What, you may ask, am I pledging my undying loyalty to? (Well, okay, "undying" might be overreaching just a bit.)
I am pledging (until the end of the year at least) to only give handmade items as gifts. Items I buy for gifting purposes will be handmade, or I will make my self.
Oh boy. Can I do it? I don't know.
I hope so.
(I kind of have to now, right? I mean I "pledged" and all, right here in front of y'all in cyber space! Ugh- what have I gotten myself into?! Oh dear.)
Anyway, I've been seeing the cute little "Handmade" icon (now posted to the left of the screen) on more than one site lately, so I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.
Basically, the general idea is to pledge, per holiday season, to only give holiday gifts that are handmade. WELL, since we don't exactly throw ourselves whole hog into the gift-giving bit of the holidays around here, I thought I'd tweak my personal pledge just a bit.
For the holidays we do generally give a small gift to those in our immediate families and those we're closest with, so I thought, "Hey, why not?" I can't exactly afford to BUY handmade right now, but I sure could make it by hand myself! (Much, much easier on the budget.)
This is something I've been wanting to learn anyway- how to "do it myself", so why not now, right?
I'd like to carry this little idea into next year with me too (if it goes well!). It sure would be easier to afford, making gifts rather than buying them. Not that I have that many gift-giving occasions coming up in the immediate future- it's the principle of the thing! :D
So, fair warning to you all! If you know me, and there are occasions in which I may give you a gift coming up, either in the near future or next year, be warned! (And I promise, I'll do my best to tell you from the beginning what "it" is, just so you don't have to ask! Statements of, "Oh, how nice! What is it?" might hurt my feelings.) ;)
So, if you're like me, and you're always on the lookout for skirts, but never quite seeming to find them longer than SUPER SHORT, check out this cool tutorial!
My mom has made a few of these for my sister and I in the past, and I love 'em! In fact there was a time when Sarah and I scoured Goodwill for jeans that would fit 'round the middle (and of a color we liked, of course) just for the purpose of making these skirts (remember that Sarah Sue?).
I'm not sure if anyone else out there is interested in cloth diapers or not, but Louisa from www.TheStorkWearhouse.com has this great section on her site that got us seriously considering cloth diapering.
Click on "Cloth Diapers 101" to see the info. that really sold Pete and I- make sure to check out her site for all sorts of other great mama and baby stuff too!
Lately I've been looking for hobbies to keep my hands busy. I want to create something though, so my time spent on those hobbies is not time wasted.
I remember hearing about Project Linus (www.projectlinus.org) quite some time ago and thinking, "What a great idea!", but sadly I forgot all about it until I found it again just recently.
I chose childcare as my profession because I wanted to make the world, my little corner of it, just a little bit better place by making sure that the children in my care were loved. Right now life is moving slowly for me- almost no childcare-ing to be done, and lots and lots of time on my hands.
So, I thought I'd give it a go. Security is highly under appreciated, in my opinion, especially for children. So, if I can help, even just a tiny bit, I think it will feel pretty good.
I haven't been at it long, but already I'm learning that to create something by hand has a peaceful quality to it. I like it. And I hope to do it a lot more in the future.
I'm becoming more and more passionate about organic and "natural" products.
Since all I have to do these days, for the most part :) , is wait for our baby-to-be, I've been researching a LOT- and I've found some products that I really, really like.
So, if you're interested, here are some of my top picks:
- Nova Natural Toys and Crafts My FAVORITE catalog/site to peruse for all things child. Thankfully I'm married to a man that can make a lot of the products they sell, or I'd probably be buying waaay more than I should! :)
-Burt's Bees baby products So great. I use them for myself all the time too! :) Plus, I can buy them at Target, so they're easily accessible.
-Bumkins "All-in-One" cloth diapers (& bibs!) I've been buying these, little by little, for awhile now for our baby-to-come. I want to use cloth diapers for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is our budget. For the second child and on, all your diapering is FREE. For the first child it costs about the same to buy cloth as it would to buy disposables all the time, but if you plan on having more than one kid who could resist the savings? :) Plus you only need to buy about 30 diapers per diaper size (less if you keep up on the laundry better than I do)- they're so incredibly cute, and I love the Bumkins brand especially because it puts together the greatness of a washable, re-usable diaper with the ease of a disposable. No pins, no stuffing liners inside the diaper. No diaper covers needed (although some of them are almost too cute to resist). They're so easy. (The bibs are awesome too.)
