Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Days... and the livin' is easy

We've been dashing off to the lakeshore every single day for the past week and a half and I've hardly had a moment to sit down and turn on the computer-- just the way summer should be! My little 7 a.m. risers are still in bed at five minutes to eleven! I think the midnight returns from the camp have finally caught up to them. Yet, we're off again today for another afternoon of visiting, sunshine-soaking, and maybe some swimming if the temps decide to go up a bit. So sad that my sister and her family must return home tomorrow! But, oh how we've enjoyed thier time here!

Hope you are enjoying summer as much as we are!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Swing sets, Sandboxes, & Stripped Pajamas

Right after settling L & J into bed tonight I donned a lovely pair of ultra-baggy (hey, it was a good lunch today) stripped pajamas. I came downstairs, really, truly meant to lock the door, and instead walked right into the living room to put my feet up. A few minutes later when I heard a vehicle running right outside the house I jumped up, scrambled to the window and peaked through the blinds to see someone there checking out the swing set that we parked on the curb for free.

Instantly, I had a vague recollection- something about my husband mentioning he hadn't put the bag of bolt-thing-a-ma-jiggers out there with it and me telling him he should have because anyone that took the time to stop and look at the thing was most definitely not going to take it f there was nothing to put it together with included. I was desperate to get rid of it (and I'm pretty sure my next-door neighbors were too) so not thinking I ran out into the backyard in my stocking feet on a frantic hunt for this supposed bag. Then I reasoned with myself that had it been left outside surely the 4 year old male in the house would've located it with his built in magnet for all things boy and it's contents would be long gone. I dashed back inside right in time to hear someone knock on the door. Uggh. oooohnoo.

Frantically I looked down at my pajamas as I stood glued to the kitchen floor. Now, one thing you must realize about my house- to get upstairs you must go past the front door. From the front door you can see into the entire living room. The only place in the downstairs (okay, besides the bathroom) that you can't see from the front door is the kitchen. (Yes, I counted- that's three things you must know.) Basically, there was no way I was going to get past the front door to dash up the stairs and change without this person seeing me.

So there I stood in my pajamas having a mental war for about 30 seconds- should I pretend I wasn't home? Should I put a bathrobe on? Okay, seriously- how was that going to be any better? But if I didn't answer the door- that would mean he probably wasn't going to take the set. I peaked around the corner and saw a man standing there. Way to lock the outside porch door there, brilliant.

At last, I did the only thing I could and marched into the living room and answered the door. Poor guy. I think he probably thought he got me out of bed cause he started to stammer, "Uh. The swing set. Um, is it free?"

And, because I was standing there in my pajamas in front of complete stranger I started to babble a stream of nervous nonsense... Oh, yeah! Yep. It's all there. Or wait. Was there some bolts out there? I think my husband said he needed to put them out there. I wonder if I could find them. If they're around here somewhere. Do you want to take it? I mean... If I find the bolts? I think there's some swings there- my kids mainly used the swings. Well, and the slide. And the teeter-totter, but that's a little rickety. Besides the rust the frame is good, though. Want me to look for those bolts? Man, I was as cool as a -cucumber.

I did, at that point shut him out in the porch while I ran to change. Then, I actually was able to locate the missing bag- bonus of all bonuses. I was even able to find one of the swings that wasn't there- apparently my kids had hauled it back into the backyard.

But, it wasn't until I went to give him the swing that I saw the girl in the cab of the truck- Hey! I said as she started to get out, Did you come to my garage sale last week over at my parent's house and buy a turtle sandbox that you never picked up? Yep. She had paid for the thing and forgotten to come back and get it. Quite the coincidence. So after they loaded up the swing set I sent her across town to my parent's house to get the sandbox.

Maybe I should have offered them the basketball net that's in the backyard too.

Note to self: lock the door, perhaps?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do you want to win this?

