Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Blog!!

I decided to change my blog and Twitter name to something more reflective of who I am, so I'll soon be shutting this blog down and switching over to http://www.crunchyconservativemommy.blogspot.com/ and will be changing my Twitter name to @CrunchyConMommy. I think the new name is much more "me" and it's definitely easier to spell and say. I hope you'll join me at my new blog! (If you are a Twitter follower you shouldn't have to do anything, except once I make the change, send any future replies or DM's to my new name rather than the old one!) Also, when I comment on your blogs now it'll show that Crunchy Con Mommy commented. When that happens, you'll know it was me!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Felt Crinkle French Fries Tutorial

As a newbie to felt food making, I've been trying to start with foods my son loves. And as much as I'd love to pretend that's quinoa with eggplant & brussel sprouts, he wouldn't recognize any of those things even if I managed to make the awesomest felt food versions of them known to man. So instead I've got some fruit, a sandwich, an egg (not too terrible nutritionally so far, right?) and now...crinkle fries. We don't have them all that often, but when we do, my son gobbles them up. But all the fry patterns/tutorials I found were kind of lame 2D renditions (maybe they're supposed to be smushed McDonald's fries?), so I had to come up with my own. And when I showed him the first felt fry I finished, he was super excited and clearly recognized it. So if your kid is a fellow french fry lover, give this a go!

Yellow felt (one sheet of felt should easily make 8-10 fries)
Matching embroidery floss.
Stuffing of your choice

How-To Make It:
1.) Cut out 4 rectangles of yellow felt for each fry you'd like to make. They all need to be the same length (mine were about 3 inches long), but I think it looks cute to have the two side pieces narrower than the top & bottom of the fry. The important thing is that the top & bottom are identical and the two sides are identical.

2.) Use blanket stitch (or whipstitch if you'd prefer non-crinkle fries) to attach the four pieces together to make a rectangular felt tunnel.

3.) Cut two small squares of felt to fit the ends of your fry (I just stood the fry-tunnel up on the felt to figure it out. If you prefer measuring, the end pieces should have two sides the same width as the long top of the fry & two sizes the width of the long side pieces.)

4.) Attach one end piece, then stuff the fry with poly-fil, wool stuffing, felt scraps, or whatever else you'd like. A pencil or stick might be helpful for shoving the stuffing way down in.

5.) Sew on the other end piece. If you want non-crinkle fries, you can stop here!

6.) This is the slightly tricky part. Thread yellow embroidery floss on to your needle and loop it around the fry, going underneath the thread at each seam but not into the felt.

7.) When your loop is back where it started, pull it really tight and quickly secure it (I used a small knot incorporating the seam I started from.) This is your first crinkle! Repeat this process 3-4 more times until you're happy with the number of crinkles.

8.) If you're making these fries for someone who still chews toys (or whose younger sibling does), I'd recommend sewing several fries together in little clumps to reduce the choking hazard. (We've all had fries stick together like this for real, so I don't think it ruins the realisticness at all.)

Voila! French fries.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Profile of a 1-year-old

21.5 lbs
28 inches tall

Walking since: June 5th
Vocabulary: about 35 words

Favorite food: bananas
Favorite animal: dog
Favorite animal noise: baa baa
Favorite color: blue
Favorite toy: any kind of ball
Favorite book: 100 First Words

Things I love:
  • Walking all by myself
  • Going outside
  • Saying "Hi" to people
  • The library
  • Little Einsteins
  • Being in the BabyBjorn
  • Bathtime

Things I don't love:
  • Diaper changes
  • Mommy driving
  • Staying inside
  • My stroller
  • Wearing clothes
  • Really loud noises


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

First Flower

My baby picked a flower for me today. It was a sort of pathetic looking clover, and he plucked it right of with most of its stem, looked at me with his big blue eyes and grinned, and held the flower out towards me. "Thank you baby" I said. "I'll keep it forever."

It is currently being pressed beneath a stack of Hubby's books. I think I'll make a bookmark out of it.

Good day.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Stay-At-Home-Mom: Carnival of Nursing in Public

Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public

This post was written for inclusion in the NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.

