Thursday, January 28, 2010


I love homemade bread. I remember when my mom made it when we were kids, we would devour at least a loaf or two just after it came out of the oven. It's not too much different now.

I try to make bread every week to ten days. I make it whole wheat, with fresh-ground flour. I have a fabulous wheat grinder that works great. I'm glad I have it: I can imagine lining up my kids with mortars and pestles to grind the wheat...well maybe not. I took a sabbatical from making bread for several months after David was born, as I didn't quite have the stomach muscles to knead it. Funny things, those C-sections.

Yup, this is me, Sarah grabbed the camera and caught me in the act.

I really want one of these. I've been saving money from Birthdays and Christmas in a little jar to someday get this handy-dandy bread maker. I think I'm at about $100. Maybe I can get some $ from our food storage budget too, now that Christmas is over. But for now, it's my 2 hands that make this bread thing possible.

Fresh, hot from the oven. Luckily, I was able to freeze a few.

Is there anything better than fresh-baked bread with homemade strawberry freezer jam? Well, maybe if it's covered in honey instead.

Bread anyone?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Little Scrappin'

Scrapbooking is something I love to do. I got started about 11 or so years ago and it's something I keep coming back to. I love the hands on, touch the paper-ness of scrapping. I don't know if I could ever go digital.

For a few years now, I've been doing scrapbook exchanges. Where a bunch of people get together and each makes a kit for everyone in the group, then we exchange our kits. We usually get 8 or so pages with one idea, then all we have to do is put our phtots in it. It has been super great and has helped my albums grow a little quicker.

For my exchange (which happened last night), this is the page I did. The layout idea was from Jeanette Lynton's Cherish book. And I got some way cute pages in return! Our next exchange is in April, we always welcome more people!

A friend of mine does exchanges too. Hers is next week I've got my layout done, but still need to put together 10 more before next weekend.

I used the same paper pack for both exchanges. The paper is from Stampin UP. A retired paper pack called Tea Party.

When I get them all back, I just need to plug my photos in them, along with the 20-something other pages that need photos too.

I did this page a few months ago when I needed a break from sewing. I love how it turned out. My goal was to use the cute flower paper that my friend Natalie (who introduced me to scrapping back in college) gave me years ago. I found the inspiration from one of the Pebbles in My Pocket page kits. At least this one has photos!

Another of my New Year's Resolutions is to use more craft stuff than I buy (Whew! It's going to be tough). I hope I can get through at least some of my thousands of sheets of hoarded paper!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Journey

For the last two months I feel like I've been on a journey, exploring a world I didn't even know existed.

I guess my journey started a good thirty some-odd years ago when I was born. I was a cloth diaper wearer. My mom always said she did it out of necessity because they couldn't afford anything else. Her favorite Christmas present when I was a baby was disposable diapers, so I could wear them to church. I grew up with the stigma that cloth diapers was something people used because they were too poor to buy disposables, they used them because they HAD to.

I used to baby-sit for my aunt a lot, she used cloth diapers. Another family I baby-sat also did. I don't remember it being any big deal, they were easy to change and not hard to deal with. But I "knew" deep down that they couldn't afford disposables, and that's why they used cloth.

It's funny how parents sometimes proclaim "truths" through little things they say at different times. Two of these truths come through more than most: (1) College should be finished before you get married and have babies. (I guess that's why I finished my bachelor's degree super fast --less than 3 years-- and wrapped it up just before I got married.) (2) Cloth diapers are horrible, despicable things, so gross and annoying that you must be either crazy or dirt poor to use them.

Well Mom, I must be crazy. I have entered the cloth diapering world. And I love it.

Cloth Baby!

The next phase of my journey happened just before Thanksgiving with a homeschool activity at my house. Just before everyone left, my friend (Jessica) changed her little guy. But this was a diaper I had never seen was cute, stylish, had velcro and snaps...and was cloth--no pins or plastic pants! Wow, I was intrigued. So she showed me how it worked, just unsnap the soaker when it's wet, snap a new soaker in the cover, ta da! Wow. And she used cloth diapers because she wanted to, not because she had to. Now that's a new concept.

