Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finger Painting! {+ a DIY Recipe}

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had wanted to start doing more craft/learning projects with little man. Well, Pinterest has been my friend and has been providing me with lots of fun inspiration! Little man has been enjoying our projects so much (I try to do a couple a week) and his favorite thing is probably getting to play with food coloring! Haha! 

One thing I have wanted to do with little man for a long time is finger painting. Now, you may be thinking, what?!? Crazy mom, you haven't finger painted with that poor boy yet?! Well, let me explain. I did try painting with little man once, when he was younger and he wasn't really into it. He lost interest after about 2 minutes. I has just spent quite a bit of time making this paint and didn't really want to put in the effort again if it wasn't going to be met with a little more enthusiasm. Also, hubby and I like to keep things kinda clean... Let's just say we don't have any pictures of little man with spaghetti and sauce all over his body, face and hair. :) We have since realized that our preference for cleanliness has rubbed off on little man. He gets all nervous if he gets too dirty and will hold out his hands for us to clean them. *sigh* Poor little man. So, I have been trying to encourage little man that getting dirty is ok and can even be fun! We've been making mud pits, these finger paints and more!

Enter finger painting fun! I found a recipe on Pinterest (link to the pin here - sorry to say that the link doesn't link to the actual original post, so I'm not sure who to credit for this recipe):

Ingredients:
3 Tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 cup Corn Starch
2 cups Water

Directions:
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Warm until mixture thickens. Cool and pour into containers. Add food coloring to create desired colors. Enjoy!

Little man helped me measure and mix the ingredients and then I stirred the pot on the stove until it got nice and thick. Once it was cool, I transferred the "paint" to bowls and let little man create whatever colors his little heart desired! The paint is kind of a gloppy, squishy consistency. It's not smooth like I thought it would be, but it does smooth out as you rub it on paper. Also, I haven't ever bought finger paints from the store, so I don't know what it "should" be like. I guess with the ingredients, the finger paint is technically "edible". I don't know if I would recommend it, but at least you don't have to worry about your little one ingesting any toxins. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of using food coloring for projects, since I don't think that they're very "healthy" and they're definitely not organic (red dye #5 anyone?). But, it is easy to use and I'm not sure what else to use to color things like paint.

Little man made yellow, blue, green, lime green, aztec blue and sea-foam green (the last two looked pretty much the same)

I laid out our painting drop cloth and paper with the paint and let little man get to playing with his colors. It was so cute to watch the progression of exploration! First, little man started by gingerly dipping one finger in and then wiping it on the paper.

 

Then he moved on to dipping his finger a little further into the paint.

Then two fingers went in.

 Then little man really started enjoying himself and getting into the "squishy-ness" of the paint and both hands started to go in and he started wiping his hands around on the paper!



  And don't forget to let the feet get in on the action!

Soon we were ready for a second piece of paper and little man started by stamping his hand prints all over!

Little man insisted that mommy add her hand print to the finished product!


He had so much fun! I was so glad that we made the paint and so happy that little man got into it! Little man and I have both been enjoying our craft days! Happy painting!



Friday, July 27, 2012

My Pregnancy Journal: 22 Weeks

Happenings of the Harper Household 
I'm linking up with the “My Pregnancy Journal” meme over at Happenings of the Harper Household. I'm excited to be sharing and journaling some of my weekly symptoms and photographing my growing belly!

  22 Weeks!

This week our little boy weighs about 12.7 to 20.8oz and is approximately 10.5 to 11.8 in. I already know from my ultrasound that he was about 15oz at 20 weeks, so I'm guessing that he is closer to the 20.8oz mark right now. During week 22, baby boy is starting to invade "my space" even more and this can make it difficult to catch my breath and is causing some pain in my lower back. He is looking more and more like a newborn with eyes, eyebrows and lips that are becoming more distinct. While his eyes are formed, the irises still lack pigment (will he have brown eyes like daddy, green eyes like me or hazel like his big brother?) He has even started to develop tiny tooth buds below his gums! Little baby boy is also starting to sleep in cycles and is sleeping for about 12-14 hours a day! 
 
