Homemade, Organic Baby Food

When I first began introducing my little girl to solid food, I made the decision to make her food from scratch. No buying commercially-made baby food in jars from the store, no grabbing a baby food pouch from a coffee shop while meeting up a friend for a coffee date. I wanted to make all of her food myself: 100% of it. A baby food processor and blender, along with a recipe book and food jars, were purchased and thus began my baby food making journey.

Now the food-making journey is not always easy and can be time-consuming (just ask my husband) but the benefits have been so worth my while. And what an experience it has been! It has been incredible to watch my little one’s appetite take off as she experiences new flavors and textures as well as to watch her reactions to new foods that are introduced. And I have learned so much about nutrition and vitamins that can be found in various produce and meats. I have discovered that making my own baby food allows my daughter to digest all the vitamins and nutrients that each specific food has to offer while enjoying its taste, aromas and natural colors in their entirety. No more food that has been genetically modified, incorporates growth hormones from animal-derived products or harmful chemicals and pesticides. No more food that has been sterilized in order to allow it to have the necessary 18-24 month shelf life.  I am in complete control of what goes into my daughter’s food and, as a result, I know that she is truly getting the best ORGANIC options out there.

As a result, I want to share the amazing experience we have had with other moms. I desire to provide local mothers with healthy, organic food options for their little ones that are free of harmful pesticides, GMOs, added salt, modified starches and refined sugars; lack artificial flavors and colors; and in no way include preservatives, additives or fillers. Additionally, I am planning on making and selling Lactation Cookies for nursing mothers (those just beginning the nursing journey or who are continuing to supplement while their child transitions to solid food). The ingredients in these cookies promote milk supply in mothers, thereby providing the most natural and wholesome nutrition to infants and babies: breast milk).

To help begin this process while cutting costs for purchasing mothers, I have begun a Kickstarter campaign. To find out more about the products I will be producing, ask questions or donate to my cause, please click here. If everyone donates only $5 each within the next 29 days, I will be fully funded to provide and equip other mothers with nutritious and healthy food options for their children. I would also ask that you would please share this cause with those you know so as to help spread awareness.  Thank you!

She Was Beautiful

“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile even if she was sad. No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

 

Making My Private Life Public

Last month I wrote an article on why my husband and I never post photos of our child online.  Included in this post I explained why we also do not disclose any of locations we have been with our daughter and why we try to limit the amount of personal information we share regarding her.  Not long after writing this particular piece I stumbled across an article featured in Time Magazine that held a similar concept to the one in my blog.

The brief article, entitled My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal, describes how personal information is collected throughout the government, academic and industry markets.  The mantra of “if you don’t like it, just opt out” is thrown at individuals who are uncomfortable with how public their lives are becoming yet this is not as simple or easy as its advocates proclaim.  Janet Vertesi, the article’s author, demonstrated how complicated this catchphrase really is with a nine-month long experiment to see if she could keep her pregnancy a secret from the Internet (which would have fed that information through databases that companies use for targeted advertising). The author concluded the article by stating that her ‘experiment’ was personally inconvenient to herself and her husband while making interactions with family and friends extremely awkward and rude. She even wrote that she and her husband were seen as inconsiderate, abrupt and antisocial.

All of this to say, I was encouraged by what I read.  I can relate with the above statement as many people view my husband and I as “inconsiderate, abrupt, rude” and somewhat “antisocial” for being picky about what we share via the Internet regarding our daughter.  It is very unfortunate that our desire to live private lives have caused the individuals and community around us to label us in such a manner while straining relationships.  And although the Time’s article features a slightly different topic then the one that I shared a few weeks ago, the theme is the same.  The ability to opt out of publicly sharing every aspect of one’s life is viewed negatively and met with fierce criticism.  Gone are the days of personal, face-to-face interactions among individuals.  In its place is surface-level relationships with individuals merely interested in learning the details of their peers lives without ever holding a conversation. Convenience, comfort and complacency have made our society unwilling to invest richly or deeply into individual human life.  And have alienated those who desire this and more.

