Saturday, January 28, 2012

Baby's 'Coming Home' Outfit!

So we found a cute little coming home outfit for our baby girl while we were out on our supper date tonight.  What do you think?  I'm a fan.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Look what I did! How to cover a composition book in fabric...

Here is my newest little project that I completed a few hours ago!

During my pregnancy, I've been keeping a journal to document how things have been going.  I think that my daughter will enjoy reading it someday.  With Brennan, I bought a pregnancy book to fill out, but only filled in about half of it.  Some of the questions were just so hard to answer!  This way, I can just write an entry every couple of days and I'll have most of the details recorded. 

When deciding on a book to journal in, I had a few criteria to consider.
  1. I wanted it to be cheap.  Really cheap.
  2. I wanted it to have a cover that was pretty gender specific, instead of gender neutral like everything I bought during my first pregnancy.  This time we were finding out the sex of our baby, so I wanted to be able to use that information for a few different things.
  3. I wanted it to be big enough so that I wouldn't run out of pages, without being excessively huge so that most of the pages would go unused.
I had one big problem... I wanted to start this journal as soon as I found out I was pregnant, to record the entire pregnancy, but I wouldn't know the sex of my baby until approximate 16-18 weeks.  I didn't want to have to re-copy all of the entries from one book to another-that would take up too much time and be mind numbing!  So I thought about it a little bit and came up with an awesome solution: get one of those cheap black and white composition books and cover it with fabric once we know the gender!

I hoped I wouldn't run into problems with the material bunching or wrinkling.  That was my main concern.  Lucky for me, my plan worked like a charm.  This was so easy and I think it turned out so cute!  I may not even be finished with it.  I can kind of envision a coordinating ribbon  run around the cover about 1/3 of the way down.  Maybe it'll even need a little birdie applique over the ribbon, or some sort of title...  After all, I need the outside to be EXTRA cute to make up for my not-so-cute penmanship on the inside (honestly- I write like an 8 year old boy...)!

Here's how I did it:
  1. Gather a composition book, your choice of fabric that will be large enough to overlap the edges of the book by about 1/2", a scissors, and some adhesive spray.  Check to see if the pattern of the composition book shows through your fabric.  If it does, you'll want a white sheet of paper or a piece of white material to first cover the book in.
  2. If you are using a white 'base layer', you'll need to do this step.  Lay out a lot of newspaper to protect your workspace from the adhesive spray.  Lay your white layer on the newspaper and spray it with a coat of adhesive spray.  Place your book onto the paper.  Press and smooth the paper out on the front and back covers.  Next, take your scissors and trim the paper along the edges of the notebook.  You don't need to leave any extra- just trim it flush with the edge of the book.
  3. Next, lay out more fresh newspaper and lay down your piece of fabric.  Spray it with a coat of adhesive spray.  Place your book onto the fabric.  Press and smooth the fabric out on the front and back covers.
  4. Using your scissors, carefully trim out a small section of the overlapping fabric at the top and bottom of the binding to allow the fabric to be folded into the front and back covers.
  5. Now, open the book and press both corners of your fabric on the front cover in at 45 degree angles.  Press the rest of the overhanging fabric down carefully after the corners are pressed in.  Repeat with the back cover.
  6. You can either choose to be finished at this point (I did) or you can cut a rectangular piece of paper or fabric (if you use fabric, you'll need to turn the edges under with adhesive spray, double sided tape, or a sewing machine) and place it on the inside of the front and back covers to cover the raw edges and give it a more professional look.
I love how my book turned out, at least so far, and if anyone else does this, I'd love to see some pictures!  Just comment with a link or send them to!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Today's fun- The 3D ultrasound!

Today was a really cool day.  We got to see our little girl with a 3D ultrasound!  She was semi-uncooperative, always keeping her arms up by her face, but we still managed to get some really cool pictures of her.  She kept opening and closing her mouth like she was sucking or drinking and we got to see her moving all over the place, both on the screen and in my tummy (she is REALLY a wiggler).  She also did something that I've always wanted to see one of my babies do on an ultrasound- suck her thumb!  It was really cute.

