Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baby. Show all posts

Mar 10, 2013

DIY Birth Announcement


Hey Friends,

For a quick post, I wanted to share with you my DIY birth announcement for Noah.  Like most new moms, I was excited to share Noah's arrival with the world.  But I wanted to do something different and more unique than the standard birth announcement.  Plus, I was determined to DIY and save some money in the process. 

So I browsed the internet for some ideas.  I thought it would be really cool to play the whole baby as a "package" angle.  You know, sorta akin to the whole stork thing.  Going along with that, I found a really cool graphic art website (which for the life of me I can't locate again), that had a birth announcement formatted to look like a shipping card.  It. was. Awesome.  And I was determined to replicate it and add my own twist. 

That takes me to Word Publisher, which apparently has become a useful program to me!  It took me many hours to create all the lines and bubbles, and get it just right, but I ended up with a document that looked like this....


This isn't an exact replica of the one I found on the web, but it is very similar.   
Fun right?  As you can see the card is arranged into 11 sections.  Each section details certain information about the "package".  The graphics on the label are from google images and I  made up the different serial numbers. I arranged my word document so that two of these fit onto one page.  I then bought some cardstock in a tan-ish color from Michaels to print the announcements out on.  I wanted something "sturdier" so that it would look and feel more official. 
The next step was the fun one.  Filling in the details on each card!
What I really loved about these announcements was how personal they were.  I thought it would be fun for my family and friends to read a little about Noah and about the delivery.  As you can tell from the photo, I had to fill out info not only about his size but also about his looks, personality, and my labor.  More interesting and fun to read wouldn't you say? 

For the envelopes, I used rather large manila ones to complete the "packaged mail" look of the announcement.  And well they wouldn't be complete without a picture, so I printed out pictures at the local pharmacy and attached them to each announcement with a colorful paper clip I had on hand. 

Voila, the finished product!  The postage was a little extra due to the size of the envelopes, but I felt it worth it to receive this ultra-awesome announcement (in my opinion)!

So there you go folks.  Thought I'd share my DIY birth announcement in case any of you were looking for some inspiration for your own! 










 
PS If you are interested in my announcement, message me and I can share the Word Publisher file with you =)

Mar 6, 2013

HONEST Diapers. Part II

In my last post I talked about how cloth diapers sadly did not work for us or for Noah.  As sad as I was over this failure, my discovery of an awesome alternative diaper lessened the disappointment.  If I couldn't have all the benefits of the cloth diaper, I was determined to find an equal that offered almost as many.
Luckily I was flipping through my free Parenting magazine in the mail (before Noah was born) and stumbled across an ad/article for Jessica Alba's brand new company called "Honest Co Diapers."  The article tooted the horn of her all-natural, biodegradable,and stylish baby diapers.  I was curious, plus the designs were too cute to ignore.  So I went to her site and took a gander.  What I saw was impressive...monthly diaper bundles delivered right to your front door tailored to the size and needs of your baby.  (Sidebar: The site now offers a lot more than it did when I originally took a look after the company launched a year ago).

As impressed as I was, I was still determined (at the time) to make the cloth diapers work out.  So, I kept this alternative tucked away in the back of my brain just in case.  In the meantime I ordered myself one package of size 1 diapers to have on hand.  My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to see what the fuss was about.



So after Noah was born, we used newborn diapers that I'd received from my baby shower. Because my mom made me an awesome diaper cake, we had a TON.  There was a mixture of Pampers and Huggies.  Out of the two I preferred the Huggies, but to be honest, they both had an awful chemical smell after Noah peed in them.  I wasn't being neurotic either, Dan could smell it too. Noah's growth out of the newborn size diapers coincided with our brief stint initially trying out the cloth diapers. Well you know how that ended if you read the last post.  If not, check that out (cloth diapers) here. So finally the time came to test the Honest Diapers package I had in the back of the closet.  I secretly had high hopes for J.Alba's stylish, earth friendly, baby bootie huggers, and they did not disappoint! Short verdict....we LOVED these diapers. Yup the hubby liked them too.  And so does Noah!  He seems very comfortable in them, doesn't fuss over dirty diapers as often, moves around well, and stays dry overnight....So here's my breakdown on these dipes.


