Gardening With Babies and Toddlers


Kids love to be involved in everything we do (well my kids do anyway!!). This includes gardening of course!!

My first year of gardening with a toddler was a nightmare. He was a year old and into EVERYTHING!!

Of course I wanted him out in the garden with me. Hands in the dirt. Learning about healthy food that we created. That was how I was raised and it was lovely. This was the golden vision that I had in my mind.

Instead I had a toddler eating dirt (and I don’t mean in healthy amounts), pulling up plants that I just planted, screaming the second I left his side, and me,essentially not being productive in any way. Not quite that golden vision that I had in my mind.

So last year I vowed to make it easier. We were going to enjoy gardening and I was going to get stuff done!!

The first thing we did was make him his own bed. This was officially Mr. Precious’s garden box and he could plant and do whatever he wanted in it. We took this same approach early on with cupboards in our house and have never had an issue with him getting into the cupboards!! He has his own that he keeps his “cooking” stuff in and he sticks to that. So he liked this idea of his own box from the beginning. He grew carrots, and radishes in his box (at least that is what survived). There weren’t many because he enjoyed “tilling” the soil more than patiently waiting for the veggies to grow. But that didn’t matter. What mattered most was that he was outside!! Digging, learning, and growing in the garden. Just like I had always envisioned.

The second thing we did was get him his own garden tools. He now has more than I do!! He especially loves his lawn mower. Something that he affectionately calls his Babalo. Don’t ask me why. We have never figured out how he got Babalo from lawn mower but I will soak up every second that he calls it that. I’m sure a lot of people will cringe that I don’t correct it but I will miss it so much someday!!

This year is a little different. We took over his garden bed and have our onions and garlic in it. He is totally fine with this because our garlic is growing like crazy and he thinks it’s really cool.

We have given him his own wooden pot to grow  perennial flowers in and we are moving our strawberries to an “official” patch. Our mini homestead is constantly growing so he will always have new things to work with.

This year is also different because we have another baby. Mr. Blue Eyes is incredibly adventurous and wants to be down in the dirt (literally) doing everything his big brother is doing. This is a problem because it means he refuses to sit in anything that confines him for longer than 5 minutes. He is crawling now too so that means I can’t just put him on a blanket in the grass. He is off the blanket and eating handfuls of weeds in a matter of seconds (why do my kids like eating the outdoors so much?).

So I do what I do with everything else. I either carry him or I babywear him in the Ergo. We babywear a lot in this house so he is comfortable with this. I don’t know how much longer we will last before he wants to be on the ground!!

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In the end we will adapt. That’s what parenthood is all about isn’t it? There is something beautiful about the learning process of raising children.

I look forward to sharing more of our learning process with toddlers and babies in the garden, this summer!!

So how about you?? Do you let your Babies garden with you? If so do you have any tips to share??

Thanks and have a Great Day!!


Photo Credit Curtosy of Babble

Living Simple and Minimal with a Baby


If you are a new Mama to be then you are probably scouring the Internet for lists of items that you will need in the up and coming months. I remember the exciting days of picking products and researching to my heart’s content about safety, toxins and most importantly, if I really needed them.

Whaaaat??? You might ask!! Of course you will need ALL of those products. Wipe warmers and pacifier sterilizers are a must!!

Well if that was you asking that I hate to say it but I disagree.

I grew up in a house with a pack rat parent (ahem….you know who you are Dad!!). Fortunately so did my husband. Why is that fortunate for me? Well because my husband shares my philosophy on all things stuff and clutter.

When we (ah who am I kidding), when I was planning the nursery it was very important that it was clean and clutter free. I remember the days when all of my friends had babies and their house was packed full of baby stuff from one end to another. I felt cramped and to be honest I wonderd if they really needed half of the stuff they had.

So along came registering time. THANK THE LORD for my BFF Erica. Not only have I had the amazing pleasure of being pregnant with her both times (yes we planned our pregnancies together…..go ahead….make fun), but we headed out to Target and did our registries together as well.

