Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning to love tea

I always admire gorgeous little teapot and cup sets. I've been on the verge of buying one several times... the only trouble is, I don't like tea. Ha!

So finding a love for tea has been a longstanding goal. It started with drinking red raspberry leaf tea at the end of pregnancy... (heavily laden with honey, and steeped with vanilla rooibos), and I also drank a nursing tea given to me from a friend. And once I love it, I will reward myself with an adorable teapot set. ;)

I've made a couple of breakthroughs lately. Some herbal tea at a breastfeeding group on Wednesday was delicious with a piece of carrot cake, and at a natural food shop yesterday I sampled some coconut chai tea and actually bought a tin! If you can find this locally, I totally recommend it, it smells heavenly! It's called "Zhena's Gypsy Tea". It's organic and fair trade black tea and it comes in a variety of flavours.

Does anyone have pointers on how to make a good pot/cup of tea? It seems to be an art that I know nothing about...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Run t-shirts, Run!!

My sewing machine and I had a little session last evening. I had just finished a pair of shorties for tiny man and I was knitting the i-cord when I decided I hated knitting i-cords and set it aside for a bit.

So I hunted through the closet and found a giants t-shirt that was given to us (originally a freebie in a box of beer I think!). It's hubby's favourite team, but he doesn't wear this shirt because I've put "booby bumps" in the front of it. So men's shirts are the best for PJs. Sue me.
I cut and refashioned the shirt into a new diaper for the small one:

And here's G all ready and waiting for summer in his new shorties (minus his i-cord), if only the 3 feet of snow outside would stop replenishing itself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

$700 worth of power.

Yikes. We moved in November and got our first full power bill today at our new place. Granted, it's electric heat with not-so-brand-new appliances, but for 2 months the grand total was $716.46. The power company was so kind to explain, "well, the majority of the usage time occurred after the rate increase." Oh well, sorry to continue using power after you increased the price by 10%.


So I'm on a conserving energy kick. Here's my list so far:

- Turning the power bars off when the computer and TV are not in use.

- Break out the slippers and housecoats! Body heat is cheaper than electricity. haha

- It's hard during Canadian winters, but I'm hanging laundry out on the line during sunny days. This will happen more as the weather improves.

- Everything is washed with cold water other than the baby's diapers.

- When I use the clothes dryer, I'm giving things 40 minutes on medium heat. If it's not dry, tough luck, it gets hung up somewhere.

- Using natural light. I'm opening blinds and curtains during the day, it's also good for chasing away the winter blahs. However, once the sun is down, I close them up to keep heat from escaping.

- Short showers.

- I've been taking note of things that are always plugged in and if they don't need to be.. I unplug them.

- Letting my hair dry on its own. My hair will thank me for this anyway.

- I need to fix a tap in the bathroom that's leaking hot water.

Any other suggestions? Anyone have $700 they're looking to give away? haha

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Paper Bag Prince

Oh yes. My son is in a paper bag. Once he got on his belly, he kicked and kicked and had a great time. Free fun for the whole family. haha

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Little Artist

E LOVES to paint and colour and do crafts. I can set up a little art station for her and she'll create away the time. Sometimes she needs a break so she'll ask to have her hands washed and do something else for a while but she'll come back for as long as her supplies are out. I just have one problem with this... what do I do with all of her lovely artwork? Will I get over the desire to keep every little scrap of paper she puts a mark on? :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

An "I'm-sewing-too-much" giveaway!!

Draw is TODAY March 1st at 12:00pm Atlantic Time!

I got the idea to have a blog giveaway from an online friend a little while ago but I wasn't sure what I'd "give away". As I was sewing this diaper I realized that my little man has all of the diapers he needs right now and maybe there's another little bum in the world that needs it more.
So here it is folks...

...a pocket fitted made-by-me with the Rita's Rump Pocket pattern . It features a white fleece outer and a brown/black tie-dyed flannel on the inside. It has ruffled leg openings and I added an elastic to the back for those extra-explosive poops. This pattern has long wings designed to wrap around your baby's waist and secure in place with one diaper pin in the front. This is a one-size fits most diaper, although I've only tested the pattern out on my 15 pound 4-month-old. They work great on him.

Due to the fleece outer, this diaper could be worn coverless for a while at home, but you may want to slap on some wool/extra fleece/PUL if you're going out.

And because I can't just give away an empty diaper, it also comes with a double layer flannel wipe and a flannel/cotton terry/bamboo insert.

Remember... I am not a seamstress, I sew for fun so it's certainly not perfect!