1.  They didn't stink! like the other disposables. I don't know about you people, but every time Noah wet his other disposable diapers, there was a distinct smell they carried.  The smell just reminded me of all the nasty chemicals that go into those things to make them so dang absorbent.  The HONEST diapers have never emitted a smell as far as Dan and I can tell.
2.  They fit Noah nicely.  We've only had one or two leaky overnight diapers in 7 months!One of the other problems with the cloth diapers was that they bunched in weird places and created gaps in others.  The Honest diapers have a double flap on the bottom for extra coverage and they have a nice shape when tucked around Noah's itty bitty waist.
How stinkin cute is that bum?  This is the lumber-jack pattern, my personal favorite!
3.  They are super cute and fun.  (You can pick which patterns you would like delivered and they are always designing new ones)  If you haven't been able to tell, I'm all about fun and style when it comes to the little things.  Call me silly but slapping on one of these cute thangs makes diaper changes a little more enjoyable to me!
4.  Noah has had ZERO problems with diaper rash.  He has never (knock on wood) had any break down on his bum or any other sort of irritation. 
5.  They are delivered right to our door, so we don't ever have to run to the grocery store real quick when we run out of diapers. Man, you got to love the little conveniences in life where you can get them.  And not having to cart diapers out of the Target or Kmart is one of those little conveniences.
My February Supply of Diapers =)
6.  They are friendly to earth.  Seriously we love earth.  Don't believe me? Take a gander at the beautiful receipt I get to look at every month.  This paper is so pretty and fun it takes a little extra effort for me to toss it out.  I think I have the last few in a drawer just because they are so pretty to look at.  (I know, that's weird). 
Look closer...
SEEEEEE.  Look at all of those multi-syllabic words that no one can pronounce.  Eeck.

7.  They are reasonably priced (approx $80/mo) considering the convenience, healthiness,  stylishness, and environmentally friendliness they offer. Their website lists a market price comparison and they do pretty well when matched up against other popular disposable brands. 

8.They practice what they preach.  Look closely people.  See that little logo in the bottom right hand corner of the sheet.
100% recycled paper.  Boy do they make recycling look chic.


Behold this gem.  What mom wouldn't love opening up this pretty box every month?
So do I have you interested yet?  I promise I'm not getting anything from the Honest company to endorse their diapers, I just love them so much, I want to share them with the world!  Plus their company is barely a year old, so people are still unaware it exists!  So, at least go take a looksie at the site!  J. Alba has really outdone herself....if diapers aren't your thing, you'll be able to find something else to try out.  Her site is now complete with a "green" version of (almost) every household and self care item under the sun. From laundry detergent to all purpose cleaning spray to shampoo and conditioner.  They have it.  The only other products I've personally tried are the dryer sheets (highly recommend!)  And hand sanitizer (jury's still out).

So head on over there now!  And let me know what you think.

Mar 5, 2013

So About Cloth Diapers...HONESTly.Part I

Hi Friends,

So awhile back, before Noah was born, I wrote this post on cloth diapering.  As you can tell from reading it, Dan and I had really high hopes for the whole cloth diapering process.  We were determined to make it work.  Unfortunately, we ran into some big obstacles along the way, and I'm back again to reflect on our decision and share our experience for those of you thinking about cloth diapering. 

First off, let's recap why we wanted cloth diapering to work so badly!
1.  To save money!  (If you haven't noticed, that's a big theme in my blog ;-)
2.  To be kind to earth.  (Also another theme of mine)
3.  To be kind to my little one's butt.  (There are some nasty chemicals in disposable diapers!)

Yup that pretty much sums it up.  So Dan and I didn't officially give the cloth diapers a "go" until Noah was about 3-4 weeks old.  Reason being, his little legs were just too small for the leg holes.  We were having leakage issues. That first time around (3-4 weeks old), we trialed them for 4-5 weeks.  Here were our initial thoughts after that period.

