Friday, November 22, 2013

Apple Cider in the Coffee Maker

It's been nearly a MONTH since I posted last. So I thought I'd do a quick one with a new "life hack" I've discovered. Perhaps this is not news to anyone else but It was to me so I wanted to share.


We no longer have a microwave. I accidentally nuked the 'wave for 20minutes with nothing in it and it fried. So we decided to go without one and see what happens. I really only used it for two things anyway and both were easily remedied.

Then Fall happened. In the south our winters aren't super cold but they are windy and wet. And this year has been no exception. I saw R.W. Knudson's Cider& Spice, No sugar added, 100% juice and knew it would be fabulous.
But then, wait, no microwave to heat it in! And I don't own a tea kettle(I know that is definitely going on my "to buy" list now)!!!!
So I had to come up with some easy way to warm just a little up at a time.

And since necessity is the mother of invention....

How to Warm Cider in a Coffee Maker

I'm trying to get with the times. Pinable images. ;)
First Pour your desired amount of cider into your carafe.
 Next remove the basket where your coffee filter/grounds goes.
This is what it looks like Empty :) You can see the top of the carafe through the hole in the top of the coffee maker.
 Place the carafe on the coffee makers warming plate.
 Turn on, wait about 5-10 minutes, swirl to mix spices in and serve!

 Easy peasy! Essentially you COULD use a coffee/soup warmer like one of these:
Click here to find this model which I have and love. But I found that these do better for keeping hot things warm not warming cold things up. ;) and I like how much faster my coffee maker works!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Babywearing for the Plus sized mama's

What started it all:

I was asked recently what I'd recommend for a plus sized mama who wants to baby-wear.
First thing I'd recommend is to buy a tape measure and measure your waist. Knowing this measurement will help you when buying a carrier. In many cases a carrier has straps and you need to know if they are going to fit your waist.
Measure just above your hips and at your natural waist(usually around your bellybutton). If the measurements for the carrier's waist ties/belt will wrap around the largest measurement with room to tie a knot(I'd guess add extra 2 feet) then you are probably safe.

DIY Products:

For the crafty mama's I'd first recommend making a carrier. A Mei tie or a stretchy wrap will be fairly simple.
Stretchy's are recommended to start at 5 yards but If you go with 6-7 you will probably be safe. I'm a size L(when newly breastfeeding) 36D cup and a 5 yard wrap is PLENTY long enough for me. I'd guess it would fit an XL mama as well and you could add another yard per size and it won't hurt anything. Once you've wrapped a squish up in the wrap you will be able to tell if it's too long. And if it is, simply trim the "tails" shorter.

Here's some great tutorials on making a stretchy wrap:
The stretchy in this requires some sewing but would be super cute and even cheaper to make:
And in case I forgot to mention it this is typically a NO SEW project!
There is a downside to stretchy wraps though, they really start to get uncomfortable for mom and baby at about 15lbs and you CAN NOT wear them to do a back carry as it is NOT safe.
Here are some of my favorite Stetchy wrap Videos: (You can also look for directions for using the "moby", or "sleepy" wrap but beware any that say it's ok to do a back carry.)

Next would be a mei tie. This one is VERY easy to make if you can do a simple straight stitch on your sewing machine. I recommend this pattern:
McCall's M5678
Ignore the pouch sling as it's unsafe. The striped version is the one you want. Simply make the straps LONGER and you'll be set.
You can use this for a newborn, and infant and even small toddlers.
For free patterns:

And wearing directions:

On the Market:

Now there are products you can buy that will accommodate the plus sized mama.
Wrap Conversion Mie Ties are a great one. The straps are VERY long, and wide, so super comfy. They are more expensive as they are made from pricey woven wraps. You can also look for a Mei Tie with "wrap straps" and that should work.

Next you can try the infantino Sash Carrier:
There are several reviews that state it to be great for plus sized mommies. And there are a few variations of the carrier with different "prints". So long as it's the mei tie carrier this is a GREAT carrier. And you can get them used online for so cheap. An excellent alternative to a bjorn, snuggli or other crotch dangler, or expensive carrier.

