Friday, September 27, 2013

The Trouble with Baby Books

Meara's birth announcement, printed through (and I still have a few that haven't gotten to their recipient yet, oops)

Well, normally today I would be posting a Photo Friday but I haven't taken a photo in 2 weeks. It seems that now that school is in there aren't as many photo ops for the boys (they seem to be sleeping over with Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents every weekend) so most likely Meara is going to continue dominating the Photo Friday posts for a while. Since I don't have photos to post for you today I have decided to write about a related topic instead, the Baby Book.
We all start our children's baby books with the greatest of intentions, but I think most of us seem to peter out somewhere along the way, and we end up with incomplete books, half the milestones recorded, and lots of blank pages. Oops.
Joseph's baby book is a little sparse, it starts out good, but somewhere around month 8 it just stops. When I had Greg, I swore to myself I would do better, My sister in-law had given me a calendar to record his milestones and I thought that would help with the completion of a baby book, but nope, again, towards the end of Greg's first year, the pages are again blank. I had to come up with something different for Meara. No more browsing and searching for the perfect book, and not completing it. I am doing this one right (so far anyhow).
Enter, I am doing it online, and creating my own entirely unique book just for Meara. There are definitely a few positives to this approach:

  • The baby book only contains the info I want it to
  • It will not have any blank pages
  • If the original is ever lost or destroyed I can order a new copy
  • It is easily edited and tailored

This seems to be the ideal approach for me, I scribble on our calendar little notes about her weight and milestones as they happen, and every month I sign in and add the new info and write a little note to her about how she has grown for that month. If I want to add more info it is easy enough for me to go back and do so, and it will always look neat and tidy. I am going to leave a blank page to glue an envelop to for a few keepsakes, and take photo's and scans of some of the other keepsakes so that it is all incorporated into her book. I have all the cards from the shower and the hospital to possibly scan and turn into a collage for the book too.
I am loving this idea so much that when I am done I may just redo the boys baby books for them too.
I chose to use Snapfish for this project partly because I have been using Snapfish for years, and partly because they still seem to be the most versatile yet affordable photo printing site. They do have a Canadian version of their site, but I prefer the American site, the shipping is higher but the options are greater.
How do/did you handle keeping your baby book(s) up?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Baby Feeding Ideas

I do believe I promised a baby food recipe not too long ago and I had intended to share a baby cookie recipe with you. Unfortunately I don't yet have the recipe quite right so I don't want to share it until I have worked it out. Baby cookies are a little tricky, getting one that doesn't crumble too much, or break off into large pieces so that your baby isn't at risk of choking. So instead of cookie recipes I am going to share a few clever tricks I have for feeding your baby homemade food at every feeding.
Meara has been eating solids for around a month now and I still haven't cracked open a jar of store bought food. In fact the only thing that she eats that is store bought is her Baby MumMum cookies, and her cereal. I haven't really had to put much effort into this either, it has been ridiculously easy. And I am not entirely against jarred baby foods, in fact I think if we all started eating that way we'd be a lot healthier. Baby food is probably one of the few times you will not see unpronounceable words in the ingredient list. The jarred carrots that I do have from Heinz (I have these from the baby shower memory game) only list Carrots and water on the label, nothing scary, so why should I put all that extra effort into making my own baby food? Because I can, because for the price of 2 cans of carrots I could make 12, because I know how fresh it is, because I can control the whole process and that is just a few reasons.
Would you like to know how I make feeding only home made food so easy? I have picked up a few tricks and came up with one that I think is quite ingenious.
So here are my tips for feeding your baby homemade food right from the start with out any hassle.

  1. Feed your baby what you are eating whenever possible. Having peas as a side dish, puree some for baby. You should try to separate your babies foods before seasoning. This is the easiest way to feed your little one and as the teeth come in and your little ones tastes expand you can offer up the full meal, spaghetti and meatballs, roast beef with potatoes, carrots and gravy, burritos, there are so many possibilities.
  2. Spend an afternoon making simple purees and freeze them. Applesauce is easy, just peel, core, slice and put in a pot with some water and cook till you can mash them into a smooth sauce. You can put your sauce through a sieve or the food processor to ensure it is good and smooth but that isn't necessary. Having a stash of purees in the freezer ready to go will make meal time a snap for those days when your dinner isn't so appropriate for baby.
  3. This is my ingenious tip (at least I think it is) for freezing that baby food. Dixie Cups! When I went to freeze my batches of baby food purees I realized that the ice cube trays just weren't going to cut it, I had too much food, and then getting them out after was a real pain in the what now . So I spooned all my purees into Dixie cups (left over from summer Popsicle making with the boys) put them all on a baking sheet and froze them. After a few hours, when they were fully frozen I placed them in large freezer bags that I labeled with the contents and date made. But this idea gets even better, these are very easy to transport, when I went for dinner at my dads, I folded the top down, and popped the frozen puree into a small wet bag (not used for diapers, don't worry) with a bib and spoon. Voila, dinner! All you have to do now is tear off the paper and heat (I don't know how microwave safe the Dixie cups are as they do have a wax coating to make them waterproof).
  4. Make up small batches of quinoa flour and oat flour to add in place of rice cereal if you run out. Oat flower is just ground oats (my blender has a grinding attachment) and quinoa is toasted in a pan and then ground. Very easy to do, you could even add a little dried milk powder to these to up the nutrients (or just mix with a little formula, I use all those free samples, because I really hate breast pumps). 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Craft-tastic Tuesdays - Crib bedding Series 4 of 4 - Crib Sheet

This is the fourth post in the crib bedding series.

