Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting "Interactive"...

So, I use an app (or whatever they call 'em over there) on Facebook called  "Little One Pregnancy Calendar".  It's pretty cool!  It tracks approximate number of heartbeats (since baby's heart started beating, over 27 million here), approximate weight (around 11 ounces currently), length (about 11 inches), how many days "left" (only 126 total to due date, 105 for me!), and gives little bits of info that are kinda cool too.  They also have a "poll" section!  I love polls...so, I added them here as well!  On the left hand side under the "about me" section, you can now find all four polls and make your guesses!  I love to see what people think, even if I don't really want to "hear" what they think all the time.

I set the closing date on the "what am I" poll for July 5th at 9:30 in the morning (PST) since we have our second sonogram that day at 9:45 and I am being optimistic that baby will finally let us in on the secret!  The other three (height an weight at birth and the birthday week) are all set to close October 1st at 10 pm (PST again), unless the little one decides to make an early debut, then I will close the polls early.

In other "baby related" news...I found the cutest pattern for sewing reversible booties!  The instructions and pattern are currently sitting on my printer waiting to be dealt with, tomorrow.  I'm hoping I have enough Fat Quarters that I can make a cute little set of these without cutting into my larger pieces of fabric.  That being said though, I have plenty of fabric in boxes to make a cute little test pair of these!  The pattern came in 4 sizes too, so I'm starting with the second size up (don't want everything to stop fitting at the same time) and may make the largest size for the youngest nephew if I like how the pattern works up.

Also, we finally got our registry up and "mostly" running.  It currently has 3 strollers sitting on it though...the one we picked out in the store has horrible reviews though, so I added a second stroller that I had put on a wish list (before starting the registry) because it had awesome reviews.  The second one is also about half the price of the first one!  Then, today while I was supposed to be looking for items we haven't got on the list yet (still debating whether or not to add a full-size swing since we have a hand-me-down travel one), I found the "travel system" that has the car seat we have on our list!  It comes with a 3-wheeled jogging stroller that looks pretty darned nifty (and even has speakers built-in to plug an IPod into).  It, of course, is more expensive than both of the other strollers, but it does have the added bonus of coming with the car seat ($110 if we buy it separately).  Tomorrow the search continues to "fill out" the registry, even though we still don't have a gender, so nothing "specific" yet!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fillipo Berio Olive Oil...A Review

We all know olive oil is good for us, right?  I love using olive oil in my house, to the point of it is literally the only "liquid" oil that I keep on hand!  At least for eating that is...I "do" have a jug of vegetable oil, but it is restricted to the fryer only (and the odd batch of baby wipe solution...) and I have had the same jug for months (it is just enough oil to fill the fryer).

I use olive oil in place of non-stick cooking spray (Pam or the store-brand, whatever is cheapest usually) now that I have a Misto!  I actually have two Mistos, but one is used for oive oil, the other is a "backup" that I use with Lemon or Lime Juice in it...I'll even use it this summer to spray my lovely outdoor plants with a non-toxic (food based) pest control (otherwise known as Cayenne Pepper in water)!

When I was sent the bottle of Fillipo Berio Olive Oil as part of a BzzCampaign, I was super excited, I had just used the last of my olive oil!  I seem to luck out with these sorts of campaigns...it's like they "know" when I'm running low on a specific product!  So, I did a "happy dance" and promptly refilled my Misto.  Then, I cooked dinner...  Most recently, I found a recipe for a body scrub using Rose Petals, Chopped Fresh Mint, Sugar (table sugar, organic, or raw depending on how course you want your scrub), Coconut Oil, and Olive Oil!  I fully plan to use this oil when I get home (still in the hospital for my blood sugars through today) to make up a batch of this scrub!  I'll have to purchase some roses, but the Mint I have growing on the deck will be perfect for this and I can use up the last of that little box of sugar that is always stashed in the back of my cupboard.  The high quality of this oil, combined with the coconut oil (I use Spectrum Organic as well as LouAnna brand, so in theory, I could go totally Organic with this scrub if I bought "better" sugar and snagged the roses out of my neighbors yard (I don't think they've ever sprayed them with anything...)!  You know me though, I'll be buying pretty roses at the grocery store and probably using my LouAnna Coconut Oil because it is cheaper than the Organic one (though honestly, I can't tell the two apart)!

