Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Toddler Busy Bag

I have an 18 year old nephew who is a senior in High School, so we've been going to a lot of wrestling meets lately.  With a 1 year old and 2.5 year old, it can be quite exhausting sitting there for hours upon hours in bleachers.  So...with the State Tournament coming up, I decided I had to find some new things to keep them entertained.  Here's what my toy bag consists of so far:

  • Packing bubbles to 'pop'.  I had these at the last wrestling meet and they also entertained my 4 & 6 year old niece and nephew.
  • Suckers (they can keep my kids sitting nicely for quite some time!) This is one my daughter begged me to buy her but mostly I just have dum dums :)
  • Travel Magna-doodle (I picked the travel MagnaDoodle because although there was a smaller size different brand, I liked that this had the shape magnets which I think my 2.5 year old will love)
  • Duplo Blocks with book.  It takes a little more room than I'd like but I THINK it will entertain both of the kids.
  • Stickers and book to put them in
  • Small doodle pad with washable crayons in a soap container
  • Magic Ink pads - I got the Melissa & Doug from Target for $5.99 (couldn't find them online but you can buy them here) and the Princess one off Zulily.  The princess one has water in it, so it can be reused over and over and over again!
  • Shapes printed out on cardstock with pipe cleaners to form into the different shapes (idea from See Vanessa Craft)  I printed mine in different colors and had coordinating pipe cleaners so even though my 2.5 year old couldn't quite form the shapes, she still had fun matching the colors to each other
  • Lacing Cards (hand me downs from a cousin, similar ones here)
  • Wiffle ball golf balls with pipe cleaners to weave back and forth (idea also found at See Vanessa Craft) I used bright orange balls because I thought it would help me keep track of them and also just be more fun for the kids.
  • A small kaleidoscope for both kids bought at ShopKo
  • A grated parmesan cheese container filled with pipe cleaners that I cut up.  I had this at the last meet and it WELL entertained my BUSY BUSY BUSY 1 year old boy and my 2 year old nephew and 2.5 year old daughter.  So although I was thinking I should get a smaller container, I won't because he did it until every.single.one. was in there! 
  • Light saber spinny toy from either target or walmart
  • And small books - like this Highlights Baby magazine
  • I think I'm also going to put in: some masking tape to stick and peel up & a container to put pom poms into.  My family will also have some other great activities that I'll try to post in a future entry!
Of course we also have a Leap Pad, Ipad with games & movies and snacks/candy for emergencies.  Hopefully we'll be set!  Thankfully we can always get up and let them run around for awhile between sessions. 

If you have any questions on how I made these or have other ideas or tips for me, PLEASE share them in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 8, 2013

DIY Nursing tank

If you're a nursing mom, I'm sure you've tried those nursing tanks with the built in bra & hooks that detach to nurse. I found that those don't work very well for me because I'm bigger busted than around in my waist (after a few weeks postpartum) so the tanks are baggy on me and look silly under most shirts. SO I did a little research and found a great solution!  I saw the idea on Pinterest (from this blog I believe) but figured out how to do it myself. (Not that it was hard!).

Here's my step by step:

What you need:

Spaghetti strap tank-tight fitting (without a built in bra). I think the one size camis work great!

First put your tank on its front & cut the straps off at the back where they're attached to the body (you could also probably use a seam ripper & detach but I didn't see the point in taking the extra time for that!)

Turn your tank around front facing you & measure about 1.5-2" up the straps from the body of the cami. Make this into a loop & pin. (DON'T CUT YET!!!)

Carefully try the tank on over your most used nursing bra & see if the loops will fit thru your bra clasp. I did mine about 1.5" long because I prefer it not to slide down so that if I need a little cleavage coverage with a shirt I'm wearing, this could assist.

Adjust as needed then cut strap & sew. (I'm sure you could also sew than cut if you wanted to be extra sure your length was correct.)

