Monday, February 25, 2013

Mommy Monday: Going for a hike

We have had really great weather the last couple of days, so I've tried to take full advantage of that and get Ellie outside as much as possible.  This can be tricky, as she takes really long naps, so I have to make sure we get out in the morning.  I pack lunch and we try to get out the door by 9:00am.  (I realize I could go earlier, but I am not a morning person.  9:00 am is as early as it's gonna get.)

Yesterday we just went to the park in town.  I tried to get some pictures of the hat I made for my niece, but Ellie was wild and not particularly cooperative.

 It's supposed to be an over-sized hat, but it's extra over-sized on Ellie because she's little.

Today we loaded up a backpack and the Ergo (in case Ellie got tired) and went to Radnor Lake.  It's a bit of a drive, but it's totally worth it.  We were lucky enough to see an owl as soon as we got there.  He was just chillin' on a branch about three feet from us.  Ellie just stared at him.  I wasn't sure she had even really noticed him.  After he flew away, all she talked about was that owl.  The whole time.  We also saw a wild turkey, a chipmunk, lots of birds, turtles and some ducks.  But Ellie only cared about that owl.

 She got tired trying to find her owl.

Watching the ducks.

Hiking is very hard work...

Friday, February 22, 2013

FO Friday: Hat

I don't have pictures yet, but I did technically finish a project today!  With one hour to spare!  I'm going to break my "no blogging on the weekends" rule and post pictures tomorrow.  Hopefully Ellie will consent to being my promises.

Pattern: Wurm
Yarn: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in Seaspray
Needles: Size 8 circular

I didn't follow the pattern exactly.  I only cast on 80 instead of 90 and I didn't do the increase after the edging.  I also did the edging differently, in stockinette instead of the folded ribbing.  I'm not entirely sure I'm happy with it.  Initially I liked it, but the shape isn't quite what I wanted.  I might make some adjustments, or just make a second one and see which one I like better.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Already Behind

Hey, look at that.  It only took me two weeks to get behind on posting.  Figures.

I forgot to post for Mommy Monday, but I was busy chasing two toddlers instead of my usual one.  Ellie and I had a playdate with one of her little friends.  I watched him for a couple months over the summer when his parents had a lapse in childcare, but we hadn't seen him since Thanksgiving.  They were really excited to get to play together again.  It was so exhausting, they both crashed before their usual naptime.

Today I'm lucky enough to have the husband home, so I get to escape to the fabric store.  Hooray!  I plan to come home with armfuls of yarn and maybe a little fabric.

Projects on the to-do list:

  • A knitted stuffed elephant and matching sweater, a gift for my cousin's baby.
  • Some fingerless gloves for my friend's birthday
  • A hat for my niece
  • Fabric for circle skirts for this summer, one each for Ellie and her cousin. 
If you're wondering about the progress on those baby blocks: I accidentally left them at my mother-in-laws house, progress.

Hopefully I'll have a FO on Friday from that list above!  Stay tuned to find out!

Friday, February 15, 2013

FO Friday: Christmas

Yes I know it's February, but I don't have any recent finished projects.  
So, until I do, you get old ones that I never posted.

For Christmas I had a goal to make all of the Christmas gifts.  
I failed.

But I got about half of them done!  So we'll call it a partial win.  
Next year I'll start earlier...

This hat for my father-in-law

A cowl for my dad, for when he rides his motorcycle.

Me modeling the cowl.

 Matching outfits for my niece and nephew.  
Ellie also has a skirt in the same fabric.  

 I was originally going to make this blanket out of granny squares, but decided it would be quicker and more fun to make it out of fleece squares.  I made it for my nephews.  I only made one.  
They have to share it...but I'm sure they'll survive.

I'm really proud of this hat.  I made up the pattern.  I started off thinking I would use a basic hat pattern, but then I decided to just wing it!  It was really fun!  It was for Nick's stepdad, who is a huge UT Vols fan, which should explain the color choices.

 Stephen wearing his hat on Christmas morning.

 This kiddos wearing their matching outfits

I should have fixed the lighting issue...

 My dad being a goofball with his neckwarmer.

The boys and their blanket (the other two boys are underneath it somewhere).

I also made a scarf for my sister-in-law and put together a Shutterfly photo book for my parents (not pictured).  So I may not have finished everything I wanted to accomplish, but when I put it all together on this post, it feels pretty significant.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

What we did on Valentine's Day:

Ellie got dressed.

Ellie and I painted a Valentine for her daddy.

We made cupcakes and took them to friends.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

What did you do to celebrate Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mommy Monday: Cleaning Toys

It's flu season.  Fortunately, it has not hit our house.  However, sinus and ear infections have.  If there's one thing I know, toddlers are germ factories.  Especially toddlers that play with other toddlers, aka Daycare.  I grew up in a daycare.  Literally.  My mom owned and operated a fully licensed daycare out of our home my entire childhood, and then some.  I may be a first time mom, but if there is one lesson I learned from my mom and her daycare it is this:


I will admit, I don't do this as often as I should, but I try to do it at least once a month.  If you can find the time, it's better to do it once a week.  If your child is sick, or has recently had a friend over who is sick, clean the toys immediately.  The Bean currently has an ear infection.  I cleaned her toys last night while she was asleep.  I was awake anyway dispensing regular doses of Tylenol and Motrin to keep her fever down.  So why not use that time to clean toys, right?  

