Vaccine exemption for personal belief in KS
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The House committee Health and Human Services is about to consider a new exemption for immunization based on reasons of conscience or personal belief. There are already medical and religious exemptions.

Find your House member with this link http://www.ipsr.ku.edu/ksdata/vote/ or just email the entire committee: jim.denning@house.ks.gov; barbara.bollier@house.ks.gov; brenda.landwehr@house.ks.gov; Owen.Donohoe@house.ks.gov; j.stephen.alford@house.ks.gov; bob.bethell@house.ks.gov; terry.calloway@house.ks.gov; david.crum@house.ks.gov; phil.hermanson@house.ks.gov; ann.mah@house.ks.gov; peggy.mast@house.ks.gov; kelly.meigs@house.ks.gov; susan.mosier@house.ks.gov; bill.otto@house.ks.gov; geraldine.flaharty@house.ks.gov; ed.trimmer@house.ks.gov; jim.ward@house.ks.gov; brian.weber@house.ks.gov; valdenia.winn@house.ks.gov

Sample Email:

Dear Rep. W.,

It has come to my attention that the House Health and Human Services committee is considering a new exemption, HB 2094, for immunizations based on reasons of conscience and personal belief. As the mother of three young sons, I strongly support this bill as I believe that parents, not the state, should have the final say in what immunizations their children receive. The current exemptions for medical and religious reasons are not sufficient. Many faiths, including my own, do not formally weigh-in on the issue of vaccination. This puts parents who, for well-formed reasons of their own, disagree with the current mandated vaccination schedule at odds with the current law.

I am proud to live in a state with a strong history of supporting individual freedom. HB 2094 extends freedom for parents.

While I know that you are not on the Health and Human Services committee, I hope that if HB 2094 gets out of committee, you will throw your support behind it.

Sincerely,

K.B.

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Plastic People
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Look around your house…I bet you see a common thread among your belongings.  Most if not all of the products in your home contain some form of plastic.  From the polyester in your carpet to the polycarbonate of storage boxes and table ware.  Your TV, your computer, even many of your clothing items contain plastics.  Plastic is of itself is a wonderful thing, advances in medicine, travel, and daily life would never have been possible without this man made component.  However like many things in our world you can have too much of a good thing.  Plastic has taken over our lives and it may be time for you to put it in its place.

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!  Why should you recycle.  It is pretty simple, your trash doesn’t become someone else’s treasure if it is thrown in a landfill.  In fact it may be a cause in destroying the habitats of wildlife and washing up on the beaches of paradise.  Did you know that there is an island made of trash and plastic the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean.  Trade winds and currents have landed this massive trash heap from around the world into what used to be clean waters.  The Plastic Island rests just below the surface of the water, although high volume sections do surface.  What can you do to stop this Island from growing?  If you choose to use plastic containers, like what might be a 20oz water bottle or soda liters, please recycle them.  Choose to use reusable shopping bags and recycle the plastic ones that you already have.  You can find bins at many supermarkets where you can recycle old cell phones, glasses, and ink cartridges.  Many recycling centers won’t take harder plastics like lawn chairs, but look around and you can find places that will recycle these types of plastics.

Chemicals.  Another issue with having too much plastic in your life is the off gassing of chemicals.  Studies have shown that these chemicals can cause cancers, infertility, and other degenerative diseases.  If you have already made the choice to cloth diaper, then you’re one step ahead.  Even though pocket diapers and covers do have plastics in them they are far preferable to thousands of disposable diapers which will take hundreds of years to decompose.  The same goes for disposable menstrual products, use a menstrual cup or cloth pads instead of disposable tampons and pads.  Recent findings about the dangers of BPA have led many manufacturers of baby products to make their bottles and pacifiers from BPA free plastic.  This is a great improvement, however only BPA has been tested so far, many of the other chemicals and softeners in these plastics have not been thoroughly tested to be safe for food products.  You can choose to use glass bottle and stainless steel cups instead of plastic feeding tools to reduce you and your children’s exposure to harmful chemicals even more.

