Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Inspiration-If it doesn't knock, build a door.

One of the first inclinations I had that made me feel like a writer was when I found inspiration hitting me at the most inconvenient times. Like 2 o'clock in the morning for example. And you just can't shake the feeling that you have to get this out or it will be lost forever in the abyss of your mind.

So I get up out of bed and drag myself to my computer and log in to Blogger (okay...and Facebook) and then I stare at a blank screen for 15 minutes. Alas, it has escaped me again. Blogging is so much different from the writing I do in privacy and the writing I was taught to do.

I sometimes find it much harder to write on a blog than anywhere else. I want to be personable, not personal. I want to be professional, but not stiff. When I'm writing an article or a paper, I know how it is supposed to written, there are clearly defined rules in the world of professional writing. And then I just let my heart pour out with a pad and paper. No one will see it if I don't want them to, and that's the benefit. So how is one to gain inspiration for this new world of writing that wasn't taught in school?

I try to draw my inspiration from every aspect of life. From a fun-filled day on a whale watching zodiac cruise on the Atlantic ocean to reading Celtic fairytales with my daughter to a TV commercial, I'm always looking for something to inspire me. But at the same time, I am not so naive that I sit around watching TV or browsing the web for inspiration. Part of it needs to be organic, but there's no harm in helping things along. Like meditating, walking, jamming, however you get your fire lit.

There are many opposing views of what inspiration is, but I don't think the definition is as important as the outcome for the individual.

Tonight I was inspired by the memory of a favorite quote of mine,

"Nothing ruins the taste of peanut butter like unrequited love"

What inspires you to write your blog?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blog Reviews for WAHM's: A word to the wise

Some of my cool readers here may or may not know that I have a job outside the home, but I also run my own business. With the help of my hubby of course.
I am a member of a number of wahm groups online, and recently I've seen a lot of questions regarding review bloggers.

A review blogger is a blogger who generally buys or receives for free a product or service that you are selling. They review it, with pictures, video or otherwise. Post it on their blog for their readers and the world to see. Sometimes they also offer some kind of freebie or discount from your store to their readers in the form of a giveaway or contest.

Many of us have probably seen a large rise in these types of bloggers in the last few years. They are popping up all over the place, and a lot of them seem to gain quite a large following in a short amount of time.

That said, I know a lot of wahm's are not quite convinced about the world of blogging as advertising. But it can work! If you're looking for some good-quality, honest reviews from bloggers here are some things to keep in mind:
  1. Research the blogger! Read her past reviews, read her non-review posts, read her comments especially! A blogger is only as good as her readers. If the blogger is engaging her readers in conversation or otherwise, that's awesome! A blogger who builds a relationship with her readers (aka potential customers to you) is great, this means the readers trust the bloggers opinion on products for their family.
  2. Know the difference between readers and followers. Followers are people who simply click "Follow" on the blog once and never come back to read the posts. Readers are people who enjoy the blog, take part in discussions and comments, and usually also like the blogs other social outlets like Twitter or Facebook. I'm sure you can tell which ones you want more.

Monday, September 19, 2011

10 Tips to Sucessfully Cloth Diaper

Cloth diapering, like most parenting endeavors takes practice and time to get into a routine. Especially if you have been using disposable diapers for the first 6 months of your babies life. But it can be done! And I'll try to help you make it as painless as possible.

  1. Have an ample stash. On the Cloth Diaper 101 section of my store, I recommend that new to cloth users have a minimum of two dozen cloth diapers. That's 24 diapers. But more is better than not enough. There will come a day where you forget to do laundry and you end up having to wrap your baby in a tea towel while you get the laundry done. Okay, maybe not that extreme, but if you have a couple extra diapers you will likely not run into a situation like that.
  2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. All the different styles and brands of cloth diapers can seem overwhelming, but the myriad of choices out there is actually a good thing. And you will find that having a variety of diapers in your stash comes in handy, so don't go out and buy all one brand or style. Prefolds are great for over nights, all-in-ones are the perfect daycare diapers, and fitteds are super cute and super absorbent. One brand may be too big right now, but may fit perfect later.
  3. Use the right accessories. It may be hard to gauge what the right accessories are for you. But once you take the plunge into cloth, you will very quickly figure it out. If you don't like shaking poo into the toilet, you will probably really enjoy biodegradable/flush-able liners. Little things like that make all the difference.
  4. You don't need every accessory on the market. Not everyone uses a diaper sprayer and not everyone uses wet-bags. So don't add unnecessary cost to your investment in cloth diapering by buying the newest and coolest gadget that is claiming to make diapering easier. Use common sense, if it seems like something you would actually use, then go for it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Am I really crazy to use cloth diapers?

