Milestone Moments: I gave away my cloth diapers!

Joseph has not been wearing diapers for a few weeks now. He still has trouble remembering to go potty when he wakes up in the morning – hence the night time pull-up – but as of two months before his 3rd birthday, he has been wearing big-boy underwear full time during the day, with accidents few and far between.

At a certain point in these past few weeks, I had to decide what to do with my stash of cloth diapers.

Sweet Ride Diaper

Most of them were sewn by me: Mama made, Silly Bear Handmade fleece diapers made up about 90% of the stash. I couldn’t fathom trying to sell them on a swap site, since my WAHM diaper brand is not well known, aaaaand I’m pretty attached to some of them. . . not gonna lie. But I wasn’t sure if or how to give them away. . . because I spent so much of my time (nearly) perfecting the art or sewing cloth diapers, and all the memories of Joseph with his fleecy little bum are still so fresh in my mind.

But they had to go. I wasn’t using them anymore, and someone else could. But who?

Finally, I wandered into the perfect conversation: A friend of mine in the Kodiak community that has a large family (talking, kids from college-age to diapers) was talking about her youngest boy, who is a friend of Joe’s. He is nearly two, but she wants to hold off on doing any potty learning or training with him until they get back from a family vacation to the lower 48 this summer. Smart. However, she said, lately, J. had been pooping in several diapers per day, and she said that she just felt so wasteful throwing out diaper after diaper. I offered my stash of fleece cloth diapers, and she accepted – she asked if she could buy them off of me, but I told her NO.

“Enjoy them, take good care of them, and pay it forward to another family once you are finished with them” I said.

And then I packed them all up, handed them to her at the next play date, and that whole two-year period of Joseph’s life was absolutely over. No more diapers.

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What a milestone moment.

I have a second preschooler now, wearing underwear and the nightly pull-up. Not a baby, not a toddler: a kid. Nearly three. And I gave away my cloth diapers. Wow. Amazing how life just bulldozes forward and we all grow and grow and grow.

I was very pleased to have found a family to gift with my diaper stash. And I hope that they are pleased with their gift. And I am incredibly proud of my big boy Joe that just keeps growing as if there is no stopping.

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What did you do with your cloth diaper stash after your littlest was finished using it?

 

What kind of emotions did you experience as your children learned to potty independently?

Creating for the Family: Crafty Mama Monday

I have been a busy volunteer-Ombudsman, full-time-student mama lately. . . and crafty mama has not disappeared, but she’s been slowed down a bit.

Projects have gone on the back burner. Only the really vital projects that I’m creating for my family lately have actually gotten done. And I have a growing short-list of Silly Bear Handmade custom orders from friends. Plus baby and big sister/big brother gifts that I made for my family members that I have neglected to ship. Whoops!

I have, however, still been making progress at being crafty!

Here’s what I have been up to lately.

Knitted Wristwarmers

I have been enjoying knitting these wristwarmers (aka fingerless gloves) for about a month now, and they are finally finished! I started and ripped out the project three or four times before I chose a pattern that I loved and made the correct alterations to it to make it work for me.

I ended up using the Fetching knitting pattern to make these wrist warmers, and I added a few inches to the cabling portion to extend the length of them. I have long arms and none of my coats hit my wrist where they should. This used to not matter when I lived in Texas, but now that I am a transplanted New Englander, it matters so much! Cold wrists and blustery wind going up your coat sleeves . . . yikes! Not ok!

Next, I’m planning on knitting a coordinating hat for the winter ahead, using the same yarn that I used for the wristwarmers. Now, I am knitting a coordinating slouchy cabled hat. More on that in my next Crafty Mama Monday.

I’m also planning on knitting the Silly Bears and nieces and nephews some wool gloves using the Easily Adjustable Knitted Glove Pattern from They Are All Of Me.

But for now, $1 mittens from the Joann’s dollar section work just fine.

 

Night Time Diapers

This summer, I ordered some Maiden Mills Windpro fleece from a destash album on Facebook, with the intention of finally taking the advice of my fellow diaper sewers and making Joseph a FLEECE night time diaper instead of one waterproofed by PUL or using wool at night (neither of which were working for us).

 

The diapers I made work fabulously through the night, and I fully intend to make more and list them for sale in my Silly Bear Handmade shop. (Stocking is coming SOON and there will be a $10 diaper sale for the first 24 hours. . . so watch the SBH Facebook Page for sneak peeks and updates!)

Joseph used to wake up smelling like ammonia and having wet PJs and a red butt from contact with all the pee during the night. The fleece night time diapers I created for him eliminate these problems. It’s so wonderful!

