Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hint

So here is a hint of what I'm working on now.

What do I need a
12"x18" piece of cushion foam...
2/3 yard of awesome retro 'Tourist' quilting cotton...
48" zipper...
13x19 piece of felt...
AND...Tons of felt scraps for?

The answer soon!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Old Blog, New Task

So If you've stopped by any time recently you recognize that something is different.
I've redesigned the whole blog.
I've chosen to move most of my personal posts to another private blog.
LEC will now be for crafting, sewing, DIY, and the business that is slowly taking shape.
I'm working on a few things and as soon as I can start posting about what I'm creating!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Boiling Cloth Diapers

Have you ever wondered if there was a different way to prep cloth diapers besides running your washer a half dozen times?

Well there is and it is easy to do!

I have only ever used a Laundry Mat while cloth diapering. First we lived in an apartment, with no washer or drier, only an onsite laundry mat. Now I live with my parents temporarily as my husband doesn't have a job yet though he graduated in May. Our lease ended the 31 of July, and we couldn't renew it as we may have to move out of state if hubby gets a job in another state, nor could we afford to pay nearly $800 a month for month to month with no money coming in. So We are at my parents till hubby gets a job.
Well my parents don't have a washer and drier either because they can't afford to buy them and their house didn't come with either. Soooo, we are still using a laundry mat every Tuesday(everything) and Friday (diapers again).

So since I can't afford the money to run new diapers through a laundry mat washer a half dozen times; I had to find another way to prep diapers.

So what kind of diapers need prepping, and why?

Any diapers made with natural fibers need prepping. Bamboo, Hemp, Cotton, if you use wool inserts those will need prepping. Microfiber, and pockets with only a stay dry inner only need to be washed once to be ready to use. I boil natural fibers even if they have a stay dry layer on top, I've never had issues.

WARNING!! Do NOT prep AIO or other diapers with natural fibers that have PUL that can't be removed. Boiling PUL will most likely ruin it. If you have an all natural fiber AIO or a babykicks etc you'll have to prep in the washer. Only use this for inserts, prefolds, doublers etc.

Prepping is basically the process of stripping the natural oils in the cloth. Cotton, hemp etc all have natural oils from the plants they are derived from, wool too has a thick oil that you've probably heard of...Lanolin coating it to make it weather proof. These oils prevent the cloth from soaking up liquids there for would make the diapers leak.
If your not sure if your diaper needs prepping, or think it might not be fully prepped there is a simple test. Run some gentle flowing warm water over your dry diaper if it soaks in immediately it is ready to use, if it balls up and rolls off it needs prepping. This is also a good way to see if you have detergent build up which can cause rashes, stink, and repelling.

Now for the How.

Get a large pot, I use a 7quart pot or a canning pot. Fill it with water making sure you have at least an inch between the top of the water and the rim as you have to add the diapers and you don't want it to boil over. add a couple drops of Dawn Original Dish Soap...yes in needs to be DAWN. Bring to a rolling boil.

Once your water is boiling add a few diapers. How many you add will depend on how big the pot is and how big the diapers are. You want the diapers to have freedom to move. Boil for 45min to an hour, adding water as necessary to make sure there is plenty, too little water could cause your diapers to stay on the bottom of the pan too long and scorch. Change the water and boil for another 45min to an hour. The remove allow to cool, ring out and wash with your next load of diapers.

Viola you have fully prepped diapers while saving water and money!!!

As always let me know if you have any questions or if I was unclear on anything! Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I want to...honestly!

I want to post...really I do!
I have so many great ideas, topics, and events.
But I have rather high standards for my posts, and when I've fallen short of those standards it bugs me and I either hide away, or I spend way to much time trying to make up for it in a very limited amount of time when I should be spending time with the boys, cleaning, etc. I need to just relax and let the posts happen.

Also I'm about to move so I'll post more soon...hopefully.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dairy-free No-Bake Lactation Cookies


Here is my recipe for Dairy-Free No-Bake Lactation Cookies

1 1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 C Coconut Oil
1/2 C full fat Coconut milk
1/2 C Peanut Butter...I prefer crunchy
1/2 C whole or ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C Shredded Coconut 
 3+ C oats (steal cut is supposed to be best, but what ever you use don't use quick oats, most of the nutrients )

I let my coconut milk sit in the fridge, open without shaking and take the thick cream off the top, underneath is coconut water which I don't use, this makes the cookies creamier.

Put the first 4 ingredients in a medium to large saucer, bring to a gentle simmer until the sugar is melted and no longer gritty.

Take off heat, add peanut butter, vanilla, flax seeds, and shredded coconut, one at a time. Then add oats, I like a LOT of oats so adjust according to your personal preference.

I cover a plate with wax paper and drop spoonfuls of batter on, when it is full I add another sheet of wax paper on top and keep dropping.

Either leave them out all night, or put them in the fridge. I prefer my chocolate to be cold, so I keep my in the fridge.

I have noticed a distinct increase in my milk supply when I started eating these on a semi regular basis. And they are SO Yummy!!!!

You can make these with milk and butter if you prefer, but they may not be as sweet, coconut milk and oil are naturally sweet so I had to lower the sugar by half a cup and compensate the dry to liquid ratio with the shredded coconut and flax seed. Work with it a little and you should make it work.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Potty Talk

I'm watching Cars 2 with Gabriel, we haven't seen it since it was in the theaters. Well we were watching the part where Mater goes to the bathroom. My husband mentioned how they were making fun of the new 'fancy shmancy' toilets in Japan. So I did some searching online because I'm a generally curious person and like to look things up when I'm interested. Here is a hilarious and informative article.


What do you think of these? Would you, if money weren't an issue, put one in your bathroom?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Non-traditional nursing cover tutorial, both sewing and no sew

I found something like this online and even though they are very affordable, they are still outside of my budget, so I decided to make one of my own. Here is where you can buy one...it is called a baby bond.
Disclaimer:This is my attempt at a diy cover similar to the baby bond nursing cover for those who can't afford the baby bond, or want a more customized fabric, the design, however, is patented by baby bond. Items created using this tutorial are to be for personal use only, not to be made for profit.

Yes it is made out of knit fabric but you don't have to be scared to sew with knit if you've never done so before, you don't need anything special just a bit of patience. I suggest snatching an old t-shirt from the rag bag and practice with tension and speed if you've never worked with knit before, then go at it! Here is a great post written by Dana from the Made blog, should give you some great tips and hopefully the courage to jump in to this great project!

Here is how I figured out how to make it myself.
Supplies:
Knit Fabric preferably with a high cotton or other natural fiber content.
Thread
Some kind of hand sewing needle or Sewing Machine, you don't need a serger, or a walking foot, or a ball point needle, those things are nice but unnecessary. Or you could try a really good fabric tac(glue) or seam witchery*, if you do let me know how it works.
Scissors
some way to measure, it doesn't have to be a measuring tape if you don't have one, a scarf or yarn would work.

