Why So Quiet?

The blog’s been quiet this month…mainly because of this.

Announcement

And then we got to see this…

8w3dUltrasound

So I’ve spent a lot of time with my head in a toilet the last month or so.  This baby was a BIG surprise.  Most of my plans for the year have been thrown for a loop as I’m in the midst of some pretty awful morning sickness that keeps me close to the couch or bathroom lately.  If you’ve never experienced severe morning sickness, I hope you never do.  It is truly exhausting.  But, Baby Boo is growing right on track so far and that is indeed reason to celebrate.

I’ll be back…

St. Patrick’s Day Cloth Diapers

StPattysDayCDSt. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and whether you have Irish heritage or not, it can be a fun day to be festive with green and rainbows.  Children love to do festive crafts and pick out festive outfits.  Babies and toddlers don’t have to be excluded and can be decked out down to their diapers.  Here are some of my favorite cloth diapers for St. Patrick’s Day.

Bumgenius always offered fun colors and prints available in all their diaper lines.  Whether you’re a fan of the 4.0, Freetime, Elemental, or Newborn you can catch one of the St. Patty’s Day appropriate diapers.  Grasshopper is a muted, spring green while Hummingbird is a deep, rich green.  You could also grab one of the limited edition black and white prints like Osa and color it in with fabric markers for a festive rainbow diaper.  Flip fans can get the same colors in a fun, versatile cover.   Or you could opt for just a colorful trim with Econobum.

Thirsties is a personal favorite of mine.  I just love their diapers, they fit my children so well and hold up fantastically.  Celery and Meadow are available in a One-Size Pocket, Covers, All In One, and Duo Wrap Cover. If you have a newborn you can grab Celery and fitted lovers can pick up Meadow.

Rumparooz One Size fans can choose from Lazy Lime or Spring.  Or they could sport Invader, Jeweled, Preppy, or Quinn for a rainbow look.  These colors are also available in Lil Joeys, Covers, NB Covers.  You can even grab Lazy Lime and Spring in doll diapers!

Blueberry brings us Kiwi and Geo available in One Size, Covers, and Bamboo.  You can grab Meadow Green or Geo for your newborns.

AppleCheek’s Appletini brings a little fun to the St. Patty’s Day party.

Babykicks gives a punch of true Green.

Best Bottoms covers give us several options:  Dragonfly Ripple, Key Lime Pie, Green Giraffe, Camo, GI Jane, Open Season, and the beautiful rainbow that is Tie Dye or Dragon Scales. Even your potty trainer can have a festive bum with Pistachio and Playful Panda.

Bottombumpers brings us the appropriately named Shamrock as well as Kiwi.

Bummis has you covered with Kale and Pistachio Dot.  If fitteds be sure to grab be sure to grab green chevron.  If you prefer fun prints check out Green or Celery Dot.

Funky Fluff offers a Stay-Dry  or Bamboo Option in Green & Purple or Teal & Lime.

Imagine Baby brings you a bit of luck with their wool cover,  PUL cover, or pocket in Emerald.  Their Rawrgyle leggings are sure to complete the look.

Itti Bitti’s Wasabi and Seaweed offer fun punches of green while Shazam and Chilin’ bring us a rainbow of fun.

Kissaluv’s Grassy Green is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day Cover.  Lime Green is available in a soft fitted.  They can cover your Newborn with Spring Green.  If you’re looking for a print, consider Happy Bugs, Monkeys, Summer Dots, or Zoo Blue.

Moraki’s Green and Hippie are two more great choices.  Their shamrock bottom Celtic Pride was MADE for St. Patty’s Day.

Smart Bottoms offers a fun mix with Bloom, Ella, Emerson, and Tiedye.

SmartBums Sprout is bright and fun.

Tidy Tots gives us several more options with Lime Green, Spring Green, Sea Mist, and Dinosaur.

Tots Bots offers us Sweet Pea and Hey Diddle Diddle.  The striped Thistle is available in a fitted.

Which diaper(s) will you be choosing for St. Patty’s Day?

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase via one of the links, I will receive a small portion of the sale.  You don’t have to use the links when you make a purchase, but we appreciate when you do as it supports our blogging efforts.  You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Sewing Inspiration: Fat Quarter Shorts

My absolute favorite thing to sew is children’s clothing.  It’s small, it begs to be cute, and it’s fun!

I make my children a lot of light weight pants from cotton fat quarters.  The elastic waist is potty training and cloth diaper friendly and they’re super comfortable for all the moving around and playing kids love to do.

