June 30, 2012

Fun in the Sun: Lather up!

putting a little on his ear...
Summer is here, and in full swing! And sunscreen is a must - especially here in sunny Southern California!

Here are a few of our tricks for getting sun screen on our Little One as painlessly as possible:

1) Let him help rub it in. Or put some on his finger and let him decide where to put it. Arm? foot? YOUR arm? It's always fun to put some on Mommy...

2) Let him hold the face stick, or even put some on, while we apply lotion on his body. Its a good opportunity to learn body parts, too: "Can you put some on your nose? ...how about your cheek? ...forehead?" Sure, some ends up in his hair, but we use that for a learning opportunity, and giggle at our 'mistake'!

"Top On!"
3) We put this on after breakfast, while he's still strapped in his seat. As the days got sunnier, and I realized he was spending so much time outside at school, we inserted this step after eating and before putting his shoes and socks on (which we also do while he's strapped into his seat, before he can get away... and then offer a chance to potty before we head to school...). After we apply the stick sunscreen to his face, he gets to help put the top on and feels a sense of accomplishment with the 'click'.

4) Do it every day. Toddlers thrive on routines, so building this in every day helps TONS! You will both figure out what works best (a special toy, or drinking milk, etc.), and expect it at the same time. And then do it again after lunch!

What are your tricks and tips?

What are you favorite sunscreens?!

June 15, 2012

Lunches: more single mom time!

I was a single mom for several days this week, so in preparation I made a big batch of the toddler pasta and therefore M had a fairly repetitive lunch this week...

toddler pasta (topped with Parmesan - I was feeling fancy!), rotisserie chicken, strawberries
steamed baby carrots, yogurt
diced mango, whole grain blueberry muffin (Real Simple)
toddler pasta, blueberries, rotisserie chicken
steamed carrots, yogurt,
whole grain muffin, strawberries
Chicken and Black bean Enchiladas (the toddler version skips the enchilada sauce, which is quite spicy, and tops with mild salsa instead), steamed cauliflower, yellow pepper, zucchini
pasta, kiwi, steamed carrots
yogurt, whole grain muffin

June 13, 2012

Current Nighttime Diaper Fix

So here is the epilogue to our nighttime diapering dilemma in this previous post:

So far the new setup has worked. I would still like to add a staydry/fleece liner just so the wetness isn't against his skin all night, but he is comfortable enough to stay asleep all night!

I got a comment that this seems 'complicated'. Well, it certainly has been trial and error, but I am not sure its any different from figuring out how much coffee makes the perfect pot in a new coffeemaker? And in comparison to using a disposable, even one specifically designed for nighttime, they didn't hold in all the wetness either, and M woke up with wet jammies and little gel beads all over his diaper area.

Hopefully this suggestion saves you some time in your trial and error process!

Oh - the best thing about this 'new' set up is that I already had all the parts! I highly recommend having a cover or two, and some prefolds (we have six) on hand for backup. They are always the fastest drying and are very versatile. [I have a friend whose son needed several days to recover from a terrible diaper rash due to illness. While at home, she would put a prefold on him with just a snappi, so that he could still get air circulating, but not make a mess.]

So here are the details:

all the 'ingredients': a Thirsties duo wrap, an indian prefold, both inserts from a Rump a Rooz pocket, plus a bamboo insert.

Step 1, looks just like how I'd put together a prefold/cover combo (usually i am lazy and skip the snappi, and just tuck the prefold into the cover, folded just like this)

I snap together both of the Rump a rooz microfiber inserts. then I double over the bamboo insert and situate it toward the snaps, which I'll put towards the front of the diaper... which is where most of our wetness occurs...

I can't even add up the total layers of absorbency here! This combo is just tall enough that the gussets on the cover cover the insides. If they didn't we might still have a leak issue through any open gaps.

Top view. um... i think my diapers need some sunning... hope this isn't a turn-off for future cloth-diaper-ers!

