Archive for February, 2009

Turn the fan ON

imagesYoung infants who sleep in bedrooms with fans have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome than babies who sleep in less well-ventilated rooms, research shows. It’s possible that fans improve air circulation, preventing infants from rebreathing exhaled carbon dioxide, which can pool up in the gap between a baby’s face and the mattress. Researchers concluded that sleeping with a fan lowers SIDS risk by more than 70% so turn on those ceiling or countertop fans!

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Our Cloth Diapering Journey

Cloth diapering has been a journey for us. I wanted to cloth diaper our first child from the beginning but because he was to have casts up to his groin, we opted to begin with disposables. Then, when he was about 4 months old, a friend gave me all of her cloth diapers. I gave it a shot and loved it, but we still didn’t use them exclusively.

Our “baby” just turned 2 and we now have a 3 month old. Both are cloth diapered except when we’re traveling or at church (I just can’t ask the nursery lady to deal with a poopy cloth diaper). It took a lot of convincing for my husband to buy into it wholeheartedly. Whether or not he’s excited about it now doesn’t matter because he supports my conviction and I love him all the more for it.img_2586

So, here’s what we’re doing…
Diapers
* 2 year old — combination of a) fitted diapers w/ covers, b) one size diapers w/ covers c) all-in-ones (AIOs); all of these were given to us
* 3 month old — since his birth we have used prefolds w/ snappies and covers; we purchased them from a local seamstress
* Both boys get a diaper doubler at night.
Wipes
We use cloth wipes and a homemade wipe solution for both boys, except when the 2 year old has a poopy diaper. We use disposables for those jobs and flush them with the poo.
Dirty diapers & wipes
We toss them in a large waterproof diaper bag that hangs in the laundry room until laundry day. (The bag is scented with 2 lavender drops, which keeps any smells at bay.) If there is a nasty diaper, I soak it in the utility sink until the cling-ons are loosed. I’d say that happens about once a week. Then it’s taken directly to the washing machine.
Laundering
I launder the diapers and wipes every third day. I first soak them in cold water in the washing machine on my pre-wash cycle. (Cold water removes stains. Hot water sets them.) Then, I run a hot/cold cycle with Purex detergent. Once a week I run an extra rinse cycle on them.

I have been shocked at how easy it is to cloth diaper. If you’re considering it, ask those who cloth diaper lots of questions. Read and research. Then ask more questions. Figure out what is right for your family and go for it! I think we all have preconceived notions of what cloth diapering means. I sure did. If you really want to know the truth, ask those of us who are doing it. I am no expert, but I would be happy to share what has worked and what hasn’t. Good luck to you! It’s well worth it!

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Ongoing Local Activities for Preschoolers (near Mt. Airy, MD)

Adventure Park
Location: 11113 West Baldwin Road, New Market, MD 21774
Description: small amusement park; children under 8 will have the time of their lives on the indoor, four-level Gold Rush soft play area! This playground is perfect for children to play all day and never get bored. The playground features tunnels, nets, bars, and slides to keep kids exploring the terrain of the Wild Wild West. It even has a Mine Shaft and Toddler Shack for the smallest of adventurers to play.
Website: http://www.adventureparkusa.com/
Price: $3
Open: 10am through 7pm on weekdays, but until 10pm on weekends

Boyds Bear Country
Location: 75 Cunningham Road Gettysburg, PA17325
Description:   This place houses everything bear related.  Special events occur on a regular basis. They even have a great breakfast with character events. Check out website for more information.
Website: http://www.boydsbearcountry.com/
Price:  Free admission. Special events cost money based on the event.
Open: 10-6 seven days a week

Carroll County Library Story time
Location: all CCPL locations
Description: Read and Play is for birth – 24 months. It’s a story time featuring lap games, tickles, bounces and rhymes followed by a playgroup for meeting and mingling. Story Pals is for ages 2-3 and is s theme-based story time featuring interactive and age-appropriate stories, songs, finger plays and activities. Read with Me is for ages 4-6 and is a theme-based story time for children who are ready for an independent, small group experience.
Website: http://kids.carr.org/
Price: free
Open: see website for class hours

Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo
Location: 13019 Catoctin Furnace Rd., Thurmont, MD 21788
Description: From bears to boas, lions to lemurs, macaws to monkeys, porcupines to pythons, you’ll meet over 450 exotic animals on your Zoo adventure.
Website: http://www.cwpzoo.com/index.asp
Price: Adults $14.95, Children ages 2-12 $9.95
Open: all year except December, January, and February; see website for schedule

Cunningham Falls State Park
Location: 14039 Catoctin Hollow Road, Thurmont, MD 21788
Description: Cunningham Falls State Park, located in the Catoctin Mountains, is known for its history and scenic beauty, as well as its 78-foot cascading waterfall. The Falls are located one half mile from the lake in the Houck Area via the Falls Trail. (Hunting Creek Lake at the State Park has lifeguards present.)
Website: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/western/cunninghamfalls.html
Price: $3 year round per car
Hours: sunrise to sunset