 

I am in the process of writing a photo tutorial on how I made these fleece night time pocket diapers, so that those of you who would like to sew one for a Silly Bear in your life can do so with ease and enjoy the benefits.

They are wonderful! It’s one of those “why didn’t I do this sooner!?” moments. You can view a detailed description and all the photos of the diaper here –> Introducing the Silly Bear Handmade Night Time Fleece Pocket Diaper!!!!!!

I am so thrilled that I finally have a diaper that hands down works for nights. Wish I could have sewn it sooner!

Bedroom Curtains

Back in the summer, I made blackout curtains for Abbey and Joseph’s room, and wrote a photo tutorial to teach you how to make them yourself.

A dear friend asked me to help her with curtains for her 7-year-old’s room. She couldn’t find anything in the stores that thrilled her, so she gave me the free reign to come up with what I could to please her daughter’s taste and coordinate with the quilt that she had. She didn’t need black out curtains, so I sewed some simple cotton curtains for her that her daughter loves!

What have YOU been creating for YOUR family recently? 

Is there anything you have been eye-ing or keeping on a Pinterest page that you’d love to create, but you’re slightly timid to try? 

I’d love to connect with you about sewing, knitting, and creating for the family. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Mamatography – August 2012 Week 3

This week I developed an amazing peach banana smoothie with chia seeds that’s totally yummy. Recipe soon!

Abbey helped me make salmon patties, and her little hands made “Abbey-sized” and “Brother-sized” ones.

 

I finished knitting the mug cozy I have been working on, and it ended up being way too big for a traditional 12 oz. mug, but it fits nice and cozy on a 16-18 oz. one! Knitting cables with straight needles isn’t all that hard after all!

 

 

I’ve been working on a few machine embroidery designs, including a Big Bang Theory themed BAZINGA! logo for Hubs. . . this is still in progress.

 

I organized the kids’ craft cabinet. . . you don’t even want to see the before picture.
Still not the way I’d prefer it to be organized, but at least it’s not falling out everywhere! You work with what you’ve got!

Joe’s such a cutie, saying “Cheese!” when I take pictures. But he rarely ever looks the correct direction. . . or ever stops moving. Here, he is wearing a new diaper. . . a Hybrid Fitted diaper – in a newly redesigned Silly Bear Handmade pattern. Better pictures to come!

That was our week. How was YOURS?

 

Mamatography – August 2012 Week 2

This post is part of Mamatography 2012, a project hosted by Diary of a First Child. The goal is to document the entire year of 2012 in photos. Paired with my participation in fellow Coast Guard Wife Courtney Kirkland‘s photography tutorials and projects, I am definitely learning more about my camera, my photos, & my kids, and I’ll have plenty of great photos to document 2012. Please visit the links at the bottom of my post to see other Mamatography posts! And if you are participating in Mamatography, click on over to the BLOG HOP going on at Diary of a First Child and join in!

           This past Monday, we enjoyed some time at the beach after my Co-Ombudsman and I facilitated the TAHOMA Morale Picnic at a local state park. Joseph and Abbey really enjoyed exploring the beach – Joseph and I played together, throwing rocks in the water and watching and listening to them *PLOP* and Abbey and daddy went on an exploration of the rocks and boulders.

We also spent plenty of time at our regular park beside our housing unit.

But. . . back to the BEACH: I can’t believe we spent as long there as we did, especially after a long day at the TAHOMA Picnic. I was exhausted after helping the Morale officer run the event, so to have relaxing time at the beach was so refreshing!

We ALL had a great time, including Raven! She was SO happy!

This week otherwise was pretty eventless – just a normal week in the Willa house! I made my “Veggieful” Spaghetti Sauce again for dinner and it was a HIT (as always). It’s amazing what FRESH ingredients can do for a meal! I love the picture I snapped of Joe after stuffing his face with Veggieful spaghetti. He is getting so big and his mannerisms are so wonderfully hilarious!

I spent most of my non-mothering (erm. . . nap and bed times) sewing.

I finished Abbey’s blackout curtains and documented my process and pattern for a tutorial. I was very pleased with how her curtains turned out! Picture next week!

I also sewed up an embroidered fairy diaper for a neighbor’s little girl. I’m making my final adjustments for a NEW Silly Bear Handmade pocket diaper – and the testers will be open for purchase via my Etsy shop at the end of the month. The new pocket diapers feature a front and back flap opening so that the soaker insert will agitate out in the wash (no need to pull out icky inserts pre-wash!) They will be available in sized (NB-XL) increments and OS (one-size) variations, and the soakers are super absorbent and quick dry. 

