Little Family on the Big Lake

September Bullet Journal

September is almost upon us! I love September because that means we are getting ready for fall, which is my favorite season. I am hoping for a long fall season, because they tend to be short here and the snow comes quickly. For September’s bullet journal, the focus will be the love aster flower. I had a lot of fun creating these spreads. I let things get a bit loose and interpretive on these ones. Asters, to me, tend to look wild and free so I wanted to keep the same wild look in my September bullet journal spread.

I know I haven’t posted in a while, but this summer has been crazy! There has been a lot going on in our lives and in the world. I have also been working on many projects and will share them with you just as soon as I get them wrapped up.

As always I have taken inspiration from Shayda Campbell. She has some amazing artwork and bullet journals on her page. You should check her out!

Cover Page

September Bullet Journal

September’s bullet journal is dedicated to the beautiful aster flower. I kept things simple in this spread. A simple pen line drawing with some water colors. I also included a quote that perfectly expresses my feeling towards the coming fall.

Monthly Calendar

September Bullet Journal

I included another full page monthly calendar for this month; I find I like having the ample space. I also started my dip into the more wild drawings of aster flowers.

Expense Tracker

September Bullet Journal

This monthly expense tracker hasn’t changed much other than adding new flowers. This layout seems to work for me.

Blog and Engagement and To Do List

September Bullet Journal

So that’s it – my September bullet journal! I had a lot of fun creating this spread. It was refreshing to be a bit wild with the flowers this month. What did you think of the spread? Let me know in the comments down below!

August Bullet Journal

August is upon us and it feels like the summer is flying by. That means it’s time for the August bullet journal spread! This month’s flower theme is the lovely gladiola. The gladiola seemed a bit daunting to draw at first, but breaking down the flowers into segments really helped. I also decided to mix things up a bit this month and change one of my mediums: I used oil pastels. It was fun to mix things up a bit. For my cover page I was feeling the black and white, but for the other pages I added a bit of color. Let me know what you think. It was fun blending the colors but it was a bit difficult to work in small areas!

For better or for worse, there was a lot that happened in July. There were definitely ups and downs and I am hoping that August is a fresh start because I personally could really use one.

As always I have taken inspiration from Shayda Campbell. Check out her channel for her August bullet journal!

So here we go, the August bullet journal…

Cover Page

I normally add a quote to my cover pages, something to inspire me for the month. However, this month I found that I loved the look of the gladiolas filling the pages. I was feeling the black and white, but what do you think, should I add color? Let me know in the comments below.

Calendar

I continued with the fuller calendar for the month of August. I found I have been using more of the space now that I am not doing so much of the weekly spreads.

Monthly Expenses

Blog Page

In July I found having a big spread for my blog engagement was really helpful. Also having a running to-do list was nice. Last month I ran into a second page for the to-do list.

Let me know what you think of this August bullet journal spread. Have you tried making a gladiolas-themed bullet journal? Let me know in the comments below!

Guitar Wall

With our Little One up and moving and getting into everything. I thought it was time to get organized with different things, and a guitar wall for our guitars was one of them. I found this great kit on Amazon. The process for installing the guitar wall was simply and took not much time at all. I thought I would walk you through how to put one up, just in case you were wanting to do a similar project. It really was easy, and as they say, there is no time like the present!

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Set Up

The first step is to decide upon a layout for the guitars. I decided to place the guitars as pictured below with the ukulele in the middle. The acoustic guitar is going to go on the left because it’s closer to the corner of the room. It will take up less space this way. The electric guitar will go on the right side because it’s lighter and thinner.

guitar wall

Placement

This kit comes with these stickers for easy visualization and placement. To determine where I wanted each guitar wall hook to be, I first found the length of the wall and divided it by 4. That gave me the three points equal distance from each other. I next determined how much lower I wanted the ukulele.

guitar wall guides

Mounting Brackets

Unless you can mount the brackets into a stud, you will have to use drywall anchors. The kit comes with anchors as well as all the other hardware needed. The plastic guides have holes indicating where to place the anchors, as well as the size of the drill bit. Once the holes are in, you can insert the dry wall anchors. The next step is to set up the wall mount and screw it into the wall.

