Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has been enjoying their holiday week.
We fly back to Boston tomorrow night.  

It snowed 5 inches n NC which was enough to shut things down.  At least we missed the blizzard that hit Boston.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Visiting Bubbe for Christmas - oh the irony

I wonder if I'm the only one who finds it funny that Garrett gets to visit Bubbe for Christmas.

Normally we spend Christmas with Ben's folks. Especially since he comes from an Episcopalian family while mine is Jewish.   This year he has Christmas week off so we're going down to visit my mom in North Carolina.  It's the first time since my pregnancy that we've had anything even resembling a vacation and I'm stupidly excited about it.  This is also the first time Ben has come with me down to NC (since my mother moved from New York last year). 

My mother is truly a giving woman and has paid for our plane tickets.  She's also made it clear that we won't be paying for anything while we are visiting.   Ben and I are viewing it as "all expenses included" we really are so appreciative.

"I'm packed, let's go to Bubbe's"
Even Garrett is excited when he sees his carry on bag come out of the closet.  He knows that means we are going somewhere (we use it for his diapers).     Luckily Garrett is wonderful on the plane but we are packing a few toys and things to keep him occupied just in case.

We leave the 24th.  I'll have access to the internet and hope to be posting some updates while we're away.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe holiday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blogging Award -passing it on

A few years ago when I first started my blog I received a blogger award from a fellow blogger. I never really write to get awards so today I was surprised to wake and and find that someone has found me worthy of anything blog award.
It was bestowed upon me by Barbara at Notes from the Second Half   

The tradition is to tell 5 random things about myself and then choose 5 other bloggers who I feel write from the heart and soul and pass the award on.

So, here are 5 random things about me:

1:  I was a huge Star Trek fan as a child.  Conventions and everything.  The only thing I ever collected in my life was Star Trek cards.  They're in a binder with a picture of Wil Wheaton.

2: I don't have favorites.  No favorite color, movie, food, game.  People think this is weird.  I just think I'm eclectic. 

3: I got married in a small civil ceremony done on the campus of the college from which I graduated.

4:  I have 5 tattoos.  All have very deep meanings to me.  All are in places that won't sag.

5: I always feel like I am boring and mostly uninteresting.  I know this isn't the case but I still feel that way.

The 5 bloggers I choose are:

1:  Samantha over at She's Not Broken, She's just a Baby  
Sam has been a close friend of mine since I was pregnant and blogs about her experience with PPD.

2:  Ali over at The Craning Gap
Another of my real life friends who writes such amazing prose about her family.

I love how she writes these letters for her daughter to see in the future.  So much love and honesty in each one.

Mother of twins, who writes with such amazing frankness that I love to read her posts.

A bold and honest mom I always look forward to her Wordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great Gift Ideas: Easy Fabric Headband

I have a couple headbands I bought at a craft fair a few years ago that I love.  I wanted a couple more and decided to do a search for a headband pattern but came up empty.  So in true Crafting Hobbit form I made my own pattern and decided to share it with everyone. I used my sewing machine but you could always hand sew this as well.

Fabric (this is a great project for scrap)
2 hair elastics
iron (optional)
needle and thread

Since I already had a headband I knew fit me I measured that (I only measured the fabric part since the elastics will add all the stretch you need).  If you don't have a headband then measure your head stopping behind your ears (again to account for the elastics and the stretch).  I have an average size head and it was about 13 inches for me.

I wanted a 3/4" wide headband so I made sure to cut a  1 3/4"" wide strip of fabric (remember seam allowances).  You can always cut 2 separate pieces of fabric, but this way you have less seams to sew.

Fold the fabric in half the long way with wrong sides facing and stitch up one long side.

Now turn your tube right side out.  I keep a set of chopsticks in my crafting table to help with this.

Iron your tube flat turning in the ends 1/4" and ironing those as well.

Take your 2 elastics and link them together.

To attach the elastic take one loop end of the elastic and place it in the end of your tube.  Top stitch the tube closed being careful not to catch the elastic.  I found if I pin the elastic to the corner it keeps it out of the way.
Repeat for the other end of your tube making sure not to twist the fabric.

You're done.

This is a simple and fin gift for girls of all ages.  Use their favorite colors, find fabrics with their favorite characters or sports teams to make it even more personalized. Make it a fun project together by using fabric glue and adding embellishments.

