Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Avery's 2nd Birthday...a Lorax Party!

Well, the day has come for my little girl to turn TWO! When it came time to come up with a theme for this year's party it was a close tie between Despicable Me and The Lorax, since those two movies, despite being a year or two old, are her favorites! She will watch them (or scenes from them), over and over and over again. So when it finally came time to decide, we went with The Lorax theme mainly because of the adorable, bright, and oh-so lovely Truffula trees.

Being the tissue paper pom pom addict that I am, I looked forward to making our own Truffula trees and decorated the whole house with them.   Add a few other projects and we had one fun second birthday party!

The inspiration: The movie The Lorax, the book by Dr. Seuss was obviously our inspiration as well, but when it came to creating the trees I looked to making them like the Truffula trees in the movie.

Here's some details:
The invitations: Big thanks to "Larissa Kay Designs" over at Etsy for these fun Lorax birthday invitations! Loved them.

The outfit: Another Etsy find that I just couldn't pass up..."Personalized Dr. Seuss Lorax Inspired Botique Fabric Tutu Skirt" by AddieKat Boutique. Do you have a young daughter with an upcoming birthday well this Etsy shop is for you! I would have bought Avery five birthday outfits if I could, they are just so dang cute! And to find a Lorax-style one was just perfect.

The best non-moving snap shot I got
of the outfit all day! ( :

The trees: As I said before, the movie was my inspiration for the trees, and with that said I chose 3 colors: dark pink, orange, and yellow.

To make the actual tree I made tissue paper pom poms, like I described in this post for her 1st Birthday Party. The only difference is that instead of rounding the tips off, I made them pointy like a skinny triangle.

We stuck them to the wall with just a few pieces of masking tape!

For the tree trunks, I went with skinny, grey trunks with simple hand-drawn lines. The Lorax book shows yellow, trunks but I liked the grey ones from the movie. To make these all we did was use light grey construction paper, trace out the shapes of the trunks we wanted and then taped them to the wall with masking tape.

We used a grey marker to make the lines
on the trunks as well.
Here's a few of the other trees we put up around my house.

My mom painted a Lorax character onto poster board...a must have decor item at a Lorax party! Avery loved talking to him and making sure to tell him that she "DID NOT" chop down any trees.

Aside from larger Truffula trees on the walls, we also made some smaller trees in little pots to decorate on our mantle and the main food table.  To make these trees we just used the same pom pom styles, but about half the size. 

The birthday mantle.  I made a similar monthly banner
like I did last year in this post.

The main food table where we had veggies with dip and hummus,
fruit salad, and chips and salsa...and one of Avery's favorite:
gummy bears! Not exactly the most Lorax-inspired foods,
but Avery loves them so we went with it!
We used styrofoam balls, bamboo craft sticks, and decorative
paper "grass" and attached the pom poms to the top of the
sticks to make mini-Truffula trees.

Now that you know how we planned it all let's get to the fun part...the actual party!
First up were presents!

Pretend barn...her new favorite toy!

Other favorite...a new baby doll who's diaper can be changed!

Well, we better get right to changing that diaper!

Her "big present" this year was a
Little Tikes Princess Cozy Truck Ride-On!
Since she's decided she's too big to ride in her stroller,
this truck couldn't come soon enough!

Except all she wanted to do was "hang" off the back like
this...not quite the intended use.

Feeling like such a big girl already!

Cupcake Time!  I went with the same gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free cupcake and icing recipe that I used at her birthday party last year and it was just as delicious as before. Check it out here. By the way, I dyed the icing pink with beet juice!

This is going to be fun!

Oh yeah, I like icing.

Happy Birthday to me!

It didn't take long until she was off and ready to play
some more...tutu and all!
A big thanks to all our family that came out to support Avery and take part in the fun! We love you guys.

Our little Birthday family!

Then we ended the party by watching a recap of the last year...I can't belive how much she's changed since just last year.

Thanks to all of you who have followed her for the past two years, and for some even since I was pregnant with her! I hope you continue to follow our little family as we grow into this next year.  ( :

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Favorite "Green" Baby Bib

Happy Earth Day greenies! Sometimes when this day rolls around we feel that push to do something big, something green, something to help better the Earth, but I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be as dramatic as it sounds. I'm a firm believer in the power of little things. Little things done daily add up to a lot.  And when it comes to going green, it's those little things that can add up to reducing your electric bill, decreasing the toxic load in your body, and cutting down on the amount of trash going to the landfills...among other things.

Look closely to see our "bib" in disguise!

