “The  #1 cause of household poisoning is dish detergent. Dishwashing liquids are labeled ‘harmful  if swallowed.’ Each time you wash your dishes, some residue is left on them,  which accumulates with each washing. Your food picks up part of the residue — especially if your meal is hot when you eat it.”  I could leave you a ton of great articles and reviews on the dangers of dish washing detergents.  You can see here, here, or here.  Should I list some more?

But that is not what changed my mind.  What did it for me?  My sweet and smart little man.  While we sat in the kitchen floor fixing Zachary’s toy, Dalton found the Cascade PODS.  At only 12 months old, he knew how to move the lock on the dishwasher, pull it down, and play!  Why is this a bad thing?  Well, the dishwasher is ready to go, which means the POD was ready to go in the dishwasher!  He got a good bite in his mouth–liquid and powder.  This was my second time calling Poison Control.  He threw up three times within five minutes and I was worried!  I was told to give him water or milk constantly for the next couple of hours.  He was still breastfeeding so this was easy for him.  Just offer to nurse and he was good!  (Did you know poison control will call you back every so often to check on your child when you call?)

After that….I made the SWITCH!

Well, now you know why I switched and to be honest costs was not even a concern at this point.  However, I have since learned that Shaklee’s dish cleaners are very budget friendly.

Cascade Complete                         Shaklee Dish Washer Automatic
75 oz                                                  32 oz.
On sale with coupons $5.50              $9.50 (membership price)
Fill both dispensers (~1.5 oz each)    1-2 tsps. per dispenser**
Approximately (25 load)                   Approximately 48-96 loads**
$0.22/load                                        $0.10-$0.19/load

**Depends on water, I use only 1 tsp. per load; therefore, getting about 96 loads a package.  If you have hard water, you may need to use more.  This would hold true for Cascade as well.  As a family of 6, we purchase our Dish Washer Automatic Concentrate once every three months.  We use the dishwasher once a day.

If the costs does not seem that important, what about the ratings of Cascade?  All Cascade Dishwasher Detergents receive a D or F rating.  EWG ranks the Cascade Powder Detergent an F overall because “Regulatory violation; May contain ingredients with potential for cancer; acute aquatic toxicity; chronic aquatic toxicity”

We can see that Shaklee is SAFER and budget-friendly.  What about other GREEN products?   I never couponed with Seventh Generation, but a quick breakdown since it is comparable to Shaklee.
Seventh Generation Powder Free and Clear
45 oz.
$3.97
Fill both dispensers (1-1.5 oz each)
About 15-22 (depending on hard water)
$0.18-$0.26/load

Seventh Generation Powder Free and Clear actually received an A rating and is certified Green.  However, an A rating is the average.  There are a few ingredients in this product that are listed as potential harm- such as, PG-10-Laureth-7,which there is “Evidence of cancer; developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; damage to DNA.”  **Please note that the other Seventh Generation Dishwasher detergents received a D or F rating** 

The other comparable company would be The Honest Company.  The Honest Company’s Auto Dishwasher Gel, Free and Clear, also received an A rating but contains enzymes that have “concern for general systemic/organ effects; general ecotoxicity; biodegradation.”  The Honest Company’s rinse agent scores a C because there are many concerns for allergies, asthma, environmental factors, cancer and a few more.  Also, the pods do not score high due to these concerns as well.  **Please note that the Honest Company IS NOT certified a Green product.

The Honest Company’s Auto Dishwasher Gel
40 oz
$5.95
Fill one dispenser (1.5 oz)
about 26 loads
$0.22/load

I hope this cost breakdown helps you see how economical it is to use Shaklee’s Dish washer concentrate.  More importantly, I hope from some of the reviews and articles, you see how dangerous dishwasher detergents can be.  Fumes given off can affect your respiratory system, reproductive health, and much more.  Then there’s the residue left on the dishes after being cleaned that you ingest–your children ingest.  Be sure to take this into consideration when picking the right cleaning products!

As always–Shaklee’s Dish Washer Automatic is SAFE, EFFECTIVE, GREEN, and BUDGET-FRIENDLY!

Shaklee’s Dish Washer Automatic is phosphate-free, bleach free, and preservative free. It contains no hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acids, sodium hydroxide, nitrates, artificial colors, and much more!  And is in environmentally friendly packaging!  Be sure to check out The Shaklee Difference!
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Healthy Cleaning on a Budget….Part 2

Yesterday, I discussed Basic H2, an all-purpose cleaner that was Safe, Green, Effective, and very cheap!  Today, I want to discuss LAUNDRY!

When you are expecting a baby, you read all the information about washing children’s clothes with special detergent in order to avoid chemicals and irritate their skin.  Or maybe you use cloth diapers and buy a separate detergent to meet those needs.  Maybe you buy whatever is on sale.  What about those HE washing machines and buying the proper detergent for those.  There are some many reasons people buy certain laundry detergent.  What if you could meet any and all your needs with one detergent?

REALLY?!?!  One detergent that is safe, chemical free, and gentle enough for the newborn.  One detergent that does not cause sudsy build-up in your amazing HE washing machine.  One detergent that is perfect for cloth diapers.  One detergent that is effective on those tough football or baseball stains (Or spaghetti hand prints all over dad’s work shirt).  One product that can clean it all, in any machine, that is safe, non-toxic, and affordable!  Could it exist?  It does!

Shaklee Fresh Laundry is WONDERFUL!

First–why does it matter if your laundry detergent, softener, or stain removal is non-toxic?  What is so bad about it….I mean you wash it off, right?  Actually, many of the toxins stay on your clothes!  When we changed all our cleaning products to Shaklee, we took our oldest son, Jamie, off his allergy meds.  I am confident laundry was one of the products adding to his allergy problems.  How do I know this?   Because laundry was the main change (only change) I truly made for a month or two!

