Friday, October 29, 2010
When Tiffany from True Femininity asked me if I would test out a diaper for her, I was very excited. In fact, I wasn't sure which was more exciting- the fact that one of my favorite bloggers actually reads my blog or that I was going to get a free diaper.
I was thrilled to receive a beautiful box of fluff in the mail a couple weeks ago. This particular diaper was made of very soft flannel on the inside and outside, pocket style with a prefold for stuffing.
You can either pin the diaper closed, use a Snappi, or simply fold it over your baby and place a snug fitting cover on top. (These diapers do require covers.) I have found that infants don't usually need diaper pins or Snappis to keep the diaper in place- a cover will do the job just fine- but securing the diaper is necessary if baby is going coverless around the house.
The diaper fit wonderfully. My wee one is about eleven pounds, and I can see that this diaper can easily adjust to fit a newborn without being too bulky and fit a larger baby as well. (It seems bulky in this photo because I have added an extra soaker, since we were about to head off to have our final postpartum check-up with the midwife.)
Now, little Evie had been a bit constipated, so when I arrived home from the midwife (and a stop into Hobby Lobby), I found she had left me quite a runny present in her britches, but it was completely contained within the diaper.
I am a big fan of these style of diapers because they have great adjustability. For itty bitty newborns, the front can be folded down. Using pins or Snappis means you can secure the best fit for your baby.
I personally like to place my insert and soakers on top of the diaper, instead of in the pocket. This makes it really easy to just toss in my wet bag and then into the washer without having to tug the insert from the pocket.
I have paired this diaper with my Cotton Cheeks longies and my GroVia shells when we are out or while she is napping.
At $9.99 a pop, these are wonderfully priced. I hear she may be making fleece covers soon as well! Head over to Tiffany's Etsy shop, True Baby Designs where she features cute flannel prints!
Don't forget to check out her blog as well: http://truefemininity.blogspot.com
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Looking for a nice, personalized gift for a birthday or Christmas stocking stuffer? How about a super cute personalized cloth bracelet by Mandy Mom? Email me:
talkto (at) mandymom (dot) com
Bracelets are $5 a piece, with $1 flat rate shipping within the USA no matter how many you order. (I can also ship to Canada, but I'm not sure of shipping prices.)
Here are the current fabric choices:
Mini Polka Dot (Gender Neutral)
Brown & Blue Damask
(close-up photos of the fabric choices available upon request)
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Absolutely LOVE this post from In Faith And In Purity which I read earlier this week. (This is a post-dated entry to fill my blog out this week, since I don't actually have the time or opportunity to blog every day.)
She makes such an excellent point. Really makes you examine yourself. Are you practicing what you preach? Really?
Valerie is very down-to-earth and honest in her post, admitting her lack of trust in God at times and confessing that it's not always easy to have faith, especially in the midst of pregnancy and parenting. I can definitely relate. Pregnancy is exhausting, and parenting is even moreso. There are days I wonder if God really know what He is doing placing four children under my care. There are days- those sort filled with toddler melt-downs, frequent discipline and brow furrowing, many messes and raised voices- when I wonder if I can possibly go on.
But then, there are the moments that I see the beauty of it all shining through.... I get a peek at God's plan- just a itty bitty teensy weensy peek, but enough to encourage and inspire me, to reaffirm and remind me.
God teaches us SO much through our children. I never expected to learn so much about myself, but that's what marriage and parenting does. We learn how selfish and horrible we are. We learn that we are capable of thinking horrible thoughts. We learn that we are not as wonderful as we once believed.
I am SO thankful I have a great God to lean on, and it is my prayer that I would lean on Him through all things, not just when I "feel like it".
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Becomes something new:
I found an Old Navy t-shirt at the back of my closet (hasn't been worn in years), and decided to resize it to make Lil Miss Merikalyn a cute little tunic. I used some cotton t-shirt scraps leftover from a cloth diaper project to add funky little flowers to the neckline. It was deemed a favorite piece and worn all day.
Monday, October 25, 2010
About a year ago, I purchased a pair of bright blue skinny jeans (on clearance) to wear to my friend's 80's themed birthday party. What I was left with was a pair of bright blue skinny jeans I wasn't about to wear anywhere else!
I love cute, funky skirts- and my favorite skirt was made from a comfy pair of brand new GAP jeans. (I purchased the jeans, removed the tags, and then lost weight! The tailor charged $35 to make them into a skirt!) I figured these blue skinny jeans could quickly become my favorite skirt, so I looked up a tutorial (there are plenty on YouTube) and transformed them. It's pretty simple. No pattern is required. Just watch a good tutorial and you can go do one for yourself.