And how can you win this diaper you may ask? Post a comment to this blog entry stating the super-creative ways that your family tries to be more "green". It can be anything from making your own diapers to hanging out the laundry to growing vegetables. Tell me what you do to be kind to our world and why it's important to you! I will randomly select one person on March 1st.

******Be sure to leave your name and correct e-mail address so I can contact you for shipping information. Or a link to your blog... just someway I can contact you ******

Thanks and have fun with your entry!

Happy Heart Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! We're having some lovely snow here (as long as you're not out driving) and E and I had an opportunity to do some sleding and playing in the snow. Here's my little girl as a snow baby. (not long after this, our fun was cut short by, "I have to go PEEPEE!!")

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

I struggled this year about whether or not to buy a gift for Ella. We may have got a little chocolate or something as kids, but it wasn't really a "gift giving" holiday. We were fine with that and I had decided that I wouldn't buy gifts for my children either.

However, what about making something? I came across this little gem on a blog I follow and I thought it was a wonderful idea. The original tutorial is found here . I just made Ella a flannel sheet set last week, so I made her a matching embellished pillow for Valentine's day.

I set out for it to be a nap time project, but with the knit flower and beaded name it took me most of the day to finish it (around the kiddos needs of course... haha). I hope she likes it!

And here's what hubby is getting along with a couple of cards:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun with Kool-aid

So we don't drink Kool-aid around these parts, but it's fun to use as a dye! I've had a pair of plain coloured wool pants sitting around for a while now.. I wanted to dye it but kept procrastinating. That's likely a good thing because I had planned on making it pink or purple for Ella, but now that she's potty trained, she won't be needing it! So I went with lemon-lime and I also attempted to tie-dye it.
Stewing away...

All clear!...

I decided to mute the green and tie-dyed areas a little so I did the process again with a willow green food colouring, and here's my cutie in the finished product...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sewing (?) Bag

I set out to make a bag for my sewing supplies. I found this nice picture tutorial: , added my own creativity and came out with a pretty cute bag. The pockets feature velcro, zipper and button closures and it will easily hold all of my sewing supplies or everything you need for an outing with the kiddos.
I might just use it as a diaper bag so I have a reason to take it out of the house. ;)

Back to Work Soon

I started my current job already pregnant so I only worked for a few months before starting Maternity leave. I decided I would come back to work when Gabriel was about 7 months old, partially because we'd need the money and partially because I felt bad about leaving them without a nurse.

I had heard they found a replacement for the school year and with Rob's new job I had pretty much decided to stay off until September. Alas... they didn't find a replacement so the highschool has been without a nurse and they are very eager to have me back. So back to work for me on April 6th. I'm going to miss my babies... :(

Saturday, February 7, 2009

So satisfying...

I love hanging my diapers out on the line. Granted, in the winter they still have to go in the dryer for a bit, but the sun works better and is far nicer to my dipes then any amount of bleach. I can't believe the stains that will come out just from some sunning (and believe me, breastfed poop can cause some serious staining!)

Plus a part of me hopes that a neighbour will see them hanging out there and might want to give cloth diapers a whirl... ;)

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Gift For Baby H.

My friend and cousin is due with her first baby in March. She has hand made so many adorable things for my children and I'm so glad that I'm able to return the favour a little bit. I made her this diaper set which includes an embellished prefold (far left), an appliqued tee (middle top), recycled wool footies (bottom) and a set of 6 flannel/minky wipes (far right).

I can't wait until baby is here to try it on!

Been a Busy Mommy

G had his 4 month check-up yesterday (he's a little over 4 months but I didn't want him to get vaccinations while he had a cold). He's 15 pounds 9 ounces, over a pound heavier than Ella was at 4 months. He cried getting his shots, not even nursing during them helped much this time, but after a few minutes he was back to smiling at me. They've had a lasting effect into today however.. low-grade fever and generally cranky and miserable. Sometimes I question my decision to vaccinate on schedule in the early months (I only delay MMR and Varicella later on). It just seems like a lot for a tiny little baby to handle... maybe my decision will change for the next baby.

Project-wise, I've been busy finishing up a gift for my friend's baby shower (can't share those pics until after the fact!), making some crib sheets and I'm about to make a sheet set for my daughter's toddler bed. The toddler bed uses a crib mattress, so it's hard to find cute sheets for it... crib sets don't come with pillowcases and a top sheet (generally).

Here's the tutorial I used for the fitted sheets... it couldn't be easier and you have so many adorable prints to choose from!

