1.25.2012

Good Morning, Little Hedgehog!

We have a dozen recipes, several house projects and all sorts of sewing projects to share. This one happens to be one of my favorites this morning 'cause it was met with coos and oohs (no real smiles yet) instead of the usual diaper-change little lamb cries that have me singing baa baa black sheep loud enough to wake the dead.


It's mad Maddox's appliqué hedgehog onesie that I made by ironing heat & bond to some scrap fabric, tracing and cutting out a hedgehog shape, and then ironing it on to one of his plain white onesies. I sewed around the edges with a zigzag stitch just to make sure it's nice and secure. Baby M has a whole slew of embellished onesies; no plain white for this crafty momma!

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1.20.2012

The Un-Paper Towel

If you've been with us for a while, you know our dog, Feeney, loves to snack on paper towels. When he came to live with us a year and a half ago we quickly learned not to leave paper towels on the coffee table and we invested in covered trash cans; a small price to pay for a less disgusting morning walk....

With all this focus on paper products we became more aware of just how many paper towels we were burning through each week. And when our basement renovation left us with just enough storage space to keep only the stuff we absolutely needed and loved, it was time to evaluate the entire linen closet shelf full of rolls of paper towels, bought in giant 12-pack bulk.

At first we tried reusing sheets of paper towels, but in reality, that's just weird. I mean I have nothing against drying off the side of a mug and then setting the towel aside to use again, but we're talking dial-a-size sheets of paper here, there's not much life in those things to begin with.

We use cloth diapers and cloth wipes for baby M, so naturally I had the brilliant idea to make cloth paper towels. Lots and lots of cloth paper towels. But when I priced out Birdseye fabric and factored in my time, it didn't seem like a fun project anymore. Especially when I was spending all my free time sewing for baby M's nursery. So naturally I went to etsy and searched for cloth paper towels. And wouldn't you know, there are all kinds of unpaper towel makers out there! I searched by price and bulk quantity and then I read descriptions. I finally settled on one seller, Love for Earth, who preshrinks her fabric first. This, I decided, was an essential feature; if left to shrink after sewing I could end up with 50 unpaper towels of all different, wonky sizes after their first wash. Wonky doesn't stack well.

I bought my unpaper towels and they arrived tied neatly with a bow. I stuck them on top of the toaster and waited for S to notice. "What's this?" he asked that night. "Unpaper towels," I replied. "You mean napkins?" So yeah, they're like napkins except I don't wipe the counter and rinse down the sink with our napkins, do you? They're unpaper towels and we love them.
They have since taken up residence in our kitchen compost container for the winter. The used unpaper towels go in a vase on the counter and we wash them with our light laundry. Every few weeks we soak them in oxyclean for a few hours to get the stains out. In the five months we've had our unpaper towels we've only used two rolls of paper towels. And Feeney has eaten none. Success.

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1.16.2012

One Month Down

Baby M is already one month old this weekend and he's kind of perfect; I love one month! We'd like to freeze time now, please.

I can't say that it feels like he's always been a part of the hive, especially since I have a closet chock full of size 2 clothes and absolutely nothing to wear. But thankfully he fits into our lives far better than I fit into any of those designer jeans mocking me each morning.

It's been quite the month for all of us. We started it out with 34 hours of labor. And believe me, that was rough on all of us: me, S, our doula Juli and the hot water heater here and at the hospital. Baby M seemed to be the only one who didn't much care, he was snuggled in and perfectly content the whole time, if those monitors they stuck on me every few hours were any indication. Life has pretty much been the same ever since for baby M; snug and happy 95% of the time.

At one month baby M has pretty much mastered head control, rolled from his stomach to his back several times as he demonstrated just how much he hated tummy time, gone out to dinner once, brunch twice, been to the pediatrician three times, lost weight and then gained almost two pounds, went to the grocery store several times, shopped with mom, slept in his ergo, slept in his Bob, slept in his bumbleride, nursed at Starbucks, celebrated Christmas, watched the ball drop on tv with dad, bonded with Mamie, slept at Nola's house, spent a night without mom, taken a bottle from dad nightly, moved to his nursery, slept a nine hour stretch (twice thrice!), played on his activity mat, taken several baths in his blue bucket tub, switched to cloth diapers, gone through 50 cloth wipes every three days, sat in his bumbo, sat on his dog, flown around the room with dad, screamed in his bouncer, snoozed in his bouncer, screamed in his swing, fallen in love with his swing, filled numerous diapers, screamed through countless diaper changes, smiled through a handful of diaper changes, had a three hour long photo shoot, starred in four videos, skyped, made friends with a few of S's friends, survived one full day alone with mom, survived one night without dad and smiled once.

