Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Update on Our Diapering Experiment

We've been cloth diapering now for about 2 weeks. Going into it, I had several concerns so I thought now was a good time to share each one and the results.

1)Extra Laundry-- This has almost been a non-issue. I do so much laundry anyway with 3 little kids and a hubby who works outside that I don't even notice one extra load every 2-3 days.

2)Leaks-- So far, we have had NO leaks. Even with the cheapy covers that I have, we have had not one leak or piece of wet clothing. One day this week I was extremely busy and neglected to change Owen's diaper for...well, a long time. The diaper was sagging terrible, but still not a drop elsewhere.

3)Having to Change Diapers Much More Frequently-- I have to change him slightly more often, but nothing drastic. And as noted above, even when I forget, it works out okay!

4)Odor-- The diapers themselves have been fine. The covers however seem to retain odor. It isn't a BAD smell, just a stale smell. I'm not sure what to do differently about that. Maybe it would help to have more covers so they could air out more in between uses.

5)Storage of Soiled Diapers-- Since this began as an experiment, I didn't want to invest in a diaper pail yet. I've been keeping the wet diapers and the rinsed-out poopy ones together with the used covers in a plastic grocery bag in the hamper. It has worked out fine as long as I keep the bag folded over to contain the smell.

The one thing I didn't count on was diaper rash. I've read that babies who wear cloth rarely have diaper rash. Even the extra moisture next to their bodies is better for their skin than the chemicals in disposables. However, Owen got a yucky rash last week and we switched to disposables for a day. It didn't come back when we went back to cloth so maybe it was just a coincidence. Not sure.

I'm still not decided on whether we will stick with cloth for Owen or whether we will use cloth for the new baby. But for now, we'll keep plugging on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Summer Tee

I saw this idea in an old Family Fun magazine and just had to try it for Maddie! It was really easy--even easier than I expected. I chose a piece of colorful print fabric and ironed it on to a piece of fusible web. Then I traced the outline of one of her flip flops onto the paper backing of the web, cut it out, and ironed it on to the T-shirt. To finish it off, I sewed coordinating ribbon on the fabric to look like the thong of the sandal.

Voila! A cute summer tee.

Maddie's only comment? "I don't like yellow that much." That's Maddie for you.

To see another tee I made for Maddie, click here.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sugar, sugar everywhere and none that I can eat!

I am addicted to sweets. I draw the line at Circus Peanuts (those orange marshmallow nothings), but otherwise I'm not picky about desserts. However, since I've been pregnant, I've not been able to eat sugar. It isn't a medical requirement. It's just that when I ingest sugar, I feel really sick! Overall, morning sickness has been milder this go-round, but when I eat sugar, I'm done for. I thought maybe now that I'm in my 2nd Trimester I could maybe sneak a little sugar back into my diet, but no. Yesterday, I made chocolate cupcakes at the kids' request and I licked a bit (well, maybe more than a bit) off this spoon. Wrong move-- I felt yucky the whole rest of the day.
I have to be careful about simple carbs, too. Pasta is a big no-no unless it is whole-wheat. It is almost as bad as sugar. Same goes for white bread/rolls.

The kicker of it all is that I've been having trouble keeping my blood sugar steady. Mid-afternoon, I get really shaky and sweaty. I've tested on my dad's glucometer several times and my blood sugar registered in the 70s and 80s which is on the low end of normal. My midwife said to try eating every 2-3 hours to keep the level steady.

Now that I'm used to no sugar, I can taste sugar in things that I normally wouldn't consider sweet, like salsa and salad dressing. I guess it is really a blessing to not be able to eat sugar because it certainly is healthier to cut it out and to only eat complex carbs. I've noticed that I don't even really want sweets anymore. Maybe that's how it is for diabetics (although I can't say it is that way for the one I know--private joke).
Until next time...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Are You Reading? April Edition

As I've mentioned I like to read. Sometimes I find myself in the middle of multiple books without realizing how I started so many! So without further ado, here is my current line-up!

The Bible
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich
Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot (slowly, but surely)
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (read-aloud with the kids)
When Children Love to Learn edited by Elaine Cooper
How To Raise a Heathy Child...In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.