Step 1) Find your fabric
I had some beautiful knit fabric lying around waiting to be made into something useful. But you don't have to buy new fabric, you could cut up a t-shirt, use an old moby that is starting to get too stretched out, etc. If you use new fabric wash it before cutting.


Step 2) Measure
I took a jersey knit scarf I had lying around and used that to measure. I actually made mine to big and I'm gonna have to go back and make it smaller.  Make sure that the fabric or measuring tape is firm against your body all around not sagging anywhere but also not stretched if your using a stretchy scarf or yarn to measure.
Measure from the outside of your right shoulder, over the nipple of the left breast under your left arm, around your back and up to the starting point. making sure the tape isn't so loose it is sagging.
I made my cover 10" wide but anywhere between 8" and 12" should be fine. If you have larger breasts you may want the width wider to cover as much skin as possible, if your an A or B you may feel swaddled if you make it too wide, so take that into consideration when choosing the width.


Step 4) Cut your fabric
If your fabric only stretches one way make sure it stretches along the length not the width of the band. If you are just using a t-shirt you can just cut 2 tubes from the body of the shirt in the right width and skip down to step #6 , Other wise cut 2 rectangles of fabric that is the length you measured and the width you chose, and one small rectangle, the strap, that is 1" longer then the width you chose and 2 inches wide (optional, look at step 7).




Step 5) Sewing
If you have a serger you can finish the edges if you wish but it isn't necessary, knit doesn't fray.
Take the first pannel and fold in half making a loop right sides together and sew across then turn right side out.
Take the other panel and with WRONG sides together sew the seam.
You now have 2 loops of fabric.




Step 6) More sewing
Put the loop with the seam on the right side of the fabric inside the circle of the fabric with the seem on the inside (wrong side like a normal seam). So that the seams are between the two loops. Lay the seams opposite directions and zigzag over the seam (click on picture below for a little more clearity).




Step 7) The strap
Take the small strip of fabric you cut turn in right sides together length wise and sew to make a tube, turn it right side out, tuck the last 1/4 to 1/2 inch inside on both sides, until it is the same length as the cover is wide place over the seam and tack it down at the ends on either side. This holds a burp cloth in place, but is totally optional.


*Fabric Glue/Seam Witchery option:If you don't have a sewing machine and don't want to hand sew you probably could use fabric glue, though, I haven't tried it myself here is what I'll be trying when I can attempt the glue method.
If your using fabric tac I suggest just using a t-shirt so you don't have to rely on the glue to hold seams (or you could use seam witch). Cut the body in 2 loops  in whatever width you want, don't cut the loops into panels just leave them, put one inside the other and put a line or 2 of fabric tac across it's width and press the loops together. Let dry and your done!
If your using seam witchery then follow the directions laying the strip across width wise between the two loops.



You are done!!! Enjoy nursing your baby anywhere, discretely, with eye to eye contact, able to see the latch is correct, and comfortably cool for both of you!





Sorry the action picture isn't good, Michael refused to cooperate after this picture.





If you are confused on any part of this just leave a comment and I'll try to clear it up for you!

Disclaimer:This is my attempt at a diy cover similar to the baby bond nursing cover for those who can't afford the baby bond, or want a more customized fabric, the design, however, is patented by baby bond. Items created using this tutorial are to be for personal use only, not to be made for profit.




Saturday, May 12, 2012

Natural, Toxin Free Periods + Tutorial

I know this can be a delicate and embarrassing topic for some which is why I'm posting it after the April A-Z Challenge.

Just before I restarted my period after giving birth, I started seeing posts all over the internet about disposable pads and tampons, and the problems they cause because of the chemicals in them. It answered a lot of questions I didn't even realize I was asking.
Why am I always getting a rash when I don't use a tampon?
Why am I always dry and uncomfortable when I do use a tampon?
I had to choose which was the better of two evils, not even knowing there were other options.

The other options:
The extreme option - hystorectomy, will end periods forever no need for any of the above or below products...I don't advise it except for medical reasons. But my humor is such that I couldn't resist adding it.
Less extreme options:
Menstrual cup - like the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Mooncup, etc. I primarily use the Diva cup with back up mama cloth and LOVE it!!! There is a bit of a learning curve but so worth it, it lasts from 1 year (suggested time to replace) to 10(from a couple of women whose posts I've read). They are sized in 2 sizes, one for women under 30 and who have never given birth, and two for women who are over 30 or have given birth. Each one is created different so if the one you buy never fits comforting don't give menstrual cups up as a lost cause, research some more and find a different one that fits more comfortably.

Cloth Tampons - These are good, I've used a few and they work good. They are much more comfortable the disposables but the menstrual cup is much more comfortable still. Here is an etsy shop where you can buy them, or you can make them yourself.
Knit Tampons
Sewn Tampons

Cloth Pads - I love these, I use them as back up for the menstrual cup, I also used them after my postpartum bleeding was through, 5 weeks postpartum, before the numbness was completely gone and my bladder issues resolved at 9 weeks postpartum, I hadn't time to make any before giving birth and I had a large stash of disposables that I needed to finish. So I made them when I had time that first month. This is the pattern I used. Here are a few places to buy ready made pads if you have the inclination and money:
Domino Pads
Moocowmomma Postpartum/Overnight Pads 
PoshPads - Panty Liners
Pixadoodles - Moon-thly Pantyliners
Lunapads
This next set of links is from the WAHM section in www.diaperswappers.com. you do have to be a member to buy but it is free and easy so don't let that stop you from buying from these great mamas!!
Tree Hugger Mama Cloth
Mother Moon Pads
The Naked Pomegranate
GEM Cloth
Willow Pads

However, Not everyone has the means to buy ready made pads, and neither do they have a sewing machine and the skills to sew a strait seem if they did. If you fall in this category the rest of this post is for you.

I was thinking about women who are struggling so much with the economy so bad and the difficulty finding any money even for necessities. So this is what I came up with as I was unsuccessfully trying to go to sleep.


Supplies needed:

Fleece, you can cut up an old fleece jacket either from your closet or acquired from a yard sale/Goodwill. Also you can find fleece in the 'end of bolt'/clearance bin in any fabric store for about 50% off.
Wash Clothes,  Again from your own linen closet if you have an abundance, or from yard sales, goodwill, most department stores have 8-12 packs for under $10 that would work perfectly. If you happen to be cloth diapering your child and have them, I often use newborn prefolds for night time, or extra boosters/inserts (not microfiber unless it is topped with something else) then they would work perfectly as the 'soaker' layer.
Needle and 100% polyester thread, no cotton as it could wick blood through and get it on what your wearing where polyester won't.
Or Fabric Tac Glue.
Scissors
Favorite disposable pad in the sizes you wear. I'm using a long regular and a panty liner here.


Unless your using snaps or velcro to secure your wings I would either fold the wings under or cut them off, as I'll be using different wings.

