Parenting

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.

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

6 Baby Products You Need to Try

Knowing what products to get for your new baby can be quite challenging. In our efforts to find the most effective products, we have tried them all. I don’t know how many partially used tubs of diaper cream we have sitting in a drawer. We care about only using the best products for our Little One, so when we heard about Wink Naturals it was a perfect match. Not only are all the products natural and cruelty free, they simply work really well! So check out these 6 baby products you need to try today!

We first heard about Wink Naturals from my sister-in-law. She learned about these products and likes them so much that she now works with Wink Naturals. I’ll link her page below where you can get your own Wink products.

6 Baby Products You Need to Try

Bum Balm

The first item for the 6 baby products you need to try is bum balm. This bum balm is fantastic – and not just for the bum! Bum balm makes taking care of diaper rashes a breeze. I use it right away when I see something pop up, and in one or two applications the problems gets resolved. By the way, did you know that using cloth diapers can also reduce the risk of diaper rash? Learn more here.

Bum Balm is great for wherever there is skin irritation. My sister-in-law first started to use bum balm on her little one’s eczema and had dramatic results. But don’t take my word for it, check out her testimonial below.

6 Baby Products You Need to Try View Testimonial
6 Baby Products You Need to Try Bum Balm

Llama Lotion

This lotion is fantastic! It is great for moisturizing and keeping your baby’s skin soft. Llama lotion has no parabens, toxins, harsh chemicals, dyes, sulfates, fragrances, or petroleum. It is great for the rough patches that pop up for people of any age.

I recently had a dry patch pop up by my knee. I tried a couple different kinds of lotion that didn’t work. The patch was red, itching and very irritating. Then I remembered that I had a tub of llama lotion. Three applications of llama lotion and the dry patch is gone. It was amazing how quickly it worked!

I also used it last winter when my Little One had some chapped cheeks. A couple applications of this llama lotion and his skin was baby smooth once again.

6 Baby Products You Need to Try Llama Lotion

Chest Rub

We tried everything to get our Little One to sleep through the night. At 15 months both my husband and I were losing our minds. We decided we needed to change up our whole nightly routine. One of the things we implemented was this chest rub. It has coconut oil, Shea butter, and eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils that help promote a restful sleep.

Our new routine included moving Little One into his own room and put this chest rub on him every night. Suddenly he went from waking up 4 times a night to sleeping for 12 hours straight! I couldn’t believe it the first time, I was in utter shock. While the chest rub doesn’t put him to sleep, it is a part of our nighttime routine that calms Little One down and prepares him for a restful night. We have been using it for the past 6 months and plan on continuing to use it for a while.

For those of you who have older kids, Wink Naturals also has kids sleep drop system.

6 Baby Products You Need to Try Chest Rub

Bath Oil

This bath oil is a wonderful part of a bath tub routine. It is safe, natural, and perfect for babies and people of all ages. The bath oil smells wonderful and is scented with lavender and citrus essential oils. It is very gentle and works great for sensitive skin. A little goes a long way and the foaming bath wash can also be used for making bubble baths!

6 Baby Products You Need to Try Bath Wash

Teething Gel

Teething can be such a hard time for your young ones. They are so unhappy and understandably so. I never wanted to put those harsh teething gels on Little One’s gums. This product is all natural and it has a great flavor that your Little One will like.

I know for for a fact that it works well. Right before we left for our Yoho trip, I had a tooth that developed an abscess and was extremely painful. The dentist prescribed antibiotics but they took a couple days to take full effect. I used Little One’s teething gel to give myself some relief and it provided nice cooling relief.

6 Baby Products You Need to Try Teething gel

Pajamas

Wink offers these two styles of pajamas, and they are so cute! They are super soft and 100% cotton and a great comfort for a restful night sleep. Little One has both sets and picks them out all the time. So cute!

6 Baby Products You Need to Try pajama

Ordering

If you are wanting to try any Wink Naturals products, you can order them here. However, I suggest if you are not sure what products you are interested in, head over to the Wink with Rachel Facebook page and follow it. She frequently posts sales where you can get these fantastic products for great prices. I personally purchased the teething gel during a sale for only $2!

