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Friday, May 29, 2009


A few weeks ago Repurposeful did a giveaway for Idbids - something I hadn't heard of before.  But as I read the description, I really wanted to win.  There are three Idbid characters (Scout, Lola, and Waverly) who teach children how to keep the earth safe and green one iddy biddy step at a time.  It's wonderful because they help teach concepts of conservation and pollution and give examples of reachable goals that children can do to help the environment.  So I decided to enter the contest - and I won!  I think this is the first time I've won anything since 5th grade when I won a CD player from McDonald's ... and I only won that because my brother entered me in since he was too old.  

So we're very excited to have Waverly the Idbid in our home.  We've been playing with him this week and reading the book and talking about what it means to conserve water.  I think Idbids would make a great birthday gift or Christmas gift for the child who really doesn't need just another toy.  

Here are a few action shots of Charissa and Waverly:

She doesn't look it, but she was very excited to open the box.
We were talking about how rain drops fall down from the sky, so Charissa ran over to her stool and tried to throw Waverly back up into the sky.  She's so stinking cute!
Our happy new friend.

Definitely check out their website. Even if you don't buy an Idbid there are lots of cool things to do there.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Impromptu Bib Clips

Even though I've become accustomed to traveling with a humongous bags attached to me with all sorts of things for the girls, I always seem to be without a bib at restaurants.  It's so frustrating.  But last week I found a solution!  I would link to it, but I don't remember where I found it.  Anyway - you just take ribbon and 2 binder clips and make it into something like you get at the dentist.  That way you can just stow it in your bag and use a napkin when you're out.  Added bonus - you don't have to cart home a dirty, wet bib in your diaper bag.  Yay!  

Here's how to do it:

1.  Get some ribbon and 2 binder clips.

2.  Sew each end to one of the loops on the binder clip.  I did this on my machine, but it would probably be easier to do by hand.  

And that's it!  What a brilliant solution.  I can't wait to use it on Sunday.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Splish Splash Fun

Warm weather is upon us so it's time to get out the swimming pool!  And not only the pool, but the Slip 'n' Slide!  
Verity opted to rest in the shade on a towel rather than getting splashed by her big sister.
Charissa even remembered to use her water wisely - recycling her pool water to feed the plants.
She's shocked and amazed that the water is squirting up at her.  She loved the Slip 'n' Slide, but she kept slipping on accident and never on purpose.
I think Britt is a little too big for the Slip 'n' Slide. 

Lately we've been able to have a lot of really fun family time.  It has been so wonderful.  I love to be with my husband and my girls and just enjoy each others' company.  Which isn't hard to do when everyone seems to either be a silly goose or have on silly pants.  At least according to Miss Charissa.  

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why You Don't Give a Toddler a Milkshake in the Car

Oh well ... clothes may need to be washed, but happy children and the memories they make are worth it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Two Great Baby Gifts and Their Tutorials to Go With Them

Last week I made I wipes case and diaper clutch for a friend of mine who is due in August.  
It was remarkably easy to do.  For the diaper clutch I followed this tutorial at Boogaboo Babies, and for the wipes case I used the tutorial from Make It and Love It.  If you ever want to make either one of these items I completely recommend using these tutorials.  I certainly hope Baby Catherine enjoys using them as much I enjoyed making them for her.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't You Wish You Lived Here?

You could play dress up all day ...

... and then sleep in your tu-tu.  

It's days like these that reinforce how happy I am to be a stay at home mama. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Laundry Aides

I ran across a blog by The Simple Green Frugal Co-Op about getting stains out of clothing.  It's something that I think is a great resource to have up in your laundry closet ready when you find yourself with an especially rough stain.  I've copied her entry for you reading pleasure:

It makes good sense to look after your clothes to prolong their useful life as long as possible. As a mother with three young children though, I have a constant battle with a variety of stains on their clothing! So I thought today it might be useful to share some methods for removing stains from machine-washable clothing, using commonly available ingredients. I keep a notebook to jot down methods as I come across them in magazines, books or the internet, and asterix the ones that work well to use next time. As always, use your judgement when spot-cleaning any item of clothing and if you think it might not be colorfast, test a small hidden area first (like a hem) and be as gentle as possible with more delicate or printed items.

