Crafting

The multiuse baby thing: the blanket.

blanketsIf you had your first baby before, say, 2000 A.D. you were one fortunate mom. You learned something that today’s new moms have no way of knowing: a baby blanket can pretty much take care of everything your baby needs.

At today’s baby showers, you will be sure to find many fancied up blankets newly named as car-seat carriers, nursing privacy covers, and even special fancy swaddlers (sometimes made of muslin.) It dawned on my the other day that I better write about the “old” traditions before they are totally forgotten.

Let’s start in the beginning. You have a newborn that needs to be swaddled. You don’t need a fancy contraption complete with velcro and special corners, just watch the nurse at the hospital. She can show how to swaddle with nothing more than a plain old blanket.

swaddler

Before you know it, people will be coming over to see your bundle of joy. Do you want to feed him/her in privacy? Once again, a blanket of any size will come to your rescue. Heck. I use them just when I feel like sitting on the couch without pants. I know, it’s hard to believe, but I promise, women have been doing this for centuries. This woman even used a napkin.

Screenshot 2015-04-16 at 1.44.23 PM

Now, I know everyone has a cute carseat canopy nowadays. I was given one this last time around by a sweet friend who is probably reading this right now. (Thanks Marlene!) But, if you are looking for a way to save a few bucks, I promise a blanket does the trick just fine. Even the owner of the image below agrees even though they think putting anything over your baby’s car-seat can be as treacherous as holding them over the rim of the Grand Canyon. Ha. (You have to go read what they have to say. today’s kicks.) I just want to say that I have 5 children and never once has one been suffocated by placing a blanket over the handle of their carseat. And guess what? My hand held it on there without a cute clasp with or without accompanying matching buttons. The only person I think really may need a carseat canopy is a double-amputee.

images

Other great ways to use a baby blanket:

baby_towelpacknplaycovercape

It can double as a towel, a pack-n-play/crib cover, a baby cape.

or

a burpcloth, stroller cover, even a diaper if necessary. I’ve used one as a dress in multiple emergency situations.

burp clothstroller coverbaby diaper

A baby blanket can be really handy for kids that puke in the car or in their bed. Kids of every age should have a baby blanket handy, just in case. They are easier to wash than any twin, full, or queen.

Really people, if I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe the American and British royalty can.

royal babyKim Kardashian in a blue evening gown out with her family in Miami

Last, but very not least, just in case, you were wondering.

Yes, a baby blanket is still great at its intended use: keeping a baby warm.

Just don’t forget that it can also shade your babies soft skin from the sun, keep him dry under rain/snow/sprinklers, and even be used (when wet) as a smooth washcloth.

You really innovative moms may even be able to figure out how to use a blanket or two as a wrap. Don’t tell pinterest. And don’t credit the idea to me…I think those things are ridiculous.

I’m sure I’m forgetting other uses, but feel free to share them below.

Oh yes, a changing pad. That’s my favorite use for those “too small after two week” receiving blankets. I don’t wipe them down with a clorox wipe if they catch up poop, I throw them in the washing machine. I can also use them to gather up poopy clothes like a hobo satchel until I get to a washer.

Now, feel free to share below.

Bend Out of Shape

I have this great friend 
Lynnae Boyer Weller.
She owns a little business called
Savannah Balloons.
You can learn more about her through her 
Her balloon skills are awesome.
Here is her version of
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I love it when people
can make our world
a better place
with their
amazing
artistic
abilities.
I wish I had more artistic abilities.
I plan to read
to explore
if there is something
I have been missing.

Remember I blogged about Lynnae’s mom here.
I miss her mom,
she always made me smile.
I hope you all have a great green weekend.
I plan to make some shamrock
clean house,
squeeze in a date with my hubby,
and enjoy
every last minute
or our last lazy Saturday
before Spring sports begin.
I wish you all the
luck of the Irish.
And just so you know
if you google
funny + st patricks day
you are going to
see a lot of stuff about beer
and even some naked redheads.

