Thursday, February 26, 2009

Third Trimester- Holy Cow!

The delusion of having lots of time left until this baby comes, quickly came to an end when I realized on Monday that I had officially entered my 3rd trimester! 27 weeks! How did this happen so fast?! All the things I have left to do, the cleaning, reorganizing, business junk preparing, knitting, birthplan writing, announcement making, meal freezing, and more, suddenly took on new urgency! I know I will get it all done, I just need to get on it and make a plan!

On a lighter note, my chiropractic care seems to really be helping my hip pain and discomfort, and despite my nagging fear that this kid had turned posterior, he or she is anterior, as of now. Although, I am convinced that for a week or so the babe was turned posterior, it isn't now, so hopefully it will maintain this anterior position. I am so determined to keep this kid anterior that I have been watching TV at night kneeling on the floor and leaning down over the back of Roman's mini-couch so that my belly is as hammock-like as possible!

Another thing that I thought I was avoiding, but seems to have snuck back for the end of this pregnancy, is the upper back and rib pain that I experienced with Roman. Heat and laying on my side seem to be helping, so I am managing to keep the discomfort tolerable. I have kept pretty busy this week as well which has been a good distraction from the aches and pains.

All in all, I feel good. The baby is very active and I love the kind of care my midwife gives me. I am looking forward to May, but I am also glad that my due date is not next week! I am going to need every last day I have to feel ready for this little addition- as much as I am looking forward to his or her arrival!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Win 6 Rocky Mountain One-size dipes! Count' em 6!

The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

This week The Cloth Diaper Whisperer is giving away 6 Rocky Mountain One size Diapers!
Rocky Mountain
Talk about a score for whoever wins this stash! These ingenius diapers were created by a mama who wanted a one-size diaper for her son but not all the snaps that normally adorn the front of such diapers. Her solution was to put adjustable elastic in the legs, allowing the diapers to fit from newborn to toddler size! Head on over and enter!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our best Totschool Week Yet!

Tot School

Wow- what a week for Tot School! We did so many great activities that I recently got off the web (namely at 1+1+1=1 and Totally Tots) and Roman LOVED them! (Check out this site for some really helpful ideas and explanation of tot-trays- the main idea we were running with this week) Every activity was a hit with him and many of them he put his own spin on which was so fun to see!

W started off the week with color hopscotch. We set pieces of construction paper all around the living room and I told Roman to jump on the color when I called it out. I quickly learned that my wording seriously influenced the outcome of this activity- you see, all Roman wanted to do was jump over the colors and never really stopped to listen what I was telling him!
However, as soon as I told him that I wanted him to find the color I called out and just stand on it, he did MUCH better. At that point we started to have much for fun and he actually concentrated on what we were doing!
He also had fun adding his tractor to this activity! He decided to drive his tractor to the colors I called out, and when we were done he picked up every color with his tractor and brought it to me. We will definitely be doing this activity again and will probably try different versions as well (such as numbers, letters and shapes). I also want to eventually buy colored foam sheets to use instead of the construction paper so that they will hold up a little better.
Painting was another first for us this week and also a HUGE hit! Roman got to wear one of daddy's shirts (which he kept on all day!) and loved showing off his art work!
Later in the week he had a lot of fun working with paste and turning his painting into a birthday card for daddy. I printed some birthday related clip art off the internet and he pasted them on the card, that he then proudly presented to daddy with a rousing toddler rendition of "Happy Birthday to You!"
We worked on the Letter V worksheet I made for him (the letter with pictures of words that begin with that letter) and he tolerated it, however quickly moved on to other things. This is a hit and miss activity- he likes it more some weeks than others.
We laced shape cards that I made out of cardstock for him. They quickly became flying numchucks though in his crazy little toddler hands, so we moved on!
The bean bowl was a huge hit- I mean HUGE! To start with he helped me pour an assortment of beans and lentils into a large bowl (super cheap at Walmart). I then hid a bunch of small cars in the bean for him to fish through and find. He loved running his fingers through them to find his prizes.
Once he had re-hidden and found the cars himself a few times he wanted to move onto stirring so he went and found a whisk and stirred those beans for probably a half and hour! It was just so much fun to him! On another day I gave him a funnel and a cup to work with in the bowl along with whisk, which we also immensely enjoyed.
We beaded pipe cleaners another day. He was surprisingly better at this than I had anticipated him being, after he started concentrating- at first he just wanted to fill up with truck and trailer with beads!
This week I am looking forward to adding cutting, sorting, and more counting and letter activities. Should be another great week!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I made dryer balls!

