I hope you're all enjoying the Christmas season (assuming you celebrate same). We went caroling around the neighborhood (with a group; it would be odd if we'd done it by ourselves). We quit early when we all got cold, one of the benefits of having a three-year-old along. I'm going to try to take Mikko out to see the lunar eclipse tomorrow night as it ushers in the Solstice. That he'll still be awake is one of the advantages that he's been having trouble sleeping lately — and pretty much the only one. We had our seasonal viewing of The Muppet Christmas Carol, which I am glad to report Mikko loved as much as we do (and we only had to fast forward through a bit of the Marleys and the Ghost of Christmas Future, who — let's be frank — gives me the creeps, too). We also watched the RIFFtrax Live Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza again, which Mikko loved and did not grasp at all was satire. We hope to go hear the Christmas ships this coming weekend, though a lot will depend on how rainy our Christmas is. Since I skipped last week, I have more links than this saved up but no time to pop them all in here before midnight, so check back on Boxing Day. Till then, have a joyous and blessed week!
- "Can Knitting Save the World?" from The Practical Dilettante:
"Knitting will not save the world. It won’t even clothe it very efficiently. It takes 15 – 75 hours to knit a pair of socks by hand. Depending on the density of stitches, a sweater takes 20 – 200 hours. This is a very slow way of making cloth. … Yet, here we sit, week after week, clicking away at a skill that was rendered obsolete by the ready-to-wear industry decades ago."On how knitting is slow — and why that's a good thing.
- "Ropa y la frugalidad" from Kelly Hogaboom: On the intersection of clothing and income, a fascinating read. For instance, I had the same dilemma with trying to replace my fading wool coat with a wool blend — and finding the cheaper version, though purty, had none of the warming and wetness-repelling properties of pure wool. And, yet, whenever I try to price a new 100% wool coat, it's out of my range. So I have bought lining material to replace the sadly depleted lining and will try to pull it through another year or two. Kelly volunteered to guest post further on the subject for me, and I have yet to write her back to agree, even though — heck, yeah. (Sorry, Kelly, my inbox is the stuff of nightmares, as is the jumble of my mind. And mentioning this here is not a contractual obligation…) I've been sewing and knitting up a storm lately and musing on what is and is not affordable. For instance, my grandmother used to sew her family's clothes to save money — but I was noting that now sewing/crafting is something usually only families with some disposable income can afford.
- For instance, here are some of the projects I've been working on lately (or otherwise), and which you can use for last-minute holiday presents if you so desire. I've tried to keep them thrifty.
- Sew a cozy throw blanket or baby blanket from flannel and plush fabric.
- Make a knotted fabric bead necklace, which you could throw together with fabric scraps and repurposed chunky bead necklaces — and come up with something lovely at the end!
- Cut out a no-sew mei tai soft baby carrier from fleece fabric, and make a matching mini mei tai for a little one to carry a doll. (Perfect for a baby gift / big sibling gift pairing!)
- "how to sew a mei-tai baby carrier" from grumbles and grunts
- "Scandi Mei Tai Tutorial"
- "Kimber's Ball Baby Overall mei tai" from Jan Andrea. A model in production and completed can be seen at Momma Jorje.
- "Make a Mei Tai Carrier with Interchangeable Panels" from MakeBabyStuff.com: A brilliant solution for sharing a mei tai with my husband, because I'm dying for a decorative silk brocade panel, and he's not, and I'm clearly not making a ton of these suckers.
- "It Isn't Criminal to Be Poor" from Natural as Possible Mom: Answering an asinine pundit's talking-head stupidity about the supposed criminal negligence of parents who sign their kids up for free school breakfasts and lunches.
"My family would have qualified for free breakfast and lunch when I was little. My mom never signed us up because she was too proud. I wish she had. We often left for school with empty stomachs. … She was a working mom who did everything in her power for us, but she wasn’t making a lot of money, and sometimes that meant we struggled. Since when is being poor a criminal offense?"
- "Facebook's Zuckerberg pledges to give away wealth" from The Bellingham Herald: Like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, another 17 of America's richest people, including Mark Zuckerberg and AOL co-founder Steve Case, have pledged to give away most of their wealth to philanthropic causes. I keep thinking there comes a point after which making more money won't make a difference. It's nice to know some young multi-millionaires have noted this and decided to do something meaningful with their earnings. If I ever become a billionaire, sign me up.
- "My babies were healthy without Lysol" from PhD in Parenting: I've never understood the heavy marketing of Lysol to parents. I could sort of understand to day care centers and the like, but in the average household, are such harsh chemicals really necessary on a regular basis? I was surprised to read in this post just how scary Lysol products are and have renewed my commitment to stay far away. Shared via Code Name: Mama's Facebook page.