Protecting Children From Human Trafficking

As a parent, I am constantly worrying about how to protect my beautiful, innocent child(ren), especially in a day and age where danger seems to be constantly present.  Human Trafficking is one crime that has exploded over the past several years due, largely, to the advancement of technology.  For most people, it is a vague concept that is thought to reside primarily overseas or is an issue that could never happen to them or a loved one.  This could not be further from the truth.

Human Trafficking affects us all.  However, vulnerable populations – such as children – tend to be at higher risk of falling prey. Georgia Family Magazine hit the nail right on the head when they wrote “as awful as this subject is, parents can’t mince words when it comes to educating innocent kids…It’s up to parents to protect children by developing trusting, open relationships, and by educating them to the very real dangers posed by this industry.”  I hope and pray that my child(ren) never become victims of this disgusting business!  I do not know what the future holds for them but I know that there are steps that I can take to reduce the changes that my child(ren) are not victimized.

Tips To Protect Your Child

  1. Build honest relationships with your children.  If your child is acting out, sit down and listen – what’s going on?
  2. Be honest about your own experiences.
  3. Make sure your children with you – or a trusted adult – at all times.
  4. Create and provide your child/teen with health self-esteem.  Traffickers prey on the insecurities of children, teenagers and young adults.
  5. Strictly monitor computer use.  And provide them with safety tips regarding social media (i.e. turning their location services OFF, putting their profiles on PRIVATE and not accepting friend requests unless they personally know the individual) that will increase their safety from online predators.  Use the parental control settings on your computer to check the Internet history. Have access to all of their account usernames and passwords for safety reasons.  And discuss with your children the dangers of social media and how this is influencing your decision to monitor the computer and Internet usages.
  6. Educate your children going off to college or travel about the deception used by (sex) traffickers.
  7. Teach kids never to lose themselves in alcohol or drugs.
  8. Warn young people to avoid stairwells, elevators, clubs, bars and deserted streets where they can be whisked out of sight.
  9. Teach youngsters to beware of offers of modeling and dancing careers that seem too good to be true.
  10. Explain the importance of being aware of their surroundings.
  11. Always meet your child’s friends and significant others.  Local traffickers often times use young and charming individuals – particularly males – to recruit children into the (sex) trafficking industry.  Notice if your child has new clothing items, makeup products, cell phone(s) or other items and inquire about how they acquired them.  Also watch your children for changes in mood or increased anxiety.

For additional safety tips and information, check out the links below.  I gathered the above tips from these wonderful resources:

Why We Post Nothing About Our Child Online

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I made the contentious decision to never post a photo or video of her online nor share any specific information that could be used to personally identify her.  We do occasionally share brief stories or memorable moments with her on our Facebook pages (which have been set to ‘private’) for our family and friends who are not able to see her on a regular basis.  But we always try to be as discreet – and, oftentimes, vague – as possible in order to provide our daughter with some sense of confidentiality and anonymity.

Many people have asked my husband and I why we do not post photos of our child online or why we try to limit the amount of (personal) information we share regarding her.  Often times, people have a difficult time understanding our rationale.  We have even been met with some resistance, even after explaining our reasoning.  Although most of our friends and family members have been respectful of our requests for them not to post photos/videos of our daughter online to any of their social media (or other Internet) sites, it has saddened us to see how some individuals have blatantly gone against our wishes and posted material anyways.

Our reasoning is that we do not want our daughter’s life to become public knowledge where anyone in the world – particularly strangers – can have access to her through photos or videos, viewing the various locations she has visited or resided, or reading intimate details of her life (i.e. the activities she enjoys, who her friends are, what foods she does or does not prefer, etc.).  We are uncomfortable with the reality that the rise of the Internet has allowed such easy access to any particular individual’s  life in which a lack of propriety often times prevails.