Knit Bits Meme

Lately I have been faced with two dilemmas (among many, but let's just focus on these for the sake of this post):
1. I have left over, strange amounts of yarn that I don't know what to do with,
2. I have serious static in my dryer (we don't use dryer sheets and I recently found out the blue dryer balls we were using are made of PVC and therefore not going back in my dryer!)

My solution? Homemade wool dryer balls! I have heard from many people lately that they simply swear by them to not only reduce static, but soften their clothes and reduce drying times as well! So, I dug out my leftover stash and went to work! They are incredibly simple to make with a little bit of time and a good grip (I will explain in a moment!).

Left over wool yarn from other projects

1. Wrap your 100% wool yarn of choice into a tight ball- we are talkin' tight here! As tight as you can make it! The tighter the better (this is where the grip issue comes in- when the ball is very small it has a tendency to pop out of your fingers and unravel- no fun!)!

Wrapping a Tight Ball

2. Once you have wrapped to about the size of a golf ball you have made your core, which should be felted on it's own for the best results. Take the end of the yarn and wrap it into the ball with a small crochet hook to secure it.

Securing the end of the yarn

3. Place the ball into the end of an old nylon or sock and put a tie of non-wool yarn or string just past it to insure that it does not fall out and unravel. If you are making more than one ball tie in between each.

Balls tied in nylon

4. Throw the ball(s) into the washer with a load of clothes (preferably a hot wash) and follow up with a tumble through the dryer. This process can be repeated as many times as you like to acquire the desired level of felting. The more times you wash and dry the more firm and dense the ball will become.

Balls in washer

5. Once your core is sufficiently felted it is time to add on your outer layer. Just begin to wind more string (tightly, once again) onto your core until it reaches about the size of a tennis ball (generally around 9 in. in circumference) but make sure that you allow for some shrinkage in the felting process.
Starting to wind more yarn onto felted core

6. Repeat steps 2-4 and voila'- you have just made your very own dryer balls! Throw them in with each load of laundry for the softest clothes you've probably ever had! Generally speaking, the more balls in the dryer the better! So, go get busy with this fun and simple way to go green, reuse and be frugal!
Meme Note:

If you have a clever use for leftover yarn, or you blog about making your own dryer balls, I would love for you to be a part of this Knit Bits Meme! Simply leave a link directly to your post in a comment (not to just your general blog, but the specific post itself) and then we can all share in the fun together. Make sure to add the Knit Bits Button to your post too!

Soon I hope to get a Mr. Linky up and working for these memes, but until then linked comments will have to work! I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Blog Focus and Buttons!

Lately I have been wanting to better define the direction of my blog. With more clearly followed themes that I regularly write on I thought it would be more interesting for my readers. So, I have been busy figuring out just what it is I want this blog to be about, and the truth is... there are a lot of things! Doesn't sound very focused does it? Well, in order to focus on a few different topics I have decided to incorporate more memes into Mama Kenz Studio. The memes I have decided to participate in will focus on (as of right now): Tot School, Knitting, and life as a Christian Homemaker. Some memes will come from other blogs (such as Tot School), and others I will host right here on my blog.

I also plan to continue writing about our life- especially regarding my pregnancy and birth, but am not sure that that really fits into a meme. Once this babe comes I plan on incorporating lots about our adventures in cloth diapering and definitely about breastfeeding (which I have a very fun meme planned for, so if you are or are about to be a breastfeeding mama keep your eyes open for it!).

The first meme I am going to introduce and host on Mama Kenz Studio will be:

Knit Bits Meme

This meme will be about all things knitting, yarn, wool and fiber, and I can't wait to see what my readers have to contribute to it! Each week (to every other week) I will make a post with this meme for people to participate in. It may be something as simple as "What's on Your Needles" or something more complex, such as a challenge to create and share a custom pattern or skill. I think it should be fun and a great way to get inspired by other knitters! Look for my first Knit Bits Meme post within the next couple of days!

