Monday, February 27

Monday Book Club

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more! In an effort to share the book love, I've included links in this post that are Amazon Affiliate links, which means I receive a small kickback if you make a purchase using the links.

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What are you reading this week? I've been reading First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. 

I've read a number of her books, beginning with Something Borrowed when it first released. It is what it is - easy-to-read chick lit. Most of her books have left me feeling 'meh' and I admit to abandoning one halfway through, but they are the equivalent of another notch on my book bedpost. 

Next on my list will most likely be finishing A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. According to my Goodreads, I started it 9 months ago which just so happens to be right around when I gave birth, so that explains the lack of a finish! I enjoyed the first book in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic, and look forward to reading the whole three-book series.

Let me know what you're reading, what you loved, or what's next on your list!

Friday, February 10

9 Patch Class

Last weekend I taught a really fun class all about 9-patch quilt blocks. I shared some of my favorite shortcuts for quick and easy piecing and everyone in the class did such great work. Some made pillow covers while others got started working toward a larger quilt. 
Here are a few little snaps from my phone. 

 Trimming up her finished pillow - this little sweetie had a great eye for color and design! 

 The dark and light prints in these fabrics created a great contrasting block.

These fabrics were the perfect pops for spring - she definitely has a favorite color, her pants and glasses matched the bright blues in her fabric perfectly!

I wish I had a shot of this one flipped right-side-out, the colors were really fun.

Here's a glimpse at the classroom space at Craft South. Despite our recent chilly temperatures, the sun was shining and supplied us with great afternoon light!

If you love a great 9-patch, I have a Pinterest board devoted to all things patchy and square! 

If you want a 9-patch pillow of your very own, I have a couple pillow covers available in my Etsy shop right now!  

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I plan to spend it playing with the boys, working on a couple Quiltcon projects, and maybe *just maybe* sneaking in a bubble bath!

Thursday, February 2

That thing where I recharge the blog at the beginning of a new year….

But seriously, maybe this time I can stick with it! Stay tuned, slight bloggy update coming soon. *winky face * *kissy face* xoxo

Saturday, February 14

Liam's Library

Reading has always been a huge part of my life. When I was younger, I always had a book in tow and read whenever I could. I don't read nearly as much as I used to or would like to for me, but Liam and I spend lots of time reading together everyday. Reading introduces us to new worlds and characters, teaches us, makes us laugh and cry, and for me and Liam, is a great way to wind down before a nap or bedtime.

Before he was born, my family gave us a shelf-full of books at a baby shower and we have continued adding to them since. In addition to adding to our own collection, we visit the library on a regular basis to enjoy baby story time and borrow new books. 

I decided to start documenting our book reading, both our personal library and the books we check out from the public library. I hope it will be a good resource for others looking for a good book for their little ones and I would love for you to share your favorites as well! I'd also love to update posts in the future after Liam is older and has his own opinions and favorite books.

To kick things off, I thought I would start with two new books Liam received for Valentine's Day from his grandparents. 

"Toes, Ears, & Nose!" by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Karen Katz. 

This book is a cute pop-up style with flaps that reveal different body parts. The text is pretty straight forward: "Inside my mittens I've got fingers. Inside my boots I've got toes." etc. There is a little bit of a rhyme throughout the book, but I think the purpose is more about identifying body parts than cutesy wordplay. The illustrations are colorful and full of cute prints and patterns. The kids are boys and girls of different races, which I appreciate.
The book itself is a nice size and weight. Although it is a board book, the pages have a little bend to them. The flaps are made of a thick paper glued on to the pages; they will definitely rip if Liam gets ahold of them, so I think this will be a "long-distance" read (aka at an arm's length and out of Liam's reach) until Liam understands what 'gentle' means.
Overall "Toes, Ears, & Nose!" is a cute book and will be even more fun once Liam starts to identify body parts.

"I Love You Because You're You" by Liza Baker, illustrated by David McPhail

This is a really cute book all about when a Mommy fox loves her son. The story goes through all different feelings and situations in a nice verse style that rhymes: "I love you when you're happy and grinning ear to ear. I love you when you're sleepy and want to snuggle near." I think it will be a nice introduction to feelings and behaviors, as well as the fact that no matter what moods Liam is in, he is always loved. The pictures are cute little vignettes that go with each emotion.
The cover of the book is a thick, squishy material that Liam would love to get his teeth on. The pages are very bendable, so this may be another one Liam will have to wait to get his hands on.
In the meantime, we will add this to our daily reading and practice showing our emotions by making silly faces as we read.

Both these books are cute and fun to read, and we will learn a lot in the process!