Wink offers so many amazing products. I am hoping to get more posts out about Wink Naturals, but in the meantime, I hope you found these 6 baby products you need to try helpful and informative. Let me know in the comments below if you have an questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

6 Baby Products You Need to Try follow Wink on Facebook
6 Baby Products You Need to Try, order now

6 Ways your Toddler can Help with Laundry

6 ways your toddler can help with laundry

Toddlers love to help out around the house. One area that is easy for them to help with is laundry. Laundry can be one of those tasks that can feel quite mundane. However, with the help of a toddler it can go from a chore to an exciting new adventure. Below are 6 ways your toddler can help with laundry. Teaching children at a young age to participate in housekeeping can build skills, grow independence, and keep them entertained.

 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.

Filling Laundry Baskets

The first task that Little One can help with when starting laundry is filling up the laundry baskets. He takes the clothing that is in the hamper and puts it in the basket to be taken to the washing machine. This is done with varying degrees of success – some days Little One throws the laundry around more then them ending up in the basket. When this happens I try to turn it into a game where we toss the clothes in like a mini game of basketball! I am going to include a couple links to some laundry baskets made of natural materials. Check out this wicker one, a jumbo wicker one, and this cotton rope one. They are all great options.

Pushing Laundry Baskets

This is Little One’s favorite task when it comes to laundry. He gets to push the laundry baskets across the floor and toward the laundry room. We pretend that they are cars or trains that go zooming down the hallway. This is a really physical task and makes Little One feel really strong. It is also a great task for developing gross motor skills.

Loading Dryer

This is a great activity if you have a front loading dryer. I’ll hand whatever item needs to be dried to Little One and he will toss it into the dryer. It’s really simple but keeps him involved and stops him from wandering around in the laundry room and getting into mischief. This is great for smaller items like socks but can be challenging for larger items, such as sheets.

Adding Laundry Detergent

If you use liquid or powdered laundry detergent, I would not recommend letting your Little One help with this. However, we recently switched to these great zero waste laundry strips that just tear off and get thrown into the drum. It is so easy for Little One to throw it into the washer. We also have a glass top, so he can watch the clothes spinning for a bit. We are all about the cheep thrills!

Take Items off Drying Rack

Little One loves taking clothes off the drying racks. It works best when they are smaller items, like his clothes or his cloth diapers. This activity allows him to reach and bend while taking the clothes off the rack and putting them in the laundry bin.

Help with Hangers

The last activity I do with Little One is hanging up the clothes. We do this one of two ways. I’ll stand by the closet and put a pile of hangers on the floor. He will hand me one and I’ll put a shirt on it and hang it in the closet. The other is if my hubby helps. I’ll put a shirt on a hanger and hand it to Little One, who will bring it over to my hubby who will hang it in the closet.

Does this process take a lot longer than if I were to do laundry on my own? Yes, it does. But Little One enjoys helping me so much that it makes it all worth it!

These activities are easy to keep Little One engaged and out of trouble when I need to get chores done.

Do you have any other tips on how your children help out with the laundry? Let me know in the comments below!

Little One Birth Story

When things don'e go as planned a emergency c-section birth story

I remember when I was pregnant, I would read birth story after birth story to help me prepare for what was to come. Everyone’s story is so different and beautiful. I thought I would share my own unique story and experience.

To anyone who is family or friends who don’t want to know the coming details about labor, I suggest you turn back now. For those of you who are reading birth stories to prepare for your own. I will try to ride the fine line between sugar coating and sharing.

Pregnancy

I was extremely pleased to find myself having a relatively easy pregnancy. I had some nausea but not much morning sickness in the first trimester. In the beginning of the second trimester, I found myself spending days wondering if I was still pregnant because I couldn’t feel kicks yet and was feeling so much better. The third trimester brought on the usual aches and pains but altogether went okay.

I have read and heard about expectant moms being sick all the way through. However, I wanted to put out to the universe that some pregnancies are not too bad. I did experience many changes (as you do with pregnancy) but it was all manageable.

Little One Coming

I went into labor three days before my due date and we started on Little One’s birth story. I was brushing my teeth, getting ready to go to work at 7:30 in the morning. Having just used the facilities, I felt my water break and there was a moment where I thought maybe I didn’t do a good enough job. That was not the case, my water broke! I then spent the next 30 minutes on the toilet with water coming in small gushes. Every time I though it was done, a little bit more would come.