Now Erica already had a 5-year-old at this time so she knew the ropes. She also is an anti-clutter freak just like me!! We went up and down the isles and she confirmed my suspicions. I didn’t need 3/4 of what was on the list of things that Target and everyone else told me I needed.

I’m so grateful I had her. Believe me when it’s your first baby, it still looks like a gigantic pile of stuff but when it’s all put away in its place it feels lovely.

Our nursery has remained cramped and clutter free over the last 3 years and we’ve even added another baby to it!!

So here is my simple list of must have baby items. Yours may be different I’m sure but if you’re a new Mama and also a minimalist this will help you out.

Keep in mind that I had summer babies. Obviously you will have to alter this a bit if your baby is born in winter. Also keep in mind that I breastfeed/practice baby led weaning/co-sleep/baby wear my babies. If you are against any of this then you will also have to fill in the gaps. We received a crib for a gift and its a beautiful addition to the nursery but rarely gets used so I won’t be adding that to the list as “Needed” items.


1. Boppy pillow – I feel as though the Boppy pillow is only needed for first-time moms. I never used it with my second however it is amazing at helping you figure out breast-feeding positions. It also helps baby when they’re learning to sit up so they don’t topple over easily.

2. Bouncy Seat – there are many kinds of bouncy seats out there. I recommend anything that bounces and can strap them down for a second if you need to step away.

3. Recieving blankets – my favorite are Aden and Anias. They are lightweight cool cotton that hugs your baby tightly but doesn’t overheat them. This was a must for having two summer babies.

4. Stainless steel sippy cups and snack containers – I try to avoid plastic in every aspect of our life and stainless steel containers are amazing!! I am also searching for glass containers as we speak. I have found a few lids that fit pint size mason jars. I will let you know what I think!!

5. Cloth diapers – We use Bum Genius Freetimes  – Read my posts on cloth diapering –

6. Sophie the Giraffe – my poor husband searched high and low for Sophie the giraffe. For some reason in our city they were always out. He finally broke down and bought the mini Sophie which has done is just fine for our boys.

7. Amber teething necklaces – my boys seem have the worst teething experiences so in our case I don’t really know how well Teething necklaces have worked. I have countless friends who swear by them. I still purchase them, they still wear them and they still look adorable in them!!

8. Coconut Oil – this is a win win for us because we already have coconut oil and use it for just about everything!! Have your ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? When her dad uses Windex on everything including zits? That’s us with coconut oil, well and Basic H. Coconut oil can be used for nipple cream, diaper rash, cradle cap, newborn dry scaly skin and the list goes on. Hmmmmm maybe I should make a list and post it!!

9. Breast pads – I know that I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for not doing naturale and using the reusable pads but I had a lot of bad luck with reusable pads so I stick to disposable ones

10. The Rock N’ Play Sleeper – and this is only a must-have for parents with reflux babies. If my little guys didn’t have reflux I would have omitted the rock and play sleeper, however it was a lifesaver for us and keeping them upright.

11. Shaklee laundry soap

12. Basic H – for bathing

13. car seat

14. onesies

U15. Ergo Carrier

16. Natural Teethers

17. 2 heavier baby blankets

18. Get Clean Kit – for safe non-toxic cleaning (basic h and laundry soap are included).

19. A high chair that attaches to your kitchen table or chairs – this isn’t the model that we have but I wanted to show you and example. I LOVE that we don’t have a giant ass bulky high chair that takes up half of our kitchen. We hold our babies while we eat for some time and then they use this for a short time before moving to a booster. My oldest didn’t last long in it because he wanted to just sit in the chair and we were fine with that.

So there ya go. Of course there are other little things like baby toys, books and family herlooms. I just wasted to give you a minimal and simple list that can get you through the baby stage. To be honest my babies were not fond of baby toys in general and played with their Sophie and wooden spoons and stuff like that.

Hey experienced mamas!! What were your simple must haves that you couldn’t live without for your baby?