The most common reactions I get when I tell people I use cloth diapers are:
  1. "omg...good job, way too much work for me though!"
  2. "Eww, why?"
Which makes me wonder if I really am crazy for using them. I'm not going to go on and on about the benefits of using cloth diapers...in this post. But I just can't wrap my head around why I get so many crazy looks when I tell people, or when they see my daughters diapers or even at craft fairs or the market where I sell them. Actually, and craft fairs I get a lot of "Is this a diaper cover to go over normal diapers?" To which I reply "No, that's a diaper" followed by the sound of pregnant a woman's mind exploding.

I've also experienced a lot of great responses in the strangest places....like the Wal-Mart change table. There was young mom waiting behind us to change her newborn and she was so fascinated with our diapers. She actually ended up buying an entire stash of cloth diapers, which made me feel super great. It's fun converting people, what can I say! I mostly get older women, giving me the thumbs up and it's always because of the innovations the cloth diapers of today have. All-in-one styles and hybrids et all, they always say "Now if only they had that in my day!" I liked the quote my own grandma said the most "These diapers are so awesome, Courtney. I can't believe not one person in my generation thought of this when our kids were in diapers!"

And on the flip side, I've actually got some extremely rude mamas commenting as well. One even went so far as to email my business contact email basically berating me for using, let alone selling, cloth diapers.

But that's the thing, I don't care if someone uses disposables. It's your choice, cool, rock it out. The only reason I consider myself a cloth diaper advocate is not because I think disposable diapers are the devil and everyone should always use cloth no matter what. That's not it at all. I think that parents need to know they have the choice. Cloth diapers should be something they have available in every hospital, they should be brought up at every pre-natal class for new parents. It's just something that people should know about and make their own informed decision. I know when I was pregnant and until Lily was about a month old, I had NO clue people still used cloth diapers let alone the cool diapers they have now.

A lot of parents I know use cloth AND disposables. Which is awesome too. I know that disposables have a time and place. (Like camping, I've been there, done that and don't want to do it again).

It's all a matter of choice, but the problem is that most parents don't even know they have a choice. Some parents could really benefit from using cloth too, like low income earners. And I know the cost of some cloth diapers can seem like a hefty thing to fork over all at once. But you don't have to do it all at once, but that's a whole different blog post. I've tallied up the costs of disposables and disposable wipes compared to cloth diapers numerous times and for me, cloth diapers always come out the clear winners. Disposables are REALLY expensive here in Canada. (You can actually see the breakdown for my family right here.)

At the end of the day, all they are is a shit receptacle. All I want is for parents to have the choice. Have an open mind and listen to the benefits of cloth diapers and let a cloth user demystify some of the myths surrounding them for you and make an informed decision.

So no...I am not crazy for using cloth. It works for my family, and I find that it makes changing diapers slightly more enjoyable. Changing diapers is not something I really enjoy doing, but it's something I have to do and why not make it better if I can? Plus who could so no to how friggen adorable they are on her?!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

10 Fun and Easy Fall/Halloween Craft Ideas

I don't know why, but we're barely into September and it feels like fall is already here. I love fall, it's my favorite season. I've got my birthday and my brown eyed girls birthday in the fall, you've got Thanksgiving and Halloween, and beautiful colors and new fashions!!

One thing I'm really excited for this fall is that I get to decorate our new-to-us house with super cool and fun crafts. Heck, I've almost drained my own bank account with fall (and some christmas) craft supplies. I will definintely be posting them as I make them, especially the Halloween ones. Halloween is by far my most favorite holiday.