During this time I yelled for my husband. He was fast asleep but woke with a start. He said that there was something in the tone of my voice when I said “honey” that he knew it was time. My husband worked on gathering our bags and getting the car ready to go. I asked him to lay a towel on the seat, due to us having a 45 minute drive to the hospital.

I first called the hospital and told them what was going on. It had been my plan to labor for a while at home. With my water breaking it changed those plans. Due to the risk of infection my doctor wanted to come to the hospital right away. At this point I did not feel any contractions.

I also called my work and my mom to tell them it was time. After loading up with pads we headed to the hospital!

Baby Hand

At the Hospital

Being that I went into labor during business hours, we parked in the parking ramp and walked to the labor and delivery floor. If I had when into labor after hours I would have had to enter through the emergency room. We got all signed in and were shown to a room.

I had a very helpful nurse who just happened to go to school with my husband (small world!). She got me all set with the monitors, checked little one’s heart rate, and gave me wrist bands (maybe six of them all together, but I’m assuming they were all necessary).

The doctor came in to check me over. Only one centimeter…I had a long way to go! For those of you not in the know, you need to reach 10 centimeters before pushing. I was given a medication to help the contractions along. At that point I still wasn’t feeling them too bad. I spent the next several hours contracting. I used the exercise ball and the bath to ease some of the contractions. Also, I depended on my husband for support and back rubs. I know some people don’t like being touched at all, but for me it felt good.

At some point in the afternoon, they checked on me again. Only two centimeters this time. The doctor increased the medication and boy, did the contractions start coming then. I also then made use of the laughing gas (nitrous oxide). When I first started using the laughing gas it was very helpful. A couple of hours in, though, I found that it wasn’t working well and I forgot to do the correct breathing. However, at that point I had been in labor for hours and hours and couldn’t really think straight.

Bring on the Epidural

Around 1 in the morning I finally had enough. I had rolling contractions for hours and was in a good amount of pain. I was also exhausted. At this point I also had been in labor for 18 hours, so I asked for an epidural. Unfortunately the nurses told me that I had to take in a whole bag of IV fluid before I could get the epidural. But the anesthesiologist came eventually and I did get the epidural. It was magnificent! I wished I would have gotten it hours earlier. The pain dissipated almost immediately and I was able to lay down and rest a bit.

During that time the nurse checked things over again, checked the baby’s heart rate, and inserted the catheter. I was barely aware that she was doing all of this. I do recall her turning me from side to side, trying to get a better read on baby’s heart rate. It was a bit sporadic. My husband also took this opportunity to lay down and rest a bit.

Emergency C-Section

While I was being turned from side to side, the nurse also got the doctor because Little One;s heart rate was dipping. He needed to come now! The doctor checked me again – only 2 centimeters (if you have been adding this up we are at over 20 hours of labor and only reached 2 centimeters). So off to surgery we went. My husband later told me he literally woke up to the word C-section.

At 4 something in the morning my room became really busy with doctors and extra nurses getting things ready to go. I don’t remember a whole lot, but I remember being scared, scared for my baby, and just hoping it would be alright. I was also scared about surgery however I remember being shaky as they wheeled my bed down the hall and into an elevator. They then brought me into an operating room and got things ready. The anesthesiologist checked my epidural and gave me something to help with my nausea…it didn’t work. They put a curtain up at about shoulder level on me and got my husband outfitted in disposable medical gear. They gave him a chair and he was able to sit next to me throughout the ordeal.

The team was amazing and got Little One out very quickly at 4:39 am. The doctor did tell us that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. This could be the reason that I was not dilating at all. I remember they were holding him over the curtain so I could see and they took him and my husband over to their station to check Little One over. It took them a bit longer to close things back up. I remember being really cold and shaking.

Little One Birth Story
(Stock photo)

Recovery

When they finished me up, they moved me off the operating table and back onto my bed. They handed me Little One and wheeled me to the recovery room.

We were in the recovery room for about an hour, where we then started skin to skin contact. I don’t remember if they had me start trying to feed him at this time or if we waited until we were back in the room. In the room with us was my nurse who was with me throughout and another nurse who was doing paperwork. Again, I’m a little foggy here but I believe he took out my epidural and gave me some pain medications, as well. My nurse also gave me heated blankets at this time. As I said before I was shaking and cold in the operating room so the blankets were awesome!

