Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What I Made // Travel Car Play Mat

Hey y'all!  I finally finished it!  This little project really only took about 2 hours to make, but working around Gavin to keep it a surprise, it took 2 weeks from the time I started it to completed.  I'll be 37 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and wanted to make Gavin a special surprise gift to put in his "big brother" activity for the big day at the hospital.  I knew that I wanted to handsew it (because I could do that quietly around Gavin), it needed to be a portable, quiet toy that he could use many times, and since he LOVES cars, this seemed like the perfect project to make: a travel-size, car play mat that is easy to fold and go.  It also, fits perfectly in my purse!

The entire car mat ended up costing only $13 to make, plus time.
  • $6 for the toy cars
  • $1 for a pack of felt from the dollar store
  • I already had the scrap denim material and all the thread, needle, pins, etc.
  • $6 for a pack of fabric markers (to paint the lines on the road and numbers on the pockets)
I started by laying out and cutting the felt, and designing the "scenery" and roads.


Some of the car mat's features include:
a house,

a couple of trees,

one small pond,

and a big red barn.
There is also a brown "dirt road" because I ran out of black felt for "pavement". :-)

I sewed all of these little pieces to a large piece of tan colored felt.  Next I sewed the entire scene to a square scrap of denim material from an old pair of Jesse's work jeans.

The "garage" pockets for the hotwheel, matchbox cars are also made from scrap denim.




I seriously love how well this little fold-up-and-go toy turned out.  I'm sure Gavin will have hours of fun using it!

What homemade toys have y'all made?

Have y'all been working on any sewing projects lately?

See also:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Foam Dough Recipe

Hey y'all!  If you're looking for a super quick, extremely easy, fun activity to make with your kids...Well, this is definitely it!!!  It was too rainy to play outside this morning, so we stayed on the porch and made this stuff and had lots of fun!  This "foam dough" literally took us 5 minutes to make, doesn't require any cooking, and only uses like 3 ingredients.  Here's how you make it:

 You'll need

  • cornstarch
  • hair conditioner
  • food coloring (optional)
  • and a little water

And of course a super cute little helper! ;-)

Just mix all the ingredients evenly together.  Adding more cornstarch if too wet, or water and conditioner if too dry.

Keep mixing until it reaches the desired consistency.
Have fun! :-)



You can mold it, mash it, shape it, or Gavin's favorite is make tracks through it with his toy cars.

Do y'all have any quick or easy, fun toddler activities to make?

See also:


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Labor and Delivery

Hey y'all!  It's getting closer and closer to baby time around here!  Eeek!!!  So exciting!  Well, here is yet another "maternity related" blog post, but this just happens to be about what I'm doing today.  My husband tells me I'm "nesting" and I reckon he's probably right. ;-)

One thing that was so super helpful around the time I went into labor with Gavin, was already having a bag packed for the hospital, and it sitting in the car ready.  Only problem was that last time I was a first-time mom and didn't know exactly what I would be needing.  So... needless to say, I had a LOT of unnecessary stuff and was missing tons of things that I actually needed and had to send amazingly helpful family members to get them for us. :-/

Well, now I've got a pretty good idea of what I will really use and need for the big day.  But this time I've got to a two-year-old Gavin to pack for as well, in a separate bag, since most likely he will be hanging out with his aunts, uncles, and grandparents a lot of the time that we're there.  And I'm just saying, that means a toddler boy cooped up in a hospital for 3 days, not going to be his most favorite environment unless I help by planning ahead and making him a "big brother activity bag" full of  fun Gavin-style things to do.

I'm going to split this up into two posts.  The first one on what is in our parents/new-baby bag and the second on Gavin's big brother bag.

