Sunday, April 24, 2011

An Easter Thought

An Easter revelation:
I saw a post on a friend’s facebook which prompted me to do some research.
She said:HAPPY EASTER!! Ever wonder why Easter eggs are in the picture? In Christian times, the dipping of an egg into water was a symbol of new life just as a chick might hatch from the egg. Coloring eggs has been a part of many cultures' rites of spring and other seasonal holidays. Eat yummy food today and remember to dye some eggs! :-)” -Angie Fugal
Let me now give you some insight to my inner dilemma as a Christian parent. Aaron and I have chosen not to use fictional characters (like Santa or the Easter bunny) to celebrate holidays which we value deeply as Christians.  Part of our mind set  is that this is already a great holiday; why take value away from the awesome meaning and story behind it with the aforementioned non-related random characters?
I really enjoy dying and hunting for eggs and was happy to see my friend post this. I did some research and found a GREAT point of view on it. You may not agree with it but I really like the spin they put on Easter eggs since I was kind of looking for a way to incorporate our values into a tradition I happen to love.
 The website is:
To para-phrase and make a long story short this Pastor did his own research on the biblical basis for dying eggs and came up with a wonderful explanation.
The original Greek that the Bible was written in uses the word baptidzo which means to dip and dye. It is also used in the context in Greek if you were reading about dipping and dying linens. 
2 Corinthians 5:17 Says “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new crea­ture: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  So…. a person who comes to Jesus Christ can be likened to an old garment that needs to be dipped into a vat of dye so its color can be changed. However, the person isn’t dipped into a vat of colored dye, but into the precious blood of the Lamb!
The lesson that this pastor used to teach the children from this is that eggs are like people; you dip them and change them forever they are given new life.  For some people this might be a reach but as a parent I think it’s a great visual reminder for our kids to really get what it means to be a Christian and how we should be different than the other eggs. To me that goes hand in hand with the Easter message and thus I will continue to enjoy my egg dipping traditions and add some new meaning to them to pass along to my children.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Potty Training Derailed!

My first instinct was to stick with it and keep pushing gently but I'm seriously considering putting potty training on the back burner.
He's just not ready.
Davin is mature enough to do many things. He helps out with the laundry, he has some small chores, and is big enough to understand that if he wants a new toy he has to work for it. So why can he just not quite grasp this? He tells me when he's already gone potty and he strives for the positive reinforcement and the excitement of sitting on the potty.
Do we keep trying or am I going to scar my child for life? Honestly I could go either way but I would like to finish what we started. I'm having another baby which means 2+ more years of diapers so I'm not striving for the incentive of a diaper free life here.
We have not had 1 successful elimination in the potty from today and last night.
He has actually only ever done it once ever; it was like an out of control mini fire hose hit my bathroom.

I don't want to be one of those moms who has a 4 and a half year old who passed the ready stage and is now into manipulative and icky. Where is that fine line between "he'll do it when he's ready" and "my kid missed the boat and now I have to figure out what to do before he starts school"?

Most importantly I think here is the burning question in my mind: Why in centuries of childraising has no one gotten it right and written a book or why do parents not get some soft of a manual from God on the day their kids are born? Maybe parents would think they knew better than any manual or book and we would all be in the same place regardless.

Back to the topic at hand.... To potty train or not to potty train? That is the question.
I think I'm going to back off and keep playing Elmo's Potty Time. Either way I'm taking a leap but I think I know my son well enough to know when to re-introduce this and I know he's close but perhaps not quite ready.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Davin is now entering a new stage in his life. In my opinion if a child is old enough to tell me that he needs his diaper changed then he's old enough to put it in the potty. Davin consistantly tells me when I need to change him and so begin our potty adventures. Armed with a brand new copy of Elmo's Potty Time, sesame street underwear, and pack of plastic pants I am bodly going where many moms have gone.

(For the record; Cole potty trained himself. One day he simply said he didn't want diapers and we made a reward chart and he never missed a beat.)

Davin insists that he is baby Davin, he is perfectly happy in diapers and says he doesn't need big boy underwear. Keeping in mind that it's bad to push a child too much in potty training I do feel like I need to be firm. Davin is excited to wear is new big boy Sesame Street underwear and he has used the potty before.

