• Attachment Parenting 
  • Breastfeeding
  • Children
  • Gardening
  • Natural Living
  • Recent posts

    Kelly On Facebook

    Visit Natural Parents Network
    Best For Babes - Life Saving Devices




    Changing Education Paradigms

    I was visiting Montessori Matters a couple days ago, where Pilar had posted this amazing video animation to Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on changing education paradigms:

    Not only is the animation worth watching (so cool), but the message is extremely important.


    Here are a few highlights from the video, if you don’t have 12 minutes (though I really recommend you watch it – more than once – to get the full meaning. It’s worth your time, really.)


    On education reform:


    “Every country on earth is reforming education…

    ….the problem is they’re trying to meet the future by doing what they did in the past and on the way they’re alienating millions of kids who don’t see any purpose in going to school… and they’re right (kids not thinking there’s a purpose to going to school) particularly not if the route to it (going to school, getting a college degree) marginalizes most of the things you think are important about yourself…”


    On outdated education models:


    “…This is deep in the gene pool of public education that there are really two types of people: academic & non academic, smart people & non- smart people and the consequence of that is that many brilliant people think they’re not because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind…”


    …this model has caused chaos in many people’s lives. Most people have not. Instead they suffer…


    On school being boring instead of exciting:


    “An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak… when you’re present in the current moment… when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing when you’re fully alive….

    An anesthetic is when you shut your senses off… we’re getting our children through education by anesthetizing them. And I think we should be doing the exact opposite, we should be waking them up to what they have inside of themselves….”


    On school being like a factory:


    “…The system of education is modeled on the interests of industrialism & the in the image of it. Schools are still pretty much organized on factory lines: ringing bells, separate facilities, specialized subjects...still educate children by batches.  We put them through the system by age group. Why do we do that? Why is there this assumption that the most important thing kids have in common is how old they are? The most import thing about them is their date of manufacture?


    I know kids who are much better than other kids at the same age in different disciplines. Or at different times of the day. Or better in smaller groups than in large groups or sometimes they want to be on their own.

    If you’re interested in learning you don’t start from this production line mentality.... essentially about conformity and increasingly about that as you look at the growth of standardized testing and standardized curricula. It's about standardization, I believe we have to go in the exact opposite direction….”

    On humans’ capacity for learning and thinking:


    “… we all have a capacity (for divergent thinking)… [but] it mostly deterioriates…. [after kids] spend 10 years in school being told there’s ONE  answer, its at the back, and don’t look, and don’t copy. Because that’s cheating… outside of school that’s called collaboration, but inside schools [it’s cheating].


    We have to think differently about human capacity…. We have to get over old conception of academic vs. non-academic and see it for what it is: a myth.


    You have to recognize that most great learning happens in groups.  Collaboration is the stuff of growth….”

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


    There is so much good information in this video, so much to think about; and much of it true to what I’ve experienced and believe about education.


    I believe that children can learn to LOVE learning, if they are given the opportunity to do so in a free, open, self-directed environment.  This may be a Montessori school, a homeschool, an unschooling environment, maybe even a public school (though this has not been my experience; if it has been yours, please share!). When children are able to be themselves, to follow what they are naturally interested in and not to not have to worry about homework, tests, or grades, they find that learning, just for the sake of learning – because we know our brains are capable of SO much, not just what a state or country determines we should be learning at a specific period of time in our life  – is amazing and awesome!


    When you get away from the idea that there is only one right answer, and are praised for “thinking outside the box”, children have the ability to come up with the MANY right answers that are out there.  I believe it is so important to foster independent thinkers who are taught how to use their minds, how to think through things – instead of specifically WHAT and HOW to think – because those children will become the adults that will direct change in this world.


    Hope you enjoyed the video!

    Posted: Oct 30 2010, 11:57 by kelly | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Children | Education

    Autumn Vanilla Apple Milkshake (A.K.A. Witches' Brew)

    Autumn Vanilla Apple Milkshake (A.K.A. Witches' Brew)

    We made this super simple and fabulously delicious recipe yesterday at our friend's Halloween Party and it was a big hit (both with the kids AND adults)!
    Here's how to make it for your own spooky celebration:

    2 Cups Apple Cider (I prefer Organic, and unpasturized, but you can't always find that, of course)
    1.5 - 2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream (again, Organic is best)
    2 Tablespoons Honey
    1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
    1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

    Blend ingredients together, sprinkle with additional nutmeg, and serve right away
    (we found that the mixture separates a bit after a while). The recipe recommended adding optional orange food coloring; we opted instead for orange cups. :)

    PS: If you're interested in the apple cranberry sauce in the picture, I have the recipe, here.