I used white thread because I wanted it to stand out, and I wanted the thread to add to the design. I have every intention of doing a bit of free hand embroidery on this piece to really make it funky and cute. If you look closely to the front, you'll see the word LOVE written underneath one of the pockets. (My sewing machine does small letters... which is nice!) It took me an hour to transform these pants. I started at 12:30am, and didn't conk out on my pillow until nearly 3. (What? I had to clean up my mess and nurse the baby!)
So, what do you do when you find a project you really like? You make more (this time for your daughter)!
I explained the steps with Merika as I made it, showing her how to use a seam ripper, where to place the extra panels, etc. It was a huge hit and a great way to renew a pair of jeans which still fit her in the waste but had blown out knees and were getting a little short on the ankles.
Even Nolyn was amazed. "I did not know you could dooooo that, Mom!"
Neither did I. Neither did I.
It's hard to find nice modest skirts these days, but it's easy to make them yourself. And, if you think I'm just foolin', let me tell you- I'm no professional! If I can do it, you can! What are you a'feared of?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
When I found out a friend of mine, Maria, was looking for someone to review her cloth diapers, I jumped on the opportunity. You know, I'm super helpful like that. Just wanted to lend a hand. Not like I get anything out of it, except some super adorable fluff, right?
Maria is the mind and maker behind Cotton Cheeks. This talented gal specialty seems to be her comfy, cozy fleece covers which are available in a variety of styles, including longies, which I (or, rather, Evangeline) had the pleasure of testing out.
Now, even those of you who don't cloth diaper can appreciate these soft snuggly pants. I tested these longies with several different diapers (Sckoon Organic Fitted Diapers, TrueBabyDesigns Diaper [review to come], and my homemade diaper as well) and it held up spectacularly. Absolutely no leaks!
I had Maria make the longies a bit longer so I could roll them up and hopefully make them last longer as she grows longer.
Cotton Cheek's longies are a great fit! Make note: If you are going to use longies, you'll probably want to use a fitted diaper to hold in any ex'poo'sives, as longies do not have gussets and whatnot around the legs.
And, while I have yet to try out her fitted diapers, I have read the reviews and heard first hand that they are very absorbent and absolutely fantastic. I hope to post a review of them soon!
I definitely recommend her products. They are of great quality, and she has many customers who agree! She also makes mama cloth, baby leg warmers, and cloth wipes!
Please check out Cotton Cheek's Facebook Page or her Etsy.
Now that Evangeline is a bit chunkier and fits most of her cloth diapers better, I feel the need to do a review on WeeHuggers diaper covers. These diaper covers (which come in two adjustable sizes for the best fit), are super duper cute. They have adorable designs, but one big issue.
Every single time Evangeline wears this cover, I have leakage issues. I have used different diapering methods on the inside to see if maybe that would help, but still, every time I have problems.
The main leakage issue is wicking. The wetness somehow transfers to the outside, so this is definitely not a diaper cover you would use overnight. This really irks me because they are SO DARN CUTE and seem to be quite comfortable.
Still, despite the leaks, I continue to use it (because of the cuteness factor) and just try to change the inner diaper more often. However, yesterday she had a massive poo (the liquidy breastfed sort) and it even leaked out the gussets. I had never had issues with leaking out the legs, so I was quite shocked. Then again she had never had one of those massive poos (the kind that she seems to have saved up for half a day) in this diaper.
I'm really bummed because I want to love WeeHuggers. Afterall, they are so stinkin' adorable, and I love their little YouTube video with the talking baby.
If you're looking for a great adjustable cover with a great fit, I suggest Thirsties Duos covers. They are similar to WeeHuggers- they come in two different adjustable sizes and I have not had any leakage issues with them. (Proper review to come.)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
And then I made one for my daughter to use on her dolls (and the quality of this play diaper is much better than the one I made for Evie... because I corrected most of my mistakes in the second try).
The pretty pink fabric on the upper part along with the heart are pieces I cut out of Merikalyn's old clothing (from when she was two!). The pink flannel comes from flannel receiving blankets a friend passed down to me.
The inner part of Evie's diaper is made from a flat diaper sheet. I used the extra fabric from both the flannel and the flat diaper to make a soaker.
Making a cloth diaper (one complete with stretchy leg openings, aka gussets) can be cut out and complete in 20 minutes. Really! I also made my own pattern by stretching out one of Evie's diaper covers. This diaper requires a cover... but is super cute without. I didn't have any aplix (velcro) or snaps to add, so I used a Snappi to secure it... (I couldn't find any diaper pins anywhere.)
Have you attempted to make a cloth diaper before? Post a link to your photo or entry in my notes! (Even if it was a horrible mess!)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Just a little side note there.
I was finally able to sit down and have a conversation with my sewing machine which turned out this lovely skirt:
One down, two more to go. (I'm making one for Evangeline and one for my niece, Alexis.) I'll use whatever scraps are left to make flowers to pin on to their shirts. Merikalyn picked this fabric, btw!
