Friday, April 26, 2013

Puj Big Hug Kids Towel Review

I was so excited to be one of the few chosen to test out a product from one of my favorite mommy companies, Puj.  The Big Hug Kids Towel is a must have!  The quality construction and ease of use together, make it a top pick for me.  The size is perfect for 2-7 year olds.  It is soft and very absorbent with reinforced seams and wings that make it easy for little ones to wrap themselves in the warmth of this towel.  The nub hook makes it easy for little hands to grasp and hang all by themselves.  It also has a hood feature that makes it easy for the kids to wear.  It washes very well and holds up after several cycles in both the washer and dryer.  I've been using this towel for weeks and have washed it several times, yet it still looks as great as it did when I took it out of the box.  The quality materials and thought that went into this towel makes you feel like it was made with every mom's needs and wants in mind.  Another Puj winner for me!!

My little guy (2 years old) using the Puj Big Hug towel for the first time.
All bundled up, nice and warm!
He loves it!
My 4 year old (the size of a 6 year old) using the Puj Big Hug towel

The price is a bit steep, but as I've been told, you pay for quality.  I find that to be true in most cases.  I highly recommend this towel to any parent who will care to listen. My kids love it as much as I do! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To Kindergarten or Not to Kindergarten...That is the Question

I, like many parents, am struggling with the idea of my son starting kindergarten.  He will turn 5 at the end of August.  I struggle with the thought of him not being developmentally or emotionally ready.  I struggle with the school itself.  I also struggle with my confidence in him at this age.  He is one of the younger children that will be in his class.  That worries me. 

I went to the school that he would be attending last week to get a little info.  They basically just kept telling me that everything will be fine and I shouldn't worry.  That still didn't help me.  They handed me a packet and sent me on my way.  The principal later called me because of my concerns, but he didn't tell me anything different than the lady in the office.  My mind is not eased. 

After going through the packet, mostly everything seemed fine.  That is until I got to the checklist of things he needs to know before entering.  My son is a bright, fun little guy, but I was shocked at what he needs to know before entering this school district.  I've never even heard of such things.  Like I said, he's bright and picks up things fairly easy, so I can spend all summer teaching him the things he doesn't know, such as reading and writing his name in a way that is easily understood.  He knows how to write the letters of the alphabet and can identify every letter.  He can also write his name, but not in a way that would be easily understood!  His letters are of all different sizes and are all over the page.  Heck, it takes him a whole page to write his name.  Now, on this checklist it states that he must know his parents full names, his addresss and phone numbers.  There are a lot of other things as well, but most of them are things that I've never given two thoughts about because he either already knows these things or it would take him 5 minutes to learn.  This is a fairly lengthy checklist, which requires my signature and his...did I mention he's not yet 5?!?!  Why do they need an almost -five year old's signature?  Is he supposed to be able to read the checklist too?  He can barely write his name if given a full piece of paper and they allot him this teeny little line.  Seriously?  I am not an educator, but I have spent enough time in my son's preschool class to know for certain that not one child in my son's preschool class can write their name in that itsy bitsy little line.  I don't feel as though he should be signing his name on it anyway.  In my opinion, this checklist is ridiculous!  Arent' they supposed to teach him the things like reading and writing?  If that is something that falls on me than I expect him to know his times tables by the end of the school year.  What I'm getting at is they are asking a lot from such young kids before even entering school.  I spend time with him and teach him, but I do have another child at home and I work.  I can only do so much.  I have no idea how to teach him our phone numbers.  I'm an adult and I have trouble remembering them at times, so how is a kid of his age expected to know them?  In the past two weeks he has learned our names (first and last), as well as our address, including the city and state.  My son is a little sponge and I'm so proud of him. 

With him being one of the younger students in his class, I feel that he will naturally be behind the other students.  He isn't quite as mature as the other children. He is well-behaved and does what he's told, but I still feel he's lagging.   I notice a difference while watching him and other, slightly older children that would be in his class. I feel it has everything to do with him being younger.  One year makes a huge difference in the maturity and readiness of a 5 year old.  I feel as though his maturity would hinder his learning capabilities in a classroom setting. 