Also, you may have noticed that I finally posted a button with code for my blog! It took some time but I finally found the directions and figured it out! (Here is the basic route I followed) The buttons still need a bit of tweeking, but they are better than nothing, and if you enjoy my blog I would love for you to post one on your blog! Let me know if you do and I will definitely stop by to visit! You can also grab a button for the Knit Bits Meme if you plan to join in the fun!

That's all for now, but keep watching because there is more to come!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Baby in the Belly!

That is the endearing term Roman typically uses to refer to his little brother or sister on the way (he also calls it "the brother or sister" and even knows the names we have picked out!). It has been quite a while since I have mentioned much about the pregnancy, so I thought it was about time that I did!Currently I am 26 weeks, due May 25 (memorial day). With that said, I am not at all planning on actually going into labor on that date! In fact, I am planning on going to our family's lake cabin, just so I don't get my hopes up for the baby! I'm thinking somewhere around the 28th or 29th (which is my grandma's birthday and she would be utterly thrilled about!).

I am still shocked by just how different this pregnancy is than my last! I am carrying this baby so low (I feel like my belly is hanging between my knees!) and I am have been having quite a bit of hip pain (rather than the upper back pain like I had with Roman). Everything just feels different and my brain is already fuzzy and forgetful! The baby is especially active in the mid-afternoon and very late at night (like 12:00-2:00 am)- I am preparing for many long nights!

We had an ultrasound at the beginning of January to check and make sure everything looks good (since my brother has spinabifida)- I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable progressing with a homebirth if we hadn't ruled out birth defects. As it turns out, the baby is practically perfect in every way, and no, we did not find out the gender! We still have fun looking at the photos and DVD to debate that question though! Check a few of the pics out:
I love how the baby looks like it is smiling in this picture! That bubble above it's face is a cross-view of the umbilical cord.

Yes- this is one flexible child! That is a leg!

We think this picture is both a little freaky and funny! The baby was so active, moving around, opening and closing it's mouth- the ultrasound tech could hardly keep up!

Everything is beginning to come together for the homebirth. We ended up switching to a different midwife who we absolutely love (we really liked the last one too, she just has a lot on her plate right now)! Our new midwife, Dana Combest LM, CPM, is wonderful! She comes to our house for all the appointments and is so caring- she is everything you could want or expect in a midwife. We like her more each time we see her, and the more we find out about her birth philosphy the more we know she is the right choice. She is very hands off and will encourage us to deliver the baby ourselves (which Jer is very jazzed about- he REALLY wants to catch!).

Other than our midwife we will also have our two awesome doulas (both of whom were at Roman's birth) and two close friends to help with Roman (who we at least want in the room for the actual delivery- we think it will help with the mental transition of having a sibling if he actually sees where it came from) and what not. I plan on delivering in our bedroom, most likely in the birth tub that we will have set up- I couldn't think of a more perfect and cocoon-like environment to give birth to this baby! I also couldn't be more excited about this birth (which I never thought I would say) and really think it is going to be a wonderful experience for everyone!

So that is about all so far! I will try to be better about posting on the babe! Also, if any of you have any questions about homebirth or any of the rest, please don't hesitate to leave them! I won't be offended and would love to share more about it with you! More to come!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A few changes...

I have been wanting to snaz things up on my blog for a while now, and finally got around to it today and this weekend! So what do you think? It is a work in progress and I still have a few things to tweek and add. Also, I lost a lot of the blogs that I like- so if you happened to be in my blog list, please leave a comment and I will add you again!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gro Baby Contest!

The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

Want to win two of these beautiful new innovative diapers, plus a magic stick? Well, I don't know about you, but I sure do! These diapers by Natural Baby Co. are coolest new design! The inside soaker snaps in and out so you can just change it at changings if the cover isn't soiled! How cool is that!?! Plus, it is one-sized, so it is hard to beat in the economy department!

Head over to The Cloth Diaper Whisperer for all sorts of chances to win these awesome diapers and diaper salve! And hey, if you win and don't like them, you can always pass them on to me!Photobucket

Letters and Love!