This is the last installment of my "Great Gift Ideas" series.  I hope everyone enjoyed it.  Happy Holidays every one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Family Fun Day: IKEA

I'm an explorer, always have been. I can find fun just about anywhere.  So when we needed to pick up a few things from IKEA we knew we could kill some time there.

Garrett loves the special carts they have (the ones where you can put the bags on the arms) because we can push the cart "backwards" so he sees where he is going.  We were with some friends so while they looked around Ben and I pushed Garrett (and the cart) between us.  He found it hilarious when we put some spin on it.

The best part was the children's section.  We let Garrett run around and test out the tables and chairs they had.  Lots of other parents had the same idea so it ended up as an impromptu play group.

We got what we needed and Garrett was tuckered out from running around.  Even running errands we can find a fun time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What NOT to do when representing an organization...

A year ago we had to rehome one of our Dachshunds.  It was a hard decision but  she was forcing Garrett off the breast and getting very jealous of him.  She wouldn't allow him to eat, would push him away from me even jumping on him.  Then she would get upset and destroy things and soil things around the house.  
We talked to a trainer and even had her come in for personal sessions.  We had started getting the dogs ready for the baby during my pregnancy.  Talula just couldn't handle it.  She was used to all the attention and became so disruptive that she endangered Garrett and I couldn't give her the care and attention she deserved.

We turned to CCDR to rehome her. While our experience was mostly pleasant there is one memeber of the organization who continues to harass me on Livejournal if I ever so much as mention that some people have reasons for rehoming their pets.
Her name is Krista Allen and she is very vocal about how much she represents CCDR.  She seems to take great glee in telling me and my husband we are shitty human beings for rehoming our dog.  According to her there would never be a reason anyone would need to rehome a dog.

It's painful.  We miss Talula but know it was the best decision for all involved.  A year later whenever I post to a particular message board she feels the need to tell me how much it was my fault that we had to rehome Talula and there was never a reason good enough to give her up.  I still don't understand why this representative of CCDR feels the need to pour salt in a still open wound.

Now represent an organization that helps people rehome their Dachshunds and you are vocal about how worthless you think the people who come to your organization looking for your help are?

Needless to say we will never be donating to CCDR again and I urge people not to donate to an organization that would so vocally look down on those who turn to them for help. 

Facebook fan page

Ok, I gave in.  I'm here on Facebook.  it's a perfect way for you to follow my blog on Facebook.

And for those people who are always up for a giveaway check out this adorable dragon fly ornament that is up for grabs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Great Gift Ideas: Zipper pouch or How I learned to stop fearing and love the zipper.

Zipper pouches are adorable and useful but sewing with a zipper can be a daunting task.  I know I was nervous about working with them.  My first attempt with a zipper it ended up on the wrong side.  I just didn't know what I was doing.   After a short search I found a great tutorial (and we all know how I love tutorials) for making zipper pouches.
 I love the way mine turned out.  It's the perfect size for change when we travel.  This way we won't have any loose change in our bags.

 This is a great project for scrap pieces or fat squares and only takes a few minutes to put together.  When giving them as a gift you can give them alone or stuff it with a special treat.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why are we so afraid of germs?

3 months ago my mom came in for Garrett's 1st birthday.  She came in a day early so we had some time to spend together.  We went for a walk with the little guy and then got lunch.  Garrett had learned to walk recently and was walking about 40% of the time.
After we ate he was being his social self and practicing his walking around and smiling at people.  We stopped and chatted with another mom who had a child just a month younger.   Garrett then lost his balance and put his hands on the floor for a moment before standing back up. (Keeping in mind they had just mopped the floor) Then this conversation took place:

Other mom:  Do you need hand sanitizer?
Me: *confused* for what?
Other mom: he touched the floor?
Me: it was only for a second.  He's done eating and we're going to the playground after this anyway.
Other mom: but he touched the floor!

Was I missing something?  This was somehow so disgusting and vile and the other mother would sneer at me and give me dirty looks?

There have been several stories about how dirty kids end up as healthier adults.  But so many people still seem to fear germs.  I saw one mother clean her breast off before breastfeeding.  I had just finished nursing my son and asked her about it.  She told me she didn't want her baby to get dirty milk.     I think I would have been more worried about the baby getting all the chemicals left behind by the wipe.

I was always one of those kids who got filthy.  I get colds now but they aren't horrible.   Garrett goes out and plays with other children on a regular basis.  I want him to be exposed now so he can build up immunities and be healthier.  He picks things up from the ground when we are at the park or the store.  Heck, even at home when he gets out of his high chair he wants some of the food that fell on the floor (not that I would let him eat off of public floors, but my floors or my mom's floors are clean).

