Monday 28 July 2014

Making the Switch to Cloth

When I was pregnant with Boris I was sure I wanted to have a go with cloth nappies.  Without knowing all that much about cloth nappies I bought a couple of packs of pre-folds in newborn size and a starter set.  The brand I purchased had an absorbent booster that was folded and placed inside a waterproof wrap. My mum also bought me a single Tots Bots all-in-one nappy.  I also bought some bio-degradable disposable nappies to use in case I didn't get along with the cloth.

When Boris was born I found the experience of being a new mum totally overwhelming, I had this little human who needed me all the time, there was no schedule, no order, just a wriggly, hungry, pooping machine.  I gave my cloth nappies a go, but Boris wriggled all over the shop and I couldn't get the booster to be in the right place and I found I was having to wash the waterproof outers with every nappy change because the cotton trim on the edge would be wet with wee, so I would soon run out of nappies.  I naturally gravitated towards the disposables, they were so much easier to put on and they were just one less thing to worry about compared to the faff of the washables.

Two and a bit years down the line and I am realising that I am throwing away two massive bags worth of disposable, urine and poo filled nappies every week, they stank and I felt awful about the waste.  I knew I wasn't going to get along with the pre-folds so dug out the one Tots Bots that my mum had bought and I gave it a go.  What a revelation! It was just as easy to put on as a disposable, just as absorbent, soft, chemical free and no waste!

I set about gathering Tots Bots nappies, bought a couple more new and a bunch second hand, so gradually began to use less disposables.  For me, that was the key to making the switch - it was gradual, so I got used to the differences, I got used to the extra washing, (although I am still getting used to knowing when the boys have pooed.  The washables hold poos in really well!)

I was all set to buy some more Tots Bots when a friend said she was selling her birth to potty set.  It wasn't Tots Bots but I felt I could get to grips with it; this time a waterproof wrap with pop-in inserts (no movement when trying to put them on a wriggly baby's bottom) So I suddenly had plenty of nappies.

We are currently still using disposables at night. And still working out how to scrape sloppy poo off washable liners, but definitely getting there.  I am so happy to not be throwing away such a vast about of not-recyclable material and get a very satisfied feeling seeing them all hanging happily to dry on the washing line in all their fluffy glory.

Do you use cloth? Thinking about switching? here are a few things I have learnt about cloth:

1. Man-made materials dry much quicker than natural materials,
2. It's harder to tell when a cloth nappy is full so I avoid leeks by changing them regularly rather than waiting,
3. The sun bleaches out discolouration,
4. Waking a baby who sleeps through the night to change his nappy is a bad thing,
5. Essential oils make nappies smell better.

Saturday 26 July 2014

Amaze Balls

As a vegetarian with aspirational vegan tendencies coupled with a serious liking for chocolate, and a desire to give my toddler healthy snacks I have been coming up with ways that I can enjoy the taste of chocolate without having to spoil it with cow pus or exorbitant quantities of sugar!  I am a fan of Nakd bars which are made with raisins and nuts and stuff and I thought I would have a go at making my own using the ingredients listed on the pack.  

Here is my first attempt at a chocolatey vegan homemade snack, I call them Amaze Balls because you will be amazed at the flavour (and they are ball shaped!(and it sounds awesome!))

This is how I made them:

In a blender place 5 dates, 50g raisins, 2tbs coca powder, 50g cashew nuts and 1/2 tsp orange essence. 
Blend until they become a thick paste,
Roll into beautiful shiny balls,

(Warning these are addictive! They won't be around for long!)

Monday 21 July 2014

Fun Things to do with Toddlers - Water beads, hair gel and shaving foam

If water beads alone weren't fun enough then combining them with hair gel and shaving foam is a sensory extravaganza! 

We put them in a dish and let the fun begin, (how good do they look all lined up, just waiting to be mixed up)

Check out that wonderful slippery shine on those babies!

Boris gets stuck in, he isn't so fussed about getting messy hands these days.  mixing them together was like combining the layers of a blanange, jelly, custard and cake, all mixed up.

Scooping, pushing, picking up, mixing, swirling, poking, grabbing, squeezing, squelching, mushing,

A marvelously messy, superbly sensory, wonderfully wet, sensationally slippery experience!
Yes, we had a good time with the shaving foam, water bead, hair gel combo, it soon ended up all round the garden, but it was worth it.  Give it a go.  Have you done anything exciting with water beads? Leave a link in the comments!

Saturday 12 July 2014

Reggio Tag Toy

When Biscuit was tiny I had in mind to create a Reggio inspired play space like this one on The Imagination Tree. I decided to make a tag toy using strong contrasting black and white with bold shapes to grab Biscuit's attention.  It took me a long time and by the time it was finished he was really a bit old for it, but I thought I would share it anyway and give you a short run down of how I made it. 

I used to do loads of crafts but have so little free time now it is a rarity, I love sewing and crafting so much I hope I can get back into it as the boys get older and can amuse themselves for longer.  So any little project I do feels like a huge achievement, and of course I want to share it!  

