Easy and Cute Hooded Towel (with link to tutorial)

I seriously dislike store bought hooded baby towels. They are small, flimsy, and usually aren't terribly absorbent. Boo! Hiss!

On the other hand, I love handmade hooded towels. So when my college roommate (from days of yore) requested a gift for her cousin - I knew a big fluffy hooded towel would be a hit. It's the perfect mix of practical and adorable.

I can't exactly take creative credit for this particular design. I followed the tute at Prudent Baby dot com.

This accent fabric is great because its whimsical without being too cutesy. I only wish that I had enough left over to make a drawstring bag to wrap the towel in. Oh well...next time. Next time.


Brag Book Coffee Cup

I love these Create-Your-Own travel tumblers from Starbucks! I've given several as gifts but have never had one for myself. I was delighted when my mom included one in a recent package and here's what I made with it:

My Boys!
Starbucks also has a neat feature now where you can upload your images to Snapfish and print a tumbler insert directly from their website. You can use up to 7 images, choose the background color and add text.

I prefer to do it free hand because you can use paper, glitter, crop pictures differently, and use tickets or other memorabilia. For this cup I used washi paper and some rub-on transfer letters. The saying in Hawaiian says
I maika‘i ke kalo i ka ‘ōhā.
The goodness of the taro is judged by the young plant it produces.

These are great because I always carry a cup and now I will always have my boys with me! When Ikaika gets older and when I get sick of this design, I can just switch it out and make a new one!


Affirmations for Motherhood: healthy mom, happy family

Today's affirmation:

"I must choose to take care of myself so that my entire family will benefit."

Here are some things I have been doing (trying to do) lately that help me realize this affirmation.
  • light weights with my husband several nights a week
  • 15 minutes on the stationary bike while watching TV
  • 15 minutes of casual reading before bed
  • 10 deep breaths before getting out of bed in the morning (this one is a lot harder to commit to than it sounds!)
  • face mask and/or brush skin
  • take my Shaklee supplements every day
  • blogging
  • sewing
  • walking to the park with the baby


Yo Yo Yogurt - benefits of probiotics and healthy yogurt recipe for kids

Yogurt is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with B-vitamins, calcium and magnesium. The real star of yogurt is the live active cultures, or probiotics, which regulate flora in the intestines. These beneficial bacteria help everything from digestion to the immune system. Cultured dairy products have been used for centuries as a health food throughout the world, but the familiarity and availability of yogurt makes it one of the most popular choices for kids.

Beware of heavily sugared yogurts that lack probiotics. These products have little nuritional benefit for children and are essentially desserts. I recommend using plain yogurt and customizing it with your own fruits and sweeteners. Also, always chose a whole milk variety for children under 2, they need the fat for brain and nerve development.

Yogurt blends easily with other ingredients, making it one of the most versatile foods in the fridge. Try adding half a cup to a smoothie or using plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise in tuna salad. Or try this pumpkin pie variety and sneak in some veggies!


1/2 C plain yogurt with active cultures
1/4 C canned pumpkin
1 tsp (heaping) fruit-only apricot preserves
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix and enjoy!

I just got this yogurt maker today - its an older model and didn't come with any instructions! Has anyone used one of these? How does this work?!


Birthday Party Idea for All Ages

Yesterday we went to a birthday party where they had this massive bounce-house-meets-water-slide.

Our hosts informed us that you can pick one up for $300-400. This seems like a hefty investment until you realize that renting a bounce-slide for the day is almost the same price. And, if you rent yours out to friends for, say $50 a day, you can easily make back what you spent in one summer.

This water slide kept the kids busy all day and exhausted them to the point that they were all docile by the time the adult party got started. Because it's not strictly a bounce house, tiny-tot Ikaika could safely have fun at the same time as the big kids (with close supervision). It was almost impossible to get him out but eventually he had to pee and climbed out on his own.

Why in the world he thought he needed to get out to pee when his diaper was soaking wet anyway I will never know...but I appreciated the effort.


Spring Break!

It's spring break and we are soaking up the sun with picnics at the beach everyday!

This is a terrible picture to illustrate my point but...
Ikaika is more interested in "swimming" lately. He's been laying in the water and kicking his legs or waiting for a wave to come pick him up then paddling his arms, etc. I doubt we will ever give him formal swimming lessons because it seems like the more time he spends in the water the more he is just "figuring it out".

Mr A came up with this ingenious way of carrying all our stuff to the car. Looks like a comfy ride!


March Madness!

Following my husband's victory in the Stransky Family Football Pool this fall, we are now approaching the hot hot heat of March Madness. I'm feeling confident!

I filled out my brackets today, which I have never done before but it was super fun and I plan on making a habit out of it. We have picked up some new family members for March Madness (welcome, Grandpa Joe!) and I think that will contribute to the excitement.

It's going to be that much more fun this year now that I have invested my pride!

I highly recommend doing things like this as a way to keep in touch with family abroad. It gives us something to talk about on a daily/weekly basis and creates something we can do together despite the distance. Someday, the baby will be filling out his own bracket and forging a relationship with Oma, Opa, and all his aunties based on whatever sport is in season!


How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide (bleach alternative)

My mom forwarded me an email about Hydrogen Peroxide and how to use it around the house - especially as an alternative to bleach. I love using it in my Waterpik but now I think I'm going to start using it in my hair, too. Of course, we use all Shaklee products (Basic G and Basic H) for cleaning, but it seems that the list of HP possibilities goes on and on. Can't do better for 99 cents!

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle)

and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out.
(I do it when I bathe.)
No more canker sores, and your teeth will be whiter.
Use it instead of mouthwash.

