Spring Craft: Pretzel Butterfly

Posted 03-25-2014 at 03:11 PM by Rasha

It’s technically spring (despite the fact that Mother Nature still hasn’t gotten the memo). Easter and Spring Break are in the near future and it’s time to prepare for the festivities. Are you looking for a spring craft other than decorating eggs? Here’s a cute idea, pretzel butterflies! It’s not for eating, but will keep the kiddos occuppied using their creativity, yet very little money. In fact, you probably have most of the supplies already in your home!

Budget-Twist-on-Pretzel-Fashion

What You Will Need:

Mini Pretzels (Traditional Shape and Sticks)

Wire or Hot Glue (Sorry, Mom, you’ll probably have to do this part)

Paint

Tissue Paper

Elmer’s Glue

Diaper Swapers

Is a Nursing Pillow a Necessity?

Posted 03-24-2014 at 08:40 AM by Banana Cat

boppy

  One day my husband came home from work. The baby was napping and the toddler was eating blueberry yogurt, “eating” being a broad descriptor of her actions, which included painting her nose with the yogurt on her spoon. The point being–both kids were occupied and so I was at my computer, staring at a blank Word document. My husband looked over my shoulder at the white screen, sensing my dilemma without needing to ask me about it. “Write about your nursing pillow,” he suggested. “It’s an old, crappy pillow, and I don’t like it,” I replied instantly, as I’ve complained about my nursing pillow many times. He raised an eyebrow. Oh, hey.

Is a nursing pillow a necessity? Nearly every baby registry website suggests that it is. They even get their very own section at the baby stores now, so they certainly seem on par with other must-haves such as car seats and high chairs. If you try to nurse a young baby without using a nursing pillow, you will probably find your arms grow sore in no time at all, especially if you happen to have a behemoth of a baby like my second child. The main advantage of a nursing pillow, no matter the brand, is that it’s U-shaped. This means it fits around your tummy and wraps around your sides a bit so there’s plenty of room to support your elbows and baby’s ever-growing body. Some brands have straps to keep it in place and pockets to store various baby-related things, but whether you want these features or not is personal preference. The draw is really the fact that it’s supposed to fit around your body.

Managing Postpartum Depression

Posted 03-21-2014 at 09:00 AM by 2+2macht4

postpartum depression blog image

The latest statistics from the CDC suggest that nearly 20% of mothers experience varying degrees of postpartum depression. It is far more prevalent then previously thought. If you are struggling with depression after giving birth you are not alone.

Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression

Many new moms experience a flush of extreme emotion after giving birth, both good and bad. Our worlds are turned upside down and a new little being is depending on us day and night. It’s a big change even the second or third time around. Now combine that with some crazy hormones and, yeah, we are in for a world of trouble. Those first few weeks are rough for most parents. However, when the depression lasts beyond the first few weeks of transitioning into life with a baby, it’s time to consider postpartum depression.

What Exactly is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression also known in short as PPD is a form of clinical depression that closely coincides with your life as a mom. Like many mental illnesses PPD itself is a broad spectrum disorder and can be found in various forms or in conjuction with other mental illnesses such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Symptoms of PPD include but are not limited to:

The Cloth Diaper Diaper Bag

Posted 03-20-2014 at 01:35 PM by Matrivine

Diaper Bag

When I used disposable diapers for my child, I must admit that loading the diaper bag was pretty easy. I threw in about four diapers, some wipes and rash cream, a change of clothes, and I was good to go. A diaper bag is much different with cloth diapers. You don’t throw them away in a public restroom. You carry them back home with everything else you pack into the diaper bag. Here are a few things to consider when choosing and loading a cloth diaper bag.

The Actual Bag

When choosing a diaper bag for cloth diaper use, the bigger the bag is the better. In fact, it’s wonderful if the inside of the bag is divided into compartments and has plenty of pockets. You can keep your used items away from your unused items. Keep all food items or toys in their own water proof sealed containers in the pockets on the outside of the bag. No matter how careful you are, soiled diapers still may find a way to leak into the bag interior. Some bags even come with a changing pad to keep our little ones off of public surfaces.

Wet Bag

Tutorial: Melted Crayon Spring Eggs

Posted 03-19-2014 at 08:22 AM by Banana Cat

 egg3

So, I don’t like dying eggs. And I mean that in the Easter/other nondenominational spring festival way, not eggs that are in the process of no longer living, although I suppose that’s something I don’t like either because it would be pretty morbid if I did. Anyway, even when I was a kid dying eggs sounded fun but never actually delivered on the fun factor. Everything we touched smelled like vinegar for days. My brother and I would fight over who got to use which colors first, and then we’d put our eggs in the dye and wait…and wait…and wait. Then we’d take out the eggs, attempt to carefully stand them up to dry, then bump each other’s elbows and smudge up the dye job and then accidentally crack the eggs and in the end we’d have maybe three or four good eggs out of a couple dozen and be angry at each other in a sibling kind of way. When I was a teenager I swore to never dye eggs again…and now, many years later I find myself with a child old enough to decorate eggs. I still don’t want to dye eggs and after laughing hysterically at museum-quality Pinterest Easter eggs carefully decorated with dainty vintage lace and suspiciously smudgeless calligraphy, quite clearly not done by a harried mother of two, I stumbled across the idea of using crayons to melt onto freshly hardboiled eggs for a melted look. I like the melted, marbled look and goodness knows a harried mother of a two year old has millions of crayons sitting around. I also wanted to make egg salad and so combined a toddler art project and my lunch cravings together to make melted crayon spring eggs.

