Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Good Mother


The house is small.
                Dirt is creeping in.
                               Dust is piling up.
        Dishes are stacking.
                     Laundry is climbing.

Tempers and Tears.

Eyes that are heavy and dark.
Not mine.
Not me.

I leave.
I come back.
I play.
I escape.
I succeed.
                                                                    I fail. 

Today I am Good.
Not the Best or the Worst.

I gave all that that I had 
                                 that could be given 
                                                          when it was needed.
                                          
I am Good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Busy Crafting

A quick look at the "making" on my kitchen table - this week has been crazy with husbands, children and family all in need of a little extra attention.  But I've found a few moments to work on old projects and start new!
We're so close on the cross-stitch.  I'm hoping the sky will be done by the weekend and then I just have to finish up the extra line work!
My new pair of Hermione Socks are started, using a wonderful Cascade Heritage Merino/Nylon Blend - hopefully this pair will meet my standards for State Fair submissions! Also, for all you Dr. Who fans out there, check out Erica's new batch of Doctor Themed Yarns - I'm in yarn/geek/yarngeek heaven!

I'm hoping to be back again as soon as we return to some semblance of normal here!  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

{simple pleasures}


This weekend was filled with the good stuff that life is made of; the double stuffed Oreo filling of life.

Simple, quality time with those I love and beautiful weather to top it all off.

Somethings were accomplished, somethings were not and a few plans were made and a few just simply tossed aside.

These are the good days that I aspire to.  

The days of simple achievement, nurturing and creation.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Good to My Word

Okay it's not next to my bed, but it's at the top of the stairs where it fit perfectly with the three frames that were already hanging - including our wedding photos, some shots from our adventures in Oregon and one of my prints from LittleThingsStudio (sorry Katie, you deserve a better picture of your great work).  I also have THIS hanging in my sons bedroom and THIS in my kitchen.

Love her work, though I think "Lion Being Chased by Blue Koala Riding Puff the Magic Dragon" might give her a run for her money one day!


I've received nothing for this post, I found Katie's work on my own and purchased it as a late Christmas present to myself as a new homeowner and am more than happy to give a free shout out to a deserving artist.  Due my own mistake with not knowing my new address as well as I should I can say that she is incredibly dedicated to making sure a quality product gets into your hands and won't rest until it does!  She's good to her word, too!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Flipping Thru Friday

Story-time is being thoroughly enjoyed at our house over the last couple weeks since Henry is developing the ability to sit still for longer periods of time and really enjoy books as more than objects.  While we still give him plenty of roaming room if he needs it he has started spending more time cuddled up or in my lap as I read and less time trying to tear at the pages.  This is the moment I've been waiting for, I live for story-time.

Last week I shared a few of the books that have recently expanded our library and I though to expand on that tradition now that I feel comfortable checking out books from the library for him (there's a lot less page ripping going on now).

Henry's Enjoying:

Knitty Kitty by David Elliot and Illustrated by Christopher Denise

The story is simple, but the illustrations are lovely.  I'll be remembering this one when the cold weather comes around again.








Cromwell Dixon's Sky Cycle by John Abbot Nez

A true story about a brave boy in the early days of aviation.  A great story with fantastic illustrations that I'm sure I'll be checking out again and again.  My husband as filled Cromwell Dixon away under "possible history research project" candidates for the future.







Tyrannosaurus Dad by Liz Rosenberg and Illustrated by Matthew Myers

Not our favorite of the three we checked out, but still worth taking home at least once.  I wouldn't surprised if this finds its way into the pile again when we reach the crazy-about-dinosaur phase in a couple of years.






I'm enjoying:

Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly - Finally finished and a great read with the foremost question being "What's keeping you from being the best-version-of-yourself?" and a Catholic approach to answering that question and potentially recharging your faith life.  Catholics don't get a lot of material like this, most of our religious literature is in the form of apologetics which can often be rather dry and uninspiring at times when you're just needing a little motivation and it's nice to have at least one book in the arsenal that is not only encouraging a real understanding of one's faith, but giving you permission to get excited about it.


