pumpkin patch photos, as promised...

we went to farmer's john's pumpkin patch in half moon bay again this year. no jumpy houses, no carnival rides. just loads of pumpkins, a hay tower, a tractor to climb on--good old fashioned fun. much unlike the patch located in the strip mall by our house... which charges an entrance fee? what the heck is that about?

here's our little cowboy. i did end up ordering the crocheted boots from disliltreasures on etsy. they shipped quickly and are very cute. we didn't bring them to the pumpkin patch because we didn't want them to get ruined--they are big enough to enjoy as slippers for most of the winter, i think. anyway, photos of those boots to come tonight. a happy & safe halloween to all!


let's all make this...

a dear friend sent me a copy of this body scrub recipe awhile back, and it's been hanging out in my inbox just waiting to be whipped up. i never seem to remember to find the time, but i could certainly use a new scrub in the shower. so it's my goal to get the ingredients for it this weekend and throw some together. (clicking on the photo will make the recipe larger if you're interested in trying it too). i'm thinking of substituting safflower oil for grapeseed oil, depending on the availability (and the expense) of both at the market. i think i've got everything else hanging around in the cupboards--sea salt, oatmeal, honey and essential oil. easy right? look forward to a review soon!


i think...

it's easy to forget how lucky we are. this is just a plain and simple gratitude post from your loyal blogger. i'm grateful for my family, and for the healthy little one kicking away inside this big ol' belly, about to make his/her way out soon. i'm also thankful for the beautiful weather that we had in california yesterday--gorgeous weather that allowed us to hit the beach on our way home from the pumpkin patch in half moon bay. (pumpkin patch photos to come).


everybody say "awwww..."

i recently received 2 pairs of newborn-sized longies from a trade i did with square pea baby on etsy. i'm so excited to use wool for valley baby #02--with lucy we only used PUL covers over her fitted diapers. they worked fine, but she certainly didn't have any cute longies! the grey pair is packed in the baby's hospital bag as part of a hopeful coming home outfit. if things go well, i'll have real, live "action" pictures soon. very soon...


when cloth diapering goes bad...

over the past month or so, i had been noticing a really, really strong ammonia smell in lucy's nighttime diapers when i took them off of her in the morning. i chalked it up to the fact that she's in them for 12-13 hours at a time--of course they're going to be a little stinky, right?

wrong. an ammonia smell in diapers is always a signal that something is off--usually it means that there is detergent residue left in the diapers after washing and drying. less soap overall, and extra rinse cycles can help combat this problem. so that's what i did, checking to see that there were no bubbles left in the washing machine water during the rinse. if there were, i did an additional rinse until all of the bubbles were gone.

fast forward a couple of weeks. lucy woke up one morning with a few blisters on her bottom, filled with clear fluid. not a good sign. and the ammonia smell was so strong, it was literally burning my nose and stinging my eyes. one of her diapers even left a dark mark on our white hardwood floors after sitting there for an hour or so. i've never been one to even think about throwing in the towel on cloth diapers, or using disposables at nighttime. but suddenly i found myself considering it--the overall health of lucy's skin is way more important to me than anything else--it's why i cloth diaper in the first place.

thankfully i did a bit more poking around on the internet and asking questions in my favorite cloth-diapering internet forum. i learned that ammonia stink in diapers can also be linked to not getting the diapers truly clean--when urine is allowed to dry, the ammonia crystalizes into a salt that is very hard to remove from fabric with regular washing. so, in actuality, even though lucy's diapers were going through a heavy-duty wash routine (complete with lots of rinses), the ammonia was trapped in her diapers.

combating this problem turned out to be easy and cheap. i threw ALL of her nighttime diapers into the washing machine, filled it with just enough water to cover the diapers, and added 3/4 of a gallon of vinegar--vinegar neutralizes those stubborn ammonia salts. i let the whole thing soak overnight, then washed as usual in the morning, except instead of doing tons of extra rinses, i added 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. dried as normal.

this morning, lucy's diaper was completely stink-free--no trace of ammonia whatsoever. it was recommended to me that in order to keep them this way (especially if diapers are being washed less often than every other day) soaking the diaper in the sink with a splash of vinegar can be very helpful. we wash every 4 days or so, so i'm trying this soaking thing for awhile. i sure wouldn't want to do it with every single diaper, but since only her nighttime diapers were having problems, it's not too big of a deal. i think that keeping up with the 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle is also a very smart idea.

and of course, now i know to keep in mind that stinky diapers are always a bad sign. next time i'll certainly remedy the problem earlier!

oh, and as a p.s.--ammonia stink seems to be much more common in diapers that use synthetic materials like microfiber. our problems were arising in our goodmama diapers and also some that i had made myself--all from non-synthetics like bamboo and hemp. less prone to issues overall, but apparently still susceptible!


