Monday, November 14, 2011

Sticky Storage - Magnet Strips

When I organized my medicine cabinet like a year ago, I got an idea, there was some wasted space due to different sized toiletries. A magnet on the wall inside would hold the metal items nicely. I tried every magnet on my frigde to try and repurpose, all failed.
Then after organizing my spice cabinet, I started looking at magnetic spice racks. Over at Mod Podge Rocks  recently I saw she attached magnets to baby food jars to stick to the fridge. (We actually do Baby-Led-Solids AKA Baby-Led-Weaning, and do not feed Ellie baby food, she feeds herself real, whole foods, but we get baby food on WIC so I put mashed veggies and meat in soups and we eat the fruit.)

At heaven (Ikea) today I remembered the magnetic spice rack idea and looked around for a metal backing for magnetic jars I imagined exsisted. I found some magnetic knife holders instead. (they also come in fun colors)
I was pretty sure the baby food jar lids would stick, and at only $2.49 it was worth a shot, I'm sure I could use them in my craft room for scissors or to relocate knives or something. (they were small, so I bought 5)

Someone on FB tonight asked about bathroom storage and I re-read my medicine cabinet post and at the magnet on the wall part, I had an aha moment! Those little knife racks would work! So For $2.49ish + like 10 minutes (most of which were spent opening the package) I had a little more storage in my medicine cabinet, which is great because we have since added the baby's toothbrush holder in that space.

The back of the medicine cabinet is not real sturdy, so I couldn't screw the magnet in. I thought of my darling, command hooks strips.
Without the screw holes being used though, there was a lip in the back of the magnet. The Velcro picture hanging strips came to mind. They were perfect sized and filled in that lip.
I just stuck one side to the magnet and other to the wall, clickety click, we were installed!

Add the metal tools and tada! Extra space!


oh and I had to check, yes, baby food jar lids DO stick to the magnet, even through the packaging.

If I dont get to make my spice rack soon enough for you, check out Mod Podge Rocks, or Just Home Made, or The Little Apartment, who uses Goo Gone for that pesky lable glue that has been driving me nuts.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ive FALLen in Love again this year.

(i totally cheated and bumped this post from last year, life has been nuts lately, I do intend on getting back into blogging my life and home, soon.)

Fall is my favorite time of the year. September 1st rolls around and I pull out my fall decor. October 1st-ish (or whenever i feel like it) the Halloween stuff gets added. November 1st-ish the Halloween gets put away and any Thankgiving specific decor gets added to the decor.

here are some pictures of some of the Fall only stuff:
I had 2 little punkies and the gourd in the middle, but one of the punkies got moldy, so I had to toss it out. During my recent Gift Wrap Organization project, I found the gold/orange bow and thought it was too Fall-y to pack it away, (I love it too much to gift it anyway) the vase was from some flowers we got at our wedding, and the flowers (silk) were purchased on clearance at Walmart for .75/10 stems, intended for our orange/blue wedding, but they were too fall-looking for the wedding theme, so I didn't use many of them in the wedding. The cloth was purchased to cover an ugly air-conditioner I had in my old apartment.
COST: $1.50 for the 3 real veggies(one was tossed out). $0 for the vase I already had, $0 for the flowers (they were in the wedding budget), $0 for the reused bow, $0 for scrap fabric from before (was like $1)
This cake stand/punch bowl was my favorite bridal shower gift. Purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond (although I'm not finding on their website today) Here is a similar one from Bloomingales. Its super versatile, has a divided tray under that turns upside down to be a flat cake plate when the domed lid is also inverted. it can also be covered with the domed lid with the divided tray as it is in the picture. Since I got it, it has been a fruit bowl, a cookie/brownie tray, candy bowl, and during the glorious days of summer, tomato bowl. Hasnt been either a cake stand or punch bowl yet, go figure.
In the bowl are faux punkies, I was disappointed when one of my real ones got moldy already this year, thats never happended to me before, usually they last from beginning of September through Thanksgiving. So after Halloween, I snagged a bunch of these little moldless punkies and gourds for .75 each on clearance. They will pay for themselves next year when I don't buy real ones. There are more of those non-wedding flowers in there too. And of course, underneith, some candy, not Halloween candy, just candy, I am pregnant with a sweet tooth. This would great with a bowl of red apples, silk flowers and leaves too.
Under the bowl is a faux suede placemat bought on clearance a few years ago for $1. I have more of them in other places in the house.
COST $6 for the faux punkies, everything else was from before.

This is actually the back/top of my bedroom armoirs, covered in a blue bedsheet. I really like how it hides the back of the armoires from the living room (were in a loft, remember). I also gives a "wall"/"mantle" area for decorating. The daisy picture(free at a yardsale, $10 walmart poster frame) is hanging by a chain (hidden by the scarecrow pik) and a 3M command hook from the other side. I love the little dangly leg guys in the middle. They make me happy every year.

COST: $0, I already had everything from previous years. The scarecrow pik was, I think, $0.25 on clearance. The little dangly leg guys were under $1 each, also on clearance, The candles were in a set with 3 small ones also for, I think, $3 on sale.

BTW, The picture frame was this:
but it was out of place with all the other fall decor, so with some handy Scotch Double sided tape, a leftover wedding flower ripped from its stem, and some silk leaves it became this (temporarily):

Happy Fall!
Im linking to: It's A Blog Party's Days of Thanksgiving Holiday Party and Cottage Instincts Make it for Monday

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My amazing mom friend and her son made some adorable Halloween cards to mail out, I stole this idea from her.

First, I put Ellie in our travel high chair up on the counter so her feetsies would be accessable, then I distracted her with peahes.