Lay them on your fleece, and cut out as many as you want/need, We are using these as waterproof liners and you will be able to change out the soaker layer leaving the fleece in place until it is to damp to protect anymore. So you won't need as many as you will soakers. I would suggest 2 over nights (however many nights you plan on going before you wash your pads) and 3-4 day time if you have enough fleece, don't forget to leave enough for the wings and the straps on top to keep soaker in place. 

I cut the straps about 3/4" wide and as long as the pad is wide where you plan on placing it.
I made the wings the same width and long enough to tie underneath, to show you one option, another option is no wings fleece doesn't slide, or snaps most craft stores have snap pliers, Velcro either sew on or glued. you could even use buttons.



I sewed one and glued the other.

I hand sewed the smaller with 100% polyester thread and glued the larger.

Simply tri - fold or fold in quarters and secure understraps and you have a cheep and natural mama cloth solution. You can also fold then sew the washcloths into a pad so you don't have to worry about folding them later, but it will also take a little more time and effort to get them clean and dry then leaving them a single layer. for over night/postpartum you could use 2 cloths or even 3 if your flow is heavy enough to warrant it.
You might want to make sure that your panty liner is as long as your wash cloth, I had to fold down my cloth and then trifold to get it to fit which made it bulky and a little uncomfortable.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It is coming slowly

I'm working on a new blog post, don't worry I haven't forgotten you, but things have been hectic, helping my parents move from next door to over 100 miles away. And we are about to start packing ourselves, so I'm trying to fit in a tutorial on how to start mama cloth with almost no money, like literally I think this could be done with $12. But I need to go to walmart and check the prices before I can be certain.
I have not forgotten you!!! Good night!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Z - Zoo

We have seen a lot of our zoo and we are so sad that our membership is expiring and we can't afford to renew it right now.
I went twice the week before I had Michael, and about 5-6 times the summer after starting when Michael was barely 3 weeks old.


We love the zoo!
 I pray we soon find the money to buy our membership!

Y - Yarn

My adventures in yarn actually started when I was about 7. A local homeschool coalition used to meet and one of the classes offered was crochet. I loved it!
I made a doll blanket then lost interest, I married and that Christmas crocheted my dad a scarf.
I then decided to learn to knit, and fell in love!
I've since knit, A sock, 2 hats, a scarf, I'm about 1/2 done with a purse, I've knit 3 soakers, 2 neclaces, and some slippers.
I only have pictures of 2 things.





I'm wanting to finish the bag and make M a soaker.

Knitting and Crocheting are honestly 2 of the cheapest and most rewarding crafts out there!

X - X - Rated...books?

I have always said that we should have some type of  rating system for books as we do movies. After all editors etc read them through and should be able to rate them simultaneously.

The issue is I was far above my reading level, teen books were usually about romance or magic which my mom forbade until I was around 16. So I struggled finding any books I could read that were published after 1900, and were in any way interesting.
I was so afraid to check out a new book because I would get into the story then start seeing the story take a turn my mom would frown on and I felt uncomfortable reading so I had to put down a book I enjoyed.
I wanted a rating system so I could look for a book that was at my reading level but also had content my mother would approve and I would feel comfortable reading.

 I'm not sure how it would be done, but it is a wish I've always possessed.

What about you?

W - Wool

I LOVE wool cloth diapers covers also known as wool soakers.
I knit 2 for Michael.

Michael sporting his newborn knit soaker
They have wonderful antimicrobial properties. They are wonderfully airy and help prevent rashes, esp heat rashes in the summer.
When wool is properly lanolized it can absorb up to 40% of its weight in moisture before it wicks "leaks" onto other fabrics. It lets you know sooner when baby has peed, so you can quickly change their diaper. All you have to do is lay it aside and let dry. You only have to wash and lanolize once every week or two (when it starts leaking sooner then it was, or when it smells like urine even after drying), or when poop gets on it.
In the winter you can put your little one in wool longies, basically wool pants, to keep legs warm. There are even some wool full outfits, properly cared for and gently lanolized and wool stays soft and doesn't become scratchy.
Here is a great resource on caring for and using wool soakers; go to the bottom of the page, there are links to articles and videos on wool benefits and care.
Here  is a list of shops that sell wool.

Here are a few posts on how to make your own wool for CHEEP...and no you don't need a sewing machine, just a needle and some yarn or thread.
Dream a lil' Dream
The Sewing Dork
Bright Hub
Vintage Childhood
The Byron Life

For Knitters/crocheters, though honestly any pants or shorts patterns would work if done in a tight enough stitch with wool. As some have pointed out in the past, just as you can use fleece, with a tight
Karen's Cloth Diapering Site
Tiny Birds Organic Merino Wool Longies Pattern Kit
Free Tiny Birds Shorties
Newborn Diaper Cover
Newborn Diaper Cover Onsie
Aubrey Doodle Pants
Soaker
Gabey Baby Diaper Cover
Little Fire Crochet Soaker & Skirty Pattern
Punk Knitters Soaker Pattern
Pimp My Longies
The Curly Purly Soaker Pattern

For those allergic to lambs wool there are other alternatives alpaca, merino, cashmere, angora. Or if wool isn't an option at all fleece is similar.

Katrina's soaker pattern  This pattern is amazing for wool or fleece!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

V - Vaccines

Vaccines are a hot and heavy debate topic in the mom-o-sphere.
There are great points on all sides of the topic.
What is mine?
Mine is do the research, know what is in the vaccine and exactly how they work, know the side affects.
Know the diseases, the symptoms, the progression, the treatments and the % of the likely hood of survival, the mild to severe long term problems caused by the disease.
THEN and only then decide whether or not to vaccinate.

Here is a site with a list of the vaccines and the diseases they are meant to prevent.

I also read Informed Parenting, Danielle Arnold-McKenny talks quite a bit about Vaccines...though I will warn you she is very anti-Vaccine.

Peaceful Parenting Blog has some great article and resources, including their Vaccine book list.

My personal beliefs I've yet to decide wholly, but I'm in the middle of doing my own research.

Have you researched Vaccines? if so what are your conclusions?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

U - U

U know I don't know what to write under U. So I decided to see how many words I could think of without a dictionary that start with U.

So here we go.

Undertaker
Utter
Udder
Under
Umbrella
Use
Us
Usurp
User
Understand
Underhanded
Undone
Undertake
Ukraine
United
Unit
Unite
Unhook
Unsnap
Undulate
Umber
Underestimate
Ultimate
Ultra
Upstart
Up
Upper
Usual
Usually
Unusual


T - potty Training

When I started researching cloth diapers while pregnant with Michael I found references to EC or elimination communication, also known as infant potty learning and infant hygiene.
I wasn't sure what it was and really wasn't that interested until Michael was about 3 months old. What I discovered is this, EC is NOT train your child to the potty as an infant.
EC is the understanding that babies are born knowing how to control their sphincter muscles  and can hold their pee and poop for a short time. Babies are born with the instinct to NOT pee or poop all over themselves. They try to communicate their need to pee and poop, and depend on us to take them to the appropriate place to relieve themselves.
By putting our babies in diapers we train them over months to ignore their bodies signal of the need to pee or poop and just go, then months later try to reverse the processes and retrain them to do what they were born able to do. 
In some countries this is the only way to potty and infant, only the super rich have diapers, and some of them have nannies to potty their children for them.

