October 31, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - We Made It!

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


I can't believe I actually made it!  {31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 is complete!  

I really enjoy writing about one subject for an entire month.  It isn't without struggle of course, and this time seemed especially difficult with extra dr.'s appointments to get to every single week, as well as all the normal stuff we do day to day as a homeschooling family.

I'm happy to announce that Miss Lucy has arrived and baby and mama are all doing quite well.


I assumed that the first few days would be absolutely insane, and they have been somewhat.  My two older kids came down with serious chest colds/coughs the week before she arrived, and bringing a newborn home to a house full of sick people is never ideal.  However, she has been fitting in like a champ.  

Everyone is totally in love with this new addition to our family!

Thank you so much for joining in on this journey with me!  

A Breath of Fresh Air in the Home

We make sure our kids eat healthy, stay active, and take care of their health as best as possible. However, there is one health aspect that’s often forgotten, and that’s the quality of air in our home. Indoor air quality can actually be worse than the air outdoors, and can cause symptoms such as chest tightness, sore throat, itchy eyes, or even a full-blown asthma attack. You can make sure that doesn’t happen though. Here are three steps on how to make sure the air your family is breathing is clean and healthy.

Let the clean air in

During the winter, we tend to keep our windows shut and the heat on high. The problem with this is that pollutants have nowhere to go. For instance, a gas stove in the kitchen gives off nitrogen dioxide, and it doesn’t have anywhere to escape. That’s why you want to keep a window slightly open in the kitchen while you’re cooking, letting the bad air out and the good air in.

Get rid of dust mites

Dust mites are microscopic critters that invade our homes, and they are the most common cause of allergies from house dust. They can be found in your mattress, your furniture, and even your carpet. The thing is, they love humid air, and they have a hard time living in dry air. Air conditioning helps keep humidity down, but it’s not really logical to run during the winter. That’s why a dehumidifier is so important: having one in the home keeps the air dry, and the dust mites away.

Keep the air dry

Not only does dry air keep the dust mites away, but it also keeps mold, and harmful mold spores from developing. These spores have a variety of symptoms, from sneezing, a runny nose, or in serious cases, allergy attacks. The best way to combat mold is to keep it from starting, and you do that by keeping the air dry in your home. Mold thrives in damp places, and if you have a basement that isn’t getting enough air ventilation, it’s a haven for mold spores and a perfect place to put a dehumidifier.

If you increase ventilation throughout the house, and keep the air dry, you can lower the levels of irritants in the air. You’ll find symptoms like headaches and sore throats go away, and generally feel better. By taking these steps to improve the air quality in your home, you’ll soon find that your family’s health will improve as well.

This post is in collaboration with Tesco

October 30, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - to co-sleep or not to co-sleep, that is the question!

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


I did not set out with my first child to co-sleep.  We had the crib, the pack and play, the swing, everything that we could use to put the child down in.  Little did I know that I was going to become such an attachment parent!

With our oldest, she slept in a bassinet for the first several months of her life.  She was comfortable in it, I was comfortable having her near me, and my husband was able to help me after a very difficult labor which resulted in a caesarean.

I was nursing, and I realized pretty early on that the easiest way for me to nurse was lying down on the bed, with her next to me.  This led to her taking naps in my bed (often with me falling asleep with her).

As fall got closer, I started to get nervous about her being cold in the crib (which we had moved into our room because I didn’t want her in a separate room), so we started putting her to sleep in our bed.  It became really easy to put her to sleep, and to get her back to sleep after a night time feeding.  I didn’t have to worry about getting up, going to another room.  I like to joke that it is because I am just too lazy to do those things J

Co-sleeping is such a personal choice, as is every aspect of having a baby.  There is research to say that it is excellent for baby-mama bonding, there is research that says it is dangerous and should never be done.  Honestly, I feel like it is more of a child by child basis. 

When we brought home our second child, we were all living in a very small section of our home because we were renting out the upstairs.  Because of this, we didn’t have room for a crib, so the baby was in the bed with me from the beginning…as was the 2 year old.  Again, it is what worked for us for the time.

This time around, I have the bassinet, I have the pack and play, but have given the crib to my sister-in-law.  After picking such a nice crib, that I loved, I realized I am not good at the crib thing.  I think part of the issue is that I am so short, and it is not easy for someone short to put a baby in a crib…especially as the baby gets bigger and the mattress needs to be dropped down.