hey there, readers...

just learned this morning that i am nominated for a mommy blog award... seems my chances of winning are pretty slim but if you love the blog, please give me a vote by clicking on the above icon. thanks!


a cute tutorial...

for those looking for directions on how to make a fabric banner, check out this super-easy tutorial from sew mama sew. sweet & simple, right?

in other crafting news, the fabric banner in valley baby #02's room has been done for awhile:
i'm now back in the banner-making mood, and thinking the scalloped style from the sew mama sew tutorial would make really cute handmade christmas decor. of course, there are more pertinent things that must be done first--my nesting instinct is telling me (after looking at the above photo) to take down valley baby's banner and iron it. i never iron. this is really saying something...


why we love garage sales...

with rain in the forecast last weekend, lucy was much in need of some hard-soled shoes. $5.5o bought us a like-new pair of pink laceless converse low-tops, a cozy knitted cap and a vintage toy bus. we also got a like-new pair of pedipeds for another $5. happy mama. happy baby. and the feet were dry when the storm blew in on monday morning... good stuff, all the way around.

just can't stop...

making diapers. i'm convinced it's therapeutic--calming my nerves & such for the impending arrival of valley baby #2. two of these happen to be for a trade i'm doing with square pea baby on etsy. she's making 2 pairs of custom wool longies--one of which i hope to bring baby home in. can't wait to share photos when i receive them in the mail!


antique fair scores...

the antique fair a couple of weekends ago proved very fruitful--we found an old wooden cabinet for lucy's room, which will replace the changing table & storage cabinet that has now been moved into the nursery. photos of the cabinet (and the nusery) to come very soon--we're so close to being done. what a relief. in the meantime, here are two other great finds that we just couldn't walk away from...

a big metal container. i have NO idea what we'll be using this for (maybe toys in the new playroom, at some point?) but the sticker hails this container as a "patio catch-all, toy chest, clothes hamper." the all-purpose elephant basket. yes, we are the proud owners of one. and it happens to be just the right size for containing a little lucy...

the next find was a doll's high chair. we don't really have the space for it, but for $10 i couldn't pass it up. a coat of white paint is on the agenda at some point, but other than that it's just perfect. nice and sturdy--lucy actually enjoys squeezing her little bottom into it every now & then.

do you recognize this cupcake-eating dolly? wasn't she one of the 69 cent dollies intended for donation to lucy's preschool? yeah, funny story about that. on "donation day," this little dolly was nowhere to be found. the other 2 were packed up and given away (much to the delight of the toddlers in lucy's class) but this dolly, well, she got to stay put at home. after much high and low searching by jeremy and myself, she was discovered tucked into a wagon in the backyard. she's now lucy's favorite baby. and despite all that tacky plastic she's made of, i just can't bring myself to get in the way of such a sweet relationship--

it's good practice for what's coming, yes?

this post is a touch late...

but with our first autumnal storm about to hit hard tonight, it's only fitting i revisit the summer goodness we cracked into about three weeks ago, right?
mmmm, watermelon. we ate a LOT of watermelon this year, but this one was special--we grew it ourselves. overall, our garden had another generally crappy year (i'm starting to think the common denominator here is not enough effort on the part of the gardeners) but the two watermelon plants we put in actually did very well.
the fruit was sweet and juicy and not pithy at all. the only downside was a plethora of seeds (all of the watermelons we had over the summer were seedless). lucy and i cut into it on a hot afternoon and it was quite refreshing. it's funny--this girl will eat most anything plucked off of the plant. green strawberries included. get some farmer's market strawberries and put them in the fridge, bring them out and offer them up, and she wants not a thing to do with them.
anyway, we've got 2 more watermelons just like this one sitting ripe & ready on the vine. perhaps tomorrow will be the perfect time to do a bit of harvesting... if we can brave the 60 mph winds they're predicting!

this vintage hat...

is the inspiration behind lucy's halloween costume. she's gonna be a cowboy, folks. with a super cute hat and a real vintage shirt to match. and if i could get my hands on some leather cowboy boots in a size toddler 5/6 i would be a truly happy mama. actually, i would be ecstatic.

this cowboy boot blip is a moment of pain in my "only secondhand" rule for lucy at the moment. i've scoured all the consignment and thrift shops in my area without success. the antique fair was also a bust (found some in a size 7--and lucy soon proved that she cannot walk well in size 7 boots). i know for a fact that stores like walmart, target and payless carry the faux leather (read: pvc) variety, but i'm just not into it. i don't dare set foot into a halloween costume shop. so what's a good cowboy's mama to do?

i just don't know yet. one shop did have some plain brown robeez in lucy's size. robeez aren't boots, but they might just be the next best thing. i'm also eyeing some crocheted cowboy boots on etsy. stay tuned to see how it all turns out!