Some interesting tidbits about Olive Oil, specifically the Fillipo Berio Olive Oil...
  • Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats (the "good" kind)
  • There is no trans fat or cholesterol (this one is true if you don't cook with the oil...you can denature it though if you cook improperly, so just be warned there!)
  • The oil contains no sugar, salt, or gluten (well, duh..it's olive oil!)
  • Olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as help control blood pressure and blood sugars (Again, I'm skeptical here...I have very high blood pressure and am currently in the hospital because I can't seem to manage to keep my blood sugars under control!  I know I have extenuating circumstances, but as a 21+ year "vet" with Diabetes...I always take these claims with a big grain of salt.)
The above "facts" came from my information packet that came with the oil, with some of my own comments thrown in here and there as well.  There are so many ways you can use olive oil!  It makes a wonderful salad dressing (or an ingredient in a dressing), you can use it in place of other oils or butter in baked goods, a small drizzle of baked or broiled chicken (or fish) is an amazing addition as well!  There are also many "non-food" related uses as well!  Olive oil is an excellent choice in making your own baby wipe solution (I plan to keep the coconut oil version in the warmer and an olive oil version in a spray bottle for traveling), makeup remover solution (or used alone as an eye makeup remover), and even in a homemade body scrub (I cannot wait to get home and try this)!

If you have never tried olive oil before, or you just want to change thins up from your "usual" brand, give Fillipo Berio a try, you may like it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My, oh, My...It's Wednesday Already?

 This whole summer is going to be crazy busy...we have something going on with family and/or friends nearly every weekend between last weekend and the end of September!  We have a wedding to go to at the end of August, "we" (Garrick) have decided to skip his 20 year high school reunion in favor of visiting with friends that live across the state, one of our nephews will be here late next week (after I go spend a few days down in Central OR and bring him home with me) and will be staying with us through the July 4th weekend, July 5th is our second anatomy scan (hopefully baby will cooperate and we will find out what sort of "parts" the baby has), then on the 6th, we have a short appointment with our OB and are headed to Portland for that weekend (OK, we're staying in Vancouver, but ya know...)!  July 7th is the baby shower (I foresee my little "it" getting lots of yellow, green, and orange stuff...)!  After that, the weekdays free up a bit, but we still have plans every weekend...what a crazy time!

As far as this week goes, we were out of town visiting friends...this meant leaving our house Saturday morning to make it to the hotel in time to check in and then dinner (after a short trip to the mall, I needed new shoes), followed by an evening at the bar with many more friends (I know...I say I don't have any friends, I should qualify that better and say I don't have any local friends...besides the few I do have)!  We ended up spending the entire night talking and playing games with our friends and didn't manage to get any sleep that night!  Sunday morning, we got showered, had breakfast at the hotel, and then made a beeline to the nearest Starbucks for caffeine (and decaf for me and baby), followed by a sto pat Jack in the Box for "road drinks" (Diet Sodas).  Once on the road, it wasn't  long until we were in the middle of nowhere and my blood sugars decided not to behave (I had half a bag of Coconut M&M's in my purse and we were fairly close to a town).  We made a quick stop in at Burger King for a chicken sandwich and a small root beer, and then were on the road again!  We ended up getting home around 3:30 Sunday afternoon and after a quick trip to the vet to get Rosie (we board her at her vet's office when we need to go out of town and don't have anyone to watch all of our pets), we were home and finally in bed asleep by 4pm!  Monday was a typical day, except that at my OB appointment on Friday, my doctor decided it was time to reign in on my blood sugars by placing me in the hospital for a few days...Monday I got the call to be at the hospital at 8:30 the following morning.  So, I had to unpack the suitcase from the weekend to repack for a stay at "hotel hospital" for an undetermined length of time.