While I did not go into parenting with the idea that I would ever co-sleep, for our family it has worked out really well.  I’m happier with our kiddos close. 

Did you make the decision to co-sleep?  Was it something you thought of before bringing baby home, or something you ended up doing out of necessity?

October 29, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Knitting

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


The weather has taken a turn for the cold I believe...and unfortunately I don't think we will be back to the 70's until next spring.  This means it is time to start knitting mittens!

A couple years ago, I came across this pattern in the Taproot magazine, and I love it!  It is incredibly easy, which is important to this slow knitter, and it comes in multiple sizes so I can make them for my whole family.


First up will be little mitts for the littlest among us.  I had this organic cotton in my stash and decided it would be perfect, soft and warm for my little one.

As far as reading goes - nothing, I am reading nothing at the moment.  But, I am doing a lot of staring, and that should count for something!

What are you working on this week?

Linking up with Ginny and Nicole

October 28, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Planning to Nurse Again

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


I am a huge proponent of nursing.  I really believe that it is the best option for baby, and if you are physically able to, you should at least try.  I didn’t always feel that way.  When my sister-in-law had her oldest, I was adamant I would never nurse.  Obviously my opinions changed (I’m sure my sister-in-law was happy to not hear me spouting off against it!).

Now, I will get this right out of the way, nursing is hard work.  It hurts and it takes a long time for baby and mama to be comfortable, especially if it is your first child. 

This is our third child.  I am hoping that it isn’t going to be nearly as difficult or hurt as much.  But, I am preparing for that, regardless.

One thing that I didn’t really consider with my second was any issues that I might have nursing.  Luckily I didn’t have any issues, but if I did, I would have been completely unprepared.

This time around, I am making sure to have bottles on hand and also I will be getting formula, just in case.  Now, these are really for emergency situations only, but if there is an issue, I want to be prepared.

How do I know that the baby won’t have trouble latching, or that my milk supply will be sufficient?  I don’t.  Or what if there are complications?  My husband has never had to deal with the feeding side of babies, since I always handled it, but it is silly to not be a little prepared. 

My goal is obviously a healthy mama and baby who will latch well and nurse well.  But, I want to make sure that I am ready just in case.


Have you decided to nurse, and then had a lot of difficulty?  Did you think that you would bottle feed and then realize you wanted to nurse after baby arrived?  How did you make your decision?

October 27, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Nesting

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


There comes a point in every pregnancy where the “experts” tell you that you want to nest.  You want the house clean and ready for any moment when the baby could arrive.  There is a sense inside of you that needs to make sure everything is in order and you are “ready.”

Well, for this third baby, those times have been few and far between!

The instinct is still there, but it gets side-tracked quite a bit with everything else that seems to be going on in this crazy household of mine! 

I am glad that I have such a supportive husband, who helps me out quite a bit with my crazy projects.  One of those projects was to moving the playroom downstairsI think that organizing spaces helps me feel a lot more relaxed and centered, especially with a new baby coming.

Some of the other little things that we have been doing to get ready for the new baby is to put the baby gear where it will most likely be for quite some time.  It helps especially with my older kids who like to run around in the house quite a bit (especially during the very cold winters we have in New England).  Getting used to having a bassinet close to where they typically run was important for me.  I don’t want them to accidentally run into the baby!

I thought that as time got closer to the delivery of the baby I would want to make sure everything was clean and ready.  And of course I want things to be clean and ready, but that is also part of my letting go of expectations.  It isn’t realistic for me right now to think I am going to get the floors washed every day, or make sure every piece of laundry is put away (if it is clean, I am happy).

What would happen if those things were not done, and we had the baby early?  Well, we might come home to a house that isn’t as neat and tidy as I would like, but the baby probably won’t care that much!

Rest assured, however, that baking is in full force around here.  If there is one “nesting” skill I have, it is baking ridiculous amounts of muffins and sweet breads and regular bread and anything else involving flour!

Do you have a strong nesting urge when you are pregnant?  What if your kids derail all of that nesting constantly?  