Thoughts:
1.  They were Time Consuming:  Frequent diaper changes made these cloth diapers pile up fast.  As a result, I was doing cloth diaper laundry every day (which I expected, however with a newborn, it was hard to find the time to do a load and then hang dry them, and then fold them)  Some people just throw them in the dryer, but that is not recommended, so the extra hanging and folding took some time.
2. They were Dirty/Messy:  Ok I know this one is obvious.  I knew that cloth diapers would mean

getting our hands a little dirty...or if you have a baby like our son, a lot dirty.  Obviously by agreeing to cloth diaper, you forgo the perks of nice bundling and quick disposability other diapers offer.  There is no diaper genie-ing or disappearing of hot diaper messes. But what I wasn't prepared for was the challenge of spraying clean the diapers with the diaper sprayer.  Poop splattered everywhere and water got all over the place.  And people, Dan and I tried everything to minimize this.  We were super careful, we adjusted the water pressure in the diaper sprayer, we tried different angles, and I even resorted to semi-dunking (a memory I'd like to forget), and we just couldn't get it to be mess free, or at least a semi-sanitary process. Darn us.  The thought of poop particles in and around my porcelain pony's vicinity grossed me out.  Too much.  Ew.
3:  Mobility issues:  As cute as the cloth diapers are, they are bulky things.  I'm not sure if my fear that these were impairing Noah's ability to move freely was grounded in reality, but I kept thinking that the bulkiness would restrict his movement (or attempts at it)  I mean, I think I would feel restricted if I wore something that huge and bulky around my little waist.

So I guess those were our three main issues initially.  Now please don't get me wrong.  I know that there are perfectly legitimate counter arguments and opinions for everything I said above, but please remember this was OUR experience and OUR opinions.

So we left the cloth diapers go for awhile and came back to them when Noah was about 4 1/2 months old to try round 2.  He wasn't pooing as often so the mess wasn't so much of an issue anymore.  And he wasn't going through the diapers as fast, so doing laundry constantly was also no longer an issue.  Plus the whole leg hole thing had resolved, since his legs were nice and chunky by that point.  Mobility issues still haunted me, but he seemed to be moving around fine in them.  Sounds like we were ahead right?  Wrong...a NEW issue arose. 

Noah h-a-t-e-d them. 

Darn that kid for having an opinion.  They say that babies can feel the wetness with cloth diapers quicker and more so than with disposables.  I'm convinced this was the problem with Noah.  After conducting experiments (mentally recording his fussiness levels with the diapers on and post diaper changes--comparing disposables and cloths), I knew that the cloth diapers were the culprit of his tantrums.   

I'm not sure if he's just a super soaker that couldn't handle the wetness or if since he's a boy and pees primarily in the front of his diaper, there was too much discomfort in one area.  Either way, Dan and I put up the white flag and surrendered.  Well good try right? 

For now, our cloths are tucked away in a box, ready and waiting for another trial with our next child.  And we do plan on trying them out again.  After all, we still like them for the reasons I mentioned in the beginning of the post.  Plus they are cute, and fun, and we paid for them.  So hopefully round 3 with child numero 2 goes a bit better. 

Alas for now, we are sticking with our current disposables.  I found a gem of a disposable diaper that I'd like to tell you all about.  But I fear this post is running a little long, so stay tuned for Part II!

(((PS. Hope that this post helped provide some food for thought for those of you thinking of cloth diapering.  It truly is a wonderful alternative to disposables that is gaining a lot of popularity with new moms these days.  However, it isn't for every baby.  So good luck to you all!)))




Feb 14, 2013

An impromptu photo shoot

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

So I wanted to share a quick post with you all about my handmade impromptu photo shoot with Noah bear today. As I was browsing Facebook earlier, I was inspired but everyone's Valentines Day spirit. I don't know about your news feed, but mine was littered (in a nice sense of the word) with people's posts of flowers, gifts, cards, candies, loved ones, etc. Dan and I usually don't make too much of a fuss about this holiday. A nice little card and a kiss is about as far as we go, but I had a change of heart thinking this was Noah's very first V-day and also the very first time I had two special valentines :-).

Plus I hadn't sent any cards to the grandparents or anything, so I thought something needed to be done. These thoughts took me up to my craft room and I went to work with materials I had on hand. As I cut and crafted away, Noah played happily on the floor with my scraps of paper.

True to my motto, everything was DIY/Homemade. I grabbed some felt I had lying around and cut out some hearts. Then I cut out XOXO letters from red craft paper. Next I found some heart ribbon that's been sitting around waiting for a purpose and I put it all together on an old ribbon memo board from my college dorm room days.