I also try to avoid using methods which require specialised products like dry-cleaning fluid or white spirits as two of us have very sensitive skin, and for environmental reasons I prefer the simpler, the better. Usually, my first line of defence for dried stains is to soak in an oxygen bleach prewash such as NapiSan or OxiClean (although I use a cheaper generic version of these), and then move on to other stain removal methods for persistant stains, while the garment is still wet.

Firstly, note that all spills should - ideally - be seen to as soon as possible for the best chance of removal. When that isn't possible, or you don't have the time (or the energy) to deal with it, rinse the item in COLD water and leave it to soak until you can get to it.

Secondly, heat will invariably set stains, making them very difficult, if not impossible, to remove. If you miss a stain when you are washing your clothes as normal, but notice it when removing it from the machine, deal with it while it is still wet. The heat from drying the item in the sun, in the dryer or ironing it, will usually set it.

Thirdly, if you can, work from the back of the stain to the front so that you don't accidentally force the stain further into the fabric. For most clothing items therefore, turn them inside out and rinse from the back. Treat delicate items with appropriate care; don't rub vigorously.

Lastly, if you can't remove a stain, don't throw the garment away immediately - it may be possible to save the garment with some creative sewing! Cover up stains on children's clothing using applique, fabric paint and buttons. Oh and a word about hairspray and perfume - these are commonly discussed online as being good for removing certain stains, but it is the alcohol in them that does the job. Go for rubbing alcohol in preference if you can, as hairspray and perfume contain other ingredients which can make the stain worse in some cases.

Ballpoint pen: Cover fresh stains with salt to absorb as much of the ink as possible, and then soak in milk before washing as usual. If you know that the fabric is colorfast, you can use a paste made from cream of tartar and lemon juice. Apply to the stain and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing and washing. If you aren't sure, test the paste on a hidden section of fabric like the hem, first.

Beetroot: For fresh stains, rinse as much juice from the item with cool water as possible. Then soak a piece of white bread in cool water, place over the stain and leave to absorb the stain. Wash as normal in cool water. If it has dried, rub the stain gently from the outside edges inwards with glycerine, or try soaking it in white vinegar. Rinse and wash as normal.

Blood: Wash as much of the stain out as possible with cold running water. Rub the remaining stain with a bar of pure soap until removed, and launder with your normal powder or liquid in cold water. For dried stains on colorfast items, soak in cold water first to loosen the stain, then apply a paste made of 6 tablespoons baking soda and 1/2 cup water. Work it in a little and leave to sit for 30 minutes to an hour, then wash as normal in cold water.

Chocolate: Rinse in cold water, then scrub with a cake of pure soap and cold water to remove the brown stain. Then to remove the oil stain, rub with a cake of pure soap in hot water. Rinse and wash as normal.

Coffee and tea: Soak in a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Wash on a cold cycle and hang in the sun to dry.

Crayon: Mix two drops of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and then massage gently into the stain with your fingers. Rinse and wash as usual.

Curry powder/ turmeric: Wipe with a small amount of lavender oil before washing as usual.

Fruit juice: Wash in white vinegar and then hang in the sunshine to dry. Many fruit stains are UV sensitive and will break down with exposure to sunlight. Dark fruit stains like stone fruits may benefit from rubbing with glycerine first.

Grass: Try soaking the item in full strength vinegar for half an hour before washing. If stains remain, try sponging the stain gently with rubbing alcohol before rewashing.

Grease and greasy stains: Cover fresh stains immediately with salt to blot up the excess oil. Brush off gently and dab any remaining stains with vinegar, or gently rub a small amount of dishwashing liquid into the stain. Wash as usual.

