Monday, August 19, 2013

On Break

So if you couldn't guess by now, I'm taking a big fat break from blogging. I've been soaking in every moment of being a mom to my little girl who is 6 months old now, and my busy 2.5 year old. 

I hope everyone is having the best summer ever! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Easy Peasy Bandanna Bibs


So my little girl is almost 4 months old and drooling like crazy now! It's pretty funny that I didn't know what drool bibs were our first time around since baby #1 didn't drool hardly at all!

I went out searching for some cute bibs for her and couldn't find any I liked. I liked the style of the bandanna bibs, but I didn't like the fabric used... It price.

I zipped off to the fabric store a couple of weekends ago and bought the following supplies. I've been able to make 12 bibs so far.

13" of each fabric. I used 3 cotton and 3 flannel cotton pieces.

A pack of snaps (mine say they are for jersey... And there are ones you can get with the tool included that crimps/fastens them down in the fabric)

Spool of white (I picked my fabric so that they would all coordinate fine with white,)

Steps:
I have a rotary cutter and self healing Matt which makes cutting fabric precisely and quickly a breeze.

I cut out 12" squares, then cut those in half to make triangles.

I sewed the triangles right side to right side with one cotton piece and one flannel piece. I left a small opening so that I could turn the triangles right side out.

I used a chopstick to help me turn the fabric right side out. I didn't bother raven seeing them shut since I did top stitches around the edge to finish the sewing.

Then at the end I popped the snaps on. Then that was that. So so easy. Sew easy?! Baha.

Enjoy!



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Shop is Back Open


So I've done it! I opened my Etsy shop back up today. I'm slowing going over all of my inventory and listing today. I didn't think this would be as fun as it is!

Also, this is kind of interesting. I don't have too much to tell about my shop, but there is a new "About" section on Etsy's stores. Here is mine! 


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Nesting Doll Onsies - DIY Babushka Baby Shirt


A small dilemma we have had lately, is that Baby #2 is a girl but is wearing a little boy's, Baby #1's hand-me downs. I personally don't like to dress my littlest one in head to toe pink anyway, so like I said, small dilemma. I also don't want her looking like a boy so I got to thinking about how to "girlie" some of baby boy's hand me downs for my little girl. I've seem lots of ideas on Pinterest on how to doll up plain onsies to make them more interesting, but none of them were really my style.

If you read my blog, you might have seen my post about my collection of Russian Nesting dolls/ Matryoshka dolls. I really like them and have gathered a number of them over the years, so I had a lot of reference to work from for this project. I've used fabric paints with much success in the past so I messed around a bit and came up with these. 

Its easier than it looks! 

This is what I used: 

1 small paintbrush
primary set of fabric paint (blue, yellow, red, black)
plain onsies
sticker paper (I used Avery Labels)
scissors
scrap cardboard (like from a cereal box)

These are the steps I took: 

1. Draw the basic Nesting doll shape, or you can print out this jpg. image out on the sticker paper. The doll is about 6x4 inches on a 0-3 month sized onsie.  

2. Cut out the doll's body shape. 

3. Remove the paper off the back of the sticker and place the sticker where you want the doll to go on the onsie. 

4. Stuff some scrap cardboard into the shirt before you start to paint, or the paint might go through to the backside of the shirt. You might want to use a couple clips to clip the fabric onto the carboard so it doesn't move around. I didn't since I've got a pretty steady painting hand. 

5. Paint around the outside of the stencil onto the shirt. Work with small amounts of paint in dashes around the doll's shape. If you feel your line getting wiggly, just pull the brush towards the centre of the stencil then start again. It doesn't need to be perfect. In fact, I highly suggest not to get too intense about keeping things tight, loosen up, it will look great in the end after all the details are added. Its also best to do two coats rather than one thick one. 

6. Cut out the head scarf shape (the oval for the face and the line below it). I worked from the same sticker paper. I just folded the paper non sticky side to non sticky side symmetrically and in half, then cut out the headscarf shape. 

7. Apply the headscarf shape sticker where you want it to be. 

8. Paint the oval for the face and line under it. 

9. Wait about half an hour until these lines are nice and dry. 

10. Embellish and be creative filling in the rest of the features of the doll. If you need inspiration there are lots of pictures online of nesting dolls. I used mine as reference for painting the eyes, and flowers on their tummies. For finer details like lips, eyes and outlines of flowers, I used the paint directly from the tube of fabric paint. You could also just use a tiny paintbrush! 