Here's our plan:
We have a potty chart which gives rewards in consistant intervals. It's a 3 week chart and each week brings a new a bigger reward.
Week 1- We stay home! Davin gets positive reinforcement EVERY TIME he uses the potty. He is only expected to stay dry while he is awake and will wear underwear only while we are at home and he is awake. He gets to mark each accident free day with a sticker at night. After 7 accident free days Davin gets a reward. He has decided to work toward his own baseball bat. 
Week 2- Davin is expected to stay dry at home AND if we go out. He will continue to recieve positive reinforcement everytime he uses the potty We will be wearing underwear and plastic pants at home and use pull ups while we are out and about. Davin loves hats and wants to work for a mariners hat this week.
Week 3- Underwear during all waking hours and pull ups at night and during nap. A reward will be given everytime he wakes up unsoiled and at the end of this last week we will be celebrating with a family trip to the zoo!

I really have never really had to "work" on potty training. I know that consistancy and praise go a long way and I would suppose that if we skip a step we would move up our rewards accordingly. For example if Davin stays dry every nap and night time while he's working on leaving the house and staying dry then maybe we could wrap it up a week early and hit the zoo in a new hat.

I will posts updates on the first day and then weekly there after.

For the record we tried to start tonight and it was a disaster- 3 pairs of underwear in 4 hours.
Houston we have a timing issue.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Does homemade = saving $$$?

In this case... YES!
Have you ever seen those cool swaddling wraps for babies?
I had a really cheap swaddling blanket when Cole was born and it was ok but the flaps were pretty short and he outgrew it quickly. I would have used the same blanket on Davin but he was WAY too long for the blanket itself and again the swaddling flaps were too short. When I worked in a daycare I saw one like the one I registered for this time, the baby loved it and it seemed better designed than the one I was able to afford at the time.

The one I registered for this time is $25 and they can run up around $40 depending on the material and the style. 
 I have tried to do a lot of homemade things and cut costs where I can. We have what we need but we don't have a lot (if any) extra income most days. My challenge has been to see what I can actually save on versus it being more or the same cost as if I had just bought it in the first place. The general answer I have found is that if you want to actually save money and you don't have any of the supplies you need to plan for your project.
Here are some things to keep in mind that I have found helpful:
  • keep an eye out for sales and sign up for store coupons
  • don't buy anything unless it's on sale if you can help it
  • your inital creativity and excitment can cost extra- you can still have a cute project without letting yourself go overboard
For this project I heard about a huge sale at JoAnn's and I decided to check it out. McCalls patterns were only 99 cents this week! Although I didn't find a pattern for this project from McCalls I did allow my self to spend $3 on patterns I thought I could use in the future. I saved $26 by doing this! Remember: you're only saving if you actually use it so don't get carried away :-)
I found a featured section of fabric that was like $2/yard and even though they didn't have baby prints I limited myself to this rack and chose something else. I probably wouldn't have chosen this fabric if it hadn't been on sale but it is cute and in perspective it's only an experimental blanket. Not having a pattern or even a solid plan at the time I couldn't guarentee that this project was going to come together. I also decided to use a knit fabric for softness and stability. Knits were up to 50% off this week! Jersery knit would have been ideal in my mind but I found a comparable fabric for $2 less per yard so I went with that.
I bought 2 yards of each fabric. The total cost was $15. It could have easily run into the $20-$30 range if I hadn't picked thing that were on sale. When I got home I used a recieving blanket to give me an idea of how big I should make the body of the blanket and I kind of made the rest up as I went.

The project turned out really well! I will be adding it my list of baby gifts for people and possibly making another one for myself after Faith is born. I want to see if she actually likes to be swaddled and how much I use it. I also want to try out this one and see what needs to be fine-tuned before I make a second blanket.

So I saved a total of $10 + tax on this blanket by making it myself. I also have saved by making my own hair bows. I might be able to use the extra knit fabric from my blanket project to make a couple of sleepers for Faith since I was able to pick up the pattern for those for 99 cents!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to make: Hair Bows

Upon purchasing my fair share of hair bows, flowers, butterflies, and headbands; I decided that I might be better off in the long run if I could just learn how to make some of these things. The first thing I wanted to learn was hair bows; 1) because I don't have very many of those, and 2) because it seemed easiest.