October 26, 2014

31 Days: Sunday Quotes

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


Motherhood is a choice you make everyday to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong.
~Donna Bell

October 25, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Saturday funnies

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



I'm sure that a lot of you have already seen this picture going around Facebook, or some other place.  But, I find it especially timely right now - when I have no desire to clean the house whatsoever!

source

October 24, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Cloth Wipe Solution Recipe

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



I talked about cloth diapers recently, but what about wipes?  When we first started cloth diapering, I bought a package.  It was essentially pre-fold diapers with diaper covers, and cloth wipes. 

I hadn’t thought a lot about cloth wipes.  I’m not sure why.  It seems like a natural extension to cloth diapering.  I think the biggest hang up I had was the cost of the wipe solution.  I mean, wasn’t part of the reason I was using cloth diapers to save money?  How was spending $20 or more per month on wipe solution helping me out?  I could easily buy disposable wipes for that amount of money!

I actually did buy that wipe solution for about a year, and when we were short on cash, I would buy disposable wipes.

But, there comes a time when you try to think outside the box – not too far of course, especially after having a baby, which could have disastrous effects!  I thought that there must be a way to make a wipe solution, I mean, I was buying it, so someone was making it!

I searched the internet high and low and found many wipe solution recipes, using baby oil and baby wash, using a bunch of essential oils; finally I came up with what has now worked in our family for several years.

Wipe Solution Recipe – 32oz spray bottle

25oz water
4-6 drops of tea tree essential oil
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (I use the peppermint)

This wipe solution is perfect for our family, it doesn’t irritate anyone’s skin, and it smells nice!  I will be making a batch specifically for baby with the Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild to make sure there are no skin irritations from the peppermint.

This batch lasts quite a while, and works really well, and it certainly is cheaper than the alternative! 

This can also work to make your own disposable wipes (for when you are out and about) just boil the water first and then pour over a roll of paper towel that has been cut in half.  Use an old wipes container to hold your homemade wipes in, and then take them with you when you are out running errands. 


Do you make your own wipe solution for your baby or family?

October 23, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Letting Go of Expectations Part 2

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



Last week I talked a little about letting go of expectations.  It was mainly the physical craziness of having a new baby.  Trying to keep up with food and cleaning, making sure to allow myself time to rest and not being hard on myself if I haven’t made yogurt or bread for the week.

As I was thinking more about it, I realized that letting go of expectations can be much more philosophical as well.

I am very much a “crunchy” parent.  I love to clean with vinegar and baking soda, I do not like chemicals in my house, I try to make the most “natural” decisions as possible.

Sometimes the choices you make are not because you want to make those choices, but because you have to make those choices.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I realized that I wanted a natural birth.  I was not going to have medicine, I went the hypnobirthing route, and I was happy about it.  Of course, I should have realized that nothing seems to go exactly as planned, and after being in active labor for a couple days (yes days), my Dr. and I decided on a caesarean.  This was not at all what I wanted.

However, after I had the caesarean, I still had a beautiful baby girl that I was and am totally in love with. 

For me, the reason natural labor wasn’t working was because I had been in a car accident when I was younger at which time I broke my pelvis/hips/tail bone; with the pelvic issues, I was not going to be able to naturally deliver a baby.  So it was actually by God’s grace that I was unable to “progress” as much as I needed to, we could have had a very large emergency on our hands.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, the biggest reason is to empower you to let things come as they may.

Was it difficult to end up having a C-section after I had spent so much time centering myself on a natural birth?  Absolutely.  Does it mean that I failed as a mother?  Absolutely not.

I think that we need to give ourselves grace in these situations.  Now, I am not saying that every person out there should have a C-section; that is a little ridiculous, especially with the risks involved – it is major surgery after all.  However, if you end up having one, I think that you should concentrate on the fact that you have a new baby, and enjoy that.

We, as mamas, have a tendency to want everything to go the “right” way, and when it doesn’t, we seem to beat ourselves up, and try and do better the next time.  I think that can get in the way of what is truly important.  That we have been given these precious little people to care for and nurture and raise into adulthood.

Just as we do not want others expectations of our lives to impact our family, we have to be aware of our own expectations, and letting them go once in a while for the betterment of our families.


Is there an expectation that you place on yourself with regards to parenting or family that you need to let go of?

October 22, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Knitting

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



Oh, you thought I was going to show you a finished sleep sack this week?  Yeah, so did I!