    PPS: The witches' brew recipe was found in a book called Howling Good Halloween Recipes by K. Hartman & M. Steindler

    Posted: Oct 29 2010, 17:00 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Recipes

    Cirque du Soleil - Dralion

    For Adam's birthday, we went to see Cirque du Soleil in Trenton.
    It was the first time we'd seen Cirque live and it was marvelous!

    Yes, she is balancing on her head, balanced on another's
    shoulders, balanced on another's hips.

    Right after intermission. A really interesting light effect.

    This was nail-biting. They literally climbed the walls. One word: timing.

    Aerial Pas De Deux. This photo is from Cirque du Soleil's site because
    my iphone just couldn't capture their action. This duet was breathtaking.
    You can view a bit of it here, to get an idea of the phenomenal strength
    of this couple (though you miss the love storyline, which really adds to the performance):

    Crazy jumpropers! If you ever thought learning double-dutch wasn't
    worthwhile, these fellows will make you think again. 

    The full cast receiving a well-deserved standing ovation.

    Leaving Trenton.  I included this because I'm just not sure what it is
    that Trenton still makes. It's an interesting relic, anyhow.

    Final word: if you ever have a chance to see Circque du Soleil live, I
    highly recommend it.  The music is entrancing, the costumes are intricate
    and beautiful, the set is both beautiful and amazingly functional. And
    the actors/acrobats are rather unbelievable. Well worth the money.

    Posted: Oct 26 2010, 23:41 by kelly | Comments (6) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Travel | Wordless Wednesday

    Techniques for Turning a Breech Baby

    During pregnancy, babies spend their time in various positions.  However, they “should” be heads-down (cephalic or vertex) – and most are (around 95%) – by the time they are ready to be born.  However, some babies are persistently heads-up (breech), even until late in pregnancy.  There are three types of breech – frank (where babies bottom is down & feet are up near their ears), complete (where baby’s knees are flexed & feet are by their bottom – like a crosslegged position), and footling/incomplete (one or both feet are down, lower than the bottom). The most common breech position is frank breech.



    The determination that baby is heads-up typically isn’t welcome news because it often means, for many women (in this current climate of medicalized childbirth), that a vaginal birth is no longer easily available or an encouraged option for delivery, and a scheduled cesarean section is instead recommended for delivery.


    There are studies which indicate that vaginal breech births are safer then breech cesarean deliveries – particularly for the mother.  However, vaginal breech births can present risks for the baby – particularly when the baby is not in the frank breech position – such as cord prolapse, cord compression, and head entrapment. Consideration of these fetal risks, combined with the fact that as c-sections have been more and more routinely recommended for breech delivery – thus resulting in far fewer practitioners who are familiar with the procedure for safely delivering a breech baby vaginally – unfortunately has resulted in vaginal breech delivery being considered the more dangerous mode of breech delivery across the board and not recommended – particularly on an “untested” pelvis (first birth).


    "Before a vaginal breech delivery is planned, women should be informed that the risk of peri-natal or neonatal mortality or short-term serious neonatal morbidity may be higher than if a cesarean delivery is planned, and the patient's informed con-sent should be documented."

    See ACOG’s statement on term singleton breech delivery: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16816088 At this time, in the United States, over 90% of breech births are delivered by cesarean section; an astounding number. Most women just are not given a choice of vaginal delivery any longer.


    There is a recent documentary film called, A Breech In The System about giving women back the choice to birth their breech babies vaginally, instead of via cesarean section. You can view the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRjSmR9QmYg&sns=tw


    The comparative risk of cesarean section versus vaginal breech delivery is a complex one, and many factors need to be considered, studied, and discussed with your care provider before making a decision. There are several places you can visit to learn about these risks & comparisons of modes of delivery:





    Regardless of what you decide once baby is about to be born; before baby is at term, there are many things you can do (and that I did as a pregnant mother carrying breech babies – twice) to help your baby to turn, and increase your chances for a safe vaginal delivery. I’ve included every idea that I tried through my two pregnancies, the theory behind the idea, the process & outcome, and my thoughts on each idea.


    I recommend talking to your doula, midwife, doctor, or other care provider before trying any of these… just to be safe. :)


    Ideas for Encouraging a Breech Baby to Turn



    Cold aversion – Take a bag of cold peas, and place on the top of your tummy, near where you believe baby’s head to be.



    Baby will move away from the unpleasant coldness, and towards the warmth of your lower abdomen. 


    Process & Outcome:

    I tried this only with my first, and only once. Baby didn’t turn.