Have you seen some of the chemicals in common laundry products and what they can do?  Did you know that it could cause your eczema, allergies, or even aggravate your asthma?  Did you know it could effect your fertility?  There are links to hormone and reproductive effects of some of these chemicals!  Check out this list on chemicals to avoid in laundry products.  What you put in your washing machine stays on your clothes!  Some chemicals in our laundry detergents are banned in other countries!

So you are thinking–“I am okay.  I use Free and Clear” or “I buy from the Honest Company” or “I use Seventh Generation”  These are great companies.  I am not here to bash any of them.  But have you checked their ratings or ingredients?  The Environmental Working Group gave the Honest Company’s Stain remover an “F” rating due to some concerns in allergies, asthma, and skin irritations, and HIGH concerns in reproductive toxicity!  They received a “C” rating for the Free and Clear detergent because “May contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; respiratory effects; damage to vision.”  Seventh Generation’s Concentrated Free and Clear received a “D” rating, stating, “May contain ingredients with potential for acute aquatic toxicity; developmental/endocrine/reproductive effects; respiratory effects”

WOW….we are washing our clothes, our children’s clothes with this?

So–is there something SAFE out there that is AFFORDABLE and works?

SHAKLEE Fresh Laundry is:

Natural

Biodegradable

Concentrated

Hypoallergenic

No phosphates

No chlorine

Here is s great document on Shaklee’s Fresh Laundry Concentrate!

I have established how great it is, but is it affordable?!?!?!

Remember my post from yesterdayI broke everything down using coupons.  Well, let’s do the math again!

Tide Free and Gentle                    Shaklee Fresh Laundry
56 oz.                                             5.5 lbs (That’s 88 oz.)
40 loads                                          88 loads OR MORE
On sale with Coupons $5.50        $18.10 (membership price)
$0.14/load                                      $0.20/load

Now…I know what you are thinking–“Amber, that is $0.06 more a load!”  Technically, yes!  But I have to tell you that I do not use 1 oz. per load.  I use HALF an oz. or an ounce for kids’ dirty dirty clothes!  So, I really personally get about 120 loads.  Now let’s do the math….$0.15/load.

So–it’s is not necessarily cheaper IF you coupon.  If you do not coupon and get the best deals, it is definitely cheaper!  AND it is SAFE, Environmentally Friendly and can be used on HE, regular, front-load, top-load, and all clothes!

Shaklee’s other amazing product is Nature Bright
This can be used a pretreatment for stains, brighter in the wash, carpet cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, shower cleaner, grout cleaner, and much more!  As you see, it is more than just for laundry!  Check out this great post on how effective it can be and what it can be used for.

Since it is so versatile, I cannot accurately compare it.  BUT…I will try a little:)

Shout Triple-Acting Stain Remover        Nature Bright
30 oz                                                       32 oz
Price with coupons $1.75                         $9.30 (membership price)
Price per galloon $7.32                             $2.33/galloon
(mix 2 T per 16 oz. water)

Clorox Bleach for Colors                      Nature Bright
77 oz                                                        32 oz
27 loads (according to site)                      64 loads (1 T)
Price with coupons $8.00                        $9.30 (membership price)
$0.30 per load                                         $0.15 per load

Finally–Fabric Softener
To be honest, if you are just buying a regular fabric softener with coupons, it is cheaper than Shaklee.  Shaklee’s is about $0.13/load.  Gain Fabric Softener with a coupon would cost me $0.06/load.  BUT I could not use it on my children’s clothes (it has chemicals that can remove the flame resistance on children’s clothes).  It is not Natural, toxic free, and biodegradable.  It is cheaper than Seventh Generation whose is $0.16/load.

That is a lot to take in!  The important thing to note is that Shaklee’s Laundry can be used for everything–baby’s clothes, linens, stains, cloth diapers, and much more!

If you purchase Nature Bright, Fabric Softener, and the Fresh Laundry, you will pay the following:

Fresh Laundry     $18.10
Soft Fabric           $8.80
Nature Bright       $9.30
Shipping             $12.40
TOTAL                $48.60

Monthly Costs:  13.89**

**Depending on if you use fabric softener with every load and how often you use Nature Bright, here’s the monthly Breakdown of what I PAY (I am a family of 6 washing about 8 loads a week so 32 loads a month). 

That is $14/month for SAFE, EFFECTIVE, GREEN laundry products!
*Our family, couponing, spent $15-$20.00/month depending on sales on laundry products that were not safe, were not Green, and did not always Work.  And only added to asthma and allergy problems in our home!

Tomorrow we will discuss the dishes!

In the meantime, check out Harper’s Post on Four Ways You Can Love Laundry!

Healthy Cleaning on a Budget….Part 1

Would you like to go “Green” and use products that are biodegradable?  Would you like to use cleaning products that are safer for you and your family?  Would you prefer to use products that are non-toxic and have no harsh odors?  Would you prefer to use cleaning products that would not aggravate your allergies and/or asthma?

All this sounds great, but…..IT IS TOO EXPENSIVE!  Right?

I couponed and saved a lot on all my cleaning supplies.  I bought most of them at CVS for around a $1.00.  So to consider ordering something I cannot use a coupon with is just not realistic.  Let’s consider a typical CVS run for some name brand cleaners. (This is a typical scenario of how I could use sales and coupons, along with CVS Extra Care Bucks, to buy my cleaners).