I love my AIO (all-in-one) diapers with a sewn in soaker for the convenience of not having to stuff inserts, but these pockets dry so much faster and absorb so well. My beautiful diaper model London went 6 hours in this fairy embroidered pocket diaper and pooped in it without wicking or leaks. I was so happy when her mom reported an excellent review (with a couple suggestions to help the pattern fit chunky babes more comfortably). 

 

 

That was our week. . . . how was YOURS?

Are you up for a challenge? One that will take something from you every day, but give a whole lot back too? How about joining me for the photography challenge in 2012 then? A photo a day of whatever your day involved. You can jump in any time through the year! If you’d still like to join us, you can start at any time, just sign up here and our host will email you further information.

Without further ado, here is the current list of all participants for Mamatography 2012 so far!

 

Mindful Inventory – Summer Edition

Yes, friends. I am still here! As I joked with my dear friends and fellow authors at Natural Parents Network the other day, I have “gone blog-silent” for a bit. But I am still here. In fact, I am here in finer form than before, thanks to the new amywilla.com site design created and installed by the very talented (and fellow Coast Guard wife to boot!) Courtney Kirkland. I’d been trying to extend my DIY skills to web design, but found it way too complex. When I ran into Courtney’s site, and got to know her through her blog, seeing her work and knowing what a hard working, passionate, and authentic person she is made me really excited to jump on her site-design wait list and hire her to re-do the site! But more about Courtney in another post.

What’s been going on with ME that’s made me so “blog-silent” the past few weeks? To answer that, I’m going to do what I call a “Mindful Inventory” . . .

I like to do these for myself when my head starts spinning with lots of things going on. It helps be remember to be proud of my accomplishments, aware of the joy in my life, and to plan for the time ahead.

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THE MAIN IDEA of the summer has been: My first semester back in college (as an online student) and the nurture of the Silly Bears, Abbey (now almost 4!) and Joe (16 months).

THE BEST THING about the summer has been: Having my hubs home and spending time together as a family!

TOP 3 SUMMER HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Doing my very first craft show to market Silly Bear Handmade in June and being more successful than I thought I would be!
  2. Watching Joseph and Abbey see their Nana and Papa (Hubs’ parents) and spend time with them during their visit
  3. Finishing my first semester of full-time online school with all (still pending) A’s and B’s
  • WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE FALL: Fall foliage, another Silly Bear Handmade craft show, and harvesting from our garden. 


  • WHAT I WISH I HAD DONE MORE OF THIS SEASON: Sewing and marketing for Silly Bear Handmade


  • WHAT I DID JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF: Spending time with my children, and learning not to yell as much as I have before. 


  • WHAT I’M PROUDEST OF THIS SEASON: Joseph’s growth, Abbey’s singing, and my making it through full-time school and full-time mothering! Also getting better at taking photos in manual!
So, how has YOUR summer been? I’d love to hear the highlights of your summer, and what you’re most looking forward to for the rest of the season and the coming months. Let me know in the comments!

Wordless Wednesday – US ARMY Tribute Diaper

Sharing on this wordless wednesday the US Army Tribute Diaper that I made as a custom order for a customer last week.

School, Diapers, and Sticky Fingers!

Whew! This past couple of weeks has been a blur – - – I feel like all I’m doing is cleaning up after my sticky fingered Silly Bears, grabbing the time I need to read my textbooks, take my quizzes, and write discussion posts for my four online classes, and sewing when bedtime arrives. 

Silly Bear Handmade Premium Animal Wipes
Wait. . . that is all I’m doing! 
I certainly put a full plate of commitments in front of myself this summer, didn’t I! But it’s all going well. 
This past Saturday, my friend and shared a booth at our town’s Block Party and had great success at getting people interested in our products – - – I even sold $122 worth of Silly Bear Handmade diapers and wipes at the Block Party, which made for an even more successful day than I hoped for! 
My Silly Bear Handmade Pink Owl Print OS AIO Diaper
Funny thing, one of my customers on Saturday turned out to be my labor and delivery nurse from my delivery of Joseph! What a strange and blessed coincidence to run into her! She was delighted to see me, and we reminisced about when I birthed Joseph, talked about the kids, and they lovingly perused my diapers and purchased two! 
In other news, school is going well. My hardest class for sure is Ethics – - – philosophers really can talk themselves in circles about how and how not to define “right” and “good” can’t they! I’m still waiting for the “this is the theory that seems to be the most correct” statement, but I don’t think I’m going to get a hard and fast answer. 
Psychology is a really interesting breeze of a class, sociology a bit more difficult but still relatively easy, and my “learning about online schooling” class is basically a participation class. So, as long as I keep up with when things are due and exactly how to submit them correctly, I think I’ll be pulling out of my first semester of college courses since 2007 with a relatively high GPA. 
We are still on the waiting list for a full-time spot at Abbey’s preschool, but I am hoping that with the group of children leaving the preschool rooms for kindergarten this fall, that Abbey will finally get a full-time spot. She has been attending two “full” 8-3 days and “sleeping on a cot!” which she is hilariously proud of ;) School has been awesome for her, and she loves it, and her teachers and friends adore her. It makes me so happy to see her thrive in a good school environment!
Silly Bear Handmade Napkins
So, we’re off today to search for our dog, who has decided to adventure around the neighborhood this morning. . . then, we’re off to Abbey’s first swim class, and lunch, naps, and schoolwork and Etsy store stocking for mama. Daddy is working a lot, as he picked up a second job while his Coast Guard cutter is on dockside maintenance. . . so we’ll see him at bedtime, and start it all again tomorrow! 
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Crafty Mama Monday

