Category Archives: Frugal home

Baby Tristan: Our Unassisted Birth Story

our unassisted home birth story, natural birth

Given that I had never given birth before, I’m not quite sure how to write a birth story.  But it was an amazing birth and our little guy is so precious, so I had to share.  Bear with me.

The Stats:

Tristan Amadeus Elihu was born on December 19th at 5:14am.  He weighed 7 pounds, 5.5 ounces, and was 20 1/4 inches long.  He also had the largest feet I’ve ever seen on a newborn.  Even after feeling him kick me for so long, I wasn’t expecting such massively long feet.  This child will be tall.

10 minutes old. So precious!
10 minutes old. So precious!
The Details:

I spent Thursday December 18th sitting on a yoga ball because it made my legs feel better (I developed hip flexor tendonitis during the last few months of pregnancy which made walking sometimes painful).  I was due the following Tuesday, but because this was my first baby I was expecting to go overdue, so bouncing on a yoga ball was not a means for me to induce labor.  I had had one or two mild contractions a day since Sunday.  Nothing about that day was abnormal, maybe 3-5 contractions but nothing painful or regular.  I went to bed around 10pm.

Peter woke me up at 11:50pm, feeling guilty that he had just finished watching the entire 3rd series of Sherlock.  As we were talking, I felt a contraction in my back (babe was facing the wrong way, so I was anticipating back labor).  I mentioned that I felt it and we continued talking.  About 3 minutes later I felt another one, so I pulled out my phone and opened the “time my contractions” app and Peter and I started timing.  Yep, 3 minutes apart, lasting a minute each.

I read a Native American Proverb that said “if a woman lies down during labor, the baby will not come out.”  That’s enough to scare anyone into being mobile.  I got out of bed and walked around the bedroom for an hour.  Around 1am I knew this was the real deal, and finally convinced Peter that it was time for him to head out to Walmart to get the last of our needed supplies (thankfully our birthing kit had just arrived that afternoon).  We talked on the phone while he was gone and I started getting things ready for the birth and recovery.  As he ran around WalMart trying to find graham crackers and coconut water for me to snack on during labor, I was mixing oils for my recovery spray and getting out the first few things we would need from the birthing kit.  I called our friend who was going to attend the birth for moral support and let her know, but at this time I was still walking and talking through contractions.  She told me to call her back when I felt like I wouldn’t be able to cross the street during a contraction.

Peter got home and we put the big pads on the bed and the new sheet.  It took me about 10 minutes because by this time contractions were every two minutes and lasting a minute each.  They were strong enough that now I wasn’t able to walk through contractions, they were more comfortable if I squatted and leaned against the bed.

My water broke around 2am and contractions came faster and stronger.  I massaged Deep Blue and black pepper essential oils into my back and Peter helped with some counter pressure massage during contractions.  I asked him to blow up my yoga ball so I could carry out my original birth plan of laboring in the living room on a yoga ball with my face in a diffuser of Balance essential oil while watching Disney movies.  The plug for the ball was missing, so we tried to duct tape it closed.  It didn’t work.  Plan B: move the diffuser to the bedroom to labor in there.  Only problem was the only open outlet was on Peter’s side of the bed.  This meant he got a much stronger effect from this oil, and he became *very* relaxed. I tried to lay down and get some rest, but the contractions were so much more painful laying down.  No wonder so many women get epidurals!  If I had to lay down the whole time I would get one too.  It was SO much better to be able to move and walk and plié through contractions.

Related: The Hippie Mama’s Guide to a Natural Pregnancy

I, however, was waddling to the bathroom so frequently  that I just decided to stay there. A sweet friend from Facebook was messaging me since she had seen our hint that I was in labor. Her mom had been a birth attendant a long time ago and she herself had just had a home birth a few months prior.  She texted me all throughout labor.  Finally I decided I didn’t want to labor by myself any longer but was now stuck in the bathroom.  Peter was so relaxed from the oils that I called for him (somewhat frantically) six times before he stumbled into the hallway, fell into the door and laid down on the floor.  Methinks I put too much oil in the diffuser.  Anyway, he perked up and found some relaxing music to play on Youtube.  He got the towels that we had reserved for birth and laid them under me.  When the contractions became so intense and I had trouble relaxing through them, he asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary, “since obviously I’ll be cooking it this year.”

That was just what I needed, because the next contraction Tristan was born! I had relaxed enough that my body knew what to do and I only pushed once or twice.  He came so quickly we were both surprised.  Peter jumped up and ran into the kitchen as I yelled “oh my god it’s a baby!” (not really sure what else I was expecting) and Tristan commenced his screaming.  He cried for 6 minutes straight.  I told Peter “it’s a boy!” and he quickly grabbed his phone and called his family (at 5:20 in the morning) and yelled “I HAVE A SON!” I did a full ICU assessment on him while I admired his little self (and his large feet).