Unfortunately, as I mentioned on Monday my kids and husband decided that this weekend/week would be a perfect time to get sick!

I think the fact that I have been watching so much news lately it definitely freaked me out to have fevers in the house.  And the running back and forth from the bathroom is never a fun thing.  Hopefully they are all on the mend!  

My plan had been to finish the sleep sack this weekend, but that did not happen.  However, I did make some progress that I am happy about!



I have been trying to figure out how long it should be, and then if I should be narrowing it at the top, or weaving in some sort of cord to tie it up.  I'm not sure how I feel with a baby having access to a cord...so probably will decrease the stitches and narrow the top  so it stays on.

My reading hasn't progressed either, unfortunately.  I am going to have to pick it up though, because all of my current reads are library books, and for some reason they do not let you keep them as long as you want!

What are you working on this week?

October 21, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Moving the Playroom

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



If you are a regular reader of Townsend House, you will know that I like to rearrange our rooms…often.  There are days that my husband will come home from work and the living room is moved, our bedroom is moved, and the toy room is moved.  I feel like we have some extra space in our house (not always a bad thing), but I never know what to do with it.  So I move things.

After I came to grips with the supposed craziness (so people keep telling me) of having a third child, and knowing we would be having this little one in late fall, I knew that I would need to make some changes to our rooms.

For a while now, we had the kids’ playroom upstairs.  My kids share a bedroom (they love it, don’t worry), and so we don’t have any toys in their room.  Well, they are not supposed to have toys in their bedroom, but a few tend to make their way there regardless of what I do.  Because I let the kids have free reign of the art supplies most of the time, it works to have a separate space available to keep all of their toys.

I knew that after coming home with a new baby, I would not want to be running up and downstairs all the time.  The main reason for this is because I have to have a caesarean due to a car accident when I was younger (apparently fractures in your pelvis/tail bone/hips are not conducive to natural child birth).  I know how I react to surgery; I know that I will be downstairs most of the day.  So the best option was to move the playroom downstairs again.


I think this will help for a couple of reasons.  First, if the kids are going to be loud, I would prefer them to do it in one part of the house.  Obviously I hope that the newest little one will be a heavy sleeper, but I can definitely think of times when the baby may need a little more quiet time to decompress, so having the upstairs relatively toy free will allow this.

Secondly, I know that the kids like to be near me most of the day, and if I am downstairs and their toys are upstairs, they will constantly be calling me to help them with something, and I don’t know if I will be able to keep going up and down the stairs, at least in the beginning.

Finally, our house is relatively cool in the winter, and we block off rooms to keep sections of the house as warm as possible.  The room that had been their playroom is the coldest room in the house, not great for playing, but very good for the husband’s office/exercise room. 

I think that this is going to be a small step in making my life a little bit easier.  Now, whether or not it will stay that way once the weather is warm again?  I’m not sure.  I can definitely foresee a time in the not so distant future when we will need one of these “extra” rooms as another bedroom.  Then I am not sure what we will do.  Hopefully that won’t be for a while though!

Have you made significant layout changes to your home when welcoming a new little one?  

October 20, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Expect the Unexpected!

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



I think that the title of this post should be the theme for any pregnancy.  Expect the unexpected!  That is certainly how I am feeling today.

You may have noticed that I did not post on Saturday.  Or maybe you didn’t notice…but now you will because I just mentioned it.  I had planned to put up a cute little graphic or something funny, but it just did not happen!

Why?  Well, of course that would be because my regular life came into play.  You see, it seems both of my children and husband decided this would be a great weekend to get sick. 

Sick, yes, sick.  Sick just a little while before my due date.  Sick enough to know that they will not be going with me to my appointments this week.

OK it isn’t really that dramatic.  But, when fevers are involved, it tends to send me into the high stress zone.  My kids are generally quite healthy, and now they are not.  I think after I freaked out for a good long while – “what if I go into labor and everyone is sick?!”  I just accepted that it was to be so.

Instead of spending a huge amount of time getting ready for baby, I spent a huge amount of time just being mama.  The cuddly mama that takes care of her babies.  It may not have been what I had planned for the weekend, but it was still nice to have that time with my kiddos.

Now, let us all hope that they will be totally well before I have to go have this new little one!


How was your weekend?  Anything unexpected happen?

