Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Projects!

Now that Christmas is over, I can show some of the things I made this year...

Those are a few of the things I did...I didn't get a picture of everything and I think there are still a couple of pictures on my camera, so I'll have to share those later!

Monday, December 21, 2009


What do you do with three work shirts that can no longer be worn because of a company change?

One of them Seth really liked as a shirt, so with a seam ripper and about an hour of time, I was able to remove the embroidered logo, and now he has a shirt that he wears all the time!

As for the other two, I didn't really want to give them to a thrift store because of the company logo, but I didn't really feel good about just throwing them away, either. Then I had some inspiration!

The shirts went from this..... this!!

I had been planning on making a tote bag for Benjamin, since I know there will be times when he will need things separate from the baby's things in the diaper bag. I had to piece things a bit to get it the size I wanted it, but I was happy with how it turned out! I added pockets to the inside to hold little things and sippy cups or snacks.

This is going to go in his stocking...although I know I'm more excited about it than he will be! =)

It feels so good to not only get something you need without having to spend any money, but also to be able to reuse something and not be wasteful!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's finally looking like Christmas around here!

We decorated a bit late this year - as Seth has been pretty laid up with a minor toe surgery. But we've finally gotten everything up and it looks festive!

A new addition to the Christmas decorations this year is a darling Fisher Price nativity. I wanted a nativity that our kids could play with, and I thought this one was so cute! My only complaint with it is that it doesn't have any shepherds, which I didn't discover until after I had gotten it, and I already loved it, so I didn't want to look for another one. Maybe someday I'll find a way to add some!

Benjamin has been having fun with it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Benjamin's Birthday

We kept Benjamin's birthday presents pretty simple this year, since he's too little to understand, but even so, I hadn't expected his favorite present to be...toothbrushes! He was pretty excited about them - too bad he's not so excited about brushing his teeth!

We enjoyed celebrating Benjamin's birthday with our families! He received lots of fun presents - and I was pleased with all of the good toy choices! =) By the time we got around to the cake and ice cream, though, he was too tired out from everything to really even eat it. He did have a cupcake the next day, but he doesn't like ice cream! I'm sure that will change someday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

May God bless you and your family today!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Benjamin!

Benjamin is One!!!
It's so hard to believe that my little baby is a year old! It is so amazing to look back at all the pictures from the past year and to see how much he has grown and changed. What better way to document his first year than with some of my favorite pictures from the last twelve months?

He is such a fun-loving, cheerful, curious little boy! He is such a blessing in our lives!

Birthday Banner

I took a break from Christmas presents a couple of weeks ago and decided to make something for more immediate celebrations - birthdays! I've been wanting to make one of these cute pennant banners, so I made a "Happy Birthday" banner, which I hung over our sliding glass doors. I love how it dressed up the window!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

A couple weeks ago I cooked and pureed the pumpkins we had gotten at the farm. It ended up taking me a while, as my blender could only handle a small amount of pumpkin at a time. I ended up with about 14 cups of puree from my two small-to-medium sized pumpkins, which I was pleased with. I put it all in the freezer, but pulled some out the other day and made some muffins today! Homemade pumpkin puree doesn't have as strong of a flavor as canned pumpkin, but they were still delicious - even with mostly whole wheat flour and not much sugar! It is so satisfying to use ingredients that you prepared yourself - you know they're fresh and healthy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Seth!

It's Seth's birthday tomorrow! We'll be enjoying a simple celebration with family! Happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

One of my new favorite things...

...hydrogen peroxide!

Several months ago I read a blog post on the wonderful stain-removing power of hydrogen peroxide, and decided to try it on several stains on our carpet. I was amazed at how well it worked! I was so happy - I did not want to pull out the Resolve with a little guy on the carpet all the time. Since then, I've also used it on our very dirty white couch, with great success! I'll be trying it on clothes next, but so far I'm am very pleased with the results I've gotten from using it! I screwed a spray bottle top onto the bottle, which worked really well on the couch, but I've found that it worked better on the carpet if I just poured it on, perhaps because it's able to go down into the carpet instead of just sitting on top. I'm happy to have another cheap, safe way to clean!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Christmas Plans...

