Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A very Happy Halloween to all of you!  Here in central Ohio, trick-or-treating (or beggar's night as some call it) usually doesn't occur on Halloween.  Silly in my opinion, but at least it extends the Halloween celebrations!

We had a great time passing out candy with our next door neighbors.  We sat out on our shared driveway, they brought out their fire pit, and saw a lot of kids in GREAT costumes.  I did get annoyed with some of the kids who just walk up & don't say "Trick or treat" although I'm understanding of the littler ones who may just be shy... in fact one child (about 10 years old) walked up and just stood there, I looked at him and said "Um, trick-or-treat?" and he finally said it.  Sorry, if you're too cool to say "Trick-or-treat" you're too cool for my candy!  After I took Jack inside, Matt said he actually had kids turn down what he was going to hand them and picked something out themselves.  (They're lucky I wasn't in charge of the candy, haha).  Overall, it was a blast!  My friend Brooke & her husband and 3 little girls came over to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood.  Jack LOVED seeing all of the other kids in their costumes, laughing & clapping for those coming up our driveway!  It was pretty cute!

This year Jack was a "Jack-rabbit" with an adorable costume made by my mother-in-law.  For most of the trick-or-treat evening he was a brown thing with a tail.  The headpiece wasn't worn but for a few split seconds as we continually tried to put it on him before he pulled it right back off.  Shocking, since the boy LOVES to wear hats, oh well!  Here are a number of failed attempts to get a picture of him in full costume.

My friend's daughter, Izzy distracting Jack as I attempted to take his picture!  Izzy is great at making Jack smile, her mom is "our" photographer.
Might be the best picture I have, but he's already in the middle of pulling the hat off and you can't really see the ears!
Here are some pictures of our Jack-o-lanterns from my wonderful husband who did all of the cleaning (which I hate to do) & carving:

From left to right: Little Jack (a Jack-o-lantern from Jack's favorite book), a pumpkin with Jack's name carved in it, and a kitty jack-o-lantern.  (And yes, this picture was taken in our kitchen on top of the stove, it was just too windy to keep the pumpkins lit outside)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest Writer on Nicki's Diaper Blog!

I recently wrote a post as a guest writer over at the Nicki's Diapers blog!  Go on over and check out the post.  I'm kind of excited about getting to share my experience with a wider audience than those who read my personal blog.  (Honestly, the formatting isn't exactly what I thought it would be, but that's ok!)

Nicki's Diapers is an online store and the owner, Nicki, is the creator of Best Bottom diapers.  I've tried a Best Bottom diaper and the diaper is definitely still in our rotation!  I think it will work better for a smaller baby (at least overnight).  Read my earlier post on my thoughts on the diaper.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Punkin Pickin' with my Punkin

We went to Lynd's fruit farm yesterday to go for a wagon ride & get pumpkins!  Matt & I have never actually gotten pumpkins because this is the 1st Halloween we've been married that we're in a house.  Jack's first Halloween was not very exciting.  Matt had to work & we were in the process on moving so things were hectic to say the least!  Here are some pictures from our adventure:

Jack & Me on our wagon ride!

Picking a Goldrush apple right off the tree!

Trying to take a bite... teeth must not be sharp enough!

On the wagon full of pumpkins... we didn't bother with these!  Have to get them from the patch!
Matt is an excellent pumpkin hunter!

Walking in the patch to find pumpkins!

Jack with our 3 pumpkins from the patch!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happy Mole Day & Kid Friendly Experiment #2

Happy Mole Day to you all!!  You can read my little tidbit on Mole Day in my post from earlier this week.

On Thursday evening, I went to the monthly American Chemical Society meeting for the Columbus section.  We have one member who is extremely dedicated to all of the teaching & philanthropy that our section does, he is always bringing kid friendly demos or experiments to show us!  Since this year's theme is "Behind the Scenes with Chemistry" they have provided an experiment to make Iron Tannate ink, so kids can feel like they are writing like Harry Potter!  I got all of the following instructions from the National Chemistry Week "Celebrating Chemistry" newsletter (with my suggestions/changes in blue); you can find an electronic copy here.  Big caution to those who may choose to do this: THE INK CREATED IS PERMANENT AND WILL NOT WASH OUT OF CLOTHES!