How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin.  I'm really enjoying this book, a lot of great examples and clear concise writing.  Most Montessori books start with activities and other experience for children over the ages of two; this book starts at birth which is a great resource.







Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Preschool Years by Elizabeth G. Mainstock.  An amazing resources of activities for the young child.  Even if you're not eager to embrace all or most of the Montessori Method I highly recommend add this book to your personal or public library just for the wealth of simple, enriching, educational and relatively cheap/affordable activities to do with your toddler/pre-schooler.  The last section is instructions on how to make your own materials for most of the activities at home.



We've also been jamming out to a lot of They Might Be Giants in the car -

Just a great CD of kid's music you'd be willing to keep on after they've fallen asleep in car.

What have you been flipping thru this week?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crafting with Cannibals

Progress is being made.


 Just a little bit of sky left to go!


 I'm not going to lie, the house portion seemed to take forever!


 Warning to all crafters with small children - they say keep you friends close and your enemies closer;  I vote to amend this statement with the following "Keep your one year olds close and your patterns above mouth height."  
(Someone finally has 6 teeth and has been putting them to the test!)

 and last, but not least ....
Houston, we have ART!
Henry's first art project from daycare.
It might just be the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
Yes, I'm that kind of parent.
This is getting framed and hung by my side of the bed and I'm not afraid to admit it.

::ready::


Spring is here in Iowa.

A rare occurrence.

Usually Spring waits until mid-April to roll out of bed and produce herself downstairs, all the while muttering under her breath and answering all your questions with one word answers.

Then she decides that she really wants to go swimming...

On the surface of the sun...

And we jump right into summer.

Here's to a little extra Spring in our steps this year.

And truth be told, I'm rather ready for a dip in the pool myself.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Clothing Diapering - The Down and Dirty

So we've been loving cloth diapers, or at least I can say "I" have been enjoying cloth diapers.  The hubs just used his first one and grandma's going to give them a shot the net time she watches the boy.  Like I said before our dollars and cents savings with starting this late in the game is probably going to make us come up about even because we've been able to use the cheap diapers that are available for 100+ for $27.  However, we're banking on being able to use these at least one more time and if they're still in good condition either hand them down or donate to them to charity.

I thought I'd share some of the details in our journey so far and break down the numbers.

The first leg of the journey ended with me finally finding a baby centered store in my area that does not end in "R'US", not that we even have that.  I was luck to find a "Birth, Baby and Beyond" store in the city just north of us and it was well worth the drive.  The store had examples and samples for me to really get my hands on, along with a multitude of other breastfeeding, babywearing, natural mothering type products.  The owner is a doula herself and seems very committed to many of the "natural", "crunchy" or "attachment" parenting ideas that I gravitate towards.  She also runs classes and playgroups out of the store, which I am determined to travel up to at least once a month now.

After rummaging through all the samples I left the store with 2 BumGenius One Size Flip covers, 5 Stay Dry Inserts and a roll of disposable liners.  My total came out to around $78 - a little on the expense side, but worth it to support a local business and not have to wait for shipping.

After trying the Flips for a few days I was already sold.  I felt good about this choice and though the cloth diapers are bulkier I feel like they're more comfortable and baby skin friendly.  So I journeyed over to Ebay.

