Gingerly Made: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap List and Birthday Plans

In honor of Leap Year and February 29th a lot of people are thinking about their leap lists. Leap lists are a list of things you want to do before your next milestone birthday.

I've only had two big birthdays that I can remember. I got my open water certification for scuba on my 20th birthday. Seriously. We dove for three days and on the third day, my birthday, we finished up our certification. To celebrate we went lobster hunting. It was opening day for lobster season too. It was an amazing experience and I would love to go again. I've just got to get Hubs certified and when the girls get older, them too.

My second big birthday was that I got married three days before my 21st. Hubs was my early birthday present that year. We were on our honeymoon on my actual birthday. I don't remember anything about 16, 18, or 25, so they must not have been too exciting. Either that, or I'm just getting old and my memory is failing already.

Well, I have a milestone birthday coming up this year. 30! And I want to do something, but I have no idea what. I would love to do something fun and adventurous, but I have two little problems with that. It has to be something that Hubs and I can do with Caitlin and Hayley. Particularly Hayley since she is nursing and HATES the bottle.

Things I've Thought About for My 30th:
  1. Whitewater Rafting - I've never been before. Can't really do that with a baby and toddler in tow.
  2. Travel to Europe - Plus there's the 2012 Olympics in London which would be really awesome to see. Not in the budget this year. I checked flight prices and $1800 per person is WAY too rich for my blood. And that was just the flights.
  3. Hiking/Camping - Doable, but not super awesome.
  4. Visit the Grand Canyon - I'm seriously thinking about this one. I've never been before. My birthday is in August though, so maybe we delay the trip until late September/early October?? But then what do I do on my birthday day?
  5. Scuba Diving - I have my open water certification. Hubs doesn't. And well, the kids can't do that.
  6. Disney World - I really want to take Caitlin. I know she'll flip. But that sounds more like a fun birthday for her than for me.
I know Hayley will be nursing far less, possibly only before nap times come August, so that frees us up some. We could get a babysitter for a couple of hours, but what can you do for your big 3-0 in a couple of hours?

I need help. What did you do? What would you do?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Decorative Menu Plan

Every week I make a menu plan. That plan is my sanity when it comes to food each week. Because of it, I know exactly what I need from the grocery store that week. It keeps me from scrambling when it's time to make dinner. You know that feeling of 'What should I make? What do we have? I don't feel like that tonight?' Sure, sometimes I don't want to eat what I have planned for that day. But because I wrote down seven different meals and have ingredients to make each of them, I can switch it up a little if I need to.

However, up until now, that plan has been written down on a little piece of paper that sits on my counter. For awhile I took to putting it on the refrigerator. But somehow it would still go missing. This decorative little frame is not only cute, it's hard to misplace. I just use a dry erase marker and can rewrite my menu each week.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Crochet Pocket Bib


Hayley isn't eating solid food yet and probably won't for another month or two. But when she's ready to start, I know this bib will come in super handy. I love the pocket to catch all the dribbles and crumbs. Also, because it's so long and has a larger neck opening, it will last her far into her toddler years.

I've actually had this bib hiding out in my yarn basket for a while. I just needed to get a big button for it and sew it in place. I'm not really sure why I waited so long, but never-the-less, it's done now.

The pattern came from the Oh Baby Crochet book. It was really easy, perfect for a beginner. This is also the same book I got patterns for the crochet doll, cat, and dog.

And just to show you how big this bib is, the last picture is Hayley wearing it now at 4 months old. It's still a little big, but will be perfect when it comes time to catch all those baby crumbs.

 



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

House Rules

At the beginning of the year as part of our resolutions, Hubs and I set in place five house rules for cleaning.  They aren't anything major. More like common sense things to keep the house a teeny bit tidier.
  1. Shoes must be taken off when entering the house.
  2. Shoes are then placed in the closet.
  3. Meals are eaten at the table.
  4. All dishes must be put away before bed.
  5. Any clean laundry must be folded and put away before bed.
The problem is, we stink at following our own rules. We do really well with taking off our shoes, but not always with putting them away. We might get the dishes done, but not the laundry. There's just so much laundry! So instead of THE RULES, we are trying something different now.

Everyday at 6:45pm we and Caitlin do a quick clean up before her bath. We don't have a set 'things to be done' list, just clean what needs cleaning. I love involving Caitlin. She slows us down a bit, but it's important that she learn to be tidy. I set a daily reminder on my phone to help us remember to do it.

