Tuesday, May 06, 2014

essential oils

Discovery doTERRA

minutes 4:23-14:00 for overview of various oil uses

the best baby wipes ever

A couple years ago I learned about making my own baby wipes via pinterest. Now I have a recipe I like even better.

Homemade wipes don't take long to make, and they have only good ingredients. There is no alcohol of any kind, so they don't dry out your baby's bum. I'm sure they are cheaper than store-bought wipes, but I haven't done the math yet as to how much. And quite frankly, they work better: especially with newborn poop, paper towels really picks it up more easily!

I got a new recipe from doTERRA's blog. I like it better than my first homemade one because these ingredients are completely natural, and lavender's healing properties prevent diaper rash.

What you need:  paper towel roll, a plastic container, 2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil, lavender essential oil, 2 cups pre-boiled water, & a serrated knife.

Any paper towels will do, but I like using the paper towel rolls that have the half-sized sheets. That's about all you need sometimes anyway. The pictured plastic container was a great find. I happened upon it in a mom-n-pop kitchen store in Cambridge. I think this link is the same thing. It's expensive, but think of it as an investment. It does the job so well and I can re-use it if I stopped making wipes. It's great because the flip top can be opened with one hand (so I have the other to hold Mikayla's toes up and out of her poop). It seals tightly, and fits a half-paper towel roll nearly perfectly. It's a bit snug, but it all works out for the best. [If you want to spend little or no money on a container, check out my new discovery for a container at the end of the post!]

The steps: 
First remove the core from the paper towel roll. If you pinch it and twist it, it comes out easily.
Then cut the paper towel roll in half. My dad suggested I borrow his band saw, and it certainly would be easier. But as few of us have access to one, a serrated knife does the trick. 

 See how much fun I'm having with this? 
Since my roll is a bit too fat for my plastic container, I take off a few layers until it fits. I fold them accordion style...more on those bits later.
Stuff the roll in the container and draw up the center piece a little. This is where you'll start pulling the wipes.
You will need 2 cups of water. I pre-boil my water, to sterilize it. We're not adding any preservatives, so I do this as a precaution. In months of making baby wipes I've never had a problem, but I've heard they can start to mold. Add 2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil to the water. (Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that has be processed so that it is liquid at room temperature. You can purchase it here.) 
Then add essential oils. I do about 5 drops of lavender. This smells great, but it's not only for scent! Lavender soothes skin irritations, helps skin heal, and is soothing and calming. If you haven't experience lavender's essential oil, it's Nothing like synthetically created lavender scent  that you'd find in dryer sheets.  It's lovely. You can buy it here.

Alternatively, add 3 drops each of lavender and melaleuca. Melaleuca also has cleansing and regenerative properties. I don't think Melaleuca's smell is as pleasant, and it's so strong so I didn't want to use it on Mikayla when she was just a few days old. I figured I'd add it if she started getting rashes, but that hasn't happened yet.
Stir it up and pour it over the paper towel roll. Pop the lid on. The liquid will slowly be absorbed throughout the whole roll. Here my photographer noted how wonderful it smelled.
My new discovery is that the extra paper towel sheets that I removed from the roll fit beautifully into standard plastic wipe containers. If they're folded accordion style, they continue to dispense through the hole like tissues. This works so well; a little jerk, and the sheets rip off each other. Now I have my homemade wipes in two places.

Save money...get a better product...what more convincing do you need? As soon as we started using these wipes, Mikayla's diaper rash healed and hasn't come back. Besides, you can safely use them for more things, without worrying about the cost per wipe, or yucky chemicals in them. Sometimes I wipe Kayla's face with them (carefully avoiding her eyes) when she has a little rash on her chin from drool. Anyone can use them as a personal wet wipe. Lavender has so many healing properties, you're bound to be doing something good for yourself however you use them!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

kindle case

For our fifth anniversary, I finally got around to making our wedding scrapbook. I had a lot of fun going to Michael's and buying craft supplies during post-Christmas sales.  I love crafting, and I took advantage of the days before Kayla was born and while I had others in the home to watch Julie. I "gave" it to my husband for our anniversary and told him to pretend that it was the paper anniversary. He in turn bought me a Kindle Paperwhite, joking that he was also honoring the paper-anniversary.

Anyway, I really like my kindle. I love how I can look up words instantly. I love how small and light it is to carry around. I love how easy it is to hold with one hand and how my page doesn't get lost when I have to set it down.  These factors make it so much easier to read when I'm nursing, and that is a huge draw for me right now. First I enjoyed Pride & Prejudice on it. Right now I'm reading a Lord Peter mystery.