Step 1: Cut 5 squares of black fabric and four squares of white measuring about 12cm each (for a 10cm square with 1cm for stitching together)

Step 2: Cut one piece of black fabric (for the back) measuring about 33cm by 32cm,

Step 3:  Cut strips of tape (I think I used herring bone) for the tags,

Step 4: Cut the shapes you want appliqued onto each square,

Step 5: Sew the shapes onto the squares using a very close zig zag stitch so it creates a solid line of stitching about 1/2mm thick all the way round, this stops stray threads on the applique shapes,

Step 6: Sew together the squares as you would a patchwork quilt,

Step 7: Place the front and back face to face then pin the tabs all the way round so they are inwards,

Step 8: Sew all the way round leaving a small gap,

Step 10: Turn inside out and sew up the gap.

Very basic instructions I know, it was pretty simple though so I am sure you can work it out, and there are probably way better instructions for how to make a tab toy than these such as this one  and this one

Have you ever made a tag toy? or any toys for your baby? I would love to see them, feel free to link in the comments. 
Hope you are having a great weekend x

Tuesday 8 July 2014

40 soups - Souper Green soup!

This soup is completely delicious and so so healthy, full of lots of detoxifying chlorophyll, vitamins and fiber amongst other things, it's really easy to make, give it a go for a refreshing, filling lunch served with homemade toast.

1 onion,
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of spinach,
Large handful of kale,
5 florets of broccoli,
Any other seasonal greens you have hanging round,
vegetable stock.

Chop and fry your onion and garlic in a saucepan,
Add the green veg and some freshly boiled water,
crumble/sprinkle the stock into the soup,
Leave to cook for about 15 mins,
Eat and enjoy all the health benefits of dark green leafy veggies.

Monday 7 July 2014

Taking Stock

This post was inspired by House of Humble's posts of the same name.  It's always good to pause and take a moment to notice the little things that are happening day to day and appreciate all the good, and observing that there are downers too. Maybe you write Take Stock posts, please share them in the comments below, I would love to see what's going on in your life right now.

Making: Life easier for myself by being more organised with meal times 
Cooking: non-specific carbohydrates after three weeks of only eating specific ones
Drinking: Lady Grey tea, my favorite
Reading: Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the next in the Divergent series
Wanting: More time to myself
Looking: At the mess in the living room and wondering how other people keep their houses tidy
Playing: tickle with my babies
Deciding: When we should move house, we need more space and want more green
Wishing: To be nearer my family
Enjoying: Long warm days
Waiting: To go back to the hospital to get my allergy patch tests removed to see what could be causing my eczema
Liking: Dates, lots and lots of dates
Wondering: If there is a way of getting more hours in a day?
Loving: That I get to stay home with my babies and husband every day
Pondering: The amount of time I waste on Facebook
Considering: The importance of our impact on the environment to Christians
Hoping: to lose one more pound in the next week to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight
Marvelling: At Boris' language development, he has so much to say
Needing: More sleep, aways more sleep, and a cuddle
Following: Freelee The Banana girl on Youtube
Noticing:.How quickly the season is passing
Knowing: God has a plan and it's all in his hands
Thinking: About switching to an even more plant based diet, possibly cutting out eggs
Admiring: Mums who overcome major challenges to breastfeeding
Smelling: Lavender oil
Wearing: Skirts, makes a change from trowsers all year
Sorting: The babies' clothes and putting small ones in the loft, they grow too quickly!
Buying: Vegan cookbooks
Getting: Frustrated with not being able to finish any personal projects
Bookmarking: Positive thinking calenders
Opening: My heart to messages and guidance
Giggling: when Boris tickles me with a feather and chases me
Snacking: On dried fruit and nuts, moving away from refined sugar round here
Coveting: Artemis Russell from Junkaholique's exquisite taste
Helping: Spiders out through the window
Feeling: like I have a ton of energy since moving to a more plant based diet
Hearing: A snuffling scuffling hedgehog that has taken up residence in a pile of twigs in our garden

Saturday 5 July 2014

Pavement Meadow

You could easily be mistaken from these photos into thinking I have been for a walk in a beautiful meadow in the countryside, 

When in actual fact I was walking along a pavement near my house where the council have planted a lovely wild flower meadow.

How cool is that?  Thankyou local council for cheering up my day everytime I walk past this beautiful patch of pavement, great for bees and other insects, birds, biodiversity generally and of course, my well being. Such beautiful colours.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Playing in the Sand

You would probably think that playing in the sand is something only slightly older children can do, babies would eat the sand obviously, so sand pits are a no-go for them.  Or are they?  I found the idea to create a sand pit for babies using edible sand, namely corn meal, and to my amazement a local supermarket actually had some, (it's also called polenta, but is a powder rather than a block that we are more familiar with).  If you are wondering where to find it, have a look in the "world foods" section in your supermarket, it's probably there in a very big bag made by an unfamiliar brand.
I put a load into a plastic tub and let Biscuit get stuck in with spoons and scoops, he ate it of course but that was ok because it was perfectly safe!  Yippie!

Of course the corn meal sand pit was much more exciting for Boris than his actual sand pit so he got stuck in there too!
Playing with sand (and corn meal) is a great sensory experience for both babies and toddlers, they can move it around with their hands and fingers, scoop it with cups and spoons; helping them to understand about volumes and the qualities of sand, and especially with corn meal, tastes and textures, there is so much learning potential with sand.  What activities do you do with sand?