Breastfeeding ~ The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY (yes breastfeeding can be bad and ugly)


Gasp!!! Did she just type that in her title?? No!! There is absolutely no way a mama who lives naturally and toxin free, grows a garden, cloth diapers, and composts for God’s sake, would have the nerve to talk negatively about breastfeeding!!

Well blog world, that is definitely what I’m going to do. No I’m not some lady who tried to breastfeed for a day and decided it was to hard or hurt and moved on to formula. I fought the hardest fight I’ve ever fought in my life and made it 18 months with Mr. Precious. I hope to make it as far with Mr. Blue Eyes as well. However I never set my plans in stone. Because like life and childbirth, breastfeeding hardly ever goes as planned.

And for all of you Mamas that naturally produced gallons of liquid gold and your babies miraculously latched on perfectly the first time, that is awesome!! I am so happy for you. But unfortunately it doesn’t always go that way.

Since this is such an important topic for me and has been such an important part of my life, I will be breaking this up into a couple posts. I hope I can keep your attention that long :).

Breastfeeding experience #1 (Mr. Precious)

Well we have to start out with a little of his birth story to give you an idea of  what kind of little person we are dealing with here. He put me through 30 hours of labor, and almost a c-section before finally flipping around from sunny side up and allowing me to dialate 4 cm all in about an hour!!

To say we were exhausted after the birth is an understatement. There are things I don’t even remember happening the day after he was born because I was so delirious.

The entire day after he was born seemed to go ok. He was your typical sleepy newborn and I was your typical first time mama, constantly worried that I needed to do this and that right and if my sweet little bundle was ok.

Then night fell……..and the screaming began. I’m not talking about the usual newborn fussy cries or the witching hour shrieks that are typical. I’m talking about non-stop, top of his lungs until he needed to gasp for breath, screaming for hours. Even the amazing nurses were concerned but could only come to the conclusion that he was just so unsatisfied with anything and wanted more than just the colostrum that I was producing.

So we waited it out. Pacing the floor all night. Swaddling and re-swaddling. Trying to nurse as much as I could to get my milk to come in.

The next day we would get little breaks here and there when he would finally pass out but in between that we went back to hearing non stop ANGRY screams. He would latch on and nurse great and then when the little bit of yellow colostrum goodness ran out, it was back to sheer terror again.

Even when the nurses would change shift, the new nurse would come in and say “oh you’re the intense little guy I heard about”. Yes my child was known on the mother/baby floor!!

The next night was following suit to the first and I was really starting to worry. I had kept a level head up to this point because I know babies cry, I know it takes a while for milk to come in, and I knew “this too shall pass” (fyi-please don’t use this line on new mamas. It really makes me want to gag and then punch someone in the face when I hear it. Even if it’s being said to someone other than myself and even if it is true).

But this had been going on so long. I was already feeling the inadequacy that would begin to flow over me in the weeks to come.

Then in walked Janet. The night shift nurse. She had been with us the night before so she knew what we were going through.

She finally suggested we give him some donor milk. YES!!! I was up for anything that could make him feel better. So I nursed him and then we gave him a tiny amount of donor milk (Thank heavens for any Mama who donates Her liquid gold. You truly are life savers!!). And then………..silence………..peace………..calm!!

We all got a couple of hours of much-needed sleep. When baby woke up he was hungry but had a calm about him. I was so happy. A few hours into the next day I started feeling the newest sensation that goes along with the post natal experience. My boobs were starting to swell and even feel a little dense. Not much but it was a hopeful start to my milk coming in. My OB came in and checked me out and was excited to say we could take our new bundle home.

I can’t even tell you what a blessing our OB and hospital was. They are very progressive with breastfeeding  and sometimes I wonder if I would have even made it the first night if I had them offering me formula right away. Instead they took every other avenue first.

So back to my long-winded story……….we got to go home!!!