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Crafty Mama update!

Recently, I have been in a bit of a sewing rut, with my sewing machine in the repair shop, and the part that’s needed BACKORDERED for 6-8 weeks. . . the repair shop finally offered me a loaner machine, so I’ve been catching up on sewing projects that have been sitting around for a while, cut out but not sewn up.
To the left, you can see my growing pile of cloth napkins from scrap fabric. This has been an on-going project, and I’m planning on sewing napkins and un-paper towels for my Silly Bear Handmade shop after I finish the ones for our house. 
I’ve also finished the “subway art” project that I started back a few months ago. 
I decided to go with the “paint over” method after all. . . but I didn’t want to lose the pretty background that I had painstakingly created – so I decided to go with a slightly transparent cover layer, and I think it actually turned out pretty cool. I like the fact that it’s not super easy to read. What do you think?
I finally made a Toadstool Baby Rattle, but I knitted it with larger needles and yarn that I had in my stash, so it is one big rattle! I plan on making some more soon, though. They are super cute and fun to knit! Joseph loves his.  
I’m also still in the process of knitting and sewing up beanbags for my niece and nephew in Texas. . . this was supposed to be a Christmas present (ha!) so I really do want to get that finished as soon as possible.
And of course, I’m still sewing diapers. 
Right now, I am working on AIO (all in one) versions of my pattern, which so far are turning out great and working really well. I’m also learning to use Lastin clear elastic. It’s wonderful because it’s really stretchy and makes fora  good fit and it’s resistant to pee so it won’t wear out over time in a diaper. BUT it has a learning curve for sure. You can’t just do the easy-peasy tack and topstitch a casing with Lastin. More on that later!
Do you have any Crafty projects going on right now?

Do you need some inspiration or moral support to start a project that you’ve been wanting to try?

Review & Giveaway: Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil. My first introduction to coconut oil was through my work with Natural Parent’s Network. I remember reading about Hybrid Rasta Mama Jennifer‘s 80 Uses for Coconut Oil blog post and thinking:

“What IS this stuff, that you can use it for 80 different things!?”

Her post has now been edited and reposted to include 160 Uses for Coconut Oil. . . and the good news about coconut oil doesn’t stop there. As the coconut oil experts at Tropical Traditions demonstrate in the video embedded below, there are hundreds (yes. . . hundreds plural) uses for coconut oil.


I was privileged to receive a 32 oz. Jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil in the mail last month, and I have thoroughly been enjoying this brand! Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is smooth, easy to measure and scoop, and wonderful for use in the kitchen as well as for skin care and baby care.

My most frequent uses for the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil are for cooking pancakes, baking muffins, brownies, and cookies, and for moisturizing and comforting dry or chaffed skin on myself and my babies. 


Cooking and Baking:

I find that the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is so smooth and easy to measure for baking and cooking. It melts in a pan quickly to use for cooking, and it blends smoothly and quickly into recipes. I use it in place of crisco, vegetable oil, and sometimes in place of butter in cooking and baking recipes, and I have been really impressed with it’s performance. 

Other coconut oils that I have tried have been harder to emulsify in recipes, leaving clumps of coconut oil in the batter, but I have never had this problem with the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. 

It brings a great taste to pancakes, brownies, and other baked goods, but doesn’t highly alter the flavor of meats when you cook, and it’s tons healthier than butter or any other type of oil (vegetable, olive, canola, etc). 