**This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a percentage of sales if you make a purchase using these links.**

Monday, September 15

How We Do Cloth Diapers

I have a number of family and friends who are pregnant right now, and many of them want to know about our experience cloth diapering. So I'm sure some of you out there may be interested as well, or know someone you can share this information with. We knew we wanted to use cloth diapers, and I had been researching the options even before I was pregnant, so I had an idea of what was out there, but it was so overwhelming! In the haze of pregnancy, I spent an evening on the verge of tears on the phone with my mom stressing about diapers. I confessed to her I was more concerned about how we were going to cover baby's butt than the whole process of getting him out. HA! Yes, pregnancy hormones are a real thing and they are nothing to be messed with. The fog cleared and I went with my original plan. I'll get right down to business and if you want more detail, read on.

24 Size Newborn Cloth-eez Prefolds
12 Size Small Cloth-eez Prefolds
14 BumGenius 4.0 Snap Diapers
Cloth wipes I made with flannel

~I washed the Prefolds & Covers with Purex Free & Clear. Warm pre-wash, Hot wash with detergent, extra rinse. Hung the covers and wet bags to dry, everything else in the dryer on Perm Press.
~I wash the BumGenius diapers with Nellie's All Natural Laundry Soda. Cold pre-wash, Hot wash with detergent, extra rinse. Hang the diapers to dry and wet bags to dry, everything else in the dryer on Perm Press.
~If there are a number of extra nasty diapers, I will add a little detergent to the pre-wash cycle.
~If a diaper is still poop colored after washing, an afternoon in the sun removes the stain.
~I do diaper laundry about every other day. When I get down to two clean diapers, I wash. Sometimes the timing is weird and we supplement one of the prefolds or a spare disposable.

~The Duo Wraps dry within a couple hours, quicker if they are in the sun or a breezy spot. In a pinch I've thrown them in the dryer for just a couple minutes.
~The BumGenius diapers dry in an afternoon outside or overnight inside. We have a cool drying rack my dad found that fits them all and works great.
~The wet bags take longer to dry indoors - a day or two, but they are always ready by the time we need one.

If that's all the info you wanted, carry on. If you would like to know more, here you go….

We used disposables for the first two weeks. The real concern was getting through the nasty meconium stage. If you absolutely want to use cloth from the start, I'd recommend a disposable liner so that the tar poop doesn't ruin your diapers.

**SIDE NOTE** Our midwife gave us the most spectacular advice: Rub coconut oil on baby's bum during diaper changes and the meconium will slide right off. It's true! No need to use multiple wipes to scrape that stuff off, oil up that bum and get on with your day. **

1 month

Around two weeks old we started the cloth diapers. We used Cloth-eez Prefolds from Green Mountain Diaper in the Newborn size. Liam was back up to birth weight of 7 lbs, 11 oz at that time and the newborn size fit until he was about 11 lbs + at 2 months. At that point we were also using the Small size in the mix for nights and naps when he needed more absorbency. We used Thirsties Duo Wrap covers in Size One with all the prefolds.

**SIDE NOTE** If you go the disposable path, do yourself a favor and get a couple of the Duo Wraps. It's like a rite of passage in parenthood to clean up a blow-out but it's not necessary! We don't have problems with the cloth diapers but I don't trust the disposables we use while traveling. So we put a Duo Wrap over the disposable and voila! - no blow-outs. And trust me, there have been a bunch of diapers that would have completely ruined Liam's outfit and spoiled the day of whoever was holding him at the time. Totally worth the $12 investment to grab a couple of them, plus they look cute. **

2 month

When Liam hit 2 months old and was over 11 lbs, we switched him to BumGenius 4.0 snap diapers. He probably could have started those sooner, but the prefolds were still doing their job and I needed to buy different detergent for the BumGeniuses so I was waiting. We love these diapers! I would happily do prefolds for the rest of his diapering life, but the biggest improvement with the BumGenius is the moisture wicking liner fabric - the inserts can be soaked through but Liam's buns stay nice and dry. The snap adjustments make it easy to get a good fit and they are as easy to change as disposables. The adjustments also mean Liam can wear these diapers until he is ready for the big boy potty. Awesome!

We use the normal insert during the day and add the additional newborn insert for bedtime sleeping. I haven't had issues with absorbency, but the beauty of our diaper system is that if Liam ever needs something extra inside the diaper, his old prefolds work just like another insert.

4 month

Today I decided to adjust the rise on the height of the diapers. Liam is 4 months old and over 15 lbs with chubby thighs. BumGenius recommends changing to the middle rise around 16 lbs but it can vary depending on the size and shape of every baby, so Liam seems to be falling right in line with that. You can see in that picture above how it is pulling a little in the middle - time to extend!