June 9, 2012

The Nighttime Cloth Diapering Saga

Let me start by saying that this was how my diapering philosophy evolved, based on my knowledge and experience. Please chime in about what has worked for you! I scoured posts like these when I was researching, and begging for a full nights' sleep again!

When we first got started cloth diapering, we took home a small sample of diapers, which included a Rump a rooz pocket diaper. This diaper comes with two inserts. One is a newborn size, that you can also snap in to the regular size for extra absorption. We have always used both inserts as our night solution. The other thing that makes this a good night diaper is that the top layer is fleece, which allows moisture to pass through and keeps it away from baby's bottom, making it more comfortable, and less likely he or she will get a rash. This worked great for us, except that the Velcro didn't take long to start wearing out.

However, soon after our little guy turned one, he developed what I call a "toddler bladder," and started waking up again in the middle of the night. Ack! My internet research pointed to the best solution to this being a combination of a fitted diaper (especially the sustainablebabyish brand) plus a wool cover for "bulletproof" protection. I admit: I am intimidated by wool. It isn't cheap, and requires care I am unfamiliar with, so I am afraid "to go there". I also couldn't bring myself to make the investment, especially since the main reason I wanted to use cloth is to save money. The above-mentioned fitted is $20 a pop, and they are sized (which means you have to buy new ones, eventually, as baby grows). And we would need 4 each time. Wool covers are also pricey ( I found them to be $30-40 or so, and also sized so you have to get more as baby grows (and honestly, they are mostly kind of ugly) but I don't see why you couldn't use a PUL cover. I couldn't bring myself to make the investment when I had already invested in night diapers that I didn't intend to use for daytime purposes. However, I also know that sleep is priceless. Overnight Pampers can help, but our guy leaked out of those, too.

So I decided to go with adding an extra bamboo insert  that I fold in half and situate towards the diaper, for our boy.  Recently, at 21 mos, he has started waking up again. He goes back to sleep on his own, and still wet, but I feel bad for his discomfort and we are going through pjs and bedclothes like crazy. So again I find myself looking for a nighttime solution. A friend's baby recently turned one, and soon thereafter proved she had developed her toddler bladder. My friend, who had just finally come to enjoy full restful nights of sleep, was at her wits end. Her local diaper store suggested the ecoposh one size fitted plus a PUL cover (with good gussets, like Blueberry or thirsties, etc. Again, these are not cheap, and I am not sure I am ready to buy 4 of them (unless I really can't come up with another solution!... like potty training :) ), but if I were where I was a year ago, or even putting together a baby registry, I would plan to try these out!

So, first I decided to strip our diapers, by adding some blue Dawn dish soap to our normal load of diaper laundry. Meanwhile, tonight I decided to try an experiment. I started with a Thirsties cover (which we already had on hand and they are great! Love the gussets) I laid an XL pre fold in it, tri folded in the front, fanned and folded down a bit in the back. On top of that I laid the normal contents of our nighttime Rump a roo: both insets that come with it, plus our folded over bamboo insert towards the front of the diaper. I don't have any fleece liners, but laid a disposable liner on top hoping it would keep some moisture away from his skin. I slathered him with some Cjs BUTTer just in case. Fingers crossed for uninterrupted sleep for all of us!

I'll update this posts with pictures of my setup! Here's our current solution - and we already had all the parts!

What's your nighttime diaper solution!?!?

June 6, 2012

This week's lunches, a day early!