Final Step

Finally, screw the hanger in the the mount. Hang up your guitars and the guitar wall is done!

Wasn’t that easy? Let me know in the comments down below if you have put up your own guitar wall!

guitar wall

Nursing for over 2 years

I have been nursing for over 2 years.

Right now I am expecting reactions somewhere between “eww!”, “why?”, and “how did you do that?”

I thought I would share my journey with breastfeeding because it’s been a long, and I feel informative, one. There seems to be such a stigma about breastfeeding. In truth it is both very natural and a difficult body function. We need to speak out and try to make long term breastfeeding normal (because it is!).

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Recommendations

Let me start off by saying the World Health Organization recommends that children be breastfed for 2 years and beyond.

“From the age of 6 months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.”

https://www.who.int/health-topics/breastfeeding#tab=tab_2

For some reason here in the US, nursing for an extend period of time is characterized as weird. In other parts of the world, nursing past 3 years is normal. I found this great article about these trends that is worth a read: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/parenting/baby/how-long-should-you-breastfeed.html

Starting Out

I started out nursing shortly after Little One was born. He arrived in a bit of a dramatic fashion and you can read all about that here. When we started to nurse it was a bit delayed. After a couple times trying with it not going great, a nurse realized that Little One was tongue tied. A pediatrician came in the next day and did a procedure to fix the tongue tie. In the meantime I pumped and fed him using a syringe. It was definitely not how I pictured my first nursing experience to go. After another day, Little One was latching much better, but still not as well as he could be.

Enter the nipple shield. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a thin piece of plastic that goes over the nipple that helps a baby latch. The message I kept receiving in the hospital was try to get the baby to stop using the shield as soon as possible to avoid nipple confusion. I was so stressed out about this and kept trying without the shield. Ten days after Little One was born we had his first well baby appointment and I spoke to my doctor about this. She told me not to worry and use the shield as long as Little One needed it and that eventually, he will stop. You know what? She was right! In his 3rd month Little One stopped using it and hasn’t used it ever since.

Now every baby is different and every situation is different, but this is what worked for us.

The first couple months

I was recently talking to a friend whose sister-in-law just had a baby. She was telling my friend how the baby was so good and on a feeding schedule. My friend was considerate but not feeling great about herself because she had a rather difficult birth and nursing experience and it brought up some old feelings.

I honesty gave a bit of a laugh. The baby is two weeks old – just wait until the baby starts cluster feeding. That nice little schedule is going to go out the window. Now every baby is different and so is every family. Not every baby goes through a cluster feeding phase, but a lot do!

Cluster feeding is when the baby wants to nurse repeatedly for a couple hours stretch. He will take a nap and want to cluster feed again. This process normally lasts for a couple of days, then goes back to normal. A couple of days after that the cluster feeding starts up again. This normally starts in the the 3-4 weeks of life and can last a couple of weeks if not longer. The reason this happens is because nursing the baby triggers mom’s body to produce more milk.

There is so much growing that a baby does during the first couple of months. Cluster feeding is how the baby gets the mom to make as much milk that he or she needs.

Little One and Cluster Feeding

Little One started cluster feeding in his 3rd or 4th week of life, but I can’t quite remember. I felt like the only thing I was doing was nursing because I was doing it for days on end. This might be too much information, but during this time I developed a sharp pain when Little One nursed on the left side. I spoke with my doctor about it and she said it was one of those things that needed time to adjust and to keep using nipple cream. (This one is good for soothing and this one is great for tougher situations).

Eventually the pain subsided, but it took about a month. I could have very easily bowed out at that time and made the switch to formula. Knowing how good breast milk was for my Little One, I decided to stick with it. I am also quite thrifty so I didn’t want to pay for formula!

The cluster feeding lasted for about 3-4 weeks before we developed more of a balance. In the off days of cluster feeding, your body will continue to produce more milk. I used this time to pump and freeze the mild for later use.

