Saturday, January 31, 2009

Slingin' Saturday-- Rockin' Baby Sling

This edition of Slingin' Saturday features the Rockin' Baby Sling. Thanks to Lisa McDaniel and Natasha Walsh for their generous donation!

The Rockin' Baby Sling is a ring sling, something I was eager to try. However, having worn so many pocket slings, this was quite an adjustment. It was hard getting used to the excess fabric hanging down and threading the rings was a challenge, too. While this sling wasn't my favorite, it had some wonderful features.

  • The fabric in the tail had a zipper pocket for tucking an extra diaper or the car keys.

  • The sling was reversible making it more versatile (for those who like their sling to match their outfit as I do!).

  • Because ring slings allow you to tighten the fabric around the baby, I was able to wear Benjamin upright against my chest even before he could support his own weight.

  • Also because of the ability to loosen and tighten the fabric, these ring slings are one-size fits-all so I didn't have to worry about choosing the best size.

To order one for yourself, click here!

To read my review of the Rockin' Baby Pouch (the pocket pouch made by the same company), click here!

And don't forget to check back NEXT SATURDAY for my sling giveaway!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

More and More Hats!

I love making hats! I often have pieces of fleece left from making baby blankets so I use the remnants to sew hats for the kids. This was a fun one I made for Owen last year. It still fits him and he loves to wear it...even when it isn't hat weather!

This was a hat I made for Owen when he was a baby. I found it the other day and was delighted to discover it fit Ben...not that he needs another hat!

For more Frugal Friday ideas, visit Crystal at Biblical Womanhood!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Works-For-Me Wednesday-- Extra Seating

Our sets of buns (as in heinies, not the cinnamon variety!) are increasing in number, but our sofa has not grown along with our family size! A couple of years ago, I made a set of floor pillows out of some brown corduroy. We keep them stacked in the corner where they can be pulled out easily when needed. The kids plop on them to watch TV. They also come in handy when we have guests and the adults are filling the comfy spots in the living room. We also pull out the floor pillows at nap time since we aren't very strict about where Owen sleeps during the afternoon as long as he lying down and resting! (The floor pillows have on occasion even served as walls to a fort!)

As large as these pillows are, my angels began arguing about who would have to share. It is quite an insult to be the one to sit on the seam between two pillows, you know. I decided the time had come to add to our stack of pillows. I had a couple of large pieces of fabric I had been looking to do something with, so I made Gavin and Owen each a special pillow for Christmas. (New use for pillows: sitting on them while opening the rest of your Christmas gifts!)

Family movie night in January was an extra-special affair, too!

Edited to add: Several people asked what I used to stuff my pillows. I buy bags of Poly-Fil at Walmart for about $3/bag. It took less than a bag per pillow which I figured was pretty economical!

Read more Works-For-Me Wednesday tips every week at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Encouraging Independence

No child really has to be taught independence. Each of my children has gotten to the point where that want to begin doing things on their own. Whether it is put on their own socks or measure the flour into the mixing bowl, there comes a day when they insist on my standing back with hands off! I thought my only choice was to give in and let them do poorly until they figure it out or insist that I do it for them the right way.

I've found that the best thing, though, is somewhere between the two. When the child asks to do a task alone, I take the time to teach them to do it the way I want it done. When Owen wanted to begin washing himself, it was tempting to insist that I continue doing it to make sure he didn't miss any stinky crevices (like those chubby neck folds). Instead, I handed him the soap and we played a game. I said, "As fast as you can, wash your slow as you can, wash your silly as your can, wash your knees..." Within a bathtime or two, he was reminding me of places he needed to wash.

When Maddie wanted to put the baking powder in the biscuit dough, I cringed imagining flat rounds. Instead of measuring it myself as always and letting her pour it in, I showed her how to heap it on the spoon and scrape it off against the edge of the can. I also explained the consequences of improper measurement so she understood the importance of getting it just right.

The same principle applies with housework. We require that our children help around the house, but when I have a job that must be done, it is often tempting to give them busy work and do the tough stuff myself. In the long run, it so much better to take a few minutes to teach them how to work beside me. At four, Maddie is a true helper! Last week, we cleaned the bathroom together and when she cleaned the sink alone, I didn't have to go behind her to check her work because I knew she knew what to do!

If you catch kids at the beginning of the, "I'll do it!" stage, even better! Owen loves to help. When Gavin puts away laundry, Owen runs around yelling, "What's my job?" until I give him a pile of socks to take upstairs.

