Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I heard of this site that lets you send free e-cards, invitations, etc.  It's http://Cocodot.com.  I haven't tried it yet but wanted to share (and post it so I had it handy next time I need it!)  It says they are all ad free also so check it out!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Herb Garden

I'm finally getting my herb garden planted but of course my personal one wasn't the first I planted.  For Mother's Day, I decided to make my mother-in-law an herb garden.  Then once I got back home from that weekend, I was able to go out and buy the supplies I needed for my garden as well.

This is the final product/gift for my mother in law:

I tried to find a neat galvanized tub like this pin I saw on Pinterest. 
But I went to Home Depot, Menards, Wal-Mart, called Lowe's & the local nursery Campbells and nobody had one.  Went to Tractor Supply Store and a lady was walking out with the last one as my husband walked in...of course!!  
So...since I hadn't thought too far ahead of time and needed to plant this that day, I found this planter that I thought would still look really nice.  
I started by putting just a little bit of gravel in the bottom to help with drainage and so the soil wouldn't wash out - as you can see my little 'helper' was right there throwing in the big rocks from my flower bed as I was trying to work.  :)

Then I mixed Miracle Grow's Moisture Control soil with some potting soil and added it to the level I thought it should be.

Roughly placed the plants where I thought they would end up and added soil as needed.  
For mine I also added some of this plant starter to my watering can and watered them with it once they were planted.

 Here's my finished herb garden that now graces my back patio table. :)  Smells soooo good!

I decided to plant basil, parsley, mint & rosemary for my mother-in-law and for myself I also added cilantro and oregano.  I've never grown cilantro so hopefully I'll do okay and it will thrive because I LOVE making guacamole and it'd be great to use my own! :)  (I'll post my guacamole recipe later)

For my mother-in-law's I used the plant marker idea from this post on Pinterest.  (Can you tell I love Pinterest?!?)  :-)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Double Strollers

I've been researching double strollers lately - still haven't made up my mind yet - and there are sooo many options out there!  I know a few of my friends are looking for these too, so I thought I'd put on here what I've found and you can see how your needs compare to mine and which one will work best for you!  My daughter will be 18 months when new baby arrives so we need something that will accommodate both of them very well.

2 reclining seats - I'm sure both of my lo's will be wanting to take naps at some point.  They don't have to completely recline but at least some sort of recline
Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - already have this carseat from baby #1 so going to reuse & being due in October it could be pretty chilly here in Nebraska so I will probably leave baby in the carseat if I'm out and about
Tandem style - fits through doorways better, I'm just use to it because it's what my brother & sister-in-law had, the side-by-side feels uncomfortable & awkward to push to me
Cup holders/child tray - Need a place to put lo's snacks
Adjustable parent handlebars - my husband and I are both tall so we need to be able to put the bars up so it's comfortable for us but it would also be nice for the shorter grandma's to be able to push it comfortably too

Nice to have:
Parent tray with cup holders
Bigger basket underneath
Not super long - I don't want to be pushing around a bus

Here's a few I've been debating about and how they stack up.  

2 reclining seats - full recline in rear
Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - yes
Tandem style - yes
Cup holders/child tray - cup holders in front only or arm bar
Adjustable parent handlebars - yes

Nice to have:
Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
Bigger basket underneath: yes but hard to access with backseat reclined or infant seat clicked in
Lightweight: 34 lbs
Not super long: 47.25" x 23.5" x 45.5"

Other to consider:
Seat weight limits: up to 40 lbs each seat
Double leg rests:  yes-adjustable

NOTES: Might have to remove front canopy to fit in smaller vehicles.  I tried this in the store and it seemed really long but that was compared to the Graco Ready to Grow stroller which is smaller (rear seat always faces backwards in that stroller)  I love my Chicco Cortina single stroller - it rolls much better than any Graco I've ever used and I'm sad to give it up, so I'm hoping to love this one but, at the beginning of my research, it seems long...
Graco Quattro Tour Duo  $230 at Babies R Us

2 reclining seats - Yes, rear fully reclines
Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - NO
Tandem style - yes
Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
Adjustable parent handlebars - I don't believe so - says multiple hand positions...