What to pack:

Dad:
- Shirts
- Pants
- Shorts
- Underwear
- Socks
- Snacks and/or money for food (change for vending machines)
- Pillow
- Blanket
- Phone Charger
- Small bag of toiletry type items such as deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

Mom:
- Comfy shirts (you will still have a bit of a belly right after the baby's born so bring loose clothes.  Basically what you wore when you were between 4 to 6 months pregnant)
- Comfy pants
- Panties
- Socks
- Slippers to wear if you would like (I personally didn't pack any this time because I never actually used them)
- Nursing bras
- Nursing pads (I didn't really need them last time until after my milk fully came in, but just to be safe in case of early leaking)
- Nursing gowns (I really appreciated having them for relaxing in, they were super easy to get the hang of breastfeeding with, and instead of the ugly hospital gowns)
- Nursing cover
- Boppy Pillow (AMAZING!!!)
- Lanolin (your hospital may provide this, but just in case.  This is what made breastfeeding comfortable for me.  Being chapped and broken is not going to help you and baby love the experience.  Lanolin is awesome!)
- Comb/brush, shampoo, conditioner, etc.
- Hair clips, elastic bands, chapstick, makeup, etc.
- Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
- Ibuprofen & Tylenol (our hospital charged per pill on both of these.  So bringing your own can save money)
- Phone charger
- Camera bag with camera, extra SD cards, battery, etc. is also a great idea

Baby:
- Clothes (not too many just a few)
- A couple receiving blankets
- Burp cloths
- Newborn diapers
- Wipes
- Pacifier
(Again the hospital provides most all of this, but it doesn't hurt to have your own)
- Infant carrier/car seat in the car ready to go

Dear Moms,
looking back now, what we're some of the best things y'all packed
(or wished you'd packed) in your maternity hospital bag?

Do y'all have any ideas on a hospital bag
for a 2-year-old big brother?
I would LOVE to hear them!

See also:

8 Ways to Save Money as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Hey y'all!  Today, I just wanted to talk a bit about being a stay-at-home mom, finances, budgeting, cutting expenses, saving money and you know, just basic money-type things that affect our daily lives and how we as mothers can be more intentional about how we handle them.

My husband and I got married 3 years ago and knew that we both wanted me to stay home with our children.  We knew as well that it wouldn't be financially amazing at first because we had also decided to start our own businesses and work for ourselves, all the while building our house!  Yeah, we put a lot on our plates, but it was and is still totally worth it!

I understand that many women must work full time and that just isn't an option.  But, I feel like there are so many of us that maybe haven't considered it due to thinking that staying at home just isn't financially possible, though we might not have actually run the numbers.  I would like to encourage y'all that there are some great ways to cut down costs and in the end being able to stay home and raise your kids is such a huge and very important responsibility that is totally worth the effort, time and energy that it takes to figure out how you can financially make it work!

At first I was working side by side with Jesse in our business and I still do as often as possible, but once Gavin was born, I became a little more of a full-time mom.  So how do I afford to stay home with our not-so-large-yet self-employed income?  Well here are 8 creative ways that I've done to save money and cut expenses:

Potty Train Early:  I potty trained my son right before his 2nd birthday (Click here for a post on how I potty trained him in 3 days), but wish I had done it as soon as he was obviously ready.  Every child is different, but for him that was at about 14 months.  We spent roughly about $30 a month on diapers and wipes (buying the cheapest diapers available) which was not a necessary expense.  We could have saved $810 by now if I had just taken the time to go ahead and work with him on using the big potty and swapping to big boy underwear!

Daycare: By staying home this is a huge cost that is totally eliminated!  Plus you get to be the one to take care of your child during all of his/her early developmental years.

Breastfeeding:  I did not breastfeed Gavin to save money on buying formula, but that is another cost that can be eliminated by staying home with your little one or by pumping.  Breastfeeding is much more convenient when you're home and your baby is with you most of the time.  There are many exceptions for moms not being able to breastfeed, but for those of us that can it is such a beautiful, special bonding that I truly loved with my little guy and hope to do again with Garrett when he's born.  Breastmilk is also so natural and healthy for your baby too!