Also on Monday, we went to do the baby registry.  I'm not a huge fan of Babies R Us, but it is close to the house and they offer a few "perks" when you register with them.  First perk, we get 10% off anything left on the registry (either 1 month prior to or 1 month after the "event" date, but I can't remember which)...savings for us, woohoo!  The caveat there is that you only get the 10% savings on a single shopping trip (can we all say "expensive trip" together on the count of three?).  We also got signed up for a VIB (Very Important Baby) card, this is basically a gift card that anyone can put money on (it's on the registry as an option), I have an issue here too though...the card (and therefore the money put on the card) can only be used for diapers, wipes, baby food, and formula!  I need to call the info number to ask if cloth wipes and diapers count, otherwise I don't see this card being of any use to us...unless I fail miserably at making baby food and let's be honest, if I can keep the dog alive by making her food, I should be able to do the same for a baby, right?  Lastly, Babies R Us is expensive!  We put things on the list that we want/like, but I really hope that people do some shopping around and get whatever they choose to get for our little nugget (assuming anyone does) at a store that carries the "same" product for a better price!  A prime example of that is the infant car seat we put on it...it is the car seat we plan on getting, but we plan to purchase it ourselves from Baby Depot (in Burlington Coat Factory) for about $30 less than the one on the registry!  Some things are sorta kinda on there twice...there's a "baby essentials" gift set that has a bunch of crib sheets and changing pad covers that also comes with a changing pad (I really love this set in both the yellow/green combo and the yellow/white combo), but at $80, I don't think anyone will actually get it.  So, we also added a plain, no frills changing pad (it happens to be BRU brand, but any would really do) along with 4 or 5 different changing pads (more for the color than whatever design is on them). Really, I just know we need the pad for atop the dressers I have yet to build and enough covers for the pad so that we can change the baby on a clean surface!  I feel horrible that I don't "care" what they look like, but I do know that right now (until we know what we're having), I'm sticking to the yellows, greens, and browns because they'll work either way.

Lunch today, minus a slice of bread...

So, here we sit on Wednesday already! I can't believe how fast this week has just flown by!  On the bright side, we hit the 21 week mark today!  Go us!  I did see my OB this morning and he plans (at least for now) to send me home tomorrow morning, but won't say "for sure" until he comes to see me then.  Which means I may or may not have a ride home tomorrow.  I know Garrick will either do it himself or arrange a ride, but I really hate that he has to take time out of work to deal with this when it feels like a mostly wasted stay for me.  They have about as good of control on my sugars as I have been having at home!  Yesterday I was low all day (though I would not have been had I been home, I would have treated the low more aggressively to start) and today has been bouncing between what I think of as "perfect" readings and being around 200!  I finally figured out this whole "hospital food" thing too...since I'm Diabetic, I don't have the luxury of having anything I want and with the restricted carb counts at each meal, I have to be very careful what I pick or I will starve!  I didn't order my lunch yesterday, I let them pick it for me...I got a single tiny tortilla with some chicken in it, a teeny packet of salsa, 1/3 cup of brown rice, and a fruit cup...I was so hungry by the time dinner got to me that I nearly inhaled it!  y breakfast this morning, I have the "system" worked out though...I ordered scrambled eggs, sausage, lite yogurt, cottage cheese, decaf coffee, hot chocolate (sugar free), whole milk (for the coffee), and a strawberry jello (sugar free)!  Without eating the Jell-O (I have it saved in the fridge for later), I was stuffed!  The key is to pick several lower carb options!  For lunch I did the same thing...except I know the tech who took my food order thinks I'm nuts.  I ordered half of a sandwich (1 slice of bread, ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and mustard), a garden side salad with Ranch, a fresh fruit cup (the melon in it is really yummy), another Jell-o (sugar free again and this time "tropical", it was gross), and a chef salad (included a sliced hard boiled egg, some turkey meat, 4 tiny cheese cubes, cucumbers, and a few cherry tomatoes)!  The tech asked me if I was sure I wanted the side salad since I ordered a "big" salad too, lol!  Keep in mind though, the side salad is like 4 bites of lettuce with a single slice of cucumber and one cherry tomato...  Again, I'm stuffed, but really looking forward to dinner tonight (as soon as I get it ordered)!  I sleep much better when I'm not starving...last night was miserable and the night nurse spent from 7pm on trying to force feed me a sleeping pill!  She also tried to tell me I needed to have an IV "access" line put in, but I turned her down on both the unneeded sleep aide and the IV line, I sleep very lightly in places that are not my own bed, but I sleep just fine between the wake ups (for which I am fully awake for and not groggy)...I also have no need for an IV...all they are giving me is insulin and my BP pills!

Neutrogena Cosmetics...A Review

I received three revitalizing lip balms (in Sunny Berry, Healthy Blush, and Petal Glow), Cosmic Black eyeliner, and a brightening eye perfector in Buff as part of my BzzKit for the Neutrogena Cosmetics campaign. By now, if you read my blog enough, the product reviews anyway, you know that as a BzzAgent, when I get into a campaign for a product, they (generally) send the product to me free of charge in exchange for word of mouth advertising (I try the product and tell you all how much I love/hate it and then you go buy it, in theory)!  Currently, I am also involved in BzzCampaigns for Fillipo Berio Olive Oil and Dr Scholl's for Her High Heels as well.  By the way, does anyone own a pair of size 10w heels I can borrow...I don't own a single pair of high heels!  And high heel shoe inserts in my most recent pair of ballet flats just isn't cutting the mustard...  At any rate, on with the review!