Using white acrylic paint on a paper plate, I stepped her foot in it and onto black cards.

after all the black cards were stamped, I stamped a bunch of times onto some black card stock I had bought as back up in case her foot didnt cooperate on the other cards.

Then, I realized, I DO have some googly eyes in  my craft room! Hot glue + tweezers + ghost shape = scarey googly eyes. I used a sharpie for the mouth.

For the inside, I printed out a family photo and a message onto white card stock and wallet sized pics of just Ellie. I stamped on the "Happy Halloween" part to add something different. The card was glued to the inside of the card, the wallet was just slipped inside.

I learned that clear stamps can work with the acrylic paint, just have to dab gently and do a lot of tests, and not worry if it doesnt look perfect. I used the same BOO stamp with both the white paint on black and black ink on orange.

After doing the 20 cards that I bought pre cut/folded with envelopes, I realized that I needed more cards to mail out. I took the extra foot prints and some leftover orange cardstock from wedding crafts and made up a bunch  more.

Happy Haunting!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

clever title so you read this blog post (cricut giveaway, scentsy giveaway, babywearing discount)

Something tragic happened to some friends of  mine. Everything they owned was completely destroyed in a housefire. The home was shared by a set of twin sisters, their Nicks (both Nick, both in Coastguard), and their young boys. See more HERE (prepare for some tears)

Imagine what you would do, could do, if something like this happened to you. Do what you can to prepare. Get a firesafe. Test your smoke alarms. Hug your children. Imagine how grateful you would be for any and all help.

Their mom, fellow blogger At The Paper Midwife, is matching proceeds from a Scentsy party and entering orders there in a contest to win Scentsy money. Click Here for more info.

She is also accepting donations (via Paypal) in exchange for entries to win a Cricut Imagine and a bunch of extras to go with it. See Cricut contest HERE (scroll down past Scentsy stuff)

Please, donate for the shear contest reason, the good of it, for self gratification, whatever your reason, please. (see the first link above for non-monetary ways to help)

 Last but not least, BABY WEARING MAMAS:

From August 10th through the 30th, will be offering 15% off all orders with coupon code KORI. The 15% you save is the same amount Comfy Joey will match with a monetary donation to Kori and her family and also match it with a Comfy Joey GIFT VOUCHER to help Kori replace her lost baby carriers. Get a gorgeous sling at a discount and help a beautiful babywearing family rebuild their lives.

Wear your babies and treasure every moment. We would appreciate all effort in spreading word about these fundraisers and promoting them among your friends.

Feel free to post on blogs, FB pages and different forums.

PLEASE SHARE and help spread the word

Thank you!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So you're thinking about breastfeeding...

, it's really is the best choice. This is just a quick letter, written to pregnant Jane Doe, it is not intended to replace medical advice or be a complete article of information, just a start.

The first thing to do, decide you will breastfeed, not "try to" breastfeed. Medically, a very small % of women cannot physically breastfeed. The reason many woman think they cannot is a lack of support or misinformation.

There are lots of "Booby Traps" out there that make breastfeeding more difficult, nursing in public is one of them. Its really not a big deal, I have never had even the slightest negative response about breastfeeding and I rarely use a cover/blanket. The trick is to wear the right clothes, long, loose tops can drape over baby's head for latching and over baby's nose to cover as much skin as possible. A combo of a nursing tank (access from the top) paired with a tshirt (access from the bottom) gives great coverage. Also, position yourself in a place with less traffic or where the angel is right. I ask for a restaurant table in the  corner away from other diners "in case the baby fussed" so nursing wouldnt be a big deal.

I highly reccommend the My Brestfriend Pillow, makes holding baby a lot easier, and save your back. It's much better than the Boppy because it buckles in place so the baby doesn't slip down.

The best way to ensure success is to educate yourself, take a class, go to LLL meetings, a breastfeeding support group at the hospital or WIC. 

Most moms complain that their nursing relationship was ruined at the beginning. Immediately after birth, have them place baby on your bare chest, let her find her way to your breast. Babies will often do what is called the "breastcrawl" you can google youtube videos to see it, it is amazing. The little bumps around on your areola are called Montgomery glands and the make your nipple smell like amniotic fluid. They also excrete a lubrication that helps prevent dry cracked nipples, its a good idea not to wash your nipples with soap, just rinse off. If you noticed your nipples getting darker throughout pregnancy, its so baby can see them better. Just more evidence that babies are designed to breastfeed and your body is designed to nurture after birth just as it did before.

Absolutely refuse bottles and binkies in the hospital. A sign like this can make sure all nurses and CNA's know your wishes. In the hospital is where many moms make a mistake. They are in love, and afraid of any little thing hurting their baby. They will do anything to protect them. They listen to doctors and nurses, who are not properly educated or supportive of breastfeeding. They may think they don't produce milk because it can take up to a week before your milk "comes in" really though, you have milk, it's a thicker ultra concentrated Colostrum which is super mega perfect chalked full of nutrients and very strong antibodies. It is all your baby needs. Her tummy is the size of a marble, she won't starve. Most babies arent hungry right away anyways, remember, they have never eaten before so they dont think they are missing something. It's normal for newborns to drop about 10% of their weight shortly after birth. Don't worry, most is the meconium, the dark sticky poop that was sitting up in their gut before birth. Just give her time, she will put the weight back on.

Plan to see a lactation consultant while you're still in the hospital, even if things seem fine.
If she loses more than the 10% of her weight and you want to supplement, you should be able to rent a pump at the hospital or from WIC. Don't use a bottle though, use a supplemental nursing system (SNS) a medicine dropper or syringe right at your breast to supplement. This prevents nipple confusion or preference as bottles are much easier to drink from than breast. The nursing motion that gets the milk out is great for oral development.