2/$5.00 – Lysol Disinfecting Wipes (35 count) reg. $4.69
– COUPON $0.50/1
2/$5.00 – Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner (32 oz) reg. $4.99
– COUPON $0.25/1
2/$5.00 – Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner (24 oz) reg. #3.49
– COUPON $0.50/1
PLUS….receive $5.00 in Extra Care Bucks when you spend $15.00 (Lysol Products)

DEAL:
Buy two of each listed above
TOTAL : $15.00
COUPONS: -$2.50
EXTRA CARE BUCKS: $5.00

TOTAL:  $$7.50 for all 6 products!

Breakdown $1.25 for each product!  I know you are thinking that is pretty good!  But what if I told you that you could do BETTER financially and GO GREEN!!

basichcomparison_002

Basic H2 All-Purpose Cleaner – (Cleans counters, appliances, floors, windows, mirrors, everything!  See this post for more detail.  Or Katie’s post for more information.)

Let’s Compare it to my scenario above:

Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner                                 Shaklee All-Purpose Cleaner
$1.25 (with coupons and sale)                              $10.25 (membership price)
32 oz.                                                                   16 oz
Use (per galloons) Straight from bottle             Use (per galloons) 2 teaspoons per galloon
Cost per Gallon $5.00 (4 x $1.25)                       Cost per Galloon $0.22
CANNOT be used on wood, windows,             Use different amounts to clean ANYTHING!
mirrors, cars, or furniture
Products Comparison

This is just Basic H2 Cleaner!  I use my Windows Bottle (only 2 drops per 16 oz. bottle) to clean windows, mirrors, wooden furniture, the inside of my car, and my LCD TVs and monitors (spray on a cloth first).  This means 2 drops of Basic H2 replaces Windex, Pledge, and Armor All in my home.  The All-Purpose bottle in my home is used to clean the kitchen counters, appliances, sink, bathrooms, spot clean floors, walls, and more.  This replaces Lysol Bathroom, Lysol Kitchen Cleaner, 409 Cleaner, and more!

The best part…..SAFE!  GREEN!  EFFECTIVE!  I purchased my All-Purpose Basic H2 May 2012.  Fifteen months later….yes 15 months later, and I still have HALF the bottle left.

Did I mention you can use this on your floors?  And to clean your car?

But Amber, I have to pay for shipping for this. Let’s say you JUST bought Basic H2 and did not divide the shipping among other products.
$10. 25 – Basic H2
$8.49 – Shipping
TOTAL – $18.74

That is still ONLY $0.39 per gallon of Basic H2!

EXTRA BENEFITS to saving money and Going Green!
Did we discuss how you could Save the Planet and Save for College?  Or how Toxins in your home can effect your allergies and asthma (or here for another).  

Want to learn how to save on SAFE laundry, follow Part 2!

In the meantime, checkout ALL the Great Get Clean Products!

Teaching….One of the Hardest Jobs!

Being a teacher is one of the best and hardest jobs.

I remember when I graduated college and everyone asked the same question, “What are you going to do now?”  I graduated in December and was fortunate to line up my first teaching job to begin immediately—as in the last three days of the year before Christmas break began!

When you tell people you are a teacher, their first response is generally “You have to love your schedule!  I’d love to have the whole summer off and be home at 3 every day.”  You are right-teachers have a great schedule, 8-3 (or something to that sort).  And yes, teachers get the summer off, but do you realize what they do not get off or what they give up or what they really do outside of those “great working hours?”

Teachers give up the ability to clock out at 3 and leave work at work.  Do you realize how much grading, planning, and even researching a teacher does at home?  I know what you are thinking, “That’s what their planning period is for?”  Have you asked a teacher what he/she does on her planning?  MEETINGS—team planning, discipline discussions, grade level meetings, parent meetings, IEP meetings, etc.  The list can go on! What about the pre-service days before school starts or teacher workdays?  Well…let’s say, staff development, teacher-parent conferences, meetings, data collecting, workshops, etc.  You name it, teachers have to do it.  Anything but what they NEED to do.

Teachers give up the ability to be worry-free.  Teachers have a lot of kids.  And a good teacher genuinely cares about all of her students (could be as small as 15 kids or over 200).  As a middle school teacher on block scheduling, I had roughly 3 classes with 25-30 kids in each.  When I was at a school with a normal schedule, I had 6 classes with about 30 kids in each class.  Yeah….180 students that were my responsibility to teach math to every day.  Teachers (most of them) care about each student.  They genuinely want to help them learn, grow as a person, and develop character.

Teachers give up their health.  Do you know how many germs all these precious students pass around?  Not only do teachers get to enjoy these wonderful germs, but teachers are generally more stressed during the school year.  They are planning, grading, teaching, and parenting all their students.  Do I need to mention the demands of No Child Left Behind, Common Core Standards, and whatever else your state, district, or school requires you to do?  All this plus they have their families to take care of, cook for, plan for, spend time with, teach, and much more.

I taught at three different schools.  One was your high income, top-notch school with parents who gave me a $500 budget when I began mid-year and told me to pick anything I wanted for my classroom.  Every Friday, parents brought us coffee/hot chocolate and donuts to our room during announcements.  75% of my students gave me gifts for Teacher Appreciate Week and even at Christmas when they only knew me for 3 days!  Then I taught at a low-income inner-city school.  A school that the state of Maryland’s Dept. of Education took over, let all teachers go, and hired a brand new staff.  A school where over 75% of the students received free lunch, a school where fights were daily, drugs was common, and most all my students had one parent, no parents, were in and out of foster homes, and even homeless.

I remember my first day at that school it was four years ago this August.  I called my husband at my lunch break and was ready to quit.  I already had a student throw a desk across my room and three get in my face and scream every cuss word possible.  But when I left that school, I was heartbroken to receive sweet letters from students about how much I meant to them, how much I cared, how much they learned from me.  Those letters, those students, those moments, make teaching one of the best jobs.