Marker pens: Try dabbing gently with methylated spirits, changing the cloth frequently to remove the marker. Wash as usual.

Mud: Allow to dry and brush off as much as possible (you can even try the vacuum cleaner nozzle). Rub liquid detergent into the remaining stain and allow to soak, rubbing occasionally, for 30 minutes, then wash as normal.

Paint: With water-based paints, try rubbing the mark with dishwashing liquid or dab the stain gently with methylated spirits. Rinse and wash as usual. For acrylic paints, dab with turpentine or gently apply rubbing alcohol with a toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly and wash as usual.

Rust and mildew: Make a paste of lemon juice and salt and apply to the stain. Leave to sit for 30 minutes - if the garment is white leave it in the sun (don't do this with coloured garments as it will bleach the fabric). Rinse and allow to dry (but not in a dryer). Repeat if necessary.

Soft drink/ soda: Treat as per fruit juice stains (most soft drink dyes are vegetable-based).

Tomatoes: Sunlight! Wash the item as normal, and then hang right-side out in the sun. Like many fruit stains, tomato stains are UV-sensitive and will fade to nothing with exposure to the sun. Many a bolognaise-stained white shirt has been saved this way at my house ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Green Giggling Girls

This week the girls received a set of matching green bathing suits from a great aunt of mine.  I tried to get a picture of the girls in the suits so that my aunt could see them, but it's hard to get a picture where the suits really show.  Oh well - the girls are still pretty cute.

Do you see that?  It's the first picture we've been able to get with Verity smiling.  She's been smiling for months now, but I couldn't ever get it on film.  Mission completion.  :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Best Mother's Day Present

This year I got the best Mother's Day present: a nap.  It was wonderful.  Almost 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  This was followed by the second greatest present: a clean home.  What more could I want?  I did also get a fun black tote bag.  And pizza for dinner.  

What a great day. :)

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mowing Buddy

Charissa is a Daddy's girl.  If Daddy is home Charissa wants to be with him.  It doesn't matter what he's doing - she wants to be involved.  As evidenced by this:
Yup, she's riding on Britt's back in the Ergo while he mows the grass.  

That kid is just plain funny. 

Friday, May 08, 2009

Becoming Real

"What is real?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  "does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long,long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  "When you are real you don't mind being hurt."  
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse.  "You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
- Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

I was getting ready for bed tonight and was beyond thrilled that it was only 1100.  Today had been a long day in a week of long days, so I was feeling tired and much too ready to close my eyes and take a break from feeding, changing, and caring for small bodies (at least for a few hours).  Then I heard Britt say, "I hear someone crying."  

It only took me a second to realize that it wasn't Verity, and it wasn't Charissa's "I just woke up and feel alone" cry - she was in distress.  And when I got to her room it only took a whiff to realize why.  I guess my sensitive spirited little girl also has a sensitive tummy.  After calming her down, I quickly set to work gathering all the dirty sheets and blankets and stuffed animals to put them in the wash.  Unfortunately, Buddy was among those headed for a late night bath.  

Who is Buddy?  Buddy is Charissa's best friend.  She's a little pink bunny with purple flowers who used to play music, but lost that ability a few washings ago.  Once a fluffy and clean little bunny, she now has permanent markings and tears from CJ loving on her.  Buddy is Charissa's constant companion.  She sleeps with buddy.  Buddy plays games with us.  Buddy likes to watch Veggie Tales.  Buddy even potty trained with us.  There are few things we do that Buddy isn't involved.  And tonight, Buddy was dirty.  

After saying goodnight to Buddy and putting her in the wash, Charissa and I went back to her room and sat down on the floor while Britt made her bed with fresh linens.  I knew that going to bed without her fluffy friend would be hard, and she had made several comments about getting Buddy dirty, so I thought I should reassure her.  I started telling her that Buddy loves her so much and that Buddy wasn't upset about getting dirty.  We talked a bit more about how Buddy loves to be there with her so much that she didn't mind if that meant she got a little worn along the way.  