As a gal that doesn’t wear a lot of makeup (none most of the time really), I was skeptical as to how much use I would get out of these or even if I would like them (the reason I usually don’t wear any make up)!  As it turns out, I love this make up!  I suppose I just wasn’t trying the “right make up” before.  The lip balms feel great on my lips and do indeed leave my lips with a healthy pinkish glow long after the balm has worn away for a nice “lip look” without having to reapply my make up!  I love this feature especially because I generally only put lip colors on at home and then use a regular chap stick if I need any added moisture later in the day, though I don’t even really need that as long as I remember to add a little color to my lips before I leave.  The “taste” of the balm is pleasant too, it doesn’t feel or taste like I have a factory floor full of toxic fumes riding around on my lips (we all know that first time you try a new lip color and you breathe in through your mouth right after putting it on…). At $8.99 per color, I’m ready to go out and buy one of each of the remaining three colors as well as buy “backups” of the three I have!  I like that the colors aren’t too strong and don’t appear to go on as a thick “paste” like other brands I have tried.

The brightening eye perfector has replaced my under eye concealer and for the most part, any eye color I may have lying about!  It wakes up my eyes all on its own and I don’t feel the need to add anything else to feel “put together”, even on date night!  Available in four shades, Fair, Buff, Light, and Medium…most women should be able to get a shade that works perfectly with their skin tone.  At $13.99 a tube though, it is pricey, but coming from one “non-make up wearing convert” to any others, I feel it is well worth the price!  Since it has a built in brush, it is very easy to pack with you if you feel the need to reapply throughout the day or before an evening out, I find it unnecessary to do so though.  Cleaning up after using this product is a breeze too, just wipe the brush with some toilet paper (or other dry cleaning equipment) and put the cap back on, do not get it wet!

I have less experience with eyeliner than most 6 year old girls…it isn’t something I use (ever) and have been too intimidated by the black color of this one to really try it!  In the interest of fully trying everything though, I have given this one a shot as well…others who have used it probably have a better grasp of this product, but there are a few things I really like about it as well.  First, it does have a bit of “sparkle” to it, giving the illusion of whiter whites to your eyes.  It also goes on very smooth, others I have tried in the past sort of catch a crease near the eye and things can go horribly wrong so very fast there!  Each eye liner comes with a sharpener “built in”, when I saw this, I thought that it meant you could just twist the pencil part up and it was always sharp (see, I told you I know nothing about this stuff), but rather, the opposite end comes off to reveal a teeny tiny little pencil sharpener!  I know, I shouldn’t get so excited over a sharpener, but it is really cute (this could totally be pregnancy hormones talking though).  Attached to the sharpener is also a “smudger” so you can take that hard line of eye liner and create a blurred, smoky look as well (double duty liner)!  Using the smudging tool definitely softens the harshness of the liner and can tone the very black color of the Cosmic Black to a darker shade of grey.  I imagine with the right eye shadow shades to go with this, I could even pull off a decent look!  This product is retailed at $7.99 and comes in four shades as well (Cosmic Black, Brushed Pewter, Spiced Chocolate, and Twilight Blue).  While I feel like the Cosmic Black may not be the right color choice for me, I am really interested in getting the Spiced Chocolate!  I wear a lot of browns and greens as far as clothing and am generally more comfortable with the earth-tones when I do wear make up.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time using the cosmetic products that Neutrogena sent for me to try (free of charge, my favorite part of any new BzzCampaign, but not everyone)!  I will be purchasing more of them in the near and far future and I can see them giving me an easy way to look “well made up” even when we begin a=our next journey from expectant parents into the sleep-deprived parents of a newborn in just a few short months!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Darn Baby!

Clearest shot we got through the whole visit...
This child is proving to be just as "difficult" as it's Mother and Father!  Yesterday "the baby" spent all day using my various organs as punching bags.  Today though?  On the day of the ultrasound?  Nothing!  Little bugger was pointed facing my spine, wrapped in a tight little ball!  Baby's arms were straight down at its sides, legs crossed and "its" ankles were touching its forehead!

So, we still don't have a "for sure" if we are having a boy or a girl and won't until July 5th (assuming our little "nugget" decides to cooperate at that visit)...but we did catch a half second glimpse and it might be a boy (75% chance it's a boy).  I guess the shower on July 7th will be a sort of "Gender Reveal" party as well, lol!  Invites should be going out soon...(I need to get the rest of "my" list to my sister still) as "gender neutral, but leaning toward the blue side".