There are several books out there if you want to know more.
The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative By Christine Gross-Loh

Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living By Laurie Boucke

and a blog The Diaper Free baby

Monday, April 23, 2012

Q, R, S, - Quilting, Running, Sewing

Sorry I've been out, DDG was brutal. But still awesome! I'll try to catch up!

Q - Quilting
My Grandmother is a quilter, she has made all of her Grandkids a twin quilt for High School Graduation, and all of her Great Grandkids a baby quilt. I have made multiple baby quilts and am in the middle of the tedious job of Cutting out a king quilt for my aunt...I'm enjoying it but having difficulty finding time at the moment. I do have most of it cut out though. It is going to be in a pattern we came up with on our own, simple but pretty.
Here is a simple template of the design; the 'bricks' will be more random then shown. It is suppose to say "A Families Love Is Natures Masterpiece"

   I'm looking forward to digging in and getting it done!

R - Running
  I started running when Michael was 8 weeks old, and I LOVE it! I had to stop over the winter as there was hardly a day where someone wasn't sick. I started running a little here and there back during the warm snap in march, it has cooled off and my lack of cool/cold weather gear has kept me in my bed, though I should probably get out anyway. Perhaps through on a hoodie I have but I guess I've allowed myself to become lazy. I need to dig deep and pull out my determination and go RUN!

S - Sewing
   I started sewing when I was pregnant with Gabriel. I didn't like any nursery set that cost under $400 and I wasn't gonna spend that much. Plus I wanted a unisex (we weren't gonna find out the sex until birth) bright blue (one of my favorite colors) room, and that is nearly impossible to find without making it yourself. So that is what I did, I found the fabric I liked at Walmart for a great price, and went at it with the help of a friend.
I did poorly and ended up only using the diaper organizer. But it put my foot in the door, I've sewn cloth diapers, cloth tampons, cloth menstrual pads, clothes, I'm currently working on altering a dress of mine to be nursing friendly, I'm gonna be appliqueing some of my son's shirts, it is cheaper to buy plain T's and decorate them with scraps then buy some of the fancy T's out there. I've sewn purses though not well, I've made quilts, I plan to make much more, I have so many idea's bouncing around my head it is crazy, I'll never have time to sew them all...in fact I've thought about just posting my ideas on here hoping someone else will have the time to implement them.

T - I'm gonna combine T and U tomorrow and I'll be caught up!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P - Post Duck Duck Goose

Wow I am sooooo exhuasted!
I was up late (*cough* 3am *cough*), and Gabriel woke us up early at 7:30 am...for a grand total of 4 1/2 hours sleep.
I took William to school stopped by Starbucks and got myself a Venti Cafe Latte, a DDG tradition for me, and made it to DDG by 10:45, 15 minutes before the doors opened. The wait was short, esp since I got to meet up with a mom I worked DDG shifts with last year and we were able to catch up a bit.

I finally made it inside, and went strait for strollers and car seats, I didn't find a Gracco Nautilus but I found a double jogging stroller!

I was a bit disappointed at the CD selection, I mean it was great for anyone needing smalls or mediums but NO larges. I did find a swim diaper for Michael though.

The deals there are Amazing!!!!

I spent $299 on:

A double jogging stroller $60, Estimated Retail Value $200
Swim Diaper $3, Estimated retail Value $12
Melissa and Doug wooden Pizza set $16, Retail Value $20
Gallon Bag of crayons for crayon art $1, Estimated Retail Value, $30
25 Twisty Mini Crayons $1, Estimated Retail Value $20
All Gabriel's summer wardrobe $91 Estimated Retail Value, $225
    Best Deal: Excellent Used Condition - EUC Pixar Cars swim trunks $1, Estimated Retail Value, $20
All of Michael's summer wardrobe $63, Estimated Value, $185
Play Doh Fun Factory $4...retail price $22 - $30 depending on where you get it.
Play Doh Spaghetti Factory$4 Retail value $15 - $13
2 nursing cami's $8 together, usually $15 - $25 a piece
The Idiots Guide to Baby Sign Language $4, retail $15
Car's lunch bag $1, retail value$12
Veggie Tales party supplies, $1, retail value estimated is $15
Hot wheels plate and 2 cups, $1, Retail Value Estimated is $12
Crazy Monster plate, $2, retail value estimate is $8
Baby Bjdorn potty $5, Retail value $60!
Click Start my first computer, game cartridge, $3, Usually retails for $20
Veggie Tales Larry Boy and the Bad Apple, $3, usually retails for $20
I spy DVD, $3, Retail Value Estimated $20
2 Baby Gates $8 together, Similar ones I looked at on the internet were $32
Road Play Rug, $1, retail for a very similar rug is $15
Mini Kitchen, $4, I think it is the same one I saw at Walmart during Christmas for $30
Water ring sling for $14, When looking around the internet I didn't find any under $40

Retail - $1,081.00!
A savings of $782.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW!!!!

This is why I shop consignment!!!!!

O - Organizing For Duck Duck Goose Shopping!

Well tomorrow, Wednesday, is Duck Duck Goose's Early Sale for consignors, workers, and first time moms.
From the first time I shopped at DDG, during the spring of 2008, I've shopped for everything my boy(s) would need to remain clothed until the next DDG sale. With just Gabriel that was about $85 for just clothes in the beginning, and as he grew every year it increased by $10 people would charge more for larger sized even though they cost the same most places. But anyway, Go hear to read my past experiences with DDG...today I'm writing about how I organize myself before a huge consignment shopping trip.
*Understand my list is geared to the fact we only use a laundry mat and can't wash more then 1x every week to 10 days because of money so our laundry has to last all that time.

A) List...
I make a huge detailed list...here is my list for tomorrow:

Gabriel:
   1) Shirts - small, 5/6
  • 2-3 button-ups
  • 2-3 nice T's
  • 10 play T's a few hooded as G loves hoods
  • 2 swim shirts
   2) Shorts - 5
  • 1-2 plaid
  • 1 nice jeans
  • 1 nice khaki
  • 10 play (mixed kinds)
  • 1 swim trunk
   3) Pajamas - small 5/6, 5-6 pairs

   4)  Shoes - 13, (This is the most flexible category, I rarely find everything I need and I'm ok if I find nothing, boys are exceedingly hard on shoes)
  • 1 nice closed toed shoes (brown loafer type)
  • 1 play closed toes shoes (tennis shoes)
  • 1 nice sandals tan
  • 1 play sandal
  • 1 water shoes
   5)  Under wear...Gabriel doesn't need any this year but I usually buy them here, he had grown out of his a month ago so we couldn't wait.