We also got an approximate weight measurement while we were there- 3 pounds 10 ounces!  She's getting big already.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised since she's due in just over 9 weeks and will be considered full term in just over 6!  It is unbelievable to me how fast this pregnancy has gone.  It is nearly over and I'm sure I'm going to miss many parts of it, but I'm so anxious to have another little baby to snuggle.  So... without further adieu, here are the newest pictures of our little girl!

She's working filling out those chubby cheeks.

She's sticking her tongue out at us!  We may have a stinker on our hands!

Here's a cool 2D profile picture with her little mouth open.

See those little fingers!?!  I can't wait to hold them.

She seemed to be trying to suck on her hands.

That fuzzy white stuff is her hair!  I can't wait to put bows in it!

She's pursing her little lips...

That nose is just so cute!

And the lips and hands are pretty sweet, too!

Here's another 2D shot of her as she was starting to suck her thumb.

And this is kind of fun- Here's a comparison of my two babies... Brennan is the top row, and newbie is the bottom.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review of "The Tessy Tree" + Pea in a Pod Necklace Giveaway!

Hi everyone!

I'm so excited that I've been given another opportunity to do a review and host a giveaway!  This time, for a great Etsy shop- "TheTessyTree"!

Our sponsor, Tess, runs TheTessyTree in her 'spare time'.  I say 'spare time' because Tess is a single mother of two little girls and two dachshunds- Bob & Apples.  She also works full time and runs a 2nd Esty shop, as well- T shreds, where she sells clothing and accessories!  She has Facebook pages (where she runs awesome specials) for both shops that she keeps up to date all the time- TheTessyTree Fan Page & T shreds Fan Page!  I don't know how she finds time in the day...

The Tessy Tree is such a cool shop!  Tess opened her shop on January 13, 2011, and in just over a year has had 269 Etsy sales!  This doesn't even count any other form of sales she makes!  She obviously puts nothing but her very best into her work, which is quite important to her!  She has 100% positive feedback for 330 transactions on Etsy- a trustworthy seller!  Tess mainly sells jewelry at this shop, including bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings, but also sells a few accessories and home decor items.  She has many different styles of jewelry for sale (look at the MANY photos on her TheTessyTree FB Page!), but among her most popular items are her "Tree of Life" necklaces.

These gorgeous necklaces are made of twisted wire and beads, and some include other small charms, too.  Every one of these necklaces is unique and with so many colors and variations to choose from, the possibilities are endless!  They are also very customizable. 

Another of Tess' most popular designs is her 'Pea in a Pod' jewelry.  These are simply beautiful!  She sells 'Pea in a Pod' necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, so you can have a matching set!  They are also completely customizable.  You can choose the number of peas you want as well as colors.  She even has some beautiful rhinestones she can add to 'jazz up' your pea pod!  As you may have guessed, these are super popular as Mother's/Grandmother's jewelry!  How lucky am I that I get to review one of the 'Pea in a Pod' necklaces?!?!

I wanted my pea pod necklace to be a Mother's necklace, representing my kids.  Though I could have gotten my 'pearls' in their birthstone colors, I really like the look of the green peas in my pea pod (Plus, I don't know if my new baby will be born in March for sure!).  I chose to have 3 peas.  One for the first baby we lost, one for Brennan, and one for the new baby coming in March.  After choosing my pea pod design, all I had to do was wait.  I was SO anxious to receive it!

When our mail lady dropped it off at our house, I tore into the package like a 7 year old on Christmas morning!  Even the packaging was delightfully cute- definitely cute enough to give to someone as a gift, just as it came.  