My son also has slight speech issues.  He does see a speech pathologist twice weekly, but is still behind in articulation.  This may cause problems for him in school, in my opinion.  He still doesn't express his thoughts and feelings as well as he should at this age.  He isn't far behind in speech, only slightly and is making great strides with the speech pathologist, however, it still makes me nervous that he's far enough behind that it could make kindergarten difficult for him.

Other than his age and speech issues, he really has no problems.  He socializes well with other children.  He loves playing with other kids.  Sometimes I think other kids are afraid of him because he's too outgoing.  He just loves people.  He loves meeting new people and making new friends.  Having a younger brother has taught him to share and how to be considerate of others.  Socialization is not something we would consider a problem. 

As I've said, my son is a smart kid and he learns quickly.  I know I have a few choices to consider, but I just want to make the best one for him.  I could send him to kindergarten and see how he does.  Worst case scenario, I would have to pull him out or have him repeat kindergarten.  Or, I have the option of waiting another year before he starts.  I don't have a lot of time to make this decision.  I don't know why it is so hard on me, but it is.   As a mom, I'm probably overreacting as most of us tend to do at times.  Nonetheless, it's still weighing greatly on me.  I see him growing and maturing every single day.  He is a very bright, loving, confident kid.  I am the lucky one who gets to be his mommy.  I guess that's what makes trying to make the right decision so hard.  I just want what is the absolute best for him.  He doesn't deserve anything less than that.

After speaking with my son's speech pathologist, I feel more at ease.  Since she deals with children of all ages she knows where they stand, both developmentally and emotionally.  According to her, he is very mature in class and very studious.  He pays attention when she is talking to him.  He follows directions well and handles situations with other students in a mature manner.  Rather than getting upset  if another student is bothering him (kicking, hitting, etc.) he will calmly let the teacher know what's going on and let her handle it.  He doesn't react to it in any way other than that.  I can't tell you how proud that makes me.  He's much different at home!  She is telling me that currently he is at a kindergarten to a first grade level.  I need to learn to relax a little I guess and quit questioning every single thing.

I also asked about that ridiculous checklist.  It turns out to be more of a scare tactic than anything.  The school is trying to get some parents to actually do things with their kids.  Some have started kindergarten without so much as a book or story ever read to them.  How sad is that?  I read to my kids daily.  I can't imagine not doing anything with my kids.  Even if you have nothing and can't afford a book, you can afford to spend quality time with them, teaching them valuable information.  It really is tradgic that some kids go without the simplest attention from their parent(s). 

Cloth Diapering 101-Part 2-Why Cloth Diaper?

When choosing to cloth diaper, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, especially with the options available today (please see more about the options available in Cloth Diapering 101-Part 1).  Cloth diapering isn't only economical, it's a healthier option for your baby and our environment.

Consider this...If you changed your little one's diaper only 6 times per day, that would equal 2,190 diapers per year sitting in a landfill.  I'm not going to lie, you'll probably go through more diapers than that.  That estimate is meant to be on the lower end.  Still shocking, isn't it?  If you were to use disposables, that is at least 2,190 diapers sitting in landfills.  I'm not quite sure on the amount of time it takes each one to break down, but after doing my research, I can tell you that it is a minimum of 200 years for each diaper.  Mostly what I've read has me leaning toward 400 years per diaper.  That's a long time for a poopy diaper to sit in a landfill!  Think about all the babies born each day and how many of them have been diapered using disposables.  I don't even want to think of it!  That's too much waste sitting in our landfills.  That's the waste your little one's generation and beyond that, is going to have to deal with and figure out how to live with.

Did you know that sodium polyacrylate and dioxins are found in disposable diapers?  What are they?  Well, they are toxic chemicals used to aid in absorbtion.  These chemicals have been linked to many serious illnesses, such as Chloracne, Toxic Shock Syndrome, chemical burns, Asthma, Diabetes, reproductive and infertility problems, respiratory distress, developmental, hormonal and cognitive problems, immune problems, endometriosis and even CANCER!!!  Yep, you read that right!  These are only the most used chemicals used in disposable diapers.  Depending on the diaper, there could be other chemicals used as well.  It's safe to say that none of these toxic chemicals, regardless of which ones are used, are safe for your baby.  Disposable diapers are actually harmful for your baby!  Think about it, if something is wet, sitting on your skin for any length of time, whatever chemicals that may be contained in that wet article starts to seep into your skin, then into your bloodstream.  When I first heard about this I was shocked and ashamed that these toxic chemicals are allowed to go into diapers.  The truth is, our government doesn't regulate diapers.  It's our job to educate ourselves and do what we feel is right for our little ones. 