Going back to Work and Pumping

After my short maternity leave I had to go back to work, which meant pumping there (this is the one I used). I was constantly struggling to produce enough for the day and trying to build a reserve. I would often do extra pumping sessions to help build my frozen stash.

My doctor recommended to just worry about producing enough milk for the next day. However, I wanted to have extra in the freezer because I was just not crazy about pumping.

I want to take a moment to recognize that I was only successful because I had a work environment that accommodated me. As a society and a work force we need to change to make pumping at work available to everyone! I read so many stories of women who stop pumping because they aren’t able to at work. Nursing is so important for the heath of a baby. Give moms the tools to keep it up. Pumping is hard enough without the extra challenges of an unaccommodating work place.

It is important to know your rights when it comes to pumping in the work place. Check out this website from the Department of Labor which indicates what the law states about pumping in the work place. While it is the law, it takes mothers (and fathers!) advocating and speaking up for their rights to effect change.

I spoke with my employer before I got back and set up a plan for pumping. The nature of my job has me moving around a bit. I do have a private office that I used to pump in. However, when I was on the road I often used my car adapter to pump in the car or reserve a meeting room in my other office location for privacy.

Speak up! Know your rights! Hold your employer accountable!

1 year

I made it to one year. That was my goal – at least one year of nursing. At this time I decided to stop pumping at work. It was a huge relief. Through my pumping experience I built quite a stash. I was able to send milk with Little One to day care until he was 18 months old!

We developed a schedule at this time. Little One would nurse when he woke up, right after we got home from day care, and again before bed. Also, on the weekends we would nurse before he went down for his nap.

18 months

Around 18 months Little One stopped wanting to nurse when he got home from day care. He wanted a snack instead. The first time it happened I cried. My little boy was growing up and that special connection we had was coming to an end. While we have kept up the morning and night nursing sessions, it was sad to lose this one.

2 years

We have reached two years! Little One is still nursing before going to bed at night. Sometimes he decides he wants to nurse in the morning, but it’s not an everyday thing. If he isn’t feeling well, sometimes he will want to nurse randomly during the day.

We have a good balance. Little One eats solid food during the day and for each meal. He will nurse right before going to bed. This is an important step in our night time routine. You can read more about that here. I have decided we will keep going as long as he wants to.

To all those out there who view nursing for over 2 years old to be weird, I have to say it really isn’t. In most parts of the world it is normal. I have nursed my son since he was born and we have grown together. It’s not like I have suddenly started nursing a two year old. It’s a natural connection only a mother and baby can have.

Final Thoughts

So that’s the story of how I been nursing for over 2 years. My big takeaway is that nursing is hard, but it is worth it for your baby. Because of this, I do believe fed is best and you need to do what is right for you and your family, whether that means breastfeeding, using formula, or a mixture of both. I have also learned that moms have to stand up for themselves! Advocate for the right to feed your baby in whatever way that means! Hopefully with more moms and dads speaking out we can bring about the change for a more accepting society and work place.

I would love to hear your nursing stories. Have any of you tried nursing over 2 years? Let me know in the comments below!

Family Photo Album

Little One’s 2nd birthday was last week! Due to the COVID-19 situation we were not able to have a family birthday party like we normally would have…this virus has kept us from seeing those we love. While my husband and I are able to talk on the phone, it’s harder for Little One to make that connection. So for his 2nd Birthday, because his family couldn’t come to him, I decided to make a family photo album for him.

Like many homes, we have pictures of our family members around the house. Little One looks at these but has a hard time with the big group pictures telling each person apart. They are also attached to the wall out of his reach and out of his line of sight. We wanted to make a photo album with a picture of each family member so Little One could really get to know their faces and names.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Creating the Photo Book

Knowing me, I wanted to try to reuse as much as I could. I found a photo book like this one from Amazon. The one I used was one I picked it up at Walmart many years ago and now being repurposed. I have found that Little One is hard on the thin plastic pages and we have needed to tape a couple. A book like this might work a little better, but that is just a guess.

