10 Nov 2011, 10:48pm
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Poor Blog

My poor blog…I have neglected you! Between raising a child, expecting another, traveling, and crafting, I have forgotten to update! Please forgive me! I promise an update…possibly a tutorial? soon!

5 Oct 2011, 1:28pm
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Extend your maternity wardrobe

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A hair tie is probably the cheapest way to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans longer.  You can also use them post-pregnancy.  I will bet that at least 98% of women have an extra laying around somewhere so that makes this extra budget friendly…free!

12 Sep 2011, 2:04am
Products
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Best Baby Products

I am not saying that these are the best products hands down, but they are the best that I have found.  I have a lot of friends who are having babies right now and it got me thinking…just what would I recommend?  So here are my top five favorite products!

Born Free Bottles – They now come in BPA-free plastic, but I adore the glass.  We have used them for over a year and only broken three.  The glass is easy to clean and doesn’t start looking dingy like some plastics I have used (none baby bottles).  They also have a special venting system that helps reduce colic.  The only downside is that yes, they can break…  Starter “Gift” set is priced at $51 on Amazon.

Nuk pacifiers – I never thought I’d use a pacifier, but my daughter had other ideas.  These are great…they’re orthodontic, silicone, come in an awesome array of colors, have handy handles (great for attaching to baby!) and they’re made in Germany!  Thank you German engineering!  Another great thing is that they’re super affordable so replacing them every month or so is no problem whatsoever!  Amazon has them for $4.59 per two pack!

Baby Einsteins – This is another “I never”.  If you read one of my previous posts on how I’ve grown as a mother, you know that I have had to take back a lot of things I thought I’d never do.  My mom told me this adage, “Before I had kids, I had 6 theories on child raising.  Now I have 6 kids and zero theories!”  Back to Baby Einsteins.  These are great videos for kids of all ages.  My daughter loves to sit and watch the colors and toys flash across the screen and she’s already learning (whether she realizes it or not) her colors and numbers etc.  Definitely worth road trips or quiet time at home.  This featured video is available through Amazon (my go to for online shopping) for $27.49.  A bit pricey, but oh so worth it!  Oh, their toys are awesome too!

Chicco Lullaby LX Playard –  This playard was a lifesaver for our daughter.  She absolutely did not like to sleep in her big crib, so she spent the first oh, 10 months, in this playard.  Note – This is not for all children!  What we do with our child is not what we recommend for all people.  Please read all warnings on all products.  I feel that I needed to add that because not all playards are for sleeping.  This one, however, worked for us.  We travel A LOT!  So, this crib went everywhere with us. Chicco products come in a huge variety of colors and patterns so there is definitely something for everyone!  Amazon sells it for $163.13.

Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 Travel System –  Now we actually only have the car seat which works great!  Our good friends, on the other hand, have both.  They JUST had their baby, but have already used the car seat attached to the stroller to go on a walk.  I think this idea is absolutely brilliant!  I struggled all the time with carrying my baby in the car seat, which is anything but light with a baby in it.  She wasn’t overweight, but boy did she start to get heavy and it can be kind of cumbersome.  So if you’re looking for a compact, lightweight car seat look elsewhere.  If you’re looking for a reliable, safe, and attractive system, definitely check this one out!  On Amazon for $308.88.

29 Aug 2011, 11:02pm
Savings Tips
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Babies”R”Us 25% Trade In!

I know I said I’d be blogging about baby products and that is totally in the works!  However, I had to do a quick write up about this awesome special that Babies”R”Us is offering.  Instead of writing it all out, I am just going to let the Babies”R”Us website tell you…

Awesome huh?  Wanna know an even better secret that one of my friends (you know who you are) told me.  She goes to yard sales and finds old, used items for cheap and takes them in!  Then she is able to get 25% a new, great product for a friend/sister/baby shower gift!  How smart is she?  Perhaps she should be running CraftyBudget?  Anyway, make sure to take advantage of this offer!

22 Aug 2011, 10:18pm
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A Year of Being Mama

As the final weeks come to a close before my baby’s first birthday, I have been reflecting on what has changed in my life (besides having a baby), what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown by becoming Mama, and what I did and did not expect.  It is a surprising long list, compared to what I thought it would be like last year at this time.

