Showing posts with label mom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mom. 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 26, 2013

DIY reusable shopping bag

Just as I promised, I attempted to make my own reusable shopping bag.  The experience took me a few hours and was a little frustrating (because I've never sewn this type of material before), but I think that with a little more practice, I could get one of these puppies done in no time. 

So if you missed my last post, I was rambling on about how awesome it was to be green in your kitchen.  Not only does it save you money but it is also kind to earth.  And I mean, who doesn't love earth?  So if you don't have any reusable shopping bags or you do and are up for a fun sewing project, read on!

So this little tutorial is a mini adaptation of the one I found here at pieandcoffee.org.  If any of my directions are unclear, I urge you to check out this website as they have much more detail and better pictures in their tutorial.

STEP 1:  Get some fabric! And have fun people!  I went a little crazy with my fabric choice, but when else can I use outstandingly colorful fabric such as this piece below?  Plus, I am 100% positive this will make my grocery shopping experience a little more fun & bright (pun intended---hawwwink) I bought 3/4 yard of a stretchy denim/canvas combo.  I thought this choice would be a little more durable.


STEP 2:  Fold your fabric in half and cut your fabric 23 in wide (as per the tutorial above)  This is  what I ended up doing, but I think in the future I'm going to leave the width of my fabric as it comes from the store (27ish inches) and cut the height to 23 inches.  This may or may not have been what the tutorial above actually wanted me to do, since they never mentioned a height measurement.  If so, I was confused, but either way works. 

STEP 3:  To form the pattern for the bottom of the bag you need to cut two squares 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches high out of each corner of your fabric.  Make sure you are cutting your fabric on the FOLDED side. 


STEP 4:  Sew the left and right side of your bag.  Leave the top and bottom squares UN-SEWN.   Now the stitch I used.  This was the most difficult part for me.  I couldn't figure out what stitch would hold this fabric without bunching it, coming undone, or just plain not working.  I experimented with different tensions of my thread, spacing, and stitches, and ended up using a ridiculously complicated stitch that was really unnecessary.  After I finished I found out the best method to use is actually the flat felled seem.  Definitely use this.  It takes a little longer on your machine, since it is multiple steps, but it really will save you time and effort in the long run.  This is my go to stitch for future projects with this sort of material. 

STEP 5:  Pin the corners of the bottom of your bag together and sew.  Now the tutorial at pieandcoffee.org has you first sew the bottom shut with the bag right side out and then has you resew the seems with the bag flipped inside out.  This is the method I used as well, and it turned out alright. 

STEP 6:  Hem that puppy.  This is the hem on the top half of my bag.  And yes, I cheated.  The stitch you see was the original hem I created. But I wasn't happy with how my bag appeared to be too tall for it's width.  (which goes back to the whole 23 inch measurement thing)  So i folded my hem down further and used hem tape the second go around.  Honestly at this point, I was so tired of fighting my sewing machine, plus it was late, that I cheated and used my hem tape I've had sitting around for a year.  Hey that's what it's for anyway right?  So if you feel like cheating too, go ahead, I won't tell.

STEP 7:  With your scrap fabrics, cut pieces that are 4 inches wide and however long you would like your handles to be.  My handles ended up a little shorter than I would like, so make sure you presize them with your bag.  Fold them in half (hot dog style) with the print sides inward. Stitch along the edge, but leave the ends open.  When you've got them stitched, flip them inside out so the fabric print is on the outside again. 


STEP 8:  Attach straps to bag.  So I folded that unfinished edge into the tube about 1/4-1/2 inch and then used a straight stitch to sew around the border of the handle.  As you can see below, I made an "X"  to add extra strength to the hold. 

The upside down view from the other side of the bag.  Sorry, blogger won't let me flip my pictures around for some reason!


STEP 9:  Admire your finished product.  There you go folks.  A finished reusable shopping bag.  I bet this thing will hold at least 4 plastic bags worth of groceries.  I have to go grocery shopping later today, so I'll let you know ;-)





Update:
Look at this beaut! She worked and held more groceries than I coulda hoped for.

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 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!