Friday, September 28, 2012

Pregnancy Update

Well, I will be at 28 weeks tomorrow! Where has the time gone!  I had a hard time enjoying my early pregnancy, but now that I'm far enough along it's flying by. We got a peak at baby a couple weeks back on u/s and all seems to be well. What a sigh of relief.  Many people ask me, "How are you feeling?".  I hate to complain so usually I just say I'm doing well.  The truth is pregnancy is HARD.  And if it's not hard for you, you are one lucky mama!!  I have been having issues lately with my sciatic nerve.  It has been getting worse and worse, too.  Anytime I'm standing or walking it starts to hurt and go numb.  A painful numbness, and it's so aggravating.  I have two children and an active family, so it's really hard to be feeling like that when everyone else is go go go!  I've been going to the chiropractor, just like I had with A's pregnancy.  Though it doesn't seem to be curing anything it does take the edge off.  I'm hoping to have another wonderful natural birth with this baby and I truly think going to the chiro helped to get A lined up and ready to make her entrance smoothly. 

Also my right hand/arm is KILLING me.  Dang carpal tunnel.  I had it very bad with my first pregnancy and also with my second but not as bad.  This time it's horrible again.  At first it was just really bothering me when I did things with my hands, but now it hurts constantly with no relief.  That is until last night.  I have been having such a hard time sleeping and getting comfortable.  Well I was reminded by my doctor and my mom (who suffered from carpal tunnel) to use a brace at night.  Let me just tell you I have never been so pleased!  It was like a miracle.  I actually might have to start using it even throughout the day at times, it worked so well. 

The first trimester I felt like I could barely function, I was just SO tired.  Then about half way through the second trimester I felt a bit more like myself again.  I am now in my third trimester and the tiredness is back.  I wake up wishing I could stay in bed forever.  After supper I am exhausted and wish bedtime was directly following our meal.  It's really hard taking care of two children and being so tired and run down all the time.  I pray that when baby comes we can find a way to juggle it all, because right now it feels like we are barely juggling it as it is.

Morning sickness.  I had it early on about 5/6 weeks it started and I threw up faithfully every morning for months.  For about 1 1/2 to 2 months I have been feeling a lot better.  That doesn't mean it doesn't sneak up on me though.  At any time, day or night, a food, smell or just feeling will creep up on me and boom! :(  Some days I go all day feeling fine and others it's a constant struggle to eat and keep things down. 
Yet in the end I know this is all worth the cause.  After trying for so long and losing two early pregnancies, I am so happy to be here.  For all the terrible symptoms I am dealt, I have a beautiful healthy baby growing strong inside of me.  Every bump and nudge I feel from the inside, makes it all worth it.  In 3 short months I'll be holding my babe and nothing will be more perfect that completing our family.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My story

My sweet friend (and creator of this blog) shared her heart and story yesterday about her young daughter - read it here.

My heart broke for her as we too deal with 'not perfect' which really what is perfect? But that's a whole other post! :)

My oldest has an October birthday so for our school district she would have been almost 5 before she could have even attended K4.  But as you know we decided to homeschool and not just for religious reasons.  Our little girl has some processing issues.... it takes her much longer to connect the dots then normal.  And she has a very hard time focusing and gaining control.   When she was little she used to have TERRIBLE frustration tantrums. They weren't behavioral issues it was that she could not voice what she wanted to say quickly enough and would just lose it.  It was heartbreaking.... now some of you may question that and if we were just making excuses for her .... but.... as her mom I knew something just wasn't right. As a mom you just know.

As much as I think she would have loved school I do not think she would have excelled there.... she would have been pushed to the side, possibly even recommended to medicate, frustrated, etc.  It would not have ended well for everyone.

You have to do what's best for your child.  no questions. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How did we get here? And where are we going?

I decided to take a quick break from the newborn series to talk about a subject that is quite personal.  Please, no attacking or questioning our decisions.  But I have wanted to write this post for quite a while since I know there are other moms out there going through the same thing or have been here before.

