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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Making the Most of a Rookie Mistake

(Before you read this, please remember I am still on the "mom-to-be" side of the fence and learning the ropes).

Several weeks ago I went into an unfamiliar Babies R Us and pretty much tried speaking to the salesperson in their native language, which isn't my own, to find plain cloth diapers so I could make some cute burp cloths. I had registered for some and had seen them before, but lo and behold, I got home and had bought the single layer ones which could be used to strain yogurt as far as I'm concerned! Frustrated, and definitely not in the mood to go back I washed all of the diapers anyway and then decided how to make the most out of my mistake.

I pressed all of the single-ply diapers after they were dry and hung them in my sewing closet so I wouldn't have to unroll the edges again. I was invited to a baby shower and decided that I could in fact still make basic cute burp cloths, it would just take a few extra steps.

So, using two diapers, I lined up the edges as best as I could and then folded them under to pin.

I used a tight straight stitch close to the edge of the fabric to make it as clean as possible.

I pulled out the Winnie the Pooh fabric I had purchased, in keeping with the theme of their nursery, and decided how wide I wanted to fabric to be. I didn't want it to cover the cloth completely, but did want more than a small area in the middle covered. Then I measured and cut the fabric.

I pressed the edges of the fabric to help with my effort for clean lines and then pinned the cotton fabric onto the already sewn together cloths.

Using contrasting red thread and a zigzag stitch, I sewed the Winnie the Pooh sections onto each "double-layer diaper."

Hopefully the mom-to-be likes them since they are part of her shower gift.  I realize I would have saved alot of time just buying a new pack of the 6-ply cloth diapers like I originally intended, but what can I say, pregnancy has made me do some silly things :). Once I start making some for our little one, I WILL be able to skip the first few steps and get right to the fun part: selecting the cotton fabric!

The Thrifty Home

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce

On Nov. 13, 2009 we moved into our new home. Thirteen days later we hosted Thanksgiving for nine adults. Talk about getting thrown into it?! No, we volunteered, but there certainly was alot going on. I am very organized when it comes to planning holidays in advance so I had my menu picked out as soon as we had approval to move-in which meant our families would be coming to our place to celebrate Thanksgiving.

One of the recipes I came across was this double cranberry-apple sauce from Southern Living's November 2003 issue. I wanted to do something different than the typical cranberry sauce so I tried this out and have made it for a few holidays since. I also freeze extra and serve it with chicken or eat it on its own throughout the year.

Ingredients for 5 cups of sauce (I've found it makes more):
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 (12 oz) package of fresh cranberries
1 small lemon, sliced and seeded
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries (like Craisins)

In a large saucepan (I use a big spaghetti pot), stir together the first 5 ingredients over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Continue to stir it often.

Reduce heat and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes until cranberries pop (seen below) and mixture starts to thicken.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sweetened, dried cranberries. Allow time to cool and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Another wonderful thing about this recipe??? You can store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!

Today's Creative Blog, Try it Tuesday, Mad Skills Party, We Did it Wednesday, Hookin Up with HoH,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Diaper Cake

This past weekend my mom and sister hosted a beautiful shower in our honor at The Nutmeg near my hometown in Connecticut. My sister contributed two cakes. This edible one that was out of this world!! Red velvet layers with white chocolate "frosting", not fondant and all delicious!

And a diaper cake!!

My sister referred to a site called Plan the Perfect Baby Shower when planning the diaper cake. She told me that she used about 80 newborn diapers (now all put away in the baby's dresser) to make the three-tier cake. The base of each layer was cut white cardboard and the center of each layer used a baby bottle as a support. Using the bottles made the diaper cake weigh less than if a full bottle of shampoo or other product was used.  

While my mom was recovering from surgery, my sister put her in charge of rolling the diapers. They opened the diapers (rectangle-sort-of-shape) and rolled tightly from front to back. Then a rubber band was used to hold it in place. You can see by the indentation in the second photo below that they did secure them tightly!

Then, ribbons were tied around some of the diapers that would be visible around the outside of the cake. She used thin purple and light green ribbon since the gender of our little baby is a surprise.

My sister grouped together several diapers with yellow ribbon when assembling the layers so all the diapers weren't loose. As you can see in the first photo of us with the diaper cake, she used the same yellow ribbon to tie the layers together and attached the plastic bottles, stuffed animal, pacifiers, etc.