Done!  Took about 5-10 mins huh? Your next one will take even less time!  Now go cuddle that baby & Happy nursing!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Life with two kids = cRazInEsS

Having a new baby is very taxing on any new mother.  When you already have a little one at home (for me an 18 month old) it's no exception.  You may have a little experience in the new-mom department, but you're clueless on how to handle them both & keep some sort of sanity let alone a schedule that includes you showering everyday! :)  I have to say that it takes awhile to get into the swing of things.  I had excellent help when our baby boy was born 5 weeks ago, and we're just now getting into a relatively normal groove of things.  I did have an especially difficult delivery (I had a 10 lb, 12 oz baby naturally & he was facing up instead of face down) so I needed the extra help more this time than last time; however, I still think all new moms need this extra assistance!  If you're about to be a new mom - LINE UP HELP when you get home from the hospital.  I think this is the best piece of advice for new mom's.  Even if it's just someone to change the baby's diaper before you nurse in the middle of the night, or get you a nutritional supper or put the dishes in the dishwasher, sweep the floor, throw a load of laundry in - all of those things are amazing help when you have a newborn!

cRazInEsS at our house:
I have a 19 month old daughter along with a 1 month old son.  I wasn't sure how M was going to handle being a big sister but she is amazing!  I am so impressed with how great she is.  She shares her toys, gives him oodles and oodles of kisses and actually listens to our 'rules' pertaining to P pretty well (including that she doesn't touch his face which is really hard for her right now because she loves pointing out people's eyes, nose, etc!) :-)

One day M was digging through our drawers (common occurrence around here!) and found some of her old baby bottles.  She was of course sucking on them, and I said "No those are for babies, you don't use those" and later when I went to check on P, there was the bottle she was sucking on!  She had made the correlation that bottles are for babies and P's a baby so it must be for him! ...so cute!

When he cries, if I don't get to him right away, she'll give him a toy - her favorite book, a car, she's even given him her hairbow before! :-) That's not to say that she doesn't also throw her tantrums though either.  Once in awhile, it will all get to her and I have to remember to stop doing the housework and give her some one on one attention.  Usually she doesn't even need too much time, just a little story read or building a few blocks.

When it comes times to nurse, I've learned that it's easiest to do it while sitting on the couch.  That way M can climb up right next to us, and I can read her a book or interact with her somehow so that she doesn't feel left out.  She also started a habit where if I lay with my legs on the couch, she'll sit between them and put her head on P's back - it's pretty darn cute!

Well I know that's a pretty random message here, but I'm trying to type something up quick while they're both napping, in between my cloth diaper laundry loads (which I'm SOOO glad I chose to do now that I have 2 in diapers especially!) and decorating for Christmas and nursings...just wanted to put a little update up since it's been so long!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers

Washing cloth diapers can be a little intimidating but there are so many different ways to do it that you'll soon figure out what works best for you.

Here's my routine for my LG Wave Force WT5101H top loading HE Washer:

(I just copy and pasted from my sign posted by my washer for those that may be helping me with laundry once baby comes so let me know if you have any questions)

1.    Put in all diapers & wet bags (check diaper bag)
*Make sure nothing with desitin, a&d, resinol, etc on it goes in*
2.    Take inserts out of diaper & fasten velcro tabs to laundry tabs on backside of diaper
3.    Add 1 T. of Country Save detergent in tray with a small amount of Rockin Green's Funk Rock
4.    Hit Special button (under screen) until on Rinse & Spin
5.    Start (Play button on right) (takes about 25 minutes)

1.    When that's done, add Country Save (to line on blue scoop in box) to tray
2.    Turn washer dial to Heavy Duty
3.    Push Wash/Rinse button to Hot/Cold
4.    Push Extra Rinse button TWICE
5.    Start (takes about 1 ½ hours- don’t let them sit in washer overnight!)

 There are many different ways you can wash your diapers but these specific cycles & times I've found to work best for me.  Basically I do a prewash in cold water - just rinse and spin and then a HOT wash with 2 extra rinses (3 rinses total).  

You do want to be sure to include a prewash, hot wash and most often at least 1 extra rinse.  If you have an HE washer, your wash routine tends to vary and get a little trickier since it uses less water and doesn't have the agitator in it.  I however haven't had any issues since I started this wash routine.  Some people say to add a soaked towel in with your diapers to trick your washer into adding more water - I haven't found the need to do this as long as you use either the Heavy Duty or Bulky/Bedding cycle.

You don't want to use just any detergent when washing your cloth diapers.  As you can see above, I chose to use Country Save detergent - this is basically because it's so cheap that I can use it on all my clothes and not have the confusion or necessity of buying different kinds of soap for different needs.  I bought mine on Amazon a year ago and I got 4, 10 lb boxes (160 HE loads) and still have not run out.  As I said, I use it on ALL our clothes and still have 1 box that's not even open yet so I spent about $60 on all our detergent for the past year and still used cloth diaper safe detergent on our diapers.  (Pretty good deal I think!  I find this site to be an excellent reference on what detergents to use/not use.  Also if you look around it, there's tons of other helpful information there too!  