Because Noah needed to look the part, I pinned felt hearts to a plain white onesie. For the back drop, I simply draped a white blanket over his crib and used a boppy to help him sit up straight. Lastly, my only other prop was a white valentines bear grammie bought Noah a couple days earlier. After all was set up, the photo op began! I got a lot of priceless pics of the buddy and was able to send them out to family and friends. And now we will have photo memories of Noah's first Valentines Day!

Not bad for an hour of our day and $0 out of our pockets!

What Valentines crafts did you all come up with?





Feb 12, 2013

5 Totally Awesome Must-Have Books According to This Momma

Hey all!

Good news... not only is my blog going to be about DIY tutorials, but I'm also going to sprinkle in a little mommy stuff here and there, along with family posts, budget-y posts, and healthy eating goodies!   

So straying from the sewing posts a little, I wanted to share with you my totally unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinions on the best baby books around. Ok...here we go.

Not unlike a lot of mommies I know, I love to read.  Seriously, I LOOOVE to read.  I have always been a "bookworm",known to devour one book after another.  My poor hubby knows that when I start a book, there will be very little bonding time or even talking time till it's finished.  But let's go back to the beginning.  The story of my learning to read is actually quite comical.  So comical in fact, that I feel it necessary to share with you all.

Rewind to 1990ish. According to my parents, when I was a little tot, I would memorize my favorite books after hearing  them over and over again.  Once I had them memorized, I would sit by myself in my room and "read" my books  aloud.  Funny part is, I was genuinely convinced that I was indeed "reading".  I'm sure you can picture that scene..., me sitting there, probably holding the book upside down, babbling off all sort of nonsense, feeling self-important and awesome. I was "reading" and I loved it.

Then kindergarten rolled around and part of the curriculum  was actually learning to read...go figure!  The irony of this was, I couldn't learn it!  No matter how hard I tried to learn to read, I had A LOT of trouble.  My parents think that as per my personality, I was just too impatient to get to the reading part to hunker down and learn my basics.  In other words, I didn't feel it necessary to bother with the alphabet and learning what letters made what sounds.  That was a waste of time,  I just wanted to look at a page and well….read it!  If you know me, this is hilarious.  Because 21 years later, my personality is EXACTLY the same.  Little to no patience, focused on the end result, and blatant disregard for the basics!  These days though, I really try to step back and take my time to do things the right way.  The saying "haste makes waste" rings true to me.  But no matter, I digress.  Back to little ole illiterate Mary. 

So after nights and nights of working on my reading with no improvement, my parents caved.  What I'm about to reveal to you all is outstandingly embarrasing...but it must be said.  I know all of you 90s kids will know what I mean when I say…. I Mary Grace ..... was hooked on phonics.    There it is, I said it! Hooked-On-Phonics...... The combination of that and my two patient parents finally got the reading thing to happen for me.  Thank the lord because I was almost a lost cause.  So to wrap up my long, seemingly irrelevant story, I eventually mastered the whole reading thing and the rest is history.  Since kindergarten, I've read hundreds and hundreds of books, and I wish I had more time in my days now to read more! 

But fret not!  Since having Noah, I've entered a whole new genre of reading material….baby books!  And let me tell you what the secret to the baby books is, the baby doesn't care what you are reading.  Well, not yet at least.  So since the baby doesn't care what you are reading, be a little selfish and pick something you want to read. Seriously, why bother with those dull 2 word sentences books that are supposed to be developmentally appropriate.  Or those black n white books with one word per page.  Not only are books like those tremendously uninteresting to you, but they are also a complete waste of energy (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) Let me explain...to read one of those one-sentence-a-page books,  it'll take you all of 20 seconds.  Twenty seconds of frantic, pointless page flipping while your baby flails around restlessly in your arms waiting for something more interesting to happen.  Now don't get me wrong!!!  I'm sure those books will be great and educational at some point in Noah's young life, but for a 0-6 month old, I believe not so much. 
So this brings me to the types of books that are AWESOME to read (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion).  Number 1, I like books with rhyme and Noah does too.  He enjoys the inflections I create with my voice while reading them and the musical quality of the reading grabs his attention more easily.  Number 2, I also like books with some colorful illustrations.  I've seen more than a few baby books with black and white pages and weird sketchy drawings.  Now I'm sure that some genius somewhere has a perfectly good reason for why these books are developmentally appropriate and preferred, but I'm not buying that my 6month old son would rather look at a stick figure then a page full of wonderful, colorful, woodland creatures.  And lastly, isn't early reading supposed to be familiarizing baby with different sounding words, sentence structure, emotion, conversation, etc?  How are you supposed to get all that from the aforementioned one-sentence-a-page books? 
So that brings me to what I believe are the most awesome (to date) baby books for you and your bambino.  But before I get to my list, I must reflect on what I've written and say that it's entirely possible that I'm just encouraging you to be selfish and read what YOU like with complete disregard for what may or may not be developmentally appropriate for the reading age of your child.  But to that thought I say pshhhh, ANY reading is good! (within reason people)