I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately...and getting excited! Right now I'm focusing on thinking of gifts. I have a couple of things ready, a couple more in the works, and many more ideas to come up with! I'm mostly trying to things of gifts that are nice, but simple and useful. I'd like to have gifts ready as soon as possible, so that I'll be able to relax and enjoy the busy season! Maybe this year I'll actually be successful in that goal - I can dream, right! =) I'm also trying to come up with a few ideas for Christmas activities. Last year got so busy with Benjamin that we didn't do too many Christmasy things, so I'd like to do a little more this year! My overall goal, though, is just to have a fun, but simple and relaxing season of making memories while celebrating our Savior's birth!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To the Pumpkin Patch!

We joined Seth's family for a trip to the pumpkin patch last weekend!

We left with a couple of lovely pumpkins we'll use as decorations for a while - then I'll try my hand at cooking them up!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wet Bag

I've been trying to use my cloth bags at the grocery store more often, but in order to do so, I have had to find replacements for the uses I had for store bags. I used paper bags to hold our recycling, then just took it all out to the recycling bin when it was full. I no longer need these since I was able to get a nice plastic recycling tote bag from the city. Plastic bags I used for garbage can liners and also for holding wet diapers in the diaper bag. I don't have a way to replace them in the garbage can, but I'm pleased to say I no longer need them for holding wet diapers!
I first saw the concept of a wet bag at Passionate Homemaking, and was intrigued. It is a zippered bag, lined with vinyl to hold wet items. I had plenty of leftover vinyl from the changing pad, so I decided to try making one. It was a little tricky for me to put it together so the seams were in between the layers, but it's not bad as long as I don't look at it too closely! It works wonderfully! I wipe it out with my vinegar cleaner each time I use it so it stays clean and odor-free!

Homemade Changing Pad

I have a changing pad for Benjamin that has pockets for wipes and diapers, and then all folds up and closes nicely. I really like it, but he's starting to outgrow it, and I also thought that it would be nice to have another for when the baby is born. So I thought I would try making one. I picked up some tablecloth vinyl at the store for a few dollars, and also used some fabric I already had. This new one is much bigger than the other one and much cuter! I added some elastic to wrap around it when it's folded so it stays closed.

Fall Fun!

With fall clearly here, I picked up some decorative gourds and a pumpkin at the store the other day. Benjamin had fun playing with them for a little while before we used them to decorate the table. I think they look especially well with the pretty flowers my sweet husband brought home! Our favorite is the cool gourd in front that looks just like a swan!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Boy Bibs

With a big boy who insists on eating only what he can feed himself, it was time for something more than the little bitty baby bibs. I made him one bib out of a kitchen towel, then several more from some flannel and terry cloth I had bought for this very purpose! Much better!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Cloth diapering without the huge investment!

I was recently reading a blog post in which the writer estimated the cost of buying "prefold" cloth diapers at around $350. This estimate was based on buying different sizes of prefolds, which I'm not familiar with, but I thought I'd share my method of cloth diapering, since I know from my experience that cloth diapering doesn't have to cost that much. In fact, when I started adding things up, everything I have only cost about $100 (and I've only spent around $30!). I thought that this might be helpful to someone who wants to use cloth but doesn't have several hundred dollars to spend on it!

Prefolds are the only kind of diapers I've used, so I can't compare them to other kinds of diapers, but I can give you my thoughts on using them! Since I've never tried the newer fancier diapers, perhaps I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm okay with that, since I'm perfectly happy with what I'm doing!