I hunted on Ebay for about two days looking at what type of items were available and watching for how much certain items went for.  After feeling like I had a good idea from this basic research I set up my own rules for Ebay bidding.  They were as such:
  • No No-name Brands - I searched for brands I felt I trusted and looked for tags and other giveaways that I wasn't getting an imposter.
  • Constant Vigilance - I looked closely at the pictures offered and made sure that what I saw in the pictures matched the descriptions offered.
  • Read the Fine Print - I looked for product descriptions in which the seller admitted they'd only used the diapers for X amount of months, only at night or "tried it and it didn't work for our family".  Even though I was buying used diapers I still wanted to acquire a good quality product.  Also check to see that the seller offers to ship items within X-days of payment to insure a timely delivery.
  • Bid Carefully - Before placing my first bid I determined the maximum amount I was willing to pay.  This ranged from about $10-$12 dollars per diaper.  I put in my offer at my Max Amount x Number of diapers and factored in shipping into the total if it was more than $1-2 per diaper.
  • Bid Oddly - When the final day of bidding came up and if I was still the highest bidder I would up my offer by a few dollars and odd cents.  If my max bid was set at $50, I would up the max to something odd like $53.78.  This way if someone was playing "sniper" they would have a harder time outbidding me by a few cents in the last 30 seconds.  I did loose one bid this way, loosing by 18 cents because I kept my max bid low and assumed I was in the clear.
  • Bid Widely and Lowly - To ensure that I won at least a few items I bid on 10 auctions, the auctions that weren't set to end for more than 4 days I'd bid low on the items that way I could easily be outbid if I won early items and filled my quota.  Turns out I won 3 auctions in the first 3 days and let my last 4 auctions be out bid this way.
 After less than a week of Ebay-ing I had won three auctions and drastically increased my cloth diaper stock for a fraction of the cost.  Here's the breakdown (*Shipping and Handling Not Including, because it would be equal to a couple drives to my nearest BB&B store*)
  • Lot #1 - 11 Stay Dry Inserts, 4 BumGenius One Size 3.0 Pocket Diapers 4 Newborn Inserts/Doublers 3 insert socks, 2 Snappies *I actually got these last 3 items as a surprise as they were included in my package, but not mentioned in the description.  This was my "tried it, didn't like it" auction and I feel like the seller just wanted to get rid of everything* Total without shipping = $50.  This was my far my best deal, particularly when adding all the "freebies"
  • Lot # 2 - 6 "Excellent Used Condition" BumGenius 3.0 All-In-Ones Size Large - The seller was spot on in the descriptions and I was very pleased with these. Total without shipping = $56
  • Lot # 3 -  5 BumGenius 3.0 All-In-Ones Size Large - Another great purchase, seller was spot on with descriptions.  Total without shipping = $54
  • Total for Used Ebay Diapers without shipping = $160
  • 35 Items Purchased - 
    • 11 BumGenius 3.0 AIO
    • 4 BumGenius 3.0 One Size Pocket Diapers
    • 11 Stay Dry Inserts
    • 4 Newborn Inserts/Doublers
    • 3 Insert Socks
    • 2 Snappies
      • Cost per item Approx. $4.57 or
        • $7/diaper (normally 17.95 - 19.95)
        • $3/insert ( normally 4.99)
        • $2/sock (normally 2.99)
        • $2/snappie (normally 3.95)
  • Purchase Price if bought new from Cottonbabies.com without shipping
    •  a Grand Total of = $332.55
So here's how I see it a total (Ebay + Store Purchase) of $238 spent on the materials to cloth diaper one child is a bit of a killing, $238 to cloth diaper two children is down right amazing (Note: if these are used on a second we will have to invest in some smaller sized diapers, but not many).  While it might be daunting to come up with a few hundred dollars to spend on diapers at the beginning the savings are amazing.  If you cloth diaper from the beginning and source out cheaper, good quality used diapers you can easily diaper that child for a 1/4 of the cost of disposables.

I'm so glad we made this choice.  It just feels right for us, perhaps it will be right for you!

New Stuff

Please look to your right - There's a new feature on MollyMakesDo.  I've finally given in and signed up for Twitter.  I'm hoping to connect with more of you and hope you'll come follow me so I can follow you!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reads and Seeds

The warm weather this week finally got under my skin and I've been out collecting like crazy.