2. Let toothbrushes soak in peroxide to keep them free of germs.

3. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs

and leave a fresh smell.
Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe,
or spray it on the counters.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board,
pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. I had fungus on my feet for years until I sprayed a

50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them
(especially the toes) every night and let dry.

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for
five to ten minutes several times a day.
My husband has seen gangrene that would not heal
with any medicine but was healed by soaking in peroxide.

7. Fill a
spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water
and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming
your septic system like bleach or most other Disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your

50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, plugged sinus.
It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria.
Hold for a few minutes, and then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a

dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth
and hold it for ten minutes several times a day.
The pain will lessen greatly.

10. And of course, if you like a natural look to your hair,

spray the 50/50 solution on your wet hair after a shower
and comb it through.
You will not have the peroxide-burnt blonde hair like
the hair dye packages but more natural highlights if
your hair is a light brown, reddish, or dirty blonde.
It also lightens gradually, so it's not a drastic change.

11. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help get
rid of boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

12. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach

to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them.
If there is blood on clothing, pour it directly on the soiled spot.
Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water.
Repeat if necessary.

13. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors.
There is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this.

14. Another place it's great is in the bathroom, if someone has

been careless & has peed on the floor around the toilet &
it's begun to smell of urine.
Just put some peroxide in a spray bottle & spray.
In the blink of any eye all the smell will be gone &
the bacteria eliminated!

I could go on and on.

It is a little brown bottle no home should be without!


Summer Pinafore and Pants

After watching a show about "Radical Parenting" on the Discovery Health channel, we have decided to raise our son in a "gender neutral environment". As part of this, I am going to start dressing him in "girl" clothes for at least two days of the week, isn't he precious?

He's being a nice model for mommy's latest project!

I made this pinafore for a friend's baby shower using Simplicity pattern #9784. I like the design of the pinafore because its light and airy (the skirt doesn't close in the back) and perfect for hot Hawaiian summers.

The print fabric is one that we picked up on our honeymoon in Vanuatu.

For the lining and the pants I used a cotton fabric with tiny flower print in complimentary colors. There will also be a sunhat (and possibly shoes) made of this fabric but my sewing machine needed to take a breather.
Do you think I should add orange bows to the front of the straps?


PBS: some things never change

It's nice to see that some of the same shows I watched as a kid at my Granny's house are still on PBS. Although, that is kind of weird. To be fair, they are missing a few classics like Mr Rodgers Neighborhood and Lambchop's Play-along. A few of the shows have been modernized and there are, of course, some brand new faces. But overall, I can enjoy with my kid the same shows I enjoyed as a kid. Thank you PBS. Hopefully someday my grandkids will be zoning out to Sesame Street too!


UH Fleece Hoodie Reconstruction

Today I made a jacket to match the footed pants I made a few weeks ago. This was so ridiculously easy that half way through I almost thought I was doing something wrong.

I used the same "pattern" (aka old cut up shirt) that I use for the UW lacrosse shirt recon and, as promised, made the shoulders roomier. I forgot to add a seam allowance to the body so the jacket is very slim but it fits like a dream right now so I'm satisfied with the results. There is a generous hood and the front closes with four big black buttons.

I used my remaining UH Manoa fleece for the sleeves and hood. For the body I used a button front cape (honestly, a cape) made from a sweatshirt-like material that I bought at H&M in 2006. Even though I wore it occasionally, what really attracted me to the cape were the buttons and the texture. Since I was able to preserve both those elements, I'm at peace with my decision to chop it up.


Baking in the Morning

I love baking in the morning, the whole house smells great for the rest of the day! However, I should probably consider using an apron next time. Arrg!

Today I made granola bars from mothering.com. This is a tried and true recipe in our house, although I typically get a little more creative than I did today (adding tons of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, peanut butter etc.) I think the coconut oil is what really "makes" it.

I also made carrot ginger muffins from one of the What to Expect... books. They turned out awesome but HOLY GINGER! It's not for people who don't enjoy the taste of ginger.

I like the WtoE recipes because they use 100% whole grains, lots of produce, and juice instead of sugar. They make a great, mommy-guilt-free snack for the baby!

Of course, he wasn't willing to wait for it to cool off.

But that didn't seem to stop him from stuffing the whole thing in his mouth so I'm assuming these are a hit!


I'm Famous!

Woo hoo! I got mentioned in another blog!

For the record, that night was so fun. The grammatical errors came pouring from my mouth as if they were making room for the alcohol! I'm not ashamed to say that if I had to do it all over again, even knowing that Tae Kim thinks it's wrong, I would still say the same thing. I am just that boring.


Moving Forward with EC

A few months ago I wrote a post about my frustrations with how to transition into the next phase of EC (elimination communication). I am happy to report that we seem to be moving on!

Ikaika is still far from "diaper free", "potty trained" or anything of that nature. But, there have been noticeable changes in the last two months. He has been keeping diapers dry for hours at a time (using the potty instead), diaper laundry is down to about once a week, and last week he used a public toilet! He's even been trying to wipe himself (yikes!) We are also at the point where I can ask "do you need to go shi shi?" and he will either shake his head no (which unfortunately doesn't always mean no) or he will run into the bathroom, put his reducer seat on the toilet, and wait for me. This is our first step towards cooperative toileting and I am stoked!

He still wears a small cloth diaper with a cover because, honestly, 90% of the time I'm just too nervous and/or lazy to deal with training pants. But, if the current momentum continues, I think we could realistically move on to those within the next 6 months.

All the pieces of EC seem to finally be coming together organically. It's nice that this part of his development is being learned in an intuitive way without lots of pressure or decisions - kind of like learning to talk or learning to walk. There's no bargaining or reasoning, it just is what it is: Natural Infant Hygiene.