Supplies needed:
  • 2 mugs, teacups or small glass bowls (you need to have something that won't get stained by coffee or tea)
  • Boiling water (for adults only to do please!)
  • 1 tea bag (black tea, which has more tannins for the chemical reaction)
  • 1 iron (ferrous) sulfate tablet (a supplement you can get from the grocery store)
  • Mortar & pestle (okay, most people don't have this lying around the house, you simply need something to crush the iron sulfate tablet into a powder)
  • Measuring cup
  • Small storage container (I'd recommend a glass baby food jar)
  1. ADULT: Put the black tea bag into your first mug, add 2 tablespoons of boiling water & make a very strong tea (removed tea bag when finished).
  2. Label your small storage container with  your name, the date, & "Iron Tannate Ink"
  3. If your iron sulfate tablets are coated, wash the coating off under running water & then dry the tablet.
  4. Crush the iron sulfate tablet using your mortar or pestle (they suggest a glass jar in a mug as a comparable replacement) into a powder.
  5. Add the iron sulfate powder to the tea; watch for it to go from a brown liquid to a dark brown or black liquid.
  6. Transfer to your labeled storage container to be used with a fountain ink pen or quill (if you want to feel like Harry Potter).
About the reaction:
When tea is brewed, it is brown because of "tannins" (this compounds are also found in wine).  Tannins react with the iron from the iron sulfate tablets to form iron tannate which is actually a solid.  The solid particles are so small they stay suspended in the liquid very easily.  Small solid particles suspended in a liquid can be called a suspension concentrate.  The ink will get darker as it reacts with oxygen in the air, and if you use the ink to write on paper it may actually eat away at the paper after many years.

Since you are using food grade materials and no preservatives, your ink may grow mold eventually.  Throw it away when this happens.  Within the newsletter (using the link above) are instructions to make colorful or aged-looking paper.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kid Friendly Experiment #1

There's always the classic vinegar and baking soda volcano to demonstrate chemical reactions to children.  Its fast & messy... add a little food coloring & you've got red lava!

One of my favorite ones is the Borax bouncy ball.  It is easy and can be made with things most people have in their home already.  I got the information from but I'm adding my comments or suggestions in blue and took a few things out.

What you'll need:
•borax (found in the laundry section of the store)
•cornstarch (found in the baking section of the store)
•white glue (e.g., Elmer's glue - makes an opaque ball) or blue or clear school glue (makes a translucent ball)
•warm water
•food coloring (optional) (Moms beware, food coloring stains little hands so use sparingly!)
•measuring spoons
•spoon or craft stick to stir the mixture (I'd recommend using a disposable utensil because cleaning up can be a mess)
•2 small plastic cups or other containers for mixing
•marking pen
•watch with a second hand
•zip-lock plastic baggie
•newspaper or (disposable) plastic table cloth to cover the surface you're working on; not necessary but allows for easier clean-up

  1. Label one cup 'Borax Solution' and the other cup 'Ball Mixture'.
  2. Pour 2 tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon borax powder into the cup labeled 'Borax Solution'. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax. Add food coloring, if desired.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labeled 'Ball Mixture'. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Do not stir. Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix. Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start molding the ball with your hands.
  4. The ball will start out sticky and messy, but will solidify as you knead it.
  5. Once the ball is less sticky, go ahead and bounce it!
  6. You can store your plastic ball in a sealed plastic bag when you are finished playing with it.
NOTE: Don't eat the materials used to make the ball or the ball itself.  Wash your work area, utensils, and hands when you have completed this activity.

Happy NCW!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy National Chemistry Week!

Happy National Chemistry week to you all!  I had all good intentions of posting on Sunday, but it just didn't happen.