Everyone wants their child to be perfect.  A smart, easy, no problems child.  I had an EASY time in school.  I got through High School and College with barely any studying or hard work.  Education and learning just come easy for me.  I don't remember learning to read, or learning how to ride a bike, or any of those normal things because I did them so early.  I hoped and prayed that my kids would have the same easy time with learning.  I knew that my kids would be different than me, but like most parents, I had high hopes and dreams for them.  So as you can imagine, when I discovered that Miss A had a speech was really hard for me.  I was so scared of what it might mean.

"Every child learns at their own pace."  "Do not compare your child to other kids."  How many times have we all heard this?  And it is true.  But when your child is the one who is lagging behind in a certain area, you can't help but compare and feel that you as the parent have done something wrong.

It all started when Miss A was almost 2.  Everyone kept telling me that their kids speech just took off like a rocket around 18 months.  I kept waiting and waiting for that moment.  It didn't come.  As she approached 2 I started researching speech milestones and how to help her catch up to the "normal."  With a kid that age it is hard to sit them down and teach them something, but I bought flash cards and books and any tool I could find to help her along.  She HATED it.  She wanted to play with her toys and got so mad when I would try to work with her.  She spoke a few words, but wasn't anywhere near where she should have been for 2 years old.

At her 2 year appointment, I discussed this with our Pediatrician.  I work with him, love him, and respect him...but he totally blew me off.  He said that she would catch up on her own and if she hadn't caught up by her 3 year appointment we should consider speech therapy.  What?  A whole year?  I could not wrap my mind around it.  But thinking he knew best, I just went back to doing what I was doing...trying to work with her when I could and praying that she would just pick up on her own.

About 6 months 2 1/2 years old...she was still only speaking a few words.  So I took matters in my own hands, found a speech therapist, and got her evaluated.  They were guessing at that point she was 9-12 months behind where she should have been and recommended speech therapy.  So we started going to speech therapy once a week.  Miss A hated it.  She would go to therapy and not say one word the whole time.  She would bawl and throw a fit and it was just awful.  I felt like I was torturing her.  Our Speech Therapist was wonderful and did everything she could to play with Miss A and try to work on her words.  After a few sessions, Miss A did start to talk some at speech.  It still wasn't even close to what I knew she could do...but it was a start.  After about 8 weeks of speech, our therapist was working on a special project and had to hand off our sessions to another therapist.  At first I was rather upset...we were finally making progress!  But after just one session with another therapist...I realized that Miss A just didn't like our original therapist.  With the second one, Miss A immediately started talking, and playing, and doing quite well in therapy!  You truly do have to find the right fit for your child!  I didn't even realize that the therapist was the problem until we tried someone new!

I had Miss A in speech therapy for about 18 weeks...until my due date with Baby J was upon us!  I sat down and discussed with the speech therapist where she thought Miss A was and how she thought we should proceed.  I knew that with my due date coming quickly and then having a newborn, it was going to be near impossible to continue with speech least for a while.  Much to my surprise, the therapist was quite pleased with Miss A and said that she felt she was only about 6 months behind where she should be for almost 3 and was catching up quite well.  The therapist had no problem discharging us and letting us know that if she stopped improving we needed to have her re-evaluated.  She also felt that the birth of Baby J and changes in our household were going to force Miss A along in her speech as well!

So Baby J was born in June, Miss A turned 3 the end of June, and I can honestly say that Miss A's speech has come a LONG way even in these short three months!  I am just amazed!  She is still behind where a "normal" 3 year old would be, but she is making HUGE improvements!

But then I had to decide how to proceed with encouraging her speech.

I had never thought that I would put my 3 year old into a preschool.  I actually thought about homeschooling my kids, but hadn't gotten to that decision yet.  Miss A is 3!  She seems to young to be thinking about school.  But as July and August came around and many of my friends with 3 year olds were putting their kids into preschools, I realized that it was just what Miss A needed.  I have been trying to find opportunities for her to get the socialization she needs...and preschool would be perfect for her!  So we called many of the local preschools, went to some open houses, and found a PERFECT one for her!  The first few days were rough...but she absolutely loves preschool!  She goes two days a week for three hours each...that is six hours a week away from mommy :(.  But in just a few short weeks I have noticed a HUGE leap of improvement in her speech!!  It is absolutely amazing!!!  My little girl is growing up!