- "I Breastfeed My Toddler. Got A Problem With It?" from Raising Kvell: Mayim Bialik's down-to-earth sharing about nursing a toddler. I really like this article, except for the part where she says she can't imagine nursing a 3-year-old. Heh. (Previous Mayim coverage here and here, and I never even used to watch Blossom.) Shared via the Natural Parents Network Facebook page.
- "US Maternity Care: Still Failing Mothers" from Momotics: Here's a horrifying statistic: The United States loses over 68,000 mothers annually to maternal mortality, meaning deaths during childbirth or of complications following. That puts this country at a rate higher than 49 other countries, so that a woman in the U.S. is five times as likely to die during childbirth as a woman in Greece, for instance.
"We have been taking steps backwards, clearly not forwards. During this time we have also seen a rise in managed births, and the way childbirth is handled. More c-sections, more inductions, more complications in pregnancy, and a slight rise in multiples. Not enough to warrant the cesarean rise by any means, which some use as the main culprit."Danielle points out that the groups most at risk are mothers of immigrant descent, limited English, and limited prenatal care availability, women in the African-American community, and women living in the inner cities.
"Women of African American background are four times more likely to die from a pregnancy related complication, or during childbirth than a woman of white background. And of high risk cases, African American women are five times more likely to die than white women. Shocking and seriously alarming numbers."I will agree with that last statement. What's causing this at root (poverty? medicalized birth? lack of prenatal care? other health factors due to inequalities in healthcare? discrimination within the hospital/doctor's office?), and what can the U.S. do to reverse the trend?
- "Sleep Problems: Choose your own adventure" from Connected Mom: This is so fun! It's just like the Choose-your-own-adventures I remember, only with a cosleeping theme.
- "We Work Better Together" from Natural Parents Network: On gentle discipline and respecting your children. Interesting conversation in the comments, too.
- "Extending Breastfeeding Beyond a Year" from The Accidental Pharmacist: Look, my drive-by nursling is famous! I love the accompanying article, too, given that it's a subject near and dear to my heart:
"This post isn't about the challenges or controversies of nursing a toddler - quite the opposite. It is about the normalcy of extended breastfeeding. The perfect naturalness of feeding a small child. It is about the fact that many moms feed beyond a year, unexceptionally. And that this behaviour, this choice, is the most simple of human acts. It is not sexual, restrictive or illogical. It is natural. It is normal. It is simple. And it is a perfectly acceptable choice for as long as is mutually beneficial for mother and child."
- Remember to stop by and enjoy the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let's talk traditions: Another fantastic month of articles, appropriately themed for this very ritual-centric month.
- A few giveaways to increase your holiday cheer. One ends before Christmas and would make a lovely last-minute present!
- Enter to win a free one-year subscription to Mothering magazine by Wednesday, December 22 — then keep it all to yourself, or choose a digital subscription for instant delivery to a lucky gift recipient. (Or buy a digital subscription on your own for only $4.95. A perfectly encouraging new-parent gift!)
- Enter to win a Baltic Amber necklace from Inspired by Finn over at Natural Parents Network and Anktangle. Amber is a natural remedy for pains such as teething, headaches, and backaches. Contest ends January 6 and is open to U.S. and Canada.
- There's also a special Facebook giveaway over at Natural Parents Network: When NPN reaches 1,500 fans on Facebook, one lucky liker will get a $15 gift certificate to Yo Ho Graphix, an Etsy store with stunning decals, plus clothing and tote bags, many of which celebrate breastfeeding and family. So like NPN on Facebook today so you can be entered to win, and see the post for bonus entries to increase your chances. We're past 1,400 fans already, so it will be soon!
- I've also got holiday coupons and reviews listed on Hobo Mama Reviews if you're interested, most from affiliate programs I've joined for companies I really enjoy. Here are a couple to highlight:
- "75% off $75 order at BabyLegs!": Shop the clearance section (with code WINTER75) for baby leg warmers, arm warmers, socks, and tights, and receive a tremendous discount on cuteness.
- "Review: Prima Princessa Presents: The Nutcracker ballet DVD": This one has boys! Oh, the joy, for both Mikko and me.
Check out Authentic Parenting, Baby Dust Diaries (on hiatus), Maman A Droit, Navelgazing, Momma Jorje, pocket.buddha, Breastfeeding Moms Unite!, Enjoy Birth, A Domesticated Woman's Adventures, This Adventure Life, The Parent Vortex, and A Little Bit of All of It for more Sunday Surfing! (If you also participate in a regular link list, whether on Sunday or not, let me know and I'll add your link.)
Feel free to add your recommendations in the comments. Happy reading!