Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A year of Disney Fun

For my birthday last year, I was lucky enough to get a Disneyland pass and JJ and I have been taking full advantage of that for the last year!! It was really nice, especially during football season when the hubby would go into full "Man Cave" mode and revel in his sports glory. JJ and I would hit the road to Anaheim and have fun at the park.  It was really nice when my parents also got passes and they would meet up with us.

I grew up a total Disney kid and I loved that I could pass that onto my son. When we found out I was pregnant with Baby #2 in October, I knew our Disney Days would be numbered, but we kept going as long as we could.

This past Sunday we decided to do one last family Disney Day at California Adventure because the hubby had never been.  It turned out to be a great afternoon, but one my 35 week preggo body did NOT appreciate. Recently, I think Baby Kathryn has set up camp on my sciatic nerve and it is painful to move too much or walk too much. I do still have another month on the pass, but I'm just not sure if I'm going to be able to do it.

I'm sad that it's coming to an end (for now), but I've loved every minute of sharing the Disney Magic with JJ and seeing him get more and more excited about going as he's grown up so much over the last year.

I am so blessed to be his mommy and I can't wait until we can share this experience again with Kathryn in a couple years!

Boppy Covers

I wanted cute boppy covers so I decided to make my own.

I used my old boppy cover from when JJ was a baby as a pattern.  I lfolded my material in half since you need two sides and cut around the old cover, leaving about a 1/2" for a seam allowance. 
Measure from the top of your pattern cover to the zipper and make that some cut on one piece of your fabric. (Trust me when I say just do one piece. I'm not going to tell you how I know it is a total pain to try to sew back together the piece that wasn't supposed to be cut.)
Now sew on your zipper. Open the zipper and sew one side of the zipper to one side of your fabric then do it again for the other side. Just make sure your zipper is facing the right way.

Then put your two fabric pieces, right sides together and sew all the way around. Since you have the zipper now, you don't need to leave yourself a place to turn it right side out when you are done. Make sure your zipper is closed for this step and make sure you catch the ends of the zipper on your way around.

 Turn the cover right side out and put it on your boppy! They are so easy to do; I made 5 in one afternoon! And they can be whatever material you want. No reason not to do it!! :0)

Rag Quilt

So I've made a few of these now and each time I forget how much work is involved! But the end result it totally worth it!

The ones I made before were queen size and I used 2 yards of each kind of fabric. This one was meant to be smaller since it is for a tiny human. I only got about 1 yard of each kind of fabric. I used all flannel for this one and I really think that turns out better, but you can use anything else, just as long as its cotton.  If you don't know how much fabric to get, just figure out how many squares you want it to be and how big each square should be. I cut my squares to 6x6 and it ended up being 7 squares x 7 squares, so 42"x42". You will also need batting. I got 100% polyester batting, but I don't really love working with it. If you can get the softer bamboo batting, it is MUCH better.  Cut those squares too, 1" less than your fabric squares.

1. Sandwich the batting between two fabric squares and lay out your pattern. The hubby and I went through a couple different options before we settled on a good lay-out.
2. Sew each square sandwich together. Usually, you would use your machine and sew a big X in the middle of each one. I didn't want to do that for this quilt, so I just hand-stitched a tiny little x in the middle and it worked just fine. The point is for each square to hold together.

3. Once your squares are put together, you are ready to put together your rows. Just follow the pattern you decided on. I recommend taking a photo of that like I did, so you have a good reference in case your squares get mixed up, which mine did.

Since you want the rough edges to show, sew them "backs" together along one edge. Keep going with each square until you have a row. Then do the rest of the rows.

4. Follow the same instructions, but now you are sewing the rows together. Make sure to match up the squares as much as possible. If they are a little off, it's fine. It'll turn out OK when you do the "rag" step.

I would recommend giving yourself a lot of room for this, especially if you are doing a larger quilt. You will need room to feed through the sewing machine and you'll need room to the left as you add each row. I was fine for this smaller quilt, but when I made the queen size, I had to have my hubby hold onto the overflow.