This week's lunches!
OH - and the toddler finally enjoyed lettuce (read below)! wow!
Nachos! chip pieces, pinto beans, rotisserie chicken, shredded cheddar, avocado/tomato/onion/lime juice
yogurt and granola
plum slices and Gerber banana cookies
black beans and rice, green beans, raspberries, chicken, cheddar pieces
yogurt, cherry halves, mango
granola and tomato halves
Annie's snack mix, rotisserie chicken, green beans, raspberries, lettuce chunks (M loved helping me 'cook' the lettuce by tearing it into chunks, which prompted him to actually taste it - and he enjoyed the crunch of the romaine!)
mango chunks and granola
red pear and yogurt
sausage and rice, mango chunks
yogurt and Annie's snack mix
granola, tomato, blueberries
We have date night tomorrow (on a school night! so I went ahead and pulled together Friday's lunch:
green beans, pinto beans, shredded chicken, shredded cheddar, raspberries, Annie's snack mix
red pear and Gerber banana cookie
yogurt and granola (not pictured)

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

playing on a bench. I didn't know there
was this much green in CA.
I have been wanting to check this place out since the moment I found out about it, and we were finally able to go this weekend!! Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has Big Bugs, as they're called, dispersed through the gardens. I thought M would get a kick out of the bugs, and we'd get a little hike in, and we'd all get a Green Hour or two. M was a little less excited than I thought, and a little more whiny than I would have liked, but all in all it was a nice trip.
The garden boasts lots of trail combinations and we didn't even see half. Even though we stuck to hunting the bugs, we managed to meander over 2 miles (according to my MapMyRun app). Along the way, there was such a contrast in landscape from the utterly lush and green to the more desert landscape, and everything in between. There were several water spots, and even a container garden. M particularly like pointing out, and waving to, all the cacti - and there were lots of them. He also picked up sticks and rocks and we watched butterflies (in fact there is an entire butterfly house!) and lizards around the path. There are also several other sculptures (not related to the bugs) dotted in along the way. 
look! a TALL redwood! (not that tall compared
 to those in the National Forest by the same name,
 but still rather tall compared to the other trees)

playing in the water, damselfly sculpture in the background
The garden was also hosting some local artisans and I got a little souvenir and M got a new bug-themed pop-up book from the gift shop! He also is still "reading" the brochure from the park and naming all the bugs!

In case you are looking for a more grown-up afternoon, you can enjoy the Bugs and Brews even they are hosting between now and the end of June!

After our hike, we let our Yelp app help us find a place for lunch in downtown Claremont. The town has several colleges, including a seminary, and the downtown was super cute!! And Dr. Grubbs, though pricey, was delicious!!
hiking near a sculpture
wandering through an Oasis
stopping to smell the flowers
An "itsy itsy 'pider"!
praying mantis
stopping to look at lizards running
looking in this little pond at tadpoles

June 2, 2012

Kale Chips

I had heard several (rather unlikely individuals) that kale chips were delicious. I enquired, and the directions seemed easy enough, but I was skeptical and promptly forgot about them until perusing the market this weekend for a veggie side to our burgers.

Very easy recipe:

1 bunch kale
cooking spray
seasoning salt (or other seasoning options - very versatile!)

Wash the Kale leaves. Cut the tough stems out from the leaves, and cut into chip-sized pieces. Spin the pieces in a salad spinner to remove water. Arrange the pieces on cookie sheets in a single layer (it took us two batches to cook them all). Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with seasoning. bake on 350 for 10 minutes. DONE.

Kale Chips

June 1, 2012

Grijalva Park

Welcome to Grijalva Park!
A parent at M's school recommended Grijalva Park a while back, and when I first googled it, the description went on about a new sports complex, so I kind of wrote it off as a ball field. But I was so wrong!! What a cute park!! The park has huge expanses of green, and really well maintained play structures and gathering spaces.

It is also pretty convenient to our house. We could bike there and we saw several families who did just that.

The playground had a tot lot and a structure for bigger kids. It also had a bridge perpendicular to both that separated the two. Kids if all sizes ran back and forth across it. There were swings for kids large and small, too.

Next to the playground there was a sand volleyball court (which M had a great time hitting balls to himself in) and large grassy field where a family was practicing soccer moves.

Oh, there is a large sports field, too, but it is fenced off and can only be used with advanced permission. It adds to the green feel of the park... But you can't actually use it. For our purposes, we had plenty.

I can't wait to go back!!
racing around the fenced-in field

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