In other "news", we decided to buy a lotto ticket today.  I mean, wouldn't $205 million be a nice way to start a college fund and pay off a few bills? After we purchased the ticket though, we notice a little sign off to the side reading "buy a $10 lotto ticket and you could instantly win a $50 gift card", well wouldn't that be nice "we" think to each other!  Guess what?  We won a $50 gift card!  While Garrick was over waiting in line to get "our" winnings on that, I decided to purchase a $2 scratch-off ticket, something I have not done since moving to Washington.  Once home, I played my ticket (a crossword one, I really love those kind).  My $2 ticket won as well!  This time only $5, but that is $3 more than I started my day with!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Week in a Ramble...

Staying "busy" this week!  Well, not as busy as  I "could" be, but I have got a few things accomplished so far.

Yesterday, I put together a cheap shelving unit to hold all of our "needs charging" stuff (cell phones, Nintendo DS, iPads, Nook, etc...).  Really, it's a shelving unit to hold CD's and DVD's, but it was just the right size to stick at the end of our hallway!  Once we get the offices moved downstairs, it'll be nice to be able to charge cell phones and such near where we sleep and spend most of our time...though that may change with moving the offices downstairs!

I also got a small batch of Banana Chips made using my new Food Dehydrator!  I only bought 3 smallish (medium) bananas, so only got one and a half trays out of the bananas.  It was enough to make maybe 3/4 of a cup once dried, I'll get lots more next time!  Eight to 10 bananas should fill my dehydrator. 

I also (finally) got around to trying that fresh cheese recipe yesterday!  I used half a gallon of Whole milk (the recipe called for raw milk, but store-bought pasteurized milk worked fine), 4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (also known as 1/4 cup, but I used my "measure from above" cup that is marked in tablespoons), and 1/2 Tablespoon of Salt (table variety, but to be different I could have used the Black Salt...).  I wasn't really sure how long to let the milk go at a "slow boil", so once it was immediately starting to produce tiny bubbles when I stopped whisking (I used my silicone coated  whisk so I didn't scratch my pot, the original recipe says to stir...her photos looked to have larger curds than I got, but I love the texture I got).  I turned off the heat and started to drizzle the vinegar in, stirring the whole time.  I had added about half the vinegar before the curds and whey started to separate, in fact I was just beginning to think I had messed something up when it "magically" became two distinct textures in the pot (the curds are solid and the whey looks like a pale yellow liquid)!  To strain it, I layered a tightly woven tea towel into a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl.  Then, I laid a double thickness of cheesecloth in the towel.  You really don't need both the cheesecloth and the towel, one or the other would work fine, I just don't think my cheesecloth could handle the cheese on its own (it's the cheap stuff you can get at the grocery store in a little package).  Next time, I'll use just the towel!  To make a harder cheese (think cheese ball here), I added the salt (as suggested in the recipe).  However, next time I think I won't out quite so much salt in, it made the end product very salty!  I dumped my curds into an empty bowl to mix in the salt, it was still too hot to really handle, and I wanted to make sure the salt got distributed.  The recipe says to hang the cheese for several hours (after a few other "get the moisture out" steps.  I'm plain out of places to hang things in my kitchen (ding room, living room, bedroom, office, etc...), so I had to do a bit of thinking about how and where I was going to hang my cheese.  My solution came in the form of my banana hook!  My particular hook happens to be attached to a basket (for fruit and veggies), but since we have never been really "good" about having a spot to keep said basket, it normally just hides in a closet.  It made the perfect place to hang my cheese though!  I set the large bowl I used to catch the Whey under the cheese (in the basket) and tied the towel around the hook for the bananas!  Not only was it out of the way, but I could transport it to other locations (since it was sitting on my stove-top, that came in really handy).  The cheese is now in the refrigerator, along with the (cleaned out, empty) half gallon container, which now is nearly full of Whey!  I was a little surprised with how much Whey came out of the process!  I really don't know why I was though...the cheese ball that was produced was actually quite small, roughly one cup of cheese was produced using one-half gallon of milk.  Without the salt to help harden the cheese, this same recipe makes fresh Ricotta cheese.  It's an extra step, but if I was going to try my hand at making a Lasagna...I think this would be perfect in it!