I would love to be breastfeeding and/or pregnant for pretty much the next 10-15 years of my life. Crazy? Maybe a little. But let me explain. My hubby comes from a family of 6, and his mom is one of 8 kids. His aunts have between 2 and 9 kids (the one with only 2 is the youngest and may have more!) Family gatherings at his grandparents' house are some of the most joyful events I've ever been exposed to, with kids running around, teenaged cousins watching sports together, engaged 20-somethings showing off their rings, middle aged aunts cooking and gushing about their grandkids and bragging about their honors students, and nursing mamas and their grinning babies. Seeing these happy large families has given me the confidence that I could successfully raise 6-8 kids if I'm able to have that many.

So for me, and for other mamas who want or already have large families, the issue of nursing in public seems even more pressing. I guess it's sort of like taking the concept to the logical extreme. Because the nursing phase of my life (hopefully) won't be over anytime soon. It will be a big chunk of my life. In fact, when my almost-year-old baby is a teenager, there's a good chance I'll be nursing a new baby.

Very few people in contemporary American society would argue against the proposition that women in general have the right to be in public places. Yet many of them do argue that nursing moms should just stay home until their babies are old enough/weaned enough that they don't need to nurse in public. I've seen this proposed in the comments on pretty much every news story I've read about a nursing mom being told to stop or leave the public place she was at. I've also heard it from relatives.

Which leads me back to my 10-15 year plan. If I have older kids and teenagers and nurslings at the same time, I can't live in some sort of babies-and-mommies-only-dreamworld. I will have to (and want to) be out in public, driving my kids to stuff and watching them compete and perform.

And you know, babies don't "choose" when they want to nurse. They get hungry and want to eat, or get frightened and want to nurse for comfort. Period. There isn't a thought process like there is for adults, or an understanding of time that allows babies to think "well, we're almost done here, so I'll just wait 15 minutes to nurse." At some point (although I'm not sure when) a nursling may be old enough to be asked to wait and to understand what that means enough to be willing to do it. But not for a long while. Anyway, if a nursing mama and her nursling are out in public for hours at a time, there's a good chance the little one will want to nurse at some point.

My question for people who say nursing mamas should stay home is this: if my current baby turns into a baseball player, and has a tournament, do I not have as much right as any other parent to go watch him play? And what if I do have a nursing baby-say 4 months old, old enough to be out and about, but young enough to be nursing exclusively and frequently? To argue that I should stay at home instead of being present at my older children's activities is an infringement of my rights as a parent, and my human right to go out in public.

Guess what? I'm not hiding in my house for the next 15 years so I can nurse my babies. I'm going to nurse my babies in front of their older siblings. And any of their friends who happen to be around. I'll try to use discretion, but I honestly don't think it damages kids psychologically to see mothers breastfeeding (which seems to be the implication of many people who argue that they don't want their kids to "see that"). I think it's probably good for them, if anything.

If you can make it work financially, I think being a stay-at-home mom is best for kids, which I believe is well-supported by social science data and anecdotal evidence. But to argue that moms actually have to literally stay in their homes? Absurd.

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.

Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.

This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alternative ABC's Review

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to review Alternative ABC's from AMMO Books, and here's what we thought.

What it is:
An alphabet board book featuring cool words and art from "alternative" lifestyles, like street and skate style, green living, and even yoga! All of the art in the book is from the 13th floor design firm, who’ve done work for everyone from Quiksilver and Oakley to Mattel and Disney.

Publication info:
Published by AMMO (American Modern) Books, a publisher specializing in provocative, one-of-a-kind books, especially on visual arts and pop culture.

First Impressions:
I was immediately impressed by the vivid colors and smooth artwork in the book. Baby seemed equally interested in the eye-catching pictures.

General Impressions:
The artwork in this book is awesome. It’s surprisingly sophisticated while still child-like and fun. There was never a page that I wondered why they chose the artwork they ended up with to match that particular word. And I love that each letter gets a full two-page spread, so there’s plenty of room to have great art and a nice big letter to help the kiddos learn them (it's easy to get so distracted admiring this book as a piece of artwork that you forget that the actual point it to teach kids letter-or maybe it's both?)