I really don't care how, I just want our home to be tidier. Other people say that our home really isn't THAT messy. They've seen worse, or so they say. But when the house is a mess, I just don't feel as good. It effects all of our moods.

What do you do to keep your house from looking a mess? Especially if you have babies and toddlers!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Co-Sleeping



Sleeping in the crib.
I've been seeing a lot of things on the net about co-sleeping lately; public service announcements, blog posts with questions, and emphatic statements of opinions. Obviously there are a lot of moms (and dads) out there who are curious about co-sleeping. You hear that it's dangerous from one group and that it's perfectly safe from another. So what's the deal?
First, there are different levels of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping can mean that you have your baby's crib in your bedroom. The baby is still in his or her own bed, but just sharing the same room. Yep, that's co-sleeping. Or you could have a co-sleeper attached to your bed. It's like a bed extender just for baby. Baby feels closer to you, but is technically not in your bed. It's also easier for breastfeeding at night.

Then there is the the dreaded bed sharing. That's what we do and is also where all the controversy lies. I have seen horrible, awful advertisements saying that letting your baby sleep in your bed is as dangerous as letting her sleep with a knife! I can't even describe how angry that ad makes me. I think the reason so many people are wary of bed sharing is because of idiocy like that.

Even Dr Sears has some wonderful information about safe co-sleeping. Please check out this brief article for some amazing facts.

Bed sharing was the last thing I wanted to do with my babies. But it happened anyway. The very first night we brought Caitlin home she was not sleeping. Not at all. So Hubs and I decided to take shifts. I don't remember when Eric and I switched, but we all woke up in the morning, in the bed, all three of us. Apparently, Eric set her down for a minute on the bed and the poor guy was so exhausted he totally fell asleep. From that night on we were a co-sleeping, bed sharing family. We couldn't get Caitlin out of the bed. She wouldn't sleep a peep in her crib or bassinet.

Caitlin was a terrible sleeper. She never slept in a stroller once she was too  big for the carrier that attached to the top. She had to nurse to sleep. It wasn't until Hayley was born and I was in the hospital that she would go to sleep for anyone else. She would just cry for Mommy before that. With Hayley, we let her sleep in our bed when it's convenient for us to nurse. But we are also having her sleep in her crib, the bouncy chair, stroller, wherever. I don't want to go through such a picky sleeper again.


And if you are worried that if you let your child into your bed that they will never get out. Don't. They will eventually move out into their own bed. I've never heard of a teenager, or even preteen for that matter, who still wanted to sleep with their parents. It took some effort to Caitlin to sleep in her own bed. But considering her sleeplessness anyway, it wasn't that bad. Once she was comfortable and understood that she was safe in a room by herself, she did great!

Daddy and Hayley taking a nap.
After that first night with Caitlin falling asleep in the bed, I did research on safe ways to bed share. Safebedsharing.org has some fantastic guidelines for safety. If you are smart and careful, bed sharing is a wonderful and safe thing. It's a very personal decision and I won't presume to tell you which is best for you and your family. But I do want people to understand that it is not a terrible or unsafe thing to do.

It's amazing how much differently I sleep with my baby in my bed. I am so very aware of her. I have literally slept through a hurricane before, but if she moves the least little bit I am wide awake.

I recently posted a comment on another mom's blog letting her know some safe tips for bed sharing that I use in addition to what was on the website above. I want to repeat them here for anyone considering it.
  1. Bumpers. If you are worried that your baby may roll into you or you into her, buy some of those bumpers. Just keep them below her shoulders. You don't want anything up close to her face.
  2. Swaddle. Babies love the feeling of being wrapped tight in a blanket. At least both of mine have. They sleep better when swaddled and bonus, they can't roll over.
  3. Scoot baby up high toward the headboard and you scoot down low. Your head should not be any higher than baby's hips. This way, if you pull your covers up during the night it won't cover baby's face.
  4. Turn your pillow. Instead of having your pillow horizontally, turn it vertically. Now your pillow or pillow case can't get in the baby's face. (Notice a trend of avoiding anything getting in your baby's face here?)
  5. Keep baby in the center of the bed. Whatever you do, keep your baby between you. This should go without saying, but just in case... don't put your baby on the edge of the bed; she could fall off.
I hope this helps answer some questions you may have. If not, or if you have more, please comment below or email me. I would be happy to discuss further.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Scrappy Flower Hairbow

I must be on some kind of hair bow kick or something. I've already made a Pearl Headband and Felt Heart Hairbow. Now I've created this one using things I already had around the house. It's not really my 'style,' but it is a cute way to use up some scraps laying around the house.