    I didn’t like this method – it felt intrusive and not entirely friendly to me.  I “warned” her ahead of time & told her she might not like what was coming up. In all honesty, the coldness probably isn’t that shocking with all the “padding” between me & baby.  But I have a thing about cold, and so I didn’t repeat the experiment.





    Music/Sound – Play music or have a deep voice (preferably your partner so that baby will have a better chance at recognizing the voice) at your pelvis. 



    Baby will turn to better hear the voice or music.


    Process & Outcome:

    My reading had suggested playing classical music, but instead I chose music with a heavier beat & deeper bass – to increase the chance baby would hear it.  Adam also spent many nights talking to my lower abdomen.  Baby didn’t turn.



    This idea was one of the easiest and least invasive.  It felt very natural to me to talk to baby & play music as an enticement to move.





    Light – Shine a flashlight at your lower abdomen.



    Baby will notice the light & try to move towards it.


    Process & Outcome:

    We tried this several times without luck.



    I had no problem with trying this one multiple times, but was dubious about the effectiveness due to how dulled the flashlight would actually be shone through so many layers of flesh, muscle, skin, blood, etc.  I would recommend trying this when baby is awake – so drink a glass of OJ first!





    Visualization – Picture baby moving downwards into your pelvis; settling into a comfortable heads-down position.



    Mind over matter.


    Process & Outcome:

    Upon learning of each of my babies’ breech positions, I immediately started thinking of them in a vertex position; birthing vaginally – particularly with my son, after having experienced a long, difficult labor with my first. I knew that positive thinking was so important. I knew my daughter would turn on her own, and she did.  I also felt certain my son would turn as well, but due to circumstances beyond either of our controls, his in-utero environment was simply not conducive to turning.


    It is difficult to know for certain if/how visualization helped with turning; but I would like to believe at the very least it improved my outlook.



    I believe this idea is one of the strongest and least invasive methods, particularly when used consistently and in conjunction with some of the physical suggestions. If nothing else, putting your mind in a positive place when it comes to birth, can only help outcome – even if the outcome is not that which you visualized, I believe knowing you’ve done all you could, will help with coming to terms with the birth you do end up having.





    Inversion – putting yourself in various upside-down positions



    If baby’s tendency is to be heads-up, moving your own body in the opposite direction (i.e. your pelvis higher than your head) may encourage baby to turn. 


    Process & Outcome:

    There are several ways to do inversions with the key point being raising your knees & hips 12 – 20” above your head & shoulders. I was able to achieve this in several ways:

    -          kneeling on the couch, and lowering my torso down onto my folded arms on the floor. 

    -          “elephant walking” – i.e. a downward dog position, but with elbows on the ground, and “walk/crawl” around.

    -          doing a headstand against the wall (note: at the time, I had been actively doing yoga, and was in good physical shape, and familiar with this position – I would not recommend headstands if you’re not already familiar with and comfortable with doing them pre-pregnancy)

    -          lying inverted on an ironing board which was leaned up against the couch – I’d lean the closed board against the couch, straddle the board with feet on the couch for stability, then lay myself out, head-down. I watched a lot of TV upside down. 

    Whichever inversion you choose, hold the position for 5 – 10 minutes.  Make sure that you are supported, comfortable, and won’t fall.


    Several of these positions are documented in video/pictures at SpinningBabies.com (a wonderful site for optimal fetal positioning - well worth checking out!): http://spinningbabies.com/techniques/the-inversion


    As for outcome, its hard to tell whether my inversions helped or not. I did them every day from about week 34 on with my daughter, and she did turn on her own, so I’d like to believe so.



    Another good idea, non-invasive, and overall will help stretch your ligaments, and has a good chance of encouraging baby to turn by using gravity. The only issue I had with these positions is that late in pregnancy, they can be uncomfortable to get into, remain in, and get out of, particularly when your center of gravity is off, as well as your sense of balance. I made sure that Adam was close at hand whenever I did any inversions.








    Submerging yourself in water tends to push your fluids inward, perhaps giving baby a bit more room in which to turn. This theory works with the idea of inversions (above), with the benefit of buoyancy – inversions are much more easily done.


    Process & Outcome:

    Swim, flip, and do headstands; anything to help relieve the constant downward-pressure of gravity. Inversions are much simpler to accomplish in the water.


    Note: if your bag of waters has ruptured, or you have a slow leak, please consult your care provider before swimming.



    I went swimming several times per week in late pregnancy – and it was the only time I felt really light, fluid, and graceful in my pregnancy.  Whether or not swimming aided in my daughter’s position change, the benefits of swimming in pregnancy were well worth the effort. I highly recommend this method as it is non-bothersome to baby & mom… and just fun!