Here’s a little sewing inspiration from my Sunday sewing…

FQPants2

FQShorts

Graphic Art Freebies: Printable Grocery List

This week’s graphic art freebie has a practical use – cute, printable grocery lists that coördinate with our kitchen art freebies from a few weeks ago.  Enjoy!

*Click the photo to make it larger and print.

Printable Grocery Lists

 

Sewing Tutorial: Personalized Cup Cozy

Personalized Cup CozyLast week we created our own reversible cup cozy.  This week, we’ll learn how to embellish that same cup cozy to make even more personalized.  The embellishment will be done with removable discs so that you can change the look of your cozy to suite your mood.

To embellish your cozy you will need:

  • Fabric.  You can use a fabric that coordinates with the fabric we used for the cozy body or the same fabric.
  • Sewable, fusible stabilizer. I use Heat N Bond Lite sewable.
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Snaps – I use KAM snaps
  • Iron
  • The illustrated and detailed Personalized Cup Cozy PDF:  Personalized Cup Cozy.Embellished Cup Cozy

How To Handle Menstrual Cups In Public

Menstrual Cups in PublicIf you’re new to menstrual cups, I highly recommend reading this post first:  Menstrual Cups:  A Newbie’s Perspective.

I’ve used menstrual cups for about a year and I would NEVER go back to tampons.  They are far more comfortable and convenient to use than their disposable counterparts.  I don’t have to worry about buying menstrual supplies each month and I don’t deal with pain from inserting a dry, scratchy tampon.  Menstrual cups have made my periods much more manageable and less of an interruption to daily life.

When I broach the subject of menstrual cups with other women, the question that seems to always come up after how do you insert them, is how do you deal with them while out and about?  It’s a valid question, and an easy one to answer.

First of all, you can wear a menstrual cup for up to twelve hours before it needs to be emptied, cleaned, and reinserted.  TWELVE HOURS guys!  That means you may only need to insert your cup in the morning, empty it in the evening, and reinsert and forget about it until the next morning.  Compared to tampons which need to be changed every 4-6 hours, that’s a big change!  Twelve hours typically works for me.  If my flow is unusually heavy, I’ll go ahead and empty around the six-hour mark, but the Lunette I use has never been full at that point.  Since I typically only have to empty the cup once a day, I am almost always able to do so at home.  This is highly convenient since I have the privacy of my bathroom to empty, clean, and reinsert.  I do recommend doing several trial runs of emptying and reinserting the cup at home before you venture into public  restroom changes of the cup just to get yourself familiar with how it all works.

If you do have to be out and about when your cup needs to be emptied, it’s manageable and easy!  You used to carry a  bag with tampons or pads right?  Well, technically you can use that same bag for these disinfecting wipes.  However, the wipes are so tiny you could easily slip one in your pocket and no one would ever know.  To empty your menstrual cup in a public restroom:

  • Wash your hands (just as you should before changing a tampon!).
  • Remove the cup and empty the contents into the toilet.
  •  Wipe the inside and outside of the cup off with toilet tissue.
  • Once wiped well, use the cup wipe to finish cleaning and disinfecting your cup.
  • The wipes can be discarded in the trash or flushed if no trash can is readily available.
  • Let the cup air dry (it only takes a few seconds, you won’t be left sitting there for several minutes waiting).
  • Reinsert your cup.
  • Wash your hands.

See, no more complicated than changing a tampon.  If you’re worried about getting blood on your hands, you could easily put an extra wipe or an individually wrapped regular wipe in your bag or pocket to clean your hands before leaving the stall and washing them.  Once you’ve practiced emptying the cup at home several times,  you generally won’t have to worry about blood on your hands anymore than you would with tampons.

Have you made the switch to reusable menstrual care products yet?

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase from one of the affiliate links, I will receive a small portion of the sale.  You don’t have to make a purchase using the links, but I appreciate when you do as it helps support my blogging efforts.  You can read our full disclosure policy here.

What Makes A Family?

There’s always been a lot of talk about what makes a family.  Now that times are changing and more people are coming to realize that the traditional components of a nuclear family are not what we once thought they were, the view of what makes up a family is changing too.

I believe the most important component to any family is love.  Without love, support, and compassion a group of people who live together is just a group, not a family.  Family loves you without conditions and provides support when you are struggling.  They offer compassion and try their best to be understanding of each other’s goals.  When a member of the family, or the family as a whole, is faced with an obstacle, true families stick together and persevere.