Cloth diapers contain no toxic chemicals.  They are very absorbent and just as easy as disposables. I've heard people say they use disposables because they are convenient.  In my opinion, cloth diapers are just as convenient, if not moreso.  When you run low on disposable diapers you have to trudge out, even in the dead of winter, to go to the store to pick up more.  That also requires getting ready, getting your little one ready, the diaper bag that goes along, then going to the store.  If I run low on cloth diapers, I simply throw them in the washing machine.  No getting ready required.  No leaving the house required.  I can do it in my pjs or even naked if I choose.  It's not hard and it most certainly is most convenient, considering I do laundry all the time anyway.  One more load every couple of days means NOTHING to a mom.  Personally, a load of laundry is a breeze, but I cringe at the thought of dragging myself and my kids out just to get one thing.  I feel that every time I go out in public I am what could be described as a three-ring circus.  Not a pretty sight for myself, but possibly hysterical for others watching. 

When you are finished using your cloth diapers, you can pass them along to another mother in need of diapering their child, as they last a very long time.  No more build-up of diapers sitting in landfills for hundreds of years.  If everyone knew what we do, we could change many things wrong today!  Pollution being a big one.  It starts with us! 

I used disposable diapers on my first child and I can't even tell you the amount of guilt I feel for doing so.  Luckily he's happy and healthy, but I don't know what future problems he could encounter due to my lack of knowledge at the time.  As many first time parents, I didn't know better.  I knew only what people told me.  As my son started growing a little older I started to get smart.  I started to research things on my own and coming up with my own conclusion as to what's best for my baby.  That is the best thing I've done thus far.  My kids are healthier because I stopped listening to everyone else and I did what I though was right.  Afterall, these are my kids.  They are my responsiblitlity and they look to me to keep them safe and helthy.  That job rests on no one other than me. 

Happy and healthy diapering! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cloth Diapering 101, Part 1-Diaper Styles

If you are considering cloth diapering your little peanut, let me just remind you, it's not like diapering of the old days.  Cloth diapers have become extremely user-friendly.  Best of all, you can do it on a small initial budget.  There are many options these days and it's super-easy!

It's a good idea to buy several diapers made by different companies initially to see which ones work best for you.  Also try out the variety of styles.  Some people love certain brands and stick to those in the future, but the fit and absorbtion varies from brand to brand.  If there are brands you've purchased and don't really care for, either use them for your emergency stash or re-sell them.  Yes, people will buy used cloth diapers in good condition.  At least you can get a portion of your investment back.

Before ordering diapers, you also need to consider the different styles.  You have AIOs, or all-in-one as an option.  It's not the most popular, but some people prefer this option because of the ease of use.  AIOs are basically prestuffed diapers.  No stuffing diapers is required.  You just wash, dry and wear again.  The cons are probably what makes them less impressive to prespective cloth diapering junkies (I am totally one!).  They take much longer to dry in the dryer than other cloth diapers and you don't have to option to add or take away inserts for more or less absorbtion as you need it.  Basically, it's what you see is what you get with these diapers. 

Now we've come to my personal favorites, pocket diapers.  These seem to be the most popular with cloth diapering junkies, like myself.  They are very easy to use and also very versatile.  They are basically an outer shell with a pocket on one end that you can stuff with liners/inserts and doublers. Most pocket diapers come with either 1 or 2 liners/inserts.  It's not recommended to use more than two liners/inserts because it will become overstuffed.  With these diapers you can control the amount of absorbtion by using the liners/inserts or even doublers (which can be purchased separately). You can also purchase a variety of additional liners/inserts to use.  The most common ones are microfiber.  The other options are bamboo, hemp, blended, cotton and more. Again, this has to do with one's own preference.  Washing and care of pocket diapers is a breeze.  You separate the diapers and the liners/inserts and throw them in the wash.  Washing and care of these diapers is something I will go over in greater details in the future.  After they are dry you simply place the liners/inserts back into the pockets and you're ready to place back on your little one's bum.

