Sunday, July 13, 2014

Photoshop Flowers: Why can't we let nature be natural?

There are always articles circulating about photoshoped super models and celebrities, but they're not the only ones subject to false advertising. I work in my family garden center and this spring I noticed in our packaged bulb selection a particularly odd looking Lilium. I couldn't believe the color combination of this flower on the package. So out of curiosity I decided to plant one to see it for my self.

Here is what the package photo looks like:

(Side note: I planted 2 bulbs in a container on my balcony and my dog dug one up and ate part of it. Luckily I caught her before she ate the second)

So I patiently waited all spring and half the summer and finally it bloomed! Guess what... not the same as the package but I must say it is GORGEOUS!

Overcast photo

in the sunshine

But this all makes me wonder, why can't we leave nature as it is? Whether it's peoples bodies or plants. Why do we have to falsify what things look like? In this case, I'm not disappointed in the outcome at all. I probably wouldn't have been no matter what it looked like because I think every flower/plant is beautiful but what does disappoint me is the companies need/want to change the image from what is reality. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Wrap Conversion Tula Hood

A little over a month ago I purchased a Wrap Conversion Tula from a lovely mama on the Tula B/S/T group on facebook. It came with a black canvas hood which matched just fine but I wanted a hood made out of the same wrap the Tula was so I set out to find some scraps of the wrap (Natibaby Manhattan). I couldn't find any on the scrap B/S/T pages so I decided to dive in and buy a whole wrap and sell off the extras.

I got the tutorial on the Tula Love facebook page. They have great documents to help new Tula mama's.

A lovely mama made the tutorial while making her own hood. It can be found here.

I modified it slightly because I didn't want to have to match up stripes in multiple places and I had enough width of wrap that I didn't have to. I copied the pattern exactly but I made my side seams wider to accommodate the lack of seam in the middle. In the end I should have probably made the pattern just an inch or so more narrow because I had a bit of extra width in the end but it's not too noticeable or strange looking.

So here are some pictures :-)

Materials used: paper for pattern, marker, straight pins, fabric and regular scissors, measuring tape, canvas hood, woven wrap (Natibaby Manhattan), black thread, sewing machine, and a cup of tea. (obviously not everything is pictured)

I cut 2 pieces of the pattern on a fold.

2 cut pieces

I then cut the original canvas hood and kept the elastic and base intact. I forgot the take progress pictures but the original tutorial explains it all wonderfully.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Saving Sleep (part 2) - Mommy's sleep issues

In my last update on sleep we were fixing Caden's night time waking, well after 9 months of interrupted sleep. I was still waking up multiple times a night even after Caden was sleeping through the night at 9 months. Here we are at almost 15 months and I needed to find a solution.

I recently started reading about the word of essential oils and found a little online business called Full Moon Mothering,  , She sells amber for Mama & Baby and essential oil blends. I started out just following her on Instagram and reading her posts about Lullaby Oil. This blend seemed to have a cult following so I thought I might as well give it a try.

At the same time this oil arrived I also discovered Trader Joe's Well Rested Herbal Tea. I had been cautious about herbal teas since Caden was still nursing but he just weaned last week so I decided to combine the tea and Lullaby oil before bed time and see what happened.

Well Rested Herbal Tea ingredients include Chamomile flowers, Lemon Grass, Spearmint Leaves, Tilia Flowers, Peppermint Leaves, Passionflower Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Oranges Blossoms, Hawthorn Berries and Rosebuds. And it is quiet tasty!

Low and behold! I have slept through the night for a little over a week now, I haven't done that since before Caden was born! I feel like I have found the magic combination! Hopefully, maybe, once I get my circadian rhythm back on track I won't need either of them for a good night's sleep but for now I can deal with drinking some tea and rolling some oil on my feet before bed.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Colgate Optic White - Influenster VoxBox

I was sent a Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Built-in Whitening Pen complimentary for testing purpose from Influenster and here is what I found.

First of all I try to be as natural as possible but when I received this box I was ecstatic. As a former smoker my teeth aren't really too pretty and I've always wanted to get them whitened. So I was all for testing this product.

In my box was the toothbrush with whitening pen and tooth paste. It claims "Whiter teeth in 2 days*" (note the elusive asterisk). It's supposed to be an easy to apply and you don't have to time it or rinse it off. I found it difficult to get an even coat that wasn't streaky. And I didn't like the feeling it left on my teeth. I felt like I needed to brush my teeth again right away.

 Please excuse the gnarliness.
I ended up testing the product for a whole week trying to get a better result....



I don't really recommend this product as I don't really see any improvement at all. The toothbrush is definitely awesome at cleaning but I don't think it whitens as well as it suggests. After testing this product I am looking into natural ways for whitening teeth. My next experiment is oil pulling. Stay tuned for a blog about that.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The great sippy cup search

Before Caden was born I had never even given sippy cups a thought. So when he came old enough to try one out I stood in the cup aisle... Yes there is a aisle of sippy cups... In aw of the choices. Our first one was the Red one on the right, an OXO product. I love OXO brand so I figured it should be good. Well it didn't work out because Caden couldn't figure out to tip it. The handled green one didn't help.