Understand that the pump is NOT as good at getting milk out as the baby is. I say this for 2 reasons. Moms sometimes pump, dont get much out and then worry that the baby isnt getting enough. A better indicator that the baby is getting enough is by counting wet and poopy diapers. Also, I suggest seeing a lactation consultant a few days and a week after the baby is born. She can weigh the baby before and after feeds to see how much she is getting. The 2nd reason is that if you plan to just pump, realize it is A LOT more work than direct feeding. Moms who pump have to do so about twice as often, as the pump isnt as good at keeping supply up. Milk supply happens on demand, the more milk that is removed from the breast the more milk the breast will make.

After coming home, plan to nurse constantly for like a week or so, it's perfectly normal for baby to need to nurse almost constantly, this sounds daunting, but it is a great excuse to continue to rest, as you both need it. Don't let anyone say "she can't be hungry again" because she very likely is. Breastmilk digests very quickly, within about 2 hours. Nursing on demand (whenever she fusses) helps establish your supply. If a baby gets so hungry that she cries, it will be much harder to get her to latch on correctly. Crying is a late hunger cue, fussing, rooting, turning her mouth to the side, sucking her lip, fingers or anything else at her mouth are earlier hunger signs.

Another Booby Trap is other people wanting to feed baby. They have been conditioned by a society where formula is the norm, and that holding a bottle in a baby's mouth is a beautiful thing. They might suggest pumping, or giving "just 1 bottle". That's a slippery slope as it messes with your supply. It doesnt really "give you a break" when you give pumped bottles because you will likely have to pump twice as long as the baby would nurse. Other people's desires are not more important than your baby's needs. They can snuggle, change diapers, do laundry, bring you the baby, talk or read stories to baby while you nurse and not, bring you food and drink, there are lots of non-feeding ways to help out and to bond. If you experience supply issues for one reason or another, there are herbs and foods you can take to boost supply, there are medications that help also. My new treat is Lactation cookies, they have multiple milk boosting ingredients, and are good for you too!.

Something that has really helped our breastfeeding relationship is cosleeping. This isnt right for everyone, and there are differnt options for different situations. At first I didn't intend on having her in our bed with us, but instead had a bassinet next to my side of the bed, but after having my daughter I learned it was much easier to have her sleep with me. It just felt right to hold her. My husband was concerned with safety, as co-sleeping has gotten negative publicity. It felt right, and safe to me though, so I researched and less than 2% of infant sleeping deaths occur while in a parents' bed. (the rest of them are in cribs and bassinets etc) The info about the danger is usually published by consumer agencies who want you to spend $ on cribs and bassinets! If you're more comfortable, put a bassinet or crib with the side down right next to your bed so you don't have to get up.
My daughter and I get plenty of sleep, she barely wakes up when she needs fed, just squirms and grumbles a bit, I pull out my breast, adjust if necessary and she can eat, often times, we both fall right back to sleep. If she were in a crib in another room or even across the room shed have to fuss quite a bit to wake me up, I'd have to get outta bed, go get her, stay awake while nursing and put her back to bed, then go to my own bed and settle back down. I am a much better mom because I get plenty of sleep, she is very secure and rarely cries.

You will likely get lots of coupons, literature and free samples of formula, before you even have your baby, toss the junk mail in the recycling, and donate formula to a women's shelter or food bank, you won't need it. (if you end up really needing it, you can get a new can, or get WIC. If you get bottles, binkies, formula portioning cups, or anything for bottle feeding at your baby shower, return/exchange them for nursing bras, easy access shirts, bra pads or anything else your baby needs.

You may hear about mastitis or thrush, they are infections that sometimes happen to breastfeeding moms/babies it's nothing to stress over, it doesn't happen as often as you hear about because women who don't get sick don't post questions or complaints about being perfectly healthy. The worry about you getting sick is not reason to not breastfeed because the antibodies only found in breastmilk keep your baby healthy.

About binkies. You might hear that breastfed babies should have a binky because they like to suck for comfort. Yes, the motion of sucking does comfort many babies, not just breastfed babies. At first though, your baby should suckle on you, it is ok, and good for both of you for you to be "a human pacifier" (kind of a backwards phrase really, since breasts came first. it should be the NUK is a "plastic nipple"). Or you may hear that binkies help with their ability to suck, this is only the case of preemie babies. Babies dont only suck, they use their tongue to rub the milk out, sucking is secondary. Giving a binky too soon could mess with your baby's latch and with supply. All of the comfort sucking tells your breasts to make more milk, a very good thing. I didn't want to give my daughter a binky but she was one of those babies who really NEEDS to suck for comfort. She would get frustrated when she would get milk when she wasn't hungry. At 1 month old, we gave her a binky. We didn't have any supply issues so we weren't too concerned, I try to offer my breast whenever possible, until she gets frustrated. Some moms chose a binky because they need to have a break from the baby, and want others to be able to help the baby sooth/fall asleep. This can help save your sanity and help you continues breastfeeding through rough times, like colic or teething. As with anything, get to know your situation before deciding for or against something.

