Tag Archives: kids

Summer Infant prepping for Spring!

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With spring in full swing, organizing and getting ready for a new year (with a new addition!) has been crazy. The first thing on our list for the year was “bed-training” Tristan, our 21 month old son. He’s been either co-sleeping, in a crib, or a pack and play for his entire little person life, but with a baby on the way and his climbing skills only sharpening, we knew the days of confined sleeping were coming to a close. Tristan is very spirited and curious (read as: he likes to mess with things he knows he isn’t supposed to mess with, preferably in the most dangerous fashion possible). So, when the conversation of switching him to a Big Boy Bed came up, I insisted we get a video monitor to mount in the kids’ room before we put the pack and play away for good. 

We settled on the Summer Infant Secure Sight Handheld Video Monitor, which is a mouthful, but super easy to set up. It came with cord trappers, and a screw and wall anchor to mount it with. I mounted it above the kids’ window, so I could get a full view of the room. At $120 and using NO BATTERIES, HOORAY, it was a great value. If we’d had an extra hundred to spend on it, I’d have dropped the extra for their wifi model, which you can view from your smartphone and move the camera remotely. While those would be nice, the video monitor is seriously the best thing that has happened to toddler room sharing. My kids are fairly certain I have X-ray vision now that I can just say “GET BACK IN BED” loudly without even opening the door to their room. I think I’m in love. 

This is my second Summer Infant purchase, my first was their ridiculously large (up to 12 ft) baby gate that has kept my computer safe from unexpected “PUSH THE LIGHT BUTTON” shut downs for 4 months now! Both are incredible products and I must say that for any purchases for baby #3, they’re going to be the first brand I look at.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful time enjoying this slight break in freezing temps, and starting Spring off with a bang! More DIY and organizational things will be coming soon. 🙂

Streamlining Life – All-In-One Organization Super Binder

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Today’s project started with a bit of inspiration from Clean Mama’s Start Here. series (who has infinitely cuter printables than the quick pages I made). In a desperate need for a more streamlined daily organization system, I grabbed a big three-ring binder, a pack of dividers, and a ridiculous amount of sheet protectors (for a whopping $7 total). Armed with Pinterest, PrintMaster, and an extra hour, I got to work.

 

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My Super Binder sections were Calendars, Coupons, Finances, Home, Garden, Kids, Projects, and Blog. My handwriting is atrocious. 

I started with narrowing down and then prioritizing (based on daily use) which sections I would actually use. Store-bought daily planners usually have all sorts of junk like phone book and unwieldy note sections that I never use. Instead, I opted for something I would find far more versatile and give me the monthly calendar view I prefer. 

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I placed a 1/3 page notes section at the top of my monthly calendar, and set up the calendar in a sheet protector so each month would open to the left of the binder. To the right of each month I put a handful of regular ruled notebook paper for extra jotting space.

I really like having unlimited note space for each month without having to crowd my actual monthly calendar, or fool with a monthly AND weekly calendar. 

For the coupon section, I simply threw in three full-page sheet protectors to start with, and separated my coupons into sheets that worked for me. To the casual couponer, this could mean “Regular use items”, “Unusual purchases” and “One time use”, while the more advanced probably already have their own binder system that can be transferred. 

Finances is where I really started getting into quick-glance vs. detail.

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Obviously, go with headers that work best for your situation. One big thing I didn’t include (as it doesn’t apply to us right now) is a mortgage section.

This I set up as a spreadsheet, with our checking and savings balances next to an estimate on our remaining car, medical, college, and “miscellaneous” debt. If you have separate savings accounts for college funds or anything else, you may want to list them individually to keep a closer eye on the monthly or weekly deposits. Set up rows that work for you: if you make monthly payments/deposits, use monthly rows. We pay different things weekly, so a weekly row system works better for us.

My “Home” and “Garden” sections included cover pages with weekly and monthly tasks, with more ruled paper for extra things that may need attention. Any big projects went on notebook paper in the “Projects” section to be tackled individually. “Kids” just had ruled paper for quick notes: crafts I want to try, appointments, milestones, and miscellaneous “WE NEED MORE SOCKS” jotting. 

So, what can you do to get more organized in an hour?
Tell me! Let’s make this a streamlined year!

Gears Are Turning

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Alright, loves, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m booting up again, after almost an entire year without internet! How did I survive?? Anyhow, I have lots of new projects to work on and share, including recipes I’ve picked up, DIY projects I’ve been playing with, some cold-weather sewing, and preparation for our big homesteading gardens! 

This past year has been, as I predicted, a grand bundle of wonderful, and a healthy portion of crazy. I made the transition from working mom to stay-at-home, thanks to Anthony’s unpredictable work hours in the prestigious field of Mortuary Sciences. He’s really settled into this new job with ease, and it’s gotten to where I can’t imagine him doing anything else. 

It’s been both delightful and mind-boggling to watch Zoey and Tristan establish their own personalities and behaviors. Zoey is very creative and loves learning about doctors and bodies, the stars and weather, and can’t get enough coloring. Tristan can’t get enough of food, music, and engineering complex structures to get into things he should not be getting into. He also has a crush on Nani from Lilo and Stitch, who just happens to be one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time. 

Being at home has been a great experience for me, and has given me the time to learn new things and delve deeper into activities that I enjoy but didn’t have the hours for before. I am so very excited to share this journey with you in the coming months. Until then, peace, love, and Pinterest!

The unique challenges of having a blended family

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The princess has decided lots of things over the last two weeks.