Upon reflection I have 2 insights for you before you start.
- floppy grosgrain is a great ribbon to learn on
-you can do just about anything with hot glue

You will need:
  • ribbon (about 1 yard) -I find I like 1"-1.5" ~ 31 cents/ yard
  • a hot glue gun ~ around 2.99 if you don't already own one
  • a lighter -if you're using grosgrain ~ 99 cents for a 3 pack
  • thread~ who doesn't have this? you can get it al the dollar store for a bunch of colors!
  • small alligator clips~ $2 for a 10 pack
  • patience!!!!~ priceless
Start by getting all your stuff out and your glue gun warmed up.
Tie the very end of your ribbon in a knot. Don't pull it all the way tight, leave it with that cone shaped triangle bit in tact.
Cut the knotted end off and set it aside, run the ends of the big piece through the lighter flame to seal the ends. Don't catch it on fire! Fold the ribbon over kind of like a breast cancer awareness ribbon leaving one side much longer.
This is the part that takes a lot of patience and practice!!!
Wrap it around itself losely so the front and back look like this


Straighten it out a bit and scrunch the center together. (This also takes practice and patience)
Bind it REALLY tight with your thread to hold it. Bind it enough that the thread can hold itself in place. The flip it front side and put a dot of hot glue on the top.

Glue the flat side of your knotted piece to the top of the bow.
Put a dab of glue on the back and put down your alligator clip and run one end of the knotted piece through the clip. You may need to glue that down or if your clips were like mine they have a slit through the center so the glue holds down your ribbon as well.
Trim the excess ribbon and wrap your other end around and glue it down.
The finished product might resemble this!

Some people like to start with big bows, they say it's easier. I prefer smaller bows from the floppy more forgiving ribbon as I learn. My bigger bows still don't look like the store bought ones but I think they still look pretty cute!
I saved around $2.50/ bow by making it myself. I found a website that will sell these for 79 cents but the colors can be limited and even if I went that route to buy all my bows I would still save around 29 per bow by making it myself.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Over the Top Baby trends

How do I feel about HUGE oversized hair accessories and frilly dresses?

Most of you know that I love them. If you knew me as a kid you might remember that I have always loved the over the top girls' fashions.
There are those in my life who for the life of them have never understood this love I have and that's ok. Some are betting that Faith will rip off her hair bows and ruffles the minutes she's old enough to do it and that's ok too!
I have 2 other children, their styles even though they are young are not always my style. I know that as soon as they start picking out their own clothes they develop preferences and favorite from what they have. I love little boys in overalls and my almost 4 year old absolutely HATES overalls. He doesn't like how they fit him and he doesn't care how cute they look. My 2 and a half year old has a thing for baseball caps. No one in our family wears many hats but for him it's something he just feels super good in. I don't know if it's a comfort thing or what but the kid always has a hat on and he shows strong preference toward baseball caps; you can't just give him any style of hat.
So yes, I do realize that my daughter is no exception to developing free will and her own sense of style. As long as she stays within our family modesty and morality standards I have no problem with what she chooses.

Here's the beautiful thing though; I have about 2.5 years give or take to do WHATEVER I want to her! After that I  can still influence what she wears and how she dresses because she still has to pick from what ever I have provided for her. I figure this gives me 2 years of free reign and 5-7 total years of influence and  wonderful over the top frilly clothes and accessories. Obviously Davin wears hats and Cole is rarely seen in overalls so I do recognize and respect my kids' preferences but I also know that they have picked up some of what I would hope for them and I figure on some of the same thing for my daughter.

I don't have all the answers and I am SO new to the world of little girls but I know what I like and for now that's good enough. My ruffly butt, huge hair bow, giant flower, colorful headband, cute hat tastes and preferences are here to stay.... at least until she's old enough to take them off  ;-)