If able, getting a photo book printed might be the most durable. But again that is just a guess. I have gotten books printed before and have always been really happy with the results.

Whatever you decide to use to make your family photo album, just be sure that it will be okay for your kiddo to play with. The whole point of this to have pictures of your family members accessible to them!.

Getting Photos Printed

To create our family photo album, I asked each of our family members to send me a picture of just themselves. We had a lot of pictures of our family members, but not a lot of individual pictures of just them. Of course our family members were happy to snap off a picture and text it to me so I could print it out for the Little One.

I used Target Photos to print out all my pictures. I am working on getting a promo code for all of you…I’ll update this when I do!

Name Cards

One of the features I wanted to include in my photo book was to include name cards for each family member. I did this because I think having the names written out will help Little One with his language skills. I created a card in my edit program. You are in luck I have done the leg work for you. Available for download I have a blue and white version and a black and white version. They are also in two sizes one in 5*7 and 4*6.

Family Photo Book

Little One loves his family photo album. I often find him sitting in the living room flipping though the pages. We will talk about a family member and he will go get the family photo album. He will find the picture of the person we are talking about. He is slowly learning the names, he is better with some than others. Little One always knows who we are talking about.

July Bullet Journal

It’s mid-June and this month has been crazy already! There is a lot going on in both our home and in the world. If you noticed, I didn’t do a spread for June. I tried but it didn’t turn out well…sometimes that happens. I also found that I just didn’t need as much being that things are so up in the air right now. However, I have reorganized myself and created some spreads that I think will work for my July bullet journal.

This month is dedicated to the beautiful delphinium. As always I have taken inspiration from the very talented Shayda Campbell. I don’t think she has her July spread out yet, but when she posts it be sure to check it out!

I had a lot of fun creating this July bullet journal spread. The delphinium is such a delightful flower to draw. The grouping of little flowers and buds are easy and when clustered together creates a really nice effect. I chose to add water colors this month to add some pop. If you just use a pen, they still looked fantastic.

July Cover Page

July bullet journal cover page

This is the cover page for July.

July Calendar

July Bullet Journal monthly calendar

I switched things up for July and changed back to the bigger calendar. Since I am not doing weekly spreads like I was doing, I decided that I need more space in my calendar section for writing things down.

July Monthly Expenses

July bullet journal monthly expenses

My monthly expenses page has not changed much. I use this every month and it helps me track my purchases. This has been a game changer in helping us keep to our monthly budget!

July Spread

I have forgone my normal weekly spread for this month. I found that in June and May I didn’t use my weekly spreads very much. The parts that I really used were my blog engagement tracker and my meal planning. I also included a section for a to-do list. I will try out this method and see if it works well for me. Setting everything up on one page is going to make things a bit easier for me; now I don’t have to flip back and forth. I think just having a long to-do list is going to be helpful, too. As long as I get everything done, the particular day doesn’t matter as much. Summer Rules!

July Bullet Journal todo list

What do you think of the new July bullet journal layout? Have you been changing up your bullet journals to adjust to your new schedule? I would love to see your spreads! Let me know in the comments below or tag me on facebook.

DIY Sandbox

Now that summer weather has hit the North Shore and we have been spending so much time outside, Little One has been enjoying playing in the sandbox at daycare. I decided that it was time to make one at home, too. There are lots of designs to choose from. However, I decided to work with what I have and try making a DIY sandbox without purchasing anything.

Step One- Determining Location

My first step in creating a DIY sandbox was determining the location for it. We have this garden bed in our back yard. We have already let Little One have a bit of free reign on this garden bed. It is in need of a weeding and being under a tree, it is pretty much shaded most of the day. The soil is full of tree roots so it’s hard to grow flowers. My ultimate goal is to include the sandbox and make the other section a great interactive garden for Little One to plant in.

I love taking what I already have and creating something more useful. Using the garden bed, there are already three sides to hold in the sand. I will only have to create a separator in the garden. While the rocks are not ideal, I will try to rearrange them to make the sandbox more accessible.