They wheeled me up to my room and got me all settled in. We spent the next three days in the hospital, learning about our new Little One and how to nurse. It wasn’t going well until a nurse said that he might be tongue tied. Sure enough, he was. A pediatrician came and did a short procedure to clip the tie. After a little recovery time Little One latched on like a champ.

Little One

The emergency c-section was a bit of an ordeal. As I mentioned a couple times throughout the post, some of the details are a bit fuzzy to me. It’s true what they say that the body has a way of making you forget. My husband and I are so overjoyed with his arrival and couldn’t be more in love with him.

So 21 hours from start to finish and ending in an emergency C-section. It definitely didn’t go as planned, but thanks to the amazing team at St. Luke’s Hospital we welcomed a beautiful little boy into our hearts and both of us are doing fine.

The recovery from a C-section is not the easiest process in the world, but I think I have rambled long enough. We will have to save that for another post.

So that’s the our Little One’s birth story! If you’re comfortable with it, share some of your experiences down below in the comments.

Hey before you go, we decided to cloth diaper our Little One, you can check out that post here.

7 Eco-Friendly DIY Toy Projects You Have to Try

Are you tired of hearing “Mom, I’m bored!” but don’t want to fall into the trap of indulgent parenting and buy a bunch of plastic toys that get thrown out in a few weeks? There is a surprising solution that you might not have thought about before. Making DIY toys at home is a great way to expand your little one’s creativity, and it also has the added benefit of being more environmentally conscious.

Check out these great toy hacks that are easy to make yourself with environmentally friendly materials.

Recycled Cardboard Play Houses

This environmentally friendly option lets you turn all those old Amazon shipping boxes into a fun activity instead of tossing them in the trash. A cardboard playhouse is a great project because your child can have hours of fun building it and then continue to use it for weeks. Place it outside to get some fresh air or keep it indoors to let the house last longer.

To get started, all you need is a collection of cardboard boxes, some sturdy scissors, and tape. Decorating with water based paint can add a fun touch, but remember to use it sparingly because painted cardboard cannot be recycled later on. There are all sorts of neat ideas all over the internet, or you can come up with your own original design. 

Homemade Baby Blocks

Blocks are one of the most classic toy options for any baby or toddler, but they are often pricey and coated in layers of harmful paint and varnish. This project can involve a little woodworking, but it is not always necessary. For those new to DIY and carpentry, making these baby blocks can be as easy as getting precut wood cubes, sanding them down, and applying a finish. However, if you or your partner is interested in things like wood carving, you can customize with carved letters or other cute designs on the side!

The key to making these blocks baby safe and eco-friendly is all about the materials you select. Pick high quality wood that has not been pressure treated or otherwise soaked in chemicals. Use a food safe, penetrating oil like tung oil or linseed oil to provide a protective coat along the outside of the block. After letting the oil soak in and cure, you get adorable, glossy wooden blocks to build towers with your little one!

Repurposed Play Kitchen

Avoid buying unsustainable plastic toy kitchens by upcycling an old piece of furniture instead. You don’t have to be an experienced woodworker, all you need is a little paint and a few screwdrivers! This incredible idea comes from GiggleBerry Creations, and it shows just how much difference a few simple changes can be. Start out with an old TV unit that is just the right height for your little chef, and give it a fresh coat of paint.

With a few additions like a cheap sink faucet, painted on stovetop, and new doors, it transforms into a cute little stovetop, sink, oven, and fridge. You can get all the knobs, faucets, and handles needed to transform the kitchen from broken appliances if you want to be extra eco-friendly. Once you finish this DIY project, your child can pretend to bake, cook, and clean just like mom or dad! 

Snuggly Teddy Bears 

Skip polyester bears filled with ocean-damaging microbeads and make a stuffed animal yourself. Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or just looking for a new craft to pick up, a knitted bear can be an adorable toy for a child who wants something snuggly. This project is easy to customize with different materials, colors, and knitting patterns. 

Wool yarn is an environmentally sustainable material that is gathered without harming the animals, and it has the added benefit of being resistant to spills! For a green filling, consider using buckwheat hulls, kapok tree fiber, or unspun wool. Feel free to use this easy (and free!) pattern from Ravelry, or pick out your own to find one that suits your needs.

Paper Towel Marble Runs

All this neat DIY toy needs is some paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Once you cut them in half and tape them into a fun shape, they turn into a cool track to slide marbles and other materials along. As this fun video from Brick Building Kids shows, there are plenty of neat configurations for a marble run.