"Is is painful?" No, not in relation to anything else in life. At first, as you are both learning, you might have some nipple pain, this means that something isnt right, this is why seeing a Lactation Consultant is a really good idea. If your tooth hurt, you would see a dentist, if your heart hurt, you would see a cardiologist, etc. Breastfeeding is natural, but so is walking and that usually takes practice and guidance. Grinning and bearing it wont do anyone any good, if the baby's latch isnt right, they may not get enough  milk, or they may swallow air, causing gas & gas pain. Books, classes, youtube videos and blogs can give you images and information on how a correct latch would look, but a lactation consultant can give you one on one help. It is normal and good for you to cramp, like period cramps, for about a week while nursing sometimes. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which is the same hormone that triggers contractions in labor, after birth, the cramping is your uterus retracting back to prepregnancy size, this is important because it slows bleeding and helps with recovery. Another thing that might hurt a bit, is "let down" babies nurse fast and hard at first when they latch, this gets the milk flowing, then they slow down when the milk is flowing and have long even draws of milk. You might feel a cramp in your breast, for me, it was the opposite breast, while nursing, it lasts maybe 10 seconds and is no big deal, it just reminded me to make sure that I had a bra pad or wash cloth to absorb leaks. I would occassionally remind myself that this 10 seconds occassionally is much better than washing and sanitizing bottles! Do not worry if you dont feel "let down" some moms don't, that doesnt mean you dont have milk flowing.

Engorgement can hurt too, when your milk "comes in" a few days after birth, your breasts can be very full, this can hurt, it can also be harder for the baby to latch on, imagine latching on to a basket ball. It is not a good idea to pump, pumping + feeding will tell your body to make more milk causing even more supply. The exception is if you are going to have to pump for work shortly after birth, then pump and store the milk in the freezer. To alleviate the engorgement, hand express just enough to soften and then let the baby do the rest, I had to hold my breast into a smaller shape near the nipple so she could get a good latch, it gets better, and not nursing, it would be much worse.

I am not a doctor, I am not a lactation consultant (yet), this was not inteded to be the only place you find information, just a introduction letter. Breastfeeding, for me has been one of the most empowering choices and enjoyable times I have with my daughter. No mom ever regretted breastfeeding, yet many many moms regret NOT breastfeeding, or weaning before time. You CAN breastfeed.

If thinking of nursing your baby full term overwhelms you, check out this article If You Nurse Your Baby
If you love Facebook, find!/TheLeakyBoobthere are tons of great moms available for quick questions, deep support or just a high five.
If you think formula is just as good as breastmilk, read this article.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why I suggest nursing discreetly.

I have a common goal with Admin of the Facebook page Breastfeeding Basics and creator of Anne Smith IBCLC to normalize breastfeeding. She recently posted requesting that moms nurse discreetly. Not what you would expect from an LC passionate about breastfeeding. She was inspired to make the request after reading a slew of negative comments following a news story about a mom nursing in public. I will not repeat those comments as that would be counter productive to my goal. She made a great point and I agree. People have some strong, disgusting, twisted views on breastfeeding, and they arent afraid to try to pass those views onto others. Many people are just embarrassed, not hateful or angry, and rightfully so thanks to the oversexualization of breasts nowadays.

Nursing discreetly helps to normalize breastfeeding in a slow, gentle way. "we don't need to give these people any more fodder to feed on."

I agree completely. I have gone back and forth with using a cover, not for my own comfort, but because I had this thought awhile back. I don't want to be fuel in a negative firestorm.

I have seen moms say, "do what you and you're baby are comfortable with." Problem with that is, I'm not very modest at all and am rarely uncomfortable while exposed (breastfeeding or not), I'm just a laid back and comfortable in my naked skin. That's not however, the impression I want to give while breastfeeding. If not caring how much skin I show, or the occasional 1.2 millisecond nipple flash would normalize breastfeeding, then I would go about my business. However, society won't change it's collective mind about BFing as long as they have fuel for negative thoughts, comments and examples all the time.

(that stupid drunk driver BFing mom spraying the cop with milk has gotten much more publicity than the military mom who pumps milk to send home from Afghanistan.)

What society needs is to see happy breastfed babies, hear stories of how well breastfeeding has helped a premie, hear that well educated, strong parents breastfeed full term. They need to see moms breastfeeding, but in a so-called respectful way (it's society that thinks NIP uncovered is disrespectful, not me). Moms to be, and new moms, need to see only positive publicity surrounding breastfeeding, not how a woman feeding her child was harassed. They need to see and hear about breastfeeding more often than they see formula or bottles. Teenage girls need to see how much easier it is, and happier mom and baby are, not that they cannot go anywhere out of fear of offending someone, or being embarrassed.
I see many variations of the comment "it's just a boob, that is what it was put there for" frequently, or, "they're for feeding babies, not sexual fantasies" biologically, naturally speaking, this is very true. Society however won't stop seeing breasts in a sexual light. No matter now many moms nurse, that fact won't change. Seeing breast skin, areola, and nipple in a feeding context won't change the deeply ingrained fact that breasts are sexual part of the body. We can only help to separate the feeding breast from the sexual breast by normalizing breastfeeding and complying with society's desire to not see much skin.
We cannot change the minds of wacked out twisted sickos out there, but we can blanket breastfeeding in a positive, beautiful light. Hopefully washing out the negativity with the positive.

I am by no means suggesting we move to the bathroom, or stay home for 2-7 years if we nurse full term. I'm agreeing with Anne, do what you can, within reason, to show that breastfeeding is normal, and that breastfeeding moms cannot be compared to sluts at mardi gras.

She gave some examples on how to nurse discreetly. I give similar tips often on Internet support group pages often. Chose location wisely, a table, bench, shady tree, etc with low traffic flow, or that gives the least amount of people a direct viewing angle. Use the excuse "in case the baby fusses" when asking for restaurant seating off to the corner. You can use a super lightweight silky scarf to cover just a bit. Or turn away or cover only while latching. Lift your shirt to gain access from the bottom rather than the top, or layer a bottom-access blouse with a top access tank, so belly/side skin aren't exposed.