Any time your child has a problem, you immediately jump to the worst case scenario.  When we first noticed the speech delay I was very concerned that Miss A might be Autistic or have a learning disability.  While I have been reassured by my husband (who is a child Psychologist), our speech therapist, and many others that they do not feel she is Autistic... but she might still be on the Autism Spectrum or have a learning disability.  For now everything looks fine and she is catching up well...but the scary part is that we still don't know what the future holds for her.  I don't want her to have these challenges...I want things to be easy for a mom I want to keep her in a bubble and just do everything for her...but she has to do it on her own!  The good news is that we are seeing major improvement in her speech!

So for now we are just going to keep doing what we are doing.  Miss A will continue with preschool and we will see where we are at 3 1/2 and at 4.  If she needs to go back to speech therapy we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now preschool and the socialization with the other children seems to be helping her along tremendously!

Do you have a child with a speech delay?  Autism?  A Learning Disability?  How did you as a parent deal with that news and how is your little one doing today?

Much Love and Support,

Monday, September 24, 2012

Holiday Quiet Books

I am currently in the throes of making Halloween Quiet Books for D and my lil niece Tink (she is so a sassy lil blond fairy!)  There really isn't a whole bunch out there as far as ideas...I found some cute things but you have to pay for the pattern (no thanks, I'm crafty enough) and since I'm making these for two year olds, the babyish simple pictures you find will bore them.  Plus, not to be all "my kid/niece are amazing!" but they are...and they have some spectacular fine motor skills.  I want to foster those with some more challenging activities. 

So, $50 and a screaming two year old at JoAnn's later (hey people when you see a mommy wrestling a bag of snakes at the cutting counter and she only needs one thing, how's about ya let her go??  Huh??)  I went home to make a mess create at my table.  I managed one page (the create-a-face jack-o-lantern) for both kids and gave up trying to work around the NFL Redzone, a toddler in need of a nap and my own need to think. 

Since we needed lightbulbs for the light over the table, the pictures didn't come out well.  Once I get home from this harrowing day (long story but I didn't get to work until 10...)  I'll take some better ones with my new phone (<3 you Daddyguy!) and show off my fabulous work...but here's a supply list if ya wanna make one along with me!

Dark blue felt (I made my pages 7x9)
green felt (grass)
black felt (faces, I just started to cut and came up with 3 sets of eyes, mouths and noses)
yellow scrap (I used a cup to trace a circle for the moon)
orange felt (I used a Tommee Tippee bowl for a pattern lol)
green ribbons (scraps work, I used two kinds, one for the stem and one to create some interest)
bat embellishments (I used buttons)
sewing machine/needle & thread, liquid fabric adhesive

I cut down the blue felt using a rotary cutter...then traced and cut my pumpkin.  I freehanded the faces--simple shapes.  I used liquid fabric adhesive for the stems and to tack the grass, moon and bats down.  The pumpkin itself will also serve as a pocket so I will hand stitch that down once Cub goes down tonight.  I'll run the grass through my machine to make it interesting and hand stitch the moon and bats to make sure there aren't any escapees lol.  I painted some wood cats (JoAnn's had them for 29 cents!!  I grabbed a bunch of Halloween shapes!) that I'm debating whether or not to use...if I do, the cat will be attached by ribbon and sit in a grass "pocket."  Ohhh...and then I'll fringe the grass...and the cat will peek out...hmm!

Check back for more pages!  Part two will either be a haunted house or spider page..

<3 Jen

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Easy Decorating

I love to decorate my kids rooms but my husband hates to paint..... the nursery is the only room in our house that has paint on it and it's ADORABLE but there has never been a paint brush picked up since then. 