I called our birth attendant friend (oh yeah, I finally forced myself to call her again around 4:30) and she answered with “so boy or girl?”.  She arrived around 6:30 and helped get everyone cleaned up, oiled up, and settled.  We anointed Tristan with Frankincense on his soft spot and Balance on his feet and along his spine.  I used helichrysum and clary calm on my abdomen before doing the “uterus massage” (i.e., pushing your fist around the belly several times every hour to help the uterus go back down to size.  Pleasant).  Peter’s mom arrived around 7 and after she held Tristan she took Peter out to our favorite coffee spot (and they brought home a big latte for me and a new mug I had been wanting!).

The Conclusion:

It was a beautiful birth and extra special because it was just me and my husband there.  I was calm, focused, and in the moment so much that our friend was laughing at me as just two hours after birth I was taking pictures of Tristan being held by his daddy (the one below is my favorite!) and calmly rescheduling meetings with people (hey, I was expecting to go overdue!).  I believe the proverb was right, movement in labor is KEY!  Since I only attempted laying down the once, the majority of the labor I was working with gravity, not against it.  My labor and delivery with my first baby was an almost unheard of 5 1/2 hours!

Tristan was so excited to meet his daddy!
Tristan was so excited to meet his daddy!

Also, I have no idea how women go through labor, delivery, and recovery without essential oils.  They are amazing!

first family photo!
first family photo!

Creating the Perfect Frugal Date Day

My husband works long hours, so when he gets a day off we try to make the most of it!  Besides errands, we added in some fun this past Thursday!

We started off the day at the library to use the printer.  While there, Mr. Crunchy borrowed 4 movies I’ve never seen before. Total cost as long as we return them by the due date: free!

Starbucks is doing a Buy One, Get One Free deal on their fall-themed drinks (pumpkin spice latte, salted caramel latte, and the amazing Oprah chai) through tomorrow between 2-6pm.  We haven’t been to any coffee place in a very long time due to our budget. When we want fun coffee I usually make some at home.  We stopped there and got grande lattes.  Total: $5.

Pumpkin Spice and Salted Caramel…mmmmm…...


Mr. Crunchy loves trains and several months ago we had talked about doing a date day at the Museum of Transportation – until we saw the price ($12/adult).  I noticed a month or so ago that Groupon had a deal for two tickets (and two tickets to ride the miniature train!) for $10.  Money was still tight, so we thought about it for awhile.  On Labor Day, the price went down to $7.50!  SOLD!

We got there about an hour after the last train ride for the day, so the nice man at the ticket counter gave us two tickets for the train. They don’t expire, so we are planning on returning in the spring for Baby Crunchy’s first train ride experience.

The weather was absolutely beautiful!  It was so nice to walk around outside.  Inside they had a whole building of classic cars – including TWO 1957 Chevy BelAirs (my favorite cars).  I was thoroughly fascinated, and once again talked my poor husband’s ear off about how I want one someday. He’s really very patient with me.

We needed groceries and as we did a power-walk through Aldi (armed with our list and the calculator), I noticed that not only were we under budget, but the Hawaiian take-and-bake pizzas were marked down from $5.99 each to $2.99 each!  There were two left, so we snatched them both up. We had one for dinner while we watched one of the movies from the library and froze the other one.  Total: $2.99

So to recap, we spent all day together, got coffee, went to the Museum of Transportation, and enjoyed a pizza and a movie date night for the grand total of less than $16. We also walked around the mall and bought Mr. Crunchy a new pair of pants at Macy’s and only paid $5 after using a gift card!

What do you do for some frugal dates?

Note on Groupons: you can purchase them through your Swagbucks account and earn 6 Swagbucks per dollar you spend!

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Groupon fun! {AKA, our lobster adventure- and a special!}

Last year around this time, I purchased a Groupon for a lobster dinner for 6 – 6 lobsters, 6 crab cakes, and 4 lbs of mussels, all from Maine, which is basically the best place to eat any of those things.  And then I forgot about it.

Until I got a notification “your Groupon is about to expire!”

Our finances have been tight recently and so fun things like eating out and indulging endlessly on pumpkin spice lattes have been cut, so the thought of a huge lobster dinner that I already paid for a long time ago? What fun!

We invited another young, newly-ish married and expecting couple over for dinner.  They brought a salad and some delicious chocolate gelato and we prepared for quite the feast!

And then we realized that none of us had ever cooked lobster.  I just kept thinking of the “lobster killer” scene from “Julie and Julia.”


And then we realized I was the only one to have ever successfully dismembered a lobster.  And we didn’t have the cracking tools.  Oh well, we made the best of it!

A peak into our adventures (sorry for the quality of the pictures, the phone was a lot less cumbersome than my big DSLR camera!):

Opening the box!


Two pots with lobsters, one skillet with white wine and LOTS of butter for the mussels!
Two pots with lobsters, one skillet with white wine and LOTS of butter for the mussels!


First course: crab cakes and caesar salad. So delicious.
First course: crab cakes and caesar salad. So delicious.
Second course: Lobster.
Second course: Lobster.