Nice to have:
Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
Lightweight: 46.4 lbs
Not super long: 40 x 22.3 x 44

Other to consider:
Seat weight limits: front: 50 lbs, rear: 40 lbs
Double leg rests:  yes

NOTES: Says 20% smaller when folded as compared to Graco DuoGlider Stroller.  Listed as Best Tandem Style Double Stroller on consumersearch.com.

Baby Trend Sit N Stand Double  $190 at Babies R Us

2 reclining seats - Yes, rear seat removes to become sit n stand for older child
Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - NO
Tandem style - yes
Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
Adjustable parent handlebars - NO

Nice to have:
Parent tray with cup holders: Yes
Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
Lightweight: 32.5 lbs
Not super long: 43.0 " H x 21.5 " W x 49.0 " D, collapsed: 43.5 " H x 17.0 " D

Other to consider:
Seat weight limits: front: 40 lbs, jumpseat: 2 1/2 to 40 lbs
Double leg rests:  yes

NOTES: Foot activated brake.  I like that this has the sit n stand feature for later on when your toddler wants to get out and about and be more independent.  
Jeep Traveler Tandem  $210 at Babies R Us

2 reclining seats - Yes - front can't recline with infant seat in back
Compatible with Chicco 30 carseat - Yes
Tandem style - yes
Cup holders/child tray - Yes both seats
Adjustable parent handlebars - Yes - 3 height positions

Nice to have:
Parent tray with cup holders: Just 1 cupholder - no tray
Bigger basket underneath: Yes 
Lightweight: 43.6 lbs
Not super long: 34.5 x 20.2 x 13.2

Other to consider:
Seat weight limits: both up to 40 lbs
Double leg rests:  yes - not adjustable

NOTES: Bright color is only color option.

Hopefully that helps you a little on what you might want to consider.  Here is a link to the Consumer Reports stroller buying guide for tips on what to look for when purchasing.  

Let me know what stroller you like or if you have a recommendation for me on one that isn't listed!  I'm still looking because nothing has fit the bill perfectly yet...  :)

I went to Babies R Us the other day and saw the Chicco and Sit-N-Stand in the store.

I thought the Chicco was a little bulkier than the Sit-N-Stand but it was probably a smoother ride for walks and such but the Sit-N-Stand seemed to maneuver a little better in the store (mostly since it was a little smaller I think)  

Here you can see how they compare side by side:

Sit-N-Stand on left, Chicco on right

Chicco on left, Sit-N-Stand on right

Chicco side
Shows bars in front of seats.  As you can see the front has 2 cups & the back only has a bar.  Apparently the child in the back doesn't get hungry or thirsty?!?!  BUT I know there are attachments you can buy that could probably solve the no snack tray issue - just not sure exactly what!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Making hemp/bamboo diaper inserts

I finally got a couple of my diaper inserts made!  I only ordered the fabric MONTHS ago!  My little one (lo) is currently 1 year old and a very heavy wetter, so I'm trying to get away from the microfiber inserts and go to natural materials which hold more liquid and aren't as bulky.  I thought that I'm handy enough to make them myself (albeit they may not be pretty!) so my friend and I got some cheap fabric, and I thought I'd give it a try.  I don't have a serger otherwise these would be way prettier!  But they go inside a diaper anyway and on my baby's butt so what does it really matter what they end up looking like, right?  

First I decided that I like using the Hemp Babies insert that I currently have so I thought I'd use it as a pattern.  It's a good size that I can fold it in half to stuff it in and it's nice because that would make 4 layers and it would still dry as fast as if it were 2.  

I started out by laying the Hemp Babies insert on top of my hemp material, and I just cut around it roughly.