SO, WHAT ARE YOU READING? Now it is my turn to see who is reading my blog! Leave a quick comment and tell me what you've been reading or let me know a book you recommend!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Easy Gift

I love to scrapbook, but with three little ones, I've not kept up with it like I want to. I have a book for each of the kids that I try to keep keep them updated until they turn 3. Sort of like a delux baby book. I have Gavin's all done-- birth through age 3. Well, Maddie will be 4 in a few months and hers is only updated through age 2! And Owen...I'll get to his someday!

I can get out my scrapbooking urges by making bookmarks. I make them for fun and for quick token gifts to include in a card or give as a little thank-you. It is so easy and relatively fast. I use whatever is on hand-- fancy paper, ribbons, stickers, glitter glue, markers, etc. The kids often want to make their own marker, too, especially if I use the glitter glue!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Bargain, A Book Review, and a Blue-ribbon Website

Part I: A Book Review
One of my favorite read-alouds from this year was the Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson. I love that even though the books are recommended for ages 9-12, the stories appeal to everyone. I remember having and reading the second book in the series when I was growing up. When I was newly married, I discovered a friend owned the whole series and I devoured it! Somehow I forgot about the books, though, until last year. The series (which has been our of print) was re-released by the publisher, David C. Cook. Between my sister Kati's collection and the inter-library loan system, I rounded up the first four books and began reading to the kids.

The first four books (called the Grandma's Attic Series) are a collection of short stories each centering around the author's grandmother, Mabel, and her best friend, Sarah Jane. The girls usually end up in some sort of trouble or predicament, but each chapter ends with a resolution and a pointing to God's truths. The last five books (called the Grandma's Attic Novels) in the series are complete stories (not short stories) and deal with Mabel and Sarah Jane when they are older (college, marriage, etc.). They are still recommended for the same reading level, but I decided to wait awhile before reading these to the kids. However, I am still anxious to reread them myself which leads me to...

Part II: A Bargain and a Blue-Ribbon Website
I got two of the novels for Christmas this year, but these books are hard to find! Amazon is continually sold out, the library doesn't have them, our local Christian book store is hit-and-miss. In my search for these books, I stumbled upon I found the first book I need Sixteen and Away From Home (now published under the title Away From Home) for 1 cent. Yes, a penny plus shipping! The other books I need Eighteen and A School of Her Own (now published under A School of Her Own) and At Home in North Branch were also on the website for less than a quarter apiece! The only down-side I've found is that you pay for shipping per book as opposed to per order, but when you are getting books so cheap, that hardly matters.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I thought I would share a recipe today. I love to make this because it is easy and doesn't take long to prepare (though it takes a long time to cook). It smells so good while it is simmering and it freezes well, too. I love the chunky consistency. BUT-- I have one child who thinks she doesn't like tomatoes and another who thinks he doesn't like meat so I put a small batch in the food processor and serve it to the kids that way and they gobble it down. To me, that gentle compromise far beats children picking through their food with upturned noses! Enjoy!

Spaghetti Sauce
Yield 12 cups

1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
3 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic (or 4 t. garlic powder)
1/4 t. thyme
2 T. brown sugar
4 t. dried basil leaves
2 t. dried oregano
4 T. parsley
2 t. salt

In large pot, cook and stir the ground beef with onions until meat is brown; drain fat. Add remaining ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat. Partly cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If desired, simmer in a crockpot instead of pot.)

4 cups sauce/16 oz. pkg spaghetti

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Diapering Experiment

We are in the middle of an experiment in our house. Well, I guess it would be better to say Owen and I are in the middle of an experiment. I have been interested in cloth diapers for awhile. Since I knew nothing about them, I started extensive research. That's how I am. If I want to know about something, I jump in all the way. Cloth diapering has moved beyond rubber pants and pins and there are so many, many options now.

For months now, I've been reading articles, scouring catalogs, checking the internet, asking questions. I found a book at the library with tons of info. My sister-in-law even sent me a short video demo showing how she diapers her baby with cloth. They live across the country so I can't watch in person! :-(

The last thing I did was submit a help question to a magazine I subscribe to and got loads of response for moms who currently use cloth diapers. Two of the ladies even gave me gently-used prefolds they are done with. Then I won a few brand new diaper covers from ebay for less that $2 a piece including shipping (a real bargain considering a cover can cost $10-12 plus shipping retail.)