new found gift ideas

I recently had my baby shower!
I can't begin to tell you how blessed I was by everyone who made us feel so loved! The shower was last week and I'm still kind of over-whelmed by it all. From helping hands to the cutest outfits and accessories to homemade gifts; our needs have been provided for and then some.
While and am SO thankful for the support of everyone I was amazing at some of my homemade gifts and I will be stashing them away in my mental list of gift ideas. I wanted to put them here too; not only for you to enjoy but also because I seriously don't have very good mental listing abilities and these things need to be written down! So without further delay here they are in no special order for your own refrence as well as mine!
The Baby Wreath-
I actually made this one for someone else. I saw an idea online and I kind of ran with it. I saw other online versions using diapers but I made mine with
-2 recieving blankets
- ribbon
- socks
- baby toys
- something snuggly
- wooden letters
First I got a wreath form, these can be found with all things styrofoam in any craft store. I also purchased the ribbon and wooden letters at the craft store. I took my recieving blankets and wrapped them around the wreath using thin ribbon to bind them. I got some various baby things that are cute and useful and attched them as I thought they looked good. For finishing touches I tied a big bow and added the wooden name letters which worked well since this particular baby has a shorter name.
The BIG Hooded Towel
A friend of mine made this for me, it's super and I will be making more for my own family as well as using it as a gift for others.
She Used:
-a really big, soft, fluffy towel
-a matching hand towel or wash cloth
I'm not exactly sure how she trimmed it but essentially she folded the hand towel in half leaving some room to attatch it and sewed the 2 short sides together to make the hood then she centered the hand towel in the center on the wide edge of the towel and sewed it on. It's full size which is nice because this can be used for kids not just babies since babies often outgrow the store bought hooded towels unless you order them especially in kid sized. It's a really thoughtful and creative homemade gift!
Diaper Cake
Most of use have heard by now about these beautiful and fabulous baby gifts. I was lucky enough to get one at my baby shower and the only down side is that I REALLY don't want to ever take it apart! I have also heard that similar things can be done for weddings using kitchen towels and such and decorated with household "must haves".
For the diaper cake you will need:
- a TON of diapers (cloth or disposable)
- Ribbon
- baby "must-haves"
-and a couple of baby bottles
The sky is the limit here so you can do as much or as little as you are able. The diapers alone are a great gift and with a little presentation who ever thought that diapers could look so pretty?!
You will need to roll up your diapers and wrap rubber bands around them. Then bunch them around a baby bottle to make the circular bottom layer. I think my diaper cake has 3-4 rings of diapers in the bottom layer to make the base wide enough. The bottle maye be tall enough if you are using disposables to use the same bottle for your next tier. a bottle of sparkling cider would also work and provide more length for the core. Same Idea, less circumfrence for each tier you make. You can do this for as many tiers as you want to. Each tier on mine is held together by a big thin elastic headband and then that was covered with thick cloth stip. You could use ribbon for that part if you want to. Alot of people attatch various baby items. SOme cakes are really loaded. Mine was simple and cute and decorated with fabric lolly pops. The top tier was made of embelished burp clothes. Which I'm going to list next. She topped it off with those spinning pin wheels. It is SO cute!
Embellished Burp Clothes-
***Please note***: I took these instruction right off my friend's blog. Although I had seen these done before I have never come across instructions for how to do it and she really did a great job. The blog I lifted this from is The Hot & Sassy Housewife
Here is what you need:
1. A package of Gerber cloth diapers (they come in a 12 pack)
2. 1/4 yard of six different coordinating fabrics...
(this will provide enough to make two cloths from each fabric)
3. Thread
4. Scissors
5. Iron

Here is what the cloth diaper package looks like along with the fabrics I used...

You can pre-wash and shrink your fabric and diapers but make sure to iron them. When you get the fabric it will be in a long, skinny strip. Fold it in half and cut it at the fold. These will be your two strips that you sew onto the diaper. Take one strip and fold the shortest edge over 1/2 inch and iron it, then do this to one of the longer sides. At this  point I lined my straight-edge-measurey-thingy (you know, the one that comes with your standard rotary cutter and mat in a kit?) up along the long folded edge and then flipped the fabric on the other side over the top and then slid the straight-edge-measurey-thingy out and ironed again. I could have just measured but this seemed easy and it was the perfect size.
This is what it should look like (yes, you leave the very end unfolded)...

Trim your corners...

Take a cloth diaper and center your fabric in the middle of it and pin at the corners. Be aware that the ends of the diapers are very uneven so just line it up best you can but they won't be straight. In hind sight I would have folded the long edges first and the short edges last and flipped them over the end of the cloth diaper. Oh well. 

Make sure you pin your fabric RIGHT SIDE up because this isn't something you are flipping. Pin everything but that unfolded edge you left at the end. The reason you leave this edge unfolded is because the cloth diapers can vary in length. When you get to this end fold it to the correct length and pin it too. Then you are ready to sew. Just start at one corner and go around the edge or the rectangle, backing up and sewing each corner a couple of times.
They come out looking like this...