The type of people involved have nothing to do with who makes up the family.  It could easily be two men, two women, siblings, even friends.  There could be children, or not.  Children could be biological, adopted, or blended from past marriages.  There could be legal documents binding the members together, or not.  The family could own their home – or they could rent.  They may even live with extended family to make up a bigger family unit.

What Makes A Family
What families don’t do is judge and criticize.  A family is not a unit who puts you down and makes you feel bad about yourself.  A family unit is not cruel and their love for you does not depend on the life choices you make.  Sure, families who love and support you want the best for you.  They don’t want you to make bad decisions that lead to a bad life.  But choices like who you choose to marry (in healthy, non-abusive relationships) are not put down or judged.  Things like sexual preference, race, religion, and politics are not taken into consideration.  The character of one’s heart and the content of the soul are what matter.

So what is a family?  It’s love. Support. Guidance. Acceptance. A hug when words don’t suffice.  A shoulder to lean on when life throws a curveball you weren’t ready for.  Family is realizing that life is not perfect but as long as you have each other, it’s doable.  Even enjoyable and can be pure happiness. Family is a group of people who make you want to be better, not just for yourself,  but for those you love.  Family pushes you to try new things when you’re scared and they offer to catch you when you stumble.

Simply put, family is love.  What/who makes up your family?

Back to Basics: Lemonade and Sweet Tea

Lemonade & Sweet TeaWhen I first moved out on my own, I didn’t know how to make ANYTHING in the kitchen.  I could open a can or a package and that was the extent of my culinary knowledge.  I even needed a recipe for lemonade and sweet tea!  I can make many things without a recipe these days, but I’ve had eleven years of practice.

It’s okay to need a recipe for the basics when you’re just starting out.  Or maybe sugary sweet southern drinks have never been part of your kitchen routine.

Here are some very basic recipes for Lemonade and Sweet Tea.  You may want to add more or less sugar depending on your personal taste.  You can always add in other flavors to create more complex drinks.

Lemonade

Ingredients

  • Fresh lemons (6-8)
  • Filtered Water
  • Sugar
  • One Lime

Directions

  1. Juice lemons until you have 1c of fresh squeezed lemon juice.  The number of lemons will vary, usually 4-6.
  2. Juice one lime.
  3. Bring 1c of water to a rolling boil and dissolve 1c of sugar in the boiling water.  Remove from heat once sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add the lemon and lime juice to a pitcher with the simple syrup we just made.  Add 4-6c (more or less depending on taste) of fresh, filtered cold water to the pitcher and stir.  Slice one whole lemon and add to the pitcher.  Stir and serve well chilled.  You can add more or less water depending on how tart/sweet you like your lemonade.

Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 2qt pitcher
  • filtered water
  • ice
  • Orange/black pekoe tea bags (approx. 7-8 small bags or 3-4 family size bags depending on how strong you like your tea)
  • sugar

Directions

  1. Bring a small pot of water a rolling boil and add 1c of sugar until dissolved.
  2. Add the tea bags to the boiling water/sugar solution and turn off the heat.  Let tea steep for 7 minutes.
  3. While tea is steeping, fill the pitcher with ice all the way to the top.
  4. When tea is done steeping, pour it into the ice filled pitcher.  Continue to pour water over the tea bags and fill the pitcher until it is full.  Stir well.
  5. You can serve immediately as the ice should sufficiently cool the tea.  Any tea served right away will be stronger and generally sweeter than tea served later as the ice will melt and dilute the tea further as it sits in the refrigerator.
  6. You can add lemon, mint, or raspberry syrup for a yummy treat.

One of my most FAVORITE drinks is an Arnold Palmer.  Simply fill a glass half full with lemonade and half full with tea.  It is simple, yet divine for the taste buds!

Sewing Tutorial: Cup Cozy

DIY Cup CozyOne of the best things about being able to sew is that you can add a bit of you to almost everything in your life, beverages included.  If you drink a lot of coffee like me, you know that the cardboard cup cozies don’t do much to protect your hands from the warmth of the beverage.  Luckily, making your own fabric cup cozy is very easy and highly customizable.

Materials

  • Cotton Fabric – don’t need much so raid your scrap bin
  • Felt Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Tape Measure
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Safety Pin
  • The detailed and illustrated Cup Cozy Tutorial PDF:  Cup Cozy Tutorial.

*Join us next week and we’ll show you a way to customize your cup cozy!

Instilling and Embodying Confidence

This is a post I’ve wanted to write many times but couldn’t until I was sure I wasn’t doing it hypocritically.  It’s a post I want young people, particularly young women, to read and to truly hear.  It’s a post I wish I would’ve read and understood fifteen plus years ago when I needed it most.