Let me know if you have any questions. 

Enjoy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Becoming a Mom of Two

Jesse and I had a dream. Our dream came true when Elise was born. We talked about having a little girl on day and naming her Elise even back while we were still dating.

So far, she has been a little dream baby too. She is easy to take care of, she nurses well and sleeps well as long as she is super close to me. Sometimes this closeness isn't easily achieved when #1 is running around and has been potty training. He is a very well behaved two year old, in my humble opinion, but still needs to be chased down and taken by the hand most days.

Last week was my first week alone at home with the two of them and it went better than I thought. I was anticipating both of them screaming at me, at the same time all day until Dad came home. I did have a few weak moments (read: moments when I needed to walk away take a deep breaths) but we are really getting into the groove now that I've learned to let things slide. Huh? Like what?

I was majorly stressed out about how tidy things were at home. I'm not a neat freak, but I like everything to be in its place... Or is that the definition of a neat freak? Anyway, I was neglecting more important things like creatively engaging our toddler and resting for constantly tidying... And that's what it means to have a toddler in your home: constantly tidying. I had a really great chat with my mom about it. I admitted to her that ironically it was her voice that I heard in my head saying "a place for everything and everything in its place", so I was a bit surprised but even more affirmed when she said I need to let it go. In her experience of having four children in seven years, she too used to stress and over exert herself when it came to tidying. She said, "You're not going to regret not having a cleaner home, but you will regret not enjoying your children".

It really hit me... It is more important to play with my kids than to clean up after them. I realize the list is never ending and if I do the list I will be too late. They grow up so fast.

Friday, January 18, 2013

SPUD: Organic Grocery Delivery Service


Last week we decided to order from SPUD, a local organic grocery delivery service. We are getting another delivery again tomorrow. I am super excited about it and I wish we started doing this earlier!

Since I started on as a case study volunteer with a dear friend of mine, Rae-lynn, who is studying to become a nutritionist, we as a family have been trying to mostly eat unprocessed and organic. She is particularly interested in nutrition during pregnancy and post postpartum and one of my biggest complaints during pregnancy is how tired I am. Rae-lynn explained to me how when we are eating food with additives, pesticides, preservatives, you name it, our bodies have to work really hard to break down these chemicals or will even be confused about what to do with them. Our bodies are being overrun. Many of these chemicals will stay in the body being shuffled around from organ to organ because the body just doesn't know what to do with them. Sounds tiring.

Our family was already eating "happy meat" at home, since we stopped being vegetarians (I could write a whole other post about this), that's hormone free and organically raised, so it wasn't a big jump for us to start looking for organic everything else too.

The biggest reason we weren't eating organic everything already, was the price... We are willing to pay more for organic meat because we only eat meat up to twice a week at home. When I see cheap meat on sale that seems "too good to be true" my thoughts are: someone had to pay... meaning the poor animal, and probably the workers at the farm, processing/slaughterhouse, and grocery store. When I saw cheap produce I didn't care so much, but as Rae-lynn intelligently pointed out, you won't have to buy as much because organic food is REAL food: it is more nutritional and more satisfying.

After a week of eating about 80% organic all of the time I really noticed a difference with my energy levels. Also, I wasn't having any notorious pregnant lady uncontrollable cravings... no cravings at all actually. I was feeling very satisfied and my mood was even more controllable. YAY! So I'm definitely a believer. Organic makes a big difference.



We live in North Delta, so we don't have any big organic grocers like Choices, Capers, or Whole Foods (we lovingly call "Whole Paycheck") nearby. We have a small organic grocery store about 25 minutes from here and then a small selection of organic veggies and fruit at the regular old Save-on Foods and Superstore. I need to go to all three of these grocery stores to get enough organic groceries to last us for the week. It is time consuming, uneconomical (there is lots of driving) and really annoying to say the least.

One night, a couple weeks ago now, I started to look into getting a CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture). We really wanted to get one last year, but we were to late on the draw and couldn't find any farms who had shares left. There are lots available now though for this year! But, we couldn't find any that had a pick up location that was closer to us than White Rock... drive out to White rock every Sunday? No thanks... the other option was to become a "pick-up location" for other share holders of the program. This idea was tempting, but then I had visions of having to answer the door in my nighty with a new baby at my breast and Ezra running around naked when someone wanted to pick up their produce... no thank-you. Maybe we will look into this again when the kids are a bit older.