So here are 10 Awesome Tutorials for Fall/Halloween Crafts that are super cute and super easy.

(Click the links below to go to tutorials)

  1. Spider Web Table Runner
  2. Hand Out Candy
  3. Teddy Boos
  4. No-Carve Pumpkins
  5. Autumnal Wreath
  6. Spooky Luminaries
  7. Pumpkin Favor Pouches
  8. Candy Wreath
  9. Dollar Store Angels of Death
  10. Autumn Luminaries
Now that I've share some of my planned crafting with all of you, check these out and see if it's something you can do!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A little of this, a little of that

So I'd like to consider myself a crafty mom. I bake every now and then, I sew here and there and I like to glue and mod podge things together to make unique decorations and fun trinkets.

Last night I made my first pair of pants since I was in Home Ec in the 8th grade. I made them for Lily and I think they turned out pretty snazzy. I had no pattern and actually just used a pair of pants she already owned. I'm making another pair and shirt to match soon, so if someone would like a cute tutorial, I would love to do one up.

 I also made this awesome grocery bag holder from Make It and Love It. I know, I know I'm supposed to be some super hippy eco-warrior...but I always forget my reusable bags in the trunk of the car and then I get up to the till and sigh because I have to pay $0.05 per plastic bag. But they get used and reused around here, and now I can hide them away in a super chic holder. How bout that?

Sorry for the crappy picture, the battery on my camera died so I had to use a phone.

I just scored all this sweet fabric at Fabricville for $12, 4 yards to be exact!! So stay tuned for more super fun stuff, oh and if you have some ideas of what to make with this fabric let me know, also PLEASE share your crafty blog if you have one, I love seeing all the amazing things you mamas create!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Growing up is hard to do

Today is truly a gorgeous day. Although you can tell fall is right around the corner. This is my most favorite time of year. Kids are going back to school, the humidity that made me stick to everything I touched is leaving but it's still nice enough out to enjoy some ice cream.
What do you call this season between seasons?

Anyway, we went to the park today in hopes my little brown eyed girl would burn herself out. But who am I kidding, that never happens. And as we were watching the kids play I thought about how different my childhood was compared to how hers is going to be. Reminiscing is fun, but I often find myself living in the past too much. I don't want to relive the past, but sometimes I would like to watch it on an old movie reel. So in the hopes that some day there will be either a movie about my life or a time machine (which is probably more likely), here are

10 Things to tell my younger self:
  1. Whatever it is, it's not the end of the world
  2. Hair dye is not shampoo
  3. Two essentials of life: Toothbrush and band aids
  4. Don't wear those white pants. Actually, don't even buy them at all
  5. Say it all now, because you may not get another chance
  6. Alcohol will not quench your thirst
  7. Hoes before bros
  8. Don't let anyone let you feel inferior. If they try, ditch 'em
  9. Sometimes, listening to mom and dad actually is a good idea
  10. Be yourself, and no one else
Time travel is fun!
I'd love to hear just 1 thing you would tell your younger self...go for it.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Mean Girls ain't got anything on Mean Mommies.

Maybe I am really out of the loop when it comes to the social hierarchy that is motherhood and interacting with other moms, but moms are the biggest mean girls ever. If you aren't a mom, this post will seem totally outlandish to you, but really the whole thing  is just plain stupid and ridiculous. What do I mean? I mean moms bullying other moms about their choices, their lifestyles or basically anything under the sun from their strollers to their religions. You would think that kind of stuff ends when you grow up and become a mom. But I have seen the bullying happen, been the victim, and yeah I'll admit it, been the bully, no it never really changes as you grow up. In fact, I think it gets a little worse when we become mothers. Worse in the sense that, even though we know better we still do it.

I've just seen it way too many times that moms are so cruel to each other over the individual choices we make. There are so many topics that are considered hot button topics that can't even be brought up without scrutiny. We are so overly judgmental, and I'm not really sure why. We judge each other on everything, and even if we don't say it outloud, we think it. I feel terrible for admitting it, but I do it too. I wish I didn't, and sometimes I feel bad even if I don't voice my opinion on something.