Shark Tank Meets Main Street - US Cellular

One of my husband’s favorite shows is Shark Tank.  I think there is something about having a product or idea and being able to work at your passion and be your own boss that appeals to everyone.  It is part of the American Dream, isn’t it; to be your own boss and an entrepreneur?


Last year, US Cellular launched the “Spotlight on America’s Backbone” contest which invited small businesses in the company’s footprint to enter to win free advertising, cash, and a year of wireless service to help grow their business.  



To further show their commitment to business owners, U.S. Cellular expanded on that this year and gave consumers more access to tools and support to help grow their business or make their entrepreneurial dreams come true by working with ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Currently there is an amazing sweepstakes, open for entry now!

This sweepstakes will provide customers in the U.S. Cellular footprint the opportunity to gain unprecedented access to the casting call process, hear tips and advice from other small business owners.


One lucky winner will win an exclusive behind-the-scenes Shark Tank experience, which includes a VIP seat during the entire pitch process in LA, lunch with the casting team and opportunities to engage the Sharks throughout the day to ask any burning questions, including how he/she can further their business if the winner is a business owner.

Along with the Sweepstakes, consumers can visit Americasbackbone.com  to view custom content that will cover both a behind-the-scenes look at the Shark Tank casting process, what happens after you get funded, along with stories from real entrepreneurs.

US Cellular is committed to the people and businesses in their markets.  Providing access to Shark Tank is just one way the company shows their commitment to the communities US Cellular services.

Winners will be selected between November 1st and November 14th.  The announcement of the winner will be between November 17th and November 21st.

Don’t forget to download the Parent Child Agreement and help your kids make smart decisions about technology!


Do you have an amazing business idea?   Is this the push you need to perhaps throw your product or idea into the ring?  What is holding you back?

I am part of the US Cellular Blogger Brigade and was compensated for this post.

October 19, 2014

Healthy Habits featuring LISTERINE

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for LISTERINE. I received samples for this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

As parents we are constantly looking for ways to demonstrate healthy living for our children.  A lot of it comes down to example.  When my kids see me going outside to do yard work, or go for a walk, or work in the garden, they see that as something that they should be doing as well.


One of their favorite outside activities is riding bikes.  Every day that they can get outside and ride bikes is a great day for them - and for me!  It also brings me back to my own childhood (especially since I live on the same street I grew up on!).


Our healthy habits also extend to oral health.  As the daughter of a dental hygienist, my brother and I were taught from a very young age the importance of healthy teeth and gums.  It helps that my mom still stresses that importance to her grandchildren!

Every night before bed, part of their routine is to floss and brush their teeth.  They love it.  For some reason, something that seems so difficult for adults (flossing teeth) is a great game for my children.  Of course they aren’t pros at it, and I end up having to floss their teeth for the most part, but they do enjoy it!


I especially like using the LISTERINE Gentle Gum Care Floss for my kids.  I am less likely to cut into their gums, and the fact that it is woven is a huge bonus.  The kids love the flavor, and think they are getting some sort of treat.  It is soft and springy and removes plaque effectively – which is very important to this Mama!

If we continue to keep the kids on the track of healthy living, it is going to be so much easier for them as they grow older.  They will already have these healthy habits instilled in them.  Oral health, and overall health, is something that we all need to take seriously.  We can all take control of our health, and starting young is the best way!

If you are looking for where LISTERINE products are sold, check here.  Also, don't forget to check out the LISTERINE YouTube page featuring the Healthy Habit Heroes video series.


What are some of your healthy habits?  Do your kids like flossing as much as mine do?

31 Days: Sunday Quotes

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


First child eats dirt.  Parent calls doctor.  Second child eats dirt.  Parent cleans out mouth.  Third child eats dirt.  Parent wonders if she really needs to feed him lunch.
~Unknown

October 17, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Apple Muffins

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



One of my favorite things to bake are muffins.  They are super quick and easy, and I feel like they are pretty healthy.  It doesn't hurt that my kids devour them.

I knew that I would want to make some muffins to freeze for when the new baby comes.  Since it is fall, I figured Apple Muffins would be in order.  But, this recipe can be used with pretty much any fruit, add some canned pumpkin, frozen blueberries, mashed up banana, it is all good!