 A selection of this years seeds - 3 types of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, basil, sweet corn, kaleidoscope carrots, green onions, "fairytale" pumpkins (not shown are the radishes, lettuce, beans and a few others from Seed Savers Exchange that I forgot to pick up from Mom's to "study")

This year I have the opportunity to oversee two garden spaces - one at my house and one at my parents.  I'm taking advantage of the fact that we still have more than a month before our guaranteed "frost free" date to do a little more planning.

 

I've also been bit by the book bug (say that three times fast) with the new discovery that Henry has finally developed a moderate interest in "storytime".  At least he likes being read to and will occasionally crawl into my lap and looking a picture or try to turn a page while he plays in his room.  While I love to support my local library, I also love to have a library of my own and have been taking advantage of the resell shops in town to pick up some classics for $.50 - $1.00 per book.

One of the best parts being that I get to rediscover all the books I read as a child, or had read to me.  It's really magic.

Our latest editions seen in these pictures.  Each title is linked if you'd like to discover more about the book!

If you have a moment...

Please stop and say a prayer for the continued good recovery of this "little" family, their medical staff and family.  That they may be able to give and receive the care they need to bring little "Bella" into this world in a few months.  Andrew and Christina made powerful decisions (though they'd probably claim that there were no two ways about it) and are being made into beautiful models of the sacrifice that all parents are called to give for their children.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{Molly Makes} Ripples


A little late night end-weaving and a completed baby blanket for Henry's newest cousin, who may or may not have been born at the end of December.

 

Oh well, better late than never right?

 

This is probably my favorite baby gift item to make.  To date I've made three of these (see HERE and HERE) - pattern found HERE.

 

It's a great pattern in that it's detailed, but not complicated as you're just repeating the same pattern until you're satisfied with the length and width.  I'd actually love to make a regular sized throw of this pattern - one day.



So glad to finally have this done and just in time to be used before this little man gets too big, which they all do much too quickly.

Now on to the rest of the stash.

What have you completed recently?  What's next on the list?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Not a Toy" Toys for Children

Trying to limit the amount of toys in your home?  Are you trying to encourage imaginative play or sensory awareness?  Do you sometimes wonder how your grandmothers and great-grandmothers kept their children busy even though they swear they had no toys?

Here are a few ideas for some cheap and handy entertainment.

  • Tupperware
  •  Keeping a drawer or cabinet free for a little one to explore can be a great help while trying to get stuff done in the kitchen.  As you baby gets older they will interact with the items in different ways - trying to put lids on and take this off, stacking and sorting.
  • Pots, Pans and Spoons - 
  • Give your kids a chance to make some noise.  Almost everyone has at least one pot or pan that's in worse shape than the rest or is more durable.  Let your kiddo go to town on it with a wooden spoon.  They're love the chance for some mama-approved noise.  As they get older take the chance for a little music - try to get them to repeat patterns or phrases.  Your kid could be playing the rhythm to "We Will Rock You" or "B-I-N-G-O" by dinner time. 
  • Newspaper and Old Magazines
  • Children naturally want to explore and often this comes with a side of destruction.  Keep a stack of junk mail, old newspapers or magazines around that they're allowed to mangle and tear apart.  Keep these items in a place that is accessible and different - maybe it's own cardboard box in a corner of the living room.  You might have a few rough starts as they learn what they can have and what not, but it can be a learning tool what can be treated roughly.
  • Water
  • A tub of water is a versatile toy.  Fill up a plastic storage box with a few inches of water and bring down the bath toys.  Put down a towel and let them splash to their hearts content.  Put in some ice cubes and watch them explore.  Add a few drops of food coloring.  Fill up some soda bottles and make mini-tornadoes!
  • Crafting Scraps
  • For your younger children this might just be a great tactile exercise, but as a child gets old it's an invitation to explore and create.  Allow your girls and boys to explore crafting - whether it's whittling, knitting, painting or sewing - with equal abandon while they're young and are less susceptible to the gender lines of crafting.  You never know you're son might be a wiz at the sewing machine and your daughter could grow up to be a woodworker.
  • Mud, Sticks and Stones
  • Let your kids go out and get dirty.  Embrace the occasional splinter and skinned knee and let them have adventures in the backyard.
  • Books
  • Oh, need I say more.  Take books anywhere and everywhere.  Make a trip to the library a special retreat.  Encourage older children to have swaps with the neighbor kids, at church or at school.  Which leads me to.
  • Pen and Paper
  • These two things are found in just about every home, or at least are easy to come by cheaply!  Encourage story writing, journaling, comics, doodling, scribbling, cutting, shredding, folding... the possibilities are endless!
  • Blankets, Pillows and Cushions
  • What kid doesn't love a fort?  Let the kids take over the living room for an afternoon (you might want to remove the valuables to a closet though) and let them use all the spare pillows and blankets and just see what they can create!
  • Cardboard
  • We've all got it stacked our garage, or if not it's easily found whether it's from the neighbors that just moved in or the back of the supply room at work.  Children can do amazing things with the blank slate that is a cardboard box. 
 Yes, Hobbes it is.