This week, I decided to try it out. So far we've had success. No leaks yet. I'm starting slow so Owen wore disposables to bed, but one disposable a day is still not bad. We're hoping to save a few pennies and maybe even help out with potty-training. (They say cloth expedites training.)

Here a photo of my happy boy modeling his new look!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nature Study...Look what we found!

Children do not have to be taught to love nature. It is just part of their being. The outdoors holds such wonder for them and sometimes we let that fade as we grow older.

A few days ago, the two oldest kids stepped outside the door to bring in a package the mail lady had delivered. I heard gasps! "Look what we found!" It was a perfect, tiny snail shell! Wimpy Big Brother was afraid to touch it so my not-afraid-of-anything (except bumblebees) little girl brought it in instead. Wimpy Mama was afraid to touch it, too, until we realized the shell was empty. Maddie put her eye right up to the hole the body had once been in and peeked through at me. Now all three kids take turns holding it, but Maddie usually gets the honor of showing it to anyone who walks in our door.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's official...

I had my first prenatal appointment with my midwife today. I got to hear the heartbeat (about 150-160 bpm) Since my dates were a little iffy due to still breastfeeding my toddler, she squeezed in a quick ultrasound, too The sonographer commented that I had a little mover. (Uh-oh, what does that mean for the future?)

I have an official due date now which is a relief to my "plan-ahead brain." Looks like this baby will be making his/her debut somewhere around October 20-- a few days earlier that my own estimate. I delivered my first at 41 weeks, my second at 40 weeks, and my third at 37 weeks so I don't have any expectations this time. Could be any time in the month of October.

Looking forward the journey ahead...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reading Aloud

Reading is a big part of our lives. Brian and I are always reading. (Is it any wonder we met when we both worked at the county library?) We feel it is important to pass our love of reading onto the kids. We begin reading to them as little babies. Now we have 3 read-aholics! I can rarely sit down without someone bringing me a book.

Sometime right before Gavin's fourth birthday, he went to the bookshelf and pulled down The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. He sat staring at the illustration on the cover and said in a half-whisper, "Can we read this?" It was a defining moment for me. I had never really thought of reading him a book with no pictures-- a book that certainly was above his recommended reading level-- but I decided to give it a try and he was enthralled! Even Maddie (who was only two at the time) sat and listened. I knew they were soaking it up and understanding because they began acting out the story with a rubber mouse and a plastic motorcycle. We ended up finishing the first book and moving on the other two books in the series.

Reading aloud "chapter books" is now a regular part of our life. We've read the first three books in the Little House series, four of the Grandma's Attic books, a biography of Squanto, The Hundred Dresses and quite a few more. Now we are reading Sarah, Plain and Tall. I think it is just as enjoyable for me as it is for them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One of my pastimes...

I love to dabble in a variety of projects and crafts. My latest passion is embroidery. My mom and I both ordered this great book from Amazon that is full of embroidery patterns. Most of them are very basic (nothing intricate)-- fruit, flowers, letters, vehicles, etc. It is so simple.  You iron your chosen image onto the fabric and then hand-embroider over the lines.
Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To by Jenny Hart
At Christmas, I made personalized T-shirts for my 3 kids and all their cousins (11 T-shirts in all). I was a little tired of embroidery by the time I finished. Recently I got enthused about it again and made this shirt for my daughter to wear this summer.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I hesitate to even start blogging. I love to write and I also love my computer, but I have an OCD personality and I don't want this to consume me! I have enough to occupy me with 3 little ones and morning (actually, in my case, evening) sickness.

BUT I am venturing into this world of blogging, hoping I can learn a lesson in self-control along the way. So...if I am not a faithful blogger, know that I am instead doing what I feel called by God to do. Taking care of my family...and all that entails.

I am married to my wonderful Brian. It will be 7 years in August. He is currently working to become a partner in the Christian lawn care company he is employed by. We have a boy, a girl, and a boy. And we're expecting again this fall. Yes, I'm busy, and yes, my hands are wonderfully full.

We homeschool our oldest, who is finishing up his first year of kindergarten. He loves math. He also loves trains, yelling, and running (often in the house!). Our middle is a girl and loves girly things...and bugs and lizards. Our youngest is ALL BOY. Have you ever seen a child under two with a broken arm? We hadn't either until he became a toddler.

I look forward to sharing bits and pieces of my thoughts and life with you!
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