Step Two-Creating the Sandbox

The first step in creating this sandbox was to dig! I first focused on trying to save any of the plants and transplanting them into the garden section. I put the rest of the dirt on a tarp to be taken to the dump later. I did manage to salvage some dirt for the garden. However, there were a lot of roots which didn’t make it useful. I dug down 5-6 inches, which should be more then enough digging room.

I managed to tackle this DIY sandbox during nap time, so it really didn’t take too long. That also included steps three and four…

DIY Sandbox

Step Three-Sandbox Foundation

The next step was creating the sandbox foundation. I wanted to include a good base for the sandbox or weeds and critters would try to make it home. Of course, I wanted to use recycled materials instead of buying new.

Did you know that cardboard works well as a weed barrier? I have seen them used in the bases of garden beds, so I thought it would work well for a sandbox, too. We had a bunch of it saved up because we haven’t been able to get to the recycle center.

I laid a layer of cardboard over the dirt, overlapping as I went. I then laid down a layer of plastic. I found this sheet of plastic in the garage that was used to wrap a package – I have held onto it all these years and it finally came in use! I tucked the plastic under the wood and the rocks. I left a good amount hanging for the bench I am going to make.

DIY sandbox

Step Four-Bench

For the separation between the sandbox and garden, I wanted to make a bench of sorts. I knew I would end up sitting in the sandbox playing with Little One, so I wanted to create something that would be more comfortable to sit on. There were some 2x12s left in my wood stash so I joined two pieces together using 45* angles to create the length I needed. I added a piece of 2×4 over the joint to stabilize it. I also used wood on each side of the 45* cut. Using my Kreg Jig, I drilled 4 holes in my two supporting lengths of 2×4. I attached them to my top piece using 2 1/2 inch screws.

I laid the bench in the sandbox. I used one of the legs to hold down the plastic. For the other one, I dug a trench in the dirt. This bench will not last forever, but I don’t need it to. A coat of polyurethane would help it last longer.

DIY sandbox bench

Step Five-Sand

The final step in creating this DIY sandbox was filling it with sand! I remember back in my home town there was a sand pit that we always got sand from. I asked around my new town if there was an area that people got sand from. One of my mom’s friends happened to live near one and helped us get some sand. It isn’t as smooth as the stuff from a bag, but Little One has fun all the same!

DIY sandbox

Little One is having so much fun playing in his new DIY sandbox. I’ve been using some recyclables as buckets for him, but I know Grandma is getting him sand toys for his birthday. I can’t believe he is going to be 2! Time is going by so fast.

If you make a DIY sandbox, let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear about your results!

Eco Conscious Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Father’s day is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about the special dad in your life! I have compiled a list of ideas for those dads who are more eco conscious and nature oriented. I see so many lists out there full of suggestions of goofy ties, drinking products, and golf. But I wanted to gather some ideas for the nature loving dads out there. So check out these Eco Conscious Fathers day gift ideas.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Water Bottle

Water bottles are a great way to reduce plastic waste. There are so many excellent water bottles out there. I personally love using bottles made of glass because I think the water tastes so much better in them. Check this one out that also has a shaker in it.

Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are excellent additions to your yard or garden. You can try this one from Amazon, but check out your local garden center or hardware store to find a nice wooden bird feeder.

Plant or Tree

Certain trees and plants are a wonderful addition to a yard or garden Try getting your dad his favorite plant or tree for his garden this year.

Books

Books are always great gifts. Check out your local book shop or try to find a second hand book in good shape. For the tech lovers out there, try Kindle Unlimited. Using this link, you can get your first month free!

Field Guides

I have found that wanting to be more eco friendly increases when I spend time in nature and learn more about it. Field guides are great to bring on hikes and adventures for this exact purpose. Try this tree or bird book to get started!

Straw Hat

It is important to shield one’s self from the sun when spending time outdoors. This straw hat is great for keeping the rays out of the face and it’s an all-natural material, too!

Electric Lawn Care

We spend so much energy and gas on mowing and caring for our lawns. An eco friendly upgrade from the gas guzzling yard appliances is an electric mower and/or weed whip. For the ambitious types, try a push lawn mower!