So what's a mom to do who wants to customize and personalize her kids rooms.... wall decals. I *heart* them so much... they are so easy, affordable, and perfect! :)

I had another blog post all ready in my mind this morning but when checking my email I came upon this little tidbit of information - $25 for $75 worth of Wall Decals from WallSpirit.... swoon!!! 

Since I already have my kiddos rooms done and I'm looking at decorating our bedroom or the homeschool room I was thrilled to find a set of Planet decals for only $39.95... which is worth more than even the $25 to purchase the deal and I still have $35 left to spend on something else.  There are a ton of items to choose from.  There are laptop tattoos (very cool), chalkboard and whiteboard decals, clocks, etc... they seem to have a little bit of everything.  Even a Jesus decal... which I find odd that they have positioned over a bed.... not really sure I could um... you know sleep there with Jesus staring me down. ha!

This a Groupon deal for Pittsburgh so if you aren't from the area just change your location to Pittsburgh and because it's an online deal anyone can buy it and use it.

*The above is my referral link so if you buy through it I will get a referral fee and then maybe I can buy one of these deals too and spruce up my bedroom.... since we all know mommies put themselves last most days!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Do you even LIKE kids???

I have the hardest time with people who don't like children.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean people who choose to be child free.  We have all had that crotchety family member who grumbled at holidays, or those friends who have chosen not to have children.  I'm not talking about these people.  

I am talking about people I have come across while teaching who SHOULD NOT be teachers.  Or parents for that matter.

I watch kids get benched every day.  I hear them getting yelled at.  I like discipline in my classroom as well, but there are other ways to go about it besides fear.  This is also how I parent, and it really is just who I am--and how I was raised.

I want to go up to some people here and ask point blank, "Do you even LIKE kids???"  

I've worked at other schools where I've seen teachers who should be in a nice quiet office, happily sipping coffee and tapping away at a keyboard.  I am not this person...I enjoy the messy projects, the walking around and the fun conversations I get to have with my classes.  It is cliche but oh so true that I learn more from them most years than they probably learn from me.

I posted on my facebook the other day that all kids want is to be heard, whether or not we feel we "have time" or what they say "is important."  Everything they say is important, even baby babble.  I'll be honest, there are a million times I don't particularly want to hear about something but I stop and give the child my full attention--because 9 times out of 10 the other teachers or their parents don't.

I saw a quote on Pinterest that a mom posted about how if we don't stop to listen to the little things, our children will stop talking and won't tell us the "big" things...because to them, everything was always big. 

<3 Jen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Baking

The weather is finally starting to become a tad cooler here, and I LOVE it!  Fall is my absolute favorite season.  I love everything about it.  I think my husband likes the fact that I start baking again.  I just can't seem to get the urge to bake when it's so hot and humid out.  Regardless if we have central air now, it's just not something that I want to do in the summer.  Yet as soon as the temperatures start to change I can feel an itch.  I picked up some golden delicious apples up at the store the other day.  They are my favorite to bake with.  That and the kids love to eat them, so they never get wasted in our home.  I haven't decided yet what to make with them.  My favorite is by far apple crisp, DH is apple dumplings, or apple pie.  I love the taste of apple crisp the best, and the plus is it's SO easy to make!

 Today I noticed I had a few over ripe bananas, so the apples will have to wait.  Miss A and I enjoyed our morning alone now that C is in PreK and did some baking.  This is my favorite banana recipe.  It's the sweetest, most moist banana bread I've found.  It's even delicious made into muffins.  Just use the same recipe but instead of filling a bread pan, use cupcake liners and bake in a cupcake pan.  In the fall and winter I have a cake stand that I love to put muffins, cupcakes, cookies and the like in and have at easy reach.  Seems if I bake something and it is out of sight it always ends up wasted.  This way it makes my kitchen look nice, and is not getting forgotten about.  DH loves to come home to something freshly baked.  I'm sure he'll be pleasantly surprised to see that the baking has returned and will be digging into a piece of banana bread the second he walks through the door!