In addition to being a great way to recycle cardboard, it can also be a great learning activity! You can generate an early interest in physics and engineering throughout this entire project. We know it might seem like this toy is only going to keep your child occupied while they are building it, but you’d be surprised by how long it continues to entertain. With some toy cars, bouncy balls, or other materials, the marble run can turn into a busy racetrack that provides excitement for hours.

DIY Drum Kits

This is the perfect eco-friendly toy if you just finished painting the house and don’t mind having a bit of noise! To make the drums, you start by simply collecting wood, plastic, or metal gardening and paint buckets of different sizes. Then you and your child can clean them, let them dry, and decorate them with glitter and glue. If desired, you can even hang a few of the lids on a rope or stand to turn them into gongs and cymbals.

Arrange the drums on a flat surface, find a pair of sturdy sticks, and get ready to rock. Of course we know there are plenty of moms who might cringe at the idea of giving their kid anything noisy, but if you have a basement or big yard, this can be a fun project that helps get your child in touch with their musical side. 

Fabric Baby Books 

Say goodbye to torn covers and creased pages when you create a cute fabric book for your baby to play with. You can choose your material based on your preferred style of environmental consciousness. If your focus is using sustainable materials without chemicals or toxins, consider natural fabrics like unbleached linen or bamboo dyed with vegetable dyes. Moms who love reusing and recycling can cut up old shirts or sheets to make the baby books, which can also be a cute way to incorporate fabric from sentimental clothing. 

To make the baby book, start by choosing your design. This can be as simple as shapes and letters, or you can get fabric printed with cute pictures to cut out. Then you just need to cut your pieces to the right size and sew or glue them together. Check out this helpful guide from MySewBliss to get an idea of how to assemble the book as easily as possible.

These fun toy ideas can keep your kids entertained for hours, so you can get some much needed “Me Time.” Since they are eco-friendly, you don’t have to worry about exposing your loved ones to a bunch of chemicals or having the toys pile up in landfills later on. If you’ve tried any of these neat DIY ideas before, let us know how it went!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7 year old girl and a playful 5 year old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all in a hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, in can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Note from Little Family

I want to take a moment to thank Ivana at Find Your Mom Tribe, for crafting this post. It’s chalk full of awesome activities for the Little’s in your life, so hopefully you find these ideas helpful! If you have some time I highly suggest you venture over to her site Find Your Mom Tribe. She has excellent posts on parenting, pregnancy and even recipes!

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

20 tips for flying with a toddler

We recently took our Little One on his first plane ride! Before the trip we were so worried about how he would react to the experience. Would his ears feel OK? Would he sleep on the plane? Would he scream the whole time? These questions circled around my head as we prepared for our trip. I am happy to report that the plane ride went very smoothly, and hopefully by following these tips you will have a smooth experience traveling with your toddler.

***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 .***

Booking the flight

So my first tip is to book the flight for a natural nap time. This will make it a lot easier for your little one to sleep on the plane. Once we boarded and I started nursing him, he was out right away. There was so much to see in the airport that I think it tuckered him out watching everything.

If allowed to choose your seats, try to get a window seat near the front of the plane. The window seats have a little extra room next to them. When on a cramped airplane, any extra space is a life saver.

Book a seat for your child if you can. I know that budgets can be tight but having an extra seat can be so helpful. We did not book a seat for our Little One and instead kept him on our lap. Most airlines allow babies under 2 to ride free if they ride on your lap. On the way there, we did not have an extra seat. It went okay but was cramped. On the way back we had an angel of a flight attendant who moved some people around and gave us three seats! It was so nice to have the extra space and once little one woke up from his nap, it allowed him to crawl around between the two of us. Also, my husband is 6’3″ so sitting in a middle seat was rough on him!

Other bookings

Rent a car seat if able. We rented a car seat because I didn’t want to deal with packing one and checking it at the airport. It wasn’t too much more added on to our car rental. If you are not renting a car and being picked up, check your car seat at the check in, not at the gate. When we were flying we saw a family who had three small children, They were also carrying a bag for each, a two kiddo stroller and three car seats….they looked miserable. Flying can be difficult with a toddler, so I always try to make things as easy as possible.