It's been a great month.

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1.11.2012

Zero Dollar Guest Room

In November we put some finishing touches on our new basement guest suite using stuff we had around the house to cozy-up the space in anticipation of my mom's extended visit. Of course then her visit started before I had the chance to share. The good news is that she loves the guest suite and the even better news is that the insulation we put in the ceiling of the bedroom blocks out the sound of crying baby at 3am. Whew, she may have left already if that detail was overlooked.

First, I relocated all my yarn from the little red cedar chest and gave it a facelift. We had hoped to locate the replacement pulls I'd bought years ago, but we searched high and low and could not find them. Because the chest was my grandpa's I decided not to spray the original pulls and just put them back on in their original brass state.
We decided when we first created the room that it would be our airplane room, a place to display all of S's flying paraphernalia. So we started by hanging his diploma and photos and lithographs of the planes he's flown in the corner with the chest.
Then, for my favorite addition, we hung a vintage airplane mobile above the bed. You can't tell me it wouldn't be fun to stay in a guest room with a mobile above the bed!
Finally we put down one of S's carpets to cozy things up, which required moving the dozen or so boxes of extra flooring (a project for another day) stored under the bed first.
Mmmm, so cozy says Feeney.

At 9 mos pregnant I nixed the idea to paint a compass or chart on the wall or ceiling. And as new parents we've pretty much accepted that will never happen. I would still like to create a headboard area slash huge fabric panel curtain thing to cover the electric service box, but the details of that project are up for debate.
And by debate, I mean Maddox and I are discussing whether I should spend one of his nap times sewing, or tidying the house, doing laundry, eating breakfast, napping, showering or doing any of those other things that used to take mere minutes to do just four weeks ago!

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1.03.2012

Tuesday Treats: Super Protein Cookies aka Milk Making Lactation Cookies

Ok, ok, we haven't had a Tuesday treats in for.ev.er 'cause I didn't feel much like cooking or baking for about ten months. But after my little stay in the hospital last week let's just say I'm looking for any homeopathic way to, ahem, make more food for my baby bee.

In my search I stumbled on a recipe for milk making cookies. Wait, wait, don't stop reading! Apparently lots of protein and whole grains and basically good nutrition does a new mom's body good, but those things do anyone's body good, right? And when a cookie this tasty is also a bit more on the healthy side of desserts then isn't that a win-win? Well, I think they're delicious and I'm not really a fan of baked cookies. Give me cookie dough any day, but cooked? I rarely go back after the first batch has cooled.
These cookies just might become our regulars, 'cause when S eats a half dozen cookies when he's ravenous on the drive home from work it's probably a good idea to have a little nutritional value in there. Who knows, maybe they'll give him the energy to stay up extra late during the baby's fussy hours, so I can get some sleep.

Protein Cookies aka Milk Making Cookies
created by Kathleen Major, PNP, RN, barely adapted from peaceful parenting

1/2 c. softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 c. almond butter (or peanut butter)
1/3 c. water
1 t. cinnamon, optional
1 c. ground flax (sometimes called flax flour)
3 T. brewer's yeast
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. old fashioned oatmeal (not quick oats)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 c. chocolate chips - I used 1c. mini chips and 1c. of chocolate chunks
1 c. chopped nuts of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Combine butter and sugars, beating until pale and fluffy

2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well

3. Add almond butter and mix until combined

4. Add water, mix well

5. Add cinnamon (optional), flax, brewers yeast, flour, oats, soda and salt, mix until well incorporated

6. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts

7. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet or a cookie sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 350 degrees for ~10 minutes until set in the center.

The cookies freeze very well!

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1.02.2012

Thank You :o)

Today baby bee's nursery was named Project Nursery's nursery of the month for December. How exciting!
Thank you to all of you who voted for our nursery. We look forward to sharing tutorials on many of the DIY projects we tackled for the room :o)

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