Posted in Parenting

Happy Halloween!

iPad camera + squiggly toddler = blurry pics.  But you get the picture 😉

 Image 1Image

Needless to say, he was one VERY happy toddler when he saw himself in the mirror.

The costume was very simple: A Batman T-shirt over a blue long-sleeved shirt, the cape from his pyjamas (I just stuck some adhesive velcro to the shirt for the cape to stay put), a diaper cover over the top of black leggings (tho only thing I bought) and his yellow rainboots.  Oh and the cap!  It was was made by my brother’s girlfriend. ❤

I wasn’t planning on buying a costume for baby girl, but when I saw this at the start of the month, I knew I HAD to buy it.  It has been used as transitional “coat” over her clothes for when we go out in the cool Autumn weather.

P1000948Anyone want to rub her belly? 😉

Posted in More Than A Mom

Whose Glass Is This? (Aka: Glass Markers)

Sometimes, the best ideas are the ones that come to you in the spur of the moment.

We recently had some friends and family over for my sister-in-law’s birthday.  As is customary when one has guests, we offered drinks as they arrived.  In a very short amount of time, there were glasses everywhere and we quickly lost track of which glass belonged to who.

Since we don’t have an unlimited supply of glasses, we ended up washing them before supper.  Not that it’s a big problem, but, y’know, who likes to do the dishes when it can be avoided?  So I thought that there must be a solution.  I mean, wine glass markers have existed for years, but I’d never seen something to help identify regular glasses (though I’m sure something must exist, I didn’t want to spend any unnecessary money).

And then, I saw my table centerpiece and knew that I had found a solution: stained-glass paint.

The next evening, I grabbed all of our glasses (all 9 of them!) and fetched my paint kit downstairs.  Then, selecting 9 of the 10 available colors, I painted the bottom of each glass a different color.  I even had some fun and painted a smiley face on the bottom of three of the glasses, because, well, why not? 😉

P1000912There, problem solved.

Posted in More Than A Mom, Parenting

Feeling Fallspired – Part 2

Continued from part 1

The Burlap

After doing some research on the different ways I could cut my table runner down to size without having to deal with fraying edges in the near future, I settled on two options:

  • Using a mixture of 1 part mod podge and 1 part water
  • Using some double-sided tape

Since I didn’t have any double-sided tape, but I did have mod podge (well, sort of) I decided to start off with testing that.  I put my burlap runner down over some wax paper and mixed some school glue and water together in a 1:2 proportion (accidentally making mod podge in the process).  Then, using a small sponge, I applied a generous amount of the mixture across my burlap (I made sure to saturate the fabric so that I didn’t have to turn it over and apply on the other side as well.  After that, I hung my runner on the clothesline to dry.

You know what?  It worked! ❗ (to my surprise)

Then, it was just a question of measuring out the length of burlap that I wanted and starting over with the mod podge before cutting it down to size.

Enter Pinterest

Of course, no decoration project is complete without the collaboration of Pinterest.  So off I went in search of a manageable Autumn wreath to make.

And then, I saw this:

Not exactly a wreath, but oh so cute!
Not exactly a wreath, but oh so cute!

I immediately knew that I had to make this.  I also knew that following its confection, one of 2 things were going to happen:

1.  It would become a super cute decoration that I could reuse year after year.

2.  It would be relegated to the cemetery of Pinterest Fails

I started out by finding buying the required amount of canning jar rings, 25 to be exact (ok, truth: I only bought two packs of 12 ’cause I had one ring lying around at home) and a pack of cinnamon sticks.

P1000840

Then, I cut out a long piece of sting and strung my rings (all facing in the same direction) onto my string before trying to tie it.  The moment of truth was about to be revealed, I crossed my fingers for it to work.

P1000841

Imagine my surprise when it worked!  On the first try!  (Notice the piece of string still attached to the ring.  Though the original tutorial call for cutting it, I suggest keeping it attached to aid in the next step).

Once my pumpkin shape was finished, I fished an old can of spray pain from my art supplies.  I’d bought a black chalkboard paint aaaaages ago and thought that the matte black finish would look great.  I went out on the balcony, held my art project by the string and spray painted it.  Then, I made good use of my clothesline once more to let the paint dry.

Once dry, it was time to add the stem (a bunch of cinnamon sticks) and the leaves and showcase it on the shelf at the top of our entrance stairs.  (The pumpkin has since been replaced by a butternut squash as it is now in this pie).

I’m thinking that this pumpkin craft could be fun to do with little (but not too little ones).  Perhaps, the canning jar rings could be replaced with a slinky.  Hum…will have to give that a try.

It felt so good to get involved in an art project again.  It seems that in the process of building a family, I have somewhat forgotten myself.

Are there things that you loved to do pre-kids and haven’t taken the time to do in too long?  What is the last Pinterest project that you have tackled?

Posted in More Than A Mom

Feeling Fallspiried

Though I am a rather artsy person, I’ve never been one to decorate my home.  I’ve just never found an interest in it…until recently.