Tot School

The past week and a half or so we have been incorporating lots of ideas I have found on my favorite Tot-Schooling blogs: 1+1+1=1 and Totally Tots! I love the constant inspiration I get from these blogs and it helps to keep Roman's interest as well!

Our first new activity has been pages for a letter notebook. Basically, what I do is make a page with a certain letter and pictures of words that begin with that letter. I then tell Roman to find the different pictures which he then "circles." So far, we have worked on letters "O" & "L". Along with letter recognition this has been a great way to work on his speech. Granted, he is not even three yet, but it was the perfect time to get him to say his "L"s better- we had him stick his tongue way out when he said the names of the pictures so that he made an "L" sound instead of a "W." He especially loves having his work up on the fridge to show off! Much to my surprise he even traced inside the lines of the "O" all by himself!
Another way we worked on letters was with these Thomas the Train flash cards my grandma just gave us (one of the many awesome learning hand-me-downs we just received from her that belonged to my cousin!). Roman's favorite activity with the cards is to hammer them! We set a bunch of cards out and I call out a letter- he then tries to find the letter and hammer it before I grab it away. He loves this game- just the kind of high-activity thing he needs to stay interested!

Our other main tool this week has been our LOVE poster! We got this idea from this post on Totally Tots. We have 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 hung above the poster and an envelope with a bunch of hearts- each of which has a different aspect of love written on it as described in the verse. Every day (or every other day) Roman gets to choose a new heart out of the envelope and paste it on the poster. We then talk about what that heart means and review all the others. We try to do some practical activity to demonstrate what the concept means and continuously talk about whatever concept we are working on throughout the day. Much to my surprise, one night before bed Roman actually told me that he needed to be patient for morning so he could do the next day's activities! I guess something is getting in that little head! It is always nice to have those rewarding moments when you know all you are working with them on is not in vain!

This next week I am very excited to work on a few other awesome ideas from the blogs I have mentioned above, including lacing cards, stringing beads, pouring things and transferring! Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Knitting Fool!!

Well, all the spare time that I could have spent blogging lately has been devoted to my recent knitting projects- and there are a lot of them! I think I have been teasing a few of my readers on Facebook for a while now about these knits, so I thought it was about time I started posting! So, here is what I have complete:

A pair of "Just in Case it's a Girl"Newborn-size Perfection Pants longies- hey, I couldn't help myself! This yarn colorway was just irresistible! I plan on knitting a lacy hat and puff painting a shirt with the first letter of the name we have picked out so that the whole outfit can be used that first day for pictures, but that will come in time. And yes, I do intend to make a boy version of the outfit as well!

A Size-Small Curly Purly Soaker in wool I got from (sorry I can't remember the name). I prefer the rise folded over and if I make the pattern again will probably shorten it throughout the body. All in all, I am happy with it though!

A dishcloth from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL Blog. This particular one is the mid-month cloth for January. I am going to attempt to make all the cloths for the year (24 in total) as I think it will be a fun challenge, plus we could use the cloths! (Sorry the pic is a little dark- I had to take off the flash to pick up all the detail)

Now, as for what is on the needles! I am working on a earflap hat for my father-in-law's birthday (which is today but we won't be celebrating until Sunday- luckily, since it isn't quite finished yet). He has been begging me for one of these hats since we saw them at a street fair last August and was so dissapointed that he didn't get one for Christmas! Since money is tight and he wants it so badly, I figured his birthday would be the perfect opporunity to make one for him! I created the pattern myself, so needless to say, there has been a lot of ripping out and reknitting! But I thinkit is finallys tarting to take shape and I will hopefully have it done in time!

I am also working on completing a couple other soakers for the babe, an adorable stuffed animal for a friend's daughter's birthday (next weekend, sheesh! What's with February and the birthdays?!), the current dishcloth for the Monthly Dishcloth KAL blog (plus the one for the beginning fo January), and a couple other adorable projects I found on Ravelry that aren't quite started yet but hopefully will be soon! Phew... that's exhausting just writing it all- my fingers need to get flying on the needles!

In other knitting news, I have also managed to get my page up and rolling on an awesome Beta site for those in the fiber-arts! So, if you are on there, check out my page (I am ChicMama) and link up as a friend! I would love to knit with you!