Handmade and Thrifted Christmas

We’re two days into Spring and most people do not want to hear about Christmas, but I have exciting news! This year, we’ve decided to do a Handmade and Thrifted Christmas!

Like many of our grand-parents, my grandma used to spend all year making Christmas gifts for her 10 children, and come Christmas day, each kid was grateful for the gift they received. I love that! Of course it’s pretty great to unwrap a big shiny, new and fancy item come December 25th, but that’s not all it’s about and I’ve been craving a simpler lifestyle and tradition. I ran it by hubby and he agreed that it could be fun, and significantly cheaper, which is a bonus during a period of heavy renovations! Here’s what we decided to do:

We will continue to fill our stockings with the regular stuff we normally do ( small and useful things, edibles, toiletries) and we will be aloud to buy 1 new gift. Everything else will be handmade (by us or locally) and/or second hand( thrift shops, yard sales, Kijiji, swap groups, antique shops, etc.).

When I mentioned what we were doing to my mom, she got super excited and asked if they could participate too, and of course, the more the merrier! I love the challenge that comes with it. It’s the end of March and I am already busy working on several gift projects and hubby has already found a beautiful clock for my mom and apparently something for me!! I’m finding that much more thought goes into a gift when you know you’ll be spending many, many hours making it!

I know that someday the Littles will start to want things that we can’t make and probably won’t be able to find second hand, and I see no reason not to get her one or some of those items, within reason, but I also do not foresee going back to all store bought gifts after this year! I am enjoying this way too much to ever go back! I’ll share some of my projects as I finish them!

Do you do handmade gifts? Or have a gifting tradition? Share them in the comments, I’d love to hear what you do!

 

 

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Spring is in the aiiir!

Daylight savings is here! Oh how it was strange to put the Little to bed with the sun still shining. She has not been feeling well for the last two days( a little something she caught from me I take it, I’ve been sick all week), so luckily she was exhausted and though she fussed for a little longer than usual, I can’t complain! I’m hoping the transition remains this smooth over the next few days.

Along with the sunny bedtime, the sun seemed brighter and warmer today, despite the biting -17 outside. I’m beginning to itch for cleanup again! The move is now just a few months away and I’m dying to de-clutter. Mom brought me some boxes today, so perhaps tomorrow Little One and I will go around and fill a few boxes with donation and yard sale stuff. The windows are screaming to be cleaned, but I will continue to ignore those for a while longer!

What sort of spring cleaning routines or tips do you have?

Being parents

Being a parent is not always easy. People have opinions and like to share them openly. Thankfully, I am blissfully unaware most days, but still I see, read and hear things that can sometimes creep into the deep depths of my mind and make me have some self doubt about my parenting skills.

Today however, I made a nice supper while my Littles scooted around the floor with mixing bowl, a wooden spoon and some flour. I could hear the biggest opinionated person in my life cringe in my mind, but I shrugged it off because I didn’t care that the flour was getting everywhere or that she was playing with something that was not a high tech blinking toy(therefore it must be dangerous). By the time Daddy got home and supper was ready, Littles had flour cakes to the knees of her pants and a huge smile on her face. She had explored and discovered, she had wiggled her little fingers through a new texture and even tasted plain flour. Mmh. So good.

After supper, before we headed up for a bath, Daddy sat the Littles in a cardboard box, picked it and her up and proceeded to pretend she was in an airplane as they “ran” around the dining room table Brr-ming and Eeeek-ing and chasing me along. I looked back as I ‘ran away’ and saw the biggest smiles on both their faces. The sheer joy on her filthy, well fed and played out little face. My heart melted and I knew right then and there that we are doing it right. We are raising our little girl the way we, as a family, should. There will always be learning curves, but we are raising her to our standards, with our values and that’s all that matters.

Fresh air and sunshine

Nothing makes a baby sleep like some good old fresh air and sunshine! While we had a very cold night(-20), today the sun was shining and it didn’t feel cold at all! Apparently it was still -11, but it really didn’t feel that way. When the Mister came home from work around mid day, we had lunch and then got ready to go outside, him to clear the driveway some more before the next snowfall, Baby Bells and I to snowshoe! We all bundled up nice and warm and hoisted the little munchkin up onto my back in her Bebamour carrier. Thank goodness for the Stonz booties we got off someone this fall, we tucked them inside her snow pants and they were nice and secure on her little feet, anything else would have fallen off before we made it to the edge of our yard.  Once she was all fastened onto my back, we went outside and Papa helped me into my snowshoes and off we went! We did not go far at all, but it was so nice!

We packed a trail around the outer edges of the yard and down into the front field before heading back to pack a trail toward the back field. Much to the dismay of our little dog, we didn’t actually tackled the back field, I had had the brilliant idea to play horse and ”trot” the last loop around the front field and I was really starting to feel the burn haha! Anyway, after about an hour of outside fun, we came back in and made hot chocolate and a bottle of milk and headed upstairs to get ready for nap time. It took her a surprisingly long time to go down for her nap considering how drowsy she looked, but now she has been asleep for well over a half hour( her usual max) snuggled up with her little lion man.

I really need to make a point of getting outside with her more often and for longer than just a little trip to the chicken coop and back! It’s fresh air and sunshine is great for both of us and the exercise is an added bonus for me since I’m the one carrying/pulling/pushing her, depending on the days and her ”mode of transportation” ha!