The first night was everything to be expected with a first time Mama and Daddy. We laid him in his pack and play that was next to our bed and just stared at him. Daddy Bear said “he looks so small, can’t he just sleep next to us for one night?” So we both swooped in and laid him beside me (Yes, with all the pillows and blankets out of the way. Please don’t send me hate mail about how unsafe we are for letting our baby sleep with us or statistics on infant fatalities).

Of course we were up every couple of hours with feedings and diaper changes but it was everything I expected. I didn’t feel like I needed any help at all. We had it under control.

The next morning was another kick in the stomach. We woke up to the same screechy cries that we had in the hospital. Again for hours and then he would sleep for a bit and then be at it again.

This went on for days. All while I was still waiting for my milk to “officially” come in. I had always heard my mom talk about how her little “B’s” turned into “DD’s” when her milk came in. Nothing like that was happening. All I would feel was a little bit swollen and then it would go away after he ate.

Then we had his first well check. I told the Dr. Everything that was going on and she said it really sounded like he had some reflux and to cut dairy out of my diet (Well shit!! There went all my freezer meals that I made!! Of course they were all filled with dairy!!). I was willing to do anything. At this point my nipples were so bad off that I didn’t know what to do with them either. I literally had to nurse him as much as I could and then pump to keep stimulation up so they never got a break. They were cracked, bleeding, and growing these horribly painful puss pimples (sorry for the TMI but I’m laying it all out there).

The pediatrician wanted to see us back in a few days for a weight check  And to see if he was still showing signs of reflux.

So the next few days only escalated. More screaming, back arching, constantly nursing. The day of our next appointment was a nightmarish day.

First we had his follow-up pediatrician appointment and then a lactation consultant appointment.

The ped appointment was awful. He hadn’t gained any weight and actually lost a couple more ounces. She confirmed that he had silent reflux (I will do a full post on this. It needs much more description than I can fit into this post). She also told us that I needed to start supplementing with formula. I left the appointment very disappointed. I felt like we were at the beginning of the end of breastfeeding and I was devastated. I told my husband I was not giving any formula until the lactation consultant said it was needed. Now I love and trust our pediatrician but it’s well-known that the easiest thing to do would have been to put him on formula. That is something that she is an expert on. The lactation consultant is an expert on breastfeeding and doing everything in your power to continue. That is why I was waiting for her consent.

When we got to the office I was greeted by a quirky little lady with an incredible maternal way about her. She sat us down and looked me straight in the eye and said “I know this question is going to sound weird but I ask every fist time patient this – Do You Want To Breastfeed Your Baby?”

Now I am not a person who ever got hormonal or weepy during either of my pregnancies. I never had melt downs over dealing with crying babies or no sleep or being overwhelmed. But in that very minute, that question resonated with me. I lost it. It was all I could do to not sob in her chest about how truly, madly, deeply I wanted to breastfeed my baby. Hell I didn’t even realize how bad I wanted it until that moment. Ask my best friend, when I was pregnant I constantly told her how worried I was that I wouldn’t like it or want to do it. And yet here I was,  lost in emotions that I didn’t even realize that I had. I had so many love emotions for my baby mixed with so many hate emotions for my body and its lack of being capable of doing what it was “meant” to do!!

So with her motherly touch, the Lactation Consultant did an exam. Mr. Precious had a “beautiful latch”. She had come to the conclusion that his silent reflux, my lack of production and his “intense” demeanor were the perfect storm that was creating my breastfeeding tornado.

She also addressed the white little bumps that were growing on my nipples. “Oh those are blebs!! Totally normal. All I have to do is take a needle and lance them and they will go away” she explained as if it was an everyday occurrence and no big deal.

Now I’m sure as most fellow mamas remember, the first week or two post pardum is full of being poked, prodded, fondled, felt up, seen naked, and violated sometimes all at once. I literally didn’t even bat an eye at her suggestion. In fact I just wanted her to get it over with because I was in so much pain. My husband on the other hand, almost had to leave the room.

Now for those of you that don’t know Daddy Bear, he is Italian. So he has pretty tanned skin. For the first time in my life I saw his face turn white as he asked “so wait……your going to take a needle to her nipple?” He looked at me in horror, almost begging me with his eyes to not let her do this barbaric task.