Number 5!  Moo Baa La La La 


This book was recommended to me by one of my fellow mommies.  I love the simple noises, rhymes, and animal sounds in this book.  I'm sure as Noah gets older, he'll love it more too.  It is a little short for my tastes, but it makes the list nevertheless.

Number 4! Ten Tiny Toes


Now this book is just priceless.  Noah and I found it one day at Barnes N Nobles.  I was immediately drawn to the sing/songy rhyming words.  Plus it was just too freaken adorable to pass up.  "And nothing on earth you could even suppose, can ever be loved quite like Ten tiny toes!?"  How stinkin cute. SOLD.

Number 3! Little Blue Truck

I got this book from one of my childhood neighbors.  Love. love. love!  There are a lot of things I love about the Little Blue Truck book.  The illustrations are fantastic, the rhyming and sentence structure are so fun, and the animal noises are a blast to sound out for Noah.  He almost always starts shouting and babbling along with me when I read this book.  When I found out that it had a companion sequel...we bought it instantly.  Not quite as great as the original, but still a fun read.

Number 2! Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You

Ok now this book is just a must-have for every mommy out there.  The first time I read it, I had tears in my eyes.  This author so beautifully describes the love a mother/father/whoever feels for their "baby".  And she does it in beautiful rhyme.  What I love most about this book is the truth and meaning behind the words. As Noah gets older I want him to remember that "My love can find him, my love can fly".  Insert tears.

Number 1! Bear Snores On


Oh gosh, this book is a gem.  Dan and I found it on date night at Barnes N Noble.  Another fun rhyming book with great illustrations.  The book is complete with fun rhymes, different voices, sound effects, suspense, fun, and a fantastic ending!  Imagine our elation when we went to Barnes N Nobles just the other day and found that there are more diamonds like this one! (Yes, we bought them all) Hallelujah!  Fun, exciting, reading ahead!


There you go people.  Let me know if you know of any books I should reconsider ranking into my top 5.  I'm always on the lookout for the next great book to read to my Noah bear!


But in all seriousness, you are bombarded with advice to read to your child daily, so why not make this a fun time for both of you by finding exciting books that you look forward to reading.  I'm hoping that as the experts say, daily reading will set the child up for success in their future learning.  Because I for one, do not want Noah to be hooked on phonics.  =)

Disclaimer:  As I said, this is (in my unprofessional and uneducated mommy opinion) and mostly meant to offer some mommy suggestions for wonderful reading material.  I am not in any way educated in early childhood learning, nor do I pretend to be.  So  Please do not be offended by my sarcasm =)












Feb 8, 2013

DIY "Taggie Blanket" Tutorial

In my previous post, I mentioned that I like to sew 'baby' things.  So I thought it appropriate to share with you one of my baby sewing projects that I really enjoy doing...."taggie" blankets.  I say "taggie" in quotations because I believe the actual brand is trademarked and making your own blankets to sell would be an infringement of their patent.  So be warned, if you make your own "taggie", you are technically not allowed to sell it. 

Ok moving forward.  I work with alot of young women.  Young, married, women who are all pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are just getting over being pregnant.  You think I'm joking?  Right now, there are nine women I work with their very own buns in the oven.  So that means alot of baby gifts.  And true to my style, I like to do 'em homemade.  In my opinion, nothing is quite as sweet as receiving a homemade item from the heart for your unborn child.  So we're off to it!