Supplies:
Scrap fabric (from my nightgown project) approx. 4" x 8.5"
Thread for sewing
An embellishment for the center (leftover from the Photo Board)
Felt circle for backing
Hair clip

I used a tea cup to cut a circle from my fabric.


Sew a gathering stitch in a circle midway between the center of your circle and the edge.


Pull the thread to gather.


Pinch and sew across.


Trim the center.


Hot glue an embellishment in the center on the front.


Hot glue your hairclip and felt onto the back. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this part. You could also forgo the hairclip and instead put the flower on a hairband or a pin to make a flower for your jacket.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Long Sleeve Peasant Dress

I made this long-sleeved peasant dress from the tutorial at Prudent Baby. It was really easy to do. I used her measurements except adding a couple of inches to the length and it still only hits Caitlin at the knees. She's so tall. I'm loving making cute dresses for her. I know I'll be doing this one again adding even more inches for length.

And would you believe this was the best photo I could get of Caitlin wearing it? She's going through a "I don't want to take a picture" thing right now. And when I can get a picture, it's a silly cheesy grin. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I'm taking a little blogging break today to spend with my three Valentine's. I hope yours is as LOVELY as mine!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Daddy Daughter Dates

Before their special Valentine's date.
Taking a page from a coworkers book, Eric and Caitlin have started having a weekly "lunch date". I love it!! Something happened between Christmas and New Year's in our little girl's heart for her daddy. While she has always loved him, she really wants to be around him more now. She wants daddy to put her down for her naps instead of mommy. That's huge!! She will sometimes still ask for me after he has put her to bed, but hey, after nearly 3 years of being the only one she wanted at bed times, I'm ok with that.

Last Monday they went to Chick-Fil-A for a special Valentine's date. Look how excited Caitlin looks in the picture. She can't get enough of her daddy.

There's something to be said for a healthy father-daughter relationship. And I think that something goes along the lines of "Hallelujah", "Thank you Jesus", "Amen", "Praise God", "What a Relief". Or maybe just a restful sigh will do. From what I know and what I've read on the topic (I am by far not an expert), girls who maintain a strong and healthy relationship with their dad throughout their teen years have an easier time dealing with all the things that parents stay up at nights and worry about.

I love spending time with my girls. But to see Caitlin cling to her daddy makes my heart smile. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kid in the Kitchen

Tonight Caitlin helped me with dinner. We made homemade baked chicken nuggets and she did most of the breading. I cut up the chicken into pieces, and made an assembly line for her. She dipped the chicken into some melted butter, rolled it in the bread crumbs and placed them on the baking sheet. I know what you're thinking. You let your toddler touch raw chicken?? Yep. Sure did.


Because this was the first time I let her handle raw meat, I told her what to expect before she ever touched it. "The chicken is a little slimy, but it's ok." After the first nugget or two the breading was beginning to stick to her hands and she really didn't like that. But again, I talked her through it. "It's ok sweetheart. We can wash your hands when we're done." And she was ok with that.

After a doing a few nuggets together Hayley started fussing and I needed to pick her up. So I washed my hands and went to help her. Caitlin just continued breading the nuggets and putting them on the baking sheet. I think I'm going to have her cook more often!


It's extremely good for kids to help out in the kitchen. While most, including Caitlin, start by stirring whatever is in the bowl, kids need to learn more than how to stir brownie batter. I try to let her do as much as I can. Of course there are no using knives or handling anything on the hot stove yet. She's too young for that. But after a certain age (or maturity level), why not. It helps you and involves them in their food. Kids get to learn where their food comes from. They learn to appreciate the time and effort it takes to prepare healthy meals for them. And they have ownership over their food and hopefully eat it.

Sure, they make a bigger mess than you would have, but come on... Who cares if you have to clean up a little more if your kids are getting all those benefits. And just think, one day when they leave the nest, they will know how to make more than just noodles in the microwave.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Felt Heart Hairbows

Mandy over at Sugarbee Craft Edition made these cute Valentine hair bows and I just HAD to copy it. I've got two little girls and, although one doesn't have much hair yet, hearts are a must and not just on Valentines.