Fountain Rock Park
Location: 8516 Fountain Rock Ct. Walkersville, MD 21793
Description: Fountain Rock Park and Nature Center offers the following amenities: fishing, grills, play equipment, trails, fire ring, nature center, lime kilns, quarry, and boardwalk.
Website: http://www.co.frederick.md.us/index.asp?NID=2934
Price: no fee for the park; small fee for nature center
Hours: 8am to sunset

Four Seasons Sports Complex (specific class is called “Inflatable Open Play”)
Location: 2710 Hampstead-Mexico Rd., Hampstead, MD
Description: Two hours of open play, bouncing around on their “three inflatables.”
Website: http://www.4seasonssportscomplex.com/
Price: $24/child for 4 sessions
Hours: Sign up for the class through the gym or through Carroll Co. Parks & Rec. at 410-386-2103

Frederick Gymnastics Club
Location: 4604 Wedgewood Blvd., Frederick, MD
Description: Kids can tumble on mats, jump on trampolines, swing on the rings and climb on balance beams for a 90-minute open gym session
Website: www.frederickgymnastics.com
Price: $4 for members, $7 for nonmembers during open gym sessions
Hours: 12:30-2pm on Fridays for ages 6 and under; may change with season

Germantown Indoor Swim Center
Location: 18000 Central Park Circle, Boyds, Maryland 20841
Description:  The pool contains interactive water features such as kiddie slides, water umbrellas, and tumble buckets.
Website: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rectmpl.asp?url=/Content/Rec/pools/aqua_gtown.asp
Price: Children $6.50, Adults $7.50
Open: Year round; check website for schedule

GymJam
Location: behind McDonalds in Eldersburg off of 32
Description: Motor and Agility programs focus on gross coordination, balance, spatial awareness, and core sport skills. These programs are tailored for children ranging from 18 months to 9 years old. GymJam is also open for parties and Moms’ Group outings.
Website: http://www.gymjam.com/index.asp?sc=EB
Price: varies according to class; Moms’ Group outings (reservation required for the group) are $8 for a parent & child and $4 for each additional child
Open: see the schedule on the website

Health Unlimited (swim classes)
Location: 103 Century Dr., Mt. Airy, MD 21771
Description: Water babies I & II with class sizes between 4-8 children, starting as young as 6 months old. The classes continue through adult age. See website for more details.
Website: http://www.myhealthunlimited.com/swim_lessons.html
Price: member $39.50, non-member $82
Hours: see website

Howard County Public Library
Location: all HCLibrary locations
Description: Play Partners is for infant-23 months and lasts 20-30 minutes. Just for Me is for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class (30 minutes). Storybook friends is for ages 2-5. Parents work on a story and craft to enjoy with their child.
Website: http://www.hclibrary.org/index.php?page=22&lib=All&et=Children&ag=Preschool
Price: free
Open: see website for class hours

PlayWiseKids
Location:  6570 Dobbin Road, Columbia, Maryland
Description:  Hands on activities where kids can freely touch and play with everything (examples of exhibits:  fire truck, grocery store, dress up, tap dance floor)
Website:  http://www.playwisekids.com/index.htm
Price:  Children (2 to 10 yrs old): $9.95, Toddlers (12 – 23 months): $6.95, Adults (11 yrs and older): $4.00; Babies (11 months and younger): FREE
Open:  Monday through Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

South Mountain Creamery
Location: 8305 Bolivar Rd., Middletown, MD 21769
Description: Calves can be fed every day at 4pm and then everyone can get some organic ice cream.
Website: http://www.southmountaincreamery.com/pages.php?pageid=3
Price: free
Open: Calf Feeding Time is 4pm daily; Store hours 10am – 6pm (Mon-Sat); Milking Time is 1:30pm – 5:30pm daily

Skate Frederick
Location: 1288 Riverbend Way, Frederick, MD 21701
Description: Lessons for children as young as 3. There are also open skate sessions.
Website: http://www.skatefrederick.com/index.htm
Price: class prices vary, see website; open skates are $5 for children 11 and under, $5.50 for adults
Hours: Classes and open skate times vary; see website

Walkersville Southern Railroad
Location:  34 W. Pennsylvania Avenue in Walkersville, MD
Description:  Train rides on weekends and special holiday events
Website:  http://www.wsrr.org/index.htm
Price:  Adults are $9.00, Children are $5.00, and Seniors are $8.00 (Children under 3 are free unless occupying a seat)
Open:  Saturdays from May-October – train departs @ 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.; Also open on Sundays in May, June, September and October – train departs @ 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Way Off Broadway
Location: 5 Willowdale Drive, Frederick, MD 21702
Description: Way Off Broadway opened its wildly popular Children’s Theatre in 1996,  where a live show is performed and dinner is served. Everyone has their choice of an individual cheese pizza, a hot dog, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. All are served with potato chips and a choice of soda or lemonade to drink.
Website: http://www.wayoffbroadway.com/CurrentShowChild.html
Price: $13 per person
Hours: see website for shows and times

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Popular Magazines for Moms

* Cookie: All the Best for Your Family — Last year I received a free one-year subscription to Cookie after purchasing a toy through Amazon. I found the magazine to be quite liberal with tons of ads and only a few ideas to offer. It regularly included fashion trends for moms and was geared towards the cosmopolitan mom.