I looked over at her and said “just get it done”. Surprisingly it didn’t really hurt that bad. I had 3-4 on each nipple so it did bleed quite a bit. She had me nurse right away and when we were done I laid his belly over my hand and gently burped him.

What happened next should literally have been put on a funniest home video…..or maybe not……..maybe I’m the only one that can laugh about it now. Mr. Precious burped a gigantic burp and then we hear a SPLAT. I looked down and saw my worst nightmare. My tiny little baby had just threw up something that looked like a chicken liver. I was terrified and shrieked “what the FUCK is that??” (I know!! Pretty awful words to come out of a new mommy’s mouth. What can I say, I’m my mothers daughter!! Love ya mom).

The lactation consultant runs over  screaming “nonono!!!Honey it’s ok!! It’s just the blood that coagulated with the milk!!! It’s ok!! I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you that would happen”.

I literally just sat there staring at it about ready to lose my shit. Now I’m not one that likes or needs to be consoled by others but she actually had to come sit by me and rub my back to get my crap together.

Then she explained to me that she thought it was in the baby’s best interest of we did supplement a little and that she didn’t take that lightly. She promised she was going to do everything in her power to keep us breastfeeding as long as possible.

And with that we headed home with a S n’ S feeder thing a ma jig and 3 days worth of organic baby formula.

WHAT A NIGHTMARE. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure (insert sarcasm) of using an S&S feed, let me explain. You take a syringe and fill it with formula or pumped breast milk, attach a long tiny little tube to it, attach the other end of that tiny little tube down your boob to your nipple. Why not just give the baby the syringe? Because you still need your breasts to be stimulated for milk production.

So every feeding I would have to strap this damn thing to my boob (which constantly fell off and was a huge pain in my ass…….literally and figuratively……did I mention I had horrific hemmroids that hurt so bad every time I sat????).

Then in between feeding I would have to pump so that we could try to replace the formula with breast milk in the S&S and keep stimulating??

I. Literally. Never. Slept.

Because of his reflux he had to eat more often so his tummy could (attempt) to tolerate it. So at night I was up every hour and a half to feed him (again with the pain in the ass contraption that I had to strap to myself every time) and then head out to the couch to pump for 20 minutes!! All to only get an ounce or two out of both boobs.

The odd thing was that during all of this misery I never once thought of doing something else. It just never was an option that came into my head.

After a week of the S&S feeding I had it. I ripped the stupid thing off my body, grabbed my baby and headed to my bedroom. I had heard of things called “nursing vacations” and decided to google it. It wasnt anything fancy. All you do is stay in bed with your baby the first couple weeks after birth and nurse as much as you can. No stress, no errands, no guests. Just you and the babes healing, resting, and getting your bodies in sync.

And that is just what I did.

In the end there was light at the end of the tunnel. After 3 months of tireless work it all paid off. I was producing JUST enough milk to keep him fed. I never could make enough to have a freezer stash. I always look with envy and awe at those pinterest pictures of freezers full of cream-colored bags. Freezers full of gold!!

The pain, bruising, and nipple blebs continued until around 9 months. I still have no idea why and neither did any lactation consultant. I just toughed it out the best I could. I eventually learned how to lance the blebs myself so i didn’t have to keep going in. Hey, after 2 months post partum my hemmroids went away so at least I was rid of that pain right?

I look back on those days now and realize what I went through to breastfeed my son for 18 months. It was really big. It was incredibly hard. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

I’ve never been the most motivated person. I have no desire to run a marathon (well who am I kidding, I have no desire to run at all), never was excited about trophies or awards. But my breastfeeding accomplishment was my Pulitzer, my Nobel Peace Prize, my marathon medal.

