Friday, February 25, 2011

tips for new dads

According to Amy Morrison at Pregnant Chicken, there are Eight Essential Tips that no new dad can live without. Definitely worth a read, and I guarantee you will laugh out loud AND find the tips conveniently useful!

tips for new moms

These 10 tips will help you survive and enjoy the early weeks as a new mom.

1. Go slow. We live in a fast-paced world. Babies move at a very different pace, as do new parents. Give yourself permission to move on "baby time."

2. Limit your other obligations. You will only be a new parent for a few months of your entire life. Think about how you can make the most of it.

3. Sleep whenever you can. Try to rest whenever baby is sleeping or being cared for by someone else. Rest can sometimes feel like a waste of time when there is constantly something to do, but keeping yourself as refreshed as possible will make everything else much easier.

4. Nurture yourself. You are putting out an enormous amount of energy as a new parent. It is important to recharge your batteries. Even a 30 minute hot bat, a short read or a walk with a friend could help you to rejuvenate. Think about two or three things you could do in less than an hour to nurture yourself and make it happen.

5. Think of your baby's crying as communication. Your baby needs to learn that his world and the people in it are trustworthy and reliable. His sense of trust is an essential building block for all other learning he will do. There may be times when nothing seems to help and you may just need to stay close, relaxed and supportive until your baby is done crying.

6. Keep your expectations to a minimum. Many parents who work outside the home before they have a baby expect that being home with baby will afford them many opportunities to get things done around the house. If you can keep your expectations to a minimum you may feel less overwhelmed and unsuccessful. Projects and chores can wait, so be willing to set them aside.

7. Accept offers of help. You will be giving others the gift of feeling included and helpful and you will be giving yourself the gift of help.

8. Ask for help. Many people around you might be interested in helping, but may not know how or what to offer. You can gently inquire if they would be interested.

9. Get together with other new parents. One of the hardest things about being a new parent is believing you are the only one feeling overwhelmed and confused. It can be very supportive to spend time with other new parents. Look for new parent support or activity groups through your local hospital, community center, adult education center, or La Lache League.

10. Expect to feel vulnerable. Bringing a new baby into your life changes you forever. Your feelings are simultaneously deepened and closer to the surface. You might find yourself wet with tears or spontaneously elated at a moment's notice. If you know that this rich emotional life is a natural part of being a new parent, you may be able to relax, tolerate or even relish these new feelings.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the crafting world, this repurposed Altoids tin, featured on Craftster, is one of the most inspiring projects I have seen in a while! I love the colors and I have a passion for owls. All the additions were actually made with card stock and ribbon, not paint. I will have to do some experimentation here soon and see what fun I can come up with!

malabrigo swap winter 2011 - spoilage for my victim

This latest round of the Malabrigo swap has a great theme: The Simple Life.
Things are simplified, as we are only permitted to send a total of FOUR items to our partner. 
  • 2-3 skeins of Malabrigo (they can be sent as is or knitted/crocheted into something for your partner)
  • Something edible or drinkable
  • Something to read or listen to (book/pattern(s)/CD/audiobook)
  • Something your partner can’t live without (something THEY say they can’t live without
It was rough. And I cheated a little with the edible/drinkable, sending a few little things as one. Included in my package to my partner were two skeins of Malabrigo Silky in Ravelry Red; chocolate, tea, and a gorgeous mug [something edible/drinkable], The Hunger Games on audio CD [something to listen to], and Burt's Bees Lip Balm [something she cannot live without]. I would have loved to receive this package, and it was a real challenge to come up with only four things.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

luxurious lavender bath

To be honest, there isn't much I enjoy much than a hot bath scented with lavender. On a rough day, I can count on a bath to have a calming, rejuvenating effect on my body and my mood.

For a swap that I participated in last year, one of my partners gave be a bunch of fizzy bath bombs in various aromas. My daughters loved them and went through them so quickly that I did not get a chance to try them. I figured that, since almost anything can be made from home, there was likely a recipe for bath fizz out there, somewhere. With the help of my good friend, Google, I discovered a good half a dozen. They all used similar ingredients and the steps were nearly identical. I sort of did a pick-and-choose maneuver to come up with my very own recipe.

Fizzy Bath Bomb

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup Epsom salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon or so essential oil (2.46 ml)
Food coloring

Additional supplies
Large bowl
Spray bottle filled with water
Silicone ice cube tray or other mold
Jars or bags for storage

1 In large bowl, stir together baking soda, citric acid, Epsom salt, and cornstarch.
2 (Optional) Add several drops off food coloring to spray bottle filled with water, tighten nozzle, and shake to mix.
3 Spritz mixture lightly with spraybottle until mixture can be packed with your hands.
4 Mix grapeseed oil and essential oils together and add to baking soda mixture. Continue mixing/packing until aroma spreads evenly throughout. If mixture begins to dry out, spritz lightly as necessary.
5 Press mixture firmly into molds and let air dry overnight. Gently pop out of molds and store until use.