I pulled the necklace out of its beautiful packaging and was so happy to see how great it looks!  It is just so pretty and I love it!  The peas are intricately wrapped in non-tarnishing shiny silver wire and topped off with 2 cheery little stem tendrils.  It comes on an 18 inch silver ball chain.  On a side note, Tess was even thoughtful enough to send along a really pretty metal stamped key chain, as well, just 'because'!  :)

It is obvious that Tess takes lots of pride in her work- it shows.  I think anyone would be very satisfied with their purchase from The Tessy Tree, based on my experience.  The only possible criticism about my necklace I can come up with is that the ends of the stem tendrils are slightly sharp on the ends.  If the pea pod sits on your shirt or high enough on the flat part of your chest, this definitely wouldn't be an issue at all.  It only poked me when it slid down too far between my boobs, which is always an issue I have with necklaces and my rather much-too-large chest.  Here's how it looks on me...  I think it is beautiful and has such a special meaning for me.  (Just a note- I switched out the chain in the following picture to achieve a little shorter length.)

One more little peek at my 3 little baby peas.  This is what the back side of the necklace looks like.- 

Now comes the really exciting part!  You've got the chance to win your very own pea pod necklace from TheTessyTree!  These each retail for $25.  You'll be able to customize it exactly as you like with your special number of peas, pea colors, and wire color!  If you'd rather not wait for the giveaway to end and want to buy your own pea pod now, just visit TheTessyTree and place your order with this special coupon code for 25% off!  Here's the code: blogger25.  ATTENTION MEN- These would make great gifts for your wives and girlfriends on Valentine's Day!  And don't forget about this great option for Mother's Day, in a few months!

Here's how to win:
It is so easy!  All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me how you would personalize this necklace!  Please include your email in this comment so I can contact the winner! This entry must be completed before you complete any extra entries.

Extra Entries (Make sure you leave me a comment telling me which of these you did!):

  • 'Like' TheTessyTree Fan Page & T shreds Fan Page on Facebook- 1 extra entry for each page (Please use a separate comment for each!).
  • Comment with which item at Tess' Shop is your favorite!- 1 extra entry
  •  Follow my blog with Google Friend Connect- 1 extra entry
  • Vote for my blog on Picket Fence (Icon on right)- 1 extra entry (can be done daily)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook!- 1 extra entry (can be done daily)

Please use individual comments for each entry to make choosing the winner randomly with simpler.  This giveaway is open to USA residents.  Giveaway ends on February 5th, 2012 at Noon CST.  I will email the winner and they will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen, so please remember to leave me your email.

Good luck!  Please spread the word!!! 

*I was given this product for review purposes.  All of my opinions about this product are solely my own.  Your opinions may differ.  I was not compensated to write this post in any way.*

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Trendy Maternity Shirts! Review of Jellybean Apparel on Etsy!

Recently, I was given the chance to do a shop and product review for a very cool Etsy shop- Jellybean Apparel.

Here's what Emily, the owner of Jelly Bean Apparel, says about her shop:
"We specialize in maternity themed t shirts & tops for pregnant moms and dads-to-be, big brothers, big sisters & grandparents. Long sleeve, short sleeve and tank top styles are available. We've got something for every belly!"
 Jellybean Apparel's Etsy shop has been very successful, with nearly 3400 sales in just over 4 years.  This doesn't even include any sales that were completed using the Jellybean Apparel website-!  Be sure to check it out!  Emily's success shouldn't come as a surprise, either, when you take a moment to browse through her products.  They are all very unique and range from classy to cute, to downright funny.

"Classy""Cute""Downright Funny"
I love that Jellybean apparel also carries clothing for people that are excited about the upcoming new baby, besides just the mother!  There are some awesome options for Dad, Brothers, Sisters, Grandmas, Grandpas, and even anxious members of the 'birth team'!  With these shirts, everyone can show their excitement about the soon-to-be arriving bundle of joy!

Emily gave me the choice of any short-sleeved maternity t-shirt in her shop for review.  Let me tell you- choosing was not an easy task extremely difficult!  There are so many awesome shirt designs in the shop that choosing just one is really a challenge.  I gave my husband my top few choices and got his opinions on them before finally deciding on one- the Scroll Flourish Black Short Sleeve Maternity T-shirt.  I think this shirt looks so classy and nicely emphasizes your baby bump without drawing excessive attention.  The white design stands out so boldly from the black shirt!  I love the contrast.