  • Princesses only wear clothes they deem pretty enough.
  • Dresses and poofy skirts are the only things pretty enough for princesses to wear.
  • If mommy puts pants on or goes near the clean laundry pile, she is clearly trying to escape.
  • If mommy goes to the closet, she clearly needs wardrobe assistance. Princesses should always pick mommy’s clothes to the proper princess standard. See the item above.
  • The baby eats mommy but it’s okay as long as the princess is overseeing to make sure the baby doesn’t accidentally eat mommy in a way that is ouchie.
  • Freckles are ouchies.
  • Breakfast is for losers.
  • Screaming is extremely effective.
  • Cheese is the only important food group.
  • What used to be the favorite breakfast food, apples & cinnamon oatmeal, does not have cheese. See items above.
  • Anthony’s name is now daddy.
  • Mommy’s house is “home”.
  • Cows may say “mooooo” but baby cows say “Awwwwwww”

Princess Zoey has officially started calling Anthony daddy. I feel like I’m treading in an emotional minefield. This is a huge development, especially as her attitude towards him has pretty much been that of “you are my substitute mommy until mommy is here and then I act like you are the prince of darkness and you hang me upside down by my toes and make me eat vegetables”. We had a long talk about this when we decided to get married and both agreed that it would be Zoey’s decision what she wanted to call him and when. I’ve referred to him as “Anthony” to her until we started getting into the gray area. A couple of weeks ago we were sitting on the couch and she pointed to him on my phone background.

“Who’s that?”

“That’s Anthony, baby,” I replied. She made her thinking face that she picked up from him, screwing her mouth around to make it look like she’s chewing on her lip.

“Who’s that? Daddy?” She said, pointing again.

“Is it daddy?” I asked her. She thought for a moment again and then nodded.

“Daddy.” The word didn’t appear again that night, or most of the next day until Anthony was headed for the store. Zoey looked up at him as he was leaving and waved.

“Bye bye daddy.” For a moment I thought he was going to explode he smiled so big. She got forehead kisses and a “Bye bye baby.”

Until she went back to her papa’s, I continued to refer to him as Anthony to her, worried that if I switched too soon I would be making a change she wasn’t comfortable with yet. The next Monday she surprised me with continuing to call him Daddy. We made the transition as well, and now Anthony is “Daddy”. We refer to Isrrael as “Papa” here to avoid confusing her, but she doesn’t seem to be having any trouble with it.

Of course, Mommy is still preferred to snuggle with over Daddy, but her feelings toward him are easy to see. She’s sad and wants to text or call him if he leaves for work before she wakes up, and asks after him when she deems he’s been at the store for too long. It’s a delicate balance, and one that will continue to be delicate for a long time, but at least she’s setting her own pace.

And papa invited me (plural!) to the birthday party he’s throwing for her. We’ve also managed to have several casual conversations. Can you say “progress”?

At the rate she’s picking up new words lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zoey could!

Fluffy butts everywhere!

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Tristan in his new BumGenius 4.0, Albert print.

After taking a break with cloth diapering my daughter, we are back at full force! With two under two and potty-training on the horizon, cloth seemed like the most affordable method, and I’ve always preferred using cloth to disposables. With working part time, the extra load of laundry doesn’t cause much stress and I usually throw them in with hard-worn work clothes or towels and do an extra rinse.

When I was pregnant with my daughter I did a lot of research on cloth diapers, both the more convenient kinds like All-In-Ones (AIO’s) and the old fashioned prefolds with covers. I settled on a one-day stash of both. I went with KangaCare’s One Size Rumparooz for my pocket diapers (they had seconds available at the time, which made their price lower than normally cheaper brands like BumGenius and FuzziBunz) and Thirsties Duo Wraps with cotton prefolds for my at-home prefold and cover diapers. One size cloth diapers have been my absolute favorite, most fit from 8-35 pounds and range from $7-25 depending on the brand and quality. This allows me to use the same diapers on my 2 month old son and my 22 month old daughter, completely eliminating the need to buy two different sizes of disposables. Now, the Thirsties Duo Wraps aren’t a true one size diaper. Instead of having one size or five (Newborn, small, medium, large, extra-large), they have two sizes available: one that fits 6-18 pounds and one that fits 18-40 pounds. This allows their diapers to fit tiny newborns better than most one size diapers, and also lets them fit larger toddlers (like my daughter, who is 37 pounds at 22 months) without being too tight.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this generation’s cloth diapers, there are many different kinds to choose from and benefits to each. Prefolds and covers are much like the cloth diapers that our parents used and are cheaper than the more convenient kinds, though they require a little more time for changes. However, safety pins aren’t needed for these diapers anymore: there are some products like Snappis that can be used with one hand and without the fear of accidentally sticking your baby! Pocket diapers and AIO’s run a bit more expensive than prefolds, but are worth it for the easy no-hassle changes. These diapers are put on as one piece. Some of them, like AIOs, are always one piece and some, like pockets, have absorbent inserts that are stuffed in the diaper before you change the baby. I usually stuff my diapers as soon as they cool from the dryer, allowing me to have diapers on hand that can be used just as quickly as a disposable would.

I am in the process of trying more brands of cloth diapers (I just bought a BumGenius one size pocket diaper last week and I’m really liking it), but I haven’t really run into any trouble with a diaper not working the way it should. Different kinds have their advantages and disadvantages, leaks happen (often due to user error as I’ve never really had to think about which direction my baby is peeing before…), and different brands do seem to fit differently. Though I haven’t had much time with my new BumGenius diaper yet, I like the way it fits my 2 month old better than the way the Rumparooz do.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll be getting three new brands of diapers in the mail: Sunbaby pockets, Pororo covers, and a Thirsties all-in-one, in addition to trying out home-made cloth baby wipes. I’ll make sure to keep you all updated on the way that each fit, their absorbency on each of the kiddos, and do an overall comparison as well.

I am not being compensated in any form for this review, all opinions written here are my own.