Before he was born, I put my serger to good use and made 50 cloth wipes from leftover flannel. I just cut squares about 8X8 and serged the edges. I made some double sided, but the single ply has worked just fine. If you are cloth diapering, it only makes sense to use cloth wipes - you just throw them right in with the rest of the laundry and never run out. You can purchase cloth wipes or use wash cloths, but making them was really simple and free for me.

We keep a squirt bottle with water next to his change pad to wet the wipes. When he was younger we would spray right on the wipe, but now Liam gets a kick out of spraying his bum. I tried an aloe, tea tree, soap mixture, but something in that seemed to irritate his bottom so we have just been using water. Most experts recommend water for the first few months anyway to keep the sensitive skin happy.

We use two wet bags in rotation .. one gets washed with the diapers and hung to dry while the other one starts the cycle of filling up with diapers over again. They contain the stink and keep things dry. We had intentions of hanging them up but couldn't find a good spot or system, so they just sit between the dresser and trashcan on the ground and that has worked well for four months so I assume we'll just keep it that way.

Did I miss anything? Do you have any questions? Do you now know more about cloth diapers than you ever wanted to? Great! Not a super interesting post, but hopefully helpful!

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Friday, September 5

A New Season

My poor, abandoned blog.. last updated in the beginning of spring, over five months ago, and now here we are approaching fall. It's not only a new season on the calendar, but a new season in our life as well.

Our little Liam was born on May 8, 2014. He started as the sweetest, cutest, most perfect newborn you've ever seen (oh, perhaps I am a little biased) and now he is a sweet, spunky, perfect almost-four-month-old. I can't believe how the time flies!


The first few months were filled with lots of family, traveling adventures, and a bit of slowing down to get to know our new little man. In his short life, Liam has already traveled to four states and through even more.


He's been on eight airplanes, one on which the captain invited him to sit in the cockpit. He went to sleep away camp, attended a wedding, and even spent a week camping and lounging on the beach.


Things have calmed down since then and we are all getting back into the groove of life at home before our next adventure. I'm trying to get back into old habits like sewing and quilting and, as evidenced here, blogging.


In what felt like overnight, Liam turned into a napping champion (jinxing myself here, I realize) and I suddenly have a chunk of hours in a day to get things done. So let's see what happens, I'm not promising anything, but I hope to keep up best I can. 
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Saturday, March 29


The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of baby preparations. Immediately after he returned from a three week tour of Australia, Curt & I took a long weekend to visit our families in Michigan and had the pleasure of attending two baby showers hosted by my family. It was so nice to see many of our loved ones and see the excitement and love they already have for our baby. We are so blessed to have tight knit families who support us, even if it is from a distance most of the time. 

Last weekend my parents arrived and after a few splendid hours of sunshine, we headed off to our frIends' house for a fabulous party to celebrate their new books. It was a lot of fun and Jessica always throws the best get-togethers. 

The next day I had a surprise party of my own with my work friends to celebrate the baby & my birthday. They snuck into the house and decorated the whole place with the cutest poms, streamers, and balloons. Fatemeh made that gorgeous cake complete with sparkler candles. A couple long distance friends made the trek to our house and I couldn't have asked for a sweeter gathering. 

The rest of the week was spent finally getting the nursery ready for Baby. My dad painted the room, transforming it from boring tan to a calming greige. Curt refinished an old dresser, a project that has been in the works for a few months but was stalled by cold weather and multiple tours. My mom painted a thrifted baby glider and helped me make and upholster new cushions. 

Among the smaller details, this birch tie-back I've had in my head and my dad was able to construct. There are still a few things to finish - hanging shelves and art, creating a mobile out of more birch branches, putting the crib together (it should arrive this week), maybe replacing a table lamp, and adding the little finishing touches. We still have about seven weeks until Baby is due to arrive, but it feels so good to have most of the nursery ready and I know those weeks will fly by. 

I got up early this morning to see my parents off, throw in a load of laundry, and crawl back into bed. Curt snuck out at some point to get his sister and her friend from the airport while I slept in for the first time in a few weeks. I usually hear him get up and ready but I was so tired I slept through it all and woke up to find the last few bites of this amazing chai French toast waiting for me on my bedside. I realize once Baby comes that my days of sleeping in will be long gone, so I am trying to soak in as many as possible when I have the chance. 

I'm also taking the day to sit back and relax for the first time in a while and do nothing all day. The drizzly weather and constant stream of hot tea is enhancing the laziness as we work our way through our DVR. All the while trying to make a dent in my latest library book. What are you doing this weekend? 


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