Any other suggestions?  What's you best tip for keeping toys and entertainment simple?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ups & Downs

Just a little check in, to keep things real before I head out for the weekend - it's my weekend off so there's lots to do!

  • Up - Henry figured out how to use utensils and is walking more than crawling.
  • Down - I'm certain the above means he'll be going off to college and getting married any day... I try not to cry about this more than once a week.  (You probably think I'm kidding)
  • Up - I turned 29 22 on Wednesday and the world didn't explode.  In fact, I'm enjoying being 29 22 quite a bit.  I think motherhood has really made me a better person all around and really help me to ground who I am and start ignore the person I want or think I should be.
  • Up - We tried out a new local restaurant (non chain restaurants are a rarity here!), it was delicious.  I had a cajun/blue cheese burger.  I want to go back soon.
  • Up - I got my new set of stainless steel cookware last night!  It's so bright and shiny.  No more pretending that I had peppered food in the hopes that the cookware would stop flaking teflon into our food!
  • Up - Thankful for NPR First Listen - they had the new Andrew Bird album and the full recording of the new "Once" musical for free listen this week.  I was in heaven.  *Once, as in the movie about the singers, not Once the Disney TV show*
  • Down - I'm exhausted.  =(
  • Up - I've won one of my Ebay auctions so far and should have 4 used Bumgenius 3.0 diapers and 11 liners on their way to me.  Hopefully I'll win at least one or two more of the AIO and then our cloth diaper collection should be pretty complete!
  • Up - Realizing that I'm much more suited for the "adult" model of friendship than I was for the "kid", "teenager" or "early twenties" version.  I love have a few truly close friends - the ones I know a lot about and talk to a lot, but I love that now I'm able to count people as friends even if we don't know everything about each other or even talk more than once or twice a year.  I'm thrilled whenever I get a message from someone whom I haven't spoken to for a year or so letting me know that they were reliving a memory from when we were more active in each others lives and how much they're enjoying (and supportive) of my little family.  It truly warms my heart to know that I have so many wonderful people in my life without having to worry about the constant up keep and battles that used to come with trying to be everything to everyone - for a true introvert like me it was exhausting and I'd usually just mess it up out of exhaustion and frustration and become terribly anti-social for a long time!  Yay for growing a little wiser.
What are you're ups and downs for the week?  Did you have that adventure?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Reading Nooks are for the Family

Thanks to S.A.H.M. i AM for the link the other day to my "Reading Nook" post.  Just thought I'd share our Nook adventures from the other night as proof that I can put my money where my mouth is.

As with me, my mother and grandmother - the toes show just how content we are.  =D

Monday, March 5, 2012

Right Now ...

... I am



::enjoying::  a little quite time in the early morning.  Since motherhood has made 7 a.m. "sleeping in" and 8 a.m. downright lazy, I've been finding ways to enjoy the early morning that I used to shun.

