Thursday, June 30, 2011

Morning Milk and Cuddles

If you remember one of my last posts, you know how much trouble I've had getting Kira to drink from a sippy cup.  I'm happy to say that we've had a little progress on this.  For the last two days, she has drunk almost all of the milk at her mid-day feeding from a straw sippy cup.  I had to hold the cup the whole time, but hey, I'm still counting it as a win.

Now that she has started to drink from her sippy, I know it is time to begin moving her off bottles.  Every day, I tell myself that I'll start tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I'll get Kira up and dressed, then give her a sippy cup of milk in her high chair.  Yep, I'll get right on that.

I know I should have started trying sooner to get her used to the concept, but I keep hesitating.  This time, it is all me.  See, I love our mornings.  Kira starts to chatter in her crib, so I go make her milk.  When I opened the door this morning, she started kicking her feet happily and saying a few words (?) of greeting, though sometimes she is standing up and jumping.  I cuddle her in my lap in the glider and give her her milk.  I can lean down and kiss her head and hug her close.  It is a precious moment.

I guess it is hard to face that my baby is turning into a little girl more every day.  If I had been able to breastfeed, I suppose these moments could have continued, but that was not to be.  Right now, it is all on me to transition.  I dread doing it.  After her milk, Kira cuddles on my lap and often gives me hugs.  The rest of the day, she wants to be on the go constantly.  Will I lose that when she starts taking her milk from a sippy cup?

Only time will tell.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Free Music Through Amazon!

Hey, guys, if you don't have a lot of spare money for music or like to try an artist before buying a whole album, this deal is for you.  Actually, it is pretty much for anyone who likes music.  Amazon has a $2 MP3 store credit with the code CLOUDMP3 through June 30th.  You can CLICK HERE to get directly to the place where you enter the credit.  I had to enter mine all in lowercase for some reason, but I have two free songs to add to my collection.

Also, if you have multiple devices and are tired of trying to save your music on all of them, give the Amazon Cloud Drive a try.  You get up to 20 gigs of free music storage, and you can access that music from the internet.  There's even a Cloud Player app for Android.  I am totally in love with this service. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Candlemaking 101: The Workshop

Last week, thanks to help from my wonderful nephew, I finally got my craft room back in order:
Well, usable at least
This reminded me that I hadn't blogged about crafting in a while, so I thought I would do a few posts about candlemaking.  I'm not going to try to tell you how to get an organized workroom; clearly, it can be done in a more organized manner than shown above.  This post is more about what you will need to get started.

This picture shows most of the basic supplies:

1) A good work surface, either something you don't care about or something well-covered.  Note the wax stains.  Drips are common and accidents happen.
2) A hot plate of some kind.
3) A double boiler setup of some kind.  You boil water in the bottom pot and cover that with a pot with holes in the bottom so the steam can come through.  NEVER PUT A POT OF WAX DIRECTLY ON THE BURNER.  Don't worry, I'll remind you when I go through making a candle.
4) A spatula.  Silicone spatulas designed for high heat (not the cheapo ones) are perfect for stirring wax and working wax out of stubborn places.
5) Heat-resistant pads to put hot candles and wax pots on to cool.
6) Not shown: Oven mitt, apron, wax thermometer, and fire extinguisher.  Hmm, maybe that last should have been number 1.

Candle molds are great, but you don't have to start with them.  Tin and glass containers are excellent to learn in, and coffee cups are cheap at the dollar store.  If you look at the first pictures, you can see the types of containers I currently have in my craft room. 

I also have plastic and silicone molds not pictured.  Plastic molds are cheaper, but I'm not a fan of them.  I tend to prefer either metal molds or containers.

While you can use old tin cans, I recommend getting the pitchers made for melting wax.  The handle and the spout have saved me a lot of burns, and it can be hard to get a precise pour from a tin can.  However, if you are not sure you want to do much candlemaking, this isn't necessary.

You will, of course, need wax.  This pitcher is for beeswax, and that is what beeswax looks like when it is cool.  I prefer beeswax and soy because they are natural, but paraffin is pretty common.  I'll list my favorite candle supply websites below if you want to see prices, though I recommend ebay for beeswax.

Wax dyes and scents are optional when you are first starting out, but they certainly make candlemaking more fun.  You will also need wick (of course) and wick clips.  I forgot to pull out a wick clip for the picture, but you'll see it when I do a tutorial on making the actual candle.  (I believe that is soy wax in the glass cup, by the way.  It tends to come in flakes.)

As promised, some of my favorite candlemaking supply websites:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The (Anti) Sippy Cup Revolution

I might as well face it. I am going to be one of those mothers.  The ones maligned in playgroups and motherhood forums.  Yes, you guessed it--I'm still going to be giving my baby a bottle after she's a year old.  Other mothers will give me dirty looks in public or smirk about my inferior parenting skills.  How could I do such a thing?  Don't I know that doomhorrordentistbillsOMG will descend upon my head?

Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but I have heard people talk about how horrible it is for babies to have bottles after a year old.  The truth is, they need to be convincing my 11 month old.  I'm on board.  We've bought multiple types of sippy cups (about 3 more types not pictured below), but my daughter will have none of them.  Now, some of you might remember an earlier post about sippy cup success.  It seemed that she would initially take the type on the bottom right, and she will chug water spiked with a dash of fruit juice out of the darn thing.  But milk?  Not so much.
My enemies

The doctor told me at Kira's 9 month checkup that she should be drinking out of sippy cups by a year.  He forgot to mention how to accomplish this feat against a willful baby.  Lately, Kira's favorite game is "drink an ounce from the cup, then see how far I can throw it."  You might be thinking that maybe she isn't thirsty, but that is not the case.  She'll take the rest of the milk in a bottle.  

It appears that she is having her own little revolution.  She doesn't care about anyone else's plans.  She wants the bottle, and that is what she will have.  Mommy, doctors, and random passersby cannot change her mind.  

Vive le biberon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Request for Votes

I'm not going to get a very long post up today.  My niece and nephew are visiting, and so far, our fun hasn't involved much blogging.  :)  I did want to post a brief request, though.  Please go vote for my baby in the Parenting Magazine's cover baby contest at this link.

 How can you resist this face?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baby Safety (Or a Lack Thereof)

I have a little bit of a rant, my friends.  This isn't about people who endanger their children, though that could certainly be its own post.  This is about companies that endanger our children without thought of the consequences.

You know the scenario: You are out and about with your baby when you smell that telltale scent of 'diaper needs changing.'  So you go to the store's bathroom, pull down the changing station, and prepare to change that diaper.  Now imagine my surprise the other day when I went to secure the safety strap (You use them, right?  Concrete floors are hard.) and found that our local Wal-mart cut off the safety straps.  This was clearly not negligence, a simple lack of knowledge about broken equipment.  The straps were intentionally cut off close to the base, and I found this to be the case in the other bathroom.  I've found plenty of broken or otherwise unusable safety straps at other changing stations.  

Another common scenario:  Your family is going out to eat, and you request a high chair for your baby.  Many times this works fine.  But there have been cases where restaurants have had to search through their chairs to find one with working safety straps.  Now, I know that there are plenty of moms who don't use them.  I see it all the time, especially with older babies.  But when my daughter was six months, she didn't always sit up well, and at ten months, she likes to try to lean over and reach stuff she drops.  Darn skippy I use those straps!  We should not have to search through a stack of high chairs to find one that is actually safe.

I don't understand how companies can do this.  Aside from obvious lawsuits (it's only a matter of time for our local Wal-mart), these are babies.  How can you play with the safety of little babies just so you don't have to spend a few bucks on a new high chair?  It is truly sad.

I wish more places would copy our local La Siesta restaurant.  When I pointed out a broken plastic piece on a high chair, the waitress was horrified and took it to the manager immediately for replacement.  We haven't had a broken one since.  Much better than the server we had at O'Charley's who put two broken high chairs back on the stack without a word.

Anyone else run across this problem?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm a Stay-At-Home Mom with little spare time or money.  Thankfully, there are a few things I've found that a) don't take much time and b) help get me things for free.  I haven't scored tons of money or prizes, but I've been happy with what I've earned so far.  So what are my favorites?

1)  Giveaways
 Since I started entering giveaways, I've become a huge fan.  So far I've won a Baby Brezza baby food maker from the Momformation blog and SkinMD lotion and a $10 Pampered Chef gift card from Mommy and Me Giveaways.  It is only a matter of time until I win something really big, I just know it! (Come on, HGTV dream home!)  In the meantime, I'm really hoping to win a Levana Safe 'N See Digital Video Monitor here from Mommy and Me Giveaways.  Fingers crossed!

For giveaways not necessarily related to motherhood, two great sites are Sweeties Sweeps and Freebies 4 Mom (don't let the name fool you--the Sweeps she lists are rarely related to motherhood).  Feel free to list more in the comments section!

2)  Surveys
There are lots of survey sites out there, but so far there's only one I've stuck with: Valued Opinions.  Most survey sites give you points and maybe a contest entry, and you use those points to enter other contests with no sure win.  With Valued Opinions, you earn a "dollar" amount per survey.  When you've earned $20 worth, you can trade that in for an equivalent gift card.  I've made $40 in Amazon gift  cards so far and am close to having another $20.  Free e-books for me!

3) Ebates
If you haven't found and you love to shop online, then you should totally go there now!  Ebates gives you cash back on purchases made online at tons of stores.  I wasn't sure about it at first because it sounded to good to be true, but I've cashed a check from them myself.  I've only earned $7 so far, but I wouldn't have had that if I'd bought my Old Navy clothes at their store.  It is easy to sign up for Ebates.  Why wait?

I hope you've found my list helpful.  It won't earn you lots, but sometimes just a little can be a big help.