My next thought was to try a straw cup because he wouldn't have to tip it. The first one we tried, which I don't have the name or a picture of because it was in my purse that was stolen a while back... That's another story. But it was nice, he liked it. He seemed to drink plenty of water from it. Well since it had gotten stolen I went to get a new one and Target stopped carrying it... Of course!

So we got a pack of 2 of the tall playtex straw cups.... It is very difficult to get anything to come out of this one but he would take sips here and there when he was eating but never any other time. He had to be real thirsty. 

I felt like he should be drinking more water so I started on a mission. I got the short green playtex one with the handles next. It didn't have a valve so I figured it'd be easier to drink from. It was but it would leak and the water would work its way out of the straw while sitting...

Let's go back to OXO! I found on amazon that they had a straw cup... The first one leaked out the edge of the top so I contacted the company and they sent me a replacement, still leaked somewhere so I gave up on OXO cups, I still love their plates, bowls, utensils, etc.

For Christmas I got him the elf cup, it was super hard to drink out of. So then I decided to try Tommee Tippee sippy cups. They work but Caden still, at 13 months doesn't like to tip his cup and they're just so big. I like them but well probably store them for later. 

Finally, and hopefully the last cup I'll buy for a while! We went to Walmart. I loath Walmart. Again another story. But we had gift cards. There I found in the sippy cup area a Bubba straw cup! Caden always tries to get a hold of Levi's Bubba Coffee cup. So I thought, heck let's give it a try.

And wouldn't you know it, he loves it! I fill it up and he walks around drinking it until it's empty!  


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Caden's Christmas Tree - No Sew Felt Tree

So I didn't want to NOT have a Christmas tree and in our tiny condo I didn't have anywhere to put it out of reach of Caden. So I search the internet for a solution. Naturally I went to pinterests. A friend mentioned the idea of a felt tree. So that's what searched and I found this post about a toddler tree.  So I used this as a base idea.

I did it 'no sew' style. I used Craft Tacky glue and felt.

I got some felt stickers and let Caden stick some on.

I got a cheap little roll of garland at Target and a plastic star for the top but we haven't figured out how to attach it yet. So far Caden loves it! And so do I! We'll probably use this as our main tree for a couple years then it will become his bed room tree once he's old enough to not knock over or grab at a real tree and ornaments.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Saving Sleep - Our sleep solution story

Caden started life out as a pretty darn good sleeper. We had some rough times at the beginning with getting him to sleep on his back, in his pack n play, or transitioning him out of being swaddled. But overall compared to what I've read and heard from people, he was a "good sleeper" At 6 weeks he slept "through the night" for a few months.

Then... he, my mom and I took a trip. Caden's first big trip, we flew to Raleigh, North Carolina. We all shared a hotel room and here's where I "broke the good sleeper" I made the horrible mistake of picking him up and nursing him every time he woke up. Even if he wasn't crying. I did this for a week because I didn't want to wake my mom or the neighboring visitors. I thought it was a good idea. Most night's he'd sleep from 8-4, so it didn't seem like a big deal.

When we got back from this trip is when I realized what a fatal mistake I had made. He now had to go back to sleeping in his own room, alone. He started waking up 2 or 3 times a night. I was exhausted. 7 months of no certain sleep routine does a number on your body and mind. Ask Levi, I wasn't the same person. I was cranky, snapped easier than ever, didn't have motivation. It sucked.

So, one day a few weeks ago I decided that sleep was probably the answer to all our problems and Caden needed to be fixed. After all the advice, the googling, and what have you, I couldn't quite figure out what was going to work best for us. I knew waking up with him and nursing him wasn't the answer.

I hadn't decided anything but one night, Caden woke up at 10:30pm after going down at 7:30pm. I lay in bed and decided right then and there that I was going to let him cry it out. I swore on my life when he was born I'd NEVER let him cry it out. That was just cruel and terrible. But I was fed up. Levi asked me if I wanted him to go get Caden. I said no, just let him go.

After a few minutes I went and got the video monitor to watch him for peace of mind. That help a lot. I could see that he wasn't hurt or wet. I repeatedly told myself "My parents and Levi's probably let us cry it out and we're fine, we still love our mom's" He cried for an excruciating 40 minutes and then crashed back to sleep. A huge weight was lifted when he fell asleep.

Ever since that night, he has slept at least 7 to 7, every night. My body took a few weeks to get used to it but ever since we "fixed" Caden, life has been so wonderful!!!

I'm convinced that the cry it out method is the quickest way to fix sleep problems. It is REALLY tough listening to your little baby cry and cry but it only took 1 night! ONE!

Fixing his nighttime sleep also helped improve his napping! He now takes a 2ish hour nap every morning around 10am and an hour in the afternoon, when we're home. When we go to work it throws things off but he definitely gets 2 hours or more some how.

I know everyone has different opinions about how to handle sleep and babies crying but this worked for us. And without the support of your partner nothing will work. You have to be on the same page and support each other through everything. I know a long while back Levi suggested we let him cry, I wasn't ready. I was, at the time, content with waking up.

Overall after being a strong "hater" towards the Cry It Out method, I have been converted and I suggest trying it if you can stick with it!