While talking with Charissa, tears came to my eyes.   So I went on to tell her that Daddy and Mama love her even more than Buddy does.  And that even though we get tired, we aren't upset that she needed us late and that she'll probably get us up early tomorrow morning.  She's totally worth it.  

After I left my room I was thinking about how I have changed so much in the last few years.  While I still don't love changing diapers and cleaning sheets with vomit on them, it doesn't phase me anymore.  I don't have the time to primp and get ready like I used to.  Clothes not only fit differently, but I need them to function differently.  They aren't for going out on the town - my clothes are for crawling around on the floor and running through the park chasing my little girl.  

But it doesn't truly matter.  God has so blessed me with a wonderful family.  My husband loves me, my two little girls love me - and they think I'm beautiful.  So I am. 

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Charissa's Prayers

This afternoon during naptime I overheard Charissa praying while she was in her bed. This is her prayer:

"Jesus, Pray Verity goes to sleep. Pray Buddy goes to sleep. Pray Mama goes to sleep. Pray Dissa goes to sleep. Thank you for my cereal. Aaa-men!"

It actually became more of a chant and she repeated it over and over again for about 5 minutes. It's so amazing to me what that little mind thinks up.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rock'n'Roll CJ

CJ sat down with the guitar and started singing her favorite rock'n'roll song over and over and over.  And by "playing" I mean she was strumming and tapping the guitar (which reminiscent of August Rush) and she sang the same two lyrics over and over.  It was ridiculously cute and entertaining.  

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Kissing Shoes

Charissa loves putting her shoes on when we "go-go" - and of course she insists on doing it herself.  Now with shoes you'd think that there is a 50-50 chance that she'd put the right shoe on the right foot, but she pretty much always got them wrong.  Not that I cared.  It didn't bother her so I just let it go.  But for some reason strangers felt the need to tell her that her shoes were on backwards, and Charissa is a bit sensitive to people laughing at her, so I decided to try to help her put them on the right feet.  After several rounds of "This is your right foot and this is the right shoe" I realized that wasn't going to go anywhere with her.  Fortunately I found* an idea that works: kissing shoes.  You put a little smiley face on the instep of each shoe and teach your child that their shoes are on the right feet when the faces can kiss.  

It works wonders!  Charissa now puts her shoes on the right feet like 95% of the time.  Everyone's happy now!

*Right now I can't remember where I found this.  So if anyone runs across it or knows, please let me know!

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Amazing Technicolor Skirt Sets

Last week I popped into the fabric store to get white and black thread.  That was all.  I just needed two spools of thread.  But then I saw this really fun brightly colored stripedy fabric and I was drawn to it.  And it was on sale!  So I ended up getting it and another coordinating fabric that was also on sale.  I don't always have an intended use for fabrics when I buy them, but this time I knew that I would make skirts out of them.  

I made Charissa a pretty basic little skirt with an elastic waist.  I added a 2 inch trim at the bottom and a little applique flower.  Verity's dress was a bit more complicated.  The skirt of the dress is the same length of Charissa's but I attached it to a white onesie to make it into a dress.  The only onesie I had on hand was a 3-6 month, which worked out fine for now, but I lost a little length in the sewing so she might grow out of it soon.  The next time I'll use a bigger onesie.  But it'll work out ok because I'll just cut off the bottom part of the onesie which she gets too tall for it.  
In addition to the appliques on the front of the skirts, I put one on the back of Verity's onesie.  I love hiney decorations! 
And what outfit is complete without hair accessories?  So here is Charissa's ...
... and this one's Verity's.  Of course after I made it I found out that Verity's head isn't big enough for the headband and keeps flopping off.  Oh well.  

The girls were very cute on Sunday in their little outfits.  As much fun as it was to have a new outfit for Sunday, I don't think I'll be making them every week.