Over the past fifteen years I’ve ranged in size from a two to a fourteen.  My height hasn’t changed for fourteen of those years so my shape has been ever changing.  My weight has went up and down and back again.  My relationship with food has often been a tumultuous one that I could never seem to nutritionally grasp until last year.  Through each of those sizes the one constant was that I wasn’t happy with myself.  My thighs were too big, my boobs too small, my nose had a bump, my hips were too curvy, my hair color was wrong…  It was always something physical and what I should’ve really been working on had nothing to do with the way my body looked or the way others perceived it.  I’m twenty-eight years old and can honestly say I didn’t find confidence in myself until recently.

The world loves to bombard us with its own image of beauty if we let it.  And no one’s image is the same.  The most important take away is that it doesn’t matter what your family, friends, or society tell you is beautiful.  You should be the only person allowed to create an opinion about what your looks are or are not.  That doesn’t start with clothes, makeup, or a number on a scale.  It starts with your mind.  It starts with telling yourself that you’re going to do what makes you FEEL good because what makes your mind, soul, and body FEEL good is what makes you LOOK good.  That’s right, I don’t care what size pants or bra you fit in, you can be beautiful in your own skin.

Self ConfidenceNo, I’m not telling you to go drink because drinking is fun and makes you feel good.  At the end of the day, or early the next morning, it doesn’t and it won’t.  Nor will drugs fill that void that makes you feel like you’re not good enough.  Sex, food, even excessive exercise are not healthy when they’re only serving as a distraction.  The true things that make you feel good are things that lead to self-confidence and self-worth.  Taking pride in yourself, your actions, and instilling that same pride and confidence in others.  Those who feel good about themselves desire to make others feel good about themselves.  You don’t build confidence by bringing others down so that you look better in comparison.  Negativity never breeds anything other than more negativity and self-loathing.  Think about it.  If you had a friend who constantly put others down, how would you feel after spending an evening with them?  You’d likely feel like pointing out the flaws in everything around you or you’d be left feeling just plain defeated.  Conversely, if you’d spend an evening with a friend who took time to try to make everyone feel important, valued, and loved you’d likely come away feeling refreshed and happy.

How do we turn off that constant criticism in our own minds?  How do we make the switch from finding flaws to embracing imperfections as unique and worthy of celebration?  We start small.  We sit down and we start thinking about when we are most likely to pick ourselves apart, we find the root of all that criticism and frustration.  The trigger could be stress, it could a desire to be more like someone else than ourselves, or it could be an outside influence.  Get rid of the triggers.  If there’s too much on your plate, take out the things that don’t bring value and positivity to your life.  One thing it took me years to learn is that if something doesn’t make you happy and it doesn’t bring positive change to your life, it isn’t worth your time.  If you’re pining after a size six body, but your genuinely healthy at a twelve, celebrate THE BODY YOUR IN!  There is nothing wrong with different body types.  Skinny can be beautiful, average can be beautiful, curvy can be beautiful.  Drop the descriptors which are often just disguised criticisms, and realize that YOU CAN BE BEAUTIFUL.  You don’t need super slim thighs, overflowing bra cups, or perfectly curled hair to be the best version of yourself.  Beauty is about health.  Find health through putting healthy foods into your body and being active in physical pursuits you enjoy.  I guarantee your confidence will boost.

I think one of the biggest reasons we get critical of our bodies is outside influence.  I’ve personally experienced this countless times.  I put on an outfit I feel good in, I feel confident about.  I put on makeup I love, fix my hair in a way that is pleasing to me.  It all culminates to make me feel confident and beautiful.  Then one off remark from another person eats its way into my being and I’ve lost all the confidence I created.  It isn’t worth it!  It doesn’t matter if the person is someone you love and trust or a complete stranger, no one has a right to get inside your head unless you let them.  No one who loves you and has your best interest at heart should cut you down.  You can just as easily find a positive thing to say about someone as a negative so I leave little room in my life for those who sole focus is negativity.

Love yourselves.  The dividends far outweigh those of self-loathing.  If it’s easier, start by complimenting others.  Don’t look for flaws, look for beauty in everything you see and do.  Once your mindset shifts, it becomes easier to transfer that same principle to yourself.  You are beautiful, whether you know it yet or not.  Don’t waste years waiting to figure it out or for someone else to tell you.  The only person who truly needs to know it, the only one person who really HAS to tell you, is you.