Washing clothes up at our cabin in CO.

Things that have physically changed:

1)  I don’t get nearly as much rest/sleep.  I haven’t held a job since 2008, lived a life of whim, and took naps at random.  Now, I praise God every time my husband suggests I take a nap.

2)  We own a bigger vehicle.  We traded our Honda Element for a Chevy Avalanche.  Not only did we end up with twice the amount of stuff to haul around, but it is REALLY hard to get a car seat in and out of an Element.  Trust me.

3)  My travel necessities have cut themselves in half.  Hair dryer – Nope, Makeup – sometimes, Multiple shoe choices – um, tennis shoes or flip flops.  If I am gone for three days, guess how many outfits I take…4.  One extra in case someone gets stuff on my outfit.  I also only take a small toiletrie bag that holds my toothbrush, a sample size toothpaste, sample perfume, floss, Neosporine,  and perhaps a random item or two.   That’s it.  However, my daughter’s stuff keeps multiplying…and multiplying…

4)  People give us more slack.  Having a baby gets you major brownie points at restaurants (assuming they are kid friendly), the grocery store, and most retail stores.  I couldn’t walk two feet in Coldwater Creek, with my mom and baby, without having someone coo and offer to help me.

5)  I carry a huge diaper bag with a lot of junk in it.  Oh for the days of cute little purses.  I don’t suppose I’ll ever go back there?

6)  My wardrobe is no where near stylish.  I wear jeans and t-shirts almost all of the time.  In the last 6 months I think I have bought maybe 4 new clothing items that would be considered cute by certain crowds.  All of my shopping prowess goes into my daughter or yarn.

Things that I am getting used to:

1)  I do not think I realized that I would be “on call” 24/7.

2)  I am numero uno in my daughter’s life…well I guess it’s a tie with my husband since he is a true co-parent.

3)  I do not know about other babies, but mine wants me there, RIGHT THERE, all the time.  No moving, no yawning, no eyeball rolling.  JUST SIT THERE AND HOLD MY HAND.  I may be slightly exaggerating.

4)  I have a hard time being patient.  While I would say I am much more patient these days than before, it’s still a struggle.  Sometimes I just don’t want to walk up and down the stairs 50 times.

5)  Sometimes I get annoyed by people stopping me and asking, “How old is she?  What is her name?”  Then they want to touch her.  I am sorry, but in this day and age, I am not sure if you’re trying to determine if she is still young enough to steal, or if you just think her cheeks are too sweet.  I have decided I may start making information up.  Is that wrong?

Things that are useful:

Every mom learns something new and wishes on hind sight that she had known it from the beginning.

1)  Pacifiers are not evil…sometimes they are very, very good.  However, I took H’s away at 9 months and have not regretted it for one minute.  Okay, maybe one, but then I got over and and realized that my baby has very pretty lips!

2)  If, like me, you do not want to use a changing table to change diapers, here is a big suggestion.  For at least the first 2 weeks after having your baby, change him/her on the sofa or bed, not the floor.  While it sounds like a great idea to change diapers on the floor, and is after a while, in the beginning it will be hard for you to get down onto the floor and back up off of it.  Not to mention, how to pick up the baby while you’re doing it.  So, do your body a favor and find higher ground.  DO NOT LEAVE THE BABY ALONE THOUGH!

3)  When changing diapers, have a burp rag or paper towels handy.  My baby spit up major time, and I was constantly changing her clothes in the beginning because I wasn’t prepared.

4)  Do not feel guilty if you do not end up nursing your baby, even for one day.  After 6 weeks, H went to formula 24/7.  Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about this.  Sometimes it doesn’t work, or just doesn’t feel right.  That is OKAY!

5)  Sometimes I lick my baby’s face to get it clean.  Just around the mouth.  Yes, I feel like a mama cat, but let’s face it, if she has ice cream on her face I don’t really want to waste it…and she thinks it’s hilarious.  Is it that much different than getting a big sloppy kiss?

6)  I swore up and down that she would not watch TV until she was older.  However, my husband got Looney Tunes for her (the classics) and she LOVES them.  They are a nightly ritual before bed.  And that is okay.

