ROAR…not just a Katy Perry song

B is 11 months old tomorrow (sob, where did my baby go??), and even though he doesn’t have the faintest clue what Halloween is, he will wear a costume tonight!  Don’t worry, we’re not going to take him trick or treating.  Our neighborhood is having a little trunk or treat get together for all the neighborhood kids, which should be nice to attend so we can get to know some other kids and parents nearby.

I wasn’t planning on getting B a costume, but then the trunk or treat event came up, and I wandered into a thrift store near our house one day and found him a costume, for under $5.  When I put it on him, I almost died from the cute (and I think he almost died from embarrassment/hatred):

IMG_1742[1]

Doesn’t he make the cutest lion EVER?  he he he.  We tried it on over the weekend (there are pants too) and, as you can see by the look on his face, he was less than thrilled about it.  This little boy hates wearing anything on his head right now, so wearing the fuzzy hood was practically torture in his opinion.  But holy cow is it cute on him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEspecially from the back- even with the blue pants.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACowardly lion?

 

It’s big enough that I’m hoping it will fit him again next year, when he will potentially be more tolerant of things on his head.  We will see if he is able to handle wearing it to trunk or treat tonight- if not, I have a back-up plan:

bseahawks

If he won’t tolerate being a lion, then he can go as Marshawn Lynch…in beast mode!  Go Hawks!

Either way- ROAR!!  Win win.

Happy Halloween y’all- have a fun, safe night of trick or treating!

DIY zippered wet bag

We cloth diaper around here, which means when we’re out and about, or B is at daycare, the dirty diapers have to go into something to keep the rest of his diaper bag clean.  This is where the wet bag comes in- it’s a fabric bag with a waterproof lining.  Theoretically we could just put them into a plastic bag, but that wouldn’t be nearly as fun!  Hey- when you’re dealing with poop, you have to have a little fun, right?

I purchased a couple of zippered wet bags before B was born.  They’ve held up fabulously (we have this one by PlanetWise) with daily washings- I have zero complaints.  However, one day I showed up at B’s daycare and discovered that another little boy, who had just started there, had the exact same wet bag!!  Uh oh.  We’ve already had a couple of incidents where we’ve ended up with a diaper that wasn’t ours, and having the same wet bags hanging next to each other would not help improve our odds of coming home with only our diapers.

I had a new wet bag all picked out and waiting in my Amazon shopping cart- and then stumbled upon this pin on Pinterest.  I haven’t sewn in almost a year- and decided a DIY zippered wet bag would be the best way to get back into the swing of sewing again.  There are lots of pictures to walk you through it- which is great because I have never installed a zipper before!

So off I went to pick out some fabric- I got a yard of a woven cotton, and then went in search of PUL fabric (polyurethane laminated fabric, what makes the bag waterproof on the inside).  Unfortunately my local fabric store did not have PUL in stock- whop whop.  I had to order it online.  Thank goodness I was able to get a little cashback on that purchase!

I won’t walk you through the steps because the tutorial I followed is very thorough, so please reference that for a walk through.  Want to see how it turned out?  Of course you do…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I picked out a fun fish themed print (a surprising choice for the marine biologist, I know).  I decided to play off the orange fish on there and use an orange zipper and orange PUL:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I really like this pattern- it was fairly easy to sew, even with the zipper installation, and I was able to customize the size for our needs.  I liked our old wet bag, but it was a little on the small side.  This one is 12″ wide and 20″ long and holds an entire days worth of diapers with a little room to spare.  Not to mention it has a carry handle on the side which is great for hanging the bag up (our old bag didn’t have a handle and daycare had to put a little zip tie on the zipper).

The bag has been in use now for almost a month, and has held up extremely well.  We wash it daily and I have yet to see any wear on the bag/zipper/handle.  And no leaks- so it’s serving its purpose well!

As far as cost goes, this bag cost me less than $20 to make- $7 for the woven fabric and zipper (I only used about half of the woven fabric and I had a coupon) and $6 for the PUL (factoring in a coupon, shipping and cash back)- $13 total.  Not bad- plus I like that I have an almost limitless choice in pattern for the outside!!