Diapers: I have Gerber one-size prefold diapers. Since they are one-size they are used from newborn up to toddler. The smaller the baby is, the smaller you fold them. I still fold them down some with Benjamin, and they have plenty of room for him to grow. The Tightwad Gazette showed how two diapers can be put together if needed, for a larger child (I don't know if I'll have to try that eventually or not). I only used them on Benjamin a couple of times when he was a newborn, as I had been given a supply of disposables which lasted the first two months. They were a little bulky folded up so much, but they worked. I had initially bought a package of 3-ply diapers, but then found 6-ply, which I liked much better, as they are much more absorbant (the 3-ply ended up as burp rags!). I have found three dozen to be the perfect number for me - allowing me to wash every 2-3 days, with enough to last an extra day while the washed diapers dry (I line dry).
I have had no problems with using prefolds. I don't think they really take any more time than using disposables - and they have saved so much money! I use pins with mine and so far have not poked Benjamin! =) I like to use baby powder (cornstarch works great, too!) with mine and change him every 3-4 hours, although he does go longer sometimes. He gets pretty wet at night, so I like to double his diaper (two folded together). I've been using mine for about 7 months total (minus the time I've used disposables I've been given), and they are still in very good shape. I would expect them to last at least through a couple of kids.

Plastic Pants: I use the traditional plastic pants with my diapers. I tried some "wraps" that someone gave me but found they leaked almost every time. I have only had a couple of leaks with using plastic pants, and no wet leaks - only a few leaks with major "explosions". I have had far less leaks with these than with disposables! The main thing to watch with these is that you cover up the diaper all the way - if part of the diaper is sticking out from the plastic pants, uncovered, the clothes will get wet from it. Sometimes these do get ripped from a fingernail or whatever. I have repaired them by putting some hot glue on the rip. These come in different sizes, and I reccommend around 6 of each size. I bought small, and I have medium that someone passed on to me, which are older and better quality than the ones I bought new. The newer ones were thinner and so probably would rip easier, but they do work just fine. I have Gerber brand, which are made of vinyl. I have heard from a few different sources that nylon are better quality and last longer, but they are a little more expensive. I plan to buy my large size in nylon, but I haven't personally tried them yet.

Pins: I have the traditional diaper pins with the colored plastic head. I think I have about five pairs, but two or three pairs would be sufficient.

Wipes: I use cloth wipes as well - since I'm already washing diapers, it makes sense to save that extra money and wash wipes too! I use flannel cut up into squares and serged around the edges (a zig zag stitch would work as well). Instead of wetting them and putting them in the wipe container, I have a bottle of slightly soapy water, and I wet them as I needed them. (See this post.) This way I don't have to worry about the wipes getting moldy if I don't use too many.

Diaper Pail: I purchased a kitchen-size garbage can with a lid. The only time I ever have noticed a smell is right when I open the lid, and it disappears quickly. I have been very impressed with the lack of smell - I hadn't expected a non air-tight garbage can to keep the odor in so well. I clean it with my vinegar cleaner every few months or so.

Now I'll give the amount that it would take to buy everything - but there are several things you can do to keep from spending even this much!

36 diapers - I bought mine at Target. A package of 12 6-ply (3-ply are a little bit less) costs $16.99 - Total: $51.00 + tax

Plastic Pants: 6 of each size - The only store I was able to find these at was Babies'R'Us. The first three sizes should get you through at least the first year. A package of three costs $4.49, so, purchasing two packages of each three sizes means a total cost of: $27.00 + tax. If you wanted to purchase nylon, they can be found online for $3.99 for two pairs.

Wipes: Buy a yard of flannel, cut it up into squares, and serge or zig zag stitch around the edges. You can find flannel on sale or clearance at Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann's for around $2-3 a yard. Total cost: $2-3

Pins: Babies 'R' Us had a package of three pairs for $1.50. Total cost: $1.50 + tax

Diaper Pail: I bought mine at Target or Fred Meyer for around $7. Total cost: approx. $7.00 + tax

Even if you have to buy everything, you can cloth diaper your baby for an intial investment of around $90 - less than $100 after tax.