Today, I have already cleaned the dehydrator's trays (sticky bananas and no wire mesh inserts) and drug out the meat slicer (I guess I should just call it a slicer).  I started peeling my apples because I generally don't like the skins on Apple Chips, but after one apple, I decided to leave the rest with their skins on!  So, I got the slicer set up and began slicing away at the bag of small, red apples I bought over the weekend.  After the bananas yesterday, I was assuming I could do the whole bag of apples (8 apples in total), but was so glad I stopped slicing after 3 apples to load a few trays!  My 3 small apples filled my dehydrator!  I'm glad I got this batch going early in the day now, I'll have an idea of how long they take to dry and came hopefully do another batch overnight tonight.  We're going out of town this weekend for an overnight trip and I want to take some dried fruit with me for snacks!  I also still have a Cantaloupe and a small (personal sized) Watermelon to dry out this week (though one may have to wait until I get home based on the time I have left and other things going on toward the end of the week).

I also need to make another batch of Dog Food up today, mostly because we are down to one serving left of the Hamburger/Veggie/Pasta food I made last weekend.  We actually have a large bag in the freezer with three and a half days worth of the pasta meal in the freezer, but I am/was trying to get ahead of the game (again because of the trip out of town).  So, I need to start the "Pumpkin Barley with Turkey" recipe soon so it has time to cool and I can bag it up.  My plan is to keep out three day's worth of food (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) and freeze the rest in single day bags.  That way, when we get home of Sunday, I can pull out a few bags and they will be thawed and ready to serve by Monday morning.  For her stay at the vet, I'm not sure what we will do about food...Rosie has been getting a bag of homemade food in the morning and a can of food in the evening.  Plus, as treats (and pill pockets), she has been getting bits of hot dog and other softer foods that I know she likes.  This morning, I broke up one of the apple slices into "easy to swallow" bits for her, the whole slice was just too hard for her to eat!

In the realm of "those pets that live under my deck"...Clyde has decided to go broody!  Gah!  Of course, she waits until I am going to be gone and can't really do anything about it...  I know she just wants to hatch out some cute baby chickens and be a Mom, but I can't have any more chickens, so the answer is no right now!  I noticed it "for sure" yesterday and immediately went down and pulled the fake eggs out of the nest.  This was all I had to do when Henrietta did this in the Fall, so here's hoping!  I've also been making sure I go get the eggs as soon as I see one has been laid.  This morning, when I went to get the egg I saw I also turned the coop lights on to make it not as dark and "homey" for brooding in, I'll turn the light off tonight when I go down to put any stray nesters back up on the roost for the night.  When Clyde decides to sleep in a nest box, unfortunately, so does Henri!  But, last night all I had to do was put Clyde on the roost and Henri followed her up there too (they really are each others shadow), they even stayed on the roost the rest of the night, so I don't think she's as set on brooding as she thinks she is...

My plants are in a love/hate relationship with this weather lately!  The tomatoes are doing well up on the deck, growing inches a day it seems!  But, the lack of sunshine this week is really taking it's toll on them!  As is the colder weather...just past noon today and it is currently warmer in Anchorage, Alaska than it is at my house!  The Rhubarb is thriving in this weather though...especially the set of 6 plants that don't have a hose going out to them yet!  We did buy hoses this last weekend, but I'm not going out in the rain to set them up.  Even the Raspberries are enjoying the added moisture, or it could have been the buzzing bees from a few weeks ago, but I have little fruits forming!  I wasn't expecting any fruit from them this year because they are still such tiny plants!

My weeks just keep getting busier too!  While the weekdays look fairly "clear" if you were to peek at my calendar, they are really filled with my trying to be domestic and all that entails...I hate laundry (putting it away, I actually like washing it), so I have been avoiding that for a few days.  I love to cook, but hate to do the clean up.  But, with only a few really "good" pans, I have to wash dishes just to make the things I need to make (like the dog food)!  Cleaning...this is really something I don't mind, but I have to be "in the mood" for it and it never seems to coincide with when (or how) Garrick gets the same bug!  It's also not something I have been in the mood to do for quite some time, lol.  I'm not a complete slob, we don't live in a filthy, stinky mess...bu it is cluttered and "full".  This week has it's on "busy-ness" too.  On Friday we have our ultrasound!  This is the one where we will hopefully see girl or boy parts!  Yikes, that came up fast (and oh so slow at the same time)!  Because we'll be out of town this weekend, we won't be registering immediately, that will have to wait until next week at some point!  However, the baby shower is right around the corner (first weekend in July), so I can't put it off too long!  We also have plnas to go out to dinner with friends on Friday night...so it'll be a long day.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yet Another Diaper Option...