Here is the recipe I love so much for banana bread.

Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour make sour milk by taking 1/2 cup reg milk and adding in 1 TB vinegar (this can be used to replace buttermilk in recipes also :)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
2 or 3 mashed bananas

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and banana, mixing well.  Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with sour milk til batter is smooth.  Pour into greased/floured loaf pan.  Bake approx. 60-70 min at 350 degrees. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The 1st three days

Well it's official - I am a homeschooling mama. We had our first three days of school here this week and it's going really well. (I think I need to thank my husband who has been praying nonstop for us!).  I am really enjoying it so far and I think the kids are too.  I'm surprised how quickly and easily we got into a routine/schedule. So far this is what my day looks like -

Everyone gets up and has some breakfast. (Mama throws a load of clothes in washer)
We head up stairs to start our Accountable Kids Program (more on that later)
School - Numbers & colors for L & J
After school the clothes go in the dryer (washer and dryer are in our homeschool room), and the kids get to redeem a ticket from AKP. Mama cleans and starts to prep other areas of the day. 
After L & J are done with usually computer time they head outside for some fresh air.
Then comes lunch with story time after lunch.
By then hopefully baby N is down for her nap and we move back upstairs.
More schooling for L & J - phonics, writing. (this is also when we will do Social Studies & Science)
Then J goes down for nap. L has to lay down for 30 minutes of quiet time.  Mama gets some facebook creeping time, catching up on emails. :)
If L does not fall asleep - my nieces are being cyber schooled by my mom so this is when they get a break and can all play together outside for a bit. This is when Mama preps dinner and evening activities.
Dinner is next followed by cleaning up and outside time with Daddy.
The evening is finished by the completion of their AKP chores and Bible lesson time with Daddy.
And finally bed!!!

As I stated before we are using the A Beka Books curriculum and that has been a huge help for me since I had no idea where to start.  Now this is my 'ideal' normal day but we all know those never happen more than twice in a row.  For instance this week Monday & Tuesday went great, but Wednesday was stocked full of dr appointments and we spent 5 hours in town so lessons had to be shoved in after dinner before outside time.  It's wonderful to be able to just go with the flow and adjust as needed.  So far - I'm loving it! :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kissaluvs Newborn AIO Review

While looking around (let's face it, stalking...) websites looking at newborn fluff and trying to decide what I wanted to try when Baby J arrived, I kept seeing the Kissaluvs Newborn AIO and kept thinking how much I would like to try those!  I could not find many reviews or mamas who had used them which sparked my interest even more!  Many mamas rave about the Kissaluvs newborn fitteds, but I am not a fitted and covers kind of when the opportunity came to trade a mama for a NIP one of these...I jumped at the chance and hoped that it would be a great addition to our newborn stash!  If you would like to read more about my initial findings with cloth diapering a skinny baby and our rocky start to cloth diapering Baby J, please see the Intro post here.

Price Per Diaper:  (4/5 Stars)  This diaper retails for $14.95 per diaper.  As with the other AIO's I have reviewed, this seems to be about average for the newborn AIO diapers.  Since it is an easy to use AIO with the cord snap down and many other nice features, the price seems right!

Leaks:  (2/5 Stars)  Ack!  I had high hopes for this diaper since the Kissaluvs fitteds are so highly regarded...but alas, my skinny leg baby had other ideas!  This diaper is quite similar in style and size to the Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  And just like that diaper, there were HUGE gaps around the legs with this diaper which led to constant leaking.  The actual diaper is quite absorbent and has great leg elastic, but those leg gaps just let any drop of pee or poop escape out the leg hole.  On a chunkier baby, I'm sure this would be a favorite!  But on skinny babes, it just doesn't work!  Baby J was 10 pounds or so before this diaper finally fit better around the legs.  This diaper does have a wider crotch area than the Lil Joey does and is to fit to 15 pounds.  My little guy is about 13 1/2 pounds now an while the leg openings are fitting, now the waist is getting too small.  We just did not have luck with this diaper.

