Thursday, April 30, 2015

What New Parents Really Need

I'm part of a great, "crunchy" group on Facebook, and so many ideas are shared.  A recent topic that was shared, yet that doesn't yet apply to me is that of being a new parent.  While I'm in wedding planning mode, I thought that these tips merited putting them into a list and stashing them away for another day:

  • Books
    • The Girlfriends Guide to Baby Bear  ("really helpful in that regard. they go right to the point about what is needed vs. what is just marketed to new parents") 
    • The Minimalist Mom's Guide to Baby's First Year by Rachel Jonat
  • Classic Basics
    • place to sleep
      • pack-n-play with bassinet attachment
      • some prefer a Moses basket
    • diapers and wipes
    • baby bathtub (or a clean sink)
    • onesie outfits
    • food (typically milk source of some sort)
    • carseat
    • stroller
    • Cloths/Blankets
      • swaddle blankets (I love Aden and Anais)
      • burp cloths 
    • baby-friendly (sensitive skin) soap
    • diaper bag or backpack
    • changing pad
    • baby-friendly washcloths
    • comfy+safe chair when holding baby
  • Additional Baby Furniture
    • Fisher Price Rock n Play
      • Serves purpose of swing, bouncer, and bassinet 
      • Folds up for easy storage
    • Bouncy chair for them to nap in that vibrated
    • Travel crib and/or umbrella stroller if you travel a lot
    • High chair
    • Bumbo
  • May Be Worth It
    • Other clothes
      • button shirt (depending on how long it takes for newborn to lose the belly button cord)
      • drawstring sleep sacks
      • baby leg warmers and/or socks
      • hat
    • wrap type carrier is nice to have
      • many point out that it's better to borrow one to try to see if the baby (and you) likes it first.
      • Ex. Ring sling, Moby wrap, a homemade wrap, Ergo carrier
    • blanket or mat for tummy time (or a play gym)
    • Pacifier
    • baby monitor
      • "angel care is a great brand. It will give you peace of mind to know baby is breathing. If baby stops breathing, it will sound an alarm." 
  • If nursing
    • Nursing pads
    • Nursing tank tops
    • Post-birth: nursing bras
    • hand-held pump
      • helpful for engorgement
    • lanolin
    • freezer bags for extra milk storage (if using bottles, too)
  • If using bottles
    • bottles
    • freezer bags

  • Tips
    • Embrace your local thrift store!
    •  You can always ask someone to borrow something for a few months to see if you use it or not. 
    • Easy on the toys.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gifts for Kids (minus the stuff)

I belong to a great group on Facebook all focused on organizing and reducing the clutter in our lives (literally and figuratively).  After a member asked for gift ideas for her children that wouldn't create more stuff, the community responded with great suggestions.  I didn't want them to disappear into the group's archived pages, so I'm organizing the ideas below:

  • Lessons, classes, or memberships
    • Memberships to play spaces and for play dates
    • Dance or Martial Arts classes (base it on their interests)
    • Sewing classes (getting them into older hobbies and skills, too)
    • Horseback riding
    • Craft day or craft classes (or paint-own-pottery, paint-a-painting) 
  • Experiences
    • Horse drawn carriage
    • Bouncy house or trampoline place
    • Spa day (homemade or at the spa)
    • Camping equipment
    • Hike
    • Swimming
    • Boat ride
    • Visit a farm and/or/ pick fruits/vegetables
    • Quality time at a birthday lunch or outing
    • Picnic at the park
    • Summer camps
    • Individual dates with one parent with a lunch out.
    • Fun trip and/or day trip
    • Trip to a theme park
    • I remember very few gifts, but I remember playing card games and learning string tricks from my grandmother.
    • Backstage experience at a favorite place (like zoo)
  • Tickets
    • Play centers
    • Sporting Event
    • Zoo
    • Museums
    • Amusement park
    • Movie
    • Play
    • Movies and dinner
    • Dinner theatre
    • Kids theatre
    • Concert
    • Musicals
    • Ballets
    • Fan convention for a favorite show
  • Handmade items
    • Make what they need to replace whatever they have grown out of 
    • Journals
    • Build a sandbox
    • Handmade doll house (nice, small, contained; can keep adding features throughout the years)
    • A lego table (homemade or storebought)--great for containing a mess/space that may already exist!
  • Creativity-encouraging items
    • Whiteboards with dry erase markers on a string on the walls
    • Special Spaces: 
      • "When my sons were younger..Both had a wall done in chalkboard paint...  They and their friends could enjoy...  They remember things like this now that they're older.. But have forgotten most toys!  Make special areas for dressing up, playing kitchen, cars, etc. and they'll feel like you really care about what is important to them!"
      • We insulated a garage to give them their own hang out space.
    • Felt board with baggies hole punched into a binder for the pieces
    • Cheap camera for them to take photos + scrapbook materials 
    • A homemade cape and wand!!
    • Go and check out library book to learn about making origami!
  • Gift Certificates and Such
    • Coupon book with coupons for
      • Getting out of chores duty once
      • A extra-awesome sleepover with friends
      • Choosing what's for dinner
      • Sleeping in 10 minutes or staying up half an hour past bedtime
      • Backrub
      • Choosing the goodnight book to read
      • And for other ideas from the experience list!
    • Gift Cards:
      • iTunes or music downloads
      • Books a Million
      • Kindle books
  • Other Ideas
    • Something edible and delicious--whether homemade or just a favorite food item
    • Let the party at home and cake be the gift
    • Christmas Jammies!!  (Or something else with a fun+practical touch)
    • Picking what's for dinner
    • Young kids: Go to the dollar store and choose cool kid mylar balloons.  I bought some shaped like dinosaurs.  Put into a box, so when they open it, the balloons float out!  Great, temporary excitement for a kid who has lots and who wants about a week of fun.
    • Movie gift basket (snacks, new movie, etc. in a popcorn bucket)
    • Have gifts be themed for a good cause, like donating books or getting items for a dog shelter
    • Stay home and go out with parent day
    • eReaders
    • A new app or e-book for a tablet
    • Puzzles: "My 4 year old is really into puzzles.  I ditch the boxes, and keep the box cover and pieces in ziploc bags/"
    • Random Acts of Kindness To-do list! 
    • "We do the 3 rules thing: something wanted, something needed, and an experience together.  Applies to all of our family.  Then, with grandparents and cousins, it is one thing, usually an experience.  When we first started giving experiences, we got a lot of flack, but after the first year of actually DOING the experience gifts, everyone loves, loves, loves it and they rave about their experiences later."
Any other ideas??

Friday, November 25, 2011

Journal and Colored Pencils Roll

Last month, my friend Katie was celebrating a birthday.  I had yet to deliver her wedding quilt or her finished napkins from a shower, so I really was nervous but excited to give something artsy and crafty.

Being an art teacher and a reflective soul, I knew Katie could use a journal.  Or hoped.  I settled on a blank book.  I love blank books, as they can house any thoughts, sketches, or notes.  I'm a bit picky, and I finally found it in the eleventh hour at Walmart.  I try to avoid the store, I feel obliged to add, but it was able to deliver in my late night crafting hour.

This is the end product.

I'm in love with the fabric and the string (although it was a bit tricky to work with)--both came from a local shop, Fancy Tiger.

I finally bit the bullet and chose to do a little monogramming with her (new, post-wedding) initials.  I didn't absolutely love how it turned out, but she did, which is what matters.  I've had more success with other lettering with memo-pads, but I think that forcing myself to use this pink fabric and choosing skinny letters led to my pitfalls.

Inside front cover.

After polishing off the book cover, I really wanted to a) use more of the fabric and b) add something else to the gift (maybe my belated gift guilt coming through?).  I also had been wanting to make a pencil roll.  Being an art teacher, I knew Katie would love this and put it to use.

I also love functional gifts, and I'd been wanting to use a lot of my pretty scraps.  So I found a pattern online that wasn't the best written, but it definitely helped me figure out some of the to-do list items.

Here's the pencil roll!

Love it.  It's a perfect pairing with the journal, and the pink is such a flirty match!

This makes me cringe a little, as you can see that the green stitching didn't line up perfectly.

I love the rolling up contrast!!!  The flannel interfacing really gave the perfect weight.
I really struggled to figure out the string placement and functionality.  The directions I used encouraged me to use a button, but I didn't find the right button. 

I tried not to stress about the pair of pencils and colors.  I liked having it more randomized and not in just a gradiated layout.
 All in all, I loved doing this.  I love giving it to Katie.  Seeing her use this journal regularly has been a treat.  I would love to get into the rhythm of making more of these!