Taggie Blanket Materials: 
Flannel fabric
Minky fabric
Ribbon (3-4 colors of choice)
I bought 1yd of both flannel and minky fabric...this will yield you at least two taggie blankets.

Step 1:  Cut fabric
I cut my flannel fabric 18" wide by 21" long.  I prefer a more rectangular shape to my blanket, but if you like squares, feel free to modify.

After your flannel is cut, use it as a guide to cut your minky fabric.  I used a yard stick and pen to outline the edges.
Step 2:  Cut your ribbon into 5" strips

Step 3:  Loop and pin ribbon to the PRINTED side of your flannel fabric.

Step 4: Lay minky fabric with SOFT side facing down against your flannel.  Then pin edges of fabric together.

Step 5:  Sew your fabric.  I used a zig zag stitch.  Make sure you leave a small opening on one side of the blanket so that you can flip your fabric right side out.

Step 6: Cut the corners of your blanket.  It makes for a nicer corner when you flip the blanket right side out.
Step 7:  Flip your blanket right side out! Almost done =)
Step 8: Sew a zig zag stitch around the border to finish the look of the blanket!
And you are all done!!
I add a little label to my homemade items.  I plan on doing a little tutorial for that later, so check back.
 Let me know how you did with this tutorial and how your "taggie" blanket turns out!

Feb 6, 2013

DIY Monster Onesie

So I like to sew but am by no means an expert.  I sew burp cloths, blankets, little things....you get the picture.  I get by and have learned pretty much everything I know by teaching myself and the trial and error method.  It is also important to note that I have a love/hate relationship with the sewing machine.  Often times we find ourselves head to head, me yelling at it,  and it sitting there mocking me by refusing to work.  My complaint is if it's not one thing causing me undue stress, it's another.  For example, the bobbin runs out in the middle of a stitch, or the needle randomly unthreads itself, or the machine skips a stitch, or the pressor foot falls off,  or the needle breaks, and of course, there's my all time favorite, the thread decides  to jam...  Anyway, you name it and it's probably happened to me.  

This particular project, all of the above misfortunes transpired.   Needless to say, there was screaming, there was shouting, and there was profanity.  Good thing Noah doesn't repeat what we say yet.  Hopefully by the time that age comes around, the sewing machine and I will be on friendly speaking terms. 

Anyway, because Noah grows like a weed, we are now entering the 9 month clothes stage.  While sorting through his drawers the other day, I came across a 4pk of Carter's long sleeved white onesies.  Dan happened to be in the room at the time, and when I showed him the onesies excitedly, he judged them "plain and boring".  Hmm, the familar voice again, "you can do something with these!"  So later that night, I browsed my ipad for some ideas.  I came across the really cute blog The Homes I have Made and was inspired by her monster onesie.  I really liked the picture she used as her inspiration from etsy, (Monster), and decided I'd use that as my inspiration.  So I rummaged through my scrap fabric and came up with some blue and yellow pieces.  Then I found some off white canvas for the eyes and black felt for the eyeballs.  I pretty much free-handed the cutting of the various shapes using the onesie as a size reference.  The "winging it" portion turned out pretty well, and I did take pictures of the shapes for you, but my camera decided to format it's memory card without my permission and alas, they are all gone.

But anyway, I've never appliqued anything before, so there were quite a few challenges I uncovered.  Numero uno, finding the right stitch to use on the machine.  I needed one that would prevent the edges from fraying.  After looking online, it appeared that the "blanket stitch" was recommended.  However, my machine didn't have that, so I opted instead for a zig-zag stitch and adjusted the size and spacing of the zigzag.  The next challenge was not sewing the front of the onesie to the back of the onesie all while keeping the pieces of fabric in place.  This was by far the biggest challenge.  There was a lot of sewing and reripping of stitches until everything was semi straight and organized.  The last challenge was hiding all of the back (reverse stitching) I did to secure the thread. 

