Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Thankful!

I was able to get started last night. I got home from work around 7pm and started baking chocolate chip cookies. I ended up with 8 dozen cookies! While they were baking I was also able to wrap about a dozen Christmas gifts and watch Glee!

The cookies are ready to go, but I also got a few cakes, because I think that the fire station and the police station are probably going to have a lot more people there and a few dozen cookies just won't cut it. Today, I set out to make my two very simple cakes. I get the ingredients added and go to mix it up...GREAT! I killed my hand mixer last night while making cookies. I had a feeling that was coming. Sad, this mixer is not even 3 years old yet.

So now, the list of broken/lost items includes: digital camera, laptop, laptop keyboard, and hand mixer....OY!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Being Thankful

Our gingerbread time is over for now. These next two weeks are going to be devoted to giving thanks.

The big project of the next two weeks is showing people in our community that we are thankful. I have bought all of the mixes and ingredients to make goodies for a variety of community members that help us out in a great way! Some of my list are: the police, firemen, the childcare watchers at the YMCA, the mailman, that super nice security officer at the bank who is always so polite and always opens the door for me at the bank.

I still need some kind of poem or card or something that I can put with these treats to kind of explain what it is all about. I'll be searching the web in a minute for something that might work.

As for what my son will get of this...Well...he's just a few weeks shy of two, so I'm thinking that he isn't going to get much out of this project. My hope though, is that some of the people might be willing to stop and pose for a picture with my son so that I will be able to make a little book for him that will show him what he did this year. Then, as we look at it over the next year, hopefully he will be excited to do this project again in the future and we will have started planting the seed that will help him to give thanks. I also happen to like that this will get us into the kitchen making different goodies. While this can sometimes be a chore with my son, I know that he really likes helping me and it good for him to see me measure out the ingredients and taking the time to touch, smell, and taste new things (vanilla extract, flour, sugar, mint) is really a good thing for him at this age.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gingerbread and G week

We are still doing gingerbread week for the rest of the week. Part of the theme plans are to make Gingerbread Man cinnamon ornaments that Matthew can make and then give to his grandparents for Christmas. I have been excited to do this for a few weeks and decided that today was the day.

Here are the items that we needed for this project.

The recipe:

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/2 apple sauce
2 tbsp glue

Mix everything together and then roll out on wax paper and cut out Gingerbread Men. Then, use a stray to make a hole in their head for an ornament hook. Let them dry for about four days until they harden.

We ended up having some problems with the mixture and had to add flour to make it more doughy. I would guess that I used around 1-2 cups of flour to make it more doughy. Although, I will warn that we also had an apple sauce explosion and there might have just been too much apple sauce.

I have gotten in the habit of letting Matthew add and stir the ingredients. I still have to help him to keep it in the bowl, but he is doing well. As we were stirring things in, I took a moment to let Matthew sniff the cinnamon. I knew it was a small that he was not going to be familiar with.

Next we roll out our dough...and eventually add flour, because it is just too sticky! We worked the dough with our hands too, because it is nice to be able to touch and talk about what we feel.

Once we got it right, it was easy to roll out and cut. If I place the cookie cutter, Matthew can press down on to make the cut outs.

I like to reuse as much of the dough as possible and Matthew LOVES to do the rolling. Here we are rolling out the dough to make more.

In the end, we had 8 nice looking Gingerbread Men. The recipe that I found said that after they dry out you can paint them. I think these are the perfect cute little homemade gift!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gingerbread and G week

My son is going to turn two in about a month and he loves to learn! So I was excited about a month ago when I found the site "No Time for Flashcards". The author blogs about different craft and learning projects that she does with her son. She has ideas for all kinds of things that I never though MY son could do! Surprise! He can ...and he LOVES it!

Using "No Time for Flashcards" as an aid, I started doing my own little themes to help my son learn more about his letters, colors, and practice find motor skills. This has proved to be very successful!