Now, I don’t know if it’s because Fall has settled early here (some may say way too early, but hey, I won’t complain as I love the season), because I’m on maternity leave and need to feel as though I am more than an all-you-can-eat milk bar or if it’s the hormones, but I decided that I wanted to decorate the house a bit for Fall this time around.

I first ventured downstairs to rescue some art supplies and different sized mason jars (left over from the previous owners) from the abyss that is the cupboard under the stairs.

Sorry Harry, there ain't no room for you here.
Sorry Harry, there ain’t no room for you here.

Then, I gathered my stained-glass paint and painted my canning jars red, orange and yellow.

Initially, I was planning on adding a bit of pzazz to them, but I’m actually really pleased with the result and decided to keep them like this.

While the jars were drying, I decided to go out and fetch two missing ingredients to complete my Fall dining room decor: a burlap table runner (I’ve been wanting one of these suckers forever) and some pumpkin spice scented candles.

To my amazement, I found both!

There’s just one slight problem: the burlap runner is too long (we’re talking 10 feet long!).  I need to cut it and find a way to make sure the edges don’t fray.  I’m too lazy to get the sewing machine out from under the stairs and figure out how it works, so sewing is out of the question.  Perhaps a diluted solution of glue and water would work.  Or…maybe some no-sew glue or clear nail polish… Hum, it’s long enough that I can run a few tests before cutting it to the desired size, but if anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

I guess you will have to wait until I’ve figured out how to manage my table runner before seeing the final result!  😛

What’s your favourite season?  Have you been inspired by Fall?

Posted in More Than A Mom

DIY Soothing Skin Salve

We’ve been contending with eczema pretty much ever since my son was born.  It comes and goes but we have to cream my son up daily.  Of course, we tried a few products: aveeno baby, aveeno eczema, plain old vaseline… our pediatrician even wrote up a prescription for a cortisone cream when we had our 4 month appointment.

Though these products did work, I wasn’t entirely satisfied.  For starters, when my son started putting his hands in his mouth, I was reluctant to use anything that was…chemical (for lack of a better word) on him.  As for the cortisone cream, though it worked wonders, I have only used it a few times sparingly because it thins the skin (not something you want with a baby whose nails seem to grow even as you trim them…).

And so, the search for a good DIY cream began.  I first found this recipe for a simple beeswax lotion and immediately fell in love with it.  Encouraged by the simplicity and effectiveness, I began researching other combinations of ingredients.  This is what I came up with for my latest batch.

DIY Soothing Skin Salve

P1010987
Honey, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, beeswax and vitamin E tablets.

What’s the deal with these ingredients?

Olive oil: used for its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, plus it doesn’t clog pores.

Coconut oil: is an awesome moisturizer and, much like olive oil, it doesn’t clog pores.  But the best part?  The smell!

Almond oil: it’s a great sun protector, acts as a moisturizer and reduces skin irritation.

Cocoa butter: another great moisturizer…that smells great!

Honey: used for it’s natural ability at absorbing and retaining moisture and anti-microbial properties.

Beeswax: it is protectant, acting as a barrier (to drool, for instance) while still allowing the skin to breathe and has natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral benefits.

Vitamin E oil: it helps the healing process if applied topically because it speeds up cell regeneration.  It is also offers protection from the sun.

What you need to do

1.  Measure out your ingredients:

  • – 3/4 cup olive oil
  • – 1/4 cup almond oil
  • – 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • – 1/4 (or about 0.5 oz) cocoa butter
  • – 2 oz beeswax (pellets melt faster, but I bought a 1lb block from a local beekeeper)
  • – 2 tablespoon honey
  • – 5 capsules (or about 1/8 tsp) vitamin E oil.
*Tip: coat your spoon in oil before pouring the honey into it.*

2.  Stick everything but the vitamin E in a large sterile canning jar and stick that in a pot filled with water that reaches up to at least 1/3 of the level of the canning jar.

P1010989

3.  Bring up to medium heat and stir occasionally until completely melted.

4.  Remove from heat and stir in the vitamin E

P1010990

5.  Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge stirring every quarter hour.  Or be lazy like me and pour it into some small tins that you’re certain won’t break if you drop them (not that I’d ever drop a glass jar or anything…)

P1010997

6.  Apply on dry skin and keep this recipe to yourself, letting everyone else keep buying their overpriced moisturizers ;).

Posted in More Than A Mom

More Than A Mom! – A DIY Mother’s Day

For years now I’ve been crafting the gifts I give.  Whether it be for Christmas, a birthday, a baby shower or which ever other occasion, I have fun trying to find something that I will have fun making and that the person receiving will enjoy having.

This year, for Mother’s Day, I went all out and dove into the world of DIY skin care products.  With my sister’s and sister-in-law’s help, we crafted a multitude of creams and lotions for our mothers.

Below, are pictures of our creations.  If you want to know how to make a certain product, you need only click on the image and follow the link in the description section.  Below the pictures, you will find more information on each individual product.