What do you think?  Have you done any fun sewing/crafty projects lately?

Are you making money for shopping online?

Let me preface this post by saying that this company has absolutely no clue who I am, and has no influence over this post whatsoever.   However…if you click the links I’ve provided AND sign up, I get a referral bonus.  Please do not feel obligated to click the links I’ve provided

With that being said…

Have you heard of Ebates?  If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should!  Go ahead…you know you want to!

Source

If you’re like me,  you probably do a good bit of shopping online.  Having a little one, I find shopping is a little more…challenging.  So if I can, I do my shopping (especially for gifts) online.  That’s where Ebates comes in.  They give their members money for shopping online (in the form of cash back) as well as provide them with coupon codes for certain online companies.

When I first heard about Ebates, I thought “cool! what’s the catch??”

There isn’t one…unless you consider logging into their site and clicking the “shop now” button prior to making a purchase online a catch.  If you do, then they’ve gone ahead and made it a step easier by providing you with the ability to add a button to your web browser which automatically activates cash back for you when you are shopping (I’m loving this feature, by the way.  I don’t have to remember to go to Ebates first- one less step!)  They also just came out with an iphone/ipad app- I haven’t checked this out yet but I am planning on doing so soon!!

The nicest part about Ebates is that you do not store your credit card information with them (or shop with a particular card).  Their customer service is awesome too- they usually credit my account with cash back within a few days.  If they haven’t though, all I have to do is send them my original order information and cash back is credited to my account the same day- sometimes within the same hour of my inquiry.

I have been using Ebates since 2011- and I’m not a HUGE spender online, but they’ve already paid me almost $200 cash back.  Pretty awesome!

So, what are you waiting for?  Go check them out and get yourself some cash back!!  And have a wonderful weekend friends!

Acid reflux and MSPI in babies

I’ve mentioned before that B had acid reflux as an itty bitty baby (and what gear worked well for us to keep him as pain free as possible).  I also mentioned that he had/has MSPI- which is a milk/soy protein intolerance.  In his body, the milk/soy proteins aren’t able to be broken down, and they leak through the intestine into the blood stream, which causes a reaction.  For B his reaction was acid reflux, as well as bloody diapers (caused by actual damage to his intestine).

Did you know this is more common than it sounds??

Most new babies have some sort of reflux (I feel like they need to tell you this in all those baby classes you take as a new, soon to be parent).  The flap that keeps their stomach contents in is very weak and immature, so when you lay baby down (or lift their legs to change them), some stomach contents come out.  Gross, yes.  And some babies will spit up every chance they get (or so it seems) and it doesn’t phase them (aka a happy spitter).  It’s just a laundry problem for mommy and daddy and anyone else within spitting distance.

Source

 

This goes away as baby gets older and more mobile- sitting up, crawling.

When it’s a problem is when it’s accompanied by pain.  Which usually means a screaming, crying baby.  I don’t know about y’all, but whenever B screamed at that age, my blood pressure went up about 20 points and I couldn’t even think straight- all I wanted was for it to stop.  Tell tale signs of reflux are:

  • long bouts of inconsolable crying (especially right before/after spitting up)
  • back arching while crying
  • curdled looking spit up
  • acid smell to their breath
  • hiccups
  • congestion during sleep/after waking up
  • sour faces in their sleep
  • grunting/squirming/leg lifting in their sleep (although that’s also gas related)

Not all babies who have reflux will spit up, however.  The stomach acid comes up just enough to burn their esophagus, but it doesn’t actually come out of their mouth.  I’m pretty sure this is what most pediatricians deem to be colic- baby cries for no reason and they can’t really explain why, so with a wave of their hand they say “oh, it’s colic.  they’ll grow out of it.”

This is incredibly frustrating- it’s so hard to watch your baby suffer.  And time literally stops moving when you have a baby with reflux- seconds feel like hours.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that, in a lot of babies, reflux (or other problems like bloody diapers, eczema, excessive gas) is caused by dairy and/or soy proteins- whether they are coming from breast milk or formula.  Not all the time, but it is more common than you would think.  Again, one of those things you wish they told you about in the new parent classes!