So I'll continue letting my guy get dirty and messy and have fun.  It's part of being a kid.
Maybe I just should have told that woman to shut up because she was complaining how fat her child was while she gave him sips of her orange soda.  She wasn't exactly one to be talking about healthy practices for children.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great Gift Ideas: Home made gift certificates

Have someone on your gift list and you don't know what to get them?  Make them a gift certificate!  My friend Samantha became a new mommy a few months ago.  We had already given her everything baby that we had and wanted to get her and her husband something a little more personal. 
And what is it that new parents need?  How about a night of free babysitting (or 3 in our case).   I went on Microsoft word and looked at some of their templates for coupons and gift certificates.  They have several more templates you can download or you can even build your own.

Fill in the information to personalize it

You can use them for anyone. Come up with new and fun things, a massage for your spouse, a coupon for a night out with the girls/guys.  There are so many possibilities.  It shows your loved ones that you are really thinking of them and doing something special. 
If you print them out on card stock you can always use the fabric gift tag tutorial to add some extra flair.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why do parents compete?

I never got it.  I never understood why from the moment I got pregnant people felt the need to tell me how I was already doing it wrong because I didn't do it their way.

Yes, I'm a pro-breastfeeding, cloth diaper, AP practicing, crunchy mom.   But that's what works for me.  If people ask what we do I say "this is what works for us." "this is what we do."  I get that different things work for different people and just because someone chooses to parent differently doesn't make them a bad parent.

When did parenting stop being about love?  Or doing the best you could?  I do understand that breastfeeding is better, but that doesn't make parents who formula feed bad parents. 

We're supposed to be here to love our children and help those around us.  Not to belittle anyone who doesn't have the exact same thoughts of parents as you.  People are different, children are different.  Different things work for difference people.

As Theodore Roosevelt said "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Great Gift Ideas: mini pincushions

I'm in love with this quick and easy tutorial on making tiny little pincushions.  In 20 minutes I whipped up 2 and I'm addicted.  I wish I had more pins so I could make even more (I'm sure I'll find an excuse).     They're an adorable gift for the crafter in your life.  As a bonus they reuse all those bottle caps that you otherwise toss out.

The cap on the left is from a Pepsi product.  For that I found 5/8" ribbon was the perfect size.
On the right is a Coke product cap.  It's a bit smaller and 3/8" ribbon was the size that fit best.

Heck, stick some catnip in it and it could be a great cat toy (we all know how cats love bottle caps).

Saturday, December 4, 2010

8 Nights of Chanukkah Song

Last year around the holidays Garrett was teething and few things could calm him down when he was upset.  Ben made up a song to the 12 Days of Christmas.  We're been singing it this year and he still finds it hilarious.
I figured I'd share it because it's fun to sing.

On the 8th night of Chanukkah my Bubbe gave to me:
8 Action Figures
7 Comic Book
6 French Lessons
5 Pieces of Gelt
4 Pairs of Slack
3 Pencil Cases
2 Pairs of Socks
and a Harry Potter DVD

Copyright Ben Rodda 2009

Cup Cozy Winner

I forgot to take a picture of the number from however it chose #6.  And the 6th comment was from Jessica.  Congratulations!
Please contact me (my email is on my profile) so I can send you your cup cozy :)

Even though we didn't get a lot of comments this was fun.  I'm working on another tutorial now and I hope to do more giveaways after the holidays.

Friday, December 3, 2010


We've been users of Vistaprint for several years but in the last year we've noticed their service and product quality have gone downhill.
The first issue we were having was with shipping.  They give you a tracking number that only tracks part way because they chose a postal service that then subcontracts out to someone else.  So I never really know where my package is.  I get emails telling me I should have had my package already but no one knows where it is.

Then I get my package.  I'm relieved because I want to put the labels and stamps on the cards and get them out.
The front is much more visible in person but does go all the way around the front on to the back.
 I could have done this on my printer at home.  I looked through and ALL the cards are like this. 
Way to go Vistaprint, we will never use you again and I encourage everyone to stay away from their crappy handiwork.

Family Fun Day: Berkshires and the Capital Region

Thanksgiving weekend we went to Western MA to visit family and even got together with some friends in the Capital District of NY.
As usually I found some inexpensive (and some free) things to do in our free time.