Romance for Poor People

LBJ and LadyBird courted over 90 love letters
and we can read them online here.
I know what I will be doing all afternoon:
reading real romance for free.
The love letters are
living proof
that you can have romance
at the price of a few stamps.

LG and I have an honorary membership in
America’s newest poor class.

The middle class is taking some serious hits.
Add in four kids to the mix,
and it was time for a frugal
Valentine’s Day.
LG and I started a new Valentine’s tradition.
We each got $10 to spend on each other
at our favorite local Dollar Tree.
I made up a package called “Dreams come true” for LG.
I used some of his favorite things
and added in some dream hearts explaining.
– He loves lemon juice in his water. 
   (I wish I could make all your lemons into lemonade)
– A toy stuff basketball 
  (I wish I was always your soft place to land)
– Toy airplanes
   (I wish I could take you on a getaway)
– His favorite gel pens 
  (I wish I could do all your work for you)
– Sugar-free candy for the diabetic 
  (I wish you could eat as much sugar as you wanted)
– A McDonald’s giftcard for the man 
  who loves breakfast 
  and is married to a lazy breakfast chef.
  (I wish I could hire you a breakfast fairy)
LG wasn’t quite as cutesy, of course,
but it was still so fun to see what he picked out.
He knows me well.
And isn’t that what Valentine’s is about?
thinking of each other
and showing that you know one another
better than anyone else.
I feel loved
just knowing
that LG knows me.

I’m a huge believer that gifts don’t have to cost a lot of money.

My dad talked at my Grandma Dorothy’s funeral
about how she would always pick up little things
here and there and the five and dime to show
that she loved you.
One of his favorite gifts:
a portable toothpick holder.
That is one of the things he remembered
most at her funeral.

I love Valentine’s Day. It may be my favorite.
I also love the love language of gift-giving.
I look forward to all of our future
Dollar Tree romances.

And for the record,
last night we got a tray of
chicken nuggets from
Chik-fil-a
wrote off all the evening
activities
and sat home as a family
and watched
Pirates of the Caribbean.
It was pure bliss.

2CUL Craft

Somehow I always get stuck
with doing the crafts for
the kids’ school parties.
All the other moms are
too afraid.
So here is what we are
doing for Valentines
this year.
And this crafty-challenged
lady
has made a tutorial
for you and yours
with all my V-day love.
1 – Use graph paper
to make block letter
2- Cut out

3 – Apply glue on graph side.

3- Stick onto sandpaper
from right to left.
Remember it will iron on
like a mirror image.
(That’s why you glue on the right side)

4 – Outline well with crayon.

5 – Color in rest of sandpaper.
(I plan to actually have hearts
but this was the scrap I used
today for the prototype)

6 – Heat up iron to cotton/dry setting.

7 – Cut out a square of an old white sheet.
(600 threadcount egyptian cotton
 is optional but soooo soft)
I happened to have a perfectly great
topsheet leftover
from our tragic “ruined by talon toes”
sheet set
shown here on instagram.
7 – Sew up the 2 cut sides.
I will use the already folded over side
for the yarn-tie.
(Use a sewing machine if you want)

8 – This is what I did to make it go faster
(I hear you screaming you seamstress people)
I actually may just use fabric glue at school.

9 – Safety pin your yarn.
10 – Lead it through the fold.

11 – Tie big knots on each end.
(So they won’t ravel or go back into fold)

12 – Place sandpaper on finished bag
that I turned inside out from stitching.
(Hopefully you guys are smart enough 
to understand that part)

13 – Turn sandpaper crayon side
 onto the fabric.
Cover with parchment paper or a tea towel.
14 – Iron (moving iron in circles)
for about 30 seconds.

Wa-la
Inspiration for this craft
came from alphamom.
Like I said above,
I plan to make them actual hearts
and either pre-make the bags
or have the kids glue them
(because of school time limits)
or do t-shirts
or just make the
sandpaper cut-outs
and send
iron on instructions home with kids.
Happy V-day
crafting all you cupid moms
who like me
 are suckers for love.
Feel free to leave
all your suggestions for betterment
below in the comments.
I have til Thursday to fine-tune.
Or just tell me how cool I am
because moms need
to love other moms.
And you’re so welcome.
I couldn’t find a single
thing good enough
on my beloved forthekids 
pinterest board
so I had to tweak.
I’m thrilled
with  my mom 
abilities
today.
As you should be too.