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A step in the right direction!

With the cold upon us and no heating set up in the ”new” house, renovations have been nearly at a standstill since we insulated the office nearly a month ago. It’s not that we can’t handle the cold, it’s simply that the temperature drops can cause condensation and ruin our work..so best to just wait it out a bit! Anyway, in the meantime, we’ve been busy in our heads: planning colours, choosing windows, drawing up plans for the barnyard, etc. Then, today the Mister logged into facebook and had a gander at a few swap pages and came across someone selling over 350square feet of good quality, nice oak coloured flooring for 140$. A small fraction of what we would be paying for new flooring! He quickly sent a message and as it turns out, the guy lives about 2 minutes away from my mom and dad, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone so to speak, and go pick up the flooring and drop in to visit my folks. I can already picture it in the living room and am so excited! Next step; windows!

The end of Maternity Leave

February is here which means that it will be Baby Bells first birthday soon! The big 1.0. I can’t believe my baby is almost a year old already.

Bitter sweet!

With all that comes the end of my maternity leave and a whole bucket of questions. Should I go back to work? What do we want to do with Baby Bell if I go back? Should I go back to my old job or find something new? Well, all those questions were put to rest January 28th when we decided I’d return to my old job, but only as super-part-time/casual on days the Mister doesn’t work. Therefore, I work 1 to 2 days a week, for a few hours a day and the rest of the time, I’m home with Baby Bell. We are both very happy with our decision, but obviously it will mean making a few cuts in spending and looking into alternative ways to make a few extra dollars.

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to take on this new challenge and to continue to spend my days with my ever growing and changing toddler-to-be!

Are you a stay at home parent? What ways have you found to bring in a little bit of income or cut down spending?

Cloth Diapering- 9 months in

Before we found out we were expecting a baby, making decisions about diapers was not something I ever thought I would need to do. I knew a baby would need to wear diapers, obviously, but I never really realized we had choices. Brand name disposables, generic disposables, eco-friendly disposables, cloth diapers- pocket diapers, all in ones, old school origami diapers, you name it!

I don’t remember what exactly sparked the idea of cloth diapers for me, but I do remember the hours of research I did before turning to hubby, armed with all my new found knowledge and asking ” What do you think of using cloth diapers?”. Little One is 9 months old now, and despite what everyone around us thought, we have stuck with cloth and are still very happy with our decision. I highly doubt we will give it up before she is potty trained.

The journey has had it’s ”crappy” moments( see what I did there? 😛 ), but for the most part, it has been smooth sailing. The biggest recommendation I could give anybody who is undertaking cloth diapering is this: Cut yourself some slack!

Every cloth diaper used is one less diaper in the dumps and that much more money in your pocket. Do what you are comfortable with, and what works for you and your family. You do not have to use cloth 100% of the time.

When Little One was born, neither of us really knew how to change a diaper. I mean, we had an idea of how it worked, in theory, but in actual practice, it was scary stuff! We started out using NB disposables that the hospital and shower guests had provided us with and within about a week, I tried my first cloth diaper on her. It was HUGE. If you plan to cloth diaper your newborn, and can afford a couple of diapers that won’t last your child’s entire diaper career, I’d recommend investing in a couple of newborn sized cloth diapers. I found a Kawaii Seconds sale and bought a couple of these when she was about 1 month old. If I were to do it again, I would make sure to have the newborn sizes on hand right away.

Some babies seem completely at ease sitting in a big wet diaper, but Little One hated having a wet bum from day 1. She would fuss as soon as the little line on the diapers would get a speck of blue, so we decided very early on that we would not bother to try cloth overnight. She will easily pee through a regular cloth diaper in just a few hours, so we did not want to lose sleep while we tried to troubleshoot overnight cloth. Same goes for long outings. If we are going somewhere comfortable like my parents place, we will do cloth, but if we have a 2+ hour drive, which is not often, we opt for disposables.

When I started shopping for cloth diapers, I was not overly familiar with brands, or diaper websites, so I spent a lot of time browsing for deals, and brands in a price range I was willing to pay. As a result, I ended up with a variety of diapers in different brands. Some I liked, some I didn’t ( namely Baby City). What I didn’t expect, however, was how glad I would be to have such an array of fits. As baby grew, her body changed a lot, obviously. In the early days, she had a big belly and tiny legs, later, she had a thin belly area and chubby legs, and now she has thunder thighs, thin hips and a big old chubby belly. Styles that fit great then, aren’t my preferred now, and styles that leaked around the legs then, are perfect now. A lot of people dish out a lot of money for a diapering starter kit from one brand before baby is born, and then baby arrives and the fit is all wrong, and they end up giving up because they can’t get it to work. I understand. I would get so frustrated with my diapers when I couldn’t get the right fit on Baby, until I realized that next week, they might fit better, just set them aside. We had about 8 cloth diapers when we brought baby home, and from there, we bought a few more of each of the kinds we like, as well as a few experimental ones and have grown to a reasonable 25-30 diapers.


I am so happy we decided to do cloth diapers, I think they are adorable, convenient, easy, and they save us a ton of money. The biggest downfall of using cloth diapers, to me, was when money got really tight, we were already using cloth diapers, so we couldn’t turn to cloth to save money! Haha!

How did you come about using cloth diapers? What did you learn in the process that you did not expect?