I know I do! Head on over to Post Road Vintage for your chance at winning this. I can just picture how great this would look on a kitchen wall. While you're there, check out all of Heather's other awesome creations and visit her etsy shop too! As she suggests, I think I will have to grab myself a cup of coffee and meander through her site for a bit!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fabricated Dreams

I'm having serious fabric cravings right now. My stash is weary. I keep unfolding the same stacks of material- splaying it over the table, turning it around, trying it with this piece then that. And then folding it up again and stuffing it back into the cabinet. Those pieces may very well have much life left in them but they're begging for some bright new friends to revive them. So, I've been virtual window shopping- adding all kinds of make-me-smile prints to my shopping cart and never making the actual committal by clicking the checkout button. We're kind of limited in this area when it comes to fabric shopping so online bargain hunting it is.

But, it's not the same. I need to touch the colors imagining how they might blend, hold the heavy bolts of fabric up and dreamily stare at them for awhile while visions of what they will be float before my eyes. I like to walk down the rows of rich reds and blues and polka-dotted greens lined shoulder to shoulder and breathe them in. And oh, how shopping online does no justice where all of that is concerned. A point and a click just don't quite have the same effect. The enlarge option is great but there's no life-size option. The online design walls are intelligent for examining coordinating patterns, but they lack the thrill of stacking three bolts haphazardly across each other and seeing a bag. Or a dress. Or a baby blanket.

I just navigated away from the shopping cart page once again. I don't like when I can't see it in real living color. Still. Fabric shopping is a high. Even if it is the virtual window shopping kind.

{On another note: not sure what happened to the pictures when I changed the layout of this blog, but for now it's not letting me fix them. We'll see if I can readjust them another day. Blogger can be temperamental like that.}

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Etsy Shop

Okay, my virtual shingle is hung- my Etsy shop is officially open. It's a bit sparse there at the moment, but I'm working on it. Sloowwwly. I have lots of great ideas just not great lots of time. Hopefully after the garage sale is through this week I can work on listing some more items. Here's a peak at what I have listed so far:

Not excited with the way blogger is working for loading pictures/links this evening but okay. I'll go with it, I guess.
Anyways. These boards are either 12x12 inches or 9x9 inches. It's a fun, simple way to display pictures- and so easy to change the pictures at any time.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I never claimed to be an expert

You know the month(s) before Christmas when you toss out random little threats to your kids in hopes of getting them to behave better? Like... You better quit fighting with your brother because Santa's elves are keeping tabs on you! Or... If you don't clean up every single one of these toys I'm calling up Mr. St. Nick myself and informing him you don't need anything else!!! You also know how those little reminders only work for so long before the kids a) figure out on their own Santa's going to deliver anyways or b) the older ones inform the younger ones that Mom's been threatening that for years and they have yet to see a completely dry Christmas?

Well that's this week in a different sort of way. I'm in the overwhelming midst of getting ready to put on a garage sale this weekend. Eh. Amongst the bags of outgrown clothing and boxes of random miscellaneous stuff I've lost my steam completely. Why did I sign up for this again?

But one thing I do, uh.. did... enjoy about the whole process was the way I could use the garage sale as a motivator for my kids to do something around here. Not sure it worked that extremely well, but still. I used all sorts of great and well-thought-out lines like: whatever' is not off of this floor in three minutes is going in the garage sale! or, Since you're not going to pick up your hockey stuff, I will. AND I'll carry it right over to the door so it's ready to go out with the stuff for the garage sale. Oh, I was on a roll. Came up with new threats every morning while I drank my coffee and smugly dispensed them throughout the day.

Until this evening when my sweet little five year old said to me after one of my fly-off-the-handle-moments, "Mom, I'm gonna sell you in the garage sale so someone else can listen to you yell." Ah, yup. So we're right back at square one with Mr. Freezie bribes.

Something tells me this isn't the theme and advice of any best-selling parenting books on the market.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cloth Diapering

A few years ago I heard of someone using cloth diapers and I'll sheepishly admit my first thought was somewhere right along the lines of: I would try them probably, oh, uh, never? In fact, I wondered why anyone would even want to with the convenience of disposables on the shelves of super centers everywhere. Yet, in the next breath- it sparked an interest. Especially when I witnessed a mom actually using them on her baby. It looked simple enough. And, so what usually happens when I have even the slightest interest in something- I just need to know more.