Meal Planning:  Write out a menu. Make a list. And...Stick to that list!  Meal planning is one of those things that I super avoided after we first got married because it seemed so overwhelming to me, but it really isn't.  I save sooooooo much more money by having a plan and sticking to it instead of just buying what I want to eat while I'm at the store. ;-)  Our monthly grocery budget right now, with the three of us, is $350.  That also includes me planning and buying a little extra "guest food" for when we have company over.  It's hard to feel very hospitable when you're scraping the last bits of your food together for a meal, and wondering what your gonna feed your family for the next few days, 'til you have grocery money again. :-/  Take the time to look at the month ahead, plan out your meals, and extra meals for having friends and family over, make your grocery list, then make sure to take the time to
  • find foods that are the best deal,
  • use coupons,
  • buy the store brand,
  • check out your local discount grocery (just be sure to check the dates on the food!),
  • also see if there is a discount bread store near you.
(something I hope to do very soon and, wish I already had, is check out buying things in bulk and local co-op's as well)
Being on a budget and planning out your meals doesn't mean that you have to eat bland, nasty food.  Actually I've found the opposite to be true!  By taking the time to plan out what you need to spend where, and cutting down on all of the spur-of-the-moment-expenses, I have more money to buy the delicious, healthy, or pricier items because I didn't blindly spend it elsewhere!

TV: This is one cost we don't have at all.  We actually don't have a tv or really have the time to watch it anyway.  Instead of all gathering around and staring at the screen, we talk to each other, play, and dream together as a family!  If we do want to watch a movie, video, or show of some kind though, we use the internet to stream it.

Kid's Clothes:  I love Carhartt, Carter's, and Children's Place brand clothing, but it just isn't reasonable for me to spend $10 or more on Gavin's jeans that he'll only wear for 3 months.  Instead I try to buy consignment, thrifted, or clothing that is on clearance.  I buy many clothes at thrift stores that are barely used or still have the original price tag on them and have never been used!

Free Dates With Your Husband:  Date nights are my favorite!!!  But they don't have to cost a fortune at the most expensive restaurant that you can find.  Put the kids to bed early and sit outside talking and watching the stars (while eating ice cream!!!).  Just get creative.  There are tons of options for fun, money free things to do that are quite romantic and still give you both the quality time that y'all need together.

Start Your Own Home Business on the Side:  It is so easy these days to use your talent (whatever it may be) and make some extra income on the side.  You could teach music lessons, start a small photography service, build up your own etsy shop selling cute, homemade products (our etsy shop is WrightsTradingPost).  The opportunities are endless!

More ideas:
  • Learn to cut the kids' hair yourself.
  • During one of those extra tight months, get creative and use up all the freezer food and leftover pantry food before going to the grocery store. Or incorporate meals that use them majorly in your meal planning.
  • Make your own DIY cleaners for around the house instead of buying them (water, vinegar, and baking soda can clean a LOT!)
Well these are just a few of the ways I try to cut down costs and save money.  When things are getting tight or tough, take a step back, a deep breath, and remember why you're doing this. I am blessed to have a godly example of a mother who stayed home to raise my older brother and I and I'm so happy that I get to be there for all of my children's "firsts" in life too.  I love having so much time for the ones I love; being able to be there for them and care for them is such a joy.  Being a stay-at-home mom isn't the most glamorous, or well respected job, but it is a very important one!  Don't give up! You can do this! :-).

What are some of the ways that you save money or cut down on expenses?
Why do you want to be a stay-at-home mom?

Monday, August 8, 2016

35 Weeks Pregnant


Hey y'all! I apologize for my blog being so heavy in "maternity related" posts, but I guess pregnancy is just kinda what's on my mind lately. ;-)



I'm 35 weeks!  Reaching 9 months!  We're almost there and it's getting so exciting!  My days are filled with the feeling of precious feet kicking me from the inside (I LOVE it!), swollen feet, heartburn, preparing his little space with adorable baby things, embracing the heat of this Alabama summer, and preparing for delivery day!  God is so good!  Last year at this time we we're going through a heartbreak of miscarriage and now I'm getting ready to hold another precious little son in my arms. 
Only, God knows what this life will have in store for us.  I just have to trust Him!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6

I've seen quite a lot of other pregnant bloggers do "pregnancy update" posts and I thought it as a fun idea. So.... here's mine:

My Baby's Size: About 18 inches long and weighing around 5 pounds.

