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!

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!

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!

7 Apr 2011, 7:44pm
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Home Ec Sewing Course

I have been wanting to learn to sew for a long time.  Well, sew proficiently!  I am a self-taught seamstress (by watching my mom), and am a lazy, rushed seamstress at that.  I seem to think that I can cut  corners and look at something and know how to sew it.  I have lots of projects that can prove me wrong!  

While cruising through the world of craft blogs a few weeks ago, I came across a site dreamed up by three talented women who sew and craft and do things I wish I could do!  They have created a series of tutorials to teach people like me to sew successfully.  It is only $60 for the course and unlimited access to the course…no time limit.  So I definitely count that as a budget friendly expense. My sister even donated a bunch of fabric to my cause. I still haven’t figured out if I need a new sewing machine, or if I should just borrow one…

I definitely recommend you checking them out…and I will let you know how I am doing when I actually start the course!

5 Apr 2011, 9:33pm
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Injury

I am sorry I haven’t been blogging lately, but I went on a quick visit to see my parents and sister and while there I cut off a bit of my thumb. It was bad enough to require 3 stitches…I’m hoping to be blogging again soon!

9 Mar 2011, 8:09pm
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Homemade Laundry Detergent

Sometimes I do laundry over at my friend Joy’s house.  This is partly because I don’t have a washing machine (I use my mother-in-law’s washing machine…about 1/3 mile away), partly because she has a dryer…and partly because I like excuses to hang out at her house!  The difficult part about not having a washing machine is that laundry really piles up unless you want to cart it back and forth…back and forth…etc.  I am not complaining because my husband offered to purchase a washing machine for me a while back and I wanted to use the money for other stuff.  The biggest pain is trying to wash towels with no dryer to dry them in…they just don’t get soft and fluffy.  So Joy lets me use hers (washing machine) whenever I want and where I am going with this story is just this.  SHE HAS AWESOME LAUNDRY DETERGENT!  It’s homemade…and today she taught me how to make it.

I looked up the recipe and realized that tons of people have already posted it so I don’t know who’s recipe it is originally so I am going to repost it (a few versions combined) here!

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap
Yields 2 gallons

6  Cups – hot tap water

1/3-1/2  Fels-Naptha soap bar
1/2 Cup – Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
1/2 Cup Borax
Instructions:
– Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is completely melted.
It will look like this!
-Combine melted soap, washing soda and Borax in pot. Stir well until all powder is dissolved.
-Pour 4 cups hot tap water into bucket (at least 2 gallon size).
-Add soap mixture to bucket and stir to combine.
-Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups water (preferably hot) to mixture and stir again.
-Cover and let sit in bucket overnight to thicken and gel.
Finished product (minus the overnight gel process)!
-After letting it sit 24 hours, stir and fill some sort of container with detergent.  My friend likes to use empty gallon milk jugs…which is what I used.
-Shake before each use.
Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled (we added it before it cooled and there was not much scent other than soap).  However, the soap smells really good on its own so only add scent if you really want to.
To use:
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load  (25.6 loads total)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (64 loads total)
*Arm & Hammer “Super Washing Soda” – Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent – It must be sodium carbonate…see photo below.
You can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile or Zote bars instead of Fels-Naptha if you wish. Don’t use heavily perfumed soaps.
Cost: Approx. $3.50 per batch. I do not have an itemized list because my friend Joy supplied the …er…supplies.  I will try to update this recipe when I make my own.
4 Mar 2011, 10:30pm
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Cupcake Wars

Anyone watch Cupcake Wars? I watch every now and then, and apparently so does my friend Amy. She and her bakery, AmyCakes have submitted a video to be on their show. Check it out! Good luck Amy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkc2383cQzE