Since holding it in one hand with ease is key, I don't want a traditional case for it. I don't want the extra flap that you get from the cover. Instead, I sewed a slip-case for it. I used this pattern.

A few small changes:

1) I adjusted the size for a paperwhite. I cut the back to 6 by 10 1/4 and the front to 6 by 8 1/4 inches

2) I made the pocket a bit taller: 6 by 5 1/2 inches

3) I didn't use interfacing in the pocket. Also, I used a complementary piece of fabric rather than the fleece lining. This made the pocket thinner, since I want the whole thing to be as thin as possible.

4) In the 11th step, I re-sewed the fleece lining with a 3/8 inch seam, since once I stuck the lining inside, I found that it bunched up. It needs to be smaller than the outer fabric.

5) She didn't say, as far as I saw, but you really need to trim all your seams tightly so the product is crisp.

A few things I would still do differently if I make it again: 

1) I wish I had used thinner interfacing. She didn't specify which she had used, but I wish I had picked up the lighter of the two I was choosing between.

2) I wish I had made the closure flap bigger. I had a feeling I would want it to be longer, and I should have gone with my gut. The directions call for a fold-down at 2 inches. I would make it at least 3, perhaps 3.5 would be ideal.  (So you'd add 3.5 inches to the length of the back when cutting). I think a longer flat would lay flat better.  As it is, the corners want to fold up, and you really have to pull and push to get the velcro to attach.

3) Oh, and I wish I had done something on the front. Perhaps sewn on a applique bird, or added a monogram.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

a baby's language, part 2

Mikayla is over 6 weeks old. I can't believe how fast time has gone with my second. The first six weeks with JP seemed to last ages at the time. The days were so long, and hard, and not to mention I was still getting little sleet at nights with JP.

This experience is so different from my first. I'm sure part of that is different temperaments of my daughters, but I think the great difference is in me. I know more, have a whole lot more 'tricks up my sleeve' for dealing with a newborn, I'm way less anxious about everything, I have different expectations, different attitude. I feel no need to sweat the details. The result is quite different. For starters, our sleep is so much better than it was at this time with my first. But I'll go into that in another post.  For now, I'll tell you about the baby language.

I surely feel that I have a better sense of what Mikayla needs. Part of this is just from being a mom a second time around, but Dunstan's baby language has also helped a heap.  Here's what I found helpful:

  1. The two clearest words that I can hear from Mikayla are EH (burp) and EAIR (gas). The EH is very clear.  I can hear that the sound is coming from high in her voice.  It just sounds like she's struggling with a burp. It's helpful to know quickly that she needs to burp. I can tell even when she's lying on a blanket and I'm not looking at her. I can tell a friend who's holding her what it is that she needs. 
  2. The EAIR sounds to me like a low RRR sound. And I can totally tell that it has to do with lower gas. As soon as I hear that, I can help her by crunching up her body or doing "bicycle" with her legs and we can work it out before she's all-out crying in pain. Mikayla hasn't had a huge problem with gas. Maybe it's mostly because she just has a good digestive system, but I also like to think it's because when she has issues we can help before they get too painful. 
  3. I don't hear the NEH sound (for hunger). I think this may be because my daughter is tongue-tied. While it's not serious enough to affect her eating, I think she cannot easily put her tongue to the roof of her mouth to make the N sound. She makes a coughing sound when she's hungry. In the middle of the night that's the sound I get up for. Anything else I sleep through or I let her work out on her own. Actually, I haven't gotten up for anything else in weeks, but that's another post... I usually just tell when she's hungry by her reflex - she opens her mouth toward skin or a finger if it's put on her cheek.  I think that reflex will be going away soon, probably by two months. I hope it's not hard for me to tell when she's hungry after that. 
  4. The HEH and the OWH are harder for me to distinguish. I personally think OWH sounds more like AH, and I do occasionally hear that. More often I can tell she's tired because I know she's been awake for a long time, or I see her eyelids doing the blank stare or drooping. I haven't heard the HEH sound yet. 

All in all, it's been helpful. I love that I can quickly tell when she has a burp or gas problem.  I'd recommend a new mom or mom-to-be to watch the youtube video. I don't feel any need to purchase Priscilla's DVD program, but not having done it I can hardly say it wouldn't be valuable.