A journal

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birthday party crafts - PINTEREST inspiration PART 1

I was going to wait until all the crafts were done and i could take some lovely at-the-birthday-party shots but i am just way too excited about them not to share.  I am planning the kids' first birthday party and the theme will be The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I know, it's been done a thousand times but it is so cute and the book really lends itself to an easy party theme, what with all the food and such.  We're going to have about 12 kids or so from the ages of 1-12 so making gifts bags and activities that will satisfy everyone will be challenging. In preparation I jumped on pinterest and just for kicks looked up "baby food jar" thinking i could use all the baby food jars that the kids go through for something decorate-y.  Well, there are a ton of adorable crafty ideas, of course, for baby food jars and the two that I clung to were 1. BUBBLES and 2. favors.

For the bubbles I used these super adorable bubble jars from Victoria at vixenmade for a pinkalicious birthday party with the pipe cleaner wand.  Who knew you could use a pipe cleaner to blow bubbles.  But it really works!!

Now here is my version of Caterpillar Bubble Jars.  Basically I used green pipe cleaners to make the wand, punched two side-by-side holes in the top middle of the baby food jar, strung the end of the wand up through and down the second hole twisted around and secured with a dab of hot glue, making sure it lays flat. Then I cut a circle of red felt and made the eyes and mouth from green felt and yellow card stock and glued them on.  I also painted the rim of the jar top with green acrylic paint. I think i'll probably also paint legs onto the side of the bottle.  I am thinking about making my own bubble solution but haven't done that yet.  I found a couple of recipes to try from the blog Mom Always Finds Out.

 So for the party favors I used these pins as inspiration:

From KatherineMaries, this adorable Sunshine Easter party favor:

and these super adorable Lady Bug favors from Becca at The Life of Peanut, as featured in this apartment therapy post

So I thought - ok - caterpillars - bugs, how about Bug Jar Party Favors!!!  So what iI did was:
1. Paint the top of jars white
2. For the handle, punch side by side holes on each side of the jar top
3. Thread a green pipe cleaner down through one hole about an inch and then back up through the second hold. Twist around to secure. Repeat at the other end to make a handle
4. Paint a swatch of chalkboard paint on the side of the jar, to be able to write each child's name on it
5. Punch 4 holes in the top of the jar for "air holes" for bugs, of course
6. Fill with fruit-shaped candies like Jolly Rancher Sours, a gummy worm and a gummy butterfly
Voila - Very Hungry Caterpillar Bug Jar Party Favors!!

I figured that not every kid is going to use these jars to catch bugs but they might use them to store little things like barrettes or coins or whatnot so I didn't want to make them TOO theme-y.  Just enough to be adorable but multi-purposable.

So what do you think??  I am going to pinterest my own crafts and see how they get around the internet.  Hope you like them!!

More crafts to come (invitations, centerpieces etc) in Part 2

Permission was granted to use individual photos from other websites. 
Thanks to Becca, Victoria and Katherine!!
All other photos are property of www.experimentmom.blogspot.com. Please contact me at jenniferlgardner1@gmail.com for permission to use.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making fleece soaker pants from fleece pants

I've recently begun to experience an aggravating reality in cloth diapering - wicking.  Wicking can be good (as in, wicking moisture away from baby's bottom) or bad.  I have the bad type, where if a small bit of a diaper inner fabric is touching other fabric like pajama pants or sheets, the moisture will wick out of the diaper and onto the other fabric, resulting in a wet baby.  This is not necessarily a diaper failure per se but it is nonetheless annoying to find a wet baby/bed.  So there are several causes and solutions to this problem.  One is that I am overstuffing the pocket diaper thereby stretching the diaper so that some of the inner pokes out.  I usually use 4 layers of inserts to make sure the kids are dry. I don't want to reduce this for fear that there may not be enough absorbency but what I can (and am) doing is to use thinner but more absorbent materials such as hemp and bamboo.  I have been using hemp cotton inserts for a while and have just recently added bamboo.  I like their trimness and their absorbency, although they are slower than microfiber, so I usually use at least one microfiber insert to catch the pee quickly.  Another solution is to use fitted diapers at night.  We do use fitteds, in which the whole diaper is absorbent and requires a waterproof cover.  I am not sure sure the fitted we use would last overnight but it's an option.