Every year the American Chemical Society sponsors National Chemistry Week, this year's theme is "Behind the Scenes with Chemistry."  Every year National Chemistry week contains Mole day, October 23.  For those of you who might remember celebrating it in high school chemistry, at 6:02 on 10/23 represents Avogadro's number or 6.02 x 10^23.  Avogadro's number is the number of atom/molecules in 1 mole of a substance... hence Mole day!

If you're interested in participating in some local NCW activities check out the American Chemical Society's website here.  If there's not an active local section near you, head to the library to check out some chemistry books for your kids!  I'm going to try and post more this week on the exciting world of chemistry to celebrate!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jack's Haircut Certificate

Such a fun thing... well worth the extra $2 (hey, I had a $3 off coupon too!)
I love this picture of him... Matt got him to do this great smile for the hairdresser!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


If you've met me before, you're well aware of the fact that I'm petite.  I guess you could say that "petite" is an understatement as I'm 4'11.5".  I've had many peers ask me throughout the years if I had to have restrictions on my drivers license or if I was legally considered a "midget."

Of course, being petite has always caused clothing shopping to be extremely difficult.  Petite clothing are made for someone under 5'4" and being over 4 inches shorter means that I even have to get petite clothing hemmed!  I have spent most of my life searching for a brand of clothing that offered pants or dresses that fit!  After all of my searching, I know that I can get jeans/pants at Old Navy in their petite sizes that fit in waist & length... as long as I can stay in the same size.  I was up one more size post-baby but needed clothes to go back to work and I needed those pants hemmed.  My long-term goal is to buy a sewing machine and learn how to do some basic alterations (a.k.a. hemming), but I'm holding off on buying clothes for myself these days so I will hold off on the purchase of a sewing machine as well.

I'm definitely not complaining, but just thought I'd share some observations on how just a few inches can affect your perspective.  Other things you may or may not know about being short are:
  • Every car we purchase must have an adjustable drivers seat.
  • In airplanes and many office chairs that do not have adjustable height, my feet don't touch the ground.  This often results in my legs/feet falling asleep in any meeting longer than an hour.
  • When my son wiggles while I'm holding him, I can barely hold on to him.  He is well aware of this fact and uses it to his advantage.  (Note: he does not wiggle as much with Matt because he knows Matt can hold on to him.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Big Day!

Jack had his 15 month check-up (and yes, he's practically 16 months) but here are his stats:
  • 25 lbs. 10 oz. (50th percentile)
  • 31 inches tall/long (50th percentile)
  • 18 inches head circumference (I don't know if I got this right)
I don't know how accurate his height is because he was extremely wiggly when Matt and the nurse was holding him on the exam table to get his height (really measured by how long he against essentially a yardstick on the table).  I am looking to buy a cute growth chart and maybe he'd be more cooperative to just stand and be measured.  We had them growing up and I'd love to keep up with one for Jack now that he's walking/standing.  Let me know if you know of any stores that carry super cute ones!

Our pediatrician mentioned that this appointment & his 18 month appointment are two of the hardest because of how aware little ones are at this age.  Boy, was she right!  He fought being measured... and the shots!  I am just very glad that Matt goes to the doctor's appointment because he can help hold Jack MUCH better than I can.  The nurse & doctor both said he's got really strong legs... I guess they found out because of how hard my son was kicking them.  Ugh... I do hope that it gets better!

Along with the doctor's appointment, Jack got his 1st haircut today!!  I kept debating and was so scared he wouldn't look like my baby boy anymore, but I am glad we did it!  I'll let the rest of the story be in pictures:

Before: Crazy wispies!

Getting settled into the car seat with Thomas the train on the TV in front of him... Loved getting to drive!

Playing with the basket of cars & toys the hairdresser put in his lap to distract him!

Getting a little annoyed with the hairdresser holding his head.

"Okay, I'm not having fun anymore" (notice Matt's hand trying to play with the trucks with him)

Playing on the play set at Cookie Cutters after his haircut!

Happy boy going down the slide!
He also got a cute little certificate with a GREAT picture of him smiling after his haircut, but I can't get it to load today!  All in all, the 1st haircut went WAY better than expected even with the minor breakdown.  I really liked our experience at Cookie Cutter's and it worked out perfectly for Jack's personality!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fabric Softening After Baby!