Like I said, I haven't spent nearly this much, so here are some ideas to reduce that cost:
1. Let people know that you are cloth diapering. If you register for gifts, put diapers, pins, and plastic pants on your registery. People may buy these for you. I didn't purchase any pins, and I have around 5 pairs that I was given as gifts. Also, some people will pass on their diapering supplies that they are no longer using. I received some plastic pants, diaper wrap covers (which I didn't keep because they leaked), and around 20 diapers, which I use for backup in case I ever need them (I probably will with diapering two!). I don't really use them now because they are a little thinner than the 6-ply. But they do work, and I could have bought one less package of diapers! I wouldn't ever buy used diapers, just my own personal preference, but since these were from someone I knew, I was okay with using them.
2. Use gift cards! Two of the packages of diapers and the plastic pants I bought were purchased using gift cards I got at one of Benjamin's showers.
3. Use what you have! You can cut up extra flannel receiving blankets for wipes. I happened to have some flannel in my fabric stash that I used, which worked great and didn't cost me anything. I have also seen a tutorial for making your own prefold diapers out of receiving blankets.
4. When I was checking on the prices for plastic pants, I realized that they had changed the sizes slightly, making each size fit for less time (essentially meaning that you will have to buy more sizes!). I have heard that you can skip a size without having leaking problems, so you could try that to save some money.

So far, I have only spent around $30 on cloth diapering, and I am very happy with my decision to use cloth diapers!

10 months old!

Just thought I'd give an update on Benjamin! About a month ago, he finally got his first tooth, and now has two. After quite some time of scooting around on his stomach, he finally just figured out to crawl! He now is all over the place and into everything! He has started pulling himself to a stand, and he loves to stand holding on to something. He has also started walking a little while holding on to the couch. He is getting more and more like a little boy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

To the Fair!

We decided to go to the fair on Labor Day, since Seth was off from work.
We had fun, despite the rain! =)

We only got a couple of pictures - all of me and Benjamin by the goats!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yummy Chili

I know chili isn't really a summer meal, but I wanted to use my crock pot the other day, so I made a batch of chili. I thought I'd share the recipe I use, which I really like because it uses dried beans instead of cans like most other recipes.

I adapted the recipe based on what I had on hand, and my personal preferences. The original recipe is called Chilly-Chili and is from Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly.

2 c. assorted dried beans
1 tsp salt
1 lb. fat-free ground turkey (I don't use this much - probably only 1/2 lb.)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic (I usually use 2 tsp. garlic pwd.)
Olive oil
1 tsp. salt
28 - oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained.
2 tsp. Cumin, approx.
3 tsp. Chili pwd., approx.
(I say approx. on the spices because I usually don't measure them. I like my chili pretty mild - add more if you like it spicy!)

1. A day - or a week - before you want to serve and eat chili, sort, wash, and cover beans with water for 4-6 hours. Drain.
2. Place in plastic resealable bag. Place in freezer and freeze until solid.
3. On the day you want to serve the chili, place frozen beans in slow cooker. Cover with fresh water. Add 1 tsp. salt (this will keep the beans firm).
4. Cover. Cook on high 2-3 hours, or until you can crush a bean with a fork.
5. Drain, reserving 2 cups liquid. (I usually will take out liquid until I think there's about a cup left in the beans, then leave that, and save another cup and a half or so of the liquid. It doesn't have to be exact, and that's easier than trying to get all of the liquid out.)
6. In a skillet, brown ground turkey, onion, and garlic in oil.
7. Add to slow cooker. Add tomatoes, salt, cumin, and chili powder to slow cooker.
8. Add the remaining bean liquid, or as much as you can fit in your slow cooker.
9. Cover. Cook on low 1-8 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

Staycation Activities...

We've enjoyed a few day trips this summer - this past Monday we joined my parents and youngest sister on a trip to a wildlife park and a replica pioneer farm.

We enjoyed seeing the various animals at the park. Benjamin is a little young to be able to appreciate it, but he did seem to like looking at a few of the animals!

At the pioneer farm, we got to try a variety of farm activities. I decided to be brave and try milking the cow! It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be...