Obviously we had to disassemble her masterpiece toget the diapers back to Maryland. What did that look like you ask? I was surprised that I didn't get extra screening from TSA since this was my carry-on bag!

Once home, I had the task of unrolling all of their hard work, which was the easy part. The rubber bands left faint yellow lines on the diapers, but let's be serious...those diapers are going to look much worse once they are put on the baby! The newborn diapers from the cake take up one full small drawer in the top of the dresser - jeez. And I know what all you moms are thinking...these diapers will only last a few days. Iguess the next thing we need to purchase is a trash can!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

28 Weeks

It is only fitting that my first blog post of the New Year is about the biggest and best thing that is happening to us in 2011 - our precious little baby! Although we won't meet him/her until the end of March, there have been a few things we have done recently to prepare for their arrival.

The nursery is looking great! By the way, thanks to The Creative Mommas for the shout-out on their blog about their nursery! 

The room was cleared out, also by my wonderful husband, and painted on Thanksgiving! We went with Honey Beige from Olympic's Audubon Collection because it is warm and neutral, and I have loved seeing it on the wall the past two weeks. As a side note, it is nowhere near as orange as it looks on the computer screen. You don't think a Terp would allow his child's room to be orange do you?!

We spent some time assembling the crib the day after Thanksgiving and I love going in the nursery and just looking at it. Last week I purchased the mattress for the crib and a sheet so it looks for ready for baby now. How did I fit the mattress in the back of my small car? Read on to find out :)

The dresser came in a few weeks earlier than expected and some of the drawers already have goodies in them thanks to friends and family. We'll be using the top as a changing station once we get the changing pad and everything else that is involved.

My handy husband will be building a tall bookshelf for the nursery and we purchased the materials last week. Little Squirt already has more than a dozen books and that doesn't include our childhood books or many new ones. These were gifts from my mom, friends and a few classics from a sale.

There is also an antique family cradle in the nursery from my mother-in-law's family. There is a plaque at the headboard of the names and birthdates of babies who used the cradle, starting with my mother-in-law's older siblings more than 75 years ago. My mother-in-law, husband and his sister are also on the plaque. We aren't using it as an "everyday thing" because of safety, but you can be sure that I will take some photos in it. For the time being, our cat likes to use it as his bed when he isn't in mine.

To be honest, the only crafty thing I have done in for the nursery so far is sew some basic blankets. A few weeks ago I couldn't resist buying gender-specific nursery flannel when it was on sale for $1.29 per yard! What will I do with the boy blankets if we have a girl and the girl blankets if we have a boy? Give them to friends of course! This weekend I got busy sewing and now have four completed blankets and one nursing cover (the vibrant cotton fabric). My husband laughed about that because he said I'll really be drawing attention to myself...maybe I should buy something more simple?? I still need to buy clips and a ribbon to make the nursing cover more than a blanket, but all in due time.

The least exciting thing was my glucose test. I passed with a score of 86 which is well within the 65-139 range. Best part of this besides my body correctly processing sugars? No three hour test! I also went for a RhoGAM injection because I have a negative bloodtype and my husband has a positive bloodtype. It was "more work" than the glucose test but necessary for the health of me and baby.

On a much more exciting note, we bought a new car which we are jokingly referring to as the Squirt (baby's in-utero nickname) mobile. I met a deer on the road a few weeks ago and thankfully it ended much better for me than the deer. Most of you know I had a two-door Pontiac G5 that was a great car, but sadly had been hit a few times by distracted drivers and then hit a deer. So, we took advantage of what was left of the situation and decided to upgrade "my" vehicle now to a Chevy Equinox which is what I had been eyeing for some time.

I continue to feel pretty great most of the time, but the sleepiness has come back quickly, but still not as bad as the first trimester. My belly button still isn't totally out yet but it is funny to see that sometimes it moves when I laugh. We still have a very active baby and some of the kicks are more quick and spaced evenly. Maybe it is hiccups? The movement of the baby is changing and I feel tightening when I think he/she is moving their body around to get more comfortable. I can also feel protruding body parts which is entertaining. I can't identify them yet, but I'm sure I will be able to soon! Sleeping is rather uncomfortable since I lose feeling from my hips halfway down to my knee depending on which side I am lying on. Any tips for relief? This is a picture from new Years Eve and my shirt makes me feel larger then I am.

I go for my 28 week appointment this week right before our first baby shower (yeah!) and I hope the doctor tells me everything is right on track.