As your children go back to school, remember how much their teachers are giving up to teach your children, care for your children, and be responsible for your children while in her care.  She is your eyes and ears for 7-8 hours every day for the next 180 days.  She is giving up a lot of personal time and family time to plan for and prepare for her daily job to teach your children.  She is stressing over who is struggling with reading, who is in 8th grade math but still can’t add 8 + 6 without counting on their fingers, she is worrying about the students in a bad home situation or with no home, she is wondering when the state is going to “let go” those teachers not meeting a high enough passing rate on the state tests that are now changing due to the new Common Core Standards, and she is wondering when the government will pass a new budget to decrease her pay or cut more jobs.

To my teacher friends–thank you for your hard work.  Thank you for caring about the kids in your classrooms and for desiring to give them the best education you are allowed to give them.  Thank you for your hard work, all the time you sacrifice, and for the passion you have about education. You do this because you care, because we all know that after you pay for gas, classroom expenses out of your own pocket, and childcare (If you have small children), you bring home little to nothing!  To my homeschooling moms–You are a teacher who may not have as many students to take care of and plan for, but you are planning, preparing, and giving up other things to have the ability to teach your own children at home.  You are learning all over again as you teach your children.  You spend time researching curriculum, finding bargain deals on them, and preparing to teach multiple grade levels in the “One Room School House.”  You are wearing many hats–wife, mother, and teacher!

Now….let the school year begin!

2013 – 2014 Curriculum

If you follow all the wonderful Homeschool Blogs, you will know that this week is Curriculum week.  All the bloggers are posting what curriculum they are using for this school year.  The joy of homeschooling is that it can change each year and even in the middle of the year.  If something is not working, we stop, re-evaluate, and start again.  I Over the past six months, I have purchased a lot of curriculum and supplies.  However, I purchased them on sale, used, or a great prices!  Some things will be used this year and next year.  I cannot see Lenna-Grace getting through it all now. We are primarily doing Kindergarten work.  Therefore, I’m expecting us to take a year and half.  She may do well and we finish it in one school year.  Again…the joy of homeschool, if she is ready, we will do 1st grade next year!  If not, we will continue with the Kindergarten curriculum.

2013 – 2014 Curriculum
Lenna-Grace (4K/5K)
Phonics/Reading – All About Reading Level 1
Mathematics – Singapore 1A US Edition
Handwriting – A Reason for Handwriting K
Bible – Grapevine Traceable (Old Testament) and ABC Bible Verses book
Catechism Memory – Truth and Grace book
Memory Work – Classical Conversations (will post later about this)
Art – Draw Write Now
History, Science, and Geography – Sonlight P4/5 Readers (We purchased Sonlight Readers before deciding to do CC and when I thought I would be expecting another baby because of the amazing amount of literature and the ease of the Instructor’s Guide.  Instead of returning it, which I could, I opted to keep it for the reach literature and to supplement with it)

Zachary (Preschool)
Letter of the Week – Pre-Reading
Handwriting (he is my leftie) – Handwriting Without Tears My First School book

Zachary will do Bible and Art with Lenna-Grace as well.  He will also get to enjoy the Sonlight books.

I have planned our first six weeks fully.  I have also planned the Letter of the Week, Handwriting, Catechism, and Bible time for the year.  Why?  I tried to correlate them all.  I putting the Grapevine Studies with the Timeline we will be doing with CC.  Our memory verse will come from the ABC Bible Verses book and correlate with our Handwriting letter of the week and Zachary’s Letter of the Week Pre-Reading program.  Basically–we will be doing a Letter each week and the kids will be doing handwriting for that letter, a memory verse to go with it, and phonics (Zachary) for it.)

Kicking Off Our First Year!

I am super excited because August is here!  I guess technically we could have started our school year whenever we wanted; however, since Jamie goes to public school, it seemed best to tie our schedule with his.

Tomorrow is our Meet the Tutor event for Classical Conversations.  This is our first year homeschooling and we decided to join a CC community.  I was not really sure about it.  I thought it may be too early, but Lenna-Grace really wants to learn and go to school.  Going to CC once a week will be something she really enjoys.  Plus, you can never start to early with memory work I am sure!  I am also the tutor for her class.  I am very excited to be learning with her and working with the families in our class.  This will be an adventure for us both!

We are beginning our official “First Day” of school on August 19.  I plan on doing school work with Lenna-Grace at least three times a week (Monday, Thursday, and Friday).  Wednesday will be our CC days and Tuesdays I have Women’s Bible study at the church in the morning, so they will do childcare there.  The goal is to really work at her pace, but also teach her some discipline when it comes to education and learning already.  We may work for two hours straight through or we may do a couple of 30 minute intervals.

Why Start Now?

I know many homeschool families do not begin formal education at 4-years old.  I definitely do not think it is necessary.  However, Lenna-Grace is eager to learn.  Tonight while we were just sitting on the couch she brought me a book and wanted to work on “learning to read.”  Before I knew it, she was reading a sentence with little help.  She is ready to learn, wants to learn, and definitely able to learn.

What Are We Doing?

Lenna-Grace will be doing Classical Conversations (another post later) for memory work, phonics, handwriting, Catechism, Bible time, math, and then for any science and history we will be reading literature-based books together.

Zachary will be doing Letter of the Week for Pre-Reading skills, introductory handwriting concepts, and will do Bible and Catechism with us as well.

Dalton will be just enjoying whatever he can get into in the school room while we learn!  Probably throwing toys–his new favorite thing!