32 oz. Jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil 

Skin Care and Comfort:

I also use coconut oil to moisturize my skin and my kids’ skin. It smells heavenly, goes on easily, and rubs into the skin quickly and without sticky residue. And it moisturizes better than lotion, with a smaller amount. I also love that I don’t have to worry if one of my children (eghem. . . baby Joe) tries to eat it while we are moisturizing after bath time. The very same type of coconut oil that is used for skin care is used for cooking, and there’s no risk to ingesting it like there is with other creams and lotions. 

The safety of coconut oil allows me to let my children learn self-care while moisturizing after a bath, or when applying the Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to their lips or noses for comfort on chapped or chaffed skin. I don’t have to worry if Abbey applies too much coconut oil to her lips because I know that it is safe to ingest. And I can allow Joseph to feel the texture of the oil at room temperature (semi-solid) and enjoy that sensory experience without the fear that he might poison himself if he throws a gob of it in his mouth (which happens from time to time). 

I also love using the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions for skin care in the diaper area. When Joseph (11 months) becomes irritated in the diaper area, I apply coconut oil to the chaffed or irritated skin, and the coconut oil helps sooth his skin right back to normal. I have never used any other substance on his bottom and we’ve never had a diaper irritation last longer than 24 hours. Coconut oil is also safe for use in cloth diapering. It won’t create absorption problems like other diaper creme options can.

So, can you tell I love the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions? It’s really an awesome product, and reasonably priced as well. You’ll see if you google Tropical Traditions that they are a hugely popular and highly recommended company, and this list of qualities is a big part of WHY:

  •        They have a strong commitment to family farming and organic standards.
  •      They stand firmly against genetically modified foods.
  •      They research and find out where the products are produced, and how they are produced. 
  •      They adhere to fair trade practices.
Those qualities plus an excellent product that you can use for both cooking AND skin care?
 No, it’s not too good to be true. It’s just the amazing coconut oil. And Tropical Traditions. 

___ ___ ___

The best part of this post is that Propical Traditions has generously offered to supply one lucky reader a 32. oz jar ($40 USD) of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, so that you can see for yourself how awesome it is. All you have to do to enter is to subscribe to Tropical Traditions’ Newsletter, which keeps you up do date on all the great deals that they offer on all of their products (including palm oil, coconut flour, coconut toothpaste and skin care items and more) and lets you know when you can get free shipping on your orders! 

In order to subscribe to the Tropical Traditions Newsletter and enter the giveaway, simply click on the  first Rafflecopter entry section, and follow the link. Then enter your email address in the request for more information section, and you’re entered in the giveaway! If you want to have additional entries, keep clicking away at the Rafflecopter entries – sharing your favorite use for coconut oil in a blog post comment, “liking” and “following” Tropical Traditions and Toddler in Tow on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, and sharing the giveaway with your friends and followers on FB and Twitter. Do as many or as few Rafflecopter extra entries as you want. . . super duper simple. And then cross your fingers and hope that you’re the one that’s randomly chosen after the giveaway closes on April 6. 

What are you waiting for!? Find out how awesome coconut oil is by subscribing to Tropical Traditions Newsletter and entering to win a free 32 oz. jar of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil to try! Enter away, friends. . . 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Mamatography Week 7

 My new Kitchenaid Immersion Blender. . . that I won from participating in Beth Aldrich’s Real Mom’s Love To Eat food Affariate program. Using this this week to make green smoothies, and it’s SO much easier than using a big, clunky, traditional blender! TOTALLY LOVE THIS THING.
DIY wall art for our front room that I have been working on.
A variation of this project that has been floating around Pinterest for months now:

Source: etsy.com via Amy on Pinterest

I used a thrift store canvas painting that I painted over and then applied vinyl letters to it (cut with my Cricut machine). When I’m done (hopefully soon!) I’ll add a coat or two of matte finish polyurethane spray and write up a tutorial. I love how it’s coming so far! 

I love it when Joseph sleeps on his belly. So sweet. 
With his little hands tucked under him and his bum in the air. . . 
The past weekend’s teething pains (and getting over a cold) meant napping on mommy’s chest in my mama-made mai tai baby carrier. Sweet boy. . . he’s so cute and snuggly! 

Wednesday, our furniture was delivered. Hubs and I sprung for a King sized bed this tax return season. . . but went with a knock-off temperpedic to save some $$$. . . I love it, and as you can see Abbey loves it, too. Our walls, however, look totally depressing in military issue white.

Thursday: Some tester diapers hanging out in the front room, begging me to finish them up while I drink my afternoon coffee. They’re waiting to be snapped when my snap press comes in. I want to snap them NOW but I know that the press is much better than the pliers I have been using for sewing my own stash.
Friday Morning cuddles from my silly bears