About me & baby boy this week….
Symptoms:  Little baby boy sure does like to kick and move and jump and kick and kick.... The other night it was like he was doing a kickboxing marathon while on a trampoline! He was going crazy throughout the night, starting about midnight and reminding me that he was still there at about 1am, 4am and so on. I guess he's trying to get his wiggles out before he runs out of space. Also, my lower back is pretty achy most days. It is especially rough when little man wants mommy to carry him when we are out adventuring (like at the zoo yesterday!) He's about 31lbs and I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to carry him for! I at least need to carry him for shorter periods of time I think. Poor little man, that will be a rough adjustment! I also have been having to go to the bathroom, a lot! I think baby boy must be kicking in the direction of my bladder. :)
 
Weight Gain: I am up to 149.8lbs. Ugh! Overall, I have gained 24.8lbs and still have a ways to go!
 
Cravings! I'm not craving a whole lot lately. Fruit is still super yummy to me and I sure do love ice cream! (Probably where some of that wight is coming from!) I actually stopped buying ice cream and have only been having it is a treat every now and then. I am trying! Bread and cheeses are still yummy, but not quite as much as they were in weeks past. It's funny noticing that some of the foods that I just "had to have" in the early parts of my pregnancy have lost some of their appeal. 
 
A yummy gelato treat that Hubby and I shared - hazelnut crunch and chocolate biscotti! Mmmmm...
 
Food Aversions: No real food aversions, rather, there are things I'd rather not eat or make. I think I may have made a few dishes a little too often, so I'm feeling a little burnt out on them. That just means that it's time to go through my seasonal cook books again and look for some new inspiration!
 
What made me cry this week:  Nothing that I can think of!   Yay!
 
Medical Stuff:  I seem to be doing well and my appointments with my midwife are still every 4 weeks. So, I still have a bit to go before my next appointment. The one thing that I will be mentioning to my midwife is that I have been having some odd feelings in my chest every now and then. It mostly happens at night and it feels like my heart is pounding really hard in the center of my chest. It is usually about 2 or3 hard "pounds" and then goes away. I just pause my breathing and wait for it to pass. Sometimes it is more noticeable than other times. It will only last a second or two, but it does happen a few times a night. I'm not sure if it is from baby boy crowding my lungs or something else. Hubby said that's how he feels when he has an anxiety attack. But, I'm not sure what I am feeling anxious over? Other than that, I realized that I probably should have been meeting with a doula already. So, I need to talk with my midwife about any doulas that she could recommend that have worked with their birthing center in the past. I am hoping that it's not too expensive to hire a doula, because I really, really want to have a doula there at the delivery! I have heard from multiple sources that they are invaluable. 
 
Thoughts from little man:  Not much new from little man. Sometimes I don't even think he notices my belly - especially when he goes to lay on me or when he accidentally jabs an elbow into my belly.  Haha!
 
Something I am excited about: I found a Bradley Method teacher who lives near us and she is going to do private lessons at our house to work around hubby's work schedule! Yay! I am so thankful that it worked out! I really wanted to take a Bradley Method class, and while it's not cheap, I think that what Hubby and I will learn will be so valuable and beneficial when it comes time for delivery



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motherlove Pregnant Belly Salve Review & Giveaway! (US Only)

  
 Since becoming pregnant, my skin has been incredibly itchy! With the stretching and growing that my belly and breasts have done, I was almost constantly uncomfortable. This was a really new symptom from my first pregnancy and not a fun one! So, I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to review Motherlove Herbal Company's Pregnant Belly Salve that has been specifically designed to help keep pregnant skin soft, elastic and relieve those itchy symptoms! 