Thanks to my lovely sister (she writes  The Mom, The Wife, The Low-Carber and the Learning Coach, though I wish she'd shorten that to something I could remember...), I have yet another option in my search for "affordable" cloth diapering options!

Giggle Life Baby Products has some interesting cloth diapers...each diaper they sell comes with 2 inserts (infant and toddler sizes)!  To purchase one diaper (and 2 inserts) they cost $16.99 each (out of my price range)!  However, if you scroll down the page a bit farther, you can get 38 diapers (and 76 inserts) for the "low" price of $249.99 (or $6.58 per diaper, assuming "free" inserts since they all come with them)!  Keeping in mind that I think finding a used cloth diaper for under $10 is a steal...these are right up my alley!  12 colors...that's 3 of each color and 2 extras (no pink or flowers if it's a boy though...)!

The only issue I currently have is coming up with a solid chunk of $250 to purchase these bad boys with!  GLBP does offer these with free shipping, so that's even more savings, but since we just bought a new car (taking on car payments again after not having any for about 6 months), had to put almost $2000 on the credit card for the dog (she ended up having 21 teeth removed), and purchasing our new bed a few months ago...things are feeling a bit tight these days.  Add to that the fact that we know this baby is gonna cost us an arm (if not a leg too), in "stuff" as well as hospital bills (my fibroid surgery last October cost us roughly $2000 out of pocket, but that isn't bad considering it was a $50,000 surgery and hospital stay). 

I'm sure I have plenty of time to get this purchased...I'm just having a mini panic attack today...I'm 19 weeks and a few days, meaning we are already in the back half of this pregnancy!  We only have another 17.5 weeks (or so) to go and nothing is done yet! 

On the plus side of finding these "cheap" diapers, I can use all that material I have been amassing for diapers for other projects...like burp cloths and bibs! The photo on the left is a set of 7 bibs I made for nephew #4 last year.  My favorite out of all of them is the denim one with the sailboat on it!  I used an old piece of jeans that I have been packing around for years (I used to wear that pair until they ripped...I still wear the top half as shorts every now and then), for the back, I used a piece of cotton fabric that has the look of a pieced together quilt, the sailboat also came from that fabric.  The one in entirely reversible for two separate looks!  Going clockwise from the denim, the next one was made from Corduroy!  The funky thing in the middle is a giant "W" (nephew #4's First initial), it was the first one I made, so it isn't "perfect", but it is also reversible, I sewed the "W" on after putting it all together, so there is the outline of a "W" on the back as well.  The Ducky one is flannel and came from leftover material that I used to make nephew #1 a travel pillow sized pillowcase (that he got so attached to that he slept with it even when it was nothing more than a few strips of worm out material tied onto the pillow), the Cookie Monster print is left from another travel pillow I made...this one though was supposed to be a replacement for the Ducks when it wore out...it didn't work!  The blue fabric with green turtles is also a flannel...this was my Christmas gift to Nephew #4 (the other 5 were given as a "welcome to the world" gift in and on the diaper cake I built!  The top bib was a Christmas print, it has snowflakes and reindeer all over it.  That one also got fusible backing on it, that's why it looks a little stiffer.

His Christmas present was a Travel pillow (and pillow case), the two bibs and two Burp cloths.  I made all 5 pieces from 1 yard of fabric!  The burp cloths have a dark blue rayon-like fabric as the backing and each got a different decorative stitch around to give the solid side a "look" that wasn't quite so plain.  The one pictured was a simple design that I thought looked very "manly", while the one not pictured has a Tulip trim that I just love using!  The tulip trimmed one also got a large button hole stitched into one corner (I made a booboo on the trim, but it looked like an "on purpose" thing thing the button hole there!  My sister said I should have put a hole in the other one too!  Nephew #4 loves his burp rag/small blanket so much!  With one of those rings that are so popular for babies, the burp rag easily attaches to the car seat, stroller, or even the baby carrier and is within easy reach for baby to play with (and the side nearest the ring is always ready if Mom needs to clean up a little drool)!

Another option for "all this fabric" I have is pacifier holder!  I made one for Nephew #4 from the same fabric as the Blue bib with reindeer.  Even though my sister was planning on not using pacifiers (she has since wised up), it was also the perfect size to fold up one of those bibs and keep it clean and easy to reach!  I also made a second one of these after Christmas as an accompaniment to a purse I made for my Mother, I though it might work as a cell phone holder (her phone is too large), but it is handy to use for other small things you don't want to go digging for at the bottom of the bag (chap-stick, Tums, change...).  I suggest paying attention to the way your pattern is on the fabric for something like this though...For the one pictured, it didn't matter but the bird fabric I used it really did matter!  This would be fun to see done it stripes I think.