Today was a wonderful Sunday altogether. My brother, Chip, and his wife, Tara, went to church with us. The sermon was absolutely amazing, as usual (we're currently going through Mark, and today focused on Mark 7:14-23).
After church, we went out to eat with half of the church. (No joke... our church is pretty small though. I'm partial to small, tight-knit churches.) I stuffed myself with delicious fajitas and fresh, handmade tortillas. Yum!
We came back home and had a bit more fellowship with Chip and Tara before they had to head out. (I'm really thankful that my relationship with my brother has become so much closer over the last couple years! God is good!) Then I got to sewing while my Hubby sawed logs (snoozed) with the baby. The kids were very curious about this new fandangled machine, especially Nolyn. He asked me a bunch of questions and watched my every move.
Hubby is currently using his talent to build a platform bed for our neighbor's son while the kids enjoy the beautiful, cool weather!
Here are a few photos from the day:
A rare photo of my handsome hubsters
The boys "weeding" the garden (aka, playing in the dirt).
Testing out her skirt- she can run, twirl, and play frisbee quite well in it!
I hope you all had an amazing weekend. Even though I'm a SAHM, I always look forward to the weekend because I finally get hubby time! I miss him so much during the week when he's hard at work. I wish he had a work-at-home job, but he loves what he does. Still, I know he misses us and looks forward to being home with us each evening and every weekend.
Reminds me of that song, "If I could make a living out of loving you, I'd be a millionaire in a week or two."
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Just had to use a sewing pun, yanno.
It's finally in my possession: The Brand New sewing machine I have dreamed of having for years. You know how it is... you know it would be useful, but you end up using any extra money on other items (repairs, other tools, clothes for the kids..). But now... I have it. YAY!
I'm super thrilled with the machine I purchased (Brother, SQ-9000). I have yet to take it out of the box though, which might lead one to believe I'm not as head-over-heals as I claim, but I have read through the manual. I just didn't want to get it out and get really into it because it was late in the afternoon when we arrived home, the baby needed feeding and we had planned to watch a movie together (How to Train Your Dragon- CUUUTE!). Plus, I knew if I started sewing anything, you'd have to drag me away from it and nothing else would get accomplished (yanno, like supper....).
But, tomorrow? Post-church/lunch? I'm totally losing myself in thready goodness. I honestly felt like skipping out of the store singing, "My hubby just bought me a sewing maaachiiiiiiiinnnnne." Instead, I tried to reign in my bubbly cheer and act like an adult (which, is hard for me to do in general 90% of the time).
I did do a lot of mental squealing and cartwheels. (Which is good, because if I did a physical cartwheel, something or someone might get broken.)
Now that I've rung the spare change out of the budget (well, not really, but I hate dipping into savings), I'll have to sift through old clothes to find material to sew with. I did purchase a few patterns and a two yard of pretty fabric yesterday with plans to make something for the girls. What that may be, I'm unsure of. Pillowcase dresses are great starter projects to get myself familiar with the new machine. There's some super duper adorable pants I want to make for Merika and my niece, AJ. Maybe that'll be my second clothing project.
Here's the fabric:
(Also grabbed a bow to match to make the pillowcase dresses)
*Ladedah....* I may have to pull out the sewing machine post-supper (but then I'll be sleep deprived and half-asleep at church tomorrow.....).
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Thank the Lord folks are feeling better in our household. I've been aching to do this little lunch activity, but it's just not fair to spring on the kiddos when one of the crew is sick and can't participate. It's a simple recipe. I planned on using English Muffins, but then came across Thomas' Bagel Thins, which were even better as the pizza crust.. and of course, I included different toppings.
Left to right, Keagan's, Merikalyn's, and Nolyn's. Mine didn't fit on the pan, so I had to watch them devour their nummies while mine baked up in the oven.
"Genius idea!" Nolyn squeals. "It's a pizza burger!"
Keagan decided the Pizza Burger idea was pretty darn nifty. He ate about 6 bites, which means he really liked it, since we usually manage an average of 3-4 bites per lunch. I don't know how the boy survives.
Deliciously cheesy. Yum!
Whilst plucking ingredients from the fridge for the pizza bagels, I saw a tube of Pillsbury rolls. I flattened them out, baked them, and (once cooled) topped with strawberry cream cheese, beaten chocolate (seriously, I beat a mini-Hershey's bar into crumbly submission), butterscotch chips, and sunflower seeds. It's just stuff I had around.
Kids enjoyed, and it wasn't crazy-sweet. A perfect ending to a create-your-own-adventure lunch.