Cravings: I am soooo in love with Italian foods and vinaigrettes right now!  Also, fresh fruits and cold water with lemon!

Sypmtoms: My feet are very swollen if I sit in one position for any length of time, LOTS of heartburn, but significantly less than when I was expecting Gavin.  I'm starting to feel pretty big, weighing the most I ever have in my entire life at a whopping 174 lbs!  And I've had quite a few false contractions within the last 2 weeks, but overall this has been a very healthy, comfortable pregnancy (aside from the morning sickness during the first month.  So glad that's over! Haha) and I am very blessed.  The Lord is good!

Reading: Though these books are not technically related to being pregnant, they are what I've been reading lately whenever I have the chance for some quiet time to just relax, put my feet up, and do some learning for personal growth.  In This House, We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo & Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.  Both are good reads. The first has do with teaching your children virtues through fun, structured family actions and the second on a biblical view of when to say yes, no, and taking responsibility for your own life.

Appointments: I'm down to my last few Dr.'s appointments which are now every two weeks instead of four.  Next one is on Wednesday.  We're getting close!

Fun Purchases: His sweet little bed, newborn diapers (I was way too excited about buying tiny diapers again!  It's been a long time since I changed a little diaper.  click here to see how I potty-trained my 2-year-old in 3 days), some cute baby beach clothes for our family vacation coming up in October, and all the supplies for nursing again.  I loved breastfeeding Gavin and hope to get to do the same with Garrett.  It is such a precious time of bonding with the little one that is uniquely special for just mommy and baby.

Looking Forward To: Holding, kissing, hugging, and loving this new little bundle of joy from the outside of my belly. ;-)  Yes there is pain in the delivery, but it is soooooooo worth it!!!
"A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the JOY that a child has been born into the world." -John 16:21

See Also:
Our Gender Reveal Party
10 Tips For Feeling Great While Pregnant
"Dear Moms of Little Ones"

Sunday, August 7, 2016

10 Tips For Feeling Great During Pregnancy

Hey y'all!  I'm now 35 weeks pregnant with our second little boy, William Garrett Wright!  I had my last doctor's appointment on Tuesday and we are so blessed to have a very, healthy pregnancy so far for both me and baby Garrett!  Pregnancy doesn't have to be a miserably, uncomfortable nine months.  This is my third time to be pregnant (we had a miscarriage last summer) and I actually Enjoy being pregnant!  Yes your body is going through a lot right now and some amount of nausea, lack of energy, and crazy emotions are inevitable, but if you take the time to take care of yourself then this beautiful time of your life can be filled with joy, fun, and the exciting anticipation of meeting your new little one!
Here are some of the things that have helped me literally feel great while pregnant!

1. Drink Water
Stay Hydrated!  Drinking water is one of the best things you can do to help yourself feel better while pregnant.  Water helps your body transport nutrients, remove waste, regulate your body temperature can also help you think more clearly and keep your skin tighter and more vibrant.  While pregnant you should be trying to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (64 fluid ounces) plus an additional 8 ounce glass for any time you're physically active or even when you sweat a whole lot due to the HOT summer heat.

2. Go To Bed
Your body needs rest!  Especially during my first trimester and again now during the third, I felt so tired during the day and had a lack of energy.  But I've found that if I stick to a strict sleep schedule, go to bed on time, the same time, every night and wake up the same time every morning (even if that means going to bed early to feel rested enough), then I can tell 100% of a difference in my attitude and productivity throughout the day!  Resist the urge to stay up late, sleep in late, and have randomly different hours of sleep every night (7 hrs this night, 10 this night, 9 the next, etc.).  It's so tempting for me to work late at night when it's quiet and my 2 year old is asleep, but it only ever makes me feel more tired and useless the next day (click here to see a post on my schedule).  There may be something to that old saying "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise" after all.  Decide how much rest you need, what time you have to go to bed to achieve it, and stick to it!  This will look different for everyone, but make your plan and make it happen!  This is probably one of the MOST effective thing I've done to feel great while pregnant. :-)