Now if I could just teach them to not leave Legos (or other sharp toys) in my path...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Slingin' Saturday-- Hefty Load

Even a cranky toddler can enjoy a ride in the sling while Mama cooks dinner!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Many Hats of Benjamin

I hate cold weather, but bundled-up babies are so cute! We have had an unseasonably cold winter so Benjamin has quite the hat collection!

This hat was a Christmas present from his Aunt Bekah.

We call this his Russian hat because it sticks up off of his head!

I made and embroidered this owl hat for him right after Christmas.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent

I find it interesting how dads and moms handle the little things in parenting! (This is in no way meant to disrespect my husband!) Take these scenarios:

It's lunchtime.
Dad fixes Child #1's lunch, then Child #2's, then Child #3's.
Mom spreads peanut butter on Child #1's sandwich with left hand while slicing apples for Child #2 with right hand. Child #3's mac and cheese is already cooking in the microwave.

Baby spits up on parent's clothing.
Mom blots it from her pants with a wet wipe.
Dad changes his entire outfit.

Family goes out for a walk.
Mom takes a leisurely stroll, enjoying the fresh air and the chance for the boys to yell without being shushed.
Dad runs at full speed pulling the wagon full of kids behind him.

Children haven't had a bath in three days and it's bedtime.
Dad says, "Oh well. They'll live."
Mom feels guilty, wipes everyone down with a washcloth, and makes them change their underwear to tide them over until the next "real" bath.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Glamourmom Challenge

As I've mentioned before
, my biggest problem with nursing bras is their overall lack of support! I figured nursing tanks were the same way-- only worse. I mean, how much support can a tank really offer?! I've tried those (non-nursing) tanks with a built-in shelf bra in the past and they do next to nothing!

Recently I was given the opportunity to try a Glamourmom Nursing Tank Bra to review! I was pleasantly surprised with the design. A soft-cup bra (more structured than a shelf bra) is built right into the shirt. The tank itself is made a firm, stretchy material for additional support. I chose a cream color which matches almost any shirt or sweater in my closet. Having nursed three babies into toddlerhood, I consider myself a nursing-in-public expert, but this tank made it even easier and certainly more convenient. Since the tank has nursing clasps on the straps, I can nurse without having to reveal any tummy skin. That is a wonderful feature for chilly winter temps, too. The only downside to the tank is that after wearing it all day, it started to feel too tight and I was ready to change into my PJs. (Too much support? I can't be pleased, can I?)

The Glaumormom Nursing Bra Tank retails for $34-- not too bad for a wardrobe staple! It comes in various colors and prints. Glaumourmom also offers other styles and lengths. If you order from them, please let them know you heard about their product from me by entering my referral code, KRSH70.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dive Into a Book!

I'm not a big winter person. At least, I'm not a big outdoor winter person. My idea of a great winter day is staying inside from morning until night-- no errands and no dashes out to the store.  We use our housebound time to (among other things) dive into books.

A few years ago, when Charlotte's Web came to the theaters, we spent the weeks leading up to its release reading the original story by E. B. White, coloring a picture of a barn, making our own farm animals flash cards...Gavin and Brian even made a cardboard model of the Zuckermans' farm that we found at a discount book store. Finally, we treated ourselves to a matinee showing of the new movie at a local theater.

This year, we plan to read The Mitten a fun and easy picture book by Jan Brett. To go along with it, I ordered the kids
this kit . Maddie will make the mittens, Gavin will use the hammer he got for Christmas to punch the tin, and we will all learn about mammals with the lap book. Even Owen can participate with this fun craft from the Jan Brett website.
When we get back to more formal schooling in February, I plan to read Mr. Popper's Penguins and have Maddie work through Going On Eagerly, a fun winter workbook put out by Rod and Staff Publishers.

Winter is such a fun time to immerse ourselves in these pieces of literature.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Big 3-0!

I remember when Brian turned twenty and said he felt old! I laughed at him and then I blinked and suddenly it is his thirtieth birthday!! Hard to believe we've been together for a third of his life! Happy Birthday to my Prince!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slingin' Saturday-- Down the Garden Path Mei Tai

This week for Slingin' Saturday, I am going to move away from slings and review another popular variety of baby carrier, the mei tai. A big thank you to Jodi at Down the Garden Path for the donation!