Then, I remembered about SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery): a service that my employers at Pyrrha used to use. Pyrrha ordered fresh fruit for us, who worked in the studio, and I remembered really enjoying it. Pretty awesome employers, right? I checked out SPUD's website and found out that when they started, they were actually inspired by a CSA program. They only stock organic groceries, they concentrate and value supporting local farmers and other types of food suppliers which we do too! PLUS they offer free delivery on most orders (for us we need to order at least $50 worth from them to qualify).

I was able to order everything organic from SPUD that we need for the week, including milk, meat, snacks, bread alongside fresh fruits and veggies. Not only do I not have to haul my very pregnant self and toddler out to go to three different stores now, but we got everything delivered to our door packaged carefully in a reusable Rubbermaid bin. 

Back to my biggest original concern about buying organic... it can be pricey. At SPUD, their prices are fairly competitive. I've compared and found that their meat is the same, if not a little cheaper than the closest local organic grocery store by our house. Their produce is priced similar to what I've found and the store, but I am assuming that once our local farmers are in growing season again this will get better since we plan on buying and eating produce that is in season to our area. I should also say, that the produce I got from SPUD was much nicer! It was fresher! Its probably because not as many people value organic in the area we live, but the produce in the stores here is always withered, and small.

This weeks order
There are other ways we can plan to save time and money using SPUD besides the obvious one being saving money on gas such as: buying in case lots, shopping their weekly specials, creating a standing order (which they offer 5% off of many items when you do this), and taking advantage of their referral program.

Why didn't I do this sooner? Is all I have to ask.

Enjoy!
Gabrielle

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

3rd Trimester Buddies

I'm full term now, well in my thirst trimester with baby #2. Since I wrote about what got me through my first and second trimesters, I thought I might as well share what has helped with the last! As I look at this collage I notice they all have to do with getting sleep in one way or the other. Good sleep is so so so important at this stage! I don't want to be tired when I go into labor. Its getting harder to fall asleep and stay asleep these days.

Here are some items I have found helpful during this time: 

1. A good lip balm! I've been enjoying Burt Bee's Lip Balm Tube on my lips. I'm sure it has as much to do with the fact that its winter, more than the fact that I'm in my third trimester... but I've been definitely been needing a moisture barrier at night. I've read that it is common, but I can't breathe through my nose as well now (due to the increase of blood) and breathe through my mouth when I am sleeping. I wake up and my mouth is super dry and lips are too if I forget to apply some balm before I fall asleep.

2. On my iphone, I've downloaded this marvelous little app called Relax Melodies by Ipnos Soft. It's been a real life saver/ sleep saver. It's 20 steps up from the sound machine Ezra had in his room. I use the app for the same idea we used Ezra's when he was a baby: it drowns out other noises that might keep you up or wake you from your slumber. It features 94 high quality sounds, including 6 binaural beats frequencies that will help your brain do things like concentrate, have a dreamless sleep, or relax. The sounds can be custom mixed at different volume levels and then saved as "favorites".

It's $2.99 for the premium version and worth every penny. I first stared with the free version, which is also amazing and includes my favourite relaxing sounds and the ability to save your mixes. One of the reasons why I bought it was because I felt like I really wanted to support such an amazing app... Like a way to say thank-you, but you get even more!

I use it every time I take a nap on the weekend when other people are awake. I don't think I would be able to sleep at this time without it. Instead of setting an alarm to wake me up, I set the sounds on a timer, then when they stop, the world just wakes me up.

I also plan on using this app during labour. I'm sure it's go into be awesome because for my first experience I wanted the same song on the whole time. I was fine with it, but it drove everyone else nuts. There are sound options on this app that are ambient enough to not get annoying after 10 hours, but with enough interest tho them that I think I will be able to focus on with helping me breathe through contractions. We will see... I'll try to remember to post an update after labor.

3. Brita Water Bottle - Is another repeat item from my 1st trimester collage, and second. It is so important to stay hydrated through the entire pregnancy and with this water bottle, I can have filtered water anywhere. I also keep it on my nightstand now so that I don't have to sit up in bed so that I don't spill all over myself.

4. I don't need no fancy wedge shaped or body shaped pillows... give me three plain old pillows and they do the job fine! One under my head, one between my knees and one to hold onto against my chest to keep my shoulders open for breathing easy. I've tried the wedge shaped ones and they don't conform as well to the body's curves, I've also tried the long body ones, and they are just ridiculous to me, plus they are hard to adjust if you want to flip over onto your other side (which I do at least 10 times a night now).