Why Is Jamie In Public School?

This is a great question everyone asks!  Jamie has been in public for years now!  Our goal is to homeschool him as well.  When we moved to Florida last March, he was homeschooled for about four months.  Jamie struggles with having all the little ones around while trying to work.  The noise and distractions really get to him.  And John is correct that it puts more of a strain on our relationship (mine and Jamie’s) than it did help him educationally.  However, we have been discussing homeschooling him next year when he begins high school.  I have been looking into various curriculums and options that would allow him to learn independently through reading (He is an AMAZING reader).  However, his teacher (who works with those with physical impairments) has spoken to me a lot about the local high school’s program for students similar to Jamie–where they work on more life skills and community involvement.  In fact, in 11th grade, they place in them (and take them and watch them) at a local business to learn job skills (like TJ Maxx, Public, etc).  Therefore, this is something we really have to discuss to see what is best for Jamie.

God gave me MORE than I could handle…..

Seven weeks ago today, I felt my heart sink.  I sat on the ultrasound table and watched the nice flat screen monitor….there I saw a sweet baby in my womb with no heartbeat.  Words cannot express what I felt at that exact moment.  It took a few minutes to really hit me that I would never hold that sweet baby that was inside of me at that moment.  That I would never get to nurse this child of mine.  That I would never get to rock her to sleep.  That I would never get to sing to this baby.  But when it all sank in….it came at once.

For the next two days, I cried constantly.  I cried when the heartburn hit.  I cried when moments of morning sickness was setting in.  I cried while I simply rested on the couch from extreme exhaustion.  I was without any doubt pregnant still; however, the life inside of me was no longer living.

I blamed myself first.  Why did I not probe more about that “second sac?”  Why did I not ask what an implantation bleed was if that was what it was?  Why did I not research implantation bleed?  Did I lift too much and play too hard on the floor with my little ones to cause this?  Did I eat the wrong foods?  Should I have quit breastfeeding sooner?  What did I DO to cause this baby to stop developing?

Then….I did it.  I blamed God.  Why did He let this happen?  Why did He not take care of my baby?  Why did He let me get pregnant if it was not the right time?  Why did He not give the doctor wisdom to see pick up on the clot and do something then?  Why ME?  There was NO WAY I could handle this.  Why would God make me go through it?

A week prior to that day, a friend on Facebook posted this, “God put this on my heart first thing when I woke up this morning and he has smothered me with it all day.  I have heard Him loud and clear today and somebody out there needs this right now or will need it in the future, including myself.  My favorite verse is John 16:33 which says, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace.  In this world you WILL have trouble.  But take heart!  I …have overcome the world.”  You see, God never promised that He would protect us from all bad things.  He says, “you WILL have trouble”.  One of the common sayings in the Church world is that “God will never give you more than you can handle”.  This is untrue, because if He never gave YOU more than YOU can handle, then we wouldn’t need HIM.  God WILL give us more than we can handle so that we understand that we cannot do life without Him!  The true statement is this: God will never give you more than you can handle with His help. This means we have to ask Him for His help and fully believe and trust that He will provide it.  It may not be in our timing, but in His.  His plan for our lives is always so much greater than our plan for ourselves. I know it is hard to believe when you are a going through a storm, but that is why it is called FAITH.  If we fully understood God and how he works, then he wouldn’t be God.”

On top of recalling what he posted, Cheryl Derbyshire, a missionary for over twenty years in Thailand, said it simple to me “Don’t focus on understanding right now, just focus on dwelling in the Lord’s presence and finding His rest.”  Her words hit home to me.  I read them a few times for the next couple of days.  She was right….understanding was not necessary.  I needed God.  While I knew what Cheryl meant by “dwell in the Lord’s presence.”  I immediately looked to the scripture after about my 5th time of reading her simple words to me.  In Psalm 27:4(a), David writes “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”  David did not just want to encounter God some days.  He wanted to soak up every moment with the Lord.  God spoke to me then….I needed Him daily, not just at this moment while I was miscarrying my baby, but every moment of every day.  And I COULD NOT do it alone.

At that moment, Matt Maher’s song, I Need You came to mind.  The lyrics go

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Throughout the following two weeks, while I waited to miscarry naturally, I focused my attention on Christ.  It was hard.  And I will admit that I had my days where I still wanted to know why and blame Him.  However, I would always remember Psalm 27:4 and quote in my head.  It was go-to scripture for those two weeks as I waited to miscarry.  Cheryl’s words and Grayson’s post made me realize that 1) God did give me more than I could handle, but 2) I needed to dwell in His presence to make it through my storm.

While it is still tough at times to recall miscarrying a child, I am extremely grateful that God brought me closer to Him.  I’m thankful that in the midst of this storm, God held my hand and took care of me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I was simply going through the “Christian routine” and finding time to fit God’s Word into my life And making excuses. Having four children does take up a lot of your time and I wished there was more time in my days. But God made 24 hours in a day and knew that was enough. And I’m not suppose to work Him into my schedule, but make it a priority to dwell in His presence daily and seek Him first!

Baby #4….A Not so happy ending

I think I am ready to share with the world now!  On May 29, I typed this blog but did not publish it.  Today…I’m sharing with you what happened to our sweet baby.

May 29, 2013—I was hoping today would be the day that happily announce our 4th pregnancy to all our friends and family.  However, the news is rather shocking.  Miscarriages are far more frequent than we realize; however, we hide it from everyone.

On April 19, I took a wonderful pregnancy test.  It was a faint positive about 10 minutes later.  So, I was not 100% sure, so I took another one two days later.  Of course, it was positive.  I was sure I was pregnant because I already had the wonderful heartburn I always get.  I called the OB to make an appointment.  Since I was still breastfeeding, they wanted to do an early ultrasound to check the accuracy of the due date.