Well, time for me to go get the screwdriver I bought last weekend (because we can't find any of our other sets) and see if I can't get the crib that was given to us together!  This should be "fun" since it came with no instructions...I do have an advantage though...it is identical to the crib my parents had for me (and my sister) and I did help put it together when Nephew #1 was born!  I really love the look of the crib...this one is going to "live" in our soon to be office space downstairs to be used for naps and such while we're downstairs.  If nothing else, it'll make a handy diaper changing space away from the majority of cat and dog hair!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cloth Diaper "Choices"...

I "found" this article today (it was posted on Facebook by Sweet REpeat Kid's Resale Boutique originally).  It's one of those hard things to justify with people when they find out we (I mostly) are planning to 100% cloth diaper, no disposables here!  Some people are put off because "plastics" are more convenient, although I am well aware of the stench those suckers put off...  I get a lot of "Well, you'll want disposables for when you leave the house" comments, even from family!  Honestly though, what do these same people think happens to little ones pretty clothes when said disposable doesn't "catch" all the mess?  You toss it in a bag (plastic grocery bag, Ziploc, whatever) and bring it home to wash it...so why can't I do the same with my diapers?  Seems just as convenient to me anyway.

I don't have a very good diaper stash yet though...I have purchased a whopping 8 diapers as of right now, I'm sorta kinda holding off until next week when we will hopefully (fingers, toes, legs, arms crossed) find out if our little one is a boy or a girl!  I know it's just diapers, but most of what the resale shop has had in stock are pinks and purples and while I don't see any issue in putting a little boy in a pink diaper, I don't really want to stock up on them either! 

On my To Do list, is making a stash of snail shell diapers...I have the fabric all washed, ironed, and ready to go to in roughly 10 prints!  With a minimum of 1 yard of each print, I have enough to make somewhere around 20 to 30 diaper shells in the small size!  Of course, I don't plan on making quite that many...I'd like to make 2 in each print and then make matching bibs if I can, maybe some burp cloths...or maybe even just save some of the fabrics for another project down the road!  I also have plenty of flannel to make some cloth wipes out of.  My main issue and the reason I still don't have the diapers made has been just cutting out the pattern, I hate that step!  Once I get them all cut, it shouldn't take more than a day or two to get them all sewed up and ready to use!

Other options, of course, are to purchase more pre-made cloth diapers.  Also found in the article I linked way up at the top, I found my way today to Sweet Bottoms, a store that appears to be based in North Carolina (though I could be incorrect about that).  I love the "deal of the day" feature, it's like a mini sale that changes every 24 hours!  Of course, today's item I'm not super thrilled about, but mainly because even at the discount, I find it out of my self-imposed price limit per diaper (under $15 for new, under $10 for used).  A few other reasons I like this site though...
  • the diaper trial--choose any number of styles from 20 choices (you can choose 1 or up to all 20)
    • price here ranges from $7.50 to $24.95 per item ($352.80 for one of everything)
    • This option lets you try a bunch of different styles without commiting a ton of money to any one style.
  •  Newborn Diaper "Rental"--You can return these for store credit or a refund
    • For $215, you get 24 new/used newborn sized diapers to use for 3 months
    • When you return them, you get either $100 of store credit or a $90 refund, your choice
  •  They offer all sorts of baby "stuff"...but those two are my current favorites!
Another option we can consider is just using a diaper service...there is one in town, Babyland Diaper Service.  They recommend 80 diapers a week (11 diapers a day) for a newborn, but I would feel more comfortable with starting at 100 (14 diapers a day) and seeing what we had "leftover" at the end of a week!  100 diapers a week is charged at $19 ($76 a month).  Not "too" bad if you compare it to the cost of cheap disposables, it could actually work out cheaper if you use the more expensive brands!  But, these are diapers that you have to trust other people to get clean and use detergents that won't irritate little skin!  I realize this is what they do for a living, but that doesn't mean some babies don't have issues with it!  I'd probably consider this option more seriously if they had better prices or at least had a little competition in town...but since they are the "only choice" as far as diaper delivery services...I suppose they can charge whatever they like!  I also don't think their website has been updated in the past 2 decades...this is always a red flag for me.

I guess I'm really planning on sticking to making them or buying them when I can find them for cheap...but there are our other "options", lol.