Read the fine print. When booking your flight be sure to read the fine print, especially when it comes to the policy regarding kids. Different airlines may have special rules when it comes to carry ons, bringing formula or breast milk, and the list goes on and on. I read it more than one time just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. While you’re at it head over to the TSA website and check out the kids section for special instructions for going through security.

What to Pack

Bring a stroller. A stroller is a life saver when trying to run through the airport. Bring the smallest stroller you are able…we did not. The purpose of our trip was to go hiking at Yoho National Park, so we wanted to bring our trail stroller.

Bring snacks. Bring your little one’s favorite, but not messy, snacks on the plane. Anything to keep them happy is the goal. I headed to the bulk bins at our food co-op and got yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, and dried apples. I also brought some crackers and bananas. We got Cheez-Its as our snack on the plane, which little one gobbled up.

Bring a water bottle and sippy cup. Staying hydrated is obviously really important. To get though security, your adult water bottle will need to be empty, but they allowed water to be in the sippy cup, which was a win.

Bring small toys and books. Bring some of your little one’s favorite books and activities. We brought this ball, these blocks, a car, and Hello magazines. It is important to keep little one busy and toys will help with this.

Use a back pack as a diaper bag. If you already use a back pack you are ahead of the game! But if you don’t, they make life so much easier. When going through the airport and helping little one it is so much easier to have both of your hands free.

packing a diaper bag

Day of Trip

Pre-check into the flight. Again, try to make life as easy as possible. If your airline allows pre-check into your flight, I recommend you do it and skip those lines.

Dress in layers. Airplanes can be either too hot or too cold so it’s best to be flexible and dress in layers. Bring extra clothes, too, in case there is some sort of accident.

Soft sole shoes or socks. Once little one starts crawling around on your lap, you are going to want them to have soft soles. We did this and it worked great. Once the plane landed, we put little one’s shoes back on and he promptly stepped on my hand and I ended up with a bruise for a week.

At the Airport

When you arrive at the gate, check in with the attendants. If you bring a stroller or car seat to the gate, you will need a tag from them to label it. They may also give you special instructions for where to place the stroller/car seat for storage on the plane. This is also a great time to ask for seats to be rearranged, if needed. When we were assigned our seats upon purchasing tickets, they had my husband and I sitting in different rows. That was not going to work for us. The attendants were in full agreement and changed our seats so we were sitting together!

Check bags at the gate if able. Depending on how full the plane is, the gate attendants might call for volunteers to check bags at the gate. There is no charge for this. We did not check any bags at the check in counter and managed to pack everything we needed in our two carry on bags and our two personal items. By checking one of our bags it allowed us to store one of our personal items in the overhead bins. This freed up some leg room for my tall husband. It was also one less thing to keep track of and haul through the airport.

Boarding

When sitting at the terminal waiting for the plane to board, let your toddler crawl around when waiting to board. This will help them burn some energy and help get them ready for a nap on the plane.

Change their diaper just before boarding. The bathrooms on planes are tiny and I would not want to change Little One’s diaper in there. Try to change the diaper just before you board and then right after landing. Hopefully you are able to go through the flight without needing it to be changed.

Families board first. Pay attention to the announcements and board when called. Originally I thought I should wait until the end to board so Little One would spend as little time as possible on the plane. However, there are real benefits to boarding first. The first is that you are moving around less people when trying to get to your seats, which can be challenging. It also let Little One check out his new environment and watch the people come aboard. If we would have waited until the last minute to board I envision Little One having a hard time going to sleep during take off because he would have still been interested in watching everything.

airport

On the Plane

Use jackets to create a seat between the window and seat. This creates a little seat for a little butt to sit on. Little One loved looking out the window. Having made a little seat it allowed Little One to look out the window better and got him off my lap for a bit.

Nurse or give formula during take off and touch down. I have heard that this helps with ear popping – I am not sure if it did or not. But it did help Little One go to sleep, which was a big win.

Phew…those are my 20 tips for flying with a toddler! I hope your trip with your little one goes well and that this advice help you out. If you have any other tips for flying with a toddler, let me know in the comments below!

For more tips on traveling with a little one check out my preparing for travel with a baby.

Raise an Eco Conscious Child

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child

My husband and I are trying to become more Eco Conscious, and with that, we are trying also to raise and Eco Conscious child. While Little One is only 15 months old right now, there are still things we can implement in our home to help with this. Here are our 5 tips on how to raise and Eco Conscious child.