Is anything safe?  The truth is we don’t know enough about plastics to decide whether they are really safe or not.  They have taken up residence in our lives and aren’t likely to move on anytime soon.  The best thing to do is to research the things you buy.  If I were to remove all the toys from my son’s room that had plastic, nearly everything would have to be thrown out.  Rather than become paranoid about every single plastic in your house just make good choices from here on out.  Buy toys that made from recycled materials, like Automoblox, and Green toys.   Another advantage to these is that many are made in the US and are local companies.  When buying clothes look for fabrics that don’t contain polyester and throw out all the old plastic cups in your cabinet.  Most importantly don’t make trash.  It may be easier to use plastic forks at a cookout, but real cutlery is safer for you and your world.  It is the little choices each of us make that will contribute the most to keeping our planet green and us from becoming plastic people.

 

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More than a Pocket
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I used to think that I needed individual diapering systems to fulfill all my needs.  For instance I needed a hybrid system for traveling, an AI2 for the diaper bag, and pockets for at home and for bedtime.  But have since realized that I don’t actually need different systems for separate occasions.  Your favorite diapers can double as other styles if you just make a few adjustments.

I love pockets, the fit is always perfect and I never worry about leaks.  However putting four to six pockets in my diaper bag for a day out doesn’t leave much room for anything else.  Some simple sewing can turn your favorite pocket into whatever you need it to be.

Make it an AI2:   I purchased extra microfiber inserts and then sewed fleece to the top of them making them stay dry and safe to be against baby’s skin.  You could use the inserts that came with your diapers as well, just remember to stuff them with the fleece side down when using as a pocket.  By making your own stay dry inerts you can now simply lay them on top of an unstuffed pocket and voila you have a simple and cost effective All in Two system without having to do too much sewing wizardry.  You may wonder if the fleece becomes wet.  I haven’t noticed an issue and several companies such as Softbums have similar systems.  You can reuse your pocket All in Two about 3 times or until it is soiled with solids.  Use this same technique to turn your covers into AI2 systems.  It is much simpler to bring along a few inserts instead of prefolds or fitteds.

Fuzzibunz Pocket as an AI2

Thirsties Cover as an AI2

Make it a Hybrid:  There is absolutely no reason why you cannot use disposable inserts laid on top of a pocket.  I fact it works quite well.  Last year for our vacation I bought a hybrid system just for the trip.  This year I am going to pick up some inserts and use the pockets and covers I already have.  In my experience Grovia Biosoakers work the best for this purpose.  They have a sort of waterproof backing that keeps the fleece from your pocket from feeling damp, I also like that they have an adhesive to make them stick in place.  I have used Flip and Gdiaper inserts as well and both work fine.  Also if you use an AIO diaper like Fishnoodles where the insert is detachable you can use Grovia Biosoakers in them as well since the cotton or bamboo will not become wet.

Fuzzibunz Pocket as a Hybrid

Thirsties Cover as a Hybrid

 

It can be frustrating enough to find a diaper that fits your baby perfect, let alone one that meets all your needs.  By thinking side the label your diaper brand has been given you may find that meets more of your requirements in the perfect diaper than you originally thought.  There is no rule saying you have to use products exactly as they come.  If you love pockets but hate microfiber, then stuff them with hemp, flats, or prefolds.  The diaper police won’t come after you.  If you need a swim diaper re purpose a cover or pocket.  Make your stash work for you rather than constantly trying to discover Holy Grail of products.  Finding multiple purposes for what you already have will save you money, time, and peace of mind.

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A Plain Christmas
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While watching a documentary on the Amish I began to wonder if I could ever live without all the trappings of modern society.  Did I even want to?  In general I love electricity and indoor plumbing and couldn’t ever see myself giving up jeans or the radio, but there are definitely some principles to be learned from a simple lifestyle.  And what a better time to explore these ideas than the Christmas season.  To often we become more preoccupied with the next big sale rather than focusing on what actually matters during the holidays.  In a world where you can be maced on black Friday for taking a big ticket item before someone else, I think it is time to take a step back and evaluate our principles as a society and as individuals.  I have listed below some key ideas in creating a “plain” Christmas.  You may not be able to do all of them, but I would encourage you to look at your own lives and see what you can do without, chances are that you might find the reason for the season buried under everything else.