Of course, with the desire to cloth diaper comes my next two must-haves...
-the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer Attaches to the water supply for your toilet and makes a no-mess job of getting dirtier diapers ready to pop in the wash. One of the things that made me think "no way!" to cloth diapering at first was having to get the yuckier "stuff" off the diapers prior to putting them in the wash. This solves the problem! We'll be buying one the minute we get word on our baby.
-and the Diaper Pail I'm pretty convinced, at this point, that we'll be using the "Wet Pail" method (great info. here), but in either case you need a pail to put the diapers in. I'm thinking of getting this one, or something like it. Plus, there are so many cute pail liners and "wet bags" to choose from! Louisa has some nice plain colored pail liners and cute, cute wet bagshere.
And, last but not least, -a Baby Sling There are so many cute ones out there that I just can't decide (yet) on my one MUST have. I've already gotten a couple, that I've tried out in the daycare, that I like for certain things- a cute HotSlings one- in my opinion, great while the baby is still itsy-bitsy, or after they're big enough to sit on your hip- and a Solarveil Padded Sling for those hot summer days when baby needs to be held, but you don't want (either of you) to sweat to death! I'm also intrigued by the Moby Wrap and have a pattern to make myself a Maya Sling.
I was much too lulled by the warm, mild, perfect and beautiful fall we had- I'm just not ready to suddenly be so chilly!
Today's high is 36, and we'll be having a nice winter-y mix of rain and snow all day.
I don't hate winter- at first. In fact, for the first 6 weeks or so, I kind of like it! After that, all bets are off.
It just gets too cold, and too dreary.
Thank goodness we don't live in a state where the winter lasts even longer! I'd never make it.
It makes me wish, so so very much, that we had a fire place or a wood stove in our home. How lovely it would be to just curl up in front of the fire, enjoy some hot cocoa or warm tea, be wrapped up in my favorite sweatshirt and warm fuzzy socks, and have my cozy blanket and a good book with me.
Ah, if only! Maybe one of these days.
We are trying to conserve this winter, and we'll be trying to keep the heat down a bit more than we used to.
Mind you, we'll be keeping it at about 68 degrees during the day, and 60 at night, so we won't be freezing by any means- but I'm the type of person who likes to be WARM. Really, really warm!
I'm that girl who has to wear long sleeves in the summer, and have a sweat shirt handy, because I freeze to death in the grocery store. Or in a restaurant. Or at the movies.
You know- THAT girl.
So, I'll be investing in some more "winter wear"- you know, warm socks, sweats, long underwear, and pretty much anything with "wool" listed on the tag!
The windows in our little old house have definitely seen better days- they're old, peeling, and extremely drafty, so dressing in layers will be a must.
So, I've been thinking lately (Watch out now!) about how much our society has changed since the 50's- even since the early 80's. I'm only 25, and was born in 1983, so I'll admit I'm basing my "observations" on what I've read about history and what I'm observing and living today.
Mainly, I've been pondering the incredible change in the role of women in all this time. For example, I do believe it would be safe to say that in 1950 most women who were married were at home. I think it might have been common for them to have worked outside the home before they had children, and some may have held part time jobs after having children, but I think on the whole most women stayed home to be wives and mothers after getting married and having kids. It seems to me this gradually started to change up into the 80's when women went into the full time work force in large numbers. Which brings me to today- where do those of us who stay-at-home fit in? Especially those of us who don't yet have children?
A great friend of mine and I were just discussing this question yesterday. Today it seems pretty uncommon for mothers to stay-at-home full time, and almost unheard of for married women without kids to stay-at-home. This post is definitely not meant to pose the question should women/mothers stay home full time or work full time- it's merely meant to help me "think out loud" so-to-speak in wondering how those of us in this position can fit in better where we're at.