My biggest concern is that the unusual words might be confusing for babies. If you are still learning the words "shoe" and "car", throwing "k is for kicks" and "l is for lowrider" into the mix might not help matters. However, for a pre-schooler who already has basic words down, the hipster vocab may tickle their funny bone.

I think this book would be an especially fun shower present for a mama-to-be who isn’t the pastel-colored-baby-animals type, or of course for anyone who participates in, watches or talks about activities featured in the book but ignored by most pre-school literature, like dirt bike racing or yoga!


  • Unique art
  • Bold, colorful style
  • Includes words from many popular lifestyles typically ignored by pre-school literature


  • Unusual words may be confusing to babies

The bottom line:
These books are cool-looking and very unique. I would especially recommend them for kids who are bored with traditional alphabet books, and as shower gifts for alternative parents.

Buy it:
Alternative ABC's is available directly from AMMO for $14.95 or from most major book retailers.

*This review is my honest opinion of the product and exclusively mine. I received a free book to review, but did not receive any monetary compensation. Every baby is unique and your family may have a slightly different experience than the one I just described.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Morality & Breastfeeding in Public

    A recent comment from a relative that even with nursing clothes and discretion "just because you can [nurse in public] doesn't mean you should!" set me to thinking quite seriously about the morality of breastfeeding in public, and here's what I came up with:

    I believe based on the scientific research and anecdotal evidence I've seen that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies' mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Because of this, I think I have a moral duty to breastfeed.* And I believe other mothers do too, unless it would be an unreasonable hardship or otherwise impossible. I don't think mothers who can't breastfeed should feel bad or are doing anything immoral by formula feeding though, of course! Or say, a mother who has to take a medication for a serious condition that is not safe for breastfeeding babies and has to use formula- I definitely don't think that's immoral! I do think that if a mother is reasonably capable of breastfeeding safely, she has a moral duty to do so and provide her child with the best nutrition and comfort available. Anyway, there are a couple of other moral duties I've been thinking about with this too.

    One is that as a Christian, I think I have a moral duty to behave modestly. In life in general for me, this means not wearing low cut tops, not posting sexy pictures of myself on Facebook, and a myriad of other things. So how does this balance with the moral duty to breastfeed? I think I ought to breastfeed modestly. I don't think that breastfeeding is in any way obscene, but I do think that due to the oversexualization of our culture, many men would be prone to sexual thoughts if they saw exposed breast, and I don't want to elicit sexual thoughts in anyone other than Hubby!

    To help me nurse modestly, I got a few super-cute nursing tops from Motherwear that allow me to nurse without revealing any of my breast except maybe when Baby's first getting attached and when he's done. And I try not to flash anyone. Baby won't tolerate a blanket over his head, so I don't bother even trying that anymore. For other moms who can afford it, nursing tops, etc are great. But I certainly don't think any mom should feel she has to make expensive purchases to breastfeed. Simply exercising reasonable discretion with what she can afford is all I think is necessary. But even with that being said, Baby's needs come first, and if that means some breast is exposed to public view, I don't think that's bad at all!

    I also think the general population has a duty in regards to breastfeeding, and that is to mind their own business. I know that some people are creeps and might be trying to check me out. But beyond attempting to be modest in my feeding Baby, it's really not my problem. I cover up in hopes of not tempting anyone/causing anyone to sin by lusting after me, but I think that's as far as my role goes. My obligation to my baby comes before any obligation to the general public, including the obligation to modesty.

    This goes for church too as far as I'm concerned. While I try to nurse modestly and quietly so I'm not a distraction, I think it's ultimately the responsibility of the other people in attendance to ensure their own focus is on God and not on the people around them, including me and my nursling.

    What are your thoughts on the morality of nursing in public?

    *"Duty" tends to have a little bit of a negative connotation in some contexts, so I just wanted to state for the record that besides thinking that I should breastfeed, I also love breastfeeding my son, and while I consider it a duty, I certainly don't think of it as a chore!