I don't intend on hiding, I enjoy knowing that when feeding my babe in public, others will see that it is normal, accepted, and no big deal. I will however try to see things from their point of view, they see probably, an uncountable number of sexual breast references for every 1 feeding reference. I can't blame people for being shy, or ill-informed. Embarrassing them, or giving them gossip for later won't do the cause any good.

I haven't forgotten about the Craft Room Overhaul

I just, you know, had a baby n stuff. And by "n stuff, I literally mean stuff, that darn room has been a nasty catch all.

I've worked in there a few times since I last posted, but I was mainly just keeping afloat in there.

Recently, my in-laws have decided to apply for a new kind of home loan to lower interest rates. Part if the process is an appraisal. So for the last few days and next week or so, we are working hard to clean up.

I'm very happy to have the motivation, and happy the rest of my family does to, as my craft room isn't the only hot mess on the propert we share with the business and my in-laws.

I didnt take a recent before pic, but it's about the same as before, perhaps just a little different, same amount of stuff, just as disorganized.

Here are some current (still in progress) pics:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ive Missed You Blog

I have been blogging for Ellie a few days a week, and I had been blogging my dieting (although fell off the wagon recently) but I have ignored this blog since Ellie was born. I want to get back into organizing our home, working on projects and sharing my house life. I find that I put off doing a project until minimum cleaning is done, and its a bore to blog about. I havent gotten to many projects around the house. We have a busy summer and I know Ive gotta stay on top of the cleaning to prevent chaos. We just got home from camping and I am motivated to get back on track!
Im getting up from the computer now, gonna go switch the laundry and then clean the kitchen!

Friday, June 3, 2011

quick 34 min cleaning session

I was sitting on the couch on motheringdotcom and saw a forum about quick 10-15 minute clean ups, Ellie was in a good mood, so I put her in her Bumbo (best invention ever btw) and got to work, I was able to work for 34 minutes before she was done watching me.

the bathroom:

I hung the baby bath tub behind the door, where it is usually, the mesh insert has a little loop and it had been peed on, and wasnt back together after being cleaned. We dont actually use the tub for bathing, because she prefers to shower with us, but we lay her in it while we wash up, then reach out of the shower to get her, then put her back in it after we wash her up, she is usually quite content to lay in it all bundled in a towel while I dry off and stuff.

the plastic container box on the counter is for all the extra toothpastes and toothbrushes, i put a lable on it finally and put it in the bathroom cabinet.

The kitchen:

yes that is a toilet seat on my kitchen counter, that counter just attracts stuff like crazy! (its a new one, that has a toddler insert, better than an removable ring thingy) not even a year ago there was a toilet on that counter!
(during construction, 8/12/2010)

You can see that I decluttered the fridge again.

Ellie was done watching mommy clean house, and hungry so i fed her and put her down for a nap, had some lunch and now im going to tackle the rest of the house! except the office, that aint happening.

more updates to come, hopefully!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The organizing returns! Ellie's Book Case

I have been away from organizing for a while. I have been blogging occasionally on my weight loss blog and my blog for Ellie, but I missed the household stuff blogging. Here is a quick organization that I did in like half an hour.

My hubby brought some children's books he had collected over the years up from storage. And put them on

And they stayed there for like a week.

After contemplating putting them in the craft room/office, I decided if we wanted access to them, I'd better not.
I had considered moving the video game stuff on this book case:

(You can see the organization inside those boxes here)
into the drawer under the tv, (currently just a bunch of junk)

The boxes they were in looked nice on the shelf, it seemed like a shame to put them in a drawer, I decided though, that I needed to get the books off my counter, and under the TV was a logical place for the games and accesories.
I emptied the drawer, the junk was relocated (mostly to the junk drawer below it)

and put the play station and Wii stuff in the drawer,

and because they fit and needed a new home, Ellie's baby DVDs.

The books moved to the newfound space on the book shelf. Also I found that wooden picture frame on the shelf from our wedding (in October) and put a picture in it (was also on that shelf)

and my counter was clean! (for the time being anyway)

some other books moved off of a dresser in the bedroom to this shelf too, opening up space for some items that had been just floating.

I have missed blogging and have been working in the craft room, but havent been taking pics (bad blogger! shame on me!) but I intend on posting some updated pics soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Other Blog

When I started blogging I decided to have a separate blog for my weight loss journey, to chronicle my days, and give myself something to look back when I get to my goal. Hopefully it can be inspirational to others also.

I don't have any followers though, so no one to cheer me on, give me tips or just hear what I say. So, if you're interested check out

If you're dieting, and want a virtual diet buddy, let me know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cloth Diapering

a couple years ago i learned that cloth diapering nowadays is not like i remember when my kid brother (who now is expecting his 2nd child) was in them and i would occasionnaly change him 20 years ago.

image credit

I decided I would cloth diaper my babies, for 3 reasons, to lower our impact on the earth that my babies would be residing in for the better part of a century, reduce the amount of chemicals touching their tushies and I would rather save money for braces or college or a beach house. cost comparison article

I decided to blog about cloth diapering because i dont tend to blog about being green or being frugal, even though i try to be both.

I was very overwhelmed when i began researching cloth diapering i read a bunch of cloth diapering 101 type blog posts and articles like this one . There are bunches of well written articles to help new cloth mamas like this one, so Im not going to try to write a how-to on cloth diapering, im just going to chronicle my adventures.

Although I got a decent idea about what is available and what i wanted, I still had a hard time committing to one kind. My mother-in-law offered to pay for cloth diapering service for a couple months, i decided to look at what kinds of diapers they use so that if i decide to contine cloth diapering, doing my own laundry, id already know what i was doing and would have the supplies needed. Turns out the diaper service provides prefolds and sells covers

(an alternative to oldschool rubber pants) and snappis(alternative to safety pins)
image credit

through their website so thats where i started making decisions.