My fashion designer

I posted about Sophia the other day
and it got me thinking I should brag on my other girls too.

This is Abigail.
She is so super creative.
Which is interesting
because she is even more smart
than she is creative.
I think smart and creative
can be a
dynamic duo
towards an amazing life
full of discovery.

Here is Abigail’s
50’s outfit
she threw together
for a dress up day
back in Fall.

She is pretty amazing.
She is our go-to girl
for all things
fashion, hair, and make-up.

I so appreciate that she has taken on this role as it’s not one that I want. At all. This girl loves clothes and shoes. I took her to a half-off day at the thrift store on Monday and she picked out nothing. I went to check her temperature and she said, “Mom, I really am getting a handle on my shopping addiction.” I do take pride that as a mother we have created a family where open communication is not just encouraged but valued above mostly anything else. I want nothing more than real for me and my little family. Sometimes it can be painful to navigate through the real, but anything less would be a life of denial and fake.

This year Abigail took a Tech class at school where she as the only girl learned the beginnings of engineering.
She was really good at it and kept right up with all the male students. Her teacher sang her praises to me. That’s my Abigail. She refuses to conform to society’s norms. She says she wants to be a surgeon when she grows up. She loves to dissect things. I do believe she can do it. Even though she’s not inherently organized she is extremely disciplined when she chooses to be and she is as bright as her hero Einstein.

Abigail is athletic  She lives for soccer. She is a great runner: fast. She is fun to watch on the field as she can always catch any other player even from halfway down the field. She makes a great mid-fielder. She got the PE award at school last year. This may seem kind of funny when you consider how smart this girl is, but it’s totally perfect as she loves healthy living. She loves to be active, she will be the first to tell you when she needs to move. Moving helps keep her ADHD in control and so Abigail takes PE at school if she has holes to fill. When Abigail was a toddler her favorite foods were milk and salad. She continues to live in this tradition: eating the healthy choice over the non-healthy 9 times out of 10. LG and I watch her green with envy whenever she eats dessert. She can eat whatever she wants and has to focus on weight gain. No fair!

She also loves music. She loves to sing in choir and she can always be found attached to her iTunes  watching YouTube videos, or plunking away on our piano. She is so much like her dad in the smarts that I forget that she is also a lot like me too. She is teaching herself how to play piano just like I did (she, like me, doesn’t have the patience to take lessons.)

She is also a total extrovert. She gets her social side from me. She gets her easy-going from her dad. She is learning to have more meaningful relationships and to be more considerate of others’ feelings. In one way the fact that she is wired without an overabundance of emotion is really nice: 1.less drama and 2.she makes her way fine in a man’s world, but in another way it has been a challenge as Abigail struggles to understand other people with an overabundance of emotion. She forgets that people have feelings. It is so fun to watch her with her best friend Katie who we love and adore and would adopt if we could. We so appreciate Katie’s total acceptance and loyalty to Abigail. It has been the driving force behind Abigail trying to learn to be more kind: she will never admit it but I think she wants to be like Katie in this regard.

Abigail is gorgeous which means that there is always a plethora of boys trying to vie for her attention. She is only 13 1/2 and has been dragged into the world of boys too soon for her own good. She has had two experiences where she has let boys too close and then felt suffocated. From a mother’s point of view this is a good thing, but it has also been hard to see Abigail trying to make sense of it all. I guess that is the part that makes letting your kids grow up the hardest: you don’t want them to hurt and you don’t want your kids to hurt others. It seems though that Abigail has learned a lot about herself from those experiences and that is all a mother can ask for really.