So today's "little thing" revolves around a common item that nearly every parent of a baby or toddler has in their home...a baby bib. Once babies start eating solid foods, baby bibs are a must-needed accessory to keep clothes somewhat clean. There are many baby bibs out on the market now, some market themselves to be "greener" while others have fun catchy characters on them.  Either way they do their job for the most part of keeping baby clothes clean.

The tricky part for me came in when I kept buying them over and over and over again. I'd get a spankin' new bib for Avery when she started eating solid foods (in conjunction with breast milk) around 6 months old, and after just a few short weeks, it would look ratty and worn. I suppose I could have been more careful and delicate with washing them off, but when you've got spaghetti splattered and wiped all over it, I know of no other way to clean them than with a good rinse with soap and water.

Some of the many bibs I bought and then threw away shortly
before finding the Bib Clips.

I sought out other alternatives...maybe I could make my own (no, I cannot sew), maybe I could try a different format like this one that catches the food and wipes off easy (no, it fit Avery too weird). I was literally to the point where I was considering taking some of my dish towels, cutting a whole in them and using those...luckily that's when I found Baby Buddy Bib Clips. These things are amazing!

"Bear Clips" fresh from the store!

Basically they consist of two clips attached with a piece of ribbon that can be clipped onto any cloth or paper napkin to make a bib. Now although this product isn't marketed as "Green Invention of the Year," I truly think that it is the greenest bib around because it eliminates the need for bibs altogether. No buying, throwing out, buying, throwing out! All you need is a set of Bib Clips, a stash of cloth napkins (or dish towels, wash cloths, etc.) and you are good to go.  Bring on the messy meals!

Other perks of the Bib Clips:

  • Only cost $5 at Buy Buy Baby, you could also get them online here.
  • Come in a variety of fun colors
  • BPA-free
  • Made in the USA

We have literally had Avery's for 1 1/2 years now and it's still holding strong. I love how much money I've saved by not having to buy bibs.  And it feels even better knowing that I am not contributing to the energy, packaging, and transport that goes into making new bibs.  Join me for a little trip down memory lane as we see Avery grow up wearing the Bib Clips...

What's that foot doing up there you little 14 month old?!

At 17 months.

Look at those curls coming in!

Bib clips can't do much to keep the face clean from guacamole!

Helps to keep you clean from cereal
whether it's in the bowl, or out!

Still going strong into her second year!

As you can tell those Bib Clips sure have been through a lot of food, a lot of cloth napkins, and a lot of memories! I'm so glad to have found something that is capable of lasting so long.

In this week's video, Avery helps me demonstrate how and where we use the Bib Clips....

With a new baby on the way, I look forward to using these same Bib Clips again and to know that they will still be in great shape (knock on wood) by then is one more thing I can cross off my "Baby Prep List".

Since these are so cheap and easy, they are great to keep at Grandparent's houses, relatives, or just in the diaper bag for when you go out. Most of the time everyone has a wash cloth, hand towel, or worst case scenario...paper towel that you could use to quickly and easily make a bib.

Here we are utilizing the Bib Clips at a recent outing to one of Avery's favorite restaurants: Chipotle!

With our cloth napkin attached.

A paper napkin could also work.

So there you have it, one tiny little green tip that although it may seem small, can end up saving you money, as well as helping our environment.

Have you ever tried Buddy Baby Bib Clips or something like them? I'm sure you could create something easily and cheaply...but personally I wasn't feeling that creative. What other bib alternatives or brands have you tried? How have they worked? Share your experiences below!

If you're feeling like taking on another "little thing" to your green to-do list, check out my pages on how you can "Green Your Body" or "Green Your Home." And again, Happy Earth Day!

Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and this is my honest opinion of it.

Recently this post was linked up to:

  •  "Tuesday Baby Link Up" over at the blog Growing Slower, as well as a number of other blogs that are listed in the link above. So hop on over and check out some other fun baby posts!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

13 Weeks

Well we're moving right along with these bi-weekly posts and they sure seem like they are getting closer together, or maybe life is just a little bit more busy this time around. Either way, I do enjoy these little built in breaks to stop, reflect, and share what's new with this pregnancy. Let's start with this week's photo... 

Quite a change from my last pregnancy with Avery, here I am at 14 weeks:

Gotta love 2nd pregnancies! Anyone else show early with their 2nd, 3rd, etc.? It's all good with me, I know my body has been through it once before and knows what it's doing.

This week's photo background: Kind of an odd, industrial-like background this week, as it's actually a cargo shipping container. Interestingly enough, I had no clue what their actual name was until writing this post, I described them as "those big metal, shipping things". So now I know their technical name, "cargo shipping containers." Guess you learn something everyday. Anyways, I found this one in the back end of of the parking lot of a shopping center in town and I thought they would make for a cool pic.