Ergo Carrier:
This carrier on it's own isn't perfect for this but This company sells an extension belt that makes the waist big enough and that is what you'd need:

A ring sling:
Most ring slings come in sizes but you can find plenty of mom's who custom make them and can make them the lengt you need. You typically measure from your shoulder to your hip double that, then from your shoulder to where you want the tail to hit on your leg. Though each sling maker will have recomendations for measureing.
Or just buy and XL or Large sling. Make sure the product is made with Sling rings and not any other kind. Sling rings are weight tested individually up to 100 lbs and are MADE for baby wearing. Any other ring is not tested for such and has unknown weight and lead contents. It also may be welded which is a weak point in a ring and can cause breakage, or can tear fabric and cause injury to your baby.
I recommend the following sellers:

Lastly I'd recommended wraps. Wraps are really the MOST versatile carrier out there. And super supportive. Wraps come in many brands but some good starter LittleFrog, Wrap Nap Fairy, BB Slen, Bara Barn,and Chimparoo.
Budget is anything under 100.00 as most wraps are several hundered dollars or more. Even more so for discontinued and hard to find "prints"/colors. All wraps that aren't termed "stretchy" are woven and are great for newborn and up in age. You can wear a 4 year old or a newborn in a woven wrap.

You can even make one yourself with a little work from a tablecloth. There are many tutorials over at the babywearer forums on how to do so. ;)

Photo credit goes to my beautiful mama friends for volunteering their photo's for me to use! Thanks Tamera S., Becky W., And Sabine K.!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Testing a popular Pinterest tutorial: Sharpies on ceramic

I've been itching to do some crafty things lately but between potty breaks, cleaning (I'm really trying to get my house in order as it is something I struggle with), Bible study and such I haven't had much time.
I saw this popular project and wanted to try it. But I could only do so if the finished item was dishwasher safe. Which some said it was and others said it wasn't.
So I bought this little ramekin to use as a guinea pig bowl for our little girls veggies. I drew her name on one side:
And a likeness of her on the other:
 I put it in the dishwasher on a regular wash cycle and ran it overnight. Then waited till the next morning to take it out to compare. 
Then took it out. This is what her likeness looked like: 
There are a few areas where the silver sharpie wore off on her rump. And it looks like it took the brown with it on her nose.  
Her name however was perfect. Exactly how I had drawn it. So It seems to me perhaps certain colors would hold up better than others. These where standard colored sharpies and the silver metallic one. I will be interested to see how this continues to hold up in the dishwasher. I'll make sure to post after awhile to let you know how it lasts! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rebuttal for the Stir's "5 places mom's should Breastfeed Discreetly"

I am reposting this so I can rebut it:

First by law in our state a Woman can nurse her baby WITH or WITHOUT a cover legally anywhere she is aloud to be. That covers all but the airplane one.

To properly rebut all of these I am posting them in italics with the original text and my rebuttal underneath. 
  • The Pool -- Might as well start with swimming pools since the mom from Illinois is who got me thinking about breastfeeding in public in the first place. Pools generally have tons of kids in and around them, and as the mom of a 7-year-old, I wouldn't want him splashing around and seeing a mom sitting near the pool with the top of her swimsuit down. I already shudder at the thought of him looking at breasts when he's a teenager, let alone as a second grader.
 At the pool I'd venture to guess that there is more boob or cleveage showing on those teen girls and other moms/women than there is exposed by a nursing tot/baby. And as to children seeing... they NEED to see a nursing baby. It's normal. It's natural. And only through seeing it will they understand that.

This is what boobs are for and our society has made them about sex. In the past it has been the Neck, wrist, or even ANKLE! Then it was legs. That said we've gotten past those hangups, Let's move past this America.

"but what do I say to my child? How do I explain it?"
Simple you tell them the baby is drinking mommy's milk that her body makes perfect for baby.
I'd like not to have to explain to my toddler/child that some babies drink formula. But I handled that simply by telling her some babies drink milk in a cup/bottle. She was fine with that explanation.