Take it all away. Say Abigail gets into a life-changing accident where she no longer is pretty or athletic or smart, what is she? I have thought about this often. One of Abigail’s life challenges is being praised for her abilities, it seems to mess with her sense of worth. She feels a pressure to live up to her picture perfect expectations. In fact this year at school when she had an assignment in choir to go out of  her comfort zone for a week, Abigail chose to wear sweats and no make-up to let go of her perfect image. Thank you to good teachers who really teach the important things in life, this is a project that will stay with Abigail forever. I hope she will learn to be true to herself and her morals and never do anything just for the sake of people pleasing.

Here are some inherent personality traits of Abigail:
curious
open-minded
determined
creative
hands on
energetic
adventurous
fun
funny
detail-oriented
risk-taker
courageous
analytical
observant
spontaneous
capable
durable

I love my Abigail. We adore her. We know she has it hard being the oldest but we so appreciate the example that she sets for her sisters. I am so proud to have such a capable daughter. I know she will be able to accomplish anything she wants to do and I can’t wait to see all that her life will hold. I just kind of hope that sometime somewhere down the road her and I will be able to take some cool adventures together. If I have to travel I want Abigail to come with me. She can figure out anything. She’s plain awesome.

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Sophia the Wise

The name Sophia means wise.
When my Sophia was born 
I took one look into her eyes
and I knew she was an old soul.
Sophia was on our short list,
I knew it meant wise,
and I knew the name belonged to this
little one.
Whenever I take the time to think about it,
I realize that I made the perfect name choice.
I was supported
when yesterday Sophia came home from school.
Her teacher is really into the Chinese zodiac
and Sophia’s class has been getting their fill.
Sophia said that she was born in the year of the snake
and that snakes are wise.
What a coinkydink.

I am so proud of my Sophia.
She is many of the traits listed above:
quiet, unassuming, prefers to work alone,
sympathetic, intuitive, and amorous.
She is an angel.
Truly.
She is also very talented.

I would love to take all the credit
for her compassion, kindness, and nurturing ways,
but she came to us with them.
I know that she is
not just special to me and LG
but she is also special to God.
She embodies God.
She embodies love.
She has blessed my life so much
and she makes me want to be
a better person.
The school rewarded her
yesterday
for being the way she is.
I told her she should call her Grammy
and tell her thanks
because she is so much like
my mother-in-law.

The funniest part of Sophia’s
character connection award
is that Sophia came home
and said,
“Mom, I was so weird-ed out.
I am 11,
I don’t want to be known
for love.”
I am so glad I don’t have to retire yet,
we obviously still  have a lot to learn
about love.
Well Sophia doesn’t,
she has it down.
Maybe I just need to explain.

Toddler survival

Last Sunday, we found out last minute that it was one of Caroline’s nursery teacher’s birthday. 
(Is that too many possessives in one sentence?)
Anyway, you know how we feel about Sabbath worship, so we couldn’t go to the store to get her a gift.
While having my Sunday nap, I woke up to an idea for a gift. I scrounged around the house to find appropriate pieces and made a homemade batch of cookies to include.
I thought the gift turned out cute even though it was completely made from stuff we found around the house.
And let’s face it, we all could use some tricks up our sleeves to survive the toddler years.

The Kid Nativities

Remember how I told you
we were going to be making
nativities at Cub Scouts.

Well I lied.
It took the girls and I
two hours to come up with this.

The hour Scouts has alloted per week
just wasn’t gonna cut it.

So I gave the boys the molding clay
and told them to create their own creche.

I was pretty partial to the pregnant Mary on a donkey.
It seemed to me like the artist must have some African roots.
I do believe this masterpiece
will be put away with tissue paper
and pulled out every year
to be displayed in a place of honor.
I also believe that today’s equivalent to a manger
is a plastic baby pool.

Wouldn’t you agree?
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Kid Nativity

Today at Cub Scouts
we will be talking about the ways we worship.

While I give a lesson about how
as members of
The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints
we worship our Savior Jesus Christ,
the boys will be keeping their hands busy with this project.

Thanks Aunt Rosemary for the great idea.
And thanks cousin Ryan
for making this so very lovely
twenty years ago.

Nothing better than a vintage art project.
I believe this would make even Martha proud.
Martha Stewart and Martha in the Bible.

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