So my take on the whole thing.  I guess I am overall pleased with it.  There was alot of start/stopping which shows in the stitched pattern, so in hindsight I wish I would have used a lighter colored thread.  I think the black makes it look a litle sloppy, but it's not bad for my first experience with appliquing. Maybe I'll try to redeem myself with another attempt sometime soon, but for now, behold Noah's truly scary monster onesie ;-)










And the cute model himself!

What projects have you all been working on lately?!

Feb 4, 2013

Mommy "Lesson" Plans

Like I've mentioned to you all, my hubby and I decided after Noah was born that I would return to work part-time.  (I plan on writing a post later to detail all of the thoughts that went into that decision making process, so stay tuned) Anyway, since I work as a nurse, "part-time" for me consists of two 12 hour night shifts per week.  This entails me leaving for work around 6:00pm and getting home around 8:10 the next morning.  I am fortunate enough to have my mother in law nearby to watch Noah one day a week so that I can sleep in between my night shifts, but all of the other days I have him to myself =).  Although finding time to sleep can be a challenge, we are making it work!
I know that alot of moms use daycare.  In fact, I was in daycare (part-time) as a child!  So I have nothing against putting my child there.  Quite the contrary, I was nervous that by not putting Noah in daycare he might miss out on all the cool, neat lesson plans they have for their children everyday!  Let's face it, daycares have really come along way since you and I were little....they really are more like "baby schools"! 

So my type A personality kicked in and I decided that if I was going to be (essentially) a stay at a home mom, I would need to do my part in keeping Noah up to the standards of his peers.  Like alot of us busy young moms, I like lists and organization.  So I took to Microsoft Publisher again and made what I think is a nifty little grid for planning out Noah's week.   Take a gander...



After making my little chart, I filled it in with details and ideas that I found from babycenter.com, thebump.com and other related baby info sites.  Now please remember, I am NOT a teacher, but I do believe that as Noah's mom I "teach" him everyday.  This little guide will help me structure out some fun activities for us and remind me what stage of development Noah is working on =) 

Here is my filled out chart...




So there you have it.  For all of you other stay at home moms out there, browsing the Internet does turn up some really useful mommy information.  Here are some of the subject areas I found for infants:

Reading
Singing
Textures
Noises
Nature
Art
Sign Language

And learning areas...
 Senses
Cognitive
Language
Social/Emotional
Fine Motor Skills
Gross Motor Skills

Initially I was trying to find a way to incorporate all of these areas into one schedule chart, but it was becoming just too confusing.  I like the simplicity of the chart above.  But I will be mindful to try and include all of these areas in Noah's daily activities week to week.  Hope you enjoyed and let me know if you found this helpful!

Feb 3, 2013

DIY Nursery w/ Homemade Decor: Part 2 DIY Yarn Letters

Have you all seen those alphabet letters or name decals that a lot of cute nurseries have hanging on the wall?  Usually they are found somewhere above or around the crib...well when i was decorating Noah's nursey, I decided I needed wanted them. So I set out in a hot pursuit of four wooden block letters. First place on the tour was Michaels of course!  Fast forward to me standing in Michaels looking at their wooden block letters while mentally tallying up the price of Noah's name at a steep $5-6  per wooden letter block.  And that price wasn't even for the large sized blocks.  Now 'Noah' is a short name, so the letters would have only set me back $25-30, but that even seemed like more than I wanted to spend on this particular decoration. Additionally, they were unfinished and would need a coat of paint or something to help them out.  So that was a quick elimination for me. Next I thought I'd check out Joann fabrics, which actually turned out to be a little more espensive than Michaels. Humph I thought, what now?

Then the familiar little voice I often have came creeping into my head..."pshhh you can make these". My conscious mind wasn't as confident, but  I was up for the challenge.   So I came up with a home-made alternative that involved some cardboard, ribbon, yarn, hot glue gun, and a lot of patience.  Since I originally posted this project Here the same idea has popped up on Pinterest and other crafty homemade blogs. Seems like crafty minds think alike!  So here's what happened.
DIY Yarn Letters:

Need: 
Yarn, a color of your choice
Cardboard
Scissors or Exacto Knife
Hot Glue Gun


Step 1: 
I took my cardboard and free handed large block letters for N-O-A-H.  Then I used an exacto knife to cut my letters out through the cardboard.
(Tip- Keep your letter edges as straight and smooth as possible.  It makes for easier yarn application)


Step 2:
Glue one end of your yarn on the back edge of your first letter.  When the yarn and glue are set, you can begin wrapping your letter, laying each strand of yarn tightly next to the other.  Be careful not to wind too tightly or your cardboard letter may bow. 
(Tip:  Be creative wit your yarn if you need to.  It's ok to overlap sections and wrap multiple times to make sure that your cardboard is covered)


Step 3: 
I had some green ribbon lying around, so I doubled my ribbon and glued it to the back of my letters for easy hanging. 

