Category Archives: Health




Teeth. They make life easier. But they’re tough on us when they first arrive.
With our third little babe, we have been using a genuine baltic amber teething necklace. I’ve never been a Mum that rushes to the medicine cabinet (wait…. we don’t even HAVE a medicine cabinet but you know what I mean) to dose my children up with pharmaceuticals when they have a health issue and teething is no different. A friend told me, when my first baby was still very small, that she never gave her child pain relief medicine for teething but handed her a cold spoon instead. How simple and easy!
So with this in mind, I’ve used cold spoons, homeopathic teething pellets, lots of breast feeding and cuddles and for the first time, we’re now trying the baltic amber necklace. There has been a LOT less drama around teething time (we’re getting a lot more right with this third baby. “Third times a charm” right?) and I attribute it to the pain relieving succinic acid that is released from the amber.
Alongside the normal discomforts a baby has while teething, my third baby also NEEDS to grab, pinch, scratch, just basically cause pain wherever her little hands wander while I’m nursing her. My chest is covered in little tiny scratch marks and scabs. It’s lovely (ugh).
I noticed on a baby bargain website this morning, that teething necklaces were being advertised and I ALMOST clicked ‘buy’. These are the type that Mum wears and baby can play with and chew on. I thought spending $10-$20 was well justified if it was going to save my skin from harm while I continue to feed my child. We have a long road of nursing ahead of us I’m hoping.
Then I remembered that I had a stash of my Grandpa’s old neck ties in a closet and some wooden and plastic beads. I got creative and this is what turned out. It’s just tied in the back. I didn’t unstitch anything from the neck tie and I tried it on this polyester one first before I give it a go on one of his beautiful 100% silk ties. I have darker beads too.
My next step is to find a source of organic wooden beads that are untreated, so that this is a healthier option for my little one to sink her teeth in to if she feels the need.
When little G woke up from her nap she looked at me and then her eyes locked in on the necklace. I’ve only nursed her once since making it so far, but my skin was SAVED!! She held this necklace and played with it every now and then. Then she was done. Voila! No pinches or scratches. I hope it continues.
What do you think of this teething necklace idea?


A week of recipes- Tuesday (Rice Pilaf)


Tuesday brings us Sesame beef and broccoli.
My kids used to eat broccoli and call it a tree or a flower. This made it ‘fun’ to eat broccoli but they were only eating the florets. This trick also only lasted so long. I’ve been having more luck, recently, getting the girls to eat the broccoli stems by cutting them julienne style or in rounds. What they don’t know is that there are more nutrients in the broccoli stem. Mwahaha!

The Sesame beef and broccoli recipe from Jessica Seinfield’s ‘Double delicious’ cookbook was a bit disappointing. It involved adding a carrot puree to make up the sesame beef sauce, along with beef broth, soy sauce, ginger root, sesame oil etc. Once it was time to eat, it surprisingly had very little taste. After tossing in some salt to draw out the flavor, the dish was a little better but not great. The effort V result led me to put it in the ‘glad I tried it but probably won’t do that again’ pile.
The hit of the night was the rice pilaf recipe I made. This also came from Seinfield’s cookbook.
This recipe asks for brown rice which, as a family, we have been trying to switch over to. Our go-to was always steaming basmati rice and I was excited to find a brown basmati rice at our local store. I’m learning how to cook brown rice, retaining the nutrients but cooking it long enough to lose that crunch in the center. This is the tastiest I’ve created so far.

Rice Pilaf -(serves 5… apparently! But I’ll be doubling the recipe next time. My kids were asking for seconds)

  • 2 cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup of cauliflower puree
  • 1 1/4 cups sodium-reduced Chicken Broth (if you don’t have any homemade, this can be a tricky thing to buy. I like the ‘Imagine’ brand of organic Chicken broth that is free of MSG)
  • 1/4 tsp salt.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it just begins to brown at the edges. Add the uncooked rice and toss to coat. Approximately 30 seconds.

Add the cauliflower puree, chicken broth and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook with the lid tightly in place, approximately 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Do not stir!

