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The Forgotten Art of Sharing…

I’m really blessed to have so many like-minded friends in my close circle. Call us all a bit old fashioned but we believe in the art of sharing – especially when it comes to household things and kids stuff. What’s not to love about that? Don’t we teach our children that it’s good to share? Aren’t we taught about sharing in school? Yet it seems like when we become adults, magically, the need for sharing disappears! Is it a necessity to share? Probably not…but for frugally (and eco-friendly) minded people like me, why wouldn’t you?

For example – one of my friends was hosting a cocktail party at her house, the only issue was that she didn’t have enough wine glasses. She was fretting and didn’t want to have to purchase or rent the extra glasses that she really only needed for this one occasion. What did she do? She called me and a couple other of her girlfriends up. We each loaned her our wineglasses for her party. We each got them back in perfect condition a couple of days later. Problem solved.

To take it one step further, my friends and I actually make a point not to purchase things like platters, drink dispensers, coolers etc. if we know another friend has it – we purchase something else that will add to the “community pot” if you will. When we host parties, whatever leftover plates/cups/silverware goes into a community pot and is up for grabs for the next event. Plastic table cloths that are in good condition are wiped clean and folded away until someone else wants to use them and the list goes on.

The same goes with children’s items – especially clothes! Kids stay in a clothing size for all of what?…a couple of months – if you’re lucky! Gently used clothes are passed along to the next Mom-To-Be in the group. Other things like swings, bouncers, walkers and other baby items that are still in good condition are also up for grabs. Again, these are all things that are only used for a couple of months, if that. We all keep up to date on safety recalls, make a point to sanitize everything between each pass along and really enjoy seeing another baby getting some use out of the plethora of baby items we all have tucked inside of each of our homes.

In a conversation with an elderly lady, she shared that this was common practice 60 + years ago in “old time” Cayman. People borrowed each other’s China, books, pots, bassinets, clothing items etc. What one person had, the whole community could use. Not only did it add to the sense of community, but it encouraged a respectfulness of items (versus our “throw it away and get a new one” mentality today), and it taught people to take better care of things so that they can be used by the next person and in some cases, the next generation.

To me sharing isn’t just about saving a few dollars, it’s about bringing back the sense of community – building up the village that will play a part in raising my child as well as doing some good stuff for Mother Earth!

Until next time,
Cayman Mummy

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Homemade Goodness

So Cheeks has made it to the solid food phase and so far she’s enjoying every mouthful of it! She is a girl after my own heart though – she prefers the homemade stuff over the store bought, which is fine by me!

Making baby food is really not as time consuming as one might think though…it freezes well and you can easily portion it out to your baby’s needs. Not only is it extremely cost effective to make your own but its also better for baby! Just look on the ingredients listed on some of the baby foods and cereals on the market – I wouldn’t want to eat that stuff much less feed it to Cheeks!

I think homemade cereals are the most scary for new parents to make – at least it was for me…so I’m going to show you just how it easy it is to make your baby’s cereal. You can do any grain using this method – oats, millet or barley even. Today I’m using organic brown rice.

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This bag of rice can make a ton of rice cereal – the equivalent of about five boxes worth of rice cereal but costs about the same as two boxes of the regular rice cereal or one box of the organic rice cereal. Talk about a money saver!

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Here I’ve added one cup of brown rice to the short cup on my fabulous baby bullet that I inherited from a friend. I’ve attached the milling blade to do this part. If you don’t have a baby bullet, a blender, food processor or even a coffee grinder (one that’s never been used, preferably!) could also be used.

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You want to mill it so that it becomes a fine powder like above. You can see the side by side comparison between the brown rice powder and a popular white rice cereal (notice the lack of colourful crystals in the milled brown rice cereal).

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In a decent sized pot, add the rice powder and four times the amount of water (in this case, 4 cups of water). Bring to a boil while stirring frequently. Then reduce it to a simmer and cook it between 20-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to reduce the occurrence of lumps and to prevent the cereal from sticking. You want to keep the ratio to about 1:4 – one part rice to four parts water. When the rice is finished cooking, it should yield a thick cereal that looks like this…

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Allow it to cool and voilà! Homemade Brown Rice Cereal! You can blend it again if you want it super smooth, and you can thin it out very easily as well. No chemicals or crystallized who knows what…just simple, wholesome goodness. I hope you give it a try!

Until next time…

Cayman Mummy

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Sick Babies, Natural Cures…

It’s that time of year, what the older generations usually refer to as “change of weather” – when we transition into a new season. With this “change of weather” unfortunately many little ones get a cough or some sniffles. If you’re anything like me, I want to avoid using as much medication as I can with baby girl. With baby girl starting daycare next week (where I’m sure she will be bombarded with a million germs who have been dying to make her acquaintance) I thought it would be good to fortify my home remedy tool kit. After doing quite a bit if research I’ve found some things I knew and some things that were new…here’s my list so far!

Sniffles/Stuffy Noses and Coughs

1. Breast milk. Nursing moms can enhance the quality of their milk by eating lots of fresh fruit, veggies and fresh juices along with lots of other fluids and vitamins. Not only does breast milk provide some serious antibodies for baby via ingestion, it can also be squirted into baby’s nasal passages instead of saline drops! How cool is that?!
2. Humidifier. Here’s a trick I learned – use filtered or purified/distilled water – NOT tap water. It makes all the difference for me at least! Some moms recommend adding a few drops of apple cider vinegar as well. Be careful with this next item, vapor rub, as it may not be compatible with your humidifier.
3. Vapor Rub. I think we all grew up on this stuff! They even make a gentler one just for babies…rub it on baby’s neck, chest, back and soles of his/her feet for maximum benefit.
4. Bay Rum. Moisten a cloth or piece of cotton with this and dab it on baby’s head. Be careful not to let it get on baby’s face. You can also add some to baby’s bath water as well.
5. Elevate. Keep baby’s head elevated for his/her comfort.
6. Half of a cut onion under the bed is supposed to help absorb the bacteria in baby’s room. This is why people are often advised to use the entire onion when cooking as onions that are cut naturally draw in impurities.
7. Saline drops. A few drops in each nostril and then suction to help baby get rid of mucous. It can also be used to moisten baby’s nasal passages.

Fevers

1. Rose water. Dabbing rose water on baby’s head is supposed to reduce fever.
2. Fresh squeezed limes in a warm bath is also supposed to relieve fever symptoms.

Teething

1. A chicken drumstick bone that has been boiled until its free from any meat/debris is a favorite teething remedy in Cayman as babies for generations have enjoyed gnawing on the bone.
2. Coconut oil. A tiny bit of coconut oil rubbed onto the baby’s gums can ease teething symptoms.

Cradle Cap

1. Coconut oil. Rubbed generously into the scalp can help flakes to come off and prevents more from coming. It also keeps baby’s hair nice and soft.
2. Breast milk. Put some breast milk on the scalp and rub it into the affected area gently. I’ve personally tried this one and let me tell you, it worked literally overnight!

Pink Eye

1. Warm compress to the eye can help to relieve symptoms.
2. Breast milk. Put a few drops in the affected eye. It works almost overnight!

Ear Infections

1. Breast milk. A few drops of breast milk in the affected ear every few hours.
2. Onion juice. 2-3 drops of warm onion juice in the affected ear a couple of times a day.
3. Olive oil. 1-2 drops of warmed olive oil in the affected ear a couple of times a day.
4. Warm compress on the affected ear.
5. Elevate baby’s head to promote drainage.

These are just a handful of the remedies I’ve come across…what’s your favorite home remedies for babies and young children?