Next you have the traditional prefolds.  These are still a popular option.  There are a variety of prefold diapers you can purchase as well as fastners.  Again, it's a matter of preference.  The materials vary as well.  With these you also have the option to use hemp, cotton, and more.  These are very economical diapers because their uses are beyond just diapers and the prices tend to be less than the other styles.  With prefolds you can use the traditional pins or a device called Snappi.  The Snappi fastens the diaper in front without the use of pins. These can be as cute as any other style of diaper by the diaper cover you choose.  Many of the diaper companies also make the covers for prefolds.  If folding isn't appealing to you there is a style of prefolds called pre-fitted, which is basically a prefold diaper already sewn into the shape/form as other diapers.  You would use a fastner for these as well.  They are the same as a prefold without the hastle of folding.  The prefold diapers can also be used as inserts/liners or doublers in pocket diapers, because they are very absorbent.  As I mentioned before, these diapers can be used for things beyond diapering.  Some people use them for burp cloths and I've even heard of people using old prefolds for cleaning because of the absorbency. 

You also have to consider which type of faster you prefer.  With AIOs and pocket diapers you have either snaps or velcro fastners.  There are pros and cons to each.  I'll start with snaps. Some people think that using these for night-time changes is difficult to mess with while extremely tired.  I get that, however, snaps are my number one preference, especially with a toddler in diapers.  That leads me to the pros in snaps.  Those cute little hands can't get the snaps off as easily.  We know how devilish those cute little stinkers can be!  Velcro fastners make it easier for them to get the diapers off.  Usually they don't figure it out until the toddler stage, thankfully. You have to remember that if it's easy for you to fasten and unfasten, then it's easy for them to figure out.  That's why snaps are my number one pick.  I've already mentioned the fastners for the prefolds, but the prefold cover options are the same as those of the AIO's and the pocket diapers. 

Yet another thing to consider for Pocket diapers and AIOs is the size.  Some companies make one size that adjusts to your growing baby, as others offer different sizes (typically sm., med. and lg).  Obviously the more economical option is to go with the adjustable, one size diapers, as they will be the last diapers your baby wears.  Isn't it nice hearing that? Some people feel that the different size option is best because the fit is better.  I've never had any issues with the adjustable diapers, so it's not something that was important to me.  The one-size adjustable diapers usually tend to have snaps on the outside that adjust the size.  I've seen some that adjust from the inside. They vary from company to company. 

To obtain cloth diapers and supplies on a low-budget, consider co-ops on Facebook.  I personally belong to several co-ops and am partial to one in particular.  You can snag some great deals on diapers.  By using a co-op, you would get a lower price than you would if ordering directly from the company, because several people go in on larger quantities to bring the cost down.  Make sure you are dealing with reputable co-ops.  Another low-cost option is ebay.  That's right, you can order off-brand or even brand name diapers for less.  I've used both options with great results.  You can also just order directly from the companies from some less-known, yet quality companies.  My personal favorite is Kawaii Baby diapers.  You can pick up these diapers from boutiques or you can order them direct from the company.  The website is  You can pick up diapers for less than $6 each.  I know many people who swear by Sunbaby diapers, however, they don't work for us.  The fit isn't right, but the diapers are unbelievably ADORABLE!!!  These are just a couple options that I've tried and recommend.  The prices of the different brands vary drastically. You have the higher end like BumGenius, blueberry and GroVia, to name a few, which are great diapers, but at a higher price than those of (in my opinion) equal quality at a lower price.  It depends on your budget.  We'll get more into the cost of cloth vs. disposable later on. 

With the options available today for parents considering cloth diapering, it makes doing it more accessible and easily tolerable at the same time for those who wouldn't have considered it in the past.

Good Luck and Happy Diapering! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Am I in labor or is it just a backache?