Even at 10 1/2-11 pounds, the legs still weren't a great fit.

Fit:  (2/5 Stars)  As I mentioned above, by the time the leg openings fit, the waist snaps are getting too small for a good fit.  We never found a time when this diaper fit well around the legs and the waist at the same time. :(  This diaper does feature the snap down for the cord which is perfect to get this diaper onto baby early after birth, but for us this diaper was not usable until 10-ish pounds.  There aren't many options around the waist for snaps, but with the elastic back, we did seem to have a pretty good fit around the waist even when Baby J was tiny.  If you have chunkier babies, this diaper might be a home run for you, but on my skinny guy it just never fit right.  There is lots of room through the tush and the crotch for bigger babies which is great!  But on my skinny guy all of that extra room was exactly the problem!  There was extra fluff in all the wrong places!

Ease of Use:  (5/5 Stars)  Simple!  Extremely simple!!!  Since this is an AIO diaper there are no removable or movable parts and nothing to do extra for washing or prepping the diaper for use.  Simply toss in the wash, toss in the dryer, and put on baby!  The cord snap is easy to snap and unsnap.  Very easy to use!

Washing:  (5/5 Stars)  Like I said above, washing is simple since there are no extra parts with this diaper!  Just toss it in the wash and toss it in the dryer and it is ready to go!  For an AIO, I did not find that this took any extra time to dry!  And as for staining, this diaper washed back to all white every time!!  Stains lifted with regular washing and this diaper looks brand new!  The diaper I have has the white fleece inner and I had no problems with any stains or marks remaining after washing.  Kissaluvs also makes this diaper with a yellow inner which would be perfect for those mamas who hate EBF stains!

Overall Performance:  (3/5 Stars)  I wanted to love this diaper!  After all the hype with the Kissaluvs fitteds being many mamas #1 choice for newborn diapering and how cute these diapers are, I really hoped this would be a home run but this diaper just did not work for us!  If you know that you have chunky babies, I would recommend this diaper!  But if you bake your babies skinny or you are a first timer...I would not recommend this diaper.

Total Stars:  21/30

Here is Baby J weighing in at 10 1/2-11 pounds in his Kissaluvs AIO.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sometimes Mama Needs a Time Out

Wow.  Mama needs a time out.

My son is two.

Ok, to be fair, his birthday was the beginning of August, so chronologically he's been two for a month and change...but I'm talking metaphorically.  

My precious perfect child is a monster.

Ok...I'm exaggerating.  He's still my sweet boy and only occasionally acts sour but he really tried my patience this weekend.  He was getting into everything (unlike before.)  He was kicking off and doing "toddler aerobics" and "displays of greatness" (throwing his little body back with temper tantrums.)  He was climbing on EVERYTHING (this includes me while I attempted to cook, sew more wipes for him and make 2 half aprons--which I'll post about later! do laundry, etc.)

We have entered a new stage.  The stage where mama grabs a beer and lets chaos ensue!

He is still cuddly, kissy and precious.  He still love love loves his mama and gives me a squeeze when he knows he not only went over a lone but blew past it like Lightening McQueen.

Mama needs a time out!  But, let's call it what it is: Mama/Mrs. M never gets one!  : D

<3 Jen

P.S. Fluffy goodness next Monday!!  Get ready!!

Friday, September 7, 2012

More Canning Talk

 Are you interested in canning?  It was easier for us to dive in because it was familiar to both of us as we were raised in families that canned and preserved.  Still we needed something to guide us.  We wanted to make sure that we did things correctly.  Who wants to put a ton of time and energy and produce into something all for it to go bad.

  We found that the Ball Blue Book is like our canning and preserving bible.  Not only does it tell you how to safely preserve your food it also has recipes.  We love that we know that we are doing it correctly by going by their guidelines. Our food is going to stay fresh and healthy.  We don’t want to go to all the work of canning and it not stay good and be safe for our family to consume. 