I started out using Rockin' Green Classic Rock and really liked it until I switched to the HE washer - then it didn't work well.  We also moved at the time though and got really hard water, so I'm sure that was part of the problem.  However, it's much more expensive than Country Save so I'm glad I switched anyway!  I've heard of lots of people using Charlie's Soap, Ecos, and the make your own detergent as well with good results.

Here's a make your own detergent that was shared on my cloth diaper group on Facebook: (I haven't used it so can't give you any helpful hints - sorry!)

Powder detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder
I  cut my bar into slices then ran through the blender or food  processor then when it looks smaller than rice I dumped it into a bowl and added the washing soda  and borax and mixed till it was combined really well.
Use 2 tablespoons per full load!

Liquid detergent
1/3 bar Fels Naptha 
½ cup washing soda
½ cup borax powder 
~You will also need a small bucket, about 2 gallon size~
Grate the soap and put it in a sauce pan.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts.  Add the washing soda and the borax and stir until it is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Pour 4 cups hot water into the bucket.   Now add your soap mixture and stir.  Now add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water and stir.  Let the soap sit for about 24 hours and it will gel.  You use ½ cup per load.

I hope that at least gives you a little overview of what to expect when it comes to washing. I tried to hit the basics but also give you a few tips along the way for those that might be trying to troubleshoot so hopefully it helps you out. If not, post a comment and I'll see if I be of any assistance!


You will want to wash about every other day - to cut down on number of diapers you need to buy and also to cut down on smelliness and chance of ammonia issues occuring.

The recommendation is to wash no more than 24 pieces in one load - but I usually wash about 16 pockets (plus 16-25 inserts) in each load and have not had problems - again I'm sure this depends on your washer.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Personal Cloth Diaper Stash & Reviews

Many of my expectant friends have expressed an interest in cloth diapers and want to know what I use....So here it is!

My go-to diapers:
Mostly my stash consists of BumGenius 4.0 one size pockets. These were recommended to me by my good friend, and I've been pretty happy with them.  They are a little bulkier than the sized diapers because obviously they're one sized so there's a little extra fabric in there when it's snapped down on smaller babies. However I like the one size because it's way easier on your budget - you buy 25 or so of them and your stash is complete. You don't have to buy 25 more when it's time to size up, and then size up again...  You can choose either hook & loop closure (Velcro) or snaps. I have both & love the convenience of the hook and loop but some of M's diapers are showing wear at 16 months, and I am in the process of replacing some of the laundry tabs. Also she's figured out how to take off these dipes and still can't take off the snaps - so if I had to do it over, I guess I'd probably get mostly snaps.  (Although the velcro is easier on grandparents and others that might assist in diaper changes once in awhile)
M's diaper drawer - this is all BumGenius 4.0s or Rumparooz
(RaR's are the bright yellow and purple on the middle left) 

Another of my favorites right now are Grovia's hybrid diaper which is a shell (or cover) with a snap-in insert.  I like these because they are definitely trimmer than the pockets but probably not quite as absorbent. There are different inserts you can get for these - organic cotton or hemp & I have both; however, I definitely prefer the organic cotton. For some reason, the hemp ones seem to be the ones that cause leaks if there ever are any.  These also have the choice of hook and loop or snap closure. I only purchased the snaps because of my issues with the BumGenius (BG), so I can't tell you how the Velcro holds up, but I've heard it's very good!  Also Grovia's have the option of using disposable inserts for those times when you need the added convenience or have to battle diaper rash.  The disposable insert is not as absorbent as a disposable diaper which seems like they can suck in anything, but it's nice knowing that it's made of renewable resources and doesn't have the nasty chemicals of regular disposables...  I use these sometimes when M has a bad diaper rash and I want to use a non-safe cloth diaper cream like Desitin or A&D to treat it.

We also have a few Rumparooz one size pocket diapers that are in regular rotation.  I like these a lot and love the double gusset however they are a little bulkier, so I mostly use them at home instead of haul them around in the diaper bag.  (Note: They are not really that much bigger, but I like to take advantage of every little space in my diaper bag :) )  Also they seem to have a lower rise so I had to size up on the snaps sooner than on the BumGenius however she still fits into them fine at 17 months and 24 pounds so we'll see if she outgrows these sooner or not...I'm not sure why the fit is different!