"This is the best day of my life!" my son announces as we head off to the park (after giving me a huge squeeze). It doesn't take much to please him. Yesterday was the best day of his life because I made pancakes. The day before was the best day of his life because we watched his favorite movie. The weekends are the best day of his life because Daddy is off of work. Some days he just wakes up with a grin and says, "Today is going to be the best day of my life."
This is the attitude I've tried to implement in my life. I wake up in the morning, and I think, "Today is going to be the best day of my life."
When I read this post from Holy Experience, I felt myself nodding. Today is the Most Important Day of my life. Read it.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The sickies have been going around our house this week (a result of a romp in the McDirty Germground last Friday), so I've been cleaning up lots of throw-up and poo and watching the wash multiply faster than I can keep up with. (Thankfully, Hubby came home tonight and helped me tackle it! I think I have 2-3 loads left and I'll be done.... for now.)
Sometimes that's just how life is. It's interesting- sometimes we look at people's lives and figure they have it all together, and I've come to realize that some view my life that way. You must realize that we don't write about every detail of our lives. Afterall, most of my day is pretty darn boring to everyone else.
Do you really want to read about how many diapers I changed this week or how many times I had to drag my disobedient toddler back to bed around nap time (a baker's dozen) or how many times I had to place him in timeout?
I'll be honest. I do have moments when I feel like giving up. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I called my husband in tears. Our toddler was being especially, um, challenging, and I felt like I just wanted to walk out the front door and leave it all behind. (And feeling that way made me feel even worse! I don't want to feel that way about my family! I wish I always felt cheerful and calm... but that's just not reality.)
Thankfully, my husband knew just what to do. He prayed with me before I got off the phone, and then prayed after we hung up. Fifteen minutes later, I was feeling much calmer. In fact, I didn't even feel like running out the front door as soon as he got home, which is what I threatened to do.
I think many of us look at some of these noble families around us and believe that they don't ever get stressed out or have bad days, but they do. We tend to think that some families have perfectly behaved children who never act out. (I've heard people claim the Duggar's have just been blessed with perfect children, but the truth is, their children have all sorts of personalities and have tested and tried their parents time and time again. And, I think this little outtake video shows that their toddlers are just like ours!)
Truth is, I'm pretty sure every single parent out there wonders if they are doing the right thing. Are we going to look back in ten or twenty years and regret the parenting decisions we made? Nearly every day I have little moments of panic, fearing that my homeschooling methods will fail, or that my children aren't learning like they should (despite evidence that disproves this). I worry about their futures, pray and beg God to help us teach them about Him, and find myself fretting over my own example to them.
At least once a day, I have to step back and say, "God, give me the strength and wisdom to guide, train, and discipline them. On my own, I will fail, but I can do anything in Christ." I have to remind myself to leave my worries and fears at His feet, and just do my best and allow Him to fill in the gaps where I fall short.
So, when you're having a particularly trying day, just remember.....
We've all been there!
From a post by Ruth Beechick @ Homeschooling Today
"Public schools have multiplied subjects over the years. They continually move subjects to lower and lower grades. They break apart a subject into bits and name each bit as a separate subject. Language is the worst victim of this treatment. They spread writing, for instance, through classes on penmanship, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, creative writing, and more. Reading, likewise.
A smart homeschooler wrote on her blog, “For reading we read and for writing we write.” How commonsensical! Homeschoolers don’t need to follow the artificial school pattern. They can be more realistic."
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In all your planning, plan for eternity. I will not know how well I have done not just as a father, but as a man, until I see my children’s children being taught to love and serve the Lord. That will be my “graduation.” Then I will be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7). -R.C. Sproul
Monday, October 11, 2010
I'm often asked how cloth-diapering is going. This is our first time cloth diapering a newborn. There's quite a difference between CDing a baby who is exclusively breastfed and CDing a child who is on solids (or formula). I feared CDing Evangeline would be messy- afterall, we've all witnessed those breastmilk poo blow-outs. They aren't pretty!
However, I haven't had much of an issue with blow-outs in cloth. I have, however, have had about half a dozen disposable diapers blow-outs (in fact, one happened last night while we were at church!).
Thirsties Duo covers are great. Like Weehuggers covers, they come in two adjustable sizes, which make for a better fit. When I began putting Evie in cloth, I folded cotton flats and pinned or snappied them. I thought that would help contain poopy messes better. However, I have found that's really not necessary. Now I just fold the flats into a rectangle and lay them in the cover. I haven't had any blow outs yet, and it's much quicker to change her diaper!
Washing these diapers is super simple. Breastmilk poo dissolves easily and doesn't have to be pre-rinsed. And, breastmilk poo doesn't have the horrid stench most poo does. Plus, I usually only use 2-3 covers a day... so I believe this method (wipeable covers and cotton flats) is very budget friendly!
Side note- thing about being a parent... you talk about poo more than you ever thought you would!