Here's what the shirt description listed on says,
"This flourish is a beautiful way to decorate any size belly!
The style is long and form-fitting. The fabric is a premium quality blend, with a double-stitched hem and reinforced shoulders. It is soft enough to sleep in, with lots of stretch to last you the whole 9 months! Please order a size larger if you prefer a more loose fit.
Poly/Rayon/Spandex Blend. Machine wash. Made in the USA.
Length 29". Sizes: S (0-4), M (4-8), L (8-10), XL (10-12), 2X (14-16) and 3X (18-20).  A Jellybean Apparel original design! All designs are adhered with a professional heat press. Guaranteed not to crack, fade or peel with multiple washings."

I can definitely attest to the quality of this shirt.  I was shocked at the fabric thickness.  It feels so sturdy and well-made, which is something that is hard to find nowadays.  It seems like most shirts are much to thin and practically transparent!   Besides being nice and thick, the fabric is very soft and has a gentle stretch to it, so it is really comfortable to wear.

Jellybean Apparel's eye-catching tag.
The size chart seems to be fairly accurate, as well.  I got a size medium and it fits me well.  It isn't extremely form fitting on me, but still looks nice and will allow more tummy growing room over the next 7 to 10 weeks.  Most of my maternity shirts are somewhere in the extra small to medium range.  They vary so much from place to place that it is hard to know what size will be best!  I think I would probably get a small if I had it to do over again, but I do typically like to wear my shirts on the tighter side.

I can't wait to wear this shirt for some of my maternity pictures!  For now, here are a couple pictures of me modeling my new shirt.  And for those of you following my pregnancy, this will be a 30 week picture!

 I hope you'll all take a moment to check out Jellybean Apparel.  There's sure to be something perfect for the expectant mother, excited father, or big sibling-to-be in your life!  Thank you for the opportunity to review your fabulous product, Emily!

Be sure to keep up with Emily and Jellybean Apparel on her Etsy shop-, her website-, and her Twitter page- @emilymryan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Officer Schneider's Final Goodbye...

It's been a week and a half since Officer Shawn Schneider's emotional and touching funeral and I just wanted to let everyone know how it went.  The turnout was absolutely tremendous.  We had police officers, firemen, and EMS from all over our area, and even as far away as Las Vegas, in attendance.  Many area citizens and supporters of the Schneider family even turned out to line the streets during the processional and support the family.

I did not go because I would have had to bring Brennan with, but my husband attended the funeral with Lake City's volunteer Ambulance crew.  He said it was basically indescribable.  It was something that was amazing to see, but that you just pray to God that you'll never see again. 

I wanted to share one picture with you.  I didn't take this picture, it was passed onto me from a friend.  Someone she knows took it, but it struck me and gave me chills.  I put it into Photoshop and did a little editing on it.  I think it turned out stunning.

The processional was just majestic.  It was 4 miles long and included a ton of police cars, some firetrucks, our ambulances, and Officer Schneider's casket being carried along my two beautiful black horses.  This picture summed up the feeling of the day perfectly.  The black and white scene symbolizes the sadness and somber mood of the day, while the brightly covered flag gives us hope that comes shining through the darkness to illuminate our lives- that everything will be ok.

The "Final Call" was read at the end of the burial.  This is what it said,  
"515 to 208.........515 to 208......attention all units, 208 Officer Shawn Schneider is out of service, End of watch Dec. 30 2011.....208 is 10-7."
It only seems fitting that as the "Final Call" was just ending, the clouds suddenly parted and the warm sunlight came pouring down, spreading over, all of the mourners in attendance.  It was like someone was really there, still watching and protecting them, and sending down his love and comfort even from beyond this life.

Please continue to pray for continued healing and comfort for all of family, friends, acquaintances, and supporters of Officer Shawn Schneider.  Also, take the time to tell the people you care about what they mean to you.  You just never know when you'll no longer have that opportunity.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Babyville Boutique- Adorable New Cloth Diapering Supply Line!