Apple Muffins Recipe

2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 egg, beaten
2 apples, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

Mix together all the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.  
Mix the milk and egg together and add to the dry ingredients, stir a little and then add the coconut oil and mix to combine.
Fold in apple pieces.
Put in greased muffin tin, bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  
Don't overcook or they will dry out and not be good!

My husband thinks these apple muffins are the best thing ever...which is good because he may be having meals of them after baby comes!

Do you have a favorite baking recipe that you make often?

Linking up with Clever Chicks, Homestead Barn Hop

October 16, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Letting Go of Expectations

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



There was a time when I wanted to do everything the “right” way.  I still somewhat feel that way.  I wanted to make sure that I had a natural child birth – I didn’t want to have a cesarean.  I wanted to make sure that my kids have the best and freshest (local) food available to them.  I want to be Susie Homemaker.  But, over the years I have realized that I need to let go of some of those expectations.

This pregnancy has been no different. 

When we found out we were pregnant, I had a very long list of things to do.  In fact, when my mother’s helper was here this past summer I looked at that list every time she was here (and several times she was not) realizing that my list was not getting checked off. 

At the end of the summer, when I knew my mother’s helper was going back to school, I panicked a bit.  I hadn’t accomplished all that I had planned on accomplishing.  What was I going to do now?  I was starting our homeschool year early, and had not even considered the time after the baby was born, only the time leading up to the new baby.

I think that oftentimes we try to do it all.  Mothers seem to have an immense amount of pressure on them.  Whether we work outside the home, and try to juggle raising our children, housework, cooking while working full time, or you are at home with your kids all day, attempting to homeschool, cook everything from scratch, make sure that you are keeping everything clean…it is enough to make your head spin.

We cannot do it all.  Instead we have to let go of some expectations.

Some of the expectations I will be letting go of in the first days (weeks? months?) of a new baby are the meals I make.  I try hard to make everything from scratch, but I do not think that will be realistic with a new baby (although I do wonder how mamas did it 150 years ago…).  Instead I will rely a bit more on convenience, knowing that a happy mama is going to be a much better person to be around than a stressed out mama.

The state of my house will be another “letting go” moment.  And if you are coming here expecting to see a clean house, you will be sorely disappointed.  Actually, I think I gave up on a clean house 2 babies ago J  If we have *some* clean dishes and clean clothes and clean diapers, I will be a happy person.  If there are toys strewn about the house?  Just realize that we are here all.day.long. and I am not crawling around after my kids to pick things up!


What expectations do you let go of when you have a new baby?

October 15, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Knitting

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



It is amazing what happens when you put your mind to something.  I decided last week that I would cast on for a sleep sack, and I did!  Did I finish the sleep sack?  Nope, but I hope to before the end of the month!

I started searching for a sleep sack pattern, but couldn’t find anything that I liked.  That seems to always be the way with me.  I decide to do a project, but then I can’t find a pattern I like.  I think that is why I have so much sock yarn piling up in my stash…

I decided to just do a basic sack myself.  Obviously no special stitches, but it is easy, and that is about all my brain can handle right at this moment.

I grabbed some thick grey wool from my stash, and thought that would work well.  Not necessarily a girly color, but something that will keep her warm, and the warmth is the important part.  I grabbed the biggest needles I have (size 13) and went to town.


Now, keep in mind, this was done when my husband had taken the kids out for a bike ride, and unfortunately I haven’t found a good chunk of time to sit down and work on it some more, but I have some appointments coming up, and I am sure there will be plenty of waiting time for me to finish up the knitting I have planned.

I am still reading Homeward Bound, and I love it.  It is really interesting to read about all the different ways mamas are trying to bring money into the family, how they are raising their children, choosing a new sort of feminism. 


What are you working on this week?

Linking up with Ginny and Nicole

October 14, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Going from 2 car seats to 3!

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.



When we first found out we were expecting our third child, we were obviously excited.  But, closely followed our second thought – how are we going to fit three car seats in the back of our car?!

I never really considered the difficulty until after we knew were pregnant.  You see, we have a Toyota Yaris.  I love that car, it gets amazing gas mileage and works really well for us.  But, it seems like we were doomed when it came to three car seats in the back.

We had a couple of options, get a new car or buy new car seats.  Neither option was what we really wanted to do.  We are a one car family, and like it that way.  However, having three children is going to pose a challenge in getting our entire family to one location together…ever.

