Gift Giving Stress as a Parent

Posted 12-4-2014 at 10:04 AM by Matrivine

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It’s that time of year again. It’s time to stress out over what to give my kids for Christmas. Will my kids be happy? Am I going overboard with the gifts? The educational gifts? The socks? Shouldn’t my kids know the true meaning of Christmas? Isn’t me giving them a lot of presents teaching them about the spirit of giving?

Chill Out!

The sure fire way to ruin a kid’s holiday season is to be super stressed about gift giving habits. Children pick up on that and soon it leads to them feeling their small tokens aren’t good enough or that they are a burden for Christmas. Christmas should be warm and loving, not a giant stress ball over presents.

What is the Motive?

I want a big pile of Christmas gifts under the tree for my kids this year. I just don’t know why. Some days it’s because I want the fun to last. Sometimes I feel like a bad parent if they don’t have much under the tree. Other times I worry I will be giving them too much and they will get spoiled.

Diaper Swapers

Tutorial: Easy Embroidery Hoop Art

Posted 12-2-2014 at 12:48 PM by Banana Cat

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The first time I saw embroidery hoop art pop up on Pinterest or some other artsy site I was browsing instead of making dinner or doing other productive things, I thought, “What a great, cheap idea!” I have a billion scraps of fabric and just as much, if not more, empty space on the walls (coincidentally, I also have a stack of picture frames that “I’ll put up this weekend” shoved in a corner of the apartment somewhere), so I figured the next time I was at the store I’d just grab some embroidery hoops and then, voila, I’d be hip and modern with my super-trendy wall art.

One day I went to the craft store and looked at the embroidery hoops. I don’t remember what store I was in, but it must have been some upscale place because the price of the wooden embroidery hoops suggested they were made out of ancient, ten thousand year old rare trees. It was wood! Why was it so expensive? I picked up a plastic hoop and decided that it, too, must have been made out of ancient, ten thousand year old rare neon blue plastic for the price. Flabbergasted, I returned home and stuffed my fabric back into its bin. I wanted trendy art but not for that price!

I swung by Goodwill a few weeks ago to look for some cheap t-shirts for my kids. Way in the back of the store there was a little shelf marked “Crafts, Sewing, etc.” I hadn’t recalled seeing that before and wandered over. Immediately, wooden circles caught my eye—embroidery hoops! They must have been made out of normal, mortal-realm wood because the price was just as thrifty as I’d hoped. I brought them home, pleased that I would finally have something Pinterest-y in my home.

Taking Back Thanksgiving

Posted 11-25-2014 at 12:25 PM by Matrivine

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Thanksgiving is back with giant turkeys and giant sales. As I grab my lawn chair to sit half a day and some of the night in the cold for those bargains, or depriving myself of sleep to thaw that bird I have to ask myself…

Am I Really Showing Gratitude?

All history aside, the current meaning of Thanksgiving is supposed to be feeling the happy gratitude for those people and things in your life that make your life worth living. Lately it seems to be about big dinners and big sales. How does this teach my children to be thankful. Mommy wouldn’t be available because she’s stuck in the kitchen all day or sitting in line outside for all those Black Friday deals.

While I like to save money as much as the rest of us, it says nothing about gratitude. I would be taking a number of employees away from their families, people who have served me all year long. Or I am so obsessed with the perfect dinner I have stressed both myself and my family out over it. Neither is the greatest way to show my children to put their gratitude in a place other than their mouths.

Instead…

Let’s teach our children that gratitude is an action and not a pleasantry. Thanksgiving is quieter than it used to be at my home. There is a special dinner, but it stays within what we can eat in one setting in appropriate portions. Ignore Black Friday, which so often has started running into Thanksgiving Day. Look at the Cyber Monday Deals instead. Support other people having the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones on Thanksgiving.

4 Habits You’ll Instantly Drop When You Become a Parent

Posted 11-24-2014 at 01:18 PM by Rasha

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Becoming a parent is definitely one of the most incredible and awe-inspiring moments in your life. The second you lay your eyes on that little baby who just entered the world, both moms and dads know their lives have been changed forever—in a very good way. Becoming a parent can also really give you a new and heightened sense of responsibility. While you might have sowed plenty of wild oats in your younger days, now that you have a brand new person to care for, some of those things you enjoyed doing might not seem as fun anymore. The following four activities and habits are all examples of things you will probably have to say goodbye to once you become a mom or dad. And in most cases, you probably won’t mind one bit.

Being a Grumpy Driver

Yeah, that old geezer in a giant Buick is going 45 on the freeway or the texting teen just cut you off in traffic. While you might have once hollered at other drivers or made certain gestures, Babble suggests that you leave your angry driving persona far behind when you become a parent. Not only will this make you a safer driver by not inviting confrontation on the road—which is exceedingly important when you have an occupied car seat or two in the backseat—but it will help to show even the tiniest kids the proper way to handle stress on the road.

Selling Your Cloth Diapers

Posted 11-12-2014 at 11:54 AM by Banana Cat
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This is a typical picture you might see attached to a diaper-selling posting. Nothing fancy, but it does the job!

There is a large market for used cloth diapers. If you’ve never thought about using used cloth diapers before, your initial reaction might be: eww. I mean, I wouldn’t buy used underwear. And diapers take a heck of a lot more punishment than underwear.

