Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Caption Contest

Happy Thanksgiving! We are filled with gratitude this year for the love and support we've received in the eleven week since the KLAW's birth. He is such a blessing and we are so very in love with him.

So why not celebrate that with a caption contest? What has the KLAW so shocked this Thanksgiving?

Two prizes will be awarded: one for the caption that makes us LOL the most, and one random winner drawn from all entrants. What's the prize? Just in time for holiday cooking (or holiday regifting, if you're that person. It's ok if you are, I won't tell): your choice of a Belgian wafflemaker or a Crock-Pot. That's what up!
 To enter do both of the following by 10pm tomorrow:
1. Like our page on Facebook, if you haven't already.
2. Provide your funniest caption in the comments of the Facebook post announcing this contest or the comments for this blog post.
3. If you share the contest on your own Facebook wall, you will get a bonus entry!

Good luck, and we can't wait to read all your captions!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Upcycled Pringles Can -> Spaghetti Canister

You know how when you open a box of spaghetti and use only half, the remaining open box is a pain to store. It won't stand up, and if you lay it down the noodles are likely to slide out. One day my husband was grabbing something from the pantry and the open spaghetti box went tumbling, getting dried pasta in every crevice. To add insult to injury, as he flung everything out of the pantry in an effort to clean it up, he cause a two liter bottle of soda to explode all over the kitchen, which he then had to clean up too. Then I discovered this solution! Did you know that spaghetti is slightly shorter than a Pringles can? Well, now you do. This is the easier DIY project that has solved one of life's little irritations without having to spend $20 for a specialty canister.

  1. Gently rinse out an empty Pringles canister and let it dry.
  2. Choose a piece of 12x12 scrapbook paper or two sheets of 8.5x11 (letter) paper. I chose a yellow stripe since it resembles spaghetti noodles
  3. Cut the paper to size to fit the height of the can within the rings around the top and base (mine was 10 3/8" I think)
  4. Coat the back of the paper with a glue stick, making sure to get all the way up to the edges.
  5. Wrap the paper around the tube. Secure with rubber bands until dry.
  6. Decorate the outside however you like. I very creatively wrote "Spaghetti" on the top and side.
  7. Put your noodles in and store safely away!

Pretty simple, huh?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

FAQ: "What do I need for my baby?"

I have several friends who will be having their first babies in the coming months and many have asked for advice from my husband and me as we find our way as new parents, ten weeks in. One of the most common questions is "What do I need for my baby?" The short answer is: you need to keep your baby dry, rested and fed, and to do that you need very little. However, to do that without going bonkers can be made easier with a few purchases. There are many lists out there that will tell you what baby items to buy, and perhaps I will follow up with a post of my favorites later. However, here is a list of items that you won't find in Buy Buy Baby that I am very glad found their way in to our house (before the baby did) during my crazy nesting phase. But don't stress, none of this is not required as many of these required some serious financial planning to make happen. Everything will be fine as long as the baby gets food, sleep and diapers (and the baby can sleep in a cardboard box if necessary!). Oh, and don't forget babies need lots and lots of cuddles!

Let's start with requirement #1: Dry Baby

Keeping a baby dry primarily refers to diapers. We are using cloth diapers, and are quite happy with that decision. However, before the baby arrived, our washing machine went kaput. We debated buying (another) one off craigslist, but instead opted for a new top-loader with a giant drum. It is efficient and has great programming options for all the laundry that we now do. Even if you are not using cloth diapers, there will be an increase in your laundry, if only because you have added one more person to your family. And trust me, that one tiny person creates a LOT of dirty laundry. So even if you live in a Manhattan studio with no washing machine, assess your laundry situation and be prepared for the extra load (literally).

Everyone on HGTV
loves a hardwood floor!
For a tiny human, a baby sure does produce a large volume of excretions. And they tend to end up on every surface, so "dry" becomes applicable to the whole house. You will be extremely grateful for that second set of sheets for your bed, the slipcovers on the sofa, and hard surface flooring when your spawn goes full exorcist. As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we decided to swap out our carpet for hardwood floors . In addition to adding to the resale value of our home (we hope), we thought they would be a cleaner option for a little tyke to crawl around on. What I didn't anticipate was how much I'd appreciate the ease to clean the wood floors when our son decides to go for distance while being changed. We attempted to install the floors ourselves, but ended up hiring a crew to finish the job because with my increased girth and my husband's bad knees, they floors would have maybe been finished when our firstborn headed off to college. If you're stuck with carpet, you may want some inexpensive area rugs in the splash zones that can be discarded later.