I googled cloth diaper cover reviews and found this site.

I contacted the diaper service to start delivery and they informed me they dont service outside city limits where we live. I was ok with this because from the beginning I thought that paying for the service might counter the cost saving aspect of cloth diapering but my mother in law had insisted, and diaper service was just about the same price as the chlorine free disposable diapers that I wanted if i had to go with 'sposies. My mother-in-law offered to pay for the starter diapers that we needed instead of the service, this is the best gift ever, like offering to buy diapers for the next year. We had bought a couple packages of prefolds on sale, buy one get one half off from toys r us with a 10% off everything coupon. I was going to order from the diaper service company, but I found Little For Now because I needed a diaper pail liner also. They offered a $10 off $50 purchase coupon for signing up for their newsletter so I looked at the diaper covers, they were comprable priced to the diaper service but they had some decent packages. We ordered 2 packages, a starter package and a big package we also bought a pail liner and a huge box of detergent.

Im really excited to get the diapers in the mail and start cloth diapering. I primed the prefolds we got at toys r us. and set up space for the cloth diapers on the changing table shelves.

{since starting this post, we have received the diapers and been using them for about a week.}

The cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposables, just tiny extra steps of lining the diaper up inside the cover and checking to make sure its not poking out along the leg holes or the back and its all done. I dont use the Snappi, its not nessesary with the covers, I got one, with the starter package, and can use it if i feel the need, like in the summer if i want her to go without her cover outside or something.

Washing the extra few loads of laundry isnt a big deal, its just part of being Ellie's mom. I read lots of information on washing diapers, most people wash them seperate from other laundry, for obvious reasons, I wash the diapers often and we have a decent sized washer, so I wanted a way to conserve water other than waiting a week to wash. So I do an express wash (without soap or spin) of just the diapers then add the rest of her clothes and do a regular wash with extra rinse. I have noticed that the poopy leg gussets of the Thirsties arent getting cleaned in the regular wash with the small amount of Country Save detergent, so last time, I pulled the stained cover out after the express wash, rubbed a bit of Oxyclean on the spot, threw it back in with the regular clothes and the stain came out just fine. I dont have to handle the poopy diaper by waiting until after the express wash to address the spot.

Prefolds go in the dryer (on sunny days, I will hang dry the diapers) covers are air dried.

I found a good deal on a bunch of OS (one sized) pocket diapers.

Mikey finds them easier to use because i pre-stuff the pockets. I have noticed that Ellie doesnt ask for her diaper to be changed when wearing the pocket diaper because of the stay dry liner that seperates the soaked diaper from her bum. This will be nice for longer timeframes between changes. I will still default to use the prefolds with the covers most of the time, because the entire pocket diapers need to be washed after each use, while i can re-use the Thirsties covers and just change the prefold each time, until she poops (which usually gets on the cover).

A new benefit of cloth diapering has came up since starting.
Ellie asks for her diaper to be changed. She rarely did that before, with 'sposies. I like this because I believe it will help with trust building, just like her fussing when she is hungry tells me to feed her, feeding her lets her know Im taking care of her needs. Her Daddy can give her something she needs and asks for now. Also, I like that Im reminded when she needs a diaper change.

If you have any questions about cloth diapering, let me know, im not an expert, but ive done tons of research.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best Valentine's Day Ever

I miss blogging. But without thinking about it, I took a maternity leave from it to adjust to motherhood. It occurred to me that life, home, hobbies, etc dont pause whenever convenient. Our lives have been nonstop since, well always. I will be getting back into the swing of things. There are a couple awesome challenges going on currently that I wanna jump in on. Although I haven't been blogging, I've been reading blogs thanks to google reader on my phone.

At the end of January, my father-in-law Mike went into the emergency room with shortness of breath and back pain. A week later he ended up getting triple bypass surgery. We asked Ellie to wait to be born until after her grandpa was home recovering, at least. He was released to a skilled nursing/rehab place Saturday night, the 12th. The place was a wreck and he refused to even stay the night. (they had him checked in under his brothers name, didn't have his meds, still hadn't made his bed 4 hours after he arrived and the nursing staff wad fighting with management.) So even though he still had a hard recovery road ahead of him and our baby was due anytime, he came home. My mother in law Connie was able to take a bunch of time off work and my husband works from home and I'm not working so we knew we could handle him.

As requested, Ellie waited until her grandpa was home, we didn't need family in 2 hospitals in 2 towns. We spent Sunday the 13th of february with Mike down at the house (we live on the same property) Mikey had gone up to work in the shop when at 11:20 pm I decided to go home. I stood up and my water broke!
Connie called Mikey as I waddled to the bathroom to get a towel. He came down to walk me up to the loft. We finished packing and drove to the hospital.

I had always known I would strive for a natural birth. The documentary The Business of Being Born only solidified my views on birth. We read bunches of books and planned out how I thought I wanted things to go. We kept an open mind about everything since "life is what happens when your busy making other plans" we learned different laboring positions, relaxation techniques, and breathing excersises at childbirth class.
We packed all kinds of distractions and massage tools.

I hadn't had any contractions until we had gotten in the car and they were 3 minutes apart. They were consistent as we got checked in and settled into our labor and delivery room.

I had planned to stay up and moving around to help ease pain/ distract myself and help things moving thanks to gravity. On our way in it occurred to me that it was late, I was going to go up to bed before my water broke. I was concerned that I would get tired out so I decided to start off resting between contractions before they got too bad. Things became a blur soon after we were settled. Magically I was able to actually sleep, unmedicated between many of the contractions. I spent a lot of time in the jacuzzi it was the most helpful. I also enjoyed kneeling on the couch/bed under the window, looking out at Mill Creek in the night time. We didn't use any of the distractions or massage aides we'd brought.