However, unlike most modern cotton underwear, cloth diapers can hold up to some hardcore cleaning. A couple of good washes and some bleach and cloth diapers are basically as good as new (assuming your washer or dryer doesn’t catch fire and char everything to a crisp in the process; unlikely, but always a vaguely potential possibility when working with electrical appliances). The advantages to buying and selling used cloth diapers are many: when you buy used, you save more money than you would buying new diapers, you will want to wash them but you don’t need to prep them six or seven times before using them, and you can try different diapers for cheaper than it would be to buy them all new. Once you’re finished cloth diapering, you can sell off your diapers to make back some of the money you spent buying them. Don’t think that just because your diapers might have holes or stretched out elastics that they’re unsellable—many thrifty people look for cheap, worn diapers that they can repair themselves, if they happen to be handy with a sewing machine! But where should you sell these cloth diapers once you’re done with them?

As you are currently reading this article on a website called Diaperswappers.com, you may have guessed that this website is one place to sell your diapers, and you’re right. Diaperswappers has several forums and subforums you can sell your diapers on. You can also use sites such as Craigslists or Facebook to sell diapers locally, if you’re not up for paying for shipping diapers across the country (or even internationally!).

Wool: Beyond Diapers

Posted 11-3-2014 at 11:45 AM by Banana Cat
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These are the softest, cutest Disana overalls ever (I mean, I’m sure the fact that my son is adorable helps). Like, I’d give up chocolate for a year to buy a million pairs of these in every color.

Wool is well-known as an (often pricey, but not always) alternative to standard PUL diaper covers that dominate today’s modern cloth diapering market. There’s plenty of resources about wool covers out there. One funny thing is that once you get addicted to wool covers, both long and short, you might start wondering what other wool is out there. Some people make ridiculously awesome wool pants or wool skirts that work great as diaper covers, but also as a cute piece of fashion in and of themselves. If you start thinking you might want some more wool in your child’s wardrobe, the good news is that there’s plenty out there to choose from! Read on to learn more.

Breastfeeding a Teething Baby

Posted 10-31-2014 at 08:11 AM by Matrivine

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Breastfeeding can take a turn for the worse once your little one starts getting those little chompers. Don’t lose your cool when they start exploring what these new oral additions do while you are trying to feed them. Instead, try some of the following suggestions.

Be Firm 

Should your child bite your firmly tell them no. Don’t use your scary mommy voice, but do use a deeper tone that will get your child’s attention. Even if you feel they don’t know what you are saying this will put you in the habit of responding calmly and firmly. Eventually they will know what you are communicating.

Remove Your Child From The Breast

The best way to show your infant that biting is not an accepted behavior is to remove your child from your breast for a minute or two. The negative consequence will eventually help your child to avoid the action that causes it. They want to eat more than they want to bite you.

Breastfeeding and Cloth: A Prepper’s Point of Veiw

Posted 10-30-2014 at 08:53 AM by Matrivine

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We just addressed “prepping” diapers. But what about being a “prepper?”

I promise you I am not one of those crazy people that is building an underground bunker in her back yard. Still, I admit to being a preparedness junkie. I like to know that if we ever get snowed in, or if the power goes out for a while, we have what we need to still live comfortably. Cloth diapers and breastfeeding fit right into my prepping plans.

Less Trash

For one thing, if we are home bound for a while there is a good chance that the garbage pick up trucks may not be running during that time. One thing that you don’t want building up in your home are stinky diapers. In a home where disposable diapers are being used that’s just what could happen. Using cloth diapers aren’t just about being eco friendly, in an emergency situation they can be a sanitary problem. As long as you have an electricity free washer and soap, they can be soaked, washed, and reused. There won’t be old soiled diapers laying about the place you are living.

What on Earth is “Prepping” and How Do I Do It?

Posted 10-29-2014 at 07:53 AM by Banana Cat

If you’re new to cloth diapers, or have been using secondhand diapers for a while and are just now buying your very first brand new cloth diaper, you might have heard that you need to “prep your new diapers in the wash before you use them.” But what does that mean?

“Prepping” sounds a bit like some new dumb social media meme, and it’s kind of tempting to just run up to random strangers and ask them “What do you think prepping is?!” and hopefully get some hilarious answers, but here’s the real one: it’s necessary because new cloth diapers are… new. I know, I know, this has been an extremely informative blog post so far.  You must be stunned at the extent of my knowledge concerning such things. But factory-fresh cloth diapers, both cloth and synthetic, should be washed at least once before using them. They might have random residue from the factory or bits of packaging stuck on, and really, I’ve just always thought it a good idea to at least give things a good rinse before putting them on for the first time.

If you have synthetic-inner diapers, like microsuede-lined pocket diapers, one wash is all you need. Your diapers are ready to go! But if you have brand new natural fiber diapers or inserts, such as cotton or hemp, and especially ones made with organic unbleached cotton, you will need to “prep” them before they can be used.

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A deliciously quilty pile of freshly washed prefolds.

Mom Knows Best: Tricks for Flying With a Toddler

Posted 10-24-2014 at 03:21 PM by Rasha

traveling with toddler

Packing used to be the part of the trip that you dreaded the most, but that’s all changed now that you have a toddler. Now, packing seems like the easy part when compared to the tall task of keeping a toddler content on a plane. Maybe content is even too much to ask. Most of us would simply settle for a plane ride without scowls and dirty looks from passengers because your kid is throwing a tantrum, playing too loud or playing with the long hair of the lady in the seat in front of you. Here are some tried and true tips to keep your little one in good spirits for the entire flight:

Consider the Schedule

While long flights are challenging, layovers extend your travel time even more, so book a direct flight if you can. Less connections means getting back into some semblance of your little one’s routine a little faster, so it’s usually worth spending extra money if necessary.