   6) Hats (Very passionate about sun protection and hats are an important part of that)
  • Sun hats
  • ball caps
Michael:
   1) Shirts - 24m/2T
  • 2 button ups
  • 2-3 nice T's
  • 10 play
  • 2 swim
   2) Shorts - 24m/2T
  • 2 Khaki
  • 1 Jean
  • 2-5 play (he will be in a diaper and t-shirt most of the summer, not concerned about him having a lot of play shorts except for outside play time to protect his diapers)
   3) Pajamas - 24/2T, 5-6 pairs

   4) Shoes - ?
  • Soft soled shoes to protect his feet while walking out side
   5) Diapers,Trainers - Consignment sales are a wonderful place to find cloth or even disposable diapers for cheep. A lot of people take what disposable diapers they have left over after their baby out grew that size and sell them at DDG. I'm looking for both diapers and trainers this year.

   6) Hats
  • 2-3 Floppy sun hat
  • 2-3 ball caps
 Gear
  • I have to decide between a double jogging stroller to get the boys out with me while I run so I don't have to run around Williams schedule, and a Gracco Nautilus that I've been wanting for Gabriel, Strollers and car seats are the quickest to go, this is the first section I go to if I need one or the other.
Potty seat, Thinking about getting a baby bjorn to help EC Michael this summer.

Toys
  • Lego's for Gabriel
  • Wooden toys for Michael
Nursing Clothes 
  • 1-3 Nursing shirts/cami's 
Safety Gear
  • Safety Gate
  • Cabinet locks

After I finish my list I get my gear ready.
I need a 'shopping cart' I use a rolling laundry basket similar to this one

 Only mine is short and squat, you have to bend over to pull it properly so I tie a belt to the handle:

I will wear Michael on my back in my Mei Tie...Which I STILL don't have a picture of!

I pack a small compact bag with diapers, another with snacks, apple, dried blueberries, chick peas, YUM! Hypoglycemia doesn't allow me to go long without a snack. I put my maawwvelous Lucky Duck pass in my pocket and I'm ready to go!!!

Another wonderful thing available is Duck out of line for $10, You get a basket to store your items and when you pay someone stands in line for you while you shop, the line can get up to a 3 hour wait VERY fast within the first 1/2 hour. This is a great option that I took advantage of before I could
volunteer the required 4 shifts for a Lucky Duck Pass.

Good night all!! I have a big day tomorrow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

N - adventures in Nursing wear

I skipped M, my family needed me this weekend and they come before any blog, so I'm starting anew with N.
Nursing wear...some say its vital to nursing easily and discretely in public; others say it is an unnecessary luxury.
I say they are vital...mostly because William refuses to let me nurse in public without some type of cover. I use discrete nursing wear with a prefold/flat diaper to cover the 'top' of my breast and just in case Michael pops of at an inopportune time I have a quick cover. This works as Michael doesn't fight it like he does a 'canopy' cover.
Hooter Hidders


While finding the above picture I found a cover I just might make myself...The baby bond cover. It works a lot like many nursing shirts, one panel above the nipple one below you can pull them close enough together to cover all skin except what the baby suckles. An amazing idea...if made right you could wear it as a cowl scarf until needed if you don't want to take it on and off.



However for the most part I simply LOVE nursing shirts and dresses! Here are a few favorites and a few not so much and why.



   This is one of my favorites made by MILK, It is a 2 layered shirred bust, pull up the bottom of the shirred and the second layer is a bra which you pull down, so baby has easy access to mommy milk. The have dresses that are designed just like this only the skirt below the empire waist is much longer.
   I also have regular black shirred dress that I wear a black nursing cami under that I wear all the time it works great!

Here is another dress by MILK, one that my hubby bought for me and I love, well to tell the truth it is a nursing night gown but we didn't realize that at first and I still loved it so I wear it as a dress. 


 Only mine is a pretty bright spring purple...I love this dress, it is made out of silky bamboo and is so soft!


My staples though are nursing cami's, you can wear them under other shirts and either unbutton, or pull up the top shirt and still be modestly covered. They usually come in white, black, and tan, some come in other colors as well.

If you've nursed did you use a nursing bra, cami, shirt, and/or dress. Did it make it easier to nurse or did it not make enough of a difference to break out the cash?

Friday, April 13, 2012

L - Love it or Like it...why the difference is important

I love Jesus!
I love William!
I love Gabriel!
I love Michael!
I love my extended family (far to many to name, nor do I feel comfortable listing them without their permission)!

I need Jesus!
I need Water!
I need food!
I need warmth!
I need Shelter!

I like chocolate!
I like a large living space!
I like electricity!
I like movies!
I like books!
I like cars!
I like soda!
I like video games!
I like the internet!
I like computers!
I like resturaunts!
I like gas/electric stoves!
I like climate controlled living space!
I like cell phones!
I like, I like, I like
  
There is a difference between what you like, what you love, and what you need.
What you need you will die without, without shelter the elements  can kill, without water you die, without food you die, without warmth you die...life or death proves need.
Love are things that would hurt to loose, you'll never truely get over it but it is possible to live on, a long and happy life. Family, friends.
Like are things that make your life better but you wouldn't look at twice if your house was burning over your head.

I'm so tired of kids these days thinking that like and love are interchangeable. There is a distinction for a reason!
Just like the word Aquaintance needs to be brought back into daily vocabulary. My friends I trust, my acquaintance's I enjoy, hang out with, and talk to but intimate details of my life are not a part of it. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K - Keen

As in I'm Keen to get my Duck Duck Goose stuff tagged and hung and ready to be taken to the sale!!!!
I can't believe I've procrastinated so long...actually I can, I do this every season! Drop-off is Saturday! So I'm sorry for such a pitiful post, but I'm off to pull an almost all nighter...ugh!

Check out my favorite Christian Author Karen Kingsbury!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J - Justice; or rather the lack of it

True justice is hard to find now days.
 We talk about having the punishment of our children fit their misdeed, yet we don't carry out that philosophy within our justice system.
Criminals are placed in prisons.

Prisons are just one grand school for criminal learning from the best. It is an excellent boarding school, with a wonderful full ride scholarship. All it takes to win the scholarship to the grand Penile System Boarding School is...commit a criminal act. Viola your in! Welcome to the best criminal school around, tuition paid in full by the wonderful people you victimized.
On top of your classes, you have climate controlled rooms, access to television and other forms of entertainment, hot meals 3 times a day with the possibilities of snacks and treats. If you wish for other forms of education those are also paid for in full*.
Anyone else think our system is a joke?


 *Disclaimer: I have no problem with giving prisoners a good education, I know many are in prison because they weren't given much in the way of options to protect them selves and families and provide needs without resorting to crime. Giving them needed education so they can earn a proper living and leave the criminal world is important. Many however cannot or will not and their multiple trips to the boarding school called prison puts hardship only on the victims of these criminals, i.e. the hard working law abiding citizen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I - Iron

I hate ironing.