These past two weeks, we have been doing things related to gingerbread, because we have been working on the gingerbread that we will take to PPG this weekend for their display. I thought that since it was going to be such a big project, we should build around it. So, all of these two weeks were devoted to Gingerbread and letter "G".

Today we had a great time making a green, glittered, glued, G. I wanted to share some pictures. Along with making this "G", we also practiced how to sign the letter "G" and I talked about words that start with "G".

Here's pictures of our project today.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cloth diaper update

I just wanted to let you know that everything has been going well!

I finally got my last shipment of diapers in the mail today! It was 17 diapers that looked brand new along with about 12 big inserts and 14 small inserts! They looked BRAND no and had no smell at all!! I was pretty impressed with the no smell part, because I've had a lot of issues with the ammonia smell in the inserts and diapers even after a few washings.

I thought that the biggest issue that I was going to have would be getting all of the laundry done, but that hasn't proved to be an issue at all. I've been running the cold load every night or every other night and then running the hot cycle first thing in the morning. So far, so good! I can't wait to try out these new ones though! The lack of smell makes them so nice!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cloth diapers

My husband and I have been discussing expanding our family a lot lately. We know that there are issues and concerns about how we will do it financially, but who isn't thinking about that?

Well, I'm always willing to do whatever I can to save a buck. So, I decided to look into cloth diapering. I had to first think about what it was going to save. We've basically only used Babies R Us brand diapers since the day he was born with the occasional pack of Pampers or Huggies whenever I found a great deal.

The BSU diapers run around $25 for a box of about 100 (give or take based on baby sizes). Those diapers 100 diapers will last us about a month, sometimes a little less, but for the sake of this...

$25*12months*2.5 years of diapers = $750 (not too bad, right)

But then we do $750*2 kids = $1500

WOW! That's a lot of money just to diapers a couple of babies!!! GEEZ!! Sadly though, I know that there are many people that spend much more!

The cloth diapers (we went with one size pockets) can also be pricey....
1 Bum Genius diaper, brand new runs about $25, and you'll probably want about 20! Awesome part though....these will be all that you need!!!

$25*20 diapers = $500!

I happened to have gone a much cheaper route...ebay! It is very common to buy used diapers, sanitize, and reuse on another baby. I bought these lots:

5 BG at $51 (which included shipping)
17 BG at $96 (which included shipping)
1 BG at $2.50 (which I ONLY paid shipping and it came from a site other than ebay)

In the end...$149.50!

But prior to my buying, I had put an ad on freecycle asking for anything that I could use to get started cloth diapering. Sadly, I didn't get a response until I was already committed to the other purchases.

From freecycle.... 18 BG diapers and 10 Haute Pocket diapers...cost NOTHING!

Lucky for me on that last one, the woman also hooked me up with my diaper pail, pail liners, rice paper (catches the poop), 3 odor sprayers, and extra inserts!!

WOW!!! That's BIG!!!

So now I have more diapers then I can count or ever need. What I am I going to do? Well, one of the benefits of cloths is the that even when you are done using them, they still have value! My plan is to use what I have for now, but started to weed out ones that might need a little work (sometimes there are parts like the velcro or elastic that wear, but it can be replaced for less than a dollar), fix...or not fix, and then ship them off with the hopes of recuperating some of the $150 that I spent. If I can get the cost spent to $75 over all, that would make me happy!

I know that there is also cost in laundering these diapers. I started making my own laundry detergent about a month ago and it just happens to be safe for these diapers. BUT I also got lucky in that the same wonderful woman that gave me her diapers on freecycle also gave me about 60 loads worth of laundry detergent!

Detergent costs for OUR diaps: $0 for probably 5 months
Water costs for diaps: I honestly don't know....and I'm not that concerned with it to be honest!

Overall costs: $150 for diaps, $0ish for laundring diaps for the first 5 months, $0 for the cost of pail, liners, and other goodies to get me started.

$1500 to diaper 2 babies
- 575 that I've already wasted on M
- 150 cloth diaper cost =
I still come out $775 richer....not too shabby!

I can deal with that.