We purchased a pressure canner, mainly because we plan to do a lot of canning and this cuts down on the time it takes to can.  We go by the book it comes with to decide on how much head space to leave and also how much pressure and for how long.  We know by going by their standards our food will be preserved properly.
You can also use canner. We just use the pressure cooker as a pot, not using the pressure feature to do our hot water baths.  We have been trying to pick up one of these canners at town, but every time we go they are all out.  Anyway, things like pickles, salsa, etc just need to be boiled in a hot water bath and this works just fine!  We have bought the kit shown here, with a funnel, magnetic stick that grabs the hot lids out of the pan, a measuring tool for head space, and of course the tongs that pull the jars out of the canner.  These tools have come in very handy and I recommend anyone starting out to pick up a kit for yourself.

And of course you will need to pick up mason jars, lids, and rings.  We were lucky and a ton were left here in our home from his Great Uncle when we bought the house.  We have bought new rings, as they tend to become rusty from the years gone by.  The jars and rings you can reuse every year, and then you only have to buy the lids.  You can usually find mason jars at auctions and flea markets, because most people canned 10-20 years ago.  Even ask around and you may find someone who wants rid of theirs. 

These few simple things will be all you really need to get started canning.  Try it, and I promise though it can be a lot of work, you will reap the rewards all year long. There is just nothing tastier than opening up a jar in Feb and it tastes like fresh summer produce out of the garden.  You know what you are putting into everything, so you can be at ease when feeding your family.  There are just so many positives to canning. Try it for yourself. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Little Shopping

It's September... seriously how is it September already?

Time is just flying by. But it is also putting me in the mood to shop... and I love a good deal.  I was out checking my daily deal sites yesterday and stumbled upon Totsy's Summer Blow Out Sale!!!  yippee!!!

Just some of the deals -

Adorable rain boots - $8 (reg $22)
Slippers starting at $5 (reg $30)
Disney backpacks and purses for $7 (reg $14)
Children's Jewelry starting at $2.50 (reg $18)

This is just to name a few... but there are lots of amazing deals!

Sign up here and get started on stock piling gifts at great prices!

*The above are my affiliate links - sign up via me to help a SAHM and then share your links with friends and family to reward yourself!*

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rumparooz Lil Joeys Review

One of the first Newborn diapers that interested me was the Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  Let's face it, they are just darn cute!!!  And they seem to be built perfectly for itti bitti newborns featuring inner gussets to hold in that EBF poop, a snap down for the umbilical cord, and they start fitting at 5 pounds to fit smaller babies!  Being that I bake my kiddos long and skinny, I thought that this diaper would be a perfect fit for my tiny bum babies!   If you would like to read more about my initial findings with cloth diapering a skinny baby and our rocky start to cloth diapering Baby J, please see the Intro post here.

Price Per Diaper:  (4/5 Stars)  A two pack of these diapers retails for $29.97 which is $14.99 a diaper.  This is about average for the newborn AIO diapers and being that this is a quality and well made diaper, it may be well worth your money!

Leaks:  (2/5 Stars)  We did have some trouble with this diaper leaking.  Baby J lost weight down into the upper 6 pounds and these diapers just did not fit at all.  There were HUGE gaps around the leg openings and they just leaked and leaked.  I had to take them out of rotation until he got up around 8 to 8 1/2 pounds.  At that weight, then we started having leaking out the front waist if he went to sleep in this diaper.  If you have chunky babies, this diaper would probably work well, but for my skinny boy, it just did not work well for us.  This diaper is an AIO, it is all one piece and there is no way to add absorbency if needed.  As Baby J got bigger, it would have been nice to be able to add absorbency and maybe use these a little longer.  That being said, the inner gussets did do a very good job of containing EBF poop when Baby J was smaller.  So if you had a chunkier baby that the leg openings fit and didn't leak pee, it would be a great diaper!