Practice Eco Friendly principles in your own home

Children learn so much form their environment. if you practice environment-friendly principles in your home, your children, by extension, will also learn about these principles, too. Check out my post here about Eco-Friendly Rules to Live By.

Discuss It

Talk to your children about the importance of being Eco Friendly. Discuss specifically about what it means, how to do it, and why to do it. Ask them their ideas on how to be more Eco Friendly. Children are very insightful!

Encourage Learning, Experimenting, and Increasing Understanding

Encourage learning about the environment whenever possible. Whether in school, from books or on your travels, no opportunity should be wasted. I personally love the Green Kids Crafts Box for children, which encourages learning and experimenting.

Get them out and go for a hike or swimming. Allow them to examine the stick or the fish swimming around. Letting them explore their world will increase understanding and help develop a passion for preserving it.

Involve the in Changes

When you want to m them help you make a change, involve the kiddos. Have them help you with it. It helps them take ownership of the problem and the fix.

Be Politically Active

Go Vote! Vote for representatives who also care about the environment, and involve your child, too. Discuss the candidates, what they stand for and why you are choosing one over another. For as many small changes that we make at home, we really need organization on a large scale to make a big impact.

What other tips do you have for raising and Eco Conscious child? Le me know in the comments below!

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child

How To Find Stress-Free Kids Crafts

I have always loved crafting. As a kid I was doing projects literally every day! My mom had an in-home daycare and she did a fantastic job of facilitating fun craft projects focused on learning letters, science, animals, space, shapes, colors, the list goes on and on. I often reflect back on this time and now that I have my own Little One I think of how much work that must have been! Little One is not quite to the crafting stage yet and just thinking about it stresses me out a little bit. So in this post we explore a resource on how to find stress-free kids crafts.

That is why I was so happy to find Green Kid Crafts. They have taken the stress away from me having to figure out projects. They are a monthly subscription box that delivers age appropriate, education-focused, and Eco-friendly crafts right to your door step!

I don’t know about you but I am busy. Both my husband and I work, and between getting dinner ready, keeping the house semi clean, and trying to have quality time with Little One, it doesn’t leave much time for planning out craft projects.

Just so you know – read through to the end for a special offer!

**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Green Kids Crafts associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy from 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

The Contents

Green Kid Crafts offers both subscription packages or single purchase boxes for the kiddos. All the boxes contain 4-8 projects and are developed around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

The boxes range from ages 2 years to 10+ years. I wanted to try one even though Little One is still a bit young for the boxes. So I got one and did all the crafts myself…just kidding. But I did get one for my niece in the 10+ category and she loved it!

Why Green Kid Crafts

There are many subscription boxes out there, so why this one? I personally gravitated toward this box for a number of reasons:

First, they are very Eco-friendly, as I try to be with all my crafting. Green Kid Crafts is actually a carbon neutral company! There will be more on that below.

Second, there are multiple activities in each box. I have checked out some other subscription boxes, and while very cool they often offer one or two activities. Green Kid Crafts offer 4-8!

Third, every box focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math! The boxes are developed by child development experts, and you can click this link to read bios of the child development team. I think it is so important to know that the projects are thoughtfully created by a team of experts.

The Company

As my husband and I keep considering the types of consumers we want to be, it is really important that we know where we put our money. That’s why we support companies like Green Kid Crafts – they hold and implement so many of the values that my husband and I believe in, too.

Green Kid Crafts was started by a mom wanting to encourage learning, development and creativity in her own kids’ lives. Mom power! She is an environmental scientist committed to creating a product that has as little impact on the environment as possible. They also have a partnership with the CarbonFund, and, like I mentioned before, is a carbon neutral company.

They use 100% recycled materials for all of their packaging, as well as implement sustainability into the contents of their boxes.

Green Kid Crafts partners with One Tree Planted, and they plant one tree for every online order! Click below to find out more.

The Blog

The Green Kid Crafts website has a blog that is packed full of fun activities to do with your kiddos. You can easily do some projects at home by following their clear directions. So when you are wanting to plan projects, Green Kid Crafts makes it really easy. Just go check out their blog page and pick from all of the wonderful activities they have available.

Special Offer

For a limited time you can get 60% off your first STEAM box! By clicking this LINK here. I will also receive some credit when you use this LINK, so thank you in advance for helping keep Little Family on the Big Lake up and running.