When I went in labor with my second child, I had no idea I was actully in active labor.  You'd think I would know better, right?  Wrong!  The evening of December 16th I sat at home, with my little guy. Toward the early evening I noticed a terrible backache that I could not shake.  No matter what I did, my back hurt.  I thought it was just pressure from the baby.  I didn't think for one second that I was in labor.  I called my friend, since my hubby was at work.  She came over to sit with me for a while, because she was worried about me.  Great friend, right?  That day I had cleaned my whole house, so no worries of leaving a mess.  As my girlfriend and I sat there she brought up the possibility of back labor.  What is back labor? How does back labor feel?  I had no clue and neither did she.  So we googled it.  Sure enough I had all the signs.  Basically, it's a really bad backache that wraps around the sides and as uncomfortable as all getout.  Who would have known that back labor feels just like a backache?  What about the contractions?  I didn't feel them, so when the doctor asked how far apart my contractions were, I didn't have an answer for him.  He told us to make our way up to the hospital.  So, I called my husband to have him come home from work and then called my parents.  Someone had to watch my toddler while we were away.  I waited an hour for my husband to get home.  By then my parents were already there. 

So it was time to head up to the hospital.  They checked me and sure enough, I was in labor.  Unfortunately, I wasn't very far along.  This labor was moving at a snail's pace!  I was to the point where I just couldn't handle it anymore.  They gave me the option of going home and letting labor progress naturally (since I live so close to the hospital) or to walk around the hospital and force it to progress. By now it was after 11 pm.  I pick option 2!  I was already over feeling uncomfortable and in pain.  So we walked for 2 hours and I progressed slowly.  My husband insisted on stopping at the cafeteria and eating.  I couldn't eat.  As he sat there eating his nachos I walked up and down the isles of the cafeteria, contemplating strangling him.  I decided to wait, I may need to do it again in the near future.  About 20 minutes before I had to go back for another check, I started to feel the contractions.  And boy did I feel them!  Honestly, with both births, I never got the opportunity to let the contractions build up slowly.  Instead it was more like, HELLO, Good Lord help me!  The backpain slowly subsided.  Not like I noticed much, because by that time they were hauling me into labor and delivery to get to work.

The moral of this particular story is don't ignore those back pains.  They could mean something other than a mere backache. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I'm back!

I've been out of commission far too long. I'm back now with much more experiences to share. With two crazy boys I have enough stories to write a novel. I'm still busy with two kids, but I think I can manage to keep on top of things.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sleep Deprived, Alone and Losing My Mind

For over a month I've been having trouble sleeping at night.  At times, I'll go days without sleep.  Not only am I dealing with sleep deprivation, but also a husband who is gone all the time, even when he's not working and a toddler who is becoming uncontrollable.  It's getting to the point where I just can't take it.  I cry my eyes out all the time.  I don't know what to do.  I feel like a pregnant, single mom struggling to make it through each day. 

I'm not a single mom. I've been married for 3 years now.  We just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary last week.  Yet, I struggle to get through each day feeling alone, helpless, lost and sad.  When he is home he complains about something not being done around the house or somehow makes me feel like I'm not adequate as a wife, mother or even a human being.  He's not abusive, just not understanding or helpful.  He thinks that being at home once in a while is enough.  I understand he has commitments with work and whatnot, but when he's home he spends hours away from his son and I outside either talking on his phone or just playing on it.  He has an iPhone and I hate it!!!!  Because of that phone, he spends less time with his family.  He's like an addict.  He says he can't stand me when I'm pregnant, so he tries to stay away as much as possible. That makes me feel alone in the relationship too.  When I was pregnant with our first son he would talk to my belly, read to it, and just bond.  This time around he's talked to my belly once.  I only have 3 1/2 months to go.  Heck, he barely talks to me or his son either, so why am I surprised.  My husband just doesn't understand being pregnant, nor does he care to. He thinks I'm just moody and complains that I'm always tired or not feeling well for no reason. Being the way he is makes me feel much worse. It's hard to deal with our son feeling the way I'm feeling. With him being gone all the time, I don't really get any help. I don't get any breaks or time to myself, which I desperately need right now. When I do have time, I'm doing things like laundry or dishes or cleaning, so I really don't get any time. He doesn't understand how much he affects me when he says or does some things and I don't think he cares at all.  It's no big deal to him.  I'm starting to wonder if he even wants this child I'm carrying.  I don't think I could feel more alone than I do right now. 