5. Once you have all the rows sewed together, do a final stitch around the outer edge of the quilt to close it out. You can use a regular straight stitch, but I like to use the zig-zag stitch. It holds it nicely and provides a decorative element since it will be seen.
6. This is the worse part, I'm not going to lie. You need to go around and cut little snips out of all the raw edges you have exposed. All the way around the outside and each square inside. This takes awhile and more often than not, my index finger will get a small blister and start to go numb. Again, this is where it helps to have someone available to take over if you can. Usually I get the hubby to help, but this time my 3-year-old eager beaver helper wanted in. Since I was using my big fabric scissors and not his usual safety scissors, I did it with him for a couple squares before he gave up. He really wanted me to share though. ("You don't have your scissors here, JJ." "Share, mommy. Please." I couldn't say no...)

7. Last step! Wash your quilt. When you wash and dry it, all those exposed edges start to curl up and get all raggy. Hence "Rag Quilt"! It is a cute way to make a quilt and pretty easy not to mess up. I'm a really lazy pinner and measurer so this is perfect for me!

Project 3: Crafting for Baby Kathryn's room

 I actually saw a lamp I really liked for Kathryn's room, but it was very expensive. I had already purchased quite a bit of this cute princess fabric for a project I ended up abandoning, so that is what inspired me to do this lamp recovering.

1. I bought a fairly cheap lamp at Target
2. I removed the pom-poms at the bottom of the top tier. Since these shades are perfectly round, it was easy enough to just measure it around directly and cut out the piece I needed.  I had to double up my fabric because it was a bit thin and you could see the original pattern through it. I laid the fabric in place and hot glued all the way around and up the crease.

3. I repeated the process for the bottom shade too.  Pretty cute, right?

Project 2: Crafting for Baby Kathryn's Room

This one is even easier than the first one!

To make this cute little silhouettes, I just did a Google image search for the character and "silhouette." I printed it out and used them as stencils to cut out of the colored cardstock I wanted.  Then I just framed them.

The cool thing about this particular "craft" is that the frames I used were from JJ's room before we changed it from Dr. Seuss to Superheroes.  I just sanded off the color and repainted them Cream. I didn't really think it was going to work at first, but it did and I was so happy with it!

Project 1: Crafting for Baby Kathryn's room!

The first project I made for my upcoming little girl's room was a canvas initial.  This was a super easy project.

1. Just get a canvas the size you want. The one I used is 8x8 and I picked it up pretty cheap at Aaron Brothers. I think you can get them at Michaels too.
2. Paint it the color you want.
3. Add the initial in a different material. I've seen people use buttons and that is SUPER cute. I had these little flowers in my scrapbooking stuff, and they were the perfect color.
4. Definitely lay out your letter first. That way you get the spacing right and you know it will look like how you want it to look.

5. Once you have it mapped out, take it off the canvas and brush on some Mod Podge. Just do small sections at a time so it doesn't dry out.

Anytime you can get your 3-year-old to "help" I highly recommend it. It really helps things move along nicely :0)
 6. After I had Mod Podged my canvas and added a few decorative details, I had my handy hubby drill a couple holes in the top so I could hang it.

7. Hang it up and admire your work!  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's Just a Kids Movie, Right?

My kid is a big fan of TV. What kid isn't, really? It's probably our own fault since the hubby and I are both big TV watchers as well.

Anyway, JJ's at the age where he's getting really into watching movies too. He can sit and pay attention for longer periods of time, so he is starting to enjoy more things like Disney movies and such. Like most kids, he goes through his phases. For awhile it was Finding Nemo and right now it's Peter Pan. He watches other things too, of course, but currently, if he had it his way, he'd watch Peter Pan at least six times a day. (Before you pull out your judgey-face, don't worry... we don't let him watch it that much!)