Once I got that cut out, I pinned the hemp fabric to my bamboo fabric that I'm using as the 2nd layer.  I've never used bamboo but it is a softer fabric than hemp, so I decided to put it on one side in case I ever decided to use it as an insert in a cover sometime because then it would be softer against her bum.  It's also still supposed to be as absorbent as hemp so hopefully this works out for me!  You could also do two layers of hemp though or two layer of bamboo or whatever you feel will suit your needs!  Hemp is also soft and would be perfectly fine against baby's skin but the bamboo is just softer, so why not?!?

Here you can see the softer bamboo on the outside (whiter fabric) and then hemp on the other side. These are the sides off the fabric I decided to keep facing outwards because: 
for the bamboo: it was smoother than the other side so I thought it would get cleaner and help decrease on pilling &
for the hemp: because that's the side that was outward in the hemp inserts that I purchased so I took my hint from the pros. :)

I cut my bamboo layer out around my already cut hemp layer - like I said I did not do this in a technical manner.  I laid the fabric down and cut around it.  It is not perfectly square but I think it will work (and it was a lot faster than measuring everything out perfectly!)  I then pinned all the way around because that's what I have to do. :)

Then I took my machine and did a zigzag stitch all the way around to fasten the two layers together.  Again - NOT perfect in any way but it will work....and voila you're done!

My first finished hemp/bamboo insert.  I discovered that I needed to adjust my tension after the fact - you can see that it sort of curls on the sides, but hopefully I'll get better as I go.  

My two finished inserts!  The bottom one is bamboo side up and the back one is hemp side up.  I started out making 2 because I want to try them out before I use up all my fabric in case they don't work quite as well as planned.  I think I am going to make a few that are 3 layers and also a few that are just 1 layer to add in as a doubler.  That way, when baby #2 arrives, it doesn't have to use the 3 layers & extra bulk if it doesn't need it.

SO....try it yourself!  Order some fabric and try it out - as you can see, mine are nowhere close to perfect but they'll work to stuff in a diaper.  And think of the money you'll save!  I'll update this when I use up all my fabric and let you know how many inserts I made and what the comparable price would have been if I had purchased them all pre made.  But with the small Hemp Babies at $6 a piece, I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out ahead!  :)

Let me know if you have any tips or tricks on how I can make mine better or what works best for you.  

I had one momma tell me that she made hers in a long skinny insert that she folds up twice instead of in half  - the way she bought her fabric was in a tube so she didn't even have to sew the ends of it!  That way she ends up with 6 layers of absorbency for her lo's.  That sounds pretty slick too! :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Selecting a crib on a budget

Crib purchasing is one of those things that I'm picky about and make sure that I follow the recommendations on not buying used or a crib that is recalled (drop side cribs).  So I've been doing lots of research to see what the best one would be to buy without spending thousands of dollars and this is what I've concluded.

I have a book called Baby Bargains - mine's a few years old (2009) so not quite up to date - but it has some great information on what to look for, the history of different companies and it compiles parent's tested and true opinions on different brands of items.  Cribs is one of these.  One thing that surprised me - the brand Delta - which is a low priced crib sold at many stores - got a review of an F.  They said they used to recommend them as a good crib for grandma's house but with the history and number of recalls they've had, they no longer even recommend them for that use.  Needless to say - I scratched that brand right away.  BUT I know parents that have Delta cribs and they've worked out perfectly fine for them...  Also note that I believe Consumer Reports might recommend a few cribs from this brand, but I couldn't get their list so am not sure about that...(see below)

This book also recommended Graco cribs as the best budget crib - specifically the Lauren & Sarah models.  They gave LaJobi - the maker of Graco an A- rating.  They said they had a few negatives on Graco such as mis-matched screw holes but chalked it up to the start-up and think it's improved in recent years.