With the feelings I'm experiencing, I believe that has everything to do with me not sleeping.  I can go several days with no sleep at all.  I try so hard to lay down, clear my head and fall asleep, but I just end up with a migraine.  I know being pregnant is uncomfortable and can lead to sleepless nights, but when I can't stop my mind from wandering, that's the leading cause.  Because of this lack of sleep, I become extremely moody.  I think everyone does when they're so deprived of it.  When I can sleep or want to sleep, I can't.  I have commitments too...he's about two years old, with the cutest smile.  He's the most important anyway.  I also have to keep up with dishes and laundry and household chores.   Yet, according to my husband I don't keep up with them enough.  It's a vicious circle!  I just can't win. 

Not only is it hard to sleep, it's extremely hard to deal with my son when I have no control over my own emotions.  I love him so much, yet I can't help but feel that I'm not good enough to be his mom.  He deserves so much more than I can give him right now.  It all leads back to how I'm feeling.  He just turned two and is throwing tantrums all the time.  I just can't take them.  Right now I don't have the patience to deal with them the way I should be.  I just end up mad and frustrated, which doesn't help the situation at all.  He looks to me for everything, including guidance and discipline.  How can I guide him when I can't guide myself?  This affects him and how he deals with things.  He learns from me.  I'm failing! I don't even have the energy to properly discipline him when he does do something he isn't supposed to.  What am I supposed to do?  My son needs his mommy.  He needs me to be rested, mentally and physically.  He needs me to be strong emotionally.  He needs me to guide him.  All of these things I'm failing miserably at right now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The discouraging doctor

As I've said before, I'm pregnant, approximately 22.5 weeks along.  To give you a little history about what lead up to where I am now...I had to get a new doctor with this pregnancy because my doctor moved further away.  If I didn't have a toddler in tow and all the time in the world, I'd probably continue to go to her, because she was amazing.  Since I do have a toddler in tow and very little time to get out and get errands done, I was forced to look closer to home for a new doctor.  I was originally looking for a female doctor.  I just feel more comfortable with a female, especially one that has given birth.  At the time I made my first appointment at this new office, there were 5 doctors there, 4 being females.  I went into my appointment, which was supposed to be with one of the female doctors, and was surprised to learn that something had happened and I would be seeing the only male doctor in the practice.  I was a little uneasy about this, but went ahead with it anyway, because I have heard great things about this practice.  Anyway, from the time I had my first appointment to the second one, 4 of the doctors had left the practice, leaving me with the only male.  He seemed nice enough...

As I continue to see him, I am becoming very weary of him.  He seems like his head is elsewhere, which is not where you want your doctor's head to be.  He is doing more and more that makes me believe he isn't the right doctor for me.  He delivered my friend's child and she said he was awesome in the delivery room.  I guess that's why I don't get why he is so different in the office.  He doesn't ask me any questions.  If I tell him that something isn't right with me, he ignores my ideas of what it may be and comes to a conclusion of his own, which happens to be the wrong conclusion, while mine was right.  I know my body and I've done this before.  I know how I react to pregnancy.  When I ask him to do a particular test, he refuses to do it, even after the test he ordered came back normal.  Then he tells me If I want to, I can get some supplements and take them, but that's completely up to me.  It's like he doesn't want to admit that he had something wrong and his patient knew it from the beginning.  It's not looking good for him. 

A doctor that doesn't ask questions, spends very little time with their patients and doesn't listen to their patients is assumed to be a bad doctor.  I have another appointment with this guy next week.  I think if things don't improve, I'll be looking elsewhere for my medical services in the future.  I really hate to leave, because the nurses at this office are top-notch.  They couldn't be any more wonderful! 

I have been reluctant to leave because this doctor was absolutely fantastic during my first visit.  He listened and spent time with me.  I am starting to believe that with him being the only doctor left in the practice, he is in way over his head.  Maybe he has too much going on to pay attention to his patients.  Still, that's no excuse.  His duty as a doctor trumps his overwhelming practice. 

It's a bit scary to even think of seeing a new doctor more than halfway through your pregnancy.  I mean, this new doctor doesn't know anything about my pregnancy, aside from what they read in my file.  Nonetheless, you have to do what's right for you and that unborn child. 

From Crib to Toddler Bed Transition...Success!

While we were recently on vacation, visiting family, our son started crawling out of the playard he was using to sleep in. It's much more difficult to get out of the playard than the crib, so we used this as a sign that it's time for the big transition from his crib to his toddler bed.