My best advice for new parents– if you suspect that your baby has reflux or if they are having major skin issues or anything else that is flagging your mommy radar, eliminate all traces of dairy from your diet, for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Soy proteins are similar to dairy proteins, so to be safe it is a good idea to eliminate all traces of soy as well- which proves to be very tricky.  Soy is in EVERYTHING and comes in many forms (so does dairy by the way).

 dairysoyDairy image; soy image

It takes 2 weeks for dairy proteins to leave your system, so if you’re breastfeeding it can take a month to see some sort of relief for baby (2 weeks to leave your system, 2 weeks to leave baby’s system).  I know this feels like an eternity, but often this is enough to do the trick, without having to resort to medication or formula.  Look at it like a science experiment- change one variable at a time and evaluate the results, then change another variable (eliminate additional allergens from your diet such as wheat and/or egg; add medication; switch to formula).

I bring this topic up because B is eating solids- and I’m starting to challenge those foods that I’ve kept out of his diet.  Being MSPI isn’t a life sentence- babies usually outgrow this at some point.  So far we’ve trialed wheat (passed!), eggs (passed!) and soy (passed!).  Dairy is next up, and while I’m still scared (reflux rearing its ugly head again is always in the back of my mind) I’m hopeful.  We are going slowly and being optimistic!!

Some great resources that have helped me:

Life lately

I’d like to start using the blog as a way to remember little things that B does- life happens so quickly and I know the things he does now will be easily forgotten as he gets older…

IMG_1723[1]

I finally put up some fall decorations- nothing too exciting, just some stuff on the mantle.  I did it while B was napping and when I brought him downstairs from his nap he sat there and stared and stared at the mantle.  I love that he’s beginning to notice when things change in his every day surroundings.

This little boy has the BEST sense of humor- he’s enjoying practicing walking right now, and we were walking around the house together.  I would stomp my feet and say “STOMP” and he would just break down in a fit of giggles.  I love his little laugh!!  I can already see the little boy in him coming out too- the other night he was in the bath tub and tooted (or “poofied” as his grandma calls it).  It was quite loud- and made me laugh.  So then he laughed.  Which made him toot again.  And laugh some more.  Oh my goodness.

IMG_1726[1]

Over the weekend we went to a nearby animal sanctuary, and B had a pretty good time.  He didn’t want to be strapped in the stroller (after having just been strapped in the carseat) so I carried him most of the time.  He’s pushing 25lbs which gets heavy after a couple of minutes.  I can’t wait until he can walk!!  I think he really liked the deer that we saw there- he pointed at them a lot, which is his new favorite thing to do.  He also stared and stared at the turkeys and bald eagles.

Then we went to the park and did some swinging!!  His first time on the swings- I think he loved it:

IMG_1728[1]

And that’s life lately- how was your weekend?

A thank you

To the first person who commented on my blog- Kim at Newlywoodwards.  She commented on my post about our new mailbox area:

This looks SO nice. I’ve been begging Ryan to put in a new mailbox for me and it’s been on the back burner. You are killing me. Thinking of just buying one and bringing it home. I love the landscaping around it, too. Just lovely.

Her kind words inspired me to keep writing- someone out there was reading my blog!

Comments mean so much to bloggers- I get so excited when I get an email saying someone has commented on  a post!

This little blog isn’t much yet, but I hope it will be one day.  And I thank all of you who follow along- especially those who have commented.  You are what motivates me to continue writing posts, even when I feel like I have 5 million other things on my plate!

If you’re a blogger, revisit your first blog post and write a letter to your first commenter.   Let them know what that first comment meant to you!  

If you’re not a blogger, leave a comment on someone’s blog. Those comments mean a lot!

Almay mascara

I don’t wear a lot of makeup.  Actually, scratch that.  I don’t wear any makeup except mascara (and that’s been a more recent development).  I USED to wear makeup every day, but once we moved to Georgia and the humidity was so high I would sweat it all off before leaving my driveway, I quit going through the effort.