Also I of course consulted Consumer Reports to see what they had to say.  I don't have a membership so I couldn't get their recommendations on actual cribs, but I did get a list of the safety features to look for:

  • Basic is best-The safest cribs have simple lines and no scrollwork or finials.
  • If possible, avoid buying or accepting a used crib. Older models might not meet current safety standards or might be in disrepair. 
  • Pair the mattress and crib you plan to buy to make sure they're a good fit.  If you can place more than two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame, the fit isn't snug enough.
  • The slats in a crib or bassinet should be no farther apart than 2 3/8 inches.
  • Never use an antique or used crib or bassinet
  • Don't use crib bumpers-Your child can't hurt himself if he comes in contact with the railing, but he can suffocate in bumpers if he nestles his face up against it.
  • Don't use a sleep positioner or wedge
  • Inspect hotel cribs-  try to find out the make and model number before your arrival, so you can check whether it has been recalled.

I've done some of this research here in the last few days as we're looking for Baby #2's crib but of course I consulted the book that I had when we selected M's items & this is what we purchased for her:

Graco Lauren Crib

We have a Graco for her and have loved it so far, so we're thinking we're going to stick with that for Baby #2 too.  BUT of course we want a dresser and a chest of drawers to go with it, and do they ever come as a set?!?!  Yes-if you buy at $400-500+ for each piece.  Well I knew that I could get a set that would look just as nice together and spend less, but I'd just have to do a little research to find it.  For M's room this is what I got:

Sauders dressers in white : I got this dresser (not mirror), the chest of drawers and the matching nightstand.

We have loved it!  No they aren't anything fancy but the crib converts to a toddler bed (and full size later if you want to convert it) and she can use the dressers forever.  I am not one that wants to waste my money on a little 3 shelf changing table that has no use once your baby's are out of diapers.  I stuck M's changing pad on top of this long dresser, had room for my supplies beside it and she can get years of use out of it.  

However - the dressers have a million pieces to assemble!  It's not hard by any means - I did it myself as my then-5-month-old was playing beside me - but it did take me a long time and a lot of work.  The crib was easy to assemble however - I also did that and it only took me maybe 20-30 minutes while also being distracted by baby.  The dressers are good heavy pieces though and I really do think they'll last even though they're so cheap ( I got them on sale too of course!  How do you think I can afford to be a stay-at-home mom?  By being thrifty!!!)  :)  

So now I'm on to the search for Baby #2's crib.  I'm tempted to just get the same set as we did for M in the oak color but I think I'd rather at least have a different style crib...and I'm not sure I'm so keen and assembling those dressers again...  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Vegetable Tian

When I was perusing Pinterest the other night, I found this recipe that I thought sounded REALLY good!  Usually I just pin them and don't think much about them, but I actually wrote down the ingredients & bought them so I couldn't let them go to waste!

Here's  the recipe that was my inspiration.

I mostly followed it but I think my veggies were sliced a little thinner so it didn't take as long to bake.  Still cooked about 30 min with foil but then I only cooked with the cheese for about 5 minutes so it would get melted.  I used my food processor slicing plate for the first time and wow was that cool!!  It took less than half the time it would have taken me to slice by hand and they were perfectly sliced!  Can't wait to use it on salads and such this summer.........anyway here's how mine turned out:

It was SOO good!!!  I highly recommend trying it!  I also think I'll be adapting it this summer and try wrapping it up in some foil and putting it on the grill.  Wouldn't it be nice to have some good cooked veggies with your yummy burgers or steaks at the lake this summer?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Unfortunately this is something that I've been looking a lot into lately as my daughter caught it at a play-date last week.  First thing we learned is that the kid she was playing with had it 2 weeks ago so apparently it still hangs around that long - I don't know if it was from the child or the toys she played with or what but either way the virus was obviously still there.  

So if you think your child might have the disease, here's the information I learned: (From CDC Website)

Summary of HFM:
  • Usually causes fever, sores in the mouth, and a rash with blisters.
  • Is moderately contagious.
  • Mostly affects children younger than 10 years of age, but people of any age can be infected.
  • Has no specific treatment.
  • Infection risk can be reduced by practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently
M's Symptoms:
Monday - Play Date

Thursday and Friday - she was a little warm and with a bit of a diaper rash that we thought was from teething.