It took awhile to figure out the best ways of cracking open the lobster without the proper lobster-cracking tools.  There may or may not have been moments where juices and meat flew across the kitchen in the midst of the struggle.

Mr Crunchy wasn't sure about this idea.
Mr Crunchy wasn’t sure about this idea.

By the time the mussels were ready I was far too excited (and my fingers were too messy) to take pictures of the rest of the meal.  But rest assured, the mussels were delicious as well.  And so was the gelato (thanks, friends!).

It was such a treat to be able to share an extravagant meal with friends, especially since we are all on tight budgets and Helen and I spend a lot of time talking about budgeting and swapping healthy frugal recipes.

Since we had 2 lobsters, 2 crab cakes, and a whole lot of mussels left over, I’ve been using the leftovers and making things like lobster salad, lobster pasta with a tomato-basil cream sauce (with a drop of Basil essential oil – OMG amazing!), seafood chowder (Mr Crunchy said it was the best he’s ever had- success!), macaroni and cheese with mussels and peas, and tonight we will have the crab cakes that have been frozen with some salad and corn muffins.

I contacted the company and told them how much we enjoyed our meal and asked if there were any specials I could tell you all about.  There are!  For a limited time (read: he didn’t tell me when this special is ending), you can get the lobster dinner for 6 for $199 (normally $310!).  Not ready to deal with lobster guts or the slightly emotionally traumatic event of boiling a live lobster? Check out their most popular seller, the 2 lbs of fresh picked lobster meat for $129 (normally $149).

Have you ever had a homemade lobster dinner?  Do you even like seafood?

Note: These links are NOT my affiliate links.  I don’t get anything back from this if you purchase. I just got really excited about seafood and I thought you might, too. 🙂

How to Earn Money with Swagbucks

With the baby coming, I’m looking for ways to creatively stretch our budget to include money for fun splurges, like a trip to Starbucks, cute things from the Target dollar bin, or the occasional Paleo “treat” online (spiralizer, anyone?). It’s hard to justify those splurges when we have a budget that we stick to, so I’ve been enjoying practicing contentment and making the most of what we have.  It’s really been a great lesson, but it’s nice to be able to provide some extra fun into our week too!

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks?  

I used it a lot several years ago, and then for whatever reason I stopped.  However, a few weeks ago when I was looking for ways to give us a bit more “fun” money, I resigned up for Swagbucks and am over halfway to earning my first gift card!

How do you earn points? 

– The most popular way to earn points is through using their search engine. When you search, you can earn several points (usually I earn 11 points).  This doesn’t happen every time you type something, but usually every 3-5 times.  I do a lot of searching during the day anyway, so I can collect points that way.  Plus, if you install their toolbar, you get points daily just for having it exist on your computer.

– Answering the daily poll earns you 1 point a day.

– Watching videos earns you 3 points for every 10 videos you earn.  I usually open them in a separate tab, mute my computer, and have them going in the background while I work.  You can do this until you run out of videos.  Usually I earn 6 points a day.

– Daily deals are my favorite!  If you normally shop at Amazon, Walmart, Kohls, even Groupon and Living Social, you can purchase through Swagbucks and earn a certain amount of points back per dollar.

– By printing their coupons and using them, you earn points back.

– Referrals.  They changed their referral policy from what it was the last time I was a member and now when you refer someone you get 10% of their points for life! (used to be matched for the first 60 days and then nothing).

– Bonus points.  You have a “daily goal” to earn a certain number of points a day.  If you do, you get awarded with 3 extra Swagbucks.

Maybe you want a little bonus money. Maybe you want to pay for Christmas gifts for free.  Maybe you need some wiggle room with your grocery budget.  Swagbucks is a great way to get you any of those!  So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start earning those gift cards!

{This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}


How we are Saving $312 a Year on Laundry

How to save $312 a year on laundry

Laundry. An unfortunate reality of apartment-dwellers, “laundry day” often means walking around outside with a basket full of your delicates, no matter what the weather. It also means a never-ending search for quarters. Every time you need quarters, you have to go to an ATM or write a check to have something to trade at customer service at the grocery store  for a roll of quarters.

Peter and I recently  started doing laundry at our apartment complex.  After a few all-day laundry affairs where we felt tied to the apartment and scouring the car for extra quarters because the jeans didn’t finish drying in one round, we started hanging our laundry to dry over the shower.

This idea may seem really simple to you, and perhaps a little inconvenient, but Peter calculated that it costs about $1.50-2 to dry each load.  We typically do a few loads twice a week, so now we only dry one load with the smaller items. We also bought a few drying racks for the laundry that needs to lat flat (like sweaters).

Peter estimates that this one small adjustment saves us around $6 a week, which adds up to $312 a year!  With all of our other budget cuts, this helps that much more. It’s exciting to be able to see so much difference with our budget!

For more money-saving tips, download a free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!