Having grown used to wearing Benjamin in a pocket sling, I didn't know what to expect from this type of carrier. I didn't know if I would like it...or if Ben would like it! I used a Snugli when Gavin was a baby and couldn't wear him for long without an aching back. I was afraid that since this looked similar, it would cause the same discomforts. I also thought it might be inconvenient to tie the straps while a crying baby was waiting to be carried.

My mei tai arrived in my mail the day I brought Ben home from the hospital! I had my first opportunity to try it the following week when I needed to give the three older kids a bath. I quickly scanned the directions included with the mei tai and discovered it was quite easy to tie. Benjamin only had to be put down for the first step but the rest of the tying was done with him in arms! Ben was so tiny that there was a lot of extra tie hanging down and I was bothered by the look. (I guess I'm even vain when it comes to by baby carrying look!) I got the idea to tie the straps in a pretty bow instead from another blog!

Jodi hand sews each mei tais she sells, and she does it quickly! After choosing from the available fabrics, she makes the mei tai in 10-14 days! I chose Mary fabric with navy lining and straps. If I get tired of the patterned fabric or it doesn't match what I'm wearing (vanity again!), I can reverse the mei tai and wear it with the navy fabric showing instead.

When Benjamin was several months old, we had a birthday party at our house. Ben was tired and I needed both arms to clean and prepare the food. (Unlike pocket slings which allow you the use of both hands but slightly restricts one shoulder, the mei tai allows you to reach up or our while baby is still securely against your body.) When the guest arrived, he was still content in the carrier and my back was not sore at all. I really liked how I could tuck his legs in comfortably (for him and me) and not having them dangle like they would in a Snugli.

This carrier should really grow with us. It can even be worn on the back as Ben grows and has more body support. I was impressed with the price. This hand-made mei tai with a carrying bag (super convenient!) retails for only $50! For anyone who has priced mei tais, you know this is quite a bargain. If you decide to order, make sure you let Jodi know you heard about her through this review!

The sling giveaway is almost here! Watch for it in February!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Are You Reading-- New Year Edition

I haven't put this feature on my blog since Benjamin was born. We've been reading as much as ever, but I've just not taken the time to share my list. I figured the new year was a good time to get back into the habit. So without further ado, here is what I'm reading:

The Bible: I'm currently reading through the New Testament starting with Matthew. Brian and I are doing it together to keep each other accountable.

The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot: This is a great book but very meaty so I'm reading just one chapter a day to allow time for absorption.

At Home in North Branch by Arleta Richardson: one of the novels in the Grandma's Attic series

John Billington: Friend of Squanto by Clyde Robert Bulla: This a read-aloud with the kids, a carry-over from our study of the Pilgrims.

Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne: This is also a read-aloud with the kids. We read Milne's first book of poetry this summer, but thought this one was appropriate now that Gavin is six! We read one or two poems at a time.

Now it is your turn! What are you reading? What are you reading to your kids? What are your reading in your personal devotions? What are you reading for fun? What magazine do you pick up in your spare time?

Don't forget to check out the bookshelf in my sidebar where I periodically add some of the best books our family is reading!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Gavin and Maddie took care of Benjamin this morning while I fixed breakfast this morning. I overheard this conversation:

Maddie-- "Ben, God has the whole world in His hands. That means he has you in His hands, too!"

Gavin-- "No, God lives right here (pointing to Benjamin's heart) if you love Jesus."

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Growing up, we had a tradition that in January, we would make a list of all the things that had happened and things we had done in the previous year. It was a fun time of reflecting on what the Lord had blessed us with in the past 12 months. It also served as a record when we couldn't remember exactly when we took that particular vacation or when someone bought that new car.

Brian and I have continued that tradition in our own family. Along with each item on the list, we try in include the month and/or day it happened.

With the turning of calendar, we have already begun reflecting on 2008. We will include the major (Benjamin's birth!) and the minor (Maddie learned to buckle her car seat). We will list the local (the huge remodel at our city's Walmart) and the national (our newly elected president). We will remember the happy (my brother and his family traveled from across the country to visit for a week) and the sad (Owen broke his arm!). We will recall the milestones (Owen's move into the "big kid" room) and the trivialities (our trip to the beach). We will record births and deaths. We will include firsts (Gavin's first lost tooth) and lasts (Owen weaned).

Happy New Year from our family to yours!

(As an aside, with Brian off from work for the next six weeks, we have lots of family time scheduled. My blogging may get bumped to the bottom of the list for awhile, but I will be updating as often as possible!)
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