  • Restaurants -- I've seen moms feeding their babies in restaurants on several occasions, and I'm fine with it when they're wearing a coverup. But I do remember one occasion where I looked over at the table next to me in the middle of my meal and saw a boob in its entirety (before the baby had latched on -- so I saw this woman's bare nipple). It made me feel very awkward and uneasy. It was just so ... out there. Didn't have much of an appetite after that.
Ok first if mom has a right to be there then so does baby. That said till bottles require a coverup breasts shouldn't either. (after all aren't they really a faux boob making them a sex object too?)  It's a nipple. Why are you looking at other people anyway? And seriously have you never seen a nipple before?
If it bothers you so much perhaps you should suggest to the owner that they instal a nursing room. I know I would have loved one because nursing a distract-able baby while eating is super annoying but it has to be done sometimes. 
  • Airplanes -- Yes, I KNOW babies need to eat on the plane as much as anywhere else, but this one honestly has more to do with safety than anything else. With all of the cases of creepy men groping women or hitting on them mid-flight -- the more covered up moms are, the better. Honestly, I'd probably ask the flight attendant to seat me in a row of women if I was a breastfeeding mom.
 OH an airplane. First nursing isn't sexual. Second, if it turns a man on there is something wrong with him. Third let's give men more credit. Forth, I'd think you'd rather see my nursing kiddo than her screaming and crying the whole time. ;)
  • Kids' sporting events -- Again, there are just too many children running around, and it's probably not a good idea for them to look to the sidelines and see breasts staring back at them. I just keep thinking about my own child and what he'd think (or say out loud) if he were to see too much skin.
 That depends on what you've taught your child. My daughter is 2. She simply goes. Oh the baby drinks mommy milk! and looks away. And is busy doing other things. It's really not a big deal unless you have some hangup you've taught your child.
  • Church -- It's wonderful when moms want to bring the kids to church and nurture their faith early on. But a coverup is a necessity with a baby in tow. Do I really have to elaborate here?
I am a God fearing, Christian woman, who goes to church every sunday. I have been a christian since I was in Kindergarten and asked Christ into my heart. I do not beleive a coverup is necessary in church. I also don't beleive a talkative or screaming child should have to leave the service (but that is a post for another day.)
Being discreet doesn't mean you have to use a giant, animal print, neon, cover to "hide" what you are doing. It means latching baby on quickly and paying attention to thier cues so they don't need to cry to let you know they are hungry. It means making sure your baby is happy and content and not drawing attention to yourself.
Many nursing mom's don't use a cover but instead use the "one shirt up one down" method and find it to work quite well and cover everything.
I myself used this method in church as have many other women.

Any other problems we need to discuss? Leave them in the comments. ;) I'm sure I have a reply for them too.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sleep is a Crap Shoot

Last night I got 4 hours of sleep collectively. in increments of 1 hour and 3 hours.
As I was awake waiting to see if DD would actually go to sleep this time I wrote and composed this whole blog post in my head. I should have gotten up and written it for real but I decided getting some sleep was more important.
So forgive the brokeness of this post as I am super tired.

Sweetness is nearly 2. Her birthday is approaching in 3 short days. If you had told me when I was pregnant that I would get so little sleep these last 2 years I'd have laughed. I planned to aggressively use CIO and sleep train my baby. (after she was the prescribed 6 months old of course.)
Hubby and I tried "extinction" CIO when she was about that age. It was horrible. We both where in tears with her and finally after the second night said we would do things differently.
So we instead used a method where you go in at 5 minute intervals and calm your child down and check for a real problem. It worked well and soon dd could put herself to sleep with no issues for naps and night time and slept great for naps.
However she still woke up pretty much every 2-3 hours from the time she was around 6 months old to a year.