Saturday - she woke up with bad diaper rash and a 103.3 fever with bumps going down her legs a little bit.  We took her in to the pediatrician's office and the PA said she had mouth sores and a yeast diaper rash, so we were supposed to put Lotrimin on her bottom and the viral mouth sores just had to run their course.  She said it could be hand, foot and mouth or just viral sores that she's seen going around but to watch her hands and feet.  

Sunday - she had a few more sores on her feet and her legs were all red rashy from the knees down and her diaper area blisters were spreading down her legs even more.  Here's a picture of what her legs looked like on Sunday.  :(

Blisters similar to the ones in her diaper area

Rash that went from her knees down

She kept putting her hands in her mouth and even gagged herself a few times because I think her sores were hurting her.  She kept eating fine (which is great!) but the doctor said a lot of times, it hurts to eat so things like yogurt, milk and applesause might be more soothing.

So we concluded that it is definitely hand, foot and mouth and we just have to try to make her comfortable and wait it out.  We applied Lotrimin 3 times a day and then Desitin, A&D, etc every other diaper change.  Most of the time I would spread that out to the bigger blisters on her thighs as well (seemed to help...)  The first couple of days we gave her Ibuprofen every 6 hrs and lukewarm baths with baking soda around the 4th hour when it started to wear off...  We also fed her lots of yogurt and milk to help coat her throat.  Things started looking better today though - her diaper rash looks better and she wasn't running a fever so hopefully we're on the downward slope!   

Has your child had HFMD?  What treatments worked for you?

Here's Further Information From the CDC Website


Symptoms usually begin with a fever, poor appetite, and often a sore throat. A couple of days after the fever starts, painful sores can develop in the mouth. A skin rash with flat or raised red spots can also develop, usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet and sometimes on the buttocks. This rash may blister, but it will not itch.

Some people with HFMD may only have a rash; others may only have mouth sores. Other people with HFMD may show no symptoms at all.
The illness is typically mild, and nearly all patients recover in 7–10 days without medical treatment. 

Yes, HFMD is moderately contagious. The disease is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons.

People with HFMD are most contagious during the first week of their illness, but they can spread the virus that causes HFMD weeks after symptoms have gone away.
There is no specific treatment for HFMD. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers/pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In addition, individuals with HFMD should drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration


There is no vaccine to protect against HFMD. However, the risk of getting the disease can be reduced by

  • Frequently washing hands, especially after diaper changes;
  • Thoroughly cleaning objects and surfaces (toys, doorknobs, etc.) that may be contaminated with a virus that causes HFMD; and
  • Avoiding close contact (like kissing and hugging) with people who are infected.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baby Must Haves

I thought I'd make a list of some of things I deem necessary for new babies.  Obviously these aren't ACTUAL necessities but things that I thought made my life a lot easier or were just so darn cute I had to have em! :)  They're in no specific order and I'm not including such things as crib, diapers and basics but more just things you might not have been told about from others that are nice to have!

(Note: This is not all inclusive of my cloth diapering must haves - I'll list those in a later post!)

Breastflow bottles - GREAT for switching from breast to bottle.  They help avoid confusion because they are similar to the breast in that they have to suck harder to get through the double nipple and it is a wide nipple as well.

Sophie the Giraffe teether - I always thought people were crazy saying you had to have this (as it costs $25 regular price) but M genuinely loves hers!  Its a soft, natural rubber that must feel great on their aching gums during teething.  I must warn you though - if you have older children - this toy can get awful annoying if they get their hands on it because they can squeeze it a LOT harder than babies and that squeak can sure get loud!  :)

Nursing Cover - I like my Bebe Au Lai but there are tons of other brands out there as well.  Very handy to just slip over your head when you're in public to give a little bit more privacy (and make others around you more comfortable as well...)  This one has a built in wire at the front so you can still see what you're doing as you fumble around a bit on your first few outings.