Questions of the week:

1. How big is the baby (with Avery's help)?

"Yep that's how big
 my little brother or sister is!"

"I so excited!"

Okay so technically 13 weeks is a peach, but after searching nearly every grocery store in town I could not find a peach. So I went with the previous week's food: a plum. I figured it was at least bigger than the last update's fig, so it's all good. Plus, Avery is apparently a plum fan as she devoured this one once we took the pic. 

2. What I'm eating...
Chips are my favorite right now, each week I'll pick a brand or a flavor that I love. Then next week I'm onto the next one. This week I found this cool gluten-free, vegan brand by Snikiddy called, "Eat Your Vegetables" and they are actually made with sweet potatoes, navy beans, and carrots. My description of how they taste? Like this top part of a crab rangoon...granted I haven't had one in years due to being vegan and gluten-free, but their flavor is very similar. Yum! Avery helped me eat nearly a whole bag in one day when we first found these! Usually I have a bit more self control with chips, but new chips...that's another story! 

3. Anything new this week? New question for the week, mainly because this week I stopped pumping breast milk at work this week for Avery. Which you could probably assume means that she is still breastfeeding.  What? Pregnant and breastfeeding? Can you do that? Which is probably what some of you maybe thinking. While others may say, "What's the big deal? I'm tandem nursing right now!"

Well, it's definently not a big deal to me. As far as I see it, I'm following Avery's lead when it comes to nursing and if she's still interested then I'm still game. But if she does decide she's done, I'll support her in that too.

One book that's helped me along the way so far is Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond by Hilary Flower. It lays out how "normal" and "natural" it can be for a pregnant woman to continue breastfeeding throughout her pregnancy and even into the birth of her baby. So if any other mamas are interested in the topic, I highly recommend it. It gives a real life picture of both the pros and cons that come with tandem breastfeeding.

One thing that makes me rest easy is that I am not Avery's main food source. She eats A LOT all day long. At this point she only nurses when she wakes up, when I get home from work, and before bed (and before any naps on the weekend when I'm home). Our nursing sessions last no more than 5 minutes. That's pretty much it. I'm sure her nursing is more of a bonding thing with me than it is an actual food time, but still she seems to enjoy it.

With this in mind, you can see that it's not completely draining my system or as most people would think, "hogging all the food" from the baby growing in my belly. On top of that I put my health as my number one priority to ensure that Avery, the baby, and I are all taken care of by eating the healthiest diet I can and drinking lots of water.

Blah blah blah, I'm going on forever with this, but the main point of mentioning this was to share that I've finally dropped my lunchtime "pumping session". Main reason: milk production is down. See what I mean:

A typical 25 minute pumping session at 12 weeks pregnant.

A typical pumping session, non-pregnant, when Avery
was 17 months old. Read more in my post about breastfeeding
a toddler.

A typical pumping session back when Avery was 4 months
old (obviously a bit different since I was her main food source).
Here's that original post.

Given the decrease in milk and the fact that Avery is pretty content to get some Rice Milk as her pre-nap milk of choice, I was game to go ahead and drop this pumping session. It just seemed like more work to get all ready, prepare the pumping parts, store the milk, wash the pumping parts, and more all for just 2 Tbs. of pumped milk.  Now although I see a drop in milk quantity with my pumping, I don't really see much when I nurse her at home. Or at least she hasn't been complaining. I've read that a drop in milk is common with pregnancy, so I'll keep you posted on how it goes at the rest of the pregnancy progresses. 

4. Best moment of the week: Going to sleep each night on my Earthing mat. I love this thing. If you haven't read my post on Earthing before, you've got to...it will change you life, your health...and most importantly your sleep!

I think I'm past the exhausted-feeling days of the first trimester as my energy seems to be coming back a bit more, but even then I still love the feeling of going to sleep on this Earthing mat. Usually, I use it periodically throughout the day, but it can't quite compare to being able to truly relax on it and fall asleep. 

A picture from the Earthing post of me using my Earthing
mat in my favorite way...when I sleep. (Here I am minus
the bump!)

While I can't find a whole lot of research out there about the benefits of Earthing during pregnancy, other than a few personal stories mentioned in the Earthing book, I look forward to seeing how it will help me during this pregnancy. So far it has been a great way to relax and ease the normal aches and pains that come from growing a baby! I'll keep you posted on how it's worked for me. 

Until then, I'll see you guys in two weeks!

Recently this post was linked up to "Tuesday Baby Link Up" over at the blog Growing Slower, as well as a number of other blogs that are listed in the link above. So hop on over and check out some other fun baby posts!

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