Oh...well, I guess I should make the post longer...hehe.

I remember spending hours every week ironing my dad's work shirts...I hate ironing...my mom doesn't, so I never understood why I had to do it when it is a chore she actually enjoys.

My mom spends a couple hours on laundry day ironing...I'd rather wait and Iron what I need when/if I need it. Saves me time I could better spend sewing...reading to my boys...napping...looking off in a daze, daydreaming about sewing while taking a nap and reading to the boys all at once. Oh how I wish we grew out of needing sleep in adult hood, kids sleep so we have half the day to do what we can't do while they are awake...stupid, lucky, Twilight Vampires.

Do you love ironing or hate it? Do you specifically choose NOT to buy a piece of clothing you like because you don't want to have to iron it? Or do you use my hubby's trick of throwing the article of clothing and a damp rag in the drier for a quick steam wrinkle treatment? We had to stop using that when we moved to an apartment with no washer/dryer hook-up and have to pay-per-load.

Wow, I think this is a record short post! Go me!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

H - Homeschooling

I was homeschooled by my mom since kindergarten, my brother since preschool. It was an amazing experience. I loved school most of the time, it was hard, it was exciting.
My mother was always praised as the ideal homeschool mom. I am so grateful to her! So I suppose this is dedicated to my mother...Joy...
 
    She worked so hard giving us a great education! I remember her spending hours and hours researching and putting together plans and schedules. She had a lot of opposition, her whole family told her she would ruin my brother and I and we wouldn't be able to get into a collage get a job outside of the fast food industry, they were exceedingly cruel to her until dad told them to shut up or they would have no contact from us again. My dad's family were against it because they were worried about us but after a while they realized how wonderfully mom was doing, how AJ and I were able to carry on a normal conversation with adults, even debate a well thought out point at 6-7 years old (I held a conversation on the age of accountability/when a child is able to be truely saved at 8 years old with an adult, I gave him something to think about too =P). Mom persevered and we learned, a lot.
    We learned world history, geography, about different cultures, read literature, listened to music, etc all at the same time from the same location, we learned about the ancient Egyptians in all those categories (except perhaps the music) at one time, they were all coordinated, we finished up with some current history and learned about archeology.
   When I became interested in anything human body and medical, she got me a biology book that focused wholly on the human body, medical history (loved medical history), I read biographies on doctors, nurses, scientists that contributed to our medical knowledge today.
   We spent time learning about church history and the horrific crusade wars and the crimes so many crusaders committed believing they were doing right because they were told they were.
   We spent time learning about current scientific beliefs on evolution etc, and though we don't believe it we thought it important to know so we know why we believe the way we do and how to defend our beliefs to those who try the scientific route to dissuade us. 
   The joy of homeschooling is you can focus every part of homeschooling on one particular subject, and the child gets the whole knowledge of the subject at once, rather then in bits and pieces.
   It wasn't always great though...I struggled with algebra...who doesn't most say. Mom took an entire year and a good bit of money finding me an algebra curriculum that I understood, once she did I flew through it and LOVED algebra! I couldn't wait to get started most days, I sometimes did extra just because. I did struggled with it at times, but when I got it I got it!
   I took Classical Latin, we used The Latin Road To English Grammer, it was AWESOME!!! I Loved Latin! I tend to save my favorites for last and to my least favorite first so I have something for which to strive, I always saved Latin for last. Unless we had to go somewhere and I needed to save the easy to take schoolwork for last to bring with, like literature reading.
   Most of all though homeschooling gave me a love of learning, and the knowledge of how to teach myself what I need/want to know. To question everything, to never believe the first version I hear, to research all sides then come to my own conclusions. This has helped me wade the trecherous waters of Christian Legalism, and other radical or overly lax views of the bible and Christianity and come out the other side mostly whole.

I have so much to thank mom for...a love of the classics, the ability to learn, a love of writing and a continuing love of learning. An understanding of the need for consistancy, though she had strong scheduals and I'm not that kind of person, I'm more of a where the wind takes me kind of person as my irratic A-Z challenge topic choices show, some schedualling is important and I've learned how through her when I need to have some kind of schedual.
    I think what I have most to thank mom about is my wonderful relationship with my brother and her. Homeschooling, depending on my brother as a friend and play mate a large portion of the week deepened our friendship in a way I only saw in other homeschoolers, never in friends who went to public school. I mean my brother and I weren't denide socializing (I hate that word), did we spend 8 hours a day with kids our own age who were just as ignorant as we were? No, we spent our day interacting with people of all ages and learned how to spend the day playing with kids half our age, or sitting quiet and enjoying a visit with adults equally, not just kids my age. To many kids don't have this skill because they spend 90% of their time with people their own age for 12 of the most influental years of their life. And it continues even in adulthood to an extent. We may not be segregated by race anymore, but I wonder if this segragation by age isn't just as dangerous...kids learning about sex (and many, many other things just about as important) not by people who have had a wonderful and meaningful long term relationship but rather by kids just as ignorant as them, or learned in a very twisted way. To many don't even have the relationship with a parent to talk to them about it. So sad.
   Homeschooling if properly used, can give amazing opportunities to teach children to play, enjoy, cultivate relationships with people of All ages, and seasons of life, which would help so many of the problems we have with children today.

Because of mom I have the confidance to homeschool my boys, and I am looking forward to them having just as wonderful an experience as I did!

Were you homeschooled or knew anyone who was? Have you ever considered homeschooling your children? Why or why not...please be civil, any bashing will be deleted with no further acknowledgement.

Thoughts on the end of week 1 of A-Z

Well I made it through the first week of the April A to Z Challenge alive and kicking!! This has been a great experience for me! It has been helping me think of different posts I want to do, what I want to research so I can share the info and help educate others.I want to do more sewing so I can give ideas, encouragement, help, tutorials, etc to other sewers and aspiring sewers!
Share what I've learned in the bible, in my relationships with Jesus and people, of mothering my boys, of marriage particularly of being married to my husband.
There is so much bursting from me to write about I need to slow down and take it a little at a time, rather then just give up and not write, which is what I was doing for a while, and what this challenge has helped me to change.

So here is to Hoping the Challenge teaches me how to slow down and take one post and one topic at a time and not just throw in the towel because of all I wish to, need to, want to write is running over out of my mind and heart at the same time!

How has your first week of the Challenge helped you and your blogging? What do you hope is the end result of the Challenge?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G - Gabriel's Birth Story

Don't worry, this won't be the in depth story that I'll post later for the ladies who enjoy reading the nitty and gritty details, just a general story most people should feel comfortable reading.

I was so anxious for Gabriel to be born that I was hoping he would come a little early, but I was in no way willing to induce any time before 42weeks without solid medical reasons. I believe that estimated due dates are exactly that estimated and shouldn't be considered the be all end all. Here is a good post as to why I feel this way.