  1. Homemade Hand and Body Cream: We made this for my mother-in-law who has fibromyalgia.  We used lavender, German chamomile sweet orange and lemongrass.  The mix of essential oils are meant to be good for the challenges she faces.  For instance, lavender is great for pain relief, stress/anxiety, peaceful sleep, for a feeling of harmony & safety and for headaches.  German chamomile, is also good for pain relief.  Sweet orange works to help with stress/anxiety and lemongrass helps with pain relief and increased circulation.
  2. Beeswax Body Butter: If you are looking for the recipe to this one, I encourage you to purchase the ebooklet that you can find on A Sonoma Garden’s blog.  The author has put together five beautifully simple recipes and the ebooklet is very nice.  What I will say is that I used a mix of peppermint, ylang-ylang and sweet orange in my body butter recipe.
  3. Easy Beeswax Lotion: This one is the very first lotion I experimented with.  It has an awesome texture and smells great without adding any essential oils.  I use this rich lotion on my son and it does wonders to his eczema (in my opinion, it works better than the store bought Aveeno lotion I’d been using with a prescription cortisone cream).  I also made a batch with lavender essential oil for my grandma.
  4. DIY Foot Scrubs: From left to right: coconut, peppermint and sweet orange foot scrubs.  For the coconut, I used coconut oil and raw plantation sugar.  The peppermint is made with white sugar, avocado oil (hence the greenish color) and peppermin essential oil.  The sweet orange is also made with white sugar, but I used olive oil and sweet orange essential oil.
  5. Honey Kissed Lip Balm:  This one can also be found in the ebooklet found on the A Sonoma Garden Blog.
  6. Homemade Chapstick: This stuff smells awesome!  If I were to redo it, however, I would probably add a tiny bit more beeswax just to make the balm a tad harder in our stuffy summer weather.
  7. DIY Massage Oil: The possibilities for massage oils are endless!  We used sweet almond oil and ylang-ylang.
  8. DIY Bath Bombs:  For those of you who need an English translation, see below.
  • Ingredients:
  • – 2 tablespoon Citric Acid
  • – 2 tablespoon Corn Starch
  • – 1/4 cup of Baking Soda
  • – 2 tablespoon of a carrier oil (we used canola)
  • – Your choice of essential oils (optional)
  • Instructions:
  • – Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  • – Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to obtain a paste that is thick enough to retain its form once held in your hand.  Adjust the consistency by either adding more baking soda (for a thicker paste) or oil (for a thinner paste).
  • – Form ping-pong sized balls with the paste (we put them in mini muffin moulds)
  • – Store in airtight container and have fun in the bath!

If you’re looking to buy some containers and/or ingredients such as beeswax, citric acid, cocoa butter and the like, you can find them here (Canada) and here (US).

Posted in Infant, Newborn, Parenting

Moving Away From Disposables: Washable Baby Wipes!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that we started our cloth diapering journey when Charles was about a month old.  A little over four months later, we’re still happily using cloth and have a good enough stash to make it all the way to potty training day with our son.

Now, a while back, I started thinking “well this is silly, I’m using washable diapers but still paying for disposable wipes” and so, just as we were starting to run out of the wipes, I started researching homemade wipe recipes.  I figured that if there were washable diapers, there most certainly was a possibility for washable wipes as well.

After some research and experimentation, here is what I came up with.

Homemade washable baby wipes

What you need (recipe for a 4cup container):

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tps of vegetable oil (I use olive oil, but you could use what ever you have on hand)
  • a couple of drops of castile soap (I used to use Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby soap, but now use the tea tree oil soap because of the oil’s natural anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties – plus it adds a great smell!)
  • some washcloths (you could use cut up burping cloths or any soft type of fabric)
  • a plastic container (I use a 4 cup Ziploc container)

Instructions (you’ve probably figured these out already, but I’m going to go ahead and post them anyways)

P1010592
1. Gather your ingredients (duh)
Fill your container up with 2 cups of water.  Add the vegetable oil and the castile soap.
2.  Fill your container up with 2 cups of water. Add the vegetable oil and the castile soap.
Give the mixture a good shake (don't forget to put the lid on first :P ).
3.  Give the mixture a good shake (don’t forget to put the lid on first 😛 ).
Stuff your washcloths in the container and voilà!  You have some handy homemade pre-soaked (inexpensive) baby wipes!
4.  Stuff your washcloths in the container and voilà! You have some handy homemade pre-soaked (inexpensive) baby wipes!
You can also keep some of the mixture in a squirt bottle, just give it a shake before using and squirt onto a dry washcloth.  We use the squirt bottle for wet diaper changes and the pre-soaked wipes for dirty diapers.
You can also keep some of the mixture in a squirt bottle, just give it a shake before using and squirt onto a dry washcloth. We use the squirt bottle for wet diaper changes and the pre-soaked wipes for dirty diapers.

We LOVE these!  They just go in the wet bag with my son’s diapers and are washed with them.  We actually had to use some disposable wipes the other day (because I hadn’t made a fresh batch of wipes ) and were reminded of how much we loathed them!

What kind of wipes do you use?  Do you have a great DIY wipe recipe?