Slate Magazine published an article in September 2013 that does a wonderful job explaining (in a nutshell) why parents such as my husband and I are choosing to keep our children’s lives private.  The article, entitled We Post Nothing About Our Daughter Online: Nothing.  It’s the only way to defend her against facial recognition, Facebook profiling, and corporate data mining, discusses how modern day social media – among other Internet sites – are preventing future generations “any hope of future anonymity”.  By sharing our children’s lives through digital content, we are providing the world with personally identifying information that can be accessed at any point in time, anywhere in the world.  It is up to our children – when they have grown up and matured – to make the decision of what personal information they would like to share and with whom.  The over-arching theme of the article is a call to parents to protect their children in a world saturated in and obsessed with over-sharing on global platforms.

The article is a short, fabulous read and I encourage you to read it – regardless of whether or not you agree with what it says,

In Sickness & In Health

It has been quite some time since I last posted a blog.  Things have been immensely busy, especially in lieu of the recent celebration of my one year wedding anniversary trip.

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My husband and I decided to visit Austria for several reasons: one of which is that I was familiar with the language, another being that we were anxious to visit the infamous Salzburg, where The Sound of Music had been filmed.  We had a breath-taking stay in Austria, filled with many wonderful memories.  What a fabulous way to celebrate one year of marriage while inaugurating a second.

Our journey home, on the other hand, was quite the contrary!  To make a long story short, I became extremely ill on our flight out of Vienna.  When we stopped in London to catch our connecting flight into the U.S., my husband and I were informed that we would not be allowed to continue on to our next flight until we had received a doctor’s approval for further travel.

My husband wrote an excellent blog post about our horrendous ordeal of navigating through the socialized medicine of the London hospital – all for a simple note signed and dated by a doctor, approving me “fit for travel”.

The entire ordeal caused my husband and I to reflect on the vows we had exchanged a year ago.  As we contemplated the lifelong commitment we had made to one another before God, we couldn’t help but chuckle.  God has a sense of humor in teaching us what “agape love” truly means and how we are to apply that to one another.  We smiled as we thought of how appropriately applicable our vows had become beyond the alter.  I thought I had loved my husband with my fullest capacity as I stood before him at the alter.  However, this past year of marriage – with all of its trials, including our unexpected delay in London due to sickness – has caused me to realize that I am continually learning what it means to truly love him with an agape, sacrificial love.

Why I Won’t Be Walking In The March Of Dimes

In my post on February 6, entitled “March for Babies“, I wrote that I would be walking in the March of Dimes in April due to the personal experiences of my husband and I.  I also provided the opportunity to help me meet my fundraising goal.

However, it has been brought to my attention that the March of Dimes is not as forth right about how and where it spends its finances.  According to CatholicCulture.org, March of Dimes (MOD) “has generously funded research that has involved the destruction of human life at its earliest stages including the human embryo…”  MOD also supports human embryonic stem cell research where, if an embryo is found “defective” it can be aborted with MOD funds.  In other words, if a pregnant woman discovers via genetic counseling and tests that her baby has certain genetic disorders (i.e. Down syndrome), she may utilize MOD finances to abort her child.

In an article on the MOD, CatholicCulture states that MOD not only funds abortions but that it also finances research for human embryonic stem cell research and preimplanation diagnosis.  Some of the research MOD has funded have come from Dr. Kurt Hirschhorn, Professor of Pediatrics at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York (2012) and Dr. Evan Y. Snyder of Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

Due to this disturbing evidence, I find that I simply cannot contribute my finances nor walk in support of March of Dimes.  I was lead to believe that I was helping to raise finances to fund research that would prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality while supporting local community programs that would help mothers have healthy full-term pregnancies.  While MOD may use a portion of the money raised in their march for this purpose, they slyly appropriate a portion of these funds to provide abortions to women.

Why would an organization lie to the public about its true intentions?  As a Christian and expecting mother, I simply cannot support an organization who assists in killing unwanted infants under the mask of “helping at-risk babies”.  If MOD truly desired to end infant mortality, then why is it helping to fund abortions?   This sounds contradictory to me.