The third option I came up with is to use fleece and wool covers over my pocket diapers. I currently have two upcycled wool covers from Grateful Bums which I really like.  I used them over fitteds and still had some leaking (caused by compression - wool can hold moisture but if you smoosh it, it comes out easily) but they should so great for protecting the edges of the pocket diaper from touching absorbent fabrics like the cotton sheets.  I also have several pairs of fleece pants that I know the kids won't wear.  Fleece is not absorbent so it acts as a moisture barrier.  I wanted to make sure that no wetness would escape so I decided to add another layer of fleece inside the fleece pants that I already had.  Here is what I did:

1. Using a small outgrown pair of fleece pants, I ripped open the seams on the sides and through the crotch to yield two pant-shaped pieces of fleece.

2. I then sewed one pant-shaped fleece piece (brown) to the inside front of a larger pair of fleece pants (green). I used coordinating green all-purpose thread and machine sewed it.

Here you can see the sewing detail.

I didn't sew the other brown piece to the inside back of these pants because my leaking mainly comes for the front but you could do the same to the back to make it an all-around soaker.  I am saving the piece to sew into another pair of fleece pants.  I am not sure I would use these over a fitted as there are some sections especially around the seams that only have one layer of fleece so there might be some leakage.  This is a great way to upcycle outgrown fleece clothes.  I have several fleece jackets that the kids have outgrown so I might use some of those for scrap fleece as well.

I used these pants on Greyson last night over a regularly-stuffed pocket and he was dry this AM.  YAH!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

TMI Tuesday - Fuzzi Bunz Comfort Pads

So anyone who follows this blog knows I am cloth diaper fanatic.  Recently I was thinking about greening up MY monthly routine as well.  TMI alert!!!  LOL.
Since I got my period back after the kids my flow has been pretty regular and lighter than before so I thought I would give cloth menstrual pads a try.  I do laundry every other day anyways with the cloth diapers so I thought it would be a fairly easy transition.  I choose to start with the Fuzzibunz Comfort Pads Starter kit in Brights because of the cost, the inclusion of a wet bag for storage and the design.  The Fuzzi Bunz comfort pads are made from 100% micro fleece top layer, a 100% polyester laminated waterproof bottom layer, and 85% polyester, and 15% polyamide inner layers.

I had tried a Knickernappies stackable pad in the past and it was alright but I didn't trust it for a heavy flow day or night.  The Fuzzi Bunz has no snap-in liner.  The pad is the pad. No fuss no muss. It has snaps to secure around your underwear just like a sticky disposable with wings.  The starter kit comes with 12 pads for 55$ and includes the hanging wet bag.  The 12 pads are 3 light days (liners), 6 medium days (regulars) and 3 heavy days (super).  I have to say that I was skeptical that a cloth a pad would contain my flow especially since I tend to have clots in my flow.  Surprisingly, these pads really hold a lot of fluid and i didn't have a lot of tissue or clots but the little that i did clung nicely to the pad. I found that the medium size was perfect for most of my days and didn't even really need the longer length but it was nice to have for overnights.  They seemed to stay in place in my underwear pretty well.  As far as dirty storage I tried a dry storage (ie not rinsing out the pad) and wet storage (rinsing out the pad) before placing in the wet bag with the cloth dirty diapers.  I found that the rinsed-out pads cleaned up slightly better than the dry storage. It may sound a bit icky but really how many of you out there have washed out an over-flowed pair of underwear in the shower.  Same difference.  I have noticed that after a few washes the fleece inner is starting to pill slightly but I don't think this will affect absorbency at all.  I am not sure how these would work for a very active person (ie working out, running etc) just for the comfort factor. My days consist of hanging around with the kids in stretchy pants. LOL. As far as washing, they can go in with your cloth diapers or if you don't cloth diaper you should wash them in cold with a detergent that doesn't have fabric softener, enzymes or optical brighteners.  These can affect the absorbency of the pads.  Also do not use fabric softener in the dryer.  Line drying is the preferred method of drying.
Overall I am really happy with these pads.  I am excited to not have to buy pads or tampons anymore, although I will keep some on had for those tight-pants days when a low profile option is necessary.  Also it is probably advisable not to use these pads in combination with yeast infection creams because you don't want the creams to coat the pads and affect the absorbency or UTI medications that turn your pee yellow to prevent staining issues.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Easy adorable baby present - The Name Frame

I have been really lax lately in getting new baby presents. My best friend Jess had her second boy, Colin, in January and I STILL haven't gotten him a present.  So this past week I finally got everything together to make him a name frame.  You've probably seen these type of names made out of pictures of interesting things in nature or architecture and they can sell for a lot!  I will show you how to make it, framed, for under 40$.