It's amazing how many fun activities you can do that aren't too far from home!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A fun project!

A while back Seth gave me a gift certificate for a bead store near our home. I finally had a chance this past Saturday to put it to use! I bought the supplies and made three pairs of earrings at the store, where they have the tools you can use for free. I hadn't really done any beading before, but I like how they turned out and am enjoying them!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I haven't done any sewing for a while - so it felt really good to make something the other day as I made a garbage bag dispenser for my sister-in-law! I've made a couple of other things since and have a few more projects lined up to work on in the next couple of weeks!


Benjamin is such a casual, relaxed little guy; I just had to post these darling pictures of him!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thinking cool thoughts...

We're trying desperately to stay somewhat cool around here in our nearly 100 degree temperatures...and so far it's not working too well, especially the last couple of days when I haven't had my car to go somewhere cool! Fortunately today Seth took us downtown so we could hang out at a coffee shop while he worked. Thank goodness for a/c! Now if we could just get it in our sweltering apartment, we'd be in good shape! =)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baby Sling Update....

I used the sling a little bit with Benjamin while on our trip, and I really liked it for holding him on my hip. I tried it in the cradle hold once when Benjamin fell asleep, but he's too big and heavy to hold like that, even with the sling. I think it would be nice with a smaller baby, though.

Eight Months!

Benjamin is 8 months old today, which is hard to believe! He loves to sit and play with toys, and we just started using a jumping seat we got from a friend, which he is enjoying. He still doesn't have any teeth, and he's still not crawling, but I don't think it will be long before he is moving!

D.C. Pictures!

Benjamin and I got back from our trip to D.C. and West Virginia a few weeks ago, but with VBS at church, etc., we're only just now settling back into our normal routine.

I had been nervous about taking Benjamin on such a long trip, but fortunately, he did great! I was able to see some things I didn't see the last time I was there, which was cool, such as the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, Ford's Theatre, and the sight from the top of the Washington Monument. We had fun seeing the sights of D.C., and then our team did great in the national Bible Quizzing competition!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A High Chair Tray!

We chose this high chair for Benjamin because we liked that it was wooden, cute, and small. However, it doesn't have a tray that goes with it, since it's meant to be put at a table. Unfortunately, it is slightly too high to go under our table top, so I can't get it close enough to the table for Benjamin to reach. I was able to find this small tray that was the perfect size for me to velcro it to the chair. It works great!

Baby Sling Pattern

I'm taking Benjamin with me on a trip next week, and someone mentioned to me that a baby sling might come in handy for the times I need (or want!) to carry him rather than using the stroller. I thought that was a good idea, but I didn't want to buy one, since I didn't know if I would like using it. I found a couple of patterns online and was able to make one from some fabric that I had. From practicing with it, I think it might come in handy, but I'll have to post later on how I liked it after using it for a while!

Just thought I would link to the instructions. These instructions are really simple, and had good pictures to go along with them, as well as helpful instructions on how to use it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cloth Baskets!

Benjamin's toy basket was overflowing...I decided that rather than going to the store and buying more baskets to store the toys, I would make some cloth ones!

I was able to find some fabric in my stash that would work, and I made two cloth baskets that I put in different places so I don't have to take toys around the house with me when I'm working and bring Benjamin with me to play.

I like how they turned out, and one thing I like about the cloth baskets is that during the times I don't need them, I can just fold them up and put them away! I don't have to store a big basket that I'm not using but don't want to get rid of!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Benjamin is such a joy! He brings so much happiness to our life! I love being able to stay home with him!

Benjamin loves it when I sing to him. Often I'll put him in his seat or high chair and sing to him while I wash dishes. If I look at him for a minute while I'm doing it - he gives me a big smile!

He is happy to sit and play with toys so I can fold laundry!

He has started pushing himself up a lot more when he's on his stomach - which means when he wakes up in the morning, he can now look over his bumper pads and see me. Several mornings I've woken up and seen this little happy face looking at me!

Daddy's starting the love of cars and driving early!