I made these on Saturday and used one today. It fizzed and was heavenly! When I made them, I added several drops of blue and red food coloring to get a nice, soft purple color. I am very pleased with how they turned out, and I might make them for favors for my future sister-in-law's bridal shower this coming fall.

another baby gift

One of my beloved friends from college just had her baby yesterday (congratulations, Beth!). Last month, her sister threw her a baby shower. I unfortunately could not make it to the shower, but I made it in spirit. I knit up a little something for her baby girl and sent it to get there in time for the party. She loved it! Take a look!

I searched through my library and found a pattern for Small Things Bonnet by Carina Spencer and decided that the pixie hood would be perfect for a little girl. I raided my stash for some soft yarn and came up with a skein of Vermont Organic Fiber Company's O-Wool Balance, a lovely cotton blend. The pattern worked up quickly without a hitch, but I did braided ties instead because I was afraid I would not finish in time otherwise. The hat is the second largest size, so it should fit next winter and hopefully beyond!

For the wrapping, I purchased a cutesy wet bag from BABYbydanish on Etsy.

I wrapped the hat in pink tissue paper and set it right inside the wet bag, which doubled its purpose, making it a green alternative to gift wrap! Plus, there's no denying, it's extra cute. I also included two natural infant prefold diapers, which can be used as diapers if they choose to cloth diaper, which they have been contemplating, or as absorbent burp cloths.

I love the yarn, and I have a couple more skeins in a more natural color. Cotton blends tend to have a nice, clean sheen when knit up. It is a major bummer that the yarn has been discontinued. If I come across any in the future, I have to remember to pick it up for future baby projects.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

malabrigo swap winter 2011 - received

I just got an AMAZING package from Bethany, aka psammeadred, for the Winter 2011 Malabrigo Swap on Ravelry!

Funny thing that I must share before I get to the goodies: I was stalking the delivery confirmation numbers for the swap this morning, and noticed that Bethany’s parcel was out for delivery in my city. Well, my daughters always get in the swapping mode when they know a package might be coming, and they were on the look-out for the mail truck all morning, hiding under bushes and behind tree trunks, waiting to ambush the postal delivery man! LOVE!! The entire family was home to help me dig in--and everything was unwrapped and being discovered in record time.

The theme for this swap was The Simple Life:
  • 2-3 skeins of Malabrigo (they can be sent as is or knitted/crocheted into something for your partner)
  • Something edible or drinkable
  • Something to read or listen to (book/pattern(s)/CD/audiobook)
  • Something your partner can’t live without (something THEY say they can’t live without)
Mother Nature favors me today, what with the sunshine and warmth, so I took photos outside! Here’s the loot:

For the yarn category, Bethany graced me with three cakes of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Tuareg! The color is fandamntastic! As soon as I saw it, I knew that I already had big plans for it!

Something Drinkable includes three types of tea from a local teahouse! There’s Sweet Almond, Raspberry Vanilla Green (OMG!), and Lavender Earl Gray (my favorite EVER!). They are individually packaged in little heart tins with clear tops so you can see the beautiful colors of the herbs. So pretty!

For Something to read or listen to, Bethany picked Douglas Adams’s The Salmon of Doubt and a set of bright and spunky ear buds with interchangeable colors. I haven’t read this one yet, but I heart Douglas Adams so friggin’ much!

Finally, and with great suspense, the Cannot Live Without, which is nature and things that grow! -- A lovely gardening apron with yellow and blue butterflies, the books Colorful Hanging Baskets by Evelegh and Patterson and The Window Box Book by Fausch, and organic seeds for a kaleidoscope mix of carrots, a carnival mix of peppers, moon & stars watermelon, and mammoth melting peas! PERFECT, especially since we will be starting our seeds in less than a month!


A huge "Thank You!" goes out to Bethany for the time and thoughtfulness she put into this wonderful package! Everything coordinates beautifully! I cannot put into words how much I love everything! She really nailed this stalking thing!

Friday, February 18, 2011

crafting for my valentines

We have been busy lately, knitting and crafting away! We made some really fun projects that are hanging around the house for Valentine's Day.

First of all, my knitting--I made these lovely socks, and they're for me! Yippee! I used the pattern BFF Socks by Cookie A. from the book knit. sock. love. I used Knit Picks Palette in Raspberry Heather on US 2. I had trouble with the heel not lining up with the cables, so I did the following set up:

K1. Heel begins here. K1, p2, (Cable Decrease, p2, k2, p2) 3 times. Cable Decrease, p2, k1. Turn.

After this project, I may stay away from cables for a while. Whew!


The girls painted paper decorations and wooden hearts to hang around the house to celebrate the holiday. The purple and blue hearts are Eva's, the red ones are Esme's.

We made watercolor-painted paper lanterns to hang on the mantle. Evelyn's friend came over to help with this project.

Finally, Esme's wonderful still-life, done with celery dipped in acrylic paint and stamped on construction paper. The leaves are teeny toddler thumbprints.