::watching:: the sun peak out and start to melt a little of yesterdays snow

::hearing:: the laundry turning downstairs and one lone little bird outside.

::looking at:: the kitchen that didn't get completely cleaned up last night.  Oh well, dried carrots are easier to remove from the high chair, right?

::planning:: today's outings.  A restock of the cupboards, a stop at employee health (darn yearly tests for work) and maybe a little jaunt to the library.

::waiting:: to see if I win any of my bids on ebay for my cloth diapers.

::wishing:: that today wasn't my only day off until the weekend.

::remembering:: that I turn 29 22 on Wednesday and trying to stuff that ticking biological clock under the pillow.

::wishing:: you a great start to your week, I hope it's full of adventures.  Bring me back something pretty won't you?



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Diaper Deal



Recently I made the plunge and purchased my first cloth diapers for my son.  I say "I" because my husband still looks at them sideways and hasn't tried using them yet - it may be an uphill battle, but for now I'm happy to using them when I've got my son to myself, which is the majority of the week.

But to me these diapers don't just signify a chance to save money (possibly), or to lessen my impact on the earth (definitely), to me it's a deal with God.  I've written about my struggles through my first pregnancy (HERE) and about the whirlwind ride that was our delivery (HERE) and about our delivery room diagnosis of Endometriosis.  For those new to this I'll give you the low down - I have Endometriosis.  I had a large enough deposit of endometrial cells growing outside of my uterus that it was visible to the naked eye.  One spot in particular was on one of my ovaries.  Women with Endo have a 40% change of conceiving and because of where the one growth was found I'm thinking I might be down to one working engine, cutting my chances even more.

Even though my pregnancy was rough, as was the delivery, I want to be a mother again.  I want it like nothing else I've ever wanted in this world.  I'm never going to win a "Best Mother in the World" award, but I do feel most days I'm doing pretty darn good and that I'm finally doing what I was put on this earth to do.  But, I digress, now back to the topic at hand.

Cloth diapers can be a money saver if used only one child, but they're definitely a money saver if used for more than one child.  So by purchasing my first CD's I felt like I was making a statement.  I could be accepting my lot in life, I know full well that I may have my only child, but I choose not to accept this.  I don't feel like this is the end of my motherhood journey.  By buying these diapers I'm taking the first steps to fighting my condition and that I'm already laying the foundation to grow my family.  It might not be for another year or two or maybe more, but I don't think this is the end and my cloth diapers prove it.

*****************
I'll check back in later with our more info about our cloth diaper adventures.  For now go HERE for some great, concise information about the benefits of cloth diapering and HERE to join the Change 3 Things Challenge!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Time & Stitching

 

I've been wanting to make a large dent in my crafting stash this year.  I have a lot of things acquired right before the crazy home buying time, back when I thought I'd be spending the winter season at my parents house nestled snuggling inside with baby and family while watching the snow fall in big clumpy flakes.  Instead we moved into our home three weeks before Christmas and winter has been anything but "wintry" this year.

Of course, the first thing I dive into has to be a rather long craft.  



A cross stitch that was half completed before Henry arrived and put away for months due to my nervousness at scissors and needles around babies.


So instead of putting it away for the next ten years I decided to try it out.  So with the help of a sewing box that closes, I've managed to really make some progress over the last couple weeks - stitch by stitch and row by row during nap times or while catching up on a new episode of "Once" or "Dr. Who" with the family.  

The best part is that Henry finds it rather fascinating when he's not playing with his toys in front of me.  He likes to pull himself up, sit next to me and take it from me - touching the patterns and holding it up to his face seeing what he can see and playing a quick game of "where's Henry?" while he's at it.

While my crafts are definitely "my thing" a part of me chooses to do it, with children in the house, in the hopes that they will develop an interest, or if nothing else a respect for things made by hand.  For the delayed gratification that comes with working constantly on something that might be around for years to come.