I’ve always been a Cover Girl fan, and up until recently was using their Clump Crusher mascara.  Which is very nice!!  No more spidery looking eyelashes.  However, one day I decided that I needed to “spice things up” with my mascara- if it’s the only makeup I’m going to wear, I might as well have a little fun with it, right?  I usually buy the black/brown color mascara.  Then I read about Almay’s intense eye color volumizing mascara and decided to try it out.  I have blue eyes, so I chose the “sapphire” color

intense i-color volumising mascara intense i-color volumizing mascara for blue eyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, don’t let that inconspicuous little tube fool you.  While the color is very nice- a deep navy blue- what they fail to mention is that there is glitter in the tube.  Glitter!  I started having flashbacks to my teenage years.  I thought, maybe there was some mistake.  Maybe I grabbed the wrong mascara.  Then I read the description more closely on their site:

Take your unique eye color to new limits with double the volume*, double the impact. Expertly coordinated shades with eye-brightening crystals create multi-dimensional amplification. The lash enhancing brush with volume-boosting grooves finds and flaunts every lash for big bold volume that won’t smudge or flake.
Did you catch that?  “Eye-brightening crystals”…also known as glitter.  And all you ladies out there- you know about glitter.  It is persistent.  By the end of the week, my entire face is covered in it.  Nothing says “professional 30 something mother” like a face full of glitter.  Not that it’s stopped me from wearing it daily. After all- it did spice things up!  Not to mention I’m cheap- so I’m using this tube to the end, glitter or no!

Anyone else out there using this mascara, or have a funny makeup story to share?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by any of the companies linked to in this post**

Your Friday afternoon PSA

Go make these over the weekend, and then thank me on Monday (I used coconut oil instead of olive oil, and a splash of maple syrup instead of honey because that’s what I had on hand):

source

That is all- have a lovely weekend everyone!

Refreshing your towels with vinegar and baking soda- the science behind the idea

Baking soda and vinegar are two staples in my household.  Not only do I use them for their intended purposes (baking and cooking), but also for some unconventional applications as well.

Source
Distilled White Vinegar
Source

Y’all already read how I tried (and failed) at using them on my hair.  Sigh.  Still a little hung up on that fail.

I often use them for cleaning around the house- vinegar is a great disinfectant and baking soda is awesome as a deodorizer.  I usually pour a cup of vinegar in with my laundry to boost my detergent’s cleaning power (especially when I’m dealing with diaper laundry) and it works as a natural fabric softener as well.  When my washing machine starts smelling a little…funky…I sprinkle some baking soda in there before I start a load (or I’ll run the washer by itself with baking soda) to get rid of the odor.

One thing I’ve seen (and pinned!) on Pinterest a million and a half times is how to clean your towels using baking soda and vinegar (that link is from 2009- did Pinterest even exist yet??)  I’m not going to walk you through the steps because it’s been written up by a lot of different people and it’s pretty simple to do (and it works!!)  BUT.  Let me give you a tip.   

Don’t try to save time by combining the baking soda and vinegar. 

It won’t work.

Why not, you ask?  Let me put on my chemistry hat for a minute and explain.

Do you remember the volcano experiment from grade school?   The one that combined baking soda and vinegar??  Well, you’re not going to create a volcano in your washing machine (although that could be cool!)
Source
 
Errr, maybe not…
When you combine baking soda and vinegar, they react together to neutralize each other (the bubbling, which is carbon dioxide gas being formed).  This is because vinegar is an acid (pH less than 7) and baking soda is a base (pH above 7).  If you were combine equal parts vinegar and baking soda you end up with a solution that’s a neutral pH (around 7). 
So what does that mean?  Your solution of baking soda and vinegar has undergone a chemical reaction and is no longer baking soda and vinegar.  The reaction forms water, carbon dioxide gas (all those bubbles) and sodium acetate.  Sodium acetate is a salt.  Which does you no good as far as cleaning goes.
Bummer right??   I totally wish this didn’t happen so I could save myself a step (because my washing machine takes FOREVER to run a load of laundry, especially on the heavy duty setting).  
There’s my science tip of the day for y’all.  Happy washing, and cheers to fresh smelling towels!!