The New York State Museum in Albany is free to the public.  We usually like to donate a few dollars when we visit, but $5 is well worth it. 
Checking out the moose
 There are lots of different exhibits to look through and enjoy.  Even a discovery and play area.
Garrett having fun with blocks

A traction engine, just like Trevor
 And yes, a replica of the stoop from Sesame Street was among the displays of different areas of New York City.

 Garrett enjoyed the train.
A genuine strap hanger

There is also the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA.  Because we have a membership to our local Museum of Science we got the member rate at the museum here.   Most museums do have a passport program that will allow you to use your membership from your home museum for other museums you may visit.

That's a mighty large bone
 The Berkshire Museum features a small aquarium section in the basement.

Can you tell he loves fish?

Ben says Moray Eels are creepy
Garrett had fun petting the Horseshoe crabs at the touch pool. I love how unafraid he is.

Even the gems and minerals are pretty cool to look at.

We all had fun walking around the museums.  Even if you don't live in a larger area you can still have a family day out without breaking the bank.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Chanukkah

Tonight is the first night of Chanukkah.  It's amazing to see how much Garrett has grown.  Before I know it he'll be helping me light the candles.
Chanukkah 2010

I hope that he'll enjoy lighting the candles on the Menorah as much as I do. 
Chanukkah 2009

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cup Cozy Giveaway

You all know how much I love making cup cozies so I decided to do a giveaway just in time for the holiday.   I'll be making a bright and funky colored cup cozy to give away to one of my readers.

Just leave a comment here letting me know you want to be entered.  Tweet or blog about this giveaway and you get an extra entry (just leave an additional comment).
I'll choose the winner at random this Saturday.

These colors will be sure to brighten any dreary winter day.

Great gift ideas: Wee Wonderfuls

Ever since a friend made us this bunny I've been in love with Wee Wonderfuls.
After having so much fun making my own bunnies for family and friends I decided to make their Pointy Kitty.  I had a lot of fun making it and I hope the recipient loves it as well. 

Wee Wonderfuls have some adorable free patterns and even more patterns you can buy.  I love that their patterns are simple and easy to follow even for a beginner like me.  In not time you can whip up your own set of animals for the munchkin in your life.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A total mommy moment

I can't help it, maybe it's just me, but I love watching Garrett eat.

I just find it adorable, amazing and hilarious at the same time.  He's such a wonderful eater and he enjoys doing it himself.  He eats just about anything you give him and does so with such gusto. 

I love my little guy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Going to McDonalds does NOT make me a bad mom!

I'm hearing so many parents today who say "my child will never eat that" or "we don't allow that kind of crap". Now I'm very careful with what my family eats especially since I'm a diabetic.  Our meals are balanced and there are lots of fruits and veggies.
So when Ben says "McDonalds tonight?" I don't have a problem with it.   Admittedly ours has a playspace and it's great for Garrett to run around and play (especially during the colder months in New England).
While visiting Western MA for Thanksgiving we got together with my friend  Ali and her husband and daughter.  We decided to meet at McDonalds since it has a play area. 
Putting shoes in the cubby

Garrett and Ro got lots of time to play and hand lots of fun while us parents got to chat.

"But you let him eat that stuff?"  Yes, yes I do.  We get him either nuggets or a burger and apple dippers.  He'll invariably reach for fruit before anything else. He'll even eat bits of my salad.  Garrett is a good eater, he's not picky and will eat just about anything set in front of him.  I'd be more worried if he never got a treat, never got to eat anything different. Maybe it's not a mommy perfect meal but he doesn't eat it all the time and certainly knows that McDonalds is a special treat.

So don't worry mom it's ok to go to McDonalds once in a while.  It's all about balance.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Family Fun Day: Enchanted Village/Jordan's Furniture

Family Fun, at a furniture store?
It's why we love Jordan's Furniture.  Different locations have different attractions.  One location has a Mardi Gras show every hour.  Another has a village made out of jelly beans, a dancing fountain and a trapeze school.  It's even fun just walking through their store and looking at everything.

We decided to go to the Enchanted Village.

The display used to be in Boston but the city had to sell it.  Jordan's bought it and keep it on display during the holiday season.   
The line was long but it moved.  I'd hate to think of how long it will get in the next few weeks. 

They've done an amazing job of restoring everything and making it look so realistic.  Garrett had a lot of fun watching the displays.

Every 10 minutes or so they'd have a machine go off and make "snow" (it was really just bubble foam) and Garrett found this amazing and hilarious at the same time.

We had lots of fun and like my other Family Fun Days we didn't have to spend anything on our adventures.