Fit:  (2/5 Stars)  When Baby J lost weight, obviously these diapers just did not fit around his skinny little legs at all.  But I was always quite pleased with how this diaper fit around the waist and how nice the cord snap is for those first few weeks while the cord stump is still on.  If your baby had chunkier legs, this would probably be a great diaper!  But on my skinny leg boy, it just did not work.  Also I found that as he got bigger, the crotch was just too skinny to contain pee/poop.  I did not feel that this diaper fit well as we approached 11-12 pounds and it did not contain enough pee/poop for a child that size.

Ease of Use:  (5/5 Stars) This diaper could not get easier!  It is an AIO with no moveable parts so it is just snap on and unsnap muss no fuss!!!  Also it is a cinch for washing since it is just toss it in the washer and in the dryer and back on baby!  Nothing else to do!

Washing:  (4/5 Stars)  This diaper is a cinch to wash since it is an AIO.  But since it is an AIO, it does take a little longer to dry.  If you hang to dry, you may need to finish off in the dryer since it takes sooo long for these to dry!  As for stains, they mostly come out completely with washing.  A few pesky EBF stains stayed but sunned easily.  You do have to watch the gussets to make sure that all poop washes clean, this is also an area where stains are a little tougher.

Overall Performance:  (3/5 Stars)  I really wanted to love this diaper, but it just did not work for us. :(  If you have chunkier babies, this diaper might work great for you!  But on my skinny leg little man, these just never seemed to fit quite right.  This diaper was great in theory for us, but just did not execute well.  Boo!

Total Stars:  20/30

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fluffy Anticipation and Halloween!

Hey guys!  I have been MIA and it's all due to a new job!  Yay!  But the downside is a way long commute plus the fact I'm teaching math and social studies to 3 different grades!!  Luckily the kids are amazing (2/3 classes that is : ) and they are loving my wacky approach to teaching. 

I have some really exciting things in the works with a fantastic WAHM from whom I have ordered a custom made Cars diaper.  We are looking at a fab review (of her two different cuts) and an amazing giveaway.  More on that next week when she and I finalize all the details.

On a personal note--I ran a 5K at Disneyland this Saturday (stroller division, of course!)  For those who know me, this is so out of character.  I am NOT the athletic one in the house (the Daddyguy is at the gym as I type lol) but I have been inspired by his gym I recently joined.  Due to our son's food allergies and sensitivities--all found through breastfeeding and trial and error, I had cut out dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, all fish and corn!  I lost the baby weight and an extra 30lbs but I needed to tone it up.  I love being active now and I love that I can include my son in the fun. 

Ok, on to Halloween.  Yes, I know it's JUST September, but I was feeling crafty and decided it was time to make some Halloween decorations with Cub.  He was less than thrilled however the end result was more than worth it!

I started with these goodies I picked up at Michaels:

I use Martha Stewart acrylic paint for everything...I admit I am a huge fan of her craft products and I am teased by Daddyguy incessantly for this fact!  I just chose some fun holiday-ish colors that I loved.  Keep in mind she has a ton of different finishes (white and orange were Pearl and needed a ton of coats, black was Metallic and shiny, purple and green were Satin.)

I just started to paint.  I'd say I had a definite plan but that'd be a lie.  I knew I wanted a palm print pumpkin, a handprint spider and bat and a footprint ghost but other than that--no plan! : )

This is after a few coats and a delightful viewing of Toy Story 2:
I used the white pearl for the "frame" to make the colors pop. 

Then, it was time to torture my poor Cub who by this time needed a nap DESPERATELY and just wanted to watch Ratatouille & nurse.  I was only able to grab one shot of the hand/footprint process...I used a sponge brush, painted his hand/foot and guided him where I wanted his imprint to go.  (The tattoo is his name--got it when he was 3 months old : )

Almost finished...I still need the staple gun & ribbon. 

Are they perfect?  Well, that depends on your my mind they are : ) !!  I added the little faces when he went to sleep.  I'll post a picture when my "Halloween Installation" is hung up! 

My next crafty endeavors are unpaper towels for the kitchen, a canvas for our freshly painted powder room, Halloween themed quiet books and more holiday handprint art!  Let me know what you'd like to see...

<3 Jen