I made several so Caitlin could have a pair and a friend of hers could have some too. Aren't they just adorable!!

Mandy used a die cutter to make all of hers. I tried using my Cricut after reading that some people had success cutting felt with theirs. I had no such luck. Of course, I was using really cheap felt and not the 100% wool that others used with their Cricuts. That probably made a huge difference.

So, for those of you who don't have some sort of cutter, you can still do this project. It takes more time because you have to cut out all those little bitty hearts by hand. I made sure they were all the same size by making a template from some paper. I cut out two paper hearts; one bigger and one smaller. After that, the directions Mandy gives on her tutorial are exactly the same.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tooth Bear

I made one of these felt tooth bears for my niece's Christmas present. It's the perfect gift for those big boys and girls who are just getting ready to lose their baby teeth. This one is for my one of my best friend's little boy. He's in kindergarten this year and hasn't lost any baby teeth yet.

Just put your baby tooth in the pocket and the tooth fairy will know where to find it. Then she can leave the money for the tooth in the same pocket so you can cash in the next morning.

It also makes it easier for mom and dad to 'help' the tooth fairy. Keep that tooth somewhere easy to get instead of stuffed up under some pillow impossibly planted under your kids head.


Check out Martha Stewart's website for a free pattern for these adorable tooth bears.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Family Cook Book Project

A few years ago our family decided to create our own family cook book. We wanted to collect all of those timeless recipes that remind us of each other. For instance, in our family, Thanksgiving just isn't right without a squash casserole. Or because I call my Mom and Dad every time I get ready to make their vegetable stew. I just can't seem to remember the recipe.

It took a LOT of time and effort. We had to email back and forth about a zillion times. Then there are those who don't email and you have to collect their hand written recipes and transfer them to the computer. At the end we had a 3-ring binder that doesn't fit in my cupboard with my other recipe books unless I lay it sideways. I WISH we had known about the Family Cook Book Project.

Family Cook Book Project allows each family member to log in and enter their own recipes. And as soon as they are entered, other family members can see it and begin to use it online. You can even set a deadline to have all the recipes collected for printing. If you have a special recipe that you want so-and-so to enter, you can use the special request tool.

Once you are ready to put the book together, you can add a dedication page, select the cover, and indicate any printing specifications. If/when you want to update your recipe book the next year or whenever, all your recipes are already online and just need a few new ones to be added. What I love about Family Cook Book Project is that you don't have to order a ton of books. Smaller families can order as few as 10 books.

If this is something that your family can use for your next family reunion or as a Mother's Day gift, check out the special deal offered to Gingerly Made followers below.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clean Face

It seems like everyone in the blogosphere is raving about all natural homemade soaps. While I was sure it was great, I just hadn't tried any. I mean, soap is soap. Who cares who made it. Either way, it leaves my skin dry. But after hearing and reading all the hype, I gave in to peer pressure and decided to try it.

Two Christmases ago (2010), I bought all natural home-made soap from our local farmer's market to go in everyone's stockings. I figured it was a cute gift idea. The only problem was I didn't get enough for myself. I meant to, but somehow just didn't get enough. We have a lot of people in our family, so it was easy to get my count off. Anyway, not this past Christmas (2011). I bought soap for everyone again and myself too.

I was seriously surprised!

I started washing my face with natural soap instead of the other stuff I had been using. I've had trouble with face cleaners because this one would leave my skin oily and that one would leave my skin dry. The best thing I found was a 'step' cleanser from Mary Kay. Step one is the cleanser. Step two, freshener. Step three, moisturizer. And you could do a weekly exfoliator/mask if you wanted. Don't get me wrong, I love my Mary Kay face cleansers, but it does take a minute. Up 'til now though, the step system was the only thing I had tried and liked. I even tried their 3-in-1 cleanser and didn't like it. But like I said I started using this simple, natural, home-made soap. Only a couple of days later and my skin feels tighter, my pores look smaller. I'm sold! I even like the way I looks sans makeup better because my skin looks better.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to try natural soaps. Nevertheless, I've tried it now and will definitely be stocking up on more when our farmer's market opens again.
 
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