Monday, May 16, 2011

Goals...and what I really do during the day

So, I'm not exactly Martha Stewart....or Mega Mom...or any other super human mother figure who can keep her home spotless, always have fresh baked bread and her children bathed...and leap tall buildings in a single bound.  BUT, I do try to be a little better than what society expects of stay-at-home moms.  I don't like to fall into a category that is constantly being asked "what do you do all day."  While there are many, many SAH moms who DO fall into that description, there are many of us who don't.  I for instance work full-time on the computer as a Medical Transcriptionist (yes, I have a REAL job)...and nothing is more frustrating than when people just assume that my job is some made up title, or worse, a job that really doesn't require me 40 hours a week and therefore allows me to be free all the time.  I DO have a real job, and it DOES in fact require my attention 40 hours a week.  On top of that, I have 2 children who require my attention about 30 of those same 40 hours - which makes for interesting sport (oh yeah, and there's that growing 3rd member whose arrival is creeping up on us).  I have been doing my job for almost 3-1/2 years, so I've mastered the art of having children and working, but that should make it obvious that during working hours I don't have extra time to do the things that most SAH moms go to the park for playgroups, or head to the local library for story time....or even do the grocery shopping while the kids are awake and happy and have full tummies (and when the crowds are the smallest).  I go grocery shopping in the early evening...along with the rest of America, I play outside with my kids in the late afternoon, I clean the house and do laundry in the late afternoon.  Oh yeah, and I'm also going to homeschool our children (the oldest starts Kindergarten in August).

This is not meant to be a "pity me please" post...I wanted to post this synopsis of my days so that everyone here can understand why this idea of "Life After Diapers" is so dear to me.  My life after work every day is focused on my children and husband....but then what about me - my "Life After Diapers?"  When do I find time to focus on myself and my sanity.  Well, that's where I've started to get creative and think outside the Costco sized diaper box.

My sanity savers usually involve my children...even if it's just the fact that they can dance to the music I'm listening to in the kitchen while I make dinner.  I've been blessed to really have an interest (and budding talent) in cooking and baking, and honestly, it's a stress release.  Along with baking, sewing has been a much needed break too...and another thing I can do with the kids close by.  Sometimes they will sit at the other end of the table and color, or share stickers, or just tell me nonsensical knock-knock jokes while I sew and pretend to laugh hysterically. 

My point to this is that while it's not easy, I make it work...and I don't complain.  I feel extremely blessed to be married to a man who works hard so I can stay at home with our kids.  Yes, I work from home, but that's partially for my sanity and partially just for extra fun money and savings.  It never hurts to have a second income, no matter how small it might be.  Emergencies happen, things come up, and having that extra little bit of money can really be a source of relief when something unexpected comes a large car repair, or larger than usual medical bills, or a broken appliance. 

So, that is why I started this blog, to document my attempts at having a life after working and children (and laundry and soap and cheese sandwiches).  I guess part of me wants to prove to the world (or the 3 people that read this blog) that I can be more than enough, and that I can manage our lives a little better than everyone expects.  I've never been happy with being average...and reminding myself of all my above and beyond accomplishments make me feel that at times I am more than just an employee, more than just a woman who carried and gave birth to a few kids...more than just another statistic. 

That being said, I am not the best at keeping our home as neat as it could be...and I've created a goal for myself to try and get things in order before Nicole comes into this world, and our lives, and our home.  I want to get things organized, put stuff in places where we can find it again...and just generally get myself on a more organized schedule so that I don't lose my sanity when Greg and I are finally outnumbered by munchkins.

Here's my plan....I stop working this week, which means I need to find SOMETHING to keep me focused - and since I can't afford to start a new sewing project every day, or cook fabulous desserts every day, I needed something more home-focused.  I have decided that every morning I wake up I am going to make one SMALL goal for the day...whether it's cleaning up a specific spot in the house, or actually cleaning (you know, with cleaner) a spot in the house...I am going to set a small goal that shouldn't take more than 15 minutes and that will be my focus for the day.  For instance, my goal today is to get all the stuff that has accumulated at the foot of our bed put away where it belongs.  There isn't a ton of stuff...and it will probably take 10 minutes, but if I do a little chore like this every day, it will add up.  And when done on a small scale, it doesn't seem as overwhelming to me and I won't try and skirt around it or push it to another day.

So...while the cookies and cream cheesecake bar ingredients get to room temperature on the counter, I am going to sit down and clean up the foot of the bed.  Then I am going to get up, make those cheesecake bars and eventually eat one to congratulate myself for a job well done.  And I will post a link to the recipe I'm using later....I already posted it on Facebook, so if you really want it, check it out on my page there. I go....

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recycling...sort of...

Anyone who has seen me with a newborn knows that one of my favorite items to ALWAYS have on hand are cloth diaper burp cloths.  Up until now, we've just bought the tri-fold ones from Target (Gerber brand) and use those for burp cloths.  We're all about function over fashion here at our place!! Well, with this baby my sewing skills have come up a notch or two, and I definitely feel comfortable trying new things....and this was something I had wanted to do when we had Freddie but just couldn't make it work - my skills just weren't there yet apparently (or I just didn't care enough, not sure which it was).  Regardless, we have about 50 of these cloth diaper burp cloths left over from previous babies (before you go "ewww...gross" our kids aren't spitter-uppers, so the burp cloths stay pretty good looking, and we chuck the ones that look stained after each kid) and I decided to make good use of the extra fabric I had from the car seat I finished yesterday.