At right around a year we traveled out of state for a month for husbands job. We'd done short trips before and I knew she'd take about 3 days to adjust to the new time zone and place. At about a week and a half in she was sleeping fine and napping great. Ignoring the loud noises of our hotel neighbors.
Then we switched hotels. She wouldn't sleep from that point on. We drove around in the car one night for 3 hours and she slept for about 30-ish minutes of that drive and wouldn't go back to sleep.
I got up and rocked her,sang, bounced her, nothing worked except my breasts.
So In order to get some sleep, I nursed her back to sleep. Over, and over and over again. every single night. She was waking up literally 15+ times a night. We co-slept on the pull out extra bed for most of the night just her and I.
And she refused to nap during the day at all despite having had 2 naps a day.
Needless to say I was exhausted.

When we got home I resolved to night wean her to solve the multiple night wake ups. We did what I called "sleep bootcamp" where anytime she was tired I put her down for a nap regardless of time of day.  This worked fine. But night was still hard. She wouldn't go to sleep for hubby anymore so I had to be with her when she woke up and all she wanted was mama's milk. We temporarily night weaned, then when her canines cut we nursed again.
Finally in January of this year I managed to night wean her while hubby was out of town for a week. I was sure at this point with her 18 months old that she would start sleeping all night.

I was wrong. See sleep and nursing don't mean anything. Sleep is a milestone. Just like rolling, crawling, lifting their head up, eating solids, sitting up, and talking(to name a few). And for children this happens at different times and ages. Some babies are born sleeping 6 hours straight. Some like sweetness sleep in 45 minute increments till they are several months old.
I knew this. I'd read it many times since Sweetness was small. But It was made abundantly clear recently.

See DD is now 7 months past night weaning. She still is waking up multiple times at night. We don't nurse to sleep. She goes to sleep awake. Her room is dark. She has no lights except her cloud b turtle which shuts off after 45 minutes. I've tried chamomile tea, lavender oil, chest rub, white noise, she's on a schedule, and meds and homemopathics for teeth. Sometimes thy help sometimes not.

As I woke up for the 4th time last night I finally gave in and gave her tylenol and she slept. Her previous meds hadn't technically worn off according to the label, but for Sweetness these things take the edge off and wear off fast. I have yet to find a homeopathic strong enough for the two year molars.

Some nights she sleeps without meds. Sometimes she has to have them. Sometimes not. Sometimes she sleeps for 5 or 6 hours, wakes one time and goes back to sleep with 10 minutes of snuggles in the rocker. some times  I am up for hours.
I try to be strong in this. Try to remain patient, try not to be short tempered, yet still firm that it's bedtime. I wish to be able to just enjoy the snuggles, the singing, the quiet moments of just her and me. That would be noble and wonderful. I am human though. A fallen sinful creature. And as such most nights I just want to go to sleep.

I'm assured by many that one day she will sleep and so will I. Or she will move out. One of the two. ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Potty Training update1

Note this post was written several months ago and got lost in my drafts. So I'm publishing to make it easier to find later.

So where are we at. Well we've finally graduated to undies with pants/skirt full time. Sweetness is doing fairly well though we are finally seeing resistance. She simply doesn't want to do it. Were powering through though as we know she CAN as she HAS. She can stay dry all day. She just is choosing not to mention the need at all.

We are having between 1-4 accidents a day with at least a few dry days in the week.

I've made training undies and bought some babyland trainers through a co-op. We like my homemade ones best though.
I used the tutorial from here:
One-wet Trainers (for EC) Tutorial » a hippie with a minivan


Saturday, April 6, 2013

The potty training journey part 1

We started potty training on Monday April 1st. (Also my birthday) ;)
We decided after much thought and consideration and recommendations from others to go with "Oh Crap , Potty Training" for our "method".
The process makes total sense and every part I've read so far is logical and well thought out.
You basically are working in phases/blocks/stages whatever you want to call them rather than days.
Phase 1: naked (at least from the waist down) the goal is to get baby to sit on the potty and hopefully pee. Bonus points if they tell you when they need to go but not nessicary.
Phase 2: commando aka no diaper or undies just a dress, skirt, or pants. You use a diaper during naps and nighttime (unless you decide to night train too).
Phase 3: commando with outings.

Eventually baby starts telling you when they need to go but at first and for a bit you are prompting and taking them.