My midwife arrived and we decided to not bother checking my cervix until we thought I was much closer, based on pain and pressure changes.

At one point I felt strong urges to push and it felt like the contractions jumped up a few notches. The midwife checked me and I was 8cm. I'm not sure how much time passed, less than 45 minutes I think, I stayed in bed so the nurse could monitor Ellie's heartrate. She got concerned and put me on oxygen. The midwife checked me and said I was ready to start pushing, less than 7 hours from my water breaking. I couldn't believe it had been 7 hours it didn't feel like it had been that long. I was thrilled though. I was worried about a long drawn out exhausting 19 hour labor. I started pushing. About 5 or 6 contractions later I had my daughter on my chest!

I had read about delaying cord clamping and the midwife showed Mikey how to feel for blood pumping through the cord and when it had finished, she clamped it and he cut the cord. There is no medical reason for the cord to be clamped immediately it just became part of standard procedure for most OBs as they rush through the after birth stuff. Studies found that delaying clamping the cord can prevent anemia for up to 6 months.

We had thought it would be neat for Mikey to catch Ellie but she was so quick, and our midwife had to do a quick somersault with Ellie to get her cord untwisted.

We cried. She was all wiped off and started breastfeeding right away. We snuggled and rested and gazed and loved eachother for a couple hours before we were moved up to the mother/baby room. We got settled and nursed a bit more and napped.

We were so proud to have gone all natural and I'm sure our birth wad so perfect because we allowed my body to do all the work, uninterrupted.

She and I got pretty good at breastfeeding, had a little. Problem with latch on one side but we stuck it out. 5 days later we met with a lactation nurse at our pediatrician office to get some tips and have her weight checked. She wasn't concerned with our progress so far and eased some concerns we had. A few days later we had another appointment and the lactation nurse decided we didn't need her, we were old pros by that point.

At her 2 week check up, she had gained a pound and 1 3/4 inches.

Miss Ellie is 5 weeks yesterday. I still get lost in her face at times.

We have had some rough nights with her colic but were learning and adjusting. We tried mylicon drops, they didn't help at all. I'm currently avoiding dairy to see if that is bothering her.
We are going to start cloth diapering soon. I ordered some diapers today finally. I'll be blogging about that I'm sure.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

6 credit cards down, 4 to go!

i know i havent posted in a while... i had a baby! more on that later
i have only turned on my computer 2 times in the last 18 days... to pay bills. Im proud to say ive just paid off the 6th credit card this year! I will be losing my unemployment income so my husband and i set out to lower our monthly minimum bills for when that happened. I listed out all of my credit cards and found out their interest rates and promotional periods and made a plan using the rest of my unemployment income and part of hubby's salary to get the cards paid off using a modified snowball plan. We had a couple promotional balances on our Home Depot card from constructing the loft. That was the first to be paid, even though it wasnt the he lowest balance because we wanted to avoid interest that was set to hit soon. Then we focused on the lowest balance cards next with the exception of another card with promotional period ending in july. each month i poured as much of our budget as possible to the debt and now i am down to 4 big cards, Best Buy is set to be paid before it's promo period is up next year.

the idea behind the snowball is that as a debt is paid off the money in the budget that was being used to pay that minimum can be allocated to the next debt.

in january, I looked at my expected income for the next few months and outlined how much $ would be paid to each debt each week. I kept in mind misc $ for whatever wasnt in the budget.

anyway... baby needs me be back later!

today, 3/23/11 I paid off yet another card. I was excited to see that the final balace was smaller than i had calculated so i was able to swing it with this paycheck!
I only get 1 more unemployment check next week, so my debt snowball pay off is going to slow down but now that we have cut back how many minimums we have overall, we have freed up some money to really make headway on the final cards.

Friday, February 4, 2011

so much to do so little time, to blog.

life has been kinda hectic lately. Months ago, we decided that aside from Super Bowl and Daytona 500 we wouldnt plan ANYTHING for the last month of the pregnancy. But as John Lennon tried to tell us, life is what happens when youre busy making other plans.

What has kept me so busy?

Saturday I threw a surprise Grandma Shower for my mother-in-law since Ellie will be her first grandbaby. It was a huge success. Grandma Connie was very surprised. We played some fun games and had some yummy snacks. Guests showered her with attention, celebration and love, oh and some gifts too. We were concerned with the guest of honor's ability to attend though, when the grandpa-to-be went into the hospital the night before. But my husband came to the rescue and convinced her that she didnt need to sit by grandpa's side for a few hours, she thought that the shower was a regular baby shower for me, and that id understand if she missed it or was late. She was very surprised and tickled pink at the idea that the party was for HER.

My father-in-law Mike has had issues with his health for a long time now. Never had a heart attack though, an arrhythmia, a stroke, half his foot amputated due to diabetes, got over pneumonia and strep/sepsis last November. He had some trouble breathing and back pain on Friday night the 28th and went in to get checked out. The DRs thought he was either at the beginning of a big heart attack or that he had already had several small ones. He was at the hospital in town for a couple days, had an issue with his medications and the doctor decided he probably needed an angiogram. There had been talk about a pacemaker or defibrillator at his doctor appointment about a week before all this happened. His insurance wanted him transfered to their medical center about an hour away. After the transfer he was doing well, just going through more testing. Then one of the medicines needed for some of the testing was caught in a blizzard back east, so they decided to do the angieogram instead. That happened yesterday early afternoon. The cardiologist says he has several extremely blocked pathways in his heart. one about 80% blocked another about 90% and another completely blocked. There was some concern that a big chunk of his heart was dead though and that was not the case, so it was actually one of those the good news is bad news kinda things. Coincidentally, the cardiologists meet weekly, on Thursday afternoons, about an hour after the angiogram was complete, so his Dr took his case to the conference to discuss his treatment plan. It was decided to do bypass surgery. Up to 5 ways. That will probably happen on Monday.