Though he didn't come early he came much earlier then I thought.

September 13, 2007 Due Date
11:50 pm, head to bed a little disappointed after a day of no signs of labor. We had stayed up to watch a movie as I honestly thought I had at least another week. William had the next 3 days off after 12 days in a row of 12 hour shifts we both were ready for some quality time together. He was ready for some rest.

September 14, 2007
1:58 am I get up for the first of many nightly trips to the bathroom, panties were a little wet but as my bladder was overfull I didn't think anything of it. I tended to my business, changed and lay back down to sleep.
2:04 My eye pop open, that was a contraction, I had had very few Braxton hick (practice contractions that can start as early as 25 weeks) but I could tell this one was different. Not painful, but almost had a purposeful feeling unlike the Braxton hicks.
I was suddenly very excited, I was positive I was in labor, but I was so afraid to be disappointed I barely let myself think it before pushing it aside, 2 minutes later another, and I got up knowing I wouldn't sleep until I was certain that it wasn't labor. I finished packing the last few things just in case so I wouldn't have to later when I was working through contractions, turns out I forgot extra underwear and socks. i had one barely noticeable contraction when I was almost done. Afterwards I read my bible for about 25 minutes no contractions.
I remember while reading my bible thinking about how I was feeling possibly being in labor, I was excited, anxious, but afraid. millions even billions of women have given birth over the centuries, that is all great and good, but I wasn't millions or billions of women, this was me, about to deliver either in the next few hours or weeks if this was false labor. Fear is normal. But I refused to let the fear rule, I could do this, what ever happened the Lord was in control and it was for the good of all. So I relaxed and waited for baby.
2:40 I go back to bed tired and a little disappointed.
2:55 another contraction much harder then the last one nearly an hour before, 6 minutes later another, even harder and more painful. I was surprised at how quickly it was escalating. I decided to get in the bath and soak. I shook William and told him I thought I was in labor and I was going to bath, he murmured but didn't really wake up.
3:10 the bath is finally full enough for me to get in, after only one contraction in the water, I knew that being in my small bathtub wasn't helping I needed more room in spite of how much I wanted the water.
3:15 I got out and laid down again, after 2 contractions only 4 minutes apart I woke William, they were getting painful and I had to vocalize through that last one a little bit. It took a minute for him to wake up enough to hear what I was saying. When he did he jumped up and dressed barely able to see or hold his eyes open. He went to get a Mountain Dew to help wake him up and I got back into the bath, I really wanted that water even though my tub was a bit cramped. I was vocalizing through them and William came in worried that I was already vocalizing. After a few more contractions William called.
3:40 It took the midwife about 10 minutes to call back but when she did she talked to me only a moment listened while I went through a contraction and told us to come.
4:20 It took William a while to get the car loaded because he had to stop and help me through each contraction so we finally got started. He had called my parents after he got off the phone with the Midwife and they were gonna head out in an hour after stopping for breakfast.
5:35 The nearly 40 minute drive took an hour because I kept telling him to slow down...as the bumps and deep curves made the contractions worse. I was excited to find out I was already 6cm's going along fast.
When we got to the room I laid down on the queen sized bed and didn't move except to use the restroom a few times over the next few hours.
9:00 I felt the need to push.
9:40 Gabriel was born, 9lbs, 15oz, 20", 14" head and chest.

I love birth stories. Your welcome to post your own or link to your birth story if you wish!

Friday, April 6, 2012

F - I love Fantasy!!!!! Oh and Scifi too!

I love fantasy and scifi books and movies! So I figured F would be all about fantasy, I was thinking of making S all about scifi, but I love sewing too much so I squeezed it in here!

I have an imagination, I love to read, watch movies and shows, come up with stories in my head, etc. I would love to one day write a fantasy or scifi novel, in fact that is one reason I started this blog, to get into the habit of writing, and give my self a chance to practice. So here is a list of my favorite Fantasy books/movies/tv shows.

Fantasy:
Stand alone books:
Warbreaker By Brandon Sanderson
Elantris By Brandon Sanderson
Host By Stephanie Meyer 
Dinotopia


Book Series:
Wheel of Time by Robert Jordon, with help of Brandon Sanderson on the last few books, Robert Jordon Died before the series was finished, but he had everything planned and written in a time line, with the help of his wife and some friends he spent his last days making sure whoever was chosen to finish the series had everything needed. The last book in the series comes out January 2013.
Howl's Moving Castle By Diane Wynn Jones
Dune Chronicles By Frank Herbert
Twilight Series By Stephanie Meyer
Sword of Truth By Terry Goodkind
Harry Potter By J.K. Rowling
Abhorsen By Garth Nix
Narnia By C.S. Louise
Redwall By Brian Jaques
Mistborn By Brandon Sanderson
Alcatraz By Brandon Sanderson
The Lord of the Ring By J.R.R. Tolkien 
Artemis Fowl By Eion Colfer
Maximum Ride By James Patterson


Stand alone movies:
Howl's Moving Castle
Spirited Away
Dune
Planet of the Apes
Fall of the Planet of the Apes
Dinotopia

Movie Series:
Twilight
The Lord of the Rings


TV Series:
Planet of the Apes
Bewitched
I Dream of Jeannie


SciFi:
Stand alone Books:
Anything Edgar Rice Burrows
     But especially:
         Tunnel in the Sky
         The Land that Time forgot


Anything Robert Heinlein
     But especially:
         Starship Troopers
         Have Spacesuit, Will Travel


Book Series:
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi        Yup I'm that much of a nerd


Stand alone movies:
Alien vs Preditor...I honestly really enjoyed this one. 
Appleseed & Appleseed Xmachina
Independence Day 
The Sphere
Paycheck
Minority Report


Movie Series:
Star wars

Taken 


TV Series:
Roswell
Dr Who
X-Files
Star Trek Voyager
Stargate:SG1
Stargate: Atlantis


What are your favorite Fantasy and Scifi books, movies, etc?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E - is for Easter

WARNING: This is a deep and hard post. I consider it for general audience but many may not. It is primarily about the Crucifixion of Christ. 

Easter is for me and other Christians the celebration of the resurrection of Christ from his horrific execution on the Roman cross.
To understand the joy of Easter, we must understand the horror that preceded it.

   Christ was born to a single virgin mother who was blessed with a husband who was willing to endure the ridicule of marrying a woman who was considered an adulteress, and raise and love a child that wasn't his. If he hadn't stepped up to protect and marry Mary then she would have been stoned to death at her fathers doorstep for adultery, betrothal was legally considered married without the physical relationship which happened once the husband to be had provided the bride price and a home for his bride to be.
   Christ grew up and probably knew as early as it was possible for his human mind to comprehend the truth that he was also God, and why he was on earth. He stayed home and worked and learned and grew, at a young age shocking the elders and priests with his wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures. When he was around 30 he left home and started his 3 +/- years of ministry.
   During that time he collected probably hundreds if not thousands of followers. The faces were always changing, and the numbers fluctuated, but there were 12 who never left.