First you need to get the pictures.  You COULD go out and look for things to photograph, but really this could take a while depending on the letters you need to find.  So I use www.Alfabetfotos.com.  Michael Gibbons has a great selection of individual letter photos and you can mix and match and choose which you like best.  They run about 3.20$ per 4x6 plus shipping.  For a 5-letter name I paid 17$ with shipping.
Now you need a frame.  In the past I have used the 5 slot Ribba frame from Ikea which was nice because it was easy to position the letters in each slot of the mat.  But apparently this isn't available anymore (at least not at my local Ikea) so I got this frame at Michaels Craft Store during a sale for about 18$
Now this one of those see-through glass frames with no mat. I decided I would use some scrapbooking paper I had and the pieces I had were 8x8 inches.  I taped three pieces together as shown here for an 8x24 inch background which will leave a nice open border around the name.  
Then dry-position the letters.  I use a tape measure to ballpark the spaces in between and at the top, bottom and sides of the letters. After dry-positioning, I use a small roll of scotch tape to affix the letters in place to the background paper.

Now place the letters/background in the frame and Voila,. You are done.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Done with Velcro (sorry, "hook and loop")

OK. So in the cloth diapering community Velcro is called "hook and loop" because Velcro is a brand name just like "Kleenex" are a brand of tissues and "Bandaids" are a brand of bandages even though these are used in the vernacular to describe many brands of tissues and bandages, respectively.  UGH.  So I am DONE with hook and loop (H + L) diapers.  We have been diapering in cloth for 9 months now and have been a lover of Thirsties brand since the beginning.  We use the Thirsties fab fitted, Thirsties covers, Thirsties duo AIOs, Thirsties old style AIOs,  and Thirsties Duo pockets diapers. Until recently I have loved all of the Thirsties products but the H + L on these dipes have gotten weaker and weaker over time. I do my best to close the laundry tabs when I wash these dipes and I also occasionally pick out any accumulated fuzz that H + L naturally gathers.  My kids are 9 months now and getting very handsy.  They will fuss with the H + L closures and occasionally I have found my kids diaperless in the morning.  UGH.  So I decided today that I am going to phase out my H + L pockets that we use for overnight diapering.  If I had it all to do over again, I wouldn't even buy H + L dipes.  I know that some brands have very strong H + L and that can be a catch-22 because the stronger the H + L, sometimes the harder it is to open the laundry tab to put it on your kid.  This is the case with the Best Bottoms H + L.  It is so strong that I can barely get it open with one hand.  But I'd rather have them have stronger H + L than not.  I am bummed that I have to phase out many of my thirsties dipes and luckily I have several of their covers and AIO's in snaps so I can still use those.  On the brighter side I get to buy new diapers!!!  Weehoo!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Toys

I'm back from Italy and while I do want to keep this blog as active as possible my posts will be further between just because the kids are MOBILE!!  Jack is crawling like crazy and pulling himself to standing and is surfing along the couch edge so it is only a matter of time before he is walking.  Greyson finally "got with the program" and has pulled up his belly and is crawling like a pro.  He is very strong so I am sure he'll not be too far behind Jack in the walking department. So needless to say I won't have a ton of time to blog.

Anyways the topic that just crossed my head this morning is about toys.  Yesterday my good friend Jen allowed me to go through all her kids' old toys. I realized this morning that the majority that I had chosen were wooden or somewhat educational.  Like the Manhattan Toy Skwish which i love because it is cute and somewhat reminds me of the wooden tinker toys we had growing up and also because it is squishable, meaning that when my kids tumble over on it it doesn't cause any injuries. Bonus! Another is the wooden Melissa and Doug Friendly Fish Grasping toy. For some reason Jack loves this toy especially for teething purposes.  We also got a Discovery Channel/Fisher Price viewmaster (cassettes to be located later) as well as a Baby Einstein Baby Bach DVD, Vtech and Leapfrog electronic books and a Baby's First Words Board book.  Now don't get me wrong - we also got some cool trucks like a Tonka soft monster truck and a fire truck.  Boys love trucks. 


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