Milk storage organizer - GREAT for storing your breast milk for future use.  I always used mine with Lansinoh storage bags and it was so great to thaw them out quickly by running them under warm water.  Even if you stay at home like I do, you still want to have a supply filled up because mom's need time away from their babies too!  These are great for dad to use when you're out running errands or the sitter when you actually get a 'date night!'


Side snapping onesies with mittens - I LOVED these for the first few weeks.  Easy diaper changes and the built in mittens help so that your little one doesn't scratch their sweet little face!  M lived in the Gerber onesies along with some Babylegs because she was an April baby and it was a little cool out... 

Swaddling blankets - I LOVE the Aden + Anais blankets.  They have different weights you can get for different times of the year as well as organic and bamboo I believe.  Swaddling was a life saver for us.  Another thing to check out that goes with swaddling is the...

The Happiest Baby on the Block - tells great tips about how to keep your baby happy.  Swaddling is one of the 5 S's that you learn about.  Swaddling, Shushing, Sucking, Swinging, Side/Stomach position.  We watched the dvd (I know I know - the easy way out!) but it had some great tips!  

Grocery cart/high chair cover - I always made fun of the people that used these before I was a parent but we got one from a friend and it was a lifesaver!  It made me feel so much more comfortable putting my daughter in those disgusting, germy carts and public high chairs!  I have one similar to this where you can attach your own toys to help keep them entertained.  This is especially helpful right when your child begins to sit up on their own until maybe about a year.  We don't really use our anymore because I feel more comfortable knowing that she's not going to be gnawing on the handle, etc.


Sleep Sheep - this is an item that I didn't hear about before I had my first but I will definitely be getting it soon for my 2nd.  All I've heard is great raves about this.  I also like this one that is on the go because you can attach it to the carseat or use it at home on the crib too.  My daughter is not a good sleeper away from home so maybe if she had gotten used to this, she would be more comfortable on trips.


Hand & Face wipes - I like to use these rather than their diaper wipes to wipe her face and hands before and after eating.  I also like to use these to wipe the tables down when we go out to eat because her food always ends up on the table no matter how much you try not to.

Sippy cup strap - help keep your baby's bottles and sippys from hitting the floor.  You can attach them to strollers, high chairs, etc.  I like the ones that have the velcro to go around the cup so that it's adjustable but they're also the only kind I tried.  I also found this tutorial on Pinterest that I'm going to try to tackle in the future to make a couple more.  

Well that's all I can think of for now.  Obviously the last 2 are for a little older of a child than a newborn but I wanted to add them on there.  

Also, when I asked my husband what he liked best for new babies - he said he really liked the sleep gowns. 
Sleep Gowns - They were definitely very helpful for night-time diaper changes.  No messing with snaps or zippers.  Just be sure to put some socks on those little tootsies!  :)

Please comment your own helpful tip for must-have baby items that I forgot!  I'm always looking for excuses to buy new things.  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sewing Diaper Inserts

A new project for me.  I bought some bamboo and hemp fabric and want to make some inserts for my pocket diapers.  Bamboo and hemp are more absorbent than the microfiber inserts that come with most pocket diapers, and they also tend to have less problems that cause the need to 'strip'.  Since my daughter is a heavy wetter, want to eventually switch completely to natural fibers.  They are also thinner than microfiber so her bum wouldn't be quite so 'fluffy' and I won't have to size up so much on her pants! :)

I'll update you on how this project goes...I've been trying to get started here for the last few days but haven't quite found the time to start.  Hubby has the day off tomorrow though, so maybe I can fit in some sewing time while he's here to take care of M!  I know they won't be anything fancy because I just have a basic machine so they won't have the nice edges on them - but I'm sure they'll work.  And hopefully I'll save lots of money by making my own instead of buying them!

I think I'm going to make a few different sizes to see what works out best for us.  I'm going to do something like this so that I can add them in for M if I need them but then just use something like this for baby until they get to be a heavier wetter too...  This will sort of be trial and error so wish me luck and let me know if you have any tips for me!