As many of you probably know, I've been cloth diapering Brennan since he was born, or at least since his tiny little frog legs got big enough to fit my cloth diapers!  A lot of people hear 'cloth diaper' and assume that it is disgusting, even though this is generally not the case.  If you want to read more about our cloth diapering experience, you can check out this post I wrote: Cloth diapers- why and how I use them

Anyway, since our cloth diapering experience has generally been a good one, I am going to cloth diaper this next little baby, too.  Two kids in cloth will be an experience, I'm sure, but maybe Brennan will surprise us and potty train quickly.  He's been using his potty several times a day for a few months now.....

I purchased all of Brennan's original cloth diapers off of eBay for a pretty reasonable price- something like $5-$6 per diaper, including shipping.  Overall, I like them, but there are a few things I would change.  First, although the diapers I bought came in a variety of bright, fun colors, the seller did not offer prints-and I've seen some cute prints!  Second, I purchased one-size diapers, which definitely has its advantages, but they are awfully big on a newborn, and getting snug on my almost 2 year old.  They also come in only the 'one' design without any customizing options.  Third, though these diapers have served us well, I feel like they are wearing out.  Maybe that should be expected of any diaper that has been used continuously for almost two years, but maybe not.  I have nothing to compare to.  All I know is that these diapers were mass manufactured in a Chinese factory using their materials.  Are these very high quality- who knows? 

This is part of the reason I'm so excited about the diapers I'm going to be making (hopefully with lots of family help) for the new baby.  Brennan will also get some larger ones.  The cloth diaper sewing supplies I'll be using come from a new and adorable line of products called Babyville Boutique.  They've got EVERYTHING a person needs to make their baby's very own cloth diapers, including fabrics, snaps and velcro, a pattern book, elastic, and cutesy stuff like buttons, appliques, and labels.  Everything is adorable, too!  Here are a few pictures to get you wanting this stuff as much as I do!

These are just a few of the fun products they offer in the Babyville Boutique diaper line.  I'm also extremely thrilled with the variety of diaper patterns and variations that are printed in the pattern book.  My wonderful husband stopped by Hobby Lobby after work last night just to pick me up a copy because I was dying to look through it.  You can basically mix and match to create the exact diaper you want or need.  I'm planning to make pocket diapers with fold over elastic, gussets, and a velcro closure.  I think I'm going to make them in the small and large sizes, with one row of snaps on each to allow them to be converted to the newborn and medium sizes.  Sounds like a good plan to me!

I'll let you know more about how it goes once we get there.  I'm not sure when we're going to begin sewing, but I'm getting anxious and this new baby will be here soon!  I'm 29 weeks today!  I really hope I love these as much as I think I will!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Since mid-December, a cherished member of our household has been missing in action.  You're probably already feeling worried for us, thinking that our beloved dog or cat (we don't have a cat...) has run away.  Don't worry- this situation was just a tad different. 

You see, Brennan has this Little People block set that came with toy monkey and zebra figurines.  He carried them around like little buddies until one day, we could no longer find "Fwa-zee-zee" (A.K.A.- Zebra).  We scoured the house from top to bottom searching for Fwa-zee-zee, to no avail.  We assumed that he was still tucked away into some secret little hiding spot and that he would turn up soon.  We also assumed that if we didn't find him, Brennan would quickly move on and forget about Fwa-zee-zee.  NOT THE CASE!

Every night, and sometimes multiple times during the day, Brennan would grab either my or Ryan's hand and say, "Fwa-zee-zee!" while pulling us along on the hunt with him.  He would always start the search in his room, laying down flat on the floor to peer under his changing table, before moving onto other possible hiding spots.  We looked everywhere!  The only logical explanation was that he could have been thrown away (but I went through the garbage before bringing it out just in case...) or flushed down the toilet.  Of course, when I asked Brennan if he flushed Fwa-zee-zee, he just replied, "Flushed!" along with a matching hand gesture.  Where else could Fwa-zee-zee be?!?!  Finally we decided that Fwa-zee-zee was not going to be found, at least not anytime in the near future.  We figure that we'll probably find him on the day we move out of our house, sometime down the road...  Still, Brennan wanted to keep looking for him and we were getting quite sick of looking.