It can be a tedious job, but it really does help keep those crazy toddler germs at bay.  This is what I do:

1. Separate out all the toys.  Soft, fluffy toys such as stuffed animals go in one pile.  Hard plastic or wooden toys go in another.  I also have a pile for books because we have a ton.

2. Fill your bathtub with water.  Add bleach.  I use a ratio of 1/2 cup of bleach for every gallon of water because that is what is recommended by Clorox.  Place all the non-porous, hard toys in the bathtub.  I usually leave out the wooden toys because Ellie's are painted and while the bleach probably won't hurt the seal, I don't want to take that chance.  Also, any toys that are battery powered or have a mechanical device of some kind should NOT go in the water.  
Soak the toys in the tub for 5 minutes.  Then rinse and let air dry.  If you can, just spread a couple towels on the floor of the bathroom and lay the toys out in a single layer overnight. (Don't forget about bath toys!)

3. Now for the fluffies.  These guys are going in the washer.  My washer has a "hand wash" setting, so I use that, but I'm pretty sure most stuffed animals can handle the regular cycle.  Important note: if the stuffed animal has some kind of device I don't put it in the washer.  For example, Ellie has a Big Bird that sings the ABCs, he does not go in the washer.  
I wash the stuffed animals in warm water, with regular detergent (we use All Free and Clear) and then dry them on the lowest heat setting.  You can air dry them, but you might want to put them through at least a short cycle first to fluff them.

Some of the stuffed animals after being washed and dried.

4. Last, the most boring part.  Get a container of disinfecting wipes, gather up all the remaining toys and put on your favorite TV show or movie.  The next step is simple, wipe down everything.  I wipe down all of the wooden blocks, any of the stuffed animals that couldn't be washed, the outside covers of her books and all of her board books.  Be careful with the books, don't saturate them too much.  If you need to, wait a few seconds to let the disinfectant work and then dry them with a paper towel.  Just remember, the disinfectant won't work if you immediately wipe it off.  Don't forget to wipe down any large items as well: table and chairs, doll stroller, kitchen set, etc (yours might be more boy-related, but you get the idea).

 Blocks and other toys that I wiped down with Clorox wipes.
Most of these could have soaked in the bleach solution, but I ran out of bleach.

Now you just sit back and wait for everything to dry!  Or go to bed, because it might be really late...

All clean and put away! 
(These shelves only look like this when Ellie is asleep)

This is a big task, but it helps.  If your child has a ton of toys and this job just seems too daunting, here are a couple of tips:

  • Play in batches.  Consider limiting the toys your child plays with.  If they are really into a certain group of toys right now, but totally ignoring another, put those unwanted toys away for a few months.  Then when you get them back out, it'll be like Christmas morning!  (Or if you get them back out and they still don't care, donate them!  Less clutter!  Win-win!)  This way when you do clean toys, you're cleaning less and you know which ones your child regularly plays with.
  • The Plastic Bin Method When your child is sick, you should try to clean his/her toys every day, but there is no way I could clean all of Ellie's toys every night for the rest of this week.  I need sleep!   So another option is to put favorite toys in one big plastic bin and eliminate the others.  Just take them out of play.  That way at the end of the day those are the only toys you have to clean.  I realize this might be a battle, but you can be flexible.  If she really wants a toy I didn't include in the bin, she can have it, she just can't have all of them.
  • Maintain Healthy Habits This is just a general rule.  If you maintain healthy habits, and teach your toddler to do the same, it should keep some germs at bay.  Teach children early about washing their hands.  I know it's easy to just clean Ellie myself, and I still catch myself doing it when I'm in a hurry.  However, she will learn more if I take her over to the sink and show her how to wash her hands with soap and water.  In addition, while sharing is an important lesson, certain things should not be shared: cups, silverware, half-eaten snacks.
I hope these tips will help you kick those toddler germs out of the house and keep the doctors visits at a minimum!

Friday, February 08, 2013

FO Friday: My First Sweater

Welcome to FO (Finished Object) Friday!

 This was my first time knitting a sweater and my third time knitting anything!  I was so happy with the result.  In fact, I was too excited during the knitting to stop and check the gauge, which I hear is really important.  But the final product fit, so I'm happy!  
I actual made this back in September, but since I'm super behind on my blog, I might as well catch you up on the projects I've already finish, right?

Here are a few pictures of the Bean wearing her sweater.  She wasn't super cooperative about pictures, so I got what I could.  Apparently this sweater is good for all sorts of activities, including:




and chewing on your pajamas...

Pattern: Nature Baby Kimono by Lion Brand Yarn
Yarn: stash (seriously, I have no idea what yarn I used, I've probably had it for a decade)
Needles: size 8 SPN