Things that are useless:

In my situation, some of the items we bought/thought we would use, were in fact useless.

1)  My daughter basically skipped baby food.  I wasn’t too keen on the jarred stuff, and making it myself took forever and just didn’t feel rewarding when she drooled it all out, so I just skipped it.  I claimed I would NEVER do this, but I chewed her food for her for the first 4 months I fed her adult food.

2)  H slept in her real crib maybe twice or three times.  Thank goodness it was a free crib!  I wish she would have slept in it, but she just refused to sleep on her own.  We tried everything.  So she slept with us for a while and now she sleeps on a futon mattress on the floor.  She is much happier that way.

3)  She used her cool whale tub for about 6 months.  Now she bathes in the big tub alone…well I don’t leave her by herself.  She couldn’t stand being confined…notice a pattern?  However, the whale tub makes a GREAT toy bin, haha.

4)  When it is REALLY hot outside, H doesn’t wear clothes.  She wears a diaper and that’s it.  I do not take her out in public this way, but she is such a warm body that I can’t make her wear clothes.  I never thought I’d let her do that.

Things that make it all worth while:

1)  She knows the word Mama and uses it at least five times a day.

2)  Peekaboo is awesome.  She really thinks I have disappeared and reappeared magically.  What wonder.

3)  Baby kisses.

4)  Her eyes literally sparkle.  I swear.

5)  She snuggles up in my arms when she is sleepy…and her yawns are priceless.

I am hoping to put up a list of my favorite and most useful baby products in the near future.  In fact, I will promise to have it done next week, assuming nothing super urgent comes up in the meantime.  Here’s hoping!

28 Jun 2011, 12:51am
$30 Cost Crochet Tutorials
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Crochet Baby Poncho

Guess what time it is?!  That’s right, crochet time!
I have another AMAZING tutorial to pass on to you.  Believe it or not, this was my FIRST attempt at it.  Pardon me for being so exhuberant…it has to do with the fact that this project turned out so cool!

I have a bad habit of browsing crochet patterns on YouTube.  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but I am a visual learner.  That means I stink at reading patterns, but show me how to make it and it’s stuck in my head for weeks.  My current favorite teacher is Clare.  She is Australian and a pro at crocheting.  I have no trouble keeping up with her instructions and am even considering trying my hand at a baby sweater I saw on her site.  GASP!  Also, she has tutorials on how to do even the most basic stitch.  Great for beginners to advanced crocheters.

First I’ll show you MY poncho.  Or more aptly, my baby’s poncho.

TADA!  I replaced the crocheted tie with a ribbon.  My favorite part; the scalloped edge.  It looks so professional to me!

Want to see it on the cutest model ever?

Such a little poser…or model…hmm?

This is her, “What do you mean I’m not allowed to yank on the poncho?  It’s on my body.”

Oh, and that AWESOME (cough, cough) chair in the background is my husband’s…in case you were wondering.

Now, for the tutorial links!

The pattern is split up into six videos.  I definitely recommend watching all six before beginning this project.  The last two are dedicated to how to enlarge the poncho to fit any size.  I had to make mine bigger simply because I was using my G hook and my Cascade Pacific yarn.  Oh, by the way, I’m going yarn shopping this week!  I’ll make sure to let you in on my purchases at the end of the week!

Here is video 1.

Here is video 2.

Here is video 3.

Here is video 4.

Here is video 5.

Here is video 6.

Cost:  Free! I already had all of the supplies on hand due to past  projects.  If you count that as cheating then I’ll price things as if you were purchasing them for the first time.

Crochet Hook (size G): $5.99 (I think…)
Yarn: $6.50 per color =  $19.50 (can use as few as one color)
Ribbon:  Too old to know the cost…I’ve had it for a long time.  Also, it is not required.

Total:  $25.49. Not bad for something to keep your baby warm…or yourself…or a doll…husband…friend…the possibilities are endless!

22 Jun 2011, 5:18pm
Crochet
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Crochet blanket

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I wanted to test out the camera on my Android snd I wanted to show off the cool lap blanket that I found in my grandma’s dresser. Two in one!

Sorry for all of the crochet posts, I have a big crush on crocheting right now.