So, I began to research them while Hannah was a baby and my slight pebble of an interest began to snowball. The options, I discovered, were nearly endless when it came to cloth diapers. After months (seriously, yes, months) of research I knew I wanted to try them out and knew exactly which ones I'd purchase, but I couldn't really justify it as Hannah was already a year old by that time. Fast forward a few months to early last summer when I discovered I was again expecting and that interest was reopened.

Knowing I'd probably have to deal with some questions, some curious looks, and interesting remarks, I made the decision to cloth diaper this baby. This was, after all, my decision and I really wanted to try it out. So, I ordered them last summer to do a 'trial run' with Hannah. I decided to go with a one size pocket diaper (the brand I use is Fuzzi Bunz). These diapers have a fleece lining, a waterproof shell made of PUL and (yep, you guessed) a pocket in which a microfiber insert is stuffed into. And, they are adjustable which means they fit her from 3 weeks old and will fit her until she's out of diapers.

Well. My first experiences were rough. I used the wrong detergent (which resulted in build-up on the diapers), I used too much detergent, I didn't use any type of softener for our extremely hard water, and basically I became quite frustrated. The diapers were losing their absorbency, they had an odd smell to them, and I was annoyed at myself for jumping in feet first without doing enough research on how to properly care for the things. I kept using them sporadically- never quite able to get into a great routine with them for Hannah- until I finally put them away for a bit and came to the conclusion that I had some more learning to do.
So, after some more research, I learned how to 'strip' the diapers (kind of a whole other story- one I'll share if you're interested) and when Adalie was three weeks old I jumped back into using cloth- this time with a lot more knowledge on proper care. In addition to the fuzzi bunz, I added a couple of "Flip" diapers to my stash as well. I've been using both ever since. And I can honestly say once I got into a routine- they are so easy. I feel good using them on her because they are so soft (and chemical free) against her skin, I'm excited about the fact that I don't have to purchase diapers for her weekly, and I must admit: they're cute. {Yes, there are chaper options for cloth diapers than the ones I chose- but in the long run we'll still save a lot money by the time this baby is out of diapers!}

So what does cloth diapering involve? Well, for us it's simple. Every other day I wash the diapers and hang them out in the sun to dry (in the winter I hang them up indoors). After they're dry I stuff the inserts in the diapers and stash them in a drawer so they're ready for immediate use. At that point it's no different than disposables: they're ready use and ready to take along anywhere. The diapers we use all have snaps so there's no diaper pins to worry about. (Like I said, there are a lot of options out there- this is just the one that works best for us.)

Anyways. After the diaper is used, I simply shake the insert out of the pocket and drop both the diaper and the inert into the lined diaper pail (I made a waterproof bag out of PUL to help contain odors). It's not even necessary to rinse the diapers before they're tossed in the pail at this point as my baby is still mainly breastfed. In a few months when she's on solid foods they will need to be rinsed. Right now- sometimes I spray them off, sometimes I don't. It doesn't really matter. On wash day, I carry the bag of diapers to the washing machine, dump the diapers in as well as the bag they've been in, and set the washer going. It's that easy. (For the flip diapers it's basically the same with a few variations- they are not a pocket diaper. I like them both for different reasons- but this is getting lengthy, so I won't go into detail unless someone wants to know more.)

Cloth diapers are not for everyone, I'm sure of that. And if that is you, thanks for reading, and I completely respect that- I'm certainly not trying to push my ideas on anyone! But, I just thought I'd shed a tiny bit of light on them for those of you who might be interested but not really sure where to start or what they involve. There are some great sites online that go into much better detail about diapers than I have here. If anyone has any questions, I'd be glad to answer if I can!

Also, for more information here are some websites I find useful: - This website offers free shipping all the time no matter what size order you have. I have ordered from here and the shipping is fast. - this link provides some interesing information on costs of laundering cloth diapers -provides info on fuzzibunz diapers and lists retailers

ETA: Recenty I purchased some bumgenius 3.0 diapers from during their "seconds" sale. Not only was the price really decent, I would have never known these were "seconds". There's no tell-tale mstakes or anything like that. After using the bumgenius 3.0s, I'm hooked. I love these diapers!