One of the things I've missed since having Jack, is fabric softener.  (I know, its a silly thing to miss!)  We never started using it after he was born and used "free & clear" detergent.  His skin is so sensitive that if you just rub him the wrong way (literally) he gets all red!  Also since we've started using cloth diapers, softener will negatively affect the absorbency of the diapers.  This is also true for bath towels, I never used fabric softener for these.

From the scientific side of things, fabric softeners are usually made up of surfactants, or "surface active agents," that get transferred to clothing/fabric in the washer or dryer (depending on the form).  These surfactants actually form a layer of hydrophobic particles that result in feeling soft against your skin.  There are a lot of different types of surfactants out there, but the ones used for softeners should have a low toxicology profile and cause no dermal sensitization.  This is usually hard to do for babies, young children or people with allergies/sensitive skin.  You can find a lot more information on the web just through a Google search.

I just saw this blog post on how to make wool dryer balls over at the Bummis blog.  The article includes how they help soften clothes.  I can't wait to make some to see if they actually work!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prayer Request!

Prayers still needed for Matt's aunt... things are looking better but she's got a long road ahead of her!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Congrats for the Eagle!

I'm writing to congratulate my youngest brother, Alex, on being awarded his Eagle Scout rank advancement after his Eagle project was completed.  He did the two parts of his project at his high school (the same school from which Matt graduated).  The first was adding pennants/flags in school colors around the baseball field.  The second included beautification/landscaping, Jack & I went one day to hang out and help my mom supervise the volunteers.  Here are some pictures from that weekend:

Jack seems so little in this picture!

Some of the mulching & plant work.
Congrats again, Alex!  We're all very proud of all of your hard work and the management of this project!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prayer Request

I'm asking for some prayers for Matt's aunt who is currently in the hospital battling pneumonia. She has other health battles so even the slightest infections can be extremely hard to recover from. Please say prayers for his family for the support they may need in the coming days.

Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekends are my Fav!

I seriously can't get enough of weekends! Again, work has been super busy and I am so thankful that the weekend is here.

We spent this evening at our good friends' house with another family. It is always so great to get together with them because our kids are very close in age (three are within 1 month of each other) and we've all known each other since college (or before). We discovered today that Jack does not like bubbles... at least not when blown in his face! Who knows, we'll try again at a later date. It is always so fun to see the different points of development the three of the 15/16 month olds are and all of the things in which they're interested. Here is how big our "babies" look these days:

In other news, I never gave an update on our experience with the newest cloth diaper, the Best Bottom diaper, so here it is:

  • Best Bottom (one-size): We got it in Chunky Monkey and I love the colors! We got the large sized snap-in inserts (one for regular wear & an extra overnight snap-in insert) and they seem to work well as we haven't had any leaks! I will say I'm not crazy about it though; the insert/liner almost always bunches up on Jack and it bugs me for some reason, but like I said they don't leak. The overnight insert has worked for us too, but it makes the diaper HUGE! It easily makes the diaper the biggest we own when doubled. They make a hemp liner but not in overnight (so you can snap the fleece on top for quick absorbency), I think that would be very helpful. It is a really neat concept to be able to switch out liners for a diaper change but the liners don't have a waterproof backing so I am fairly positive you'd have to wipe them out between uses (we wash ours after 1 use), and poop doesn't stay on the liner so I bet it'd be even worse for newborn poop. Overall, for day time use I really like this diaper but there are some downsides to it for us as well; maybe on a smaller baby it would fit better!

In other news, Matt & I are talking about trying to take a family vacation... we have no idea where or when but we know it should be low cost and driving distance. Although driving distance is definitely longer for us than most people are willing to do, we love road trips! We've driven to TX more than once, so a two-day drive is not out of the question for us. Please leave tips or suggestions that we'd all enjoy in the comments!

We're going to have a relatively low key weekend because Matt works tomorrow & has a golf outing for work on Sunday. Not crazy about not getting a lot of family time, but he was home all day & got some quality time with Jack so that is what is really important!