Let the rice stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

HINT: If you don’t have tightly fitting lids, place a tea towel over the saucepan and then put the lid on to help with the seal. You may need to add a little more water to the rice as the towel can absorb some in the steaming process. A trial and (hopefully not too much) error process.

Cauliflower puree is simply cutting the florets and discarding the stem of a head of cauliflower and steaming it for 8-10minutes. Throw it in a food processor for 2 minutes adding a teaspoon or two of water to create a smooth, creamy texture. This can be added to mac n cheese too! Cauliflower is full of good stuff that the kids don’t have to know about.

DPP 2012 // home made gifts


December 21st
December Photo Project.
My Christmas to-do list is getting smaller thank goodness. These are my stocking stuffers for my Minnesotan family. Homemade disinfectant and homemade wood polishing/dusting agent. Also on my list is chest rub for the kiddos (like Vicks vapor rub without the petrolatum, camphor and turpentine oil ick) and nice smelly room spray. I’m pretty sure none of my Minnesotan family read my blog so it’s safe to post 🙂
BTW I got the awesome bottles for these gifts from


That’s a wrap


If you have received a gift from one of the Bierer family women, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s not just the gift that takes your breath away but the way it is concealed, hidden, presented…. however you want to put it.I’ve had gifts given to me by these women in fabric, sometimes handmade pillowcases all tied with string, ribbon, tulle or yarn. Gifts wrapped in retro styled wallpaper and hand painted paper. It kind of makes my store bought, on-the-way-to-the-party, wrapping paper and generic card look a little bland. So I’ve been challenging myself. Think outside the box Lauren. Be creative. You’re a Bierer woman now too 🙂
Some years have been better than others.
This year, Charlotte and Miriam have been great helpers.
They stamped a large roll of brown paper (so cheap!)
Then, while we waited for it to dry, we searched for a book that we would feel ok ripping pages out of. Hmmmm where could we find a book we wouldn’t feel guilty ripping apart? I had the perfect one!

Have you ever heard of the book ‘Baby Wise’? I hadn’t until a few years ago, and I still haven’t read it from cover to cover, nor do I plan to. It’s not your typical baby book although it may appear that way to the well meaning, first time parent. The book focuses a lot on making your baby fit you, rather than you tending to your baby’s needs and following his cues. This, according to the book, would be the infant having control and manipulating your life. Now we can’t have that, can we! So this book teaches you to feed baby on a schedule (and this is from birth) every three or four hours and apparently soon baby will learn the deal. So it doesn’t matter if baby is starting to suck his hands (cue for hunger) or turn his face towards your chest or to the side (cue for hunger) or smack his lips (cue for hunger) or finally, out of frustration, starts crying (last cue for hunger), you don’t feed him until the clock says. Same for sleep. If you decide that 7pm is bedtime. Baby has to learn that and get it right every night and there’s little comfort given and definitely NO ‘giving in’ because that would be your baby controlling the house. (Can you hear my sarcasm?)

This book is dangerous. It misleads well-intentioned parents who believe that what they’ve read in a book must be the right thing to do and that they’re instincts are wrong. Extra fuel to the fire is the fact that the authors, a husband/wife team, share their Christian beliefs and try their best to tie it in to ignoring your baby when he is hungry. It has the potential to lead to malnourished and anxiety filled babies. This book has been slammed by pediatricians, the AAP has publicky recommended against it and some people have even petitioned for it to be removed from store shelves. The authors have since changed a few chapters but this book is still bad news. Why do I have a copy you ask?
Once I learnt about this book, I took it upon myself to restrict its availability in my area. So, whenever I go to a thrift store or secondhand book store, I do a quick check of the baby book section. Usually they’re only 50cents, and I buy them so that no one else can. I also hide the new copies of this book when I go to the local Barnes & Noble. Placing them behind some bottom shelf books in the travel section or graphic novel area is a pretty good way to keep them out of sight for a while. You can do this too.
If you want to read more about this book see here and here. For a Christian perspective, read this.

So anyway, I ran upstairs to get one of my copies out of the closet. I had been waiting for a good bonfire night but this is good too. We started ripping pages out ….

Folding and cutting them….

A hole punch, a piece of string and some cute hand writing by Charlotte….

And voila! A contender for a well wrapped Bierer family present.