I think those wives & mothers of days gone by had an advantage over those of us at home today. It was the "norm" to be full time homemakers, so (unless, possibly, they were out in the country without neighbors close) they had a kind of community around them of like-minded women. A support group of friends to get together with, talk to, and lean on. I didn't really give much thought to the "friend" aspect of being at home full time until recently, because until recently I had at least one daycare child with me almost all the time. For over two months now that hasn't been the case though, so I've been feeling a little lost. What on earth do I do with myself? I try hard to tend to my home- goodness knows there's always projects that need work!, but even here in this small town I've started feeling more and more isolated. (I'm not trying to complain, just observing my own situation!) :)
I know only a handful of women that have a similar situation to mine, and most of them already have at least one child of their own. I've been wondering lately how they deal with the "alone-ness" of either being the only human in the house all day, every day (we love our pets, but they don't really offer much in the way of conversation now do they? LOL), or the only adult around all day until their hubbies come home.
One young mom I know lives 2 hours from me and has a 3 1/2yr old, a 2 yr old, and a new baby at home. I get the impression that she has a network of friends from her church that are full time at-homers too. She's a busy gal from what I've seen- she still has several siblings at home with her parents and her mother is a full time at-homer too, so she spends quite a bit of time there, plus I'm sure she gets together with her other friends on occasion too. I'm not sure if she feels isolated at times or not.
Another friend of mine lives 8? hours from me and has a 3yr old and a 1yr old, and is at home full time. She lives in the country, but does have her in laws and her husband's younger siblings that are still living at home nearby on the same farm. From talking with her off and on I think she probably has times when she feels a bit isolated as well.
Another friend lives 5 hrs from me and is currently job-seeking so is home full time right now. She's like me in the sense that she doesn't have any children yet, and is feeling a bit at a loss at the present, trying to figure out what to do with herself day in and day out. :)
A fourth friend lives in the country about 8? miles from me and is mostly home full time (working just one afternoon a week) with her almost 3yr old, and has baby number 2 on the way. She has mentioned to me before that she sometimes feels a little isolated at home too.
Another young mom I know is about 40? miles from me and stays at home with her two little ones and, like me, does daycare a bit in her home.
So, what's my point? Hmmmm- I'm not certain that I have one, except that perhaps those of us like this are really few and far between these days! And it would seem that we're pretty spread out geographically, too! :)
I remember a past daycare mom of mine that had just had her second child and was home for a 3 month maternity leave. Her older boy was still coming to daycare at my house part time most days, and after the first few weeks she told me she was going stir-crazy and couldn't wait to get back to work! (Granted, once she went back to work full time she decided she missed her kids- especially the new baby- too much and found a way to do her job from home.) I really think that what made her feel that way was the lack of other women around her that were in a similar place in their lives. All of her friends and peers worked outside the home full time, and she didn't have anyone nearby to be a kind of 'support' to her while she stayed home to care for the baby. In a way, I can sympathize. Pete and I live in a nice area of town, but there's only two other young familes nearby and all of the parents work full time. The rest of our neighbors are older folks or are retired.
So, like I said before, I think those ladies of the past had a bit of an advantage on us- they had more access to a "peer group" of women that were in similar situations. And, after tasting a bit of the old-fashioned at-home life, I think that's a pretty valuable thing to have!
I do realize that with kids around there's less time to ponder such things- I definitely didn't wonder about this much when I had a house full of daycare children to take care of! :) And I'm sure, once Pete and I are able to start our own little family, I won't feel at such a "loss" anymore. But I think, especially in the future, I'll be much more mindful of cultivating those friendships- of finding a small network of like-minded women like that. And, in the mean time, I'm going to try to keep busy! The bottom line, I think, is to feel- at the end of the day- like I was productive, that I have a purpose. So, off to do the laundry, make some more bread, try my hand at turning that large chicken in my refrigerator into chicken noodle soup- and I'm sure I'll be finding more things to add to my list if I look! I hope you have a productive and purposeful day too- and if you're feeling the need for an "at-homer" friend, feel free to get a hold of me- I'll most likely be at home! :)