Lucky for us, there was one (and ONLY one) exact Fwa-zee-zee match on eBay, and I quickly decided that it was worth the $3.49 to just buy it and end the hunt.  Fwa-zee-zee just arrived in the mail yesterday, but instead of simply giving him to Brennan, I had a plan.  We were going to make all of the hunting worthwhile!

I secretly sneaked Fwa-zee-zee into the perfect location under Brennan's changing table when he wasn't looking and waited, camera in hand, for the hunt to begin!  The results were pretty darn cute.

Now, as I write this, Fwa-zee-zee lays on the couch next to me, waiting to be flushed played with.  He looks pretty happy to be home!  I know his tiny owner is glad to have him back.

Friday, January 6, 2012 Let's help feed the hungry together... for free!

Have any of you heard of this site before?  I've known about it for quite some time; a few years.  Yet, I've never thought of sharing it with you.  It is awesome.  Here's what they say on their 'about' page:
FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme.
FreeRice has two goals:

  • Provide education to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.
This is made possible by the generosity of the sponsors who advertise on this site.
Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your education can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.
Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide."

So, you are probably wondering, "How does this all work?"  Here's how explains it.
"In the middle of the Freerice Home page you will see something like:
  • small means:
    • little
    • old
    • big
    • yellow
To play the game, click on one of the four definitions ("little", "old", "big" or "yellow") that you think is correct. If you get it right, Freerice donates 10 grains of rice to help end hunger. In the example above, you would want to click on "little", which means "small". When you select the correct answer, you earn 10 grains of rice - your donation is automatically counted without any further action required on your part. You will then get a chance to play another question in the same way. You can play as long as you like and donate as much rice as you like."
 Awesome, right?  I thought it would be fun to see how much we can help others by donating rice through their fun games, so I created a group.  That way we can track how much we've donated together.  All you have to do is click on this link-  Our Free Rice Group, click 'play', and then choose your desired category.

Thanks for taking the time to help someone in need!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Look what I did today!

Here's what I did today!

I think it looks sooooo much better!  It definitely feels better.  I really wanted to give it away to Locks of Love, like I've done once before, but I had quite a few split ends and REALLY needed a good cut to make it healthy again.  Here's a front view.

 I think she likes it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Police Shooting in our Hometown- update

As much as I was hoping to never have to write this post, the time has come that I need to.  In the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago (Police Shooting- A Sad, Scary Day in our Hometown), I told you about how one of the 10 police officers in our little town was gunned down while responding to a domestic disturbance call.  As more information emerged, we found out that Officer Schneider was shot while helping the 17 year old former girlfriend of the enraged gunman escape the house where her ex-boyfriend was holding her.  As the girl ran from the house, with Officer Schneider shielding her while running behind her, he took a bullet to the back of the head/neck.  He was rushed to Mayo in Rochester and was in critical condition for 2 weeks.  The gunman was later found dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound inside the house.

Sadly, Officer Shawn Schneider passed away on Friday, December 30th around 5:30 in the evening.  The community has been mourning the loss of this awesome citizen, civil servant, and hero ever since.  The part that gets to me the most is that he leaves behind a wife and 3 young children.  I can't imagine the pain and worry that the family is facing but I'm so happy and proud of how the community, as well as many other nearby (and faraway) communities have stepped up to help and support his family.  Many houses in town still have their porch lights on to show support.  There have been countless benefits and fundraisers.  Many are still going on even after Officer Schneider passed away.

The funeral is set for Saturday and we're sure that the turnout will be tremendous.

 If you would like to send a donation to help support the family, a fund has been set up at one of our local banks:

Shawn Schneider Family Support Fund
Alliance Bank
105 E. Lyon Ave., PO Box 455
Lake City, MN 55041

We hoped that nothing like this would ever happen here in our safe, peaceful community and we were all taken by surprise when it did... surprise is really an understatement.  Now, all we can do is hope and pray that nothing like this ever happens again.  Please keep Officer Schneider's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers, as well as the family of the gunman and the 17 year old girl involved in the altercation.