At the age of three, he's also at the stage where he is really starting to comprehend more and copy more. He is definitely a little parrot! I won't even go into some of the things we've had to check off our list to make sure not to say in front of him, mostly after we've already said it and he repeated it...

But because of his copy-cat behavior and his impressive ability to comprehend things and situations, I find myself watching these movies with a new perspective and often a degree of uncertainty. A lot of these movies can be somewhat violent and portray very dark things and I've come to the juncture as a parent where I am asking myself: how much is too much for a toddler?

It started with the "bad guys" in the movies. That was easy. Anytime the villain would appear, I made sure to tell JJ that he (or she) is not very nice and is not doing good things. I wanted to make sure he understood the difference between the good behavior and bad. I think it's pretty clear in the context of the movies, but I just wanted to do my due diligence as his mom. That area became a little cloudy with the introduction of Peter Pan. I never really remembered this from my childhood, but did you ever notice that Peter Pan is kind of a jackass? I don't know if it's just to show that he "never grew up" but he's a total jerk, in my opinion. And that's not even getting into the total misogyny of the whole movie, and I'm not normally one to call the PC Police and I really noticed it. Anyway, I digress... I suppose that I'm more of a Robin Hood girl myself.

The biggest issue I've come across is dealing with the deaths in these movies, mainly the parental ones. When JJ was in his Finding Nemo phase, I would usually skip the opening scene where Nemo's mom and all his siblings were eaten by the barracuda. One time I didn't and asked him if he knew what happened (the attack/death is entirely off-screen). He said "Nemo mommy all gone." OK, then, so you get it, kiddo... The other night we were watching The Lion King and the Mufasa death scene is actually quite tragic and disturbing. He wasn't paying attention at that point, so he hasn't seen it just yet, but I watched it and it is brutal. Mufasa doesn't just get trampled by the herd, Scar full on and very clearly murders him. He throws him from the cliff and Simba watches his father die. It is heartbreaking to say the least. He hasn't seen Bambi yet, but the shooting of Bambi's mom is pretty tragic in almost the same way. No off screen death, just in your face, no doubt about it, dead.

My first instinct is to shelter him from scenes like that since they are so disturbing. I mean come on, he's my baby! But then I think about it and I watched all these shows when I was a kid and I turned out fine. I asked some friends about it on Facebook and most people said to use it as a teaching tool. Which I totally agree with. I'll use anything I can as a teaching tool. He's not asking questions just yet, but the more he sees it, the more he will comprehend what is going on and the questions will come. Death is a part of life. It is reality and I don't want to raise my kid in a bubble. He doesn't seem upset by what he watches, but I don't know what's going on in his head. Maybe he's just processing.

Like I said, I don't want to raise my kid in a bubble, but kids these days seem to grow up way faster than generations before and I'd like him to maintain his innocence as long as possible. One friend (who has a son around the same age as JJ) put it very well when he said, "See my first inclination was to say let the kid keep blissfully ignorant for as long as possible. But you must not only consider the bliss of the current boy you have, but the man you are trying to make. A man is not made on happy and good feelings alone. A man, I believe, should be strong. And people's cores are formed at so early an age. After I typed let the kid enjoy his youth and fast forward I tried picturing doing that with Sammy.....I can't. Instead I would explain why he's sad and tell him he becomes happy later in the movie because he gets to see his dad again. I say give it a nice spin, but still explain the sadness."

My other friend Alison also made a good point of letting him understand what he understands now (i.e. "Nemo Mommy All Gone") and the deeper he gets it, then he will start to ask questions and at that point we can address it.

I suppose there is no "right" or "wrong" way to deal with these types of things; you just have to know your kid and let him/her show you his individual level of readiness. One thing I do know, is kids tend to be a lot smarter than we like to give them credit for and I'd much rather JJ learn about the important things in life from me or the hubby than from other kids on the playground later on, so he has the facts and a good head on his shoulders.

Here's hoping I'm doing it right by him... :0)