Well, I mulled it over for a bit, then did a little internet research. Can you say OVERWHELMING! Just the terminology was enough to make my head spin! I decided this was something I was curious about and wanted to explore further.

When we were seeing Denver with my brother I made a stop at the Giggling Green Bean (formerly Denver Diaper Co.). I didn't have as much time to spend there as I wanted, but walked out of the store with my first cloth diapers. Wow. I got one Gro Baby with 2 extra soakers (like Jessica had), 3 of the old fashoned prefolds, some snappies (which in itself is an amazing thing--no more pins!) and a wool cover. I had heard that wool was great for heavy night soakers (at that time David was soaking through EVERY night. thus changing sheets EVERY morning). My mistake though was that I got the wrong size. Why I thought he was almost 20 lbs at 5 months, I don't know. I'll chalk that one up to being in a hurry and being totally overwhelmed.

So, we tried it. I had 3 changes with the Gro Baby (the wool wasn't working out so great as it was too big!) and I found myself liking it more and more. I told myself I had to try it for 2 months before I got any more. He would wear it until all 3 changes were dirty, then I would wash the cover and soakers, daily. I stayed up at nights and thought about cost comparisons between cloth vs disposable diapers while I was nursing. I was counting days until I could buy more.

We went to Utah for Christmas and spent time with family. One night, the fam watched a movie. After I watched for about two minutes, I remembered I HATE movies like that. So I went in the other room and continued my internet research on cloth diapers.

I was getting good, I was understanding things like "PUL" and "AIO." I knew the difference between a soaker and an insert (soakers are part of the diaper, inserts just lay in them). So now, what diaper to use? I knew I loved my Gro Baby, but what about the other gazillion diapers out there? I ran across a website for a group in New York State. The coolest thing about these guys is that they have a 21-day diaper trial program so you can use new diapers and see what you like, then send back what you don't like. And even if you send them all back, they only charge $10. Waiting for my 2 months...

Through all of this, I wasn't sure how to tell Jeff that I wanted to use Cloth Diapers. I knew he would think I was crazy (after all, we weren't destitutely poor). I had managed to keep my 3 changes a day pretty much a secret. So here's where I thank Nick, my awesome brother-in-law. We went and saw their new place they had just bought. When we got to the laundry room, they have a sweet washer and dryer. Nick was all proud that the washer pre-heats the washer to get stuff super white ("like diapers," he said). I asked him if he was serious, he said he thinks cloth diapers are they way to go. This is almost comical, the thought of my sister changing (and cleaning) cloth diapers is hilarious, she won't even change stinky disposable ones! It's different with your own kids, so I'm sure she will be fine changing diapers when the time comes. I digress... After we got home, Jeff brought up how funny it is that Nick wants to use cloth diapers even though the thought revolts Stacey. I asked him how he felt about cloth diapers. "Fine," he said. Phew! I told him about my wanting to use cloth. "If you want to, I can support you in that." Husband on board--yea!

Meanwhile, I had heard about people sewing diapers. Huh, another aspect. I knew one of the other SweetPod testers ran an online diaper fabric store, so I thought I would check it out. I remembered that Jessica had sewed some diapers once, but I wondered if she ever finished the 12 she planned on making.

So, I sent Jessica an e-mail asking if she had finished her diapers, if she had extra fabric, and mentioned I LOVED the Gro Baby diapers. Her reply came quick: No, she hadn't finished them, and yes, I could try to sew couple up (they were part-way finished), oh and by the way, she had 6 Gro Baby covers and 18 soaker pads that she wasn't using, as her cute baby had grown some adorably chubby legs and they just didn't fit. Would I like to buy them--for half the original price? My reply was swift back: Yes and Yes.