On May 15, I had my first ultrasound.  I measured about 6.5-7 weeks pregnant.  I thought I was 7.5 weeks, so it went well.

During the ultrasound, the doctor found a second sac.  She was not sure if it was a gestational sac with a second baby or a uterine blood clot.  Being as early as she thought I was, she wanted to do an ultrasound two weeks later to see if a second baby developed.  For the next two weeks, I was unsure if I was having one baby or two.  However, we were excited to see the precious heartbeat of at least one baby.

Today, I had my second ultrasound.  I was nervous.  I am not sure why.  For the past three days, I felt uneasy, as if something was wrong.  As soon as the tech showed me my sweet baby  on the screen, I knew something was wrong.  I am not a tech, but I knew I should see the heartbeating.  I didn’t.  Then she said it.  “I’m sorry sweetie but there is no cardio activity in this baby.”  She continued on to measure the baby and the gestational sac.  The sac measured to show I was about 9.5 weeks pregnant like I originally suspected.  However, the baby stopped growing at 7.5 weeks.  I felt like my heart just stopped for a second.  I did not process what happened.

What about the second sac?  The ultrasound tech clearly saw the second sac and it had grown larger than the baby’s gestational sac.  It was taking up about 50% of my uterus.  It was then obvious it was a blood clot, also known as  Subchorionic Hemorrahage.

How does a blood clot form in the uterus?  The doctor gave me a couple of explanations and most of my research online confirmed what she told me.  During implantation when the one tried to implant, it attached to the uterine wall but caused a tear in it.  This caused a bleed to occur and it continued to grow.

What happens with a blood clot in the uterus?  Several things can happen.  1)  It can slowly come out and cause some slight bleeding during the pregnancy. This does not cause a threat to the baby.   2)  The body simply absorbs the clot and the pregnancy continues as normal.  Or 3) The bleed continues and the blood clot grows bigger.  If it becomes bigger than the gestational sac that the baby is in, it causes problems.  In my case, the blood clot pushed the gestational sac and caused it to detach from my uterine wall.  This caused my sweeet baby to quit developing.

Can anything be done to cause this?  From what I read and the doctor told me., no.  I was breastfeeding when I conceived; however, it played no role in the miscarriage.  Some patients are put on bed rest if a blood clot is discovered in early pregnancies to help give the body time to heal and hopefully allow the clot to shrink.  Unfortunately, many women are not aware they have a clot.

What now?  I am waiting for my sweet baby to miscarry naturally.  I opted against a D&C or any medications to cause the miscarriage.  I feel God will let nature take its course.  For now, I continue to have pregnancy symptoms because my body still thinks there is a baby growing.  While there is a baby still in there, she has no heartbeat.

For those going through this, please know it is not your fault.  I know it feels that way.  All I have done all day is wonder what I did or did not do to cause this.  But I also know God has a plan.  This was a part of it whether it makes sense to me yet or not.

What made it easier—-looking at the three sweet faces that were waiting for me in the car with their amazing daddy who just held me tight while I cried some more.

I am also thankful for an wonderful doctor.  What amazed me was that many doctors use any word but “baby;” however, she only refered to this sweet life as my baby.  I am thankful for a doctor who realized life began immediately and recognized the pain I was feeling.

***On June, 12, at 11 weeks and 5 days, I naturally miscarried our sweet angel at home.  My story will be shared with another website that shares testimonies of those who naturally miscarried (and delivered) their babies.  If you would like a link, email me at ja.robinson29@gmail.com.  It is a detailed sight so I will send to those interested.***

Childhood Asthma: Medications vs. Supplements

What is Asthma? According to the CDC, “Asthma is a chronic disease that affets the airways in the lungs.  During an asthma attack, airways become inflamed, making it hard to breathe.  Asthma attackes an be mild, moderate, or serious–and even life threatening.”

FACTS:

  • 1 in 11 children have asthma
  • 1 in 12 adults have asthma
  • The average cost for a child with asthma (2009) is $1,039
  • Roughly 9 people die daily from asthma
  • 1.9 million ER visits occur annually due to asthma-related issues
  • 1 in 5 children with asthma are seen in the ER
  • 3 out of 5 people with asthma limit their physical activity

How was Lenna-Grace diagnosed with asthma?
I have to admit that in the summer of 2011, I was shocked to learn that my 2-year old daughter was being diagnosed with asthma.  No one in my family or my husband’s had this disease.  However, I was also relieved to find out what has been wrong with her for the past 12-15 months.  She was constantly sick with pneumonia, broncitis, ear infections (prior to having tubes put in), and always coughing.  Once the doctor diagnosed her with asthma, it was a challenge to find the right medications to manage her asthma (remember she was only 2.5-years old).  After four months, here was the final prescriptions that we used that controlled her coughing.  This did not keep her from getting sick still, but it did control the horrible, painful sounding cough.  She would hack all night long!

asthmainhalerpic

What Medications were prescribed for Lenna-Grace?
Flonase – nasal steriod (1 spray in each nosil twice a day)
Flovent – Inhaled corticosteroids (2 puffs twice a day)
Zyrtec – allergy medication (1 tsp twice day)
Singulair – Leukotriene modifiers (1 tablet once a day)
Albuterol – Short-acting beta agonists (2 puffs immediately before bed and if needed for attack)

WOW….2.5-year old with all these medications

Did you know the following?

  • Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and even air fresheners, are present at levels 2 to 5 times higher inside your home than out.
  • Common cleaners give off fumes that potentially can increase the risk of kids developing asthma, the most common chronic childhood disease.
  • If your home is anything like the average U.S. home, you generate more than 20 pounds of hazardous household waste each year (the EPA designates toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach as hazardous waste).

What are the alternatives?
In May 2012, I began exploring “Green” cleaning products.  What I learned was that many allergy-related issues are caused by the horrible toxins I am putting in my home–my cleaners (laundry detergent, Lysol, toilet bowl cleaner, clorox, etc.).  After about three months of using Shaklee’s natural Fresh Laundry and Basic H2 All-Purpose cleaner, I noticed Lenna-Grace’s nose was not so runny.  I took her off her Zyrtec medication at this time.  Nothing got worse, so I tried to remove another medication–her flonase.  A couple weeks passed and she was doing great with no nasal related issues anymore.  After a few weeks of playing with her medications, I was able to take her off her Flonase, Zyrtec, and Singulair.  We continued the Flovent and Albuterol.

Later, I read a testimony of a mother who was able to take her son of asthma medications by using supplements and an immune system builder.  So, I thought….”why not?”

In February, I ordered a child’s multivitamin, vitamin C, and Nutriferon (immune system builder).  And I quit asthma medications, cold turkey!

Did it work?
I am happy to report that for two months now my 4-year old, who was diagnosed with asthma, has been medication free!  We went on vacation one week and I forgot the supplements.  You know what….she was back to coughing and I had to break out the albuterol.  As soon as we got home, we went right back to the supplements.  No more meds!  AND…..my daughter who USE to get sick constantly, has not been in two months!

What Exactly Does She Take?
Children’s Multivitamin (Incredivites)
Chewable Vita C
Nutriferon (1/2 tablet daily)

asthmavit

Didn’t you just trade one drug for another?  She’s STILL taking something for it!
Yes, she still has to manage the asthma by taking supplements.  BUT….it is not the same as the medications.  Let’s take a look at what she was taking.

  1. Flovent is an Inhaled corticosteroids. “Long-term use of these medications has been associated with slightly slowed growth in children”  The most common side effects are cold or upper respiratory tract infection, throat irritation, headache, fever, diarrhea, ear infection.  Those are common and listed on the Flovent website.  Maybe that is why my daughter was always sick–her meds made her sick!
  2. Flonase is a corticosteroid inhaled through the nose.  “Should be used with caution with children….may stunt growth.”  Rarely, it will get in the bloodstream and cause an overdose, but “these side effects are more likely in children.”  Common side effects are runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
  3. Singulair  is a Leukotriene modifier.  “In rare cases, these medications have been linked to psychological reactions, such as agitation, aggression, hallucinations, depression and suicidal thinking.”  WOW!!  Actually, we used this only when Lenna-Grace was sick or asthma was really acting up.  She would wake up screaming in the middle of the night and saying someone was there.  She was VIVID.  And it only happened when taking it!

Is there really any need to continue??

Can everyone come off Asthma medications?
I cannot answer that!  I am not a doctor.  However, our doctor did not think I would be able to get Lenna-Grace off medications with the use of supplements!  I did monitor Lenna-Grace and still do.  Her rescue inhaler is always around just in case.  By for now….I am very happy!

In January and February, we spent $876 on doctor visits and medications for Lenna-Grace alone.  She had strep throat twice, the flu, and her asthma medications.  Yes, you read that number right….$876 and I have insurance!  Now, we spend very little on Get Clean Products to keep toxins out of our home.  And the cost of her supplements are here:

Incredivites are $29.70 (member price) for a 2 month’s supply
Chewable Vita C is $23.30 (member price) for 300 tablets
Nutriferon is $39 (member price) for 60 tablets

Daily cost for her dosage: $0.91 (x 30 days) is $31/month.  Plus…we’ve not been to the doctor for illnesses!!  (Her monthly prescription medication, with insurance was $197)

If you would like to know more or want to see the testimonies from parents that influenced us, just email me at ja.robinson29@gmail.com

Be sure to check out the previous post on Children’s Vitamins and Why Shaklee’s are different!

 

 

Homeschooling….let the journey begin

I am SOOO excited!  Why?  Because after researching the past year (maybe more), I have decided on my first really purchase of homeschool curriculum.  AND…it just shipped today!

Why Start Now?

I hear so many people say, “just let them play” until they are 6 or 7 years old.  While I do believe playing is a very vital part of young children’s education, I also believe structure needs to be taught early.  Children need to learn to sit and learn a little.  For Lenna-Grace, I will probably do “school” for 1.5 hours a day, but that may be broken up into three different 30 minute sessions.  PLUS…Lenna-Grace wants to “go to school” and has a passion for learning already!  So, why not now?

What Subjects and Why?

Lenna-Grace will be 4.5-years old in the fall and Zachary will be 3-years old.  I wanted to incorporate a lot of literature based learning.  My children love books and I want them to learn as much as possible by us reading together as a family  I want to be able to discuss what they are reading and dig deeper into it.  We will be doing Science, History/Geography, and Literature altogether through books.  By using books about history and science, we will explore more and do our own projects that tie in with the books.  Lenna-Grace is already great at basic math.  She can add and substract on her own.  So we will be doing math for sure!  She also knows all the sounds the letters make and can “sound out” a lot.  She writes all the letters and numbers.  So–phonics/reading/spelling and handwriting will also be covered.  And of course, we will do Bible time!

What Curriculum Did We Decide On?