5. Stretch Mark Prevention Oil - By Escents. Prevention is the best treatment. This is a repeat from my 2nd Trimester Collage as well. It didn't work for me with my first pregnancy, probably because I gain way way too much weight. This time my weight is on target and no new stretch marks! Woohoo! I like to put this oil on after an evening shower/bath. This massage oil contains some amazing ingredients to help keep the tummy from marking plus the lavender essential oil in it also promotes sleep!

6. Sports Cross-over Bra is another repeat from my 2nd Trimester. The ladies grow, get heavier and need support at night. I got both my two cotton bras for $20 at the Bay. I will probably use them all through the nursing stage too.

7. A bowl of nuts is the perfect night table companion. They are full of essential nutrients and are filling enough to help beat night time hangry attacks in a jiffy so you can go back to sleeping.

8. There is nothing worse than keeping yourself awake, thinking about all of the things you need to get done before baby arrives. I've found that the best thing to do is write it down and tell myself, "The most important thing for me to do right now is to rest. The things I'm thinking about getting done will be here, on this list, when I wake up. They won't get done if I don't rest now because I won't have the energy later." Plain logic, I know, but sometimes things get a bit crazy!

I should say, the most important thing during this last trimester has been my support people. My family, my husband, my friends, my amazing midwife and my nutritionist. I don't think I'm the only pregnant lady to say this, but I've felt really vulnerable, emotionally and physically. Its important to have people that will protect you and build you up: people that will take the time to listen to you and try and understand how you are doing, especially if the answer is, "not very well."

Take care!
Enjoy your day.

Rootbeer - Taste Test

Another fun family taste testing night at the De Winter's last night. We originally wanted to do this root beer taste testing in December, but we didn't get things together until last night.

I was really surprised how different all of them tasted from one a other! My personal favourite... Like by almost 3 full points more out of 10 was Henry Weinhard's. This was the same brand that won for our Cream Soda taste test. However, on average Henry Weinhard's didn't win!



Here are the results:

1. Blue Sky
2. Henry Weinhard's
3. MUG
4. Barq's
5. A & W
6. Real Brew


I'm still surprised! I should say, that it was a pretty close race, except for "Real Brew". It was really gross. Nobody liked it.

It was really fun to do a taste test again. We were a lot more easy going this time around. We got pretty intense during the milk chocolate taste test well, mostly I was the one who was intense last time... Haha.

Enjoy!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cloth Diapering - Update

I figured it has been a while since I wrote about cloth diapering, something I've really enjoyed. 



Our first born is almost two now! How time flies! So that means we have been using cloth for about 20 months? I took a few months off my total because we started when he was a month old. I wanted to wait until the newborn poop was all done (meconium) and the umbilical cord was off. I should have mentioned it before, but I was glad to not have invested in newborn cloth diapers. Since our first born was 8lbs and 11ounces birth, he fit our all-in-ones pretty much right away! 

We also used disposables when we were on vacation (which hasn't been very much). I know some people do it, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it since we didn't have access to our own washing machine.

Then recently, for a month and a half, he was in the disposables again when I was dealing with some mad morning sickness with this pregnancy. I could BARELY change his diaper as it was. Life hits you sometimes, right? We do what we can to survive...

For the time that I have been cloth diapering though, it's been pretty smooth sailing. We are still really happy with our stash and they have held up really well. I wouldn't consider myself an expert, but our system has worked for us and is relatively easy. 



In our stash we have:

It's not the biggest stash, but its enough for 27 changes. 

I really like the assortment we have because they pretty much have had us covered this whole time. We use our "Flip" covers with our organic cotton inserts for everyday alongside the "BumGemius all-in-one Elementals". Then we use a "Flip" cover with a stay dry insert for nap times. We use a Flip cover with an "Apple Cheeks" bamboo insert layered under a "Flip" stay dry insert. YAY! 

Early on, I decided to stick to buying cloth diapers all from the same manufacturer so that when it came time to wash them I could do all of them the same way. It is SO SO important to check what the manufacturer recommends because... well they know their diapers the best and will know how to tell us how to get the most life out of them. Also, companies like Cotton Babies (who is the manufacturer of our diapers with the acceptation of our Apple Cheeks inserts) will offer a warranty that could be voided if the recommendations aren't followed. 