This is the finale here. I have finally completed my crib set and though I have a few small projects left on my list for Meara's room this is the end of the Crib Bedding Series. I hope that these posts might inspire a few nice bedding projects for you.
Because I happened across The Insecure Quilter's Piped Crib Sheet Tutorial which is exactly what I had in mind for this project, I would like to encourage you to read this tutorial as well before tackling this project. I took a lot of inspiration from Jamie's tutorial but there are a few small differences in the way our sheets were constructed, but our product is the same.
So with out any more of the blah blah, here we go!

1 1/2 yards prewashed cotton for top panel
1 1/2 yards prewashed cotton for side panels
6 yards of piping (I probably used less but this is what I had estimated for the project and feel free to make your own)
1 yard of 1/4" braided elastic (you can use your preference for elastic here, I just had this on hand from my diaper making)
Basic sewing notions

You may want to buy a larger cut for your fabrics because once mine had shrunk and I cut off the fringe from washing I had exactly the length I required. I was lucky it didn't shrink more than it had.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Craft-tastic Tuesday - Crib Bedding Series 3 of 4 - Crib Skirt Tutorial

I wanted an adjustable crib skirt, and for Meara's crib I only needed to cover the front. I had a lot of options  (pleats, ruffles.... etc.) but I decided to use this as an opportunity to practice some new skills and go with a more simple look.
I wanted one more chance to practice using piping before working on the sheet, so I decided to apply piping to the edges of my crib skirt. And since I thought using the mushroom fabric might make things too busy I decided to go with a solid purple to match the blanket and use the mushroom for an applique.
So with out any more chit chat, enjoy the tutorial.

2 Yards of solid cotton for front
2 yards of cotton to line the back
3-4 yards of  piping
2 pieces of medium weight fusible interfacing for each applique, at least one inch larger on all sides
Cotton Print fabric for applique
Snaps, Velcro, buttons, ribbon ties or what ever you plan to use to attach to your crib.
Basic sewing notions

I decided to go with a finished height of 21" (cut 22") and a finished width of 52" (cut 53"). I also used a 1/2" seam allowance for this project.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Photo Friday - Starting Kindergarten

So, this week Gregory got to meet his Kindergarten teacher, and he was dressed for the affair (although the photos were taken a few days earlier, because he left the hat at Auntie Nikki's last weekend.
Meara is really starting to love her solid foods (cloth diapering just got gross!). Later this week you can look forward to a baby cookie recipe, and the next installment in the crib bedding series, but for now, enjoy the photos of my kiddlets.

Looking like quite the gentleman, tipping his hat for the ladies.

She is growing so fast, six months next week. Makes me sad.

Joseph, doesn't ham it up for the camera like he used to so this week you get a best of collage.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Little Toilet Talk

Today is the first day of school. The kids are all excitedly returning to classes, meeting up with old friends, making new ones and I am preparing to foster a new relationship with new teachers. Having a child with a special need, no matter how small, requires good communication with his teachers.
A few years ago while my son (for his privacy, I am not attaching his name to this post) was in Kindergarten, I had to accept the reality that there was a reason I was still trying to potty train my 5 year old, and it wasn't him being stubborn. He was having accidents of the number 2 variety. I had searched online for answers and all I could find was other parents asking the same questions, nobody had answers. It was frustrating, it was lonely and it was embarrassing.
Well, I had to do something and I was certain it was just a behavior thing, so in my attempt to access mental health resources I spoke to a social worker and she told me, before you seek out mental health care you need to rule out physiological causes. Why had it not occurred to me before that there could be something wrong? So off to the family doctor we went, and then we waited impatiently for my referral to the pediatrician, Dr Adlam.
Taking my son to Dr. Adlam was eye opening for me, one of the first questions she asked was if he had been diagnosed for ADHD. He had seen a child psychologist through his preschool for a developmental screening, as he was in the supported development program as a result of a speech delay, and what the psychologists report had said was that my son had been right where he was supposed to be across the board with the exception of his attention span. Dr Adlam's question really wasn't a surprise, although this was another thing that hadn't really crossed my mind as a possibility. She asked me to give him a daily dose of LaxADay, to help get things moving.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Craft-tastic Tuesdays- Crib Bedding Series 2 of 4 - Minky Blanket

This is the second post in the Crib Bedding Series

Well, the first thing I did when my fabric arrived was start on this blanket and quite honestly, this was the one part of the project I was most scared of.
I started out thinking this was going to be easy. Then I read, and I read, and I read blog posts about how to sew minky blankets. Next thing you know, I didn't really want to make this anymore. The more you read about sewing minky, the more fear you will gain. This blanket was so ridiculously easy, I had to laugh at myself when I finished for ever having doubts.
Minky is not something to be scared of.
The advice I will give is to make friends with your pins and a basting glue stick (or spray, or tape). I had no trouble sewing and I didn't even use my walking foot (we aren't friends yet). My fabric didn't shift or bunch, and the basting worked so well that I figure I may not have even needed the pins (don't test it though).
So, without further ado, here comes the tutorial...

Materials Required for this project:
1 1/2 yards of 42" quilting cotton
1 yard of 60" wide Minky Fabric in a coordinating colour
Basting Glue Stick or similar product (optional)
Pins, thread, and basic sewing notions

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Monkey's Bum Grand Opening Giveaway!!!

So, I started my Etsy shop, the Monkey's Bum late in July and I have slowly but surely been plugging away at filling it with products. Now that I have been at it for a full month and I have got some product in my shop I decided it is time to really get the word out.
This is my grand opening, and what better way to start than with a giveaway.
This is a giveaway for a $20.00 store credit to my etsy shop, the Moneky's Bum.
Help me spread the word, and get my business running by entering my contest. Good luck!
But I am not done yet! For the extent of the giveaway you will also be able to use the coupon code GRANDOPENING for a 20% discount on a minimum $10.00 purchase.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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