    Burning herbs at the acupuncture point (BL67) on the little toe to encourage baby to turn.


    Process & Outcome:

    The suggested time is 10 minutes per side, twice a day. I purchased a moxa stick, and used an online guide to locate the correct point, and performed the moxibustion on myself.  Here’s a video guide:



    I have also read that simply massaging this pressure point may help baby correct her position.


    Even after repeated tries at moxibustion, baby did not turn.



    I was not able to find a practitioner with whom I was comfortable to do this procedure with my first pregnancy, so I attempted it myself. Performing moxibustion on myself was uncomfortable – it isn’t easy to get into the correct position when you have a huge belly – think about tying your shoes for 10 minutes at a time.  I set up a block to hold the moxa stick, which did help, but I still found the heat and the smell rather non-relaxing and off-putting.  Perhaps had I found an experienced practitioner, this method would have had a more positive experience. Overall though, it’s non-invasive to baby, so I’d recommend giving it a try; particularly with a willing partner.





    Webster Technique (chiropractic)



    By loosening the ligaments holding baby though a chiropractic technique called the Webster Technique, the uterus will have more flexibility and openness, and baby will have more room to move.


    Process & Outcome:

    Prior to discovering my first baby was breech, I’d never been to a chiropractor.  I found one certified in Webster Technique (which, I believe is SO important – I used a chiropractor not certified in the technique while pregnant with my son – though she was a prenatal & pediatric chiropractor – and her technique was completely different than the chiropractor who treated me with my daughter).


    You can use this search took at the ICPA to find a Webster certified near you: http://icpa4kids.org/Find-a-Chiropractor/


    The visit(s) will consist of back, leg, and lower abdomen/pelvic massage and pressure.  The chiropractor will not (and should not) ever attempt to move or even touch baby – the technique is simply about loosening ligaments which may be holding the bottom of the uterus tightly. 


    More information on the Webster Technique:


    YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et7JuuMrr-Y

    From International Chiropractic Pediatric Association: http://icpa4kids.com/about/webster_technique.htm


    As far as outcome goes: I had ONE visit to the chiropractor while pregnant with my daughter – and she turned THAT NIGHT; I felt her move more in the car on the way home, and that evening than I had at any other time in my pregnancy. With my second pregnancy, I had repeated visits to the chiropractor, and my son never budged.  Again though, he was in a previously sectioned uterus, and had very low fluid levels, and my chiropractor was not certified in Webster Technique.



    My visits to the chiropractor – both with my daughter & my son – were relaxing, rejuvenating, and I always left with a positive outlook. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say its completely non-invasive to mom, because there is a lot of manipulation, it is for the vast majority of the time relaxing non-painful manipulation, so as long as you can tolerate hands-on and lying on your stomach (the appropriate pregnancy pillows are provided), I have nothing but good things to say about the chiropractor.  I highly recommend this method to all women – breech or not – to help optimally position baby.





    External Cephalic Version (ECV)



    To physically turn the baby through external manipulation of mother’s abdomen. 


    Process & Outcome:

    I was checked into the hospital, given a heplock, signed consent forms and warned about the inherent risks to doing an ECV. Once baby’s position had been confirmed again via ultrasound, I was given the option of having pain relief and/or a muscle relaxant, both of which I declined. I was wired with an external fetal heart monitor, and a nurse held a constant ultrasound, and my OB and midwife began the ECV process.  I found the actual process to be very painful, stressful, and unpleasant. The manipulation was extremely forceful – though not blunt – just extreme pressure (my midwife and her OB backup were putting ALL of their muscle into attempting to turn my baby through my contracting uterus) on my sensitive pregnant belly. The first attempt my daughter made it about 3/4s of the way around but would just not move any further, and as soon as they released pressure, she moved herself right back up to breech.  A second attempt was started soon after, which I requested to stop midway through because the pain was too much for me, and I was still not willing to consent to medication. Had I made a different choice in that matter, perhaps the outcome would have been different – that I cannot say for certain.  The outcome was that my daughter did not turn from her breech position, my abdomen was bruised, and I left with a very negative feeling from my midwife (who felt the procedure failed due to my unwillingness to consent to muscle relaxant).