With a small stash, we have learned that it is really important to rotate the diapers evenly so that they get even wear. What we do, which has worked really well, is a system with two baskets, a drying rack and a diaper pail with two liners. 

Usually every 2-3 days we wash all of the cloth diapers that are in the diaper pail (usually there are half of them in there). 

Solids must be rinsed thoroughly into the toilet. If they aren’t there will be poo in the washing machine. Rinse the solids using the diaper sprayer, before putting them into the diaper pail. We have a roll of flushable liners that help with the #2 mess too. Just lay them on top of the diaper, between the cloth and baby’s bottom.

Our Regular Diaper Routine:
1. Dump all of the diapers and pail liner into the washing machine with ½ a tablespoon of Nellie’s Laundry All-Natural Laundry Soda or Rockin’ Green (we will have one or the other). We have been using Nellie's since I was able to find the 50 load bag of washing soda at Winners for only $5.99 CAD!

2. Do an additional wash with another ½ a tablespoon of soap. 


3. Dump all of the inserts and all-in-one diapers (Bum Genius Elementals) into the dryer on a low heat setting. Hang dry all of the diaper shells/covers (Flip), and the diaper pail liner inside-out to dry.

4. Usually the diapers will not fully dry in the drier (after about half an hour), which is what we want. We hang the inserts and the all-in-ones up to finish the drying process. 

5. Here comes the rotation! I have one basket under the change table that has all of the diapers from my previous wash. I move these, and fold them neatly into the basket that is on top of the change table. Then I grab the diapers (inserts, shells/covers, and all-in ones) off the drying rack and dump them into the basket (the left one in the picture) under the change table. In the right basket under the table we keep wipes, our extra wet bags, a small stash of disposables, and our first born's towels. 



I think that washing and stashing diapers away, really only takes about 5-8 minutes of my time every 2-3 days. Not bad, not bad at all! 

It is rewarding to think about all of the money we have saved (at least $900 by now) and more importantly all of the diaper changes that haven't ended up in a landfill. Plus, our first born has really sensitive skin, and we have noticed that he does better in the cloth. Horray! A happy baby makes a happy mommy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year?


I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! We definitely fell of the map these last couple weeks, but with a good excuse... WE WERE SO SICK!

Jesse and I agree that neither one of us had EVER been so sick before. It was really rough and I still haven't recovered, energy wise, from it. All three of us were sick for about 10 days. Our first born got sick first, then Jesse, then me. It is not fun to be 8.5 months pregnant and sick, even if its just a cold, never mind the Norovirus (we are fairly certain this was what it was, or at least we had the same symptoms as this).

It has took me a while to change my bad attitude, because I felt like all of my hopes for the holidays have been dashed... but now I can see all of the things that I am really thankful for.

1. Mom and Dad - We were so super sick, that we couldn't get out to get the stuff we needed like Gatorade and Children's Tylenol. My parents gladly delivered these items and other items to our door.

2. Timing - Although it was terrible being sick and pregnant, I am SO SO thankful that Jesse happened to have the week off for the Christmas Holidays. We took turns taking turns and taking care of our first born  and when the three of us were super sick, we kept each other company in bed.

3. BC's Nurses hot line 8-1-1 - I'm no nurse... and I was so thankful that we could call a nurse from home to help us confidently access our situation. The last place I want to be is in the hospital, but if you need to go, you need to go right?

4. Disposable Diapers -  We have been cloth diapering our first born since he was a month old, and I really like to and am a huge believer in it, but boy was I thankful for disposables when we were sick. We could barely get out of bed at times so we set up a change station just outside of our room. I really don't have a problem dealing with the #2 diapers, especially since we have a Bum Genius Diaper Sprayer, but our first born had diarrhea every hour once day, and those diapers are much trickier to clean. Never mind the smell, and being sick yourself.

5. My Midwife! - Being pregnant, and sick, can be scary. I wasn't scared for myself, but I was concerned about the little one growing inside of me. Our midwife lets us text her with questions, and when I let her know how sick I was she called me right away. She suggested that I drink very weak tea, and to try and eat bananas and plain rice to help rehydrate and get some energy back. It worked and I was able to avoid going to the hospital (like Jesse and our first born had to) since I started to feel much better after following her instructions.

And now, its time to move on, with a heart FULL of gratitude and thankfulness in anticipation for a great new year! Hello 2013!!