3. Read Bible/Have Devotions
Spend quality time with the Lord in prayer, reading and memorizing His Word.  Take the time to have good devotions with God.  I try to have my devotions first thing in the morning to give me something wonderful to think on for the rest of the day.  The Lord can give you strength to keep going, even when all else fails, God loves you more than anyone else possibly can and He truly understands your needs and struggles better than anybody.  You are about to have a small child in your arms to raise, nurture, and care for.  Read good books on raising children.  Seek His guidance as you start this huge responsibility of motherhood!

4. Take a Walk Outside
Walking is one of the greatest things you can do while pregnant.  Just getting moving (even and especially when you're feeling sluggish) will do wonders for your energy level!  Better yet take walks outside and enjoy some wonderful fresh air and sunshine too!

5. Stretch/Exercise
Look up some good prenatal stretches and exercises to add to your daily routine.  They can help get rid of back and hip pain, help with breathing and swelling during the third trimester, and strengthen your body for an easier delivery, all while giving you more energy and getting your body healthier!

6. Eat Healthy Foods
It seems kinda obvious, but eat healthy foods and snacks that fill your body with good nutrients and avoid the junk foods.  Here are a list of some extra nutritious, super, power foods to include in your pregnancy diet:
Berries - fiber & antioxidants
Avocados - folic acid & potassium
Yogurt (not the sugar-filled, artificially flavored stuff) - calcium & probiotics
Eggs - iron, protein, vitamin A
Sweet Potatoes - vitamins A & E
Beans and Lentils - protein, magnesium, zinc, fiber, iron, & folate
Kale and Spinach - calcium, vitamin A, folic acid, and fiber
Oranges - vitamin C
Bananas - vitamin B6
Almonds - calcium & vitamin E
Salmon - omega 3
Broccoli - protein & calcium

8. Swim
This is one of my favorites!  Especially right now since I'm pregnant during summer. ;-)  This is a great way of exercising.  Floating relieves the heavy belly weight off your back, and keeps you cool through the intense summer heat!  Also, if you've got older kids, this is great fun for them too and a special playtime with mommy. :-)

9. Get Dressed
Simple as it sounds, it truly helps.  Even when you don't feel like it and aren't going to leave the house, go ahead and get dressed cute, brush your hair, wash your face, and do whatever it takes for you to feel pretty, fresh, inspired, and prepared for the day.

10. Take Naps When You Can
Difficult to do with an older toddler in the house too, but your body could use the extra rest.  Now that I'm in my third trimester and getting closer to baby go-time, I try to go ahead and nap when Gavin does (instead of working on big, unfinished projects which is very tempting during this quiet-time) which helps to re-energize me and I wake up with more patience to be a good mom to Gavin.  There's no need for me to be stressed out, tired, cranky and no fun for him just because I'm pregnant and tired!  It's not an excuse; pregnancy is a blessing!  Be intentional!

!!Bonus!!
11. Go On Date Nights With Your Husband
And lastly, my FAVORITE!!!  Take time alone with your husband!  Just the two of you!  Go on dates! You both seriously need this time to talk, laugh, plan and grow in your marriage.  You don't have to do anything expensive or exhausting, just set aside a specific time for just the two of you and get creative!  It's totally worth it!!! :-)

I hope this list was helpful and encouraging for some of you pregnant moms out there. :-)

And for you more experienced mothers, what are some
of ya'll's ways of feeling great and having energy during pregnancy?

I would seriously LOVE to hear your advice!

See also:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wright's Trading Post || GIVEAWAY!!!

Hey y'all, here is just a quick post to let y'all know about a GIVEAWAY that we're having over on our Etsy shop's Instagram this week, @wrightstrading!

Super excited about this: Go check out our "Wright's Trading Post" Instagram for info on how to win one of the rustic, home decor products from our shop!

Also be sure to visit our Esty shop:
to see the rest of our handmade, rustic items that we offer!

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