1. Goodbye 485 Channels of Nothing: If your house was burning down, the first thing you would grab would not be your TV (your husband may try, but in the end the kids and dog would win out).  So why is it that the TV gets more attention than our families.  Too many American families make television a center of their life, mine included.  This year we made a pledge to go TV free all of Christmas week.  We are going to try really hard to stick with this.  if you don’t think you can make it the whole week, then at least try to make Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV free zones.

2. Hello Family Time: Now that your TV is gone you may be wondering what to do with all that free time.  Play a game.  Games are wonderful ways to spend time with your family while teaching good manners and following directions.  Children as young as 2 years old can learn to play games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.  They may not understand all the rules but they will enjoy getting your attention and learning something new.  Another side to this sitting as a family at the dinner table every night, rather than grabbing fast food.

3.  Do You Need It: I sometimes feel like I need to buy my toddler everything in sight but the truth is, he is just as excited about a $1 car as he would be a $100 game console.  When making gift purchases this year really consider whether the item is needed.  I can’t tell you how many toys i have purchased that have ended up broken and in the trash six months later.  Choose good quality products, quantity should never be a factor when Christmas shopping.  I recently heard some good advice on the radio.  It was suggested to buy only four gifts for a loved one or your children.  They were Something you Need, Something you Want, Something to Wear, and Something to Read.  That is a knockout principle that we could all live by when needing to reign the holiday spending.

4. Give Like You won’t Receive: Don’t get trapped into a tit for tat relationship while gift giving.  Don’t expect anything in return for what you give, also don’t spend more than you can afford simply because you know someone else is buying an expensive gift for you or another family member.

5. Winter Cleaning:  Go through your home and clean out everything you don’t need.  I recently did this and found that I had 3 boxes of clutter that I never used.  Take good condition items to a shelter or the Salvation Army and pitch the rest.  Try selling bigger items on craigslist or ebay and use the money towards a family outing.

There are so many more things you can do.  Make gifts for family members, craft your own decor, and attempt cooking from scratch.  The main idea is to get back to basics.  Remove the white noise from your life and enjoy your family this holiday season.

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Motherly Duties
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If you were to write out the long list of motherly duties that your day entails it would be a lengthy list indeed.  But that’s the day-to-day stuff.  I think it’s important to zoom out sometimes and look at the bigger picture and pinpoint some greater and more life changing duties than doing laundry and wiping noses.

As a mother you have two very important duties that I think we should all reflect on: memory maker and memory keeper.

Memory Maker: It is often times moms who set family traditions.  Maybe it’s pancakes every Saturday morning, decorating the tree the day after Thanksgiving, or ending the day with a particular phrase.  Whatever it may be, it’s so important to make these memories and traditions with our children.  They help bind you together as a family and shape your children’s childhood.

Memory Keeper: If you were to ask your own mom about your childhood, she probably has a few stories from different times, but would be hard pressed to detail much about those years.  I can hardly remember what happened yesterday with my children; I can only imagine how it will be 20-30 years from now.  But as a mom, you are the keeper of your family’s story.  Those memories you make should be recorded!

So, if you are looking for a New Year’s resolution or just a new habit to get into, I urge you to take on these two roles with zeal.  Come up with new traditions to do with your children.  Make yourself stick to it!  Then either dust off their oft forgotten baby books or scrapbooks and fill them out.  If you are like me and never seem to keep up with those, start a family blog.  Don’t worry about readership, being clever, or having the fanciest pictures or DIY’s to show.  Focus on writing down the day to day.  Share how mothering makes you feel.  Tell the funny little story about what your toddler did that day.  You will forget these things, but when grown, your children will cherish them.  Give them the gift of your family story, for you are the memory maker and keeper.

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