Or you can click the Order Now button to check out Green Kid Crafts subscriptions boxes. And don’t forget to use the code SUMMER19 and receive 50% off your first order. I am not sure how long this sale is running.

But to get the 60% off use my special link!

See their site for full promo code details and terms and conditions.

I hope you like the Green Kid Crafts boxes as much as I do. Let me know if you got a subscription box and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on how to make a felt vegetable garden.

Cloth Diaper Routine

Cloth Diaper Routine

There are so many questions when it comes to cloth diapering and a cloth diaper routine. Having cloth diapered for over a year now, I think my husband and I have worked out a pretty good system. So for the new parents out there, I thought I would share it for any of you thinking about setting up your cloth diapering station.

I included links for all the products that I love down below.

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.

The Set Up

So first things first: the set up. We currently have 32 cloth diapers. I have a combination of Alva Baby, Nora Nursery, Anma Baby, Bumgenius, and Mama Koala brands. We also use bamboo and charcoal bamboo inserts.

I have a diaper changing pad of the top of Little One’s dresser, which is secured. On the right side of the dresser I keep a laundry hamper. On the left side I keep a diaper bin with a lid, lined with a large wet bag. Next to that I have a normal lidded trash can and an extra plastic container to hold dirty diapers that need rinsing. On the top drawer of the dresser I keep the diapers, cloth wipes, and creams/lotions. We also keep a spray bottle containing water handy for the cloth wipes when the situation gets…poopy.

The Routine

When Little One was brand new we went through at least 12 diapers a day. Now that he is bigger we go through anywhere between 6-10 diapers in a day. Even though we go through less diapers now we still wash every two to three days.

We keep all diapers ready to go with the inserts in them and folded in half. Once the diaper is used we take out the insert and place both the insert and diaper in the pail with the wet bag.

Once we have reached two days and roughly half the diapers used we will wash them.

To wash the diaper, we first put the diapers in the machine by dumping the wet bag (including the wet bag itself) into the washer. So need to touch any diapers! We first put the diapers through a rinse cycle with no detergent . After the rinse cycle, we do a regular cycle with soap (we use the unscented soap from Costco). I want to mention here that I have tried a couple plant-based laundry soaps, but they didn’t clean effectively and left the diapers with a smell. Also of note, we do an extra hot rinse every 4-6 weeks after the normal cycles just to give the diapers a more thorough cleaning.

After washing, we separate the laundry and the inserts and wipes go into the dryer on medium heat. The covers move to a drying rack in Little One’s room. We found it was easier to dry the diapers in his room – just in case we ran out we could make a new one quickly.

Once everything is dry we assemble the diapers and put them back into the drawer. We often assemble diapers when Little One is playing on the floor, and often he tries to “help” by taking and throwing them on the floor!

Cloth Diaper Routine
The Poop

So the poop…we have to deal with the poop. When we find we have a messy diaper to deal with, the first thing we do is wet 2-4 wipes. Clean up your Little One, grab a fresh diaper, and toss the dirty diaper into the plastic bin next to the diaper pail. Remove the insert and place in the diaper bin. Place the lid back on and finish changing the diaper.

To clean the diaper, we dunk the diaper in the toilet to clean it off. Many people who cloth diaper use a sprayer to clean off the diapers, but I find that this method works for us well enough. Much of the time the #2 is solid and it just pops off. No biggie!

I will note that until little ones reach the age that they start solid food, the diapers don’t need to be cleaned in the toilet. They can go straight into the diaper pail.

My Special Cleaner

Naturally, sometimes the diapers will stain after so much exposure to poop. I have a special cleaner that I use for just this purpose. I have been wanting to do a post on it, but honestly we haven’t had a really stained diaper in quite a while…knock on wood!

My cleaner is simple – just a spray bottle with water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Spray this on the diaper and lay it in the sun for a couple of hours and, like magic, the stain disappears!

Cloth Diaper Routine

So that is our cloth diaper routine! To me it seems pretty easy and now second nature. At this point, it’s been ingrained into our system just like any other errand we do around the house.

Let me know what you think of the cloth diaper routine, and if you have any tips or questions. I would love to know if you cloth diaper and what your routine is! If you haven’t already, check out my reasons to try cloth diapering here.