This is where we are at.
I have been so impressed with Sweetness as we travel this process. She's gone from clueless to I peed to I'm peeing fast. And most of the time at the I'm peeing stage.
I've learned her "potty dance" and she can stay dry for short outings so long as we do regular potty breaks. Her bladder is very small after all.

I really like that the author focus's on the positives not the negatives, that the potty training isn't reward or shame based and that it just focus's on teaching. No pressure just easy.

So far so good. I'm impressed. I'll keep you posted on our progress and how we are doing every little bit.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Cloth Diaper Must Haves

I've been thinking a lot about a post that might help my readers lately. Due to lots of traveling I have had diapers on my mind.
I've been using cloth exclusively for a little over a year now and part time for a few months longer than that(that was before the allergy to disposables became clear).
So I've played with many types and kinds of diapers and accessories. And there are some that I keep reaching for and some I don't. So I thought I'd recommend some Diapering Items to help round out or start a stash.

1.) Flats
These don't seem like a great option as you have to fold them. But they are super versatile! They make a great burp rag, tie on bib, and tablecloth. Also for travel these are the most compact option. There is a bit of a learning curve but they are totally worth it.
Also super cheap. I love the target brand Flour Sack Towels as they work great as flats! And they are available EVERYWHERE.
I recommend at least 10 in anyone's stash.

2.)  Prefolds
These are awesome to keep on hand for burp rags, diapers, backups on wash day, or if you use mostly pockets, an extra insert here and there. They are SUPER absorbent, and easy to wash and dry. You can bleach them after yeast infections, sun to remove stains, and they are basically the most versatile diaper out there.
Paired with an extra absorbent insert these do FABULOUS over night for super pee'rs.
I recommend at least 5 Toddler size in a stash, and if you have super pee'rs as many as you have pockets in Infant size to use as inserts.

 3.) Covers with a Front Inner Flap
Think bummi's or flip diapers but I prefer Work at home mom made covers honestly. They come in just as many cute prints. One size, and sized options. And are very affordable.
I recommend at least 5 of these in any stash.

4.) Stay Dry Liners
You can buy these or they are super easy to make. Buy a yard of Microfleece at the fabric store. But into strips about 4 inches wide and at least 8 inches long. 9 or 10 is better. No sewing required as it doesn't unravel. lay these between baby and the flats or prefolds and they will stay dry overnight.
These are also great if you need to use a non cloth safe cream or your baby is having tummy issues as they rinse REALLY well if they get poopy.
I recommend one yard of fabric cut into as many strips as you can get from it.

5.) A Spray Bottle
I don't use a wipe warmer. Babies have been used to room temp wipes since forever. If necessary I use warm water on a cloth. But usually I use a spray bottle that I keep in her room that has mostly water in it. And a few essential oils to keep her smelling fresh and bacteria or fungas at bay.

6.) Lavender and Tea Tree Essential oils
I put 3 drops of lavender in my spray bottle when I fill it. Tea Tree is a natural anti-fungal and I use it in the wash occasionally. Usually after we've been sick to kill germs and fungus.
And they both smell nice.
One Bottle of Each on hand at all times is a good idea.

7.) Vinegar
Works great in a spray bottle to keep smelly diapers in need of wash less smelly. Works great in the wash for softening, and for keeping stink at bay. You can clean with it and not worry about baby drinking it as it's not harmful if ingested. It works to get rid of vomit smell in place of febreez, and even pet odors to an extent.
If you have hard water this can make mineral buildup worse so use with caution. If not though it's awesome!
A large bottle. Keep this on hand at all times.

8.) Downy Ball

Most grocery stores have these in the laundry detergent isle. Check the little hanging displays or on the top or bottom shelves. You can also order them from amazon but they are cheaper in the store.
I use these to dispense vinegar. Reason being vinegar works best in the last rinse cycle and the ball dispenses in that cycle.
I recommend one in your washing supplies.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A day in the life of BopBop and Sweetness

There's been a challenge going around my ddc on facebook where you do a "photo diary" for one day. I decided to do this yesterday to show what a typical weekday for me and the bebe is like.