* Parenting: The Home of Parenting and Babytalk — This Christmas I received Parenting for free through an Amazon purchase. It is similar in many ways to Cookie. Enough said.

* Mothering: Natural Family Living — I pick up free Mothering magazines when I go to my midwife’s office. I love the natural articles in it. From cloth diapering to home births, it always provides food for thought. Again though, it is certainly not a Christian publication so discernment needs to be exercised when considering the articles presented.

* Wondertime: The Joys of Parenting Young Children — Wondertime is the only subscription I pay for. It always has loads of great craft ideas, activity suggestions and seasonal foods to make with your kids. They also review and suggest toys and products. Articles are thoughtful and often funny but as always, Christians need to exercise discernment when considering the research that is presented in the articles since it is not a Christian magazine.

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Novel review: In the Presence of My Enemies

Title: In the Presence of My Enemiesburnham

Author: Gracia Burnham

Summary: From Amazon.com

In this remarkably honest and unaffected memoir, Burnham tells the story of her captivity at the hands of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group in the Philippines. For just over a year, she and her husband Martin, a missionary pilot, lived with their captors and a variety of other hostages in the Philippine jungle. In a botched rescue attempt, the Philippine army shot and killed Martin Burnham and Ediborah Yap, a nurse who was the other remaining hostage. Gracia Burnham was also shot, but rescued and treated for a leg wound. Burnham hauntingly depicts the alchemical reaction of deep Christian faith, Stockholm Syndrome and the unremitting terror of hostage life. The odd intimacy among the hostages and captors comes across in surprisingly frank conversations. At one point, Martin boldly refers to all the bad things the captors have done to the hostages, only to have one of them look at him quizzically and claim he has never done any harm to the hostages. The captors, in fact, do unspeakable things, such as beheading hostages or taking them as unwilling “wives.” Impressively, Burnham makes no attempt to dramatize these events for shock value, nor does she use this book as an occasion for Christian triumphalism. Instead, she chronicles both her high and low moments as a Christian during that year, and shows tremendous respect and love for members of other faiths with whom she lived. While some of the book is written for a Christian audience, a much wider audience will appreciate Burnham’s brave, artless account of these horrific events.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Positive Elements: I just have to say “WOW”! Ms. Burnham told her story in a way that made me feel like I was there with her. I found myself looking at the dates in her story and thinking about what I was doing then, while she was sitting in the jungle. Her honest and open dialogue about her thoughts and feelings, really grabbed at my heart. I have to agree with the summary review in that Ms. Burnham did not give graphic details of certain events. She could of done so and that would of added some shock value to the story. I respect the fact that she chose not to do so. A book that you will not want to put down!

Sexual Content: There is some talk of the captors taking some of the hostages as their “wives”. There is not any vivid descriptions, but I thought I would point this out.

Violent Content: This is a story of a kidnapping and hostage situation. There are accounts of the kidnapping, the time in capivity and a beheading which could disturb some.

Profanity: None that I can recall.

Drug Content: None.

Conclusion: I enjoyed reading this story. Not because I like reading stories about kidnapping, but because I like reading stories about faith and hope. Ms. Burnham lives her life during this year as a Christian woman who has her highs and lows with God. Much like all of us in our own lives. An inspirational story by and amazing woman of God. A must read!

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These are the days

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My son’s truck landed in the pile of clean diapers yesterday as he was playing at my feet. I snapped a mental picture and then thought, “Why not run for the camera (again)?” One day my boys will be grown and I’ll be doing laundry without trucks, without diapers, and without play clothes. The thought makes me sad so I try to relish the simple, every day life now.  It goes by way too fast, they say.

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Indian Fare

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I’ve discovered something delightful — Indian Fare from Trader Joe’s! The small little box contains a pouch of Indian food, in this case Punjab Choley, that serves two. You drop the foil pack into boiling water for 3 minutes, take it out, rip off the top and then dump it into a bowl. Punjab choley is well spiced with ginger, garlic, cardamom, and cloves to name just a few. A serving is 210 calories, 8g of fat (0 sat fat & 0 trans fat), 6g of dietary fiber, 0 sugar, and 7g protein and the cost per box is $2.19. For that price, great taste, and good nutritional choice, I’m sold!

Now, you’ll notice that another brand is featured in the photo. It’s Truly Indian. Our grocery store (Safeway) sells it and it is the TJ’s equivalent of Punjab choley. It, too, is tasty, but is a degree hotter and costs significantly more. Truly Indian was on sale for $3.49.

Having a newborn at home and not getting out much for some tasty treats, this is a great addition to my afternoon chicken caesar salad. On other occasions, I’ve added sauteed zucchini, tomatoes, and chicken to it for a complete meal. No matter how you prefer it, give Indian Fare a try if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby. Mmm!

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