Chillin' on his new flannel sheet...

Made some matching teething toys from the corner scraps and stuffed them with my bits of scrap fabric I can never bring myself to throw out...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

5 minute, $5, no-sew baby wrap

The 5 minute $5 No-Sew Baby Wrap

I own several lovely store-bought baby slings/carriers but my favourite to use around home costs next to nothing, I didn't have to sew it, takes 5 minutes to put on (and faster once you've practiced!), it's lightweight, easy to store, comes in hundreds of colours and patterns and best of all, baby loves it!

This idea is certainly not new to me. I picked this up from a breastfeeding group, but I want to share the wealth!

What you will need:

- Approximately 11 feet of a 2-way stretch fabric (like Lycra, or special cottons that don't fray). You may want more if you're a little bigger, or less if you're a little smaller (best to buy a little big and cut later than not have enough). I'm 5'5" and fairly large chested and I use 11 feet of fabric. And it's cut to approx. 18 inches wide.

- A baby, or something else you want to carry close to your chest. ;)

*Pics are clickable for a closer view, sorry if my mirror is dirty... lol*

1. Pick up your fabric, finding the half-way point.

2. Wrap the centre portion around your tummy to the back.

3. Criss-cross the fabric over your back and bring the ends over each shoulder.

4. It will now look like this from the front. Try to keep the fabric from twisting too much.

5. Criss-cross the fabric in the front and bring the two ends to the back. Pull a little so all portions feel snug against your body, but not tight.

6. Tie a good knot in the back, tug it to make sure it's not going to slip.

7. Find your prey. Hold him or her close to your chest.

8. This part can be a little awkward at first, but insert baby into the top portion of the criss-cross in front. Pull each of baby's legs through the sides of the cross so that baby is straddling the fabric. Like so...

9. Fan the fabric out across baby's bum and back and over his or her shoulders.

(at this point you may also want to let your toddler fill her teapot at the sink... heehee)

10. Tuck your baby's legs into the section of fabric that you first wrapped across your tummy.

11. Now fan that same piece of fabric over your baby's bum, back and shoulders (even the back of the head should the baby need neck support) and ta-da! you're wearing a baby comfortably and for dirt cheap.

And just for comparison, same fabric with a 25 pound two-year-old...

Disclaimer: Of course you must always be vigilant with any product or materials you use around your baby. Do not use near hot surfaces that could burn your baby, downhill skiing and similar activities should also be avoided (lol). For very small babies you will need to be aware of proper airflow around the face. I cannot be held responsible for any injury that could result should you wear your baby in this way. That being said, I've found it to be extremely safe with my own kiddo.

Tag team sleeping

Some days are bliss. The kids wake up together, have naps together, go to bed together... and I get a few wonderful hours of alone time.

Then there are days like today. G is up at 5am, he goes back to sleep at 7am only for me to hear the distance call, "Mommy! I have to go pee!!". G has another nap at 9am, but E is not ready until 1pm. From 1pm to 3pm, G yells at me which tuckers him out and he falls asleep just in time for E to roll out of her bed.

With any luck, they'll both be in bed by 8pm, but who counts on something silly like that? ;)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter Days with Kids

When you have a toddler and a small one, it's hard to get outside when it's cold. Here's what we've been up to this winter:

- Reading
- colouring
- finger painting (a working parent loves a finger painting stuffed into their lunch box)
- "cooking" with kitchen utensils in a bubble bath
- going to the local free playgroup
- folding laundry... believe it or not, toddlers love to help with the folding and babies are amused amongst the pile.
- building forts with blankets
- baking... my toddler LOVES to stir (and taste of course).
- Making "birdie food" by ripping up a bowl of bread scraps (props to Mimi for this one)
- inviting over a playmate. (What?! add more kids? But two toddlers are good at amusing themselves without you)
- Letting the toddler feed the dog some treats. They both get exercise. ;)
- a little TV is sometimes necessary for mom's sanity.
- cleaning up that trashed bedroom can be fun. I get the two-year-old to see how many toys she can throw back into the toybox from a predetermined distance.
- Water play. Fill something up and let them pour/stir/taste... it's only water, how much damage could they possible do? Ok... so maybe keep it away from the plasma...
- A small toy on a string. If you have a cat and a kid wanting to run... you have at least 20 minutes of hilarity all lined up.
- Movie night. Popcorn and a cartoon. (although I recommend against peter pan... holy cow I don't remember the movie being that violent!)

Anyone have suggestions?