Subscription

Subscriptions are also great gifts! Try Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, or satellite radio.

Movie or DVD rental

Having a family movie night is really fun! Try your local move rental or a red box.

State Parks Pass

Getting outside is a great way to spend a day. This year get a parks pass as a gift to encourage outdoor adventures. Every state does things a little different so I found this great website that has information for all 50 states.

Zero Waste Personal Care

Switching to zero waste bathroom items can help cut out so much plastic waste. Try this Ethique sample pack of shampoo and conditioners. I have tried a couple of different shampoo bars and Ethique is hands down my favorite. My husband and I also love using felt soap. While I linked felt soap from Amazon, I purchase mine from a local woman who I met at the farmer’s market. As always, I encourage you to shop local when you can.

Reusable Coffee Filter, and Beans

Last but not least, consider these reusable coffee liners and dad’s favorite beans from a bulk bin.

I hope you found some ideas on this list that the father in your life would love. I tried to find some Eco Conscious Fathers Day gift ideas that were friendly to the environment and fun, too! Let me know what you think in the comments below!

For more eco friendly gifts check out my zero waste gift ideas!

Toddler Sleep though the Night

Like many parents out there I struggled with getting my toddler to sleep through the night. When he was an infant, I just accepted that we were not going to sleep through the night. However, as we passed the 14 month mark and he was still not sleeping through the night, we realized something had to change. At this point, Little One would wake up and I’d bring him into our bed to nurse and he would start pushing me or kicking…not fun. For some reason he only did this to me and not my husband. Needless to say, I couldn’t handle it any more. This is the story of how Little One went from the worst sleeper to the best sleeper, and how I got my toddler to finally sleep through the night.

I read tons of post and articles on how to get a toddler to sleep through the night. There is lots of advice out there! I am going to share what has worked for us but every child is different and every family is different, so find what works for you.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Step One – Preparing Sleeping Area

The first step for us was moving Little One to his own room. My husband and I were both having a hard time taking this step. We liked having him with us and didn’t want our Little One to grow up.

We already had his crib set up with a tight fitting sheet. Our next step was to add a small fleece blanket and Gray Elephant Security Blanket, named Ellington. Being that Little One was 14-15 months he was able to have a small blanket to sleep with. Follow recommendations from your doctor when adding items to your child’s crib.

We also added a humidifier and a fan to Little One’s room. In my reading I learned that it is important to set up the room for sleeping. The humidifier keeps him from getting too dry, which was important at the time because we were heading into winter. Keeping the air flowing was important, too. We had the fan blowing, as well (away from the crib). Both of these items helped provide white noise.

Step 2- Bed time routine

With the new change to Little One sleeping in his own room, our nighttime routine had to change, too. On bath nights (every other night) we would start with the bath. He loves bubbles and we love this foaming bath wash that can be used as a soap and to create a bubble bath. After his bath we would score an extra snuggle and wrap him in his Hogwarts towel. My husband and I would apply lotion and this chest rub. The chest rub helps prompt sleep and did wonders in calming Little One down for sleep. We then brush his teeth and get his pajamas on. If you are choosing to cloth diaper, check out my night time cloth diapering solutions.

Next, my husband and Little One would cuddle in the chair in his room and read books. This can take a little while (especially with those two bookworms) and when they are done, I take over and nurse Little One. I didn’t use the boppy much when first starting to nurse but now I use it every night. Little One and I would then cuddle in the chair for a while while rocking.

The final step was asking Little One if he was ready for Ellington. It took a couple of days to get into this routine, but eventually he would sit up and point to Ellington. I would walk over to the crib, hand him Ellington, and lay him down in the crib. Then I would tuck him in with the blanket, give one more kiss, and head out.

The first couple of nights

When we changed to this routine I could have very easily given up. But I knew for the long run that we had to get through this. The new routine that we laid out above went well but once I laid him down he started to cry. That was the hardest part. It ripped my heart out and all I would want to do was go back in and cuddle him.

However, I stuck to my gut and let him cry and in a couple of minutes he would fall asleep.