So Friday was getting ready for the Grandma Shower, then dog sat Annie since Connie and Big Mike were at the hospital. Its usually a chore to dog-sit her because she doesn't like when mom and dad aren't home, and its more work to let her out to pee, because our yard isn't fenced and we don't have a dog line set up like they do at their house, so we have to walk her out each time, and it has been sooo cold here lately, no snow thank goodness, just cold.

Saturday was the grandma shower and after we visited at the hospital.

Sunday was my actual baby shower. That day was beautiful, cold, but the sun was shining and I was in a great mood. This is what I saw when I went to let Annie out:

This is the view from our deck, yes we still have Christmas lights up, but to our defense, they've been there since the wedding, in October. Not sure how that is a defense....

Anyway, Annie and I enjoyed a lovely walk around the property enjoying the sunshine and encouraging Ellie to get off my hip so I could ride comfortably into town for my shower. The walk worked and Mikey's Aunt and Grandma picked me up for my shower.

My Shower was lovely, lots of guests were very generous. Had a really great time. Instead of regular snacks or a cake, we had ice cream sundaes, so yummy. The games were fun, the people were happy, the kids were well behaved. After the shower Connie and I went in to see Mike at the hospital.

Monday was spent recovering from the long weekend, I was so drained. After going to visit Mike in the morning, he was going to be transferred to the medical center in Portland an hour away, we went home and I napped. My amazing husband kept laundry going all day. Lately I have just been doing laundry on Sundays, during the football games that I don't care about, but didn't have time or energy to that weekend. After my naps, we went to get pizza and watched a few old school Disney movies. A much needed break from the busy weekend.

Tuesday, we spent the day in Portland with my sister, we needed to go to the Baby's R Us up in Portland to get a bassinet mattress and a few other things for Ellie, needed to get my birth certificate replaced (mine is in that darn file box, someplace within about 400 cubic feet of storage, replacing it was faster and easier, and I need it to change my name now that were married) and wanted to spend time with Mike.

Wednesday we had errands to run and a midwife appointment and I was feeling pretty icky all day, crampy achy, nauseous and light headed. We came home instead of finishing our errands we came home to rest. Stephen Kings The Langoliers helped me take a nap and I was feeling much better, still achy but a bubble bath helped that.

Yesterday we found out about the angiogram, so we went right up to the hospital in Portland instead of doing the rest of the errands we skipped Wednesday. Most of the day was spent waiting. After the angiogram, Mike had to lay flat for like 6 hours and rest, so we went and did some shopping and had dinner at Gustav's a really awesome German restaurant, it was happy hour and we got some great food at like half price. Win-win, then back to the hospital to visit with Mike. Eventually, he was able to get up, so we brought Annie in from the van and she loved visiting with her "daddy". A long drive home and I was spent, crampy and achy again. Laid down in bed, and despite the bathroom trips I haven't gotten up since. Mikey was really awesome, took care of me, got me a snack, water and then snuggled and rubbed me to make me feel better.

This morning, I decided not to do ANYTHING for a few hours, Ive been missing my blog and wasn't ready to get up yet. I decided I wasn't doing ANYTHING for 2 hours.

Mikey left to go pick up some buddies of his to help get the shop set up for a UFC showing tomorrow night, and Super Bowl on Sunday. People would understand if we decided to cancel either party, but Mike loves throwing the parties so much, he wouldn't let us, it was important to him, especially the Super Bowl. Even though he wont be there, to show both on our big screen so people have a fun place to enjoy them. Our "big screen" is estimated to be about 24' x 18 or 20 '. FEET. its nuts. The building we live in is half open space and half our apartment, business office and business storage. The open shop half has a balcony/mezzanine with couches, end tables and a counter, and a projector and sound system. Here is a pic of the balcony: The open part holds old couches, end tables, buffet tables, stack chairs, and a VW Bug.

This picture kinda gives you an idea of the space. Normally the couches face the screen, in theater rows, this was Christmas, we moved the couches in a big circle around the tree. They were moved forward facing again for the BCS football game, then back in a semi-circle in the corner for the Grandma Shower. Enter the buddies, they will get the couches forward facing again, set up more buffet tables for food (last year Super Bowl we had, i think, 8 buffet tables of potluck party food for over 100 people)

Here is a bad picture of the screen: (note the VW bug "Herbie" in the pic above and below for reference points)

That was a UFC fight months ago. We show the UFC fights about 1x a month.

Aside from moving couches, tables and chairs around, I also need to get our apartment cleaned up. People dont spend much time in the aparmtne when we throw parties downstairs, but people do help me carry food down and some Super Bowl guests still havent seen the loft finished, and Id like it to be presentable, I could totally use the "sorry my house is a wreck, life has been hectic, dad's in the hospital, Im pregnant, have been dog sitting" excuse and Im sure people would be fine with that, the loft isnt THAT bad. But Miss Ellie can come any time, and Id like to NOT have the loft get bad.

In about an hour, Im going to get outta bed and clean, make a grocery list for UFC and Super Bowl food. I also need to make space in the loft for Ellie's new dresser, because the buddies will be carrying it up today when theyre done with the couches.

Although I have been doing my daily small things, I have NOT done the home management binder (but I want to) or ANYTHING with photos.

when (or IF) i get some time, I will. The great thing about enjoying organization, is that it counts for "me" time and I can justify taking the time to do it, because "me" time makes me a better mom and wife.