So Starting at 8:45-ish We woke up. Sweetness nursed by then and my room is too dark to show that so we took a picture after.
 Happy baby with a full tummy.
 by now it's 9:35-ish.
 out of bed and get the baby dressed. back to the room to get myself dressed.
 Norrie play's learning games on the bed while I get dressed.

 Dressed but my hair is a wreck.
 Leggings, and a black sweater.
Hair fixed.
 Check on Sweetness. She's still playing and being silly.

Added a skirt and boots to the outfit. 
Time to head to the chiropractor. But first...
 The dogs need breakfast. I forgot something in the bedroom...
 AHHH! Running late!
Grabbed my keys, 
 Bye Puppies!
Sweetness is buckled and ready to go.
Our house. :) 

Arrival at the chiropractor.
 Chiropractor's office. :)
 Done with our adjustment. Now to walmart. 
At walmart about 10 minutes later.

Best parking space EVER! 
Eating our horribly unhealthy burger king breakfast. Egg and cheese crissont FTW.

 Leaving walmart about an hour later.
(btw this sign tells you to check your car for un-attended children you might have left behind.)
Get home and Chad has caught a bird. Gross. 
Inside. The pups are happy to see us! 
She asked for a drink. 
Reading a book.
Checking on the dogs. 
Wearing a slinky for a belt. 
 We need a snack.
 Still obsessed with her "belp".
 Snacktime. Pretzels and crackers and tuna.
 Stealing some of my tuna.
 Time to get ready for a nap.
 Nursing. Her foot is on my cheek. Gymnurstics is typical for a toddler. Then put her down with her blankie and kitty. Can't take a photo or it will disrupt the cycle.
 Fed the tree frog.
Check on the dogs. 
 Set a timer to do some housework.
 I've been spotted. So I let them in to keep them quiet.
 Silverware put away. What are those short forks called? I aparently need to buy more.
 A much cleaner sink.
 Time to do something else.

Like tidy the livingroom. and have a snack.

Catch up on facebook then to take a nap.

  Wake up. Baby's awake.

Give her a potty break. 
Waiting for me to open the door. 
 Baby's laundry.
 In the wash.
 Needed another drink.
 Time to deal with the laundry somemore. (always!)
 Take diapers out of the drier.
 I broke to fingernails. :(
 Time for a light lunch.
 Oatmeal! YUM!
 Cheese and Goldfish.
 Blessing our food.
 She requested more "new gah" AKA Tuna.
 Coloring while we snack.
 Had to strip her clothes. We had an accident.
 Potty break again then getting ready to go.

Time after a clothing change for the munchkin.
making a cup of coffee for the road.
 Need to leave for Nana's.
 Mama and Bebe!
 Bathroom mirror shot.
 Grabbing stuff to take with us. Gloves for my little sis Sgirl.
 She thinks the neighbors camper is an ambulance. lol

 Bye puppies!
 Leaving the house.
 Time after buckling Sweetness in the carseat.
 55 degree's outside. Not to bad. :) (that's my tire pressure light nothing to worry about it comes on when the temp fluctuates. I just need to add a tiny bit of air to them.)
We're at Nana's!
 Nana's house.

 My little siblings thought thy found a dinosaur bone.
 Sweetness is very excited to get out to play.

 Waving form the porch. We had to borrow a coat from Nana since I left her's at church Sunday.
 Sgirl playing in the yard.
 Playing in the yard at Nana's.

Pepper got to ride too.

 Let's go Pepper!
Digging in the yard. with Aunt and Uncle.

 Inside with Jman.
 Playing with the tablet again.
 Getting dinner ready.
Sitting down to eat. 
 Eating Taco insides. YUM!
 Heading home.
 In Pj's and a night Diaper.

 Starting our bedtime routine. Nursing, rocking with a paci, and singing. Then night night.
 Goodnight baby.
Out of sweetness's Room.
I uploaded pictures, and read on facebook for about an hour. Then went to bed at 10: 45 ish.
Watched Start Trek in bed then went to sleep after 11.
That was our day!