So special to me that I will never forget the date that my breastfeeding relationship ended with Mr. Precious. December 16th, I was 6 weeks pregnant with his little brother and had no milk left. I knew it was time. I laid him down for his nap and let him fall asleep nursing. I took every second in of those last moments together. His precious cheeks and lips, his fluttery long eye lashes, and of course his sweet little hand on my chest. I will never forget those moments. Moments that make every second of excruciating pain, of thinking “why me?”, of feeling like a failure as a mother, as a woman, so incredibly worth it.

I am currently nursing his 7 month old brother now and am incredibly grateful that I have every ounce of knowledge that I do. Mr. Blue eyes has been a little easier on me than his big brother but we’ve still had our fair share of troubles. I will talk about breastfeeding baby #2 in the next post.

So why did I write this long ass breastfeeding post? I don’t know. Maybe because every other blog mommy has one? Probably because I’ve heard the same story so many times. Yet in these stories the mamas never had help. They never had cheerleaders in theirs court. They had nothing but negative comments and reactions. It’s for them that I write this. I hope I can show them that IT CAN BE DONE!! You can get through this. 90% of the time there is a way. Ask for help. Breastfeeding is beautiful. But guess what? Breastfeeding is also ugly. It’s painful, exhausting, and the hardest thing you will probably do. But your body was made for this. Your body isn’t failing you. Your body was made for this. You are a beautiful, capable woman. And last but not least, your body was made for this.

Fresh Food For Baby

Yes you read it right. FRESH food for baby!!

As you know by now I am on my second baby. So most things aren’t new to me, feeding being one if them.

But it is a subject that can be hymned and hawed over for hours along with any other mommy war out there.

To make your baby’s food or not to. To practice baby led weaning or not to. To start solids at 4 months? 6 months? Later?

In this post I will be going over what we do in our home. It’s probably totally different from how my neighbor did it. It’s completely different from how my best friend does it. It may be the exact way that you do it. Or not!! All that really matters is that our babies are being fed and I would love to share how we feed ours.

Mr. Precious (our 2 year old) suffered from sever silent reflux for the first year of his life and struggled with digestive issues for a year after that. To say we had eating troubles was an understatement.

We started solids with him incredibly slow and yet his tiny tummy still couldn’t handle the difficulties of digestion. We even had to eliminate solids for an entire month from 10-11 months just to re-evaluate and let him only have to process breast milk for a while.

This entire experience with solids was kind of traumatizing and didn’t leave me excited about starting solids with my next baby.

Then along comes Mr. Blue Eyes. My sweet, kind eyed, little angel who (ahem, knock on wood) still hasn’t had any tummy or reflux issues.

I was still hesitant and even planned on waiting longer than 6 months to start solids (his pediatrician even agreed it would be fine). But this sweet chubby baby had shown nothing but interest, scratch that, LONGING for every bite that I put in my mouth since he could see two feet away!! He would lick and smack his little cherub lips and paw at my plate (yes I hold him at the dinner table, who am I kidding I hold him everywhere!!).

So on Valentine’s Day, a little after his 6 month birthday we gave him his first food, avocado. He was in HEAVEN and also knew exactly what he was doing. He chewed when he thought he should be chewing and would reach for his spoon if I was going to slow…….sigh………gosh I love that baby boy……..ok back on track!!

Well now we are in the midst of solid training. It’s a perfect time to share with you what we do. It’s really the most simple thing in the world, oh and even better…….it costs no extra money!!

In this demonstration I took frozen organic peas, blended them in my vitamix (god’s gift to my kitchen) and froze individual little ice cubes of peas.




When it’s time for dinner I take out one little cube of puree and let it thaw. After its thawed I sit it in a glass bowl in another bowl with scalding hot water in the bottom. This warms it slowy without having to micro wave it and kill all the nutrients.

So there ya have it. Pretty simple right. Above I refered to this as solids training. That is because I will do this process only once with peas and a bunch of other veggies. When we are done with these little cubes of purée we jump right in to baby led weaning (I will do another post on that).

How about you Mamas and Papas? Do you make your own baby food? Practice Baby Led Weaning? Have another form of food introduction that you use? I would love to hear about it!!