So yesterday (at another homeschool activity at my house) she brought over 3 diapers to sew and enough Gro Baby diapers to warrant washing only every 2-3 days and their own load! I was giddy with excitement (who knew diapers could be this fun!). And David has been in cloth diapers in the daytime ever since.

I still have that night-time thing to figure out. Jessica recommended these ones, two on at night with a cover. They look pretty cool.

I think it's important to note here that I am NOT using cloth to save the world. I DO NOT believe in global warming, the earth movement, or "going green." I believe what the Lord has said in Doctrine and Covenants 104:17 "For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves."

I DO love cloth diapers because they are more comfy for baby, they keep all those poopy messes in (never had a blowout or a leak!), they are cheaper in the long run (though it takes awhile), I feel like I'm wasting less, and it's a great self-reliance thing. Add it to my crazy passion for food storage and being prepared.

I'll still keep disposables on hand, I don't know if I'll ever go FULL cloth, just mostly cloth. I'm working up to taking cloth in the diaper bag, Jessica says it's easy.

So, I'm not sure that the journey of cloth diapering ever ends (maybe when the last kid is potty-trained, but hopefully that's not for many, many more years). It's a fun journey to be on. Thanks Jess!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Christmas---2 weeks later

I'm one of those ones that believe many Christmas presents should be handmade. I think it just puts a little more "love" into it.

We made a lot of things this Christmas. I told our girls that gifts they gave would have to be made themselves or bought with their own money. They really came through. We made stuff for cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts, everyone! Things like doll blankets, scarfs, tree ornaments, rice bags, and more! Unfortunately, I didn't take photos of most of it. I was kind of centered on the stuff I made, and helping them get their stuff finished and wrapped. But here's some of the things that kept us busy in the days (and hours!) leading up to Christmas.

The #1 thing on the girls' lists were beds for their Vision Forum Dolls (like American Girl). Jeff came through. He made their beds (out of cherry!) and I did the bedding. They turned out great and the girls REALLY love them.

They can even stack as bunks!

For Each of the kids, I made something for them.

Sarah got a robe. I admit I was intimidated by this project, but it was easier than I thought it would be!

Christmas morning!

I made David a cute taggie blanget. Can I just say I love the internet! I found this great tutorial
and I was able to whip this thing up. The hardest part? Deciding which ribbons to use!

David loves it. He has his favorite ribbons, of course, but he will chew and chew for a long time!

Eliza put in a request months ago for a hooded towel--a purple one. I had some super cute rick-rack I got on clearance forever ago so she got her wish!

You can see by the smile she is excited about it.

I'm finding sewing for boys is a little more tricky. Christmas comes in handy when there are "needs." New pajamas for Samuel was a need. His favorite things right now are dinosaurs and Toy Story. Great!

The mere fact I can't wash them fast enough proves to me they were a hit!

For my dad, I tried something I've never really done--framing. Jeff got me a mat cutter years ago and we've used it just a little. When the USPS came out with their Star Wars stamps a while back, I thought of my dad (he and I are big Star Wars fans) and our trips to the Old Post Office Pavilion in DC. A very cool place where we used to go and by old stamp sets that had been framed. So I thought I would give it a go.

I must admit it was a little tougher than I thought, but I think the overall project looks nice. I'm just glad Dad put it up a little higher so the flaws are hidden.

And, here's my wonderful Grandma with her husband, Bill. They were married a couple years ago and they are such an inspiration to me! I made them matching scarfs for the cold Utah winter (though they are spending the entire month of January in warmer St. George, I'm so glad!). I thought they turned out pretty cute.

So, now that Christmas is over, time to move on to other things. I've got a couple scrapbook exchanges to crank out pages for, and some cloth (yes mom, cloth) diapers to sew for curiosity's sake, thanks to my talented friend Jessica who gave me some of her half-finished ones so that I could try them out. Oh, and some New Year's resolutions to work of which is to organize this mess:

I can report, that after taking these photos, it's looking a little better :)