Step 1

Boil thine eggs, using your preferred process. You want the eggs hot or else the whole thing won’t work so plastic eggs are not an option. You might be able to use blown eggshells if you drop them in super hot water for a few minutes, but I haven’t tried that so I don’t know how it would work. If you try it and it does, let me know!

Defining Minimalism

Posted 03-18-2014 at 03:04 PM by 2+2macht4

minimilism

The term minimalism is not nearly as obscure as it once was. Stories of those choosing to live more meaningful lives with less are becoming more commonplace. All the while many misconceptions continue to prevail. What exactly is minimalism? Here is a look at what minimalism is, as well as what it is not.

Minimalism

A minimalist lifestyle is best described as one in which a person chooses to live more mindfully, to strip away the excess possesstions and fight against the consumerism that has become embedded into our daily lives. It is choosing to live not only with what you need but also with the things that bring joy and happiness into your life. When we begin to peel away the excess layers of stuff we can start to take a deeper look at how our possesions contribute to or hinder our happiness and productivity. The choice to live with less is not an easy one, and certainly not in a society that perpetually bombards us with the idea that success is measured by how much or what we own.

Me and the Accidental Case of Breastmilk’s Healing Properties

Posted 03-17-2014 at 08:49 AM by Banana Cat

breastfeeding

I’m a scientifically minded person. This is probably because ever since I was a little kid I drove my parents and teachers crazy by asking WHY…but I needed detailed answers. “Why is the sky blue?” could not be answered with, “Well, that’s the color the sky is, the light makes it look blue”–no, the whole concept of the color spectrum and so on had to be explained before I was satisfied. Perhaps this expectedly also got me in trouble with the nuns at the Catholic school I attended for asking too many theological questions, but that’s another story.

Anyway, this means I question a lot of things. If I read an article on a news site that says “New Study Reveals Yogurt Cures Feline Leukemia,” the first thing I will do is read the article, point out all the factual errors, and question statements about the results that aren’t backed up with statistics or other links, then hunt for the original study in a scientific journal and point out that the study showed that at 10am on a sunny Monday in March, a cat ate yogurt and tested negative for leukemia three days later which means nothing scientifically and the article was dumb. Yes, really, I do this all the time, probably much to the annoyance of everyone in my life. Anyway, THIS means that I naturally tend to be skeptical of alternative medicines and cures. Sure, millions of people might swear by taking a certain herbal supplement to prevent the flu or something, but if there are no studies proving so, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to try it.

I’m aware that nursing your baby exposes them to antibodies and other compounds that aren’t in formula. But everywhere, people were touting the healing properties of breastmilk. It cured pinkeye! It cured cradle cap! It cured diaper rash! It cured everything! The skeptic in me kicked in, even the entire nineteen months I nursed my daughter. Sure, it’s good nutrition for a child, but as a remedy for a bunch of different things? Bah.

But…

Other Uses For Breast Milk

Posted 03-14-2014 at 08:58 AM by Matrivine

Twin breast pump and milk bottles on white background.

Breast milk can be quite handy. Yes, it feeds our infants in a healthier and more natural way, but it can be used in other useful ways as well. Here are three ways that breast milk can continue to benefit our little ones and community.

In Baby Food Production

If you make your own baby food try using breast milk in place of formula in cereal or other recipes. This works well if you are weaning your baby from the breast but not from breast milk. Breast milk can still be hand expressed or pumped and stored for future use. This also delays the use of dairy in a child’s diet. That’s particularly good if a dairy allergy runs in the family. You also won’t have to worry about a formula after taste that your child won’t like. They will still have the same old milk they recognize.

Fasteners: The Old and the New

Posted 03-13-2014 at 08:00 AM by Banana Cat

Pins

Once upon a time, there were pins. Not even safety pins, just pins. American women folded up cotton flat diapers and then wished strongly for the invention of “paper diapers,” which I would have as well if I had to pin diapers like this:

oldiaper

Image courtesy of the US Department of Labor Infant Care pamphlet from 1914, hosted at Georgetown University’s Maternal and Health Library website. Click on the picture to go there. Seriously, visit their website, those pamphlets are awesome to look through.

 

If you choose to go the route of diapers that need to be fastened (as opposed to, say, an all-in-one), you thankfully have many more choices these days.

A Good Excuse To Have More Diapers On Hand

Posted 03-12-2014 at 08:04 AM by Banana Cat

Emergency Preparedness

I admit, I’m kind of a disaster freak.

Not like, “Oh no, the apocalypse is coming, gotta store 500 lbs of wheat in my cellar” type of disaster freak (mostly because we live in a top floor apartment in the middle of a large metropolitan city). But, you know, I live in the Pacific Rim of Fire and that top floor apartment gives me a dead on view of a volcano that’s been overdue for an eruption for a few hundred years now. I will at least get a National Geographicesque high-resolution closeup view of a volcanic eruption before I die a terrible, burning death.

 

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Mountains: A pretty sight, until they blow up on you

 

However, more realistically, my decision to live a life on top of the area where two giant continental plates smash against one another means I’ll probably get caught up in an earthquake one of these days. The county has a suggested disaster preparation list of things that every family should have on hand in case of a disaster, tailored slightly to earthquakes for the area. You’ve got your usual water bottles and emergency blankets and ponchos, emergency food bars (have you ever actually eaten those? They’re, uh…definitely only something I’d eat in an absolute emergency), and then, almost as an afterthought, the list adds “specialty items for kids and pets.” This is important, but it begs the question of what the absolute essentials are for children in a time of disaster.