Get a second set of sheets in case baby explodes while you are hanging out in bed (I nurse in bed at night, shit happens (literally)). Having that extra set on hand in case you can't get to the laundry right away is very handy. In fact duplicates of just about every cloth item in the house are handy, if you can swing it (burp cloths, blankets, receiving blankets, towels, washcloths, outfits for everyone). You may also want a waterproof mattress cover for added protection.

Not plastic ones...
We also got slipcovers on our sofas (from Sure-Fit) primarily because the dogs' fur would cling to the sofas, which was annoying to try to vacuum up. However, the kiddo has also made the sofas his splash zone, so being able to toss the covers in the laundry is much easier on a busy mommy than steam cleaning couch cushions. So basically prep your house like it was about to go to a Gallagher show, and you'll be all set.

Requirement #2: Rested

Babies sleep. A lot. Sometimes even when you want them to. Our little guy has actually been pretty reasonable when it comes to sleep. I think I sleep more now than when I was pregnant, with the anxiety-induced uncomfortable pregsomnia. But then there are times when baby will be up for a couple hours in the middle of the night for no good reason. Or wants to use your boob as a pacifier all night, and even though you think he's asleep, will wake right back up and start wailing as soon as you break the latch. I've seen times on the bedside clock that I haven't seen since my clubbin' days back in NYC. And in those wee hours, two things made my life better. My eyeglasses and Candy Crush.

Make a spectacle
of yourself
It had been probably a decade or more since I got a pair of glasses (lack of insurance, primarily). I wear contacts and either had them in and could see, or had them out and was sleeping. Knowing my sleep would soon be interrupted (and now being insured), I got myself some spectacles. Love em. Some days I don't even put my lenses onto my exhausted eyes at all. If you're blind like me, you'll appreciate being able to have corrected vision without actually having to open your eyes first.

It's an addiction
Secondly, I know breastfeeding is supposed to be a wonderful bonding experience between mother and child. And it is. But when the baby decides he wants to eat just as you were about to nod off, you're going to need something to keep you awake. That adrenaline-laced fear of dropping and/or crushing your nursing baby while you sleep WILL be overtaken at some point by sweet, sweet slumber. So, download Candy Crush. Or an e-book. Or pinterest. Facebook. Whatever. I prefer Candy Crush because it is somewhat mindless, so I don't get overstimulated and then can't fall back asleep (pinterest gets my mind reeling, and a good book is hard to put down). Something electronic with a lit screen, as you will probably be in a dim room, that is quiet and you can do with one hand. Modern technology is grand, I have no idea how my mother stayed awake when I was a newborn. I should ask.

Lastly, Requirement #3: Fed

I'm not this skinny.
I also have a head.
If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, your life will change. You will need to be prepared to feed your child anytime, anywhere. You will alter your wardrobe to increase the ease of whipping your boob out in public without drawing attention. I suggest amassing layering pieces, such as tube tops (really!), nursing tanks, and long cardigans, as well as wrap-style shirts and wrap dresses . Fortunately many of these styles are great while pregnant too if you buy regular (non-maternity) clothes a size or two up. And don't expect to go right back to wearing your skinny jeans after the baby is born. I heard that breastfeeding makes the weight fall off quickly, but if so, I'm doing it wrong. More than two months post-partum I am still wearing the same clothes I wore when pregnant. Shop consignment sales or mom-to-mom events to save money.

It looks so peaceful
Also, think about where you will spend the most time nursing. For the first several months, your newborn will probably be in your bedroom, so you will want a comfy place to spend hours with a human parasite attached to you (ok, maybe it's a symbiotic relationship). I have a friend who moved her rocker into the bedroom. I decided I would nurse in bed, and am really grateful we have an upholstered headboard that I can lean against while I do. I had to explain to my husband that a mattress and a bed are two different things ("It's like wheels and tires"). Even one of those "husband" pillows we all had in our dorms would do the trick. You'll figure out whatever works for you to ensure you have a dimly lit, cozy, and comfy spot that is baby bed-adjacent for your nightly feedings.

P.S. An Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom subscription is well-loved by many a mom. If you need something and it's easier to wait a couple days than to leave the house, Amazon will be your saving grace. Plus with Amazon Mom you can get additional discounts by subscribing to recurring deliveries of your favorite consumables (diapers and wipes, for example) and can cancel the upcoming orders at any time.