I've noticed the boost in independence and self esteem since. I think it really makes him feel like a big boy. By using fun, colorful bedding and placing familiar objects on his bed, he was thrilled to hop right in and lay down. His blanky and two of his favorite stuffed animals made the transition with him. The other stuffed animals had to find other places to stay.

(The new toddler bed and bedding)

He happily gets in and out of bed for his naps and at bedtime. Even when it's not time for him to sleep he wants to be on his new bed. Our bedtime routine has changed a bit, but he doesn't seem to mind one bit. Rather than sitting on my lap reading a book, he wants to be in his bed, while I (over 5 months pregnant) have to sit on the floor beside him. I know getting up from the floor is going to become more difficult as I grow in the next few months, but I guess the payoff is greater. We have kept his bedtime book the same. When he hears me read that book to him, he lays down. When we are finished I tuck him in and he goes right to sleep.

His naps have become more difficult in one sense. He will play for up to 2 hours in his room. Since he has the independence of getting up from bed as he chooses, he destroys his room for the 2 hours until he is tired enough to sleep. When that happens, he crawls into bed and goes right to sleep. I end up with a mess to clean up, but at least he eventually takes his nap.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The big 2nd birthday!

My big boy is turning two this weekend, so it's up to me to plan the big party...on a very tight budget. We are doing a Micky Mouse theme which turned out to be a great idea. There are so many resources on the internet for great ideas and free printouts.

For the invitations: I created the invitations on the computer by coming up with a cute phrase that goes along with the theme that explains what the party is for. Toward the bottom I put the details of the party (date, time, location, rsvp, etc.). Centered at the top I placed a simple picture of Mickey Mouse and printed them out on white carstock. Then I cut them down to the size I wanted and glued (elmers glue stick works best) them to pieces of black cardstock (centered) that were cut down to a size that was approximately 1/2 inches larger on each side. I ordered envelopes from LCI Paper, Inc. online for a great price and had invitations for the price of a postage stamp.

For the decorations: I am only purchasing a few items with Micky Mouse on it. That stuff can get quite pricey! By using red table covers and red or white napkins, with white cups I can get away with only using Micky Mouse plates. I am making Mickey Mouse napkin rings with paper, glue and a printer. Other things that can be made using the same idea...centerpieces, cupcake picks, coloring book favors (for the kiddies) danglers and other decorations. The colors for Mickey Mouse themed parties are red, black, yellow and blue. Some simple, inexpensive streamers and balloons and you have a Micky Mouse themed party fit for any child.

For the food: To save money I am making cupcakes rather than ordering a cake from the local bakery. Also, I have to be sure of the ingredients, since one of the little boys is allergic to several things. I don't want him getting sick because of something I served. Cupcake liners are very inexpensive and the cupcake pick decorations can be made using simple pictures from the internet cut out and taped onto toothpicks. Since it's a midday party (between lunch and dinner), We can get away with serving very little food. We are getting pizza (the owner of the pizzaria gave us a really good deal), watermelon chunks, chips, salad and a trifle, with some pop (2 liter bottles) and water. By keeping things simple it also makes it easier on you.

For the favors: I found coloring pages of Mickey Mouse along with activity pages to create a Mickey Mouse coloring and activity book. I printed out the wording on a piece of cardstock and positioned the picture in the center of the cardstock folded in half to make a 1/2 page book. Then I compiled several coloring and activity pages I found on the internet onto pages, again going with the 1/2 page-size book format. Printing 4 color pages to on full sheet (front and back) meant less paper waste and easier construction. After all of the pages were printed and put together I folded them in half (to make a 1/2 page book), then aligned the pages and stapled the middle twice. Very simple and easy. There are so many websites that provide coloring pages for children, so it's free too (aside from the printer ink and paper). Along with the coloring books, the children are getting packs of crayons (24 pack) which can be purchased for nearly nothing when you buy them during the back to school sales. I only paid $.20 per pack. By throwing in some mini flying discs, which you can buy in packages of 3 or 4 for only $1, and a few pieces of candy into the Mickey Mouse themed favor bags, you have favors for about $1 (maybe slightly more). The kids will love them too!

Being on a very tight budget causes you to be more creative than you thought possible. Just use the internet for resources and your noggin for how to use those resources and you can throw a great kids birthday party for less than you could imagine.

After the big day, I will add photos of the party and decorations that I so easily made.