And there you have it.  DIY Yarn Letters for baby.  If I did this project again in the future, I think it may be neat to use multiple colors of yarn.  The fun part is, this project is so easy and inexpensive, and it adds a great custom/*homemade* touch to your nursery.  I like it...and I hope Noah will like reaching up and touching his soft letters too...he's definitely getting close to that stage!  =)

So....the breakdown
Total cost of this project.
$2.99  (for the yarn)
Winning?

Jan 31, 2013

DIY Nursery w/ Homemade Decor: Part 1 DIY Crayon Wall Art

With Noah being my first baby, I had plenty of time on my hands to be creative and crafty in his nursery.  Nine long months to be exact.  I spent hours looking through nursery ideas online, browsing pinterest for inspiration, and crafting with my own twist on things. 

The end result was this.  A green, monkey themed nursery, with touches of "mommy" hidden about the room. 







Perhaps the nicest compliment I've ever been given was by our newborn photographer when she came to take Noah's photos.  "This nursery looks like it belongs in a magazine!"  'Holy Geez', I thought, 'Well butter my buns and call me a biscuit, I've outdone myself!'  Don't worry, I didn't let it go to my head, but I was very flattered indeed and excited that someone else appreciated my craftiness.  So I thought I'd share the ideas I found/modified/came up with so that you have inspiration for your very own DIY/homemade nursery too!

DIY Craft #1: Crayon Art

Need: 
Box of crayons (I got mine at Michael's for $1)
Blank canvas (also purchased at Michael's for around $5)
Hot glue gun
Hair-dryer

Step 1:  Line up your crayons in rainbow order



Step 2:  Hot glue your crayons to your canvas



Step 3:  Blow dry your crayons until they begin to melt.  You can direct the trickle of wax down the canvas with your blow dryer as well.
(Tip:  Hot wax can fly off of your canvas, so make sure you have the area around you covered by newspaper or some other protective barrier)

And there you are!  For under $10, you have your very own colorful piece of artwork.  Infants love bright colors and it's also a great way for toddlers to learn about the colors of the rainbow.

Let me know how yours turn out!

Check back later for Part 2 of the DIY nursery series, featuring my step by step instructions on make your own alphabet letters!

Jan 30, 2013

DIY Ribbon Jar

In the spirit of homemade craftiness, I made Noah, affectionately "Noahbear"  a "ribbon jar".  I was browsing Pinterest the other day and came across a similar idea.  The link took me to a website suggesting that I tie ribbon together, glue to the bottom of an unused travel wipes container, and let said child "go to town" pulling out the magical never-ending strand of ribbon.  Perfect! I thought.  This looked simple enough. 

Problem was, my travel wipes container had a hole opening the size of a small fist.  There would be no fun in pulling ribbon through that mammoth sized hole.  So I racked my brain for a different idea and came up with a mason jar, which I have plenty of lying around the house. 

Step 1:
I took said jar and created a cardboard top for it (in place of the metal one). 


Step 2:
I glued some fun baby boy fabric to the top and cut an "X" in the center of the lid for the ribbon to travel through.

Step 3:
I tied together various lengths of colorful, fun ribbon that I had on hand.

Step 4:
I stuffed fun ribbon into jar.

Step 5:
I gave to child (under supervision since strangulation by ribbon is not a fate I wish for my son) and he had a blast.  Look at the face on this kid....

Now that's one happy baby!  Who knew something so simple could be so fun?  Noah loves to play with this 'toy'.  He grasps the concept of "if i pull, something new will pop through that little hole!"  And it's adorable to see his face light up each time he does it.  You can't beat $0 baby toys =)

Simple.Homemade.Happy.