 I love that the Pregnant Belly Salve is made with organic ingredients and it has a zero rating (meaning there are no toxins in it) on the EWG's Skin Database! The Pregnant Belly Salve has an apricot oil, beeswax and shea butter base that makes this salve super creamy and it glides on effortlessly. I felt like it practically melted into me as I was applying it! Bring on the softness! I was ready to start slathering on this soothing goodness! Motherlove also added some soothing and calming essential oils like marshmallow root, lavender, rose hips, chamomile and calendula to help soothe itchy skin and to (hopefully) help prevent stretch marks. I have heard that stretch marks are hereditary, but anything you can do during pregnancy to help your skin be more elastic as it stretches and grows is a good thing!  



I have been using the Motherlove Pregnant Belly Salve for about a week and a half now and I just love it! It is such a soothing treat and I look forward to putting it on. I apply a generous amount to my belly, breasts, hips and butt (because yes, I already have stretch marks on my hips and butt) every morning after my shower and again in the evening before bedtime. My greatest relief has been from the itchiness! Oh my, it is heavenly to not constantly feel so itchy. Sometimes in the evening I will feel some tightness to my skin, but I do not feel itchy at all anymore! 
Putting some of the salve on my hand (above) and then rubbed in (below)


Another benefit that I have found has been how quickly this salve absorbs into my skin without leaving any oiliness behind. With my first pregnancy, the lotion that I was using seemed to never absorb into my skin and left so many shirts with oil or grease stains on them! It was awful! I almost dreaded using it and had to wait forever to put a shirt on, in hopes that I would have given my skin enough time to absorb the lotion and not leave marks on my shirt. Not with Motherlove's Pregnant Belly Salve! I have put shirts on immediately after applying the salve and I have never had an issue with the salve transferring to my clothing. It is so nice not to have to worry about my clothes when I use this salve!

Motherlove Herbal Company is a wonderful company that has products for pregnancy, birth, babies and breastfeeding. They are dedicated to using organic ingredients in their products and they take a holistic approach to pampering both mother's and babies. Whatever stage in mommyhood you are in, I am sure that Motherlove has something that you can use to pamper your skin with, or your little one's!  

I have loved using the Pregnant Belly Salve and am so thankful to have relief from my itchy skin! I love how soothing and rich it feels as it glides on. It is definitely something I would recommend to any pregnant woman out there (or give it a try if you aren't pregnant, but have itchy, dry skin!) who needs a moisturizer. I already know that there are more Motherlove products that I want to try, like the Sitz Bath Spray, for after baby boy #2 arrives, and the More Milk Plus, since I struggled so much when I was breastfeeding little man. I definitely plan on having these on hand before baby boy #2 arrives! 

Interested in having some of Motherlove's Pregnant Belly Salve to pamper your growing belly with? You can BUY the Pregnant Belly Salve directly from the Motherlove website. (ARV $17.95)

-OR- 

  You can enter to WIN a jar of Motherlove Pregnant Belly Salve, Stiz Bath, Nipple Cream & Diaper Rash OR More Milk Plus! Motherlove has been very generous to let the winner choose one of the above mentioned items that will best suit their needs!

***Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Entrants must be 18+ years old. One entry per household. The winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.***
Giveaway will end August 8th  at 12:01am EST.

Entries go in the Rafflecopter form below! a Rafflecopter giveaway You may view Rafflecopter’s Privacy Policy
Thank you to Motherlove for providing me with the opportunity to host this review and giveaway at no cost to myself. The item was sent to me free of charge for review and has not influenced my opinion of the product. I have sought to give my honest opinions and experiences on this product. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. Thank you again to Motherlove for sponsoring this review and giveaway!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fun with Baking Soda and Vinegar!

I have been wanting to start putting together some activities for little man. Not that he's ready for school yet, ;) but I would like to have some things for him to do during the day that foster learning and fun! My goal is that we might have a bit of routine down for some "tot school" activities before baby boy #2 is here, that way little man has some special, fun activities that are all his own! I would hope that we could work out a routine of some that he can work on by himself and others that need a bit of teamwork and help (or at least a watchful eye) from mama! 