*Andrew - Originally a disciple of John the Baptist. (He led his brother Simon to Christ)
*Simon Peter (Andrew’s brother) - Rock of the church. (A fisherman, denied Jesus after the crucifixion.)
*James (son of Zebedee) - Also a fisherman. A strong person who insisted that Christ’s followers “walk the talk.”
*John (son of Zebedee) - Also a fisherman. A strong person who cared for Jesus’ mother and stressed grace.
*Phillip - Andrew’s close friend, also a fisherman. He led Bartholomew to Christ.
*Bartholomew (Nathanael) - Questioning at first, but accepted Jesus of Nazareth. Loyal.
*Matthew (Levi)- Once a despised tax collector, he changed his profession and followed Jesus. Wrote the Gospel of Matthew.
*Thomas - Doubted the resurrection. Was willing to risk his own life for Jesus.
*James (Alpheus’ son) - Mentioned in Gospel accounts.
*Thaddeus (James’ son) - A real follower and preacher of Christ.
*Simon - Known as a zealot or patriot. He saw the vision.
*Judas Iscariot - Ultimate betrayer of Jesus, who kept the money for the group.
http://www.worldsundayschool.com/handouts/disciples.htm

  For years he preached, taught, guided, begged, pleaded, hoped, prayed, laughed, joked, cried, hurt, became angry, hungry, tired, lonely, heart sick, longing, disgusted, joyful, happy, depressed, loving, truthful, sympathetic,  unyielding, focused, striving, succeeding, rescuing, encouraging, peacemaking, convicting, disturbing the status quo, rebel, radical, enlightening, freeing, liberating.
   Christ is nothing like we are shown in mainstream churches. He is a radical. He hung out with the 'wrong' crowds. Broke tradition, but never law.
  He is awe inspiring to me...especially what he sacrificed so I could know him.

  He was betrayed by one of his closest friends, arrested in the middle of the night against the laws of the land. He was shuffled back and forth from official to official all night, not trying to find the truth and justice but to find someone willing and able to execute him. They KNEW he was the messiah they had been waiting for, but they were terrified that if they acknowledged him it would bring the wrath of Rome down on them again and they were comfortable with the system they had. So they betrayed and turned in their messiah for political and physical pseudo 'peace' and 'security'.
   Christ was sentenced to the traitors death on the cross, the most horrific execution known in history. He was scourged, if you've seen Passion of the Christ realize that the scourging was watered down...they couldn't recognize Christ as human when they were done with him. Scourging not only stripped the skin off the back, but was known to strip muscle and even rip ribs out of the torso. Though we know that didn't happen to Christ as it was prophesied that his bones were unbroken. Many many simply died from the scourging and didn't even make it to the cross. Christ did.
   When they finished the scourging, they hammered a crown on his head made of thorns long enough to slice his scalp to the bone and lodge there. They put a robe on him...not a kind act as you'll see later. Then they put a 100lb slab of rough wood on his raw shoulders and forced him to walk. He tried, he tried so hard to keep his dignity, to hold his head up, but he is not just fully God, he is fully human and his body couldn't take the abuse any longer and he collapsed.
   It has been speculated that his collapse and the 'log' falling on top of him as it surely must have, bruised his heart, causing it to swell and burst over the next few hours which would explain why he died so quickly compared to so many who lived days on the cross.
   The guards picked a man at random out of the crowds and forced him to carry the cross, his name was Simon, a man who came to love and follow Jesus.
   When they reached Golgotha, no one forced Jesus, no one dragged him kicking and screaming to the cross. The soldiers ripped the robe from his bloody back reopening the wounds that had dried, and Jesus walked over to the cross and willingly laid down on his bleeding raw back giving them his hands and feet. They guards drove thick nails through the most sensitive nerve centers in the body, and roughly hoisted the cross up and dropped it into the hole to stand up right.
   Death on the cross is a slow, painful suffocation. It uses our strongest instinct the survival mode against us to bring out the longest most torturous death known to man. It was originally invented as a human sacrifice to the sun god, as the person slowly died by exposure and suffocation. It is shockingly still used in parts of the world as a form of execution though rarely now, usually in religiously radical nations to make a point.
   Christ, prayed for those who stood before him. Just as in Greek times when the gladiator fights and games were considered entertainment, so many people would come to executions for much the same purpose. They would mock, jeer, taunt, laugh, spit, tease, and basically did anything they could to add to their physical torment through emotional and mental abuses. The crosses weren't made tall like we see in the movies, where the criminals were above the crowds almost to high to even touch their feet, they were generally eye to eye with the mocking, cheering crowds. There of course were also loved ones there grieving, but most weren't.
   All of this is so horrific, so graphic, but we gloss over what happened all too often because it is so horrific and raw, we don't want to think of it. But this is the truth, unpalatable but whole. But in spite of the horror that Christ endured to this point at the hands of the people he came to save, he prayed for them, begged the Father to over look what they had done to him. You see all this torment wasn't what Christ feared so much that he sweat blood, no this was a drop in the bucket compared to what comes next.
   Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The divine trinity. Whole. Never needing anything beyond each other. Perfect. Perfect community. Never lonely, they had never been apart. They had always been connected, even Christ becoming human didn't break the connection, just changed it a little, minutely. But that was about to change for the first and last time.
   Christ was nailed and raised up, and he became sin. My worst sin, your worst sin, he became the worst of the worst. The worst of the murderers, the worst of the wife beaters, the worst of the rapists, the worst of the pedophiles, the worst of the dictators, the worst of the thieves, the worst of the liars. We talk about Jesus taking on our sins, almost flippantly like he put on my shirt and pants and shoes, what ever. No. When that pedophile touched that child, Jesus, in essence, stepped forward moved that person over and committed the act himself. That is how fully Christ took on our sins. The Father Cannot be in the presence of sin in the same way a human cannot breath water like air and live. So the true punishment fell on Jesus, God turned his back and completely severed himself from Jesus. The perfect community, comfort, and companionship that had always been there was wholly gone.
   Jesus, more then likely died from a heart attack and split heart, literally dying from a broken heart.

  Some believe that Jesus then went hell for the days between his death and resurrection. I don't hold this belief. Jesus' last words before death were 'it is finished.' Why would he say that if he had to go to hell to finish the process? Salvation was whole and complete the moment he breathed his last breath.

  What does this have to do with a post on Easter? Simply this, without the above, Easter wouldn't be. There is no new life, no salvation, no change, no hope, without death. That will never change. For the joy of Easter to be real and resounding, we MUST know the fullness of the death that made it possible.
Celebrate Easter, have fun, rejoice, dance, eat, love and laugh, but never forget the death that brought the life.

I know this was deep and hard, I hope your persevered through. As always I'm open to honest questions from anyone, Christian or not and will answer to the fullest extent I can. However, I will delete any and all bashing without any further acknowledgement of the comment.