Other diapers I've tried:

Fuzzibunz one size pocket - I really like the trimness of this diaper - it is less bulky between the legs which is nice however we've had a hard time sizing it right and seem to get leaks.  These not only have a resizable front like the BG's but you can also resize the elastic around the legs and in the back.  I really want to like these but just haven't gotten the hang of it I guess.

GoGreen Diaper - These are also a one size pocket diaper - they have different colored snaps on the front to help get both sides snapped the same.  Inside - the pocket is open in the front and back and they also have double gussets which helps to reduce leaks.  I find them a bit bulky however and don't really care for them.  I'd sell it but my husband likes using it so I just go ahead and use it to - no big complaints really.

Baby Beehind bamboo fitted - M is a very heavy wetter, so I had to try a few different things to get a system that works for me.  I bought one of these and put a wool cover over it as that was a system that was suggested to me by many people.  I thought it worked pretty well, but M seemed to begin waking up during the night needing changing, so I don't think it's quite absorbent enough for her.  Love the diaper though - think she just outwets it!

The Sleepy Sheep wool cover (over Baby Beehind fitted for overnight).  This took me a long time to try as the wool intimidated me for some reason but it was really easy to care for actually and did work pretty well.  I didn't fall in love with it like many seem to but maybe it's just because my daughter is such a heavy wetter.  This brand is from a WAHM in my town so I don't know if other brands would work better or the same but this is what we went with - no longer use it though.

Flip hybrid system: both Organic and Stay Dry inserts.  I bought these to try as well as many people raved about them.  We tried the organic insert for overnight which worked for awhile when she was around 9 months old probably.  It however is SUPER bulky and I felt bad having her wear it all night.  The Stay Dry inserts are not as absorbent as I'd like them to be and usually only get used when we are running low on diapers.  They are very trim however so if you're willing to change more often, they're a great option; however, I definitely prefer the Grovia hybrid system over this one.

All the diapers we own including the cute little newborn diapers we haven't gotten to try yet! :-)
So that is what I've tried and my reviews.  Obviously all of this is just my personal opinion so feel free to take it as you wish.  I do think I'd like to buy a few of the Fuzzibunz sized diapers for this new little one to take along in diaper bags, for pictures, etc where a trimmer diaper would be nice to have but I haven't done this yet.  Also I am going to cloth diaper this baby sooner than I did M.  With M, I started at around 6 weeks when she fit into the BG 4.0s so this time I'm going to start with GMD prefolds and Thirsties covers and probably begin either as soon as we get home or get into the swing of things.  I'll let you know how that goes once I have the experience.  :)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know if you have any questions for me.  I can let you know what I've tried or what I've heard others doing or hopefully at least send you to a good resource.  I love to hear what others think of their cloth diaper experiences and am happy to help newbies get started as I love cloth diapering!

I am going to do another post on my wash routine and how I've converted mostly away from the microfiber inserts that come with most one size diapers and why.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cook your corn on the cob without cleaning!

Photo from foodwhirl.com
I found this idea, and I don't think I will ever boil my corn on the cob again!  You put 3 cobs in the microwave for 6 minutes, squeeze it out of the husks and you get a cooked, clean, ready-to-eat piece of corn!  To see full recipe, go here.  How great is that?!?!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Curtain tiebacks

I was trying to find some tiebacks other than either the ropes with tassels or the metal u-hooks that are commonly used today as neither of those styles really fit our house decor. I had purchased some jute ribbon for another project so thought I'd play with it a bit and see what I could come up with.

This is my final result and I think I'm pretty happy with it!  (Sorry the bay window picture isn't the best - hard to get a picture of the whole window because of the layout of the room)

Our bay window in the dining room
Family Room
I made 3 loops of the jute to make it a little more substantial. Mine in my family room are about 9 1/2" halved and on the bay window are closer to 8 1/2-9". Then I took the ends and tied them in a knot so that the ends would lay nice side to side & trimmed each end to about 1". And DONE! Simple as that I had new tiebacks! (after I did it 6 times for all my windows!)
Side window of bay window
Middle windows of bay window
I had to figure out how to hold the tie-back back, so I bought little bronze hooks from WalMart for about $5 for 2 I think, and they work just great!
Hook used to hold tie's back
Do you have any handy ideas you've used as tie backs? Any suggestions on improving mine?

Here are some ideas I found when I was looking on Pinterest:

  • Use an old doorknob to hold the curtains back.  Or you could buy one from here.