Thanks to Pinterest, I have started collecting some fun craft and activity ideas and the other day, I got to try one out! I saw this Drop Vinegar activity and thought that little man would love it! It is simple, both ingredient-wise and concept-wise, and super colorful! 

All you need is:
Baking Soda
Vinegar
Food Coloring
Droppers
Small Cups
A Pan
*Rags or a drop cloth of some sort to protect and clean up splatters



I took a baking pan and put a thick layer of baking soda down. Then I filled up some tiny plastic cups with vinegar. I let little man add drops of food coloring in the vinegar and create his colors of choice! He was a fan of the primary colors, plus the "aztec blue" and "lime green" recipes on the back of the food coloring box. ;) Then, I pulled out the old medicine plunger/droppers and showed little man how to use them to suck up the vinegar and then squirt it back out. I laid out an old towel and grabbed a clean-up rag, then we sat down at little man's craft table and he got to work! 



I didn't tell him what was going to happen when the vinegar hot the baking soda. He was thrilled! He loved the "bubbling", the fizzy noise and watching the colors fill up the pan! \

 



He had so much fun, that when we were done with the first pan, we filled up another and made more colors right away! We did it again the next day too! He loves going into the pantry and asking for the baking soda and colors!






Friday, July 13, 2012

It's A.....

We had such a fun appointment the other day at the midwifes office! First we met with our midwife and got the chance to chat, ask some questions and hear the babies heartbeat! Little man is a pro at using the doppler and or midwife always lets little man help use the doppler. It's so sweet!


After our appointment, it was time for our ultrasound!!! Everyone in the office was super excited to find out what we were having, because there had been 2 girls and 2 boys that day revealed through ultrasound - we were the tie breaker! One of the ladies in the office had a fun idea to have the technician whisper the big news to little man and then he would tell us if he was going to have a brother or sister!

I loved seeing our little one on the ultrasound screen! It was so beautiful to see the form of their little head come into focus and see the string of pearls that made up the spine! What a beautiful creation! 


The technician took all of the measurements and told us that out little baby was healthy and looked great! She also told us that our little one was measuring at about 15 oz. and looked like I may be measuring at 21 weeks, rather than 20 weeks. So, my due date may be moved up to November 17th, rather than the 25th. Hopefully it's just that I'm further along than we thought before and not that I'm having a huge baby! Little man was 7lbs, 14oz. I could do that again.... (*hint, hint* little baby in my belly!)


It came time for the BIG NEWS and the ultrasound technician whispered her little secret to little man. He didn't really get that he was supposed to repeat what she said, so she tried again and then again...haha! Poor little man! The idea of whispering a secret that you then repeat was totally new to him. :) Well, third time was a charm and little man is going to have a...

video




...It's a little BROTHER for little man! We are so excited! It is so amazing to know that there is a little BOY growing inside of me! I am so thankful that God has blessed us with another little boy to raise and I can't wait to see little man and our new little guy interact and grow up together as brothers!

 


Great Sale on the Changing Diapers Book - plus Free Shipping.

 

For a limited time Changing Diapers Book is BUY 1 GET 1 FREE and includes FREE shipping*! (OR $8.98 if you need just 1 copy!) 
*Free shipping applies to US shipped orders only.

Now is the time to stock up for gift giving. The book is square and makes the perfect gift to keep on hand for a baby shower, birthday or as a just because gift! I have read the book and absolutely loved it- I only wish it had been available when I first started cloth diapering little man!

About Changing Diapers Book:
Changing Diapers is a 215-page guidebook about everything you need to know about modern cloth diapering. It’s easy to read, informative and has earned the Mom’s Choice Award for excellence in parenting products as well as the PTPA Media Award. The book is authored by long-time cloth diapering advocate and industry insider, Kelly Wels, who dreamed up this book as a way to share her passion for cloth diapers. --taken from Changing Diapers



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