After the first week he wasn’t crying at all when I put him down. After that first week he started sleeping consistently 12-13 hours per night. I could not believe it!

Little One went from the worst sleeping to the best sleeping in a matter of a week. It was incredible! I was so happy that I finally got my toddler to sleep though the night, and that I got to sleep though the night too. Believe me it was much needed.

Final Thoughts

Little One is almost 2 now – I can’t believe it! Our nightly routine has remained much the same. He is still sleeping through the night and is waking up a happy boy.

I am not sure if there was one particular step that really made this work. All of the changes working together is what helped us get to this point.

I have found that the chest rub has been incredibly helpful in relaxing Little One and getting him ready for bed. If your toddler is anything like mine, they are constantly running and excited. The chest rub really helped relax him. The eucalyptus and lavender mix smell so good and is soothing. We rub a little on his chest right before pajamas and it just gets him in the right mindset for sleep.

My sister-in-law works with Wink Naturals and sells these awesome products. I’ll drop her link below to her Facebook page and the store. If you are interested in these products but not sure if you’re ready yet, follow her on Facebook. She posts great information and has frequent sales so check it out!

Next, did you see our recent post on 6 baby products you need to try?

Follow wink naturals toddler sleep though the night
Rachel with wink natural toddler sleep though the night

DIY Wall Hooks

I tackled a much needed organizational project this week. With summer starting to make the first glimmer, we have pulled out our summer straw hats. Our major problem is that we are short on space and we have added an additional hat for Little One. We have a small sliver of space between our exterior door and the door to the kitchen. This is a perfect place for hat storage because it offers a lot of vertical storage. I started to search for some wall hooks, and found some great ones. However, I thought I could try to make my own DIY wall hooks.

I saw this article from Grillo-Designs which introduced me to the idea of using cabinet knobs as hooks using hanger bolts. While I was out in my garage I happened upon some extra dowels from my hammock swing DIY. I thought I could make some hooks for our hats in combination with the hanger bolts. This project was pretty easy and took me less than an hour to complete. Check out how to make DIY wall hooks below.

Materials

  • Dowel at least 3/4 inch in diameter. You could use a larger dowel to create larger hooks.
  • Hanger Bolt I used a 1 inch bolt. If you are planning on hanging heavy objects I would suggest a longer hanger bolt, but for our hats the 1 inch worked perfectly.
  • Wall anchors
  • Drill
  • Clamp
  • Stain I used stain that I had left over from another project. These hooks are small so it really didn’t take much to stain them. If you like the look of the natural wood you could leave them unfinished or with a light polyurethane or coconut oil.
  • Level

Process

Making these DIY wall hooks was pretty easy. I first dug around in my garage and found a dowel. I decided that I wanted my hooks to be 2 inches long. This is a great length for supporting these kinds of hats. This can be easily adjusted to meet any need. I marked two inches and cut at the mark on a 45 degree angle. Using my miter saw but this miter box and hand saw would do the trick and is a great budget friendly option. I used this process to cut three hooks and then sanded them with my palm sander and sand paper. You could just do this process by hand, as well.

The next step is to finish the hooks with your chosen finish. I used my left over stain from another project. Let it dry before moving on to the next step.

cut DIY wall hook

Second Step

The next step in this process is to create a drill hole for the hanger bolt to go into. I happen to have a clamp attached to my work bench which worked perfectly. Next I clamped in hooks and used a level to make sure it was, well…level. Using my drill to drill a hole to 1/2 the length of my hanger bolt. I positioned the bit to the thicker part of the hook. I didn’t want to drill though the hook.

Level on DIY wall hook

Next, I screwed the hanger bolts into the hooks. Then I found the places on the wall that I wanted the hooks to be. At these locations I drilled into the wall and hammered in the wall anchors. I spun the hooks into the wall anchors. And that’s it! I love how great these DIY wall hooks turned out!

Adding DIY wall hook
DIY wall hook

What do you think of these DIY wall hooks? They were so easy to make and they can be changed up to fit any space!