Karyl would call it recycling the extra fabric...I like that since it sounds homey and like I thought it through....

So, this afternoon since I was out of work yet again I decided to give it a try and see what I could come up with.  The results are below....keep in mind, these were done on a whim, with no patterns, or pinning or real planning as to what I was doing.  I just decided to run with the idea and see where it took me.

I really think that given time to prepare and adequately plan this out, these could be REALLY cute!!! One thing I would change though was since Freddie was napping I couldn't get to the ironing board (well, let's face it, I didn't want to deal with pressing the edges) so I just stitched them down on all four sides before using a zig-zag to stitch them to the cloth diapers.  It looks a little redundant with 2 rows of, for the next batch I think I'll suck it up and get the ironing board out and press the edges down so I don't have to do the extra stitching first and can just zig-zag the fabric on.

What do you think?? I have a lot more of the brown with green circles on it left, but I'm not sure whether I like the stripe down the middle, or the strip along the bottom better?? My concern is that the cotton fabric being along the middle won't absorb as well as the plain cloth diapers do...therefore negating the reason for their existence in our diaper bag in the first place.  I like the stripe, but should I have it on the top and bottom, or is it OK just on the bottom??

Let me know in the comments....

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Car Seat Cover Completed!!!

Well, I've done it...I've actually decided to do a project, started it and completed it all within a few days.  For anyone who knows me, this is a rare occurrence as I usually get sidetracked by other stuff or just tend to start things and then finish them months later because I either get frustrated or just lose the motivation.  I am by no means an experience fact, I couldn't use a sewing machines until I was married, and even then it was a learning experience (and that was only about 6 years ago!!).  So...the fact that I am making things other than square tied blankets is a type of miracle for me.  I still get frustrated with the machine because I don't always know what causes certain problems (like loose threads or things catching) but I mess around with it and can usually make it work.

Now, enough with the sad story of my sewing are the pictures of the car seat cover I made!! It actually looks AWESOME in person, but it looks different in pictures because we have one of those rare car seats that had a "twisted" handle (it was supposed to be easier to carry....) so the handle isn't straight across, it kinda zig-zags, so I had to compensate for that in the placement of the straps.  Also, our car seat is one of the smaller ones (it only goes up to 22 pounds) so the blanket is a little large, as the "pattern" I used was obviously made for one of the larger capacity seats.  All those differences aside, I think it will work perfectly, and I am really glad I did it with just 2 layers of cotton fabric and not flannel, as we are bringing Nicole home on the first official day of summer, and by the time the weather gets cold enough to warrant warmer blankets she will be over the 22 pound mark and in a convertible seat anyways.  Yep, that's right...our first 2 kids didn't last longer than 4 months in that car seat because of the weight limit, so I'm not holding out much hope that Nicole will last any longer!!  This is why, if you look closely at the pictures, that car seat that is almost 5 years old looks BRAND NEW!!! It's great, we get the feel of having a brand new car seat without the cost!!

Please enjoy the delightfully fun monkey fabric Greg helped me pick out and stare in wonder and amazement at the fact that my cover actually looks like one you'd buy from one of those uppity Orange County Baby Boutiques!!
I also finished another project yesterday that I started a few weeks back but had to put on hold because my machine just couldn't handle the sewing without a walking foot...and apparently I have a very popular machine (a Viking HuskyStar E20) finding one of those feet was next to impossible!! I got one though, and put the quilt together and just had about 12 inches of binding left to sew Wednesday morning (I've learned, hand sewing binding is the only way to hurts your fingers, but looks SOOO much better!!).  So, I told myself yesterday morning that I couldn't start the car seat cover until I finished the quilt...and I did!! So here are a few pictures of that too...again, I'm not a professional, heck - I don't know that I'd even call myself experienced - but I can sew a straight line most of the time and whatever I lack in official sewing knowledge I can usually make up for in creativity covering my mistakes!!!

I have noticed that sometimes the color of the pictures changes with what I can only assume is the inadequate lighting in our kitchen and office...
So, what do you think?? If you want to see where I got the car seat cover from, please check out the post from yesterday - it has the website as well as a link to the specific tutorial I used.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby Car Seat Cover

So I've decided to be a little more creative with this new baby and try making some of the things that I've seen friends have, but am just too cheap to buy....the first of these items being a baby car seat cover.  I have looked and found quite a few tutorials on how to do it, but the best one by far came from a website called  After peeking around this site I found myself so inspired to try all sorts of things I never would have with a sewing machine.

Anyways, I got the fabric last night and couldn't believe it...I didn't even get cheap clearance fabric, and I only spent $11.00 for the fabric and THAT'S a deal I can live with!!!  I told Greg that for Mother's Day I wanted $25 to spend guilt-free at JoAnn's for this car seat cover and a nursing apron, and this leaves me a whole $14 for that apron - so I'm excited about that!! 

I should note that when I told Greg that's what I wanted he rolled his eyes and told me to just go buy it...that I couldn't count that as a Mother's Day gift, but I think that since I'm planning on enjoying making it that it counts, right??

So - here's a picture of what the finished product should hopefully look like (I have different fabric obviously) and the link for the tutorial from the wonderful website!! I can't wait to post pictures of the finished product...of course, that would mean getting the carseat down and I don't know that I"m ready to admit I'm that close to delivery!!

Stay tuned!!