At first we were prepared to join the legions of other parents who succumb to buying a minivan.  I actually don’t mind minivans at all.  They seem pretty practical to me, and get better gas mileage than SUV’s most of the time.  I’m happy to report we were not impulsive, and instead decided to get our oldest into a high back booster seat.   A much more frugal option and we are all about frugal at the moment, especially going from two children to three!

We do have another car option available.  My wonderful mother is allowing us to use her car when we need to.  And those three car seats?  They fit into her backseat.  They would fit into our Yaris as well, but it is a little too tight for my liking.

This is going to work for us for the time being, but we definitely will need a new option next year!  I am happy that we are used to having only one car, which means we generally are home during the week, and able to forego car trips.  And let’s be honest, I don’t expect that I am going to load three littles in the car and go out for the day…especially not in the winter!

Have you ever had to make a new car purchase because you added another child?  How did you come to your decision?

October 13, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Cloth Diapers

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


Once upon a time, when I was pregnant with my oldest, I decided to become a crunchy hippy mama.  One of the decisions that we made was to cloth diaper.  And when I say we, I really mean I made that decision.  My husband had never changed a diaper before in his life, so I figured he could learn just as easily with cloth as with disposables.

The main reason that I decided on cloth diapers with my oldest was from a chemical perspective.  I didn’t want to have anything too harsh near my baby’s skin.  The second part of the decision was cost based.  With cloth diapers we could reuse them, and not just for the one baby, for multiple babies.


I was happy that I made the decision to cloth diaper after we brought home our oldest with a pretty bad rash.  The rash cleared up as soon as we changed from the disposable diapers the hospital had given to us, and we started using the pre-folds that I had purchased.

Now, that is not to say that we never use disposable diapers.  One time that we ALWAYS use disposable diapers is around the holidays.  This time will be no exception I’m sure.  With all the busyness that comes with the holidays, travel, parties, visiting friends, friends and family visiting, making sure I have clean diapers to use is not the top of my priority list.

But, how do you make the decision to cloth diaper or use disposables? 

I think that a lot of it comes down to personal preference, and also time.  Obviously, if you are working full time, it will be difficult to cloth diaper, especially if your child has to go to any type of day care.  Gone are the days when day cares would actually use cloth diapers if that is what you provided. 

I would say if you don’t have a washing machine in your house, you are probably going to have a difficult time using cloth as well.  Not that it cannot be done, it certainly can, it just takes a little more effort on your part.  Instead of soaking diapers in water, you would most likely use a “dry bag” which is exactly as it sounds; a waterproof bag that you stick the dirty diapers in.  When you need clean diapers again, you would take the bag to the Laundromat and wash them.

I am incredibly thankful for the cloth diapers that we have currently – all pre-folds with covers.  These are the cheapest out of all the cloth diaper options, are definitely bulkier, but have worked really well for us.  Having a third child is going to be costly, and any way that we can save money we will do that!

Some of the benefits of cloth diapering for us have been the cost, and the early potty training.  I am crossing my fingers that things go as well this time around.  And I am also thankful for the option to use disposables if we need them.  Modern convenience is never to be completely ruled out!

Did you use cloth or disposables or both?  If you are expecting now, is cloth something you are considering?

October 12, 2014

31 Days: Sunday Quotes

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.

But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child. That thing that says "I am," and forms the core of personality.

In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within. And "I am" grows, too. Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing through the translucent flesh.

The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven. The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves.


In the next years, the hardening spreads from the center, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until "I am" is set, delicate and detailed as an insect in amber.
~Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber

October 11, 2014

{31 Days} Preparing for Baby # 3 - Announcing Pregnancy!

Welcome to my {31 Days} series this year!  We will soon be welcoming baby # 3 and I realized that there is a lot I need to do before that happens!  You can find all the posts in this series here.  Thank you for following along with me.


I have seen so many cute ways to announce pregnancies!  Unfortunately, I am not very creative when announcing pregnancy.  This time around we let the kids take the lead in telling my hubby's family.  It seemed to work out the best!

However, I have been looking on Pinterest at cute baby announcements, and I think this is one of my favorites:

pinned from here

How did you tell your family and friends you were expecting?  First child or tenth, I would love to hear!