I researched a lot and was torn about many things!  I loved the idea of doing my own curriculum and jusetting what was needed here and there, but this being our first “true homeschooling” year, I wanted a set  I am not a big fan of whole box sets with every subject in one company.  There’s just no way every company can get every curriculum for every subject right:)  I’m not a fan of online based schools–at least not for my children and their age.  Plus, I want to be very hands on at desk learning.  That’s not saying it is not right for some.  So–here’s our 2013-2014 Curriculum:

Sonlight Core 4/5  with K-readers- Literature, Language Arts, Science, and History/Geography
I searched a lot and debated between Sonlight and My Father’s World for a literature-based curriculum for Science and History.  I decided with Sonlight because it comse with everything—every book you need!  I liked the books in the program and that it was so heavy in literature.   I opted to do the K-readers to this Core because Lenna-Grace is beginning to learn to read already.  I thought this would simple be a great reinforcement.   Included in this core set are the following:

(6) books on World Cultures
(5) books for Science
(5) books for Language Arts
(11) books for Read-Alouds
(1) 101 Favorite Stories of The Bible
(4) Readiness Workbooks – Volume 1-4 of Developing the Early Learner
(1) Instructors Guide
(1) Language and thinking for Young Children (Basically early lang. arts workbook)
(1) My First Picture Dictionary
(1) Bingo game/cards/markers
(1) Go A to Z (Go Fish style game)
(1) Instructor Language Arts Guide
(27) Early Reader Books
(1) Explode the Code Kit (3 phonic workbooks and 1 teacher’s guide)

WOW…that’s a lot in one kit!  I can’t wait to dig into all this!

All About Reading/All About Spelling – Phonics Program
I have read amazing reviews about this program.  I debated between this and Sing, Spell, Read, Write.  I opted with this because I truly just liked the setup.  It was laid out well for the parent.  It seemed well-organized.  We purchased this about two months ago when I saw a coupon for it.  Here’s what we will be using:

  • All About Reading Level 1 – Lenna-Grace
  • All About Reading Pre-Reading – Zachary (this basic letter introduction and I just purchased the workbook, not the whole kit)
  • All About Spelling Level 1 – Lenna-Grace for Spring 2014

Handwriting Without Tears and A Reason for Handwriting
Yes, I did get both!  Why?  Well, HWOT is highly recommended for those not writing well and lefties!  We purchased this in January and have been using a lot of the resources in it.  I enjoy it a lot.  But Lenna-Grace may not need such structure as it has; therefore, I wanted to try the other because it is more traditional.  What do we have:

  • Handwriting Without Tears K – Lenna-Grace
    We have the matman, wooden letter pieces, K workbook, Wooden piece cards, mini chalkboards, little hands chalk, little hands crayons, little hands pencils, and the instructor guide.
  • Handwriting Without Tears My Frist School book – Zachary
  • A Reason for Handwriting Book K – Lenna-Grace

Here’s a great picture to see the different handwriting styles.  The one of the left is HWOT style (they teach with two lines instead of three to begin).  The one on the right is A Reason for Handwriting

withouttears  areason

handwriting3-line-handwriting-sample

Singapore Mathematics 1a/1b
Singapore has always been my choice for math!  Students in Asia rank we above American students and they must be doing something right!  I like the way Singapore teaches and it’s structure.  Of course, I amy find later on that it is not a good fit for Lenna-Grace.  We will see.  I picked the US Edition vs. the Standard Ed.  In the Standard Ed., the curriculum is aligned with California state standards and the infamous new Common Core Standards that many (and I am one) oppose.  This is more in line with how typical US students now learn.  The US edition is basically the Singapore edition because with our needs such as measurements and such.  And example would be this.  In the Standard Ed. (and in US school), students learn multiplication facts and all there is to it at one time.  Later, usually the next great, but sometimes a different chapter or semester, they learn division.  In the US Edition, the two are taught together.  After all, they go hand-in-hand.  If you learn what multiplication is, you are also learning division!

Why 1a/1b and not Kindergarten-Premath KA/KB?
Simple–it was not offered in the US Edition!  Basically, that is it.  I’m that against the Common Core Standards that I skip it!  And, I looked over the standards for both KA and 1A and I felt Lenna-Grace knew 75% that was taught in KA and KB.  So…why do it!

  • Singapore 1A
  • Singapore 1B (if she does well, we will do B.  If we go slow, she may just do 1A the first year and 1B for Kindergarten)
  • Addition, Substraction and Multiplication Memorization Music

Bible Time

I opted for a few things here.

  1. Truth and Grace – I have always known we would do the Catechism with our kids.  With True and Grace books, the kids will learn to memorize the Catechism, scripture, and hymns.
  2. Grapevine Studies – I am purchasing some of the Traceables to use for Art and Bible, which the kids will love!
  3. Family Time Bible – This has 128 stories from Scripture!
  4. Music CDs-Seeds of Courage and Seeds of Faith–these teach scripture through songs!  I love it!  Thanks, Jenny for recommended this!
  5. Poems and Prayers for Very Young
  6. ABC Bible

Physical Education-Family Time Fitness

What?  You are teaching PE?  Well, not exactly, but yes! Family Time Fitness has a great program to teach your children the important of moving!  It has a great set up and MANY activities to get your kids moving in structured activities.  I thought this was great.  Again, I had TWO coupons when I got this!  This will give us a lot of ideas of fun play time outside or inside.  Instead of just–go run around, we can do games and activities to get us moving!

What About Zachary?

While most the main learning will be for Lenna-Grace, Zachary will participate in school  Lenna-Grace did a lot of Letter of the Week curriculum that I will do with him.  He will work with shapes, colors, and numbers to get a better understanding.  I will be working with him on writing and basic motor skills (cutting, tracing, glueing, lasing, beading, etc.).  He will also learn with us with the literature books, calendar activities, etc.

Overall, I’m super excited and can’t wait!!