The camera is not amazing, but it is the best phone camera I have yet to see personally. The colors did not show up nearly aas vibrantly as in person 🙁 .

The blanket is really beautiful and adds an eclectic look to my already “ecelectic” (read: unorganized and without any style sense) living room. Someday I hope to make a similar blanket but do gradation blocks, or squares, instead of random. Perhaps a good project for our Colorado trip?

Tutorial for Crochet Baby Hat

One day, a few weeks ago, I learned how to make a great baby hat using a puff stitch the other day. J.D. and a friend decided to go kayaking down our creek and Hazel was super worn out and decided to take a LONG nap, so I got to complete a hat…my first attempt and it was good enough to give away as a gift!  The mother to be loved it and J.D. was extremely impressed by my mad skills.  He said, and I quote, “You were more productive than I was and I was kayaking!”  He couldn’t get over the fact that I cranked it out in 3 1/2 hours.  I guess I’m pretty proud of myself too!

Since then, I have produced three more hats.  Unfortunately, I already gave one away as a gift so no photo, but it was almost identical to the one above, just different colors.  The next two were so much fun to make.  I decided it was time to branch out and do color variations!  Two colors in one hat…madness!

To learn how to make these hats (and flowers shown in the first photo), follow the links below.

Check out the hat tutorial here! This woman is a wonderful teacher. I only had to watch it twice to pick up the pattern and I love it!  I did tweak the pattern a bit, which I explain below.

For the flower tutorial, click here.  Super easy!  I used crochet thread and a size E5-3.50 mm hook.  I am somewhat surprised I can still see!

Some more info:

  • The yarn I used is called Cascade Yarns – Pacific.  I bought it from a local lady for $6.50 per bunch (is that the correct term?).  Each “bunch” will make at least two hats…so very affordable!
  • I used a US K10.5/6.5 mm crochet hook.  I really like the way it turned out.
  • My hats are small enough for a newborn, I think…I don’t remember how small my baby’s head was.  However, there is SOME stretch to them.
  • After every puff stitch, I only secured it with a slip stitch and then started the next puff, I did not do a second slip stitch.
  • I did not crochet a fancy border on the bott0m of the hat, I just left it “raw” because I liked the look better.
  • I did the puff ball topper on two of the hats, but not the other two.  It all depends on how fancy you want to get…

Please leave any comments if you have questions!  Enjoy!

12 May 2011, 7:47pm
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Don’t worry about me!

I have projects in the works, in the mind, on paper, but not on my blog! It has been a hectic couple of weeks/months so I just haven’t had much of a chance to blog! There are great things to come soon though…as soon as I can possibly get them done!

12 Apr 2011, 3:44pm
$20 Crochet:
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Granny Squares

A few months ago, my cousin showed my sister and me how to crochet. She made my daughter, H, a cute little throw blanket and L and I were interested to know how she did it. I had tried my hand at knitting, but at 19 (when I was in college) it gave me arthritis…very odd, so I quit. After that, I learned to weave (I promise a tutorial in the future). I have a loom, and love using it to create amazing pieces such as scarves, rugs, table runners, etc., but it isn’t as easy to find time now that I have a 7 month old. Crocheting allows me to pick it up at odd hours without waking the baby, and it is travel size! I can also work on crocheting while watching H at the same time. The other nice thing is that it isn’t as expensive as weaving…by far!

So, my sister and I went home and bought yarn and a crochet hook and tried to recreate our cousin’s technique. We failed. I looked up tutorials and kind of got the hang of it. My sister claimed I am “naturally better at that stuff” and decided she was done, for now at least. I found that I was not that interested in the simple slip stitch, and remembering my great aunt’s beautiful afghans, went in search of that pattern. It turned out to be called a granny square. I absolutely adore this pattern! I have begun a small blanket for H, and while it is not amazingly good, it is nice for my first attempt. I am hoping to make more in my future!

Cost:  Hook – $3.99, Yarn – $5.99 per color = $15.97 before tax. *  Price will vary on number of colors, size, etc.

*Note: The blanket is going to be one giant granny square. If you make a bunch of small granny squares and join them together, then you get a more traditional pattern.