    For information on the procedure: 




    I am torn about this very complex process.  On one hand, having a baby optimally positioned for vaginal labor – heads down, anterior, is what you want. A baby in the “right” position is more likely to move more quickly “down & out”, labor is less trying, painful, and safer for mom.  Less interventions are likely to be requested or necessary, and a baby in the optimal position is less likely to be cesarean sectioned.  On the other hand, the ECV is a highly invasive procedure – and in some hospitals requires an IV, pain medication (even via epidural – which presents its own risks and increased chance of cesarean section), muscle relaxants, and continual fetal monitoring via ultrasound and heart monitor. You are essentially overriding baby’s preferred (for whatever reason) position by force.  It runs counter to how I feel about pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing. And yet, if the procedure is successful, certainly it is less invasive than a cesarean section. I will say that had the ECV process been made available to me during my second pregnancy, I would have had to think long & hard before consenting to the procedure again. It was frightening for me, and concerned both Adam and I how it felt to our baby. 




    I truly hope that by trying some or all of the techniques, are able to help your baby into a more optimal position for a safe, vaginal birth. 


    However, if your baby does not turn, and you & your care provider decide that a cesarean section is the best way to deliver your baby, I would encourage you to read about ways to make your cesarean delivery as comfortable, safe, and satisfying as possible for you, your baby, and your partner. It is my experience that even a c-section delivery can be a wonderful, and even empowering birth experience.  Here are a few links to help you:


    Plan a family centered cesarean:




    The Natural Caesarean: A woman-centered technique:


    Posted: Oct 25 2010, 18:17 by kelly | Comments (12) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Filed under: Pregnancy & Birth

    Music for Kids...AND Their Parents

    Have you ever been driving along in the car, or cleaning up around the house with the kids, with the music on, when you suddenly, unbelievingly, you realize you’ve been singing along (for the 50 bazillionth time) to Raffi’s Baby Beluga?  Which, you really don’t much like? At all.  Has it really come to THIS, you wonder, stink-eyeing the Wiggles CD? What happened to the GOOD music?


    I’m here to say you don’t have to endure Row, Row, Row Your Boat any longer. Just because you're a parent doesn't mean you have to give up the good stuff.  Really. It’s okay. In fact, I think it’s preferable! Kids need exposure to real music, with harmonies, layered instruments, and complex beats.  And adults need… well… let’s put it this way: there’s only so much, “Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun…” that you can sing without losing a little bit of your mind. And we need to maintain ALL of our minds in order to be the best parents we can be, right?


    Right. So, here’s to holding on to sanity, while improving everyone’s musical experience:


    KellyNaturally’s Kids AND Adults Mix:


    1) They Might Be Giants: Women and Men

    2) John Denver: Grandma’s Feather Bed

    3) Straight No Chaser: The 12 Days of Christmas

    4) Squirrel Nut Zippers: Put a Lid On It

    5) Wally Pleasant: If I Were (note: this song DOES use the words prophylactic & crappy… but its so worth it, seriously)

    6) Peter, Paul, & Mary: If I Had a Hammer

    7) Barenaked Ladies: If I Had a Million Dollars

    8) Simon & Garfunkel: 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

    9) Owl City: Fireflies

    10) Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

    11) The Beatles: When I’m 64

    12) Bjork: It’s oh so Quiet

    13) R.E.M.: Shiny Happy People

    14) The B-52s: Rock Lobster

    15) The Chordettes: Lollipop

    16) Bob Marley: Three Little Birds

    17) James Taylor: Jellyman Kelly

    18) The Cure: Friday I’m in Love

    19) Peter Gabriel: Big Time

    20) Paul Simon: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

    (dancing to the good stuff!) 


    Now, if you’re not in the mood for putting together the above mix, here’s a few already complete album cheats:


    - The For The Kids compilations are awesome (there are three) featuring people like Jason Mraz, Lisa Loeb, Moby, Guster, etc. singing kid-themed songs that are quite bearable for adults.


    - Broadway Musicals: There are lots of fabulous musical soundtracks with kid-and-adult friendly songs like Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, The Wiz, etc.


    - They Might Be Giants: They have several “kids” albums which are awesome (Here Come the 123s is my favorite) and many of their “pre-kid-album” songs have innocent-ear-friendly words, like: Women and Men, Why Does the Sun Shine?, Am I Awake?, Dinner Bell, Birdhouse in Your Soul


    - Barenaked Ladies has a kid’s album which is very adult-listenable, called, Snacktime!


    - Dave Matthews Band: While there are some mature-themed songs, the majority of his lyrics aren’t offensive, and they’re all catchy. Plus, each contains LOTS of instruments to pick out for the kids. Besides, DMB just has to rock the mini van now & then.


    What do you all like to listen to with your kids?  Do you smile your way through Laurie Berkner or do you make your kids to listen to the stuff you grew up with, like me?

    Posted: Oct 22 2010, 18:03 by kelly | Comments (6) RSS comment feed |
    • Currently 0/5 Stars.
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5